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Tilting at Windmills

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June 7, 2006

INHOFE: UNPLUGGED AND UNHINGED....If you haven't seen Sen. James Inhofe's (R-Okla.) remarks yesterday on the Senate floor about the Federal Marriage Amendment, it was quite a performance. Think Progress has a short video clip of one of the more remarkable parts of Inhofe's speech, which was delivered in front of a large picture of the senator and his family.

"As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we'll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship."

But wait; there's more. According to an unofficial transcript from the congressional record, sent to me from a reader who works on the Hill, this was hardly the only bizarre thing Inhofe had to say. For example, Inhofe sees the debate sliding quickly down a radical slippery slope.

"The homosexual marriage lobby, as well as the polygamist lobby, they share the same goal of essentially breaking down all state-regulated marriage requirements to just one, and that one is consent. In doing so, they're paving the way for illegal protection of such practices as homosexual marriage, unrestricted sexual conduct between adults and children, group marriage, incest, and, you know, if it feels good, do it."

My personal favorite came when Inhofe explained his belief that gay marriage will, for reasons he never quite explained, lead to more children being born out of wedlock. With this in mind, Inhofe believes the whole gay-marriage effort may be some kind of big-government conspiracy.

"Now, stop and think. What's going to be the results of this? The results are going to be that it's going to be a very expensive thing, all these kids, many of them are going to be ending up on welfare. So it goes far beyond just the current emotionals [sic]. I think that my colleague, Senator Sessions, said I believe yesterday, 'If there are not families to raise children, who will raise them? Who will do the responsibility? It will fall on the state.' Clearly it will be a state."

Then, just for good measure, Inhofe concluded with some scriptural interpretations for his colleagues.

"In Genesis 2:24, they said, 'Therefore man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become flesh.' Then Matthew 19 says, 'Have you not read that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female and for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and join his wife and the two shall become one flesh so they no longer will be two but one flesh.' I can assure you that these 20 kids and grandkids are very proud and very thankful that today, 47 years later, my wife and I believed in Matthew 9:14, that marriage should be between a man and a woman."

Keep in mind, of course, that these aren't the remarks of some TV preacher; Inhofe, alas, is a two-term member of the U.S. Senate.

Steve Benen 9:12 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (140)

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let's hear it for theocracy!
hip hip hooray!

Posted by: cleek on June 7, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Hah! You liberals never take responsibility for your actions. Inhofe is right and I am here to tell you how gay marriage ruined my family..

You see, a few years back, during the presidential election I believe it was, I heard that some gay dudes got married in Massachusetts. Well that was it for me and my wife of 15 years. Why stay married knowing that that was going on? Oh yeah, and I never bothered to take care of my kids again from that day forward.

Gay marriage is evil I tell you!

Posted by: The Fool on June 7, 2006 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship."

One is reminded of Gary Hart daring reporters to catch him dallying with Donna Rice...

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

It so happens I was born in Oklahoma and lived there until I was a teenager. Inhofe was already a rising politico then (mid-1970s) and he is unfortunately typical of the sort of Bible-thumping loony who has taken over the state.

Remember David Boren? He was governor of Oklahoma (conservative Democrat), later Senator. While he was governor he was unmarried, and when rumors circulated that he was, you know, a tad light in the loafers, the guy called a press conference and literally SWORE on a STACK of BIBLES that he was not a homosexual!

So, I dunno, Inhofe is pretty much par for the course down there . . .

Posted by: New Yorker, thankfully on June 7, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

The whole gay-marriage "debate" hinges on one fact: gay sex makes straight men uncomfortable and makes the closet-cases feel all tingly and jealous. So they waste ridiculous amounts of time trying to manufacture intelligent sounding excuses for their own visceral reactions.

If you want children in two-parent households, let people get married! If you want to encourage stability and family structure, let people get married!

But if letting people get married means allowing something that makes you feel icky (or tingly, in a bad way), manufacture an excuse to prevent it.

But of course, you can't say that -- and that's how we wind up with nonsense like Senator Inhofe's remarks.

Posted by: Greg VA on June 7, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

I can assure you that these 20 kids and grandkids are very proud and very thankful that today, 47 years later, my wife and I believed in Matthew 9:14, that marriage should be between a man and a woman."

Somehow, "Granpa, I'm so pleased and proud you and Grandma turned out to be heterosexual. Thanks!" just doesn't seem like something most grandchildren would say... but then, what do I know, being gay and all...

Posted by: weboy on June 7, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

The whole thing is insulting to childless heterosexual couples. Leo and I do not have children and will not be having children. Under this idiot Inhofe's formulation, our marriage is invalid and our sex, while delightful is immoral.

Also as to the usual denial of bigorty. I was raised in the deep deep south, and I can tell you, folks like Strom and Jesse, and Senators Stennis and Eastland, would be the first to tell you "I am not prejudiced, negros are different".

Posted by: molly bloom on June 7, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

There is no value to society in gay marraige. I see no reason for goverment to support a behavior that doesn't contribute to the betterment of our society.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on June 7, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

"As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we'll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship."

In the unrecorded history, however.....

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

I sure hope some reporters start digging into, "the recorded history" of his family. Let's really find out if everyone is on the straight and narrow. Maybe they'll dig up some other skeletons he didn't want to come out.

Posted by: D on June 7, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

"I see no reason for goverment to support a behavior that doesn't contribute to the betterment of our society."

Yeah we should ban ping pong and Atari, while we're at it. And picking your butt. That should be banned.

Posted by: eckersley on June 7, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah we should ban ping pong and Atari, while we're at it. And picking your butt. That should be banned.

Nice save, Eck!

Posted by: D. on June 7, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

My personal favorite came when Inhofe explained his belief that gay marriage will, for reasons he never quite explained, lead to more children being born out of wedlock.

As Jon Stewart patiently explained to Bill "Jackpot" Bennett last night, the reason 50% of marriages fail is not because they end in gayness....

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

TruthPolitick, my marriage contributes to the stability of my household, and will provide a stable and loving home for the children my partner and I will raise. The Massachusetts SJC recognized the benefits marriages confer on the children of same-sex couples when it recognized the right to equal marriage in their decision.

And for years, we've heard about the dangers of gay promiscuity to public health--and that marriage encourages and enshrines monogamy. Encouraging monogamy among same-sex couples is a public health benefit, and it is one I've seen among couples I know who have gotten married and recognize the responsibility and social expectations that go with marriage. (Gay people aren't any keener than straight people to respect "open marriages", no matter how acceptable they are among unmarried couples.)

I do find your utilitarian thinking interesting, though. Given that the government supports unequivocally destructive behaviors (the lottery, favoring certain forms of pollution, corrupt sourcing of defense hardware) why do you think that the government follows the kind of test you're describing, whether or not same-sex marriage passes it?

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

TruthPolitik, when two people agree to be jointly responsible for supporting each other and are willing to abide by the terms of a civil marriage contract, it is something society benefits from overall.

Posted by: David W. on June 7, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, it is amazing to see just how quickly a typical talking point against gay marriage gets shot down in flames these days!

Posted by: David W. on June 7, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Yeah we should ban ping pong and Atari, while we're at it. And picking your butt. That should be banned."

I see this a bit differently. We are not banning any activity but promoting an activity that is not only good for society but necessary for the preservation of the human race. Gay people would still be able to have sex after the amendment but there is no reason to ccondone and support that activity. Nature designed men and women to form families and those familes are the foundation of our society.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on June 7, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

No one wants a theocracy, cleek

well that's a damnable lie if i ever heard one. plenty of people in the US want a Christian theocracy, and if Inhofe uses the Bible as the ultimate basis for law, it's tough to argue that he shouldn't be counted among them.

tell me, would you say i was advocating Communism if i insisted that Das Kapital was the ultimate authority on government matters and used quotations from it in my defense of certain laws i favored ?

if you haven't seen my remarks on FMA, see all the threads below.

i have no time for such things. besides, we're talking about Inhofe, not you.

Posted by: cleek on June 7, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Inhofe's comments about his family are retarded. They reinforce the stereotypical view many people hold of people opposed to redefining marriage to permit gay marriages. It would be comical if not for the fact that the man is a U.S. Senator.

However, the "slippery slope" argument is not as easily dismissed as Benen presumes. True some gay marriage opponent have suggested that gay marriage would open the door to plainly illegal relationships (i.e. child brides, bestiality) which is a pretty dumb argument to make. But the concern that redefining marriage to permit gay marriage could lead to polygamy is not that far-fetched a concern.

