Gay Marriage

The Non-Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage

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Photo credit: Michael Holden / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

For a long time, many opponents of same-sex marriage relied on a non-argument to defend their position: Asked why they opposed letting gays marry, one of most common responses was something to the effect of "I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman." The problem was that this didn't tell you why the legal definition of marriage should be limited to one man and one woman. It was not really an argument at all; it was a restatement of the original position.

The lack of an argument didn't matter very much when the public was also overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage. But as public support has shifted, and legal challenges to the marriage status quo have worked their way through the court system, a handful of same-sex marriage opponents have attempted to actually defend their opposition. They still don't have much of a case.

To the extent that they have an argument, the one they have settled on is that marriage is fundamentally about bearing and raising children. As Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who chairs the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, told USA Today last week, "To legalize marriage between two people of the same sex would enshrine in the law the principle that mothers and fathers are interchangeable or irrelevant, and that marriage is essentially an institution about adults, not children."

That is a strained argument given how many marriages are already essentially, even fundamentally, "about adults" rather than children. Marriage requires two adults; it does not require any children, or even any desire or plans for children. We do not prohibit infertile couples from marrying, nor do we outlaw marriages between senior citizens who are unlikely to produce or raise offspring. Young, fertile couples are not required by the state to have children; even if a couple publicly states its intention not to reproduce, they are still just as eligible to marry as if they intended to outbreed the Duggars.

Cordileone recognizes that there are exceptions, but says that we should note that "when a man and woman cannot have children together, that's an accident of circumstances, the exception to the rule." Yet cannot is not the same as do not. Not all childless married couples are childless by accident; many make the joint decision not to reproduce, or even to disable their own reproductive capabilities—and yet they, unlike gays, are still allowed to marry.

Even ignoring that, however, Cordileone's argument doesn't hold up. He seems to think that infertile married couples are the exception that proves the need for a one man/one woman rule; to me they are the exception that proves the opposite-sex rule isn't necessary. If an infertile male-female couple should be entitled to a legal recognition of a marriage that can, without adoption, only be "about adults," then the impossibility of bearing children is not a very good reason to prohibit legally recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples in the same situation.

And what's to say that prohibiting gay marriage would stave off the rise of a more adult-centric view of marriage anyway? As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat pointed out over the weekend, attitudes about marriage are already rapidly changing. Americans, he writes, "are less likely to see children as important to marriage and less likely to see marriage as important to childbearing (the generation gap on gay marriage shows up on unwed parenting as well) than even in the very recent past."  

And for that, Douthat suggests, we can probably blame gay marriage.

Photo credit: Dunechaser / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Carefully noting that correlation is not causation, he nonetheless strongly implies that the shift was partially caused by the rise of gay-marriage as a cause and the many proponents of same-sex unions who dismissed the "procreative understanding" understanding of marriage.

But if there is a causal relationship here, it may well be that it is actually the reverse—that evolving attitudes about marriage as we already know it helped pave the way for acceptance of marriage between same-sex couples. Americans began to experiment with a looser, freer marriage culture—one that emphasized individual adult happiness over traditional social rules and expectations, and one that coincided with couples (even religious couples) having fewer children—decades before gay marriage entered the popular discussion. It seems just as likely, then, that newfound attitudes about gay marriage are the byproduct of changes in attitudes about straight marriage than the other way around.

There's a larger question here as well, which is: So what? If Americans continue their shift to a more adult-centric view of marriage, and allow gays to marry in the process, would that really be so bad? Tellingly, Douthat does not detail the specific harms that might come as a result of such a shift—except to note the presence of the shift itself. Instead, he writes that "a more honest, less triumphalist case for gay marriage would be willing to concede that, yes, there might be some social costs to redefining marriage. It would simply argue that those costs are too diffuse and hard to quantify to outweigh the immediate benefits of recognizing gay couples' love and commitment."

I would not say that there will necessarily be social "costs" to legally recognizing same sex marriages, but I agree there will probably be an array of social changes and ripple effects, some obvious but most relatively subtle. It's also likely that we won't successfully predict all of these changes in advance. But that is not a reason to specifically fear same-sex marriage; it's just a generalized fear of unknown social change.

It's no surprise that same-sex marriage opponents often defended their position by restating their original position: Fundamentally, much of the argument against gay marriage comes down to the idea that if we allow marriage to change, then marriage will be different than it is now. Well, yes, but that's the point.   

