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June 14, 2004

Comments

Scully

Get off the computer and start packing.
(o:

Ampersand

I don't have anything to add, but excellent post.

Ben Bateman

Gabriel, you left out the part of footnote 4 that had people upset:

"While a teenager's constitutional rights are more limited than an adult's rights, and while the state is more likely to have a significant or compelling state interest that justifies intruding upon a teenager's rights, it is well established that teenagers - including gay teenagers - have a due process liberty interest in being free from state compulsion in personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships and sexual intimacy; it is also well established that laws that burden a teenager's liberty interest must be narrowly tailored to advance a compelling governmental interest unless they advance 'a significant state interest that is not present in the case of an adult.'"

You're also making a straw man out of the positions that you disagree with. The concern is not that the ACLU is literally arguing for legalizing pedophilia in the Limon case. It doesn't work like that. It hasn't worked like that. The point is that footnote 4 attempts to introduce the foundation for a future move to legalize pedophilia. If a court agreed with and cited the above quote as a correct statement of law, then it would be much easier for some future court to extend that logic just a little further and conclude that laws against pedophilia aren't narrowly tailored enough, don't meet a rational basis test, or whatever excuse they want to use.

On the trend towards total sexual liberation, your standard of proof is impossible to meet.

On your logic, the day before Lawrence you could have proven that there was no way the US Sup Ct could strike down sodomy laws, because the precedent and history on that subject were so clear.

And you could have proven that Goodridge was impossible the same way. Would the Hawaii decision have bothered you? Not at all! You would have taken the subsequent constitutional amendment as proof that no court would try such a stunt again, or that the people would somehow find recourse to overturn the errant court.

It doesn't seem to register with you that some future court could strike down a sex law that you want to keep, leaving you with no effective recourse. You seem to assume that the courts and the ACLU are stocked with good and reasonable people just like you, so you don't worry about how to restrain them.

I think you're too smart not to understand how that language could be used to legalize pedophilia. You just don't think that the courts would actually do it. And just like in Lawrence and Goodridge, the courts won't tell you that they're going to do it until they've done it. So I guess you won't believe it is happening until it has already happened.

Ben Bateman

Oh, and I forgot to point out the decay of public consensus on pedophilia. Apparently Virginia has decided that it needs a billboard campaign to convince men not to have sex with underage girls. You can see a sample here.

I assume you'll want to turn this on its head and argue that the billboards are evidence of continued public rejection of pedophilia rather than a response to increased acceptance of it. But then, I haven't heard of any anti-bestiality billboards. Maybe we'll get those in a few years after they make the movie version of Sylvia.

There's also an interesting spontaneous public discussion of the matter here. Predictably, lots of people feel comfortable challenging various aspects of statutory rape laws publicly though semi-anonymously. And those defending sexual morality find it difficult to explain why there should be limits on people having sex the way they want. Like Lucia, they mostly just want to scream that it's wrong, talk about how evil pedophiles are, threaten them, etc. They sound just like the responses to pro-homosexuality arguments 20 years ago.

I'm sure you would interpret the discussion differently, Gabriel, but I see it as the natural result of Lawrence and Goodridge, marching inexorably towards their logical conclusion. We've got the same kinds of arguments picked up by a different constituency to legitimize their fun.

I had been thinking of NAMBLA types as the main advocates for legalizing pedophilia. Reading that Fark conversation, I see now that it's more complicated. NAMBLA has been working harder and longer, and they're better organized. But if they're smart---and they are--then they'll appeal to the men who would like to have sex with underage pubescent girls. That's where the real numbers of votes are.

The point of the Fark thread is not that all the arguments for legalizing pedophilia are totally convincing and logical. The point is that that's what people are thinking. Is it inconceivable for you that pedophiles are emboldened by decisions like Lawrence and Goodridge?

Galois

Ben,

That second part of the paragraph cannot be seperated from the first. They point out that while the right may be limited it is still fundamental and therefore has to be limited with equal application. The voting analogy is quite similar. If anybody doubted this, the quotes above from the reply brief should have cleared things up.

And I don't believe I'm setting up straw men. Katz's post was titled "The Right to Abuse." Cramer's post was titled, "Is The ACLU Arguing That Age of Consent Laws Are Unconstitutional?" and he reached the conclusion that the answer to his question was seemingly, yes. AS I have shown, and you seem to agree if you think this is a straw man, the answer is actually no. This case is entirely about equal protection.

I admit I did not forsee the Lawrence decision coming down as it did. I had correctly predicted that it would be a 6-3 decsion striking down the statute, but I thought it would be on equal protection grounds and expressly not overturned Bowers. (I had thought J. Kennedy would have sided with J. O'Connor's decision, probably forcing the other four in the majority to join it with a seperate concurence for the due process opinion). As for Baehr, I actually did think that other courts would likewise accept the reasoning of the Hawaii court. Whether other states would pass amendments to prevent SSM would and has depended very much on the state.

