Home > Political Correctness, Same Sex Marriage > Symbol of Stupidity

Symbol of Stupidity

July 26th, 2011

I’ve noticed that writing about symbols is a sure way to generate a lot of hate mail from my “feel the love” Friends With Wrong Ideas. But here goes anyway.

Regular Ruth Readers have heard me say many times that “equality” is not a stand-alone concept.  The term “equality” needs a referent:  who is equal to whom and in what context?  If you don’t specify those basic parameters, the concept of equality means exactly nothing. It is similar to saying “mine’s bigger,” without saying “what exactly of yours are we talking about?” or “bigger than what?”

Evading this elementary problem of context is the heart of the rhetorical strategy of the advocates for so-called marriage equality.  I have argued elsewhere that the “marriage equality” concept is nonsense.  I’m convinced that treating same sex couples identically at law with opposite sex couples will create new forms of inequality in all the relationships that depend on or derive from marriage.  Fathers of the children in lesbian relationships won’t be equal to other fathers; children of same sex couples won’t be equal to other children.  And most recently, we’ve shown on this blog that biological mothers in sexual relationships with other women will not be treated equally with other mothers.

This is why “marriage equality” is impossible. The newly redefined institution either won’t be really equal for everyone, or it won’t be marriage.

But this is a complex set of arguments.  They are time-consuming to explain and not easily amenable to sound bites. This is a big disadvantage for our side.  But, as it happens, one of the leading marriage redefinition groups has come up with the perfect symbol for making this very point. Allow me to explain.

In mathematics, one never sees an equal sign standing all by itself.  An equal sign will have something on either side of it, as in “2+2” on one side of the equal sign, and the numeral “4” on the other.  Or, one might see a scientific law or formula using an equal sign, such as f=ma or MV=PQ.  But an equal sign standing alone, with nothing on either side, means exactly nothing: a pair of horizontal lines of no special significance.

This naked equal sign is the perfect symbol for marriage “equality:” both are meaningless concepts. Both fail to specify the terms that would allow the concept to contain any meaning.

This is why I am grateful to the marriage redefinition organization that gives its supporters equal signs for bumper stickers.  I’m sure they think they are striking a symbolic blow for “marriage equality.” But in fact, they are driving around with their mathematical and logical ignorance “proudly” on display.

 

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  1. July 26th, 2011 at 11:10 | #1

    That’s a pretty funny comment coming from a “marriage = one man + one woman” group, yet whose logo looks like a 6-person group marriage!

  2. July 26th, 2011 at 11:12 | #2

    According to the US Constitution, no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    It’s not really that difficult to understand, folks.

  3. Ari
    July 26th, 2011 at 11:16 | #3

    Rob,
    And you GET equal protection. You as an LGBTQQI man are allowed to find any willing woman and marry her just as I did. I, as a heterosexual man, am not allowed to find another man and “marry” him, even if I have a good reason or really, really want to.

    We’re in exactly the same situation.

  4. July 26th, 2011 at 12:17 | #4

    Sure, Ari, and we passed a Constitution amendment shutting down all synagogues, Christians could claim that Jews aren’t being treated unequally because they still have the same right to enter a Christian church as anyone else. “Hey,” defenders of the amendment could say, “We’re in exactly the same situation.”

  5. July 26th, 2011 at 12:17 | #5

    Oops, of course, that should be “IF we passed a Constitutional amendment…”

  6. July 26th, 2011 at 13:13 | #6

    So Dr. J should same-sex couples have equal rights or not? Is there anything they should not be allowed to do that a married man and a woman should be allowed to do?

  7. July 26th, 2011 at 13:15 | #7

    Rob Tisinai :
    That’s a pretty funny comment coming from a “marriage = one man + one woman” group, yet whose logo looks like a 6-person group marriage!

    Actually if you look closely, there is a “dot” between “one man” and “one woman” which is the symbol for multiplication. One man “multiplied” by one woman equals many people.

  8. nerdygirl
    July 26th, 2011 at 14:21 | #8

    All symbols are meaningless without context. Someone who knows nothing of christianity is probably wondering why there’s so many people who love seafood so much they put a fish on their bumper. That doesn’t make the symbol stupid.

  9. Sean
    July 26th, 2011 at 15:52 | #9

    Courts have long held that “similarly situated” (as opposed to identical) persons are to be treated equally, lacking a rational public purpose to do otherwise. Equality under the law is not the same as mathematical equality.

    I think redefining Equal would do unsustainable damage to our Republic. It would put our country in grave danger if we decide to redefine equality for a purpose superficial as barring gay couples from getting married. Redefining marriage to include gay couples and straight couples is simply just one more milestone in marriage’s long history of change. Equality among and between citizens is a far more important concept.

    That the practice of marriage was limited to different-sex couples for so long is not in itself a reason to perpetuate it. Long-held traditions rarely sustain themselves merely through longevity.

  10. July 26th, 2011 at 17:00 | #10

    I say no, same-sex couples should not have equal rights. The difference in rights ought to be the right to conceive offspring together, same-sex couples should not have the right to conceive offspring. So we can make use of that Equals sign, but actually fill in what goes on each side of it now: Civil Unions = Marriage – Conception Rights. So marriage is greater than civil union, by the value of conception rights, which means being approved and allowed to have sex and procreate offspring together. And, the same difference applies to the rights of couples, not just to institutions. Same-sex couples = man-woman couples – the the right to marry, aka the right to conceive offspring together.

  11. John Noe
    July 26th, 2011 at 21:58 | #11

    Jennifer: Love this blog and it is one of the best blogs ever on this website. It gets to the heart of the matter. Besides redefining marriage the homosexual advocates demand an intrepretation of equallity that is exclusive to them. Only they get this new redefinition of equallity. Let me prove it to you and you can use this in rebuttal whenever the homosexual parrots the equallity lie.