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  1. “mothers and fathers are interchangeable or irrelevant”

    true

    “marriage is essentially an institution about adults, not children”

    false (because marriage is childish and gay)

  2. You know you’re doubleplus rightthinking when a towering intellect like Ross Douthat is on your side!

  3. No alt-text, Suderman? You coward. And to think, if you turned that d 180 degrees you would be the Man of Steel.

    1. I’ve got alt-text writer’s block.

      1. Sub-contract. It’s what all the big pundits do. You think Krugman is out there in the field, his sleeves rolled up over his ape-hairy forearms, writing his own alt-text? Shit no, son. He’s got some little Indian kid half a world away doing it for pocket change and pictures of Katy Perry peeing on the side of the road. Get with the times, Peter.

        1. So you’re volunteering, then?

          Peter, NutraSweet accepts several forms of payment: bitcoin, menstrual blood (by the liter), and removed appendixes. He also operates on a for-like-sexual-favors basis as well.

          1. He also operates on a for-like-sexual-favors basis as well.

            Also known a “Take a rimjob, leave a rimjob.”

            1. How do you “take” a rimjob? Please explain, and BE GRAPHIC.

              1. Your knowledge of the jobbal arts is as primitive and as laughable as your haircut.

                1. I don’t need a 300 dollar haircut to look good, Scruffy.

                  And you said you would teach me more about the jobbal arts, but every time I ask you say you’re too busy or that you have explosive diarrhea.

            2. Also known a “Take a rimjob, leave a rimjob.”

              spits food out

              giggling…

        2. pictures of Katy Perry peeing on the side of the road.

          Wait…this is currency in some countries? Hot damn.

          1. Yes, but there are some radicals that want to go back on the liquid gold standard.

            1. how will they pay for water play?

      2. That’s a nonargument.

    2. First photo: “That was a terrible kiss. How about a do-over?”

      1. “So that’s what my cock tastes like.”

      2. How about, “I believe mononucleosis is between a boy and a girl.”

        Or, “Going head to head for love.”

        And as for the second one, I’m fine with same-sex marriage but I don’t care for the mixing of the Lego races.

        1. “The honeymoon was over when someone stepped on Groom #1 in the dark and then threw him out the window.”

          1. True love is an old man and a black man being married by a dyke in a suit.

            1. I thought that was White Don King.

            2. True love is Unitarianism?

              1. Have they found a new business model other than in-house coffee bars?

            3. Or possibly better: Until now a black man and an old man could be married by a dyke only in Legoland?

            4. Why is Richard Branson marrying Mr. T?

              1. You idiot. That’s Kenny Rogers and Levar Burton.

                1. Anyone who can’t see that it’s Susan Powter, marrying Michael McDonald and Benjamin Sisko, doesn’t deserve to be on this blog.

                  1. Dammit I almost put Michael McDonald.

                    1. I WIN AGAIN. BWAAHAHAHA!

                  2. Surely it’s George Lucas marrying his beloved samuel Jackson, with Kid officiating.

              2. Mr. T sighting

                http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/…..–nhl.html

                1. At least no one broke a leg or a jaw.

                  1. hey yeah and speaking of, H&R denizens, where are the tasteless Kevin Ware jokes? I am disappoint.

  4. Suderman, how could you leave out the alt-text?!?!?! That is your forte man.

  5. I believe that marriage is between one man and several women.

    1. So you are a masochist then?

      1. goes without saying

    2. Or between several women, and one man who gets to watch.

      1. Saturday nights.

    3. It’s right there in the Bible. Who are we to question the Word of God?

      1. Actually the Bible is quite clear about the hazards of a man having more than one wife: “No man can serve two masters…”

  6. To a great extent I agree with Suderman’s diagnosis here. Americans, and westerners in general, have become far less serious in their attitudes toward marriage; this is evident in the acceptance of divorce and children born out of wedlock and nonmarital sex in general. Marriage in 21st century America is largely viewed as little more than a rite of passage like Pinewood Derby and Little League, and keeping a gay or lesbian couple from racing their haphazardly cut block of wood on wheels just seems mean.

    Of course, religious people have helped to contribute to this atmosphere; in a desperate play for relevance they are constantly losing, most churches have backed down over and over again from condemning divorce, nonmarital sex, abortion, contraception and other former sins of lust, over the decades here in America.

    1. Well there ya, Pete. Tulpa agrees, problem solved.

      1. Um, there ya go, Pete. Fucking typing…

      2. I disagree.

    2. “Americans, and westerners in general, have become far less serious in their attitudes toward marriage”

      Which could stem from the increasing liberalization of marriage over the past 50 years.

