Taxes

Melissa Etheridge, Tax Protester

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Singer Melissa Etheridge, a California resident who's in a now-non-legit relationship with a "lady friend" after the passing of the Golden State's Proposition 8 (which defined marriage as between one man and one woman), is taking her place in history alongside Lady Godiva, Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, and Wesley Snipes:

[My spouse] and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books….

Come to think of it, I should get a federal tax break too…

Whole thing here at the Daily Beast.

When it comes to celebrity tax protesters getting away with it, action hero (and cross-dressing star of To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything) Snipes can tell you personally, "Always bet on black."

Other rebels are not so lucky.

NEXT: Why State Budgets Are in the Crapper (Hint: It's Not the Economy)

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  1. The tyranny of the majority sucks, don’t it Melissa? Maybe you’ll remember the feeling the next time you advocate for higher taxes on productive people.

  2. I agree with her, and hope she does it.

  3. This is the problem I have with the gay marriage push.It’s not about love and commitment, it’s about getting the economic benefits wrongly granted to married people.I also include tax free income in the form of employer paid health care.I’m against using the tax code for social policy.By changing tax and contract property law we could put marriage where it belongs,the private sector.

  4. I agree with her, and hope she does it.

    Yup.

  5. Maybe you’ll remember the feeling the next time you advocate for higher taxes on productive people.

    She’s been productive recently?

    I mean, other than as a left-wing “celebrity” political shill, of course. Anymore she’s famous for once being famous…

  6. NutraSweet has a point too, though.

  7. LOL, Good luck with that. Personally, I agree with her 100% but logic dictates that it will never fly!

    Jess
    http://www.anolite.echoz.com

  8. I agree, SugarFree has a point, but there’s a better way to do this…

    …odd as it may sound from a conservative Republican turned Libertarian like myself, but I actually enjoy Melissa Etheridge’s music. What she should do is go back into the studio, make another fantastic record, and then lord the royalties off of a platinum album over the IRS. Always good to have leverage in a dispute 🙂

  9. I am 100% in favor of gay marriage being equal to hetero marriage under the law. But this dog won’t hunt. This isn’t “taxation without representation”. She has as much representation as anyone, she just doesn’t like the way she’s being represented. Well isn’t that a sour bite of reality Melissa, you over elevated, coddled celebrity?

    Her novel legal theory doesn’t pass the laugh test. Being oppressed doesn’t exempt you from paying taxes. Tax protests have long been a weapon of political movements. People have been withholding taxes for everything from abolition to Vietnam. As far as I know, the government has won every case it chose to prosecute.

    I support Ms. Etheridge’s effort. I’m just saying she needs to understand that not paying her taxes is going to cost her. If she’s willing to pay, she gets a new podium to speak from, not sure how effective it is.

  10. “I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books….”

    She seems to be groping towards the idea that “discrimination against gay people” is an inherent which cannot be authorized by a popular majority, and that the “victims” of this inherent evil don’t owe anything to a polity which have committed such a fundamental violation of the social contract, blah blah. I presume that most people on H&R share this idea.

    She clouds the issue, however, by conflating that position with the “no taxation without representation” idea. This concept was most famously articulated by the American founders when they said that the taxes imposed by Parliament were invalid because Americans weren’t represented in Parliament. This is also the point of the District of Columbia’s “Taxation Without Representation” license plate – DC citizens shouldn’t be taxed by Congress because they don’t elect Senators or Representatives to Congress (besides a delegate without voting rights).

    The complaint of “no taxation without represention” is that you’re not represented in the legislative body which imposes the taxes. This is obviously not Etheridge’s situation. She *is* represented in Congress and the California legislature to the same extent as a if she were a straight person. She gets to vote for or against her representatives just like a straight person does.

    In other words, “no taxation without representation” is not the principle being (allegedly) violated in California.

  11. “is an inherent evil”

  12. The lyrics to “Come to My Window” are exactly what you would say if you were under a vampire’s mind control and it was making you open your window to invite it into your chambers so it could steal away with your blood, soul, etc… Seriously it’s like word for word. “Come to my window, crawl inside and wait by the light of the moon…. I would stand inside my hell and hold the hand of death… nothing fills the blackness that has seeped inside my chest, I need you in my blood…” Just sayin.

  13. Of course, what she said was that her situation was “sort of like” taxation w/o representation, not that it was the same. still, the general idea of representation is that you have a voice in the making of public policy, not that you have a right to a particular policy being enacted.

  14. This only illustrates how the state grants illegal benefits to married people.

    Why does she think gay married people are better than non-gay non-married people.

  15. If anyone can complain about being in a situation “sort of like” taxation without representation – about not being allowed to participate in the formation of public policy – is if you find the law being changed without voter approval, and without the approval of the *legislative* representatives of the people. Indeed, prior to the California Supreme Court’s ruling, both the voters and the legislature of California had approved the boring old man/woman definition of marriage. Where was the representation then?

    Note that I’m addressing Etheridge’s specific invocation of a procedural principle about how public policy is made – and how that principle doesn’t help her case.

  16. Wait, are giving some sort of legitimacy to Ms. Etheridges ideas simply because she blurted out something about taxes in her frustration with being discriminated against. Isn’t this kinda like promising to go to Canada? I won’t dignify her ill conceived ramblings with further posting.

  17. Well, she’s right that her federal taxes should be cut as well. She’s just not right for the right reasons.

    I believe that what she’s advocating for here is not equal rights, but rather special tax treatment for gay people, yes?

  18. R C Dean,

    No, I think she’s arguing that if the rights of marriage are not extended to homosexuals, then the responsibility of taxes shouldn’t either. It a fairly simple imbalance of rights and responsibilities that the courts have always discounted as a reason to withhold tax revenue.

  19. She’s WRONG. She has the same rights as anyone else to enter into a marrage, 1 man, 1 woman – provided they meet the LEGAL REQUIREMENTS which still restrict heterosexuals as to whom they can marry. Can you marry a step child of no genetic relations ? (Most if not all states you can’t)

    As far as restrictions on their ability to structure their personal assets and relations without government interference – they should be allowed to do that as they see fit – but that ain’t marrage.

  20. I always think protests in America would be better executed through consumer boycotts. America is only democratic in the way the populace decides to spend their dollars. If the GLBT community in Cali were to stage a massive consumer spending boycott they would enact change a lot quicker.

  21. zxz,

    What is a tax protest if not a boycott of shoddy government service?

  22. You are correct Sugar, but a spending boycott would be immediate and have an immediate and severe impact upon the California economy. Her tax protest would be months before the government would even act on it, and then would it really change anything. Does civil disobedience ever really change anything?

