Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE COMPANY WE KEEP....The International Lesbian and Gay Association recently applied to join the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The following countries voted to consider their application:

Chile, France, Germany, Peru, Romania

The following countries voted to dismiss the application without even giving it a hearing:

Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Zimbabwe

Guess which of these two fine groups of countries the Bush/Cheney administration voted with?

Via Cathy Young.

Kevin Drum 2:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (100)

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Comments

I'm sure the libertarians will explain why it is good.

Sell their souls for a tax cut. Don't care about economy, or market being flat / down. They are just blinded by the idea of tax cut. Tiny little brains can only handle so much.

Posted by: Evil Liberal on January 25, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Might not be as clear-cut as one thinks. I think I remember a controversy surrounding this organization and their position on age of consent laws. If this controversy has not been resolved, I'm pretty sure that I would side with Cameroon, too. I'm just not a fan of the type of inter-generational relationships that these folks previously found acceptable.

Posted by: bink from daily kos on January 25, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I am petitioning the United Nations to join as the international heterosexual & straigh Alliance.
Are numbers are HUGE...we represents the overwelming bulk of the worlds population...

And we need a voice on the economic and social council at the U.N.

We have been silenced long enough!!!!!
Viva the Hetro!!!!!

Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, Evil Liberal, I'll bite: exactly what do libertarians have to do with US voting patterns on UN issues?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Even though our action on this matter mirrors that taken by these unsavory regimes, it's unfair to make any comparison with these other countries. The United States of America is good, and so whatever it does is good as well.

Posted by: shortstop on January 25, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

bink:

Can you back that up with any hard links or any other source? A quick multi-parameter search of that organization's site shows nothing on that subject that I could find.

For the record, I don't think this is the most important thing going on at the U.N. right now, but most of the rest of it is somehow avoiding the headlines.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 25, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

bink,

I'm not sure I can follow the leap from age-of-consent laws to intergenerational relationships? Can you help me out here?

For example, many looney Libertarians are hoping to make a fortune and then import a hot young Russian bride of, say, 21 years old. Would that be legal?

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Look Kids
Itthe United NATIONS

The the International Tribunal of Sexual Proclivities (that would ne ITSP)

If you want the U.N. to be considered a serious organization than youll want it to avboid identity politics, sexual politics, and stop it from stealing money from starving Iraq's.


Instead ...maybe it should ... well... be an international forum for setteling diplomatic disputes?

Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Our nation is fortunate to have a man of the caliber of John Bolton at the helm of our United Nations embassy. With his unique perspective on the dangers sexual deviance presents the body politic, I am confident that the decision to dismiss ILGA's application was made after careful consideration and due diligence.

Posted by: TLaemmle on January 25, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Until you can learn to write a simple sentence without making three or four spelling/grammatical errors, Fitz, why don't you just sit down and shut the fuck up.

You're one of those morons who can't understand why there isn't a White History Month.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

There is no "white History Month" because "white" as apposed to black (in this country) fails to make up a homogenous group with a common history and shared identity.. (i.e. , spanish, Irish, German Ect.)European American would not suffice...to balkinized.

Black on the other hand (or African American) makes perfect sense (but only in this country) If one were to go to Africa and attempt to find a "black" identity, one would encounter a tribal and nationalistic identities in a way not present in the united states.

I am aware of no "black" identity movement in the United Nation (if so should their also be a Asian, and White, or brown ect)

Homosexuality...on the other hand...strikes me as a down right silly ass thing for the U.N. to be wasting its time on.

Did not Iran just reconstitute is nuclear program?


Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

We have such great company in a lot of other things as well.

If I remember right per capita incarceration rates in US match China's.

Of course, all civilized countries except USA have rid themselves of the barbaric practice of death penalty.

Posted by: nut on January 25, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

All that matters is we're not in the same group as France.

/wingnuts

Posted by: lucidity on January 25, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

We used to care about human rights.

Spelling and grammar, too.

Sentence fragments - not so much.

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

That's not surprising at all. At all population conferences where issues regarding womens reproductive rights come up for a vote the US delegation (under Bush) consistently votes along with Tehran and the Vatican.

Bush Co: "Bringing you back to the 19th century since 2001."

Posted by: Mitch on January 25, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp & Mitch

Speaking of human rights (& countries that are civilized or not)

Who is on the U.N. Human Rights Commision?
Who leads it?

Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

This whole thing with ILGA is part of an ongoing saga. The Clinton administration was at loggerheads with ILGA as well.

Age of consent laws have been a target of ILGA in the past. Google ILGA and NAMBLA and you will find documentation.

Seeking the elimination of age of consent laws is or ought to be radioactive politically in the context and aftermath of countless cases of pedophilia making the front pages.

Dems advocate for ILGA and NAMBLA at their own risk.

It makes better sense politically to fight homophobia by word and example and at the same time disassociate oneself from the extreme proposals of organizations like ILGA and NAMBLA.

Posted by: JohnFH on January 25, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

Like I said, we used to care about human rights.

So I'm not sure if you are agreeing with me or just trying to score some debate points by being a contrarian.

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

ILGA does more than that.
By politcizing human sexuality it diminishes both Human & Civil rights.

The overwellming bulk of traditional societies (like those that voted against this messure) as well as world religious traditions and huge amounts af westerners and Americans (note the sucesss of gay marriage)
Dint want the homosexual agenda forced on them by international treaty of beuacracy.

They dont want it taught to there children in schools or equated with foundational social institutions like marriage.


If we are talking about aggresive laws, or droconian punishments thats one thing.

But beyond age of consent laws, groups like the ILGA present a uncompromising advocacy for androgenous, unrestrained sexuality and the decay of public morality.

Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp..

I think we agree, Its the term "human rights" thats been to politicized and loosely defined.
Things like hapeus corpus, independent courts, the rule of law, suffrage for all,
Torture,ect. have always made up the bulk of human rights agenda.

Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to believe that Tbrosz actually gives a fuck, but what bink wrote is not only true, but worse than he stated. I'm not going to provide links because I'm too lame to do HTML, but if you google ILGA and NAMBLA, you will get the info you need.

Here is the condensed version. In 1993, the ILGA was on the council that they are attempting to rejoin, and NAMBLA was a member of the ILGA. The UN suspended them and they were told that they could not rejoin the council unless they severed ties with any and all pedophile groups. In 1994 they overwhelmingly voted to expel NAMBLA and two other groups.

The ILGA has tried unsuccessfully to be reinstated several times since then. The UN has asked for documentation that they are no longer affiliated with pedophile groups, and they have refused to turn over their membership roster to the UN.

Given their history, I do not think it is unreasonable for the UN to ask for this documentation. It is within their rights to refuse, of course, but then they ought not to act like a victim.

