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October 12, 2009

How's That Whole "Unifying America" Thing Working Out, Mr. President?

- Barack Obama, January 20th 2009:

"Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

"I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

"I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

"We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

"We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

October 11th, 2009:

WHITE HOUSE: Gay rights marchers? Where? “He knows this march is happening, and he can’t even acknowledge it?” Hey, that’s the same way he treated the 9/12 Tea Party protesters . . . .

UPDATE: White House official calls gays part of “Internet left fringe.”

I'm not sure how much more transformative hope and change America can take:

Until today I thought that the obstacle to Obama’s delivering on his promises of equality for the lesbian and gay community was the strength of his allegiance to groups on the Left that hate gays: black preachers and their church members, illegal immigrants and Muslims.

Now I think that’s just a part of it. That’s because today I realized that the real reason Obama does not support any of the initiatives for homosexual equality must be that homosexual equality will not contribute to the destruction of the U.S. as a capitalist democratic republic. If it did, rest assured Obama would defy his gay-hating constituencies.

With so much healing rhetoric in the air, can another another Summer of Love be far behind?

Only 14% of African-Americans now feel society is fair and decent. That number has dropped 41 points from 55% a month after Obama took office. Sixty-six percent (66%) of black voters think society is unfair and discriminatory, up 26 points since early February.

The majority of white voters (65%) say society is fair and decent. Seventy-two percent (72%) of all other voters agree.

The more Obama talks about ending divisiveness and disunity, the more dissatisfied and angry people become. At some point the White House might want to consider the possibility that they're doing this whole 'change' thing wrong.

Posted by Cassandra at October 12, 2009 08:16 AM

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Comments

...the destruction of the U.S. as a capitalist democratic republic.

First off, the US is a *Constitutional* republic -- "democratic republic" is LibSpeak for "communist dictatorship."

Posted by: BillT at October 12, 2009 12:03 PM

I've been defending him, after a fashion, quite a bit at BlackFive lately. That said, I see no evidence that Obama is ever motivated by "the strength of his allegiance" to anything. The central fact of his character is an absence of loyalty.

That said, these two sets of complaints are mostly motivated by their unrealistic expectations. Blacks had a moment of pure joy when he was inaugurated, but the black community remains an outlier in America in terms of its political goals. As a community, they favor an approach to government far to the left of the average; while we occasionally elect a leftist to the office of President, just as we occasionally elect a conservative, that doesn't mean that the whole leftist/conservative program is being bought along with him. Americans are willing to have a black man as president, surely; but they don't thereby abandon everything they ever believed about politics, in favor of the approach favored by that man.

So, as they watch one reversal after another, they are angry at society. This comes from having understood the election to mean much more than it did in terms of a political shift in America.

The gay rights community, meanwhile, has managed an extraordinary success in redefining the debate on their terms. I'm still astonished that they've managed to get marriage defined as a human right to be legally joined to the sexual partner of your choice. Marriage was always about building new alliances between families in each generation, in order to create and provide for the children who would form the next generation. It was never a right in an unmitigated sense, unregulated by concerns about class or sanguinuity or wealth; and it was never about men "marrying" men or women "marrying" women.

By the same token, another "right" that never existed was the right to serve in the military. There are all sorts of reasons that the military can reject someone, having to do with good order and discipline: failure to make weight, for example.

The gay community has latched onto two "rights" that never existed, and are defining their happiness by whether or not society recognizes their "right" to these "rights." That's an approach likely to result in misery, as society is unlikely to recognize your "equal rights" to something that was never a right to begin with. It's your own fault if you set yourself up to be miserable by choosing unrealistic standards.

Posted by: Grim at October 12, 2009 12:08 PM

I knew there was a musical way that teh won could express hissef:

"O lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way.
I can't bear to look in the mirror, cause I get better looking each day.
To know me is to love me. I must be a hell of a man.
O lord its hard to be humble, but I'm doing the best that I can."

(Thanks to Mac Davis!!)

If that doesn't nail it......

Posted by: Kbob in Katy at October 12, 2009 03:16 PM

Disloyalty may well be one of Obama's moral weaknesses but is understandable in light of his purpose driven agenda. A skosh above lack of loyalty is his dishonesty. For him and those he surrounds himself with is an "End justifies the means" mentality available only to those who believe in themself above all reason, fact, and the not-so-friendly pesuasion of narcissism.

Unfriendly missiles flying through the atmosphere are an exclamation point highlighting his Brave New World.

Posted by: vet66 at October 12, 2009 05:16 PM

Obama's War Frontline PBS Oct 13th, Video Marines Helmand Province.

Does this mean PBS is now an arm of the Republican Party?

http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2009/10/obamas-war-frontline-pbs-oct-13th.html

Posted by: Ree at October 12, 2009 09:18 PM

"It was never a right in an unmitigated sense, unregulated by concerns about class or sanguinuity or wealth; and it was never about men 'marrying' men or women 'marrying' women."

Are you also nostalgic for the day when "le droit du seigneur" meant that the new husband had to cede the marital bed to the king on the first night? Fortunately, the way neanderthals and royals did things in the past does not limit the freedoms and rights we have received from LIFE.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 12, 2009 09:43 PM

I'm not sure why I'd bother to argue with someone who wants to be called after a profanity; but I'd like to point out that historians pretty much agree that 'first night' stuff never really happened.

So, be fair to your ancestors, whoever they were: they were better than you imagine. You ought to honor them, not slander them.

Posted by: Grim at October 12, 2009 09:47 PM

...the way neanderthals and royals did things in the past does not limit the freedoms and rights we have received from LIFE.

We don't "receive rights from LIFE". To the extent that we have enforceable rights, they exist as a function of the social compact. We voluntarily surrender some rights in order that others will protect other rights we consider more important. Since we rely on others to secure our rights and enforce these agreed upon standards, the priority scheme is subject to considerable revision and debate.

Go out into a jungle and try prating on about the "rights" you're due because you're alive. Out there, your only "rights" are what you can secure by the diligent application of force.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 12, 2009 09:59 PM

Well, Cass, traditionally we understand that we receive rights from God ('endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,' etc.). That is why those of us with some practiced skill at handling the jungle are ready to stand up for defending the 'rights' of those who won't fight for their own: we believe it is part of the moral fabric of the universe, and therefore that we have a duty to defend those rights against the jungle. To defend the rights of the weak, who cannot do it themselves, is therefore a particular honor and a very high calling.

The problem comes when you try to swing too wide a loop. For Mr. or Mrs. BS, I'll fight or die to defend his or her right to not be executed without a fair trial -- even if he or she were unable or unwilling to raise a finger in his or her own defense.

I won't fight for his or her "right" to redefine marriage away from its position as the foundation of society and the surety of its continuation. That is what it is for; that is what it is about. There is no right to alter it to suit yourself; you can live with it as it is, or you can do something else with your life. It imposes no obligations that aren't entered into freely, but it is not therefore mutable into whatever you'd like it to be.

Posted by: Grim at October 12, 2009 10:10 PM

I aim to draw attention to others' BS, rather than claim it as my own. You appear to want others to see you as "grim": unrelenting, rigid, uninviting, unnerving in aspect, forbidding, ghastly, sinister, dismal, gloomy, ferocious, savage (though I too am ferocious and savage when the situation calls for it).

I don't see it as slander to point out as stupidities the beliefs and/or practices that may have been suitable on the lower rungs of the human evolutionary ladder, but which are no longer sufficiently important to justify restriction of others' freedoms.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 12, 2009 10:18 PM

Well, Cass, traditionally we understand that we receive rights from God ('endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,' etc.).

Actually the Constitution says nothing about marriage.

Traditionally marriage has been a matter of state law, locally determined and locally enforced but always enforced by the state and not the federal government. The phrase you mention is from the Declaration of Independence which has no force in law. The Constitution says nothing whatsoever about marriage.

I think we're mixing things not properly mixed here.

The problem is that certain amendments to the Constitution have essentially blurred the lines between limited federal authority and state authority so that differing state laws have become impermissible under a twisted conceptualization of what the Constitution says.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 12, 2009 10:20 PM

I don't see it as slander to point out as stupidities the beliefs and/or practices that may have been suitable on the lower rungs of the human evolutionary ladder, but which are no longer sufficiently important to justify restriction of others' freedoms.

Gays are free to marry now. Anyone (me and Carrie, for instance) could theoretically take marriage vows and consider ourselves bound by them.

The rub comes when you speak, not of individual freedom to marry (you already have that) but of forcing others to grant you rights or benefits based on your individual decisions.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 12, 2009 10:22 PM

For that matter, my best friend from childhood got married in the woods. She considers herself married. No one officiated. She married a man :p

The state doesn't enter into it unless they claim "rights" based on their vows. They have perfect freedom to take those vows, however, and to live as they please so long as they don't demand any special treatment. They currently have no "right" to force me to recognize their relationship (though I'm certainly free to do and and in fact, I do).

Posted by: Cassandra at October 12, 2009 10:24 PM

Cass:

Indeed, the Constitution says nothing about marriage. The institution predates the Republic, and no authority to (re)define the institution was therefore granted in the social compact -- either to the states or the Federal government. It is one of those rights retained by the People, if by any.

If any government wishes to alter it in a fundamental way, they need to ask for new authority. That means that no such alteration should come but by a constitutional amendment, locating the authority and assigning it. Otherwise, there is no lawful power to alter the nature of marriage.

BS:

"Grim" has another meaning (mentioned at BlackFive, though not everywhere). It is Old Norse for "one who wears a mask," which is appropriate for someone who writes under a pen name. It was used often in the Norse sagas by someone who wanted to travel incognito.

If you don't see it as slander to assign beliefs to people that they never had, in order to advance causes that are immoral on their face, I toast you. You are consistently on your own side, which is the least that may be said about anyone.

Posted by: Grim at October 12, 2009 10:28 PM

Leftists in general tend to focus on "enemies" internal to their societies, rather than on external enemies. Obama, though, seems to go further than most leftists in terms of a generalized disdain for the people and civil society of his own country. See my post he's just not that into us.

Posted by: david foster at October 12, 2009 10:58 PM

Fortunately, the way neanderthals and royals did things in the past does not limit the freedoms and rights we have received from LIFE.

LIFE confers no more freedoms upon you than TIME or NEWSWEEK.

...but which are no longer sufficiently important to justify restriction of others' freedoms.

Freedom to do something does not imply a *right* to do something.

Posted by: BillT at October 13, 2009 12:36 AM

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, people.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 13, 2009 01:12 AM

"The Constitution says nothing whatsoever about marriage."
Posted by: Cassandra at October 12, 2009 10:20 PM

As with so many other issues, there are those who say it is something that may be derived from the "general welfare" clause...as in, it is better for society that we define marriage in the traditional way, rather than pandering to some decadent agenda.

I recently stopped attending services with the ELCA congregation that has been my spiritual home for decades, because the aforementioned parent organization decided to allow openly, practicing homosexuals to serve in the clergy. This goes against Biblical principles, which (in my admittedly biased view, at any rate) is what a church is supposed to represent. I'm all for loving my neighbor, but that doesn't mean I have to accept/approve anything my neighbor may do.

If anyone's interested, here's a good series on the subject:
http://markdroberts.com/htmfiles/resources/christianinclusiveness.htm

As for Obama, he is merely a politician, using people for his own nefarious ends; to him, those ends justify whatever means...

Posted by: camojack at October 13, 2009 03:54 AM

Projecting, are ya?

The freedom to do something is different from having the right to do it -- freedom entails having an equal responsibility to accept consequences. You are free to activate a fire alarm at will, but if you do so when there's no fire, then you must accept the consequences for having done it.

Insisting you *have* a right doesn't mean that you actually do have one, and actually *having* a right doesn't mean that it isn't subject to restrictions. You have the right to cross a street, but you must do so within the legal parameters.

'Nother words, just declaring that you have an unfettered right to something doesn't make it so.

Posted by: BillT at October 13, 2009 04:00 AM

...just declaring that you have an unfettered right to something doesn't make it so.

Ah, but it's so much easier than constructing an actual argument :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 04:07 AM

I am always amused (and then infuriated) by people who so vigorously champion imposition of restrictions on, and denial of "access" to, OTHER PEOPLE (who are doing nothing to harm you) in defense of "the way things have always been". The "old ways" are not necessarily the "best ways" - if the need and reason for an old rule ceases to exist, it is time for a new rule.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 13, 2009 12:37 PM

It's not a question of "doing anything to harm". That isn't the point Grim made and it certainly isn't my objection.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 12:40 PM

Anything for which you must ask an Authority (whether that be a gov't, a church, or your poker club) for permission is not a right.