    (1) First and foremost it should be noted that our civil rights laws of equality apply only to people and not human conduct, behavior, actions, or results. Homosexuality is not a person but a human conduct or behavior. The concept of equallity does not apply. If it did we would have total anarchy. Imagine if lying and stealing had to be considered equal to honesty. Look at post #2 above. The argument being made in that post applies here. No state within its jurisdiction shall deny any person equal treatment of its laws. But we put thieves in jail. Certainly we do not honor equal treatment of the law in regards to human conduct. However homosexuals demand to be the only human behavior entitled to this intrepretation of equal treatment under the law.
    (2) What if you could equally have something but refused it. An establishment has a dress code. If I follow the code I can go there equally like everybody else. However by my own accord I refuse to follow it and I am denied. Was my civil right to use the establishment equally denied because I would not obey the rules? Yet homosexuals demand this equallity that is not available to any other American. Homosexuals already have the equal right to marry someone of the opposite sex. They refused it, no one in government stopped them. What they want is special rights. They confuse the gullible and the uneducated when they call it equal when in fact they are advocating for special rights.
    (3) In mathematics is 3=5. Why not they are both numbers are they not? Yet this is what homosexuals advocate. Homosexual couples cannot procreate while male/female couples can. Homosexuals have a shorter lifespan. Homosexuals practice a deadly form of sexual conduct proven to be unhealthy. Certainly the health care costs are not equal. So guess what the relationships are not equal. I have no problem telling any homosexual whether it be Rob,Sean, or anyone else that you are not equal. 3 is not equal to 5 even though they both are numbers. Likewise homosexual couples are not equal to heterosexual couples even though both are couples.

    I hope my post helps your excellent blog in this matter.

  12. Marty
    July 27th, 2011 at 05:32 | #12

    Pretty simple actually:

    1m != 1f

    1m + 1m = 2m
    1f + 1f = 2f
    1m + 1f = 2(mf)

    Is anyone really willing to argue that
    2f = 2(mf)? or
    2m = 2(mf)?

    Not anyone with half a brain.

  13. Miriam
    July 27th, 2011 at 06:10 | #13

    I am insulted by the idea that the key aspect of my marriage is that my husband and I can use our bits to make babies. My marriage is special and meaningful in ways that transcend our physical bodies and their ability to reproduce with each other. Any two idiot heterosexuals can get together and make a baby; it takes real commitment to be there together in the middle of the night with the barfing screaming toddler, which is exactly what my same-sex married parent friends do, just like me.

  14. July 27th, 2011 at 11:56 | #14

    @Rob Tisinai
    There you go again with your apples to oranges comparison of religions to sexual behavior. It didn’t work the first time and it still doesn’t work.

  15. Anne
    July 27th, 2011 at 13:11 | #15

    @John Noe

    Well done John!

    Unfortunately, the problem is not that the homosexual community doesn’t understand the concept, (their crafty and divertive responses prove their ability to master it), rather that they refuse to accept what they don’t want to.

    While they may temporarily persuade unattentive people with their emotional pandering, reason, nature and God Himself cannot be moved by selfishness and irrational arguments. So ultimately their efforts will fail simply because they are designed to. The danger is in the damage they can cause before they ultimately self-destruct.

  16. July 27th, 2011 at 15:20 | #16

    Glenn: “There you go again with your apples to oranges comparison of religions to sexual behavior. It didn’t work the first time and it still doesn’t work.”

    That’s the intellectual equivalent of “Nuh uh!”

  17. Sean
    July 27th, 2011 at 17:10 | #17

    “Besides redefining marriage the homosexual advocates demand an interpretation of equality that is exclusive to them.”

    Not at all! Actually, they’re building on previous groups’ success in attaining equal rights in society. Remember, homosexuals are defined by how they feel, not what they do, just like straight people. You can be straight or gay without lifting a finger; sexual orientation represents romantic desires not actions.

    “Homosexuality is not a person but a human conduct or behavior.”

    That’s false. Just like heterosexuality, a person can be gay without engaging in any conduct. He can be chaste, or engage in conduct with only different-sex persons. But he is still gay.

    “Imagine if lying and stealing had to be considered equal to honesty.”

    But they are dissimilar, and also actions. Remember, the law says “similarly situated persons are to be treated equally”. A same-sex couple in a long-term committed relationship, raising two kids and sharing a charming suburban home together as a family is similarly situated as a different-sex couple in a long-term committed relationship, raising two kids and sharing a charming suburban home together as a family. These two couples have more in common that a man and a woman, unmarried, who don’t know each other, sharing a subway car in New York City. But the two unknowns can go get married, while in most states, the committed same-sex couple can’t.

    “However homosexuals demand to be the only human behavior entitled to this intrepretation of equal treatment under the law.”

    The US Supreme Court has already determined that adult consensual sexual behavior is legally protected by the US Constitution. The sexual expression aspect of homosexuality is already protected, and legally equal to heterosexual sexual expression. Now we’re dealing with gay relationships.
    “Homosexuals already have the equal right to marry someone of the opposite sex.”

    And when different-sex marriage is outlawed, in favor of only same-sex marriage, heterosexuals will have the equal right to marry as gay people, right? It is amazing that his notion of “equal right to marry an opposite-sex person” is still being offered up (for lack of anything substantive, I guess). Limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples imposes an unconstitutional burden on gay and lesbian couples in the same way that limiting Sabbath to Sundays is on Jews. Or limiting handwriting to the right hand is on left-handed people. The government can’t make laws that impose unreasonable burdens on a group without a public purpose for doing so.

    “What they want is special rights.”

    No, unless you think Jews wanting to go to Synagogue on Saturdays is a special right for Jews, in a country where a predominant Christian population, if it goes at all, goes to church on Sundays. Are Jews being given a special right to worship on Saturdays, even though Christians prefer Sunday worship?

    “Homosexual couples cannot procreate while male/female couples can.”

    Procreation is a not a requirement of marriage, and not essential to it. Not all male/female couples can procreate. They can still get married though.

    “Homosexuals have a shorter lifespan.”

    Than who?

    “I have no problem telling any homosexual whether it be Rob,Sean, or anyone else that you are not equal.”

    I have no problem hearing it! I hope I’m not your equal, if you catch my drift.

  18. Sean
    July 27th, 2011 at 17:14 | #18

    “Unfortunately, the problem is not that the homosexual community doesn’t understand the concept, (their crafty and divertive responses prove their ability to master it), rather that they refuse to accept what they don’t want to.”

