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  • Same-Sex Marriage

    In light of the recent bill passed in New York, I wanted to spark a (hopefully) intelligent and respectful debate on the recognition of same-sex marriage by the states.

    As a far-right conservative on most issues, I find myself conflicted on this topic. It's my opinion that people should be able to marry whomever they please. I'm not persuaded in the slightest by the cultural or societal arguments about the destruction of the "institution" of marriage by allowing same-sex marriage. Nor do I believe having two "dads" will more likely cause a child to be maladjusted (if that's the right word?) than having heterosexual parents.

    I initially express my views on this topic in the hope that I can ask the following question without being accused of disrespectful ridicule:

    If the states can allow same-sex marriage, why can't they recognize marriage among three people? Or marriage between a man and his dog?

    As I said, I expect that we can behave as adults and discuss this topic respectfully and intelligently. Perhaps the above question can pose as the jumping-off point in the discussion. Otherwise, say what you want (as long as it's respectful).
    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

  • #2
    If the states can allow same-sex marriage, why can't they recognize marriage among three people? Or marriage between a man and his dog?
    Polygamy that does not involve manipulative and parasitic (read: abusive) qualities should absolutely be legal. It doesn't violate the harm principle in any way that monogamous marriage does, so I can't see a reason why it should be prohibited.

    Marriages to animals and minors should remain forever illegal for the same reason that non-marriage sexual relationships between said groups are already illegal: at least one of the parties cannot legally consent, and sometimes they are literally incapable of seeking help in the event of abuse.


    More practically speaking, marriage should be limited to parties that constitute legal persons. This is just because the entire point of marriage is to provide financial and convenient benefits to people who live with each other. Marriage between a man and a rock wouldn't harm anyone necessarily, but it seems rather pointless if the rock isn't alive, let alone sapient, and can't benefit from any of the legal arrangements of a marriage in the first place.

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    • #3
      I mostly agree with Nur Rauch.

      As a clarifier, I would limit my opinion to the non-opposition of same-sex marriage instituted by the legislature (I don't see any reason it should be either legal or illegal; I neither support nor oppose it), but I oppose it when instituted by the courts. Marriage is a contract, not a human or even civil right to be protected by the court. However a given legislature chooses to define marriage is, barring the extreme case of legalized marriage to minors (where one of the parties is obviously unable to consent to the arrangement), completely fine with me, and courts should not interfere with that definition.
      "Calm down, Pippy."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mocksluzer View Post
        In light of the recent bill passed in New York, I wanted to spark a (hopefully) intelligent and respectful debate on the recognition of same-sex marriage by the states.

        As a far-right conservative on most issues, I find myself conflicted on this topic. It's my opinion that people should be able to marry whomever they please. I'm not persuaded in the slightest by the cultural or societal arguments about the destruction of the "institution" of marriage by allowing same-sex marriage. Nor do I believe having two "dads" will more likely cause a child to be maladjusted (if that's the right word?) than having heterosexual parents.

        I initially express my views on this topic in the hope that I can ask the following question without being accused of disrespectful ridicule:

        If the states can allow same-sex marriage, why can't they recognize marriage among three people? Or marriage between a man and his dog?

        As I said, I expect that we can behave as adults and discuss this topic respectfully and intelligently. Perhaps the above question can pose as the jumping-off point in the discussion. Otherwise, say what you want (as long as it's respectful).
        Well, one of the cool things about legislatures is that, unlike courts, they're not creating rules of decision that have to be logically and extended and applied to every situation. Legislatures get to decide "we're fine with same-sex marriage, but polygamy still freaks us out." Legislatures are not required to take everything to its logical conclusion (this is not to say I believe that either polygamy or bestiality logically flows from same sex marriage, but the point remains regardless).
        Mock Trial with J. Reinhold! Mock Trial! Mock Trial with J. Reinhold!

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        • #5
          As a staunch proponent of gay marriage myself, the idea of some sort of federal intervention either for or against it at this specific point in time rattles the nerves-whether it would be essentially pushing it on the fiercely conservative states in an already increasingly ideologically divided general populace, or alternatively, with the result being some sort of federal commandment against it. Better to leave it to the states for now.

          From the "personal suspicion only" department, (and I'm from New England, so that gives what is perhaps an overly optimistic perspective some context here): In religious conservatives I know personally, I sense a nagging ambivalence when it comes to same-sex marriage-and it will be fascinating to see how the continued implementation of the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, and subsequently more conservatives' exposure to openly gay people, plays into this.

          Again, as a personal suspicion only, in the wake of the mostly republican NY state legislature's recent pro gay marriage vote, I wonder if we're getting to the point as a society where some individual conservative voters recognize what may, in the form of palpably growing societal acceptance of gay marriage (incremental size of "growing acceptance" up for debate, of course) be undeniable progress of public opinion that an accomplished statesman or stateswoman may not want their name historically etched in tandem with in the form of an anti-gay marriage vote. You have to wonder if 20/50/100 years down the road some high school kid will be reading about these votes in a book themed similarly to this one: http://www.amazon.com/Harvards-Secre...9879357&sr=1-1, and perhaps this is something these legislators think about. I've no doubt some will balk at this suspicion, which I myself temper with acknowledgement of the religious backing of most anti-gay marriage sentiment.
          Last edited by Present sense impression; July 5th, 2011, 10:35 AM.
          Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

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          • #6
            I would agree that marriage is not a civil right. However, once a state legislature attaches financial and other benefits to marriage, equal protection concerns come into play. I agree with the Iowa Supreme Court in Varnum v. Brien. Under intermediate or strict scrutiny, laws baring homosexuals from marriage are unconstitutional. No governmental objective exists to exclude gays as citizens from the benefits of marriage. As far as national concerns go, I do think the government needs to recognize gay marriage in some way. Otherwise gay citizens in states like New York will gain the benefits of marriage from their state but not from the federal government. As a proponent of gay marriage, I would argue that federal bars on gay marriage also violate the equal protection clause.

