Separate Civil and Religious Marriage? Yes!

Separate civil and religious marriage? What a great idea! But not in the way you might have thought about it…

(See also the discussion at the original location.)

Comments

  1. JAD

    From the STR blog:

    The whole same-sex marriage debate is all about acceptance. The gay agenda wants the government to back their lifestyle which, in essence, would grant government APPROVAL of what they are doing.

    That’s what it is all about. Approval.

    I think that is what attracts gays, who are really pawns in this whole thing. However, I think the whole SSM agenda is, in a broader sense, motivated primarily by a hostility towards traditional moral values, which have been primarily shaped by Judeo-Christian moral values. Not only that but the agenda is anti-religious, and specifically anti-Christian, which is why marriage has be chosen as a primary target. Skeptical? Ask yourself, where do most people get married?

  2. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Ray, I could do your work for you, but I need to leave for a meeting.

    How about if you think through the ways in which divorce and SSM are parallel and the ways in which they are not. It might be salutary for you.

  3. bigbird

    the agenda is anti-religious, and specifically anti-Christian, which is why marriage has be chosen as a primary target. Skeptical? Ask yourself, where do most people get married?

    I don’t think it is specifically anti-Christian, but rather anti- traditional morals – simply because traditional morals stand in the way of what some people want.

    I don’t know about your country but in Australia over 60% of marriages now use a civil celebrant.

    Re Greg Koukel’s video, I think separating civil and religious marriage will soon be the only option Christians have.

  4. JAD

    bigbird:

    I don’t think it is specifically anti-Christian, but rather anti- traditional morals

    I disagree. The intellectual history of the west over the past 150 years has been one of increasing hostility towards Christianity. Think of the big names– Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud and the influence they have had de-Christianizing culture. Even Christian thinkers like Francis Schaeffer writing 45 years ago conceded that we had entered a post-Christian era (beginning around 1890 in Europe and about 1935 in the U.S.)

    Once again SSM is not about gay rights, it’s a power play– a wedge issue– designed to gain complete and total control over society. The problem is that the power play will not only destroy democracy and human rights it will bring about religious persecution with Christians as the primary targets.

  5. TFBW

    When the SSM issue came up back in March under the post “Marriage is not … at all restricted …”, one of the main issues that an SSM advocate posting as “Salut” had was the inequality of rights granted to long-term partners versus married couples in terms of access to each other as “family members” and similar issues regarding taxation.

    This video does not recognise those discrepancies — assuming that they are real and not mere hearsay or propaganda. I asked at the time why these issues couldn’t be solved by recognising a “secular union”, distinct from marriage, which specifically granted these few missing privileges. I noted that the “secular union” need not be restricted to the usual terms of marriage: any parties of a legal age to enter into a contract could do so under whatever terms they agreed upon.

    It seems that the thread was already dead by the time I posted, because no answer was forthcoming. I’d still like to see an answer from Salut or some like-minded SSM advocate as to whether this is an acceptable solution or not. I’d even like to hear appraisals from SSM opponents as to whether this is an acceptable compromise, for whatever reasons.

  6. bigbird

    JAD, for sure, SSM is leveraging off the de-Christianization of our culture – it wouldn’t even be a possibility otherwise. But part of a conspiracy to gain control over society? That sounds a bit alarmist. I think most proponents of SSM just want their behaviour legitimized by society.

  7. Ray Ingles

    Tom Gilson –

    I asked at the time why these issues couldn’t be solved by recognising a “secular union”, distinct from marriage, which specifically granted these few missing privileges.

    Quick question – how many of the ‘defense of marriage’ amendments passed by the various states over the last decade or so specifically ban civil unions, too?

    Sun Tzu warns to leave an enemy a line of retreat, unless you want a fight to the death. It appears that many voters ‘defending marriage’ did, in fact, eschew any compromise.

