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May 12, 2004

Comments

Jason Kuznicki

Very interesting; thank you for pointing it out. I've sometimes had the thought that this same clause might be used, rather more creatively, to argue that the republican form of government is being undermined whenever one undermines the family--which is of course what conservatives say that same-sex marriage does.

Marty

It's not just conservatives who think same-sex marriage will undermine the family -- many liberal feminists who have been trying to undermine it for decades are SURE it will -- which is why they support it wholeheartledly!

lucia

Marty,
Which liberal feminists have said that ssm will undermine families, and that's why they support ssm?

I don't know of even one.

Marty

Not that they come out and admit that there is a connection, but these clearly stated motives have never been secret:

"Women's liberation, if it abolishes the patriarchal family, will abolish a necessary substructure of the authoritarian state... so let's get on with it."
Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch, "Revolution" (1970).

"The real reason our society cherishes privacy is because men have invented it as an excuse to conceal their criminality. If people still insist that the traditional family is about love and mutual aid -- ideals which, admittedly, are sometimes betrayed -- they're hiding from the truth."
Donna Laframboise; The Princess at the Window;

"To handle social obligations and interdependency in the 21st Century, we must abandon any illusion that we can or should revive some largely mythical traditional family. We need to invent new family traditions and find ways of reviving older community ones"
The Way We Never Were, Stephanie Coontz, p. 278.

"so the end goal of Feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first Feminist movement, not just the elimination of the male privilege, but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human being would no longer matter culturally....The tyranny of the biological family would be broken."
Men on Top, and Feminist Lies, by J. Mitchell, Psychoanalysis and Feminism, Middlesex, Penguin, 1975, p. 70.

Which explains why the gay lobby is such a natural ally. Is there an echo in here?:

"[We need] to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits, and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely -- to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution -- The most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake...is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely." - Michelangelo Signorile.

"Could it be that the inclusion of lesbian and gay same-sex marriage may, in fact, sort of de-center the notion of monogamy and allow the prospect that marriage need not be an exclusive sexual relationship among people? ....I would never five years ago have defined myself as an advocate of marriage. In fact, the very institution smacked of precisely that which I lived my life in opposition to." - Jonathan Katz, Executive Coordinator of the Larry Kramer Initiative & Lesbian & Gay Studies, Yale University

Even these gay activists admit that SSM is part of the plan to subvert the family, so why don't you?

Jake Squid

Well, it is largely irrelevant to the argument whether or not some people believe that SSM will help to achieve their goal of "abolish[ing] the patriarchal family" (which is not the same as subverting the family) or any of the others that you quote.

The idea that SSM is a step towards ending the cultural institution of marriage is a minority view and not shared by most of us. Most of us believe that SSM only enhances the status and creates more stable families.

If you want to spend your time fighting against those who want to "subvert the family", I have no problem with that. You are, however, speaking to people here who have no intention of "subverting the family."

Galois

Even these gay activists admit that SSM is part of the plan to subvert the family, so why don't you?

Because I disagree with with Mr. Signorile and Mr. Katz. From what you quote they have simply made assertions without any reasoning to back up that claim. I tend to agree with Jonathan Rauch that not allowing gays to marry will undermine marriage. It is only because gays are not allowed to marry that we are developing such new institutions as "civil unions" and "domestic partnerships", and we are giving cohabitation much the same status of marriage. In order to keep marriage strong we must say, "If you want the benefits of marriage, get married" Until gays are allowed to marry, though, it's tought to do that and just leave gays out in the cold. So people start to develop these other sytsems. And then heterosexuals say, how why should I have to be gay to have a "domestic partner", and they are allowed to sign up. That is destroying marriage. In any case, why would you think that I would agree with them? Do you agree with everything those genetlemen say?

lucia

None of these quotes show that liberal femists want to undermine families. They want to expand the definition of family to include all types of families. They also want laws that protect some vulnerable members of families, like children.

patriarchal family Being against a patriarchal family is not being against a family. It is beign against family where the husband is the undisputed head.

cherishes privacy Donna Framboise is complaining about insistance on certain sorts of privacy, which sometimes lead permit people to hide abuses that sometimes occur in families.