Kevin Drum and Cathy Young ought to do a little research before launching a cheap partisan attack. God knows the Bushies do enough to earn our scorn. We don't need to be attacking them for something they may get right.

Posted by: SteveK on January 25, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

..."In the summer of 1993 the ILGA gained consultative status on the UN Economic and Social Council....However, that status was suspended in 1994 after a campaign led by Jesse Helms focussing on NAMBLA's membership of ILGA. ILGA members voted 214-30 to expel three pedophile groups but despite this was not able to convince the UN that it had no member organisations that promoted pedophilia"...

...."opponents blocked ILGA's attempt to regain consultative status because the association had not provided UN officials with a list of its member organizations....ILGA justified keeping its membership secret on the grounds that, in many countries, homosexual activity is still criminalised and such a list would identify its groups and put them in danger"....

http://www.answers.com/topic/international-lesbian-and-gay-association

Posted by: luci on January 25, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Guys, the vote was just to consider their application. We voted to not even give them a hearing.

Posted by: Steve Brady on January 25, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

unrestrained sexuality and the decay of public morality.

Good luck fighting that, my Son. God made us with a huge sex drive. That's how we climbed to the top of the food chain. So now you are saying we need to restrain our most fundamental attribute?

We must protect the weak and vulnerable but if you try to clamp down more than that you'll simply get obsession.

Reppression leads to obsession.

Are you obsessed, Fitz?

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Until last March, countries that executed minors:

United States
Congo
Iran
China
Pakistan

Posted by: Steve Brady on January 25, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Yess Tripp ...sexuall restraint.
Through something called a sexuall ethic.
Every civilzation has one...they are typically centered around the institution of marriage.
This is designed to give children intact families with their natural parents providing and nurturing for them.

Its all very well documented...
Its exactly that "huge sex drive" that you speak of that needs to be restrained and channeled into productive healthy relationships (especially in males)

I find certain groups on the cultural left (including the ILGA) to be against the formation and imposition of a culture of sexual restraint that promotes the natural family.
And yes--- I am obsessed with that.

Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Who is in the closet?

Posted by: parrot on January 25, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

But all my Porn is of women?

Posted by: Fitz on January 25, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I find certain groups on the cultural left (including the ILGA) to be against the formation and imposition of a culture of sexual restraint that promotes the natural family.
And yes--- I am obsessed with that.

Please identify some of these groups, and what it is they advocate that has you up in arms.

Riddle me this, Fitz: if heterosexual behavior were stigmatized and all but illegal, and heterosexual couples were forbidden to marry, how much "sexual restraint" among heterosexuals would there be?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on January 25, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

The UN has asked for documentation that they are no longer affiliated with pedophile groups, and they have refused to turn over their membership roster to the UN.

The UN should ask Bolton to talk to the NSA. I'm sure they have the roster filed away somewhere, along with the transcripts of the bugged Security Council discussions before the Iraq invasion.

Posted by: ahem on January 25, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

I find certain groups on the cultural left (including the ILGA) to be against the formation and imposition of a culture of sexual restraint that promotes the natural family.
And yes--- I am obsessed with that.

Thank you for your response. I am curious to know why you are obsessed with that.

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Its exactly that "huge sex drive" that you speak of that needs to be restrained and channeled into productive healthy relationships (especially in males)"

Which is why you support gay marriage, so they can channel their drives into loving and healthy relationships.... right?

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I am curious to know why you are obsessed with that.
I'd like to provide my take, and I'll be serious here since I'm horning in.

The traditional family provides 2 things: offspring, and a stable environment that promotes more offspring. Now offspring can be derived in other ways, and other environments can be offered. But the traditional family is the only one that provides both offspring, and the environment to promote itself; it is self-perpetuating.

This makes the traditional family important to the continuation of society.

Obviously there are lots of other issues involved here. The ongoing degradation of traditional marriage, equality issues, technology issues, morality and legislating morality issues, etc.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Awww geez, nut, that is just ignorance talking.

There are plenty of other configurations that provide both offspring, and the environment to promote itself;

Do I need to supply examples? Sheesh.

If all we cared about was offspring and the environment to promote itself we'd have to allow all sorts of weird ass marriages, and I know you don't support that, do you?

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

There are plenty of other configurations that provide
Sure, it could be done. But it remains that the traditional family is the quick, clean way (as it were) to the continuation of society. Why else do you suppose it became dominant?

I'm not pounding live-in partners, or homosexuality, or free love, or anything else. Certainly live-in partners are not a new thing, adultery is not a new thing, bastard children are not a new thing, homosexuality is not a new thing. But despite all that, traditional marriage has been the vehicle for continuing society; and remember evolution, it evolved into that position by being the best alternative.

And maybe I wasn't clear, I'm not here arguing that only traditional marriage should be allowed; I am only here to point out its strong point: the continuation of society.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
I'm thrilled to see you make a derogatory comment about Cuba! I've always been told it's ok to jail and beat people if you have universal health care.

Posted by: Chris on January 25, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Are you obsessed, Fitz?

Judging from how Fitz is typing, I'd say falling-down-drunk was a more accurate description.

Posted by: SED on January 25, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut, what is this "traditional family" of which you speak? Is it polygamy (usually more specifically polygyny), which has probably been the norm for most of human existence? Is it a man and his property (wife), which was the norm until historically quite recently? Or, by "traditional family", do you mean a family formed by the voluntary marriage of no more than one man and one woman at a time, ideally for romantic attachment, which is a fairly recent innovation in the history of families?

(BTW, I know you already said you aren't knocking any other arrangement- kudos on that. I'm just pointing out that what people think of as a traditional family is really a fairly new and revolutionary thing, historically speaking.)

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

MJ
Well, the polygamy question is interesting; but the wife as property really isn't. Consider the June Cleaver wife of the 50's, she really wasn't that far removed from property. So a wife as fully functional partner is so new as to be disregardable for this discussion. It would be a very important part of a discussion involving the "repair" of traditional marriage, I believe.

But the polygamy thing... while it has already occurred to me, I really haven't thought that through. Another consideration is that portions of history (think Henry VIII) have largely had monogamy thrust upon them by the church (or whatever instrument of morality).

But my initial thought is this: polygamy carries the same argument here as traditional marriages; making it for this purpose, a traditional marriage.

