What Is Marriage, If “Marriage Equality” Is Real?

What Is Marriage, If “Marriage Equality” Is Real?

The last time I went this long without publishing a blog post here it was because I had no time for writing. That was a rough time for me.

This time it’s different. Since my last post here I’ve written not one but two articles, and I’ve finished a book. That is, the book is provisionally complete. The publisher (Kregel) and I are allowing time for re-writes necessary after the Supreme Court decides on gay marriage in June. Its expected released date is October 27, and it’s to be titled Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality With Teens. I’ll keep you up to date on it.

In the meantime, BreakPoint has published one of my two recent articles, “What is Marriage, If ‘Marriage Equality’ Is Real?” (The other article is pending with another publisher.)

Now, the fact is, I do believe marriage equality is real, just not according to the current rhetorical usage of the term. We can talk about that after you read the article.

239 thoughts on “What Is Marriage, If “Marriage Equality” Is Real?

  1. Or it could be that marriage is different now than it used to be: It wasn’t always true that marriage was the kind of thing same-sex couples could take part in, but now it’s becoming true. Marriage used to be for opposite-sex couples only (on this view), but now it’s becoming an institution for same-sex couples, too.

    Not sure how someone would successfully argue that this is even a viable option worthy of consideration. Most of society holds to the traditional view of marriage so who/what has transformed marriage into an institution for SS couples — the courts, the activists? It’s easy for anyone to say that marriage is now this new thing, but you’ve got to back that up with something – anything. In other words, by what measure do we know that marriage is a new thing?

  2. SteveK-

    The SS”M” proponents I have conversed with have mostly come to the conclusion that marriage can be myriad things, even contradictory things. That any entity (government, religious body, etc) can define marriage however they want and definitions are equally valid. They also insist that anyone who does not include same sex couples in their understanding of marriage is morally wrong.

  3. I have also read articles from SS”M” proponents in which they outright claim that same sex relationships are real marriages that have been discriminated against. They may be opposed to using words like inherent and enduring, but they at least seem to believe that marriage is that type of thing and we are finally discovering that we have been wrong all along in not including same sex relationships. It is not uncommon to see it expressed that they just want to join the same institution that their parents were part of after all. If I was going to guess, I would guess this belief is the more common belief among ss”m” proponents.

    If nothing else, the ss”m” side is very flexible with respect to how they view marriage. It is something in particular that includes same sex couples when it suits them and it is nothing in particular so we might as well include same sex couples when it suits them. If we ask about enduring aspects, suddenly marriage has no such things. It can be anything at all. If we ask why then must we include same sex couples in marriage, suddenly anything else is immoral, it is discrimination, it is wrong.

    Any chance we can redefine what marriage equality means in popular opinion? Those two words clearly have a great deal of strategic value. If it is possible to redefine what marriage means, redefining the term marriage equality can be done too. Ryan T Anderson often says that we are all for marriage equality (in the sense that we are all for all marriages being treated equally) in his debates.

    It would at least be very interesting if staunchly pro-marriage denominations (SBC, LCMS, etc) and organizations (Focus on the Family, FRC, NOM) and even the Pope all unanimously declared support for marriage equality. I think that would get a lot of attention.

  4. SteveK,

    Most of society holds to the traditional view of marriage

    I don´t know which society you had in mind, but if it was the US-american one, then you are wrong – there is consistent majority support for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage since 2010 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion_of_same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States ) .

    It’s easy for anyone to say that marriage is now this new thing, but you’ve got to back that up with something – anything. In other words, by what measure do we know that marriage is a new thing?

    You could look at the marriage certificate of a gay couple. Of course you can say that such a certificate means nothing to you or to your church or to your God or whatever – but that is beside the point, what has changed is marriage as a social institution and the approval and recognition (or lack thereof) of your religion is completely irrelevant for that.

  5. The very existence of marriage is awkward for ss”m” proponents. I have not come across a single viable explanation for why the institution exists as it does in their view. They do not know what it is or why it exists, yet they are very very certain that it is a grave injustice if homosexual relationships are not counted as marriages. It is shockingly absurd.

  6. Well, like I said before, marriage is (by far) the most common way of ‘founding a household’, but is not the only way to do so.

    Same-sex couples can found a household like opposite-sex couples – and from any social, economic, material level (the level at which human law operates) – would thus be the kind of thing that could (should) be treated equally to others.

    So marriage – from the legal, social, and economic perspective – would be something that same-sex couples could always have participated in. From a spiritual perspective, of course, things might be different, but in the U.S. our laws are specifically enjoined from mandating particular spiritual understandings.

  7. Founding a household can be done by a lady and her cats.

    Indeed, but it would be a single household. A household with a same-sex couple has pretty much the exact same needs as a household formed by an opposite-sex couple (with the assumption that the opposite-sex couple does not want to have children or cannot conceive naturally, there wouldn´t be any discernible differences between the needs of the respective households at all) so why shouldn´t they be able to sign up for the rights and responsibilities of married couples? Since this is about marriage as a social institution, and not as a religious one, what exactly would be your problem with this?

  8. Andy #4
    What was the equal protection argument before society changed its mind (pre 2010) about SSM, and what is that argument today?

  9. SteveK,

    What was the equal protection argument before society changed its mind (pre 2010) about SSM, and what is that argument today?

    I´m not aware of the argument changing over time, what changed is the public opinion of it – there now is a majority that is convinced of the case for SSM and before, there wasn´t. Of course, if you go back sufficiently far in time, the argument didn´t exist at all (because homosexuality was not spoken about in public).

  10. Tom,

    Andy: same needs, perhaps, but a different purpose. Only man-woman marriage has the purpose it historically has had.

    I agree partly, but afaict, the privileges and obligations of married couples were never denied to couples that were unwilling or unable to procreate. If this is a) about the purpose of marriage and b) this purpose is procreation, and c) the lack of this purpose would be a valid reason to deny the privileges of marriage to couples, should this then not apply to opposite-sex couples who are unable or unwilling to procreate as well?

  11. Tom –

    Founding a household can be done by a lady and her cats.

    Well, yeah, but the cats can’t enter a legal contract with her. Cohabiting adults can. And do. As I’ve pointed out, even involuntarily in the case of common law marriage.

    Only man-woman marriage has the purpose it historically has had.

    Can you refresh us on that purpose, specifically?

  12. Well, yeah, but the cats can’t enter a legal contract with her.

    Change the law and this obstacle is resolved.

  13. Change the law and this obstacle is resolved.

    True. And then the cat would have family visitation rights if her owner is in the hospital, could jointly file taxes with her owner, could inherit her property to her owner, could make medical decisions for her owner if she is unable to do herself, and so on and so forth.
    No, wait….

  14. I wrote this as a response on another thread but I think it has relevance here.

    What is true of traditional marriage that isn’t true and can’t be true of SSM is that traditional marriage consists of a man and a woman and because of that creates a unit capable of procreation and because of that it can be and is the foundational element of families in great enough numbers for it to be the foundational element of societies and cultures. Thus, for society, marriages are unique in that way that SSM cannot be. That’s why traditional marriage should and always has had a special relevance to society and was sanctioned and privileged by the society because it is absolutely necessary for the survival of any society. SSM is totally ancillary to those important societal imperatives.

  15. Andy @13, could you please explain how making an exception for male-female couples who are known to be infertile justifies changing the entire reason and purpose for marriage?

    I mean, I hear this argument trotted out all the time as if it’s supposed to matter. I don’t know why it does.

    If you were to say, “You don’t make procreation the main purpose of marriage, based on the fact that you allow known non-procreative men and women to marry,” I would just laugh.

    If you were to say, “Your exception proves you don’t believe your principle,” I would laugh.

    If you were to say that the government ought to ask couples whether they intend to have children before they can marry, I would howl in derision.

    If you were to say that consistency with our principle should cause us to require the government to test couples’ fertility before granting them a marriage license, you’d send me to the hospital for relief from hysteria.

    If you think the burden of proof is on me to show that this exception disproves the rule, think again.

  16. BillT

    What is true of traditional marriage that isn’t true and can’t be true of SSM is that traditional marriage consists of a man and a woman and because of that creates a unit capable of procreation…

    True. However, if your point would be that a couple which does not procreate, should not be able to sign up for the privileges and responsibilities of marriage, then why is this principle only applied to gay couples but not to straight couples who are unable or unwilling to procreate? It seems to be a case of special pleading – no marriage license for couples that don´t procreate but only if they are gay.

  17. The reason I brought up the lady and the cats wasn’t to make it the point of a new argument. It was to show that Ray’s reference to founding a household was too broad to be of any use in the marriage discussion.

    Ray, if you have a better term to use, this would be your chance to try your point again that way instead.

  18. Tom,

    Andy @13, could you please explain how making an exception for male-female couples who are known to be infertile justifies changing the entire reason and purpose for marriage?

    I don´t think it does. Because procreation is evidently not the sole purpose of marriage or the sole reason for why special privileges and obligations are granted to a married coupled. It is evidently not so because if it were so, then straight coupled that are unwilling or unable to procreate would not be allowed to get married, but they are allowed to.

    If you were to say, “You don’t make procreation the main purpose of marriage, based on the fact that you allow known non-procreative men and women to marry,” I would just laugh.

    Alright, after you have finished laughing, could you explain how this is not a blatant double standard where the impossibility of procreation matters, but only if you are also gay?

    If you were to say that consistency with our principle should cause us to require the government to test couples’ fertility before granting them a marriage license, you’d send me to the hospital for relief from hysteria.

    An Italian bishop has refused to allow a church wedding for a paraplegic man who was rendered impotent by a crippling automobile accident.

    A spokesman for Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo explained that although the bride was aware of her fiancé’s condition, their union could not be celebrated as a Christian marriage because impotence is grounds for annulment.
    Very funny indeed. Seriously though, for “obvious cases” of infertility like the one mentioned above, on what ground would you allow this couple to marry? (or do you think that this decision was indeed correct, that impotence is grounds for voiding the marriage (or not allowing it in the first place) because it cannot be consummated?)

    If you think the burden of proof is on me to show that this exception disproves the rule, think again.

    Well at least you concede that an exception is indeed being made. My entire point is, you do make this exception – but you do it only for straight couples, and you don´t seem to have any reason for why the exception is ok for straight couples but not for gay couples.

  19. Tom,
    also, “require the government to test couples’ fertility before granting them a marriage license” might be overdoing it, but there is a much easier solution, new rule: people cannot get married before they have their first child. If procreation is the sole purpose of marriage, then this would be the best way to handle this – no more free rides for straight couples who are unable or unwilling to procreate.
    Seriously, would you have any reasonable objection against this rule based on the viewpoint that procreation is the one and only purpose of marriage?

  20. Because procreation is evidently not the sole purpose of marriage or the sole reason for why special privileges and obligations are granted to a married coupled. It is evidently not so because if it were so, then straight coupled that are unwilling or unable to procreate would not be allowed to get married, but they are allowed to.

    First, no one said it was the sole purpose for marriage. It is the distinctive purpose of marriage and for its privileges and obligations. Your second sentence here is a mere restatement of what I asked you to demonstrate.

    but there is a much easier solution, new rule: people cannot get married before they have their first child.

    Help!!!!!!! I’m calling 911. (See comment 18.)

  21. Pardon me, but some ideas are worth only laughter. No counter-argument should be applied. Try it again and see me laugh again.

    You’re not thinking. You’re trying your hardest to pin-prick an opposing position, and you’re willing to give up all rational thought to do that. Are you proud of yourself for that?

  22. P.S.

    Seriously, would you have any reasonable objection against this rule based on the viewpoint that procreation is the one and only purpose of marriage?

    If anyone actually held that viewpoint, it would still be a desirable, stupid idea. But I don’t hold it.

  23. Tom,

    You’re not thinking. You’re trying your hardest to pin-prick an opposing position, and you’re willing to give up all rational thought to do that. Are you proud of yourself for that?

    Funny, that is exactly what you are doing here from my vantage point. You are getting testy and derisive (very much so), but your responses are void of intellectual content – 100% derision, 0% substance. You already conceded that an exception is being made wrt procreation, and has always been made, and your response to someone who points out that you have never presented any reason for why this exception is acceptable for straight couples but not for gay couples is met with something along the line of “HAHA, your so dum! I don´t even have to explain why your challenge is so stupid and funny ROFL”
    You really shouldn´t be surprised at how rapidly your position is losing support in the arena of public opinion – with “defenses” like the one you offer here, it is almost miraculous that public opinion doesn´t shift more rapidly than it does already.

  24. Andy-

    Comparing same sex couples and couples that experience infertility is laughable because their circumstances are entirely different, and obviously so. It even seems fair to me if those that experience infertility to find the comparison outright offensive given that infertility is often an emotionally painful condition and it one that those that involve themselves in same sex relationships cannot even experience together. The comparison effectively says the reason for their hurt is baseless. That infertility is no loss at all.

  25. Andy, I continue to hold that you are making an argument without substance, and that you own the burden of proof.

    I continue to hold that some of what you’re proposing here requires no intellectually substantive response, because that would imply that it was an answer to an intellectually substantive idea.

    My defenses are as light as they are here because I’m being poked with an intellectual feather.

    Take up the burden of proof, or quit poking at me with nothingness and complaining that I’m responding in kind. I’ve heard these talking points before. If you deliver them with some substance, that would be worth answering.

  26. Andy-

    There is *no* exception being made for couples that experience infertility. Marriage properly understood encompasses fertile and infertile unions ultimately for the same reasons.

  27. DR84,

    Comparing same sex couples and couples that experience infertility is laughable because their circumstances are entirely different, and obviously so.

    Interesting. Then by all means help me out here, which obviously different circumstances are there, that justify the position that straight couples who are unable or unwilling to procreate should still be allowed to marry, while gay couples should not be allowed to marry.

    It even seems fair to me if those that experience infertility to find the comparison outright offensive given that infertility is often an emotionally painful condition and it one that those that involve themselves in same sex relationships cannot even experience together.

    Oh noes! It would be cruel to suggest for the sake of the argument that someone should not be allowed to marry the person they love because they are unable to procreate? Why don´t you follow that train of thought just a little further.

  28. You already conceded that an exception is being made wrt procreation, and has always been made, and your response to someone who points out that you have never presented any reason for why this exception is acceptable for straight couples but not for gay couples …

    It’s your turn. Point out some reason that exception doesn’t make sense. Show us how these rare exceptions nullify the rule. Or show us how they make absolutely no sense under the rule. Show us how allowing the exceptions actually defeats the principle. Show us in terms that make sense with real people in real social situations, not just in theory but in practice.

    If you can do that, then I’ll have something to answer.

  29. Tom,

    Andy, I continue to hold that you are making an argument without substance, and that you own the burden of proof.

    What burden of proof are you even talking about? You said “If you think the burden of proof is on me to show that this exception disproves the rule” but I never argued that the exception disproves the rule! My point was, as I repeatedly emphasized, that you are making an exception for straight couples but you are not making one for gay couples, and that you have provided no reason that would justify this different treatment.

  30. Tom,

    It’s your turn. Point out some reason that exception doesn’t make sense. Show us how these rare exceptions nullify the rule.

    Argh… I didn´t say, and never said, that the exception doesn´t make sense! I said that you a) ARE making an exception and b) make this exception for straight couples but not for gay couples and c) have presented no reason to justify that different treatment. And if you cannot provide such a justification, then it honestly shouldn´t surprise you if judges can´t find any either and rule against your position – because different treatment without good reason to do so happens to be discrimination.

  31. Andy @32: Think of whether he’s talking about people who married with the desire to procreate.

    There. I carried it through a little further for you.

  32. Andy,

    If you’re going to critique my position it would be appreciated if you wouldn’t slice my sentences into pieces. And, the exception to my position doesn’t invalidate it if you could be bothered to include all of what I said.

  33. DR84,

    There is *no* exception being made for couples that experience infertility.

    Good, but if that is your claim, you can no longer use infertility as a reason for why gay couples shouldn´t be allowed to get married (if you care about intellectual consistency).

