Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 7, 2006

THINK OF THE CHILDREN....So, as expected, the FMA failed again today. Sponsors expected to get 52 votes, but they ended up with 49, just one more than in 2004. How did supporters manage so little progress after gaining allies in Congress in the last election? I suspect exchanges like this one from a press conference on the Hill help explain part of the problem.

[Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)] held a news conference Monday at which the speakers said they wanted to reduce the "epidemic level of fatherlessness in America."

"How would outlawing gay marriage encourage heterosexual fathers to stick around?" was the first question. Allard skirted the question by saying that "laws send a message to our children."

The moderator, Matt Daniels of the Alliance for Marriage, tried to find a question on another subject. But when reporters continued to press Allard on the link between same-sex marriage and deadbeat dads, Daniels blurted out: "All right, you know what? We're going to call this press conference to a close."

Rhetorically, at least, supporters of the amendment spent an almost-ridiculous amount of time arguing that gay marriage would lead to children without parents. Focus on the Family ran a series of print ads across the country asking, "Why doesn't Senator [fill in the blank] believe every child needs a mother and a father?" The ads explained:

"It is a painful but very real truth. Homosexual marriages intentionally create motherless families or fatherless families. But a compassionate society would not deliberately deny a child a mother or father."

It's always a mistake to look for logic in far-right claims, but aren't these arguments geared towards opposition to gay adoption? Taking this approach just one step further, wouldn't conservatives also want a constitutional amendment banning divorce among couples with children?

On second thought, it's probably best not to give these guys any ideas.

Steve Benen 2:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (134)

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Comments

When the history of this administration is written (if we're not all dead, as Chimpy promised) it will be seen as a relentless excercise in resource squandering, in which nothing was left unwasted.

In that sense, and that sense only, they are very, very competent.

Posted by: Kenji on June 7, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you folks put up with this bullshit?

If you're going to elect conservatives, why can't you at least elect intelligent, competent, honest ones?

Posted by: Joe Canuck on June 7, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Taking this approach just one step further, wouldn't conservatives also want a constitutional amendment banning divorce among couples with children?

On second thought, it's probably best not to give these guys any ideas.

Actually, I think this is exactly the kind of idea I'd like them to get.

There's a reason the wingers go after issues like gay marriage - because the gay population is smaller and marginalized, particularly in some of the regions where the wingers hold sway. Laws meant to restrict someone elses freedoms are always easier to whip up enthusiasm for.

Divorce, on the other hand, which is far more freuqently condemned in the bible than homosexuality and results in far more single parent households, is common. Being to loud in condemning divorce reduces donations, doing anything to restrict it in law would be ballot box suicide. Far safer to go after softer targets.

Personally, one of the reasons why I think we've seen so few abortion laws passed is because they are (politically wisely) afraid of the backlash. The political wingers (as opposed to the true believers) understand that you get a lot of mileage by supporting a version of a 'partial birth' abortion bill that Clinton will veto or won't pass constitutional muster, and you get it without scaring anyone to much. If something actually passed, not only would it rile up a fairly complacent pro choice crowd, but you'd lose points among the true believers for not going far enough, and you'd lose a critical part of your stump speech for the next election cycle.

Now, of course, the true believers are getting wrestless, so you have to do something. Given that South Dakota isn't going as smoothly as planned, far better to go after the gays, with something that won't pass.

But even then, Bush was careful to stay out of the Rose Garden - after all, then the wrong people might have noticed.

Posted by: Fides on June 7, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Look up the Byzantine Emperor Phocas. Seized the throne illegitimately, squandered his treasury, lost battles with the Persians, and weakened the Empire so much it lost Palestine and Egypt to the newly formed Muslim movement.

The Pillar of Phocas is the last monument erected in the old Roman Forum. Irony?

The Parallels to BushCo are too disturbing to explore, but we may have some late-Antique specialists in the posters. Comments?

Posted by: troglodyte on June 7, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Steve -

I like the fact that you keep the (substantive) post volume fairly high into the mid to late afternoon. I think you just earned yourself a regular reader.

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

What message exactly are we sending to our children?

Posted by: doesn't matter on June 7, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Those poor McGreevey children. I am glad the Repubicans are so worried about them.

Posted by: Powerpuff on June 7, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad this Amendment failed. Marriage should not be defined in the Constitution. Nor should marriage effectively be added to state consitutions by court decisions legitimizing gay marriage.

I support gay marriage or civil unions. But, it should be enacted democratically, not imposed by despotic courts. The failed effort to pass this amendment at least served the legitimate purpose of warning state supreme court justices not to make laws.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 7, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Steve:

Are you gay?

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal,

Your comment is perfectly reasoned and I agree with it completely.

Now, could you just go back and make it funny?

Posted by: Kenji on June 7, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

If you're going to elect conservatives, why can't you at least elect intelligent, competent, honest ones?

If we had any, sure....Unfortunately, these days becoming a Republican office-holder seems to require one's checking ones' morals, intelligence and integrity at the door.

Posted by: Stefan on June 7, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

If you're going to elect conservatives, why can't you at least elect intelligent, competent, honest ones?

bwa ha ha ha! You're kidding, right?

Posted by: C.I. Dreyfus on June 7, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure if any such laws have been passed, but in some state legislatures there's been a push for so-called covenant marriages, which are designed to be very difficult to end by divorce.

Posted by: Peter on June 7, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, should inter-racial marriage be decided democratically, also? How about marriage between people with different religious backgrounds, should that be decided democratically? Should marriage between people with different eye colors be decided democratically? Mobocracy should be abandoned as a solution when it comes to civil liberties.

Posted by: Powerpuff on June 7, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I can only hope the conservatives start to really push their entire agenda: no gay marriage, no divorce, no contraception. That will go over real well with the populace, and it would be very, very nice if we could lash the Republican Party to these positions the way Ahab was lashed to Moby Dick.

Posted by: Derelict on June 7, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

But, it should be enacted democratically, not imposed by despotic courts.

if a law permitting or granting something doesn't explicitly ban a group of people from taking advantage of what that law permits, how is it "despotic" to point out that that group is permitted too ?

Posted by: cleek on June 7, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Well, DUH!!! Everyone knows that if gays are allowed to marry, there will be an epidemic of gay pregnancy, which will lead to an epidemic of children with two fathers and no mothers and . . .

Oh, wait . . .

Posted by: ck on June 7, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Homosexual marriages intentionally create motherless families or fatherless families.

Being married without kids, I hang my head: I have not created a family. Allard et al. seem to presuppose that procreation is the entire purpose of marriage, gay or otherwise.

Posted by: RSA on June 7, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

The failed effort to pass this amendment at least served the legitimate purpose of warning state supreme court justices not to make laws.
Posted by: ex-liberal

I disagree. One of the roles of the court system is to ensure that government actions do not unfairly infringe on the rights of the minority. If a court were to find - rightfully so, in my opinion - that marriage statutes weren't being equitably enforced for gay couples, what would their redress be? As in MA, it would be to call on the legislature to rectify it. That is NOT a case of the court writing a law, the court is kicking a law back to the legislature and saying "fix it".

Isn't that the court's role?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 7, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm engaged to be married. There are these two gay guys in Massachusetts that got married. Gay marriage is such a peril my fiance' and I have discussed calling off our nupitals. How would our marriage survive? Could it withstand the homo onslaught certain to be waged against us? We're not at all confident we have the resources, the wisdom and the courage to persevere in a state of heterosexual matrimony with those two gay guys out to get us. Can anyone help us? Even now I feel that hot homo breath on my neck, waiting to tear our pending union asunder.

Posted by: steve duncan on June 7, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Steve: Are you gay?

Jerry Seinfeld once said, "I am not gay. I am, however, thin, single, and neat."

