Iowa Court Legalizes Gay ‘Marriage’

From the Associated Press:

The Iowa Supreme Court says the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making it the third state where gay marriage is legal. . .

During oral arguments before the Supreme Court in December, Des Moines lawyer Dennis Johnson argued the ban violated his clients’ due process and equal protection rights.

“We are suggesting that everybody be able to participate equally in an institution that has existed since the beginning of this state,” Johnson said during arguments.’

The problem with this logic is clear. The “institution” of marriage in Iowa has been recognized as the union of one male and one female “since the beginning of this state.” In that light, the court is acting subversively. This court has preempted the Iowa state legislature and has invented out of whole cloth a new definition of marriage—a definition that the people of Iowa through their elected representatives would likely reject.

52 Responses to Iowa Court Legalizes Gay ‘Marriage’

  1. Mandy Bartholomew Stenberg April 3, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    And I live in Iowa . . . . what a bummer. not so proud of this state right now.

  2. Allison April 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    I guess my question is, “Who cares??”….other than the couples who only want a chance to live as a legally married couple. I absolutely understand from a religious standpoint if you don’t support this, but state sanctioned same-sex marriage/civil union is about legal rights as a couple, not about being able to go into a church and get married. I don’t understand the perceived “threat to marriage” that allowing same-sex couples to wed poses. I can assure you that we won’t make the 50% divorce rate of heterosexuals any worse by being able to marry. I hope an “opposing view” is ok to post here. Just trying to get everyone to look at both sides. I certainly respect people’s religious beliefs, and I’d like that same respect returned.

  3. Paul April 3, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    “The “institution” of marriage in Iowa has been recognized as the union of one male and one female “since the beginning of this state.””

    While true, Denny, this is some logic twisting of the utmost.

    “a definition that the people of Iowa through their elected representatives would likely reject.”

    This is where this becomes a civil rights issue.

    If you could completely guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that every single Iowa citizen that would vote against allowing LGBT people to get married did so because of religious beliefs as opposed to bigotry, then fine. But you can’t, and you know you can’t. This is an issue that gets trumped up by the conservatives specifically because they know they can count on the bigot vote to back them up.

    So, I’m glad that the Iowa Supreme Court made the decision that they’ve made. Good for them.

  4. Darius T April 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    It’s a sad day when the land of corn farmers rejects democracy…

  5. Nathan April 3, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    Paul,

    You and I have tangled on this before, but I will agree and disagree with you. I agree that the people of Iowa should see this as a “rights” issue, not unlike voting age, legislation on legality of tobacco use, alcohol use, etc. However, the Supreme Court took it upon themselves to re-interpret what marriage has meant and what being a couple implies.

    This is allowed under the jurisprudence of the state, but the people of Iowa also have the right to overturn their ruling via legislation; i.e. consitutional ammendment.

    Also, every citizen doesn’t need to vote unanimously on every piece of legislation in order for it to pass (that is absurd). Your opinion on what constitutes bigotry could easily turned back on you (remember our discussions on polygamy)

    So, the usurpation of the courts strikes again, but you know if the people are given voice it will be voted down. Name a state where it hasn’t.

  6. Micah April 3, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    I agree with Allison. There should be NO government sanctioned marriages. A marriage should be something that occurs in the church.

    Does anybody have any good reasons why this shouldn’t be the case? What are the advantages of govt sanctioned marriages?

    Micah

  7. Darius T April 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    It is in the state’s interest to support marriage, since it is in the govt’s interest to have a healthy society. Hetero marriages lead to children, who eventually become adult members of society and citizens of the state. If you want those members to be healthy (in every sense of the word) and useful, it stands to reason that you want their childhoods to be healthy. And the healthiest children are those who are raised by a biological mother and father. Hence, homo marriage isn’t in the best interest of the state.

  8. Nathan April 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Micah, if you do not have govt sanctioned marriages, what are non-believers to do? Do they get to be married? Or… are you really implying that Christian marriages should not be sanctioned by the govt, which is a common argument.

    Darius’ points on the well-being of the state when it practices moral boundaries, and historical practices that have merit both for the individual and for the family show that the govt has the best interest of country in mind.

    Now with the courts overruling the will of the people at every turn, the elites believe they should dictate to us “common folks” because we can’t govern ourselves due to our lack of enlightenment.

    Allison’s argument is also off the mark because she would more than likely be against group marriages or polygamy, but once marriage is redefined, anything goes. If not, then why should homosexuals be the only ones who get to redefine a historical institution.