    Marriage properly understood encompasses fertile and infertile unions ultimately for the same reasons.

    Aha. And those “same reasons” being….?

  34. BillT

    And, the exception to my position doesn’t invalidate it if you could be bothered to include all of what I said.

    Really? Well, this is the part I left out:

    …and because of that it can be and is the foundational element of families in great enough numbers for it to be the foundational element of societies and cultures. Thus, for society, marriages are unique in that way that SSM cannot be. That’s why traditional marriage should and always has had a special relevance to society and was sanctioned and privileged by the society because it is absolutely necessary for the survival of any society. SSM is totally ancillary to those important societal imperatives.

    So, I still have the same question – you can make exceptions for straight couples, but you cannot make one for gay couples. Where is the reason that justifies this different treatment?

  35. Andy @35:

    Real, honest-to-life social situations sometimes allow for occasional exceptions that do nothing to change the basic meaning of the institution in which they take place. My foot surgeon has no bachelor’s degree. He’s still one of the best surgeons around. (He’s fully licensed and certified, having gone through all the proper med school and etc.) Now, does his history obviate the medical profession’s standard requirement that doctors get an undergrad degree before going on to med school? No. The principle stands even with exceptions.

    My challenge to you, which you have not yet acknowledged much less taken up, is to show how the principle of man-woman marriage is obviated by the presence of a small number of exceptions. You say there’s something contradictory there. That’s your claim. It’s up to you to support it. The burden of proof is on you.

  36. BillT, don’t fall for it. Don’t let him foist the burden of proof on you. He’s made a claim, which is that we’re operating under an inconsistent principle. That’s all he’s done. He hasn’t supported it, he hasn’t explained it, he hasn’t done anything but say so with no articulated reason.

    Let him figure out what he’s charging us with before you waste time answering.

  37. Tom –

    It was to show that Ray’s reference to founding a household was too broad to be of any use in the marriage discussion.

    And it failed, because of all that I’d said before and linked to. (More than just a tag covering a bunch of different articles, I linked to a specific comment with a specific argument, note.) Marriage law covers “property and inheritance and raising children and other material things” – and especially the kind that happens when adults come together to form new households. The “lady and the cats” doesn’t qualify. (And, SteveK, should anyone seriously try to change the law to give cats the legal rights and responsibilities of human adults, I’ll join you in opposing that. I’m not going to hold my breath, though.)

    Instead of linking to a bunch of articles, you could have responded to me as you did to Andy: “[Procreation] is the distinctive purpose of marriage and for its privileges and obligations.”

    I’ve already pointed out that the law doesn’t recognize anything like that. Sex, let alone procreation, is in no way required for a marriage in the eyes of the law. (Churches may have their own more stringent requirements – but in the U.S., at least, there’s the First Amendment.)

    So. The law already recognizes marriages that don’t qualify as Christian marriages. And has for, well, since before the couple centuries the United States has been in existence. If those are your principles, the time for a principled stand seems to have been rather a while ago. Starting now certainly has some appearance of animus.

  38. Tom,

    Real, honest-to-life social situations sometimes allow for occasional exceptions that do nothing to change the basic meaning of the institution in which they take place.

    Yes, Yes, YES – how many times do I have to agree with that? I did so for the fifth time now I believe, is that sufficient?

    My challenge to you, which you have not yet acknowledged much less taken up, is to show how the principle of man-woman marriage is obviated by the presence of a small number of exceptions.

    This is getting truly bizzare, of course I don´t take up the challenge to demonstrate x if I never claimed x, I clarified this over and over and over again now. You say that occasional exceptions, like allowing infertile straight couples to get married, do not ” change the basic meaning of the institution in which they take place”. And, again (for the sixth time), I DO NOT DISAGREE WITH THAT. My point is simply that you do allow for exceptions, but you only allow exceptions for straight couples, you do not allow them for gay couples, and you have presented no reason what-so-ever that would justify this different treatment.

  39. My point is simply that you do allow for exceptions, but you only allow exceptions for straight couples, you do not allow them for gay couples, and you have presented no reason what-so-ever that would justify this different treatment.

    To allow gay couples to marry is not merely making a rare exception to a principle, it’s changing a principle, that principle being that one major purpose for marriage is for the healthy upbringing of the next generation.

    If gay marriage is inscribed into law, the law will be obviating that principle. Rare exceptions do not obviate principles, but this does.

  40. Ray,

    The law doesn’t require sex in order for a marriage to be a marriage, but it’s built on a principle wherein procreative sex is the expectation in marriage, and it always has been.

  41. Tom,

    To allow gay couples to marry is not merely making a rare exception to a principle, it’s changing a principle, that principle being that one major purpose for marriage is for the healthy upbringing of the next generation.

    If gay marriage is inscribed into law, the law will be obviating that principle. Rare exceptions do not obviate principles, but this does.

    So, it does obviate the principle because it is not “rare” but rather “frequent”? Do you have some other reason or is that the only one? If this is all you have, then this is a very weak reason. Even if all gay couples there are right now would get married tomorrow (and they won´t) they wouldn´t even come close to outnumber the straight couples who get married but will never have children (remember that this set also includes many, many women that are postmenopausal when they (re)marry).
    If your reason here would be a valid one and those exceptions would change a “major purpose for marriage is for the healthy upbringing of the next generation” (I disagree that this purpose of marriage would change through those exceptions btw) if they are frequent enough, then this has long happened – and the main reason for it was no-fault divorce and the subsequent drastic increase of couples that (re)marry past their fertile age.

  42. Marriage exists because of procreation. Procreation is not some arbitrary thing shoehorned into the institution after all. Infertility is a condition that relates to procreation. Same sex relationships have nothing at all to do with procreation. The math, so to speak, is simple here. This is why the burden of proof is on those that claim there is a special exception granted to infertile couples but not same sex couples. It is on you to show that the same exception applies.

  43. If your reason here would be a valid one and those exceptions would change a “major purpose for marriage is for the healthy upbringing of the next generation” (I disagree that this purpose of marriage would change through those exceptions btw) if they are frequent enough, then this has long happened – and the main reason for it was no-fault divorce and the subsequent drastic increase of couples that (re)marry past their fertile age.

    Furthermore, all of these childless marriages (both young people getting married with no intention of ever having children combined with older (re)marriages), merely teach/demonstrate to the larger society that Marriage can be about compatibility/partnership/mutual life goals/whatever, with no children necessary.

    From this, it makes perfect sense to allow same sex marriage.

    If marriage really is about children, then please do not allow those who have no intention of having children to get married. It is teaching all the wrong lessons.

  44. Tom,

    To allow gay couples to marry is not merely making a rare exception to a principle, it’s changing a principle, that principle being that one major purpose for marriage is for the healthy upbringing of the next generation.

    If gay marriage is inscribed into law, the law will be obviating that principle. Rare exceptions do not obviate principles, but this does.

    An addendum to my earlier comment addressing this:
    When you say “one major purpose for marriage is for the healthy upbringing of the next generation”, I sincerely, fully and 100% agree. However, it is a major purpose (I would also be inclined to agree with saying that it is the main purpose), not the sole purpose, and I do not see the logic behind saying that allowing for more “exceptions” than those we make already anyway (and have always made) would somehow destroy this purpose. Why should it? I don´t believe it does – SSM won´t cause straight couples to stop wanting to procreate any more than allowing couples to get a divorce and remarry caused straight people to stop procreating.

  45. DR84,

    Marriage exists because of procreation. Procreation is not some arbitrary thing shoehorned into the institution after all. Infertility is a condition that relates to procreation. Same sex relationships have nothing at all to do with procreation. The math, so to speak, is simple here. This is why the burden of proof is on those that claim there is a special exception granted to infertile couples but not same sex couples. It is on you to show that the same exception applies.

    Interesting. So the condition of not being able to procreate relates to procreation and therefore, a relationship where one or both members have this condition has something to do with procreation.
    Alright, that is a very easy burden of proof you ask me to meet here:
    1. Gay couples cannot procreate.
    2. Not being able to procreate relates to procreation (your words: “Infertility [dictionary definition: “not able to produce children”] is a condition that relates to procreation”).
    3. From 1+2 follows that gay relationships relate to procreation.
    4. From 1-3 follows that we would make the same exception for gay married coupled as we already do for infertile straight couples.

    Wow, that was incredibly easy.

  46. This thread is a perfect example of why the opponents of same-sex marriage are losing so badly; in court, in public opinion, and even in churches. It’s actually a great thing, from my point of view. Keep on talking about SSM like this, it helps me far more than it helps you.

    I’m howling in derision.

  47. We will keep it up. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Andy – same sex couples are not infertile unless you choose to equivocate the meaning of that term. On your equivocation, rocks and corpses are also infertile.

  48. Andy-

    Infertility is not the absence of the ability to procreate. It is the malfunction of the ability to procreate. To categorize a same sex couple as infertile is akin to saying a tree is blind.

  49. DR84-

    I don’t think a woman who has gone through menopause has a malfunction. She is, however, infertile.

  50. DR84,

    Infertility is not the absence of the ability to procreate. It is the malfunction of the ability to procreate. To categorize a same sex couple as infertile is akin to saying a tree is blind.

    And now we are getting to a point I anticipated all along. So, lets consider two scenarios:
    1. John and Jenny love each other and want to get married. John is paraplegic and thus cannot procreate with Jenny, but Jenny could procreate with a different person.
    2. Chris and Bob love each other. They cannot procreate for obvious reasons but they could do so with a different person.

    Why is it ok to make an exception for couple #1 and allow them to get married (instead of telling Jenny to find someone else and telling John to suck it up) while an exception for couple #2 is not acceptable?

  51. Andy,

    I don’t see where you’re even coming close to drawing a parallel here. M/F couples who can’t procreate are the exception to the rule as you agree. SS couples who can’t procreate are the rule and are not an exception in any way.

  52. “I don’t think a woman who has gone through menopause has a malfunction. She is, however, infertile.”

    Agreed. Neither is a man who became naturally infertile within the context of a hetero relationship. No malfunction there either. Can a SS couple become naturally infertile (or fertile) within the context of their relationship? Nope. The word doesn’t apply to SS couples.

  53. BillT,

    I don’t see where you’re even coming close to drawing a parallel here. M/F couples who can’t procreate are the exception to the rule as you agree. SS couples who can’t procreate are the rule and are not an exception in any way.

    The “exceptions” mentioned in this thread refer to couples that cannot procreate but are allowed to marry anyway (assuming that it is in principle valid to limit the right to get a marriage to couples that can procreate). Saying that a straight couple that cannot procreate should still be allowed to get married is making an exception to such a principle. And what I keep asking is why such an exception is always ok for straight couples that cannot procreate while it is never ok to make the same exception for gay couples.

  54. Can a SS couple become naturally infertile (or fertile) within the context of their relationship? Nope.

    I don’t understand how this relates to my comment. My comment was that infertility isn’t always a “malfunction.”

    In any case, the important thing here isn’t the word “infertile.” It is the concept–that the pairing’s sexual activities cannot produce children. That is the same in both situations.

  55. “I don’t understand how this relates to my comment.”

    It serves to show that the inability to produce children is not the same as being infertile. This fact demonstrates that you are making a different argument than we are when you apply it to SS couples – and then trying to claim that it’s the same argument (i.e we’re being inconsistent). We’re not being inconsistent. You’re changing the argument.

  56. It serves to show that the inability to produce children is not the same as being infertile. This fact demonstrates that you are making a different argument than we are – and then trying to claim that it’s the same argument.

    Please explain what the two arguments are, and how they are different.

    As it seems to me, you have latched onto the word “infertile,”–believing that it only applies to heterosexual couples–and concluded that that somehow is relevant to the SSM arguments. The word “infertile” is irrelevant–what is important is couples who cannot produce children.

    If you want to argue that the reason why they cannot have children is important to the SSM debate, you have to spell that, and not simply say “because heterosexual couples are infertile, and homosexual couples are not.”

  57. Andy,

    Because the “exception” is just that a “” exception. M/F couples are part of a class of people that can procreate whether they choose to or not or whether they can or can’t for some other reason. Choice or circumstance doesn’t disqualify them from membership in that class. SS couples are not part of a class of people that can procreate. Period. You’re the one who claimed that they were allowed on an “exception”. They aren’t. They belong no matter. SS couples are not part of that class of people. That’s not arguable.

  58. Andy,

    So, it does obviate the principle because it is not “rare” but rather “frequent”? Do you have some other reason or is that the only one? If this is all you have, then this is a very weak reason. Even if all gay couples there are right now would get married tomorrow (and they won´t) they wouldn´t even come close to outnumber the straight couples who get married but will never have children (remember that this set also includes many, many women that are postmenopausal when they (re)marry).

    If any gay couples are married, the principle is overturned. Their inclusion does not constitute an exception due to infirmity, it constitutes the disbanding of the principle.

  59. I’m howling in derision.

    SF,

    Claiming you’re “howling in derision” is the coward’s way out. Proving it’s worthy of derision is harder. I’m howling in derision that the above is all you have to offer.

  60. Furthermore, all of these childless marriages (both young people getting married with no intention of ever having children combined with older (re)marriages), merely teach/demonstrate to the larger society that Marriage can be about compatibility/partnership/mutual life goals/whatever, with no children necessary.

    From this, it makes perfect sense to allow same sex marriage.

    Philmonomer, I agree that this is what caused people to think same-sex marriage makes sense. Marriage was no longer for you and me and the family and the community in which we raise our family. It was for you ‘n me, babe.

    That’s exactly the destructive turn that marriage took under no-fault divorce–and also from the de-coupling of sex from childbirth from marriage from sex–that we’re trying too late to repair. It’s a broken institution. The ship has taken on water. Same-sex marriage says, “what the hell, the ship didn’t matter anyway, let’s torpedo it.”

    You say you’re just adding another version of marriage, but you’re really endorsing and extending the metamorphosis of marriage from a a family/community thing to a you ‘n me thing–and you don’t even see it.

  61. If same sex relationships are counted as marriages. It follows that this institution has nothing at all to do with having and raising children. As such, there is no basis at all to consider it wrong for a married man to have and raise a child with another woman. Regardless of whether or not his wife approves.

  62. BillT:
    “Claiming you’re “howling in derision” is the coward’s way out. Proving it’s worthy of derision is harder. I’m howling in derision that the above is all you have to offer.”

    *Exactly* my point, and I’m really glad you agree with me. Read comment #18, where Tom does the exact same thing.

  63. BillT,

    Because the “exception” is just that a “” exception. M/F couples are part of a class of people that can procreate whether they choose to or not or whether they can or can’t for some other reason. Choice or circumstance doesn’t disqualify them from membership in that class. SS couples are not part of a class of people that can procreate. Period. You’re the one who claimed that they were allowed on an “exception”. They aren’t. They belong no matter. SS couples are not part of that class of people. That’s not arguable.

    Well, then your objection to SSM is based on nothing but circular reasoning. What you say boils down to this: there is a “class” of people that is allowed to get married. An inability to procreate due to choice or circumstance doesn´t disqualify one from membership in this class – with one exception, the circumstance of being gay because you have defined the class as excluding SS couples. So, this is not one iota more persuasive then saying “gays should not be allowed to get married because gays should not be allowed to get married.”
    What you need in order for this to be an actual argument is a reason for why you exclude gays from this “class” by default – and you don´t seem to have one.

  64. If you want to argue that the reason why they cannot have children is important to the SSM debate, you have to spell that, and not simply say “because heterosexual couples are infertile, and homosexual couples are not.”

    It’s relevant in the same way the terms ‘gay’ and ‘heterosexual’ are relevant to each relationship. They are meaningfully different, right? Can a heterosexual couple be gay within the context of their relationship? That’s my question to you from the other side of the fence.

    If the differences between the two relationship are not relevant to the marriage issue then sex is not relevant – and from that, children are not relevant. But now that means any form of relationship is a legal marriage – platonic, triads, siblings, parent/child, co-workers, neighbors, etc. The next step is to make ‘human’ not relevant to the issue.

