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Robert Sharp
11-09-2006, 07:40 PM
This is a serious question. I'm honestly not sure, and it may be critical to my take on this gay marriage debate. On one hand, our society is built to give certain tax breaks, legal recognitions, etc. to married people. So, not having even a chance to get those breaks would seem (prima facie) to be wrong. But there are lots of programs in the govt. that help only certain groups.

OTOH, marriage does not seem like a human right. It's clearly a societal issue, and one that needs govt. recognition before any non-religious person would have a good reason to care about it. In other words, anyone can say they are married, or stay monogomous. But the issue is whether there should be benefits, and that makes me wonder if it's not a privilege rather than a protected right.

Does anyone know where law stands on this right now?

Beyond legality, what's your view on it?

RSofaer
11-09-2006, 07:42 PM
Is there a reason that marriage wouldn't be allowed? I think you are asking this question from the wrong direction.

Nick Walter
11-09-2006, 07:50 PM
I think you are getting into slippery definition ville Robert. Are you asking about marriage in the sense of two people being able to mate without outside interference? That would be a right. Are you talking about preferential treatment under the law, as in the legal insitution of marriage? That one is much murkier, I'd come down narrowly on the side of privelege on that one.

What makes the gay marriage debates so much fun is that marriage is one of those terms that has several related meanings depending on the context (poltical, legal, religious, etc) that it is being discussed in.

FIDGAF
11-09-2006, 08:17 PM
I think the problem lies in that historically the meaning of marriage has been between a man and a woman. This isn't really a fair way to put the question.

The biggest problem I see in the Gay community is that they are trying to insist that "Marriage" is their right. Well, no, not really unless you're a guy and a girl according to history.

Now if they would like to attempt to add a definition or addition to current laws that states something along the lines of a "Civil Union" between two people, gay or otherwise, they might actually get somewhere. As far as redefining what the word marriage means? ForgetAboutIt!

Sidd_Budd
11-09-2006, 09:16 PM
I think you are getting into slippery definition ville Robert. Are you asking about marriage in the sense of two people being able to mate without outside interference? That would be a right. Are you talking about preferential treatment under the law, as in the legal insitution of marriage? That one is much murkier, I'd come down narrowly on the side of privelege on that one.
This is similar to how I think about it. I believe all adults have a right to be sexual with as many other consenting adults as they would like -- regardless of race, gender, age (above cultural definitions of adult), etc -- without any governmental sanction or condemnation.

I believe there is good evidence that both individuals and society benefit from people who establish long-term emotional & relational bonds with another person. Married folks who live together live longer, have fewer mental health issues, have lower crime rates, are less likely to live in poverty, and have kids with fewer problems than unmarried folks or single-parent households. Of course, all this research is correlational, so we can't be certain that marriage causes these benefits, people with these benefits are more likely to stay married, or that unobserved third variables explain the relation.

We have far more evidence for the benefits of pair bonds for heterosexuals than we do for homosexuals, primarily because data is scarce on homosexuals. What little evidence we have suggests similar patterns as heterosexuals -- kids that grow up in gay or lesbian households, for example, show similar (low) rates of problem behavior as kids that grow up in heterosexual two-parent households. Offhand, I can think of only one outcome that is worse in same-sex couples than in opposite-sex couples; male couples have higher rates of partner violence and alcohol abuse, relative to heterosexual couples. I think biological sex and gender roles are a simpler explanation for this finding than sexual orientation. Relative to females, males are more violent and drink more, and you've got two of them in a gay couple, versus one in a straight couple.

I believe a society that has many couples who are committed to a long-term pair bond has advantages over a society that has fewer couples with this commitment. Therefore, it makes sense for a government to encourage this commitment through legal and social benefits for these pairs. In my opinion, this privilege of benefits (social recognition, tax breaks/exemptions, etc) should be extended to any two adults who commit to a relationship, regardless of gender. While there's *less* research on homosexuals, there's little evidence that society gets fewer benefits from their bonds, relative to heterosexual bonds. Most of the major mental health associations -- the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Association of Marital & Family Therapists -- have released position statements supporting recognition of same-sex civil marriage.