  9. Allison April 3, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    OK, let me clarify that whoever thinks that the healthiest children are raised by their heterosexual parents are sorely misinformed. In my profession as a Neonatal/pediatric critical care transport nurse, I have picked up several children who were abused by their bio mothers and fathers, so please don’t imply that you have to be heterosexual and married to raise a child in a healthy way.
    Group marriages and polygamy have nothing to do with this. I am of the opinion that marriage does not need to be “defined” to “protect” it. Protect it from what?? I am not trying to deny you rights as you are me, I only want the same opportunities and freedoms you enjoy. I am not asking to come into your church and get married. I am asking that the government recognize my right to enter into a same-sex relationship that enjoys the same rights as heterosexual couples do. Someone tell me what everyone that opposes this is acutally afraid of because it reaks of fear.

  10. Darius T April 4, 2009 at 12:07 am #

    Allison, so you don’t think a mother offers anything unique? That’s what you just said by claiming that there is nothing special about a biological hetero family. You also apparently don’t believe fathers offer anything useful to their children.

    If common sense weren’t enough (and apparently it isn’t), study after study has shown that the healthiest children ON AVERAGE (always exceptions, please don’t make them the rule!) are raised by their natural mother and father.

  11. Micah April 4, 2009 at 1:25 am #

    Darius / Nathan – Just b/c the state doesn’t sanction marriages doesn’t mean that people won’t be married. People will get married through the church. Instead of sanctioning marriages the state would sanction civil unions. If 2 homosexuals want to get married they go get married through a unitarian church (or somewhere that beileves it’s okay for 2 people of the same sex to be married). Non believers get married in churches all the time…don’t see why that has to change. THis would essentially shift the business of marriage from the state to the church and replace at the state level with civil unions (which would be in place for legalities, etc.). This doesn’t make marriage any less important. When i got married, i didn’t really care that America thought i was married…i thought it was more important that i was married in the eyes of God. This makes the issue of same sex state sanctioned marriage moot. Do you see any problems with this arrangement?

    Micah

  12. Allison April 4, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    Darius,
    I appreciate your input, but I would be curious to see who sponsored this so-called research. You can make research results look however you want them to. I’m sure the 50% divorce rate among heterosexuals has really contributed to some meaningful childhoods. Whether I can marry or not will have no impact on whether I have a child. And I do think that male and female influence in a child’s life is important, but I also know this can be accomplished by having positive role models in the child’s life through friends and relatives.

  13. Darius T April 4, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    “I also know this can be accomplished by having positive role models in the child’s life through friends and relatives.”

    Hardly… that helps, but it certainly doesn’t replace a father or mother. A state is ultimately interested in having citizens who contribute to society in meaningful ways and are healthy members of their communities. And it is not debatable that the best way to get such people is by having them raised by their biological mother and father. Why do you think that the white underclass in England and the black underclass in America are in the shape that they are? Obviously, not because of their ethnicity. It’s because their sub-culture supports dead-beat dads and moms (and because the state supports economic infantilization via welfare).

    I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone brought up divorce, like that helps the gay marriage cause or something. So what if heteros have such a bad track record with marriage in the last 30 years? That’s all the more reason for government to further support natural marriage.

  14. Scott K April 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    Like most bad arguments, the conservative fury over legalizing gay marriage refuses to engage the the true historical character of the issue. The undeniable fact is that homosexual men and woman are this very moment denied legal rights afforded to heterosexual couples. The justification for maintaining this inequality takes the form of both repressive nostalgia, on the one hand, and apocalyptic futurism on the other.

    Now that marriage is “threatened”, we hear the claim that all good civilizations–including our own–were grounded in the institution of heterosexual marriage. Yet it is strange than in 12 years of private Christian schooling, I never once learned this “indisputable” fact of history. Of course, this so called “fact” never in fact existed until it became rhetorically useful for opponents of gay marriage. Indeed, they have merely projected onto the most vague conception of history an idealized conception of marriage totally divorced from real experience.

    Then we also learn that to change the definition of marriage would inevitably lead to the decline of our country, children, and (Christian) religion. While a group of historically marginalized people demand civil rights, they are rebuffed not by logical arguments but rather by doomsday hypotheticals.

