February 24, 2004

Bush and Gay Marriage

Well, he did it. George W. Bush decided it's a good idea to use the U.S. Consitution to deny freedom to American citizens.

I wish I had time to write about this in detail tonight, but I don't. So let me send you over to Sheila O'Malley. She said it for me.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at February 24, 2004 09:58 PM
Comments

Holy crap that was quick. Thank you, Michael.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 24, 2004 10:10 PM

Anyone wanna take a stab at whether or not it will pass?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 24, 2004 10:13 PM

I'll start this off late, and I'm sure I'll have much more to say tomorrow. So, to start:

It remains to be seen how far Bush will push this. Will it be Mars, Pt. 2: a nice speech and then a dead fish floating in the pond? Or will he really fight for this? Either way, I'm disgusted. In regards to the former, it's just more evidence of rhetorical resolve and pragmatic absence. In regards to the latter, just plain bad government -- and yes, in my opinion, bigotry.

I never believed Bush was serious about fighting terrorism or ameliorating fascism, Islamic or otherwise (see also: Uzbekistan, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, etc.). Fred Kaplan's latest in Slate girds my case that Bush is more concerned with the politics of fear than the practicalities of safety. Fact is: any president, Dem or GOP, would take national security seriously. There are very valid reasons to oppose invading Iraq -- many which include realistic concerns about our ability to fight terrorism after a massive redeployment. But there are, in my opinion, from a socially libertarian position, no reasons to support a vision of the U.S. Constitution that denies essential civil rights to homosexual Americans.

The state of New Hampshire has a slogan on their license plates: "Live Free or Die." That is, to me, the essence of American life. I am more than ready to sacrifice my life for the freedoms enjoyed by the people of America. To me, gay marriage, and at the very least, civil unions, is a civil rights issue I'd stake nearly everything on. If we're not ready to suffer for our values, what's the point?

Posted by: harry at February 24, 2004 10:21 PM

BTW- IMHO, not a chance in hell that it will pass. But that doesn't, for a second, excuse Bush for advocating this nonsense. He could have displayed some principle. It's the Constitution, for goodness sake. The founding document of free, equitable democracy.

Posted by: harry at February 24, 2004 10:26 PM

Amen, Harry.

Thing that sucks for me, though, is that I'm realizing the 2004 election is probably going to be the single most important election in 40 or 60 years, maybe even since 1932...

And I'm completely divided against myself on voting for someone. Never felt so patriotically compelled to vote...Never felt so divided on the candidates.

I'm strongly with the Republicans on Defense and Iraq but equally strongly with the Democrats on Domestic Issues. I have no candidate. It's killing me. Can we start a "Draft McCain and Lieberman" movement?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 24, 2004 10:29 PM

Grant: Holy crap that was quick. Thank you, Michael.

I just now noticed you asked me to post about this on another thread. I didn't see your request until after I posted this item, but I'm glad to oblige all the same. :)

I seriously doubt this will pass. Too many conservatives are against it, and no way are the liberals going to touch it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 24, 2004 10:29 PM

Not so sure it couldn't pass, though. Public opinion has moved like 30 points on this thing in only a couple months. I was totally wrong about Dean every step of the way and ate a belly full of humble pie. I'm not even gonna venture a guess this time around.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 24, 2004 10:31 PM

Bush didn't want to push this, he feels that there are things more important to talk about, but the pressure from the conservative base of the GOP was too great. He already ticked them off with immigration, spending only rubbed salt onto the wound. He needs something that will show them that he is "their guy." This is it.

As for a McCain/Lieberman ticket, don't forget that McCain is social conservative as well. I haven't seen anything that would suggest he would oppose this.

IMO, a far better idea for Buhs would have been to back an admendment that would have exempted Marriage from the Full faith and credit clause. Make it a state's rights issue. Give the people of each state the right to decide, not some Federal judge in a few years.

Posted by: FH at February 24, 2004 11:03 PM

Hey, all y'all aren't talking about how screwed up Iraq is. Mission Accomplished!

Posted by: Mithras at February 24, 2004 11:15 PM

Allow me to say your post is purely and simply dishonest. Marriage is not a freedom. The freedom is about having sex and living with whomever people please and this haven't been touched. Marriage is an insitution set by the society in order to get something it finds desirable: more and better educated children by providing juridical security and adavantages to the form of sexuality able to provide them. The institution of marriage has a cost. The cost of the juridical apparatus around marriage (and divorce), the cost of the tax exemptions and lesser heritage taxes for married couples and their offspring. Why the society should bear that cost for a form of sexuality who doesn't provide children? By the way how more taxes are you willing to pay for funding the cost of homosexual marriage?

Posted by: JFM at February 24, 2004 11:31 PM

And just how screwed up is Iraq, really? Outside of a few hot spots here and there it's really not all that bad (all things considered). Public support has held decently strong behind it, too.

If you're suggesting that the whole marriage amendment issue is supposed to be some kind of dodge for the situation in Iraq and the status of the War on Terror in general, I think you're deluding yourself. The Democrats have no vision WHATSOEVER for the War on Terror other than a "return to normalcy" and a head in the sand, which, sufficed to say is conservatism pure and simple. No matter how bad it may seem sometimes, at least Bush has a plan better than pretending it's September 10. AND I'M A DEMOCRAT SAYING THIS!!!

You might suggest it's a dodge for the lack of jobs, a stagnant economy, and backlash against free-trade though. That I might believe (though I doubt Bush really would have chosen an issue like this one with such weak support if not for all the pressure from his base).

He's either taking this issue up to secure his theocratic bible-thumping base or because Karl Rove is really really thinking his boy Bush is in political trouble. In sizing up Kerry, something tells me Rove is a bit smarter than that.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 24, 2004 11:33 PM

"why the society should bear that cost for a form of sexuality who doesn't provide children?"...

Such an incredibly weak argument, man. So marriage is only for those who can bear children, huh? My grandfather remarried 3 or 4 years ago: Guess that oughta be illegal, right?

Guess it ought to be legislated that every marriage must produce at least one child: No couples shall marry who don't plan on, or are incapable of, having children. Having children is the purpose of marriage.

Just stop and think about how ridiculous this sounds.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 24, 2004 11:39 PM

Wow, Michael. This strange and unheard of phenomenon of critical views coming from the Right has got me thinking...

When, exactly, was the last time you sided with liberals on something before today?

I was beginning to question your centrist credentials.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 24, 2004 11:45 PM

Grant-

Other than the War in Iraq how is Kerry's terrorism position any different than Mr. Bush's? He is my personal analysis of Bush v. Kerry:
Homeland Security: Bush is still underfunding it, while Kerry wants to increase funding. Advantage Kerry

Response to 9/11: Kerry does not favor a law enforcement only response. He does believe, like Bush, that a military response in Afganistan was necessary. Kerry does NOT, as Andy Sullivan claims, to favor a return to the Cliton/Bush pre 9/11 terror strategy. Push.

Iraq: I am far more hawkish than Mr. Kerry on Iraq, but I didn't expect the Bush team to totally screw up the mop up effort like they have. Things are getting better but our military is stretched razor thin and the needed troop commitments far exceed what was projected pre-war. Advantage too early to tell.

btw, don't give me a list of weapons systems Kerry didn't vote for in the Senate. I can supply you with a longer list of weapons systems he did vote for.

Posted by: andrew at February 25, 2004 12:38 AM

George Bush is a homophobic lackey of the imperialist/sectarian forces. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more! Vote for Howard Beale.

Posted by: SM at February 25, 2004 01:16 AM

Michael, before giving your views, I'll appreciate it greatly if you read Bush's statement. Even better, you can post it so your readers have a chance to read it. I think most of them even bother to read it.

Posted by: Edgardo Barandiaran at February 25, 2004 03:41 AM

I'll go with Dr. Hurd's formulation of this issue. Don't know how long he'll have it on his site. See it here:

http://www.drhurd.com/news_823.html

Posted by: Robert Tracy at February 25, 2004 03:47 AM

Amendments to the Constitution are drafted and voted - up or down - by the Legislature. Once passed, a super majority of State Legislatures must approve of the Amendment as passed by the Federal Legislature; without modification. Only then does it become law.

So where does POTUS fit in in this process? As concerned citizen, albeit with a "bully pulpit", and concerned citizen only. No signature or veto is required or allowed.

Ah, but where does the good Senator from MA (or NC) fit in? As members of the Legislature they must debate and vote! Here is where it gets interesting: "I am against the FMA and against gay marriage.". Oh, really?

Oh what a pickle this is for some.

Posted by: steve at February 25, 2004 03:48 AM

Grant M, if you "with the Republicans on Defense and Iraq" do you really have a choice? We can fight bitterly over domestic issues but if the U.S. if not the West entirely is under attack by Isamofascists, who would resolve the issue of gay marriage by burying gays alive, does not that take priority? Unfortunately, in a nation of 250 million people who don't have one President for defense and foreign affairs, and another to administer the domestic agenda; and there is not going to be a McLieberman ticket. We make the best choices based on what's available.
Best of luck, Zhombre

Posted by: Zhombre at February 25, 2004 03:49 AM

andrew,

I can supply you with a longer list of weapons systems he did vote for.

Muskets
Donkey carts
Catapaults
Disease ridden livestock carcasses
Hot oil pots
Chain mail
Hard tack
Salt pork
Limes
Rum

Because nothing is too good for Kerry's band of brothers!

Posted by: HA at February 25, 2004 04:00 AM

Grant,

I'm strongly with the Republicans on Defense and Iraq but equally strongly with the Democrats on Domestic Issues. I have no candidate. It's killing me.

Its a no-brainer. The domestic issues can be deferred for 4 years. Let Bush finish this war before we bury our heads in the sand again. America won't turn into a fascist theocracy in the meantime.

And no, a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage has no chance of passing.

Posted by: HA at February 25, 2004 04:10 AM

So we all agree that there shouldn't even be a debate on this issue? That conservatives are just fascist homophobes, and there is no merit to keeping marriage as it has been for 5000 years?

And also that any discussion of the constitutional process (that allows ammending) is also fascist? And that there should be no vote on this issue, and anyone who supports a democratic resolution is a fascist?

I just want to make sure I have all of our talking points worked out, so we can kill this debate and stomp this outdated custom out in the most efficiant way possible.

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 05:35 AM

ex: marriage 5000 years ago could also include a little extra option like stoning adulterers. If the only standard is "it's been like this for 5000 years"...

Posted by: ginger at February 25, 2004 05:47 AM

ginger: How cute. You don't think it is worth discussing the fact that an institution has be found of value for thousands of years?

OK, I sumbit to the intelletual bullying of the anti-marriage faction. No debate, no democracy, marriage should mean whatever the State says it does.

So what is next? How about we have the State recogize man/boy love affairs? Surely the institution of childhood is an outdated oppression defended only by hick, bible-thumping fundies?

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 06:01 AM

C'mon. The President just buried the thing. He threw a bone to the religious conservatives. (Just like Reagan used to). Its not going to get into Congress this year, the states aren't going to call a constitutional convention this year, nothing is going to happen on this issue this year. And frankly, its not going to pass anyway. It would take 2/3rds of the states: That means it needs 34 states to pass. I'll tell you where it won't pass:
1)Maine
2)Massachussets
3)Rhode Island
4)Connecticut
5)New Hampshire
6)Vermont
7)New York
8)New Jersey
9)Delaware
10)Maryland
11)Pennsylvania
12)Wisconsin
13)Hawaii
14)California
15)Washington
16)Oregon
17)Minnesota
18)Michigan
It probably won't pass in
19)Iowa
20)Ohio
21)Illinois
22)Indiana
23)Colorado
24)Florida
25)North Carolina
27)Virginia

That amendment is dead on arrival.

Posted by: eric at February 25, 2004 06:16 AM

A response to JFM:

First off, let me start by saying that I think you have an excellent point. I also believe that if we're going to extend tax benefits to a group we better be getting something in return. Certainly, extending benefits to a union capable of producing children is a good investment.

However, our current tax structure addresses this issue more directly. That is, we can write off each of our children as dependants. So, the question becomes, "Would such a union be a benefit to society even if it does not produce children?" If not, then it does kind of "shake out" the way you suggest (unless you want to get into adoption issues - we'll just defer that one for now). If it turns out that society does benefit from this union even if no children are involved, then it becomes appropriate to ask if this benefit is dependant on heterosexual couples only. So, the issue becomes not quite as "cut and dried" as you're post would suggest.

