Family Issues

The Gay Marriage Debate

Why the state should stay out

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Six states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Most so-called liberals are happy about that. Most conservatives are not. As a libertarian, I think all consenting adults who want to commit to a life partner ought to be treated the same way.

To air this issue on my Fox Business show, I invited Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage and David Harsanyi, libertarian columnist at The Blaze.

Brown says gay marriage threatens marriage between a man and a woman. I asked him to explain.

"Marriage is a public good," he said. "When you redefine marriage, you redefine it for everyone. In states that have redefined marriage, we've seen serious consequences, ranging from what is taught in schools—kids in first grade in Massachusetts are taught that it's the same thing to grow up and marry a boy or a girl—to what happens to religious organizations or organizations that just believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman. … You see Catholic Charities' adoption agency essentially being forced out of being able to adopt kids because the state said it is discriminating."

Whoa. Those are three separate points. I don't see a problem with the first: If they redefine marriage to include gays, that doesn't diminish my marriage. And if kids are taught that gay marriage is OK, so what?

"They're being told that their parents' views are essentially bigotry," said Brown.

It's another reason we should have school choice.

On his third point, if a state tells Catholic Charities they may not honor their beliefs and limit adoptions to straight couples, that's a problem of Big Government, not gay marriage.

Harsanyi says he has a way around the whole fight.

"It is a mistake to allow government to define what marriage should be, gay or not. It should get out of the business of defining marriage at all and let people engage in … a private relationship."

OK by me. Who needs the government's sanction anyway?

"When you're getting married, you are not thinking, 'Wow, the government has endorsed this relationship.' That is not very romantic."

I pointed out that marriage involves many legal issues, including alimony, child support, hospital visitation rights, inheritance, and adoption.

"Within five minutes of my idea coming to fruition, a whole industry would be formed with prefab legal documents that would just allow you to have the sort of relationship you want with the parameters you want legally," Harsanyi said.

You'd work it out as a private contract. Some hospitals would say we allow same-sex couples; others would say no.

"More than that, I would say in the contract that my spouse is allowed to visit me in the hospital."

Brown was unconvinced.    

"The state's interest in marriage is that this is the institution by which we create stable families where the kids can be connected to both their mother and their father. … In states that have gone this direction, we see things like attempts to recognize three parents, because there is a biological father and two mothers."

Again, so what? I don't care if there are three fathers and six mothers. If it's a stable relationship and the kids are connected with their parents, that's great.

"Deconstructing marriage is a very bad idea," said Brown. "We see the rising rates of divorce and unwed motherhood. There is a direct correlation. If you look at any social indicators—children raised without mothers and fathers—you see higher rates of incarceration, juvenile delinquency that cost the state money."

Sorry, but I still don't see what divorce and unwed motherhood have to do with gay marriage. It's mostly straight people who are doing the divorcing and unwed mothering.

"All of that … started long before anyone brought up gay marriage," Harsanyi said.

"The state should support what is true and good and beautiful," Brown countered. "And it's true and good and beautiful that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Men and women are unique and special."

I still don't get his argument.

And I definitely don't want the state to decide what is good and beautiful.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.

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  1. “The state should support what is true and good and beautiful,” Brown countered.

    I remember this episode. If one didn’t see that Brown was an idiot up to that point, it was made clear by that sentence.

    “Legalize gay marriage.” If we could only get away from this phrasing, it might go a long way to have people recognize the absurdity of pining for a state stamp of approval on their life choices. And to quote my own awesome self:

    “If the state were to issue pedestrian licenses like they do drivers licenses, we would get to say they’ve finally legalized walking.”

      1. “Plus one” this:

        http://fyngyrz.com/?p=32 “On Gay Marriage”

    1. except improper walking may look reetarded, but it doesnt injure others

      1. and same sex marriage injures others how?

    2. That is really funny. Think about it. Now gays too can face the prospect of having the ask the government’s permission to part ways. If you think about it, you can get all of the advantages of being married, sans immigration rights, via contract. And the beauty of a contract is that you can just rip a contract in half if both parties agree to do so. No so with marriages. Even if you both agree to end it, you still have to get a judge’s permission and face the expense of going to court to end it. And you get fucked on your taxes in return for the privilege.

      If it wasn’t for religious dogma and tradition, straight people wouldn’t get married. Why the hell gay people want to run to the government to demand the right to let the government run their affairs and charge them higher taxes is rather curious.

      1. Try taking that contract to your health insurance company and getting your contractual “spouse” covered.

        You think the IRS will apply the same estate rules to you non-government certified marriage?

        1. Many healthcare plans will recognize domestic partners. And as far as estate tax goes. Currently the estate tax exemption is a million dollars. So the martial exemption only means anything if your estate is larger than that. And also if you own things as a tenancy in common with right of survivorship, it never passes as part of your estate. That affects very few people.

          1. I’ve been living with my girlfriend for 12 years (this month!). During that time she has had 3 separate employers and 4 different health insurance companies. Not a single one of them has allowed her to cover me. I pay for an individual plan that costs me $275/mo with a $5k deductible. Her plan cost would increase $30/mo by adding me (she’s on a ‘family’ plan already to cover her son). If you can point out one of these mythical “Many healthcare plans [that] will recognize domestic partners” I’d appreciate it. As far as I have been able to determine, they don’t exist or do business in GA.

            1. Some do exist, but the benefit is taxed as income under federal law.

            2. “Not a single one of them has allowed her to cover me. ”

              You’re a liar.

            3. http://www.healthquote360.com/…..urance.php

              “As far as I have been able to determine, they don’t exist or do business in GA.”

              Took less than ten seconds, it’s pathetic that you taint the discussion with obvious and easily refuted lies.

            4. “As far as I have been able to determine, they don’t exist or do business in GA.”

              http://www.google.com/search?q=domest…..=firefox-a

              SO, are you retarded or just lying?

            5. Shoulda put a ring on it, dude.

              I think you might be missing the point. The idea of removing the state from partnering in marriage is transformative. The thinking is that if there is no automatic, state-sanctioned marriage, then businesses (including insurance providers) would have to change what they offer. No longer could they fall back on whether or not you have a licensed relationship. Those would no longer exist. Failure to adjust would have competitors taking advantage and taking business.

            6. “Her plan cost would increase $30/mo by adding me…”

              That’s how much it would cost her, how much more would cost her employer?

            7. TGI Friday’s offers same sex and domestic partner benies to their employees. But I doubt your gf wants to go wait tables.

            8. So the argument is that we should change the definition of marriage in order to force insurance companies to cover people they otherwise would choose not to? That’s why I’m not a fan, not because I give a damn how people live their lives.

          2. Should I die, the IRS says my surviving spouse (of the opposite sex) can roll my IRA into his with no tax burden. Not so if my spouse were the same sex. Not just a question of estate taxes. I agree, we should ge the gov out of this as much as possible, but in the meantime, we should make the rules equitable.

    3. Shouldn’t all marriages be gay?

    4. Fist, you are so spot on. These people are making choices that…What? The American Psychiatric Association and that science thing are saying it looks hormonal and not a choice?

      Okay, but why would anyone want a “state stamp of approval” when all it does it grant around 1,500 rights that they wouldn’t otherwise have?

      Red herring!!! Pedestrian license? Why would anyone want a license for something they can already do? Nice try to misdirect people or support your flimsy ideas with nonsense.

      If you ignore science, facts and laws, please spare the world your ignorant rantings in the future.

      1. The choice they are making is getting married.

  2. Thank you, Mr. Stossel, for your well-articulated column.

    Ultimately it’s not going to matter which states write discrimination against law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples into their constitutions, nor will it matter which states grant marriage equality to those same couples, because it is the FEDERAL government that bestows most of the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that married couples receive. This is an issue that the Supreme Court of the United States will eventually have to tackle, and I’m confident that they will decide that there is no Constitutional justification for denying Gay couples the same legal benefits that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

    The main sticking point is the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was signed, to his eternal shame, by President Bill Clinton. DOMA is transparently unconstitutional, since it establishes differing legal standards for Gay and Straight couples in the United States.

