Message > Marriage and Equal Rights
Torrentor: So, let me get this straight...Charlie Sheen can make a "porn family", Kelsey Grammer can end a 15 year marriage over the phone, Larry King can be on divorce #9, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage, Jesse James and Tiger Woods, while married, were having sex with EVERYONE. Yet, the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage? Really? Re-post if you are proud to support equal rights.

Some Guy: Two wrongs don't make a right . . .

Torrentor: I support peoples' right to make the choice... even if it isn't the same one I'd make

Some Guy: What if a man wants the choice to marry his daughter? What if some lady wants the choice to marry her dog? What if someone wants the choice to murder someone they really hate?

My point? We all have a line that we can't agree should be allowed to cross. Where do you draw your line?

Poopysquirts: I really don't care if gay people want to get married. I don't know what the big deal is.

Torrentor: what if they do? Our system is structured so that if he wants that right he has recourse - he can pursue that legalization. So can she. The whole point is that lines are being drawn in the sand arbitrarily based on morality that not everyone shares. Even in the Bible, there's not much to be seen about trying to force people not to sin. There's a price for sin clearly stipulated but nothing about forcing people not to. Forcing someone to choose the Biblical way, forcing someone to do what you think is right takes away the value of the choice.

Phaedra: You draw the line at the same place you draw the line for all other contracts. Do we let a lady sign a contract with her dog? No. Marriage is simply a legal contract between two people and the government shouldn't be dictating what two people are allowed to make that contract if they agree to mutually agree to enter into it. Obviously a minor cannot sign a contract anyway. These arguments about letting someone murder someone else make no sense. At issue here is the fact that laws are preventing people from entering into a mutually agreed upon contract because of an arbitrary classification about that person. What if laws preventing a black person from marrying a white person? Or what if a man couldn't contract with another man to lay his carpet simply because he was male? These are the situations this compares to, not letting people murder someone.

Torrentor: kapow... direct hit! Phaedra 1, everyone else... some other number

Poopysquirts: would it make people happy if they weren't allowed to marry in a church wtf!

Phaedra: Forcing churches to marry same sex couples is a totally different issue. No, churches should not be required to perform a marriage ceremony for same sex couples if they so choose. They can already refuse to perform a marriage ceremony for any number of reasons, including just because the pastor doesn't think it's a good match. But couples can either find a church that will marry them or have their ceremony performed by the state. The same would be true of same sex couples. Of if you are lucky enough to live in a state that allows it (or want to drive to one), you can perform your own marriage ceremony with no witnesses.

Ensis: Bad behavior does not justify bad behavior. Or, for those of you who don't like the idea of an objective standard of bad behavior, here's the post-modern spin: if you don't like our politics, kill us. It won't matter a whit to the universe what you do to our particles.

Ensis: Phaedra,

We do not think marriage is merely a legally binding relationship. Saying this kind of thing over and over in a Facebook echo chamber doesn't make it true. And if we don't start at a point of common ground, there will never be dialog, only repetition. Bah. The above conversation reads like propaganda, propaganda I've heard about 1,000 times.

The truth is that, at a minimum, you're dealing with really ancient, really sacred traditions. These things are important to Christians. When you spit on marriage you spit on us. So when you're done publicly maligning and violating this holy thing, why don't you walk up to a Muslim and an Orthodox Jew and shove pork in their faces? After that, you can walk up to a devout Hindu person and shove a tasty, rare steak in their face. I mean, why stop with Christians?

Bottom line: Christians aren't taking lessons in "tolerance" from people who publicly malign them for being "intolerant."

Lets talk terms instead of firing broadsides at one another. We should have been able to work out a compromise a long time ago.

Phaedra: How is allowing gay marriage shoving it in your face any more so than allowing non-kosher food to be sold shoving pork in the face of a Jew? Fortunately we don't outlaw all food that is considered forbidden to some religion somewhere.

No one is saying that churches should be forced to perform services for gay weddings. In fact, they can consider the marriage invalid for religious purposes if they choose. I understand that you consider marriage to be a holy thing, but for legal purposes it is simply a contract. I am not clear on how wanting equal treatment for people is considered intolerant. I have no problem with any religious group refusing to perform marriages between any two people.

The problem is that with the current system of marriage, there is no common ground, so to speak. Either all people are treated equally under the law or they aren't. It is you that needs to be able to separate your "institution" of marriage from the purely legal definition. Would it help if religious leaders were no longer allowed to perform marriages and all semblance of it being a religious institution were removed? If we call it "civil unions" instead of marriage, would that make a difference. I don't mean between gays only, but between all people.

