The Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage, Part II

Part I

Question 2

I’ve often heard you say, “Why shouldn’t we let two loving same-sex people marry?” My question: why two? If your only retort to “Why two?” is a variant of “That’s absurd” or “I won’t answer” then you concede the argument. If you cannot provide a cogent defense of these or other reasonable questions, we must assume you haven’t any justification for your beliefs, and that the sole reason you want what you want is that you want it and that you should have it because you want it.

I’ll assume you have an answer to “Why two?”, which might be this: marriage has always been, except in rare instances, between two people. This is true. But then marriage has always been, except in rare circumstances, between a man and a woman. History and tradition are not on your side. If you embrace tradition for “two people” you must embrace it for “man-woman” because tradition is both conditions, held simultaneously, not either condition held singly. I’ll tell you why I think two: because two is natural, because two is one mom plus one dad, because two is built into nature. That’s the scientific answer. A man-woman coupling is how genes are passed on. Even considering the exceptions (like harems), two is the vastly, most overwhelmingly common option, everywhere and at all times. Then the exceptions were mostly one-man-many-women, and actual instances were as rare as lottery wins, available only for those at the pinnacle of certain societies (circumstances which made women scarce or nonexistent for those in the lower echelons). Yes, there were historical pockets of one-man-having-relations-with-one-underclass-boy, but that wasn’t marriage, just an age old form of dissipation.

Again I ask you, why two? History is no guide, neither is nature. Why two? Because marriage just “feels” like two people? It does, too, and for the reasons I’ve given. But it doesn’t “feel” like anything but George plus Martha to me. Are feelings all we have? Marriage doesn’t feel like two to, for example, Boris Dittrich, the “father” of SSM in the Netherlands who “has admitted that group marriages of three or more people, is the next, inevitable logical step in the dismantling of the western world’s traditional marriage laws.” Dittrich is far from alone in believing he has an unanswerable argument that once natural rights and tradition are abandoned “marriage” may be defined as anything able to make its way into law. (Later I mention those who would wed animals.) How do we respond to Dittrich? Once you abandon the naturalness of man-woman mating and raising of children as irrelevant, there is no logical reason not to accept Dittrich’s desires. “Marriage” is the state between any-sized groups of people who agree to call themselves wed.

You might concede marriage doesn’t have to be two people, but two is what most seem to want. If enough people want a thing, thus it should be so? As in, if 50.1% of the country agreed to call two men who wanted to “cohabitate” be called “married” then they are “married.” That right? My dear, this is no good. To paraphrase your mother, if 50.1% of the country agreed to walk off a cliff, would you, too? This suggests an impermanence to morality, that right and wrong are subject to fad. This is not problematic for traffic laws, but deeply troubling for fundamental, foundational matters. What if the country (government, people, or both) decided that a certain demographic group would be better off underground? That has certainly happened, but if you say votes decide morality, then you cannot complain.

Suppose you are a resident of North Carolina, where the people have spoken and opted to stick with tradition by amending their constitution to say marriage is only man-woman. If truth is decided by a vote, the position these people haven taken is therefore not wrong, and must be accepted as right. When you cross the border into North Carolina, you too must believe same-sex “marriage” is wrong. Since it is wrong, and since voting decides what is right, then it would incoherent of you to agitate against the law.

Your hope now is that (in the USA) the Supreme Court decides SSM is a right. They might; it is even probable. But what happens if the states rebut by passing a Constitutional Amendment à la North Carolina? Would you then accept SSM is wrong? Or would you still believe it moral and that the majority is wrong? If so, then you have admitted that truth cannot be decided by a vote, that there are right and wrongs not subject to whim or opinion, that morality is objectively true.

I agree. Now all we have done so far is to argue whether the State, i.e. the government, can arbitrarily decide (as they did in North Carolina) what marriage is. Since (as we just proved) because the people by vote cannot do so, it follows the State (formed of people) cannot either. We now have to sort out what marriage is. We’ll do that next.

Part III

————————————————————————–

Warning Tolerance is a hallmark of those supporting same-sex marriage. Never will you find proponents employing abuse, vituperation, appeals to emotion, or angry senseless shouting. They do not label their opponents enemies, nor accuse them of being hate-filled. They instead use calm, logical, well-reasoned argument; they understand rational and sincere people may disagree on certain points. I therefore expect supporters of traditional marriage to act similarly. Comments which do not accord with ladylike or gentlemanly behavior will be ruthlessly expurgated.

Comments

The Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage, Part II — 88 Comments

  1. Polygamy does happen. According to the Wiki entry:

    “According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry.[3] At the same time, even within societies which allow polygyny, the actual practice of polygyny occurs relatively rarely. There are exceptions: in Senegal, for example, nearly 47 percent of marriages are multiple.[7] To take on more than one wife often requires considerable resources: this may put polygamy beyond the means[citation needed] of the vast majority of people within those societies. Such appears the case in many traditional Islamic societies, and in Imperial China. Within polygynous societies, multiple wives often become a status symbol denoting wealth, power, and fame.”

    So from the numbers, the number of societies that allow non-monogamous marriages is a lot bigger than the number of societies that do not allow it, but at the same time, most people are in a monogamous marriage.

    Why that is so, one can think of a number of reasonable hypotheses. Like, most people want to be in a monogamous relation, or most people cannot afford polygamy, even though they would want to, or, there are just not that many spare men and/or women around to have lots of polygamous marriages.

    But to say that it is natural for a marriage to be monogamous, I would say no. It is very common, but it seems that having a couple of backup kinds of marriages is also a good idea. Like, when lots of men are killed in wars, allowing a man to marry more than one woman is a good way to increase the birthrate.

  2. Actually, I think you’ve shown that a state *can* arbitrarily decide what marriage (or pretty much anything else) is, and that it won’t change peoples opinions one jot.

    What we’re discussing (I think) in this case is the right of the state to make those decisions on behalf of the people it claims to represent.

    I think the state can make good arguments for having a civil marriage that is standard across the country and that can be used to manage tax, benefits, inheritance etc.

    Under those circumstances it is likely that the state will adopt a definition that it thinks it can get the people to accept (I mean accept not agree). For that, you don’t even need 50.1%

    So we’re back to the basic issues of democracy and devolution of power.

  3. Now all we have done so far is to argue whether the State, i.e. the government, can arbitrarily decide (as they did in North Carolina) what marriage is.

    Really? Hmmm….

    What’s your argument against same-sex marriage in this post? Because it only involves two people so it should be banned?! Have been reading blogs written by people like Michelle Malkin?

    It sounds like that you are arguing for polygamy. If polygamy is to be legalized, it’d not be due to same-sex marriage.

    How about talking the proponents’ points directly?

    The Supreme Court is to decide whether the federal government, in states that recognize same-sex marriage, can refuse to provide same-sex couples the federal benefits available to others.

    No federal benefits, no need to define marriage.

