Home > Infertility, Same Sex Marriage > Why Actual Fertilty is Not a Requirement for Marriage: Exhibit A

Why Actual Fertilty is Not a Requirement for Marriage: Exhibit A

September 16th, 2010

Exhibit A on Why Actual Fertility is not Required for Marriage

As a defender of natural marriage, I am often asked why actually having children is not a requirement for marriage. I claim that the essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. If that is the case, why are infertile couples permitted to marry. So, I give you my answer: Henry VIII.
This guy dispatched his wives who did not produce the heirs he wanted. There was never any question that he intended to have children with his wives. But when the wives didn’t produce the heirs he wanted, or in some cases, any heirs at all, he thought himself entitled to discard them.
Discovering actual fertility in advance is way too costly to use as a criterion for marriage. Ending a marriage because infertility was discovered after the fact is heartless, not to mention, grotesquely unfair to women.

Infertile couples are not a good argument for the state to redefine marriage as the union of any two persons, including pairs of individuals who are structurally incapable of even performing the kind of act that could produce a child. Infertility has nothing to do with the marriage debate.

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  1. Sean
    September 16th, 2010 at 17:49 | #1

    “Discovering actual fertility in advance is way too costly to use as a criterion for marriage. Ending a marriage because infertility was discovered after the fact is heartless, not to mention, grotesquely unfair to women.”

    So now the “traditional” marriage crowd is back to waffling on reproduction as lying at the heart of marriage. According to them, to be eligible to marry, you have to be able to reproduce or just look like you can!

  2. Betsy
    September 16th, 2010 at 18:03 | #2

    “According to them, to be eligible to marry, you have to be able to reproduce or just look like you can!”

    Uum, nooo. Again, this has been said so many times it’s making my head hurt! Didn’t you just respond to where I stated this elsewhere: old and infertile people can still get married. THAT’S where we stand. Please, for the love of whatever you believe in, let’s move on already, people!

  3. Heidi
    September 16th, 2010 at 19:18 | #3

    Oh please. My eighty-two year-old grandmother could divorce my eighty-seven year-old grandfather tomorrow and marry some other elderly man living at her independent-living facility the next day without anyone batting an eye. And there is absolutely no question that she cannot produce children any longer! A little intellectual honesty sure goes a long way.

  4. fuerte
    September 16th, 2010 at 19:46 | #4

    “Discovering actual fertility in advance is way too costly to use as a criterion for marriage.”

    Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes it’s visible. Should those people be allowed to marry?

    And even if you think it’s an invasion of privacy to ask if a woman or man can reproduce before allowing them to marry, what does that say about your view of people who knowingly marry despite being unable to reproduce? What does it say about their marriages?

    If a woman with no uterus gets married, is she defrauding the public? Is she cheating the public purpose of marriage?

    Betsy, we keep asking because your answers make your side look bad.

  5. Betsy
    September 16th, 2010 at 19:48 | #5

    Heidi, no one is arguing that point. I think you may have misread this post.

  6. Betsy
    September 16th, 2010 at 19:50 | #6

    To your final question, the answer is “no.” How does that make “our side” look silly.

  7. fuerte
    September 17th, 2010 at 04:50 | #7

    If you can bear to repeat yourself one more time, how does her marriage fulfill the public purpose of the institution?

  8. Sean
    September 17th, 2010 at 06:06 | #8

    Betsy, if infertile couples can marry, then why can’t same-sex couples? Much of the discussion against same-sex marriage on this website hinges on the magical properties of procreation, that the purpose of marriage is to bind parents to their children. If there’s no children to bind to, why marry?

  9. Marty
    September 17th, 2010 at 07:37 | #9

    Fertility is no more of a requirement for marriage than heterosexuality. EVERYONE is allowed to marry, equally, regardless of race religion health or even sexual orientation.

  10. nerdygirl
    September 17th, 2010 at 10:29 | #10

    So……infertile lesbians can marry other infertile lesbians? Old gay men can marry other old gay men?

  11. Betsy
    September 17th, 2010 at 11:58 | #11

    Sigh. This is what I get for trying to stop this line of debate: I start it up again. I’m just going to quote John Howard’s comment from the post, National Review Online’s Case for Marriage: “Betsy, old and infertile people are eligible to have children. There is no cut off age or fertility test that suddenly makes it illegal for a couple to procreate together. Couples that are not eligible to have children together are ineligible even if they they are young and fertile: siblings, mothers and sons, people married to someone else, and now we need to add: people of the same sex.” That sounds about right to me. If you have a problem with that, you can take it up with him.

  12. Sean
    September 17th, 2010 at 12:18 | #12

    I guess we’re back to the new definition of eligibility to marry: can reproduce or at least look like you can, and not be too young or too related.

  13. Betsy
    September 17th, 2010 at 12:29 | #13

    See John Howard’s comment.

  14. Sean
    September 17th, 2010 at 12:33 | #14

    I did. It makes no sense, unless we’re redefining “infertile” to mean “can reproduce.” Marriage “traditionalists” want only opposite-sex couples to be permitted to marry, because only an opposite-sex union can create children. When one points out that infertile opposite-sex couples can’t product children, the “traditionalists” shrug and say that’s ok. Yet this anomaly undercuts their whole argument about the role of children in marriage.

  15. fuerte
    September 17th, 2010 at 12:46 | #15

    Betsy, I’m sorry to try your patience.

    A) So… if you COULD tell the fertile from the infertile you WOULD prevent the infertile from marrying?

    B) You didn’t address the first part of my earlier post. Sometimes, infertility is obvious. Sometimes it’s visible. Should those people be prevented from marrying?

    C) John Howard is welcome to respond, but the post you’re quoting is pretty confused. In the first place, he doesn’t seem to know the difference between marriage and procreation. “People married to someone else” are certainly eligible (whether that means “capable” or “legally allowed”) to have children outside of those marriages. Close family members are capable of reproducing, but we don’t allow them to marry because we don’t want to encourage their procreation. Gay couples, on the other hand, can’t reproduce together, but not due to any legal impediment or discouragement. Their “eligibility” to reproduce isn’t in question, any more than the couples I mentioned in part B.

    Again, I apologize, but you’re going to keep getting these questions as long as you keep putting up contradictory, tortured, or incomplete responses.

    But I understand your frustration. Here, I’ll change the conversation. Have you ever (ever?) considered the possibility that maybe (maybe?) we encourage marriage among non-procreative couples because marriage has public purposes that go beyond procreation? Can you admit that’s at least a plausible alternative?

  16. Betsy
    September 17th, 2010 at 12:56 | #16

    Fuerte, thanks for starting out nicely. “you keep putting up contradictory, tortured, or incomplete responses.” is a little harsh. But you’re right in one regard: I should have never gotten in on this. And I would like to get out because your questions have doubtlessly been answered by others before, and more eloquently and intelligently than I can. Seek your responses elsewhere please, because I need to get off this blog. I have far too many other responsibilities, and I’ve already been on here for over an hour. (Is this like a drug or what, people?) I’m not going to beat a dead horse.

  17. Chairm
    September 17th, 2010 at 13:10 | #17

    Betsy, the exchange above is worth it if only to demonstrate, again, that the SSMers depend utterly on the Government eforcement of a 100% guarantee rule. So it is fair to demand that these SSMers live up to their own stated standard. What would the law governing SSM make mandatory for the Government to enforced with that 100% guarantee; what would each and every SSM scenario have to fulfill — completely — to be eligible and to retain marital status?

    Their responses will show what SSM is NOT rather than what it actually is; and it will show that the SSM idea is not distinguishable from the vast range of nonmarriage. So they will demonstrate their intent to use the special place of marriage in our society for a strictly nonmarriage purpose. And lthey will show that purpose to be gaycentric. And, as such, their rules of argumentation, invoked above, will defeat their own attempts to demand intellectual honesty of marriage defenders even as they abandon their own SSM idea as illegitimate and dishonest.

    But they will return to repeat the invocation of those superficial rules. Meanwhile there are legal requirements for eligilbity and for marital status that SSMers seek to abolish from both the law and the culture. Very telling.

  18. fuerte
    September 17th, 2010 at 15:19 | #18

    Betsy, I apologize for my harshness, and I understand your need for a break. If you get the energy and the time, I would love to hear your response (or anyone else’s) to my last question: Have you ever considered the possibility that maybe we encourage marriage among non-procreative couples because marriage has public purposes that go beyond procreation? Can you admit that’s at least a plausible alternative?

  19. Sean
    September 17th, 2010 at 15:27 | #19

    The 100% guarantee for both OSM and same-sex marriage is that both people in the union want to be married to each other. That’s about the only eligibility requirement made of OSM and makes a perfectly suitable eligibility requirement for same-sex marriage. As procreation has nothing to do with marriage, since infertile couples are free to marry, no questions asked, it is a fair question to ask: why are only opposite-sex couples considered eligible to marry in 44 states, while same-sex couples are not?

    I can’t seem to find any differences for the motivation to marry between opposite-sex and same-sex couples. And I can’t find a benefit to society that favors letting only opposite-sex couples marry. I do find that the harm to same-sex couples and their children, as well as a disregard for our nation’s constitution, to be damaging to our society.

  20. September 17th, 2010 at 16:44 | #20

    Thank you Betsy, that made me very happy!

    Fuerte, everyone should be allowed to marry and try to procreate with their spouse, even if their odds are very slim and everyone knows it (ie, they are 90 years old). There is no age limit, because there is nothing wrong with elderly people or infertile people trying to procreate, the only thing that will happen is they won’t succeed. So we still give them the blessings and support and approval to conceive together that is official marriage.

    The only couples we don’t give blessings and approval and support to conceive together are couples where procreation would be unethical if it were to occur and we actually prohibit them from procreating together. Couples that we prohibit from procreating together are never allowed to marry and should never be allowed to marry, because it would mean that marriage didn’t approve and affirm the couple procreating together if married couples were publicly prohibited from procreating by the law.

    Same-sex couples should be prohibited from procreating together. They shouldn’t be eligible to procreate together, and therefore shouldn’t be eligible to marry.

    Let’s start at that last point: do you even accept that same-sex couples should be prohibited from procreating, or do you insist that they should have a right to try to create offspring together somehow? You already said you think people have a right to procreate with people married to someone else, and you probably think siblings have a right to procreate too, so you probably think same-sex couples do too. But those are all unethical and should all be prohibited, and punished to varying degrees (adultery punished the least, then incest punished harshly, then same-sex procreation punished most harshly of all)

  21. Betsy
    September 17th, 2010 at 16:58 | #21

    Fuerte, apology accepted. I think this article is very well-written and answers most of the questions being raised. I recommend clicking the link to read the whole thing: http://www.ruthblog.org/2010/09/07/national-review-online%E2%80%99s-case-for-marriage/.

  22. September 17th, 2010 at 17:29 | #22

    Thanks Betsy, but I think Fuerte’s question was a bit different.

    The article does a great job of arguing why responsible procreation is essential to marriage. It answers the most important part of Fuerte’s question, I’ll give you that.

    He asked, “maybe we encourage marriage among non-procreative couples because marriage has public purposes that go beyond procreation?”

    Notice he didn’t say, “because marriage benefits have a public purpose which do not include procreation” yet the essence of his question is that parts of marriage play a purpose whether there is procreation or not.

    Marriage may include items which benefit people outside of its targeted purpose. This is inherent to all systems, for instance it would benefit me if I had a van to travel around in even though an ambulance meets a specific purpose. A subset of the whole may have items in common to suit many different purposes.

    But then again, he also did not say “marriage has public purpose which does not include procreation”. Every benefit given to marriage can be linked to how it helps encourage marriage equality — the equal recognition and rights of the man, woman, and child they potentially have together — for the sake of society as a whole.

    To put it simply, even though he only tiptoed up to it, I charge Fuerte (or anyone else) to justify removing any explicit purpose in marriage because a subset of its benefits are useful to others. Because that is what neutering marriage does, it removes that purpose.

    If anyone doubts whether it removes the purpose of responsible procreation from marriage, just peruse the comment section here or elsewhere. How often do we see it argued that marriage doesn’t (which is much more extreme and radical than “shouldn’t”) explicitly target the procreative unit (man woman, and the child they potentially have together).

    Even the argument about the infertile is just a subtly rephrased assertion that the infertile change the meaning of marriage away from that purpose … to thus justify same-sex couples. Well if the infertile have altered the meaning of marriage that far, imagine what neutering marriage entirely would do.

    That is the radical change that Heidi missed earlier, and the radical change that Fuerte and Sean sweep under the carpet. And its done dishonestly by trying to make us believe that the change already happened rather than arguing honestly about whether or not it should.

  23. September 17th, 2010 at 17:42 | #23

    Sean: > As procreation has nothing to do with marriage

    Nothing? Not even a little? That is a pretty radical statement considering how many people here, and in ballot boxes nation wide, think responsible procreation has everything to do with marriage.

    I’ll tell you what Sean. You are clearly ignoring the 800lb gorilla in the room if you think marriage has nothing to do with procreation. All of your points were answered a long time ago. And if you think that author is wrong, go ahead and let him know your superior intelligence. Go ahead and tell that author in the comment section just what points don’t answer your counter-arguments and why. This I got to see.

  24. September 17th, 2010 at 17:45 | #24

    Fuerte,

    I think your question is answered by this post… Check it out, tell me what you think. If you want to leave a comment there about it, I’ll see it if you do and respond.

  25. Sean
    September 17th, 2010 at 19:27 | #25

    OnLawn, I think somewhere along the line, the world changed and you didn’t notice or didn’t want to notice. The government took over marriage (assuming that it was once a primarily religious affair). The government started doling out benefits and privileges to married couples. The government (and society) said you no longer have to be married to have children. The government (and society) said if you don’t want to be married for life, no problem get divorced. The government legalized birth control and said, “have kids if you want, or don’t have kids; you can still get and stay married.”

    All these changes altered marriage (along with any number of other things, like marrying for love, granting women equal, not subordinate, status in marriage, etc.).

    Marriage is now perfectly suited for the needs of same-sex couples and their children. And consequently, same-sex couples are asking for the right to marry. And there aren’t any rational reasons to deny them.

    And no, children (or more specifically, procreative abilities) don’t have anything to do with marriage, not even a little bit. Sure, some single people will get married in the face of an unplanned pregnancy but these days people in such a circumstance are discouraged from getting married, in order to avoid compounding a problem. Many married people may desire to have children together but they rarely divorce because they find out they can’t have children; in fact, I suspect a man who admitted that he divorced a wife who couldn’t bear children would be thought of negatively. To keep saying marriage is about children (all while ignoring the children being raised by same-sex couples) is inane. So stop doing it.

  26. Sean
    September 17th, 2010 at 19:40 | #26

    OnLawn, here’s what I think of your 800 pound gorilla:

    “Because their [same-sex] unions will not result in offspring any consideration for children that is allowed to stay in the definition of marriage makes same-sex unions wholly unqualified.”

    Actually, many same-sex unions result in offspring, particularly among lesbian couples: one or both become pregnant (somehow) and have a child, now that she has a partner to raise a child with. While I applaud the ability of opposite-sex couples to (often) be able to become pregnant with no outside assistance, I don’t believe the children conceived WITH outside assistance (whether to same-sex or to opposite-sex couples), are less valuable than the children conceived traditionally.

    “My marriage is a commitment to my spouse, but even more relevant to the state it is a commitment to my children.”

    Same-sex couples can make the same statement.

    “And I’ll just note that the ideal and purpose of marriage as an institution for children is obvious.”

    It’s not obvious to me nor to millions of couples who marry with no intention or desire to have children. In fact, this statement is an insult to childless couples everywhere, with its implication that their marriages are fraudulent for lack of children. And you insult opposite-sex couples everywhere who can’t conceive “traditionally,” and use alternatives and surrogates to conceive and gestate with.

    I’m sure, in your mind, a woman isn’t really a woman unless she’s had children, too.

  27. September 17th, 2010 at 22:07 | #27

    Sean: > OnLawn, I think somewhere along the line, the world changed and you didn’t notice or didn’t want to notice.

    Wow, you make it sound like I’ve existed for many centuries. I don’t even know that you could say I’ve been around that many decades :)

    Well if I was around that long then I’m the one to fact-check Sean’s assertions.

    The government took over marriage (assuming that it was once a primarily religious affair).

    False. Historically speaking, marriage was always a government affair whether that government was religious or not.

    The government started doling out benefits and privileges to married couples.

    False. Governments have always recognized marriage status with benefits and priveleges.

    The government (and society) said you no longer have to be married to have children.

    False. Children have come in out of wedlock throughout history.

    The government (and society) said if you don’t want to be married for life, no problem get divorced.

    Okay, lets say that is a change from the standpoint of the government. More on this later.

    The government legalized birth control and said, “have kids if you want, or don’t have kids; you can still get and stay married.”

    False, birth control was always legal in at least some form or other. If anything, government regulates birth control now in the age of modern medicine more than in the days of the apothecary. But that is just because government regulates more in medicine in general.

    like marrying for love, granting women equal, not subordinate, status in marriage, etc.).

    Marriage for love is as old an idea as there is writing to write it. In discussion with a Jewish scholar once, I learned that the oldest Jewish regulations on record discuss courtship giving full weight to the development of romantic love between the interested parties.

    And, in general, women in marriage were usually more equal with men than women outside of marriage.

    Marriage is now perfectly suited for the needs of same-sex couples and their children.

    Now lets look at unilateral divorce, perhaps the only real change you mentioned in that list. So, are you saying that the less monogamous marriage is, the better suited it is for same-sex couples? The easier it is to break up, the less it depends on the needs of the children and stability of the home, the better suited it is for same sex couples?

    Why yes, you did.

    And that speaks volumes.

    To keep saying marriage is about children (all while ignoring the children being raised by same-sex couples) is inane. So stop doing it.

    It is sad you think children’s needs are ‘inane’ in marriage.

    But you are saying, over and over, with your comments that marriage for responsible procreation is not suited for same-sex couples. You keep telling us that the less marriage has to do with children and their equality as a member of a procreative unit, the more it is suited for same-sex couples.

    And it seems you are driving very fast to make marriage suited for same-sex couples.

  28. Chairm
    September 18th, 2010 at 00:02 | #28

    Fuerte said: “you ever considered the possibility that maybe we encourage marriage among non-procreative couples because marriage has public purposes that go beyond procreation?”

    See the 1) sex integration and 2) provision for responsible procreation and 3) these combined as a coherent whole. Procreation is not a standalone.

  29. Chairm
    September 18th, 2010 at 00:27 | #29

    Fuerte said: “you ever considered the possibility that maybe we encourage marriage among non-procreative couples because marriage has public purposes that go beyond procreation?”

    That is a good question. However, you are at the wrong starting place.

    Infertile couples can be procreative. More than half of that small portion of married couples who experience fertility problems already had at least one child before the problems. So that means most are subfertile and that does not mean non-procreative.

    Also, the vast majority of married couples who exprience infertility will resolve these problems by changing their behavior. So they are not non-procreative either.

    Only a small portion will undergo the more novel or the more intrusive means by which infertility is treated. And among these married couples the issue is divided thusly: the husband is handicapped reproductively in about one-third of the couples; the wife in another third; and the disability is undetermined in the remaining third. Obviously treatments vary and so do results. But these are married couples whose procreativity is clearly impaired — some more so than others — rather than completely nonexistent. There are so many treatments today that the degrees of infertility almost rule-out the idea of non-procreative.

    Almost, but not quite, since there are hard cases. Such as the sterility caused by life-saving surgery — for ovarian or testical cancers, for scary examples. But the same thing applies: the couple may be treated and their pursuit of procreation may be achieved — without going outside of their relationship. More and more possiblities are being discovered all the time.

    Okay, so infertility is not the same thing as non-procreativity; but the two do overlap to some extent.

    However, the lack of the other sex is nonfertility and as such is always an instance of non-procreativity within the relationship. A lone individual is a one-sexed scenario and is no less nonfertile than a one-sexed twosome or a room full of individuals of the same sex. There is nothing to repair, there is no disability, there is nothing remarkable about the ordinary nonfertility — and thus nonprocreativeity — that is constant and unvariable where the scenario lacks the other sex.

    So you must be pointing at something else.

    Well, marriage is the starting place, not the particular troubles that this or that couple might experience in fulfilling the ordinary, but variable, procreative aspect of the conjugal relationship. But in its variability lies the need to channel the sexual behavior — indeed, the sexual appetite — because if things were always certain there would be no societal need for the contingency that is provided by responsible procreation.

    Do you know the first principle of responsible procreation, fuerte?

    It is not — hey marriage is encouraged among the non-procreative couples. It is not, hey, let’s design a social institution around non-procreative couples.

    Here is a hint: it has something to do with the variability of human fertility and fecundity.

    And it also has something to do with uniting motherhood and fatherhood. Unity of this sort can occur even where a married couple experience the travails of fertility troubles — troubles which can jeopardize the marriage — and even where ultimately the couple is non-procreative. Societal preference is definitely at play but it does not originate with the idea of making marriage for the non-procreative scenario and then extending it to the ordinary procreative scenarios in all their variability.

    Think it through. Your question is a good one and it will be better answered when you’ve reconsidered your starting place.

  30. Sean
    September 18th, 2010 at 05:08 | #30

    I have no idea how old you are but your notion of what marriage is, is archaic and not founded in modern reality. You may wish for some idealized form of marriage, but mostly I think you just don’t like the idea of same-sex couples marrying, and are trying to craft a less homophobic rationalization, for public consumption.

    No, I didn’t say that easy divorce makes same-sex marriage easier. I said easy divorce radically changes the notion of marriage, and is one of the many changes that has changed marriage. It’s a key example for why the notion that marriage is a “thousands of years old tradition and can’t be changed!” rallying cry of the “traditionalists” is dishonest. Don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger. Marriage has changed radically in the last century, as have society’s opinions about raising children out of wedlock, or not having children. Now that it is perfectly acceptable to get married with the specific intent to not have children, or to have children without getting married, among other things, it kind of opens the doors to same-sex couples to marry.