A court could strike down any law which I would keep. They may also uphold a law that I think is unconstitutional. I am still able to sleep at night knowing that the possibility occurs.

It is not surprising that same sex sodomy has been legalized. Why should a woman be able to perform fellatio, but not a man? There are plenty of things, though, we say an adult can do, but do not allow a minor to do as well.


lucia

Gosh, and I thought I had said I thought I said the slippery slope to nationwide pedophilia was not SSM, but rather laws permitting 14 year olds to enter heterosexual marriages. It seemed to me these laws communicate the idea that it's ok for men to have sex with barely pubescent (and in soem cases pre-pubsecent) girls.

And I thought I'd provided Ben links to pages of groups advertising to men who wanted to have sex with barely pubescent girls that was the problem. (Lawyers available to help you locate a state the permits you to marry the 14 year old of your dreams!!)

Now Ben tells me, no! He's just discuovered it's heterosexual who men want to change the law to have sex with 14 year olds that might be the slippery slope to nationwide pedophilia. Hmm....

BTW Ben. I didn't happen to use the word "evil". But, out of curiosity, do you think pedophiles are evil? Or are the ok kinda people?

Ben Bateman

A point of vocabulary coming from that Fark thread: We've been misusing the term pedophilia. Apparently, it only applies to attraction to prepubescent children. Attraction to post-pubescent children is called hebephilia. Attraction to children right at puberty is called ephebophilia. As I noted in another thread--which threw Lucia into hysterics--attraction to an eight-year-old is not the same as attraction to a fourteen-year-old. Few who would be attracted to one would also be attracted to the other. Now we have the proper words to make the distinction.

Gabriel, the straw man you're creating is by pretending that Katz and Cramer literally meant that the ACLU was asking that specific court to declare age-of-consent laws unconstitutional in that specific case. What they were asking--pretty obviously, in my mind--was whether the ACLU was starting to set the stage for the abolition of age-of-consent laws.

Consider it from this direction: If NAMBLA wanted to abolish age-of-consent laws and didn't have such severe public image problems, how would it try to accomplish that? I think it would argue that children have a constitutionally protected right to decide who they want to have sex with. It would argue that government infringement of that right involves strict scrutiny and narrow tailoring to a compelling government interest, etc. Keep heaping on the rhetoric to raise the bar of how much proof the government needs to present to justify its laws on sexual morality, and eventually you'll raise the bar higher than the government can jump.

That's exactly what the ACLU was doing in footnote 4. You have faith that their intent was pure. Fine. It doesn't matter. The point is that they're still doing NAMBLA a favor by trying to get judges to say that kind of stuff.

Ben Bateman

Lucia, you said all sorts of things in the Changing the Laws thread. Most of what I got was that you were intent on insulting not only me, but the entire state of Texas. You were so eager to do that that you hardly made sense.

The page you linked to was a general source of free legal advice (probably worth what you pay for it). The link that got you so excited went to a general legal directory. Both the free legal advice site and the legal directory cover every state and dozens of areas of law. Your characterization of either page as some kind of pedophile-oriented bride source is simply ridiculous.

Lucia, I would love to discuss this with you further, but you’ve really got to get a grip and try to make a little more sense. In the same post that included the “scandalous” link to a law information site linked to a legal directory, you admitted that there are no organized groups pushing for OS hebephilia. From there, you jumped to a Texas statute that grants a judge permission to allow young teenagers to marry. Then you assumed that judges will give that permission pretty much any time anybody asks, even though you admit that you have no idea whether it’s ever actually happened. (In your zeal for attacking me, you also completely ignore the possibility that the 14-year-old girl in question might be marrying a 14-year-old boy, instead of an older man.) And now you claim that this amounts to a slippery slope of some kind, without any evidence that that law has changed recently to allow marriage at younger ages, or that there is any organized group pushing for such a change.

You aren’t making any sense at all, Lucia. Please take a few deep breaths, calm down, and try again.

Ben Bateman

In other news, New Line Cinema is trying to figure out what to do with a movie it spent $50 million on starring Nicole Kidman as a grown woman in love with a 10-year-old boy. Apparently two bathtub scenes were "borderline disgusting" even by Hollywood standards.

Maybe they should have done it as a Broadway play instead.

