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froggy

froggy
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Portland, Oregon, USA
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June 07
Title
She Who Must Be Obeyed
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Yes please! Come on over. We'll have tea.
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Mom, editor, writer, wife, traveler, dog owner, laundry wrangler, and superintendent of homework.

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Salon.com
JUNE 6, 2010 12:23PM

Safe_Bet's Amy's Open Call: I Am Openly Heterosexual

Rate: 33 Flag

"My husband went to work today."

"We had dinner last week with my in-laws."

"My son looks exactly like my husband's father did at the same age."

"We're having Thanksgiving this year with my husband's family, then the day after with my brother and my parents. What about you?"

A thousand other thoughtless, offhand comments roll from my tongue without my thinking about them, like raindrops from the roof.

I am openly heterosexual.

I would never, ever mention a single thing about sex. Most people don't, after all. What I do in my bedroom with my husband is of course unspoken. Unrevealed. Private. As it should be. It's no one's business but ours, in that uncharted wordless territory in the center of a marriage.

Sex is private. Connections, however, are public.

When I hear people say, "I just don't want anyone to rub it in my face!" I wonder how they feel about their own wedding rings. Their photos of their husbands, wives, and children that adorn desks in offices at work. Their complaints about a mother-in-law, a wife's weird sister, the myriad of family connections as ordinary and unremarkable as potato salad in July.

I am openly heterosexual.

I don't have edit what I say. I don't hide. I don't worry who will sneer when I say that word.

Husband.

I am blessed to be ordinary.

I wish I could welcome my gay neighbors into my ordinary life. Where the words "my husband" coming from a man, or "my wife" coming from a woman, could be just as ordinary. Just as unremarkable. Just as common as rain. 

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So many take this for granted, no?
Simple and fantatic, Froggy.
So good, froggy._r
"I wish I could welcome my gay neighbors into my ordinary life."


You just did, as we now welcome you into our hearts. Thank you.
There will come a day.
Amanda--yes, we take this for granted. Life and luck have made this easy for me. I wish it was that way for everyone.

sweetfeet--thanks. It's so simple.

Jonathan Wolfram--glad you agree.

Joan H--thanks!

Amy--I wish we had gay neighbors. I live in the white bread suburbs, and I'm not likely to move because the kids are rooted here. Other than the Indian and Asian communities (who all work at Intel) it's about as heterogeneous as it gets. I would love gay neighbors.

Gabby Abby--I hope so.
Perhaps that fortunate, I work in a very open accepting environment where gay couples do have their pictures on their desks of husbands, partners, kids.
Right on!

Rated. Favorited.
I got slightly "called out" for calling my longterm partner (who is a male) my partner. At a bar ,at a restaurant we frequent frequently! He's not my boyfriend and he's not my husband. "Wow, I never heard anyone who wasn't gay use that term!"
I use it because, to me, it is the most tolerant term - takes away squirminess for same sex couples who aren't allowed to be married.

I also believe wife and husband can be used for anyone who chooses to do so without any government or religious sanctification. When my mother died, he was definitely my husband.
I'll fight for the right of same sex couples, and couples who are experiencing transgendering, to use every word, to have every legal defense and legal access, to live as I do.

How do YOU feel about the term "partner"? ( I also love using it with people I don't know to see what assumptions they make!)
lunchlady--thanks!

rita shibr--I have too, at times. I think though, for any gay person, they must constantly check "where am I" and "what kind of reception will I get" before they casually let the words fly. I can do it unthinkingly, anywhere, any time. They can't.

Eck Cohen--Thanks! I appreciate it.

aim--Partner works for me if it works for you. I think there is so much cultural baggage associated with the words "husband" and "wife" that many of us get hung up on them. But why shouldn't someone be able to use those words if they want to? "Husband" has so much meaning--the person I choose to spend my life with, the person whose extended family has to put up with me for thirty, forty, or fifty years, the person I've chosen above all others to be my family that comes before anything else. I wish I could give that ability to everyone.
Damn . . . brought tears to my eyes, froggy. Thank you.
I've used the term 'partner' for decades because in my mind my associations romantic or otherwise do not need to be sanctioned by the church or the state, or anyone for that matter. And I will continue to do. If someone thought I was gay because of that, so be it.

You present this so perfectly. It's right as rain.
froggy, I re-read my comment I just want to make sure I was clear on this important subject.

Anyone regardless of sexual orientation should have the rights to marriage, if that is what they wish. I also understand that there are rights that go along with it which should be accessible to all,straight or gay. I think people should be able to use the terms husband and wife outside of marriage and have their union recognized.

Personally it's never been important to me to legitimize love with a piece of paper. I realize this post is about more that this but just to add Mae West 's humour ...

"Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet."
Froggy! ::blows kisses:: You rock!
Rated! Great piece froggy!
Owl--thanks. That's high praise.

Scarlett--I agree completely, and the point is that for straight people, it's a choice. I can choose to have an unmarried partner of many years for whatever reasons I want, I can also choose to get married. Regardless of what I call my life partner, I can openly display his picture anywhere I want, I can hold his hand in a movie theater or in public, and I can talk about my husband's dumb-ass brother without anyone flinching. I'd like to give that same normalcy to my gay friends and neighbors.
mypsyche--thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

Tink--thanks. There is a special place in my heart for weird orange cats all because of you.
Just found this because I was looking for SBA's most recent post. I didn't join OS until early 2011. So, hope it's not too late to thank you for succinctly setting forth this important societal assumption. Thanks!

--Jett Noire, Single Lesbian Wondering What to Call My Wife Once I Have One
Just finding this ~
Wonderful -- simple, clear, hit my heart deeply.
I called my husband my partner for so many years...most people were confused and thought we were in business together. I doubt it would be so odd these days....but I live in a liberal area...
I remember visiting my lesbian sister years ago and noting that she and her then-partner always dropped their hand-holding the moment they hit the public eye - it affected me deeply then that I didn't even have to think about it, while they had to stay vigilant....
Many years and one partner later, I love that my sister and her wife are legally married and have been for years, it's only right, they are devoted, just like anyone who wishes to marry -- thank you Massachusetts for being the leaders in legislation for treating all couples equally.
Get your act together every state (including ours) that doesn't allow full privilege and rights for all....and again, thanks for this post, froggy : )
It should be as normal and hopefully, it will be. The day when that may happen took a big stride forward, this year. Laws can be changed faster than attitudes, though. Americans have demonstrated that sometimes, we open our minds very slowly and reluctantly. We just have to keep pushing the door open.

Melissa
Good thoughts. Even working at a university, as I do, the LGBT community doesn't do PDA. I have heard before, what you said here about the pictures and the family and the husband/ wife/ partner.

