Union Blues


In a cogent Washington Times column, Tod Lindberg suggests that social conservatives are losing the debate over gay marriage because, having recognized that "a moral argument against homosexuality as such doesn't travel well anymore," they're relying on unpersuasive consequentialist arguments. "In the public square these days," he writes, "we find very few moralists and a great many sociologists, the latter articulating their opposition to gay marriage (even if it is ultimately moral opposition) in terms of its supposedly deleterious social effects. The weakness of this argument is becoming obvious."

An editorial in the latest issue of National Review illustrates the disarray this issue has caused on the right. Although it takes conservatives such as George Will, David Horowitz, and NR's own Jonah Goldberg to task for opposing a Federal Marriage Amendment, its best argument is that failing to support the amendment will alienate evangelical Christians, thereby destroying "the conservative coalition."

As for the moral case against homosexuality, NR agrees with Lindberg that sociological arguments–e.g., about the stability of gay unions or the happiness of children raised by homosexuals–are beside the point, or at least inadequate. It offers this in response to David Brooks' (moral and consequentialist) argument that "we should insist on gay marriage":

People have souls, but our lives are also bounded by our flesh and by our gender. Marriage is not only a union of souls; it is two persons becoming "one flesh" (and, in the procreative act, not merely metaphorically). If biology is so easily transcended, by the way, shouldn't homosexuals just turn heterosexual?

It's not surprising that such arguments don't "travel well." But even if they did, it's not clear why they would be relevant to the question of whether same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same legal rights and privileges as heterosexuals. Conservatives who say they should not have to do more than argue that homosexuality is immoral. Unless they believe the government should prohibit every sin, they have to explain how same-sex unions threaten the rest of us. That's why they've been emphasizing the lame arguments about "supposedly deleterious social effects" that Lindberg and NR see as a weak substitute for a straightforward condemnation of homosexuality.

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  1. There’s a very simple way to see the ban on gay marriage as an equal rights issue, not a “gay rights” issue but a basic “gender rights” issue: Imagine a woman and imagine two people who want to marry that woman, one a man and one another woman. The government would allow the man and disallow the woman to marry her, based on their gender. Disallowing someone from doing something based solely on their sex is illegal.

  2. joe-
    Why is it so unreasonable to support the “end state involvement in marriage” meme? Because you said it’s not going to happen? Twenty years ago, hell, ten years ago, how many people thought that homosexual marriage could be a reality? Not many, I should think. In our current state, I can’t think of anyone who is happy with the state-sponsered version of matrimony. Conservatives are wigging out because they think they’re “losing ground” on some moral war, liberals are trembling with anger because they just realized that homosexuals have been oppressed in this way since forever, and everyone else is sick of hearing about it. Anyone happy? Do you really suppose that if either side gets their way that the losers are going to go quietly into the night? Or is this going to be another issue, like abortion, that we’ll be killing each other over for years and years and years?

    There is no magic solution that will not polarize the nation. So let’s eliminate the problem. No state marriage, no more problem.

  3. method-
    Excellent point on couples treated as an individual.

    Notice Joe, that I said “this will never happen”.
    At any rate, it is important to discuss the state’s role in marriage. And honestly, the least involved the state is in marriage is perhaps the best solution and someone should start pointing that out. It’s not like views on Marriage and legality have never changed in history. If you do consider homosexuality wrong, and the state goes ahead and approves gay marriage, there will be a variety of benefits and penalties bestowed on that “couple”. The “gay is wrong” person has to pay or subsidize something that he or she does not believe in and vice versa, which is unjust. In addition, because the notion of free association has been destroyed, people are not able to discriminate about who they want to associate with, who they want to give benefits to, etc. Once the state is involved then the guaranteed truckload of “rights” will follow.

  4. rst,
    I am an Egyptian-American and when I was applying for colleges I had no idea what to put as my race. On half I was white and the other half I was African-American. The only people that ever got upset about me putting myself as African-American were my white friends (not all of them). My black friends thought it sounded about right. One said, “Shit dude, you’re more African than I am.”

  5. OK, to be clear, I’ve got nothing against arguing against government recognition of marriage. Then again, I haven’t really given it a whole heck of a lot of attention, because it’s an idea that’s so far away from political reality that it’s not really on my “to do” list.

    My point is that there is a serious, very-much-in-play issue that is being settled right now: should gay people have equal marriage rights? Responding to this present pressing question by leaning back, stroking your goatee, and musing on the ideal relationship between civil and religious marriage is a massive exercise in missing the point, and leaves gay people (or God fearing Christian families, depending on your outlook) hanging out to dry.

  6. But method’s assertion that gay people have equal marriage rights right now, because they can go through the motions with someone they can never love or achieve true intimacy with, is legally wrong. Court’s have consistently granted annullments on the basis of one spouse being gay; not divorces, but annullments, meaning there never was a marriage. More directly to the point, the INS and the courts have consistently determined that fake “marriages” set up to allow an immigrant to gain citizenship are not real, and do not allow/force the participants to accrue the benefits/responsibilities of marriage. That’s right; the taking out of marriage papers TO ACHIEVE GOVERNMENT BENEFITS does not equate to a real marriage if there is not genuine emotional, physical, and spiritual union. The law backs up what common sense tells us: a sham marriage is not a marriage.

  7. Joe,

    So is it verbolten to advocate positions that are politically unpopular and at the moment unlikely? Not a good prescription for change and progress!

    Seems obvious to say there’s value in discussing both one’s ideal position as well as what’s feasible in the meantime. And I’m one of the relatively easily pleased on this subject, just like erf: I’ll take either “all” or “none”!

  8. Very good, c. You’ve hit on the only way to treat this as an equal protection issue, without attempting to assign rights to couples. If Jack can marry Jill, then why can’t Sue? And do you know, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it said explicitly? I wonder why. (I’m not being sarcastic, BTW.)

    The problem, if you’ll allow me to hijack your statement for a second, is the following:

    “Imagine a woman and imagine two people who want to marry that woman, one [her father, cousin, brother, sister, son, daughter/already married] and one [not]. The government would allow the [one] and disallow the [other] to marry her, based on their [relationship/marital status].”

    Is disallowing someone from doing something based solely on who they’re related to or their current marital status illegal? Wherein lies the distinction? Of course, this is a mostly utilitarian argument, because I assume that we both see incestuous marriage and bigamy as a bad thing.

    But there is a principled argument to made from the bigamy point. The fact is, for your argument to be valid, there can never be conditions required of people for entering a certain type of contract. We require that both people who enter into a marriage be unmarried as a prior condition to the contract. Already being married is not a good thing or a bad thing, it simply disqualifies one from being able to participate in another marriage. A second marriage does not, in fact, exist because it _cannot_ exist. There is no such thing. The same statement can be applied to people of the same gender. A prior condition of the contract is that the person entering into it is of the opposite gender of the other person.

    Both of these prior conditions can be changed, legislatively, and should be (from a democratic point of view) if the people so desire. But as long as these prior conditions are enforced universally, then to argue this from an equal protection standpoint means that prior conditions can never be enforced in any activity people engage in.

