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Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick: I kind of feel like you dodged my question. Do you feel the state has the power to prevent interracial couples from getting married? Or two black people or two Hispanics, or two Catholics? If you do, then your position is consistent, but if you don't, how do you reconcile that position with saying that the right shouldn't extend to gay people? Especially when so many people who get married choose not to reproduce or, conversely, gay couples adopt, use surrogates or sperm banks and so therefore care for and perpetuate the species?

Also
Quote:
Because in my ideal world, the government would *only* grant civil unions and leave churches, synagogues, and temples to do with marriage as they chose.


Sorry, just to make sure I understand what you are saying... The state should only grant civil unions to all couples gay, straight or other? So no marriage licenses for anyone? I really have no problem with that. However, until there is uniformity for everyone, I don't think the state can have some categories for some couples and another for others. Nobody is going to force your church to perform the marriage so, again, I really fail to see how it matters. Individual religious institutions can still approach the issue however they would like. And, at this point, in the context of our society, marriage has been made into a civil institution wholly separate from religion through laws and custom and things as mundane as the tax code. As it is a civil institution, I think it is the duty of the state to ensure that all citizens have equal access to that institution. There is no such thing as "almost as equal." To slightly paraphrase the Court's decision in Brown v. Board, "the doctrine of separate but equal has no place. Separate ... facilities are inherently unequal." Frankly, I think calling marriage that is done purely on the state level a "religious institution" blurs the lines between church and state more than creating a uniform standard that can be applied to everyone.

Then again, I also feel that however you frame it, when you want to extend rights to some but not others, that is inherently discrimantory whether you couch it in terms of religion or not. Not to go all West Wing on people or anything, but the Bible says a lot about a lot of things that are out of step with a modern society, so reliance on religious texts as an excuse not to extend equality to all feels disingenuous, or at least hypocritical, to me. Why adhere to some of the writings and not others? Where does the line get drawn?
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1691

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laura V wrote:
dick wrote:

That society recognizes and strives to keep its basic element as a reproducer of itself shouldn't surprise. And, since the term civil rights has little meaning without society, I'm not completely certain that marriage can be viewed as a civil right.


According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on December 10, 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations:

Quote:
Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.


If we want to be technical, The Declaration of Human Rights is not Supreme Law of this country. The Constitution is.
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 946

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelly B wrote:


Sorry, just to make sure I understand what you are saying... The state should only grant civil unions to all couples gay, straight or other? So no marriage licenses for anyone? I really have no problem with that. However, until there is uniformity for everyone, I don't think the state can have some categories for some couples and another for others. Nobody is going to force your church to perform the marriage so, again, I really fail to see how it matters. Individual religious institutions can still approach the issue however they would like. And, at this point, in the context of our society, marriage has been made into a civil institution wholly separate from religion through laws and custom and things as mundane as the tax code. As it is a civil institution, I think it is the duty of the state to ensure that all citizens have equal access to that institution.


Kelly B, if we lived in California, I would ask you to marry me :)

Also, of course, if I weren't married.

I'd just add that marriage as a civil institution is a form of property-sharing contract. If I were restricted in my ability to sign an employment contract because of gender, for instance, it would be a lawsuit. Same for a business contract or a personal agreement. Why is marriage the only type of contract in which gender discrimination is acceptable?

This also deflates the "slippery-slope" argument people who say "If gays, why not children? Why not people and animals?" Um, because children and animals are legally prohibited from entering into all forms of contract.
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Laura V



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 302
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:
If we want to be technical, The Declaration of Human Rights is not Supreme Law of this country. The Constitution is.


Well, (a) Dick seemed to be making a general point about societal recognition of marriage and suggesting that something which requires societal recognition cannot be considered a human/civil right (b) this is an international document, signed up to by a great many countries, which declares that marriage is a human right and (c) I'm not in the US, and some of the other examples given (e.g Spain) are not in the US. I was assuming that the discussion didn't have to be limited to laws and circumstances which solely affect the US.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2477

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to KellyB: I didn't do so intentionally; I thought the main point of your post referred to my questioning whether marriage was a civil right. Logically, of course, I would have to answer yes, society does have the right to ban interracial marriages--and did for a considerable number of years in some states. If, as I suggested, marriage is a social institution for which individuals have no real need, individuals of differing races can, and did, do as they pleased in the matters that marriage encompasses.

But inter-racial marriage and gay marriage are not, I think, equivalent to one another. Traditonally and lexiconically (forgive that creation please) society views marriage as a union of male and female, because, I think, society recognizes the need to perpetuate itself. Viewing marriage in that light, interracial marriages will perpetuate society as readily as any others. Gay marriages will not.
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Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree. And so does the Supreme Court, at least when it comes to interracial marriage. Just because it used to happen doesn't make it right. Loving v. Virginia abolished the state's ability to ban interracial marriages as it was a violation of the 14th amendment's equal protection clause. My view is that banning gay marriage is just as much as a violation because a ban is not an equal application of the law to everyone.

