Five Gay Marriage Myths

Myth #1: Marriage is fundamentally a voluntary union of persons in a committed relationship

We tend to think of language as something posterior to thought. A thought comes into your mind and then you find the right words to express it. Anthropologists and neuroscientists are currently doing some fascinating work on the relationship between thought and speech and have discovered that things are a little more complicated. Speech does not merely proceed from our thoughts like a one-way street. Rather, researchers have been finding that there is also traffic flowing in the other direction: how we speak affects how we think about the world on a level that our conscious minds may never even be aware. As psychologist Lera Boroditsky put it in a Wall Street Journal article summarizing some of this research, “the structures in languages (without our knowledge or consent) shape the very thoughts we wish to express”.

There are fascinating examples of this from all over the world, but the phenomenon is just as evident close to home. In the last forty years, we’ve seen how the way people speak about unborn children (i.e., calling them “foetuses” or “lumps of tissue” instead of babies) has had an unconscious effect on how so many people think about the ethics of abortion. Or again, how we think about homosexuality has been enormously influenced by pairing homosexuality with words that already had a positive semantic range, such as gay. In David Kupelian book The Marketing of Evil, he showed that these and many other language shifts did not just happen, but arose out of a deliberate strategy for changing the way Westerners perceive certain key issues.

By introducing changes in how we speak, the media often changes how we think.

The same thing is now occurring in the debate over same-sex marriage. Almost without anyone taking notice, our society has begun to talk about marriage as a voluntary union of persons in a committed relationship, rather than a union of a man and a woman. Never before has marriage been spoken about in this way and the implications are profound. Because of how the brain works, this shift in how we talk about marriage has been attendant to a shift in how we think about marriage. Unconsciously we begin wondering: if marriage is really the union of persons in a committed and loving relationship, why shouldn’t gay people be allowed to participate in this institution?

As same-sex marriage was discussed in the public discourse of various English-speaking countries (first Canada, then Britain, and now America), it was almost universally taken for granted not simply that marriage ought to refer to the union of persons, but that the essence of marriage always has been the union of persons. As a result, less and less people, even among the Christian community, understand marriage to be intrinsically and inviolably heterosexual.

Let’s consider what it would mean if marriage has always been the union of two persons, with the gender of those persons being accidental in an Aristotelian sense. We are then claiming that the union of a man and woman has always been a variant of the union of persons, that biology and the possibility of reproduction were never at the core of what marriage is but additions to it, that consummation was never central to the completion of a marriage since only practical when the “union of persons” happened to be members of the opposite sex, that “man and wife” were never something that made a relationship a marriage but were always a species of the genus “union of persons.”

The only problem with construing marriage in these terms is that this has never been how it was understood, even among cultures like ancient Rome which might have been most inclined to understand marriage as the union of persons. Those who take this view are thus pushed into the corner of having to acknowledge that throughout most of human history the laws, customs, culture and language built up around marriage was based on a misunderstanding of what marriage actually was, for until recently no one understood that marriage has actually always been the union of persons.

Fewer and fewer people, even among the Christian community, understand marriage to be intrinsically and inviolably heterosexual

Now let’s be clear: the fact that marriage has never been understood as a union of persons does not itself prove the new concept to be faulty. However, at a minimum it does establish that it is a new concept, a novel definition that is discontinuous with the institution of marriage as it has been understood and practice for thousands of years. This is something the champions of gay marriage are reluctant to acknowledge, since their case for “equal access” depends on maintaining some degree of continuity with the norms of an existing institution. This pretence of continuity enables them to form their arguments in quantitative terms, as if they were merely expanding the pool of people who can get legally married, rather than qualitatively altering the very essence of what marriage is.

Myth #2: Gay marriage legislation would remove the ban on same-sex couples getting marriage

The issue of same-sex marriage is often framed in terms of a choice between either preventing or allowing gay people to get married. When the issue is framed in these terms, that is usually a good indication that the person has fallen victim to another key myth. The reality is that legislation to introduce gay marriage would not remove a ban on same-sex couples getting married because no such ban exists. There is no more of a ban on same-sex couples getting married then there is a ban on two-wheeled unicycles or square triangles. The very nature of what marriage is necessarily excludes same-sex unions.

Now government could always change the definition of marriage. However, as I pointed out in my earlier article, ‘Apples, Oranges and Gay Marriage‘, few people on the other side of the debate are upfront that this is what they are pushing for. Instead they will almost always frame the question in terms of giving same-sex couples access to an existing institution. The reality—which Douglas Farrow drew attention to in his book Divorcing Marriage—is that a ban on same-sex couples getting married only exists if you first start out by assuming that marriage is a union of persons rather than a union between a man and a woman. But to assume this is already to presuppose the conclusion of one side of the debate, which is why most arguments for same-sex marriage are ultimately circular.

There is more going on here than merely a lapse in logic. By framing the issue in terms of a supposed “ban” on same-sex marriage, the media has followed the gay-rights lobby in subtly altering the categories in which the debate is taking place. This is analogous to the way the media altered the terms of the abortion debate by deliberately framing the issue in terms of ‘choice.’

Myth #3: Gay marriage is the most tolerant option

Senator Rob Portman is among the growing contingent of Republicans who believe gay marriage to be the most tolerant option

The small but growing wing of the Republican Party that supports same-sex ‘marriage’ is trying to package it within the context of a libertarian political philosophy. Senator Rob Portman reflected this move when he wrote, “We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people’s lives.”

The problem with this argument from liberty is not simply that it is false, although it is. The problem is that it is the exact opposite of the truth, as I have already suggested in my article ‘Will the Real Enemies of Liberty Please Stand Up!’ It is those who oppose same-sex marriage who are the true champions of liberty. Indeed, if gay “marriage” is ever legalized, it is likely to result in unprecedented restrictions on freedom of speech and even thought. This was a point that S. T. Karnick drew attention to back in 2008. The Director of research for The Heartland Institute pointed out that,

The issue, it’s important to remember, is not whether society will allow homosexuals to ‘marry.’ They may already do so, in any church or other sanctioning body that is willing to perform the ceremony. There are, in fact, many organizations willing to do so: the Episcopal Church USA, the Alliance of Baptists, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Unity School of Christianity, the Unitarian Universalists, the Swedenborgian Church of North America, the Quakers, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, and the United Church of Christ, among others. Such institutions either explicitly allow the consecration or blessing of same-sex ‘marriages’ or look the other way when individual congregations perform such ceremonies.

No laws prevent these churches from conducting marriage ceremonies—and nearly all Americans would agree that it is right for the government to stay out of a church’s decision on the issue. Further, any couple of any kind may stand before a gathering of well-wishers and pledge their union to each other, and the law will do nothing to prevent them. Same-sex couples, or any other combination of people, animals, and inanimate objects, can and do ‘marry’ in this way. What the law in most states currently does not do, however, is force third parties—individuals, businesses, institutions, and so on—to recognize these ‘marriages’ and treat them as if they were exactly the same as traditional marriages. Nor does it forbid anyone to do so.

An insurance company, for example, is free to treat a same-sex couple (or an unmarried two-sex couple) the same way it treats married couples, or not. A church can choose to bless same-sex unions, or not. An employer can choose to recognize same-sex couples as “married,” or not. As Richard Thompson Ford noted in Slate, ‘In 1992 only one Fortune 500 company offered employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners; today hundreds do.’

In short, individuals, organizations, and institutions in most states are currently free to treat same-sex unions as marriages, or not. This, of course, is the truly liberal and tolerant position. It means letting the people concerned make up their own minds about how to treat these relationships. But this freedom is precisely what the advocates of same-sex ‘marriage’ want to destroy; they want to use the government’s power to force everyone to recognize same-sex unions as marriages whether they want to or not.

The effects of such coercion have already been felt in some places. Adoption agencies, for example, like any other organization, ought to be able to choose whether to give children to same-sex couples, or not. But in Massachusetts, where same-sex ‘marriage’ has been declared legal, these agencies have been forced to accept applications from same-sex couples or go out of business.

What’s at issue here is not whether people can declare themselves married and find other people to agree with them and treat them as such. No, what’s in contention is whether the government should force everyone to recognize such ‘marriages.’ Far from being a liberating thing, the forced recognition of same-sex ‘marriage’ is a governmental intrusion of monumental proportions.

Myth #4: Gay marriage will bring greater equality

Throughout this year there have been near-daily reports of prominent folks coming out for marriage “equality.” The basic idea is simple: if heterosexual couples can get married, isn’t it simple fairness that homosexual couples can also get married?

The idea that gay marriage will bring greater equality is a total myth. The reason it is a myth is because it is not true, and the reason it is not true is because it is based on a meaningless idea and only meaningful statements can have a truth value.

In order to demonstrate the meaningless of the above idea, I’d like to consider the nature of equality. In order for something to be equal, three things are necessarily required:

  1. Thing A
  2. Thing B to which A is equal
  3. Quality C that A and B share in common which renders them equal.

Consider the case of the pencil on my desk. I could say, “This pencil is equal to this pen with respect to its length” or I could say “this pencil is equal to my other pencil in respect to its pencil-ness.” Both of these statements are meaningful because the statements identify two objects that share a quality in common which renders them equal. But if I were to simply pick up the pencil and declare “This pencil is equal” or “this pencil brings equality”, I would be uttering a meaningless statement.

It is also meaningless to simply announce “gay marriage will bring equality” without specifying (A) that to which gay marriage is equal to, and (B) the quality shared in common by gay marriage and that to which it is equal. However, these variables are rarely identified.

The most obvious thing someone could say is that gay marriage will make homosexuals and heterosexuals equal with respect to the ability to marry. That is, both groups should have equal access to the institution of marriage.

The problem with this position is that it again assumes the myth that homosexuals are not allowed to marry. The reality is that no one is stopping homosexuals from getting married, since they are allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex. The fact that they do not want to do this is no more relevant to the question than whether the pope wants to marry. Just as it would be absurd to change the definition of marriage to include celibacy so that the Pope can have “equal access” to the institution, so it is absurd to change the definition of marriage so that homosexuals can begin to want access to it.