  23. I wish people would look approvingly and smugly on if I said I’m no longer paying taxes as a member of that most oppressed of groups, weed smokers.

  24. As far as restrictions on their ability to structure their personal assets and relations without government interference – they should be allowed to do that as they see fit – but that ain’t marrage.

    So you’ll agree that government should get out of defining what is and is not a marriage altogether?

    As far as I am concerned, we’d be better if we just dropped the idea that the state should talk about civil marriage in any way. Call them all civil unions and leave marriage to the churches to squabble over.

  25. No, I think she’s arguing that if the rights of marriage are not extended to homosexuals, then the responsibility of taxes shouldn’t either.

    Still sounds like she’s arguing for special tax treatment of gay people to me. Maybe as her second option, but there it is.

    Wait, are giving some sort of legitimacy to Ms. Etheridges ideas simply because she blurted out something about taxes in her frustration with being discriminated against.

    We’re pretending to take her seriously to show what a blithering idiot she is. I guess we could just say something like “Oh, just another airheaded gay celebrity. They don’t know any better.”

  26. I wouldn’t because I smoke dank. The problem with that plan you is you would be double assraped. Once for possession, once for tax evasion.

  27. zxz,

    Are there businesses who publicly supported Prop 8? Who would be the proper target of a commercial boycott? Would it just be a general boycott, a la the Buy Nothing For A Day movement? And wouldn’t a gay talent strike to cripple the entertainment and girl’s gym coach industries be even faster and more effective?

    Just spitballing here…

  28. Still sounds like she’s arguing for special tax treatment of gay people to me.

    Did she say something about single gay people? I must have missed that.

  29. I like that the idea that the only reason married people get tax advantages is they create future workers through procreation. You don’t produce children, you are not married and receive no tax benefits.

    Marriage is not fucking sacred accept in some current ideology. For most of its history its been about female ownership.

  30. R C Dean,

    Yes, maybe… if she only withheld the portion of taxes that represents her relative share of the value of the denied right of marriage then it would be more “fair.” Withholding all state taxes on the theory that one denied right invalidates the entire obligation of a state citizen is a bit excessive.

    Of course, we are trying to parse a white-heat rant and not the writings of a thoughtful tax protester arguing a principled position. And her music sucks.

  31. Boycott? Like gay groups asking organizations to refrain from holding meetings and conventions in California. Like maybe the Libertarian National Committee very publically moving its San Diego meeting in Dec. to a more rights-friendly state? When every hotel in the state starts reporting lost business, maybe something will change.

  32. I think two people should have the legal right to go down, get a piece of paper and execute some form of ceremony, per the requirements of the issuance of that piece of paper.

    Any tax benefits the populace confers on them for that action are irrelevant. Eliminate the tax benefits if you don’t like them. Past that, there’s no reason you should be able to restrict what people get that piece of paper.

    Someone, please give me a good reason for the state to restrict handing out that piece of paper, other than the handwaving about “taxes”.

  33. “And wouldn’t a gay talent strike to cripple the entertainment and girl’s gym coach industries be even faster and more effective?”

    touche’ LOL

    I had never heard of “Buy Nothing for Day” boycott. I had something along those lines in mind but buy nothing until…? what. I guess its not pragmatic.

  34. AO,

    Did she say something about single gay people? I must have missed that.

    Since gays cannot get married, all gay couples are legally “single” vis a vis marriage. Those 18,000 already married same-sex couples still benefit from the economic and social advantages of marriage. Those being denied have a greater argument for valid protest, i.e. the single ones.

    Unless I missed your point…

  35. Zxz, please, tell us more about the history of marriage!
    Etheridge has the right to marry any non-related man who will have her.

  36. Buy Nothing Day

    The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Vancouver in September of 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.”[2] In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, which is one of the top 10 busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside of North America, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on the following Saturday. Despite controversies, Adbusters managed to advertise Buy Nothing Day on CNN, but many other major television networks declined to air their ads.[3] Soon, campaigns started appearing in United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.[2]

  37. SugarFree – more than once we’ve had folks on here saying that Etheridge is arguing for special benefits “for gay people”. I’m saying that’s not accurate: she’s arguing for the expansion of the issuance of the Magic Piece of Paper to two ladies/two dudes.

    I’ve come to the determination that anyone arguing about tax benefits is dodging the issue entirely.

  38. Etheridge has the right to marry any non-related man who will have her.

    A point so irrelevant that it beggars belief you would even bring it up. A desire for a currently illegal “same-sex” marriage implies a disinterest in a heterosexual marriage arrangement.

  39. ” I will give you 15 oxen to take my marry my daughter, if she doesn’t give you any children you may divorce her, stone her to death, and I’ll through in some goats”

    yeah marriage is real sacred

  40. There’s a challenge pending:

    Someone, please give me a good reason for the state to restrict handing out that piece of paper, other than the handwaving about “taxes”.

    So get to it, Sosnowski, Mad Max, RC…someone, please, tell me the reasons to restrict giving out marriage licenses other than carping on about “taxes”.

  41. The idea of marriage as sacred and having something to do with love is about a century old. Non-arranged marriages are a modern concept.

  42. “now-non-legit relationship”

    Actually if she was married prior to the vote she is still married. So she is completely legit.

    Otherwise this thread is so full of it that its not worth responding too…

  43. AO,

    Ah, gotcha. Yours was an argument about equal, not special rights. My bad.

    Yes, the tax and economics issues are a complete dodge. As are arguments from tradition and absurdly extended slippery slopes. (OMG, she gonna marry a carrot!)

  44. SugarFree,
    I like expressions like “it beggars belief”, too. They make me sound smart even when I completely miss the point. The point, by the way, is that Etheridge is not being denied any rights when the state refuses to give special recognition to her attempt to approximate marriage with a member of the same sex.

  45. well as long as the carrot is an adult and consents

  46. Oh, Melissa, it hurts to get screwed by your precious democracy, doesn’t it? Oh, let me taste your tears! Oh, they’re so yummy and delicous! The tears of unfathomable sadness!

  47. Theres talk of boycotting, just not in the state. From what i remember there is something floating around about boycotting Utah as a tourist destination. This is because of the LDS church instructing its members to give to prop 8.

  48. Zxz,
    ” I will give you 15 oxen to take my marry my daughter, if she doesn’t give you any children you may divorce her, stone her to death, and I’ll through in some goats”
    What is your source for this contract? Was this kind of arrangement widespread? At what points in history, and what locations? Or did you just sort of make it up?

  49. Sosnowski – ooh, now make the argument for retention of the outdated standard of “one man, one woman”. Make it logical and show your work.