Lionel Levine

I vaguely recall that the ACLU got involved in some cases defending Fundamentalist Mormons from accusations of child molestation. You know the type of thing, middle aged Mormon man in the middle of nowhere Utah or Arizona takes some fifteen year-old girl as his fifth "wife"; of course polygamy is illegal, so the marriage isn't recognized, and the issue is statuatory rape, child abuse, etc. I don't remember any details of the ACLU's stance or arguments, so I don't want to accuse the ACLU of anything. But this could conceivably be a source of accusations that the ACLU supports a "constitutional right to child molestation". The folks at Dust in the Light may have been merely rehashing old arguments.

Jake Squid

I have to wonder if Ben bothered to read the review of the play that he so kindly links to. If so, I wonder how he comes to the conclusion that it promotes bestiality. Is it because a character in the play is revealed to be committing bestiality? By that logic "The Wizard of Oz" promotes murder. After all, Dorothy does murder a Wicked Witch or two.

(Possible shrillness ahead, please skip if my past shrillness WRT Ben Bateman has annoyed you)

Ben has once again revealed that his words cannot be trusted. By using the link that I provided to a review of "Who is Sylvia...." Ben shows that he has been reading my comments despite his taunts to the contrary. Very sloppy but consistent with his body of work here.

But his true motivation is his dislike or hatred of homosexuality as he wrote in comments to another post here. All this other "slippery slope" stuff is just to try to cover his true motivation on the SSM matter.

Geeze, Ben. For someone who dislikes being insulted you sure can dish it out. You might be taken more seriously if you treated Lucia (who has treated you with far more respect than either you or your arguments deserve) with a modicum of respect.

Ben Bateman

Jake, some day I hope you will learn the difference between intellectual discussion and personal insult. I'm very fond of Lucia. I've had good discussions with her in the past. But on this topic she can't seem to think rationally. On this topic she seems much more interested in demonstrating that I'm a bad person, or that Texas is a bad state, rather than discussing the truth or falsity of the ideas at issue. I hope that she will see her error on this and present her ideas more clearly and logically.

Jake, your post demonstrates perfectly the distinction I'm talking about. I don't normally read or respond to your posts, but this one is such a perfect example of the problem that I'll make an exception.

You start with half an idea: You think that I've mischaracterized Sylvia, the play about bestiality. You form a straw man by asserting that I claimed it promoted bestiality, and then knock that down. Except that wasn't my claim. In fact, I hadn't made any specific claim about the play, except to use it as an example of generally declining sexual morals, and that the play was primarily about bestiality.

Then we get to classic Jake: "Ben has once again revealed that his words cannot be trusted."

That's a very strange word in this context: trusted. Why do you think I'm asking you to trust me, or trust my words? If you don’t believe my assertions of fact, then go check them on your own. Otherwise, my arguments based on those facts stand by themselves. My credibility has nothing to do with it.

More Jake: "By using the link that I provided to a review of "Who is Sylvia...." Ben shows that he has been reading my comments despite his taunts to the contrary. Very sloppy but consistent with his body of work here."

Actually, Jake, that page is the first review that comes up on a Google search of the play's title. I expect that you found it the same way I did.

You also misunderstand why I've been skipping your posts and noting occasionally that I've been doing so. I’m not trying to taunt you. With those posts, as with this one, I've been trying to help you understand the difference between intellectual discourse and personal insults, between discussion of ideas and discussion of people.

Jake: "But his true motivation is his dislike or hatred of homosexuality as he wrote in comments to another post here. All this other "slippery slope" stuff is just to try to cover his true motivation on the SSM matter."

It fascinates me that so many liberals think that they have a profound understanding of the conservative psyche. Do they think they're telepathic? Can they read our minds and discover subconscious motivations so deep that we don’t even know we have them?

But it's best not to dwell on such things, because the statements aren't offered for their truth; they're offered for their political impact: to hurt my feelings and make other people dislike me. That's a fine tactic for the schoolyard, but not for educated adults.

Jake: "Geeze, Ben. For someone who dislikes being insulted you sure can dish it out. You might be taken more seriously if you treated Lucia (who has treated you with far more respect than either you or your arguments deserve) with a modicum of respect."

Note the very political vocabulary: You are interested in whether someone will be "taken seriously" and whether they'll be treated with "respect." I’m interested in whether what they say is true. They’re totally different perspectives.

I haven't insulted Lucia. I haven't called her mean-spirited, insulted her intelligence, stated that she cannot be trusted, or accused her of secret evil motivations. I've simply pointed out that her posts on this subject don't make any sense, and asked her to reconsider the issue.

Jake, I don't hold out much hope that this post will help you understand the difference between schoolyard insults and intellectual discussion. But there may be many other liberals reading this who wander from one to the other, and I hope to reach them.

Intellectual discourse has rules. It won't happen unless the participants follow those rules.

One of the most basic rules is that you don't personally attack those with whom you're conversing. You can attack their ideas: You can demonstrate that their premises are false, or that their logic isn't valid, or that their conclusion would lead to undesirable results. But you don't attack them personally: You don't say that they're stupid, dishonest, immoral, or evil. You attack their ideas, but not their character.

