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Is Marriage merely a social construct?

December 29th, 2010

Over at the Public Discourse Ryan Anderson and Sherif Girgis, young proteges of Robby George, respond to Prof Andrew Koppleman’s claim that marriage is nothing but a social construct. They get the better of Prof Koppleman, but there is one point I would add, for the benefit of the libertarians who come around this site.

It is clear from the context that Prof Koppleman believes that all human institutions are mere conventions, constructed for convenience. Therefore, he believes human institutions can be reconstructed at will. My point to the libertarians is that they would never accept this argument with respect to the market, or the right to private property. The market, while regulated and recognized by the state, has pre-political realities embedded within it: the fact that people take better care of things that belong to them than to things owned in common, the natural urge to truck and barter, the fact that people respond to incentives in a systematic and predictable way, the need to own the fruits of one’s labor in order to survive. These are all pre-political realities that the modern market economy recognizes and respects. The problems assoicated with central economic planning arise because it flies in the face of these natural realities.

Libertarians, I take it, prefer the free market because it is more respectful of the pre-political naturally occuring economic realities than the alternatives. Therefore it requires less micro-managing by the government, and just generally works better at producing material goods at lower cost than the government-managed alternatives.

But look libertarians: conjugal marriage is comparable to the market. Conjugal, natural marriage is a pre-political realitiy that has long predated any existing government. Until the government started actively attacking marriage in the last 60 years by removing its most basic features, natural marriage could function with a relatively lean structure of law. Natural parenthood, mother and father, are concepts well-understood to everyone. The legal institution of connjugal marriage supports natural parenthood. Marriage, along with a presumption of sexual fidelity within marriage, attaches natural mothers and fathers to their natural chidlren, as the routine, default procedure. For every child, there is a mother and a father.

With same sex marriage, the state proposes to create something that really is completely and entirely a social and legal construct. Same sex marriage cannot stand without specific protections from the state. Same sex couples cannnot produce a single child without the active assistance of other people, which includes the cooperation of the legal system in declaring the child to be theirs. And the state fully intends to give itself all the powers it needs to make man woman marriage and same sex marriage identical institutions. But since there really are differencernce between men and women, there are differences between couples with two men, two women or one of each. The state that is committed to wiping out all differencence is a state that has written itself a blank check to intervene in every area of social life. We have already seen this in Canada.

So: redefining marriage from being the union of a man and a woman to being the union of any two persons means replacing a natural, pre-political reality that can run unassisted the vast majority of the time with something that is entirely the creation of the state, something completely socially constructed, something that will require continual coddling by the state in order to survive.

Tell me again how this is a libertarian move? How does this limit the power of the state?

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  1. Martin Snigg
    December 29th, 2010 at 15:56 | #1

    Excellent reminder Dr. J that “libertarianism and communitarianism are opposite sides of the same debased coinage” [Phillip Blond] Promulgating[sic] ssm would require the pervasive proxy representation of the state, which by libertarianism’s own terms is illegitimate.

  2. Sean
    December 29th, 2010 at 17:28 | #2

    It continues to impress, the imaginative descriptions of opposite-sex marriage! It runs itself?! Uh, ok. Didn’t the government get involved in marriage because of unacceptable abuses, such as child marriage?

    As usual, whatever you conceive marriage to be, it continues to be that, even when same-sex marriage is legal. No form of marriage has ever depended on same-sex marriage being illegal. No purpose of marriage is compromised or impaired when same-sex marriage is legal.

  3. Leo
    December 30th, 2010 at 09:28 | #3

    It continues to impress, Sean’s imagination, that is. Government’s involvement in marriage began with the prevention of child marriage? Evidence please. For contrary evidence, I would present child marriage in medieval times and the persistence of child marriage in some countries today. Government in both cases was or is involved in marriage, but did not always then nor does not in some countries even today forbid child marriage.

    Sean does not wish society to have any institution that gives any special legal status to naturally procreating couples because of what he conceives marriage to be, which apparently is whatever a couple wants it to be. In that conception, he is at odds with the vast majority of mankind. Sean has a right to his opinions. It is the legal imposition of that opinion that troubles me.

  4. Martin Snigg
    December 30th, 2010 at 11:48 | #4

    Yes it does run itself up to a point Sean. That’s nature. Surely it is nature that you appeal to when you talk about ‘rights’ ‘justice’ the ‘fairness’ of ssm. Surely you think it ‘natural’ that governments arise to help order public goods in human societies – otherwise it would be illegitimate to ask it to make laws promoting ssm. Sometimes governments go wrong indeed, as marriage does. But if there wasn’t an order in nature at all that could go wrong and therefore be put right by working for justice why are you sacrificing your time and effort to right wrongs by writing in here?