One does not ask permission from the gov't to have and speak an opinion on politics.

One does not ask permission from the gov't to associate with whomever you like.

One does not ask permission from the gov't to own a car. But one does have to ask permission to drive it on public roads. Thus owning a car is a right, but driving it on public roads isn't.

One does ask permission from the gov't and prior to that a church (The Anglican church was founded because even a King had to receive permission from the Church) to get married and as such it is *not* a right.

The right you have is to do as Cass' childhood friend did as one does not have to ask permission to do *that*.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 13, 2009 01:20 PM

I'm also not "champion[ing] imposition of restrictions on" anything. The restrictions -- for example, 'marriage does not consist of two men' -- were here when I got here.

I'm merely stating that, if you decide to judge your happiness by the willingness of an entire society rush to change one of its bedrock foundations on your behalf, you are apt to be disappointed. That's largely your own fault, for creating a mental world in which you have a "right" that is being "denied" to you, when what you really wanted was a massive accomodation for which you were prepared to pay nothing -- though you are quite ready to sneer at and insult those who don't rush to meet your terms.

And their ancestors! Don't forget the insults heaped on their ancestors... that's one of those highly motivational concepts that plays well in any society. Try it in Iraq sometime, and see how successful your negotiations are there.

Posted by: Grim at October 13, 2009 01:24 PM

...people who so vigorously champion imposition of restrictions on, and denial of "access" to, OTHER PEOPLE (who are doing nothing to harm you) in defense of "the way things have always been".

I Call Straw Man.

No one here has made *that* statement, but you are arguing against it.

Posted by: BillT at October 13, 2009 03:34 PM

(who are doing nothing to harm you)

In addition to being a straw man, it's also false to boot. Extending welfare payments to single mothers doesn't harm *your* marriage, and yet as it always does, subsidizing and activity produces more of it. And has done it so well, that marriage in the inner cities has been all but abandoned. I think we can see how well *that* is doing.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 13, 2009 03:54 PM

...and denial of "access" to, OTHER PEOPLE (who are doing nothing to harm you)...

There are millions of siblings in America who have done nothing to harm me, but there are reasons I support the prohibition against allowing incestuous marriages.

There are millions of hemophiliacs in America who have done nothing to harm me, but there are reasons I support denying them "access" to military service.

Posted by: BillT at October 13, 2009 04:07 PM

btw, the link for the 3rd blockquote doesn't work.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 13, 2009 05:41 PM

"btw, the link for the 3rd blockquote doesn't work.

Posted by Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 13, 2009 05:41 PM"

*Ed Norton notes the bits floating by and uses his bit strainer to realign the link*

Allow me...

transformative hope and change

third blockquote, take 2.

Posted by: Ed Norton in the page source sewer at October 13, 2009 05:53 PM

Cassie,

Did you mean to link A Conservative Lesbian in this post? The link isn't working.

I do appreciate your quoting my work and considering my point of view.

One of the things that struck me at the National Equality March was how often love of America and love of our Constitution and the equal protection clause were invoked.

The rationale for making us second-class citizens is that same-sex couples cannot directly produce children? It doesn't strike me as a sufficient for such comprehensive destructiveness to the lives of homosexuals.

Posted by: Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian at October 13, 2009 06:27 PM

Yikes! I'm so sorry Cynthia - I had no idea!

Fixed now - thanks for the heads up!

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 06:44 PM

Sorry - I was trying finish something at work. Thanks, bthun.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 06:45 PM

The Anglican church was founded because an amoral and bloodthirsty King wanted others [and himself] to believe that he had church approval of his polygamous refusal to keep a single wife when she was unable to give him a son, when in reality it was his failure to transmit the chromosome necessary to produce a male heir that was the root cause [pun intended] of the wife’s inability to bear a son.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 13, 2009 07:21 PM

"The rationale for making us second-class citizens is that same-sex couples cannot directly produce children? It doesn't strike me as a sufficient for such comprehensive destructiveness to the lives of homosexuals."

No ... the rationale for making you second-class citizens is that superstitious and ignorant people in prior "civilizations" made you second class citizens and recorded their ignorant prejudices in so-called religious texts that continue to frighten our more credulous contemporaries today.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 13, 2009 07:33 PM

the rationale for making you second-class citizens is that superstitious and ignorant people in prior "civilizations" made you second class citizens and recorded their ignorant prejudices in so-called religious texts that continue to frighten our more credulous contemporaries today.

I call BS :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 07:44 PM

...superstitious and ignorant... prior "civilizations"... ignorant prejudices... so-called religious texts... frighten... more credulous contemporaries....

That's just the kind of charm that is sure to win friends and influence people.

Ms. Yockey:

In no way does anyone wish to make you a 'second class' citizen. Indeed, no one on our side of the debate is proposing to do anything to you at all. Rather, you are asking for a fundamental change in one of our bedrock social foundations.

Judged as citizens, you and I are precisely equal. Both of us may marry, though not whomever we will. Both of us may marry only one other person at a time. Neither of us has any power to fundamentally alter the social arrangement: if I were to endorse rather than oppose gay marriage, it would make no difference whatsoever to society.

That is as it should be, for the institution was not designed for our convenience or pleasure. Marriage isn't precisely what I would like, either: but, our charming friend notwithstanding, it is best to preserve the things that have proven across centuries that they work. Marriage was designed to build and sustain families, to provide a stable foundation for the continuation of civilization. It has done that well, and where it has broken down, the consequences have been terrible. It is not for any other purpose, and stretching it to fit other purposes weakens it where it most needs to be strong.

I would be delighted to permit 'civil unions,' as they are called, to address your concerns outside of the framework of marriage. That would give you an institution of your own, which you could shape as you prefer to any purpose you like. My wish is not to inconvenience or burden you, nor to exercise any influence whatsoever in how you live your life, but only to defend an institution of tremendous value.

Posted by: Grim at October 13, 2009 08:31 PM

[Ed. note: removed. Make your point without insults. If it has merit it will stand on its own.]

Posted by: I Call BS at October 13, 2009 09:12 PM

ICBS:

This is the first warning. I will tolerate a lot of things but one thing I won't put up with is comments that have no other purpose but to insult or belittle.

We discuss many difficult subjects here. We can do so because I insist on civility. I don't mind reminding people of the rules but please do not mistake that for lenity. Your last comment will be edited in place to show I removed it, and why.

If you have constructive and on point arguments to make, we'll be delighted to entertain them but insults are not a refutation. They are, instead, the refuge of those who have no argument to make.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 09:16 PM

My point was that Grim's comment was mighty condescending.

just for fun:
http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/if_god_had_wanted_me_to_be

Posted by: I Call BS at October 13, 2009 09:27 PM

I have a great deal more sympathy than you imagine, for reasons you can't imagine; but I expect no better. I have seen how you judge our ancestors, the ones who gave you life and, with their work and sacrifice, ordered the world we inherited. You obviously hate them.

I will not ask to be treated better than they are, because I am not better than they were. I am a man of the old kind, and will be glad to be judged along with them. Your opinion of them may stand for your opinion of me; and in their name, I defy you.

Posted by: Grim at October 13, 2009 09:38 PM

You take yourself awfully seriously, Hrothgar.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 13, 2009 09:41 PM

I see nothing condescending in Grim's comment.

You may not agree with him but marriage was created to serve a social purpose. That is why society grants married couples certain privileges but also imposes certain duties singles aren't expected to fulfill. It's not all benefits: in general they're expected to have children and to forsake all others (something I can't help but note that many male couples are utterly unwilling to do, rendering "marriage" an empty promise bereft of meaning).

At any rate, it's hard to say how telling someone you consider them your equal somehow becomes 'condescending' :p

Simply making statements of that sort without foundation or argument doesn't further the conservation. Unless you back your assertion with something more profound than "You're condescending because I say so", it's just a subtler ad hominem.

Like Grim, I'm chary of casting aside social arrangements that evolved over thousands of years of human experience. Just because you may not see the worth doesn't make that worth not present. Marriage is hardly a perfect institution but it has endured because it serves a social purpose: the formation of stable nuclear families well suited for the continuation of the species.

Widespread gay marriage is a new thing. It's not something we really know much about. Therefore it is hardly surprising for conservatives (whose essence it is to resist change and cling to the traditional) would view the abandonment of thousands of years of tradition with some suspicion.

I, too, have no problems with civil unions. Men and women are not alike. I don't think a union of two males is even all that much like a union of two females, nor is it like a union of a man and woman. Viewed in the aggregate, I'd argue we're actually looking at three kinds of partnerships here: male/male, male/female, and female/female.

I don't call a dog a horse, nor do I call a bird an elephant. I think it wise for society to tread carefully here and not be foolish enough to equate a generation or so to thousands of years of human evolution. There is much to be desired in the support for stable homosexual and lesbian partnerships and I think the state has a valid interest in promoting them.

I am just not sure it *must* promote them in exactly the same way when they are not exactly the same. I make no ranking or distinction in worth between the types, but merely assert that I see a difference between them which society may or may not choose to deal with as befits each type of partnership. I suspect it will be primarily gay couples who determine the course of societal accommodation as they best know their own needs.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 09:47 PM

Yes, I do. I believe that a man has duties that are serious, and his words should be serious. I love the times for levity, and joy, and light words -- but I also do know how to be serious, when that is what I ought to be.

Ms. Yockey has a serious concern, and deserves a serious reply. I speak with her as I do not with you, as one who merits such a reply. I mean her no harm and no ill, but I do have a duty where the institutions of our civilization are concerned. That puts us at odds, which I regret: but I must do what is my duty.

I don't expect you to understand that. I suspect that she will, however, which is why I have said it.

Posted by: Grim at October 13, 2009 09:50 PM

Cassandra,

If your commenters would just consult Wikipedia or read up a bit on marriage for even half an hour they will find that marriage is in a constant state of re-definition. And if you look at marriage in the Old Testament, it is defined as polygamy with the option of having both wives and concubines. In addition, modern Islam permits polygamy.

Frankly, if you want to watch the re-definition of marriage over the last 50 years, just watch Nick at Night from "I Love Lucy" to "The Bill Cosby Show."

Since marriage in truth is constantly being re-defined, I don't see why same-sex couples can't be defined into it now.

And Cassie, conservatives in truth are great innovators and entrepreneurs -- that's why we treasure the liberty and individualism. It is liberals/Leftists/progressives who impose totalitarianism and policies that create social and economic stagnation.

I believe that religious organizations stigmatize every single behavior that doesn't lead to producing babies because more babies translate into more followers, more money and more power for the religion. They dress up their human greed and lust for power as God's will. But whether or not it is God's will, religions should not be appropriating the apparatus of the state to enforce their tenets on everyone.

I also perceive that religious leaders know that if they addressed the members of their congregations directly about their own sins -- fornication, adultery, and so on -- that they would make their members angry and they would leave the church. But they still want to talk about sexual sins and denounce them. So they scapegoat homosexuals.

BTW, we don't need to force various religions to marry us. Besides the fact of the separation of church and state, so it's not legally possible, homosexuals are self-reliant and resourceful. One of the first orders of business when the gay rights movement started was the founding of the Metropolitan Community Church by Rev. Troy Perry. If we need any more churches, we'll make them ourselves.

I should add that I believe in God and I am spiritual. My common ground with religious people is a love of God and the desire to do right.

There are two reasons that a separate-but-equal system of civil unions is not acceptable. The first is that having different terminology is a deliberate put-down -- marriage will always be a superior state to a civil union.

The second is that separate types of unions/marriage require separate laws and regulations. However, most of our state legislatures meet only in the spring for a few months; some only meet a few months every other year. With that schedule, and ambitious politicians wanting to make their bones cheaply by keeping legislation providing parity for civil unions bottled up in committee, it is logistically impossible to create a situation that is "separate but equal."

Letting the states decide the issue of homosexual marriage equality is not really an option, either, since there are over 1,000 federal rights associated with marriage. Plus, if your marriage is legally recognized in one state, but not another, how do you handle that? Marry but also make contracts and powers-of-attorney under state law that you hope will be recognized in another state, if your marriage isn't? You have no guarantee that documents such as a durable medical power-of-attorney will be recognized by another state. Plus, there's the expense and hassle of trying to figure out what legal documents you will need if your civil union isn't recognized. If you are traveling and one spouse has a medical emergency, you won't get to ride in the ambulance, you might not be admitted to be with your spouse in the emergency room, and if your spouse dies, you will not be legally entitled to make funeral arrangements.

