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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

QOTD: Is Orson Scott Card the wrong person to write Superman stories?

Advocate cover gay Superman

Comic fans are angry. Vocal homophobe Orson Scott Card — Wired has a good summary of his outspoken anti-gay attitudes — has been hired by DC to write a Superman story. Elliott Serrano at Redeye explains why this is problematic:

Superman has always been about “Truth and Justice,” and the philosophies that Card espouses are antithetical to that. How can I – in good conscience – support someone who is now on the forefront of the Anti-LGBT movement? I view it the same as denying rights to people of color or religion. To me there is no difference.

(Of course, plenty of believers in “the American way” figure that includes shaming gays and lesbians and ensuring that they don’t “ruin” marriage for “decent” people.)

A petition has been organized to get DC to give Card the boot.

Science fiction writer David Gerrold — who is himself gay — has been weighing in on Facebook:

1) As odious as I find Orson Scott Card’s views on LGBT people, he has the constitutionally protected right to speak and publish those views. I will defend his right to embarrass himself in public. He has already self-marginalized himself to a great degree as the public outcry demonstrates.

2) Superman represents a moral ideal for all people. So I think it’s a bad decision for DC Comics to hire any author who does not understand that vision. But I will not endorse any petition that denies any artist a job because of his political beliefs. That is McCarthy-era blacklisting and that’s a can of worms that we really do not want to open.

3) I will not buy that Superman issue, nor will I buy any other book written by Orson Scott Card, because I do not want even the smallest fraction of my purchase price to end up supporting a cause I find detestable. Others have the same right. And they have the right to tell DC Comics that they will not purchase the issue.

The key point here is the second one. I take issue with the petition that demands that DC Comics fire OSC — or with any petition aimed at any writer. I think that’s a line too far.

I find Card’s anti-gay speech to be detestable. The answer to hate speech is more speech — honest speech, thoughtful speech, accurate speech, rational speech, compassionate speech.

Is Orson Scott Card the wrong person to write Superman stories? What was DC thinking when they hired him… or did they not realize just how big a backlash there would be?

ETA: Not sure I made myself perfectly clear. Apart from the free-speech issues, how can we expect a writer who appears not to be aligned with the Superman ethos to write an effective Superman tale?

Thanks for John for the heads-up.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • RogerBW

    In my experience fans of mainstream superhero comics are vastly more likely to be sexist and homophobic than any other sort of SF/fantasy fan I’ve met. (The ones who aren’t tend to be driven away by the ridiculous bodies and poses, and the gender determinism. Or they just grow up.) Card’s a perfect fit for them. DC knows its markets.

  • You may be right about that. I’m still shocked personally, that Batwoman exists and that it’s written so well and without cheap exploitation.

  • Danielm80

    I don’t want DC to fire Orson Scott Card, but I think they should run another story, in the same issue, about Superman and his GLAAD activist friends.

  • Tangeu

    I don’t know if I’m in the minority but I don’t care about an authors personal beliefs, if it is a good story I’ll read it. If you look into content creators I guarantee you that every last production there will be someone involved that you strongly disagree with their personal beliefs. Maybe it’s because I have zero attachment to superman, and if it was a character I cared about I would join the chorus?

  • David N-T

    Orson Scott Card isn’t exactly an oddity given Frank Miller’s stature and track record. Thankfully, there are writers like Alan Moore to compensate. I’m of two minds about this. One the one hand, I think that everyone who wants to work should be able to have gainful employment and wouldn’t want to deny someone their livelihood simply because I don’t like them and find their attitudes detestable. However, I also wouldn’t patronize an establishment where, say, a bigotted waiter acted out his bigotry on staff and customers. That being said, I’m not entirely satisfied with my solution for a number or reasons: 1- if I’m able to convince enough people not to patronize a place because so and so is a bigot, it can become a boycott and eventually cost the guy his job. How is that different from starting a petition that gets the guy fired? 2- I’m not entirely satisfied with market-driven solutions to social issues because it puts power in the hands of people who have purchasing power and not in those who have no purchasing power who are usually the ones most in need of social change.

  • Grey

    I agree with Mr. Gerrold. Mr. Card has the right to his beliefs. So do I. And since I believe that Mr. Card is a hateful old bigot, I will not be buying any issues of Superman written by him, despite my love of the character.

  • What if someone’s livelihood is all about propagating their detestable beliefs, as Card’s basically is? Of course he has the right to write a novel, say, that reflects his attitudes, and if he can find a publisher who will publish that novel (as Card does manage), great, but are we supposed to feel like we’re denying him a livelihood if we don’t purchase that novel because we disagree with his beliefs?
    Is a pharmacist who refuses to dispense legally prescribed medication entitled to his job? Is a doctor who refuses to perform legal procedures entitled to her job?

    I think not.

    My philosophy boils down to this: Your right to swing your fist ends where it meets my nose.

  • I have zero problems with people circulating a petition which calls out DC comics on their choice of author. The homophobes did something very similar to gay authors in the not so distant past.

    “Free speech” means nothing when the person is a member of a hated minority. This has always been so. I will shed no tears when the tables turn and the bigots are the ones who have to fear for their livelihood.

    Turnabout is fair play as far as I am concerned. Fire the bastard.

  • Also, if this author were exposed as harboring a prejudice which has received social opprobrium for a good many decades (racism or antisemitism, for example), we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. People’s priorities have still not fully aligned with protecting LGBT people. Thus the willingness, to “compromise” in ways that would be largely unthinkable with other prejudices.

    Again, fire him. I have no problem with this.

  • I just signed the petition.

  • David N-T

    But see, there is a problem there too: you don’t normally buy issues of Superman anyways, so your not buying something that you wouldn’t buy in the first place has absolutely zero effect. I would think that such a form of boycott is rather ineffectual, The point is about convincing people who would normally buy Superman comics into not buying them, no? Now, if the prospect of a boycott, even an informal one, is enough to scare off DC into staying away from OSC, why not do the same to other publishers?

    Your analogies to pharmacists and doctors are hopelessly flawed: there is a professional code of conduct attached to the professions of phamacist and MD that simply does not exist for writers. There is no professional obligation whatsoever for writers to write or not to write certain things, or to promote or not promote certain views in their writings.

    You write for a living. If a bent out of shape feminist-hating group decides to cause enough trouble that your website host decides to drop you, you certainly could find another host and what not, but have to go through the trouble and expense to do so. And what’s to keep them from having you booted from that host too?

    See, the best case I can see is akin to self-defence: while violence may be necessary for the purpose of self-defence, it is not something that is desirable nor should be praised even when used appropriately.

  • Hmmm, do all superhero fiction writers get subjected to an “ethos” test to see if they genuinely understand truth and justice?
    I’d say let this specific writing speak for itself. It could better expose him as the horrible person some believe him to be. Or, push him to refine, even refind some or all of his views. But this “ban his writing” talk reeks of some latent fears that views one objects to will actually be made to look palatable.
    I say let the agurments-on-the-issues speak for themselves. There should be no need for a shunning of all a person’s work based on their political views.

  • RogerBW

    I’m inclined to feel that banning writing and trying to get authors with unacceptable views sacked is what the bad guys do. I try to be better than that.
    If Card gets sacked, he’ll just become even more embittered and think his entire way of life is under siege. So much better if he simply gets laughed at!

  • I prefer dialogue, and believe firmly in the idea of “The Indespensable Opposition” (an essay by Walter Lippmann on the enlightening function of debate.) Isn’t the best “non-entertainment” purpose of writing, dialogue, and debate the tendency to root out inconsistencies and also regard any unknown consistancies?

  • Yes, homophobes did and do plenty of marginalising. Second-grade conflict resolution skills aren’t something to mimic, IMO, and today those among the pro-LGBT crowd who use them seem shallower for it. Dare I go far to say intellectually dense, as well? Yup, I do.

  • I’m a pragmatist and a realist. Social shunning works well toward shutting up bigots and deterring openly hateful behavior. This is part of the process.

    I could care less if you think I’m intellectually dense or have second grade social skills. *shrug*

  • Danielm80

    I think the best way to protest Orson Scott Card is to write our own superhero stories about tolerance and diversity. Then we’ll have hundreds of superheroes standing up for cooperation and understanding. Think of it as fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Back in 1986, it was popular for even smart people like Harlan Ellison to pretend that John Byrne was going to ruin Superman forever once he took over the Superman series. Today one rarely hears any mention of Byrne’s Superman stories. So much for hype.

    As for Card?

    The more attention he receives, the more publicity he gets–publicity that could just as easily be aimed at more deserving folks like Robert Rodi.

    Anyway, if we were truly interested in changing attitudes towards gays in the comic book world, should not we spend more time debating the latest subplot in the Buffy series?

  • At that age, seven-year-olds tend to naturally group themselves based on shallow lines, even the colors of their shirts. It’s a step toward making sense of the world. Yet, eventually people must mature beyond that in order to retain a civil society. “Shunning” is one of the root reasons for the LGBT movement in the first place, fighting against people rejecting them wholesale based on sexual orientation, behaviors unrelated to the given context, like refusing housing or employment. Most people want to progress, not to regurgitate miserable social tactics. Do what you want, but I’ll call it as I see it.

  • Short answer: Card is the wrong person to be writing Superman stories.
    Long answer: *I* should be writing Superman stories! C’mon DC, PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL ME! /curls up in fetal position clutching epic 12-part Superman storyline that ends with Superman saving the universe for the 42nd time

  • All cultures have systems of rules that are enforced through various forms of negative social pressure. You may not like how these social mechanics work, but this is how societies have structured themselves for ages. Current day is certainly no exception. I’m willing to use the existing mechanics in a way that brings about positive change for people who live at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

    You can’t tell me that shunning a person for their bigotry toward an oppressed minority is a bad thing. I simply do not accept that. You can place whatever negative label upon this behavior you wish. Although, using negative labels is also a form of negative social pressure: it’s a form of shaming and is often used as a means of drawing social boundaries that in turn, lead to shunning.

    Coming from a family of intractable, old-syle racists, homophobes, and transphobes, I’ve learned that sometimes shunning and shaming are the only means available that have any impact. Reasoning with someone who is this deeply lost in their hatred simply does not work. (Card has been openly criticize for his prejudices for many, many years now.) In this case, placing a protective social barrier between oneself and the abuse of others is often the only useful avenue left.

    Besides, it’s not like Card will suddenly be out of employment options. There’s a huge publishing business that caters to right-wing religious interests. He’ll be more than welcome there, I expect. Keeping him away from larger, mainstream media outlets, which have particularly strong readership among the young, is more than enough reason for me to encourage a company to refuse to employ him. Ironically, I was thinking of seven year-olds shunning queer kids when I signed that petition—a motivation that comes directly from personal experience. And when the media and the adults children look up to model bigotry as an acceptable, desirable way of being, children are influenced accordingly.

    Finally, the root cause for LGBT oppression is ultimately an outcome of rigid gender roles and the belief that those particular roles provide a healthy, moral way of being that all people should follow. Shunning has certainly served as a means of enforcing these attitudes, but it is not the root source of heterosexist oppression. The heterosexist beliefs themselves are to blame, as are the people who enforce those attitudes. Make no mistake: these attitudes are enforced because such beliefs have accorded people social power—patriarchal power rooted in heteronormative relationships between the sexes, to be precise. Sexism and all of the benefits that are accorded to men are deeply rooted in the way that men and women are expected to relate to each other. The bottom line is that this is about power and queerness violates the norms that generate this social power. As such, LGBT people are viewed as a threat to this social system. Hence, we have the reason for the social, economic, and physical violence that LGBT people endure.

  • I’m not really sure how this is a response to my comment.

    I guess I was trying to understand your scenario about the waiter. Would you be uncomfortable NOT patronizing a restaurant where a waiter abuses the customers because you’d worry that might make him lose his job?

  • I certainly have my biases as a person who occupies a few letters of the LGBT alphabet. I’m wondering what biases you might carry with you? Here’s a list of the favorites listed on your Facebook page:

    Brandon Hammett Beating Cancer, Sarah Palin, Tank Man, Iñigo Montoya, Bridge of Love, David’s Bridal, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Angry Birds, Lawler Farms Greenfield, Indiana, Mitt Romney, Parents rap about maintaining their household., The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, BYU Alumni, Bear Brook Bakery, Coach Flédéric Payet, Mitt Romney for President Group, The Home Depot Foundation, Stephen King ~ American Author, Couple Married 62 Years Go in for a Medical Check Up – But Watch What They Do, Mitt Romney Central, BookBrowse Books, Why evangelicals must stand up to anti-Mormon bigotry, Justine Johnson Photography, Gentle Beginnings Birth Center, Keri Duckett Birth Photography Group, Being American by GO, 2012 Election Newsgroup, The Khan Academy, Religious Roundtable Group

    One can interpret these interests in a host of ways. Supporting political candidates who would do everything in their power to enforce the legal structures which institutionalize LGBT oppression is certainly questionable. Perhaps, you have your biases, too?

    I support your favoring of Iñigo Montoya, however. Mandy Patinkin is a wonderful actor and The Princess Bride is an awesome movie.

  • David N-T

    I would be quite comfortable with not patronizing the place, but not so much with the consequences of it on said waiter’s employment. To draw an analogy, I know from experience that I would be quite comfortable with the act of defending myself, but less so with the result of my assailant lying on the ground bleeding even if I had acted completely and unquestionably within my right. Does that make more sense to you?

  • Dwa

    Do you not violate your own rule when you force a physician, on an individual level, to participate in a procedure that carries significant risk/harm that they find objectionable and disturbing under threat of losing their livelihood?

  • I think that’s a complete absurd all this controversy about Orson Scott Card. The only criterion that allow us to decide if a man is competent to write Superman’s stories, is his skills as a professional writer, but never his moral character. For if we decide to transform the judgement about moral character into the criterion, so always we will must to examine the moral character of every possible Superman’s writer. This is very appropriate in a totalitarian State, but not in a democratic State as EUA. However, I see people judging Card without knowing anything about his work and his point of view about Superman. Just because he’s a member of National Organization for Marriage, doesn’t mean he will write a Superman who is member of NOM too. Did Grant Morrison write a Superman who enjoyed psichedelic drugs? I don’t think so. So guys… just let the man do his job.

  • Arthur

    This debate seems to have devolved into the unacceptably ad hominem.

  • I generally think he’s the wrong choice to write for Superman…EXCEPT that some of his writing, in the past anyway, hasn’t been anti-gay.

  • Arthur

    I think your point is about proportionate response. If you could shut a door on an aggressive drunk and chose instead to pound him to a pulp, that’s disproportionate. In the waiter’s case, if you don’t eat there, your abhorrence means nothing. But you could, if you have friends who patronize the place and are unaware of the waiter’s abhorrent side, alert them to this to make their own choice.

    However, if the waiter is unoffensive in the restaurant (say he’s a member of Klu Klux Klan, but serves minorities without expressing his beliefs), then it seems inappropriate to go beyond this. Similarly, in OSC’s case, I doubt that he would (or could) choose Superman as a venue to air his views, so a petition or a boycott — while a form of legitimate self-expression — seems excessive to me. But YMMV.

  • dash_bannon

    Superman is a hard sell in today’s comic market. Card wrote one of the best science fiction books of all time, but his bigotry and politics make him detestable.

    I can’t see how DC will be helped by hiring a bigot to write for them, especially for one of their most iconic characters.

    All that aside, I don’t think Mr. Card would let his politics get in the way of writing Superman. I haven’t bought a Superman comic in decades. I won’t be eager to support DC or Card in this regard either.

  • When someone’s priorities are such that they will support a candidate who advocates oppression and hatefulness, I think that’s entirely relevant information when one is discussing said oppression and hatefulness.

  • As a homogay myself, I agree with Gerrold’s points 1 and 2, but I disagree with 3 for the same reason I disagree with the Chik-fil-A boycotts.

    Let’s compare Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert does not strike me as a homophobe at all, and he has in fact made statements against homophobia.

    Stephen Colbert is also a practicing Catholic, and if you buy his books or watch his show or anything, some of the money he is receiving from that will be going to the Vatican, which is a homophobic institution that has backed, among other things, Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

    Yet no one ever suggests boycotting the Colbert Report because punishing Stephen Colbert just doesn’t feel as satisfying. So if you’re going to refuse to buy any of Cards’ books because he’s a homophobe, then fine, but don’t pretend you’re making a moral stand.

    (Which is to say nothing of the fact that any goods you could purchase, food or clothes or whatever, have a checkered history).

    As for how good the comics will be, well, the Ender’s Game series managed to resonate with a lot of alienated youth to the point where people are shocked and betrayed upon finding out about Card’s homophobic beliefs, so I don’t think that it’ll be as big a deal if his ethos doesn’t line up with Superman’s. I’m sure if he tries to introduce a gay villain or something the editors will put the kibosh on it.

  • dash_bannon

    I’m not so sure about that. Most comics readers are in their 30s and 40s. They have all kinds of political beliefs. You could probably pick the liberal to conserative spectrum by titles they read.

  • I’ve read a number of Card’s works, specifically the Ender and Ender’s Shadow series of science fiction. The man is a brilliant and imaginative writer. As a high school English teacher, I think that Ender’s Game should most certainly be on any middle or high school reading list because of how well Card captures the realistic and complex relationships between young men.

    All of that aside, I found myself, sadly, not surprised to learn that in the years I had lost contact with Card’s work he had become an advocate for suppression of LGBT rights. Given his strict religious lifestyle and my own fairly strict religious upbringing, I understand his viewpoints even as I detest them, even as I detest myself for holding those same beliefs in my ignorant youth.

    I believe that someone opposed to Superman’s views on life but who understands that viewpoint might be able to bring something interesting to the Superman mythos because of that conflict of personal views with the established character views. That said, I understand that the series of stories Card will write are (a) part of an anthology of many writers and (b) not canon to the official DC “New 52” Universe. Given those criteria, I am willing to grant DC and Card the benefit of that doubt.

    Given all that, however, I think that I’ll stick with Scott Snyder and Grant Morisson and their run on Batman. Because an American with a bent for gothic horror and a crazy Scotsman with a penchant for the timey-whimey and metafictional work perfectly with Batman.