  4. Tackling the proponents’ points.. not talking. Auto-correct stinks, so does my grammar sometimes. ^_^

  5. Given your latest argument in favor of monogamy, one must wonder what the God of the Old Testament was up to?

  6. Perhaps if one checked the ratio of males to females in human society, the reason for one man-one woman marriage might be more evident.

  7. Conrad, no need to wonder. It’s plainly stated “in the beginning” — Gen. 2:24. Allegorical or actual, the meaning of the writer is clear, regardless of failures to adhere to the standard in later times, even by those recognized as godly — Kings David and Solomon, for example. Polygamy got Abraham in trouble and his descendants of both lineages suffer for it even today.

  8. Thank you Gray,

    “Levir” or Lavirate Marriage is a codified, legal, and entirely moral code practiced by many peoples in many different places and still in practice today.

  9. Are there any lawyers here that can help answer some questions regarding rights, laws and equality?

  10. Curses …

    The misspelling of Gary was intentional but the error in Levirate was not.

  11. 1- You might want to thank your friend Ye Old Statistician who wrote in part 1:

    “No, it’s a contract between the couple and the State that the couple will accept the burden of raising of any children they might produce. (Matrimony is another story).”

    At the origin there were little to no differences between the state and religion even if they were polytheist. If there is no state there is no need for marriage. There is a State from the moment a group of people counsel together on what the course of that group of people will adopt. There are many form of State. A father is the head of State of is family. An administrative counsel for a company is the State for that company; they decide who is the president, how the money is raised and spent, and the code of conduct for their employee, etc.

    The first marriage ceremony was conducted by a State. Marriage is a creation from the State, so it is the role of the State to define what marriage means, or at least what civil marriage means. The Catholic is a 2000 year old religious State that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. For the better part of these 2000 years the Church was part of the civil state were it influenced the code of conduct of everyone found inside its reach (anyone remember the Inquisition).

    So it is now evident that the institution of the State created the institution of Marriage. Marriage was not created out of thin air. Marriage did not exist before the State. So the Stat can define what marriage is. The State of the Catholic Church can define what marriage means to it. A laic State can therefore define what marriage means to it. What it can’t do is to say what marriage means to the Catholic Church but the Catholic Church cannot tell the laic State what marriage is.

    2- Why 2?

    The answer is simple polygamy is not permitted, so it can’t be more than 2. Could a laic State define in the future that polygamy is permitted? Yes, but it could not force the Church to permit it.

    Yet there are religions like Mormonism who allow polygamy and the State cannot force the Church of Mormon to interdict polygamy, and they don’t since the Mormon Church still allow it. What the State does though is to enforce it on people instead.

  12. Conard: Thanks. I really do have to keep a list of these terms! I never knew so many ideas had names attached to them.

  13. One surprising thing about same sex marriage is that libertarians nearly uniformly seem to support it. The argument seems to be: Any two (at least) people who are in love should be able to get married, QED.

    But what is the state’s legitimate interest in issuing official certificates to people who are in love? From a liberal/progressive standpoint I can almost get there. This could be another case of using the power of the state to ‘nudge’ people in a direction that the anointed believe will be better for them in the long run. So if we think that long-term committed relationships are good for you we’ll offer various enticements (tax breaks, for example) and erect barriers to bailing on the commitment.

    (But how do you square this ‘nudge’ with the liberal/progressive efforts to make marriage dead easy to get out of? Gee, there’s a hard question. What do you imagine the motivation could be for someone who believes that absolutely anyone should be able to get married to anyone else for any reason whatsoever and then get out of that marriage at no cost? What would you call a commitment that has no requirements to enter and no cost to getting out? Well, not a commitment, that’s for sure.)

    But back to my libertarian friends, how does the government’s handing out “you’re in love” certificates square with libertarian political philosophy? If that makes sense, why stop there? How about “You’re really handsome” certificates issued by the courts?

    In fact of course, marriage from a civil perspective has nothing to do with love. The state doesn’t ask you if you’re in love or test you for love. Insisting that any two people who are “in love” should be able to get married makes about as much sense as saying that anyone who feels happy should be able to get a building permit.

    Clearly the state’s legitimate interest in marriage has nothing to do with love. So, libertarians, what is it? Or does it not have one, in which case shouldn’t you be arguing for getting the state out of marriage rather than fighting to expand the franchise?

  14. We all know why polygamy is legal in many countries, most of which have criminal sanctions against homosexuality behavior. Religion and tradition.

  15. Sylvain Allard,

    1. The US government may not infringe on religious beliefs by may ban religious practices and does so. The flip side of this coin is very much a recent irritation to Dr. Briggs e.g. requiring employers to pay for practices prohibited by their religion.

    2. Every western state admitted into United States, starting with Utah, was required to ban the practice of polygamy

    3. Mormons do not practice polygamy

  16. Conard, sorry. I’d like to blame auto-correct, but it was my misread. Friends call me “Gray” so that’s OK.

  17. “Clearly the state’s legitimate interest in marriage has nothing to do with love. So, libertarians, what is it? Or does it not have one, in which case shouldn’t you be arguing for getting the state out of marriage rather than fighting to expand the franchise?”

    As a libertarian, my position IS that the state does not have a legitimate interest in marriage and I do argue for the separation of state and marriage.

    The government licensing of marriage in the US is only a little over 150 years old. It started mid 19th Century. Prior to this all US states recognized common law marriages which does not require a license, any kind of public ceremony religious or otherwise or even witnesses. The purpose of the attempt to kill common law marriage was to prevent inter-racial marriages.

    Since the states got into the business of sanctioning marriages for what is commonly recognized in the modern era as an improper purpose why shouldn’t they be forced back out.

  18. Isn’t the scientific argument actually

    two = one egg, one sperm?

    And are there examples from biology that multiple parents (multiple means > 2) spawn just one child?

  19. Conard,

    “1. The US government may not infringe on religious beliefs by may ban religious practices and does so. The flip side of this coin is very much a recent irritation to Dr. Briggs e.g. requiring employers to pay for practices prohibited by their religion.”

    Religious beliefs are different of religious state or religious institution.

    The State cannot tell the Catholic Church what to believe. But the State can prevent discrimination against people that do not share the same religious beliefs. The Church may prohibit the taking of contraceptives, yet 99% of catholic women will take contraceptive pills at some point in their life. In this case, the right to access medical care by women can prevent what are mostly men desire to impose their own belief on these women. No one is forcing anyone to take the pill.

    “2. Every western state admitted into United States, starting with Utah, was required to ban the practice of polygamy”

    Yes, it was a condition impose to join the USA, they had the right to refuse and not join the USA. The condition was imposed to the State, not the Church. The Church is still free to believe in polygamy, and some mormon still practice it. They just don’t record or express in public that they are married multiple times.

    “3. Mormons do not practice polygamy”

    Some mormon still practice polygamy

  20. Why 2? Why not more than 3?

    Classical Mechanics says that 3 bodies tends to be unstable, but 2 bodies frequently has a stable solution.

