Family Foundation: Marriage Campaign Well Underway

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With all the discussion of the Allen-Webb Senate race, let's not forget the Marriage Amendment (which should help Allen since Webb is opposed to the necessary move of protecting marriage from radical redefinition by defining marriage as between one man and one woman in the VA constitution).

It looks like things are picking up steam here in NOVA, a good thing since the baseless misinformation presented by the Marriage Amendment opponents needs to be respectfully exposed for the political rubbish it is.

Besides being in a convention, a church and a political party, va4marriage.org was also represented at one of the largest community events in the state. Volunteers for the campaign helped pass out wedding cake at "Celebrate Fairfax." As expected, those who oppose the marriage amendment were also present at this event. We were pleased to be able to counter the misinformation being distributed.

The full FF Info Alert is below the fold, enjoy. Oh, and be sure to check out the NOVA subcoalition of Va4marriage.org, NOVA4marriage.org.

Information Alert: Marriage Campaign Well Underway The Family Foundation and many of our local chapters were proud to participate with coalition partners across the state in promoting the marriage amendment during today's primary election. From the far southwest to Virginia Beach and north to Fairfax, va4marriage.org volunteers were standing outside polling precincts encouraging voters to be looking ahead to the November 7 ballot initiative to support traditional marriage.

Although today's turnout appears to have been very low, many who did vote may have, for the first time, received information regarding the November 7 marriage amendment. As va4marriage.org has been campaigning, it has become clear that many Virginians are either entirely unaware of the tremendous opportunity for voters to define marriage in our state constitution, or they have grown confused due to the federal marriage amendment that was recently defeated in the U.S. Senate. Although a majority of Virginians support marriage, we can not take it for granted that they are educated and will be mobilized to vote this fall.

Today's polling effort was a part of a series of activities conducted by the va4marriage.org campaign over the last several days. This weekend, coalition partners were spread thin reaching voters in several areas of the state.

In Richmond, va4marriage.org had a booth at the Home Educators Association of Virginia Convention. Hundreds in the home school community took the time to stop by our booth and sign up to support marriage and volunteer with the campaign.

On Friday and Saturday, Concerned Christians of the Valley sponsored a grassroots training seminar where representatives of The Family Foundation helped Roanoke supporters learn how to run a voter registration drive or encourage their church to promote the marriage amendment.

Representatives of Va4marriage.org were also well received when speaking about the marriage amendment at two Republican Committee meetings this weekend, one in Roanoke and the other in Charlottesville. Since members of both political parties support marriage, va4marriage.org is excited at any and all opportunities to speak to county/city committees on the ballot measure.

Besides being in a convention, a church and a political party, va4marriage.org was also represented at one of the largest community events in the state. Volunteers for the campaign helped pass out wedding cake at "Celebrate Fairfax." As expected, those who oppose the marriage amendment were also present at this event. We were pleased to be able to counter the misinformation being distributed.

And this is only June! It is exciting to see what can be done with the financial and time contributions being made to the campaign. If you have not yet gotten involved, don't wait. If you would like to volunteer to man a booth in your community or become a liaison to your church, contact Roger Pogge, Campaign Manager at roger@va4marriage.org. If you are able to make a financial contribution, log on to www.va4marriage.org and donate online or call The Family Foundation at (804) 343-0010.

***Last but not least, we are thrilled to announce the arrival of Megan Grace Freund, daughter of Chris and Becky Freund. The Family Foundation continues to grow in numerous ways. God has truly blessed our organization and our staff. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.

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76 Comments

TerryM said:

Sophie,

Now there you go again. We all know who is putting out rubbish on this issue and it is not the pro-marriage equality side. Any time you or any of your friends want to have a serious discussion on this topic, we will be glad to participate.

I tried to talk with the Vote Yes folks at the Fairfax Fair but they did not want to "debate" with me. Apparently their script did not explain how to respond to challeneges to the lies in their literature.

Sophrosyne said:

Come on Terry, let’s be honest here.

First, please don’t use the term “pro-marriage equality” here. It’s dishonest and misleading… after all every legal adult in Virginia already has “marriage equality.” We all have equal access to marriage and are equally subject to its restrictions… namely the 5 criteria that define marriage:

1) Cannot already be married (i.e. marriage is a monogamous relationship)
2) Be an adult and marry and adult (i.e. between those of legal age to give full consent)
3) Cannot marry a close family member (i.e. no incest)
4) Must marry a human (needs no explanation)
5) Spouse must be of the opposite sex (i.e. the union of the two complementary parts of humanity)

What we are talking about is not WHO can marry (since we all have equal access to marriage as it is defined in law, history, and biological reality) but WHAT marriage is. You are advocating the fundamental redefinition of marriage, which has always been about joining the sexes through the union of a man and a woman, into something completely different. I do not believe we should use misleading spin such as the term “marriage equality” when you really mean “same-sex marriage”. You are proving my point in regards to the existence of an aggressive misinformation campaign among the Marriage Amendment opponents whenever you use this term designed to gloss over the reality of what we are discussing.

This bait and switch tactic reminds me of how pro-abortion forces decided it hurt their cause when they use the word “abortion” (i.e. clearly discussing the issue at hand) so they removed it from any talking points (instead using “Reproductive Choice”) and NARAL (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League) changed their name to “NARAL Pro-Choice America” and sent out a press release stating NARAL was no longer an acronym. Let’s use up-front language when discussing marriage, not meaningless buzz-words like “marriage equality”.

As to the rest of your comments, I too was at Celebrate Fairfax (helping primarily with the Allen-Davis booth) but I spent some time at the Marriage Amendment booth as well (maybe we met? What were you wearing… did you have a “Human Rights Campaign” hat on?)

Anyways, your comments again were less than accurate. I saw first hand that the Pro-Marriage Amendment volunteers were A) not using a script, and B) responding very eloquently to a wide range of challenges from various opponents (some who were civil, some not so much). Meanwhile I saw the organization immediately to the right of the Pro-Marriage Amendment employ the real disingenuous talking points. They were saying that the Marriage Amendment would invalidate contracts, hospital visitation rights, domestic violence laws, and wills for everyone who was not married. All of these claims are patently false and when confronted about them and asked for details or examples the only thing anyone could do was say something like “well in Ohio a judge ruled domestic violence laws only affected married couples after they passed a similar amendment… so you’re for domestic violence!” (The fact is this single case was rejected by two appeals courts in Ohio and even if the Ohio decision somehow stands Ohio is unique because its domestic violence laws are based on marriage (cited in the statute) and Virginia’s are based on households… thus any argument based on the Ohio case is not remotely legally credible or applicable).

The bottom line is this disinformation strategy (what I called “rubbish”) is clearly spelled out by Seth Kilbourn who heads the Marriage Project for the pro same-sex “marriage” Human Rights Campaign. He said their strategy in states has been to claim “that amendments go too far, that the effects are unknown, that you should be careful what you put in the constitution” despite the fact that there is no credibility to such an argument.

The fact is 20 states have passed similar amendments, many with the language prohibiting the creation of same-sex “marriage” under another name (thus approximating the same benefits). None of the Marriage Amendment opponent’s claims have been realized. Meanwhile the argument for the protection of marriage as it is now defined and has been understood for millennium is based on tangible examples such as the loss of some religious liberty in Massachusetts (i.e. Catholic Charities being run out of the adoption business because they will not abandon their mainstream religious principles) and the decline in marriage and explosion of childbirth out of wedlock in places where marriage has been radically redefined (i.e. Scandinavia)… not to mention studies demonstrating that children do best when not willfully denied a mother or a father and their parents are committed to each other in marriage.

The bottom line (and the point of my brief comment in the initial post) is your side’s approach to this entire debate has been devoid of substance or intellectual honestly… rather it is often an emotional appeal, scare tactics (see all of the above), or an attempt to silence via an accusation of “bigotry” (which I saw a few times at Celebrate Fairfax once the typical “you’ll destroy contract rights, Power of Attorney, etc” arguments had been exhausted.

We here on this site are always willing to engage in a fact-based discussion on the Virginia Marriage Amendment and why children should not be willfully denied a mom or a dad. As always we invite you and anyone else interested to join in on the open discussion of this issue (and all others… NOVA Town Hall covers a broad spectrum… you should check out some of Joe’s EXCELLENT posts on the illegal immigration crisis).

I’ll even help by starting things off with a question. You said that you (or someone else) challenged the Pro-Marriage Amendment volunteers regarding the “lies in their literature.” I’d appreciate it if you could expand on this accusation and tell us what these “lies” were.

zimzo said:

I have a few questions for you Sophrosene.

You write: "What we are talking about is not WHO can marry (since we all have equal access to marriage as it is defined in law, history, and biological reality) but WHAT marriage is."

So what you're saying is that gay people are free to marry, they just aren't free to marry their partners. How is that freedom? What if you weren't free to marry your partner? Before 1967 when the Loving v. Virginia case was decided you couldn't marry your partner if they were of a different race. For all the talk of "traditional marriage" they idea that you could choose your own partner is a relatively modern one. For centuries "traditional" marriage was a business contract and marriage partners were usually chosen by the parents. The laughable idea that you are free to marry anyone you want as long as its not the person you are in love with, which is what you are essentially telling gay people, is a Hobson's choice, that is, it isn't really a choice at all.

I wonder also how exactly does gay marriage threaten marriage more than, say, divorce? It would seem to me that something that ends marriages would be more threatening than something that creates marriages. Why not support an anti-divorce law? And how exactly does two gay people threaten or even affect your marriage in any way?

You ask "why children should not be willfully denied a mom or a dad." In that case, why not take children away from single parents and put them in foster homes if you think it is so critical that they have a mother and a father? Again, why not ban divorce?

I don't really get how gay marriage affects you in any way. What specifically will be different in your life? What rights will you personally lose? What is so important to you about the intimate relationships of other people that you must expend so much energy into making sure they don't gain certain rights and their lives are not made better?

Whoa, Soph, you really have been immersing yourself in this - congrats and thanks. For the moment I'm going to have to let you fight this battle, though (although we do need to talk before the weekend of the 23rd).

After a few rounds with Zimzo and Stay Puft you'll have your arguments honed like a razor - although it won't be easy on either the brain or the blood pressure.

TerryM said:

Gee Sophie,
Guess I hit a nerve today! But marriage equality is exactly what this issue is about, so I will continue to use it. We never asked to change the definition of marriage, that is your side's spin. Marriage will always be between a man and a woman and usually part of a religious wedding ceremony. We AGREE on that Sophie.

Rather, we are fighting for the right to enjoy an equal and parallel level of legal recognition and protection of our same-sex relationships and families. Call it a domestic partnership, a civil union, gay union, whatever, we just want to feel secure in our homes and lives with the person we love just like you.

Surely that can not be seen as rubbish or a threat to children or the foundation of marriage.

The amendment is a serious attack on us because of the risk of intervention it opens in our lives if passed. With that amendment and the existing VA law it would protect, we are put at risk if an activist judge (we fear them as much as you do) should be presented with a challenge to our wills or power of attorney or mortgage right of surviorship by a distant or hostile blood relative. Yes it might never happen but why open the door to that possiblity?? Money and medical emergencies does weird things to people...just look at the Schiavo case.

As I've asked you before, why can't we all co-exist with equal respect and protection? Why shouldn't we be free to enjoy the same automatic financial benefits like social security and pension benefits that are awarded to married spouses?Afterall, we pay the same taxes as you and have earned those benefits through employment.

Thank you for accepting my posts. And yes we may have met at the fair, were you the young man or the older man? It would be nice to put a face to a name.

Moderate 5-19 said:

Don’t worry Joe, I wont let Soph fight this one alone.
Zimzo, I often hear this question from people who support gay marriage “how does if personally effect your life” I find that question to be ridiculous. The fact is that there are a lot of behaviors that people do inside the walls of their own home that may not negatively affect me personally. If my neighbor down the street is using his wife as a punching bag that may not negatively affect my life, but it does not mean I should not intervene to help.
Moreover the question assumes that I don’t think gay marriage does negatively affect my life. I am one who does believe in the concept of society as an intertwined village and what harms society as a whole harms me as an individual. `Your point on divorce is well taken. The divorce rate being 50% is very disturbing; however the answer is not to enact another device that will serve to further break down the family. That is like telling your child “well son since you’re failing history you just as well fail math too”. We should be looking for reasons for and answers to the divorce rate not throwing up or hands and saying “oh well, why even try”. I think the only difference between me and Soph on this issue is that it should be decided at the state level and not the federal level.

Singleton said:

I personally think we have the best discussions on this issue on the internet. Soph and Moderate (minus the federalism issue) sums up how I feel on the issue pretty well.

I simply differ from Moderate because the legal community is still dominated by liberals and that's why we need federal legislation and probably a constitutional amendment.

zimzo said:

Well, Moderate (an ironic choice for a nickname) how exactly is gay marriage like wife beating? I don't immediately see the parallel. A woman getting beaten is being physically harmed. How does a relationship between two adults of the same sex harm anyone? How does it harm society?

Gnossis said:

I mentioned this in a comment on another post on this blog: The well-being of The Children keeps coming up as a reason for outlawing same-sex marriage. If proponents of this legislation are so worried about a child being raised by two gay/lesbian parents, why not take measures to establish legislation that will ban or restrict a gay/lesbian couple's ability to adopt, have a surrogate mother, or become pregnant through a sperm donor?

I also see proponents of this legislation saying "studies" have shown that a hetero couple make the best parents. In the interest (according to Soph) of getting the facts on the table, could someone provide a link(s) to some of those studies? And is there any evidence that being raised by a homosexual couple is any better/worse than a hetero couple or single parent?

And to add to what Zimzo has already asked, how does gay marriage adversely affect the heterosexual person/couple? If a homosexual couple wants to commit themselves to each other in a monogamous relationship, why can't their love be for each other get the same respect as a heterosexual couple's love?

zimzo said:

And here are a couple studies that say children of same-sex parents are as well-adjusted as children of opposite-sex parents:

A UVA study:
http://www.virginia.edu/insideuva/2004/21/same_sex.html

A Tufts study:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/12/health/webmd/main938234.shtml

sopheosyne said:

I just tried commenting but apparently my post was too long... so I'll do it in sections, here we go!

sopheosyne said:

I am thrilled to see folks engaging in a rational debate on this crucial issue here on our blog- thanks to all who are participating. I think we are rapidly becoming the leaders in the Virginia blogosphere on the marriage issue in part because we welcome everyone to share and argue their perspective in the “arena of ideas.” The beauty of the Marriage Amendment that will be on the ballot this November is that ultimately the people will have the opportunity to become informed and decide for themselves how Virginia defines marriage… not some unelected judge. Now on to the comments, please bear with me if my post is rather long….

Zizmo-

You said: “So what you're saying is that gay people are free to marry, they just aren't free to marry their partners. How is that freedom? What if you weren't free to marry your partner?”

What I said was that we all have equal access to marriage and are equally subject to its restrictions… namely the 5 criteria that compose its definition (see my earlier comment for details). This should not be in dispute. You are correct in stating that I lack the “freedom” to enter a marriage that does not conform with the actual definition of marriage… this is fairly self-evident and is comparable to not having the “freedom” to be granted a Masters degree after only taking 3 credits (having not met the criteria for the degree as it is defined by X number of credits) or I lack the “freedom” to be given another form of license, my drivers license, if I haven’t met the criteria of passing a drivers exam. I don’t think it makes sense to argue that someone lacks freedom simply because they can’t have what they want b/c they do not meet the defining criteria- under such logic we always lack freedom unless every legal boundary or meaning is stripped away and then we would have no law/order whatsoever. Again, I contend the real issue here is not the freedom to marry WHO you want but WHAT marriage is (i.e. the 5 criteria). It is as much a debate over the “freedom” to marry who you want as a debate over the “freedom” of a man to marry 3 wives (currently defined as a monogamous relationship between 2 people). Both are counter to what marriage IS as defined in law. It is improper to call my position a “Hobson’s Choice” unless you characterize any other law or restriction that creates any requirement or boundary as such… and that would make you an anarchist I suppose.

