« Stumbling Block (Video) | Main | Did Christianity Borrow from Mystery Religions? »

August 09, 2011

Comments

"Oddly, sexual orientation has nothing to do with the nature of marriage. If it is a union between one man and one woman, then the sexual orientation of the participants is not relevant. "

Anything to do with the though processes of the couple involved has nothing to do with the nature of marriage. That includes if the couple actually love each other or not. However, the gender of the participants is not just a state of mind, but a physical reality and physical realities do have something to do with what marriage is. If that were not the case, then marriage between animals and people could legitimately be called such and where does that leave us?

This makes Wisdom Lover’s point:

There is a new petition that requests Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street marry

From the site:

In this horrific age of LGBT kids taking their own lives, they need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living. Aside from those that are committing suicide, the bullies that facilitate these tragedies need to learn that homophobia is NOT okay. They need to know that acceptance of their fellow human beings would indeed plant a seed of peace that will reverberate throughout the world. We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful. Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show. It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives.

I’ve also seen the tragedies of homosexual suicide exploited by those pushing for same sex marriage.

Moral indifference is demanded - come hell or high water.


KWM


"In this horrific age of LGBT kids taking their own lives, they need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living."

I think that in any situation where one's sexuality is the sole basis on which to determine if someone's life is worth living is a sure sign there is something that has gone horribly wrong with the self image of that individual. I think the real question is: Are we doing a service to the individual by reinforcing his/her mistaken self perception through affirmation of it?

Sorry I didn't follow the thread closely enough to contribute.

@Jason: I think anti-miscegenation laws, whether they are considered part of the "definition" of marriage or simply a restriction on normally-defined marriages are wrong, and I don't think it's mistaken to describe them as a limitation on someone's right to marry.

@Amy: fighting about whether something is, or is not, part of the essential "definition" of marriage (rather than a contingent limitation) runs a danger of question-begging. To what source does one turn for a definition?

Are second marriages after divorce "marriages"? If so, then the duration of marriage (til death do us part) is contingent. If they are not, then perhaps the duration is "essential" and part of the definition of marriage. But I don't know how you separate out the definition without making some normative judgment about the acceptability or permissibility of deviation from the quality.

Was Jacob's marriage to Rachel a "marriage"? If so, than the # of people involved (or the exclusivity) is not an essential quality of marriage. Is the exclusivity part of marriage an essential piece of its definition, or merely contingent?

I'm not at this point arguing for or against any particular combination of "essential" features. I'm just saying that I doubt we can make much progress by focusing on the definition. Because I'm not sure that people involved in this discussion will except the idea that there is a definition of what marriage is, separate and unchanging, from what marriage "should be."

except = accept. Sorry.

For Christians, tolerance of SSM (or divorce, business on the Sabath, etc,) is not the real issue.

"It is precisely because we have come to know ourselves as sinners and of our need for a savior that we have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Our greatest fear is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins."
-Albert Mohler

Before 1967, A Black man (in some states) had a different and smaller pool of marriageable partners to choose from than a white man. He was therefore treated differently under the law.

Before 1996, a homosexual man had exactly the same pool of marriageable partners to choose from as any other man. He was therefore treated exactly the same as any other man under the law.

After homosexual marriage becomes legal in all states, a homosexual man will still have exactly the same pool of marriageable partners to choose from as any other man. And he will therefore still be treated exactly the same as any other man under the law.

So you cannot argue that homosexual marriage is required as a matter of fairness in the way that mixed-race marriage is required.

You can argue that before 1996, and even today, our marriage laws are written to treat some people's preferences differently than other people's preferences. I guess that makes homosexuals second class citizens, or something.

Here is a list of second-class citizens in the U.S. after homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land in all states and territories:

1. People who want to marry more than one person.

2. People who want to marry themselves.

3. People who want to marry animals.

4. People who want to marry the dead.

5. People who want to marry inanimate objects.

6. People who want to marry children.

*crickets*

I wonder where Jane has gone off to...?

WL,

A great post to wrap up this thread I must say.

You better hope that the gay community doesn't pull a "no taxation without representation" on you and stop paying taxes to a system that is happy to take their money but not extend them the right to simply marry.

If that happens, one wonders what might become of the healthy tax breaks that churches receive, when the tax base shrinks exponentially.

Is this some sort of jest?

How will homosexuals stop paying taxes because they don't like the laws? When you can figure that out, let me know, 'cuz I'd like to do the same.

Homosexuals account for 1-2% of the population. Math is probably not your strong suit if you think that their not paying taxes will 'exponentially' decrease the tax base.

And, BTW, homosexuals have the same marriage rights as everyone else. When homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land, they will still have the same marriage rights as everyone else. So there's no issue about our system not granting them the right to simply marry.

Though it's a bit OT, there have been a number of remarks about the issue of whether homosexuality is a choice or a condition (perhaps a genetic condition).

The arguments on the no-choice side are predictably horrid.

The most you will ever be able to prove regarding homosexuality is that homosexual urges are not chosen. (And, of course, no one has even come remotely close to proving even that.) So the most you can prove is that homosexuality is not a choice in the same way that, possibly, alcoholism is not a choice. That's the best case.

Now what?

Does that imply anything with regard to social policy?

Our society has plenty of laws and sanctions against drunkenness in a variety of contexts. Are these all to be thrown out because, well, alcoholism is not a choice? Are we to extend social benefits to alcoholics? Are we to always treat drunkenness as a matter of moral indifference?

If I show up to work drunk and go on three martini benders at lunch, do I have a right to not be fired because, well, alcoholism isn't a choice? If I get liquored up and swerve all over the highway, do I get off because, well, alcoholism isn't a choice? Should the state provide special Drinking Buddy Licenses for me an my fellow souses down at my favorite dive so that we can, for example, shelter each other's money from the taxman? After all, alcoholism isn't a choice.

The truth is that homosexuality has all the marks of being nothing more than an addiction brought on by choices. But even if it isn't, that really implies nothing.

I'd mentioned this in the comments on the A-Team blog, but nobody reads that, so I feel I ought to point it out here, too. If a woman can legally do something that I can not (marry a man) because of who she is vs. who I am, then we do not have equal rights, and it is in fact a rights issue. Whether you want to call it unequal because of homosexuality or unequal because of gender is really up to you, but it's self-evidently unequal.

Benjamin-

So the issue here is not that heterosexuals have greater rights than homosexuals, but that women have greater rights than men? Or is it that men have greater rights than women? Because men have the right to marry women...a right that women lack.

You see, when you put it your way, it's impossible to say with any coherency who's got unequal rights.

So it is far from self-evident that we're dealing with a problem of unequal rights...it's more like a contradiction.

WL,

I agree with a lot of what you said in a recent post, but what I must take issue with is your claim that homosexual urges are a choice. I do not believe that they are genetic (though they probably do have a genetic component in some or many people), but that does not make it a choice.

I guess what I'm saying is that Genetic vs Choice is a false dilemma. Consider yourself: if I told you I would give you 1 million dollars to have sex with another man (assuming you were not morally opposed to it), would you? I can honestly say that I would not. It seems like if it was a choice, then I would be able to force myself to do it. However, I am too disgusted.

Homosexual desires usually seem to develop in the formative years. I think that it has a lot to do with one's relationship with their same-sex parent, or with their same-sex peers. The point is though, one does not really have a choice about his environment during these years.