    I’m weary of rehashing the “responsible procreation” thing. But here goes. Whatever it is, it does nothing to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. The doctrine of “responsible procreation,” whether it is even valid today, is in no way threatened when same-sex couples marry.

  31. September 18th, 2010 at 07:09 | #31

    Sean: As procreation has nothing to do with marriage,…

    If that statement doesn’t dismiss Sean as a loon…

    Actually, many same-sex unions result in offspring…

    Then this one surely does. Virtually all third-graders and beyond are clear enough on the basic facts of human reproduction to know this statement is false. The most that can be said of any same-sex couple with children is that a member of that couple reproduced with someone else and then brought that child back to be raised by the couple. Going outside of marriage to reproduce is decidedly not what marriage is about.

    Oh wait, I forgot that marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with procreation. That’s why there’s absolutely no correlation between who gets married and who has children together.

    In fairness to Sean, I will assume he actually does understand these very obvious facts. He is simply yearning so strongly for his desired conclusion that he has taken to inventing whatever premises are required to reach his desired conclusion, even when that means ignoring observable fact.

    It’s not obvious to me…

    Well maybe I am being too generous in my assumptions. ;)

    …nor to millions of couples who marry with no intention or desire to have children.

    Another observable fact Sean has to contradict. “Intention or desire to have children” is not a requirement of human reproduction. Having both sexes is, but having the intention to reproduce is not. This is actually pointed out in the 800lb Gorilla article to which Sean purports to be responding. Surely Sean couldn’t have missed it?

    In fact, this statement is an insult to childless couples everywhere,…

    Here Sean, perhaps sensing the absurdity in his reasoning to this point, abandons his argument by fallacy and instead adopts the argument by the thinnest skin. The basic belief here is that the side which is most easily offended is the side who is right. While this style of argumentation has become popular of late it has no basis whatsoever in reasoned debate.

    I’m sure, in your mind, a woman isn’t really a woman unless she’s had children, too.

    Now Sean is switching from arguing to simple intimidation. Out of credible arguments in favor of his position Sean here makes clear that he will simply insult anyone who dares disagree. There is as much basis for Sean’s conclusion about On Lawn as there is for the conclusion that Sean himself subscribes to kiddie porn. Sean hurls his accusation simply as an attempted insult to try and discourage anyone from disagreeing with him openly.

    This is a typical trajectory for a false conclusion: first an attempt at reason followed by feigned indignation, then finally base intimidation. Examples of ideas that went down this same path are the belief that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and the acceptance of slavery in America. Examples of concepts that did not go down this path are things like the law of gravity and a sun-centered solar system. Those ideas were established on the basis of reason and observation, alone.

  32. September 18th, 2010 at 07:20 | #32

    Fuerte: So… if you COULD tell the fertile from the infertile you WOULD prevent the infertile from marrying?

    Another lesson in logic: The above statement is vacuous. Because the premise is false we know nothing about its consequent. It is just as informative as asking “If the moon were made out of spare ribs, would you eat it?”

  33. September 18th, 2010 at 07:22 | #33

    On Lawn: So, are you saying that the less monogamous marriage is, the better suited it is for same-sex couples? … Why yes, you did.

    Good catch, On Lawn. That is exactly what Sean is saying by saying that the change to no-fault divorce supports his notion to neuter marriage.

  34. September 18th, 2010 at 13:47 | #34

    Fuerte: So… if you COULD tell the fertile from the infertile you WOULD prevent the infertile from marrying?

    No, fertility is not an issue. The issue is that some couples would be unethical IF they procreated, and so we prevent those couples from marrying. Think siblings, not infertile people. What does “infertile” even mean in this era of advancing medical treatments anyhow? Someone that is infertile right now might not be with the help of a lab or a healthier lifestyle or medicine. Even same-sex couples might be able to have a kid with the help of a lab, though it would be unethical, even more unethical than siblings procreating together.

    “Responsible procreation” is a good explanation or reason for marriage. It means, among other things, that we prohibit couples from marrying if it would be irresponsible for them to procreate, and if a couple is not prohibited from procreating together, it means we encourage them to marry first to establish consent and commitment and public acknowledgment of their union (we used to require marriage first, but today we barely encourage it, and even that much is under attack by people trying to separate marriage from procreation).

  35. September 18th, 2010 at 14:22 | #35

    “Responsible procreation” also means that marriages procreate responsibly by definition, and therefore that married couples have a right to procreate and cannot be prohibited from procreating.

    We should not separate marriage from procreation rights by prohibiting any married couple from procreating together with their own genes.

    Keep in mind that there has to be a supportable basis to prohibit people from marrying another person, and that equal rights and genetic privacy mean that we cannot withhold marriage from couples on the basis of genetic screening of the individuals involved. Nor can we prohibit a married couple from procreating on the basis of genetic screening and force them to use donor gametes or modified gametes. Married couples should always have a right to use their own unmodified genes to procreate together, even if eugenicists would prefer to screen them and force them to use better genes to create better humans. More than just having a right, married couples should only be allowed to use their own genes, they shouldn’t even have an option to use ‘better’ genes, because that option is coercive and negates the right to use their own genes.

  36. Sean
    September 18th, 2010 at 15:43 | #36

    John Howard, how does preventing same-sex couples from marrying prevent them from procreating, laying aside the peculiar notion of same-sex couples procreating being unethical if and when it’s possible?

  37. Sean
    September 18th, 2010 at 16:10 | #37

    Op. ed., reproductive abilities or having children has nothing to do with legal marriage. While many couples wish to raise children while married, that is a cultural norm, and evidently one that is fading, since so many children are raised outside of wedlock sadly. No couple is required to have children or commit to having children in order to get or stay married. Similarly, no couple with children is required to get married. And divorce is completely legal even if there are minor age children in the household. Tell me again how crucial children are to the concept of marriage!

    I invite you to inform any and all childless couples that you happen upon that their marriages don’t count because they don’t have children. Just promise to film your escapade and post it on YouTube!

    I don’t think I’m a loon for stating the obvious about the connection, or lack thereof, between marriage and children. On a personal level, you are free to equate procreation and/or children with marriage. The legal reality, though, is, there is no connection.

    “….any same-sex couple with children is that a member of that couple reproduced with someone else and then brought that child back to be raised by the couple.”

    Exactly. I was responding to OnLawn’s peculiar assertion that a same-sex union never results in children. As you have verified, it can and does. Just as many opposite-sex couples do, same-sex couples rely on “outside assistance” to create their rug rats.

    ““Intention or desire to have children” is not a requirement of human reproduction.”

    So very true, but unimpeded fertility is. Any couple unwilling to have children can effectively prevent that from happening, either naturally or with birth control. I am unaware of any marriage being dissolved for lack of fertility or lack of children. Actually Op. Ed., creating a child requires the combination of egg and sperm and letting that combined material grow for nine or so months.

    Op. Ed now thinks that logical, informed argumentation is offensive and intimidating. That’s unfortunate but Sean can’t be held responsible for how misinformed persons feel when the error of their arguments is pointed out to them.

    I discourage no one from discussing this topic. I have several reasons not to shut the discussion down, but primarily, each ridiculous post offers an opportunity to set the record straight.

    I don’t think you’ll find intellectual safe haven in trying to advance your distorted viewpoint of marriage by associating it with gravity or heliocentricity. Instead, why not explain why you see marriage and the “only one man, one woman, forever!” as an exclusionary arrangement for heterosexuals only.

  38. September 18th, 2010 at 17:55 | #38

    Sean: …but mostly I think you just don’t like the idea of same-sex couples marrying, and are trying to craft a less homophobic rationalization

    Still on his same trajectory, Sean is simply trying to stifle debate by carrying through on his threat to insult any who deign to disagree. These are not the actions of someone convinced of the reasonableness of his argument.

    No, I didn’t say that easy divorce makes same-sex marriage easier.

    My mistake.

    Now that it is perfectly acceptable… to have children without getting married, among other things, it kind of opens the doors to same-sex couples to marry.

    Thanks for the clarification. So it’s not “easy divorce,” its the out-of-wedlock birthrate that enables same-sex couples to “marry.” Good switch. Any other social ills Sean would like to blame for same-sex “marriage?”

    Wait a minute, “hav[ing] children without getting married?” Earlier Sean said “procreation has nothing to do with marriage.” [emphasis added] It seems Sean finds it convenient for his argument to contradict that claim now.

    Describing out-of-wedlock birth as “perfectly acceptable” is another one of those invented premises contradicted by observable fact but required by Sean’s yearned-for conclusion.

    Sean is right in reverse, however. Denying the link between marriage and procreation as he does (albeit sporadically) and as his favored change to marriage would do indelibly would have the effect of increasing the number of children born without the benefit of marriage.

    Whatever ["responsible procreation"] is, it does nothing to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.

    That Sean does not know what responsible procreation is means he is hardly the judge for what helps or hurts it. He already sees the link between declining responsibility in procreation and the neutering of marriage, see above, he simply has the link in reverse. Nevertheless, that link would “prohibit” (on rational grounds at least) a redefinition of marriage that is linked to damaging its purpose.

  39. September 18th, 2010 at 20:49 | #39

    Sean: No couple is required to have children or commit to having children in order to get or stay married.

    No driver is required to have an accident in order to buy or maintain auto insurance. That doesn’t mean auto insurance is unrelated to automobile accidents, nor does the fact that the uninsured have accidents.

    I invite you to inform any and all childless couples that you happen upon that their marriages don’t count because they don’t have children.

    Sean is the one arguing that childless couples should not be married, not I. Notice the lack of a quote. Inventing straw-men is not the act of someone who believes he has reason on his side.

    I don’t think I’m a loon for stating the obvious about the connection, or lack thereof, between marriage and children.

    No, you are a loon for stating what is obviously false about the connection. In this post and in later posts you even contradict that very view. You clearly shift your premises when needed to reach your conclusion. This is also not the act of someone who is truly interested in following the facts to a conclusion rather than vice-versa.

    …On Lawn’s peculiar assertion that a same-sex union never results in children.

    The “assertion” is observably correct. That Sean deems it “peculiar” speaks more to his frame of mind than to On Lawn’s.

    So very true, but unimpeded fertility is.

    Unimportant. There is no logical requirement that every possible requirement must be expressed in law, particularly those that would require overbearing and intrusive access for their enforcement. That both sexes are a requirement of procreation means it is reasonable for it to be a requirement of the presumptively procreative union of marriage.

    As Chairm previously pointed out, “unimpeded fertility” is absolutely not a requirement of procreation as there are many couples with “impeded fertility” who do produce children. This is another invented premise in contravention of observable fact.

    Any couple unwilling to have children can effectively prevent that from happening…

    Which is why there are no unwanted pregnancies today. Once again, an observably false assertion stated not because Sean believes it to be true, but because he needs it to be.

    Op. Ed now thinks that logical, informed argumentation is offensive and intimidating.

    Baseless accusations and feigned indignation are neither logical, nor informed. I stated that clearly before and provided the quotes to show to what I referred. Sean pretends it away for his own purposes as I have pointed out repeatedly, but not out of honest mistake.

  40. Sean
    September 18th, 2010 at 22:01 | #40

    OpEd, unable to craft a rational argument against legal same-sex marriage, accuses Sean of “stifling debate.”

    OpEd appears to need to blame same-sex marriage for the failures of opposite-sex marriage, such as divorce and out-of-wedlock children. Oddly, these two social ills appeared long before same-sex marriage became available.

    Once again, Sean has to correct the record so that it accurately reflects his statements. Sean does NOT approve of out-of-wedlock child-rearing. In fact, that’s one of the strongest reasons Sean wants same-sex couples to marry: so their children are not raised outside of marriage.

    “Denying the link between marriage and procreation as he does (albeit sporadically)”

    I have been consistent on this and not sporadic: there is no legal requirement to be fertile or to actually bear children in order to marry. This is a preference, perhaps, of many couples, but not a legal requirement. It bears repeating because some people seem not to comprehend this fact.

    “He already sees the link between declining responsibility in procreation and the neutering of marriage…”

    Sean sees no such link, because there is no such link. There is no requirement to have children and therefore no requirement to bring opposite-sex reproductive organs to a marriage.

    “Sean is the one arguing that childless couples should not be married”

    Not once has Sean said childless couples should not be married. What Sean has said is that childless couples are free to marry, because having children has nothing to do with marriage (unless you personally want it to).

    “There is no logical requirement that every possible requirement must be expressed in law, particularly those that would require overbearing and intrusive access for their enforcement”

    I agree. That’s why couples who can’t or don’t want to have children are not faced with a hurdle in order to get married. Perhaps most couples will have children during their marriage. For them, marriage gives them an institution in which to raise their children. But childless couples are no less married, meaning marriage must mean something more or even separate from reproduction and child-rearing.

    “Which is why there are no unwanted pregnancies today.”

    What? There are many unwanted pregnancies today, many of which are brought to term. And there is no requirement for the newly blessed parents to be married. Why? Because marriage doesn’t have anything to do with children (unless you personally want it to).

  41. September 19th, 2010 at 00:02 | #41

    Sean: OpEd, unable to craft a rational argument against legal same-sex marriage, accuses Sean of “stifling debate.”

    Another observably false assertion stated not because it is true or even because Sean believes it, but rather because he needs it to be true.

    I have been consistent on this and not sporadic…

    Another observably false assertion stated not because it is true or even because Sean believes it, but rather because he needs it to be true.

    I have shown how Sean has been inconsistent on this point in the past. He is not even consistent in this comment. Just sentences apart, Sean says:

    “Sean does NOT approve of out-of-wedlock child-rearing.” (Clearly he’s not even consistent on whether he refers to himself in the first or third person.)

    Then just a few paragraphs later he ends with “Because marriage doesn’t have anything to do with children…”

    …there is no legal requirement to be fertile or to actually bear children in order to marry.

    Which in no way argues that “marriage doesn’t have anything to do with children” or “procreation has nothing to do with marriage,” just as the fact nobody is required to have an automobile accident in order to buy (or maintain) auto insurance does not argue that auto insurance has nothing to do with accidents.

    Sean sees no such link [between declining responsibility in procreation and the neutering of marriage], because there is no such link.

    And yet earlier Sean said “Now that it is perfectly acceptable… to have children without getting married, among other things, it kind of opens the doors to same-sex couples to marry.”

    Not once has Sean said childless couples should not be married.

    Then who has? Here is his actual quote:

    “I invite you to inform any and all childless couples that you happen upon that their marriages don’t count because they don’t have children.”

    Sean clearly didn’t follow the link about straw-men.

    But childless couples are no less married, meaning marriage must mean something more or even separate from reproduction and child-rearing.

    No. It means that “reproduction and child-rearing” are less predictable and more complex than Sean needs them to be.

    What? There are many unwanted pregnancies today…

    Which exactly contradicts Sean’s earlier statement that “Any couple unwilling to have children can effectively prevent that from happening…”

    So now Sean admits he always understood that statement to be observably false, but he chose to say it anyway. He merely confirms what I said earlier:

    “In fairness to Sean, I will assume he actually does understand these very obvious facts. He is simply yearning so strongly for his desired conclusion that he has taken to inventing whatever premises are required to reach his desired conclusion, even when that means ignoring observable fact.”

  42. September 19th, 2010 at 10:57 | #42

    Sean :
    John Howard, how does preventing same-sex couples from marrying prevent them from procreating, laying aside the peculiar notion of same-sex couples procreating being unethical if and when it’s possible?

    It doesn’t. What would would prevent them from procreating would be a federal law prohibiting creating a human person by any means other than joining the sperm of a man and the egg of a woman. This would still leave many unethical avenues of procreation legal, such as sperm donation, surrogacy, unmarried procreation, etc, but it would prohibit genetic engineering and cloning and same-sex procreation and a whole slew of new unethical techniques that haven’t been done yet.

    At the same time Congress enacts a federal “egg and sperm law”, it should also enact a law that affirms that all marriages must be allowed to conceive with their own genes, and a law recognizing state civil unions as marriages if they are defined by the state as “marriage minus conception rights”. That’d give same-sex couples equal protections without stripping procreation rights from marriage.

  43. Sean
    September 19th, 2010 at 16:10 | #43

    “I have shown how Sean has been inconsistent on this point in the past.”

    As usual, you’ve shown no such thing.

    There is nothing inconsistent about demonstrating that children have nothing to do with getting married but that children are better off when raised by married parents. “Wearing a seat belt” has nothing to do with getting a driver’s license but if you operate a motor vehicle, you’re better off wearing a seat belt. Uh-oh, I used an analogy! Time for OnLawn to misunderstand it!

    “The [ProtectMarriage.org’s} brief is noticeably silent on Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence too, where he asserted, rightly, that if moral approbation was not an acceptable basis upon which to legislate against lesbians and gays as a class, then same sex marriage could not be prevented either, because procreation was not and never has been a requirement for marriage.”

    I often disagree with Justice Scalia but he and I are in agreement about marriage.

    Yes there are unwanted pregnancies. But couples who wish to avoid them can properly use birth control, or render themselves infertile, or abort the zygote, or give up a birthed baby to someone else or the state to raise. So much for the value of “responsible procreation!” LOL

    “In fairness to OpE and OnLawn, I will assume they actually do understand many if not most of their statements do nothing to support the conclusion that same-sex marriage should be outlawed. They simply yearn so strongly for their desired conclusion that have taken to inventing whatever premises are required to reach the desired conclusion, even when that means ignoring observable fact.”

    And certainly OnLawn and OpEd are not the only persons who are so sure gays shouldn’t marry that they submit claims that they believe support the prohibition of same-sex marriage. They do not. My theory about these viewpoints is that these people believe that if same-sex marriage is legalized, opposite-sex marriage will be outlawed. It is my belief that that will not happen. Straight people will still want to get married, and straight marriage will still be legal. No state that has legalized same-sex marriage has outlawed opposite-sex marriage.

  44. September 19th, 2010 at 21:42 | #44

    there is no legal requirement to be fertile or to actually bear children in order to marry.

    No, just be a type of relationship where children happen (biology tells us that is between a man and woman).

    Its funny to watch Sean get high centered in the complexities of real life, when the rule is so obvious when written as “man and woman” :)

    We call that straining at gnats, and swallowing camels.

  45. September 20th, 2010 at 01:32 | #45

    Sean: As usual, you’ve shown no such thing.

    Yes, yes I have and Sean has not refuted, explained, or even attempted to refute or explain any of the examples, actual quoted examples, I provided.

    There is nothing inconsistent about demonstrating that children have nothing to do with getting married but that children are better off when raised by married parents.

    Here Sean provides his own quote to prove the inconsistency.

    Sean actually attempts several slights-of-hand here. First of all, merely asserting something is not “demonstrating” it. Far from it. Sean overestimates his ability to dictate to nature.

    More revealing, Sean’s original claim was “procreation has nothing to do with marriage.” (See the comment trail.) Now he attempts to stake out territory for himself by changing from “marriage” itself to just the act of “getting married.” This is tacit admission that his original claim does, in fact, contradict, but even this attempt fails reason. If marriage and procreation are linked, then marriage initiation is equally linked.

    Whatever Sean’s reason for attempting to revise history, it has nothing to do with establishing the rightness of his position.

    “Wearing a seat belt” has nothing to do with getting a driver’s license but if you operate a motor vehicle…

    “Wearing a seat belt?” In quotes? Who is Sean quoting?

    There is no requirement that anyone with a drivers license “operate a motor vehicle,” after they obtain their license. Using Sean’s reasoning, therefore driver’s licenses have “nothing to do” with “operating a motor vehicle,” which means the only reason to deny licenses to the blind is shear bigotry.

    Drivers are required to wear seat belts, but they are not required to have accidents. Therefore in Sean-logic, seat belts have nothing to do with accidents even if we might personally feel that drivers in accidents are better off if they wear seat belts. There’s just no end of the progress we can make once we are freed of the antiquated notion that seat belts are somehow for accidents.

    I often disagree with Justice Scalia but he and I are in agreement about marriage.

    Sean quotes a propaganda site, not the actual opinion. Telling.

    But couples who wish to avoid them [unwanted pregnancies] can properly use birth control,

    Widespread availability of birth control has certainly not eliminated unwanted pregnancy. It is arguable as to whether it has even reduced it.

    or render themselves infertile

    Neither have surgical techniques like tubal ligation or vasectomy, both of which can spontaneously reverse. An example of this was even cited in the Gorilla article which Sean claims to have read. Again, he’s not saying these things because he believes them.

    or abort the zygote

    First, aborting a pregnancy does not prevent it. It merely ends it.

    Second, zygote is a precise medical term referring to a stage of development that ends before the implantation initiating a pregnancy to be aborted. Zygotes, therefore cannot be “aborted.” The point is, Sean rejected the more common vernacular for a precise medical term, zygote, but it wasn’t because he wanted to actually be more precise.

    or give up a birthed baby to someone else or the state to raise.

    Having someone else, or the state, fulfill one’s responsibilities for one is certainly not the height of responsibility. It may be the most responsible decision available at the time the decision is made, maybe even better than keeping the child, but it is certainly not the hoped for situation for any child.

    So much for the value of “responsible procreation!” LOL

    While Sean may find the idea of abortion and abandonment to be regular side-splitters (“LOL?” Really??), they are certainly not responsible procreation. A child raised in a loving home by the mother and father who created it, however, is responsible procreation. It is what is hoped for for every child. It is what is best for the child and it is what is best for the society in which that child is born. That is what marriage safeguards and that is what no same-sex couple can provide.

    And certainly OnLawn and OpEd are not the only persons who are so sure gays shouldn’t marry…

    Lie. It is Sean’s position that gays shouldn’t marry, not mine.

    …that they submit claims that they believe support the prohibition of same-sex marriage.

    Prohibition? No more than I think there is a “prohibition” on the sky from being solid ground.