    Card can write Superman for all I care because it’s been a long time since either held any real relevance.

  • Side note: David Gerrold is awesome. The “Trouble with Tribbles” and the “Martian Child” to his name as well as being a vocal advocate for GLBT rights? The man has my respect.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    DC Comics’ editorial staff has had an issue over the last year or so of not thinking things through. (e.g. they rebooted a few titles, including Wonder Woman, less than a year before their “New 52” reboot of every title.) This level of tone-deafness seems in line with that.

    I’m not really buying into the “depriving him of his livelihood” line of reasoning. Writing comics books is hardly Card’s primary gig. It’s just a side job. If it falls through due to public outcry, I don’t see him hurting financially. He’d throw an epic temper tantrum over it in public, to be sure. But he wouldn’t have to cancel Christmas.

    With all due respect to the English teacher in the thread, Ender’s Game is a highly over-rated work, to put it politely.

  • Damian Barajas

    There’s a dilemma here, no doubt about it. When bigots start to slowly become a minority, they become, “endangered”, and we almost have to go out of our way to protect them as with most other endangered species.

    Its clear that OSC will continue to have problems with this as long as he is vocal about his views, but he probably gets a lot of readers precisely because of it as well. The balance still isn’t on the side of the oppressed here, and while I fully expect the LGBT crowd will be a minority even when they get the rights they deserve. They need to be a vocal minority today, and we who agree that human rights are human rights, need to be vocal.

    Its not fair that OSC could lose some work because he is a bigot, but it is somehow fair that he can gain an audience because of it.

    Straight people are full people under the law, gay people are not and the current system reinforces that. And the currrent system also says we must not discriminate.

    REMEMBER THIS, because the status quo IS this:

    Hateful speech is more protected than truth.

  • Yeah but what about this? Don’t hire assholes in the first place? Maybe we shouldn’t get Card fired because of censorship, but maybe whoever thought hiring him was an acceptable thing to do should be fired. Seems to me whoever it was is out of touch if not borderline moronic.

  • Timberwraith further down in the comments makes exactly the point I was going to make. If he was a white supremacist we wouldn’t be having this “censorship” debate. He’d be out on his behind the moment people started to complain. People don’t think these things are on the same level? There has been violence against gays and lesbians throughout history and it hasn’t stopped you know. Or are people forgetting that just last summer a lesbian couple were shot in the heads in Texas by someone who still hasn’t been found. “Corrective” rapes of lesbians are still a global phenomena (and a nearly constant thing in South Africa) as are killings of gay men. Don’t tell me this is just a philosophical debate.

  • I liked this comment. Very nice.

  • Bluejay

    The thing about Card is, he doesn’t just have anti-gay beliefs; he actively works to enforce them. Card sits on the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, which was instrumental in the passage of California’s Prop 8 as well as other anti-gay-marriage campaigns. In effect, he holds a position of influence in an organization that is actively trying to deny a group of people their full rights as citizens and human beings.

    Certainly it’s not illegal for DC to employ such an individual. But if he were actively denying any other group of people their full humanity — if he were a Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, or a leader of a neo-Nazi group — would there be any debate at all about whether a public outcry is justified? We’ve evolved, I hope, to a point where a mainstream entertainment company like DC wouldn’t even consider hiring an outspoken segregationist or anti-Semite for the job; why shouldn’t public pressure be brought to bear on DC to make the point that homophobia is just as odious an attitude?

    Boycotting, I think, is a perfectly fine and time-honored way to put pressure on institutions to achieve a desired result. It was fine when it was used in the American civil rights movement, and in Gandhi’s campaign for Indian independence, and in the divestment campaign against South African apartheid. And to me it’s fine when our political opponents use it too; if they can muster enough public support for a successful boycott, then that says something about the public’s attitudes that’s useful to know, and shows us how much work still needs to be done to win over hearts and minds. I don’t think it’s a means of shutting down discussion; it’s part of the discussion, because you have to persuade a critical mass of people to agree with your views and take action together.

    And yes, it’s probably not possible to be fully consistent in aligning our purchasing choices with our politics. But why let the perfect be the enemy of the good? Just because we can’t always be aware of, and protest, the detestable actions of some of the companies/entertainers we patronize doesn’t diminish those instances when we do decide to take a stand.

  • Bluejay

    Apart from the free-speech issues, how can we expect a writer who appears not to be aligned with the Superman ethos to write an effective
    Superman tale?

    Regarding that aspect, I think Glen Weldon’s piece at NPR is worth a read:

    …when we do see [Superman] for the very first time, these are the first words that appear directly below, the first epithet applied to this newly-minted creation as it was unleashed upon the world:Champion of the Oppressed.There it is, coded into his creative DNA from the very beginning: He fights for the little guy.And that’s why this bugs me, and why I’m not the least bit curious about what Card’s Superman might be like.DC Comics has handed the keys to the “Champion of the Oppressed” to a guy who has dedicated himself to oppress me, and my partner, and millions of
    people like us. It represents a fundamental misread of who the character is, and what he means.

  • Paul

    I think you’re replying to the wrong person. Unless you think that implying that someone is “intellectually dense or [has] second grade social skills” is not ad hominem, while reproducing someone’s publicly expressed preferences is?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Thank you!

  • Susan Wenger

    I don’t read Superman comics, but I’ll have to find out what happens if Card stays on. In his books, he can almost never resist inserting his homophobia into the storylines. He probably wouldn’t make the supervillain openly gay — that’s not his style. Instead, he’d have dozens of people die when a security guard fails to thwart a bank robbery because he’s off in the men’s room having a liaison. Something along those lines.

    The question isn’t just whether DC Comics will retain Card. It’s whether they’ll rein him in.

  • I’d have more sympathy with those objecting to Mr Card if it were not for the fact that I haven’t exactly noticed many of them denouncing Frank Miller for being an out-and-out fascist. Or denouncing his ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ for openly endorsing homophobia, sexism, racism and fascism…

  • Shunning the work of a person based on other activities is not intelligent. Would we be having this conversation if OSC happened to cure cancer or AIDS? It’s underdeveloped social skills. Better is possible. And BTW, criticising specific behavior is not “ad hominem.”

  • I do not think my political preferences represent the checkmate that you so obviously think they represent. Such behavior is infantile. Judging from your ability to articulate what you think, you can do better.

  • RogerBW

    You talk a lot about other people getting things wrong and being able to do better, but you seem remarkably short of actual concrete suggestions.

  • The “heteronormative” ideal is hardly based on pure power structure. The fact that hetero sexuals can screw up the world in mass numbers does pose some logistical problems to the public and to themselves. For the life of me, I cannot work out how shunning a queer person enforces any social good–it probably goes back to herd mentality and the second-grade social behaviors I referred to earlier. I come from a family of religious believers, where not everyone believes. Shunning any one of them for disagreements of this kind is unthinkable. It’s a supportive, involved family, where remarkably by supporting others of different viewpoints one could be accused of subsidising a “liberal mindset” or likewise a “conservative” mindset, but apparently there’s atleast enough humility at play to just have some faith in the good turn.

  • Concrete suggestions? I said to let the work of OSC speak for itself. I refuse to throw away people and relationships based on some of their political views, and I believe in responding to unnacceptable behavior specifically and directly.

  • Yes, you have made it quite clear on several occasions that view my emotional stature as that of a child.

    Your stated preferences, however, betray a set of priorities which support oppression while putting on an otherwise civil face. Such is the nature of subtly executed prejudice.

    You may continue these accusations of immaturity as you deem necessary.

  • The “heteronormative” ideal is hardly based on pure power structure.

    I attest that thousands of years of patriarchy, the violence born of that tradition, and the rigid nature of the roles which have grown out of these patterns show otherwise.

  • I have not mentioned your emotional stature, but I have criticised some of your specific statements and position.

  • There’s more than power-of-the-few at play, as thousands of years of human societies illustrate.
    Again, hetero sexual partners have the ability to impose huge burdens onto society. Do you remember the study a couple years ago involving the children of artificially-inseminated, lesbian parents? It showed that these kids had better educational outcomes than the national average. This suggests that children fare better when their parents intend them and are committed when they are created. Gay sexual partners must always be committed to being parents and be deliberate in order to become parents. Hetero sexual partners can becoming parents of a child without even knowing each other’s names. This presents a problem to society.

  • So now apparently anyone who supported Romney for President is inherently not civil, while those I presume who supported Obama are? This culture war runs long and deep and vicious.

  • Bluejay

    Perhaps more consciousness-raising needs to be done regarding Miller’s fascist values. Perhaps Dark Knight Returns isn’t as simplistically fascist as it might seem. Perhaps this is a thread about Card and not Miller, with plenty of Miller-denouncing going on elsewhere (for instance, here and here).

    But as I’ve said elsewhere, so what if we fail to be consistent? If we don’t speak out against all problems, should we speak out against none at all? Just because we aren’t always willing or able to take a stand doesn’t mean we’re wrong when we do choose to take one.

  • Bluejay

    Huh? If a procedure is legal, and the patient has a legal right to it, and the doctor is legally obligated to offer it, and the patient requests it — then absolutely the doctor should be able to perform it. If you have moral objections to something that’s in your job description, then you should find another job.

    But in the context of the debate about Card, that’s really neither here nor there.

  • Danielm80

    I haven’t read The Dark Knight Returns in a few years. Can you give me some examples of Miller “openly endorsing homophobia, sexism, racism and fascism”? I know that Sin City has been criticized for its portrayal of women, and some people have said that Holy Terror is Islamophobic. But I don’t recall hearing those sorts of complaints about Dark Knight.

  • The point of “depriving livelihood” is about the principle of the response. Do you really believe folks will leave alone the people who really depend on their jobs and only go after the rich big fish? Remember that many people supporting Prop 8 were “listed” and there was more than one story of Californian supporters losing their job or business because of their political position. As I say in comments below, this culture war is vicious. Instead of allowing room for a spectrum of opinions, some are boxing in anyone who supports hetero-defined marriage as a homophobe. Left out are myriad views, like for instance the LGBT groups who oppose marriage altogether and consider it a continuation of hetero-patriarchal oppression.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The point of “depriving livelihood” is about the principle of the response. Do you really believe folks will leave alone the people who really depend on their jobs and only go after the rich big fish? Remember that many people supporting Prop 8 were “listed” and there was more than one story of Californian supporters losing their job or business because of their political position.

    I don’t believe principles exist independent of context. That a particular action is right in one case does not automatically make it right in all cases, and vice versa. Nor do I believe that one’s job is sacrosanct (and yes, I have spent significant time unemployed). Freedom of speech, as they say, is not freedom from consequences of one’s speech. And the 1st Amendment only protects from the US government taking punitive action against political speech.

    Instead of allowing room for a spectrum of opinions, some are boxing in anyone who supports hetero-defined marriage as a homophobe. Left out are myriad views

    Not all views are equally valid, nor equally valuable. And sometime the differences between two views on a subject are only apparent to the people how hold them. You might mean a goose, but to the rest of us, it looks, walks, and talks like a duck.

    for instance the LGBT groups who oppose marriage altogether and consider it a continuation of hetero-patriarchal oppression.

    You’re talking about an entirely different failure of communication. Furthermore, in this particular case, is this subset of the LGBT community actively attempting to use the constitutional system to legally prevent other members of the LGBT community from marrying? Because I think that duck would squack, not quack, even if it is still water fowl.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Would we be having this conversation if OSC happened to cure cancer or AIDS?

    You mean instead of heading up NOM? Probably not. In addition to? That’s debatable. What if he had a habit of publicly immolating live kittens?* What behavior would be bad enough to cause you to shun his work? Granted he’s done neither of these things, so perhaps we could focus on what he has done. And what he has done is give ample evidence that his political views do show up in his fiction, views which are antithetical to the character he’s been hired to write.

    *I just noticed that two other commenters have already brought up how we also wouldn’t be having this conversation if Card were, for example, a vocal anti-semite.

  • Bluejay

    Shunning the work of a person based on other activities is not intelligent.

    Up to a point, that’s true. But it’s a matter of degree. Surely if you believe an artist’s “other activities” to be thoroughly inhumane and unacceptable, it’s not unreasonable to refuse to subsidize his actions.

    If you’re a fan of poetry, and a member of the Taliban wrote and published a beautiful volume of nature poems, would you buy it and put money into his pocket?

  • Arthur

    My wording was imprecise. I agree that calling people names is ad hominem. I referred to this thread in general. That said, pulling up personal data (though perhaps posted for all to see) seems to make it uncomfortably personal.

  • I’m sick and tired of straight people whining all the time that they’re not homophobes just because they oppose LGBT rights.

    I don’t care how nice of a person you are or how good your intentions are if you’re going to actively work to make my life worse, sorry. If you oppose same-sex marriage your actions are homophobic. Are your thoughts homophobic? Probably. Maybe not. Frankly I don’t care, because I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t care if you’re a homophobe but if you are then stay the fuck out of my life and I’ll stay out of yours.

  • Paul

    You “presume.”

    Personally, my observation was that irrespective of the actual position being taken you were rather abusive to timberwraith, who has shown some restraint in response (though I recognize that Arthur, for example, felt that reproducing details from your Facebook account was a step too far).

    As it happens, I incline to the “Let him have his free speech and hang himself” side of this particular debate (ie more your side than timberwraith’s). But I thought timberwraith’s point was reasonably put, and your response unreasonable. Suggesting that someone is dense and childish is not exactly “criticizing specific behaviour”. It reads to me rather more like abuse. Perhaps the “long and deep and vicious” conflict you refer to is one in which you are not such an unwilling participant yourself?

  • dwa

    The patient physician relationship certainly must foster the education and self determination of the patient but must equally recognize and preserve the identity and self determination of the physician. The referenced refusal to perform a “legal procedure” resulting in a loss of entitlement to pursue and maintain a career as a physician essentially eviscerates medicine as a profession. What procedures does a patient have a “legal right” to and is a physician obligated to prescribe a med or perform a procedure that is “legal” simply because the patient requests it.
    The easy answer in the vast majority of cases is no. A patient may be willing to undergo a legal procedure of risk such as a back operation or a legal prescription with risk such as a weight loss medicine like phentermine but the physician is in no way forced to enter into that situation of risk no matter how strongly a patient desires it.
    A more complicated scenario would be physician assisted suicide. Oregon’s death with dignity act makes prescribing a lethal dose of medication for a patient a legal procedure. There are a broad range of physicians that have the necessary skills to facilitate and perform this procedure. If one refuses to perform this procedure, are they no longer entitled to their job as a physician and sent off to find another profession? Again, the obvious answer is no. One person does not have the right to impose their decisions or morals on another and force them to participate in a procedure they have reservations or concerns about.
    It is the parallel that MAJ chose to employ in the context of the Card debate so to some significant extent it does appear
    to be here.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The assisted suicide example fails because, in addition to eliding specific details of that law, it ignores the idea of medical specialization. You’re also ignoring the elephant in the room. No one here doesn’t know that what MAJ was referring to was OB/GYNs refusing to perform emergency abortions, and more troubling, pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives, emergency or otherwise. Ultimately, the issue in that analogy wasn’t about elective procedures, but rather life-saving ones. It’s fine (though unlikely) for a plastic surgeon to refuse to perform a sex reassignment surgery due to a moral objection of some kind. It’s another for a cardiac surgeon to refuse to perform an emergency bypass on a trans-gendered patient due to a moral objection.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    This. I would also say that he not only has anti-gay beliefs, but he can’t shut up about them in his stories, making it even harder to separate the art from the artist. He even turned Hamlet into a tract about how gay men are pedophiles!

  • This is why I say to let his work speak for itself. If it is indeed as you say, I agree that it does not make the cut.

  • Was it really abusive to point out the lack of intelligence in the choice? Or lack of maturity? Human beings have progressed so much in part because of the ability to trade ideas, and the idea of squashing all the ideas of one person because some are disagreeable seems counterproductive and unintelligent.

  • Paul

    Was it really abusive to point out the lack of intelligence in the choice? Or lack of maturity?

    Er, yes. That was the point I was making.

    The way you went about it, anyway. As I mentioned, I even largely agree with your side of the argument, and I only commented because “Doing them things is dumb!”, albeit phrased more elegantly, seemed an inadequate representation of the possible arguments to be made, and not one that would foster useful debate. It also seemed to me to fail to engage with the ways in which shunning might not be unintelligent.

    I agree about the value of trading ideas. I believe the greatest capacity of human beings is not competition, but co-operation. That may be why I’m in Japan… the idea doesn’t seem so popular in other countries.

  • I oppose same-sex marriage as well as oppose anti-LGBT discrimination in housing and the workplace. It is in the interest of individuals and the common good to promote commitment between hetero sexual partners. It’s in your interest, as well as the common good. Assume for a moment that ssm is legalised everywhere. Hetero sexual relationships are still unique, in ways relevant to the whole and immensely impactful to society. There would stil be justification to create an institution designed to promote commitment between hetero sexual partners. If the justification would exist then, it makes sense to preserve marriage now.

  • As you say, freedom of speech does not grant immunity to consequences of that speech. Saying that same sex marriage must be legalised as a result of our values of fair and equal treatment also essentially implies this, that a just government must be blind to the risks–both micro and macro–inherent in heterosexual behavior.

  • Okay, fine, I could have demonstrated the point better, which is one I meant literally, as an argument, not merely a pejorative. Yet the shunning I referred to is a damaging trend, and strong but also convincing words must be used to persuade against it.

    I’d love to see Japan someday. In France, here. Incidentally, gay marriage is quite a hot topic, but it is refreshing to atleast see people acknowledge that by accepting it society would also be transforming the way it thinks of all relationships, and that to be consistent the same rights should be available to all types of committed partners, not just the partnerships of sexual nature.

  • LaSargenta

    If you are against “promoting commitment” among everyone, then you shouldn’t be marking heterosexual pairing for special promotion of commitment.

    Your statement of “It is in the interest of individuals and the common good to promote
    commitment between hetero sexual partners. It’s in your interest, as
    well as the common good.” has no basis in fact — it is only your opinion (as well as the opinion of many other breeders).

