On Small Effects

October 5th, 2010

From the Blog Villainous Company:

From the author of a longitudinal study of the long term effects of early child care:

“In America today, it is normative for children to start childcare at some point in the first year of life and stay there until they start school. This is the case for over 50% of children,” he says. He continues: “Let’s imagine these are small effects. But let’s imagine a reception class of 30 children in which two-thirds of them have small effects that make them a little bit more aggressive and disobedient … versus another class of 30 in which only 10% of them do. Are those teachers going to be doing more time managing and less time teaching? Are those playgrounds going to be less friendly? Are those neighbourhoods going to be affected?

“No one single car pollutes central London or central LA. It’s all the cars that do it. People are so ideologically opposed to these findings that instead of being thoughtful about them, they respond as if there is only one way to think about them – small, don’t matter, ignore,” he says.

He is resigned to the way that parents, policy-makers and fellow academics recoil from his findings. “Anybody who speaks ill of childcare is the enemy – end of story. The guy who first linked Aids with homosexuality back in the early 1980s was accused of being a homophobe. The same kind of idiotic, kneejerk, ideological reaction occurred here. People think I’m against daycare. What I say is, if the weather man says it is going to rain tomorrow, is that because he is against sunshine? People feel very defensive about this area.”

I think this “small effects” idea explains a lot of the continuing arguments about the effect of various policies on human behavior (especially with contentious social issues where people adamantly insist that if public policy X were adopted, Y would be certain to/would no longer occur, despite copious examples where X was in fact adopted and Y did not occur/was not abolished), or in cases where the potential harm arising from Y is being debated.

It’s amusing, in a way, to see the very same arguments being arrayed against Science that have been used for centuries to argue against Religion. In both cases, essential truths about human nature are too often discarded because they can’t be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt.

The odd thing is that that standard of proof (that a proposition must be unfailingly true) is rarely if ever applied by the doubters to their own propositions. Skepticism (even when skepticism based on belief in some alternative proposition) apparently requires far less evidence to establish than the proposition it seeks to discredit.

It’s easy to see exactly how this same phenomenon of misplaced skepticism plays out in the issue of marriage abolition via redefinition.  After all the “small effects” phenomenon is at play here too.  And it’s easy for ideologues promoting marriage abolition to distract attention from that subtle effect.  Nonetheless, if large numbers of children being raised without both a mother and a father increases a the number of miscreants and sluts in our midst by only 10%, I think it’s reasonable to say that society could suffer some pretty nasty consequences.

But never mind that, certain groups want their state sponsored self esteem.  And that is worth any price!  Any price at all…

Oh, yeah.  And daycare sort of stinks as well.  Gotta throw that one in there too.  Win one for stay at home parents!

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  1. nerdygirl
    October 5th, 2010 at 12:34 | #1

    1950′s social conformity is the best social conformity!

  2. Arlemagne1
    October 5th, 2010 at 14:04 | #2

    Nerdygirl,

    Better than the alternative proposed by the sexual revolutionaries, I’ll tell you that.

  3. James
    October 5th, 2010 at 17:36 | #3

    Way to ignore that the several studies have shown that the children of homosexuals are no less well adjusted than those of heterosexuals. Also, good job equating our children with sluts and miscreants.

  4. Mont D. Law
    October 5th, 2010 at 17:36 | #4

    Accepting for a moment your basic premise – that daycare stinks. What happens next? Not just for well off middle class couples who could conceivably make some sacrifices and modify their lifestyle to allow mothers to stay home – but for everybody else as well – the single parents – the working poor – the working class & the lower middle class families.

  5. Arlemagne1
    October 5th, 2010 at 18:02 | #5

    James,
    Way to ignore study after study that shows that fatherlessness results in an increased level of sexual promiscuity (among girls) and propensity to commit crime (among boys). Way to also ignore that I said the effect in producing said sluts and miscreants may be small, but the ultimate effect in crime, etc. may be larger. If you want to wish this truth go away, you’re going to have to wish a whole lot harder.

    Mont,
    I did not say what people should do. But I did point in the direction of an ugly truth. If you cannot bear to look at it, then so be it.

  6. James
    October 5th, 2010 at 18:09 | #6

    Oh thats definitely true. However, such studies were (I’m willing to wager) on single parent families. The kind where the mother is likely seeing different partners over the course of the child’s life. Two lesbian parents would be in a stable relationship, giving their daughter a good example of monogamy and fidelity. Studies have shown that, among same sex families, findings were not significant enough to suggest any difference between them or heterosexual families. You also fail to acknowledge that a man may fulfill the same role of a female (in terms of behavior etc) just as a woman may fulfill that of a male.

  7. Arlemagne1
    October 5th, 2010 at 19:07 | #7
  8. Sean
    October 5th, 2010 at 19:39 | #8

    It seems unlikely that parenting rights for single people will ever be prohibited. It’s nice to talk about ideal parenting circumstances and all but ultimately, every human being has the fundamental right to reproduce, and with that comes the right to parent.

  9. Arlemagne1
    October 5th, 2010 at 20:03 | #9

    Sean,
    Once again, I just pointed to a truth that many people may find ugly. I think law is a terrible way to handle the problem. Social sanctions such as shame should be used instead.

  10. James
    October 5th, 2010 at 20:28 | #10

    Why should we be passing judgment upon single parents? We know not why they are single, why they are parents, we know not their story, we cannot pass but flawed judgement. Compassion and empathy should instead be shown.

  11. Sean
    October 5th, 2010 at 20:49 | #11

    Shame is an ancient and outmoded form of social tyranny. I doubt you’d like to be shamed for your participation in an organization that deprives the children of same-sex couples the security of having married parents.

