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Free Minds & Free Markets

An Odd Silence on Gay Marriage

Why won't leading opponents of same-sex marriage go on the record with their predictions?

Opponents of same-sex marriage reject it on religious and moral grounds but also on practical ones. If we let homosexuals marry, they believe, a parade of horribles will follow—the weakening of marriage as an institution, children at increased risk of broken homes, the eventual legalization of polygamy, and who knows what all.

Well, guess what? We're about to find out if they're right. Unlike most public policy debates, this one is the subject of a gigantic experiment, which should definitively answer whether same-sex marriage will have a broad, destructive social impact.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire have all decided to let gays wed. Most of the remaining 44 states, however, are not likely to follow suit anytime soon. So in the next few years, we will have a chance to compare social trends in the states permitting same-sex marriage against social trends in the others.

But with the experiment looming, some opponents seem to be doubting their own convictions. I contacted three serious conservative thinkers who have written extensively about the dangers of allowing gay marriage and asked them to make simple, concrete predictions about measurable social indicators—marriage rates, divorce, out-of-wedlock births, child poverty, you name it.

You would think they would react like Albert Pujols when presented with a hanging curveball. Yet none was prepared to forecast what would happen in same-sex marriage states versus other states.

Maggie Gallagher, president of the Virginia-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, has declared that losing this battle "means losing American civilization." But she politely declined my invitation.

Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, has been equally dire. The change, he has warned, would weaken social taboos against adultery and incest and "set in motion a series of threats to the ethos of monogamy from which the institution of marriage may never recover."

When it came time to offer more specific predictions, Kurtz was missing in action. I e-mailed him twice and left a message on his office voicemail. After two weeks, I'm beginning to lose hope.

The only person willing to talk was David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values. His 2007 book, The Future of Marriage, made a serious and temperate effort to grapple with the case for same-sex marriage. Blankenhorn opposed it out of fear it would drain marriage of its central role by making it "exclusively a private relationship" that is "essentially unconnected to larger social needs and public meanings."

When I talked with him, though, he declined to predict what tangible bad things will occur in same-sex marriage states. "I disagree with those who say it will have no impact at all," Blankenhorn told me. "But beyond that, I don't think you can say."

What's equally striking is that when I made similar inquiries to people on the other side of the debate, I encountered no such reluctance. They forthrightly asserted that granting gays access to matrimony will have no discernible impact.

"I wouldn't expect much effect on the social indicators that would be visible to the naked eye," said Jonathan Rauch, a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Washington and author of the 2004 book, Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. Evan Wolfson, founder of the organization Freedom to Marry, agreed: "I don't think social indicators will get worse" in same-sex marriage states.

M. V. Lee Badgett, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of the new book, When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage, was happy to answer my question. "I don't think we'll see those kinds of negative social consequences," she said. "In Europe, there's no evidence that patterns have changed for marriage, divorce or non-marital births because of same-sex marriage or registered partnerships."

In a few years, we won't have to rely on such forecasts, because the facts will be there for all to see. And they should settle the issue once and for all.

But I have a strong suspicion that both sides of the debate are right. The supporters of same-sex marriage are right in predicting that it will have no bad side effects. And the opponents are right not to make predictions.

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  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21OH0wlkfbc

  • ||

    My understanding of their beliefs is that dudes will be going around fucking turtles or something.

  • ||

    The government should stay out of religious matters -- separation of church and state. So, the gov should only recognize civil unions for everyone. Leave it to the churches to grant marriage -- which in all religions that I know of is between a man, a woman, and god.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So in the next few years, we will have a chance to compare social trends in the states permitting same-sex marriage against social trends in the others.

    Because the states will be otherwise exactly the same. No outside factors beyond broadening marriage benefits will have effect. (That's right; I fire up the sarcasm generator.)

    Hows about, instead of adding legitimacy to the state sanctioning of any social unions, we experiment with removing state involvement altogether? (Yeah, yeah, I know. Real world, and all that.)

  • ||

    Chapman should have gone up to these anti-gay marriage supporters at public meetings, asked them the same questions, and then put their answers on YouTube.

  • ||

    Opponents of same-sex marriage reject it on religious and moral grounds but also on practical ones. If we let homosexuals marry, they believe, a parade of horribles will follow.

    Or, because, you know, marriage is a religious ceremony and shouldnt be a function of the state.

    Dizzy - I dont see the need for the state to recognize civil unions either.

  • ||

    I always wondered how gay marriage would have a more adverse affect on straight marriage, than say...DIVORCE which is perfectly legal and common everywhere in America.

  • bob42||

    Considering all the money that was spent on CA's Prop 8 it's surprising that the proponents of discrimination weren't willing to put their mouths where their money is.

    Certainly at least one reputable source would be willing to go on record and state that same sex marriage will lead to legalizing Sex with Ducks

  • ||

    "Hows about, instead of adding legitimacy to the state sanctioning of any social unions, we experiment with removing state involvement altogether?"

    It won't be holy in eyes of God if a county bureacrat hasn't blessed it.

  • ||

    In their defense, asking people to make solid predictions in politics is one of the most time-honored ways to discredit your opponents. Also, if such negative effects did occur, they would probably take place 30, 40 years after the institution of gay marriage, not immediately afterwards. The argument isn't that gay marriage will instantly cause people to cheat on their wives because "the gays got in too, marriage is meaningless now"; rather that it will graduate erode society's meaning of marriage and the family structure. So they could still be right, but they'd get "discredited" 5 years down the road. Only an idiot would take someone up on your offer. You're using really suspect logic here, one that I'd expect from a leftist rag, not Reason.

  • ||

    It won't be holy in eyes of God if a county bureacrat hasn't blessed it.

    IF I ever get married (I just turned 40 so it seems less likely than it used to), and if the Mrs to be goes along with it, and if we can find a minister to perform it, I would prefer to get married without benefit of state licensing. I would dare anyone to tell me Im not married because ONLY God ordained it.

  • ||

    Isn't the sanctioning of marriage by the State opposed by Libertarians? Why does Reason continue to run articles in support of ANY marriage?

    As to Chapman's loaded questions about "predictions" replace "gay marriage" with "health care reform". You won't find a single Leftard who will predict any but the most rosy outcomes, of course. Does this mean it has merit?

    And this simple answer is, the goal posts have been moved. I suspect it will be polygamy next, why does Chapman discriminate against this? Incestuous marriage should also not be "discriminated" against.

    Hey, Steve, how about if the government just gets the fuck out of the sanctioning of social relationships?

  • ||

    Nick,

    Speaking of divorce, the divorce laws show how much the states care about contract law. While vows vary, the fact that many people's "until death do us part" vow isnt considered a binding oral contract - generally there are a huge number of witnesses and often even videotape - boggles my mind.

    No fault divorce should only be allowed if the marriage contract specifically allows for it.

  • ||

    robc,
    Tell it to the Taxman.

  • ||

    I would dare anyone to tell me Im not married because ONLY God ordained it.

    You're not married.

  • ||

    One, two, three, four...
    Hrmm!
    One, two, (one, two, three, four!)

    Let me tell you how it will be;
    There's one for you, nineteen for me.
    'Cause I'm the taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the taxman.

    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don't take it all.
    'Cause I'm the taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the taxman.

    (if you drive a car, car;) - I'll tax the street;
    (if you try to sit, sit;) - I'll tax your seat;
    (if you get too cold, cold;) - I'll tax the heat;
    (if you take a walk, walk;) - I'll tax your feet.

    Taxman!

    'Cause I'm the taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the taxman.

    Don't ask me what I want it for, (ah-ah, mister Wilson)
    If you don't want to pay some more. (ah-ah, mister heath)
    'Cause I'm the taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the taxman.

    Now my advice for those who die, (taxman)
    Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)
    'Cause I'm the taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the taxman.

    And you're working for no one but me.

    Taxman!

  • DWPittelli||

    I think we have to distinguish between gay marriage created by political means (by vote of legislature or referendum) and gay marriage created by judicial fiat (judges pretending that the constitutions require it). Voters and politicians are not subject to slippery-slope problems, like being forced by their logic to legalize polygamy, whereas judges who see marriage as a right subject to subjective as well as objective equality, likely will.

    I would vote for gay marriage, but I have a problem with judges acting like oligarchs who can see their preferences written into the federal and state constitutions, for the above reason, and because bogus decisions create a climate allowing more and more bogus decisions in other, even unrelated areas, as law professors, politicians, judges and citizens increasingly see such usurpation as normal.

  • ||

    Satan,

    You're not married.

    See ya in hell (from a distance).

    Interesting who the first supporter of government marriage is. :)

  • ||

    My understanding of their beliefs is that dudes will be going around fucking turtles or something.

