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Same Sex Marriage

Should states recognize the union of same sex couples as having the same rights as heterosexual marriages?

started by juszczak on 11/30/09.

Same Sex Marriage
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arguesreason
The very question should sound as ridiculous as if you substituted the word 'interracial' for 'same-sex'. And since there seem to be no good secular objections to gay marriage, there should be no opposition from the states.

by froggerus (55.06) on 12/1/09.

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As the cliche' goes, why don't gay people have the right to be as miserable as the straight population. While over-simplified and overstated, this aphorism is appropriate. Many gay citizens pay taxes, serve in our military, create scientific breakthroughs, contribute to the arts, and share with our communities like any other beneficial members of society. Why should they be treated differently?

Ironically, Bible abusing rightists commonly criticize the gay community for the right's perception that gay people are particularly promiscuous. Why wouldn't our society want to reward people who have made a commitment to one another? Also, on that note, we must consider whether there is a public health benefit of encouraging monogamy?

As for the children argument, why are people who are sterile allowed to marry? You can fish all day, but if you do not have a line or tackle all you are going to get is a nice boat ride.

I understand people's perspectives about this are commonly shielded in religious or cultural ideals that were developed during a different time. However, respectfully, I assert that time has gone by. With all due respect, this really seems to be more of an excuse to try to indirectly, and maybe/hopefully unintentionally, be anti-gay simply because you do not like the lifestyle.

Finally, this argument is about same-sex marriage. It is not about incestuous marriage, pedophilia, polygamy, or other issues. These red herrings and implied slippery slope arguments are garbage and cheapen the dialogue regarding this issue. It is simply a cheap attempt to associate the issue with irrelevant noise.

by elwoodlaw (83.67) on 12/5/09.

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I agree that the production of offspring is fundamental to the well-being of society, but reproduction is certainly not the end of the line. Marriage isn't about mechanically ejecting offspring and then chucking them into the woods to fend for themselves. In fact, the creation of the offspring is only one phase of MANY in the development of a productive member of society. One might argue that procreation is the easiest part of the whole process.

While same-sex partners cannot procreate, they are more than capable of creating an environment and culture in which to develop a happy, healthy, productive member of society. The only thing missing from the equation is the offspring itself. If only there were children in the world looking for capable and loving caretakers, then same-sex partners would be worthy of the same benefits granted to those who are able to "roll their own." Unfortunately for The Gays, every momma wants her baby and nobody ever dies.

by Katzwinkel (69.39) on 12/5/09.

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Ted Olsen, a "conservative" lawyer fighting for Gay Marriage, had this to say on why he took the case:

"Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it."

by Mr. Huge (56.99) on 1/11/10.

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To pretend that marriage in our modern society is anything but the outward expression of a couple's love for each other (ie: baby making, a cornerstone of stable families, etc.) is ridiculous. We don't live in a primitive village where we rely on our children to help with hunting, gathering, and taking care of the elderly.

Our country was founded on the precepts of individual rights and for anyone to deny those rights to a class of people is hypocritical and wrong.

by juszczak (68.66) on 12/5/09.

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@Egorz13:
Your framing of the argument in terms of utilitarianism misses the point. The question is not whether Same-sex marriage benefits society, but whether its existence would substantively harm society. It would not. And since the specific society in question is the United States of America, the further issue is whether its absence harms society. (It does.)

Ultimately, the same-sex marriage debate is a question of civil rights. The 14th Amendment affords all citizens equal protection under federal law, and denying any two consenting adults the right to the legal protections and privileges marriage provides based on their gender is, to me, a clear violation of that Amendment. (caveat: I am not a lawyer) Legal precedent in America has been a long tradition of increasing civil rights for individuals, and I fully expect that we will eventually realize that denying any committed couple the right to marry helps no one and harms us all.

by DClary (65.15) on 12/7/09.

