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April 03, 2005

Comments

Theo

I was excited by the title of this post. Ah, I thought, a cogent argument outlining how important it is that we support SSM because of how it helps society. Instead, the entry continues to be focussed more on individual people and couples than on the benefits for society.

Don't get me wrong: I agree with all your points, and they are more than enough to justify legalization of SSM. In fact, as you mentioned at the begining, that traditional marriage laws are gendered is enough to justify SSM, if only for a commitment to some sort of Equal Rights Ammendment. But there is are more important reasons even than those you cited.

Conservatives worry that SSM will threaten the institution of marriage, and they're right. Same-sex marriage does threaten the institution: specifically, it threatens the patriarchal, oppressive regime that is traditional heteronormative marriage. By legitimizing female-female and male-male romantic and sexual couples as the same as married female-male couples, SSM suggests that traditional marriages, with well-defined gender roles in which the women are regularly subordinate, are unneeded. A world with gender-neutral marriage is a world with gender-liberated and empowered marriages, in which women need not stay in their place and men can behave in manors traditionally feminine (and hence inferior). Many arch-conservatives are smart, and they know exactly what's going to happen. They're simply wrong about whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

I support marriage equality primarily because it helps women. Perhaps, as an added benefit, it will discourage gay men from the kind of unsafe sex that continues to spread http://www.365gay.com/newscon05/03/033105ukSTD.htm>STDs even fifteen years after the AIDS epidemic became big news. There are many positive things about queer subcultures that should be adopted into mainstream culture and many things (like male promiscuity) that should not.

There has always been, in every culture, some form(s) of homosexuality, and most of them were/are tolerated, since they don't particularly threaten the patriarchy (e.g. Classical Greek and modern Catholic Bishop male-male pedophilia). Women and men have always been intimate with people of the same and different genders. The culture wars now center on a new, pernicious homosexuality that purports to establish gender as irrelevant.

That's the radical gay agenda, and that, not some concern over whether an individual homosexual has the best and healthiest family life, is why we should support same sex marriage.

Galois

Sorry to disappoint. I can only explain so much in one post. If you want more lengthy details of how marriage is good for society, I would suggest reading Jonathan Rauch's Gay Marriage.

I think you are mistaken, however, to separate the welfare of the individual from the welfare of society. Much of my claim is based on the idea that society benefits when an individual has people to care for. Such an individual is more likely to work and save and less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior all because of the obligation to care for his or her family. That individual is less likely to disrupt the ordered society as the consequences will not only be felt by him or herself, but his or her family as well. The individual is more likely to feel invested in the community and its future. In short it makes a huge difference in how an individual acts when he or she knows that others depend on him or her.

Society is also better off when an indiviudal has someone to care for him or her. The family acts as a safety net that is far better than a social welfare program and less burdensome to the rest of society.

Finally society is in general better when its citizens are happier. For one thing, a happy ciitzen is less likely to commit crime than a discontent one. And more importantly, shouldn't society have a direct interest in the welfare of its individual citizens?

Marty

Just a couple of non-sequiters to point out:

I believe that the homosexual as an individual and society in general would be best off if he or she sought an intimate monogamous relationship with someone.

I think we can all agree on that. And there's nothing stopping anyone from doing just that. You don't need a government program to do it, nor to encourage it -- after the horrors of AIDS, the gay community is already doing a fair job of encouraging just that. It's a good idea, but on its own is not enough to justify creating same-sex marriage against the wishes of The People.

In short, my advice would be to try to find someone to marry. Settle down. Raise a family.

Whose family, exactly? Same-sex couples do not procreate with each other. If you would encourage them to procreate (either in the bedroom, or in the laboratory), then you are encouraging biological illegitimacy, and institutionalized adultery, not to mention the deliberate creation of fatherless/motherless kids. You're going to have a real tough time convincing The People that this is a good idea.

That said, it's all perfectly legal to do right now -- today. Knock yourself out. But expecting the rest of us to approve of it, nay, to encourage it, is simply ridiculous.

If you want to settle down, thats fine. If you want to raise a family however, we would encourage you to seek a mate, not a partner. Preferably one who remains so "until death do you part".

