Homewreckers Unbound

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New at Reason: If gay marriage isn't a big deal, why is it so vitally important? I say let the government really get out of the wedding business.

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  1. Sir,

    I most emphatically DO NOT want to have sex with monkeys!

    Monkeys want to have sex with me.

    It’s quite a problem that none of the current Presidential candidates have the courage to address.

  2. You had me up until family reunification. Does that mean my dad’s possesion of a green card should not have allowed my mom to get one?

    Please explain, the link was blocked.

  3. Well, that’s a different take on the issue, and not a bad one. Mo’s got a point though; immigration is always the sticking point when it comes to getting the state out of the marriage business. It’s relatively simple to disentangle marriage from insurance, employment, and taxes, but until we have truly open borders there will always be cases where the INS (sorry BCIS, sorry USCIS) will have to make a determination as to who’s married and who’s not.

  4. Yeah.

    The alternative to traditional marriage is NO marriage: and the debate then turns on whether the culture is better off with traditional marriage, or NO marriage.

    The case to be made for traditional marriage is that it supplies a stable framework for raising children.

    (Even if some heteros get married purely because they feel it is “romantic”, and intend to have no children, they could be regarded as “free-loaders” deriving some positive benefits from an institution society otherwise supports mostly for other reasons: there is no reason to extend this largesse).

  5. Whatever complaints we may have with Islamic civilization, it certainly was not undermined by widespread polygamy.

    Oh, really, Tim? You think that widespread polygamy and lack of women’s rights are prominent features of a backward, reactionary civilization, and it’s all just a coincidence? I think it’s pretty clear that there is some cause-and-effect here.

    But kudos for at least seeing the slippery slope argument as a valid one.

  6. > If it’s unreasonable to expect a boss to insure multiple spouses, why is it reasonable when we force her to insure just one? “family reunification”

  7. > until we have truly open borders there will always be cases where the INS (sorry BCIS, sorry USCIS) will have to make a determination as to who’s married and who’s not.

  8. Andrew said “The case to be made for traditional marriage is that it supplies a stable framework for raising children”

    The same can be said of gay marriage, dontcha think? Good parents will be good parents.

  9. Drudge links to a report that the mayor of New Paltz NY has been busted for marrying gays. I found an interesting misspelling in the Newsday report.

  10. Well, the solution to the immigration problem is straight open borders, but that’s a bit outside the scope of this particular argument. In the meantime, I don’t think family reunification (which is of fairly recent vintage anyway) is any more compelling a cause for a green card than many others that we don’t allow. I’m willing to concede the point however: We could leave this as the only state function of marriage and not suffer any adverse consequences, since immigration abuses involving sham gay or polygamous marriages would be caught (or not caught) by the CIS the same way straight ones are.

    PapayaSF: Muslims have had functioning cultures for almost 1500 years, and have allowed polygamy all that time. If polygamy destroyed the culture, it wouldn’t have survived all this time. Ditto the Mormons, jack and otherwise.

  11. > The case to be made for traditional marriage is that it supplies a stable framework for raising children.

  12. > Andrew said “The case to be made for traditional marriage is that it supplies a stable framework for raising children” > The same can be said of gay marriage, dontcha think? Good parents will be good parents.

  13. The government is increasingly taking the role of family.
    says dj of raleigh

    It’s a turf war.
    I keep saying family should be sovereign and able to define itself. Government gets its back up because it would be defined out of existence.

  14. Muslims have had functioning cultures for almost 1500 years, and have allowed polygamy all that time.

    Exactly. And what is the state of Muslim civilization today? Pretty bad.

    If polygamy destroyed the culture, it wouldn’t have survived all this time.

    First you said Muslim civilization was not “underminded” by polygamy, now you say it hasn’t been “destroyed” by it. Well, sure, not “destroyed” in the sense of “demolished,” but my point is that the relative backwardness of current Muslim civilization *may well* have something to do with the facts that it sanctions polygamy and lacks women’s rights, which are likely to be connected, don’t you think?

  15. “…mutually exclusive arguments?that gay marriage is no big deal and that it is vitally important.”

    The argument is that gay marriage is vitally important to the gay couples who want to get married and no big deal to anyone else.

  16. Scott

    My point is that hetero-sexual women (96% of women) are going to have children anyway (overwhelmingly most of them in every generation),

    and marriage is supported by the state so many of them will choose to find men to marry (before or after bearing kids/in most cases the fathers of their kids), and will be able to find men who would wish to marry them.

    Most hetero women do not wish to marry gay (they’re heteros, right?), don’t wish to forego having children, and (same as previous) don’t wish to give up their children…

    so they either marry men, or raise children singly (a known disaster)…

    and that is why the state supports hetero marriage. It is a reasonable alternative, among the alternatives really available.