And how widespread is/was polygamy? I read that the Greeks were into boys early in life, then settled into a relation with a single female. This would have passed to the Romans (with obvious caveats) and hence to south Europe. I don't remember on my reading of Celts and Saxons what they followed (if it was even specified in my material). Middle East was obviously an area of polygamy, and I have no clue about the far east. American Indians are also not fully known to me, but I believe they followed both practices, South/Central America are not known to me. But it almost seems that polygamy/monogamy were parallel developments, which would support both being (for this argument) traditional marriages. If it turns out that polygamy was the norm, the supplanted by monogamy, then we have an evolutionary thing going; which may change the answer.

Anyway, I need to mull this over for a while (and study up on the history of polygamy).

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

But what about the Catholic Priests what will they do? Without little boys to have sex with they might call Jerry Falwell and get his discret prostitute list.

Posted by: pssst on January 25, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

If I remember right per capita incarceration rates in US match China's.

The rates are actually six times higher in the US. China's per capita incarceration rate isn't particularly high; IIRC on par with the UK. But then they probably don't count their political prisoners.

Posted by: MartinE on January 25, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

How many of you Catholics go to church on Sunday and wonder if your Priest is gay?

Posted by: pssst on January 25, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

cn, here is a little factoid I ran into on wikipedia, on the sociobiology of polygamy:

"Considered in relation to other primates, humans are moderately sexually dimorphic. A typical social group would be expected to consist of a male bonded to about three females. In reality, humans show much more flexibility in mating systems than many other animal species and almost every possible kind of mating system exists in some society. However, the prevalence of polygamy in human societies combined with the biological evidence suggests that it may be the most prevalent primitive form."

You might also look at Tibet, where the landholding and noble castes often practiced polyandry- all the brothers of a household would marry a single woman, and all children born into the marriage were considered legitimate. This was done to keep from splitting family estates below a critical necessary size; given the relatively harsh conditions of Tibet, it may also have helped keep population manageable.

Since my fiancee is Thai, I've been reading up a lot on their culture, and was surprised to find polygamy there was only abolished in 1935, due to Western pressures to "modernise". Many successful Thai men keep a 'mia noi', which translates roughly as "mistress" but actually is closer to "minor wife"- analogous to the earlier polygamous arrangements. Quite a few of the women are active in helping select an appropriate mia noi for their husband.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

But despite all that, traditional marriage has been the vehicle for continuing society; and remember evolution, it evolved into that position by being the best alternative.

The fact that the current divorce rate is over 60% would seem to indicate that exactly the opposite is true: evolution has predisposed people to want multiple partners, and marriage is just an unnatural means to try and prevent that.

It's pretty clear that the history of marriage that it has had much more to do with property rights, inheritance, and the subjugation of women than some kind of moral foundation that has kept western culture from crumbling.

That's not to say that there can't be great marriages and that they can't contribute wonderful things to culture. Rather, it's just to say that the form of one man and one woman together forever is not the necessary model for society to continue to flourish.

Posted by: trex on January 25, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

You might also look at Tibet...
That first reads like the development of a completely different type of "traditional marriage".

I am going to quit for the evening, but I'll leave with this thought: No matter how many wives primitive man was subject to, and what forms we went through to get to where we are, a traditional marriage is what we have settled on to continue society. And in our society that traditional marriage is one man, and one woman, with the man being dominant.

And I'll make one more observation, the disruption of that model in our society (the man being dominant part) has caused a considerable breakdown in our traditional marriage. Now I have no doubt that we'll settle on something to continue society with, but we have messed up something that worked for Europeans and their ancestors for the last 3000 years.

That'll bring the feminists out of the woodwork, but y'all can chill. I don't think wives as co-equal partners is a bad thing, its just something we'll have to get used to; and I don't think we've adjusted yet (as evidenced by the continuing abysmal divorce rates). Or we could adopt something entirely different, how's that Tibet model look to ya? I'll bid for the Thai model, myself.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops, quit making interesting comments until I get out of here
It's pretty clear that the history of marriage that it has had much more to do with property rights
I would think this would be especially true in polygamy. But remember the Greeks settled on this, and given their other proclivities there must be something to it.

Your 60% divorce rate was covered above.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 25, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut wrote: And in our society that traditional marriage is one man, and one woman, with the man being dominant.

Maybe in your society of brain-dead rightwing neo-brownshirt morons.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 25, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

You know, conspiracy nut, you should stick to posting "moonbat moonbat lefty moonbat Dan Rather Al Bore moonbat lefty Michael Moore moonbat".

When you try to write something "serious" you reveal yourself to be even more stupid and ignorant than was previously apparent.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 25, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Or we could adopt something entirely different, how's that Tibet model look to ya?

Loosely speaking, Sweden tends to be about ten years ahead of the U.S. in general cultural trends. I remember reading a book by a well-known futurist whose name escapes me at the moment who pointed to the Swedish model as the one that is naturally emerging in the U.S.

From what I remember, the author claimed that in Sweden those who marry are tending toward having three marriages in their life: a first marriage at a young age based on romantic love, a second marriage in middle-age to raise kids, and a third marriage in the silver years to someone to grow old with.

For whatever that is worth.

Posted by: trex on January 25, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

comnspiracy nut: Consider the June Cleaver wife of the 50's, she really wasn't that far removed from property.

Thanks for offering that profound sociological insight gleaned from old TV sitcom stereotypes.

It's probably an improvement over the right wing websites where you get most of your cartoon comic book "information".

Moron.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 25, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Guess which of these two fine groups of countries the Bush/Cheney administration voted with?

Kevin Drum 2:37 PM Permalink | TrackBack (0) | Comments (50)

He's trying not to provoke the Muslim world, Kevin.

Posted by: McA on January 25, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

I guess I get to defend conspiracy nut here.

"And I'll make one more observation, the disruption of that model in our society (the man being dominant part) has caused a considerable breakdown in our traditional marriage."

I think this is probably right- and not really a bad thing. There are an awful lot of men who still seem to expect to be the dominant partner in a relationship, and when they get paired with a woman who is not keen on that idea, divorce will be the most likely result. It's not a uniquely American thing either- the same thing has started to happen in parts of Asia, now that women are starting to expect something more like a co-equal partnership. Eventually, everyone will adjust and the situation will reach a new equilibrium. But that is not the case yet.

Now, as for the "messed up a 3000 year institution" part, that is way off- marriage has changed and evolved in many forms and fashions over that time span, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a thought for liberal dogma:

Who's more equal.

The 45 year old divorced American professional considering plastic surgery and one night stands to keep her busy and getting a part share of a kids.

Or the married 45 year old Asian woman, who has to put up with a non-PC man, but one that doesn't believe in divorce or playing around.

I've always felt that, given the ability of men to pick up younger women, easy divorce favored men rather than women.

------------

So now you are saying we need to restrain our most fundamental attribute?