    It appears that quite a few people in heterosexual community don’t understand either, because they vastly outnumber the gay people who support equal rights for gays and lesbian. But you’re right, gays and lesbians refuse to accept what they don’t want to: unequal treatment under the law.

    “While they may temporarily persuade unattentive people with their emotional pandering, reason, nature and God Himself cannot be moved by selfishness and irrational arguments. So ultimately their efforts will fail simply because they are designed to. The danger is in the damage they can cause before they ultimately self-destruct.”

    No one cares what god thinks when it comes to our nation’s constitution and law-making. I read today that god’s approval rating is only at 52%. God does love all his children, and told me he wants gay couples to be able to get married, especially those raising children.

  19. Anne
    July 27th, 2011 at 18:30 | #19

    @Miriam
    “I am insulted by the idea that the key aspect of my marriage is that my husband and I can use our bits to make babies.”

    “Any two idiot heterosexuals can get together and make a baby;”

    Perhaps if you saw conception and child bearing as the beautiful mystery that they are instead of making “babies with bits” or as the mistakes other people have made, you might have a more positive view of motherhood and marriage in the natural order.

  20. Anne
    July 28th, 2011 at 03:23 | #20

    @Marty
    “Pretty simple actually:

    1m != 1f

    1m + 1m = 2m
    1f + 1f = 2f
    1m + 1f = 2(mf)

    Is anyone really willing to argue that
    2f = 2(mf)? or
    2m = 2(mf)?

    Not anyone with half a brain.”

    I Love Math!!! God made it, you know. He made Biology too. If anyone needs help with math or science, they should just ask God.

    Or you could ask Marty. God made him too, and he seems to know his stuff.

  21. Anne
    July 28th, 2011 at 04:56 | #21

    @Rob Tisinai
    “According to the US Constitution, no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.””

    Marriage isn’t a U.S. Constitutional Law.

    Marriage is a Natural Law. You should obey it.

  22. July 28th, 2011 at 06:13 | #22

    @Rob Tisinai There is no “equal right” to redefine words and social institutions so as to force an agenda. You won’t find this right in the Constitution. However, you WILL find that the gov’t can’t make any laws restricting the right to religious worship. What part of the Constitution don’t you understand?

  23. July 28th, 2011 at 07:55 | #23

    Miriam :
    I am insulted by the idea that the key aspect of my marriage is that my husband and I can use our bits to make babies. My marriage is special and meaningful in ways that transcend our physical bodies and their ability to reproduce with each other. Any two idiot heterosexuals can get together and make a baby; it takes real commitment to be there together in the middle of the night with the barfing screaming toddler, which is exactly what my same-sex married parent friends do, just like me.

    Well said, Miriam!

  24. Miriam
    July 28th, 2011 at 08:04 | #24

    @Ann- don’t lecture me about “beautiful mystery” with child bearing and motherhood. I gave birth to my second child in a birth pool in my living room, I am an attachment parenting stay at home mother who sews my own cloth diapers and breastfeeds my kids until they are three, I’m so up with the “beautiful mystery” of birth and parenting, it’s not even funny.

    and while there is “magic” to being able to make your own babies at home with the parts you and your spouse have, it is NOT the basis of my marriage. I, my husband and our marriage are MORE than the biology of our bodies, we are two souls coming together, helping and supporting each other and our family, which is exactly what my gay married parenting friends are doing as well.

    but I guess my real question is, why do anti-gay marriage folks feel so threatened by marriage rights for everyone? what do you really care? don’t like “gay marriage”? don’t get gay married, problem solved, move on with your life. I think owning dogs is stupid and gross, but I don’t think there should be a law against owning dogs.

  25. July 28th, 2011 at 10:32 | #25

    Miriam :
    I am insulted by the idea that the key aspect of my marriage is that my husband and I can use our bits to make babies. My marriage is special and meaningful in ways that transcend our physical bodies and their ability to reproduce with each other.

    Well, good for you. No one ever said that the right to make babies together is all there is to anybody’s marriage. Saying that the right to have sexual intercourse and procreate is ALL that marriage is about would demean married couples, as Justice Kennedy said in Lawrence. No one says that.

    It is certainly insulting or demeaning to denigrate or deny that married couples have a right to make babies together. It’s demeaning to say they have the same right to make babies together that same-sex couples have, or siblings have, or unmarried couples, or strangers have. It’s demeaning to say that their own ‘bits’ are not necessarily good enough for them to be allowed to make babies from them, as opposed to having a right to make babies with them together with their spouse. It’s not demeaning or insulting to affirm that married couples have a right to make babies together, from their bits.

  26. Anne
    July 28th, 2011 at 11:48 | #26

    @Miriam
    “I think owning dogs is stupid and gross, but I don’t think there should be a law against owning dogs.”

    Neither should their be an agenda in government and schools telling children that everyone should be happy that people own dogs.

    If this were really a live and let live mentality, I wouldn’t be here opposing the issue.

    ‘….don’t lecture me about “beautiful mystery” with child bearing and motherhood.”

    I didn’t refer to child bearing and motherhood, I referred to conception and child bearing. If you’re so “up with the beautiful mystery”, why deny homosexual couple’s children of it? They have as much right to the mystery as your own children, as opposed to being manufactured in a laboratory and born to be given away. You may not consider the mystery to be the basis of your marriage, but that doesn’t mean that it is not inherent in the purpose of it.

    Either way, the mystery is as much the right of the children conceived and born as it is yours. It’s not all about you and your homosexual friends. These children have a right not to be deliberately conceived and born orphaned by at least one parent.

  27. July 28th, 2011 at 11:59 | #27

    Yes, Glenn, that’s why I phrased my hypothetical as a Constitutional amendment. Did you miss that again?

    Meanwhile, you seem to be basing your “equal protection” argument on the assumption that if we all have the same right to do something, then we have equal treatment under the law. I have given you a counter-example showing that principle to be invalid.

    If you are basing your argument on a different assumption, then please specify what it is. Because, right now, it’s not based on anything.

  28. Heidi
    July 28th, 2011 at 13:11 | #28

    Miriam, right on. Thank you for reminding these folks that the meaning of marriage is not reducible to opposing body parts! How demeaning.