    Why extend it? The most you might say, is that gay couples should only enjoy the other privileges enjoyed by hetero married couples when they have already arranged a joint adoption of children.

    Hetero couples get the “benefit of the doubt” on the (accurate) assumption that most will have children sometime.

  17. > If polygamy destroyed the culture, it wouldn’t have survived all this time. Ditto the Mormons,

  18. Andrew,

    “The case to be made for traditional marriage is that it supplies a stable framework for raising children.”

    Of course the same can be said for gay people who marry and have children.

    “…there is no reason to extend this largesse).”

    There is the rather obvious reason that several other posters have pointed out. Of course why the government should be in the largesse business is to answered as well. Again I point out that your position on Iraq (let us go and establish liberty there) and your bigotry against homosexuals point out a level of hypocrisy that in my mind belies your so-called commitment to liberty in Iraq.

  19. Andrew,

    “Why extend it? The most you might say, is that gay couples should only enjoy the other privileges enjoyed by hetero married couples when they have already arranged a joint adoption of children.”

    Actually one can say a lot more; one can point out that liberty is at stake here; freedom of individual choice (remember libertarianism for individualism – not your collectivist nanny-state non-sense). You minimize the liberty interests of homosexuals; which I think demonstrates that you are either very obtuse or a bigot.

  20. PapayaSF,

    “I think it’s pretty clear that there is some cause-and-effect here.”

    Demonstrate it then; a showing of a causal connection requires something more than you’ve presented so far.

  21. I will admit it…I do not want same-sex marriage in Iraq.

    Of course, neither does anybody else;)

    (Now plural marriage, and binding contracted marriages on minor chidren…THOSE are real controversies.)

  22. There are virii and there are virii. Jean Bart is of the beneficial kind to the alimentary canal which is Hit and Run.

    Being non-viral… maybe hillbilly, I skimmed over Andrew’s post too fast so as to get to the format of dj of raleigh’s which looks more like poetry.

    Wasn’t John Edwards handsome? Sigh.

    Peace and love.

  23. PapayaSF,
    Polygamy and a lack of women’s rights are seperate issues. If the woman can choose to enter a polygamous relationship (this inclues the original wife, she needs to approve someone else entering the contract), then what right does the woman lose? Islamic culture used to be more progressive as far as human (including women) rights than Christian culture. Polygamy didn’t seem to be an impediment then.

    However, Islamic culture became stricter and more oppressive over time. It involved itself in navel gazing and shunned science and the ideas of outsiders. The one constant was polygamy. So what is to blame, all of the other cultural changes in the region or polygamy (the one constant)?

    Actually, to say polygamy has been constant is somewhat false. Polygamy rises and falls in popularity in different cultures. Right now it has seen a comeback in Egypt, while my parents commented that before it was less popular and sometimes frowned upon in their teens through their 20s.

    I do agree that you will see more polygamy in societies where women are oppressed and have unequal rights. This is due to choice theory rather than the nature of polygamy. As women have fewer choices for independence and marriage, they will move more towards polygamy. The reason for this is if a woman cannot be gainfully employed and lacks opportunities to support herself, she will be more willing to enter a polygamous marriage in order to support herself and her children.

    Let’s remember as well, that the polygamous traditions of Muslims and Mormons was due to a lack of men compared to women. Polygamy was a way to provide support to women and children that were either widowed and orphaned through war (in the case of Islam) or simply due to demographic reasons (in the case of Mormonism). If polygamy became legal in the US, it would primarily remain in poor or rural areas. The only time it would reach noticible numbers, IMNSHO, in the middle class and up is if it became “fashionable.”

    I’m gonna lay off the polygamy discussion for a bit before I start to go off on my rant on the misinterpretation of the whole verse in the Koran.

  24. Well, the solution to the immigration problem is straight open borders…

    And if the result is an additional billion people coming to the U.S. (many with “encouragement” from their governments) with 10-20 million dying in the attempt?

  25. “…your bigotry against homosexuals”

    You showed your stripes with that one, Jean Bart. That’s straight out of the lefty lib play book–try to demonize your opponents with name-calling.

    Being against something on moral grounds does not equate to bigotry. You’ve demonstrated the speciousness of your position(s) with that one hateful little remark.

  26. Islamic culture used to be more progressive as far as human (including women) rights than Christian culture. Polygamy didn’t seem to be an impediment then.

    Mo, that was many centuries ago. The fact that Muslim civilization has been steadily falling behind Christian culture by nearly all measures since then should tell us something. Not that it *all* has to do with polygamy, of course, but I think it’s a factor.