    Consider: A Straight couple legally married in Iowa is automatically entitled to 1,138 legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO). Many of those benefits have to do with tax law, Social Security, inheritance rights, child custody, and so on. But because of DOMA, a Gay couple that is legally married in Iowa is still unrecognized by the federal government for those benefits.

    Consider, also, the “Full Faith & Credit” clause of the Constitution. Because of this, any Straight couple can fly off to Las Vegas for drunken weekend, get married by an Elvis impersonator, and that marriage is automatically honored in all 50 states, and at all levels of government. But thanks to DOMA, a Gay couple that is legally married in Iowa becomes UN-married if they relocate south to Missouri.

    The ONLY real difference between a married Gay couple and a married Straight couple is the gender of the two people who have made the commitment. It has nothing to do with procreation, since couples do not need a marriage license to make babies, nor is the ability or even desire to make babies a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license. So there is really no constitutional justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that married Straight couples have always taken for granted. This cannot be accomplished in a piecemeal, state-by-state fashion; it is the FEDERAL government which, through its own actions, has made this a federal issue.

    This is why I encourage all Gay couples, especially those who have been legally married in states like Iowa and Massachusetts, to file suit to have DOMA overturned. Gay Americans have had it up to HERE with being treated like second-class citizens.

    1. “But thanks to DOMA, a Gay couple that is legally married in Iowa becomes UN-married if they relocate south to Missouri.”

      No. Thanks to the law of Missouri that gay marriage isn’t recognized.

    2. “because it is the FEDERAL government that bestows most of the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that married couples receive.”

      No liar, it isn’t.

      1. Um, yes, MNG, it is.

        And to get those benefits, people must pony up a few dollars for a permission slip known as a “marriage license”.

        THEN, if they want to get divorced, they must pay even more money to attorneys, go before judges, et cetera.

        And that’s what gays want… all that mess… when they could be pushing for civil unions, and say fuck-all to getting a piece of paper for the sheer symbolism factor.

        1. All that mess that comes with legal rights. If it’s so much trouble and not worth the effort, why do straights do it and in some cases cherish the opportunity?

          You have to have a reason to deny equal rights, and playing daddy knows best to a class of people you aren’t even a part of isn’t one.

          1. I don’t play “daddy knows best”, Tony… I outgrew being a Democrat sympathizer decades ago.

            Every couple would have those equal rights if we just made all unions CIVIL unions. Fuck that piece of paper. Get a ceremony done by whomever wants to go through the machinations thereof. Fuck the symbolism and the legalese of a marriage license.

            That way, straights AND gays would be on the same level field.

            Or are you just too obtusely militant to get it?

            1. That your plan will definitely never happen doesn’t concern you? I don’t feel it’s obtuse or militant to demand equal legal rights. Besides, the moment gays are gaining equal rights is not the time to scale back those rights. When all the straights (in this ridiculous hypothetical scenario) became horrified that they no longer have any rights, I don’t want them blaming gays.

              They can be on the same level field with equal rights in the real world, too. Obtuse and militant are the most charitable ways to describe your utopian bullshit.

              1. Again, Tony… I’m not a Democrat. Therefore, I do not engage in militant, utopian bullshit.

              2. It may seem unlikely that anyone would want to give up government control of marriage. However, thirty years ago it would have seemed unlikely that anyone would think gays would have a shot at being married. Five years ago it would have seemed unlikely that anyone (even a minority) on the right would be open to Ron Paul’s ideas about foreign and monetary policy.

                The point is that government relinquishing control of marriage may seem impossible but it is the most sensible and consistent outcome. It is also not as far fetched as you would imagine, especially if it became part of the national conversation. It would not take long for many people to realize that getting rid of government marriage isn’t getting rid of marriage but liberating it. Marriage existed long before government ever decided who was married. In our modern society, their would be plenty of institutions (religious or secular) that would marry two people of the same sex.

            2. If I’m not mistaken, which I very well could be, gay marriage is frowned upon/illegal in most states because the Bible says its wrong. Being as to how we need to separate church from state in schools, why do we not need to do so in making laws? My main point here is that the reason it is illegal is all based off a book that no one has any certifiable proof of being true.

    3. I don’t see how there is discrimination against homosexuals here. I can’t get the government to recognize my marriage to a man either, and I’m not gay.

      1. That’s the discrimination, the government won’t allow you to marry another consenting adult of your choosing.

  3. “The state should support what is true and good and beautiful,” Brown countered.

    Yes! After next 5 year plan, all those not deemed true, good, and beautiful will be re-educated/liquidated! The Party will be secure!

  4. Harsanyi says he has a way around the whole fight.

    “It is a mistake to allow government to define what marriage should be, gay or not. It should get out of the business of defining marriage at all and let people engage in … a private relationship.”

    This has always struck me as a lazy way of dodging a question about your fundamental principles. Yes if you convince heterosexual couples to “give up” their status as “married” by the state in favor of, say, “civil unions” or even simply rendering marriages null while allowing two people (or potentially more) people to enter into voluntary contracts you could solve the religious objection, that’s true.

    But it ultimately I think creates a bigger headache in that you’re far less likely to convince more straight couples to GIVE UP their marriage than you are to simply allow gay couples equal access to the institution. A majority of people polled have in the last year or so supported gay marriage, what’s the support level for abolishing marriage in the US?

    Ultimately though this isn’t about a serious policy solution, it’s about the discomfort with allowing gay couples to do what the majority of Americans want them to do: Be treated equally under the law. I don’t think the libertarian response need go any further than simply that, either allow gays to marry or abolish the legal institution entirely, and we’ll see which solution is more politically practical.

    1. If the government didn’t have anti-discrimination laws and wasn’t into managing private businesses, the stakes wouldn’t be so high. Most people object to gay marriage because they figure it is the first step to making it illegal to object to homosexuality in the private context.

      1. I’m pretty sure we still have the First Amendment in the US. I mean, there are a ton of completely irrational fears out there which lead to things like the COMPLETELY unnecessary “religious liberty” protections in NY even though no church has EVER been forced to marry anyone and could never be forced to do so.

        As for a business like Catholic Charities I have absolutely no problem with them operating with discriminatory policies – as long as they don’t do it on the tax payer’s dime. I think private businesses should be allowed to discriminate in pretty much whatever way they way, I don’t think any entity subsidized by the government should be able to.

        1. “way they want”

        2. People do not want “gay” turned into a protected class like race or gender. And that is what most gay rights activists want. If they would drop that and just concentrate on marriage, they would get farther.

          1. I want “gay” to be treated very much like race and gender – that is, I don’t believe in the concept of protected classes but since race, gender, religion, etc are protected classes I don’t understand the rationale for it NOT being included.

            So I guess until the world comes to my way of thinking about protected classes and hate crime laws (aka thought crimes) I’d rather side on including sexual orientation since it seems to fit the criteria they based the other categories on.

            1. I am not disagreeing with you. All I am saying is that if we hadn’t created protected classes, this wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

              1. I think the majority of opponents of gay marriage (and gay rights in general) are more concerned on religious grounds than about the technical issue of whether or not sexual orientation should be a protected class. That’s actually a rather niche issue I think to most people.

                Really, if you asked most people what the big gay rights issues are they would probably say marriage, military service, and adoption. some might have heard of fairly terrible laws like ENDA but that’s more for the politically interested than the average. That’s not what moves the needle on marriage.

        3. I’m pretty sure we still have the First Amendment in the US.

          And I’m pretty sure it means fuckall when protected classes are involved.

        4. http://americaswatchtower.com/…..imination/

          um… yeah… it’s true that they haven’t “forced” any churches to perform gay marriage, just like they don’t “force” you to pay income tax.

          the religious protection was needed because of how willing activist judges are to trample all over our bill of rights.

          I want gay people to have the right to get married. I also want businesses to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone it sees fit.

          If the church i frequented told me that they wouldn’t marry me to my wife because she’s older than me, and that’s just weird, well, I wouldn’t be going to that church anymore.