    The best arguement that I have heard is that is it impossible for 3 (or more) people to share the committments of marriage equally. If there multiple partners there must be a skewed power ballance.

    I am not ready to buy that arguement, in which case, why not 3 or more….How about Heinlein-style chain marraiges? I do see it as a short logical step from gay marriage to polygamy to more complex structures — and, I am not sure I am ready to stop that.

  21. Matt S,

    Even if we go back to common-law marriage, I think the problems of same-sex marriage would still exist. Should same-sex marriage be recognized by common-law, and be granted the same federal benefits?

    If there were no legal benefits for marriage, there probably wouldn’t be the problems of “same-sex marriage” and equal rights for same-sex couples. Since there are legal benefits for marriage, hence marriage has to be clearly defined. These are not arguments for or against same-sex marriage.

    Basically, I don’t see why the status of State’s involvement in licensing marriage could be an argument against/for same-sex marriage. However, this seems to be an argument Briggs put forward. Any thoughts?

  22. 1. @Sylvain: that was the reason the State has for regulating marital relations; it is not the definition of marriage. Marriage itself predates the State. It can be found in chiefdoms, tribes, and bands. Marriage comes from *PIE *mari, meaning “a young woman” via the Latin maritus (a man having a young woman). The natural motion of people toward marriage (i.e., the marital act) was then regulated by society in various ways: e.g., by requiring the man to find his young woman in a different moiety. But these are regulations imposed on a pre-existing thing. We don’t say that because the State regulates C02 emissions that the State has therefore “invented” the institution of C02.

    2. Re. Polygamy. Marriage was always between one man and one woman. Some societies have permitted men to enter multiple marriages. Others have recognized the institution of concubinage, by which a man with a barren wife takes a woman precisely to engender children. In still others, men as such have simply flouted the rules, which is why one generally finds men chafing against the restrictions of marriage, one of whose societal purposes is the domestication of men.

  23. JH,

    “Even if we go back to common-law marriage, I think the problems of same-sex marriage would still exist. Should same-sex marriage be recognized by common-law, and be granted the same federal benefits?”

    To which I would reply get rid of most or all federal amd state benefits predicated on marriage. The most cited benefit is joint tax filing but this is actually a penalty more often then a benefit in practice.

    Aside from tax issues, most of the state level benefits can be replicated through other means not specifically tied to marriage. Yes, this is more work for the couple, but as long as it is the same for OS and SS couples, too bad.

  24. “that was the reason the State has for regulating marital relations; it is not the definition of marriage. Marriage itself predates the State. It can be found in chiefdoms, tribes, and bands…”

    YOS: You realize that chiefdom and bands are States by themselves. They have a population, they have a space where their power was sovereign, and their was an authority that imposed rules of conduct.

    To have a State you need 3 things: 1 physical space (a Church is a physical space. 2- you need a governing authority (Pope for Catholic, preachers for protestant, mullah for muslim, etc.), And you need a body of people to rule over.

    A tribe, a chiefdom,a band are/were all States. They all had governing bodies, they occupied a physical space where where they were sovereign, and they were ruling a group of people and decided who went hunting, gathering, etc.

    The sovereingty doesn’t have to be absolute for a State to exist.

    Webster’s definition of State:

    “4 a : a body of persons constituting a special class in a society : ESTATE 3 b plural : the members or representatives of the governing classes assembled in a legislative body c obsolete : a person of high rank (as a noble)
    5 a : a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially : one that is sovereign b : the political organization of such a body of people”

    The Catholic Church itself is a State. It has a territory (anywhere there is a Church or a house where people live Under its authority. Its sovereingty is now moral on the people that accept to adhere to it. It has a governing body, a hierachy, They even have election for the pope.

    Marriage cannot exist without the State, it is a creation of the State so any State can define it has they want. For example: the US government cannot force Catholics to marry gays and lesbian.

  25. YOS,

    I must say that I have no problem calling secular marriage as civil union, at the though it is the same thing.

  26. Sylvain Allard,

    1. Human relationships predate the formal religious and political groups that seek regulate them.

    2. Religious practices (rites and rituals) sustain belief.

    3. US State and Federal governments regulate practice, therefore belief.

    4. State and Federal governments most definitely put an end the practice of polygamy in the Mormon Church, and over time, belief too has faded away. You remain, willfully, misinformed.

    5. Dr. Briggs rightly worries over what it means to be in the minority.

  27. Conard: The practice of polygamy has not faded away. What may be different is because it is illegal to “marry” more than one woman, these families consist of one husband, one legally married wife and several church married wives. Only one marriage is a state-santioned marriage. This can result in the remaining wives getting government benefits just as any other “single” mother does.
    There was a show on TLC–”Sister Wives” which showed polygamy. The homosexual marriage demands have now led to some lawsuits and movement on the part of polygamists to push for the legalization of polygamy. After all, if you can marry someone of the same sex because it’s what you want, how can you stop multiple marriages if that’s what someone wants? There’s no justification.

  28. @Sylvain: States, chiefdoms, tribes, and bands are anthropologically distinct, having differences in structure, in centralization, in degree of specialization, in investment in regalia and symbols, and so on. Mathematically, they occupy different regions on the Thom manifold (swallowtail catastrophe). (Stipulated: tribe is not recognized as distinct by some anthropologists.)

    A chiefdom, for example, could not impose a “definition” of marriage, since no one in a chiefdom has that sort of power. Likewise, at band level, there are no central authorities. A State, otoh, could send the king’s henchmen, the brownshirts, or whomever, to enforce the will of the State. Not everything is centrally planned and imposed by authority. Some of it evolves naturally.

    I think you must be European. You seem to think that things in general determined by the managerial caste.

    “Everything within the State; nothing outside the State; nothing against the State.”
    – B. Mussolini

  29. Sheri,

    While there are a few small offshoots of the Mormon church that still practice polygamy in the US, the hierarchy/leadership of the main Mormon church was forced to officially disavow polygamy by the US government. In fact those offshoot sects only exist because the main Mormon church gave in and disavowed polygamy.

  30. @txslr

    Consider the situation in which the Government is responding to the will of the People by allowing same-sex marriages. Like Government responded to the will of the People by giving women the vote, or by giving men with lesser means the vote.

    Government has no opinion regarding same-sex marriages, it is the People having an opinion. And the People are free to think that love is a good argument, and that it is nobody’s business but the couple to decide whether they should get married or not. Which then becomes Government policy.

  31. Sheri, Sylvain

    If I were to throw my pen (a lovely instrument from Fahrney’s) across the room it would splatter ink on at least ten Mormons before it hit the ground. I am willing to guarantee that each one of them would find polygamy just as distasteful as you do; I won’t run the experiment because I really love my pen. I could run another experiment where I bring another woman home but I really love my wife and kids and the money it takes to buy nice pens.

    Did you ever imagine it Briggs, a godless heathen coming to the aid of a religious group right here on the pages of your blog? Wonders!