The predictable reply (to the above point) from same-sex “marriage” advocates is to mention the horrific bans on interracial marriage in the earlier part of the 20th century and somehow try to link it to efforts to maintain marriage as the union of the two complementary parts of humanity (man and woman)... I see you already lapsing into this angle of attack. Those discriminatory laws never addressed the definition of marriage (as this debate does now)… rather they were horrible restrictions on who would be granted a license to marriage. Nobody was claiming that an interracial marriage (such as Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving’s) was not a marriage (because it met the obvious 5 criteria as defined in law)… they simply were claiming that it was bad for the races to marry due to their racist segregationalist views (one only has to read Judge Leon Bazile’s horrible opinion to see this point) and thus it was banned. These bans were designed to oppress and separate various races (although it is interesting to note that race itself is completely subjective as a concept and indefinable in law… but I digress) while marriage is designed to unite and bring together the sexes (creating the full human organism through humanity’s two complementary parts). You will find no widespread historical viewpoint rejecting the fact that interracial marriage WAS marriage… only racist arguments that it was a bad form of marriage. Again, that debate was over WHO could marry and not WHAT constitutes marriage (as this debate is).

The VA4marriage site has a great section up that explains that “African Americans understand more than any group in America what it means to have civil rights violated. Most African Americans, however, strongly oppose same-sex marriage. Well-known civil rights leaders of the 1960s reject the idea that the battle for same-sex unions has any moral equivalence to the struggle for basic human rights.” And they proceed to offer a few quotes, here are some:

The comparison with slavery is a stretch in that some slave masters were gay, in that gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution and in that they did not require the Voting Rights Act to have the right to vote.
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Remarks in an address at Harvard Law School

What happens in my heart is that I know the difference. Don't confuse my people, who have been the victims of deliberate family destruction, by giving them another definition of marriage.
Walter Fauntroy
Former DC Delegate to Congress
Founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus
Coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march on DC
Family in Focus 2/27/04

The defense of marriage is not about discrimination. As an African-American, I know something about discrimination. The institution of slavery was about the oppression of an entire people. The institution of segregation was about discrimination. The institution of Jim Crow laws, including laws against interracial marriage, was about discrimination.

The traditional institution of marriage is not discrimination. And I find it offensive to call it that. Marriage was not created to oppress people. It was created for children. It boggles my mind that people would compare the traditional institution of marriage to slavery.
Senate Testimony of Reverend Richard Richardson
St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
Children's Services of Roxbury, Inc. Boston, MA

You say that you “wonder also how exactly does gay marriage threaten marriage more than, say, divorce?” Who said it did? I am a HUGE fan of the new and innovative concept of Covenant Marriage (currently in place in Louisiana, Arizona, and one other state I believe) where a man and a woman can enter into a “Covenant Marriage” where no-fault divorce laws will not apply, thus it is harder to terminate the marriage. This is a good return to the concept of valuing marriage as a lifelong relationship and I am eager to learn more about its impact in those states.

Then you ask “how exactly does two gay people threaten or even affect your marriage in any way? I think I’ve hit on this topic before and I see Moderate 5-19 jumped in with an excellent response to the topic. I think we can see the tangible loss of religious liberty (for which thousands of children will suffer) with Catholic Charities in Boston as just one immediate example. While I intend to examine this further in detailed posts, I’ll let my existing work (search “Marriage and Family” on the NOVA TownHall main page) serve as a response since I am already getting way too verbose.

sopheosyne said:

Terry-

I again ask you to explain what the “lies in their literature” were at the Pro-Marriage Amendment booth at Celebrate Fairfax. If you’re going to accuse someone of spreading lies I think the least you could do is say what these supposed lies were. I explained what I viewed as “rubbish” and why… I hope you’re willing to explain your point and that we don’t regress into empty name-calling.

I was pleased to see that you agree that “Marriage will always be between a man and a woman and usually part of a religious wedding ceremony.” I didn’t know we agreed on that… and maybe we still don’t… I see NO difference in creating an “equal and parallel level of legal recognition and protection” for a same-sex couple and marriage… it’s just playing with semantics. As I have said before: when looking at civil unions vs marriage it is good to examine the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts that made same-sex "marriage" legal via judicial decree. After the initial ruling many thought creating Vermont-esque civil unions would solve the issue and prevent same-sex "marriage" (by creating it under a different name) Well when they asked the court to weigh in on this they said that wouldn’t fly:

"the history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal"

Assuming other courts would share this logic, civil unions thus provide a vehicle for same-sex "marriage" advocates to establish the legal benefits of marriage under a different name and then use the "separate but equal" segregation style argument to then achieve the redefinition of marriage itself... a very strategic move to achieve the desired redefinition through a 2 step process. Granted the existing precedent in Massachusetts I’d be very skeptical of civil unions even if I did not believe they posed the same social impact as same-sex “marriage”… because I believe they would lead to same-sex “marriage” regardless.

As to your fears that the Marriage Amendment (elevating existing law) would open the door for judicial activism (glad to hear you too fear them… we all should given the way they have been behaving), I don’t buy it. Sure it is possible, but so is anything really. I believe that in order to have a legitimate fear that an activist judge will create new law (and thus drift from the legislative intent of a statute or amendment) you need to see some sort of trend or rulings that verify your concern… and frankly I see NONE for the concern you have. 20 states have similar amendments and nearly every state has the language in statute and we have not once seen a challenge “to our wills or power of attorney or mortgage right of survivorship by a distant or hostile blood relative” because of it. However, as I’ve touched on before, we HAVE seen the trend of a judge making law and redefining marriage by judicial decree (what the Marriage Amendment is designed to prevent)… just look at Massachusetts! And with the Supreme Court finding what Justice Scalia sarcastically referred to as the "sweet-mystery-of-life passage" proclaiming: "Intimate and Personal choices, central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the 14th Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” there is a real possibility of this mushy relativistic judicial thinking occurring on the federal level (this is why I reluctantly support the federal Marriage Protection Amendment, unlike Moderate 5-19.)

I agree we all should co-exist with equal respect and protection as individuals, but that does not mean we should necessarily have equal tolerance of all behaviors or equally encourage or sanction all forms of relationships. There is a huge difference between a man-woman relationship and a man-man, woman-woman relationship. As I have said before we all have equal access to marriage and are equally subject to its restriction & definition.

To your comment “yes we may have met at the fair, were you the young man or the older man? It would be nice to put a face to a name”… who said I was a man!

sopheosyne said:

Gnossis & Zimzo-

I agree we should look at the facts involved in relationships where a child is denied either a mother or a father as this is a huge part of this issue (although not all of it). If there is no evidence that children do as well when denied a mom or a dad and raised with two moms or two dads as they do when raised by a mom and a dad we shouldn’t risk children’s wellbeing by putting them into such relationships via a creation of same-sex “marriage” (which undeniably would result in many more children being adopted or artificially inseminated into these relationships). Basically I believe the burden of proof falls onto the same-sex “marriage” proponents.

There are thousands of studies demonstrating (which I often have referred to) that children do best when they are raised by a mom and a dad (ideally their biological parents). Here are some of the MANY I quickly pulled from some sources (and I can’t pull/link to most of them without Lexus-Nexis access which I don’t have here in my office but can get to later- that will be coming soon):

Robert Rector, Kirk Johnson , America Peterson, The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts, The Heritage Foundation, April 2002: 36. (Taken from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health Wave II, 1996.) ww.heritage.org/Research/Features/Marriage/index.cfm

Amato, Paul & Allan Booth, A Generation at Risk: Growing Up In an Era of Family Upheaval. ( Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997).

Kristin Anderson Moore, Susan M. Jekielek, and Carol Emig, 2002. "Marriage from a Child's Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can be Done about It?" Research Brief, June 2002. Washington, DC: Child Trends. p. 6.

Patrick F. Fagan, How Broken Families Rob Children of Their Chances for Future Prosperity, Backgrounder #1283, J une 11, 1999. http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/BG1283ES.cfm

Patrick F. Fagan, Robert E. Rector, and Lauren R. Noyes, Why Congress Should Ignore Radical Feminist Opposition to Marriage, The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder #1662, June 16, 2003
http://www.heritage.org/research/family/bg1662es.cfm

Maggie Gallagher and Linda Waite, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier and Better off Financially, New York : Doubleday, October 2000.

Jill Kirby, Broken Hearts: Family Decline and the Consequences for Society, Center for Policy Studies, 57 Tufton Street , London SWIP 3 QL.

James Q. Wilson, The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Weakened Families, New York : Harper Collins, 2002
Steven Nock. “Marriage as a Public Issue”
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/future_of_children/toc/foc15.2.html

Robert E. Rector, Patrick F. Fagan, and Kirk A. Johnson. “Marriage: Still the Safest Place For Women and Children”
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/bg1732.cfm

Patrick F. Fagan and Robert Rector, The Effects of Divorce on America, The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder #1373, June 5, 2000. http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/BG1373.cfm

Now it is fair to point out that these don’t necessarily compare two married parents and a same-sex couple… that is what Zimzo tried to do with the studies he linked to below. Unfortunately Zimzo’s studies attempting to do so are extremely weak… and don’t take my word for it (which I am sure you won’t). Dr. Stephen Nock (I cite one of his articles above) is a scholar of marriage at UVA and is agnostic on the issue of same-sex “marriage” (i.e. he is neutral)… and he writes that every study on the subject of gay parenting "contained at least one fatal flaw," and "not a single one was conducted according to generally accepted standards of scientific research." Here is a reference to his work from one academic review:

“Perhaps the most thorough review was prepared by Steven Nock, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who was asked to review several hundred studies as an expert witness for the Attorney General of Canada. Nock concluded: [T]hrough this analysis I draw my conclusions that 1) all of the articles I reviewed contained at least one fatal flaw of design or execution; and 2) not a single one of those studies was conducted according to general accepted standards of scientific research. A 1995 review expressed similar concerns, as prominent Berkeley sociologist Diana Baumrind reviewed various parenting studies, including the work of Charlotte Patterson and David Flaks. In her review, Professor Baumrind evaluated, among other things, the claim that children of homosexual parents suffered no adverse outcomes and were no more likely to develop a homosexual sexual orientation than were children not raised in such homes. Baumrind found problems with the research she reviewed including the use of small, self-selected convenience samples, reliance on self-report instruments, and biased study populations consisting of disproportionately privileged, educated, and well-off parents. Due to these flaws, Baumrind questioned the conclusions on both “theoretical and empirical grounds.” Another review, prepared by Robert Lerner and Althea Nagai in 2001, looked at forty-nine separate parenting studies before concluding that “the methods used in these studies are so flawed that the studies prove nothing.”

What are some of the design flaws pointed out in these reviews? For example:

a. No nationally representative sample: Even scholars enthusiastic about unisex parenting, such as Stacey and Biblarz, acknowledge that “there are no studies of child development based on random, representative samples of [same-sex couple headed] families.”

b. Limited access to children:. Because children of lesbian parents are a small demographic group, access to these children is often filtered through groups with an ideological interest in the outcome of the research.

c. Limited outcome measures: Many of the outcomes measured by the research are unrelated to standard measures of child well-being used by family sociologists (perhaps because most of the researchers are developmental psychologists, not sociologists).

d. No long-term studies: All of the studies conducted to date focus on static or short-term measures of child development. None follow children of unisex parents to adulthood.

The most serious methodological critique of these studies, at least with reference to the family structure debate, is that the vast majority of these studies compare single lesbian mothers to single heterosexual mothers. As Charlotte Patterson, a leading researcher on gay and lesbian parenting, recently summed up, “[M]ost studies have compared children in divorced lesbian mother-headed families with children in divorced heterosexual mother-headed families.”82 In comparing children in families headed by a lesbian mother with children in families headed by a divorced heterosexual mother, these studies compare children in some fatherless families to children in other fatherless family forms. While the findings of these studies may be relevant for some legal policy debates (such as custody disputes), they do not shed light on family structure per se. The question is significant, and credible new research needs to be done comparing outcomes of children of same-sex couples and children of married mothers and fathers. Studies comparing children of single lesbian mothers with children of single heterosexual mothers cannot credibly be used to contradict the weight of social science evidence in general on the benefits of the married, intact biological family over alternative family forms.83

You’ll note that they specifically cite the author of one of the two articles provided which compares “divorced lesbian mother-headed families with children in divorced heterosexual mother-headed families”… not exactly what we’re talking about here. The bottom line is research is extremely preliminary and just as much of it demonstrates the opposite of what Zizmo’s articles are claiming, see:

Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz, "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" American Sociological Review 66: 159-183. See especially 168-171.

Ellis, Bruce J., et al., "Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy?" Child Development, 74:801-821.

Basically we KNOW that children are best off with a married mother and a father… is it possible that some GOOD study (by that I mean methodologically sound) may demonstrate that when a child is denied a mother or a father and raised by same-sex parents that they will have comparable results… sure, but I doubt it. Men and women are different and I think it is logical to expect (and infer from what studies we have on the amazing impact of a married mother and a father) that there will be different results. The bottom line is that this is not exactly the kind of social scientific evidence you would want to undertake at the expense of children. But I digress…

The POINT of this original post (in addition to showing what the VA4marriage campaign is starting to do statewide) is to examine the disinformation strategy of the amendment opponents. Unfortunately opponents of the amendment have chosen not to engage in a fact based debate as we are starting to do here, rather they are using the strategy explained by Seth Kilbourn (who heads the Marriage Project for the pro same-sex “marriage” Human Rights Campaign) which is to claim “that amendments go too far, that the effects are unknown, that you should be careful what you put in the constitution” despite the fact that there is no credibility to such an argument. I would really like to examine this misinformation, particularly given the fact that 20 states have passed similar amendments, many with the language prohibiting the creation of same-sex “marriage” under another name (thus approximating the same benefits) and none of the Marriage Amendment opponent’s claims have been realized. Very telling in my view…

If opponents of the Marriage Amendment are so certain that they want to fundamentally redefine marriage and that sanctioning relationships that willfully deny a child a mom or a dad will not harm children… then why the need to engage in illogical scare tactics. Why not come out and admit the real agenda and put your reasons on the table?
I hope you could keep up with this LONG and sometimes rambling comment, as you can see we have much to cover in the months ahead!

Sophrosyne said:

PS: For the record my comment wasn't too long. I learned halfway through posting it in sections that it wasn't allowing me to post it b/c it had HTML links in it, not due to size. Once the HTML links were removed there was no problem.

zimzo said:

You write: "What I said was that we all have equal access to marriage and are equally subject to its restrictions… namely the 5 criteria that compose its definition (see my earlier comment for details). This should not be in dispute. You are correct in stating that I lack the “freedom” to enter a marriage that does not conform with the actual definition of marriage."

What makes your five criteria immutable? Before Loving v. Virginia there were six criteria for marriage in Virginia, the sixth being "Must be of the same race (if you are white)" (in fact other races were free to intermarry; only white people were not free to marry someone of a different race. In 1792, in addition to forbidding white people to marry someone of a different race, people of different religions could only be married if they had the permission of ministers from both parishes. In addition to forbidding marriages between blood relatives, a marriage between a son and stepmother, his uncle's wife, a father his son's wife, etc. Girls as young as 12 were permitted to marry with permission of their parents. A person who was married could remarry if their spouse was "beyond the seas by the space of seven years."

In other words the criteria for marriage has changed in some instances so why do you insist that your criteria are not subject to change. The definitions of three of your criteria (what constitutes an adult, what constitutes a relative, what constitutes bigamy) have already changed. What makes you believe that your fifth criterion cannot be changed?