    Let’s remember as well, that the polygamous traditions of Muslims and Mormons was due to a lack of men compared to women.

    Err, not with the Mormons, as far as I know. I’m pretty sure the populations of the frontier Midwest (where Mormonism originated) and West (where it settled) had, at the time, more men than women.

    Jean Bart, there was a recent report that claimed to find that societies that lacked women’s rights were generally poorer than those that did. That makes sense to me, and it also seems pretty clear to me that societies that practice polygamy today have bad records for women’s rights. Is that proof of causation? No, but it certainly seems blind to pretend that it’s all just a coincidence.

  27. Allen:

    You showed your stripes with that one, Jean Bart. That’s straight out of the lefty lib play book–try to demonize your opponents with name-calling.

    Jean is merely calling a spade a spade. It’s not “name-calling” when it’s true.

    Being against something on moral grounds does not equate to bigotry.

    It does when your “moral grounds” are based on irrational, backward notions about humanity and sexuality. This is the 21st Century, Allen. Not the 12th. We have learned since then that homosexuals are not rapists who lust after our children, and they’re certainly not “abominations.” Religion, where most of this morality nonsense stems from, was just as wrong about gays and lesbians in the Middle Ages as they are today.

  28. What I find intersting in all of this back and forth, is that few seem to realize that the state rewarding marriage has little to no effect on creating a stable family life.

    A couple’s own principles and desires influence a stable family life.

    More than half of all marriages end in divorce, and that’s not including the number of unhappy marriages that are still legaly bound, but hardly stable structures.

    Tim is correct. We wouldn’t be having this debate, or the debate would be much less defensible, if the state wasn’t involved in promoting marriage.

    The slippery slope arguments are mostly comical, and irrelevant. However, any alteration in defining what constitutes marriage will, again, have little to no effect on how families are governed.

    Personally, I find it ridiculous that we are even having this debate, but the attempt at years of social engineering by the government add fuel to this argument.

    The fact that Bush is even considering a Constitutional ammendment on the matter, makes his already ridiculous presdiency even more contrary to the claptrap that many conservatives serve up.

  29. ok – how about the legacy of the western tradition is mad fucked, yo?

    anyhoo…

    “I suppose one could point to inter-racial marriage as the beginning of the slide that has now lead to gay marriage”

    in one sense, it was. now, i think that’s a good thing, of course, but maybe i’m so self-centered that i fail to see how the marriages of other people will directly impact my own any more than the race of the participants does.

  30. Allen,

    BTW, if being a “left-lib” means a support INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND FREEDOM (as opposed to the bigoted, irrational and nanny-state concerns of persons like Andrew), then I am a “left-lib.” I’ll leave the collectivist non-sense to you and your ilk.

  31. I think Karl Rove is a briliant campaign manager. He managed to shift the public focus to a subject that unites the republicans (or most of them any way), but divides the democrats. Simply briliant.

  32. KJ,

    The problem is that people (and yes they are bigots) will always have these attitudes until gay people and their allies stand up for their liberty (as they have been). Well rights are not “given,” they are forced from the grip of oppressors; gay people at the forefront of this movement appear to understand this and are willing to fight for their liberty. Instead of praise all they get is derision and paternalistic non-sense from the likes of bigots like Andrew.

  33. >>So far, proponents of same-sex marriage have been content to make mutually exclusive arguments-that gay marriage is no big deal and that it is vitally important. They should be more courageous in their assertions: Gay marriage could well destroy the civic institution of marriage that has been defined by more than a century of governmental tinkering. That’s the best argument for it I’ve heard yet.

    On first reading it seemed to me that this conclusion honestly states that gay “marriage” could destroy marriage itself AND that this would be a good thing for society. Although I’d disagree with that notion, I’d like to applaude the writer’s honesty. However I hesitate because I may have misread the article.

    Gay “marriage” could destroy… what? And why would that be a good thing?

    1. Marriage itself
    2. The civic instutition (rather than marriage itself)
    3. Governmental tinkering (eligibility criteria of any sort)
    4. Governmental tinkering (provision of benefits to married couples)
    5. All of the above
    6. Something else?

    Perhaps the most generous reading would be #4: that it would be good for individualized liberty if gay “marriage” removed the basis for society’s elevation of marriage above other living arrangements. Presumably the provision of benefits (of various forms) has been, and continues to be, a harmful intrusion by government. I’d disagree with that notion, too.

    I may have misread the article but not with ill-will. To some extent my first reading, and the more generous second reading, may amount to the same thing anyway. But please correct me if I have read this the wrong way.