    Indeed, prior to the California Supreme Court’s ruling, both the voters and the legislature of California had approved the boring old man/woman definition of marriage. Where was the representation then?

    If you’re asking “How were the people represented when the Supreme Court of California invalidated gay-marriage bans?”, the answer is: the people of California ratify the appointment of a Justice to the Court. Ergo, the people were represented.

  50. Etheridge is being denied the right to choose which gender she is married to, not special recognition.

  51. yeah! a tax protest thread!
    Now this is where this should have gone…

    A little educational survey…

    What govt. evil would it take for you to stop paying taxes in disgust?

    1. Govt. take your money and uses it to lock up innocent people.
    2. The govt. uses your money to lock up black people.
    3. The govt. uses your money to murder brown people.
    4. the govt. gives your tax money to their friends.
    5. the govt. wastes your money on something stupid, or maybe just burns it.
    6. the govt. spend your money on propaganda for higher taxes.
    7. The govt. spends your money on brainwashing babies to torture puppies.
    8. The govt. spends your money on researching about how the money really belongs to them.
    9. The govt. “invests” your money in a ponzi scheme.
    10. What taxes? I don’t pay any taxes!
    11. I own a bank, the govt. pays ME taxes.
    12. The govt. can do no evil, by definition all it does is good.
    13. I’m too scared not to obey, the govt. has the biggest guns.
    14. I can’t help it, they are in cahoots with my employer and withold it.
    15. I work for the govt. Taxes are the price you pay for civilization.
    16. Didn’t Jesus say I always had to pay taxes?
    17. I’ll keep paying, but vote for whoever promises to do less evil.
    18. The govt. conscripts you during peacetime, for your own good.
    19. The govt. spends your money on recruiting more tax inspectors.
    20. The govt. spends your money on cameras to make sure that you are behaving….
    21. The govt. gives your money to a “libertarian” think tank.
    22. They spend your tax money on building a casino/bar/brothel
    25. My government schoolteacher taught me that not paying taxes IS EVIL!

  52. Personally, I think that libertarians should let the worst social policies (from a liberal point of view) get passed. That way, liberals might figure out how much democracy can suck, and how ass-rape doesn’t hurt any less because the majority voted for it.

  53. nonvoter,
    Aren’t the first three sort of related?

  54. Yes, “Eric”…you know what? Maybe we should bring back ethnic internment camps, because that will show everyone how bad things can get.

  55. From a legal standpoint, States have the right to determine what the valid constructions and requirements of a marriage are.

    I have yet to hear anybody actually defend choosing “one man, one woman”.

    Anyone?

  56. Sosnowski,

    Etheridge is not being denied any rights when the state refuses to give special recognition to her attempt to approximate marriage with a member of the same sex.

    Except for the right to marry who she wants. She specifically seeks to change the defintion of marriage to encompass the arrangement she desires. You can either argue against changing the definition of marriage or continue to play stupid. (Which you do quite well, by the way.)

  57. take this with a grain of salt because its from Wikipedia:

    “In many cultures the family of the bride was historically expected to provide a dowry to the husband. A dowry was not an unconditional gift, but was usually a part of a wider marriage settlement. For example, if the groom had other children, they could not inherit the dowry, which had to go to the bride’s children. In the event of her childlessness, the dowry had to be returned to her family, but sometimes not until the groom’s death or remarriage.”

    “In other cultures, the groom or his family were expected to pay a bride price to the bride’s family for the right to marry the daughter, or dower, which was payable to the bride. If the groom or his family did not have the bride price to offer to the bride’s family, sometimes a bride service may be accepted in its place. This required the groom to work for the bride’s family for a set period of time.”

  58. Tax protests are the wrong way to go. I don’t like prop 8 any better than anyone else, but if you subvert the democratic process, you are subverting the best way to settle problems in society.

  59. Engineer,
    yes, it’s also called the Drug War.

  60. concerned observer – do you believe that, even if this was say, the Iraq War being protested?

    Personally, I think when it comes to things like wars, tax protests are one of the only legitimate ways to really protest. If you think the war is immoral, don’t pay for it.

  61. And regarding the challenge of AO, let me present the following hypothetical scenario:
    Pretend, for a moment, that you are in some business, any business, that employs people. You provide health insurance for your employees and their families. The state recognizes homosexual unions. You, recognizing the inherent absurdity of this, do not extend family health benefits to any gay employee’s “spouse”. You are sued. You lose. Are you a jerk? Possibly, but that’s your business.
    The point is, with as intrusive a government as we now have, so extending the institution of marriage is going to force lot of people to act against their conscience. The first person whose counterargument draws an analogy to racism wins NOTHING.

  62. LTS fucked up the Boy scouts now are targeting marriage. They sure do get their magic underwear up in a bunch.

  63. @AO-The people just elected a president who will end the Iraq war, so you question isirrelevatn.

  64. @Sosnowski-So are you saying that the state should not be involved in preventing discrimination? Fucking scary.

  65. concerned observer,

    LOL, you fell for that?

  66. Pretend, for a moment, that you are in some business, any business, that employs people. You provide health insurance for your employees and their families. The state recognizes heterosexual unions. You, recognizing that married straight people are lame, do not extend family health benefits to any straight employee’s “spouse”. You are sued. You lose. Are you a jerk? Possibly, but that’s your business.

  67. @Sceptic-What are you talking about? What did I “fall for”.

  68. zxz,

    Why do you hate straight people? You are destroying the very foundations of same-sex marriage! If you let straight people marry, soon entire soccer teams will want to marry each other!

  69. the Iraq business….

    I’m gonna laugh so much in 3 months!

  70. What scares me about libertarians even more than concservatives is that unlike conservatives they don’t even recognize the legimtacy of elections. they would gladly create a dictarorship to impose theirwinguut idelas.

  71. Bravo, Zxz: Dowries are meant to safeguard the bride’s interests and position as she joins an other family. The dower is paid to the bride, so now regarding ownership I guess you can point to the bride price, although that’s not quite the same as a sale. So, when to I get to stone my wife if I don’t like her, followed by a gratuity of goats?

  72. @SCEPTIC-It’s people like you that would have allowed John McCain to get elected because you “don’t trust Barack Obama”. Please go stuff yourself.

  73. You, recognizing the inherent absurdity of this, do not extend family health benefits to any gay employee’s “spouse”. You are sued. You lose. Are you a jerk? Possibly, but that’s your business.

    You’re one of those people who thinks that the welfare state is a legitimate reason to restrict freedom of movement, aren’t you?

    So, your argument is one of consequences. So, you’d support eliminating the benefits conferred on straight married folks too, right?