(As an interesting aside here is that for nearly all of human history, homosexuals would have been adverse to the idea of same-sex marriage. Gay scholars have often warned us not to assume that just because something works in a heterosexual context that it can therefore by transplanted into a homosexual context and still work. This is a fallacy they have referred to as the “error of heterocentrism.” Realizing that not all relationships are equal with each other, some homosexuals have been openly opposing same-sex ‘marriage.’)

Myth #5: Gay marriage will not undermine the traditional family

The Republicans who now support gay marriage have been keen to emphasize that it is consistent with “family values” and that it will strengthen rather than undermine the institution of marriage. Senator Rob Portman reflected this idea when he came out for gay marriage. During his CNN interview, Portman said he now accepted same-sex marriage “for reasons that are consistent with my political philosophy, including family values, including being a conservative who believes the family is a building block of society, so I’m comfortable there now.” Portman echoed these thoughts in his article for the Columbus Dispatch, saying,

“One way to look at it is that gay couples’ desire to marry doesn’t amount to a threat but rather a tribute to marriage, and a potential source of renewed strength for the institution…. the experience of the past decade shows us that marriage for same-sex couples has not undercut traditional marriage…. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society.”

It is, in fact, a myth that gay marriage will not undermine the traditional family. The reason this is a myth is because, once again, it is the exact opposite of the truth.

By making marriage simply the formalization of an intimate relationship between two adults, same-sex marriage does two things. First, it undermines the organic connection between marriage and child-bearing; second, it undermines the centrality of sex in marriage, including sexual faithfulness. Both of these things have profound ramifications for how we understand the relationship between the family and the state, ultimately undermining the integrity of the traditional family and, consequently, “family values.”

I take it as self-evident that gay marriage would undermine the organic connection between marriage and child-bearing, but how will it undermine the centrality of sex in marriage? The answer to this question has profound ramifications on the relationship between the family and the state.

A recurring theme in all the literature about gay marriage is that marriage is first and foremost a loving relationship, a bond of commitment and affection between two adults. It is first about the communion of souls in a committed and affectionate relationship and only secondarily about the acts those people might or might not perform with their bodies. You can find statements like this scattered throughout the gay and lesbian literature, and this is why I have argued elsewhere that same-sex marriage carries with it many Gnostic assumptions about the body.

The de-emphasis of the physical dimensions of marriage has resulted in the UK government announcing that the concept of consummation and non-consummation will be inapplicable to ‘marriages’ conducted by homosexuals. When the news surfaced that the government had decided that both consummation and adultery couldn’t be committed by two people of the same sex, many people puzzled at this, even though it was the logical outworking of the sex-less descriptions of “union” propagated amongst the agitators for gay marriage. You see, once our understanding of “union” in marriage is reduced to “a loving relationship between two committed adults”, then what two people do with their bodies becomes extrinsic rather than intrinsic to that union. But in that case, it is possible, in principle, for gay marriages to occur between two people who are celibate. By contrast, for a heterosexual marriage to be “consummated” (that is, to be a fully complete marriage), there is an act the husband and wife must perform with their bodies.

Now notice the difference between defining marriage as “A union between one man and one woman” vs. defining it as “a committed and loving relationship between two adults.” In the first definition, since “union” is implicitly understood to involve a sexual component, there is an empirical reality we can point to when establishing whether a relationship is really a marriage. But there is no corresponding empirical reality that can constitute what it means to be in a marriage regulated by the second definition. Indeed, a person might have a “committed and loving relationship” with any number of other persons without it being marriage. Because of this, the only way that a committed and loving relationship can be upgraded into marriage is if the state steps in and declares that relationship to be a marriage, in much the same way as the state might declare something to be a corporation or some other legal entity. By contrast, traditional marriages have and could exist without the state’s recognition because it is fundamentally a pre-political institution. Marriage is pre-political in the sense that it has intrinsic goods attached to it, not least of which is the assurance of patrimony and thus the integrity of inheritance. Such goods do not exist by the state’s fiat even though the state may recognize, regulate or protect them.

An imaginary example should make my meaning clear. If an unmarried man and a woman are shipwrecked on an island together with no one else around, and they decide to be husband and wife, it is meaningful to talk about them getting married and having a family even in the absence of a civil government. To be sure, a legitimate marriage almost always involves recognition by the wider community, but because the community is recognizing something that is existentially independent to itself, there can and have been situations in which the recognition of the community is posterior in time to the marriage itself. This is why the type of families created by traditional marriage have an a priori claim on the state. By contrast, one cannot say the same about two homosexual men or two homosexual women on an island who decide to get “married”. Without the mechanisms of the state to confer the status of marriage upon two members of the same sex, there are no acts that organically mark the relationship out as being marriage within a state of nature. Indeed, the philosophy behind same-sex marriage is one which makes both marriage and family entirely the construct, and therefore the province, of positive law.

The only way that a committed and loving relationship can be upgraded into marriage is if the state steps in and declares that relationship to be a marriage. Without the mechanisms of the state to confer the status of marriage upon two members of the opposite sex, there are no acts that organically mark the relationship out as being marriage within a state of nature.

Now let’s take my island scenario one step further and imagine a scenario involving three persons: a 35-year old man named George, an 18-year old girl named Mary, and a 40-year old man named Kevin. George and Mary have a sexual relationship with each other and perhaps they even have children, while George also enjoys a homosexual relationship with Kevin. Now, looking at this situation from the outside, there are a couple possibilities. One possibility is that George and Kevin are in a gay marriage, with Mary being their adoptive daughter whom George is pursuing an incestuous relationship with. But a second possibility would be that George and Mary are husband and wife, with George simply being unfaithful to Mary by having a relationship with another man (or even acting with Mary’s consent because she understands her husband’s bisexual urges). Now here’s the important point: without the state there to declare one of these relationships to be ‘marriage’, we simply can’t say which of these two options are correct. Looking at the situation from the outside, there is just no way to tell who is married to whom. Unlike heterosexual marriage, which has an existential fixity that can be recognized within a state of nature, gay marriage is meaningless without the mechanisms of government to legitimize it.

Someone may object to my example by pointing out that similar confusion would abound if there was a heterosexual married couple on the island and one of the spouses engaged in illicit sex with a third party. For in that case, looking at it from the outside, we wouldn’t be able to tell who was married to whom. Very well then, let’s modify my second example so that George and Mary are still having a sexual relationship but George and Kevin are not. You might think that this would simplify things by removing the possibility that George and Kevin are in a gay marriage. However, since sex is not a necessary condition for gay marriage (for remember, gay marriage is usually described merely in terms of “a committed and loving relationship between two adults”) it is impossible to know that George and Kevin are not married merely because they are not having sex with each other. The only way we could know whether or not they were married would be for there to be civil government on the island to confer the status of marriage upon them.

My thought experiments have been complex, but my basic point is very simple: without the intervention of government, there is no a priori existential state of affairs that marks certain types of same-sex relationships out as being marriage within a state of nature. Unlike heterosexual marriage, which exists in nature and is then recognized by the state, homosexual marriage is an abstract legal entity with no natural or existential existence. Now to be sure, within the paradigm of traditional marriage there are sometimes hard cases and it is not always clear whether something can count as a marriage, but at the centre there is a recognizable reality that is pre-legal, and the hard cases arise by virtue of how far removed we are from the centre. But there is no comparative ‘centre’ for determining what a normal same-sex marriage would be within a state of nature. Indeed, what counts as “a committed and loving relationship” is incredibly vague and open to any number of interpretations or further applications. Indeed, once marriage is divorced from nature like this, then in principle there is no limit to the types of relationship that can have the status of ‘marriage’ or ‘family’ conferred on it by the state.

All this has enormous implications for how we understand the relationship between the family and the state, to return to my point that gay marriage undermines the traditional family. By rearranging the very nature of what it means to be married, gay marriage raises the question of whether family and marriage can be considered pre-political institutions on the basis of natural and biological realities and intrinsic goods. This is because such natural and biological realities are being expunged from the essence of what we are now told marriage is and always has been, namely the union of persons through a committed and loving relationship.

Since consummation is unnecessary for a same-sex union to be called a complete marriage (even putting aside the question of what would count as consummation within a same-sex context), then what determines whether or not a heterosexual marriage is complete? Either we can have two separate non-equal definitions of marriage, or we can realize the logical consequence of same-sex marriage and say that the only thing left to determine what actually makes something a complete marriage or a legitimate family is the law itself. But have we really considered the implications of saying that traditional marriages and families are entirely the construct of the state?

There is no escaping from this problem. If homosexuals and heterosexuals are really “equal” before the law, then logically heterosexual marriage must collapse into being little more than a legal construct as well. Indeed, marriage and family become mere adjuncts of the state after the removal of the de facto conditions that make the traditional family a pre-political institution in the first place. No longer is family something that, in the words of Douglas Farrow, “precedes and exceeds the state.” No longer is the family a hedge against the totalitarian aspirations of the state because no longer is the family prior to the state.

This is not mere hypothetical speculation about what ‘might’ happen if same-sex marriages are legalized. Canadian theologian Douglas Farrow has shown that after Canada legalized same-sex marriage, even traditional marriage began to be spoken about as little more than a legal construct. In his book Nation of Bastards, Farrow criticized warned that by claiming the power to re-invent marriage, the Canadian state “has drawn marriage and the family into a captive orbit. It has reversed the gravitational field between the family and the state… It has effectively made every man, woman, and child a chattel of the state, by turning their most fundamental human connections into mere legal constructs at the state’s disposal. It has transformed those connections from divine gifts into gifts from the state.”