Jake, I don’t consider you to be part of this discussion because you persist in issuing insults rather than discussing ideas. You won’t play by the rules, and you seem intent on destroying the interesting conversation that the rest of us are having.

OK, Jake, that’s enough of responding to you for a couple of months. I’ll go back to skimming your posts just long enough to see if you’ve decided to become civilized.

Jake Squid

Ben,

The problem with your statements about insults is that they are simply not true. If you look back to your appearance on Alas you will find that you did, in fact, insult people personally and not their positions, contrary to your claim here.

If you don't think that calling somebody irrational is a personal insult, why would you think that call somebody a moron is?

As to "Sylvia...", how can you read that review and persist in saying that "...the play was primarily about bestiality?" If you read the review you would know that the bestiality in the play is what is called a plot device. I must insist that if we follow your logic that "Sylvia.." is an example of "...of generally declining sexual morals..." then you must view films such as "The Maltese Falcon" (which depicts theft, corruption, bribery and murder) as an example of generally declining social values. And that doesn't even come close to what is depicted in "Medea". Your assertions about "Sylvia" not only lack factual support, they are logically inconsistent with the history of human art - unless you think that human values have been in a general decline since the advent of art.

In reference to your dialogue with Lucia, it appears to me that you don't answer directly, constantly move on to tangents and insult her personally (by repeating several times that she doesn't make sense). Think about how you have responded when others have said that you make no sense or that your logic is faulty. Did you like that? Did you take it as a personal insult? It sure looks like you have.

You write, "I’m interested in whether what they say is true." I am interested in that too. And that's why I have a hard time with your comments. You repeatedly state that things are true, provide no supporting evidence and when confronted state that you don't need to provide evidence or ignore the challenge entirely. That makes me have a hard time taking anything that you have to say at face value.

You also write:
"Jake: "But his true motivation is his dislike or hatred of homosexuality as he wrote in comments to another post here. All this other "slippery slope" stuff is just to try to cover his true motivation on the SSM matter."

It fascinates me that so many liberals think that they have a profound understanding of the conservative psyche. Do they think they're telepathic? Can they read our minds and discover subconscious motivations so deep that we don’t even know we have them?"

I don't profess to have a profound understanding of the conservative psyche. Nor do I think that I am telepathic, nor that I have read your mind, nor that I have discovered some subconscious motivation of yours. The reason I wrote that is because you wrote that you dislike homosexuality in the comments to another post on this blog (sorry I don't provide the link here, I haven't the time right now - if you want, I can provide it later). Something that you had never written before. Something, that when combined with your sliding from reason to reason to oppose SSM and never staying with the same one for long, gives the appearance of your base motivation for opposing SSM.

I am interested in both being treated with respect (the lack of which in your prior posts and comments being what lead me to insult you personally) and in the truth and in being taken seriously. Remember, if you are not taken seriously, no matter how truthful you may be, no one will bother to believe that you are being truthful or to find out if you are telling the truth. It's obvious from the way that you speak to your opponents that giving and receiving respect is not important to you. The only folks you respond to are those who never respond in kind to your insults.

You also write: "One of the most basic rules is that you don't personally attack those with whom you're conversing. You can attack their ideas: You can demonstrate that their premises are false, or that their logic isn't valid, or that their conclusion would lead to undesirable results. But you don't attack them personally: You don't say that they're stupid, dishonest, immoral, or evil. You attack their ideas, but not their character."

Again I would like to point you back to your comments on Alas. A thread in which you did all of the above in addition to ignoring serious inquiries about your stated position at the time. Do unto others....

You also write: "Jake, I don’t consider you to be part of this discussion because you persist in issuing insults rather than discussing ideas. You won’t play by the rules, and you seem intent on destroying the interesting conversation that the rest of us are having."

I'm not intent on destroying the conversation. But since you are on one side and everybody else is arguing the other side, once you stated that you would not be responding to me (almost 3 months after you had, in fact, stopped responding to me - which comprises the 2 months before I ever insulted you) the only place I could find was to refute things that you wrote that I interpreted as lies or ignorance. I would love to actually have a dialogue with you because half the time I find it very difficult to follow your line of reasoning. This is something that I tried very hard to do with you in February, but you wouldn't respond.

If you're interested, I'd like to start by understanding why you think that "Sylvia..." is "primarily about bestiality." I'd like to know why you think that is the subject of the play as opposed to a plot device to advance other issues. I'd like to know whether or not you believe that a play (or novel or movie) can have redeeming social value even if it depicts morally repugnant or societally unacceptable acts.

