I agree that many laws are unethical and need to be changed or repealed. All my life I have worked against them. I have spoken and written against laws discriminating against anyone for whatever personal choice or attribute they may make or have.
However, there are limits. I never have happened to meet a guy who turned me on, so I couldn’t bring myself to sacrific my own preferences. (And don’t offer because I’m too old a fud to be turned on by anyone now )
I never asked you to. I have no intention of changing my preferences either, both because I can’t, and wouldn’t want to even if I could.
Lastly, all I’ve seen of you so far is a few lines of text on a discussion board. If you think that’s enough to get my engine going, then you must think I’m terribly lonely. So no, I’m not going to offer anything, sorry.
Many laws regarding marriage were actually progressive updates designed to protect women from being left without means of economic support in a time when being self-supporting was much harder for women than it is now.
Whether that’s true or not might be an interesting discussion itself. I’m far from considering myself an authority on the history of anything, but my reading thus far has led me to the understanding that marriage laws, at least in the United States, arose quickly in the post-Emancipation years as a way of preventing the “miscegenation” that the racists were sure would follow once African Americans fled the plantations. It was just one of a phalanx of laws, such as segregated schools, segregated lavatories, segregated housing, etc., designed to achieve this purpose.
Prior to that, my reading tells me, there were no marriage laws in the United States. Marriage was strictly a religious observation, and the only document associated with it was the one the couple got from the church. Those who didn’t seek a religious sanction for their union were deemed to be (of course!) “living in sin”, which is how we got that term.
Now, generations later, we find ourselves—as we inevitably do whenever a government gets its metaphorical toe into a doorway of our lives—facing a system in which this formerly private, voluntary social contract has been completely overtaken by the force of law. All kinds of serious economic implications are now forced from the “legal” question of marriage, including rights of inheritance, rights of shared property, pension rights, and so on. These were formerly entirely private matters, and were subject to the mutual agreement of the two parties.
If the states were no longer involved in issuing licenses for those seeking to live in close association with each other, it would once again be up to the parties involved to announce to the rest of the world how they wished to be treated, and it would again be up to the rest of the world to respect—or not respect—their wishes. If you and your partner decided you wanted each other to be the beneficiaries of your respective social security payments or private pensions, you would simply send a notarized statement to that effect to the administrators to make it be so. If you worked for a company that refused to grant that request unless you produced a document from a church showing that they sanctioned the way you were touching each others’ genitals, well, you would want to take that into account in choosing where to work. Companies with insane hiring and retention practices might not be the best possibilities for career advancement for a variety of other reasons as well.
So, to the title question of this thread, I would opine that to the extent that we define “marriage” as the legal entity it is now taken to be, there is a powerful secular argument against “gay” (homosexual) marriage. It is the same argument as the one against heterosexual marriage. The entire political brouhaha would instantly disappear if we simply acknowledged the racist roots of the present orthodoxy and resolved to get rid of it, returning to the freedom-oriented roots we inherited from the founders of this great country.
I can’t think of any argument against Gay marriage (or Civil Union). The way I see it, if two people are happy together and want to be married, I think they should be. While it’s not for me (I like men too much ), it is possible if all states allowed civil unions with the same equality and rights as those of the opposite sex, this could drop the divorce rate some. If I ever succeed in becoming a Humanist Celebrant, I would not be opposed to marrying a couple that are the same sex. Like I said, if it makes them happy, why not?
Well, I’m certainly no expert either, but I can find plentiful references to non-religious civil marriage laws from the Justinian Code in ancient Rome, Renaissance Europe, and Colonial America. NY and several other states specifically passed property rights laws regarding marriage and the woman’s right to control over her property to some extent after marriage. Even Martin Luther regarded formal marriage as primarily a “worldly” contract rather than a religious institution. So while you’re correct that since the Middle Ages marriage in Europe has been primarily a religious institution, and this was true for most, though not all, of the early American colonists, I think your assertion that the legal aspects of government-sanctioned marriage arose primarily after the Civil War in response to fears about miscegenation seems a bit overbroad. I do think there’s evidence that the legal aspects of marriage in American over the last 150 years have at least to some extent been a response to the progressive understanding of women’s rights, though I too probably overstated my case to make a point. In any case, I don’t think it makes sense to assume we can go back to an era, if such ever really existed for those with money and property, in which marriage has no legal standing. Property control, medical decision making, child custody, and many other features of a complex contemporary life justify some legal framework for committed relationships between adults. Now, as I think I made clear I think that should include all adults regardless of sexual orientation, so I still don’t see a convincing non-religious argument against equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
In any case, I don’t think it makes sense to assume we can go back to an era, if such ever really existed for those with money and property, in which marriage has no legal standing. Property control, medical decision making, child custody, and many other features of a complex contemporary life justify some legal framework for committed relationships between adults.