Meanwhile, the benefits to society of more people entering marriage so they have the legal tools to care for one another and their children have to be enormous -- 20 percent of homosexuals have children and those chilren benefit from both spouses having a life-time legal commitment to them.

Posted by: Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian at October 13, 2009 11:17 PM

Marriage as an institution exists to serve mankind. When it works, it is fine; when it doesn't work, it should be jettisoned (think, e.g., the battered wife divorcing the batterer, etc.)

For half (or more) of the married people in this country, heterosexual marriage ends in divorce. That homosexual people want to have it is a testament to their esteem for the good that marriage can do for people. The societal goods that heterosexual marriage can foster can also be fostered by homosexual marriage.

Ms. Yocker sees conservatives as great innovators and entrepreneurs - undoubtedly some, maybe many, are. But I see so-called conservatives arguing against innovation, in this context, merely because it is new or relatively untried or deemed offensive to some ancient text that is ambiguous on the subject (while it unambiguously advocates behaviors that society now penalizes).

What is individual freedom if not the freedom to choose how one lives one's life?

Grim argues that "Both of us may marry, though not whomever we will", but fortunately for him, he wants to marry the sort of person whom society permits him to marry. I venture to guess that if society told him he could not marry the fair damsel he chose, he would raise a hue and cry to the rafters of his hoary mead hall and rattle that Scandinavian sword of his as he rode off to slit the throats of those who would deny him his maiden.

That Grim would deny Ms Yocker access to an "institution" that he considers a cornerstone of civilization, despite its salutary benefits, shows that he values institutions in a vacuum more than he considers the people the institutions exist to serve.

Posted by: I Cal BS at October 14, 2009 12:08 AM

That homosexual people want to have it is a testament to their esteem for the good that marriage can do for people.

The majority of the arguments I've seen from proponents *always* include the observation that it's unfair for heterosexual couples to get a tax break that homosexual couples don't, merely because of the use of the word "marriage" in the tax code. They then argue for the redefinition of marriage rather than a rewording of the law. Call me cynical, but most of the tempest that's been stirred is about money.

As a society, we've become a bit *too* materialistic, and it shows.

The societal goods that heterosexual marriage can foster can also be fostered by homosexual marriage.

How's that whole, actual, procreation of the next generation thing gonna work?

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2009 12:55 AM

BTW, don't take my statement out of context and twist it into "all homosexual couples are just in it for the money." If I ever said that, my gay neighbors wouldn't come to my parties anymore.

And they're the only guys who actually *clean* my power tools before they return them...

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2009 02:08 AM

That's a much more civil form of argument, which I appreciate.

As for innovation, I am a great fan of it, when it is in science, technology, or medicine. I am not a fan of innovation in law, nor particularly in society. Stability in those areas has a very high -- and underappreciated -- value for human liberty, which is the main point of our particular society.

One of our bedrock legal principles is that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse' for breaking the law. That principle rests on an assumption that it is reasonable for you to be expected to know what the law is: but that assumption can be true if and only if we don't change the law all the time.

We've got a society where there are legislators making alterations -- "innovations," if you like -- at the local, state, and Federal level at a pretty fast clip. Many of these have punitive force, either through fines or even prison time. In general, this kind of innovation is baleful to liberty.

Innovations in basic human social institutions are also baleful. It's not a good idea to make significant, rapid changes to things like marriage. Marriage in particular needs to have a few of the more recent innovations rolled back -- Cass and others are debating 'no fault' divorce on another entry right now, and I see nothing to add to what she has said about it. What isn't needed is further changes, but to put an end to some of the more destructive 'innovations' we've tried already.

Marriage doesn't exist to serve the individuals who marry. It exists to serve the next generation. It really isn't about the husband or wife at all: it is about their children, about creating a stable family in which they can be raised and sustained, and providing them with an inheritance that is more than either parent could provide alone. It is meant to be unbreakable for that reason, regardless of the momentary feelings of the individuals involved. Lacking serious cause, such as physical abuse, it should not be dissolved. Innovations in its form and structure should not be made, and existing innovations should be repealed insofar as they have proved baleful to that core function.

As for what you venture to guess about me personally, you're wrong. In my youth I fought some battles against society, demanding that it change to suit my preferences; and I lost them, as most young people do. I've come to realize that it is good that I didn't get what I wanted, and that the rules -- even the ones I find constraining -- serve a greater good than my own interest in them. Even where I feel I've been treated unjustly, as I do feel I have been, I recognize that the injustice is personal: the rule in general is good, even if I think it was badly applied in my case.

I don't object to Ms. Yockey, and others in her situation, doing whatever they likes with their lives. If it were up to me, which it is not, I would not mind creating civil unions that had everything marriage has except the name 'marriage'; or that were of a much more free-form nature, so that individuals could create unions according to whatever rules they chose to draft, as you can freely enter into legal arrangingments like corporations today, crafting your own by-laws. If it would be helpful to create a law that streamlined that process, I have no objection.

Innovation is not an unmitigated good, however. In science and technology, it is a wonderful thing to be encouraged; but in the law and social norms, it is often baleful to the greater cause of human liberty. Stability in those areas has a high value, one that should be given much more deference than it is by our culture and government.

Posted by: Grim at October 14, 2009 04:30 AM

I don't object to Ms. Yockey, and others in her situation, doing whatever they likes with their lives.

The error in this line resulted from it having been written for Ms. Yockey alone, at first; but I thought it important to note that it wasn't simply for her, but for anyone in those circumstances. I apparently missed one of the necessary corrections in changing it from singular to plural during the rewrite.

Posted by: Grim at October 14, 2009 04:41 AM

Even where I feel I've been treated unjustly, as I do feel I have been, I recognize that the injustice is personal: the rule in general is good, even if I think it was badly applied in my case.

As always, a more erudite expression of a vernacular aphorism -- which, in this instance, is "Life ain't fair; deal with it."

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2009 05:27 AM

Good morning, debating society.

"Call me cynical, but most of the tempest that's been stirred is about money. [¶] As a society, we've become a bit *too* materialistic, and it shows."

Is this an argument for denying homosexual unions the same tax advantages heterosexual unions receive? "I think not, baby puppy."

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:07 AM

"How's that whole, actual, procreation of the next generation thing gonna work?"

I'd bet that the other 90%, plus or minus, of the population, i.e., those who are already taking care of the reproduction function, will continue to take care of it. No risk of humanity losing this, as the urge to feel the "tremble in the hips" with which Gaia has endowed us will always remain.

By the way, how do you plan to explain to the portion of the heterosexual population that elects not to, cannot, or no longer can reproduce that they are no longer entitled to get, or remain, married, since marriage is all about the reproduction? If you don't intend to revoke and deny marriage to those who don't, can't or won't reproduce, your reproduction-based argument is not relevant or persuasive.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:17 AM

"Marriage in particular needs to have a few of the more recent innovations rolled back -- Cass and others are debating 'no fault' divorce on another entry right now, and I see nothing to add to what she has said about it. What isn't needed is further changes, but to put an end to some of the more destructive 'innovations' we've tried already."

Apparently you would require parties to remain married without regard to their wishes? Without regard to the harm that one or more of them works on the other or the children? Or you would punish in some way those who divorced or separated or broke the union?

I've never been and don't plan to be divorced, and therefore have only second-hand anecdotal information about the process. Some commenter here, though, can certainly contribute some thoughts on the punishing aspect of divorce as it currently exists, if you think that no-fault divorce is a "get out of jail free" card.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:26 AM

"Innovation is not an unmitigated good, however. In science and technology, it is a wonderful thing to be encouraged; but in the law and social norms, it is often baleful to the greater cause of human liberty."

Nothing I've seen from you is an argument in favor of "the greater cause of human liberty": you are arguing in favor of restricting human freedom, particularly individual freedom. The abuse of an institution, a privilege, a right, a freedom, by some is not a rational justification for denial of the opportunity those represent to others who may or may not similarly abuse it.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:33 AM

Is this an argument for denying homosexual unions the same tax advantages heterosexual unions receive? "I think not, baby puppy."

Oh, I think *so*, ICBS. The tax break isn't *free money*, it is a small sop to help defray the cost of birthing and raising children to become productive members of society -- which benefits the whole of society.

I'd bet that the other 90%, plus or minus, of the population, i.e., those who are already taking care of the reproduction function, will continue to take care of it.

In other words, you believe in a free lunch for the *non*-reproductive members of society.

How *nice*....

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2009 10:40 AM

...especially since you just proved my point that your argument isn't really about "rights" -- it's about *money*.

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2009 10:44 AM

When it works, it is fine; when it doesn't work, it should be jettisoned

The difference being the definition of "works". From a purely individualistic perspective, it may not.

But, as from my earlier link, no-fault divorce and welfare payments to single mothers doesn't effect *individual* marriages. That is, "Allowing two people who don't like each other any more get out of a bad marriage doesn't effect *your* marriage" or "Helping out women who are in a terrible situation doesn't effect *your* marriage." Which is undoubtably true. It doesn't effect *my* marriage.

And yet, from societies perspective the former has brought about great harm to the institution and the latter has all but demolished it in the inner cities. And I don't think anyone wants to argue that those were positive changes.

So those two changes made marriage "work" for individuals, but it undoubtable fails massively for society.

So when we talk of marriage "working" we have to answer the question "For whom?"

It is for reasons such as this that I say that I am a conservative with libertarian sympathies. While the individualist side appeals to my nature, there is great utility for me to have a population that grows up in functioning nuclear families. It is a benefit to me and you, and everyone else for that matter that crime is lower, education levels are higher, etc.

If your commenters would just consult Wikipedia or read up a bit on marriage for even half an hour they will find that marriage is in a constant state of re-definition.

Absolutely, marriage has been, at one time or another, in one society or another, been about the extended families, politics (local, tribal, national), love, money, status, children, chosen freely by the two involved or arranged by the parents sometimes even before birth to one or sometimes more people.

But until recently, all of the changes have been driven by the society wanting them to change. This means change is slow, but it's almost always in a positive direction. And while the gov't sometimes makes positive changes, it can really muck things up good and fast like no other entity (see again: no-fault divorce and welfare).

So, can marriage be redifined to included homosexuals? Yes. I am just leary of when the gov't tells society that society is wrong and must change as opposed to society telling gov't that the gov't is wrong and must change.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 10:46 AM

I don't have time for the kind of thoughtful comment this discussion deserves right now but let me raise a few points:

1. The religion thing is a red herring.

It may be comforting to ascribe what you do not understand to snake handling Jesus freaks, but such a one dimensional view fails to account for the many, many folks whose opposition to redefining marriage has zero to do with religion.

Instead of trying to force your opponents into a one-size-fits-all straw box that allows you to view them as bigots, it might be more helpful to address their actual arguments. If you refuse to do that then you end up talking past each other. I generally find that what I think about why someone does or says things is less important than why they *actually* did or said it :p

2. Regarding no fault. If there are fault grounds (the reason ICBS doesn't want to get rid of no fault, which is irrelevant) then there are grounds for divorce. Even fault ground states have an 'irreconcilable differences' ground. The difference is that there is a waiting period associated with this plea.

So his argument that people would be "stuck" is factually inaccurate. They merely have to have a good reason for divorcing, one of which is "we tried but just can't seem to get along". I was a paralegal for two family law groups and dealt with divorce in both fault and no fault states.

2. The data strongly suggest that no fault has, in fact, weakened traditional marriage by diluting the "binding" part of the marriage vows. If marriage is easily entered into and easily terminated, the "til death do us part" aspect of the marriage vow is rendered largely meaningless.

3. Part of the argument for not redefining marriage is that in places where it has been redefined, two things have unarguably happened:

- fewer heteros marry
- a stable gay marriage culture has failed to develop

You might try reading this:

http://www.volokh.com/posts/1133375615.shtml

A supporter of gay marriage does what I've asked: actually entertains the notion that the other side might have a point without for one moment surrendering her own ardent support for gay marriage.

It's possible :p I think the killer quote is here:

Ms. Young states that "one can plausibly argue that the changing attitudes toward marriage that make same-sex marriage possible may also be related to overall lower marriage rates." (Note, she doesn't say she agrees with this, or that there is strong -- much less conclusive -- evidence of it, merely that it's not implausible.)

Frank's criticism ("gay marriage has been legal for only four years") is valid only if the attitudes Young refers to first started changing four years ago as well. Remember, she isn't saying it's plausible that gay marriage might cause decreased overall marriage rates (and in fact rejects Kurtz's implication that it does), she's saying it's plausible that the same attitude changes that led to acceptance of gay marriage might cause decreased overall marriage rates. While it's unclear precisely what "changing attitudes" Young means, it's not unlikely that many possible candidates started changing long before 2001.