I use partner to speak about what I don't have and want, but only because boyfriend sounds so weird. I'm 50, for goodness sakes. Although, I did call my 84 year old grandmother's love her boyfriend. Hm.
Great writing. Thanks for saying what needs to be said loudly over and over again all over the world.
I saw this in the feed tonight. What an outstanding post. Excellent points and so well done.
/r.
I love all the further attention this post has gotten today : )
It deserves another round on top of the feed...
Hi everyone, thanks for all your kind comments. Funny that Internet, that a post from 2010 has risen from the dust to live again. Thanks for reading and commenting.
"I wish I could welcome my gay neighbors into my ordinary life. Where the words 'my husband' coming from a man, or 'my wife' coming from a woman, could be just as ordinary. Just as unremarkable. Just as common as rain."

It seems to me that "husband" and "wife" are inherently gendered words that denote people who are married to those of the opposite sex. In other words, what makes me a "husband" is not the fact that I'm married, but the fact that I'm married to a woman. And likewise, what makes her a "wife" is the fact that she is married to me, a man.

It is impossible for me to believe that a marriage of people of opposite genders is "the same thing" as a same-sex marriage. The difference between men and women is so great that a book on relationships was titled "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." In opposite-sex relationships, the challenge is not just to accept and respect the differences between oneself and one's spouse as individual humans. In opposite-sex relationships there is the additional challenge, probably the greatest challenge, of accepting and respecting one's spouse as a member of the opposite sex -- something that can't happen in a same-sex relationship.

Frankly, I don't know why same-sex couples appropriate the symbols and terminology of opposite-sex marriages. Why don't they develop their own symbols and terminology that reflect their own relationships? Wedding rings? Honeymoon? "Husbands" or "wives?" Wedding vows? That's traditional heterosexual stuff. When I see same-sex couples attaching themselves to the traditions of opposite-sex marriage, I feel rather like a Native American whose ceremonies and art and culture are being ripped off by New Age whites. To same-sex couples who want to marry, I say great, go get married, and come up with your own traditions and symbols instead of pilfering someone else's. And find some other words besides "husband" and "wife," because you're no more a "husband" or "wife" than I am a "chief" or "medicine man."
My sister and her wife are devoted and in love and have a lifetime commitment to each other so they got married. They didn't pilfer from my marriage or anyone else's.
The ones who are pilfering to me are the ones who marry then cheat. or marry then abuse. That's pilfering the idea of marriage and dragging it through the dirt and tainting the term, not two humans who love and are committed to care for each other for life.
It seems to me that "husband" and "wife" are inherently gendered words that denote people who are married to those of the opposite sex.

It seems to me the only reason you would say something like this, on this post especially, is to show your ignorance. Done and done.

P.S. You are wrong. There can EASILY be two husbands, two wifes OR a mixture regardless of stereotypical, biased gender roles. It is also funny that you dare to even mention First Nations people because THEY didn't have an issue with same sex relationships or alternate gender roles.
It's not really about the words "husband" or "wife." It's that they're shorthand for saying "This is the person I love, who I'm spending my life with, who I'm spending my Christmases and Sunday mornings with, who I pay the electric bill with and raise my children with." Call it whatever you will--husband, wife, partner, whatever. The problem is when that person (partner, husband, wife) is the same sex, a huge percentage of the population gets their knickers in a twist, no matter what you call it, and they start ranting "don't rub my nose in your sex life" while they are wearing a wedding ring and have pictures of their grandkids on their desk at work. It's hypocritical, no matter what words you use.
I find it interesting how critics of same sex marriage resort to odd techniques and use such extremely selective criteria in their arguments.

It seems almost comical how blind to irony you would have to be to support your opposition to same sex marriage based on a supposed corruption of language, while requiring the bastardization of language in your argument.

“Husband” and “wife” are gendered words; the gender of the person being referenced. Full stop.

Any attempt to extend their gender implications to also imply the opposite sex of their spouse is simply an attempt at “pilfering” words already in use. What kind of interesting mental gymnastics are required to try to protect the meaning of words by changing their meanings?

This crazy argument from incredulity (“It is impossible for me to believe that a marriage of people of opposite genders is "the same thing" as a same-sex marriage”) is almost too messed up to be teased apart.

People of all sexual orientations get married for a whole plethora of reasons. These reasons are as widely varied as the couples themselves.

No two marriages are “the same thing”. The differences between marriages of opposite sex will be at least as vast as the differences between same sex marriages and opposite sex marriages. Is that a reason to minimize the value of marriage in general?

Why would a person focus only one particular area of dissimilarity, such as same vs. opposite gender, while ignoring the huge array of other dissimilarities? What motivation could there be for such cherry picking of criteria?

What is the logic behind protecting the meaning of marriage by introducing a fictional constraint on its definition? Where does this crazy ass notion that the “additional challenge” of the opposite-sex relationship is an integral component of marriage come from? It is an astonishing awkward attempt to “appropriate” yet another word.

Perhaps more interesting, and more to the heart of the root cause of these types of critiques, is the use of language (“appropriate”, “pilfer”, “ripped off”) indicating a zero sum mentality.

Same sex marriage and opposite sex marriage are not zero sum activities.

The meaning of my wedding vows and my wedding ring don’t suffer every time someone else makes a vow or adorns their finger. Not one bit. Not even a little bit. How could they? I’m not even aware of 99.9999999% of the other relationships out there in the world.

Does my wedding ring lose some of its lustre when a girl wears a promise ring? No, but the argument is made that it would if two women, in love, exchanged wedding rings. What kind of strange quantum physics dictates these interactions in the world of the critic?

The usage of words by others, likewise, has no effect on me. When another child is born and given the name Mark, does that diminish me because that’s my name? How odd a concept, even when grossly stretched out…am I diminished when someone says “Mark my words” or “nice skid mark in your shorts dude”? Claiming that “husband” and “wife” are especially sensitive words seems like it would require some herculean-level proof.

Proof I’m not holding my breath for.
Mark writes: "The usage of words by others, likewise, has no effect on me. When another child is born and given the name Mark, does that diminish me because that’s my name? . . . Claiming that 'husband' and 'wife' are especially sensitive words seems like it would require some herculean-level proof."

So let's talk about names, albeit in a somewhat different context. Let's say that you have a gift for auto repair, and that upon graduation from high school you rent some garage space and open your own little auto repair business, "Acme Auto Repair," in the northern area of town. Over the years you build your business, you purchase your own garage, and eventually Acme Auto Repair becomes well-known for its superior customer service and quality of work.

And then one day I decide to open an auto repair business in the southern district of the same town. It so happens that I also have a gift for auto repair, and I also give superior customer service. While thinking about what to call my business, I realize that Acme Auto Repair has come to be known for quality work and superior customer service. In fact, when people think about quality work and superior customer service, they instantly think about Acme Auto Repair. Rather than doing all of the work of coming up with my own business name and building my brand over the years, I decide to call my business Acme Auto Repair.