    Well, dudes are already going around fucking nuts.

    Seriously, the contractual route makes the most sense to me.

  • ||

    What's equally striking is that when I made similar inquiries to people on the other side of the debate, I encountered no such reluctance. They forthrightly asserted that granting gays access to matrimony will have no discernible impact.

    Shouldn't you be asking proponents of gay marriage to predict what horrible things will be happening to gay people in the non-marriage states vs. those where gays are allowed to wed? Should't there be discernibly higher rates of gays and lesbians committing suicide, seeking treatment for depression and manifesting the other dire results of not having the freedom to marry?

    If granting gays access to matrimony will have no discernible impact, what's the point of doing it?

  • ||

    I say let them be! Its their lives and they are entitled to be happy!

    RT
    www.web-anonymity.us.tc

  • ||

    Jaes Sutter's wise and thoughtful words have convinced me.

    Now (s)he and I will disappear into the anonymous ether to enjoy our wedded bliss.

  • ||

    Isn't the sanctioning of marriage by the State opposed by Libertarians? Why does Reason continue to run articles in support of ANY marriage?

    If you've failed to notice before now that restating lefty positions as libertarian ones is Reason's primary stock-in-trade, you just haven't been reading the fucking magazine for the last decade or so.

    "Liberal" having lost cache among the leather-jacketed and terminally hip crowd some time ago, we have to call it something else now, elsewise people might start recognizing it as old wine in a new bottle.

  • ||

    I'm in favor of allowing consenting ADULTS to engage in any and every form of relationship they wish whether it be marriage, poygamy, bigamy, polyamory, etc. Yes, even incest amongst consenting adults. It's just flat out none of any state's business.

    As to "licensing" marriage get the state out of it entirely. The state should have no role in our personal relationships beyond enforcing contracts and obviously protecting against/punishing force and fraud.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If we let homosexuals marry, they believe, a parade of horribles will follow...

    Yes, but a colorful, fabulous, mustache-laden parade.

  • BruceM||

    Oh come on, everyone knows they don't really oppose it on practical grounds, it's 100% Bible-sucking homophobia. They just offer up a lame, blatantly false "parade of horribles" because they know they need more than a mere citation to the relevant passages in the Old Testament.

    I also agree that the state should have NO role in establishing our interpersonal relationships. It should be a matter of contract between consenting adults, no matter how many or what sexes they may be. If 10 men want to marry each other, more power to them. As always, "the children" is nothing but a pathetic red herring. American public discourse and polemics would be infinitely stronger if people would learn to automatically disregard any argument based on "the children!"

    "Our precious children" are doing horrible no matter who their parents are, no matter how many parents they have, and no matter what sexes their parents may be. And regardless, the welfare of a child is no excuse for violating the rights of an adult.

  • ||

    Shouldn't you be asking proponents of gay marriage to predict what horrible things will be happening to gay people in the non-marriage states vs. those where gays are allowed to wed?

    There are lots of real issues happening today involving kids, medical decision, insurance, inheritance, etc. that can get extremely complicated for gay couples. In some states it's possible to achieve a comparable position to straight married couples, but it requires a lot of time, money, and effort. And unless you're carting around a box of paperwork and a lawyer, that position might not be recognized when those issues of kids, insurance, inheritance come up.

    You also get the weird problem of a couple driving from Iowa to Massachusetts who are variously married or not married depending on what state they're in.

    Meanwhile, I can go to Vegas and pay a few bucks to marry a total stranger, and I don't have to worry about any of those headaches.

  • ||

    I've been in some flame wars over this but I still think rob Paul said it best. I fear the day current marriage laws apply to me

  • T||

    And regardless, the welfare of a child is no excuse for violating the rights of an adult.

    Every time I point that out, people look at me like I have a dick growing out of my forehead. Then they start whining about how I want their kids to die. Which inevitably leads me to say things like "No, but you won't be missed." People find that offensive for some reason.

  • ||

    Svilluppo, any granny with an extra buck should have a living will, regular will, and a lawyer in tow to handle such affairs. I don't the paperwork is as insurmountable as you say. As for straigt couples, I've seen countless stories where parents contested various health and post death decision. Gay marriage will not solve any of these problems it will only make it easier to cry hate

  • ||

    A key sentence in the article:

    'Unlike most public policy debates, this one is the subject of a gigantic experiment, which should definitively answer whether same-sex marriage will have a broad, destructive social impact.'

    I don't know about 'definitively answer' - because I don't know how many decades it will take for the progressive community to acknowledge any ill effects from this latest assault on marriage. If the history of previous attacks on traditional marriage tells us anything, such acknowledgement could take a long time, indeed, and will probably come after a lengthy period of denial, after much of the damage has already been done. It was almost a quarter of a century after the adoption of unilateral divorce-on-demand before it became respectable for some progressives to acknowledge the "unexpected" harms caused by divorce. It was a couple of decades after the Moynihan Report before some progressives began to acknowledge that it wasn't necessarily racist to point out the harms done by illegitimacy and fatherlessness. Now we actually have a black President who grew up fatherless acknowledging that these things are bad - but that's not what progressives were saying in the 1960s about Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his 'racist' conclusions.

    But the key phrase is 'gigantic experiment.' It's interesting that, although it's unethical for scientists and doctors to engage in involuntary human experimentation, some libertarians are willing for legislators, judges and other government employees to practice such experimentation on entire communities.

    'I always wondered how gay marriage would have a more adverse affect on straight marriage, than say...DIVORCE which is perfectly legal and common everywhere in America.'

    The fact is, traditional marriage has been attacked by many 'reforms' long before state-sponsored SSM was even thought of. The supporters of SSM will simply be able to brush off evidence of social dysfunction as the fault of these previous reforms, not of their pet program. Consider the previous reforms which (as even progressives are now acknowledging) have caused harm - unilateral divorce on demand, illegitimacy and fatherlessness, abortion on request, and so on.

    It is as if several factories had been polluting a stream over a long period of time. Reactionaries have been criticizing the pollution, and progressives have been denying for years that there was any problem. Then progressives belatedly acknowledge the problem, and they add - 'so since these existing factories are polluting the stream, I'm sure that one more factory won't do any harm - this time we assure you that the new factory won't pollute, and anyway why pick on the new factory when the old factories are already causing such damage?'

    Previous assaults on marriage have had bad consequences - why assume that the newest assault will have nothing but benevolent results? Who exactly has the burden of proof here?

    But here's a prediction I'm willing to make - government-recognized SSM will increase the power of the government to arbitrarily boss around the private sector. If employers offer benefits to employees' opposite-sex spouses, then employees who hold SSM licenses from the government wills start filing sex discrimination suits under Title VII or the state equivalents. Holding a state-issued SSM license will greatly increase plaintiff's chance of winning, and being able to use the power of the government to rewrite private employers' policies.

  • ||

    I really don't understand the fervor behind this issue on either side. I personally find homosexuality to be immoral, and for most people I've had the opportunity to talk to, a destructive force in their lives. Clearly based upon that, I'm opposed to homosexual acts and relationships. However I'm not of the opinion that our government should be in the business of either sanctioning or outlawing private, consensual behaviors.

    The real problem with my idea of a good solution, as well as most libertarians, is the convoluted tax code. The feds have been in the business of influencing our behavior through taxation for a long time. I think that is absolute shit, but the only way to change it is to completely revamp our tax system, and would probably require a constitutional amendment.

  • ||

    TheNino85 - why couldn't they say, "we believe X will happen in 45 years"? The question was never about what will happen in 5 years. It was open ended. Rick Santorum suggested it is somehow associated with "man on dog".

    In reality, all that is being asked of gay marriage opponents is for them to explain what the hell they are talking about. Snarky one-liners and a how-dare-you tone of voice do not an argument make.

  • ||

    Marriage never belonged to the state, so it has no right to define it, redefine it, or sanction it. I even find the use of civil unions to be somewhat superfluous. It's really none of the state's concern, who is partnered with who. The "benefits" doled out to married couples now are even discriminatory to single individuals. Shouldn't I be able to designate who gets my Social Security benefits when I die, regardless of my relationship with that person?

  • ||

    Today is Ron Paul's birthday. He is 74.

  • BruceM||

    Every time I point that out, people look at me like I have a dick growing out of my forehead. Then they start whining about how I want their kids to die. Which inevitably leads me to say things like "No, but you won't be missed." People find that offensive for some reason.

    It's because we gave women the right to vote, and ever since the passage of the 19th Amendment, the maternal instinct has been permanently, irreversibly interjected into every political, social, and policy issue. No, I'm not saying we should revoke women's right to vote, but there was this negative consequence. 50% of the population votes according to the overriding desire to protect their offspring, no matter how irrational it may be.