Europe is facing both a decline in the birth rate (below replacement) for non-immigrants and a decline in the marriage rate even for couples who have kids. Neither one is a good thing: especially if you hate and fear religious folks like the Muslim population of Europe who - I might add - are quickly outbreeding the rest of the continent.

This is a development whose likely consequences are not hard to foresee.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2009 11:00 AM

By the way, how do you plan to explain to the portion of the heterosexual population that elects not to, cannot, or no longer can reproduce that they are no longer entitled to get, or remain, married, since marriage is all about the reproduction?

1) Because its not *all* about reproduction.
2) Because the utility of marriage is different for the individual and for the society. They are not at all the same thing.

Apparently you would require parties to remain married without regard to their wishes?

I can't speak for Bill, but *I* would like for the parties to take a serious look at what a lifetime committment really entails and not jump into a marriage with the mindset "I can always get a divorce if I get tired of it" and instead get married only if you absolutely really mean it.

There is greater harm done by the disposable marriage than by the boring marriage. To the spouces, to the society, and especially to the kids. Love is a verb, it is something you do. And if you actually do the verb of love, you will almost always feel the emotion of it. Just like it's often hard to feel like excersizing, once you start doing it, you end up feeling like excersizing after all. If you act loving, you will feel loving. But today, if you don't feel loving, piss off, get out, I want a divorce, bring on the next person. Honoring you committment is about *doing* what you said you would *do*. No one gives a rats butt about how you feel. But that's fallen out of style. Now it's "I'll do what I promised to do... if I feel like it".

If you promised your wife you would take her out for dinner and a movie, I don't give a GD if you feel like it or not. Get your butt up, put on a smile and do it. By the time you're done with the salad, I guarantee you'll be having a good time.

Believe it or not, sometimes it's not about *you*.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 11:10 AM

A further comment.

The reason I became a conservative, simply stated, is that over time I became aware that people are really, really bad at thinking about the future and almost never use past experience as their guide.

One of the most perplexing aspects of human psychology is that positive and negative attitudes and attributes are often flip sides of the same coin.

The argument is not that "these horrid gays will pollute us with their awful ways". That's just dumb. I have no problem with homosexuality and anyone who has read me for any length of time knows that.

The argument is that if your answer to the problem that binding promises sometimes chafe or are difficult to fulfill is to say, "OK - you made a promise but you can ignore it and do what you want" encourages people to break their promises. Sometimes a sense of shame or fear of societal disapproval is what stiffens our spines and helps us do the right thing.

Plato wrote about there being a difference between what we *say* we want (i.e., momentary temptation or short sighted behavior) and what we really intend (our long term goals and our deepest core values). You do a man or woman no favor when you privilege the former over the latter.

An interesting case in point is the rather heated debate we had here at VC a few years back over whether marriage vows have any meaning at all? IOW, if you make a promise, should we expect you to keep it?

Think, for a moment, about what the world would be like if you couldn't trust anyone to keep their promises (IOW, if the idea that promises "bind" only so long as we feel like keeping them and there are no moral consequences of breaking them were generally accepted). That goal (keeping promises is optional) was precisely the course urged by the commenters who also argued that gay marriage should be allowed because traditional marriage is meaningless and non-binding.

To me, that was a stunner. The best argument for gay marriage to me is that it is a sacrament (in non-religious terms). IOW, society should grant privileges to those willing to adhere to a higher standard, gay or straight.

This argument would have a lot more weight with me if I hadn't read so many gay marriage activists who openly maintain the promise doesn't mean anything and that, after fighting to have their promise recognized and sanctioned, they don't have to keep it.

I don't attribute this stance to Cynthia because frankly i haven't read enough of her position. But it's a commonly used argument and it is more responsible than anything else for my opposition to calling gay unions, "marriage". Marriage is a binding promise. If you want me to recognize your promise as such, you have to keep it.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2009 11:17 AM

1. The religion thing is a red herring.

Absolutely. I had a comment about this, but deleted it.

It boiled down to two things.

1) No one here has made a "Because God said so" argument. All arguments have been strictly secular.

2) Poseidon and Dionysius (Bacchus) didn't exactly care who you slept with. Apollo even had male lovers. The religious leaders needed followers, and yet Greek society openly embraced pederasty. And unless human biology has changed radically, I'm pretty certain that wouldn't result in the requisite children for next generation of followers to preserve their power base.

And yet, even though their own gods had homosexual relationships the Greeks still only allowed marriages between men and women. So I don't buy the argument that opposition to gay marriage is, by definition, bigoted.

It's just that marriage is not always and forever about only the individual.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 11:27 AM

To busy to fully engage at this moment, but what part of this is not about religion:

"I recently stopped attending services with the ELCA congregation that has been my spiritual home for decades, because the aforementioned parent organization decided to allow openly, practicing homosexuals to serve in the clergy. This goes against Biblical principles, which (in my admittedly biased view, at any rate) is what a church is supposed to represent. I'm all for loving my neighbor, but that doesn't mean I have to accept/approve anything my neighbor may do."

You don't need to peel back too many layers to find the religion argument in the homosexual marriage debate.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 11:43 AM

Outstanding conversation... And I've only read as far into the comments as this,

"Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 11:10 AM"
but I must say, Bravo YAG!

Posted by: bthun at October 14, 2009 11:44 AM

what part of this is not about religion:

Gee... I don't know. Perhaps the part where you cherry pick the comment of one person and then dishonestly mischaracterize the arguments of everyone else in the debate? :p

Again, you seem inordinately fond of ad hominid arguments. I can easily find comments by pro-gay marriage folks that I suspect you and Cynthia wouldn't agree with but I'm not dishonest enough to paint you and Cynthia with the same broad brush just because you're all on the same 'side'.

No sale.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 14, 2009 11:50 AM

I'm sorry, what part of leaving a church whose theology you disagree with has anything to do with passing laws requiring adherence to your religion?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 12:01 PM

You don't need to peel back too many layers to find the religion argument in the homosexual marriage debate.

On the other hand, you don't have to peel back *any* layers to find the monetary argument, and you have yet to put forth anything in rebuttal except for pontificating about people's imaginary rights being trampled on.

Posted by: BillT at October 14, 2009 12:04 PM

I see that most of what I might have said has been said by Cassandra, and a little of it by YAG. I will only address this one thing that remains:

Nothing I've seen from you is an argument in favor of "the greater cause of human liberty": you are arguing in favor of restricting human freedom, particularly individual freedom.

If I may say so, that is because you have principally been concerned with the enjoyment of human liberty, not the defense of it. You are defining liberty re: marriage as the freedom to do what you want (marry, divorce, whomever, etc).

I am in fact willing for people to do whatever they want, in terms of civil unions. I have no problem with people enjoying their liberty in that fashion.

However, a free society requires someone to elect much less personal freedom in order to defend the space in which others are free. Soldiering is one form of service of that kind, and most people understand that. What is not as well understood is that fatherhood and motherhood are also forms of service.

I've said that the marriage is not about the people in the marriage, but about the children. These children will not be children forever: they are going to grow up to be free men and women. We must prepare a space for them, just as the soldier must defend the space in which his countrymen are free.

Cassandra has spoken well and at length about the importance of sustained marriage to economic well-being. It is well known that children from stable, two-parent families also prosper intellectually, socially, and in terms of personal health.

These children therefore grow up to enjoy a far greater range of liberty than would have been possible had their parents made other choices. The marriage is not about the parents, or their liberty. It is about their children, and their liberty.

The soldier accepts severe restrictions on his personal freedom, for a while, in order to defend others. Marriage also is a voluntary institution that is about service. It is about being a guardian of liberty, rather than a consumer of it.

Posted by: Grim at October 14, 2009 12:14 PM

I'd bet that the other 90%, plus or minus, of the population, i.e., those who are already taking care of the reproduction function, will continue to take care of it.

Well, yes. The act of procreation has not abated in the inner cities. However, I defy you to argue that the inner city has become a bastion of liberty since the dissolution of the institution of marriage there.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 01:31 PM

//You don't need to peel back too many layers to find the religion argument in the homosexual marriage debate.//

"On the other hand, you don't have to peel back *any* layers to find the monetary argument, ...."

Homosexuals pay US and State taxes too. Though you may not like it, some homosexual couples raise children too. What argument is there for denying these homosexual taxpayers, and these homosexual taxpaying parents, the tax breaks that you are happy to "give" to heterosexual taxpayers, and heterosexual taxpaying parents?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:07 PM

// ...just declaring that you have an unfettered right to something doesn't make it so.//

"Ah, but it's so much easier than constructing an actual argument :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2009 04:07 AM"

God (or Gaia) gives rights (inalienable rights), not governments or men. :p yourself

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:11 PM

//I'd bet that the other 90%, plus or minus, of the population, i.e., those who are already taking care of the reproduction function, will continue to take care of it.//

"Well, yes. The act of procreation has not abated in the inner cities. However, I defy you to argue that the inner city has become a bastion of liberty since the dissolution of the institution of marriage there. Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 01:31 PM"

To whom are you referring by these references to the "inner city"? [see discussion of cards below]
I was referring to the members of the human race who don't give a care for debates about someone else's procreation, because they are busy enough attending to their own.

My various decks of cards are starting to shake and twitch all on their own at the mention of the "inner city", and I'd wager that everyone hear knows EXACTLY what I mean*.

* For those you you who don't, I'm referring to my various and sundry decks of cards: playing, tarot, race, bubblegum, baseball, Pokémon, etc.

Can we all agree that the "inner city" crack was "off topic" and does not contribute to this discussion?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:18 PM

If we look back to the "dawn of time", we will see that romantic attachments and the procreative urge predated governmental/societal imposition of the "institution" of marriage.

The "life force" we are discussing here -- the desire to bond, to create families, to share Blockbuster Video and internet service provider accounts and gallon bottles of non-fat milk -- predates the institution of marriage, and exists WITHOUT it, no matter how much effort has been devoted since the dawn of time to put a bit and bridle on it.

Thus, marriage as an institution was created by humans to serve certain purposes (some salutary, some pernicious) but the "life force" that led to its creation existed, and exists, independently of it. So marriage is not the end-all and be-all, and the fact that the institution has existed as long as it has does not "per se" justify its continued existence in its narrowly-circumscribed form.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:45 PM

ERRATA:

"So marriage is not the end-all and be-all, and the fact that the institution has existed as long as it has does not "per se" justify its continued existence in ONLY its narrowly-circumscribed form."

Posted by: I Call BS at October 14, 2009 10:46 PM

God (or Gaia) gives rights (inalienable rights), not governments or men. :p yourself

So now who's making a religious argument?

Can we all agree that the "inner city" crack was "off topic" and does not contribute to this discussion?

It's completely on-topic. We have a population that once did embrace the institution of marriage and now doesn't. A very simple longitudinal type setup. Same population: Before and After, apples to apples. The situation of that population has NOT improved. Do you argue otherwise?

If we look back to the "dawn of time", we will see that romantic attachments and the procreative urge predated governmental/societal imposition of the "institution" of marriage.

We see that now too, but we call it "shacking up". But that doesn't make you married.

the desire to bond,... predates the institution of marriage, and exists WITHOUT it,

Yes it does. Which is kind of our point. You don't *need* marriage to create your pair bond. If what you are looking for your romantic relationship to be approved of by others, well, sorry, but no one has the right to dictate the opinion of others even if you think they have the wrong opinion.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 14, 2009 11:11 PM

...we will see that romantic attachments and the procreative urge predated governmental/societal imposition of the "institution" of marriage.

I'm afraid that the exact opposite is true. Romantic marriage is a relatively recent concept, and one that has been limited to the West. In most of the world, marriage is and has been a negotiated social contract, usually between cousins (for property reasons), often negotiated before the partners to be married are of an age to feel either romantic or procreative urges.

An alternative arrangement, practiced in Iraq today, has them marrying much later than we do: the head of the family must bless the marriage, and won't until he is sure the son has adequate resources to care for resulting children, which can sometimes mean midlife (or when the father dies, leaving the unmarried son as the new head of household and inheritor of the family wealth).

I'd like to point you in the direction of the root of romantic marriage, but I have to warn you first that you've already described the poets and writers who invented it as 'superstitious and ignorant members of previous "civilizations."' Indeed, they're positively Medieval.

