Two Questions for Same-Sex Marriage Opponents

Earlier today, I responded to the first half of Eve’s National Catholic Register article, regarding “the bait and switch.” I was going to respond to the other half, regarding “marriage is for procreation,” but happily Gabriel Rosenberg has already done so very well.

What exactly is the harm in same-sex couples getting married. Eve says the harm comes in “sending the message” that men (hence fathers) are unnecessary in forming a family. I’m not certain what Eve perceives the consequence of this message will be. One possibility is that two women will decide it is possible to form a family without any men. They will marry and possibly start raising kids. Of course female-only couples are already doing this. To see any harm of SSM we would need to believe that (1) such families are inherently harmful and (2) as a result of SSM more women will decide to do this as opposed to marrying men or remaining single and childless for life. From a policy perspective, to oppose SSM one also needs to believe the harm created by these additional same-sex parented families is not outweighed by the benefit of giving the existing families the protections of marriage. This view would also seem to hold that it is better for a lesbian either to marry a man or to remain single and childless.

Read Gabriel’s entire post here.

Gabriel’s post reminds me of two questions I hope opponents of gay marriage will address.

First, what is the measurable harm of same-sex marriage?

Second, what is the mechanism?

Just to be clear, by “measurable harm” I mean just that. It seems likely that very soon there will be gay marriage in Canada and Massachusetts. What are the measurable, specific differences we should expect to see in Massachusetts as a result of Goodridge? Will divorce rates go up? Will there be an increase in single-parent families? Will absentee fathers be less willing to pay child support? Let’s hear some specifics.

By “mechanism,” I mean the chain of events leading from gay marriage to harm. We are told, over and over, that if A) Sally and Suzy get married, this will cause C) terrible harm to Ed and Edith’s son Ed Jr. But what are the specific, concrete steps by which A leads inevitably to C?

In short, does same-sex marriage cause harms that are measurable to everybody, or are the harms of gay marriage like the Emperor’s New Clothes, visible only to those who fervently believe in them?

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74 Responses to Two Questions for Same-Sex Marriage Opponents

  1. Paul-

    Marriage *is* a specific legal kinship relationship. It identifies one person as another’s spouse. The relationship is symmetric so at the same time the former also becomes the spouse of the latter. Does this answer your question?

  2. 2
    paul says:

    Edgewise:

    Thanks for the link.

    I agree that “forming new families” is maybe one of the best reasons for marriage. “Forming new families”, however, really is an *attribute* of marriage. Likewise, “intimate”, “life long committment”, and so on, are attributes of marriage.

    My pressing this distinction I hope does not come off as argumentative or esoteric, but what I am looking for is, what *is* marriage?

  3. 3
    Simon says:

    Based on previous discussions in this blog on this issue, I believe the antis on this issue would say that the mechanism being asking about comes not in specific harm to unrelated individuals, but in a general decaying of society represented by official acknowledgment of such eevial facts as that some people have gay sex.

    Of course, the holes in this argument are first, that it remains to be shown that this “decay” associated with freedom really is a bad thing; or that, if so, that it’s worse than denying a class of people their civil rights; and, if so, whether it’s at all bad enough to justify that denial – which would require a mighty justification.

  4. 4
    MightyLambchop says:

    So what about a woman like myself who isn’t opposed to marrying someone of the opposite sex but is opposed to having children??

    Is this somehow less harmful?
    I don’t understand the harm in anyone having a family that they love. I don’t see how it matters if the parents are same sex or not.

  5. 5
    natasha says:

    The funny thing is that there are generally thought to be more gay men than gay women. (I think that’s right, but I’ve been known to make mistakes.) But I’ve never yet heard anyone argue that the marriage of two men would make other men decide that it isn’t necessary to have a mother around when they’re raising a child.

    And you would think that if we were being logical… oh, never mind. Logic doesn’t even enter the picture.

  6. 6
    David says:

    I believe that same sex marriage should be between a man and a woman.

  7. 7
    Jake Squid says:

    David:

    Why? Is it for religious belief reasons, or for other reasons?

  8. 8
    PinkDreamPoppies says:

    David -

    Or is it that you just like making me do a double-take?

  9. 9
    EdgeWise says:

    So are there any ways to address the ostensible concerns with the effects of same sex marriage while allowing same sex marriage? Is it possible for policies to deepen and improve the quality of family relationships without rolling back progressive shifts (women’s liberation, legalization of divorce, gay rights, SSM)? Is it possible to facilitate community relationships in a highly transient (or at least mobile) society?

    I’ve heard a conservative priest say they he wasn’t intrinsically against nontraditional families, he just felt traditional families were being eroded, and blamed nontraditional families like it was some kind of zero sum game. He refused to support policies that made it economically viable to be a single parent, because he wanted to force them to be in a traditional marriage. Same went for Same Sex Marriage. He wanted to encourage bisexuals to choose heterosexual marriage by reducing the viability of an alternative.

    Very twisted response, but I think the concern that our families are more tenuous and our communities almost nonexistant is a valid one. What are ways that the underlying concerns can be addressed without resorting to conservative tactics?

  10. 10
    paul says:

    I would just like to know what is the vision of marriage that gays are trying to attain and why?
    What is it that they say marriage is?