To frame it using the pro-gay-marriage crowd's perspective, if there is no good reason why marriage should consist of one man and one woman and if gay individuals should have the right to marry whomever they choose, well then why should marriage be restricted to one person and another person? If the bottom line is that individuals should be able to legally structure their relationships as they choose and that the government has no business regulating it then why exactly is it "sliding quickly down a radical slippery slope" to suggest that additional redefinitions of marriage would likely follow the creation of gay marriage?

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Nature designed men and women to form families and those familes are the foundation of our society.

I may be a romantic, but it's clear to me that someone (call Him "Nature", if you like) designed my partner and me to form a household, and eventually a family. and to be amazing Dads some day. And to have children the same way my opposite-sex parents did--by adoption.

"Nature" certainly designed me to love and settle down with someone of the same sex.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

If the bottom line is that individuals should be able to legally structure their relationships as they choose and that the government has no business regulating it then why exactly is it "sliding quickly down a radical slippery slope" to suggest that additional redefinitions of marriage would likely follow the creation of gay marriage?

To which one can only reply, "Yeah, so what?"

Posted by: martin on June 7, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

"Now, stop and think. What's going to be the results of this? The results are going to be that it's going to be a very expensive thing, all these kids, many of them are going to be ending up on welfare. So it goes far beyond just the current emotionals [sic]. I think that my colleague, Senator Sessions, said I believe yesterday, 'If there are not families to raise children, who will raise them? Who will do the responsibility? It will fall on the state.' Clearly it will be a state."

Ironically, this could be an argument to be in support of abortion. Of course the irony would be lost on Inhofe.

Posted by: Mark` on June 7, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

In case you really haven't heard it, here's the case for how gay marriage will "somehow result in more children born out of wedlock." I don't buy this, mind you, but's not (quite) as crazy as complaining about "all the lesbians and their abortions."

The idea is that in societies where gay marriage is permitted (the Scandinavian countries are the standard example) general respect for traditional marriage declines and fewer straight couples bother to get married but nevertheless choose to have kids. The fathers supposedly abandon the relationships and the kids at an even higher rate than that found in our 50% divorce culture.

I suspect this confuses cause with effect. Scandinavia and the West in general have been moving away from traditional family structures for a long time and increased acceptance of the idea of gay marriage is one of the results of that, not a driver.

Posted by: VAMark on June 7, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw, the reasoning is that gay couples are emulating opposite-sex couples in nearly every respect, and have been doing so in large numbers for a while now. The main interface between civil marriage and rights is economy, and our economy and government is built around benefits and taxation that assume two-parent families.

Gay marriage doesn't change the framework, as far as government recognizes marriage; it just admits a small number of new couples into the existing framework, whereas now we sit out in legal limbo because some people don't like us or are uncomfortable recognizing us as equals. Polygamy would require a whole new rethinking of custody, taxes, and social benefits, and more importantly, it's not a form of household that's at all common in the U.S.

When the Census finds 600,000 polygamous households raising hundreds of thousands of children, as with same-sex couples, we may start to see a need for government to recognize this relationship. But for now, as always, government is tagging slowly behind society. (Yes, I know that most Americans are uncomfortable with same-sex marriage vote against it. The fact is simply that many of us are living our lives this way, quite openly and publicly, despite this lack of recognition and the constant roadblocks it causes.)

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Let's remember that Inhofe is the guy whose reaction to Abu Ghraib was to say he was "outraged by the outrage" over prisoner abuse

Posted by: KCinDC on June 7, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Martin -

Your response ("so what") is fine, but then one shouldn't criticize Inhofe for suggesting that redefining marriage to include gay marriage is simply the first step in multiple redefinitions of marriage.

Of course, if we do redefine marriage to include polygamy and other non-traditional arrangements then there will be all manner of implications for services currently based on marriage (i.e. health care benefits, survivor benefits, housing rules) that we haven't even begun to think about.

But your honesty is refreshing and, while I may disagree with you as the impacts of redefining marriage, it's nice that you aren't hiding behind the "it will stop with gay marriage" line.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw, for what it's worth, the right to equal marriage in Massachusetts was adjudicated primarily on the strength of the Equal Rights Amendment in the state constitution.

Yes, Phyllis Schlafely was right, after all. However, there's no discernible path from that to redefining marriage to include more than two people.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

But the concern that redefining marriage to permit gay marriage could lead to polygamy is not that far-fetched a concern. To frame it using the pro-gay-marriage crowd's perspective, if there is no good reason why marriage should consist of one man and one woman and if gay individuals should have the right to marry whomever they choose, well then why should marriage be restricted to one person and another person? If the bottom line is that individuals should be able to legally structure their relationships as they choose and that the government has no business regulating it then why exactly is it "sliding quickly down a radical slippery slope" to suggest that additional redefinitions of marriage would likely follow the creation of gay marriage?

Well, right off the top of my head there are two arguments against this. First, the slippery slope argument can just as easily be applied against straight marriages -- if we allow one man to marry one woman, what's to stop one man from marrying two women, or two women from marrying three men?

Second, gay relationships flow from a biological imperative that polygamy lacks. People are born gay -- no one is born a polygamist. The ultimate goal of gay marriage is not to "redefine marriage", it's to be able to form a loving two-parnter relationship, just like everyone else is allowed to. It's the the anti-gay bigots who've tried to frame it as an argument about "redefining marriage"; gays don't want to redefine the institution, they just want to participate in the already existing one.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Brittain33,

Our comments overlapped. Certainly I understand the argument that a stable, gay couple is (from a social benefit perspective) essentially indifferent from a stable, straight couple.

To keep the issue limited to the slippery slope though, the argument for redefining marriage (as opposed to some type civil union) is based on an individual's right to organize their private relationships as they choose. To that end, judges are overturning marriage statutes based on individual rights and not because the interest of society if two-person couples (be they straight or gay).

Frankly, from a logical or legal perspective, we are on no thicker ice for saying two-person couples are society's building block then gay marriage opponents are saying traditional couples are the building block, once we assume that the essential issue at stake is an individual's right to be with whomever they choose.

So I appreciate your comments but don't see how they would stand any better chance of safeguarding the two-parent family than traditionalists are having safeguarding the traditional family (if you'll pardon the quasi-politically incorrect terms here).

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, if we do redefine marriage to include polygamy and other non-traditional arrangements

if we do, we do. but there is absolutely no reason to think it's inevitable. we, as a society, make arbitrary choices about important things all the time.

why can't 17 year-olds vote? nothing biological, psychological or physical happens to a person on their 18th b.day that makes them smarter or more responsible than they were the day before. no, we just decided 18 is where we'll draw the line (along with many other arbitrary lines).

if a society doesn't want to allow polygamous marriage, it just won't.

and, FYI, slippery-slope arguments are typically logical fallacies.

Posted by: cleek on June 7, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

TruthPolitik, as if everyone who marries has kids or that we are hardly suffering from a shortage of human beings on the planet to the point where your concern about how allowing gays to legally marry would somehow lead to the extinction of homo sapiens. You might want to consider how many priests and nuns forego their duty to reproduce as well before basing your opposition to gay marriage on such a silly argument.

Posted by: David W. on June 7, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

"Second, gay relationships flow from a biological imperative that polygamy lacks. People are born gay -- no one is born a polygamist"

And who is to say that's true. After all, polygamy is found all over nature. Couldn't I, were I advocating polygamy, claim that you are just insensitive and uneducated about the true nature of polygamy. To rewrite your words, couldn't I claim:

The ultimate goal of polygamy is not to "redefine marriage", it's to be able to form a loving multi-parnter relationship, just like everyone else is allowed to. It's the the anti-polygamy bigots who've tried to frame it as an argument about "redefining marriage"; polygamists don't want to redefine the institution, they just want to participate in the already existing one.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

To that end, judges are overturning marriage statutes based on individual rights and not because the interest of society if two-person couples (be they straight or gay).

But that's not entirely the case, and I'll contradict what I said above about the ERA a bit in saying so. The SJC cited the great harm done to the children of same-sex couples by denying their parents the protections given to opposite-sex parents by marriage. There's a clear link between that and the benefits to society of preserving and promoting two-parent households. When one parent could see their rights vanish because the biological parent moves away, or when a schoolteacher or hospital administrator can bar a parent at the door based on their "moral values", that harms the two-parent household indirectly and the child, directly.