I would highly recommend the book I mentioned before "Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would" to any Christian here. It does not talk much about public policy, but it does a fantastic job of addressing the question of how the Church should deal with this issue overall. It is writted by an ex-gay Christian who preaches a message that change is possible. A lot of the book focuses on how the church has failed with this issue in the past by ignoring it or sweeping it under the rug. Additionally, along with secular culture, Christians have turned a serious struggle into a joke. When an adolescent is beginning to recognize same-sex attraction, where will he turn for help? The Church, that treats that issue like an unforgivable sin that can never be spoken about and whose congregations joke about and make fun of gays on a regular basis? I can honestly say that if I was having same-sex attraction, I would not feel comfortable telling a lot of Christians for fear of being rejected simply for having the feelings. So where do they turn? They turn to LGBT groups who (in honest belief, I should add) teach them misunformation about how one's sexuality is at the core of their identity and is unchangable.

Anyways, that's my rant. Please read the book, it will give any Christian a much better perspective on this issue.

Austin-

I gather from your prior comment that you are a heterosexual man.

Suppose that you have the urge to have sex with some woman. Suppose that she is willing.

Now I offer you this alternative.

Go ahead and have sex with this woman. But be aware that as you lie with her, a gallows is being built before your door, and you will be hanged from it the moment you are finished. Could you restrain yourself from acting on your urge, or is it a choice?

Same thing for homosexuals, but replace the man for the woman.

Now imagine that you've been holding your breath and you have the urge to breathe. I offer you the same choice: go ahead and breathe, but I'm building a gallows... Would you be able to restrain yourself? Or would you act on your urge?

Acting on a heterosexual or homosexual urge is absolutely a choice. Acting on the urge to breathe is not.

Now the question is: how are urges formed?

Well, that's obviously a complex issue, and there's probably no one answer. It depends on the urge. But it seems to me that no one has yet shown that homosexual urges are genetic, or even that they are not subject to change by effort. My urges about food, exercise and other activities are certainly subject to alteration. Some urges are harder than others to beat. Addictions are like that. Homosexuality seems more like an addiction to me, as do other forms of deviant sexual behavior.

As for the counseling issue, I don't think that your typical pastor is equipped to directly counsel someone on this issue. But I do suspect that most are clever enough to refer someone struggling with sinful urges to counselor who is competent.

As for treating homosexuality as an unforgivable sin, I suppose that some churches may say that. My church, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, certainly does not. But we won't call it not sin. The Bible says that it is sin.

Sinners are welcome in all of our churches though.

Thomas Aquinas - great post, and some of the clearest thinking I've seen on the issue.

Jane

"Progressive societies do adapt to changes, and because American (and Canadian) cultures have diversified so much, it would be ridiculous to legislate "what God thinks". There's no agreement on that, so let's not pretend that there is."

I can find quite a few people who would agree with me on what God thinks about homosexuality. So, how does that translate to "there's no agreement on what God thinks"? I think that there is some agreement, but maybe not 100% agreement with everyone on-board. It would seem to me that if his thoughts were penned down about a topic for all to read, this would adjudicate who is correct and who is mistaken on a topic. When it comes to scriptures, this is exactly what we have available to us. So, it really is not that important if we agree with each-other as it is if we agree with what God had penned down about the subject. That some folks disagree with the position God made clear is his, is their problem, not God's problem.

Nah, the issue is that giving different rights to different people depending on innate attributes or qualities that they cannot control results in self-evidently unequal rights. Separate but equal is inherently unequal. Those of us who actually care about people learned that during desegregation in the 50's... which folks like you dragged out for years then, too.

Benjamin, I think your position fatally equivocates male/female such that it cannot be taken seriously without your defending the definition first. There are laws on the books that have never been seriously challenged as infringement of human rights that acknowledge this distinction between the sexes. Only appeals to absurdity lead one to even suggest that male and female are to be treated as non distinct. If you think this is untrue, go into a womans bathroom or locker room and see what happens, after that, challenge the law that has been used to charge you and see if the courts find no distinction between male-ness and female-ness.

" innate attributes or qualities that they cannot control"

Question begging. We would be compelled to agree with you once it is proven that the homosexual desire is not behavioral.

For WL, [and Benjamin], HERE is a interesting link that proves that basketball players are born that way.

Benjamin-

Well, maybe it's because of my backward intellect, but you can't seem to get your story laid out in a fashion that I can't figure out. Or maybe it's just that I'm so terribly distracted by the throbbing pain in my knuckles (I drag them around all day you see).

If marriage rights under current law are unequal, then someone must have more rights than someone else. So who has more rights? Men or women? If it's so self-evident you should be able to answer that one easily.

Some things are indeed self-evident. But it is very easy to codify our prejudices as such. It's the lazy way to avoid presenting strong arguments. This is especially striking when the prejudice being declared to be self-evident is, in fact, incoherent.

What's patently obvious here is that it is impossible to say who has more rights. Do men have more rights, owing to their right to marry women...a right that women lack? Or do women have more rights, owing to their right to marry men...a right that men lack?

Or is it that men have more rights to marry women and women have more rights to marry men? (Well, that's obviously it isn't it).

But according to you, it's self-evident that separate is never equal. Enlightened wine-sipping liberals have have known that since the 50s.

But doesn't that imply that one of the separate rights is greater than the other. Either the right to marry a man is greater than the right to marry a woman, or the other way round. If the right to marry a woman is greater, then women must be more valuable than men. But if the right to marry men is greater, then it must go the other way round.

As a conservative, I'd assume that the rights are equal because the value of men and women is equal. But then I'm just trying to hold people down (being so darn stooopid...oh yeah, and I don't care about people...especially children if that helps).

No doubt, your being soooo enlightened, you can tell us. Who's more valuable? Men or women?

Brad B, I'm glad to hear that you would be compelled to agree with me once it is proven that the homosexual desire is not behavioral. It gives me a bit of hope that yours is actually a position of ignorance rather than simple bigotry, and ignorance can be cured.

The overwhelming majority of evidence suggests that homosexuality has a genetic component and is not merely behavioral. Do you place more trust in the American Academy of Pediatrics or the English Royal College of Psychiatrists? Those were the first two official reports I came up with in my thirty seconds of internet research you've apparently never done. Myself, I tend to rely on a huge body of anecdotal evidence... do you have any gay friends?

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/p​df/Submission%20to%20the%2​0Church%20of%20England.pdf

http://pediatrics.aappubli​cations.org/content/113/6/​1827.full?maxtoshow&hits=1​0&RESULTFORMAT&fulltext=%2​522Sexual+orientation+and+​adolescents%2522&searchid=​1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=re​levance&resourcetype=HWCIT

If these are just too long, there's an article by the Guardian that sums it up pretty simply, although it unfortunately lacks citations.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/​world/2008/dec/01/homosexu​ality-genetics-usa

I am glad to have taken an enemy and made an ally.

WisdomLover, while I do appreciate third-grade sarcasm as an undervalued art form, I'm not really seeing any point to what you're saying here. Am I to understand that you actually think that as long as there are an equal number of laws applying to two individuals then their rights are equal? That you think to legalize gay marriage is to demonstrate the greater value of gays, which you would prefer remain legally less valuable? Or do I first need to convince you that black people are people before I can use that as a comparison? Given your heavily implied distaste of desegregation and social progress in general, I'm thinking you might just be a genuinely depraved human being that's not really worth carrying on an adult conversation with. Or do you just get so wrapped up in clumsy attempts to take apart opposing arguments sentence by sentence that appearing to stand for anything or having a single analytical or moral thought in your head simply falls by the wayside to make room for logical fallacies and attempts at written sneering?