Most people are not aware of how gay marriage will undermine the traditional family because it does so in ways that are subtle and ubiquitous.  However, once gay marriage is introduced into a nation, it undermines the integrity of every family and every marriage in the nation. It does this by rearranging the family’s relationship to the state. The state which legalizes gay marriage is a state that has assumed the god-like power to declare which collections of individuals constitute a ‘family.’ But by this assumption government declares that both marriage and family are little more than legal constructs at best, and gifts from the state at worst. In the former case, marriage and family lose their objective fixity; in the latter case, we become the wards of the state.

Portions of this article will be appearing in the monthly magazine of Christian Voice, a UK ministry whose website is http://www.christianvoice.org.uk/. The article is published here with permission of Christian Voice.

Further Reading

 

93 thoughts on “Five Gay Marriage Myths

  1. This is probably the most ignorant “argument” I’ve ever read. First, to call a statement a myth because it is “not true” is extremely simple minded. Second, not one arguing statement had any factual knowledge to back up any of the points trying to be made. Each argument was an opinion of one person backed by opinionated articles of another person..but no facts.. No reason to believe any of the opinions stated in this opinion were in any way shape form our fashion relevant to the argument of “gay marriage” being “wrong”

    • Ronnie, I was using the term ‘myth’ in its more general sense. If I can establish through copious examples that my use of the term ‘myth’ falls within the semantic range as the term is customarily employed within our public discourse, then would that make a material difference to your first reason for why my argument is allegedly ignorant?

    • I find it interesting that advocates of same-sex ‘marriage’ are frequently developing philosophical a priori type arguments without any basis in empirical fact (such as appeals to equality which assume the metaphysical legitimacy of moving from ‘is’ to ‘ought’), and yet when someone enters into their own arena to show how illogical such moves are, they are accused of only giving opinion and not fact.

      The type of verification needed for a statement to be sound will depend on the type of statement being made. For example, it would be silly to try to verify a deductive statement (such as an axiom of Euclidean geometry or a statement that is true a priori) with empirical data, but it would be just as silly to try to prove an empirical fact with reference to philosophical deductions. Suffice to say, the absence of factual verification does not in itself prove that we do not have warrant for believing a statement if said statement is the type that can be verified on other grounds.

      If you agree with this, let me know, and I will then proceed to itemize my various statements showing which ones require factual verification and which ones require other types of verification. After doing that, we can then proceed to debate whether said statements satisfy the various criteria for verification required by the types of statements that they are.

  2. Third, to say that it is more acceptable for an 18 year old girl and a 35 year old male makes more sense as far as the “institution of marriage” goes, than for homosexuals to marry, or be accepted in society as a legitimate married couple, is just ignorant.. I have so many other points here…but to type all this out on my phone is as stupid to me as “homosexual marriage” is to you.. Good day..

    • I realize that it may be easier to dismiss my arguments as ignorance than to actually show how the arguments break down, but if you can find your way to a computer I would be very interested in knowing why you think my conclusions do not follow from my premises.

      In order for an argument to be unsound, either

      1) the premise must be false
      2) the conclusion must not logically follow from the premises
      3) the terms of the argument must be equivocations

      If even one of these three conditions are realized, then the argument is unsound.

      Ergo, in order for you to show how the arguments I presented are unsound, you would need to compare my argumentation to the above criteria. Have I used premises that are false? Have I posited conclusions that do not logically follow from my premises? Have I used ambiguous terminology and so equivocated? Those are the questions you need to grapple with, but saying that it is ignorant is just your opinion.

      • The premise is unsound because, as we witnessed in court yesterday, the argument that marriage = children is no longer true in our society. A woman who cannot conceive is no longer tossed aside. Some couples flat out don’t want to have children. And a couple where both partners are widows/divorcees/or just first time marrieds entering a union after the age of 55 will not, as Justice Kagan pointed out, be having many children. Like, at all.
        The argument presented in court yesterday, when challenged, essentially boiled down to gay marriage should be illegal because elderly hetero men might stray from their elderly hetero partners and impregnate younger women and we need to protect the “sanctity” of marriage so the wife is protected. seriously. Read the transcript.

        What undermines traditional family is the insane rate of divorce which, in some states is HIGHER in the Christian church.

        And equal to what? The 14th Amendment Equal Protection Under the Law clause. It says, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Liberty, in this case, is the freedom for consenting adults to marry. The law of this land extends benefits (you might say privileges, to use the wording of the Constitution) to people who decide to have their marriages legally recognized by the government. The case against the law, for example, was filed by a woman who will owe $360,000 in estate taxes that would go untaxed had her late spouse been a man. That’s wrong. And before you go there, time and again the court has determined that marriage is a right (14 times since 1988). In Loving v. Virginia, 1967, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
        In Boddie v. Connecticut, 1971: “[M]arriage involves interests of basic importance to our society” and is “a fundamental human relationship.”

        So yeah. Premise? Conclusion? Doesn’t hold.

        • By way of correction, a premise is either true, false or ambiguous, while it is the argument itself that is either sound or unsound. An argument becomes unsound if the conclusion does not follow logically from the premises that precede it, or if it follows logically but the premises are false or ambiguous.

          Putting aside that technicality, however, I want to address your statement “The premise is unsound because, as we witnessed in court yesterday, the argument that marriage = children is no longer true in our society.”

          The only problem is that I never argued that marriage equals children and therefore gay marriage is wrong, at least not in that simplistic formulation. Go back and read my actual arguments! It seems that you are interacting more with what you heard during the Supreme Court debate instead of what I wrote in my article above.

          Nevertheless, it is true that I consider procreation to be one of the ends of marriage. The fact of infertile couples, or of couples who choose not to have children, does not undermine this any more than the man who has a car in his garage as a collector’s item undermines the organic connection between driving and cars.

          I often use my car to take naps in because the house is too noisy. Now imagine that I had a car that I only used to take naps in and never drove. Would that mean that suddenly we could no longer say that driving was an intrinsic purpose of automobiles? Would it mean that driving was no longer one of the purposes of cars and that we could start calling all sorts of other things cars? Of course not, and neither does it make sense to say that because some couples can’t have children, or choose not to, that this means that procreation isn’t one of the ends for which the institution of marriage exists.

          For more information about this I suggest you read Alastair Roberts piece “The Institution of Marriage, Same-Sex Unions, and Procreation

          You write that “Liberty, in [the case of the 14th amendment], is the freedom for consenting adults to marry.” Now when you speak of consenting adults being able to marry, by “marry” you are presumably either referring to marriage in the sense of a union of a man and a woman, or marriage in the sense of a union of persons. If you mean the second, then you have committed the petitio principia fallacy by implicitly smuggling your conclusion into the premise of your argument. On the other hand, if you mean the former, then you have implicitly agreed with me, for I have argued (on the basis both of empirical facts and philosophical reasoning) that it is rational to consider marriage to be the union of a man and a woman.

          Let’s assume you mean the first, and that when you say that “Liberty, in [the case of the 14th amendment], is the freedom for consenting adults to marry”, you mean by “marry” the union of persons rather than the union of a man and a woman. Now apart from the problem of question-begging, this raises the question of how far you are willing to extend it. It be fully consistent with “consenting adults” this would have to include:

            Grandmother
            Grandfather’s Wife
            Wife’s Grandmother
            Father’s sister
            Mother’s sister
            Father’s brother’s wife
            Mother’s brother’s wife
            Wife’s father’s sister
            Wife’s Mother’s Sister
            Mother
            Stepmother
            Wife’s mother
            Daughter
            Wife’s daughter
            Son’s wife
            Sister
            Son’s daughter
            Daughter’s daughter
            Son’s son’s wife
            Daughter’s son’s wife
            Wife’s son’s daughter
            Wife’s daughter’s daughter
            Brother’s daughter
            Sister’s daughter
            Brother’s son’s wife
            Sister’s son’s wife
            Wife’s brother’s daughter
            Wife’s sister’s daughter
            A woman may not marry her:
            Grandfather
            Grandmother’s Husband
            Husband’s grandfather
            Father’s brother
            Mother’s brother
            Father’s sister’s husband
            Mother’s sister’s husband
            Husband’s father’s brother
            Husband’s mother’s brother
            Father
            Stepfather
            Husband’s father
            Son
            Husband’s son
            Daughter’s husband
            Brother
            Son’s son
            Daughter’s son
            Son’s daughter’s husband
            Daughter’s daughter’s husband
            Husband’s son’s son
            Husband’s daughter’s son
            Brother’s son
            Sister’s son
            Brother’s daughter’s husband
            Sister’s daughter’s husband
            Husband’s brother’s son
            Husband’s sister’s son

          Finally, if you would like to engage in a formal debate with me about this question in another forum, please let me know and I will contact you privately with further instructions.

        • LRC12,

          Actually the premise is sound. It is Keagan and your reasoning that is unsound. Here is why. In antiquity, there were childless marriages and not merely because women were infertile, but because they had abortions. People had the private intention to marry for money or property or whatever other private reason without producing children. This became so serious a problem in Rome for example that Caesar had to outlaw bachelors and mandate that married couples produce children. Rome was simply running out of people. So the whole, “we’re modern now” line doesn’t wash.

          Here is another reason it doesn’t wash. Keagan’s reasoning depends on conflating the telos of the social institution with the private intentions of individuals. But if the private intentions of individuals gave marriage its telos, there never would have been any common social institution of marriage in the first place because those private intentions differ greatly. Take for example the Military. It has its own social telos, regardless of whatever recruits have in mind when they join up. Their private intentions do not alter the social goal of the military. The same is true here. . It simply conflates the institution with private ends, which indicates that Keagan doesn’t seem to understand the issues involved or Natural Law Theory.

          As Alastair Roberts wrote regarding the infertility objection,

          “Marriage integrates various ends, both public and private, into a single institutional form. These ends include, but are not limited to, the fulfilment of our desire for human companionship, sexual intimacy and relations, kinship, and offspring, the securing of the wellbeing of children and the protection and encouragement of their lifelong relationships with their natural parents, the bringing together of the sexes in society, the passing on of a legacy and family line, the creation of extended family bonds, the protection of blood relationships, and the formation of alliances and connections between families.