  • ||

    robc - I understand your point, but if KY is a common law state, the government would recognize your marriage after a certain amount of time whether you like it or not...

  • GF||

    OK, to all those people saying "Well, the state shouldn't have a role in marriage": you are right! But IF we have to choose between allowing marriage licences to be issued to homosexuals too OR keep the status quo, what would you choose? Reason Magazine chooses the former. But it doesn't mean they fundamentally agree with state involvement in the matter. Does it?

  • ||

    Maggie Gallagher has responded with her predictions about the impact of SSM, which boil down to a fear that her personal feelings on the issue will become less popular over time.

    Of course, the greatest argument of all time was when Heather Mac Donald suggested that gay marriage would cause black men to become criminals rather than marry women.

  • ||

    @Maggie Gallagher:
    "1. In gay-marriage states, a large minority people committed to traditional notions of marriage will feel afraid to speak up for their views, lest they be punished in some way."

    You also can't allow women to vote. In women's suffrage states, a large minority of people committed to traditional notions of a woman's proper place will feel afraid to speak up for their views, lest they be punished in some way.

    "2. Public schools will teach about gay marriage."

    Wait, so we can grant Equal Protection so long as the schools don't mention it?

    "3. Parents in public schools who object to gay marriage being taught to their children will be told with increasing public firmness that they don't belong in public schools and their views will not be accomodated in any way."

    Racists have also been told that their views will not be accommodated in any way, but whites keep marrying whites, and blacks keep marrying blacks. Despite "increasing public firmness", you will be free to hate fags as much as you want. (The truth is that Gallagher wants the schools to teach how gays are terrible and god is great, and it simply isn't going to happen.)

    "4. Religous institutions will face new legal threats (especially soft litigation threats) that will cause some to close, or modify their missions, to avoid clashing with the government's official views of marriage (which will include the view that opponents are akin to racists for failing to see same-sex couples as married).

    BS. First, I should simply point out that gender equality does not mean people can sue for unisex bathrooms. Second, I think the litigation threat is bogus. I tend to think that if Hooters can get away with officially declaring "The Hooters concept is based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and sexual innuendo based on female sex appeal is commonplace" (and not be sued out of existence for sexual harassment, or discrimination because men can't be waitors), then I think a church will be OK.

    "5. Support for the idea "the ideal for a child is a married mother and father" will decline."

    Only if gays do a better job of parenting.

  • BruceM||

    Religious institutions deserve all the threats reasonable society can give them.

  • ||

    The defenders of traditional marriage (monogamous, man/woman, based on consent of the parties, for life, etc.) have the advantage here, if they but knew it.

    Previous assaults on traditional marriage have had such bad consequences that gay-libbers are actually using these harmful consequences as punch-lines to support their own cause ('Heteros are such hypocrites; they are hurting traditional marriage with divorce!').

    The President of the United States (who should know) acknolwedges the harmful effects of fatherlessness.

    Since attacking traditional marriage has such demonstrable bad effects, then whoever proposes an *new* assault has (at minimum) a strong burden of proof.

    'Trust us - the previous attacks on traditional marriage may have caused harm, but you have our word that this one won't!'

  • ||

    In states which permit gay marriage, I predict:

    Divorce rates will rise slightly

    Illegitimacy rates will rise significantly

    People will get married later in life

    Married couples will have fewer children.

    Relatively few gay men will marry or form long-lasting domestic partnerships.

    In states which forbid gay marriage, I predict:

    Divorce rates will rise slightly

    Illegitimacy rates will rise significantly

    People will get married later in life

    Married couples will have fewer children.

    Relatively few gay men will marry or form long-lasting domestic partnerships.

  • ||

    GF, my answer would be to keep the status quo. I don't see any reason to pretend there is a right to SSM in the constitution. I don't see a reason to risk forcing religious institutions into untenable situations pitting their scriptural beliefs against the mandate of the state. I don't see any reason to encourage SS relationships as we do currently encourage different sex through marriage.

    On a different front, My basic preference is for our representatives to all be on house arrest in their own districts, unable to enact any more stupid, unread, and likely destructive legislation. They are incapable of enacting anything at all unless it's overly complex, full of unrelated expenditures, and in some way completely other than what it is billed as.

  • ||

    But it doesn't mean they fundamentally agree with state involvement in the matter. Does it?

    They are in favor of expanding state action. Granting the state additional power. Doesnt seem like a good move to me.

  • BruceM||

    Mad Max: name a "previous assault" on marriage? The only thing I can remotely think of is no-fault divorce, but the injustice of not having no-fault divorce is far worse. Moreover, keeping people who can't stand each other married nearly always ends poorly.

    Regardless, even if something is a verifiable "assault" on marriage, it is the lesser evil than denying certain people a fundamental right and equal protection of the law. The "institution of marriage" has no rights. People do.

    As far as I can tell, the only benefit of marriage is a slightly more exciting orgasm for a few fucks beginning with the honeymoon. After 2-3 weeks, that benefit is forever gone.

  • ||

    Lamar, your response pretty nearly proves some of Maggie's points by equating anti-SSM views with racism. As SSM increases in acceptance in society and law, your view that being opposed to it is morally equivalent to racism increases, leading to eventual litigation for acts based upon the view that homosexuality is immoral. Nearly all religions consider homosexuality immoral. That isn't going to change anytime soon.

  • ||

    "I don't see any reason to encourage SS relationships as we do currently encourage different sex through marriage."

    Well, at least you admit that we're "encouraging" hetero marriage, presumably through incentives and benefits. So, at least implicitly, you are advocating a government policy of unequal treatment.

  • BruceM||

    aelhues, the issue is not so much whether there is a "right to same-sex marriage" in the constitution. It's an issue of equal protection. As long as there is a right to (heterosexual) marriage, there must be a right to homosexual marriage.

    And marriage has been long considered a fundamental constitutional right. You can't say marriage is a right but "the constitution doesn't say there is a right to same sex marriage."

    And I'd direct you to the 9th Amendment. Just because a right is not expressly listed in the Constitution does not mean it doesn't exist.

  • ||

    the injustice of not having no-fault divorce is far worse

    Their is an injustice to upholding a contract?

  • ||

    concrete predictions about measurable social indicators-marriage rates, divorce, out-of-wedlock births, child poverty, you name it.



    Alright, I will bite. I predict... those indicators will not improve. Do you think those indicators will improve with SSM? If not, why make the change? Why change something in a way that will make no improvement?

  • ||

    "equating anti-SSM views with racism."

    I was equating anti-gay views with other anachronistic views, such as being against women's suffrage, and yes, racism. My point is that racism has survived despite official government stances against it. So why wouldn't anti-gay feelings survive? Notice, I'm not drawing a moral equivalency. I'm drawing a historical parallel. So I do not believe there is any threat of the government telling churches to get more gay. And, quite frankly, that's exactly why church's should zealously advocate for a separation of church and state rather than trying to make their church doctrine into law.

  • ||

    BruceM,

    Here is my earlier post where I 'named' some previous assaults on marriage.

    'Regardless, even if something is a verifiable "assault" on marriage, it is the lesser evil than denying certain people a fundamental right and equal protection of the law. The "institution of marriage" has no rights. People do.'

    So, let me see if I understand this: The government should be able to dissolve a marriage unilaterally at the demand of either spouse, and even if the other spouse is totally innocent of wrongdoing and has fully complied with his or her marital duties, then in the name of fundamental rights and equal protection, the innocent spouse should be subject to being deprived of certain essential marital rights, such as custody of the children, not to mention much of his or her property. And other arrangement would be an abuse of human rights.

    Your bottom-line message is that those who love unilateral divorce on demand will simply *adore* government-recognized SSM.

  • ||

    How is it an equal protection issue? I have the same rights as any other male to marry any female who happens to not be close enough family, is over a certain age, and is willing. What if I wanted to marry a 17 year old cousin who was willing? Or a 7 year old? By that argument of equal protection, should we not have a right to marry?

  • ||

    "Your bottom-line message is that those who love unilateral divorce on demand will simply *adore* government-recognized SSM."

    I predict that if divorce "on demand" were outlawed, only the truly religious would get married. It would be worse for marriage than anything the same sexers could do. You'd have a lot of shacking up, my friends.

  • ||

    'I predict that if divorce "on demand" were outlawed, only the truly religious would get married. It would be worse for marriage than anything the same sexers could do. You'd have a lot of shacking up, my friends.'

    As opposed to today, when people refuse to shack up and get married instead?

    No offense, and with all due respect, how's the weather on your planet?