Posted by: Tripp on January 25, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Given that most of human evolution was pre-civilization. Our most fundamental attribute of probably inter-tribal warfare, rape and xenophobia.

I'm all for restraint.

Cannibalism only ended in parts of Indonesia last century. I saw this documentary where a really old tribal grandfather was showing off his colleciton of skulls, and saying 'we only got to do stuff like that in the old days'. the Western interviewer didn't pick this up but I could swear his tone was regretful.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

the author claimed that in Sweden those who marry are tending toward having three marriages in their life: a first marriage at a young age based on romantic love, a second marriage in middle-age to raise kids, and a third marriage in the silver years to someone to grow old with.

Posted by: trex on January 25, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

And in almost all of those cases the third marriage would be older man, much younger wife?

--------------

marriage has changed and evolved in many forms and fashions over that time span, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 25, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

How about marriages with a built in expiry date? No alimony rights and a fixed fee payment on signing. Y'know like prostitution but
legal.

Wouldn't want to discriminate the commitment-phobe but horny?

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

>I've always felt that...easy divorce favored men rather than women.

Women initiate about 2/3 of divorce proceedings. You know, its amazing how often you get this stuff just plain wrong.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 26, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

"I've always been told it's ok to jail and beat people if you have universal health care."

Glad I didn't go to school where you did. It's funny, because a lot of us have been told that if a country with universal health care beats people and squelches dissent, it must be the fault of the health care. Me, I blame the high literacy rate and low infant mortality.

Posted by: Kenji on January 26, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

Women initiate about 2/3 of divorce proceedings.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on January 26, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

But once the liberal message that "whatever makes you happy is OK", men have more affairs - triggering more divorce. After all, they were "born slutty" and God made them just the way they are.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

Beware of using the word "traditional.": Whether traditional marriage, traditional family, traditional Christmas, or traditional Thanksgiving, there are diverse traditions to choose from. Do not assume the reader shares your traditions!

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on January 26, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

Do not assume the reader shares your traditions!

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on January 26, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

Sure but that inlcudes the liberal american tradition on what marriage should be.

But there is no historical basis for male-male marriages anywhere/anytime. While there's plenty for polygamy and 14 year olds marrying 14 year olds without parental permission.
So if marriage isn't relying on the Christian tradition (blame European colonization) anymore, polygamy and a low age of consent would be the first logical change.

I'd say Islamic marriages (4 wives, low alimony when the male divorces the female, low age of consent) deserves to precede gay marriage if non-discrimination is the role.

1. Religious minorities are clearly protected

2. Clearly a discriminated minority in America

3. 500 year history

4. Viable as a law and tested in many countries around the world

Once you start playing with marriage, what basis do you have for denying anything? Every argument for male-male marriage supports polygamy.

The Netherlands has had its first legal polygamy (civil union of three partners).

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/301

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

McA on January 26, 2006 at 6:48 AM |

Once you start playing with marriage, what basis do you have for denying anything? Every argument for male-male marriage supports polygamy.

Another ignorant comment from this troll. The arguments that there is a rational basis for prohibiting polygamy were considered and rejected by the US SupCt opinion in Reynolds vs. US in 1879. Do a google search. There are no SupCt decisions at the state level suggesting that there is a rational basis for prohibiting same-sex marriage. There have been no cases taken up to the US SupCt.

Posted by: raj on January 26, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

McA on January 26, 2006 at 6:48 AM |

The Netherlands has had its first legal polygamy (civil union of three partners).

Stop being a jackass. The notary in the Netherlands only wrote a private contract. There is no polygamy involved.

Some of actually know what's going on over there.

Posted by: raj on January 26, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp and MJ, if you show back up
I think I am now ready to address the concern over traditional marriage that some people have. This latest change has caused a disruption in traditional marriage, and therefore a disruption in continuing society*. Hence the concern.

Now personally, I think the concern is misplaced. Women are certainly equal and should be treated as such. Which demands a change in our male dominant traditional marriage. And disruption can be expected, and is preferable to hanging on to bad concepts.

Now, as for the "messed up a 3000 year institution" part, that is way off
Why? The Greeks used a one dominant man, one woman marriage, and that extended through our European heritage until very recently. And our society, while mixed, is still European heritage. There has no doubt been a change in how dominant the man is, but that change affects more things outside the marriage than it does within the marriage. e.g. The change from arranged marriages to agreed marriages had dominant men in the marriage both ways, the primary impact was on the parents of the happy couple.

The change to marriage as a mechanism to continue society was minimal.

* No claim of serious disruption, no claim that it is tied to declining birth rate, and no claim of measurable effect. Come to think of it, no claim of accuracy. Think of it like this, if one of your tires has low air pressure, your handling is affected; it may not be affected enough to matter in any way, but it is affected.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

This minor disruption to marriage is visible and discernable phenomena.
It began 30-40 years ago with something loosely called the sexual revolution

Catapulted by cheap reliable (female controllable) birth control.
The sexual revolution separated sex & marriage from child birth.
The divorce revolution (aided by no fault divorce) maid stable lifelong relations uncertain and untenable.
The feminist revolution made the devision of labor within marriage uncertain.
The combined effect of such changes, within a generation cause3d massive (say we say ) disruption.

50%+ divorce rates,
70% illegitimacy rates among the underclass (and all the verifiable crime, drugs & social pathologies associated with fatherless homes)
Sky rocketing teen pregnancy, abortion, STDs ect.
Women & children bear the brunt of it being never more likely to live in poverty

The net demographic effect extend from the U.S., Europe & Japan.
With lifelong marriage less reliable, sex more attainable, and women more independent people delay marriage and are put into a position of having to have less children. (maybe one designer kid at 39 or none whatsoever)
Europe is depopulating at such a rate that new immigration is necessary to service the increasingly aging population.
All this is happening in a narrow generational timeline (precluding any successful integration)
These are demographic changes unparalleled since the bubonic plague.

A society that does not reproduce itself, is literally, a dying society.
Demographics is destiny.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

But it remains that the traditional family is the quick, clean way (as it were) to the continuation of society. Why else do you suppose it became dominant?

Nut,

It became dominant because rebelious youth wouldn't listen to their elders. Marriage for romantic love became popular about 150 years ago and at the time supporters of what was then the "traditional" marriage warned of exactly the problems we see today.

Love fades and people want a divorce. People fall in love with 'inappropriate' partners - people of other races, classes, and maybe even the same gender!

Your so-called "traditional marriage" has been an experiment in social engineering that has problems.