          While infertile relationships may not fulfil all of these ends, they strengthen the institution by their commitment to it as the fundamental societal form within which we integrate these ends. An infertile couple’s marriage is no less a marriage on account of the fact that it produces no children. If infertile couples were to pursue sexual relations and companionship outside of marriage, it would encourage the dis-integration of the ends of marriage. By entering into marriage they are affirming that these things need to be held together within a single form (much as single people who abstain from sexual relations outside of marriage honour the union and its integrity). They are also declaring that the form of relationship that brings together the two sexes as one, and is the natural context for the conception, bearing, and raising of children should be accorded particular honour, which involves submission to the societal norms that surround it.”

          As far as divorce rates go, those who attend religious services once a week or more, the incidence of divorce is significantly lower, I believe around 15-30% than the general population. But even if this weren’t so, complaining about divorce as a threat to the integrity of the institution doesn’t license homosexual marriage nor lend it any support. If you find that your military lacks discipline as an effective fighting force, the solution isn’t to lower the standards, but to raise them. Likewise, what this argument implies is the eradication of no fault divorce and other overly lenient policies and laws. I seriously doubt homosexuals are, en masse, in favor of those proposals. The other thing to note is that it was the social conservatives that opposed those laws and policies as well. So the irony is, the social liberals create the problems and then blame the social conservatives for the consequences of the policies and laws the former favored. If homosexuals really want to strengthen marriage, then lets all agree to get no fault divorce…what? No takers?

          We could ask, what hard information do we have on homosexual fidelity? I mean sure, you can trot out Steve and Shane who have been together for thirty some years, but not only does this mask the question of fidelity, but it is anecdotal. How long do homosexuals stay with one partner over a lifetime on average? Anecdotal cases simply don’t cut it.
          There is no liberty of just any consenting adults to marry in the 14th amendment since that would cover lots of cases, not just homosexuals so it is of no use to you by whatever reasoning one arrives at it. First, the Amendment assumes that civil marriages in other states are natural rights. With the alteration of marriage from natural rights to mere civil rights in those states, there is no equivalency. The two are simply not comparable. This is why the 14th Amendment is inapplicable. Marriage in those states where gay marriage is legal is simply a legal privilege, not a natural right.

          The problem with the woman who owed the estate taxes was that she was imprudent. If she had had a Living Trust, she could have avoided those estate taxes quite easily. But she didn’t. She opted for a will and to go through probate. Sorry, no crocodile tears for someone who has to fork over their “fair share” in taxes to uncle Sam to the tune of 300k on a million dollar estate. She ain’t no 99%er. Besides, those taxes would have had to be paid to whomever the estate was left to via a will anyway. The solution that is much easier is to get rid of the estate tax altogether. To simply say that its wrong is to beg the question. I don’t think it is wrong. Wrong according to whose moral standard? Yours? Not mine. Besides, what interest could the state have in recognizing how she has sex in the privacy of her own home and with whom she chooses to spend time? That went out with Lawrence v. Texas, remember? It is special pleading to say that sex doesn’t matter and then it does. It if doesn’t, then it doesn’t.

          And surely Loving, Boddie and such say marriage is a right, but the question is, what kind of right is it? A natural right or a legal one? It seems that the material you cite from Boddie indicates it is a natural one, since it involves the basic importance to our society, like oh, its continued existence. So none of these cases help your argument, they rather undermine it. All children come from a heterosexual union whether in a marriage or not and this is why the state has an interest in it that it doesn’t have for anal sex or any other sexual practice or fetish. What would be the point of enclosing certain sex practices in a social institution when the society receives no benefit from them ever nor ever could?

  3. What a great article. It makes complete sense how changing the definition will result in a downfall of marriage as God intended it. This change, though subtle, will have grave consequences for us. Anyways thanks for the insight, and may God richly bless your work in this area!

    • great article ? no sorry just homophobic gibberish and scaremongering from a man who believes our society just be dictated to by his deluded religion

  4. Marriage IS a legal construct. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about how your religion or, as you so deftly pointed out, how a certain sect of your religion, chooses to acknowledge or object to certain types of “marriage.” This is purely a legal question and you’ve used a lot of flawed logic in an attempt to hide that fact. From the a constitutional standpoint the question is – “Does the federal government treat heterosexual couples and same-sex couples differently?” The answer, as it was for interracial couples prior to 1967, is a loud and resounding “yes.” Tax breaks, benefits and other privileges that become the legally protected rights of married couples are not uniformly extended to homosexual couples. This is denying rights to a minority unjustly.

    The bible, or arguments stemming from religious origins, should not enter a discussion regarding U.S. law, which is something you and others like you seem to misunderstand. The bible isn’t everyone’s moral code (and thank God it’s not) and it cannot be used a point of reference for the laws that govern a diverse populace who has the freedom to worship or not worship any God, God(s) as they so choose as extolled by the Constitution.

    Besides, even if we wanted to use your sacred text as the end-all-be-all reference point for this discussion, the bible doesn’t really have a strong definition of “marriage”. Soloman had 700 wives, the laws of Deuteronomy decree that rape victims must marry their attacker (provided the attacker can compensate the victim’s family the appropriate amount of livestock) and several beloved biblical figures regularly stepped out on their wives with slaves, hand-maids and so on. How are we to rationalize these contradictions or exceptions with your prevailing idea that “marriage” can only be between one man and one woman?

    • I agree that “We’re not talking about how [my ]religion…chooses to acknowledge or object to certain types of ‘marriage.’” I never appealed to my religion in the above arguments. I did not “deftly” point out what a certain sect of my religion believes, because that was not the purpose of the above article. You are the one who has brought religion into the debate, not me. You are the one that quoted the Bible, not me.

      The constitutional side of the debate is logically separate to the ethical and metaphysical aspects which I was addressing. Therefore, at most your points amount to a red herring.

      • “Libertarians are wrong because they just are [cue SLIPPERY SLOPE ARGUMENT that freedom of speech could SOMEHOW be destroyed- even though there have yet to be legal implications of what you assert]. Good one. Excellent use of logic. Gay marriage and freedom of speech are not, and have yet to be mutually exclusive.
        I do not believe in forcing people to like gay marriage nor to force an acknowledgement as a moral action. I do not believe in forcing religious institutions (thinking beyond Christianity here) to marry anyone they don’t want to marry. However, I also do not believe that the government should have the authority to decide who can and cannot get married- at the civil level. The problem is not that churches refuse to or allow gay couples to get married; legally, that is up to them. The problem is that at the civil level people are being denied benefits afforded to straight, married couples (tax statuses, health benefits, access to medical visitation, adoption, etc. etc.). “Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the [inherent] authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.” Your arguments are interesting but you miss the point entirely, especially when referring to the libertarian cause. What a sad thing, to deny people the right choose marriage.

        -Former hard-core conservative university student who became a libertarian after she studied the constitution and philosophy behind it.

        • Close parenthesis before “Good one” on first paragraph. I don’t want to have to hear all the grammar nazis of the internet skip my entire argument and go straight to the error.

        • Brittney, there are different strands of libertarianism out here. Some are more “libertines” in that they just want government to make laws to protect individuals from having to interact with other members of society. I don’t believe you’re one of those. I have a deep religious conviction against homosexuality (amongst lots of other social ills that sadly don’t get equal press), but I think I would be agreeing with you, as a fellow libertarian, that the problem with government’s defining marriage is that we allow the state to define anything at all.

          I believe that the S. T. Karnick quotation emphasizes that parts of society have already made decisions apart from the state to react in favor of the current pro-homosexuality movement. I disagree with these institutions, but this is where the friction and debate should come in our nation–within local communities.

          Alas, the argument now is what color to paint government’s big stick instead of arguing that the stick should be thrown away. I think you’ll find that Hans-Hermann Hoppe, of the Misesian tradition, expresses contempt for homosexuality only because its proponents seek to use the state to force “acceptance” amongst those of us who don’t want to accept it instead of making their arguments to members of their community. I believe, coincidentally, that is is how conservative Christianity should seek to gain its own influence in society–not by law, but by personal appeal to those in their communities.

        • “I also do not believe that the government should have the authority to decide who can and cannot get married- at the civil level.”

          Do you realize how little sense this makes?

  5. Sean,

    Simply asserting the belief that marriage is a legal construct doesn’t make it so. Besides, that would depend on one’s entire worldview, which is therefore question begging.

    The question from the federal standpoint is whether marriage is a natural right or a legal right?

    We’d need to know what qualifies as a “couple” to know if the state treats homosexual “couples” differently than heterosexual ones. Couples have historically been complimentary and homosexuals are not. The grouping of them as such is a matter of constructing a parasitic gloss on what a couple is, which is exactly what is under dispute, so the question begs the question. Are two men a couple?

    If marriage is a natural right, then we are no more discriminating against homosexuals than we are against incestuous couples or polygamists. There is no principled difference if the basis of grouping is based entirely on consent and affection. If you think there is, point it out.

    Tax breaks for heterosexuals in the main are in place because heterosexuals in the main provide something for the state that homosexuals either can’t, don’t or can’t in significant numbers, that is future citizens, tax payers, soldiers, laborers and such.

    If arguments from moral beliefs are to be excluded then that excludes your arguments as well since they are based on moral beleifs as well as any legal principle you wish to invoke. There is no non-religious or non-moral ground to occupy from which to deploy arguments in favor of your position. At the end, good old Jewish morality isn’t the only source. Opposition to homosexuality is as wide as practically all major religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.

    While it is true that the bible doesn’t explicitly endorse monogamy in the OT or in the NT it does preclude homosexuality, which is sufficient. Our side concedes that polygamy is natural, but monogamy is better because it refines the relationship and the love between the two parties and it helps to put women on an equal social and legal standing. In short, your position may be problematic for Protestants asserting Sola Scriptura, but not for the bulk of Christians who do not.