    I heard a (secular) comedian the other week who was talking about his new girlfriend (which whom he was shacking up), while also criticizing a friend of his who was getting married. His point was - why get married if your spouse can walk off at any time and take half of your property?

    Yes, indeed, the modern divorce laws certainly give people an incentive to get married!

  • ||

    "why get married if your spouse can walk off at any time and take half of your property?"

    Those jokesters! Seriously, our criminal legal system is built around the idea that deprivation of liberty is significantly more onerous than deprivation of money. So, yeah, being stuck in a marriage is significantly worse than having 1/2 your loot jacked by your ex, at least if you believe in liberty.

  • ||

    i agree with those that say the state should have no hand in it at all. If that were the case then there wouldnt be a debate. To say that the gay couple down the street getting married would affect me in any way is absurd.

  • ||

    "How is it an equal protection issue? I have the same rights as any other male to marry any female who happens to not be close enough family, is over a certain age, and is willing."

    And blacks in the 1950s had the same rights as any white to eat at any restaurant that happens to have a black section.

  • ||

    'So, yeah, being stuck in a marriage is significantly worse than having 1/2 your loot jacked by your ex, at least if you believe in liberty.'

    If you wish to support unilateral divorce, then so be it, but why does that require that the innocent spouse be stripped of property and child custody?

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    The collective I.Q. of this debate would rise several points if only more people acknowledged the wisdom of independent researcher Judith Rich Harris, who has debunked the "Nurture Assumption." Home environment per se doesn't influence child development very much, despite what almost everybody believes. Gay marriage, divorce, and many other issues could be debated more intelligently in light of this.

    It's true that divorce can be painful for children and can hurt them in correlative instead of causal ways. For instance, families headed by single mothers tend to be poorer on average. Still, as when debating drugs or pornography, it's crucial to think carefully about cause and effect.

    Again, just three words: Judith Rich Harris. Wake up!

  • ||

    'our criminal legal system is built around the idea that deprivation of liberty is significantly more onerous than deprivation of money.'

    Maybe so, but in other contexts, the government has to prove some kind of fault even if all you stand to lose is mere money.

  • ||

    "If you wish to support unilateral divorce, then so be it, but why does that require that the innocent spouse be stripped of property and child custody?"

    Child custody goes to the better parent, regardless of "innocence" in the marital arena. And really, other than a few cases, there is no black and white "innocent spouse"......ever.

  • ||

    Well, at least you admit that we're "encouraging" hetero marriage, presumably through incentives and benefits. So, at least implicitly, you are advocating a government policy of unequal treatment.

    I also advocate the government treat people who earn their livings as brain surgeons unequally to those who earn their livings through burglary.

    Before you pull your equal sign out of your ass, think about *why* a society should treat activities that are destructive or at least non-beneficial to it equally to ones that are demonstrably beneficial. Obviously the societal benefits of these situations are not equal.

    There's no injustice in treating things unequally that are, in fact, unequal.

  • ||

    "Maybe so, but in other contexts, the government has to prove some kind of fault even if all you stand to lose is mere money."

    You are confusing "granting a divorce" with "dealing with the financial accounting" and child rearing decisions in the aftermath of a divorce. Get a prenup if your so worried about innocent and property, or is that against God too?

  • BruceM||

    aelhues: that's not the way it works.

    MadMax:

    So, let me see if I understand this: The government should be able to dissolve a marriage unilaterally at the demand of either spouse, and even if the other spouse is totally innocent of wrongdoing and has fully complied with his or her marital duties, then in the name of fundamental rights and equal protection, the innocent spouse should be subject to being deprived of certain essential marital rights, such as custody of the children, not to mention much of his or her property. And other arrangement would be an abuse of human rights.

    I never said fault-only divorce is an abuse of human rights, but it leads to very bad situations. Nobody should be forced by the state to stay married to someone they no longer wish to be married to. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it's an abuse of human rights, it's certainly not a legitimate state action, and it's an abuse of government power. People should be able to get divorced by scribbling "I hereby divorce my spouse ___" on a signed and dated cocktail napkin, in crayon. That's how people should be able to get married, too. People can marry and divorce 100 times a day. Marriage should be less official than a Facebook friend.

    Your bottom-line message is that those who love unilateral divorce on demand will simply *adore* government-recognized SSM.

    I don't see where you draw that conclusion. One has nothing to do with the other.

  • ||

    "I also advocate the government treat people who earn their livings as brain surgeons unequally to those who earn their livings through burglary."

    Why would you equate medical services with crime? Isn't this an admission that you believe gays are criminal? Or are you saying they are slightly above criminal? Or just making the point that the government should be discriminating against those damn gays, because they aren't making America awesome like the heteros are?

  • ||

    As soon as you prove, Lamar, that being opposed to SSM is the same as denying two people the same thing based solely upon skin color, I'll agree with you. However, since the difference in skin color is something verifiably born to, and something that in essence, can't be altered in any significant amount, it isn't the same. If you were to go the predisposition route, that isn't the same either, and just because a person is predisposed to alcoholism doesn't mean we should encourage that.

  • ||

    'People should be able to get divorced by scribbling "I hereby divorce my spouse ___" on a signed and dated cocktail napkin, in crayon.'

    Why does it have to be in writing? Why not simply repeat 'I divorce you' three times, like a Muslim husband?

  • ||

    'You are confusing "granting a divorce" with "dealing with the financial accounting" and child rearing decisions in the aftermath of a divorce. Get a prenup if your so worried about innocent and property, or is that against God too?'

    A prenuptial agreement cannot override the laws about child custody.

    So your position boils down to saying that the innocent spouse can be arbitrarily deprived of substantial property unless there's a prior agreement to the contrary? Why should arbitrary deprivation of property be the default?

  • ||

    "As soon as you prove, Lamar, that being opposed to SSM is the same as denying two people the same thing based solely upon skin color, I'll agree with you."

    An actual opportunity to change your mind? Wow, I'll get to work on it right away. [/deadpan]

  • ||

    "A prenuptial agreement cannot override the laws about child custody.

    I happen to favor a "best interest of the child" standard rather than a "give the kid to the spouse who was less of an asshole during the marriage".

    So your position boils down to saying that the innocent spouse can be arbitrarily deprived of substantial property unless there's a prior agreement to the contrary? Why should arbitrary deprivation of property be the default?

    You said "arbitrary" twice. But "arbitrary" means something NOT based on law, i.e., something based on individual discretion. Since all parties know or should know their legal status going into a marriage, and since there are rules in place to apportion marital assets upon divorce, there is nothing "arbitrary" about it.

  • ||

    Why would you equate medical services with crime? Isn't this an admission that you believe gays are criminal? Or are you saying they are slightly above criminal?

    Why would I equate medical services with crime? I dunno. Why would you equate gay relationships with straight ones?

    Quick quiz - in each of these examples, there's an activity being performed that has beneficial effects on society at large, and one which has either harmful or neutral effects on it. See if you can figure out which one is which.

    Perhaps your time would be more profitably spent teaching your straw men to sing "If I Only Had A Brain".

  • ||

    "Quick quiz - in each of these examples, there's an activity being performed that has beneficial effects on society at large, and one which has either harmful or neutral effects on it. See if you can figure out which one is which."

    So I guess you've concluded that SSM cannot possibly have any positive effects. What you fail to see is that the more you attack "SSM", the more you are attacking any type of marriage. Go ahead, list the benefits of a straight marriage, then cross off any of those benefits that cannot be provided by gay marriages. After you substitute adoption for childbirth, your list will be rather small and based on religious belief rather than anything the government should be actively encouraging.

  • ||

    'You said "arbitrary" twice. But "arbitrary" means something NOT based on law, i.e., something based on individual discretion. Since all parties know or should know their legal status going into a marriage, and since there are rules in place to apportion marital assets upon divorce, there is nothing "arbitrary" about it.'

    I think it is perfectly possible for a legislative body to approve something arbitrary. They do it all too often.

    Depriving an admittedly innocent spouse of the rights associated with marriage strikes me as arbitrary.

    And as to the For The Children (TM) argument - while it's great to see the interests of the children being considered on H&R, I think your concerns are misplaced. If legislatures were concerned about the children, they would never have approved unilateral divorce on demand in the first place. Nowadays, even some social scientists acknowledge (after considerable research) that divorce is, after all, bad for kids (which the researchers I linked to describe as an 'unexpected' result).

    So let us say that, occasionally, a kid gets placed in the custody of an innocent spouse instead of the (hypothetically) superior parent who just happened to cheat on/beat up the less-fit parent. Against this, consider that the better-fit parent will have an incentive not to beat/cheat on the other parent. Being such a fit parent, he or she would presumably want to be on his or her best behavior with the other spouse, for fear of losing custody of the kids he or she (by hypothesis) loves so much.