What hasn't been touched on yet is that we aren't looking at only one institution. We're acutally looking at two. There is marriage-the legal contract and marriage-the contract before God. Supposedly, in this neck-of-the-woods, we are all about separation of church and state. Therefore, I would hope that, whatever happens, we never find ourselves in a position of requiring a church to perform a ceremony that is contrary to their religion. As for the "legal contract" aspect of marriage, a constitutional amendment requires the will of the people to pass. I'm kind of curious to see how this shakes out.

...notice how I did this entire post without exressing an opinion one way or the other? ;)

Posted by: Joe Mooney at February 25, 2004 06:17 AM

Michael, way to parrot the left's soundbites on this issue. I happen to support civil unions, and think the state should get out of the marriage business altogether, and would rather not see the Constitution amended to address this issue at this point, but your flippant soundbite is profoundly misleading.

Bush has proposed no amendment language, so your accusation is, at best, premature. His statement indicates that he is mostly concerned with profound breakdowns in the rule of law, as evidenced by the unaddressed and flagrant violations of state law in California, and the spectacle of a court in Massachusetts setting itself up as the boss of the legislature. No one can intelligently discuss this issue without addressing these systemic breakdowns.

Bush is likely saying nothing more than he does not want the Full Faith and Credit Clause to become a license for a single state court or a single municipal bureaucrat to create law binding on all 50 states against the wishes of their citizens. Regardless of the merits of gay marriage or civil unions, I find the systemic breakdown being created by radical gay activists to be deeply troubling. I'm not sure the breakdown has gotten to the point of needing a Constitutional amendment (the Defense of Marriage Act would need to be struck down first.

BTW, with Kerry and Edwards both on record against gay marriage, where do you plan to take your vote?

Posted by: R C Dean at February 25, 2004 06:19 AM

RC: Good post, but it seems that discussion and debate are not possible on this issue. Make no mistake, this is a culture war -- though I personally think the gay left and their allies are more guilty of bomb throwing and rhetorical bullying (as usual).

I suppose I will be kicked out again by those who use this issue as a purity test for "tolerence" - so place me on the side of the fundies and get it over with!

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 06:33 AM

I am outraged that I as a heterosexual male can not marry a man or a goat

Posted by: billhedrick at February 25, 2004 06:41 AM

As a metrosexual goat I am outraged, outraged I say, that I cannot marry a billhedrick.

Posted by: Baa Baa at February 25, 2004 07:03 AM

The problem with judicial imposition of rights is that it usurps the democratic process and, therefore, alienates lots of otherwise reasonable people. So the MA Supreme Court ruling (4-3) and Mayor Newsom's flaunting of the law are hurting, not helping, the gay marriage/civil unions cause.

Sure, Roe v. Wade made abortion legal but can anyone really argue that it settled the debate? The democratic process is deliberative and slow but once it reaches a conclusion it rarely reverses itself.

Posted by: steve at February 25, 2004 07:25 AM

Baa Baa, I say : heh!

Posted by: billhedrick at February 25, 2004 07:34 AM

Donald Sensing supports separating the legal from the religious aspect of "marriage". Marriage is defined, in CA law approved by a large majority of voters, as a union of a man and woman. The SF mayor was, knowingly, violating current CA law. Anybody who thinks the 10 Commandment judge was wrong to violate the law, is inconsistent if they don't think the mayor was wrong.

1) Will America be ruled by laws, or by decisions irrespective of law?

2) The US constitution does NOT discuss privacy, nor abortion -- Roe v. Wade was a victory for pro-choice, but also for rule by men. A pro-abortion amendment prolly would NOT have passed in 1972, although a few states had already legalized abortion.

The culture war involves abortion, the family, divorce, church, schools, gays -- and laws (und der punishments!) and social acceptance.

Gays in CA have all the freedoms: sex, lives together, separations without trouble. They do not have all the benefits of "marriage". Tax breaks, adopting children. Unfortunately, sometimes despite wills and other explicit documents, gay lovers are not given medical decision making authority by hospitals who DO give power to a married spouse, and rather to parents or siblings over a gay lover.

Legal proceedings should, in any case, give more support for any explicit contract/ agreement than to default inheritance rules. I hope the pro-gays focus a bit more effort on this aspect.

(ex & JFM -- you get my support, for free, worth twice that price!)

If every politician has to actually make a vote, some marriage = man + woman formulation will probably pass -- because the political cost of voting pro-gay is probably too high (Kerry is against gay marriage, how will he vote???), and pro-man+woman doesn't change much. No additional gays in any prison or other punishment; continued discrimination against adoption by most adoption agencies.

Are the gays willing to pay "fair" insurance premiums to cover AIDs costs? I don't think so.

I consider any gay who infects another gay with HIV to be a criminal -- many (most?) gays with AIDs are both criminals and victims. By definition, infecting another is NOT a victimless crime -- but I don't know of any prosecutions or attempts to punish such "criminals". Does Andrew Sullivan know who gave him HIV?

Challenge to Michael (& commenters)-- do you think it a crime for an infected gay to infect another (knowingly OR unknowingly)?

Posted by: Tom Grey at February 25, 2004 07:35 AM

Best of luck Tom. You make a lot of good points but remember they will never see them other than "fag-hating."

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 07:42 AM

Tom Grey:

Knowingly giving someone AIDS is certainly a (moral) crime, regardless of whether we're talking about gays or not.

Unknowingly doing so may or may not be, depending on whether there is a reasonable presumption that the HIV+ person should have known.

For the record:
- I strongly favor gay marriage.
- Even so, I think the Mass SC decision was, legally and procedurally, horrendous.
- These are not contradictory statements.

Posted by: Other Laura at February 25, 2004 07:45 AM

What about the freedoms of all Americans to use the legislative process? Why should the majority be held hostage by the minority? The rights they SSM advocates are clamoring they already have access to, and even Bush's proposal includes provisions for civil unions. But that isn't go enough, they want the blessing of the government on their behavior.

If SSM activists think that they have the required votes to change their local/state/federal marriage laws, have at it. The fact remains that they don't have the needed votes to change the laws, so the subvert them. And because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause they are forcing the hand of the Federal government.

It doesn't help that people are linking the push for SSM to the cry for the destruction of marriage itself. If SSM becomes the law of the land, are SS couples going to support those of us who believe in marriage from this:

Gloria Steinem

“We have to abolish and reform the institution of marriage…By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God…We must understand what we are attempting is a revolution, not a public relations movement.”

From :

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=3390

Read this article and tell me that the law of unintended consequences won't come into play here. After all, who is to stop anyone else (or interest group) from disobeying the law and imposing their will via judicial fiat?

Posted by: j at February 25, 2004 07:47 AM

Tom Grey:

Sorry to split my post. Regarding the health insurance question, I'm a health insurance actuary, so I do have some knowledge of this issue.

For most health insurance, that is, employer-based group insurance, this would never be an issue. Enrollees with higher-cost profiles are not charged any more than their lower-cost cohorts. Smokers, skydivers, women of child-bearing age, alcoholics, and illegal drug users do not pay more , and there's very little reason why gays would or should if smokers don't, I think.

For individual health insurance (a small slice of the market, actually), this might well be an issue. At present, sexual orientation as such is not used as an underwriting characteristic anywhere I know of, but those with AIDS cannot reasonably expect to get any individual health insurance.

Posted by: Other Laura at February 25, 2004 07:52 AM

Sounds like a good idea. If the people support it, it will pass. If they don't, it will fail.

Ain't democracy great?!

Otherwise, we have the courts making decisions that should be left to the people.

You don't fear democracy do you?

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 08:00 AM

George W. Bush decided it's a good idea to use the U.S. Consitution to deny freedom to American citizens.

Hey Michael,

what do you think about all those Mormons being "denied freedom". Probably not much. It doesn't even cross your mind, does it. Why is that? Is it because polygamists aren't the flavor of the month yet? Is it still too early for you libs to jump on that bandwagon? Perhaps in a decade or so it will "ripen" enough for the Libs to assume it as their next social crusade.

Seriously, the Left survives off activism--it's their lifes blood. What next Michael? There is ALWAYS going to be a "next project." And then after the polygamists have been freed, the man-boy lovers? Goat weddings?

The sky's the limit you Lefty's.

To borrow a phrase---Welcome to Utopia, you fools.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 08:13 AM

The US made a conscious choice for heterosexual monogamy. It makes sense in a biological way. I think the constitutional amendment process is the right way to go, make the states decide.

Posted by: billhedrick at February 25, 2004 08:20 AM

Whether you are right or left, straight or gay, please please please, don't drug us goats into this debate.

Posted by: Baa Baa at February 25, 2004 08:22 AM

I meant drag. But pls don't drug us either.

Posted by: B aa Baa Postscript at February 25, 2004 08:23 AM

David uses the old slippery-slope argument (asking whether "goat weddings" are next), but I usually don't find these arguments very persuasive.

If there's a proposal to raise the speed limit on my street from 25 m.p.h. to 30, would a rational response be "What's next? 100 miles per hour?!" Seems more like a way to avoid debating the merits or demerits of a gay-marriage ban.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 08:34 AM

It isn't just slipperly slope. It is also a question of whether it is right for the State to have the power redefine a fundemental, pre-existing institution and if it can do so without any democratic debate.

If the State can redefine what "marriage" means, why shouldn't it redefine it to mean women/dog, man/goat or man/boy?

After all, people that hump dogs and goats and little boys also have a right to "freedom"...

(...though unfortunely for them, the dog-lovers are not over-represented in the editorial newsrooms or considered politically correct among the self-annoited "tolerent")

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 08:50 AM

ex: How cute. You don't think it is worth discussing the fact that an institution has be found of value for thousands of years?

That's not what I said.

I just don't think the "found of value for thousand of years" is in itself enough to judge anything. Slavery was also found of value for thousand of years. The length of time in which something is practiced is not itself something that adds value to it.

In other words, the value of something is independent of how long it's been done. Democracy is a very recent thing, but it's definitely more valuable than theocracy, even if theocracy has been around longer.

Get it now?

And of course, if you pick the "thousand of years" argument as validation of something, well, dear ex, you may not like to think about it but it's well-ascertained that homosexuality also has been existing for thousand of years. And not just in the human species.

So, just be careful what kind of validating arguments you pick, that's all.

OK, I sumbit to the intelletual bullying of the anti-marriage faction.

Boo hoo. "Anti-marriage", oh come on. Who said anything against marriage? If anything, the fact some gays may want access to it means they value marriage, doh. Anti-marriage people would not bother demanding the right to get married, don't you think?

And who said there should not be a debate? I think you missed the point of Michael's and Sheila's criticism of Bush raising this now.

I also think you missed the little fact this is a constitutional amendment proposal.

Personally I'm neither in favour nor against gay marriages. I don't know what I'd vote for if I had the chance to express a vote.

On the one hand, I can understand legal motivations to keep marriage limited to man-woman couples. In particular, there is one issue I'm not too sure about and that is the possibility for gay couples of raising children There's gay couples who do a much better job at that than most "straight" parents, but as a general rule, I do think children need a traditional family structure.

On the other hand, I do think it's important to recognise rights to partners even in gay couples. So I'm in favour of civil unions that would recognize all fundamental rights for partners. Children issue aside.

What I don't understand are the "what next?!" paranoid reactions and the argument that gay marriages - or even civil unions, cos most people who use those arguments are against those as well - would somehow threaten and disrupt and devalue marriage and bring down a whole society. The "slippery slope" arguments are most absurd of all.

So what is next? How about we have the State recogize man/boy love affairs?

There you go, perfect instance of the "slippery slope" nonsense. What follows shouldn't be necessary to explain, but sometimes even obvious things need saying. "Man/boy" is called paedophilia, has nothing to do with homosexuality (really, literally nothing to do with it - most paedophiles are not even gay, and most abuses on kids are committed in very straight families, built on very traditional marriage, how about that now?), and is a crime because it's about violence on a minor.

If you don't understand the difference between abusing minors and having consensual sexual and emotional relations between adults, which is the topic of the "gay marriage" debate, I suggest you're not really equipped with the basic terms of reference to debate this at all.

Posted by: ginger at February 25, 2004 08:56 AM

ex: If the State can redefine what "marriage" means, why shouldn't it redefine it to mean women/dog, man/goat or man/boy?