  74. Lesbian Lady Godiva!

    Doesn’t get better than this…

  75. Would concerned observer honor a majority vote for him to finally start using a shift key and a spellchecker?

  76. Loathe though I am to say this, but concerned observer has a point. It really is time for libertarians to stop equating totalitarianism and republican-democratic forms of governance.

    One is demonstrably better, more peaceful and more respectful of individual rights than the other. Full stop.

  77. Sosnowski, when she’s barren as Saharan desert, stone away! Dowries were also used as insurance from getting a barren wife.

  78. Sosnowski – regardless, your “argument” just points to a reason to get rid of mandated benefits, but that’s true across the board.

    It does not, however, make a compelling case for restricting gays from getting the Magical Piece of Paper.

  79. 14th Ammendment: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    If a state establishes any set of laws (such as marriage laws), those laws must be applied equally to all people.

    So dear Sosnowski, it is your responsibility to show that any state law that restricts who can marry who does not run afoul of the 14th.

    Your previous statement that a lesbian can marry a man just like a straight woman can marry a man, does not pass the test.

  80. @I wonder-Fine, it it’s really that important, I’ll make sure my posts are all grammatically perfect and have perfect spelling.

  81. AO,

    Yes, democracy is better than totalitarianism. But a lot of what we talk about is the tyranny of the mob. And the house liberals are fine with it as long as their mob is doing the tyrannizing.

  82. I like that the idea that the only reason married people get tax advantages is they create future workers through procreation. You don’t produce children, you are not married and receive no tax benefits.

    So zxz, what about marriage rights for people that are sterile, either by choice or by nature? Should all married couples be forced to take fertility tests so that we can ensure only reproducing couples get the tax break? What about marriages when the wife hits menopause? Should they be forced to report to the government so that they lose their marriage benefits?

    When I was back in CA, someone came up to me and told me to support traditional marriage and to vote yes on 9. I asked them why gay marriage threatens traditional marriage and the person went on and on about how gay marriage would lead to incest and polygamy. I responded, “Aren’t incestuous and polygamous marriages as traditional as they get? Royal families were incestuous for centuries [editor: see hemophilia] and polygamy is older than dirt. They’re both talked about in the Bible. And incest is both ignored and condemned.” The person just got pissed and said, “When was incest ignores!?” I said, “Lot and his daughters.” She stammered and walked away.

    Classic case of, the devil can quote Scripture for his own ends.

  83. SugarFree-any system is going to have problems. Would your preferred solution be an aristocracy?

  84. Concerned observer,

    I would prefer The Rule of Law. As in a Republic. Not a Democracy.

    Or, alternatively, Swiss cantons. Local democracy.

    Democracy in Washington IS Aristocracy.

  85. AO:
    I don’t really have to argue for anything; you’re the one who wants the law changed (I assume).
    However: Marriage, as zxz is struggling to point out, exists and almost certainly originated to regulate human sexual relations, to reduce jealousies and conflicts and above all to hold men responsible for the children they sire, from pregnacy onward. I have yet to call marriage sacred or to associate it with some incredibly ill-defined notion of “love”.
    It has been brought up before that many heterosexual marriages are barren, either through birth control, age, or sterility, so Why should there be a distinction between those and proposed homosexual marriage? I would argue that attempting to impose a fertility test would be very complicated and expensive (and my position is that there is too much government interest in marriage as it is, especially, traditionally, state support of the man’s position as a law unto his family). Homosexual marriages, on the other hand, are inherently infertile (without either cloning, surrogates, or other methods that render the marriage itself biologically moot), and therefore have to cause to be marriages.
    Therefore, this is not a issue of constitutional rights to be decided by the courts, but of the redefinition of the central institution of human society, which, if done at all, is the job of the legislature.
    Thoughts?

  86. Mo, my statement Is based on the assumption that the state gives married people tax breaks because they will create children. What other reason should the government give married people tax advantages? Either eliminate all marriage benefits and it can stay defined as between man and women or keep the benefits and let it extend to all consenting adults.

  87. c.o. – I think your problem is that you don’t view the government as a mechanism.

    To libertarians, the government is a mechanism to protect life, liberty and property. The reason I support republican-democratic forms of choosing is that said mechanism is very dangerous. Institutional barriers to the expansion of the mechanism need to be strong and “high hurdles to clear”.

  88. But this dog won’t hunt

    That’s rather cruel, isn’t it Warren?
    Etheridge is no Portia de Rossi but neither is she an Andrea Dwarkin.

  89. Correction:
    Homosexual marriages, on the other hand, are inherently infertile (without either cloning, surrogates, or other methods that render the marriage itself biologically moot), and therefore have NO cause to be marriages.

    I am SO embarrassed.

  90. I’m fine with democracy that has sufficient minority rights protections. Just because a majority thinks it’s OK to violate my rights, it shouldn’t be available as an option for them to do so.

    King Mob is still a king.

  91. “Democracy in Washington is aristocracy”
    This is a typical libertarian copout answer.

  92. Sorry, I should have put a NSFH* after Dwarkin.

    *Not Safe For Heteros

  93. I don’t really have to argue for anything; you’re the one who wants the law changed (I assume).

    Yes, you do. “Tradition” and “that’s the way we’ve always done it” are not valid rationales. The only reasonable way to evaluate policy is to look at it afresh.

    and my position is that there is too much government interest in marriage as it is, especially, traditionally, state support of the man’s position as a law unto his family

    This isn’t applicable in the age of DNA testing. Also, the State (and therefore, the taxpayers) have an undue burden in supporting orphans, most of whom would benefit from a two-parent household irrespective of gender.

    Therefore, this is not a issue of constitutional rights to be decided by the courts, but of the redefinition of the central institution of human society, which, if done at all, is the job of the legislature.

    Central institutions of human society are things like:

    1. The Family
    2. The Church
    3. The Schools / Universities

    We already prohibit (to the extent possible) government interference with the church and we try to have liberalism rule the day WRT education, so why not permit wide latitude with what the government views as “family”?

    See, I don’t understand why a “central institution” of society needs state-mandated force to protect it.

  94. Boycotting Utah is actually a pretty good idea.

    Why? Because they exercised legal channels in expressing displeasure with policy they don’t like? Whatever you think of their stance, their actions were well within reason.

  95. madmikefisk,

    If they want to have a say in Californian public policy, they can move there. And vote.

  96. AO,
    I admit, upon examination, that my comment was not very well composed. Still, give it a reread, would you?

  97. c.o. – what would you call a 95% re-election rate, coupled with the fact that most of the individuals in Washington are rather brazen about the idea that the law does not apply to them?

    you’re getting dangerously close to “all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds” territory. There is validity to the idea that we’ve given entirely too much deference, power and control to Washington and that it is a de facto aristocracy.