  46. Mark
    September 20th, 2010 at 08:31 | #46

    Sean: Its really pointless to try to logically argue this point. The fact is plain: according to most of the posters, same sex people should not have the same rights as others, period. The supporters dance around “responsible procreation” but its just an attempt to deny fellow Americans their equal rights. For them, it IS merely the PERCEPTION of procreation because this is the only difference between SSM and OSM. If you get rid of the “responsible procreation” argument, there is no other reason to prohibit same sex marriage except their own ignorance and bigotry, and that is too hard for them to face.

  47. September 20th, 2010 at 09:16 | #47

    No, just be a type of relationship where children happen (biology tells us that is between a man and woman).

    A brother and sister are that type of relationship, On Lawn. So are same-sex couples where one of them has had opposite sex gametes created for them at a lab. But both of those would be unethical to create children. We already prohibit incest, we need to prohibit same-sex procreation too. Only couples that are allowed to procreate should be allowed to marry.

  48. September 20th, 2010 at 11:39 | #48

    Mark, what are “same-sex people”? We try to be clear about this: everyone should have equal rights. No one has a right to marry someone of their own sex. People only have a right to reproduce with someone of the other sex.

  49. Sean
    September 20th, 2010 at 12:15 | #49

    “We call that straining at gnats, and swallowing camels.”

    Call it whatever you like but so long as you can’t come up with a logical, rational reason to preclude same-sex couples from legally marrying, they will.

    “It’s funny to watch Sean get high centered in the complexities of real life…

    Whatever that means. It’s funnier to read OpEd and OnLawn’s comments about how marriage is about procreation, even though infertile couples are free to marry, and no marriage becomes suspect for lack of children.

    “Sean overestimates his ability to dictate to nature.”

    Nope, in fact Sean is the one who recognizes that Mother Nature renders some couples infertile, due to biological malfeasance or the natural aging process. Oddly, the “traditional marriage” types, who insist that marriage is about procreation, ignore Mother Nature.

    “Whatever Sean’s reason for attempting to revise history….”

    In no way has Sean attempted to revise history.

    “There is no requirement that anyone with a drivers license “operate a motor vehicle,” after they obtain their license.”

    Exactly. And there is no requirement to create children after a couple gets married. Therefore, lack of procreative ability cannot be used as a reason to exclude same-sex couples or other non-procreative couples from getting married.

    “While Sean may find the idea of abortion and abandonment to be regular side-splitters (“LOL?” Really??), they are certainly not responsible procreation.”

    No, the procedures themselves are not humorous, but the notion that “responsible procreation” is in some way an inviolable part of marriage, or that it is reason to exclude same-sex couples from marrying, is. That’s the point. Perhaps if you read everything twice you’ll get it the second time.

    “A child raised in a loving home by the mother and father who created it, however, is responsible procreation. It is what is hoped for, for every child. It is what is best for the child and it is what is best for the society in which that child is born. That is what marriage safeguards and that is what no same-sex couple can provide.”

    Even if these words were true, or even reflected reality, and not merely opinion, they would still not provide us with the necessary ammunition against legal same-sex marriage. But keep trying!

    “It is Sean’s position that gays shouldn’t marry, not mine.”

    Nope, Sean has been pretty clear that he thinks gay couples should be allowed to marry.

  50. Sean
    September 20th, 2010 at 12:23 | #50

    “Sean: Its really pointless to try to logically argue this point.”

    Mark, give me a little credit here. I know what I’m dealing with. These are people who are horrified that gay people could be considered normal or equals. They don’t care about marriage; they are only too happy to keep pre-marital sex, adultery and divorce legal (just to keep their own options open).

    “If you get rid of the “responsible procreation” argument, there is no other reason to prohibit same sex marriage”

    Actually the “responsible procreation” argument does nothing to support the notion of illegal same-sex marriage. Any couple who wishes to “responsibly procreate,” which is, ironically, a completely optional procedure, can still do so while same-sex couples are getting married.

    The crux of the anti-same-sex marriage crowd seems to be that opposite-sex marriage is only useful or desirable if same-sex couples are prevented from marrying. The fatal flaw with the OSM-only crowd is that they keep arguing as if society is preparing to outlaw OSM in favor or SSM. But that, of course, is not the case. Their arguments start to make sense if the argument was about choosing either OSM or SSM.

  51. Sean
    September 20th, 2010 at 12:28 | #51

    John Howard recommends: “Only couples that are allowed to procreate should be allowed to marry.”

    How ’bout it, OnLawn, you in? I would support marriage for only procreative couples, but only if marriage were legally required for any couple who created and birthed a child. It might lead to a heckuva lot more abortions, but I’m ok with that.

    What are your thoughts?

  52. September 20th, 2010 at 13:22 | #52

    Mark: The supporters dance around “responsible procreation” but its just an attempt to deny fellow Americans their equal rights.

    Funny how Mark interprets something that simply is not about gays to being … an insult to gays!

    But in doing so he’s shown that he thinks there is no social value in responsible procreation. We see it, we see the pain that divorce causes, we see the pain that abandonment causes, we see the pain that child abuse causes. When people take responsibility for the children they have, because that child is entitled to your support when you create it, children are better taken care of. When people take responsibility with the person they have a child with, spouses are better taken care of, and children better learn the lessons of love and tolerance, and better learn their own worth as they see the two people who they share an identity with, cherish each other.

    But to Mark, this is nothing.

    And that is the sad part. So hooked is he on the koolaid of the neuter marriage movement that he can no longer see the value in responsible procreation.

  53. September 20th, 2010 at 13:43 | #53

    Sean: >>> there is no legal requirement to be fertile or to actually bear children in order to marry.

    Me: >> “No, just be a type of relationship where children happen (biology tells us that is between a man and woman). Its funny to watch Sean get high centered in the complexities of real life, when the rule is so obvious when written as ‘man and woman’
    We call that straining at gnats, and swallowing camels.”

    Sean: > Call it whatever you like but so long as you can’t come up with a logical, rational reason to preclude same-sex couples from legally marrying, they will.

    Au Contrare, the point shows that we have come up with a rational point, and that your retort was anything but rational.

    Denial isn’t rational, and the more you do that the more irrational you look :)

    Me: >> “It’s funny to watch Sean get high centered in the complexities of real life…”

    Sean: > Whatever that means.

    Well, your poor reading comprehension is not my problem, but it does explain your irrational nature of your responses to our arguments :)

    To help you out, in that context it means that you are avoiding very straight forward evidence, but getting bent out of shape on small anomolies.

    Marriage explicitely recognizes “man and woman”. What that references is taught also by biology, but understood even without it, “man and woman” is the combination that creates babies.

    Since biology is not mathematical, and some men and women cannot have babies, you claim that invalidates that scientific observation. Well, biologists everywhere would disagree, which is why they classify those situations as “infertile”.

    : not fertile or productive [infertile eggs] [infertile fields]; especially : incapable of or unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy [infertile couples]

    Eggs, fields, man and woman couples, those can be classified as infertile. Yet no one describes a rock as infertile, because no one expects a rock to give life.

    What you do with the infertile really doesn’t mean that the type of relationship (man and woman) is invalid in referencing the need for responsible procreation, above and beyond procreation.

    Therefore, lack of procreative ability cannot be used as a reason to exclude same-sex couples or other non-procreative couples from getting married.

    Okay, lets say this. As long as you don’t re-define marriage away from its explicit reference to the procreative unit (man and woman), we’re good to go. We can discuss what regulations you want to see above and beyond that later, and whether that means same-sex couples are a marriage or not.

    If that doesn’t preclude them, then you are good to go too. If it does preclude them, then you have to worry about it…

    but the notion that “responsible procreation” is in some way an inviolable part of marriage

    … because if marriage cannot explicitely recognize “man and woman”, then what can target responsible procreation (which is inseperable from “man and woman”) ?

    I think you already know the answer to that, which is why you claim marriage is not about responsible procreation at all, rather than agreeing that marriage is about responsible procreation.

  54. September 20th, 2010 at 15:32 | #54

    How ’bout it, OnLawn, you in? I would support marriage for only procreative couples, but only if marriage were legally required for any couple who created and birthed a child.

    There you go again with your totalitarian fantasies.

    I like marriage being about encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their offspring. Its good enough.

  55. September 20th, 2010 at 15:58 | #55

    Sean: > Nope, in fact Sean is the one who recognizes that Mother Nature renders some couples infertile, due to biological malfeasance or the natural aging process. Oddly, the “traditional marriage” types, who insist that marriage is about procreation, ignore Mother Nature.

    That commenter should talk to Sean who thinks that those people should not be allowed to get married if marriage cannot be neutered for the sake of homosexuality.

    Otherwise, everyone who accepts that there are infertile people out there, and doesn’t mind them still getting married does accept Mother Nature :)

    But lets not forget the bait-and-switch Sean pulled there. Op-Ed was noting that Sean seems to dictate to Mother Nature on asserting the nature of marriage as a benefit to society, without demonstrating it at all. His Ipse Dixit on the matter is just as narrow minded as his expectations of government enforcement of his whims.

    In no way has Sean attempted to revise history.

    That was Sean’s complete response. Notice how vacuous it is. Compare that to Op-Ed’s explanation and example of how Sean revised history…

    More revealing, Sean’s original claim was “procreation has nothing to do with marriage.” (See the comment trail.) Now he attempts to stake out territory for himself by changing from “marriage” itself to just the act of “getting married.” This is tacit admission that his original claim does, in fact, contradict, but even this attempt fails reason. If marriage and procreation are linked, then marriage initiation is equally linked.
    Whatever Sean’s reason for attempting to revise history, it has nothing to do with establishing the rightness of his position.

    I point this out folks, because Sean doesn’t make these unsupported assertsion because he is ignorant, but because he expects you to be. So double check what Op-Ed, myself, Chairm and others say, as well as Sean. Because Sean’s unsupported assertions and accusations say as much about how ignorant he expects you to be, as it says about his own ignorance.

    [...] lack of procreative ability cannot be used [...]

    It is reasonable for the government to recognize the difference between a disability, and a choice. But not to Sean :)

    A person who is disabled may need social security assistance because they are inable to work. But someone who identifies themselves as “lazy” is not disabled. A person who has difficulty walking may need special parking arrangements. A person who identifies themselves as having difficulty coping with the strenuousness of walking a long distance, may not.

    Not all percieved inabilities are equal.

    A person who is gay can still have kids, but only with someone of the other gender. So to me homosexuality is as much a handicap of being able to procreate as the person who is lazy. Unless, Sean wants to argue that point, and declare that homosexuality is a handicap, then his argument is simply unreasonable.

    Op-Ed’s shown this through his examples, as have I. Sean just persists in being unreasonable, and ironically tries to blame others for it :)

    Op-Ed: >> “A child raised in a loving home by the mother and father who created it, however, is responsible procreation. It is what is hoped for, for every child. It is what is best for the child and it is what is best for the society in which that child is born. That is what marriage safeguards and that is what no same-sex couple can provide.”

    Sean: > Even if these words were true, or even reflected reality, and not merely opinion, they would still not provide us with the necessary ammunition against legal same-sex marriage. But keep trying!

    So to Sean, “no same-sex couple can provide” doesn’t mean that marriage is not about same-sex couples. Even if its true beyond his ability to comprehend, he still doesn’t see the contradiction.

    Well, his ability to make whopping contradictions like that shows his inability to be reasonable. And I’m just here to point it out :)

    Notice he doesn’t even try to explain, just assert. But then taken the contradiction he wants to sluff off, that might just be his way of cutting his losses.

    Sean: >>> And certainly OnLawn and OpEd are not the only persons who are so sure gays shouldn’t marry…

    Op-Ed: >> “ Lie. It is Sean’s position that gays shouldn’t marry, not mine.”

    Sean: > Nope, Sean has been pretty clear that he thinks gay couples should be allowed to marry.

    Notice Sean omitted the link Op-Ed provided to this page which clearly shows that gays can get married, in contrary to Sean’s assertion. And everyone is okay with that except maybe him.

    You don’t need to neuter marriage for gays to have access to marriage. Its a simple fact.

  56. September 20th, 2010 at 16:59 | #56

    So On Lawn, you think a brother and sister should marry if they have offspring or want to have offspring? I think the baby should be taken away from that couple as soon as it becomes known to the public and placed in the state’s foster care system, and the couple should go to jail. Is that totalitarian, too?

    And Sean, we don’t have to restore illegitimacy laws or require that couples marry if they have a child, in order to restrict marriage to couples that are allowed (eligible, not prohibited) to procreate together.

  57. fuerte
    September 20th, 2010 at 19:28 | #57

    “Why would you worry if you don’t even care about that to begin with?”

    On Lawn, I appreciate your response. Though I don’t have time to address all of your points right now, I do want to correct this notion. I care deeply about family and marriage. Since my wife and I are currently awaiting the (eminent!) arrival of our first daughter, family is all I’m thinking about these days. What’s more, I spent last year watching my mom lose her struggle with cancer—I know how much her husband (my stepfather, with whom she had no children) meant to her. And I know what it meant to me to fall apart in my wife’s arms when it happened. So, yeah, I know the importance of family, and I marvel at marriage’s power to make family out people who are not biologically related.

    That’s why I spend so much time here. It’s absurd that we deny this amazing institution to gay people. Worse than absurd, it’s an injustice.

  58. fuerte
    September 20th, 2010 at 20:03 | #58

    John Howard, On Lawn, et al., I’m really curious what you do with statutes like Arizona’s Revised Statute 25-101, which bans first cousins from marrying UNLESS they’re over 65. The exact wording is:

    “B. Notwithstanding subsection A, first cousins may marry if both are sixty-five years of age or older or if one or both first cousins are under sixty-five years of age, upon approval of any superior court judge in the state if proof has been presented to the judge that one of the cousins is unable to reproduce. ”

    (http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/25/00101.htm&Title=25&DocType=ARS)

    If you love the Kafkaesque, follow the link: immediately after saying certain marriages are only permissible IF the couples involved CANNOT REPRODUCE, subsection C reads, “Marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited.” GAH!!

    BTW, in Wisconsin, cousins can only get married if they’re over 55.

  59. Sean
    September 20th, 2010 at 20:28 | #59

    “As long as you don’t re-define marriage away from its explicit reference to the procreative unit (man and woman), we’re good to go.”

    Who’s “we”? The law is all that matters to me, not your opinions or wishes. If you wish to define marriage as only between one man and one woman, you’re going to be disappointed. Six states and the nation’s capital have already defined it as between two consenting adults not otherwise prohibited. The definition has already changed. Now if you want to return to the discussion of why same-sex couples should or shouldn’t be allowed to marry, that’s fine, too.

    “… because if marriage cannot explicitly recognize “man and woman”, then what can target responsible procreation (which is inseparable from “man and woman”)?”

    I’m not sure anything has to target responsible procreation. Nobody is required to procreate responsibly and no one needs to be married in order to procreate responsibly. Many highly responsible procreating couples aren’t married!

    “…which is why you claim marriage is not about responsible procreation at all, rather than agreeing that marriage is about responsible procreation.”

    Sometimes I’m not sure if you really don’t understand my posts, or if you’re just feigning ignorance. I don’t disagree that marriage can be about “responsible procreation.” I’ve stated several times that even if it is, that is not all that marriage is about and in no way does it provide some sort of framework for excluding same-sex couples from marrying.

    “I like marriage being about encouraging people to take personal responsibility for their offspring. Its good enough.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more! That’s why I want opposite-sex and same-sex couples raising children to get married. I don’t even care where the kids came from: their own biological children, the children of one of the marriage partners, or adopted children. It would be odd, to say the least, that children being raised by same-sex couples, or the adopted children of opposite-sex couples, wouldn’t benefit from having married parents, wouldn’t you agree?

  60. Sean
    September 20th, 2010 at 20:35 | #60

    “Otherwise, everyone who accepts that there are infertile people out there, and doesn’t mind them still getting married does accept Mother Nature”

    And Mother Nature doesn’t let same-sex couples reproduce. Just like infertile opposite-sex couples. Sounds like a great argument in favor of same-sex marriage!

    “Because Sean’s unsupported assertions and accusations say as much about how ignorant he expects you to be, as it says about his own ignorance.”

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed.

    “It is reasonable for the government to recognize the difference between a disability, and a choice. But not to Sean”

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed.

    “Op-Ed’s shown this through his examples, as have I. Sean just persists in being unreasonable, and ironically tries to blame others for it”

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed.

    “Well, his ability to make whopping contradictions like that shows his inability to be reasonable.”

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed.

    How much longer must I wait???

  61. Sean
    September 20th, 2010 at 20:37 | #61

    “And Sean, we don’t have to restore illegitimacy laws or require that couples marry if they have a child, in order to restrict marriage to couples that are allowed (eligible, not prohibited) to procreate together.”

    John Howard, OpEd and OnLawn are struggling to figure out why marriage must be reserved for opposite-sex couples. Can you help them?

  62. September 20th, 2010 at 21:17 | #62

    I think On Lawn and Op Ed are contractually obligated to make the arguments they are making, along with the rest of the gang. They seem strangely unwilling to say that same-sex procreation should not be allowed, and marriage should protect and affirm procreation using the couple’s own genes.

    Arizona’s law is designed to be a compromise on the issue of allowing cousins to marry or not. Arizona and some other states looked at the issue and decided that there was no harm in allowig them to marry as long as the couple didn’t have kids and didn’t squander their fertility chances, so they said OK if the couple was already too old to have kids. But the marriage technically still approved of them procreating, it was just assumed that they wouldn’t.

  63. September 20th, 2010 at 23:29 | #63

    Mark: …same sex people should not have the same rights as others, period.

    Wow. So in Mark’s world there is a sinister uber-class of hermaphrodites keeping the rest of us down. After all, aren’t we all same-sex people?

    I know, I know. Mark meant merely to say that anybody who disagrees with him is a bigot. We covered the fact that all bad ideas follow the trajectory Mark (and Sean) are on. It’s just funny his urge to hurl insult so easily overwhelmed his ability to express himself intelligibly.

    If you get rid of the “responsible procreation” argument, there is no other reason to prohibit same sex marriage except their own ignorance and bigotry…

    See? What did I tell you? I give Mark enough credit that I believe Mark would not be resorting to the insult line if he had a rational line to argue. The “bigot” charge is simply Mark’s admission that he has no argument.

    Mark simply reemphasizes what I said earlier:

    “This is a typical trajectory for a false conclusion: first an attempt at reason followed by feigned indignation, then finally base intimidation. Examples of ideas that went down this same path are the belief that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and the acceptance of slavery in America.”

  64. September 20th, 2010 at 23:48 | #64

    Fuerte: I’m really curious what you do with statutes like Arizona’s Revised Statute 25-101

    I think they are trying to figure out the regulations behind marriage as best they can. Its what I like about the federal system, even if I disagree with their statutes sometimes for various reasons. Whether or not I disagree with it, however, is another story for another type of discussion.

    I will submit this from Arizona, however on the general purpose of marriage and responsible procreation even when it is sympathetic to the infertile. It is from Standhardt v Superior Court…

    P35. Petitioners more persuasively argue that the State’s attempt to link marriage to procreation and child-rearing is not reasonable because (1) opposite-sex couples are not required to procreate in order to marry, and (2) same-sex couples also raise children, who would benefit from the stability provided by marriage within the family.[...] However, as the State notes, “[a] perfect fit is not required” under the rational basis test, and we will not overturn a statute “merely because it is not made with ‘mathematical nicety, or because in practice it results in some inequality.’” Big D Constr. Corp., 163 Ariz. at 566, 789 P.2d at 1067 (citations omitted).
    P36. Allowing all opposite-sex couples to enter marriage under Arizona law, regardless of their willingness or ability to procreate, does not defeat the reasonableness of the link between opposite-sex marriage, procreation, and child-rearing. First, if the State excluded opposite-sex couples from marriage based on their intention or ability to procreate, the State would have to inquire about that subject before issuing a license, thereby implicating constitutionally rooted privacy concerns. See Griswold, 381 U.S. at 485-86; Eisenstadt, 405 U.S. at 453-54; Adams, 486 F. Supp. at 1124-25 (recognizing government inquiry about couples’ procreation plans or requiring sterility tests before issuing marriage licenses would “raise serious constitutional questions”). Second, in light of medical advances affecting sterility, the ability to adopt, and the fact that intentionally childless couples may eventually choose to have a child or have an unplanned pregnancy, the State would have a difficult, if not impossible, task in identifying couples who will never bear and/or raise children. Third, because opposite-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry, Loving, 388 U.S. at 12, excluding such couples from marriage could only be justified by a compelling state interest, narrowly tailored to achieve that interest, Glucksberg, 521 U.S. at 721, which is not readily apparent.
    P37. For these reasons, the State’s decision to permit all qualified opposite-sex couples to marry does not defeat the reasonableness of the link between opposite-sex marriage, procreation, and child-rearing. See Adams, 486 F. Supp. at 1124-25 (rejecting challenge to same-sex marriage prohibition on basis that opposite-sex couples not required to prove or declare willingness to procreate in order to marry); Baker, 291 Minn. at 313-14, 191 N.W.2d at 187 (same).
    P38. Likewise, although some same-sex couples also raise children, exclusion of these couples from the marriage relationship does not defeat the reasonableness of the link between opposite-sex marriage, procreation, and child-rearing. Indisputably, the only sexual relationship capable of producing children is one between a man and a woman. The State could reasonably decide that by encouraging opposite-sex couples to marry, thereby assuming legal and financial obligations, the children born from such relationships will have better opportunities to be nurtured and raised by two parents within long-term, committed relationships, which society has traditionally viewed as advantageous for children. Because same-sex couples cannot by themselves procreate, the State could also reasonably decide that sanctioning same-sex marriages would do little to advance the State’s interest in ensuring responsible procreation within committed, long-term relationships.

  65. September 20th, 2010 at 23:58 | #65

    Fuerte: That’s why I spend so much time here. It’s absurd that we deny this amazing institution to gay people.