I'll let Doctor Suarez answer that. (From Sheila's post):

Allowing same-sex marriage is not a slippery slope. As society stands now, sexual acts between consenting adults of any gender are perfectly legal (thanks in no small part to the court's 2003 reversal of Texas sodomy laws). Despite this, it is still unlawful, so far as I am aware, to engage in sex with a member of your immediate family, a child, or the tenants of a petting zoo. Homosexuality among adults is a legal, albeit uncommon act. Sex among family members or children is a perversion. That line remains fast in our society, and encouraging homosexual adults to engage in legally-codified monogamy is not going to blur the lines of acceptable sexual behavior. There is no planet on which the next "logical" step is letting people marry their potbelly pigs.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2004 09:02 AM

After all, people that hump dogs and goats and little boys also have a right to "freedom"...

That's unbelievably stupid, ignorant, and gross.

What part of "consensual" and "adult" don't you understand? can you have a grown-up consensual sexual AND emotional relation with a dog, a goat, or even a 7-year-old? Can you build a family nucleus with them? can you be a couple in the social and economic sense of the word? Can you go rent a house and get a loan with a goat? Is your sheep recognised as "spouse" by the State Deparment immigration service?

I. Don't. Think. So.

Those absurd instances are not even on the same planet with the word "marriage".

Unbelievable really.

Posted by: ginger at February 25, 2004 09:04 AM

It's also amusing that the slippery-slope argument works -- if that's the right word -- backwords. If you're against gay-marriage because you find "goat weddings" unthinkable, taking this to its logical conclusion you should also be against straight marriage, which, as we're now witnessing, leads to calls for gay marriage, which, the slippery-slope argument posits, will in turn lead to goat weddings.

If goat weddings must not be allowed to occur, looks like we shouldn't start down the slope by allowing straight weddings.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 09:14 AM

First, my argument is not about the morality of homosexuality, but about the morality of the State changing what everyone means by marriage.

Second, my argument is not just a slippery slope, it is about the morality of State DESTROYING the existing institution in support of a NEW ONE - without even a civil democratic debate. The fact it exists for thousands of years isn't as imporatant as the fact it exists PRIOR to the state itself.

Marriage means "man and woman" - this exists prior to the authority of the State (and incidentally, between "man and womEn would be more historically accrurate). The same exists for "childhood."

If the State can redine one institaition, why not the other? The morality of the State recogizing man/boy relationships (redefining the instution of childhood) is a valid question (and incidentally, has a prior history among the Greeks and others - unlike gay "marriage").

The "slavery" argument isn't valid (though maybe it is, but not in the way you meant it). The whole institution of slavery (i.e. people owning other people) was outlawed at a Federal level by an Ammendemnt, not just redefined.

Get. it. now??

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 09:23 AM

Mr. Hall: It isn't just slippery slope. The current defition of "marriage" is that between a man and woman (mw). Changing the definition to mean between same sex also (mw, mm, ww) changes the instutution itself - i.e. DESTROYS the institution, as (mw) is not the same as (mw, mm, ww).

I have mixed feelings about the wisdom of the State DESTROYING an institution. But I am disgusted by the rhetorical bullying and bombthrowing on behalf of the destroyers.

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 09:28 AM

Polygamy is next. Suits are already pending.

Laugh all you want at jokes about goats and Nambla. That's fine, the goat jokes were meant to be funny. But with your gay logic, you have denuded the courts of any argument against polygamy.

You casually brush aside the slippery slope? To your folly you do so. Short-sighted fools.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 09:47 AM

ex: The current defition of "marriage" is that between a man and woman (mw). Changing the definition to mean between same sex also (mw, mm, ww) changes the instutution itself - i.e. DESTROYS the institution, as (mw) is not the same as (mw, mm, ww).

I agree that allowing same-sex marriage would "change" the institution of marriage (because we would then have mw-mm-ww instead of just mw), but I wouldn't say it "destroys" marriage. I would say it "adds to" or "enhances" marriage in that straight people would still be able to get married as they always have, but now others could do the same. But whether permitting gay marriage is characterized as "destroying," "changing," or "enhancing" the institution of marriage, I don't see how that matters. You appear to believe it self-evident that allowing gay marriage would be a bad thing, but I do not agree.

ex: I have mixed feelings about the wisdom of the State DESTROYING an institution. But I am disgusted by the rhetorical bullying and bombthrowing on behalf of the destroyers.

As for the rehetorical bullying, this website is rather good in comparison to other sites. I do agree that a not insignificant chunk of the left isn't interested in serious debate on many topics, but people here are fairly civil and serious.

P.S.: Would someone please explain to me how to italicize others' remarks so that reading responses such as this are clearer? Guess I'm no computer whiz.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 10:08 AM

Michael,

You said,

" Despite this, it is still unlawful, so far as I am aware, to engage in sex with a member of your immediate family, a child, or the tenants of a petting zoo."

Right now it is unlawful for SS couples in California to be issued marriage certificates....and yet it is happening. You seem to argue that once the line is moved to accommodate SSM, why then, everyone will agree that that is where it should remain.....not so. You are assuming that the will of the majority of married partners will now be respected. Fat chance! Even now we have attacks such as this:

"Last Monday, February 16, Jonathan Katz, executive coordinator of a gay and lesbian studies program at Yale University, appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation, with Neal Conan. Katz expressed the hope that gay marriage could change the meaning of marriage for everyone. Here's a quote:
I'm also perhaps Pollyannaish enough to believe that we may, in fact, help move the state perspective on marriage by virtue of our inclusion towards a much broader, much more capacious view. I'm thinking even of the fact of monogamy, which is both one of the pillars of heterosexual marriage and perhaps its key source of trauma. 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 think it's possible....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. But because it has cohered as perhaps the litmus test of civil rights now, because it carries real social benefits, and because I think it perhaps furthers the uncoupling of the state and the church in this country, which I thought was promised in our Constitution, then I'm all for it."

That doesn't sound like the line is now going to be fixed if SSM is approved, does it? Just because YOU think "Once marriage is redefined, the line will remained fixed" doesn't mean that other activist aren't going to try their best to redefine and move the line. And how will they be stopped? We are setting the stage for the majority's wishes are to be dismissed....so if we can't respect the law, and seek to subvert it rather than change it....then all things are permitted are they not?

This is going to be a fight to the last for both sides....

Posted by: j at February 25, 2004 10:19 AM

Mr. Hall: Would changing it to mean (mwww+) also only "enhance" or "add to" the definition? Is it self-evident that polygamy is a bad thing?

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 10:22 AM

Embrace, extend, extinguish. (rinse, repeat) How many times have you seen something embraced by radicals, extended to suit their goals, and finally purged of all (original) meaning?

Posted by: Fred Boness at February 25, 2004 10:38 AM

Michael Hall, I think you're right about this site being better than so many. The goat stuff, yechh.

Although slippery slope is real, and de nial ain't just a river in Egypt. There's already a LAW, approved by LAWMAKERS, the Defense Of Marriage Act, DOMA, that defines marriage as man-women. No gay lovers have lost any freedom from this act. Note that in eliminating sodomy laws, had anybody used the slippery slope argument and said "next the gays will want to get married!" he would have been laughed at. But right. (I'm very, very glad to get rid of sodomy laws)

Gays may have not received some benefits that some get, like aid to farmers or steel or fat cat Mil. Industry types -- the marriage benefits (reduced taxes).

Rights & freedoms, nobody pays for. There IS a good reason to give gays marriage benefits, for being monogamous & committed. But such benefits are primarily for creating children for the future, not rewarding fidelity -- though perhaps they should be. I, personally, don't think this reason is good enough to destroy "marriage", but it IS good enough for civil union with all current legal survivor benefits.

It's not clear that gays want this the most. They want "equality" (and adoption privileges), but it's biologically not equal. Sperm + ovum = baby possibility. Marriage is to support that hope; very pro-life.

And yes, Roe v. Wade made political losers out of the pro-life folk, but there's more talk about the Roe effect -- some 40 mill Americans not born to relatively pro-abortion/ liberal mothers who chose abortion.

Homosexuality as the social norm is NOT sustainable! (I really like that green word!) It's not Bush, it's the liberal judges, usurping lawmaking powers, that have been the push -- and the pro-life, save marriage folk are gonna push back.

Michael JT -- how about your take on the criminality of AIDs givers?

Posted by: Tom Grey at February 25, 2004 11:03 AM

Mr Mooney

Perhaps you don't know it but there isn't a such thing as menopause for men.

Now some analogies and precedents. In my country it isn't illegal to have incestuous sex providing it is between consenting adults but marriage between say, brother and sister is illegal and we both know why.

In some cities of ancient Greece gay sexuality was encouraged for military reasons: it was believed that it would make soldiers more reluctant to fee since this would mean abandon their lover. Butr even in the two cities were military homosexuality was the most actively encouraged, Sparta and Thebes, there was not a such thing as a gay marriage.

Marriage is about such things like "who is the real father of my wife's children", "why should I feed those children if they aren't mine", "I sacrifice nine months of my life to have a baby and then my husband abandons me or he will let of his money (and as much as he can of mine) to his bastards and my child will starve". No child, no reason for having the institution of marriage.

And I would say exactly the same thing if I were gay

Posted by: JFM at February 25, 2004 11:03 AM
I wouldn't get too worked up about this Amendment business. Bush had hinted previously that he would bring up the question of an Amendment, and the recent ruling by the MA Courts and the SF mayor's actions have only provoked him further. He was feeling quite a bit of pressure from the Religious Right and he had to act. It would take a couple of years at least to get an Amendment through, and I have doubts about it getting passed. I think he has simply passed the hot potato to the Congress and the States, with the preference that the States decide themselves how to handle this. As an aside, California's Prop. 22 in March 2000, the "Limit on Marriage" proposition, was passed by the voters of the State, yes 61.4%, no's 38.6%.

If California, arguably the most liberal State in the Union, votes to affirm the current definition of marriage, then I wouldn't be too sure that this Amendment business will die anytime soon. I think the fact that people are very conservative when it comes to touching the Constitution that in the end it wont make it. Calif. Prop 22 Results (among others)
Prop. 22 Definition

Posted by: jr at February 25, 2004 11:06 AM

"No child, no reason for having the institution of marriage."

And if you want to adopt? Or have a foster child? Or have survivor benefits if your life partner dies? Or want to have a say in the burial arrangements of your life partner? Or want to sue someone for the wrongful death of your partner? Or if you want to live with your partner in "family-only" housing? Or participate in consumer incentives or tution discounts only available to married couples? Or make decisions on behalf of your partner if he or she is incapacitated? Or obtain social security benefits as a spouse?

Children are an important part of marriage, but only a part. And don't forget that gay people can have biological children, and many do.

Posted by: Stu at February 25, 2004 11:17 AM

Um, well, obviously all children are biological. I mean, gay people do procreate and have children.

Posted by: Stu at February 25, 2004 11:20 AM

Stu: All of those can exist w/o destroying the concept of marriage. Don't kid yourself, econcomic reasons are only 1% of what is driving the anti-marriage agenda.

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 11:23 AM

JFM: No child, no reason for having the institution of marriage.

I am married. My wife and I do not and will not have children.

Do you really think there is no reason for us to be married? What do you think my wife and I got married for? Just for something to do on a Saturday?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2004 11:40 AM

ex: Would changing it to mean (mwww+) also only "enhance" or "add to" the definition? Is it self-evident that polygamy is a bad thing?

I do not want to get into a semantic debate on whether gay marriage would be "destroying" or "adding to" marriage.

It seems that JFM and Tom Grey have ideas very different from mine concerning the purpose of marriage. I evidently view it as much more ceremonial in nature -- that is, I see it as an expression of commitment to the other person (persons? I'll get to that in a minute). In other words, the two people are so serious about being with one another that they're will to engage in all the solemnities of a wedding ceremony and then hold themselves out to the world as a committed couple.

I don't see children as being the foundation of marriage. People can have children without being married and married people may choose not to have children (or be unable to). True, many married people do have children, but is marriage the reason they're having children? If all marriage were abolished, does anyone believe the human race would die out?