Galois

I think we can all agree on that. And there's nothing stopping anyone from doing just that.

It's something that is much easier to do with marriage. Otherwise we say commit yourself to one person for life, just don't expect to care for that person when he or she is sick. Commit, but don't depend on that person to care for you. Commit, but think of yourself first because society won't help you if something to your partner. Commit, but be careful what you say to your partner. Commit, but don't expect society to recognize that commitment in any way. We could say to heterosexual couples, sure go ahead and form committed monogamous relationships. That's great, but you don't need marriage for that. Just cohabit. Do you think that would be a good idea?

Whose family, exactly?

Ever heard of adoption? Some opposite-sex couples are incapable of procreating with each other. Do you think it is ridiculuous to encourage them to raise a family anyway?

If you want to settle down, thats fine. If you want to raise a family however, we would encourage you to seek a mate, not a partner. Preferably one who remains so "until death do you part".

Exactly! A homosexual should be encouraged to find a mate with whom to remain for life. The question is should that mate be someone of the opposite sex with whom he or she will never have an intimate relationship. Or should it with someone with whom he or she will have such a relationship? I believe the latter.

Marty

You cannot "mate" with a same-sex partner. Sure, you can copulate, but that's not the same as mating. Stop playing games.

Galois

I am playing games?!! You're telling me that an infertile couple cannot be considered life mates. That such a couple can copulate but are only partners and should not be raising a family. I find that both ridiculous and offensive.

I think it is much more reasonable to say that it is possible that one may have a mate with whom one cannot procreate. This is no game, Marty. These are people's lives.

Fool

To Galois’s point (Comment @ 10:27 PM), it is indeed difficult to separate individual welfare from societal welfare. We fancy our society as a capitalist one – though I often have my doubts. But, since most people belief we are to some extent, if I recall correctly, isn’t a basic tenet of capitalism that individual self-interest benefits society as a whole? Thus, what is good for the individual is good for society at large; and, what is bad for the individual is bad for society at large. So, if every individual pursues that which makes him happy, society is better off.

This economic sort of argument ties into to Galois’s points:

Such an individual is more likely to work and save and less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior all because of the obligation to care for his or her family. That individual is less likely to disrupt the ordered society as the consequences will not only be felt by him or herself, but his or her family as well. The individual is more likely to feel invested in the community and its future. In short it makes a huge difference in how an individual acts when he or she knows that others depend on him or her.

Society is also better off when an indiviudal has someone to care for him or her. The family acts as a safety net that is far better than a social welfare program and less burdensome to the rest of society.

If you don't have to spend time worrying about all the "little" things married couples take for granted (e.g., health care decisions, wills, tax filings, financial matters, etc.) they could focus on the more personal familial aspects of their lives.

To Marty’s comments (@ 10:46PM), he writes, “That said, it’s all perfectly legal [“procreation by “biological illegitimacy”] to do right now -- today. Knock yourself out. But expecting the rest of us to approve of it, nay, to encourage it, is simply ridiculous.” Well, if it’s legal “right now – today,” then it’s fair to assume that it’s been approved though perhaps not encouraged. So, there’s no expectation of approval – that’s taken care of, according to Marty. Some may argue that, by making it legal, it is likewise encouraged. Though I don’t think I’d go that far.

Since this argument annoys the hell out of me: get over the “’til death do us part” argument. 50% of first marriages end in divorce. There are tens of billions of dollars owed in unpaid child support. The “’’til death do us part” rationale is foolish. While a high divorce rate is not necessarily an argument for SSM, it certainly is a counter-point to arguments such as ‘If you want to raise a family however, we would encourage you to seek a mate, not a partner. Preferably one who remains so "until death do you part’.”

And, finally, it doesn’t take a same-sex couple to create “fatherless” or “motherless” children. Read statistics. Watch any cheesy afternoon TV programming.

Marty

G: Infertile couples are the exceptions that prove the rule. Same-sex couples see them as proof that there is no rule at all.

F: "50% of first marriages end in divorce." This is incorrect. 50% of ALL marriages fail, but this number is badly skewed by people who fail at marriage over and over again. The number of "first" marriages that fail is actually closer to 35%.

