Queers As Condoms And Other Illogical Objections To Same-Sex Marriage

I came across this article about Margaret Somerville, a Canadian ethicist who opposes same-sex marriage (SSM), via Family Scholars Blog. Ms. Somerville is worried “that you will be able to make a baby probably in the future from two ovum, or two sperm”; in her view, admitting that same-sex couples have a right to marry would lead to a right to make a baby from two ovum or sperm. And that would be (she says) bad for children.

As usual, I object to the notion that in order to prevent __________ (whether you fill in the blank with group marriage, incest, or Artificial Reproductive Technology), it is justifiable to punish same-sex couples and their children by denying them equality. I call this line of thinking “queers are condoms.” Margaret Somerville’s argument assumes that queers and their kids, like condoms, are disposable things, useful only for preventing some unwanted outcome. I think that view is objectively less accurate than the view that queers and their kids are people, and their fundamental human rights are not disposable.

What struck me about this article, though, was this stunning piece of bad logic:

Somerville said society is ethically bound to a principle of non-malevolence, or of doing no harm when making such sweeping changes.

The burden of proof that same-sex marriage will not harm the rights of children rests with those making the change, not those who oppose it, she said.

Given her academic background, Ms. Somerville must be aware that it’s logically impossible to prove a negative – such as “same-sex marriage will not harm the rights of children.” I can no more logically prove that than I can logically prove that same-sex marriage will not cause the moon to fall out of its orbit.

If Ms. Somerville’s “principle of non-malevolence” had been applied historically, no advances in civil rights would have happened, ever. It would not have been possible, for example, to prove ahead of time that women’s right to vote wouldn’t “harm the rights of children”; presumably Ms. Somerville, had she been alive at the time, would have opposed suffrage.

It’s also striking, to me, that Ms. Somerville doesn’t call for a balance test; she doesn’t say we should consider the harms done to queers and their children by inequality, compare that to the harms she suspects SSM will cause children, and then choose the lesser harm. I might not agree with that approach, but it would at least show an awareness that queers and their children are human beings, and their rights have some value.

Instead, she says it’s up to advocates of SSM to prove that SSM will cause no harm to children, and if that can’t be proved than SSM isn’t justified. Her logic – at least, as it’s stated in this article – implicitly assumes that any amount of harm to “children” – however slight or inconsequential – automatically outweighs any harms done to queers and their children, however huge and important.

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197 Responses to Queers As Condoms And Other Illogical Objections To Same-Sex Marriage

  1. 101
    piny says:

    >>actually Kim, I’m going to have to disagree with you here. There is no right to procreate; we are under no obligation to ensure that everyone who wants to procreate can do so(this is, of course, regardless of their marital state), nor should we be.>>

    I can agree with that, although I’m not dealing with sterility as an immediate terrible thing in my life, so I might not have the right to comment.

    How about a right not to be prevented from procreating, then? Not being allowed to marry–that is, to give your partnership and its parenting component the protection of the law–amounts to a pretty significant barrier to having and raising kids.

  2. 102
    John Howard says:

    Hestia, are you aware that technologies might allow two men or two women to create genetic offspring soon? My goal is to prevent this brave new world, to keep procreation natural, so we are all created equal, as the union of one man and one woman. There’s nothing correct in your characterizations of what I have said. I won’t bother to refute each error, but will just suggest you read what I actually did say again.

  3. 103
    John Howard says:

    >How about a right not to be prevented from procreating, then?

    Yes, I think this is the right that was established in Skinner v Oklahoma. And this is why the current push in public schools to create as many queer kids as possible is blatantly unconstitutional. Turning them queer prevents them from procreating, and even if DC is not banned, then it prevents them from procreating with the person of their choice, because they have to procreate with a sperm donor or surrogate mom. The only constitutional education would be to educate people to choose someone they can ethically procreate with.

  4. 104
    Brian Vaughan says:

    And this is why the current push in public schools to create as many queer kids as possible is blatantly unconstitutional.

    And if John Howard is elected mayor of Crazytown, he’ll be able to stop the evil Dr. Polymorphous from using his homophilizer ray on the entire city!

  5. 105
    Jake Squid says:

    “…this is why the current push in public schools to create as many queer kids as possible is…”

    Ahhhhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Hooooooeeeey! That is a knee slapper.

    I am honestly more worried about the Gnomes of Zurich than our Secret Queer Overlords.

  6. 106
    piny says:

    >>Yes, I think this is the right that was established in Skinner v Oklahoma. And this is why the current push in public schools to create as many queer kids as possible is blatantly unconstitutional. Turning them queer prevents them from procreating, and even if DC is not banned, then it prevents them from procreating with the person of their choice, because they have to procreate with a sperm donor or surrogate mom. The only constitutional education would be to educate people to choose someone they can ethically procreate with. >>

    Excuse me a moment while I wipe the spittle of scornful mirth off the screen.

    Okay. Breathe. Straight face.

    I’m not going to engage the turning-queer thing, because bwah!

    Being queer is not being prevented from procreating. It leaves you perfectly capable of conceiving a child. It means that you cannot have children who have genetic material from both you and your partner, but somehow, most of the queers who have children or plan to have children don’t care enough about that to refrain from procreating.

    Let me reiterate: we don’t give a damn. Fostering? Fine with us. Adoption? Fine with us. Adopting a child who could never in a million years be mistaken for your God-bag-approved genetic sprog? Fine with us. Surrogacy? Fine with us. Donor sperm? Fine with us.

    We do not lie awake nights sobbing because we cannot conceive children with our partners. Sad for some, undoubtedly, but it’s not preventing us from making or raising families. It is enough–more than enough, a blessing–to be able to raise a family with the person we love more than life itself.

    So don’t act like it’s some terrible problem from which the gays must be protected. We are coping. If single-sex reproduction ever becomes a safe, legal, cost-effective option, I’m sure that some gay couples will go for it. That probably won’t be true if it’s dangerous, difficult, or burdened with serious environmental/human consequences. Queers tend to be pretty ethical people, on the whole.

  7. 107
    John Howard says:

    >So don’t act like it’s some terrible problem from which the gays must be protected.

    The court notably did NOT tell that to Mr. Skinner. They didn’t say “you can adopt, you can use donor sperm, what’s the problem?” The Court found that sterilizing him was unconstitutional, and it would have been unconstitutional even if he didn’t care (though he wouldn’t have brought the case to the supreme court, I suppose).

    There is no lack of consensus on how hard it is to become an ex-gay. Once the state convinces a kid to try it, it is like a knife snipped his balls off. He will probably not successfully have children with the person he loves. He might be able to have genetic offspring with someone else, but that, as Loving noted, is also unconstitutional because you should be able to exercise the right with the person of your choice. The only choices are not only allowing but rapidly perfecting SSP, or educating people to be straight. And since SSP is unethical and rationally must be banned because of the danger to the kids being created, that leaves only educating kids to be straight.

  8. 108
    piny says:

    >>He might be able to have genetic offspring with someone else, but that, as Loving noted, is also unconstitutional because you should be able to exercise the right with the person of your choice.>>

    So it’s unconstitutional to admit that there are certain biological barriers to conceiving a child with someone of the same sex, but not unconstitutional to prevent gay people from marrying the people they’ve chosen, the people they love dearly and want to spend the rest of their lives with?

    And it’s not “might.” It’s, “will.” Gay people who want to (a) have kids and (b) marry the partner of their choice are not prevented from having both.

  9. 109
    piny says:

    >>There is no lack of consensus on how hard it is to become an ex-gay. Once the state convinces a kid to try it, it is like a knife snipped his balls off.>>

    There’s also some consensus on the idea that being gay is something you’re convinced into: it’s pretty unanimously considered a load of crap. That’s why ex-gay “therapy” doesn’t work–not because you can only cross over once, but because you never had any potential to be straight in the first place.