Of course, you are outraged. You call me on the phone and the conversation goes something like this:

Mark: This is Mark, of Acme Auto Repair. What the hell are you doing stealing my business name?

Mishima666: I didn't steal anything. You can still use the name. I'm in a different part of town, and there's more than enough work to go around. Your customers wouldn't drive all the way to my shop, and my customers wouldn't drive all the way to your shop. Our two shops don't constitute zero-sum activity.

Mark: Nonetheless, people will be confused. They'll go to your shop, thinking that it's mine.

Mishima666: So what? There's really no difference between the shops. You do quality work; so do I. You give great customer service; so do I. Both shops are equal. Your rebuilt engines don't somehow lose their shine just because I also rebuild engines.

Mark: Yeah, but I spent years, literally years, building a brand. Because of ME people associate Acme Auto with quality work and great service.

Mishima666: Yup, that's right. You spent years building the brand. So thanks for that. But that doesn't mean I can't partake of it. To expect me to develop my own brand would be . . . discrimination. It would be unfair.
----------------------------
Of course, all the above is just a metaphor, and like all metaphors is not 100 percent applicable to the issue under discussion. But the argument I'm making is that opposite-sex marriage constitutes a kind of "brand," if you will. It's opposite-sex relationships that made marriage important in the first place -- and not just important, but a necessary social institution that includes its own values, ideals, symbols, roles, and traditions.

So I think that those of us who support the concept of marriage as a heterosexual institution have every right to our own understanding of what marriage is, and to use the language and terminology of marriage as we see fit, just as those on the other side of the issue have a right to believe that there can be two "husbands," or six husbands, or whatever other novel relationship configurations they decide to come up with.
Mishima666 writes: “Of course, all the above is just a metaphor, and like all metaphors is not 100 percent applicable to the issue under discussion”

Your metaphor has zero percent applicability. Just as you tried to do with the definition of marriage you’ve tried to sneak in special circumstances and unproven assertions.

First of all the automobile repair business in any market is a zero sum game and for you to assert that it is not is fallacious. There is a fixed amount of repair to be done and when one shop does it the other can’t…this is a definitional example of zero sum.

Then you add special circumstances like “there’s more than enough work to go around” and “customers wouldn’t drive all the way”. This is the same disingenuous style you used above when you added the extra opposite relationship challenge to your definition of marriage. Not cool.

Your fallacious analogy, if taken to its conclusion in reality, very likely would end up in court, where the established business would need to be able to show damages caused by the upstart for trademark violation…that’s how those things work.

Just try to do a thought experiment mish. Consider your marriage. Consider how it could possibly be impacted by the marriage of some couple across town from you. List out the damages assuming that couple is opposite sex. List out the damages assuming that couple is same sex. Is your list empty? In both cases? I look forward to your explanation of the damages and their causes. Should be “interesting” reading.

Don’t change the goalposts and deflect back to the “institution of marriage”. There is no real physical institution of marriage. It can’t suffer. Only real live instantiations of marriage can suffer.
Mark: "Just try to do a thought experiment mish. Consider your marriage. Consider how it could possibly be impacted by the marriage of some couple across town from you. List out the damages assuming that couple is opposite sex. List out the damages assuming that couple is same sex. Is your list empty? In both cases? I look forward to your explanation of the damages and their causes. Should be 'interesting' reading."

How is it that the proponents of man-woman marriage ended up with the burden of proof? The burden of proof is on those who would change the institution of marriage.

Look, anyone can propose any damned thing. But if I come up to you and say "dollar bills should be orange instead of green," that doesn't somehow create an obligation on your part to argue why they should stay green. Likewise, the burden is on you to argue why we should even consider same-sex marriage in the first place.

So why should we change it? Because a certain number of gays and lesbians want to change it? So what? Or because you think there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage? If so, show me the Supreme Court case. Or because you're in a "committed relationship?" Great, be in a committed relationship and leave marriage alone. Or because you think that such relationships are "equal" to or "the same as" heterosexual relationships? Heterosexual relationships have a procreative orientation that is absent from same-sex relationships. So I don't think they're equal to or the same as. Of course that's just my opinion. But I don't have to "prove" anything. The need for proof is on your plate, not mine.
Mish - very logical, the need for proof argument you present. BUT...why not say people who are against equal rights need to prove their case. Especially when, as Mark points out, the marriages of other people have nil effect on yours.
Mishima, the thought experiment I proposed was following your silly car repair shop trademark infringement metaphor. Absolutely the burden of proof falls on those claiming damages and that is exactly what you were doing. Your dodging and weaving doesn’t bolster your “argument”, it simply highlights its weakness.

I’m not surprised that you weren’t able to do the thought experiment though, or that you changed subjects away from the usage of common terms. Claiming ownership of the terms “husband”, “wife” and “marriage” in those special, unrecognizable ways was absurd and you are at least showing good enough sense to abandon that.
Myriad writes: "BUT...why not say people who are against equal rights need to prove their case. Especially when, as Mark points out, the marriages of other people have nil effect on yours."

Mark writes: "I’m not surprised that you weren’t able to do the thought experiment though . . . "

I'm happy to address the thought experiment, if we get that far. But as I said before, the burden of proof is on the person who makes the proposal. By "burden of proof" I don't mean "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." I just mean that you need to give me some compelling argument for why I should support the proposal in the first place. If the case for same-sex marriage is so utterly compelling, then advocating for the proposal should be easy to do. But if neither one of you is able or willing to argue for your own proposal, that does not bode very well for same-sex marriage.

Concerning equal rights -- Is there an equal rights argument? If so, what is it? I can't respond to an argument that hasn't been made.
"I am blessed to be ordinary." I think you are quite extraordinary :)
Mishima writes: “Is there an equal rights argument? If so, what is it? I can't respond to an argument that hasn't been made.”

Seriously? After all the times you have jumped in and commented on this topic you still have no idea what the equal rights arguments are?

I’m guessing I’m about to waste some typing time but here is my view on it….

Absolutely there is an equal rights issue at play; one that is complicated by the dance of jurisdiction between your federal and state governments.

Your federal government provides upwards of 1,138 different benefits to civil partnerships.

These benefits are denied to some civil partnerships based solely on the gender combination of the partnership. Prior to DOMA this federal denial was only implicit due to the partnership definition having occurred at the state level.

When your federal government tried to make this same exclusion explicit via DOMA it was found unconstitutional…that should be a pretty big hint at the rights issue at play for you right there Mishima.