  32. YOS, (I’m from Québec)

    You limit your definition of state to the level of country or of mordern government.

    A tribe, a chiefdom or a band was a State by itself. They were occupying a territory. They had a way to determine a leader. They held counsel. They had a code of conduct. They could ban anyone who did not abide by this code of conduct.

    Tribe, chiefdom, or band pre-date any written language, so there is no way to know what they thought of same sex relation or how the reacted to it. What traces could be left of it. When north american indian married, the men moved in with is wife family. There were up to 30 peoples living together in the longhouse. What was their conception of fidelity? Roman were famous for their orgies? Alexander the Great was openly gay/bi. Gayness is not a recent development. Their is no reason to believe that it is not as old as heterosexuality.

    We know from nature that there are animal that are gay or have sexual relation.

    Marriage requires a ceremony of some sort. The requirementof a ceremony imply the presence of some forms of State, a group of people that consecrate the union. A group that people look up too, a group of people that others delegate their sovereignty to. Like catholic delegate their sovereingty to the Catholic Church which is a State and who tell the people who want it, what they can or cannot think or do..

  33. @Conard,

    Do these ten people represent every mormons? I never claimed that all mormon supported polygamy but their still are mormons who are polygamist today.

    Catholic priest are supposed to be chaste. Yet, how many pedophile have been denounced lately, and this is not new. There are also gays that are priest and other who have sex with women and even have babies.

    I am not religious. I don’t drink, I don’t like sex that much, and don’t have it often. I have never cheated on a girlfriend. Never commited any crime or stole anything. Yet, I am often consider an amoral person because I accept that other may have different point of view.

  34. Sylvain,

    I am sorry to hear that– “often” suggests you may need a new set of peers.

    An unrelated question: In Ottawa I once, by accident, introduced myself using my real name Conard instead of the more practical middle name I am typically called. One of the attendees laughed a little and told me that in french my name was a slang roughly meaning “fool” or “damned fool”. Is this true? My mother may not be getting a card this Mother’s Day …

  35. Yes it true that Conard means fool or moron in French. But it would be written with 2 ‘n’.

    ‘Often’ explain why I have time to right such long comment.

  36. Sylvain,

    I still think you don’t know an actecedent from a hole in the ground but you are all right.

    P.S. Let go of the (modern) mormon polygamy connection; they did over 100 years ago.

  37. The homosexual marriage demands have now led to some lawsuits and movement on the part of polygamists to push for the legalization of polygamy.

    Sheri,

    Please provide evidence of the connection stated in your statement. What are those lawsuits?

    We know that a-man-can-marry-a-woman doesn’t lead to the legalization of a-man-can-marry-multiple-women. So why would a-man-can-marry-a-man lead to the legalization of a-man-can-marry-multiple-people? What arguments for same-sex marriage could be legitimately used to support the inegalitarian polygamy that is potentially harmful to women? I don’t understand Briggs’ reasoning. I need a lawyer to enlighten me.

  38. A tribe, a chiefdom or a band was a State by itself.

    You keep trying to replace the scientific definition (assuming anthropology is a science) with argumentum ab dictionario. It’s a side issue here, but this is a reasonably good precis: http://anthro.palomar.edu/political/pol_3.htm

    Tribe, chiefdom, or band pre-date any written language, so there is no way to know what they thought of same sex relation or how the reacted to it.

    There are bands, tribes, and chiefdoms to this day. People from literate States, called anthropologists, have studied them. You can find examples of all of them just among the American Indians.

    When north american indian married, the men moved in with is wife family.

    The wife’s family? Not the boyfriend’s family?

    (Among some North American Indians, not all. Heck, my father lived for five years in the house of my mother’s parents.)

    There were up to 30 peoples living together in the longhouse. What was their conception of fidelity?

    Usually very firm. The men usually want assurance that the children were their own, since they would inherit. Where do you think rules against consanguinity come from? The same issue naturally arose in the clan houses of the pagan Germans.

    Roman were famous for their orgies?

    Less so than most assume, and it was typically the men of the upper classes who famously pleasured their wiener in any way they could. But see Juvenal, Martial, and others for the social disapproval.

    Alexander the Great was openly gay/bi.

    It is customary today to interpret close friendship between two men as “gay.” David and Jonathon; Alexander and Hephaeston; etc. Now the Greeks did allow for adult men to pleasure their wieners with younger boys (ephebes, not pedes), but they did not marry them and they ruthlessly mocked any adult male who took the subordinate role.

    Gayness is not a recent development. Their is no reason to believe that it is not as old as heterosexuality.

    That has nothing to do with the question at issue. There has been siblinghood just as long, but we don’t say brother and sister “marry.” There have probably been object affectives just as long, but the woman who “married” the Eiffel Tower isn’t really married.

    We know from nature that there are animal that are gay or have sexual relation.

    The question is not whether there are such people. The question is whether they are competent to marry.

    Marriage requires a ceremony of some sort.

    It requires only the consent of the woman and the act. (In pagan societies, the consent was often not required.) Any ceremony is either an add-on (wedding veil) or a safeguard (public vows). Ceremonies grew up around marriage.

  39. @Briggs: Since the people who argue for same sex ‘marriage’ are the same vile people who say that ‘the-FETUS-is-is-not-a-BABY-until-its-head-pops-out-then-it-magically-becomes-a-baby’, SO ITS FINE TO VACU-SUCK OUT ITS BRAINS, all this yakking will remain without value unless one were to start assigning explicitly different meanings to different symbols.

    That would be a start: the hippies will, of course, seek to corrupt these, since that is the core program of every hippie.

    Take one of the main aspects of arguing against Evolution. The hippies say “descent with modification” (A), while the stupid Christians say “1 new gene” (B). A is trivial to show (compare any human child to its parents, effect of natural selection, viral-bacterial acquisition of genes from their environment, etc. etc.), while B has never been shown (apart from the trivial) even under super-duper-perfect lab conditions.
    You try and ‘argue’ Evolution with hippies, and they pick the properly scientific argument (recall that the ‘fetus’-B.S. DOES have all of the scientific establishment behind it), namely A, instead of the rational one, B.
    Given the starting point of A, which is one of the most perfect examples of the conflation fallacy ever conceived, reason can accomplish nothing.

    Not that Evolution is a point I want to raise: merely the example of how sheer mindless B.S. can and does stand before all as does the naked emperor, and yet no one sees the shriveled, teeny, hippie-donk. This is not done by magic, but by allowing the vile and stupid hippies to frame the underlying fabrics.

    edited

  40. Dr. Briggs:

    It seems that your question is “If same-sex marriage, then why not polygamy?”.

    The question is logically disconnected, because these two categories are independent; one concerns gender makeup but not muliplicity, the other multiplicity but not gender makeup.

    If you are concerned with polygamy, then the categorically consistent question is, “If monogamous marriage, then why not polygamous marriage?” This question, while interesting, is tangental to your essay.