    I, personally, am deeply opposed to marriage among anyone and I don’t think any single person should bear or sire more than one child; however, I don’t actually work to impose my personal opinions upon anyone with force of law.

  • LaSargenta

    that a just government must be blind to the risks–both micro and macro–inherent in heterosexual behavior.

    I dunno about ‘just’; but, our government is willfully blind to the risks of heterosexual behaviour … power trips due to unexamined baggage, perpetuation of the status quo, risks of excessive procreation…

  • LaSargenta

    Until I recently read Ender’s Game, I hadn’t read anything by him since Songmaster. That was not a homophobic book, but it was from the late 70’s and he was young. Obviously, he’s changed or hardened into something else. Interestingly, he’s had to defend that book in light of his other positions.

  • rkbrasse

    Thats a bit of a brad stroke to paint comic fans. I’d think much like any societal sample you get a wide range of beliefs and phobias. Been reading the super hero comics for years and would color myself as neither sexist or homophobic.

  • rkbrasse

    It seems to me we overcomplicate things with this. If you feel so strongly that you can not buy Superman written by OSC, then don’t. If you like Sups despite his creative team then buy it. I won’t think any less of you either way.

  • LaSargenta

    I’d like that essay better if Lippmann hadn’t actually been such an elitist (in the real sense of the word, not the way it’s been thrown around these days) and if he hadn’t famously said that he had no doctrinaire belief in free speech.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    the risks–both micro and macro–inherent in heterosexual behavior.

    Oh, this outta be good. Here, please, take some of this rope explain to us these risks, both micro and macro.

  • Bluejay

    It is in the interest of individuals and the common good to promote commitment between hetero sexual partners…There would stil be justification to create an institution designed to promote commitment between hetero sexual partners. If the justification would exist then, it makes sense to preserve marriage now.

    Rebecca, perhaps you, as an opponent of same-sex marriage, can explain to me some claims that I have never really been able to understand:

    How, exactly, does the legalization of same-sex marriage threaten heterosexual marriage?

    What do you mean by “preserving” marriage, and how is same-sex marriage detrimental to it?

    There is certainly an institution designed to promote commitment between hetero sexual partners: it’s called marriage. What is the harm in expanding that institution to include the promotion of commitment between homosexual partners? Does the institution for hetero partners need to be separate? If so, why?

    I’m having trouble grasping the “threat” because, as a straight married male with gay married friends, I’m just not seeing it in my own life. My wife and I are absolutely devoted to each other. How is our love harmed by my wife’s lesbian colleague and her spouse? How is the harmony in our household affected by the fact that my daughter’s classmate has two dads? I just honestly, sincerely can’t see it.

    Hetero sexual relationships are still unique, in ways relevant to the whole and immensely impactful to society.

    Could you please explain this one too? How are hetero partnerships in a special class separate from gay partnerships? As I see it, hetero partnerships can be happy or unhappy; thriving or destructive; nurturing or abusive to children; childless by choice; or with the choice of adoption if the couple wants to have kids but can’t.

    With the exception of being able to bear children biologically related to both parents, gay partnerships can be all of those things too. How are hetero partnerships qualitatively different (I suppose you would argue “better”) than gay ones? Better how, exactly?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I oppose same-sex marriage as well as oppose anti-LGBT discrimination in housing and the workplace.

    I want you to know that I am laughing, right now, at the idea that you would type that out, apparently without irony. As it stands, homosexual couples cannot avail themselves to the protections and benefits of registering their long-term, committed relationship and household as a legal marriage. So, you do, in point of fact, support some forms of anti-LGBT discrimination in housing and the workplace. I get that you don’t want to be called a homophobic as a result of your support, but the only reason I can think of for that is because being called a homophobe apparently hurts your feelings.

    As for the rest of this post, the logic employed is astoundingly bad. There already does exist such an institution. Most of us call it a legal marriage, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Furthermore, you’re assuming – and you know what they say what happens when you assume – that allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in any way alters the marriage of any opposite sex couple. Which it does not, in the same way that my US-born cousin’s marriage to a Canadian national in no way affects my own heterosexual marriage.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    As an aside… “breeders”? Really? While I absolutely appreciate frustration against the social pressures applied to have children*, I have never heard that term used as anything but a pejorative, which I find uncharacteristic for you.

    *I have four children, but because they’re all girls, I still get asked on a regular basis if we want to “try for a boy”, even as we both approach 40. And for the record, I know personally at least a half dozen couples, including my own sister, who will never have children, keeping the average below your acceptable limit.

  • LaSargenta

    Aside continued…

    Well, Dr. R, I’m actually (1) not a very nice person and (2) like the rest of humanity, capable of holding several contradictory ideas and ideals in my petty little brain all at the same time.

    But, it all started out as a (dark) joke for me, adapting the word Breeder to myself and other hetero-identified individuals…back when AIDS was thought to be something that one could get from a goddamn handshake. I had a button (a BIG one) that read “Breeders for Gay Rights” although I hadn’t yet actually bred. I had too many people (friends, enemies, acquaintances and just acquaintances of acquaintances) die –essentially of neglect — and I was really, really angry. This was also back when it was really rare for LGBT people to be “intentionally” having kids. Being out lesbian or gay usually meant — back then in the Dark Ages, kiddos — not having children, not marrying, and not doing military service.

    I just think that people should voluntarily elect to only have a maximum of one child each. This is from looking at population curves and from work among archaeologist-soils geologists who have demonstrated that even when we didn’t have the internal combustion engine or modern industrial capabilities, the presence of people (much smaller groups numerically) caused the deposition of healthy soil to decline anywhere humans have settled. In other words, like Edward Abbey (who I mentally argue with as much as I find myself reflected in him), I am opposed to anthropocentrism. And, yes, I know how stupid that is with my chosen career of civil engineer.

    I have no intention, however, of ever even trying to guilt-trip anyone into adopting my point of view, let alone try to legislate it. I just hope that one day it will be ‘the thing’ that most people do without thinking about it. However, that would mean that lots of societies had reached very different points in their transit. There are so many reasons for having large families.

    You know, for those incredibly rude people who ask if you’re going to ‘try for a boy’, one response that might shut them up could be something along the lines of “Well, we’re encouraging two of them to be dykes, so it’ll all even out.” I have one friend who when asked “Will it be a boy?” answered something very much like that. [Another friend when asked “Boy or girl?” answered, “I don’t know. I’m hoping for kittens.”] Not only am I fairly bad-tempered and opinionated, but I have several friends who are just like me. Lol.

  • LaSargenta

    I’ll go make some popcorn!!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m actually (1) not a very nice person

    Perhaps, but the kind of people I usually hear that term from are raging assholes. ;-)

    one response that might shut them up could be something along the lines of “Well, we’re encouraging two of them to be dykes, so it’ll all even out.”

    Well, in my experience, lesbian == boy isn’t a thing i want to encourage, since the truth is lesbian == lesbian. Also, what I usually do is point to my tomboy, gamer, Pokemon master, like-hell-are-you-putting-me-in-that-dress eldest daughter and say, “Why?”

  • LaSargenta

    lesbian == boy isn’t a thing i want to encourage, since the truth is lesbian == lesbian.

    Absolutely true. I’m using that specific term in the ‘butch’ sense…which is my playing with gender *cough* norms and rubbing these imagined people’s nose in the fact that they have some pretty strong so-called traditional ideas about what boys are. That was also the point my friend made who responded so. (She was at a future-mommy-and-me group in what should have been an enlightened *cough cough* environment of NYC.)

    Personally, I wish people wouldn’t have weird preconceptions about sex-of-child having any bearing on future behaviour or character. I used the kittens line myself.

  • mdm

    Yes. Yes he is.

  • Dwa

    way more than you probably want to read

    The fact that the details of the law specify that participation in PAS is voluntary and cannot be forced on a provider reinforces the concept that a provider’s self determination is important enough to be taken seriously, thoroughly explored and protected.

    It does not ignore the idea of medical specialization, it addresses the reality that complex and controversial issues are faced by non-limited specialists,

    If we limit our discussion and consideration to the assumed to be understood elephant in the room from a broad and definitive statement by MAJ, we do a very poor job of thinking about and assessing the full implications that truly exist beyond your appreciation of what the elephant is in our own corner of the world. While I do appreciate the elephant issues you reference the reality of implications beyond the elephant merit consideration.

    Your assignment of emergency contraception as a life- saving, non-elective procedure would not be accurate as it is an elective process. It is a somewhat although not completely moot point as it is now available as an OTC product (…which I believe is a good thing). It wasn’t at one time however and illustrates opposing points of view that complicate our care for people.
    A defender of EC will point to either 1) the fact that recently produced studies indicate that there is no absolute proof of hormones altering the endometrial environment and preventing the implantation and maturation of a fertilized egg…therefore it is not an abortificant and, more legalistically, that the ?FDA has defined life to have begun once implantation has occurred and anything that occurs before that point is irrelevant..essentially defining a life/quality of life moral standard. Or 2). That the benefit to a woman in preventing the potential risks/complications and implications of a 9 mos pregnancy outweigh any risks/concerns of what others may consider life. (I fall into group 2. I cannot rely infallibly on group 1. There are too many instances of completely wrong conclusions drawn from what were thought to be good prospective studies with signiicant amounts of hard data available to them to rely infallibly on group 1. A current example of our scientific fallibility is that we are on our 3rd incarnation of a vaccine for rotavirus..the first 2 being studied with significant prospective observation and correlation of easily accessible hard data, felt to be safe and approved, only to find an unanticipated prevalence of a dangerous complication called intususception sp that forced their recall. If we can’t even get such an accessible question as that answered correctly, how reliably can we answer the question of where life begins?)
    An opponent of EC will say that they define life or potential life at a stage prior to implantation or even fertilization and that even the potential to interfere with that life outweighs any risk to the woman and should not be undertaken. Again, defining a life/quality of life moral standard.

    Ultimately, the inclusion of EC and the linking of a person’s job to a moral standard legitimately raises issues well beyond a limited scope of life saving procedures. It forces us to admit that neither you or I have the definitive moral answer of where life or quality of life begins or ends and that our highest obligation is to not force our morals on or feel we have the right to determine that for another person. And while there are certainly expectations for a provider to respect those moral considerations in life threatening situations, there are equal considerations to respect as highly the self determination and decisions of another person to participate (or not) in elective, non life threatening procedures such as EC (prior to it’s OTC availability)

    The ability to force another to participate in an elective, non life-threatening procedure such as EC is then no different than a person that has made the moral determination that their quality of life has reached an untenable state, that their life is not worth continuing, they have the state given legal right to elective PAS and the right to ready access without he burden of travel to find a physician/pharmacist to give them that access…ultimately leading to or societally expecting required participation If you require participation in one case, there is no reason to not require it in the other. If you give the freedom to not participate in one case, how can you deny that freedom in the other?

  • Arthur, when someone supports homophobic/transphobic laws and the public officials who institute those laws, that person is engaging in acts which violate the well being of my family and the deepest, most intimate aspects of my life. Those actions are deeply and irrevocably personal. Since they do not think it is acceptable that my personal life should be accorded the safety that they take for granted, it is utterly hypocritical for them to expect that the personal aspects of their lives be accorded respect. To have their political allegiances brought into public view is among the least personally invasive “offenses” that such a person could experience in these matters. Alternatively, try having one’s life and one’s family ripped apart by a hateful system of law and the voters who support those laws. One might compare a gnat and a lion and exclaim upon how they both bite.

    When I come to live in a world which respects my right to exist as a queer person, I will come to view another person’s political allegiances to be irrelevant to my personal safety. Until then, I’m afraid that the prejudiced heterosexual and cissexual denizens of the internet shall have to endure my unseemly inspection of their political lives.

  • The legalisation of same-sex marriage has implications going beyond an individual’s sexual orientation or the relative gender of a couple, so no, an opposition to ssm does not have to be about being against LGBT rights. I’ll elaborate in subsequent replies to you and/or others.

  • First, I do not argue “better.” The differences unique to hetero sexual relationships–distinguishing them from ALL ofther relationships, including homo sexual and nonsexual–could be advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on one’s point of view. Basically put, whatever dangers and risks are associated with almost any relationship can be exarcerbated and multiplied at much higher rate and degree by hetero sexual partners. Analogy: cars are not bicycles. One or other may be preferable, even considered more advantageous according to one’s point of view, but they are not the same, thus states tend to license and regulated the license for motor vehicles much more heavily than for bicycles; for the reason that the dangers and risks associated with transport can be exacerbated and multiplied at much higher rate and degree by cars than by bicycles.

  • Actually, I am not against promoting commitment among everyone. Do you believe that the broadening of marriage to include same-sex couples is actually an outlet available to “everyone?” Indeed it is not. There lies the rub.

    Legalised marriage–even when same sex couples are included– is a setting apart of certain kinds of relationships, to the exclusion of others. It codifies relationships which are considered to be sexual in nature, giving those relationships special treatment. Left out are plenty of legal (platonic, as I am being absolutely clear that I am not invoking incest as an argument) close-blood relatives. Left out are plenty of other non-sexual relationships. The former group is generally prohibited to marry by law, because marriage is implicitly considered to be sexual in nature. The latter group, the other “non-sexual relationships” are given only one option to codify their relationship, one which carries with an immense amount of culture, tradition, and sexual implications.

    So, let’s be clear that marriage, even when same-sex marriage is part of it, is exclusionary law.

    Now examine what happens when we argue for same-sex marriage. When arguing that committed persons should not be left out of the bundle of rights associated with marriage, then what about close-blood relatives and platonic partners? When arguing that the children of gay parents need the same protections afforded to the children of hetero sexual parents, what about the children under the care of close-blood relatives and platonic partners?

    IF we accept that gay couples should also have the bundle of rights associated with marriage, then so should all other legal relationships, and to be completely fair and equal, no partnership should be bound to align itself with the sexual implications of marriage in order to have those rights. In other words, same-sex marriage effectively cuts the legal connection between sex and commitment. If we accept it as a necessity to be just and equal, then we must also deconstruct marriage to a more generic, sex-neutral contract, a “domestic partnership,” for example.

  • The risk unique to hetero sexual behavior is that legal bonds can be unintentionally created. All behavior otherwise being equal, sexual activity will not turn one’s same-sex partner into the parent of one’s future child. Hetero sexual activity can create a permanent legal obligation between people who didn’t even know each other’s names when that activity took place. Hetero sexual partners can make babies together without commitment, which is why promoting commitment between them is so important. Do you acknowledge that, whatever government tries, it cannot make a parent love a child or love the parent of their child, right? Whatever system we set up to catch a child that is falling through the cracks, can hardly approach the results associated with parents who actually want to be together and want to be parents. In this regard, promotion is a type of prevention.
    On the other hand, other types of relationships already have the advantage of never being able to create such legal obligations unintentionally. They’re co-parents only because they want to be, they’re parents only because they want to be. That represents a steep advantage for the children coming into their households.

  • “I have no intention, however, of ever even trying to guilt-trip anyone into adopting my point of view, let alone try to legislate it. I just hope that one day it will be ‘the thing’ that most people do without thinking about it.”

    Numbers seem to trending toward that, as lower fertility rates are increasingly associated with rising income and education levels. Anyhow, the ecological balance you are talking about likely won’t be achieved by a homogeneous spread of one-child-families, but perhaps more like the childless alongside the families with children, a form of division of labor and skills.
    I certainly agree that such a population norm could not be forced, and tend to believe that the value of good, fair government (the non-totalitarian sort) is also a vital resource for humanity, like healthy soil.

  • LaSargenta

    So you are working hard, I assume, for the elimination of the legal perquisites of “marriage”?

    Elimination of the spousal beneficiary exclusion?
    Elimination of the marriage-based right to use FMLA leave when one’s partner is sick?
    Elimination of spousal benefits for military spouses (which are broad)?
    And so on…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Wow, that is, like, the worst analogy for marriage ever. Are straight couples cars or bikes in this view? Or are all romantic couples cars, and vehicle licensing and registration is marriage? No, wait, that can’t be right, because then certain kind of cars would be banned. And what advantages, analogous to things like property rights and tax incentives, does registration provide? And who the hell are the bikes?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    This is a slightly-less-batshit-shit insane version of Santorum’s man-on-dog slippery slope argument. Also, you’ve given no reason not to “deconstruct marriage to a more generic, sex-neutral contract” in the cases you describe. Also, opposite-sex platonic couples can, and do, get married. I think there are some states where “unconsummated” marriages can be challenged, but none where couple must produce a bloody sheet at the reception.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Things I’m taking from this:
    – Marriage is actually a threat used to discourage promiscuous hetero sex.
    – Since gay couples cannot (directly) procreate, marriage for gay couples is far too awesome to be allowed.

  • Jody

    Can we please lose “breeders”? It’s not only insulting, it’s inaccurate. I am a straight woman who never had kids. My cousin’s lesbian daughter has had two children. Who is the breeder?

  • It’s an analogy, also a real-life example–of legally treating different behaviors differently. Bluejay asked if I was arguing that any one relationship is better, and I answered no and explained differences in terms of risk.

  • It’s actually not a slippery slope argument. In the case of slippery-slope, the causal chain is not established.

    I do establish the logical steps.

    And the point is that if the pro-same-sex marriage arguments are applied, then the deconstruction into a sex-neutral institution must occur in order to operate fairly.

    Marriage is generally understood to be sexual in nature, even implicitly implied and sometimes explicitly acknowledged in law, and the fact that some platonic partners may chose to access marital rights does not change the fact that there is only one route to those rights.

    How about you tell me why the law gives special status to relationships that are sexual in nature, while not giving equal rights to non-marital relationships?

    There has to be a reason that a sexual relationship is given legal preference over all other types of relationships. Make that reason invalid or irrelevant under the law, and there is no justification for the special legal treatment.

  • I am not arguing for the elimination of marriage rights, but rather showing that if one is consistent to the arguments for same-sex marriage, then as a legal institution marriage must necessarily be deconstructed.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, since no one here has suggested that all behaviors are, or should be treated equally, then it’s a piss poor analogy for the issue of marriage. Unless you want to (finally) explain why homosexual relationships are so risky as to need to forbidden from being recognized as legal marriage, and heterosexual relationships so super-special yet so delicate that calling anything else “marriage” will break it and society with it.