I say address the problems instead of ignoring them or papering over them or scapegoating gays.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Raj

The Polygamist marriage in the Netherlands was an actual marriage between a existing couple with the addition civil union of a third female. (encompassing most of the same rights a traditional marriage)

Raj - There are no supreme court decisions at the state of federal level? (im not sure) (yet)
Here is one lower court ruling
MARRIAGE WIN IN NEW YORK COURT
Hernandez v. Robles, 2005 NY Slip Op. 09436 (NY App. Div., First Dept., Dec. 8, 2005)
"Marriage, defined as the union between one man and one woman, is based upon important public policy considerations and has been recognized as a fundamental constitutional right . . .
Marriage promotes sharing of resources between men, women and the children that they procreate; provides a basis for the legal and factual assumption that a man is the father of his wife's child via the legal presumption of paternity plus the marital expectations of monogamy and fidelity; and creates and develops a relationship between parents and child based on real, everyday ties. It is based on the presumption that the optimal situation for child rearing is having both biological parents present in a committed, socially esteemed relationship (Reno v Flores, 507 US 292, 310 [1993] [marriage allows the state to express a preference for biological parents "whom our society . . . (has) always presumed to be the preferred and primary custodians of their minor children"]). The law assumes that a marriage will produce children and affords benefits based on that assumption. It sets up heterosexual marriage as the cultural, social and legal ideal in an effort to discourage unmarried childbearing and to encourage sufficient marital childbearing to sustain the population and society; the entire society, even those who do not marry, depend on a healthy marriage culture for this latter, critical, but presently undervalued, benefit. Marriage laws are not primarily about adult needs for official recognition and support, but about the well-being of children and society, and such preference constitutes a rational policy decision. Thus, society and government have reasonable, important interests in encouraging heterosexual couples to accept the recognition and regulation of marriage.

SIMPLE- TIMELESS - POPULAR - CRUCIAL
foundational civilizational tenet!!!!!!

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

A society that does not reproduce itself, is literally, a dying society.

Au contrere, mon frere. A society that does not adapt to current conditions will die. You cannot advance to the past. You must advance to the future or die.

I agree there are problems today. I disagree that rolling the clock back 50 years will fix the problem. Neither will rolling the clock back 150 years.

You cannot put the genie back in the bottle. You cannot undo birth control. You cannot undo marriage for love. You cannot erase the sex drive.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp
You wrote - Au contrere, mon frere. A society that does not adapt to current conditions will die. You cannot advance to the past. You must advance to the future or die.
Fitz says - I am not suggesting we advance to the past I am suggesting we observe those social and philsophical norms of the past and borrow what is best and utilitarian about them.
Your entire comment is premised on advancement being exclusive to the future, and exclusively defined by you.
I certainly think preserving what we have at the present is something we can do- all change (or even most) is not necessarily an advance.
You wrote- I agree there are problems today. I disagree that rolling the clock back 50 years will fix the problem. Neither will rolling the clock back 150 years.
Fitz says - I dont know what rolling back the clock (as you say) means Its so clich , I have a actually clock, I could roll that back- the problem with terms like evolution is that it presupposes some sort of social advance. What of devolution- that may be what has occurred over the last 50 years or even (as you say) 150.
You Wrote - You cannot put the genie back in the bottle. You cannot undo birth control. You cannot undo marriage for love. You cannot erase the sex drive.
Fitz says- I never claimed you could do any of these things (nor would I) What you can do (and we should) is promote sexual restraint, monogamy, fidelity and traditional marriage.
We should discourage; infidelity, promiscuousness, polygamy & other regressive forms of social relationships and child rearing.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

TIMELESS

This is the fatal flaw to any never-changing set of laws.

Like it or not reality changes. Technology marches on. Resources are consumed. Population changes.

If you accept Christ then you know that even God changed, and revealed these changes through Christ.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Your so-called "traditional marriage" has been an experiment in social engineering that has problems.
It has worked for 3000 years, across time, and across societies. Pretty good failure in my mind.

But my main goal has been to explain why people like Fitz are concerned with maintaining "traditional marriage". I hope you can see some reasoning behind it, even if you don't agree with it.

Because as I've indicated, I don't agree with all of it. I don't believe that one dominant man and one woman is the only acceptable form of marriage as a vehicle to continue society, and I don't object to our recent degradation of "traditional marriage" because I believe it is being done for sound reasons. Change is called for.

Fitz
The decline in birth rates may correlate with the decline in marriage, but that does not indicate causation. It is more likely that the decline in birth rates is due to a change in lifestyle.

No longer being an agrarian society, requiring children to do the work on the farm, we no longer require large families. Also, we have largely populated our available area. There is no more West for those extra kids to move to. And finally, people increasingly seem to want not to be tied to raising children. The latter may be objectionable to you, but the first 2 are beyond anyone's control.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

You yourself use words like "traditional marriage" and "regressive forms."

Let me put it bluntly - I am willing to discuss the needs of our society as it is today but I am not willing to concede that certain religions get to decide what is an 'advance' and what is a 'regression.'

For example, to take the hottest issue today, besides any religious judgement what is the problem with allowing the marriage of two gay adults?

I have heard the statement that it weakens the traditional marriage.

I can't see how it does this, and I also don't accept the assumption that anything 'traditional' is 'good' simply because it is tradition.

So can you tell me, in utilitarian and non-religious terms how allowing gay marriage will hurt my society?

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Conspiracy of nuts

I would put the drop of of children (to non-replacment levels) in the 1960's. (and what I discussed above.. I believe this does correlate and is causal.
The industrail revoultion did reduce birth rates but not to suicidal levels.
( i believe all these trends are managable if we assert certain virtues soon and often)


Tripp
I have nothing necessarily against "change" - I think change is often good.
Recently the teen pregnancy rate is down- thats cahnge & its good.
More colledge educated women are chosing to forgo career and considerable financial gain to raise children , thats a change..
The divorce rate has had a recent tick downwards, thats change...I I like it.

Yes you are right -- Like it or not things change. (I just like it when things change for the better.
Like recently tradtionalists have been geeting there voices heard more frequently
thats change..
Or how bout change on the Supreme Court

Yes...like it or not, change happens


Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp (You asked) """So can you tell me, in utilitarian and non-religious terms how allowing gay marriage will hurt my society? """

Answer: By reinforcing the idea that all family forms are inherently equal.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

utilitarian and non-religious terms how allowing gay marriage will hurt my society?

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

It'll enrage a horde of people to stack the supreme court and tear down your secular society the moment the first gay married child molests an adopted child ...which as a matter of statistics
will happen (unless they are remarkably different from the average male).

Polygamy and group marriages will follow if that doesn't do it.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

I have no problem with getting voices heard.

What frustrates me is that when I hear the voice and then ask a question I don't get an answer, or simply a repeat of the statement.