  • ||

    I can't figure out why polgamy etc is illegal either. If the adults are willing, it's not my business.

    Also, the age of conset needs to be the same age where you can be tried as an adult. IE, if you can be tried for murder as an adult at 15, then you are old enough to make decisions about sex yes?

  • ||

    "And as to the For The Children (TM) argument"

    WTF? You said (correct me if I'm wrong) that custody rights are something that should be awarded to the "innocent" spouse ("A prenuptial agreement cannot override the laws about child custody"). I said that such an idea was the dumbest f*cking thing I've ever heard, and it is. For the record, the "For The Children-TM" snark is for when "The Children" are used to push something only tenuously related to "The Children". If there is one area in all of public rhetoric where it is OK to care about "The Children", it is custody of such children.

  • ||

    This discussion is hilarious. So far in the list of arguments against SSM we have:

    Teh Gayz are EVIL
    There would be no benefit to straight people
    and
    Sometimes people lose stuff in divorce and don't get custody of their chilren.

    Sound legal arguments there guys.

  • ||

    "I can't figure out why polygamy etc is illegal either. If the adults are willing, it's not my business."

    Just watch the Bachlorette.

  • ||

    However, since the difference in skin color is something verifiably born to, and something that in essence, can't be altered in any significant amount, it isn't the same.



    I'd argue that skin color is more easily alterable than sexual orientation.

  • ||

    Michael Jackson | August 20, 2009, 12:57pm | #

    I'd argue that skin color is more easily alterable than sexual orientation.


    Haha!!! Now that's funny!!

  • Comrade Laissez-Faire||

    The world would be better off without the following creatures: flies, socialists, cockroaches, and social conservatives.

    The latter don't have any rational, pragmatic reasons to oppose state-recognized domestic partnership contracts known as "marriage" because their logic is driven by emotion and superstition.

  • ||

    Mr Simple manages to boil down the whole discussion in one simple post, with clarity, and without bias of any kind. Three cheers for Mr Simple!

  • ||

    Comrade, did you read any of the posts above?

    The world would be better off without the following creatures: flies, socialists, cockroaches, and amoralists. The latter don't have any rational, pragmatic reasons to oppose long held societal norms, known as morals, because their logic is driven by emotion and the desire to screw around all they want without feeling bad.

  • ||

    Since this is a long thread, I'm guessing that somebody has already linked to this.

  • ||

    aelhues,

    Wouldn't allowing gays to marry cut down on their "screwing around all they want"?

    You are not making an argument against gay marriage, you're making an argument against gay people's status as people.

  • ||

    No, I wasn't making either, not in that post. That was simply a parody of what Comrade wrote, and was not intended to apply to SSM or gay people.

  • ||

    Here's my prediction: Gays will eventually emulate the same statistics that heteros have with marriage. Divorce, adultery, happiness/misery-index, etc. How could it be otherwise?

    Chapman's query of the anti-gay-marriage people (and their inability to "put up") is not surprising. They are simply spouting made-up stuff for partisan advantage. They have no ultimate interest in anything but fundraising and improving their public posture among the rubes. Their idea that heteros are preserving marriage is simply absurd when viewed objectively, especially when one looks at the statistics in red states.

  • ||

    Lamar, I took this remark of yours as invoking The Children:

    'I happen to favor a "best interest of the child" standard rather than a "give the kid to the spouse who was less of an asshole during the marriage".'

    I said that it was *good* to have the interests of The Children considered on H&R, but that your concerns are misplaced because the current divorce laws are demonstrably *harmful* to children.

    I also said that it would also be useful to give the (supposedly) superior parent an incentive to observe marital duties.

  • ||

    Aelhues: I would ask you to present your evidence of the lives of gay people being inherently destructive. I would be a whole hell of a lot more "destroyed" living outwardly a life to which I was not born (i.e., as a heterosexual), and I can guarantee that there would be a great deal of destruction wrought on any woman whom I chose to embroil in such a pernicious, self-serving lie. You, my friend, are bearing false witness. And if your comments are any indication, that remains one of the prohibitions contained in a code upon which you apparently have built your life. So, in other words, shut the fuck up. Kisses!

  • BruceM||

    MadMax: sure, a divorce should be able to be done orally, too. I thought the example of writing in crayon on a cocktail napkin was more dramatic.

  • BruceM||

    It's pretty clear from reading this that if you're against gay marriage, it's because you're against gays.

  • ||

    "In a few years, we won't have to rely on such forecasts, because the facts will be there for all to see. And they should settle the issue once and for all."

    We have many years of facts in many states with regard to the concealed carry of firearms, and it seems not to have settled anything.

  • ||

    I've read all the comments up to this point and it's just as clear now as it was before that nothing bad will happen once gays are allowed to marry. Oh sure, more unions will be state-sanctioned in the future but that's an issue I hardly noticed being discussed prior to same-sex marriage becoming a reality. I get the feeling many of the right-wingers are much more concerned with the state being in the marriage business now than they were when it was only M/F unions being recognized.

  • ||

    It's pretty clear from reading this that if you're against gay marriage, it's because you're against gays.



    Good thing I'm not against gay marriage.

  • ||

    You cannot have an 'experiment' with legalised gay marriage until it is recognised federally- just too many laws, e.g. right of abode, are federal. State marriages that are not recognised outside of the state are a joke.

  • ||

    It's pretty clear from reading this that if you're against gay marriage, it's because you're against gays.

    I'm against gay marriage, and I am gay.

  • ||

    From a very quick search;

    CONCLUSION: In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.

    From http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/3/657

    I am absolutely not lying. Nor have I ever been shown any marginally conclusive evidence that anyone is born gay, or that it isn't a lifestyle of choice.

  • cls||

    Some really naive myths going around here. First, marriage is not a church monopoly. The churches tried to get that but only 1500 years after Christianity was founded, prior to that the church had almost nothing to do with marriage. Marriage predates churches so why claim it is a church monopoly.

    Second, libertarians look at marriage the same way they look at public streets, government schools, etc. Yes, the state ought to be out of that business -- BUT until they do get out they shouldn't selectively deny those things to people. So if they said libertarians can't drive on streets, the law is wrong. If they said blacks couldn't use the post office, it is wrong. If they said Catholics can't use public schools, it would be wrong. Reduce government involvement, but until then equal rights to all citizens -- including gays.

    No one has a right to "ballot status," which is entirely a govt. service yet libertarians will actually sue to obtain that equally with the big parties. So, equal access to what does exist, while working to change things, is the best libertarian position. Too much of what passes for libertarianism today is merely conservatism in drag.

  • ||

    Let's set a baseline here.

    Text of Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1 (emphasis mine):

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

  • ||

    'It's pretty clear from reading this that if you're against gay marriage, it's because you're against gays.'

    It's pretty clear that if you oppose the employment-discrimination provisions of the civil rights laws, it's because you're against blacks.

  • ||

    I'm a pretty conservative guy, and I do think that opposition to gay marriage can be pretty histrionic. However, I'm willing to make at least one negative prediction about the impact of courts declaring that gays have a fundamental right to marry - it will lead to the legalization of polygamy.

    Most cultures throughout the world (including the Jewish and Islamic religions) have traditionally allowed polygamy. Many Muslim countries continue to do so. I think it is highly likely that a court which has invented a definition of marriage on an anti-discrimination basis - with little if any historical precedent - will also be forced to accept that the marriage practices of polygamous cultures are discriminated against by current laws.

    Of course, some people libertarians might argue that polygamy should be allowed. However, I'd argue that polygamy has historically resulted in women being kept relatively uneducated and relatively oppressed and that, for women, the legalization of polygamy in a country tends to decrease their liberty. I realize my argument against polygamy is empirical, not theoretical, but I think it is not wholly groundless.

  • ||

    It's also pretty clear that if you agree with the warnings in the Moynihan Report about broken families, it's because you're against blacks.

  • ||

    From a very quick search;

    CONCLUSION: In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.

    From http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/3/657



    What does this have to do with whether people should be allowed to marry? If you have Lupus or diabetes or ALS disease should you be barred from marriage?

    I am absolutely not lying. Nor have I ever been shown any marginally conclusive evidence that anyone is born gay, or that it isn't a lifestyle of choice.



    Why does that matter? I wasn't born being sexually attracted to nerdy/sexy redheaded girls, but I am now. Why can't I marry one?

  • ||

    "Why does that matter? I wasn't born being sexually attracted to nerdy/sexy redheaded girls, but I am now. Why can't I marry one?"