  34. The issue showed up before Bush and it will still be with us long after his second term in office. [smiles]

    >>So far, proponents of same-sex marriage have been content to make mutually exclusive arguments-that gay marriage is no big deal and that it is vitally important. They should be more courageous in their assertions: Gay marriage could well destroy the civic institution of marriage that has been defined by more than a century of governmental tinkering. That’s the best argument for it I’ve heard yet.

    On first reading it seemed to me that this conclusion honestly states that gay “marriage” could destroy marriage itself AND that this would be a good thing for society. Although I’d disagree with that notion, I’d like to applaude the writer’s honesty. However I hesitate because I may have misread the article.

    Gay “marriage” could destroy… what? And why would that be a good thing?

    1. Marriage itself
    2. The civic instutition (rather than marriage itself)
    3. Governmental tinkering (eligibility criteria of any sort)
    4. Governmental tinkering (provision of benefits to married couples)
    5. All of the above
    6. Something else?

    Perhaps the most generous reading would be #4: that it would be good for individualized liberty if gay “marriage” removed the basis for society’s elevation of marriage above other living arrangements. Presumably the provision of benefits (of various forms) has been, and continues to be, a harmful intrusion by government. I’d disagree with that notion, too.

    I may have misread the article but not with ill-will. To some extent the two readings may amount to the same thing anyway.

  35. Sorry for the doublepost.

  36. “By contrasts, there are many segments of our society that would rail against plural marriage for reasons that have less to do with morals or religion and more to do with exploitation, abuse and a lack of freedoms.”

    But how is that MORE likely to happen under pulral marriage than with traditional marriage. You can find abuse and exploitation in many one-husband-and-one-wife marriages here and now.

  37. Here’s some thoughts for you all.

    The GAO did a survey of the US Code in 1997 for Rep. Hyde listing all laws that had anything to do with marriage. There were 1049 statutes found and this did not include regulations and common law rights such as spousal immunity.

    The biggest historical enemy to marital privileges has not been gay marriage or polygamous marriage, but singles. The marriage penalty, after all, was instituted under the pressure of singles to do away with the marriage bonus that ‘unfairly’ made single income married households pay less tax than singles. The solution adopted in that era turned into a marriage penalty where two earner working couples paid more tax than two single couples.

    Gay marriage advocates are providing inspiration to singles advocates to attempt to delete all preferences over them, whether legislative or social.

    Embedded in any social program that can be labeled a ponzi scheme by free marketeers is an assumption of ever increasing population. Thus any change to our population growth subsidizing legislation is a fiscal challenge to the stability of the welfare state. While this may sound all well and good to most libertarians, removing the financial viability of a program without removing the program ensures eventual debt default and financial gotterdammerung for the United States. This is something very bad for the country and should be avoided at all costs short of a descent into slavery.

    A population growth bias is embedded in a lot of our current laws. Gay marriage and singles rights campaigns that would eliminate the benefits of marriage as well as campaigns to privatize marriage would all weaken the population growth bias. Putting aside the moral considerations, you have to disassemble the state in the right order in order to avoid catastrophe. Gay marriage gets this operation precisely wrong.

  38. So what you’re saying is 2 wrongs make a right. Great reasoning there.

  39. Richard says:
    “The questions concerning the legality of gay marriage should begin with why legally protect and recognize marriage?”

    I’ve thought the same thing through many posts, but as an anarchist atheist, I haven’t let it get to me.
    To me “legally protect” is self-contradictory.

  40. TM,

    Are you saying that allowing gays to marry will lead to a decrease in population? And, that furthermore allowing gays to marry will lead to singles rights, which will further lead to a decrease in population? I’m not sure I understand why that would be true. Without gay marriage would homosexuals be more likely to add to the population? If singles rights are achieved will people stop producing children in and out of marriage? Is there a survey that indicates what percent of married people got married for the purpose of being able to do all the things that singles rights advocates accuse the married of getting away with?

    It seems birth rates have trended downwards mostly because kids ain’t cheap, and there aren’t support systems in place for large families in this day and age. If we need population to keep growing in order to maintain programs, the value of which is debatable, wouldn’t it make more sense to make immigration easier?

  41. I am hardly an expert on constitutional law (or much of anything else, for that matter), but the “slippery slope” in this case did not begin with the repeal of state laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage- which were repealled, I believe, mostly by legislative action- but by the voiding of state laws prohibiting marriage between retarded adults (in the 40’s I recall)– which was an action by the courts (Federal?).

    The laws in question do not strike me as absurd: to this day about 50% of retardation is unexplained, and to think it may have a genetic basis is not silly; concerns about having semi-competant adults enter into such an important contract are understandable…

    but the courts in overturning the judgment of elected representatives concocted a sort of “marriage right”, supposedly profoundly connected to the Pursuit of Happiness. Sounds a little naive nowadays, when shacking-up is so common.