Turning to polygamy, as I said above, I haven't given it too much thought, but I suppose my tentative answer would be that I wouldn't have a problem with it. It's not something I would want to be a part of, but if, say, a man and three women want to commit to each other (or the three women to him alone, or any other permutation), I don't have a problem with it. Again, it's not for me, but what's the harm in allowing these folks to do it? (By the way, if it matters I'm not Mormon. I'm agnostic.)

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 12:06 PM

Pot-bellied pigs...

Goats...

Funny that no one has mentioned chickens, yet.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 12:08 PM

Deciding the age of "adulthood" is arbitrary as well. I know many very mature 10 year olds. Perhaps we should have the State throw out the entire institution of childhood. I expect you to up in arms about the "facist" Ammendment that arbirtrarily sets the voting age at 18. I also expect full support for courts that try 6 year olds as adults in defiance of state and federal law.

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 12:17 PM

"Stu: All of those can exist w/o destroying the concept of marriage."

Point A: Allowing homosexuals to marry will not destroy the institution of marriage. Hasn't damaged it at all here in Canada. Besides, discrimination on the basis of conjecture seems a bit fearful to me, and if it's so fragile that a few people of the same gender using it causes the instituion to collapse, it probably deserves to.

Point B: Many of those rights (along with countless others that I didn't include, but can be found here (warning, PDF) ) cannot exist without marriage. Unless you want to re-write the entire civil code dealing with legal arrangements that go along with long-term commitments made by people who are doin' the nasty with each other on a regular basis. Which seems like a lot of paperwork to me. Cheaper to just get rid of the discrimination, don't you think?

Posted by: Stu at February 25, 2004 12:19 PM

" Allowing homosexuals to marry will not destroy the institution of marriage."

(mw) is still not (mw, ww, mm), no matter how many semantic tricks you try to pull. Marriage has always been between men and women.

And I would rather have more paperwork than allow the State to redefine institutions as it pleases (without even the courtesy of a democratic debate).

Not letting 16 year olds vote is also "discrimination" - who cares? (other than lefties who see "discrimination" as a scare word)

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 12:28 PM

ex: Marriage has always been between men and women.

And it will remain so. No one is going to force you to marry a man (assuming you are a man). The vast majority of marriages will still be between people of the opposite sex.

I married a woman and, believe me, it's not because the state wouldn't let me marry a man.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2004 12:44 PM

"Marriage has always been between men and women."

No it hasn't. Marriage is exactly what society defines it to be, and always has. That's the great thing about free societies, they make up their own rules.

"Not letting 16 year olds vote is also "discrimination" - who cares"

Well, no it isn't - allowing some 16 year olds to vote and preventing other 16 years olds from voting on some bizarre pretext that has nothing to do with their ability to vote would be discrimination.

But that aside, "who cares"? Does this mean that because you think there's already some discrimination, that all discrimination is therefore excusable?

Posted by: Stu at February 25, 2004 12:46 PM

Thirty-seven years ago it was still illegal in some states for people of different races to marry. That had a long pedigree, too.

Posted by: Mithras at February 25, 2004 12:56 PM

Mr. Totten: I may be able to "marry" a women after marrigae is destroyed but it will be under an entirely different meaning.

Stu:
>>Marriage is exactly what society defines it to be, and always has.

And society has deemed it between men and women - both historically and in terms of sheet votes.

>>That's the great thing about free societies, they make up their own rules.

It isn't free when a tiny minority decides for everyone else to replace the established institution with something entirely differnet. The Majority also has rights, especially in democracies. The fact you cloak your position under "freedom" is what I find most disgusting.

>>Well, no it isn't

Yes it is. You are discriminating by age.Why? Because our laws defend the pre-existing institution of childhood. A 16 year old is not an 18 year old and a child is not an adult -- just as a man/women institution is not the same as man/man or women/women institution.

Believe it or not but there can be just and unjust forms of discrimination. The word " discrimination" is not synomymous with "evil."

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 01:01 PM

The FMA doesn't go far enough. Heterosexual marriage for LIFE must be Constitutionally protected! There must be serious penalties for adultery. And as in ancient Rome, the State must penalize married couples who refuse to procreate. Procreation is the reason for marriage. Marriage serves society. Non-fertile couples should not be permitted to marry.

Anyone who supports the FMA without supporting these inclusions is a hypocrite and no better than the homosexuals they profess to be saving marriage from.

Posted by: Outraged Conservative at February 25, 2004 01:03 PM

>>Thirty-seven years ago it was still illegal in some states for people of different races to marry.

Irrevenent and (probably) just another cheap ploy to make gay anti-marriage a "civil right" by dragging up racial discrimination.

The instistution was still defined as men/women, which is the very reason why the racist laws were inherently unjust (and why it was moral to overturn them).

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 01:05 PM

Outraged Conservative: Say "hi" to Moby.

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 01:07 PM

Yeah, but to do a "Moby" properly it must be plausible.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 01:09 PM

Are you just a sunshine patriot, ex, or are you truly a defender of marriage? Now's the time to make your stand.

Posted by: Outraged Conservative at February 25, 2004 01:10 PM

Sigh...

Alright, in the strictest sense the State exists solely to safeguard and protect your:
1. LIFE
2. LIBERTY
3. AND PROPERTY

How, pray tell, would letting homosexuals marry jeopardize any of the above? Your life, your liberty, and your property will not in any way be put in danger. None of it clashes with the core principles of limited government, not even remotely.

It's like Michael said, it's not like marriage will no longer be between a man and a woman for you. You're safe, buddy. You'll be able to marry whoever the hell you want, either way. Your life won't change one bit. So, why the big fuss?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 01:15 PM

JFM

Your definition of marriage is based soley upon the ability to procreate and the need to protect those children. Perhaps your right, but my understanding of the current legal definition of marriage is that children - nor the intention to procreate - are a requirement of marriage in this country. Your notion of marriage my be valid, but it is your opinion and not the law of the land. Furthermore, other post in this thread would suggest thay your view is not exactly universal. If you feel that strongly about it, that is the law you should be pushing for.

And I would feel that way whether I had menopause or not. By the way, my children may not have come out of my body, but I have done and continue to make sacrifices for them. I do so because I love them very much. That, more than any law that any nation could write, or institution our society cares to define, will keep me in my children's life and compel me to care for them.

Perhaps you don't know it, but having menopause is not a prerequisite for caring for your offspring.

Posted by: Joe Mooney at February 25, 2004 01:15 PM

What you said, O.C.

And while we're protecting traditional marriage, let's return to arranged marriages. After all, that's they way it's been done for millennia. Ever since youngsters, who know no better, have been picking their own partners instead of allowing wiser heads to do so, divorce rates have skyrocketed.

And don't get me started on this new-fangled notion that romance should be involved in marriage. What a lot of trouble the institution has been in since that started up in the nineteenth century.

And I, for one, would like a return to the time-honoured tradition of the woman's pre-marriage property becoming the husband's. Women were less likely to want divorce if they had good, financial reasons for staying in the union. Besides, my spouse's retirement savings are more impressive than mine.

Posted by: Stu at February 25, 2004 01:17 PM

Okay so I notice someone mentioned humping dogs, BUT STILL NO CHICKENS?! How long must this go on? For God's sake, someone talk about screwing chickens!!!

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 01:18 PM

Rule number five?

No poofters!

Posted by: Bruce at February 25, 2004 01:25 PM

Deep down inside all of us is an uncontrollable urge to screw chickens. The second gays are allowed to marry, society will crumble for as this urge manifests itself, chaos will ensue. The chicken-raping madness must be stopped!

Please, will no one take up my cause?! Surely there still exists a righteous man before the face of God. Rail against man-chicken love, today!

Moby, will you not take up the cross?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 01:29 PM

Grant: I am suspecious of tiny minorities using the power of the State to overthrow established (and just and popular) institutions to replace with arbitrary defintions dictated by the same tiny minority. But most of all I am disgusted in how they bully their way out any real debate.

Stu: How many of those replace (mw) with (mw, mm, ww)? Institutions evolve. But destroying an institution and replacing it with another is not what we mean by evolvoution. It is actually called "bait and switch"!

Posted by: ex at February 25, 2004 01:30 PM

EX...

You want real debate? Then why not speak of chickens, my friend?! The threat is real. Raise your righteous voice to the heavens!

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 01:35 PM

Er, Grant, are you drinking?

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 01:36 PM

PS...

You might want to rethink that whole tyranny of the tiny minority argument, there. Majority opinion in both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in San Fransisco is supportive of same-sex marriage.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 01:37 PM

..okay, I'll play...

EX:

When you find youself in danger,

When you're threatened by a stranger,

When it looks like you will take a lickin',

(puk, puk, puk, puk)

There is someone waiting,

Who will hurry up and rescue you,

just Call for Super Chicken!

(puk, ack!)

:)

Posted by: Joe at February 25, 2004 01:38 PM

MICHAEL HALL...

Dude, I'm always the uber-serious one around here. Can't I have a little fun for once?!

And I do INDEED profoundly find it disturbing that goats, dogs, and pot-bellied pigs get mentioned before chickens do. Goats I can maybe understand, that's to be expected. But, seriously, "screwing chickens" always follows the goats for these people. Something has gone horribly wrong in the world when redneck conservatives have forgotten the plight of the chicken. ;)

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 01:42 PM

Joe, you are my hero.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 01:44 PM

Grant: But don't forget that activist judges will quickly spread fake-marriage to other states/locations. In this case the Federalist arugment does not work.

PS: Are you discriminating against inter-species marriage? After all, we don't have slavery anymore. Why should marriage be confined to humans (hh) and not avians (ha)? Are you saying that you support backwards institutions, i.e. you are in favor of slavery?

Posted by: Ex at February 25, 2004 01:47 PM

Majority opinion in both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in San Fransisco is supportive of same-sex marriage.

I beg to differ on your numbers. In Massachusetts the pro-gay lobby had to go to the courts to pass their agenda. And the city of San Fran may be overrepresented by freaks, but that also doesn't translate to a majority in the state legislature--thus the mayor is forced to act outside the law.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 01:48 PM

Well, shoot, have a little fun then, but I should warn you that I'm on the verge of giving you a nickname like "chicken boy."

Oh, and you're in college, right? Why are you not drinking? Damned disgrace to college students everywhere if you ask me.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 01:48 PM

Here's a difference between freedom and license. There's no abridgement of freedom: a straight man can marry any woman who accepts. Similarly for a woman.

Gays have exactly the same rights. No more, no less.

Posted by: Mike at February 25, 2004 01:49 PM

Mr Totten

The couple you form with your wife is not the institution of marriage. I hope this didn't devastate you.

Marriage exists because on average married couples have more child than unmarried ones due to the greater security it provides (for instance against man abandonning women and child to starve). Marriage exists because on average teh child raised by a couple will fare better in life than the child raised by a single parent (in third world countries often they die before adulthood).

You give me the example of your couple who doesn't have child. But it still can happen. And unless you advocate a North Korean like regime, the state should not meddle in how many child you have.

Some people have given me the example of sterile or aged couples. But these are individualities, they aren't a form of union who is intrinsically sterile.

I live with a woman I am not married with and we have a daughter. But I have an interest in people around me having children because one of those children could be the soldier who will defend me or the doctor who will attend me once I become old. I have an interest in people around me having children because I dont want my daughter living in a country who will have become a giant retirement house due to people not having had children. That is why, despite my own situation I agree to pay taxes for funding a form of union who produces more children. I don't agree to pay taxes for forms who are intrinsically sterile or forms who produce children with a very high rate of birth defects like incestuous marriage. You agree to pay? Magnificent. Pay your share AND the share of people who disagree.

Posted by: JFM at February 25, 2004 01:52 PM

Mike: I agree. A gay man should be able to marry any woman at anytime. And lesbians are free to marry any man.

Posted by: Ex at February 25, 2004 01:54 PM

JFM touches on another point: Why can't I marry my sister or mom? After all you have replaced it as being between two consenting adults, and not non-related man/woman.

Posted by: Ex at February 25, 2004 01:58 PM

Tom Grey: Michael JT -- how about your take on the criminality of AIDs givers?

Knowingly giving another person AIDS is murder. This has nothing to do with gay marriage, though.

Homosexuality as the social norm is NOT sustainable!

No one wants to make it the norm. Not even a totalitarian regime could make it so.

Just leave gay people alone and let them live their lives like everyone else. There are already monogamous gay households who are de-facto "married," and there always will be. All they want is to be recognized as equal instead of being stigmatized and marginalized. It's not a big deal, and it won't hurt your own marriage one bit.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2004 01:59 PM

MICHAEL HALL...