    I just have to say that's awesome. However, I think that I might have been born attracted to nerdy/sexy redheaded girls. And I am married to one now.

    If it's not obvious, this isn't meant to be a comment on gay marriage.

  • ||

    What seems abundantly clear is that a majority of states will recognize some form of gay unions within 20 years.

  • BruceM||

    "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Some of the arguments I've read on here are the pinnacle of foolish consistency.

  • ||

    Dear Mr. Chapman: Since you wrote your article, Maggie Gallagher has posted six predictions at NATIONAL REVIEW'S Corner blog.

    Sincerely yours,
    Gregory Koster

  • ||

    Of course, some people libertarians might argue that polygamy should be allowed. However, I'd argue that polygamy has historically resulted in women being kept relatively uneducated and relatively oppressed and that, for women, the legalization of polygamy in a country tends to decrease their liberty. I realize my argument against polygamy is empirical, not theoretical, but I think it is not wholly groundless.



    Definitely not groundless. Polygamy is inherently an unequal--not to say misogynistic--arrangement. It's difficult to imagine a contract for a polygamous marriage that gives each partner an equal say in the terms.

  • BruceM||

    Tony: if people want to enter into a polygamous marriage they should have that right. Nobody should be forced into any form of marriage, whether it be traditional man-woman, same sex, or otherwise. "Consent" is a necessary prerequisite to a valid contract, and no contract can be made under duress. The traditional law of contracts should apply to marriages, and the state providing a forum for contract dispute should be the state's only involvement in it, no different than any other contract.

    The risk that one form of marriage may turn out worse for one party than other forms of marriage is not a proper justification for letting the government intrude in our lives to the extent it does with regulating marriage.

    I'd suggest that a woman who enters into a polygamous relationship with one man and many other women is a religious wackjob who Knows that the Truth is that she is an inferior creature slightly above a dog, and below a horse, that is meant to do nothing but serve a man, act as a sperm receptacle, and squirt out babies. So when it turns out that way, it's not a problem for her, it's only outsiders who see it as unfair. These women Know that their buddy the creator of the universe doesn't want them to be educated and wants them to be oppressed. They might even get off on it in a S&M sort of way. If being a domestic slave cum-dumpster gives you a better orgasm, it's nobody else's business.

  • ||

    Alhues:

    Many people in Red-State America who share your views have extremely foreshortened lifespans due to their sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles. Do you propose that they are leading immoral lives, as well? And that they in turn should not be able to marry?

    Yes, gay men have more sex than you and your sad-sack hetero colleagues. Yes, they often did it and do it without adequate precautions. But it goes without saying if there were women hanging out in men's rooms, offering blow jobs and other pleasures, straight men would be lined up around the block to take advantage thereof. And they would certainly not be offering a marriage proposal to the object of their lust.

    But for whatever reason -- most likely evolutionary (you DO believe in evolution, right?) -- women are more prone toward pickiness than are men with regard to their choice of sexual partners.

    Ill-planned, ill-executed sexual forays by heterosexuals often lead to unplanned pregnancies, which result either in the birth of a (sometimes unwanted) child or an abortion, neither of which could be considered a societal good. Ill-planned, ill-executed sexual forays by gay men (and heteros for that matter) often lead to the transmission of HIV and other STDs.

    So is this really an issue with gay men qua gay men? Or is it an issue with individual behavior?

    Unless, of course, you view HIV/AIDS as divine retribution by a capricious and barbaric Yahweh of the Hebrews for our failure to abide by his muddy, impractical and frankly farcical diktats -- in which case, in the words of my co-homo Barney Frank, to have a discussion with you would be like arguing with a dining-room table.

  • ||

    But, realistically, the vast majority of women who would enter into a polygamous marriage in this country are going to be recent immigrants or the children of immigrants or they would be people raised in religious cults (like the ones out in Utah and Arizona). In each case, the culture tends to prevent those women from developing mentally by keeping them ignorant, both academically and in terms of real world experience. I don't think you can blame a 20 year old girl, raised on a compound with no education, for entering a polygamous marriage. She has little other choice. Same goes for new immigrants to America.

    I may be a libertarian, but I recognize that there is a fundamental tension between individual liberty and allowing people the liberty to be unfree in a society like ours. In order to preserve our historic liberties, it's important that immigrants, and members of fringe groups that oppose liberty, be assimilated as quickly as possible. Legalizing polygamy would tend to impede that process and tend to preserve tyranny.

  • ||

    Much of what was predicted about the sexual revolution (family breakdown, out of wedlock birth rate, decline in marriage, etc.) has come to pass, but I doubt anyone at Reason will say, aha, they were right, let's return to traditional mores.

  • ||

    Perhaps, one of the unforeseen and unfortunate consequences of gay marriage is that private institutions that engage in socially advantageous activities feel they can no longer perform then if gay couples must be included.

    The link below goes to an article that describes how the Catholic Charities abandoned their 100 year plus adoption work in Boston because of the new laws. Perhaps, things have changed since the date of the article.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/03/11/catholic_charities_stuns_state_ends_adoptions/

  • ||

    A few notes:
    From a policy perspective, it IS in the interest of the state (i.e. the US) to foster a healthy birth rate. Otherwise, you end up with a very old population, which is bad for the economy, defense, and possibly other reasons that I haven't thought of. This could probably be accomplished by having separate incentives for 1) having child dependents, and 2) Hetero marriage (or a legal contract for monogamy between the two individuals amounting to the same thing). Why hetero marriage over homo marriage? Because (and sadly I may be lacking in a little empirical evidence here... ) hetero marriage has a far greater propensity to produce children. Maybe I'm wrong-- Maybe homo couples adopt at the same rate that heteros produce, but I doubt it. Anyway. Homosexual couples with child dependents could be eligible for dependent incentives. Beyond that, the gov't should provide no recognition or incentives to anyone for relationships.

    That's my take.

    Fun reading on divorce and marriage:
    http://no-maam.blogspot.com/2008/02/questionators-should-women-have-right.html

  • ||

    Paul:

    You've set up a false dichotomy. It's not an either/or choice. It's not like people are just itching to get married and will do so with whoever offers first -- be that person a male or a female.

    In other words, this is not a zero-sum game. Recognition of same-sex marriages in no way subtracts from the benefits enjoyed by society or the participants that arise from opposite-sex pairings nor will it decrease the number of same-sex marriages.

    In fact, allowing gay people to form legally-recognized unions will lead to more stable homes for adopted (or otherwise) children, which certainly inures to the benefit of society as a whole.

  • ||


    I'd suggest that a woman who enters into a polygamous relationship with one man and many other women is a religious wackjob who Knows that the Truth is that she is an inferior creature slightly above a dog, and below a horse, that is meant to do nothing but serve a man, act as a sperm receptacle, and squirt out babies. So when it turns out that way, it's not a problem for her, it's only outsiders who see it as unfair. These women Know that their buddy the creator of the universe doesn't want them to be educated and wants them to be oppressed. They might even get off on it in a S&M sort of way. If being a domestic slave cum-dumpster gives you a better orgasm, it's nobody else's business.



    Perhaps but I don't think the state should remain firmly on the side of equal rights for the sexes, and thus not sanction inherently unequal arrangements.

    I think we can safely eliminate sanctioning polygamy on historical grounds alone, since there has never really been a form of polygamy in which the sexes are equal. But even on theoretical grounds--what if one wife wanted to "divorce" another but the husband didn't? Who gets the ultimate say in the arrangement of the marriage?

  • ||

    That should be "I DO think the state should remain firmly on the side of equal rights..."

  • ||

    But I have a strong suspicion that both sides of the debate are right. The supporters of same-sex marriage are right in predicting that it will have no bad side effects. And the opponents are right not to make predictions.



    Hmmm I've heard some people say that government recognized/sponsored/protected gay marriage would lead to similar results for polygamy.

    Well, why not? Why shouldn't it?

  • ||

    From the paper aelhues linked:

    "In contrast, if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved. Deaths from HIV infection have declined dramatically in this population since 1996. As we have previously reported there has been a threefold decrease in mortality in Vancouver as well as in other parts of British Columbia."

  • BruceM||

    Perhaps but I don't think the state should remain firmly on the side of equal rights for the sexes, and thus not sanction inherently unequal arrangements.

    Quite often people with equal bargaining power reach agreements that are inherently unequal. One could make the case that all marriages are irrational.

    It depends on what you mean by "equal" in terms of a polygamous marriage. One husband and five wives is inherently unequal amongst the sexes. Though any marriage where the male is the head of the household is an unequal relationship. One could argue that women are better off when they're a coalition (i.e. in a polygamous marriage) than when they're alone, one to one, with the man who has all the power and control. I'd guess that all else being equal, five wives have more aggregate input than one wife in marriages where the (one) husband is head of the household, controls the money, makes all the decisions, etc. Why is a polygamous marriage with a powerful husband any worse than a traditional one-wive marriage with a powerful husband?

