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November 13, 2005

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This is really simple. Marriage in our culture is a contract governed by certain statutory requirements. If the snake is of age and able to issue an informed consent then, of course, they should be considered married.

One might want to investigate the marriage practices of the tribal peoples in this area of India as well as the general beliefs. Were I a girl in this area, I might well seek a ploy ( or succumb to delusion) in order to get out of my other options.

Like the previous post about the self-promoting performance artist who sought (unsuccessfully) to marry herself, these oddball news items say nothing about serious social issues.

For what it's worth, my sister married a snake.

As cool, witty, intelligent, inspiring, or talented gay people can be, for those of us who believe marriage means something specific to god, our worldview colors our understanding of the gay lifestyle as unnatural, immoral, and disgusting.

Let me quickly add that not every Christian prefers to address the issue of homosexuality with raw emotion and hate- some of us actually believe we can come to our conclusion through careful thought and intellectual honesty.

One such thought I will use when I am granted a forum with a thoughtful homosexual is: The very design of man suggests that he was made for responsibility; and the design of women suggests she was made for support (both have responsibility, but hopefully I have made the distinction clear enough). Therefore, man with woman (and vice versa) seems to be the proper mesh- two authorities trying to run a household would cause fights, while two supporters trying to support a household would cause frustration. One could abdicate their role to the other, but it steals a sense of identity from the one abdicating.

And there's more clear thinking to benefit from from the Christian view on homosexuality.

First, I never signed a contract when I got married.

Second, these stories *do* serve to highlight the false nature of the claims being made by some in the pro-same-sex-marriage camps -- that marriage is whatever we decide and define it to be. Clearly it is "oddball" (to use Alan's own word) for a woman to marry a snake, so we can't simply make marriage out to be anything at all. The support for same-sex "marriage" must therefore come from some other source.

Didn't Hllary Rodham marry a snake?

Paul, re-read your marriage vows and I believe you will see a conract in there - contracts can be verbal. By taking out a marriage license, saying "I do" in front of a duly authorized person and consumating the marriage you are granted certain rights and assume certain responsinilities.

To the contrary, these stories and many strange, to us, practices throughout the world underline the arbitrariness of what constitutes a marriage.

BTW, if gays were allowed to marry just what would change in your life, not high-faluting end of the world as we know it assertions but personally, just what between you and your wife and children would change?

Alan,
Actually, the whole ceremony involved in weddings is just icing. You aren't married until you sign the certificate, and that requires no ceremony, no "I do", nothing. I could have gone to the courthouse with my (now) wife, signed a paper (with no contractual obligations/assertions written on it), paid my $20 and been legally married.

(re: "arbitrariness") So you're in favor of people marrying snakes, themselves, etc., despite you calling them "oddball"?

First of all, we don't make laws based on "how could it hurt you personally" arguments. Governments should not be in the business of regulating relationships unless they have a compelling state interest. Their interest, in the case of marriages, is the stability of the society and the continued sustainment of the population. Second, same-sex partners are having ceremonies all across the country, pledging their life-long love for eachother -- what they want is to force social acceptance. Third, part of my reason for opposing this acceptance is because their lifestyle is dangerous for THEM, and branding it as good and wholesome makes it more difficult for them to understand that.

P.S. Gays are already allowed to marry. They just can't marry a person of the same sex. They have all the same rights I do. They may not find that very satisfying, but the law is not discriminatory. Sure, they can't marry "whomever they choose", but then neither can I (I can't marry my sister), and for good reason.

I understand but does your wife know you don't take your marriage vows seriously. Just kidding, Paul but you have acknowledged contract like behavior. And I assume you did have vows, etc.

Sure she can marry the snake as long as the snake is capable of consent and is old enough.

Actually "how could it hurt you " is how we make laws. Your inability to answer my simple question without resorting to nebulous generalities makes my point. Once one leaves the area of individual harm there is a huge burden on those proposing the law to demonstrate actual harm. You have siimply failed to do that.