I really don't expect a response as you have never responded directly to my serious inquiries into your reasoning, but I'll give it another honest try here. What the hell.

Jake Squid

Ben writes: "A point of vocabulary coming from that Fark thread: We've been misusing the term pedophilia. Apparently, it only applies to attraction to prepubescent children."

My dictionary defines pedophilia as, "A sexual attraction to children in adults."

You may be taking your definitions from a clinical psychiatric dictionary and those definitions may certainly be valid in the practice of psychiatry. However, in common usage (and when used by laypeople), the definition of pedophilia matches that listed in my dictionary. The common usage of the word is what Lucia and others have been referring to. Can we agree to use the definition as used by laypeople? As we are not talking about clinical psychiatry, that is how I will be using the word.

While there is definitely a grey area between adulthood & childhood a line must be chosen for purposes of both the law and morality. Often the line chosen is the age of 18. Sometimes it is 16. I do not recall it being any less than 16 for defining statutory rape. As a general rule, at what age would you put the line between adult and child?

It is my belief that a 14 year old can never be viewed as an adult. A 14 year old simply does not have the experience or capacity to function as an adult in most ways - and that includes consenting to a sexual relationship with an adult.

Therefore it is my view (and that of the law) that a 35 yr old man and a 14 yr old girl having a sexual relationship is statutory rape of the 14 yr old. You have stated, I believe, that if the 14 yr old were to become pregnant due to this sexual relationship that it would be morally acceptable (even morally superior as the best thing for the child) for her to marry the 35 yr old man. Were she to do so it is without question that the sexual relationship would continue. Therefore you are endorsing what the law sees as statutory rape and what most of us see as pedophilia.

I believe that I have correctly summarized reasoning behind pointing out that you, while decrying SSM for leading to the legalization of pedophilia, have actually endorsed the legalization and morality of pedophilia. If I have made an error in my summarization of your statements on the matter I apologize and look forward to a correction and clarification from you.

lucia

>>Lucia, you said all sorts of things in the Changing the >>Laws thread. Most of what I got was that you were intent >>on insulting not only me, but the entire state of Texas. >>You were so eager to do that that you hardly made sense.

In changing the laws, I took your "story" with young Timmy who was taken in by an adult male and switched the character to "Tammy". You asked if it should be legal for the adult male to consort sexually with Timmy if he loved him. I said no, and reflected your question back asking if it should be legal for him to consort with Tammy.

Then, I pointed out that, in Texas, the man could simply marry Tammy, and it would be legal. I picked Texas because that is one of the states where these types of marriages are legal. (In fact, girls younger than 14 may marry in Texas with court consent.)

I don't see how pointing out this fact is insulting Texas.

I also asked if you were concern about this, and whether or not you would work to change laws permitting men to marry 14 year olds.

As the discussion progressed, I mentioned I consider this pedophilia-- as do many. I also mentioned that in my opinion this law was legalized pedophilia, and that laws of this sort are the "slippery slope" to nationwide pedophilia. (Dictionary recognize the fact that in common usage pedophilia includes sex between adults with young adolescnets. Those who have read of the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic church are familiar with this usage. )

If pointing out that I consider laws permitting adults to marry 14 years olds is legalized pedophilia is insulting Texas then I'm afraid, I am doing it again. I am not going to hide the fact that I think this is pedophilia simply because some state legalizes it!

I also respond to your link to NAMBLA showing a groups advocating leglized man-boy pedophilia with a link to a web site geared toward men who wish to particilate in man-girl pedophilia. If you clicked on the link and read the site, you would have found the site offered to help you find the young girl of your dreams, identify the states with very low marriage ages and legal assistance to help you marry. The fact that marriage age s 14 in Texas was featured prominently.

I mentioned pointed out that the men interested having sex in young girls don't NEED to change the laws. They can just use the laws that exist.

>>The page you linked to was a general source of free legal advice (probably worth what you pay for it).

A general source of free legal advice with information telling you that you can marry young girls in some states and advising you to seek legal help to figure out how. The page can be found by searching on "pedophilia".

For example, it tells you about the

As it happens, I also don't like the idea of two 14 year olds marrying, likely becoming legally emancipated, and needing to support themselves and their child. However, that was not the question I asked.


>>And now you claim that this amounts to a slippery slope of some kind, without any evidence that that law has changed recently to allow marriage at younger ages, or that there is any organized group pushing for such a change.

Ben, in this thread, *you* have provided evidence that there is an organized group pushing for changes in statutory rape laws and observe this:

>>But if they're smart---and they are--then they'll appeal to the men who would like to have sex with underage pubescent girls. That's where the real numbers of votes are.