    Also I don't think it would only be foreign immigrants who would partake in polygamous marriage. The entire state of Utah would do so. Mormons only pretend that they no longer support polygamy because they want to be seen as a legitimate religion. But, as with all religions, doctrine cannot change unless Buddy God literally comes down, holds a meeting and tells someone that the doctrine has changed. So polygamy is still the official-but-secret dogma of the Mormon church. And while Mormonism is probably the wackiest, most insane, most provably false religion to ever be believed by homo sapiens, the state should not be able to tell them how consenting adults can/cannot get married. Of course they can't marry off their 10 year old girls to the 60 year old head prophet (a la Big Love)... that's an issue of consent.

  • ||

    Beyond that, the gov't should provide no recognition or incentives to anyone for relationships.



    I have no problem with that, but the first heterosexual who marries a foreigner and comes bitching to me because his or her spouse gets denied entry to the United States can go suck an egg.

    More Maggie:

    "I predict that after an initial burst of enthusiasm driven by its symbolic availability, relatively few gay couples will pursue marriage, because it makes so little sense for them. ... I suspect it will be less than 25 percent."



    So... this particular right should be denied because only several million of them will take advantage of it? What is the threshold she demands for granting this right?

  • ||

    The most central threat to marriage is not gay marriage, but the incentives for divorce and out-of-wedlock child births.

    If Conservatives were truly interested in protecting marriage, they would abolish no-fault divorce, and make marriage an enforceable contract.

    Lastly, the perverse financial incentives for divorce and out-of-wedlock child births (alimony and child support) must be dealt with in order to stop incentivizing the break up of families. In short, the standard for intervention should only be to 'prevent harm' rather than seeking to uphold a lifestyle preference or standard of living for only one class of citizen, divorced women and mothers.

  • ||

    I would also point to a new book by Dr. Stephen Baskerville, Associate Professor of Political Science at Patrick Henry College, "Taken into Custody: the War on Fathers, Marriage & the Family" for a closer look at the damage being done by the divorce industry on traditional marriage, his Web site is here: http://www.stephenbaskerville.net/

  • Xanthippas||

    Lastly, the perverse financial incentives for divorce and out-of-wedlock child births (alimony and child support) must be dealt with in order to stop incentivizing the break up of families. In short, the standard for intervention should only be to 'prevent harm' rather than seeking to uphold a lifestyle preference or standard of living for only one class of citizen, divorced women and mothers.

    You have it backwards. Alimony and child support are provided for because otherwise, men would divorce their wives and refuse to support them or the children they had them with. Most women or children do not do better financially than they would if the spouses remained married, so what you are basically advocating is that they do worse; you are punishing wives and children for divorces that may or may not be their fault.

    This does not mean the current system couldn't be made more fair. But going back in time isn't the answer.

  • ||

    Why would anyone want to talk to a homosexual activist about gay marriage? Especially after the Nazi-like tactics used in California before and after the vote on Proposition 8. The silent majority -- vaster by far than when Nixon spoke about it -- sees no need to persuade gay activists. They will only distort your remarks and give them the spin de jour.

  • ||

    I have a different question. Can someone please point me to the legislation that created the institution of marriage? Federal? State? English common law? Marriage was not a government invention. Marriage is a socially evolved institution that came about as the most stable way for societies to organize themselves. Virtually all successful societies have some sort of marriage that is the basic unit of society, a man and a woman raising the children in line with the recognized social conventions. We are a cooperative species and as such evolve social institutions and arrangements as a way of adapting, and marriage is one of those. People who would never consider tampering with human DNA to make a more evolved human nonetheless seem to think nothing of tearing down millennium old social conventions. There are costs for tampering with evolution that way. We may not see them, we may not understand them, but to ignore the possibility that there could be adverse consequences, and acting with some restraint and humility might not be just a matter of homophobia and bigotry akin to jim crow.

    As a classical liberal with strong libertarian leanings I separate government and society as distinct entities with different functions. Whereas the government, deriving power and legitimacy from the consent of the governed is obliged to recognize dominant social conventions such as marriage, inheritance, contracts, property and the like, the society is not obliged to adopt the decisions of a government, whatever form that government may take, as the new social norm. Even when you go back to monarchies the monarch was always careful not to spit on social convention in public. So, here we are and some parts of society are evolving new ways to live, non-heterosexual pair bonding. This is a recent phenomenon. The openly gay couples, not the homosexuality. Just about all societies also developed a certain level of tolerance for private homosexuality or homosexual acts so long as the social conventions were respected in public. But the reason I keep hearing that we absolutely must have gay marriage is that hospitals, insurance companies, and pension funds aren't recognizing the new and evolving social convention. So we have to re-define marriage as a government project, from scratch, like the whole thing never existed until governments got involved? Why not just pass a law so that hospitals, insurance companies, and pension funds are required to recognize whoever the hell the beneficiary says they should?

    Here is the real question, do we think ourselves so wise, so superior, and so much more evolved than our predecessors that we can cast away the social evolution of our entire species against the will of the majority of society just because we think we know better. Of course, human nature ceased to exist some time between Marx and Woodstock, and now all we have to do is have a few smart people decide what is best, and tell everyone else to get in line. Let me know how that works out.

    About 30 years ago a few people decided that abortion was a constitutional right, end of argument. The opinions of the public no longer mattered. How'd that work out? Want a prediction? Here's one I guarantee. If a court forces gay marriage on the country or a state we will still be arguing about it 30 years from now.

  • whiskey||

    I've already blogged about this. Here are my predictions:

    1. Legalized polygamy within five years of National Gay Marriage. This is a slam dunk -- feminists including Barbara Ehrenreich have already sent a letter to the DOJ urging legalized polygamy.

    2. Marriage in survey after survey being found "gay" by young men within five years of national Gay Marriage.

    3. Social norms of marriage moving to "gay" norms i.e. casual sex and no monogamy, within five years of national Gay Marriage.

    4. FAR more takers for Polygamy than Gay Marriage, by a factor seven at least, five years after national Gay Marriage.

    These are my predictions. They are a slam dunk. Gay Marriage is coming, probably this term in the Supreme Court, on a 5-4 decision. It will be a disaster. Putting the final nail in the coffin of marriage as we knew it. All that will be left is a few, rich but not ultra rich, men and women getting married and staying married. The rest will cohabitate in short-lived unions, be in polygamous marriages (Muslims, FLDS, cults), or be single mothers.

  • LarryA||

    In a few years, we won't have to rely on such forecasts, because the facts will be there for all to see. And they should settle the issue once and for all.

    We now have 40 right-to-carry states. Airline pilots are carrying. The "assault weapons" ban expired. Off-duty cops have national right-to-carry. No fifty-caliber rifle has shot down an airliner. A majority of the states now have both castle doctrine and no confiscation during disaster laws. States with strict gun control still have the high crime rates such laws were predicted to end. In short, every prediction the gun control folks have made over two decades has proven false.

    So what was the recent reaction when a national reciprocity law (so a carry license would be as valid as a driver's license) was proposed? Is the gun rights issue, despite overwhelming evidence, "settled once and for all?"

    Leave it to the churches to grant marriage -- which in all religions that I know of is between a man, a woman, and god.

    Not true. There are Christian denominations that accept gay marriage, and even in many of the mainstream denominations there's a strong minority that supports SSM.

  • ||

    Where, indeed, are the specific on-record dire predictions? I think they know in their hearts nothing will happen. Gay hysteria is a good way to raise money from people in Alabama etc. that's all. There is no argument behind the scary curtain. The emperor has no clothes.

  • ||

    Well, it seems that on the record dire predictions is a new standard to prevent government action. Just to clarify, since I got sidetracked a bit, my default position on this is that it's none of the government's damn business unless you are talking about controlling the borders or national defense (slightly different for the states, but you get the point). It seems the default position nowdays is that unless we can a priori show irreparable damage directly resulting from a government action then it is fine for the government to take whatever action it sees fit. My personal view, if any such action is endorsed by the citizens of said state or nation, that's fine, they can pay for their own idiocy on the installment plan by replacing the government. However given campaign finance law, the restrictions on free speech, assembly, and organizing to change the government by the government, I really don't believe our current political parties represent their constituents. I think quite frankly that is their greatest fear.

