20 Wives Ok, If You’re Gay?

20wives

Gay Marriage Trifles with the Lock on Pandora’s Box in Canada

In the first case to test polygamy laws in this country, two polygamist leaders in Canada have been put on trial for their marital practices.  One of the men is charge with committing polygamy with 20 women, the other, only two.

According to lawyers in the case, two previous legal decisions have said that polygamy charges might be thrown out under a Charter of Rights challenge, leaving the door wide open for new marriage practices.

“It’s pretty hard to justify why gay marriage is OK and polygamy’s not…”

says Canadian lawyer Blair Suffredine.   It was only a few years ago that enlightened social liberals in Canada scoffed at the notion that legalizing same-sex “marriage” would open the door for polygamy.

Naysayers claim that Canada has no reason to allow polygamy because it is not “enlightened”, but rather a throwback to ancient times and primitive cultures that consider women and children property.

So, now instead of having solid moral code as a boundary for what is and isn’t acceptable in our culture, we have wiffly waffly public opinion.  The lawyers say times are new, “…the standards have changed”, and so they have.

—Beetle Blogger

VANCOUVER, British Columbia  —  The lawyer for a British Columbia man charged with having 20 wives says he’ll use the same-sex marriage law as a defense.

The lawyer, Blair Suffredine, says gays can marry in Canada, so why can’t a man have more than one wife. The lawyer says standards have changed.

He’s representing 52-year-old Winson Blackmore, leader of a polygamous group in Bountiful, in southeastern British Columbia.

He appeared in court briefly yesterday in Creston and the case was continued to Feb. 18.

Another man from a rival polygamous group in Bountiful, James Oler, also appeared in court, charged with marrying two women.

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50 Comments

  1. { Lisa } said,

    January 21, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Gay community,

    I hate to say “I told you so” but…. I told you so!!

  2. Euripides said,

    January 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    But, they keep telling me there’s no gay agenda…..

  3. beetlebabee said,

    January 21, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    It will be interesting to see the court try to uphold the restriction and to hear what grounds make it ok.

  4. January 22, 2009 at 6:51 am

    The consequences of deforming the definition of marriage.

  5. Mel said,

    January 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I’ve thought this for a long time……if gay marriage is OK, then why NOT polygamy? Really, as long as all adults are consenting and there’s no abuse, what’s the difference? Why not marry your brother? Heck, let’s just throw in the towel and just allow anything under the guise of “freedom” and “civil rights.” Soon, it’ll be my civil right to not wear my seatbelt, because I’m not hurting anyone else. Next it’ll be my civil right to walk around naked, because the government has no right to tell me to wear clothes. It’s ridiculous…….somewhere in our country, we’ve got to keep some sort of foundation, or everything is going to just fall to pieces. This just makes me crazy.

  6. Pearl said,

    January 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Slippery slope, here we come!

  7. busywithconviction said,

    January 22, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I think the lawyer Beetle quoted summed it up, “The lawyer, Blair Suffredine, says… standards have changed.” Not to say we shoudn’t fight to hold onto the standards we personally value, but it will have to be done more and more from our homes and not from society as a whole.

  8. Chairm said,

    January 24, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Canada no longer recognizes the social institution of marriage. Rather, it now has a substitution under cover of the name, marriage.

    For something to have meaning it must have limits. To define something is to articulate its meaning; and it is not trivial matter to distinguish the thing from other things — whether the other things be similiar in some ways or unalike in all ways.

    So the boundaries of marriage are significant limits around the parameter of the core meaning of the relationship type. That core is distinctive and is surrounded by markers that set marriage apart from other types of relationships.

    Boundaries, or limitatons, are infuenced by social, cultural, and historical characteristics of a given society. This is where the SSMers tend to deeply discount the importance of customs and traditions in their rush to relocate marriage outside of its boundaries.

    They look to the law and only the law as the font of wisdom. What are the legal requirments, they ask, even as they dismiss the definitive legal requirements in the marriage law.

    Of course the man-woman criterion is definitive; as is the marital presumption of paternity (to which the husband and the wife and the community consent when the two newlyweds say “I do” and enter the social institution esteemed by society). Yet these legal requirements — which are vigorously enforced — are abolished or diminished by SSM argumentation.

    Without the core meaning of marriage intact, the boundaries become unmoored from the social institution.

    You might have noticed that SSMers also are very dismissive of the social institution and instead claim that marriage is a government creation and is owned by The Government. They do so in the same breath that they dimiss the core meaning of marriage as purely religious assertion rather than a legal fact.

    That is a dangerous line of thinking since it assumes that The Government (not ‘the government’, as in a limited government — again meaning is exploded) creates and owns the foundational instituton of civil society. That way is contrary to the founding principle of our constitutional form of government: The People have a government, not the other way around.

    Now, ploygamy, which is a series of man-woman marriages, is not group marriage since the first wife does not marry her husband’s second wife nor would either wife marry a third woman should their husband marry again.

    The already-married are capable of doing all that SSM argumentation says that two men or two women might do. Mutual commitment, raise children, love, provide caretaking, consent as adults, and all the rest.

    However, in our society — with its emphasis on autonomy, pluralism, and self-governance — we look to civil society, and its foundational institutions, as the source of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (i.e. wealth-creation and independence from government encroachment). Marriage is far more significant than the dichotomy that SSMers present — gay versus straight.

    Its core meaning has zilch to do with that dichotomy. Defenders of marriage often get side-tracked by the axiomatic assertions of gay identity politics. That occured in Canada where the man-woman criterion, and recognition of the social institution of marriage, were abolished.

    Polygamy is not a purely religious issue, but the way the anti-polygamy laws and the Charter of Freedoms are written in Canada, the religious liberty claim has become a political wedge. And the courts have been politicized by identity politics.

    Boundaries of social institutions are very vulnerable when identity politics — of whatever form — trump constitutional jurisprudence, civil rights, and the principles of good governance. As I noted in a blogpost at The Opine Editorials, the locus of power and decision-making has moved from elected bodies and elections to courtrooms and legal briefs. That is one of the means by which identity politics corrupts responsible government. The rule of law becomes the rule of a few men and women in black robes and lawyer credentials.

    Okay, so what gives marriage meaning in our society? At its core, the social institution, in the American context (our culture, our traditions, and our customs) is sex integration (the equality, not the equivalence, of man and woman) and contingency for responsible procreation (as per the marital presumption of paternity by which biological parents stick around as social parents for the sake of each other and their children and society).

    In practice, and in principle, polygamy does integrate the sexes but in an inferior form that undermines equality of the sexes — not just in this or that particular instance of a polygamous family but on the level of community, of culture, of society. Also, polygamy does provide for responsible procreation but it tends to undermine the unity of motherhood and fatherhood. Polygamy also strongly tends to combine with two other undesirable marital practices that are contrary to the American preference for marriage: under-aged arrangements (even if only on the basis of informal or customary bethrothals) and incestuous arrangements (even if only on the basis of first-cousin or in-law relations).

    I suppose that within a subgroup, and not an entire society, one of these three practices might serve some insular purpose that might be tolerated, but polygamy, under-aged unions, and incestuous relations promote a sort of tribalism and ingrown factionalism that undermine the rule of law and the constitutional framework of the republican form of government. We can see this in the anthropological record. Christians can read about it in the Bible.

    Even if just one of the three practices combine, the core of marriage becomes imperiled. Sex integration is diluted and the sexes become more and more segregated; inequality overtakes in all aspects of the family. Likewise responsible procreation gives way to abuses. In some polygamous communities in our country, and in others, unofficial exchanges of children — a sort of intra-family trade of informal adoptions — become an entrenched way of reacting to the very real prospect of sibling-on-silbing sexual abuse.

    Now, these things may not occur in each and every polygamous family. And perhaps not in every polygamous community — religious or not. The point is that there tendency is strong and evident due to the practice — and yes the principles — of plural marriage.

    But SSMers have no argument that can restore the justification for the boundaries against polygamy. They would jettison the core meaning of marriage. Yet if they try to articulate an opposition to polygamy, they often do cite social taboos, cultural preferences, and even the significance of sex integration and responsible procreation. But just as many SSMers will shrug and say that they have no problem with polygamy provided that it is entered into with mutual consent.

    This covers a lot of ground, I know, but it is also important to return to first principles.

    If the core meaning of a foundational social institution can be abolished by The Government — and make no mistake, the SSMers seek to change our culture via legal reform — then, the meaning of liberty itself will be the next victim. In fact, it usually is a victim on the road to impositon of SSM. See Canada and a good example of that. See Massachusetts. See what is being proposed by the anti-8ers in California.

    Just as the man-woman criterion and the marital presumption have long been vigorously enforced in our legal system — as a direct expression of the societal preference for the social institution of marriage — we can fully expect that gay identity politics will be vigorously enforced as it is the core meaning of SSM argumentation.