"Their interest, in the case of marriages, is the stability of the society and the continued sustainment of the population."

This is an mere assertion. You need to explain in concrete terms how an act which would tend to stabilize a relationship destabilizes the society as a whole. You have already acknowledged that it would have no effect on your marriage. I assume that also holds for your friends - so how and with whom do the problems start?

Assume you have children. Had gays been allowed to marry prior to your forming a family would you and your wife forgo having children? Would your friends? Again at what point and with whom do people stop having children because gays can marry?

What's dangerous is promiscuous behavior which would, if anything, be reduced by marriage. I think folks are going to do what they want regardless of your approval.

The Medved argument is just silly.

Your have yet to clearly demonstrate how a million or two gay marriages out of a population of 300 million is going to be problematic. We can watch Mass. and if that State doesn't fall into the sea where does that put your arguments?

Alan,

Let it go. Paul it taking your lunch money ;-)

Starting to talk about "snakes being of age and able to consent" is a sign that the argument barrel is almost empty. Just give it some more thought. I'm sure the controversy will still be here...

Santos

Yo Santos, get a sense of humor.

Yes, we did take vows. My point was that vows are not a necessary part of getting married, and thus marriage is not a "contract", and divorce proceedings do not work like breach-of-contract proceedings.

So your view of law is that an individual must show how the legalization of something will directly personally affect them before they can oppose the law? I opposed the legalization of marijuana, though I would have a hard time showing how my day tomorrow would be affected by a few people carrying less than one ounce of pot. I have many arguments that are more directed at why it is bad for the society (and the pot-smoker) in general. Why am I not allowed to oppose based on "generalities"?

As for my "mere assertion" of the purpose government has for recognizing/regulating marriage relationships, maybe you could tell me why some relationships (e.g., friendships) are not regulated, but some are (e.g., marriages)? Why should the state bother documenting, giving tax breaks to, etc. married couples?

"... so how and with whom do the problems start?" Again, it's not my job to come up with "why not" arguments. You need to demonstrate why the state has an interest in regulating these relationships. However, for the sake of argument, I'll give a few. First, as you've acknowledged, if "marriage" is anything we define it to be, then we must allow people to marry their pets, children, groups, and themselves. What do you think happens to tax codes and insurance at this point? Tax/insurance benefits which were written to help people raise children and provide for their welfare are now meaningless, merely ways for someone to get a tax break. Tax and insurance levels would increase, thus making it harder for families to provide the way they did before. (By the way, I think there is something to be said for providing tax/insurance/etc. breaks to same-sex couples who have dragged children into their disfunctional lifestyles, for the sake of those children, but "marriage" is not the answer.) Second, a state "recognition" of the homosexual lifestyle leads people to believe it is a healthy alternative -- it's not. Higher promiscuity (even between "committed" couples), domestic violence, and suicide are all well-researched and documented effects of same-sex couples (as a whole).

I'm not sure your point of the paragraph about me having/not-having children if same-sex marriage was legalized.

"I think folks are going to do what they want regardless of your approval." Of course. So why, in your opinion, do they want the "right to marry"?

I'm sorry, I don't know what you meant by "Medved argument." Is that referring to the "gays are already allowed to marry" comment? How is that silly? You are contending that they are being unfairly discriminated against, and I pointed out that they aren't.

"Your have yet to clearly demonstrate ..."
You have yet to show how a few woman-snake marriages would be problematic, but you still call it "oddball." I don't mean to be sarcastic, but that's what your argument amounts to. Look, a "few million" same-sex marriages will probably mean "X hundred thousand" kids eventually adopted, and now we have placed innocent lives in harm's way in the interest of social experimentation.

As for Massachusetts, yes, we'll have to wait and see. Unfortunately, something like this usually takes a few decades for all the effects to be seen, identified, traced, and studied. I don't see politicians or activist groups waiting around that long to see if it's good or bad, which means that critical decisions will be made on little data.