Dude, come on, it's the middle of the afternoon! I'm slacking off on writing a paper by talking about chickens...isn't that nutty enough for you?! I'm a pretty serious student, man, got a 3.7 GPA. I don't drink in the middle of day. Usually. (Will be tomorrow, though, as soon as I get out of class: Gotta celebrate Mardi Gras at least once this week.)

No need for the nickname, by the way. The topic of chicken-man love was breached. My job is done, here.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 02:01 PM

" All they want is to be recognized as equal instead of being stigmatized and marginalized."

I agree it is about recognition for some, but it doesn't jive with reality. They want the State to make 2+2=5 and they are willing to overide democracy to get it.

Others are just Statist trying to destroy marriage as an institution and see this as yet another weapon.

Posted by: Ex at February 25, 2004 02:03 PM

Grant: Sometimes weird ideas come back as good ideas when you get hammered. I would suggest avoiding chickens when you get drunk this week. For both your sake and for the chicken ;)

Posted by: Ex at February 25, 2004 02:05 PM

Mike: There's no abridgement of freedom: a straight man can marry any woman who accepts. Similarly for a woman. Gays have exactly the same rights. No more, no less.

That's like Henry Ford saying his customers can have a car in any color they want as long as it's black.

I can marry anyone I want to because I'm straight. My gay friend Ezra cannot. He doesn't want to marry any woman because he is not emotionally able to fall in love with a woman. Expecting him to marry a woman is as crazy as expecting me to marry a man.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2004 02:11 PM

No chickens are allowed at our parties, buddy. They get too damn rowdy. And for safety sake. Designate a driver beforehand and stay away from chickens lest you wake up next to one the following morning, that's what we always say. ;)

Now I gotta go write a paper on freedom of expression, no joke. God, it's great to be an American.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 02:11 PM

Grant,

You're cracking me up. Love the chicken bit.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2004 02:12 PM

Mr. Totton: So what? Life isn't fair. I may love two women, my mom, my 10 year old cousin and an imaginary friend, but I still can't marry them.

But he can't make marriage mean man/man anymore than making 2+2=5 -- and I maintain it is wrong for him to try to through undemocratic means.

Posted by: Ex at February 25, 2004 02:18 PM

Those who advocate a re-defining of the meaning of marriage have the duty to show that said re-definition will not harm society in the long run. Such a case cannot be made by talking about civil rights. One must look at how marriage as we know it came to be and whether it has served a useful perpose in society in it's current form.

With that foundation of history and understanding one must then understand that a precedent is being established that will give aggrieved interest groups of the future a legitimate basis for again re-defining the term. It is certainly no stretch to conclude that in short order we will see renewed challenges.

The simplistic civil rights argument is naive and dangerous. The gay lobby totally avoids answering the "slippery slope" question because it is damn difficult. Yet, for their position to have genuine credibility, they must. When gays get their right to marry, what arguments will they use to deny them to others?

Posted by: Ariel at February 25, 2004 02:19 PM

(Cough)(Cough)...chickens, Ariel. Go ahead and say it. It's all about the chickens.

Alright, I seriously gotta go. I'm even beginning to scare myself.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 25, 2004 02:23 PM

If goat weddings must not be allowed to occur, looks like we shouldn't start down the slope by allowing straight weddings.

Michael Hall, you have a very, very good point there. :)

I'm for taking it all even more backwards, and starting at the source. Eliminate not just marriage, but births - which are the 'prime movers' of marriage, so to speak. If you're not born, you can't even get married, right? and most importantly, you cannot be gay! and much less be gay AND get married.

Voila. Problem solved.

Also. Without births, there would be less stupid on this planet raising stupid questions such as "what next, marrying goats?"

- Of course, that would leave the problem of gay chimps. What do we do with them? what if they demand the right to be, gee, I don't know, kings of the jungle? gay chimps getting married would destroy the ecosystem faster than Exxon spills. Think of the catastrophic consequence of granting legitimacy to gay animal behaviour. A gay butterfly in Tokyo could cause a earthquate in Alaska! That's gay chaos theory, dude. So we not only have to eliminate human births, but also animal births.

A bit radical as a solution, I know, but it would preserve the sanctity of marriage. Like the human and animal species, it would remain only as a memory, but still, better to have a preserved memory in a post-catastrophe world, than a world where depravation is legitimised...

Posted by: ginger at February 25, 2004 02:31 PM

Okay, I'm gonna bite:

JFM, I'll reprint your comments in quotation marks (since no one has told me how to italicize, bastards) and interpolate my remarks in brackets.

"The couple you form with your wife is not the institution of marriage. I hope this didn't devastate you."

[Michael Totten and his wife are "not the institution of marriage?" Well, yes, one couple doesn't constitute the institution of marriage, but they are married, right?]

"Marriage exists because on average married couples have more child than unmarried ones due to the greater security it provides (for instance against man abandonning women and child to starve). . . ."

[How does marriage provide greater security? As you probably know, unmarried parents are required to support their offspring, so how does marriage provide greater security? As for married couples having more children than unmarried ones, I suspect that you're right, BUT just because there is a correlation between marriage and children doesn't mean there's cause and effect. If the concept of marriage didn't exist, might those people who would have married have had children anyway? Of course. Marriage is not necessary to have children or prevent them from being abandoned (to the extent possible).]

". . . Marriage exists because on average the child raised by a couple will fare better in life than the child raised by a single parent (in third world countries often they die before adulthood)."

[You may be right that on average the child raised by a couple will fare better than the child raised by a single parent, but "single parent" isn't the real alternative, is it? The alternative is both parents taking part in the child's life (despite the fact that they are not married). Although, of course, without a marriage both parents will be "single," that doesn't mean they both won't be around. And if, say, the father isn't inclined to stick around, how is marriage going to change that? He can still bolt.]

"You give me the example of your couple who doesn't have child. But it still can happen. And unless you advocate a North Korean like regime, the state should not meddle in how many child you have."

[Yes, it can theoretically happen, but what are the odds? Perhaps more importantly, do we want to have parents who don't WANT to have a child? Is that good public policy? Lastly, if marriage is about children, why SHOULDN'T the State meddle in how many children one has?]

"Some people have given me the example of sterile or aged couples. But these are individualities, they aren't a form of union who is intrinsically sterile."

[Individualities? Yes, they are, in fact, "intrinsically sterile," though they may not be aware of it when they marry. Should we have medical testing of those wishing to be married to ensure that they are fertile? I presume that you would disallow marriage to those found infertile?]

"I live with a woman I am not married with and we have a daughter. But I have an interest in people around me having children because one of those children could be the soldier who will defend me or the doctor who will attend me once I become old. I have an interest in people around me having children because I dont want my daughter living in a country who will have become a giant retirement house due to people not having had children. That is why, despite my own situation I agree to pay taxes for funding a form of union who produces more children. I don't agree to pay taxes for forms who are intrinsically sterile or forms who produce children with a very high rate of birth defects like incestuous marriage. You agree to pay? Magnificent. Pay your share AND the share of people who disagree."

[It may be true that you and I have an interest in seeing the human race continue, but why is marriage essential to that? As for taxes, you say you "don't agree to pay taxes for forms who are intrinsically sterile or forms who produce children with a very high rate of birth defects like incestious marriage." We pay what the U.S. tax code says we'll pay (as implemented by IRS regulations, etc.).]

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 02:35 PM

***Just leave gay people alone and let them live their lives like everyone else. There are already monogamous gay households who are de-facto "married," and there always will be. All they want is to be recognized as equal instead of being stigmatized and marginalized. It's not a big deal, and it won't hurt your own marriage one bit.***

There is a magnificent conceit in the notion that the baby boomers and younger generations somehow have gained a wise insight into human nature that was denied all prior generatons. The billions who have lived and died prior to around 1970 were just really really ignorant anf bigoted on the subject of homosexuality. It is only in the last couple of decades that humans have come to realize that homosexual behavior is "no big deal" and should be placidly tolerated if not celebrated.

Sorry folks, but I credit our ancestors with better sense than the opinionmakers of today. Homosexuality has not been virtually unanimously condemned in every civilization since time began simply because straight people felt "threatened". When a species exhibits disdain over millenia for a particular practice, mother nature is trying to tell you something. I, for one, am listening.

Posted by: Tremblor at February 25, 2004 02:41 PM

Tremblor: When a species exhibits disdain over millenia for a particular practice, mother nature is trying to tell you something.

You could say the very same thing about inter-racial marriage. But I hope you won't.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 25, 2004 02:44 PM

***Tremblor: When a species exhibits disdain over millenia for a particular practice, mother nature is trying to tell you something.

You could say the very same thing about inter-racial marriage. But I hope you won't.***

Actually you cannot. The evidence simply doesn't exist to the best of my knowledge.

But your response is regrettably facile and serves as an excellent example of the hubris of the current generations to ignore if not sneer at the lessons so painfully learned by prior generations. We have indeed embarked on a new Dark Age in many ways.

Posted by: Tremblor at February 25, 2004 03:02 PM

Thanks, Ginger. Yep, the ol' slippery-slope argument can be fun! ;-)

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 03:04 PM

We have indeed embarked on a new Dark Age in many ways.

The mind boggles.

Posted by: Mithras at February 25, 2004 03:04 PM

Marriage doesn't guarantee that the man will not go away: it makes easier to make him pay alimony. In France the children born in marriage have the husband as father. Period. Meaning that if he just leaves and doesn't pay an alimony during the interim period before divorce he will go to jail.
As simple as that. If it is out of wedlock the biological father must declare they are from him. If he doesn't then the woman must go to a trial in order to have the children declared as being from him. Notice the difference: going to a trial versus automatic fatherhood. The children born in marriage have an edge respective to bastards when sharing the heirloom of their common parent.

That is only two of the factors who give a woman more guarantees about the fate of her children when in marriage respective to an unmarried couple. And statiscally this leads to greater fecundity rates. Thus marriage is related
to having the human race continue.

For the IRS question. No problem, either you set a system like in Germany where you declare your religion for the purpose of the religious tax ie you declare you support gay marriage and pay an additional tax for it. Or, you adopt a reactionary who will send you the bill on the taxes he pays for funding gay marriage. :-)

Posted by: JFM at February 25, 2004 03:06 PM

The "slippery slope" issue is routinely derided and ridiculed here and elsewhere for one simple reason. The proponents of gay marriage simply cannot answer the question. That leaves no other approach except to make the questioner out to be an idiot for raising the issue.

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 03:11 PM

"Homosexuality has not been virtually unanimously condemned in every civilization since time began..."

Says who?

And I'm disturbed by all this "votes for women" stuff. Next thing you know, people will be allowing children to vote. And then their dogs and chickens. The whole sacred institution of democracy is demeaned and threatened. Slippery slope, my friends, slippery slope.

Posted by: Stu at February 25, 2004 03:13 PM

Oh, JFM, sorry, I forgot to make one point -- arguably my strongest point, silly me:

Even assuming that marriage somehow promotes children -- hell, let's assume that marriage is absolutely NECESSARY to have children -- how does allowing gays to marry damage this mechanism?

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 03:15 PM

"Slippery Slope" reasoning, also called "opening of the flood gates", is often used by judges in the resolution of legal cases. It means precedent can be a dangerous thing and can lead to negative and unexpected results.

But here on Michael Totten.com, we way to smart fo dat.

Here, we're on the "cutting edge." Welcome to Utopia.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 03:16 PM

Oh fine, I'm in a biting mood tonight.

Arial: "The proponents of gay marriage simply cannot answer the question."

Which question was that?

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 03:17 PM

Marriage between a man and a woman is the foundational social contract upon which every sucessful civilization has been based.

One needn't get into modern issues such as taxation to understand that the union of man and woman to make a family and create the next generation is the institution that puts the "civil" in civilization. Why, for godsake, would we wish to tamper with that institution for the sole purpose of making homosexuals feel "equal"? This entire debate is a great example of political correctness gone mad. And we will all be the worse for it.

Posted by: Miniwimp at February 25, 2004 03:20 PM

***Oh fine, I'm in a biting mood tonight.

Arial: "The proponents of gay marriage simply cannot answer the question."

Which question was that?***

Thesis: Marriage will soon be re-defined to include same-sex partners.