We need to invent new family traditions and find ways of reviving older community ones" I assume when Stephanie Coontz says this, she means to support families, not abolish them.

The tyranny of the biological family would be broken. Disputing the idea that only biological families are families, and expanding it to include other families is not abolishing families.

Marty

Jake & Galios, i perfectly understand your resistance to this information, because if true it would mean that you are being taken for a ride on the radical feminomarxist machine. I beleive you are, but are blinded to it by your own self-interest. Can't say i blame you for feeling that way.

Lucia, the point here is that poverty is not solved by the printing of more money -- printing more money only makes it less valuable. I fear that someday gay marriages will be as worthless as all the rest.

Jake Squid

Marty,

I'm not resisting the information. I just disagree that it is either an achievable goal when using SSM as a means to arrive there or that, as Lucia enumerated, they are trying to subvert families.

I've written it before elsewhere but the money printing analogy is not, in fact, analagous. Printed money represents a finite resource. Marriage does not represent a finite resource. By your logic marriage would be worth a lot more if each marriage needed to include a Jake Squid. Then there would be very few, but extremely valuable, marriages. I don't think that that is your goal. My marriage has the same value by any tangible measure whether there are 100 million married couples or 10,000 married couples.

Galois

Jake & Galios, i perfectly understand your resistance to this information, because if true it would mean that you are being taken for a ride on the radical feminomarxist machine. I beleive you are, but are blinded to it by your own self-interest. Can't say i blame you for feeling that way.

I don't doubt that your information is true, in the sense that I believe your quotes are acurate. But (1) it is not clear that Signorile and Katz themselves support radical feminomarxism (whatever the hell that means), and more importantly (2) Even if some radical feminomarxist believes X will cause Y, it doesn't mean it is true that X will cause Y. That's just a ridiculuous argument. Al-Quaeda believes the US presence in Iraq will lead to our destruction. Does that mean that anyone who supports the war is being taken for a ride on the Al-Quaeda machine? Of course not.

And how the hell am I blinded by self-interest? I support a stronger more stable society, and I support equality, but those are not self-interests. Those are the interests of society and the interests of other families. Feel free to enjoy your radical feminomarxism conspiracy theories, but I'm not buying them.

Marty

Nice try Jake, but untrue. Marriage is about the benefits bestowed by the government, a very finite resource. Granting those benefits to gay couples does not address the unfairness to singles and alternative relationships who "deserve" access to these same benefits for the same reasons gays do. Fairness demands that all the benefits are equally available to everyone, regardless of family structure -- isn't that what the feminists said they wanted?

Which is a nice way of saying marriage is meaningless, when you can get the same set of benefits from being married -- or not.

SSM is just one more step on the road we've been travelling for some time. At the end, there is no marriage, or what there is is simply a religious rite that means nothing to anyone outside their local church. Certainly nothing our kids will want to "strive" towards...

Jake Squid

I'll give it one last go & then leave it.

Please define the specific benefits that the government bestows to married couples that are finite? The government certainly does not give finite goods or services to married couples. It gives the ability to be responsible for one another, it gives tax breaks (which is merely taking less, not giving a finite good). So you've stumped me.

The last word is yours. I'm sure if you can define the limited resource that marriage depletes that you'll convince people that you're right. But since no such thing exists (unless you are talking about the paper certificate), don't hold your breath.

Galois

Which is a nice way of saying marriage is meaningless, when you can get the same set of benefits from being married -- or not.