Interestingly enough it also appears that several states realized their legal exclusions of partnership rights based on gender combination were also unconstitutional and solved the issue by amending their constitutions…ah constitutional discrimination, much like napalm, smells like victory in the morning.

And while these equal rights issues are hugely important they are almost tangential to the issue of same sex marriage since they could be also be resolved by getting government completely out of the relationship business (although I grant this would be a very difficult thing to accomplish).

My support of same sex marriage is also due in large part to my view that all societal constructs, including marriage, are evolutionary and are meant to best serve the society that exists in the most inclusionary manner possible.

My view is well supported by history. Marriages today, after all, are not primarily used to consolidate power and forge alliances amongst the ruling elite.

To be even clearer, to me, this renders terms like “traditional marriage” to be meaningless. The meaning, purpose and participants of marriage have no common theme throughout history.

I cannot convince myself to arbitrarily cling to the definition of marriage claimed by one subset of people in one moment of time and then to justify imposing that definition on everyone else. Just can’t do it. There is no basis in logic to do so.
Mark writes: "After all the times you have jumped in and commented on this topic you still have no idea what the equal rights arguments are?"

Well, I didn't know what YOUR argument is. Someone could make a fairness argument, an appeal to one's sense of fairness. Someone else might make more of a constitutional argument. Your argument, as I read it, is a kind of hybrid between the two, combined with an observation on the evolutionary nature of marriage, and a suggestion that perhaps government shouldn't be involved in marriage at all.

So just to throw something on the table -- what if civil unions had all of the benefits of marriage -- tax, retirement, insurance, immigration, the whole package, and at both state and federal levels. I mean, it sounds like we're most of the way there already. For the same-sex couples who want all of the benefits of marriage, they would have all those benefits. For the people who believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman, that distinction is preserved. (You may think that's a trivial distinction, but many of us don't.) In short, civil unions with full benefits for same-sex couples, marriage for opposite-sex couples.

Wouldn't this tend to make everyone happy? People on both sides of the issue would get the most important things that they want, but no one gets everything that they want. Isn't that the nature of compromise?
"Wouldn't this tend to make everyone happy? People on both sides of the issue would get the most important things that they want, but no one gets everything that they want. Isn't that the nature of compromise?"

What part of "EQUAL" is confusing you, Mishima?

We aren't talking about what gay and lesbian people "want"... we are talking about EQUALITY. We DESERVE and MERIT by virtue of our constitutional rights the EXACT same rights and privileges you do.

You want to "compromise" then "compromise" your own rights. You don't get to "compromise" away mine!
What part of UNEQUAL is difficult for you to understand? Do you believe a tall person is equal to a short person? Tall and short are equal? What part of male and female are equal or not equal? What part of this equality or inequality was responsible for bringing your life into the world? Did it require a union of two sames or two differents?
phm - Do you think tall people and short people should have different rights? Males and females should have different rights? That marriage is only about reproduction? (That gays don't birth or adopt and therefore do the family thing too?)
"Do you believe a tall person is equal to a short person?


Uhhhh, yeah???? Why wouldn't they be?

BTW, the two children my lesbian wife brought into this world and the adopted daughter who was abandoned by her str8 mother all say "Hi". (and yes... they are all the same too...)
Mishima writes: “For the people who believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman, that distinction is preserved. (You may think that's a trivial distinction, but many of us don't.)”

This is where you may want to consider providing your rationale for why you believe it is not a trivial distinction. As it stands, speaking for myself, when no rationale is provided I first assume that it is weak and not worth communicating or that it is too socially unacceptable to express.

The arguments in support of same sex marriage are pretty detailed and the transparent lack of fairness in not having their equal rights recognized is a very powerful one. It’s pretty easy to Google and to find lots of studies showing that humans innately react very strongly to incidents of injustice.

IMO, it is this quality of argument that supporters of the status quo should be bringing to the table to be taken seriously.

I’m interested too in your description of the compromise. You’ve indicated that you don’t get what you want in this compromise…but the only thing you describe changing is that everyone gets civil benefits.

I surely must be reading this incorrectly but it seems to imply that what you want is for same sex couples to be denied these benefits and your only compromise is to grant them the benefits that they are actually entitled to. Maybe it would help if you laid out your preferred end-state.
A tall person and a short person are unequal in HEIGHT. If you can't understand that point you can't discuss the issue. Now what do you think a straight couple and a gay couple are unequal in? Use logic.
You know sometimes I really wonder if I am talking to people who really haven't acquired the ability to think clearly or if so many of you have been brainwashed by political correctness. What do you think a word like "tall" is referring to exactly if not the height of a person? Do you think someone who is dark skinned has the same color as someone who is light skinned? If your brain isn't working how about your eyes? Still work?
"Do you think someone who is dark skinned has the same color as someone who is light skinned?

First of all, physical characteristic have no bearing on whether or not a person should have the same human and civil rights as another.

Secondly, my eyes work just fine. In fact I just finished reading this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...

You on the other hand apparently prefer to read in your bible about the many benefits of slavery, talking snakes and how the murder of LGBT people is just peachy fine.

I'll keep to my reading material, thanks. I don't care for the fantasy genre much.
Being excessively pedantic is not something I believe anyone should strive to be.

Yes, a tall person is unequal in height to a short person.

“What are heterosexual and homosexual couples unequal in?”

Well, one could suppose they are unequal in weight, height, thickness, density, specific gravity, chemical composition, orbital velocity, trajectory, income, kissing quality, periodicity of orgasm, density of hair, roughness of hands, cuteness of feet, dimple occurrence, ass shapeliness, bondage desirability, spanking threshold, wit, temperament, lucidity, lustiness, and so many other qualities that

COULD be measures

But, we often desire that they

NOT be measures

I fail to understand why it is so important for you to

“WIN”

this argument about equality

Your point is valid

There,

You win
phm - it's you who threw the irrelevant tall/short thing in here. Are you saying (since you're not stating yourself clearly) that since hetero and homo marriage are "different", it's okay to withhold equal rights to the participants? What IS your argument anyway?
We haven't even gotten to the issue of what makes something a civil right or not. I'm trying to get you to admit that short people really suck at being tall, white people suck at their ability to be dark skinned, and gay couples totally fail at producing children. That's step one.
Oh Lord what do we have here in this phm?

Hello genius. Tall, short, light or dark as you may be, or not, or whatever, I bet Amy may have a story for you regarding the ability of gay couples to have children. Nevertheless, you are a fine thinker. Just don't hurt yourself.
phm, my lesbian wife gave birth to two beautiful & smart children. since her passing I have been raising both them and another adopted daughter who is every bit as beautiful & smart.

Are you saying that Lesbians and gays aren't capable of being as good of parents as straight people? If so, DOZENS of peer reviewed research studies prove you wrong.