I don't appreciate the fact that discussing this topic at all is publicly maligning your religious views. Basically what you are saying is that we can't even have a discussion because I don't already agree with you and therefore I have violated your holy institution. Also, using the word "propaganda" to describe the opposing viewpoint is a nice way to try to make the argument seem invalid before it is even heard. Are you saying that because a point has been made before that it is propaganda? I could say the same about your points.

Blah, blah, blah.... the conversation above reads like religious propaganda, propaganda I have heard about 1,000 times. Do I get a +5 modifier to my side now?

Ensis: How is allowing gay marriage like that? Real freakin simple. Lets try to take another run at it.

For us, Marriage = holy. That's all. Gay marriage is profane in the eyes of a Christian. It doesn't matter whether it's in my church, it's wrong. So I can't support it. Simple. Put another way, we don't prohibit murder because we particularly dislike the effect it has on the particles of the victim. We dislike it because murder is wrong. We codify that moral imperative to protect the innocent against the wicked.

So understand me rightly: what is being proposed here is wrong and I can't support it in good conscience.

Now lets back up and talk about Law. All law should have a moral backing. Any law with no moral backing needlessly impinges on the freedom of a society and for no moral good. That, it could be argued, is evil.

Now, it is presumed by those that us that are fair minded that supporters of gay marriage are not out of their minds. They have a different moral system that they are working from. It is therefore presumed that their desire to make gay marriage iegal contains an implicit assertion it is only Right that it be so.

We Christians disagree. You and I should be able to have a pleasant discussion about that as friends.

Instead, we have self righteous, judgemental assertion above which implies that believing that marriage is holy is stupid in light of the abuses against it. And that springs from a moral system that decries any such hypocrisy. Why should I listen to that?

Lets start over and come to the table without starting with judgement, judgement that comes from a moral perspective that is not shared by those who are being judged.

Some Lady: A lot of hollywood marriages are made without God involved at all and that is why there is so much trouble with many of those marriages, even though they were heterosexual. Same sex marriages are not what God designed or sanctioned; rather was against activity of that nature. Ensis is right! Same sex couples cannot produce children, obviously. If man was meant to marry man, then humanity would be no human life left at all. No judgement, just reality.

Poopysquirts: So even if you are not a christian or go to church as long its a man and woman its ok?

Some Girl: man.... you just can't post this with out everyone getting their panties twisted. i say just let em marry and use the money to stimulate economy...

Some Girl: true the bible states another man shall not lay with another man as he does with a woman, but it also states we should not eat pork or shellfish, women are forbidden to wear red and boys to have bowl cuts. But where are such laws enforcing those? For being religious, by picking and choosing what we want to enforce aren't we effectively undermining God?

Phaedra: At issue here is not whether or not Christians believe (with good reason, I might add) that gay marriage is wrong. The question is whether or not something that one group believes to be wrong but another group does not should be illegal.

For example, in Islam, it is forbidden to marry a Christian or Jew. Does that mean we should have a law against marrying Christians or Jews? Should we have that law for only Muslims?

Mormans believe that the body is sacred and certain parts of the body should not be shown (such as women's shoulders). Should we have a law against tank tops?

A Buddist considers all life to be sacred and believes that no animals should be killed by humans. Should we outlaw the killing and selling of meat because this group believes life is sacred?

Muslims consider the sale and consumption of alcohol to be wrong. Should we outlaw this based on their belief?

Most Christians consider sex outside of marriage to be wrong. It violates the sacred marriage covenant (correct me if I'm wrong). The same is true of divorce. Should we outlaw these practices?

The point is that I believe that while some practices are forbidden by a particular religion, we should not take away the rights of other people based on the belief of one group. I am sure there are things that are legal now that many Christians find to be morally repugnant. But that does not mean that we take away the rights of others to practice them.

You speak of compromise, but clearly there is no point on which you can compromise. You feel that a certain group should have this right taken away from them. Either they have it or they don't. This is one issue where there is no middle ground to compromise on. Either this group is not treated equally and is lacking certain rights or they are not. For you it is the same. Either your sacred institution is being violated or it isn't. This is why I never have this discussion, either in public or private. So that was "my bad", so to speak, for trying to correct a logical fallacy in the beginning.