But that's the situation to where we are headed if we don't approve same-sex marriage. Without SSM, states, towns, and employers are variously coming up with other arrangements offering marital benefits to the unmarried. These arrangements are generally open to straight couples as well. According to an HRC study as of Dec. 31, 2003, 200 of the Fortune 500 companies offered domestic partner benefits, and 92% of them made them available to oppostie-sex couples as well. Likewise more and more state and local governments are offering domestic partner bnefits, often making them available to straight couples as well. These numbers are increasing at a rate of 10-20% per year. Because of these programs, opposite-sex couples are finding themselves able to get many of the benefits of marriage without marrying.

If, on the other hand, gays were allowed to marry there would be far less incentive for these programs. We could actually say, "Hey if you want the benefits of marriage, get married!" Now that Massachusetts will have same-sex marriae it is reported that some employers are planning on getting rid of their domestic-partner programs. Unfortunatley, I fear that the longer we go without SSM, the more these programs will get entrenched.

In any case, with SSM it is not a case of getting the same benefits with marriage or without, it is only by getting married that you get the benefits. Even if you don't consider SSM to be "true" marriages, the only added alternative to getting the benefits of marriage is entering into a same-sex union. I know that I would have still chosen my wife regardless of whether I could have married a man. So, I don't see the extra "option" as really changing things that much. Now if people had the options of staying with the same person and getting either a marriage, or a civil union, or a domestic partner, or just cohabiting with the person--all with the same benefits, that could make a huge difference.

By the way, even if marriage were just a religious rite I would still hope my kids would strive towards it. The thing is, I would hope my kid strives towards it whether he is gay or straight.

lucia

I fear that someday gay marriages will be as worthless as all the rest.

Mmarty, are you saying you think heterosexual marriage is already worthless, and presumably destroyed?

If so, how could extending it to include same sex couples hurt it?

Zip

Marty: Marriage is about the benefits bestowed by the government, a very finite resource.

What part of it is finite?

Actually, a new study by UCLA finds that same-sex marriage would provide a net gain to the state of California (about $25MM), largely by forcing couples to be financially responsible for eachother:

http://www.gfn.com/family/story.phtml?sid=15640

In other words, it would save all of the taxpayers money. If anything, that means there would be "more" to go around, not less.

Fairness demands that all the benefits are equally available to everyone, regardless of family structure -- isn't that what the feminists said they wanted?

Right. So do you want to be fair to all, or have special rights for some? Which goal are you shooting for?

Which is a nice way of saying marriage is meaningless, when you can get the same set of benefits from being married -- or not.

Are you married? If so, I feel sorry for you. If your idea of "marriage" is nothing more than a good benefit plan, that's pretty sad. Read David Brooks for more:

http://www1.law.ucla.edu/~williamsproj/Ideas/power.html

To me, "marriage" isn't about getting discounted car insurance - it's about a deep, life-long bond with another person.

At the end, there is no marriage, or what there is is simply a religious rite that means nothing to anyone outside their local church.

It will be if people keep claiming that the only thing redeeming about marriage is discounted car insurance and that gays aren't allowed.

If you want marriage and family to flourish, you've got to start by convincing people that the committment of marriage itself is what's worthwhile, not the government approving of it.

If you really believe in marriage, then you don't need the government involved in it. But regardless of whether the government is involved or not, if you don't start addressing the fact that people don't value the "bond" of marriage right now, then marriage will go away. Not because "the gays" are getting married or because Geico is giving people who cohabitate discounted insurance - but because people stop caring about the bond and committment that being "married" signifies.

Marty

Can't have it both ways Zip.

If marriage is not about benefits, and is the "sanctification" of a relationship, then there are plenty of places a gay couple can have this done right now. The state however will not recognize the union for purposes of benefits.

If it IS about benefits, and equality means the government cannot determine to whom and for what reason it will dispense those benefits, then it is something we are all entitled to without regard for marital status.