Fool

Marty:

For a frame of reference, I took my statistics from here. The 50% rate was, I believe as of 1997, with "re-marriages" at about 60%.

That aside, I'm not sure your "correction" of my statistics helps your position with regard to "'til death do us part". So more second + marriages end in divorce. That means the people who are marrying more than once can't seem to get it right after one go around. In other words, even with subsequent attempts, still no "'til death do us part." I'm just no seeing how that helps.

Marty

Just pointint out that your "dire" statistic of 50-60% is incorrect. True enough, 35% is plenty dire in my opinion. Adults who pledge "til death do us part" before God and Man should be held to account for such grave committments, don't you agree? When they are not, marriage itself becomes a sham institution -- such a sham in fact, that Adam and Steve suddenly think they are entitled as well!

I often wonder, if easy divorce were off the table, would anyone really be asking for same-sex marriage? I wonder...

Fool

Well, one can disagree about the statistic…however, I did have a source so I wasn’t simply making it up.

Of course, however, it seems unlikely that “easy” divorce will go away anytime soon. Certainly, if marriage has become a “sham” (to use your word), you certainly cannot blame the gays for that.

Assuming marriage has become a sham heterosexuals have accomplished that coup all on their own. Continuing with that assumption, having turned marriage into a sham, do you not feel a little twinge of insincerity by basing a portion of your position on the ideal of “’til death do us part” when it is far from the reality of marriage today?

Of course, your statement that “If you want to raise a family however, we would encourage you to seek a mate, not a partner. Preferably one who remains so ‘until death do you part’” presumes that same-sex couples are unable to commit to each other forever. First, I don’t think that’s a valid assumption. Second, if heterosexual couples cannot commit forever, how do you justify imposing a greater level of (or ability to keep a) commitment on same-sex couples?

And concerning “G: Infertile couples are the exceptions that prove the rule. Same-sex couples see them as proof that there is no rule at all,” I don’t think anyone contends that infertile couples prove the non-existence of any rule. They use that fact to challenge your proposed rule that procreation is at the crux of marriage. Pointing to married infertile couples is not intended to prove there is no rule; it merely supports the notion that the marriage=procreation rule is incorrect. It tends to prove that your proposed rule is not the actual rule. The same way that pointing out that http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/1999/cb99-213.html>53% of “first births” (between 1990-1994) occurred out of wedlock disproves the rule that marriage is needed to preserve the human race.

Marty

Certainly, if marriage has become a “sham” (to use your word), you certainly cannot blame the gays for that.

Nope. I blame the advocates of divorce for getting us to this one, not the reverse. Adults who can't keep the gravest committments of their life.

Preferably one who remains so ‘until death do you part’” presumes that same-sex couples are unable to commit to each other forever.

As i implied in the other thread just now, "From life dost thou come, til death do thou part".

We keep hearing about same-sex couples with children (almost all from previous heterosexual relationships), but they are no different than the children of divorce. Adults making adult-sized choices and failing at it. The home was broken from the start, because the biological connection is severed. Your "kin" is no longer you kin.

Pete

Nor do I see such a marriage as the "ideal" place to raise children. In the case where a couple loses sexual desire and intimacy, it might be argued that they should nonetheless remain married as other issues such as the obligations they made to their children and to each other outweigh the disadvantages of the situation.

Sexual desire is fun, and certainly helpful for procreative purposes, but I don't see what sexual desire has to do with good parenting. Otherwise we'd see Viagra advertised for turning men into better fathers. I am unaware of any studies showing that impotent men lose parenting skills.

Sexual desire is something we can't always biologically control, but intimacy usually is. Part of the reason that marriage has fallen apart in the last 60 years is the growing consumerist attitude towards marriage. Intimacy is something that you cultivate. Married couples have a duty to cultivate intimacy towards each other. It takes two to make a marriage work, but this attitude that one can just lose intimacy through no fault of any party, is an irresponsible consumerist myth responsible for millions of broken homes and shattered childrens' lives.