    The case laws you mention in the OT requires that the rape victim consent and consent based on her non-resistance. If she does resist the OT prescribes that death for the rapist is a possible sentence, far more strict than current laws. Moreover, biblical law allows the victim to determine the sentence of jthe criminal so the woman doesn’t have to marry him. She determines his fate. Biblical case law is far more complicated than you led on. There is a reason why the Jews came up with a tradition of interpretation.

  6. Excellently written article. While some of your wording may have been a little offensive to same sex ‘marriage’ supporters, if only because it came before your reasoning and not after, anyone with an open mind ought to be able to at least acknowledge the soundness of these arguments.
    Ronnie, a myth is something that is untrue but at one time was regarded as true. Because these arguments prove these points to be untrue, they may be correctly labeled “myths.”
    I would advise anyone who is about to blindly accuse the author of ignorance, intolerance, or subjectivity in his arguments to carefully reread the part of the article with which they disagree. You will most likely find that you disagree with it for some reason (wording, presentation, etc.) other than the actual reasoning behind the argument.
    I especially liked how you pointed out that the changing of the definition of marriage results from the rewording of phrases, which gradually affects the way we think about concepts. I too noticed that “pro-choice” supporters refused to call unborn babies “babies,” always referring to them as “fetuses” or “clusters of cells.” I literally laughed out loud at the “This pencil brings equality” statement! I JUST saw someone on Facebook share an article advocating “marriage equality” for the poor, oppressed homosexuals of America. But I digress.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Nope. I disagree with the premise and the conclusion. You can put lipstick on a pig…. it’s still a pig.

      The way we talk about marriage may have changed. But the way we “do” marriage has definitely changed. When’s the last time a father was presented with a goat and five chickens in exchange for his daughter? When’s the last time a woman was “courted” and chaperoned on a “date?” (Save for maybe the Duggars). Marriage has evolved from a “purchase” of sorts to an agreement in which BOTH parties have agency (i.e. women are not told “you will marry the son of this family”).

      Fewer women are choosing marriage because society has changed (some would say advanced) to the point where they no longer need the “security” that marriage used to provide. It’s shocking, I know, but many women are happy and comfortable making their own money, buying their own homes and supporting themselves financially and otherwise.

      Simply put, in this day and age, marriage is optional. You might not like that and maybe you pine for the days of yore when a brideprice was a thing, but I would wager you’d be in the minority.

      • By stating your opinion, you did not break down the authors original arguments.

        Dowry or not, heterosexual marriage is natural marriage. Its organic. Its fundamental.

      • You speak as though marriage started at a transaction or a price being paid for a bride and evolved from there. Marriage started in the garden when God created man and woman. I will admit that marriage has taken some changes such as older spouse marrying a much younger spouse or interracial marriage or even different beliefs about God between spouses. How do we get from that to marriage being anything other than a man and woman? God defines marriage, not man. God created the earth, not man. God provides the plan for eternal life, not man. He neither asks for a redefinition of marriage as he never asks you to explain how he created the world nor did he ask you if you wanted to be born. He made those decisions all on His own.

        • And now we’re back to the faith argument which is totally applicable right? The US being a theocracy wherein only one religion is practiced? I’m being deliberately facetious because the whole crux of this article, as other commenters have pointed out, is supposed to remove the faith argument. Bringing Adam & Eve (who fell, by the way) back into muddies those waters. Either we live in a secular society, or we don’t.

          • toss out the biblical account if you like, but there is no ethically neutral account to be had on your side either.

            And your gloss on primitive marriage is overly simplistic. Marriage was about familial death and resurrection and keeping familial boundry lines clear. The woman’s blood is shed in consummation showing she dies to her old family and rises to her new family which is why she takes on the name of her husband, her new pater familias. This is why the songs that were sung prior to consummation were mourning her death to her family in the breaking of the hymen, from which we get the word “hymns.”

  7. Take religion right out of it (as Robin has done), and these are still compelling points.

    I’m all for gay people being treated with dignity and worth, since they are equally made in the image of God. That means giving them all the rights that should be afforded them as one of God’s image bearers.

    But I’m 100% with Robin in that we can’t use the name marriage (something that is naturally instituted in the furthering of society through male-female sexual union) to describe a loving committed relationship between two people who are not biologically geared to further the human race through reproduction. Of course some people raise the question “what about infertile couples?” Are they really going to use the exception to break the general rule there?

    If it was me making the legislation, I would say give them every human legal right, but call it something else. It’s not my ideal outcome, because as a Christian, I believe that God’s design is pretty clear. But in a broken world, basic human rights* need to be provided to all people.

    In case someone is thinking of saying “Marriage is a human right!”
    *Disclaimer: human rights include marriage only between a man and woman, as instituted not by the government, but the natural order of reproduction.

    Thanks for posting this Robin. A great read.

    • Yeah. I really am going to use the exception of infertility. Because it’s not as miniscule a portion of the population as your post implies. In fact, it’s estimated that 6.7 million women in the US between 18-44 have infertility issues. Add that to the fact that 35% of US men are sub-fertile and that’s, well, quite a lot of people we’re talking about.

      Further, because we live in a country where you have the choice not to have kids (birth control pills, IUDs, condoms, and vasectomies are common and legal). Maybe they marry older. Maybe they just plain don’t want them. Whatever the reason, people can choose it. And in 2008, 18% of women aged 40-44 were not mothers. Are their marriages “invalid” because they aren’t producing offspring?

      No. Because this is not 1710.

      And the SCOTUS disagrees with your disclaimer. Actually, it’s done so on14 separate occasions.

      • Even if you were right, it doesn’t matter. We are simply out populating you and we will continue to do so. This is not some sour grapes. Plenty of secular demographers have noticed the trend. We can wait a generation or two or three. We win in the long haul. It is how we did it before. Any victory from SCOTUS will only accelerate the infertility practices and beliefs of those who disagree with us and hasten our population increase. I think i’ll go make another baby for my homeschool.

        Tails I win, heads you lose.

  8. Pingback: Starbucks and Gospel Reactions | To Tell You The Truth

  9. I lived with a man as my lover for the better part of 11 years. He cheated on me and I cheated on him. The ONLY thing we had going for us was lust. Today I’m married God’s way. My wife and I share the good news that Jesus can set you FREE from any sin and that includes the sin of homosexuality. I know that most people hate to hear the truth of God’s word so they create their own god, however, there is ONLY one God and ONLY one way to heaven. YouTube testimony(xgaygreg).
    I have NOT had ex-gay therapy, unless you consider Jesus my Therapist.

  10. I used to be addicted to men, but 7 years ago Jesus set me FREE! (YouTube video) I am now free from the sin of homosexuality. Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman according to the King James Bible (Genesis 2:24) December 19, 2010 I married a beautiful woman of God. FREE AT LAST FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY I’M FREE AT LAST!!!! JESUS IS LORD!!

  11. To be frank, i don’t think the argument presented by the article is going sway anyone’s thoughts on the topic. I just wanted to say the one thing that the gay community doesn’t like to talk about is that the legalization of gay marriage ( government section benefits and rights) has never been done in known history… so what they are asking for is going be the greatest ever social experiment in human history !! Racial integration doesn’t count because there have been many historical examples of multiple race/ethnic groups living with each other as peers. But the social normalization of gay marriage in a complex social structure?? Wow.. no one in history could of thought it possible. So do we actually know what would be the imperical long term social/economic impacts of gay marriage over the next 100 years?? NOPE. The pro gay marriage group already assume things on something that has no historical evidence to support. So you know what.. let it happen quickly as possible so we can see the fruits of it …. my guess is that gay marriage will only only be used by well-off white gay community to maintain a wealth position – and it will feed into the general disparity between racial-social economic groups. Also.. i think there will be a boom in vitro fertilization clinics among lower economic women, and even third world women (already happening in europe). Gay marriage will happen to pacify the public in thinking they did good and many other social economic injustices will continue to brew in this country.. But hey.. I could be wrong too. I know that as a christian, I dont need to live in fear of what changes around me cause Christ will use everything to glorify himself.. and i have no need to fear of that happening.

  12. Here in lies the problem. Everyone who has disagreed with Robin, while I love you all, has eschewed the use of logic and reason and have offered opinions and emotion as their evidence.

    How can we discuss anything if one side will not reason except with a stick on the other side’s head?

    • I’m pretty sure I’ve used logic, both empirical and anecdotal evidence and direct quotes from both the government and Supreme Court. Not sure what else you’d like….

      • You’ve used fallacious logic in two instances. First, you’ve committed the begging the question fallacy (I explain how here) and you’ve also committed a red herring fallacy by trying to refute my conclusion with references to arguments that were made in the Supreme Court instead of actually engaging with the arguments I presented in the above article. Therefore, I think Chris is right that you have eschewed the use of logic and reason.

    • There’s a difference between using logic and reason in an unreasonable, pedantic way and having the emotional intelligence to understand the psychological, symbolic importance of marriage. This article is unreasonably pedantic. It has no true empathy for gay people who wish to get married. Emotion and logic have to work together, you can’t just use one or the other to prove your point.

      • Uh, I’m for gay marriage. I just disagreed above (several times) using logic, reasoning and statistics. Apparently to the OP of this comment that isn’t good enough.

        The empathy of the argument is the most compelling, IMO (seriously. would love for some of these people to sit down with a gay loved one and explain, to his/her face, why they believe gays should be treated differently under the law).

        • Haha, sorry if it seemed like I was talking to you, I was replying to Chris. I don’t comment a lot on things like this, so I might have done it wrong. I completely agree, there’s major lack of empathy in this article and in a lot of comments on this thread.

        • I’ve done it. And on more than one occasion. And? Ethical beliefs aren’t just for people outside your family. If my son is a theif should I also change my moral beliefs about stealing? The majority of people change their beleifs this way because they are not reasonable. Blame Hume if you like, but most people are not reasonable and swayed by anecdotes and proximity and self interest. BFD. That says nothing about the strength of the case one way or another, just the lack of fortitude.