Posted by: Grim at October 14, 2009 11:35 PM

Homosexuals pay US and State taxes too. Though you may not like it, some homosexual couples raise children too. What argument is there for denying these homosexual taxpayers, and these homosexual taxpaying parents, the tax breaks that you are happy to "give" to heterosexual taxpayers, and heterosexual taxpaying parents?

So, you really *don't* read the replies with the intent to understand them -- the argument I made was *directly* under the quote you snipped. And, by ignoring my statement, you are insisting that some people have the right to be parasites on society.

// ...just declaring that you have an unfettered right to something doesn't make it so.//
"Ah, but it's so much easier than constructing an actual argument :p
God (or Gaia) gives rights (inalienable rights), not governments or men. :p yourself

But God (or Gaia) will not confer a particular right upon you merely because you feel you should have it, and so far, you haven't made any *logical* argument for God (or Gaia) actually having given the "rights" you have pontificated about -- you have only produced simulated outrage and appeals to emotion.

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2009 12:44 AM

And why are you bringing the religious argument into it? God (or Gaia) doesn't confer tax exemptions -- the gummint does.

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2009 12:46 AM

Homosexuals pay US and State taxes too. Though you may not like it, some homosexual couples raise children too. What argument is there for denying these homosexual taxpayers, and these homosexual taxpaying parents, the tax breaks that you are happy to "give" to heterosexual taxpayers, and heterosexual taxpaying parents?

My guess is that you've paid no more attention to what Form 1040 says than you've paid to the comments.

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2009 12:51 AM

OK, I call BS again, ICBS.

At some point we really, really need to get past the idiotic idea that mentioning anything that could possibly relate to race is racist.

There are demonstrable differences between demographic groups in the United States. One demonstrable difference (and it's HUGE) is that 70% of black kids are illegitimate.

Nearly 3/4's. This has little to do with skin color and everything to do with our social policy. In pre-Great Society American, black illegitimacy was 22%.

Right now, the most fertile groups in the United States are also the ones who are churning out the highest percentages of fatherless children. They are, quite literally, "outbreeding" stable families and the consequences to their own children are horrific. We should care about this, and we should care about the literally millions of black babies aborted. It's not too big a stretch to liken it to genocide, except that it's self inflicted. HALF of black babies are aborted. That is heartbreaking:

The frequency of pregnancies among unwed blacks (167 per 1,000 unmarried women per year) and unwed Latinos (166) were virtually the same, almost three times the white unmarried pregnancy rated (58). Unwed blacks had the most abortions (74), followed by Hispanics (57) and whites (23).

The illegitimacy rate for Hispanics born in the U.S. (48 percent in 2000) is notably higher than it is for Hispanic immigrants born in Latin America (39 percent). This suggests that the overall Latino illegitimacy rate will continue to rise as the children of today's immigrants assimilate to urban American norms.

Northeast Asians have the lowest illegitimacy rate among Americans, with both Chinese and Japanese being under ten percent in 2000, the latest year for which data on Asians are available.

Ignoring real social problems because you're scared of the race card is both shortsighted and immoral. Plenty of blacks have written on these topics (Walter Williams is one). Are they racist for daring to mention what's right under our noses?

Knock it off, ICBS. Every time you can't think of a legitimate argument you attack the speaker. It's obvious and unconvincing. It's boring and predictable.

It also happens to be against the rules here at VC and I'm getting tired of warning you.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 06:34 AM

"There are demonstrable differences between demographic groups in the United States. One demonstrable difference (and it's HUGE) is that 70% of black kids are illegitimate.

"Nearly 3/4's. This has little to do with skin color and everything to do with our social policy. In pre-Great Society American, black illegitimacy was 22%. ..."

And all this has exactly what to do with the arguments pro and con homosexual marriage?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 10:57 AM

"I'm afraid that the exact opposite is true. Romantic marriage is a relatively recent concept, and one that has been limited to the West. In most of the world, marriage is and has been a negotiated social contract, usually between cousins (for property reasons), often negotiated before the partners to be married are of an age to feel either romantic or procreative urges."

I acknowledge that different societies handle bonding (and its consequences) in different ways. I refuse to accept that "romantic love" arose from governmental regulation - it is something that two people do, often privately. That some government or sociologist or historian gives it the label does not reify it - it already exists.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:00 AM

"... you haven't made any *logical* argument for God (or Gaia) actually having given the "rights" you have pontificated about -- ..."

Logic has absolutely nothing to do with whether God or Gaia exists or does or doesn't do anything.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:02 AM

"But God (or Gaia) will not confer a particular right upon you merely because you feel you should have it"

Gaia does not consult mere mortals when handing out inalienable rights - all men and women are Gaia's children, and she loves us equally and gives us all the same gifts of freedom and love - it is humans who (try to) take them away from us or commercialize them or regulate them for profit of some kind.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:08 AM

Well Grim, I would say that depends on how far back you go. There aren't really any records of social norms when hominids first jumped out of the trees, for example.

We don't really know anything about how the pair bonding process left being an animalistic procreation endevour devoid of all considerations of land, politics, wealth, and especially romance, to becoming one where those considerations were important.

The salient point, IMHO, is that pair bonding and marriage are independent concepts. Pair bonding is between the people involved and does exist outside of and prior to society or society's approval. And as such it is a right, one does not ask for approval to pair bond. Gays have, and are excersizing, this right today.

But pair bonding is not marriage. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't. Marriage is an enforcable legal contract imposing duties and obligations on signatories. As such, it requires a society and society's approval (a society which views the contract as invalid will hardly enforce it).

Pair bonding is a right. Marriage is not. There is a simple reason why gay marriage is not a right: Because straight marriage is not a right.

Society believes there is a net benefit to create a legal fiction called a marriage in the same way that society believe there is a net benefit to create a legal fiction called a corporation. And yes, corporations are state created legal fictions. Businesses are a direct result of the market, but Corporations are not. It takes the gov't to create the legal protections given to the owners that private citizens do not have. Society does this because society believes there is a net benefit not to the owners of the business, but to society.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 11:09 AM

And all this has exactly what to do with the arguments pro and con homosexual marriage?

It has to do with the reasons society has for promoting heterosexual marriage. When families fall apart, society at large pays the price, too.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 11:13 AM

"At some point we really, really need to get past the idiotic idea that mentioning anything that could possibly relate to race is racist."

Totally agree - my point is that these statistical observations have nothing whatsoever to do with granting full legal equality to same-sex pairs. Will "permitting" same-sex marriage increase the incidence of out-of wedlock births in the inner city or any other ethnic enclave?

I was suggesting that raising the specter of rampant reproduction in the inner city was a scare tactic that had nothing whatsoever to do with the issues in same-sex marriage. How was that an instance of "Every time you can't think of a legitimate argument you attack the speaker."?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:17 AM

"In other words, you believe in a free lunch for the *non*-reproductive members of society. [¶] How *nice*...."

You have no problem with giving lots of non-reproductive members of society (parasites according to you) the "free lunch", so this is not a valid argument.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:21 AM

And all this has exactly what to do with the arguments pro and con homosexual marriage?

That preserving the institution of marriage matters.


Logic has absolutely nothing to do with whether God or Gaia exists or does or doesn't do anything.

No one was arguing whether god or gaia exists.

Gaia does not consult mere mortals when handing out inalienable rights - all men and women are Gaia's children, and she loves us equally and gives us all the same gifts of freedom and love

And fortunatly we are blessed with her prophet, ICBS, to tell us what these rights are.

Sorry "Because Gaia said so" isn't a valid argument anymore than "Because God said so" is.

And really, after claiming yourself that appeals to religion are inappropriate you don't then get to say "But it's OK when it's my religion".


And if your answer to why the social structure of the inner cities have collapsed into chaos is that they're fully of blacks then I would suggest looking at your own prejudices and stop worrying about other people's.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 11:25 AM

//And all this has exactly what to do with the arguments pro and con homosexual marriage?//

"It has to do with the reasons society has for promoting heterosexual marriage. When families fall apart, society at large pays the price, too."

But these homosexual couples WANT to do what society allows heterosexual couples to do: they want to create and grow families. The personal inability to combine sperm and egg "in vivo" does not prevent them from making the effort to nurture, pack lunches and backpacks, walk kids to school, kiss booboos and owies. In fact, one of the two persons in many of these homo. couples have their own kids produced in the normal "in vivo" way [VIVE in vivo!].

Sure: many hetero. couples blow it and divorce and batter and abuse; some homo. couples certainly will do that too - to err is human.

I still contend that the "inner city" argument is a red herring, meant to emotionalize the debate (and arouse prejudice against homo. pairing by "tainting" them with the bugaboo of welfare mothers, fatherless children, etc.).

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:30 AM

But these homosexual couples WANT...

But what of the heterosexual couples who will no longer see the point of getting married, and so opt not to?

Which legitimizes the next heterosexual couple who opt not to get married. and the next one, and the next one, and the next one...

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 11:38 AM

"And fortunatly we are blessed with her prophet, ICBS, to tell us what these rights are."

Make your checks (tax-deductible to the extent the law allows) payable to "The Church of ICBS, Inc., an eleemosynary corporation".

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:40 AM

"And really, after claiming yourself that appeals to religion are inappropriate you don't then get to say 'But it's OK when it's my religion'".

That was not my point. My point was that these inalienable rights exist independent of governmental fiat or hoary religious text.

"And if your answer to why the social structure of the inner cities have collapsed into chaos is that they're fully of blacks then I would suggest looking at your own prejudices and stop worrying about other people's."

I did not say this; y'all are the ones saying this.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:43 AM

You really do need to check out the link to the Megan McArdle post I linked to earlier.

It's long but good.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 11:45 AM

"You don't *need* marriage to create your pair bond. If what you are looking for your romantic relationship to be approved of by others, well, sorry, but no one has the right to dictate the opinion of others even if you think they have the wrong opinion."

Agreed. But the arguments attempting to justify withholding of tax and other government-bestowed benefits of "marriage" from same-sex couples come down to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, because every other argument proffered does not stand up: homo. couples have, can have and do raise kids; homo. couples pay taxes; homo. couples work (as much or as little as anybody else); homo. couples (prob) stay together as much or as little as hetero. couples; homo. couples are as much Gaia's children as are hetero. couples; homo. couples and singles are expressing and following the "life" force, and are nurturing people, as much as hetero. couples and singles [who among us does not have the unmarried uncle or aunt or friend who provides great moral and other support for those of us who have created kids "in vivo" and are raising them?].

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 11:51 AM

My point was that these inalienable rights exist independent of governmental fiat or hoary religious text.

And yet, you can't tell us what, exactly, they *are* except by appealing to Gaia.

I did not say this; y'all are the ones saying this.

Has nothing to do with race. Otherwise we would see the same phenomenon in blacks in affluent suburban areas too, which we don't. The catalysts are high population density which accelerates changes in social norms (that's why urban areas tend to be more tolerant of different social norms, they are exposed to them more) and a general dearth of educational acheivenent and opportunity at the baseline (is it really a surprise that poorly educated people perhaps don't make the smartest choices?). Race has nothing to do with it.

What matters is what *changed*. And last I checked skin color doesn't. You can't attribute a change in an outcome to an explanatory factor that stayed the same. What changed was that society's embrace of marriage and the nuclear family.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 11:58 AM

"But what of the heterosexual couples who will no longer see the point of getting married, and so opt not to? [¶] Which legitimizes the next heterosexual couple who opt not to get married. and the next one, and the next one, and the next one... Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 11:38 AM"

In other words, the heterosexual marrying community depends for its existence on denying marriage to homosexual people who want to marry? Sorry - not buying it.

Most humans feel heterosexually-inclined, and letting Adam and Steve marry, move in down the block and borrow your tools isn't gonna change that.

And if we checked the statistics [I'll ask my research assistant to do that, as soon as I get one], we'd see that there are already lots of hetero. couples shacking up without marrying (and some eventually do marry). Homo. marriage obviously has nothing to do with that, because homo. marriage is such a rare thing, at least in the USA.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 12:00 PM

BTW: this is about being a guardian of liberty, rather than a consumer of it.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 12:01 PM

Logic has absolutely nothing to do with whether God or Gaia exists or does or doesn't do anything.

That wasn't my statement. I was pointing out that you have yet to produce a logical argument that (God or Gaia) has bestowed the right of tax exemptions immediately after a man and woman exchange wedding vows.

Gaia does not consult mere mortals when handing out inalienable rights - all men and women are Gaia's children, and she loves us equally and gives us all the same gifts of freedom and love - it is humans who (try to) take them away from us or commercialize them or regulate them for profit of some kind.