Similarly, I am not gay. I am, however, thin, married, and neat.

Posted by: Steve Benen on June 7, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Peter,

Where they've been pushed for, convenent marriages would be an option - no one currently married would be subject to the restrictions, and those entering marriage would have the option of 'regular' marriage or 'convenent' marriage. I believe they are currently available in 4 states.

Even where passed, and when accept by individuals, all they do is make no-fault divorce harder by a 'cooling off' period and requiring counseling. Given the screams about what gay marriage could do to our social fabric, it seems a pretty tame response to biblically condemnable divorce epidemic.

Posted by: Fides on June 7, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Think about it:

1) Half of all hetero marriages end in divorce. How many heteros deny a mother or a father to their children? Millions and millons, often under unhappy and bitter circumstances. This is a much worse problem than gay marriage, particularly when you look at poverty statistics for divorced women.

2) Gay couples don't have abortions! You'd think the religious right would find common ground with gays on this score.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 7, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Of course everyone realizes that they wanted this amendment to fail, right? If it passed, the topic would be off the agenda. Now that it's failed, they can and will keep trying again and again for the next five months. They need an unwinnable fight to divide public opinion, and they need it to never go away.

If I were a news organization I'd stop reporting on this amendment or anything like it. Don't give them the attention.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on June 7, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless," why aren't we talking about an amendment to outlaw divorce? Or expanding healthcare to mothers and fathers so we might have fewer widows and widowers? It's akin to saying, "The pipes under my house are leaking. The only way to stop it is to replace the roof."

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on June 7, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you folks put up with this bullshit?

The answer to that question depends on who you specifically mean by "us folks".

Posted by: Irony Man on June 7, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yeah, Steve - but Seinfeld was "thin, single, neat" AND banging Shoshanna Lonstein: http://www.askmen.com/women/models_150/172_shoshanna_lonstein.html

Are you "married" to someone of the same-sex?

Posted by: Don P. on June 7, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless," why aren't we talking about an amendment to outlaw divorce?

So naive...you think we actually have sensible media in this country who would ask such a relevant and probing question?

Posted by: Irony Man on June 7, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"On second thought, it's probably best not to give these guys any ideas."

Too late: Now that FMA has failed, their next agenda will indeed be gay adoption. Gotta feed the base, no matter what.

Posted by: MaxGowan on June 7, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Peter,

Where they've been pushed for, convenent marriages would be an option - no one currently married would be subject to the restrictions, and those entering marriage would have the option of 'regular' marriage or 'convenent' marriage. I believe they are currently available in 4 states.

Even where passed, and when accept by individuals, all they do is make no-fault divorce harder by a 'cooling off' period and requiring counseling. Given the screams about what gay marriage could do to our social fabric, it seems a pretty tame response to biblically condemnable divorce epidemic.

Posted by: Fides on June 7, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

"It should be enactedd democratically, not imposed by despotic courts"

You don't seem to understand this "constitution" business. The whole point of having a constitution is to limit the power of the government, even a democratic government. The founding fathers took considerable care to ensure that a majority vote is not enough to limit minority rights. Courts, not the voters, determine what the constitution means, and they do so not on the basis of transient popularity, but through application of established legal principles.

If you think it's somehow illegitimate for the courts to "make" law, you need to study about te last thousand or so years of legal history. Wherever do you think the law of contracts comes from, or the law of torts? Do you think one day the Legislature sat down and decided to enact a statute saing that people who negligently injure someone can be sued?

Posted by: rea on June 7, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

If a father is good, maybe two are better.

Posted by: Guy on June 7, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Don p are you trollin for a date if so I'm white 40ish tall average build biker dude kinda of like Johny cakes on the Sopranos interested I can cook

Posted by: Jay on June 7, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Are you "married" to someone of the same-sex?

Don, I'm at a loss to explain your interest in my personal life, but yes, my one-man, one-woman marriage even meets GOP standards.

Posted by: Steve Benen on June 7, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK
If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless," why aren't we talking about an amendment to outlaw divorce?

If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless", why aren't we criminalizing parenting children out of wedlock?

Clearly, that's just a smokecreen, not the problem.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Seven Republicans voted against this - the usual moderates plus Gregg & Sununu. So make that the usual moderates plus the two principled Republicans. Hagel did not vote - I hope he would have also voted no. One Democrat voted yes and two did not vote. More bipartisan opposition to this garbage than bipartisan support. I say 3 cheers to the 7 Republicans who voted no!

Posted by: pgl on June 7, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Steve,

Your marriage only meets GOP standards if it is of the kind that results in procreation. Otherwise, you're just a fatherless/motherless family. No need to tell us your status in that regard, merely pointing that fact out.

Cheers!

Posted by: Everett on June 7, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless," why aren't we talking about an amendment to outlaw divorce?

People still being people, if divorce were illegal we would have the situation that always obtains when divorce is illegal: people who can no longer stand to be married would simply abandon their families, leaving them without the divorce settlements that currently allow lots of exes to collaborate fairly, if at a distance, in raising their kids mutually.

Now, if we really want to end the scourge of parentless families, we could outlaw early death. No more orphans!

Posted by: Tim Morris on June 7, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm worried now. I thought I was going to be protected from married homosexual illegal immigrant flag-burners. I guess we'll have to focus on the illegal immigrant flag-burners now. I sure am glad we have an election coming and we're gonna fix the problems in America before then!

Posted by: rickeaux on June 7, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Don P's Next Question:

Well, you're a man of the world, squire.

I mean, you've been around a bit, you know, like, you've, uh... You've 'done it'...

Well, I mean like,... you've SLEPT, with a lady...

What's it like?

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 7, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely
someone else: If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless," why aren't we talking about an amendment to outlaw divorce?

If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless", why aren't we criminalizing parenting children out of wedlock?

Clearly, that's just a smokecreen, not the problem.

Out of curiousity I visited Dobson-land. In his arguments, he cites a number of articles from godless-land arguing for the abolishment of marriage as a civil construct in the first place. Michael Kinsley (WaPo 2003) and Judy Levine (Village Voice) specifically. In his cite of Levine he says...

Michael Kinsley wrote a July 2003 op-ed piece in The Washington Post titled, "Abolish Marriage: Let's Really Get the Government Out Of Our Bedrooms." In this revealing editorial, Kinsley writes, "[The] solution is to end the institution of marriage, or rather, the solution is to end the institution of government monopoly on marriage. And yes, if three people want to get married, or one person wants to marry herself and someone else wants to conduct a ceremony and declare them married, let 'em. If you and your government aren't implicated, what do you care? If marriage were an entirely private affair, all the disputes over gay marriages would become irrelevant." Otherwise, the author warns, "it's going to get ugly."...

...an article titled "Stop the Wedding: Why Gay Marriage Isn't Radical Enough." She wrote, "Because American marriage is inextricable from Christianity, it admits participants as Noah let animals on the ark. But it doesn't have to be that way. In 1972 the National Coalition of Gay Organizations demanded the repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers.' Group marriage could comprise any combination of genders."

There be the real fear. First step on slippery slope.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 7, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

It used to be the wackos used the devil as their excuse for bad behavior.

Now they blame the gays.

I suppose it is easier than, you know, really fixing their problems.

"Doctor, I'm overweight and out of breath."

"Have you tried quitting smoking and starting an exercise program?"

"Can't we just blame the gays."

Posted by: Tripp on June 7, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

yes, my one-man, one-woman marriage even meets GOP standards.

To echo & expand upon Everett's point, it would have to be religious and procreative, with your wife dutifully submitting to your leadership & preferably not working outside the home, to meet GOP marital standards. Oh, and you'd get bonus points for "organic"-- i.e., untainted by birth control-- sex.