  11. 11
    EdgeWise says:

    Paul, Gays seek the same thing as heterosexuals out of marriage. Both the protections (financial, legal) of marriage and the societal recognition of their loving, committed union. Amp answered what is the point of marriage at length here. If you read it, what about this answer was left you unsatisfied? Are there any aspects you feel were left unaddressed?

  12. 12
    pericat says:

    I believe David is quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  13. 13
    bob mcmanus says:

    I happen to be in favor of same-sex marriage, but let’s not pretend this is something trivial. Can you name me another society, not current, that had state sanctioned same-sex relationships? A society that didn’t consider the state sanctioning of marriage important?

    I don’t really understand the depth of what is going on in America, and I actually approve of most of it, but I do recognize its radical nature. Give your opponents just a little break or sympathy

  14. 14
    David says:

    Paraphrasing, pericat.

    I really need to start using smileys more, in the blogosphere as in life. d8=

  15. 15
    EdgeWise says:

    Bob,
    I disagree that same sex marriage is that great a conceptual change to our present understanding of marriage, even as I do agree that it is a historic change due to it’s novelty.

    We already accept nonprocreative heterosexual marriages (senior citizens, infertile couples, consenusual contraceptive use). We already accept the equality of women and men. We already accept the interchangeablity of heterosexual gender roles in marriages (stay-at-home dads and breadwinner mothers). The conceptual leap from the combination of these is small.

    The big leap is only for social conservatives that still bitterly resent some of these mainstream accepted practices (contraception, gender equality, nontraditional gender roles). Their opposition to same sex marriage is partly a proxy for these regressive views, even as it is partly a proxy for legitimate concerns of the erosion of the quality of family and community relationships.

  16. 16
    JRC says:

    Another point of clarification.

    How is your statement:

    “I think that an infertile couple that would have their own children if they could should be state recognized,”

    Significantly different from:

    “I think that a homosexual couple that would have their own children if they could should be state recognized.”

    Keep in mind that in both circumstances the people becoming married WISH to have children which consist of shared genetic material, but in both circumstances are prevented by an unfortunate biological quirk. To claim that adoption legitimizes one but not the other is rank foolishness of the first order.

    Furthermore, you still didn’t address the issue of why, according to your worldview, we would allow women past childbearing age to become married. After all, they’re no less incapable of having children than a same-sex couple. In order to avoid the “ugly and intrusive” determination of who is and isn’t past menopause, we could just set the age standard high. . .say, 65? “Women over the age of 65 should be forever prohibited from marriage.” Is that your argument?

    As far as I can see, your “principled and logical position” is nothing more than a mask for bigotry. If you expect to be taken seriously, try to resolve some of the internal inconsistencies in your reasoning. You seem like a nice guy, but you’re maintaining an atrocious double standard here, and until it’s resolved, your whole position makes little sense.

    —JRC

  17. 17
    JRC says:

    So, to clarify, you believe that, in an ideal world, a heterosexual couple who wishes to marry KNOWING that they’re infertile should not be PERMITTED to marry.

    Is that correct?

    —JRC

  18. 18
    Hestia says:

    Well, Paul, that’s your opinion. One that’s unreasonable and lacks common sense and could never be enforced by any kind of law whatsoever, but still, your opinion.

    Me, I’m sticking with the definition of marriage as a legal contract. Since, you know, that’s what it is.

  19. 19
    paul says:

    Yes, I certainly need to respond to the questions given me.

    Rather than restate what JRC has written, let me just put the question numbers down, then the reader can look back up at the question.

    1. and 2. I think that an infertile couple that would have their own children if they could should be state recognized.

    3. Again, I think it depends on whether they would have their own children if they could. I assume most adoptive parents would have their own chidren if they could.

    4. and 5. I think that homosexual adoptive parents or homosexuals who do not want to adopt are not eliglble for marriage because they do not affirm their procreation together.

    In answer to Charles: if childbearing is out of the question from the beginning, the union should be called a civil union.

    I agree that enforcing an intent to procreate would be ugly and intrusive. For practical purposes, however, a line has to be drawn, so it belongs basically where it is completely obvious: at the sexes.

    I think this answers everything. Thanks.

    ps To comment on JRC’s p.s. about cloistered nuns. I agree, they are married to God, but this is not a marriage in the eyes of the law.

  20. 20
    charles says:

    Paul,

    Personally (as a married non-procreator), I haven’t taken offense at anything you have said, and I hope my response was not taken as showing offense. I think that part of the problem is that you are a lone voice arguing against a large number of people. While I think everyone responding to you has been reasonably respectful (of you, if not of your argument), I can understand that the barrage of responses could feel a bit overwhelming.

    However, (as a non-procreator) I have to say that I am not particularly convinced by your argument, particularly by placing the line in between adoption and procreation. I could see arguing that the function of marriage is to provide greater stability and support for people raising children., but not that it is to provide greater support and stability to people who want to experience the bliss of strenghtening their love bond by combining their genetic material.

    I don’t think that a definition of marriage that focuses on the loving experience of the married couple is either meaningful or useful. I think a definition of marriage (as a legal contract and a legal status) should focus on the obligations and benefits that it provides. I think that marriage should be open to any group of people who choose to undertake that set of obligations and benefits.