    You made two points of what you value…

    1) Since my wife and I are currently awaiting the (eminent!) arrival of our first daughter, family is all I’m thinking about these days

    Congradulations! I hope more people find that same joy which happens between a man and a woman. If that happened any other way, I’d be for that to be a marriage to.

    2) What’s more, I spent last year watching my mom lose her struggle with cancer—I know how much her husband (my stepfather, with whom she had no children) meant to her.

    Which is why I support a system much larger than marriage. I see marriage as encouraging the people who most deserve our love and support (the children we create, and the spouse we created them with).

    But I also see a value in supporting a freedom of association and trust which goes beyond that. It is a program that is open enough to meet all adult combinations of mutual trust and care-giving.

    That is why I support a form of Reciprocal Benficiaries which states that by freedom of association and trust, we recognize any committed adult relationship as an extension of their trust in each other, and afford it every relevant benefit to help them help each other.

    Any thing less than completely open enrollment to such an institution is an injustice, which means I absolutely do think that the exclusivity of CU’s an DP’s are an injustice. The GLBT should be ashamed of themselves for complaining so much about exclusivity, and then turning around and instituting it for themselves the first chance they could.

    That said an equitable analysis shows you noted two different needs. Number 1 is a recognition of what nature bestows. Number 2 is a recognition of what adults bestow on each other. Those are two seperate causes, and can only be served fully with different institutions which are devoted to each. Try to conflate the two, and you do a disservice to one group or the other.

  66. September 21st, 2010 at 00:08 | #66

    Sean: > If you wish to define marriage as only between one man and one woman, you’re going to be disappointed. Six states and the nation’s capital have already defined it as between two consenting adults not otherwise prohibited.

    Yes, the injustice you point it is dissapointing. Thanks for understanding.

    It is an injustice against the children and spouses that deserve recognition of marriage equality (the equal recognition of the rights and responsibilities of the man, woman, and child they potentially have together). They are entitled to that equality, and those states called that integration and protection to be the same as animus. That makes it an injustice against the civil rights movement and the nature of integration also.

    Very dissapointing indeed.

    I’m not sure anything has to target responsible procreation.

    Yep, just exactly what I thought. Dissappointing indeed.

    And Mother Nature doesn’t let same-sex couples reproduce. Just like infertile opposite-sex couples.

    You mentioned one is a medical condition, and one is not. That makes the circumstance of the two very different. But that you throw those with a medical condition under the bus, or rather try to assume the same priveleges for those without any medical condition at all only continues the dissapointment.

    You really aren’t making this sound like a very humanitarian change you want to make, it sound much more like a change that benefits gays needlessly at the expense of the disabled and the vulnerable (children and spouses).

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed. How much longer must I wait???

    You’ll have to wait for someone to come around and want to throw same-sex couples pretending to be a marriage in jail. I’m not one of them.

    However, why marriage needs to be neutered for the sake of homosexuality? That is the question you’ve never answered.

    So lets comprimise. We don’t neuter marriage, we leave in the reference to integration and equality and procreation (namely “one man and one woman”) and then we don’t outlaw gays having a weding ceremony and living their lives together with every benefit relevant to their relationship (as well as everyone else in the same committed mutual trust relationship that isn’t a marriage).

    No outlawing, and no neutering. Works for everyone. Somehow I don’t think compromise is in your agenda…

    Once again, how dissapointing.

  67. September 21st, 2010 at 00:30 | #67

    Fuerte: And I know what it meant to me to fall apart in my wife’s arms when it happened. … It’s absurd that we deny this amazing institution to gay people.

    We “deny this amazing institution” to siblings. Is this so siblings can’t “fall apart in [each others] arms” in times of tragedy? Is that because, as Mark asserts, we are all bigoted against siblings and hope all siblings everywhere are oppressed out of existence? That this is sheer nonsense doesn’t dissuade those like Mark who need the ability to insult any who disagree rather than reason with them.

    Fuerte further deliberately misstates the truth when he says we as a society “deny this amazing institution [marriage] to gay people.” “Gay people” have no trouble getting married. Fuerte merely wishes to dress up a bad idea in the language of identity politics to try and shield it from scrutiny.

  68. September 21st, 2010 at 01:09 | #68

    Sean: Mother Nature doesn’t let same-sex couples reproduce. Just like infertile opposite-sex couples. Sounds like a great argument in favor of same-sex marriage!

    Having read what Sean has to say, I doubt there is any argument in favor of “same-sex marriage” that Sean finds bad.

    It is obviously a fallacy to believe that if two groups share an attribute they must share all attributes. An example even Sean would agree with is that even though cats and people both drink milk, that does not mean bigotry is the only reason people can vote but cats can’t. Sean knows his argument is bad, but he has to claim that it is good because he has no better arguments for it.

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed. …

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed. …

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed. …

    This is called the Ostrich Defense, for obvious reasons. It is not a rational defense, but it is a foolproof one if one is absolutely wedded to one’s prejudices and preconceived conclusions. Fortunately, while Sean may see his unwillingness to read others’ arguments as the last word on the matter, nobody else does. Even those who want to reach the same conclusion as Sean won’t cite his ignorance of the countervailing arguments to support their own arguments. At most they’ll cite their own. In short, Sean’s ignorance is not compelling or even persuasive even to his supporters. He merely shares it in this public forum because it’s the only reason he has left to cling to his pre-drawn conclusion. It is a tacit admission that his position is neither enlightened nor reasoned.

    (I’ve addressed the inaccuracy of terms like “outlawed” when applied to “same-sex marriage” already. There is nothing to be gained by going over it again. I will just point out that Sean does not dispute the inaccuracy of the term he uses and he does not stop using it, either. Telling.)

  69. September 21st, 2010 at 01:16 | #69

    John: I think On Lawn and Op Ed are contractually obligated to make the arguments they are making…

    You think wrong, and I doubt anybody else “thinks” your conclusion is even plausible. I wonder why you would “think” showing how your reasoning cannot be relied upon somehow helps your position in this debate.

  70. Sean
    September 21st, 2010 at 05:47 | #70

    I kind of figured that OnLawn and OpEd are associated with this website. Their posts have a “talking points” quality to them that seems to reflect a party line, rather than responses to what someone like me posts.

    But I still don’t get why you’re against same-sex couples reproducing. I don’t understand you’re objection, if and when it is medically possible.

  71. fuerte
    September 21st, 2010 at 06:10 | #71

    Correction to my post of 19:28: While my baby girl’s birth will no doubt be eminent, I meant to say that it is *imminent*.

  72. fuerte
    September 21st, 2010 at 06:16 | #72

    “…so they said OK if the couple was already too old to have kids. But the marriage technically still approved of them procreating, it was just assumed that they wouldn’t.”

    I’m sorry, did you read the statute? First cousins can marry “if proof has been presented to the judge that one of the cousins is unable to reproduce.” You really think the approves of cousins reproducing?

  73. September 21st, 2010 at 12:46 | #73

    But I still don’t get why you’re against same-sex couples reproducing. I don’t understand your objection, if and when it is medically possible.

    It’s not just the cost or the dangers to the baby or the expansion of government regulations and entitlements that would follow, it isn’t even just the Gattaca scenario and the loss of equal conception rights that would come from allowing use of modified gametes, it is really just a foolish use of our resources to put all this energy and effort into something so entirely unnecessary at a time when we need to drastically reduce carbon output and simplify and localize and de-complexify our way of life. Everyone else is going local and buying organic food and trying to salvage a sustainable future for our children, and then these wacko libertarian transhumanist eugenicists are going all out trying to live forever and create cyborg offspring and blast off into space. Same-sex conception is unnecessary and unwise and dangerous, and admitting that would resolve the marriage debate and enable equal protections for same-sex couples in every state and allow us to focus on the real necessary work.

  74. September 21st, 2010 at 12:58 | #74

    Yes fuerte, I already explained how their marriage license still technically allows and approves of them procreating, and it is only assumed that they won’t. I agree Arizona doesn’t approve of them procreating, which is why it didn’t let them marry when they were young and fertile. It is an old law, pre-IVF, that seemed like a nice harmless law at the time but which creates confusion and contradictions. What they really need for first cousins, if they want to prohibit them from procreating together, is the CU’s I proposed which would allow for Arizona to actually prohibit them from procreating with some other law, if that’s what they want to do. Nothing in their current setup actually prohibits those cousins from procreating.

  75. Wade MacMorrighan
    September 21st, 2010 at 15:20 | #75

    @John Howard

    “The only couples we don’t give blessings and approval and support to conceive together are couples where procreation would be unethical if it were to occur and we actually prohibit them from procreating together. Couples that we prohibit from procreating together are never allowed to marry and should never be allowed to marry, because it would mean that marriage didn’t approve and affirm the couple procreating together if married couples were publicly prohibited from procreating by the law.”

    So, John, according to you, people who have a genetic disorder should not be allowed to marry, right? But, who stops them? I know a few women in town, hear, who have a genetic disorder that runs through their family, so to stop her from passing it on (because she was the only one of her siblings unaffected by it) she had herself sterilized before getting marriage. This is on record. Should her marriage have been voided? Mentally handicapped persons are also able to get married without question. Who’s to stop them? Will it be you? Will you become the new Marriage Police?!

    Also, people who are related shouldn’t be allowed to get a civil marriage, right? Well, what about first cousins? In about 20 states first cousin marriages are legal; and, some of the most famous Americans and great thinkers of the age have married their first cousins!

    Personally, I am just waiting for someone here, or a member of NOM to rally the call that only Christian marriages should be legally valid, as many a NOM-supporters have told me time and time again that they don’t recognize my religion (Witchcraft) as a valid one, and should be forced to pretend it is according to the law, either!

  76. Wade MacMorrighan
    September 21st, 2010 at 15:47 | #76

    On Lawn :
    Sean: > OnLawn, I think somewhere along the line, the world changed and you didn’t notice or didn’t want to notice.
    Wow, you make it sound like I’ve existed for many centuries. I don’t even know that you could say I’ve been around that many decades
    Well if I was around that long then I’m the one to fact-check Sean’s assertions.
    The government took over marriage (assuming that it was once a primarily religious affair).
    Marriage for love is as old an idea as there is writing to write it. In discussion with a Jewish scholar once, I learned that the oldest Jewish regulations on record discuss courtship giving full weight to the development of romantic love between the interested parties.

    OH NO IT’S NOT, and that’s a historical FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This history of marriages–the REAL “Traditional Marriage”–arises from Eurasia, a time when women were seen as property, not people! Indeed, she was purchased outright by her husband, and she had no legal rights to speak of. And, as property, when her husband died, she was buried alive with him. Similar practices occurred late in Hindu cultures where she was heaped onto his funeral pyre. If in any case she were unwilling to go, she would be executed!

    Moreover, if offspring were the so-called “defining purpose” of marriage, than why in most cultures and societies across the Earth would deformed or sickly children be cast out and disposed off?! In fact, this was a societal book, because such a child would have ben a DRAIN on society!

    It was a near-30 page article I wrote on the Eurasian hearth-goddess that revealed to me the true history of marriage!

  77. September 21st, 2010 at 16:27 | #77

    So, John, according to you, people who have a genetic disorder should not be allowed to marry, right?

    Thanks for asking, because I think a lot of people think I’m saying that. But I am saying just the opposite, I’m trying to ensure that all people have a right to marry and procreate with their unmodified gametes, even if they have a genetic disorder they might pass on to their children. They don’t have to, of course, everyone is free to voluntarily sterilize themselves for whatever reason, but they shouldn’t feel it is wrong for them to have offspring with their spouse using their own genes. I think this is the crux of my disagreement with On Lawn, who apparently doesn’t think marriages should protect a couple’s right to have offspring with their own genes, he wants to treat procreation rights and marriage rights separately, presumably to be able to prohibit married couples from using their own genes.

    I personally believe first cousins should be off limits for marriage, but some cultures approve of cousin marriages. That particular relationship is appropriately left to states, though other restrictions are better made at the federal level (interracial marriage, child marriage, same-sex marriage).

  78. fuerte
    September 21st, 2010 at 16:35 | #78

    Op Ed:

    “Fuerte: And I know what it meant to me to fall apart in my wife’s arms when it happened. … It’s absurd that we deny this amazing institution to gay people.
    We “deny this amazing institution” to siblings. Is this so siblings can’t “fall apart in [each others] arms” in times of tragedy? Is that because, as Mark asserts, we are all bigoted against siblings and hope all siblings everywhere are oppressed out of existence?”

    Nice ellipses. The sentence you left out reads: “So, yeah, I know the importance of family, and I marvel at marriage’s power to make family out of people who are not biologically related.” (edited for grammar—left out the “of”)

    If you want to have a conversation about whether gay marriage opens the door for sibling marriage, we can. But this is a very poor start to such a conversation.

    “Gay people” have no trouble getting married.”

    Since your compadre On Lawn brought up Gov. McGreevey in another thread, I’ll point out that his marriage ended with him facing allegations of marital fraud and punitive damages in the high six figures. Note that the charge of fraud was based not on his infidelity or his lack of capacity as a father, but on his homosexuality, which Dina Matos McGreevey claimed to have been unaware of at the time of their marriage. So, while it might be fun to say, “Hey, gays! You can marry someone of the opposite sex,” it’s worthwhile remembering that that is usually an extraordinarily BAD idea for everyone involved.

  79. fuerte
    September 21st, 2010 at 16:50 | #79

    On Lawn:

    “Congratulations! I hope more people find that same joy which happens between a man and a woman. “

    Thank you.

    To clarify, are you suggesting my mom and stepfather should not have been married? That they should have, instead, been registered under some sort of Civil Union or Domestic Partnership?

    Actually, let’s make this more general. Are you arguing that all couples (same-sex and opposite-sex) should have access to Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships? If so, do you not think that would undermine the institution of marriage, making it seem less necessary and vital?

    “I think they are trying to figure out the regulations behind marriage as best they can. “

    That’s a very kind response to Arizona’s mindboggle. And thanks for posting that decision—it deepens the irony. On one hand, a state judge writes, “if the State excluded opposite-sex couples from marriage based on their intention or ability to procreate, the State would have to inquire about that subject before issuing a license, thereby implicating constitutionally rooted privacy concerns.” On the other hand, that judge writes from a state that REQUIRES certain opposite-sex couples to provide proof of infertility before allowing them to marry. Wow. C-R-A-Z-Y.

  80. fuerte
    September 21st, 2010 at 16:56 | #80

    John Howard,

    You’re really sticking with this argument? Alright. I’ll let it stand without comment.

    Everyone,

    I’m out for a little bit. I’m going to try NOT to read your responses, because I’ve just got too much on my plate to answer them for now. So go ahead and beat up my posts all you want.

  81. Sean
    September 21st, 2010 at 18:20 | #81

    OnLawn:

    “It [same-sex marriage] is an injustice against the children and spouses that deserve recognition of marriage equality (the equal recognition of the rights and responsibilities of the man, woman, and child they potentially have together). They are entitled to that equality, and those states called that integration and protection to be the same as animus. That makes it an injustice against the civil rights movement and the nature of integration also.”

    OnLawn, it’s a good thing that same-sex couples can marry, especially those with children! Those children are better off with married parents. See, marriage keeps a couple together, and that continuity is good for children, who bond with their parents and are more secure in a household with an ongoing relationship.

    “You really aren’t making this sound like a very humanitarian change you want to make, it sound much more like a change that benefits gays needlessly at the expense of the disabled and the vulnerable (children and spouses).”

    Wow, I guess I’ve failed to accurately convey my viewpoint! I don’t wish to give benefits to gay “needlessly,” but rather, promote the equal value of same-sex relationships, and grant gay Amercans equal status with straight Americans. And because children are vulnerable, they deserve our best efforts to protect them: that means letting all children, even the children of same-sex couples, have married parents. You certainly wouldn’t argue that the children of same-sex couples don’t deserve to be educated, or have access to health care, would ou?!

    “You’ll have to wait for someone to come around and want to throw same-sex couples pretending to be a marriage in jail. I’m not one of them.”

    Well, I’m glad for that! Say, what arguments do you think there are against same-sex couples getting legally married though? Why shouldn’t all the states, not just the handful so far, legally recognize same-sex marriage?

    “However, why marriage needs to be neutered for the sake of homosexuality? That is the question you’ve never answered.”

    Several reasons: it is legal in all 50 states for homosexuals to reproduce (like heterosexuals, using whatever means they see fit). It is legal in all 50 states for homosexuals couples to raise their children. Inexplicably, it is illegal in 44 states, for the time being, for these couples raising children to provide those children with the security of having married parents.
    Secondly, committed same-sex couples are no less valuable as a family than opposite-sex couples. Just like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples represent social stability.

    “So lets comprimise. We don’t neuter marriage, we leave in the reference to integration and equality and procreation (namely “one man and one woman”) and then we don’t outlaw gays having a weding ceremony and living their lives together with every benefit relevant to their relationship (as well as everyone else in the same committed mutual trust relationship that isn’t a marriage).”

    First of all, it is not possible to “neuter” marriage: marriage doesn’t have a gender. I would support your theory except that society would distinguish between gay “marriages” and straight marriages, with their different legal status. Even kids would know enough to taunt the children of same-sex couples, “your parents aren’t really married, my mom and dad told me so!” That’s needlessly cruel, isn’t it?

  82. Sean
    September 21st, 2010 at 18:28 | #82

    “Having read what Sean has to say, I doubt there is any argument in favor of “same-sex marriage” that Sean finds bad.”

    I’m willing to listen, if someone can make an argument that letting same-sex couples marry has some negative effects. And I don’t define negative effects as “gay people are gross and it would be gross to let them marry!”

    “Sean knows his argument is bad, but he has to claim that it is good because he has no better arguments for it.”

    When you say things like that, you signal desperation. Why not craft an argument that supports the notion that same-sex marriage would harm society if it were legal?

    “…the Ostrich Defense….”

    I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed. Look, if you’ve got an argument against same-sex marriage, make it! Convince us that the doom and gloom scenarios (polygamy, bestiality, necro-whatever-it-is, will all come to pass and swallow us up!) are real and imminent.

  83. September 21st, 2010 at 23:57 | #83

    Wade Mac: This history of marriages–the REAL “Traditional Marriage”–arises from Eurasia,

    Only you are wrong. Marriage has an older tradition than eurasia. Even back to the tribal hunter-gather days of primeval pre-man family structure was more matriarchal.

    But thanks for noting why marriage equality is needed — the equal recognition of the rights of the man and the woman and the child they potentially have togehter.

    Fuerte: To clarify, are you suggesting my mom and stepfather should not have been married? That they should have, instead, been registered under some sort of Civil Union or Domestic Partnership?

    To clarify, I’m saying that the type of adult care-giving and banding-togther relationship you described using that couple as an example is adequately provded with Civil Unions and DP’s.

    Certain cpuples have the added burden of keeping their family in-tact, or potential family in-tact. And that protection of equaity in kinship is what they would need marriage for (which fits the scenario you presented before that one).

    They know their situation best, and so that is the only guidance I can give to people trying to weight between the two.

    Fuerte: On the other hand, that judge writes from a state that REQUIRES certain opposite-sex couples to provide proof of infertility before allowing them to marry.

    I think you meant your example of a law, which isn’t even proof of infertility. It is just an expectation of infertility by age, and that is where it is easiest to make such a determination.

    So, it isn’t so contradictory after all. And the explicit nature of the courts ruling is something more meaningful to the conversation than your guesswork at the reason behind a law requiring people to be old.

    Sean: OnLawn, it’s a good thing that same-sex couples can marry, especially those with children!

    Its just a shame it is at the expense of neutering marriage, and excluding others who also raise children who could use the same benefits. And needlessly so since the same benefit happens with any of DP’s or CU’s.

    Hence your celebration is just either just a very focused profit at other’s expense, or you are celebrating sticking it to everyone who isn’t a sane-sex couple.

    I don’t wish to give benefits to gay “needlessly,”

    The full quote shows that the benefits to gays are not needless, but the cost at which you demand them is…

    [...] needlessly at the expense of the disabled and the vulnerable (children and spouses).

    When is Sean going to start being honest about what others say?

    And then when is he going to give a rational argument in rebuttal?

    You certainly wouldn’t argue that the children of same-sex couples don’t deserve to be educated, or have access to health care, would ou?!

    Nope, but you don’t need to neuter marriage of its reference to “one man and one woman” to do so, either :)

    But lets be honest, you don’t even believe that argument because you’ve said you are happy excluding two sisters who are raising a child from (in this case) being educated or having access to health care. You are happy when they don’t have the same access that gay relationships have.

    it is legal in all 50 states for homosexuals to reproduce (like heterosexuals, using whatever means they see fit)

    Hence, no need to neuter marriage :)

    It is legal in all 50 states for homosexuals couples to raise their children.

    Hence the need for CU’s and DP’s, which means it isn’t a need to neuter marriage :)

    Inexplicably, it is illegal in 44 states, for the time being, for these couples raising children to provide those children with the security of having married parents.

    Inexplicably, Sean thinks this is a reason to neuter marriage for homosexual couples while being happy to not extend the same benefits to two sisters who are also raising children without the security of having married parents. Hence Sean is just making a special pleading, and one that isn’t rational since there is no reason to believe the title of marriage brings any benefits any more than the title of “fresh vegetable” would make ketchup more beneficial.

    Just to count the fallacies in Sean’s assertion… 1) He doesn’t even believe that argument has any weight for anyone except homosexual couples, so (reductio-ad-absurdum) that argument doesn’t require neutering marriage for anyone’s sake. And 2) The argument expects the title of “marriage” to produce benefits that our outside of the real and tangible benefits which are also made available through CU’s, RB’s and DP’s. Even when titles such as “fresh vegetables” doesn’t make vegetable items like ketchup any more beneficial.

    When is Sean going to start making rational arguments?

    First of all, it is not possible to “neuter” marriage: marriage doesn’t have a gender.