  9. Well, not verbotten. But when the Red Army is 10 miles up the road, and the rest of the villiage is cleaning their guns, it’s really not the time to muse about the nuances of dialectical materialism.

  10. Joe,

    Oh, you waste as much time with silly analogies than those you accuse of stroking their goatees do on ultimate solutions. I’m happy progress is being made on gay rights in this country. But gay marriage is hardly necessary to anyone’s survival, much less our civilization’s.

  11. joe, you’ve got an interesting point along the sham marriage lines. Do US courts really grant anullments, as such? This is getting outside my knowledge of marriage case law (not too difficult to do).

    I would counter, though, to both of your examples, that they are one and the same–that it appears the courts have made it their business (right or wrong, it’s gotta be complicated) to determine that for a marriage to be legit, the two people must love each other. In the case where one person in the marriage is gay, that would be used as proof that the marriage was loveless, NOT necessarily as a de facto reason for annulment. But I am speculating a little at this point.

    So we have another prior condition–to get married, one must be unmarried, of the opposite sex of the other person, not too closely related to the other person, AND in love with the other person. yelowd, remind me again why the gov’t is in this business? 🙂

    The bigger problem is, this makes the whole thing more complicated. If, legally, marriage has to “emotional and spiritual”, then that brings the whole morality thing right back in, and makes it all even more subjective. Now you’ve opened up the door for people who will claim that a gay couple cannot have the “emotional and spiritual” bond required of marriage, and how the hell do you settle that argument?

  12. for a gay person it is life in a heterosexual dictatorship

  13. Method, you assume such a bond is there, unless it demonstrably is not, and the “marriage” is being carried out under false pretenses – either between the two parties, or between them and the government.

    Just as the government doesn’t make you prove affirmatively that you are enterring into a contract in good faith. Rather, it has to demonstrate that you are enterring into it fraudulently.

  14. Oh, please spare us the queer martyrdom “heterosexual dictatorship” crap. As a 20-year veteran of a hetero marriage, I have absolutely no idea why any gays would want to be saddled with such a “permanent” arrangement.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love my wife and I love my kids, and I just hope they love me. But “marriage” involves a hell of a lot of compromise: one partner puts his/her career goals on hold for the benefit of the other partner, kids come along and make things very very complicated, you have to smile and make nice with your in-laws, etc.

    Whatever “benefits” marriage offers have to be weighed against its drawbacks: lack of mobility, lack of spontanaity, lack of privacy, lack of independence. If you are willing to make those compromises, go for it. But think about it first.

    My wife is of the opinion that, given the high failure rate of hetero marriages, what worse harm could gay marriages do, other than open the eyes of a lot of gays and lesbians to what they were “missing” all these years.

    Personally, I think all the talk of fiscal and legal advantages to marriage is just bullshit. Same-sex marriage instead will just provide some kind of final affirmation for insecure gays and lesbians that their lifstyle is permissable.

  15. Joe –
    If I’m reading you right, you’re saying that it is currently illegal for two elderly people to get hitched for tax/benefit reasons, is that right? I didn’t know that, but I would point out that it happens frequently, even with the two maintaining seperate residences. While I do think it’s a sham, I don’t know that I’d advocate creating a legal squad to hunt down these silver haired bandits. Interesting.

    And if a requirement of “genuine emotional, physical and spiritual bond” isn’t an invitation to introduce morality into the debate, I don’t know what would be.

  16. Method-
    Were you being sarcastic?

    It seems to me that the courts are in the job of settling legal/ contractual disputes, not approving them. Which (since it is difficult to bring God-if you even believe- into a court if you are of the mind that God is involved in your marriage) is exactly what occurs between a husband and a wife when divorcing. I don’t have to get a license or gov’t approval to enter into a contractual business agreement with someone. It’s only when one party feels the other broke the contract that the gov’t weighs in.

    Tom makes a very good point about the commitments. There are a lot, and your life does change, especially with kids. Personally, people seem to tread too lightly on the vows they take. The whole “until death do us part” has been forgotten. So much for “my word is my bond”.

    Also, depending on the vows you take, to get a divorce the notions of love and cherish, amongst others, can be open to debate as they are often part of the verbal contract.

  17. To those who say “what harm does gay marriage do others” I suggest that you think a little further down the road.
    Polygamy is next. The Massachusetts court says you can’t impede the happiness of two people…..that’s arbitrary isn’t it?
    I can imagine plenty of very nice people all loving each other and being able to make the case that “marriage” cannot be limited because it infringes on their happiness. How could those relationships harm “new” marriages?
    Now what will ensue from this? Likely more women doing a “Hugh Hefner” thing. Some (rich) guys with many wives, many more men with no prospective mates. Should make for very interesting Saturday nights at the local bar.
    Or maybe we can just legalize drugs and hope the “excess” men can stay stoned.
    Don’t think this can happen? Try the middle east where the “alpha” male dominates in this way…wonder where all they find recruits for terrorism? If a man hasn’t got much to look forward to he can find himself pretty free to take outrageous risks or just off himself in spectacular fashion.
    Isn’t this the history of “losers” like the Columbine Kids? Nothing to live for so, what the hey, lets see what killing feels like.
    Elevating marriage, keeping the “ideal” of one man and one woman in union to foster the healthiest of family situations (though certainly no guarantee) keeps society functioning pretty well. Will making marriage meaningless harm current marriages? Maybe not but it won’t be long before men and women reorganize around the new reality of marriage being whatever and those changes won’t bode well for many men, for many children of these “families” and won’t be much of a force for “improving” society will it?

  18. Citizen, I’d say that is definitely the logical conclusion to what joe was saying. To take it a step further, if we assume that the law requires love for a marriage, and if we require that people only marry those of the opposite sex, and thus we find that gay people are in effect excluded from marriage (on the assumption that a gay man cannot love a woman or vice versa in a way that makes a marriage legally valid), and call the situation discriminatory on those grounds, then doesn’t the same argument apply to those who never find the right person, or have emotional problems that prevent them from falling in love, or after the death of their one true love desire companionship with another? Don’t those people deserve marriages of convenience, too? What’s the difference between not being able to love a woman, and simply not being able to love, in terms of one’s eligibility to enter a married state? (Under the current definition, of course.)

    The answer, of course, would be that the gay man may have a man that he loves and would like to “marry”, instead. But that is beside the point, here; if an institution for gay marriage exists, fine. If not, then he is in the same boat with every other man who has no woman he loves, in terms of ability to enter the marriage contract.

  19. Getting married JUST or PRIMARILY for government benefits is illegal. Getting married incidentally or secondarily for the benefits is perfectly legal, even normal.

    This debate over whether marriage conveys any “legitimate” benefits strikes me as silly. What benefit was there for Rosa Parks to sit in the front of the bus rather than the back?

    This is what’s wrong with libertarian types in general – this fetishization of cool rationality even to the point of absurdities like this. Rosa Parks wanted to sit in the front of the bus because white folks DIDN’T WANT HER THERE. And she is, rightfully, a hero for taking her stand. You could demonstrate in twenty seconds the lack of any non-social benefit to sitting in the front of the bus rather than the back. The entire purpose of her protest was to demand her dignity and some recognition of her equality from those who would deny it to her.