    If you are concerned only with monogamy and gender makeup, then the question narrows to, “If traditional monogamous marriage, then why not same-sex monogamous marriage?” This question is antithetical to your stated position.

    However, this latter question can be rephrased, consistently with your thesis, as, “What makes monogamy so attractive that even same-sex marriage advocates embrace it?”

    V/r.

  41. YOS,

    Reading through the site you provided it is evident that band, tribe and chiefdom are State. Of course, they don’t have the same reach as the state of our days.

    Band were the state with the least power where it seems anyone disagreeing with the decision of the counsel could go their seperate ways.

    They write:

    “Leaders generally have temporary political power at best, and they do not have any significant authority relative to other adults within their band.”

    http://anthro.palomar.edu/political/glossary.htm#band

    This mean that there was a State even if it was a brief moment.

    “Bands are loosely allied by marriage, descent, friendship, and common interest.”

    Marriage was not use to engender other human but for alliance. Marriage alliance is a way to strenghten a state. The influence of the State is very visible here.

    Tribes and chiefdom are have a higher level of organization and are still basicly States to whom the people surrender some of their freedom/sovereignty.

    “There are bands, tribes,…”

    I would say that it is unfair to compare or extrapolate tribe observed in the last 200 years with ones that existed 6,000, 12,000 or even 100,000 years ago.

    North American Indian, at least those found in northern USA and Canada where matriarchal (Huron, Mohawk, et.)society and even somewhat communnist.

    They lived in longhouses that sheltered about 30 peoples. The women were in charge of the village while the men hunted, prepared the land for when they had to move (i.e. when the soil were eroded or not productive enough. The matters of war was also the responsability of men.

    It is always possible that the southern tribe had different custom.

    Of course, the consequence of infidelity is not present when there is no inheritance involved, since no one own anything except maybe there clothes.

    There are at least one case in the US where the brother and sister if not married are Partner. They were seperated at birth, started going out and actually dicovered that they were brother and sister. There was also many close relative marriage within Europe royalties, which lead to some retarted prince and king.

    “The question is not whether there are such people. The question is whether they are competent to marry.”

    This is a very frightening wording. That the state should decide who can and cannot get married seems very intrusive in peoples personal life. Like I said before, I would object if the state said that the Catholic Church ought to marry gays. But civil marriage don’t have to be the same as religious marriage.

  42. cb,

    There were 60% of moron who voted against the personhood amendment in Mississippi.

    I guess that I’m very proud to be a moron.

  43. So why would a-man-can-marry-a-man lead to the legalization of a-man-can-marry-multiple-people?

    That’s obvious. It is not that A will lead to B, but that if you establish X as a valid argument to support A then it may also be used to support B. E.g. X={“people who love each other and are committed to each other should be allowed to marry”} is just as valid if the people are man-woman, man-man, woman-woman, man-woman-woman, man-woman-man, man-man-woman-woman, father-daughter, brother-sister, man-Labrador retriever, etc.

    That does not mean that all these things are equivalent — (That doesn’t follow logically, but the Late and Post Moderns are weak on logic.) — but that you need to present arguments that will justify A but not B.

    “The question is not whether there are such people. The question is whether they are competent to marry.”

    This is a very frightening wording. That the state should decide who can and cannot get married seems very intrusive in peoples personal life.

    You are far too easily frightened. That was competence, not permission. The State, despite your faith in its omnicompetence, cannot determine who is competent for marriage, the nature of marriage itself determines that. Just as, for example, the nature of baseball determines who can play it.

  44. It is not that A will lead to B, but that if you establish X as a valid argument to support A then it may also be used to support B…

    YOS,

    Exactly, this is what I meant! Again, what arguments for same-sex marriage can possibly trump the failed arguments of tradition and Free Exercise of Religion clause to resurrect polygamy? Maybe one needs to find out the reasons why polygamy was illegal and address those reasons. Simply claiming same-sex marriage would lead to the legalization of bigamy is an imagination and a talking point.

  45. JH,

    IANAL, but it is my understanding that there is a significant legal difference between polygamy and bigamy. Specifically while both are illegal, bigamy contains an inherent element of fraud not present with polygamy. The difference is that while both involve multiple wives, under bigamy all the wives believe that they are in a monogamous marriage while under polygamy all the wives know about each other.

  46. @JH, atleast read the few sentences that comprise YOS’ post where he preempts your tired points. The idea is that the premises used to justify same sex marriages is equally valid when it comes to justifying the various combinations of polygamy. So there can only be two possibilities – either same sex marriages are equally valid as polygamy or the premise is not valid.

  47. Pingback: The Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage, Part III | William M. Briggs

  48. Pingback: The Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage, Part I | William M. Briggs

  49. TSTM,

    I am reading YOS’s example just as an example, because his example of X is not the only reason (if it’s one!) why same-sex couples are asking for the right to “same-sex marriage.” I don’t think YOS is the kind of people who would oversimplify matters. My another point: even if X is the only reason, one needs to ask whether such argument could outweigh the reasons why polygamy is illegal to start with.

  50. JH, could you provide the other reasons that you allude to, that YOS didn’t highlight. On your last sentence, how about I extend your line of reasoning to same sex marriages. Ie: how does X= “people who love each other and are committed to each other should be allowed to marry” outweigh the negatives of permitting same sex marriages. Any child that would be raised by the same sex couple has zero chance of having a normal childhood – not biologically related to one or both parents,deprivation of the parenting provided by the parent of the other sex, stability of same sex relationships etc etc. It all boils down to the truism that raising a child is a duty and not to be confused for a right.

  51. Why people? Or why not between person and horse?

    “Puppy Love: Man Marries a Real Dog”
    –headline, Toowoomba (Australia) Chronicle, Dec. 1
    http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/man-marrys-dog-city-first-toowoomba/710538/

    A YOUNG Toowoomba man yesterday tied the knot with his best friend – a five-year-old labrador.
    In perhaps a first for the Garden City, Laurel Bank Park hosted the wedding of Joseph Guiso and Honey, a labrador he adopted five years ago.
    Thirty of the couple’s closest friends and family were in attendance for the emotional ceremony, held at dusk.
    “You’re my best friend and you make every part of my day better,” Mr Guiso’s vows read.
    The couple decided on the location – and to tie the knot – after stumbling upon a wedding in Laurel Bank Park during an afternoon walk.
    “I said that could be us,” Mr Guiso said.
    “She didn’t say anything so I took that as a yes.”

    That “perhaps a first” was a nice touch. It’s not clear if the bride’s age is an issue under Australian law. Nor is it clear how many of the wedding guests were from the bride’s side. But one imagines a sordid possibility in which a smooth-talking seducer, waving a porterhouse steak before Honey, entices her to leave her husband and get a divorce. Would the she be entitled to a share of Mr. Guiso’s property? What if Mr. Guiso feeds another dog? Would that constitute unfaithfulness? If the marriage is not consummated, can it then be annulled? The mind boggles!