    These days participation in any kind of government-related activity is deemed the Pursuit of Happiness: eg. SOME women may dream of being soldiers, so the Army has to be re-shaped at terrific cost to the public, and with real losses in efficiency, and with the systematic braving of all sorts of avoidable risks, merely to accomadate the dreams of some.

    To be a warrior, or to be a loving partner, may well be the dreams of some people. But the ROLE of “soldier” or “legal spouse” are products of our civilisation, and wouldn’t exist independent of government…and were created to address necessities, NOT to fulfill or validate dreams. The body-politic isn’t Fantasy Island.

  42. Ruthless,

    To legally protect something doesn’t mean to take a proactive approach, but to preserve for the person harmed a cause of action against another and either recover or repair through damage awards.

    In marriage, the right most often asserted is a property one. Either the property carried into a marriage or gained during a marriage is subject to certain legal protections for each spouse. Child support is another legally protected right of persons entering into marriage. So is alimony or support. My question concerns none of these, it concerns the other interests of the state in regulating marriage. I see many religious arguments for regulating marriage, but outside of the individual church’s congregation, I see no legitimate restrictions upon marriage.

    Arguments have been made that same-sex marriage would open the slippery slope to the perils of polygamy and child brides. But states already regulate the number of people that a person can marry and states recognize an age of legal consent. That age may change, but not because of gay marriage, but because some state legislator wants it. I just want to hear something new.

  43. Ruthless,

    To legally protect something doesn’t mean to take a proactive approach, but to preserve for the person harmed a cause of action against another and either recover or repair through damage awards.

    In marriage, the right most often asserted is a property one. Either the property carried into a marriage or gained during a marriage is subject to certain legal protections for each spouse. Child support is another legally protected right of persons entering into marriage. So is alimony or support. My question concerns none of these, it concerns the other interests of the state in regulating marriage. I see many religious arguments for regulating marriage, but outside of the individual church’s congregation, I see no legitimate restrictions upon marriage.

    Arguments have been made that same-sex marriage would open the slippery slope to the perils of polygamy and child brides. But states already regulate the number of people that a person can marry and states recognize an age of legal consent. That age may change, but not because of gay marriage, but because some state legislator wants it. I just want to hear something new.

  44. Mark S.,

    “Being against something on moral grounds does not equate to bigotry.” …. “It does when your “moral grounds” are based on irrational, backward notions about humanity and sexuality.”

    In my opinion it doesn’t make sense to equate virtually all opposition to same-sex marriage with antigay bigotry.

    It’s ridiculous and quite bizarre, pretty much like calling “a nazi” someone who doesn’t find Woody Allen funny, or is blackballing a Jewish nominee for the country club. It dilutes the term “bigotry” up to insignificance.

    Even though most Americans believe that gays should be protected from discrimination in the workplace and in housing, many oppose same-sex marriage, not simply for religious considerations but because they see sexual differentiation as essential to the concept of marriage.

    As Cathy Young says “The belief that men and women are fundamentally different and complement each other in unique and valuable ways remains strong in our culture. However vehemently I may disagree with the notion that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, it cannot be equated with racial bigotry. As long as people believe that men and women are very different, they will also view same-sex unions differently from male-female ones.”

    Calling a bigot each and every person holding this view comes close to saying that everybody is a bigot, making the word utterly meaningless, boilerplate so to speak.

  45. So, I wonder how do all these Mexican illegal immigrants the Democrats are so intent on registering to vote feel about gay marriage? I just wonder if there isn’t a little time bomb waiting to go off there.

  46. Allen,

    “You showed your stripes with that one, Jean Bart. That’s straight out of the lefty lib play book–try to demonize your opponents with name-calling.”

    Yes, conservatives never, ever demonize their opponents with name-calling.

    “Being against something on moral grounds does not equate to bigotry. You’ve demonstrated the speciousness of your position(s) with that one hateful little remark.”

    There are no “moral grounds” to object to gay marraige; its an individual decision and an individual choice – indeed, the only moral decision is to stand out of the way of gay marraiges. Oh no, I called a bigot a bigot; boo hoo on me. Quit being so P.C.

  47. PapayaSF,

    “Jean Bart, there was a recent report that claimed to find that societies that lacked women’s rights were generally poorer than those that did.”

    And what does that have to do with the variables you claimed were correlated earlier?

    “That makes sense to me, and it also seems pretty clear to me that societies that practice polygamy today have bad records for women’s rights.”

    Again, demonstrate the correlation; you are using another variable as a proxy for this claim; and not in a very convincing manner either.

    “Is that proof of causation? No, but it certainly seems blind to pretend that it’s all just a coincidence.”