    To answer your direct question, I think the state should be out of the ‘marriage’ business altogether. There could be a constellation of legal arrangements, one of which would be pretty much legal marriage as it exists today. People could arrange the legal union at a government office, but for convenience it’d probably make sense to empower religious officials to enact such arrangements when they were solemnizing a marriage.

  8. Keith

    Koukl ignores the government privileging couples that cannot procreate. If he wants to argue marriage should only be available to those who can procreate and raise children (fertile, heterosexual couples that aren’t practicing birth control?), that’s a fine argument for him to make, but that’s not what he wants.

    As Koukl believes infertile marriages should also be privileged, he’s admitting there are other reasons than procreation for the government to privilege marriage. Koukl also argues this when he says “[married couples] are the foundation stones of society”.

    Is it possible the government prefers same-sex couples also be “foundation stones” of society? Is it possible the government prefers children of same-sex partners to be raised in stable environments? In either case, the government has sufficient reason to privilege same-sex marriage in the same way it privileges heterosexual marriage.

    If marriage privilege is about procreation, yet infertile couples get to marry, Koukl has to argue long-term same-sex relationships contribute less to our non-procreative societal goals than long-term heterosexual relationships, and for that reason don’t qualify for special privileges.

    He won’t do that, because he’s not arguing for limiting government intervention based on specific policy concerns, he’s arguing against same-sex marriage, on whatever grounds he can find.

  9. Ray Ingles

    Tom Gilson –

    How about if you think through the ways in which divorce and SSM are parallel and the ways in which they are not. It might be salutary for you.

    Let’s see. The Catholic church does not recognize divorce. It’s an absurdity, in their view – marriage can be dissolved only by death. (There’s ‘anullment’, yes, but that’s reaching a judgment that a marriage was never formed in the first place.) Catholics can separate, and remain chaste while apart, but they cannot ‘remarry’ so long as their spouse still lives.

    However, American law – for example – allows divorce. A legal marriage can be dissolved, and the former spouses can remarry others. While many churches don’t have a problem with this, people who are Catholic are not supposed to avail themselves of this legal mechanism.

    There’s some tension in the Catholic church about how to handle parishoners that have legally remarried. In the Church’s view, they are committing adultery. Church discipline is sometimes applied; denying communion and so forth. But a Catholic who, say, worked at the county records department would be expected to enter records of divorce the same way they enter records of marriage. (“Render unto Caesar” and all that.)

    Now, most Christian churches regard SSM as an absurdity – men can only marry women and vice versa. People with same-sex attraction can refrain from marriage, and remain chaste, but they can’t marry someone of the same gender.

    However, American law – in some states – allows same-sex couples to marry. In the majority of Christian churches (though not all) church members with same-sex attraction are not supposed to avail themselves of this legal mechanism.

    There’s some tension within the Christian community about how to handle parishoners that have entered a same-sex. In the majority Christian view they are committing fornication. Church discipline is sometimes applied; denying communion up to expulsion. But a Christian who worked, say, at the county records department would be expected to enter SSM records the same way they enter records of heterosexual marriage. (“Render unto Caesar” and all that.)

    The parallels seem striking to me. Do you have any relevant dis-analogies?

  10. SteveK

    As Koukl believes infertile marriages should also be privileged, he’s admitting there are other reasons than procreation for the government to privilege marriage.

    Go ahead and make fertility a legal requirement, Keith. Make people line up and prove they are fertile. Then watch as the state and various medical institutions are sued over and over again for various reasons. That requirement will go away very quickly. These are the “other reasons” you are looking for.

  11. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Right.

    If you grant that Koukl’s basic argument is sound — as you seem to be doing for the sake of argument — then the follow-up question about infertile couples would be, “what policy do you propose to deal with that?”

    Now, is it possible the state would have an interest in the children of same-sex couples? Not in the same sense that they do in procreative couples, because they do not produce, nurture, and build the next generation.

    If you want to bring the children of same-sex couples into the picture, you still miss the point, because that doesn’t do what marriage does: keep the father with the mother and the children.