  98. Why? Because they exercised legal channels in expressing displeasure with policy they don’t like?

    No, because they exercised legal channels to influence policy we don’t like.

    They were well within their right to do it. We’re well within our rights to tell them to fuck off and die for it.

  99. Whatever you think of their stance, their actions were well within reason.

    OK, so why would a boycott NOT be within reason as a response?

  100. Sosnowski – Your argument in favor of the current standard is:

    1. “One man, one woman” reduced jealousies and conflict. I don’t see how that’s the case.
    2. Fertility is the standard by which we should measure marriages, and because it would be too onerous to measure fertility in straights but not in gays, restriction of gay marriage is permissible. But why is the State concerning itself with fertility in the first place?

  101. Why? Because they exercised legal channels in expressing displeasure with policy they don’t like? Whatever you think of their stance, their actions were well within reason.

    No it wasn’t. Fuck them for influencing elections in other states. If I were Etheridge and her friends, I’d take the fight to LDS and challenge their non-profit status based on their political actions.

  102. I always though the term “representative democracy” is an oxymoron. The public’s only real power, in governments controlled by lobbyists and financed campaigns is through their spending habits. If the public would realize it we could have “consumeristic democracy” where power would somewhat be brought back to the people.

  103. great point Mo.

  104. AO,
    I certainly hope that’s not what my argument boils down to, but thank you for you response.
    My point, if I can make it clearly his time, is that marriage is a traditional institution which, as long as basic laws are being observed within it (the whole “man is law unto his family” bit had nothing to do with DNA testing; I was referring to violence within families and the state’s tradition of overlooking it, whoever the perpetrator, never mind its more recent position of treating it like the worst crime in the world), is not much of the state’s business. It is a matter of social evolution. There are churches that already recognize homosexual marriage; many people do. I consider it absurd. If gay marriage came to a referendum, I would vote against it. If it passed, I would suck it up. I would like for the state to be sufficiently uninvolved with marriage so that in practical terms it really doesn’t affect me.
    The purpose of judicial review is to reconcile the law with its constitutional basis. The purpose of the legislature is to change the law. There is, in my opinion, no constitutional basis to mandate the recognition of gay marriage; equal protection is not an issue; nobody is being prevented from getting married; people want something called marriage that, legally, is not. That’s a legislative issue, not a judicial one.

  105. The public’s only real power, in governments controlled by lobbyists and financed campaigns is through their spending habits.

    It isn’t the only thing. For all of its flaws, voting is definitely a power the public exercises over its government, with the inherent idea that if the public’s vote is cast aside or ignored that there will be violent consequences for the doer.

    “Eternal Vigilance is the price of Liberty”. No set amount of tinkering or twisting or whatever is going to get us “more freedom”. There is no “Regulation A + Freedom B = AMERICA!”

  106. If they want to have a say in Californian public policy, they can move there. And vote.

    As a counterpoint, if California thought that such influence was undue, they would ban political donations from outside the state. The fact that they haven’t means that they have to accept things like that happening. (After a while, though, where do you draw the line in that case?)

  107. By the way, Etheridge says she does not have to pay taxes because she is not a full citizen. Permanent Residents are not citizens at all, and still have to pay taxes.
    Just saying.
    My apologies if someone already posted that; there are a lot of comments.

  108. equal protection is not an issue; nobody is being prevented from getting married

    The issue, though, is that society’s idea of the purpose of marriage has changed. And I think all of the reasons you’ve outlined for maintaining the traditionalist view are outdated. We don’t allow a “certain level of violence” within families any more, so that’s out.

    Marriage, to society at large, is two people’s willingness to commit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives, due to love.

    Therefore, if the purpose of marriage is “to permit two people who are in love to combine property and essentially form a ‘merger'”, then yes, there is a problem of equal protection, because it is impossible for a gay male to have meaningful love for a female.

    If gay marriage came to a referendum, I would vote against it.

    OK, again, why?

  109. madmikefish,

    As a counterpoint, if California thought that such influence was undue, they would ban political donations from outside the state.

    I wonder if this will prompt them to do so.

    And, not directing this at you…

    I also wonder how many on the right who freaked out over Chinese contributions to Clinton have not problem with this similar case.

  110. . . . if I can make it clearly his time, is that marriage slavery is a traditional institution which, as long as basic laws are being observed within it . . .

    History is valid, except when it isn’t.

    You have yet to address the 14th ammendment. It clearly prohibits any laws, regardless of tradition, that would prevent any class of individuals from joining in marriage. It is merely a matter of time (and the appropriate collection of people on SCOTUS) for the federal government to overturn all state laws that prohibit gay marriage. It could be 5 years, or it could be 50. But it will happen.

  111. AO,
    “Marriage, to society at large, is two people’s willingness to commit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives, due to love.

    Therefore, if the purpose of marriage is “to permit two people who are in love to combine property and essentially form a ‘merger'”, then yes, there is a problem of equal protection, because it is impossible for a gay male to have meaningful love for a female.”

    If society at large agrees with you, why did the referenda in AZ and CA fail? With, if I remember correctly, and please correct me if I am wrong, the exception of MA, every state that recognizes gay marriage or civil unions does so by court order (Now that I think about it, I’m not at all sure about Vermont and Hawaii). That shouldn’t be necessary.

    I would vote against gay marriage because, if you will recall, I think the notion is absurd.

  112. I would vote against gay marriage because, if you will recall, I think the notion is absurd.

    That’s circular. WHY is it absurd?

    If society at large agrees with you, why did the referenda in AZ and CA fail?

    Also circular.

    People agree with my construction of marriage as “two people committing themselves in love”; they just think gays are “icky”.

    You really, really think people think of marriage in the arcane sense you do?

  113. Though history of humanity every word has only had only one definition that has never changed though the ages. That is why marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. Marklar has always meant marklar!

  114. Kinnath,
    Don’t be fatuous. All kinds of basic laws are violated by the very concept of slavery. Most notably, Ha-Ha, equal protection. And if you consider the Declaration of Independence at all relevant to constitutional law, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”
    Yes, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. The text stands on its own.

  115. every state that recognizes gay marriage or civil unions does so by court order…That shouldn’t be necessary.

    well, then we don’t even need Courts, do we? After all, if vox populi is the gold standard for what’s right and wrong, we can send all those judges home.