  29. Ruth
    July 28th, 2011 at 14:21 | #29

    @Anne

    “These children have a right not to be deliberately conceived and born orphaned by at least one parent.”
    You’re right, Anne.
    If this were known with certainty to be the last generation of humans, and everyone had reached the age of 21, this would not be an issue for public debate. But it is an issue because there are children, and we have a responsibility to tell them the truth by our words, our laws, and our lives.

  30. Anne
    July 28th, 2011 at 17:06 | #30

    @Ruth
    “But it is an issue because there are children, and we have a responsibility to tell them the truth by our words, our laws, and our lives.”

    Thank you Ruth. All children do have the right to the truth about gender and to equal right to relationships and experience with both gender parents. It supercedes the rights of adults to raise other people’s children.

  31. Heidi
    July 29th, 2011 at 07:44 | #31

    @Anne
    So Anne, your issue is not with same-sex marriage, it is with same-sex parenting, which is legal in all fifty states. You cannot prevent a woman, lesbian or not, from being artificially inseminated. You cannot prevent the donation of sperm by men who are not interested in being fathers to the resulting children. There are plenty of children who are not raised by a biological mother and father who do wonderfully. All that matters is love and security, not the gender of the parents. My niece is living proof of this. She is thriving with two moms, neither of whom gave birth to her.

    As for any so-called “truth” about gender, I think it’s fair to say that the only “truth” one can assert about gender is that it there are wide variations in how each of us identifies and expresses our gender. Take 10 random women off of the street and you will find that each one of them performs their gender differently. Sex is a biological fact–gender is a psycho-social construct.

  32. Anna
    July 29th, 2011 at 09:06 | #32

    “Meanwhile, you seem to be basing your “equal protection” argument on the assumption that if we all have the same right to do something, then we have equal treatment under the law. I have given you a counter-example showing that principle to be invalid.’

    Rob- That principle is not invalid. It presupposes a rational purpose for our laws. Being “over burdened” by a particular restriction is not unjust nor unconstitutional in and of itself.

    Your example of a law restricting the Sabbath to Sunday does not reveal a flaw in Glenn’s
    argument. It suggests that you believe every culture throught human history has restricted marriage to male/female for no good reason. It was/is arbitrary.

  33. July 29th, 2011 at 09:24 | #33

    @Rob Tisinai I’m basing my argument on the definition of marriage. Equal rights do not include redefining words and institutions. A union of two same-sex people does not equal a union of two opposite sex people. There are intrinsic differences. So the two can never be treated as equal any more than a dog’s tail can be treated as another leg.

  34. July 29th, 2011 at 14:17 | #34

    Anna: “Your example of a law restricting the Sabbath to Sunday does not reveal a flaw in Glenn’s argument. It suggests that you believe every culture throught human history has restricted marriage to male/female for no good reason. It was/is arbitrary.”

    Um…what? That wasn’t my example AT ALL.

  35. July 29th, 2011 at 14:18 | #35

    Glenn, every time someone challenges your argument, you abandon the argument and move on to a new one, without acknowledging that you’re doing so.

  36. July 29th, 2011 at 22:13 | #36

    @Glenn E. Chatfield “I’m basing my argument on the definition of marriage.”

    And what is your definition of marriage again, Glenn? Does it include a brother and sister or rule them out? How about a man and his former step mother?

    My definition of marriage is “two people with the public authority’s official right to have sex and conceive offspring together” Blankenhorn and Koontz back that up, all anthropologists back that up. I don’t think that meaning should be redefined to mean a man and a woman who happen to sign a piece of paper together, or whatever your definition seems to be.

  37. July 29th, 2011 at 22:18 | #37

    @Heidi
    “You cannot prevent a woman, lesbian or not, from being artificially inseminated. You cannot prevent the donation of sperm by men who are not interested in being fathers to the resulting children. ”

    Not only can it be prevented, but we can punish people who even attempt to do that with years and years in jail and millions of dollars in fines. There are people who would urge a capital punishment, like public stoning or electrocution, but I think that capital punishment leads to more violence, and it is better to compassionately incarcerate criminals away from the rest of society, and take all their belongings for the use of society.

  38. July 29th, 2011 at 22:23 | #38

    @Heidi
    “Take 10 random women off of the street and you will find that each one of them performs their gender differently.”

    You betray yourself when you say “take ten random women off the street” – how do you tell them from the men? You admit that not everyone on the street is a woman, about half of them are men. What is the difference? Which are which?

  39. July 29th, 2011 at 22:31 | #39

    @Heidi
    I’ve noticed that I have a Rain Man like ability to determine the ratio of guys to girls in a room when I enter, like Raymond had about counting matchsticks spilled on the floor. I might not be able to tally the total numbers instantly exact like Raymond could, but I can tell, instantly, who are men and who are women. Sure, maybe sometimes I’m wrong, or I’m fooled. But rarely. I can even tell men from women from far away, well before I can see any features. Again I might be wrong sometimes, but my point is how easy it is to take a group of people and reliably separate them into men and women. Even when some a cross-dressing, it’s usually pretty easy to tell.

  40. Anne
    July 30th, 2011 at 05:05 | #40

    @Heidi

    “All that matters is love and security,”

    Was it you who said you know all 66 Books of the Bible and went to Church several times a week as a child?

    It doesn’t ever say in any of the 66 Books that love and security is all that matters. It says love comes first. And that it should lead you to what is right. True love is selfless. Love is not a badge we use to cover the mess we create by a selfish pursuit of desire.

  41. Sean
    July 30th, 2011 at 05:22 | #41

    @Anna

    “Being “over burdened” by a particular restriction is not unjust nor unconstitutional in and of itself.”

    Actually, legally, it is. The state has to have a rational public purpose in imposing burdensome restrictions on fundamental rights, even more so when the group being restricted is recognized as a marginalized minority.

    Imagine if the government passed a law that said all handwriting must be done with one’s right hand. Well, everyone has a right hand, correct? Even left-handed people. But such a law is burdensome on left-handed people and the state achieves no rational public purpose in limiting handwriting to the right hand. It does, however, imply that being left-handed is somehow defective, the same problem we have with limiting marriage to straight people.

  42. Sean
    July 30th, 2011 at 05:26 | #42

    “It suggests that you believe every culture throught human history has restricted marriage to male/female for no good reason. It was/is arbitrary.”