Or are you suggesting that infertile straight people and people who CHOSE not to have children be prevented from marrying?
Gay couples do not, categorically

"totally"

fail at producing children

Many hetero couples fail at producing children

Sexual orientation is not a precursor to fertility and offspring viability

Your argument is invalid

In this category, you lose

The desire for a companion, lover, friend, is not the prerequisite for producing children

For reasons that I find particularly sad, many heterosexual individuals produce children in the absence of love and affection, and many homosexual couples overflowing with love and affection are willing to produce children, but find it difficult to do so

This argument, that a homosexual (whether in a relationship or not) is somehow preordained to fail at producing offspring is illogical. Producing offspring is dependent upon fertility, exclusively, and not the nature of domesticity
Perhaps I have to rethink how human life is created then. Maybe some were taught it happens when two sperm cells meet. Or it can happen when two egg cells meet. The point is two things that are the same -- not two things that are different.
DH, marriage is about a union. A union of male/male or female/female will fail at producing offspring every time.
uh, if I may ^::@-@::^

that's supposed to be an eyeroll towards obtuseness up there
Did Amy not just give you an example of lesbian's having children?

I do believe she was right there when sperm met egg too.

*walks off wondering when exactly sperm meets sperm or egg meets egg... deep thoughts.. hmmm*
Categorically speaking that is not supportable as true.

Yes a male cannot reproduce offspring with sexual intercourse with another male (biologically speaking in the strictest sense of the terminology)

However, you fail to define what a “Union” is. If your position is that a union of two people excludes the involvement of science as a means of support for the purpose of reproduction, then it is equally true that a union of a male and a female, either of which being infertile, will also fail to reproduce offspring.

It is always easy to make simplistic, pedantic, statements that one can claim support their position. You must, eventually, particularly if you are prone to accusation of other people’s inability to “think”, see the error in these statements when it is pointed out.

The error, in you statement, is in that you are choosing a loose definition of what a “Union” is, (in jest, I believe that in France, as John Oliver has pointed out, a “Union” is the marriage of one man to one women, her sister, her young college aged niece, and the gardener and his wife, or something like that).

A union, as defined by statutory laws, has no bearing on the viability of any individuals ability to produce offspring, and once again it must be clearly stated, given the availability of surrogate and science, fertility itself has ceased to be a precursor to the ability to produce offspring (as even formally “infertile” individuals can find it possible to produce offspring in some circumstances through the intervention of science.)
MY female/female union produced two great kids so you obviously don't have a clue of what you are talking about. IUF is a truly wonderful thing! (In fact, not only did I share in selecting the "mystery" donor from the Sperm Bank, the doctor even let me press the plunger down so I was the one who actually made her preggers. How cool is THAT, huh!)

I also noted how you completely ignored my question regarding whether infertile straight people, who also will fail at producing offspring every time, should be allowed to marry.

Why is that? Answer not in your bible????
Lovely,open,souvereign.

I wish you happy times within your family and your in-laws.

Rated *****
phm scouring good book for the answer
@SBA
Remember this topic and comment thread the next time you want to shout that straight people aren't allowed to offer input or opinions on gay issues. (which you do often)
^^SAYS^^ the moron who likes to make homophobic comments.
So, first straight marriage and gay marriage is compared to competing businesses who have the same name --
since the customer base would be completely separate, that's a silly comparison.

Then it becomes about offspring, which has *nothing* to do with marriage, other than some who feel it's important to be married to have children, but again, nothing to do with marriage, per se.

What other ridiculous boundaries that don't fit anyone want to throw out there for marriage 'allowance' other than what marriage actually is?

Two people who make a vow to commit to care for each other for life.
That's it.

There *is* no threat to anyone else, in any way, shape or form.
@SBA
I've challenged you several times, throughout the years, to point to a single homophobic comment that I've made. And you never do. Because there aren't any.

Conversely, I've mentioned many times, throughout the years, my unconditional support for gay rights & gay marriage.

So (as always) your comment/response means nothing since it is unsubstantiated. Like so many other things in your life.

Don't you have a fellow lesbian who performs unprotected oral sex on her lover that you'll want to call "skank" or something else like that to keep yourself busy (and amused, I assume). (That remark by you, IS substantiated -- do you want me to point readers to the blog author and post?)
As a matter of fact, Joisey Shore, IMO, in this age of HIV/AIDS, incurable STDs and numerous other blood borne diseases, I think ANYONE who has unprotected sex with someone else who is not monogamous is both a danger AND pretty skanky.

BTW, seeing as how you are a self acknowledged serial cheater... does your wife require YOU to always use a condom? She should.
Hi folks,

I've been away on vacation and ignoring my computer, and... well... glad to have generated some discussion. Please be nice to each other. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Now... back to my other job of making my teenagers get along with each other!
@SBA

1) You never provided a link or citation to a single homophobic remark I've ever made on OS during my 4 years here. Noted (again, as always).

2) If you're so proud of your opinion and characterization of lesbians engaging in unprotected oral sex as "skanks", why did you ask the blog author to delete your comment?

3) My girlfriend and I both got tested and shared results at tSTD.org. I am not a serial cheater. I have a single mistress who I originally found via the Ashley-Madison website.

Froggy, I am making these statements & asking questions in a civil manner. SBA has asked that I not visit & comment on her blog and I am a person of honor who has not commented on her blog since then (nearly 2 years).

I apologize for spending some of your comment thread addressing SBA directly. However, related to your blog topic, SBA seems to demand equal treatment and also demands (rightly so) that gays be characterized as just as "normal" as heteros.

However, when there's a topic related to a gay issue and a straight person "dares" to comment, SBA also demands that straights have no right to comment or share their opinions. Seems hypocritical.
Joisey Shores, will you PLEASE stop acting like such a troll, following me from post to post, harassing me and doing your damnest to pick a fight? A REAL "person of honor" wouldn't do that (so I guess I'm saying: you sure as hell ain't acting like one, dude)

As to your really, Really, REALLY bizarre allegations that I "demand" that "straights have no right to comment or share their opinions", I would point out that back in 2010 this post was WRITTEN in response to an open call of MINE in which I requested STRAIGHT PEOPLE SHARE THEIR COMMENTS AND OPINIONS! *ahem*

That is why I am eternal grateful to Froggy and all of the others who took part.

In honor of my late wife Suzy / Safe_Bet, I’ve begun collecting posts in support of LGBTQI equality.   We in the community have a huge number of very talented heterosexual Allies (the A in LGBTQIA).  Here are their stories, posts and opinions.
http://open.salon.com/blog/safe_bet/2010/06/05/the_safe_bet_
project


NOW will you give it a rest? (or at least STFU????)
I think a discussion where some want to insist that sperm comes from a female is pretty much beyond hope.
phm -acting stupid, or actually stupid?
that's the best you got after hours of contemplation?
I take it you are anti gay marriage
and surely then anti-any kind of marriage
that doesn't bring children.
Amy's children were made the regular way,
with sperm and egg. You read that, I hope.

kumbaya over froggy
Sperm comes from the Sperm Bank, silly! Every one knows that!
(at least lesbians with kids do!)