    Can gay identity politics stand alone or must The Government’s big hairy hand be moved by religious identity politics as well? Or by the identity politics of ethnicity? That is what will be tested in Canada as polygamy cases are brought to the fore.

    On a cultural note, if marriage does NOT mean the integration of the sexes and does NOT entail lthe marital presumption of paternity, then, in the eyes of The Government there can be no nongovernmental limitation based on a legal presumption of sexual relations.

    I do anticipate that the polygamous case will demonstrate that the sexual aspect has been neutralized in the eyes of the Judiciary.

    So if two or more people say they want the legal status of “marriage”, or at least its new substitution in Canada, we should not hold them to some shared public meaning — some cultural consensus — that the relationship is indeed conjugal in the meaningful way.

    Why should two buddies, or two siblings, be ashamed of going for a license for a relationship type that is not sexual? It is just for mutual support. It is disconnected from childbearing and from the sexual basis of the maritla presumption of paternity.

    When the core of marriage is disparaged, and when the boundaries or limitations of marriage are cut-off from what distinguishes marriage from nonmarriage, then, all bets are off.

    Polygamy is a form of marriage. But it cannot be recognized as marriage qua marriage when the merger with SSM has already gutted marital status of its nongovernmental meaning.

    SSMers are not shy of pushing for the shedding of that nongovernmental meaning. That, unfortunately, is their point in trying to distingiush marriage from “civil marriage”.

  9. beetlebabee said,

    January 24, 2009 at 10:00 am

    “They look to the law and only the law as the font of wisdom. What are the legal requirements, they ask, even as they dismiss the definitive legal requirements in the marriage law.”

    This is an astute observation. I had those thoughts mulling, but hadn’t heard them articulated precisely. Good point! (one of many). Chairm, I hope you make a blog post out of this excellent comment. If you don’t, I will.

    There are some who think that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether, including many of my libertarian friends. I haven’t looked into that facet of the equation yet, you touched on it, what do you think?

  10. January 25, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Mel “…if gay marriage is OK, then why NOT polygamy? Really, as long as all adults are consenting and there’s no abuse, what’s the difference?”
    Apparently you haven’t noticed that that question/statement combination works just as without “gay”.

    “Soon, it’ll be my civil right to not wear my seatbelt, because I’m not hurting anyone else.”
    You don’t have to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle in some states…in those states your relatives still have to feed and clean you after you crash, I assume.

    “Next it’ll be my civil right to walk around naked, because the government has no right to tell me to wear clothes.”
    Well, you’re half right

    Pearl “Slippery slope, here we come!”
    An argument from Loving v Virginia, et al. Hurrah!

    Chairm “This is where the SSMers tend to deeply discount the importance of customs and traditions in their rush to relocate marriage outside of its boundaries.”
    The Argument from Tradition. Hurrah!

    “…and make no mistake, the SSMers seek to change our culture via legal reform — then, the meaning of liberty itself will be the next victim.”
    Um. They’re not regulating your life. You are regulating theirs. They’re not coming into your home and telling you that your relationship isn’t worthy of the title, protection (including survivor benefits) and mild tax-advantages of marriage. You’re going into theirs. The uncivility of those hurt by Prop 8 pales beside that which would have happened if Prop 8 instead annuled hetero-marriage.


    It should be noted that I’m against polygamy, as it consistently works out poorly both for the children and the wives (who end up with the short end of the grossly imbalanced relationship)…this includes groups where all parties are both consenting and adult. That said, however, they should be going after Bountiful not just on the basis of the direct, detrimental effects of polyamy; in Bountiful (as is common in other closed, polygamous communities) it’s old men trading people who are practically children (as young as 14 years old, and in this case married to a first cousin, no less), which falls under “Sexual exploitation” in Canada’s criminal code.

  11. Chairm said,

    January 26, 2009 at 8:49 am

    beetlebabee, feel free to use any of my comments or to elaborate on any notions I’ve described.

    The manner in which society involves the government is very important to the question about government’s role with marriage.

    Government is capable of doing a lot of harm to social institutions of civil society. We could use free enterprise and free press and religion as analogues. We want regulation of the parameters but we don’t want government ownership of the essentials, the core, such that government becomes empowered to replace the social institution with a government created stand-in.

    Marriage ought to be preferred, not merely tolerated like the broad spectrum of lawful nonmarital arrangements. A tolerative status means that the thing is NOT outlawed, banned, criminalized, and so forth. Between tolerative and preferential status is the protective status. Not all protective statuses are the same, but these arise from certain vulnerabilities that society — through government — seeks to make less hard or distressing.

    I do think that those who favor civil union status, for example, had this in mind when domestic partnership was first enacted in California. That legislation was not envisioned as an equivalent of marriage. It was rapidly expanded to become a localized merger, contrary to the plebiscite-approved statutory provision that distinguished marriage from nonmarriage. This sort of “scope creep” ought to be avoided — and in that sense I’d rather see government out of the business of creating alternative relationship statuses.

    Libertarian principles point to promotion of marriage because it reduces government interventions into private affairs and because it reduces social dependence on a bigger and more interventionist Government.

    Libertarian principles also point to the already-existing provisions for designated beneficiaries. These are typically contractual in form — requiring merely an affidavit and a nominal fee. Where there are issues of access and affordability, that’s where Libertarians ought to expend their efforts to uniform the provisions — without a special relationship status at law — across the country. It keeps government small and it empowers those who find themselves outside the bounds of a foundational social institution of civil society.

    That said, government, as an expression of the will of the governed, has a responsiblity to protect — and to strengthen — the foundational social institutions. Mostly by getting out of the way of the choices of its citizens. But not by abdicating this societal responsibility through an indifference to the beating that marriage has taken these past few decades.

    Keep in mind that identity politics — of all kinds — do not align with libertarian principles. Here I am not talking of the legitimate efforts to ameliorate bonafide injustices based on identity politics. I am not talking about the added clarity of protections based on countering the racist identity politics that grew out of slavery in the USA. The white supremacy thing is a classic example of identity politics that was aimed at subordinating a class of people; and it had the scope creep problem as well for it empowered Government to infringe on the liberties of the supposedly supremist race. Even if someone agreed with white supremacy, his freedoms were curtailed in all kinds of ways that one might describe generically as white-on-white racism and oppression via a caste system.

    Anyway, one of the better libertarian arguments made in favor of protecting the both-sexed basis of society’s preference for marriage was written by Dr. J — see: http://jennifer-roback-morse.blogspot.com/

    My background includes education in the classical liberal vein. That puts me on a very different footing than most self-identified liberals today. And a different footing that the pro-SSM libertarians of today, as well.

  12. Chairm said,

    January 26, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Modusoperandi said: “The Argument from Tradition. Hurrah!”

    An argument that enails tradition is not an argument that stands on tradition alone or inappropriately. You need to recognize this if you want to drop one-liners and links to items that undermine SSM argumentation.

    Is SSM a sexual type of relationship? SSMers often argue as if it was. But based on what legal requirement? No place that SSM has been enacted or imposed do government make same-sexed sexual behavior compulsory. So SSMers point to the relatively recent tradition of romance and hope everyone does not pay attention to the open contradiction in their attack on the core meaning of marriage.

    Modusoperandi said:

    “They’re not regulating your life. You are regulating theirs.”

    Actually, SSMers demand regulation of romantic relationships. I don’t. In fact, I favor protection equality for nonmarital families — gay or not.

    I also favor preferential treatment of the foundational social institution of civil society. And I favor that special status due to the core meaning of marriage which combines 1) sex integration, 2) contingency for responsible procreation, and 3) recognition of the social institution that is not government-owned. These three things combine as a coherent whole.

    I disfavor merging marriage with nonmarriage. I disfavor granting a relationship status to something that is very ill-defined by SSMers. They offer no core meaning for the relationship type they have in mind. They reject the core of marriage and offer nothing in its place.

    However, the core of SSM argumentation (if we accept that it is NOT about protection equality) is gay identity politics. “That imperils liberty — even openly gay people who voted in favor of Prop 8 have acknowledged that.”

    And, as it turns out, your objection to polygamy also arises from significant concerns about sex segregation and responsible procreation. Consent is important because of what the husband and wife consent to when they say, “I do”. And this must align with the consent of society which has empowered, through delegated authority, the Government to regulate the parameters around the core meaning of marriage.

    You said:

    “I’m against polygamy, as it consistently works out poorly both for the children and the wives (who end up with the short end of the grossly imbalanced relationship)…this includes groups where all parties are both consenting and adult.”

  13. January 27, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Chairm “An argument that enails tradition is not an argument that stands on tradition alone or inappropriately.”
    An argument that stands on a foundation of “this is how we did it before” is no argument at all. The Argument from Tradition has (traditionally) been used to keep the status quo because it’s the status quo.

    “You need to recognize this if you want to drop one-liners and links to items that undermine SSM argumentation.”
    You stop referring to “the importance of customs and traditions” and I’ll stop calling you on it. The argument isn’t about what worked, it’s about what works. The tense is critical.