    I don’t think that basing the definition on the love bond is particularly useful, because it is impossible for the state to know the quality of any two people’s love for each other. Nor do I think that you can predict with any degree of certainty what effect any particular action will have on two people’s love for each other.

    If two nuns wish to undertake the legal obligations of marriage in exchange for its benefits, I frankly don’t see any way that this harms anyone else. Notably, where domestic partnership registration has been created in a manner that makes it clear that what is being declared is a bond of mutual support (such as Portland, OR), a substantial portion of the people registering their domestic partnership have been non-sexual couplings. To my mind, this is all to the good.

    Accepting your argument that we should look at what marriage is before we decide who should be allowed to have one, I can’t see any characteristics of an imaginary gay couple that differ from the characteristics of my marriage, except that I and my partner are of different sexes and the gay couple are of the same sex. Currently, this is the main restriction on the definition of marriage. I think that this restriction is wrong and should be changed.

    Any definition of marriage that would consistently exclude gay couples for any reason other than the lack of difference in sex would exclude many people who are currently married. Since “what marriage is” is defined by who is married, I don’t think that you can say that “what marriage is” excludes gay couples on any basis other than that they are gay.

    Charles

  21. 21
    JRC says:

    Well, I’m all for civility in discourse, however you need to realize that when you say “ I would suggest that marriages that do not affirm procreation should be called something else, since they truly are distinguished in the mind,” that that will be taken as an insult by the many, many loving happily married couples who choose not to procreate.

    When you tell someone “your marriage is a sham,” or “you’re not really married,” don’t expect them to respond with civility.

    Also, if you’re interested in continuing the dialogue, please respond to the questions I and Charles listed. Everyone has been pretty good at responding to your inquiries, so please return the favor.

    —JRC

    ps. Cloistered nuns are considered married. They wear wedding rings, are not addressed as “Miss,” etc . . . Theirs is a marriage to god. A non procreative one.

  22. 22
    paul says:

    I have made no claims about what should be legal or not legal. My original purpose in asking the question was to know what marriage is, since I think the debate, from both sides, tends to center (wrongly) on what goods can be gained or lost by allowing gays to marry. To me, this appraoch is backward. We should first know what marriage is, then ask whether these two people can be called married.

    In trying to distinguish marriage from other kinds of relationships, I came to the conclusion the affirmation of procreation is the distintion. I suppose I would suggest that marriages that do not affirm procreation should be called something else, since they truly are distinguished in the mind.

    Otherwise, where should the line be between two who would be eligible to marry? Why can’t cloistered nuns be called married? Obviouisly others disagree with me on where this line should be drawn. Many who oppose gay marriage would still not agree that procreation is substantial to marriage.

    A couple of months ago on “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” I saw Maggie Gallagher debating with a gay marriage advocate (whose name I don’t know). I must say I was inspired by their civility towards one another, especially since their views were so opposed. It was my hope to have this kind of discourse, and still is, thought I suppose its really impossible on line like this since you can’t see who you are talking to. So I apologize if I have offended anyone. I did not intend to do so.

  23. 23
    EdgeWise says:

    Paul,
    To add to what Gabriel said just above, I don’t think marriage *is* anything different to homosexuals than marriage *is* to heterosexuals. Your question seems to imply a difference in the definitions. I agree that I was answering “why” rather than “what”, in my earlier comment.

  24. 24
    paul says:

    Gabriel’s link rightly points out that something should underlie the legal aspect of marriage. I do not think, however, that this something can be a primarily emotional element. While we hope for tender feelings between spouses, it seems that the former can vary quite a bit over the course of a relationship, and so cannot be counted on as a standard.

    I’ll propose a definition of marriage for the sake of argument. I don’t necessarily think this is best or that it is complete, and I’m sure to some it will sound overly philosophical or mawkish. None the less, it will do for the moment. “Marriage is a union of two lives lived as one which is recognized by society.”

    This is similar to “specific legal kinship relationship”, but it has maybe an important distinction that the other lacks.

  25. Paul,

    Actually your definition sounds fine to me for what underlies legal marriage. It also applies equally well to same-sex couples. Same-sex couples unite their lives to live as one and seek recognition by society.

  26. 26
    Avram says:

    “Two lives lived as one” has a metaphoric sound to it that I don’t think is appropriate for a definition.

    I think I’d got for something like Marriage is an institution for the joining of formerly unrelated adults into a family. Note that I don’t consider children to be a necessary component of a family. And that I don’t object to marriages of two or more people. (And if you do object, then what word would you use to refer to polygamous marriages?)

    It still needs work (there may be other institutions than marriage that also join unrelated adults into families, and I’d need to find a way to distinguish marriage from those), but I think it gets to the heart of the matter.

  27. 27
    paul says:

    The problem I have with using ‘family’ at this point is that the word has all its meaning
    tied up in marriage and/or procreation to begin with. We can’t define family without referring to one or both of those things, and so to include ‘family’ into the definition for ‘marriage’ seems to me circular.

  28. 28
    paul says:

    In general, it seems that procreation will ever be a substantial part of marriage since in procreation two people can most live as two parts of one life. Namely, the one’s child is also the other’s child. For everything else, even death, a person can only be present or accompany the spouse. With child bearing, however, the two can say to eachother “my procreation is your procreation”, bodily and intellectually. Two can never say to eachother “my death is your death”, except in intellectual terms.