    That marriage has only been practiced by straight couples historically does not mean that it was set up to include only straight couples. I don’t think when society established marriage they debated the merits of including or excluding gay couples. I can envision that gay couples were few and far between, with homosexuality often being illegal and/or punished. Now that society embraces homosexuality as a legitimate form of sexual feelings and expression, it just makes sense to make marriage available to homosexual couples.

  43. July 30th, 2011 at 11:11 | #43

    @Rob Tisinai No Rob, my argument has never changed. There is a definition for marriage, and it is not a denial of equal rights to deny the right to redefine what marriage is. It is not discrimination to deny people the right to redefine marriage. I have never changed that argument. You are the one who wants to change the debate to make marriage something it isn’t and argue from that.

  44. July 30th, 2011 at 11:14 | #44

    @John Howard John, why do you have to complicate and miss represent what I say. The first fundamental point in the definition of marriage is that it has to be between members of the opposite sex. Any refinement of what unions of opposite sex people qualify does not alter the fundamental premise that it has to begin with opposite-sex people. I am sticking with the fundamental definition because there is no need to go further in the discussion when dealing with SSM. The PRIMARY reason SSM isn’t marriage is the foundational meaning of marriage being between members of the opposite sex.

  45. July 30th, 2011 at 16:38 | #45

    @Glenn E. Chatfield
    Glenn, remember when you said that conception rights were “part and parcel” of marriage? That means you consider them part of the definition of marriage, so why not say so? That is why some unions of opposite sex people qualify and some relationship types do not qualify. It actually doesn’t have to be limited to opposite-sex couples (as the verifiable fact of legal same-sex marriages attests to) but it certainly should be limited to opposite-sex couples.

    Your definition causes the public to think that conception rights are separable from marriage, and that is very dangerous. You do think they should remain “part and parcel” right? That is the definition. The public isn’t too stupid to understand that, don’t underestimate their ability to recognize that marriage means the couple is allowed to have sex. It’s burned into everyone’s brain, even though some liberals think they’ve been separated, they haven’t been.

  46. Anna
    July 30th, 2011 at 16:46 | #46

    @Rob Tisinai- Sorry I confused you with Sean. Both of your arguments are similar though, my point still stands.

    @Sean-
    I wrote:
    “That principle is not invalid. It presupposes a rational purpose for our laws. Being “over burdened” by a particular restriction is not unjust nor unconstitutional in and of itself.”

    You respond:
    “Actually, legally, it is. The state has to have a rational public purpose in imposing burdensome restrictions on fundamental rights.”

    Yes. That’s exactly what I said. So…what’s your point?

    “That marriage has only been practiced by straight couples historically does not mean that it was set up to include only straight couples.”

    Sean- I agree with you here. marriage was not *set up* for *straight* people.
    Marriage is about male and female because procreation is about male and female.

  47. Anne
    July 31st, 2011 at 04:25 | #47

    @Sean

    ““Being “over burdened” by a particular restriction is not unjust nor unconstitutional in and of itself.”

    Actually, legally, it is. The state has to have a rational public purpose in imposing burdensome restrictions on fundamental rights, even more so when the group being restricted is recognized as a marginalized minority.”

    You have the right to marry anyone of the opposite gender you choose, just like everyone else. And you have the right not to marry, just like everyone else.

    There are no restrictions imposed on any mariginalized minority. There is a legitimate, established social norm which is legally and equally applied to everyone.

    Your burden is that you don’t like the legitimate social norm and feel you have the right to change it by arguing that is a fundamental right to change anything you don’t like.

  48. July 31st, 2011 at 06:05 | #48

    @John Howard Conception rights are not what defines marriage. That is a right of what marriage includes. The fundamental definition is that it must be between opposite-sex people. You keep wanting to force your one-horse agenda into every context. The context of my statement is the fundamental, foundational starting point of marriage and not all the stuff which goes along with it. The foundational starting point must be between opposite-sex people, which in and of itself removes SSM from the equation! No same-sex unions qualify. Quit misrepresenting what I say, please!

  49. Sean
    July 31st, 2011 at 07:51 | #49

    @Anna

    “Yes. That’s exactly what I said. So…what’s your point?”

    No that’s not what you said. You said the state can impose burdensome restrictions for no particular reason. That is false. If the state burdens one group over another group, it has to have a rational public purpose. All too often, the state is usual claims of moral superiority with no other purpose. These laws are struck down, because the state cannot advance perceived moral claims without a rational public purpose.

    “Marriage is about male and female because procreation is about male and female.”

    The procreative reasons for marriage no longer exist. No couple is required to have, or try to have, children, and no couple who actually does have children is expected to marry. The original procreative reason for marriage, to ensure that a man had possession of the children he believed he sired with a woman, is no longer the reason people get married.

    Elderly couples and infertile couples get married all the time, and have no concerns about child-bearing.

  50. August 1st, 2011 at 00:09 | #50

    Please??? Please??? Why? Why is it so important for you to say that conception rights are not what defines marriage? Show me an example of a couple with conception rights that isn’t allowed to marry or that shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Conception rights are what defines marriage, Glenn! There are no if ands or buts about it. DO NOT redefine marriage so that it is not defined as conception rights. That would destroy marriage and human dignity and equality and the whole nine yards, just like Sean and Rob a dn all the gay activists want. You are on their side on this, Glenn, they are also saying that conception rights do not define marriage. Please, if you want to defend marriage, and keep it as the union of a man and a woman, then just affirm that marriage is conception rights.

  51. August 1st, 2011 at 14:55 | #51

    @Sean
    “The procreative reasons for marriage no longer exist.”

    That’s not true, marriage is still the right and proper place for procreation, and it still gives society’s official approval of having sex and marrying. There are still couples that are prohibited from procreating and they are never allowed to marry but prohibited from procreating (even those first cousins that are allowed to marry if they are infertile are not prohibited from having sex and procreating).

    “No couple is required to have, or try to have, children, and no couple who actually does have children is expected to marry.”

    We still expect people to marry before they have children together, we still expect marriages to have children with each other, and those are both good things for society to promote. Society currently allows some practices that are not good or fair for children, women, men and society in general. Many of them might even be prohibited again, like gamete donation and intentional single parenthood. There is no right to do those things and the tolerance society shows for them is misguided.