    “In fact, I favor protection equality for nonmarital families — gay or not.”
    That’s halfway there. Separate but equal is not equal.

    “So SSMers point to the relatively recent tradition of romance and hope everyone does not pay attention to the open contradiction in their attack on the core meaning of marriage.”
    Actually, they just want the rights and privileges afforded to others in relationships that are exactly the same as theirs, but not burdened by the yoke of matching genitalia. Everything else falls away when a couple of lesbians who’ve been together for fifty years finally get a chance to experience what we get to experience on one drunken night with a stripper in Vegas. If anything, their marriage had more sanctity than that.

    “Consent is important because of what the husband and wife consent to when they say, “I do”. And this must align with the consent of society which has empowered, through delegated authority, the Government to regulate the parameters around the core meaning of marriage.”
    I call shenanigans. Polygamy is bad because the brides (and it’s always the women) get screwed. There’s no such problem with gay marriage (they even tend to split into male/female roles, if my own minor experience around a long-term lesbian couple is any indication). If they are two consenting adults, then nobody should have any qualms about their engagement (the only exception that I can think of is siblings marrying, but that’s not for their protection, that’s for the protection of the next generation. Siblings, incidentally, can marry as long as they don’t/can’t reproduce. Yes, it’s ooky, but the case I’m thinking of had a brother and sister, separated at birth, who only found out they were related after the blood test).
    And, while they can’t reproduce, they can reproduce. And they do raise kids (they are right now, in fact). And their pretty good at it.

  14. January 27, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Okay, now I’m really annoyed at the lack of preview. That’s waaay too much bold.

  15. beetlebabee said,

    January 27, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Modus, I got you covered on the bold…..

  16. { Lisa } said,

    January 27, 2009 at 8:58 am

    “Polygamy is bad because the brides (and it’s always the women) get screwed.”

    Homosexuality is bad because the children (and its always the kids) get screwed.

    “If anything, their marriage had more sanctity than that.”

    The definition of sanctity is : holiness, saintliness, or godliness. There is nothing about homosexual marriage that is holy, saintly or Godly…sorry thats a load of doodoo.

  17. January 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    { Lisa } “Homosexuality is bad because the children (and its always the kids) get screwed.”
    Except that they don’t. You want to protect the kids? Ban divorce. Latchkey kids end up worse than kids of gay parents.

    “The definition of sanctity is : holiness, saintliness, or godliness. There is nothing about homosexual marriage that is holy, saintly or Godly…sorry thats a load of doodoo.”
    This is what I get for using your terminology. How good is a relationship that lasted for over fifty years, and ended with the “til death do us part” of marriage? That the kind of stability that most people want in their lives? That the kind of environment for raising kids? If this doesn’t put a little light in your heart, you have no soul.

  18. Chairm said,

    January 27, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Modusoperandi said: “An argument that stands on a foundation of “this is how we did it before” is no argument at all”

    And it is not the argument in my comments. Hurrah!

    * * *

    In my earlier comment, to which you supposed responded with one-liner that missed the target, I had said:

    “Boundaries, or limitatons, are infuenced by social, cultural, and historical characteristics of a given society. This is where the SSMers tend to deeply discount the importance of customs and traditions in their rush to relocate marriage outside of its boundaries.

    They look to the law and only the law as the font of wisdom. What are the legal requirments, they ask, even as they dismiss the definitive legal requirements in the marriage law.

    Of course the man-woman criterion is definitive; as is the marital presumption of paternity (to which the husband and the wife and the community consent when the two newlyweds say “I do” and enter the social institution esteemed by society). Yet these legal requirements — which are vigorously enforced — are abolished or diminished by SSM argumentation.

    Without the core meaning of marriage intact, the boundaries become unmoored from the social institution.”

    * * *

    I did not rely solely on tradition. I made it clear that there are definitive legal requirements that directly represent the core meaning of marriage. This is a social institution; it is NOT owned by the Government. The Government does NOT own civil society. Civil society exists in its customs, traditions, and in lawful recognition of foundational social institutions.

    If you can’t grasp the core meaning of marriage, then, you can’t claim to identify it inorder to accord it a status — preferential or otherwise.

    This is basic to social policy-making, to law-making, to reasoning vigorously. This has worked, and does work, but apparently, accoridng to you, is incompatable with SSM argumentation. Hurrah!

    * * *

    You said: “Separate but equal is not equal. … they just want the rights and privileges afforded to others in relationships that are … the same as theirs”.

    Right. So the the arrangements defined by gayness should not be treated as more worthy that the rest of the nonmarital category. Protection equality, hurrah!

    * * *

    Two sisters, in mutual support and love, cannot become wives to each other even if their relationship was sexualized for four decades and a day. Neither can a son and mother “sanctify” their caring commitment with a marriage license. So the categories are really not “opposite-sex” versus “same-sex”, but marital and nonmarital.

    The boundaries regarding incest are not the same everyplace, not even within this country, but they are around the core meaning of marriage. These boundaries, across cultures, history, and geography will vary based on local traditions and customs but not based on a different core.

    That core, and its boundaries, are all about the societal significance of sex-integration and responsible procreation. It has zilch to do with gayness. In fact, gayness has nothing to do with the social institution of marriage. Marriage is indifferent to gayness and that’s shown where people with same-sex attraction have united with persons of their other sex and had children within the sexualized relaitonship type known as the conjugal relationship.

    The man-woman criterion is not a test of sexual orientation. Neither is the contingency for responsible procreation.

    Yet you want to distinguish some nonmarital arrangements that are sexualized — i.e. the lesbian version — from the rest of the “same-sex” category, for some unstated reason.

    Is there a legal requirement whereby the Government mandates lesbianism for a license to SSM? Not in Massachusetts nor in Canada nor anyplace else where SSM has been imposed or enacted — under whatever name for the registration. So lesbianism is clearly not essential to the concept of SSM. Nor is male gayness.

    Your unstated reason for ‘seperate but equal’ is a gaping hole in your comments.

    * * *

    You said: ” Polygamy is bad because the brides (and it’s always the women) get screwed. There’s no such problem with gay marriage (they even tend to split into male/female roles, if my own minor experience around a long-term lesbian couple is any indication).”

    Okay, so an all-male or an all-female plural marriage would have no problem due to sex-segregation, right? The exclusion of one sex would avoid the problem of the brides “always” getting “screwed”.

    But they don’t. Not always. In fact, probably not most of the time. Again, one needs to recognize that you are making a moral, cultural, and political judgement. And using the term “always” backfires as your response to Lisa would demonstrate. Maybe you should just allow it until a specific instance of the problem arises and then have Government jump-in to right the worng?

    According to you, society must ban plural marriage for both-sexed arrangements because the problem cannot be avoided. Better to generalize and be on the safe side. Because, I guess, you know something of what has and has not worked in the past — and have extrapolated what would work and not work today or in the future. A variation of the argument from tradition. Hurrah!

    You said “always” even if there’s mutal consent. I guess consent is not so important to your argument. It wasn’t when talking of the core meaning of marriage, nor the idealization of some same-sex arrangements (at least those which are gay or lesbian), but suddenly it is respectable to generalize negatively when you turn to plural marriage.

    Anyway, you’d breathed new life into ‘seperate but equal’, again.

    Hurrah!

    * * *

    You said: “I can think of is siblings marrying, but that’s not for their protection, that’s for the protection of the next generation. Siblings, incidentally, can marry as long as they don’t/can’t reproduce.”

    Okay, so now the significance of responsible procreation is respectable. But only after disparaging it when abolishing the core meaning of marriage for the sake of SSM.

    In only a few places is there an exception to related couples based on their not being able to have children together. And that was a zig-zag, with age limitations, where states bordered others that — on one side allowed 1st cousins to marry and on the other disallowed 1st cousins to marry. It was a political compromise that in its own way demonstrated the significance to society of providing contingency for responsible procreation. It was designed to discourage young people from such marriages while allowing older people — on a cultural basis. Also, it is a flawed compromise since sibling, or a parent-child, couple could make a strong case for a marriage license if they met this special zig-zag requirement. The requirement, of course, applies to the both-sexed scenario — because marriage unites the sexes and provides contingency for responsible procreation.

    Of course, no same-sex siblings could be barred from a marriage license on the basis you just offered. So if we treat them differently…. well seperate but equal keeps getting renewed by you. Hurrah!

    * * *

    The boundaries around marriage are based on its core meaning. Plural marriage, incestuous marriage, under-aged marriage — these are allowed and disallowed based on traditions, customs, and cultural markers.

    In our society, we permit serial polygamy — where people can marry, divorce, and remarry. But that tends strongly to create more, not less, sex segregation in society. Polygamy has the same problem. It is an inferior marital practice.

    Incest depends on the definition of incest. Related people can and do marry in this country. We draw lines based on principled and empirical evidence that reflect our moral judgements and our traditions and customs. The lines are around the same core, but are not the exact same everywhere. That’s so even from state to state within the USA. However, the lines are drawn based on the double concerns regarding sex integration and responsible procreation. We, as a society, judge what is acceptable for the preferential status that comes with marriage. And that status arises from the core meaning of the social institution of marriage.