    And if you say, “but children of same-sex couples do as well overall as children in their natural families,” I would say this: you modify your proposal. You offer a version of same-sex “marriage” that’s strictly for couples with children.

    You see, if you can suggest policy exceptions based on a small minority, you should be able to conceive of them on your side, too.

    Would that be a workable amendment, in your opinion?

  12. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Do I have any relevant dis-anologies, Ray? Sure. Nobody plans divorce into their marriage. Nobody wants it unless circumstances force it. Divorce has its own self-limiting motivation set.

    And thus everybody knows that there’s something wrong about divorce. Not everyone agrees that it’s “sin,” but no one lives their life arguing for divorce, saying that we ought to give it moral and social approval the way SSM advocates are doing with gay relationships.

    So there is no “divorce agenda” in any sense parallel to the homosexual agenda.

    Except maybe divorce lawyers trying to make a buck. But they matter not at all.

  13. Ray Ingles

    Tom Gilson –

    Nobody plans divorce into their marriage. Nobody wants it unless circumstances force it.

    Well, there’s a lot of talk about ‘destigmatizing divorce’…

    Divorce has its own self-limiting motivation set.

    So does same-sex marriage. Only a minority of people are interested, and I have a hard time imagining how that could change.

    And thus everybody knows that there’s something wrong about divorce.

    “Wrong” – or even ‘undesirable’ – is not automatically equivalent to ‘should be illegal’. E.g. smoking. Or, wait – do you argue that divorce should not be acknowledged in law?

    Does allowing SSM in law compel “moral and social approval”? Is it possible to separate them? I mean, the Catholic church certainly expresses moral and social disapproval with divorce, but doesn’t argue – in the U.S., at least – that it should be illegal.

  14. SteveK

    SSM isn’t illegal, it’s just not a legally recognized relationship status. Big difference. Not sure if you are arguing that, Ray, but just in case you are….. 🙂

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  16. Ray Ingles

    JAD – You might try reading what I write, rather than what you assume I wrote.

    SteveK –

    SSM isn’t illegal, it’s just not a legally recognized relationship status.

    I suppose you’re right. In the Philippines, people are free to divorce, it’s just the goverment won’t recognize that “relationship status”.

    Tom Gilson –

    There still isn’t really a “divorce agenda,” Ray.

    There is, it’s just a small one.

    And you’re confusing two things. Legally providing for something is not the same thing a bestowing, as JAD quoted, “government APPROVAL of what they are doing.” Again, c.f. smoking – there’re actual government programs to discourage smoking, yet tobacco isn’t a Schedule 1 drug.

    And, again, legal permission isn’t the same as “moral and social approval”. People who want “moral and social approval” of same-sex marriage may really want legal permission to marry, but that doesn’t mean that granting legal permission automatically entails social approval. It’s entirely possible to grant the one without the other…

  17. CLB

    In regards to the impact of SSM on public policy and future generations, I have a few questions:

    To those arguing for same sex marriage: Why SHOULDN’T potentially naturally child-producing heterosexual, monogomous relationships that might produce future generations be privileged by the state via marriage over same-sex relationships?

    To those arguing against same sex marriage: Given the advances of science, why SHOULDN’T same-sex relationships that might also produce future generations be elevated to the same status as heterosexual marriage?

  18. Keith

    Tom @13:

    I would grant that Koukl’s argument is sound. My point is he’s inconsistent. He starts at “it’s all about the procreation”, and ends at “everything stays the same”, believing he’s somehow justified giving privileges having nothing to do with procreation to people who can’t procreate.

    I am not proposing only fertile couples be allowed to marry, that seems silly: I am saying Koukl’s argument implies marriage should be limited to the fertile. Of course, he’s willing to allow “policy exceptions for a small minority”, as you put it.

    You say same-sex couples do not “produce, nurture, and build the next generation”. Any same-sex couple can nurture and build the next generation; but lesbians can also “produce” the next generation. Since lesbian couples fulfill all of your requirements, are you agreeing the state has an identical interest in lesbian and heterosexual couples? And if so, why not?