  10. 110
    Jake Squid says:

    There is no lack of consensus on how hard it is to become an ex-gay. Once the state convinces a kid to try it, it is like a knife snipped his balls off.

    Really, gays are eunuchs? How hard is it to become gay in the first place? Does it take years and incredible mental discipline?

    Seriously, I pity John Howard. The world he inhabits (or that inhabits his mind) must be terrifying. Secret Queer Overlords, homosexuality equated to impotence, technological advance, powerlessness in the face of hidden enemies – in short, a Phillip K. Dick novel – must create a lot of stress and anxiety for the guy and that, most likely, leads to physical and mental problems. I’m glad that the world that I live in isn’t nearly as frightening as that of John Howard.

  11. 111
    marie says:

    as a college student in 1994, i was informed by my ‘cellular and molecular biology’ prof that it was possible to ‘trick’ human eggs into ‘thinking’ they were being fertilized by sperm, when they were in fact being joined with other eggs. additionally, the transfer of dna from one cell to another (say, from sperm to an egg) has been possible for a long time. those crazy liberals in universities have been working on these things for quite a while. just because it’s not widely available or economically feasible doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

    also, back to the original argument, there ARE studies on kids of same-sex unions, and as far as i know, they show that these kids are as normally functioning as kids of straight parents. so SSM advocates already have shown that the unions aren’t harmful.

    the main point to all this is that there are people out there who feel the need to keep other people down for no good reason. (or perhaps the reason is to allow the first person to feel superior.) when john howard says something is unethical, what is his basis? that he doesn’t like it? ‘i don’t like this’ or ‘my religion doesn’t like this’ does NOT make something unethical. there is proof that SSM is good for the couples, good for their (potential) kids, and absolutely no proof otherwise. so all the denial of SSM does is hurt people. it’s mean, it’s hurtful, it’s evil.

    as a sterile woman, how does my marriage to another woman hurt anyone? on what other grounds could it be considered unethical? actually, now that i’m sterile, it’s probably unethical for me to marry anyone, or have sex at all… i guess i wasted all my hetero, possibly-procreational (and therefore valid) sex on pre-marital relations. i can’t ever get married or have sex in good conscience, right?

  12. 112
    John Howard says:

    If I believed I were powerlessness, do you think I would be working so hard to prevent SSP? Yes, it is frustrating, especially when you answer someone’s question and they just ignore it and just start insulting you, but I am pretty hopeful that I will be successful.

    (And becoming gay takes a whole bunch of influences, different for different people, as well as a lack of corrective influences. There are lots more gays coming out of high school than there used to be. It used to be that almost everyone married and had children, now that rate is very very low, even the so-called straight kids do not feel any imperitive to be particularly straight.)

  13. 113
    AndiF says:

    Mr. Howard,

    You appear to misunderstand Skinner v. Oklahoma. If you will google the decision, among the things you will find out:

    1. Skinner v. Oklahoma is often erroneously attributed for ending all compulsory sterilization in the United States. In reality however the only types of sterilization which the ruling immediately ended were punitive sterilizations.

    2. The sterilization was ruled unconstitutional as a violation of the due process clause of the 14th amendment because there was “disparate treatment of criminals based on minor distinctions.” It was, for example, applied to larceny but not embezzlement.

    So I’m sure you will want to stop using it as part of your argument.

  14. 114
    Hestia says:

    Hestia, are you aware that technologies might allow two men or two women to create genetic offspring soon? My goal is to prevent this brave new world, to keep procreation natural, so we are all created equal, as the union of one man and one woman.

    But this has absolutely nothing to do with marriage. It would be easy to ban the technology itself while simultaneously legalizing same-sex marriage. Laws banning a particular behavior trump laws regarding an environment in which the behavior may occur. (For example, married couples have a “right” to sex. However, rape is illegal, both inside and outside of marriage.)

    There is no reason to discuss marriage in these terms. It’s like saying, “I oppose x-rated material on the Internet, so we should ban libraries.”

    I suggest that you read what you actually did say again. You seem to be getting confused.

  15. 115
    Hestia says:

    And I object to your characterization of my conclusions as incorrect. Please explain why they are incorrect instead of dismissing them wholesale.

  16. 116
    audio-visual says:

    Interestingly enough, the current poll on the OutInAtlanta.com home page is this:

    If stem cells could give gay couples genetically-related kids, would you prefer such a method over adoption?

    Yes – 57% – 744 votes
    No – 25% – 326 votes
    Maybe – 18% – 235 votes
    (1305 responses)

    (Coincidence? Or subtley orchestrated by the Great Queer Conspiracy?)

    I suppose that this shows something for most sides involved here – both that a slight majority of queers (from Atlanta, anyway) would, given the option, choose to have genetic kids over adopted kids; but also that a full quarter wouldn’t.

    As for myself, I don’t even like kids that much, and don’t really see myself having children. I’d still like to get (same-sex) married though, because there are many benefits to marriage that are denied to queers that are not even related to children or reproduction.

  17. 117
    audio-visual says:

    Damn. Where did my line-breaks go? Ah, well. It’s still readable.

  18. 118
    piny says:

    Bear in mind, too, that the question said nothing whatsoever about potential dangers. Were there any, it would probably affect the answers to the question.

  19. 119
    audio-visual says:

    piny wrote:Bear in mind, too, that the question said nothing whatsoever about potential dangers. Were there any, it would probably affect the answers to the question.

    Certainly. I though that the really striking thing about the poll was how slim the majority of queers who are sure they want genetic kids is, while Mr. Howard seems to think that the only reason people ever fuck someone with the same naughty bits as them is in some sad, futile effort to reproduce againt the will of God.

  20. 120
    audio-visual says:

    … And WordPress ate my line-breaks again … Wonder why that is? It shows up fine in the little preview area …

  21. 121
    piny says:

    Yeah, I bought my little guy all those books and videos, but he just doesn’t understand that he’ll never make a baby with Ray’s little guy. And ever since he heard about that boy near Kolkata with endometrial tissue, he’s been begging me for a uterine lining of his own.

    Breaks my heart.

  22. 122
    piny says:

    But setting aside mockery for a second, yes, it was interesting. I’ve never been interested in a biological child, but I understood my lack of interest to be a rarity.

    Perhaps the “stem cell” thing was also a factor? I’m sure at least some queers have reservations about that technology.

  23. 123
    Galois says:

    John Howard writes:

    No, and I would support a ban on all methods other than sexual intercourse.

    So he agrees that the right to procreate can be limited even for married couples without dire consequences. Thus it must also be perfectly acceptable to limit this right for married homosexual couples without dire consequences. As Hestia correctly noted:

    But this has absolutely nothing to do with marriage. It would be easy to ban the technology itself while simultaneously legalizing same-sex marriage. Laws banning a particular behavior trump laws regarding an environment in which the behavior may occur. (For example, married couples have a “right”? to sex. However, rape is illegal, both inside and outside of marriage.)

    I’m also having trouble reconciling the following two answers from John Howard:

    G:> Is it sodomy for someone to have sex with a sterile woman.

    No, that’s sex. As I said, sex is not sodomy, sodomy is not sex.

    G:> Is it offensive to even call such a situation sex because the act has no possibility of producing children?

    But it does. Sex ALWAYS has a possibility of producing children, it is an axiom.

    If it is axiomatic that “sex ALWAYS has a possibility of producing children” then intercourse with NO possibility of producing children–for example when the woman has had a hysterectomy–CANNOT by his axiom be considered to be having sex. That’s why when he wrote,

    Sodomy is very different from sex. It’s offensive to speak as if they are the same because it disrespects the responsibilties that a couple having sex faces,

    I thought he was using “sodomy” in the traditional sense of any nonprocreative sexual act. Since intercourse with a sterile person cannot lead to a child, it would seem to be “very different from sex” and offensive to speak as if it were the same.

    It seems clear that John Howard’s true rationale for denying same-sex marriage is the fear that allowing any acceptance of homosexuality would turn kids queer and make it difficult to educate them to be straight.