          Remember how Martin Luther King was a positive force on the civil rights movement, and Malcolm X was a negative force? gay activists are acting the same. Dan Savage and Perez Hilton will turn more people against gay rights than he will convince. They could take some cues from Elton, Ellen, and John Edwards. What? John Edwards isn’t gay? you’re shitting me, right?

          1. How was Malcolm X a “negative” force again?

            1. Because he advocated violence in defense of civil rights, versus MLK’s peaceful resistance, a la “I believe it’s a crime for anyone being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself.”

              I tend to think that’s a realistic approach, but it wasn’t as ‘press-friendly’ as MLK’s sit-ins and marches.

      2. Which is the exact equivalent of bitching that you don’t have the right to object to black people in a private context.

        You will always be free to think whatever you want, you just don’t have a right to make government endorse your views, especially when they come at the expense of someone else’s equal rights.

      3. The KKK is still free to speak and march…

    2. “Be treated equally under the law.”

      They are. WHat you want is for them to recieve a benefit they’ve never had before, and yet you insist on lying by calling it “equality”.

      A man can’t marry a man, sexual preference is IRRELEVANT.

      A woman can’t marry a woman, sexual preference is IRRELEVANT.

      Stop pretending you can claim it’s about equality, that shit only works on morons.

      And if we’re being honest, it is EXACTLY that kind of disingenuous stupidity that makes people like me actually care about this.

      I’d get the fuck out of the way if you’d just stop lying about what you want.

      1. Gayness is a psychologic disorder.

        1. No… but your homophobia is. 🙂

      2. A heterosexual man is free to legally marry the woman he *loves and is sexually attracted to*. A heterosexual woman is free to legally marry the man she *loves and is sexually attracted to*. A homosexual man outside of the aforementioned exceptions is not free to marry the man he *loves and is sexually attracted to*. A homosexual woman outside of teh aforementioned exceptions is not free to marry the woman she *loves and is sexually attracted to*.

        And there is you main problem. It is not equal, you can’t even pretend it is, all you can do is deny that what they are looking for is in fact equal rights and stick your fingers in yours ears and start ranting ‘la la la I’m not listening!!!’. This is a matter of the 14th Amendments Equal Protection clause. Marriage in the civil sense comes with legal protections. To deny those same legal protections to the relationship should they want it of a couple for the arbitrary reason of their sexual orientation violates the 14th Amendment. The only conceivable reason opponents of same sex marriage come up with, because the rest of their bogus arguments have been debunked and discredited, is religion. That they want to use their religion to violate the rights of others flies in the face of the 1st Amendments protection of an individuals religious liberty.

        It’s a funny thing, because so many otherwise conservative people like to claim they are all about the Constitution… until it inconveniently it gets in the way of having the government endorse and promote their religious ideology. A Constitutional Conservative should be able to look at same sex couples and champion their 14th Amendment right to be Equally Protected under the law, even if they do not agree with what they do with that right because its not hurting anyone else or violating anyone elses rights – the same exact way you can support another individuals right to freely speak their mind even when you vehemently disagree with the content of the speech they spew.

        Otherwise, you’re just another hypocrit hiding behind your hatred and coming up with illogical justifications for why you should be legally allowed to violate another citizen’s rights.

        1. “To deny those same legal protections to the relationship should they want it of a couple for the arbitrary reason of their sexual orientation violates the 14th Amendment.”

          There is no violation of the 14th amendment because homsexual relationships are not equivalent to heterosexual ones. The distinction made between these kind of relationships is relevent to what marriage is intended to provide structure to. Calling the distinction arbitrary is just willful ignorance on your part. Limiting marriage to opposite sex couples violates no one’s rights as the law does not discriminate based on orientation but on what a heterosexual couple can do together that homosexual couples cannot.

          1. The legal protections that come with marriage cover far more than simple procreation.

            Same sex couples can and do successfully raise adopted children, and when stable and loving its proven just as safe and stable as loving heterosexual households, and far better than unstable or abusive heterosexual households.

            Marriage also legally protects heterosexual couples who are infertile or otherwise incapable or do not choose to procreate.

            Either way, the Supreme Court will be the ultimate arbiter of that, don’t be surprised to find yourself wrong.

            1. No matter what happens at the SCOTUS I will not find myself wrong, the court will be in error, just as they have benn in error on many things, like Dred Scott and Kelo.

              1. I can at least agree with you on those two, but they would not be wrong on this unless they somehow deem it ok for States to unequally protect just certain kinds of undesireable people under the law just because some people don’t like them.

        2. just playing devil’s advocate here…

          if I fall in love with a woman who already has a husband, even if she loves me back, we cannot get married.

          in fact, I’m pretty sure that there’s no mention of “love” or even “attraction” in the legal definition.

          1. Hey, if that husband and wife are cool with you joining their marriage and you are all consenting adults, I’m fine with it, and the State should be too if that’s the contractual arrangement you want to set up between the 3 of you. If all 3 of you do not consent, say the husband objects, then you’d need to work it out between the 3 of you, she’s still free to leave and go marry you. Or he’s free to leave her too, especially if he isn’t happy she violated their previous contractual arrangement (assuming fidelity was part of it).

            Either the State should stay out of it entirely, or we shouldn’t be getting in the way of what consenting adults agree to with each other.

  5. “You’d work it out as a private contract. Some hospitals would say we allow same-sex couples; others would say no.”

    Because when you get in a horrific car accident you can pick and choose what hospital you go to and make sure you get the tolerant one? Yeah, that’ll work. Especially in bigoted towns where you might not even find a single hospital willing to take that stand.

    1. And hospitals that only allow a person’s spouse as opposed to friend or girlfriend or whatever are a fucking jackalope. Show me a real case of this happening in the last ten years.

      1. Here’s your jackalope..

        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05…..9well.html

        1. In that case, they wouldn’t even let the women’s kids see her. That appears to be a case of the hospital not letting anyone see the person. Fail.

          1. You ignored the other case in Washington to which your lame excuse doesn’t apply. Fail.

            1. “You ignored the other case in Washington to which your lame excuse doesn’t apply. ”

              The suit was dismissed because the idiot who filed it was asked to leave BECAUSE VISITING HOURS WERE OVER.

              You lose.

    2. And for the record I’m down for the get the state out of marriage position, but there’s some things that are a bit unworkable as purely freedom of association matters. They shouldn’t be allowed to ignore a power of attorney type contract just because of some personal preference.

      1. I don’t think they can or do. I am aware of no state that has any laws regarding who one can give a healthcare power of attorney or living will to. Maybe RC could enlighten us. But I can’t imagine the kind of liability a hospital would incur if it ignored such a thing.

        1. There is a specific law about this in Texas but it does not limit who you can assign the power to. So even though gay marriage is against the Texas constitution, as long as you have done the paper work on that particular issue a gay couple would have the same rights as a married straight couple (or unmarried straight couple).

          1. So to clarify, it would only be an issue if you have assigned it to nobody in which it automatically goes spouse/kids/parents/closet living relative or something like that. It sucks that “spouse” can’t be your gay partner but it is easily correctable.

            1. Cry more mary.

              1. Wow, so mature. You must be like what, 13?

  6. What about giving gays gun permits? What? The government shouldn’t be involved in the issue? Well good Lordy, I agree, but until that glorious day…

    1. Is there a box for sexual orientation on the form? I don’t remember it from when I got my CHL.

      1. No, but they ask if you have a mental illness, which, if as a man your spouse has a crank, may well be true.

        1. Oh noes!!! Teh Gays!!!!1!!11!!!

  7. So we’re redefining words now?

    Great, words mean nothing anymore since they’re apparently subjective.

    1. Words and language change over time? Well I never!

      1. “Words and language change over time?”

        None of which has anything to do with ignoring the known and accepted definition and still intentionally misusing it.

        There’s a reason assholes like you never try to extend that stupid argument beyond your moronically sarcastic reply, it’s because there is no argument, you’re just wrong.

        1. Whammmbulance

          1. “Whammmbulance”

            Sorry, didn’t mean to make you cry, toughen up a little mary.