  65. SteveK/Tom,

    Thanks for the responses. Life calls…I doubt I’ll get back to this.

  66. Tom,

    If any gay couples are married, the principle is overturned. Their inclusion does not constitute an exception due to infirmity, it constitutes the disbanding of the principle.

    Why?
    Exceptions can evidently be made. Why is an exception due to infirmity always acceptable while an exception due to homosexuality never is?

  67. DR84,

    If same sex relationships are counted as marriages. It follows that this institution has nothing at all to do with having and raising children. As such, there is no basis at all to consider it wrong for a married man to have and raise a child with another woman. Regardless of whether or not his wife approves.

    Two people can play that game:
    “If straight relationships that cannot lead to procreation are counted as marriages. It follows that this institution has nothing at all to do with having and raising children. As such, there is no basis at all to consider it wrong for a married man to have and raise a child with another woman. Regardless of whether or not his wife approves.”

  68. Anyone interested in taking up my question from #56? Else I guess I will also drop out of this thread.

  69. Andy @56

    Why is it ok to make an exception for couple #1 and allow them to get married (instead of telling Jenny to find someone else and telling John to suck it up) while an exception for couple #2 is not acceptable?

    It’s not an exception for couple #1, it’s a recognition that the couple is infertile. Infertility applies only to couples in the class of couple #1. We’ve addressed this issue many times.

  70. SteveK,

    It’s not an exception for couple #1, it’s a recognition that the couple is infertile. Infertility applies only to couples in the class of couple #1.

    I would quibble with the semantics here because I think the word “infertile” is ambigous enough to cover gay couples as well, but discussions about semantics are not productive so I´ll just grant you that.

    So, both couples cannot procreate, but #1 can get married anyway because they cannot procreate due to infertility, while #2 cannot get married because they cannot procreate due to homosexuality.
    Why is inability to procreate not a valid reason to deny people the right to get married if it is due to infertility while it is valid reason to deny people the right to get married if it is due to homosexuality? You need a reason for that, if you have no reason – this would be, by definition, a case of discrimination.

  71. Andy-

    There is no class or category of homosexual relationships that produce children. You are not playing the same game as you put it. You are equivocating.

    If you want to make a case that the institution of marriage has nothing to do with having children and never has feel free to do so. That or make a case for how homoosexual couples naturally fit in an institution that does exist because humans reproduce sexually.

  72. DR84,

    There is no class or category of homosexual relationships that produce children.

    Ok, then let me define two classes:
    1. The class of homosexual couples.
    2. The class of straight couples involving post-menopausal women.
    You are right, there is no subset of class #1 that could produce children. But, lo and behold – the exact same thing applies to class #2.
    Defining such classes is arbitrary and pointless, because the only relevant class (wrt SSM in the USA) is “citizens of the USA”. You cannot just create arbitrary subsets of this class and deny them rights that everyone else has, unless you have a good reason for that, if you don´t – then you will inevitably lose in the courtroom because this would be unambiguously discrimination.

    If you want to make a case that the institution of marriage has nothing to do with having children and never has feel free to do so.

    I have never argued for that and I will not start to do so now.

    That or make a case for how homoosexual couples naturally fit in an institution that does exist because humans reproduce sexually.

    I don´t have to. All I have to do is to point out that humans that cannot reproduce sexually are already being allowed to participate in that institution, and that gay couples are being excluded from that for no good reason.
    You can disagree with that but unless you eventually do come up with a good reason for this differential treatment, your side will inevitably keep losing in the court of public opinion and in actual courtrooms.

  73. Ok, so my summary of the debate so far would be:

    Q: Why can´t gays get married?
    A: Because they cannot procreate.
    Q: But there are plenty of couples that cannot procreate and can still get married, so why not gays?
    A: Because straight couples that cannot procreate cannot do so due to infertility.
    Q: So, it is ok to deny someone the right to marry the person they love if they cannot procreate due to homosexuality. But it is NOT ok to deny someone the right to marry the person they love if they cannot procreate due to infertility. What justifies this differential treatment?
    A: *crickets*

    So, I guess we just have to agree to disagree at this point.

  74. I won’t agree to disagree. I will agree that you haven’t been listening to what people are saying to you.

  75. SteveK,
    well, you could be right in which case you could easily point to the stuff that was repeatedly pointed out to me and ignored by me, or, this could be an extremely cheap parting shot from you to cover for the intellectual bankruptcy of your position.

  76. Andy,

    I don’t know about anyone else, but if you think you can summarize the discussion so far the way you did in #79, then I can confidently and authoritatively pronounce you as arguing in poor faith, ignoring the actual position you’re disputing, erecting a straw man, and therefore of doubtful worth investing further time with here.

    How can I be so confident? Easy. I’m in a very good position to know that your statement there is a gross distortion of my position, which is all it takes at this point for the rest to be true.

    I suggest you think about actually engaging the argument, or else think a moment about why it might make sense to include something like the last sentence on item 9 in a blog’s discussion policies.

  77. Tom,
    yeah, well this is somewhat disappointing because so far, I had a rather positive impression of you as an intellectual sparring partner, at least most of the time – but you´ve managed to destroy that impression utterly in this thread. So, adieu.

  78. What you say boils down to this: there is a “class” of people that is allowed to get married.

    Andy,

    No. I did not say this. This is a gross misstatement of what I said. I gave reasons why M/F marriage was privileged by society. That was spelled out in my #17. My #63 restates the position I explained in my #17 and explains why there are no exceptions to the original reasoning. I haven’t “defined the class as excluding SS couples.” I have defined the class as those who can procreate. I stated that in both the mentioned posts and the reasons why the ability to procreate is essential to that class and the privileges the society confers upon it.

  79. Andy-

    Homosexuality is not a reason people cannot procreate. That is like saying playing video games is a reason people cannot procreate. It is nonsensical. It is category error to place homosexuality and infertility in the same category, and one that I stand by what said before as being outright offensive to those that do experience infertility.

    Also, as you affirm the connection between marriage and procreation, it is the case that both fertility and infertility are connected to procreation. One cannot even make sense of infertility apart from fertility after all. As such we are only suggesting that marriage exists for procreative type relationships and not for non-procreative type relationships. We have presented a principled, categorical distinction that is related to the institution of marriage to explain why couples that experience infertility are in a marital union but those that engage in homosexuality are not.

  80. SF,

    Maybe you ought to read Tom’s #18 again. I don’t think it makes the point or uses the tactic you think it does.

  81. -SSM Supporters

    At least one ssm supporter in this thread has said that we have not given any or enough reason to not include homosexual relationships in the institution of marriage. Granted much more could probably be said here, but nonetheless, I am curious, what reason or reasons would you need to be true for you to be against including homosexual relationships in the institution of marriage?

    I believe from our side that this is on the table, that there would need to be something true about the institution of marriage such that it includes homosexual relationships for us to be in favor of homosexual relationships being recognized as marriages.

  82. Andy @83,

    I’m sorry that was your impression.

    In the past I’ve been willing to take the bait, and try to prove that claims like yours were false when they hadn’t even been properly stated.

    What’s disappointing you now, in my view, is not that I’ve failed to show up intellectually. It’s that I took enough of a mentally-aware position to refuse to act as if you had. In the process I left you disappointed in your desire to have an argument to answer. I had a good reason.

    I hope you’ll be back.

  83. By definition, moose species are related animals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species.

    Mr. Bullwinkle cannot breed with Lady Bullwinkle yet you’re telling me that both are part of the category “moose”? That’s an unjustified exclusion to the species rule!!

  84. @BillT

    I have defined the class as those who can procreate.

    No Bill, you most emphatically did not do this. You rather defined it as ALL opposite-sex couples and explicitly said that the inability to procreate would not remove an opposite-sex couple from this class.

    @DR84

    Homosexuality is not a reason people cannot procreate. That is like saying playing video games is a reason people cannot procreate. It is nonsensical. It is category error to place homosexuality and infertility in the same category, and one that I stand by what said before as being outright offensive to those that do experience infertility.

    To go back to my two hypotheticals in #56: John being infertile would not be a reason for you to suggest that they should not be allowed to get married, and to tell Jenny to break up with John and find someone else and tell John to suck it up, although Jenny could procreate with someone else. The mere suggestion is offensive.
    However, for the hypothetical gay couple in #56, who is unable to procreate with each other but could do so with someone else (i.e. exactly like Jenny in the other example), the inability to procreate magically becomes relevant and a valid reason to deny them the right to get married. And that is of course not offensive at all.

    @Tom:

    In the past I’ve been willing to take the bait, and try to prove that claims like yours were false when they hadn’t even been properly stated.

    What’s disappointing you now, in my view, is not that I’ve failed to show up intellectually. It’s that I took enough of a mentally-aware position to refuse to act as if you had. In the process I left you disappointed in your desire to have an argument to answer. I had a good reason.

    So in your perception, I didn´t even properly state my case and you did not actually try to prove me wrong. Well, I believe that you perceived it that way, but not without being baffled. It is not uncommon at all that people with very different worldviews perceive things very differently – but “perceiving things very differently” doesn´t even begin to describe what happened here.

    I hope you’ll be back.

    If I am still welcome, I will probably, but I guess I will avoid threads about SSM.

  85. No Bill, you most emphatically did not do this. You rather defined it as ALL opposite-sex couples and explicitly said that the inability to procreate would not remove an opposite-sex couple from this class.

    Andy,

    No. I explained why your belief that there were exceptions to the class was not true. There are no exceptions to the class and I explained why. Exceptions was your proposition and one you haven’t supported. You simply claim that we are excepting people but we are not. The society privileges the class of people that have potential benefit the society. That benefit is their ability to procreate on large enough numbers to support the society. Choices or circumstances do not effect that membership.

    And Andy, it’s been mentioned by a couple of the posters on this thread you haven’t been listening to what they’ve been saying. I’d like to add my vote to theirs.

  86. BillT,

    No. I explained why your belief that there were exceptions to the class was not true.

    There are indeed no exceptions to the classe. Because you have defined it to include all opposite-sex couples, completely independent of whether they can or cannot procreate. And then you proceed to say “I have defined the class as those who can procreate.”
    You are so blatantly contradicting yourself that I am completely baffled as to why you cannot see this.
    You are trying to want these two claims:
    1. The class of people that should be allowed to get married includes all opposite-sex couples, including those that cannot procreate.
    2. The class of people that should be allowed to get married is defined as “those who can procreate”
    – to be true simultaneously. They cannot be true, they blatantly contradict each other. Choose one.

    There are no exceptions to the class and I explained why. Exceptions was your proposition and one you haven’t supported. You simply claim that we are excepting people but we are not.

    Yes, you are. And you are fooling yourself about not doing it because you are holding two mutually contradictory beliefs here, see above.

    The society privileges the class of people that have potential benefit the society. That benefit is their ability to procreate on large enough numbers to support the society. Choices or circumstances do not effect that membership.

    I see, privileges should be granted to couples that can procreate. But also to couples that cannot procreate – not all of them of course, just the ones that BillT gets to arbitrarily define into the “class” of people that should be allowed to get married.

    And Andy, it’s been mentioned by a couple of the posters on this thread you haven’t been listening to what they’ve been saying. I’d like to add my vote to theirs.

    I believe you that you perceive it that way but frankly, I couldn´t care less – you are so blinded when it comes to this issue (the two contradictory beliefs you are holding here simply could not be any more obvious) that I have zero trust in you being even just remotely objective about this.

  87. Andy,

    This distinction is of your making, not mine. Read my first post. Societies have favored M/F marriage because they can procreate and thus support the flourishing of those societies, period. And it’s anything but arbitrary, it’s based on one of society’s most important needs. There is no distinction made among those who can procreate as to their choices or circumstances to actually procreate because those are moot points to the society in general.

    This idea those that can’t or decide not to procreate should be excluded (or are unworthy to be included) is a complete non sequitur and a red herring. That it happens to be true that there are some people like this doesn’t, shouldn’t and hasn’t effected the society’s reasons for privileging the class as a whole. Further, you raised the issue and you haven’t given any reasons why those that can’t or decide not to procreate should be excluded (or are unworthy to be included). You haven’t made a point to be countered. You just keep repeating yourself.

  88. @Bill T et al.

    From my perspective, you’re classes are wrong, and are arbitrarily planted on a no-compromises, hard stop at gender while disregarding all other features of the class of relationships under debate.

    And should we point out that, by powers of common observation, that many a gay marriage or relationship look, walk, talk and otherwise share the same features as straight marriages… the feeble retort is too predictable – “its just a pretend/fake/a farce”. Its not *really* that way, its just a cheap facsimile (because my arbitrary, self-serving categorical system doesn’t include them, despite what powers of common observation say).

    Because after all… only p*n*s*s and v*g*n*s can *really* have that kind of relationship… the kind that promises a life long commitment to nurture and care for all aspects of another perso— (err, p*n*s or v*g*n*a), in sickness and in health, till death do they part. Even if neither of those private parts actually work anymore.

    Call me crazy, but I actually look beyond the shapes of other couple’s junk, when assessing the nature of their relationship, the commitment they share, or the governments responsibility to do their necessary duty to enable them act on the promises they’ve made to one another for the rest of their lives. I look at the substance, the form. Not the section of the store from which they buy their undergarments.

    I’ll concede though – there is no such thing as gay-marriage. Only marriage.

    Most of the time its between those of opposite gender, who can procreate. Other times its between those of opposite gender who cannot procreate, though yet may still find themselves raising children together. And sometimes its between those of the same-gender who cannot procreate, but who also yet may still find themselves raising children together.

    Christians want to uphold the sacredness involved creating and raising children, which is noble and good and something I support. But you cheapen it along with marriage itself, when you reduce marriages to little more than societal subsidies for baby-factories.

    Marriage is a pure and noble end – in and of itself – whether or not children will ever enter into it. Its the type of noble end that makes us *want* to create more babies in the first place – so that those babies may experience it themselves.

  89. Andy,
    Did you see #90? Is there a condradiction there? (Bullwinkle is a cartoon moose, btw)

  90. d-

    ” the feeble retort is too predictable – “its just a pretend/fake/a farce”. Its not *really* that way, its just a cheap facsimile”

    I do not think anyone here is going to call homosexual relationships fake. No is going to say the people involved are just faking their relationship and pretending. I cannot speak for everyone else, but I assume they are as sincere in their relationships as anyone else.

    “Call me crazy, but I actually look beyond the shapes of other couple’s junk, when assessing the nature of their relationship, the commitment they share, or the governments responsibility to do their necessary duty to enable them act on the promises they’ve made to one another for the rest of their lives. I look at the substance, the form. Not the section of the store from which they buy their undergarments.”

    I believe everyone here affirms the nature of homosexual relationships as homosexual relationships. I am not aware of any claiming the nature of these relationships is anything else. Nor is anyone advocating we get in the way of people committing to life long same sex relationships. What exactly are you doing that we do not? I am very baffled.

    “I’ll concede though – there is no such thing as gay-marriage. Only marriage.”

    I agree, there is just marriage. So what does your understanding of marriage get right about the institution that ours does not?

  91. BillT,

    This distinction is of your making, not mine.

    You say (in #63):
    “M/F couples are part of a class of people that can procreate whether they choose to or not or whether they can or can’t for some other reason. Choice or circumstance doesn’t disqualify them from membership in that class.”
    And you also say (in #85):
    “I have defined the class as those who can procreate”

    I can only repeat, that you are unable to recognize how you are blatantly contradicting yourself is baffling.

    There is no distinction made among those who can procreate as to their choices or circumstances to actually procreate because those are moot points to the society in general.

    Absolutely true. For all choices and circumstances. Including the circumstance of being gay, because you don´t get to arbitrarily count some circumstances as valid reasons to deny someone the right to marry the person they love while discounting other reasons.

    This idea those that can’t or decide not to procreate should be excluded (or are unworthy to be included) is a complete non sequitur and a red herring.

    No, it isn´t. It is simply applying your reasoning consistently instead of arbitrarily.