For example, let's take the assumption that divorce is bad. I can see how divorce can be bad for children or for one spouse of the other, but I can also see cases where divorce is good.

And for the cases where I agree that divorce is bad I cannot see how 'making divorce harder' fixes the problem.

My general view is that positive reinforcement for desired behaviour is much more effective then negative reinforcement for undesired behaviour.

Much of the 'religious right' rhetoric strikes me as negative reinforcement instead of positive reinforcement.

If you want to strengthen marriage then focus on strengthening marriage instead of scapegoating gays.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I believe this does correlate and is causal.
I don't buy the causation. Two people get married, they have kids, they get divorced. Divorce rate is up, but they still had kids.

The decision to marry, the decision to divorce, and the decision to have kids are all driven by different things.

I think the best you could claim would be that a "Me First!" attitude drives both the decision to divorce and the decision to not have kids. But then you're stuck trying to prove the "Me First!" as a cause for both. And further, you're then left chasing the wrong problem, where the root cause is not a change in marriage but a change in attitudes.

Now I'm a good conservative boy, and I think our divorce rate is a scourge on society. The conservative in me wants to fix marriage because it has worked so well for so long, but the realist in me knows that is going to take a reasonable attitude and a focus on what needs done today; not a focus on what worked in a different age.

Understand the past, don't cling to it.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

also don't accept the assumption that anything 'traditional' is 'good' simply because it is tradition.

So can you tell me, in utilitarian and non-religious terms how allowing gay marriage will hurt my society?

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I don't accept the assumption anything utilitarian is good for society.

Suicide for example is utilitarian. Slavery (limited to one generation) if consensual. Prostitution too. Use of cocaine. Even Indian Suttee (Execution of the widow is okay if you accept the fact that the wife rationally agreed to it when she agreed to marriage because she knew the custom)

All three are easily proven good in utilatarian philosophy if you argue the decision maker is rational and knows his own utility better than any party.

---------------

There are no SupCt decisions at the state level suggesting that there is a rational basis for prohibiting same-sex marriage. There have been no cases taken up to the US SupCt.

Posted by: raj on January 26, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

1. The Netherlands relationship is polygamy. It just happens not to use the word marriage because the civil union law doesn't use the word marriage.

The union is the same law for gay couples in Netherlands. It would be discrimination not to invite both wives to family day at work. It would be discrimination not to let them adopt at the same status as other families.

Since gay marriage in the US will be achieved by court order, it will use the marriage and polygamy will be back (along with legal gay sex with a 16 year old under marriage).

And Canada is next for poly-union.
http://kutv.com/topstories/local_story_012183013.html

2. The Supreme Court hasn't taken the case. However it or another court would have to if the ability to define marriage is subject to anti-discrimination. There are many, many minority cultures and religions who have this right.

What if a Muslim married in Malaysia with 4 wives migrated in then sued for the right for his wives ot be given wife status and residency? You are descriminating against the law at his point of origin using your family reunion law.

3. Take civil unions by law if you can. Your Christians can learn like other Christians to keep the faith when your country is not God's country. If they fought it all the way without violence, their conscience is clear.

Posted by: McA on January 26, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

By reinforcing the idea that all family forms are inherently equal.

Specifically how does this hurt society? What behaviour will be changed for the worse?

I really don't get it. I'm a hetero male Christian with four kids nearly grown. Being gay never occured to me and I always wanted to get married and have kids. Knowing about gay marriage would not have changed my desires one bit.

So who specifically will change their behaviour if we allow gay marriages? Personally I'd rather see all people in marriages and off the streets. In general having a spouse greatly improves one's future - you've got someone to depend on if you get sick and when you get old.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK


Tripp
I resent your assertion that I am "scapegoating gays"
The FACT of the matter is thet gay legal groups forced us into this confrontation - staring in Hawaii & ending in Massachusetts (and now Maryland)

We are defending an important social institution from whatever comers, (at this moment it is gays, soon it will be polymorists and polygamists; yesterday it was divorce advocates)
A more nuanced answer below to your question
(expanding on my basic premise)

TESTIMONY BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE
CONSTITUTION, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND PROPERTY RIGHTS HEARING: WHAT IS NEEDED TO
DEFEND THE BIPARTISAN DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT OF 1996?
September 4, 2003

Marriage is not just a legal construct; it is socially and culturally a
child-rearing institution, the place where having
children and creating families is actually encouraged,
rather than merely tolerated. In endorsing same-sex
marriage, law and government will thus be making a
powerful statement: our government no longer
believes children need mothers and fathers. Two
fathers or two mothers are not only just as good as a
mother and a father, they are just the same.
The government promotion of this idea will
likely have some effect even on people who are
currently married, who have been raised in a
particular culture of marriage. But this new idea of
marriage, sanctioned by law and government, will
certainly have a dramatic effect on the next
generations attitudes toward marriage, childbearing,
and the importance of mothers and fathers. If two
mothers are just the same as a mother and a father,
for example, why cant a single mother and her
mother do just as well as a married mom and dad?
The fallacy and temptation is the belief that if we
allow unisex couples to marry there will be two
kinds of marriage: gay marriage for gays and
lesbians, straight marriage for straights. In reality,
there will be one institution called marriage, and its
meaning will be dramatically different, with deep
consequences for children.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp
If you want to strengthen marriage then focus on strengthening marriage instead of scapegoating gays.
Granting the same rights to unmarried couples and gay couples as granted to hetro marriage, does weaken hetro marriage. (I didn't say destroy, I said weaken.)

It's a matter of incentive (beyond the personal incentive of the involved people). Hetro marriage is given both monetary incentives (tax breaks, etc) and non-monetary incentives (respectable, stable). And what makes this an incentive is that it is different treatment than other couples receive. If unmarried couples and gay couples are also offered these incentives, then there is no differentiation and hence no incentive for hetro marriage (once again, beyond the incentive of the people involved).

I know you're not going to buy this, because the left rejects incentives; but that is ignoring reality.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

See, this is why I get frustrated. I have explained my personal details and the reasons for my assertions. I have also politely asked questions.

I've been open and honest with you but you've stopped at my question of "So who specifically will change their behaviour if we allow gay marriages?"

Do you think the divorce rate will go up? Why? Who specifically will now decide divorce is the right option when before they would not have?