          2. Um, that’s “whaaaaaaaaambulance”, jesus, if you’re gonna troll…

        2. Yeah, I literally die of shame for my country when people intentionally misuse a word with a good and accepted definition that they know or should know is wrong. I just literally die of shame.

          Why, it would be like someone claiming to be a conservative who was *for* making broad, overreaching changes in the powers of the state on an ill-considered whim, for that matter.

    2. Well since marriage was originally a contract entered into between a man and a woman’s father/elder family member, I think the fucking definition has been changed a little over the centuries.

      Unless women are still chattel. In which case, carry on.

  8. The problem here is that the “Gay Rights” people don’t want equality, and they don’t want benefits, they want an offical stamp of approval on their lifestyle.
    I worked for Bank of America back in the 90’s (proud cog in the corporate machine!) when activists were pushing them to recognize ‘domestic partners’ on thier insurance plans. BofA went a step farther, they basicall said that their employees could cover anyone they wanted (spouse, domestic partner, sibling, family member, roommate). They proudly unvieled thier capitulation and sense of equality, only to have the same Gay Rights protesters double their protests. Why? Becuase they want to be recognized as special, just like marriage, not just given all the same rightds and benefits along with everyone else…
    It’s the same reason they hate domestic partnership laws, even though in some cases (most) they are actually superior to marriage. Actually, I wish I could divorce my wife and get a domestic partnership, we’d have all the same rights and benefits without the additional tax burden. But I can’t, because the Gay Rights lobby made damn sure that it ONLY applies to SAME SEX couples.

    1. And yet the core issue is a respect for the Constitutional 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause Rights. You can try and spin and obfuscate the issue however you want, but at the core is the fact that using something arbitrary like their sexual orientation to deliberately deny them equal protection under the law (since civil marriage comes with legal protections), then you are violating their Constitutional rights.

      1. Yes, and BofA was giving the EXACT SAME rights to everyone regardless of orientation. ANY employee could cover ANY other person they wanted. Friends, family members, whatever.
        How is that unequal? Oh yeah, it isn’t.

        As for marriage, as it stands right now everyone has to go ask the Government, pretty please, may be please get married. Here’s our money, may we please marry now?
        And the government is free to say no. No, because you want to marry someone of the wrong gender. No, you’re already married and you can only marry once. No, you’re related. No, your check bounced. Etc…
        Sorry, that’s not a right.

        We can solve the whole damn mess by getting the government out of the marriage business entirely, and then everyone will be free to “marry” whomever or whatever they damn well please.

        1. That works for me too. If there is no legally recognized contract that comes with legal protections by the government, then that also satisfies the 14th.

          I’m not sure that will work for currently protected heterosexual married couples and thus it would be a non-starter and unrealistic. But it would work on a technical level if it were achievable. However, I think realistically expanding the coverage to consenting homosexual adults who wish to enter into the contract is the more realistic scenario that also satisfies the 14th.

          But either way…

    2. “The problem here is that the “Gay Rights” people don’t want equality, and they don’t want benefits, they want an offical stamp of approval on their lifestyle.”

      Wow, and here I thought ascribing universal motives, beliefs and attitudes on an entire diverse group of people was called collectivism — something libertarians are supposed to abhor.

  9. Honestly, you don’t need to look to the Bible or Deepak Chopra for all of life’s answers. No, you don’t.

    Just find out what positions the cool people at the DC cocktail parties support, and let those be your values. I mean, duh!

    If you’re gonna get bullied into supporting positions that increase the power of government all the while calling yourself a LIBERTARIAN (scare caps intentional!), then you might as well swill down a few Appletinis. Am I right? Huh? Huh? Am I cool and popular now?

    Maybe Shepherd Fairey can rip off someone else’s work when doing my signature headshot! Do I dare to dream?! **sigh**

    1. Re: Holy Cow,

      Just find out what positions the cool people at the DC cocktail parties support, and let those be your values. I mean, duh!

      Let me ask you what would you prefer: Going to a DC cocktail party to learn the recent and accepted rituals, or having them shoved down your throat by Big Aggressive-Murdering-Thieving Government?

  10. Wow… Tony should’ve been here minutes ago!

    Must be stuck in traffic.

  11. But what’s really important here is to add more confusion into society.

    Certainly being ingrained with the notion that there is no difference between the sexes (because the issue is not about homosexuality but rather gender) will have no discernible impact on society whatsoever. No, not at all. Nope.

    Anyway, it’s pretty fucking hilarious to see within the span of 30 years the entire world be bullied into supporting this leftwing nonsense.

    ‘Cause that’s all this is. It’s part of the leftwing nanny-state tyrannical noise machine, but with a hip and cosmopolitan feel to it.

    1. WTF does this have to do with ignoring differences between genders? It’s about adults forming consenting relationships as they see fit, not according to government fiat.

      1. “It’s about adults forming consenting relationships as they see fit”

        Ah, you’re a “Big Love” fan then.

        And again, why do gays feel entitled to marry anyone they want just because they want to?

        1. As I said above, gayness is a psychologic disorder.

          1. …and it’s still no more than a sign of your homophobia. Which *is* a mental disorder.

          2. What is this, 1955?

            I imagine you’re not used to reading up on psychology, but homosexuality hasn’t been classified a ‘disorder’ for almost forty years now.

            But go ahead – sail on, ignorant homophobe.

        2. They have a right to be Equally Protected under the law according to our supreme law of the land the U.S. Constitution as per the 14th Amendment. Heterosexual couples may marry the man or woman they are sexually attracted to and love. Homosexual couples may not. That is not equal. And because marriage comes with legal protections under the law, denying homosexual couples that ability violates their rights. Trying to justify violating that right based on a flimsy excuse of getting the government to promote and endorse your own religion against the 1st Amendment at their expense is just assinine.

          1. There is nothing a straight person is legally entitled to do that a gay person is not. End of story.

            1. Not true, I was free to marry my wife who I loved and was sexually attracted to.

              Homosexual couples are not, at least not yet in many parts of the country. That’s a huge difference.

            2. “There is nothing a straight person is legally entitled to do that a gay person is not.”

              Straight guy meets someone while vacationing in France. Falls in love with her. Wants her to move back to America with him. Marries her in a quick legal ceremony in France, applies for a visa the same day, and she has a green card with full residency in the USA three months after they met for the first time.

              He can get it even if he’s not got a very good income, steady job or much in the way of assets. Hell, he can even put her and himself on welfare after arrival.

              Gay guy meets someone in France. Falls in love with him. May not, under any circumstances, get his new love a visa to reside in — or often even enter — the country.

              Even if the gay man is a millionaire capable of supporting himself and his new spouse, or has been with his foreign partner for decades overseas, he cannot get a green card for him.

              So that’s just one example of thousands that disprove your silly contention.

        3. “why do gays feel entitled to marry anyone they want just because they want to”

          Why not?

          Straight people feel entitled to marry anyone they want just because they want to, after all.

    2. Re: Holy Cow,

      Anyway, it’s pretty fucking hilarious to see within the span of 30 years the entire world be bullied into supporting this leftwing nonsense.

      You don’t have to support it. In fact, one sholdn’t have to support any of it: Marriage, civil unions, whatever. The point being made is that the government should not be in the business of defining what marriage is; it’s like defining what fun is and then prescribing roller coaster rides for everyone but not book club readings: You would create a whole new underclass of underground book readers demanding equality.

      When the government gets into the game of defining stuff, it purports to become the definer of reality – sorry, but nobody can be that clever.

      1. What makes you think you can’t form any type of relationship you want, and call it whatever you want including marriage, now? The only thing at issue are legal rights. You want to take rights away from married people, fine. Convince the straights to go first.

        Besides, I don’t see how churches defining marriage solely is preferable to having a legal definition.

    3. What’s confusing about two consenting adults forming a marriage contract?

      1. What’s confusing about civil unions being equivalent?

        What’s confusing about the obviousness of Gays using marriage as a stamp of societal approval, then lying about it?

        What’s confusing about people who have no dog in the fight getting pissed because Gays think they can lie about their motivations to of fucking faces then expect our help for them to get what they feel entitled to?