We can talk about individual rights but the fact of court decisions has always been that courts can't go too far away from society in that direction without triggering any number of checks and balances. Indeed, that's what has happened with gay marriage, which in many states has been trumped by state constitutional amendments. It's what will happen with the Kelo case, albeit in the other direction. It's what happened with the New Deal laws. Individual rights can provide a basis for change only if there's a plausible social hook for the courts to hang their coats on. That's what happened in Massachusetts.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Your response ("so what") is fine, but then one shouldn't criticize Inhofe for suggesting that redefining marriage to include gay marriage is simply the first step in multiple redefinitions of marriage.

But again, that's an argument that no one is really making. Gays who want to marry do not want to "redefine marriage" anymore than inter-racial couples in the past who wanted to marry wanted to "redefine it" -- they simply want to join in to the already existing institution.

Of course, if we do redefine marriage to include polygamy and other non-traditional arrangements then there will be all manner of implications for services currently based on marriage (i.e. health care benefits, survivor benefits, housing rules) that we haven't even begun to think about.

If that ever happens, then yes, but that's a mighty big if and there's nothing inevitable about it. At this point there's simply no large movement pushing for the legalization of polygamous marriages. If there ever is, if millions upon millions of Americans one day want to enter into polygamy or polygyny, then we'll think about it then -- but it simply isn't happening now.

But again, that's an argument that no one is really making. Gays who want to marry do not want to "redefine marriage" anymore than inter-racial couples in the past who wanted to marry wanted to "redefine it" -- they simply want to join in to the already existing institution.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

better chance of safeguarding the two-parent family

safeguarding against what ? nobody is proposing to outlaw 'traditional' marriage.

Posted by: cleek on June 7, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

As an Oklahoman, I can't tell you how proud I am of this performance by one of my Senators. (My other one is Tom Coburn - gosh, I'm proud all over again.)

Yep, Inhofe's a two-term Senator. And make it three: he's up for re-election this year, and he'll coast right back in. I'm not sure he even has an opponent.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 7, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with the slippery slope argument is that it could have been (and was, in fact) used to oppose inter-racial and inter-faith marriage. Was it a mistake to condone inter-racial marriage, knowing that gay marriage would the the next thing down the line? If as a supporter of gay marriage, I am forced to defend polygamy, then why shouldn't oppenets of gay marriage be forced to oppose inter-racial marriage (or admit to past opposition)?

Also: say what you want about Scandanavia, but in the US, the Bible belt states have higher out of wedlock birth rates than do the godless New England states.

Posted by: moriarty on June 7, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw, given the existence of families with step-parents today, with kids being cared for by more than just their biological mother and father, I'd say that society has managed to deal with that matter while preserving marriage as a two-person relationship. So I wouldn't spend more of your time worrying about any slippery slopes if gay couples are allowed to legally marry.

Posted by: David W. on June 7, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

But the concern that redefining marriage to permit gay marriage could lead to polygamy is not that far-fetched a concern.

Come to think of it, why isn't this a good argument for banning heterosexual marriage? After all, heterosexual marriage has already led to polygamy -- see, e.g., Islam, the Mormons, many traditional societies. Polygamy flowing out of the institution of straight marriages existed for millenia before the idea of gay marriage. The more accurate view, therefore, is to say that the concern that permitting heterosexual marriage could lead to polygamy is not that far-fetched a concern.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw, if you like, we can move this discussion back 50 years and you can defend anti-miscegenation laws against Loving v. Virginia. Look at that slippery slope.

For 2,000 years, marriage has been between one man and one woman... who belong to the same religious organization. In practice, that nearly always meant one race.

The real slippery slope starts at the institution of civil marriage, which allows ungodly and untraditional marriages between people of different religions. No one says we should challenge those untraditional marriages--because unlike with same-sex marriages, the majority of voters can picture themselves in a civil marriage, even one between a Methodist and a Baptist, and therefore don't want to foreclose the possibility.

I'm sure that if it weren't for Loving, we'd still be debating anti-miscegenation laws today, much as sodomy laws hung around long after the time that mainstream Americans stopped taking them seriously. 45% of Alabamians voted not to remove a dead anti-miscegenation statute from their constitution. And once you allow marriage between people of different races, you're opening the door to defining marriage as an issue of love and not of social stability and tradition. And what about the children of mixed-race people? Think of how terrible their lives will be.

This is the side of the argument you've chosen.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

And who is to say that's true. After all, polygamy is found all over nature. Couldn't I, were I advocating polygamy, claim that you are just insensitive and uneducated about the true nature of polygamy.

Well, no. Multi-partner groupings are found all over nature -- but "polygamy," i.e. the institution of joining one man and multiple women in marriage, that is, a socially constructed institution, is not found all over nature but is only found in human societies. Homosexuality, however, occurs in generally all human and animal species.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

TruthPolitik: Nature designed men and women to form families and those familes are the foundation of our society.

You've obviously never visited a farm. Here's a hint... nature designed us to spread as much seed as possible. Monogamy is a state/religion/morality/etc manufactured idea. There's only a handful of species that mate for life.

Posted by: tripoley on June 7, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Also: say what you want about Scandanavia, but in the US, the Bible belt states have higher out of wedlock birth rates than do the godless New England states.

As well as higher rates of divorce. Seems like the real threat to marriage comes from the religious Southern Protestants.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Hacksaw, no marriage statute was overturned in Massachusetts. There was no law on the books restricting marriage to a man and a woman, only an "understanding" on the part of executive agencies not to give licenses to same-sex couples. It's not in the state constitution nor did the legislature ever pass a law to this effect.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Nature designed men and women to form families and those familes are the foundation of our society.

Actually, Nature designed a sperm delivery system, a sperm receiving system, and a fetus incubator. Nothing in those systems relates to the formation of a family, as a family is a social construct and Nature don't do social constructs.

Posted by: Everett on June 7, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Alek. I was sort of waiting for you to weigh in on this.

-shortstop, bearing her own cross with the corrupt Daley administration

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

I have a feeling TruthPolitick scurried away from this thread once a real gay married person showed up.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Brittain33,

Well I'm certainly not going to follow you into that particular briar patch. I do think you hit the nail on the head when you earlier wrote, "Individual rights can provide a basis for change only if there's a plausible social hook for the courts to hang their coats on."

The current backlash against gay marriage is the fear that judges are overturning laws that are supported by the vast majority (and a oretty diverse cross-cut) of the people. The redefining marriage movement is therefore pretty far ahead of society. There is no groundswell pushing for gay marriage (outside of certain local areas of the country). And the current effort to redefine marriage is premised less on convincing the people of this country that this is a moral right, then it is on convincing enough members of a court that this is a legal right.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Second, gay relationships flow from a biological imperative that polygamy lacks. People are born gay -- no one is born a polygamist.

Polygamy vs. monogamy certainly is behavior that, between species, has a genetic component, and it quite likely does among humans as well.

Not that nature vs. choice really matters. The debate shouldn't be about whether urges to marry people of different races, people of the same sex, multiple people, people of different religion, etc., are good or bad, innate or chosen, and it shouldn't be about what other causes people might lobby for if a particular change is made. Those are all arguments that avoid the central question and distract from the real issue.

The debate should be over the public purposes of the civil institution of marriage and the relation of those distinctions to that purpose. In the specific case of the FMA, the debate should be about, additionally, the proper role of the federal government vs. that of the states in all that.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Nature designed a sperm delivery system, a sperm receiving system, and a fetus incubator. Nothing in those systems relates to the formation of a family, as a family is a social construct and Nature don't do social constructs.

Certainly, social behavior can be biologically driven, and is as much a product of "Nature" as anything else.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

The current backlash against gay marriage is the fear that judges are overturning laws

which laws are being overturned ?

Posted by: cleek on June 7, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

When he talks about gay marriage leading to out of wedlock children, Inhofe is probabaly riffing on that Swedish example which is one of the right's current shibboleths. Some charachter (I've forgotten his name) at the Heritage Foundation spent a few months in Europe and concluded that the reason so many hetero couples are living together without marriage is because of the example set by gay marriage.

As anyone knows who has spent any significant time in northern Europe over the last few decades, this idea is patently absurd. European couples have been increasingly living together without marriage since at least the sixties, long before gay marriage was really on the radar screen. Part of the reason is that, because of universal health care and other welfare banafits, marriage just isn't as necessary there as it is here. Of course, I guess the right would consider that another argument against the welfare state.

Posted by: Virginia Dutch on June 7, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

"Now, stop and think. What's going to be the results of this? The results are going to be that it's going to be a very expensive thing, all these kids, many of them are going to be ending up on welfare. So it goes far beyond just the current emotionals [sic]. I think that my colleague, Senator Sessions, said I believe yesterday, 'If there are not families to raise children, who will raise them? Who will do the responsibility? It will fall on the state.' Clearly it will be a state."