  12. nerdygirl
    October 5th, 2010 at 20:52 | #12

    Meh. The problem with the 50′s was all the drinking, lying, depression and casual drug use hidden behind closed doors. I think there’s a lot of progress to be made still, but I don’t think encouraging people to hide their problems, issues and sexuality does any good. I think it’s better to acknowledge that we’re all bit screwed up, then to hid behind a facade of perfection.

    Besides, it seems sometimes people on this blog believes that stopping gay marriage will stop people from being gay. And I mean, lets us use a famous example. Oscar Wilde being married with three kids didn’t exactly stop him from messing around with half of London’s attractive men under the age of 35. Pushing everything behind closed doors doesn’t get rid of it, it just sets up for an avalanche of stuff when the doors finally opened. And that’s hardly healthy, well-balanced behavior.

  13. Arlemagne1
    October 6th, 2010 at 05:26 | #13

    James,
    We should pass judgment on single parents if they became so because of shameful conduct. They should be shown the appropriate social sanction.

    Sean, advocating for the continuation of a bedrock social institution that has been helped society for thousands of years is not shameful. Shame is not a form of social tyranny. It’s a way of showing those whose conduct is anti-social that their conduct is not to be accepted.

    NG:
    I did not say that the 50s were perfect (and who said that was my ideal anyway?) I just said that some of the social values of the ’50s were better than the alternative. And I can hardly see otherwise. Also some things SHOULD be pushed behind closed doors (via shame).

  14. Sean
    October 6th, 2010 at 07:11 | #14

    “…advocating for the continuation of a bedrock social institution that has been helped society for thousands of years is not shameful.”

    Who wants to outlaw marriage?

    What NOM wants to do is limit marriage to couples with biological children, that is, tie children to their biological parents, to the exclusion of any other kind of couple. Doing so denies the children of same-sex couples the right to have married parents, as well as denies the right of senior citizens to marry, the right of infertile couples to marry and the right to marry without having children.

    This is a radical redefinition of marriage, at huge cost, and for no sound public purpose.

  15. Ellen
    October 6th, 2010 at 10:21 | #15

    I am a stay-at-home mom to two toddlers. We are considered lower middle class, but my husband and I agree that it’s important that I stay at home with our children. Anyway, our kids and I attend a Catholic MOMs group. In our discussions, the other mothers and I agree that it’s strange that we are stigmatized for wanting to raise our own children rather than let others do it. We’ve seen the physical and emotional effects on children who have to go to daycare. We know that in some cases it’s the only alternative for some parents, but we are grateful that we have the opportunity to watch over our own and raise them to be good people. Oftentimes, in daycare, the kiddos don’t have the same amount of attention and love as they would at home. After all, who should care about them more than their own parents?

    As for same sex “marriage” it does not and cannot exist no matter what laws they may pass. I feel for these people who are deluding themselves. I know some homosexuals and lesbians. If they are sexually active they are extremely unhappy (of course, this is true of heterosexuals outside of marriage as well). Oscar Wilde was a prime example. He was terribly unhappy and regretted what he had done to his wife and children. From what I have heard and read he was very much attracted to the Catholic Church which could have helped him had he converted. As Father John Corapi says, “I tell homosexuals and lesbians that they are like me: they are called to be celibate.” It may be difficult but it certainly is not impossible. The bottom line is are you going to control sexual urges or are they going to control you?

    I agree with you, Arlemagne. We need to reinstitute the use of shame. Shame on these people for belittling themselves and destroying their own self respect while ripping the very fabric of society whether they are sexually active, palming off their children on others when they actually could keep them, or trying to murder their own child through abortion. Shame on those people who accuse others of prejudice and homophobia, or whatever epithet, since they cannot present a cogent argument against marriage between one man and one woman and the preservation of the traditional family. They are advocating anarchy and chaos. I, for one, will always oppose chaos which causes the most harm to the most people. I prefer to protect all children, born and unborn. Period.

  16. James
    October 6th, 2010 at 17:25 | #16

    We aren’t advocating chaos OR anarchy, we are asking to be treated with the same respect and understanding that heterosexuals are treated with. I am afraid I do not understand why the traditional family is so important to so many people. I do not think that me marrying a man would affect your family at all. We are just as good parents, just as good providers, and just as tender and kind as any heterosexual couple. I do, however, understand that religion is a major pillar in the lives of many Americans. But just because someone believes something does not make it true. If I didn’t have evidence and facts and studies to back up my claims, I would not make them.

    As some one who is deeply tied to his (Methodist) Church, I must decry you calls for shame. That is not what Jesus taught. Weather you think of Him as God or as enlightened you cannot deny that He commanded His children to look upon the world and others with compassion and understanding; the understanding that the only other to know the lives of a human is God Himself, and therefore only He is fit to condemn them; least of all for merely existing outside of social norms. I do not advocate anarchy, but I will always advocate understanding.

    Lastly, what goes on in our bedrooms is none of the concern of those whom we do not choose to allow it to be. I hope I was able to provide a cogent argument. I will never argue against family, but I will argue for inclusion of Homosexuals under that term.

  17. nerdygirl
    October 6th, 2010 at 21:50 | #17

    I think we’ve read different texts on Oscar Wilde. He was upset about the shame (oh looky there) that was brought on his wife and children due to his sodomy charge (Societal mores of the time were extremely harsh, and if one family member did something “shameful” the entire family would be shamed, and their economic futures all but destroyed), and he regretted the brashness of his relationship with Douglas (in fact, he forgave Douglas and lived with him for a few months after his release). That said, he reached out to the church, and was denied by the church until his death.

    -_- I will admit I always kinda thought being gay was God’s way of saying “I love you, but I really don’t want you adding to the genetic pool” ( I mean, come on, chances of a son being gay goes up with every one born) Of course just because one cannot be a biological parent doesn’t mean one cannot be nurturing in a parental or otherwise familial role.