    Its all about coincidence until a correlation is established; and people who think otherwise are generally the people who believe in such bizarre things as UFOs, ESP, God(s) and other types of irrational hogwash.

  48. Andrew,

    “I will admit it…I do not want same-sex marriage in Iraq.”

    You are well aware that was not the meaning of my statement; I am saying your stance here is a proxy for determining what you really think vis a vis Iraq. And it is clear where that proxy leads.

    Thankyou for completely avoiding (par for the course really) everything else I wrote. Avoidance is your strategy when you lack a cogent or rational response.

  49. Andrew,

    “To be a warrior, or to be a loving partner, may well be the dreams of some people. But the ROLE of ‘soldier’ or ‘legal spouse’ are products of our civilisation, and wouldn’t exist independent of government…and were created to address necessities, NOT to fulfill or validate dreams. The body-politic isn’t Fantasy Island.”

    Well, first, you know nothing about being a “warrior” or a “soldier”; and second, comparing the soldiering to marraige is one of the most obtuse and idiotic statements I have yet to see come from you. People do not marry to validate or fulfill your definition of a “good society” (especially your paternalistic wet dreams about such). And you have no evidence that marraige wouldn’t exist independent of the state or that marraige originally sprung from the state. Furthermore, arguments from tradition (even if we were to accept your crackpot theories – which I don’t – the state has often had little or nothing to do with marraige in many societies, including Western societies – indeed, for most of Western history, marraige was an affair that the state had little involvement in) are logical fallacies at best; logical fallacies being one of the items you trade in most often as I recall. Anyway, you remain a bigot.

  50. I wonder, where are the Hayekians in this discussion? Hayek seemed to think that social institutions, built up over time, were important to preserve, and top down tampering – say 4 judges and two mayors radically revising de facto national policy national policy on an institution via the Full Faith & Credit Clause – would lead to disaster.

    Ahh, but what the hell did he know. He posited that the state had some business encouraging charity, too – so he’s basicallly a pinko.

  51. Richard said:
    “To legally protect something doesn’t mean to take a proactive approach, but to preserve for the person harmed a cause of action against another and either recover or repair through damage awards.”

    How could John Edwards have squeezed in the time to post here under the pseudonym, Richard?

  52. Hard to go 41 posts without opining on such a rough and tumble topic such as gay marriage and immigration (DJ of Raleigh).

    Gay marriage is an immoral institution that should not be sanctioned by government…or so many argue. But morality isn’t an all-encompassing philosophy that one can look at directly (like a law) and know the right path to take…no, morality comes from many different facets of life. The morality of homosexual activities is easily debatable, but the acts themselves are Constitutionally protected as fundamental rights. So the debate over gay marriage should not involve morals (since we are a nation of laws and not subjective morality…which is probably the biggest cause of backwardness in nations that are theocratic, such as all Islamic nations, some Christian nations, and virulently atheistic (atheism is a religion…no belief is a belief) nations such as China and Cuba), but law.

    The questions concerning the legality of gay marriage should begin with why legally protect and recognize marriage? After a sound answer can be found for this, the real argument over the legality of gay marriage can begin. But since most people are still focused on the subjective morality of gay marriage rather than the relatively unsubjective (there is a lot of wiggle room in interpreting law, but laws are never subjectively applied by lawyers and judges…we have to use doctrines of interpretation to justify what most term subjective interpretations)legal aspects of gay marriage, I think that is time to stop spinning the wheels and craft some real arguments on the legality and Constitutionality of gay marriage.

  53. Mark S.

    (groan) I didn’t say that plural marriages were more likely to result in exploitation & abuse. Nor did I in any way indicate that plenty of traditional marriages do not contain exploitation & abuse.

    I was simply stating that the slippery slope of allowing gay marriages opening the door to plural marriages was unlikely because

    1. The objections against each of them are fundamentally different.

    2. The level of social acceptance of the relationships in each case are massively different.

    The objection by many to gay marriages is primarily a moral issue involving religious and cultural opinions. However, long-term relationships amongst gays are widespread and for the most part, tolerated if not accepted by our society

    The objections to plural marriages, on the other hand, involve not only religious and moral concerns but concerns over the POTENTIAL for abuse and exploitation. Additionally, plural marriages are NOT widespread and are generally NOT tolerated or accepted in our society.

  54. Richard,

    >>(atheism is a religion…no belief is a belief)

    and completely transparent is a color, and silence is a story, and… 🙂

    Shawn S.

  55. Tim Cavanough: “…but he may inadvertently be steering us toward a truly private definition of marriage.”

    How exactly is a private definition of marriage going to work? What good do you think eliminating marriage as legal institution is going to accomplish?