    Wrong, it has two. And removing the explicit reference to gender (man and woman) in marriage is making it gender neutral, or “neuter”. And the act of removing it is neutering it.

    Another way it neuters marriage is in how it, in your own admission, makes marriage nothing about procreation at all. A drastic change from what marriage means to the millions who have voted the definition of marriage into their law and constitutions.

    The change simply isn’t needed. We can meet the needs of both in-tact families and banding together families made of broken families. But not with the same program. For even you said if marriage is about responsible procreation, and explicitely references that in the definition with “man and woman” then same-sex couples are irrelevant (not illegal) to it. And if you remove that reference, then it can no longer explicitely target the unique needs of the procreative union.

    You can’t have both taken care of in the same program. You either explicitely recognize the unique needs of the procreative union or you don’t. But you can create programs which give all the relevant benefits to each.

  84. September 22nd, 2010 at 08:05 | #84

    Fuerte: Nice ellipses. The sentence you left out reads…

    Utterly irrelevant. Fuerte uselessly copies the elided sentence which a) was already present in the comment trail, and b) fails to tie the elided material into the discussion.

    If you want to have a conversation about whether gay marriage opens the door for sibling marriage…

    Fuerte joins John Howard in touting his poor reasoning skills as a buttress to his argument. The example of sibling marriage is a direct contradiction to his hidden agenda claim. This is eminently clear from what was written:

    “We ‘deny this amazing institution’ to siblings. Is this so siblings can’t ‘fall apart in [each others] arms’ in times of tragedy? Is that because, as Mark asserts, we are all bigoted against siblings and hope all siblings everywhere are oppressed out of existence?”

    There is simply no way to rationally interpret that as “you want to have a conversation about whether gay marriage opens the door for sibling marriage.” Fuerte simply feels that putting his bad reasoning skills on display is his best option to maintain his argument.

  85. September 22nd, 2010 at 08:34 | #85

    Wade: It was a near-30 page article I wrote on the Eurasian hearth-goddess that revealed to me the true history of marriage!

    Wade provides yet another example that if one scratches the surface of an activist for neutering marriage one finds a simple marriage hater. Wade attempts to spotlight some societies that treated women poorly and therefore modified their marriage regulation to reflect that poor treatment in an attempt to paint marriage as an evil and ugly institution throughout time. The actual fact is that while some societies have made marriage worse in their practice of it, there is no society that has been made worse because it practiced marriage.

    That those who hate marriage are so universally attracted to the notion of neutering it says a lot.

  86. September 22nd, 2010 at 09:02 | #86

    Fuerte: So, while it might be fun to say, “Hey, gays! You can marry someone of the opposite sex,”…

    What is or is not “fun to say” is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it disproves Fuerte’s claim that “we deny this amazing institution to gay people.” That Fuerte’s argument depends on this kind of inaccurate rhetoric proves it is bad.

    …it’s worthwhile remembering that that is usually an extraordinarily BAD idea for everyone involved.

    The single example of Gov. McGreevey does not tell us anything about what is or is not “an extraordinarily BAD idea for everyone.” Gov. McGreevey had an affair and then chose to claim he was gay after he got caught. Gov. McGreevey held marriage in very low esteem and neutered marriagists like Fuerte are happy to align themselves to him.

    The message Fuerte and other marriage neuterists are attempting is that someone who is tempted to stray outside of marriage should not… unless they are tempted to stray with someone of the same sex. In that case their marriage is and always has been a sham and they should dump it as soon as possible in favor of their sexual urge. That is not the position of anyone who understands and appreciates marriage.

    Despite his post-hoc and self serving auto-biography, every indication is that Gov. McGreevey was thoroughly in love with his wife at the time they married, just like the majority of those who marry. He made a commitment at that time that he thought he could keep. He later changed his mind and violated that commitment. His urges didn’t make him do it any more than Bill Clinton’s urges made him even though Clinton didn’t involve someone of his same sex. He chose to be unfaithful. It hurt his wife, his family, and those who had supported him politically. Fuerte errs greatly in aligning himself with Gov. McGreevey or even holding him up as the poster child for neutering marriage.

  87. September 22nd, 2010 at 09:13 | #87

    Fuerte: And thanks for posting that decision—it deepens the irony.

    And speaking of irony, if marriage and procreation are not linked, why would Arizona even have thought to ask first cousins about their fertility? By digging up the peculiar law in Arizona, Fuerte ends up finding the exception that proves the rule, marriage is a presumptively procreative union.

    Don’t believe me? What’s your first reaction to the thought of marrying your sister? If it’s “yuck!” then you clearly understand the link between procreation and marriage. If marriage were only about social security benefits and hospital visitation rights you’d have had no such reaction since there is nothing not to laud about taking care of one’s sibling. This is the sort of obviousness Sean, Fuerte, and the rest have to pretend away to justify their argument – not just to us, but to themselves.

  88. September 22nd, 2010 at 09:37 | #88

    Sean: I’m still waiting to hear why same-sex marriage should be outlawed.

    What did I tell you? Here Sean persists in the rhetoric that same-sex marriage is “outlawed.” It is not recognized, but it is not outlawed. That he knows this is true is clear because he does not attempt to refute it.

    As for why “same-sex marriage” should not be recognized? That has been covered already, but to move the debate along I’ll engage just one:

    1) “Same-sex marriage” is irrational.
    2) Laws should not be irrational.
    3) Therefore we should not recognize “same-sex marriage.”

    If Sean wants to refute that argument he needs to either show that
    1) “Same-sex marriage” is rational
    or 2) Laws should be irrational

    Sean’s ignorance does not establish either point. That Sean disagrees with, can’t see, can’t hear, or just plain doesn’t think he likes either point does not disprove either. He needs to actually state a rational case for rejecting either.

    Why not craft an argument that supports the notion that same-sex marriage would harm society if it were legal?

    This is an un-subtle moving of the goal posts. Adopting irrational laws harms society but one need not predict exactly how in order to accept that. By trying to say the only way to refute neutering marriage one needs to prove what will happen in the future Sean is merely attempting to set the bar for a counter argument impossibly high since there is no way to prove the future.

    And I don’t define negative effects as “gay people are gross and it would be gross to let them marry!”

    Nobody in this comment thread has argued anything of the sort. Sean is merely inventing a straw man to fight against since he is failing so utterly at the actual debate. There is simply no reason to invent straw-men to attack if one has a rational argument at one’s disposal.

  89. September 22nd, 2010 at 13:02 | #89

    Same-sex marriage is not irrational, Op. Ed. We can rationally give societal approval to same-sex couples conceiving children together. It is just very bad public policy, it would cost too much, create a giant entitlement program and intrusive government regulation, use up too many resources and harm the environment, put children at risk of new diseases and defects and subject them to lifelong studies and tests, and result in loss of natural reproductive rights. But it would allow gay people to create offspring with someone of the same sex and create jobs for regulators and researchers and lawyers. It’s not irrational to argue for it, just ignorant and cavalier and foolish and incredibly selfish. It’s the epitome of Tea Party carelessness and selfishness.

  90. Sean
    September 22nd, 2010 at 13:32 | #90

    “Its (sic) just a shame it [same-sex marriage] is at the expense of neutering marriage, and excluding others who also raise children who could use the same benefits.”

    Marriage equality should be extended to all couples raising children, if they desire it. If that couple is closely related, though, or under age, society might have reason to deny marriage rights to them, as it currently does.

    “Hence your celebration is just either just a very focused profit at other’s expense, or you are celebrating sticking it to everyone who isn’t a sane-sex couple.”

    Let me just repeat how strongly I support opposite-sex marriage! But just not at the expense of same-sex marriage.

    “But lets(sic) be honest, you don’t even believe that argument because you’ve said you are happy excluding two sisters who are raising a child from (in this case) being educated or having access to health care. You are happy when they don’t have the same access that gay relationships have.”

    They don’t have the same access the gay AND the straight relationships have. Don’t try to make the two sisters victims because of gay couples. A brother and a sister can’t get married either. They can foreswear sexual relations or even be infertile and still not get married. That makes them similarly situated as a sister and sister.

    Sean: “it is legal in all 50 states for homosexuals to reproduce (like heterosexuals, using whatever means they see fit)”
    OnLawn: “Hence, no need to neuter marriage”

    Exactly how does that irrational conclusion make sense? Care to try again LOL?

    Sean: “It is legal in all 50 states for homosexuals couples to raise their children.”
    OnLawn: “Hence the need for CU’s and DP’s, which means it isn’t a need to neuter marriage”

    Yikes. It’s not sinking in, is it? CU’s and DP’s don’t give same-sex couples (or opposite-sex couples) the same status as marriage. In addition, the law prohibits “separate but equal” institutions. What parts of marriage, other than name, do you plan to refuse to same-sex couples so that alternate legal arrangements have meaning and purpose and are not merely reflections of bigotry?

    “Inexplicably, Sean thinks this is a reason to neuter marriage for homosexual couples while being happy to not extend the same benefits to two sisters who are also raising children without the security of having married parents.”

    Fine. I now support sibling marriage. If that’s seriously an impediment to the swift adoption of marriage equality in America, let’s allow the handful of sibling couples who might get married, get married. Settled.

    Marriage can still be about responsible procreation and serve the needs of same-sex couples, just as it serves the needs of infertile couples.

  91. Sean
    September 22nd, 2010 at 13:38 | #91

    “That those who hate marriage are so universally attracted to the notion of neutering it says a lot.”

    I don’t get this whole “neutering” thing. Is that a new tack for the anti-marriage crowd? I thought neuter meant to render sexless or infertile. I don’t think marriage makes anyone sexless or infertile, does it? Marriage itself has no gender; it’s not a living organism.

    I don’t think you have to “hate” marriage to support marriage equality. In fact, a lot of us have happy marriages, enjoy the benefits of them, and want others to benefit.

  92. Sean
    September 22nd, 2010 at 13:48 | #92

    “Here Sean persists in the rhetoric that same-sex marriage is “outlawed.” It is not recognized, but it is not outlawed. That he knows this is true is clear because he does not attempt to refute it.”

    It’s like talking a child sometimes. Ok, same-sex marriage is ILLEGAL. Is that better?

    From OpEd:

    1)“Same-sex marriage” is irrational.
    2) Laws should not be irrational.
    3) Therefore we should not recognize “same-sex marriage.”

    What is irrational about same-sex marriage? It’s not enough to just say you think so. Have evidence and a reason.

    Same-sex marriage is, in fact, highly rational. Same-sex couples are as valuable to society as opposite-sex couples: they commit to each other in terms of care and shared resources. They raise children, who would benefit from having married parents, according to research. And discriminating against one group of citizens, with no rational basis, is unconstitutional. Those are pretty hefty RATIONAL reasons to legalize same-sex marriage. Your move.

    “Adopting irrational laws harms society but one need not predict exactly how in order to accept that.”

    I agree. And if you think same-sex marriage is irrational, have a reason for feeling that. In a legal sense, you’ll need to prove harm to opposite-sex marriage if same-sex marriages occur. And you’re right, from what we saw in the Prop 8 trial, with Mr. Cooper at the helm, that is an impossible hurdle.

  93. Sean
    September 22nd, 2010 at 14:20 | #93

    “….if marriage and procreation are not linked….”

    They ARE linked, but not in such a way that precludes same-sex marriage. Procreating responsibly doesn’t require excluding same-sex or other infertile couples, as we know, since infertile couples are permitted to marry.

  94. Sean
    September 22nd, 2010 at 14:33 | #94

    Let’s talk about traditional marriage, shall we?

    From Wikipedia:

    Coverture (sometimes spelled couverture) was a legal doctrine whereby, upon marriage, a woman’s legal rights were subsumed by those of her husband. Coverture was enshrined in the common law of England and the United States throughout most of the 19th century. The idea was described in William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England in the late 18th century.

    Under traditional English common law an adult unmarried woman was considered to have the legal status of feme sole, while a married woman had the status of feme covert. These are English spellings of medieval Anglo-Norman phrases (the modern standard French spellings would be femme seule “single woman” and femme couverte, literally “covered woman”).

    A feme sole had the right to own property and make contracts in her own name. A feme covert was not recognized as having legal rights and obligations distinct from those of her husband in most respects. Instead, through marriage a woman’s existence was incorporated into that of her husband, so that she had very few recognized individual rights of her own.

    As it has been pithily expressed, husband and wife were one person as far as the law was concerned, and that person was the husband. A married woman could not own property, sign legal documents or enter into a contract, obtain an education against her husband’s wishes, or keep a salary for herself. If a wife was permitted to work, under the laws of coverture she was required to relinquish her wages to her husband. In certain cases, a woman did not have individual legal liability for her misdeeds, since it was legally assumed that she was acting under the orders of her husband, and generally a husband and wife were not allowed to testify either for or against each other. Judges and lawyers referred to the overall principle as “coverture”.”

  95. September 22nd, 2010 at 16:05 | #95

    What parts of marriage, other than name, do you plan to refuse to same-sex couples so that alternate legal arrangements have meaning and purpose and are not merely reflections of bigotry?

    Ooh oooh! Pick me! Pick me! Thanks! How about refusing to same-sex couples the right to conceive offspring together? A married man and a woman should have the approval and affirmation that it is right and proper for them to conceive offspring together from their own genes. They should feel that public affirmation upon being declared married, it should feel different than the indifference that they felt before. Their marriage should not be “separate” from that approval, and therefore separable from approval, it should be built in to the meaning of marriage that the couple is allowed to conceive offspring together, from their own genes.

    Same-sex couples should not get that approval, in fact society should punish everyone involved if they attempt to conceive offspring together. I’ve explained recently some reasons why. You have yet to argue why it is more important to have the right to conceive with someone of the same sex than it is to have equal protections via Civil Unions. Think of the thousands of same-sex families out there that really don’t need conception rights but could use federal recognition and uniform CU’s in all 50 states.

    And give up arguing with people who aren’t making a real argument against same-sex marriage and who aren’t offering any constructive path forward.

  96. September 22nd, 2010 at 16:18 | #96

    Sean: Ok, same-sex marriage is ILLEGAL. Is that better?

    No, obviously. “Outlawed” and “illegal” are not substantially different words. “Same-sex marriage” is not illegal. There is no law “outlawing” it, or imposing any kind of sanction against it. It is simply not recognized as marriage.

    If Sean thinks portraying himself as childish is the best defense of his idea he must think poorly of it.

    What is irrational about same-sex marriage?

    Reinvoking the Ostrich Defense.

    This has been covered and ignored already in this comment trail. There is nothing to be gained by covering it again only to be ignored again here. It is sufficient, in overcoming the Ostrich Defense, that if Sean cannot show his own conclusion is rational that his adherence to it, at the very least, is irrational. Although I invite anyone else out there who feels they can do better than Sean at rationalizing his conclusion to do so.

    Same-sex couples are as valuable to society as opposite-sex couples…

    Thought experiment 1: Two societies, one has no same-sex couples and one has no opposite sex couples. Come back in fifty years. Which is better off?

    Thought experiment 2: Two sets of couples. In the first set, only same-sex couples. In the second set, only man-woman couples. Both sets of couples stay together for only 5 years. The breakup of which couples will have the most impact on society?

    The answer is that in both cases society is impacted most by the man-woman couples. This is sufficient to disprove Sean’s claim that “same-sex couples are as valuable to society as opposite-sex couples.”

    These particular thought experiments are not unique and were not particularly hard to find. There are lots of examples of similar thought experiments. It is not difficult to know that Sean’s comment is false, but he has to say it anyway. As he demonstrates, his argument absolutely depends on it. If his argument did not depend on this premise, then it was irrational for him to have included it.

    …they commit to each other in terms of care and shared resources.

    So do oil corporation shareholders. That doesn’t make oil corporations a marriage.

    Adults make all sorts of commitments to each other, not all involving just two individuals. We don’t argue all these relationships should be called marriage. Instead we provide other avenues, including contract law, for the enforcement of those commitments. There are also a host of different institutions recognized by the government that many of these relationships fit into. The shareholders, above, for example are recognized as a C Corporation under US law. There is no rational requirement to treat any one organization as if it were a different organization.

    They raise children, who would benefit from having married parents, according to research.

    Name the study. No study exists comparing children of married and unmarried same-sex parents. Same-sex parenting proponents, in fact, claim that studies of same-sex parenting show that it is no different from married parenting. This would argue that there is no benefit to married same-sex parenting.

    And discriminating against one group of citizens, with no rational basis, is unconstitutional.

    This is an example of the fallacy of begging the question. Sean attempts to introduce his conclusion – that same-sex couples are identical to man-woman couples – as a premise to his argument that same-sex couples are equal to man-woman couples. One cannot find “discrimination against one group of citizens, with no rational basis” without finding that man-woman couples are equal to same-sex couples.

    Those are pretty hefty RATIONAL reasons to legalize same-sex marriage.

    Telling that Sean finds these assertions to be not just “RATIONAL” arguments, but hefty “RATIONAL” ones. None of Sean’s assertions are arguments, the first two are obviously false, and the third, because it assumes the conclusion he is trying to reach, is such an obvious and well-known fallacy it has been named and cataloged for decades if not centuries.

    Nearly 100 comments into this and we are back to our original conclusion, that Sean has nothing rational to add. Now perhaps he will respond with some new rationalization for his conclusion, but it is reasonable to predict that rationalization will be just as flawed. If Sean had access to a legitimate argument, why would he have offered an illegitimate one here?

    Sean did not say that he hoped to come up with an excuse for neutering marriage. He came here saying it was the only rational outcome. That should have been the result of finding a rational argument for it, not the hope of doing so. To reiterate, Sean vastly overestimates the ability of his wishes to dictate reality.

  97. Mark
    September 22nd, 2010 at 16:24 | #97

    Op. Ed : ““Same-sex marriage” is irrational.”
    Ah, but allowing a convicted felon (or even a child molester) get married is rational?

  98. September 22nd, 2010 at 16:44 | #98

    Sean: …same-sex or other infertile couples, as we know, since infertile couples are permitted to marry.

    Same-sex couples are not identical to “infertile” couples. Many “infertile” couples struggle with fertility. Many “infertile” couples have children despite having been thought “infertile.” Many “infertile” couples worry they might be pregnant. No same-sex couples do.

    All infertile couples, in fact, are man-woman couples. Relationships that by their very nature do not result in children are nonfertile, not infertile. Infertile relationships are those that only don’t result in children because of the nature of one or both of the participants.

    Since same-sex and infertile couples are not the same there is no rational reason to treat them as if they are. Since same-sex and infertile couples are different it is irrational to claim (repeatedly) that they are, even if your conclusion depends on that fact.

  99. Sean
    September 22nd, 2010 at 18:34 | #99

    “No study exists comparing children of married and unmarried same-sex parents. Same-sex parenting proponents, in fact, claim that studies of same-sex parenting show that it is no different from married parenting. This would argue that there is no benefit to married same-sex parenting.”

    From Maggie Gallagher:

    “Mountains of research tell us that children reared outside of intact marriages are much more likely than other kids to slip into poverty, become victims of child abuse, fail at school and drop out, use illegal drugs, launch into premature sexual activity, become unwed teen mothers, divorce, commit suicide and experience other signs of mental illness, become physically ill, and commit crimes and go to jail. On average, children reared outside of marriage are less successful in their careers, even after controlling not only for income but also for parental conflict.”

    I assume no study examines the children of married and unmarried same-sex couples: same-sex marriage is too new a phenomenon. Again, the distinction is not about parenting abilities but marital status. As Gallagher notes, being married confers some kind positive influence on themselves and their children, and substantial benefits at that.

    “One cannot find “discrimination against one group of citizens, with no rational basis” without finding that man-woman couples are equal to same-sex couples.”

    In legal parlance, same-sex couples are “similarly situated,” a better term than identical. Christians aren’t identical to Jews but society guards their substantially different faith beliefs. Since society makes no distinction between fertile and infertile couples, despite the crucial importance of “responsible procreation,” it doesn’t make sense to distinguish between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples. They’re both still couples!

    “Nearly 100 comments into this and we are back to our original conclusion, that Sean has nothing rational to add.”

    “We”? I don’t see you getting a lot of support in your assertions of Sean’s rationality. Look, I’ve invited you to make rational arguments for why marriage must occur only between opposite-sex couples or why same-sex marriage should be illegal. That’s two ways to get same-sex marriage made illegal (or kept illegal). But you haven’t.

    “If Sean had access to a legitimate argument, why would he have offered an illegitimate one here?”

    Well, I’ve been reading Sean’s posts and I find them intelligent, logical and rational.

    “Sean did not say that he hoped to come up with an excuse for neutering marriage. He came here saying it was the only rational outcome.”

    Not only the only rational outcome but the only permissible legal outcome.

  100. Sean
    September 22nd, 2010 at 18:40 | #100

    “Same-sex couples are not identical to “infertile” couples.”

    Who said they were?

    “All infertile couples, in fact, are man-woman couples. Relationships that by their very nature do not result in children are nonfertile, not infertile.”

    The legal opinions I’ve read make no distinction: the outcome is the same. Can’t have children.

    “Since same-sex and infertile couples are not the same there is no rational reason to treat them as if they are.”

    Sure there is, when it comes to marriage. Both kinds of couples want to marry, could benefit from getting married (see Maggie Gallagher research on why marriage is good for you), can’t have children on their own but may very well end up raising children (who would benefit from having married parents: see Maggie Gallagher research on why marriage is good for kids). See? Gay couples and infertile couples have a lot in common!

  101. September 22nd, 2010 at 20:52 | #101

    @Mark: Ah, but allowing a convicted felon (or even a child molester) [sic] get married is rational?

    Mental exercise for Mark: Answer the question both ways, first yes and then no. Show how those two different answers lead to two different conclusions about neutering marriage.

    It’s a good mental exercise to go through to avoid asking irrelevant questions.

  102. Chairm
    September 22nd, 2010 at 21:32 | #102

    The pointy end of Sean’s 100% guarantee rule is now pointed right at the heart of his SSM idea.