    After several days, I’ll be over here, not holding my breath.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Rick Santorum thinks he’s being logical, too. That doesn’t make his man-on-dog marriage argument any less batshit insane.

    How about you tell me why the law gives special status to relationships that are sexual in nature, while not giving equal rights to non-marital relationships?

    Well, for one thing, any time you can promise people tax breaks for shit they’re doing anyway, it’s much easier to get oneself elected. (see also: mortgage interest deductions.) But you already knew that.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    In other words, you don’t actually believe your own bullshit argument, but think you’re setting some sort of diabolically clever rhetorical trap. It’s not working, and here’s why:

    Most people with any sort of dog in this fight agree on one thing: they like marriage, they like the legal benefits of marriage, and they wish to avail themselves of said benefits. Just one side has decided they don’t want “those people” it get the benefits as well. 50 years ago, “those people” were mixed race couples. Today, it’s same-sex couples. Maybe in a few years or decades it will be asexual couples, but for now, that’s just not on the radar.

    You argument also lacks a downside. If the “logical” end result of same-sex marriage is either expanding marriage to include everyone*, or abolishing it for anyone, neither of those is really all that bad. The former simplifies a great deal of legal issues. The latter creates some problems, but most can probably be solved under existing contract law.

    * “Everyone” meaning “pairs of persons of age to enter into a legally binding contract”. Before you try it, poly relationships are not off the table, thought they introduce legal complications (particularly in terms of divorce and end of life decisions) that do increase with the number of partners, but are still not truly insurmountable.

  • Apparently you think you’re being logical too, but that does not make you so.
    So you didn’t actually answer the question. Perhaps we should go back further. Is marriage a legally exclusionary institution or not?

  • I have actually been saying that hetero sexual relationships present more risks to the individual and to society, compared to all other (not just homo sexual) relationships. Therefore the state is justified to reserve an institution specially for them to emphasize the responsibilities uniquely associated with them.

  • Nope, although I do believe that society benefits and would benefit from having an institution specially reserved for hetero sexual couples, I do believe that IF we accept the arguments for same sex marriage, then we must deconstruct the institution to be consistent. That’s an automatic result of the pro-same-sex marriage arguments considered in the context of all society. Any rational examination of the issues surrounding marriage would take in the broad view of why it exists socially, what justifies it legally, and the implications of any changes.

    By the way, according to the most recent US Census, there are approximately 1.4 million adult individuals living with a same-sex couple relationships. There are also about 42 million adults living in platonic household relationships.

    There is a downside to either result you mention: the legal connection between sex and commitment for hetero sexual behavior would be further, if not completely, eroded.

    Let’s talk about fragility for a moment. When a child is born into a family where the mother and father never had an intention of being committed nor being parents, is that child’s well-being negatively affected? The consensus in social science is yes, that there is a positive relationship between parental commitment levels and a child’s well being. When this happens, what can the state do about it? Can they MAKE the parents be together, cooperate, work harmoniously for the joint interest of each other and their child? No, the state cannot force that. What the state can do is promote commitment between hetero sexual couples. No other relationship in society has the same risks, neither in reference to the individuals directly concerned, nor society at large.

  • Bluejay

    Rebecca, in this and many other comments you keep arguing that marriage promotes commitment between heterosexual couples. But no one is disputing that. What I still fail to understand is why you think it should be limited to heterosexual couples.

    You seem to be saying that the primary purpose of marriage is to encourage heteros who accidentally have kids to commit to staying together for the sake of the kids. Therefore, gay couples who intentionally adopt kids, and thus already demonstrate commitment to them, have no need of marriage. (I quote: “On the other hand, other types of relationships already have the advantage of never being able to create such legal obligations unintentionally. They’re co-parents only because they want to be, they’re parents only because they want to be. That represents a steep advantage for the children coming into their households.”)

    But that’s just bizarre. Plenty of hetero couples intentionally have kids, and would be committed to raising them well with or without marriage. Plenty of hetero couples also marry with no intention of having kids. Are you saying that only heteros who unintentionally become parents should be the beneficiaries of marriage? Should we exclude infertile heteros, or heteros who intend to remain childless, or heteros who consciously plan on having kids, from marriage too?

    It’s as if you’re arguing that, because libraries are important in encouraging reading skills in semi-literate or illiterate children, only semi-literate and illiterate children should be allowed to use libraries.

    And none of this explains how granting gay couples the benefits and protections of marriage undermines the effectiveness of those benefits and protections for straight couples. If my married gay friends are granted family visitation rights, next-of-kin rights, shared property rights, inheritance rights, survivor and bereavement rights, joint parenting and custodial rights, and on and on — how exactly is MY marriage endangered?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I have actually been saying that hetero sexual relationships present more risks to the individual and to society

    You’re right, you have been saying that. I misremembered your post. It’s still a bad argument: “No marriage for anyone bu straight people because babies!” This is 21st century America. Almost all parents are parents by choice. And those who are not, don’t end up that way due to biology, but rather through either religious practice (so, separation of church and state factors in) or due to the effects of poverty (to which marriage is hardly the solution).

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m not the one making the argument. I’m calling your logic into question. And that being the case, I’m not required to answer your questions. I’m not here to make your arguments for you.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    IF we accept the arguments for same sex marriage, then we must deconstruct the institution to be consistent.

    And?

    By the way, according to the most recent US Census, there are approximately 1.4 million adult individuals living with a same-sex couple relationships. There are also about 42 million adults living in platonic household relationships.

    *BZZZZT* Argument ad popularum. That there are fewer same-sex couples than straight couples doesn’t invalidate the concerns of same-sex couples. Or do you just find that to be an interesting, if irrelevant, statistic?

    The consensus in social science is yes, that there is a positive relationship between parental commitment levels and a child’s well being.

    This is an unsupported assertion. It’s also incorrect. I looked. The actual “consensus” (read: there isn’t one) is that it’s quite a bit more complicated than that, and that other socio-economic factors tend to overwhelm the detriments to children of being raised out of a committed marriage.

    What the state can do is promote commitment between hetero sexual couples.

    And, once again, the expansion of the overall legal protections and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples (or platonic couples), negatively affects this how, exactly?

  • I am not saying “that the primary purpose of marriage is to encourage heteros who accidentally have kids to commit to staying together for the sake of the kids.” The idea is that, generally for every human being, there should be an awareness, beginning even at a young age, that there are procreative implications in hetero sex. Marriage as a legal institution, does reinforce that to an extent.

    As I have explained in other posts, please take a look, if we are to accept the arguments for same-sex marriage, then marriage must necessarily be deconstructed. No longer can it be aimed at sexual relatinships, but an all-inclusive institution must replace it, one that is sex-neutral.

    In essence, marriage is already an exclusionary institution. Expanding it to include same-sex couples would still make it an exclusionary institution. However, in the former case, there is justification for exclusion, because there are unique risks posed to individuals and to society by hetero sexual relationships, not just compared to gay couples, but compared to ALL other relationships. There has to be a reason, in the latter case, that marriage is still about a kind of relationship that is significantly different enough from ALL other relationships to justify special legal recognition. Otherwise, being exclusionary would be wrong.

  • The fact from the census is to point out that there is very likely a segment of the population just as large, perhaps even larger, that is being excluded by the special legal recognition given to marriage. Marriage is already exclusionary, and it would still be exclusionary if it is expanded to include same-sex couples. Please see my response to Bluejay just below. Thanks.

  • Regarding social science, I meant exactly what I said, “The consensus in social science is yes, that there is a positive relationship between parental commitment levels and a child’s well being.” Check out the executive summary of this UK organisation’s finding,
    http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/comm114.pdf

    which not only references the US studies on marriage/cohabitation, but rather gets more specific regarding commitment, whether formal or informal. In other words, even if parents do not buy into the marriage-well being correlations, if they pattern themselves after the marital model, their kids will benefit. So the model is still useful.

  • The expansion of the benefits, or the necessary “de-sexualisation” of the umbrella of legal rights would remove the legal association between sex and commitment. Law informs culture and culture informs law. There IS reason to have, at the psychological level, a codified, big, blinking, neon sign over hetero sex: it literally CAN create unintended legal obligations and permanent bonds. Since the state is obligated at times to enforce these obligations, it is reasonable to have some way to represent these potential obligations, in a very noticeable manner. It only takes a few moments to cross that line. Whether someone choses to abstain, or choses to cross anyway, it is in their interest and the state’s interest to caution them of the risk, so they can be either be informed to then avoid the risks or prepare for them. This is the reason sex must be regarded as “sacred “-in the areligious sense.

  • You seemed to be arguing quite a few things in your counterpoints.

  • You yourself laughed at my claim that “I oppose same-sex marriage as well as oppose anti-LGBT discrimination in housing and the workplace,” as if such a thing were not possible.
    In order for this to be true, it must be impossible for GLBT to have equal rights without gay marriage. In a later comment you say that there is no downside to eliminating marriage entirely, so it is logical to conclude that your objection is not whether gays have marriage, but whether they can’t have it when others do. In other words, it is logical to conclude that you ARE arguing that heterosexual behavior should be treated the same as same-sex behavior.
    I am arguing that we should not treat them the same, because the former IS by magnitudes more impactful on society at large, but IF we treat these two the same, then we should also offer such treatment equally to platonic relationships. Therefore, the same-sex marriage argument is effectively an anti-marriage argument, even if unintentionally.
    Again, marriage is exclusionary, and still would be exclusionary if expanded to gay couples. Yet, in the latter case, the justifications for exclusion fall apart.

  • LaSargenta

    No, marriage is a legal contract. It is primarily a conduit for orderly dispensing of property. You are hung up on the sexual aspect.

    You are arguing that marriage is to make children secure and that is not the original reason of marriage anywhere that I have heard of except in the imagination of the american right-wingers ‘christians’ who try desperately to sound like they actually give a shit about people who aren’t just like them…

    If it were true that you did care, you would be in favor of same -sex marriage because there are frequently children involved. If the same-sex parents did not have the money or legal understanding AND time (’cause it is a lot of bureaucracy) to create a web of legal documents with the help of attorneys that replicate the protectionsfor children that exist already under most states’ marriage laws, then those children are at high risk of being put in emotionally extremely dangerous situations.

    Anecdote: A same-sex couple I know of (female) had two children. One of the parents was killed in a car accident. Each member of the couple had born one of the children. The disgusting, homophobic and so-called ‘christian’ (revolting fundamentalists who loved to enforce childbearing on others by picketing women’s health clinics) parents of the dead parent — who had thrown her out of their home when she was a teen ’cause she was a “filthy lezzie” and had zero contact with her since then — managed to claim grandparents’ “rights” to the child who had been carried by their biological daughter. They took the child away. This meant that two siblings were separated, a family that was already grieving was devastated, and the child who was taken away was isolated within a deeply disturbed and dangerous subculture. If that couple had been married, with all the force and assumptions of rights under marriage law, this would have been very unlikely to have happened.

    Considering your claims about rights for everyone, and considering that the likelihood of these being granted (because marriage is a legal contract about property…get divorced and you will understand this in spades) is pretty much nil, then, logically, if you walk this talk about fairness that you claim, you would be working to eliminate the perquisites of marriage.

    If you don’t, I call bullshit. I also call you, personally, so full of shit your eyes are brown.

  • LaSargenta

    See my comment above at http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2013/02/qotd_is_orson_scott_card_the_w.html#comment-812914516
    Marriage is not to sanctify sex except in the theories of some particular we-know-what’s-best-for-you so-called ‘christians’.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    IF we treat these two the same, then we should also offer such treatment equally to platonic relationships.

    OK. So?

    Therefore, the same-sex marriage argument is effectively an anti-marriage argument, even if unintentionally.

    No, that doesn’t follow at all. There might be an anti-marriage argument to be made, but it’s not necessary. We could, in point of fact, expand marriage to include platonic couples, rather than abolishing marriage entirely. Assuming, of course, that that was the question before us, which, of course, it isn’t.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Ooooooo, buuuuuuuuurn.

    Oh, wait, no, you didn’t actually say anything there. Nevermind.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I did look at UK findings. The common thread is that while there is a positive correlation between committed parental relationships and child development, the differences there vanish when other socio-economic factors are taken into account. So, sure, it’s useful, for values of “useful” that are either extremely limited, or extremely partisan.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    This argument is just on the wrong side of history. Property and voting rights in the US were once highly exclusionary, limiting them to less than half of the adult population of the country.

    Also, if your argument is to make marriage completely non-exclusionary, you’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. But I don’t think you’re making that argument.

  • Marriage IS sexual in nature. If it really is about dispensing property, then why is it still considered a sexual union? Consider it in a social-evolutionary light: despite what people have intentionally associated with marriage throughout the ages, there are also other elements which have contributed to its survival as a social norm.

    By “eliminate the prerequisites of marriage,” you mean the sexual aspects, including bans on same-sex couples, and anything else connecting it implicitly or explicitly to sex? I said that I do believe marriage has an important function in terms of guiding heterosexual behavior. IF we change it to be a general umbrella to cover more relationships, there has to be a reason for it to still be exclusive. But there is not a reason for homo sexual relationships to be treated differently than committed platonic relationships.

    You seem to be saying that I am being logically inconsistent, but it is not inconsistent to say: X instead of Z. But IF Y, then Z. It is completely possible that a logical and reasonable result can change when conditions change.

    Furthermore, I am defending heterosexual-only marriage, I am NOT saying that other types of families, including gay couples and platonic partners should not have codified familial rights or easier access to such rights. I am defending the fact, that yes, society can be fair while treating different behaviors differently, if there is justification. I am also saying that different treatment, if appropriate, does not have to be ignobling to anyone involved.

  • “Also, if your argument is to make marriage completely non-exclusionary, you’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. But I don’t think you’re making that argument.”
    If you consider it, that is precisely what the pro-same-sex arguments are doing. They are saying that marriage must treat everyone equally, while seemingly maintaining comfortable dissonance with the fact that even with their goal, it does not do so. I am pointing out that when their arguments are accepted and that dissonance is resolved, marriage is no longer marriage.

  • Bluejay

    if we are to accept the arguments for same-sex marriage, then marriage must necessarily be deconstructed. No longer can it be aimed at sexual relationships, but an all-inclusive institution must replace it, one that is sex-neutral.

    I understand. My question, like Dr. Rocketscience’s, is: So what? What are the negative consequences of having a sex-neutral institution that simply provides benefits and protections to two consenting adults who want to formally declare that they want to build a life together?

    And — yet again — I don’t see how extending benefits to gay couples diminishes the effectiveness of those benefits for heteros like me. Lack of access to those benefits and protections has very real, negative real-world consequences for gays who have exactly the same bond with each other that I have with my wife. Please see LaSargenta’s comment, especially her anecdote about her lesbian acquaintances.

  • LaSargenta

    No, marriage is about property. The sexual aspect of marriage only comes in with how SINCE marriage is about property and who gets to inherit, it is assumed that there have to be children. In addition, in societies where the woman leaves her family to cleve unto the man’s family, making sure she has children (appropriate ones, of course, usually male) increases the strength of her bonds to the man’s family (since those kids belong to his family, right? After all, which family name do those children have, eh?)

    And, historically, when children did not appear even if there had definitely been sex, if enough property was involved, it was permitted to annul a marriage as “barren”. This wasn’t out of a desire to protect children, it was out of a desire to protect property. [Edited to add: As far as I know, almost western ‘civilization’ requests recorded in history to annul were made by the man in the marriage. There were a few made by the man’s family and I can think of one forced upon the couple by Rome because it affected the line of succession and the Pope didn’t like it.]

    But, this, THIS, is just fucking prize-winning:

    I am also saying that different treatment, if appropriate, does not have to be ignobling to anyone involved.

    Seperate but equal, eh? Awesome.

    Not.

  • I did read her comment with the anecdote, please see my response to it.

    To answer you question of “So, what?” Here’s a short version answer: hetero sex is like a loaded weapon. It’s hugely serious, enough for society to endeavor to “sacrilize” it (a term Jonathan Haidt has recently coined in his comments on bipartisan dialogue.) Birth control, abortion access, adoption, modern law, nor any other modern technology have not made the risks associated to it irrelevant or insignificant.

  • Bluejay

    Furthermore, I am defending heterosexual-only marriage, I am NOT saying that other types of families, including gay couples and platonic partners should not have codified familial rights or easier access to such rights.

    But why can’t these codified familial rights be exactly the same as the rights codified for heteros? And if they can be exactly the same rights, why not call it the same thing: marriage?

    I am defending the fact, that yes, society can be fair while treating different behaviors differently

    But here’s the sticking point for me: how are these behaviors different? Two consenting adults want to be life partners. Looks like the same thing to me. And yes, as LaSargenta points out, it smacks very unpleasantly of “separate but equal.”

  • Hetero sexual behavior is different from ALL other behaviors because it can produce children, and therefore legal bonds and obligations, even without any intention on the part of the people involved to form a commitment, and it can also create more children with relative ease, adding to the increase risk and difficulties associated with a heterosexual relationships, in comparison to all other relationships.

    I have honestly endeavored to let that “same treatment” make sense, and I come back to the sticking point, which is the above. When people say that hetero and homo sexual relationships MUST be treated the same, that is equivalent to saying the law cannot recognise and respond to the above fact. That is preposterous. It’s as if we are creating this new doctrine that necessarily ignores natural, biological processes and their real-life consequences.

  • LaSargenta

    Your response was useless. Do you have any conception of the emotional and financial burdens your homophobic theories force on same-sex couples?!

    Go to a lawyer, any lawyer, even a cheapjack shyster who you wouldn’t trust with a parking ticket and hand over a list of all the contracts, powers of attorney and creation of trusts, writing of deeds as joint tenants in common, adoption papers, wills, etc, that would have to be created to replicate the contract that comes with marriage in the eyes of all the states in this country as well as being recognized by treaty abroad. See how much that would cost you.

    Feh.

    You know nothing and you claim some kind of moral exclusion as well as claim that you are kind. And you lie.

