T Nation

Gay Marriage

As promised, my stance on marriage, for anyone who wants to get into it with me (a discussion, not a marriage).

The denotative definition of marriage, according to Merriam-Webster:

Marriage exists independently of procreation and procreation exists independently of marriage. People who don’t marry have children, and people who marry don’t have children. Infertile couples are allowed to marry, as are couples who have no interest in having children. The State has never in the history of this country inquired into the procreative capacity or intent of a couple before issuing a marriage license.

Progeneration is a function of vaginal sex and vaginal sex alone. The desire to copulate is inborn and overwhelmingly powerful and needs not an ounce of encouragement. It is not reliant on marriage–witness the propagation of the human race in the days before marriage existed as an institution, or the propagation of any species of animal which is quite obviously incapable of understanding or engaging in such an institution as marriage–and it is not threatened in the least by an expansion of marriage rights.

If anyone is going to argue that this last notion is untrue, the burden of proof is on them to show why and how gay marriage will affect the rate of population growth or the ability/desire of heterosexual couples to procreate. Since gay marriage is already permitted in certain states, there should be evidence that it’s legality has had a suppressive effect on heterosexual procreation, if there is indeed a suppressive effect to speak of.

Regarding my personal view of “what marriage is good for then,” it’s this: it is in the government’s interest to know when the interconnectedness of two adult and consenting citizens’ private lives is so complete and profound that it demands consideration where certain legal and financial rights and duties are concerned. This is why marriage licenses are, and ought to be, issued.

But for ordinary people, marriage means many different things. It is often simply an expression of romantic love and a desire to make that romantic love “official”–a desire as fatuous as it is common.

To elevate one union of consenting adults above another–and the right to marry is surely an elevation–is unequal and unjust.

In short, marriage inequality disallows a large number of people from engaging in something that is entirely harmless but important and beneficial to them, while marriage equality poses not a single threat to anyone on earth.

You’ve missed the boat on several things, not the least of which is a focus on gay marriage’s “suppression” of procreative activity (or lack thereof). I don’t think anyone is saying gay marriage would suppress procreative activity, and marriage doesn’t promote procreative activity.

Procreative activity is going to happen; marriage (and the public policy of marriage) is designed to steer that activity into socially beneficial directions, and more importantly, steer that activity away from dangerous - even socially catastrophic - social consequences.

The socially beneficial direction being, of course, a child being born and raised by the people responsible for bringing it into the world. Marriage not only encourages this for many obvious reasons (incentives to keep the couple in tact) and also discourages bad events (disincentives to go have children out of wedlock, for example).

Marriage has not ever existed to simply validate a private person’s choice of relationship - as Sloth has said, a good ole “pat on the back, good for you” - from a public point of view, we don’t have a public policy need to simply “hugh five” someone for entering into a private relationship. Thus, that is not a public reason to have marriage. Ordering responsible child-birthing and raising? Oh yes. Huge public reason to encourage that behavior at the expense of other behavior.

With that in mind, you’ve misunderstood and misidentified the public policy of why we have publicly-recognized marriage at all.

The state defining marriage is always discriminatory.

So you do believe any human arrangement regardless of sex, intimacy, geographical distance, number involved, or any other imaginative circumstance should be able to ‘marry,’ so long as the arrangement is between consenting adults.

Also, I’m not interested in making your romances official. Your romances should receive no more recognition than my friendships. In fact, if that was the only aspect to heterosexual coupling to consider, romance, I wouldn’t support state recognition of those marriages either.

Marriage is most importantly–as far as the state is concerned–a property and child custody relationship. And gay couples are legally allowed to adopt jointly in almost 50% of the states. Sloth’s analogy of elevation of a “friendship” doesn’t hold water unless Sloth’s and his “friend” were committed life partners such that would justify considering their assets as joint assets or Sloth and his friend had joint custody of a child.

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:
Marriage is most importantly–as far as the state is concerned–a property and child custody relationship. And gay couples are legally allowed to adopt jointly in almost 50% of the states. Sloth’s analogy of elevation of a “friendship” doesn’t hold water unless Sloth’s and his “friend” were committed life partners such that would justify considering their assets as joint assets or Sloth and his friend had joint custody of a child. [/quote]

I’m not interested in gay adoption. I’m not interested in promoting adoption through marriage at all. I’m interested in the orderly union of the reproductive sexes in the first place.