        What, you think you get to lie to me and then expect my help? FUCK YOU.

        1. Whammmbulance

          1. Whammmbulance

            Sorry, didn’t mean to make you cry, toughen up a little mary.

          2. “Whammmbulance”

            Why am I not surprised you resort to crying when you have no refutation.

          3. “Whammmbulance”

            Why am I not surprised you resort to crying when you have no refutation.

        2. Excuse the fuck out of gays for being motivated to be accepted as full citizens in their own country.

          That’s not something you have to worry about, probably. So it doesn’t matter if gays murder your entire family, they still have rights under the constitution.

        3. “What’s confusing about civil unions being equivalent?”

          There is nothing confusing about it. They are not equal. We settled that separate but equal bs a long time ago. The only reason to make it separate is to make it inherently unequal. Try again.

        4. If civil unions were equal, you would have a valid point, but a lot of states won’t even let people enter into that kind of contract.

        5. I am *all for* government marriage for gay people being “called something different.”

          Of course, to be consistent, we’ll have to call taxes something different. And every other government operation.

          If I’m going to be segregated by the government, it had better be 100% across the board in everything. If you’re going to charge me taxes at gunpoint and talk to me about my “responsibility to fund society,” then you’d better fucking include me in your “society.”

  12. “If they redefine marriage to include gays, that doesn’t diminish my marriage. ”

    Yes, actually, it does. That you’re not bright enough to see how says everything we need to know about you.

    1. …thank god I’m secure enough in my heterosexuality and in my marriage that I don’t have to worry about it being diminished by the actions of others over whom I have no control, like the above poster.

      1. WOW, thank god I’ve got the proper number of chromosomes and enough intelligence to see how marriage as a whole is diminished by broadening its definition, unlike the irrational asshole above who thinks that old “you’re insecure” trope still works.

        1. Whammmbulance

          1. Whammmbulance

            Sorry, didn’t mean to make you cry, toughen up a little mary.

          2. I want it I WANT IT I WANT IT!!!!

        2. Gays do not take any credit whatsoever for the behavior of straight people. Fix your own fucking corner of the “institution.”

          1. You really had a hard time of it when you came out didn’t you.

            Really, we are all sorry.

        3. You certainly sound insecure in your manhood and sexuality.

      2. “I’m secure enough in my heterosexuality and in my marriage that I don’t have to worry about it being diminished by the actions of others”

        By the way fuckwit, who said anything about “worried”? It’s hilarious that you automatically assume someone is “worried” or not “secure” just because you don’t have enough insight to see how marriage can be diminished.

      3. thank god I’m secure enough in my heterosexuality and in my marriage

        The only people who make those claims are people who don’t actually feel that way.

      4. thank god I’m secure enough in my heterosexuality and in my marriage that I don’t have to worry

        Thank god I’m secure enough in my sexuality and marriage that I don’t have to trumpet it as a pathetic defense of my position.

    2. Your assertion without evidence or even explanation suddenly makes me see things in a new way.

      Oh, wait, no, it doesn’t.

    3. (on gay marriage “diminishing” hetero marriage) “Yes, actually, it does. That you’re not bright enough to see how says everything we need to know about you.”

      So? Care to lay it out for us poor, not-very-bright types?

      I’m seriously very curious. I mean, if Joe and Ralph being married diminish my marriage, doesn’t it diminish my marriage when anyone who has made an error, comitted a sin, or otherwise earned your disapproval marries?

      Personally, it seems quite clear to me that the only people who can diminish my marriage(s) are myself and my marriage partner(s).

      But as I said, I’m one of those not-too-bright types, so lemme know what I missed, please.

    4. Please, enlighten me as to how two men (notice I didn’t put the gay qualifier on there) getting married diminishes my marriage more than Britney Spears and Fucktard #1 getting married in a drive thru wedding chapel by Elvis.

  13. Why do gays feel entitled to marry someone just because they want to?

    1. Especially since Gayness is a psychologic disorder.

      1. You seem to be confused, or using an old outdated and now irrelevant piece of information. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has not classified this as a psychological disorder in a long time. If you enjoy using outdated scientific knowledge and medical research however, you can always try to cure all your ills with leeches.

        1. Yes, activists bullied and cajoled the APA into removing it from the DSM. Doesn’t mean it isn’t still a disorder.

          That said, I still don’t care if they want to marry each other. Crazy people marry each other every day, have you ever watched COPS?

          1. “activists bullied and cajoled the APA into removing it from the DSM”

            Wow, the appeal to authority defense. Government-approved, licensing authority. A very libertarian argument if I ever heard it — right up there with “the AMA supports government-sponsored single-payer health care.”

  14. Marriage has meant so many things over the years, much of which has little to do with honoring a commitment between two people. Its a method of passing ownership of a woman from her father to her husband. Its a way for the government to control who does what, who gets what, who pays what. Its a big business where companies make craploads of money because people pay far more attention to dresses and appetizers and open bars than they do to a human commitment.

    Flat-tax all Americans, stop making marriage licenses a revenue stream for the state, let gays and straights formalize their relationships freely and let individual churches and denominations decide who they do or don’t want to perform ceremonies for.

    Its so goddamn simple even my dog could understand it.

    1. Jesus Christ. Someone can actually think coherently about this issue.

      “Its a method of passing ownership of a woman from her father to her husband. Its a way for the government to control who does what, who gets what, who pays what.”

      Why some gays obsess over the “right” to call their relationship “marriage” will always baffle me.

      They are only hurting their own cause. Fucking grow up.

      1. “Why some gays obsess over the “right” to call their relationship “marriage” will always baffle me.”

        Tell you what — go have your spouse deported because you’re “not legally married,” or have your assets seized because “you’re not legally married,” or have your spouse’s medical decisions made by an aunt over your objection because “you’re not married,” or be denied the ability to arrange your spouse’s funeral arrangements “because you’re not married,” and perhaps you’ll begin to understand.

  15. For a thoughtful libertarian discussion on this issue, try Steven Horwitz’s recent piece in The Freeman: http://www.thefreemanonline.or…..iberalism/

    I have to say, I think less of Reason with every banal Stossel article they publish.

    1. That was a really good article, thanks for posting it.

  16. In the article, the anti-gay-marriage person actually came up with specific arguments about how govt-recognized SSM will hurt people: First, the government schools in some of these states are teaching kids that SSM is OK, and if their parents disagree they’re bigots. That seems to affect straight parents. Also, some of these states are closing down adoption agencies for preferring traditional adoptive families. That affects children.

    Harsanyi acknowledges that these things are happening, but that they *shouldn’t* be happening. The answer to SSM propaganda in schools is adopting full-bore school choice, so that *no* parent will have to send their kids to schools which mock their values. The answer to closing adoption agencies is deregulation, so adoption agencies can follow their own policies.

    That’s all very well, but right now we don’t have full-bore school choice and adoption deregulation. We have kids getting their parents’ values mocked, and poor parents (thanks to government policy) unable to pull their kids out of these schools. We have adoption agencies being closed for doing what they’ve always been doing, and following the policies they’ve always been following.

    All that Harsanyi can say in reply to these things is “that shouldn’t happen.” But it *does* happen.

    1. Re the public schools, imagine a kid coming home from school and telling his libertarian parents: “Today I learned that evil fascist bigots like you want to deregulate everything and spoil our glorious socialist paradise.” And assume the parents don’t have to money to move out or go to another school. That bites!

      1. I see your point, but I’d sincerely like to see the material he is referencing. I don’t recall being taught anything about marriage, period, in elementary school, let along about what marriages are “ok” or not. And teaching that gay marriage is legal =/= teaching that ones parents are bigots, anymore than a line which states that alcohol is legal is equivalent to stating that people who choose not to drink are fascists.

        I’ve just heard too much hyperbole bullshit from both sides in this to automatically trust any claims at face value like the ones this guy is making.