    Thus, rather than confronting the material circumstances of the present debate, and the manner in which this debate affects living breathing people, we only hear claims of nostalgia and apocalyptism. Such is the inevitable problem when one side of an argument fails to take account for their own subjective investment in their argument, and likewise claims some external authority (God, the Bible, or even a Platonic idealization of “marriage”). Since they believe they are merely the spokesmen of truth, rather than accepting that the debate is nothing else than a debate over what constitutes truth, they (Denny, Darius, et al) avoid real argument and instead repeat incessantly nostalgic and apocalyptic visions. And instead of treating these visions as the means for making an argument, they act as if these visions actually deny the necessity for argument, and they act as if these visions establish a priori their own truth claims.

    It’s effective rhetorically because it’s easy and it’s disengaged, but it’s also shameful (in my view).

  15. Darius T April 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm #

    Actually, Scott K, you must not be reading all of the comments or arguments, since I gave a logical (and secular) explanation against a redefinition of marriage.

    Also, please give some evidence for your premise that marriage hasn’t been historically and globally a hetero institution. Otherwise, it’s just more blathering from the Left to further obscure the issue.

  16. Darius T April 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    Also, no one is denied any rights. Gay men and women can live with whomever they choose. They can do whatever they want with whomever they want in their bedroom. They don’t need the state to bless that relationship to make it loving and worthwhile (at least, in their eyes). We all have equal rights; we all can choose to marry someone of the opposite sex and expect that the state will legally affirm that relationship. Everyone is on equal footing. What you’re arguing for is a special right.

    It’s bizarre how quickly perversion has become sacrosanct in this culture.

  17. Nathan April 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    Micah,

    “When i got married, i didn’t really care that America thought i was married…i thought it was more important that i was married in the eyes of God.”

    So I assume that you file your Income Tax as Married Filing Separately to avoid the Tax benefit the Fed/State gives to marriage, right? Also, I would assume you don’t claim your children either.

    To imply that the Fed/State should not set marriage apart as an institution and to declare civil unions instead (which is simply a different word for marriage that you would then allow to be redefined to allow homosexuals to marry) as the govt form is skirting the issue.

    As has been said in the comments, it has been and continues to be in the Fed/State’s best interest to set apart marriage as a special institution. And this govt sets many items apart as special, so don’t reply that you want total equality, you don’t.

    Scott: The Communists make the exact same arguments you make regarding salary and position in society. So are you willing to subscribe to that as well. It also affects living breathing people.

    There are many laws in this land that some people deem immoral. Should they all be overturned?

  18. Allison April 4, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    Did you use the phrase “natural marriage”? Interesting use of words….rediculous actually. I think the reason that the African American culture in America is “in the shape that it is” as you have stated is because they were treated so poorly and enslaved by white America. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that the children that turn out the best are raised by their bio mother’s and father’s but there is just as much evidence to support a child raised in a loving environment will turn out to be productive members of society. I respect your opinion, but there is not good evidence to back it up.

  19. Darius T April 5, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    Okay, you want stats, I’ll give you stats. 🙂

    http://www.fatherhood.org/father_factor.asp

    A few points of emphasis:

    Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.

    Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

    A child with a nonresident father is 54 percent more likely to be poorer than his or her father.

    Sounds like the state would be interested in supporting marriage, don’t you think?

  20. Allison April 5, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    While I am happy you presented some stats, I would be interested to see the variables present in the sample, as this is not a generalizable finding. Here’s the deal, we are not ever going to agree on this. What makes our country great is that we can disagree with each other and our government and still remain free.
    And for the record, your stats have nothing to do with the state supporting marriage. It would seem the stats would make the state more interested in educating anyone, male or female, in the importance of being an involved, positive role model for his or her children.

  21. Nathan April 5, 2009 at 1:31 pm #

    “Here’s the deal, we are not ever going to agree on this. What makes our country great is that we can disagree with each other and our government and still remain free.”

    That is not a true statement. I cannot, according to the constitution, yell fire in a crowded theater and still remain free. If I disagree with the government and break laws, I will certainly not remain free.

    The homosexual community realizes this and is subverting the courts because they know they cannot win in the court of public opinion.

    Also, this country has thrown money at education for years (and the homosexual community has used it to their advantage to sway opinion to their side). And… Darius’ stats are based in reality and yours are based on anomaly’s. The breakdown by the govt’ on marriage in the last forty years has wrought this discussion today.

    Also Allison your statistics on the black community are off the mark. Until the 1960s when the govt’ attempted to educate us on how to raise families, the black community’s children born out of wedlock rate was almost 75% less than it is today. And simply because some single mothers struggle and raise quality children does not reset the statistics that the majority of these children are at risk and do fall prey to the situation.