    Can I at least get you guys to admit that you are not interested in going “Westboro” on the USA? I mean, you are just religious and traditional, not cultish, fundamentalist in the sense everyone else should be too, and crazy right?

  18. Arlemagne1
    October 6th, 2010 at 22:02 | #18

    Nerdygirl:
    Westboro? I hate those guys. A LOT.

    Now, I think that certain sexual practices are an extremely bad idea spiritually speaking. That does not mean I hate the people that are tempted to do them and give in to that temptation. I doubt Fred Phelps has the same feeling.

  19. nerdygirl
    October 6th, 2010 at 23:23 | #19

    Thank you. I needed that. Too many people use religion to justify their hate.

  20. James
    October 7th, 2010 at 11:27 | #20

    Yes, I prefer the hate i receive to grounded in “morals.” Its not sexual temptation, its atraction. I cannot be attracted to women.

  21. Mark
    October 9th, 2010 at 12:43 | #21

    Ellen: “I know some homosexuals and lesbians. If they are sexually active they are extremely unhappy (of course, this is true of heterosexuals outside of marriage as well).”
    Of course they are, because all you do is condemn them and tell them they are wrong. No health homosexual would stay your friend.

    “The bottom line is are you going to control sexual urges or are they going to control you?”
    This is meaningless from a woman with two toddlers. Obviously you didn’t control your urges.

    “Shame on those people who accuse others of prejudice and homophobia, or whatever epithet, since they cannot present a cogent argument against marriage between one man and one woman and the preservation of the traditional family.”
    No, shame on you Ellen, for failing to open your eyes and your heart. Shame on you for ignoring reality. And shame on you for suggesting that two people who love each other and want to make a life together are forbidden for doing so unless they meet your criteria.

  22. Sean
    October 10th, 2010 at 09:07 | #22

    “Shame on those people who accuse others of prejudice and homophobia, or whatever epithet, since they cannot present a cogent argument against marriage between one man and one woman and the preservation of the traditional family.”

    No one’s arguing against opposite-sex marriage, just against opposite-sex ONLY marriage. I heartily approve of one man, one woman, two children families. I also approve of one man, one man, three children families and one woman, one woman, no children families!

  23. October 11th, 2010 at 09:51 | #23

    No one’s arguing against opposite-sex marriage,

    Anyone arguing against government recognizing in marriage the needs of the procreative unit in how children are created and raised, is arguing against marriage.

    Anyone arguing that children have no rights under marriage, are arguing against marriage.

    It is my experience that “opposite-sex marriage” is a key indicator of someone who believes marriage is anything same-sex couples can do and nothing more — even if the couple happens to include both genders.

    Marriage isn’t about approval of families, it is about encouraging the man and the woman who potentially have children together to love, cherish, and honor each other — to support each other in the responsibilities of having children.

    First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… how does that go again? :)

  24. Sean
    October 11th, 2010 at 15:20 | #24

    Again, no one is arguing against OPPOSITE-SEX marriage. Just against opposite-sex ONLY marriage. Clearer now?

    “Anyone arguing that children have no rights under marriage, are (sic) arguing against marriage.”

    Ok, what rights do you think children get if their parents get married? And why would you deny these rights to the children of same-sex couples?

    “It is my experience that “opposite-sex marriage” is a key indicator of someone who believes marriage is anything same-sex couples can do and nothing more — even if the couple happens to include both genders.”

    Well if the shoe fits…..both kinds of couples fall in love, share resources, commit for life (even if it doesn’t work out that way), raise kids, etc. There doesn’t appear to be any rational reason to distinguish between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

    “Marriage isn’t about approval of families, it is about encouraging the man and the woman who potentially have children together to love, cherish, and honor each other — to support each other in the responsibilities of having children.”

    But they’ve already made that commitment by agreeing to marry. Marriage doesn’t cause anything to happen, nor does it assure love, cherishing and honoring occur.

    “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… how does that go again?”

    The nursery school rhyme? I think it’s “a baby in a baby carriage!” But, as you know, this doesn’t reflect marriage in practice: elderly couples, infertile couples and couples who don’t want children are free to marry in all 50 states, if they are of the opposite sex, and in 6 states and the nation’s capital, if they are consenting adults. It is an insult to childless couples to imply that marriage is about creating or raising children. That suggests that childless couples aren’t really married, and I don’t think you’ll find much support for that conclusion.

  25. October 11th, 2010 at 21:02 | #25

    Sean: > Again, no one is arguing against OPPOSITE-SEX marriage. Just against opposite-sex ONLY marriage. Clearer now?

    Just as clear, and just as wrong.

    You are arguing against marriage plain and simple. I don’t think anyone who knows what marriage is will be fooled by you calling something else the same name.

    Marriage points to the procreative unit in its definition because they are tied to the same concept, how we create children. You don’t want government to recognize that in marriage anymore, and though you restate it often, I can’t help but notice you’ve never denied it either.

    Sean: > Ok, what rights do you think children get if their parents get married?

    Some rights are inherent to their kinship, they get to know their heritage. They get to see each heritage be honored and respected by the other (which is in turn the tolerance that our heritages have a right to). This is a UN recognized right, even.

    They get their right to a mother and a father, to know their mother and father. Their right to not just the money of both parents, but their care and nurturing.

    These don’t need to be mandated by law, but they are encouraged just by the nature of the institution. Only within marriage are all the rights of children fully realized.

    Sean: > And why would you deny these rights to the children of same-sex couples?

    Why do the same-sex couple deny those rights to the children? They are the ones that decided to not get married, but be with each other instead.

    Don’t blame me for what they decided not to do.

    Sean: > There doesn’t appear to be any rational reason to distinguish between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

    As I said, I’ve gotten to know Sean’s argument pretty well after all this time.