        1. H&R noted the situation with Catholic Charities in Illinois:

          https://reason.com/blog/2011/08…..-discrimin

          Also, you can Google this article from the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy (I don’t think they’re a Religious Right publication): “Caught in the Crossfire: How Catholic Charities of Boston Was Victim to the Clash
          Between Gay Rights and Religious Freedom.” In addition to discussing the situation in Massachusetts, the article says:

          ‘Everyone is beginning to understand that the effects could go beyond just 501(c)(3) status. Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress [which opposes the Religious Right] acknowledges and warns that legal recognition of same-sex marriage will make clashes with religious liberty “inevitable.” He points to “schools, health care centers, social service agencies, summer camps, homeless shelters, nursing homes, orphanages, retreat houses, community centers, athletic programs and private businesses or services that operate by religious standards, like kosher caterers and marriage counselors.” Institutions not only face tax consequences, but in so many areas of government interference and regulation where a religious institution can face
          a penalty for not conforming to public policy. Learning from the patchwork
          pattern of religious exemptions in other arenas such as abortion rights, religious conservatives understand that they cannot depend on a guarantee of exemptions to protect their religious freedom.’

          And an archived article from gay.com:

          The article mentions ‘David Parker’s arrest last year for refusing to leave the Estabrook campus when officials would not exclude his 6-year-old son from discussions of same-sex parents. Parker was upset after his son brought home a “diversity book bag” that included “Who’s In The Family?”, a book showing children from different types of families, including one with two fathers.’

          The article also mentions a lawsuit:

          ‘In their lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston, David and Tonia Parker and Joseph and Robin Wirthlin claim school officials broke state law and violated their civil rights by “indoctrinating” their children in a lifestyle they consider immoral.

          ‘The Wirthlins complained after a teacher read “King and King,” a storybook about two princes who fall in love, to their son’s second-grade class without notifying them in advance.’

          http://web.archive.org/web/200…..06/04/28/3

          1. “last year” means a year before the article.

          2. I was speaking of the schools in particular; I’m aware of the Catholic charities deal. Far as I’m concerned, the state can discriminate against who it does business with if it wants. Hyperbolic example: if the state decided to stop patronizing a business run by the Klan, I don’t think anyone would be upset. Now, if they refused to allow the Catholic charity to operate (i.e. denied them a license) based on that, I’d be up in arms.

            The school thing seems overblown. I’d definitely have reservations about the “King and King” book since it focuses on that topic exclusively (which is creepy; again, I don’t remember ever even discussing such things at that age), but as to the other one, seeing a picture in a book of a family with two fathers along with many other pictures of different families =/= “Being gay is awesome and your parents are bigots if they disagree”. I’m sure it showed families of different races as well, and that might well offend someone who wants to raise their child as a racist (I don’t want my children being taught that interracial marriages are OK). Just another example, along with the evolution v. creationism, as to why there shouldn’t be state schools, period.

          3. Also, is that happening everywhere SSM has been legalized, or is it a lone example? Would gay marriage not being legal somehow have prevented the teacher from presenting those books to her class, or would she have done it no matter what the law was, because she’s into lefty agitprop?

            1. The difference is that there’s no legal basis for stopping that teacher. Her lefty agitprop is the public policy of the state.

              A public policy so important, that the government put a man in prison rather than exempt his son from the “lefty agitprop.” Notice that they *didn’t* say, “OK, we’re libertarians, you have school choice, you can decide for yourself how your kid should be educated. Or you can get a tax credit to send the kid to a more traditional school.” No, they sent him to *jail.*

              What if they had propaganda sessions in the public schools teaching that the New Deal was a perfectly valid way to organize a society-and rather than give you choice in the matter, they put you in prison?

              The question is whether the kid’s parents object, not whether an outsider sympathetic to the curriculum would object.

              1. And I’ll reprint the quote from the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy to show that this isn’t just a problem with one state:

                “‘Everyone is beginning to understand that the effects could go beyond just 501(c)(3) status. Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress [which opposes the Religious Right] acknowledges and warns that legal recognition of same-sex marriage will make clashes with religious liberty “inevitable.” He points to “schools, health care centers, social service agencies, summer camps, homeless shelters, nursing homes, orphanages, retreat houses, community centers, athletic programs and private businesses or services that operate by religious standards, like kosher caterers and marriage counselors.” Institutions not only face tax consequences, but in so many areas of government interference and regulation where a religious institution can face
                a penalty for not conforming to public policy. Learning from the patchwork
                pattern of religious exemptions in other arenas such as abortion rights, religious conservatives understand that they cannot depend on a guarantee of exemptions to protect their religious freedom.'”

                1. From an article in the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy:

                  “A wedding photographer in New Mexico became the target of successful legal action when she refused to provide photography services at a same-sex wedding ceremony. In a case that has become a poster child for the movement against same-sex marriage, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights ruled that the state’s public accommodation law prohibited a Methodist organization that operated a boardwalk pavilion, held open for events by people of all faiths, from excluding a same-sex commitment ceremony.”

                  http://www.law.northwestern.ed…..index.html

                  1. What if they had propaganda sessions in the public schools teaching that the New Deal was a perfectly valid way to organize a society-and rather than give you choice in the matter, they put you in prison?

                    Um, they already do that. The New Deal is taught in most public schools as being the savior of America, and if you don’t let you kids go to school, well, you know what happens.

                    The quote you reprinted above is meaningless; it’s a guy warning about what he’s afraid might happen. I hear that all the time, from anybody with any axe to grind. As to the NM thing, that is bad. If the Methodists owned / had rental rights to use that pavillion (and said rental rights were silent on equal treatment of patrons), then that should absolutely be opposed. Of course, that still doesn’t convince me that the correct answer to that injustice, is to continue to perpetuate other injustices (i.e. not allowing gays to enjoy equal marriage rights, whether called civil unions, or whatever. A lot of people scream “they have civil unions, why do they have to call it marriage!”, but in reality, several states prohibit civil unions as well in an effort to deny gay equality under the law entirely. I personally would be OK with civil unions).

                    1. Cool . . . just sayin’ that if you’re wedded to gay marriage, you’ll have to deal with their statist in-laws.

                    2. “The quote you reprinted above is meaningless; it’s a guy warning about what he’s afraid might happen. I hear that all the time, from anybody with any axe to grind.”

                      The people making these predictions are the author of an article in a legal gender-studies journal and an official at the American Jewish Congress – they’re not Religious Right figures, but supporters of separating church and state. Their predictions are not off-the-cuff, but based on what is actually happening in the world. The AJC keeps tabs on religious-freedom developments, see

                      http://www.ajcongress.org/site…..us_freedom

                  2. “In a case that has become a poster child for the movement against same-sex marriage, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights ruled that the state’s public accommodation law prohibited a Methodist organization that operated a boardwalk pavilion, held open for events by people of all faiths, from excluding a same-sex commitment ceremony.”

                    Let’s flip this on its ear. Suppose it was a Wiccan group denying access to a Christian organization. Would they sue?

                    Oh yes they would. And they’d crow about the judgment.

                    The anti-gay righties are not interested in “free association.” They’re interested in free association for THEMSELVES and total government control over others.

          4. Catholic Charities aren’t being told they “cannot be an adoption agency anymore.”

            Rather, it’s a fight over MONEY. Catholic Charities wants to receive taxpayer funds to sponsor its activities, and the gummint is telling them “no taxpayer funds unless you also allow gay people to adopt.”

            Considering the fact that Catholic Charities is extracting considerable sums from the bank accounts of gay citizens too, it’s completely reasonable to mandate that CC will provide services to gay people too in exchange for tax cash — or give up access to the tax cash in exchange for its religious convictions.

            CC wants it both ways (as is usual for government-dependent institutions like religious “charities”) — steal from gay citizens, yet then point to “moral beliefs” in denying them services.

    2. We have kids getting their parents’ values mocked,
      oh cry me a river, this has always been the case, it was when i was a kid, it was before i was a kid.
      Parents are, by definition, a generation behind, and don’t have the same values as their kids. your kids will almost always be more libertarian and more accepting of others than you will, and that’s a good thing.

      1. Or maybe possibly people only become tolerant of different things and intolerant of others.

        That’s the way I see it. There are trendy cultural morals and there are moral standards. The fact that something has become popular in the last few years due to media exposure is not indicative of it being in the latter category.

        1. “There are trendy cultural morals and there are moral standards. The fact that something has become popular in the last few years due to media exposure is not indicative of it being in the latter category.”

          Sounds like what my Catholic great-grandfather screamed at my father when he learned he was planning on marrying a Jewish girl.

          He also wasn’t very pleased about my father’s black best friend, since “mixing the races is immoral.”

          1. I’m down with the swirl…

    3. I don’t think he’s so much “anti-gay-marriage” as he is “pro-marriage”. You have an interesting, if not wily, use of labels.

    4. You mean like my values that abstinence only is fucking retarded or that the government shouldn’t play favorites, or that the New Deal was a steaming pile of crap? Cause all of those get taught in school and mock me.

  17. For such and articulate man, I’m surprised at how many “arguments” John Stossel “does not get” in this transcript. Besides, there is no such thing as same sex marriage; it simply does not and cannot exist. It’s a concept which simply is not possible. One can affix a name to anything but it doesn’t make it real. Calling a sexual union between two persons of the same sex “marriage” is simply no more viable than calling a dog a “cat” or a “fish”. So I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It doesn’t matter what laws are changed, what school curriculums are altered, or what hospital visitations allow, persons of the same sex will never become “married”. At least not until gravity pulls objects away from the earth and toward the sky. The laws of nature are what they are.

    1. It’s a concept which simply is not possible.

      Not only possible, but very, very easy to wrap your mind around if you’ve ever left the farm for more than five minutes.

      What’s imaginary is Jesus. Jesus is an imaginary friend. If people can think Jesus is real and have government pat them on the back for it, then I think we can handle changing a word or two in a dictionary.

      1. Funny… he didn’t mention religion at all.

      2. My city is bigger than yours (actually not sure if I’ve ever been to a real farm). Oh well, in your land of imaginary historical figures, I wonder if you know about Abraham Lincoln, Julius Ceasar, Moses, George Washington, Thomas Edison and others? Did they teach you about these persons in school but tell you it was a personal choice whether or not you actually believe they were real? Now that’s relativism. At least now I understand where you’re coming from. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. I hope you have a fine Labor Day weekend. I won’t be checking back.

      3. It must infuriate you that he loves you, in spite of you.

    2. Marriage is not just (or always) about sex:

      http://fyngyrz.com/?p=32

  18. I now pronounce this episode “a repeat”. Liveblog: diverted.

  19. “Within five minutes of my idea coming to fruition, a whole industry would be formed with prefab legal documents that would just allow you to have the sort of relationship you want with the parameters you want legally,” Harsanyi said.

    You mean the industry of lawyering? It’s disappointing that Harsanyi lacks the balls to say something as simple as the truth: the state has no good reason to discriminate in this matter, so it shouldn’t discriminate. Waxing hypothetical about utopia is almost as pitiful as saying you’re against legal equality because of Jeebus.

    But good session Stossel.

    1. So… all opposition to gay marriage is Jeebus-based.

      Got it.

      1. You have to strain pretty hard to have a secular reason to oppose equal rights.

        1. You make it sound like the plight of gays is equal to the days of slavery.

          Then again, you do enjoys your hyperbole.

          1. You put words in my mouth and then accuse me of using hyperbole?

            It is paying taxes, after all, that is equivalent to slavery.

            1. “Waxing hypothetical about utopia is almost as pitiful as saying you’re against legal equality because of Jeebus.”

              “You have to strain pretty hard to have a secular reason to oppose equal rights.”

              I put no words in your mouth, Tony.

        2. No, you have to be smarter than you apparently. I can think of, easily, a dozen ‘secular’ reasons to be against gay marriage – an I am agnostic, so I’d have to if I wanted to oppose it. However, I am not particularly against gay marriage, I am against the government creating yet another ‘protected class’ that will soon be impossible to fire or discipline at work, be given federal hiring preference, etc.

          1. Yeah, that’s the straining I was talking about. A slippery slope toward full equality to other minorities, the horror!

            You know you can’t mistreat someone based on a protected status even if they are male, straight, and white. So, while perhaps we shouldn’t protect anyone based on criteria such as sex, race, or sexual orientation, your grievance that minorities are receiving special treatment is misplaced.

          2. “I am against the government creating yet another ‘protected class’ that will soon be impossible to fire or discipline at work, be given federal hiring preference”

            Great! Let’s make a deal. I don’t have to pay for any of the “services” from which I’m excluded, and you don’t have to recognize marriage equality.

            Except that conservatives don’t want that either. Oops.

    2. But, hey… since you want gays to have to get permission slips to get married AND hire lawyers if they divorce…

      1. I just want them to have the option.

        1. Better to expend energy on not NEEDING the option.

          That way, straight couples would have the *same* option you want just for gays.

          What’s that term… civil unions, yeah. Civil unions for ALL couples, gay or straight.

          But that would deprive you of one more whining point, Tony, and you can’t be havin’ with that.

          1. See, that would extend to male/female couples who don’t want to get married.

            Y’know… equal rights.

          2. K, convince the straights to go first. No deal otherwise.

            1. I’d like nothing better, if the only result would be for your group of people to have one less bitching point.

              But, seriously, that would be sweet. Of course, there would be some new problem that only government can solve, and liberals would still be bleating and hand-wringing over that.

              1. You can give gays equal rights and it doesn’t really cost anything. You have no reason at all to continue denying them. Can’t you at least say that equal rights is the second best option?

                1. I’m not in favor of denying gays rights. If you’d fucking read what I have proposed, several times, ALL couples would have the same level field.

                  Equal rights for gay and straight couples would be… civil unions.

    3. “It’s disappointing that Harsanyi lacks the balls to say something as simple as the truth: the state has no good reason to discriminate in this matter, so it shouldn’t discriminate.”

      The consequences of heterosexual pairings are different than homosexual pairings. Different circumstances merit different treatment. You may not like the existance or recognition of those differences, but they do exist so saying that the state should not discriminate based on them is nonsense on stilts.

      1. I said no good reason, and whatever differences you’re referring to aren’t enough to deny equal rights.

        Besides, that claim seems to be false. What are these consequences? Are they major enough to merit unequal rights?

        I don’t see how allowing more marriage harms anyone. The constitution protects equal rights, it does not protect the right to have your personal feelings enshrined in law. Especially now that you’re in the minority.

        1. “…whatever differences you’re referring to aren’t enough to deny equal rights.”

          The differences void any claims to equal rights. Unequal sistuations have no valid claim to be treated equally.

          The harm comes from treating an institution that was set up to regulate a particular situation and say that that situation is no longer relevant to the institution.

          Given how homosexuals are claiming that samesex marriage recognition validates their personhood, I’d say it is your side that is throwing a temper tantrum about having your feelings enshrined in law.

          1. If you’re straight, two consenting adults can marry for any reason. If you’re gay, you can’t. Unequal rights. It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see this as an unequal arrangement.

            1. Get rid of the marriage part, and everyone is equal.

            2. “If you’re straight, two consenting adults can marry for any reason. If you’re gay, you can’t. Unequal rights.”

              The sexual orientation of the people involved has nothing to do with whether the individual person can or cannot marry.

              “It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see this as an unequal arrangement.”

              Yes, it is unequal, because same-sex relationships have different consequences for society. They can be treated unequally because they are not equivalent.

              1. What consequences would those be? Are they more significant than those brought by divorce? Do you really care about the consequences to society, or do you care more about the consequences to the simplicity of your worldview?

  20. “If they redefine marriage to include gays, that doesn’t diminish my marriage.”

    It diminishes the societal purpose behind marraige as what the legal responsibilities of a reproductive pair. many people belive the previous undermining of this undersatnding of the purpose of marriage is what has led to high rates of divorce and unwed motherhood. Perhaps changing this does not diminsh Stossel’s marriage, but Stossel has not told us what he thinks the purpose of his marraige is.

    1. Fuck Society.

      That is all.

    2. “It diminishes the societal purpose behind marraige as what the legal responsibilities of a reproductive pair.”