    You are fulfilling your own words of making statistics say what you want to hear.

  22. Scott K April 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    All this discussion of statistics is pointless. What is at issue is not determining the best way to raise a child–the issue concerns a determination of civil rights and how those rights should be defined and applied. If people want to claim that homosexuals should be denied the right to marry, then they are free to make that argument. Any claim about how gay marriage would affect children, however, is irrelevant, and certainly not within the scope of a judicial decision.

    I love this idea of “activist judges”, which is merely a term to express “judges with whom I disagree”. The whole point of the judicial branch is that the courts are not subject to the will of the people; they are not intended to represent popular opinion. Nathan basically makes a case–if we extend the logic–for dissolving the judicial branch entirely.

    It’s fair to say that this response to “bad” judges mirrors the conception of homosexuals as bad people who are sure to make bad parents: both attacks reveal the perverse underside of much contemporary, conservative thought. Rather than treating politics as the ground for debate and argument with political adversaries, you (Darius & Nathan) act as if your opponents are mortal enemies who don’t even deserve the right to exist.

    Likewise, in my case, my own arguments are not engaged. I’m simply labeled a Communist and dismissed out of hand.

    Yet what if I simply accept the label Communist (as I am happy to do so), but maintain the terms and structure of my argument? What if homosexuals accept that they would make bad parents, as you define proper parenting, but nevertheless reserve the right–as anyone else–to be parents? What if judges simply accept that they are activists, and merely acknowledge that passivity is contrary to the very notion of judicial review?

    My point is that each figure could accept all of epithets thrown against them, and we would still have yet to begun any debate, but would have merely passed through a futile round of name calling.

  23. Allison April 5, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    “That is not a true statement. I cannot, according to the constitution, yell fire in a crowded theater and still remain free. If I disagree with the government and break laws, I will certainly not remain free.”

    I didn’t say that any one of us could break the law and still be free, I said we were free to speak out and have our freedom of speech protected.

    I’m agreeing with Scott…stats are pointless here, and for the record Nathan, I didn’t quote any.

    I will agree to disagree and hope that your opinions are grounded in what you perceive as loving and Christian and not the way they are coming across, as fear of the unknown and judgement.

  24. Darius T April 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    Scott K, you’re being dishonest in your argument. “If people want to claim that homosexuals should be denied the right to marry”

    No one is being denied the right to marry. Any homosexual couple can go marry each other anywhere. What they are being denied is the sanction of the state, which is why a discussion of the interests of the state is quite necessary. Until you can grasp that, you may be better served just reading along.

  25. Darius T April 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    “you (Darius & Nathan) act as if your opponents are mortal enemies who don’t even deserve the right to exist. “

    Yes, because that’s what we said. Talk about intellectually dishonesty…

  26. Darius T April 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    “stats are pointless here”

    Again, this is quite convenient, as you were earlier asking for stats. I guess now that you realize that won’t help your case, you want to ignore all evidence to the contrary.

  27. volfan007 April 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    The next thing that we’re heading toward is marriage between adults and children, ie, NAMBLA. And then, another thing that we’re headed for is people marrying animals.

    We’re heading for the same sexual persversions that existed in the days of Noah, and in the Canaanite society of the OT, or it may even be worse.

    Before you laugh at what I just said, or before you shrug it off as too radical; it wasnt that long ago that I would have thought that the idea of homosexuality being accepted as ok in our country was an extreme thought. In fact, it was not that long ago that homosexuality was looked upon as a mental disease, and it was against the law in many, many states. And, I never dreamed…in my wildest dreams… that we would ever even be having discussions about letting homosexuals get married in the USA. That we would be talking about making it legal for a man to actually marry another man. Yet, here we are.

    BTW, I’m 47 yrs old.

    David

  28. Darius T April 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    “that we would ever even be having discussions about letting homosexuals get married in the USA.”

    David, as long as you mean that the state would recognize those marriages. Homosexuals have been able to marry for quite a long time now. But I do know what you’re saying… amazing, isn’t it, that what was the ultimate perversion yesterday would be celebrated as normal today.

  29. Nathan April 5, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    “Nathan basically makes a case–if we extend the logic–for dissolving the judicial branch entirely.”

    Scott: That is simply not true. However the constitution does give the Congress and the People the ability to oust activist judges; they are technically not the final authority. Look at California who voted down the judges overruling of a previous people’s decision.

    Get your facts straight. We need the courts, we don’t need anarchy within them.