    In other words – you appeal to nature when you talk about justice but deny it when it is used to show why marriage is intrinsically heterosexual.

    Now as it happens Christianity has an explanation for this confusion – the uncontroversial empirical observation is that humans tend to malfunction (see violence, death, human evil generally, sickness, death) it’s called in Christianity ‘original sin’ – so thoughts and sexuality can be disordered because human nature is not working properly. It has a glitch. Typically unnatural and harmful things can be desired when they shouldn’t be, thoughts and acts indulged habitually can become connatural – second nature – and therefore experienced as if primary and believed to be such.

    If the logical contradiction of ssm wasn’t discussed in the past this is a sign of health.

    “No purpose of marriage is compromised. . .” Restatement isn’t rebuttal Sean.

  5. December 31st, 2010 at 08:03 | #5

    “whatever you conceive marriage to be, it continues to be that, even when same-sex marriage is legal.”

    It does not continue to express approval for conceiving offspring together using the couple’s own unmodified genes, because same-sex couples cannot conceive offspring using their own unmodified genes. It either continues to express approval of conceiving offspring, but using modified genes, or it stops expressing approval of conceiving offspring.

  6. Sean
    December 31st, 2010 at 12:03 | #6

    “what he conceives marriage to be, which apparently is whatever a couple wants it to be.”

    Exactly. No two marriages are the same, and marriage very much is whatever the couple wants it to be. Excluding a particular group from marriage, therefore, does nothing to define what marriage is or isn’t. It’s personal, just like the motivations for getting married.

  7. Sean
    December 31st, 2010 at 12:04 | #7

    “Sean has a right to his opinions. It is the legal imposition of that opinion that troubles me.”

    I’m as troubled by your legal imposition of your version of marriage. At least my opinion lets each person have access to marriage, protects children, and honors our nation’s constitution. Yours doesn’t.

  8. Sean
    December 31st, 2010 at 12:07 | #8

    Martin, it bears repeating: whatever you want marriage to be, that doesn’t change when same-sex couples get married. Marriage has never been defined as one man, one woman, to the exclusion of same-sex couples. Sort of like voting: just because it was the province, traditionally, of men, that doesn’t mean that women can’t do it, and that a man’s right to vote is in any way diminished once women vote.

  9. Anna
    December 31st, 2010 at 14:27 | #9

    Thank you, Dr. Morse, for this insightful post.

    I find it frustrating when discussing marriage with Libertarians because it seems many of them no longer understand the rationale behind support for free markets is grounded in, as you say, pre- political realities of human nature and human interaction.
    And for liberty to flourish ( meaning the gov’t stays out of our lives to the extent possible) a society must rely on our non- political institutions to transmit values, morals and accumulated wisdom from generation to generation.

    Libertarian philosophy, at least the Burkean kind, is not just the freedom to do whatever one pleases as long as there is no obvious harm or the activity is consensual.

    I agree with your view that redefining marriage decreases liberty and requires the gov’t to get involved in our most intimate relationships of husband/wife and parent/child.

  10. Martin Snigg
    December 31st, 2010 at 14:57 | #10

    That seems to be all you do Sean. Repeat. It has been made clear many times that marriage is pre-political, it is the first state and any subsequent polis stands on this, again there is no voting or state at all without the families that produce citizens capable of ordered liberty. No one has argued that expanding the franchise militates against the essence of democratic participation, but in here your interlocutors have shown how expanding marriage to include male/male female/female does militate against the essence of marriage. And it bears repeating it is what you scrupulously avoid contending with. You simply repeat that what you say is progress really is progress and attach your ideas to the livery of some social improvement, usually Christian inspired and Church organised, the opposite of this current movement. I don’t believe you will be interested in reading an article by a ssa woman, Eve Tushnet, about the obvious effects of ssm but I will post it for the record. http://www.staycatholic.com/what_homosexuals_want.htm

    It is unserious in the extreme to imply redefining marriage will have no public effects, its a common refrain from people like Sullivan that it will have good! effects but no one takes seriously the idea it will be innocuous. This denial of yours is STAGE 1 in a well known strategy of culture warriors like yourself.