But you're partly right. A discussion where one of the parties refused to acknowledge that having children has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH LESBIAN AND GAY MARRIAGE... is "pretty much beyond hope."

However, that doesn't change the fact.

Now go back to reading your bible or watching Faux News or what ever it is you fundie haters do and leave all of us nice people alone, K?
It appears that discussion has erupted. To those who responded to my comments I'll reply as best I can. But same-sex marriage is a complicated topic, and it's hard to give an adequate reply in a comment.

Safe Bet writes: "We aren't talking about what gay and lesbian people 'want'... we are talking about EQUALITY. We DESERVE and MERIT by virtue of our constitutional rights the EXACT same rights and privileges you do."

Equality means treating like cases alike. But in order to know what counts as being alike we first have to know what marriage IS. There is NO universal right to marry the person you happen to love. Every state has laws defining who can marry whom. People in a romantic relationship can't necessarily marry; they have to meet the qualifications. To understand those qualifications we first have to know what marriage is -- why it exists in the first place.

Marriage has traditionally (and almost exclusively) been between males and females not because of animus against same-sex couples. Marriage has been between males and females because only partners of the opposite-sex can bear children. The purpose of marriage is not to hand out benefits to romantic partners. The purpose of marriage is to regulate human sexual behavior to ensure that children are conceived and reared within the marital relationship. Heterosexual relationships have a procreative potential that simply does not exist in same-sex relationships. Thus in preserving marriage for opposite-sex couples there is no denial of equality to same-sex couples, because same-sex relationships are not "the same as" heterosexual relationships with respect to the fundamental purpose of marriage.

Mark writes: "I surely must be reading this incorrectly but it seems to imply that what you want is for same sex couples to be denied these benefits and your only compromise is to grant them the benefits that they are actually entitled to. Maybe it would help if you laid out your preferred end-state."

Excellent point. But let me first address "your only compromise is to grant them the benefits that they are actually entitled to." Whether or not they are entitled those benefits is the issue. Even if they are granted to those benefits, that doesn't mean that they were entitled to them.

My preferred end state is the status quo -- not because I dislike gays and lesbians, but because I'm concerned that granting full marital benefits will be used as an argument for the revisionist view of marriage. In fact, I can guarantee that this would happen. In effect, what I'm suggesting would give the proponents of same-sex marriage more ammunition for their argument. So I see moving from the status quo to granting full marital benefits as a significant thing, something that certainly counts as a concession. Under my suggestion same-sex couples would be married in every sense except the name. Surely that is not a trivial thing.
fail to see why you would concede everything but a (therefore meaningless) name...
I think that what Mishima says makes good sense.
mishima, you might have made sense in 1650, 0r 1850 with this old world version of what marriage *is* as you say....and I'm sure plenty of women weren't appreciating the status quo then either.
The reality of what marriage is today, and has been for ages, does not fit this incredibly outdated goobledygook you offer here - and it's time to adapt to the current world.
The laws and descriptions of traditional marriage were set up by the governing party of the land then, the white male. That does not mean that the laws and descriptions of marriage as set up by the governing people of that time will always and hence forth be what is the prevailing laws and descriptions of marriage now. The vote will tell. The majority as set forth by the constitution will prevail, and each state will rule. The white male will not always be able to be the one to decide who concedes what.
Safe Bet writes: "First of all, physical characteristic have no bearing on whether or not a person should have the same human and civil rights as another."

Of course it can have a bearing. Age is a physical characteristic, and we deny young people all sorts of rights that adults have. We don't allow some people into certain occupations based on physical capabilities.

Safe Bet writes: "I also noted how you completely ignored my question regarding whether infertile straight people, who also will fail at producing offspring every time, should be allowed to marry."

Consider this example: What is it that makes a group of people a baseball team? What makes a group of people a baseball team is that the people are capable of performing the acts that make up the game of baseball. But a group of people can be a baseball team and have a losing season. In fact, they could lose every game and still be a baseball team.

Let's say that there is a group of people made up of individuals who are bed bound, or paralyzed, or missing both arms and legs. This group of people couldn't be a baseball team because they are unable to perform the acts that make up the game of baseball. However much they might want to be a baseball team, they can't be; it is a physical impossibility. Even if they study the game and dress in baseball uniforms, they will never be a baseball team. Even if they were all very nice people who loved the game of baseball, they still couldn't be a baseball team.

Stated simply, I argue that there is a significant difference between a baseball team that loses every game, and a group of people who can't play the game to begin with.

As in baseball, so in marriage. In order to have a marriage you have to have two people who can perform the only act that can consummate a marriage. In the Western tradition, the distinctive act of marriage is coitus, the generative act, the only act that can create new life. A married couple may or may not have children, but in being able to perform the generative act they are just as married whether or not they are infertile or choose not to have children.

In coitus two distinct individuals come together in an act that makes them a single reproductive unit. I'm not basing any argument on the Bible, but the Bible does have an apt description of what happens: in coitus two individuals, male and female, literally become "one flesh." In all other respects male and female are independent persons. But in the generative act male and female become a single reproductive entity.

What I call the conjugal view of marriage has nothing to do with animus toward homosexuals. One writes puts it this way: "The philosophical and legal principle that only coitus could consummate a marriage arose centuries before the concept of a gay identity . . . And even in cultures very favorable to homoerotic relationships (as in ancient Greece), something akin to the conjugal view has prevailed—and nothing like same-sex marriage was even imagined."

Because only opposite-sex couples can perform the generative act, the one act that can create new life, the one act that consummates a marriage, and same-sex couples cannot, there is no violation of equality in permitting only opposite-sex couples to marry.
Mishima writes: “I'm concerned that granting full marital benefits will be used as an argument for the revisionist view of marriage” and “In coitus two distinct individuals come together in an act that makes them a single reproductive unit”

So if I read you correctly the most important attribute of a marriage is the ability to perform coitus once (to consummate). You’ve ruled out actual procreation (you’re quite happy to admit the infertile and the post fertile into the club) and I don’t get the feeling you want annul the marriage of any man who can no longer get it up…so your definition of marriage hinges on a single straight fuck?

I guess I’m surprised because if I’m looking for THE defining characteristic of the partnership of marriage, I wouldn’t look at a characteristic that is SO common amongst partnerships outside of that construct.

It would cheapen it for me to know that membership to my special club was predicated on an act being performed by unwed horny teenagers in the backseat of their parents car every 30 seconds across the nation.