  30. Russ Dennis April 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for posting this article Jason. I live in Iowa and am disappointed with the Iowa Supreme Court. I believe that this ruling, though, points out issues within Christianity.

    If you are interested, I have asked four questions to Christians relating to Christianities involvement in social issues. You will find this at my blog, Imago Christi.

  31. Darius T April 6, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    Good questions, Russ. I’ve tried to answer them as best as I can.

  32. Cate Patterson April 6, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    To me, it seems that you all are discussing the issue of homosexual marriage from two different vantage points: the spiritual and the secular. From the spiritual stance, homosexuality is seen as a sin that brings about the wrath of a holy God (i.e., Sodom and Gomorrah) — I believe that’s the position that many of you commenting on this blog would take; however, Allison and Scott K. seem to present a secular viewpoint, which argues that individuals who practice homosexuality are American citizens and deserve the same treatment as you and I deserve. In this case, they deserve the right for their marriage to be deemed legal by the government– simply based on the fact that this is America, and our government was founded on the principals of freedom, equality of all men, and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    My concern is that the two viewpoints are not being separated, which is lacking in thought, at best, and hypocritical, at worst. Allow me to explain, please. When I consider this issue bearing in mind my spiritual (Biblical) convictions, I firmly believe that homosexuality is a sin that insults a holy God — just as is lying, divorce, hatred, jealousy, premarital sex, etc. But what I don’t understand is what makes homosexuality different from these other sins — what makes it worse? None of you, to my knowledge, have advocated that divorce should be deemed illegal, or that those who have previously been divorced should not be allowed to remarry (as is discussed in the New Testament); none have argued that adulterers or those who have had premarital sex should not be allowed to have their marriages honored by the government. And so I would like to know: what makes the practice of homosexuality different? I mean, come on! It makes me sick to see how the issue is treated by conservatives and by those claiming to be upholding some standard of righteousness… I agree, homosexuality is not holy or God-honoring; but neither are all kinds of other things that many of us turn a blind eye to on a daily basis.

  33. Ryan Kearns April 6, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    Darius very good comments.

    @Allison and Scott- Though Darius has already given you stats even though they do not seem to meet your criteria, the argument of of heterosexual marriage being proverbially best for the preservation of cultures is found in the totality of human history.

    We have a 5,000 year history of humanity in which cultures have generally thrived, and children of been optimally raised in mom and dad households. I would consider this to be quite a compelling “stat.”

  34. Darius T April 6, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Cate, I agree, it is difficult at best and ludicrous at worst to use a religious argument to refute a secular one. That’s why I haven’t mentioned one religious argument against homosexual marriage. I am still waiting for someone to show me where my argument is wrong; namely, that the state should only be interested in promoting social situations and relationships that benefit the state and the corresponding citizens of said state. And if that is the case, a hetero marriage most definitely does since it (generally) produces healthier adults AND healthier children, and has throughout history. If single motherhood produced well-rounded kids, the state should promote that. But it doesn’t, just as all non-traditional family units produce (to varying degrees) dysfunctional or less than ideal citizens of the state (leaving aside the fact that ALL people, no matter their familial situation, are fallen in nature, since we’re talking in generalities).

  35. Cate P April 6, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    Two things, Ryan (and the rest of the readers). One: Neither Scott or Allison made an argument against the idea that heterosexual marriage is not the best avenue for the preservation of cultures — allison simply asserted that it is possible for homosexual couples to provide a loving environment for children just as it is equally possible for children to be raised terribly by a father-mother home; scott simply argued that homosexual marriage should be acknowledged by the government based on the issue of civil rights, and I have yet to see anyone address that argument.

    Secondly, you say that we have a 5,000 year history where “children have been optimally raised in mom and dad households.” We also have an Old Testament where (godly) men had numerous wives and concubines, and a New Testament where Paul tells the church that it is better not to marry. How do we address these topics?

  36. Cate P April 7, 2009 at 12:25 am #

    Darius – thanks for the reply. While I get the gist of what you’re saying, I still do not think it is completely solid.