    In childbirth do we find the greatest potential for unity of body and mind of two people, and such unity is at the very core of marriage. Unless we would seperate body from mind, we must also acknowledge the importance of bodily realities in marriage, for we are not disembodied intellects, but our intellects are bound together with our bodies and so the body’s unity is important in marriage as well as the intellectual.

  29. 29
    Hestia says:

    In childbirth do we find the greatest potential for unity of body and mind of two people, and such unity is at the very core of marriage.

    You’ll have to make a stronger case for this, because I’m not convinced. Do childless married couples or unwed parents have a somehow lesser relationship than couples who are married with kids? What’s the difference between “your child is my child” and “your mother is my mother”–or, for that matter, “your finances are my finances,” “your home is my home,” “your love is my love”?

    Since living two lives as one is (literally speaking) impossible, we have to consider it metaphorically. Having a child might change the relationship between two people, but it doesn’t invalidate the relationship they shared before the kid’s birth, nor is either one more…morally significant (or whatever) than the other. A child is a separate individual who shares its parents’ genes; whether it represents a combination of their personalities or “souls” is subjective.

    I’m with Gabriel: Marriage is a legal arrangement–and, I’d add, a decision. The reasons that support marriage are entirely up to the couple and can’t be condensed into one or two sentences.

  30. 30
    paul says:

    What I’m saying is that the potential for the greatest and most significant marital bond will always be for those who affirm and coparticipate in procreation. I’ll use an inadequate though useful analogy to try to demonstrate: A twelve ounce glass will always have a greater potential to hold water than a six ounce glass. It may be the case that some six ounce glasses actually hold more water than some twelve ounce glasses, but the twelve ounce glass still has the greatest potential to hold water. Procreative marriage, then, is the twelve ounce glass. (This analogy is inadequate at least for the reason that I don’t think procreation is on a simple continuum with other things.) Unfortunate as it may be to say so, childless couples do lack a significant marital good. They deserve our compassion.

    “Your child is my child” is in fact on a par with “your mother is my mother”. Both speak of a sharing in the generation of life but from different perspectives. A difference is that the pair who say “your child is my child” are speaking of a matter of free will, while the latter pair are speaking of a matter entirely outside of their determination. In marriage, the parents have the possibility of coming to say to eachother “your child is my child” as a consequence of their free wills.

    Which brings me to an important point: it is of prime significance that marriage partners affirm their procreation by agreeing to try to have children. It seems that couples who do this are right up there with couples who actually are fortunate enough to have children since the former have aligned their intentions with this greatest marital good. I agree that marriage is a matter of decision.

    Sharing love is of course of prime importance as well, and how could this be better expressed than by having children together? “My child, your child, our child. Our hearts are simultaneously overjoyed and broken by this creature that came from our bodies.”

    Bank accounts and homes are important, but they have no life of their own so cannot be on par with a child. Bank accounts and homes can be bought and sold.

  31. 31
    Ampersand says:

    It may be the case that some six ounce glasses actually hold more water than some twelve ounce glasses, but the twelve ounce glass still has the greatest potential to hold water. Procreative marriage, then, is the twelve ounce glass.

    Well, then, clearly it should be against the law to drink water out of a six ounce glass.

  32. 32
    Hestia says:

    To expand on what Amp said:

    Assuming that having a child is the be-all-end-all of marriage–and it isn’t; you haven’t offered any objective or logical rationale for your opinion, Paul (other than that it’s your opinion)-but just assuming it is, your suggestion isn’t a good enough reason to deny marriage to anyone.

    The “best” argument doesn’t hold any water (six-ounce, twelve-ounce, or otherwise). It’d be ludicrous to ban anything less than best. If we restricted marriage only to those who conform to an ideal, most marriages that currently exist would be null and void. And who gets to decide on that ideal, anyway?

    (I take this argument personally. I adore my boyfriend of seven years, and I adamantly refuse to believe that just because we don’t want children, we have an inferior relationship–that we should be pitied. It’s a terribly condescending position to take, not to mention just plain wrong. We’re both very happy, and if you don’t think that’s a good enough reason for anyone to be together, then I’d like to respectfully question your priorities.)

  33. 33
    JRC says:

    Agreed, Hestia. I tend to think that those who believe that “the greatest and most significant marital bond will always be for those who affirm and coparticipate in procreation,” are people who have never known true romantic love for a spouse.

    Kids are great, and my wife and I would like to have them, but our love doesn’t need accessories in order to become valid. We’ve made our two lives become as one already, and the presence or lack of children doesn’t change that one whit, and it is arrogance incarnate to claim otherwise.

    —JRC

  34. 34
    JRC says:

    A series of questions for Paul regarding parents who adopt.

    Paul said:
    Which brings me to an important point: it is of prime significance that marriage partners affirm their procreation by agreeing to try to have children. It seems that couples who do this are right up there with couples who actually are fortunate enough to have children since the former have aligned their intentions with this greatest marital good.

    Or, in plain language: “Trying to have kids, even if you can’t, is just as good.” I figure he threw that in there because gay folks can’t “try” to create children who are the genetic progeny of both members of the couple.