  24. 124
    Josh Jasper says:

    johnny “sperm and Eggs” Howard:

    (And becoming gay takes a whole bunch of influences,

    Stop right there. I mean it. You have no clue whatsoever what becoming gay takes, you’re not an expert, and you’re not gay.

    You’re making shit up at this point, and it’s not acceptable, respectful, or even contributing to the debate. It’s certainly not ethical.

    I don’t appreciate quack scientists. Moral issues asside, making up fake science to support a moral viewpoint went out with Gallileo’s tiff with the Catholic Church.

  25. 125
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Old Cranky:

    actually Kim, I’m going to have to disagree with you here. There is no right to procreate; we are under no obligation to ensure that everyone who wants to procreate can do so(this is, of course, regardless of their marital state), nor should we be.

    You’re right, I stated it wrong. Piny layed it down in better terms – the right to not be prevented from procreation.

    John Howard:

    And this is why the current push in public schools to create as many queer kids as possible is blatantly unconstitutional.

    Err, what the….? John, you need a customized tinfoil hat there, buddy. This particular notion/statement is straight off the deep-end.

  26. 126
    Crys T says:

    Brian wrote: “he’ll be able to stop the evil Dr. Polymorphous from using his homophilizer ray on the entire city!”

    Okay, that made me laugh.

  27. 127
    Dana says:

    Amanda wrote; “You can’t marry a minor, so there’s that.”

    Not true. You can marry with parental consent before the age of 18 in all states, though the minimum ages vary. For very young teens, sometimes a court order has to be granted.
    http://usmarriagelaws.com/search/united_states/teen_marriage_laws/index.shtml

    Where you can marry at 15: Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, Missourri, Montana, Utah, Wyoming

    At 14: New York, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina (Females only), New Hampshire (Males Only)

    At 13: New Hampshire (Females Only)

  28. 128
    Q Grrl says:

    “(And becoming gay takes a whole bunch of influences, different for different people, as well as a lack of corrective influences. There are lots more gays coming out of high school than there used to be. It used to be that almost everyone married and had children, now that rate is very very low, even the so-called straight kids do not feel any imperitive to be particularly straight.) ”

    John, you act as if you’ve never heard the words “compulsive heterosexuality” before. Or “sexism”. Or “heteronormative”.

    You do realize that marriage is not a biological given, doncha?

    You also do realize that gays can and will (given the technology) reproduce as they wish without the benefit of marriage, just as they are currently doing. Marriage is *not* what gets a woman pregnant, nor what sustains that pregnancy.

  29. 129
    John Howard says:

    >It would be easy to ban the technology itself while simultaneously legalizing same-sex marriage.

    Yes, but it would change marriage to do that. Marriage would no longer mean that these two people may have children together. And there would still be rights a man had only with a woman, so why bother with the charade. The rights of a same-sex marriage would be different, so you may as well give it a different name. In fact, the difference between a same-sex marriage and a marriage would be THE EXACT SAME DIFFERENCE as between people who are married and people who are not married – whether you are allowed to have children together or not.

  30. 130
    John Howard says:

    AndiF, good job researching Skinner, it always makes me happy when people do that. I think the fact that the Court itself cited Skinner in Loving for declaring that there is a “basic civil right” to procreate indicates that my interpretation is correct. There is a right not to be sterilized, or, I put forth based on both of these decisions, a right not to be diverted frombeing able to have children with the person of your choice. They said they weren’t implying there were no unregulatable matters involving who a person is allowed to choose, though, I think thinking of incestuous relationships. Now we must add people of the same sex to that list of off-limit choices.

  31. 131
    Jake Squid says:

    Marriage would no longer mean that these two people may have children together.

    Marriage doesn’t mean that now. Two people may have children together whether they are married or not today.

  32. 132
    John Howard says:

    >And I object to your characterization of my conclusions as incorrect.

    Hester, looks like I did misread the first one in your post as being the opposite, I probably inserted a “not” in my head because I’m so used to the “you are saying infertile couples couldn’t get married” argument and frankly sick of it. Rereading them, I do think your summaries are correct, but the conclusions you draw from them are not the ones that should be drawn.

  33. 133
    piny says:

    >>Yes, but it would change marriage to do that. Marriage would no longer mean that these two people may have children together. >>

    But it already says that, since couples who are infertile either apart or together may still get married. Fertile men and women may marry infertile men and women. Even though they could have children with someone else, they are not ordered or encouraged to marry another fertile person. Couples who are publically, obviously, way too old to ever have children may still get married. So the possibility of having children together _is not a prerequisite for marriage_.

    >>I’m so used to the “you are saying infertile couples couldn’t get married”? argument and frankly sick of it. >>

    That isn’t what you are saying, but only because you’re inconsistent. Your _arguments_ say that–if we accept your ideas about how marriage relates to procreation, it follows that infertile couples cannot really be married. You don’t admit that conclusion because you aren’t arguing logically; it isn’t lack of procreation you’re worried about, but queers. It is perfectly reasonable to point that out.

  34. 134
    John Howard says:

    G:> So he agrees that the right to procreate can be limited even for married couples without dire consequences.

    I wouldn’t characterize that as “limiting their right to procreate”, it is only limiting the number of ways which they can pursue that right, and because of privacy and uncertainty and medical care, it is not so limited that any male-female couple that is allowed to marry would be publicly prohibited from having children together. Such couples exist, and we do not grant them marriage rights.

    G:>Thus it must also be perfectly acceptable to limit this right for married homosexual couples without dire consequences.

    But it would be more than limited, it would be prohibited. The rights that the same person would have in a straight marriage would be different than he would have if he married a man. You can try to distract with talk of infertility and limiting technologies, but this will be the obvious reality for people. Marry a woman, and you can have a baby together, but marry a man, and you can’t. But, since, by law we’d say they were the same, then straight marriages must not have the right to procreate anymore, and it would have to be treated equally, subjecting all marriages to risk assessment and prohibiting them, publicly from procreating. Then it would have to be blind to the genders – it would have to be “Jan can marry Dan, but they can’t procreate, because Dan has gene X and a 22% likelihood of birth defects, but marry Stan and you can procreate.”

    We have to preserve the right of Jan and Dan to have children together, even if we might make it privately impossible for them by banning IVF and allowing Dan to smoke. And we have to prohibit SSP flat out, not piecemeal, technology by technology, because that would implicitly allow it by demanding research and studies.

    G:> I’m also having trouble reconciling the following two answers from John Howard:

    I feel like an actual political figure being discussed like that…

    G:>If it is axiomatic that “sex ALWAYS has a possibility of producing children”? then intercourse with NO possibility of producing children”“for example when the woman has had a hysterectomy”“CANNOT by his axiom be considered to be having sex.

    There is no such thing, axiomatically, as intercourse with no possibility of producing children. That’s just the way it is legally, it doesn’t matter what degree of certainty anyone might give it. It’s still rape if the woman has had a hysterectomy, and you still have to get married if the man has a low sperm count, or is 80 years old. There is cut-off age limit to fornication and adultery laws, or marriage, because the law goes by the axiom that sex always might create children, in order to treat everyone equally.

    G:> I thought he was using “sodomy”? in the traditional sense of any nonprocreative sexual act. Since intercourse with a sterile person cannot lead to a child, it would seem to be “very different from sex”? and offensive to speak as if it were the same.

    But you know that no one has ever called sex with a sterile person sodomy. It is pretty offensive to blithley equate sex with a sterile person and with a non-sterile person, as neither people who might become parents nor people who cannot become parents feel that fact is insignificant, they find it pretty damn significant, in fact. Respect fertility, there is lots of responsibility we demand from it, and if we don’t respect it, we won’t get the responsibility.

    G:>It seems clear that John Howard’s true rationale for denying same-sex marriage is the fear that allowing any acceptance of homosexuality would turn kids queer and make it difficult to educate them to be straight.