Your comments on Loving v. Virginia are incorrect when you say "Nobody was claiming that an interracial marriage (such as Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving’s) was not a marriage." In fact, under Virginia law at that time it was not a marriage. You may believe it was a marriage along with most other sensible people but according to the law of Virginia it was not a marriage.

If you want to play duelling Civil Rights leaders on the issue of gay marriage, I can do that, too:

Julian Bond:
"I think the black community is going to become more accepting, more tolerant. I can't place a timetable on it, but I'll tell you one thing: It depends on the degree to which black gays and lesbians begin to stand up in their churches, in their organizations, and say, 'This is me you're talking about.' That's a powerful, powerful message."

Coretta Scott King:
"Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages."

Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King's closest advisor and the man who put together the March on Washington, was, in fact, gay, and King knew about it and it didn't matter to him, so I doubt of King were alive today he would be joining you in your crusade to deny rights to gay people.

It always seems to be difficult for anti-gay crusaders to come up with actual harm that will come from gay marriage. They either bring up the "slippery slope" argument (that gay marriage will lead to polygamy and people marrying their pets), which is an argument that actually concedes that there is nothing wrong per se with gay marriage itself, only what it will lead to (as if laws don't already exist and couldn't be strengthened to prevent this) or they bring up the religious liberty argument, which basically presupposes that there is no such thing as a First Amendment.

The Catholic Charities situation is a perfect example of this fear-mongering false argument. Here's what actually happened: The Catholic Charities of Boston had placed children in gay households without incident. Then some bishops, under orders of the new Pope, decided to order that the charity deny adoptions to gay parents. The board of Catholic Charities voted unanimously to keep gay adoptions but the bishops overruled them. No government agency had ordered Catholic Charities to do anything. The Bishops then went to the governor to ask for an exemption he didn't have the power to give. Then they shut down adoptions believing grandstanding on this issue was more important than the lives of these children. No government agency had actually ordered them to allow gay parents to adopt. It was the board of Catholic Charities that had decided on its own to do that. They apparently believed that it would be better for children to have a home with loving gay parents than no home at all. The Catholic Bishops apparently believed the opposite. This is not an example of the extremism of gay activists or a warning of what might happen if gay marriage were allowed, it is actually and example of the extremism of anti-gay forces and the lengths they will go in their anti-gay fanaticism, even to the point of harming children they purportedly want to pretect.

No one can force a religious group to perform, sanctify or recognize a gay marriage. No one is asking for that. All that gay people are asking for is that they be accorded legal rights that married couples have. You have not been able to answer the question of what harm this will do to your marriage but I can certainly tell you about the harm caused by denying gay people these rights. Gay people can be and have been denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital, kicked out of their homes if their partner dies, be forcibly separated from their immigrant partner if he or she is deported because of immigrant status, denied inheritance when a will is challenged by a family member, denied certain tax breaks married couples enjoy, have their children taken away from them, be forbidden from adopting children, etc. etc.

You can say until you are blue in the face that you are not anti-gay and that gay people have the same rights as anyone else and that this effort is not targeted at gay people but in the end you are attempting to enshrine in your constitution the idea that gay people are second-class citizens and you are singling them out to deny them certain rights by fiat (rights they haven't even attained) because of fears that have no basis in fact whatsoever.

"There is a huge difference between a man-woman relationship and a man-man, woman-woman relationship." What exactly are those differences besides the obvious gender difference. I would really like to know.

(I had some links in here but I removed them because it wouldn't post, but you can find the quotes I used in Google)

Whew. Soph is traveling but she (or is it "he") will be back later on, and asked me to jump in here. Glad to do it!

The problem with posting comments with links is that more than one link will invoke the comment-spam filter, which believe me, we need. We get 300 pieces of comment spam a day, so without that filter, well let's just say you'd never again have to ask "Where in tarnation can I find some phentermine?!"

I will try to find a better filter but just have not put the time in.

If a post does not go up right away, it simply goes into a holding are waiting for one of us to open up Movable Type and approve it. So it's not really a big deal, it just means you have to wait a little to see your post. I do it all the time when I comment with links.

Well, I hope this has been helpful. Sometimes, after such a long and strenuous debate, a fresh perspective can actually move things forward. I hope my contribution, in at least some small way, has accomplished just that.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

is it a "he" or a "she"? I've been assuming it's an answering machine.

"I don’t think it makes sense to argue that someone lacks freedom simply because they can’t have what they want b/c they do not meet the defining criteria-"

Who defines the defining criteria? should the majority always get IT's way? If so, what purpose does the bill of rights serve?

what does freedom mean to you? here's what it means to websters:

"1 : the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action"

For anyone who's keeping score, So Frozen has contributed:

1 weekly standard article
4 heritage foundation articles
1 quote from va4marriage.org
1 article from by one Steve Nock, professor of soc. and president of the "Marriage Matters Project" which is researching the "legal policy innovation known as Covenant Marriage"

http://www.okmarriage.org/Research/MarriageResearch.asp

then he goes on to say, "is it possible that some GOOD study (by that I mean methodologically sound)..."

Soft Rosin, you have forfeited your "right" to determine what is methodologically sound.

as far as the gays = wife beaters goes: clearly this is an absurd argument. but "i'll bite"
the difference is in the consent. let's say, for the sake of argument, that the wife consented to being beaten, because she's just kinky like that. that's the only way such a comparison could work. in such an (unlikely) case, it's no one's business.

moderate:

"I am one who does believe in the concept of society as an intertwined village and what harms society as a whole harms me as an individual."

conservatives who put society about the individual are not conservatives. moderate? you're statements are so far right they're extreme left. In your determination to rationalize your gut reaction to gays you have argued yourself into absurdity.

by this logic, you could argue for the banning of hang-gliders, motorcycles, beer, potato chips, divorce, guns, tobacco, reggae, tattoos, sharp sticks, scuba diving, electricity...

TATTOOS, that's what I really can't stand. I'd like to see a ban on people with tattoos getting married. surely, people with tattoos are more "free-spirited" and therefore more likely to get divorced after having children. Don't believe me? you don't have to. just read this methodologically sound article at:

http://www.godhatespeoplewithtattoos.com/savethechildren.html

Moderate 5-19 said:

was out of town at a family event, so I missed that past two days of great talk. Back now so I’ll answer some of the question asked of me.

1. Zimzo the nickname Moderate is because that is exactly what I am. I agree with the right on some issues and with the left on others. I NEVER care about party name calling (RINO or DINO) and I think people should vote on the issues and the person not the letter behind a name.
2. Zimzo again. You very well know that I was responding to your question “how does gay marriage negatively affect me personally”, when I gave the analogy of a man beating his wife. There are things that may not affect me ‘personally’ but, at times should still intervene. I don’t always agree with you, but I realize you are an intelligent person, thus trying to act as if you don’t understand the analogy does not work.
3. Singleton, I hade this discussion of amending the constitution with Soph a few week back on the issue this issue. The fact is that this is (among other things) a political issue and I don’t think you change the constitution for political issues. It is a sacred document and should not be amended when “we the people” don’t have the “institutional fortitude” to do the right thing. In the coming weeks we are going to have a debate on rather we should amend the constitution to ban flag burning. I have also heard talk of amending the constitution to disallow children of illegal’s from being legal citizens when born on American soil. Where will this end? It’s the darn CONSTITUTION; it should not be a ‘work in progress” for every political issue.

I’ll respond to other things later when I have a chance to read all the comments.

charles said:

Lots of people are prohibited from marrying the people they love. Only when that person loves them back do they get to be "married".

The idea that marriage is primarily about love is a modern construction, one that has damaged the fabric of society. Popular culture has contributed greatly to the confusion. When marriage became defined by a "love" that was primarily physical attraction, it greatly increase divorce, because as soon as physical "love" became stale, people were encouraged by society to move on. Falling out of love is easy, and with marriage tied to that love, divorce became the norm.

Governor McGreevey was married to a woman for many years. They had children, and by all accounts had everything you would expect in a true partnership -- except that he wasn't physically attracted to her.

Well, I've got news for you -- a LOT of people who are married aren't "attracted" to their spouses, but have true marriages. The idea that physical attraction to the same sex requires marriage to the same sex is just one more false conclusion derived from the same false assumption that marriage is all about physical love.

Women marry men in prison who they never get to touch. People who are incapable of having sex still marry.

Now, for sure many people who marry are physically attracted to one another. But a true marriage is not beholden to that physical attraction.

We often talk about "being attracted to one's mind". A partner might become physically scarred, and truly grotesque, but the one who "loves" truly (which has nothing to do with physical attraction) will say "I still love you and am attracted to you. But it doesn't mean physically.

In fact, men and women who are NOT gay can have a strong love for one another. Men, and women, can be lifelong companions and not have a physical attraction.

So I don't find the particular notion of people being physically attracted to one another to be a compelling argument to change the definition of marriage which has existed since the dawn of recorded time.

And I won't start with the "5 points of marriage". There is one point of marriage. For a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

Maybe later I'll deal with Government recognition of things. This post did NOT deal with that, just with the concept of marriage.

I'm sure I could have said this better had it been something I was writing for a while.

charles said:

Sidebar: "Don't ask, Don't tell" -- a logical reason to ban gays and lesbians from the military, or from leadership of boys and girls organizations.

This is a logical construct, which people who are experiential or emotional will find both unsatisfying and probably angering.

If you want to ensure there is no sexual tension in a group, you need only to assure that no member of the group is sexually attracted to, or attracted by, any other member.

But the only groups which meet that criteria is a group of straight males, and a group of straight females.

As soon as you introduce a lesbian and gay people, the largest your group can be without having attractions is TWO. One gay man can be with one lesbian woman. But if you add another gay man, the two men are attracted. If you ad a straight man, the gay man is attracted to the straight man, and the straight man is attracted to the gay woman. Likewise for adding another lesbian, or a straight woman.

So a boys group can only be led by a straight man -- who will not be attracted to any of the boys. A gay man will find the boys physically attractive (I'm obviously discussing post-pubescent boys here).

And a girls group can only be led by a straight woman, for the same reason.

Note that if you have a group of gay girls, you already have the same problem as you would if you combined the straight boys and the straight girls.

Logically speaking, men and women who are by nature physically attracted by the sight of the same sex cannot be in groups that have no sexual tension. It's a simple fact of logic.

zimzo said:

"Moderate" I understood your analogy perfectly. I just didn't think it was a very good analogy.

Charles, I don't even know where to begin. I could start with your belief that "the idea that marriage is primarily about love is a modern construction, one that has damaged the fabric of society" or I could go right to your idea that it's the government's responsibility to prevent "sexual tension" in groups (I take it you're retired and don't work in, say, an office--just guessing). But, instead, I think I'll just ask our generous hosts Joe and Sophrosyne (whom I've known from the beginning is a woman because her prose has that undefinable woman's touch) if indeed they agree that love and marriage do NOT go together like a horse and carriage and if they think a gay marriage amendment will help in the eradication of the sexual tension that plagues our society.

charles said:

Government recognition and special treatment of marriage should be considered with the premise that it should be ended for ALL relationships, unless it is clear that there is a compelling government interest in recognition and reward for a particular set of relationships.

Government recognition is not some "right" of the people, government handouts in the forms of special benefits are not some expected payoff for being in certain relationships. Thinking that government by nature must reward relationships, and therefore by fairness must reward all relationships equally, is a logical fallacy born of the philosophical fallacy of government as provider and enabler, rather than the proper view of government as society's method of maintaining civil order.

Once we put government largesse in its place, the issues of "equal rights" for gay couples is exposed for as a false premise based on a false view of the role of government.

So, if we have a government that is neutral on the role of relationships, each person is free to practice any religion they wish, with some religions honoring same-sex marriage, and others only opposite-sex marriage. Some might only allow marriage of people in the same religion, others might not care.

OK, now what role should government provide? Well, it turns out that we have a long history (just about all of recorded history) of evidence that our form of society functions best when organized at multiple levels, with the lowest level being individuals, and the next step being family groups made up of two adults with the ability to procreate.

But we also know that the children of that unit are much better served when their biological parents raise them to the exclusion even of their own "well-being". Therefore, government serves society if it provides a method of encouraging those units who can produce children to then remain together to raise those children.

So we have a "civil union", which we also call marriage. Further, we might ensure that our units aren't punished for being together (marriage tax penalty) and that, in order for them to be able to function as a unit, special treatment in terms of one's earnings going to the other, social security supporting the surviving member of the unit, and other perks.

But these benefits are not confered as a right because they got married, but as an incentive because the particular unit is one that is most favorable for society.

Now, it turns out that as a result of imperfection in laws, some people can earn these benefits without truly contributing to the good of society. It's the nature of government to be incapable of precisely targetting advantages.

But it would make sense to only provide social security inheritance benefits to families with children, for example -- if there are no children, there is no reason for both members not to have worked (note much of the "issues" with marriage come from the ability to gain these special benefits without children, like young women marrying really old men to get their benefits, etc.)

Note that government doesn't have to confer special rights in order for people to enter relationships with each other. Government's special recognition of units of society that reproduce does make things easier for those who choose it, but that was the point, to encourage it.

I see no reason for government to ENCOURAGE the union of two people whose only defining characteristic is physical attraction for each other, but whose pairing provides no compelling societal advantage.

BTW, I believe that much, but not all, of what gay people SAY they fear are not really "benefits", but are simply short-cuts, like a single contract covering multiple aspects of life.

For example, there is no true "societal benefit" conferred by giving one person the right to make medical decisions for another person. Therefore, there is no reason even under the VA constitutional amendment why the legislature couldn't define a contract that covered the breadth of the standard "contractual" aspects desired by gay couples (automatic inheritance without a will, default beneficiary status, homestead protections, visitation/power of attorney rights, etc.

This would not include treatment as "spouses" by social security, since as I said before that is a true benefit conferred not by right but in exchange for entering into the preferred societal reproductive unit.

Note that there is no discrimination -- a gay person can enter into the same societal reproductive unit as any other -- and many gay men and "lesbian" women do just that, for whatever reason.

Now, if you want to argue that a gay unit is a preferred societal unit, you have to first show that it is better than a reproductive unit, and then show that other pairings and even triplings and other types of "units" are not equally beneficial to society as same-sex units.

And I haven't heard the argument yet that shows that two people of the same sex in a unit is better for society than the pairing of a man and his sister, or a man and two women, or a communal arrangement with multiple men and women.

So to summarize: Government recognition of marriage is not a civil right, it is a benefit conferred to a preferential (to society) pairing of reproductive units. same-sex units must prove benefits equal to reproducing units to earn the privilege of special treatment, and then show that their same-sex units have a benefit to society greater than a myriad of other arrangements.

The VA amendment states that, as a matter of common law, OUR society in this state has concluded that only the reproductive unit should be granted special treatment.

charles said:

Zimzo, perhaps I need to communicate more clearly. As I said in the first sentence of that post, it was not about gay marriage, or about what government needed to do in society.

It was simply setting up a logical base which I may be able to build off of at a later time. Specifically, that prohibition of gay men from leading boy scout troops makes perfect sense because one premise of that societal unit is to form a group without sexual tension or fear of sexual attraction.

It's why we have separate organizations for boys and girls.

I also explained why not having openly gay people in the military made sense logically, for the same reason that adding women to combat units is a wrong decision. But at least if you wanted to, you could make combat units consisting SOLELY of women if you wanted to avoid the problem.

Let me make it plainer. As a society, we have determined that we do not have individuals who would be sexually attracted to each other shower in the same units. So we give men their own shower, and women their own shower.

But if you introduce a gay man to the male shower, you now have a person who is physically attracted to those they are showering with. And just as we wouldn't make women put up with a man in their shower,we wish as a society to avoid this as well.