      • At the same time, I agree that my article didn’t use emotional intelligence to understand the psychological and symbolic importance of why gay people want to get married. Nor did I show any “true empathy for gay people who wish to get married.” This was a limitation of the article. Keep in mind, however, that it was written for a very specific purpose to help people who are being brainwashed with myths. In one-on-one dialogue with homosexuals in the public debates I am planning to participate in, I will be taking a more gentle and empathetic approach without compromising my convictions. Keep in mind Patrick that my approach or tone doesn’t render my conclusion false. You need to do business with my actual argumentation!

        • I’m not saying your argument is false, I’m saying it has absolutely no application to the real world. Social issues aren’t math problems. All you’ve said is, “Traditional marriage is x, and gay marriage is y. That doesn’t compute.” Yes, that makes sense. But so what? You haven’t illustrated what the emotional impact is for anyone. So how is anyone supposed to even care about your argument? It’s funny how you and several other people in this comments section have engaged in so much intellectual posturing. Stop living in your heads and start living in the world.

  13. Wow, what a collection of ridiculously complex intellectual arguments with absolutely no empathy. That’s fine that your opinion is that the central defining characteristic of marriage is the genitalia of the people involved, but many other people are of the opinion that the central defining characteristic of marriage throughout history is the loving, romantic commitment of the people involved. The human race is just beginning to come to the understanding that the romantic relationships between people of the same gender are spiritually equal to the romantic relationships between people of opposite genders. That’s why gay people are beginning to be included in the institution of marriage, because the way we understand marriage now (indeed, the way many people have understood it for a very long time) logically includes gay relationships. It always did, but the institutions and the people in power in the world are just beginning to learn this. This is an emotional and symbolic thing, not beholden to specific biological rules. It’s hurtful and oppressive to gay people to not include them in an institution that recognizes loving committed relationships. I think it’s very sad that you lack the empathy and the emotional intelligence to fully comprehend this argument, and I think you must be a very lonely person to have such a dry, cold, unemotional view of the way people express romantic love in our society.

    • The problem with your argument is that romantic love as the basis for marriage is not historical. It is a fairly recent development, in terms of human history. So pointing to is as the defining characteristic of what makes a marriage does not strengthen your argument.

      A second problem is that you devolve into ad hominem attacks on the author to try and make your point. That is bad argument technique. I realize it is quite common these days, and few people recognize this logical fallacy, but nonetheless, saying the author does not possess “emotional intelligence” does not strengthen your argument. And in fact, you provide no logical proof for your assertion that he lacks intelligence, other than your own interpretation of what he wrote.

      • You’re right, marriage is all about having children. Or improving your social status. Or gaining wealth. That’s totally how we define it now, so we should not have gay marriage. I get it now.

        Don’t you understand, it doesn’t matter what the “historical” definition of marriage has been. It’s meant a billion things to countless people throughout its history. The way we define it now, and have for some time, is that it is a romance-based relationship. Gay and straight romance are the same. That is why gay marriage fits into the definition of marriage we have now. It’s a human institution that evolves with human understanding of human relationships. Romance, or at least the idea of romance, is the only common factor that unites all marriages. That includes all the gay marriages that have existed for years now. To define it in any other way at this point is arbitrary and ridiculous. It shows a lack of empathy for what marriage really means to people. That is my opinion. I don’t need facts for that. The only evidence I have is that from where I sit in the world, it is my perception that the writer of this article does not empathize with my point of view. And that’s because he has not addressed any of the emotional aspects of this issue. Which is kind of silly, since I think we can all agree that at least a little bit of emotion has to come into play when considering the idea of marriage.

        • I don’t think one can, factually as the term is defined, “empathize” with a point of view, only with or for a person, no? I can’t see any evidence for the author’s empathizing with you one way or the other; his article, appearing to address the logic of the arguments for and against SSM, seemed to look to purposefully avoid addressing the arguments from an emotional viewpoint. Maybe you could ask the author if he can understand why you want same sex marriage so much to see if he could/can empathize with you?

          Re your saying emotion and logic have to work together: what if they don’t? Which one would take precedence if they are irreconcilable? I’m more partial to looking at the question of righteousness as saying mercy and justice work together. Indeed, any parent will feel the need for working these two together for their children’s sake but will also quickly realize how hard it is to do both. Can they both be done, completely and totally at the same time? Believers believe that yes, they can and are done at the same time, by God. Imagining that is humbling and awe-inspiring.

          • Please find me one place in this article where the author empathizes with any gay person. Any person who wants to get married to a person of the same sex. Isn’t it just a little bit reasonable to expect that when discussing this issue the emotions and thoughts of people who are directly affected might be taken into consideration?

            Emotion and logic do work together. Logic without emotion is useless. The very nature of logic is a means to an end. Logic is a tool we use to work through some kind of problem, and any kind of problem causes at least a tiny bit of emotional distress. So our emotions are at work when we use logic correctly. You use logic to understand all the emotions that are involved in a conflict and find a resolution that is emotionally satisfying for most of the parties involved. That isn’t being done here.

        • IF marriage is defined as “a romance-based relationship” or mutual consent in a loving relationship and nothing more then comes other issues. Such as Bestiality, Pedantry, Polygamy I can go on. Clearly these are not considered “marriage” to the state but by the new definition they are. Clearly this definition is flawed unless we want to add these to the mix.

          IF we don’t then this understanding of marriage is “close-minded” and the cycle continues. Slippery slope.

          I believe (sadly) we are headed to this era of “acceptance.” Pedophilia will be an accepted form of sexuality and even civil union. The same arguments that are used for homosexuality will be used for pedophilia.

          • Yes! People will want to marry their pets! You know, since pets have legal standing and can sign marriage contracts.

          • Oh, please. Bestiality? Can you ask an animal if it wants to marry you? Can an animal sign a legal document? Are children considered legally able to give informed consent? No. Your comment is incredibly insulting to gay people. Please get to know some gay people and please try to empathize with them before you end up posting more stupid comments on more stupid websites. The slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy. Please don’t pretend to be smart when you don’t understand how real logic works.

        • “I don’t need facts for that. The only evidence I have is that from where I sit in the world, it is my perception that the writer of this article does not empathize with my point of view.”

          It sounds like you are making your views immune from critique and non-falsifiable. Am I correct? If this is what you are doing, then there is no point in discussing things with you.

      • You’re right! Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed one bit. Why, women are still property. It’s illegal for blacks and whites to wed and divorce is still illegal!

        And gay marriage will change the foundation of society! How will we ever adapt to new social norms like modern medicine, a service-sector economy, or air travel.

        Er. Wait.

    • “This is an emotional and symbolic thing, not beholden to specific biological rules.”

      I do appreciate the symbolic significance of same-sex couples needing to appropriate ‘marriage’ to themselves. Behind all the ostensible aims of those championing same-sex ‘marriage’ is the more basic goal of normalizing homosexual activity. They need to be able to call their unions ‘marriage’ in order to appropriate the symbolic significance of marriage as it functions as a metaphor for family values and traditional ethics.

      This will become clear if we consider the reality of normalcy fields and the way symbols like marriage can stretch normalcy fields to cover previously innovative phenomena. I am drawing here on Venkatesh Rao’s fascinating article ‘Welcome to the Future Nauseous,’ in which he describes a phenomenon he termed “manufactured normalcy field.” A normalcy field is essentially the mechanism by which a novelty is incorporated into the larger conceptual metaphors built out of familiar experiences, so that when the novelty finally arrives it seems normal, and sometimes even boring.

      Rao uses the example of the the internet, which was incorporated into our normalcy field by tapping into the document metaphor. By thinking of web pages in terms of documents, the cognitive effort required to assimilate the internet into existing human experience was minimized. The internet might have evolved through other metaphors being stretched to cover it, such as architecture. Imagine, for example, that instead of opening web pages (document metaphor) you went into people’s web houses (architectural metaphor). The actual metaphors we adopted to appreciate what is happening with the internet were governed by that technology’s historical path of descent, and also by the path of least cognitive resistance.

      The historical descent of the i-phone determined that it would be situated within the phone metaphor even though voice is one of its least interesting features. Indeed, it would be just as accurate to think of the i-phone as a calculator with enhanced features. Judging from the way i-phones are used, it would also be just as accurate to think of the i-phone as the adult equivalent of a baby’s pacifier. However, our ability to assimilate the i-phone into our normalcy field—and for it consequently to not seem novel and fantastic—is the result of it reaching us through the phone metaphor.

      This helps us to understand why the future, when it arrives, is comparatively boring, and it never feels like we have entered into a sci-fi world, even though in a sense we have. Our cell phones work better than Captain Kirk’s communicator, and we have many other technologies that the Star Trek team didn’t even encounter when they landed on the most technologically advanced planets. Yet the reason it doesn’t feel like we are in the type of future a Star Trek viewer might have imagined back in the 1970s is because our time travel at a velocity of one second per is accompanied by a continuous state of manufactured normalcy. Changes only occur as quickly as the normalcy field can accommodate it.

      In the 90’s Steven Roberts built a bicycle-type device (knows as Behemoth) that possessed many features of the i-phone, but pairing it with the bicycle meant that it was always too much of a novelty for culture to accommodate. Even though the technology of the Behemoth is now outdated, it still seems like a novelty, while the i-phone (the pinnacle of our technological advance and capable of performing feats that at one time would have been considered magic) seems normal. It seems normal because we think and talk about the i-phone as if it were just a fancy phone. The i-phone can actually perform functions that at one time would have required dozens of entire office complexes: it is a supercomputer that you can hold in your hand. When someone holds an i-phone in their hand and see in real time what someone on the other side of the planet is doing, or instantaneously access an almost unlimited amount of data about any conceivable subject, they don’t feel like they are in a Star Trek movie because the i-phone has come to us through the extension of existing media. Similarly, when phones were first introduced in the late 19th and early 20th century, they felt normal because we thought of them as extensions of speaking tubes.

