Marriage Equality Opponents on Civil Unions, Then and Now

In Oregon, Measure 36 – the same-sex marriage ban – was, we were told, not about denying rights to lesbians and gays. It was about “protecting marriage.”

“Same-sex couples should seek marriage-like rights through another avenue, such as civil unions.”
“Oregon’s measure was written specifically not to address civil unions.”

–Tim Nashif, Oregon Family Council Director and an organizer of the Measure 36 campaign

By claiming not to be against civil unions, the organizers of the same-sex marriage ban demonstrated (or tried to demonstrate, anyway) that they weren’t actually opposed to legal rights for same-sex couples.

Now that same-sex marriage is banned in the Constitution and the legislature is considering Civil Unions, however, suddenly their claims have changed:

“We would be against any measure that takes all the benefits of marriage and then calls it something else. We don’t think Oregonians had that in mind when they passed Measure 36.”
“SB 1000 takes everything that marriage is and calls it civil unions.”
–Tim Nashif, Oregon Family Council Director

“Please understand there is no greater threat to marriage right now than civil unions.”
–Oregon Family Council Communications Director Nick Graham

Typical sleazy hate tactics – but you can bet that Oregon’s “liberal” press will let them get away with it. Track the Lies has more examples.

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160 Responses to Marriage Equality Opponents on Civil Unions, Then and Now

  1. 101
    mousehounde says:

    Back in comment #48, F. Rottles said:

    Aaron V., the primary reason to elevate marriage is to encourage men and women to mate responsibly within the social institution, rather than in the less stable and more vulnerable scenarios of singlehood or unmarried cohabitation. That some people conceive and bear children outside of marriage is a social problem, not a justification to deconstruct marriage any further.

    F. Rottles, those who support SSM are not trying to “deconstruct marriage”. They are simply trying to expand the concept to include those who wish to participate. Same sex couples, both female and male are becoming parents. Surely it would be in the best interest of the children of those couples to allow their parents the benefits of marriage? Then they would be “mate[ing] responsibly within the social institution, rather than in the less stable and more vulnerable scenarios of singlehood or unmarried cohabitation.” How can allowing SSC’s the same social protections that marriage confers, by allowing them to marry, be a problem?

    John Howard, you have a very strange and peculiar obsession with regards to procreation and marriage. Several folks have pointed out that having kids is not the purpose for marriage. You ignored them. Others pointed out that folks of all kinds can have kids without getting married. You blew them off. You keep going back to some weird fantasy place where in some possible future same sex couples *might* be able to have kids together and calling it *bad*. If science advances to a place where same sex couples can safely have healthy children of their own, how would that be bad? I simply do not understand your objections. To be honest, reading your posts, your views seem to be based in fear and hatred and some odd religious bias.

    I do not know why any one would be against Same Sex Marriage. It seems like such a simple thing to me. People in love, who want to share their lives should be allowed proclaim to their friends, loved ones, the world, that they plan to live their lives together. They should be allowed to get married. They should have all the legal benefits and responsibilities that marriage gives. To not allow same sex couples that right means relegating them to the status of second class citizens. F.Rottles, John Howard, you seem like intelligent people. I don’t get why you don’t seem to understand this.

  2. 102
    natural says:

    John Howard said:

    Anyone? Anyone? Couples whose procreation would be unethical are not allowed to marry. Same-sex couples are like siblings, they are not allowed to procreate and they are not allowed to marry.

    I am confused. First same sex couples were inherently unable to procreate, now it is unethical for them to do so. I sense that someone is trying to slyly move the goal posts.

    In terms of ethics and procreation, you are now putting the health of the potential child in the mix. While you are doing so, consider couples who have genes for polycystic disease, cystic fibrosis, or Huntington’s. Go ahead and throw in Marfan’s, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Fragile X, and Tay Sach’s. Using your logic, they should be barred from marrying. I am not a lawyer, but I know of no laws in this country that prevent carriers of these genes from marrying.

    Also rethink allowing couples in their 70′s and beyond to marry. Down’s Syndrome and a whole host of other problems occur in the offspring even if it physically possible. Don’t think that it is different for older men and younger wives. Research has shown that sperm quality diminishes as a man ages. Should a genetic screening be mandatory prior to obtaining a marriage license? What about fertility screening? What should be the cutoff age for marriage be? Should people have to divorce at a certain age?Please enlighten us with your infinite wisdom.

    You obviously have no other logical argument against same sex marriage, and you have hitched your whole argument around this procreation thing. Either find a new argument so the rest of us can shoot it down, or admit that you just have a problem with homosexuality.

  3. 103
    John Howard says:

    > Several folks have pointed out that having kids is not the purpose for marriage.

    I didn’t say that same-sex couples would be forced to procreate if they married. I said they shouldn’t be allowed to.

    >Others pointed out that folks of all kinds can have kids without getting married.

    And that’s irrelevant too. I am talking about banning non egg and sperm procreation. That ban would prohibit same-sex procreation regardless of marriage.

    >You ignored them. You blew them off.

    Actually, I tirelessly re-explain these points over and over.

    >You keep going back to some weird fantasy place where in some possible future same sex couples *might* be able to have kids together and calling it *bad*.

    Yes, it would be bad. “Completely unethical” is how they put it in that National Geographic article on Kaguya I keep linking to (find link on my blog). It’s not just because of the risks to person being created but also for the way it opens the door to artificial procreation to create people who couldn’t exist in nature. It would sever the link of a person, who is of one sex, to exactly two progenators, each of one sex.

    >If science advances to a place where same sex couples can safely have healthy children of their own, how would that be bad? I simply do not understand your objections.

    It took 451 embryos to create one mouse from two same-sex parents. The hiccups along the road to “safe” same-sex won’t be mice, they will be people, and there is no telling what problems they will suffer from if they are created without one gamete or the other. I simply do not understand why people want to do this. Why is having a biological conection so important to these people that they would risk doing that to someone? Why not just adopt, or remain childless?

  4. 104
    John Howard says:

    First same sex couples were inherently unable to procreate, now it is unethical for them to do so. I sense that someone is trying to slyly move the goal posts.