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:
Marriage is most importantly–as far as the state is concerned–a property and child custody relationship. And gay couples are legally allowed to adopt jointly in almost 50% of the states. Sloth’s analogy of elevation of a “friendship” doesn’t hold water unless Sloth’s and his “friend” were committed life partners such that would justify considering their assets as joint assets or Sloth and his friend had joint custody of a child. [/quote]

What percentage of adoption would not need to be if the biological parents were married?

Oh, cool. So marriage is unnecessary for properly raising children.

How come the state doesn’t give the children born in hospitals to the best family, rather than the biological family? Let’s be honest here, some of these people are far disadvantage to other childless families who have the means and even some who have children who have more than enough means to raise these children. I’m sure it would be better for some children to be given to me.

I don’t have a wife so more money can go to their education, enlightenment, and formation as citizens of America and the world. I am an educated man with a decent means of sustenance for more than one person, I have a firm grasp on virtue, I have a knack for discipline and teaching children, and I tell a good joke. But, yet the state refuses saying that these children have a right to their biological parents! Think about the children!

This issue I have has always been the same, pair bonding sames sexes is not the same as the pair bonding of opposite sexes and should not be referred to as the same thing. Whatever similarities there are in same sex coupling, there are still more differences. The issue is core and basic, not matter how “gay” someone claims to be, a man is still a man and a woman is still a woman. Therefore the coupling of same sexes is different at it’s core, therefore the entire nature of the relationship is different, despite having some similarities. Being capable of romantic love does not a marriage make. Romantic love is the easy part. Aligning the male/ female dichotomy as a single functional unit is what makes this relationship unique amongst all others. It cannot be emulated by same-sex coupling.

This being the case I think the burden of proof is actually flipped. It’s on those for gay marriage to make the case that it’s exactly the same thing as marriage. Talking about the various affects are moot until that question is dealt with.

I’ll reply to specific points later when I have time, but let me make two quick assertions here:

  1. I am talking about Gay marriage, nothing more. As an institution dreamed up and sustained by human beings, of course the parameters are to some degree arbitrary. I don’t have any desire or any obligation to say why a man shouldn’t be able to marry two men, or a baboon, or a tree. Imagine the following scenario: a group of primitive men and women are sitting around a campfire. One proposes that the community officially recognize the paired unions that have sprung up all over the cave. Let’s call it marriage, he says. We will officially recognize that these men and women are a unit. Then someone stands up and objects: but if we are going allow two people–a man and a woman–to officially pair up, what’s to stop us from allowing a man to pair up with a Rhesus Macaque?

The argument was just as potent then as it is now. The leap from man/woman to man/Macaque can be made about as plausibly as the leap from man/man to man/Macaque. And even if it isn’t made as plausibly, it is still clearly capable of being made. Considering that inter-lineage sex between our ancestors and Chimpanzees produced fertile offspring for more than one million years after the lineages split from their last common ancestor, though, it may well be even less of a leap.

But let’s ignore that last suggestion for a moment, and think about what arguments the pro-marriage crowd would have come up with. But men and women are of the same species, and Macaques are not. Arbitrary distinction. But men and women bear children, and men and Macaques do not. Arbitrary distinction. Any distinction you’d like to make–arbitrary distinction.

So let’s just get past that particular point.

  1. This is by far the most important point I’d like to make:

If you want to bar a group of people from doing something that they want to do, there has to be a compelling reason for it. The doing of that thing has to pose some sort of threat to the safety and/or well-being of others. The default setting of a liberal government–and I mean liberal in its old sense–is to treat restrictions of freedom as sometimes necessary but always distasteful (no, I’m not saying that I find it distasteful that rape is illegal). Restriction should always be shunned unless it is absolutely necessary. If we’re talking about expanding a certain right or privilege, the ONLY argument against expansion is one that proves it to be some sort of threat. Otherwise, we in the civilized world choose expansion by default.

So yes, the burden of proof is most definitely on the people who are arguing for marriage inequality. I can’t and won’t attempt to prove a negative–namely, that gay marriage doesn’t threaten anyone. But in order for you to convince me that gay marriage should be illegal, you will absolutely have to convince me that it poses some sort of threat to someone somewhere.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

So yes, the burden of proof is most definitely on the people who are arguing for marriage inequality. I can’t and won’t attempt to prove a negative–namely, that gay marriage doesn’t threaten anyone. But in order for you to convince me that gay marriage should be illegal, you will absolutely have to convince me that it poses some sort of threat to someone somewhere.[/quote]

It poses a threat to the civil society in that it condones homosexuality and sodomy - an abhorrent and unnatural act.

I think you have an imperfect understanding of classical liberalism. You are describing the French school of classical liberalism: Rousseau, Condorcet, the Encyclopedists and the Physiocrats. The British school of classical liberalism appeals to tradition and the maintenance of institutions even when imperfectly understood.