    This rule has not been proposed by SSMers for the regulation of eligiblity to SSM. Yet Sean’s commentary depends on such a rule being applied to his SSM idea in order to demonstrate that it is “rational”.

    Finito.

  103. September 22nd, 2010 at 22:32 | #103

    @Sean: From Maggie Gallagher:…

    Fail. Sean needs to learn what a study is. What Sean cites is Maggie Gallagher’s summary of a collection of unnamed studies. Maggie Gallagher, while very talented, does not conduct studies.

    There’s a reason why actual scientific publications are not just a collection of study summaries. Without knowing the study protocol it is impossible to know whether the study applies in the way Sean would like. If, for example, a significant portion of the “intact marriages” in the studies were also the biological parents of the children they raised, the findings would not apply to same-sex couples since no same-sex couple can fill that role.

    I assume no study examines the children of married and unmarried same-sex couples…

    And yet Sean stated the outcome such a study would produce. Sean even called that non-existent outcome “a really hefty ‘RATIONAL’ reason” even though he knew it had never been studied. As I said before, Sean says things not because they are true or even because he believes them but rather because he needs them to be true.

    In legal parlance, same-sex couples are “similarly situated,” a better term than identical.

    No, they are not. Here’s another thought experiment Sean apparently never took the time to go through. Choose the best fertility expert you can think of and put him on a stage. Have 100 same-sex couples sit in the audience and have the fertility expert identify which of those couples can conceive children together. Now replace the same-sex couples with man/woman couples. Which group will he identify more accurately? Now take him off the stage and allow him examine the man-woman couples as closely as he can. Even with the most intrusive and expensive exams possible, what will be his accuracy compared to the same-sex couples?

    Put another way, (from the Gorilla article Sean claims he read:

    Through what intrusive, all knowing crystal ball will we determine who truly cannot have children and who can?

    This is in addition to all the other differences I pointed out previously. These differences are neither controvertible nor insignificant. Sean knows this but he has to claim they either don’t exist or that they don’t matter because he needs that to be true. As I pointed out before, Sean is not letting reality guide his conclusion, he is trying to use his conclusion to dictate reality.

    Since society makes no distinction between fertile and infertile couples, despite the crucial importance of “responsible procreation,”…

    Oh, really? What is that “crucial importance?” That’s like saying the put seat belts in a car even if it never gets in a wreck. Sofas don’t get in wrecks, therefore sofas need to have seat belts, too, just like the cars that never get in a wreck. That makes them “similarly situated” in “legal parlance.”

    Trying to distinguish between cars that will, in their lifetime, get into an accident and those that don’t in no way helps seat belts fulfill their purpose. In fact such an effort would likely reduce their effectiveness. Putting seat belts on sofas will also harm their purpose. Exactly how can be debated ad nauseum since the future cannot be proven, but that does not mean the damage will not occur. Perhaps people will get used to ignoring the seat belts on their sofa and will then ignore them in their cars. Perhaps sofa manufacturers will lobby lawmakers to relax the standards for seat belts to reduce costs. Perhaps both of those harms are wrong and the actual harm comes in a completely unanticipated way. That does not take away from the fact putting seat belts on sofas is bad.

    …it doesn’t make sense to distinguish between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples. They’re both still couples!

    So are limited partnerships!

    This fallacy of Sean’s has been refuted numerous times before but he sticks with it anyway because without this fallacy he has no argument. In other words, if it weren’t for bad logic Sean would have no logic at all.

    I don’t see you getting a lot of support in your assertions of Sean’s rationality.

    The argumentum ad populum? Why not! As long as Sean is emptying the fallacy benches he might as well toss this one in.

    Suffice it to say what Sean doesn’t see doesn’t dictate what the truth is.

    Well, I’ve been reading Sean’s posts and I find them intelligent, logical and rational.

    Don’t believe him? Just ask him.

    In truth, however, Sean does not find his arguments intelligent, logical, or rational. If he did, he would offer a counter to their refutations. True, he has tried to resurrect a point or two by throwing more fallacies at it, but the lion’s share of the refuted points he abandons.

    Not only the only rational outcome but the only permissible legal outcome.

    Well, we know how the “rational outcome” ended up for Sean. No doubt the “legal outcome” will be the same. Sean had no rational argument in mind when he declared not just that one existed, but that all rational arguments resulted in his outcome. Ignore the fact Sean can’t find any such argument.

    Having failed that debate, Sean now attempts to change the topic from what is rational to what is legal. There is no reason to believe Sean is any better prepared to discuss the legalities of this issue than he was the rationality of it. In fact there is good reason to believe he is less prepared since the core of his rational argument actually cuts opposite U.S. Supreme Court precedent. If Sean thought he had a legal argument which worked within existing precedent he would have led with it. The legal argument that all precedent with which one disagrees is bad precedent is what they call “in legal parlance” a bad legal argument and it is not what lawyers go to all those extra years of school to learn.

  104. September 22nd, 2010 at 22:36 | #104

    In case moderation doesn’t fix the unclosed tag (after “Gorilla”) in the previous post.

  105. September 23rd, 2010 at 00:11 | #105

    All infertile couples, in fact, are man-woman couples. Relationships that by their very nature do not result in children are nonfertile, not infertile. Infertile relationships are those that only don’t result in children because of the nature of one or both of the participants.

    Op. Ed, stop sticking your head in the sand about reproductive technology that renders the whole question of “infertility” moot. Everyone is potentially fertile, with anyone. Heck people are potentially fertile with a tree right now. Labs could make a tree/human/fish hybrid tomorrow, there is no law against it, and no scientific reason that it couldn’t be done. Whether they would plant it, nurse it, or throw it in the sea is another story, but the point is, a lab can try to make offspring from anyone today, combining their DNA with anything they feel like. There is no such thing as an infertile or non-fertile couple, there are only couples that need assistance from a lab and couples that don’t.

    Why is it so hard to get you guys to object to unethical experimental methods of creating people? To stand up and say Sean should not be allowed to procreate with someone of the same sex, but he should be allowed to procreate with someone of the other sex. Why is that hard for you to say?

  106. September 23rd, 2010 at 00:25 | #106

    same-sex couples are “similarly situated,”

    No Sean, they are not, because they publicly require experimental genetic engineering by researchers working in labs to create complementary gametes that might be able to create a viable embryo and living offspring. Opposite sex couples do not publicly require lab-created gametes in order to conceive offspring.

  107. Sean
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:05 | #107

    “What Sean cites is Maggie Gallagher’s summary of a collection of unnamed studies. Maggie Gallagher, while very talented, does not conduct studies.”

    OpEd may be right: Maggie Gallagher might not be trustworthy in discussing the findings of marriage’s benefits to children. I’ll dig deeper into it (her lying to Congress doesn’t get me off to a good start, though!) and see if her conclusions are flawed. But if they’re not, it’s reasonable to assume that the “marriage benefit” applies equally to same-sex couples. That’s the only difference between the two sets of couples studied: marital status.

    OpEd appears to misunderstand the meaning of “similarly situated.” It doesn’t mean identical, it means “in circumstances similar enough to be meaningful and relevant.” A marvelous, if brief, discussion of the concept appeared notably in the (unanimous) Iowa Supreme Court decision in “Varney,” whereby the court identified opposite-sex and same-sex couples as “similarly situated” for the purpose of marriage, since both groups have similar circumstances and similar motivations for getting married, including shared resources and households, commitment, the raising of children, a desire to be married (compared to couples who specifically don’t want to marry or won’t marry), etc. Except for genital/gender-based features, the court could not find any difference between infertile opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples.

    Oh great, more analogies from OpEd! Well, if s/he must. Putting seat belts on a sofa in no way diminishes the need for, or capabilities of, seat belts in a car. It’s not a very appropriate analogy. What OpEd really needs is an analogy that shows that the use of seat belts somewhere beside a car detrimentally impairs the function of the seat belts in a car. OpEd needs a reason why society should outlaw sofas with seatbelts!

    “Having failed that debate, Sean now attempts to change the topic from what is rational to what is legal.”

    Hardly. Sean’s arguments are based on rational thought, and legal necessity.

    “In fact there is good reason to believe he is less prepared since the core of his rational argument actually cuts opposite U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”

    While Supreme Court precedent is important, even Justice Scalia, no friend to social progress and civil rights, bemoaned that the “Perry” decision decriminalizing private sexual conduct topples the ability to legally discriminate against same-sex couples in granting marriage licenses.

  108. Sean
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:10 | #108

    “The pointy end of Sean’s 100% guarantee rule is now pointed right at the heart of his SSM idea.”

    First of all, it’s not Sean’s idea. Someone envisioned same-sex couples getting legally married probably before Sean was even born. Then other countries started doing it! Then US states started doing it. Sean would like to think that he is at the leading edge of marriage equality but he isn’t; all he can do is add a little sanity to the online debate. And know that in some small way he didn’t sit idly on the sidelines while an entire group was treated like second-class citizens.

    The “100% guarantee rule”? What is that anyway?

  109. Sean
    September 23rd, 2010 at 15:15 | #109

    “No Sean, they are not, because they publicly require experimental genetic engineering by researchers working in labs to create complementary gametes that might be able to create a viable embryo and living offspring. Opposite sex couples do not publicly require lab-created gametes in order to conceive offspring.”

    John, again, concerns about genetic engineering are as applicable to opposite-sex couples as same-sex couples. I’m baffled as to why the ethics of reproduction apply only to same-sex couples, in your mind. If an infertile opposite-sex couple wants to create external genetic material in order to reproduce, why is that ok but a same-sex couple doing the same thing, isn’t?

    What’s your take on a transgender individual gaining reproductive capability of his or her new gender, and then reproducing with an opposite-sex person (regardless of marriage, which, after all is not required for reproduction even though you keep associating them)?

  110. September 23rd, 2010 at 16:11 | #110

    Sean, the only ethical way to reproduce is with someone of the other sex. This is due to biology, the genomic imprinting of gametes and the way they come together to form a new person’s genome. Only same-sex couples require genetic engineering to procreate together, both sex couples do not, they would use their unmodified gametes, which is what we approve of them doing when we declare them married. The Egg and Sperm law would only affect the rights of same-sex couples, it would completely prohibit them from ever procreating offspring by any method, publicly.

    That means we can tell a ten year old boy that he can only be a father, and that he can only do so with a woman who would be his offspring’s mother. I completely oppose giving people a right to reproduce as either gender, I think people should only have a right to reproduce as the sex they are most likely to be successful as using their unmodified gametes. I don’t think people should be allowed to change sex and try to reproduce as their new sex. I don’t, however, oppose people changing sex, including changing their legal sex, and even support them being able to marry as their new sex (I think their prospective spouse should know they are genetically the other sex, and hiding this fact should be grounds for immediate anullment). However, though such a couple would publicly be approved of conceiving offspring together, in private they would be prevented by the egg and sperm law. Changing legal sex can’t be an end-run around the goal of preventing genetic engineering and preserving natural conception rights.

  111. September 23rd, 2010 at 16:20 | #111

    Banning “external gametes”, which would be a good idea, would not publicly prohibit any man-woman couple from conceiving offspring together, though it might privately dash the hopes of some infertile couples that won’t be able to procreate otherwise. But their marriage would still approve and affirm them creating offspring together, they just won’t do it. They won’t be publicly prohibited like a same-sex couple would be, they won’t be jailed and hit with a huge hundred million dollar fine if offspring are born. (Though if we did ban “external gametes”, and they were found to have used them, then they’d be hit with the punishment. But note that creating replacement gametes for someone doesn’t attempt to modify them from the ones they would have if they were healthy, so they wouldn’t be banned by the Egg and Sperm law, they’d only be banned if we banned all “external gametes”, and again, it would be a private thing.)

  112. September 23rd, 2010 at 19:26 | #112

    Sean: OpEd may be right: Maggie Gallagher might not be trustworthy in discussing the findings of marriage’s benefits to children.

    Sean puts his poor reasoning skills on display again. I’ll just repeat:

    “There’s a reason why actual scientific publications are not just a collection of study summaries. Without knowing the study protocol it is impossible to know whether the study applies in the way Sean would like.”

    So, I am right, but what I said is that Sean is not reliable.

    Nothing else Sean wrote needs comment. That he feels his strongest defense is to make himself look incapable of understanding the written word says all that is needed… enough that it saves me the effort of calling out the numerous factual and reasoning errors in the rest of the post.

  113. September 23rd, 2010 at 19:42 | #113

    John H: Op. Ed, stop sticking your head in the sand about reproductive technology…

    It is not sticking one’s head in the stand to ignore irrelevant side-topics. Unethical reproductive technologies, your pet topic that you have tried to inject over and over, are unethical whether they are attempted by a married couple or not. If those reproductive technologies are outlawed (really outlawed ;) ) they are outlawed for married couples as well. If those reproductive technologies were to become outlawed they would become outlawed for married couples as well.

    A “right to procreate” does not give a couple carte blanche access to any and all possible reproductive technologies. Those that are illegal would still be illegal for that couple even if it were the only method of reproduction they had available.

    We’ve been over this again and again throughout the blogosphere. Don’t pretend here that we haven’t.

  114. September 23rd, 2010 at 19:53 | #114

    Sean: I’m baffled as to why the ethics of reproduction apply only to same-sex couples, in your mind.

    Look. I don’t agree with John Howard’s argument but I know Sean has utterly misstated it here. Sean simply has no better idea how to argue with John than by making himself look foolish.

    At this point I’m wondering that maybe he’s not pretending.

    I’m not sure which discredits him more.

  115. September 23rd, 2010 at 20:59 | #115

    Sean: > Marriage equality should be extended to all couples raising children, if they desire it.

    Contradiction in 3 … 2 … 1 …

    If that couple is closely related, though, or under age, society might have reason to deny marriage rights to them, as it currently does.

    So if those aren’t second class citizens, then neither are a couple which can’t get married because they chose to exlclude a gender from the marriage.

    Let me just repeat how strongly I support opposite-sex marriage! But just not at the expense of same-sex marriage.

    Yet explicitely mentioning the procreative unit for the sake of responsible procreation isn’t at the expense of same-sex couples.

    Which is why it makes sense to let marriage continue to be defined as between a man and a woman…

    Which I assume you just said you strongly support since you said, “Marriage can still be about responsible procreation and serve the needs of same-sex couples, just as it serves the needs of infertile couples.”

    Or are you trying to sluff the disagreement under the table… :)

    Marriage does not equal same-sex marriage with a couple that happens have both sexes. Marriage is designed after the needs of responsible procreation, which you’ve already admitted marriage is nothing about in your same-sex model of marriage.

    Another place to show this example…

    [A brother and a sister] can foreswear sexual relations or even be infertile and still not get married. That makes them similarly situated as a sister and sister.

    In your version of marriage, anything not required in marriage isn’t a threat to its purpose. So in your same-sex model of marriage, it doesn’t make sense that a brother and sister, or a sister and sister, be excluded.

    However, in the responsible-procreation model of marriage, Op-Ed has already noted, it is obvious why brother and sister as well as sister and sister are not allowed to be married. So in essence, you point to evidence which contradicts your claim once again. The fact that sibligs can’t get married points what marriage is, and what your version of marriage is, and why they are not the same :)

    And while I support your version of marriage as CU’s and DP’s to be recognized by the government, you don’t support my version of marriage existing in explicit government recognition at all.

    That is a far more tolerant view than you’ve expressed.

    CU’s and DP’s don’t give same-sex couples (or opposite-sex couples) the same status as marriage.

    It gives both the capacity to give them every relevant benefit and recognition. Which is more than everyone gets in your plan.

    And if that isn’t equal status, then you have something to learn about the meaning of “equal”.

    Sean: >>> it is legal in all 50 states for homosexuals to reproduce (like heterosexuals, using whatever means they see fit)
    OnLawn: >> “Hence, no need to neuter marriage”
    Sean: > “Exactly how does that irrational conclusion make sense? Care to try again LOL?”

    No state outlaws a homosexual reproducing (which requires someone of the other gender), and no state outlaws that couple from getting married.

    Hence no need to neuter marriage for homosexuals to reproduce and get married.

    Or, another way to put it, it isn’t the law that is stopping them (and indeed many homosexuals have had happy fullfilling lives being married to someone of the other gender).

    But if they don’t want marriage, they can always get a CU or DP with someone of the same gender, have a wedding ceremony and live out their lives with all the relevant benefits and recognition from marriage.

    Everyone gets what is relevant to them :)

    let’s allow the handful of sibling couples who might get married, get married. Settled.

    Instead lets let them be CU’s and DP’s and get the benefits they need while allowing marriage to continue to explicitely target marriage equality (the equal recognition of the man, woman and child they potentially have together).

    I don’t get this whole “neutering” thing. [...] I thought neuter meant to render sexless or infertile.

    Which is exactly the change that happens when you remove the reference — the gender reference — to the definition of marriage as “one man and one woman”.

    I don’t think you have to “hate” marriage to support marriage equality.

    I hope you do support marriage equality — the equal recognition of the man and the woman and the child they potentially have together.

    And lets let government support and recognize that by explicitely mentioning “one man and one woman” as the definition of marriage.

    In fact, a lot of us have happy marriages, enjoy the benefits of them, and want others to benefit.

    Same here. Real marriage equality is great, and it is sad when people exclude a gender from the relationship — because of their gender — when that person is someone they created a child with. That is just intollerant.

  116. Chairm
    September 24th, 2010 at 02:24 | #116

    Sean object that in “legal parlance, same-sex couples are ‘similarly situated,’ a better term than identical.”

    In Walker’s written court opinion he parlanced [heh]: “situated identically”.

    Sean objected, again, that “OpEd appears to misunderstand the meaning of ‘similarly situated.’ It doesn’t mean identical, it means ‘in circumstances similar enough to be meaningful and relevant.’”

    In Walker’s written court opinion he said his meaning was that same-sex couples were “exactly the same” as opposite-sex couples.

    The difference between the two types of scenarios is real, of course, and is fundamentally meaningful, of course, and highly relevant, of course when it comes to the sexual basis for 1) consummation, 2) provisions for annulment, 3) adultery as grounds for divorce, and 4) the marital presumption of paternity.

    Each item, among others and in the coherent whole, is embedded in the marriage law and is thus not something that can be described as rendering the two scenarios as situated identically nor as simirily situated nor as exactly the same ““for all purposes relevant” to marriage.

    Note: I referred to the actual marriage law. I did not refer to religion nor to homosexuality nor to heterosexuality nor to gayness, straightness, or whatever else Walker’s written court opinion might have cited as invisibly existing in the marriage law.

  117. Chairm
    September 24th, 2010 at 02:27 | #117

    Sean is defending his version of the SSM idea (which is not the version offered by other SSMers). Hence, the reference to Sean’s SSM idea.

  118. September 24th, 2010 at 02:54 | #118

    Op. Ed, we’re all agreed on all that.

    I should have made an even stronger point: It’s not just fertility/infertility that is rendered moot by reproductive technology, it is male/female too. It is sticking your head in the sand to assume that people are only potentially fertile with the other sex, and that’s what you continue to do, as if I hadn’t told you about it. It’s a question of whether to let people try to procreate with someone of the same sex.

    Cut and pasted from above: Why is it so hard to get you guys to object to unethical experimental methods of creating people? To stand up and say Sean should not be allowed to procreate with someone of the same sex, but he should be allowed to procreate with someone of the other sex. Why is that hard for you to say? Sean is begging you to make an argument

  119. September 24th, 2010 at 03:12 | #119

    In your version of marriage, anything not required in marriage isn’t a threat to its purpose. So in your same-sex model of marriage, it doesn’t make sense that a brother and sister, or a sister and sister, be excluded.

    However, in the responsible-procreation model of marriage, Op-Ed has already noted, it is obvious why brother and sister as well as sister and sister are not allowed to be married.

    Come on, say it! Why are they not allowed to be married? Is it because they are not allowed to procreate, perhaps? Sean hints at understanding when he suggests a sibling couple could “forswear sexual relations,” but a couple that did that would not have the rights of marriage, which never requires that a couple forswear relations or having children. Siblings cannot forswear sexual relations and be married, because marriage approves sexual relations and procreating together and should continue to.

  120. September 24th, 2010 at 03:25 | #120

    Actually, when I say “we’re agreed on all that”, I only mean that marriage should not give carte blanche access to reproductive technologies. The fact is though that no reproductive technologies are banned or even regulated and it was marriage rights that opened the door to unregulated IVF and sperm donation and they are what would open the door to same-sex procreation technology as well. If we give a marriage license, we are saying the couple has a right to procreate, and if we say that about same-sex couples, what else can we be saying but that they have a right to use technology to procreate? Otherwise, prohibiting them from using technology would be an insurmountable obstacle to exercising their rights, like parental consent was an unconstitutional impediment to abortion rights. So I think you are being optimistic to confidently say that marriage rights wouldn’t require access to technology to procreate.

  121. Sean
    September 24th, 2010 at 09:18 | #121

    “So if those [sibling or under-age couples] aren’t second class citizens, then neither are (sic) a couple which can’t get married because they chose to exlclude (sic) a gender from the marriage.”

    Well, no, because there may be rational reasons for prohibiting closely related persons from marrying (although this prohibition appears to be weakening) as for underage persons. Barring a RATIONAL REASON, prohibiting a specific group from marrying renders that group a diminished status, that is, second-class status.

    “Which is why it makes sense to let marriage continue to be defined as between a man and a woman…”

    Marriage can still be between a man and a woman. No one wants to prohibit that. Of course, there’s no reason to limit it to a man and a woman. Obviously.

    “In your version of marriage, anything not required in marriage isn’t a threat to its purpose. So in your same-sex model of marriage, it doesn’t make sense that a brother and sister, or a sister and sister, be excluded.”

    Then let siblings get married. I don’t really care. I think the occurrence of sibling marriages would be so rare that they would have little impact. What I do know is, marriage and what you think of it doesn’t depend on who can or cannot marry.