I might add that you were the one that jumped into this discussion and started placing judgements like "you are accusing me of being intolerant" with no basis. From the outset it was clear that you feel that any discussion of this issue is a slap in the face to Christians.

Ensis: Poopysquirts,

Many people don't really understand our religion at all. It's not about obeying rules and getting enough brownie points to make it to heaven. So going to church has nothing to do with marriage. Basically, God has a huge list of rules that we're breaking all the time. All of us. So having homosexual relations isn't sending us to hell any more or less than jaywalking is. God's rules are strict. Nobody is good enough. The good news isn't that God allows you to be super-good, to try really hard and obey really hard and live a good life. It has nothing to do with anything you can do alone. It's that atonement has been made. That's the whole thing Christians are trying to explain (and some of us make it very difficult because some of us are huge jerks).

Some Girl,

Your theology needs work. Women are not forbidden to wear red. There are some food laws in the OT, but they're nixed in the NT. I'd be glad to talk to you about how ceremonial law is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. I would also love to talk to you about religion. Jesus spent much of his ministry arguing with exceedingly religious people, exceedingly hypocritical people, telling them they were headed to hell. Ultimately, they murdered him. So you might understand how his disciples would be well warned against following that kind of pattern. Indeed, it is not up to me to enforce God's law. But I don't have to be a willing party to my country's descent.


The issue is indeed whether or not something should be illegal if some people disagree.

The abstract and true answer is yes. It should still be illegal.

Morally, the answer is yes. Should we stand by while sociopaths (who totally don't live by society's rules man, they're like rebels and stuff) go around murdering people because sociopaths don't agree with our morality? No. We freaking kill them. Or, if we're feeling super nice, we throw them in jail to rot until they die.

Legally, the answer is yes. We elect officials to represent us. Those guys make laws to fulfill the will of the majority. The underlying assumption is that we're never going to be able to make laws that everyone agrees with (and history has born that out).

Now, you've called out a billion examples to try to deny what is, to me, obvious (and I've outlined above why I think so). But I do want to talk about whether a law against fornication is advisable. Afterall, it's against the moral code that we adhere to. I think it is not advisable. Here's why:

1) It is not the current law of the land. Outlawing gay marriage arguably is. 2) It's insanely hard to enforce. Like, dystopia hard. Outlawing gay marriage arguably is not.

I'll shortcut the conversation. I've studied diligently for decades to prepare myself for conversations like this and in that time I have found no self contradiction in my beliefs. It's going to be difficult for you to find one in a drive-by conversation on facebook.

Lastly, regarding compromise: I think there is room for compromise. In the gay marriage debate, there are many things desired by many people and most of them we can budge on.

1) Equality of status in the mind of society. Making it legal will not cause this. This shouldn't be on the table. 2) Equal access to the kinds of things married people get (health insurance from employers, tax stuff, etc). Frankly, I think this is a matter for a lawsuit against people that are giving benefits to specific classes of people. That's clearly unfair. 3) Government has it's nose in marriage. This used to make sense: marriage was the primary way in which families were created. We like families because our nation needs new citizens. It makes sense for our society to ensure that men are living up to their end of the deal in a marraige. Today, it is not so clear cut, especially since our government has made legally dissolving a marriage so easy.

Abstraction from marriage is desirable. Should the government care who has decided to form a family? No. Frankly, sex has nothing to do with it. Our society needs to take a hard look at what it is we want to ensure and then make that happen without stepping on the toes of numerous religious people. That's the starting point.

Let me finish by admitting something. Far too many Christians have seen a culture war brewing for a long time. They've been drawing lines in the sand and preparing rhetoric and muttering darkly to themselves about where our country is headed. That's not in line with our theology. It isn't our job to save this country. Vote your conscience? Fine. Save America through heated rhetoric? Probably not going to happen.

Phaedra: I'm sorry this conversation is kind of hard for me to continue since I left for vacation today, but I would be interested to hear your point of view on the few other examples I gave beyond the one you addressed. Is your rational for outlawing something whether or not it is easy to enforce? Or is it simply an issue of a certain percentage of people believing it is wrong? What is that number exactly? I know you think I am somehow trying to "trip you up", but that is not my goal. I do truly wonder what you think of other similar situations beyond the one you addressed where your reasoning is basically that it is "too hard".

I take offense to your assumption that I have not given this issue any thought or study simply because we've started a random conversation on Facebook. No, you did not say that but that is what you imply.