  7. “You don’t wanna beat me or screw me? What kind of marriage is this?!? Bring a book.”

  8. It was not really an argument at all; it was a restatement of the original position.

    Much “argument” is essentially this. E.g., “drugs are bad, m’kay?”.

    Moreover, many purported “solutions” are restatements of the problem. E.g., “We have too many school shootings, so the purpose of this legislation is to reduce the number of school shootings.”

    1. As if the pro-SSM “argument” is any more rational.

      It’s a stupid issue on both sides.

      1. I keep forgetting what your answer was to my question on the earlier thread:

        Should government be permitted to arbitrarily discriminate on the basis of race or gender?

        1. ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION TULPA!

        2. Sure, why not. As long as they say “fuck you, that’s why” so we know they’re being discriminatory and can track it.

        3. Randian, for some reason Tulpa won’t answer your question.

          1. I can’t possibly fathom why.

            1. Ya know, IIRC, he refused to answer it about 3 times on the last thread too.

              1. He asks you…he tasks you.

        4. Have you answered my question about whether you would support SCOTUS striking down the estate tax spousal exemption and leaving DOMA intact?

          1. Your question is irrelevant, as the estate tax is not the sole reason why I believe DOMA is unconstitutional.

            1. Well then your question is even more irrelevant, as it doesn’t even address the issue at hand.

              I stated my belief that there is no constitutional reason the fedgov can’t discriminate.

              1. So in other words, no, you would not oppose a Whites Only Policy towards say, Federal hiring.

                1. That’s not what I said.

                  I would oppose such a policy, but would not consider it unconstitutional.

                  EPC doesn’t even apply to the feds, only to the states.

            2. I don’t get it. What is the estate tax spousal exemption and what does it have to do with gay marriage?

              Isn’t everyone against the estate tax as a whole?

              1. I don’t get it. What is the estate tax spousal exemption and what does it have to do with gay marriage?

                It is what the DOMA case is based on. I assume it is because it is an obvious case of the federal government discriminating between different legal marriages.

          2. Why should we support giving the government additional tax money? I’d rather strike down the estate tax itself than the exemption.

            1. Fine, that too.

              I prefer to talk about the exemption because it’s something I’d expect Randian and many others here to find unpleasant, even though it solves the problem before the court completely.

        5. You also haven’t followed up on this exchange:

          Randian| 4.1.13 @ 2:14PM |#

          SCOTUS is without any sort of legal authority to end the spousal exemption to the estate tax. What do you want them to do next, eliminate Married Filing Jointly?

          They aren’t dictators.

          Tulpa (LAOL-PA)| 4.1.13 @ 2:23PM |#

          Come on, Randian. If they can strike down DOMA they can strike down the estate tax exemption. Indeed the latter requires less stretching of the jurisprudence since it’s the immediate cause of the plaintiff’s complaint.

          1. The immediate cause of Plaintiff’s complaint is unequal protection. The legal rationale for a spousal exemption is probably much stronger than the one for DOMA.

            Anyway, this is nothing more than you pointing out tress in attempt to red herring people away from the forest, which is that you cannot articulate a good reason why the government should be permitted to arbitrarily discriminate on the basis of race or gender.

            1. The immediate cause of Plaintiff’s complaint is unequal protection.

              They give out standing for “unequal protection” now? Sorry, no. She is contesting the harm of being charged estate tax by the IRS which a federally-recognized spouse would not be charged.

              You throw technical legal terms around all day but when the rubber meets the road you’re shown to be full of shit. I have no idea of your skill as an attorney, but to the extent that you know what you’re talking about you’re willfully pretending not to.

          2. And I don’t even see how the estate tax exemption is the cause of the Plaintiff’s injury. If the Court ruled as you wished, it would be ruling on a noninjury because she would never have had a Complaint.

            1. Well, there are all sorts of options open to the court. If the govt gave lesbian Eskimos a special income tax exemption, and a straight Italian-American sued over it, the courts wouldn’t invalidate the entire income tax statute, they would invalidate the exemption.

        6. Should government be permitted to arbitrarily discriminate on the basis of race or gender?

          Arbitrarily?
          No, there has to be a rational basis, in which case the government can and does discriminate on those and other bases.

          What’s the rational basis for marriage, Randian, which is fact government discrimination against the non married.