    At its heart, civil marriage is an agreement between a man and woman to merge their interests for the purpose of raising the children issuing from their union. Historically (and still largely true even today), one parent will forgo career opportunities in whole or in part in order to take better care of the children. By eliminating marriage as legally enforced contract, you expose the non-working or part-time working partner to financial hardship if the relationship goes sour. Also, given the recent article on the abuses of deadbeat dad laws, it occurs to me that part of the problem is the breakdown of marriage as the preferred state prior to starting a family. I doubt that legally bastardizing all future children would be a positive development on government’s keeping straight which man is responsible for which child. I cannot believe that eliminating civil marriage is going to make family law issues any easier, it will only make them thornier.

  56. I still don’t find the slippery slope all that compelling an arguement. I suppose one could point to inter-racial marriage as the beginning of the slide that has now lead to gay marriage. Or, inter-religious marriage leading to inter-racial marriage, leading to gay marriage.

    I also just can’t get past two feelings. One that proponents aren’t interested in defending marriage, but are very interested in preventing legitimization of homosexuality. Two, gays won’t accept any synonym for marriage, because in addition to seeking equal rights they also wish to achieve legitimacy.

    In the first instance I find the proponents dis-ingenuous and annoying, because they couch the arguement in terms of protecting marriage when in fact threats to marriage are internal, not external. In the second I find the homosexual community’s position annoying, because it clings to the illusion that any government recognition will lead to a general acceptance that they are unlikely to achieve.

    The whole issue has usefully highlighted, to my mind, the reality that government should be limited to upholding a contract of union between consenting adults (civil marriage), and leave actual religious marriage and it’s institution to the churches. I believe that there are records that show that in the eyes of the state I am married, and another that says that in the eyes of the Catholic church I am married. The difference between these two certificates has been muddied, and the separation of the two should be enforced.

    The truth is that I am influenced by the view that had I been married in the Presbyterian Church, my in-laws would have viewed the whole arrangement as a civil union, because it would not have been in a Catholic Church. They are correct as it turns out. There is a difference between marriage by religious authority, and marriage by civil authority. The government needs to stay out of the business of muddying the two.

    The article lost me on other arguements as well. Tax benefits of marriage have pretty much eluded the majority of married people. And, as an employer, I have yet to find that my unmarried employee’s out perform the married ones, as a matter of fact it has been the opposite.

  57. Erm… just to go waaaay back… No, dj, I’m not advocating open borders. Perhaps I should’ve said “unless”. And marriage has relatively little effect on citizenship; I think it cuts maybe two years off the residency requirement for naturalization.

    Actually, this is probably less of a deal than I think it is; if a guy actually signs an affidavit of support for each of his thirty wives and slips a couple of extras in, who cares? He’s already guaranteed that they won’t go on the dole anyway.

  58. Regarding Fetchet’s Hayekian pondering,

    How does gay marriage threaten the preservation of hetero marriage? The fact is that it doesn’t.

    That means that the social institution being “preserved” is the banning of gay marriage.

  59. Its funny that Islam has come up in this discussion – Muslims being such outspoken advocates of social freedoms and all..

    Isn’t it also funny how the same athiests who are so quick to condemn Christian fundies as “neanderthals”, “right-wingers”, “bible thumpers”, “rednecks”, etc., fly off the handle the moment you criticise Islam for its obvious fascism and bigotry?

  60. I’m a little uncomfortable with the apparent leap from the article and the forum – that o.k.ing gay marriage inievitably leads to revisiting the idea of plural marriage.

    I get that it’s simply an exploration of the slippery slope argument and its logical consequences.

    I can see plural marriage advocates taking advantage of the gay marriage argument for their own purposes, but it’s not really a fair comparison. But I don’t think it would get much beyond that.

    Gay relationships – long term gay relationships – are something of a norm now. Plural marriages, by contrast, are anathema even in the religion that spawned them here in the states.

    Whatever the problems people may have with gay marriage, they don’t involve coersion, exploitation or abuse. It’s simply a moral/religious issue and one primarily centered on the free choice of those involved.

    And for most, the argument boils down to simply whether or not gay people who wish a marriage-like validation and the benefits that go with it are in fact entitled to such a consideration. Essentially, should the state validate something that in fact, may already exsist.

    By contrasts, there are many segments of our society that would rail against plural marriage for reasons that have less to do with morals or religion and more to do with exploitation, abuse and a lack of freedoms. Also, unlike long-term gay relationships which exsist in every state and most cities, plural marriage exsists as a fringe even utah.

    I just don’t see the slippery slope argument as a very good one in this case.

  61. Douglas Fletcher,

    “JB, you’re the biggest statist in town, but never mind the name calling you so enjoy.”