So, now you claim the right to a tax exemption is an inalienable right bestowed by God (or Gaia).

Congratulations.

You are unique.

You are the only human being in the history of the world who has claimed that God (or Gaia) works for the IRS...

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2009 12:02 PM

But the arguments attempting to justify withholding of tax and other government-bestowed benefits of "marriage" from same-sex couples come down to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,

No, it's because homosexual marriages provide no utility to society and may, in fact, have a detrimental effect on heterosexual marriage which *does* have a utility to society.

I'll say it again: Marriage is a legal fiction. Gov't did not create it for the benefit of the two people involved. It created it because there was a perceived benefit to *society*. This is the same reason why gov't created the legal fiction of a corporation. It was NOT for the benefit of the business' owners. It was because there was a perceived benefit to society to do so.

A business can exist on it's own without being a corporation. A pair bond can exist on it's own without being a marriage.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 12:06 PM

Most humans feel heterosexually-inclined, and letting Adam and Steve marry, move in down the block and borrow your tools isn't gonna change that.

We said the same thing about extending welfar payments to single mothers. No one is going to give up marriage for a measly pittance. People aren't dependent on the lack of welfar to single mother's for it's existance. Most humans feel marriage inclined and letting the single mom provide for a better life isn't gonna change that.

That sounds logical. To bad it didn't actually work like that.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 12:09 PM

//My point was that these inalienable rights exist independent of governmental fiat or hoary religious text.//

"And yet, you can't tell us what, exactly, they *are* except by appealing to Gaia."

I've made it very clear, but you don't want to see it: the government [and society, which is a different dynamic] grants to some but not all human pairs in formalized relationships we call "marriage", various tax and other benefits. Several arguments are presented to justify this discrimination, and there is validity to the concerns expressed, but when one examines the arguments carefully they are fundamentally about discrimination [in the context under discussion] on the basis of sexual orientation, because as many instances disprove the arguments as prove them, and people are suffering as a result of the discrimination. True: "life ain't fair", but tax-funded government has no legitimate business imposing unfairness on, discriminating among, its citizens on grounds that do not serve a legitimate governmental purpose.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 12:09 PM

As the McArdle post says: "The limits of your imagination are not the limits of reality".

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 12:10 PM

"You are the only human being in the history of the world who has claimed that God (or Gaia) works for the IRS..."
Well I exercised a ten year old stock option block recently. So let me be the second one to claim that it must be a deity led department. Only I contend that it's a deity from the neither world. ≈40% withheld, off the top!

The revolution will be televised... and taxed.

Posted by: Average Neanderthal at October 15, 2009 12:11 PM

BTW: this is about being a guardian of liberty, rather than a consumer of it.

Meaning that you're not interested in availing yourself of this particular liberty, should you achieve it? Duly noted.

My point was that homosexual arguments for marriage aren't about children, or inheritance, or anything to do with sacrificing of yourself to lift up the next generation. The homosexual argument for marriage is about social acceptance and ratification of their chosen partnerships.

I'm not opposed to them partnering up however they like. I'd just like to avoid dragging that into the field of "marriage," which is an institution that has a defined and crucial function. Your argument is that their experience is biologically determined, and would therefore have no effect on the larger institution of marriage; but it seems that the existing empirical evidence points the other way (see comments above).

Furthermore, because it expands the definition of marriage, it dilutes the institution. The institution is not currently doing so well that it can afford further dilution: if anything, we need to reinforce it, and repair some of the walls we've let slip already.

Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 12:27 PM

"Furthermore, because it expands the definition of marriage, it dilutes the institution. The institution is not currently doing so well that it can afford further dilution: if anything, we need to reinforce it, and repair some of the walls we've let slip already."

"It" clearly does not dilute the institution - the overwhelming majority of people wanting homo. marriage are not going otherwise to engage in hetero. marriage (except a few who do so for various reasons it would prob take psychoanalysis or something to explain). We might be surprised to find that these homo. couples actually end up being examples of how to make marriage work, despite all kinds of odds.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 12:45 PM

//Most humans feel heterosexually-inclined, and letting Adam and Steve marry, move in down the block and borrow your tools isn't gonna change that.//

"We said the same thing about extending welfar payments to single mothers. No one is going to give up marriage for a measly pittance. People aren't dependent on the lack of welfar to single mother's for it's existance. Most humans feel marriage inclined and letting the single mom provide for a better life isn't gonna change that."

Non sequiturs Я us.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 12:49 PM

"It" clearly does not dilute the institution - the overwhelming majority of people wanting homo. [sic] marriage are not going otherwise to engage in hetero. [sic] marriage...

Speaking of non sequiturs...

We might be surprised to find that these homo. [sic] couples actually end up being examples of how to make marriage work, despite all kinds of odds.

Oh? What, pray tell, wonderfulness about homosexual marriage will be conferred upon society which will not occur with a civil union?

Nothing.

Yet you persist in harping that it be a *marriage* -- not because that will right some supposed wrong, or correct centuries of imagined injustice, or unfetter the shackles from the minority and allow them full and unmitigated God (or Gaia)-given freedom, or even simply because it's new and shiny.

It's solely because the noun "marriage" appears in the tax code.

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2009 01:39 PM

How is it a non-sequitor? It's your own bloody argument.

"I can't imagine how this change will negatively impact X".

And yet we see over and over and over again that it can and does.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 01:58 PM

I've made it very clear, but you don't want to see it: the government [and society, which is a different dynamic] grants to some but not all human pairs in formalized relationships we call "marriage", various tax and other benefits.

We also grant to some, but not all business in formalized relationships we call "corporations" various tax and other benefits, too.

Doesn't change that incorporation is granted based on its benefits to society and not to the business' owners.

Marriage is no different.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 02:03 PM

"How is it a non-sequitor? It's your own bloody argument."

Right: "let gays marry and just you wait and see - there will be tons more single mothers living off welfare in the inner city". That makes sense ... not.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 02:08 PM

Good lord, here it is again is small words:

Just because you don't think a changes will not have an effect does not mean that it won't.

Just like no one thought that granting single moms welfare would effect marriage rates. "That's stupid, no one would forego marriage because of *this*". That makes logical sense. The only problem was IT DID NOT WORK LIKE THAT. Changing welfare policy did effect marriage rates and those communities where the effect has been most pronounced have suffered terribly for it.

Likewise, you don't think that allowing gays to marry will effect marriage. "That's stupid, no one would forego marriage because of *this*". That makes logical sense.

But as we see for the first example, people aren't always logical.

Marriage rates will further continue to decline for breeding couples and society will be the worse off for it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 03:02 PM

How is it a non-sequitor? It's your own bloody argument.

Nope -- "It" clearly does not dilute the institution - the overwhelming majority of people wanting homo. [sic] marriage are not going otherwise to engage in hetero. [sic] marriage... is a non-sequitur. First you want to expand the definition of marriage to include homosexual marriage, then you claim that the definition won't be expanded, because homosexuals won't engage in heterosexual marriage.

And it wasn't *my* bloody argument, it was Grim's bloody argument.

Sheesh.

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2009 03:16 PM

Bill,

How is it a non-sequitor? It's your own bloody argument.

...was my statement to ICBS. Not her's to you.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 03:22 PM

"Likewise, you don't think that allowing gays to marry will effect marriage. 'That's stupid, no one would forego marriage because of *this*'. That makes logical sense."

It seems as though you think that permitting gay marriage will divert a flood of previously-repressed homosexual people from the heterosexual marital pool into the homosexual marital pool. I know that some homosexual people claim that we're ALL latent homosexuals, but I kinda doubt that many of us will start batting for the other team just because the new team is allowed onto the playing field.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 03:32 PM

Ah, got it, Yu-Ain.

That's what comes of bringing the laptop into the bunker.

Posted by: BillT at October 15, 2009 03:56 PM

No, I just think there are marginal cases of heterosexuals who will just not bother getting married as they no longer see the point.

This, of course, makes it easier for the next marginal case of heterosexuals to just not bother getting married.

Which of course makes it that much easier for the next heterosexual couple to just not bother getting married.

They will, of course, continue having kids. But as the forging and breaking of pair bonds becomes effortless, family stability becomes non-existant. And children in unstable family environments are incredibly bad for society.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 04:05 PM

"I just think there are marginal cases of heterosexuals who will just not bother getting married as they no longer see the point."

This is already happening, and I don't think you can blame homosexuals for this. Remember the adage about no need to buy the cow when you can get your milk for free?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 04:10 PM

Yes it is already happening, doesn't mean we should make it worse.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 04:12 PM

You assume that letting gays marry will make it worse.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 04:13 PM

There are lots of factors that discourage people from marrying - loss of alimony + child support, loss of some other benefits.

I know some adults (previously married) who are paired, and occasionally shack, up and who aren't marrying. You can't blame the homosexuals for the choice of Christie and Rich [the 2 I'm thinking of] not to marry.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 04:16 PM

I'm not blaming them for the *current* declines in marriage rates. There are hundreds of reasons for that. But just because you already have 100 doesn't mean 101 won't change things.

You assume that letting gays marry will make it worse.

And you assume that it won't b/c "That's stupid, no one would forego marriage for X". But I've shown examples where exactly that type of argument was wrong.

And so I'm not convinced that it will be right this time just because you say it will be.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 04:24 PM

and I'm not convinced that it will be wrong just because you say it will be. it's easy for you to be opposed to it, when you're not an interested party.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 04:27 PM

and I'm not convinced that it will be wrong just because you say it will be.

Ignoring several examples of precisely this outcome while offering no contrary examples in support of your position that 'no bad will come from this' isn't really a terribly strong position.

We are saying, in essence, "This is new territory. With something this important, we should be cautious"

You are saying, "Who cares if it's new territory. I'm not worried about the consequences and furthermore I am dismissing historical evidence that shows we repeatedly fail to take precisely this kind of reaction into account." :p

That position is unlikely to impress opponents of gay marriage. You fail to refute their arguments and really offer no empirical arguments of your own. That's a problem, if your goal is to build support for your position.

"Take my word for it" isn't a terribly compelling argument.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 04:38 PM

I'm not asking you to be convinced just because I say it will be. That's why I brought out *examples* where your type of reasoning has been wrong. So you *don't* have to take my word for it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 04:48 PM

Let's do A! Bad thing X won't happen. Trust me. -> Bad thing X happens.

Let's do B! Bad thing X won't happen. Trust me. -> Bad thing X happens.

Let's do C! Bad thing X won't happen. Trust me. -> Bad thing X happens.

Let's do D! Bad thing X won't happen. Trust me. -> Bad thing X happens.

Let's do E! Bad thing X won't happen. Trust me. -> Bad thing X happens.

And now you want to say:
Let's do F! Bad thing X won't happen. And you want me to trust you?

Sorry, but I gotta call BS.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 15, 2009 05:28 PM

Cassandra, regarding the following from your comment above:

"You might try reading this:

"http://www.volokh.com/posts/1133375615.shtml

"A supporter of gay marriage does what I've asked: actually entertains the notion that the other side might have a point without for one moment surrendering her own ardent support for gay marriage."

The only way homosexuals truly want to "re-define" marriage is to be included in the current system as same-sex couples. The ONLY thing we really want to change is choice of spouse. That's it.

It is the coalition of religions fighting to exclude homosexuals from traditional marriage that have brought destruction to marriage in the Netherlands and France. They didn't want same-sex couples included in marriage, so the compromise of civil partnerships was introduced. Then it seemed unjust to make civil unions, which were deliberately defined to be a lesser state than marriage, only available to same-sex couples so heterosexuals were allowed the option and to the horror of the religious coalition -- and, I suspect, the surprise of homosexuals -- heterosexuals flocked to civil unions.

So religious activists opposed to homosexual equality are the ones who re-defined marriage, damaged the institution and they now are getting away with blaming homosexuals for this! It is an outrage to blame homosexuals for this self-inflicted wound!

Posted by: Cynthia Yockey, A Conservative Lesbian at October 15, 2009 05:32 PM

The only way homosexuals truly want to "re-define" marriage is to be included in the current system as same-sex couples. The ONLY thing we really want to change is choice of spouse. That's it.

Cynthia, I'm sorry but I can't buy off on that. Mostly because a substantial number of gay marriage activists want to cherry pick which part of marriage they will honor and which parts (namely, monogamy) they don't think should apply to them.

Now I don't maintain that you are doing this. You may be, but somehow you don't strike me that way.