    It’s all to preserve natural rights to marry and have our own children and prevent people from being manufactured.

  35. 135
    piny says:

    >>There is no such thing, axiomatically, as intercourse with no possibility of producing children. That’s just the way it is legally, it doesn’t matter what degree of certainty anyone might give it. It’s still rape if the woman has had a hysterectomy, and you still have to get married if the man has a low sperm count, or is 80 years old. There is cut-off age limit to fornication and adultery laws, or marriage, because the law goes by the axiom that sex always might create children, in order to treat everyone equally.>>

    No, the law goes by the axiom that the possibility of creating children _is not the defining characteristic of sex_.

    It’s also still rape if it happens between two women or two men, or if it involves implements, hands, forced oral sex, or forced anal intercourse.

  36. 136
    piny says:

    >>But you know that no one has ever called sex with a sterile person sodomy. It is pretty offensive to blithley equate sex with a sterile person and with a non-sterile person, as neither people who might become parents nor people who cannot become parents feel that fact is insignificant, they find it pretty damn significant, in fact. Respect fertility, there is lots of responsibility we demand from it, and if we don’t respect it, we won’t get the responsibility.>>

    Yup, and that’s why your arguments are both incredibly offensive to a large number of people and totally divorced from the reality of sex, love, partnership, and marriage in our culture. Again–of course–Galois is not making these assertions himself, merely following your arguments to their logical conclusions.

  37. 137
    John Howard says:

    >It’s also still rape if it happens between two women or two men, or if it involves implements, hands, forced oral sex, or forced anal intercourse.

    That is actually a recent change to rape laws, and not respectful of fertililty. I don’t want to get sidetracked on this discussion again though. The point is that all people should be created equal, from the union of one woman and one man, and all marriages should have the right to procreate.

  38. 138
    John Howard says:

    Huh? Piny, I am not the one classifying people as sterile, I am treating us all the same way, giving us all the same rights, and not snooping into anyone’s private health. These “infertile people” simply do not exist as a public, legal class of people, and everyone can get married. There are no restrictions on technology now, and there probably won’t be any in the future, but even if there were, a man and a woman still have a right to marry because they have the public right to create children together in principle, if not in practice. Marriages are not required to procreate, it is still a valid marriage if it doesn’t. I thought you understsood that. The point is, the marriage has the RIGHT to try, and it will be perfectly fine if it does. But it won’t be fine if a same-sex couple does, because it would be unethical. It wouldn’t be private how they did it, it would publicly, as a matter of record, require illegal technologies in all cases of two people of the same sex having children.

  39. 139
    piny says:

    >>The point is, the marriage has the RIGHT to try, and it will be perfectly fine if it does. But it won’t be fine if a same-sex couple does, because it would be unethical. It wouldn’t be private how they did it, it would publicly, as a matter of record, require illegal technologies in all cases of two people of the same sex having children. >>

    The right to try is superceded by the obligation to not use dangerous technologies irresponsibly. I have the right to life, but if I get MS and the only experimental treatment posed a significant danger to others, I would not have the right to demand that treatment. If same-sex reproduction is as dangerous as you say it is, society is under no obligation to permit it. Same-sex couples will just have to cope. Happily enough, they already do. They don’t seem to care that they currently don’t have the option and may never have the option.

  40. 140
    piny says:

    >>That is actually a recent change to rape laws, and not respectful of fertililty. I don’t want to get sidetracked on this discussion again though. The point is that all people should be created equal, from the union of one woman and one man, and all marriages should have the right to procreate.>>

    So what if it is recent? The abolition of marital-rape laws is pretty recent, too, but most married people don’t take their vows on the understanding that she loses all bodily autonomy. No, it’s not terribly “respectful of fertility.” It’s respectful of people who get raped. And if you don’t want to get sidetracked into something, maybe you shouldn’t bring it up. All marriages _do_ have the right to procreate. Some marriages _cannot_ procreate, either for reasons beyond the control of the legislature or because potential options are not allowable for other good reasons. You’ve already admitted that that doesn’t make them not-marriages. Ergo, gay marriages are marriages even if gay married couples cannot procreate with each other.

  41. 141
    John Howard says:

    >Ergo, gay marriages are marriages even if gay married couples cannot procreate with each other.

    It’s not that they cannot, it’s that they may not. They might be able to very soon. They should be prohibited from trying. It is not just the safety, but other issues including a need to bring the genders together to create equality, that requires us to reserve procreatin, in principle, to the union of a man and a woman.

    If gay couples are fine with not being able to procreate, and don’t want to try SSP technologies, then why get hung up on whether or not they get the right to? Why not concede that gay couple should not have a right to procreate, and accept civil uniond which were just like marriage but did not grant the right to procreate? It is such a good solution, but you folks are being unreasonable, you are not being prudent. Your position will call for risky experiments on human SSP and will also gut marriage of procreation rights, just because you want to use the same name, even though you admit that it won’t have the same rights or potential as both-sex marriage.

  42. 142
    John Howard says:

    >The right to try is superceded by the obligation to not use dangerous technologies irresponsibly.

    Well, the right to try that technology is superceded, but not the right to try other methods. No one has to know if a marriage is even trying at all, they might never have sex during fertile days or always pull out, and no one knows if they are trying but just can’t do it. No one knows if a particular banned technology might be a couple’s only hope, and it never IS a couple’s only hope anyway. Whether or not procedure X is legal has no bearing on that couple’s right to marriage or their procreation rights in general, only on their access to that particular technology. IF they can’t get access to it, they are just like a couple that can’t get access to technologies that haven’t even been invented yet. In other words, they just won’t have kids. There is no requirement for kids, marriage only says it is fine if you do, and it isn’t for same-sex couples.

  43. 143
    Jake Squid says:

    Why not concede that gay couple should not have a right to procreate, and accept civil uniond which were just like marriage but did not grant the right to procreate?

    Because marriage (as legally defined in the USA) does not grant the right to procreate, what would the difference be between marriage and civil union? I think you need to change federal law to have marriage actually grant the right to procreate before any of your arguments have the remotest chance of making sense.

    What are the penalties for procreating outside of marriage? Is it a prison term or a fine? Is it a misdemeanor or a felony? Who currently enforces this alleged breach of non-existing law? Because I’d better warn my neighbor about the danger that he is in.

  44. 144
    John Howard says:

    Jake, the important point is that marriages has a right to procreate. That is still vital even though people can procreate without getting the license, and get away with it without being fined. You can see that marriage grants the right to procreate by examining the logic of Skinner and Loving. If the Lovings could have procreated without getting married, they would not have found that they had a right to marry. The rights were one and the same then, and they are one and the same now.

    And I do think we should start prosecuting adulterers and fornicators again, like the woman who wrote an article about her little pregnancy scare in my local arts weekly, and other people who publicly admit, make it open and notorious, that they fornicate.

    Also, a federal law saying that all marraiges have a right in principle to combine their gametes, that they cannot be prohibited from procreating altogether, would be a very good idea. It used to go without saying, but I am very worried about it now.

  45. 145
    Galois says:

    Well, the right to try that technology is superceded, but not the right to try other methods.

    Well same-sex couples can try other methods, like sex, prayer, and vitamins. Now it is safe to assume those methods won’t work, but it is safe to assume that those methods won’t work for some opposite-sex couples as well. I hope you’re not suggesting that we stop same-sex couples from praying.

    Whether or not procedure X is legal has no bearing on that couple’s right to marriage or their procreation rights in general, only on their access to that particular technology.

    Exactly so we can make certain procedures illegal (like genetically modifying cells) and yet keep their theoretical rights in place including, of course, their right to pray.

    The rights that the same person would have in a straight marriage would be different than he would have if he married a man.

    No it wouldn’t. Either way they would be allowed to have sex and pray. Neither way would they be allowed to genetically modify cells for procreative purposes.