    That it happens to be true that there are some people like this doesn’t, shouldn’t and hasn’t effected the society’s reasons for privileging the class as a whole.

    And this amounts to saying “well, you are right, but, but, but…. we always did it that way !!”.

    Further, you raised the issue and you haven’t given any reasons why those that can’t or decide not to procreate should be excluded (or are unworthy to be included).

    I was about to call this a lie but I actually don´t doubt that in your warped perception, it appears to be that way. I have given a reason, over and over and over and over and over and over again – and it is the exact same reason that you give for why gays should not be allowed to get married. Let me just use your own words:
    “The society privileges the class of people that have potential benefit the society. That benefit is their ability to procreate on large enough numbers to support the society. ”
    Gay couples cannot procreate, so they offer no benefit to society and shouldn´t be allowed to marry.
    Old couples cannot procreate, so they offer no benefit to society and shouldn´t be allowed to marry.
    If the former is not discrimination against gays, then the latter is also not discrimination against the elderly – and you can repeat your “choices or circumstances do not effect that membership” until you are blue in the face, you still cannot arbitrarily decide that age (for example) is a circumstance that does NOT remove you from this class but homosexuality is one.

    You just keep repeating yourself.

    You leave me little choice, because you keep contradicting yourself in the exact same way.

  92. SteveK,

    Andy,
    Did you see #90? Is there a condradiction there?

    I have no idea what you are trying to tell, so a mouse can´t breed with a moose, but someone (who?) tells you that a mouse is a moose, and you reply by saying that this is an “unjustified exclusion to the species rule!!” although you earlier said that “By definition, moose species are related animals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species”…
    That is not really an intelligible story, but if I would have to guess, I would say that the guy who yells “unjustified exclusion to the species rule!!” in your story is contradicting himself.

  93. I dont think anyone here is going to call homosexual relationships fake.

    But would you call it marriage?! If you would, I applaud you and thank you for your support in the polls, and in the public debate, and perhaps even on the comments on this blog.

    I believe everyone here affirms the nature of homosexual relationships as homosexual relationships.

    Homosexual relationships are homosexual relationships… ok… thats…. mighty… generous of you guys.. ?!?!

    I am not aware of any claiming the nature of these relationships is anything else.

    Exactly.

    Nor is anyone advocating we get in the way of people committing to life long same sex relationships. What exactly are you doing that we do not? I am very baffled.

    Do you say that the government shouldn’t honor and help enforce the vows that many gay people make to one another, in matrimony, like they do straight people? If so, then you ARE getting in the way, and I’m baffled that you can say you are baffled (and I don’t really believe it).

    I agree, there is just marriage. So what does your understanding of marriage get right about the institution that ours does not?

    What does it get right that your’s doesn’t? It includes more *actual* marriages.

  94. Andy-

    It is late so I am going to keep this short, but no one here thinks that homosexuality is a reason to bar someone from marriage. Homosexuality has nothing to do with marriage and it is not why same sex relationships are not marriages. A platonic same sex relationship is also not a marriage for the exact same reasons. It seems to me that you are simply arbitrarily trying to shoehorn homosexuality into marriage.

  95. d-

    “But would you call it marriage?! If you would, I applaud you and thank you for your support in the polls, and in the public debate, and perhaps even on the comments on this blog.”

    No, why should I or anyone consider a homosexual relationship to be a marriage?

    “Do you say that the government shouldn’t honor and help enforce the vows that many gay people make to one another, in matrimony, like they do straight people? If so, then you ARE getting in the way, and I’m baffled that you can say you are baffled (and I don’t really believe it).”

    What reason is their for society/government to get involved? If they want to make the vows fine, it’s their life. That is the very definition of getting out of the way.

    “What does it get right that your’s doesn’t? It includes more *actual* marriages.”

    What separates *actual* marriages from relationships that can never be *actual* marriages?

  96. DR84,

    I agree, there is just marriage. So what does your understanding of marriage get right about the institution that ours does not?

    1. A couple in a life-long committed relationship has needs that are covered by the privileges and responsibilities of marriage.
    2. A couple in a life-long committed relationship has most of those needs even if they never have children.
    3. The right to sign up for the privileges and responsibilities of marriage should therefore not be conditional on the couple being actually able and willing to procreate.
    Up to this point, our understanding seems to overlap. What our understanding gets right that your does not is:
    4. #1-3 apply to gay couples in the exact same way as they apply to straight couples and they are being discriminated against by not allowing them to marry the person they love.

  97. DR84,

    It is late so I am going to keep this short, but no one here thinks that homosexuality is a reason to bar someone from marriage. Homosexuality has nothing to do with marriage and it is not why same sex relationships are not marriages.

    So it is not because of that. Ok, then why is it?

  98. Andy,

    I think this is where you are missing the point. The following are cut and pasted from your (and my) post. Notice they are virtually identical and reference the same thing.

    “M/F couples are part of a class of people that can procreate…”

    “I have defined the class as those who can procreate”

    Now, the only way to say that are contradictory would be to believe that in the first sentence the word “can” is interpreted, per its normal use and this context as “having the potential to”. This is confirmed by the rest of the sentence which reads:

    “…whether they choose to or not or whether they can or can’t for some other reason. Choice or circumstance doesn’t disqualify them from membership in that class.”

    To create a conflict (which is what you have done) you must be interpreting the “can” in the second sentence as meaning “must be able to”. But “can” in normal conversation and certainly in this context means “having the potential to” not “must be able to”. “Can” does not mean “must”.

    So you’ve taken the same word and purposely interpreted it in two completely different ways in two virtually identical sentences even though both refer to the same idea. And then you accuse me of contradicting myself. Parsing the English language can be difficult but not really in this case unless you wanted it to be.

  99. Bill,

    Now, the only way to say that are contradictory would be to believe that in the first sentence the word “can” is interpreted, per its normal use and this context as “having the potential to”. This is confirmed by the rest of the sentence which reads:

    “…whether they choose to or not or whether they can or can’t for some other reason. Choice or circumstance doesn’t disqualify them from membership in that class.”

    To create a conflict (which is what you have done) you must be interpreting the “can” in the second sentence as meaning “must be able to”. But “can” in normal conversation and certainly in this context means “having the potential to” not “must be able to”. “Can” does not mean “must”.

    Then you are saying that all opposite sex couples have the “potential” to procreate, while same sex couples do not have this potential.
    And I would deny this. I´ll go back to my earlier example:

    1. John and Jenny love each other and want to get married. John is paraplegic and thus cannot procreate with Jenny, but Jenny could procreate with a different person.
    2. Chris and Bob love each other. They cannot procreate for obvious reasons but they could do so with a different person.

    Here, it is evident that both couples cannot procreate with each other. But if both cannot procreate with each other, how can one have “the potential” to procreate while the other does not? It cannot be. The dictionary definition of “potential” is: “having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future” – and John and Jenny do not have such a “potential” for procreation any more than Chris and Bob do. The only way how they could get this potential is, if they were different people (if John would not be paraplegic for example), however, then the same could be said about Chris and Bob – if they were different (straight) people, they would not have fallen in love with each other and procreation would likely be possible with their respective loved ones. So, I maintain that you are introducing a contradiction here. Your “class” of people that are allowed to marry is not defined as all those couples that have the potential to procreate – it includes couples like John and Jenny which do not have such a potential.

    Your class is based on special pleading and it is discriminatory.

  100. Again Andy, you continue to rely on a tortured interpretations of common words and tortured examples that are irrelevant in the context of what is being discussed. But I get that anything will do to create the conflict you need to make your “point”.

  101. Bill,

    Again Andy, you continue to rely on a tortured interpretations of common words

    So, using the dictionary(!) definition is a “tortured interpretation”, while your idiosyncratic understanding of “potential” (you haven´t even bothered to define what you mean by it! You might want to do that in cases where you disagree with the dictionary) is not.

    tortured examples that are irrelevant in the context of what is being discussed

    My example is tortured and irrelevant? Wow, and here I thought it was a very realistic and highly relevant one.
    Then, by all means, explain what makes my example “tortured” and why it is “irrelevant”.

    But I get that anything will do to create the conflict you need to make your “point”.

    I really start to feel sorry for you, being so committed to defend the indefensible must cause a lot of cognitive dissonance.

  102. Andy-

    All M/F couples have the natural capacity to procreate because there is no such thing as a human that is by nature infertile. Just as there is no such thing as a human that is paraplegic by nature.

  103. DR84,

    All M/F couples have the natural capacity to procreate because there is no such thing as a human that is by nature infertile. Just as there is no such thing as a human that is paraplegic by nature.

    Agreed. Fertility is the natural state (defining what is in fact “natural” is a tricky issue but I can easily grant you this for the sake of the argument). So what? This applies to everyone in the example I use, to John, Jenny, Chris and Bob – they are all humans, the “natural state” of humans is fertile, and they all cannot procreate with the person they have fallen in love with. So there still is no reason that would justify the different treatment of allowing one of those couples to marry but not the other one.

  104. Andy,

    My definition of the word “can” is the common one. “Can” does not mean “must”. And that’s not to mention that you used two different definitions of the same word in two identical sentences.

  105. So SSM proponents are at it again, kicking and raising as big a cloud of dust as possible.

    (1) Blindingly obvious fact: a special, unique relationship is established between a man and a woman precisely because they have the potential to generate new life; Nature — to use an awful antropomorphism — has put a complex of feelings and attitudes in us to encourage couples to mate for life so they can multiply and more efficiently rear their children.

    (2) Blindingly obvious fact: marriage is an institution that predates states, and certainly the modern state as we have come to know it in the West. Once again, the institution of marriage exists, culturally, socially and politically, because first, of the bare facts of biological reproduction (that is, the latter grounds the former not the other way around), second, because of the complementarity of sexes that morphs and extends itself (say, from the couple being a Father and a Mother, to a Grandfather and Grandmother).

    (3) Blindingly obvious fact: there are many types of relationships in a society: civil, friendship, tribal, etc. What makes marriage unique among these? Its intrinsic connection to procreation. More precisely, it is characterized by its orientation towards (a) the children that may arise from such a relationship (b) derivative on these, in the sense of (2), the lifelong union of persons of complementary sexes. Here, the opponent could charge me with question begging. The first response is that this is also an historical observation, so methinks the onus is on the opponent to say where mankind got it so wrong for all of its History with the exception of the last couple of decades. But at any rate there is no question begging going on, because (a) is quite clearly necessary, for otherwise, and on (b) alone, it is indistinguishable from friendship, a recognizably different relationship.

    (4) Blindingly obvious fact: from the orientation, or the final causes in the traditional Scholastic jargon, of the relationship we can glimpse the form it should take. For example, friendship is oriented towards the good of the other. First, the good implied in the friendship relation is a *private* good, which explains why no one has come up with the zanny, totalitarian idea of the State issuing “friendship licenses”. Second, because it is oriented towards the good of the other, sex, race, color of the skin, etc. is irrelevant to the relationship. Third, while friendship requires at least two persons, we can see that it is a good that we share among more persons, but that the number of such persons is finite, because otherwise and past some (necessarily vague) upper bound our capacity to further the good of the other will diminish. This is why each of us has relatively few friends but a potentially unbounded number of acquaintances — yet another form of social relationship.

    If we apply the parallel reasoning to marriage, because it is oriented towards procreation, a recognizable *common* good, the State becomes interested in it (originally, the main interest was to guarantee that any children coming from a marriage would not be a weight on the King’s purse, so a “license” was granted so that blame and responsibility could be pinned down). Secondly, because it is oriented towards procreation, the complementarity of the sexes is quite obviously very *relevant*. Thirdly, it also explains why *usually* marriage is restricted to two people, but once in a while someone comes up defending Polygamy. (b) suggests (but does not imply with the full force of logical necessity) that the relation needs to be lifelong, or permanent, and exclusive. Permanent, because it is not just the begetting of children that is involved, but their rearing, a longterm project given the realities of human nature. Exclusive, because any inclusiveness tends to break the bonding and disrupt the unity needed for a long time project — it is the commonest of observation that Eros is a jealous god. It also explains why sex (hate the word “gender”) is relevant, but race and skin color are not.

    (5) Where do we go from here? An SSM proponent, while not denying any of these facts (which for the most part, are indeed blindingly obvious, and hard to deny) could still insist that SS relationships share some of the features of traditional marriages, and in enough a robust sense that makes sense to call them marriages and thus justify the State’s butting in. But since SS relations are detached from procreation, another blindingly obvious fact that it takes quite a miserable sophistry to deny, and are a form of friendship with Eros tangled up in it (which explains why these relations have a tendency to break, since there is a conflict between the shared good of friendship and the mutually exclusive fidelity bond), a *private* good, it is quite mysterious on what grounds they can do this — they hardly ever attempt it anyway, preferring instead to huff and puff.

  106. Bill,

    My definition of the word “can” is the common one. “Can” does not mean “must”.

    John and Jenny´s relationship cannot possibly lead to procreation, period. Yet you insist that John and Jenny “can” procreate with each other, because “”can” does not mean “must””.
    Cool, then lets try a little magic trick:
    Chris and Bob´s relationship cannot possibly lead to procreation, period.
    But, since “”can” does not mean “must””, we can surely say that Chris and Bob “can” procreate! Or…. did we manage to magically change your definition of “can” now?

  107. BillT,
    if you think such parting shots are called for, be my guest. I didn´t twist your words, I granted you all your “cans” and “potentials” in every which idiosyncratic way you want to have them – and it´s not my fault that you cannot resolve the contradiction inherent to your position.

  108. Andy #99

    I have no idea what you are trying to tell, so a mouse can´t breed with a moose, but someone (who?) tells you that a mouse is a moose, and you reply by saying that this is an “unjustified exclusion to the species rule!!”

    Who said anything about a mouse?? Go back and read it more carefully.

    If you need me to unpack it, the jist of what I’m saying is (a) members of the same species are able to breed among themselves and (b) here we have two members of the same species that *cannot* breed for whatever reason.

    It’s a similar kind of “class” situation that you say (in the case of marriage) is riddled with contradiction and unjustified exceptions.

    I’m wondering if you can tell us why (a) and (b) are compatible when it comes to species.

  109. SteveK,

    the jist of what I’m saying is (a) all members of the same species are able to breed among themselves and (b) here we have two members of the same species that *cannot* breed for whatever reason.

    Erm… a) is just false because you becoming sterile doesn´t mean that you also stop being a member of the human species. And b) is trivial – you cannot breed two individuals if one or both is too young, or too old, or if both are of the same gender (at least for the species that you are most likely thinking of right now) etc.pp. – there are countless constellations where breeding doesn´t work but could have worked if the circumstances would have been different.

    I’m wondering if you can tell us why (a) and (b) are compatible when it comes to species.

    They are not compatible, one is not even true. Seriously – did you believe that undergoing castration would cause you to stop being a member of the species Homo sapiens?

    If you had a point here, I´m not seeing it.

  110. Andy,
    Becoming sterile doesn’t mean that you also stop being a member of the marriage class.

    Seriously – did you believe that being unable to procreate would keep you from being a member of the marriage class?

  111. If you had a point here, I´m not seeing it.

    You’re making this more evidently clear with every comment.

  112. SteveK,

    Becoming sterile doesn’t mean that you also stop being a member of the marriage class.

    Seriously – did you believe that being unable to procreate would keep you from being a member of the marriage class?

    Of course not.
    You do see that you cannot just come up with a new definiton of “Homo sapiens” that would exclude all gay people, unless you had a justification for why this definition is meaningful, don´t you? So, where is your justification for excluding all gay couples from the “marriage class” by default, while including all opposite sex couples that cannot procreate with each other?

  113. Where is your justification for including them? What is it that makes us own the burden of proof here? Isn’t the claim, “gays should be allowed to be married,” one that you’re making? Why does the one making the claim not own the responsibility to demonstrate it? Or do you think there’s a new default position, and “gays should be allowed to be married” is true just because it’s true, unless it can be proven false?

  114. Tom,

    Where is your justification for including them?