Seriously, I'm curious.

Benjamin-

I note that you are neither able to answer the question of who is more valuable, nor undercut the inferences that led to that question. Apparently, I should merely find the bald assertion of your incoherent moral prejudices obvious. (Oh yeah, plus I'm racist, or something.)

Instead of enlightening the rest of us with your keen sense of the morally self-evident, why not try actually arguing for the stuff you say. Just as a refreshing change.

WisdomLover,

You should note from my previous posts that I never once argued that it is not a choice to ACT on a homosexual urge. Only that, whether genetic or other, the urge itself is not a choice. This should cause us to be more sympathetic towards those who struggle, as we are sympathetic with anyone who has strong desires but needs to contain/deny them.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't equivalent to saying that acting on same-sex attraction is not a sin, but I think compassion requires correct understanding of the issue involved. It seems to me that Christians must understand and admit that initial homosexual urges/feelings are not a choice. This would help the Church greatly in the way that it deals with the issue.

Regardless of what your, or any other, church's official position on homosexuality is, the fact stands that many congregations treat the sin as worse than others, and moreso regard the urge itself as something disgusting or dispicable. This all before a struggler has even acted on that urge. My point is that the Church needs to garner an environment that feels safe for a young man who begins to realize he is struggling with same-sex attraction to actually speak to members of his congregation about it and not be immediately judged. I'm sorry, but I simply don't see that right now- even in many strong Bible-believing churches that I've visited.

BTW, Benjamin-

The Justices in Brown v. Board of Education were referring to educational facilities. The actual quote is not "Separate is inherently unequal", but "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

Most of us don't find the separate restroom facilities for men and women to be inherently (let alone self-evidently) unequal and sexist.

So it is not self-evident separate is always inherently unequal, but, in fact, false.

This doesn't mean that separate is never unequal. It doesn't even mean that separate is never inherently unequal.

But if you want to say that a man's right to marry women is unequal to the separate right of women to marry men, you're going to have to argue for that claim.

Benjamin,

Please read my critique of the "research" done which backs up the idea that homosexuality is mostly or purely genetic in nature. I'm sorry, but the APA is an organization subject to political pressure just like any other organization, and I will not accept their judgement of this issue if the facts don't add up. It stands that there are big problems with the conclusions drawn from the research in this area and even the authors of the study will admit this (again, I can offer quotes and citations when I get home if you would like).

General Issues with the Research:

1) Authors of all three major studies considered themselves homosexual. This does not necessarily mean anything but should caution us to take their intentions with a grain of salt.

2) None of the major studies have been able to be repeated. As repeatability is a cornerstone of modern science, I would say that this creates huge problems for those trying to defend the premise that homosexuality is genetic.

3) The conclusions that people generally draw from the studies don't actually follow. As I said above, even the authors of the research will admit to this. At best, the studies imply a correlation between biological factors and homosexuality. However, biology can, and often does, transcend genetic factors. Case in point: the brain often changes in structure and size based on external environments and individual choices. So any study that concludes a correlation between brain structure and homosexuality is burdened with showing that homosexuality is the effect and not the cause. This has yet to be done.

As I've said before, I do not think this really matters in the end, as the homosexual urges that people experience are not usually a choice, whether they are genetic or not. I just think we need to be honest with ourselves and not distort facts to support our view.

Austin-

I agree with everything you have to say about the compassion that the Church and individual Christians should show toward people struggling with sinful desires of any kind, including homosexual ones. And I agree with that whatever the sources of homosexual urges might be.

I never intended to imply that you had said that homosexual action was not a matter of choice. Sorry if it came across that way. Obviously, you never said that.

Now, at the time I was unsure what your beliefs about the subject were. What made me unsure was your million dollar example. There, it seemed like you were talking about actions, and not just urges. Could one be induced by bribery to act contrary to one's urges?

So I used the gallows argument (which I cribbed from Kant, BTW) to insure that we focus 'like a laser beam' on the fact that it is at most the source and nature of homosexual urges that are under debate when we get into the whole subject of whether homosexuality is voluntary. A point, I now think, about which we agree.

WL,

Yes, that was a concise way to wind down our discussion. The reason I brought up the million dollar example is to show that if I could choose to desire to have sex with a man, then I surely would have in that instance. In the example, I did not think it was immoral, so my only inhibition was my desire. I was using that to show my suspicion that only a very small minority of homosexuals have any direct influence over their desires.

But yes, I can see that we agree for the most part.

Hi Austin, I substaantially agree with what you've said and think you'll also agree with my response, but thought it'd be a good addition to what you say regarding how the church and Christians in gerneral ought to react to any sin.

Your position is that we need to exibit some compassion toward those struggling with same sex attraction--the same compassion as we ought to give those struggling with urges to steal, commit heterosexual perversions, hate ect... You get my point I hope, namely that the strugglers of homosexual sin needn't be singled out as needing more compassion than any other sinner but as a true friend would do, call the sin what it is--in love, and come alongside and co-struggle with them.

Benjamin, you're funny. I'd be nice if you take the time to read though. The link I added to my post to you answers the false science surrounding the gay gene hoax.

Also, your capacity to reason seems to be limited, you make assumptions that you want me/WL or others to accept, but to do so we have to abandon reason. How about making an effort to provide some level of substantive point / counterpoint instead of name calling.

Austin, I will, but I don't see it... is it the basketball one?

Leaving that question aside for the moment, if you say that none of the major studieS (plural) have been able to be repeated... the studies themselves being multiple in nature... then you're contradicting yourself. The studies have been repeated, by other studies. Furthermore, while you say that the fact that homosexuals are involved in researching homosexuality should in some way denigrate the research, I'd frankly trust their assertions related to what they know about over random church organizations' assertions about what they don't. To me, they seem the MOST trustworthy people to provide information on the inner workings of a homosexual mind, not the least.

But either way, if you're going to say that any organization or person that uses research to reveal flaws in your entirely-gut-instinct assumptions can't be trusted because they can be biased, then you've no reason to believe in anything beyond what you've seen with your own eyes. But if you won't trust facts, statistics, or material data, what about common sense?

Simple and, I think, entirely relevant query: why would anyone ever choose to be homosexual if it's innately as undesirable to everyone as it is to you? For that matter, why would anyone intentionally choose a life that's going to be significantly harder (primarily because of people like the author of this article, who will look to any abstract reasoning to justify making said life harder without admitting any guilt) rather than simply being heterosexual and enjoying the privileges of everyone else, which is what they naturally want to do anyway?

The only really sensible explanation would be that they DON'T naturally have the same inclinations that we do and have not chosen it for themselves. Now granted, we shouldn't necessarily be 100% certain that something's true just because it's the only sensible explanation, but when the overwhelming majority of scientifically collected data supports that very explanation and no other? Seriously, why do you have any problem with this? I can find biases with most people who assert that the sky is blue, too, but at the end of the day it still is. (Well actually, at the end of the day it's more reddish, but you know what I mean.)

Brad B, you disappoint me. See above. If you're going to simply deny all relevant information as likely wrong because other possibilities will always exist and it doesn't fit with your worldview, there's little point in requesting proof as if such a thing has an effect. Your article merely asserts what every scientist or competent reader knows, that something being extremely likely doesn't make it certain and that we should stay open to learning more. Although considering you go on to talk about the Sin of it, presumably with a straight face, I assume that the credibility of authors isn't nearly so important to you as which books have conclusions you Like Best. Accurate?