  9. That is a strained argument given how many marriages are already essentially, even fundamentally, “about adults” rather than children. Marriage requires two adults; it does not require any children, or even any desire or plans for children. We do not prohibit infertile couples from marrying, nor do we outlaw marriages between senior citizens who are unlikely to produce or raise offspring. Young, fertile couples are not required by the state to have children; even if a couple publicly states its intention not to reproduce, they are still just as eligible to marry as if they intended to outbreed the Duggars.

    Copyrights and patents are explicitly intended to “promote progress in the useful Arts and Sciences” yet we still give them out to creators without asking whether the particular copyright or patent will promote progress. But that doesn’t change the intent of the copyright.

    1. So in other words laws are applied equally despite the original rationale?

      1. No, it means that Gore Vidal and Truman Capote’s work are no longer under copyright. Because homos.

  10. I’m waiting for the argument to phase over from the other article about gay marriage.

  11. I don’t know why there is even a discussion about it.

    Only because politicians can’t discuss real issues, because real issues involve real solutions.

    WTF do gays want to get married? So they can put themselves through out shitty family courts when it doesn’t work out? Fuck, that had to be one of the best things about being gay, is that you could avoid that non-sense.

    When I see gays having their doors smashed down in the middle of the night by militarized goon squads and dragged off to prison, then I will care. Right now, I don’t see why this is such a big issue, gays do whatever they want, except for getting married.

    The real issue is why is government involved in marriage, at all? When everyone just stops getting married, then the government will just decide that if you lived with anyone, for any amount of time, you are married. When people stop living together, then going on a date will get you married.

    1. I’m going to drink on this one, just to be safe.

  12. “To the extent that they have an argument, the one they have settled on is that marriage is fundamentally about bearing and raising children.”

    What is legal purpose of marriage then? Why should the state care if two people want to live together in a committed relationship?

    1. Because the love shared by two people is meaningless without a government stamp of approval and pat on the head.

      It’s the way of the cosmo.

      1. Because that’s exactly the cosmotarian criticism of sex-based marriage discrimination by government.

  13. Ad Hominem/Poison the Well: “Proponents of gay marriage wish to force the gay lifestyle upon me.”

    Anecdotal evidence/argument from authority: “All the gay people I know say they don’t even want to be married.”

    Appeal to motive: “Gay marriage advocates want to brainwash your children!”

    Appeal to heaven: “God/the Bible said being gay is bad and that marriage is between one man and one woman. Therefore gays shouldn’t be allowed to get married.”

    Appeal to emotion: “America is sliding into a den of immorality and sin. These people want to make America into Sodom and Gomorrah. Let’s stand up for what we believe in and reject
    their assault on our way of life and our faith.”

    Appeal to tradition: “Marriage has always been this way.”

    Argument ad populum: “Since the majority voted for the law (or lawmakers), the courts have no right to overturn the will of the people.”

    Bandwagoning: “We can’t change the definition of marriage because most people throughout history said it has to be this way.”

    Begging the question: “Two people of the same sex can’t marry because marriage means one man and one woman.”

    Blind loyalty: “I oppose gay marriage because my church/family/political party does.”

    Essentializing: “Gays probably don’t even really want to get married.”

    False dilemma: “If you support gay legal marriage, you also support forcing churches to recognize gay marriages.”

    1. Guilt by association: “You know, many Marxists support gay marriage.”

      Moving the goalposts: “OK, so some tribes or ancient civilizations may have had equivalencies of gay marriage. Regardless, 99.999% of the time, marriage was always defined as between a man and a woman. ”

      Non-Sequitur: “Gays shouldn’t want to get married, because gays are naturally promiscuous.”

      Political correctness: “I might be ok with it only if we call it ‘civil unions’ for gay couples. Calling it ‘marriage’ is offensive.”

      Perfect Solution Fallacy: “The only solution is civil unions for all (or marriage for nobody).” (*not an option currently on the ballot / under debate*)

      Red Herring: “Gays shouldn’t be able to get married. They can’t reproduce through gay sex.”

      Reductionism: “I support traditional marriage!”

      Slippery slope/argument from consequence: “If they win at getting gay marriage, soon they’ll win getting woman-dog marriages and man-infant marriages.”

      Straw man: “If you support the legal marriage equality for gays, you obviously support more state involvement in personal affairs.”