What isn’t so clear still is why this is so important TO YOU as to be justification for denying Amy the right to visit her partner in the hospital.

Can you expand on the “why” Mishima? Why are you concerned about the “revisionist view” and why is that one act of coitus such an important event?
@mish

I typically agree with your POV and unlike others on OS, you lay out arguments in a respectful and logical manner.

However, in this instance and speaking for myself, I can't embrace your position.

I've seen male-female partners marry because they were best friends and asexual -- they wanted companionship. And I've seen senior citizens marry who are no longer sexually-active. Finally, I have sex (outside my marriage) with a woman whose husband is impotent -- she is married because she is in love with her husband -- her marriage is not defined by coitus with her husband.

I do agree with you that revisionist view of marriage will probably occur. Some will want to marry multiple partners, legally. A more extreme challenge my come from those who want to marry children, claiming that if minors can be tried "as adults" for crimes, they can certainly be considered grown-up enough to get married.

So yes, the traditional view of what marriage is or was will disappear. And I'm O.K. with that as long as it's with consenting ADULTS.
"...As in baseball, so in marriage."


My human and civil rights are not some stupid game, Mishima.

Contrary to what you WANT people to believe, the Supreme Court of the United States has reaffirmed FOURTEEN TIMES THAT MARRIAGE IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT!

Either you believe that "some people" should be prevented from enjoying their fundamental rights or you don't.

It's actually quite simple. The only people who try to make it complicated are the haters and the bigots.
Been reading through this since it's in the feed, and came across this gem:

"In order to have a marriage you have to have two people who can perform the only act that can consummate a marriage."

*SIGH*

Show me the legal definition wherein coitus is a required element of marriage.

If you can't show me the legal definition, then you have no argument because we are not talking about some religious ritual, we aren't talking about some cultural "tradition" - we are talking about a fundamental right of citizens that bestows legal privileges upon them.

And if you can't see that, then there is no point trying to have a discussion with you.
so I wonder-- who is it here hiding behind the alt phm?
froggy, if I'd only known when I found this 2010 post last week.....
: )
Hi folks... again, discussion is great. Disagreement is great. But let's be gracious to each other here.

Since I wrote the original piece, I'll toss in my opinion... the issue here in my opinion is not religion or children but civil rights. Heterosexual couples in their eighties who have no potential whatsoever of having children are allowed to be legally married, and no one bats an eye, in fact, they say "awww" and publish the pictures in the paper. People who have infertility problems are allowed to be married. People of different faiths and races are allowed to be married, and civilly, we don't give a rat's ass if a Jew marries a Mormon at the courthouse, and they go off to have a million kids or no kids at all. That's their business. Two atheists get married, convert to Hare Krishna, and start a commune. Rock on, get down with your bad selves.

Two gay men, or two gay women are no different. They can be of different faiths or no faith at all. They can adopt children or not, they can be of any faith or color, their families can hate each other or not. It doesn't matter, and it's not the state's business to care about such things.

It is the state's business to provide the same legal protections to all couples, regardless of gender, color, or religion. These are protections like insurance coverage, spouse benefits, next-of-kin designation, ability to make medical decisions for each other, ability to jointly own property, file taxes, care for children, and so on. All the intricacies of family law (and there are many) should apply to same sex couples.

There. End of story. Religion and religious belief have no part in civil law. Religions are still free to make their own rules about who can and can't marry, and that's their business to do so. The state, however, should not make this distinction about same sex couples.
Joisey writes: "However, in this instance and speaking for myself, I can't embrace your position."

My position is definitely in the minority here. Even saying that it's a minority position rather overstates the situation. It's more accurate to say that my position here is rare, bordering on unheard of. I know I'm not going to change anyone's mind. All I really hope for is to show that it's possible to make an argument for a more traditional view of marriage that does not depend on theology or religion.

Joisey: "I've seen male-female partners marry because they were best friends and asexual -- they wanted companionship. And I've seen senior citizens marry who are no longer sexually-active."

Even among heterosexual relationships that meet the traditional definition of marriage, there is a certain level of non-traditional activity going on. I just think that social institutions are defined by the norm, not by the exceptions. And even hetero couples who are not sexually active nonetheless symbolize traditional marriage, in the same way that veterans of military service can symbolize military virtues even though they are no longer in active service.

Joisey writes: "So yes, the traditional view of what marriage is or was will disappear. And I'm O.K. with that as long as it's with consenting ADULTS."

I think you're probably right that it will disappear. I just think that there will be some significant negative consequences from that -- consequences that many people have not considered. And when people are asked to vote for same-sex marriage, I wonder how many of them understand that they are also voting to end the traditional view of marriage.

Bill writes: "Show me the legal definition wherein coitus is a required element of marriage."

There is none. Show me the legal definition wherein any two people who want to be married must be allowed to marry. There is no such definition either. We're talking about the purpose and public meaning of a social institution, not legal definitions.

Mark writes: "So if I read you correctly the most important attribute of a marriage is the ability to perform coitus once (to consummate). You’ve ruled out actual procreation . . . "

Not really, though I can see why you say that. I'm not trying to come up with criteria for membership in the "marriage club." I'm describing how marriage has been understood in the Western tradition, and giving reasons for why it has been understood that way.

Mark: "What isn’t so clear still is why this is so important TO YOU as to be justification for denying Amy the right to visit her partner in the hospital."

I assume by "the right to visit her partner in the hospital" you're actually referring to all the benefits that she would lack through not being married. But I've already stated that I would support civil partnerships with full benefits.

Mark: "Why are you concerned about the “revisionist view” and why is that one act of coitus such an important event?"

I am concerned because we're talking about what marriage IS, and why it even exists. And if we get THAT wrong, then all of our thinking about marriage will be wrong. What's at stake is our ability to make sound public policy decisions with respect to issues related to marriage and family life.

Coitus is important for what it is, for what it symbolizes, and for what it joins together. It is important because it is the only act that can generate new life. It symbolizes the joining together of man and woman into one family. And it in fact turns husband and wife into "one flesh," as the Bible says -- a single self-contained reproductive unit. Only that act joins together the present romantic life of husband and wife with the physical life of future generations. It literally "incarnates" the romantic life of husband and wife, taking the love they have for each other and turning that love into another person. These are a few reasons why it's important.

Look at it another way: if children came about some other way -- if, for example, we plucked them from trees or scooped them out of the ocean -- there would be no need for marriage. Marriage would not exist. Who you were having sex with wouldn't matter any more than who your bridge partner is, or with whom you played tennis. It's the organic connection between sex and children that makes marriage a necessary institution. Stated differently, it's the connection between sex and children that makes it necessary to regulate heterosexual sexual activity, which is the primary purpose of the institution of marriage.
There is none. Show me the legal definition wherein any two people who want to be married must be allowed to marry. There is no such definition either. We're talking about the purpose and public meaning of a social institution, not legal definitions.