Obviously, no one has a duty to stay with a husband or wife that is outright abusive, and adultery or abandonment by one party often makes it impossible for the other party to cultivate intimacy or trust. But abuse, adultery, and abandonment are obviously more likely in situations where one partner feels no duty to the other -- a situation made more likely by the consumerist myth of intimacy and love being something that just happens or does not happen, rather than something you have to work for.

Hayleyanne

This thread attempts to explain why society has an interest in recognizing gay marriage. I want to address each of the reasons that Galois has laid out in one of the first posts in this thread:

"Much of my claim is based on the idea that society benefits when an individual has people to care for. Such an individual is more likely to work and save and less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior all because of the obligation to care for his or her family."

To a certain extent this is true. But it doesn't explain why the State needs to be involved at all. Individuals can make commitments to each other without the aid of government.


"That individual is less likely to disrupt the ordered society as the consequences will not only be felt by him or herself, but his or her family as well. The individual is more likely to feel invested in the community and its future. In short it makes a huge difference in how an individual acts when he or she knows that others depend on him or her."

Again, why does government need to be involved at all here? How does government recognition of two people's private and individual commitment play such an important role? Is it not just a piece of paper?

"Society is also better off when an indiviudal has someone to care for him or her. The family acts as a safety net that is far better than a social welfare program and less burdensome to the rest of society."

Again, why does government need to be involved at all?

"Finally society is in general better when its citizens are happier. For one thing, a happy ciitzen is less likely to commit crime than a discontent one. And more importantly, shouldn't society have a direct interest in the welfare of its individual citizens"

This is not a very good argument. It means that government should recognize individual conduct when that conduct makes the individual happy? Way too broad. Some married couples would say that adultery makes them happy ;)

Galois is attempting to make the argument that society has an interest in recognizing gay marriage. I do believe that this argument needs to be made. Marriage is not a benefits package. The state must have some particular and important interest in regulating the conduct of homosexual couples. After all, we are talking about GOVERNMENT REGULATION of conduct. I just don't see that the government has any interest in regulating homosexual unions. Moreover, even if society is interested in the indirect benefits described above, I don't see that "marriage" between homosexuals is even necessary to obtain them.

In contrast, the government has a compelling interest in regulating heterosexual unions BECAUSE of their potential to create children. It is an extremely important distinction that is ignored by same sex marriage advocates.

Galois

Again, why does government need to be involved at all here? How does government recognition of two people's private and individual commitment play such an important role? Is it not just a piece of paper?

It is certainly far more than a piece of paper. For a more in depth (and better written) answer to these question I stronly encourage you to read Jonathan Rauch's book Gay Marriage : Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. You could also read this brief (pdf) by the Boston Bar Ass'n, et al filed in the Goodridge case for how the specific laws help in these regards and more genearlly how:


Massachusetts laws recognize and enforce the public commitment, intimacy, and economic interdependence of married couples, bestowing significant benefits and obligations upon parties based on marital status and providing protections for their families and children.

I'll try to give a shorter answer, though. Start by looking asking the question of why the government needs to be involved in the commitment of a heterosexual couple, even with children. Why is important for a couple who has children to get married or remain married? They can make a private commitment to each other and their obligations to their children are recognized whether they are married or not. The answer is that government involvement makes a big difference in keeping these commitments. It does so in at least five general ways each with myriad specifics. I will give but a few examples in each area.

1. To some extent the government enforces them. A few brief examples: Married people are generally responsible for their spouses' debts including medical care. Cohabiting people are not. If a married couple divorce a court could order a spouse to continue to provide support, it cannot do so for a cohabiting couple who split up.

2. The governmental involvement provides a deterrence to "leaving when the going gets tough". Married couples are less likely to split up than cohabiting couples, this is whether we compare couples without children or couples with children. That is, it is not just the child that makes the couple less likely to split up, but the marriage as well. A few examples of how this is done: In cohabitation one person can just pack up his things and leave. In a marriage he would have to go through what is often a lengthy and difficult divorce process. Also marriage encourages and allows for a financial interdependence that is not possible without it. This economic interdependence makes a break up more difficult and less likely.