    Well, that’s all well and good, but that’s true of a number of heterosexual couples as well . . . people who marry knowing that they’re infertile, or are past childbearing age, or whatnot. Many of these couples choose to adopt so that they may share that warm “your child is my child” feeling with their partner.

    The questions then, are:

    1) Do you feel that a couples that marries knowing they’re infertile is less deserving of marriage than a couple that marries believing in their fertility? Should their marriage be state-recognized?

    2) Do you feel that an infertile heterosexual couple with no intention of adopting is less deserving of marriage than an infertile heterosexual couple who intends to adopt? Should their marriage be state-recognized?

    3) Do you feel that heterosexual adoptive parents are less deserving of marriage than heterosexual biological parents? Should their marriage be state-recognized?

    4) Do you feel that homosexual adoptive parents are less deserving of marriage than heterosexual adoptive parents? Should their marriage be state-recognized?

    5) Do you feel that a homosexual non-adoptive couple is less deserving of marriage than a homosexual adoptive couple? Should their marriage be state-recognized?

    I’m trying to figure out where you would draw the line on state-sanction, and why.

    —JRC

  35. 35
    Charles says:

    And to add another option to JRC’s list:

    Do you feel that heterosexual non-procreative (and non-adopting) couples are less deserving of marriage than homosexual adoptive parents? Should their marriage be state-recognized?

    Given your previous arguments, I assume that you feel that non-procreating heterosexuals should properly be denied the right to marry, and the only reason for allowing such marriages is that the determination of which het couples are intended to be (or capable of being) procreative would be unreliable and excessively intrusive. However, some het marriages (for instance, those involving women over the age of 40) are exceptionally unlikely to be procreative. Perhaps you would favor a ban on women over 40 being allowed to marry? Perhaps marriages that fail to produce offspring by the time the female partner reaches the age of 40 should be legally anulled? If gay marriages should not be legal solely because gay couples are incapable of producing offsping who contain a combination of the genetic material of both parents, then why should other marriages which are likewise incapable be permitted?

  36. 36
    Dan J says:

    Yeah, that’s a clearer way of putting it, thanks.

  37. 37
    Quadratic says:

    Marriage is actually a legal contract between a man and a woman, and I have centuries of precedent to prove it. You can try to re-define things to fit your political agenda, but it will not work.

    There was a ballot initiative (voted on by the public), in California banning same sex marriages. It passed with 61% of the vote in a state that is registered only 34% republican. It carried 52 of 58 counties. Even in San Francisco, 33% of voters voted to ban gay marriage.

    They know they can’t win. Even the democrats are backing away from this issue. It wasn’t a good idea to press this issue in an election year.

  38. 38
    Dan J says:

    Actually, I think they can win, bearing in mind that, of course, the Constitution is on their side…

  39. 39
    Quadratic says:

    I’ll give you that one Jake. I guess it’s all the same. Holy shucks, did I just concede a point to someone…on a blog?! Oh my sweet feathery Christ!

    Like I said, if gay marriage passes, more power to them. If not, I won’t be surprised.

    Does anybody think that polygamy should be legalized along with gay marriage? Isn’t condemning multiple husbands/wives just as discriminatory?

  40. 40
    Dan J says:

    Outlawing polygamy is not discriminatory in the same sense that outlawing SSM is. Homosexuality is a state of being, therefore to deny people any legal protection (including marriage) because of that is unacceptable. Polygamy is not a state of being; it is an action. To outlaw polygamous marriage doesn’t specifically deny rights to some class of citizens called “polygamists” because such a class does not exist. As far as I know, I should add. Perhaps someone in a relationship with multiple partners would be more fit to field that one…

  41. 41
    Raznor says:

    Here’s an alternative argument to Dan:

    Marriage is a legal contract between two persons. To ban two persons from this contract on the basis of the relative gender is outright discrimination. But it is perfectly consistent to say that the contract cannot be between three persons, or that part of the contractual obligation with one person is that one cannot fulfill a similar contract with another.

    Usual disclaimer is that this isn’t exactly how it works. I have some understanding of law, but I’m not a lawyer, I’m a math major.

  42. 42
    Jake Squid says:

    Quadratic writ: “I simply feel that the abuses visited upon the black community were far more profound than Gays being excluded from marriage.”

    If that’s the case, can you please retract your statement that, “…Make all the analogies about civil rights you care to, (which I believe trivializes the civil rights movement)…”?

    Just because you believe (and it may be true) that the black community suffered more heinous abuse does not mean that the struggle for equality by the Gay & Lesbian community cheapens the (mid 20th century) civil rights movement. Nor does it mean that the fight for SSM is not a civil rights movement. It’s just the old “my ethnicity’s suffering is worse than yours, so shut up,” argument.

  43. 43
    Quadratic says:

    Jake,

    I’m not sure why I feel this way. I simply feel that the abuses visited upon the black community were far more profound than Gays being excluded from marriage.

    In truth, I see no problem with letting gays marry. The day after they passed the law the sun would still come up, and my own marriage would still be stable. I just lean to the conservative side of politics. I’m just old fashioned I guess. If I’m what’s wrong with America according to liberal doctrine, so be it.

    I apologize if I insulted anyone by saying “blah blah blah”. I simply think if you look at this issue realistically, the best way for everyone to win here is civil union. Gays can have equal protection under the law, and the traditionalists can preserve the perceived sanctity of their institution.