Posted by: latts on June 7, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

I'm tired of it always being about gays. Can't we punish the breeders for a change?

Posted by: def mf on June 7, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK
Your marriage only meets GOP standards if it is of the kind that results in procreation.

Your marriage only meets GOP standards if you are a heterosexual Republican -- in which case you can marry as many women as you want (though there's a preference for doing it sequentially, rather than simultaneously), abandon as many children as you want, have as many affairs as you want, etc.

As soon as anyone else does any of many of those things that would fine for heterosexual Republicans, it is a threat the survival of the Republican, to Western Civilization, and to the very fabric of Creation itself.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Similarly, I am not gay. I am, however, thin, married, and neat.
(emphasis mine)

Braggart.

Also, Mr. Benen, for the record, typically we don't pay much attention to DonP. His comments on this thread are just one good example of why.

Posted by: Edo on June 7, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Can't we punish the breeders for a change?

trust me when I say that when babies go through teething we are punished. Sleep deprivation is considered an effective torture technique. I understood why when I was a new parent.

Posted by: Edo on June 7, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Don p are you trollin for a date if so I'm white 40ish tall average build biker dude kinda of like Johny cakes on the Sopranos interested I can cook

Every gay man's dream date.

Posted by: floop on June 7, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many single-parent families there are as a result of our invasion of Iraq. American families. Iraqi families.

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

There be the real fear. First step on slippery slope.
Posted by: Red State Mike

Why? Who cares? If a guy wants to marry 3 (adult)women and the 3 (adult) women agree, why not? Polygamy has existed in this country for over a century. Personally, I would want none of it, one wife is enough! ; )

I don't think the government should be involved in marriage. It should sign off on the legal contract of a civil union, and if couples want to get married, churches can do that. I really don't understand what the fuss is all about. Gay couples getting married, bigamists and polygamists getting married; none of it has any impact whatsoever on my marriage - none.

I love how the GOP loves to bring up "protecting the children" as their excuse to enforce their religious mores on our society, but sit by and do nothing as millions of children enter the ranks of the poor every year. Hypocrisy at its most vile.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 7, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Why? Who cares? If a guy wants to marry 3 (adult)women and the 3 (adult) women agree, why not?

Because institutionalized polygamy has serious adverse social consequences.

I don't think the government should be involved in marriage.

If there's a position guaranteed to alienate both sides of the gay marriage issue, that's it. And your endorsement of polygamy, of course.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Because institutionalized polygamy has serious adverse social consequences.

If the only institution that is involved is a private one (e.g. a church) how does it have serious adverse social consequences?

I don't think the government should be involved in marriage.

If there's a position guaranteed to alienate both sides of the gay marriage issue, that's it.

Where in the constitution does it say anything about marriage? Or is that just a favorite litmus test of the GOP when it suits them?

Posted by: Edo on June 7, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK
Because institutionalized polygamy has serious adverse social consequences.

I'm not convinced that this is true; certainly, the practice of polygamy often accompanies adverse behaviors, but I don't see any evidence that, say, attempting to prohibit polygamy does anything but exacerbate those consequences, and, further, I see less to indicate that the consequences that are generally cited cannot be attacked more directly.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Are you "married" to someone of the same-sex?

Sounds like Charlie/Cheney/Chuckles/"Don P." is in the market for some man on man loving. Beats his normal hobby of making jokes about dead kids, I guess.

Sick bastard.

Posted by: Vladi G on June 7, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Because institutionalized polygamy has serious adverse social consequences."

Could yopu list the adverse social consequences?

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 7, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Because institutionalized polygamy has serious adverse social consequences."

Could YOU list the adverse social consequences?

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 7, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Powerpuff asks: "ex-liberal, should inter-racial marriage be decided democratically, also? How about marriage between people with different religious backgrounds, should that be decided democratically? Should marriage between people with different eye colors be decided democratically? Mobocracy should be abandoned as a solution when it comes to civil liberties."

This question assumes that judges will always give greater deference to civil liberties than legislatures. However, the problem isn't as big as you imply. Note that all the types of marriage you list were decided democratically (if you're willing to grant that the 14th Amendment prohibits a ban on racially mixed marriages.)

How would you feel if the court decided that some form of marriage was unconstitutional even though it had been approved by the legislature? IIRC that's the case with respect to polygamy. The Supreme Court invalidated it around 100 or 150 years ago, I believe.

The other problem is that marriage must have some boundries. Should it be possible for 3 people to marry? Seventeen people? People and apes? Three-year old children? Can someone marry himself? How about cousins? Sister and brother? Two brothers? My point is not to advocate or oppose any of these ideas. It's to point out that some governmental body must make the decision. I think it should be done democratically.

Don't forget that the Constitution says nothing about marriage. If judges make the decision, they're basing it on what marriage definition they prefer. That's not their job.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 7, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK
Could YOU list the adverse social consequences?

Well, for one thing, in the usual (polygyny-only) case, it could make a lot of guys lonely... ;)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK


cmdicely

I was hoping Don P would come up with a list of consequences.
As if.

You're saying that fathers would want their daughters to marry only mighty hunters, and the sons and grand-sons of mighty hunters?

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 7, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK
However, the problem isn't as big as you imply. Note that all the types of marriage you list were decided democratically (if you're willing to grant that the 14th Amendment prohibits a ban on racially mixed marriages.)

I'm willing to grant that the 14th Amendment prohibits a ban on racially mixed marriages just as much -- and in the exact same provision -- as it prohibits a ban on sexually homogenous ones.

How would you feel if the court decided that some form of marriage was unconstitutional even though it had been approved by the legislature? IIRC that's the case with respect to polygamy. The Supreme Court invalidated it around 100 or 150 years ago, I believe.

Wrong. The Supreme Court simply upheld a federal statute that banned polygamy in the territories, and ruled that polygamy was not protected under the First Amendment's free exercise clause; it did not on its own invent a law against polygamy, the Congress did that, with an assist from the President.

Don't forget that the Constitution says nothing about marriage. If judges make the decision, they're basing it on what marriage definition they prefer.

Not, necessarily, any more than they were when they read (properly, I believe) a prohibition of anti-miscegenation laws into the Fourteenth Amendment a century after it was adopted. As you have accepted that that decision was "democratic", I find it very odd that you would find decisions applying the same logic -- and often the same language, even though in State Constitutions -- to invalidate other discriminatory restrictions on marriage that fail the same test that was applied to anti-miscegenation laws in Loving (or, as in the case of Goodridge in MA, the far more lenient "rational basis" test that grants even more leeway to the state.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Well, for one thing, in the usual (polygyny-only) case, it could make a lot of guys lonely... ;)

Which is what Don P/GOP really means by "adverse." Like it's Utah's fault he can't get a date!

Pierre Asciutto, I think we've met before.

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Because institutionalized polygamy has serious adverse social consequences.
Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck consequences.
It's in the Bible, man. If you read the Bible, you learn that God Hates Fags. But even more than hating fags, God Loves Polygamists - like Abraham. Like Issac. Like Jacob.

If you don't want to talk about Scripture, and instead, are talking about Social consequences - WTF man, you're starting to sound like a Communist Social Engineer or something!

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 7, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

If the only institution that is involved is a private one (e.g. a church) how does it have serious adverse social consequences?

What a bizarre question. It has adverse social consequences through its adverse effects on people's lives. Are you really under the impression that private institutions cannot have adverse effects on people's lives?

Where in the constitution does it say anything about marriage?

In the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment, for example. Another bizarre question. Do you seriously believe that most people, on either side of the gay marriage issue, would support the elimination of legalized marriage altogether?


Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

certainly, the practice of polygamy often accompanies adverse behaviors,

Yes.

but I don't see any evidence that, say, attempting to prohibit polygamy does anything but exacerbate those consequences, and, further,

I said institutionalized polygamy has adverse social consequences. "Attempting to prohibit polygamy" is not the same thing as institutionalized polygamy.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK
Do you seriously believe that most people, on either side of the gay marriage issue, would support the elimination of legalized marriage altogether?

"Legalized" (as opposed to criminalized?) marriage, no.

State-sponsored and regulated marriage? Perhaps.

I for one wouldn't support it, but it would certainly force a serious debate and thought about the civil function of marriage that is desperately needed.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Could yopu list the adverse social consequences?

Examples include conflicts arising from depriving low-status men of a wife, and poverty resulting from large numbers of children supported by only one father.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck consequences. It's in the Bible, man. If you read the Bible, you learn that ....

I'm sure that's impressive to people like you who think the Bible has value. I don't.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Don P: Examples include conflicts arising from depriving low-status men of a wife...

"Depriving"? That's the free market at work, baby. Tell us the truth, Don; there's not a libertarian bone in your body, is there?

Posted by: shortstop on June 7, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

If the problem is families that are "motherless" or "fatherless," why aren't we talking about an amendment to outlaw divorce?

Nah, divorce is just an outcome of sinful behavior. If you really want to screw over the wingnuts, as well as be biblically correct, outlaw adultery.

The Dems would sweep in Nov as all the GOPers would be in jail.

Posted by: Disputo on June 7, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Do you seriously believe that most people, on either side of the gay marriage issue, would support the elimination of legalized marriage altogether?
Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

I would. (married, opposite sex, two kids, 13 years).

And frankly, as an American, it's the RIGHT thing to do. Marriage is an unconstitutional perk.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 7, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

State-sponsored and regulated marriage? Perhaps.

Really? Please show me your evidence that people in general on either side of the gay marriage issue would support--or even merely be indifferent to--the complete elimination of all state sponsorship and regulation of marriage. Marriage is sponsored and regulated by the state in all 50 states, by the federal government, and by all or almost all other countries in the world. There is no serious movement in any state to eliminate all state sponsorship and regulation of marriage. These facts suggest rather strongly that people want the state to sponsor and regulate marriage.

I for one wouldn't support it, but it would certainly force a serious debate and thought about the civil function of marriage that is desperately needed.

"Forcing debate" is not a good reason to change the law.


Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK
Examples include conflicts arising from depriving low-status men of a wife,

How does legalizing polygamy in general -- not solely polygyny -- deprive low-status men an opportunity to have a wife?

and poverty resulting from large numbers of children supported by only one father.

How does legal polygamy make this any more likely? Legal polygyny itself doesn't stop women from working, and criminalizing polygyny doesn't stop men from fathering children with multiple women (though it does increase the difficulty of establishing paternity, which would increase the number of children supported by no father or by the state, compared to legal polygyny.)

Of course legal polyandry would increase the number of children supported by multiple fathers, by the same logic you seem to have applied to polygyny, and should therefore cancel it out in the case of legalized general polygamy.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Examples include conflicts arising from depriving low-status men of a wife, and poverty resulting from large numbers of children supported by only one father.
Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it the state's job to provide low-status men with a wife?

And if poverty is the consequence of this behavior, then that's the fault of the father. Garnishee the fucker's wages and make him pay for his kids. We do it when the father DOESN'T marry, why shouldn't we do it when the father DOES marry?

And the Poverty thing really isn't a consequence of polygamy. It's a consequence of having too many damn kids. That happens in monogamous families too. More babies makes God happy. So I don't see why this should be the State's job to regulate.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 7, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK
Really? Please show me your evidence that people in general on either side of the gay marriage issue would support--or even merely be indifferent to--the complete elimination of all state sponsorship and regulation of marriage.

Since I simply dismissively said "Perhaps" rather than claiming it was likely or even true, your demand for evidence of a position I have not expressed no position for or against is -- unfortunately typically for you -- completely idiotic.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK
"Forcing debate" is not a good reason to change the law.

Since I wasn't arguing for any change of the law premised on forcing debate, this is a complete non-sequitur.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

How does legalizing polygamy in general -- not solely polygyny -- deprive low-status men an opportunity to have a wife?

Through higher-status men having multiple wives.

How does legal polygamy make this any more likely?

Through men with multiple wives having more children than they would if they had only one wife.

Legal polygyny itself doesn't stop women from working, and criminalizing polygyny doesn't stop men from fathering children with multiple women

Irrelevant. The fact that an outcome is logically possible does not mean it actually occurs in the real world.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

osama,

Why is it the state's job to provide low-status men with a wife?

It's not. And the point is.....?

And if poverty is the consequence of this behavior, then that's the fault of the father.

The effect exists regardless of whose "fault" it is.

Garnishee the fucker's wages and make him pay for his kids.

If he has 20 kids and makes only $20,000 a year, that's not going to help them much.

And the Poverty thing really isn't a consequence of polygamy. It's a consequence of having too many damn kids.

No, it is also a consequence of institutionalized polygamy, which has the effect of encouraging some men to have too many damn kids.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Since I simply dismissively said "Perhaps" ...

"Perhaps the moon is made of cheese" would be an equally idiotic observation.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK
How does legalizing polygamy in general -- not solely polygyny -- deprive low-status men an opportunity to have a wife?

Through higher-status men having multiple wives.

So? Higher status women will have the opportunity to have multiple husbands, too, unless, again, you are confusing "polygamy" with "polygyny only".

Through men with multiple wives having more children than they would if they had only one wife.

But, as you noted above, there would be a propensity for higher-status men -- and status and wealth are tightly correlated -- to have more wives, so why would this increase poverty?

And, again, you didn't respond to the point that legalizing polygamy doesn't stop women from working, so the number of fathers alone isn't meaningful in predicting poverty.


Irrelevant. The fact that an outcome is logically possible does not mean it actually occurs in the real world.

The examples in the real world where both legal polygyny and legal poyandry were practiced from which you draw conclusions about which would be more common if both were legal are...what, exactly?

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK
No, it is also a consequence of institutionalized polygamy, which has the effect of encouraging some men to have too many damn kids.

You seem to presume that men are universally the sole source of support for children.

This is one (among several) critical flaw in what passes for your reasoning on this issue.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK
If he has 20 kids and makes only $20,000 a year, that's not going to help them much.

If men making $20,000 a year have a bevy of wives and 20 children, then your claim that one adverse consequence would be that low-status men would be "denied" wives by legalized polygamy seems misplaced.

You really haven't thought through your objections very well.

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

"If it passed, the topic would be off the agenda."

Remus makes an important point here: nothing can be considered an abject failure when it feeds the GOP's passion for victimhood. They are constantly whining about being downtrodden - all those rich, white, Christian heteros just can't catch a a break in today's PC world! -- so failure is the one thing that can safely guarantee them more of what they need.

Is there a doctor in the house? (No, sit your ass down, Frist!)

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

cmdicely,

So? Higher status women will have the opportunity to have multiple husbands, too, unless, again, you are confusing "polygamy" with "polygyny only".

Again, you're confusing logical possibilities with real-world outcomes.

But, as you noted above, there would be a propensity for higher-status men -- and status and wealth are tightly correlated -- to have more wives, so why would this increase poverty?

Because higher status isn't the same thing as higher wealth and because the higher wealth may be insufficient anyway. Polygamist communities in the United States are full of children living on welfare.

And, again, you didn't respond to the point that legalizing polygamy doesn't stop women from working,

Yes I did. I responded that it's irrelevant. The issue isn't what's logically possible but what's likely to occur in the real world. But in fact even if the mothers worked at the same rate as they would under institutionalized monogamy, that wouldn't compensate for the economic deprivation arising from an increase in the ratio of children to fathers.


Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK
Again, you're confusing logical possibilities with real-world outcomes.

Again, I will ask you for your real-world examples of societies in which legal polyandry and polygyny were implemented that form the basis for your conclusions about the relative prevalence of each in the real world were polygamy in general legalized.

Polygamist communities in the United States are full of children living on welfare.

Which tells us something about how illegal polygamy works, but that criminalizing something can cause its practitioners to suffer economically is hardly a novel discovery.

The issue isn't what's logically possible but what's likely to occur in the real world.

Again, I will ask you for the real-world basis for your conclusions about what is likely to occur with legal polygamy (both polyandry and polygyny).

But in fact even if the mothers worked at the same rate as they would under institutionalized monogamy, that wouldn't compensate for the economic deprivation arising from an increase in the ratio of children to fathers.

Your basis for this conclusion (both your underlying assumptions, and the evidence supporting the conclusion that those assumptions are reasonable to make for a society like our own but for the adoption of legal polygamy) is...what?


Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

The examples in the real world where both legal polygyny and legal poyandry were practiced from which you draw conclusions about which would be more common if both were legal are...what, exactly?

Polygamous communities in the United States and around the world. As Jonathan Rauch puts it:

"Unlike gay marriage, polygamy has been a common form of marriage since at least biblical times, and probably long before. In his 1994 book The Moral Animal: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, Robert Wright notes that a "huge majority" of the human societies for which anthropologists have data have been polygamous. Virtually all of those have been polygynous: that is, one husband, multiple wives. Polyandry (one wife, many husbands) is vanishingly rare. The real-world practice of polygamy seems to flow from men's desire to marry all the women they can have children with.

"Moreover, in America today the main constituents for polygamous marriage are Mormons* and, as Newsweek reports, "a growing number of evangelical Christian and Muslim polygamists." These religious groups practice polygyny, not polyandry. Thus, in light of current American politics as well as copious anthropological experience, any responsible planner must assume that if polygamy were legalized, polygynous marriages would outnumber polyandrous ones probably vastly."

You seem to presume that men are universally the sole source of support for children.

You seem to have a hard time understanding what I presume.

If men making $20,000 a year have a bevy of wives and 20 children, then your claim that one adverse consequence would be that low-status men would be "denied" wives by legalized polygamy seems misplaced.

No it doesn't. As I already explained, "high status" does not mean the same thing as "high wealth."

You really haven't thought through your objections very well.

You obviously know nothing about polygamy as it actually occurs in the real world, and are obviously incapable of thinking about it rationally even if you did.


Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Which tells us something about how illegal polygamy works, but that criminalizing something can cause its practitioners to suffer economically is hardly a novel discovery.

Children in polygamous communities are economically deprived because the ratio of children to fathers is so high, not because the fathers are denied employment as a result of polygamy's legal status.

Your basis for this conclusion (both your underlying assumptions, and the evidence supporting the conclusion that those assumptions are reasonable to make for a society like our own but for the adoption of legal polygamy) is...what?

It's not an assumption. The basis is arithmetic. The more children a man needs to support with a given income, the smaller share is available for each child.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK
Polygamous communities in the United States and around the world.

Which specific examples of societies in which both polygyny and polyandry were legal?

No it doesn't. As I already explained, "high status" does not mean the same thing as "high wealth."

Are you denying that wealth and status are strongly correlated in our society?

You obviously know nothing about polygamy as it actually occurs in the real world, and are obviously incapable of thinking about it rationally even if you did.

AFAIK, there are a vanishingly small number, if any, in the real world of societies in which both polyandry and polygyny were legal, and none that are at all otherwise generally similar to our own, from which to draw conclusions about how allowing both in our modern society would function.

The simplistic assumption that it would function like societies in which only polygyny was allowed, and which (whether in polygamous marriages or not) women went from being essentially chattels of their fathers to being essentially chattels of their husbands would seem to be a foolish assumption.

As is assuming that the conditions prevalent in illegal polygamist communities -- who are, by the illegality of polygamy itself, separated from much of society and often economically isolated -- would be carried into legal polygamy.

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

GOP

Don't forget only mighty hunters, their sons & grand-sons will be in line for multiple wives.

Therefore, Cheeto eaters and such would be cut out of the comely daughters sweepstakes.

They'd have to save money from their paper routes and to make monthly visits to Sadie's Salon down on Market St.

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 7, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK
Children in polygamous communities are economically deprived because the ratio of children to fathers is so high, not because the fathers are denied employment as a result of polygamy's legal status.

Children in illegal polygamous communities in the US are economically deprived for a large number of reasons -- first, because these communities tend to be in areas that are generally, even outside of the polygamist communities, to not be the most thriving in the country; second, because they tend to be religious communities in which people are less likely to focus on individual material success as an overwhelming priority, and therefore are, all other things being equal, less likely to attain it; third, because the legal status of polygamy is a barrier to various interactions with the outside community that would promote economic success; fourth, because the legal status of polygamy and the fact that the communities themselves are hard to hide frequently brings increased legal scrutiny and attendant costs onto the members of such communities. One could go on endlessly.

It is hardly solely, or even primarily, because of the ratio of men to children compared to the remainder of society.

The more children a man needs to support with a given income, the smaller share is available for each child.

Your apparent assumption that the income of a family is solely dependent on the number of men in the family is amusing, but nonsensical.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it the state's job to provide low-status men with a wife?

It's not. And the point is.....?

If we're supposed to believe that the State has criminalized Polygamy because of the plight of "low-status men" - then I suppose it all makes sense.

But if it's not the job of the state to provide low-status men with a wife, then why is polygamy banned? It should be allowed. Are we not a free country?

If he has 20 kids and makes only $20,000 a year, that's not going to help them much.

And that situation is distinguished from cases where married, monogamous, hetero couples have 10 kids exactly how? It's no different.
We're talking about reasons why polygamy is illegal here in the US. Both of your reasons are bogus.

No, it is also a consequence of institutionalized polygamy, which has the effect of encouraging some men to have too many damn kids.

The Catholic Church's ban on birth control has the effect of encouraging some men to have too many damn kids - but we're not banning Catholocism, are we?

If a man can support 5 wives and 20 kids, then why the hell don't we (as a nation of laws) permit such a fortunate man to enjoy his blessings? Why is the government sticking it's nose into people's private business? Jeez, you'd think that a Republican, of all people, would easily understand this as a Religious Freedom argument. I certainly didn't expect to hear some freaky liberal social engineering garbage out of GOP.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 7, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Where in the constitution does it say anything about marriage?

In the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment, for example. Another bizarre question.

(italics, mine.) Ahh, so even though its off topic, I just want to be clear that GOP recognizes that the US Constitution is relevant even though the term "marriage" does not appear in its text. Presumably, GOP feels the same about privacy (and thus contraception and thus abortion).

Do you seriously believe that most people, on either side of the gay marriage issue, would support the elimination of legalized marriage altogether?

On topic. If the government was no longer the controling force over marriage and thus marriage had no more legal standing than "going steady" in high school has, then I do think pro-ponents of gay marriage would be fine with it.

Those proponents, understandably, do not want a "separate but equal" civil union. They want, and deserve, the same legal recognition that comes with marriage. If there was no legal recognition, then I assert they would not demand it.

As for the political viability of getting government out of the marriage business, I'd tend to agree that it is unteneable. So, is legalizing beastiality, yet that doesn't stop the likes of opponents of gay marriage from raising that particular spectre.

Posted by: Edo on June 7, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK
The Catholic Church's ban on birth control has the effect of encouraging some men to have too many damn kids - but we're not banning Catholocism, are we?