Let me guess, he's anti-abortion, right? Do these people every think about how the arguments they make may impact positions outside of the narrow issue on which they're speaking?

Posted by: Vladi G on June 7, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK
Multi-partner groupings are found all over nature -- but "polygamy," i.e. the institution of joining one man and multiple women in marriage, that is, a socially constructed institution, is not found all over nature but is only found in human societies.

Apples and oranges. Gay marriage isn't found in nature, either. The biological drive underlying polygamy (which ins't necessarily one male and multiple females -- i.e., "polygyny" -- though it usually is, both in human societies and in the animal analogs) is the drive to have multiple sexual partners over a long term -- something seen very often in nature, sometimes to the extreme that in a stable social grouping only one male will have any mates, and those will consist of all the adult females.

The biological drive underlying polygamy is at least as common in nature as is homosexuality; though marriage institutions, per se, based around either are purely a human construct.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

The current backlash against gay marriage is the fear that judges are overturning laws that are supported by the vast majority (and a oretty diverse cross-cut) of the people.

But no one is overturning any laws regulating heterosexual marriage -- the mere fact that gays are allowed to join in marriage has not, as far as I can imagine, prevented any straights from marrying. A man and a woman want to marry? Go ahead. So what exactly is being "overturned"?

The redefining marriage movement is therefore pretty far ahead of society.

This "redefining marriage movement" seems to exist largely in your head. We already have a working definition of marriage -- two people pledge themselves to stay together and form a family. Whether those two people are two men, two women, or one man and one woman doesn't really "redefine" the essential nature of the institution.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I have a feeling TruthPolitick scurried away from this thread once a real gay married person showed up.

Well, yeah, Brittain. Evidently his rock-solid-ordained-by-God marriage started feeling a little trembly the second you walked in. Must give you quite a sense of power!

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Hacksaw, every effort at social change by definition is far ahead of society. Many gay couples have been going to court for years now in an effort to start changing that, in hopes of getting a fair hearing for their argument that they should not be discriminated against when it comes to legal marriage. The fact that they have gotten favorable decisions is not a rap on the courts, it's evidence that they have valid reasons for getting the right to legally marry.

Posted by: David W. on June 7, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Inhofe is no preacher and neither am I. But the scripture he quotes, Matthew 19:4-6 (not 9:14) doesn't talk about gay marriages. It does, however, talk about divorce.

Then there is 19:12 which says, "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it]."

Some have claimed that is a metaphorical reference to homosexuality. If so, then the way I read it, it means, "To each his own."

Posted by: Libby Sosume on June 7, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK
To keep the issue limited to the slippery slope though, the argument for redefining marriage (as opposed to some type civil union) is based on an individual's right to organize their private relationships as they choose. To that end, judges are overturning marriage statutes based on individual rights and not because the interest of society if two-person couples (be they straight or gay).

Frankly, from a logical or legal perspective, we are on no thicker ice for saying two-person couples are society's building block then gay marriage opponents are saying traditional couples are the building block, once we assume that the essential issue at stake is an individual's right to be with whomever they choose.

I think its pretty clear in the due process analysis that the distinction based on present marital status in providing marriage is a lot more related to any reasonable construction of the civil purposes of marriage than distinction based on the attributes like sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or religion.

So I would rather strongly disagree with your "no thicker ice" argument. (OTOH, I'll freely admit to being unconvinced that, if it were established that legalizing gay marriage would somehow magically necessitate legalizing polygamy, that would be a bad thing. Seems to me that polygamy is, like prostitution, a place where, in the modern world, many of the worst problems associated with it that are raised to argue in favor of banning it are not really a result of the behavior that is prohibited, or are either produced or exacerbated by the illegality of the activity.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

We got a little off track from the original point. Stefan wrote:

"This "redefining marriage movement" seems to exist largely in your head. We already have a working definition of marriage -- two people pledge themselves to stay together and form a family. Whether those two people are two men, two women, or one man and one woman doesn't really "redefine" the essential nature of the institution."

This is of course rather silly. The working definition of marriage (whether you agree with it or not) has in face been a man and a woman pledging themselves to stay together and form a family. My whole point here has been to suggest that there was something to Inhofe's argument that redefining marriage to incorporate gay marriage would open the door to other redefinitions.

Now if a gay marriage proponent accepts the likelihood that a polygamist can essentially follow the same argument to insist that his or her lifestyle should be legally recognized then I'm fine with the debate. But when folks claim it is outlandish to suggest that incorporating gay marriage into marriage may well lead to further redefinitions I think they are simply being dishonest.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK
The working definition of marriage (whether you agree with it or not) has in face been a man and a woman pledging themselves to stay together and form a family. My whole point here has been to suggest that there was something to Inhofe's argument that redefining marriage to incorporate gay marriage would open the door to other redefinitions.

Marriage has been redefined in law many times, even in this century in the US. The simple fact is, the door is already open to redefinition, the question is which changes are desirable and which are not.

(Plus, your "working definition" is wrong, anyhow, though its certainly part of the definition.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Now if a gay marriage proponent accepts the likelihood that a polygamist can essentially follow the same argument to insist that his or her lifestyle should be legally recognized then I'm fine with the debate.

But as I said before, this has already happened with straight marriage. We've had polygamy for millenia, far longer than we've had the idea of gay marriage -- so why is gay marriage more likely to lead to polygamy when straight marriage has already led to such, for thousands of year already?

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Everett wrote: Nature don't do social constructs.

So you are saying that social constructs are supernatural in origin?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 7, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

godless New England states.

We are not 'godless'.

Respectful of the Constitution, yes.
Likely to let our neighbors do their thing, and we do ours, yes.

But not godless. Ubiquity is one of the attributes of a divinity.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 7, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

>>For 2,000 years, marriage has been between one man and one woman... who belong to the same religious organization. In practice, that nearly always meant one race.

That's insupportable on the face of it. No cultural historian or anthropologist would accept this assertion as possessing a shred of validity. It demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding of the variety of practices over time and over many diverse populations.

The last two thousand years of human history includes multiple societies which accepted polygamy or concubinage over long periods of time.

Why, in any case, would 2,000 years be any determining factor for a species whose history is many times longer than that?

For the record: I object to gay marriage on economic grounds. I see it as a cynical grab by an pretty affluent subset for tax and other material advantages.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Brittain33,

I hadn't meant to overlook your earlier point on interracial and interreligous marriages. I think they further prove the point. Marriage was originally defined by what it was (man and woman) and who could do it (same race, same religion). Civil marriages essentially opened the door on the second half of the definition. Once intereligious marriages were permitted then the process expanded until we reached the point where any man could marry any woman. And yes, that was a good thing (to stave off the inevistable assumptions about what I think). Redefining the first half would, in my mind, inevitably do the same thing. The moral question is, does barring a man from marrying another man equate with barring a black from marrying a white or a Protestant marrying a Muslim? Which comes back to why society picked biological parents as the one type of all the relationship people have to recognize as unique in its importance to society. If it isn't, then why stop the definition at two people, gay or straight?

Also, you are right about the law in Mass. but I think that there is little difference between a judge directing the Mass. legislature to create gay marriage and a judge overturning a law restricting gay marriage. Certainly there are efforts in other states to do just that. Or are you suggesting that the laws in the 46 or so states that defined marriage a between a man and a woman are completely safe from judicial review?

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Inhofe has also asserted on the floor of the Senate that "Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated." He is a liar and a fraud and a slavish servant of the ultra-rich corporate elites who own the Republican Party.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 7, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Alek. I was sort of waiting for you to weigh in on this.

I appreciate your sympathy, shortstop. :) Please allow me to reciprocate for your Daley burden.

Yeah, I've loved Inhofe from the start: when he was originally running for his seat in 1994, his opponent was Rep. Dave McCurdy, who at the time was considered possible Presidential-nominee material. Inhofe's campaign commercials consisted of clips of McCurdy saying the name "Bill Clinton" at the '92 Democratic National Convention - and, of course, Inhofe won. McCurdy has disappeared from politics.

I could also mention my own Congressman, Tom Cole, who famously said that a vote for John Kerry was a vote for Osama bin Laden. (I wrote to him and asked if a vote for the Republican Thomas Dewey in 1944 was a vote for Hitler, and he responded with some bullshit I don't even remember.)