    The last one was in #103 I believe in my response to DR84:

    1. A couple in a life-long committed relationship has needs that are covered by the privileges and responsibilities of marriage.
    2. A couple in a life-long committed relationship has most of those needs even if they never have children.
    3. The right to sign up for the privileges and responsibilities of marriage should therefore not be conditional on the couple being actually able and willing to procreate.
    Up to this point, our understanding seems to overlap. What our understanding gets right that yours does not is:
    4. #1-3 apply to gay couples in the exact same way as they apply to straight couples and they are being discriminated against by not allowing them to marry the person they love.

    What is it that makes us own the burden of proof here?

    The principle of equality before the law. Rights and privileges cannot be arbitrarily denied to a class of people (that would be the very definition of discrimination), differential treatment under the law requires convincing secular reasons to justify them (this is about marriage as a social institution, not about the religious one).

  115. Andy-

    Marriage as a social institution exists because of how humans reproduce. Same sex relationships (homosexual or otherwise) simply have no connection at all with having and raising children. Hence why they do not fit in this social institution and hence why there is no arbitrary discrimination by not including them. Any real needs homosexual couple and people in other relationships have can be met without changing marriage at all.

    For what it is worth, society is not obligated to formally recognize individual’s private commitments to one another to agree to a lifelong relationship.

  116. G. Rodrigues – A few points.

    (1) True, males and females uniquely *generate* life. But note, “it is not just the begetting of children that is involved, but their rearing” – which does not actually require a biological relationship. That biological relationship is by far the most common setup, of course, but we’ve already, in this thread, granted that necessary exceptions come up from time to time. A gay couple raising children would seem to be a reasonable example of a prudent exception – those kids could certainly benefit from the legal support and benefits associated with their parents being married.

    (2) And yes, “marriage is an institution that predates states, and certainly the modern state as we have come to know it in the West.” So does slavery, and monarchy, but that doesn’t obligate the state to recognize them. Same with many aspects of marriage that have existed long before “the modern state as we have come to know it in the West” – such as the principle that a husband cannot rape their wife. Especially in “the modern state as we have come to know it in the West”, general social utility trumps seniority.

    (3) “there are many types of relationships in a society: civil, friendship, tribal, etc. What makes marriage unique among these?” That it’s the most common way adults form a new household?

    (4) “from the orientation, or the final causes in the traditional Scholastic jargon, of the relationship we can glimpse the form it should take.” Well, as I’ve noted before, marriage has “gotten tangled up with medical care, insurance, legal testimony, taxes, and so forth”. Lots of things that don’t necessarily flow from the ‘final cause’, and certainly aren’t exclusively relevant solely to marriages. Your analysis seems to gloss over this point.

    (5) “since SS relations are detached from procreation” – but certainly not childrearing, note. Nor all the other issues noted in (4). So it would seem there are some grounds to argue that “SS relationships share some of the features of traditional marriages, and in enough a robust sense that makes sense to call them marriages and thus justify the State’s butting in”. Especially since the ‘defense of marriage’ types have explicitly disallowed any alternatives like civil unions.

  117. DR84,

    Marriage as a social institution exists because of how humans reproduce. Same sex relationships (homosexual or otherwise) simply have no connection at all with having and raising children.

    Yup, unless they adopt. Which, incidentally, happens to be true for plenty of straight couples – elderly couples for example. But since you have no problem with them getting married, your point is still completely irrelevant.

    Any real needs homosexual couple and people in other relationships have can be met without changing marriage at all.

    Well, yeah, in some sense. All those needs being met “without changing marriage at all” would boil down to allow them to get married but not call it “marriage”. That however is simply silly, and there is a much easier solution – gays can get married and your church is free to consider this marriage to be non-existent and you are free to use scare-quotes when talking about same sex marriages. I.e. exactly what states that allow SSM do right now – and everybody wins.

    For what it is worth, society is not obligated to formally recognize individual’s private commitments to one another to agree to a lifelong relationship.

    True. But unless you acknowledge that to be a valid reasons to deny old couples the right to get married, it is utterly irrelevant.

  118. DR84 –

    Same sex relationships (homosexual or otherwise) simply have no connection at all with having and raising children.

    Having, no (though technology might change that, eventually). Raising – demonstrably so.

  119. Andy #122
    Your list is missing an important distinguishing element – a couple that is oriented toward having children, which necessarily involves sex. As you rightfully understood in the species analogy, being sterile doesn’t bar you from the class so we can dismiss your red herring.

    You say the relationships are equal, but they are not. I attempted to bring this to light in #70 by asking why hetero couples cannot be considered gay.

  120. SteveK,

    Your list is missing an important distinguishing element – a couple that is oriented toward having children, which necessarily involves sex. As you rightfully understood in the species analogy, being sterile doesn’t bar you from the class so we can dismiss your red herring.

    😀 So now that you have seen that the prospect of procreation (or lack thereof) doesn´t work as a reason for denying gay couples the right to marry, you just change the goalposts from procreation to mere sex – completely independent of whether it can possibly lead to procreation or not.
    Alright, so are you prepared to rephrase “the main purpose of marriage is procreation and raising children” to “the main purpose of marriage is sex between men and women”?

    You say the relationships are equal

    Nope. Never did. What I said is that the differences that you can point to are irrelevant because they either apply to plenty of straight couples as well or are simply silly (like the purpose of marriage being mere sex, completely independent of whether it can possibly lead to procreation or not).

  121. I have no idea how you misinterpreted my comment as saying that I’m now changing it to mere sex.

  122. From a practical policy perspective, which option below is less intrusive, less subject to lawsuits and political fallout and less costly to govern if you’re interested in licensing couples that can potentially have children

    a) test every couple to ensure they can have children before they get married knowing that many tests will be a matter of statistical interpretation and knowing that there are workarounds to help even the odds. All a couple has to do is say, we plan to do X, Y and Z which will all but guarantee a child

    b) require that everyone demonstrate that their biological plumbing exists and is in working order.

    c) require that couples have children after X years.

    d) observe that a couple is male/female, wants to make a public declaration (marriage) and expect that they will most likely give the State what it’s looking for.

    With a, b and c I can hear the social uproar now. Politicians will be voted out of office and Gloria Allred will make millions.

    I’m going to govern via option (d).

  123. From a practical policy perspective, which option below is less intrusive, less subject to lawsuits and political fallout and less costly to govern if you’re interested in licensing couples that can potentially have children

    a) test every couple to ensure they can have children before they get married knowing that many tests will be a matter of statistical interpretation and knowing that there are workarounds to help even the odds. All a couple has to do is say, we plan to do X, Y and Z which will all but guarantee a child

    b) require that everyone demonstrate that their biological plumbing exists and is in working order.

    c) require that couples have children after X years.

    d) observe that a couple is male/female, wants to make a public declaration (marriage) and expect that they will most likely give the State what it’s looking for.

    With a, b and c I can hear the social uproar now. Politicians will be voted out of office and Gloria Allred will make millions.

    I’m going to govern via option (d).

    Nope. I have a much, much better solution that is not intrusive at all and gets rid of all those free riding straight couples that are worthless to society:
    e) You can get your marriage certificate only after your first child is born. If you are religious, you can have the wedding ceremony in your church before that, but until your first child is born, your marriage is non-existent for the state.
    Also, as soon as your kids move out of the house, your marriage certificate becomes void. There, easy as pie.

  124. SteveK,

    I have no idea how you misinterpreted my comment as saying that I’m now changing it to mere sex.

    I didn´t misinterpret you. Your words:
    “Your list is missing an important distinguishing element – a couple that is oriented toward having children, which necessarily involves sex.”
    And you can only be talking about mere sex here – if it would be sex with the prospect of procreation, then you wouldn´t contradict me here at all because this “important distinguishing element” would apply to many, many straight couples as well.

  125. @Ray Ingles:

    That biological relationship is by far the most common setup, of course, but we’ve already, in this thread, granted that necessary exceptions come up from time to time. A gay couple raising children would seem to be a reasonable example of a prudent exception – those kids could certainly benefit from the legal support and benefits associated with their parents being married.

    “Exceptions” to what, pray tell? Two men can raise a child together? Yes I suppose that is possible, just as it is possible and recognized in the law of most Western countries that a Single mother (or Father) can raise and even adopt a child. Nothing follows from this incidental fact. Or should the state issue a marriage license to Single mothers that adopt? But of course for two men to adopt a child, another couple, another family, another household had to beget the child, and for some reason (death, inability, dereliction of duty, etc.) cannot take care of it. Saying that the “biological relationship is by far the most common setup” is incredibly dim; it is not just the common setup, it is the natural setup. But maybe you want to cut in the law the natural tie, that is, as it flows from our nature, between biological and spiritual fatherhood? Or maybe your point is that two men or women that adopt a child should get some support? Maybe. What has that got to do with what marriage is?

    This serves as a template to answer your other points: the reasoning by exceptions is flawed as if the normal setup had no normative force, it is not even clear what the alleged exceptions prove, the failure to make the distinction between what is essential and uniquely distinctive of marriage, and what is merely incidental to it, etc.

    So does slavery, and monarchy, but that doesn’t obligate the state to recognize them. Same with many aspects of marriage that have existed long before “the modern state as we have come to know it in the West” – such as the principle that a husband cannot rape their wife.

    Since SSM proponents want to extend what qualifies as marriage, it is puzzling what point exactly are you trying to make. Do you want to level the field and simply banish marriage like slavery? Or rather, you want to extend slavery to, say, not include only the owning of Blacks but also Whites, Yellows and Blues if ever they show their face on this planet? Or is it the utterly trivial point that the State, understood as a proxy for Society at large, does not have to recognize every single form of social relationship handed down to us from antiquity? Ok, I can grant that. So what? More irrelevancies you care to share with us?

    That it’s the most common way adults form a new household?

    Two adult friends can also form a household — no, it is not unheard of — but that thereby serves as no justification for calling their friendship a marriage or changing marriage law to cater them. To put it in other terms, why do you think rechristening the forming of a new family, which is intrinsically related to the generation of new life (to wax Biblically, that is why the men shall leave the house of his parents, etc. and etc.) as to “form a new household” has any bite or relevance? There are many forms of partnership where different people pool their resources to achieve a varied number of set goals, but this does not thereby justify us to extend *marriage* law to say, the share holders of a corporate business.

    Well, as I’ve noted before, marriage has “gotten tangled up with medical care, insurance, legal testimony, taxes, and so forth”. Lots of things that don’t necessarily flow from the ‘final cause’, and certainly aren’t exclusively relevant solely to marriages. Your analysis seems to gloss over this point.

    I have not glossed over anything because there is nothing here to gloss over. It may or may not be an accidental feature of marriages that medical care, insurance, etc. got tangled up with marriage law, but that is at best an argument not for changing marriage law, but changing the laws regulating medical care, insurance, etc.

    If your point is that procreation is not essential to marriage, but an accidental feature that for the entire history of Humanity until some decades ago got mistakenly bound up with it, then defend as much, and whatever conception of marriage you hold, and do not skirt around the issue. I even already know how the defense will play out — at the very least, it will have some or all of the following flaws: circularity, question-begging and ad-hocery. Or maybe the point is that whatever marriage has been or even is, is irrelevant and the law should do this and that. But then if marriage is what I said it was, and on the other hand marriage law should not take this into account, then why do a this rather than a that since what marriage is is irrelevant to the considerations of the law? In fact, why even talk of marriage law? One might as well talk of corporate business law. Or maybe the point is that there is no such thing as marriage apart from social mores and the legal fictions that codify them. Ok, then what justifies SSM? For then it is no more arbitrary to say that under the law a man and a woman can marry and two men or women can’t, than that a man and a woman can marry and two men or women likewise can. Invoking the principle of equality before the law is a sophistical, if unsophisticated, piece of question begging, since if marriage is merely a social construct that the law codifies there is no criteria that can or could decide whether in fact a man and a woman are relevantly similar to two men or women, or three men and five women, or one man and an abstract legal entity such as a corporation, or a man and a turnip. And where no rational principle is involved, the discussion is merely a covert one for who holds power, which is no discussion at all but arm-wrestling.

  126. SteveK,

    Yes, my distinguishing element applies to straight couples.

    Alright, but all of those straight couples it applies to are allowed to marry, so how is this distinction of any relevance for the topic at hand?

  127. Of course straight couples can be married if they choose. I just don’t understand what you’re getting at – really I don’t. How is it relevant? Being oriented toward procreation serves to explain to you why SS couples cannot be considered as candidates for marriage.

  128. SteveK,

    How is it relevant? Being oriented toward procreation serves to explain to you why SS couples cannot be considered as candidates for marriage.

    There are opposite sex couples that cannot possibly procreate (e.g. John and Jenny in my example above). How can a relationship that cannot possibly lead to procreation also be a relationship that is “oriented toward procreation”? How is that not a blatantly obvious contradiction in terms?

  129. Andy-

    I think you misunderstand what oriented towards procreation means. At the very least, you misunderstand what we mean by it.

  130. DR84,

    I think you misunderstand what oriented towards procreation means. At the very least, you misunderstand what we mean by it.

    Alright. So what is the definition of “oriented towards procreation” then?

  131. Andy-

    You were on the right track when you noted that sterile/infertile people are not less human.

    Also, I think to answer your question it would help if you articulated your understanding of what oriented towards procreation means. I think you misunderstand but I don’t know exactly how you misunderstand.

  132. Andy,

    How is that not a blatantly obvious contradiction in terms?

    What I am referencing is the nature of the relationship.

    By nature, a male/female relationship is naturally oriented toward procreation. This is what happens naturally. If this natural end is altered/frustrated/prevented then the relationship is still what it is, however it has been altered/frustrated/prevented. You might best describe that male/female relationship this way: naturally oriented toward procreation, but unable (or unwilling) to actualize or fulfill that natural end.

  133. You were on the right track when you noted that sterile/infertile people are not less human.

    True. By nature, humans are oriented toward rationality but a failure to achieve that natural end doesn’t mean a person is no longer human. They are humans with a disability.

    Likewise – a marriage that cannot fulfill its natural end of procreation doesn’t mean it’s no longer a marriage. It’s a marriage with a disability.

    Hopefully that helps Andy.

  134. SteveK,

    By nature, a male/female relationship is naturally oriented toward procreation. This is what happens naturally. If this natural end is altered/frustrated/prevented then the relationship is still what it is, however it has been altered/frustrated/prevented.

    I assume you are talking about something like aristotelian essences here, and that a lack of fertility does not change the essence of the relationship, am I correct?

  135. Is there something I said in #141, 142 that you disagree with, Andy? I don’t want to start a discussion on the various ways you disagree with Aristotle.

  136. DR84,

    Also, I think to answer your question it would help if you articulated your understanding of what oriented towards procreation means.

    “Oriented towards” is a phrase I would not use myself, so I cannot talk about my own understanding but rather only how I understand you when you use it. I would read “x is oriented towards y” as something along the line of “x leads to y”. But that is evidently not what you mean by it, so what do you mean?

  137. SteveK,

    Is there something I said in #141, 142 that you disagree with, Andy? I don’t want to start a discussion on the various ways you disagree with Aristotle.

    Alright, so it is about essences. Well, then this is problematic for your position in so far as “essences” are not recognized by the state and the constitution does not presuppose the truth of aristotelian or scholastic philosophy. So this might be relevant for a discussion about what marriage means in your church, for the legal status of marriage, it´s not relevant.
    But even granting you something like the existence of essences, I don´t think you have a point here. As far as I understand you, you say that there are relationships for which marriage status is an option (lets call them m-relationships), and if something like infertility happens to such a m-relationship, the relationship is “still what it is”, so marriage is still an option for them. However, if that is the case, then “procreation” cannot possibly be a necessary attribute for such a m-relationship, because if it were, it would lose its identity as a m-relationship as soon as procreation is no longer possible.
    But if procreation is not a necessary attribute for m-marriages, then what you said does not constitute an argument against SSM.