That's simple in normal life, as we put showers in stalls and the problem is mostly solved.

But in the military, the logistics of providing separate shower and sleep facilities for each and every gay man would be impossible. But you couldn't put the gay men in with the straight men OR with each other, any more than you would force a woman to sleep and shower with the men, or force the women to accept a man sleeping and showering with them.

As I said, I don't expect everybody to appreciate having a logical, passionless argument in the middle of their marriage debate. But it is important to understand certain logical difficulties inherent in attraction to the same sex which do not exist in groups where there is only opposite-sex attraction.

I don't think most people think about it logically enough to see how it is imposssible to build a group of more than two that include a gay or lesbian and don't have sexual tension.

You could say it's the beginning of understanding that homosexuality isn't simply another lifestyle "choice", it is a nature that is at odds with much of the structure we assume in building our society.

charles said:

Zimro, regarding marriage and love -- I'll be interested in seeing how the others here react to what I realise is a rather contrarian position in today's society.

But another person already mentioned how many marriages were arranged and had nothing to do with being "in love".

"Fiddler on the Roof" deals wonderfully with that concept, although it also illustrates the modern push to redefine marriage around "falling in love".

Successful marriages are not measured by how physically attracted the couple was when they first met, but how hard they work to understand and respect each other, and how much they will sacrifice for the sake of the family unit.

People who break up their marriages because they are "no longer in love" are mostly selfish people who never learned to sacrifice their own pleasure for the good of something bigger.

Seeking that "one person who you love more than anything in the world" is largely a fools errand. But oddly, talk to people married for decades, and the almost to a couple say they are married to the person they love more than anything in the world.

But that's because of their nature, not because they managed to get lucky and, out of 5 billion people in the world, managed to run into the person they would be most attracted to.

People with that true marriage "contract" don't worry about people their spoouses meet, because they know the relationship exists BECAUSE of the relationship, and therefore is not threatened by some physical or other attraction to other people.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

wait a second, all those heritage foundation articles are about children in divorces. and I especially lie the one that says women need marriage for protection. you've been telling me for a week that you were going to post links to "peer-reviewed" studies of the negative effects of gay marriage on society (because that's the arguement you keep making) and after a week you come back with som stuff from heritage foundation about DIVORCE?? and MARRIAGE AS PROTECTION FOR WOMEN??? come on.

hold on, I'll find my own information about the damaging effects of gay marriage. I'm sure they're out there.

Lord have mercy on the mariner, I cannot come back to this thread without finding it's gone nine steps beyond what I was prepared to say.

Stay Puft, I wanted that godhatespeoplewithtatoos.com site to be real, I really did. You should be writing for Jay Leno.

I still can't jump in because Charles has so complicated the playing field. I'll read and then I'll be back...

charles said:

Joe,I'm sorry.

Looking back, I see that my arguments were in an entirely different direction, and do indeed complicate things.

If I could do it over, I'd wait until this discussion ended, and see about starting a new one in a new thread.

Charles,

No, this is the mother of all threads and we might as well continue the discussion here. It's just that Sophie, bless her heart, is traveling and I've got domestic obligations, so our responses will be a little delayed.

Charles,

I am now just reading in detail this stuff you wrote and I am blown away: This is exactly the rational formulation I've been looking for. This will eventually become a new post on the main page later this weekend. Thank you, sir!

charles said:

Joe, thanks for the kind words. I imagine some of your guests will have a different opinion :-)


Hey M 5-19,

Are you interested in making a difference? Contact me with a real email at: joe -at- novatownhall -dot- com.

I'll repeat this in the other thread. If you're in VA you might me interested.

zimzo said:

Gosh, Joe, I was sure you would want to distance yourself from Charles' ideas and that I wouldn't even have to say anything. I was doing you a favor by giving you the chance to explain why Charles' ideas do not represent your own. But now I see that indeed he is expressing thoughts that many moderate people fear might be behind this Marriage Amendment and I must say I thank him for bringing them to the light of day.

When people talk about the anti-gay Marriage Amendments defending "traditional" marriage, it always makes me laugh. Real traditional marriage as Charles has pointed out was not about love. It was a business contract between two families and spouses were usually chosen by parents. The idea of love forming the basis of marriage is indeed a modern concept. Now maybe Charles sides with Fiddler on the Roof's Tevye on the question of who gets to decide who to marry, but I suspect most Virginians would be apalled by the idea of going back to a time when you couldn't choose your own spouse. I suspect if for one moment they could put themselves in the shoes of gay people they would realize that not being able to marry the person that you love and want to share your life with would be a terrible thing.

When Charles claims that gay relationships are based solely on physical attraction, he shows that he has never has taken a moment to put himself in the shoes of gay people and think of them as human beings who are in fact just like he is except that they are attracted to the same sex. The fact is most heterosexual relationships do start out with physical attraction. That they evolve into something else is human nature. What makes him think that gay relationships are any different? Most of them also start out with physical attraction and evolve into something else just like heterosexual relationships. If Charles had ever had a conversation with a gay person about their lives he would know that. If Charles is correct in saying that being able to marry the person you love "has damaged the fabric of society" (an idea that most Virginians I can guarantee you don't subscribe to), if marriage should be based not on physical attraction but on an attraction between "minds" and if straight people of the same sex are often "attracted" to each other in this way, then I wonder why Charles is not fighting for the right to marry his best (male) friend. I bet they would have a wonderful relationship and they wouldn't have to worry about their physical attraction destroying society. That would be the logical conclusion to draw from what Charles says.

Charles assumes that the only reason gay people want to have relationships with someone of the same sex is because of physical attraction. He also assumes that physical attraction is less important in heterosexual relationships. Well, he is wrong on both counts. If a straight person wants to understand why a gay person is gay and why they want to be in a relationship with someone of the same sex, all they have to do is look at why they are straight and want to be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Because, Charles, gay people are actually human beings and they have exactly the same human feelings as you do. Like straight people most of their relationships begin with physical attraction, but not always. There are plenty of really ugly gay people in relationships just as there are plenty of really ugly straight people in relationships (do you need me to name names or send you some pictures to prove this?). The human mystery of attraction is a mystery for everyone, gay and straight. So when you say "I see no reason for government to ENCOURAGE the union of two people whose only defining characteristic is physical attraction for each other" I must point out that you are simply wrong in your characterization gay relationships, that you are assuming that gay people are not human and don't have human feelings, when in fact, aside from their sexual orientation they are exactly like straight people.

By the way, as a side note, your thoughts about love are pretty cynical and depressing. I know plenty of people--gay and straight--who have found love and I suspect that many people reading your words--even those opposed to gay marriage--would disagree with what you have said vehemently.

I also believe that even many proponents of the anti-gay Marriage Amendment might also disagree with your conception of marriage. You write: "So to summarize: Government recognition of marriage is not a civil right, it is a benefit conferred to a preferential (to society) pairing of reproductive units." All I can say is Wow! That description of marriage sounds like something out of a distopian science fiction story. So, therefore, do you believe that a married couple who choose not to have children are not really married? Should a couple where one partner is infertile be allowed to stay married? Do you think it would be "preferential to society" if the partner who was not infertile found someone who was fertile? Wouldn't it be even more "preferential to society" if the government chose good genetic matches for everyone and if certain people (say, as an example, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline) were not allowed to marry because of what their "reproductive unit" might produce. Again, this is the logical extension of your "argument."

You also state: "But we also know that the children of that unit are much better served when their biological parents raise them to the exclusion even of their own "well-being." So, in other words, children of adopted parents are not as "well-served" as children who live with their bilogical parents. And if their biological parents are child abusers, drunks, or drug addicts would they still be better off with them than with adoptive parents? Or with a gay couple.

I must say I'm especially impressed with your discourse on "sexual tension." If you really wanted to reduce the menace of "sexual tension," which by the way exists in virtually every office in the country and in the military as well now that women are there (even though they don't shower together) and most likely in your local gym as well (don't drop the soap!). But if you are so worried about sexual tension (and you haven't really explained why it's such a danger) then perhaps you would have us do what they do in some Islamic countries. In places like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan women wear burkas to cover their bodies to prevent the men from feeling any sexual tension and women are forbidden from socializing or working with men. That may sound like paradise to you, Charles, but I would be willing to bet that most Virginians would not be in favor of this idea.

And just a word to Sophrosyne, which Stay Puft has already pointed out. You couldn't come up with one study that shows that the children of gay and lesbian parents are worse off than the children of heterosexual parents. All those links were not to studies but to policy arguments. And the burden of proof is not on those who want to prove that there is no difference because families with gay and lesbian parents already exist. The burden of proof is on you to show why they should not be allowed to exist.

Finally, I think many of my fellow Virginians (because I still feel like a Virginian at heart) will realize after reading all this that the forces behind the anti-gay Marriage Amendment are not as reasonable as they claim to be. I suspect many have family members and friends who are gay and they reject the radical fear-mongering of the anti-gay forces. Although this amendment may still pass, as it has already in many states, ten years ago I couldn't even imagine that we would even be discussing this issue at all. Gay people are more and more a part of mainstream American society and I don't think that trend is going to be reversed no matter how much misinformation and fear is spewed by the other side.

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa! I was thanking Charles for his essay about society's rationale for rewarding male/female units with the incentives that comprise "marriage benefits." There arfe a few paragraphs there which state very clearly exactly the type of wording I've been trying to put together.

I can't say whether I agree or disagree on "love" because I only skimmed to get to the part on marriage. I haven't given any thought to the nature of love in many years. I guess you have the difference between "eros" and "agape" and all that, blah blah blah... Sorry, I just can't build up any interest right now. I'm not going to anywhere NEAR the contention that people of the same sex can't get into a relationship in which the "love" between them is as noble as any other.

For a conservative, I tend toward libertarian on this issue, I think if you want to change people's behavior you do it best via persuasion not damnation.

Regarding sexual tension, I think it's a side issue here, having to do with scouts and the military...Again, I'm not going to get into a debate on that point because I'm trying to help get this question about changing the definition of marriage answered. I've only thought about it to the extent I don't think gay men should be allowed to lead scout troops. I never thought about it in terms of sexual tension, just that it seems like a really, really bad idea.

Zimzo, buddy, let's please take a step back regarding your revelation we're not as reasonable as we claim to be. This may indeed turn out to be the case (you haven't heard my personal view on this topic yet), but not because of the things you just discussed.

That one section by Charles was very well stated; I'll make this point more clearly later on, and then I think we will be back on track. I have a busy day today and have to run.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

ok, everyone who's doing the slippery slope,"gay marriage hurts the children" thing is an armature. Check out my mad skills on the slippery half-pipe! :

marriage should only be encouraged for the sake of procreation, and the government should limit marriage in the interest of creating the best possible environment for children, which is being raised by biological, married parents.

Gays should not marry because of the possibility that someone else's child might be harmed as a result. post-menopausal women should not marry as they are no longer capable of procreation and therefore such a union would be purely based on physical attraction, no minority groups should be allowed to marry, or have children, because the environment they could create for their children would be sub-optimal due to the possible stress their children might experience as a result of racism. These minorities include non-christians, because of the potential for confusion of a muslim of jewish child who is living in a christian nation. Also, poor people or urban dwellers should not marry, because poverty and urban living conditions may induce certain stresses in children, and adoption should be banned because the optimal situation is to be raised by biological parents.

Given the ideal environment for raising children, and the government's interest in encouraging the creation of that environment, only heterosexual, christian, married, middle- and upper- class whites who live in sub-urban or rural communities (in other words, REPUBLICANS) should have the legal right to marry and reproduce.

ha! and don't even think about using the old liberal "race card" trick.
but seriously...

at the risk of shooting myself in the foot, I'm posting this NON-Heritage Foundation article about how gays harm society:

http://www.geocities.com/two_oclock/hjlpp29394932.htm

but not without also posting this article which, I believe, is the ONLY article posted here so far which directly deals with the issue of gay marriage and children. It’s thoughtful, well-written, and I approve of this article:

http://www.geocities.com/two_oclock/15.2meezan.pdf

I assume the reason sophisticated soph posted articles about children and divorce was to make the point that the best situation is with a mother and a father. It isn't scientific, though, to use those heritage foundation articles to argue that gay marriage harms children. Divorce in and of itself can be traumatizing to children, so it's inaccurate to compare children of divorced parents to children being raised by gay couples.

As the above article so aptly points out, it’s also difficult to compare children of gay couples to children of married couples for the simple fact that married couples have an advantage in their legally-recognized union. If children of married couples are better off than children of gay couples because hetero couples have legal recognition, than saying that gay couples aren’t the best things for kids is like saying, “it’s illegal because it’s against the law.” At that point, it’s no longer a logical argument but a rationalization for a point of view.

charles said:

First, Joe, I presumed that was what you found interesting. Although if I can correct the misconceptions, you might find agreement with the structure of marriage as well.

Now, for zimzo , June 17, 2006 09:52 AM. This isn’t going to be easy, because almost every interpretation of my response was at odds with my beliefs. So I’m going to go point-by-point and see if I can explain myself better. It is good when people repeat back what they think you have said, it allows us to correct our interpretations.

The first misconception was that my argument in post one about the defining characteristics of marriage was only a precursor to discussing the marriage amendment, and was not itself an argument why we need a marriage amendment. We have a LOT more problems with marriage today than simply that same-sex couples want government to recognize them as “married”. In fact, some of those problems are more serious (but the failing is not governments, but ourselves, and I don’t want government trying to fix it, but rather education and common sense).

In fact, I do not generally argue for the marriage amendment based on a “defense of traditional marriage”. I don’t fault those that do, but that isn’t my primary motivation. I argue it from a “government benefit” perspective – because that is where my involvement as a taxpayer and citizen is directly involved. On the other hand, if someone wants to set up a church that recognizes “gay marriage”, and wants to “get married” and form a family and live their lives in happy monogamy as a gay or lesbian couple, the marriage amendment does not prevent that. It only prevents those family units from getting special, preferential treatment from the government.

That is a one-paragraph summary of my last post, the one that Joe found compelling.

In my NEXT post, I’ll do a point-by-point regarding my first post based on zimzo’s interpretation of it, to clear things up.

zimzo said:

So this is what you found so "rational," Joe?

Charles writes: "Now, if you want to argue that a gay unit is a preferred societal unit, you have to first show that it is better than a reproductive unit, and then show that other pairings and even triplings and other types of "units" are not equally beneficial to society as same-sex units. And I haven't heard the argument yet that shows that two people of the same sex in a unit is better for society than the pairing of a man and his sister, or a man and two women, or a communal arrangement with multiple men and women."

First of all, Charles let me say I love how you refer to marriages as "societal reproductive units." I really hope this phraseology catches on.

However, you might be surprised to learn, Charles, that most people don't think of their marriages as "reproductive units" and that the only reason society let's them pair up at all is that society in its great wisdom has decided it is "beneficial." Clearly, if that were true, "society" would have "incentives" to prevent marriages that don't produce children since these marriages wouldn't be "beneficial."

I'm also a bit perplexed at your notion that gay people must prove that same-sex marriages are "a preferred societal unit." Uh, nobody is saying that gay marriages should replace heterosexual marriages or that they are "better for society" or that they deserve "special treatment." Gay people just want equal treatment. They would like to be able to file joint tax returns, visit their spouse in the hospital, be able to sign on to their spouse's health insurance, not have to worry about their immigrant spouse being deported, not be kicked out of their homes if their same-sex spouse dies, etc. etc. These are rights and benefits that opposite-sex married couples have that same-sex couples do not have. They don't want a single right more than straight people have, just the same rights. The burden of proof is not on each married couple to prove that their marriage is beneficial to society. If that were true then Anna Nicole Smith would have lost her case in the Supreme Court because I think it would be difficult to prove how her marriage benefited society. In fact, it should be society's burden to prove why this one particular relationship, that is, between people of the same sex, is in fact bad for society and why it would be bad for society to let gay couples file joint tax returns, visit their spouse in the hospital, be able to sign on to their spouse's health insurance, prevent their immigrant spouse being deported, have protection from being kicked out of their homes if their same-sex spouse dies. Please explain to me why any of these things would be bad for society.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

CHARLES:

How does gay marriage harm society? for all your posting, you still haven't moved past stating your opinion.