      If anything might seem novel and exciting, air travel should. Yet the full novelty of air travel has still never reached us thanks to a manufactured sense of normalcy. You are whizzing through the air at almost unimaginable speeds and yet it doesn’t feel like a roller-coaster ride: it feels like you’re just sitting in a stationary cabin while the world around you moves. In other words, air travel feels more normal and less novel than what our ancestors would have experienced on a fast chariot. Now the sense of normalcy we feel in an airplane doesn’t just happen; rather, it is manufactured through a network of conditions from climb rates to bank angles to acceleration profiles. Put all these things together and after take-off flying doesn’t feel like flying. In fact, skying at 5 mph feels more like flying at 500 mph in a 747.

      The above observations are a summary of some points in Venkatesh Rao in his fascinating article ‘Welcome to the Future Nauseous.’ What is really interesting is that many of these same psychological principles apply to moral innovation as much as to technological innovation. Rao doesn’t make these connections, but they seem pretty evident.

      When it comes to novel moral and sexual practices, normalcy happens in much the same way that technological normalcy is mediated to us. Changes that would at one time have seemed novel become widely accepted only in so far as they become incorporated into the larger conceptual metaphors, categories and paradigms embedded in familiar group experiences.

      Homosexuality is a prime example. For many years homosexuals have sought public legitimization of their activities, yet they are now realizing that the way to manufacture the sense of normalcy is to piggy-back onto categories that the public already have the conceptual apparatus for appreciating, such as liberty, marriage or equal rights.

      Just as the i-phone might have come to us through the calculator metaphor (imagine someone saying “I can speak to someone through my calculator”), so same-sex marriage might have come to us through different ideological channels. For example, it could have arisen out of mid twentieth-century feminism’s fixation with heterosexual marriage being oppressive because it allegedly institutionalizes prostitution. Imagine that a bunch of feminists like Gloria Steinem, Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon had got together and started saying things like, “Marriage allows men to control women, so we need to undermine the hegemony of the traditional family by stretching the boundaries for what can count as family. What better way to do this than same-sex marriage.” Had same-sex marriage come to us via that path of descent, it probably would have fallen on deaf ears and only been appreciated by a few radicals, in much the same way as it didn’t work to build a prototype of the i-phone on the model of a bicycle. For despite massive family breakdowns throughout the last half of the twentieth-century, the core values of traditional marriage are still too pervasive for same-sex marriage to have come to us via a direct attack on the traditional family. Instead, same-sex marriage is coming to us through a clever appropriation of family values. Indeed, it is being presented as a tribute to marriage, as if all that is needed is simply a quantitative enlargement of the pool of people eligible to marry and not a quantitative shift in the very idea of what marriage actually is.

      We saw a similar dynamic in the abortion debate last century. Abortion could have come to us via the eugenics movement, and many of the original abortionists were in fact propelled by eugenics theory. Or abortion could have come to us via the population control movement, as a way to thin out the number of people. These paths of descent have worked in bringing abortion to other parts of the world (for example, in both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union the government defended abortion as a tool for eugenics, while the China uses it as a tool for population control). However, it wasn’t until abortion became a metaphor for liberty and freedom of choice that it became widely accepted in nominally Christian nations like Britain and America. By tying abortion rights to market metaphors like consumer choice, and political values such as liberty, abortion activists were able to stretch existing normalcy fields. As a result, it is opposition to abortion that now strikes many people as strange.

      Given the slippery slope that is already occurring in nations that have legalized same-sex ‘marriage’, it seems clear that after same-sex ‘marriage’ is legalized, people will begin seeking legal legitimization for further perversions such as polyandry and pedophilia, perhaps even under the category of ‘marriage.’ Had we gone straight from real marriage to polyandry, it would have been like going directly from speaking tubes to the i-phone, which is something that few people in the public would have had the been able to smoothly assimilate. However, if perversions such as polyandry ever achieve legal sanction, it will be because such perversions feel normal, and the reason they will feel normal is because they were preceded by homosexual ‘marriages’, just as the novelty we feel about the i-phone is diminished by thinking of it as simply a fancy phone. It is not hard to see how polyandry could be packaged as simply an extension to the logic of same-sex ‘marriage’: after all, if “love has no gender”, then is it really rational to think that love has a number? If same-sex ‘marriage’ is a necessary consequence of the maxim that “government must stay out of the bedroom”, then polyandry may be simply one more application of this same principle. However, as Alastair Roberts points out in his article ‘Why Arguments Against Gay Marriage Are Usually Bad‘, when this state of affairs is realized, it won’t feel like sliding down the slippery slope at all: same-sex ‘marriage’ will already have shifted the normalcy field sufficiently so that these new perversions will feel just as normal and natural as same-sex ‘marriage’ feels now for many people.

      Just as the cell phone tapped into the metaphor of the telephone instead of the calculator, and thus participated in a line of descent going back to speaking tubes, so the idea of same-sex ‘marriage’ has tapped into a line of descent going back to traditional marriage, but mediated through the intermediary notion that marriage is little more than a committed relationship between two adults. It was that idea—that marriage is a union of persons—that created the co-ordinates whereby the changes we are now seeing can be integrated into the existing normalcy field. Elsewhere I have argued that this “marriage is a union of persons” idea has two primary historical antecedents. First, industrialization helped to contextualize marriage less in terms of the emotional fulfillment the relationship promised to provide (see here), while feminism has undermined the necessity of gender in this relational matrix (see here). But regardless of the origins, the fact remains that we tend to see marriage as little more than a romantic relationship of persons, while the intrinsic goods attached to marriage (the legitimacy of children, the integrity of inheritance, etc) are seen as secondary. The ease with which people accept the completely fallacious fertility objection (“procreation can’t be intrinsic to marriage because otherwise infertile couples couldn’t marry”) is a testament to this fact. The fact that we view marriage in this way allows the normalcy field to be sufficiently stretched so that now same-sex ‘marriage’ doesn’t strike many people as anything strange.

      Another way to make the same point would be to say that same-sex ‘marriage’ doesn’t seem novel to us because it hides a complex moral evolution underneath concepts that have become familiar to us, in much the same way as Rao describes advertising and technology “[hiding] a complex construction process underneath an apparently familiar label.”

      I showed in a post earlier this week that some gay activists are open about the fact that what is really at stake is the normalization of homosexuality. Things like tax breaks and fiscal advantages are by and large a smoke screen. Their true goals is for us to move past toleration to approval, and they know this can only happen by changing the normalcy fields so what might once have seemed perverted and strange strikes us as simply one more lifestyle choice. That is precisely why this debate is an emotional and symbolic thing, not beholden to specific biological rules. It is emotional and symbolic because it is about using terms pregnant with symbolic significance (i.e., “marriage) to stretch the normalcy fields to cover those things that were once considered perversions.

      • Exactly, a big goal of gay marriage is normalizing homosexuality. You describe that very well. What’s your point? That this is bad? Again, I do not accept this ridiculous “slippery slope” idea. It’s not at all a natural extension that pedophilia will be legitimized; sexual relationships between adults and children, most of the time, result in psychological trauma for children. We are not going to gradually negate this and go from “love needs no gender” to “love needs no consent.” We know now that being gay in and of itself does not cause psychological trauma, nor is it a psychological disorder. There is no actual harm that it causes. If we discover this about other types of romantic or sexual relationships at some point in the future, then we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. But gay marriage isn’t going to make everyone suddenly throw up their hands and say, “Anyone can marry anybody!” This isn’t something to panic over, it’s the natural evolution of humanity. If you still honestly see homosexuality as a “perversion,” then you are living with an early 20th-century mind in a 21st-century world. Tough luck, too bad you don’t have a time machine.

        • Yes, it’s bad.

          My point was that I understood the symbolic significance of gay marriage, since some people alleged that I didn’t.

          • Your saying equality is bad? I thought we where in America? “Freedom and justice for all” mean anything to you? You can argue civilization had slavery for ever but it didn’t make it right did it? Gay people have the right to pursue happiness fall in love and get married just like anyone else.

    • The human race is just coming to understand that homosexual relationships are “spiritually equal”? What empirical study demonstrates this? Sounds like a religious argument to me but I thought advocates for SSM ruled those out of court? Oh I get it. Only THEIR religious arguments count!

      • You can be an atheist and still be concerned with matters of the human spirit. As I keep telling everyone on here, the definition of marriage changes as humanity evolves. This is a subtle thing that has to do with shifting cultural values, something you can’t really quantify very well through “empirical studies.” I think you’ll find that a slim majority of the U.S. population supports gay marriage in many popular opinion polls, and it seems that this majority will grow as time goes on because it’s overwhelmingly supported by younger people. Is that empirical enough for you? Marriage is what the people in a culture collectively define it as, and that definition is shifting. Why does no one get this.

        • Patrick, Equivocation on the term “spirit.”

          the definition changes as we evolve only if there are no natural rights.

          Secondly, the evolution of a view doesn’t tell us that any given stage is true or false. The source of a view tells us nothing as to its truth or falsity. Genetic fallacy.

          Younger people support things often because of slogans and often because they are easily pressured. I know, I’ve taught ethics at the university level.

          Further, the younger crowd is smaller than the older due to population decline, so they are less politically significant. What is significant is that religious conservatives are out reproducing their secular compatriots by a significant margin. It is only a matter of time till this batch of youngtsters is overran with the next batch.

          As far as empirical claims go, the claim was about spiritual equality. I can’t see how your remarks touch that. How do we get from more young people favor X, to, X is therefore spiritually equal? German supremacy is more popular with the youth, therefore German supremacy is spiritually equal? Huh?

          Again, your claim about the shifting of the culture only follows if there are no natural rights. Second, the culture is not monolithic, so part of the culture has shifted, part has not. Why can’t you understand this?

          • Well, I guess there are no natural rights then. Because the definition changes. Deal with it.