    It’s still rape if the woman has had a hysterectomy, and you still have to get married if the man has a low sperm count, or is 80 years old. There is cut-off age limit to fornication and adultery laws, or marriage, because the law goes by the axiom that sex always might create children, in order to treat everyone equally.

    I don’t believe this is the principle behind fornication laws, marriage laws, and certainly not rape laws. I’ve never liked the idea some have been putting forth lately that marriage only matters because heterosexual sex might lead to conception. However, that is nothing compared with the idea that rape is only a crime for that reason. That concept is revolting. Still if your theory were true, and treating everyone equally was so important that we say sex might create children no matter the reality, then we should say homosexual sex might create children as well. That would also solve your problem with procreation rights in marriage. Those couples are allowed to “try” to create children by having sex. That they never will succeed is no problem. Conception is not a requirement of marriage.

    Of course, I think the whole idea is ridiculous. There is no axiom that sex might always create children. The reason rape laws or marriage laws apply to infertile couples or the elderly is not based on some abstract notion of equality. Rape is wrong regardless of whether a child may be conceived, and marriage is good regardless of whether a child may be conceived.

  46. 146
    mythago says:

    Jake, the important point is that marriages has a right to procreate.

    “Marriages” don’t procreate; people do, and that right has nothing to do with their being married or not.

  47. 147
    Josh Jasper says:

    CARTMAN: You must respect mah fertilitah!

    He still looks pretty gay to me

  48. 148
    john howard says:

    Jake, marriages reproduce, not individuals. The kid is a reproduction of the marriage, not either individual.

    And Galois, if a same-sex couple could pray and have children, their children would come from two people of the same gamete type. That would be illegal. Your not dealing with reality at all.

  49. 149
    Myca says:

    if a same-sex couple could pray and have children, their children would come from two people of the same gamete type. That would be illegal.

    No, actually. That’s an insane thing to say. I mean, really, literally crazy. It’s simply not factually true, and what’s more, you’ve got to know it’s not true. There is no law prohibiting two people of the same gamete type from reproduction via prayer. Period.

    I mean, Jesus, give me a break.

    The kid is a reproduction of the marriage, not either individual.

    No, actually, the kid is not a ‘reproduction’ of either the marriage or either individual parent. The closest we can get in talking about the kid as ‘a reproduction’ is to say that he’s a reproduction of both parents, but that’s inaccurate too. He’s not a ‘reproduction of the marriage,’ because it’s possible (and easy) to create a child without involving a marriage in the first place. You can’t be a reproduction of something that’s never been there.

    —Myca

  50. 150
    john howard says:

    For their child fo come form an egg and a sperm, the same-sex couple’s prayers would have to be: please make one of us the other sex and turn us into a both-sex couple. So, I say let them focus their prayers on that, and if it comes true, then they, after a visit to the doctor proves that their birth certificate is in error, they can go down to city hall. But if a baby comes to them while they are still a same-sex couple, then it has not come from a man’s natural sperm and a woman’s natural egg, which is the only ethical way to create new people. So as a same-sex couple, we should not give them permission to have children together.

    Not all marriages are recognized by the state, or by their members. Like the woman at the well who had been “married” five times, but had never legally married. What Jesus meant was she had had sex with five different men.

  51. 151
    mythago says:

    Jake, marriages reproduce, not individuals.

    Dude. You need to re-take that biology class.

  52. 152
    john howard says:

    See, an egg is by definiton a female gamate, and a sperm is by definiton a male gamete. Look sperm up. That doesn’t mean it will create a male, it means it comes from a male. A female can’t make sperm. If they make something that functions like a sperm that is the gamete of a female, it is an egg. The egg and sperm law is a man and woman law, both in practical terms and in intentionality and spirit.

    And mythago, the only way an individual could reproduce is by cloning.

  53. 153
    Tuomas says:

    Not all marriages are recognized by the state, or by their members. Like the woman at the well who had been “married”? five times, but had never legally married. What Jesus meant was she had had sex with five different men.

    So you mean having (heterosexual) sex is marriage? Well, if you like dictionaries so much, here goes (via MSN encarta)
    mar·riage (plural mar·riages)

    noun
    1. legal relationship between spouses: a legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony, between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners

    2. specific marriage relationship: a married relationship between two people, or a somebody’s relationship with his or her spouse
    They have a happy marriage.

    3. joining in wedlock: the joining together in wedlock of two people

    4. marriage ceremony: the ceremony in which two people are joined together formally in wedlock

    5. union of two things: a close union, blend, or mixture of two things
    Civilization is based on the marriage of tradition and innovation.

    6. card games king and queen of same suit: in card games such as pinochle and bezique, a combination of the king and queen of the same suit

  54. 154
    Jesurgislac says:

    John Howard: For their child fo come form an egg and a sperm, the same-sex couple’s prayers would have to be: please make one of us the other sex and turn us into a both-sex couple.

    Guh. Adoption, John. (Sperm donation, too.) You got a problem with adoption? What do you think ought to happen to children who need parents and don’t have them? Warehoused in institutions like in the good old days?

  55. 155
    John Howard says:

    Jusurgislac, perhaps you came to this conversation late, but we’re not talking about adoption or sperm donation. Those aren’t the rights that Skinner or the Lovings were asking for, they have nothing to do with marriage. I am talking about the right to conceive a child together, with the person of your choice. People should only be allowed to do that with a person of the other sex, because doing it with a person of the same sex as you would be incredibly unethical and unsafe, by any method.

  56. 156
    piny says:

    >>People should only be allowed to do that with a person of the other sex, because doing it with a person of the same sex as you would be incredibly unethical and unsafe, by any method.>>

    You’re talking about (a) a technology still in its infancy–actually, not yet in its infancy–and (b) technologies as yet undiscovered. You can’t make this kind of pronouncement; you don’t have enough information. If there were a way for two men or two women to combine their genes into a baby, with no risks either to them or to the health of the resulting child, what would be the problem? If that technology existed, would it make gay marriages marriages to you?

  57. 157
    John Howard says:

    Gay marriages are marriages to me, because they are marriages legally. They give the couple a right to have children together, and they therefore allow, if not demand, that technology be developed to allow them to have children together. The experiments to develop this in humans (it has been done in mice) will by their very nature be unethical. The technology should not be developed, resources should be spent in other areas of medicine that are actually medicine. The fact taht two women can’t have a baby together is not a medical problem, and there is no need to fix that.

    If – if – it ever came to be considered a fine way to create children, it would indeed be terrible, for it would cement the idea that babies are ordered on demand, which destroys human dignity, and it would open the door to other impossible designs to make babies that in nature could not be born.

    All people should be created equal – as the union of one man and one woman.

  58. 158
    Jake Squid says:

    …for it would cement the idea that babies are ordered on demand, which destroys human dignity…

    I don’t follow your logic. How are the two in any way related?

  59. 159
    AndiF says:

    John Howard: They give the couple a right to have children together, and they therefore allow, if not demand, that technology be developed to allow them to have children together.

    Of course, you have already provided the means to avoid this problem in your discussion of infertile heterosexual couples:
    A couple (or actually, a person) that is infertile is publicly considered potentially fertile, and they have an equal right to attempt to procreate.

    So to satisfy you all we need to do is:

    1. Ban non “egg and sperm” procreation until such time as it is determined to be safe and acceptable. The law applies to everyone of any gender, sexual orientation, and marital status.

    2. Apply globally your logic that an infertile heterosexual couple may still exercise the right to procreate by having sex, even though the sexual act cannot result in a pregnancy. We simply accept that all couples of any sexual orientation who marry exercise their right to procreate when they have sex, even if the sexual act will not produce progeny.

  60. 160
    John Howard says:

    Jake, what do you care? You want a right to same-sex procreation, you believe that people can be created to order, you are not about to let someone’s arguments to human dignity confuse you. I don’t expect you to understand dignity. I just want you to be honest about your demands for same-sex equality, and admit they they include a demand for same-sex procreation rights.