    Edward Feser: (focusing on the grievous threat to millions of citizen’s religious freedom from ss marriage, one effect that anti-Christians squirm with delight about and find ssm a vehicle particularly effective for advancing)

    “To the charge that liberals are (or, given their principles, should be) in favor of X [where X = legalizing abortion, liberalizing obscenity laws, banning smoking on private property, legalizing “same-sex marriage,” outlawing the public advocacy of traditional sexual morality, etc. etc.], the standard liberal response goes through about five stages (with, it seems, roughly 5-10 years passing between each stage, though sometimes the transition is much quicker than that). Here they are:

    Stage 1: “Oh please. Only a far-right-wing nutjob would make such a paranoid and ridiculous accusation – I suppose next you’ll accuse us of wanting to poison your precious bodily fluids!”

    Stage 2: “Well, I wouldn’t go as far as X. All the same, it’s good to be open-minded about these things. I mean, people used to think ending slavery was a crazy idea too…”

    Stage 3: “Hey, the Europeans have had X for years and the sky hasn’t fallen. But no, I admit that this backward country probably isn’t ready for X yet.”

    Stage 4: “Of course I’m in favor of X – it’s in the Constitution! Only a far-right-wing nutjob could possibly oppose it.”

    Stage 5: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law…”

    With respect to the severe threat to religious liberty described by Frum, we’re probably already at stage 2 here in the US. But given how quickly “same-sex marriage” has jumped from stage 1 to stage 4, I wouldn’t be surprised if mainstream American liberals start calling in five or ten years for restrictions on the rights of religious organizations to “discriminate” in hiring practices or publicly to teach doctrines that might be offensive to “sexual minorities.” (The theoretical groundwork is already there. See my review of Amy Gutmann’s book Identity in Democracy.) Or at least, this will be the inevitable next step if “same-sex marriage” makes serious headway in the US.

    Fortunately, though, we can rely on conservatives to hold the line, and indeed to turn back liberal advances. Right?

    Well, no, of course not. (You can stop rolling your eyes, I was being facetious.) For conservatives – or maybe I should say “conservatives” (since there’s very little that they ever actually manage to conserve, unless money is somehow involved) – seem to go through five stages of their own. Here they are:

    Stage 1: “Mark my words: if the extreme left had its way, they’d foist X upon us! These nutjobs must be opposed at all costs.”

    Stage 2: “Omigosh, now even thoughtful, mainstream liberals favor X! Fortunately, it’s political suicide.”

    Stage 3: “X now exists in 45 out of 50 states. Fellow conservatives, we need to learn how to adjust to this grim new reality.”

    Stage 4: “X isn’t so bad, really, when you think about it. And you know, sometimes change is good. Consider slavery…”

    Stage 5: “Hey, I was always in favor of X! You must have me confused with a [paleocon, theocon, Bible thumper, etc.]. But everyone knows that mainstream conservatism has nothing to do with those nutjobs…”

    Nope, they don’t call ‘em the Evil Party and the Stupid Party for nothing.”

  11. Jamie
    December 31st, 2010 at 23:44 | #11

    Okay, pre political doesn’t stop it being a social construct! I have studied sociology. So um, let me say this much: marriage was created by people for social reasons. Sex is not a social construct. Religion may be a biological construct, we aren’t totally sure. Government is a social construct, but it, what is the word? Well, we are naturally inclined towards it. Marriage is, yes, pre-political. But, it is also a social construct, as it was formed of early human society. If not, it would be far more uniform across the board. Before you say it is, I would like to say that Native Americans had no fault divorce.

  12. Sean
    January 1st, 2011 at 10:39 | #12

    Martin,

    I think you fail to realize that society has changed and its institutions are changing also. It used to be that only men voted; now women vote, too. It used to be that only men were educated; now women are educated. It used to be that only opposite-sex couples formed committed, lasting relationships.

    Because times are changing, there’s no need for institutions, like marriage, to resist change. It seems that the debate involves what the purpose of marriage is. Well, marriage can be whatever any particular couple wants it to be. No couple is required to foreswear its reasons for getting married. Why someone wants a marriage license is of no interest to the state. Likewise, there is little interest on the part of the state in who marries, beyond age and relatedness. There’s no public purpose or interest in prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. There is much good public benefit though: the creation of more stable family units, greater security for the children being raised by same-sex couples and adhering to the nation’s constitutional guarantee of equal treatment for all citizens.

    “This denial of yours is STAGE 1 in a well known strategy of culture warriors like yourself.”