    Likewise, age requirements vary — and not just state-to-state but also within jurisdictions. It depends on assessements of maturity. You can’t say that a 15 year old is “always” less mature than a 20 year old, but society can make generalizations and even exceptions based on the concerns that are at the core of marriage in the first place. The underaged limits, and the exceptions, are usually expressed in euphemisms denoting coitus and pregancy and childbearing and fatherhood. The uniting of the sexes — and the solidarity of fatherhood and motherhood — are unmistakably central to the age parameters in every culture that shows preference for the conjugal relationship over all other arrangements.

    * * *

    As for the stability notion, keep in mind the purpose of stability in marriage law. Take a good look at the legal marital presumption of paternity and you’ll get a better understanding, I hope, that is based on the conjugal relationship being a both-sexed sexualized relationship type.

    It doesn’t mean that coitus is mandated by the Government. That’s not the point of the legal presumption. Nonetheless, it is based on coitus and pregnancy and impregnation, rather than some asexual concept such as the thing at the core of the SSM argumentation, and in your comments.

    Cheerio,
    Chairm

  19. Chairm said,

    January 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    And, please, enough with the goofy emotionalism. You can’t claim to be against tradition and yet in favor of the tradition of romance — just as far as your idealization of the lesbian version of nonmarital arrangement.

  20. January 28, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Chairm “In my earlier comment, to which you supposed responded with one-liner that missed the target, I had said:
    “Boundaries, or limitatons, are infuenced by social, cultural, and historical characteristics of a given society.”

    And the boundaries have changed. Considerably. Fifty years ago, they’d be jailed for sodomy. You may not like it, but society has evolved. I don’t much like the rapping music that the kids listen to these days, but I’m not going to ban it based on their “discounting the importance of customs and traditions” of rock & roll. Heck, before Loving v Virginia, the definition of marriage (at least in America) was “a man and a woman, where they’re both the same color”. That changed to encompass more people. This is another change to encompass more people.

    “This is where the SSMers tend to deeply discount the importance of customs and traditions in their rush to relocate marriage outside of its boundaries.”
    And that is the Argument from Tradition.

    “This is a social institution; it is NOT owned by the Government.”
    Which is why the social institution is using the government to prevent people that are essentially married from getting survivor benefits when “until death do us part” comes true.

    “Right. So the the arrangements defined by gayness should not be treated as more worthy that the rest of the nonmarital category. Protection equality, hurrah!”
    But we aren’t talking about non-marriage. Not giving them the same protections that you enjoy for the same relationship is not equal.

    “Two sisters, in mutual support and love, cannot become wives to each other even if their relationship was sexualized for four decades and a day. Neither can a son and mother “sanctify” their caring commitment with a marriage license. So the categories are really not “opposite-sex” versus “same-sex”, but marital and nonmarital.”
    But this isn’t incest. This isn’t a relationship where people get hurt. This isn’t a relationship that results in children who are really good at the banjo. This is a relationship that’s exactly the same as regular married couple, but with matched genitalia.

    “That core, and its boundaries, are all about the societal significance of sex-integration and responsible procreation.”
    And they do reproduce. It’s just a little more complicated than boy-girl. The contract of their marriage protects their children, too.

    “Is there a legal requirement whereby the Government mandates lesbianism for a license to SSM?”
    No. In Canada, at least, it all falls under “marriage”.

    “So lesbianism is clearly not essential to the concept of SSM. Nor is male gayness.”
    Except that they want to get married. Just married. Not gay married.

    “Your unstated reason for ’seperate but equal’ is a gaping hole in your comments.”
    My unstated reason for “separate but equal” is that “married in everything but name” and “married” are not equal (much like the “white entrance” and the “black entrance” were separate but not equal back in the day).

    “Okay, so an all-male or an all-female plural marriage would have no problem due to sex-segregation, right?”
    Gay polygamy? I’ve never really thought about it. You’d be surprised how rarely it comes up.

    “According to you, society must ban plural marriage for both-sexed arrangements because the problem cannot be avoided. Better to generalize and be on the safe side.”
    I may have overstated that, but to be honest I’ve never heard of a plural marriage group that worked out. It only seems to come up in the context of places like Bountiful and the FLDS (and, occasionally, under Sharia).

    “Because, I guess, you know something of what has and has not worked in the past…”
    …and continues to not work.

    “I guess consent is not so important to your argument.”
    Informed consent. Consent because it’s all you know (and you’re a part of the insular FLDS) isn’t really informed. Gay people, however, have heard plenty about marriage.

    “Okay, so now the significance of responsible procreation is respectable. But only after disparaging it when abolishing the core meaning of marriage for the sake of SSM.”
    Should I repeat again that they do reproduce?

    “Of course, no same-sex siblings could be barred from a marriage license on the basis you just offered.”
    No. I guess not. Does the ick factor with that example mean that the rest shouldn’t?

    “In our society, we permit serial polygamy — where people can marry, divorce, and remarry.”
    I’m pretty sure that would fall under “serial monogamy”.

    “You can’t claim to be against tradition and yet in favor of the tradition of romance..”
    I’m not against either, actually, but tradition (no matter how elaborately embroidered) is not a good argument.

    ” — just as far as your idealization of the lesbian version of nonmarital arrangement.”
    Idealized? That’s no more idealized than pointing out how long my parents have been together. Phyllis and Del were together for fifty years (and for a portion of that they could’ve been jailed). The marriage only dissolved when one of them died. At their wedding was a male couple who’d been together for twenty.

  21. Chairm said,

    January 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    You said: And the boundaries have changed.”

    Okay, maybe you are in such a rush to disagree that you haven’t take in what I’ve said in my comments here.

    The core has not changed.

    Merging SSM with marriage would sideline that core. What would stand in its place?

    Please plainly state the core meaning of the relationship type that you have in mind, when you say “marriage”, and then specify its definitive legal requirements such that this core meaning can distinguish “marriage” from nonmarital arrangements.

    I’ve spelled out the core meaning and its definitive legal requirements, but these you reject and would abolish. So what is the replacement? Thanks.

  22. Chairm said,

    January 28, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    You said: “And they do reproduce. It’s just a little more complicated than boy-girl. The contract of their marriage protects their children, too.”

    Clearly you have not thought this through. I think you are regurgitating SSM argumentation, very dependably, but have missed the significance of the leal marital presumption of paternity. The significance does not arise solely from the Law but it is nonetheless one of the most vigorously enforced aspects of marital law. Yes, even today. Yes, because it works and continues to work. No, not just for the sake of tradition alone.

    Okay, how do one-sexed arrangements acquire children?

    1. Adoption. But adoption does not betow marital status on both-sexed arrangements, so why would you respond as if adoption should do so for one-sexed arrangements?

    2. Adoption requires at least two pre-requisites: A) parental relinquishement, and B) Government intervention to assign a stand-in parent. This is the virtual inverse of marriage.

    3. Marital status, and marriageability, are indeed legitimate criteria in prioritizing and determining prospective adoptors. Adoption is an attempt to makeup for a shortfall experienced by a child in need; it is NOT a right for needy adults. That’s so, regardless of sexual orientation.

    4. Third party procreation (i.e. use of so-called “donors”). But that’s extramarital procreation even when married people use it. The “donor” must pre-emptively relinquish parental status; the Government intervenes with enabling legislation that empowers a lab or a clinic to treat the creation of human life like the trading of a commodity. This is so, regardless of sexual orientation.

    5. So pointing to adoption, or pointing to 3rd party procreation, is to point outside of marriage, not to its core.

    6. Not even SSMers will claim that adoption and 3rd party procreation are legal requirements for SSM — and no place whre SSM has been enacted or imposed are these extramarital things made central legal requirements.

    7. The legal marital presumption of paternity follows the two-sexed nature of humankind, the both-sexed nature of human generativity, and the both-sexed nature of human community. The family, founded on the unity of husband and wife, integrates fatherhood and motherhood for the sake of their children, themselves (as individuals and as the couple), and benefits society such that society benefits — with preferential status — the core meaning of the social institution of marriage.

    8. The presumption of paternity is integral to marriage but cannot apply to the one-sex-short arrangement, regardless of sexual orientation. It stands at the core of marriage — the contingency for responsible procratioin — and combines intimately with the sex-segregation that is expressed in the legal man-woman criterion. This forms a coherent whole — a recognition that marriage is a social institution and not merely a bundle of government benefits.

    9. SSM merged with marriage would subsume marriage into a nonmarriage spectrum of relationship types. This spectrum would not be just sexualized relationships — i.e. your emphasis on homo- versus hetero sexual relations — but would in effect be boundless. No core meaning means no means by which to set limits and to distinguish the core of the relationship — its essentials — from the rest of the spectrumn of relationship types.