It seems that instead of answering this question you are getting huffy and repeating your initial assertions.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp
I dont suspect the divorce rate will go up (actually it will probably go down)
The rate of new marriages will decrease (as seen in Scandinavia) because, as stated all family forms will be seen as inherently equal. Traditional marriage will be viewed as outdated and actually declared a bigoted rational. Marriage will be androgyniezed and separated from any necessary connection with childbearing. It will be divorced from its historical and cultural roots and lack the validity therein. Cohabitation and out of wedlock births will rise.
Your Question {"So who specifically will change their behavior if we allow gay marriages?"}Is simplistic and nave . Your changing a cultural institution its effects will be felt throughout the entire society and over generations.
I thought the congressional testimony above went a long way to answering your confusion. The New York legal opinion lays out the importance rather well also (above)
We know from recent history (especially the black lower class) that marriage as an institution is not indestructible.
I dont feel huffy, and I dont think it will destroy, but rather further weaken and already fragile (and crucial) institution. (as stated by another poster above)
Its silly to ask me who specifically will be effectedI believe you know that no one can answer that question (not even social scientists) & thats why you ask such a ridiculous straw man.

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Nut,

It seems to me you are saying some people won't get married if it won't make them 'better' (in the eyes of society) than other people.

I can understand that point and I think it is worth discussing.

I think there are good reasons for society to encourage and recognize sexual monogamy. When kids are involved it is better for them. It makes property disputes simpler. It makes end of life easier. It also keeps horny people off the streets.

Why wouldn't society also want to encourage sexual monogamy in gays? All the same reasons apply.

Will current sexually monogamous people decide to go out and have affairs? Why, because they no longer feel 'special?' I don't buy it.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp
Here is more of that congressional testimony: this may address your concerns. Remember we are talking about do distinct concepts of marriage. The ascension of the one (or the other) necessarily diminishes the accession of other. (and one is more socially important than the other)
You decide which one you wish to promote? But you cant have it both ways.

TESTIMONY BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE
CONSTITUTION, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND PROPERTY RIGHTS HEARING: WHAT IS NEEDED TO
DEFEND THE BIPARTISAN DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT OF 1996?
September 4, 2003
"""Many advocates of gay marriage recognize the
importance of this transformation. As one advocate
for gay marriage, columnist and radio personality
Michelangelo Signorile put it in Out Magazine in
December of 1994, [F]ight for same-sex marriage
and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the
institution of marriage completely, to demand the
right to marry not as a way of adhering to societys
moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and
radically alter an archaic institution that as it now
stands keeps us down.
You may agree or disagree, but let us not fool
ourselves that this is a minor amendment to marriage
law. Why are courts contemplating a radical shift in
our most basic social institution at a time when 25
million children sleep in fatherless homes? Here is
the disturbing answer: in order to accommodate or
affirm the interests of adults in choosing alternative
family forms that they prefer.
Two ideas are in conflict here: one is that
children deserve mothers and fathers and that adults
have an obligation to at least try to conduct their
sexual lives to give children this important
protection. That is the marriage idea. The other is
that adult interests in sexual liberty are more
important than imposing or preferring any one
family form: all family forms must be treated
identically by law if adults are to be free to make
intimate choices. This is the core idea behind the
drive for same-sex marriage. And it is the core idea
that must be rejected if the marriage idea is to be
sustained."""

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz,
Thank you for sticking with me so far.

Can you see the position I am in? You admit that no one can give a single specific example of how gay marriage will change anyone's behaviour.

The most you have is a vague slippery slope fear about how its effects will be felt throughout the entire society and over generations.

If the effects affect no single person then how can they affect the entire society.

On the other hand I have heard specific points about how gay marriage will help society right now. It will encourage another group of people to become sexually monogamous.

To me it seems the benefits are immediate and the costs are vague and may even be non-existant.

So to me I think we should put our efforts into strengthening marriage by first understanding why it is that so many people get divorced and seeing what we can do about that.

You are focusing on the wrong thing.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK
Marriage is not just a legal construct; it is socially and culturally a child-rearing institution

False, socially and culturally marriage has been, and remains, principally a mechanism for arranging property, not raising children.

Traditional marriage will be viewed as outdated and actually declared a bigoted rational. Marriage will be androgyniezed and separated from any necessary connection with childbearing. It will be divorced from its historical and cultural roots and lack the validity therein.

Marriage has changed radically from its "historical and cultural roots"; the so-called "traditional marriage" that you seek to defend is relatively novel, and far more divorced from its own "historical and cultural roots" than any derivative that merely allowed people to enter matrimony without regard to their genders would be divorced from "traditional marriage".


Your changing a cultural institution its effects will be felt throughout the entire society and over generations.

The intent is for the effect -- in terms of equality of persons -- to be felt throughout the entire society and over generations. But neither you, nor the unnamed giver of that Congressional testimony, provides any rational reason to believe that the effects will include a breakdown in marriage.

We know from recent history (especially the black lower class) that marriage as an institution is not indestructible.

Marriage is, first and foremost, an economic institution which serves as a means of protecting property. Formal marriage has often been less prevalent among the less propertied classes, who are naturally more concerned with day-to-day living than the preservation of large estates of property that may be disputed, which is why from ancient times, less formal marriage without without institutional recognition except after-the-fact when disputes arose was more common among those classes.

I dont feel huffy, and I dont think it will destroy, but rather further weaken and already fragile (and crucial) institution.

Insomuch as marriage is "fragile", it is because it is no longer anywhere near as crucial to any of its historical purposes given the modern social and technical context, and people like you have consistently fought to prevent it from adapting to that context.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK
Remember we are talking about do distinct concepts of marriage. The ascension of the one (or the other) necessarily diminishes the accession of other.

This assertion is unjustified. It only makes sense if the same people are choosing between the two institutions. If the people who would seek marriage to members of the same sex are not the same people who would seek marriage to members of the opposite sex, allowing the former does nothing to "dimish the ascension" (in any sense where that bizarre phrase is meaningful) of the the latter.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp

I am not focusing on the wrong thing, you are tying to move the goal post.
It will specifically effect everyone: are entire marriage culture and all that inhabit it. Indeed, you are advocating the actual redefinition of the institution. (words mean things and ideas have consequences)
Since you brought up divorce (No fault divorce was another Non-Threat to marriage at the time & another innovation brought to us and defended by the cultural left)
But its interesting you brough it up- (because one of the tactics of the left at the time was)

What does some one else getting a divorce have to do with YOUR marriage?
(i.e. How specifically does someone elses divorce effect your marriage?)
Wellthe divorce rate went from below 10% to a high of 70% and leveled off at 50%.
Apparently as we came culturally to accept marriage as not a lifetime commitment, this cheapened the commitment of existing marriages. (Why oh why is the cultural left SUDDENLY interested in commitment, marriage, monogamy ect. talk about not buying itHell you cant sell me thisand the American people either)

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why wouldn't society also want to encourage sexual monogamy in gays?
There may be a mixing of ideas going on here. Sexual monogamy is not the same thing as incentive to marry. You have listed good reasons for encouraging sexual monogamy in all relation types, and I can see where the incentive to get married also applies as an incentive to remain married.