    I humbly point out that culture warriors like yourself love to predict dire consequences of change, while failing to articulate just what those dire consequences are. I have identified several very positive outcomes when same-sex marriage becomes legal. What are the dire consequences you predict? Are they important enough to offset the positives I noted?

    Your claim of loss of religious freedom seems disingenuine. No religion has the right to impose its beliefs on others. If they could, Christians would have been able to get divorce outlawed in America. Or adultery. Or any number of other biblical prohibitions. They haven’t.

  13. January 1st, 2011 at 15:41 | #13

    “What are the dire consequences you predict?”

    Loss of equal reproductive rights and the belief in equality itself, and a mis-allocation of resources leading to catastrophic climate problems and economic breakdown.

  14. Martin Snigg
    January 1st, 2011 at 17:23 | #14

    “What ever anyone wants it to be” what about say . . . majorities? say . . . the majority of couples in society want marriage to stay as it is between a man and a woman? But then on what basis is the Prop 8 vote appealed? You need to give ontological and natural that are the basis of a rationale to limit the capacity of this majority of couples to assert “whatever they want marriage to be”.

    Sean you have an image in your mind of what progress is but you don’t argue for it. You just assume it. For example let me just reverse your words: “I think you fail to realise that society is changing, people are waking up to the tactics of the culture warriors, and refuse to be bullied anymore; the gay lobby needs to change with the times and begin to debate in a civil manner and denounce the reflexive use of ‘homophobe’ or ‘hate speech’ to characterise disagreement with the gay lobby’s agenda. There is no need to for the gay lobby to resist change, they’re not properly aware that gay marriage would do more harm to ssa people and their various longings.”

    “why someone wants a marriage license is of no interest to the state” It most certainly is. The state promotes all kinds of images to get people to want certain things so that money is wasted compelling them. At the present time the mandarins recognise their rule depends on promoting individualism and unravelling society which is a direct threat to their status and power umbilically connected to state power as they are. Its much easier going up against lone individuals than things like churches, societies with shared understandings, guilds and voluntary associations etc.

    This is why nominalism is pushed so vigorously – “there are no real natures to be discerned, there are only names. We can redefine things however we wish to suit ourselves, and as it happens it suits us to redefine marriage as having reality only within the wills/desires of the adults currently alive and walking about, and more precisely the adults in positions of power to act as opinion shapers: us (selfish baby boomers mostly).

    “theres no public purpose .. . ” is again just restatement. Eve Tushnet showed how traditional marriage norms are not desired by homosexuals at all, in fact marriage per se is basically not wanted.

    “equal treatment . . ” however equal you think it is for the tiny minority of citizens that want to marry their own sex the vast majority will be negatively affected in the way Eve Tushnet outlines. But you didn’t read her.

    “loss of religious freedom…” Biblical sexual morality prohibits ss acts. For the state to rule that equality rights for unchosen traits like race, sex, age, disability etc is the same as a behaviour, one that stems from desires adopted into a world view, deliberated upon and then acted out is a stunning philosophical position: it opens the way for any desire, if felt strongly enough, to claim state sanction and promotion – this new metaphysical teaching will affects everyone wherever their lives touch the state (which is now pretty much everywhere).

    It also means that when a Christian speaks in public about right and wrong it will conflict directly with what is promoted by the state – for the state has ruled that calling homosexual sexual acts wrong is akin to racism! And the destruction of the churches, without direct force of arms and the making of martyrs would have been achieved: the ambition of the totalitarians for centuries.

    This is why so many who feel alienated from Christianity, because following Jesus is difficult, gravitate to this issue. They don’t really care about ssa people per se, nor do they care about Muslims per se, but both are readily available weapons with which to remove the last impediments to their total rule – Christianity, Jesus and His Church.

  15. Martin Snigg
    January 1st, 2011 at 17:25 | #15

    @Jamie
    Jamie I think my first point to Sean answers your objection as far as I understand it.

  16. chrisse
    January 1st, 2011 at 18:00 | #16

    @Jamie
    marriage was created by people for social reasons: Fail, Jamie
    Marriage was the social recognition of what mother nature designed, that is, the public declaration.

    1. The female was designed by mother nature to have guaranteed genetic offspring. Her genes are guaranteed to continue (generally speaking, exceptions irrelevant to the overall design for the purposes of this discussion).