  61. 161
    piny says:

    *Snort* “Soylent green is gay babies! Gay babies!”

    His demands don’t include anything of the kind. The two issues weren’t linked until you spuriously linked them. You’re the one insisting that marriage isn’t marriage unless the couple involved has the right–and, apparently, the _ability_–to procreate together. So the response to that is, “Okay, then. Well, if I have to take the basket with the wine and cheese, that’s just gravy. Why is same-sex reproduction a problem, again, assuming that the technology poses no health risk to someone?….I see, and would you mind actually making arguments, instead of vague appeals to [dignity]?”

  62. 162
    John Howard says:

    AndiF, a same-sex couple is publicly prevented from procreating. They are not at all like an infertile couple, which is allowed to procreate. Not to mention that the infertile couple may not be infertile, but the same-sex couple is definitely same-sex.

    See, infertile people are individuals, and all indivuals are treated equally and have privacy rights. **All people can marry.** The only thing is, we sometimes object to the choice of who they want to marry, not based on the people involved individually, but based on their relationship to each other, and to other people. Being someone’s sibling, being married to someone, and being the same sex as someone, are not individual characteristiscs, they are relationship characteristics. (Age is an individual characteristic that prevents individuals from marrying and procreating, but they just have to wait a few years til they are adults).

  63. 163
    Jake Squid says:

    Jake, what do you care? You want a right to same-sex procreation, you believe that people can be created to order, you are not about to let someone’s arguments to human dignity confuse you. I don’t expect you to understand dignity. I just want you to be honest about your demands for same-sex equality, and admit they they include a demand for same-sex procreation rights.

    Actually, dude, you are way, way ,way off. If I had my way, nobody would be allowed to procreate at will. First, you’d have to take some parenting courses. Second, you would have to pass a test proving you to be a fit parent. Third, each person would have a coupon that entitled them to have 3/4 of a child. Once the human population of Earth was back in the 2 to 3 billion range, the coupons would be upped to 1 child. But that’s as much of a fantasy world as the one in which you live. The difference is that I can tell fantasy from reality.

    So, can you answer my question now?

  64. 164
    piny says:

    >>If – if – it ever came to be considered a fine way to create children, it would indeed be terrible, for it would cement the idea that babies are ordered on demand>>

    Because the system where two fourteen-year-olds can make babies together with the aid of a Third Eye Blind album and two bucks’ worth of Two Buck Chuck is sooooooo much better for dignifying procreation! There wasn’t any commodifying of children or reproduction before IVF came along.

  65. 165
    piny says:

    >>Not to mention that the infertile couple may not be infertile, but the same-sex couple is definitely same-sex.>>

    So, no woman over sixty may marry?

  66. 166
    John Howard says:

    Piny, same-sex procreation would be unsafe and unethical. It must be banned, before people start trying, before they even think it might be possible someday. It probably never will be. It took 451 tries to create a single mouse from two eggs. Ten were born alive but died before adulthood. It is bad enough, I shudder to think, that thousands of mice are cut open and killed and created with fatal defects in the course of these experiments. Now they have moved on to try it with pigs, cutting them open, harvesting eggs, creating frankenstein embryos, and cutting open some more pigs to implant these monstrosities to see what happens. And they do this while millions of people can’t get simple medical care.

    Babies should not created this way, or any way besides combining the egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.

  67. 167
    John Howard says:

    Women over sixty are considered as publicly fertile as anyone. They may marry, because we don’t have fertility tests, it doesn’t matter if they are infertile or not. They are still subject to fornication laws, adultery laws, and marriage laws. There are no age limits. If that couple did have a child, it would combine an egg and a sperm and not, in principle, be unethical.

  68. 168
    John Howard says:

    Piny, it is illegal, I am sure, in every state for two fourteen year olds to procreate or marry.

  69. 169
    John Howard says:

    So, Jake, you want to ban non-egg and sperm procreation then?

  70. 170
    piny says:

    You’re describing standard R&D–pretty much the same experimental techniques that are used to refine and vet any new medical technology, essential or otherwise. This is how you make a technology safer, and get rid of all those unpleasant side effects like death and sepsis: you experiment on animals like mice.

    I look forward to your formation of lobbying groups to prevent research on seasonal-allergy medication, anti-depressants, antacids, erectile dysfunction, reconstructive cosmetic surgery, scar maintenance, osteoporosis, and arthritis pain, since none of those are as essential as preventing fistula deaths.

    And talk about dead mice.

    You have _no idea_, finally, whether this particular technology will eventually be safe, easy, or even possible. None. You cannot speak to that likelihood, because it is simply far too early to tell. Your insistence that it will always be not-possible merely because it is not possible now is like saying that a hysterectomy performed at the turn of the century is a good indication of what my LAVH will be like.

  71. 171
    piny says:

    >>Women over sixty are considered as publicly fertile as anyone. They may marry, because we don’t have fertility tests, it doesn’t matter if they are infertile or not. They are still subject to fornication laws, adultery laws, and marriage laws. There are no age limits. If that couple did have a child, it would combine an egg and a sperm and not, in principle, be unethical.>>

    No, they’re considered as publically _marriageable_, _adult_, and _sexually autonomous_ as anyone; they’re a good example of why your marriage=procreation assertions have nothing to do with the reality of the law. Why wouldn’t it be unethical to discourage any man from marrying a sixty-year-old woman he cannot have a child with?

  72. 172
    piny says:

    >>Piny, it is illegal, I am sure, in every state for two fourteen year olds to procreate or marry. >>

    Well, you’re wrong. In some states, it is in fact legal for fourteen-year-olds to marry and to have kids.

  73. 173
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Jake;

    Third, each person would have a coupon that entitled them to have 3/4 of a child.

    Just as a kind of shot-gun advance, can Matt and I call dibs on your 3/4, since we’d be 1/2 a child short? Thanks!

    John H.;

    You seem intent on disregarding the real goal with cloning techniques, which in most cases seems to be pushed for the highly questionable ‘donor’ purpose, which has zilch and zero to do with SScoupling.

    You also seem to be under the impression that all gays would be in favor of it, and all straights against. That isn’t nearly the case.

  74. 174
    Jesurgislac says:

    John Howard: I am talking about the right to conceive a child together, with the person of your choice.

    I wasn’t aware that was a right.

    Where in the legislation of the US do you find this “right” outlined?

    People should only be allowed to do that with a person of the other sex, because doing it with a person of the same sex as you would be incredibly unethical and unsafe, by any method.

    I have no idea if you’re right that it would be unsafe. It’s probably not yet possible by the current technological limits. I cannot see how it could be unethical, if it were possible.

    Babies should not created this way, or any way besides combining the egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.

    Now you’re moving into the realm of the definitely unethical. How on earth can you enforce this? Force abortion on every woman who conceives outside marriage? Enforced contraception (or find a means of reversible sterility) on all unmarried couples? The very thought of such totalitarian-style control makes me twitchy. It’s a disgusting and repellent idea.

  75. 175
    Jake Squid says:

    John Howard,

    I’ll answer your question after you answer mine.

    Kim(bv),

    What are you offering for it?

  76. 176
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Hmmm, 4th of July cheesy party potato’s fit for a vegetarian?

  77. 177
    Jake Squid says:

    Mmmmmm, cheesy potato goodness. That must be worth 3/4 of a kid.

  78. 178
    john howard says:

    piny> You have _no idea_, finally, whether this particular technology will eventually be safe, easy, or even possible. None. You cannot speak to that likelihood, because it is simply far too early to tell. Your insistence that it will always be not-possible merely because it is not possible now is like saying that a hysterectomy performed at the turn of the century is a good indication of what my LAVH will be like.