Query: When that happens, inevitably another interest group will eventually come along and demand they be included as well. What will be your response to those who say that "#### should also be allowed to get married?" Substitute anything you wish for the ###. I really don't care. I just want to understand what criteria you would use to say yea or nay to such a request.

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 03:28 PM

Which question was that?

What is your legal reasoning against polygamy now that gays have been "freed"?

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 03:28 PM

JFM:

"Marriage doesn't guarantee that the man will not go away: it makes easier to make him pay alimony."

[Why?]

"In France the children born in marriage have the husband as father. Period. Meaning that if he just leaves and doesn't pay an alimony during the interim period before divorce he will go to jail.
As simple as that. If it is out of wedlock the biological father must declare they are from him. If he doesn't then the woman must go to a trial in order to have the children declared as being from him. Notice the difference: going to a trial versus automatic fatherhood. The children born in marriage have an edge respective to bastards when sharing the heirloom of their common parent."

[Are you French? May I ask where that came from? Anyway, you pretty much just described American family law as well, except that children born in wedlock are presumed to be the offspring of the mother's husband, but it's just a presumption and it can be challenged. I do see the difference, but I still fail to see what benefits marriage provides. For instance, when a child is born, the law might provide (and perhaps it does -- although I'm an attorney it's been several years since I took family law) that the child of an unmarried man shall have the same rights as that of a married man.]

"That is only two of the factors who give a woman more guarantees about the fate of her children when in marriage respective to an unmarried couple. And statiscally this leads to greater fecundity rates. Thus marriage is related
to having the human race continue."

[Statistically it leads to greater fertility rates? You're definitely going to have to provide some evidence on that one. Assuming you can, that may mean that marriage is indeed, as you claim, "related to having the human race continue." But, it is NECESSARY? How is allowing gays to marry going to affect that? Do you think that absent gay marriage homosexual men were going to otherwise be with women and raise families? Nope, they were going to spend their lives as "companions" and never have children. So, how does allowing gays to marry harm our prospects of continuing the human race?]

"For the IRS question. No problem, either you set a system like in Germany where you declare your religion for the purpose of the religious tax ie you declare you support gay marriage and pay an additional tax for it. Or, you adopt a reactionary who will send you the bill on the taxes he pays for funding gay marriage. :-)"

[Religious tax in Germany? I'm not qualified to speak to that.]

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 03:34 PM

Arial and David, please read the thread before you comment.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 03:37 PM

"Query: When that happens, inevitably another interest group will eventually come along and demand they be included as well."

Not true.

Because children, criminals, cows, dogs, chickens, corpses, and carpet slippers were not granted the vote after women were.

Because when prohibition was repealed, and alcholic beverages made legal, opium, herion, and cocaine were not also made legal.

Because when men were finally allowed to be topless at the beach, and women allowed to wear bikinis without being arrested, it was not followed by demands that public intercourse be made legal.

If we were always afraid that any change in law resulted in the concept being taken to and extreme, we'd still be burning witches at the stake.

Posted by: Stu at February 25, 2004 03:41 PM

This amendment has no chance what-so-ever of passing.

In response, several more states will pass and approve similiar measures to what Mass did.

As a result of the Federal Constitution, every other state in the union will be forced - against their own will - to honor the decision of a minority.

And instead of a national debate centered around a Constitutional Amendment, we will have less than 50 activist judges destory the concept of marriage in America - replacing it with what they are told to by the specials interests that put them in their benches - and we will have solidly become a nation ruled by judicial fiat.

But i'm sure people like Michael will feel much better about it since George Bush won't be using the U.S. Constitution to "deny freedom to American citizens". Instead we will have people who are not elected and can not be removed making law at whim.

That is so much better.

Posted by: Roark at February 25, 2004 03:43 PM

***"Query: When that happens, inevitably another interest group will eventually come along and demand they be included as well."

Not true***

Stu, please humor me and allow me to maintain my belief in your fallibility. You may be correct in your prediction of the future but, just in case you aren't. how exactly would you answer said interest group?

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 03:53 PM

Perhaps Arial would enlighten us as to why she would deny gays the right to marry.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 03:56 PM

For all those claiming the "slippery slope" argument is only being ridiculed and not addressed:

1) it doesn't need to be ridiculed. It is already ridicule.

(It is sort of a dadaist concept, actually. Except that's not the intent it's used in by those who really mean it, maan. Ah nevermind).

2) Michael J. Totten posted above in this very comment section a quote from Sheila's article quoting this, reposted for the slippery-sloped-and-short-of-memor-or-eyesight-or-both:

Allowing same-sex marriage is not a slippery slope. As society stands now, sexual acts between consenting adults of any gender are perfectly legal (thanks in no small part to the court's 2003 reversal of Texas sodomy laws). Despite this, it is still unlawful, so far as I am aware, to engage in sex with a member of your immediate family, a child, or the tenants of a petting zoo. Homosexuality among adults is a legal, albeit uncommon act. Sex among family members or children is a perversion. That line remains fast in our society, and encouraging homosexual adults to engage in legally-codified monogamy is not going to blur the lines of acceptable sexual behavior. There is no planet on which the next "logical" step is letting people marry their potbelly pigs.

If that's not clear enough to you slippery-sloped folks, I don't know what is.

Then, I wouldn't really think I wrote anything as earth-shattering original that needs quoting myself, but just in reply to those going "why do ye not answer and only mock! the outrage!", here you go, again:

What part of "consensual" and "adult" don't you understand? can you have a grown-up consensual sexual AND emotional relation with a dog, a goat, or even a 7-year-old? Can you build a family nucleus with them? can you be a couple in the social and economic sense of the word? Can you go rent a house and get a loan with a goat? Is your sheep recognised as "spouse" by the State Deparment immigration service?

I. Don't. Think. So.

Those absurd instances are not even on the same planet with the word "marriage".

And I'm starting to think the slippery-sloped folks are not on the same planet either.

Posted by: ginger at February 25, 2004 04:02 PM

***Perhaps Arial would enlighten us as to why she would deny gays the right to marry.***

Gladly. It's really fairly straightforward.

Firstly, I would not deny gays the right to marry. But marriage for gays just like for straights means marrying the opposite sex. I choose not to ignore the weight and judgment of history. Homosexuality is a behavior that every society in history either implicitly or explicitly has recognized as inimical to the establishment of stable family relationships. I do not deem myself to be wiser than the collective judgment of all prior humanity so I will fight to maintain that status quo.

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 04:05 PM

Ginger, you have not answered the "slippery slope" question with your long quote. You simply avoided the issue by arguing that no other interest groups are on the horizon so lets not deal with it. This is intellectually dishonest at best. And of course, you tossed in the mandatory comments about bestiality and pedophilia in the standard effort to make the whole issue sound absurd.

I think you can do better.

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 04:13 PM

"Slippery Slope" reasoning, also called "opening of the flood gates", is often used by judges in the resolution of legal cases. It means precedent can be a dangerous thing and can lead to negative and unexpected results.

Yes, but the idea is you use logic, not paranoia. And you compare things in the same category, not things that are completely different.

For instance, legalising heroin would entail the "slippery slope" argument that all drugs in its same class must be legalised as well. It only stands to logic. It'd be difficult to justify logically and legally (using logic and legal arguments...) why legalise heroin and not cocaine, if they belong to the same classification group and were previously both banned.

But legalising marijuana doesn't lead to such a strong "slippery slope" argument for legalising heroin. Because they're not in the same class of drugs. And indeed, countries or areas that legalise marijuana do not legalise heroin or other drugs.

Even more clearer difference: tobacco being legal does not lead to legalising heroin.

(Important to note: tobacco is legal.)

Still with me?

Now, substitute "gay marriage" for "marijuana", and "having consensual relationships between adults of the same sex" for "tobacco". And then put whatever you like from your slippery slope argument - paedophilia, marriage with animals - instead of "heroin".

See where this is going?

Consensual adult relationships, whether between gays or not, are already legal. (Except in Saudi Arabia and the like, that is. But we won't go there.)

Gay marriage is not legal everywhere. That's what the debate is about.

Paedophilia and animal sex belong in an entirely differnt category, not even as related as tobacco-heroin really.

You slippery slope folks are equating stable CON-SEN-SUAL and ADULT couples desiring marriages to... the acts of violence committed by child molesters and abusers and rapists.

Really, you have to see the logical absurdity of that, even before you realise the lack of ethics and respect in making that kind of parallel. LOGIC, people, logic.

There is NO logic whatsoever in drawing a straight line from gays to paedophiles to "oh my god what sort of depravation next". You may hear it from a politician, but you won't hear that from someone who's serious about legal, rational arguments.

Posted by: ginger at February 25, 2004 04:19 PM

you have not answered the "slippery slope" question with your long quote

That's not my problem. I can only suggest some reading comprehension classes. Or a new pair of glasses.

This is intellectually dishonest at best.

Once upon a time there was a pot and a kettle...

you tossed in the mandatory comments about bestiality and pedophilia in the standard effort to make the whole issue sound absurd.

Actually they were initially tossed in by "ex" and others of his same "opinion" (if there had been an articulated opinion, that is).

Again, reading comprehension classes. Very helpful.

I think you can do better.

Indeed, like not waste my time trying to talk to people who lack basic reading comprehension skills.

Posted by: ginger at February 25, 2004 04:25 PM

I agree that gay marriage /= pedophelia and bestiality. One relationship is consensual, the other not.

However, there is really no way to draw a distinction between gay marriage and polygamy and incest between adults. Everyone in such relationships is a consenting adult.

Personally, I am not bothered by polygamous marraiges. If someone wants to enter into one, I will just shrug my shoulders. The same goes for adult incestuous relationships, though I do not believe these couples should be permitted to have children.

But what does bother me is the fact that the gay marriage advocates seem perfectly happy to discard a 5,000 year old institution (and please, don't bother dredging up some obscure example of a Polynesian tribe that recognized same-sex relationships; in the overwhelming majority of cases, marraige has always been between a man and a woman -- admit it) without so much as a second thought. History, tradition, and the fact that heterosexual marraige has a demonstrated track record of success means nothing, absolutely nothing to them!

I am not particularly threatened by the idea of gay marriage. I doubt that anything bad will happen to our society if it is legalized. But the fact that gay marriage advocates take the institution so lightly is very troubling to me.

This is far too important a subject to be decided by the Mayor of San Francisco!

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at February 25, 2004 04:31 PM

***Indeed, like not waste my time trying to talk to people who lack basic reading comprehension skills.***

Substituting personal insults for rational debate generally indicates something. Hmmm, I wonder what?

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 04:37 PM

OK folks, I am sensing some real intellectual quicksand out there. Anyone care to provide a concise rationale as to why 3 consenting adults shouldn't be allowed to "marry"?

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 04:41 PM

Arial is right that the slippery slope argument needs to be answered. Ginger hasn't answered it. She talks about gay sex being legal, but it's legal to have sex with a door, too. She says heroin is a different class of drug, but the anti-gay crowd say gay sex is a different class of sex. You should avoid insulting people when you have no reason to do so, Ginger.

I think the slippery slope argument can be answered by pointing to facts about human nature that make polygamy, bestiality, and incest very unlikely to generate good lives rather than misery. This is a statistical matter, and the slight possibility of a case of happy polygamy, bestiality and incest is irrelevant; what matters is the high likelihood of unhappiness. One can think of facts about human nature which make betting on happiness from polygamy, bestiality or incest a bad bet.

Arial is right that history offers wisdom. It should be obeyed when one has no reason not to obey it. But it should be obeyed only when one has no reason not to obey it. In this case we have reason to disobey history, just as we did in case of the liberation of women. And unlike the cases of polygamy, bestiality and incest, no one has every found any facts about human nature that make betting on the happiness of gay couplehood a bad bet. In fact, it seems to be as good a bet as straight marriage. Being for gay marriage is warranted, as it is pro-marriage. It is no more in violation of conservative wisdom than women's liberatation was in the 19th C.

Posted by: Jim at February 25, 2004 04:42 PM

Arial, I'll be explicit, as you wish: (a.) natural jealousy so bad that lives are made unhappy and (b.) neglect of spouses and children. These are highly likely under a regime of polygamy, and they make allowing polygamy very unwise.

Posted by: Jim at February 25, 2004 04:47 PM

Nicely done Jim. The most cogent observations yet made on this board, by far.