    Nor does it stop there:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/family-and-relationships/love-objects/article1259075/

    It was freezing in Paris, that day in January, 2004, when [Erika LaBrie] and a friend set eyes upon the Eiffel Tower. When they entered, a special feeling came over her; one she can only describe as intense love, a chemical attraction. That feeling of finding The One.

    “Everyone was all bundled up and I felt so warm inside,” she says, recalling the moment with fondness. “I thought, ‘I don’t feel cold, I feel so much warmth coming from the Eiffel tower.’”

    For three years, the professional archer from San Francisco would visit the object of her affection, going for weeks at a time, spending all day touching the tower. And then on April 8, 2007, Erika LaBrie became Erika Eiffel in a commitment ceremony before 10 of her closest friends.

    + + +

    “It is not that A will lead to B, but that if you establish X as a valid argument to support A then it may also be used to support B…”

    jh
    his example of X is not the only reason (if it’s one!) why same-sex couples are asking for the right to “same-sex marriage.” … even if X is the only reason, one needs to ask whether such argument could outweigh the reasons why polygamy is illegal to start with.

    If argument X is a valid argument why A is a good, then it is a valid argument and you can apply it elsewhere. If A is also supported by argument Y, then Y can be applied elsewhere, too. But no number of slovenly, ad hoc justifications for A can add up to a valid argument for A.

    That’s why the argument for marriage is not based on “tradition” or “history” but on the nature of marriage itself. “A is A.”

  52. TSTM, YOS,

    Oranges and apples are both fruits and sweet. Either oranges are equally tasty as apples or the premise is not valid.

  53. tom, please.

    Both are still fruits. We are not discussing the degree of sweetness here.

  54. YOS,

    I guess I wasn’t clear.

    Just because two things share a certain characteristic doesn’t mean both things would be acceptable.

    What you are saying is IF same-sex couples are allowed to get married, then it implies that polygamy should be allowed because they share the same characteristic of love, which, presumably, is one of the reasons they all want to get married and why same-sex marriage right is granted.

    One of the reasons/arguments that hetero couples want to get married in church is to celebrate their love in a church, and they can. By your logic, therefore same-sex couples should be allowed to be married in a church because many of them also want to celebrate their love in a church.

    One of the reasons/arguments that some hetero couples (my husband and I) want to get a marriage license is that they want the many federal benefits and rights that come with marriage, and they can get a marriage license from the government for that purpose. Therefore same-sex couples should be able to use this sole argument to justify their right to a marriage license.

  55. @tom.
    What premise? Where is the argument? What proposition about apples and oranges are you making? Are you comparing gay men to fruits? What do you mean by “equally” and “tasty”? (Since according to modern science, tastiness does not reside in the object but in the sensitive subject, “tasty” is a subjective “qualia.”)

    I take your point to be that just because two things may be similar in some particular accident or property they are not equivalent as such. I agree. That two individuals love each other and wish to live together does not make their living arrangement the same kind of thing.

  56. TSTM,

    It sounds like, to you, the only way that a child can have a normal childhood is that he/she be brought up by couples who are the biological parents, non-divorced, heterosexual, and have stable relationship.

    I am not sure why you think same-sex couples would not be good parents. I think my openly gay nephew and his partner, both of whom have stable relationship and jobs, would make great parents, though I am not sure if they want to adopt children. (Please discount this anecdotal evidence.)

  57. JH,

    It is a conspiracy by biology and economics against same sex couples. Gay couples wanting to raise children can strongly argue that they would be better at raising children than the state and such children can arguably be far better off being raised by gay couples. But insisting that having children is some kind of a right that is being denied to them is false in light of our accumulated knowledge as a society. Even hetero couples have no such right.

  58. jh What you are saying is IF same-sex couples are allowed to get married, then it implies that polygamy should be allowed because they share the same characteristic of love

    No. I’m saying that if that is an argument for the one, then it is an argument for the other. But my brothers and I love one another. Does that entitle us to take out a marriage license? If not, why not?

    One of the reasons/arguments that hetero couples want to get married in church is to celebrate their love in a church

    Actually, the reason is that the offer and consent must be made in public and, staring in the 12th century, this was often done in the church, that being the largest public building in the village. More and more today, mating couples eschew all ceremonies and even marriage licences and just “live together.”

    therefore same-sex couples should be allowed to be married in a church because many of them also want to celebrate their love in a church.

    Marriage is not about “celebrating our love for each other.” The State in particular does not care if you love each other as long as you are taking responsibility for potential offspring. In early Europe, most marriages were Muntehen (honor-weddings) arranged by the parents. But by the 12th cent. these were overtaken by Friedehen (love-weddings) due to the insistence of the Church that the two parties must freely consent to the match. (Hence, arranged marriages still required a ‘yes’.) SO society said: “OK, dude, you can copulate; but you better not run off and stick her with the kids.” Today, of course, we do, because we are so much smarter than the people who invented the university.

    One of the reasons/arguments that some hetero couples (my husband and I) want to get a marriage license is that they want the many federal benefits and rights that come with marriage

    Marriages are licensed by the several states, not by the federal government. The only federal “benefit” that I have seen is that I must pay more in taxes because our joint income puts us in a higher bracket than either one of us would be separately.

  59. @Sylvain Allard:

    Yes, you are wrong.

    Here follows a small illumination of that:

    Put a baby in a box. You may now vacu-suck it brains out, legally.
    Take the baby out of the box. Now you may NOT vacu-suck its brains out, and if you were to do so, it would be considered a heinous act. Oh, and not that it matters, but now you would be breaking the law, as well.
    Box = mommy.
    It takes a proper moron to present the fetus-is-not-baby ‘argument’. More than that, an utter f-ing evil, vile, sub-human, f-tard.

    Let me also correct your attempt to side-step one of the actual problems: it does not matter, for fetus-is-not-baby, when ‘life begins’. That’s another matter, entirely.
    What matters is, is that at some point in its development a premature (up to that second before legal, scientific, ‘birth’) baby can, via the joys of present-day medical technology and knowledge, survive. Yet such babies are, as a matter of routine, KILLED. Be it via vacu-sucking, being torn apart, or some form of chemical poisoning. The justification for this? The utter stupidity, the utter EVIL, of fetus-is-not-baby.

    All other arguments apart, THIS is murder. And, do note, I am talking HISTORICALLY here. These are acts that have been committed, on a very large scale, by very many ‘doctors’, nurses, whatever: every single one of them is culpable.
    Also, note that by agreeing with and empowering the fetus-is-not-baby ‘argument’, the various lawyers, judges, law-makers, etc, are EQUALLY culpable.
    Culpable of murder, and more than that, SERIOUSLY heinous murder. And more than that: these murders are SERIAL.
    Because the simple fact of the matter is that the fetus-is-not-baby is utterly stupid: therefore in an objective court, it would not serve to exonerate. Culpability remains.

    edited

  60. YOS

    “You are far too easily frightened. That was competence, not permission. The State, despite your faith in its omnicompetence, cannot determine who is competent for marriage, the nature of marriage itself determines that. Just as, for example, the nature of baseball determines who can play it.”