    For example, you said “a hetero marriage most definitely does since it (generally) produces healthier adults AND healthier children, and has throughout history.” This claim is completely subjective, which (I think) is what Allison was getting at when she mentioned wanting statistics, for, in proving the claim, you must define what healthier means. By healthier, do you mean those who can contribute back to the state; or those who are upstanding, moral citizens; or those who have no psychological flaws; or those who are heterosexual too? I come from a two-parent (Christian) home – I believe that I am a pretty normal adult; however, I have a sibling who was raised in the exact same environment who is bi-polar and who does not contribute back to the state in the same way that I do. Who would argue that my sibling is healthier than the kid I work with who came from a single-mother (druggie) home who is doing his best to be the first out of his family to graduate college and get a solid job? Even if the kid I work with is the exception rather than the norm, I would argue that *many* people who come from two-parent homes are just as dysfunctional. I would also argue that many of the differences that we are discussing come from issues of class, not from issues of parenting. Your post in #19 quotes statistics that claim they were found even after controlling for income; however, I would be interested in disclosing how extreme the differences are in low-SES fatherless homes and middle-income fatherless homes. That’s somewhat irrelevant; however, I believe that if we are going to advocate heterosexual marriage only, we need to be able to defend why on this secular level, and I’m still unconvinced by the “healthier” argument.

  37. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    Cate, it appears you’re arguing that if one has more money, one is healthier (whatever that means, which I will attempt to define in a minute). I don’t think that squares with Scripture or reality. I don’t believe poor families are generally poor first but rather dysfunctional first (obviously, Marx would disagree :)). Dysfunctionality breeds poverty. And the Bible backs this up… Proverbs tells us that a wise man will be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Now, obviously, there are exceptions, but the general rule is still true.

    So, taking the black underclass in this country (or the white underclass in England, so that we recognize that racism has little to do with it) as an example, we see that their families are not more dysfunctional than normal because they’re poor, but that they’re poor because their families are dysfunctional, they abandon their children, and they generally support a culture of death (via hip hope music and a prolific use of abortion).

    “I have a sibling who was raised in the exact same environment who is bi-polar and who does not contribute back to the state in the same way that I do. Who would argue that my sibling is healthier than the kid I work with who came from a single-mother (druggie) home who is doing his best to be the first out of his family to graduate college and get a solid job?”

    You’re using exceptions to disprove the rule. Yes, plenty of people have come from relative slums to contribute greatly to society. *Also, to my knowledge, bi-polar behavior isn’t caused by upbringing.* But the state is concerned with helping the most amount of people, which is why a biological set of parents is necessary. A single parent (or two gay parents) can raise a very healthy person, and a mother and father can raise a tyrant. But, historically speaking, the opposite is more likely. If a child is raised without a father (or mother) figure IN THE HOME, his psychological growth is stunted.

    Which leads to a definition of “healthier.” What I mean when I say a “healthy citizen of the state,” I mean a citizen who is easy for the state to govern, contributes positively to the society around him, and follows the laws of the state. While some of the details of this definition may be subjective, the general idea is pretty objective. A person who is raised in a non-two biological parent home is significantly more likely to go to jail, which is not in the interest of the state, as that costs money and resources (plus a criminal adversely affects those around them, not least their own family). 40% of inmates grew up without a father. Even if the state is completely selfish in its interests and cares little for the happiness of its citizens, it should still recognize that hetero marriage benefits it greatly.

  38. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    “Secondly, you say that we have a 5,000 year history where “children have been optimally raised in mom and dad households.” We also have an Old Testament where (godly) men had numerous wives and concubines, and a New Testament where Paul tells the church that it is better not to marry. How do we address these topics?”

    I thought you were interested in only secular arguments, but now you seem to be introducing religious ones. I’m confused. But I’ll answer them nevertheless… David, a man after God’s own heart, was an adulterer. Surely you’re not implying that just because the Old Testament tells us that a generally godly person sinned that we should replicate that sin in our own lives. Yes, Abraham and the rest of the Jewish forefathers were polygamists and adulterers… so are we all in our own way. We’ve all been unfaithful to God. The point of those stories is not to say that God’s law changes or that culture affects what is sin, but that salvation is from God alone and not of anyone’s own behavior. Look at Jacob… in his youth, the guy was a jerk and a lot of worse names. Yet God used him to be the founding member of Israel.

    As for Paul telling us it is best not to marry, that is an exhortation directed at ONLY Christians, especially those who are in full-time ministry, and even then, only to those “gifted” in the area of chastity and sexual purity.

  39. Scott K April 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    Darius,

    Great selective use of the Bible:

    “Dysfunctionality breeds poverty. And the Bible backs this up… Proverbs tells us that a wise man will be healthy, wealthy, and wise.”–when you want to make an impossible to substantiate claim about the origin of poverty.