  • But so many of those things have dissappeared from our cultures and law, LaSargenta. Look at what has remained and what still remains in common up until same-sex marriage.
    You really think that people cannot be treated differently in an honorable manner for all involved? Seriously? If we treated all children the same, it would be abusive, as different children have different needs. The specific help we give some would be redundant and exhausting for others, but not helping according to need would be neglectful.

  • Do you have any concept of the potential problems that could arise by changing marriage? If indeed it is important as you say it is, then it should be treated with caution and care and circumspection.
    I would be willing to bet that all the stress and hardship caused by the bureacratic quagmires you describe can be easily eclipsed by the stress of having a child with an unwanted co-parent. This can happen so fast and to people who are nowhere near ready for it, but not to same-sex couples.
    We should be willing to do the work to preserve both ends, to have an institution that reminds people of the risks and obligations unique to hetero sex, and to also support structure of ALL other familial relationships.

  • LaSargenta

    Above you were claiming reasons for marriage. Now you’re saying those historical reasons have changed once I actually presented you with a broad overview of the history of the LEGAL aspect of marriage and exactly what the current battles are about.

    No, they haven’t. If you were to step outside your bubble, or if you would get forced out of it by a divorce, you would find that, no, things haven’t changed so very much.

    It’s amusing that you think you are a supporter of LGBT rights. You need to ask some people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Trans. Only two people that I recall have self-identified as that on this thread and both of them told you that you were ignorant and ire-inducing.

    Go away and check yourself.

  • LaSargenta

    I would be willing to bet that all the stress and hardship caused by the
    bureacratic quagmires you describe can be easily eclipsed by the stress
    of having a child with an unwanted co-parent.

    The two things are not equivalent. You have some serious cognitive dissonance there. Besides, you can be married to an unwanted co-parent. Lots of people are. Marriage makes it even harder. So, this makes no sense.

  • Bluejay

    But marriage benefits and protections are not really about regulating people’s baby-making activities. They are rights and protections granted to married couples regardless of whether they have kids. And where those rights involve children, married couples have access to those rights regardless of whether the kids were accidentally or intentionally conceived.

    I don’t see why married gays shouldn’t have access to those same rights (again, these are rights, not sexual regulations). And again, you haven’t explained (in real-world consequences, not in metaphors) how granting these rights to gays diminishes the effectiveness of those rights for straights. But I think at this point we’re arguing in circles.

  • Bluejay

    If we treated all children the same, it would be abusive, as different children have different needs.

    But. All. Children. Have. The. Same. RIGHTS.

  • No, I do disagree on what marriage is really about. Do you really think that if it had nothing important to do with procreation, it would still be a sexual institution?

    ETA:

    Consider the fact that some changes in biology and society can occur for non-deliberate reasons. Likewise, some things can remain the same, and therefore even carry commonalities throughout time and cultures for non-deliberate reasons.

    Cut through the mysticism and romance that often surrounds the religious underpinnings of marriage, and cut through the property issues, and there are other forces at work. I wrote an opinion on them a few years ago, here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/11/why_marriage.html

    Please forgive the cheesiness of the metaphor in the open and close. It still makes a point, however. The whole point of the opinion was to explore the existential reasons for why marriage is still around, why it is so common throughout time and culture, and why it is still considered sexual in nature.

    And btw, isn’t the whole reason for not having two institutions for example, marriage for heterosexual couples, and domestic partnerships for all other relationships, the principle of Equal Treatment, metaphorical?

  • There are GLBT people who argue that marriage is exclusionary and should be dismantled as a legal institution. I agree with their point that is exclusionary, but I claim that it is justified to be so, IF it is about guiding heterosexual behavior. And of course they’re not in here backing up the exclusionary point, and why would they? If they want legal marriage to disappear, all they have to do is let the pro-same-sex marriage backers take the stage. Because eventually it will. The common thread that links the pro-same sex marriage arguments is equal treatment, which, if applied unhypocritically, completely undermines the concept of marriage in the first place.
    So, maybe you should check yourself, too.

  • Bluejay

    No, I do disagree on what marriage is really about.

    Clearly.

  • My son has different educational rights if he is dyslexic. He would be entitled to a personal aide in school, while his siblings would not be.
    This subject is about demonstrably different behaviors which have demonstrably different impacts on society. It is not necessarily wrong to treat the behaviors differently.

  • …And I am not alone, consider: “The legalization of same-sex marriage may give public codification to modernity’s march toward breaking apart these goods sex from love, sex from procreation, and parenting from procreation. It finally changes the logic of marriage. Same-sex marriage does not simply extend an old institution to a new group of people. It changes the definition of marriage. It reduces marriage primarily to a committed affectionate sexual relation. It goes further. It gives this new and more narrow view of marriage all of the cultural, legal, and public supports that accrued to the institution when it functioned to hold together this complex set of goods. Should liberalism give up its interest in complex organizations of the good in the name of a flat justice which actually promotes new injustices? Same-sex marriage changes the purpose of law. It no longer will serve, in cooperation with other parts of society, to channel behavior and socialization to
    achieve this synthesis of goods. It will function to extend marriage privileges to a particular group of sexual friendships while excluding many other interdependent care givers. Rather than extending the marital status and privilege to same-sex couples and then gradually to other kinds of caring relationships (which logic will dictate), we should find alternative ways of meeting the dependency needs of same-sex couples, interdependent friends, and dependent but unmarried kin. Tax benefits, legal adoption, welfare transfers, and more refined and accessible legal contracts should be used to meet these needs, not the institution of marriage itself.” from http://cslr.law.emory.edu/fileadmin/media/PDFs/Op-Ed_Pieces/Browning.Liberal_Case_Against_Same_Sex_Marriage.3.24.200.pdf

    Yet another argument that echoes my concerns and adds others, also without, btw, being prejudicial against same-sex relationships.

  • Danielm80

    I think it’s odd that he describes a broadening of the definition of marriage and then refers to it as “more narrow.”

    I also think it’s odd that you say his argument isn’t prejudicial against same-sex relationships. Look at this paragraph:

    Others ask whether same-sex marriage may be unjust to children. Doesn’t it raise to the level of normative social policy the idea that children don’t need the parents who gave them life? Others observe that we do not know the effects on children of being raised by same-sex parents. Recent reviews by Steven Nock and Robert Lerner of existing social-science studies of gay parenting demonstrate that all are inadequate with regard to testable hypotheses, sample, controls, and hence conclusions. In short, we have no knowledge about these effects even though recent court opinions assume we do. This raises the question, is it rational to develop social policies without better knowledge?

    He seems to think that anything other than a traditional childbirth, by a man and woman who are married to each other, is somehow harmful to children. He’s ignoring both adoption and advances in reproductive technology.

    Why, exactly, is he opposed to children being raised in a stable, caring home, just because their parents aren’t a heterosexual man and woman? His argument seems to be: We don’t know for sure that it isn’t dangerous, so it must be wrong, even if I can’t prove it.

    You can say that his argument isn’t prejudicial, but it sounds a lot like homophobia and fear of change. And you can keep repeating your same arguments about separate but equal and somehow, somewhere two family members might decide to get married. But you haven’t actually demonstrated that expanding the definition of marriage does anyone any harm. And unless you do (with better evidence than this extremely bizarre essay), we’re just arguing in circles.

  • ScottyEnn

    I don’t think anyone’s concerned about the QUALITY of the Superman work that Card will produce — even those people who vocally detest him seem willing to acknowledge that he has talent as a writer. It’s more that people are questioning whether it’s appropriate that someone with Card’s views should be assigned to work on a character who represents the exact opposite of them.

  • ScottyEnn

    I’m skeptical; in my experience there’s plenty of sexist and homophobic fans operating all across the SF/fantasy fandom spectrum (which, given that a large percentage of it is occupied by rather insecure men, is perhaps not entirely surprising); frankly, while I’m certainly not denying that superhero comic book fandom has it’s ugly side by any means, to suggest that they’re solely or even ‘vastly’ concentrated in that particular niche is, frankly, a bit silly.

  • Bluejay

    Thank you, Danielm80. I was getting a little exhausted.

    Your turn. ;-)

  • LaSargenta

    No, he doesn’t have different rights. The legal basis of different treatment due to different requirements is the ideal of a right to an education. How that education is delivered will differ. If your son were blind, he would be educated to the same standard by different means. But, his right to an education is not infringed because of his dyslexia.

  • From an individual standpoint for any person, including GLBT person, it is the same: they have the right to marry a person of opposite sex. The risks a gay or bisexual man faces from a heterosexual relationship are just like the risks for a straight man: he could be creating with that woman, a permanent bond if a pregnancy results from sex. The risks are NOT the same for him, or anyone else, in a same-sex relationship. Different relationships. Tell me, how does it make sense to essentially say that the state cannot have an institution designated specifically for those unique risks?

    Here’s a real-life example: Man has a relationship with a woman, they’re a couple for a short time, they grow apart. Man was cautious sexually with the woman, they did not have intercourse, therefore they did not risk creating a permanent, unwanted bond through parenthood. Eventually one day he meets another man, and they become a couple. IF the man had engaged in intercourse with the woman, the man may have been obliged to make certain choices that would have limited his ability to meet and be with the man he’s with now, the one he wants to commit to. Somehow the idea that hetero SEX is linked to potential automatic, unintentional obligations affected the behavior of the man and woman and indeed protected them from a situation that would have made it harder to both meet their obligations AND make desired commitments.

  • He does not wield that as an argument, he points out that court opinions assume the studies have provided the knowledge when the knowledge is not known. That was in 2004, and I know of atleast one study since then of lesbian couple parents with children who had better educational outcomes than the norm. In the study, their children were procreated through artificial insemination. Their children were planned, were completely deliberate, as well as the coparenting.
    This is a good and needed study for gays, but it is also a good correlation for the hetero-marriage argument: in this study, it was not merely shown that children benefited with the correlation of two mothers, but also showed children benefitting with the correlation of deliberate, pre-committed parents. The children of gay parents have parents who wanted to be parents together and who wanted their children before having them. By contrast, hetero sexual couples can have children without wanting to commit to each other, many can have children with relative ease and without so much forethought and planning.
    So, back to the paragraph I quoted. It is independent of the question he poses that you refer to on the scientific unknowns of gay parenting, and does not use claims about gay parenting in it.
    In my argument, I claim that by expanding the definition of marriage, the state is no longer able to connect the importance of sex to commitment as it does with hetero-only marriage. It’s a logical argument. There is a public interest in promoting the idea of commitment with hetero sex, because there is categorically more risk associated with hetero sex, with long-term, legal obligations. If anything, the “commitment” connection can at minimum represent those unique heterosexual risks.
    So, the expansion of the definition of marriage removes an ability of the state to contribute to something beneficial to individuals and, by extension, to the public.

  • Danielm80

    But you still haven’t made a good argument against same-sex marriage. In fact, your first paragraph is an argument for same-sex marriage.

    You’ve demonstrated, convincingly, that heterosexual marriage has benefits, too. But no one (not even LaSargenta) was saying that it doesn’t.

    If you’re just going to keep repeating the same lousy arguments–which have been rebutted many, many times–then I think it’s time to call an end to this discussion.

  • I’ve argued that same-sex marriage–to be consistent as a legal umbrella for all familial households–must necessarily result in a deconstruction of legal marriage. So, therefore, if I have demonstrated that heterosexual marriage benefits society, and that the above result threatens marriage itself, I have demonstrated harm.

    Do you acknowledge that marriage, including gay marriage, is exclusionary? It IS the state giving legal preference to sexual relationships. There has to be a good reason for that, if not, the constitutionality of marriage comes into question. There is a state interest in guiding heteroSEXUAL behavior and there is a state interest in codifying familial bonds between ALL kinds of partners, but one cannot do both with the same mechanism.

    Many times there is an intersection between these types of relationships, but there is also a high-risk segment of the population, heterosexual partners who are uncommitted and not selecting based on criteria for long-term compatibility including the creation of new human life. There is also elements of this on a continuum, where better selectiveness achieves better outcomes, where the outcomes can be repeatedly compounded by the heterosexual nature of the relationships.

    I believe that ALL committed relationships should have legal protections, I can also prove that heterosexual relationships are unique from all others in ways that significantly impact society. If you say that the law MUST ignore that uniqueness, there is a serious flaw. It is easy to understand that the law must ignore the uniqueness of a given religion, that it must ignore the uniqueness of race, that it must make accomodations for the handicapped. Why must the law ignore the uniqueness of heterosexual relationships?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’ve argued that same-sex marriage–to be consistent as a legal umbrella for all familial households–must necessarily result in a deconstruction of legal marriage.

    Yeah, but to be fair, you’ve done a really shitty job of it, since you haven’t explained a) why it would be required to abolish marriage for everyone, or b) why it would be bad for heterosexuals to expand marriage to non-sexual and/or non-heterosexual couples. Honestly, this sounds less like an argument for maintaining heterosexuals-only marriage laws, and more like one for universal marriage equality for any and every adult couple.

    I believe that ALL committed relationships should have legal protections

    Oh, so it is an argument for universal marriage equality for all adult couples? Well, that’s very progressive of you.

    I can also prove that heterosexual relationships are unique from all others in ways that significantly impact society.

    Aaaaand now you’re off the rails again, because this isn’t actually a part of the conversation. Because no one is suggesting, let alone attempting, to alter the rights of heterosexual couples. Heterosexual couple lose nothing – no rights, no protections, no public services, no legal status, nothing – if marriage is expanded to homosexual or asexual adult couples. And, no, “uniqueness” is not an actual thing. I’d tell you to come back with a better argument, but you’re arguing against something that only exists in your mind.

    Here’s something no one has ever said: “[I am/my girlfriend is] pregnant, and we thought we should get married, but since gay people can get married, too, there just doesn’t seem to be much point to it.”

  • “…You haven’t explained a) why it would be required to abolish marriage for everyone, or b) why it would be bad for heterosexuals to expand marriage to non-sexual and/or non-heterosexual couples.”

    Yes, I have explained. I’ve said that if the arguments for same-sex marriage are applied to marriage, then marriage must be deconstructed, because there are plenty of committed relationships which fit the same pattern described for same-sex couples. Those other relationships would STILL be excluded. The “same-sex marriage is equivalant to equal rightsfor GLBT persons” argument (which you implicitly affirmed, and was the point at which I began my argument regarding marriage in the first place) depends on the claim that, in order to have equal rights, same-sex couples must be eligible for legal marriage. IF that is true, then ALL other familial relationships which are consentual, legal, and willing should also be eligible for the same rights. And of course, to affirm this equality one must remove marriage from the legal description of said rights in order to not imply preference for sexual relationships. Therefore, the same-sex marriage argument is, even when unintentionally, is an anti-marriage argument.

    However, that all changes if one does not insist that equal rights implies the same institution. This could be resolved, every committed relationship could be eligible for rights and protections by the introduction of domestic partnerships.

    “And, no, “uniqueness” is not an actual thing. I’d tell you to come back with a better argument, but you’re arguing against something that only exists in your mind.”

    If heterosexual relationships are not unique, then debunk this: heterosexual relationships are the only relationships which can create permanent legal obligations, enforceable by law, through sexual intimacy. Not only are heterosexual relationships unique in this way, they are impactful, by and large producing in this way the majority of people on the planet.

    “[I am/my girlfriend is] pregnant, and we thought we should get married, but since gay people can get married, too, there just doesn’t seem to be much point to it.”

    Participants in a heterosexual relationship HAVE said, at some point, “Can I see myself WITH this person, MARRIED? If not, then I better not have sex with them, or better sure as hell hope the birth control works.” Because sex, that one moment, can CREATE a family, by virtue of a child belonging to both of them. No other relationship in humanity has this moral or legal hazard in sexual intimacy.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Wow, you are really bad at this.

    We’ve read all that before and it still doesn’t explain the two things I pointed out, you merely assert them. You do understand the difference between explanation and assertion, yes? Here’s what I mean:

    And of course, to affirm this equality one must remove marriage from the legal description of said rights in order to not imply preference for sexual relationships.

    There’s no “of course” about it. You are asserting that what follows is the only course of action. The glaringly, painfully obvious alternative is to remove any preference for sexual relationships entirely from marriage. You have to argue either the necessity of your option, or the impossibility of the other. You cannot simply toss in an ‘of course” or a “therefore” and ignore the alternatives.

    Now, let me give you an example of an actual argument: the kind of expansion I point out is not much of a change from existing marriage laws, insofar as such laws do not currently require proof of a sexual relationship between married heterosexuals. I’m not even talking about anything so crass as photographic evidence or a bloody sheet after the reception. Rather, I’m thinking of that aspect of marriage you yourself are so fixated on: procreation. We do not dissolve the marriages of couples who are, by choice or fertility issues, childless. We even allow elderly couples to marry, even though the female has passed the reproductive stage of her life.

    So, let’s recap: you made a decent argument about an even more broad expansion of marriage (which no one has refuted); you then made an assertion about the consequences of expanding marriage; I refuted your assertion by offering a viable alternative (and that’s the thing about assertions – they’re really easy to refute); I then offered evidence in support of my alternative. What you are going to have to do now is to refute my evidence, to demonstrate that my alternative is not viable. Or, you can offer evidence as to why your option is preferable to mine.

    If you think I’m being condescending, you’re right. You’ve been given ample opportunity to do these things, by several people in the thread. What you’ve chosen instead is to childishly stomp your feet and repeat the same bad argument, over and over, as though through repetition, it will be come self-evident.

    This could be resolved, every committed relationship could be eligible for rights and protections by the introduction of domestic partnerships.

    So, separate but equal. What could possibly go wrong? Look, this is a stupid semantic game. Most of the obligations, and most of the protections, of child-bearing apply whether or not the couple in question is married. There’s also more than one way for a couple or individual, regardless of sexual preference, to become legally responsible for a child. And while one cannot accidentally adopt, not all pregnancies are unintended, either. If all of the laws concerning “domestic partnership” or “civil unions” or whatever are identical to marriage, we don’t need separate terms. Insisting that we do is one short, very dangerous step away from saying, “The word marriage is special and shiny and mine Mine MINE and you can’t have it, you dirty nasty f****t!”

    debunk this: heterosexual relationships are the only relationships which can create permanent legal obligations, enforceable by law, through sexual intimacy.