No, we're not. We're talking about a legal status as conferred upon people by government. Tell me, do you get tax incentives because you are "married"? Do you get medical privileges when your "spouse" is incapacitated?

Those are RIGHTS conferred upon you by state and federal government. And the moment you actually realize that "marriage" went way beyond a social institution as soon as governments began conferring rights and privileges upon married people, the sooner you will see that everyone - NOT just those people who happen to belong to religious groups - are entitled to these rights.

Not to mention if you want to consider it a "social institution" then you MUST make it available to all members of your society in a democracy - RIGHT?
Oh, and one more thing:

Look at it another way: if children came about some other way -- if, for example, we plucked them from trees or scooped them out of the ocean -- there would be no need for marriage.

Children ALREADY come about some other way; we are now capable of creating children using In Vitro and In Utero fertilization which DOES NOT REQUIRE THE ACT OF COITUS. Nor does it require one to be "married".

Care to try another baseless argument?
Oh, and Mish - for your benefit and everyone else who thinks like you:

Marriage is chiefly regulated by the states. The Supreme Court has held that states are permitted to reasonably regulate the institution by prescribing who is allowed to marry and how the marriage can be dissolved. Entering into a marriage changes the legal status of both parties and gives both husband and wife new rights and obligations. One power that the states do not have, however, is that of prohibiting marriage in the absence of a valid reason. For example, prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/marriage

There's your legal definition of marriage.
I should add, please note the very most important last two sentences contained therein:

One power that the states do not have, however, is that of prohibiting marriage in the absence of a valid reason. For example, prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
Save your fingertips Bill. Mishima666 is what he is. No amount of logic or words will help. If you keep it up he'll keep writing thousand word theses that say the same thing over and over
@Bill S.,

Mish has mentioned a couple of times that he agrees that all rights granted to married couples should be allowed in civil partnerships.

So he's not arguing against "rights".

I think he's putting forth his opinion that he'd have a difficult time, for him, defining a same-sex coupling as a marriage.

And that's O.K., right? We're all allowed to feel uncomfortable about certain things or believe that something (or someone) is attractive or not. It's how to deal with those feelings that matter.

If you proffer your feelings/opinions in an online forum -- that's one thing. If you try to convince law makers to regulate or limit the rights of others based on your feelings/opinions, that's another thing.

I don't think Mish is trying to do the latter.
Joisey - "I think he's putting forth his opinion that he'd have a difficult time, for him, defining a same-sex coupling as a marriage.

And that's O.K., right?"

Yup. That is very true. And in that context, I don't have a problem with his being "uncomfortable" so long as he does not try and interfere with other people's constitutional rights. I just want to make sure that people realize that we ARE talking about constitutional rights and not opinions on traditions or religious ceremonies.

Thanks, good point.
Actually, Joisey, in re-reading his comment I noticed this para which made me think you might be giving him more "benefit-of-the-doubt" than he deserves:

"I am concerned because we're talking about what marriage IS, and why it even exists. And if we get THAT wrong, then all of our thinking about marriage will be wrong. What's at stake is our ability to make sound public policy decisions with respect to issues related to marriage and family life. "

Sound public policy decisions rely on a secular view of "marriage" in regards to society at large - and the LGBT community is a huge part of our society. They deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Don't they?
Hi folks--I love all of the contributions, and I love that we live in a place where we're all allowed to have our opinions and voice them loud and clear. However, this is my blog, and I'm calling a time out. I would love to respectfully ask that you take this discussion elsewhere. Thanks so much for all your comments on this piece.
Bill writes: "Not to mention if you want to consider it a "social institution" then you MUST make it available to all members of your society in a democracy - RIGHT?"

Nope. It is available to those who qualify. For example, we don't allow parents to marry children. We don't allow those who are already married to one spouse to marry another spouse. There are a variety of other prohibitions, depending on the state. A large number of states don't permit same-sex marriages. There is no "must."

Bill: "Children ALREADY come about some other way; we are now capable of creating children using In Vitro and In Utero fertilization which DOES NOT REQUIRE THE ACT OF COITUS. Nor does it require one to be "married". Care to try another baseless argument?"

Bill, if we had to rely on infertility clinics for the propagation of human beings, our species would quickly die out. And artificial fertilization does not replace fathers and mothers. Besides that, the percentage of children conceived through these clinics is minuscule, and as I've noted before, institutions are based on the norm, not the exceptions. For example, while it is true that some children are reared in orphanages or foster homes, we don't conclude that it's irrelevant whether children are reared by their biological parents.

More important, there's nothing about infertility treatments that somehow negates anything that I've said about coitus. My argument is that coitus is an essential, defining feature of marriage, WHETHER OR NOT it happens to lead to successful pregnancies.

Bill quotes: "One power that the states do not have, however, is that of prohibiting marriage in the absence of a valid reason. For example, prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution."

Right. My argument is that requiring that the spouses be of opposite sex is a valid reason. And so far there has not been any Supreme Court decision to the contrary.

Bill, once again quoting: "For example, prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution."

Show me the Supreme Court decision stating that prohibiting same-sex marriages is a violation of the equal protection clause.

trig writes: "Save your fingertips Bill. Mishima666 is what he is. No amount of logic or words will help."

Whoa there, big fellah. I'm the guy who is putting all of his cards on the table. I'm very clear about my position. On the other side, what have the proponents of same-sex marriage offered? Equality. That's it. Just equality. And I've shown that same-sex and opposite-sex relationships are not equal, that there are very good reasons why they should be treated differently, and that in fact there has never been any Supreme Court decision stating that prohibiting same-sex marriage violates the equal protection clause. The folks on the other side are happy to try to shoot holes in my position, while they offer very little in support of their own position.

Joisey writes: "Mish has mentioned a couple of times that he agrees that all rights granted to married couples should be allowed in civil partnerships."

Correct.

Joisey: "If you try to convince law makers to regulate or limit the rights of others based on your feelings/opinions, that's another thing. I don't think Mish is trying to do the latter."

I see it as a practical matter. We have these couples who don't meet the criteria for marriage, but nonetheless are in a committed relationship. They want to be able to make important decisions together. They want to be able to act in each other's behalf without excessive legal hassle. The want to have joint finances, and be easily able to handle issues of insurance, retirement, taxes, and so on. That's fine. We can work with that. Just because they aren't married doesn't mean that we can't make their lives easier. If the issue is equality, then I'm in favor of equal benefits -- not as a "right," but just trying to be helpful to folks.
Comments are now closed.