You analysis however seems to focus only on the well-being of the individual actors rather than the society as a whole. I would argue that there is an absolutely compelling social interest in maintaining traditional marriage as the foundation of civilization. The establishment of "gay marriage" serves to elevate that behavior to the same esteemed position as traditional marriage. As such, it will inevitably draw to it a segment of society that would otherwise choose traditional marraige. Many would argue otherwise, but it is clear to me that the mainstreaming of gay marriage will only result in more homosexual behavior. The result, naturally enough, is the weakening of traditional marriage. Bad for all of us.

I think the burden of proof that such a radical change in the foundation stones of our culture is going to be positive rests upon the advocates of change. They have yet to make the case.

And by the way, the jury's not in yet on that women's lib thing!

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 04:59 PM

Jim,

gay marriage offers a "happy life" but polygamy doesn't? That's what a judge will tell a man and his two fiances when he denies their request? And he will cite "statistical" evidence for this?

By the way, the gay lifestyle looks like a lot of fun (if you're into that kind of stuff), but they don't look any happier for it.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 05:04 PM

Ach! Interesting, but sorry, I gotta go! She Who Must be Obeyed is sending me to the store.

Posted by: Jim at February 25, 2004 05:06 PM

Nice answer on the polygamy question amd as far as it goes I tend to agree with you. But frankly, what business is it of you and me if 3 people are madly in love and want to get married. You would deny them this right because you THINK a certain % of them will be unhappy and neglectful?

I think the far simpler and better answer is that marriage is a contract between and man and a woman, period. If 3 people want to get hitched, fine. Call it something else.

If you are concerned about the wider social ramifications of polygamy (unhappy people and neglected children) than why wouldn't you be equally concerned about the wider social consequences of gay marriage?

Posted by: Arial at February 25, 2004 05:09 PM

If you are concerned about the wider social ramifications of polygamy (unhappy people and neglected children) than why wouldn't you be equally concerned about the wider social consequences of gay marriage?

In time my dear. The flavor of the month is gays. Later we'll get to the polygamists. Remember, sky is the limit.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 05:11 PM

I was married ten years ago at the age of 36 in a civil ceremony in a city judge's library. I can't remember the vows exactly, but I was to forsake all others, love and honor my husband, look after him in sickness and in health, until death would part us.

Now how another couple, of any kind, could affect my vow is beyond me.

Posted by: Janis Gore at February 25, 2004 05:46 PM

Janis writes "Now how another couple, of any kind, could affect my vow is beyond me"

Let me re-word this for you Janis so that you better understand my point.

"Now how another couple, of any kind, could burn a cross on their lawn and affect me is beyond me."

Do you see where this kind of selfish thinking can lead Janis?

Posted by: Ariel at February 25, 2004 06:13 PM

Gays are happier than polygamists:

For some men, fecal soiling occurs after anal sex, when their sphincter muscle is looser than normal. Your partner's penis also stimulates your colon to contract; this sends feces downstream toward your anus. With your muscle temporarily weakened, it cannot always hold feces in and small amounts leak out. At times, the problem develops when the anal sphincters close before you have fully completed your bowel movement, trapping some feces in your rectum, which can seep out later. If you do not properly clean the skin around your anus after bowel movements, sweat can loosen feces that hasn't been wiped away. It will stain your underwear and appear that stool is leaking, when that's not the problem at all. For some people, the staining is related to large hemorrhoids, or a fistula-in-ano that secrets mucous, which you misinterpret as leaking stool. Leakage can also be an early sign of sphincter control problems from injury or disease.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2004 07:25 PM

Sorry folks, had an Internet connection problem. See I've missed a lot.

Arial writes that "she would not deny gays the right to marry. But marriage for gays just like for straights means marrying the opposite sex."

[Well, Arial, I believe you've just begged the question. I guess it would suffice in rebuttal if I simply said, "No, marriage also includes the union of two members of the same sex." There, that was easy.]

"I choose not to ignore the weight and judgment of history. Homosexuality is a behavior that every society in history either implicitly or explicitly has recognized as inimical to the establishment of stable family relationships. I do not deem myself to be wiser than the collective judgment of all prior humanity so I will fight to maintain that status quo."

[Okey dokey, care to address the fact that homosexuality has been going on since the dawn of time, and therefore has not, I'm afraid, been condemned by the "collective judgment of all prior humanity?" But I'm even willing to stipulate for the sake of argument that homosexuality has not been looked upon favorably -- you see, I want to hear you make an argument -- so what? The ancients used to belive that thunder meant the gods were angry; is that a good reason to believe it today?]

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 07:25 PM

Arial, talk about not answering the slippery-slope question . . . go back and read my earlier post about the slippery-slope nonsense. If you can answer me why we shouldn't abolish straight marriages, I'll talk to you about whatever slippery-slope argument you wish.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 07:28 PM

Arial: "OK folks, I am sensing some real intellectual quicksand out there. Anyone care to provide a concise rationale as to why 3 consenting adults shouldn't be allowed to marry'?"

Nope. Would you?

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 07:29 PM

Ah, interesting, Arial analogizes gay marriage to the burning of a cross on someone's lawn (it's unclear whether it's the lawn of the gay couple or of those who dislike gay marriage). I'll leave that one alone, for I've lost interest in debating this issue with you.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 07:33 PM

"Corrupt democracy-hating goon."

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 25, 2004 07:43 PM

Oh, chicken boy, are you drinking YET?

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 07:44 PM

***Ah, interesting, Arial analogizes gay marriage to the burning of a cross on someone's lawn (it's unclear whether it's the lawn of the gay couple or of those who dislike gay marriage). I'll leave that one alone, for I've lost interest in debating this issue with you.***

The point here is that making social policy on the basis that "it really doesn't affect me" is the height of selfishness. A cross burning on a lawn down the street sure as hell does affect you and a legally sanctioned gay marriage does likewise. Lets not be so intellectually arrogant as to pretend that such matters are isolated events with no wider societal ramifications.

Posted by: Ariel at February 25, 2004 07:49 PM

Unbelievable -- I agree with the bulk of what Andrew Sullivan says, and it's obvious from this thread that I agree with him on the subject of gay rights (though perhaps not always with the rationale he specifies), but I must say that I'm awfully tired of his over-the-top rhetoric. I know he's gay and it means more to him than to me, but it's like he's lost his mind.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 25, 2004 07:58 PM

It's the zeal of the newly converted. Sullivan really did think that Bush is a good and honorable man with the best interests of the country at heart.

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 25, 2004 08:30 PM

Where in the hell do you you live, Ariel? It's not here.

Posted by: Janis Gore at February 25, 2004 09:11 PM

Arial-
I think the far simpler and better answer is that marriage is a contract between and man and a woman, period. If 3 people want to get hitched, fine. Call it something else.

But your own rationale doesn't preclude one woman entering into two (or more) contracts with two men. (There is no reason the two men need to be contractually obligated to each other.) In other words, the opposite-sex categorical approach to marriage doesn't explain anti-bigamy laws.

Posted by: Mithras at February 25, 2004 09:17 PM

However, there is really no way to draw a distinction between gay marriage and polygamy and incest between adults. Everyone in such relationships is a consenting adult.

It's not always like that - in the case of Islamic fundamentalists for instance, women are often forced into polygamy, as you may well know. And incest rarely happens between adults, and is rarely consenstual. That's if we want to talk reality.

But yes, there can be cases when there can be consensual relations between adults that falls into incest or polygamy.

We have to be clear on what we mean with "polygamy" though. A threesome or foursome, a man dating three women, a woman dating three man, a man dating three men, a woman dating three women. These are not "polygamy". "Polygamy" is when those people are all having or demanding a legal recognition of their status - a marriage with more than two people. It means that if they have kids, the kids will be the kids of the two people who generated them, but legally? Whose kids are they, legally speaking, if you allow marriage for 3, 4, 5 etc.? It's a legal mess. Also, you cannot guarantee rights to all spouses. It's an unbalanced situation from the point of view of the law. And a state, a country, has to legislate equally for all, and has to keep in mind both the interests of the individuals and the interests of society at large. You don't guarantee all of these interests and rights under polygamy.

What Jim said, so nicely and concisely: (a.) natural jealousy so bad that lives are made unhappy and (b.) neglect of spouses and children. These are highly likely under a regime of polygamy, and they make allowing polygamy very unwise.

Those are the reasons why polygamy is legally a mess.

Whereas gay couples are couples just like in man-woman couples. If they want to get married, it's for the same reason a man and a woman get married. The rights and interests involved, for individuals and for the law, are the very same.

Incest is also obviously unwise and a legal mess because of obvious reasons. Not to mention the fact it's medically unwise. If a brother and sister want to have children together, the legal status and health of those children will not be assured. Even worse when it's father/daughter or mother/son. Children aside, the very legal status of a marriage based on incest is a mess.

I'm kind of amused this needs explaining.

Some people seem to be confusing marriage with any kind of sexual and emotional relationship. It isn't so. It's not like any kind of existing sexual and emotional relationship can be legitimised into marriage. Marriage is indeed a social institution, that's why it gets a legal stamp.

You can have an ongoing threesome or foursome relationship, as you please. You are also technically free to have an incestuous relationship with your daughter or sister, if she is adult and consensual, even though, obviously, the consensual part is more blurry there. But no one will arrest you for that, if there's no overt abuse. But incest is such an unhealthy situation from all points of view - psychological, medical, legal, social - that it makes no sense to even consider theoretically if it should be legitimised, it won't ever happen and can't happen.

Threesomes and foursomes are not inherently as unhealthy, but they are equally a legally unwise thing.

Whereas for gay couples, think what you like of being gay in itself, you may even consider it "unhealthy" if that's your own bias, but it's not inherently so, from either psychological, medical, legal or social points of view.

Traditional family structure will always remain the same. Gays are just freer today than even just a few decades ago. They do not have to hide. But the number and proportions to society at large have NOT increased. People who see gays as a threat do not seem to get that.

Allowing gay marriages or civil unions won't in itself encourage more people to "become" gay, simply because you don't become gay like that, just because there's a law allowing gays to get married. Being gay and being a gay couple is not illegal. It's not unhealthy. It's not unwise. It's not a legal problem for society. Whereas the legal problems arise when for instance a gay partner cannot get certain legal rights that spouses have.

It would be in the interests of society, to recognise those rights, just as it recognises the rights of all couples. Couples are useful to society even if they don't have children. Marriage is useful because setting rights and rules pre-empts disputes and litigation, and legitimises a productive nucleus of society. Productive in the widest sense - social, economic, moral -, even without kids.

That's the one delicate point where I think the debate on gay marriage has valid points both on the pro and con side: raising children. Like someone wrote above, gays can already have children. Whether they had them before settling in a gay couple relationship or after. Thing is, it can get legally complicated. Case A: gay man or woman having children naturally, ie. by consensual sex with a member of the opposite sex who will accept bearing or fathering the child for the gay couple. There's no legal impediment to that. But there has to be a clear situation to avoid legal disputes on parental custody. Case B: with artificial insemination, gay women can have children without needing to have sex with a man. Legally, it's the same situation as a single woman using artificial insemination. The father has no rights because he simply does not "exist" legally speaking, he's anonymous. Case C: adopting children. Again, same case as singles adopting kids. It's allowed in several countries and states.

Whatever one thinks of those situations, ethically or otherwise, they are legal. The problem is, if gay marriage is allowed, marriage, not civil unions, ie. with all the very same rights and rules about marriage between man and woman, it would automatically recognise the right to the couple of parental custody of either natural or adopted children. That takes it one little step further than those A, B, C existing situations.

I'm not sure what to think on that. I think the debate needs to be more rational, and people need to understand that we're not talking crime, so this is not a matter of the law "encouraging" or "discouraging" something. It's a matter of legal recognition of rights. Also, it's a matter where personal preferences are irrelevant. You may dislike gays, and dislike the idea of gay couples. But you can't argue on that alone, because gay couples existing do not interfere with you in any way, do not by their sheer existence "devalue" straight couples, do not harm anyone and do not harm society. (In fact, gays couples can be some of the most productive members of society, in economical terms).

Also, you have to remember marriages and couples are about individuals. So there's no inherent right or wrong. You can have a man-woman couple with kids where there is a very unhealthy situation of abuse or bad behaviour of parents that influences kids upbrining badly. Whereas a gay male couple who has adopted two kids (by way of legislation allowing singles to adopt, for instance - it happens) can be the healthiest environment for those kids.