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Also... "Either you agree that it is ok to discriminate against certain types of relationships in determining which relationships are to receive status and privilege from society, or you do not. If you agree, then I sincerely would like to understand your criteria for deciding when it is ok to discriminate and when it is not."

The sex of those people wishing to enter into a legal contract (which is what marriage is) has no bearing on the legality of that contract in any other case. Clearly, from a purely secular legal standpoint, denying people the right to enter into a contract of any kind based on their gender would be nonsensical, discriminatory and illegal. Except for marriage? I concede that this argument would also open the door for polygamous marriage, not that I think that would be society-crushing either. America has a proud tradition of throwing tradition in the garbage whenever it conflicts with civil liberties. USA! USA!

by DClary (65.15) on 12/7/09.

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Having met some wonderful and loving same sex couples, I see know no reason for there not to be a union between these people. The traditional marriage is suppose to be two be united in love. . A commitment to stay together for a long term relationship is a marriage! So why not make it legal.

I can not see how our Creator in His infinite wisdom would condemn the love of two people. Those who are ready to quote the Bible and state that marriage should always and only be male and female....well they are usually the same that are sure that anyone who does not fit into their "pretty little box" must come to their way of thinking or burn in hell.

As for the argument that marriage should produce children, there are many couples who purposely choose not to have children, should these marriages be banned?




by Buscia (65.31) on 1/3/10.

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egorz13:
I comprehend your anthropological standpoint. A light analogy might be this: I will never be in the NBA. I am not structured in such a way that would allow me to optimize the game of basketball and I will never be anything but a hinderance to the progress of any team I'm on.  I'm free to play all the basketball I want, all day every day, but I will never be sanctioned by the NBA and I shouldn't expect to be. They don't owe me anything. 

I think what everyone is *hearing* you say, to belabor an analogy, is that I shouldn't even be allowed to buy tickets to an NBA game because I cannot maximize the goals of the players. You state that same-sex couples cannot help in the act of procreation; I ask, what can it hurt? There are gay people out there in the world right now who are married to each other in the eyes of our American government, and I cannot perceive any interruption in heterosexual procreation. 

You state that same-sex couples should not receive the same benefits because they do not provide the same benefits, and I can get behind that. I don't like the concept but I can't deny the math. But what benefits are we talking about here? Meager tax breaks? Who cares? If the benefits gained through marriage were worth a damn, I'd be married right now, to an equally opportunistic individual, male or female, so I could reap the reward, and I wouldn't be the only one. 

People get married as a symbol of commitment, a symbol that expresses itself to the couple, to their society and to the god of their choosing. The benefits are a pale side effect. Marriage, in our society, is a big freakin' deal. Many Americans spend their lives and careers building up to it, and not because they're angling for that juicy tax break. To deny homosexuals that social symbol is no different than saying they are forbidden from seeking high-paying jobs or adopting a child or joining a hoity-toity country club. 

Why did society generate special privileges and status for married heterosexuals? Because the seeds of social norm were planted back in grim and ignorant days; days when all forms of discrimination and bigotry were written into law as a matter of course.

Today, society doesn't dictate the best course of action for society. Today, white-haired politicians cling tenaciously to bygone atrocities in an effort to maintain a stranglehold on the root of their power and to promote their agenda and beliefs. Well, who elected to put them in power, you ask? Admittedly, society. But it's not as though society has the best and brightest to choose from. Society may only choose from a small, corrupt pool of professional politicians.

So, adjust marriage if you must; two different types of couples, two different types of rules. Fine. But don't deny homosexuals the institution and sacrament of marriage in the name of protecting society, because whatever damage society may have to withstand as a result of same-sex marriage pales in comparison to the damage done to society through the act of discrimination.

by Katzwinkel (69.39) on 2/19/10.

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Marriage benefits many groups such as individuals, religious people, and society. However, the question of how to define marriage should depend entirely on the benefits derived by society. Traditionally (all over the world and throughout history), marriage has been society's response to and provision for children and family. It defines the ideal relationship in which children are to be created and raised. Ideal for whom? Ideal for society. With the responsibility for caring for children placed squarely with a married couple the chances of ill effects for society decrease. Also, with that expectation in place there is (debatably) some deterrence effect for irresponsible reproduction.

There are many potential respones to the above.

-If you say that marriage has nothing to do with children, then I would ask you if all relationships provide the same, or any, benefit to society.
* If all relationships (hetero, homo, mulitple parties, incestual, etc.) provide the same benefit to society then why is society bothering to create special privileges or status for any of them. Wouldn't it make more sense to remove marriage altogther than to allow same sex marriage? Why spend any time on any of it if the benefits will happen regardless of the relationship a person embarks on?
* If not all relationships are equal, then what criteria would you use to permit marriage for some but not for others?

- If you say that not all marriages produce children, but yet we still allow them, then I would respond:
* You can't guarantee to catch anything when you go fishing, but you will certainly not catch a fish if you drop your line in the bathtub. Go fishing where the fish are. By fish I mean children, in case you were confused.
* The cost of the onerous invasion of privacy required to verify that children are produced or intended (not to mention the impossibility of such a task) would very much outweigh any benefit society gains by having marriage.

Ultimately, modern society doesn't care who you love, who you're committed to, or who you are having sex with. That doesn't mean, though, that society has to stop encouraging those relationships that provide benefit to all of us or that it has to encourage all relationships equally whether they provide a benefit or not. Is it a perfect system? No. I think it's still the best system though. I would also be in favor, in an individual rights/libertarian sort of way, in making it easier for people to direct the course of their lives (e.g. by being able to more easily direct who is to make decisions for them while they are incapacitated, better allowance for inheritance issues, hospital visitation).

by egorz13 (63.54) on 12/4/09.

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In response to juszczak from 12/5/09:
1) I don't think that anyone is pretending when it comes to this issue.
2) I agree that marriage is "the outward expression of a couple's love for each other"
3) If society derives no benefit from that outward expression, then why is society involved at all? Why do you need a license? Why do we organize legal principles around it?
4) Maybe YOU don't need an extended family or an immediate family to provide food, resources, or care for the elderly, but you're delusional if you think those circumstances are relics of a bygone age. They happen all the time.
5) Receiving benefits or status from society is not a right. Society is under no obligatiopn to provide benefits to anyone, let alone people it feels don't provide commensurate benefits in return. What benefit does society receive from same sex marriage?

by egorz13 (63.54) on 12/5/09.

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In response to DClary from 12/7/09 (the one about "framing" the issue:
My framing of the issue is intended to move the debate to where the conflict actually exists. I have no quarrel with equal protection under the law; I'm a big fan of the concept. That concept, though, doesn't mean that we have to disregard qualifications or essential duties of the job, so to speak. It doesn't mean that we have to award federal engineering contracts to accounting firms. The question, and the ensuing disagreement, is properly centered around what the essential qualifications really are and whether society has any compelling stake in the matter to begin with.

by egorz13 (63.54) on 1/27/10.

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In response to elwoodlaw from 12/5/09:
1) It's not a question of treating people differently. It's a question of whether same sex marriage merits benefits and status being bestowed by society. Otherwise do what you want to do, just don't expect "official" sanction for it.
2) I think you'd be surprised to discover that opposition to same sex marriage doesn't come from just "Bible abusing rightists." You don't have to have a Bible or be of the right.
3) Regarding the sterile argument: that's a good point. However, I think society would recoil from the gross imposition on privacy that would be required by checking for sterility (I know I would). Society must weigh privacy issues vs letting some sterile people slip into the institution of marriage. But there is no corresponding invasion of privacy required for same sex couples - it's just not able to be faked or mistaken.
4) I think your assertion that "this really seems to be more of an excuse to try to indirectly, and maybe/hopefully unintentionally, be anti-gay simply because you do not like the lifestyle" is a straw man argument based on zero evidence except for your own world view.
5) I didn't imply and I don't believe in a slippery slope argument and I disagree that polygamy and incest are red herrings. Either you agree that it is ok to discriminate against certain types of relationships in determining which relationships are to receive status and privilege from society, or you do not. If you agree, then I sincerely would like to understand your criteria for deciding when it is ok to discriminate and when it is not. If youy disagree then I sincerely would like to know why you think society should be involved in marriage at all (why can't people go to a church and not bother at all with the state? why bother at all with a church? why does it need to be "official"?).
6) These are the questions that trouble many people when it comes to the issue of same sex marriage. The fact that you think it's irrelevant noise probably explains why you apparently can't understand opposition to same sex marriage except in terms of religion or bigotry.

by egorz13 (63.54) on 12/5/09.

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In response to DClary from 12/7/09 (the one about marriage being a legal contract):
It's refreshing to hear your concession that the same sex marriage argument based on the marriage-is-just-another-contract line of thought opens the door to ANY combination. I think that many supporters of same sex marriage would part ways with you on that score (not that you need to answer for anyone else but yourself). So if you think that marriage is just another contract, then:
1) Why are we (society) in the business of marriage at all, with the licensing requirements, tax breaks, legal principles, assumptions etc.? Why not just have people - in any combination - form actual contracts to pool their interests? Leave love, children or any other consideration out of it that the parties involved don't specifically put in the contract.
2) What is your rationale for advocating same sex marriage when you really think that there shouldn't be ANY restrictions? Wouldn't it be more accurate for you to argue either for no restrictions at all or to argue for no marriage at all?

by egorz13 (63.54) on 1/28/10.

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In response to Buscia from 1/3/10:
I agree that marriage is about commitment and love - from the individual's perspective. And people can commit and love all day long whether or not society sanctions or recognizes them. I claim that the only reason society cares is that society has a compelling interest in procreation, and encouraging procreation in the least risky manner possible (i.e. marriage).

by egorz13 (63.54) on 1/28/10.

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Also in response to Buscia from 1/3/10:
Banning marriages that either can't or choose not to produce children is an impossible, expensive, and distasteful policy in my opinion. I don't support it. I don't think it could ever work, I recoil from the idea of this kind of thing.

by egorz13 (63.54) on 1/28/10.

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In response to Mr. Huge from 1/11/10:
I think Ted Olsen is wrong. My objection is that marriage is about much more than two individuals. it is about creating family. I find the idea that society would care whether or not you love or are loved to be repugnant to my libertarian sensibilities. Why would society care (or even know) about two individuals loving one another. If they commit to each other and pool their interests, then good for them. No impact plus or minus on society. If two people cease to love each other, then too bad for them. But still no impact on society, they just start supporting themselves as they would have to do anyway. Two people "get together" and produce a child - now society starts to perk up a bit. Stay together, great; I hope you provide a good upbringing. Don't stay together, now society has to scramble to deal with the resulting issues.

I think that society has a compelling interest in how children are made, and that is the reason for a public institution and involvement. Others disagree. Ok, but then what is left as the compelling societal interest if not procreation? Love? Pooling of interests? Self esteem? Not very compelling in my book.

by egorz13 (63.54) on 1/28/10.

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In response to Katzwinkel from 12/5/09:
1) I agree that "marriage isn't about mechanically ejecting offspring and then chucking them into the woods to fend for themselves." Who said otherwise?
2) The benefit to society from marriage is in orderly and sheltered procreation. Of course procreation is easy, but there are many circumstances that are less than ideal for procreation - that's why we encourage procreation within the framework of marriage.
3) The fact that there are children in the world looking for a home means we should reconsider our ideas concerning adoption, not marriage.

by egorz13 (63.54) on 12/6/09.

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