    Does “marriage keep the father with the mother and the children”? The divorce rate in this country is roughly 50%, so that answer would be “no”.

  19. Keith

    Tom @14:

    Nobody plans divorce into their marriage. Nobody wants it unless circumstances force it. Divorce has its own self-limiting motivation set.

    Oh, please. This took me about 20 seconds to find:

    Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries: married 3 days
    Kid Rock, Pam Anderson: married 4 months
    Britney Spears, Jason Alexander: married 2 days
    Sophia Bush, Chad Murray: married 5 months
    Mario Lopez, Ali Landry: married 2 weeks
    Charlie Sheen, Donna Peele: married 5 months
    Chris Kattan, Sunshine Tutt: married 8 weeks
    Colin Farrell, Amelia Warner: married 4 months

    Quickie divorces have been around since the discovery of Nevada.

    Would you like another swing at that pitch?

  20. bigbird

    Quickie divorces have been around since the discovery of Nevada.

    So? It seems unlikely they got married planning to divorce, no matter how quickly it happened.

  21. bigbird

    I think a major flaw in Koukl’s argument is his claim that the government’s policy concern and hence privileging of marriage is about the next generation.

    Perhaps that was once the case, I’m not sure. In my experience governments are actually most concerned with the current generation, because they vote.

    I would say that the main policy concern of government is ensuring the well being of their citizens , or in your terms, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”.

  22. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    We’re talking about legitimate state interest here, bigbird.

    If you want to craft a policy to pander to state stupidity, you could follow your idea all the way there. I don’t.

  23. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Lesbians can’t produce the next generation the way a man and a woman can, Keith.

    And although you’re right, that marriages don’t hold the mother and father and children together in current society, that’s not exactly an effective argument in favor of undermining marriage even further.

    Stated another way: It remains true that keeping (esp.) dad with mom and kids is one of the chief purposes for marriage. If it’s not fulfilling that purpose effectively, what do we do? Give up and say we’re taking the whole structure down? Why would that be a good conclusion to come to?

    You may think I’m over-stating it with “taking the whole structure down;” and it may be hyperbolic — or it may not be. When marriage gets redirected from an institution for the couple and for the next generation into an institution for the couple and maybe if we like for the next generation, the next generation will surely suffer. The children who have suffered through these 50% divorce rates are just the first stage of that breakdown.

  24. bigbird

    We’re talking about legitimate state interest here, bigbird.

    If you want to craft a policy to pander to state stupidity, you could follow your idea all the way there. I don’t.

    You think it is state stupidity to have “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” of citizens as a state interest??

    Many, if not most of our laws are about the well being of this generation, not the next.

  25. d

    This whole idea of “state’s interest” is toxic. One might expect such talk from liberals, but how surprising it is see all these (mostly) religious conservatives expressing such concern over the welfare of poor little State? Feed the insatiable Leviathan State – that’s apparently all that marriage *is* and is for.

    Talk about an assault on marriage.

    I think we should be rather more concerned over what the purpose of The State is…. and I’d say (and hope the rest of you say) that its to safeguard and protect the rights of all its citizens. And that there are no interests of The State that need protecting. Therefore The State has no interests for itself, it has only duties to its citizens.

  26. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    I was referring to the first half of your comment there.

    The Declaration of Independence said that Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness were among the rights that humans enjoy from their creator. It doesn’t say that it’s up to government to ensure we have those outcomes, just that we are not to be denied the right to them.

    I don’t see any reason that any sanely governed state would say this only applies to the current generation.

  27. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    d,

    You have a gift for twisting arguments.

    This is not about feeding the insatiable Leviathan. If you have no idea what “the state’s interest means,” then this will make no sense to you, I grant that. It does not mean the bloating of government or the enlargement of its coffers. It means that concerning which the state has a legitimate governing role.

  28. bigbird

    It doesn’t say that it’s up to government to ensure we have those outcomes, just that we are not to be denied the right to them.