    2. The male was designed by mother nature to only have opportunity for genetic offspring.

    This design leaves a problem. For the female, she still needs to ensure the survival of her offspring. For the male he needs to also ensure the survival of his offspring as well as the highest guarantee they are his offspring. So mother nature provided the solution -

    3. Males and females seek each other for the purpose of procreation in order for their shared genetic offspring survive. To randomly procreate and not ensure survival of the offspring achieves nothing and is unnatural; it is disordered according to mother nature’s design.

    The solution – one male/ one female marriage – is the best solution for both the male and female procreative needs and is complementary to mother nature’s design. And is evidenced across all cultures and time. Other groupings are the exception to the whole.

    That’s just common sense and within natural law.

  17. Jamie
    January 2nd, 2011 at 12:55 | #17

    @chrisse

    Fail? Okay, where are you getting your beliefs, or are they simply your beliefs?

    You really don’t understand what it means for something to be a social construct, do you? You assume I am saying that a bunch of people got together and started marriage. What a social construct is, is something which was created by human society. It was created to curb the natural tendencies of both sexes to seek out multiple patenters. Such an natural tendency helped them to reproduce, to be sure, but created an unstable society. Thus, various human societies came up with very similar solutions. Some were polygmatic in nature, some were matrimonial, and some were polyamorous. In a lot of places, in fact, marriage was definitely not permanent (various native american cultures) while in others, having multiple wives at a time was permissible. Various societies flourished, and blah blah blah. Mother nature actually drives humans to mate often (more in males than in females, though their sex drives are equal, males are more inclined to act upon them)and with multiple partners.
    Marriage can also be seen as a kind of social control of females by males, to ensure that it is the male’s offspring being produced, and not another’s, whom the male would not be inclined to provide for without proper social mores, which haven’t existed for too long. Thus, marriages in which the female may not divorce, and societies in which females may be stoned to death for ‘adultery’ perpetuate male dominance over women, by allowing males to control the sexual reproductive cycle of females, and insure their own genetic code would be passed on. Did you know, in most native american societies, women could simply leave a man, no explination, no hurt feelings, just remove his shit from her house when he was out hunting, and they would both remarry. And no, thats not why they died out.

    Also, contrary to Genesis, females are the default, males are the modified version. Common sense is often wrong, honey.

  18. Sean
    January 2nd, 2011 at 15:45 | #18

    Martin,

    Obviously you’ve created an image in your mind of the gay man or woman as a villain, undeserving of the equal rights you have. I invite you to replace that imagined gay man with a black man or an Asian man or a Jewish man. Can you still imagine reserving a fundamental right, marriage, for yourself and denying it to any of these other groups? I bet you can’t.

    “equal treatment . . ” however equal you think it is for the tiny minority of citizens that want to marry their own sex the vast majority will be negatively affected in the way Eve Tushnet outlines. But you didn’t read her.”

    No I didn’t. Because I’ve read enough of the homophobic rantings of people I imagine her to be. I’ve heard it all: society will come unglued if same-sex couples marry! It’s the end of the world if same-sex couples marry! God will punish America is same-sex couples marry! Enough already. I don’t need to keep reading these same dire predictions. Nor do you. Articulate something specific, and then tell us why is more important than honoring our nation’s guarantee of equal treatment for all citizens, why the relationships of gay couples are worth less than the relationships of opposite-sex couples, and why the children being raised by same-sex couples are less worthy of the security we want for the children of opposite-sex couples.

    “Biblical sexual morality prohibits ss acts.”

    It also prohibits adultery and divorce, but that doesn’t seem to stop straight people from doing those things, and legalizing them. If we’re going to impose biblical marriage, let’s impose it on straight people, too, not just gay people. People of faith lose a lot of points in the court of public opinion when they insist they are allowed to sin but others aren’t. Oh yeah, we don’t make laws in this country based on religious beliefs!

  19. January 2nd, 2011 at 15:47 | #19

    Jamie
    “Marriage can also be seen as a kind of social control of females by males, to ensure that it is the male’s offspring being produced, and not another’s, whom the male would not be inclined to provide for without proper social mores, which haven’t existed for too long.”
    you could just as well see marriage as a social control of males by females. It is the institution of marriage which requires men to support their children, and their children’s mother. Where marriage disappears, women are on their own, and men are off the hook. That is the story of the US underclass, of all races.

  20. January 2nd, 2011 at 16:51 | #20

    Of course, now men are required to support their children even if they aren’t married (and their mother). (Check out the history of child support legislation, and the history of paternity testing) The only way to get out of it is to not earn any money, or earn it all under the table, or, be a sperm donor.