    But then when something from the Bible counters your attempt to idealize marriage, we should only apply it to Christians: “As for Paul telling us it is best not to marry, that is an exhortation directed at ONLY Christians”

    Just further evidence that YOUR opinion comes first, and then you grab selectively from history or the Bible to promote your own prejudice.

  40. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Are you serious? You disagree with my reading of the text? I’m pretty sure that both are pretty orthodox readings.

    Also, thanks for throwing in the P word. Since you are unable or unwilling to actually once address my argument, you resort to emotion and ad hominem attacks. You’re utterly irrelevant to this conversation.

  41. Cate Patterson April 7, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Darius – I don’t care whether the argument is secular or religious; I would simply like for those posting to acknowledge the foundations of their own arguments. Although religious reasons are unstated in many posts, I still see them present. In post 35, I wasn’t saying that if people have more money, they are healthier; I was asking you to define what you meant by “healthier” in post 34, and I made the claim that until you define “healthier,” your statements in post 34 are entirely subjective (hence the examples of my brother and my student, which I stated was possibly an exception). Nevertheless, the no homosexual argument as I see laid out on this blog is this: homosexuals should not be allowed to marry because they cannot produce healthy citizens of the state(a citizen who is easy for the state to govern, contributes positively to the society around him, and follows the laws of the state). Please clarify for me, is that the sole argument you have to refute homosexual marriage?

  42. Ryan Kearns April 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    “Secondly, you say that we have a 5,000 year history where “children have been optimally raised in mom and dad households.” We also have an Old Testament where (godly) men had numerous wives and concubines, and a New Testament where Paul tells the church that it is better not to marry. How do we address these topics?”

    @ Cate P

    This is irrelevant. I was speaking in a gnomic fashion and to point to polygamy in the Bible does nothing to refute my point.

    Point to all the exceptions and recent studies you want of children being raised in unconventional ways but it does nothing to show that the normative function of almost all of human histories cultures, nations, and tribes has been a mother and father household for rearing children.

    Also, I would strongly recommend reading Bill Cosby’s book “Come On People” as a wonderful recent study of the deveastating effects on the lack of fathers in minority communities. The evidence for lack of a father being so negative on the development of children is so strong that even President Obama found it necessary to speak up about the issue.

    So go ahead no and pull up all sorts of random studies now but your exceptions only prove the rule.

  43. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    “Please clarify for me, is that the sole argument you have to refute homosexual marriage?”

    That’s my main secular argument, yes. I would also point to the proven slippery slope that this will lead to polygamy and bestiality. In Canada, for example, the legal focal point is now on polygamy, as homosexual marriage is actually not very popular. But because it was allowed (and sanctioned), polygamists have a very real argument for government support of their unions. Another argument against homosexual marriage is that it undoubtedly leads to a loss in religious freedom. Because of the protected nature of marriage and the redefining of homosexuality as a naturally occurring trait (like ethnicity), the Catholic Adoption Agency in Boston was forced to close or allow gays to adopt. A woman in Canada was prosecuted for posting Scripture verses online which talked against homosexuality. The British parliament is in the process of banning homosexual jokes. THAT is an egregious loss of freedom, coming soon to a city or state near you.

    I also have religious arguments against it, but I think we would probably all agree to those (with the exception of Allison, perhaps, and maybe Scott K). Besides, as you said, religious arguments aren’t going to be particularly useful to those who deny the existence of God or truth of His Word.

  44. Cate Patterson April 7, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Darius in response to Scott K “You disagree with my reading of the text?…You’re utterly irrelevant to this conversation.” — I think this reveals the truth of the matter for many on this board: anyone who disagrees with you is dismissed instead of intelligently debated.

    It does seem that Scott K. disagrees with your reading of the text– I think the main problem for me is that the choices you made *appear* to be selective. You use a verse in Proverbs to say “Dysfunctionality breeds poverty. And the Bible backs this up… Proverbs tells us that a wise man will be healthy, wealthy, and wise” — and, by your claims, this applies to all men; however, my question concerning Paul’s exhortation that it is better not to marry only applies to gifted Christians. This *appears* to have a measure of selectivity, but I think that is only based on a quick read rather than an understanding of what you are trying to communicate. This comes back to my original discussion of religious vs. secular argument – with the Proverbs example, you are using a Biblical viewpoint to explain a secular occurrence; why should I base my understanding of our society on this proverbial wisdom? because it is common sense? no. the only motivation to do so would be grounded in my belief in Scripture. My belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God “jades” my viewpoint, in a way. My example? My own father is the wisest, most godly man I know. He has experienced health problems and we are by no means wealthy — so, in order for this proverb to ring true in his life, I have to redefine healthy and wealthy, which, as a Christian, I do: we are rich in spiritual blessings – so, the proverb must be dissected and re-imagined in order to be considered a true statement in my father’s life. Why would a non-believer go to all that trouble? How can we claim that the proverb is indicative of a societal rule?