Well, to have any effect on number of children, that policy would first have to have a discernable effect on behavior wrt birth control which, hopes of the Catholic heirarchy aside, it doesn't, at least in the US.

If a man can support 5 wives and 20 kids, then why the hell don't we (as a nation of laws) permit such a fortunate man to enjoy his blessings?

Because we, as a nation of counterproductive criminalizers, would rather, prosecute him for "bigamy", throw him in jail, and thereby protect his children from the poverty that would result if he was allowed to work to support them.


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

No it doesn't. As I already explained, "high status" does not mean the same thing as "high wealth." GOP

Again, you're confusing logical possibilities with real-world outcomes. GOP

Looking at those two statements, I have to conclude that you are either schizophrenic or dishonest.

Posted by: Edo on June 7, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Which specific examples of societies in which both polygyny and polyandry were legal?

I don't know if there has even been a single society in which polyandry was legal. As Rauch notes, both contemporary experience in America and copious anthropological data overwhelmingly demonstrate that everywhere polygamy occurs in human societies, polygyny is vastly more common than polyandry.

Are you denying that wealth and status are strongly correlated in our society?

No I didn't deny that. I said that high status is not the same thing as high wealth. The meaning of this statement seems rather clear.

AFAIK, there are a vanishingly small number, if any, in the real world of societies in which both polyandry and polygyny were legal, and none that are at all otherwise generally similar to our own, from which to draw conclusions about how allowing both in our modern society would function.

As usual, your argument is an incoherent mess. Our society is overwhelmingly opposed to polygamy. All other liberal democracies that are "generally similar" to ours are also overwhelmingly opposed to polygamy. All societies in which polygamy has been legal have been radically different to ours. So your assumption that a society in which polygamy is legal but that is "otherwise generally similar" to ours is even a real-world possibility--let alone free of the adverse effects that have been observed in real-world polygamist societies-- is utterly and completely devoid of any theoretical or empirical support. As Rauch puts it:

"As far as I've been able to determine, no polygamous society has ever been a true liberal democracy, in anything like the modern sense. As societies move away from hierarchy and toward equal opportunity, they leave polygamy behind. They monogamize as they modernize. That may be a coincidence, but it seems more likely to be a logical outgrowth of the arithmetic of polygamy."

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Q. "How would outlawing gay marriage encourage heterosexual fathers to stick around?" was the first question. Allard skirted the question by saying that "laws send a message to our children."
A. By further reinforcing the notion that all family forms are inherently equal.*
Its called standards effecting behavior, I love that the left has to deny the vary concept of public morality in order to force their ideas on an unwilling America.
*(theyre not)


Posted by: Fitz on June 7, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

It is hardly solely, or even primarily, because of the ratio of men to children compared to the remainder of society.

You misrepresent even the clearest sentences. I didn't say it is because of the ratio of "men" to children. It's because of the ratio of fathers to children. All your other purported reasons for child poverty in polygamous communities are irrelevant. The primary reason the children are in poverty is that they are supported by many fewer fathers than they would be under institutionalized monogamy. Whether polygamy "stops" the childrens' mothers from working is irrelevant.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Our society is overwhelmingly opposed to polygamy. All other liberal democracies that are "generally similar" to ours are also overwhelmingly opposed to polygamy.

This is the first rational argument you've used so far.

And it is not a Conservative argument at all.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 7, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Now that this amendment has failed, what is to protect my wife's and my marriage?

Posted by: Pat on June 7, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

osama,

If we're supposed to believe that the State has criminalized Polygamy because of the plight of "low-status men" - then I suppose it all makes sense.

The primary original proximate reasons for making polygamy unlawful in America and other nations with a Christian heritage were probably a matter of religious doctrine, but nowadays the primary reasons for maintaining that ban are probably a matter of gender equality and the adverse effects of polygamy that I have described. More broadly, anthropologists generally believe that institutionalized monogamy probably arose primarily to reduce conflict between men for sexual access to women. If every man has only one wife, then every man can have a wife. If some men have many wives, then other men have no wife, which promotes conflict.

But if it's not the job of the state to provide low-status men with a wife, then why is polygamy banned?

For the reasons I have described, and others that I haven't mentioned yet.

It should be allowed.

No it shouldn't.

And that situation is distinguished from cases where married, monogamous, hetero couples have 10 kids exactly how? It's no different.

I already told you. Institutionalized polygamy has the effect of raising the ratio of children to fathers. Because some men have multiple wives and others none, there are fewer fathers to support children, and children are deprived as a result--not only economically, but in terms of the quality of the father-child relationship more broadly.

The Catholic Church's ban on birth control has the effect of encouraging some men to have too many damn kids - but we're not banning Catholocism, are we?

The Catholic Church's teachings on birth control are despicable and have caused--and continue to cause--an immense amount of human suffering. But that doesn't mean Catholicism should be "banned." I'm not sure how you think it could be "banned" anyway. Condemned and attacked, yes.

If a man can support 5 wives and 20 kids, then why the hell don't we (as a nation of laws) permit such a fortunate man to enjoy his blessings?

Assuming "enjoy his blessings" means "legally marry 5 wives," then for the umpteenth time, we should not allow this for the reasons I have already explained.

Why is the government sticking it's nose into people's private business?

Because it's not their private business.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

edo

If the government was no longer the controling force over marriage and thus marriage had no more legal standing than "going steady" in high school has, then I do think pro-ponents of gay marriage would be fine with it.

If you think there is any polling data, or any other evidence, that proponents of gay marriage would be fine with eliminating legal, civil marriage altogether, please produce it. I have never seen any evidence to suggest that this position is held by anything more than a tiny minority of the population.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

GOP's insane argument leads one to believe he is, in fact, a socialist. After all, capitalism creates winners and losers and creates social unrest too. Are we looking for a Constitutional Amendment to ban capitalism in this country?

Posted by: heavy on June 7, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Well, to have any effect on number of children, that policy would first have to have a discernable effect on behavior wrt birth control which, hopes of the Catholic heirarchy aside, it doesn't, at least in the US.

The reason the Catholic Church's teachings on birth control have no discernable effect on such behavior even amoung the overwhelming majority of American Catholics is because those teachings are so completely stupid and destructive of human welfare.

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

GOP's insane argument

Tee hee hee. "Insane" argument regarding what?

Posted by: GOP on June 7, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

As a parent, I am particularly worried about the Gay Agenda. I have personally witnessed parts of the Washington, D.C. area where gays have moved into neighborhoods, renovated unused historic buildings, and before you knew it, dozens of trendy stores, outstanding restaurants, and inspiring art spaces were everywhere. Not only that, but property values rose and the local economy went through the roof as these gay childless couples expended their disposable income. Who is going to stop these bastards!!!??

Posted by: Pat on June 7, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

yep, "GOP" is the same as Don P--same nonsensical, illogical arguments. And the more you point them out, the worse he gets.

Posted by: haha on June 7, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

All he needs is lots of capital letters and an obsession with Clinton's johnson and I'd guess he was also "Alice" and "Bayou Bob."

Posted by: Pat on June 7, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

GOP, Don P, maybe Charlie. Challenged intellectually, still the same.

Posted by: Where's osama on June 7, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

What upper limit do you intend to place on the number of people in a polygamous marriage? 3? 10? 100? 10,000? How do you decide where to draw the line? Calling a legal relationship between 1,000 people a "marriage" that is in any way comparable to the relationship that exists between a married couple (whether they are the same sex or different sexes) seems to me completely absurd. And how do you intend to deal with legal issues like divorce and taxes and inheritance and alimony and immigration and health care and social security and rights/responsibilities regarding children, when there are 1,000 "spouses" involved in the "marriage?" It's ridiculous.