SOPHMORE:

Here is how I understand your argument:

A.) gay marriage => people being disillusioned with marriage => having kids out of wedlock

B.) children of divorced parents have been shown to have certain difficulties later in life, therefore gay marriage would also be harmful.

is this interpretation of your argument inaccurate?


EVERYONE ELSE WHO IS OPPOSED TO GAY MARRIAGE:

Can someone please give a nice, step-by-step break down of how gay marriage harms society?

thanks

charles said:

OK, here’s the follow-up post for zimzo’s June 17, 2006 09:52 AM post. If I do this right, zimzo’s words will be italicized.

Real traditional marriage as Charles has pointed out was not about love. It was a business contract between two families and spouses were usually chosen by parents. The idea of love forming the basis of marriage is indeed a modern concept.

How people chose who to marry varies by culture. Getting married is an act, marriage is a relationship. Loveless marriage existed and exists, but is not the norm, nor desired state. My point was that choosing WHO to marry was not exclusively done by falling in love.
Now maybe Charles sides with Fiddler on the Roof's Tevye on the question of who gets to decide who to marry, but I suspect most Virginians would be apalled by the idea of going back to a time when you couldn't choose your own spouse.
The illustration was to counter the concept that a necessary attribute of marriage is that you do so with “the” person you love. This to counter the argument that not allowing gays who “love” each other to “marry” debases the meaning of “marriage”.

I suspect if for one moment they could put themselves in the shoes of gay people they would realize that not being able to marry the person that you love and want to share your life with would be a terrible thing.
Most people experience not being able to “marry” a person they love. A vast majority of “loves” never get to be married. And since those couples can still commit to one another, live together, love, and spend their lives together, it seems less “terrible” than the implication that we are trying to physically break up same-sex couples. We are only talking about government-granted special treatment.

When Charles claims that gay relationships are based solely on physical attraction, he shows that he has never has taken a moment to put himself in the shoes of gay people and think of them as human beings who are in fact just like he is except that they are attracted to the same sex. The fact is most heterosexual relationships do start out with physical attraction. That they evolve into something else is human nature. What makes him think that gay relationships are any different? Most of them also start out with physical attraction and evolve into something else just like heterosexual relationships. If Charles had ever had a conversation with a gay person about their lives he would know that.

I was just defining what makes a relationship “gay”. The only difference between a gay and straight relationship is the physical attraction to the same sex. It may be that most modern relationships, and maybe even marriages, start out with physical attraction, but that is not necessary for marriage – many good marriages start with people who are friends first.

If Charles is correct in saying that being able to marry the person you love "has damaged the fabric of society" (an idea that most Virginians I can guarantee you don't subscribe to)
I didn’t say that. I said that basing marriage on a physical, romantic love is damaging, because that love doesn’t last and people that think that’s what marriage is will divorce and re-marry looking for that shallow tie. A good marriage needs a LOT more than simple romantic love, but doesn’t NEED romantic love. Just as a good marriage can’t be built simply on physical attraction, and further does NOT NEED physical attraction to succeed.

, if marriage should be based not on physical attraction but on an attraction between "minds" and if straight people of the same sex are often "attracted" to each other in this way, then I wonder why Charles is not fighting for the right to marry his best (male) friend. I bet they would have a wonderful relationship and they wouldn't have to worry about their physical attraction destroying society. That would be the logical conclusion to draw from what Charles says.
You seem to understand the argument. I am NOT fighting for that right, even though it would make as much sense as fighting for government recognition of gay marriage – because NEITHER gay marriage, nor the relationship defined above, benefits society in a way that justifies special treatment. My support for the M.A. is not based on “physical attraction destroying society”. My point is as always that people can enter into personal relationships as they see fit, but government should only recognize those pairings if that recognition benefits society.

Charles assumes that the only reason gay people want to have relationships with someone of the same sex is because of physical attraction.,
I do not, any more than I think men only want relationships with women for that reason. I prefer relationships with women because they are easier to talk to.

He also assumes that physical attraction is less important in heterosexual relationships.
No, I do not, and I didn’t say that. My focus on “physical attraction” was only because it’s the ONLY distiniguishing characteristic of a “gay” relationship.

…Because, Charles, gay people are actually human beings and they have exactly the same human feelings as you do. Of course they do, and I never said otherwise.
Like straight people most of their relationships begin with physical attraction, but not always. I didn’t argue a difference, but I disagree that “most” straight relationships start with physical attraction, most relationships start with friendship, or at least that was true traditionally, and if it is changing it is a bad thing (in movies and TV you are correct).

… So when you say "I see no reason for government to ENCOURAGE the union of two people whose only defining characteristic is physical attraction for each other" I must point out that you are simply wrong in your characterization gay relationships,.
I was not characterizing the relationship, I was characterizing what makes the relationship unique from other relationships that people are NOT fighting to have recognized as marriage. If you remove “physical attraction”, there is no reason why any people of the same sex who are sharing living quarters couldn’t “get married” and receive special government benefits. Or even people of the opposite sex. I’ll expound on this in another post.

By the way, as a side note, your thoughts about love are pretty cynical and depressing. I know plenty of people--gay and straight--who have found love and I suspect that many people reading your words--even those opposed to gay marriage--would disagree with what you have said vehemently.
“Finding love” is generally a far cry from the “romantic love” or base physical attraction that many relationships these days are based on – and the way culture sells that attraction as the foundation for relationships is depressing. I never said people don’t find a deeper, relational love. I remind once again that the discussion of “romantic love” regarded how people enter into relationships.

I also believe that even many proponents of the anti-gay Marriage Amendment might also disagree with your conception of marriage. You write: "So to summarize: Government recognition of marriage is not a civil right, it is a benefit conferred to a preferential (to society) pairing of reproductive units." All I can say is Wow! That description of marriage sounds like something out of a distopian science fiction story.

I reject the notion that marriage is defined by government. Each person defines their own relationships. Many straight couples have what they consider “marriages” without a certificate of government approval. As my quote above clearly says – “government RECOGNITION of marriage” – NOT “description of marriage”.

So, therefore, do you believe that a married couple who choose not to have children are not really married? Should a couple where one partner is infertile be allowed to stay married? Do you think it would be "preferential to society" if the partner who was not infertile found someone who was fertile? Wouldn't it be even more "preferential to society" if the government chose good genetic matches for everyone and if certain people (say, as an example, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline) were not allowed to marry because of what their "reproductive unit" might produce. Again, this is the logical extension of your "argument."
No, it is not. As I said, government policy is a “coarse” tool, not given to “fine-tuning”. Government makes rules broadly to benefit society. If a move was made to restrict government recognition of marriage, others I’m sure could argue here about whether society benefits from these other relationships. I don’t preclude that, I simply don’t have to argue the relative merits of gay or straight relationships to defend the Marriage Amendment, since it does not seek to further restrict marriage.

You also state: "But we also know that the children of that unit are much better served when their biological parents raise them to the exclusion even of their own "well-being." So, in other words, children of adopted parents are not as "well-served" as children who live with their bilogical parents. And if their biological parents are child abusers, drunks, or drug addicts would they still be better off with them than with adoptive parents? Or with a gay couple.
Again, government policy is a coarse tool. We let all people get drivers licenses, and then revoke those who individually are found unworthy. Biological parents ARE better than adoptive parents, except when on an individual basis they show otherwise. You won’t find support for the notion that removing children from biological parents and putting them with adoptive parents would be “best” for children in other than exceptional conditions. In a later post I’ll expand this.

That’s it for the discussion of “love” and “marriage”. I’ll put a short post about sexual tension since that was a distraction from the current argument (although the logic leads to a societal harm of recognizing same-sex marriage).

charles said:

Here’s the third part of response to zimzo:

I must say I'm especially impressed with your discourse on "sexual tension." If you really wanted to reduce the menace of "sexual tension," which by the way exists in virtually every office in the country and in the military as well now that women are there (even though they don't shower together) and most likely in your local gym as well (don't drop the soap!). But if you are so worried about sexual tension (and you haven't really explained why it's such a danger) then perhaps you would have us do what they do in some Islamic countries. In places like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan women wear burkas to cover their bodies to prevent the men from feeling any sexual tension and women are forbidden from socializing or working with men. That may sound like paradise to you, Charles, but I would be willing to bet that most Virginians would not be in favor of this idea.

Nowhere to I argue that in general we need to separate people to avoid sexual tensions. I have identified two SPECIFIC INSTANCES where we HAVE specifically attempted to remove sexual attraction from groups – the military, and teenage boys and girls organizations. You keep wanting to expand that to the entire society knowing that would be impossible, as if that makes the entire idea moot. But it is clear society sees a BENEFIT to having same-sex groups. And gay participation in those groups destroys the benefit society seeks FOR THOSE GROUPS.

That was my logical argument, and nothing you say above refutes the logic of my argument. But I’d like to see you try rather than making straw-man arguments – Can you give me a reason why a taking a group of gay teen boys on a camping trip and having them sleep together in tents and shower together is different than taking a mixed group of straight boys and girls on a camping trip and having them sleep together in tents and shower together?

I also have to make my own comment about your last paragraph:

I suspect many have family members and friends who are gay and they reject the radical fear-mongering of the anti-gay forces
Absolutely NOTHING I said has anything to do with fear And your repeated presumptions not just here but in many of your previous responses to me about me “not knowing gay people”, not “understanding”, “thinking gays aren’t human”, all come across as an attempt to “dehumanize” the opposition to your position rather than dealing with the arguments in front of you.

I can assure you that I’ve known many gay people in my life, many of whom were friends. My interest in preventing gay marriage is not based on a “fear” of gay people, but a sound belief that society benefits from government encouraging marriage as it exists today, and providing special treatment for any other type of relationship will be detrimental to society, both directly, and also over time since gay relationships cannot be distinguished from ANY other definable relationship except in the specific physical characteristic of attraction to the same sex.

Whereas the existing definition of marriage is easily distinguishable from other relationships. We just want to keep it that way, for the good of society.

charles said:

At the risk of cross-threading, I will repeat something I actually answered in a previous post, to ensure the application to zimzo's more recent post:

First of all, Charles let me say I love how you refer to marriages as "societal reproductive units." I really hope this phraseology catches on.
I do not refer to marriages as "societal reproductive units". I refer to the purpose of government's preferential treatment being based on THAT aspect of relationships, which in no way suggests that this defines those relationships.

However, you might be surprised to learn, Charles, that most people don't think of their marriages as "reproductive units" and that the only reason society let's them pair up at all is that society in its great wisdom has decided it is "beneficial." Clearly, if that were true, "society" would have "incentives" to prevent marriages that don't produce children since these marriages wouldn't be "beneficial."
I've not MENTIONED restricting people from any relationships they see fit to be in, as the Marriage Amendment does no such thing. A relationship is not based on government's special recognition of it, and to suggest otherwise is to truly "de-humanize" those relationships.

Certainly you don't need government to bless your relationship in order for that relationship to exist?

I've seen no indication that society is preventing anybody from pairing, tripling, or combining in other ways. Nor have I argued that.

To Stay puffed -- that is why you don't see me arguing HARM to society, because while I think there is harm it makes no difference -- my argument is that government only has to encourage what it finds beneficial, not EVERY thing that is not harmful.

I see no "harm" in people staying single and even living with their families their entire lives, but I don't want to extend marriage to THAT arrangement either, even though I could argue equally that if a brother supports a family of him and his two sisters, those two sisters are as deserving of the "benefits government provides" for marriage as a gay partner would be.

zimzo said:

Charles writes: "government only has to encourage what it finds beneficial, not EVERY thing that is not harmful."

Well, then what is beneficial about straight marriage, Charles. You only mention care of children. Some straight marriages don't have children, why recognize those? Some gay couples do have children. Why not recognize those?

If there is no harm caused by gay relationships (since you can't seem to come up with any) why go to all the trouble of amending the Constitution to make sure that government singles out gay relationships as a relationship it will not recognize (even though it already doesn't)? What are you so afraid of that you believe this drastic step must be taken?

And though it really has nothing whatsoever to do with the marriage debate but it seems to be a strange obsession of yours, Charles, that we protect the military and the boy scouts from sexual tension (but apparently, you now admit, no other part of society), I can't resist responding to this one: You write "Can you give me a reason why a taking a group of gay teen boys on a camping trip and having them sleep together in tents and shower together is different than taking a mixed group of straight boys and girls on a camping trip and having them sleep together in tents and shower together?" In fact, I can. Gay people are a minority in this society, with estimates of the number of gay people ranging from 1% to 10%. In a group of 10 boys, there is likely to be 1 gay person at the most. He would be discouraged from making any overt sexual overtures to the other boys because of sheer numbers. In a group of 10 boys and 10 girls, you are likely to have about 18 boys and girls attracted to someone. That might be a little more difficult to reign in when it comes to showering and sleeping together (if indeed for the sake of argument, you are proposing that be allowed to happen, which, frankly, would be kind of stupid). Also boys are generally physically stronger than girls so worse things might happen. I have to say, I can't believe I am even having this argument but it is a perfect example of the kinds of prejudices and fallacies that fuel the anti-gay marriage debate

In the military, course, women do not sleep and shower with the men and for the most part serve with men without incident because there is a code of conduct they must follow. In other armies around the world men and women and gay men serve. In fact, depite "don't ask, don't tell" plenty of gay men serve in our military. And if you want to argue harm to society, here is a great example. After 9/11, despite a shortage of Arabic speaking linguists, the military discharged 10 Arabic-speaking men solely because they were gay. And even as the military finds it more difficult to recruit the numbers it needs, it continues to discharge men who have served well solely because they are gay.

If you want to know what really harms society, prejudice and ignorance harms society.

charles said:

zimzo 7:35pm

Again, you changed the question to one that was easy to answer. I didn't ask about keeping one gay boy out of a group of straight boys.

I asked about taking a group of gay boys. Because that would be the "equivalent" to ANY mixing of straight teens of opposite sex.

Your post proves my point -you can't put more than ONE gay boy in the group without introducing sex as a possibility (and in fact you are wrong about the single boy, more on that below)

Which just returns to the question -- Society has decided sexual attraction is important enough a concern that we make sexes use separate restrooms, showers, and changing areas, AND we establish single-sex schools for the purpose of removing sexual attraction.

Do you think society should eliminate all of those distinctions? If NOT, do you instead think that, ASSUMING TWO OR MORE GAY PEOPLE, there is any difference between having a GROUP of gay people using the same bathroom, using the same showers, staying in the same dorm rooms, sharing changing areas and saunas, and having people of the opposite sex do those things?

It's the same question I asked before -- just give me a consistant position. Either there is something fundamentally different between the "physical attraction" of gays and lesbians, and the "physical attraction" of straight people, OR it is not. Assuming you say it IS the same, then Do you believe Society is wrong to separate people into non-sexually attracted groups?

And if you think it is OK for society to set up places and possibilities for humans to separate into non-sexually-attracted groups, how do we do that with gay and lesbian people who CANNOT be in a group without sexual attraction, EXCEPT for a SINGLE gay mand and a SINGLE gay woman?

It is the fundamental problem with same-sex attraction -- it simply does not fit in with the cultural and societal structures permitting the separation of sexually attracted people.