    Same with gay marriage. Maybe state involvement in marriage is harmful in general, but that’s not what this debate is about, and to my mind, anybody who wants to turn this civil rights issue unto a referrendum on the legitimacy of marriage in general is deliberately attempting to change the subject.

  20. JAG,

    If plural wives in the mid east explains the terrorism there, why are there female terrorists?

  21. so . . . what JAG is saying is that homosexual marriage will inevitably promote heterosexual polygamy, which will in turn inevitably lead to mass murder and terrorism motivated by theocratic totalitarianism. I have to say, I was leaning in favor of allowing gay marriage before, but JAG has shown the error of my ways.

  22. yelowd, Not at all; I’m totally with you on this. It just occurred to me while writing that, that by gov’t being in the marriage business, you suddenly have courts (or INS) trying to determine whether two people are actually in love. How insane is that? Insisting on putting a governmental imprimatur on something as intensely personal, indefinable, and changeable as love is what’s gotten us into this whole mess. Marriage, as a combination of a social, religious, and personal interaction, is already complicated enough; getting the law into the act only makes it exponentially worse, particularly since the institution not only predates government, but changes outside of it.

  23. From c earlier in the thread:

    Imagine a woman and imagine two people who want to marry that woman, one a man and one another woman. The government would allow the man and disallow the woman to marry her, based on their gender.

    No, the marriage would be granted in one case because of generally recognized societal benefit. The question at that point is what is the societal benefit that merits the granting of the license and does the other marriage give the same benefits meriting equal treatment.

    Unanswered questions:
    1. What is the list of secular societal benefits that heterosexual marriage brings to society

    2. What is the list of secular societal benefits that homosexual marriage brings to society.

    3. Are the two above lists the same?

    Unless you have detailed answers to the first two questions and the third question is answered yes, you have no grounds to even start litigating on the grounds of equal protection.

    Beyond this three question test is whether the granting of multiple types of marriage (heterosexual, homosexual, plural) is going to impact on the secular societal benefits that established marriage confers. If no, then no problem but if yes, you end up with a balancing test.

    Marriage, as a state and not a religious/social institution, is a state that is granted based on societal benefit. I’m pretty depressed over the fact that both the left and the right have chosen not to argue it on those grounds.

  24. neither the left nor the right have decided to argue this issue on the “societal benefit” grounds (i.e. the answers to your questions 1 and 2) because ennumerating those benefits is practically impossible. This is fine with you, because you think the burden of proof is on those arguing for homosexual unions. But the fact is quite the opposite. The government bears the burden to prove that homosexual unions threaten society, otherwise it has no grounds to deny homosexuals the liberty to marry.

  25. Pete, Rosa Parks didn’t want to change her seat because her feet hurt from working hard all day cleaning white people’s houses. She was not determined to be a political martyr, just a normal person in a bad mood who called bullshit on a bullshit rule.

    Citizen, I don’t know if the example you brought up has ever been tested. I do know that the government has ruled certain sham marriages to be fake.

    yelowd, when you enter into a contract, you do so knowing the government will back you up if the other party breaks it, and hunt you down if you break it. So, in a sense, they are there from the beginning.

  26. Joe –

    Oh, you have got to be kidding me. The only reason you even know who Rosa Parks is, is because she insisted on being treated as an equal, or at least acting as an equal. Give me a break.

  27. Slippery: I’d say there’s a big difference. Rosa Parks was doing something that she wasn’t allowed to do because of who she was, and the eventual effect was to legitimate her right (and others’) as an individual to do the things that other individuals are allowed to do.

    Those arguing for gay marriage are asking for the ability to do something that no one is currently allowed to do. So if we argue this along social acceptance lines, then allowing this will not validate their personal rights as individuals, those are already in place–it will give public sanction to their actions, which is a different thing entirely. The job of the gov’t should be to follow, not to lead; so by extension, the gov’t (if it is in the marriage business) should be allowing and enforcing the types of marriage contracts that its consituents see fit for it to. Which puts us in an all or nothing situation; if the gov’t is not in the marriage business, problem solved.

    Respect for the rights of individuals and resistance to discrimination are all within the purview of a legitimate state. Social engineering is not; no matter how wrong the people that don’t agree with you are, or how unenlightened they may be, it is wrong to force them to agree with, or accept you, even if you could.

  28. Government is in on the marriage act from the beginning because, let’s face it, there’s a buck to be made from license fees.

    My grandparents had a church wedding in Italy back in 1926. They went on their honeymoon to Venice for two weeks, and then came back and went to City Hall for a civil ceremony, paying of their license fee, issuing of the license, etc. I am aware of several rural couples around here een today who have had a clergyman of some sort “marry” them in the eyes of God, but they have yet to be married in the eyes of the state. One couple, after 11 years and three kids, recently did go before a JP and get official civil blessing (after paying a fee, of course).

    I’m actually surprised that the state has not yet come up with some sort of Marriage License Renewal fee every four years, as they do with driver’s licenses.

  29. 1. What is the list of secular societal benefits that heterosexual marriage brings to society

    2. What is the list of secular societal benefits that homosexual marriage brings to society.

    TM- I think you have to ask why two individuals would marry first. Is it a way for people to show that they really do love each other? Is it a way of establishing a lasting relationship? Is it just a way of establishing legitimacy? Really, what makes people get married?

    Being married, I’m honestly trying to dissect the issue and I can’t put it into words. Assuming two people love each other. They decide to get married. The marriage solidifies their love for each other by putting it into a contractual basis. This is ultimately (as much as people gripe about what a burden marriage is) a benefit for people. For the man, he (hopefully) has someone to have sex with all the time. He has someone, through whom, he can pass on his genes. He has someone who loves him and supports him. Marriage is a calming, peaceful arrangement to him. He isn’t out on the prowl, he isn’t fighting for a mate, etc. He settles down. His nest is made and tended while he is out “hunting” at work (his nature). For the woman, she has someone to protect her, someone to provide for her. She bears the man’s children, passing on her genes as well. She can focus on nurturing (her nature) and not have to worry about providing. In old age, the man is generally guaranteed someone to take care of him. At the same time the wife, who is no longer attractive compared to the young women, doesn’t have to worry about being let loose and providing for herself.

    I know that seems ideal, but when you get down to basics that’s what marriage seems to be. All of which is reinforced by vows and societal pressure. Honestly, how gay marriage fits into this arrangement is beyond me. I suppose if (bear with me) gay is not natural in the sense that your desires or “role” is confused or changed, then it could fit into that mold. Polygamy doesn’t seem to fit this mold at all, it wouldn’t really be marriage. If, OTOH, you are getting married to make a statement than that is crap, gay or straight.

    A funny thing too about the “if it’s natural it’s ok” argument. On both sides this notion is thoroughly abused.

  30. Actually, c, TM has a pretty good point in that he recognizes that marriage (as a personal, religious, etc. thing) is separate from the granting of a marriage license. And although his questions may well be unanswerable, I don’t automatically assume he has an ulterior motive. Other than some societal benefit, why DOES the gov’t issue marriage licenses, then?

    At least that’s what I thought ’til I read further down. Tom from TX–You’re cynical. I like that.