    “The original procreative reason for marriage, to ensure that a man had possession of the children he believed he sired with a woman, is no longer the reason people get married.”

    Hence marriage is in decline, as people only get married for “gay” reasons now, to have a big party and dress up and pretend they are doing something important.

    “Elderly couples and infertile couples get married all the time, and have no concerns about child-bearing.”

    Only if they are not in a prohibited relationship, because even elderly and unhealthy people have a right to marry and procreate, there is no age limit or health cutoff.

    And I think we should examine the some of the benefits we give to new marriages of elderly people to make sure they are bona fide marriages where they intend to try to have sex and conceive offspring. I don’t think they should be able to marry just to glom on to someone’s survivor benefits or pass on property without being taxed. They should be able to marry, but those kinds of benefits should only go to bona fide marriages.

  52. Anna
    August 1st, 2011 at 17:02 | #52

    “No that’s not what you said. You said the state can impose burdensome restrictions for no particular reason.”

    Sean- Please read what I wrote. It’s right there. In back and white.

    “…It presupposes a rational purpose for our laws. Being “over burdened” by a particular restriction is not unjust nor unconstitutional in and of itself.”

  53. Sean
    August 2nd, 2011 at 18:01 | #53

    “That’s not true, marriage is still the right and proper place for procreation, and it still gives society’s official approval of having sex and marrying. There are still couples that are prohibited from procreating and they are never allowed to marry but prohibited from procreating (even those first cousins that are allowed to marry if they are infertile are not prohibited from having sex and procreating).”

    John, take this as official notice: NO COUPLE HAS TO BE MARRIED IN ORDER TO PROCREATE! Marriage is not the state’s permission to procreate, since you can do it with or without marriage! If you are siblings, you can’t have sex (although you might be allowed to procreate….I think the law is unclear on this) whether you are married or not. Given that we assume a couple will have sex in marriage, we deny siblings the right to marry.

  54. Sean
    August 2nd, 2011 at 18:04 | #54

    “Being “over burdened” by a particular restriction is not unjust nor unconstitutional in and of itself.””

    Well, actually, as a legal test, it is. The government can’t make a law that unduly burdens a particular group unless there is a rational public purpose in doing so. Law after law has been thrown out as unconstitutional because it burdened a constitutional right without a rational purpose.

  55. August 3rd, 2011 at 10:23 | #55

    @Sean I know that couples don’t have to be married in order to procreate. Nevertheless, marriage is still the right and proper place for procreation, and it still gives society’s official approval of having sex and marrying. That’s what it always has done and what it must continue to do, even if we don’t require people to get married to have sex and procreate anymore. There are still couples that are prohibited from procreating and they are never allowed to marry but prohibited from procreating (even those first cousins that are allowed to marry if they are infertile are not prohibited from having sex and procreating).

    We don’t just ASSUME a couple will have sex in marriage, we approve and allow and expect them to. Actually, we don’t automatically assume it, because it is possible for a couple to get an civil annulment if no sex has taken place yet, and it has always been grounds for divorce if a spouse refuses to continue to have sex and procreate.

  56. Sean
    August 3rd, 2011 at 16:17 | #56

    “Nevertheless, marriage is still the right and proper place for procreation”

    That’s just a personal opinion, one not based in law and one not likely to be enforced by law. You are free to restrict your own procreative habits to marriage.

  57. August 3rd, 2011 at 17:07 | #57

    @John Howard Why must you always re-interpret everything I say to be in agreement with the SSM crowd just because I don’t state your particular bandwagon agenda in every comment.

    NO, conception rights do not DEFINE marriage. That is part of your problem. Conception rights are part of what marriage is but is not the definition of marriage. As I try to get through to you, the first and foremost foundational part of the definition of marriage is that it has to be between opposite-sex couples. That, and that alone – without going further into what rights are included in marriage – immediately eliminates SSM from being a real marriage. What you do is read into that something else and then tell everyone that if I don’t include conception rights as what defines a marriage, then suddenly I am on the side of SSM, that I don’t want to protect conception rights, etc, etc, etc, all of which is just made up in your mind. I am not trying to push the argument into every side issue and rabbit trail. I’m sticking with the fundamental foundation of what marriage is and that is the union of opposite-sex people. When you test any “marriage” against JUST THAT, SSM immediately fails. I don’t have to defend marriage any further than that because if SSM isn’t marriage – and it isn’t no matter who says it is – then there are no conception rights!

  58. August 3rd, 2011 at 17:08 | #58

    @Sean But it has been proven and demonstrated multitudes of times that there is a rational public reason to not redefine marriage. You just keep denying the reasons.

  59. August 4th, 2011 at 00:35 | #59

    Sean :
    “Nevertheless, marriage is still the right and proper place for procreation”
    That’s just a personal opinion, one not based in law and one not likely to be enforced by law. You are free to restrict your own procreative habits to marriage.

    No Sean that is the opinion of human civilization since it began. Stephanie Koontz found ONE obscure isolated culture somewhere that doesn’t have marriage as the right and proper place for procreation. Even our society still tries to promote marriage as being the right and proper place for procreation and considers out of wedlock births to be a social problem that causes more crime and dependency and instability. In our society we are free to have sex and procreate without being married because our society has invented child support and paternity tests and wage garnishing, which essentially force men to marry all the women they procreate with, but without requiring the women to marry them back.

  60. Ruth
    August 4th, 2011 at 07:32 | #60

    @Sean
    Why are you acting as an apologist for what hurt you so deeply as a child?
    You yourself are living proof that there is very good reason to do what your father and his secretary selfishly chose not to do; honor God-ordained marriage.

  61. August 4th, 2011 at 10:10 | #61

    @Glenn E. Chatfield
    No, Glenn, you’re wrong and I don’t get why you are so insistent about it. The right to have sex and create offspring is the sine qua non essential right of marriage. It is what defines marriage. It is what is different about a couple after they are pronounced married. They were a man and a woman before they were pronounced married, but they did not have conception rights yet. Tons of pairs of men and women are men and women, but only the ones with conception rights – official state approval of sex and procreation – are married.