Also, "You're funny... Your capacity to reason seems to be limited... instead of name calling." Heh.

WisdomLover, a man's right to marry women is quite obviously unequal to the separate right of women to marry men in a number of ways, though most of them don't come up unless the man or woman in question is homosexual or intersexed. Aside from the overly literal and largely irrelevant breakdown of biomass gained in the deal (women generally win, assuming a baseline of physical fitness) and economic gain (again, women generally win, although that's largely because of a societal inequality in average payscales that you probably also deny) a woman marrying a man gets a penis, upper body strength, facial hair, and assorted other characteristics that a man marrying a woman does not gain. Conversely, a man marrying a woman gets a vagina and connected womb, a number of attractive secondary sexual characteristics, etcetera. They are unequal; you can make a case for which one you'd prefer if you like, but they're not the same. And if you'd prefer one over the other (I apologize, but I can't actually tell your gender by your given name of Wisdom), depending on your choice, you would be denied them by our current legal system, while somebody else who wanted them could have them, based entirely on that other person's sex.

So, yes, the right to marriage is inherently unequal as it exists on the books now, but the only people that inequality actually disadvantages are the ones who would want what it denies them. This does not mean that the law is not unequal, just that most people are okay with the law being unequal.

More relevant are the rights that come WITH marriage. As it stands, the fact is, unless you discover that you’re homosexual sometime in the future, you can marry whoever you want and then receive legal rights and privileges for you and your spouse. A lesbian can marry whoever she wants and then be denied legal rights and privileges for her and her spouse. The difference between the two situations is the rights conferred on you vs. the rights not conferred on another human being who, not being you, you do not think deserves them, and would prefer to point to the precedence created by this very inequity as the reason to continue it rather than take responsibility for voting to keep the less privileged less privileged.

Also, I'll keep my enlightened wine-sipping incredulity in my pocket as long as I don't have to sit through any adolescent sarcasm; yesterday that's all I got.

Benjamin-

Yesterday, my friend, sarcasm and ad hominem attacks are all you gave.

I note that you could not refrain from another charming ad hominem, this time to the effect that I'm sexist (of course, what else could someone who disagrees with you be).

On the other hand, the question of how men and women were unequal (and how the right to marry the one is unequal to the right to marry the other) was on the table for all to see all day yesterday.

With that said, I'm glad to see that you've finally attempted to address the issue implied by your assertion that the right to marry a man is unequal to the right to marry a woman.

Your answer seems to be this: The right women have to marry men is unequal to the right men have to marry women because women have the right to marry someone with male characteristics and men have the right to marry someone with female characteristics.

In other news, no married bachelors have yet been discovered.

You have yet to point to a morally significant difference between men and women that would account for the fact that there is a morally significant difference between the right to marry one vs. the right to marry another.

As far as I can tell, the only thing you have to say is that men who would prefer to marry men can't get what they want, and women who want to marry women can't get what they want.

But the issue isn't whether people can get what they want. The issue is whether people are treated equally under the law.

I'd really like to live in Area 51. Everyone who wants to live in the Snow Belt has the right to live where they want. Everyone who wants to live on the Gulf Coast has the right to live where they want. Why shouldn't I be given the right to live where I want? Am I being treated unequally under the law because I'm not allowed to live in Area 51? Don't tell me that I'm allowed to move to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or to Tampa Florida. My rights are being trampled.

(Or is it just that I can't get what I want.)

Homosexual men have exactly the same right under the law that heterosexual men have. They have the right to marry any living, unmarried woman in her majority. Likewise, homosexual women have exactly the same right under the law that heterosexual women have.

So at the very least, every man is treated equally under the law to every other man. And every woman is treated equally under the law to every other woman.

The residual question is whether women and men are treated equally under the law. Men (of any stripe) do have a different right than the right that women (of any stripe) have. The question in this case is whether the one right is somehow less valuable than the other so that they are not being treated equally under the law.

WisdomLover, I don't imply that you're sexist, I imply that you turn a blind eye to glaring inequalities in our culture.

The moral difference between the right to marry one and the right to marry another is the self-evident fact that only one of the population segments that wants to marry one is allowed to, while others are not.

Whether the one right is somehow less valuable than the other is situational. Granted, the right of a man to marry who he wants to is functionally equivalent to the right of a woman to marry who she wants to. The right of a man to marry who he wants to is NOT functionally equivalent to a woman wanting to marry who she wants to and being denied this right based on precedence and a fairly obvious prejudice that nobody will cop to. When you take into consideration that the person each one wants to marry could be the exact same person, the only difference between having relevant rights in this situation and having no relevant rights whatsoever is the gender of the person involved. These rights are (obviously, I would hope) unequal in this circumstance, which is the only circumstance that would be altered by the proposed updates to the law.

But, the comparison I gave earlier stands. Black men, back in the day, had the exact same right that white men had: to marry a member of their own race. If a black man wanted to marry a white woman he was not allowed to, but he was legally granted the right to marry a black woman. Would you say, then, that outlawing interracial marriage was not a rights concern and was strictly definitional? Because I'm fairly certain I would define it as a rights issue, myself.

Benjamin,

You said,

if you say that none of the major studieS (plural) have been able to be repeated... the studies themselves being multiple in nature... then you're contradicting yourself. The studies have been repeated, by other studies.

Perhaps you do not understand how repeatability works in science. For the conclusions of a specific experiment to be considered authentic, the specific experiment must be repeated multiple times and yield statistically similar results. The multiple (3) experiments I refer to are completely unique in nature and do not count for repeatability.

The reason your point is not valid is because each experiment set out to find test a different hypothesis. The hypothesis for each experiment was not "homosexuality is a genetically inherited trait." Rather is was:

Experiment 1) When one identical twin is homosexual, it is more probable that the other is than if the twins were fraternal.

Experiment 2) There is a correlation between brain structure and sexual orientation.

Experiment 3) There are genetic links that correlate to sexual orientation.

As you can see, each experiment sets out to test a different hypothesis, using different methods, and so do not count as repeatability.

Furthermore, while you say that the fact that homosexuals are involved in researching homosexuality should in some way denigrate the research, I'd frankly trust their assertions related to what they know about over random church organizations' assertions about what they don't. To me, they seem the MOST trustworthy people to provide information on the inner workings of a homosexual mind, not the least.

My point was only that they may be biased in a way that would affect the research. This would fit perfectly with the fact that the experiments have not been repeated successfully. I've done extensive research at a university level (I am a Chemical Engineer), and I know how easy it is to fudge things the slightest bit to get them to conform to the hypothesis. That's why repeatability is important. If someone else who does not have the same background as you can repeat the experiment successfully, it shows that the conclusion is true despite any biases you may have.

But either way, if you're going to say that any organization or person that uses research to reveal flaws in your entirely-gut-instinct assumptions can't be trusted because they can be biased, then you've no reason to believe in anything beyond what you've seen with your own eyes. But if you won't trust facts, statistics, or material data, what about common sense?

Where have I shown or given any "entirely gut instinct assumptions?" All I can see that I've done is point out possible issues with the research and how it pertains to rigorous science. That's actually the whole point of science! Science is a way in which we are able to overcome our biases through things such as repeatability, falsifiability, etc. You are absolutely right that everyone has biases, and so I would not accept the conclusions of a scientific study unless it has shown the kind of scientific rigor (repeatability, etc) that most of our accepted theories show.