    Why do the state has to determine who is competent or not. In legalizing civil marriage (often called civil union)for any 2 adult persons the states actually removes itself from a regulated field.

    Who is competent? In your opinion a man and a woman. What happen when neither the man or the woman is able to have/create a child? Shouldn’t these poeple be judge incompetent and the marriage refuse to them on the basis that they can’t reproduce.

    Every human, men, woman, child, gay and lesbian with 2 legs and at least 1 arms can play baseball. Even major baseball wouldn’t refuse a woman if she was good enough to play in the MLB

  61. This type of argument is strong in rhetorical sense but weak in a logical sense. If we do X, then Y *may* be a negative consequence, is certainly true. But you can use that form of argument generically to argue against anything at all.

  62. I should add that an argument that takes this form has to argue convincingly that the probability of negative consequence is high. This is difficult. It depends very much on the specifics of the claim.

    I.e., if we don’t stop North Korea, millions of people may die.

    Is a stronger claim than:

    If we don’t take knives away from people, they will cut themselves.

  63. Why do the state has to determine who is competent or not.

    It doesn’t. The nature of marriage determines that. Just as the nature of baseball determines that competency in baseball consists in hitting, running, throwing a small sphere using a bat, etc. And no matter how expert one is at throwing footballs or tackling or making baskets or whapping a puck into a net, one is not playing baseball by doing so. Marriage consisting in the conjugal act, if you can’t perform the conjugal act, the couple is not performing marriage. A dog is a noble animal and can perform all sorts of feats; but it is not a horse, even if the government orders that it be called a horse and stipulates its entry in the Kentucky Derby.

    I realize to the post-modern, the meanings of words are elastic and, like Humpty Dumpty, the mean only what you want them to mean. (Hey, social constructs, right? “Pastrami” can mean sirloin steak if we want it to.) But this notion of infinitely malleable society subject to intelligent design by the Besserwissers ought to frighten anyone with a nodding acquaintance with complex system theory.

    But then I’m also old enough to remember “camp” and “emptying out by walking through.”

  64. @Will Nitshcke: the claim is that same sex marriages should be fine and allowed because of X. X also allows for polygamy, interspecies marriages, which for some reason people asking for same sex marriages don’t like. But these very reasons can be extended to same sex marriages itself.

  65. Nitschke
    This type of argument is strong in rhetorical sense but weak in a logical sense. If we do X, then Y *may* be a negative consequence, is certainly true. But you can use that form of argument generically to argue against anything at all.

    And we generally do. E.g., environmental impact statements. E.g., merger evaluations. E.g., engineering design change reviews. I was a quality engineer and consultant for many years. Think of reliability engineering, hazard analysis, risk analysis, etc. Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) does this explicitly and with rigor, taking the probabilities of various causes, building fail-safes, work-arounds, and so forth into the design against the impacts and likelihoods of various failures. After all the two phases of any design change are:

    Phase 1. What could possibly go wrong?
    Phase 2. How were we supposed to know?

    This applies to people planning a design change for an entire society every bit as much as to those planning a design change for a toaster oven. I cannot imagine that the feedbacks and interactions are less complex for the former than for the latter. It is far riskier to assume that there can be no possible downside, as many a manufacturer has discovered to its litigational sorrow.

    But the argument was not even about the consequences — although consequentialism is riding high these days. It was that if X is accepted as a valid justification for A, then it could be used to justify B, C, or D. This is independent of the justice of A. A bad argument is still a bad argument, and it is well to explore the reasonable consequences of it.

  66. YOS,

    A link you might find interesting:

    “Gay ‘marriage’ in medieval Europe
    Same-sex unions aren’t a recent invention. Until the 13th century, male-bonding ceremonies were common in churches across the Mediterranean. Apart from the couples’ gender, these events were almost indistinguishable from other marriages of the era. Twelfth-century liturgies for same-sex unions — also known as “spiritual brotherhoods” — included the recital of marriage prayers, the joining of hands at the altar, and a ceremonial kiss. Some historians believe these unions were merely a way to seal alliances and business deals. But Eric Berkowitz, author of Sex and Punishment, says it is “difficult to believe that these rituals did not contemplate erotic contact. In fact, it was the sex between the men involved that later caused same-sex unions to be banned.” That happened in 1306, when the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II declared such ceremonies, along with sorcery and incest, to be unchristian.”

    http://theweek.com/article/index/228541/how-marriage-has-changed-over-centuries

  67. Pingback: The 12 Steps up the Mountain of Pride - Big Pulpit

  68. “…two is the vastly, most overwhelmingly common option, everywhere and at all times…”

    1)
    Socialism (i.e. rule by hippies) seeks to control all material assets. All non-material assets. And, importantly, all social interactions. ‘Control’ can be via legislation, regulation, ownership, schools+, or whatever.
    “The push for same-sex marriage is about placing the power of government in direct opposition to traditional religious viewpoints.” – (http://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2013/03/20/to-save-traditional-marriage-end-state-involvement-in-marriage-n1543013/page/full/)
    This whole gay-marriage-thing is at its core part of the continuing efforts of the hippies to try and destroy that great bastion of discrete values, Christianity. By replacing the Christian Master with new Great Leaders with new Laws. That is their goal.

    2)
    One of the arguments raised against atheist (versus Christian) ‘leaders’ is that nobody knows what their value systems are: their responses cannot be predicted. (Of course, in general all leaders are all equally corrupt: the hippies merely rot faster.) Similarly, a complex society cannot function if its individual members cannot have some sort of -strong- rule-set that allows prediction of the behaviour of others. Like road-rules, really.
    A married couple, especially one with children, is strongly predictable in terms of what they will do and not do: concerned with real risks, being responsible for real children. Their actions have very real consequences for their very vulnerable children. (Generally speaking of course: there will always be child-raping hippies, Muslims, and other brands of Satanist among us.)
    More than that, married man-woman couples will strongly tend to have active male-roles and female-roles. And children will be the children.
    The above, and more, allows for people who are -otherwise- strangers to have a shared basic world-view. This is why married Christians can have married Hindu neighbours, and get along well enough.

    3)
    While paedophilia will always be a problem, it is generally held sufficient that as long as there is a mother (or grandmother) around to stand watch, children from different families can gather together and have fun.
    So what about unmarried neighbours? No.
    Some multi-person grouping? Absolutely not.
    ‘Married’ Male homosexual neighbours? No, of course.
    What about ‘married’ female homosexual neighbours? Well, such people are invariably radical feminists (i.e. hippies), who do not exhibit the ‘classical’ female role-model. (Neither do male homosexuals.) In short, their value systems are unknown: they cannot be predicted. So who knows what your children will experience there? So will you let your children get together there? Not without a lot of extra vetting, so No.