    And you are wrong that merely saying that marriage is between opposite sex couples eliminates SSM from being a real marriage, all it does is make your face turn blue. It doesn’t make a convincing argument that would force states to void their same-sex marriages. It changes no one’s mind, it only shows that people on our side have no real argument other than just insisting till they are blue in the face that gay couples are icky and don’t deserve marriage. It shows animus, which is like against the Geneva Convention as far as laws go, courts will throw them out if they appear to be based on nothing but irrational animus. That’s why I think you are actually a gay lawyer in NYC pretending to be a Christian guy from the midwest, your arguments are just what the gay lawyers are looking for.

    And you are wrong that even if that argument somehow prevailed and we passed an FMA based on it alone, that, by that alone, there would be no conception rights for same-sex couples. I agree with you in principle, but few others would, so we would also have to pass a law saying only married couples may attempt to conceive offspring, which would indeed be a very good way to stop same-sex conception and donor conception and intentional single conception all at once, but it would be pretty hard to do that, it would be a sudden radical change in our culture. But, I don’t know, maybe if you also made that argument, and pushed for a law to end to all unmarried procreation, and affirmed that conception rights were part of marriage, then that would rationally explain why same-sex couples should not be married. Maybe that would resonate with some people.

  62. August 4th, 2011 at 11:45 | #62

    @John Howard
    “It is what is different about a couple after they are pronounced married.”

    Well, of course there are other incidental legal changes that take place, and conception rights are certainly not the only thing that is different after a couple is pronounced married. They now can file joint taxes, co-own their property, etc. They become one-flash legally, after they are married. But those changes happen after they become approved and allowed to have sex and procreate offspring together. No one feels emotional at the wedding because they now own joint property or because they can file join tax returns, they feel emotional because they now will might start a family together, have children and grandkids with each other.

  63. August 5th, 2011 at 06:39 | #63

    @John Howard No, John, I am not wrong. There is no law prohibiting unmarried people from conceiving children. And you know that. So the fundamental definition of marriage does not include conception rights because unmarried have the same right. Conception rights are part of marriage but do not define it. What is so difficult about it? Fundamental definition of marriage starts with opposite-sex couples. You don’t have to go further to prove SSM isn’t marriage.

  64. August 5th, 2011 at 10:35 | #64

    @Glenn E. Chatfield Massachusetts has a fornication law:

    “Section 18. Whoever commits fornication shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months or by a fine of not more than thirty dollars.”

    It’s interesting that fornication is understood to mean unmarried sexual intercourse, it is not defined, similarly to the way marriage is not defined to allow sexual intercourse. But both are understood from the meaning of the words themselves.

    Being a man and a woman does not make a couple married. It is not the definition of marriage. Being pronounced married does not make a couple a man and a woman, either. But being pronounced married makes it legal to have sex, and couples that can legally have sex are married.

    Unmarried people do not have the same right to conceive children. How can you say that? It is not only a crime in my state and many others and many other countries, but certainly you must be aware, it is a grave sin that keeps people from the Kingdom of God. Saying that unmarried people have the same to have sex is not a great Libertarian position, it is bad public policy that results in a bigger state and less liberty.

  65. August 6th, 2011 at 14:42 | #65

    @John Howard So MA has a fornication law? So what? Do they run around looking for people fornicating? How many states and how many countries have such laws (besides muslim countries – that doesn’t count because they have all sorts of weird things). I never said being a man and a woman makes a couple married, nor did I even intimate such – you again raise a straw man. When I’m talking about unmarried people having sex and children, I am not talking about the sin issue. We can discuss SSM without ever bringing in the issue of sin.

    You are missing the point. There is a fundamental definition of marriage. The very first thing – the very first definition – is the union of opposite sex people. That is a definition of the word regardless of what other legal attachments are brought into it. Dictionary definition, societal definition for thousands of years, is that marriage must start with the union of opposite sex people. If it isn’t opposite sex people it isn’t really marriage BY DEFINITION. You keep wanting to complicate the issue with all this stuff about what is or is not legal. All that is red herrings. The real issue is what the definition of the word means! That is all I am interested in – the definition of the word. Look in a dictionary before this last few decades of revised history, etc, and you will never find under the definition of marriage anything to do with conception rights. If you want to argue and debate all the legal stuff about conception, etc, don’t force me to do so by claiming I am against all this stuff when all I am trying to do is establish the FACT that marriage by definition must be between opposite sex people. Conception rights is not a part of that dictionary definition!

  66. Sean
    August 7th, 2011 at 09:13 | #66

    “But it has been proven and demonstrated multitudes of times that there is a rational public reason to not redefine marriage. You just keep denying the reasons.”

    I have not seen one reason that can withstand constitutional scrutiny. If there were reasons that society benefits by outlawing same-sex marriage and having the children of same-sex couples raised outside of marriage, I haven’t seen them. And they would also have to be consequential enough to offset the many benefits to society, and to gay and lesbian citizens and their children, to support denying a fundamental civil right to gay and lesbian couples.

    How does society benefit by denying same-sex couples marriage licenses? How does society benefit by having some children raised outside of marriage? Should we ban other groups’ children from the benefits of marriage? Jews? Blacks? Who else’s children should be denied the right to married parents?

  67. Sean
    August 7th, 2011 at 09:19 | #67

    “No Sean that is the opinion of human civilization since it began. Stephanie Koontz found ONE obscure isolated culture somewhere that doesn’t have marriage as the right and proper place for procreation. Even our society still tries to promote marriage as being the right and proper place for procreation and considers out of wedlock births to be a social problem that causes more crime and dependency and instability.”

    John, I hesitate to engage you because your viewpoints are so other-worldly, but marriage is society’s preferred setting for RAISING children, not procreating them. That’s because the evidence shows that children do better when raised by married parents. And no, this doesn’t apply just to straight couples.

  68. Sean
    August 7th, 2011 at 09:24 | #68

    @Ruth

    “Why are you acting as an apologist for what hurt you so deeply as a child?
    You yourself are living proof that there is very good reason to do what your father and his secretary selfishly chose not to do; honor God-ordained marriage.”

    What are you talking about? I lost a parent at a young age. What child wouldn’t regret losing a parent? If I were raised by two lesbians, and one died while I was young, are you suggesting I wouldn’t feel a sense of loss?