    It might be possible, that’s the whole reason I think it should it should be banned now. There is no need to take the risk, or rather, to impose the risk on the innocent people who would be created. There is no health problem that needs to be solved. Animal experiments won’t take that risk away. Even if we plowed ahead and worked out the kinks, it would be bad to start making children that way, in fact it would be worse if they are succesful at it than if they fail a few times and stop doing it. But there is no way we should ever face that future, because we should not allow the first baby to be born that way, we should keep procreation the same for everyone – we all have to find a person of the opposite sex and marry.

  79. 179
    mythago says:

    we should keep procreation the same for everyone – we all have to find a person of the opposite sex and marry

    Any sufficiently advanced wingnut becomes indistinguishable from a troll. And vice versa.

  80. 180
    john howard says:

    jake – our dignity comes from the way we are responsible for our own being coming into existence. To be created on demand takes away the surprise of our forcing ourselves into the lives of our parents, it makes us forever grateful, there’s no way we can feel responsible for our own existence. People may have sex with the purpose of getting pregnant, but it is still up to the child whether or not to come into existence. This is perhaps too poetic, but you could see the egg and sperm as choosing each other, and that mutual choice is the choice of the child to come into existence. At any rate, it is seen as a miracle, and from that miracle comes our dignity. Being forced into existence by pushing an egg and a sperm together with a pipet, though it still requires a miracle and still creates a person with as much dignity as everyone else, erodes everyone’s dignity because it makes us think of each other as crude products and expendable and replacable. By coming into the world though sex, wanted or not, we come into the world like glorious bandits. It also creates the notion of true responsibility, because you can’t just be responsible for things that you want to be responsible for, you have to be responsible for things that you don’t want to be responsible for.

    now answer mine, are you for or against banning non egg and sperm procreation?

  81. 181
    john howard says:

    >Why wouldn’t it be unethical to discourage any man from marrying a sixty-year-old woman he cannot have a child with?

    People can marry now matter how old they are. There are no (upper) age limits . Once they marry, they have a right to procreate, like all marriages.

    I do think it would be wrong for a young person who has never married to marry a 60 year old, but if that is their choice, the law allows them, and i can’t see how it would be better if there were age limits.

    i can see how it would be better not to allow someone to marry someone of their same sex, though.

  82. 182
    john howard says:

    >I wasn’t aware that was a right. Where in the legislation of the US do you find this “right”? outlined?

    The right to procreate was found in Skinner, and the right to do it with the person of your choice (that was their words, what they meant was no matter what race they were) was found in Loving. They said there are valid reasons to prohibit marraige, but mainaining white supremacy was not one of them.
    >I have no idea if you’re right that it would be unsafe. It’s probably not yet possible by the current technological limits. I cannot see how it could be unethical, if it were possible.

    Of course it would be unsafe, there is no way to predict how human egg and sperm inprint each other’s genes, and how their absence or their doubled presence would affect the person’s development. It is unethical to purposefully create a person in the first place, let alone in a risky, untested and likely tragic manner.

    >>Babies should not created this way, or any way besides combining the egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.

    >Now you’re moving into the realm of the definitely unethical. How on earth can you enforce this?

    We enforce fornication laws when we say “no, we should wait until we are married.” We can enforce the egg and sperm law by telling labs and scientists not to try SSP experiments, and they can be re-pointed to work on more pressing problems. I am sure they will respct that ban. They certainly wouldn’t be able to get any grants or advertise their SSP service, anyway. There’d be serious jail time for people sho do it anyway.

    >Force abortion on every woman who conceives outside marriage?

    no, of course not. banning SSP does not require forcing anyone to get an abortion.

    >Enforced contraception (or find a means of reversible sterility) on all unmarried couples? The very thought of such totalitarian-style control makes me twitchy. It’s a disgusting and repellent idea.

    Yes it is, and not at all what i am talking about. I am talking about banning SSP. Saying that something should happen in such and such a way doesn’t mean that it always does, or that people have to be punished when it doesn’t. And the fact that bad things happen doesn’t mean that you can’t say they shouldn’t, or that things should be done a certain way.

  83. 183
    Jesurgislac says:

    >I wasn’t aware that was a right. Where in the legislation of the US do you
    >find this “right”? outlined?

    >The right to procreate was found in Skinner

    Would have been helpful if you’d supplied a link, but I googled. Okay. So, “the right to procreate” has been established in law in the US – it is illegal to enforce sterility on someone who wishes to reproduce. I wasn’t aware of that.

    and the right to do it with the person of your choice (that was their words, what they meant was no matter what race they were) was found in Loving. They said there are valid reasons to prohibit marraige, but mainaining white supremacy was not one of them.

    Okay.

    >I have no idea if you’re right that it would be unsafe. It’s probably not yet
    >possible by the current technological limits. I cannot see how it could be
    >unethical, if it were possible.

    Of course it would be unsafe, there is no way to predict how human egg and sperm inprint each other’s genes, and how their absence or their doubled presence would affect the person’s development. It is unethical to purposefully create a person in the first place, let alone in a risky, untested and likely tragic manner.

    Um. Well, this is actually a reasonable argument for current bio-technological limits. It is not a reasonable argument to make on principle or as a sweeping claim that it would never be safe to do. I don’t know that, and nor do you. But, as a general principle that one shouldn’t experiment on conscious human beings, I will agree that it would be unwise and unethical to do it right now.

    >>Babies should not created this way, or any way besides combining the >>egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.

    >Now you’re moving into the realm of the definitely unethical. How on
    >earth can you enforce this?

    We enforce fornication laws when we say “no, we should wait until we are married.”?

    No. You’re talking about an ethical principle that some people hold by and others don’t. Some people feel they should not have sex until they’re married. Others feel that it’s better to have sex only inside a committed relationship, whether or not it’s civil marriage. Yet others feel that what matters is being honest and kind and considerate – behaving well towards all or any sexual partners. All of these are possible ethical positions to take. None of them are enforced by law, and none of them have anything to do with your initial and unethical proposal: “Babies should not [be] created [in] any way besides combining the egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.”

    The natural way to create a baby is for a fertile egg in a woman’s body to combine by a fertile sperm from a man’s body. That I will grant you. It would still be a perfectly natural way to create a baby if one took sperm from a willing sperm donor and implanted it by a syringe: and, requiring more technological assistance, but still proven to create perfectly normal babies, if the egg is fertilised outside the woman’s body and then implanted, either in that woman’s body or in another woman’s body. None of these methods of creating babies can be considered inethical in the same sense as experimenting with combining the gametes from two eggs, as all simply involve fertilisation of egg with sperm and incubation of foetus for the usual nine months, product, one normal baby. (Combining the gametes from two sperm would be trickier, as the combination would have to avoid two Y chromosomes.)

    We can enforce the egg and sperm law by telling labs and scientists not to try SSP experiments

    Well, you could. And in the US, where conservatives don’t like science much, I’m fairly sure that would work. But I doubt it will work outside the US, and yes, I think scientists will probably experiment with this, though I would strongly object were they to experiment with human eggs or human sperm until they had gone through several generations of large mammal experimentation. (Dolly the sheep proved that cloning was possible, but also showed long term that it would be unwise and unethical to attempt cloning a human being until the wrinkles had been ironed out.)

    >>Force abortion on every woman who conceives outside marriage?

    no, of course not. banning SSP does not require forcing anyone to get an abortion.

    That wasn’t what you said. You said: “Babies should not [be] created [in] any way besides combining the egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.”

    If you wish to retract and apologize for this assertion, I am very willing to accept it. But you have to see that this statement, taken literally, requires forcing every woman who gets pregnant who isn’t married to have an abortion.

    >Enforced contraception (or find a means of reversible sterility) on all
    >unmarried couples? The very thought of such totalitarian-style control >makes me twitchy. It’s a disgusting and repellent idea.

    Yes it is, and not at all what i am talking about.

    Then please, retract your statement : “Babies should not [be] created [in] any way besides combining the egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.”