Phaedra: You probably disagree, but to me it seems that the prevalence of fornication, sex outside of marriage, cheating on one's partner, etc... would be a far greater threat to society. I'm not tying to use this as some sort of argument for allowing gay marriage, I'm just pointing out that it seems more destructive to families and society as a whole. And it seems to violate the institution of marriage in much the same way.

Phaedra: On an unrelated note, 5 != 1,000,000,000

Poopysquirts: Some Girl, my panties arent twisting, Ensis I grew up in a christian household. I am in a neutral standpoint. I really don't care if gays can get married or not I just have questions sometimes about peoples arguments on this subject.

Phaedra: I'm not clear on how your 3rd suggestion is any different than my question a few posts back about removing the institution of marriage from government entirely? This is something I would be completely in favor of as long as any two consenting adults were allowed to participate. And yes, I do extend that to situations that are currently illegal since it seems the only logical thing to do. In fact, it would be much preferable to our current system which is a weird, church/state hybrid... thing. Honestly it seems to change it mostly in name only so I'm not sure why you would agree to that.

insignis: Ensis, I'm curious how you'd propose to abstract from marriage and keep both parties happy. What are some examples of the compromises you see plenty of, that we can budge on?

Unordained: RE: Some Guy; Killing is a bad example of a line in the sand, because it can be consentual, in which case it's not rightfully murder. Assisted suicide, whether for a cancer patient for whom death is better than further treatment, or for a wounded soldier for whom suicide is better than being captured alive by the Taliban, should be respected as much as the potential 'victim' would want to be, trying to save what's left of their dignity. Of course there are limits, moreso when the potential 'victim' won't be around to testify; but just as the underage and the insane aren't allow to sign contracts to buy, sell, or marry, they wouldn't be allowed to for death or gay-marriage, either. The essence of who is allowed to partake in a transaction isn't the nature of the transaction, it's the parties' respective abilities to consent.

Unordained: RE: Ensis (1); We have a pluralistic secular government, with a wall of separation between church and state. The only break in that wall is the vote. What we're talking about here is marriage from the viewpoint of the government, which cannot, as a result of that separation, be about what is holy or sacred or spiritual or more-than-contract. That's like asking a physicist to include magic in his formulas. It's just not the right place for it. Sadly for our discussion, when we made marriage a government issue, we didn't invent a new noun for it. We didn't tell people there were "religious marriages" and "government marriages" with a clear split. We should have, because when it comes to implementation, they're wholly separate. Now it's too late. When we talk about allowing gay marriage, we're only talking about allowing gay civil unions, where civil unions are taken to be the same as government marriages. But renaming them is a problem: a while back, our Congress tried to hunt down all the language affected, and they weren't even sure then nearly 1000 benefits they counted (by searching the text for "spouse", "husband", "wife", "marriage", "married") were all that were out there. If we rename them all to "civil union", just so you can continue to use the word "marriage" in the religious sense, we have a lot of paperwork to fix. On the other hand, if you just stop conflating the two issues, we can save a few pennies.

Unordained: RE: Ensis (2); If you're going to argue that bad behavior doesn't justify bad behavior, or that two wrongs don't make a right, please don't also complain about supposedly-intolerant people pointing out your own intolerance.

Unordained: RE: Ensis (3); Law is based on the will of the people, whether moral or not. But rather than follow that up by saying that a law not based on the will of the people impinges on the freedom of society, I will instead assert that any law not based on protecting citizens or the commons (think: EPA) from the malice, greed, ignorance, or recklessness of others, needlessly impinges on the freedom of society. And yes, I fully intend that to allow for properly labeled drugs, prostitution, gay marriage, gambling, etc. And no, I don't agree with protecting citizens "from themselves" as you might argue is the case with gay-marriage; gay couples are no less consenting or aware than straight ones, and need as much protection as you and I do, and no more, from predators such as gold-diggers or suitors with ulterior motives. Because in the end, we can only form a cooperative society if we each grant each other the maximum freedoms that don't result in real, tangible harm. The harm caused to you by being offended by someone else's behavior isn't even in the same ballpark as the harm caused to gay partners who won't ever have visitation rights in prison, the automated ability to make medical decisions for each other, tax breaks that make sense in the context of a household, property ownership laws that only apply to married couples, survivorship benefits from social security or the military -- or while on the subject of the military, the possibility of their partners living on-base with them, like anyone else's partner would -- and any of the other 1000 or so benefits Congress is pretty sure only apply if truly married, and cannot be gained by any contract, no matter how you word it.