  31. Slippery Pete said: … anybody who wants to turn this civil rights issue unto a referrendum on the legitimacy of marriage in general is deliberately attempting to change the subject.

    Are you sure that you’re fighting for a civil rights issue? Or is this a morality issue, a legitimacy of homosexuality issue, that you’re turning into civil rights issue in order to get your way?

  32. After reading Tom’s post, I can’t help but wonder if being married by a clergyman but not by the state is considered “tax evasion.”

    (after reading yellowd’s post, I can’t help but wonder who is going to jump on him for saying that working is a man’s “nature” and staying home rasing children is a woman’s.)

  33. C-
    Hadn’t thought of defending myself there- Let the arrows fly.

    Funny enough, I tried to convince my now wife that we should just get married in the church and not worry about the gov’t. That this would be better tax wise until we had kids. Then get the civil union. Once the kids graduated, get the civil union ended. I thought it was a great idea from a money perspective. Needless to say, she was horrified and we spent our $40 on a 60 day license to get married (which is why you don’t have to get it renewed. The license is only good for one ceremony.)

  34. Marriage is a contract between people, not between a couple and the state. No couple, gay or straight, has an obligation to provide the state with “societal benefits.”

  35. Here’s a real-life anecdote.

    My aunt died suddenly and unexpectedly last week. Her live-in girlfriend of 23 years was unable to sign the paperwork authorizing the autopsy. Instead, the coroner had to send faxes to my mother & other aunt (in another state!) to get that permission. And if my aunt had been hospitalized instead, her girlfriend would have been denied access to visit her in intensive care.

    My aunt also forgot to make a will, which means that that my aunt’s girlfriend is shit out of luck legally.

    Does that seem right to you?

    If one of them had happened to be a man, their relationship would be recognized as a common-law marriage, and none of this hassle would occur.

    (Fortunately, we consider the girlfriend an honorary member of our family and will not leave her high and dry.)

  36. Simple question: assuming that one opted for the “civil union compromise” ? make marriage a purely private act, performed by private or religious institutions, and create a standard-form civil-union contract for governmental purposes ? why should the new civil unions be limited only to couples?

    Religious folks can give you a clear answer. Non-religious folks who derive their moral judgments from the consequentialist assumptions Jacob derides can also give you answer. But if neither of these kids of argumentation is justifed on libertarian grounds, then isn’t the answer obviously that civil unions must allow for multiple partners?

    If so, quite apart from the issue itself, you are simply ought of business politically. No way will the public accept this.

  37. Citizen –

    How could this be a question of morality when there’s no choice involved in sexual orientation? That doesn’t make sense. So the answer to your question is “no”.

  38. “why should the new civil unions be limited only to couples?”

    They can only be limited to couples if the decision to create them is made purely in the legislature. The minute an equal protection precedent is set for gay marriage, then the same precedent will apply for polygamy as well.

    And, as you imply, if that happens, the consititution will be a few lines longer before you can blink.

  39. yellowd,

    Your rationale gives reasons for why men and women would want live together, but not necessarily why they get married. I’m getting married because my fiancee would never shut up about it otherwise. I think women have some reason for it that is unfathomable to rational beings.

  40. Pete, she “insisted on being treated as an equal” because she wanted the benefits of that equality – not having to get up out of her seat when she was tired and her feet hurt. It wasn’t an ideological project. She just didn’t want to have to stand, and who can blame her?

    She didn’t get pissed off about the seating rules on the bus because she was an activist. She became an activist because she was pissed about the seating rules on the bus. All I’m saying.

  41. Why is everyone so afraid of polygamy? Seriously, are you all afraid there won’t be enough women to go around? Solution: legalize prostitution!

  42. The most recent wedding ceremony we attended (in a Baptist church) lasted a grand total of 13 minutes. The bride’s mother (not a Baptist) was furious, after spending hundreds of dollars on decorating the church and the guests barely had time to look at any of it.

    My wife (non-Catholic) ultimately was very glad we had a Catholic mass and wedding, as all eyes were trained on her (and I guess me) for the 90-minute ceremony. She felt that she got her money’s worth out of the dress.

    Who can guess how women think?

    The major drawback I can see for gay marriages is that the ceremonies will last too fucking long because everyone will want to admire the flowers, the bunting, the candles, the grooms’ tuxes, their hair, choice of music, etc.

  43. Slippery:

    Orientation may or may not be a choice, but actions are. Wanting to kill people is not immoral (or prohibited), killing people is. (Please ignore the severity of the metaphor; it’s just the quickest one at hand.) If orientation is not a choice, then, no, it is not a moral decision. Acting on that orientation is, however. Whether good or bad, actions are moral as long as we have free will. And that means that state sanction of (dammit, you’ve forced me to say it) the homosexual act, is a moral question.

  44. fyodor,

    In Muslim societies, where they routinely murder young women under the “honor” code, I would imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to find young women without much to look forward to from time to time.


    I’m married and have children. I want them to grow up in as stable and healthy an enviroment as possible, that is why I am not promiscous and honor my commitment to their mother. Society benefits by me and my wife raising kids that are happy, healthy and focused on learning…not which parent they will spend the next week with. More families like mine, society is better and my kids future is better. Win/win.
    I don’t care if gays live with each other. I’m all for mean, ugly, unprogressive hospitals being forced to allow gay partners visitation rights. I’m all for wills and trusts and powers of attorney…in fact, despite the benefit of marriage, my wife and I also have had to take the additional step of maturely handling our affairs in case of death or disability with wills, trusts, life insurance and durable powers of attorney.
    What I don’t buy is the bs that says gays have to be married to “validate” themselves, I don’t buy they can’t make wills or share property already (because their too lazy?). I don’t buy that marriage should be redefined because gay men, who get or are at risk of contracting aids, want to be able to get health benefits (should they get sick)from another man with a job that happens to provide healthcare to married couples.
    Lets face it, there wasn’t a big clamor for marriage among gay men (or any liberals for that matter)20 years ago, pre aids epidemic. Now all these guys want to be “married”?
    Yeah, right.
    Virtually everything gays argue they are being “deprived” of is legally available to them with existing legal documents. The only thing they all can’t hook into is healthcare benefits.
    That’s what this is all about. Follow the money.

  45. I don’t even know where to start with this, JAG. You’re right that most of the legal rights afforded married couples are available elsewhere. Healthcare is even available. There are companies whose contracts with their HMOs provide for gay partners — a contract with an HMO is like any other contract, the parties can construct it anyway they both agree on.

    The fact is this : marriage is a right afforded people by the state, and without a compelling reason to deny it to some citizens, then the right shouldn’t be denied. Either that, or the state should get out of the business of granting the right in the first place.

  46. Go ye and read Goodridge, the Massachusetts case. In the majority opinion the court says there is no rational basis for the centuries-old laws and tradition limiting marriage to opposite-sex. In the concurring opinion, the judge writes that the equal rights amendment of the Mass. const. requires overturning the opposite-sex only marriage laws. I bet if I went back to the 60s and pulled some editorials or op-ed columns defending the ERA, I could find lots of supporters who said how ridiculous the anti-ERA argument that ERA would lead to gay marriage was. Yet, here we have a concurrence to the Mass. Goodrige case basing its destruction of marriage holding on sex-discrimination based on ERA. So, how ridiculous is it to argue, e.g. “Slippery Pete” that Goodrige will lead to the expansion of marriage to include polygamy, or relatives getting married? not ridiculous at all. Marriage has been destroyed, not just expanded. The traditional definition, “the union of one man and one woman for life to the exclusion of all others” is no more.