      1. Well done, Cyrano.

      2. You should have used yourself for the straw man example since that’s what you’re doing.

        1. Wow look out for Cicero over here. What a takedown!

        2. Technically, the fallacy I’m using is “argument from fallacy.”

          Nowhere do I claim that all SSM opponents make all these non-arguments, just that I have heard all of these non-arguments made by SSM opponents.

          1. At the risk of “Shifting the Burden of Proof”, I’d be interested to hear a single non-fallacious argument from an SSM opponent.

            1. Here’s an old post by Mrs. McSuderman explaining why she doesn’t support SSM.

              1. Amidst that rambling mess of a post without reaching a conclusion one way or another, the best arguments against SSM I could find were still Appeal to Consequences, Slippery Slope, Red Herrings and False Analogies. Predictions that the income tax would never exceed 10% that turned out to be wrong make the case that gay marriage might someday devalue necessary institutions of marriage despite their claims to the contrary? That’s not a real argument, that’s nonsensical and illogical mental flatulence.

                But maybe I glossed over her best point?

                1. Are you high school debater?

                  1. Was when I was in high school years ago.

                    1. years ago

                      LOL

      3. *Begging the question: “Two people of the same sex can’t marry because marriage means one man and one woman.”*

        A peach pie shouldn’t be called an apple pie, because apple pie means that it is made with apples.

        Yeah! Begging the question!

        1. Nice straw man version of the begging the question fallacy.

          However, correcting your intentional false analogy and applying it to marriage: “A same sex marriage shouldn’t be called a mixed sex marriage because a mixed sex marriage means it is made up of different sexes.” This is a true and non-fallacious statement.

          The analogous version that more closely reflects the logic of the begged question is: “A peach pastry can’t be called a pie because real pies are only made with apples.”

  14. Gay marriage OK, but gay lego marriage?

    1. Slippery slope.

    2. First you get gay marriage, then follows man-lego marriage.

  15. We do not prohibit infertile couples from marrying, nor do we outlaw marriages between senior citizens who are unlikely to produce or raise offspring.

    There are plenty of other state actions that involve this level of inconsistency that few people object to. States issue driver’s licenses to people without cars or a need to drive. And they withhold licenses from underage drivers who could own and drive one. Ditto for hunting and fishing licenses. Bloomberg’s ban would have prevented perfectly healthy people with no risk of diabetes from having large sodas. Firearm banning legislation makes exceptions for retired LEOs.

    If the utilitarian procreation argument for hetero marriage is valid (which it isn’t), then the fact that benefits spill over to non-procreating heteros isn’t relevant. That happens all the time.

  16. It’s fairly obvious that marriage has a long history as being mostly about children and their legitimacy. Over a rather great number of years, that expectation has changed. (In some ways, that expectation has changed as the conception of marriage became more romantic, not less, and as the expectation of monogamy increased.)

    Divorce, for example, used to be extremely difficult to obtain. Infertility was, however, generally accepted as one reason, but infertility was quite difficult to demonstrate a priori in the years before no-fault divorce, this was mostly a retrospective claim.

    It’s fairly clear that people stopped agreeing in the underlying reasons for same sex marriage being banned long before they agreed with it being legalized. (As Ramesh Ponnuru noted ten or twenty years ago; he also noted that the reverse is true of abortion– people are more likely to agree with the moral premises against abortion than they are with it being banned.)

    The opposition was vestigial, relying on beliefs that had once been held but no longer were, and thus was inevitably swept away when pushed. However, I don’t think it’s true to claim that the arguments are absurd to the point of never being believed.

    1. Incidentally, I regardless (via Chesterton’s Fence) as a stronger argument in favor of SSM– we do understand that marriage was once primarily (or nearly exclusively) about raising children, and that we’ve chosen to evolve that definition over the years. Makes more sense than pretending to ignorance.

      1. I could turn this on its head and say the State should encourage gay marriage as vehicles of stability in the adoption of unwanted children.

        1. Sure you could.
          You frequently make retarded arguments.

          1. How is that retarded? Is it not logical to think that a large percentage of married gay couples will adopt children, reducing the number of kids who grow up unwanted, in foster care, etc? Or is it retarded just because the dreaded COSMOTARIUNS agree with it?

  17. Suppose the status quo was that white parents can register with the government to receive special benefits not accorded to anyone else. Over time society might start only calling people “parents” if they have the “Parent Certificate” from the government, and perhaps come up with a host of euphemisms for people with children but who do not have such a certificate.

    One argument against such a situation is that it is racist; parents of all races should be able to register with the government to receive special benefits not accorded to anyone else.