    The fact is, straight couples get to do whatever they want, in your mind, regardless of how it affects children: they can divorce, they can raise kids as single parents, they can inflict a non-biological parent on a child (while sending the other biological parent away to a different house). It’s all legal and happens all the time.

    Yet you want to outlaw a same-sex couple, who actually wants a child to nurture and raise, to not be allowed to do it, and you think banning same-sex marriage accomplishes that!

    I’m struggling to understand this notion of Straight Privilege: straight people are allowed free reign legally to harm children. Gay people are to be forbidden from raising children, even if and when they are cleaning up after the carelessness of straight people.

    Truly, you need to spend some time re-evaluating your priorities and principles.

  69. August 7th, 2011 at 14:02 | #69

    Conception rights needs to be part of the definition Glenn. If a dictionary doesn’t include the fact that the partners in a marriage are allowed to have sex and create offspring then the dictionary is bad and needs to be fixed, before more people get confused about marriage and think procreation rights can be separated from marriage.

    Marriage has always meant that the two people are now legally able to have sex and procreate. I’ve shown you the Massachusetts fornication law, now you just want to ignore it’s existence. Just about every state and country used to have fornication laws, and enforce them too. Marriage still gives the same approval to have sex that it always has, and it’s super important that it continue to. It’s so super important that it continue to protect procreation rights that I need to hector you over and over until you stop saying that conception rights are not part of marriage.

    Now, it’s true that my state prohibits “incestuous marriage or sexual activities” which shows that marriage is the sexual union itself (or perhaps just the consent and intent to form a sexual union), not the legal approval to do so, but such marriages are void as soon as they are discovered to exist, so that marriage remains the public approval of conjugal union and the right to create offspring.

    Then it’s a simple matter of saying that same-sex couples should not be given marriage rights, because their conception would be unethical and should not be allowed.

    You do think that marriages should have a right to procreate with their own genes, right? (Yes, you said it was “part and parcel of marriage”) And you do think that we should not allow same-sex couples to do that, right? (Yes, you said it should be prohibited). So I don’t get why you are so adamant that I accept your ludicrous and obviously false premise that marriage by definition is only between opposite sex couples and that conception rights are not part of the definition. (It’s obviously false because there are thousands of legal same-sex marriages that objectively exist and have the legal status of marriage. It doesn’t matter a whit that you don’t think they are really marriages, the fact is, they are legal marriages whether you like it or not.)

  70. August 7th, 2011 at 16:31 | #70

    @John Howard We are talking about the difference between dictionary definition and the legal results of that definition. The definition does not need to be changed. Whether or not SSM is legal doesn’t alter the fact that by definition they are not. THAT is my point which you never seem to get.

  71. August 7th, 2011 at 18:12 | #71

    If the dictionary definition doesn’t include the universal fact that married couples are allowed to have sex and procreate offspring then the definition does need to be changed, as I said. You are wrong that the definition does not need to include conception rights.

  72. August 8th, 2011 at 07:18 | #72

    @John Howard What part of “dictionary” and “legal rights” being different don’t you understand? You are being intentionally stubborn. You know very well that the dictionary definition, base on thousands of years of being defined, is the crux of the issue. Take back the re-defining from the homophiles and keep the definition of marriage as between opposite sex people. You can wrangle all you want about conception rights later, but the crux of the argument from the SSM crowd is the definition that they want to change so as to destroy the concept of marriage and family. 90% could care less about having children so conception rights to them isn’t the issue. Which is why I keep trying to point out to you that there are two different issues at stake, and one is the fundamental definition of marriage, regardless of what legal rights are included in the institution which is defined by being the union of opposite-sex people.

  73. August 8th, 2011 at 09:39 | #73

    @Sean
    “John, I hesitate to engage you because your viewpoints are so other-worldly, but marriage is society’s preferred setting for RAISING children, not procreating them. That’s because the evidence shows that children do better when raised by married parents. And no, this doesn’t apply just to straight couples.”

    Oh now I have to quote the Adultery statute? I think all states still have an adultery law, which prohibits married people from having intercourse with anyone but their spouse. Sperm donation was considered adultery when it was first introduced in the 50′s, and had to done in secret to avoid arrest. Then it gradually became mainstream enough to be considered legal if the husband consented, then it gradually became available to single women too. But it isn’t a right, there is no right to procreate with anyone but your spouse. You are being ridiculous to suggest that it is a minor little detail where the kids came from, like hospitals don’t even keep track of which baby belongs to which mother, because people only have a right to raise a kid, not their own. Ridiculous! Adultery is still a crime and will always be a crime, and I predict sperm donation is going to be shut down in a few years because it is so wrong, it breaks up marriages and hurts the kids, and wastes our resources. Kids should be raised by their biological parents, and they should be married in advance of conceiving children together.

  74. August 8th, 2011 at 09:50 | #74

    @Glenn E. Chatfield
    You see above, Sean also wants to separate conception rights from marriage (even though he also demands conception rights for same-sex couples), so that the state could force someone with “bad genes” from having procreative sex with their spouse, saying that marriage is only about raising children, not conceiving them together. That’s a terrible eugenic sentiment, and a huge violation of human rights and equality and dignity.

    All marriages must continue to protect the couple’s right to use their own genes to procreate offspring. That needs to be in the “dictionary definition” as well as in the legal rights. Currently it is just implicit, it needs to be explicit too. Yes I am stubborn about that, because it is super important. Why are you so stubborn about leaving it out of the definition? It’s not like it makes it harder to argue that marriage is only a man and a woman by definition, in fact it’s the only way to legally justify it.

  75. August 8th, 2011 at 15:41 | #75

    @John Howard You are really, really irritating. You said, “Sean ALSO wants to separate conception rights from marriage,” which means you are saying that is what I want to do. Are you really that dense? I DO NOT want to separate conception rights from marriage. I have been talking about the definition of the word and you are talking about legal rights. HELLO!!!! You can limit conception rights to marriage all you want but as long as you don’t have a dictionary definition of marriage which doesn’t include SSM then it won’t matter! So how about we reclaim the meaning of marriage by dictionary definition FIRST!

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