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 7, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Inhofe has also asserted on the floor of the Senate that "Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated." He is a liar and a fraud and a slavish servant of the ultra-rich corporate elites who own the Republican Party.
Posted by: SecularAnimist

For a fact.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, so it takes a sperm (dad) and an egg (mom) to make a child which has traits of both parents. Logically they are connected through physical appearance and possibly personality traits. Some how to consider them to natually be a "family" is a social construct. Aren't they connected through their common and natural physical properties? Oh, but that is too logical.

And if we just want to continue to act like every other animal on the planet then I guess it really doesn't matter much does it? But I thought we were suppose to be evolving to a higher level.

Posted by: Orwell on June 7, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Inhofe is always a justification for ridicule.

There is no cause and effect relationship between gays, divorce, womens rights, etc. The acceptance of all these are part of the broad modernization process. The richer, more educated and more secure a society is the more likely it is to embrace individual choice in these matters and less likely to advocate traditional paternalism. It comes as no surprise that the regions most uncomfortable with gay marriage and abortion are places like Oklahoma and Mississippi.

The nuclear family and the fetish that surrounds it is itself quite a modern invention particularly of Protestantism at the time of the Reformation (although some like to say that the marriage forms they advocate began with the Hebrews). The folks that like to beat other people with the family values cudgel have quite debased versions of the traditional Victorian family themselves- which is, by the way, what everyone points to as the ideal- just think of the idealization of the purity of childhood innocence. All the fears these people have about gays, abortion and the decline of society are quite silly. It is nothing more than superstition. If you get out of America you will quickly realize how little anguish this causes people in other societies.

It is stunning to think that Spain is a more modernized country than the US in these matters while the US keeps company with Poland and Nicaragua.

Posted by: bellumregio on June 7, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Which comes back to why society picked biological parents as the one type of all the relationship people have to recognize as unique in its importance to society.

Except that this isn't how it works in practice, because old people, the infertile, etc. all get married as a demonstration of their love and commitment and no one sees this as a flaw in the current law.

I'm glad my parents were able to adopt (I'm biological, born last and unexpectedly; my brother and sister were adopted) and I see them as no less parents to my brother and sister than they are to me. Nor does the law treat them any differently, thank God.

The moral question is...

What does that mean? Certainly, interfaith marriages are seen as immoral by lots of people. I was raised to see them that way. Interracial marriages were also seen as immoral. Morality is a shifting target, and morality that puts all of its burden on others while imposing no burden on the "moralist" should be held to particular scrutiny. And what of the morality of denying the children of same-sex couples the protections and benefits of a loving, two-parent family?

The slippery slope stretches up through interracial and interfaith marriages, back to civil marriage. I've already given plenty of practical and legal reasons why same-sex marriage works now; you're positioning yourself on this point in the slippery slope and rationalizing why we shouldn't slide back up.

As I've said, I believe it's possible for civil marriage to change one day to include polygamous relationships, but it would take a great change in our society for that to happen. Much as interracial marriages couldn't be legalized in 1840, and same-sex marriages were unthinkable in 1965. It may happen, or it may not. As adults, we're capable of judging different situations on their own merits, and not holding discrete situations hostage to others to make an unsupportable logical point.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

i look forward to the day when they find inhofe overcome by post-coital exhaustion in a stableyard caked in hay, blood and horse spunk.

that is all.

Posted by: lucretius on June 7, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Orwell, do you think adopted children aren't really children, and don't really make a family? They don't share any genetic material with their parents. What is their relationship, if not a social construct?

I can tolerate all sorts of discussion of the validity of my marriage--I have to, given the world we live in--but people who oppose same-sex marriage and find themselves arguing that adopted children aren't real children, sisters, or brothers will find themselves with my fist in their face. I can understand people not recognizing my relationship with my partner, but I have an irrational response to people who think I don't have a sister or brother, or that my nephews aren't really part of my family.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

For the record: I object to gay marriage on economic grounds. I see it as a cynical grab by an pretty affluent subset for tax and other material advantages.

"Material" advantages such as the right to make medical decisions for one's spouse in case of illness or emergency, to be able to visit the hospital room without being barred by your spouse's parents, to raise children together, to inherit?

Besdies, gays are no more likely to be affluent than any other group. Do you object to the wealthy marrying?

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

In 2004, sometime in February or March, the public discussion of "civil unions" morphed into the phrase "gay marriage" and there it has stuck ever since, whipping up conservative fervor. If ever there were an example of how language can distort thinking, this is it.

And what is meant by "gay marriage?" Recognition by the state that two individuals have certain legal rights with regard to one another--if one is seriously ill, the other has authority to make decisions regarding the ill one. The couple get to share property and health benefits. A survivor inherits from the other, and should they have children, their children are "legitimate" heirs. This is not scary, awful, open the door to polygamy and child abuse stuff. It is just an orderly, rule-abiding way of distributing property.

It gets complicated, however, because organized religions universally have a "marriage" ceremony as well--some ritual that establishes that the community acknowledges and approves of a particular man and woman having sex together. Children born of this sex are "legitimate" heirs. Children born outside of this sexual coupling are "illegitimate." Some communities also approve of a man having sex with more than one woman. When conservatives like Inhofe argue that "marriage" is between a man and a woman, he is acknowledging that his community (a Christian one) is flat-out NOT comfortable with two people of the same sex having sex and don't approve of one man having sex with more than one woman at a time.

So apples and oranges.

Nonetheless, I am still trying to work out something for myself: I have to admit that when I look at my children, I find them miraculous--a blend of my husband and me. A same sex couple will never be the biological parents of a child--sperm or egg will have to come from some other person. This raises the question about whether there something special about being the biological parents of a child?

We have all kinds of possibilities where children are concerned:
Within a commited pair,
--A couple(gay or straight) may never have children.
--A gay couple or a male/female couple may adopt someone else's biological child.
--One member of couple (gay or straight) can have a child with eggs/sperm from someone who is not his or her partner.
--But only a male-female couple can have biological children of their own (the Inhofes, eg).

On the other hand, children can also be born to 1) couples who are not committed to one another and 2) couples can (and do) divorce. So we have "families" in which children live with only one of their biological parents.

So the question is, does the state have some special interest in encouraging the biological parents of a child to stay together and rear their child together? That is what is implied by a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

If so, a logical consequence is that the legal status of "marriage" is automatically conferred on any man and woman who conceive a child and divorce is prohibited if a couple have a child. Perhaps the state will have "opinions" about who should be a biological parents--perhaps issuing parent licences to those with no history of mental disease or criminal record. Perhaps only children who were reared by their biological parents are "legitimate" in the eyes of the state and, say, able to hold government offices or inherit property?

It follows, logically.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 7, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK
The last two thousand years of human history includes multiple societies which accepted polygamy or concubinage over long periods of time.

As well as marriage between people of the same biological sex even if different socially-constructed gender.

And both of those in North America, and both prior to the 20th century, not recent innovations.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Besdies, gays are no more likely to be affluent than any other group.
Posted by: Stefan

Ummm...that's not so, Stefan. Households with two gay males are much more likely to be in the top 20% of income than any other configuration.

Households with two gay women are more likely to be in the bottom 20% if the household contains minor children.

Disparity of income by gender being a pretty well established fact.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

For the record: I object to gay marriage on economic grounds. I see it as a cynical grab by an pretty affluent subset for tax and other material advantages.

Pretty cynical, CF, and not particularly accurate demographically. You must be thinking of gay men, and of a certain subset of gay men to boot. Seen the economic demographics on lesbian couples lately? Or on gay/lesbian people overall, not just on the most networked and moneyed (and thus most visible) members of this "subset"?

But perhaps those "pretty affluent" gay men can just bribe healthcare administrators to let them see their sick partners when the partners' hostile parents object; cough up tens of thousands annually for benefits enjoyed by married spouses; pay off administrators in states like Arizona, which is proposing to disallow unmarried people to adopt children; and so forth and so on, to the tune of literally hundreds of legal benefits reserved for married people alone.

And I didn't even mention wanting a formal recognition of lifelong commitment by the state and society. Affluent people don't need that, huh?

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Brittain33,

I think there is a difference between changes in what men and women can marry and changes to what marriage itself constitutes. So while I think you are correct to point out that the conditions under which men and women were permitted to marry have changed dramatically over time, I believe the current issue of should marriage itself be redefined to include gay marriage is a significantly different question than the prior trend you are talking about.

PTate, the reason gay marriage has become the issue is that the movement itself has gone away from civil unions (i.e. a distinct legal recognition of gay couples) and towards redefining marriage itself so that gay and straight couples are identical under the law. I think a lot of people are fine with gay couples legally codifying their relations but are not comfortable with redefining marriage itself to incorporate gay marriage.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 7, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I see Stefan and I were on the same page.