I'd like to see the term marriage used specifically by religious institutions. Each faith could make an individual determination for who would be recognized as married within it, and would be free to restrict it to opposite-sex couples. The legal governmental recognition would be termed a civil union, and would apply to everybody -- gay or straight.

Aeon221
11-09-2006, 10:58 PM
Most of the hate I've heard about gay relationships from religious friends is really about the use of the word marriage, so I'd agree with Sidd_Budd's last paragraph. Obviously, only an anecdotal support, but I'd consider it at least borderline acceptable.

I don't agree with the preceding stuff because there are a lot of weasel words, speculations, and an utter lack of sources. It could all be true, or it could be a pile of stinky brown stuff.

HOWEVER, I do know of an interesting source (http://www.drizzle.com/~celyn/mrwp/mrwed.html) for reading about medieval marriage customs. My professor ok'd it for use in a research paper, so I'd call it semi-legit at least.

I love how (according to this) back in the day you didn't need witnesses, parental permission, government permission, or even a priest to get hitched. All you needed was a verbal agreement.

RichVR
11-09-2006, 11:19 PM
Or is marriage an outdated concept that should be deconstructed and put out to pasture? Let those who want to be married get married. Let the rest have the same rights as those who are married, if they wish to be in that type of contract.

Meanwhile the rest of us shall worship Pan and dance until the burning conflagration that is the end of "civilization".

Oh... did I say that out loud? Sorry.

Backov
11-09-2006, 11:54 PM
Opposition to gay marriage is never about nomenclature, it's about homophobia.

wildpokerman
11-10-2006, 12:06 AM
That one is much murkier, I'd come down narrowly on the side of privelege on that one.



I think you're smoking crack. Families provide benefits to society, in fact they are pretty much why we have society.

Take your commie claptrap about how the family unit is a privilege handed down by the state to North Korea you totalarian fucks.

Theodore Rex DX
11-10-2006, 12:20 AM
Ha ha. Holy shit.

Sidd_Budd
11-10-2006, 12:46 AM
I don't agree with the preceding stuff because there are a lot of weasel words, speculations, and an utter lack of sources. It could all be true, or it could be a pile of stinky brown stuff.
I think you meant you disagree with most of my post (other than the last paragraph), because I didn't provide sources. If you were disagreeing with posters previous to my response, disregard the following.

Here's a few sources that review evidence I summarized. Your university library system should have electronic access to most of these journals.

* Bianchi, SM. (1995). The changing demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of single parent families. Marriage & Family Review, 20, 71-97. -- reviews economic and child development advantages of two-parent/cohabiting homes relative to single-parent

* Burman, B & Margolin, G. (1992). Analysis of the association between marital relationships and health problems: An interactional perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 39-63. -- reviews research on the relation between marital status and physical health, and encourages caution with causal interpretation

* Herek, GM. (2006). Legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States - A social science perspective. American Psychologist, 61, 607-621. -- best single reference; reviews evidence on child development with single-sex parents, and physical and psychological benefits of general couplehood

* Kiecolt-Glaser, JK & Newton, TL. (2001). Marriage and health: His and hers. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 472-503 -- reviews physical health benefits of marriage, although stresses evidence that there are greater benefits for males than females

* Lund, R, et al. (2002). Cohabitation and marital status as predictors of mortality - an eight year follow-up study. Social Science & Medicine, 55, 673-679 -- longitudinal follow-up showing greater mortality in people who live alone versus those who cohabitate or are married

* Simon, RW. (2002). Revisiting the relationships among gender, marital status, and mental health. American Journal of Sociology, 107, 1065-1096. -- reviews mental health benefits of marriage versus singlehood, also reviews gender differences similar to Kiecolt-Glaser's review of physical health above

In addition, here are links to the position statements on same-sex marriage from:
American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (http://www.aamft.org/about/Combined%20Motions%20adopted%20by%20the%20Board.as p)
American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/releases/gaymarriage.html)
American Psychiatric Association (PDF file) (http://www.psych.org/news_room/press_releases/adoption_coparenting121802.pdf)

I still believe that gay couples have a higher prevalence of alcohol & violence problems, and that married individuals have lower incidences of crime than non-married individuals, but I couldn't find specific cites in the time I had available. Hopefully the sources above demonstrate that my political beliefs regarding couplehood recognition aren't founded totally on speculation and brown stuff.