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            • #7
              Gay people are not forbidden from enjoying the financial, etc., benefits of marriage. They just have to marry someone of the opposite sex. There is no violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

              (Sorry for the brusque reply; I'm proctoring a study hall and should probably be paying attention to my students.)
              "Calm down, Pippy."

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              • #8
                No need to apologize for a short reply. Itís actually appreciated. In theory, I would completely agree with you. Each citizen is given the right to marry another person of the opposite sex. Therefore, no equal protection violation exists. In fact, while talking with peers, I've made the same argument. However, I'm not sure if it's a real solution. In Sipuel v. Oklahoma, (I think. I apologize if this isn't the right reference.) the state argued that it did not have to provide a legal education to students of color within the state because they could attend law school in a different state. Therefore, each individual had the opportunity for a legal education. The court, however, disagreed with this assertion. Of course, I realize Sipuel addresses a completely different area of equal protection jurisprudence, but the point seems to be the same. Theoretical equality doesn't always translate to actual equality. By restricting homosexuals to marry only individuals of the opposite sex, are we really offering them the same right? Or is it a form of discrimination disguised as equality? (These arenít rhetorical questions. Iím unsure how fluid sexual orientation is.)

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                • #9
                  Each citizen is given the right to marry another person of the opposite sex.
                  Not everyone is permitted to marry someone they love, however. People who are attracted to the opposite sex form a class of people who can enjoy the right to marriage benefits in a loving relationship; people who are attracted to the same sex have no such opportunity.

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                  • #10
                    By restricting homosexuals to marry only individuals of the opposite sex, are we really offering them the same right? Or is it a form of discrimination disguised as equality?
                    Not everyone is permitted to marry someone they love, however. People who are attracted to the opposite sex form a class of people who can enjoy the right to marriage benefits in a loving relationship; people who are attracted to the same sex have no such opportunity.
                    Except the law doesn't guarantee a happy or loving marriage; simply that if you choose to enter the contract of marriage, you will receive certain benefits. It may indeed be a form of discrimination, but any contract must discriminate to some degree regarding who is allowed to enter that contract. It's reasonable to argue where the law should draw those lines, certainly. But it's not really a question of legal rights, in my mind. So long as homosexuals aren't actually forbidden from enjoying the same benefits that the government would provide to heterosexuals entering the contract of marriage, I don't see an equality issue.
                    "Calm down, Pippy."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nur Rauch View Post
                      Not everyone is permitted to marry someone they love, however. People who are attracted to the opposite sex form a class of people who can enjoy the right to marriage benefits in a loving relationship; people who are attracted to the same sex have no such opportunity.
                      I completely agree and that's why I personally think marriage equality is important. However, I also agree with RuHurt. The government doesn't guarantee a loving marriage. It only guarantees certain benefits. But if the following is found to be true, I do think equal protection issues arise. 1. Gays are a protected or semi-protected class because of their sexual orientation. 2. Laws banning gay marriage are discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation. 3. No governmental objective exists to have such laws. Granted, it may be difficult to meet all three conditions, but it certainly seems possible.

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                      • #12
                        But if the following is found to be true, I do think equal protection issues arise. 1. Gays are a protected or semi-protected class because of their sexual orientation. 2. Laws banning gay marriage are discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation. 3. No governmental objective exists to have such laws.
                        Interesting break-down. I guess my biggest disagreement would be in the classification of homosexuals as a "protected class." Actually, now that I think of it, I would probably oppose any group of people being considered deserving of extra protection of this sort under the law. Double-standards are at best dangerous to institute, and at worst extremely unjust. If homosexuals deserve special treatment, why not Mormons or left-handed people?

                        I don't mean to trivialize the very real prejudices and difficulties homosexuals may face. But when it comes to the law, I'm inclined to argue that the creation of special classes breeds inequality. After all, it's not so much that gay marriage is banned; it's that the only form of marriage recognized (in some places) is between a man and a woman. There's no requirement that the man and woman be sexually interested in each other (cue the "life after death is as improbable as sex after marriage" joke).
                        "Calm down, Pippy."

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                        • #13
                          protected classes of people being shielded by the law doesn't sit well with me either, but neither does a protected set of individual interpretations of religious values being enshrined in the law of the land, when there is no functional governmental objective to prohibiting same-sex marriage (speaking from the camp of people who question why marriage-marriage of any kind-should even be so deeply intertwined with the law/the government to begin with).
                          Last edited by Present sense impression; July 7th, 2011, 09:16 AM.
                          Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

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                          • #14
                            Isn't the reason that most people decide not to get married is because of the property issue? That being the case, couldn't same-sex marriage fall under the 14th ammendments due process clause? This is something I've been curious about for a long time because even if two men marry, the issue of property still exists.

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                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=RuHurt;80202]If homosexuals deserve special treatment, why not Mormons or left-handed people? QUOTE]

                              I think it comes down to the criteria that the court uses (e.g. history of discrimination, mutability, etc...) In my opinion, I'm not sure if homosexuals qualify as a protected class under these criteria, but the Iowa Supreme Court has held that they do in Varnum v. Brien. One could argue Mormons don't qualify because the trait is mutable, and left-handed people don't qualify because there aren't any discriminatory laws against left-handed people. (I don't necessarily agree, but the arguments seem possible at least.)

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