    I really don’t think that the activists pressing this issue genuinely expect to win. I think that organized civil disobedience, with a little help from the media, is probably the fastest way to bring an issue to light. I think they know they CAN’T win, but they will expedite getting the same benefits.

  44. 44
    Raznor says:

    Quadratic, actually I assumed you were criticizing the room, but I am part of that. I don’t see how it would speak volumes if I assumed that the ambiguous post posted directly below mine was directed at me. Apparently telepathy is one of your requirements for people to enter into a debate. Which would explain your cryptic arguments.

    But if your posts are empty insults (like for instance just saying “blah blah blah”) then you get no respect from me, since you give no respect to anyone else in this room.

  45. 45
    Quadratic says:

    I was commenting on the entire string. That you assume I was critiquing you alone speaks volumes.
    I don’t care to be (and couldn’t possibly be) the smartest person in the room.

    Agree with it or not, here is how this plays out: Civil Unions

    Make all the analogies about civil rights you care to, (which I believe trivializes the civil rights movement) too many voters are moderate/conservative Christians. Gays will be given the same rights as married people, but it will not be called marriage.

    Right or wrong, the majority is not ready for this.

    So I say again…blah, blah, blah

  46. 46
    Jake Squid says:

    Quadratic,

    How does it trivialize the civil rights movement? How is this not a civil rights movement? What is the difference between the SSM movement & the integration movement (in terms of civil rights)?

    I just don’t understand the basis of that statement.

    Thanks,

    Jake

  47. 47
    rj says:

    While personally for ssm (and not gay myself), I do think a lot of the fiercely pro-ssm are missing a few points. Hetero-sexual marriage makes a lot of sense to people. Man…woman…differnt parts. You get the picture. Now we start to move into man and man, woman and woman and it gets murkier. Let’s take it a step further. Man and three women? Four men? How are we defining marriage? What if three men decide to marry together. Should they all be deserving of benefit packages from some company? To say that this issue is simple and that people are just being bigoted is a mistake. It is a confusing issue for a lot of people. Personally, I feel the issue needs to be approached rationally. And the gay and lesbian community needs to expect this backlash. This is radical. It’s right, but it’s radical. Peace.

  48. 48
    Raznor says:

    Wow, quadratic, you totally owned me right there with your witty and topical repartee. Clearly you are of superior intellect. Now if you excuse me, I must flagellate myself in penance of ever thinking otherwise.

  49. 49
    Raznor says:

    Gabriel, absolutely, but I was thinking more along the lines of:

    We have 9 wayward supreme court justices in Brown vs Board of Education who decided to take it upon themselves to write legislature, for which they can and should be impeached.

    Civil rights always has been and always will be an uphill battle.

  50. 50
    Quadratic says:

    Blah Blah Blah.

  51. 51
    Simon says:

    Yep, that’s an amazing post, all right.

    “Tolerance of the gay lifestyle … has been thrust forcefully upon people.” Yes, imagine that, we have to tolerate people whose lifestyle we may not like! I have to tolerate Republicans myself.

    “this union ‘between man and woman’, as it has been since the beginning of time …” Jaileen has a pretty solid confidence about what’s been going on since the beginning of time, much of which would actually surprise him, her, or it.

    Gay rights “could be offset by a fierce backlash …” Ooh, a backlash. Remember the South’s “Massive Resistance” plan to respond to integration? I think it was Herblock who coined its obituary: “Massive’s in de cold, cold ground.”

    “… a revolt, an upheaval of hatred from the straight community.” Don’t speak for me, buster. The straight community does not consist of the bigot community, as you apparently think.

  52. 52
    Raznor says:

    You gotta hand it to Jaileen. Replace words like words like “gay” with “black” and “marriage” with “integration”, and you get a pretty good feeling about how her (his?) logic will stand in 20 years.

    If Jaileen had any sense of history, he/she’d realize that.

  53. See when I read Jaileen’s comment I thought about replacing “gay” with “woman” and “marriage” with “the ability to become President”. So what if women can’t become President? How can they be discriminated against over a law that never applied to them to begin with? The President is a man–period and I’m continuing this sentence despsite that period. It’s bad enough that we were forced to tolerate women as lawyers. If a woman were to become President we might have to take it out on women with outright acts of hatred. The Presidency is considered a very macho position by men. If a woman were allowed to become President because of some silly thing like “equality for all” it would lose its machoness and there would be dire consequences. We’d go back to the days when a woman’s place was in the house. So all you women politicians better just watch it before you go too far.

    How pathetic.

  54. 54
    paul says:

    I am going to post my responses on http://www.amptoons.com/blog/001175.html to consolidate this and since it is the later discussion…

  55. 55
    Rob says:

    What is the problem? I see signs saying marriage is a human right. Well, Same sex relations are an inhuman act. It’s something animals do because they don’t know any better. You see it all over T.V. anymore…just like murder, rape, gang-banging, drugs..etc..etc. Kids in school are thinking they’re gay because it’s made to look like the “in thing” to do. Just because it’s on television doesn’t make it right! Kids are confused enough these days without having to stop and wonder about their sexuality. This country just keeps letting more and more wrong become right and then we all sit back and ask, “What is wrong with the world today?”