Also, frankly I'm uncomfortable with the state having that level of control in order to dictate what it deems to be majority society interest. Who you can marry, who you can love, who you can sleep with. That was the kind of logic that led to forced sterilization, or laws that didn't permit people to live together as families, prosecution for what two people did in the privacy of their bedroom, laws that dictated that there be separate facilities for different races. Are lunch counters any more necessary to society than marriage? If not, is it then okay to permit segregation? Is the ability for girls to play competitive athletics necessary to society? If not, can we we say that schools shouldn't have to provide athletic opportunities for girls? If we let the legal system make its determinations based solely on a "necessary" test, we'd be still be trapped in system with little respect for justice or equality.

And the traditional argument doesn't really wash with me, either. Traditionally, interracial marriages were regarded as an abomination. Traditionally, a black man was "worth" 3/5 of a white man (and women had no worth at all). Traditionally, women couldn't vote. Tradition seems to be a means to distract from the fact that people are just uncomfortable or put off by the idea of gay marriage.
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Guenevere



Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 17
Location: Camelot

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
But inter-racial marriage and gay marriage are not, I think, equivalent to one another. Traditonally and lexiconically (forgive that creation please) society views marriage as a union of male and female, because, I think, society recognizes the need to perpetuate itself. Viewing marriage in that light, interracial marriages will perpetuate society as readily as any others. Gay marriages will not.


Following that logic, the right of marriage should also be denied in cases where either the man or the woman is incapable of reproducing (cases of sterility, impotence, women past child-bearing age, etc.).
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 946

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guenevere wrote:
dick wrote:
But inter-racial marriage and gay marriage are not, I think, equivalent to one another. Traditonally and lexiconically (forgive that creation please) society views marriage as a union of male and female, because, I think, society recognizes the need to perpetuate itself. Viewing marriage in that light, interracial marriages will perpetuate society as readily as any others. Gay marriages will not.


Following that logic, the right of marriage should also be denied in cases where either the man or the woman is incapable of reproducing (cases of sterility, impotence, women past child-bearing age, etc.).


Also, just because society has traditionally held a view does not make it morally right or legally correct. Seventy years ago, marriage was seen as between one man and one woman of the same race. Before or even concurrently with that, marriage was seen as between one woman and one man of the same race and the same religion. And before that, marriage was seen as between one man and one woman of the same race and the same religion and the same social class.

Marriages that violated any of these tenets were seen as just as much a threat to the perpetuation of society as gay marriage is now. Compare and contrast Charles's marriage to Camilla, for instance, with Edward and Wallis Simpson. In 1936, they believed the marriage of the king to a divorcee with two living ex-husbands would cause the Church of England to collapse. Today, Charles just got married.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2477

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This discussion has shifted a considerable distance away from my statement that I am not certain that marriage is a civil right; that it is, rather, a social institution that society has an interest in exerting control over. As I pointed out, individuals have no need for marriage. They can do all that marriage entails without ever going through a rite, a ceremony, or contract to make it legal.

I never stated that I believed interracial marriage is anathema. I merely answered Kelly B's question as to whether, in the context of the argument I was making, society could ban interracial marriage.
Logic required that I answer yes, it could.

I never stated that I believed sterile couples should not marry. I only pointed out that the interest society takes in exerting control over marriage has to do with perpetuating itself, and thus any marriage which perpetuated society would do that equally well and that society assumed , because of the traditional ideas about marriage, that it would do so. Gay marriages will not; thus it is no surprise that society opposes it.

I don't think any one involved in this discussion can deny that marriage has traditionally been viewed as including a male and a female. In fact, I believe if you asked a hundred people on the street what a marriage is 97% would give that answer. I'm not certain how holding such a view is immoral. What is morality, after all, but the dominant views of a society about a matter?

The primary thing, it seems to me, that recognition of gay marriages gives gays are the collateral elements of marriage--all those things pointed out in GwenG's post. As I stated in my first post, I have no objection to gays entering some kind of legal union which will give them those things. However, reason tells me that a legal union of two people of the same gender can never be equivalent to a marriage of two people of opposite gender.
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Gwen G



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Brooklyn, New York

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:

The primary thing, it seems to me, that recognition of gay marriages gives gays are the collateral elements of marriage--all those things pointed out in GwenG's post. As I stated in my first post, I have no objection to gays entering some kind of legal union which will give them those things. However, reason tells me that a legal union of two people of the same gender can never be equivalent to a marriage of two people of opposite gender.


Dick - Legal and civil rights granted by the state is an essential and important reason for the right to marry. But "some kind of legal union" won't cut it. Only full fledged Marriage confers all 1400 of those rights equally to all citizens.