    You haven’t read your Declaration of Independence then.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

    I don’t see any reason that any sanely governed state would say this only applies to the current generation.

    No-one has suggested that it only applies to the current generation.

  29. David

    Not to butt in, but securing rights to qualities x, y and z for individuals is not the same thing as conferring x, y and z on those individuals. I’m assuming this is the distinction Tom was meaning.

  30. bigbird

    Not to butt in, but securing rights to qualities x, y and z for individuals is not the same thing as conferring x, y and z on those individuals. I’m assuming this is the distinction Tom was meaning.

    The distinction is not really relevant here – my point is that it is the business of the state to ensure that those inalienable rights of mine are secure – the state should be interested in passing laws that help secure my rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    The next (and future) generations are important, but so is the current one.

    And that seems to be a major flaw in Koukl’s argument.

  31. d

    Tom,

    Then it would behoove you guys to actually talk as if that’s what you were saying. From here it sounds like “that which government has a legitimate interest in governing” is defined as “that which perpetuates the state”.

    Instead, we see things like this video (and various comments on this site), where anti-marriage equality proponents relegate the role of marriage in The State to little more than that of a useful social engineering tool, for State self-perpetuation. Marriage is means to an end, and the end is The State.

    And of course, speaking so narrowly of the state’s role in marriage is all merely for the purposes of the gay-marriage culture war – you’ll never hear it spoken of it that way again, if gay marriage were to go away tomorrow.

  32. SteveK

    anti-marriage equality proponents

    said the pro-rhetoric, anti-rationalism advocate

  33. d

    Its a fitting description. Or do you believe gay marriage and heterosexual marriage are equal?

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  36. Ray Ingles

    CLB –

    Why SHOULDN’T potentially naturally child-producing heterosexual, monogomous relationships that might produce future generations be privileged by the state via marriage over same-sex relationships?

    Because you might as well limit child-related privileges to those actually raising children. That covers birth, adoption, custody, etc.

  37. JAD

    When did same sex marriage become a right? Has it always been a right?

    Do human rights have some kind of intrinsic or transcendent grounding?

  38. CLB

    Ray – I appreciate your response to my question but it does not answer it.

    I presume one of the reasons we are even having this discussion is because the State is being sued over how it allocates marriage benefits. That and the states are deciding differently how to define marriage in law.

    We are probably not having this discussion because some churches want to hold same sex marriage ceremonies. Although, I think that is the basis for another of Tom’s posts about marriage.

    I am concluding that the reason for the disparity in benefits at the federal and, in some cases, the state levels is because a male/female marriage is the union that provides the best possible scenario (in there being a man and a woman and the associated physical, mental, and emotional modeling available that a same sex union, by definition, does not provide) for the future of the State. Whether children are ACTUALLY produced is irrelevant. Elderly newlywed hetero couples have the potential to model a certain type of behavior that is beneficial to the State. Thus, their relationship deserves elevated status. Same sex elderly relationships do not model the kind of behavior that naturally produces or nurtures future generations.

    The point of my comment is to draw out a reason why a relationship that has the potential to produce the best possible scenario for raising and/or nurturing future generations should not receive preferential treatment by the State.

  39. SteveK

    Marriage is means to an end, and the end is The State.

    Are you deliberately not paying attention or are you just trying to stir the pot?

    The end goal is a healthy, thriving society – not government. Support for SS relationships can be part of the process that gets us there – because, after all, SS couples are part of society too. What you cannot do is turn a blind eye to the reality that SS relationships are different in some very meaningful ways.

    If you owned a company, and your goal was a healthy, thriving business, would you, as owner, treat ALL your employees the same regardless of their abilities and talents?

    Would you give the title of “machinist” to someone with no ability to produce a machined part simply because they liked machines, could maintain them very well and because they wanted really badly to be a machinist? Of course not. You would give them a different title (perhaps “maintenance”) and ask them to take on a different role within the company.

    Is any of this sinking in yet?