  138. Andy,

    Well, then this is problematic for your position in so far as “essences” are not recognized by the state and the constitution does not presuppose the truth of aristotelian or scholastic philosophy.

    I’m not making this an issue, you are. Whatever problem it is, it’s a problem of your own making.

    The rest of your comment is rebutting an argument that I’m not making. What part of #141/142 do you disagree with?

  139. SteveK,

    I’m not making this an issue, you are. Whatever problem it is, it’s a problem of your own making.

    Aha. So you didn´t make essences an issue, I did. Well, you said:
    By nature, a male/female relationship is naturally oriented toward procreation. This is what happens naturally. If this natural end is altered/frustrated/prevented then the relationship is still what it is, however it has been altered/frustrated/prevented.”
    – so, pray tell, how can it “still be what it is” without introducing a concept like aristotelian essences?

    The rest of your comment is rebutting an argument that I’m not making.

    Alright, then what exactly is your “then the relationship is still what it is” based on?

  140. Andy-

    What is more true about humanity. Are relationships in which the couple experiences infertility:

    A) Essentially the same as those that that are fertile.

    B) Essentially the same as same sex/homosexual relationships.

    C) other

  141. DR84,
    your question is too vague to answer. What is the similarity measure supposed to be and what is the threshold where “essentially the same” is reached?

  142. Andy-

    I had tried to edit my comment after posting so that option C would be other / impossible to know. So I take it that that is your answer.

    After asking the question it has struck me that this shows an inconsistency with your accusation that our position is a blatant contradiction. If we cannot know, how can you know our position is contradictory after all?

    Also, you may recall I mentioned you were on the right track about humans that are infertile not being less human. It seems to me that only option A is consistent with this position.

  143. DR84,

    After asking the question it has struck me that this shows an inconsistency with your accusation that our position is a blatant contradiction. If we cannot know, how can you know our position is contradictory after all?

    Also, you may recall I mentioned you were on the right track about humans that are infertile not being less human. It seems to me that only option A is consistent with this position.

    There are two different categories here:
    1. “Human”
    2. “Relationships that qualify for marriage”
    There is no accepted or proposed definition for category #1 that includes the attribute “fertility”, so the attribute is irrelevant for whether someone is in that category or not.
    For category #2, people in this thread proposed definitions that are based on the ability to procreate (that couples which are allowed to marry have to be “oriented towards procreation”, or are couples that “can procreate” or that have “the potential to procreate” etc.pp.), and if we accept such a definition, but also say that opposite-sex couples that can NOT procreate are covered by it, while same-sex couples are not, then we are contradicting ourselves.

  144. Andy-

    If we suggest that properly understood, a marital relationship is the type of relationship that is oriented towards procreation and for a relationship to be infertile it *must* be the type of relationship that is oriented towards procreation (if it is not of this type we literally have no basis to know that the relationship is infertile after all). Which implies that any kind of relationship that is *not* oriented towards procreation *cannot* be an instance of a real marital union. What exactly is the problem? What exactly is the contradiction? It seems to me you are inserting your own view of infertility and what it means for a relationship to be oriented towards procreation here in order to claim we are contradicting ourselves. If you want to argue that your view is more correct, by all means. However, given that you have already noted that infertility does not render one less human, I am not sure how you can do this.

  145. Andy-

    If it is true that homosexual couples are infertile together then I believe you would be correct that our position is contradictory. I also agree our position is discriminatory if it turns out that oriented towards procreation is not a real thing, but is rather an arbitrary, ad hoc, claim used to justify our stance.

    What would need to be true for you to be convinced our position is not contradictory?

  146. G. Rodrigues –

    Two men can raise a child together? Yes I suppose that is possible… Nothing follows from this incidental fact. Or should the state issue a marriage license to Single mothers that adopt?

    In the case of a single parent, there is no one to share rights and duties with. In the case of a couple adopting children, it’s different. (I admit I’m surprised to have to point out the difference between “one” and “two” to someone with your demonstrated ability at mathematics, but perhaps arithmetic isn’t your strong suit?)

    But maybe you want to cut in the law the natural tie, that is, as it flows from our nature, between biological and spiritual fatherhood?

    Well, adoption can in fact do that, in the legal sense, in specific egregious cases. Parents can have their parental rights terminated. But I’m not advocating this happen any more than it does when, for example, heterosexual parents divorce and re-marry.

    Or maybe your point is that two men or women that adopt a child should get some support? Maybe. What has that got to do with what marriage is?

    The kind of support they should get looks, well, remarkably similar to the kind of support legal marriage provides. Since civil unions are off the table – the “defenders of marriage” have made that abundantly clear – marriage seems to be rather an optimal fit.

    To put it in other terms, why do you think rechristening the forming of a new family, which is intrinsically related to the generation of new life (to wax Biblically, that is why the men shall leave the house of his parents, etc. and etc.) as to “form a new household” has any bite or relevance?

    You can wax Biblically all you like, but U.S. law is not – and cannot be – based on the Bible. As I’ve already noted. Indeed, if you want to know my case, you could actually click on the link in comment #7. That’s why it’s there.

    It may or may not be an accidental feature of marriages that medical care, insurance, etc. got tangled up with marriage law, but that is at best an argument not for changing marriage law, but changing the laws regulating medical care, insurance, etc.

    Well, actually, I have suggested that. And – especially given the way the same-sex marriage debate and legal battle has gone so far – I would think that the various “defenders of marriage” would be somewhat regretful now that they didn’t pursue that course.

  147. DR84,

    If we suggest that properly understood, a marital relationship is the type of relationship that is oriented towards procreation and for a relationship to be infertile it *must* be the type of relationship that is oriented towards procreation (if it is not of this type we literally have no basis to know that the relationship is infertile after all).

    Again, how the hell can this mean that a relationship that cannot possibly lead to procreation can also be “oriented towards procreation”? I asked you to define “oriented towards procreation”.
    Do that and then we can say whether with your definition this:
    “X cannot possibly procreate and X is also oriented towards procreation” is not a contradiction in terms.

    It seems to me you are inserting your own view of infertility and what it means for a relationship to be oriented towards procreation here…

    You left me so far no other choice because you didn´t define what you mean by “oriented towards procreation”. So define it now and show that with your definition, this:
    “X cannot possibly procreate and X is also oriented towards procreation” is not a contradiction in terms.

  148. Pens are oriented towards writing and the ones that cannot possibly write anymore, we call pens. Nonworking pens, broken pens, etc – but pens nonetheless.

  149. Andy-

    Infertile relationships are oriented towards procreation just like fertile relationships are oriented to procreation because the condition of infertility cannot exist apart from the the possibility of fertility.

  150. DR84,
    Again, you have not provided a definition for what “oriented towards procreation” is supposed to mean so that:
    “X cannot possibly lead to procreation but X is also oriented towards procreation” is not a contradiction.
    This is the third time I am asking you now.

    Infertile relationships are oriented towards procreation just like fertile relationships are oriented to procreation because the condition of infertility cannot exist apart from the the possibility of fertility.

    Now you have found a way to create the same contradiction with a much more complicated procedure. I´ll use my John and Jenny couple as an example again:
    1. John and Jenny´s relationship is an “infertile relationship”
    2. Infertility cannot exist apart from the possibility of fertility
    3. From #1+2 follows that John and Jenny´s relationship has the possibility of fertility.
    4. John and Jenny´s relationship cannot possibly lead to procreation.
    5. From #3+4 follows that John and Jenny´s relationship cannot possibly lead to procreation while simultaneously having the possibility of fertility.

    #5 is a blatantly obvious contradiction in terms.

    Honestly, I don´t see any other way for your position other than to look at something like this:
    An Italian bishop has refused to allow a church wedding for a paraplegic man who was rendered impotent by a crippling automobile accident.

    A spokesman for Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo explained that although the bride was aware of her fiancé’s condition, their union could not be celebrated as a Christian marriage because impotence is grounds for annulment.
    And say that Bishop Chiarinelli was right.

  151. Andy-

    We do not understand infertility to be “cannot possibly procreate”. Our argument is not based on infertility being understood this way. If we did and it was, you would probably be correct that our position is contradictory. Instead we understand infertility to be that a couples natural ability to procreate has been disabled.

  152. SteveK

    Pens are oriented towards writing and the ones that cannot possibly write anymore, we call pens. Nonworking pens, broken pens, etc – but pens nonetheless.

    What happens if I burn the “pen”, is it still a “pen”? What about knives? Isn´t the ability to cut things a necessary attribute of a knive? What happens when it starts to get dull? Does it at any point stop being a “knive” or does it always stay one? If it always stays one no matter how dull it gets – can I just melt it, make it into a spoon, and say that it is still a knive, just one that looks like a spoon?

  153. DR84,

    I am asking you for the fourth time now:
    You have not provided a definition for what “oriented towards procreation” is supposed to mean, you simply said that mine is wrong, so what is your definition so that:
    “X cannot possibly lead to procreation but X is also oriented towards procreation” is not a contradiction.

    We do not understand infertility to be “cannot possibly procreate”. Our argument is not based on infertility being understood this way. If we did and it was, you would probably be correct that our position is contradictory. Instead we understand infertility to be that a couples natural ability to procreate has been disabled.

    Good. How can a relationship whose “natural ability to procreate has been disabled” be “oriented towards procreation”?

  154. SteveK,
    That pen example is actually really useful I think… I´ll grant for the sake of the argument that essences exist. So, a necessary attribute of a pen is that you can write with it. If you cannot write with it right now but still could potentially write with it in the future, then it is still a pen. If something happens to it so that you cannot possibly write with it anymore (e.g. burning it), then it loses its identity and stops being a “pen”.
    Now, if we assume that the ability to procreate is a necessary attribute for a relationship that qualifies for marriage, then a temporary impossibility of procreation would still mean that it is a relationship that qualifies for marriage. If procreation becomes impossible however, the relationship loses its identity and no longer qualifies for marriage. And therefore, Bishop Chiarinelli (see #161) was right.

    What flaws do you see in the reasoning here?

  155. DR84,

    I am asking you for the fifth time now:
    You have not provided a definition for what “oriented towards procreation” is supposed to mean, you simply said that mine is wrong, so what is your definition so that:
    “X cannot possibly lead to procreation but X is also oriented towards procreation” is not a contradiction.

    …because of their natural ability towards procreation.

    Wait…
    Q: How can a relationship whose “natural ability to procreate has been disabled” be “oriented towards procreation”?
    A: …because of their natural ability towards procreation.

    Srsly? So… my natural ability to do something can be “disabled”, but I can simultaneously still have it. So, say, my ability to walk could be disabled but I could still walk?

  156. If something happens to it so that you cannot possibly write with it anymore (e.g. burning it), then it loses its identity and stops being a “pen”.

    Before you destroy it completely, note that you are setting fire to and burning a *pen* – which is the thing that you said you cannot possibly write with anymore. It’s a pen.

  157. SteveK,

    Before you destroy it completely…

    But how do you know when it is “completely destroyed”? Why is the cloud of (mostly) CO2 no longer a “pen”?

  158. You could walk if not for your disability. Just like a couple could have children if not for their disability.

  159. In addition to what DR84 said, you cannot say that SS couples could procreate if not for some disability. There is no disability in that relationship.

    But with hetero couples this is exactly what you’d say. Why is that, Andy?

  160. SteveK,

    What are you destroying, Andy?

    We were talking about a pen, didn´t we? So, how do I know that I have successfully destroyed it? Is the cloud of (mostly) CO2 still a “pen” or do I have to start “destroying” the molecules in the cloud to (mostly) carbon and oxygen. Is that then still a “pen”? How do I know?

  161. We were talking about a pen, didn´t we?

    I’m glad to hear that you agree the thing you are going to destroy – that thing that cannot possibly write – is indeed a pen.

    When does it cease being a pen? I have no idea.

  162. DR84,

    You could walk if not for your disability. Just like a couple could have children if not for their disability.

    So what?
    John could procreate with Jenny if he wouldn´t be sterile – but he is.
    Chris could procreate with Bob if Bob would be a woman – but he isn´t.

  163. SteveK,

    In addition to what DR84 said, you cannot say that SS couples could procreate if not for some disability. There is no disability in that relationship.

    Yes, they cannot procreate for a different reason. Why does it matter what the reason is?

  164. SteveK,

    I’m glad to hear that you agree the thing you are going to destroy – that thing that cannot possibly write – is indeed a pen.

    When does it cease being a pen? I have no idea.

    *sigh* so assuming that these essences exists leads us to “no idea”. Well, that was pointless.

  165. “Why does it matter what the reason is?”

    So rocks *are* infertile. Doesn’t matter the reason, they just are. Rocks are atheists too. Yip, yip, yippie!

  166. SteveK,

    Further evidence that you are clueless, Andy. If Bob would be a woman?? Jeepers.

    I know… A straight couple cannot possibly do x, but if they could do x, then they could do x – that is totally not a trivially true counterfactual but rather a well reasoned point.
    A gay couple cannot possibly do x, but if they could do x, then they could do x – that is just clueless because gays are icky and stuff amirite?

  167. SteveK,

    So rocks *are* infertile. Doesn’t matter the reason, they just are. Rocks are atheists too.

    Indeed. If rocks wouldn´t be rocks but rather people who do not believe in God and are infertile, then rocks would be infertile and atheists.
    Just like a straight couple that cannot possibly procreate could procreate if they could procreate.
    With that kind of logic, the world is your oyster.

  168. Seriously though, you should reflect on this:
    Jenny falls in love with someone who she cannot procreate with because her loved one is disabled – that´s cool, they can still get married.
    Chris falls in love with someone who he cannot procreate with because his loved one is of the same sex – sucks to be them.
    The reason why you think that way is not because you think that marriage is about procreation.

  169. Andy-

    For you to be correct about infertility, that same sex couples are infertile exactly as opposite sex couples are infertile it must also be true that same sex couples are fertile in the exact same way that opposite sex couples are fertile. For it to be the case that we simply cannot know if an (opposite sex) couple that is infertile has formed the type of relationship that is oriented towards procreation, it would have to be the case that we do not know where babies come from. Maybe they come from storks after all? How can we possibly know, right?

    Last I understood, you did affirm that marriage is connected to children. You also believe that same sex relationships can be real instances of a marital union. Do you not see the contradiction? You are all about accusing us (wrongly) of holding a contradictory position, yet your own position…at least as I understand it….is the one that is blatantly contradictory.

    If you were to affirm that you do not in fact hold that the institution of marriage rightly understood has any connection to children whatsoever, you may be able to regain some intellectual credibility while still affirming that same sex relationships can be instances of a real marital union.

    This goes not just for you, but ss”m” supporters by and large. Few seem willing to claim that marriage does not have now and has never had a connection to having and raising children.

  170. Andy-

    “Seriously though, you should reflect on this:
    Jenny falls in love with someone who she cannot procreate with because her loved one is disabled – that´s cool, they can still get married.
    Chris falls in love with someone who he cannot procreate with because his loved one is of the same sex – sucks to be them.
    The reason why you think that way is not because you think that marriage is about procreation.”

    Why do you think we hold the position we do about marriage?

  171. DR84,

    For you to be correct about infertility, that same sex couples are infertile exactly as opposite sex couples are infertile it must also be true that same sex couples are fertile in the exact same way that opposite sex couples are fertile.

    That is a strawman. I never said that. I actually already said that this isn´t the case. So why is the reason for why the couple cannot procreate of any relevance? (I already asked that before)
    You say marriage is about procreation and here is couple #1 that cannot procreate because of reason A and couple #2 that cannot procreate because of reason B – for couple #1 you say something along the line of “if not for reason A, they could procreate, so they can marry”, but that is a trivially true counterfactual that is true for couple #2 as well. Saying “couple #1 cannot procreate because they are infertile, but if they wouldn´t be infertile, they could procreate” is trivially true and “couple #2 cannot procreate because they are of the same gender, but if they wouldn´t be of the same gender, they could procreate” is also trivially true.

    Last I understood, you did affirm that marriage is connected to children. You also believe that same sex relationships can be real instances of a marital union. Do you not see the contradiction?