That leaves the sexual monogamy and the incentives, as they are applicable to remaining married, as one item. And the incentive to get married as another.

The rest of this is me kind of thinking out loud.

So if one desires to promote hetro marriage, and also to promote sexual monogamy regardless of relation type, then one would need 2 sets of incentives. One applicable only to hetro marriage, and one applicable to all relations.

And if one does not desire to promote hetro marriage, but rather to promote only sexual monogamy; the incentives were still washed away by giving them to everyone. This seems to be the sticky problem to me.

And finally, for those wishing to promote hetro marriage, promote sexual monogamy within hetro marriage, and discourage everything else; then you'd keep the existing incentives and maintain laws against other relationships.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Cmdicely
(you say)
"""False, socially and culturally marriage has been, and remains, principally a mechanism for arranging property, not raising children."""

I refute this contention, it is a totem of the left. To deflate a ancient institution into a mere legal mechanism is to rob it of its cultural, religious and social meaning.


Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Marriage is also fragile because, just as our elders warned us when we switched to this new type of marriage, romantic love is fragile.

But would we listen to those with experience who knew better?

Nope. We felt the love and we read the romance novels of the time and we impetuously jumped into the "marriage based on romantic love" model we now call traditional.

We also ignored the fact that younguns feel sexual desire and will jump into marriage if that is the only way they can satisfy the urge. The bible belt has the highest divorce rate of the nation primarily because they marry young.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp
There also used to be a dis-incentive for divorce, society frowned on that sort of thing. Kind of makes one wonder how much impact the loss of the dis-incentive has had on the divorce rate. And also the applicability of dis-incentives for ending monogamous relations of any type (especially if no incentives were given for some relation types).

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp
I am aware of the thesis of --""Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage""
by Stephanie Coontz

I am not at all impressed by the book.
Its thesis is week and it ignores how ideas and ideals of marriage were still maintained even through the romantic period.
(dont believe everything you read- or at least read more diverse authors)

Posted by: Fitz on January 26, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Marriage as a mechanism for arranging property may be applicable for those with property, but how many Middle Ages peasants got married with no property to arrange? How many wild West frontiersmen got married when there was basically no laws to order or protect any mechanism for arranging property?

I would call arranging property as being among the historical reasons for marriage, and possibly the big reason currently, but not the only reason.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 26, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz,

I'm not familiar with the author or book you cite.

I have faith but I won't debate items of faith because that is fruitless.

I am also very pragmatic and I like things to make sense to me. It seems we have a lot of common ground in terms of caring about our culture and people and we share certain values such as the concept of "goodness" and "the strong protecting the weak" and the "goodness of foresight."

At the heart of the matter I prefer to keep my ideals and morals but adapt them as new situations arise.

Posted by: Tripp on January 26, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK
Marriage as a mechanism for arranging property may be applicable for those with property, but how many Middle Ages peasants got married with no property to arrange?

As close to none as makes no difference. While they certainly did not, by definition, have anything like fee simple title to land, a "medieval peasant with no property" (or at least, one from a family with no property), wasn't particularly likely to get married -- the traditions of marriage, even for the lower classes, at that time included systems of exchanges of property. (Modern marriage differs from "traditional" marriage with the widespread abandonment of features like dowries and bride-prices and other property gifts with their sometimes complex ownership rules. No doubt these radical changes have doomed the institution, as we are told changes to such a traditional system are bound to do.)

How many wild West frontiersmen got married when there was basically no laws to order or protect any mechanism for arranging property?

Marriage doesn't exist merely as a legal institution for the protection of property; indeed, many of the traditions of marriage (banns, public ceremony, formal witnesses) are for the purpose of notifying the community for social protection of property rights (which, until recently, included the man's right to the woman as his property, another feature done away with in modern reforms to the institution) with the intent of limiting the need for recourse to force or law.

I would call arranging property as being among the historical reasons for marriage, and possibly the big reason currently, but not the only reason.

It was even more "the big reason" historically than it is currently (where expressing strong emotion and providing emotional support is far more important than historically, whereas the familial systems which led to it being an important to protector of property rights and the financial security of the spouses parents (getting your children married off properly was, in many respects, how you provided for your own support in the event of incapacity from advancing years or otherwise; for most of history, people didn't have 401K's, Medicare, and Social Security.)


Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think in modern times the primary purpose of Religious marriage is to enforce certain sexual norms, specifically sexual abstinence outside of marriage and heterosexual monogamy after marriage to the same partner for life.

Can anyone deny this? Can anyone deny that the 'traditional' marriage is not very good at bringing about either of these conditions?

Allowing gay marriage would weaken one of the prohibitions - no gay sex, but it also strengthens one of the prohibitions - no sex outside of marriage.

But religion is not about making compromises or being pragmatic. Religion is about attempting to enforce certain absolutes even when that is impossible.

So we have the tension between our religion which demands strict adherence to unchanging rules and the 'real' world which changes every day.

In many ways Christ told us how to address this conflict. Fix yourself first. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Many so-called Christians ignore these tenets. It is much easier to tell someone else what to do rather than confront ourselves.

Posted by: Tripp on January 27, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp (you wrote)
I think in modern times the primary purpose of Religious marriage is to enforce certain sexual norms, specifically sexual abstinence outside of marriage and heterosexual monogamy after marriage to the same partner for life. Can anyone deny this? Can anyone deny that the 'traditional' marriage is not very good at bringing about either of these conditions?

Yes Trip I deny this- it seems you have it backwards, the primary purpose of marriage is not to enforce certain sexual norm RATHER certain sexual norms promote and help sustain marriage.
When you talk about Modern times vs Traditional Marriage and then castigate religion and traditional values as no being up to the times you have it backwards again. RATHER. Modernity did not start in I 1968, but the sexual revolution did, the decline in traditional marriage (as you say) not bringing about these 'traditional' marriage is not very good at bringing about either of these conditions? RATHER the values and norms of the sexual revolution are NOT VERY GOOD in promoting traditional marriages. (sexual liberation, fornication, acceptance of divorce, feminist challenging of gender norms, widespread acceptance of birth control and premarital sex, promiscuousness and pornography)

I dont believe for a second that the cultural left is interested in promoting traditional marriage. Nor do I believe that they are even willing to question the values of their own sexual revolution. These changes in attitudes and norms are merely a generation old, those who promoted them are still around today. Those who still promote sexual liberation are legion among those who support same- sex marriage.
Do you not understand this or are you just being obtuse?

Posted by: Fitz on January 27, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

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