I say "fine" let gays marry in the "sanctity" sense, because, well, to each his own. But i also beleive that the State does have an interest in encouraging certain family structures over others. These incentives are less about fairness than about ensuring the next generation of loyal and patriotic citizens and soldiers.

lucia

These incentives are less about fairness than about ensuring the next generation of loyal and patriotic citizens and soldiers.

Hmmm... Are you suggesting that if we base our actions on the principle of fairness, we will end up with no patriotic soldiers willing to spread our system unfairnes far and wide?

Galois

I take it neither way. Marriage in the civil sense is not about the sanctity, nor is about benefits. It is a complete interwoven legal system. An individual has access to that system by marrying their spouse. So it's okay to deny certain parts of that system to an unmarried couple, they could get it by marrying.

Can we only allow people to marry within their race or marrry within their faith? Can we require that people have a certain minimum income to marry? Or how about a certain minimum education?

Zip

Marty: Can't have it both ways Zip.

If marriage is not about benefits, and is the "sanctification" of a relationship, then there are plenty of places a gay couple can have this done right now. The state however will not recognize the union for purposes of benefits.

I think it is about sanctification. But, at the same time, if benefits are offered, everyone should be allowed to take part in them equally. I don't think that's a contradiction. If some couples have rights, all couples have. Of course, fairness would probably dictate that no couples get rights that individuals have.

Though there some legitimate public policy arguments to be made that providing some of the responsibilities to couples that come with marriage benefit society as a whole - such as the obligation to be financially responsible for a spouse.

But i also beleive that the State does have an interest in encouraging certain family structures over others. These incentives are less about fairness than about ensuring the next generation of loyal and patriotic citizens and soldiers.

OK, this sounds like a reasonable argument. But obviously we're disagreeing on which family structures should be acceptable. I say two people - same or opposite sex - should be allowed to marry. Couples from both groups raise children, and marriage is good for children. And, as a number of studies have shown, society benefits from same-sex marriage by making spouses responsible for eachother and thus getting them off public assistance programs. That's good for society too.

Zip

Also, if we are going to divorce marriage from all of its other implications and say that it's simply a sweet benefit plan, what's the problem with opening it up to same-sex couples and their children?

Marty

Simply put, then i'm done with this thread:

Same-sex couples don't have children. Not like that they don't. The children of same-sex couples are, without excpeption, denied the right to a mother AND a father, as the head of a stable household. I think THIS is the family structure that is worth incentivising above all others.

You are welcome to disagree, adults these days seem to have no problem short-changing their kids. Anyone besides me want to repeal no-fault divorce?

lucia

We don't have no fault divorce in Illinois. We do have irreconcilable differences, so I don't think the distinction matters much.

I am for making divorce more difficult-- especially in many states.

Galois

I'm also for making divorce more difficult, but it's a complicated issue that I've only looked at briefly. As for the children of same-sex couples, I think they are far better off with two married parents of the same sex then two cohabiting parents of the same sex.

Jake Squid

Having gone through one, I am against making divorce more difficult. It is emotionally rending enough without having to level accusations at your spouse in order to gain a divorce. It is also time consuming enough, even when uncontested & division of property is agreed upon quickly, that there is plenty of time to think over the situation.

lucia

My understanding is that in Illinois, we permit divorce based on irreconcilable diffencence and a number of fault based grounds. When fault based, one can pretty much sue for divorce immediately. Of course, the divorce could be contested, and the divorce could drag out, but if it's uncontested, you can get your divorce more or less immediately. (That said, nothing involving a judge and, especially, division of property happens "immediately". Still, as a matter of law, it can be quick.)

When a one member of the couple sues for divorce based on irreconcilable differences, the couple must separate 2 years before suing for divorce. Once again, the divorce could be contested, causing it to drag on for a long time. In principle, if it weren't contested, you could get your divorce relatively quickly after filing. But bear in mind-- you had to separate for 2 years. So, that's not really "quick".

So, you can get a divorce without bickering over whose fault it is, but it takes fairly a long time.

How does this level of difficulty compare to other states?

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