I'm not sure how you, who think it's legalizing SSM is somehow a slippery slope to bestiality, think these groups would not use the fact that 14 year olds are considered old enough to marry to buttress their arguments that sex with 14 year olds is ok!

lucia

>>I vaguely recall that the ACLU got involved in some cases defending Fundamentalist Mormons from accusations of child molestation.

Vaguely is correct. John Daniel Kingston married off his daughter Mary Ann to her Uncle David, some stories say as his 15th wife, some as his 13th wife. (In the book "The secret story of polygamy the number 15 feature prominently. She was 15 on the day of her marriage-- was married on October 15th, and her uncle gave her a ring with 15 diamonds to symbolize this whole 15 thing.)

(Hmm... hope this won't all be underlined!)

She did not wish to marry Uncle and ran away repeatedly. After a numer of tries, her father took her to a barn and whipped her repeatedly as punishment. (The counted 28 lashes before passing out.) After the beating she ran away once more and called 911. At this point in the tale all stories agree she was 16.

John Daniel Kingston was tried for child abuse-- for beating Mary Ann. David Ortell was tried for incest-- but not polygamy.


The ACLU did not defend either multi-millionaire men during the trial and filed no amicus brief. They have, in fact, spoken out against the men in the case, and the practices of the entire Kingston clan.

lucia

>>A point of vocabulary coming from that Fark thread: We've been misusing the term pedophilia.

Point of usage:
In medicine, pedophilia (American English), alternatively spelled paedophilia or pædophilia (in British English), is sexual attraction of an adult to prepubescent children. In common usage, pedophilia or under-age sex is sexual attraction and sexual acts towards children generally, including adolescents who are far beyond a prepubescent level of physical and psychological development. This article will discuss these two concepts separately.


lucia

hmmm... I really wish I'd previewed.. but I clicked post right away.

I my first post today... Insert this where the link starts and after "as it happens".

-----

For example, it tells you about the

legal age in Texas.

I didn't claim the free legal advice was good. Had I speculated, I would guess that the lawyers advertise at the site would not be offering enormous amounts of free advice for their health. Their goal is to find clients and ultimately offer for pay services. Presumably, that particular page would have been written to encourage pedophiles to contact them-- and ultimately become paid clients.

Regardless of the quality of free legal advice the message of the page is clear. You can marry 14 year olds (or even younger girls) in some states, and you might want to find a lawyer to help you do it.

>>Lucia, I would love to discuss this with you further, but you’ve really got to get a grip and try to make a little more sense. In the same post that included the “scandalous” link to a law information site linked to a legal directory, you admitted that there are no organized groups pushing for OS hebephilia.

I pointed out that the organized groups are unnecessary because is already legal to marry 14 year olds (and sometimes younger) in some states.


>>From there, you jumped to a Texas statute that grants a judge permission to allow young teenagers to marry. Then you assumed that judges will give that permission pretty much any time anybody asks,

No. I did not assume the judges will give permission pretty much any time anybody asks. I said I hope they nearly never give permission and asked you if that was true.

>> even though you admit that you have no idea whether it’s ever actually happened.

Hoping that it never happens and asking you is certainly admission that I don't know. However, you did not choose to answer.

Regardless of whether or not it happens, the fact that the law permits it means it's legal. (duh). My understanding is that you would object to legalized SSM even if it ended up being a statistical rarity.

>>(In your zeal for attacking me, you also completely ignore the possibility that the 14-year-old girl in question might be marrying a 14-year-old boy, instead of an older man.)

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here? Is Tammy the girl in question? The thread started when you introduced the topic of homosexual pedophilia. The disucssion of men marrying girls came up when I reflected your story about Timmy and the older man. Replacing Tammy with Timmy in your story, I pointed out the man could marry Tammy. I then asked if *that man* should be permitted to marry that girl. I would assume, in context of the story, the man would not suddenly become 14 years old.

I repeated the question and asked whether or not the Tammy marrying the *older* man -- which was legal-- was a problem for you.

I'm also not sure why I my asking you if it's ok, in your book, for adult men to marry 14 year olds, as permitted by law, is somehow "ignoring" the idea that the law permits two 14 year olds to marry.

---

Nick Kiddle

It fascinates me that so many liberals think that they have a profound understanding of the conservative psyche. Do they think they're telepathic? Can they read our minds and discover subconscious motivations so deep that we don’t even know we have them?
Ironic, Ben. Very ironic. Haven't you been attributing all kinds of motivations to trans people and SSM activists for months?

Justin Katz

Fascinating the tangents of a blog comment section. Without jumping into a wrestling match in progress, I'd like to make a few points.

Jake writes:

If you don't think that calling somebody irrational is a personal insult, why would you think that call somebody a moron is?