            The older crowd is going to die off, regardless of how big or small the younger population is. Okay, Mr. Empirical Data, where is your data that shows that “religious conservatives are out reproducing their secular compatriots”? Where is your empirical data that shows that children of conservative people are going to be any less influenced by a culture that embraces gay marriage? Or that conservative people aren’t going to embrace gay marriage in the future (as many have already)? Are you living under a rock? Gay marriage is being framed as a civil right, and whether or not you agree that it is, U.S. culture has a long history of supporting civil rights, so the trend is not going to go in the opposite direction any time soon.

          • if there are no natural rights, then you have no natural right to life, free speech, religion, self defense, etc. That means that there is no case for gay marriage based on inalienable right to marry since no such right exists. That seems to cut the legs out from the case for Gay marriage.

            The older crowd votes more consistently. Second, the younger crowd is mixed, and this generation of liberal voters are likely to have even fewer children than their parents while their conservative compatriots are likely to have as many or more children. .

            The data on religious conservaties out reproducing liberals is found in Erc Kaufman’s work, Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, 2011. Kaufman is a secularist I might add. that isn’t the only place though.

            Kaufmann shows that very religious groups that are out producing have a grossly higher than average retention rate, between 75-85% for their children to continue with their views and practices. There is a reason there are only 200k or so Unitarians in the US.

            I guess I don’t see religiously conservative people embracing gay marriage now. If anything they either go a Libertarian route or hunker down.

            No I am not living under a rock. Are you? Can’t you do better than ask insulting rhetorical questions?

            Civil rights are natural rights, no natural rights, then no civil rights. We are all just slaves to the state then on your reading. Wow, what progress.

    • In what moronic world must an argument be made “empathetically” for it to be correct? Tone-arguments are one of the most ridiculous logical fallacies I’ve ever encountered. That mean man called me names and made me feel stupid! Ergo all things he said are false.

      Even worse, fools will attach the phrase “ad-hom” to it and further annihilate the once-lauded art of logic by saying because the arguer’s tone was less than warm and fuzzy, the entirety of their argument amounted to nothing more than an insult.

      Empathy, although having legitimate functions in our daily lives, especially on a personal level, has absolutely no place subverting logic and reason. Your fallacious reasoning (which you seem to suggest can be magicked to correctness because your innate emotional reaction is somehow morally superior to mine or Phillips’) contributes nothing to the discussion. To argue objectively by impulse is to defend all manner of violent criminals whose impulses we logically condemn and we suspend our empathy for.

      Homosexual unions, although not physically on the same moral plane as violent crime, certainly cannot be justified by a call to “empathy.”

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  15. This article was actually one of the better articles written utilizing very thorough logic. Many of you against the argument continually state that “I have used logic” when in fact most if not all of your argument has been through emotion. If the Supreme Court does decide that gay marriage should be legal, then what of the religious communities who do not support nor recognize this concept? Will they in turn be “forced” to comply with an act that they are compelled against and be forced into performing same sex religious ceremonies? Will other states follow suit as with Massachusetts and “force” elementary, middle, and high schools to provide literature even against the (straight) parents’ wishes for their children? Will the parents have a say in their children’s education? Will the (straight) parents have the “same right” protected under the 1st and 14th Amendments to express their concerns and not have their children indoctrinated through the public school system without the fear of retaliation of being labeled a bigot?
    Let’s use the point of a 55 year old couple (man and woman) versus a 55 year old couple (man and man or woman and woman) now consider the concept of “loving relationship” as many contend; it’s presumed by all parties that the “act of love” between the man and woman will be “natural” whereas between same sex couples it simply isn’t. Bottom line, the sexual act of two women (or even two men) is never completed without the assistance of something other than themselves. Regardless if the “couple” can have children, the “natural sexual process” is not nor ever can be the same between gay couples as straight couples. Please don’t come back with the apes do it…and other such arguments. Sexual intercourse is natural, the man is made a certain way, and the woman is made a certain way. Regardless of what your personal preference, anal, and other forms sex are not “natural” which then begs the next question, sodomy is illegal in most of the 50 states…so, as the article articulates, how are gay male couples to consummate the marriage?
    Let’s also point out that the premise behind the “marriage” of gay couples is being primarily argued for and about money. Simply put, the argument is always being presented as based upon “equal protection” which they are as citizens equally protected in all aspects as any citizen. Then the argument changes of not being taxed when their partner dies; so the argument should therefore become should “civil unions” (not marriage) be protected from the death tax? Considering that married couples in several states, still have to pay the “death tax” to their state and or federal government what is the difference and the real premise of the argument? Gay couples are not being discriminated against, rather the concept of marriage is being discriminated against; in order to justify an “inheritance” that they may or may not be protected against. As articulated in the article (and provided the references) many companies are providing the same options for gay partners as they do for married couples.

    • I wish people would stop claiming churches will be forced to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. It’s just not true. It never was true, it isn’t true, it never will be true. Sodomy is not illegal in most of the 50 states (please see Lawrence v. Texas). What do you mean by “natural”? Found in nature? Gay sex is natural by that definition. Do you define it as “being familiar and comfortable to you”? Perhaps not, then. But what is natural for you is completely unnatural for others.

      The gay marriage argument is about money, it’s about equal protection, it’s about being considered symbolically equal to straight couples under the law…it’s about a lot of things. Why can’t it be about more than one thing? You silly, child.

      • If you do not know what natural means in Natural Law Theory, and since the US Constitutional conception of natural rights is taken from NLT, it seems you aren’t in a position to talk about what should or should not be legal.

        You silly child.

        • You didn’t say natural law theory, you just said “nature.” “Nature” is a word that contains a whole lot of meanings. Natural law theory is a very big nebulous concept that contains many meanings, too. I mean, if you want to talk about John Locke’s conception of natural rights (life, liberty, and estate), there is nothing about gay marriage that conflicts with those concepts. But this is getting boring, so I’m probably gonna stop posting comments. I’m not gonna convince you, you’re not gonna convince me, gay marriage will continue to become more accepted in our culture and I guess everyone’s just gonna be all miserable cause all their natural rights will be infringed upon. I don’t care because I’ll be able to marry my boyfriend and we’ll be able to file joint tax returns and make Christians feel morally compromised and we will rule the earth and enslave all of you with our desire for you to legitimize our relationship! Mwa hahahahaha! (mounts broomstick and flies off, cackling and causing total annihilation of all natural laws everywhere he goes)

          • Patrick, instead of being insulting, can you reply to the actual arguments Perry brought forward?

            If you can.

      • First of all Patrick, I’m not a silly child…but do not confuse what I stated. I did state “natural” not nature…and let’s stick with some facts…the government is going to attempt to make Churches recognize gay marriages because that will be the next argument…the government is already through Obama Care attempting to make religious organizations provide birth control even though it goes against the moral good of the faith of many believers. You claim equality is needed yet the unborn because the woman and man decided to have sex want to abort a life; a life…that is more important than whether a gay couple can have a “marriage” under the premise of “equality.”

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  18. This article throws up “logic” and a labyrinthian semantic argument to hide behind for people who are opposed to gay marriage but don’t want to own it.

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  30. Young people in this country are creating a better union. You can not teach all your children about basic human rights and the American way of freedom and justice for all and then turn around and blatantly discriminate. It is just simply Anti-American. The person that wrote this rant would be arguing to keep segregation if it where just a few years ago. I would also like to point out that most of the statements made in the rant are just lies plan and simple because that’s the way these types work. You can see examples of this kind of bigotry all through history. That is way we are creating a better union despite these types of people. Freedom and Justice for all (not some) is something worth fighting and dying for.

  31. The idea that unborn children are just “lumps of tissue” is hardly recent. Actually, 16th century English common law held that life did not begin until birth, and the “born alive rule” originates there.

    “”If a woman be quick with childe, and by a potion or otherwise killeth it in her wombe, or if a man beat her, whereby the child dyeth in her body, and she is delivered of a dead childe, this is great misprision, and no murder; but if he childe be born alive and dyeth of the potion, battery, or other cause, this is murder; for in law it is accounted a reasonable creature, in rerum natura, when it is born alive” – Edward Coke

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_alive_rule

    It wasn’t until the 19th century that a view of human life approximating that held by today’s pro-life movement began to pick up steam in the West. It’s true that the Church Fathers were on our side, but then again they were Eastern. Western legal thought, because of its Aristotelian underpinnings, historically tended to view humanity as being inextricably linked with rationality, so a 10-week fetus, being “non-rational” was not fully human. Eastern Orthodoxy, on the other hand, has always held that rationality is NOT the essence of humanity, but rather worship and love is, and since even a non-rational child in the womb is capable of those things (see Luke 1:44), historically the EO have been less prone to hold Coke-like views.

    I’m not saying I agree with Coke, and I certainly don’t agree with the pro-choicers, but the view commonly held among today’s pro-life movement that “everyone before 1973 thought that life and personhood both begin at fertilization” is simply wrong, and we have to be honest about it.

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  33. A 55 year old woman? Not. Likely. Because science, son. A man, sure. But even still, we need to make homosexual marriage illegal in the event that a hetero man conceives out of wedlock and his wife needs protection? That is… well, perhaps we have different ideas of the word “bulletproof.”

    At any rate, the SCOTUS will likely not even rule on that argument since proponents of Prop 8 don’t have standing. (they themselves have to have suffered an injury because of the law… )

  34. What a bizarre form of argument. Admit that my argument is correct by stating that it is “not likely” and then bring up “science” which is exactly the reason why the government (if marriage is defined as regarding procreation) would not be able to dissolve/deny certifying a 55 yo’s marriage. It is because of science that it is still possible for her to conceive, as well as medical miracle (something that is common all over the world and well documented.)

    In short, if marriage is about government strengthening procreation, and 55 year olds can still procreate (no matter how low the possibility) there is no reasonable method to discern which 55 year olds will and will not procreate.

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