    There is another argument: the government should not discriminate in favor of parents (whatever their race). Such a program is inherently discriminatory to everyone who cannot or will not have children.

    The first group might reply “well, if the government is giving benefits to white parents, it should treat all races equally, giving all parents these benefits.” The second group might counter that the parent/non-parent discrimination is still in place, and that to actually fight discrimination, one would need to oppose the parental benefit program altogether, and therefore expanding the beneficiaries of the parent benefit program would just make that task all the more difficult.

  18. “the one they have settled on is that marriage is fundamentally about bearing and raising children.”

    If you phrase it that way it’s easily refutable. I think the best argument against SSM is not that marriage is ABOUT raising children so much as that the only vested public interest in marriage is that an autonomous family unit is the BEST way of raising children.

  19. The problem was that this didn’t tell you why the legal definition of marriage should be limited to one man and one woman.

    Why is the definition of apple pie limited to a pie that contains apples?

    Why shouldn’t it be a pie that contains any fruit that anyone wants to put into it?

    Because of the word “apple”? Why must “apple” mean only fruit from the apple tree? Isn’t that discriminatory against other fruit?

    The only possible reason to oppose redefining apple pie is hatred and bigotry of fruit other than apples, and the only possible way to prove one’s innocence is to support redefining of apple pie.

    1. Why is the definition of “Marriage” limited only to an iage that contains Marrs?

      Why couldn’t it be an iage that contains Morrisseys?

      1. Because Morrissey is a vegetarian and real iages eat meat.

        1. What a dietist argument.

          1. Don’t go pushing your perverse dietary habits on me!

            1. Nice appeal to motive. What’s next? Appeal to machismo? “Diets have always been omnivorous?”

              1. What do you call a vegetarian with diarrhea? Salad shooter!

                1. Ok, so you’re going with Name Calling.

        2. By the way, Johnny Marr is a vegan, hence voiding your argument.

          1. Johnny Marr is a vegan
            “Marriage” includes the word “Marr”
            Therefore all married couples must be vegan.

          2. Dont’ know or care who Johnny Marr is.

            1. I don’t know or care what “apples” are either, so we’re even.

  20. This is stupid, Suderman. While plenty of people do try to pass this off as an anti-SSM “argument” (I guess–I think they’re really just telling you they don’t want to talk about it), there are many anti-SSM writers who have argued, even from a secular perspective, against SSM with much more complex and detailed arguments. If you want to dismiss the anti-SSM side because of their weakest arguments, then one could also dismiss the pro-SSM side because most of their arguments boil down to “BECAUSE LOVE!” or, as that great libertarian Friedersdorf put it, “if I were gay, wouldn’t you still want me to be able to get married?” Not strong arguments.

    The essential question of what marriage is for–whether procreation or OMG LOVE!–may not matter if there are no government sanctions of various sorts attached to it. But since there are, the question is really for what purpose the government attaches things like SocSec survivorship and immigration rights to marriage, and it is pretty goddamn clear that the answer to that is procreation (in the Loving decision and elsewhere, this has been made quite explicit). The fact that nonprocreative couples are allowed to marry is just begging the question.

    1. it is pretty goddamn clear that the answer to that is procreation

      See also: Red Herring: “Gays shouldn’t be able to get married. They can’t reproduce through gay sex.”

      The fact that nonprocreative couples are allowed to marry is just begging the question.

      No it’s not. It’s pointing out inconsistencies in your own argument. If the purpose for attaching government to marriage is clearly procreation, and denying it to gay couples because they can’t procreate through gay sex, then there is no reason not to equivalently deny it to same sex couples that can’t procreate.

      Begging the question is restating the premise as the conclusion. i.e. “Gay men of the same sex can’t be married to each other because marriage is between one man and one woman.”

      1. Do you know the difference between some and all?

        Some opposite sex couples cannot reproduce.

        All same sex couples cannot reproduce.

        1. All 70 year old straight couples cannot reproduce. Therefore, heterosexual marriage should be banned for all couples including a post-menopausal woman.

          1. Under no circumstances will any same sex couple be able to reproduce.

            Special cases do not disprove that.

            1. Under no circumstances will any post-menopausal woman be able to reproduce.

              Hint: It’s not a “special” case.

            2. Actually, for the majority of the average woman’s lifespan, she is unable to reproduce, being either pre-menarcheal or post-menopausal. Being fertile is the special case.