  116. That’s right AO ,statues are so simple and perfectly written there is not any need for statutory interpretation.

  117. People agree with my construction of marriage as “two people committing themselves in love”; they just think gays are “icky”.

    assuming that it’s appropriate for the state to certify people’s relationships, do voters not get the right to determine which are ok and which are icky? if it’s a fundamental human right to marry whomever you please, do we have to allow incestuous or polygamous marriages with the homosexual? i personally don’t have a problem with gay marriage, since i think gay relationships have been normalized as acceptable. but arguing that the state should recognize every instance of “two people committing themselves in love” (maybe you haven’t said this, i skipped over most of this thread), i think has unrealistic implications. if the state can demur to the recognition of marriage with your stepchild on the basis of majority consensus of its icktitude, that would seem to apply to gay marriages as well in those jurisdictions where it does not have majority support. imho.

  118. AO,
    I don’t think people think about marriage at all.
    My statement on the absurdity of gay marriage is not circular, it is merely unsupported.
    My point about the referenda was to contradict what I misread from you, that society at large supports gay marriage because of its new definition. I see now you just inferred the gay part from your assumption about societies definition.
    Wicked sorry.

  119. “two people committing themselves in love”

    and, again, why not three?

  120. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…

    Which is perfectly consistent with not giving gays the liberty to pursue the happiness of legal marriage.

  121. Sosnowski:

    History it full of ugly traditions. So don’t use tradition as an argument for continuing marriage as is.

    Regarding equal protection, marriage laws cover:

    community property
    inheritance
    kinship/power of attorney
    parental rights
    adoption
    taxation
    and so on and so forth

    The only way to satisfy the 14th is to abolish all marraige laws or apply them to all consenting adults equally.

    I’m waiting to see a rational argument from you that says the 14th doesn’t apply.

  122. Look, guys, not to go all anti-intellectual on you for a second, but most anti-gay-marriage arguments are either outdated or a lot of smoke-and-mirrors.

    There’s a rational basis for restricting driver’s licenses. There’s a rational basis for restricting CCW licenses. There is no real rational basis for restricting marriage licenses. Would you ban gays from fishing?

    I mean, what is the deal?

    if the state can demur to the recognition of marriage with your stepchild on the basis of majority consensus of its icktitude, that would seem to apply to gay marriages as well in those jurisdictions where it does not have majority support.

    So, your argument is “if the state can irrationally restrict one type of X based on emotion, shouldn’t it be ok to restrict this other type of X based on the same emotion?”

    Uh, no.

  123. I think the main reason we have marriage between a man and a woman is to control the behavior of the man. As a married man with a kid I put up with more oppressive crap than I would as a single guy.

  124. AO,
    Please explain how you go from “I shouldn’t be necessary to go through the courts to impose a popular change” to “We don’t need courts at all” [Paraphrased]

    Zxz: You’re out of your depth. Go wiki something.

  125. life, liberty and the pursuit of genital polarity happiness!

  126. AO – so should these initiatives be improved to recognize incestuous marriages?

  127. and, again, why not three?

    Indeed, why not?

    When I say “two people”, I’m expressing what society thinks.

    I think the entire concept of marriage (to borrow a word from Sosnowski) is wicked stupid. It’s a moralistic imposition without any foundation in psychology or biology. People are not meant to be monogamous for life…it’s one of the dumber things I’ve heard.

  128. Hogan,

    Why not three? or four? or eight? As long as you aren’t forced into one, how does it affect you?

    I come down on the libertine side of libertarianism. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry someone of the opposite sex. Don’t like polyamory, don’t get married to more than one person. Don’t like incest, stop fucking your comely cousins.

    The bar of telling someone they can’t do something that doesn’t conflict with the rights of anyone else will always have a super high-bar with me, like nose bleed high.

  129. Please explain how you go from “I shouldn’t be necessary to go through the courts to impose a popular change” to “We don’t need courts at all” [Paraphrased]

    It’s a fair paraphrasing. What you said was that if society has the notion that marriage is “two people committing to each other in love”, then it shouldn’t be that far of a leap for them to say “two people, irrespective of gender, committing themselves in love”. My point is that sometimes society’s a little slow in putting 2+2 together and realize when they’re being discriminatory.

    To me, what you’re saying is “well, if this were popular enough, Courts wouldn’t need to construe a right here…the population would have already recognized these rights!” The Courts’ professional purpose is to interpret the constitution, and if the interpretation it finds is that equal protection = gay marriage, then that’s well within the Court’s purview, even if that interpretation puts 2+2 together before society gets around to it.

  130. Good point, SugarFree. But nobody is entitled to state recognition on the basis of happiness. I’d argue for liberty, if anything. But then, you don’t need the state for that.

  131. SugarFree – people should definitely be able to form whatever kinds of relationships they like, though i think a system of socially acknowledged monogamy compacts, from a human nature/game theory of sex standpoint, tends to work out better. but i don’t necessarily see why every relationships should be able to demand state recognition and the benefits associated with it. seems to me either end benefits that apply only to those in certified relationships or open it to all comers (like, say, why not marry every member of your cult, as long as all consent? prolly some tax advantages there). seems more reasonable to take the former path, or else leave the certification criteria up to voters, since so many of them take it so seriously. i trust that eventually most jurisdictions in the country will accept homosexual relationships and can then recognize gay marriages if they see fit.

  132. Kinnath,
    An institution exists, which has a very simple definition, to which the legislature extends various privileges. People who are not excluded from this institution but do not wish to partake as defined, demand to b e included on their own terms. If gay marriages are allowed, what about hetero life-partnerships a’la Jay and Silent Bob? After all, heterosexuals who just don’t want to have to live with the opposite sex can’t be excluded either, as long as their relationship with one another is based on love and commitment.
    not saying it would happen, but applying the 14th amendment as broadly as you propose would ultimately call for the dissolution of all privileges to the married. Which is mostly okay by me.

  133. Falling back on the privileges argument is a red herring. It’s society’s choice to extend welfare to married people, but that choice should not restrict, as a matter of justice, if the state discriminates.

    IOW, society made this bed and now it has to lie in it.

  134. Alright cool, “dissolution of all privileges to the married”. Problem solved.

  135. Sosnowski,

    But then, you don’t need the state for that.

    That is precisely why the equal protection argument wins the day. If the state wants to provide a benefit to marriage, it must extend to to whomever desires it in the reasonable form they demand. Or abolish marriage altogether and have it revert to a purely religious institution.

  136. Equally cool, “abolish marriage altogether and have it revert to a purely religious institution”. Problem solved.

  137. You all are having an interesting discussion on marriage, but kind of forgetting the income tax part.

    The best way to understand why income taxes are NOT legal as collected and HOW the government uses force to extort them is to look at anarcho-capitalist Larken Rose’s excellent story of his own persecution:
    Kicking the Dragon , which can be found at http://www.kickingthedragon.com. Sorry, couldn’t get the hyperlink to work on this blog.
    As a permanent resident, Melissa is NOT required to file tax returns, unless she earns money OUTSIDE of the US. Since I guess she does get paid for concerts and album sales outside the US, then that income would apply.