But it's a real problem. If the 'exclusive' part of marriage is redefined, it's not the same institution anymore. And it's not (as ICBS dishonestly maintains) only those who "don't have a stake" in this who have issues with leaving monogamy out of marriage. Daniel Blatt, a gay conservative blogger whose writing and intellectually consistent reasoning I greatly admire, does too:

while I found more references than I had anticipated when I did the “marriage monogamous” search, most other searches came up short. On the site of Freedom to Marry, the one national group devoted primarily to promoting gay marriage, my searches yielded almost nothing, with no hits on marriage monogamy and only six for marriage monogamous.

None of those six hits indicated the ostensibly pro-marriage group supported monogamous gay unions. The closest they got was a footnote in the linked report, Black Same-Sex Households in the United States, observing that “Many gay, bisexual and straight people are monogamous.“

Most of the references I found were to other faiths’ definition of marriage and the experiences of individual couples. Nowhere did I find an organization’s representative or blogger saying that he or she believed monogamy to be an essential feature of marriage.

He's not the only one.

Do some heteros cheat? Absolutely. But there's a huge difference between failing to live up to a standard you don't question and throwing the entire rulebook away.

I don't, and never have, seen this as "blaming homosexuals" for the decline in moral standards that has eroded traditional marriage.

But I think it's an extremely questionable assumption to think that awarding a set of rights that has historically been granted in consideration of the fact that exclusive, monogamous relationships benefit society as well as those engaged in them to large numbers of people who have openly announced they have no intention of abiding by the same rules won't change the commonly accepted meaning of marriage.

And frankly, your argument that if we make civil unions available to gays, the definition of "marriage" (not civil unions, mind you, but marriage) will be changed makes no sense.

Of course some straights choose a less binding arrangement. A lot of straights live together too. That doesn't change the definition of marriage either. Given a choice, some folks will choose not to bind themselves: it's easier. But no matter how you slice it, that ain't marriage :p

The definition of marriage doesn't change when people freely choose an alternate form of partnership. All that happens is that (apparently) some folks, if given an alternative, are free to choose an arrangement that more closely matches their real intentions.

Those folks should not be "married" if they have no intention of being monogamous. Society is free to decide to what extent they want to privilege a non-exclusive partnership over remaining single. I have little doubt they'll make the wrong decision, but that's a separate issue and beyond my control.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 06:11 PM

"Ignoring several examples of precisely this outcome while offering no contrary examples in support of your position that 'no bad will come from this' isn't really a terribly strong position."

I'm not ignoring your examples - I'm saying that they are inapposite.

"We are saying, in essence, 'This is new territory. With something this important, we should be cautious' ".

This is not caution, IMHO - it is being reactionary, it is fear of the unknown, it is clinging to the so-called "tried and true" even when it doesn't doesn't work for everybody and refusing to acknowledge that it doesn't work for everybody, combined with indifference to the others for whom the tried and true doesn't work.

I am not "dismissing historical evidence that shows we repeatedly fail to take precisely this kind of reaction into account" - you all refer to the "inner city" and obliquely to its residents, and don't consider that the generalizations you're making (some of which are based on reality and others on ignorance IMHO) do not apply across the board.

With all due respect, this statement qualifies as BS in my book: "You fail to refute their arguments and really offer no empirical arguments of your own." What empirical evidence do you want that gay marriage will work and, more importantly, what empirical evidence do you have that it won't? Look at Western Europe - it is working there. Look at the same-sex couples in this country who have been together for years and years, without the "benefit" of "marriage", and who remain faithful, caring, supportive, nurturing, raise kids, work, pay taxes, pick up after their dogs, return borrower tools, and care for their partners in sickness and health, in wealth and poverty.

We can get bogged down in anecdotal evidence, and the lack thereof - there haven't been studies (as far as I am aware) as to the functioning of same-sex marriages and couples. What IS undisputed, is that people are asking for it and they are ready for it (as ready as any of us is for something new - to us - like marriage and responsibility. For you to assume (if you are, a it seems to me you are) that same-sex marriage will fail illustrates, I think, antipathy to those who want to try, and ill-will and bad faith in assuming that the people who want same-sex marriage are not serious and not willing to put as much effort into their unions as you all feel you and other heterosexual couples do (leaving aside the huge numbers of heterosexual unions where the parties bail our, or beat each other or fail in other ways).

"Take my word for it" is exactly the argument that many of your commentators here are making - they argue that "gay marriage" should not be permitted to those who want it because somebody else in a different situation with different issues screwed up something completely different. If that isn't "take my word for it", nothing is.

We can probably agree that "reasonable minds can differ" on this subject, but I think some people fall back too easily on the accusation that people who disagree with you "fail to refute [your] arguments and really offer no empirical arguments of [their] own."

That is disrespect, IMHO.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 06:18 PM

"Those folks should not be 'married' if they have no intention of being monogamous. "

Who gave you a pre-marital test to determine whether you were sufficiently intent on remaining monogamous?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 06:23 PM

No one gave me a test.

We did discuss it. At length. I informed my fiance that if he cheated on me, I would consider the marriage over and that I had no intention of cheating on him.

Perhaps that's why our marriage has lasted 30 years and why despite several periods of at least a year apart, neither of us has cheated.

If you go into a marriage openly saying you are not willing to be faithful, what are the chances neither party will stray? That's the point of the promise.

Sometimes, that's all that keeps you from throwing it all away.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 06:30 PM

Also, the point of showing all those examples of people maintaining that a proposed change in systems developed over centuries of human experience would, in fact, change the way people behave in real life was not that it "proves" redefining marriage to include gay couples will certainly change the way people, in fact, behave.

It was to support the argument that history suggests that social change often has unanticipated consequences and therefore we should be cautious about overturning systems that developed largely because of the way we do, in fact, behave in favor of untried theories :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 06:35 PM

"No one gave me a test."

... but you apparently have no problem with testing others, proclaiming that "Those folks should not be 'married' if they have no intention of being monogamous" and apparently assuming that "[gay couples] should not be 'married' [because] they have no intention of being monogamous".

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 07:21 PM

Stop putting words in my mouth.

You really have issues with just making things up.

I'm happy to respond to responses to what I actually said. I have no interest in defending (much less responding to) arguments that exist only in your imagination.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 07:30 PM

No disagreement from me that "history suggests that social change often has unanticipated consequences and therefore we should be cautious".

In light of the demand from reasonable people for same-sex marriage, and evidence that same-sex unions can and do last, and the other things I mention above, this is not IMHO a sufficient argument for denying marriage to people who want to assume the responsibilities of it.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 07:37 PM

"Stop putting words in my mouth. [¶] You really have issues with just making things up. [¶] I'm happy to respond to responses to what I actually said. I have no interest in defending (much less responding to) arguments that exist only in your imagination."

I apologize. I understood that you were proffering this:

>> The definition of marriage doesn't change when
>> people freely choose an alternate form of
>> partnership. All that happens is that
>>(apparently) some folks, if given an
>> alternative, are free to choose an arrangement
>> that more closely matches their real
>> intentions.

>> Those folks should not be "married" if they
>> have no intention of being monogamous. Society
>> is free to decide to what extent they want to
>> privilege a non-exclusive partnership over
>> remaining single. I have little doubt they'll
>> make the wrong decision, but that's a separate
>> issue and beyond my control.

in support of your argument against against same-sex marriage for people who want it.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 07:50 PM

...people who want to assume the responsibilities of it.

Except the primary responsibility, which is to provide for the next generation. That's really what the whole thing is about. The rest are accidents, not essence.

Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 07:57 PM

//...people who want to assume the responsibilities of it.//

"Except the primary responsibility, which is to provide for the next generation. That's really what the whole thing is about. The rest are accidents, not essence. Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 07:57 PM"

I don't think that this assumption is any more accurate a description of those who want same-sex marriage than it uniformly would be about heterosexual couples who choose not to, are debating whether to, or cannot reproduce but who nevertheless want to be married.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 08:02 PM

In light of the demand from reasonable people for same-sex marriage, and evidence that same-sex unions can and do last, and the other things I mention above, this is not IMHO a sufficient argument for denying marriage to people who want to assume the responsibilities of it.

If those were the only considerations (they aren't) then you and I would be in complete agreement.

I don't doubt the intention or ability of some same sex couples to sustain monogamous committed relationships.

They are doing that now without benefit of legal marriage.

You are ignoring my other arguments. You may certainly do so, but failing to counter them is not going to convince me that they are mistaken. You have a different weighing system - one that ignores things that are important to me.

That is enough to sustain your belief (since you are not being asked to change your mind). It is not enough to make me change mine, for you have offered me no reason to.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 15, 2009 08:06 PM

...or cannot reproduce but who nevertheless want to be married.

As to that, I will make the first actually religious statement I've made in this debate. It is perfectly fine for those who cannot reproduce to hope for a miracle.

I suppose a lesbian couple could hope for a really big miracle, too. The problem is that there's no sense that they are hoping for one. This quest is all about asking society to accept them, not about sacrificing to provision the next generation to survive and prosper.

That's not a dishonorable goal, wanting to be accepted and loved for who you are. It's just not what this is about. This is about the success of generations to come, and not about the satisfaction -- however honorable -- of those of us who happen to be here right now. Marriage is key for that, and it has to be bolstered and defended and strengthened as a tool in that regard. Using it for the gratification of the current generation -- by gays, straights, or anyone else -- is wrong.

Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 08:12 PM

"It is perfectly fine for those who cannot reproduce to hope for a miracle. [¶] Using [marriage] for the gratification of the current generation -- by gays, straights, or anyone else -- is wrong. Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 08:12 PM"

So, giving your statements their full effect, would you say that it is wrong to permit the following to marry:

- women who've had hysterectomies;
- men who've had vasectomies;
- people born infertile;
- people with congenital conditions in which development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex is atypical [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersexuality];
- people who do not want children;
- people who have suffered injuries or medical conditions that make them incapable of reproduction;
- people who elect not to reproduce because they carry genes for any of a number of genetic diseases [http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/medicine/assist.shtml];
- etc.
[list not meant to be exhaustive]

If not, how is a "no" answer consistent with your position as to same-sex marriages?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 09:21 PM

Perhaps you're unclear on what is meant by the term "miracle."

Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 09:26 PM

We humans are more, and have more to offer to each other, to society and to humanity as a whole, than merely our genes, aren't/don't we?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 09:39 PM

Of course. We have many institutions aimed at other matters -- poetry, the theater, philosophy, science. Marriage is about the future, though: not the genetics especially, but the children particularly. They are about those who will follow us, and be the free after we are gone. Marriage is for them.

Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 09:49 PM

"Perhaps you're unclear on what is meant by the term "miracle. Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 09:26 PM"

My faith tradition taught me something about miracles and their source, but I'm not sure that I "believe in" them.

On the other hand, drawing from one feature of that faith tradition (belief in the "fundamentals" of which I suspect is shared more or less by most readers here), if we accept as a miracle that Mary came to be with child by the Holy Spirit, who is to say that it could not happen again to, for example, one-half of a lesbian married couple?

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 09:55 PM

On second thought, we should leave "miracles" out of this, because if we allow miracles into the equation, anything is possible, and logic, reason, emotion, experience, common sense all become irrelevant.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 15, 2009 10:04 PM

...if we accept as a miracle that Mary came to be with child by the Holy Spirit, who is to say that it could not happen again to, for example, one-half of a lesbian married couple?

Certainly not I. I said as much above:

"I suppose a lesbian couple could hope for a really big miracle, too."

My duty does not encompass second guessing God. It is only to defend that which a man ought to defend.

Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 10:10 PM

Not to throw a wench into the conversation, since I haven't contributed anything on this thread, but....

If we change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, where does the re-definition of marriage end? What about those who wish to be polygamists? If we redefine for same-sex couples, how can we then argue polygamists don't have the right to legally marry? Another of those sticky unintended consequences, huh?

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 15, 2009 10:39 PM

Polygamy is not a significant danger. It has probably been the normal form of marriage in human history; we know what it does. Some people have social concerns about it, but it has proven to be a successful model.

Posted by: Grim at October 15, 2009 10:46 PM

"We are saying, in essence, 'This is new territory. With something this important, we should be cautious' ".
This is not caution, IMHO - it is being reactionary, it is fear of the unknown, it is clinging to the so-called "tried and true" even when it doesn't doesn't work for everybody and refusing to acknowledge that it doesn't work for everybody, combined with indifference to the others for whom the tried and true doesn't work.

No, it is not reactionary -- it is exercising due caution. Changing something that has been shown to work well overall solely because you are capable of implementing change has consistently proven to be a recipe for disaster.