A law has to set rights and rules equally, mediating between the different individual cases.

Marriage is indeed an institution, and one society has all the interest to preserve. But it's not tied to having children, and it's not tied to personal religious or moral beliefs or opinions or preferences. It is a legal, civil institution, a secular institution. So, the whole thing must be discussed with a secular mindset. Arguments following the line of biblical law rather than secular law do not cut it. All the people going extra-paranoid about this, remember that marriage here is not meant in any religious sense.

It's only fair to consider the arguments of those against gay marriages, it's not like it's taken for granted that they should just happen. But please, at least, give logical and rational arguments. There are, so use them! Those who need to go through the gays-paedo-animals slippery slope crap, on the other hand, are only showing ignorance and prejudice, not a reasoned position. That's what's being ridiculed, not the mere fact of being opposed to gay marriages.

Posted by: ginger at February 26, 2004 12:56 AM

PS - to clarify one point, what I meant with "would automatically recognise the right to the couple of parental custody of either natural or adopted children" is that even though there is already that possibility either by natural childbearing or artificial insemination or adoption, gay marriage would make that all more transparent and legally binding. It may clear up the confusion arising from some cases, esp. involving artificial insemination and or proxy mothers, it may also on the other hand have debatable aspects. Child-rearing by couples formed by other than the parents exists even in a non-gay context. After a divorce and remarriage, for single parents, etc. But in the case of gay marriages, it does open up new aspects on the debate on children's rights, and I think that's one point where both sides need to go into a bit more, always rationally and logically, if possible.

Posted by: ginger at February 26, 2004 01:04 AM

Well, he did it. George W. Bush decided it's a good idea to use the U.S. Consitution to deny freedom to American citizens.

This is arguing about who left the cap off the toothpaste kind of issue. The fact is that the most destructive path in society today is the path that undermines the Constitution through non-Constitutional means. I am pro-choice but Roe vs. Wade was by far one of the most destructive decisions ever, not so much for the “legislative” result but for the fact that the Constitution is now all the more amendable by judges. If you don’t see that fact as being the bigger point than respect for the Constitution is gone, which I believe it is. Rule of law, not man is what is critical in our society.

There is no way in hell that our Founding Fathers had intended to find something like Abortion to be covered in the Constitution without specific addressing. This is a clear violation of States Rights and the spirit of Federalism. Abortion Rights would have come to women because they vote anyway. Your statement is over the top. An amendment that goes through the Constitutional process, which we know is a substantial process, that allowed for Civil Unions is not Jim Crow for heaven’s sake. It would be way less damaging than 1 State and rouge U.S. Supreme court inflicting Massachusetts policy and law on the rest of us, hell they shouldn’t be mandating and dictating to such degrees to the Legislature anyway. People it’s about process! Thank God someone (Bush) understands that. Again this idiot President proves more wise than most, including you MJT. A Constitutional process properly followed in today’s world is the proper way! We haven’t even passed that flag burning amendment yet have we? But whoa unto the Pledge of Allegiance if the wrong circuit gets a hold of it! The greater danger is not as much the policy, but the process we chose to implement it. It is my opinion that Activist Judges and the assault on the legislative process is a greater danger in society, than whether Gay people have to settle for Marriage or Civil Unions. I think are Founding Fathers would agree with me.

Posted by: Samuel at February 26, 2004 01:30 AM

If you say so. I mean, Justice Marshall had his opinions on the subject.

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 26, 2004 01:47 AM

MJT,

Wow. As of 6:54 AM EST, there are 161 posts on the topic of gay marriage. This must be some kind of Totten record. It is fascinating that of all the topics you've written about, this one sparks so much discussion. If you didn't think we were doomed before, this must certainly convince you.

The left is obsessed with the bizarre notion that gay marriage is some kind of civil rights issue. The right wants to make a mockery of the Constitution. The Islamofascists don't need to destroy America. We seem to be perfectly capable of doing the job ourselves. If we think that gay marriage is the must urgent problem facing our country, we are fucked.

But hey, if we're goin' down, we might as well go down laughing:

Omaha Vaporized; Impact on Gay Marriage Debated

Omaha, NE - Washington political observers remain divided over how the terrorist nuclear attack that leveled Omaha, Nebraska yesterday would impact the national debate over Gay marriage.

"If the annihilation of Omaha has taught us anything, it is that Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered couples also deserve to be considered 'nuclear families,'" said Cheryl Jacques of the Human Rights Campaign.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council disagreed, saying that "traditional marriage is supported by four of five surviving mutants in America's heartland."

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/

Posted by: HA at February 26, 2004 03:55 AM

So, HA, if I understood correctly, you're saying that because there is a threat of terrorist attacks and more holy wars coming, a country should not bother debating or legislating about any other issue?

And that introducing gay marriage is equal to a weapon of mass destruction attack by Islamic fanatics ("The Islamofascists don't need to destroy America. We seem to be perfectly capable of doing the job ourselves")?

If we think that gay marriage is the must urgent problem facing our country, we are fucked.

Oh well I must be dumb or deaf, because I don't see who or where or when said that gay marriage is "the most urgent problem", nor do I see who and when and where decreed that a President and citizens and Congress and judges and anyone else involved in a political debate should only have a say in "the most urgent problem" of the year and do nothing about anything else.

Else, I must not be getting your oh so fine humour and taste for paradoxes.

The left is obsessed with the bizarre notion that gay marriage is some kind of civil rights issue

How bizarre really, that's what some people thought of abolishing racial segregation too. Not that the two issues are even remotely comparable of course. But you know, just goes to show how for some people bias prevents even a simple understanding of the legal concept of "civil rights". Let's sum it up brutally, to help these comprehension-impaired folks:

Marriage is a civil union --> it entails rights --> civil rights issue.

See, it's not that hard to grasp.

Also, even though it may not seem convenient to you to acknowledge it, this is not even a left vs. right issue. It's cross-party. The Democrats do not seem to favour gay marriage either. Whereas the Republicans have their own gay activism group. And among people, there's all sorts of differences of opinion even among those who share the same views in everything else, politics-wise.

Posted by: ginger at February 26, 2004 06:54 AM

>>Not that the two issues are even remotely comparable of course.

But funny that you mention it anyway. You are desperate indeed if you are reduced to pulling out the "racist" canard. But I will one-up you...

>>Marriage is a civil union.

It is certainly more than that, hence the debate.

>> it entails rights

Such as what? And you seek to restrain the "rights" to just two people, you two-ist! Why not marriages of 3+ people? Two-ism is bigotry, plain and simple.

>> civil rights issue.

Which you haven't even proved in your clever little equation.

But why am I not surprised, that is what you get with a bigoted two-ist.

Let me sum it brutally: Two-ists like yourself are as backwards and ignorent of those that who were pro-slavery, pro-sexism and pro-human sacrafice. There, I said it.

Posted by: ex at February 26, 2004 07:05 AM

haven't proved -> haven't proven
ignorent -> ignorant
sacrafice -> sacrifice

ex, since you're just trolling here and wasting everyone's time, you may as well get something useful out of this by learning about spelling and grammar, especially if you're going to talk about ignorance.

Also, there was no canard at all. "The two are not even remotely comparable" is a clear enough sentence. Try syntactical analysis.

And good luck.

Posted by: ginger at February 26, 2004 08:30 AM

ginger: The last resort of someone who has nothing more useful to say in an Internet discussion (i.e. a troll) is to rip on a poster's spelling & grammar and accuse them of being a troll. I didn't miss the irony of you accusing me of "wasting people's time."

Posted by: Ex at February 26, 2004 08:44 AM

ex: wow, you are certainly more interested in the onanistic nature of internet discussion than in the topic being discussed itself.

I'll make a last attempt: since I don't want to waste more time or bandwidth, could you please just scroll upwards, re-read all the comments by me and others like Michael Hall or Jim etc. that you didn't reply to, and which were addressing the particular point of marriage, gays, polygamy, etc., and could you actually, this time, bother to reply coherently and on topic?

If you do, then maybe there'll be someone not inclined to believe you're only trolling.

- As for spelling, oh you're right, it's not important to be so precise and correct, but when someone mentions the word "ignorance" and mispells it at the very same time, well, it's just too comical.

Posted by: ginger at February 26, 2004 09:19 AM

Yeah, spell checking someone's posts is bottom of the barrel.

Posted by: David at February 26, 2004 09:30 AM

ginger: You owe Mr. Totten compensation for that waste of bandwith.

Posted by: Ex at February 26, 2004 10:16 AM

David: oh, fair enough. I take it that, in a discussion on gay marriage, posting about spincters and anal leakage as you did above, is not the bottom of the barrel, right?

I'm truly humbled by such intellectually challenging discourse.

Posted by: ginger at February 26, 2004 11:53 AM

KIDS...KIDS...behave yourselves! Play nice.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at February 26, 2004 11:54 AM

ginger,

SIGH

You sound very young. Your arguments are mere assertions and your tone is sophomoric preening.

Wading through the non-sequiturs, strawmen and ad hominems I stumbled into something approaching an argument:

Marriage is a civil union --> it entails rights --> civil rights issue.

What basis do you have to assert that marriage is a "civil" union? Marriage is a natural union between a man and woman (or women in polygamous cultures) selected by evolution and common to all societies of any significance throughout time. The empirical evidence for this is overwhelming.

What purpose does gay "marriage" serve? It makes about as much sense as gay contraception. Gays need marriage like a fish needs a bicycle. Society needs gay "marriage" even less.

The state gives privilege to the institution of marriage because it is the best structure for healthy families and healthy families provide benefits to society as a whole. That's not too hard to grasp, is it?

You're a little too eager to employ the vocabulary you learned in an SAT prep course. Here is some reading material. Come back when you have a substantive argument.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0670031518/qid=1077851768/sr=2-2/ref=sr_2_2/102-7258762-0895345

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0679763996/qid=1077851982/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/102-7258762-0895345

Posted by: HA at February 26, 2004 07:41 PM

HA, you really do slay me. Among other things, you complain about Ginger's alleged "preening." Somewhat, er, bizarrely, your own comment seems to be all about preening -- what else would you say about someone who takes it upon himself to assign "some reading material" to another commentator?

Those books you recommended may well be interesting and I may even agree with them if I read them, but did you really expect Ginger or anyone else to read these books and get back to you with a "substantive argument," as you requested? Come now, let's be honest, you didn't, but you got a kick out of playing teacher, didn't you?

I think the decision whether or not to post a comment to a blog is interesting. Some people -- for instance, anne.elk -- will not only disagree with you but also make arguments so ridiculous that you doubt they're advanced in good faith. Others advance arguments with which you may vehemently disagree, yet if you believe the person is mistaken but serious, you might respond. I respond to the latter, but not the former. I think, HA, that you belong to the former.

I probably shouldn't have even responded to your comment, but it frankly made me mad. Probably my mistake.

Posted by: Michael Hall at February 26, 2004 08:51 PM

Michael Hall,

DOUBLE SIGH

I think, HA, that you belong to the former.

If you think that I advanced an argument in bad faith, then by all means point that out. Just do so with the same good faith you expect. If you won't acknowledge ginger's preening and accuse me of the same, then I question if YOUR comment is made in good faith. Ginger deserved a taste of her own medicine. I confess I gave her some.

Posted by: HA at February 26, 2004 09:44 PM

Michael Hall: thanks for responding better than I could, but like you, I'm also afraid it's all wasted time.

+ Just to clarify one minor point (oh, more "preening", lol...) that should not need clarification, but there you go: marriage is a "civil union" in the sense it belongs to the branch of law that's called "civil law". AS in, "relating to the rights of private individuals and legal proceedings concerning these rights as distinguished from criminal, military, or international regulations or proceedings."

A natural union, when legislated about under civil law, becomes a civil institution, ie. a legally recognised contract between citizens entailing rights and duties.

That's the sense I meant it in. Well, no, actually, that's the very sense of the word "civil" itself, in this context.

Posted by: ginger at February 27, 2004 12:55 AM

... And as far as I know, the mere definition of marriage under "civil law" for the state is neutral and totally independent of whether one is in favour or in opposition to gay marriage.

So I'm not even following why that term "civil" as applied to marriage as an institution legislated about by the state should be so troubling.

Posted by: ginger at February 27, 2004 12:58 AM

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn