A Faux Compromise on Same-sex ‘Marriage’

kmiecA couple of weeks ago, two law professors from Pepperdine University (Douglas W. Kmiec and Shelley Ross Saxer) asked the California State Supreme Court to consider a compromise position on the issue of gay marriage (read the article here). The court was reviewing the recent passage of Proposition 8 in California, and Kmiec and Saxer came up with an idea that they thought would please all sides. Essentially, their idea comes down to this.

The court should direct the state to eliminate the word “marriage” from its vocabulary and replace it with some other term like civil union. Kmiec and Saxer argue that the state should stay out of the marriage business altogether. By doing so, the government could then treat all couples equally (be they heterosexual or homosexual) while not trampling on the religious sensibilities of those who want to guard the word marriage.

The main problem with Kmiec and Saxer’s proposal is that they have totally missed the point of the current debate over marriage. The debate is not primarily concerned about who gets to use the word marriage. If this debate were merely about semantics, I doubt that this issue would be on anyone’s radar screen right now. Rather, this debate is about whether or not state-sanctioned heterosexual unions (heretofore known as marriage) will still be privileged in law. Kmiec and Saxer’s proposal would mean that marriage would not be privileged in law.

For this reason, this proposal is no compromise. It’s just playing musical chairs with words. It elevates homosexual unions while demoting heterosexual ones, all under the banner of equality. But make no mistake, the substance of this proposal is every bit as radical as those who opposed Proposition 8.

43 Responses to A Faux Compromise on Same-sex ‘Marriage’

  1. Horton Granada March 17, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    I am confused. How will allowing homosexual couples to have the same legal rights as heterosexual ones elevate those unions over heterosexual ones? Would they get rights that hetero couples don’t get? And why should “marriage” be privileged in law in the first place?

    Are you similarly opposed to “common-law marriages” which are recognized as marriages without the benefit of church sanction?

    In the end, I fail to see how this rises to the level of a “transcendent moral issue” on par with the killing of millions of innocent children through abortion.

  2. brian March 17, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    Marriage was instituted by God before the fall. So before humans had evil sexual desires God had a plan for one man and one woman to be joined together in marriage covenant. God repeatedly say in Genesis 1 that things are good. He did say something was not good and that was for man to be alone.

    God is triune and and within the trinity we have the best picture of relationship. The Father, Son, and Spirit have existed in perfect unity from eternity past. God knows that live is more joyful and fulfilling when you have someone to share it with.

    Skipping over to the New Testament we have the church pictured as the bride of Christ. We are also told marriage between one man and one woman represents Christ and his church. Heterosexual marriages carry with them much more significance than just a tax break and a state deceleration. It is about two individuals daily representing Christ by living to serve one another out of love.

    Marriage is transcendent across cultures. From the USA to the Amazon tribe people have a God given desire to live together in unity in the covenant of marriage.

    If marriage is God’s idea and was first instituted by him then we MUST follow his guidelines for it.

    To promote homosexual marriage is plagiarism of God’s idea. If two homosexual people chose to live together there is nothing we can do to stop them, however we must stand on what God has said and not recognize their relationship as marriage.

  3. Nathan March 17, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    Horton,

    First, your question of why marriage should be privileged at all is shortsighted. This government and all other governments “privilege” or “distinguish” marriage as the building block of the community and the nation. This, as Brian alluded to, has been the case since the beginning of time. You need to give reasons for why there should be no such “privilege” before assuming there should not be one. Furthermore, if you remove marriage from society, the chaos that would ensue would be monumental. The issue of children, their well-being, and their provision would be staggering for the government to deal with on a case-by-case basis. The massive amount of familial items we take for granted in a country that privileges marriage would cost billions of dollars to even attempt to deal with. And the government still would not be able to handle it.

    Second, your question about common-law marriages and why California (and other states) would recognize them as “non church sanctioned” marriages is because of the states and their judicial rulings essentially declaring a marriage where there wasn’t one before. States do this based on an amount of time of cohabitation. Common Law marriages have nothing to do with the state separating “church-sanctioned” marriages from “state-sanctioned” marriages. Anybody is free to marry at the courthouse without the church sanctioning their marriage. Common Law marriages are essentially state sanctioned marriages after the fact when the two people who were living together (not married) now want to separate but have issues with who gets what of their possessions.