    Unlike you, I´m being entirely consistent here. If marriage is about chldren and only about a children, serving no other purpose whatsoever, then:
    – there are plenty of straight couples that do not qualify for marriage but are allowed to marry anyway
    – then Bishop Chiarinelli was right
    – then the state should recognize your “marriage” as a real one after your first child is born, and not a day before that (and should void your marriage as soon as your children move out of the house, because you did your job and marriage is about children and only about children, so you no longer need it if they are out of the house, period (you would still be married “before God” of course but you have become useless for society)).

    But you don´t like being consistent here, because that would be inconvenient for people that you care about, not only for people that you do not care about.

  172. Andy-

    Indeed, you may not say outright that same sex couples are infertile in the same sense that opposite sex couples may be, you just reason as if that is the case by continually equating homosexuality with infertility. This seems to be a distinction without a difference to me. If you want to know why this matters, that has already been addressed. If the distinctive difference between marriage and other forms of relationship is its inherent connection to having and raising children, then this principle is not broken by not banning infertile people from marriage. However, it is plainly and obviously broken by recognizing as marriages relationships of the type that are in no way connected to the principle.

    If you are interested in more reasons why it matters, I pointed out already that apart from this principle there can be no basis to claim a man is morally obligated to only have and raise children with his wife. Nor is a woman obligated in that way to her husband. It follows from this that there is no moral obligation to monogamy with one’s spouse either. Which says that, at least in principle, all married people are also effectively eligible bachelors.

    It has also already been pointed out that even though having and raising children (i.e. producing the next generation) is the distinct purpose of marriage that it is not the only purpose of marriage.

    Also, the point is to get the couple to be committed to each other to a permanent and exclusive relationship *before* they have children. Your last suggestion misses the point by a mile.

    The *before* point also answers how even infertile couples relationship is oriented to the distinct purpose of marriage mentioned. So long as they live out their marriage faithfully, they will not be bringing children into fractured and broken homes. Just as couples that are fertile will also not be bringing children into broken homes.

    This obviously does not apply to any kind of same sex relationship.

  173. Andy-

    I believe you have mentioned that same sex couples have many or all of the same practical needs as married couples by virtue of forming a household together and mutually care for one another. I think it is fair to point out that this may be true of people in other forms of relationship (i.e. widowed sisters, close friends, etc). Do you have any objections to these needs being met apart from recognizing these relationships as if they were marriages? I am not suggesting another institution like civil unions. I am imagining something along the lines of pick and choose benefits that people may be eligible for based on sharing a household and/or naming each other as their primary relationship. These benefits would probably be limited to tax, inheritance, medical decision/visitation, and possibly sharing health insurance plans.

    If this is about caring about people and seeing that their real needs are met, what is better about changing marriage to include homosexual couples than what I have suggested here?

  174. DR84,

    Indeed, you may not say outright that same sex couples are infertile in the same sense that opposite sex couples may be, you just reason as if that is the case by continually equating homosexuality with infertility. This seems to be a distinction without a difference to me. If you want to know why this matters, that has already been addressed. If the distinctive difference between marriage and other forms of relationship is its inherent connection to having and raising children, then this principle is not broken by not banning infertile people from marriage. However, it is plainly and obviously broken by recognizing as marriages relationships of the type that are in no way connected to the principle.

    In what way are straight couples that cannot possibly prcreate “connected to the principle” of procreation?

    If you are interested in more reasons why it matters, I pointed out already that apart from this principle there can be no basis to claim a man is morally obligated to only have and raise children with his wife. Nor is a woman obligated in that way to her husband. It follows from this that there is no moral obligation to monogamy with one’s spouse either. Which says that, at least in principle, all married people are also effectively eligible bachelors.

    What the…..? “Honey, I´m going to have an affair and probably also some kids with your friend Julie – don´t get mad, it´s ok now because gays can get married”. You really have to explain the logic behind that.

    It has also already been pointed out that even though having and raising children (i.e. producing the next generation) is the distinct purpose of marriage that it is not the only purpose of marriage.

    Aha, and what other purposes does it have? That is a really important questions: what are the purposes of marriage?

    Also, the point is to get the couple to be committed to each other to a permanent and exclusive relationship *before* they have children. Your last suggestion misses the point by a mile.

    And no one would be stopping you from making such a commitment, but why should the state get involved? You make a promise to each other (and get a wedding ceremony in a church if you are into that), but the state only starts to consider that a “marriage” with all the associated privileges and obligations as soon as your first child is born (and revokes those privileges and obligations as soon as your children move out of the house). I´m not missing the point by a mile, I´m spot on.

    The *before* point also answers how even infertile couples relationship is oriented to the distinct purpose of marriage mentioned.

    Ah, “oriented” again…
    I am asking you for the sixth time now:
    You have not provided a definition for what “oriented towards procreation” is supposed to mean, you simply said that mine is wrong, so what is your definition so that:
    “X cannot possibly lead to procreation but X is also oriented towards procreation” is not a contradiction.

    So long as they live out their marriage faithfully, they will not be bringing children into fractured and broken homes. Just as couples that are fertile will also not be bringing children into broken homes.

    This obviously does not apply to any kind of same sex relationship.

    “This” not applying to same sex relationships meaning gay couples will be “bringing children into fractured and broken homes”? And how exactly are gays going to do that?

  175. DR84,

    I believe you have mentioned that same sex couples have many or all of the same practical needs as married couples by virtue of forming a household together and mutually care for one another. I think it is fair to point out that this may be true of people in other forms of relationship (i.e. widowed sisters, close friends, etc). Do you have any objections to these needs being met apart from recognizing these relationships as if they were marriages? I am not suggesting another institution like civil unions. I am imagining something along the lines of pick and choose benefits that people may be eligible for based on sharing a household and/or naming each other as their primary relationship. These benefits would probably be limited to tax, inheritance, medical decision/visitation, and possibly sharing health insurance plans.

    If this is about caring about people and seeing that their real needs are met, what is better about changing marriage to include homosexual couples than what I have suggested here?

    I am not sure that I fully understand what you are suggesting here. So you say that gay couples could sign up for the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but not in the form of an institution like a marriage or a civil union, they rather can pick and choose which rights and which responsibilities they want (so they presumably have to apply for all items separately? If they get all by default, then this would be an “institution”) – correct?
    Well, that would give some couples very unfair advantages and place very unfair burdens on other couples. Two college kids that live in a shared flat together for a few years could then sign up for some of the rights, but none of the responsibilities. And couples that want to make an actual commitment to each other would be forced to go through a bureaucratic nightmare of epic proportions by being forced to apply for all rights and responsibilities separately (again, if they are not forced to do all of that separately – then it would be an “institution” like a marriage or civil union or however you want to call it).
    If I understand you correctly here, then I do not see the purpose behind this – and it would be granting unfair advantages to some relationships while placing unfair burdens on others.

  176. @Ray Ingles:

    In the case of a single parent, there is no one to share rights and duties with. In the case of a couple adopting children, it’s different.

    I asked “exceptions” to what. Predictably, you do not answer, zoom in a sentence out of all context, miss the larger issue and then go on to say something entirely irrelevant. The point of the Single adopting mother is that, already in the existing law, the link between marriage and adoption is severed. Neither there is any intrinsic link or special connection between same sex couples and adoption; it is purely contingent and incidental. Just as it is with Single persons, or even with larger arrangements of people that decide to adopt. Joint custody does not imply married custodians. Neither does the possibility of adoption by any group whatsoever weaken in any possible sense the special unity between a couple of complementary sexes.

    The rest is pretty much the usual Ray Ingles. From not bothering to read, to fail to notice that what you wrote in #7 is actually responded. On a good day, I would make an effort to introduce a modicum of sense and rationality where there is only cavilling and intellectual irresponsibility; but not today.

  177. Andy-

    You scoff that if the truth of marriage is that it includes same sex relationships that on principle it ultimately follows that those that are married are also eligible bachelors, so to speak, why? Why does this bother you?

    Also, my alternative policy suggestion is not necessarily a bureaucratic nightmare. It does not have to be complicated, it could be as easy as filling out a form. The entire point is that if there really are any practical needs for those that choose non-marital relationships (such as between widowed sisters) it is possible to meet them without changing anything about marriage. Do you disagree with this?

  178. DR84,

    You scoff that if the truth of marriage is that it includes same sex relationships that on principle it ultimately follows that those that are married are also eligible bachelors, so to speak, why?

    I don´t see how this alleged truth follows at all. Try spelling it out as a syllogism.

    Also, my alternative policy suggestion is not necessarily a bureaucratic nightmare. It does not have to be complicated, it could be as easy as filling out a form.

    If it is that easy and all a couple has to do is fill out a form to get the privileges and responsibilities that married couples have, then you have an “institution”. How does this not amount to letting them get married and not calling it “marriage” but rather something else?
    And if you can sign up for all the privileges and responsibilities separately, then this is multiply unfair as I pointed out. Couples that do not want to make a commitment to each other could sign up for privileges without simultaneously taking over any responsibilities for each other and couples that do want to make a commitment are forced to jump through dozens of bureaucratic hoops.

  179. You have not provided a definition for what “oriented towards procreation” is supposed to mean,

    Just jumping in quickly to say this is a false charge. See #141, 142 and likely several others. Andy obviously understood what “oriented towards” meant in the pen analogy so it’s anyone’s guess as to why he keeps repeating this line.

  180. Andy-

    In your view of marriage, if Bob is married to Bill. Does Bob wrong Bill somehow if he finds a girlfriend? If so, on what basis?

  181. SteveK,

    Just jumping in quickly to say this is a false charge. See #141, 142 and likely several others. Andy obviously understood what “oriented towards” meant in the pen analogy….

    Nope, that´s why I asked you if the cloud of (mostly) CO2 is still a “pen” or not? If it isn´t – why is it no longer a “pen”? If you do not know – on what grounds do you know whether a “relationship oriented towards procreation” is still a “relationship oriented towards procreation”? Is it still one after the couple is dead? If not why? “It happens naturally” so why should they stop being in a “relationship oriented towards procreation” just because they are dead?

    All you pointed out here is completely moot until you can tell what the necessary attributes of a “relationship oriented towards procreation” are, the attributes that make the relationship what it fundamentally is and without which it would lose its identity. If you do not know this – then you don´t even begin to have a point here.
    (and if you could do that, then you still only have a point if one grants you the validity of the relevant philosophical concepts (which I only do for the sake of the argument)).

  182. DR84,

    Andy-

    Please just read the dictionary definitions for oriented and procreation.

    Ok.
    or·i·ent·ed
    1. a. To align or position in a particular direction or in a particular relation to the points of the compass: orient the swimming pool north and south; oriented the telescope toward the moon.
    b. To build (a church) with the nave laid out in an east-west direction and the main altar usually at the eastern end.
    2. To determine the bearings of (oneself); cause (one) to know one’s position in relation to the surroundings: oriented himself by the neon sign on top of the building.
    3. To make familiar with a new situation: events to help students get oriented to life on campus.
    4. To provide with a primary purpose or focus of attention.

    Which of those did you have in mind? And do you think that one would turn this:
    “Relationship x is oriented towards procreation and cannot possibly lead to procreation”
    into a claim that is not blatantly self-refuting?

  183. DR84,

    In your view of marriage, if Bob is married to Bill. Does Bob wrong Bill somehow if he finds a girlfriend? If so, on what basis?

    No, of course that would be perfectly alright! Because as long as SSM was not allowed, it was illegal for straight people in a committed relationship to have affairs, even if they mutually agreed that this is fine – if it came out, they were banned from marrying each other or anyone else for life (or the state immediatly voided their marriage certificate if they were already married). SSM changed all that of course, now straight people can finally have all the extramarital sex they want and it´s all perfectly good and legal because of teh geys.

  184. Andy-

    Oriented can mean related to. Infertility is related to procreation. Ergo, infertile relationships are oriented or related to procreation. Just like fertile relationships are.

    As you put things. That may indeed be blatantly self refuting.

  185. DR84,

    Oriented can mean related to. Infertility is related to procreation. Ergo, infertile relationships are oriented or related to procreation. Just like fertile relationships are.

    As you put things. That may indeed be blatantly self refuting.

    Now, that is a cool semantic trick! Lets see if I can pull of something along that line:
    People who do not accept Jesus Christ as their savior are “unsaved”. But since “unsaved” is “related to” Jesus Christ, “unsaved” people are “oriented towards heaven” just like “saved” people are. For some reason, I´m reminded of Humpty Dumpty now.

  186. DR84,

    Andy-

    Are same sex couples infertile together?

    Dunno, lets ask Mr. Webster:
    “in·fer·tile, adjective, in-ˈfər-təl
    : not able to reproduce
    : not able to produce children”
    Yup, that seems to do the job, same sex couples are “not able to produce children” and “not able to reproduce”.

    Somehow, I feel another Humpty Dumpty moment coming….

  187. There’s a reason the “who’s on first” routine is funny. Equivocation can be funny, except when you take it seriously.

  188. I just marvel at the absurdity. If gay couples are “IN-fertile”, then they could get married. Because “infertility” is “related to” “fertility”. Which means that a straight relationship that “cannot possibly lead to procreation” can obviously also be one that is “oriented towards procreation”. Because it´s all about procreation and raising the next generation. Also, rocks.

    I would pay a lot of money to see a lawyer for the anti-SSM side try to argue this point in court.

  189. Andy-

    In some if not many cases infertility is a treatable medical condition. Of the type that I believe is generally covered by insurance even. Would you say that a same sex couples infertility qualifies as a medical condition of the type that if we could treat we should? That being able to fix this kind of infertility would be a genuine medical achievement that improves lives as opposed to mere vanity.

  190. @Andy:

    I would pay a lot of money to see a lawyer for the anti-SSM side try to argue this point in court.

    The fact that a student cannot wrap his mind around an elementary point is a telling fact about the student, and maybe about the teacher, not about the elementary point.

  191. DR84,

    In some if not many cases infertility is a treatable medical condition. Of the type that I believe is generally covered by insurance even. Would you say that a same sex couples infertility qualifies as a medical condition of the type that if we could treat we should? That being able to fix this kind of infertility would be a genuine medical achievement that improves lives as opposed to mere vanity.

    It is very likely that scientific advances will sooner or later make it possible for lesbian couples to procreate with each other. Whether this would “improve lifes” or be mere vanity? Can´t really say, I think I´d see it as less problematic than treating age-related female infertility for opposite-sex couples for example (which doesn´t mean that I think it would be a good idea). But what does that have to do with whether gays should be allowed to get married?

  192. G. Rodrigues

    The fact that a student cannot wrap his mind around an elementary point is a telling fact about the student, and maybe about the teacher, not about the elementary point.

    Well, if a teacher cannot teach an elementary point without contradicting himself, he has chosen the wrong career.

  193. Andy-

    I am not sure, I am just curious how far down this rabbit trail you will go.

    I believe you also missed this question: In your view of marriage, if Bob is married to Bill. Does Bob wrong Bill somehow if he finds a girlfriend? If so, on what basis?

  194. DR84,
    first of all, I already answered your question above with all the seriousness it deserved. And second, before you ask such a question, how about you think first whether you can actually explain why your question has anything whatsoever to do with the question of whether gay couples should be allowed to get married?

  195. Andy-

    I missed your response in #199. My apologies. Nonetheless, why does the question deserve a snarky response? What is so offensive about it?

    If the truth of marriage is that it has no connection to children, it is true of marriage that it has no connection to sex, it follows from this that marriage is not necessarily monogamous. Of course, if it is not monogamous, then those that are married are effectively also eligible bachelors…free agents with respect to intimate relationships. The logic is straightforward. I am actually surprised it even needs to be spelled out.

  196. Andy-

    Also, there is no question about whether or not gay couples should be allowed to get married. The question is what is marriage if marriage equality is real. Obviously, if marriage equality is understood to include gay couples and is what marriage *really* is, then gay couples should be allowed to get married.

  197. DR84,

    If the truth of marriage is that it has no connection to children….