Simple and, I think, entirely relevant query: why would anyone ever choose to be homosexual if it's innately as undesirable to everyone as it is to you? For that matter, why would anyone intentionally choose a life that's going to be significantly harder (primarily because of people like the author of this article, who will look to any abstract reasoning to justify making said life harder without admitting any guilt) rather than simply being heterosexual and enjoying the privileges of everyone else, which is what they naturally want to do anyway?

If you had read my previous posts, you would see that I have already answered this question multiple times. I do NOT believe that same-sex attraction is a choice. However, this does not equate to it being a genetically inherited trait. When people on both sides of the issue frame it as "Genetic vs Choice," they are creating a false dilemma. It should be "genetic vs environmental" or "choice vs non-choice." To mix the two is to commit a catergory error.

If I develop same-sex attraction because of my upbringing, is it then a choice? Of course not because I had no influence over the family I was born into or how they raised me.

A relevant aside: simply because someone does not choose to be attracted to the same sex does not mean it is impossible to change orientation. A person can wish all day that they were good at basketball, but until they get a good coach and spend hours practicing, they will not improve. In the same way, I hear many accounts of homosexuals who state "I was married for 20 years and tried to change my orientation. It just didn't work." Well, my response would be "what methods did you try?" You see, simply wishing something to be the case, and not getting it, doesn't mean that it's impossible to obtain.

The only really sensible explanation would be that they DON'T naturally have the same inclinations that we do and have not chosen it for themselves. Now granted, we shouldn't necessarily be 100% certain that something's true just because it's the only sensible explanation, but when the overwhelming majority of scientifically collected data supports that very explanation and no other?

As I said above, I do not think they have the same inclinations as me "naturally" (if by that you mean, not by choice). That doesn't mean it is a genetically inhereted trait though, or that it cannot be changed.

As for the second part of that quote, my whole point with mentioning the research is that the "overwhelming majority of scientific data" does NOT support the conclusion that you draw. I've already been over this above and will not repeat it again. Feel free to inquire further though.

Seriously, why do you have any problem with this? I can find biases with most people who assert that the sky is blue, too, but at the end of the day it still is. (Well actually, at the end of the day it's more reddish, but you know what I mean.)

Actually, this question has to do more with philosophy of mind and qualia. However, from a scientific standpoint, yes the air molecules in the sky do tend to reflect certain wavelengths of light that we perceive as "blue." However, unlike the experiments done on sexual orientation, this conclusion has been confirmed by literally THOUSANDS of repeated experiments using several different methods. To compare this to the experiments done in regard to sexual orientation is VERY misleading.

Prior to 1967, this is what the laws said about marriage:

  1. White Man-White Woman: OK
  2. Black Man-Black Woman: OK
  3. White Man-Black Woman: NOT OK
  4. Black Man-White Woman: NOT OK
  5. White Man-White Man: NOT OK
  6. Black Man-Black Man: NOT OK
  7. White Man-Black Man: NOT OK
  8. White Woman-White Woman: NOT OK
  9. Black Woman-Black Woman: NOT OK
  10. White Woman-Black Woman: NOT OK
Prior to 1996, this is what the laws said about marriage:
  1. Heterosexual Man-Heterosexual Woman: OK
  2. Homosexual Man-Homosexual Woman: OK
  3. Heterosexual Man-Homosexual Woman: OK
  4. Homosexual Man-Heterosexual Woman: OK
  5. Heterosexual Man-Heterosexual Man: NOT OK
  6. Homosexual Man-Homosexual Man: NOT OK
  7. Heterosexual Man-Homosexual Man: NOT OK
  8. Heterosexual Woman-Heterosexual Woman: NOT OK
  9. Homosexual Woman-Homosexual Woman: NOT OK
  10. Heterosexual Woman-Homosexual Woman: NOT OK

These cases are not logically analogous, because there is no consistent substitution of terms that will turn the one into the other. You can try substituting "White" for "Homosexual" and "Black" for "Heterosexual". You can do it the other way round. You can even try substituting "Homosexual" for "Man", "Heterosexual" for "Woman", "Male" for "Black" and "Female" for "White", or any of the three other combinations of substitutions like that. You will never turn the one set of propositions into the other.

There's a simple way to see this as well, without going through a bunch of substitutions. There are two more cases of permission in the second set of claims than in the first. Not even an inconsistent way of swapping around gender, race and preference terms will ever add or subtract a "not".

So there is no coherent (or even incoherent) logical analogy between the cases.

Nor is there a moral analogy. The basis for those two additional prohibitions in the pre-1967 laws was the false and racist assumption that blacks are inferior to whites. Since those two prohibitions do not exist in pre-1996 law, they cannot be based on any assumption of homosexual or heterosexual inferiority.

Furthermore, in the remaining prohibitions, both heterosexuals and homosexuals are prohibited from marrying in exactly the same way.

The most that can be said, once again, is that in those remaining prohibitions homosexuals are more likely* to be denied something that they want than heterosexuals.

It is not a human right that you must always get what you want. It is not even a human right that you should never be denied, even arbitrarily denied, what you want.

I want the Lotto millions. I'm repeatedly denied what I want. In my case, the denial is not arbitrary, since I don't buy tickets (hard to win that way). But even if I did buy tickets, what denies me what I want couldn't be much more arbitrary: the lottery machine. For all that, no right of mine is thereby violated.

And, BTW, the legal benefits of what homosexuals want and are denied (inheritance rights, medical disclosure rights etc.) can be easily gotten through other means (Civil Unions).

And no law can give them the non-legal benefit of acceptance.

Indeed, it's likely that we will end up with a de facto European system with Civil Marriage and Chruch Marriage. Many churches, for fear of lawsuit not because of an absence of legal authority, will stop performing marriages altogether rather than perform marriages that go against their reading of Scripture. They will instead perform a ceremony with no legal status to declare the union of man and woman before God. You'll have to go to a judge or justice of the peace to get a civil marriage or civil union.

The end result is likely to be that society at large will still not be forced to accept homosexuality as a matter of moral indifference. It will be tolerated of course, as it already is.

-----------------------------------

* - The assumption that a homosexual would always prefer to marry a member of the same sex and that a heterosexual would always prefer to marry a member of the opposite sex is false. I can think of a hundred reasons, from tragic to comic, that some people would prefer marital unions that oppose their sexual preference.

Austin, let's not do that thing where we quote parts of the other's statement and challenge each individual paragraph one at a time until the conversation branches into a dozen tiny semantic arguments and the last one to get bored considers himself the winner. That's a philosophy student trick, and it's quite tiring.

But, true, you have a point, if we're going whip our degrees out and measure, you probably know more about research methods than I do and can likely poke holes in the theory of gravity that I couldn't defend. I maintain that a common-sense hypothesis being supported by the overwhelming majority of relevant data and being challenged primarily by anecdotal stories from church-sponsored groups lends quite a bit of credence to the initial hypothesis and should at the very least be considered a legitimate possibility, which would make the denigration of homosexuality more akin to racism than simply being morally opposed to a behavior that hurts nobody. Honestly, I don't know why the latter is so widely considered defensible, but if there's a significant possibility that it's the former, I would imagine it behooves you to be doubly sensitive.

However, if you do acknowledge that homosexuality is not a choice (at least in most cases) then I don't see why I'm having to try to convince you of this in the first place. Really, I was mostly calling Brad B out on his bluff, which I'm fairly certain was just that. If you already acknowledge this widely accepted fact, though, then it begs the question: why work so hard to find justifications for denying your fellow human beings rights based on innate traits?