3. It allows and supports couples in meeting these commitments. A few examples: I can commit to taking care of my wife when she is sick, but if I'm not allowed to visit her or make medical decisions when she is unable to do, I cannot fulfill this commitment. The government also allows me to take time off of work so that I can care for her if she is ill. Social security allows her to keep her promise to help care for me even if she dies or becomes disabled. Allowing me to be covered under her medical insurance also helps her to meet these obligations.

4. The government sets the terms of my commitment. [I believe prenuptial agreements weaken this and I oppose them, but even with prenups this aspect is still quite significant.] A few examples: When we get married we know, to a large degree, what to expect from each other. A cohabiting couple might go into a relationship each with a different expectations of their obligations or claim that they never "bargained" for some aspect. Likewise we don't want couples bargaining over what exactly their obligations to each other should be. That can leave one in a weaker bargaining position unprotected.

5. It clearly defines when this commitment goes into effect. There is a spiritual and emotional signifcance to one's anniversary, but there is also an important legal aspect. We don't need to try to guess "how serious" was the relationship and what consequences that determination should have. A marraige is always a serious relationship and we know the precise moment someone becomes family, and the precise moment one takes on the official responsibilities.

This is not a very good argument. It means that government should recognize individual conduct when that conduct makes the individual happy? Way too broad.

You misunderstand me. I'm not saying the government should recognize anything that makes people happy. First of all it is marriage, which derives much of its power from the governmental recognition (see above), taht makes its participants happier, healther, and more productive. So it is not recongition because the conduct makes people happier, but rather the recognition itself plays a role in causing the better life. More importantly, I am not saying the government should do something just because it makes poeple happy and improves their lives, just that it should be a consideration. When considering the effect of allowing gay couples to marry we need to consider the positive impact that will make on their lives. To leave that aspect out of the equation implies their welfare is unimportant. Certainly any harms associated with allowing same-sex couples to marry need to be considered as well, but we must consider the benefit it would have for gays and their families, and this is itself a plus for society (for those who need a "what's in it for me?" answer).

In contrast, the government has a compelling interest in regulating heterosexual unions BECAUSE of their potential to create children.

I agree, but I think we should ask WHY the children should causes to regulate the union in the way we do. What difference does it make to the children if their parents are married or unmarried? I believe it makes a huge difference, but no so much in how they are born, but how they grow up. The interest in the union does not cease to exists once the children are conceived, if anything it becomes more important. (If I had to choose which was better for the child, a couple who first married upon news of the pregnancy, or a couple who divorced in the child's first month, I would say the former by a long shot). It is important for the child that the parents' relationship remains stable, secure, and that they maintain a commitment not only to the child, but to each other as well. The government plays an important role in this as I noted above. It's not enough for them to make a private commitment to each other. So we see the government must be playing an important role in the commitments the couple make to each other and their ability to care for each other.

And as you agreed above, this commitment and care is important for society even when the couple has no children. If a couple divorces after their last child leaves the home, or divorces with no children it is not unimportant. If an elderly widow gets married it is not inconsequential. It is good news and the government does have an interest in that union. Children are not the sole interest society has in marriage. It does make a difference to that couple and to society that they marry instead of cohabit.

Pietro Armando

I beleived posed this question before. Since the SSM was legally created in the People's Republic of Mass, it appears that far more female couples have tied the knot than male ones. Should the Mass state government encourage more male couples to make honest men out of each other?

Hayleyanne

Galois-- good post, thanks. I do believe that the argument FOR same sex marriage must be framed in exactly these terms. I.E. How does society benefit from regulating gay unions. I believe the arguments are persuasive.

I would appreciate if you would respond to a couple of points:

(1)Although it is true, that government/society has overlapping interests in regulating both heterosexual and homosexual unions, there exists that additional reason (procreation and the potential to produce a human being outside the original relationship) that exists solely with respect to heterosexual unions. Note this point has nothing to do with viewing marriage as a package of benefits and looks at it solely as the state's interest in regulating relationships. The potential that heterosexual unions have to produce a third party --sounds so technical ;) -- differentiates hetero unions from gay ones. The state NEEDS to regulate to encourage that children be raised in a stable environment; to provide protections for women who bear those children; to impose obligations and responsibility on the men who father those children. All of these concerns that marriage addresses, are particular to heterosexual unions because they are the only ones that have the potential to create another humnan life that must be cared for. Can you not see that this distinction makes it such that courts are not the proper venue to establish gay marriage? If the two types of unions are fundamentally different, there is not constitutional "right" that requires the state to treat the two equally as they are not similarly situated.