    No need. That’s true. (Though I will point out that the phrase “legal obligations, enforceable by law” is redundant. Editing is your friend.) See above about my thoughts on the relationship between these obligations and the marital status of the people in question.

    “Can I see myself WITH this person, MARRIED? If not, then I better not have sex with them, or better sure as hell hope the birth control works.”

    Are you even aware of how you’re using marriage as both a carrot and a stick to control heterosexual behavior? I’d be nice if you could at least pick one or the other. You’ve also completely missed my point; that being everything from the conjunction “but”. Those two ideas are unrelated, so trying to relate them is idiotic.

  • “There’s no “of course” about it. You are asserting that what follows is the only course of action. The glaringly, painfully obvious alternative is to remove any preference for sexual relationships entirely from marriage. You have to argue either the necessity of your option, or the impossibility of the other. You cannot simply toss in an ‘of course” or a “therefore” and ignore the alternatives.”

    Consider what you are saying. One cannot remove “any preference for sexual relationships entirely” while still using “marriage.” It is, culturally, a sexual institution. By using an institution with such heavy cultural implications, the state would still be showing preference to sexual relationships.

    Anyhow, whether one merely removes the explicit legal ties to sex from marriage, or whether one removes the name AND those ties, one is still deconstructing marriage, where, legally, marriage does not resemble the “marriage” that the same-sex argument for marriage seeks. It is still, as I said, an anti-marriage argument, even when unintentional.

    I did not claim that the state function is to entice people into marriage or to punish with marriage, neither carrot nor stick. I’ve stressed the importance of cognitive emphasis on the ties between hetero sex and legal commitment. That’s something that indeed can be lost within the process of human behavior.

    Of course, as you say, parental legal obligations are still there regardless of whether the parents are married or not. I did not say they were not. That’s not the issue. The issue is that the legal obligations, even when fulfilled, fall extremely short of what is possible when the parents already cooperate willingly. The state cannot compensate for this deficit, neither can it force a cooperative balance between the parents. It’s about selectivity and sex. Heterosexual partners have more risks to consider in their selectivity than other types of relationships.

    “…We don’t need separate terms. Insisting that we do is one short, very dangerous step away from saying, “The word marriage is special and shiny and mine Mine MINE and you can’t have it, you dirty nasty f****t!” ”

    Only to some. A word contributes to memory, memory contributes to behavior, and heterosexual behavior is uniquely risky. I gave the example to LaSargenta earlier, of the now-gay friend, who years previously had a relationship with a woman, but was sexually cautious with her. IF he had not been, he could be a father to the child of a woman he does not want to be with. Right now he looks happy with his male partner, also he is not torn between obligations to a child elsewhere and his partner. That “word,” when connecting sex to the idea of long-term commitment, is a form of protection for people, including GLBT persons.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    One cannot [change some aspect of marriage] while still using “marriage.”

    …marriage does not resemble the “marriage” that the same-sex argument for marriage seeks.

    And here, at last, is the crux of it. The rest is just justification and rationalization and window dressing to this.

  • Do you deny this? :: The arguments for same-sex marriage, if accepted and applied without discrimination, would necessarily change marriage to something that does not even resemble what the proponents are asking for. ::
    Look, you first called my argument slippery slope and “slightly less bat-sh*t insane than Rick Santorum’s man-dog argument, now you refer to it as “decent.” You implicitly assumed a position in your commentary on mine, then claimed that you had less obligation than I do to answer questions. You laboured under the misreading that I was arguing than homosexual relationships are riskier. You said that hetereosexual uniqueness, does not exist, then later agreed it is true. Then you put on the “school the person I disagree with” act as if somehow you are in a position to condescend. From the looks of it, it’s not clear that you’ve even really read my posts. From that angle, you’re not in a position to teach. I’ve made my argument. Yes, it has been repetitive at times, but that is the nature of having an interlocking andalso tangential conversation with several people.
    If you really, genuinely want to teach me or get to the crux, THIS is the chief sticking point that I arrive at when I endeavor to accept the arguments of gay marriage: They imply that government cannot distinguish between heterosexual relationships and all others. It is unique from all others, in ways that impact society tremendously. If the state cannot make some distinction, then reasonably, somewhere in the legal and judiciary process of applying Equal Treatment doctrine and application of the Rational Basis requirement, something has gone quite wrong.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Do you deny

    Stop. It’s not my job to make your argument for you, which is why I won’t answer your questions. Make your argument, provide your evidence to support it. That’s what your arguments are lacking: evidence for your assertions and conclusions. (That being said, I do deny that, as opening marriage to any pair of consenting adults is favored by many supporters marriage equality, or at least, not specifically opposed.)

    The decent part is the idea of full equality (though “decent” is not the same as “good”). The batshit crazy part is anything that would lead you to conclude that equality would be bad, for anyone.

    You laboured under the misreading that I was arguing than homosexual relationships are riskier.

    And, if you recall, I apologized for my misreading.

    You said that hetereosexual uniqueness, does not exist, then later agreed it is true.

    You misunderstand, I said that “uniqueness” isn’t a thing that can be lost, certainly not through marriage equality. Heterosexuals wil continue to be unique in their ability to reproduce through sexual intercourse, long after homosexuals and asexuals can get legally married.

    From the looks of it, it’s not clear that you’ve even really read my posts.

    I assure you I have.

    They imply that government cannot distinguish between heterosexual relationships and all others.

    You have not demonstrated that this would be a negative for anyone.

    It is unique from all others, in ways that impact society tremendously.

    I counter that those differences are not tied inextricably to marriage. One need not be married to be a parent, nor are married couples required to become parents.

    …reasonably…

    You can reason it out all you like, but without evidence, it doesn’t mean much.

    …the Rational Basis requirement…

    Rational Basis is an argument in favor of marriage equality, and a good one, at that. Child rearing doesn’t provide the state with a rational reason to deny equal treatment to non-heterosexual couples. Prop 8 has already failed the Rational Basis test in the Circuit Court, where I’m sure its proponents asked those judges (as I’m sure they’ll ask the SCOTUS in March) to please think of the children.

  • You indeed did make an assertion, by defending the claim that equal rights for gays requires gay marriage. Support it. Your “condescension” is disingenious if you refuse to explore pertinent questions.

    The harm in gay marriage is that it forces a different legal view of relationships, one that is blind to heterosexual relationships. It eliminates the ability of the state to distinguish between them and other relationships. It is in the interest of the individual, and by extension, the state, to be aware of the conspicuous risks uniquely associated with heterosexual relationships.

    Looking for concrete evidence? The effects of such changes would reasonably take a considerable amount of time to become observable, as law and culture have an interdependent connection.

    Your claims suffer from a similar lack of concrete evidence. What is the harm of gays having access to domestic partnerships but not marriage? Marriage is certainly not the only avenue to next-of-kinship rights and other rights associated with couples. So what is the harm of legalising a bundle of rights for domestic partnerships, where gays have access, and maintaining marriage as hetero-only? Does it serve to only reinforce values that are irrelevant to the state? “Separate but Equal,” like when referring to interracial marriage bans, is about the state reinforcing differences when the differences where not relevant to the state. Yet, heterosexual relationships, are uniquely relevant and hugely impactful to the state. So, in the instance of having domestic partnerships AND hetero-only marriage coexisting, the state would be reinforcing, or emphasizing the relevant differences between heterosexual relationships and all other relationships.

  • Bluejay

    So what is the harm of legalising a bundle of rights for domestic partnerships, where gays have access, and maintaining marriage as hetero-only?

    In your opinion, Rebecca, should the bundle of rights for gay partnerships be the same rights enjoyed by hetero couples? If not, which of the current benefits and protections of marriage should be reserved for heteros, and denied to gays? Can you point out specific items from this list?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    My evidence, in three words:

    Separate But Equal

    That shit does not fly. Creating different legal structures for different people based on who they are is itself illegal in this country.

    Your failure to understand American history puts you in a poor position to suggest policy.

    Once again, the difference between hetero and homosexual relationships (procreation) is not relevant to marriage. Not in any legal sense. Parents don’t have to be married; marrieds don’t have to be parents. For that matter, sexual partners don’t have to be married and married partners don’t have to have sex, regardless of orientation. This is my evidence to refute your assertions.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Let’s break this down:

    The harm in gay marriage is that it forces a different legal view of relationships, one that is blind to heterosexual relationships.

    How, and to whom, is that harmful?

    It eliminates the ability of the state to distinguish between them and other relationships.

    Why does the state need to make such a distinction w.r.t. marriage? Who is harmed if the state does not?

    It is in the interest of the individual, and by extension, the state, to be aware of the conspicuous risks uniquely associated with heterosexual relationships.

    What interest does the state have, that would need them to violate the 14th Amendment?

    Looking for concrete evidence?

    Yes, please, that would be lovely.

    The effects of such changes would reasonably take a considerable amount of time to become observable, as law and culture have an interdependent connection.

    So… you can’t point to any concrete evidence of harm, but you suspect that someday, maybe, possibly, some form or other of potential harm might conceivably become apparent in some fashion? This is why Prop 8 failed the Rational Basis test.

    ETA: Here’s the thing. You seem to think that last paragraph constitutes “concrete evidence”. Or, at least, you seem to think “just you wait” is a viable argument. You’re also trying to tell me that I’m not providing any evidence, even when I try to clearly label it as such. I think, with that, we’ve reached the end of any sort of progress to be made. For here on, I don’t see this conversation doing anything but running in circles.

  • First, to be clear, domestic partnerships should be considered completely open to all committed household relationships. So the differences between marriage vs domestic partnerships is viewed as the difference between managing and/or protecting heterosexual relationships versus managing and/or protecting any committed household relationships.
    Rights: In my opinion, domestic partners and married couples should have equal rights in housing, medical situations, and next-of-kin status. As far as all the benefits attendant now to married couples, it certainly depends on the state’s intent of the benefit, whether it is to promote marital behavior for heterosexual couples or whether it is a general support for dependants. In some cases, there might be benefit differences between domestic partners who are co-parents and those who are not.
    Responsibilities: (you didn’t ask, but this is important, too.) married individuals should not have the right to be able to dissolve their relationships with the same ease as domestic partners, although domestic partners who are coparenting should similarly not have the right to be able to dissolve their relationships with the same ease as non-coparenting domestic partners. Note that there are *concrete differences between all three: heterosexual married couples have agreed to support one another in all their relationship inherently entails, including, uniquely, being the kind* of relationship that produces children*, and managing that. Then, domestic partners who are coparenting* have children together, those who are not, don’t*.
    One other area that involves both rights and responsibilities, the legal presumption of parentage: while a domestic partner should have legal status for step-children, and should have the ability to adopt the partner’s children, the presumption of parentage if the partner gets pregnant does seem unfounded. This is quite clear in the example of homosexual relationships, we know with certainty that if one partner becomes pregnant, that there is another biological parent outside the relationship with rights and responsibilities which must be managed legally.

  • The fact that procreation is not a requirement of marriage and also occurs outside of marriage certainly does not refute the claim that the state interest in marriage resides in the management of heterosexual procreation. Generally stated: given a behavior that has a direct relationship with a result which affects the general welfare, the behavior is not required to always produce the result, nor does such a result have to always be caused by the given behavior in order for the state to take measures to regulate the behavior.
    Another example of this general statement is DUI laws. Drunk driving is directly associated with reckless driving and public injury and death from traffic accidents. While there are people who can drive skillfully with an illegal blood alcohol level, and therefore drive without being reckless, they are not immune from DUI laws; also, reckless driving, public injury, and death from traffic accidents can occur without drunk driving.
    Another traffic-related example is speed. High speeds are directly related to traffic fatalities, but they don’t always cause them, while also traffic fatalities can occur at low speeds; remember that a person can be arrested for driving too fast, and for DUI, even if they do not cause an accident or drive recklessly. In other words, behavior can be and is legally regulated even when there are exceptions.
    Back to the specific case: procreation does not always result from heterosexual relationships, nor in marriage, and procreation can occur outside of marriage. Yet, there is still a direct relationship between heterosexual relationships and procreation. Compare heterosexual relationships to ALL others: not only do they have a higher tendency to produce children, they are the only kind of relationships that produce children.
    In other posts you’ve also cited heterosexual married couples who choose to not have children as counter-evidence, however, that is also an example of heterosexuals managing procreation. Certainly, heterosexual partners who choose to not procreate generally have to take proactive steps to prevent procreation. No other kind of human relationship has to take steps to not procreate. Ever.

  • About my last paragraph there, I was comparing the similar lack of evidence of concrete harm from both of our positions. I can point to countries where the marriage rates have fallen with the introduction of same-sex marriage, and where there is a rise of children born outside of two parent homes, but cannot yet establish a causal connection between the changed legal definition and the behavior. You could point to historical case of racial segregation and anti-miscegenation laws to show that they were harmful, but that does not show that preserving marriage for heterosexual couples while having domestic partnerships for other relationships would be harmful.

  • “My evidence, in three words:

    Separate But Equal

    That shit does not fly. Creating different legal structures for different people based on who they are is itself illegal in this country.

    Your failure to understand American history puts you in a poor position to suggest policy.”

    You have not demonstrated that I do not understand American history. Racial segregation in public places failed legally because there was an egregious tendency for non-whites to get inferior accomodations. Interracial marriage bans, among other reasons, failed legally because they exposed a legal preference for the preservation of the white race, not merely “pure” races above “mixed races.” (Though actually racial purity was measured arbitrarily and valued subjectively, so the whole idea of racial purity was nonsense from the point of view of state interest.)
    A major problem with your statement above is that you are implicitly comparing racial differences to relative gender of sexual partners. A person does not always have sex with someone because of “who they are.” A significant number of people experiment beyond their sexual preferences.
    Those experimentations, regardless of sexual orientation, are uniquely risky in heterosexual encounters in regards to creating permanent legal bonds. That’s a concrete result. Recall that the racial tension which might occur due to a mixed-race couple, or the taboo directed at it, is a human construct, one that was being perpetuated by the bans. On the other hand, the tendency for heterosexual partners to reproduce is a biological fact. Remember the example I gave of the gay friend, who was previously involved with a woman? Regardless of “who” he considers himself to be, he could have been the father of her child, resulting in competing, likely incompatible demands on him, especially now that he is in a committed domestic partnership with a man. Heterosexual contact is uniquely risky for him, in regards to potential to create permanent legal bonds. Therefore, the concept that heterosexual relations can involve permanent commitment is still useful to him, entailing lasting impact on his life, even if he considers himself gay, or anything else.

  • LaSargenta

    the state interest in marriage resides in the management of heterosexual procreation.

    No, I repeat, the state’s interest is in the control and management of property. The state doesn’t give a damn about the “management” of procreation.

    This idee fixe about procreation is a product of a narrow view of a society and the laws it might need.

    [Something about the way you use words like “management” with “procreation” make me think of cattle and swine.]

  • Danielm80

    Two senior citizens, an older man and woman, fall in love. They have a big church wedding. They don’t plan to have children. Do you think they’d be insulted if someone said, “You’re not really married. You’re in a ‘domestic partnership'”? And do you think a same-sex couple might feel discriminated against if someone told them their relationship isn’t a real marriage?

  • LaSargenta

    married individuals should not have the right to be able to dissolve their relationships with the same ease as domestic partners

    Yes, you want to punish people.

    Also, you didn’t answer Bluejay’s question.

    Hello Thread? I’d like to make an announcement and no, this isn’t satire. I’d like to abolish marriage and require sterilization for anyone holding strong opinions AND arguing for their opinions to be enshrined in misogynistic legal code against No Fault Divorce and Same Sex Marriage. If they have already procreated, they will be permitted to continue to raise their children, however, they will have to submit to monthly visits from a group of social workers chosen by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

    (Obviously, if this gets promulgated, I’d fall into that category, too, of “strong opinions…enshrined”; so, I look forward to the monthly visits. I’ll make them my special spice cake and really good tea while they chat with my son about whatever story’s got him curious from the newspapers.)

  • Bluejay

    Responsibilities: (you didn’t ask, but this is important too.) married individuals should not have the right to be able to dissolve their relationships with the same ease as domestic partners, although domestic partners who are coparenting should similarly not have the right to be able to dissolve their relationships with the same ease as non-coparenting partners.

    Do you mean, by this, that you think it’s currently too easy for married couples to get divorced, and you’d like to make it harder?

    In any case, that question is beside the point. If a couple (gay or straight) wants to marry, that means they freely accept the rights and responsibilities of marriage, however those are defined. If a gay couple wants to be bound by the responsibilities and restrictions of marriage, who is harmed by allowing them to do so?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Do you really think segregation would have survived if the segregated facilities had been of equal quality? And even if they had, do you think that would have been a good thing? Or do you suspect there may have been a larger issue of justice in play?

    Also, your understanding of human sexuality (as opposed to reproduction) is appalling. I just thought you should know.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    We don’t create a protected class for drunk and reckless drivers, or safe and sober drivers for that matter. We only require a trivial demonstration of competence to receive a license to drive, and that’s more about the fees than anything.* No such test exists for marriage. Poor driving, especially which results in fatalities, will result in loss of that license and therefore the legal right to drive. No amount of failed mariages, nor even the death of one’s spouse, prevents someone from remarrying, so long as they marry the opposite gender.

    Long story short, while I get your point about regulating behavior, this was a piss poor analogy the first time you tried it, and it isn’t improving with age.

    * Consider: the California Department of Motor Vehicles was once a division of the Department of Finance. The Colorado Motor Vehicle Division is currently a part of the Department of Revenue.

  • LaSargenta

    Bluejay, on the topic in you post, I saw this http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130306/us-gay-marriage-michigan/?utm_hp_ref=media&ir=media … seems to say that even if people are willing to undertake the legal battle to replicate rights and responsibilities of a marriage without a state marriage, at least in Michigan they cannot because it would look too much like they are married. The judge seems to recognize this and this case will be interesting to see…

  • Bluejay

    Indeed. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah, last year the Wisconsin domestic partnership law was upheld in the state appellate court as constitutional with respect to that state’s marriage amendment. The amendment forbids not just same-sex marriage, but any other legal structure indistinguishable from marriage. But the court fond that the domestic partnerships were dissimilar enough to marriage to pass muster. http://jurist.org/paperchase/2012/12/wisconsin-appeals-court-upholds-domestic-partnership-registry.php
    That’s how fucked up this whole thing is: in a lot of states, non-heterosexuals can’t even have the lame-ass not!marriage that Rebecca wants to give out.