  21. Jamie
    January 2nd, 2011 at 20:13 | #21

    @Jennifer Roback Morse

    Yes, but what you failed to notice was everything that followed that statement, which clarified how it acted as a social control. But yes, in today’s society it can be seen as now acting as a protection for women, though to say it has always been would be naive. Now that (some) men have less of an interest in continuing their family line, they no longer have reason to want to ensure their genetic data passes on, and so simply seek pleasure.

  22. Ruth
    January 3rd, 2011 at 10:50 | #22

    @Martin Snigg
    Thank you for the link.
    An excerpt:
    “Same-sex marriage is just the next step in the divorce culture. The belief that marriage is merely the way that our culture expresses its approval of atomistic adults’ sexual and romantic partnerships isn’t new – it’s the same ‘me generation’ worldview that produced ‘fatherless America.’”

  23. Leo
    January 4th, 2011 at 07:56 | #23

    If Sean wishes to have a private definition of marriage (“whatever a couple wants’), that is his business. The courts should not force that definition on the rest of us. I have consistently argued for a bedrock principle of American government, the consent of the governed. Sean’s does not acknowledge that principle. That does not honor the constitution. Defining marriage as “whatever a couple wants it to be” is not protective of children. Moreover, such a definition eviscerates any public meaning, cultural or legal, for the word “marriage.”

    Sean redefines marriage into something publicly meaningless and insists this redefinition be imposed by the courts against the historically, insistently, and repeatedly expressed will of the people, and then pretends this will have no effect on traditional marriage or on American democracy.

  24. Sean
    January 4th, 2011 at 11:21 | #24

    “The courts should not force that definition on the rest of us.”

    Nothing is being forced on you. You are free to marry the opposite-sex partner of your choice. What’s being forced is the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal treatment and due process. That stops the government from giving rights to some people but not to others.

    The US Constitution was passed with the consent of the governed, specifically the legislators of the states, who represent the governed. The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and no law may be enacted that violates constitutional rights, including equal treatment. Even a law created by popular vote may not violate the US Constitution, or the state constitution, as appropriate.

    We don’t ignore our fellow citizens’ rights just because we don’t like them or our religion tells us to do one thing or another.

    Modern-day marriage is the legalization of a committed relationship. It is no longer for life, no longer is the wife the husband’s property and now, no longer must the couple be opposite sexed. The many benefits of the latest incarnation of marriage are many.

  25. Jamie
    January 4th, 2011 at 15:34 | #25

    @Leo

    Uh, your definition of marriage is being forced on the LGBTQ community. So, please, don’t victimize yourself. No one has the right to oppress the minority for the benefit, let alone comfort, of the majority. And no, nothing bad will happen if Marriage is extended to gays.

  26. Leo
    January 4th, 2011 at 16:53 | #26

    What, I wonder, does Sean mean by “a committed relationship?” and what legal rights must be conferred upon such a vaguely defined relationship and why. Does he mean sexually exclusive? Does he mean temporarily committed until either party wants out for any reason? Is it limited to parties of two, and if so, why? I am wondering what these many benefits to society are he is referring to.

    In making his argument Sean ignoring the case law that it on point (Baker v Nelson) and anticipating its overthrow. That has not happened yet and very well might not come to pass, in which case Sean’s constitutional argument will ring hollow.

    If, however, Baker v Nelso is overturned, the people have the right to pass a federal DOMA amendment. There are enough states to do so my constitutional convention, and as a political issue, the people, when given a choice, have always favored DOMA laws. The people have a right to define their own constitution. Otherwise they are slaves to the state. Democracy may have its weaknesses, but it is superior to tyranny.

  27. Sean
    January 4th, 2011 at 18:53 | #27

    What’s vague about a committed relationship? The two people entering it don’t seem to be confused and they’re the only two people who matter!

    Society benefits when any two people create a committed relationship, because they take care of each other, so society doesn’t have to. That’s why, for one reason, hospital visitation rights are so important to couples: the well partner knows what the ill partner wants done, in the event he or she isn’t sentient.

    Baker v Nelson, as a number of courts have recognized, no longer controls. Legal circumstances have changed.

    The people have never favored revising the US constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. Today, each state gets to decide if it wishes to discriminate against its gay citizens, or not. Tomorrow, the US Supreme Court may wish to regularize such inconsistency.

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