    That is a canard; and the fact that it is a canard is clearly demonstrated by my above comments. Next time, try honesty scumbag.

    “…I feel like in the past few weeks I’ve been witnessing a national gay tantrum.”

    I am certain that many people felt the same thing about blacks in the 1950s and 1960s refusing sit in black only areas and the like. Your attitude can be summed up this way: “Damn those gay people, if only they would learn their place.”

  62. >>The questions concerning the legality of gay marriage should begin with why legally protect and recognize marriage?

    Why not? Why make the radical change?

  63. Warren obviously thinks that if 49% of the population wanted to drink themselves to death on cheap hooch, the other 51% don’t have a right to yell “STOP!”

    You libertarians are just middle-class anarchists…

  64. JB, you’re the biggest statist in town, but never mind the name calling you so enjoy.

    I don’t care who wants to marry who or what, my basic caveat being that I’m against situations in which there is a danger of child abuse, such as is found out here in Arizona/Utah with some of the rogue polygamist Mormon sects.

    The thinking behind my post above, which you may or may not accept, is that the gay rights movement is nearly at the point of accomplishing everything they will need as regards the law, yet in this issue of whether or not the final result is going to be officially limited to civil unions vs. marriage, I feel like in the past few weeks I’ve been witnessing a national gay tantrum. Take a look at Andrew Sullivan’s web page archives if you think I’m kidding — the man is nearly at his wit’s end. You may disagree, but it seems to me that the difference between civil unions with the same rights as a marriage and something officially called marriage isn’t all that great, and that in time it would become a non-issue for most people. Obviously it holds a lot of symbolic value for gay people, but I don’t think it is reasonable to say that anyone who has ambiguous thoughts on this issue is a bigot, gay-basher, statist, or anything along those lines, and I also think it is counter-productive to use this sort of rhetoric.

    To sum up, from what I’ve seen there are many in the gay rights movement using more and more extreme rhetoric even as their ultimate goals, at least as regards the law, have never been closer to being realized. Hence, my witty speculation that the word, ‘gay’, which now, besides meaning homosexual, also has connotations of being open and free-spirited, might one day come to have connotations along the lines of ‘strident, unyielding…’

    Okay, you can slap me with your glove now. Bring it on.

  65. To say that the state has no business favoring the traditional form of marriage, one must first accept that the state has no interest in the creation and proper nurturing of its future citizenry.

    See blog for more.

  66. The state has no legitimate interest in the creation or nurturing of its citizenry.

    Its sole function should be securing the citizens liberties.

  67. I wonder if in fifty years the meaning of “gay” will be something like ‘strident, unyielding, giving great import to small matters’.

    History can be so ironic, after all.

  68. MJ,

    “Historically (and still largely true even today), one parent will forgo career opportunities in whole or in part in order to take better care of the children. By eliminating marriage as legally enforced contract, you expose the non-working or part-time working partner to financial hardship if the relationship goes sour.”

    Your “Leave It To Beaver” notions don’t flush with historical reality; indeed it doesn’t flush most of the “careers” of people who dominated the vastly agricultural and merchant societies that were the norm prior to the industrial revolution. Indeed, they don’t even flush with the period after event either. Only a relatively small class of individuals has ever been able to afford such a luxury historically and today.

  69. What MJ, Andrew, Douglas Fletcher, and all the other shrill statists smack of is the same stupidity that argued, for example, against women riding bicycles in the 19th century, and all the other anti-liberty notions social conservatives and fascists of various types (the Taleban, Stalinists, the Catholic Church, etc.) have argued about concerning what they view as the “proper role” of people and how they paternalistically “know best” for every individual. Or as Andrew puts it, gays don’t deserve marraige and the state knows best.

  70. The analogy with interracial marriages is highly questionable on its merits alone. In addition, there are many African-American’s who dispute that the comparison holds water. There is no automatic consenus on this point among leaders of the civil rights movement that advocated changes to the marriage law on the basis of race. Al Sharpton disagrees with Jesse Jackson who says that “gay marriage” is not a civil rights issue.

    For another example, here’s a report in the Boston Globe 10 Feb 04:

    “I’ve read that [former presidential candidate] Carol Moseley Braun didn’t see any difference between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, but we believe the difference is enormous,” Thompson said. “Today, we look back with scorn at those who twisted the law to make marriage serve a racist agenda, and I believe our descendants will look back the same way at us if we yield to the same kind of pressure a radical sexual agenda is placing on us today. Just as it’s distorting the equation of marriage if you press race into it, it’s also distorting if you subtract gender.”

  71. This gay libertarian says:

    Equality under the law. Now. OR ELSE.

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