(2) If we accept that society has an interest in encouraging gay marriage-- doesn't it open up a pandora's box of other issues that may cause additional problems. What about people who believe that gay unions are immoral? Is it fair to say that anyone who believes that gay unions are immoral is a homophobic bigot? Because, once gay marriage is legalized, it will have to be presented by the state as on a par with traditional marriage. Will it be possible for the state to make any kind of statement about the immorality of the conduct? Can the state/government make any kind of statement about the immorality of conduct between individuals -- that is essentially private? If not, how can we distinguish other types of conduct such as polygamy, or polyamory or any other kind of variation?

Galois

Good questions Hayleyanne...

All of these concerns that marriage addresses, are particular to heterosexual unions because they are the only ones that have the potential to create another humnan life that must be cared for. Can you not see that this distinction makes it such that courts are not the proper venue to establish gay marriage?

I would not say that all of those needs are particular to heterosexual unions. Encouraging children to be raised in a stable environment would certainly apply to same-sex couples. The need to protect the woman who bears children I think applies more generally as a need to protect a parent of either sex who might sacrifice opportunities to care for his or her children at any age. The need to protect a father who might give up his job to stay at home full time with the children is, I believe, important not only for gay couples, but straight couples as well. Finally the need to impose obligations and responsibility on the man who fathers the children may more generally apply to a need to impose obligations on a person (male or female) who agrees to the artificial insemination of his or her partner as we have seen in California. In that case the couples were not married and the court has a difficult decision about whether to impose these obligations. If these were married couples the case would be clear. Still, I don't consider to marriage to be one big paternity test.

But what if none of these situations applied even remotely to same-sex couples? Even then, I don't believe one would be justified in denying equal protection. Not every law applies to every married couple. The ability to procreate has never been a condition of marriage, and not as some would have you believe becasue fertility tests would be difficult or unreliable. It is because it is known that marriage is still important in many other aspects. So if the government is going to deny marriage to these couples, I believe principles of equal protection (which vary in their specifics from state to state) would often require more justification than claiming it is not as important as a general rule for said couples to marry.

What about people who believe that gay unions are immoral? Is it fair to say that anyone who believes that gay unions are immoral is a homophobic bigot? Because, once gay marriage is legalized, it will have to be presented by the state as on a par with traditional marriage.

I believe that everyone is entitled to form their own opinions about the morality of gay unions. I don't think the government should take sides on that issue one way or the other. Just because the government treats two things equally does not mean it is making any statement one way or another about the moral equiavalence of the two. A firetruck may equally put out the fire out at a nursing home and a strip club. That doesn't mean the government views them of equal worth, that's just what firetrucks do. My wife will not (and may not) perform interfaith marriages, but that does not mean she thinks the government should refuse to recognize such marriages. Not all heterosexual marriages are equally worthy. Some are the result of a true commitment of responsiblity and love for one another. Others are undertaken for more profane reasons. I want the government to recognize both, not because I think they are equally worthy, but because I don't want the government making that decision. I certainly don't want the government to determine that something is immoral because of one's sex.

Will it be possible for the state to make any kind of statement about the immorality of the conduct?

Probably not, nor do I think it should.

Can the state/government make any kind of statement about the immorality of conduct between individuals -- that is essentially private?

That's a good question and I don't know the answer. Lawerence would seem to say the answer is no. I would guess that the government would need some independent reason for viewing the conduct as immoral. I did not agree with the reasoning of the majority in the Lawerence decision, by the way.

If not, how can we distinguish other types of conduct such as polygamy, or polyamory or any other kind of variation?

Polyamory I don't know about. I don't see how the government can stop one from loving more than one individual. I believe it is fairly easy, though, to justify restrictions on polygamy by more than a belief that it is immoral.