    Both are true. Same sex couples don’t have to worry about possibly procreating, and will probably never be able to procreate, even with concerted technological effort. And, it is also true that same-sex couples should not be allowed to attempt to procreate because it would be unethical. (You might be upset because people commonly argue that same-sex procreation will never be possible, these people are just unaware of new technologies that might make it possible. I try to correct them because it does lead the argument in the wrong direction.)

    In terms of ethics and procreation, you are now putting the health of the potential child in the mix.

    Yes, but its not just health risks. Think of siblings. It is not only the high risk of birth defects, but also other ethical issues. And note that the individual siblings are not prohibited from procreating, they are only prohibited from procreating with each other. This is very important. All the prohibitions against marriage and procreation are against COUPLES. Not individuals. Individuals all have a right to marry and procreate, but their choice in who to marry can be scrutinized and refused if that couple’s procreation would be unethical. In Loving, the court said that there were some basis for prohibiting marriage that were acceptable, but race was not one of them. Sex is, because combining two eggs or two sperm would be completely unethical.

    I am very concerned about the liklihood that people with those diseases you mention would be told or at least pressured into believing that they may not procreate using their own genes, and must allow some lab to provide the gametes that will be used to create “their” child. All marriages must be allowed to procreate, and all people must be allowed to marry, and all people must be allowed to preserve their fertility. All of these things are under attack by gay marriage and the push for homosexuality and “trans-genderism” in public schools.

  5. 105
    Jake Squid says:

    … the push for homosexuality and “trans-genderism” in public schools.

    I’m begging you to come back to reality. There is no “push for homosexuality and “trans-genderism” in public schools.” If you believe that there is you are either crazy, being taken in by the unsupported propoganda of bigots or a bigot spouting unsupported (and unsupportable) propoganda.

  6. 106
    John Howard says:

    Or, another option is that there is a push for homosexuality and transgenderism in public schools. Here’s one example of a school pushing a student into transgenderism. But please don’t get off track. Here we are talking about the rights of civil unions. If you want to comment on that case, it’s on my blog here.

  7. 107
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    I’m begging you to come back to reality. There is no “push for homosexuality and “trans-genderism” in public schools.” If you believe that there is you are either crazy, being taken in by the unsupported propoganda of bigots or a bigot spouting unsupported (and unsupportable) propoganda.

    Jake, it’s just an example of the reality of his hate and bigotry peaking through his ever-thinnning veneer, and the reason why the rest of us have stopped talking to him and exposing ourselves to his bigotry.

    His beliefs have no validity, nor basis in reality. And while listening to him for a while is informing in the sense that we can see the reality of the insanity of the other side on this, that point passed a considerable time ago. Diversity of opinion is a thing to be welcomed and encouraged, but this overt dehumanisation and call for the curtailing of basic civil rights is just sickening and, thankfully, becoming ever and ever more (rightly) marginalised.

  8. 108
    John Howard says:

    The only right I am curtailing is the right to combine your gamete with soneone’s of the same sex. If you are insisting on this being a right, then you should not hide that fact, you should list it at the top of all of your demands. If on the other hand you don’t want that right, and you agree that people shoudl only have the right to combine their gamete with someone of the OTHER sex, then you should acknowledge that and accept Civil Unions which did not grant the right to combine gametes.

    At the very least, you should acknowledge that the question of procreation rights for same-sex couples is a valid question, and the only insane thing is to bury your head in the sand and let the insane doctors and insane couples start doing it without us taking a good hard look at the issue first.

  9. 109
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    Okay, I’ll admit it;

    Yes, I want the right to reproduce, and if the unlikely possibility of being able to have a child that is related to both me and my partner exists and is a viable and healthy option, I’d like have guaranteed access to whichever parental option my partner and I chose.

    However, that’s a totally different issue from wanting to marry. I don’t know yet if I want a child, but I do know I want to get married eventually. As EVERYONE here have been saying, they are things that aren’t necessarily connected at all. Stop trying (not matter how awfully) to conflate the two.

    Oh, and reproductive health and technologies have always been an issue for gay and lesbian politics, just in case you’re wondering btw. It’s just that they haven’t been connected to our push for full and equal recognition of our relationships. you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

  10. 110
    fif says:

    My problem with John Howards argument is that I don’t see anyone asking for same sex procreation rights, yet this seems to be the entire basis for his case against same sex marriage. Is any mainstream voice asking for this? Doubtful. I googled “same sex procreation” and only came across 203 pages where people were using it as a a justification of anti-ssm–no LGBTQI org demanding it. Let’s focus on the issue at hand then and not deny people rights based on hypothetical future technology. Scientists aren’t evil and aren’t going to try to create people in a potentially harmful way. Once again i know this will have no bearing on opinions. But it would be great if we could have a same sex marriage thread that didn’t get derailed by same sex procreation.

  11. 111
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    Not entirely true fif, LGBTQI organisations have been pushing and ensuring access for gays and lesbians to access currently existing reproductive technologies for a while now (such as artificial insemination, anonymous sperm donations, surrogacy, adoption, etc, etc), basically asking for access to be free of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (we’ve also been working with rights organisations and feminist organisations who have been pushing for access for all women regardless of marital status).

    However, such things have NOTHING to do with the science-fiction that John Howard is pushing. NOTHING. There isn’t a single push for anything like this.

    But, moreover, you’re completely right, derailment of SSM discussions by bringing in procreation is a typical, and ultimately failing and useless, strategy of the anti-SSM bigots.

  12. 112
    Nick Kiddle says:

    John Howard: I have only two things to say to you.

    1. Since people can procreate without being married and marry without procreating, how can it possibly make sense to ban marriage in order to ban procreation?

    2. Do you really not understand the difference between supporting someone whose body does not match his brain in his attempts to be recognised for what he is and pushing someone into transgenderism?

  13. 113
    John Howard says:

    Sarah said

    “Okay, I’ll admit it;

    Yes, I want the right to reproduce, and if the unlikely possibility of being able to have a child that is related to both me and my partner exists and is a viable and healthy option, I’d like have guaranteed access to whichever parental option my partner and I chose.

    It seems so easy, doesn’t it? Science will allow same-sex couples to have children together, and so they should be able to! But you’re drunk on the utopian visions of what science can do, and forgetting that there are costs in trying to do it, and forgetting that the costs aren’t incurred by you, but by the people created and the rest of society.

    Even putting aside how many people would probably suffer with life-long (however short that may be) birth defects before it is truly ‘safe’, we have to look into why we would want to move toward a future that creates people in laboratories who couldn’t possibly be created by healthy human beings. HOw will we ever know what is lost in having been conceived without an egg or without a sperm? Is that fair to the person being created? I appreciate that I am one-half my mother and one-half my father, and that I am therefore made of both sexes, even though I am only one of them in my own potential. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have that connection to both sexes.

    And, why it is so important to you to be able to have children related to both you and your spouse? Because if that is truly important to you, perhaps you should consider not being a lesbian, because the liklihood is that SSP will not be perfected enough for you to ever make use of it.

    You should also ask yourself now: “how much of my belief in equal rights is based on me unconsciously believing in this utopian science-fiction vision that same-sex couples will be able to have children together someday?”

  14. 114
    Rock says:

    I finally have access to a machine!

    John Howard,
    You are commended for your willingness to take it on the chin.

    My point is that whatever the ethical and moral vision of the community is for having children in our society it should be given equal access to same sex folks as hetero folks. That marriage is not the sole domain for childrearing is a rather obvious condition today. That loving couples getting together to make families and navigate the vagaries and joys of life should not be about orientation but commitment and devotion. Though I personally find marriage very gratifying it may not be for everyone. I am for it, same sex or otherwise, I think it should be taught and encouraged. (None of us get it right, it is a process.)

    Currently techniques that would combine genetic materials, as you fear are not legal or ethical for any couples. Cloning etc. is not ethical at this time and is not material to the discussion of whether same sex couples should be afforded the same civil rights as hetero folks. To base an argument on the right to civil unions or marriages in churches that choose to officiate, based on a potential practice that may not come to pass, and would not be limited to same sex couples, is not a fair argument. All kinds of things “could” happen in our affairs, we need to do the best we can and move forward. The same sex couples I am aware of employing fertility techniques are those very ones used by hetero couples, donor eggs, sperm, surrogacy etc. What is the problem with that? The children are not created by our power; it is the life that is already present and gifted from God all along. (Or wherever you believe they come from.) The children have souls and need the love and community just like all other children. Parents wanting new life this badly just might try harder at being parents, it is not about “Adam and Steve” or whatever. (I was abused by hetero family members… a loving same sex couple might have done better… might not. It is about human natures, people, not orientations.)

    In my theology, Adam initially was neither male nor female. (Neither is God) Adam (made from clay) was the creation of God in the image of God. God (Yahweh) did not create Eve out of more clay, but “cleaved” Adam and fashioned Eve out of the original creation. To me this represents that the two natures were incarnate in the original creation, that the image of God is the two united. Neither one first nor last. Adam means “humankind,” Eve means “becoming,” think about it. It is a beautiful metaphor. (Isn’t it fascinating that the word “cleaves” means both to unite and to separate?)

    I leave it to those entering into relationships with God and each other to work out their relationship and find their way with God with out my judgment. God does not need my help in figuring things out. (Or yours.) For us, Jesus died for all of my sins, your sins, and anyone else’s sins that want forgiveness. If SSM is an issue between God and a couple, than I am sure in the love of the Cross they can work out their relationship and Salvation. Judgment only condemns the one doing the judging. (Sadly it often hurts the one we judge too.)

    I have to say that I have missed this site and you all very much. Your willingness to share yourselves is a very loving thing and I look forward to reading your postings in a few days after we get a little more settled. Blessings.

  15. 115
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    Oiy, are you THAT insanely stupid, or just willfully fucking blind????

    I never said it was a big deal for me to be biologically related to my children, if I should EVEN chose to have children, which I haven’t even decided on … and I stated that overtly above, in a few different ways! My personal preference, should I decide that I want to provide love and a home for a child is adoption, as there are plenty of minority children out there that are desperate for love and a family.

    I consider the science fiction you have been proposing as something that I don’t expect to occur, ever. You were asking a hypothetical, which I answered, and then suddenly you turned into something I want in desperation. I don’t believe in a utopian view of science, never have, and never even intimated such in what I wrote.

    Again, are you stupid or just blind?

    Your arguments suggest a mentally disturbed person with a fixation on something that is not even the point of SSM, nor even existing, to the extreme of it being an obsession. Moreover, your reading of words into other people’s statements is mindboggling.

    Again, I’ll repeat myself, as well as echoing EVERYONE ELSE HERE, our fight for our rights of marriage has FUCK-ALL to do with having children. You are a bigot, and a hate-ridden person, you stupid idiot.

  16. 116
    john howard says:

    Well, you’re lucky Amp has a double standard for who is allowed to insult who. The space below is for you to imagine my retort.OK. Now then, if you don’t want a right to combine your gametes with another female, then why did you say you’d like to have “guaranteed access” to the technology and that you like the idea of having a child related to both you and your partner? Forgive me for reading too much into that, but it sure looked like you felt that was important to you.
    And since when did what anyone says they want hypothetically have anything to do with what they will ultimately choose? If I had a dollar for everytime I heard a feminist SAY she would adopt, but thenyears later subjects me to intimate details of her IVF procedure, I’d have, well I’d have a dollar, but you get the point. It’s kind of like those “conversations” people are supposed to have before sex, which are supposedly going to be useful after she gets pregnant. So I don’t understand why you’re so mad at me. You said you’d choose it if it was an option. Be mad at yourself if that’s not what you would say ten minutes later.
    I repeat the simple premise: we have a choice, as a society, of whether to ban or to allow scientists to attempt to combine gametes of two people of the same sex. If we allow it, then by all means, allow same-sex marriage also. I can’t understand the thinking of peple who are opposed to SSM but blase about banning SSP. If we ban it, then we have another choice: allow people who are prohibited from procreating to marry, or maintain the right of every marriage to procreate.

  17. 117
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    You imply we are morally bad and sick, that we can just choose to change should we wish, that people were right in 11 states to put their prejudices ahead of our basic human rights, and that we should have reproductive options and access to basic societal institutions curtailed for no other reason that we are different from you, and you have the audacity to claim that I am insulting YOU?!

    Again, your rhetoric in mindboggling.

    The plural of anecdote is not data Mr Howard, and so I give precisely jack shit credence to what you say your experiences are regarding what the reproductive choices have been of women and how such applies to me.

    I do not say I would choose it were it an option. I said I wouldn’t mind having it as an option. HUGE difference. Again, please read.

  18. 118
    mythago says:

    I’d have, well I’d have a dollar, but you get the point

    Yes, the point is that you are taking a single anecdote and pretending it means something.

  19. 119
    natural says:

    John Howard,

    Methinks you are being a trite obtuse. I don’t know what other ethical issues would apply both to siblings and same sex couples. Siblings are often reared together, and it would make for a strange change of individual roles within the new family unit. These families over time would also be isolated from outside societal pressures and thus could become provincial and fearful of society. These does not apply to SSM, unless you are talking about SSM among siblings.

    The one aspect of sibling procreation that makes it taboo in virtually all societies is the expression and amplification of deleterious phenotypes. Homozygous genes within a population are hardly ever good. Although, it was a necessity among the ancient Egyptian dynasties to keep the bloodlines pure. I guess they didn’t have those ethical dilemmas you are speaking of.

    I agree totally with Rock. You are basing your argument upon technology that may not ever be realized in humans. The science is in its infancy. I don’t believe that the researchers are specifically perfecting this technique only for gay and lesbian people so they will one day have the rights inherent upon married couples that you so earnestly attest.

    Many technologies in the cellular biology field have several applications, but use in humans may be deemed unethical. Scientists have been splicing genes onto crops for decades, but I have never heard of a “flavr savr” baby or atrazine resistant farmer. I don’t even see cloning humans on the horizon in the US. The scientific community here has addressed some of those ethical issues. So, again, please make an argument that is more realistic.

  20. 120
    Nick Kiddle says:

    maintain the right of every marriage to procreate.

    There is no such right. A “marriage” has no rights; the rights belong to the people involved, so I will charitably assume you’re using “marriage” as a shorthand for “married couple”.

    But even a married couple have no right to procreate. Whether they can or not is a matter for nature and is not covered by any right. Any couple has the right to try to procreate, which may or may not require artificial assistance, but that right doesn’t guarantee success.

    PS, how about answering my question from comment 112?

  21. 121
    alsis39 says:

    [snicker] I just like the fact that having brushed off the real-life connection between being able to marry and being able to see a damn doctor, Sperm ‘N Eggs continues to burble inanely about his sci-fi fantasies without (aparently) troubling himself to wonder where people who can’t even go to the doctor for flu meds are going to get the huge sums of money to breed these freaked-out superbabies. Maybe he figures that some McDonald’s-like org with go into business selling them on every city block. Maybe Wal-Mart will set up a kiosk next to the phot0-stand ! Four shots at baby-making for a mere $3.50 !! Step right up !!!

    Honestly, his games would be funny if they weren’t so utterly cruel to real-life citizens.

  22. 122
    John Howard says:

    nick asked>1. Since people can procreate without being married and marry without procreating, how can it possibly make sense to ban marriage in order to ban procreation?

    We’d ban non egg and sperm procreation. That would mean same-sex couples would be prohibited from procreating. No married couple can be prohibited from procreating. If a couple is prohibited from procreating, we don’t let them marry, like siblings, children, people married to other people, etc. To allow SSm after banning SSP would fundamentally change the rights of marriage and make it possible to prohibited other marriages from procreating, perhaps because they have a high risk of some genetic disease.

  23. 123
    John Howard says:

    >But even a married couple have no right to procreate. Whether they can or not is a matter for nature and is not covered by any right. Any couple has the right to try to procreate, which may or may not require artificial assistance, but that right doesn’t guarantee success.

    Oh, come on, every married couple (aka every marriage) has the right to procreate. But not all couples have the right to procreate. Siblings don’t, people married to someone else don’t, people under 18 don’t. But once they get married to each other, they have the right to procreate, in that they can’t be told their gametes are unsuitable to be joined together by any method. This is what we say to siblings, and this is what we need to say to same-sex couples.

    All rights are only rights to TRY. Basically, rights just mean the right not to be prohibited or prevented from trying to do the thing you have a right to do. They aren’t guarantees of success.

  24. 124
    jane says:

    what if we go back to what britgirlsf wrote about a long time ago, and get rid of state-sponsored marriage altogether? even people like my parents, who are relatively liberal and have family members that date people of the same sex, feel weird about giving marriage to sscouples, mainly because deep down they think of ‘marriage’ as a religious thing (they’re catholic). even i think of it as a religious thing, which is why i’ve felt squeamish about it (for myself) for most of my adult life. (although having more responsibilities, etc makes me appreciate all the good things that could come with a legal and emotional union.)

    so let’s take the whole thing away from religion. the state can give out civil unions to opposite- and same-sex couples who want to create a family unit of 2 adults and any children where one doesn’t already exist (to prevent siblings from getting unions), and if they want to get married, they can go to their respective churches or temples or whatever and ask to get married. the catholics’ rules about marriage aren’t mirrored by the state, so why should any religions’ rules? while we’re at it, creating new laws about unions, we’ll take out all mention of procreation, and we’ll just have separate laws prohibiting procreation between siblings and such. (wait, don’t those already exist?)

    i thought i heard the seattle- area was doing something like this. was that just wishful thinking/hearing?

  25. 125
    VK says:

    John Howard – Some states allows some couples to marry only if they are NOT fertile (specifically some states allow first cousins to marry if they can prove one of them is infertile), which kinda kills your claim that the right to procreate is assumed in the right to marry.

  26. 126
    John Howard says:

    VK, no, those states prove my claim. As a compromise between allowing cousins to marry or not allowing them to marry, some states decided to give the right to procreate to cousins if they could prove that they probably wouldn’t be able to procreate anyway. But make no mistake – they got the right to procreate when they married. If they do procreate, then it’s only as bad as the other states that allowed cousin marriage, so it’s no big deal. I have no idea how those states handle IVF for cousin couples, do they allow them to marry but then forbid them from using IVF? If so, those states are not understanding marriage rights, and they shouldn’t allow a couple that they prohibit from procreating to marry at all.

  27. 127
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Siblings don’t, people married to someone else don’t, people under 18 don’t.

    Coupled with your later comment that a right to procreate means a right not to be prevented from procreating, can I take this to mean that you believe the state has a right to compel underage women and those pregnant by a brother or a man other than their husband to terminate the pregnancy, regardless of the woman’s feelings?

  28. 128
    John Howard says:

    No of course not. duh. It just means they can’t do the things that might start a pregnancy, literally, they cannot have sexual intercourse. That’s the loophole that allowed people to start pregnancies with turkey basters, but I think that qualifies as sexual intercourse too, and therefore adultery or fornication. The laws against unmarried sexual intercourse are how we prevent procreation. Because once it’s started, it cannot be stopped.

  29. 129
    Nick Kiddle says:

    These laws to prevent procreation don’t seem to be working terribly well. What makes you think they’ll work any better in the case of same-sex couples?

  30. 130
    John Howard says:

    Because for same-sex couples to procreate, they need the cooperation of IVF clinics and scientists. Scientists are generally law-abiding people, and if society decides that we should not pursue same-sex procreation, they will find some other field to work in.

  31. 131
    Rock says:

    This is just silly. To equate the discussion of SSM to incest, cloning, mixing of Gametes… is just nonsense. Do two people have the right to choose to be recognized, as a legal entity with the same responsibilities and privileges, that have been granted to other folks is the question?

    Passing laws to prevent intercourse certainly does not stop it. Folks have been sleeping with family members, as long as there have been family members. Kids have been making babies and will continue to do so. Homophobic laws banning SS practices were shamelessly enforced across this land until just recently, and it still happened. (There are still cases pending in Texas I believe.) The laws protecting the type of research on humans that you speak of are already there. They are non material to recognizing the right of two people to be treated the same as you or I when we come to choose a life (hopefully) partner.

    It is just a bunch of rationalization that cannot be resolved so the question cannot be answered. Just out of curiosity John H, all things being equal, with no fertility issues at stake, would you support the rights for GLB folks to have Civil Unions or Marriages in Religious bodies that would recognize them as such? Blessings.

  32. 132
    John Howard says:

    Rock, it’s not nonsense. It’s a legitimate question and one we will have to face very soon, so we should face it now. Should we allow a person to mate with someone of their same sex or should we insist they can only mate with someone of the other sex? I think that people have a right to be created from a union of a natural sperm and a natural egg.

    The question of whether we should recognize as a legal entity, with the same responsibilities and privileges is a different question, and if we decide to do that, civil unions could accomplish that. We could also decide to legally recognize them by letting them enter an institution known as prison, too. So there’s a wide range of options.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “with no fertility issues at stake”. You mean, if everyone was infertile, or if same-sex couples were equally likely to have a baby? Or if men got pregnant also? In a situation where there were no fertility issues, there wouldn’t really be any sexes, either. So I don’t see why we would even have marriages, but if we still did, I don’t know how you would tell a “same-sex” one from a “both sex” one.

  33. 133
    BritGirlSF says:

    “VK, no, those states prove my claim. As a compromise between allowing cousins to marry or not allowing them to marry, some states decided to give the right to procreate to cousins if they could prove that they probably wouldn’t be able to procreate anyway. ”
    John, do you realise how absurd this sounds? The states give cousins the right to procreate if they know they can’t procreate? That’s not much of a right from a logical point of view. What it actually points to for those of us with a modicum of common sense is that what the state intends when granting a marriage license has very little to do with procreation.
    “We could also decide to legally recognize them by letting them enter an institution known as prison, too. So there’s a wide range of options.”
    Watch out, your real agenda’s showing again. Honestly, the fact that you would even consider this an “option” makes everything else you have to say null and void.
    Once again….marriage as a legal construct does not either confer or deny the right to procreate. Note that it is not actually illegal to procreate without being married. What about all the unmarried couples who have children out of wedlock, John? By your argument they should also be denied the right to procreate, since you insist that it is marriage that confers such a right. Regardless of your feelings on the matter the fact that such procreation is not forbidden does rather undercut your argument.

  34. 134
    john howard says:

    The states give cousins the right to procreate if they know they can’t procreate?

    Yeah, if it was belived they can’t procreate,and they’re old enough to have had their chance, they give them the right to have sex, to risk possibly procreating, to marry. If they do procreate, it won’t be illegitimate, and they won’t be arrested for fornication, because it’s no big deal. Remember, this was a compromise because some states had cultures that considered it ok, and others didn’t. So a multi-cultural state had to decide whether it would be one of the states that did or didn’t. Some states conveniently saw the issue as a simple biological issue, based on birth defects, and perhaps complex family relations, and decided that a good compromise would be to allow couples to marry if they probably wouldn’t create those problems. Compromise made, representative reelected.

    That’s not much of a right from a logical point of view.

    It was a cynical compromise, a way to avoid the issue, that’s for sure. But it was still the whole, unabashed right they had. The state wouldn’t arrest them for procreating or even possibly procreating like it did Richard and Mildred Loving. They were alowed to procreate, not arrested for sleeping in the same bed like the Lovings were. Think about it, would Richard and Melinda have accepted a marriage that required them to not attempt to procreate, by any method? Of course not, that was the whole point of the decision, the reason marriage was found to be a basic civil right, because they had to have the right to procreate together.

    What it actually points to for those of us with a modicum of common sense is that what the state intends when granting a marriage license has very little to do with procreation.

    I guess common sense isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, then.

    We can and should prohibit non egg and sperm procreation, easily and constitutionally and ethically. Then, everyone will have to choose a person of the other sex to procreate with, to share biological parenthood with. Wedlock will have nothing to do with that ban. But that ban will have everything to do with wedlock. Couples that may not procreate may not marry.

  35. 135
    BritGirlSF says:

    Repeating the same thing over and over again is unlikely to convince anyone of the validity of your argument who is not already convinced, John. Given that no-one here is buying your ideas so far, why would you think that continuing to repeat them would make us change our minds?

  36. 136
    VK says:

    Couples that may not procreate may not marry.

    Then why can’t the same exception as applied to cousins appliy to SSC? Considering it’s a lot easier for infertile couples to procreate (via IVF), than for SSC to procreate (via science fiction).

  37. 137
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    How come it is that every time I read John Howard, I end up feeling dirty for being married and for procreating. It’s really a peculiar thing.

  38. 138
    AndiF says:

    Given that no-one here is buying your ideas so far, why would you think that continuing to repeat them would make us change our minds?

    Because it’s all he has. While there are plenty of emotional arguments that can be made against SSM (tradition, religious beliefs, fear, bigotry), there aren’t any rational ones. And emotional arguments are a very weak justification for denying state-sanctioned marriage. So John is trying to pretend that he has constructed an actual legal basis for being anti-SSM. The problem he has is that his argument is based on the fictions that the state cares about marital procreation by the method of combining one partner’s sperm with the other partner’s egg and that the non-existent SSP is a current threat. So all he can do is keep repeating his tortured logic in the hopes of wearing people down, much like a kid will keep asking the same question over and over in the hopes of finally getting the answer he wants.

  39. 139
    alsis39 says:

    I feel the exact same way, Kim– and I’m not even procreating. :/

  40. 140
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Since women who have undergone hysterectomies may marry, does this by John Howard’s logic oblige scientists to develop – I hesitate to drop this bomb into yet another comment thread – artificial wombs post-haste?

  41. 141
    Rock says:

    John,
    The question I asked you about no fertility issues at stake, was referring to if reproductive technology would never allow one to create the situations you fear, if the SSM issue was simply about granting people equal access and rights in relationships would you support it. Yes or No? Please do not give some conditional response regarding a bunch of hypothetical that as of yet do not exist.

    FYI, the genetic risks of cousins marrying from what I have read of late are very close to the general population. Fornication is not illegal, and if you have not noticed is a common practice. Consensual sex amongst non-married partners is so common that the term “fornication” has been reduced to a limited use in the context of a moral or conditionally ethical usage. People are going to have sex regardless of legal recognition, so it is a bit odd that you cling to this idea that making these laws will somehow create what most of us see as your personal morality extended to others. Currently legal systems are reflecting the belief that it is really no ones business how an accountable adult chooses to have relations with another equally accountable person.

    As for your requiring the issue of Recumbent DNA/Gamete technologies being settled prior to allowing SSM, it is not material to the conversation. Extending civil rights should not be conditional to an issue that needs to be addressed separately from SSM. The Paternity issues that you bring up have a place and need to be studied, debated, discussed and explored. If this technology comes to be possible, it will not be limited to the SSM population, but has far more applications than you are considering. That discussion should be dealt with on a Bio-Ethics thread, not one dealing with Civil Rights. You brought up the point as a possibility, we got that, now are you willing to support the right for SS relationships to have equal rights with everyone else? Blessings.

  42. 142
    John Howard says:

    >Repeating the same thing over and over again is unlikely to convince anyone of the validity of your argument who is not already convinced, John.

    Because people keep answering with the same confused answers that indicate that I haven’t explained it properly, or enough. I could go ignore those objections, but then I get accused of “blowing them off”. So, I have to answer them again. I’d love it if people could reiterate my point in such a way as to indicate that they understand and agree, then maybe I could move on.

  43. 143
    Nick Kiddle says:

    But can you accept the possibility that we understand and disagree, or understand and judge irrelevant?

  44. 144
    John Howard says:

    Me:>Couples that may not procreate may not marry.

    VK:>Then why can’t the same exception as applied to cousins appliy to SSC? Considering it’s a lot easier for infertile couples to procreate (via IVF), than for SSC to procreate (via science fiction).

    You mean allow SameSexCouples to marry but also have the ban on SSP, and just make them promise not to try to procreate? Well, we could do that, and that would be better than not having the ban, but it would have some bad effects. First of all, it wouldn’t be an “equal marriage” – there would be a right that Same-sex marriages would not have that all both-sex marraiges would have. So why not call it by a different name to reflect that reality? They’d have different rights, so they need to be called something different.

    Otherwise, if we call it marriage and insist that they are indeed equal marriages, then we have to say that both-sex marriages ALSO do not have a right to procreate, and that would be a radical change in marriage rights. It would mean that married couples that might be at risk of passing on a genetic disease might be told they may not procreate, even though they are married. I don’t know how we could enshrine everyone’s rights to pass on their genes except by guaranteeing everyone’s right to marry and every marriage’s right to procreate. If we create the concept of marriages that dont have the right to try to procreate, we seriously gut those protections.

    (And it’s not sci-fi, VK, they’ve done it in mice and the way technology is going, with us spending billions of dollars a year on research, it will likely be a real possibility in the near future.)

  45. 145
    John Howard says:

    >Since women who have undergone hysterectomies may marry, does this by John Howard’s logic oblige scientists to develop – I hesitate to drop this bomb into yet another comment thread – artificial wombs post-haste?

    No, having the right to procreate does not mean that the state has to facilitate it. It simply means the state can’t prohibit it. It is perfectly consistent, in fact, to both grant a right to procreate and also to ban all artificial methods, leaving only sexual intercourse as the the only legal method. Many marriages will not be able to exercise their right to procreate, but they will still have the right.

  46. 146
    John Howard says:

    Rock>if reproductive technology would never allow one to create the situations you fear, if the SSM issue was simply about granting people equal access and rights in relationships would you support it. Yes or No?

    First of all, it’s a ridiculous hypothetical, a dangerously ignorant and irrelevant hypothetical. We have to assume that SSP is a real possibility, since it’s been done in mice and they’re working on creating gametes from stem cells.

    But OK, let’s say we somehow knew it was never going to be a possibility. Then it would still be true that the only way a person could have children with the person they love would be for them to love a person of the other sex. It would be exactly like having the ban in place. To have children with the one you love, you’d have to love someone of the other sex. So, the answer is No, I would not support or be complicit in people losing their chance to have children with the person they love.

  47. 147
    John Howard says:

    >it is a bit odd that you cling to this idea that making these laws will somehow create what most of us see as your personal morality extended to others.

    The ban on non egg and sperm procreation won’t have an effect on fornication, at least not right away. But it will have an immediate effect on scientists and IVF clinics, who will not be able to study or advertise SSP services.

  48. 148
    John Howard says:

    >But can you accept the possibility that we understand and disagree, or understand and judge irrelevant?

    I don’t see any indication that you understand. Judging by all the people who make totally irrelevant comments, and the fact that no one has reiterated the argument properly, it’s not just a questino of disagreement.

    If you want to disagree about whether or not to allow labs to combine gametes of the same sex, then that’s fine. We can argue about that. Certainly, if we allow that, we should allow same-sex marriage. But if we don’t, then we should make that the distinction between civil unions and marriages.

  49. 149
    John Howard says:

    >now are you willing to support the right for SS relationships to have equal rights with everyone else?

    Just not the right to procreate together, which is the sine qua non right of marraige. All the other rights, in the form of a civil union, OK, I’d accept that. If that was the compromise reached right now, I would be fine accepting it.

  50. 150
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    But don’t you see JH, we understand what you are saying in regards to a connection between marriage and procreation, WE JUST DON’T AGREE WITH IT. AT ALL.

    We have provided numerous examples in a number of different ways to show why we believe this isn’t the case, but yet you keep repeating the same point, over and over and over and over again.

  51. 151
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t know about the other “Alas” posters, JH, but I think you’ve said your one point enough for now.

    You’ve posted over a hundred times on “Alas,” so you can hardly claim that you haven’t had a chance to make your case. Do me a favor and don’t post on any of the threads I’ve begun again until September; you’re barred from posting on “Amp” started threads for August.

  52. 152
    F. Rottles says:

    I am responding to Rocks’s description of Rock’s theology. This could be off-topic. If so, let me know where this comment would be welcomed, if at all, on this website. I probably won’t discuss it further, except perhaps very lightly, and just wanted to add a counterpoint to Rock’s remarks, for readers here who might be interested in reading Genesis as symbolic language.

    >> Rock: “In my theology, Adam initially was neither male nor female. (Neither is God) Adam (made from clay) was the creation of God in the image of God. God (Yahweh) did not create Eve out of more clay, but “cleaved” Adam and fashioned Eve out of the original creation. To me this represents that the two natures were incarnate in the original creation, that the image of God is the two united. Neither one first nor last. Adam means “humankind,” Eve means “becoming,” think about it. It is a beautiful metaphor. (Isn’t it fascinating that the word “cleaves” means both to unite and to separate?)”

    Rock, while God is neither male nor female, He is not simply some blend of male-female. God did not create Adam as a blend, but as a male.

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth ….”

    Adam was willed into existence, as a male, by God. He was fashioned out of the original creation. Eve was also willed into existence, as a female, out of the original creation, of which Adam was a singificant part, to fit Adam. And thus Adam had been created to fit Eve.

    “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him.”

    Eve was not the product of Adam, who slept unknowingly as God worked. But Adam and Eve were immediately self-aware of their human solidarity and, in their nakedness, they were comfortable with each other in the presence of God.

    “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

    By way of illustration, the Hebrew for humankind, adam, is related to the Hebrew for ground, adamah. The Hebrew for woman sounds like the Hebrew for man. Adam called his mate, Eve, which means mother of all living humans. The word, eve, is also related to the meaning — to become, or is becoming (as you noted). Later in Genesis, God spoke of His returning Adam and Eve to the ground from which they had come. He spoke of humankind, not just of the male human.

    Adam did not transition from a blend to a half-human. He was made fully human and did not loose something when Eve was created. They became each other’s helpmate. Each sex was created in the likeness of God and united with the sanction of God, as well. They became humankind.

    “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

    They were created as a communion in the service of God. (Not as a duplicate of God in all His aspects.) As such they were designed and commanded to help God transmit human life. The conjugal relationship is the first community and, according to Scripture, is the union of a man and a woman, two sexes integrated as mates and helpers.

    The metaphor is multi-layered. Each individual is both body and soul, the unity of humankind. Humankind consists of two sexes united in their interdependence and differences. The conjugal relationship is emphasized in the account of Adam and Eve.

  53. 153
    BritGirlSF says:

    “How come it is that every time I read John Howard, I end up feeling dirty for being married and for procreating. It’s really a peculiar thing. ”
    Me too. It’s a case of not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member. People like him make me want to get divorced just so that I can say that I’m “living in sin” with my partner and am now committing “fornication”. Which, along with “mating”, is a strange word choice. It sounds like we’re discussing, ahem, animal husbandry.
    OK, that was a lame pun, couldn’t resist it.

  54. 154
    VK says:

    John Howard says:

    “No, having the right to procreate does not mean that the state has to facilitate it. It simply means the state can’t prohibit it. It is perfectly consistent, in fact, to both grant a right to procreate and also to ban all artificial methods, leaving only sexual intercourse as the the only legal method. Many marriages will not be able to exercise their right to procreate, but they will still have the right. ”

    Okay, I’m lost. Cousins are prohibited from marrying because children caused by combining their gametes are considered unethical, unless they are not fertile. But they then have the right to use IVF, because it’s unlikely many will have children this way – sorry, but I still don’t see why the exact same argument could be applied to SSC.
    If it’s fine to give them the right to procreate and ban artifical methods stopping them from exercising this right, then why aren’t you gunning for that instead of wanting to ban SSM.

    (And it’s not sci-fi, VK, they’ve done it in mice and the way technology is going, with us spending billions of dollars a year on research, it will likely be a real possibility in the near future.)

    Okay, they have done it with female-female gametes in mice (but at such a high level of failure that it would not be considered ethical to attempt in humans at this point). But lesbian couples don’t have too much problem making lots of babies just between them and the local sperm bank – the ability to combine gametes is not something I’ve seen any demand for. And they are nowhere near making male-male gamete mixes – and they wouldn’t be much use to a gay couple unless they could find a friendly woman to carry the child for them…at which point surely it would just be easier to use her eggs instead? Scientists may be pouring billions into the research (evidence for this?), but they are hardly doing it because of overwhelming pressure from SSC to create a method for them to combine gametes. Nor is there anything to suggest this will become a method available to the public (look how fast they managed to put in place restrictions on cloning – I honestly can’t see this causing less of a immediate reaction).

    I don’t understand why you are worrying light years down the line at things that may or may not happen, when there are real couples alive now being severely disadvantaged (along with their children) by a lack of SSM.

  55. 155
    Rock says:

    F. Rottles,

    I am very familiar with your illustration of the scripture, and in fact teach it as a viable interpretation. (Of several) (I like the term “Clay” for adamah, it lends itself to molding.) How we view the reading of the word determines how we apply it, so I teach other interpretations to help others see that each culture brings their unique condition to the word. It is good to know that there are other useful ways of coming to truths, it teaches respect for other views, and to think critically. I being a hopeful idealist and romantic love the illustration I posted, and you commented on, which is well established in commentary and ethics.

    BritGirlSF,

    I feel the same way:[

    VK Writes,
    It is all non-sense; JH’s points are a bunch of fog. He doesn’t accept the concept of equal treatment on an emotional level. He is unable to rationalize it so he has all this mumbo jumbo to clothe his fear in pseudo intellectualism. Not much you can do but pray for him.
    Blessings.

  56. 156
    F. Rottles says:

    Hi Rock,

    Clay is an apt translation as it coincides with the description of God fashioning Adam, as a potter might work with clay. Eve was also fashioned out of dust, but refined dust — or clay — and was also formed fully human. Each was made for the other and were self-aware of this; they knew each other.

    In what part of Scripture do you find that Adam was neither male nor female and transitioned to male?

  57. 157
    mythago says:

    It’s not in Scripture. It’s in the Midrash, which are sort of ‘additional stories’ in Judaism. (I’m sure you also knew that ‘adam’ means dust, or earth, in Hebrew.) Please note also that the whole procreative thing for humans didn’t happen until *after* they left the Garden of Eden and had eaten of the fruit and so forth.

  58. 158
    Rock says:

    F. Rottles,

    We are definitely off topic, but… (it is my favorite)
    As I read the scripture, Adam was fashioned from clay in God’s image. (The Spirit blown in; “ruah.”) Eve was taken from the flesh of Adam, this can be interpreted that Eve was incarnate in the original creature from the beginning, i.e. the image of God is “pre-cleaving” of the two. Had God or the author intended they could have Eve fashioned from clay as well, the difference is significant.

    The question of Adams original sexuality is this, had God created Adam with the knowledge of him being in need of another, than Adam is created lacking in some way. This cannot be the image of God if this is the case as God is complete. If God creates Adam knowing Eve will be created than why would God wait? It is only by inference, but it seems that the original creature would have contained the two, as the metaphor suggests by taking Eve from the original Adam. But this is only in the second story of creation in Gen. 2.

    The first creation in Genesis 1 tells a different story. In this creation story Yahweh creates humanity at one time, both male and female in Yahweh’s image and tells them to go forth and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Some see the two stories as differing accounts, some as one physical and the other Spiritual. I have even heard the first as creating humanity without God’s Spirit and Adam and Eve as separate Spirit filled beings. (This does solve the who did Cain, Seth and all make babies with.)

    A lot can be discussed that is very fascinating, however the thing that I do not buy into is the junk about Eve being weaker, or Adam being superior, or that somehow Eve represents fallen womanhood and therefore women are to be treated as subservient, or weaker, or less than men. Folks have been using the source of light to hammer women for too long, justifying it with a perversion of scripture. It is only mentioned in one verse after the fall that the man would rule over the woman though her desire would be to rule over him. I find this more a commentary on how things would turn out and not an edict; that as a result of our folly not God’s design, this would happen.

    Mythago, Midrash means several things, mainly “exegesis.” The one you speak of is a midrash of Genesis. In the first creation story humanity is told to go forth and multiply. (This would be prior to the fall.) (Gen. 1:27) It is assumed for some reason that Adam and Eve were not sexual prior to the eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, however there is nothing said about this in Genesis. (When God created humanity, the Bible states it was good, I assume that means our sexuality as well, God made us sexual.) Many see the fall as having to do with sex or procreation, I do not see this as it was for defying God and eating the fruit of knowledge that got them into the fix, not sex. The reason they were tossed out was to protect them from becoming immortal by eating from the tree of life. (This must be reserved for those that are not fallen I guess as there was no prohibition prior to the fall to eat from this tree.) Have gone on too long… Blessings!

  59. 159
    Lauren D. says:

    Am I missing something here? Mr. Howard wants to limit the legal application of future procreative technologies strictly to those that combine genetic materials gleaned from males with genetic materials taken from females. Yes? But he says his motive is medical safety. Right? So what on EARTH does this have to do with lesbian couples and civil unions?

    The medical community already acts as a gatekeeper on ALL procreative technologies, based on their safety and efficacy, and so long as it continues to do its job it will continue to restrict risky applications of procreative technologies — as applies to STRAIGHT OR LESBIAN couples. Full stop.
    Consequently, the legal determination of marital rights would have no impact on whether or not dangerous medical practices were performed (nobody claims that marriage, in any form, provides an exemption to medical guidelines).

    So, if safety is assured, and his cloning worries are handled entirely independently of marriage law (which they are and will continue to be), WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
    Could it be that medical safety is not, after all, the real motivation here?

    I sort of hope I am missing something here.
    - Lauren D.

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