    Have it simply as: “Babies should not be created in any way besides combining egg and sperm.” That’s a reasonable ethical statement for our current level of bio-science, and does not impose enforced abortion or enforced sterility or enforced contraception or enforced childlessness on anyone. Lesbian couples can easily have children via sperm donation, just as het couples who aren’t interfertile can: gay male couples can either adopt or partner with a lesbian couple. And of course, any couple – whether or not they choose to have children or are able to have children with each other- should be able to get married.

    I am talking about banning SSP.

    You may think that’s what you’re talking about, but it’s not what you said. Your statement”: “Babies should not [be] created [in] any way besides combining the egg and sperm of a man and a woman who are married to each other.” strongly suggests that you are not trying to ban only an experimental and risky procedure, but trying to prevent any woman from having children outside heterosexual marriage – and since the only way to do that would be forced contraception, forced sterility, or forced abortion, all of which would be (as you have pointed out) illegal by the Skinner decision, you reallly shouldn’t even try.

  84. 184
    john howard says:

    We have always had fornication laws and never felt a need to force abortions on unmarried women. And saying that babies should only be created by married couples is not only perfectly acceptable, but I think absolutely necessary to say. Saying that, even legislating it, doesn’t require any of the things you think it does. Consider that only allowing licensed drivers to drive doesn’t require killing unlicensed people, or putting unlicensed drivers in jail for their whole life.

  85. 185
    Jake Squid says:

    john,

    I disagree with you about the connection between how a fetus is created and human dignity. I see no connection at all. I don’t feel people have any more or less dignity now than they did before the first test-tube baby was born. But I cannot deny that you have the feelings that you express. I think that it’s silly that you expect all others to agree with your belief.

    Banning non egg and sperm procreation? Yeah, I could live with that. But I could also live without all the various egg and sperm methods (particularly in terms of fertility clinics) that we have now. But that has to do with my belief that we are suffering from overpopulation that is going to severely and adversely affect future generations.

    But will I loudly advocate it? Hell, no. It is just not a realistic goal – just as my goal of education & 3/4 child coupons is not realistic. I don’t understand why people would want to go through the pain and expense any non egg&sperm reproduction would involve (or why they would want to go to a fertility doctor). I also don’t understand why anybody would want to skydive. I’m not going to work to outlaw either activity, though. I will speak out to make people aware of the dangers of overpopulation, but I’m not going to rant about the “immorality” (which is subjective, by the way) of having multiple children.

  86. 186
    Ampersand says:

    Consider that only allowing licensed drivers to drive doesn’t require killing unlicensed people, or putting unlicensed drivers in jail for their whole life.

    But driving without a license is a crime, which can lead to fines or even to jail time. There is a punishment for driving without a license; without that punishment, the requirement that only licensed drivers are allowed to drive would be meaningless.

    So if only married cross-sex pairs are allowed to procreate, as I think you’ve proposed, then what punishment are you proposing for unmarried procreation?

  87. 187
    Jesurgislac says:

    john howard: We have always had fornication laws and never felt a need to force abortions on unmarried women. And saying that babies should only be created by married couples is not only perfectly acceptable, but I think absolutely necessary to say. Saying that, even legislating it, doesn’t require any of the things you think it does.

    Actually, it does. If you’re arguing – and you are – that only married couples shall be allowed to procreate, and that this shall be enforced by law, the only way to enforce that is forced contraception on unmarried people, and forced abortions on women who get pregnant anyway. If you don’t like that, stop advocating it.

  88. 188
    john howard says:

    >So if only married cross-sex pairs are allowed to procreate, as I think you’ve proposed, then what punishment are you proposing for unmarried procreation?

    The current punishment for unmarried intercourse is “not more than three months or by a fine of not more than thirty dollars,” but I don’t think we even do that anymore. I think it pretty much goes unpunished, and that is appropriate. The reason we don’t punish women is because we have faith that the law will continue to be respected even without a deterent of punishment, and punishing the woman would punish the child. But I would be in favor of more deterrence, perhaps by eliminating the obligations of paternity on unmarried fathers.

  89. 189
    john howard says:

    You are forgetting that laws don’t have to reduce the activity down to zero. For example, murder laws don’t reduce murder down to zero. The only way to do that would be to put us all in shackles from the moment we are born. We’d never violate the law, but it’s not worth it. So we choose to be free, even though it will allow people to violate the law and murder someone, and sometimes even get away with it.

    See? You can have a law without enforcing it or punishing it to such a degree that the enforcement itself is odious. Obviously, abortion is odious. The child is innocent. The law can on ly be enforced by people respecting it and agreeing with it. Single people should not be allowed to have children, they should be considered criminals if they do that.

  90. 190
    Jesurgislac says:

    Single people should not be allowed to have children, they should be considered criminals if they do that.

    Ah. So rather than force a woman to have an abortion, you intend to prosecute her and lock her up? Likewise, presumably, the man who had unprotected sex with her? And who is going to take care of the child? Will you have children in jail with their mothers? Or forced adoption? Or what? You don’t seem to have thought this through at all.

    The law can only be enforced by people respecting it and agreeing with it.

    Actually, a “law” that is only enforced by people respecting it isn’t a “law”. It’s a custom or a tradition or a statement of belief.

    I see no reason whatsoever to respect such a law, and you have not given me any.

  91. 191
    Jake Squid says:

    Jesurgislac,

    You’ve got john howard all wrong. He’s not going to punish the man who had unprotected sex with the unmarried woman.

    john howard says:
    But I would be in favor of more deterrence, perhaps by eliminating the obligations of paternity on unmarried fathers.

    See, guy gets off scott-free while the woman and child are punished.

    And he considers non-egg&sperm procreation unethical? Sheesh.

  92. 192
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Oh gosh, I missed that one. Roofle. Good catch, Jake.

  93. 193
    Jesurgislac says:

    Jake Squid: You’ve got john howard all wrong. He’s not going to punish the man who had unprotected sex with the unmarried woman.

    Good catch! So what John Howard is really after is a return to the “good old days” – when “loose women” were punished, men could be as promiscuous as they like without any penalty, and illegitimate children were warehoused in institutions.

    I wonder why that doesn’t surprise me?

  94. 194
    john howard says:

    Jesurgislac, the law specified a maximum punishment, there is no minimum punishment. Since it does unfairly punish the women and the child, we don’t tend to apply any punishment whatsoever, we feel she’s got enough problems already. This isn’t something I haven’t thought out, this already exists and works fine. The law is there because it helps, even without being enforced.

    I am sure about eliminating child support payments, but i was asked to come up with possible punishments. On the one hand, a man should be responsible, but by creating child support for unmarried dads, the state sort of subsumed marriage and made it seem unnecessary for the woman. I think we could disincentivize fornication by eliminating child support, and make women push for marriage first again.

  95. 195
    john howard says:

    oops, i meant to say “I am not sure”… I do think they are necessary

  96. 196
    Jake Squid says:

    john,

    Do you see how your plan puts all of the responsibility on women and none on men? Why should women be the ones forced to “push for marriage again?” Why couldn’t your plan involve all men who father bastards being forced to give their entire salary as child-support and having to live in the equivalent of a half-way house until the child comes of age? That way all of the responsibility would be on men. Or better yet, for the purpose of putting the responsibility equally on men and women, why don’t we put people have have children out of wedlock into prison work programs until the child comes of age, take the child away & put it up for adoption and have all income earned by the parents go into a trust fund for the child? We could just make death the punishment for having children out of wedlock! That should also be a disincentive that cuts across gender lines.

    Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? But so does your suggestion of putting the all of the responsibility on women.

  97. 197
    Jesurgislac says:

    Jake: Do you see how your plan puts all of the responsibility on women and none on men?

    Of course John sees that, Jake; why do you think he’s proposing it? It is men like John Howard, with their shameless dual standards for women and for men, allowing “respectable men” to have sex with “loose women” and then walk away from any subsequent consequences, that could easily turn me into a man-hater.

    I remind myself, however, that not all men are as selfish and irresponsible as John Howard, only some.