Unordained: RE: Ensis (4); Sure, let's compromise. Governments get civil unions, you get marriages, marriages are whatever holy thing you think they are, and governments keep treating civil unions as contracts for lack of any other possibility, and we open them up to anyone who can consent. It took us a while to open that up to mixed-race couples (which, by the way, has a lot to do with the government being involved in marriage licenses) and it may take a while yet for gay couples. You're uncomfortable. So are old white men in the south who are probably still mad about blacks being able to vote (if they're not still angry about women being able to vote, that is.) If conservatism is defined as moving forward very carefully, I understand. If it's merely an excuse to delay so old folks can get over it, then no, I'm sorry, we can't wait. There was a reason Jefferson believed laws should expire quickly (29 years?) -- the previous generation can't keep holding us back.

Unordained: RE: Some Lady; Heterosexual marriages already have a nearly 50% failure (divorce) rate, and that's been the case without the help of gays. We can hardly consider that a shining example of Christians keeping marriage vows "holy". The no-fault divorce has allowed heterosexuals to come and go as they please for decades, I think it's only fair that they allow gays to do the same. I won't claim that gays will have any better luck at picking and keeping their partners, but there is something to be said for cherishing hard-fought rights as opposed to those handed to you by tradition and culture. Maybe there will be a short honeymoon of longer-lasting gay marriages. (The 50% statistic is debatable not because the number is high, but because you're always comparing different years to each other, and nobody's quite sure what the most appropriate mathematical model is. But it's high, very high.)

Unordained: RE: Some Lady; The Catholic church has, in the past, held that only those seeking to procreate should marry; the old or infertile were in fact encouraged to cohabitate without being married. The Church hasn't, to my knowledge, held to that recently. But marriage isn't just about procreating. What of the heterosexual couple that wants to marry, then adopt? Should they not be allowed to do so? What, then, of the gay couple who wants to do the same? (If you object to gays adopting, please reconsider: if single mothers and single fathers can be good parents, and considering how many heterosexual parents are terrible, is it really so much worse to have two fathers, rather than only one, or none at all? The pro-life crowd should be happy to welcome eager adoptive parents, gay or otherwise, as long as they're reasonable, good people.) And there are a great deal of benefits of marriage that have nothing to do with children, and everything to do with life-partners and the rights and responsibilities they want to give to -- and exact from -- each other.

Unordained: RE: Ensis (5); Your "law of the land argument" boils down to "it should be the law, because it already is", which is absolute rubbish. Furthermore, your call for compromise, while it sounds nice, is really just the most appropriate tactic when your side already has what it wants. You can argue endlessly, thus preserving the status quo, if you can get your opponents to agree that pleasing you is a valid goal, and believe that you're negotiating with them in good faith. You get extra points if you avoid offering any alternatives of your own, forever asking your opponents to come up with some that are good enough to discuss. I believe the Republicans found the right counter-move: instead you attempt to smash everything indiscriminately (repeal obamacare!) then setup committees to decide how to rebuild it from scratch. In this case, that would mean repealing all laws concerning marriage, even for heterosexuals, and then forcing everyone to have the discussion again, from scratch. How does that sound to you?

Unordained: RE: Ensis (6); If your job is not to save the country, then please, stop trying. You are not your brother's keeper. You're just his neighbor.

Unordained: RE: Ensis (7); If you want something like localized Sharia law, I'm all for it. The Turks had a "Millet" system that allowed people of different faiths to operate under a unified system of law for anything that really mattered, but under their own faith-based laws for family matters. The UK allows something similar, where there's marriage in the eyes of the government, and beyond that, the partners sign up to have their vows monitored and arbitrated by an Imam. This would allow Christians to hand power over to their churches to keep them on the straight and narrow, chastising and punishing them as they think appropriate. Maybe you could even have private court systems that still think women should be fully subservient to their husbands, must keep their hair long, etc. under some penalty (within the limits of the law of the land, but as long as the parties legally consented, I don't see why that wouldn't include the likes of corporal punishment. Hey, some people are into that, and that's their own business as far as I'm concerned.)

Unordained: RE: Ensis (8); It's easy to have a self-consistent view. For example: "I'm always right." And in debate, you can always refuse to bow to the opposition, regardless of the evidence or the argument. It's no feat worthy of praise to go into a debate steadfast against changing your beliefs.