  • LaSargenta

    Rebecca doesn’t want to “give out” anything. That’s all noise to play HeyLookIt’sElvis while she gets to feel speshul about her church-sanctioned, government-protected breeding (and, in this case, use of that word is an outgrowth of her using “management” and “procreation” so many times so close together that she is making me think of what my friend and lamb-connection does with sheep, her husband does with bees and another couple I buy meat from does with cattle, emu, and guinea hens–I am not using the word as a slur on straights this time, even though last night I was culling a box filled with photos and found proof sheets with pics of a friend who died of homophobia in the early 90’s).

    Sorry for sucking you back in, Boss. But, you took the gun…have a cannoli.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Hey, I struggled for an appropriate word to describe it. “Give out” was the best i could come up with. :P

    Also, no worries, I saw where you were coming from.

    My sympathies about your friend. I may have lost a friend to transphobia a few years ago, but I’ve never been able to confirm it, because none of our mutual friends have heard anything from her, either.

  • If that’s your claim, then test it. Why is this state interest–if it is the sole state interest in marriage–still attached to a sexual institution, after all these years? One can show and justify a state interest in “managing procreation,” in any case.

  • In what way did I not answer BlueJay’s question?

  • “Do you really think segregation would have survived if the segregated facilities had been of equal quality? And even if they had, do you think that would have been a good thing? Or do you suspect there may have been a larger issue of justice in play?”

    I have no idea if segreattion would have survived if facilities had been equal. Nothing occurs in a vaccuum, though. If the facilities had been equal, then that likely reveals that the state and populace had sufficient regard for the rights and needs of blacks, and if they had such regard, and hence, respect, they would not force segregation. People naturally want to mingle with those they regard and respect.

    “Also, your understanding of human sexuality (as opposed to reproduction) is appalling. I just thought you should know.”

    Go ahead, tell me how it is appalling.

  • It is not an analogy, it is a concrete example counter to your claim. You argued that procreation is not being regulated by marriage since 1) procreation is not an actual requirement of marriage and 2) procreation can legally occur outside of marriage. If that were actually works as a refutation, then DUI laws would be wrong, speeding laws would be wrong, in addition to countless other laws regulating behavior “in kind.”
    Marriage, even if a protected class, applies to all individuals, and when designated as heterosexual, it makes more conspicuous the responsibilities inherent to any person who engages in that kind of behavior.

  • By saying that same-sex couples are subject to the same moral obligations as heterosexual couples, this implies that gay sexual partners who are not “building the nest” are being neglectful. But gay sexual partners do not have the same moral obligations in regards to sex as heterosexual partners, they only share *some of them when they have decided to bring children into the home. So it perpetuates a taboo against gay singles.

    Also, the logical equivalant to “same-sex couples are subject to the equivalant moral obligations as heterosexual couples” is “heterosexual couples are subject to the same moral obligations as homosexual couples.” What gets sacrificed in this new social value is the moral obligations unique to heterosexual relationships, as if all modern technology and medicine has made those obligations obsolete.

    (Only, *some*, because a heterosexual couple, in general, with children, still has to be mindful of the possibility of additional children, coming unplanned, into the family. For example, all else being equal, a gay partner–even when they have children–does not have to worry about the risks and side effects of the birth control pill on his/her partner if the partner happens to have a history of deep vein thrombosis, or doesn’t have to worry about a the threat of pregnancy on a partner who has a health issue which makes them endangered by pregnancy. This is a more thorough picture of what “managing procreation” means, but not all, although I hope it gives you the idea.)

    I know that the first two paragraphs discuss the moral results concerning cultural values, and earlier you did point out that these are “metaphorical,” which I take to say, correct me if needed, “not concrete.” And that’s a very important point. But that’s also the concern of the Prop 8, Separate but Equal equivalancy claims, that even if the same rights are available under a different name, that taboos against GLBT persons will be symbolically perpetuated.
    Something else to consider, perhaps an even greater result, then, of revising marriage, is that our culture further removes moral obligations from marriage and sex. You can already hear it out there, people claiming that marriage is only another “legal contract.” Isn’t this ironic in a world where private individuals are being called upon to make moral equivalancies to which lightbulbs they use and which chocolate they buy? In effect, saying that moral obligations to sex are no longer relevant to marriage (because we have the pill, abortion, child support laws, ect…) is like saying, “When you buy non-Fair Trade diamonds, no problem, just donate to UNICEF or Save the Children.”

  • Regarding divorce, I am saying that there should be nothing preventing states from creating stronger dissolution statutes on marriage than domestic partnerships, or, logically-speaking, nothing preventing easier statutes for domestic partnerships.

  • “The two things are not equivalent. You have some serious cognitive dissonance there”

    I did not say they were equivalent. Bureacracy can be changed. On the other hand, for example, the fact that you made a baby with a person you barely knew, is permanent.

    ” Besides, you can be married to an unwanted co-parent. Lots of people are. Marriage makes it even harder. So, this makes no sense.”

    Yes, people can be married to an unwanted co-parent, but it follows logically that if they were wanted at some point as a long-term co-parent, then that increases the likelihood of still being wanted later. It also follows that if a couple chooses each other with co-parenting as a strong, important possibility, then they will be more compatible as co-parents than those who never consider it, even if they separate as a couple. This is more reason behind the existance of a state interest in marriage for managing procreation, because when co-parents cannot resolve their differences on their own, the state is often obliged to interfere.

  • Do you really project this nonsense onto everyone opposed to same-sex marriage?

    One would think that someone so sensitive to the victims of homophobia would be more aware of the fallacy of projecting feelings onto people with attributes or views they don’t understand.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It is not an analogy

    Seriously?

    analogy: (from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/analogy?s=t )

    1. a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based
    .
    .
    .
    5. Logic. a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects.

    Marriage, even if a protected class, applies to all individuals

    Except how it doesn’t. Which is kind of the point, remember?

  • Bluejay

    Rebecca, I… you… your argument makes no sense at all.

    By saying that same-sex couples are subject to the same moral obligations as heterosexual couples, this implies that gay sexual partners who are not “building the nest” are being neglectful.

    Are you saying that married straight couples who are infertile, or who consciously decide not to have children, are also being neglectful? Are you, in fact, saying that people who get married have a moral obligation to have children?

    But gay sexual partners do not have the same moral obligations in regards to sex as heterosexual partners, they only share *some of them when they have decided to bring children into the home.

    Okay, I’ve read this bit a couple of times, and I can take it two ways:

    (1) If you’re saying gay parents don’t have the same moral obligations towards their children as straight parents, you’re outrageously wrong. Gay parents have exactly the same obligations to love their kids and raise them well. In your parenthetical paragraph, you say straight couples’ obligations are different because there’s the possibility of unplanned children coming into the family. No, there’s no difference in obligation. Parents are all morally obliged to love and care for all their children, planned or unplanned. The parental duty towards children remains exactly the same.

    (2) If you’re saying that married gay couples’ obligations to each other as sexual partners are different than straight couples’ obligations, I’m afraid I don’t see it. In your parenthetical paragraph, you say gay partners don’t have to worry about medical or health issues relating to pregnancy. What are you talking about? Are you saying lesbian partners never choose to have kids through artificial insemination? That the health of the pregnant partner is never a concern? And apart from pregnancy, if you think gay partners don’t need to care about sex-related health issues, you must have slept through the entire AIDS crisis. But why limit it to sex-related health issues? Why not recognize that gay partners love each other and have the same concern for each others’ health and welfare as straight couples do?

    Also, the logical equivalant to “same-sex couples are subject to the equivalant moral obligations as heterosexual couples” is “heterosexual couples are subject to the same moral obligations as homosexual couples.”

    The real equivalence is this: “All married couples are subject to the same moral obligations.” Any couple that chooses to marry, gay or straight, freely accepts those obligations.

    I know that the first two paragraphs discuss the moral results concerning cultural values, and earlier you did point out that these are “metaphorical,” which I take to say, correct me if needed, “not concrete.”

    By “metaphorical” I meant that you’ve been speaking in metaphors (analogies, similes, etc). Rather than discussing actual details, you’ve been making flawed comparisons to regulating cars vs bikes, loaded weapons, non-Fair Trade diamonds, and so on. And you still seem to avoid answering very specific questions, such as which items on a specific list of marriage benefits should in your opinion be denied to gay partners. You always fall back on generalities and assertions of difference. But the rights and benefits are the crux of the issue. If you’re unwilling to take your argument to that level — to discuss specific rights and benefits, and the specific harms that you fear will occur when gay couples have access to those rights — then in my opinion your argument fails. If it doesn’t work in the particular, then you have no basis in the general.

    Something else to consider, perhaps an even greater result, then, of revising marriage, is that our culture further removes moral obligations from marriage and sex.

    Oh wow, Rebecca. Wow, wow, wow. How can you fail to see that the exact opposite is the truth? How can you not see and hear all the gay couples who are clamoring to declare their love and commitment to each other, and who want the right to be married precisely so that they can strengthen their moral and emotional bonds to each other? Precisely so that they can formalize their life partnership before their community, their government, and (if a religious ceremony is involved) their god? If you believe marriage promotes commitment, monogamy, duty towards offspring, and other “family values” (however you define them), how can you not celebrate that this is something that loving gay partners want?

    I’m really not sure what else to say. Your argument simply astonishes me.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    People naturally want to mingle with those they regard and respect.

    And yet you insist that gay people not be allowed to use “marriage”. Well, that’s certainly revealing. Actually it’s not, your contempt is pretty apparent. But, you know what, if you don’t want be thought of as contemptuous, I suggest you stop arguing for contemptuous things. They say the arc of history bends toward justice. You should consider bending.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That’s not the question. It’s not “is there a state interest in marriage”, it’s “is there a state interest in preventing non-heterosexuals from marrying”. The former is a non sequitur, and besides, I don’t think you’re prepared for the answer to be “no”.

  • “Are you saying that married straight couples who are infertile, or who consciously decide not to have children, are also being neglectful? Are you, in fact, saying that people who get married have a moral obligation to have children?”

    Wow, I am saying none of those things! Do you believe that–all else being equal–single homosexual partners are exposing themselves to the same moral hazards as single heterosexual partners? They are not. There is more, not less, moral hazard in heterosexual relationships. What I was saying that, by saying the moral hazard is equivalant, one in general is attributing a level of sexual irresponsibility to sexually active gay singles that does not exist “in kind.”

    “In your parenthetical paragraph, you say gay partners don’t have to worry about medical or health issues relating to pregnancy. What are you talking about? Are you saying lesbian partners never choose to have kids through artificial insemination? That the health of the pregnant partner is never a concern?”

    I was talking about worries about the results of their sexual relationship on the partner’s health. In this case it’s the procreative power of their sexual relationship that poses a health threat. By extension, thatt is what I meant regarding children. Additional children can hinder a couples ability to parent existing children; hetero couples are faced with greater responsibility in this regard because procreation can happen so easily, without any outside intervention.

    About AIDS, do you really think anyone is going to get married to avoid getting AIDS?

    As far as you list of things of what to deny gay partners, I did answer your question, though I refused to answer it in that way, and I explained at the beginning why: it’s about the difference between heterosexual relationships and ALL other relationships. So I don’t see any reason to single out gays. Your question is like the “what sauce do you pour on the puppies you eat for breakfast?” question.

    I did give some specifics, saying hetero marriages should not be required to be as easily dissolved as domestic partnerships, and domestic partnerships with children not as easilt dissolved as those without children. I also said the presumption of parentage should not be given to domestic partnerships. Those ARE particulars.

    As far as benefits, that’s the kind of thing that changes as budgets change, so I hesitate to say what benefits anyone should get.

    “…If you believe marriage promotes commitment, monogamy, duty towards offspring, and other “family values” (however you define them), how can you not celebrate that this is something that loving gay partners want?”

    Of course I can see that and I see them, and that is why I do believe gay couples and other partners should also be able to formalize their relationships, most especially have the legal protections such formality provides. The other WHO I am thinking of is the people, who, when society continues to attach less and less mythos to sex, will suffer. The mythos reflects the concrete reality that a heterosexual encounter can make the sexual partners permanently and legally bound as parents of a child or children. I firmly acknowledge that society has been eroding this mythos long before the current gay marriage movement came around, but this IMO will further erode it, because it further disconnects sex from legal marriage.
    In states and countries where ssm has passed, people have said that it would actually boost general enthusiasm for marriage in the long-term, but marriage rates have fallen in several cases. That’s not causal confirmation, but I think it is enough to make a rational person hesitant.
    I mentioned that many believe that modern technology and medicine make the moral responsibilites attached to sex obsolete, and that therefore marriage is less about procreation, thus same-sex marriage should be legalised. Yet, the problem with that is that innovations do not remove the moral obligations, but just help to make them more manageable.

  • How is gay people NOT using marriage, but having all the rights attendant to their needs, about NOT mingling? You are confusing actual human interaction with abstract classification. Remember, you already agreed that heterosexual relationships are unique. This is what it comes down to, there are more levels of moral responsibility attendant to them than any other relationship. I do NOT think it is wrong to therefore legally distinguish them from other relationships, as they do have enormous impact on society.

    That said, about contemptuousness, I do regret calling the petition “intellectually dense,” or in other words, “stupid,” because that contributes to a hostile conversation. I do think that such responses like the petition are not good for spreading enlightenment, but neither was my tone, and I apologize.

    I have asked you before, but I’ll ask again: I think we both understand that government has no place in distinguishing people based on religious (non/)affiliation or race. Those differences don’t matter to the state. (If a religious person commits a crime due to religious motivation, they can be punished based on the crime itself.) BUT isn’t there something wrong if we say that the state cannot distinguish heterosexual relationships? They are a unique kind of relationship, which has bearing on the general welfare. Have you considered the arc of a history when the state cannot acknowledge pertinent fact of enormous magnitude?

  • Danielm80

    We’ve been having this discussion for more than a week now, and you still haven’t made one actual argument against same-sex marriage. You’ve made vague, general statements about “deconstructing marriage.” You’ve made a lot of strident comments about protecting the children, which have nothing to do with the actual topic.

    Let’s try this again:

    Some straight couples have children. Some don’t.

    Some gay couples have children. Some don’t.

    This will continue to be true if same-sex marriage is legal.

    Heterosexual couples, as you like to point out, can have children without planning to. And their children may be happier and healthier if their parents get married and manage to raise them in a stable, loving home.

    But heterosexual couples will be able to get married just as easily if same-sex marriages are legal. They’ll be able to get married even if we extend marriage rights to inanimate objects, or if we allow people to marry their imaginary friends. Same-sex marriage doesn’t threaten heterosexual marriage in any way.

    I’m getting tired of making these points over and over again, and I’m sure you’re just as tired of listening to them. But I have to conclude one of two things: Either you know that you haven’t addressed these points, and you’re hoping we haven’t noticed; or you genuinely can’t tell that your comments are non sequiturs. I’m not sure which idea disturbs me more.

    You’ve made one sort-of-relevant argument: that marriage rates have gone down in countries with same-sex marriage. But you’ve said yourself that the argument is based on inconclusive evidence. So it’s not very helpful to the discussion.

    If you want to make an actual argument, you need to give clear, direct answers to the following questions:

    (1.) How does same-sex marriage prevent heterosexual couples from getting married, or harm them in any way?

    (2.) What harm does same-sex marriage do to children, whether their parents are gay, straight, or otherwise?

    I look forward to hearing your answers, even though, after more than a week, I’m not expecting any.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Because, despite what you think, segregationists did not only want to not share physical space. They wanted to not share society and social institutions. Just as you don’t want to share the social institution of marriage with non-heterosexuals.

    To answer your question, yet again, the answer is no. With respect to marriage, there is no compelling reason to distinguish between heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals to the point of denying the Equal Protection clause to non-heterosexuals. And creating separate but equal social institutions was decades ago determined to be a violation of Equal Protection. You’re welcome to provide biological parents additional protections, separate from marriage, of course, but they already exist, so what’s the point.

  • “If you want to make an actual argument, you need to give clear, direct answers to the following questions:

    (1.) How does same-sex marriage prevent heterosexual couples from getting married, or harm them in any way?

    (2.) What harm does same-sex marriage do to children, whether their parents are gay, straight, or otherwise?

    I look forward to hearing your answers, even though, after more than a week, I’m not expecting any.”
    As a reminder, this tangent of the conversation began when my point of view, that I support GLBT rights but oppose ssm, was challenged as contradictory.
    1. Gay marriage fundamentally changes the institution, the legal, public, and social basis for the institution: (that’s my assertion, what follows are the supporting facts.) Instead of it being an institution targeted at the only kind of human relationship that can reproduce without outside intervention, it would be targeted at ALL sexual relationships.
    THIS necessarily produces some significant legal results. In the former case, and in the latter, marriage is exclusionary: in the former, it excluded everyone except legally-consenting heterosexual couples. The reason for this exclusion? Tradition, perhaps, and the fact that heterosexual relationships pose a unique moral hazard for society which can only be regulated on a cognitive, individual basis, which therefore justifies use of a promotional legal status.
    The entire basis for this is that heterosexual relationships can produce a legal relationship, created by their offspring, through sex. Marriage is a cognitive reminder of that possibility of sex; one sex act can, in effect, directly result in a binding, permanent, legal contract. This is the basis for the exclusion in marriage, in the first case.
    NOW, examine the exclusion of the second case, where marriage excludes all people who are not part of a homo or hetero sexual couple. In this case, marriage is reserved for two kinds of relationships which are sexual. What is the basis for this exclusivity? ? ? Actually, though I have pointed this out several times, no one has defended the exclusiveness of marriage in this case. It turns out that, the familial argument for ssm, the companionship argument, the co-parental argument for ssm can ALL apply to other excluded relationships, to close-blood relatives and to platonic partners. There is no reason, once same-sex marriage is accepted, to exclude those relationships.
    Thus, marriage becomes legally detached from sex. And therefore, the state no longer has an institution which is a cognitive reminder of an enormously frequent and impactful legal reality of sex.
    2. Children, whether they are gay or not, still benefit more when their parents cooperate rather than when they do not. Since most of the cooperation required in day-to-day living occurs at a level unenforceable by the state, a child and the state has an interest in parents being as compatible as possible before they are legally bound to one another. Gay co-parents or platonic co-parents can never become co-parents without deciding to do so. On the other hand, heterosexual partners can become co-parents without deliberation, and relatively easily. So, when the state’s ability to caution heterosexual partners (which are known to include GLBT individuals) of the impactful legal realities of sex is hindered, that translates into the state not being able to caution people of today who will be co-parents in the future.