Anders Hallin
11-10-2006, 01:24 AM
Oh, I definitely think marriage is a privilege. The government and states can remove the recognition of marriage today, and no one can honestly claim their rights have been infringed.
However, everyone has the right to equal treatment by the government unless there are extraordinary reasons not to do so. If the state has decided to recognise couples, then I don't see gender as a reason extraordinary enough to deny anyone of it. There are several laws on the books right now that seem more objectionable to the modern understanding of marriage than same-sex couples.

Also, shouldn't those who believe this is just a question of protecting the definition of marriage be all the more interested in stopping amendments such as those already voted through in Louisiana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and Wisconsin?
For reference, those are the states that have effectively voted to ban civil unions and similar constructions as part of their "defend marriage" package.

Athryn
11-10-2006, 01:38 AM
I always find it ironic that People are so rabidly willing to "protect" the "sancticy" of marriage when half of heterosexual marriages in the United States, for example, result in divorce.

There are two issues at stake. The religious one, and the civil one. The religious one, for obvious first amendment reasons, shouldn't be touched. The government should have no say whether a particular religious organization can or cannot support same/hetero/poly marriage-type unions.

When it comes down to a civil matter, I think that any two people, regardless of gender, should be able to enter into some form of legally recognized union that gives the same rights as one would call a traditional marriage, including inheritance, property rights, benefit coverage, adoption rights, etc. I dont care if you call it a civil union, marriage, or whatever, as long as it gives equal protection under the law.


And as to the whole "teh gay menz beat each otherz moar!" argument ... men tend to beat their heterosexual partners quite a bit too. Just because they're two men doesn't make it any more or less statistically likely.


My opinion may be clouded by my experiences growing up. There were several gay couples in the town I grew up in, and every one of them were and are a committed, loving couple.

Vincent_GC
11-10-2006, 02:58 AM
On the more important legal side, the government needs to distance itself from the term marriage. Instead, it should have, just like Sidd said, a different term that is applied to all couples regardless of gender. It's a shame that some states won't even allow this.

As far as churches, that's thier buisness. If a gay couple gets "married" and the church refuses to acknowledge it, tough cookies. The government can't do a thing for you.

When it comes down to it, it boggles my mind that this is such a heated topic everywhere and that there are many people who oppose giving homosexuals equal legal footing. I got serveral people I work with that are think along these lines. When I ask them why, I get two responses.

1. Homosexuals are evil and immoral (paraphrasing here).
2. Sanctity of marrige must be preserved.

When I press them about the legal side, they repeat the list I just gave.

I would like to see or at least hear someone who is opposed to gay marrige (or something similar) that at the very least can give a competent debate.

drewl
11-10-2006, 04:36 AM
It's nothing more than a business contract, one that noone in their right mind would enter if it didn't involve sex.

Houngan
11-10-2006, 04:38 AM
I think a fairly strict Libertarian interpretation is a good call on this one. (note: I don't know what the Libertarian party thinks about it)

Marriage is two things. First, it was and is a social contract between members of a community, and is recognized by a community based on the local standards. This can be in a church, by a Justice of the Peace, ship captain, Wiccan tofu goddess, etc. In this aspect, it is entirely up to each person whether he/she wants to recognize the marriage, and within the local society/community.

Second, it is a recognized privelege granted by the government with benefits associated. In this aspect, there should be no restrictions based on it, with the exception of "protect the children", which has always been a limitation of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

I would prefer to see the removal of government benefits for marriage, since it is hardly a permanent or consistent institution these days. The churches are welcome to discriminate all they want, it's their group, but if pastor Bob wants to marry Jim and Joe, I can't for the life of me figure out how that negatively affects anything other than the local club scene.