Irrationality is an observable state. Moronism, in most usages, is a quality. "You are being irrational" and "you are not making any sense" is different from "you are stupid" or "you are a dunce." ("You are acting like a moron" is somewhere in between.) There are fine lines, of course, but with a view toward the ground rules of discourse, whether or not a statement upsets a person isn't the measure of whether it's an insult. Direction, validity, and relevance are.

You may be taking your definitions from a clinical psychiatric dictionary and those definitions may certainly be valid in the practice of psychiatry. However, in common usage (and when used by laypeople), the definition of pedophilia matches that listed in my dictionary.

Just to trace the "common usage" definition, according to m-w.com:

* "pedophilia" is "sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object"

* "child" (in the sense of age) is "a young person especially between infancy and youth"

* "youth" is "a young person; especially : a young male between adolescence and maturity"

The latter two words are used broadly, of course, but it's irrelevant, in any case, because Ben's point was to introduce vocabulary so we "have the proper words to make the distinction" to make the discussion clearer. You can argue that, for any given purposes, hebephilia and ephebophilia aren't significantly different from pedophilia, but that's the discussion, not a prior assumption. In other words, Ben wasn't introducing the terms as evidence that he's right, but as tools through which to debate the question. For an example of why such introductions of vocabulary are so important, consider the following from Jake:

Therefore it is my view (and that of the law) that a 35 yr old man and a 14 yr old girl having a sexual relationship is statutory rape of the 14 yr old.

"Rape" is "statutory" when it is only rape by statute — in other words, when the law declares the act to be rape no matter what the participants say. The law doesn't acknowledge statuory rape; it creates it. It isn't clear whether you're acknowledging this, but I wanted to clarify the point, because the legal debate is what the law ought to be, and it would be circular to suggest that the law ought to be what the law says itself to be.

And this still leaves open the fact that one can differentiate between different age groups when discussing topics other than the law, such as the form of attraction that draws an adult to a certain age group. Frankly, I agree that there's an obvious difference between 8 and 14 year olds in this respect; that doesn't mean that both oughtn't be under the age of consent.

It is my belief that a 14 year old can never be viewed as an adult. A 14 year old simply does not have the experience or capacity to function as an adult in most ways - and that includes consenting to a sexual relationship with an adult.

Well, how dare you force your morals on other people?!?! Don't you know that "it is well established that teenagers... have a due process liberty interest in being free from state compulsion in personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships and sexual intimacy," that "the state may not burden a particular sexual choice out of distaste or disagreement," and that "the State's interest in protecting a parent's interest in shaping a child's values and lifestyle overcome the liberty interests of a minor acting with the consent of a single parent or court"?

Other than that, it seems so much kicking up of sand to harp on the proper characterization of Sylvia. Its initial usage struck me as a quip.

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Moving from my quote-laden hypothetical to something that Lucia wrote:

Then, I pointed out that, in Texas, the man could simply marry Tammy, and it would be legal. I picked Texas because that is one of the states where these types of marriages are legal. (In fact, girls younger than 14 may marry in Texas with court consent.)

It looks like all marriages of anybody under 16 must be approved by a court. Surely, a judge will take into account age differences and reason for wanting marriage. If a man has impregnated a 14 year old girl, I imagine he'll face statutory rape charges (under 17 in Texas), but it seems at least arguable that it is in the best interest of the resulting child for his or her parents to be married, particularly if that's what they desire anyway.

I don't see how these tough moral questions, which are required to be individually decided, represent a slippery slope, especially since, as far as I know, lower age of consent laws tend to be hold-overs from the past, not new additions. However, if under-age consent laws are forced to provide "equal treatment" for homosexuals and if same-sex marriage becomes legal, then these laws that have developed over centuries will certainly become a tangle of brambles, many of which are difficult to foresee.

Justin Katz

Oops.

In clipping the third quote in my question, I notice I changed the meaning. The full sentence was:

"Nor can the State's interest in protecting a parent's interest in shaping a child's values and lifestyle overcome the liberty interests of a minor acting with the consent of a single parent or court."

So my clip should have been:

"the State's interest in protecting a parent's interest in shaping a child's values and lifestyle [cannot] overcome the liberty interests of a minor acting with the consent of a single parent or court."

trey

Mr. Katz writes:

I don't see how these tough moral questions, which are required to be individually decided, represent a slippery slope, especially since, as far as I know, lower age of consent laws tend to be hold-overs from the past, not new additions. However, if under-age consent laws are forced to provide "equal treatment" for homosexuals and if same-sex marriage becomes legal, then these laws that have developed over centuries will certainly become a tangle of brambles, many of which are difficult to foresee.

I do not see _any_ argument nor evidence that the laws will become a 'tangle of brambles'. It seems to me the two things you mention, treating gay and lesbians equally in the eyes of the law both in marriage and age-of-consent does nothing to change the laws at all. In effect it only streamlines them and makes them apply the same to everyone.