    Sean: > Marriage doesn’t cause anything to happen, nor does it assure love, cherishing and honoring occur.

    Which is exactly why stating that the purpose of marriage is love, does not meet your requirement for having a purpose in law — specifically that it must be enforced with mathematical precision on every instance.

    But you’ve argued that it encourages stability, and I agree to that. DP’s and CU’s encourage stability in bandaged together families, and marriage encourages that for in-tact families. There is only one chance for the in-tact family, the only way all of the rights of the child and each spouse can fully be realized. Everything else may need support, but not at the exclusion of that explicit support for the in-tact family in marriage.

    Sean: > The nursery school rhyme? I think it’s “a baby in a baby carriage!” But, as you know, this doesn’t reflect marriage in practice:

    And that is where you are wrong, sadly, once again. It does reflect marriage in practice in millions of homes across the USA, and more than a billion across the world.

    I noted that you wish things to have a certain mathematical precision, but that isn’t what “practice” demands. You’ve once again pushed your canard with such regularity with carefully formed ambiguities to hide your fallacy that out of habit you’ve run again into saying something entirely wrong.

    I agree marriage is more of a practice than a mathematical function.

  26. Sean
    October 12th, 2010 at 07:27 | #26

    “You are arguing against marriage plain and simple. I don’t think anyone who knows what marriage is will be fooled by you calling something else the same name.”

    Wrong. I am totally supportive of legal marriage, I just think it should be granted on an equal basis for all Americans, not just some.

    “Marriage points to the procreative unit in its definition because they are tied to the same concept, how we create children. You don’t want government to recognize that in marriage anymore…”

    The government has NEVER tied marriage to chidren: no one needs to have children in order to get or stay married, and couples with children are under no obligation to legally marry. Infertile couples are free to marry, as are couples who don’t want children. There is simply too much evidence against the assertion that marriage is tied to children to continue to claim that it is. And there is no reason to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, even if marriage accomplishes what you think it does regarding children.

    “They get their right to a mother and a father, to know their mother and father. Their right to not just the money of both parents, but their care and nurturing.”

    Children don’t have a legal right to a mother and a father. If they did, children could sue their single parents for harm. They can’t. No child has a right to his parent’s money (parents are free to cut their children out of their wills, for example). No married parent is required to provide additional care or nurturing to a child by virtue of marriage. You have imaginings about child rights that don’t reflect reality.

    “Why do the same-sex couple deny those rights to the children? They are the ones that decided to not get married, but be with each other instead.”

    Well, if they can’t get legally married because of people like you, who do we blame? It’s a little unreasonable to fault same-sex couples for not marrying, while people like you work to prohibit their right to marry.

    I wish you’d address the issue of why society needs to distinguish between opposite-sex and same-sex couples, and why you think opposite-sex couples should be rewarded for their opposite-sexness.

    “It does reflect marriage in practice in millions of homes across the USA, and more than a billion across the world.”

    Of course, many married couples can reproduce. But many couples can’t reproduce and refuse to reproduce. They are still married. Ergo, the premise of marriage can’t be related to reproduction. No matter how many times you keep saying it is!

    “There is only one chance for the in-tact family, the only way all of the rights of the child and each spouse can fully be realized.”

    This may be true. And the “intact” family is not in any way threatened when same-sex couples, elderly couples, infertile couples and childless couples marry.

    “I noted that you wish things to have a certain mathematical precision, but that isn’t what “practice” demands. You’ve once again pushed your canard with such regularity with carefully formed ambiguities to hide your fallacy that out of habit you’ve run again into saying something entirely wrong.”

    I haven’t requested anything mathematical, I have requested that a law with a purpose achieve that purpose, especially if that law discriminates. That’s just a reflection of our legal system and national Constitution. You want to interpret current marriage law as something that rewards procreation and excludes non-procreators. But that doesn’t reflect the reality: childless couples are free to marry and stay married. No couple is under any obligation to reproduce in order to get and stay married. Even if every married couple did have children, they are under no obligation to do so. So legally, any couple can marry, whether they can reproduce or not. That’s how same-sex couples got interested in getting married in the first place: they witnessed all kinds of other non-procreative couples getting married.

  27. October 12th, 2010 at 16:08 | #27

    Me: > “You are arguing against marriage plain and simple. I don’t think anyone who knows what marriage is will be fooled by you calling something else the same name.”

    Sean: > Wrong. I am totally supportive of legal marriage [...]

    As I said … :)

    Sean: > The government has NEVER tied marriage to chidren: [...] Children don’t have a legal right to a mother and a father [etc...]

    This was already refuted with quotes from Founding Fathers to Judges both state and federal.

    The important take-away from this is that is what Sean wants to happen, and wishes would have happened already. Hence, the institution he calls by the same name is not to be confused with marriage.

    Sean: > Well, if they [same sex couple] can’t get legally married because of people like you, who do we blame?

    Note again that Sean is gaming for a particular conclusion, his bias is clearly evident in that remark.

    I’ll restate my earlier question…

    Why do the same-sex couple deny those rights to the children? They are the ones that decided to not get married, but be with each other instead.

    Sean; > I haven’t requested anything mathematical, I have requested that a law with a purpose achieve that purpose [...]

    When you expect a law to be regulated based on a discrete enforcement of the purpose rather than the biological fact it says it is based on, you are requesting a law be enforced with mathematical precision and perfection.

    Sorry Sean, even if you are sincere and do not see just what you are asking for, others do. And your denials, at that point, simply present you as someone incompetant in undersatnding the more grand picture of how things work and why.

  28. Sean
    October 12th, 2010 at 21:14 | #28

    “This was already refuted with quotes from Founding Fathers to Judges both state and federal.”

    No it wasn’t. I read quotes about the social connection of marriage and children but not about the legal connection of marriage and children. Why? Because there isn’t one.