From Wiki to save time:

'Edmund Burke defended prejudice on the grounds that it is “the general bank and capital of nations, and of ages” and superior to individual reason, which is small in comparison. “Prejudice”, Burke claimed, “is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, skeptical, puzzled, and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man’s virtue his habit…”


You are essentially arguing from the standpoint of a radical libertarian.

No, only radical libertarians would argue that.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
I’ll reply to specific points later when I have time, but let me make two quick assertions here:

  1. I am talking about Gay marriage, nothing more. As an institution dreamed up and sustained by human beings, of course the parameters are to some degree arbitrary. I don’t have any desire or any obligation to say why a man shouldn’t be able to marry two men…[/quote]

Then perhaps you shouldn’t question us as to why we a man shouldn’t marry one man. If we’re going to discuss, WE are going to discuss this.

There is no marriage inequality.
Everyone is equally free to be united to a person of the opposite sex.
Everyone is equally not free to be united to a person of the same sex.

And, currently, “being united to a person of the opposite sex” is the very definition of marriage.
So, it’s not about “equalizing marriage”, it’s about redefining it.
ie : changing (the meaning of) it for everyone.

we just need some compelling reason to do that.
and it shouldn’t be such a problem.

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:
I’ll reply to specific points later when I have time, but let me make two quick assertions here:

  1. I am talking about Gay marriage, nothing more. As an institution dreamed up and sustained by human beings, of course the parameters are to some degree arbitrary. I don’t have any desire or any obligation to say why a man shouldn’t be able to marry two men…[/quote]

Then perhaps you shouldn’t question us as to why we say a man shouldn’t marry one man. If we’re going to discuss, WE are going to discuss.
[/quote]

The point is that this is a discussion about the latter and not the former. See my other arguments relating to this topic.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
gay marriage doesn’t threaten anyone. But in order for you to convince me that gay marriage should be illegal…[/quote]

I don’t want it to be illegal. Let Tom and Harvey exchange rings. Heck, they could have a transgendered Elvis impersonator officiate for all I care. Their friends and families can call them husband and whatever. They introduce themselves as husband and whatever. In a completely private capacity, that is. But the state has no business recognizing it, privileging it, giving it title, and presenting it in effect as some special status on behalf of us all. Yet, again. If heterosexuality vanished, disaster. Homosexuality? An odd news story for awhile.

You’re not ending ‘inequality’ because you have some emotional compulsion to allow a whopping one other imaginative human relationship to lay claim to state recognized marriage.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:
I’ll reply to specific points later when I have time, but let me make two quick assertions here:

  1. I am talking about Gay marriage, nothing more. As an institution dreamed up and sustained by human beings, of course the parameters are to some degree arbitrary. I don’t have any desire or any obligation to say why a man shouldn’t be able to marry two men…[/quote]

Then perhaps you shouldn’t question us as to why we say a man shouldn’t marry one man. If we’re going to discuss, WE are going to discuss.
[/quote]

The point is that this is a discussion about the latter and not the former. See my other arguments relating to this topic.[/quote]

It is about defining marriage. The how and why. So yes, you do have an obligation to say why we should define marriage for 3, 4, or 5 men. Or women. Or some mix. Sexually involved, or not. A public definition of marriage, on behalf of consenting adults, will always be unequal and discriminatory, unless your definition of ‘married’ simply means ‘US adult citizen.’ All inclusive. Or, you prevent the state from defining and recognizing marriage at all. Or, you simply face reality and recognize that heterosexual couplings have an aspect that homosexual unions simply do not have as a brute force fact of nature. And, that heterosexual unions have a critical and irreplaceable impact on human propagation and prosperity.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
I’ll reply to specific points later when I have time, but let me make two quick assertions here:

  1. I am talking about Gay marriage, nothing more. As an institution dreamed up and sustained by human beings, of course the parameters are to some degree arbitrary. I don’t have any desire or any obligation to say why a man shouldn’t be able to marry two men, or a baboon, or a tree. Imagine the following scenario: a group of primitive men and women are sitting around a campfire. One proposes that the community officially recognize the paired unions that have sprung up all over the cave. Let’s call it marriage, he says. We will officially recognize that these men and women are a unit. Then someone stands up and objects: but if we are going allow two people–a man and a woman–to officially pair up, what’s to stop us from allowing a man to pair up with a Rhesus Macaque?