  40. Alex

    CLB:

    Could you possibly clarify what you mean by “physical, mental, and emotional modeling” and elucidate why eldery opposite-sex couples “have the potential” to realise this model (or behaviour?) more than same-sex couples? Thanks.

  41. CLB

    Alex: By definition, same sex relationships do not model hetero relationships. Hetero relationships are the only model which produce offspring. Since offspring are not a natural potential in same sex relationships, it is not a natural consideration. It would be like asking a hummingbird to model a finch. The comparison is rough but I hope you get the point.

    Will you answer my question?

  42. Ray Ingles

    CLB –

    Whether children are ACTUALLY produced is irrelevant.

    That’s… relatively rare in law. I mean, you can’t charge someone with murder unless someone was, y’know, “ACTUALLY” murdered. Otherwise, it’s ‘attempted murder’, or ‘criminal negligence’, or some such. You pay tax on what you “ACTUALLY” earn, not on what someone in your situation might conceivably earn.

    If the goal is, in fact, to encourage new citizens for the state… why would you not tie the benefits, the “elevated status”, to the condition of actually raising new taxpayers?

  43. SteveK

    If the goal is, in fact, to encourage new citizens for the state… why would you not tie the benefits, the “elevated status”, to the condition of actually raising new taxpayers?

    Some of those benefits do come from producing the next generation. Not all of them though. If you want to produce something, it seems sensible that you would have options available to you for the purposes of enticing the right people – people with the skills you want. You may not ever invoke those options, but it becomes impossible to invoke anything if everyone must be treated the same according to the law.

  44. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Marriage has historically been the relationship in which children have been born, nurtured, and developed. It is in society’s interest to promote that, for the sake of society’s future.

    A policy that encouraged and supported marriage only after children were born would be making a strange statement that the couple should not prepare themselves as a couple to live in unity as parents. If joint property and mutual decision-making only began when children were born, children would be born to couples even less experienced than new parents typically are under current circumstances.

    And it would almost be as if at the moment of childbirth, the two could look at each other and say, “Whew. Finally we’re really married.”

    Marriage as the institution that builds the future does not begin when the first child arrives. The building and preparation begin gradually during courtship and etc.; but the early days or years of marriage provide the couple with pre-child preparation in the kind of unity they will need to practice as parents.

  45. Alex

    CLB:

    I’m afraid I’m none the wiser; I’m unclear exactly what comparison you’re making between elderly & young opposite-sex couples that isn’t true for same-sex couples & young opposite-sex couples.

    You say “offspring are not a natural potential in same sex relationships” but this is also true of elderly relationships, so it seems this can’t be the distinction you refer to in #42.

  46. Alex

    CLB: In answer to your question,

    Is it the ability to naturally produce future generations or raise future generations that is of importance? While the former is inextricably tied to (young) opposite-sex relationships, it would seem to me that the latter is what is actually of importance to society – and see no obvious reason why same-sex couples should be any worse than opposite-sex couples at this.

  47. SteveK

    but this is also true of elderly relationships

    Umm….no it’s not true. The best that medical science can do is cite statistical data regarding the probability of anyone having children. That statement is true for both young and old. For SS couples the probability is exactly zero every time.

  48. Alex

    SteveK – granted; but the probability of conception after menopause is negligible, so there still seems little interest in the state privileging them (if that is the only reason) – it would be like paying a healthy person disability benefit on the off-chance they have a serious debilitating accident in their life.

    It’s also not difficult to come up with cases (albeit rare) with a zero-probability of conception in opposite-sex couples – those with certain disabilities or illnesses; those who have had orchidectomies or oophorectomies, so I think in some form the point still stands.

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  50. CLB

    Alex: The State has a law that was challenged. The State already elevates marriage. Those advocating for changing the law need to provide “actual” proof that same sex relationships should be recognized as marriage, and not just because the couple is “in love.” It’s clear that love already barely has anything to do with the State deciding which relationships result in marriage. What with divorce being already so easy, it’s clear the State is not really interested in the emotional attachment between those in the relationship. If it were, it would make divorce a thing of the past and cause people to focus on the “love” bond in the relationship instead of allowing them a way out.