    10. The issue is marriage, not gayness. Your own comments reveal a hyper-reliance on gayness rather than on marriage.

  23. Chairm said,

    January 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    You have not stated why related people may not marry when the relationship type, at law, is not a sexual type of relationship, under the rubric of the SSM-merger with marriage.

    There is no legal requirement that the couple engage in sexual relations — or even touch one another in any way. No requirement of lesbianism or male gayness. Lacking a legal requirement means these things are not esential to SSM. And if not essential to SSM, then, the merger would make it unjust to exclude related people.

    By the way, some related people can and do marry. Some may not. This goes back to the significance of sex integration and responsible procreation. But you reject that significance and have not explained your treating related people as ‘seperate but equal’.

    If protection equality is good enough for related people, it is good enough for all one-sexed arrangements that are not outlawed. If not, please explain how your objection to ‘seperate but equal’ does not apply.

  24. Chairm said,

    January 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    You said: “Gay polygamy? I’ve never really thought about it. You’d be surprised how rarely it comes up.”

    You missed the point.

    You said women suffer under polygamy because men get the upperhand. So I said, that would be no objection to an all-female or or all-male arrangement. You haven’t said why same-sex polygamy would be objectionable.

    If it helps, assume informed consent applies. As it does in most cases of plural marriage around the world. And, despite your prejudice against the Fundamental LDS, it typically also applies with their marriages.

    I don’t support treating polygamy on part with one marriage at-a-time in our society. And I can point to the empircal evidence (which you seem to recognize) that plural marriage is an inferior form — based on generalized problems with sex segregation and diminished repsonsible procreation.

    So apply your objection to the all-male or the all-female plural marriage scenario and let’s see how it stands up in your own words.

  25. Chairm said,

    January 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    You said: “Idealized?”

    SSM argumentation has idealized the homosexual relationship type. You have done your part, here, also.

    Such idealization runs to the extent that you assert that you’d eliminate from marriage whatever does not fit the one-sexed arrangement, which you assume, mistakenly, is either lesbian or gay.

    Please explain how the homosexual relationship type is superior to the conjugal relationship type — with the core meaning already identified and expressed in legal requirements — such that the homosexual relationship type becomes the basis for defining marital status.

    Don’t hedge. You are clearly trying to clip from marriage anything that does not fit some other type of relationship.

    Why would you have society treat all unions of husband and wife as if they lacked either husbands or wives? What do you have against the social institution that integrates the sexes and which provides contingency for responsible procreation?

    I think you have not through this through and rely almost entirely on a emtoivism that fules gay identity politics. You may or may not self-identify as gay, as many SSMers do not, and yet it is identity politics that is clearly at the core of your pro-SSM comments. Maybe it is not intentional, on your part, but there’s precious little in your comments to indicate that the relationship type you have in mind is actually the conjugal relationship.

    It is something else which, according to your comments, would be rendered boundless because, without a core meaning, no informed consent can be given to enter into it.

  26. { Lisa } said,

    January 28, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Chairm,

    You go boy…or girl!!!

  27. January 28, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Chairm “Merging SSM with marriage would sideline that core.”
    It would not sideline that core. It would complement it with relationships that are exactly the same as the one that my parents have (“richer/poorer, good/bad times, death part…”).

    “Please plainly state the core meaning of the relationship type that you have in mind, when you say “marriage”, and then specify its definitive legal requirements such that this core meaning can distinguish “marriage” from nonmarital arrangements.”
    It’s the same as yours, but includes those saddled by identical genitalia.

    “Okay, how do one-sexed arrangements acquire children?”
    Okay, how do two-sexed arrangements, where 1/2 of the pair is barren/sterile acquire children?

    “10. The issue is marriage, not gayness.”
    You’re right. The issue is marriage.

    “Your own comments reveal a hyper-reliance on gayness rather than on marriage.”
    I just want those who are like my parents to be able to get the legal protections that they get. Those closer to the situation may disagree, but I, personally, don’t care if it’s separate but equal. When half of my parents have a family medical plan, the other half get it. When half of my parents kick off, the other half gets survivor benefits. When one gets sick, the other gets to visit, as close family. They both show up as parents on files. They file taxes together. Etc.

    “You have not stated why related people may not marry when the relationship type, at law, is not a sexual type of relationship…”
    In some cases, they can (at least in the sense of “sexual” as “reproduction”). I can’t remember the case, but a brother and sister separated at birth only found out that they were related when they went to get hitched. They fought and won, if memory serves (either on the condition that they didn’t reproduce…or one of them was sterile). Of course, now that I have to find it, I can’t remember their names…

    “By the way, some related people can and do marry.”
    Obviously. Most of our family trees have a few crossed branches.

    “This goes back to the significance of sex integration and responsible procreation.”
    The kids that they raise end up just like the rest of us. That’s about as responsible as procreation can get.

    “So I said, that would be no objection to an all-female or or all-male arrangement. You haven’t said why same-sex polygamy would be objectionable.”
    And when it comes up in the real world, we can discuss the cost/benefit ratio more closely with people that want it. I don’t know enough about it (even less than the common form) to seriously argue for or against it.

    “SSM argumentation has idealized the homosexual relationship type.”
    No more than you’ve done with hetero marriage. Marriage lost its sanctity with divorce. Reno weddings didn’t help. (Not to mention the fact that, until recently, marriages tended to be arranged by related parties, rather than the actual parties, and that they were primarily to protect property…which included the wife and the children. Not to mention the dowry.)

    “Please explain how the homosexual relationship type is superior to the conjugal relationship type.”
    If you mean non-marriage vs marriage relationship: One is being together, the other is contracting to be together forever. One is two people. The other is “one flesh” (just as it is with heteros). It’s common to move from the former to the latter, but the converse doesn’t seem to happen.
    If you mean two-gay people vs two people having sex, that’s a venn diagram with some overlap (just as it would be as hetero vs conjugal).

    “Why would you have society treat all unions of husband and wife as if they lacked either husbands or wives?”
    I don’t. Gays getting married would have zero effect on hetero marriages. Them getting married doesn’t make our marriage any less of a marriage. Their families would merely get the legal protection that our families get.

    “What do you have against the social institution that integrates the sexes and which provides contingency for responsible procreation?”
    What do you have against the unofficial social institution that’s been doing exactly the same things that you’ve been doing, but without the legal protection that comes from having an outie and an innie?

    “I think you have not through this through and rely almost entirely on a emtoivism that fules gay identity politics.”
    Yes, damn that squishy thing called “love”! The worst thing that ever happened to marriage was letting love in to it! That Phyllis and Del were together for fifty years, fighting first for the right not to go to jail for being together, then for the right to get married just shows how wrong this “love” thing is. It used to be about property and, occasionally, promoting unity between tribes, dagnabit!

    “It is something else which, according to your comments, would be rendered boundless because, without a core meaning, no informed consent can be given to enter into it.”
    It’s still bounded, just as letting brown people marry white ones (or Catholics marry Protestants, or any number of other times that it’s been expanded to include those formerly thought to be coloring outside the lines). Each fight should be taken on its own merits. The benefits, in this case, outweigh the costs.

  28. Mel said,

    January 29, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Chairm:
    Thank you for your intelligent thoughts-keep it up!!

    Modusoperandi:
    “It’s still bounded, just as letting brown people marry white ones (or Catholics marry Protestants, or any number of other times that it’s been expanded to include those formerly thought to be coloring outside the lines).”

    Considering the fact that 70% of African Americans voted for marriage between 1 man and 1 women, they clearly must not feel that this is anything akin to a brown person marrying a white person. If this were anywhere close to the true civil rights issues that African Americans have fought for, you’d better believe they’d be fighting right along side of you. But the majority of them understand the difference. You cannot compare this to interracial marriage.

  29. January 29, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Mel “Considering the fact that 70% of African Americans voted for marriage between 1 man and 1 women, they clearly must not feel that this is anything akin to a brown person marrying a white person.”
    Baby steps. That’s probably 20% less that it would’ve been 30 years ago.

    Incidentally, I wasn’t comparing the two. I was pointing out that marriage has changed. It was interesting that you made that connection, though.

  30. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    said: “It would complement it with relationships that are exactly the same as the one that my parents have”

    It would not complete marriage. It is lesser than marriage and adds nothing. It is not a subset of sex integration, for it is sex-segregative by its very lack of the other sex; it is not a subset of contingency for responsible procreation for the marital presumption of paternity cannot apply to it.

    This holds true regardless of sexual orientation. No individual is denied marriage based on some test for gayness or lesbianism. In fact, SSMers can provide no objective basis for asserting that gayness or lesbianism should be assumed for the category “same-sexed”.

    In marriage law there are many relationship types and arrangements within the “both-sexed” category that are ineligible — precisely due to the significance of sex integration and responsible procreation. But that significance is tossed aside by SSM argumention so you cannot draw lines based on it.

    Instead you waved your arms about boundaries. Earlier you cited concerns about polygamy that are drawn from the core meaning of marriage as I’ve plainly stated it.