Galois

Pietro, yes you did ask that question before (in One Year Later) and I answered it (and your other questions) on that thread last week. To this particular question I replied:

It doesn't matter to me. I'm not sure what you mean by "encouraging" couples to marry.

op-ed

The ability to procreate has never been a condition of marriage, and not as some would have you believe becasue fertility tests would be difficult or unreliable.

This is simply poisoning the well. If same-sex couples can't have marriage you want it to be so intrusive and onerous that nobody can have it. Go ahead then. What test of procreative potential are you proposing that is more reliable than the current test and which would pass a same-sex couple?

Let us not forget what you are arguing for. You are proposing the present institution of marriage be eliminated and replaced by a different organization, not for a different test of procreative potential. Whether or not some of what you consider purposes of marriage persist in your replacement, procreation will not.

But what if none of these situations applied even remotely to same-sex couples? Even then, I don't believe one would be justified in denying equal protection.

You're clearly off in the weeds there. If "none of these situations applied" then there is no equality from which to make a claim of "equal protection." Just because casinos are not hospitals is no reason to deny them the equal protection of ambulances.

Galois

If same-sex couples can't have marriage you want it to be so intrusive and onerous that nobody can have it.

That's not true. I got married in New Jersey where same-sex coupls cannot wed. Are you seriously accusing me of wishing to destroy my own marriage? I am claiming, on the contrary, that marriage is important even for couples who cannot procreate. I am not persuaded that when couples who cannot procreate marry, it is deterimental to the institution, nor that those marriages are insignificant. It is not a case of allowing such couples to marry because we couldn't figure out an easy way of stopping them. Rather their marriages are good things for them, their families, and society at large. Somehow you interpret this to mean that I don't want them to marry.

Whether or not some of what you consider purposes of marriage persist in your replacement, procreation will not.

In this so called "replacement" all of the same laws apply except that it would be more inclusive as to who may marry. So all the purposes would remain, they would just apply to more couples. As for responsible procreation as a purpose, the "new" system, like the "old", would be overinclusive in that regards. I believe marriage has fairly well established, though, that it can be overinclusive in this regards and still achieve this purpose. I am not, after all, proposing that we should prohibit opposite-sex marriage.

In fact, I believe this purpose will be furthered for several reasons. The firm establishment of same-sex marriage will eliminate or at least reduce the push for alternative schemes to marriage that would often be open to same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriage would further the idea that marriage makes a big difference in improving the stability and security of a relationship, and that these things are particularly important for couples with children. In so far as it furthers the idea that marriage is even important without children, it might discourage the practice of waiting until children are born before deciding whether to marry. And if marriage is important even for couples which couple procreate, it is all the more important for couples who can.

Just because casinos are not hospitals is no reason to deny them the equal protection of ambulances.

As pointed out earlier, your analogy is inapt. It would be better to say that just because a hospital might not have a mental health ward, that is no reason to deny them the equal protection of ambulances. Better yet, would be to simply observe that not every law of marriage applies to every married couple. This is not in itself justification for the creation of thousands of different relationship structures.

op-ed

That's not true.

Fine. You've dropped your "new test" strawman. I'll take your word for it that you will not bring it up again.

As for responsible procreation as a purpose, the "new" system, like the "old", would be overinclusive in that regards.

"Overinclusive" is not a virtue, but rather a euphamism for inefficient. My casino-is-hospital case is an example of an "overinclusive" definition at play. Finding a fault in the current system does not argue to expand that fault. Finding that some local hospitals don't have the same medical capabilities as research hospitals is no argument that we might as well consider casinos hospitals.

As pointed out earlier, your analogy is inapt. It would be better to say that just because a hospital might not have a mental health ward, that is no reason to deny them the equal protection of ambulances.

If my example really were inapt you could provide a counter-example without begging the question. In deciding whether something is a hospital, you may not accept as a premise that it is a hospital. Feel free to accept my challenge earlier to define a hospital without reference to healthcare. Constantly returning to fallacies only shows how irrational you are willing to be rather than admit you are wrong about SSM.

Since you are obviously too wedded to your thesis about same-sex marriage to evaluate your arguments objectively, try this. Substitute "consanguine" for "same-sex" in any of the same-sex marriage apologetics you have written so far. Exactly how compelling does your reasoning become? Does that make it clear that you are selecting your arguments not by their soundness but simply because they support your desired conclusion?