That is obviously true if you put several gay or lesbian people together. It is also true for the single gay boy you cited -- which showed a remarkably odd thought process for one who I presume thinks that gay sex is normal and healthy.

I'm a gay boy. I'm in a group of boys. I'm attracted to them (surely you won't argue that gay boys are only attracted to other gay boys). And, I'm just like any other human, and I live in a society that has removed ALL stigma from gay sex.

So why don't I ask each other boy I'm attracted to if they want to fool around? Just as a straight boy would ask the girls, and they might not be attracted to him. And since we are in the enlightened age where there is NO stigma on gay sexual activity, it strains credulity to imagine that our "straight" boys, who no doubt would be happy to masturbate to a picture, that not one of them would realise that a little oral sex would be fun so long as they just didn't think too much about who was doing it (NOTE that even now there are boys who take girls they have NO attraction to and get oral sex from them).

It is more unlikely that a straight boy would OFFER to perform a sex act on another boy, so the introduction of a gay boy in a permissive and accepting culture would cause sexual attraction to be an issue.

And I'm not "fearing" this, because this is a logical discussion about choices we already MAKE in society -- but if society decided to put boys by themselves on camping trips so they could bond with each other without the problems of teenage libido in mixed groups, putting the gay person in that group has caused a problem.

Which we could EASILY solve of course by defining FOUR organizations, to separate out the four types of sexual creatures -- straight men, straight women, gay men, and gay women -- EXCEPT THAT, and this is the conclusion of the logical argument, you CAN'T group gay men or lesbian women together and solve the problem. Because there is a fundamental difference in same-sex attraction, that doesn't fit social and cultural norms of societal organization.

charles said:

The "harm" of gay marriage.

This isn't my issue -- my argument agains government recognition of gay couples is that there is no compelling government interest in encouraging gay couples stay together. After all, it is physically impossible for a gay couple to provide the "two biological parent" model that is best for children, all else being equal.

I suppose that itself is a "harm", in that if government encourages gay couples with special treatment it might encourage more procreation of children with no intent of allowing them their natural right to be raised by their two biological parents.

Note that we don't prohibit single women from having children, but we don't let them claim the benefits of being married either.

Further, there is harm if we grant a single group, "gay" people, a right to marriage we DON'T give to non-gay same-sex couples, or other combinations of people such as a brother and sister, which EQUALLY could live together, take care of one another, and raise children.

In fact, there is NOTHING about being a "gay couple" that offers any benefit to society over ANY other unit which provide mutual help and child-raising.

But the argument would be that gays and lesbians aren't like any of those other groups, because they HAVE SEX.

Zimzo argued that I ignore the "love" they have for one another. Now I'll address that, I don't ignore it, I simply argue that he ignores the ability for non-sexual people to have the SAME LOVE for one another as he says I ignore for gays. I don't ignore it, I simply don't think it's unique.

I don't think the love of a "married couple" is unique either. I've known couples who lived together that had every bit of love of married people. I've known families (especially when there is a special needs sibling) where that sibling as lived with a sister or brother, and the love they have (nor shallow romantic love that is ancillary to marriage, but the true agape love, the phileo love, the love that sacrifices for one another) was present between them in ways some married people never experience.

Of course, sexual intercourse is argued to provide a special bond, but a gay or lesbian couple can't claim that one any more than the brother-sister can, unless you want to argue that any form of sexual stimulation counts the same as intercourse, which I believe millions of boys mindlessly recieving, and girls mindlessly providing, oral sex would laugh at.

But I don't think those arrangements (of sisters and brothers caring for each other, or friends living together for life in mutual care and nurture), should get special government recognition with the benefits of "marriage".

I'd like to turn it around -- any of the pro-gay-marriage group want to tell me why Government should be recognising ANY marriages at all? Or do you want to argue that they shouldn't?

Government recognises the form of marriage that has been the norm throughout history. It has rejected the one major deviation that had some acceptance, that of polygamy, but polygamy is closer to providing the benefit to society of marriage than gay coupling is.

(lest someone ask or worse presume I am for it, polygamy has problems, the most obvious being that, while on an exception basis having two moms and a dad would be better than having no moms, or no dad, if we allowed it as normal there would be a good chance that many of our citizens would end up hopelessly prevented from finding a mate to procreate with. Again, no non-religious argument can be made for individual HARM from polygamy (being freely entered into by the parties), and in fact you can live in de-facto polygamy so long as you don't try to force the issue, since you don't have to marry at all, you can sleep with and live with the opposite sex (again if you don't make it obvious), and you could have a mistress, but we most all agree to NOT change marriage to include polygamy because we don't see a SOCIETAL BENEFIT from polygamy.

I would bet that, if we had a strange epidemic and it wiped out half the men, we could well reach a point where people would consider such arrangements as necessary for repopulation. There of course is no such possibility for gay and lesbian relationships.

charles said:

To amplify the problems with same-sex sexual attraction, it's very presense causes great difficulty in parents attempting to protect their children from sexual encouters they aren't ready to resist.

That is the clear message of the gay priest scandal in the catholic church. Parents of teenage daughters already were more wary of having their children alone with men of the opposite sex, EVEN priests -- and in fact many businesses and organizations set up procedures where women are not left alone with men, instead having a female nurse or some female presense to "ensure" there is no uncomfortable sexual tension (or baseless sexual assault charges).

But the parents of teenagers weren't worried about leaving their male teens with the male priests. But the priests were gay, and many teens had sexual encounters and even the straight kids didn't resist those encounters.

This isn't an argument against gay priests, just noting it's another example of something that my opposition seems to think is funny -- my focus on the problem of sexual attraction and how society attempts to minimize that especially for children.

I don't let my daughter have "boy-girl" parties, so I don't have to watch every second to make sure they don't play spin-the-bottle. If the girls were all attracted to girls, there is no way I could arrange such a "safe" environment.

In fact, the more I think of it the less I understand why the "pro-gay-marriage" group thinks society's desire to set up "sex-safe" environments is so funny. Don't they believe we should have places where our children are safe from sex?

charles said:

zimzo 7:35PM

I can't believe I missed this, I guess I focused on your re-write of my question, but:

That might be a little more difficult to reign in when it comes to showering and sleeping together (if indeed for the sake of argument, you are proposing that be allowed to happen, which, frankly, would be kind of stupid).

Presuming I allowed 10 boys and 10 girls to go camping together, I would ensure that boys slept, showered, etc. with boys and girls with girls, just as you suggest, because it would be stupid to do otherwise.

If I have 20 gay boys on a camping trip, what should I do to not be "stupid"? Do I have 20 tents, 20 sets of showers, 20 bathrooms? That's the only way to avoid what you admitted would be STUPID to happen in the opposite-sex case.

Which again proves the logical point -- groups of gays and lesbians are by their very nature different, and the norms of society (HOW WE AVOID DOING SOMETHING STUPID) cannot be applied to their case.

For example, I wouldn't let a man take a girl scout troop camping. I wouldn't let a woman take a boy scout troop camping (DON'T LAUGH, look at all the women teachers taking advantage of their boy students).

So, what group of students would I let a GAY man lead? I guess a group of girl scouts, it would be logical but I'd be drawn and quartered, and the girls might be attracted to him dispite of or BECAUSE he is gay. And I guess the lesbian can be sent out with the boys, except is she's good looking all the boys are going to be attracted to and therefore distracted by her.

In order to allow a gay man to take a group out camping, I have to accept a risk that, while small, is a risk I do not have to, and in fact do NOT, accept with a straight man.

If you claim I'm pandering to fear, I'll just point out that the cub scouts don't let the female den mother take the children on an activity without a second parent, so the fear isn't "gay bashing", much as some want to label it.

I just don't think gay and lesbian people are saintly compared to the rest of us, they in fact has the same capacity to do evil, and society has no way to protect children from it.

I'll keep hammering this theme. My daughter has a group of girls over, and the other parents ask an IMPORTANT question -- will your MOTHER be there at all times. They don't want to even have to THINK about their girls alone with a male parent.

How does the daughter of two gay men overcome this? Would the other parents be "anti-gay", or "gay-bashing", for not letting their daughters come to the house because there is no female parent? (it has to be a parent -- we don't trust random females brought in because they might not protect our daughters like we think a mother would).

Single male parents of course suffer from this same difficulty.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

dear Charles the brief;

"I don't let my daughter have "boy-girl" parties, so I don't have to watch every second to make sure they don't play spin-the-bottle. If the girls were all attracted to girls, there is no way I could arrange such a "safe" environment."

the response to this is simple and obvious:
how do you know none of your daughters friends finds your daughter attractive? The fact that gays cannot get married is not keeping your daughter safe. This statement of yours is not an argument against gay marriage, but a declaration of your own homophobia.

also, I already have argued that government shouldn't have any role in marriage, and instead should only provide benefits for couples who have children and remain together to raise them:

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/06/marriage_200.php#comments

Marriage then would be in the hands of every religious community to define on their own, and the gov. would only be encouraging the creation of stable environments for child-raising.
I eagerly await a 17-page response as to why this is a horrible idea.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

excuse me, THIS is the link I ment to include in the above post:

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/06/protecting_marriage_throughout.php

zimzo said:

I think you have done a very good job, Charles, of demonstrating why we need a constitutional amendment banning all-gay cub scout troops, but you seem a bit weak on demonstrating why we need a constitutional amendment banning gay amrriage.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

Charles Darling,

furthermore, the argument has been made again and again that the government's interest in marriage lies in promoting stable "reproductive units" yet the amendment wants to define marriage as "a union between one man and one woman".

if the reason we don't want gay marriage is because they cannot reproduce, why not define marriage as "a reproductive unit", which would presume the union of one man and one woman? "A union between one man and one woman" isn't necessarily a "reproductive unit," if that is really the reason why gov. is involved in marriage, then defining it as a "union of 1 man 1 woman" seems to miss the mark.

maybe a majority of Americans like the idea of insisting that marriage is between 1 man & 1 woman, but I can only assume that a proposed amendment to define marriage as, "a social reproductive unit" would get considerably less popular support.

***

it seems clear, though, that there are at least 2 definitions of marriage. (most words have more than 1 meaning) One revolves around the idea of two people in love, the other is the idea of creating a union for the sake of procreation. America is a big country, we have room for both definitions, and citizens should have the freedom to chose what marriage means to them.

By using the constitution (which is NOT a dictionary) to define marriage as having only one meaning, we would be rendering the other meaning illegitimate. People may be fine with this if the competing definitions are '1 man 1 woman' vs. '2 people of either sex' but given the arguments for the Underlying reasons of this '1 man 1 woman' idea (ie. "stable reproductive unit"), the real competing definitions seem to be 'marriage for for the sake of reproduction' vs 'marriage for the sake of love' do you think the American people would be so willing to illegitimize either of these definitions? is it not possible to have both?

***

besides, we love tax cuts, don't we? people get tax cuts just for being rich! why not give two gay men a tax cut for being married? if two people are in love, and are able to get legal recognition of that relationship (and the benefits that go along with that recognition) they'd probably be fitter, happier, and more productive members of society.

if you're an employer and you hire a gay worker, let's say his partner dies and the house was in his name, your worker is going to be less productive as a result of the stress of not having any legal recognition of his relationship. so it is quite possible that recognizing gay marriage could in fact benefit society.

***

remember that BANNING gay marriage will not reduce the number of gay relationships in the country, it will only cause the people involved in those relationships to feel alienated. generally, the strength of society increase as alienation of citizens decreases. that's the real purpose of democracy (NOT a 'tyranny of the majority')

now I imagine charles is going to either ignore me all together, or throw that brother/sister line at me. Suffice it to say that defining marriage as "1 man and 1 woman" does not exclude brother/sister relationships, either.

Soph is still traveling and not on the Internet, thus the crickets in response to Stay Puft's questions.

Stay Puft - those links you provided the other day were really good, thank you.

Everyone - obviously this thread is growing long enough with all of your very thoughtful contributions. I think mine will serve the best purpose if I put them in a new post, which I've been writing for a couple days but my time has really been tight this weekend.

Charles has his own blog and a newspaper column, and for all I know a day job as well, so I imagine we will only hear from him periodically.

Thanks to everyone.

charles said:

stay puft marshmallow man | June 18, 2006 06:19 PM:

I knew that introducing a foundational argument for later you would be confusing for some people. The debate is a very complicated debate, and some concepts need to be argued and agreed to separately to avoid such confusion as your "This statement of yours is not an argument against gay marriage, but a declaration of your own homophobia"

In one sentence you again change the topic, AND get in a personal slur.

I'll post again if I want to answer anything else in your post, because I want to address your comment above.

The "argument" of this sub-thread is a logical premise I have put forward -- gay and lesbian group dynamics are fundamentally problematic in our historical societal structure. I have used 4-5 examples to show how the introduction of gay and lesbian groups, without acknowleding their fundamental difference, will cause direct harm to society.

In the specific example you attack above, I mentioned a quite common practice of restricting teenage parties to single sex parties, to avoid the fear of sexual activity.

And I noted that if you formed a homosexual community, there are no restrictions you can place on a party to avoid those fears.

It's NOT homophobia. I'm worried that, at a party where I have taken responsibility for other people's children, a boy might get into kissing or petting -- so I don't allow boys at the party.

You note that there "could have been" a lesbian at the party. Oddly, you say I'm homophobic but you brought that up, not me. But I wil say that the stigma put on same-sex activities is helpful to relieve my fears (plus I wasn't afraid of MY child giving in to male pressure either).

I still haven't tied this into ANY discussion of gay marriage, because I'm still seeing if I can get any intellectual honesty and a demonstration of logical thinking before moving on.

My question was simple, although it has several parts: 1) Is society WRONG to establish structures where people can be grouped to keep sexually-attracted peopole separate. Society DOES that every day, is it an appropriate societal function?

2) Are gays and lesbians truly, as you state, identical to their heterosexual counterparts EXCEPT for who they find physically attracted?

3) If they are, and if society has a right to group people to avoid groups where there is sexual attraction, how would you EVER put together a group with ANY gay or lesbian people in it without destroying the right of society to prevent it? If that last question is two "homophobic", answer it in this form? How would you ever put a group consisting JUST of gay teens, or lesbian teens, while maintaining society's desire and right to have groups with no sexual attraction?

charles said:

Zimzo 6:33 wrote:
I think you have done a very good job, Charles, of demonstrating why we need a constitutional amendment banning all-gay cub scout troops, but you seem a bit weak on demonstrating why we need a constitutional amendment banning gay amrriage.

If I thought you were being honest and not snippy here, we would be getting somewhere.

Should we pass an amendment protecting the rights of both public and private groups in our society to restrict gays and lesbians, IF the group already restricts membership to avoid having sexually attracted people in the group?

That is what you just said I had successfully argued, but I'm guessing you didn't mean it, and I'm giving you a chance to withdraw your call.

charles said:

stay puft marshmallow man June 18, 2006 07:29 PM said:

furthermore, the argument has been made again and again that the government's interest in marriage lies in promoting stable "reproductive units" yet the amendment wants to define marriage as "a union between one man and one woman".


That has been MY choice, not others, to focus on a SINGLE aspect, because I find that SINGLE aspect sufficient for me to vote yes on the amendment, and avoids much of the "you hate gays" argument, since it puts gay marriage on an equal footing (regarding special treatment) as a brother/sister lifetime relationship, or longtime friends living together and caring for each other, as well as other couplings and grouplings.

But rest assured that others here have many OTHER reasons why government should reject gay marriage, I'm just trying to stick to a single point until my opponents can accurately summarize my opinion and still offer a counter-argument showing mine to be flawed.

The idea that the amendment does not restrict ALL forms of people living together who will not or do not have children is either simply an effort to be more inclusive, or reflects the many other arguments people have about marriage, or just recognizes that while the people DO support not having their tax dollars subsidize gay marriage, they are fine with the government supporting those other marriages you mentioned.