WisdomLover, I apologize, but I can't figure out what you're saying in your first two paragraphs. If you thought I was implying that homosexuality and ethnic background are the exact same trait and are interchangeable, you are mistaken, and I will try to be clearer in the future. I call the situations analogous not because racial and sexual traits are interchangeable but because without getting into the fine details which separate every situation from every other situation, the argument that Ms. Hall makes for calling the rights issue a definitional one works for either; if marriage is defined as a specific institution open to specific pairings, then one can say that the pairings being denied are not being denied equal rights because the denial is in the definition of marriage, and everyone could theoretically find a pairing that fits its definition instead. In the previous prohibitions, both black and white people were prohibited from marrying in exactly the same way. Obviously, this does not negate the fact that people were being denied certain rights because of their skin color, any more than saying gays could marry people they're not attracted to negates the fact that people are being denied certain rights because of their gender; but in both cases, one could say it was simply a definitional question because granting these rights would involve a change to the situation connoted by the word. The argument for it being merely definitional is quite circular when you think about the reasoning and not the details, but in either case, the material question is the rights of those involved, not the definition of the act.

Most importantly, though, your assertion that the legal benefits of what homosexuals want and are denied can be easily gotten through other means is false: the benefits that homosexuals are denied cannot be attained through civil unions. If they could, the issue actually would be definitional, and I wouldn't bother arguing it. It's not. Civil unions carry with them none of the thousand-some-odd federal benefits that marriage does, and do nothing to affect federal taxes. Futhermore, if a spouse in a civil union is injured in a state other than the one in which they received a civil union, emergency medical decision making power may or may not be extended to them on the whim of the medical provider. Actually, hold on, there's a list right here if you want to know.

http://gaylife.about.com/od/samesexmarriage/f/civilmarriage.htm

Again, if what you say WERE true, I'd agree that it's a definitional issue and have a lot less sympathy for folks just trying to mandate respect for their lifestyle (it'd be great if they didn't have to, but we can't very well outlaw prejudice), but that's not what's going on, and as it stands it is very much a rights issue.

Benjamin-

You've been trying to argue, by analogy, that because anti-miscegenation laws were unjust, the prohibition against same-sex marriage is likewise unjust.

In any argument from analogy, you need to present some kind of isomorphic arrangement.

The beginning of my last post (I think it was more than 2 paragraphs...maybe it depends on how you count the lists) shows that there is no logical or moral analogy to be drawn here. There's no isomorphic arrangement of terms that will support that.

Now, there may still be some room for a fruitful analogy to be found here, but I haven't been able to put my finger on it.

It is true that blacks and whites were being prevented from marrying in the same way, but the basis for that prohibition was the assumption of black moral inferiority. For a person to be denied something because of a false assumption of moral inferiority is a violation of his/her rights. That is why the anti-miscegenation laws were unjust. That "why" doesn't apply in the case of One Man/One Woman marriage laws. There is no assumption that homosexual individuals are morally inferior to heterosexual individuals.

Now, there is an assumption that heterosexual unions are more valuable to the state than homosexual unions (because heterosexual unions produce children). That is why the state might want not to redefine marriage to include homosexual unions. It's not that anyone's rights would be violated by doing so. Everyone's rights are respected now, and everyone's rights would be respected after that change. But there are, as you note, a host of benefits that the state wants to extend to married couples because of the procreative role they play.

I recognize that there are a number of ways in which civil unions fall short of marriage. My earlier remark was meant to suggest that civil unions may serve as a way for the state to provide people not interested in marriage (not just homosexuals), an alternative that addresses most of the concerns that can be addressed through legal remedies.

The differences between marriage and civil union is not an argument for same-sex marriage. But it may come to an argument for enhancing civil unions. On that front, I don't think you'll encounter nearly the resistance you would on marriage.

See, I don't think every improvement to the rights of individuals has only been advanced once the motives for things being the way they were was discovered. I assume, though I can't quote anything, that at the time anti-miscegenation laws were being repealed, that there were plenty of people arguing for them to stay for all manner of espoused reasons; probably some claimed the value of tradition, some spouted out of context bible verses, I've heard at least one argument that anti-miscegenation laws help to maintain genetic diversity, whatever. One could of course assume that these excuses were flimsy covers for an assumption of black peoples' moral inferiority, just as I'm fairly certain that the definitional and semantic arguments I'm wading through are flimsy covers for the assumption of homosexuals' moral inferiority, but one can never claim any real certainty as to the motives of others. In cases of legality, those judging the law's value should focus on the law, not the espoused values of those who originally lobbied for it. If that were how we approached things, I'd simply be pointing out that the correlation between people self-identifying as Christian and supposedly unbiased people concluding that evidence is wrong and "traditional" definitions of marriage are important. Instead, I'm stuck trying to convince people to be decent to other people by debating logic equations and isomorphy. If we're to assume the premise that we're debating the logic of denying people rights rather than the purity of the motives behind it, then we need to stick to that premise in regards to similar situations in the past, too.

That was tangential. Point is, it's totally analogous. It's a similar situation affecting the individuals involved on an individual basis in precisely the same way; it is not a spreadsheet.

As for the procreative role that heterosexual unions can (not necessarily do) play, that is a potential difference between the two. However, to show that they're more valuable to the state than a childless couple that might adopt, I think that those in favor of rewarding procreation would have a fairly difficult task ahead of them in showing that we as a nation are short on babies, that our reproduction rate is low, that our schools and orphanages are nearly abandoned and that our natural resources are straining under the sheer lack of deforestation and urban sprawl our nation is currently suffering through. If all that can be shown, then I suppose it would make sense to reward procreation rather than to dissuade it.

You do assess me fairly, though; if civil unions were elevated to the legal standing of marriages, and if some law were put on the books that one or the other could not be enhanced or diminished in the future without doing the same to the other, then this would not be an issue I cared about, because again, it would actually be a definitional issue. However, a civil union does fall short of marriage in terms of rights, so it is not a definitional issue as things are, but a rights issue.

Benjamin-

Here's what I see you saying:

A triangle has lines and angles and things, and its interior angles add up to 180 degrees. A square also has lines and angles and things, so, by analogy, its interior angles must also add up to 180 degrees.

The mere fact that we're talking about who gets to marry and who doesn't in both the same-sex marriage case and in the anti-miscegenation case doesn't make the cases equivalent. It doesn't make the reasons equivalent.

Rather than me trying to prove in some new way that the cases are not analogous, I'm going to throw the ball back into your court. Spell out the analogy to me in some way beyond the fact that in both cases we're talking about marriage and rights and things.

Benjamin,

I'm sorry if you feel that I'm trying to pull some sort of trick on you. I quote you before I respond for clarity and clarity only. This way you know exactly which point I am responding to, and I can show that I am responding to everything you said and not just ignoring something because I don't have an answer. How about a little charity? Why assume that I'm disingenuous?

But, true, you have a point, if we're going whip our degrees out and measure, you probably know more about research methods than I do and can likely poke holes in the theory of gravity that I couldn't defend.

Again, why the lack of charity? Why assume that I'm simply throwing around my academic weight, or using my understanding of research methods to prove something that isn't true? I would not be able to poke a hole in the theory of gravity if I worked my whole life to do so. It's a solid theory. In comparison, I'm sorry to say, the idea that homosexuality is genetic is not.