    Only NON RESIDENT ALIENS, (ie foreign businesses and individuals living and working in the US as defined in the code with less than permanent resident status) are required to file and pay taxes).

    Unless you have a Federal License to practice certain occupations, such as ammunition manufacturer, that is.

  138. Well, I’m out. It’s been interesting. Good debat, AO, but I still don’t agree that this is a rights issue.

    Zxz, sorry about the wiki comment. Lapse of politeness, and totally unnecessary.

  139. An institution exists, which has a very simple definition, to which the legislature extends various privileges.

    So far, so good.

    People who are not excluded from this institution but do not wish to partake as defined, demand to be included on their own terms.

    Duh

    but applying the 14th amendment as broadly as you propose would ultimately call for the dissolution of all privileges to the married.

    Just like it took 100 years for the courts to recognize that the consitution prohibited slavery, it is going to take a while to the 14th to be fully applied to every aspect of all laws enacted by all the states.

    Marriage laws as they exist today in the states that have not been ammended to allow same-sex marriage are all going to fall eventually.

  140. Hogan,

    or else leave the certification criteria up to voters, since so many of them take it so seriously

    If the vote was ever “extend marriage or end it” I would agree. But it is always “who gets to be married based on genital combination” and that’s not kosher.

  141. i’m with sosnowski: interesting discussion, great job everybody, i’m gonna go eat lunch.

  142. I will also make the good libertarian point that any way to legally lower your tax burden is an unqualified good (unless you advocate redistribution.)

  143. If society at large agrees with you, why did the referenda in AZ and CA fail? With, if I remember correctly, and please correct me if I am wrong, the exception of MA, every state that recognizes gay marriage or civil unions does so by court order (Now that I think about it, I’m not at all sure about Vermont and Hawaii). That shouldn’t be necessary.

    Actually, the Yes on 8 crowd in CA made sure that they emphasized that civil unions would still be legal because they knew if they made civil unions illegal as well, they would have lost. Looking at how close the election was, I think they were right. Which just goes to show that it’s about bigotry rather than practical considerations. If it’s about practical considerations, why have civil unions be legal and not marriage?

  144. Someone, please give me a good reason for the state to restrict handing out that piece of paper, other than the handwaving about “taxes”.

    Let’s try putting the shoe on the other foot: why should government be offering the same protections to relationships that are of no concern to anyone but the participants, as it does to relationships without which society couldn’t even exist?

    Do you want to argue that because subsidies are given to farmers, they should also be given to yoga teachers?

    Let’s make a distinction: In order for society to function, it needs a source of food. It can probably survive without yoga. That isn’t to cast aspersions on the morality of yoga, or to say yoga should be prohibited, or that I wouldn’t have friends who practiced yoga. It simply points out that practicing yoga is not an essential function. And the fact that their are farmers that couldn’t grow crabgrass are receiving subsidies does not justify giving them yoga teachers.

    Likewise, your society doesn’t exist without people reproducing. Being mammals, we do that sexually. Given that there’s currently no getting around that inconvenient fact, it behooves us to design our laws and institutions with that fact in mind. What is the equivalent (EEEEEQUAAAALLL!!!) function gay marriage provides?

    Since this stumbling block seems to cause advocates of gay marriage to experience a data exception, I recommend repeating it until you get the picture:

    Essential. Optional.
    Essential. Optional.
    Essential. Optional.

    A political philosophy that can’t distinguish between things which are essential, and those which are lifestyle accessories, and insists they are “equal” is worse than useless. And a failure to be able to distinguish between them does not indicate you are “enlightened”, it indicates you’re a bloody fool who shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of a voting booth.

    So zxz, what about marriage rights for people that are sterile, either by choice or by nature? Should all married couples be forced to take fertility tests so that we can ensure only reproducing couples get the tax break? What about marriages when the wife hits menopause? Should they be forced to report to the government so that they lose their marriage benefits?

    Show me a single law that produces the optimum result in every possible application. By the standard you’re demanding, no laws could possibly exist.

    The measure of laws and institutions isn’t whether they produce a favorable outcome every single time, but whether they produce one more often than not.

    Straight marriage produces a favorable benefit more often than not. The societal benefits of gay marriage are – what?

  145. The notion that humans can only reproduce within the confines of marriage is so falsifiable that you would have to be a retard to believe it.

    I cheerfully accept the comments of all people willing to admit they are mentally handicapped.

  146. Likewise, your society doesn’t exist without people reproducing.

    Excellent point, without marriage people will just stop fucking.

  147. The notion that humans can only reproduce within the confines of marriage is so falsifiable that you would have to be a retard to believe it.

    Nobody said they couldn’t reproduce. The object of marriage is to provide an institutional framework for that function to occur in an orderly manner. But then again, you probably already knew that.

  148. the unregistered voter, that was certainly entertaining, stupid, but entertaining.

  149. You have yet to address the 14th ammendment. It clearly prohibits any laws, regardless of tradition, that would prevent any class of individuals from joining in marriage.

    I don’t think its clear at all. Oddly, everyone thought it clearly allowed the one-man, one-woman definition of marriages until only a few years ago. It was so clear, in fact, that it went without saying.

    I think there’s a good argument that it prohibits the state from limiting any competent adult from marrying any person or group of persons that they like. But I don’t think its written in the sky in flaming letters.

    I do think that once you say that Equal Protection prohibits the states from refusing to recognize gay marriage, you can’t draw a principled line at polygamy, either.

    However, saying that Equal Protection requires the recognition of gay marriage jumps right over the core issue, which is whether marriage means a man and a woman, or something broader. Historically, it has meant the former, after all.

  150. The societal benefits of gay marriage are – what?

    Happier gay people?

  151. A larger adoption pool?

  152. So a proper government functional is “orderly” reproduction?

    I’ve got to go take a piss, which form am I supposed to fill out?

  153. Hi R C, thanks for posting. I was seriously disappointed the other folks didn’t bother.

    I don’t think its clear at all. Oddly, everyone thought it clearly allowed the one-man, one-woman definition of marriages until only a few years ago. It was so clear, in fact, that it went without saying.

    That’s called progress 😉

    I think there’s a good argument that it prohibits the state from limiting any competent adult from marrying any person or group of persons that they like. But I don’t think its written in the sky in flaming letters.

    I always talk about consenting adults. I assume that eliminates anyone not competent to consent and eliminates minors which is an entirely different discussion.