Although I bet if you put a sound, logical paper together you could get serious consideration of rejecting certain "benefits" like spousal inheritance and social security support for marriages that take place AFTER the social security was earned or the things being inherited in possession.

In other words, you might well get a 2/3 majority to not give Anna Nicole Smith 1/2 her husband's social security payments til she dies, or allow her to inherit it as husband/wife without taxes.

MY argument on the point earlier was simply that "one-man, one-woman" is trivially easy to put into law, happens to fit the history of marriage, acheives the goal of restricting MOST non-reproductive groups and doesn't exclude ANY reproductive groups.

charles said:

stay puft marshmallow man June 18, 2006 07:29 PM said:

By using the constitution (which is NOT a dictionary) to define marriage as having only one meaning, we would be rendering the other meaning illegitimate.

We are NOT redefining marriage by this amendment. We are specifically saying what forms of relationships we want GOVERNMENT to give special support to under government's traditional marriage laws.

Many people get married in church without getting a state certificate, or any benefits. Anybody can consider themselves "married" (under a stripped-down form of the word) simply by commiitting for life to a partner. Government does nothing more than provide incentives for SOME poeple making such commitment to stay together, because we have decided it's in our best interest to do so.

We also provide tax credits for having children. That also applies to single people, and to gay couples, because once again it's target is general.

people get tax cuts just for being rich! why not give two gay men a tax cut for being married?

First people DON'T "get tax cuts just for being rich". From time to time, the tax laws change. Each time the change, some people end up taxed MORE, some less. ANY tax CUT will help rich people more because rich people pay most of the taxes.

So they don't get the tax cuts for BEING RICH, they get the tax cuts because they are paying taxes.

Further, being married rarely results in a lower tax burden than living together, the marriage tax changes cut those taxes but a married couple each making 75k a year pay more than two individuals living together making 75k a year.

I'd much rather have across-the-board tax policy changes, rather than heap more "winners and losers"-type exceptions.

charles said:

Joe, I blew off my blog for this, plus now I'm laid up again. I might take a break anyway because I've got to collect all I wrote, and the unfortunately scarce applicable responses, to see if I can strengthen my position.

What has made me sad here is that I view exchanges as a chance to be educated, and to have your viewpoints shot down by evidence so you can build them back up with better truth. Because I find it's better to be right, I'll change my position if convinced there's a better position.

But the responses to even my "no-brainer" questions leave me holding little hope that this will happen.

Charles,

THANK YOU. The others here will feel the same way when they get back from their respective travels. You've come at this from a "big picture" perspective and it is a little disappointing that some of your points have been dissected piecemeal instead of viewed as elemental to the overall debate.

Specifically, I am just now getting to read the articles Stay Puft submitted on June 17. They are both very long, well balanced, and evoke exactly the types of "side roads" you took with the discursions on love and the practical difficulties of separating the sexes.

I strongly encourage everyone to read both of them. The Meezan and Rauch piece is balanced, their prejudices are acknowledged, and I think the limitations of available research subjects is one of the major conclusions. Also, it brings up serious questions that conservatives need to answer if the "moral" argument against same-sex "marriage" is to have any credibility at all.

The Douglas article describes the enormous potential legal difficulties that could arise from governmental recognition of same sex "marriage." It contains hypothetical problems formulated similar to Charles' arguments.

I am on EXACTLY the same page as you with regard to the value of exchanges. I'm going to post that quote of yours on the sidebar here: It should be the first plank in the Magna Carta of the blogosphere.

This will all continue, and the work you've submitted will be a big part of the foundation of discussion between now and November.

Get well soon, buddy!

stay puft marshmallow man said:

Charles, truly a man of few words. apparently he believes his strength lies in his ability to repeat those words as nauseum.

"just recognizes that while the people DO support not having their tax dollars subsidize gay marriage, they are fine with the government supporting those other marriages you mentioned."

"Further, being married rarely results in a lower tax burden than living together, the marriage tax changes cut those taxes but a married couple each making 75k a year pay more than two individuals living together making 75k a year.
as this discussion is already heavy into the meaning of words, I'm going to pass on getting into a discussion of the semantics of tax cuts with you"

these two statements contradict eachother.

"gay and lesbian group dynamics are fundamentally problematic in our historical societal structure"
is not a fact, it is a statement of a fear that homosexuals will somehow damage society be merely existing, and is therefore (by definition) a homophobic remark. you don't want me to point out that you're statements reflect an underlying homophobia, than stop making such homophobic comments.

"You note that there "could have been" a lesbian at the party. Oddly, you say I'm homophobic but you brought that up, not me."

case and point. I didn't bring this up to scare you, YOU read into it. My point was that given the fact that gays exist in our society, "the common practice of restricting teenage parties to single sex parties, to avoid the fear of sexual activity." is a bit of an impossibility. Oh Charles, no one is asking you to like it.

"We are NOT redefining marriage by this amendment. We are specifically saying what forms of relationships we want GOVERNMENT to give special support to under government's traditional marriage laws."

you will kindly note that I did not accuse you of REdefining marriage. Rather, I pointed out that you are in favor of using the constitution to create one, government sanctioned definition of a word which has multiple definitions in society.

now apparently you think you own this blog, and that you are in possession of The supreme ultimate reality with it comes to understanding the negative impact of the gay lifestyle on society. but my friend, I think you are missing the point. Given your bombastic
self confidence
("But the responses to even my "no-brainer" questions leave me holding little hope that this will happen.") it's understandable that you'd think that we gay-sympathizers are clearly guilty of some sort of logical fallacy, and with enough words you will be able to expose that and prove our reasoning wrong.

but Charles my boy, you're whole view on the matter is one of many. Whether we are for or against this issue, we all have our views. your view is no more valid than mine, and mine is no more valid than yours. That is why I believe marriage cannot be confined to one definition which is forced on the whole population ("acheives [sic] the goal of restricting MOST non-reproductive groups and doesn't exclude ANY reproductive groups"). each person must define it for themselves.

that, my boy, is why the government should have no business in encouraging any type of marriage, just as they should have no role in encouraging a particular religion. ...because it is impossible for the limiting of marriage (and the legal rights afforded to married couples) to heterosexual couples to be anything more than the majority forcing their opinion on the minority.

Now I will respond to your no brainer questions while you work on summarizing my argument.

"1) Is society WRONG to establish structures where people can be grouped to keep sexually-attracted people separate. Society DOES that every day, is it an appropriate societal function?"

that's a nice red sash you have tied around your waste, Charles. It is WRONG to pretend that such a task is possible in the world we live in. we will just have to deal with it, I suppose. as for the children, when I was younger, I never went to an all-boys party (that would be gay!) in my experience, a little adult supervision goes a long way.

"2) Are gays and lesbians truly, as you state, identical to their heterosexual counterparts EXCEPT for who they find physically attracted?"

a true no brainer: YES

"3) If they are, and if society has a right to group people to avoid groups where there is sexual attraction, how would you EVER put together a group with ANY gay or lesbian people in it without destroying the right of society to prevent it? If that last question is two "homophobic", answer it in this form? How would you ever put a group consisting JUST of gay teens, or lesbian teens, while maintaining society's desire and right to have groups with no sexual attraction?"

given my responses to 1 and 2, I suppose I could just answer, EXEMPT, but that's no fun; I'd be passing up the opportunity to point out that you're living in some sort of asexual fantasy land if you think there's ever been a group of more than just a few humans sans sexual tension.

now, a bit of hyperbole in response to your pompous attitude:
you nit-pick though zimzo's posts and critique each sentence as a sort of pretense of your argument's superiority and logical impermeability, but you're really just digging for logic in your own gut reaction to gays, a gut reaction which is commonly refered to as homophobia (Websters: "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals") you may respond to my comments if you like, or use your next post to reiterate your fanatical junior anti-sex league arguments in as many words as possible for the umpteenth time, but know that you are on the wrong side of history, and at the bottom of each post you make is a little time stamp counting down the hours to the ultimate and inevitable defeat of your brand of ignorance.

Sophrosyne said:

Whoa... I was away from a computer for just a few days and this fantastic discussion blossoms!

I'll digest ASAP and probably add my 2 cents (apparently questions were asked of me somewhere in this mix)...

Stay Puft, I think that was a little harsh, but I'll note the time stamp on your remark and cut you some slack. My extreme late night posts - on other blogs, mostly - have tended to be the ones I regret.

This issue is complicated enough, and the whole "homophobia" argument strikes me as the least useful. I've met people who were extremely anti-homosexual, some probably who did have an "irrational fear." But usually it's seemed more like a "I think that's gross" type of attitude. Is that homophobia, bigotry, narrow-mindedness?

When I think of bigotry, I think of a characteristic infusing a person's personality, like the "authoritarian personality", someone who needs a world divided into clear cut categories, someone who's self-identification depends on positing an out-group.

I've met white supremecists, some who were "intelligent" and well-spoken, and in the course of conversation I discerned a world-view, a foundational understanding that really did underlie much of the person's conversation.

Among people I've met and know who think homosexuality is wrong or "gross," I don't tend to get that sense of black-white thinking. I mean, with some I do. I've known people who think you're a little light in the loafers if you root for the Dallas Cowboys. But on the whole I just can't buy the argument that people who have a problem with homosexuality are by definition bigoted. It seems to me an intellectually dishonest contention.

And as to dividing the debate into "gay-sympathizers" and, presumably non-sympathizers: That's another false construction. I don't know if I've ever spoken with a self-professed Christian, who believed homosexual behavior was wrong, who was also NOT a gay-sympathizer. I can honestly count on one hand the people I've known in my life who expressed any animosity toward homosexuals. I've probably known a hundred people who were Christian or "traditionalist" or whatever, who expressed firm conviction that homosexual behavior was wrong, who would never in a million years have any animosity for any gay person they met.

I'm in that camp (not calling myself a Christian, just in that camp). I think homosexual behavior is wrong and people shouldn't do it. But I know and have known gay people who I like and respect. In fact, I've never met a gay person in my life who I ever had any kind of emotional reaction to or thought any lower of upon finding out they were gay. So in what sense am I "homophobic? I personally believe there is no difference in terms of native ability or potential among all the people of the Earth on the basis of race. But because I think people shouldn't have sex with their own gender I'm a bigot? I'm not walking around angry that somewhere two guys might be kissing. I just think men are supposed to have sexual relations with women instead of other men. A biologist from another solar system who lands on Earth might come to the same conclusion, don't you think?

I agree fully there is such a thing as bigots because I've met 'em. I don't know any "homophobes" but I'll stipulate they exist. But expanding the definition of those words to cover everyone who has a problem with homosexuality is, in my opinion, rendering the terms meaningless.

And no, this isn't my post on the issue, just something I think needed to be said and which I didn't need to think about to say.

zimzo said:

Joe, I would like to know why you think homosexuality is wrong. Is it because it says so in the Bible? The Bible also says eating shelfish is wrong and a number of things that most people accept today.

Is it because it is not a "reproductive unit," as Charles so beautifully puts it? There are plenty of heterosuxual unions that wouldn't qualify as "reproductive units."

Is it because you think it's unnatural? What does that mean? There is certainly homosexuality in nature. There are many species of animals that have homosexual relationships from penguins to dolphins to seagulls. Homosexuality has persisted throughout human history despite pressures to stop it. Most gays believe they were born gay and scientists are increasingly finding evidence to support that.

Is it because homosexuality has often been condemned by various societies? There are also plenty of societies where it has not been condemned and even encouraged. It was common in Greek and Roman society. Sparta actively recruited gay people for their armed forces believing they would fight better alongside their lovers. In Egypt a tomb for two gay lovers was discovered. Gay Navajo Indians were given a special place in Navajo society. Samuarai referred to homosexuality as bi-do, "The Beautiful Way."

Is it because you think being gay is somehow "unhealthy." Some have made this charge in the wake of the AIDS epidemic but, in fact, more heterosexuals in the world have contracted AIDS than homosexuals. AIDS just happened to spread first in many homosexual populations (though not among lesbians) but mortality rates between gays and straights are otherwise the same.

Is it because homosexuality is psychologically stressfull? Gays suffer no more psychological stress than other members of the population except for that stress caused by society's prejudice. Despite that prejudice many gay people lead happy well-adjusted lives and that becomes more true as society's fear and ignorance dissipates.

I would really like to know what it is inherently about homosexuality that you find "wrong." What do you base it on other than your own personal feeling?

stay puft marshmallow man said:

Joe,

Thanks. I hate for this to be about homophobia, because calling someone out on being homophobic seems like name calling.
still, I must insist on calling a spade a spade.

here is a quote from Charles:

"gay and lesbian group dynamics are fundamentally problematic in our historical societal structure. I have used 4-5 examples to show how the introduction of gay and lesbian groups, without acknowledging their fundamental difference, will cause direct harm to society."

Here is a quote from yourself:

"I think homosexual behavior is wrong and people shouldn't do it."

here is the dictionary definition of homophobia:

"Pronunciation: hO-m&-'fO-bE-&
Function: noun
: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals"

homophobia isn't exactly the same as bigotry. but I believe that the above two quotes meet the criteria of the dictionary definition of homophobia. I'm sorry, Joe.

Charles arguments about reproductive units and society's need to have tension-free groups make appealed to logic and reason, but are ultimately rooted in a fear that gays will destroy the fabric of society, or that homosexually is simply wrong in some sort of objective sense. Thus the core of the arguments against gay marriage are the definition of homophobia. Again, I am sorry if it sounds like name calling. Maybe I was being a bit of a smart-ass toward Charles, but it is not my intention to be inflammatory, only to comment on the debate as I see it unfolding.

thanks

First of all, my own personal feeling is probably sufficient grounds, right? This being a free country and all?

Second, Not because of the Old Testament - for goodness sakes, they were stoning people and smiting them and taking their women; Not Lack of reproductive ability; Not because Condemned by society; Not because Psychologically stressful.

Unhealthy? Maybe, I don't know if that's the exact concept I have. I do think of that when I think of someone being gay I think "I hope they're careful" more out of concern than disdain.

Unnatural? That sort of gets to what I think is wrong. It isn't so much the idea "that is not how nature intended people to act," but rather "the human body was designed for complementarity (not sure if that's a word) between the two genders."

The New Testament is pretty clear in condemning homosexuality: that is probably where my "conscience" argument derives from - "It just seems wrong." So, yes, I think it's a sin, but not among the worst sins such as malice and pride.

Probably the "gross" aspect has something to do with it as well.

So I guess that's as good an explanation of myself as I can give. Homosexuality in itself does not anger me and I never have felt remotely compelled to tell a gay person "I think what you do is wrong." There's plenty I do that's wrong, so beyond when my kids were young I don't spend much time inculcating others about morality.

Are you honestly going to tell me you don't know what I'm talking about, or that I'm a homophobe?

Oh well, psychoanalyze away if you wish. Or feel free to tell me your own honest attitude and feelings toward homosexuality.

Puft, well I guess you nailed me. Not very enchanted by the prospect of watching two guys go at it = homophobe. Thanks for the assistance in self-awareness.

Gnossis said:

Joe said:
Homosexuality in itself does not anger me and I never have felt remotely compelled to tell a gay person "I think what you do is wrong."

How do you rectify that statement with your support of the "pro-marriage" legislation?

If --as you seem to be arguing in your last few posts-- you have no desire or intention to overtly promote your personal sensibilities and morality on others, why support this legislation?