I maintain that a common-sense hypothesis being supported by the overwhelming majority of relevant data and being challenged primarily by anecdotal stories from church-sponsored groups lends quite a bit of credence to the initial hypothesis and should at the very least be considered a legitimate possibility, which would make the denigration of homosexuality more akin to racism than simply being morally opposed to a behavior that hurts nobody. Honestly, I don't know why the latter is so widely considered defensible, but if there's a significant possibility that it's the former, I would imagine it behooves you to be doubly sensitive.

Again with your claim of overwhelming data. Where is this overwhelming data that supports your conclusion? On the contrary, there is relatively little data and the conlcusions of said data do NOT support the hypothesis that homosexulaity is a purely genetic trait.

However, if you do acknowledge that homosexuality is not a choice (at least in most cases) then I don't see why I'm having to try to convince you of this in the first place. Really, I was mostly calling Brad B out on his bluff, which I'm fairly certain was just that. If you already acknowledge this widely accepted fact, though, then it begs the question: why work so hard to find justifications for denying your fellow human beings rights based on innate traits?

It matters because it is intellectually dishonest to say that something is one thing when it is really another. It also matters because, whether it is a choice or not, the fact that it is not genetic is significant. There are plenty of character traits that are the result of pschological environments, that are not choices, that are not considered OK. Why should we assume prima facie that homosexuality is, without even questioning the moral implications of it?

Benjamin,

>>”I think that those in favor of rewarding procreation would have a fairly difficult task ahead of them in showing that we as a nation are short on babies, that our reproduction rate is low, that our schools and orphanages are nearly abandoned and that our natural resources are straining under the sheer lack of deforestation and urban sprawl our nation is currently suffering through. If all that can be shown, then I suppose it would make sense to reward procreation rather than to dissuade it.”

Procreation isn’t ‘rewarded’, it’s protected and fostered. In other words, the state has an interest in a child being raised by the two individuals that brought the child into the world. The state has an interest that the child be raised with what it needs – hence child tax credits, etc.

Everything about population, orphanages, deforestation (really?), etc. misses the mark. Those things have nothing to do with the state’s interest in marriage or childbearing.

WisdomLover, I'm not talking about geometry. Or spreadsheets. Or logic equations. I think you might be too deep into the structure of your arguments to remember what you're talking about. Come up for air.

Let me break it down for you in a way not involving equations or any words involving "morph" or "metric".

In both cases, we're talking about individuals being denied the rights that other people have and being told that they have the same rights. That's the parallel.

In the case of a black man being denied the right to marry a white woman who somebody else could marry without issue, he is obviously being denied rights granted to other people, but since marriage was only allowed between members of the same race, those too invested in the semantics of the rights would argue that he has the same rights as the white man who IS able to marry his beloved, who he cannot. Situationally, this is obviously untrue. In the case of a black woman being denied the right to marry a white woman who somebody else could marry without issue, she is obviously being denied rights granted to other people, but since marriage is only allowed between members of the opposite gender, those too invested in the semantics of the rights would argue that she has the same rights as the white man who IS able to marry her beloved, who she cannot. Situationally, this is obviously untrue. I'm sorry, but if you can't see the parallels between these situations because of math or something, I don't think you're being intellectually honest with yourself, and I don't know how to communicate with you.

Austin, fair enough. I assumed you were disingenuous because whenever I get into these conversations with philosophy types and start making points, they seem to inevitably use the defense mechanism of breaking down everything I've said line by line and asking me to prove every self-evident and/or common knowledge statement until I roll my eyes and quit bothering rather than trying to prove that being on fire hurts and someone falling into fire makes them catch on fire and that throwing someone into fire means you're hurting them and that it's mean to hurt people before I can make the assertion that it's mean to throw people into fire. But it's an assumption based on previous experience with representatives from your "side", not you specifically, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Apologies.

But you strawman me when you say that I've claimed homosexuality is a purely genetic trait and that introducing any doubt on that front negates anything I've said. If you re-read my earlier posts, my exact line was "homosexuality has a genetic component and is not merely behavioral" which is nothing like saying that anything is purely genetic. Furthermore, in the context of the argument I'm making, whether it's genetic or not is entirely irrelevant; I merely think that it's silly to claim it's a choice. This entire tangent was in response to Brad's false promise that he would be compelled to agree with me that it was a rights issue if homosexuality were an innate quality rather than simply behavioral. You've even said that you don't deny this in previous posts, making this entire tangent entirely irrelevant to the point, but I've spent several hundred words on a point of clarity to be able to make a simple point to somebody no longer involved in the discussion. Which is more or less exactly what I'm talking about when I mention the distraction tactics I so often have to wade through, though you may not be doing it on purpose.

But, Austin, I'd be much more interested in hearing your counterpoint, assuming you disagree, to my actual point, which is that legal issues dealing directly with the rights of individuals (or, in this case, couples) are rights issues, whether or not they can be reduced to an abstract argument over the definition of the right being fought for. Which, really, every other rights issue can be too. Unless Ms. Hall is making the point that there's no such thing as a rights issue in the first place, which would be a more solid argument.

KVM, fair enough. I think those in favor of Protecting And Fostering procreation would have a fairly difficult task ahead of them in showing that we as a nation are short on babies, that our reproduction rate is low, that our schools and orphanages are nearly abandoned and that our natural resources are straining under the sheer lack of deforestation and urban sprawl our nation is currently suffering through. If all that can be shown, then I suppose it would make sense to Protect And Foster procreation rather than to dissuade it.

It's also important to note that, even if the state IS behind the times and thinks it has an interest in encouraging reproduction, a host of tax credits and aid eligibilities are available to those with children whether married or not which are not available to those without children whether married or not, and that things like child tax credits aren't really related to marriage at all. Equating marriage rights with making sure children are raised with what they need skips a few steps, as these are entirely separate situations that may or may not overlap.

Benjamin-

In both cases, we're talking about individuals being denied the rights that other people have and being told that they have the same rights. That's the parallel.
First, the analogy with miscegenation laws was supposed to be an argument for the claim that laws against same-sex marriage deny rights to some individuals.

It was not that same-sex marriage laws manifestly deny people the right to marry (just as anti-miscegenation laws do), and that's the analogy.

I thought we were trying to use the analogy to argue for the claim of the violation of rights. I did not think we were trying to use the violation of rights to argue for the analogy. It seems like we've reversed premise and conclusion.

Second, from what you've said, we haven't gotten much past the stage of saying that both cases are about marriage and rights and things, so they're analogous.

The problem is that, unless the supposed analogy is spelled out it's either not clear that there is an analogy, or if there is, it's so weak that it can't be used to prove anything, or what you can prove with it is something that everyone would readily agree to (so the analogy is pointless).

We may be inching toward that third result. Much of your talk about what is 'situationally' the case seems to suggest that the right being denied in both cases is a right to marry as you please.

There is no moral right to marry as you please. However, there can be a legal right to marry as you please. That is, the law could be written so that no one can prevent you from marrying as you please.

Now, I suppose you could argue this: laws against same-sex marriage, like anti-miscegenation laws deny some people the legal right to marry as they please.

If that's the analogy, I agree. There's a parallel with anti-miscegenation law. This is because both laws have implications that prevent certain forms of marriage. Is that really all you meant?

Laws against same-sex marriage are indeed against same-sex marriage. Just as laws against mixed-race marriage are indeed against mixed-race marriage. Just as laws against jaywalking are indeed against jaywalking.