    “The important take-away from this is that is what Sean wants to happen, and wishes would have happened already. Hence, the institution he calls by the same name is not to be confused with marriage.”

    Is English your second language? I have no problem with that but it would give us an insight into why your sentences often make no sense.

    “Why do the same-sex couple deny those rights to the children? They are the ones that decided to not get married, but be with each other instead.”

    Same-sex couples aren’t denying any rights to children. It is some states that are denying the children of same-sex couples the benefit of having married parents.

    “When you expect a law to be regulated based on a discrete enforcement of the purpose rather than the biological fact it says it is based on, you are requesting a law be enforced with mathematical precision and perfection.”

    When you veer from your talking points, you become even less coherent. If the sole purpose of marriage is to join children to their parents, it makes no sense to permit elderly, infertile and chronically childless couples to marry. If marriage has other purposes, it makes no sense to exclude same-sex couples. I know, I know, you believe in the principle that if you keep repeating it, it will become true. Only you know if you are clicking your heels together three times for good measure.

    “Sorry Sean, even if you are sincere and do not see just what you are asking for, others do. And your denials, at that point, simply present you as someone incompetent (sic) in understanding the more grand picture of how things work and why.”

    So let me see if I understand. To you, marriage is to join husband and wife not to each other but to their children. If a couple has no children, that’s ok, so long as they at least look like they could have children.

    Honestly, wouldn’t it just be easier to say that you don’t want same-sex couples to marry even though you don’t really have a good reason, other than personal or religious reasons? It would be more honest than trying to push your camel through the eye of that needle, wouldn’t it?

  29. Sean
    October 12th, 2010 at 21:16 | #29

    “Sorry Sean, even if you are sincere and do not see just what you are asking for, others do.”

    I’m asking for equal access to marriage for all committed adult couples. I see what I’m asking for, and welcome others to see it, too.

  30. October 13th, 2010 at 12:57 | #30

    Me: >> “This was already refuted with quotes from Founding Fathers to Judges both state and federal.”

    Sean; > No it wasn’t. I read quotes about the social connection of marriage and children but not about the legal connection of marriage and children. Why? Because there isn’t one.

    Sure, often legal purposes and social purposes intermix. And not all social purposes ever become a legal purpose. How do you know the difference? Well, if you read that purpose as the thrust of a legal decision, that would make it a very direct and undeniable legal connection.

    Sean read quotes from judicial decisions, and the Founding Fathers in their own placement of marriage in the realm of the government they wished to establish, and Sean doesn’t see a legal connection.

    Well, if anyone else here thinks that Sean is right in that judgement, feel free to let me know why. Sean looks like he needs help in describing the how’s and why’s of the discussion if he thinks denial is a valid argument.

    Sean: > Is English your second language? I have no problem with that but it would give us an insight into why your sentences often make no sense.

    I just post that to show more of Sean’s frustration in making a valid point. He’s obviously trying to substitute what he thinks of me for a valid point in the arguments being raised here.

    Sean: >>> And why would you deny these rights [to be raised by the parents who gave them life in a legaly recognized relationship] to the children of same-sex couples?

    Me: >> “Why do the same-sex couple deny those rights to the children? They are the ones that decided to not get married [to the person they created the child with], but be with each other instead. Don’t blame me for what they decided not to do.”

    Sean: > Same-sex couples aren’t denying any rights to children. It is some states that are denying the children of same-sex couples the benefit of having married parents.

    So Sean blames the government for what the members of the same-sex couple did. Sure they may have valid reasons, there are valid reasons to do this, but why doesn’t Sean even try to address them? Because to him it shouldn’t matter, and that is the view he wants to impose on marriage — denying the rights the children have for the purpose if making a “protected class” of gays at the expense of the rights and needs of the children.

    Such is the nature of Sean’s blame game. I’ve addressed this earlier with a link to “Don’t Feed the Bears“. Let me up the ante even more on that point.

    Sean; > If a couple has no children, that’s ok, so long as they at least look like they could have children.

    Sean tried this tack early on, and failed. I’ll just re-iterate that my positino is that the actions in the light of the facts of biology makes the difference, not their looks. Infertile couples spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to have children together. The same-sex couple is either ignorant of biology, or they do know where children come from and they don’t even want to try.

    Now why is it so that they either don’t know or don’t care? I don’t know. Sean proports himself to be an authority on this subject, perhaps he can tell us.

  31. October 13th, 2010 at 13:00 | #31

    Sean: > I’m asking for equal access to marriage for all committed adult couples. I see what I’m asking for, and welcome others to see it, too.

    Yes, they certainly do.

  32. Sean
    October 13th, 2010 at 18:10 | #32

    OnLawn,

    “Well, if you read that purpose as the thrust of a legal decision, that would make it a very direct and undeniable legal connection.”

    Well, courts are having a hard time agreeing with you on this. I am unaware of any court that has ruled against same-sex marriage by pointing to the legal connection between getting or staying married, and children (creating them or raising them). Point out some state statutes for me, if you don’t mind. I’d like to read them.

    “Sean doesn’t see a legal connection”

    Because there isn’t any. No couple has seen its marriage dissolved for lack of children, nor has any couple been denied a right to marry for reasons of sterility or a proclamation not to procreate.

    “Sean looks like he needs help in describing the how’s and why’s of the discussion if he thinks denial is a valid argument.”

    Sean thinks OnLawn needs help in accepting the truth of the matter: children are in no way connected legally to marriage. Socially? Maybe, but we’re only talking about legal marriage, at least, that’s all I’m talking about.

    “I just post that to show more of Sean’s frustration in making a valid point. He’s obviously trying to substitute what he thinks of me for a valid point in the arguments being raised here.”

    I think he’s just frustrated that, for so many of his fellow Americans, facts and reason are not enough to dislodge a bigot from his chosen bigotry.