    In Europe did unelected judges sitting on courts impose gay marriage, or was it done by the legislatures?

    I say if gays want gay marriage or civil unions, sack up and try to get laws changed in the legislature. Homosexuality is so accepted and I would even say celebrated in our popular culture, they might be able to do it in a few states in a few years.

    But what I hate is when gays act like they have a civil right to receive the blessing of the state in the form of a marriage license. And what I really hate is when gays compare their current “struggle” to the civil rights movement. Black people rose up from slavery in this country. Black people were lynched (and don’t even think of screaming “Matthew Shepard” I mean my God the two perpetrators of that horrendous crime were brought to justice and got the death penalty so what more do you want?), denied suffrage, couldn’t get jobs, couldn’t stay in hotels or use certain bathrooms. I never saw a “straights only” swimming pool. I bet gays make more money and are more highly educated than straights, on average. So they are far from the “discrete and insular minority” that Carolene Products fn 4 talks about.

    “Gay rights” is about boys who want to hug and kiss each other, a far cry from what blacks have gone through. And gay marriage is those gays saying they want the state to confirm their normalcy and bestow upon them the title “marriage”. Well, Massachusetts never told those Goodridge plaintiffs that they couldn’t be gay, couldn’t live together, hell couldn’t even have the children that they mysteriousy accumulated. Those Goodridge plaintiffs were living their gay lives completely unencumbered by the commonwealth’s laws. They wanted the special blessing of the marriage. But marriage as it has existed for centuries does not include them. They had to change it fundamentally, and they got 4 judges to believe them, and now the conservatives are going to wake up and pass a federal marriage amendment, and the culture war is taken up two notches.

    Anyway, rant is over. That is all.

  47. BTW, the “marriage penalty” thing is mostely hooey. Some people even get a marriage bonus from the higher standard deduction.

    Joe, I don’t know what planet you pay taxes on, but I’m looking at a Federal Form 1040 right now. The standard deduction for single people: $4750. The standard deduction for married filing jointly: $9,500 = (2*4750). I suppose that for certain values of the word “higher,” you’re correct, but where I come from, X+X=2X.

  48. The problem is that it’s mathematically impossible to have a progessive income tax that doesn’t tax units of more than one person differently in some way than individual units. Changing the tax law tends to affect whether the penalty/bonus most affects couples where each person makes around the same amount of money, or couples where one person would be in a different tax bracket were they separate.

  49. There is a fallacy in the argument that denying homosexual individuals the right of same-sex marriage is a denial of equal rights. Heterosexual individuals are also banned from same-sex marriage. And homosexual couples are NOT denied the right to marry. They are only denied the right to legally call their same-sex relationships marriage – same as heterosexuals. So the law is treating all people the same.

    What is really at play is an attempt to change the meaning of a word with deep historical, spiritual, philosophical, religious, moral, societal and governmental meaning. Marriage has no meaning outside of family, and family is not a creation of government or society. Families are multi-generational in nature. Marriage is nature’s creation of a relationship between a man and a woman to ensure the survival of the family, which is simply the organization basis for all of the human race, regardless of government, era, religion, philosophy, rulers, etc. Nature creates families, and nature created the marriage relationship.

    Government cannot redefine marriage to include homosexual relationships, because homosexual relationships are not family type relationships in nature. They cannot naturally sustain themselves in a multi-generational sense. And marriage is uniquely a family relationship – just as the parent child, and sibling relationships are family relationships. Government cannot grant the right to marry. It can only recognize the existence of natural marriages. And natural marriages can only occur between two people of the opposite sex.

    Their are many other types of relationships other than family relationships which are recognized in law. And homosexual individuals are free to lobby for some type of legal recognition of their homosexual partnerships. But redefining marriage to include homosexual partnerships is not a viable option.

    The reason our society and our laws recognize the primary importance of family type relationships is that family simply exists. It is not dependent upon society’s continued existence, or government’s continued existence.

    Notwithstanding our love of individual rights, individuals to not provide nature with a way to ensure the survival of the human species. Only families do that. And marriage is simply nature’s creation to ensure the survival of the species. Nature has provided all sorts of inducements to convince individuals to engage in marriage as any scientific study of human sexuality will show. But the inducements are not the purpose. The survival of the species is nature’s goal.

    To fail to recognize the unique nature of marriage as an exclusive male/female mating relationship would be to ignore nature itself. Homosexual couples can have sex, but they cannot mate in the natural sense. And just because we can choose to opt out of nature’s design does not mean we get to change the natural definition of marriage.

    I’ll say it again. No one’s equal rights are being trampled. Homosexual ARE allowed to marry. They are just not allowed to call their same-sex partnerships marriages. And that is how it should be.

  50. The biggest danger to marriage has been its identification in the last three decades as merely the formalization of a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. No-fault divorce has been the greatest source of the erosion of the purpose of marriage as the foundation of the family to a relationship between adults that has no affect on anyone else, including children. The decline of marriage from a permanent contract to a temporary lifestyle choice has had great negative consequences for society.

    Heterosexual coupling, while it has its romantic aspects, is inextricably tied to the biological facts of procreation and child rearing. Homosexual couples are merely romantic relationships, they are, by definition, biologically sterile. There is no reason for homosexual couples to afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples because the consequences for society are not the same. They are not equivalent relationships.

    Recognizing homosexual couples as “married” will merely reenforce the romantic idea of marriage, while this will not be as damaging as the divorce laws it is still a step in the wrong direction.

  51. “Notwithstanding our love of individual rights, individuals to not provide nature with a way to ensure the survival of the human species. Only families do that.”

    I think it’s safe to say that only sex does that. Family is a social construct. There are many social constructs that could aid in survival, and no reason to believe that the darling of conservatives, the traditional nuclear family, is the only one capable of keeping society from falling apart.

    The argument that the only purpose of marriage is procreation is bunk. Are couples that don’t have children not a family? Should they not be permitted to marry?

  52. “The argument that the only purpose of marriage is procreation is bunk.”

    Not the only purpose, the primary purpose. Think about it, if heterosexuality was not tied to procreation, would marriage exist as an instititution at all? Would there be any reason for it?

  53. Sebastian,

    You are absolutely wrong when you say sex is what ensures the survival of the species.

    There are some species of animal that lay eggs and abandon them to their own devices for survival. There are some species of animal that promiscuously mate with any other animals of the same species but create no lasting natural bonds to safeguard the welfare of their offspring. There are other species of animal that reach maturity relatively quickly, and even those that are born/hatched with the immediate ability for self-provision. There are some animals for which the usefulness and necessity of one of the sexual partners becomes extraneous after fertilization. Mankind is not like any of these types of animals.