The argument was just as potent then as it is now. The leap from man/woman to man/Macaque can be made about as plausibly as the leap from man/man to man/Macaque. And even if it isn’t made as plausibly, it is still clearly capable of being made. Considering that inter-lineage sex between our ancestors and Chimpanzees produced fertile offspring for more than one million years after the lineages split from their last common ancestor, though, it may well be even less of a leap.

But let’s ignore that last suggestion for a moment, and think about what arguments the pro-marriage crowd would have come up with. But men and women are of the same species, and Macaques are not. Arbitrary distinction. But men and women bear children, and men and Macaques do not. Arbitrary distinction. Any distinction you’d like to make–arbitrary distinction.

So let’s just get past that particular point.
[/quote]
Sure it would be easy to just say it’s an arbitrary, randomly institution defined by man at some point. However, people matching up with who or whatever they want is not what a marriage is. There is a reason the male/female pair bonding is unique, and further marriage changes that bond making it unique among all human relationships. Anybody who’s been married for any length of time understand the uniqueness of that relationship.
So now we want to redefine what that relationship actually is, by adding elements to it that were never there before.
Sure you can mate up with whatever you want, but how does that make it the same as the male/ female pair-bond in the form of matrimony?
I don’t see the impetus of making it something it has never been just because some people want that. If you are calling the same sex pair bond in marriage as the exact same type relationship then it’s necessary to prove that it is. Why should the definition be changed to accommodate anything? If we do that then why have the institution at all if it can be redrawn and redefined arbitrarily?

[quote]
2. This is by far the most important point I’d like to make:

If you want to bar a group of people from doing something that they want to do, there has to be a compelling reason for it. The doing of that thing has to pose some sort of threat to the safety and/or well-being of others. The default setting of a liberal government–and I mean liberal in its old sense–is to treat restrictions of freedom as sometimes necessary but always distasteful (no, I’m not saying that I find it distasteful that rape is illegal). Restriction should always be shunned unless it is absolutely necessary. If we’re talking about expanding a certain right or privilege, the ONLY argument against expansion is one that proves it to be some sort of threat. Otherwise, we in the civilized world choose expansion by default.

So yes, the burden of proof is most definitely on the people who are arguing for marriage inequality. I can’t and won’t attempt to prove a negative–namely, that gay marriage doesn’t threaten anyone. But in order for you to convince me that gay marriage should be illegal, you will absolutely have to convince me that it poses some sort of threat to someone somewhere.[/quote]

There is no restriction of freedom here, people can match up with whatever they want. If we want to broaden or change the definition of what marriage is, there should be a compelling reason beyond 'cause some people want that. That or it has to be shown to be the same, which is a far harder case to prove. Why should this be the case now, when it has never been so?

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

It poses a threat to the civil society in that it condones homosexuality and sodomy - an abhorrent and unnatural act.

[/quote]

And we have come to the heart of the issue.

You use two adjectives: abhorrent and unnatural. The first is your subjective opinion and it is not the opinion of all or even close to all people. Furthermore, that something disgusts you is not grounds for legally disallowing. Obviously. I am absolutely disgusted by tuna fish sandwiches. But I’m not saying you shouldn’t be allowed to eat them.

The second adjective, “unnatural,” is not true: it is entirely natural in that it is something which certain men and women–creatures of nature, mind you–do.

It occurs naturally in the animal world as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

[quote]Sloth wrote:
The state defining marriage is always discriminatory.

So you do believe any human arrangement regardless of sex, intimacy, geographical distance, number involved, or any other imaginative circumstance should be able to ‘marry,’ so long as the arrangement is between consenting adults.[/quote]

And, if you could put this to rest for us with a response. Is this what you believe? Or is this solely about homosexual marriage? If the latter, could you edit out the statement I quoted, since it no longer would apply to your argument? Or at least heavily edit it? And any mention of inequality would need to come to an end.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:
I’ll reply to specific points later when I have time, but let me make two quick assertions here:

  1. I am talking about Gay marriage, nothing more. As an institution dreamed up and sustained by human beings, of course the parameters are to some degree arbitrary. I don’t have any desire or any obligation to say why a man shouldn’t be able to marry two men…[/quote]

Then perhaps you shouldn’t question us as to why we say a man shouldn’t marry one man. If we’re going to discuss, WE are going to discuss.
[/quote]

The point is that this is a discussion about the latter and not the former. See my other arguments relating to this topic.[/quote]

You should argue for the individual benefits marriage includes, such as hospital visitation rights and adoption issues. Individually those are harder to be against but combined it equals marriage as defined by the state and not defined by its traditional definition which is worthless these days anyway.