Chairm

>> Galois: "The ability to procreate has never been a condition of marriage, and not as some would have you believe becasue fertility tests would be difficult or unreliable."

We've been through that a few times here.

Tell us once again, Galois, what fertility tests you imagine that would have been reasonable in the past.

And today, how would such determinations be made without premarital sexual intercourse and the intrusive presumption that all man-woman couples are sterile until proven fertile through chidbearing?

The unisexed combination can never be fertile, subfertile, nor infertile. All couples within that combination are sterile by the form of their relationship and do not become unable to procreate due to the normal process of aging nor the rare occurence of sterility due to illness or medically necessary treatments. Marriage has always had couples who grow old together and, therefore, elderly newlyweds do not contradict the procreative model that is recognized as marriage. Likewise, disabled newlyweds do not overturn the example of couples who become disabled (before or after childbearing) due to misfortune.

Your sterility argument (posed as some sort of decisive inferitilty counterexample) amounts to no more than the claim that lines could be drawn more precisely within the man-woman combination and it does not demonstrate that the entire unisexed combination, sterile in form, is some sort of exception within the marriagable paramaters.

Force married couples to procreate? Intrude to determine that man-woman couples are engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse? Setup a fertility squad to inspect instances of physical disability prior to childbearing? And so forth. These are beyond the pale both in terms of retroactively assessing the traditions and customs of marriage and in terms of speculating about the state's preference for marriage as the social institution that uniquely binds men and women with their children.

It doesn't get past the plausiblity test, let alone the deeper test of what marriage is and how it benefits humankind.

Galois

Chairm,

Many couples who marry cannot procreate. That is a fact. The question is why is that permitted. Is it (a) because all tests for fertility would be intrusive and/or unreliable, or (b) because such unions are still worthwhile and their marriage serves important purposes for them, their families including any children they may adopt, and society at large. I believe the answer is clearly the latter, and if so it does not matter what sort of tests one could devise. The only purpose in answering your question would be to try to convince you that the reason they may marry today is (b) and not (a). Again if you already agree with that, then the following is moot.

In my response to Hayleyanne I gave several reasons why the answer is (b), that the marriage of a couple who cannot procreate is still valuable. Let me try to explain further why I think the answer is not (a), that it is not merely a matter of not having good tests for fertility. What actions might be reasonable if we wished to prohibit marriages without procreation?

(1) One could ask a simple question on the marriage license, "Is there any known impediment to the two of you producing children through sexual intercourse?" Such impediments could include menopause or surgery.

(2) Should the marriage end before any children were produced, the marriage would be declared null and void from the beginning. There is precedent for retroactively nulllifying a marriage and if, for whatever reason, the marriage did not produce children it was (according to position (a)) pointless and in some sense fraudulent.

(3) Do not make exceptions to the marriage laws for those on their deathbed. If one marries on one's deathbed the purpose is obviously not to procreate. It is one thing to say we cannot stop such couples from marrying, but (according to position (a)) there is no need to waive requirements for such a pointless marriage.

(4) Likewise do not make exceptions to the marriage laws allowing cousins to marry provided that they cannot procreate. This makes absolutely no sense according to position (a). If we only allow couples without procreative ability to marry because we do not know that they lack the ability to procreate, then knowledge of said inability could not possibly be used to allow the marriage. There must be some other purpose to the marriage.

Marty

Many [opposite sex] couples who marry cannot procreate. That is a fact. The question is why is that permitted.

c) because one or both members is physically broken in a way that is not immediately apparent, and in a way that does not preclude a cure.

Much unlike same-sex couples whose individual members are [ostensibly] not broken in any procreative sense, yet the sterility of their union cannot ever be "cured". It is innate and entirely natural. Compared to even the most profoundly handicapped opposite-sex couple, it is substandard by design.

This isn't rocket science G, and i have to agree with op-ed: your continued adherance to these simple fallacies only demonstrates how far you are willing to distance yourself from reason and rationality in your obstinate support of SSM.

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