    “The fact that sibligs (sic) can’t get married points what marriage is, and what your version of marriage is, and why they are not the same”

    Siblings can’t marry because it is believed (rightly or wrongly) that any offspring they produce might be defective because of the similarity of their genetic material.

    “And while I support your version of marriage as CU’s and DP’s to be recognized by the government, you don’t support my version of marriage existing in explicit government recognition at all.”

    Well at least you recognize the value of same-sex relationships. Essentially, then, you’ve made my argument: same-sex relationships deserve legal protection. And since there’s no particular reason to distinguish between the legal relationship of opposite-sex couples and that of same-sex couples, marriage, the existing legal arrangement, stands ready to serve both!

    “I hope you do support marriage equality — the equal recognition of the man and the woman and the child they potentially have together.”

    Equal of what or whom? As you define it, marriage equality makes no sense. Marriage equality means giving all eligible adult couples access to marriage and its benefits.

  122. Chairm
    September 25th, 2010 at 00:50 | #122

    For the record Sean has given The Big Shrug:

    Sean said: “Then let siblings get married. I don’t really care.”

    * * *

    Sean said that currently, “Siblings can’t marry because it is believed (rightly or wrongly) that any offspring they produce might be defective because of the similarity of their genetic material.”

    That cannot apply to siblings of the same sex.

    However, John Howard’s concerns about the manufacture of human beings through what he has referred to as “same-sex procreation” does raise the prospect of genetic defects in the very process of attempting to trick an ovum into treating the essence of another ovum as sperm-like.

    And that prospect exists whether or not the same-sex scenario is comprised of siblings.

    Sean, you just pointed to a rational reason to draw the line against the same-sex scenario in its entirety — siblings and all others.

    But you did so in light of your admission that you don’t really care about it.

  123. Sean
    September 25th, 2010 at 15:08 | #123

    Actually I have never been against closely related individuals being prohibited from reproducing, given the substantially higher possibility of birth defects. But the same is true of older mothers having children. The ethics of high-risk reproduction hasn’t been completely settled.

    Marriage, however, is different. If siblings are prohibited from marrying, there’s no constitutional issues so long as it applies equally to opposite-sex and same-sex siblings. Of course, discriminating against same-sex unrelated couples for the purpose of marriage creates enormous constitutional problems.

  124. Chairm
    September 26th, 2010 at 02:10 | #124

    The SSM idea does not fit the obvious presumption you just made — that siblings would be potentially procreative. The sexual basis for such a presumption does not arise with siblings of the same sex, anyway.

    Discriminating between marriage and nonmarriage is constitutional. Marriage is not one-sexed nor sex-neutral. Even your own obvious presumption belies this fact of life.

  125. Sean
    September 26th, 2010 at 12:18 | #125

    “Marriage is not one-sexed nor sex-neutral. Even your own obvious presumption belies this fact of life.”

    Chairm, this is obviously incorrect. One-sexed couples may marry in several countries and six US states, and the nation’s capital. Their marriages are recognized in a couple of additional states. The discussion of same-sex marriage has shifted from, “can it be legal?” to “must it be legal?”

  126. September 26th, 2010 at 20:14 | #126

    It’s not just the risk of birth defects for siblings, there are other reasons why they are off-limits for procreating with each other besides risk of defects. And ALL couples that are prohibited from ever procreating together are prohibited from marrying (except in China with its One Child policy where people are prohibited from procreating if they have already had their one child).

    Sean and On Lawn (if I understand his position, which I can’t say I really do) are in shimmering agreement on something very radical: they both think that marriage and procreation rights are separate questions and can be decided independently, and therefore that married couples can be prohibited from procreating. But they disagree in important ways too, Sean thinks siblings should be able to marry and be prohibited from procreating, and I think On Lawn thinks they should be allowed to procreate but be prohibited from marrying. Either way it makes no sense and would be an unacceptable change to marriage, a totalitarian nightmare and huge offense against human rights. Marriage should continue to express approval and affirmation and agreement and assent to the couple conceiving offspring together from their own genes. They shouldn’t be subject to further tests or conditions, if they are married they should be allowed to attempt to conceive offspring together with their own genes.

  127. September 27th, 2010 at 01:34 | #127

    Op.Ed:It is not sticking one’s head in the stand to ignore irrelevant side-topics. Unethical reproductive technologies, your pet topic that you have tried to inject over and over, are unethical whether they are attempted by a married couple or not. If those reproductive technologies are outlawed (really outlawed ;) ) they are outlawed for married couples as well. If those reproductive technologies were to become outlawed they would become outlawed for married couples as well.

    OK, but what if they aren’t outlawed, what if people continue to be allowed to procreate with someone of the same sex? Wouldn’t it be irrational to deny same-sex couples that want to procreate together someday, and who we allow to procreate together, the legal status of marriage? Wouldn’t same-sex marriage be rational, something that we should expect of couples that want to procreate together?

    A “right to procreate” does not give a couple carte blanche access to any and all possible reproductive technologies. Those that are illegal would still be illegal for that couple even if it were the only method of reproduction they had available.

    So are you arguing that we could have same-sex marriage and still prohibit same-sex procreation? I thought you were against same-sex marriage.

    We’ve been over this again and again throughout the blogosphere. Don’t pretend here that we haven’t.

    OK, but

  128. September 27th, 2010 at 01:37 | #128

    Sorry for the 3:30 AM formatting. The second paragraph is mine, and shouldn’t be italic. The fifth paragraph is Op. Ed’s, but applies more to him. The last “OK, but” could be my signature, but it’s just a mistake.

  129. Sean
    September 27th, 2010 at 11:03 | #129

    John Howard, you never explain why you have strong beliefs against same-sex couples procreating, if and when technology permits doing so. Why is this an ethical issue just for same-sex couples? Why shouldn’t opposite-sex couples be similarly affected? But most importantly, why is there an ethical concern in the first place?

  130. September 27th, 2010 at 17:52 | #130

    Look up “genomic imprinting” Sean. That biological fact of evolution is why same-sex procreation is fundamentally different from male-female procreation. Same-sex procreation requires, publicly, labs doing experimental and risky procedures to attempt to overcome the mysterious reasons why two eggs or two sperm cannot be mated. It is, as Chairm points out, not truly procreation at all, due the genetic engineering, it isn’t really those two people mating, it is a lab manufacturing a person with what they claim to be those two person’s genes.

    It costs lots of money and uses up dwindling resources and spews greenhouse gases (all the research and clinicians driving to their labs everyday and powering their experiments is a terrible misuse of resources) and would wind up being an expensive entitlement and huge government regulation of everyone’s genes and every couple would be subjected to genetic screening, and on and on.

    I am against all genetic engineering, especially germline genetic engineering to create human beings, and by all couples, not just same sex couples. The law I propose and you oppose would protect everyone’s right to use their own genes, which means with someone of the other sex.

    I am heartened that you recognize now that it is time to have the discussion of whether we should allow same-sex couples to procreate together. Society should be having this debate. I can’t wait to see Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch arguing that it won’t be very risky to anyone or cost anyone anything or affect anyone’s health care premiums, and how essential it is for people to be allowed to have biological children with someone of the same sex. In the meantime, we can move to CU’s and protect thousands of couples across the country.

  131. September 30th, 2010 at 17:14 | #131

    Sean: [T]here may be rational reasons for prohibiting closely related persons from marrying [... later...] Then let siblings get married. I don’t really care. I think the occurrence of sibling marriages would be so rare that they would have little impact.

    And there is, as already noted, and it is rooted in the dangers in reproduction, as you said, “Siblings can’t marry because it is believed (rightly or wrongly) that any offspring they produce might be defective because of the similarity of their genetic material.”

    And there is also a rational reason behind marriage being defined as between a man and a woman — because that is a unique unit in that it is how humanity procreates. Which is also a rational reason you seem to know about but when it comes down to it you are not able to understand or know… sadly.

    But you seem to be ambivolent as to whether or not that is rational or not, just as you seem hostile to whether or not responsible procreation is rational or not.

    Barring a RATIONAL REASON, prohibiting a specific group from marrying renders that group a diminished status, that is, second-class status.

    So as I said before, gays are not a second-class status if we defend responsible procreation in marriage by explicitely naming it as “one man and one woman” in its very definition. :)

    Marriage can still be between a man and a woman.

    Which is eliding the disagreement. Marriage is explicitely about the procreative unit by naming it in its very definition. If you agree that is okay then we have no disagreement. If you think everything about how unique that relationship is, and the needs of children they produce, and the spouse who shares the kinship bond with that child, should be removed by taking “man and woman” out of that definition, then we continue to disagree.

    And trying to pretend that simply allowing a man and a woman to marry into an institution with the same name, but none of that recognition, and pretending that is the same thing is simply eliding the disagreement. Its simply disingenuous, which is not rational or tolerant or polite.

    Me: >> “And while I support your version of marriage as CU’s and DP’s to be recognized by the government, you don’t support my version of marriage existing in explicit government recognition at all.”

    Sean: > Well at least you recognize the value of same-sex relationships. Essentially, then, you’ve made my argument: same-sex relationships deserve legal protection.

    If that is the total of your argument, then no problem. But…

    And since there’s no particular reason to distinguish between the legal relationship of opposite-sex couples. [...later...] As you define it, marriage equality makes no sense.

    So you as much as admit that what I just said is in fact true.

    And while I support your version of marriage as CU’s and DP’s to be recognized by the government, you don’t support my version of marriage existing in explicit government recognition at all.

    It is your intollerance that drives you to remove that recognition that explicitely protects the procreative unit, above and beyond asking for benefits for same-sex couples.

    You see no value in encouraging marriage equality — the equal recognition of the rights and responsibilities of the man, woman, and child they potentially have together.

  132. Sean
    September 30th, 2010 at 20:01 | #132

    Why do I bother?

    “And there is also a rational reason behind marriage being defined as between a man and a woman — because that is a unique unit in that it is how humanity procreates.”

    HOW DOES THAT OBSERVATION SUPPORT THAT NOTION THAT A SAME-SEX COUPLE MAY NOT MARRY??? And seriously, humans procreate by having natural or artificial sex, not by getting married. Geez.

    “And trying to pretend that simply allowing a man and a woman to marry into an institution with the same name, but none of that recognition, and pretending that is the same thing is simply eliding the disagreement. Its simply disingenuous, which is not rational or tolerant or polite.”

    Huh?

    “You see no value in encouraging marriage equality — the equal recognition of the rights and responsibilities of the man, woman, and child they potentially have together.”

    I see EVERY value in encouraging marriage equality: the right of adults to choose the partner they wish to marry. It doesn’t get much more equal than that. Letting a man marry a woman while prohibiting a woman from marrying a woman doesn’t sound like equality to me. And marriage is not (for the one millionth time!) defined by children. No couple needs to have children to get or stay married.

  133. October 1st, 2010 at 10:45 | #133

    Me: >> “And there is also a rational reason behind marriage being defined as between a man and a woman — because that is a unique unit in that it is how humanity procreates.”

    Sean: > HOW DOES THAT OBSERVATION SUPPORT THAT NOTION THAT A SAME-SEX COUPLE MAY NOT MARRY???

    It supports only what it needs to, and that is to preserve the definition of marriage so that marriage can continue to promote marriage equality — the equal recognition of the rights and responsibilities of the man, woman, and child they potentially have together.

    I’m sure that isn’t so bad for gays if we support equality for the procreative unit. I support recognizing same-sex couples too (though not exclusively homosexual couples) with benefits to foster their own kind of equality (however segregative it may be, there is still freedom of association in this country).

    You just can’t do both with the same program. You wind up with people as confused and self-contradicting as Sean.

    I see EVERY value in encouraging marriage equality: the right of adults to choose the partner they wish to marry. It doesn’t get much more equal than that.

    You can’t say that any association is as equal as another. That is like saying school equality is a school choosing what race all of its students will be. While I celebrate the freedom of association, equality is about how we make those associations. And marriage is about how we make the procreative association, with commitment, love, tolerance for each member of each gender, and since each gender is represented in how we procreation, each gender is represented in each marriage.

  134. Sean
    October 1st, 2010 at 15:11 | #134

    “It supports only what it needs to, and that is to preserve the definition of marriage so that marriage can continue to promote marriage equality — the equal recognition of the rights and responsibilities of the man, woman, and child they potentially have together.”

    Children have no rights and responsibilities under marriage because marriage isn’t about children. And marriage certainly isn’t about equality because only recently have women been considered equal partners: they were subordinated under their husbands. Marriage doesn’t make a man or woman more equal, if they weren’t equals before.

    “I’m sure that isn’t so bad for gays if we support equality for the procreative unit.”

    Explain what this means and I’ll analyze if it creates an exclusion for same-sex couples getting married!

    “I support recognizing same-sex couples too”

    This is progress, of sorts. Marriage is a readily available institution for recognizing same-sex couples’ relationships; why not use it, instead of crafting a parallel structure not well understood? It ends up confusing people.

    “You wind up with people as confused and self-contradicting as Sean.”

    Sean is pretty clear on this issue, as his logical and thoughtful comments demonstrate. Some others can’t make this claim!

    “You can’t say that any association is as equal as another.”

    Nope, and neither can you. The value of the relationship depends on how committed the couple are. Wanting to get married demonstrates the highest level of commitment. It’s how couples signal to each other, and to society, how committed they are.

    “And marriage is about how we make the procreative association, with commitment, love, tolerance for each member of each gender, and since each gender is represented in how we procreation, each gender is represented in each marriage.”

    Except that non-procreative couples can marry, too. It’s not very persuasive to say that marriage celebrates procreation when non-procreative couples can marry, too. At best, marriage discrimination celebrates “opposite-sexness,” for reasons that remain unexplained.

  135. Sean
    October 1st, 2010 at 21:50 | #135

    It is amusing, to say the least, to hear that marriage is about making a man and woman equal to each other, as traditional marriage actually accomplished the exact opposite:

    From Wikipedia:

    “Coverture (sometimes spelled couverture) was a legal doctrine whereby, upon marriage, a woman’s legal rights were subsumed by those of her husband. Coverture was enshrined in the common law of England and the United States throughout most of the 19th century. The idea was described in William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England in the late 18th century.”

    “…..husband and wife were one person as far as the law was concerned, and that person was the husband. A married woman could not own property, sign legal documents or enter into a contract, obtain an education against her husband’s wishes, or keep a salary for herself. If a wife was permitted to work, under the laws of coverture she was required to relinquish her wages to her husband. In certain cases, a woman did not have individual legal liability for her misdeeds, since it was legally assumed that she was acting under the orders of her husband, and generally a husband and wife were not allowed to testify either for or against each other. Judges and lawyers referred to the overall principle as “coverture”.

    “As recently as 1972, two US states allowed a wife accused in criminal court to offer her husband’s orders as a defense in criminal court.”

    When marriage was neutered, during the late 20th century, woman no longer lost their rights and equality by getting married. Given the newly discovered gender neutrality of marriage, the institution became useful to same-sex couples, who had always enjoyed equality in their relationships.

  136. October 2nd, 2010 at 09:40 | #136

    Wikipedia: > Coverture was enshrined in the common law of England and the United States throughout most of the 19th century.

    What coverture was or wasn’t to the eyes of two countries for less than a century means little. Marriage equality depends on integration as the mechanism to produce that equality. Coverture was repealed, no doubt with help from the personal politics that women were able to wield as members of the governance of the home. The fact that this situation was remedied shows the equalizing power of marriage as gender integration.

    Another example of this influence is found in the suffrage movement, where legislators directly credited their mothers and wives as being the influence that persuaded them to share power with women. Mothers and wives that the same-sex crowd would have you believe is superfluous.

  137. October 2nd, 2010 at 16:05 | #137

    @Sean

    Sean: > Children have no rights and responsibilities under marriage because marriage isn’t about children.

    And here Sean shows just how same-sex marriage removes the rights of a protected and vulnerable class of people. He said specifically “Children have no rights” under marriage.

    Me: >> “I’m sure that isn’t so bad for gays if we support equality for the procreative unit.”

    Sean: > Explain what this means and I’ll analyze if it creates an exclusion for same-sex couples getting married!

    Well, it seems that no matter what marriage means, Sean is not satisfied unless it meets the needs of same-sex couples. That kind of preference at the detriment of others is exactly the kind of bigotry that is unbecoming of the marriage neutering crowd.

    Sean: > crafting a parallel structure not well understood? It ends up confusing people.

    In your own way, with additional reference to the other points quoted in this comment, you’ve just described the damage done by neutering marriage.

    Walter Fauntroy-{Former DC Delegate to CongressFounding member of the Congressional Black CaucusCoordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on DC} described it also…

    “Marriage is neither a conservative nor a liberal issue; it is a universal human institution, guaranteeing children fathers, and pointing men and women toward a special kind of socially as well as personally fruitful sexual relationship. Gay marriage is the final step down a long road America has already traveled toward deinstitutionalizing, denuding and privatizing marriage. It would set in legal stone some of the most destructive ideas of the sexual revolution: There are no differences between men and women that matter, marriage has nothing to do with procreation, children do not really need mothers and fathers, the diverse family forms adults choose are all equally good for children. What happens in my heart is that I know the difference. Don’t confuse my people, who have been the victims of deliberate family destruction, by giving them another definition of marriage.”

    Sean: > Sean is pretty clear on this issue, as his logical and thoughtful comments demonstrate. Some others can’t make this claim!

    Well, you can make the claim, I’m sure of that. But then we’ve shown your ability to make completely false claims before.

    Note you don’t have any specific argument to reference as an example for that claim :)

    Sean: > The value of the relationship depends on how committed the couple are.

    The value is also dependent on its exposure to risk and avoidance of that risk in a social context.

    Marriage gone awry does more damage to the people who are entitled to marriage equality than others — the man, the woman and the child they potentially have together. Also from Kay Hymnowitz…

    Far more dramatic were the divergent trends in what was still known at the time as illegitimacy. Yes, out-of-wedlock childbearing among women with college diplomas tripled, but because their numbers started at Virtually Nonexistent in 1960 (a fraction of 1 percent), they only moved up to Minuscule in 1980 (a little under 3 percent of mothers in the top third of education distribution) to end up at a Rare 4 percent.

    Things were radically different for mothers in the lower two educational levels. They decided that marriage and children were two entirely unconnected life experiences. That decline in their divorce rate after 1990? Well, it turns out the reason for it wasn’t that these women had thought better of putting their children through a parental breakup, as many of their more educated sisters had; it was that they weren’t getting married in the first place. Throughout the 1980s and nineties, the out-of-wedlock birthrate soared to about 15 percent among mothers with less than a high school education and 10 percent of those with a high school diploma or with some college.

    Many people assume that these low-income never-married mothers are teen mothers, but teens are only a subset of unmarried mothers, and a rather small one in recent years. Yes, the U.S. continues to be the teen-mommy capital of the Western world, with 4 percent of teen girls having babies, a rate considerably higher than Europe’s. But that rate is almost one-third lower than it was in 1991, and according to up-to-the-minute figures from the National Center for Health Statistics, teens account for only about a quarter of unwed births—compared with half in 1970. Today 55 percent of unmarried births are to women between 20 and 24; another 28 percent are to 25- to 29-year-olds. These days, it is largely low-income twentysomethings who are having a baby without a wedding ring. The good news is that single mothers are not as likely to be 15; the bad news is that there is now considerable evidence to suggest that, while their prospects may be a little better than their teenage sisters’ would be, they are not dramatically so.

  138. Sean
    October 3rd, 2010 at 08:23 | #138

    “There are no differences between men and women that matter, marriage has nothing to do with procreation, children do not really need mothers and fathers, the diverse family forms adults choose are all equally good for children. What happens in my heart is that I know the difference. Don’t confuse my people, who have been the victims of deliberate family destruction, by giving them another definition of marriage.”

    Whatever differences between men and women that matter are not in any way impacted when same-sex couples get married.

    Children need competent parents. Mere opposite-sexness does not make good parents. Bonnie and Clyde were an opposite-sex couple but I’m thinking their life of crime would make them less than ideal parents. And many same-sex couples have proven to be extraordinary parents, such as the Florida same-sex couple who fostered two children abandoned by their “ideal” opposite-sex parents!

    Diverse family forms ARE good for children and since our country has few if any parenting standards, it is grossly unfair to play the parenting card against gay people when murderers, thieves, drug dealers, bank robbers, prostitutes and many other socially unproductive persons are free to marry and parent.

    What you feel in your heart applies to you and you alone. Do what’s best for you: if you think same-sex marriage is bad, don’t marry someone of the same sex. Same-sex parenting is already legal in all 50 states. The ability of same-sex parents, therefore, is a settled issue, unless you wish to start advocating that society prohibit gay people from reproducing.

    If “your people” are so easily confused then maybe they need to go back to school. You and your peoples’ modest intellectual abilities are no reason to legally prohibit committed same-sex couples, especially those with children, from marrying.

  139. Sean
    October 3rd, 2010 at 08:27 | #139

    “Marriage gone awry does more damage to the people who are entitled to marriage equality than others — the man, the woman and the child they potentially have together.”

    If a man and a woman can’t hold their marriage together, who’s fault is that? Why blame gay people for the shortcomings of straight people? If straight people are “irresponsible procreators,” why should gay people be blamed? Careless procreation and lack of regard for the needs of children are hardly the fault of gay people. Ironically, same-sex couples are society’s most responsible procreators: they have to specifically want a child in order to get one; no accidents with them! And that you want to stop them from providing a more secure environment for their children by getting married tells us way more about you than about them!

  140. October 3rd, 2010 at 14:10 | #140

    Sean, do you want to create “Procreation Licenses” to keep married couples who would be bad parents (like Bonnie and Clyde) from being allowed to procreate together? Are you upset by the idea that all married couples, even bad ones, are allowed to procreate together?

    I think that’s another place you and On Lawn agree. I think you both would favor separate “procreation licenses” rather than keeping marriage as a procreation license. On Lawn, do you still think procreation rights can be separated from marriage?