    I do think that once you say that Equal Protection prohibits the states from refusing to recognize gay marriage, you can’t draw a principled line at polygamy, either.

    I have posted that in the past. I don’t limit my position to two consenting adults, just consenting adults.

    However, saying that Equal Protection requires the recognition of gay marriage jumps right over the core issue, which is whether marriage means a man and a woman, or something broader.

    I don’t care about history or the common definition of marriage.

    If a state passes a law that gives some real benefit or priviledge to the the parties involved in a marriage, then the 14th says the state cannot discriminate against any particular class of ‘parties’.

    If the 14th didn’t exist, there would be very little basis for an argument for same-sex marriage.

  154. I’ve got to go take a piss, which form am I supposed to fill out?

    I have no idea, but if you happen to be on the freeway, you can take one in the toilet at the rest-stop, another small government concession to biology. ^_*

    Of course, if you so resent such government intrusion into piss-taking….

  155. I’m not a fan of rest stops. I’ve called them “bodegas for serial killers” for years.

    But, just as there are thousand of privately provided places to take a piss, government-backed marriage is not a necessary condition for reproduction and therefore arguments from the cradle are not sufficient to restrict rights.

  156. the unregistered voter is amusing.

    Optional, but amusing.

    The object of marriage is to provide an institutional framework for that function to occur in an orderly manner.

    So….no divorce then?

    Go back to the drawing board. You’re in over your head.

    And why should I give so much as a shit if society has enough people to “carry on”…whatever that means? Don’t make me care.

  157. So….no divorce then?

    I thought that was “favorable benefit” the unregistered voter referred to here:

    Straight marriage produces a favorable benefit more often than not.

  158. But, just as there are thousand of privately provided places to take a piss, government-backed marriage is not a necessary condition for reproduction and therefore arguments from the cradle are not sufficient to restrict rights.

    There are thousands of possible types of private human relationships, too. And you have yet to provide a good reason why a grant of government recognition to this particular one should be a “right”.

    So….no divorce then?

    Since when does providing an option make it mandatory?

    But, not to many years ago, divorces were very hard to get.

    And why should I give so much as a shit if society has enough people to “carry on”…whatever that means? Don’t make me care.

    Considering that it’s society that you’re demanding recognition from, you should.

    Of course, why should society give a shit about your demands?

  159. unregistered voter:

    The government does NOT EQUAL society.

    Learn that and come back.

  160. The legal institution of marriage was created to control men’s property rights in women and their children. As long as there have been laws, there have laws which spell out the rights (and sometimes the responsibilities) of men in this regard. As we have recognized women’s rights to their own bodies and their own money, no longer treating them as legally equivalent to beasts of burden, each member of a married couple is presumed to have roughly equivalent rights to communal property, including Social Security, health insurance, and income (and taxes levied thereon). There is no reason to restrict this recognition of rights to couples of opposite genders.

    The story of “traditional families” is false. Children have, in practice, seldom been raised by one man and one woman. Families have most often been defined as “one man, SEVERAL women”. Biblical polygamy was one man and his wives, who communally raised their children. Greek marriages involved one man, one wife (who was basically locked in her house for the rest of her life) and the man’s lovers, who could be male OR female. “Eastern” rulers had harems, the women of which communally raised their children. Upper-class women of feudal times and beyond could pass their children off to wet-nurses, nannies, and governesses. Some children barely knew their parents st all. This trend continues today as women rely on nannies, au pairs and (mostly female staffed) day care centers and elementary schools (There is ONE male teacher in my sons’ K-5 school). Lower-class women continue to depend on their female relatives. This is the basis of sociologists’ laments in the early 20th century about the rise of the “nuclear family”, which took women away from their relationships with older (mostly female) relatives and their hard-won expertise in child-rearing. This is not a valid argument against same-sex marriage. I suspect that ANY parent of ANY gender and ANY living arrangement would tell you that they could not raise their children without the support many people who have nothing to do with the child’s primary home relationship. There is no reason why these people must be of any specific gender; there is no reason that parents must be of any specific gender combination.

    ALL marriage in this country is, first and foremost, civil marriage. Any religious trappings involved are layered ON TOP OF the basic acknowledgment of the couple’s intentions, the license from the state (i.e., civil authority). Without that piece of paper, any ceremony means NOTHING to any legal authority in the country. Millions of heterosexual couples have joined their lives and households together without any clergy, without mention of God, Allah, Buddha, or Tao. These couples (in their unions blessed only by civil authority) are MARRIED. The only reason that homosexuals in the same circumstance must be labeled as only having a CIVIL UNION is rank prejudice.

  161. The government does NOT EQUAL society.

    Um, who do you think established the government? Was it dropped off by a UFO on some sunny day?

    While the government is not society, it is society’s institutional representative. You speak of it as if it somehow materialized fully blown from the mind of Brahma. Not quite.

    You learn that and come back.

  162. This address will encapsulate the debate on this thread nicely:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ5JvMOn5n8&feature=related

    Jennifer Notanymore: Did you do no research at all, or are you just really bad at judging sources?

  163. Am I the only one who read through all these fakakta comments only to not find any mention of Wesley Snipes? Did he win his tax trial or what?

    C’mon, Blade is a comedic gold mine for you snarky cosmotarians.

  164. “The notion that humans can only reproduce within the confines of marriage is so falsifiable that you would have to be a retard to believe it.”

    If you believe anyone was actually arguing that rather than marriage providing the optimal structure for having and raising children, then perhaps its better for you not to accuse other people of mental handicaps.

  165. “I think the entire concept of marriage (to borrow a word from Sosnowski) is wicked stupid. It’s a moralistic imposition without any foundation in psychology or biology. People are not meant to be monogamous for life…it’s one of the dumber things I’ve heard.”

    It’s telling that one of the most strident voices here in favor of homosexual marriage neither likes nor understands the institution of marriage and has a terribly immature concept of human sexuality.

  166. More and more of us are WAKING UP, America. No taxation without equality; simple math.

    Now the feds will need to repeal DOMA and DADT, grant us FULL equal rights (including marriage), and begin to start viewing our families – OUR FAMILIES – as the tax-paying contributing members of society we are…..well…..we USED to be!

    Because if our HOMES, our FAMILIES, our very BELOVED are not acknowledged and valued as other families are legally, whatever we do outside of that home will never be acknowledged and valued legally, such as adopting children, working without discrimination, or serving openly in the military.

    FAMILY FIRST. What is more important than FAMILY?

    We owe the IRS absolutely NOTHING until equal. NOTHING. Get it?

    This is NOT a test.
    This is NOT a debate.
    This is NOT a vote.
    This is definitely NOT a popularity contest.

    This IS justice – GAY TAX PROTEST.

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