Whether it angers you or not, you and others in this thread seem to be bent on squelching homosexuality on the grounds that it's somehow detremental to society as a whole. And yet none of you "pro-marriage" supporters have been able to prove or offer evidence supporting (qualitatively or quatitatively) the notion that homosexuality will be the ruin of humankind.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

no one is asking you to watch, Joe. That's exactly the point; at the end of the day it has nothing to do with you.

hazy notions of homosexually as wrong stemming from obscure biblical texts might be a great basis for law in a theocracy, but they have no place in the legal system of the greatest democracy on earth. and as for your talk of "sin", save it for st. peter. in this life we must work toward the goal of creating a truly free society, or we stand in the way of that goal.

in the end, all of this talk of gays harming society is unfounded bunk, driven by a kernel of vaguely defined resentment for a particular group of people. the strength of our society lies in it's diversity, and the freedom of individuals to make their own choices. The government's role is not to protect us from our choices, it is not to outlaw what the majority deems to be unsavory, it is to preserve the power of the people to make those choices.

*poof*

zimzo said:

Joe writes: "First of all, my own personal feeling is probably sufficient grounds, right? This being a free country and all?"

Certainly, Joe, you are allowed to have whatever personal feelings you want and you are free to state them and to vote on them. However, your "personal feeling" is not sufficient grounds to justify an amendment to the state or federal Constitution. One of the reasons this is a free country is that we don't legislate your own personal feelings. Do you believe that your dislike of a particular food, say, spinach, is sufficient grounds for passing a constitutional amendment against it?

Joe writes: "the human body was designed for complementarity (not sure if that's a word) between the two genders." This is basically the "if man were meant to fly, he would have wings" argument. Human bodies were also constructed so that sexual attraction is necessary to perform sexually and gay people certainly are able to perform sexually with members of the same sex, while they might find it difficult to perform as well with members of the opposite sex. You may feel that your body was designed for "complemantarity" but most gay people do not.

Joe writes: "The New Testament is pretty clear in condemning homosexuality." Well, it's not quite so clear. Jesus never mentions homosexuality. Only St. Paul appears to condemn homosexuality and he never uses the traditional Greek words for homosexuality. Some have argued that he is actually referring to particular kinds of homosexuality, such as temple prostitution. St. Paul also believes that celibacy is preferable to marriage, that sex outside of marriage is wrong and that wives do not have authority over their bodies.

Joe writes: "Probably the "gross" aspect has something to do with it as well." Again, hardly sufficient reason on which to base public policy. I'm sure a lot of gay people feel the same way about heterosexuality and that certain straight people find acts that certain other straight people perform are also "gross." In fact there are certain acts that one member of a couple may enjoy that the other might find "gross." I think most people are grateful that this is not a sufficent reason to pass a constitutional amendment.

Joe writes: "Are you honestly going to tell me you don't know what I'm talking about, or that I'm a homophobe? Oh well, psychoanalyze away if you wish" Clearly, you have an aversion to homosexuality and from what you say, it doesn't appear as if you have given it a tremendous amount of thought. We all have a lot of aversions to a lot of things. Usually, however, our aversions do not necessarily affect other people. If we don't like spinach, for example, we don't eat it. But we don't pass laws preventing other people from eating it or making life difficult for people who do like spinach or stopping people from growing spinach. The fact that other people eat spinach has no affect on you whatsoever other than the possibility that you might find the sight of people eating spinach gross.

So I would ask you, Joe, why do you feel that your aversion to homosexuality makes you believe that you should work to pass legislation that will not have any affect on you personally but will affect the lives of gay people to a great extent. Haven't you at that point gone beyond the point of simple aversion? I suspect that you haven't given much thought to how your actions potentially affect other people and how that effect is more profound for them than it is for you. In other words, the impact of gays or illegal immigrants on your life is far less than the impact your actions could have on their lives. Perhaps you should step back for a moment and think about what that means.

Now wait just a cotton-pickin' minute, Stay Puft.

After I dashed off that last post congratulating you for discovering my inner homophobe, I was driving with my wife and excitedly told her the news.

-Me: "Oh, honey, I almost forgot: I just found out I'm a homophobe!"

-Her: "Great. That's another thing you can add to your list."

-Me: "Yes, exactly! All these years having my name preceded by 'Right Wing Extremist' was sort of losing its punch. Everybody and their brother's a 'Right Wing Extremist' nowadays. But 'Homophobe Right Wing Extremist'...now that's edgy!"

-Her: "So did you take a test or something?"

-Me: "Kind of. I wrote about how I have nothing against homosexuals but think homosexuality is wrong, and this nice Stay Puft Marshmallow Man interpreted for me."

-Her: "I don't think I want to know what you wrote."

-Me: "No, no honey; it wasn't bad at all. Basically, I said I thought the human body was obviously designed for sex to take place between opposite genders; I think there is a moral or religious aspect saying that you're not supposed to have sex with people of the same gender; and the prospect of homosexual sex seems gross to me. I pointed out that none of these beliefs or feelings has ever had anything to do with animosity toward any gay people. You know, I like [NAME DELETED], I've gotten along fine with plenty of gay people, but the idea of homosexual sex has no appeal for me whatsoever....Come to think of it, isn't probably what ALL straight people think?"

-Her: "It might be..."

-Me: "No, it is! I'll bet you 99 percent of straight people would give the reasons I just stated for why they are not homosexual. Which means, the only people who are not 'homophobes' are either homosexual or bisexual, or leaning close to one of these tendencies. If you are straight, you are a homophobe."


Now, as for YOU, Mr. Smarty Pants Marshmallow Man: I assume you feel chagrined at duping this upstanding yet harried citizen, good neighbor and weekend dad. I think you'll agree my inductive exercize has left a chink the size of Soo Locks in your tidy little formula. If "grossed out by gay sex," or "think homosexuality is wrong" are indeed "aversion to homosexuality," and if the latter is the mark of a homophobe, then I submit to you we have a WHOLE lot of homophobes on this planet. And if THAT'S the case, then "homophobe" sure doesn't have the sting it's cracked up to have. You are effectively calling me: straight.

I don't exactly cower from that accusation.

(By the way, they're not "obscure" parts of the New Testament - or do you just mean the whole thing is obscure?)


Gnossis: ...you and others in this thread seem to be bent on squelching homosexuality...

I don't think that's what anyone is proposing.


Smarty Pants: ...all of this talk of gays harming society is unfounded bunk..

I realize that particular argument sticks in your craw, and no one has argued it to your satisfaction. There are several reasons to oppose gay marriage; that's only one of them, and not the key one for me. I will be addressing it however, without reference to the Heritage Foundation. That part of this debate, laying out all the arguments, is taking more work for me because there is so much material to gather together.


Zimzo: why do you feel that your aversion to homosexuality makes you believe that you should work to pass legislation that will not have any affect on you personally but will affect the lives of gay people to a great extent.

Also in answer to all your other points: I was just addressing the homophobia charge, and then answering as honestly as possible when someone asked ME to more fully explicate my personal belief that homosexuality is wrong.

My comments were not in answer to the question: Why do you support the Virginia Marriage Amendment? I have not gotten to answer that one yet, because I am drawing together a lot of material, including from this thread. The fact that I'm STRAIGHT, which I believe is all that has been established since yesterday, is only a small part of the reason I support this amendment. Sheesh.

How about one of you three inquisitors explain honestly why YOU are not homosexual (assuming you're not) and what you honestly think and feel about homosexual sex. I assume you are more enlightened and open minded than me, and none of you bear the burden of writing under your own names, so why not be honest?

I take full responsibility for waiting so unreasonably long to fully weigh in on this important topic, and I do understand I've left a void here for you all to assume the worst about my intentions. Sorry about that. There is more to come on the front page, and then you will have all the necessary information to really rake me over the coals.

zimzo said:

I don't think you can separate your feelings about homosexuality from your support of the anti-gay Marriage Amendment. I'm sure you will posit all kinds of logical arguments to justify your support of this legislation and I am eager to hear what they might be, but fundamentally your feelings about homosexuality are fundamental to your support of this legislation. But I think it goes deeper than that. I think you are unable or unwilling to put yourself in the shoes of gay people and see them as human beings with feelings that are very much like your own, except that they are attracted to the same sex and you are attracted to the opposite sex. That is the sum total of the difference between you fundamentally. Now add to that the fact that they are discriminated against for this difference, that they are unable to enjoy certain benefits from society that you enjoy and worse that they often have to endure hatred and even sometimes physical harm because they are gay. And so once again I pose a question you avoided, which I hope you get around to answering: How do you justify working for legislation that will have far more impact on the lives gays than they have on your own life. How do you justify adding to the burden that they already suffer when the impact that they have on your life is so small.

I'm glad that being accused of homophobia makes you indignant (that is at least a start), but the amount of energy you are putting into making the lives of gays significantly worse in contrast to their impact on your own life belies your claims that you feel little more than simply aversion to homosexuality.

All that's been established is my aversion to homosexuality consists of the fact I am straight. If you are straight, then I submit you and I would have the EXACT SAME reaction to the prospect of climbing into a pup tent with the cop on the corner. I also submit you and I have the EXACT SAME types of relationships with the homosexuals we know, excepting the fact I take the opposite stance on some political issues.

I submit we have the EXACT SAME view of ANY people "as human beings."

You can view people fully as human beings and not wish to assent to all of their political demands.

What about the people you disagree with politically? Is it because you cannot "step into their shoes?"

Heck, you presume to tell the people of Herndon and Loudoun County they have no right to demand zoning and other rules be enforced in their neighborhoods. You even say their concerns are based on myths, that there are really are not so many problems with overcrowded houses. It's no skin off your nose. Talk about not being willing to step into people's shoes!

The answer, of course, is we don't step into the opponents' shoes when we pursue divergent political and public policy goals. You don't do it, I don't do it, nobody does it.

So please, if you want to hammer someone on their human compassion, start somewhere else, start in front of a mirror maybe, but don't make assumptions about my attitude toward my fellow man. I had roughly the same standpoint on the immigration issue as you, I would guess, until about 5 months ago when I learned a whole lot of new stuff about what was happening right here and then began following the facts. Please give me some credit for being able to make the judgment that taking a harder line is justifiable.

How do you justify working for legislation that will have far more impact on the lives of gays than they have on your own life.

This is the central question, in my view. Virginians will cast their votes in November for or against the amendment based on what they believe to be the answer to this question.

I see a number of problems posed by gay marriage - or I wouldn't be in favor of the amendment. If I come to believe those problems are not real, I'll change my mind on this issue - and it would have nothing to do with warming up to a night in the pup tent.

I'm with Charles 100 percent: The purpose of the exchange is to get to the facts and the truth, and thereby make an informed decision.

Speaking of Charles: He is laid up and it doesn't sound like a head cold. If anyone is inclined to put political invective aside and say something encouraging to a fellow human being, you can visit him at Two Conservatives here.

zimzo said:

Sorry, Joe, but there is a huge difference between not wanting to BE homoseuxal and thinking homosexuality is WRONG. There are plenty of straight people who support gay marriage, who don't think there is anything wrong with homosexuality, morally or otherwise, and can even watch "Brokeback Mountain" without turning their eyes away in disgust.

Gnossis said:

Joe opined:

...Basically, I said I thought the human body was obviously designed for sex to take place between opposite genders; I think there is a moral or religious aspect saying that you're not supposed to have sex with people of the same gender;

If you can point to some uiniversal moral imperative (i.e., not your own gut feeling) that clearly states this and is not rooted in interpretation of a religious text, please share it with the rest of the class. If homosexuality is immoral (in your eyes) simply because a religious text says it is, that's hardly an effective argument for passing legislation restricting the rights of gay people. (Note: I'm not saying you're not entitled to believe what you do, it's the imposition of your will on others with which I take issue.)

...and the prospect of homosexual sex seems gross to me.

Zimzo addressed this nicely. I thought members of the opposite sex were yucky until I was 12 or 13, but I got over it.

I pointed out that none of these beliefs or feelings has ever had anything to do with animosity toward any gay people.

I'll buy the notion that you don't harbor outright animosity. But it sure seems that you're taking a patronizing, self-righteous, we-need-to-pass-this-legislation-for-the-gays'-own-good approach to the matter.

...but the idea of homosexual sex has no appeal for me whatsoever....Come to think of it, isn't probably what ALL straight people think?"

This statement, by itself, without the previous justifications, is spot on. It's those justifications (moral/religious imperative, "ew, gross!") that skew your logic. And if your concern is with the physical aspects of a gay relationship, why not push for anti-sodomy laws? This is about marriage and not interpersonal relations that take place in the privacy of one's own home, right?

...I'll bet you 99 percent of straight people would give the reasons I just stated for why they are not homosexual.

Doubt it. I'm straight because I was born that way. Are you suggesting homosexuality is a choice? Or am I misunderstanding you? I'm not interested in the semantics of 'homophobe'/'homophobia,' but I do believe this legislation is discriminatory and serves no purpose other than to legally isolate an already outcast group of citizens.

How about one of you three inquisitors explain honestly why YOU are not homosexual

See my previous response in this post.

...and what you honestly think and feel about homosexual sex.

I had a gay roommate in college. At no point did he make any advances on me, and at no point did I feel threatened by our sexual differences. I know he and his boyfriend engaged in sexual acts in the privacy of his bedroom, but then so did I with my girlfriend in my bedroom (I'm a straight male). There was never any pressure from him to "experiment" with his way of doing things, and I never tried to convince him to give heterosexuality a try.

Again, Joe, why dwell on the physical aspect of a gay relationship? What one does sexually in the privacy of his/her home is hardly of your or my concern. Can you somehow tie this back into your reason for outlawing a loving, monogamous relationship between two consenting individuals of the same sex?

Ok boys, this is getting ridiculous. The page takes like 5 minutes to load on my home connection. We're moving to the front page on this concluding topic, even though it will still be a couple more days before I finish my "Why I Support The Virginia Marriage Amendment" post.

Blake said:

Many many posts ago... a question what asked "what good does the state recognition of a gay marriage provide to society at large?" To me this is a very valid question and one we in the GLBT community need to emphasize. The unspoken reason NOT to support gay marriage is often stated as the "ick factor" -- their parts aren't meant to fit and they can't produce children therefore we shouldn't support their relationships. The standard reply back has always been, well, not all straight marriages are successfully procreative so what do they contribute to society? It appears that most of us can accept the "synergistic effect" that two people living together can accomplish more together than the sum of the individual parts alone. Some on here have suggested that two sisters, or two brothers etc might also help society if we recognized their relationships. What I seek as a gay man in a 12 yr relationship recognized by the state is the ability to continue serving my community, my commonwealth, and my country. I can't realize my full potential when I worry about my uninsured partners foot problems or if I die how will he keep our home? Or if I die even with a will, could their be an "activist conservative judge" that will turn over my estate to a "real" blood realtive who doesnt approve of my relationship? Or if I get sick in the wrong part of the state the ICU nurse will deny visitation to my partner or let him decide to pull the plug. Or even if I could include my partner on my health insurance that that "benefit" is taxed unlike the benefit that straight married couples share. What benefit do I provide to my community by being coupled? We both are federal workers although my partner is a temp therefore no insurance.. DOMA prevents me from covering him, we both work long hours and deploy for emergencies so that those with children can stay with their families. We watch our neighbors children so they can participate more fully in their communities, we pay taxes (48%) for the schools in Arlington that without kids we don't derive any direct benefit, we could and would give more to local charities if we didnt have to construct and worry about the 1,000 plus benefits we dont get by not being married. These are just a few things. OK it may not be homophobic.. but it is hurtful when you see in print that you are valued as second class citizens.. that even though the VA Constitution, Article 1 "That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

I guess I've been wrong. Virginia doesn't guareentee my equal right to enjoy the same benefits others do. This argument has been about my contribution and value and to the proponents of amending the VA constitution to enshrine hate and my second class citizenship in this state.. you will know what we contribute when we leave after you successfully win your campaign this fall.

WaltDe said:

Keep up the great work on your blog. Best wishes WaltDe

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