And *nobody* here has refused to acknowledge that marriage doesn't work for everybody. But because not everyone is capable of painting a portrait doesn't mean that all blank canvas should come with a pre-printed outline of a human face.

...I think some people fall back too easily on the accusation that people who disagree with you "fail to refute [your] arguments and really offer no empirical arguments of [their] own."
That is disrespect, IMHO.

It is not "disrespect" when you have nothing to offer except emotional appeals and castigation of those who disagree with you -- it is called "debate"...

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 05:14 AM

Changing something that has been shown to work well overall solely because you are capable of implementing change has consistently proven to be a recipe for disaster.

And don't yank that out of context and accuse me of being a Luddite. I like innovation where it's been *proven* to work before it is introduced en masse because I've experienced first-hand the soup sandwich that happens when something new and shiny is introduced merely because it *is* new and shiny.

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 05:28 AM

The ONLY thing we really want to change is choice of spouse. That's it.

And I know that you believe that this is such a small insignificant change that it could not possibly have any negative side effects on the institution and social structures.

There's only one problem with it: We've heard that before (with marriage, with taxes, with regulation, with welfare, with...) and we've been burned time after time after time after time.

I've yet to hear a convincing argument why *this time* things will be different. Merely the assertion that it will be.


This is not caution, IMHO - it is being reactionary, it is fear of the unknown, it is clinging to the so-called "tried and true" even when it doesn't doesn't work for everybody and refusing to acknowledge that it doesn't work for everybody, combined with indifference to the others for whom the tried and true doesn't work. -emphasis mine.

It's not that we refuse to acknowledge that it doesn't work for everybody, we just disagree on who marriage is supposed to work *for*. HINT: it's not the two individuals.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 16, 2009 10:00 AM

FWIW, I don't think it's that we don't see (or even acknowledge the value of) many of the arguments ICBS and Cynthia have made.

It's that when we weigh them against other arguments, we don't come out with the same total. Our scales tip in a different direction because we give weight to factors you are discounting.

I do the same thing with many women's issues (where I would undoubtedly stand to gain from a different policy position). But when I weigh the benefit to women against the downsides and harm to society on some women's issues, I can't back them even if I'd benefit personally and even if I agree that life is "unfair".

It is. It's unfair to all sorts of groups. We have natural advantages and disadvantages. The thing is, the reason most commonly given by gay marriage advocates is that they want the legal and fiscal benefits currently afforded only to marrieds by default or by automatic operation of law.

It's not that they can't gain many these benefits simply by making their loved one the beneficiary on a will or medical POA or naming them on their life insurance. But that takes effort and they don't think that's "fair".

I don't think it's "fair" that I can't be in the combat arms either, but there are some pretty good reasons women aren't allowed in those MOS's. I don't think life is all about individual fairness or a perfectly level playing field. I think society attempts to balance competing interests, not always perfectly but as best we can.

There's a quid pro quo in the benefits afforded to married couples that I'm not sure I see with gay couples. Benefits aren't awarded to hetero married couples from the bigness of society's heart, but because doing so serves society's interests.

I believe that the argument for gay marriage needs to be made on the same grounds: society's best interest.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 10:12 AM

That's why I used the analogy to Corporations.

Corporations are not a natural extension of the market. They are a gov't created abberation whereupon the corporation's owners receive benefits and advantages not available to the general society. We do this because it serves society's interest to do so. It has nothing whatsoever to do with serving the interests of the businesses owners.

Marriage is also not a natural extension of pair bonding. It is a gov't created abberation whereupon the married couple receive benefits and advantages not available to the general society. We do this because it serves society's interest to do so. It has nothing whatsoever to do with serving the interests of the pair bonded couple.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 16, 2009 10:33 AM

"There's a quid pro quo in the benefits afforded to married couples that I'm not sure I see with gay couples. Benefits aren't awarded to hetero married couples from the bigness of society's heart, but because doing so serves society's interests."

But you all ignore the discrimination resulting from according the benefits to hetero couples who refuse to, can't or don't want to reproduce. [see list above of people whose non-reproductive unions nevertheless receive the benefits].

Please explain the benefit which warrants rewarding (with the marital tax breaks, etc.) the "service" to society of the spoiled-brat yuppie couple with tons of expensive toys (cars, kayaks, motorcycles, travel, appletinis, manhattan penthouses, etc. "ad maiorem consumerism gloriam") but with no intention to reproduce, but justifies refusing to reward the "service" to society of the homo couple raising the adopted kids with AIDS (whom nobody else would adopt).

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 11:06 AM

ICBS, you always want to bring every broad public policy argument down to how it affects one individual but policies aren't made for individuals.

They are made to work in the aggregate (i.e., often enough to provide some benefit).

Again, this isn't about "rewarding" anyone. It's about what society gets in the aggregate from policies directed at specific groups.

I do hope you're not maintaining that large numbers of gay couples will adopt babies with AIDS :p

Justifying a policy by the unusual case (on either side) doesn't make sense.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 11:12 AM

"I do hope you're not maintaining that large numbers of gay couples will adopt babies with AIDS :p"

Nah - I doubt this will be widespread - it'll prob be mostly all Donna Summer and all butt-less chaps all the time. There will be some who do, of course, but prob most won't.

"Justifying a policy by the unusual case (on either side) doesn't make sense."

True, but I think it important to remember that there are real people with real lives who are affected by all this.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 11:36 AM

it'll prob be mostly all Donna Summer and all butt-less chaps all the time...

OK, next time warn me :p

Look, I do understand that. But I also understand that there are already legal vehicles in place to ensure inheritance of assets and that the loved one isn't frozen out in case of illness. So re-defining marriage truly isn't the "only" way.

I am married and yet I have a medical POA, a regular POA and am explicitly named in my husband's will as the sole inheritor of his estate. These are things prudent lifelong couples do anyway if they really care about the welfare of their spouse. I am the sole beneficiary on all his insurance policies - explicitly.

And I am joint owner on all our assets. Now couples can choose NOT to do these things and then complain when a will or insurance claim is challenged.

But it's not smart to rely on the automatic operation of law, nor to blame others for failing to ensure something that's important to you. As for "forcing" society to accept you, laws won't do that.

Personally I already accept the legitimacy of a monogamous gay couple and no law will ever change that. To me, if they consider themselves married then they are. The other stuff is gravy.

Any two people can enter into contracts or declare another the beneficiary of a will or insurance policy. Any two people can exchange POA's. As for federal benefits, they can be extended to gay couples by law if society decides that's what it wants to do without changing the definition of traditional marriage. That's why I support civil unions.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 11:46 AM

True, but I think it important to remember that there are real people with real lives who are affected by all this.

There are real people with real lives who are affected by every policy. And almost none of it can satisfy 100% of the people. At some point you have to say "I'm sorry you're not satisfied, but the line stops here."

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 16, 2009 11:48 AM

True, but I think it important to remember that there are real people with real lives who are affected by all this.

Nobody's forgetting that. But you haven't made the case that those real people's lives will be unalterably and irreparably damaged unless we change the definition of marriage.

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 11:49 AM

Please explain the benefit which warrants rewarding (with the marital tax breaks, etc.) the "service" to society of the spoiled-brat yuppie couple with tons of expensive toys (cars, kayaks, motorcycles, travel, appletinis, manhattan penthouses, etc. "ad maiorem consumerism gloriam")

You just described the majority of the *gays* I know.

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 11:56 AM

My work here is done ... and I am off to tilt at other windmills.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 03:00 PM

Ah, yes. Declare victory and pull out.

You aren't one of Obie's 500 foreign policy advisors on Afghanistan, by any chance?

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 03:52 PM

"Ah, yes. Declare victory and pull out."

Y'all won't be convinced; you've demonstrated that. It's between each of us and her or his individual conscience and Gaia now.

Go forth, let us rejoice and be glad (unless you prefer some less contented state for professional or other reasons).

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 04:00 PM

Well, to be perfectly honest, you haven't said anything that would convince me, personally, of the validity of your points.

I did find it interesting that you used the example of the "spoiled brat" couple to illustrate the insanity of providing a tax break to that sort, and then pulled the pin when I mentioned that most of the gays I know -- including three couples -- live that exact lifestyle.

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 04:19 PM

"I did find it interesting that you used the example of the "spoiled brat" couple to illustrate the insanity of providing a tax break to that sort, and then pulled the pin when I mentioned that most of the gays I know -- including three couples -- live that exact lifestyle."

Didn't realize I "pulled the pin". I understand that I'm not going to convince anyone here, just as I don't think any of you would convince me. I think the prohibition is fundamentally unfair. Some of you may agree but say that "life is unfair - deal with it"; others (most) apparently think that there are good reasons not to let same-sex couples "marry" in the full sense of the term (even understanding that I'm not talking about forcing any church to do anything it doesn't want to do).

I think the country is going in the direction of allowing two people who want to do so to marry. I also think that the generation of which my kids are a part, and those which follow, will be more open to it and will permit such marriages.

Today's college and high-school kids as a general rule don't "have a problem" with gay people, and I think that when more of them are voting (as my oldest already is), they will see these civil legal discrepancies as anachronisms that do not serve society as they see and/or want to see it (judging from from what I've seen and what I've heard them say).

I also think it will take years for this "fundamental right" (as I see it) to be recognized widely enough that it won't be an issue for the people whom the prohibition personally affects. Between now and then, there will be a lot of people whose government, which they pay for through taxes, will deny them true civil equality and equal protection under the laws of the United States (and the several states) and will deny them access to the same "life, liberty and happiness" that the rest of us receive as a matter of course in this country.

The passage of time, and the passing of the "old guard", will fix this, I think.

Sei Gezunt.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 05:21 PM

I think the country is going in the direction of allowing two people who want to do so to marry. I also think that the generation of which my kids are a part, and those which follow, will be more open to it and will permit such marriages.

I happen to believe you're right.

I also happen to believe any such change should happen slowly so society can gradually figure out ways to deal with any issues that arise.

The difference between you and I is that you don't believe there will be any negative repercussions.

And I disagree. I think you've defended your position about as well as it can be defended. I understand your arguments. It's just that I raised issues for which you provided no satisfactory answers. So I think we can agree to disagree - 99 times out of a hundred you're not going to change someone else opinion on the Intertubes.

I do enjoy the discussion, however, because it helps people understand each other's positions better.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 05:27 PM

"I did find it interesting that you used the example of the "spoiled brat" couple to illustrate the insanity of providing a tax break to that sort, and then pulled the pin when I mentioned that most of the gays I know -- including three couples -- live that exact lifestyle."

Life in America, and access to "life, liberty and happiness" here, belong to spoiled brats too, gay and straight. The spoiled yuppies (as I've postulated them) don't contribute to "the future"; of course, they may change there minds (prob after the female half has moved out of prime reproductive capabilities). The spoiled guppies shouldn't have to contribute any more than the spoiled yuppies are made to contribute. And the guppies can always adopt or take care of nieces and nephews, brothers, sisters, or date turkey basters, if they want kids - and many will ... even if y'all don't consider that as a contribution worth "rewarding" the way society rewards reproducing couples. I'm pretty sure that the kids who receive homes, and help with homework, and car service to soccer and kissing of "owies" and all the rest will appreciate what they get from their "unconventional" parents, even if you don't value it as highly as they do.

Enough.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 05:29 PM

...even if y'all don't consider that as a contribution worth "rewarding" the way society rewards reproducing couples.

So, you *haven't* read Form 1040...

Posted by: BillT at October 16, 2009 05:37 PM

"I understand your arguments. It's just that I raised issues for which you provided no satisfactory answers."

Maybe I don't see them as real issues.

Sure there may be "repercussions" [if this is what you're talking about]. Life has negative repercussions that befall us whether or not we are worthy.

My understanding of my duty in life is [that it includes making an effort] to help people to the extent I can, and to see America live up to its promise as much as possible.

There were "negative repercussions" that followed the absolutely correct [IMHO] Court decisions and statutes prohibiting miscegenation laws. Mostly, those "negative repercussions" were caused by people who refused to go along with the underlying concepts of freedom for all.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 05:43 PM

"So, you *haven't* read Form 1040..."

It's NOT just about money, dude.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 05:43 PM

You know, for someone who was done arguing, you sure have an odd way of showing it.

You're not going to convince anyone any you've essentially dismissed everything we've had to say. Don't you think maybe 'agree to disagree' is a good ending place? :p

In any event, I've said my piece.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 16, 2009 05:45 PM

I agree to disagree. HAGW people.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 16, 2009 06:38 PM

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