    But I digress. I want to be very clear: my argument is that the State is in the business of determining which relationships receive the added benefits associated with marriage BECAUSE of the potentiality of that relationship having the desired consequences of producing future generations or modeling the relationship that naturally brings about future generations.

    Is my understanding of why the State already elevates hetero marriage off or wrong? I’m still waiting to learn why folks think the State already elevates hetero marriage?

  51. Ray Ingles

    Tom Gilson –

    If joint property and mutual decision-making only began when children were born, children would be born to couples even less experienced than new parents typically are under current circumstances.

    Why is joint property and mutual decision-making only relevant to couples that might produce children? Why would they not be relevant to a couple, even of the same sex, that was actually raising a child (whether related to one of them, or adopted)? I did speak of “child-related privileges”, after all.

    Remember, back in #8, me pointing out that most “Defense of Marriage Amendments” banned civil unions, too? Nobody followed up on that.

    It’s funny. Conservatives usually want incentives to be tied to performance and all that. Oh well.

  52. TFBW

    Ray,

    Remember, back in #8, me pointing out that most “Defense of Marriage Amendments” banned civil unions, too? Nobody followed up on that.

    Back in #8 you wrote as though you were responding to Tom, but what you quoted was actually from me in #6. I can’t respond to your question regarding “Defense of Marriage Amendments”, because I know nothing about them, and nobody else really owes you a response because it wasn’t anyone else’s suggestion.

  53. MikeH

    @Ray Ingles

    I live in Colorado where the state legislature recently legalized civil unions. After the measure passed, the Denver Post reported:

    “Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, who has sponsored the civil-unions bill for three years, said its passage is the high point of a decades-long struggle.

    ‘Yet we’re not there yet. I don’t want anyone to think that we somehow reached the peak,” Steadman said. ‘Civil unions are not marriage. They are something that are separate and distinct and lesser and unequal, and that really is not good enough.'”

    The idea of civil unions appears to be only a tactic to secure SSM.

  54. Ray Ingles

    MikeH – Two issues –

    First, ‘marriage defenders’ themselves have helped give rise to that situation, as I’ve pointed out. When it’s clear that no compromise is going to be accepted, why bother looking for one?

    Second, even if civil unions were regarded by your opponents as a ‘stepping stone’, so what? Does that mean you have to, as well? Why can you not say, ‘this far and no farther’?

    Consider that France has had civil unions (pacte civil de solidarité, PACS) for over a decade now, and it’s been a very popular choice, for heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. Only recently has there been pressure to allow same-sex marriage in France. Do you think it might be because same-sex marriage is now being allowed in parts of the U.S.?

    I rather suspect that if civil unions had been accepted as a viable option here in the U.S., we wouldn’t have the groundswell of support for same-sex marriage both here and elsewhere. There’d be be some people agitating for it, but there wouldn’t be the kind of widespread support we’re seeing now. That happened because no compromise was permitted and so it’s now ‘marriage or nothing’, and a whole lot of people – who have have gay family and friends – don’t want ‘nothing’ to be the option.

  55. MikeH

    Ray, you can argue “if” and “suspect” all you like but I don’t buy it because of what “is” in the state where I live. Civil unions have been accepted but the proponents of SSM will not stop with that compromise.

  56. Keith

    MikeH @59:

    I believe Ray is correct: had pro-marriage advocates pushed for civil unions as a way to resolve the civil rights questions, when SSM first became an issue 25 years ago, I suspect civil unions would have become the law, and we wouldn’t be where we are today.

    But that didn’t happen: for better or worse, NOM and other anti-SSM groups fought civil unions as hard as they’ve fought SSM (and continue to do so).

    At this point, there’s simply no reason for pro-SSM advocates to settle for civil unions: why should they negotiate when they’ve already won?

  57. MikeH

    Keith: “I suspect civil unions would have become the law, and we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

    I’m not naive enough to believe that.

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