I don't know if legal rights are the primary thing marriage gives a union. Aren't the emotional, spiritual and familial bonds it gives just as important?
To society as well as the individual? I think extending these things to Gay citizens is benefical to everyone. And it strengthens communites.
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 946

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's important to be open-minded, so I have read dick's posts even though they are so completely opposite to anything I believe, and I've tried to think about them point-by-point and be willing to be convinced. And what jumped out at me was a statement I wholeheartedly agree with as written, even though I strongly suspect based on his first post that it's not actually what dick intended to say:

[quote=dick]However, reason tells me that a legal union of two people of the same gender can never be equivalent to a marriage of two people of opposite gender.[/quote]

Which I completely agree with. The sheer fact that people are so emotionally attached to the word "marriage" tells me that a civil union will not project the same image. This becomes relevant in intangibles like applying for a mortgage together: if "marriage" sounds more permanent, you might consider this couple lower risk than a mere "union" couple and give them better rates. What about applying for child custody in the event of a divorce? The father, straight, "remarries" a female, while the lesbian mother "unites" with a female. How does the judge look at these two respective relationships in assigning child custody?

But earlier, dick said,

Quote:
I wrote that I have no objections to same-sex unions. But I don't think they are marriages in the most widely accepted meaning of the word. And I think the distinction ought to be maintained [emphasis mine].


And this is where I get lost.

What is the advantage to "maintaining the distinction" between marriage and civil unions? I'm genuinely curious. Not only would I like to know why it's advantageous, I would also like to know how it is morally defensible. And "because most people agree with it," to me, is not a moral argument; it's a bandwagon argument.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 868
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one way to correct this inequity would be to put civil unions on par with marriage. Give them the same benefits, rights and privileges as marriage so there would be a choice. I think some of Dick's concerns is that marriage is an institution created by religion and since religion(particularly the Christian faith) has issues with sexual orientation, the feeling is that marriage is only for heterosexual couples. Typical of religion where instead of being inclusive of people, it promotes hate and the creation of second class citizens of some of its adherents.

Can someone clarify marriage and civil unions in Europe for me? Do most people enter civil unions first and then if they choose to, they have a marriage ceremony? So can you have one without the other?

Maybe, America should consider something like this. I certainly feel that a gblt couple should be able to have the same rights and privileges that a heterosexual couple enjoys. Several of my gblt friends have been in relationships as long as I have been and they are just as committed to one another as I am to my husband.
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Laura V



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 302
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
Can someone clarify marriage and civil unions in Europe for me? Do most people enter civil unions first and then if they choose to, they have a marriage ceremony? So can you have one without the other?


No, as far as I know you just have one or the other if you're talking about the state-registered options. Though you could have a legal ceremony (recognised by the state) followed or preceded by a religious ceremony (not involving the state).

It varies a lot depending on which country in Europe you're talking about. There's a list here of the differing legislation. In Spain, for example, both homosexual and heterosexual unions are called marriages and "Same-sex married partners now enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of marriage without exception." In the UK: "The Civil Partnership Act 2004, opened ‘civil partnerships’ exclusively to same-sex partners as of 5 December 2005. This Act gives same-sex partners the same rights and responsibilities as marriage." Other countries in Europe give some recognition to homosexual couples, but don't give them all the same rights and responsibilities as married couples. Some European countries don't recognise homosexual partnerships at all.

In New Zealand (not in Europe, obviously), "A marriage may only be entered into by couples of opposite sexes" but both heterosexual and homosexual couples may enter into a "civil union": "The Civil Union Act 2004 provides the criteria, rules and processes for two people to have their relationship solemnised as a civil union (by way of a formal ceremony) and officially registered in New Zealand. A Civil Union may be entered into by couples of the same sex or by couples of different sexes."
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Karaa



Joined: 17 Apr 2008
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:


Can someone clarify marriage and civil unions in Europe for me? Do most people enter civil unions first and then if they choose to, they have a marriage ceremony? So can you have one without the other?



As long as we are talking about secular civil unions and secular civil marriages, yes. Church marriages -- no. As in when Prince Charles married Camilla (or Camilla married her man, whichever way Laughing ), they had a civil ceremony at the town hall followed by religious blessings at the chapel. The blessing at the chapel portion would not be available for (most) same-sex couples. Blessing, yes, maybe. At the chapel in a manner that resembles a religious marriage ceremony, no.

Like in the States, half of Europe does not recognise same-sex unions of any kind or in any name, while roughly the other half recognises same-sex civil unions in one form or another. Spain, for instance, recognises same-sex marriages in name, but do not expect to see same-sex couples getting married in the Roman Catholic churches of Spain. These are still civil unions, secular marriages we are talking about. The Lutheran Church of Sweden "allows" same-sex unions but maintains that "marriage" is still exclusively a union between a man and a woman. This is as "liberal" as it gets, and the position of the Swedish Church is an exception rather than norm.

Now, did I manage to muddy the waters even more?

Personally, I think tax-payers should have the same rights and same responsibilities when it comes to these legal money matters and the benefits of being recognised as a "married couple" -- tax breaks, inheritance issues and such -- regardless of the tax-payer's sex life or lack thereof. We do not penalize adulterers and deny them the right to, say, inherit their spouse, keep the home they shared etc. on account that they fornicated.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1691

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad that gays can get the same protection as the traditional marriage but I'm not entirely happy with the ways it was done in California. Basically, the Court there overruled the will of people who voted against the gay marriage in the referendum. This might lead to all sorts of unhealthy precedents that I wouldn't like to think about.
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