    Nature demands that a man and a woman be joined together in order to produce offspring to ensure the survival of the species. Nature has further created a human child that is utterly helpless to provide for or defend itself. It is self-evident that nature has created an obligation for both the man and the woman to provide a stable, safe environment for their child until it reaches the age of maturity. That maturation cycle with human children is a long one, taking years. Physical maturity is reached in approximately 14-18 years on average. Emotional maturity sometimes takes longer.

    So what has nature done in order to provide for the perpetuation of the human species? It has first created the desire for sexual partnership. With humans, as with some other species, the natural order has been a lifelong pairing of two humans of the opposite sex. It has created in women a long gestation cycle during which a woman forms a natural bond with the child she is going to have. Also, during sexual orgasm, chemicals are released in the brains of men and women, which create natural long-lasting physical and emotional bonds.

    ?The hypothalamus tells another part of the brain to release hormones into the blood stream. There are several sex hormones including oxytocin, dopamine, norepinephrine, endorphins, estrogen and testosterone. Hormones are brain chemicals that play a large part in our development, our behavior and our feelings, by transmitting neural signals from neuron to neuron. Endorphins act like morphine and are the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins go to work when we exercise, have sex or hang around a loved one. They result in a feeling of well being and contentedness. Dopamine and norepinephrine are at work when you feel the giddy high of love and attraction. Dopamine also stimulates the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin may play a role in the emotional attachment between people, and it also makes females sexually receptive. It is involved in lactation, the menstrual cycle and stress. Oxytocin plays a role in sexual arousal and orgasm in both men and women. Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine is involved in the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (heart, lungs, digestive tract, sexual organs etc). You probably know the effects of adrenaline on the heart and body from exhilarating or frightening situations. Adrenaline is also involved in sex and orgasm. ? Source: http://www.queendom.com/sex-files/orgasm/orgasm-physiology.html

    On the effects of Oxytocin:

    These preliminary findings bring up some intriguing questions, said Teresa McGuinness, MD, PhD, UCSF clinical psychiatry faculty member and co-author of the paper. Because oxytocin is released in men and women during sexual orgasm, it may be involved in adult bonding, said Turner. There is also speculation that in addition to facilitating lactation and the birthing process, the hormone facilitates the emotional bond between mother and child.
    “Evolutionarily speaking, it makes sense that during pregnancy and the postpartum, both a woman’s body and her mind would be stimulated to nurture her child,” said Turner. Source: http://www.oxytocin.org/oxytoc/

    From another study on sexuality:

    Helen Fisher, of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, who led the research, said: “We believe romantic love is a developed form of one of three primary brain networks that evolved to direct mammalian reproduction.
    “The sex drive evolved to motivate individuals to seek sex with any appropriate partner.
    “Attraction, the mammalian precursor of romantic love, evolved to enable individuals to pursue preferred mating partners, thereby conserving courtship time and energy.

    “The brain circuitry for male-female attachment evolved to enable individuals to remain with a mate long enough to complete species-specific parenting duties.”
    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3261309.stm

    So nature causes a chemically induced need for and bond with a specific sexual partner, an addiction if you will. The purpose of nature in providing this natural addiction is to cause humans to return again and again to the single specific sexual partner they have chosen and help provide the safe stable environment children need to grow to maturity. The purpose of nature is the survival of the human race.

    The point of all this information is that families are a creation of nature. When a man and woman create a child together, a family is naturally created. Family is the natural organizing structure of the human race. Family is the first and primary organization of mankind. Without it, mankind would cease to exist. All babies would be abandoned and die of neglect. Marriage is the definition of the male/female relationship required to produce families. The word marriage is simply the word we use to describe the lifelong relationship nature demands in order to provide for the stability and security of naturally created families.

  54. “Marriage” has a specific meaning. Marriage currently means a man and woman, in a committed family relationship that has the potential to naturally produce offspring, and includes a commitment to provide a safe family environment to raise those offspring to adulthood for the benefit of the overall societal structures of family, church, civil society and government. Advocates of homosexual marriage are trying to change the fundamental meaning of the word. What is in play is an attempt to hijack a word with deep historical, religious, spiritual, moral, and societal meaning not for the purpose of expanding the meaning of marriage, but in order to obscure the very meaning of the word.

    Part of the misunderstanding about the meaning of marriage has been a modern distortion of the reason marriage exists in the first place. The modern argument is that love should be the foundation for marriage. I suppose this understanding flows from the focus of popular psychology on individual happiness and fulfillment. In popular psychology, love is simply a feeling – a giddy urge of sexual attraction and/or affection you feel for another. But historically and anthropologically, relationships are the foundations – the reasons – for love. The epidemic of divorce and child abandonment in America today can be traced to the false idea that love is required for relationships, and that relationships exist for the purpose of individual happiness and fulfillment. A proper historical view is that relationships require love, and that nature has provided love, happiness and fulfillment as natural inducements to create and sustain family relationships.

    For example, I cannot simply pick any random child to love, and suddenly they become my child. I love my children because of our family relationship. They are not my children only because I love them. They are my children regardless of how I FEEL. I am compelled to love them because of their family relationship to me. In a similar manner, I am compelled to love my spouse regardless of how I feel because of the family nature of the relationship. Similarly, my siblings and my parents remain my siblings and parents regardless of my feelings for them. Surely, love makes relationships more enjoyable and fulfilling. But the purpose, the goal, of nature is to create and sustain the family relationship. Love and fulfillment are simply nature?s rewards for willingly participating in family relationships.

    Another misunderstanding is that marriage is only about two people voluntarily engaging in a loving committed relationship. Marriage has never been only about two people. The word marriage only has meaning within the context of family. As such, it has always been about the joining of two families for the express purpose of the survival of the family. Only the modern wealth of Western society and the ready availability of contraceptive techniques allow us to live under the illusion that marriage is only about two people based on the FEELING of love. A quick historical study of marriage will confirm that this understanding of the word is a false understanding. In history, the families of the two people being married also derived benefits from and incurred responsibility for the marriage relationship.

    A family is the most basic structure of natural organization, and is created by nature itself. Family, by definition is also generational. Family is not a creation of government. Marriage is not a creation of the government. The survival of the human species is dependent upon families. And the continuation of families is dependent upon marriage. Both family and marriage are self-defining terms. Marriage is recognized in our laws because it exists completely independent of those laws. In the same way that our Constitution does not grant rights, only recognizes their pre-existence, our government does not define marriage or grant the right to marry.

    To grant homosexual partners the imprimatur of the word marriage by government edict is to assault the meaning of the word, and the right of the institution of marriage to be self-defining. The attempt is rooted in the sustained assault on the traditional values and meaning of words that has occurred over the last half century. In the feminism movement, some feminists failed to grasp and acknowledge the fundamental differences between men and women. There was a popular psychological theory in the 60?s that boys? and girls? sexual identities were malleable, totally created by external conditioning ? that you could turn a boy into a girl simply by changing the way you treated him from the moment of birth. That theory has since been completely debunked by science. Along the way, many lives were destroyed. No matter how the feminist movement has tried to obscure the fundamental differences between men and women, nature itself will not allow it to happen. If you study that movement, it began with the attempt to redefine the meaning of the words boy, girl, man, woman, male and female ? all of which are natural inalterable states of being.