You've completely lost sight of the very real human needs and dignity at stake in the gay marriage debate and are just mindlessly promoting the nonsensical idea that if marriage is meaningful regardless of the gender of the spouses, then it's meaningful regardless of the number of them too.

Posted by: casey on June 7, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK
I don't know if there has even been a single society in which polyandry was legal.

It was, to the best of my understanding, legal in Tibet until the imposition of Chinese marriage law, and China still has to work to repress the practice of fraternal polyandry, which is also practiced in parts of Nepal, though, at least currently, officially prohibited.

As Rauch notes, both contemporary experience in America and copious anthropological data overwhelmingly demonstrate that everywhere polygamy occurs in human societies, polygyny is vastly more common than polyandry.

Er, no. Neither Rauch nor any other source demonstrates that, you are engaging in the fallacy of division; what is validly known is that in all of the societies in history in which polygamy has been practiced, taken together, polygyny is vastly more often practiced, and more often legal.

But that doesn't provide any basis for any conclusions about what would happen were polygyny and polyandry both legal in our society.

As usual, your argument is an incoherent mess.

That may be the case, but you certainly haven't pointed out any way in which it is.

Our society is overwhelmingly opposed to polygamy. All other liberal democracies that are "generally similar" to ours are also overwhelmingly opposed to polygamy. All societies in which polygamy has been legal have been radically different to ours.

No doubt, and that was my point in asking you the question -- to illustrate that your mindless comments about how legal polygamy in the US would manifest in "the real world" that pretended to be based on actual observation were, in fact, entirely without a valid basis. That was the point of the question.


So your assumption that a society in which polygamy is legal but that is "otherwise generally similar" to ours is even a real-world possibility

Well, its certainly a "real world possibility", though perhaps arguably not a "real world probability". But I made no such assumption, I was challenging you to provide a "real world" basis for your comments about how legalization of polygamy would work in the US "in the real world". And you've admitted that you have none.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 7, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, if polyandry would be just as common as polygyny if both were legal, why isn't it just as common now, when both are illegal? There is no basis in sociology, anthropology, zoology, evolutionary biology, or any other science that I am aware of for the assumption that human females naturally desire multiple male sexual partners anywhere near as much as human males desire multiple female partners. Polygyny has been, is now, and always will be far more common than polyandry, and polygamy will therefore always be primarily about male power over women, and competition between men for women.

Posted by: flint on June 7, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK
If every man has only one wife, then every man can have a wife.

This is rather obviously not true in any society in which someone other than men have choices in marriage.

Its also rather obviously not true in any society with a surplus of men.

(And, looked at with the parallel interest of women, the absence of polygyny makes it impossible for some women to have a husband if there is a surplus of women.)

As Rauch puts it:

"As far as I've been able to determine, no polygamous society has ever been a true liberal democracy, in anything like the modern sense. [...]"

Rauch, may think this is meaningful, but given that there are even now only a few dozen liberal democracies, and very few existed more than couple centuries ago, and none outside of the Christian West, its not really a significant statement. Its kind of like the claim about no two democracies going to war (well, except that its more limited to "liberal democracies", and in addition to being insignificant, it might actually be true.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

these guys are put of control

Posted by: reancid on June 8, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

these guys are out of control

Hamas Militants Storm Palestinian TV Facility


what do you think should be done with tnem.... i really do not know

Posted by: reancid on June 8, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK
cmdicely, if polyandry would be just as common as polygyny if both were legal, why isn't it just as common now, when both are illegal?

Why would you expect the dynamic to be the same with illegal polygamy as with legal polygamy? (Not that I've claimed they would be equal, nor do I have an opinion one way or the other.)

There is no basis in sociology, anthropology, zoology, evolutionary biology, or any other science that I am aware of for the assumption that human females naturally desire multiple male sexual partners anywhere near as much as human males desire multiple female partners.

Marriage is a social institution whose incidents are largely related to property rights that historically has not been practically (even if it is legally) required for sexual congress, nor does it in the modern US require sexual congress, so the desire for multiple sexual partners is not precisely on point.

Polygyny has been, is now, and always will be far more common than polyandry, and polygamy will therefore always be primarily about male power over women, and competition between men for women.

The conclusion you offer does not flow from the premise, even if it is granted to be true (indeed, the conclusion offered is one of many possible explanations for the premise, rather than a consequence of it.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK
What upper limit do you intend to place on the number of people in a polygamous marriage?

Were one to allow polygamous (or, more generally, group) marriages, I suppose the logical limitation would simply be the rule of consent -- as every partner is part of the marriage, every partner must freely consent to every other partner.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

The primary original proximate reasons for making polygamy unlawful in America and other nations with a Christian heritage were probably a matter of religious doctrine

Unlikely, at least in terms of Christian religious doctrine being the root (although "original proximate" is a bit confusing of a construction); Christianity seems to have established its prohibition in response to the legal norms of contemporary Greco-Roman society, which, while tolerating prostitution, open concubinage, serial marriage, and even some institutions that looked a lot like, and arguably were a form of, same-sex marriage, didn't tolerate having more than one simultaneous legal wife, probably as a means of combating the PR problems which had unfortunate tendencies of having the surrounding society massacre christians.

So the societies which dominated most of Europe had the prohibition established prior to being Christianized; Christian religious practice on the matter was shaped by that prohibition, rather than the source of it.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2006 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Er, no. Neither Rauch nor any other source demonstrates that,

You really don't have a clue what you're talking about, do you, and are just making up facts as you go along in the hope that they're right. There is no serious dispute amoung cultural anthropologists that polygyny is vastly more common than polyandry. Evolutionary biology provides a simple and compelling explanation for this gender difference. And zoology provides numerous examples from other species that confirm the theory. See, for example, the book Rauch cites-- The Moral Animal by Robert Wright. Or How the Mind Works, by Steven Pinker. Or The Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond.

No doubt, and that was my point in asking you the question

Whatever you think your point was, the fact that no society has ever existed that had legal polygamy but was "otherwise generally similar" to ours, and that all societies with legal polygamy have been radically different to ours, strongly suggests that your assumption that a society that is generally similar to ours but with legal polygamy is a real-world possibility is completely without foundation.

But I made no such assumption,

Yes, you did. You claimed that real-world examples of polygamy provide no basis for conclusions about the likely effects of legalizing polygamy in our society, or a "generally similar" society. That claim rests on your false assumption that such a society is a real-world possibility. It also rests on the additional false assumption that polygyny would not be vastly more common than polyandry if both were legal.

Posted by: GOP on June 8, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Why would you expect the dynamic to be the same with illegal polygamy as with legal polygamy?

This is not responsive to the question. If polyandry would be just as common as polygyny if both were legal, why isn't it just as common now, when both are illegal?

Not that I've claimed they would be equal, nor do I have an opinion one way or the other.

Unless polyandry were as common as polygyny, or almost so, the prevailing form of polygamy would be polygyny, as it is now and as it has been in the overwhelming majority of cultures that have practised either form of polygamy. You have absolutely no basis whatsoever to assume that legalizing both forms of polygamy would cause polyandry to become much more common relative to polygyny than it is now or that it has ever been.

Marriage is a social institution whose incidents are largely related to property rights that historically has not been practically (even if it is legally) required for sexual congress, nor does it in the modern US require sexual congress, so the desire for multiple sexual partners is not precisely on point.