    *sigh* I have never claimed it and have instead clarified that I am NOT saying this about a dozen times (this is not an exaggeration). What I would say, and have said at various points, is that I do not believe that children are the sole purpose of marriage (which several anti-SSM people here, including Tom, have agreed with).

    If children are the sole purpose of marriage, then gays shouldn´t be able to get married and Bishop Chiarinelli (#161) would have made the correct decision. If children are not the sole purpose of marriage, then Bishop Chiarinelli was wrong, and gays should be able to get married (for the exact same reasons for why opposite sex couples that cannot procreate should be able to get married).

    …it is true of marriage that it has no connection to sex, it follows from this that marriage is not necessarily monogamous.

    Since I never said that marriage has nothing to do with children, I do not need to address this but I will do so anyway.
    Those are two non sequiturs here, first, you assume that the only purpose of sex is children (else the “no connection” would be false), which you probably do not believe (if you do, have fun with your non-existent sex life after your wife enters menopause). Second, monogamy doesn´t follow at all even if the preceding things would have been right – “marriage is connected to children and therefore connected to sex, ergo marriage should be monogamous” is a complete non sequitur (if anything, it would be the other way around – if having and raising children are really the one and only purpose of marriage, then polygamy is actually a great idea because it increases the likelihood that the marriage leads to procreation and makes it less likely that the children become orphans).

    Of course, if it is not monogamous, then those that are married are effectively also eligible bachelors…free agents with respect to intimate relationships.

    That is another non sequitur. This is not necessary based on the mere fact that polygamous marriages are allowed and in practice, polygamy usually means that the men had multiple wives but the women were not free to pursue intimate relationships with other men (there are exceptions of course). And you should know that if you have read the old testament.

  198. Andy-

    If marriage equality is real, must marriage relationships involve physical intimacy or can real marriages be platonic?

  199. DR84

    If marriage equality is real, must marriage relationships involve physical intimacy or can real marriages be platonic?

    Since, “marriage equality” simply means “legal recognition of same-sex marriage”, this question is about as meaningful as “if women´s suffrage is real, must people always cast their vote for the incumbent or can real votes also be for the non-incumbent?”. In other words, the “if” clause has nothing to do with the question that follows it whatsoever.

  200. DR84,

    Obviously, if marriage equality is understood to include gay couples and is what marriage *really* is…

    That presupposes that marriage exists independently of a sociocultural context, as something like a platonic form.
    That is a very strange view. Imagine saying something like “if taxation is understood to include a capital gains tax, if this is what taxation *really* is…”. A question like “should there be a tax on x?” can be meaningful but a question like “is a tax system that includes a tax on x what taxation *really* is?” seems kind of nonsensical.
    Similarly, “should gays be allowed to get married?” is a meaningful question, “is a marriage law that recognizes same-sex marriages what marriage *really* is”, is not.
    Maybe this is because you are thinking about marriage as the religious institution while I (and I guess most pro-SSM people) do not care about the religious institution but rather about the social one. Although, “what marriage *really* is”, also sounds kind of weird when you think only about the religious institution – was King David not *really* married to his many wives?

  201. Andy-

    Is that the only correct meaning of the term marriage equality?

    To rephase the question… If same sex marriages are real instances of marriage. Must real marital relationships involve physical intimacy?

  202. @DR84:

    If marriage equality is real, must marriage relationships involve physical intimacy or can real marriages be platonic?

    It is hard to see what exactly Andy thinks marriage consists of. From #103:

    1. A couple in a life-long committed relationship has needs that are covered by the privileges and responsibilities of marriage.

    Only God knows what “life-long” means, but given that Andy took the exception for infertile couples to entail the absurdity in #23 that “new rule: people cannot get married before they have their first child”, maybe Andy is against divorce? And although he adds “committed” — but here I confess that I am just guessing — the expression must be read in the flimsiest of senses. After all, there is no expectancy that the couple actually has or will have physical intimacy. People can have all sorts of arrangements in their private lives — as long as they are adults and can fill out the form, I presume these arrangements are eligible for marriage in Andy’s conception, so that the answer to the (first) question should be no.

    @Andy:

    That presupposes that marriage exists independently of a sociocultural context, as something like a platonic form.

    Of course it does not; there is an obvious sense in asking what marriage is, just as there is an obvious sense in asking what friendship is, without either invoking Platonic conceptions (which by the way, have very able defenders till this day, and are certainly saner than non-realist ones) or reducing friendship to a mere social construct. Friendship, like other social relations like marriage, do not exist apart from human beings, but neither are they mere social constructs.

  203. The government should just plain get out of the business of marriage, period, then various religions and non religions can do whatever they want with it and nobody can complain.

  204. DR84,

    Is that the only correct meaning of the term marriage equality?

    It´s the only one I´m aware of, and a quick google check revealed nothing to the contrary.

    To rephase the question… If same sex marriages are real instances of marriage. Must real marital relationships involve physical intimacy?

    In order for me to answer that, you would have to do two things:
    a) explain to me what exactly the difference between a “marital relationship” and a “real marital relationship” is and
    b) show me the body of law that regulates the sex life of married couples.

  205. Andy-

    Can one be married and yet their marriage not be legally recognized? As a real world example, there is a couple who got their marriage license 15 years after their marriage ceremony. Properly understood, when did this couple enter the institution of marriage?

  206. Chris,

    Are you saying that all the financial, privacy, inheritance, and shared decision-making rights that go with marriage should be managed by private contract instead? That would be a bit tough, since you’d have to make sure that every single organization you dealt with would honor your contract. So I’m really not sure how we get government completely out of marriage.

  207. G. Rodrigues

    Only God knows what “life-long” means, but given that Andy took the exception for infertile couples to entail the absurdity in #23 that “new rule: people cannot get married before they have their first child”

    If the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, and the impossibility of procreation is therefore a sufficient reason to deny a couple the right to marry, then this is not absurd at all. If procreation is not the sole purpose (as everyone in the thread seems to agree on), then it is indeed absurd.

    And although he adds “committed” — but here I confess that I am just guessing — the expression must be read in the flimsiest of senses.

    Well, pretty much exactly as “flimsy” as the commitment is that non gay couples sign up for. On second thought, you can strike the “pretty much” in the previous sentence.

    After all, there is no expectancy that the couple actually has or will have physical intimacy.

    There isn´t? I for one would certainly “expect” it (very much so). Why DR84 “expects” it, but only “expects” if gay couples are not allowed to marry, is however a mystery to me.

    People can have all sorts of arrangements in their private lives — as long as they are adults and can fill out the form, I presume these arrangements are eligible for marriage in Andy’s conception, so that the answer to the (first) question should be no.

    I don´t know what the “(first) question” is supposed to be. And regarding the “all sorts of arrangements” – well yes, opposite sex couples have many sorts of “arrangements” and I presume that all of them are eligible for marriage in your conception, whether they are able and willing to procreate or not, they just need to be “adults and able to fill out the form”.

    Of course it does not; there is an obvious sense in asking what marriage is, just as there is an obvious sense in asking what friendship is, without either invoking Platonic conceptions

    There is. But asking “is our understanding of [marriage/friendship/whatever] what [marriage/friendship/whatever] *really* is”, as DR84 did, is nonsensical unless you presuppose that these concepts refer to a universal that exists independent of our conceptions.

    (which by the way, have very able defenders till this day

    I know, but I doubt that many of them would consider “marriage” to have a corresponding universal.

    , and are certainly saner than non-realist ones)

    I don´t doubt that it appears that way to you.

    or reducing friendship to a mere social construct. Friendship, like other social relations like marriage, do not exist apart from human beings, but neither are they mere social constructs.

    I do not disagree at all. They are shaped by culture and biology. However, that still means that they do not refer to a universal so that a question along the line of “is our understanding of “marriage” what marriage *really* is” would be meaningful.

  208. DR84,

    Can one be married and yet their marriage not be legally recognized? As a real world example, there is a couple who got their marriage license 15 years after their marriage ceremony. Properly understood, when did this couple enter the institution of marriage?

    That is like asking if a couple can be married to each other and not married to each other at the same time, based on the real world example of a Catholic that gets a divorce and marries someone else – he would be married and not married to his new partner at the same time because “married” is ambiguous here and refers to two different things, to “marriage” as a religious and as a social institution.

  209. “However, that still means that they do not refer to a universal so that a question along the line of “is our understanding of “marriage” what marriage *really* is” would be meaningful.”

    Without the universal to refer to, what ‘they’ are you referring to?

  210. SteveK,

    Without the universal to refer to, what ‘they’ are you referring to?

    To our conceptions of them. If you think they do exist as a universal, as some kind of abstract object, can our minds somehow interact with them? (if so, given that abstract objects are causally inert, how is that possible?) And if they cannot, then how can we know them?

  211. @Andy:

    Well, pretty much exactly as “flimsy” as the commitment is that non gay couples sign up for.

    Ok, so I understood you correctly. I was only wondering aloud what work “life-long committed” was doing. Apparently none.

    There isn´t? I for one would certainly “expect” it (very much so).

    What you “expect” or not is irrelevant, and it is puzzling why you would think I had in mind your “expectations” — must be one of those language thingies. Since by your own words — say in #222, where in response to DR84, you say “show me the body of law that regulates the sex life of married couples.” — what The Law says is what is constitutive of marriage and nowhere does The Law regulate the sex lives of married people, while it may as a matter of custom be the case that there is plenty of physical intimacy in most marriages, it is not essential to it, I take it that your answer to DR84’s first question in

    must marriage relationships involve physical intimacy or can real marriages be platonic

    must be no (and consequently, yes to the second).

    There is.

    Since that is how I understood DR84’s question, the rest (most of it quite unintelligible to me) is irrelevant to me.

  212. Right, and if marriage does not necessarily involve intimacy it also does not necessarily involve monogamy. Which means that indeed, if marriage equality is true, then those that are married are also eligible bachelors.

  213. @Andy:

    If you think they do exist as a universal, as some kind of abstract object, can our minds somehow interact with them? (if so, given that abstract objects are causally inert, how is that possible?) And if they cannot, then how can we know them?

    And why think universals are abstract objects? Why assume that to know the abstract universals there must be a chain of efficient causation involved? And why exactly cannot abstract objects be the objects of thought? We can certainly think about non-existent objects like unicorns, so much so, that we can ask whether they do exist in extra-mental reality.

    My suggestion is to drop the issue.

  214. G. Rodrigues

    Ok, so I understood you correctly. I was only wondering aloud what work “life-long committed” was doing. Apparently none.

    I think you are being a little too harsh with straight couples, the level of commitment that a man and a woman sign up for when they get married might not be as high as you would prefer it, but saying that it is non-existent is maybe a little too much.

    What you “expect” or not is irrelevant, and it is puzzling why you would think I had in mind your “expectations” — must be one of those language thingies.

    Yeah, it´s a language thing. Protip – if you don´t care what someone “expects”, then don´t write about person x and what would or would not be an “expectancy”, as you did here:
    “….maybe Andy is against divorce? And although he adds “committed” — but here I confess that I am just guessing — the expression must be read in the flimsiest of senses. After all, there is no expectancy that the couple actually has or will have physical intimacy. ”

    what The Law says is what is constitutive of marriage and nowhere does The Law regulate the sex lives of married people…

    You don´t say!

    …while it may as a matter of custom be the case that there is plenty of physical intimacy in most marriages, it is not essential to it, I take it that your answer to DR84’s first question in I take it that your answer to DR84’s first question in

    must marriage relationships involve physical intimacy or can real marriages be platonic

    must be no (and consequently, yes to the second).

    You forgot to quote the first part of DR84´s question: “If marriage equality is real,…”. Which means that this can only be about marriage as a social institution, given that “marriage equality” simply means “legal recognition of same-sex marriage”. So, since there is no body of law that regulates the sex life of married couples, as you so sharply noticed yourself, the question is based on a nonsensical premise – that SSM has anything whatsoever to do with whether a marriage relationship “must involve physical intimacy”. That´s why I didn´t answer the question and instead sarcastically pointed out what I just explained to you here (must be your language issue again).

    Since that is how I understood DR84’s question, the rest (most of it quite unintelligible to me)…

    English is really not your friend, is it?

    …is irrelevant to me.

    Cool, then keep your ramblings to yourself in the future instead of sending them in my direction.

  215. G. Rodrigues

    And why think universals are abstract objects?[1] Why assume that to know the abstract universals there must be a chain of efficient causation involved?[2] And why exactly cannot abstract objects be the objects of thought?[3]

    1. Because that is what most philosophers conceive them to be.
    2. Because saying that they exist outside and independent of your mind, but simultaneously saying that your mind can become aware of them, would then be to say there are effects (like your mind becoming aware of one of those universals) that have no causes.
    3. If they would, then your body would be, by definition, causally disconnected from your thoughts.

  216. DR84

    Right, and if marriage does not necessarily involve intimacy it also does not necessarily involve monogamy.

    Aha, so back in old testament times, marriage didn´t necessarily involve intimacy because polygamous marriages were accepted. Who knew?
    But I´d really like to see the syllogism here…
    premise: Marriage necessarily involves intimacy.
    ???
    conclusion: Therefore, marriage necessarily involves monogamy.
    Please fill in the gaps.

    Which means that indeed, if marriage equality is true, then those that are married are also eligible bachelors.

    Of course, if a marriage is not monogamous, then married people necessarily are eligible bachelors. That´s why everyone around King David could marry one of his wives for example.

  217. You seem confident enough. Maybe you can take up Tom’s challenge in the latest blog post, Andy.

  218. DR84,

    Right, and if marriage does not necessarily involve intimacy it also does not necessarily involve monogamy. Which means that indeed, if marriage equality is true, then those that are married are also eligible bachelors.

    A previous commenter, ‘d’, posted a link that I feel provides the best secular definition of marriage I’ve seen: marriage is about nurturing. Nurturing may not require intimacy, but infidelity, on the other hand, seems incompatible with a truly nurturing relationship. Nurturing may not necessarily be restricted for and between two persons, but polyamory relationships divide and complicate co-nurturing so anything more than a two person marriage seems to be prima-facia disqualified.

    So a marriage based on a co-nuturing ideal is going to prefer monogamy and avoid infidelity. Note also that co-nurturing is something best defined by looking at human emotional needs, not by checking for presence or absence of X or Y chromosomes.

  219. SteveK,

    You seem confident enough. Maybe you can take up Tom’s challenge in the latest blog post, Andy.

    I commented there, but not to start the debate all over again. Regarding the challenge – I see no need to take it up because I already did so here, feel free to check if I tried to argue for SSM with emotional appeals, or tried to deflect an answer with fragenblitzen, or asserted that “gay marriage is right because you can´t prove it wrong” or something like that.
    And regarding confidence, I have actually very little confidence in being a good debater here because I have virtually zero experience in debating this issue (this thread right here was the first time). And IMO that makes this thread a datapoint that clearly contradicts Tom´s assessment in the new post, because I am a very easy challenge to beat here but I doubt that a neutral observer would look at this thread and conclude that the pro SSM side is as intellectually outgunned as Tom makes it out to be.

  220. I asked “exceptions” to what. Predictably, you do not answer

    I didn’t answer those words because I thought it had been covered already: Exceptions to the principle of marriage of procreative couples. Non-procreative couples do get married, both in and out of various churches.

    The point of the Single adopting mother is that, already in the existing law, the link between marriage and adoption is severed.

    But when dealing with a couple, the joint property and other benefits are supposed to benefit the union and thus ultimately the children. It’s funny. Most conservatives want benefits to be tied to the people actually doing the work…

    The rest is pretty much the usual…

    G. Rodrigues.

  221. I found this parody from our friends at The Onion to be similar to what the courts are doing with marriage. The courts first deem that SS couples are potential marriages because they love each other and then they look at the question of equality.

    Judge rules white girl will be tried as black adult

    “Due to the emotionally charged nature of this case and the hurt feeling some will have, this court finds it fitting to try the defendants as candidates for legal marriage”

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