  4. Paul March 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Denny and others,

    how then should the state allow people to enter into binding contract on a multitude of different property and power of attorney issues for a nominal fee that must be recognized by families and health care professionals?

  5. Faimon March 17, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Wow.

    “God knows that live is more joyful and fulfilling when you have someone to share it with.”

    What about those who are called to celibacy? Are their lives not as joyful or fulfilled. The Apostle Paul may disagree with that statement.

    “It is about two individuals daily representing Christ by living to serve one another out of love.”

    Really? Two Muslim individuals? Atheist individuals? Pagan Individuals? Should we not prevent non-Christians (fundamentalist ones at that) from getting married?

    “From the USA to the Amazon tribe people have a God given desire to live together in unity in the covenant of marriage.”

    Again, pagans? What about the patriarchs who had multiple wives? King David? Solomon?

    “If two homosexual people chose to live together there is nothing we can do to stop them, however we must stand on what God has said and not recognize their relationship as marriage.”

    Isn’t that what the compromise discussed in this post said to do? Stop calling it marriage, but afford them legal secular rights?

    “You need to give reasons for why there should be no such “privilege” before assuming there should not be one.”

    Ok. If one looks seriously and honestly at history, then it has not always been this way. The concept of ‘family’ has alwasy been fluid. This is true even in the Bible. So this “privilege” is not nearly so ancient as you presume, and I hardly think allowing a secular authority to afford legal rights to homosexuals is going to alter the very fabric of society.

  6. Nathan March 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    “The concept of ‘family’ has alwasy been fluid. This is true even in the Bible.”

    Can you provide examples of this fluidity? I really do not find any fluidity in the geneaology listings in Scripture.

  7. Adam Omelianchuk March 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    Do we really need the government’s authority to recognize if we are married or not? I think public vows before God and witnesses would be sufficient.

  8. Nathan March 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    Paul,

    Why does the state have to give “distinguished” status to every form of relationship? By what obligation is the government responsible for this? So should four friends who wish to form a “state sanctioned family” have the same opportunity? Should a Father-in-law and daughter-in-law be allowed? Where will the line be drawn?

    There are already contractual arrangements for the manjority of the “privileges” of marriage. They just do not come free, as you said.

  9. Paul March 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    Nathan,

    the first part of your argument is hogwash.

    As to the second part, you missed the fun section completely:

    “…that must be recognized by families and health care professionals?”

    Short of marriage, families can bring a lawsuit if they believe that property to should be passed to “legal” family as opposed to “recognized” family. Short of marriage, some overly zealous nurse or doctor could deny someone’s partner power of attorney because they are not married.

    I don’t want people that drool at the TV screen while watching the 700 Club all day making those kinds of decisions. Which brings us back to square one.

  10. Matt Svoboda March 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Adam,

    I agree. From a Christian stand point, a piece of paper by the American government doesn’t mean much.

  11. Matt Svoboda March 17, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Paul,

    It is nice to see another person use the word hogwash.

  12. Nathan March 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Paul,

    Why is it hogwash? Or, let me ask the question this way, “Is is only homosexual couples that you feel are being mistreated by this slight?” If so, why are they the only “new” form of marriage that has the argument? Who granted their relationship “privileged” to stand at the government’s door and demand acceptance?

  13. Nathan March 17, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Matt and Adam,

    So if you refuse to have your marriage sanctioned by the governmen, which you are free to do (It’s called living together), then are you prepared to lose all the privileges the government affords married couples? Taxes, parental authority, etc.

  14. Paul March 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    Nathan,

    As for your “where do we draw the line?” argument, let me show you where…

    1) as for incest, public health is an issue. How many different diseases and gene mutations can occur because of inbreeding?

    2) Polygamy is a tax issue. How can a man possibly support 8-10-12-16 kids and 2-3-4 wives without making well into the six figures every year? He can’t. Not without government support. Which means that the state of Utah ends up footing the bill, which means that the government has a reason to be upset.

    So, there are even secular arguments that would negate incestuous and polygamous marriages. However, no such secular argument exists for gay marriage.

    What does exist is a privileged class trying to lord their privilege over another group, and using religion and bigotry rather effectively to do it.

  15. Nathan March 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    Paul,

    I would agree with you on point one (incest), although there have been parameters there (marrying cousins; sometimes first cousins) that have only been recently outlawed by certain states.

    Your second point on polygamy is your own last point on display in your argument for homosexual marriage, “What does exist is a privileged class trying to lord their privilege over another group, and using religion and bigotry rather effectively to do it.” You are acting very privileged to disparage polygamy, but support homosexual marriage.

    Moreover, your logic is fraught with absurd claims considering there were many families that had 8-12 children in the early part of the 20th century and they certainly were not on government aid.

    So, while your first argument has merit, your argument against polygamy, but for homosexuality is ridiculous. In both cases (homosexual marriage and polygamy), the government is saying this is not the projection of marriage the country wants to privilege.

    You would have had more weight had you spoke on your concerns for women not being made subject under the roof of a polygamist than to use a monetary argument. Either way, the government has already determined the issue of polygamy, which has a much stronger case than homosexual marriage, because at least there is the understanding of procreation and the continuation of a family line.

  16. Kelly March 18, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    Nathan, you are appearantly unable to look at this issue from a neutral position.

    You assume, incorrectly, that Gay couples do not have kids. They do all the time (and will continue to do so) via insimination, by adoption, etc. These families, and I have a couple in my extended family, are as good as any other, as every major medical/ psychological group and association will say (much to the chagrin of conservatives, who try to dance around and deny this fact by just pronouncing that having same gender parents is bad for kids, which is untrue) and deserving of the benefits and dignity of marriage.

    You talk about the needs of children? What about these young cousins of mine being raised by two wonderful parents? Or in the other case, raised by them and now grown, happily married and having families and careers on their own?

    Happily, the classmates of my young cousins who are growing up in these families have seen the effects of not having marriage available to their dads and the moms are, polls show, of a very different mind from their grandparents on this issue, so the situation will change soon. But, for now, what is your answer to these families, and those of us who love them? They are ideal parents by the way. In one case a pediatrician and a teacher. In the other, a teacher and a nurse. All devoutly Presbyterian or United Church of Christ. Both denominations wholly or almost wholly gay friendly and supporting of them and their families. One could not ask for better parents or nicer, better adjusted kids.

    Lastly, are you familiar with the case of the same gender couple who, vacationing in Florida when one of the women in question became so ill she had to be taken to the ER? Her domestic partner had all the necessary paperwork (POA, etc.) with her (who carries such things at all times? Why should anyone have to?) but was still unable to be with her when she passed. The staff, proudly conservative, said she was not family. A google or yahoo search will give you the details if you are wondering. The happened in Dade county if memory serves. What about them and their “legal paperwork”?

    Respectfully, think about it before you answer this? How would you feel if this happened to you?

  17. Don Johnson March 18, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    SHOULD government be in the marriage biz? I think not, marriage existed before any government.

    Can the government then give tax breaks, etc. to a couple? They can do what they wish but it needs to be equitable.

    The Catholic church, for example, then can have and enforce for its members ANY rules it wishes on who can marry and who cannot. Same for the EOC, the Baptists, and any other group, including Humanists, etc. This is the way a pluralistic society can work.

  18. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    “They can do what they wish…”

    Yes, and since I’m part of the government, I wish that normal, non-perverted relationships be given more priority than bizarre, God-hating relationships.

  19. Don Johnson March 18, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    The question is who determines in a pluralistic society what is normal and what is not?

  20. Kelly March 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    A word of friendly advice Darius T on your comments on post 18. There is a reason that those of us who support Gay rights and full recognition of Gay marriages, families, etc. have made such progress.

    That reason is attitudes such as the one you just exhibited. Do you think the father, mother, sister, brother, cousin (in my case) neighbor, best friend, co worker pf a person in a gay relationship who knows these people and loves them appreciates seeing them called perverted, God-hating or bizaar? Especially when we look at these people, which in my example are professional, successful, charitable and religious people (as I said, Presbyterian and United Church of Christ)?

    Keep sounding like you do. It only exposes the conservative ‘loving Christian’ perspective to more people, and that only helps those of us fighting for full inclusion of our loved ones in society.

    The conservative websites have thousands of posts asking why the young are more and more now putting ‘none’ on the religious affiliation line. Your response is a big part of the answer to that question.

  21. John D March 18, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    It was said in the comments that marriage is a religious institution. History does not bear this out. I did a web search once for ancient marriage contracts and found a Sumerian marriage contract. The contract made no reference to the Sumerian deities but instead to the civil laws that governed the contract. It was all about family and property.

  22. Nathan March 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Kelly,

    I feel sorry for the person(s) in question in Florida. I would also feel sorry for lifelong friends who would be in the same situation.

    The real issue here is moral/secular relativism. So because one group does not have the rights of another, all groups must be equal. That is really your argument, although I imagine it only extends to homosexuals. It is also your argument to state that “gay couples have kids.” Fine, I agree from the standpoint of how you define “kid.” However, they cannot procreate a child with both persons chromosones contributing to the offspring. That, by the way, is the classical sense of having a child. Also, simply because a “gay couple” adopts does not automatically remove the prior definition of family.

    This goes back to my question to Paul about where to draw the line. So, what say you? If a homosexual couple can be acknowledged by the state as a “married” unit, then by what right would you keep polygamy from happening or a group of three men or women?

    How would that make you feel? The truth is that you are also unable to look at this from a neutral position. You have already formed your opinion and have concluded (by your rhetoric) that homosexual marriage is equal with heterosexual marrige.

    So do you have a line in the sand that marriage cannot cross? Then fill in all your remarks about homosexuals with that group and read your own comments.

    Either that, or throw out marriage altogether (which is what the homosexual community at their core wants) because it can’t mean everything.

  23. Nathan March 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Don,

    “SHOULD government be in the marriage biz? I think not, marriage existed before any government. Can the government then give tax breaks, etc. to a couple? They can do what they wish but it needs to be equitable.”

    First, if the government should not be in the marriage business then your second statement is worthless. How can the government give tax breaks to a “couple” if they did not define what a “couple” is?

    Second, the government IS NOT equitable in their tax breaks or their taxation. Good luck on getting that passed into law.

  24. Paul March 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    “First, if the government should not be in the marriage business then your second statement is worthless. How can the government give tax breaks to a “couple” if they did not define what a “couple” is?”

    Well, even if the government isn’t defining relationships, it can still easily define households. Heck, that’s part of why they take a census every ten years.

    “I wish that normal, non-perverted relationships be given more priority than bizarre, God-hating relationships.”

    Do you realize how many heterosexual marriages should be banned according to this definition Darius?

  25. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    That reason is attitudes such as the one you just exhibited. Do you think the father, mother, sister, brother, cousin (in my case) neighbor, best friend, co worker pf a person in a gay relationship who knows these people and loves them appreciates seeing them called perverted, God-hating or bizaare?

    No, I’m sure they don’t appreciate it, just like my natural sinful flesh doesn’t appreciate it when God says that I (like each of us) am inherently wicked and sinful. Those in sin don’t appreciate being told that their behavior is wrong… thanks be to Christ that we have a Savior who has the answer to that sin. Homosexuality is perverted. Just like pride in my own efforts perverts where my pride should be: God’s grace and the Cross. Just like my lustful thoughts about a random woman perverts the perfect love God intended between my wife and I. It’s not a negation of all other wrong behavior to claim that homosexuality is perverted, just saying the truth. Heterosexual marriage is God’s intended plan, homosexual marriage is a perverted distortion of that plan.

    Especially when we look at these people, which in my example are professional, successful, charitable and religious people.

    I’m sure they are. Because they’re “religious” doesn’t mean anything, the Pharisees were religious. Because they’re professional and successful means squat, God doesn’t care about worldly success or human wisdom. Because they are charitable also means nothing spiritually. An unregenerate heart could be all of those things and even be morally superior to someone who has faith in Christ (wasn’t this the case in Jesus’ day when prostitutes followed him but religious leaders hated him?). The difference is that the latter has repented and trusted in Jesus, while the latter, like the Pharisee in Luke 18, are “confident in their own righteousness.”

  26. Nathan March 18, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    Paul: “Well, even if the government isn’t defining relationships, it can still easily define households.” How is a household not a group of relationships?

  27. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    “Do you realize how many heterosexual marriages should be banned according to this definition Darius?

    Paul, I knew you would say that. 🙂 Though I’m not sure what you mean exactly. I’m not saying this should be the official legal reasoning for the promotion of hetero marriage, just my own reasoning as a member of the government (“we the people”). I was responding to Don’s comment that the government (i.e. the majority) can do what it wishes. I agree, and it is my right as part of the government to push for the affirmation of hetero marriage.

  28. Kelly March 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm #

    Such is not the case with me Nathan. Your assume, incorrectly, that I will concur with the “Well if one thing is allowed, everything is allowed” arguement, and that one step must lead to unlimited others.

    The voting age was lowered (and thus extended to a larger group) to 18 year olds. Have we lowered it to 12 year olds? No, because we saw the error of not allowing an 18 year old to vote. The earlier conservative arguement fell by the wayside the more people thought about it (and oh did conservatives complain about it at the time). Opening marriage to same sex couples will not automatically lead to incestuous marriage. The case against incest is easy to make, and while I am sure there are a few who would like to enter into such a marriage, the case against it is so solid that it is not even debated. But, the whole point is mute really. If someone is in a gay marriage, that in no matter affects your marriage to your wife. The “But it chages the whole defition” whine just does not read true. If you are married to a woman, and your pal is married to another guy, you are still married to a woman. And if just knowing that other people can live happily with a set of understandings and ethics different than your own is such a bother to you, I would suggest you look at how strong are the ties the bind if they can be so easily weakened. Not to imply that yours are, if you are married at all, of which I have no idea.

    Also, and VERY importantly, we are not discussing some ‘classical’ definition of kid. We are talking about real world kids. My relatives in this case. And I promise you, adopted kids are every bit as much the kids of the people who adopt them as any kids that might result from sexual procreation, whether the adopting couple (or individual) in question could have made them themselves or not. Please, I beg you, be careful writing that where anyone who is adopted could read it.

    Your post could be interpreted as implying that my relatives, their partners, and their kids they have raised from infancy, loved, baptized, and whom the state recognizes as both being parents, are somehow not a family. Nathan, the existance of a family put together by choice and love via adoption or insimination in no manner does away with either the existance of or definition of a family that what you call the prior defintion of family.

    It is not a prior defintion anyway. It is a still valid definiton. My own family fits it. And we are not one bit less a family due to the existance of other families that look different from our own, but which are based on love, nuture, caring, firm yet gracious parenting, and the sacrifices that all parents make for the children they love, yet have two parents of the same gender.

    These families are not a threat to your family. Or mine. Indeed, several of my younger relatives have said they see family as all the more a thing to value and work for, since they have seen gay relatives who have had to struggle against legal propblems and great expense to form their families, yet who tell them that it is worth all the work and expense. “Makes a cheap and easy divorce when times get tough seem like the cowards way out, huh?” was my favorite comment from one 24 year old going through a rough patch in her marriage and refereing to the relationship of our gay cousin, which he had had to work so hard for legally.
    You sympathy for the family in Florida is kind, and I believe you when you say it, but sympathy is not a lot of value in a situation like this. Legal recognition of the relationship would be of value.

    Lastly, you mention Paul. My family are Protestant as a rule. A few Catholics. But, a lot of people I know are not religious at all. Not everyone cares what Paul would think. Why should one conservative opinion of one denomination (or many) demand all obey its understandings of this issue? It is not like murder, where pretty much everyone is in agreement that it is a bad thing. Many churches, from Unitarians to Episcopalians to many Presbyterians to the United Church of Christ would legally marry their same gender coulple members if they could. And what about pagans, and athiests, etc? I suppose I am just saying we should be careful how we treat people. It is not like conservative Christians are a growing majority in this society after all.

    The arguements against gay marriage only hold up if we all hold the same (conservative) religious view. We do not, and fewer and fewer of us, be it Christian liberals, Reform Jews, the non religious, what have you, do. If you do not want to enter into a gay marriage, no one will make you. But these families already exist. Their kids are there, and a few backward former confederate states aside (for now) they always will be. I know some of these people. They are my family. I love them Nathan. Perhaps that is why I have written to much, and with such passion. I hope you can understand that, and, even in disagreement, extend them the same rights (and duties) that every family should have. Theirs, mine, and yours. Thanks.