Notice that if that is what you meant, then, even after your side wins (and, BTW, I'm pretty sure they will), that same legal right is being denied to:

1. People who want to marry more than one person.

2. People who want to marry themselves.

3. People who want to marry animals.

4. People who want to marry the dead.

5. People who want to marry inanimate objects.

6. People who want to marry children.

You're closer. The analogy is that laws against same-sex marriage, like anti-miscegenation laws, deny some people the legal right to marry legally marriable people based on a personal characteristic. In this case, gender, in that case, race.

NOT included in this analogy are people who want to marry more than one person, which nobody can, people who want to marry themselves, which nobody can, people who want to marry animals, which nobody can (although if you can find me an animal that can pass citizenship tests and gain a legal standing as an adult U.S. citizen, I'll probably argue for it's right to marry someone), people who want to marry the dead, which nobody can (unless there's some sort of posthumous marriage law on the books that says one corpse can be married to another, in which case it's totally analogous), people who want to marry inanimate objects, which nobody can, and people who want to marry children, which nobody can, as children, like animals, the dead, and inanimate objects, are not legal adults and cannot enter into any sort of contractual agreement.

Your first and second examples would work if, say, men were allowed more than one wife but women were not allowed more than one husband, or if women could marry themselves and men could not, or something, but neither of these rights currently exist, to my knowledge. The right to marry a woman DOES exist, and you're entitled to it... unless you're a woman. Similarly, the right to marry a white woman did exist, and you were entitled to it... unless you were black. Do you not see the distinction?

The only reason all those other candidates are not marriageable is that the law says so.

It is possible to marry a non-citizen right now, so passing a citizenship test is not required by current marriage laws. So why not animals?

Already married people are clearly marriageable...they've actually already done it.

Oh, but its based on a personal characteristic, race, gender. Being married is not a personal characteristic.

OK. What about age?

I'm 7, I want to marry someone 47. Someone else can marry that 47 year-old. But not me, because I'm 7.

And what about marrying yourself?

The right to marry Benjamin DOES exist, and you are entitled to it, unless you're Benjamin.

And there are other rights that are limited based on personal characteristics.

The right to use the Men's bathroom DOES exist, and you are entitled to it, unless you're a Woman. Women have the separate, but equal, right to use the Women's bathroom.

Benjamin,

>>”I think those in favor of Protecting And Fostering procreation would have a fairly difficult task ahead of them in showing that we as a nation are short on babies, that our reproduction rate is low, that our schools and orphanages are nearly abandoned and that our natural resources are straining under the sheer lack of deforestation and urban sprawl our nation is currently suffering through. If all that can be shown, then I suppose it would make sense to Protect And Foster procreation rather than to dissuade it.”

It’s a good thing they don’t have that task. I appreciate you acknowledging your error in using the term ‘rewarding’ as it relates to the state and childbearing. Of course, had you thought about it before you wrote it you would’ve realized that would be ridiculous because then everything from out-of-wedlock births to invitro-octo-mom-a-thons could rightly be beneficiaries of state subsidies. The state doesn’t take any of those things you listed into consideration with regards to the policy on marriage, nor should they. (I still love the deforestation).

The state doesn’t sanction marriage to make married people happy. The state doesn’t sanction marriage so two people can express their love. The state doesn’t sanction marriage to create additional rights. The state sanctions marriage for the wellbeing of the state as it relates to the upbringing of children created by those specific individuals.

I don’t understand why you posted the same thing twice when it didn’t make sense the first time.

Benjamin,

Your “nobody can” argument regarding other forms of untraditional marriage is quite amusing. Your respect for the even distribution of an unjust law is remarkable. If three people love each other, they can’t get married. One person must be left out of the marriage. Let’s change the law. That’s what you’re fighting for now, right?

This thread is about to disappear from STR's sidebar. That's a good, though not always reliable, sign that things have gone on long enough.

I think I've said everything I want to say at this point, Benjamin, and I'll let you have the last word if you'd like it. I promise to read your remarks.

Things started out a bit rough, but I think we eventually got down to a good, if indecisive, discussion.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

The last thing I’d like to say is:

If for some reason, every woman on earth was rendered infertile (say through environmental catastrophe, etc.) the state’s interest in marriage would cease to exist. It’s only interest would be for those married to remain so.

Understanding the need to define marriage a certain way is the root of this entire debate. Everything else is just a sideshow.

When someone brings up “deforestation” in a same sex marriage debate, it’s a sign it’s time to move on.


KVM, I'm not sure if you're aware, but everything from out-of-wedlock births to invitro-octo-mom-a-thons ARE beneficiaries of state subsidies. Furthermore, I'M the one saying the state shouldn't take these things into consideration with regards to the policy on marriage. The entire thread which you seem to have jumped into without reading is my challenging WisdomLover's assertion that marriage rights are given out because marriages produce children.

On top of that, snide condescension when you don't even understand the topic of conversation isn't as winsome as you seem to think it is. No, I'm not arguing for polygamy/polyandry. Clearly. Obviously, to anybody who's actually reading what they're twitch-challenging or trying to make a point other than proving their middle school sarcasm skills aren't rusty. The difference, if you legitimately can't see it, between telling a married person they can't get married again and telling an unmarried person they can't get married is that no married person (a willingly accepted legal definition, not an innate quality) has that right, while some, but not all, unmarried people do.

I'm sure I probably need to qualify that last sentence with a few paragraphs of specificity for you not to take it back to the veeery beginning and blather about all unmarried people having the right to marry specific opposite gender people or whatever, but I'll instead direct you to the entire conversation before you arrived and hope that you actually read it before commenting further.

WisdomLover, I think, if we're being honest, you're kind of being silly at this point. I suggest you do some research on your own if you're unaware that animals or 7-year-olds can't enter into legal binding contracts the way an adult can; I'm fairly certain it's on the books.

If this is actually the last word, I won't waste time making points you'll feel compelled to challenge whether they're invalid or not.

What I think is most disturbing about this whole debate is that those on the side AGAINST the elevation of the currently disadvantaged, a charitable attitude, and brotherly love in general, are overwhelmingly Christian, which is a religion at least nominally based on those very values. I ask you to consider, in seriousness, what harm allowing gay couples to make medical decisions about their spouse or receiving citizenship for their foreign lover would cause to society, and on what basis, other than the assertion that the lifestyle is a sin (on par with eating bacon and wearing mixed cotton shirts, no less!) you would spend so much time justifying their denial on.

Even assuming all the semantic arguments against it were valid and logical (they're not) I think you all need to ask yourselves: is denying people rights that you yourselves enjoy simply because they cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's the only fair thing to do really a charitable Christian attitude?

'Cuz from the outside (neither Christian nor homosexual) looking in, the ones claiming to be benevolent, loving, and moral as a lifestyle sure look a lot like the coldly logical and malevolent ones, here.

Peace.

One aspect that has been left out of this discussion is the dual issue of monogamy and fidelity. When a man and a woman get married, they promise to "forswear all others", meaning that they promise to have sexual relations only with each other. For thousands of years, the number one (and often, only) grounds for divorce was adultery. The sexual exclusivity of the marriage relationship is central to the institution.

However, most long-term gay relationships are decidedly non-monogamous. Andrew Sullivan, Dan Savage, and other gay writers have argued that legalizing gay marriages WILL help redefine marriage and that's what they want to do. Gay marriage would NOT require fidelity and monogamy, and that will enable heterosexuals who want to stray to justify their infidelity by saying marriage no longer demands fidelity.

The comments to this entry are closed.