    “So Sean blames the government for what the members of the same-sex couple did.”

    Well it’s kind of weird for all 50 states to say it’s ok for same-sex couples to raise children together and, thanks to the recent Florida decision, to adopt together, but for 44 states to say said couples may not marry. If same-sex parenting were illegal (possibly an outcome, given the country’s movement toward theocracy), it might make sense to prohibit same-sex marriage. But given the stamp of approval for same-sex parenting, it seems odd to insist that the children of same-sex couples not get the same benefits of marriage, like security, that the children of opposite-sex children get. Evidently, in 44 states, not only is straightness to be rewarded but having the dumb luck to have same-sex parents is to be punished.

    “Sean tried this tack early on, and failed”

    Sean considers it a success, for lack of a rational rebuttal.

    “I’ll just re-iterate that my positino is that the actions in the light of the facts of biology makes the difference, not their looks. “

    Then you have changed back to your position of redefining marriage to be solely for the use of actively procreative couples.

    “Infertile couples spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to have children together.”

    Ok, now it’s marriage for: couples who procreate, or at least try to procreate. Actual procreation, is still optional, but give it the old college try, for God’s sake! That still leaves out opposite-sex couples who refuse to procreate, and successfully achieve this outcome by spending billions on birth control, and senior citizens! Is this your newest stand? Marriage is for active procreators, or procreation attempters only? I think you were better off with redefining marriage to be exclusively for active procreators or couples who resemble them (although a same-sex couple with a convincing drag partner might slip under the radar!).

    Nope I think the unifying factor currently in the 44 states that permit only opposite-sex marriage, is to reward opposite-sex coupleness. That’s the only common thread for all the couples allowed to marry in those states. But no one seems capable of explaining why a state should reward an opposite-sex couple for being an opposite-sex couple. What’s the benefit to the public?

  33. October 14th, 2010 at 10:50 | #33

    Me: >> “Well, if you read that purpose as the thrust of a legal decision, that would make it a very direct and undeniable legal connection.”

    Sean: > Well, courts are having a hard time agreeing with you on this.

    In that little exchange you see the problem in stark detail :)

    Apparently reproducing all of these legal decisions which rely on the understanding of the purpose of marriage in encouraging responsible procreation, so far, has left Sean with the belief that the courts have a hard time agreeing with me on this. The contradiction, or rather his unwillingness to accept such third party sources, simply shows his own bias and prejudice.

    Take a special note, everyone learning how to deal with Sean and Mark. Arguing from denial and ignorance, like they are doing, may work against people who naturally assume the people they are disagreeing with have any alliegance to the authority of third party sources. They might think that when Sean and Mark deny something clearly in their view, that it may not exist. Well, to some degree that might be true, but when the contrast is as stark as it is above, you can tell it is their habit to make such an argument, and it has little reflection on reality.

    But I noted this already. Lets look at how this happens once again…

    Me: >> “Sean doesn’t see a legal connection”

    Sean: > Because there isn’t any.

    That is his statement of disbelief. Of course there is, it was shown in the legal decisions. But he does explain why he thinks there isn’t any…

    Sean: > No couple has seen its marriage dissolved for lack of children, nor has any couple been denied a right to marry for reasons of sterility or a proclamation not to procreate.

    Note that does not rule out any connection, just one of many possible connections. The connection given does not require such enforcement with mathematical precision as Sean demands.

    But even then, Dr J put up a front page post noting that King Henry did dissolve his marriage for lack of children. The early colonies in the Americas also had statutes where people could annul a marriage if they didn’t have children together. Such a connection has existed, but has since been However, such enforcement while still available under no-fault divorce for each couple that wishes it, has been largely frowned upon because our society likes to enable the disabled rather than shut them out because of their disabilities.

    That Sean wishes to persist in demanding that this one out of many possible connections must exist to acknowledge what millions have acknowledged in any case, shows his own prejudice against the disabled.

    And Sean keeps providing more evidence to judge his own egality…

    Sean; >>> If a couple has no children, that’s ok, so long as they at least look like they could have children.

    Me: >> “Sean tried this tack early on, and failed. I’ll just re-iterate that my positino is that the actions in the light of the facts of biology makes the difference, not their looks. Infertile couples spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to have children together. The same-sex couple is either ignorant of biology, or they do know where children come from and they don’t even want to try.

    Me: >> “Now why is it so that they either don’t know or don’t care? I don’t know. Sean proports himself to be an authority on this subject, perhaps he can tell us.”

    Sean never answers this question. He goes off with his own biased and unsupported self-assesment, “Sean considers it a success, for lack of a rational rebuttal” and so forth.

    Sean also claims that is a change in position, “to be solely for the use of actively procreative couples.” But that is not a rebuttal against the position, it is just a misrepresentation of it :)

    Sean’s exceptions to the rule only show that Sean expects the law, which is bound by concerns of privacy and some sense of freedom for its subjects, to instead by as universal and perfect in its enforcement as mathematics has in its exploration of theoretical laws of discrete sets.

    A connection has been shown that Sean cannot deny (but tries to anyway). Sean tries to demand connections as proof which are not reasonable, rational or logical in the biological realm they are based in.

    And all this, so he can come to a pre-drawn conclusion which would deny rights to children and spouses in how we procreate.

  34. Sean
    October 14th, 2010 at 15:20 | #34

    “Apparently reproducing all of these legal decisions which rely on the understanding of the purpose of marriage in encouraging responsible procreation, so far, has left Sean with the belief that the courts have a hard time agreeing with me on this.”