I rarely get into the 'slippery slope' to pedophilia discussion because a. I find it extremely distasteful and b. I find it extremely insulting.

But my question would be this, if heterosexual marriage changes in the last 100 years (liberalized divorce, liberalized requirements, etc) hasn't led down the slippery slope to legalized pedophilia, how would gay marriage lead down the slope.

If you allow marriage between two elderly heterosexuals, an infertile couple or likewise non-reproducing heterosexuals, why hasn't THIS lead down the slippery slope to pedophilia already, but somehow magically gay marriage will?

The so-called arguments for legalized heterosexual pedophilia have been there for a few generations now.

SO I ask the question again, why do you (Mr. Bateman, Mr. Katz, whoever) consider social acceptance of homosexual love more likely to lead to social acceptance of pedophilia, when social celebration of heterosexual love has not led to the social acceptance of pedophilia?

Jake Squid

Justin,

You bring up some interesting points. I agree that the new vocabulary that Ben has brought up is correct in a medical context. I have absolutely no complaint with the introduction of those words. It allowed me to make clear that I (and it seems to me, others) were using the word pedophilia to cover all of those terms.

Yeah, I knew that I wasn't going to be very clear when I said that I consider it to be "statutory rape". I didn't take the time to distinguish rape as relates to somebody without the ability to consent vs. rape of somebody who has the ability to consent but does not.

As to "forcing your morals on other people...", I disagree with your interpretation and I agree with Gabriel's. Children, while possessing many of the civil rights that adults have, do not have ALL of the civil rights that adulthood entitles them to. For example, children do not have the right to vote. I view that as analagous to "children do not have the ability (right) to consent to sexual relations with an adult." I think that that is generally accepted in our society. This seems to be an honest difference of opinion and I'm not sure that there is a way to definitively prove either side.

As an aside and minor quibble to the previous paragraph - I don't believe that I was forcing my morals on anybody in the bit that you quoted. I began with, "It is my belief..." I did not put that forth as a statement fact but rather as a personal belief. Although it could just be that you were being funny and I didn't get it.

Justin Katz

Trey,

I do not see _any_ argument nor evidence that the laws will become a 'tangle of brambles'. ... In effect it only streamlines them and makes them apply the same to everyone.

Well, streamlined laws aren't always desirable, and that's the point. One could argue that the entire American system of government is meant to slow government down. As I suggested, for the state of Texas, marriages of people under 16 have to be individually evaluated by a judge.

Accept, for the sake of argument, that it would be better, all things considered, for a 24 year old man to marry a 14 year old girl whom he's impregnated. These circumstances are discouraged by the statutory rape laws, but the marriage laws leave room to make the best of a bad situation. Now, leaving aside contentious arguments about pedophiles' preference for male children and the like, and reminding everybody that same-sex marriage will come with the understanding that procreation isn't intrinsic to marriage, what happens when 24 year old men want to marry 14 year old boys? Well, if the reasoning for the possibility is as I've described, judges could, as a matter of course, reject all such marriages, in which case they'll come under attack for discrimination (equal protection and all), or the rule would be stricken for everybody, leaving some unfortunate children illegitimate as a function of the law.

This is just a quick brainstorm. The point is that our laws on these matters have evolved over millennia with gendered presumptions.

If you allow marriage between two elderly heterosexuals, an infertile couple or likewise non-reproducing heterosexuals, why hasn't THIS lead down the slippery slope to pedophilia already, but somehow magically gay marriage will?

Well, inasmuch as citing elderly and infertile couples has served the argument for same-sex marriage, if SSM does in fact prove to be on a slippery slope, so too would elderly and infertile couples have been. Personally, I think the platform on which elderly/infertile couples stand is pretty strong, but plenty of people are hacking away at it to get further down the slope.

The so-called arguments for legalized heterosexual pedophilia have been there for a few generations now.

Examples? Even if so, that doesn't remove the reality that the homosexual movement (and other movements, such as abortion), inadvertently or otherwise, are knocking down the barriers that held those arguments at bay (rights to privacy, sodomy, and so on).

SO I ask the question again, why do you (Mr. Bateman, Mr. Katz, whoever) consider social acceptance of homosexual love more likely to lead to social acceptance of pedophilia, when social celebration of heterosexual love has not led to the social acceptance of pedophilia?

Well, social acceptance is a different topic altogether. With all of the passion for activist judges, however, legal acceptance will likely outpace social acceptance.

Justin Katz

Jake,

I wasn't trying to be funny so much as to illustrate that many of the arguments put forward to knock down current distinctions in the law will also erase your ability to leverage your beliefs about consent to maintain laws with which you agree.

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