              1. This is true. In a world where state marriage benefits are based upon procreative ability, couples would only be able to claim benefits during the fertile days in the woman’s menopausal cycle. They have to file as single for all income earned during the non-fertile section of the cycle.

                1. Oh, I wasn’t even taking that into consideration. That would cut down fertility time to maybe 5% of a woman’s lifetime.

                  1. Probably more than that, to be honest.
                    There are about 12 days per month where women are fertile, thus 144 days a year. If one assumes they start puberty at 13 and go into menopause at the average of 51, and women live to the average life expectancy of 78 years, we can calculate about 5,472 days of fertility or about 19% of their life.

                2. Not quite. The continued validity of a pre-menopausal marriage after menopause is necessary to get buy-in from young fertile women seeking long-term security.

                  The case for gray marriage, ie marriage that is incepted after menopause, is harder to make. Largely because it’s fucking disgusting.

                  1. So “Appeal to Distaste” then?

  21. If the church actually cared about children, they would support gay marriage, since it increases adoption rates. But of course, gay adoption doesn’t count, because gays are bad mkay.

    1. And if they were pro-life, they’d be for wild Saturday night orgies in the parish hall since these increase the chances of conception. Right?

      1. I’ve never heard of any pro-life organizations advocate for unprotected sex before.

        Sounds like a good time.

        1. I should say, unprotected pre-marital sex*

          Also, orgies.

      2. Being “pro-life” does not literally mean being pro-life. Claiming that you care about children does literally mean you care about children.

  22. Here’s the problem I see. Prior to gay marriage in the US, marriage wasn’t equally available to everyone anyway. In essence, it had to be freely consented to, loving, exclusive, and committed. Under those circumstances the state has an interest in promoting child bearing in order to continue the state. Thus the implied contract is that there will be certain benefits associated with child making sex because that aligns with the states goal of continuance. I would argue that for convenience and ease of administration, those benefits are handed out to any marriage that fits that constraint whether they actually bear children or not. Some evidence for baby making sex being the original target can be seen in incest laws.

    Along comes gay people who say, hey I can freely consent, be loving, be exclusive and committed too. Let me have a helping of benefits. But they cannot have baby making sex. Somehow, the benefits that were originally targeted at baby making sex are now seen as being deserved by anyone who agrees to the other conditions. Ok, but now if we are going to question the premise of pro-creation being the states interest, we now have to provide an argument that the states premise is in fostering only relationships that are freely consented to, loving, committed and exclusive.

    IMO, you either eliminate any state involvement in marriage or you accept discriminatory definitions. It’s just a matter of where you draw the discriminatory line.

    1. Won’t you join my movement to ban heterosexual marriages for post-menopausal women?

      1. I wouldn’t be in favor of the state redacting benefits if the person has been married prior to becoming menopausal. However, I do think that there’s no compelling case for regulating and handing out benefits for two consenting adults who want to live in a committed relationship with no intention of having children.

        1. There’s no compelling case for doing that with couples who intend to have kids either.

    2. Also, if the purpose of state marriage is to promote childbearing, shouldn’t polygamous marriages be preferred by the state, since it potentially meets all your qualifications?

      Also, if the purpose of state marriage is promoting childbearing, and gays and lesbians can bear children through artificial insemination or surrogate pregnancy just like straight couples with an inability to conceive naturally, how does it follow that the impossibility of natural conception contradicts the state’s interest in creating a legal status to promote childbearing?

      1. I agree that polygamous marriages should not be discriminated against, but the state currently chooses to. Again, same sex marriage as it is currently being sought does not eliminate the power of the state to discriminate, it is rather reinforcing the power of the state to discriminate.

        I also agree that reproductive technology has changed significantly and it is possible that the ability to bear children is no longer too costly or difficult to prefer two oppposite sex parents as the main method of child bearing. With that being true, you have to question the reason for any discrimination in marriage.

        For example, we have age of consent laws to protect what the state defines as children from what the state considers older predators. With birth control technology as far advanced as it is, it is more than conceivable that a 15 year old can manage their sex life without unwanted pregnancy and can consent to a loving, exclusive and committed relationship. Hence they could meet the states newly favored marriage definition as well.

        I am really trying to point out that SSM is not as liberating as it is made out to be. It is increasing the power of the state to make discriminatory decisions and regulate private lives beyond it’s current capabilities. If you remove pro-creation as a defining factor and allow the state to continue, you have expanded the states control to non child bearing sexual relationships of any type. That is not good for freedom.