  56. 56
    Raznor says:

    Yes, kids have too much to worry about without having to worry that their completely natural feelings of who they are attracted to is wrong.

    And just because neanderthals think that love is inhuman doesn’t mean we should punish humans who love. Sorry Rob, this isn’t about acceptance of opposing viewpoints. This is about you being so on the wrong side of history it’s not even funny.

  57. 57
    El Juno says:

    Raznor:

    Please don’t badmouth Neanderthals. They probably knew better than all this.

  58. 58
    El Juno says:

    Raznor:

    Please don’t badmouth Neanderthals. They probably knew better than all this.

  59. 59
    El Juno says:

    Stupid double post! Apparently Neanderthals were smarter than yours truly, as well.

  60. 60
    Raznor says:

    Sorry, my bad.

  61. 61
    Jaileen says:

    Gays are screaming “It is discrimination — let’s not write discrimination into the Constitution.” How can gays be discriminated against over something – a law that never applied to them to begin with?

    Marriage is for a man and a woman — period and steeped in that “man and woman” traditional marriage is the hope and beauty of natural procreation; not artificial insemination between lesbian couples, and not surrogacy by women for gay men.

    I live in Boston, and Beacon Hill has become the land of political confusion. What I have seen so far on this whole gay marriage fiasco is that it is felt to be a civil rights issue. Here we have 4 wayward judges that decided to take it upon themselves to write law for the legislature, for which they can and should be impeached. Gays are relying on Massachusetts lawmakers to pass this law because they do not, by their own admittances, want it to go to the people for voting. People are more against this than for it; not only in Massachusetts, but in the majority of the world, and the reason is not only tradition and law, but morality — religion aside!

    Tolerance of the gay lifestyle, however deviant and unnatural most feel it to be, has been thrust forcefully upon people by liberals and special interest groups. People are so fed up! People are sick and tired of everything they feel and think being practically under martial law in this country! People have bitten their tongues for far too long over everything they are not allowed to do, say, think, feel or celebrate for fear of seeming un-politically correct by not doing the popular thing/feeling the popular, politically correct way, thus being considered a racist, bigot, homophobe or mean spirited.

    People have had enough already! If this law should happen to pass and gay marriage is allowed, it is quite possible that people who were once tolerant and accepting of this lifestyle, be it on their own accord, or because they had no choice, could turn on gays and display outright acts of hatred. Passing of this gay marriage law could be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.

    Marriage is a very, very venerated bond for heterosexuals. To have this union ‘between man and woman’, as it has been since the beginning of time, be granted to gays because they whined and bitched and got their way; thus having marriage lose the meaning people held most dear — this could have dire consequences.

    If gays think that circumstances are bad for them at this point in time; that they have been victimized and discriminated against, wait and see what the future might possibly hold. Gays may be biting off more than they can chew. People can become as un-politically correct as we are currently forced to be politically correct. However far gays think they’ve come in the world in terms of equal rights and acceptance could be offset by a fierce backlash – a revolt, an upheaval of hatred from the straight community – even those who are supposed to act politically correct under “crybaby” left wing laws – people such as landlords, employers, etc.

    People may regress to the days when nasty things were said and feelings were shared outright — and no amount of legislature or law suits (another thing people are fed up with) will stop people from expressing themselves –no more putting up and shutting up! Attitudes could rival the days of Archie Bunker!

    Be careful what you wish for — it may not be what you wanted, and it may not go the way you thought it would.

  62. 62
    Raznor says:

    Excuse me? How is civil rights the sole property of one race or group? And you know what? Individual black persons have individual opinions, or do you think they’re one monolithic hivemind that says “gay marriage good” or “gay marriage bad.” You’re mistaking them for the Republican Party.

    And JRC is exactly right. I have centuries of precedent that back absolutism as the ideal form of government. Or that blacks are subhuman. (I mean, the first three centuries after colonization they were primarily used as beasts of burden). It don’t mean that we have to be married to these ideas. (heh heh, I make pun)

  63. 63
    Quadratic says:

    “Democratic Presidential candidates Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun squarely bucked black opinion when they called the fight for gay marriage a civil rights issue. Blacks seethe at any comparison of the fight against gay marriage bans to the civil rights struggle. A Pew Research Poll taken immediately after the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage found that far more blacks than whites disagreed with the court’s decision. ”

    I don’t think your comparisons are validated among black voters. I bet they just love you left wing white boys exploiting the struggle of blacks to further the gay agenda.

  64. 64
    Quadratic says:

    Gays can marry anyone they want, just of the opposite sex. How is this discrimination?

    Marriage is what it is. My aligning with a traditionalist viewpoint does not make me a bigot.

    Call me names and spread your hate, you cannot argue with the statistics I listed in my last post. This issue will die. If you bother to read the thread you will see that I have conceded that none of this really matters. My current point is that it’s political kryptonite, and nobody is going to want to touch it. Jesus, even that gay Senator, (what’s his name?) advised Gavin Newsom not to go ahead with this.

  65. 65
    JRC says:

    And, actually, this link (from 8 years ago!) makes the point better than I ever could:

    http://queerlinks.com/library/black_white.asp

    Everything old is new again, huh?