  • Actually, no, I have not said I do not want to share marriage with non-heterosexuals. I have said it should be for heterosexual couples only. There are GLBT individuals in heterosexual relationships. I have pointed out that this serves as a protection for ALL kinds of people, not just heterosexual individuals.

    A black person or a white person, during the era of anti-miscegenation laws, was equally able to create a child with another person, regardless of race, but not regardless of gender.

    But, in any case, not sharing the marital institution with all kinds of couples does NOT result in not wanting to share society or physical space with them. We have other exclusive statuses while still sharing space and society. For example, we reserve adult legal status for people age 18 or over, with a few exceptions, while still sharing society and space. We handle the fact that minors are not able to consent to many things, are not able to care for themselves, nor able to fully make adult decisions. That changes with circumstances, specifically, time.

    This distinguishing does not necessarily result in forming poor or negative opinions about minors or about adults, neither must it result from poor or negative opinions about either. The same is true for the distinguishing of heterosexual couples. You’ve already conceded they are unique. That’s factual, so therefore, acknowledging such a fact does not necessarily result in forming poor or negative opinions about heterosexuals or non-heterosexuals, neither must it result from poor or negative opinions about either. Your equivalance of Separate But Equal to Hetero-Only Marriage is faulty.

  • Danielm80

    I have a question for you.

    A brilliant geneticist marries a brilliant novelist. Both of them are women. They never have children.

    While the geneticist is getting her degree, the novelist takes a boring office job to support them and writes at night. They don’t have much money, but they manage to pay the bills. Eventually, they both become successful. The geneticist gets a job with a prestigious research firm and makes discoveries that help treat several different diseases. Now the novelist can stay home and write. She writes a book that becomes a popular success and wins a number of awards. People walk up to her all the time and tell her it changed their lives. Other writers tell her she was a huge influence on their work.

    When the novelist gets stuck on a book, the geneticist helps her talk through the story. Sometimes she makes suggestions that change the plot for the better.

    The novelist doesn’t know much about science, but she encourages her wife when she’s not making much progress, and she gives her really helpful advice on how to deal with her colleagues.

    After they’ve been together for many years, the novelist develops cancer. Because they’re married, insurance pays for the treatment, even though she’s self-employed. Because they’re married, her wife has visitation rights in the hospital. The geneticist doesn’t have a cure for the disease, but she has enough medical background to speak knowledgeably with the doctors about treatment options.

    The cancer goes into remission for a long time, but after a number of years, the novelist dies. In spite of her tremendous grief, the geneticist makes the important legal and financial decisions that follow. She takes charge of her wife’s literary estate and makes sure that the novelist’s wishes are carried out. She receives royalties on her wife’s books and invests them as wisely as she can.

    Many different libraries and museums offer to buy their scientific and literary papers. She finally decides to donate all of them to the Smithsonian. Generations of scholars and fans read through them and learn from them.

    The archive includes a small batch of the love letters they wrote each other over the years. It’s obvious to anyone who reads them that they loved each other very much.

    Here’s my question: Does the government have an interest in allowing these two women to marry?

  • Not necessarily. The government has an interest, IMO, in granting them next-of-kin rights like those involving medical decisions, hospital visits, and inheritance. They remind me of some elderly cousins I know, sisters, who are loving and supportive and have lived together for decades. The government has equal interest in affirming the relationship of both these sets of partners.

    Look, I do not think any of these very close, committed relationships should be left out of access to an umbrella of legal protections. We don’t have to use marriage to serve as a universal umbrella; it can still serve specifically in the ways I described in the above post.

    The problem with marriage serving as such a universal umbrella is that it cannot do that while ALSO underscoring the more unique message that one sex act can, in effect, directly result in a binding, permanent, legal contract.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I have not said I do not want to share marriage with non-heterosexuals. I have said it should be for heterosexual couples only.

    The fact that you don’t or can’t recognize that that’s exactly what you’re saying, that those two sentences are functionally identical, itself says a lot about you.

    Also, the “homosexuals can get married, they just have to marry the opposite sex” argument is so far past stupid it’s running head long into evil. Don’t fucking do that, because I have been trying not to classify your arguments as “stupid or evil”, and this does not help. Neither does the rest of this post. For example, I’m guessing you have no idea – because you clearly haven’t thought through all the implications of what you write – just how insulting you’re being by comparing non-adulthood, an transient state the mere passage of time will alter, with homosexuality. “You can’t get married because you’re not an adult, yet. And you can’t get married because you’re not straight, yet.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    And once again you fail to show harm. Actual harm to actual people. You’re reallyworking hard to avoid it, in fact. And that, in case you’re wondering, is why no one here is buying into* your silly and AFIAK unique interpretation of marriage as the state’s way of warning people that sex is how babby is formed. Showing us who, exactly, would be harmed and how, exactly, they would be harmed would go a long way toward me, at least, considering your point of view as something other than rationalized homophobic bullshit.

    * And no, the fact that I’m willing to agree that heterosexual intercourse carries a risk of pregnancy, and that homosexual sex does not, does not mean that I buy it. That I accept one, or even all of your premises does not imply that I accept your conclusions.

  • Guest

    Hey! Dr. R! (And Bluejay and Danielm80 and anyone else who’s interested) Check this out: http://www.towleroad.com/2013/03/protectmarriagescotus.html#more Here’s the reporting on the weak and the crazy actually submitted to the Supreme Court!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, I stand correct: Rebecca’s position isn’t unique. That particular stupidity goes all the way to Boehner.

  • “The fact that you don’t or can’t recognize that that’s exactly what you’re saying, that those two sentences are functionally identical, itself says a lot about you.”

    Actually, they are not. There are people who identify as GLBT, or “non-heterosexual” who are in heterosexual relationships. Obviously it will get confusing when “homosexual” or “heterosexual” is used both as a description of sexual identity and as a description of the genders of two people in a relationship. Plenty of people who don’t identify as “heterosexual” are in a hetersexual relationship. Also plenty of people who don’t identify as heterosexual engage in heterosexual activity at some point.

    The connection of marriage to hetero sex is useful to the above people, and to those who identify as heterosexuals. People WILL be helped to know that hetero sex CAN imply something resembling “marriage.” (The entire mythos of a mom and a dad being responsible for a nest and a child.) It is a fact that one heterosexual encounter can produce permanent legal bonds between a man and woman; the cultural connection of sex to commitment in “marriage” serves the interests of MANY more people than those who identify as heterosexuals.
    That’s not evil at all. Being able to acknowledge the truth, to remind peopel of critical truths at critical junctures in their lives is GOOD.

  • You keep presuming that harm must be demonstrated. That’s not necessarily the case, it actually depends on any given area and its legal history.

    My reason–that gay marriage will necesarily transform legal marriage into an institution that can no longer emphasize risks specific to heterosexual sex–is abstract, but so is your claim that people will be harmed if marriage is reserved for heterosexual relationships while all other relationships have access to domestic partnerships. Both of us are making abstract claims.

    And before you again say that Separate But Equal can’t Work, stop. Those are not “Separate but Equal” scenarios.

    I’ve given examples in which society can have different legal categories for different circumstances, when there is a need. We can handle that, without being ignobling to persons, when the need is clear. It is also very clear, for instance, that just teaching teens how to use birth control, avoid STDs, and how babies are made is not enough to prevent them from even intentionally getting pregnant. There are several fairly complex concepts, life lessons, involved that typically won’t be absorbable until much later after puberty, after the brain has fully developed physiologically, concepts that at young ages are much more easily communicated through the idea “marriage.”

    You seem perfectly willing to throw away the exclusive nature of marriage in the interest of creating one perfectly inclusive legal status. This would make sense IF all kinds of relationships had the same tendency to create legal statuses without outside intervention. But that is not the case. Heterosexual sex is a big deal to society, affecting all of us including the GLBT community. Continuing to be mindful of its tremendous power is informative on the personal level and the public level. It is a good thing. THAT’s where I’m coming from.

  • Bluejay

    My reason […] is abstract, but so is your claim that people will be harmed if marriage is reserved for heterosexual relationships while all other relationships have access to domestic partnerships. Both of us are making abstract claims.

    Only someone who isn’t part of a devoted gay couple, or who isn’t friends with any such couples, could claim that the harm caused by outlawing gay marriage is abstract. Your argument continues to disgust me.

  • I am friends with a gay couple in a domestic partnership. Tell me why they are harmed by not having access to marriage.

  • Consider types of relationships: sexual, including same-sex and heterosexual,and non-sexual, including platonic companions in shared households, platonic close-blood relatives. One of these kinds of relationships is a different thing, the heterosexual relationships. It IS a different situation: the responsibilites associated with sex go beyond STDs, they involve the ability of passively creating life itself. That IS concrete. My friend and his partner do not have to concern themselves with this one iota, while a heterosexual couple generally does. That, too, is concrete.

    Goodness, after decades of the sex liberation movement, after a political cycle screaming over birth control, after years of tumultuous fighting to uphold Roe V Wade, one would think that people would be more willing to concede the gravitas of pregnancy, and that none of those movements removes the risks, they may just help make them more manageable.

    Today, it is fairly mainstream to educate youth about reproductive facts, including protection against STDs and pregnancy, but one cannot communicate all the other issues regarding sexual relationships and commitment as easily. The idea of marriage is a way to communicate a number of complexities, like the relationship between household stability and a child’s well-being, between a parent’s stress and the parent’s health, like the relationship between cooperation between parents and a child’s well-being. As adults, it would be cruel to not communicate as much as we possibly can of all that. By converting marriage to a non-sexual, household-partner institution, we inhibit our ability as a public to pass down awareness of the long-term, legally-binding implications of sex.

  • Bluejay

    Have you shared with them your thoughts on this subject? Have you told them, “Heterosexual-only marriage is a very special thing, and keeping it hetero-only is good for gay folks like you as well?” Have you told them, “If you ever wish to marry, preventing you from doing so is for your own good and for the good of society?” If so, how did they respond?

  • Nope, I have not. We knew one long ago before he started seeing men, when he was an active member of our church, and we shared similar views on marriage. He knows how we feel, he also still knows we care about him, he knows I care about him and his partner, and we are on good terms. As friends and not fellow debators on politics, that’s what counts to me.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You keep presuming that harm must be demonstrated.

    I think you owe it to the people who’s equal protection you would like to violate, yes.

    concepts that at young ages are much more easily communicated through the idea “marriage.”

    Bullshit. And again, you’re insist on framing marriage a punishment for straight people fucking.

    You seem perfectly willing to throw away the exclusive nature of marriage in the interest of creating one perfectly inclusive legal status.

    Are you just now catching on to that? And that is the only thing I’m suggesting throwing away (for now) – that part where you decide who is worthy of the title of married couple based on biology – in favor of some small measure of equality.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Actually, they are not.

    Holy shit, are you just trolling me? Do you even read what you type?

    And again with “gay people can marry someone of the opposite sex”. How about fuck that. How dare you sugget that even once? And I want you to know that I edited the last two sentences three times to keep myself from just hurling expletives at you. But I’m absolutely down to stupid or evil, and I am walking away from this conversation.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Then you’re a coward. Ask him. Go ahead, explain how you’ve got it all figured out. Ask him how your plan does or does not harm him. Or better, ask his partner. You know, the one whom you haven’t known since before your friend came out, who doesn’t have anything personally invested in his relationship with you. Ask him in private and in confidence, so he doesn’t have to risk embarrassing his partner, your friend. And then go ask their friends.

    Go ahead. I’ll be over here, not holding my breath.

  • Bluejay

    As friends and not fellow debators on politics, that’s what counts to me.

    Your politics, if generally accepted and enforced, directly affect your friend’s life. If you are truly friends, how he feels about that should matter to you as well.

  • Bluejay

    For crying out loud.

    The fact that heterosexuals can make babies, and homosexuals cannot, has ALWAYS been concrete, has NEVER been in dispute, and does not need insisting upon. What is NOT concrete is any evidence on your part that extending marriage to gays destroys its efficacy for straights.

    Also, ALL parents have legal obligations to their kids, whether they’re married or not, straight or not.

    Also, if marriage encourages “household stability and a child’s well-being,” there’s no reason why GAYS who want to raise children shouldn’t enjoy that encouragement as well.

    Also, marriage and its benefits and protections ARE NOT ALL ABOUT HAVING BABIES.

    As long as you disagree about that, this argument will run in circles. Time for me to get off.

  • LaSargenta

    All politics is ultimately personal. In many situations there comes a point where it is extremely difficult to maintain a friendship if one half of that friendship is part of a class that is trying to control the civil rights of the other half of the friendship.

    He may not be in favor of being married for his own reasons, however, I, like Bluejay and Dr.R, wonder if you know how he feels about those “views” on marriage *now*, and what his partner’s views might be.

  • How does having access to a domestic partnership but not marriage is harming them?

  • “Ask him in private and in confidence, so he doesn’t have to risk embarrassing his partner, your friend.”
    That is pretty much like what happens when I talk about this online. I get the fairly candid opinions of many people. I have spoken about this with many, many people, and I take them seriously. When I talk to you, who knows, you could be my brother, when I talk to LaSargenta, who knows, she could be my sister-in-law, when I talk to an openly gay person, they could be the friend I mentioned. Even if I know you’re not them, it doesn’t matter, because the conversation should be as if you were.

  • Of course all politics are personal, some more directly than others, but we are all affected. Gay kids have parents too, and not all gays support gay marriage:

    http://www.c-fam.org/fridayfax/volume-15/french-homosexuals-join-demonstration-against-gay-marriage.html

    I would love to be able to discuss the issue with my friends, but I do already consider many of the various opinions and feelings expressed out there as possibly those of my friends. And of course, obviously an opinion is not superior just because it’s my friend’s opinion.

    Also, IMO political alliances, whether between friends or strangers, do not just fall on partisan positions, sometimes they are created between people who are for the common good, even though they both disagree on what it is, but they do agree on the way to bring it about, and the tactics that should never be used.
    I have been aware of stigmas against gays since kindergarten, I have no desire to hurt anyone. Marriage between a man and a woman is not about ostracising gays, just like it isn’t about ostracising single people who live alone. It’s about encouraging people to channel procreative powers in the direction most ideal to them, most ideal to any of their sexual partners, and as ideal as possible to any of their resultant children. As the article on French protestors cites, there are gays who agree with that.

  • Hmmm, haven’t you ever considered that there should be something society sets up that IS about having babies? Even if you don’t agree that there should be something, that is a pretty important issue and shouldn’t just be thrown away to make some people feel accepted. Gays should have kinship rights, but marriage is not the only way to accomplish that.

  • This is what is in dispute, two metaphorical arguments: can one “give equality to gays,” as Dr. Rocketscience says, including basic needed kinship rights, while still “connecting the social goods of sex and commitment,” as I am questioning. Those are both described metaphorically, but, as we know, being metaphorically described does not make something less real.

    The reason this post caught my attention in the first place, was the underlying assumption that marriage, defined as a heterosexual institution, is rooted in animus against gays. That must not, and cannot be an automatic assumption if any intelligent assessment of society’s interdependencies is going to be achieved. It is saying that “there is no supporting reason except homophobia,” and that is immediately disingenuous. Look at Dr. Rocketscience, who says that he doesn’t “have to make ((my)) argument for ((me.))” When, in all intellectual honesty, it is not an obligation for only me to meet, but an obligation for all of us, to discard partisan perceptions of marriage and actally look at what it is, what social problems it addresses, and whether it is the appropriate legal mechanism for granting gays access to kinship rights.

    If you happen to come back to this, could you please address that? What IS marriage? Why has it lasted so long, and in a relatively consistent form? It has, through time, been by and large an institution that is legal, hetero, and sexual in nature. What makes is so legitimate or important to be so singled out in law?

    I completely and totally appreciate the values that are apparent in many pro-ssm supporters. They want to express their valuing of homosexual people and relationships. I am on board with that. I am on board with a bundled access to kinship rights. I also value the knowledge that sex is power (procreative power) which can be used by some with the greatest of ease, but also the greatest of long-term consequences to individuals. I understand that the understanding and regret that can come with some consequences can come very late, if ever, while the power comes very early to humans. Looking at marriage, it acts as a way to prevent the procreative sex act from being a “punishment,” but to put it in a context where it and its consequences are a harmonious aspect of a relationship.

    Marriage, IMO, is still very much about procreative sex. The state still has an interest in the interconnected life choices related to it.

    So, how can marriage be about providing legal conveniences and social acceptance to ALL types of relationships while ALSO being about attaching values to one kind of sexual behavior? Do you think that if marriage is about the former, it will be able to perpetuate the significance of the latter?

    Native Americans used to make their major community decisions always with the seventh generation in mind, and so should we.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Well, actually I was more concerned about the IMPACT of Card’s work rather than its QUALITY. After all, the fact that DC/Vertigo is still reprinting comic writer Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing Reagan-era stories while totally ignoring published author Nancy Collins’ more recent work on the same series doesn’t make one optimistic about the chances of any published author in the current comic book field — let alone a controversial one like Card.

    And the more I read about Fredric Wertham’s attempt to control the comic book industry in the 1950s, the more I find myself sympathizing more with Danielm80’s Ray Bradburian approach.

    In any event, the more I read about Superman, the more I realize that I was too hasty in judging John Byrne. He may never have the same impact on Superman that Alan Moore and Frank Miller had but he deserves credit for creating Maggie Sullivan, one of my favorite characters on Gotham Central. And that’s not a bad thing to take credit for.

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