    From what I saw, you cited legal cases from long ago, before gay sex was decriminalized and same-sex marriage was legal in Massachusetts. The passages I read referred to social marriage, not legal marriage. Of the recent cases I’ve read, court decisions upholding marriage discrimination have relied on deference to legislative pre-eminence in the creation of laws (that is, the courts will both respect that the legislature knows what it’s doing when it creates discriminatory laws, and will correct its errors on its own). The 4-3 decision of the Maryland supreme court, like that of the Washington state supreme court, essentially said, “we’ll uphold the statute this time but why don’t you guys get your act together and fix this law, so we don’t have to embarrass you and strike it down!”

    As courts and American citizens are recognizing, however one might wish to view marriage, that view is in no way impacted when same-sex couples marry.

    “Of course there is, it was shown in the legal decisions. But he does explain why he thinks there isn’t any…”

    I don’t think you understand how the law works. Judges are free to refer to social beliefs in gauging the intent of the legislature for the purposes of judging a law’s public purpose. On this topic, judges have been afraid to get too far ahead of public opinion, and have deferred to legislatures by offering them cover for discriminatory marriage statutes. More and more judges have run out of patience with legislative foot-dragging and are no longer stalling for time. The Massachusetts Supreme Court went first and has been followed by other state courts, with the Iowa Supreme Court unanimous decision sounding the death knell for marriage discrimination.

    “The connection given does not require such enforcement with mathematical precision as Sean demands.”

    Actually there is no connection between procreation and marriage, so it’s not even a matter of a few exceptions slipping, as OnLawn wants to suggest. Not only are elderly couples allowed to marry, but so are infertile couples of any age, and couples who don’t want to have children. These are a lot of exceptions! But more importantly, there is no effort to demand that couples who marry have children. Nowhere does the state express the belief that marriage is for couples who can and intend to procreate, as a condition of marriage.

    It’s sort of like saying that a bride must wear a diamond engagement ring in order to marry: it might be tradition to so, but legally, she can wear cubic zirconia, instead.

    “That Sean wishes to persist in demanding that this one out of many possible connections must exist to acknowledge what millions have acknowledged in any case, shows his own prejudice against the disabled.”

    Sean strongly advocates for the right of the disabled to marry! Sean advocates that all consenting adult couples not too young or too related be allowed to marry, regardless of race, creed, national origin, sexual orientation or religion.

    “But that is not a rebuttal against the position, it is just a misrepresentation of it”

    Well, try to stick with one position long enough and I’ll be better able to understand it. You’ve tried to redefine marriage as solely for couples with or planning to have, children; then you wanted to include infertile couples, whom you defined as having a disability. Then you wanted to include all couples who could procreate, or at least look like they could procreate. I should have created a scorecard or program when this whole discussion began. I didn’t anticipate the twists and turns of an argument best characterized as “what if I describe it this way? Does that work?”!!!

    “Sean’s exceptions to the rule only show that Sean expects the law, which is bound by concerns of privacy and some sense of freedom for its subjects, to instead by as universal and perfect in its enforcement as mathematics has in its exploration of theoretical laws of discrete sets.”

    Not hardly. What Sean expects of a law is that if it has a purpose, it should accomplish that purpose, without violating anyone’s constitutional rights. If legal marriage is to reward couples for having children, then couples who don’t have children shouldn’t be allowed to marry. If marriage is about legalizing committed relationships, then ALL committed relationships should be eligible. Currently, in state that practice marriage discrimination, marriage is to reward opposite-sexness: opposite-sex couples, even those composed of a gay man and a lesbian, are allowed to marry. Same-sex couples, even those composed of two straight men or two straight women, cannot marry.

    Please explain why some states wish to reward opposite-sex couples but not same-sex couples. Thank you.

    “A connection has been shown that Sean cannot deny”

    A connection between what? Certainly not marriage and children: no one has to have kids in order to get married, and no one who has kids has to get married. Social or moral disapproval aside.

    “Sean tries to demand connections as proof which are not reasonable, rational or logical in the biological realm they are based in.”

    Sean’s less interested in the biological realm, but rather the legal realm. Legally, it appears to be, no kids? No problem: you can get married anyway. This would appear to undermine claims that procreational abilities or intentions underlie legal access to marriage. Food for thought.

    “And all this, so he can come to a pre-drawn conclusion which would deny rights to children and spouses in how we procreate.”

    Once again (thank goodness I don’t mind repeating myself!), whatever rights you seem to think children have relating to the marital status of their parents, those rights are unaffected when same-sex couples marry. Please explain why you think the children of opposite-sex couples deserve special rights and the children of same-sex couples don’t. Thank you.

  35. October 15th, 2010 at 10:00 | #35

    Sean: > From what I saw, you cited legal cases from long ago, before gay sex was decriminalized and same-sex marriage was legal in Massachusetts.

    Some were, and some were after.

    That alone discredits any point you try to make from that inference, however I can’t help but notice you don’t actually have a point in inferring that makes a difference about what marriage is and has been considered.

    After all, when you say marriage is not about procreation, at all, you don’t seem to try to say that you only mean marriage since Lawrence v Texas. Interesting…

    And that seems to ignore O’Connor’s concurrance that defending traditional marriage is a rational reason, bridging the judgement of the olden days past the the Lawrence hurdle that you, yourself, imagine to exist. Well, then again you’ve only imagined it to exist after being disproven on your other arguments.

    Sean; > The passages I read referred to social marriage, not legal marriage.

    You mean the passages in jusrisprudence that I presented?

    The slight of hand in Sean’s comment is obvious when presented with the whole story.

    After all, Sean can acknowledge the link between the two … sometimes…

    Judges are free to refer to social beliefs in gauging the intent of the legislature for the purposes of judging a law’s public purpose.

    Hence a legal link between procreation and marriage :)

    For folks just tuning in, this may seem remarkable that Sean winds up proving my point even in the midst of trying to disprove it. However, I’ve found this to be the case since I started discussing this with him. There he provided examples of Judge Walker’s bias, while trying to argue that he was not biased in the Prop 8 decision. I counted at least four such instances in that sideline alone.