  29. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    Kelly, might and majority doesn’t make right. It comes down to what the Bible says, not what the Unitarians say.

  30. Nathan March 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm #

    Kelly,

    I meant Paul who has posted in this blog, not the apostle Paul.

    Also, you did not answer my question? What comes next? You say no to incest, but you did not answer about polygamy or group marriage. Your concern is only for homosexual marriage.

    “The arguements against gay marriage only hold up if we all hold the same (conservative) religious view.” That is simply a false statement. The overwhelming majority of this country believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. As does the overwhelming majority of all countries in this world.

    I love my brother-in-law, but that does not mean I have to condone his actions that are either against the law or against my convictions. I don’t have to extend him rights, even if I love him. Love does not mean approval of actions.

  31. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    Love does not mean approval of actions.

    That bears repeating.

  32. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    Also, while perhaps the incest argument is not a slippery slope (though I would maintain it is if one thinks about it logically and not emotionally), the polygamy line is very much a slippery slope. In fact, in Canada, homo marriage was legalized and immediately people moved onto legalizing polygamy. Legally speaking, there is no justification for stopping polygamy but not homosexual marriage.

  33. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    Kelly, I did respond to your first comment above, in case you missed it. Thanks. 🙂

  34. Nathan March 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Kelly,

    “And I promise you, adopted kids are every bit as much the kids of the people who adopt them as any kids that might result from sexual procreation, whether the adopting couple (or individual) in question could have made them themselves or not. Please, I beg you, be careful writing that where anyone who is adopted could read it.”

    I never said anything against adoption. My point was that adopting a child does not make you married in the eyes of the state; it does not redefine marriage. If that were the case a single person who adopted would be “married” as well. You attempted to provide justification for homosexual marriage based on adoption.

  35. Faimon March 18, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Nathan (in #6),

    Look at, for instance, the family that Jacob had when he met Esau. He is not condemned for his polygamy at that point.

    Of course you wouldn’t expect to see much in the genealogies. Those are highly stylized lists of antecedents that should not be taken as normative for family life. Though I grant you it is a novel argument.

  36. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    Faimon, just because someone in the Old Testament narratives isn’t condemned doesn’t mean he’s doing right. For whatever reason, God chooses to be relatively silent regarding the behavior of the Jewish forefathers (perhaps because the point is to show that righteousness does not depend on good behavior but faith). Jacob was a liar and a cheat. Abraham was a liar. Most of them were adulterers (polygamy and concubines were rampant).

  37. John D March 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    I keep reading these comments and thinking, “if you really believe that marriage is God’s, then you need to stay away from the courthouse.” If marriage is religious, then one would no more get a state license for it then you would for a christening or a bar mitzvah.

    That’s the abolition of state-recognized marriage. If those who believe that marriage is wholly religious want to opt out of the state recognition of their union, it’s not my affair. Okay, the state will see you as roommates. I’ve been there. Good luck.

    If you believe that there is a reason for the state to recognize marriages, that’s fine too. Let’s figure out that reason then apply it consistently. But let’s take those consequences too.

    Marriage, in contemporary America, is about two unrelated adults seeking to become closest kin with all those legal implications.

    Legal implications. Once again, history makes it plain that there were marriages long before the Church got involved. Civil marriage is older than any religion currently practiced.

    And for those who want to bring up the marriage at Cana, that would have been a civil ceremony.

  38. Nathan March 18, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    Faimon,

    My point about this fluidity is that you appeared to make it very broad. Perhaps you didn’t mean it that way, but history has no civilization that sanctioned anything other than heterosexual marriage. Whether that was polygamy (concubines and all) or simply one man and woman, there was never any intentionality to construct families that did not produce offspring. Property and fortunes were passed to these offspring (typically sons). Homosexuality was a form of licentious behavior, sometimes tolerated, but never intended for family. That was my point.