And if we just want to continue to act like every other animal on the planet then I guess it really doesn't matter much does it? But I thought we were suppose to be evolving to a higher level.

I keep thinking this, too. But the current administration's put out the word that those old human principles of democracy, freedom, fairness and honor are passe, and that the last dog standing wins, regardless of how he won.

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The homosexual marriage lobby, as well as the polygamist lobby, they share the same goal of essentially breaking down all state-regulated marriage requirements to just one, and that one is consent.

I don't know whether that is true or not true, but it isn't obviously false. If the right to homosexual sexual relationships is based on a right to privacy, then the same privacy right extends to other things that are now illegal. Furthermore, there are indeed advocates for plural marriages, such as the non-mainstream-Mormon sects and some of the Islamist imams.

Now, to be proud outright that there has never been either a divorce or a homosexual in the family ever is extreme, and I am glad that I don't have to decide whether to vote for him or his opponent.

He clearly believes that there is a general cheapening or devaluation of marriage entailed in the notion of same-sex marriages, and it is that devaluation, when widespread, that produces more out-of-wedlock children. It doesn't take a lot of thought to appreciate that is what Inhoff means. It isn't that homosexual marriages directly produce children out of wedlock.

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

This raises the question about whether there something special about being the biological parents of a child?

Well, biological parents often seem to think so. Families like my family of origin--identical in situation to Brittain's--tend to find this a little bit amusing and a little bit full of one's self.

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Ummm...that's not so, Stefan. Households with two gay males are much more likely to be in the top 20% of income than any other configuration.
Households with two gay women are more likely to be in the bottom 20% if the household contains minor children. Disparity of income by gender being a pretty well established fact.

By gender, yes, but not by sexual orientation. You'd said "For the record: I object to gay marriage on economic grounds. I see it as a cynical grab by an pretty affluent subset for tax and other material advantages", thereby implying that gays in general are more likely to be affluent than straights. It seems from your statistics that it's the maleness, rather than the gayness, of the gay male couples that accounts for their relative affluence. So it seems you object to marriage by gay male couples, but not by gay female couples? Or what if it was a gay male couple making minimum wage -- would you still object?

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

is a significantly different question than the prior trend you are talking about.

It's only significant now because of hindsight and what we choose to ascribe importance to. It is human nature to accept changes in the past as "natural" and "not essentially changing the structure" while any future change is cataclysmic and redefinitional. I refer you to any anti-miscegenation literature from the mid-1800s for perspective on just how very different that change was perceived by many white Americans.

Any further discussion here is semantics.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 7, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Power of attorney and living wills.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK
Marriage was originally defined by what it was (man and woman) and who could do it (same race, same religion).

Um, wrong. First of all "race" and "religion" restrictions aren't (at least demonstrably) "original". Second of all "man and woman" is a "who can do it" not "what it is" restriction. Third of all, marriage in many times and places in history has not excluded people of the same biological sex, though often those people were of different socially-constructed gender.

Civil marriages essentially opened the door on the second half of the definition.

No, even in the context of religious marriage, it has never been universally the case that intermarriage (either racial or religious) was forbidden, only certain religions forbade either. Racial restrictions in marriage, at least in the US, are more than anything a product of civil marriage and the civil institution of slavery, not something strongly anchored in the millenia-long tradition of marriage as a institution of the combined Church-State structure in the Christian West.

Once intereligious marriages were permitted then the process expanded until we reached the point where any man could marry any woman.

Um, no. Actually, there are considerable restrictions in most jurisdictions on which men can marry which women still, most especially concerning degree of consanguinity (another "who can do it" area that was in constant flux throughout the history of marriage, even if you restrict your analysis to the Christian West.)

The moral question is, does barring a man from marrying another man equate with barring a black from marrying a white or a Protestant marrying a Muslim?

That may be a moral question, but the question that should drive policy is whether banning a man from marrying another man serves any legitimate secular purpose of the state that justifies differentiation in the provision of public benefit based on the sex of the recipient.

Which comes back to why society picked biological parents as the one type of all the relationship people have to recognize as unique in its importance to society.

This presupposes that "society" picked that, which I think is far from established. Indeed, current marriage law often uses marriage as a replacement for biological parentage (where, for instance, the presumption of paternity is absolute rather than rebuttable.)

It seems more clear that providing two-parent families for children, whether naturally produced by one or both parties or not, is more a purpose of the current civil institution of marriage than providing any special recognition to the relationship of biological parents.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Power of attorney and living wills.

That's your entire answer to the--again--hundreds of benefits legally enjoyed only by married couples? Really? And you're actually willing to lump every lesbian or gay person into your categorization so that a few high-earning boys don't get some marital benefits? Wow.

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Power of attorney and living wills.

They don't cover everything, they can be a tremendous burden to think of and administer, and being contractual they're open to challenge in court -- a burden we don't require of straight couples. Instead of the whole rigmarole of power of attorney, living wills, etc. etc. why not just shortcut the whole process with a simple marriage certificate, just as straight couples can now do? It's quick, it's easy, and it's fair.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK
I think there is a difference between changes in what men and women can marry and changes to what marriage itself constitutes.

I would agree if this were rephrased as "...a difference between changes in who can marry whom and changes to what marriage in itself constitutes."

Of course, who you can marry based on your own sex is clearly "who can marry whom", not "what marriage in itself constitutes", which is a matter of what are the rights, obligations, privileges, etc. associated with marriage.

Sex of the participants doesn't affect those at all.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

PTate,

Last weekend while traveling through the boonies I ended up listening to some Christian network's "week in review" or something like that.

They spent 15 -30 minutes on those scary gays and their desire to marry and also corrupt our children.

Based on that show I think they now want to change the language from "gay marriage" to "so-called gay marriage." They added the 'so-called' every single time they used the term.

Posted by: Tripp on June 7, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

PTate, the reason gay marriage has become the issue is that the movement itself has gone away from civil unions (i.e. a distinct legal recognition of gay couples) and towards redefining marriage itself so that gay and straight couples are identical under the law.

That movement is largely a result of opponents of gay marriage attempting to overstate the case in order to scare off the moderates. The vast majority of gays who want to marry don't want or feel the need to "redefine" marriage -- they just want to get the same marriage license that their straight brothers and sisters get. No redefinition needed. It's only those people making absurd slippery slope etc. arguments who are claiming that to allow gays to marry we somehow have to "redefine" the entire institution of marriage.

Even if we allow two gay men to marry, a straight man and a woman will still be able to marry, so exactly what has been "redefined" about their marriage? How are things different for them in any way? (besides, that is, losing the warm sense of specialness they now get from being able to exclude gays from a lifetime of wedded bliss).

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK
PTate, the reason gay marriage has become the issue is that the movement itself has gone away from civil unions (i.e. a distinct legal recognition of gay couples) and towards redefining marriage itself so that gay and straight couples are identical under the law.

The movement started as, and has always been, a movement for marriage; distinct "domestic partnerships" were an early compromise, and distinct "civil unions" -- which featured more, often all, of the state priveleges of marriage, compared to partnernships which usually had a small subset of those rights -- were a later compromise. But full equality under the law has been the goal as long as I've been aware of the movement.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

50% or more of all marriages end in divorce and Oklahoma has a terrible divorce record. It's hard to fathom the gall of the good Senator from Oklahoma who basically states only heterosexual deserve the ability to state their love for one person and commit their lives to one another under the law of this land.

Mr. Inhofe believes that heterosexuals deserve a monopoly on the institution of marriage and family. Although, heterosexuals have and continue to make a mockery of the idea of marriage as lifetime commitment, the good Senator Inhofe believes that gay people will ruin the institution of marriage. I would say to the good Senator, the institution of heterosexual marriage is broken and we have millions of children of divorced parents suffering through this trauma daily to prove this institution is broken.

If you want to create an exclusive marriage club, then we should not allow for any federal benefits to be bestowed to any group or persons that are members of this discriminatory institution. There are hundreds of benefits (>500 benefits) given to married couples and if you are going to act discriminatory against one group of people, then heterosexual couples should not receive any benefits for belonging to this club.