  55. To expand upon Scott’s point a bit, nature intended for penises and vaginas to get together in order to create little penises and vaginas that will grow up and perpetuate the process. Therefore, hetero relationships (call them “marriage” if you must) are the only nature-approved relationship in that they perpetuate the species without extranatural (in vitro, turkey baster, etc.) intervention.

    It therefore follows that, in the eyes of nature, homosexual relationships are “un-natural” in that they have no potential to carry the species forward.

    To consider homosexual relationships a natural norm rather than a natural abberation is to attempt a fast one on Mother Nature. And as any TV-watching child of the 60s should remember, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

  56. Aren’t they just afraid to make such outright condemnations for fear of giving homosexuals, those who support homosexual marraige rights, etc. more traction in the debate? Despite a slim majority of Americans appear to oppose homosexual marraige, if social conservatives attack this issue in an over the top way, they will get burned I think. In other words, they are playing with fire. In France social conservatives tried to do the same thing regarding the civil union legislation; by their actions they eventually turned a majority of Frenchmen against their cause because it seemed that their actions arose out of bigotry and malice.

  57. All of that brings me right back to the point that the debate should be on Civil Unions. Marriage is something else. Scott Harris, clearly you are quite opposed to gay marriage. What about the civil union territory? Coming at marriage from such a naturalist perspective, what if a church (episcopal, for example) decides that gay marriage is okay, but the state refuses to recognize it? Is it still a marriage? Frankly, the more I think about it, I come to the conclusion that we all recognize exactly what a marriage is ,though we can’t tell you what it is, and can only describe it (a little aristotle for you). If that’s really the case, then the legal system and everything else may recognize gay marriages, but everyday people will always see it as something different. But who knows…..

  58. This issue presents an interesting view of the libertarian world. As someone who was more “left/liberal” in younger days, and never called conservative, the gay marriage issue is as simple as equal rights.
    Shouldn’t the libertarian view be the same? Either the state legally recognizes a couple’s desire to form a union to all people, or to none, right?

  59. erf,

    Sure, but it seems that some want to emphasize the “all” while others insist on the “none.”

    Jean Bart,

    Excuse my ignorance, but do gays legally marry in France?

  60. Honestly, Fyodor, I’d be happy either way – total inclusion or total abandonment of state involvement in marriage.

  61. This issue is ridiculous. I do believe everyone is arguing over the wrong thing. Leave Marriage (a contract, a spiritual union, whatever) to the various churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, etc. Civil Unions are the realm of gov’t. I would be quite content to be married in a church, and not worry about a civil union with the state so long as there was a simply flat tax.

    If your religious beliefs lead you to believe that gay marriage is wrong, then don’t allow your church to perform the ceremony. That way you don’t even have to recognize someone’s marriage. If the gov’t wants to give someone a civil union, then lets fight over that. This notion, of course, requires a tremendous overhaul of the tax code as well as other redistribution centers in the US; for people to not see the gov’t legalizing or illegalizing something as linked to that something being morally good or bad; for business owners, land lords, joe blow, to discriminate in the name of Free Association, and for the culture and attitudes of Americans to change over night. Needless to say, this will never happen.

    On a slightly different note, with the “marriage penalty taxes” I don’t understand why the gays want to be married anyway.

    On another slightly different note, the irony of the protestants working to get marriage into the hands of the state has finally come back to bite them in the ass.

  62. The question, with regards to equal protection, is does equal protection apply to each person equally, or does it apply to people in the frame of reference of what they want? Another way of looking at it is, do couples per se have rights?

    To me, calling this a 14th amendment issue, which, I assume, is the whole point of the argument, is the same as calling the assault rifle ban an equal protection issue. The argument goes “My neighbor is allowed to fulfill his desire to have a bolt action .270, but that’s not what I want–I want a machine gun, and since I’m not allowed to have one, we’re being treated unequally.” I may not be articulating this particularly well, but I hope my meaning is coming through.

    The way I see it, all people are allowed equal access to the institution of marriage, as marriage is currently legally defined. Marriage is a type of contract, and like any contract is subject to a set of conditions, and that contract is open to anyone who wants to enter into it. Whether the set of conditions, and the legal definition, are correct or not is a completely different argument. A valid argument, but one that I see as neutral in regard to equal protection, natural rights, and constitutionality. It’s an argument that, ideally, should be decided by the people through their legislature.

    The only way equal protection really applies is if couples have rights, and I think people generally conflate the idea of the rights of a couple with individual rights when they make the equal protection argument. In all honesty, I have a really hard time trying to wrap my brain around the idea of treating a couple as an entity for determination of individual rights.

  63. the gays want to be married anyway.

    The most delicious irony is that most don’t. To many homosexuals, getting married is nothing more than “succumbing” to the constructs of a “heterosexual world”.

    I can call myself an African-American because the origin of the species is Africa, and I’m an American. That the term is generally reserved for people who are black (Libyan and Egyptian immigrants are African-American, too) means that nobody would take my claim seriously. So why deny me the advantages that are extended to African Americans just because I’m white? Doesn’t that violate equal protection?

    I can’t hijack a term from the popular lexicon and expect everybody to play along out of a sense of duty to my “rights”. Nothing amongst the arguments for gays being granted the legal rights inherent in marriage warrants or necessitates redefining marriage either way over simply extending the legal rights that the state confers on married couples to homosexuals who have some kind of long-term relationship. The issue isn’t whether homosexuality is Right or Wrong, because there is no moral authority on this planet that can answer that question.

  64. This “end state involvement in marriage” meme exemplifies why libertarians never get anything done. Political questions are rarely about what would happen in an ideal world, but about what to do, given the situation we find ourselves in. There is state-recognized marriage. That’s not going to change, at least not in the foreseeable future. Even if you would like it too, continuing to screw up the lives of gay couples by making them a proxy for your anti-government proclivities amounts to hostage taking.

    BTW, the “marriage penalty” thing is mostely hooey. Some people even get a marriage bonus from the higher standard deduction. For those two-high-income gay couples who do stand to lose by filing together, I’m sure the mountain of other benefits that accrue with marriage outweighs the economic harm. It’s not like upper-upper-middle class couples can’t keep the heat on because of the marriage penalty!

  65. Joe…no you are wrong on the tax issue…ask any tax attorney

  66. Phil,

    The “marriage bonus” accrues to couples that include a stay at home mother. If they are single and living together, they get to deduct $4750 from his income. If they get hitched, they get to deduct $9500.

  67. Thanks, Tom, for that contribution. I agree that what we needed here was to have Scott’s point “expanded on, a bit.” If only he would explain his position more thoroughly . . .

    Joe, there is a possible “marriage benefit” for some couples, because with one stay-at-home person the deduction is higher and the brackets are bumped up. But for most couples where both partners work the tax paid for two is more than it would be for each individually, because the bracket boundries are not doubled for married filers.

  68. Correct. The elimination of the “marriage penalty” provides an incentive (or eliminates a disincentive) for both parents to work. Which makes it an odd cause for the Right.

    Which is probably why the “marriage penalty elimination” provisions of the 2001 tax cut were put in by the Dems.