    John: The State(s) and the Federal government have already decided they want to recognize marriages (in conjunction with or without the church) and they have applied it consistently for the entire history of the country; it is between a man and a woman. However, as you stated (even though you may not have meant it this way), the homosexual community does not want the consequences, they want to rewrite laws. And where they have been able to manipulate the courts they are gaining ground.

    In every state where the people are given the chance to vote up or down, homosexual marriage has been voted down. Seems that the homosexual community refuses to accept the consequences.

  39. Darius T March 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    Nathan, rather than saying the “homosexual community,” refer to the “gay lobby.” Plenty of homosexuals are quite irate with how they are represented by the “gay lobby.” Melissa Etheridge, for example, doesn’t want gay marriage, since it is a religious institution. Plenty of other homosexuals just want to live their lives as they see fit and not force their bedroom into the public sphere.

  40. Horton Granada March 18, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    Nathan,
    With all due respect, you accuse me of being broad, and then you make this statement:

    “but history has no civilization that sanctioned anything other than heterosexual marriage.”

    That, sir, is the defintion of a broad statement.

    And I think there is now a circular argument on this message board: gay marriage is bad, because it could be a slippery slope that could lead to things like polygamy. But according to you, when polygamy was practiced it still falls within the acceptable category of heterosexual marriage.

    The question here is not necessarily about polygamy, it is whether homosexuals should receive civil sanction for their unions.

    Your original comment was: “This government and all other governments “privilege” or “distinguish” marriage as the building block of the community and the nation. This, as Brian alluded to, has been the case since the beginning of time.”

    That is both needlessy broad and reductionistic. The building blocks of community and “the nation” (another concept that is too vague for this argument) have generally been fluid between polygamous arrangements, monogamous ones and everything in between and on the sides.

    My point was simply that such a simplistic description of history doesn’t even hold within the Bible, much less within history.

  41. Faimon March 18, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    Dangit, another alias destroyed by switching between computers!

  42. John D March 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Nathan,

    The State(s) and the Federal government have already decided they want to recognize marriages (in conjunction with or without the church) and they have applied it consistently for the entire history of the country; it is between a man and a woman. However, as you stated (even though you may not have meant it this way), the homosexual community does not want the consequences, they want to rewrite laws. And where they have been able to manipulate the courts they are gaining ground.

    What are the “consequences”?

    Yes, the states have consistently (until recently) only married opposite-sex couples. But as the law considers same-sex couples legally neutral, why should the marriage laws continue to disfavor them, simply because it’s “always been that way”?

    Don’t have same-sex couples have the same problems of property and family law that opposite-sex couples do? Of course. Therefore, they are entitled to equal protection under the law.

    Any limitation on state issuance of marriage licenses has to be justified by the state (e.g.: too young, already married, already related). These are either transitory conditions (too young: wait, already married: divorce first) or situations where there’s a presumption of harm (incest: harmful to those who practice it).

    I will admit that a few states still had the legal presumption until 2005 that homosexual activity was bad. This presumption can no longer hold (Lawrence v. Texas). Therefore, there is no rational bias case that can be made for denying state recognition of same-sex couples.

    You are entitled to disapprove of same-sex couples. Your religious denomination is free to refuse to marry them. All that stops at the steps of the courts and the city hall.

  43. Nathan March 19, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    John,

    I hear your argument, I just don’t agree. And I understand that you will not agree with me either. However, as I said, all states that have given vote to the issue have decided marriage is what it always has been.

    A tolerance for homosexual activity does not entitle them to marriage. Also your argument appears to be centered in their need for property issues, hospital visitation rights, etc. Just because the states tolerate the practice does not mean they have to give them “equal rights” by ursurping marriage.

    Horton: my statement, “but history has no civilization that sanctioned anything other than heterosexual marriage.” may be broad, but you could not refute it. And polygamy does fall within the practice of heterosexual marriage, so I don’t understand your point. And, again why should homosexuals be allowed to married and polygamists not. It is a slippery slope. This country outlawed polygamy as an appropriate form of heterosexual marriage and Utah agreed so that they could become a state. If homosexual marriage is given equal status, you cannot make any appropriate arguments to refuse polygamy.

    And yes it does hold within the bible. What other form of family do you find other than hetero.

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