  45. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Cate, please point out where Scott bothered to “intelligently debate” my points. That would be helpful. If you are able to point to that particular spot, I will address him further. Otherwise, he is in fact the one who dismisses without debate. Notice how he just threw me in as a prejudiced bigot without any actual useful discussion of my comments? I’m not going to waste my time talking to someone who avoids all arguments which he has no answer to and instead throws around baseless attacks.

  46. Cate Patterson April 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Ryan – I have read Bill Cosby’s book, and I know that the lack of fathers in minority communities is a major issue that needs to be addressed (I, in fact, work with at-risk students who come from these environments, and I would give anything for the government or the church to do more in this area). Again, the point of my examples is to question why we are using claims of homosexual marriage disrupting the family as our way of discounting the legalization of gay marriage. My examples were only included to point out how the family is disrupted by many different factors that occur in both traditional and non-traditional homes. — As to this claim that you all are making, then, why doesn’t the argument focus on preventing homosexual couples from rearing children? why are we focused on the issue of marriage?

    Also, please point out to me how the issue of polygamy is irrelevant… you stated that we have a history of children being raised in two-parent homes; I stated that we also have a history where polygamy is acceptable. Why is mine discredited and yours accepted?

  47. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    “How can we claim that the proverb is indicative of a societal rule?”

    Because history backs this up. Throughout history, it has been commonly understood (and recently shown by scientific studies, for those who care) that to be successful or healthy or live a long time, generally someone should be wise and morally upright in their decisions and relationships. Fathering five kids from four different women is not wise nor morally upright, and it leads to exactly what one would expect: at least four of those five kids also fathering/mothering multiple children by multiple sexual partners. To break out of that cycle is a lot harder than for a person from a functional family to break into it.

  48. Cate Patterson April 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Darius – he didn’t call you a bigot; he said you were using Scripture to support your own prejudice. Why not simply explain how this is not the case? Scott K posted interesting arguments in post 14 and 22, and the only responses I read simply dismissed his argument instead of engaged with him… his quotes were selectively responsded to, just as he selectively responded to yours; but when he did it, he was dismissed; just as Ryan dismissed my claim as irrelevant in post 42. That’s not at issue, though– my whole point is that we should be engaging in THE ISSUE not in attacks.

  49. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    “he said you were using Scripture to support your own prejudice.”
    =
    “you’re a bigot who reads the Bible as he wants to.”

    Regarding his post #14, he attributed to me an argument which I wasn’t making, so it was pointless for me to respond.

    Regarding his post #22, I did respond twice to it. But only to point out that he once again was not honest in his argument, so why would I engage a dishonest debater? He said that I was saying (or implying) that homosexuals are my mortal enemies who don’t deserve to live. Of course, as is typical for such an intellectually dishonest arguer, he didn’t bother to mention from which of my comments he had gleaned this. I also called him out for saying that homosexuals aren’t allowed to marry. They are very much allowed to marry, they just can’t expect or demand that the state recognize their marriage.

    Until Scott K can be a) intellectually honest, b) accurate in his argument, c) detailed in his disagreement, and d) civil in his rhetoric, I see no reason to address any of his illogical or unreasonable arguments. Like Dennis Prager says, I prefer clarity over agreement. If someone can’t be clear and accurate in his explanation of the issue and/or his representation of the views of the other side, frankly, he should be treated like a shrill child who needs to sit out the debate or join in on the conditions stated above.

  50. Darius T April 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    If I’m off-base in anything, please point out (in detail) where I am wrong. I haven’t made any attacks or called anyone names, I have merely asked on several occasions for arguments to be on point, civil, and honest. Otherwise, it seems perfectly reasonable to ask anyone not willing to do so to just read and listen until such a point that they are willing to follow those “rules”.

  51. Ryan Kearns April 7, 2009 at 6:38 pm #

    @ Cate

    I did not mean to say your comment is invalid simply that it did not refute what was normative for 5,000 years of human history. Its the exception to the rule.

  52. Darius T April 9, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    More on the slippery slope toward polygamy… north-of-the-border style.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/04/09/we%e2%80%99re-in-the-fast-lane-to-polygamy/

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