    Again, getting sidetracked. The default position now seems to be that unless opponents can a priori demonstrate harm, and only economic harm seems to matter anymore, sovereignty of the people is right out, then there can be no legitimate objection. How about it's none of your damn business? Anti-smoking laws are my favorite example. A recent case happened in my area. It was hugely unpopular, most patrons of bars hated it, the new outside crowds testified to the fact, but nobody went out of business because of the new regulations, therefore there was no harm, and any thought that such regulations were anything other than completely legitimate expressions of public will are deemed paranoid. And the bar is moved again, and the very idea that it's none of your damn business recedes.

  • Ratdog||

    Come on, now, did you really expect Mack Daddy to do anything on this one? Why? Because of Larry Sinclair and him? Are there any Blacks on the Reason staff? Only asking because you seem very naïve on this one. Well, don't panic, yet, my guess is Dems have a Chinese style of Communism in mind for the USA, just as soon as the blatant connivers finish "accidently" crashing the country they'll rebuild it with mandatory abortion, sterilization, and homosexuality. You may lose a few rights in the process, a fair exchange for free health care from Chairman Obama and the girls, you won't mind (and if you do, it might be wise to not say anything about it).

  • ||

    Polygamy isn't really the next step beyond gay marriage. Polygamy is ancient as rocks, whereas the very existence of gays hasn't been acknowledged till very recent history. Marriage has evolved to recognize equality of the sexes, races, and recently the differently-oriented. I don't think it's going to "evolve" to recognize the subservience of women to the male head of the harem.

  • ||

    Chapman, you are an idiot. If I say divorce will increase 10% and it increases only 7%, are you going to gloat? Gallagher and the others were right not to take your bait. And of course gay marriage advocates aren't shy about predicting nothing bad will happen. If they won't admit no-fault divorce has had disasterous results, why would you think they'll admit the possibility of gay marriage being a disaster. BTW, men are probably already fucking turtles which is just fine with you libertarian retards I'm sure.

  • ||

    Tony | August 21, 2009, 12:45am

    Polygamy isn't really the next step beyond gay marriage. Polygamy is ancient as rocks, whereas the very existence of gays hasn't been acknowledged till very recent history. Marriage has evolved to recognize equality of the sexes, races, and recently the differently-oriented. I don't think it's going to "evolve" to recognize the subservience of women to the male head of the harem.



    Well, if forms of Polygamy are ancient as rocks, why wouldn't we accept that the existences of some form of "gay" is also as ancient as rocks?

    I'd say that gay behavior has been acknowledged and recorded for quite some time - perhaps even recognized (depending on the society).

    Finally, does it really matter if a woman has a harem? Although it may be altogether possible that no woman will ever be recognized for having a harem (are we sure this hasn't happened?), I see no evidence to suggest it couldn't.

  • ||

    Finally, does it really matter if a woman has a harem? Although it may be altogether possible that no woman will ever be recognized for having a harem (are we sure this hasn't happened?), I see no evidence to suggest it couldn't.

    You've never heard of polyandry? Here's the wiki thingy.

  • ||

    One frequent claim in opposition to gay marriage - repeated, I believe yesterday by Maggie Gallagher, is that "gay marriage will be taught in public schools," also often phrased as "children will be taught that gay marriage is equal to straight marriage." I've never heard anyone give this response: But DIVORCE is taught in public schools and the child of a couple who are "second timers" (previously divorced) is TAUGHT that his parents marriage is EQUAL to the marriage of every other child in the class, regardless of certain religious beliefs that marriage is indissoluble."

  • ||

    People. Get with the program already! http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/brainwashing.html

    The masses would be controlled through the Hegelian dialectic (consensus) process by globalist leaders who would view the world through the new filter of globalism. Polls, propaganda, simple slogans, and continual conflicts would be essential to its success. In fact, the greater the perceived crisis, the faster the leader can assume the coveted political powers that true freedom forbids. *The Federal and State governments...* have already mastered these totalitarian strategies, as Mikhail Gorbachev suggested in a 1993 editorial: [20] Mikhail Gorbachev, �New World Order: Consensus,� The Cape Cod Times, January 28, 1993.

    "Bill Clinton will be a great president if he can make America the creator of a new world order based on consensus."[20]

    Remember, consensus demands a felt crisis, and today's moral crisis -- created by trading moral boundaries for sensual freedom -- serves the purpose well. The absence of absolute boundaries leads to social chaos which, in turn, calls for social controls that would have been unthinkable under the old paradigm. In other words, the official promotion of sensual indulgence serves a political purpose. Aldous Huxley summarized it well in Brave New World:

    "As political and economic freedom... diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator... will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope, movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude."[21] Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (New York: HarperCollins, 1932), page xvii.

  • ||

    have no bad side effects

    They didn't actually say that. They said SSM would produce no discernible bad "social indicators".

    I'm sure, for example, that occasions of sin will increase. This would be a negative side effect. There is not serious doubt that SSM meets the definition of sin in most world religions.

  • ||

    3. Social norms of marriage moving to "gay" norms i.e. casual sex and no monogamy, within five years of national Gay Marriage.



    I think your conception of gay "norms" stems from the fact that almost none of them are married. If you can prove to me that married gay couples fuck around more than married straight couples, then you might have the beginnings of some sort of point.

  • ||

    Hasn't one effect in the Netherlands been that the marriage rate of heterosexuals dropped precipitously soon after legalization of gay marriage. And what is the rate of marriage there for gays anyway? And divorce rates for gays ? Is the length of commitment comparable ?

  • ||

    So far as state meddling goes, marriage is tripe. Nobody, gay or straight, is prevented from getting married in any jurisdiction in the U.S. What hasn't happened, is that the state hasn't recognized many of those marriages. And really why should the state "recognize" any such arrangement between consenting adults?

    Doug Stanhope summarizes it best:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXpsT3e8UsM

  • ||

    My response to just about every person who posted above is: so what?

  • ||

    (Except the ones who agree with me.)

    Marriage privatization is the term:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_privatization

    Another word for it is DEREGULATION.

  • ||

    Also, so what if not being married means not getting a lot of free shit from the government? That should be an argument for gays protesting against their tax dollars being used to subsidize the frivolous lifestyles of the married breeders.

    Only in that case will they see me marching by their side.. I for one am sick and tired of the legions of housewives (a.k.a. willfully unemployed people) parasitizing off of the working man. It's bad enough that I am forced to "contribute" to a social security system that is a resource losing investment... do I really feel like I should be obligated to support those primped up bloodsuckers?

    Read it and weep. "The less she works and the richer she marries, the more government largess she shall receive."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_%28United_States%29#Estimated_net_Social_Security_benefits_under_differing_circumstances

  • ||

    Just a question to those saying government should have nothing to do with marriage: If government stops recognizing marriage, what happens to the legal doctrine of spousal privilege (both marital confidences privilege and spousal testimonial privilege)?

    Will they no longer be legally recognized?

    How about spousal sponsorship for immigration? Also removed?

    I'm guessing that you will then be for the inheritance tax for one spouse should the other one die?

  • ||

    It'll have at least one good side effect:

    Bigots will look even stupider when the parade of horribles fails to occur.

  • ||

    > what happens to the legal doctrine of spousal
    > privilege (both marital confidences privilege
    > and spousal testimonial privilege)?

    Either gone, or dependent on factors other than marriage (such as whether or not you share biological / custody of a child with a person or share a household with a person). Otherwise, maybe your children get privilege instead. Some libertarians suggest, why should anyone be COMPELLED to speak?

    > How about spousal sponsorship for
    > immigration? Also removed?

    Yup. No citizenship for simply humping. Maybe citizenship if you share a biological child or maybe custody of a child with a person. Or else, as some libertarians advocate, immigration should be allowed freely, regardless of family ties.

    > I'm guessing that you will then be for the
    > inheritance tax for one spouse should the
    > other one die?

    I'm not in favor of any inheritance tax. But if need be, why not? Good incentive for a spouse to have a job and support themselves.

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets..

  • ||

    OK, here's a forecast of a "horrible" that you can take to the bank: if homosexual unions are legally recognized as marriages, many of the people in them will believe that they actually are married.

  • ||

    I believe the assertion regarding european nations not having any discernable impact from gay marriage is not true. In France, where there is cultural acceptance of gay marriage, there is a remarkably low number of people getting married. 54% of couples co-habitate without marriage. I would imagine the liberal/ultra-secular values plays a role in those statistics and probably the very fact the population over there doesn't have a problem with gay marriage. At some point social libertarians have to deal with the fact that they are pushing their secular agenda without any historical and rational basis. Traditional values have worked pretty well up to this point and should give cause to a person of "reason" to think twice before endorsing new-age values. The facts are that where there is a break-down in heterosexual marriage there is a stark connection to a break-down in traditional moral values.

  • nike shox||

    is good

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