    But that is not the core meaning of marriage that you can support if you would make it mean less, as you do, so as to make all unions of husband and wife indistinguishable, at law, from whatever arrangments fit into your vague “same-sex” category.

    * * *

    You said: “Okay, how do two-sexed arrangements [aquire children], where 1/2 of the pair is barren/sterile acquire children?”

    By going outside of the relationship. The use of third party procreation, as I’ve said earlier, is extramarital procreation even when married people use it. Your question points outside of marriage, not at its core meaning.

    * * *

    You said: “I, personally, don’t care if it’s separate but equal”

    That is not what you said earlier. You claimed that ‘seperate but equal’ was unacceptable. Now, after your pro-SSM assertion was challenged as being a vehicle for ‘seperate but equal’ — by your own standards — you shrug?

    Okay, let’s toss aside the ‘seperate but equal’ complaint in your comments and in SSM argumentation. We can agree that it is used as empty rhetoric.

  31. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    You said: “brother and sister separated at birth only found out that they were related when they went to get hitched. They fought and won, if memory serves”

    Their marriage is void in all states in the US.

    * * *

    My question about related people was not answered in your comment. Some related people may marry, some may not. Draw the line based on whatever an all-male or an all-female arrangement entails. Remember, there is no legal requirement that makes same-sex sexual relations mandatory. There is no consent to sexual relations required in SSM.

    In marriage there is the consent to the marital presumption of paternity which is indeed based on coitus, both-sexed sexual relations, the opportunity to impregnate, and so forth. Likewise, there are legal aspects governing consumation that do not apply to SSM, not because of sexual orientation, but because of the lack of the other sex.

    The issue is marriage, not sexual orientation; but the ‘same-sex’ category is nonmarital due to the exclusionary nature of it. It exlcudes based on sex. Marriage is inclusive. It integrates the sexes. It is pluralistic.

    And yet jurisdictions draw different lines based on relatedness. The incest laws intersect with the marriage laws precisely due to the concerns that you would put on the sidelines.

    Siblings, a man and a woman who somehow got a marriage license, would transgress the incest prohibition — even if they never touched each other. Even if they were both sexually orientated toward their own sex. Even if they used third party procreation or adopted. The marriage would be void and the “marriage” would be a nullity.

    They cannot hold themselves out to be married without also transgressing the incest laws.

  32. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    The point about “gay polygamy” is that if you cannot draw a line based on SSM, then, you would move the line based on the both-sexed nature of the conjugal relationship type.

    You can’t treat same-sex polygamy differently than both-sex polygamy, right? So if you drop the core meaning of marriage, to allow SSM, then we are left with what is the core meaning of SSM when it comes to drawing the boundaries.

    What is that core meaning? Plainly state it. It does not suffice here for you to just say, whatever marriage is, because you have explicitly rejected the core meaning of sex integration and contingency for responsible procreation and these as a coherent whole (i.e. a foundational social institution). SSM is not a social insitution much les a foundational one. It is sex-segregative. It cannot provide for procreation, much less for respnsible procreation, and not a contingency for responsible procreation.

  33. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    You said: “The kids that they raise end up just like the rest of us. That’s about as responsible as procreation can get.”

    The first principle of responsible procreation is that each of us, as part of a procreative duo, is directly responsible for, and to, the children we bring into the world, barring dire circumstances or tragedy.

    Responsible procreation unites fatherhood and motherhood. Indeed, marriage creates fatherhood for it says that the husband is the presumptive father of the children born by his wife during their marriage.

    In other words, unlike SSM argumentation, the core meaning of marriage entails the societal significance of “biological” parents sticking around to remain as the “social” parents.

    Responsible procreation is founded on equality — intrinsict to human dignity — which is not Government-given but arises from the both-sexed nature of human generativity. Each of us is born equal, of a man and a woman.

    SSM segregates fatherhood from motherhood, where children are involved. If the arrangement lacks a dad, then, fatherhood is deemed irrelevant. If the arrangement lacks a mom, then, motherhood is deemed irrrelevant. But that’s objectively false.

    Most of the children in same-sex households got there by migrating with one of their parents from previously procreative relationships (usually marriages). It is just that either mom or dad is not resident. The children have the same protections as other children of divorce or parental estrangement. And part and parcel: the marital presumption of paternity applies regardless of sexual orientation. Responsible procreation protects these children.

    And, as I said, this core of marriage has an overflow effect to unwed procreation. See the statutory provisons for establishing procreation outside of marriage. These are also premised on the obvious both-sexed basis of human generativity. The Government did not create and does not own that basis. It is a given. And it is not taken away even by SSM argumentation, though SSM argumentation often tries to do so rhetorically.

  34. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    You said: “you’ve [idealized] hetero marriage. Marriage lost its sanctity with divorce. Reno weddings didn’t help. (Not to mention the fact that, until recently, marriages tended to be arranged by related parties, rather than the actual parties, and that they were primarily to protect property…which included the wife and the children. Not to mention the dowry.)”

    You missed the point.

    Marriage has a core meaning. It is preferred due to that core.

    But all you provide for SSM is idealization. No core meaning. It appears to be a hollow assertion of emotivism.

    But your comment, quoted above, amounts to the declaration that marriage has been mistreated — see Reno weddings! — so we might as well further disparage the conjugal relationship.

  35. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    You would cut-off from marriage anything that does not fit the one-sexed arrangement. You assume that “same-sex” is definitively homosexual. Thus, in your comments, you strongly suggest, as does SSM argumentation, that “ the homosexual relationship type is superior to the conjugal relationship type.”

    Marriage is distinguishable from nonmarriage, right?

    You say that the homosexual relationship type is indistinguishable from the heterosexual relationship type.

    But the issue, you agreed, is marriage. So comparing relationship types based on sexual orientation is off-target.

    Compare the conjugal relationship type with the “same-sex” category.

    Or, you might refine that category to “the homosexual relationship” type by distinguishing it from the broader “same-sex” category. Please point to the legal requirements that would define this refined type.

    Maybe you don’t depend on legal requirements. If so, then, why are you so certain that legal requirements must be altered to eliminate the core meaning of marriage?

  36. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    You said: “Gays getting married would have zero effect on hetero marriages. Them getting married doesn’t make our marriage any less of a marriage. Their families would merely get the legal protection that our families get.”

    False. You are trying to change the boundaries. But you don’t offer a core meaning around which to draw boundaries.

    If the law makes no distinction between “same-sex” and “both-sex”, then, you would have the law treat all unions of husband and wife as if they lacked either husbands or wifes. You would treat them as one-sexed. That eliminates the marital presumption of paternity.

    And, that effects all marriages. As would equating sex segregation with sex integration. As would the imposition of Government ownership of a foundational social institution of civil society.

    But you emhasized protections. Okay, but marriage has a preferential status, not a merely protective status. If you want protections accorded to nonmarital arrangements, such as SSM, then, we already have provisons for designated beneficiaires throughout the country. Maybe these could be made more accessible or affordable in some places. But these protections ought to be available based on the core meaning of such a measure.

    Today the social instituton of marriage has been beaten down. It needs to be reaffirmed and strengthened. Most of the hard work will be done by nongovernmental actions and organizations. So first thing is to defend the both-sexed nature of marriage in the law.

    But due to the weakening of marriage in our society, we have an obligation to help nonmarital families who experience certain vulnerabilities. This is so, regardless of sexual orientation.

    Support protection equality.

    That does not require touching marriage law at all.

    SSM argumentation, when stripped of its hyper-reliance on identity politics, is merely a call for protections. Such protections have co-existed with marriage but should not be used to reduce marriage to a merey protective status.

    * * *

    You said: “Yes, damn that squishy thing called “love”!”

    Oops. You stand on tradition of romance? Hurrah!

    Look, SSM argumentation declares that if something is not mandated in the law, then, it is not essential to marriage.

    There is no love requirement in the law.

    So your derision of an argument from tradition is now combined with the lack of legal requirement for love. What is left in your arsenal?

    Even if there was a requirement, what kind of love? The love of a mother for her child is surely romantic. Maybe you mean sexual love or somesuch?

    Okay, but what is the relevance of homosexual sexual behavior? It has zilch to do with sex integration. Zilch to do with procreation. It has zilch to do with marriage.

    It is good that you have put front and center the profound problems with SSM argumentation.

    Emotivism is a very poor basis for lawmaking. When it fuels identity politics it becomes a dangerus basis for Government involvement.

    * * *

    You said: “Each fight should be taken on its own merits. The benefits, in this case, outweigh the costs”

    If that is so, then, why are you citing the race analogy? Emotivism, of course.

    Demoting marriage to a merely protective status, on par with nonmarital arrangements, is a cost you wish to ignore.

    There is no benefit to the demotion.

    But protection equality is all that you really need to answer your desire for some benefit to the ‘same-sex’ category. Indeed, protection equality is far more inclusive than even the localized SSM-merger in Massachusetts.