Are good, God-fearing American Christians actually going to reduce the rights of our citizens by a constitutional amendment? I am not a Christian, but it seems the people leading this charge are not following the teachings of Jesus. Would Jesus in his sandals, naughty dreads, and his love for everyone, support FMA?

jj

Posted by: J. J. Corboy on June 7, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

The other problem with Hacksaw's analysis is that his attempt to distinguish "civil unions" from "civil marriage" falls flat. The sole actual distinction between Vermont's civil unions and Vermont's marriages (for example) is that the latter are recognized by the federal government and other states and the former aren't. If Hacksaw would be willing to accept the federal government and other states recognizing civil unions on the same basis as civil marriages, then this whole argument really does become a quibble over a word.

Posted by: Glenn on June 7, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

While the GOP talks about the sanctity of marriage, Laura Bush is watching it on TV at Camp David.

Laura walked out on Dubya a couple weeks ago. She was at the Mayflower Hotel until she was spotted, then the White House issued a short statement that she was having an "extended stay" at Camp David.

The DC rumor mill says Laura walked out on Chimpy because he's having an affair with Condi.

So much for GOP family values.

Posted by: Tom3 on June 7, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Where's "The Gay Millionaire" when you need him?

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Even if we allow two gay men to marry, a straight man and a woman will still be able to marry, so exactly what has been "redefined" about their marriage? How are things different for them in any way? (besides, that is, losing the warm sense of specialness they now get from being able to exclude gays from a lifetime of wedded bliss).

Obviously, if marriage is defined to exclude same-sex couples, and then that definition is changed to include same-sex couples, marriage has been redefined. The fact that the redefinition does not invalidate existing heterosexual marriages does not alter the fact that it's a redefinition.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think there is a difference between changes in what men and women can marry and changes to what marriage itself constitutes.

Assuming that by the first "what" you mean "who," what is that alleged difference?

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

The marriage amendment is a red herring wedge issue designed to get redneck red staters to the polls in november.

it is not a real issue. it is a phony issue.

the gop knew the marriage amendment was dead on arrival in the senate but pushed it anyway, for purely partisan political reasons.

the gop put party before country. i call that treason.

Posted by: Tom3 on June 7, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

So GOP is that all this debate comes to? Whether a particular word is redefined? Not whether the redefinition leads to a more just world for existing gay couples, or better support for their existing children? To rehash the point, in 1967 would a valid argument against Loving v. Virginia have been that it redefined marriage?

On another point, for all those who feel that the possibility of marriage being redefined to include more than two people is a major concern, I have a question. What is your substantive objection to polygamy? (I can think of three, administrative hassle, dilution of parental responsibility, and an association with misogyny). And why would these objections disappear if same gender marriage were legalized?

In other words, why so gloomy that future judges/legislatures would be helpless and without arguments against polygamy proponents if the relationships of gay couples are recognized for the same reason the relationships of straight couples are recognized: to encourage commitment between adults and provide legal shelter for children?

Posted by: Glenn on June 7, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Now just think about all those kids who will come from gay marriage and have to be supported by public welfare. Really a problem to be worried about!

Posted by: Jrgen in Germany on June 7, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK
Assuming that by the first "what" you mean "who,"

Its pretty obvious, I would think, that that "what" means "which".

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

J. J. Corboy wrote: Would Jesus in his sandals, naughty dreads, and his love for everyone, support FMA?

That should be "natty dreads." As I understand it, the earliest known picture of Jesus, on a Roman coin, portrayed a man with clearly African features, including close-cropped nappy hair.

"I've never seen a picture of a bald-head Jesus yet." -- Bunny Wailer

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 7, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Theres absolutely no factual support for the ludicrous claim that children from gay parents end up on welfare.

its total gop bullshit.

gay parents are just as capable of straight parents of supporting their kids.

Posted by: Tom3 on June 7, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

There is no value to society in gay marraige. I see no reason for goverment to support a behavior that doesn't contribute to the betterment of our society.

Posted by: TruthPolitik

How about keeping gays attached to one partner and out of bath houses?

How about more homes for unadopted kids to get adopted into?

How about making people happy and providing for the general welfare?

Posted by: anandine on June 7, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: Assuming that by the first "what" you mean "who,"

cmdicely: Its pretty obvious, I would think, that that "what" means "which".

This has got to segue into either Abbott and Costello's "who's on first" routine, or e. e. cummings' poem "what if a much of a which of a when".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 7, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

And, as Jon Stewart pointed out, the slippery slope goes downhill both ways. If the government can decide who partakes in the religious ceremony of marriage, what other religious activities will they determine who can engage in? And what other restrictions will they put on marriage?

Posted by: anandine on June 7, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Wow.
Posted by: shortstop

Indeed. Seems ya'll much prefer bigots to anybody having any other objection.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

That should be "natty dreads." As I understand it, the earliest known picture of Jesus, on a Roman coin, portrayed a man with clearly African features, including close-cropped nappy hair.

Of course, any picture of Jeus on a Roman coin would have been several hundred years after he died, so we shouldn't expect it to have any relation to what he really looked like. All we can guess about his appearance is that he probably looked like a Jewish rabbi of the time.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously, if marriage is defined to exclude same-sex couples, and then that definition is changed to include same-sex couples, marriage has been redefined. The fact that the redefinition does not invalidate existing heterosexual marriages does not alter the fact that it's a redefinition.

So then it's a "redefinition" in name only, without any practical effect -- so there should be no problem, then. It's purely semantic. And, of course, the easiest way around this in the first place is not to define marriage to exclude same-sex couples.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, the earliest known picture of Jesus, on a Roman coin...

How many loaves and fishes could you buy with one Jesus?

Posted by: Zeke on June 7, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK
If the government can decide who partakes in the religious ceremony of marriage, what other religious activities will they determine who can engage in?

Um, government can't decide who partakes of the religious ceremony of marriage. Since civil and canon law split off in their own separate ways and stopped being intertwined, the civil institution of marriage regulated by government and the religious institution of marriage regulated by churches are completely separate institutions.

Government's extension of rights to engage in the civil institution does nothing to limit religious communities' power to bar people from the religious institution as practiced by that community.

Further government's restriction of rights to engage in the civil institution does nothing to limit the religious communities' power to admit people to the religious institution, except that it forces them to be careful, in some cases, to make it clear that they are not providing, witnessing, etc., a civil marriage.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: the civil institution of marriage regulated by government and the religious institution of marriage regulated by churches are completely separate institutions.

The reason for the FMA that Bush gave in his speech the other day is that marriage is "sacred." Civil institutions regulated by government are not "sacred". Religious institutions regulated by churches are, more or less by definition, "sacred". Thus, Bush is explicitly advocating government regulation of what he himself asserts to be a religious institution, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment, and blatant theocracy.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 7, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

According to this CDC data and this report, in 2004:

Massachusetts had 41,549 marriages and 14,148 divorces. 6,095 of those were same-sex marriages, leaving 35,454 marriages between opposite-sex partners.

Oklahoma had 22,812 marriages and 17,146 divorces.

More divorces, yet fewer than two-thirds as many marriages (counting only the opposite-sex marriages), in the state. A naive correlation would imply that same-sex marriage is actually helping preserve "traditional" marriages....

Posted by: Christopher Davis on June 7, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

CF: Indeed. Seems ya'll much prefer bigots to anybody having any other objection.

CF, come, now--a bit melodramatic, what? Would you mind showing me where I "preferred" a bigot? Or where any other reasonable person here did?

Look, you made a sweeping, stereotypical statement which you must have known was going to be controversial. A couple of us called your bluff. As it happens, I think you're a bright, interesting, funny person and a valuable poster, so this is no question of "preference." Asking you to defend what seems to me to be an outrageous and unsupported statement is not really unreasonable; I'd ask you not to take it so personally.

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK
The reason for the FMA that Bush gave in his speech the other day is that marriage is "sacred."

Well, yeah, clearly Bush believes that or want to pander to people that do.

Civil institutions regulated by government are not "sacred".

So, what's the deal with that other Republican favorite, preventing "desecration" of the flag?

Religious institutions regulated by churches are, more or less by definition, "sacred". Thus, Bush is explicitly advocating government regulation of what he himself asserts to be a religious institution, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment, and blatant theocracy.

The only Constitution Bush believes in is the one that gives him dictatorial powers and the inherent authority to set aside the law.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

So are Inhofe and Boner and the rest going to devote their best efforts from now on to helping poor, white, straight Christian single mothers get a leg up in life? If so, they'll be acting like big-spending liberals -- or maybe just guys with trailer-park mistresses.

Either way, they sure are concerned with what people are doing at home.

Posted by: Kenji on June 7, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Um, government can't decide who partakes of the religious ceremony of marriage.