    —JRC

  66. 66
    JRC says:

    Quadratic, what I wonder is whether you have any decent arguments to justify the morality of this sort of discrimination, or if you just prefer to stick to “Well, I have a whole lot of bigots on my side, so y’all better back the fuck off.”

    This is something I see far too often . . . arguments based on “everyone agrees with us,” rather than on any sort of moral, historical, or logical ground. When someone uses it, I instantly know that they’re wrong, and, moreover, that they know they’re wrong.

    Just about everyone agreed with the bigots on the miscegenation laws (centuries of precedent there too, Quadratic) too, and integration (whoops, there too), and universal sufferage (golly, three for three.), and countless other issues . . . and, of course, we won. We won and I believe firmly that we will continue winning because the story of America is the story of ever-expanding freedom. The civil-rights advances we’ve had within my lifetime impress me, the advances we’ve had within my mother’s lifetime awe me, and I find myself simply unable to wrap my mind around the social changes my grandfather has experienced in his lifetime. It’s not ending now.

    I’m almost gleeful to see the right-wing line up on the wrong side of this: “No, no, that’s good guys, make it real clear that you’re the party of inequality and discrimination. I’m sure that’ll play well over the next few decades.”

    Dumbasses.

    —JRC

  67. 67
    JRC says:

    Gays can marry anyone they want, just of the opposite sex. How is this discrimination?

    In legal circles this is referred to as “Dumbass bigoted argument #12.” It was used pretty extensively in almost exactly these terms to argue against interracial marriage. The form was “Blacks can marry anyone they want, just of the same race. How is this discrimination?” Refer to the link I posted, where this argument is given the ass-whupping it so richly deserves.

    My aligning with a traditionalist viewpoint does not make me a bigot. Call me names and spread your hate . . .

    Ahh, a lively “Dumbass bigoted argument #3.” It was also (surprise, surprise) used to argue against interracial marriage. The money quote is: “I believe that the tendency to classify all persons who oppose interracial marriage as ?prejudiced? is in itself a prejudice.” You see, what both you and the original speaker are missing is that “prejudice” has an actual, factual, real-world definition. It’s in the dictionary and everything. You can check. Soooo, when someone calls you prejudiced or bigoted, it’s not really the same thing as calling you “a big jerk-face” or whatever, and it’s not “spreading hate,” it may well just be the best description of your beliefs and actions.

    It’s like calling me a “lefty.” I believe in the politics of the political left, therefore I am a lefty. You believe in discrimination and the politics of hate, therefore you are prejudiced.

    If you don’t like the label, eschew the behavior.

    —JRC

  68. Quadratic asks:
    Gays can marry anyone they want, just of the opposite sex. How is this discrimination?

    The “just of the oppposite sex” makes it discrimination because it determines what one is legally permitted to do based on one’s sex. Suppose the country designated certain schools as “black” and other schools as “white”, and then said blacks can go to whatever school they want, just so long as it’s “black”. How is that discrimination? No race can go to a school designated for another race. The situation is worse when the matter is marriage. The California Supreme Court ruled in 1948 that even though segregation was permissible (at that time), the same could not be said for prohibitions on interracial marriage. The reason was you could say one train car was for whites as long as another was for blacks. You coldn’t say the same for human beings. Humans are not as interchangeable as train cars.

  69. 69
    Hestia says:

    Gays can marry anyone they want, just of the opposite sex.

    Isn’t “anyone they want” sort of incompatible with “just of the opposite sex”?

    Anyway, “centuries of precedent” is a terrible reason to keep something around. So, what? Culture doesn’t change? America stays the same country with the same laws and the same values forever and ever? Of course not.

    I don’t really see the point to the “Our side is gonna win!” “Nuh-uh, our side is gonna win!” dialogue. Arguments, not predictions, need to stand up to criticism; if they don’t, you can scream “I’m right!” all you want, but you’re not.

    (Although, if you really want to get into it, look at Canada, Massachusetts, Hawaii, San Francisco, Sweden et al., the Lawrence vs. Texas decision, and our increasing tolerance of the so-called “gay lifestyle.” Based on what’s going on in America and the rest of the world, it seems to me that SSM will be legalized here sooner rather than later.)

  70. 70
    Quadratic says:

    JRC

    “If you don’t like the label, eschew the behavior”

    Sounds to me like something a bigot would say to a “faggot”

    “You believe in discrimination and the politics of hate, therefore you are prejudiced. ”

    No, I just don’t agree with you.

  71. 71
    Raznor says:

    Sounds to me like something a bigot would say to a “faggot”

    No a bigot would either ignore the “faggot” or attack him. But what’s wrong? You don’t have any counters to the actual arguments so you engage with pointless word-parsing?

  72. 72
    Dan J says:

    If the issue is a Constitutional one, and it is (ever hear of the fourteenth amendment?), then what the majority of voters think, even if it did tend toward bigotry, is irrelevant. So to say “I’ve got such and such a percentage of voters or poll respondents on my side” is a useless and meaningless argument.

  73. 73
    Quadratic says:

    “I’ve got such and such a percentage of voters or poll respondents on my side” is a useless and meaningless argument.”

    Tell that to the Democrat Presidential hopefuls.

    What sort of influence will another George Bush term have on this eventual supreme court decision?

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