I hesitate to carry this on lest I be perceived as perhaps beating the subject to death, but I can’t resist adding just these two points: Removing government and its lawmaking and -enforcing mechanism from an area of life does not remove it from all “legal standing”. It merely removes government’s one-size-fits-all intrusion into private affairs that can be (I would argue anyway) more satisfactorily arrived at through bilateral, voluntary agreements between the parties themselves. Contracts between parties, whether involving marriage or anything else, have just as much “legal standing” as laws written by politicians. And, hence, those private contracts represent just as valid a “legal framework for committed relationships between adults”.
Of course, removing the cookie cutter means life would be much more complicated for institutions in the way they deal with people. Without standardized, legally-forced definitions that pigeonholed people’s relationships, institutions would be obliged to accept and deal with an infinitely diverse range of same. Bureaucrats would hate it, in other words. I’m having trouble figuring out why I should care.
In harking back to laws written to protect women, I see a tacit premise buried here that says women need protecting. That was probably true when, if that be the case, those laws were written. Our European legacy is one in which women’s whole lives were, normally, in the custody of a man. They were, for all intents and purposes, slaves—unless they happened to ascend to a position of monarchy or else had the courage to defy the system and thereby possibly be branded as witches and killed. So, in that environment, it probably wasn’t even possible for a woman to enter into a legally binding private contract at all!
But to carry that premise forward to the present time is to reinvent it in terms that are condescending and insulting to women. Clearly, women can now see to their own needs as well as men; that justification for government intervention expired a long, long time ago.
I suspect our disagreement stems less from our understanding, correct or incorrect in either of our cases, about the history of marriage than from the basic ideas we each have about government and its role. As you say, going over that gorund again would be beating a dead horse for sure. For the purposes of this topic, we at least agree that no special favored status should be given to heterosexual marriages, and that gives something we can both work to change, in our different ways.
I don’t know, if it helps to cut down on the divorce rate, then gay marriage would be a plus. I think if two people are happy together, why not let them get married. Maybe there won’t be a 1 out of 2 divorce rate.
One of the arguments against same sex marriage is that marriage is so that the off spring of the couple will have a mother and a father. But what if the man and woman can’t have children or don’t want children, but the gay couple do and are willing to adopt?
The trouble with gays not being able to get married or have their partnership legalized by law is if one partner suddenly dies where will his or hers remaining property go? If there is no will, will the state get it? But if they were married we know the remaining partner would get it. Of course we all know that religious lobbyist have thrown a fly in the ointment is why many states are opposed of same sex marriages or unions. There are a few states that have legal unions and one has legal marriages. It was just a few years ago that blacks were not allowed to marry whites. I believe over time same sex marriages will be passed by Congress nationally even it it is twenty five to seventy five years from now as attorneys and civil rights organizations fight for the rights of gays.
I can see your prediction coming true, however, there are other possibilities. For example, marriage may become just another outmoded religious ceremony like baptism, confirmation, or bar mitzvah. Civil unions between two or more individuals of any genders may be granted all the benefits presently afforded marriage.
New Mexico past a civil unions law this year. I think it is immoral for any or all religions to influence the laws of any country and to force their religious beliefs on others who may or may not believe in that religion as the only reason the government would be against same sex marriages has to do with religion and any country that makes their laws by religion is a dictatorship not unlike Iran or Saudi Arabia and should be banned in this country. If America is to be a free country then religion and its mores must stay out of religious issues. If only believers are to have rights and non-believers or those who do not agree with the theist style government are to have no rights then America will never be a free country. How can the marriage of same sex couples affect opposite sex couples or how can same sex marriages cause the collapse of heterosexual marriage as some people claim it will? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
thats why i want to start an online company selling tee shirts and stickers. Id call it “Sarcastic Patriots.” it makes no sense that we have these alarming faults and hardly anyone recognizes it.
- Support Our Terrorists [this has to be put on a yellow ribbon]
- One Nation, Under Surveillance
- Bush [heart] Dick
- I [heart] Torture
- The Only Bush/Dick I Support Is My Own
- a picture of the quaker oatmeal guy with this at the top: Al Quaker
this at the bottom: put a little jihad in your cereal [if you dont remember, this is a swipe at the Pentagons TALON program that was spying on Quakers as potential terrorist threats]
can you - or anyone else - help me with a catchy slogan about gay marriages?