Sorry for the gargantuan post. :(

Though I am appreciative of Mr. Aronson's comments regarding the statutory requirements, one area he overlooked is the concept of being competent to contract. In order to assess whether the parties are competent they have to be able to have a "meeting of the minds." Physiology aside, I do not think that this element can be met, irregardless of Timbo's position.

Do a historical and cross cultural study of marriage and the contractural narure of the institution becomes apparent. Leaving that aside, we come to:

"So your view of law is that an individual must show how the legalization of something will directly personally affect them before they can oppose the law? I opposed the legalization of marijuana, though I would have a hard time showing how my day tomorrow would be affected by a few people carrying less than one ounce of pot. I have many arguments that are more directed at why it is bad for the society (and the pot-smoker) in general. Why am I not allowed to oppose based on "generalities"?"

The sense of what I wrote does not refer to me specifically but to a hypothetical individual. If an individual or individuals are not directly harmed we should begin with the presumpton that the activity shouldn't be prohibited. There may be a case but it shouldn't depend on vague generalities. That you fall back on the most problematic part of the "War on Drugs" sorta makes my point.

There is in debate the "Nazi Rule". Who ever first mentions Hitler, etc. has lost the argument. We also should have the :Child Rule" - whoever first invokes the "Our Children" argument reveals a weak case. Lesbians can and do produce their own children and gays (and singles in general) usually adopt older children who otherwise would be condemned to the foster care system. Regularizing those situations benefits everyone.

The best solution here may be to take the state out of marriage and remove the tax benefits of marriage, reserving them for those with children regardless of their orientation. Churches would have the right to define marriage as they wish.

"If an individual or individuals are not directly harmed we should begin with the presumpton that the activity shouldn't be prohibited."

Then it is the job of the person proposing the law to demonstrate that "nobody is harmed." That's a tall order, since it requires something approaching omniscience. In the case of homosexuality, there are already studies that show it is harmful for the individuals involved, though I'm not one to advocate making homosexuality illegal, just their ability to force that disfunction on others (children).

I'm curious -- who made up the "Nazi Rule". This is not a standard rule in debate or logic (i.e., the "fallacy of appeal to Nazis"). In informal circles, I agree that using the example must be done carefully, as it is often mis-applied. But the Nazis (and other examples of genocide) are historical figures and, if the connection can be correctly made, are viable as comparison tools. If not, then where do you draw the line? Why am I allowed to cite slavery in the U.S. south but not concentration camps in Germany? The same thing can be said for arguments (such as mine) that are not general "won't somebody think of the children" hand-wringing, but are instead a concern about the direct effect policies have on children.

Now, as for the quite rare (statistically) case of homosexual couples that drag children into their disfunctional lifestyle, I previously said I think benefits should be made available for the sake of those children. You don't need to re-define marriage to extend benefits. Heck, many companies already offer "partner benefits". This fight isn't over benefits.

Your last paragraph is an interesting proposition, regarding benefits. I haven't heard that suggested before. I agree with it in part, but it then puts heterosexual couples on equal footing with homosexual couples (and singles, and group marriages, etc.) in adoptions, and the evidence clearly shows that children are far better off in homes with one father and one mother.

Now, you briefly touched on a point I want to comment on -- if it were a choice between a child growing up in a neglectful foster care system and growing up in a "loving" (however that is determined), stable same-sex couple household, I would choose the latter. Others probably disagree with me vehemently. Hoever, as I said, I don't see this as the norm, nor is it the reason why so many same-sex couples want official recognition by the state. Churches all across America already perform such ceremonies in recognition of same-sex couples.

-Paul: "if it were a choice between a child growing up in a neglectful foster care system and ... a "loving" ..., stable same-sex couple household, I would choose the latter."

I'm with you. There *is* such a thing as "better than." Just because living through a car crash is better than dying in a crash, doesn't mean crashing is a good thing.

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