    4)
    There are always exceptions, but in general real-world-based rule-structures such as the biologically-driven one of 1-man-1-woman marriage, has the same positive effect on a society as having road-rules have on people rapidly driving around in blocks of heavy metal.
    Well, under totalitarianism this is not true: there the threat of being shot, tortured, or ‘vanished’ serves as the glue to hold the civilization together. There must be rules: either local rules (like Christians have), or else external rules (like China has). There WILL be rules: removing the power the local ones, inevitably necessitates the external.

  69. ALL,

    Re: polygamy, which was, as mathematics guarantees, rare. Obviously, just because a thing was practiced by a culture does not make that thing right or moral. Consider cannibalism or female genital snipping. And then it is not just polygamy for which others are arguing. Some call for many-person “unions”, which it is not one-man-many-women, but many-people-of-various-sexes, say, three men and two-point-five women. Are these groupings to be considered “marriages”?

  70. @Briggs,

    What offend you the most the act or the use of the words marriage.

    If the problem lies only in the use of the word ‘marriage’ than a compromise can easily be found in the word ‘union’.

    While the word union may mean more than 2 peoples, the expression ‘civil union’ means a union between two persons, and its main reasons are for fiscal and hospital right.

    But, I somehow doubt that what troubles you the most is the use of the word.

  71. YOS,

    Social engineering is different from the engineer you know. ^_^

    Though X is a valid justification for A, whether it’d be a key player in justifying B, C and D is a different story. Slippery slope arguments may be valid in some cases, each case should be evaluated on its own merits.

    Here is an argument, which is acceptable to me and may be what are trying to say.

    If “love” can be used to justify “same-sex marriage”, then it can also be used to justify “polygamy” (assuming that polygamy is evil). Therefore, “love” is not a good argument for SSM.

    Which is quite different from the slippery slope argument that

    Same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy.

  72. Of course, I mean,
    Recognition of Same-sex marriage will lead to legalization of polygamy.

  73. @Briggs,

    It would help ease a lot of the tension if opponent to gay marriage came upfront in support of civil union between two peoples.

    On group marriages, people can always ask, it doesn’t mean the answer always has to be yes.

    Without any recognition of their union, gay couple suffers fiscal discrimination and hospital right. There are no such right for group of people so they don’t need any recognition. They can already perform some kind of ceremony and marry or unionize themselves. But they have no advantages to gain in the population at larged, only within their group, just like the guy that married is dog in YOS earlier link. If they want they can always become a religion, but their union marriage will still not be recognize by the state or others.

  74. Sylvain,

    “Without any recognition of their union, gay couple suffers fiscal discrimination and hospital right.” This presumes what it sets out to prove, that gay “couples” (triples? more?) should have the same “hospital” etc. “rights” and is thus a fallacy.

  75. Sylvain:

    For some – it is all about the word marriage.

    I would be happy to support civil union laws.

    However, California had a civil union law, and the Court still found that it was unconstitutional not to allow same-sex couples to marry.

    The case was brought because the term “civil union” isn’t good enough for many same-sex couples.

    Hence Prop 8 – the case relating to which is still on appeal.

    I personally think every state should pass civil union laws, and the Federal Government should extend civilly joined couples the same treatment under the law as married filing jointly.

    That way – the argument would actually be about the word “marriage” and not an argument about disparate treatment or civil rights.

    Changing the definition of the word “marriage” by Court order, to encompass same-sex couples is (to me) like changing the definition of the word “man” to encompass women. Or perhaps by a court ordering gender neutral terms to be used instead of boy, girl, man, woman, etc. In other words, it ignores biology.

    I agree with other commenters that marriage is a word rooted in biology – the biology of two people of the opposite sex.

    New relationships need new words – just as Eskimoes have many different words for different types of snow – we will need many different words to describe different relationships.

    When group unions are allowed (and they will be someday) – they shouldn’t be called group marriages (in my opinion) – but instead something like group union.

    No need to change the definition of an existing word, in my opinion.

  76. Rich A,

    I agree that civil which confere equal rights to marriage is sufficient. I know many heterosexual couple who had a “civil marriage” and don’t consider themseves married. They consider their situation as a union and might get in the future have a religious marriage.

    Prop 8 though put gas on a dormant fire. The question was settle and gay people had their civil union and saw themselves has married, while other were able to consider them Under a civil union. The amendment was not required and I’m sure mislead many people to think that it render civil union illegal.

  77. Another word that doesn’t have the same meaning today than it had at first is laicism.

    At first, laicism meant seperation of Church and State, i.e.: the Church could not influence politique and politique could not influence de Church. Todays it only means that the Church can’t influence the State.

    An example could be a women wearing the veil. France interdict the right to women to wear the veil.

    While I see no reason for wearing the veil, I see no need for the State to tell the woman she can’t wear it in public. A person expressing her religion doesn’t cause any arm to anyone elses right (as long as it is personal).

  78. This seems an opportune place to set forth an argument sure to annoy both sides in the debate (though it is an argument for traditional marriage and, perhaps even for state support of it):

    Ignore all religious texts. Start with the “selfish gene” version of Darwinian evolution. The “traditional family” consisting of two parents and their children is constructed so that the adult humans (or their genes) have a survival interest in the survival (and successful mating) of their children. It is thus good for human children, and “it’s for the children,” an argument often hear from Darwin-revering American liberals, along with cold Darwinism becomes a solid argument for its utility.

    Any other arrangement, other than extended biological families in which multiple care-givers sharing genotype with the child in addition to the parents, is less suited for the rearing of children from a Darwinian perspective (and this theoretical grounding is supported by empirical social scientific research, showing that, while we all know some biological families that are have fostered social pathologies in their children, in the aggregate, other arrangments — single parenthood, step-families, “two mother” lesbian households, “two father” gay households, children raised by menages a trois, . . . — lead to worse survival and social outcomes for children).

    The anomalies of polygamy are the sort of “exception that proves the rule”: being the child of the chief, sultan or the like, who could undertake a plural marriage or support a harem of concubines, conveyed a survival advantage (certainly for the chief or sultan’s genes, if not for those of any particular woman in such an arrangement) which outweighed the normal advantage of being raised by one’s biological parents.

    Gay marriage has no Darwinian utility. . . and. . . oh, my. . . neither do homoerotic activities.

  79. Sylvain Allard,

    The adelphopoiesis, suppressed by Andronicus II because of its abuse by homosexuals, was never a marriage ceremony. It is still used, albeit rarely, in the Orthodox Church, usually for the purpose of making brothers of a monk and a layman living in the world — I believe in Greece it would have the force of making the men brothers in the eyes of the Hellenic Republic as well as the Church, and would thus have a bearing on the legal treatment of gifts to the monastery and inheritances.

  80. Reasonable discussions of gay marriage are rare on the Web, and it’s nice to find this. That said, Briggs needs to state the merits of traditional marriage more clearly, rather than stressing that SSM is “not marriage.”