    Yet here you are. Digging in your heels based on identity politics and emotivism.

    You still have not explained what you have against sex integration and responsible procreation. Maybe you are indifferent. Hence your miscalculation of the cost-benefit ratio.

  37. Chairm said,

    January 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    The race analogy is profoundly flawed.

    There is one human race and its nature is two-sexed.

    By what criteria would you seperate humankind into subspecies? The racist identity politics of white supremacy imposed selective sex segregation via a racist filter.

    Man and woman are the same species, obviously. They do not “interbreed”, to use the crude term of the anti-miscegenation system. Generally, when a man and woman procreate, their offspring can be male or female — human generativity entails a 50-50 ratio.

    As the Loving court opinion recognized, the goal of preventing the inter-breeding of white and non-white was a feature of the supremacy system. It was not a flaw in marriage.

    So, nope, the core of marriage has remained the same. Pressing identity politics into the marriage law was unjust when the racist filter was used. It would be unjust if gay identity politics was pressed into the marriage law today.

    Both the racist and the gay identity filters woud selelctively segregate the sexes — contrary to the sex-integrative nature of the conjugal relationship.

    Both undermine the principles of responsible procreation.

    Why should society bring sex-segregation under the auspices of the social institution that has always integrated man and woman?

    Why should society diminish the marital presumption of paternity under the umbrella of the most pro-child social institution we have?

    It was wrong to do so with identity politics of the racist kind. It would be wrong to do so with the identity politics of the gay kind.

  38. January 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    “Oops. You stand on tradition of romance? Hurrah!”
    What is marriage with out love?

    “Support protection equality.”
    There. Thank God. You may have mentioned that before.

    “That does not require touching marriage law at all.”
    Now, if we can pull that off, nobody will be happy and everybody wins. That’s the kind of discomfort a good society is built on. As long as the parents get the protection and the kids under them get the protection of protected parents…and adoption is on a case-by-case basis, based on competence rather than matched/mismatched gonads.

    “But protection equality is all that you really need to answer your desire for some benefit to the ’same-sex’ category.”
    That’s all I really want. Granted, I’m not gay and I’m not trying to get married, which makes me far easier to please. It’s not so much a “desire” as it is “empathy”.

  39. beetlebabee said,

    January 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    As long as the parents get the protection and the kids under them get the protection of protected parents…and adoption is on a case-by-case basis, based on competence rather than matched/mismatched gonads.

    Modus, Gender is part of competence. Each gender has something unique and valuable to give to the next generation. Two males or two females cannot give what a mom and a dad can give.

  40. January 29, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    beetlebabee “Modus, Gender is part of competence. Each gender has something unique and valuable to give to the next generation. Two males or two females cannot give what a mom and a dad can give.”
    Did you tell the adoption board that? They’re letting single people adopt, and if two people of the same sex are missing something, then one person of the same sex is missing the same thing by the same amount.
    Did you tell the kids that? They’re ending up just like the rest of us, for good or bad.

  41. Chairm said,

    January 30, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Modusoperandi said: That’s all I really want. …. It’s not so much a “desire” as it is “empathy”.

    This we share. I explicitly share the concerns for nonmarital families who are vulnerable precisely because they are outside of the social institution.

    My empathy is not exclusively based on gayness sor lesbianism. In fact, it is indifferent, in a social policy context, to that.

    Protection equality — regardless of sexual orientation — is a cause that supporters of SSM and marriage defenders can share without losing.

    It is win-win, as they say.

    * * *

    Modusoperandi said: “What is marriage with out love?”

    What is love to marriage without a legal requirement making it compulsory?

    It is very like the question I’d ask of those who negate the core meaning of marriage: What is marriage without sex integration and contingency for responsible procreation?

    The answer, frankly, is SSM — or the notion of civil union or domestic partnership — minus the insistent goal of attaching it to the hip of marriage.

    We are on the same side: you’d support protection equality.

    Unfortunately, protections are not the real prize that the SSMers are after. They want special status based on gayness and lesbianism. That is what their arguments effectively demand — in court and in forums like this.

    I do not empathize with that demand. I abhor pressing identity politics into marriage law.

    * * *
    Re adoption.

    Marital status is a legitimate criteria for prioritizing and judging the elegibility of adoptors. Attitude surveys indicate that there are far more quaified prospective adoptors among married couples than there are in any other segment of the population.

    In fact, the best candidate group are married people who already have had children.

    The role of identity politics in adoption would be intrusive, not helpful. That goes for the kind of identity politics based on race-centric, ethno-centric, and gay-centric priorities.

    Recruitment of married couples would do far more than the tiny contribution of people who’d SSM. For social policy-making, I’d not stand against, but would not actively promote, adoption where one of a same-sex (aka gay or lesbian) couple was related to the child already. Especially if the child was part of a sibling group. Keep families together, if possible.

    That said: There is NO adult right to adopt. Adoption is for children in need. Not for needy adults — regardless of sexual orientation.

    In the meantime, the legal marital presumption of paternity ensures that ” the parents get the protection and the kids under them get the protection of protected parents” but it is based on putting the kids first, not the adults. And that means putting the most pro-child social institution, marriage, ahead of all other arrangements when it comes to social policymaking and lawmaking. So we, as a society, and not just Government as some heavy-handed authority, need to reinforced the both-sexed basis of marriage law.

    On the other hand, the purpose of protection equality is not to encourage more nonmarital arrangements. Protection is not preference. Meeting needs — based on actual vulnerabilities — is the driving focus, not the adult desires for special status.

    You deserve credit for acknowledging that the direct means by which to provide protection to children outside of marriage is the child-parent relationship created through adoption. SSM would not create that relationship; adoption is necessary anyway.

    This requires parental relinquishment and Government intervention. So high standards are necessary. Again, the purpose is childcentric, not adultcentric.

    * * *

    You said: “They’re ending up just like the rest of us, for good or bad.”

    Well, that’s a premature assertion.

    Of the child population living in same-sex households, only about 5%, if that, were adopted. So that’s a tiny segment of a tiny population. Studying it is very difficult for reasons beyond getting a randomized sample that is representative. That means there are no longitudinal studies that demonstrate what you’ve asserted.

    I know there is a common assumption that kids are resilient and their outcomes are somehow evened out eventually. However, there is evidence that children raised in same-sexed households — with homosexual parents — experience differences in pscyhosexual development and a higher rate of gender disatissfaction. That’s not nothing. But it is also inconclusive.

    Still, the lack of a father, or the lack of a mother, is not nothing, too. Whether it be due to social, cultural, genetic, or some other causes, the influence of a father on a son or on a daughter does show up consistently in studies of outcomes for children. Likewise for mothers. Now, of course, lousy parents are not the standard and certainly society does not hope to pass needy kids to lousy adoptors. We need to identity reliable and healthy criteria for prioritizing prospective adoptors. Marriage is an excellent criteria that surpasses the rest.

    And marriage is both-sexed — it unites fatherhood and motherhood — and that is no nothing, too.

  42. January 30, 2009 at 3:48 am

    “Well, that’s a premature assertion.”
    A little. Longer-term studies could countermand those done so far, and there isn’t a lot on children in gay male households.

    “Of the child population living in same-sex households, only about 5%, if that, were adopted. So that’s a tiny segment of a tiny population.”
    And the 95% in the same situation that weren’t adopted all end up in prison? According to wikipedia, in 2005 there were some 270,000 kids in total under that roof. That’s a large enough group for…

    According to the ACLU[33] and the APA[34], a substantial number of peer-reviewed studies support the conclusion that, under similar socioeconomic conditions, children raised by same-sex couples are comparable to those raised by opposite-sex couples in terms of their mental and physical health. (fm wikipedia>)

    “We need to identity reliable and healthy criteria for prioritizing prospective adoptors.”
    Agreed. They already do that, regardless of the orientation of the parents.

    “Marriage is an excellent criteria that surpasses the rest.”
    Well, there is that “Vegas” thing. And, as in Utah and Arkansas, pair-bonded homosexuals can’t adopt because they aren’t married, and can’t get married because they’re gay (oddly, they can adopt as singles, but not as pairs). In the meantime, there are kids in foster homes who need parents. It’s not ideal, life rarely is, but kids don’t need an ideal, they need parents.

  43. January 30, 2009 at 4:20 am

    *sigh*. There should be an “end blockquote” after paragraph.three.

  44. Chairm said,

    January 30, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    That “Vegas” thing does not really apply to what I said, Modusoperandi.

    I did say: “, of course, lousy parents are not the standard and certainly society does not hope to pass needy kids to lousy adoptors.”

    * * *

    You said: And the 95% in the same situation that weren’t adopted all end up in prison?

    Heh. Let’s not catastrophize, okay?

    We were discussing your assertion.

    The other 95%? Mostly from the previously procreative relationshps of their parents (i.e. usualy marriages). Maybe 1% were attained via third party procreation — which is extramarital procreation even when married people use it.