    Have you two ever heard of Margaret Sanger’s American Baby Code? It was a serious proposal she made in 1934, at the peak of the American eugenic movement.

    Article 3. A marriage license shall in itself give husband and wife only the right to a common household and not the right to parenthood.

    Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.

    Is that what you guys want?

  141. bman
    October 3rd, 2010 at 19:24 | #141

    Sean :
    I’m willing to listen, if someone can make an argument that letting same-sex couples marry has some negative effects…Why not craft an argument that supports the notion that same-sex marriage would harm society if it were legal?

    —-
    While no one can predict the future we can take a common sense look at the future to answer this question. Where I use words “will or shall” I mean from a common sense perspective and not that they necessarily occur. This is because, again, no one can predict the future with precision.

    In the recent amicus brief by 13 states on prop 8, they said the law of unintended consequences had to be considered. That is, a new law can have harmful consequences it did not intend. The laws that made divorce easy were intended to help people escape oppressive marriages. The unintended result was it made divorce prevalent for marriage in general. This resulted in higher rates of unwed childbirths, crime, poverty, welfare, and such. As these children became adults, they were more inclined to divorce and start the cycle over.

    Although that applies to divorce, it shows we should expect harmful unintended consequences from a same sex marriage law, rather than not. This is also because such a law would be pervasive in nature, like a drop of ink which spreads until its presence extends to every point in the glass.

    One harmful consequence would be the suppression of religious practices that appear to “discriminate” against homosexuality. In May 2009, several lawyers wrote Governor Baldacci of Maine explaining that a same sex marriage law would cause “a sea change” in the law, and that very robust protections must be crafted or government would oppress religion in many ways. The problem, however, is that the religious protections could themselves be declared unconstitutional for “equality” or “establishment” reasons.

    Another harmful consequence is the indoctrination of children by government to accept homosexuality, against the wishes of the parents.

    The indirect influence of a same sex marriage law, alone, would make homosexual behavior more prevalent at schools. The peer pressure at schools to have homosex would be a reason parents stop sending their children to public schools. (Its probably true that whoever votes for same sex marriage also votes to increase homosexual peer pressure on their own school children. )

    Home schooling of young children by parents would increase to avoid homosexual indoctrination by government and the peer pressure, but government would declare home schooling illegal because it violates “equality.”

    The old ethic for marriage would be eliminated and replaced. The old ethic was that to have sex, have children, and raise children; the man and woman should marry as a matter of moral, social, and spiritual responsibility. This ethic has long protected society from unwed child births and the attendant problems. Likewise this ethic produced repeating benefits as it became entrenched into the hearts and minds of newer generations.

    The replacement ethic, however, would not be based on moral, social, or spiritual responsibility. It would simply say people marry for reasons of their own.

    Once the old ethic was no longer entrenched, we can expect the replacement ethic to produce a spiral increase in unwed childbirths, crime, welfare, disease, similar to divorce law. But now it would be a perfect storm because divorce law and the replacement ethic would energize each other. And there would be no policy tool able to restore the protections provided by the old ethic.

    Under the new marriage ethic there would be no reason to limit marriage to two partners.

    —-

    These are just a few of the unintended consequences to be expected from a same marriage law.

    And these could each have a repeating effect with even more unintended spin offs of their own.

  142. Sean
    October 3rd, 2010 at 21:27 | #142

    “Sean, do you want to create “Procreation Licenses” to keep married couples who would be bad parents (like Bonnie and Clyde) from being allowed to procreate together? Are you upset by the idea that all married couples, even bad ones, are allowed to procreate together?”

    I think it is a fundamental right for every human being to reproduce, even if their potential parenting skills are suspect. What I want is for the homophobes to stop saying gay people aren’t “ideal” parents and therefore can’t get married.

    First, same-sex parenting is legal in all 50 states and that is unlikely to change anytime soon, so obviously, same-sex marriage has nothing to do with same-sex parenting. But I can see how misleading people into thinking that if gays can marry, they’ll also be allowed to be parents (horrors!) can create a powerful emotional (if abjectly false) tug.

    Second, other “less than ideal” parents are permitted to be parents, evidently with the blessing of the “traditional marriage” crowd: convicted murderers, pedophiles, raging alcoholics, drug dealers, prostitutes, the mentally unstable, etc. Apart from lacking a shred of logic, insisting that same-sex couples cannot marry because they are unsuitable parents, while approving of legal marriage and parenting for the afore-mentioned social misfits, is grossly insulting to gay people.

    What fascinates me, among the many facets of this topic that fascinate me, is how the anti-gay marriage folks:

    1. insult childless couples, elderly couples, and infertile couples with their “ace” card, procreation;
    2. insult the legal acumen of perfectly competent judges (state, district and federal) who have rendered perfectly sensible and logical decisions, whether you agree with them or not;
    3. trash state legislatures, the people’s representatives, for passing equality-minded marriage statutes;
    4. refuse to let the children of same-sex couples have the same kind of security enjoyed by the children of opposite-sex couples, whose parents may marry; yet,
    5. offer a resounding “two thumbs up!” to murderers, prostitutes and drug dealers, who, for lack of criticism, are apparently suitable candidates for “ideal” parenting, just so they do it with an opposite-sex partner.

    I realize there’s money to be made advocating against same-sex marriage, but really, is it worth it?

  143. bman
    October 3rd, 2010 at 22:04 | #143

    Sean :
    I don’t disagree that marriage can be about “responsible procreation.” I’ve stated several times that even if it is, that is not all that marriage is about and in no way does it provide some sort of framework for excluding same-sex couples from marrying.

    A marriage license formally certifies to a couple and to society that the couple has the approval to have intercourse with each other and to procreate children.

    Although, a marriage license does not require a couple to have intercourse or to procreate it can rationally certify they are formally approved to do so as long as they are a man and woman (first degree relatives excluded)

    By contrast, it is irrational to formally certify a same sex couple has the right to have intercourse and to procreate with each other since they are universally excluded from both by the laws of nature, without need for any investigation.

    This not only poses the framework for excluding same sex couple from marriage, but it highlights that a same sex marriage law marriage would confer public approval for male partners to practice sodomy, and thats not something society deems fit to publically approve, whether between two men or a man and woman.

    The private right to do so is a matter of law, but the behavior is unfit for public approval on its merits, and so same sex marriage should not be permitted.

  144. Sean
    October 4th, 2010 at 07:59 | #144

    Bman,

    That sounds nice and all but granting couples the right to have sex with each other is a meaningless aspect of marriage, since all adults have that right anyway. With regard to sexual relations, there is no difference between a married and unmarried couple having sex. I think if you approached an unmarried couple and informed them that they were not certified by the government to have sex, you might be greeted with, first, a look of confusion, and then, laughs. I doubt that many people will sign on with your “government approval to have sex” argument.

    The procreation argument, for the umpteenth time, has no weight, because society permits opposite-sex couples incapable of child-bearing, to marry. If procreation is the sole purpose of marriage, and in any way creates an exclusion for non-procreative couples, then infertile and elderly couples would not be permitted to marry. If prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying is important enough to you, you’ll need to:

    1. Redefine marriage as the exclusive domain of fertile couples who intend to have children and in fact, do produce at least one child within some reasonable period of time after getting married
    2. Prohibit elderly and other infertile couples from marrying
    3. Pass an amendment to the US Constitution defining marriage as the union of two procreatively capable people [which is different from the current “one man, one woman definition]. Individual states could determine their own tolerance for how long a marriage can exist without a child before the marriage is dissolved. Without this amendment, individual states might deviate from your new program for marriage, and let infertile couples marry.

    What’s irrational is to offer a quite extensive array of rights and benefits to opposite-sex couples, via marriage, solely because those couples are of the opposite sex. There is nothing particularly virtuous about, nor beneficial to society of, the opposite-sex couple, compared to the same-sex couple. Yet it appears that we currently, in most states, offer marriage rights and privileges to opposite-sex couples for nothing more than being an opposite-sex couple.

  145. October 4th, 2010 at 11:36 | #145

    Sean, she wasn’t talking about just “being parents” as in taking care of children, though she did use the word “parenthood” so I see how you might have gotten confused. She is using that word to mean “”bear a child” or “become a father,” as in “procreate.” Thanks for agreeing that it is a fundamental right for all people, because there are some people (On Lawn) who think that marriage should not protect the right of the couple to attempt to procreate together, so your arguments aren’t mere rhetorical questions but sound like music to some people’s ears.

    Perhaps it would help to show more of Sanger’s proposed American Baby Code:

    Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued by government authorities to married couples upon application, providing the parents are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and on the woman’s part no indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.

    Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.

    Article 7. Every county shall be assisted administratively by the state in the effort to maintain a direct ratio between the county birth rate and its index of child welfare. When the county records show an unfavorable variation from this ratio the county shall be taxed by the State…. The revenues thus obtained shall be expended by the State within the given county in giving financial support to birth control….

    Article 8. Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable diseases, and others found biologically unfit should be sterilized or in cases of doubt should be isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.

    You also forget that the state routinely takes children away from abusive parents and strips their parenting rights, even if they are married. That’s appropriate, and shows again that marriage and parenting, in that sense, have nothing to do with each other. So I am not saying that gays would be “bad parents”, I’m saying that it is unethical to procreate with someone of the same sex.

  146. October 4th, 2010 at 11:41 | #146

    Bman – Sean is right, your argument needs a slight bit of tweaking: it’s not that people cannot procreate with someone of the same sex, it is that they cannot procreate ethically with someone of the same sex. Attempting to do it (using stem cell derived gametes or artificial chromosomes or however) should be a crime, because it is so unjustifiable and inhumane and wasteful and unnecessary. All people should be created equal, as the union of one man and one woman.

  147. October 4th, 2010 at 11:46 | #147

    Allow me to show what I mean, Bman:

    Sean: The procreation argument, for the umpteenth time, has no weight, because society permits opposite-sex couples incapable of child-bearing, to marry.

    Ah, but not if it would be unethical for them to procreate together, like if they were siblings, or one was married to someone else, or too young. Only if society would approve of the couple procreating children, in concept, is a couple allowed to marry. They don’t have to, obviously, but they have to be allowed to. Society should not approve of same-sex couples procreating together, in concept, because they do not have complementary genomic imprinting in their gametes, and attempting to overcome that inherent problem would require unethical experimentation on non-consenting subjects.

  148. bman
    October 5th, 2010 at 06:47 | #148

    Sean :
    That sounds nice and all but granting couples the right to have sex with each other is a meaningless aspect of marriage, since all adults have that right anyway.

    The “legal” right to have sex outside of marriage comes from the principle that what consenting adults do in private is their business. Protection of privacy does not mean government formally recognizes their private sexual relationship or that society approves it.

    By contrast, marriage confers the formal approval of society to have sex with a partner, and this has always been a benefit of being married.

    “With regard to sexual relations, there is no difference between a married and unmarried couple having sex. I think if you approached an unmarried couple and informed them that they were not certified by the government to have sex, you might be greeted with, first, a look of confusion, and then, laughs. I doubt that many people will sign on with your “government approval to have sex” argument.”

    Consider a young adult man and woman who are living together who visit each other’s parents for the first time for a weekend. The couple will discuss if they should sleep together in the same room while at the parents home or sleep in separate rooms.

    In that setting they are probably not laughing as you implied. If that same couple was married, the question would have been settled for them and for the parents. They can sleep together because marriage makes its honorable for them to do so.

    Recall, too, that for a time, fornication laws made it illegal to have sex outside of marriage and so it took a marriage a license to have sex within the law. The fornication laws have been since stricken, but marriage has continued to be the symbol of a formally approved sexual relationship.

    The case of first degree relatives also seems to apply. Legally, they can have sex outside of marriage, yet they are denied marriage to prevent genetic defects from entering the population stream.

    How does denying them marriage accomplish that?

    Clearly, denying marriage is meant to also restrict sex between them. Marriage therefore implies formal approval of a sexual relationship and a denial of marriage protects the population stream by denying formal approval of their sexual relationship.

    “The procreation argument, for the umpteenth time, has no weight, because society permits opposite-sex couples incapable of child-bearing, to marry. If procreation is the sole purpose of marriage, and in any way creates an exclusion for non-procreative couples, then infertile and elderly couples would not be permitted to marry.”

    The “umpteen” posts you mention suppose procreation would have to be a pre-requisite to marriage.

    I am saying, instead, that marriage does not require people to procreate but it confers a formal approval for them to do so.

    Setting aside artificial methods which would be unethical anyway (cf. John Howard), and focusing strictly on natural design, its irrational to “confer approval to procreate” on same sex couples.

    This is not because procreation is a prerequisite to marriage that they can’t meet, but its larger than that.

    Not only can they not procreate, but they are not designed to procreate. Its an exclusion based on natural design, not an exclusion based on inability.

    Its not irrational to confer “approval to procreate” on a 100 year old man and woman. This is because the design of their bodies is still that of a man and woman, despite their inability to procreate. And since there is no requirement that married people actually procreate they can be married.

    Contrary to your list of suggestions for what a law would need to say, if the intent of the law is to confer an approval to have sex and to procreate on those designed for procreation, its sufficient if the law says, “marriage is between one man and one woman.”

  149. bman
    October 5th, 2010 at 07:37 | #149

    Sean :
    What’s irrational is to offer a quite extensive array of rights and benefits to opposite-sex couples, via marriage, solely because those couples are of the opposite sex. There is nothing particularly virtuous about, nor beneficial to society of, the opposite-sex couple, compared to the same-sex couple. Yet it appears that we currently, in most states, offer marriage rights and privileges to opposite-sex couples for nothing more than being an opposite-sex couple.

    In my view, its fair to give benefits only to natural marriage because benefits encourage a practice which protects society from unwed childbirths on a large scale. Its like a company that gives coupons to buy its product. If you don’t buy the product, you can’t use the coupon. If a couple does not wish to advance the interest of society through natural marriage, it should not qualify for the same benefits.

    Besides, if government gave unmarried couples or same sex couples the same benefits as married couples, it would be working against its own purpose to reduce unwed childbirths by promoting natural marriage. That’s like Coke allowing you to redeem its coupon even if you buy Pepsi.

    And whenever government works against its own purposes, it needs to be fixed.

  150. bman
    October 5th, 2010 at 08:12 | #150

    In addition to my previous post, I also note that marriage laws are not based on “orientation” but on biology, i.e., whether one is male or female. If government refuses to recognize “orientation” that is not a denial of equal rights because marriage has never been based on orientation for anyone.

    Marriage law views same sex partners simply as men and women who can marry an opposite sex partner or choose to be single, just like every other man and woman who makes that choice.

    So, if they choose to not marry, they should not qualify for marriage benefits just like any man and woman would not qualify who choses not to marry.

    If they do not wish to advance the interest of society to reduce unwed childbirths through natural marriage, they should not qualify for the same benefits as those who do, through marriage. There is no discrimination in this. You get to use the coupon only if you buy the product. That is fair play.

    Equality doesn’t mean you get what others get. It means you get the same rules applied to you on the same basis and conditions they are applied to everyone else.

    Also orientation should not be a basis for rights because unlike race, which is both a static state and objective state, orientation is a subjective and rather fluid state.

    Additionally, orientation is unlike race because race has nothing to do with rights to a special behavior that is different from the behavior of the rest of society.

    Rights based on race is about access to equal rights. Rights based on “same sex orientation” gives preferential treatment based on same sex orientation, and it reduces to reversed discrimination.

    Bottom line is that marriage benefits are based on the choice to marry a member of the opposite sex and nothing else should qualify for marriage benefits other than being married.

  151. October 5th, 2010 at 12:20 | #151

    Nice response, bman. But this confuses me: “Setting aside artificial methods which would be unethical anyway (cf. John Howard), and focusing strictly on natural design, its irrational to “confer approval to procreate” on same sex couples.”

    What do you mean “setting aside”? Sean doesn’t think they’d be unethical, and he knows his entire argument rests on those artificial methods being legal, as they are now. The courts have made all of their rulings based on them being legal, as they are now. Unless they are banned, it would be irrational not to offer couples that are allowed to procreate the protection of marriage.

    A couple other points, fornication and adultery are still active laws on the books in my state (Massachusetts) and also incest laws prohibit sex between close relatives. So in my state, everyone allowed to procreate is allowed to marry, and everyone who isn’t, isn’t. All we need to do is prohibit same-sex procreation.

  152. bman
    October 5th, 2010 at 12:30 | #152

    Correction: I wrote, “so it took a marriage license to have sex within the law.”

    Since a marriage “license” is a permit to get married that precedes marriage, that phrase should be understood to mean it took a marriage to have sex within the law.

  153. bman
    October 5th, 2010 at 16:29 | #153

    John, thanks for the tactical clarification. By the phrase “setting aside” I meant to defer that discussion to you since I have not researched it. To me its intuitively obvious that it would be an unethical tampering with human lives.

    I did not know the fornication laws were still on the books in Massachusetts but I knew they were still on the books in several states, just wasn’t sure which ones. However, I dismissed them as stricken in my post because its my understanding that Lawrence v. Texas (2003) essentially made them dead letter laws that cannot be enforced.

    I took the same approach on incest laws as I did the fornication laws think Lawrence undid them, but after your post a search on the Internet shows I overstated that one. It looks like incest laws are not dead and that Lawrence is probably not controlling.

    I appreciate the correction on that. Thanks.

  154. October 5th, 2010 at 17:12 | #154

    Lawrence might have made sodomy laws unenforceable, but sodomy and sexual intercourse are completely different things, because there are unique public consequences of sexual intercourse.

    Your welcome for the correction on incest and fornication laws, but the much more important correction was for the need to oppose and prohibit same-sex procreation. It may be intuitive to us that it would be unethical, but Sean doesn’t agree, I am not sure if On Lawn agrees, or anyone here at the Ruth Institute agrees. I think they think we can leave same-sex procreation legal and still prohibit same-sex marriage, but that doesn’t make rational sense, shouldn’t a couple that is allowed to procreate be allowed to marry? Same-sex procreation must be prohibited in order to prohibit same-sex marriage.

  155. Mark
    October 7th, 2010 at 16:21 | #155

    John Howard :”Same-sex procreation must be prohibited in order to prohibit same-sex marriage.”

    Nice to know all your arguments merely come down to bigotry and hatred – makes it simpler to respond.

  156. Betsy
    October 7th, 2010 at 16:59 | #156

    Mark, you’ve been steadily getting farther and farther away from civilized discussion. Please note that Sean, while in disagreement with most of what is written on this blog, still manages to argue without name calling and rudeness. I’m pointing this out as a courtesy to you. If some of your comments don’t show up, it’s because I suppressed them due to your tone. FYI

  157. October 7th, 2010 at 20:01 | #157

    Mark, I don’t know why other people want to prohibit same-sex marriage. I am for same-sex marriage as long as same-sex procreation is allowed. I am telling them that they need to be against same-sex procreation and get Congress to prohibit same-sex procreation with an Egg and Sperm law that would also stop cloning and genetic engineering if they want to stop same-sex marriage. I want to stop the Brave New World of genetic engineering and cloning and same-sex procreation and preserve natural reproduction and equal reproductive rights for many reasons, none of which have to do with any animosity or bigotry against gay people. I am an environmentalist. My Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise plan would achieve equal protections for all gay people in the USA almost immediately. Sticking with the status quo harms families and children and wastes energy and resources.

  158. MarkOH
    October 17th, 2010 at 09:20 | #158

    John Howard: “I am for same-sex marriage as long as same-sex procreation is allowed.”

    I think you meant “same-sex procreation is dis-allowed.

    “I want to stop the Brave New World of genetic engineering and cloning and same-sex procreation and preserve natural reproduction and equal reproductive rights for many reasons, none of which have to do with any animosity or bigotry against gay people.”

    I understand what you are saying but, again, to wait until this is all resolved does a disservice to same-sex couples now. It is an added layer on top of an already contentious issue. Approve same-sex marriage first. Then work on this anti-Brave New World idea.

  159. October 19th, 2010 at 15:31 | #159

    I think you meant “same-sex procreation is dis-allowed.

    No no no! I mean what I wrote, that I am for same-sex marriage if same-sex procreation is allowed. It would be even more damaging to marriage if same-sex marriage were not allowed to couples that are allowed to procreate together. It wouldn’t make any sense at all, why would we prohibit marriage to a couple that we allow to procreate together?

  160. October 19th, 2010 at 15:35 | #160

    And you really need to get your head around the Civil Union part of the Compromise which would get equal protections to gay couples much faster than the current strategy of insisting on marriage and equal rights. It would be also be cruel to go backwards if we decide to stop the Brave New World stuff in a few years, and it would have harmed millions of people to have been led to believe they’d be allowed to procreate with someone of their own sex.

  161. Mark
    October 22nd, 2010 at 14:46 | #161

    John Howard: “It wouldn’t make any sense at all, why would we prohibit marriage to a couple that we allow to procreate together?”

    So, you are against same-sex marriage. You want to create ANOTHER system, just for couples who cannot procreate. So, infertile, and elderly would not be allowed to marry either? Is this “Civil Union” idea compatible with international law? I don’t see another other country jumping through all these hoops.

  162. October 23rd, 2010 at 20:14 | #162

    No, elderly and infertile people are allowed to marry and try to procreate. ALL people are allowed to marry and procreate. Get it? Elderly and infertile couples are not, and would not be, prohibited from procreating offspring together. Only same-sex couples would be, because only same-sex couples publicly would not be combining the egg of a woman and the sperm of a man if they procreated together.

    I think other countries could, should, and would make the same kind of Civil Unions, and they would soon follow suit if we led the way. Keep in mind that other countries are not obligated to recognize same-sex marriages either, and most don’t, so this compromise is the best way to help same-sex couples in other countries also.

    Also, note that England has already arrived there, with their Civil Partnerships and their ban on creating people by any means other than joining an egg and sperm of a woman and a man. Elton John has strongly suggested that Americans should pursue the same compromise.

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