        1. “It is increasing the power of the state to make discriminatory decisions”

          Actually, we SSM advocates see it just the opposite – it is removing the power of the state to make discriminatory decisions based on arbitrary logic like “gay sex can’t make children naturally. Therefore, no gay marriage.”

          In my opinion, as long as the adults are consenting and as long as marriage laws are on the books, there is no reason to discriminate in any direction regarding the legal status.

          1. This is wrong–

            “gay sex can’t make children naturally.

            This is correct–

            “gay sex can’t make children.”

            State sanctioned marriage exists because it benefits the state by encouraging breeding and thereby the continuation of the state. That is it’s purpose. The benefits given encourage stability, another benefit to the state as a whole.

            ‘Love’, particularly romantic love, is a relatively recent addition to marriage. As an institution of stability and fiscal benefit, it was, in the past, used as such.

            Current marriage, while it may do some of the same things that marriage was intended for, is now largely little more than a declaration of ‘exclusivity’ centered around human lust responses. It shares little but name with the institution it has replaced, being much more ephemeral in structure.

            Because of this, divorce had to be made more readily available. This enabled the new long term dating relationships we call ‘marriage’ to be dissolved easily, so that new ‘marriages’ might be sought.

            The marriage that provided progeny and social stability is all but dead.

            And this is one of the reasons I support SSM. Because the addition of the tiny percentage of homosexuals who want to get married to this mess will have no effect whatsoever on the fragments of marriage that are so venerated. They just don’t matter.

          2. it is removing the power of the state to make discriminatory decisions based on arbitrary logic like “gay sex can’t make children naturally. Therefore, no gay marriage.

            That is the fundamental rub. You claim arbitrariness by saying that child bearing sex is not a reasonable standard to discriminate by. However, what no one in turn seems to be able to supply is what non arbitrary standard is available then to discriminate who receives the benefits and responsibilities of marriage? Right now we have arbitrary restrictions on age, number, and ancestral relationships. SSM advocates have made it clear they generally support those types of restrictions too. Aren’t those just as arbitrary as the until recently prohibition on gender?

            For example, does one cry foul if two close brothers want to get married (with no intention of ever even having sex) so that they can claim the benefits/responsibilities of marriage for a time until they dissolve it in court? Probably not. Why not then allow three brothers to share the same relationship, Or two brothers and one sister.

            IMO SSM advocates are advocating a discriminatory system that makes exceptions for one type of sex (gay sex) but ignores any other relationship that could qualify on the basis of the very same principles that SSM advocates are claiming (love and committment).

            1. Arguing against something because of what a majority of people who argue for it believe is a fallacy, especially when you’re talking to someone who doesn’t agree with those arguments. Like how I could argue that arguments against SSM are invalid because most people who argue against it don’t care about freedom and just want the government to enforce their preferred values.

              “However, what no one in turn seems to be able to supply is what non arbitrary standard is available then to discriminate who receives the benefits and responsibilities of marriage?”

              Consent. That might not be what the average liberal SSM proponent would propose, but you’re not arguing against them in this thread. That standard would leave some restrictions on age, but it’s a lot less arbitrary than what you’re proposing. And considering the state still grants licenses to hetero couples incapable of reproducing “naturally” that’s not even the current standard.

  23. The purpose of state licensing of marriage is to obtain another source of revenue and to increase state power over people’s lives. The purpose of “legalizing” same-sex marriage (as if a gay couple were going to be thrown in jail if they have a ceremony and put out that they’re married) is to change the definition of a core societal institution–so that the government can increase its control over people’s lives.

    The purpose of marriage is companionship and procreation. Anyone who says different has stinky egg breath and looks like an idiot when he tries to dance.

    1. “is to change the definition of a core societal institution–so that the government can increase its control over people’s lives.”

      That wouldn’t be a problem if the state didn’t grant marriage licenses. And if you’re going to make arguments based on your perception of ulterior motives of SSM proponents, it should be pointed out that the vast majority of SSM opponents have no problem with the government forcing their preferred definition of marriage (and the legal privileges) on the rest of the population. Also, do you not see how government discrimination is a form of control over people’s lives and a form of social engineering itself? What exactly do you think the purpose of interracial marriage laws were? Given that marriage licenses weren’t going to be eliminated, should we not have extended marriage licenses to interracial couples?

  24. Can you advance an affirmative argument for gay marriage that doesn’t involve ‘equal rights’? Are there any?

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