    The guesstimate of 270,000 is not outlandish. But the 5-6% who do not have a mom or dad — because of parental relinquishment — would account for about 16,000 children in a child population of 72 million in this country. Not an easy group to study without profound flaws in samples and the like. Not impossible, but pretty much so for all practicable purposes.

    So we are left with studies of arrangements that have common features. Not exactly the same, but significanty similair.

    Those 95% living in same-sex households have both moms and dads. It is just that one or the other is not resident. The second adult of the same sex in such a household does not automatically replace the nonresident parent of the other sex — not without parental relinquishment and Government intervention (i.e. adoption). So most of the children live in what can be described as “blended families” — and we have lot sof evidence on the varieties of such an arrangement. Doesn’t produce the same outcomes for children as the gold standard against which all other familial arrangements are compared and found lacking in some way.

    Single parent households — even where there are multiple adults in the household to assist — also do not match-up with the standard.

    Unfortunately, same holds true with the adoptive category.

    The standard that sets the bar is the married mom and dad who raise their “biological” children within an intact and low-conflict relationship. The infuence of the social institution of marriage is a big entwined rope — that is, more than a mere common thread.

    Now, granted, in these other arrangements children can faire very well, under certain circumstances. For instance, married adoptors with their own children can overcome most of the obstacles and thus are an excellent pool of potential adoptors. And where the marriage is low-conflict, step-families can be excellent, as well. This depends on the age of the children and, as per the definiton of a step-parent, the new spouse has adopted the children.

    Anyway, not all both-sexed scenarios are as good as the standard to which society ought to show preference. These other arrangements have loads in common with the “same-sex parenting” scenario.

    Indeed, there are many same-sex parenting arrangements which are not gaycentric nor sexualized. The lack of the other sex is not magically made irrelevant in those hosueholds either.

    I will grant that the fostercare system has lost its way. It is encumbered by all kinds of identity politics and tha tincludes the unfortunate trend in which children are increasingly taken from their families for very poor reasons. Also, there are legitimate alternatives to adoption for foster children — about half of whom are reunited with their parents and another quarter or so exit the system when the reach the age of majority or through legal guardianship. Also, despite the bad name that orphanages have gotten in some circles, humane group homes are very appropriate for a large group of foster children — including those who are eligible for adoption.

    The gaycentric demand that we treat adoption as some kind of new adult right is way off base. Like I said about adoption, fostercare is childcentric. It is for children in need — and not necessarily in need of adoptors — rather than for needy adults.

  45. January 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    “The gaycentric demand that we treat adoption as some kind of new adult right is way off base.”
    The heterocentric demand that we not let competent, loving people adopt because they are gay is off base as well. In any case, it’s not so much a right as a privilege.

    “Like I said about adoption, fostercare is childcentric. It is for children in need — and not necessarily in need of adoptors — rather than for needy adults.”
    Yes, and states that knock potential adopters off the list (no matter how small a group they may be) are costing kids who need parents parents (like Florida, whose ban was recently struck down).

  46. Chairm said,

    January 31, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    That’s a strawman, Modusoperandi, for I have not made a “heterocentric demand” nor have I said that “loving people” are not competent “because they are gay”.

    Are in agreement with the demand for a new adult right to adopt?

    Does it become more persuasive when voiced on behalf of gay people (as your presentation of the strawman strongly implies)?

    * * *

    You misse the important point about removing obstacles to the married couples who form the best pool for prospecive adoptors. Doing that goes much farther than anything the gay identity politics can do for those children in fostercare who need adoptors. Likewise we can do far more for those in fostercare who are not eligible for adoption — without conformingn to the gaycentric form of identity politics that seems foremost on your mind here.

    Foremost on our minds ought to be the children in need and meeting those needs as best we can. That’s very different from focussing on needy adults.

    * * *

    I’ll step off and leave the last word to you, if you want it. And I’d invite Beetle Blogger to sum-up the highlighs of the discussion, from this blogsite’s perspective. Cheerio.

  47. Chairm said,

    January 31, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Typo correction:

    Are you in agreement with the demand for a new adult right to adopt?

  48. February 1, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Chairm “Are you in agreement with the demand for a new adult right to adopt?”
    No, we agree that it’s not a right.

    “That’s a strawman, Modusoperandi, for I have not made a “heterocentric demand” nor have I said that “loving people” are not competent “because they are gay”.”
    You might not have. Florida did.

    “Foremost on our minds ought to be the children in need and meeting those needs as best we can.”
    I think we’re more in agreement than we are in conflict. Needlessly hindering the adoption of kids by competent caring adults is clearly not in the best interest of those waiting to be adopted. Demanding the “right” to adopt because one is gay is as foolish as preventing one from adopting because they are. Neither puts the kids first.

  49. Dave said,

    February 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I agree with the Libertarians, at least when it comes to adults practicing polygamy. I support the right of consenting adults to practice polygamy on the grounds that the State has no place in telling consenting adults what to do in their private romantic lives. The law is there to prevent harm, and I see very little evidence of harm coming out of Bountiful, just a bunch of people happily enjoying their lives.

    Although the polygamy ban is opposed by many on freedom-of-religion grounds, to me it certainly doesn’t have to be, and in fact I’d characterize the religious argument as secondary to the libertarian one. To those who support the right to polygamy on religious grounds but otherwise oppose it, I ask: so does that mean that Atheist adults shouldn’t have the right to love each other in their own consenting manner?

    I realize the issue is more complicated when children are involved. To my mind, the test should be whether the children are receiving adequate levels of love, support, and education. Is a solid foundation being provided so they grow up as healthy, responsible adults, just as in monogamous families? And of course we all KNOW how healthy and non-dysfunctional all monogamous families are, right (not)? If the children are being loved and cared for, what exactly is the problem?

    To those who scream against polygamy, I beseech you to please mind your own business. I get so tired of hearing people compensate for their shallow lives by worrying about other peoples’ private business. Why would monogamous individuals rail with such vitriolic hate towards responsible polygamists? I’m sorry, I just don’t understand it. Does the idea of men/women sharing their love with multiple other men/women really make them that hateful?

    If they are opposed on religious grounds, too bad, it’s a free, secular country. If they’re opposed because they fear change to how interpersonal relationships work for SOME people, too bad, the world evolves. Unless there is some direct, demonstrable harm, it’s none of your business. And my sentiments are shared by many fellow young people, who’re tired of the contradictions they see in a system that encourages freedom, enlightenment, and rationality in some areas of life but not others.

    And if the Supreme Court lacks the courage to protect peoples’ freedom to live their lives however they see fit so long as they’re not hurting others – if the Court wants to uphold grouping polygamists as CRIMINALS along with murderers, rapists, and fraudsters – then I say it’s time for peaceful civil disobedience against a bad law.

  50. Chairm said,

    February 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    David said: “it’s a free, secular country”

    Ours is a pluralistic society. The irreligious have no more right to impose their sectarianism than people of any other sectarianism.

    You said: “I beseech you to please mind your own business.”

    Marriage is a foundational social institution. It is not a private arrangement. Yes, there are private and public aspecs, however, you are exagerating the private aspect and minimizing the public aspect. This is similar to how you would put Government against Religion — rehtorically for now, perhaps, but the thinking would take society — yes the public — much farther in the direction against freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

    So this is about harm. Your standard would depend on a case-by-case basis. That would lead both to chaos and then to unjust Government intrusions. Societal slumber is no more just for it having been induced by a big dose of naivete.

    We learned that, surely, since the intro of no-fault divorce and the sexual libertinism which has produced the range of nonmarital trends.

    The impact of the Law goes further than the private homes of this or that arrangement. SSMers seek to change the culture of marriage by imposing changes on society’s laws.

    David, what’s your reason for saying, ” rail with such vitriolic hate”? Disagreement is not hate nor vitriol.

    At law there are three kinds of relationship statuses.

    Those kinds of relationships which are not outlawed — which is the largest category — are accorded a tolerative status.

    Those which are tolerated and protected due to certain vulnerabilities, these are accorded a protective status.

    And those which are of special significance to society, such as the conjugal type of relationship, are accorded a preferential status based on core meaning — that which distinguishes marriage from nonmarriage, for example.

    Should the practice of polygamy be criminizalized and thus denied a tolerative status? That’s a question that will before the court. The way the current law is written, the answer will be probably be no.

    Next, should these polygamous arrangements be accorded protections? This is a social policy question for the legislators.

    Unfortunately, SSM argumentation has cleared the way for a protective status.

    Next, should polygamy be distinguished from marriage in that it is denied the preferential treatment of monogamous marriage?

    Again, unfortunately, in Canada the SSM argumentation has tied the hands of society. Eventually the answer will be imposed on society rather than chosen by society.

    It looks to me that marriage will be reduced to a merely protective status and that monogamous marriage, in Canada, will be treated, at least culturally if not also legally, as a barely tolerated option among the over-broaded range of nonmarital arrangements.


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