Thank you. The ridiculous assertion that churches are going to be forced/sued into marrying gay people is absurd.

Churches already refuse to marry lots of people. They can also make them jump through hoops (conversion, annullment) if they choose. The county court clerk can't do that.

Posted by: hamletta on June 7, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

As an Oklahoman, I can't tell you how proud I am of this performance by one of my senators. (My other one is Tom Coburn - gosh, I'm proud all over again.)

Yes, somewhere Will Rogers is puking.

Posted by: Vincent on June 7, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think the whole "slippery slope toward polygamy" argument is lame. In cold-blooded legal terms, marriage is just another contract. The terms of that contract are woven throughout the lawemployment, property, criminal lawand it's all based on the assumption that there are two parties.

To add a third throws the whole thing out of whack and imposes a huge burden on the state if a dispute arises in any aspect of these people's lives. That burden also extends to others, like employers who provide spousal benefits. So there's a compelling state interest to leave polygamists to their own devices. If you want to live in a legal arrangement with two other people, find a lawyer, 'cause you're on your own.

Posted by: hamletta on June 7, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Furthermore, hamletta, all contracts are based on laws binding people who are doing, ya know, legal things. Homosexulaity used to be illegal, as did so-called miscegenation. But as far as we know, polygamy, bestiality, and anything involving Rick Santorum will be against the law for quite some time, so there is no need amend existing laws to "protect" against them.

Alcohol is legal, so maybe the Republicans should pass a law saying people have to consume it instead of pot. How about favourite sex position (missionary, one assumes) can they make them mandatory?

Eeeew, Santorum just came to mind again.

Posted by: Kenji on June 7, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

slippery slopes.

so allowing gay marriage would place us at the top of a slippery slope that would lead to the legitimising of polygamy. what? legitimising the activities of consenting adults? can't have that.

Posted by: lucretius on June 7, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

So, you admit, lucretius - polygamy is next - not so "slippery" of a slope then, is it? After that, "consenting" brothers and sisters, I would guess - what do you think the age of "consent" should be? Also, ask SecularAnimist about non-human animals giving "consent" - you will be amazed!

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. SecularAnimist - do you think Thomas Jefferson was explicitly advocating government regulation of the church and blatant theocracy when he used the word "sacred" in the Declaration of Independence?

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Your response ("so what") is fine, but then one shouldn't criticize Inhofe for suggesting that redefining marriage to include gay marriage is simply the first step in multiple redefinitions of marriage.

Hacksaw-
Well I didn't criticize him;> My position is that any marriage arrangement adults want to work out is fine, the gov't should not be in the wedding business. Make it a civil contract, enforcable as such. Legally, we'll adapt fine. The percentage of people who want to be polygamist is so small they aren't going to change much. As far as two person marriages of whatever combination, I suspect they are firmly entrenched for years to come simply because most people can't put up with more than one person at a time.

Posted by: Martin on June 7, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

How about more than one cat at a time?

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Don P,

You sure seem fixated on a bunch of very weird so-called marriage possibilities. Are you a pervert? Does your Mom know about your DVD collection?

Posted by: Tripp on June 7, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Don P. If polygamy is so bad, why do you think it's inevitable? Why won't it be possible to make the same substantive arguments against polygamy if same gender marriage is allowed then if it isn't? Those courts that have interpreted state constitutions to allow same gender marriage carefully considered suggested negative consequences and couldn't see any. Are you implying the judges would be unable to determine negative consequences to polygamy?

The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Massachusetts and South Africa, at the very least, have been poised on the top of that slope for a number of years without falling down. On the other hand polygamy is very accepted in the same countries that execute homosexuals.

Posted by: glenn on June 7, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp wrote: Don P, You sure seem fixated on a bunch of very weird so-called marriage possibilities. Are you a pervert?

This "Don P" is actually Charlie, who lately also posts as "Cheney", and I believe that he is in fact mentally disturbed.

The person who originally posted here for months with the handle "Don P" is now posting as "GOP".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 7, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Does your Mom know about your DVD collection?

Yes - they borrowed Patton recently.

Are you a pervert?

No - are you?

You sure seem fixated on a bunch of very weird so-called marriage possibilities.

Homosexual "marriage" was once considered a "very weird" possibility too - lucretius already admitted that polygamy is next - I guess you haven't heard SecularAnimist talk about dolphins lately, have you?

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

glenn:

Activist judges will not care. That being said, on my side of the spectrum, I am not advocating the execution of homosexuals.

SecularAnimist:

I am neither "Charlie", "Cheney", nor "GOP" - and if I have a mental disease, at least it is not one found in the The American Psychiatric Association "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" as recently as 30 years ago.

Will you support a change in DSM-IV for this too:

"Pedophilia (302.2):

A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger);

B. The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty;

C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A."

NAMBLA, here we cum.

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

SecAn: This "Don P" is actually Charlie, who lately also posts as "Cheney", and I believe that he is in fact mentally disturbed.

The person who originally posted here for months with the handle "Don P" is now posting as "GOP".

All correct so far. But are you saying you think Charlie's the only one of these two gentlemen who's mentally disturbed?

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship."

So Senator Inhofe's gay son has never been in a relationship? That's sad.

Posted by: TQ on June 7, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

" Now if a gay marriage proponent accepts the likelihood that a polygamist can essentially follow the same argument to insist that his or her lifestyle should be legally recognized then I'm fine with the debate. (Stefan quoting another poster)

But as I said before, this has already happened with straight marriage. We've had polygamy for millenia, far longer than we've had the idea of gay marriage -- so why is gay marriage more likely to lead to polygamy when straight marriage has already led to such, for thousands of year already?"

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 11:11 AM

Very good question, which must be why you never got any answer back from those taking this position about gay marriage leading to polygamy being a reason to oppose gay marriage. Given the history of polygamy recorded in the Bible (that same authority cited by so many opposed to gay marriage as well as used to "prove" homosexuality itself is evil/sin) your point and the question you posed is right on the mark. So why is this, along with the marrying of turtles and adults/children (which as I recall also used to be acceptable in some cultures including European ones that were also ostensibly Christian nations, although usually for reasons of State) and other idiocies the main/best arguments outside of simple religious discrimination and/or homophobic driven discrimination these opponents of gay marriage can come up with?

This is a losing debate for the opponents of gay marriage. It may take another couple of decades but barring a complete fundamental change within the way America governs herself (in this case going from rule of law primacy to a theocratic based primacy) it will become acceptable to the majority of Americans. This is shown when the age breakdowns of those for/against/indifferent on this issue are done.

Posted by: Scotian on June 7, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect this thread must be slowing down with all the red meat that Steve Benen is throwing our way. But I wanted to add this observation, re Inhofe's biblical comment: "Have you not read that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female and for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and join his wife and the two shall become one flesh so they no longer will be two but one flesh"

I have become increasingly aware, spriritually speaking, that God did create man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created him" but we humans fail to comprehend the fullness of God's image when we define male as man and female as woman, because we are confusing spirit (male & female) and genitalia (man & woman). While most humans who have a penis have a male spirit or those with a vagina & womb have a female spirit, a significant proportion do not. Homosexuality is just a categorical label used to describe men (or women) who are sexually interested in other men (women), but within homosexual relationships, one still sees maleness and femaleness, just as the Bible states. It is our blindness to the richness of God's creation that keeps us from seeing this.

So what conservatives are really saying when they say marriage is between a man and a woman is that marriage requires a penis and a womb: God's image as genitalia.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 7, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Thread killer ...

Posted by: Pat on June 7, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

At what point exactly was Inhofe ever hinged ?
.

Posted by: VJ on June 7, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Don P. I'm not sure I understand the import of your response to my post - "Activist judges will not care". By this do you mean that because several judges were unconvinced recognizing same gender marriage leads to harms significant enough to discriminate against homosexuals that they could never be convinced that the harms of polygamy outweigh discrimination against polygamists?

Why such scepticism about these judges? Many are Republican. I have read several of the trial court opinions, and the opinions of the Massachusetts court. The judges examined the state's arguments for harm carefully, such as protecting children, and none held up. As has already been pointed out, allowing same gender marriage doesn't have any logical connection to increases in heterosexual divorce.

I'm pretty sure there are better arguments against polygamy. If by some mischance judges don't see it that way, then perhaps it would be time for state constitutional amendments on the subject.

Posted by: glenn on June 8, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Gay Marriage will lead to more kids born out of wedlock? The guy is flaying around...who put him in charge? Cuz they need to do something about putting somene else in charge.

Posted by: parrot on June 8, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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