    Sean is right in one other statement, if you remove just one word… The Massachusetts Supreme Court went first and has been followed by other state courts, with the Iowa Supreme Court unanimous decision sounding the death knell for marriage [].

    Of course he said “marriage discrimination” at the last part there, but indeed since not all same-sex couples or opposite sex couples are recognized in marriage, the discrimination he claims to be fighting against, continues to exist. And Sean has noted he is just fine with it existing. So removing that contradiction we find an accurate statement. The death knell for marriage happened in Massachusetts with the Goodridge decision, and it was replaced by something different, something based on what same-sex couples can do in prejudice against the other gender, rather than what both genders can do together.

    You can see this manifest in Sean’s own writings as he says, “Actually there is no connection between procreation and marriage,”

    Just his own admission of the damage he wishes to do to marriage. Now go back to the beginning of this comment where this subject was first discussed :)

    Sean’s persistance in contradiction shows his prejudice, bias, and intolerance.

  36. October 15th, 2010 at 10:00 | #36

    Sorry, the quote should close in the first paragraph of the quote. In case that was unclear to anyone …

  37. Sean
    October 16th, 2010 at 22:57 | #37

    “After all, when you say marriage is not about procreation, at all, you don’t seem to try to say that you only mean marriage since Lawrence v Texas. Interesting…”

    I didn’t say marriage isn’t about procreation, but that there is no LEGAL connection between marriage and procreation. Many couples get married in order to start families, and they certainly are free to believe that they should be married before the kids start arriving. Many infertile couples marry and their marriages are not denied or invalidated for lack of children or even a lack of procreative ability. A couple can stand before a marriage license clerk and foreswear their intention to never procreate, and they will still be granted a marriage license.

    Lawrence v. Texas did not consider procreation or marriage, but rather private consensual sex. It’s significance for same-sex marriage is:

    1. It demonstrates ongoing animosity towards gays, further supporting the contention that gays and lesbians are members of a suspect class, and,
    2. It further reduces the differential status accorded opposite-sex couples and the presumed superiority that leads to their primacy in society. In other words, Straight Supremacy is further eroded and exclusive rewards for straight people, such as marriage and its attendant 1,500 benefits, are even harder to justify. Gay sex is as good as straight sex, even if straight sex generally leads to children. As Scalia noted, game over for any possible social preference for straight sex (and straight couples).

    “O’Connor’s concurrance (sic) that defending traditional marriage is a rational reason”

    There are all sorts of people who believe that the state has an interest in promoting traditional marriage, that is, opposite-sex marriage. When asked what the state’s interest is in permitting opposite-sex couples to marry while excluding same-sex couples from marrying, little evidence is offered: the superiority of straightness and/or the inferiority of gayness, and their effect on the public well-being, is not explained. And that’s the problem for the marriage discrimination crowd. Same-sex marriage is looked upon by some the way women voting was looking upon by some in an earlier age: self-evidently unacceptable, with no explanation required.

    But these days, people ARE asking for evidence: we’ve passed a point of self-evidence; several states do offer same-sex couples marriage licenses, as does the nation’s capital; gays and lesbians are no longer considered to be mentally disordered, except by people whose own mental faculties can be called into question (such as the GOP gubernatorial candidate in New York), gay sex is legal now, etc.

    The very fact that people can’t seem to agree on what the purpose is in the first place is illuminating. Why ARE couples allowed to get married, and why do they do so? It’s easy (and legally acceptable) for judges to “punt” the issue back to the legislatures of their states (“deference to the rational purpose of the law and the intents of the legislature to accomplish that purpose”) so long as those judges rely on “they gave us a reason, and that’s good enough for us!” deference rather than “does the reason they gave us actually accomplish what they say it is supposed to?” deference. Many judges have chosen the former, and upheld discriminatory marriage statutes. Many (Iowa’s Supreme Court, for example) have chosen the latter, and found they had to strike down discriminatory marriage statutes. Maryland and Washington state courts chose a hybrid: “we all know this law makes no sense and serves no public purpose but just to keep the peace between our respective branches of government, we’ll let this law stand for now. A few years from now, if this law is still around, we might not be so accommodating.” At least that’s how I read their marriage discrimination decisions.

    “The death knell for marriage happened in Massachusetts with the Goodridge decision, and it was replaced by something different, something based on what same-sex couples can do in prejudice against the other gender, rather than what both genders can do together.”

    This cynical bit of wordplay is undeserving of remark, but will get one anyway. You want marriage to be limited to opposite-sex couples, so you reject any deviation from that as something other than marriage. Perhaps you’re holding your breath at the same time, threatening to turn blue. But if marriage had materially changed, you would still get married, if you desired a legal mate, and lived in Massachusetts. Your own personal view of marriage would be unchanged: your reasons to get married, your expectations of a marriage, your choice of a marriage partner, etc. Once married, you’d refer to yourself as married. You like to say that marriage is destroyed when same-sex couples marry, replaced by something else, but your actions betray your words.

    I’d like to read about the Iowa couple who divorced in response to legal same-sex marriage, reasoning that marriage had changed too drastically for their tastes, and was no longer useful for them, or the Massachusetts couple who ended their engagement once same-sex marriage became legal there, since marriage had become altered so greatly by same-sex couple participation that it was no longer appealing to them, or the married Vermont couple who decided not to have children once their perception of what legal marriage was all about (procreation) changed when same-sex non-procreators got marriage rights.

    It’s funny about the marriage discrimination crowd: they think that the doom-and-gloom that will surely accompany legal same-sex marriage will only affect other people, not themselves. Makes you wonder just how sincere they are about their doom-and-gloom predictions!

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