  69. Religion, morality, and government cannot create families or marriages. The best that society, religion, and government can do is to recognize its existence. Both exist because of natural law and do not depend upon religion, morality or government for their continued existence. In the same manner that government, morality and religion cannot create families and marriages, they cannot define them either. They can only recognize the natural existence of families and marriages and accommodate them.

    Those who would use the first amendment to try to justify homosexual marriage on the grounds of separation of church and state fail to recognize that even religion and morality have no usefulness outside of natural law. To the extent that morality is useful and good, to the extent that religion achieves the purpose of mitigating mankind’s destructive tendencies, they must be in agreement with the natural order of mankind. And to the extent that morality and religion agree with natural law, it is illegitimate to reject moral and religious arguments against homosexual marriage. To reject the opposition to homosexual marriage as overly religious or moralistic is to ignore the natural law underpinnings of both morality and religion.

    However, it is not necessary to base the argument for maintaining the ban on homosexual marriage on a morality informed by religion. In our current society, a stronger argument can be made on the basis of natural law, and the proper role of government. The extraordinary wisdom of the Founders was to try to organize a government that best fit into the natural order of mankind. The Founders first attempted to identify the basic nature of man, and then the basic rights awarded by nature (and its Creator if one is religious), and then they tried to create a system of government that secured these natural rights.

    Throughout the history of the world and still today, there are those who choose to ignore natural law and seek to create structures of society, government and religion which violate nature. All religions and governments that seek to overcome and change natural law have ultimately failed. A religious example is the Catholic Church’s requirement that priests abstain from sex and marriage, and to generally treat sexuality as dirty and sinful. A governmental example is the Communist idea that men will voluntarily abandon their natural selfishness for the common good. A societal example is Vegetarianism, which ignores that mankind is naturally carnivorous.

    In trying to create a governmental system in harmony with the natural order, the Founders showed their wisdom. The strength of our system is that it attempts to complement and even reinforce natural law rather than try to overcome natural law.

    It is on this basis that I strenuously oppose the concept of homosexual marriage. Marriage, in its most basic definition, is simply mankind’s cognitive recognition of natural law when it comes to describing the relationship that spawns and nurtures families. Throughout history, men and women have paired off and formed lifelong partnerships for the natural purpose of propagating the species.

    Since we also have cognitive ability beyond the pure instinctual nature of most other animals, we can choose to reject or pervert the natural inclinations we have to other purposes. Just because one can give examples of a mother rejecting the natural bond with her child and abandoning that child does not invalidate the natural order of the human mother-child bond. And just because people can choose to seek sexual fulfillment with multiple partners, partners of the same sex, or self-stimulation using pornography does not invalidate the purpose of nature is to induce a lifelong commitment to one partner of the opposite sex.

    In a free society, there may be some limited value in allowing men and women to choose to thwart the natural order. But natural law cries out against the very practice of exclusive homosexuality. Even in history, those men and women who engaged in homosexuality recognized that it was distinct and separate from the idea of marriage and family. Women and men will always continue to engage in homosexual behavior because of the sexual pleasure involved in such activity. But homosexuality is not sustainable in a generational sense. It is not physically possible for homosexuals to reproduce themselves – they cannot “mate” in the natural sense of the word. Only families can ensure the survival of the human race. And marriage is exclusive to that relationship which creates and sustains families – namely lifelong male/female partnerships.

    Any attempt by government to redefine marriage to include homosexual relationships runs counter to the very idea of creating governmental systems in harmony with natural law. Over the centuries of history, mankind has tried this over and over, and without exception, the attempt to overcome or thwart nature has been at the least unproductive, and more commonly it has been destructive. Our forefathers had the unique wisdom to make the attempt to align our system of government to be in harmony with natural law. The homosexual marriage idea is a rejection of that wisdom and the idea itself should also be rejected.

  70. Society does have an interest in protecting the integrity of the family, for society and government itself cannot exist without the family. The benefits that homosexual couples seek from government can be obtained without violating the integrity of marriage. The recognition homosexual couples seek, as valid family type relationships, must be denied. To do otherwise would not only be to abandon religion, and morality, but to abandon natural law, and the wisdom of our forefathers who attempted to create a form of government that works within the boundaries of natural law.

    Mankind, indeed all of nature, only exists and survives within the framework of natural law. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the engineers of the space program were not able to accomplish this heroic task by denying natural law, or overcoming the laws of physics. Rather they learned the laws of physics, and adapted their engineering to work in conjunction with natural law. In the same way, our Founding Fathers attempted to learn the nature of man and create a form of government that works within the framework of natural law. They were not perfect in their execution, but were correct in their goal. We would be foolish to abandon that goal.

  71. You’re welcome, c, although I admit when I clicked back on and saw Mr. Harris’s my first response was, WTF, does this guy have all his arguments prewritten and prepared for posting to whatever site touches on a similar topic? Kind of like arguing online with a fundamentalist over Scripture and the asshole starts to post the entire Bible to you, chapter and verse.

    I had always thought places like this were to make oof-the-cuff reactive comments, sarcastic comebacks, or lame attempts at humor, not publish your position paper.

  72. Marriage is considered important and good for society because of the children it produces — tomorrow’s citizens and taxpayers.

    Already, with the native population in zero, or minus growth, an argument could be made to end any benefits or privileges to childless couples, such as being covered by Social Security benefits of a spouse.

    With same sex, and then plural and multiple marriages will come further dilution for the reasons for marriage and eventually an end to benefits and privileges that produce nothing for society.

    Gaining the right to marry is important for the legimatization of homosexuality.

    Guarding against the dilution of the ideals of a man and woman becoming one, is a stand or statement of what is ‘expected’ or normal or healthy marital relationships, ones that will demonstrate to children proper, ideal roles in later life. Most parents are still not ready to raise their children by telling them the facts of life are that they may be hetero or homo or bi-sexual as they like, as they choose, or as they are born.

    All people are born sexual, and they somehow unknowlingly learn where to put what where — learn a behavior. Sex is a behavior. When a dog runs up and humps my leg, it may feel good to the dog, but I know the pup has the wrong notion. Even IF I liked his rubbing my pants leg, I know this isn’t going to get us (me and the dog) anywhere. (I’m grinning)

    I’ve lived long enough now that the once right minded thinking I had been brought up on, the once ideal lifestyle, that I still hold, had now left me to be considered a “bigot or homophobe.”

    Yes, I feel that long held notions of what is proper, what is right, what is IDEAL, is being challenged, chipped away at, attacked, and I am inclined to defend it, and myself, in front of my children and what I had taught them. I want society to have the same ideal, and act accordingly in areas of adoption, etc.

    I will say that I am not against civil agreements, like partnership papers,
    that even good friends – plutonic companions – could enter into as needed. I would think that was possible even today, right up to what is in the Will.

  73. EMAIL: master-x@canada.com
    DATE: 02/27/2004 05:17:33
    In this grand B movie we call life, there is always a girl.

  74. EMAIL: nospam@nospampreteen-sex.info
    URL: http://preteen-sex.info
    DATE: 05/20/2004 09:48:32
    Suits and religions rupture if you force them on.

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