      Marriage licenses have no bearing on reproduction whatsoever, and no relevance to the legal status whatsoever. My sister, who had her tubes tied, married a guy who has a vasectomy. They’ll never have children, and thus can never be a “reproductive pair,” by definition.

      Yet I don’t see crazy drooling morons on Tee Vee spouting off about how immoral and anti-societal their marriage is.

  21. “On his third point, if a state tells Catholic Charities they may not honor their beliefs and limit adoptions to straight couples, that’s a problem of Big Government, not gay marriage.”

    But the logic flows from the idea that society must accept same-sex marriage as a matter of equal rights imoposed by an arrogant court. The reason Catholic Charities does want to offer adoptions to same-sex couples is that they understand that homosexual pairings are not equivalent to heterosexual couples.

    1. Funny — Catholic Charities doesn’t want to offer adoption services to gay taxpayers, yet they’re demanding (in their lawsuit) a right to steal money from those gay taxpayers’ bank accounts to fund their “services.”

  22. “When you’re getting married, you are not thinking, ‘Wow, the government has endorsed this relationship.’ That is not very romantic.”

    The aspect of marriage that is a contract outlining the couple’s responsibilitie sto each other and the marriage’s issue are not romantic, it’s not supposed to be. What is Harsanyi’s point here? Does he even have one?

  23. We must never redefine marriage from the way that God has defined it in His Word: the union of one man and as any wives, concubines, rape victims, POW sex slaves, and bought sex slaves as he can afford to keep, all of whom must submit to him as to the Lord, and with no remarriage after a divorce between believers. How dare mere mortals presume to tamper with that holy and perfect definition.

  24. First some givens:

    1. It is a given that many if not most people tend to be happiest when in a long term relationship with another person.
    2. The government has certain tasks assigned to it (ie: ensuring property rights and proper transfers, probate, properly assessing and collecting taxes, for example.)
    3. To do it’s jobs effectively, the government has the need for certain data (who owns what? Who lives where? Who is supposed to inherit what stuff?)

    To do these, we have evolved certain legal instruments that I collectively refer to as “civil contracts”. These are examples of contracts between two individuals that the government has no direct participation in, but has a practical interest in knowing about. For example, we have wills. The government in its role as probate court needs to know about the will, and who gets what in order to do its job in an orderly and proper fashion. Marriage is in the same category. The government taxes differentially depending on marital status, and thus needs to know who is married to who in order to send those W2’s and 1040’s to the right places.

    Marriage as far as the state goes should be defined as a contract of domestic partnership between two adults who are legally allowed to sign contracts.

    They are not underage. They are not mentally impaired in some way. They are willfully signing the contract. They are not already married.

    Gay marriage problem solved.

    1. citation for #1, please.

  25. Marriage is religious…keep it out of government and back in the churches where it belongs. If there is a need for legality. First look to eliminate the legal stuff. Free people do not need to be burdened by the state.

  26. Good posts, BRM and jmac.

    1. Seconded.

      I fully believe that homosexuals are born that way.

      I also believe that (more than) a few people are born to hate (for lack of a better term) homosexuality, for whatever reason.

      I have a few friends – conservative and liberal – who really have an irrational fear of gays.

      1. I admit to feeling uneasy around gays… not fear, per se.

        I do, however, leave the hating to those who have mental problems.

  27. it had been slightly bit difficult for me to start work with it.

  28. Excellent, excellent article. Although I’ve not yet had the opportunity to read through all of the interesting comments, here’s my response:

    First: Government has no compelling interest in marriage, absent a finding of harm or neglect. Not at the federal level, and not at the state level.

    Secondly, conservative scholars like Stephen Baskerville, Warren Farrell and others are leading a growing chorus that the most direct threat to traditional marriage is not same-sex marriage, it is the incentives for divorce, (ie: Reagan’s introducing non-fault divorce, the “Best Interests of the Child” evidentiary standard, the expanded definitions of domestic violence, child support and alimony, and then federal laws which feeds the machine with things like the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act, and other federal rules laws which attempt to regulate interpersonal relationships. Farce!

    Thirdly, conservatives like Brown, Rick Santorum and others are hypocrites when they say they need to protect traditional marriage in order to safeguard parent-child bonds. If that were the case, then why don’t they seek to outlaw divorce and out-of-wedlock child births? Perhaps it is that both conservatives and liberals are afraid of the divorce issue entirely, along with being pussy-whipped by women’s groups who would scream bloody murder at modifying such laws which benefit women so much to begin with.

    Forth: The expansion of child support in the early 70s is a HUGE incentive for single women to trick men into fathering children, as child support has become such a financial windfall, using children and fathers as pawns for political gain. How many of these “conservatives” spend 20 percent of the take-home pay each week to support just one child to support their “best interests” in childrearing, but only see them on average of 3-6 times per month and call it parenting? (Didn’t think so). But it’s perfectly Ok to incentivize that with single mothers(?), all while providing single fathers with the constant threat of incarceration if they can’t play along, or choose to protest the filching of their own children. Get real.

    The same-sex marriage debate is useless fodder by the right and the left. The best remedy to all of this is to get government out of marriage (and divorce), absent compelling circumstances, and be done with it. Thank you, John Stossel, for such thoughtful commentary. We need more dialog like this.

  29. Love knows no national boundaries, regardless of gender, once fell in love, people would be numb!
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  30. Great article, and I love Harsayani’s points.

    I’d love for the government to become “marriage-blind.” Just have neutral contracts for a “trusted person”, that allows that person to visit you in the hospital. No need to associate it with marriage at all. Same with child custody, etc. Why does the marital status matter? Use private contracts to sort this out. Obviously if a child is born the mother has default custody, and whoever the mother has listed as her “trusted person” is the male guardian (or there can be a separate form for that if the mother would prefer someone different). Problem solved.

    Nobody on their marriage day thinks “Wow, the awesome government is certifying my love for my spouse. There’s no way I could have this ceremony without Big Brother giving me its stamp of approval. All hail Leviathan!”

  31. I think conservatives and libertarians err when they refer to the issue as “gay marriage.” They unwittingly concede a tremendous amount of ground when using that term. If I was on the left I would secretly be quite happy every time I saw a conservative or libertarian use it.

    But since I’m not on the left, I cringe. In my view, the issue is really about the redefinition of marriage. Calling it a redefinition is the correct viewpoint since that is what is at stake. The historical definition of marriage included two important concepts.

    1. The innate procreative abilities between men and women. No such ability exists in same sex sexual activity. This point alone makes it very clear that sexual activity between a man and a woman is not equal to sexual activity between people of the same sex.

    2. “Presumption of paternity.” This is an important and historical legal doctrine that assumes the biological connection of the father to the children, due to the husband and wife’s exclusive sexual activity, and legally attaches the woman’s husband to any children she bears in their marriage. “Presumption of paternity” will be changed to “presumption of parenthood” if marriage gets redefined, and this is not a biologically based attachment of a parent to the child, it is a purely legally based one, which is therefore subjective. It removes the legal acknowledgement of the biology of parenthood and leaves us with purely state definitions.

    OK Let’s turn the kaleidoscope and view it another way by examining the “marriage equality” argument. First, everybody has the right to marry somebody of the opposite sex and as a rule nobody is denied this right. There are, however, certain limitations on this right, such as a limitation against marrying somebody who is already married, marrying somebody too young, marrying somebody incapacitated. Notice how love is not part of this: the state makes no requirement that love be present. It is not the state’s job to judge the love component, nor is it the state’s job to provide a suitable spouse.

    Second, as mentioned above, heterosexual couplings are not equal to homosexual couplings since heterosexual couplings are the sorts of couplings required for the continuation of our species. If memory serves, the gay crowd has a somewhat derogatory term for this: breeders. So gays already know that their sexual activity is different and that it has a different result. So I am bewildered as to why they are they screaming for equality, because by their own, perhaps Freudian, admission, “breeders” are not the same as they are.

    All libertarians and conservatives should actively support traditional marriage. Traditional marriage is a guardian against the state’s encroachment into people’s lives.

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