No, marriage is a social institution that predates the notion of property rights, the primary purpose of which has been to regulate sexual relations and reproduction between men and women of fertile age. Where polygamous marriage has occurred, it has almost always been on the form "one husband, multiple wives" and virtually never of the form "one wife, multiple husbands." Evolutionary biology explains this gender difference as a consequence of the different roles males and females play in human reproduction. Because the minimum parental investment of men is much smaller than the minimum parental investment of women, men have a lot more to gain from exclusive sexual access to multiple women than women have to gain from exclusive sexual access to multiple men. Thus men evolved a sexual psychology that values multiple wives much more highly than women value multiple husbands. Thus, polygyny is much more common than polyandry. There is absolutely no basis for your assumption that legalizing both forms of polygamy would somehow erase human sexual psychology and cause women to seek multiple husbands even remotely as much as men would seek multiple wives. The overwhelmingly dominant form of polygamy would be polygyny, with the attendant problems I have described.

Posted by: GOP on June 8, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

Were one to allow polygamous (or, more generally, group) marriages, I suppose the logical limitation would simply be the rule of consent -- as every partner is part of the marriage, every partner must freely consent to every other partner.

So in other words, you think the number of partners allowed in a legal "marriage" should be unlimited. You think it would be meaningful to grant to a "relationship" of 10,000 people the same legal status--marriage--as a spousal relationship of two men or two women, do you?

Posted by: flint on June 8, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Unlikely, at least in terms of Christian religious doctrine being the root (although "original proximate" is a bit confusing of a construction); Christianity seems to have established its prohibition in response to the legal norms of contemporary Greco-Roman society,

As I said, the original proximate reasons for laws banning polygamy in America and other nations were religious doctrine, specifically Christian doctrine. I'm sorry you don't understand what the words "original" and "proximate" mean. The "original" reasons are the reasons at the time the laws were passed, as opposed to "later" or "subsequent" reasons that were and are different. The "proximate" reasons are the reasons as formulated at the time, as opposed to earlier "ultimate" or "historical" reasons from which the proximate reasons were derived. As I said, those original proximate reasons were a matter of religious doctrine, not "Greco-Roman legal norms."


Posted by: GOP on June 8, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

"If you're going to elect conservatives, why can't you at least elect intelligent, competent, honest ones?"

Yeah! And you could elect unicorns and elves right with them!

Posted by: Mysticdog on June 8, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Yeah! And you could elect unicorns and elves right with them!"

haha, so funny, but true..

Posted by: Mike on June 8, 2006 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: If polyandry would be just as common as polygyny if both were legal, why isn't it just as common now, when both are illegal?

There could be many reasons for differences in such ratios in a system where the act is legal vs one in which it is not, including a lack of resources or power to hide activities from law enforcement or avoid the consequences of illegality.

That females in American society have less economic, social, legal, and political power than males is self-evident, although the separation appears to be shrinking.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 8, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK


cmdicely: Why is the government sticking it's nose into people's private business?


GOP: Because it's not their private business.


"The state has the right to regulate the use of birth control by married couples." - Rick Santorum on CNN 7/25/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailble on June 8, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK


and its just irony i guess that....

the last state which has the most remnants of polygamy...utah

also leads all state's of america in polls with the highest overall support for g.w.b.

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 8, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: Whatever you think your point was, the fact that no society has ever existed that had legal polygamy but was "otherwise generally similar" to ours, and that all societies with legal polygamy have been radically different to ours, strongly suggests that your assumption that a society that is generally similar to ours but with legal polygamy is a real-world possibility is completely without foundation.

Better not tell the fundies that the Hebrews didn't have a society similar to ours!

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 8, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK
As I said, the original proximate reasons for laws banning polygamy in America and other nations were religious doctrine, specifically Christian doctrine

Which other nations? In most of Europe, the ban was established by the Roman Empire before it was Christianized, and simply not removed by either Christian Rome or its Christian successors; in post-colonial regimes that generally continued the legal traditions of their former metropoles that were European powers where the ban descended from that of Rome -- as would be the case in US states, though the federal government didn't have a polygamy ban until 1890 -- calling the Christian doctrine the "original proximate" cause is certainly misleading.

So, I'd say you are mostly wrong; while Christian doctrine may have played some role, it certainly wasn't, in America or in many other cases, the original proximate cause, though it may have weighed against abandoning the long-standing ban.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK
So in other words, you think the number of partners allowed in a legal "marriage" should be unlimited.

Um, no.

I've never said I think polygamous marriage should be allowed. I'm saying that if one were to allow polygamy, the most logical rule to adopt would be that of unanimity as the limit rather than a fixed numerical limit.

You think it would be meaningful to grant to a "relationship" of 10,000 people the same legal status--marriage--as a spousal relationship of two men or two women, do you?

I don't think unanimity in a group of 10,000 people is a real world possibility.

And, btw, Don/Atheist/flint/whoever, if you want to create multiple identities that aren't completley transparent, you need to work more on not adopting all the same rhetorical ticks with all of them.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 8, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

cheney: FDA already "regulates" birth control

"The state has the right to regulate the use of birth control by married couples." - Rick Santorum on CNN 7/25/05


ricky was talking about privacy rights....not the fda...

speaking of the fda...how's that investigation of crawford going...

3-months on the job last year and he had to resign..

bush sure can pick em huh

too funny


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 8, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney: Also, AOG, I don't know a single fundie who wants the U.S. to go back to Old Testament Hebrew society - do you?

Since this is a non sequitur comment arising from something that was assumed that I said but which I've not said, your snooty comeback needs some reworking.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 8, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Chuckles, our resident clown, wrote: "Better not tell 'thisspaceavailble' that the FDA already "regulates" birth control."

No, dear, they don't, but then neither accuracy nor honesty were your strong suit. Free clue, dear: there are methods of birth control that the FDA has no jurisdiction over.

Posted by: PaulB on June 8, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

GOP wrote: "No, marriage is a social institution that predates the notion of property rights"

ROFLMAO.... Oh my... history isn't really his strong suit, is it?

Posted by: PaulB on June 8, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

There could be many reasons for differences in such ratios in a system where the act is legal vs one in which it is not,

Yes, there could. It's possible. But given that polygyny is today and has always been vastly more common than polyandry, I'm asking you what reason there is to believe that legalizing both polygyny and polyandry would cause that ratio to change dramatically. Unless you can come up with some evidence to support that implausible assumption there's no reason to believe it's credible.

including a lack of resources or power to hide activities from law enforcement or avoid the consequences of illegality.

You'll have to elaborate. How would "a lack of resources or power to hide activities from law enforcement" plausibly cause polygyny to be vastly more common than polyandry when both are unlawful, but not when both are lawful?

That females in American society have less economic, social, legal, and political power than males is self-evident, although the separation appears to be shrinking.

Huh? Obviously, there are more males involved in a polyandrous marriage (one wife, multiple husbands) than in a polygynous marriage (one husband, multiple wives), so on your novel argument there are more resources and power to hide polyandrous marriages than polygynous ones, and the partners in polyandrous marriages are therefore less vulnerable to detection and prosecution by legal authorities. So, on your argument, polyandry should be more common. It isn't. It's vastly less common.

Of course, your argument would be nonsensical even if it didn't suggest the opposite outcome to the one you're advancing it to support. The reason polygyny is and always has been vastly more common than polyandry is as I explained: For well-understood biological reasons, men are much more interested in gaining exclusive access to sexual partners than women are. Instutionalized polygamy reinforces and institutionalizes this gender difference, which is one of the reasons it's so harmful.


Posted by: GOP on June 9, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I've never said I think polygamous marriage should be allowed.

You've been arguing, with your usual ignorance and stupidity, that the objections to institutionalized polygamy I have described--that it promotes a hierarchical, patriarchal society, that it promotes conflict by depriving many men of wives, that it promotes economic deprivation of children--are groundless. If you really believe that, why don't you believe polygamous marriage should be allowed? If you think it should be disallowed because there are other, valid objections to it, what are they?

Posted by: GOP on June 9, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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