I'd also like to see the removal of government benefits for the churches, but that's another story.

H.

Walter Yarbrough
11-10-2006, 07:59 AM
Read this - http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-History-How-Love-Conquered/dp/014303667X/sr=8-1/qid=1163174329/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4477406-7904057?ie=UTF8&s=books

Absolutely, positively, should be required reading for anyone debating the topic.

-Walt

PeterGinsberg
11-10-2006, 08:20 AM
I'm in the get rid of marriage as a legal institution camp. Toss all the benefits, set up a contractual organization like an LLC for the rest of it. Get the government out of it otherwise. Not something anyone is ever going to get elected supporting, of course.


I believe there is good evidence that both individuals and society benefit from people who establish long-term emotional & relational bonds with another person. Married folks who live together live longer, have fewer mental health issues, have lower crime rates, are less likely to live in poverty, and have kids with fewer problems than unmarried folks or single-parent households. Of course, all this research is correlational, so we can't be certain that marriage causes these benefits, people with these benefits are more likely to stay married, or that unobserved third variables explain the relation.

This is a huge problem with these studies, I'd argue it makes them near worthless in fact. You could produce 1000 studies that show correlations and it won't tell you anything about which is cause and which is effect or if they are both effects of something else.

I don't mean to over-react, but garbage correlation "studies" have been used to make a lot of specious arguments in all areas of society.

Athryn
11-10-2006, 08:43 AM
I don't mean to over-react, but garbage correlation "studies" have been used to make a lot of specious arguments in all areas of society.

It's like the beliefs that used to be held that marrying someone of a different race was somehow unnatural and abhorrent. Many of the arguments currently used against gay marriage are the same arguments used against interracial marriage in the past.

Glenn
11-10-2006, 08:55 AM
And as to the whole "teh gay menz beat each otherz moar!" argument ... men tend to beat their heterosexual partners quite a bit too. Just because they're two men doesn't make it any more or less statistically likely.I'm too lazy to hunt down specific journal articles, but there are literally dozens which dispute you. "typn a11 l33t nd n qu0tz!" doesn't refute that. Summary found in two minutes via google. (http://www.eurowrc.org/06.contributions/1.contrib_en/34.contrib.en.htm) However, you are correct that singling out homosexual men is unfair, as every study I've seen has found rates of domestic violence are much higher among lesbian couples than either heterosexual couples or gay men.

PeterGinsberg
11-10-2006, 09:00 AM
I'm too lazy to hunt down specific journal articles, but there are literally dozens which dispute you. "typn a11 l33t nd n qu0tz!" doesn't refute that. Summary found in two minutes via google. (http://www.eurowrc.org/06.contributions/1.contrib_en/34.contrib.en.htm) However, you are correct that singling out homosexual men is unfair, as every study I've seen has found rates of domestic violence are much higher among lesbian couples than either heterosexual couples or gay men.

Did you read the article you just linked to?


Domestic violence in gay and lesbian couples is a serious problem. Until recently the problem has been completely discounted and thus received little attention. Many issues involved indicate that incidence of domestic violence in gay and lesbian couples is probably at least as high as in heterosexual couples, if not higher.

That doesn't seem to be saying what you are saying (that it is "much higher"), it seems to be saying that it's a problem in all relationships but therapists have been ignoring it or not handling it correctly in gay couples.

Sidd_Budd
11-10-2006, 09:30 AM
This is a huge problem with these [correlational] studies, I'd argue it makes them near worthless in fact. You could produce 1000 studies that show correlations and it won't tell you anything about which is cause and which is effect or if they are both effects of something else.

I don't mean to over-react, but garbage correlation "studies" have been used to make a lot of specious arguments in all areas of society.
We differ on the worth of these studies. All studies are flawed in some way; finding a flaw shouldn't lead to an automatic dismissal of all conclusions of the study. In fact, this is a typical tactic of proponents of intelligent design (and in the past, tobacco lobbyists) -- they find a flaw in a single investigation, and use it to discredit the entire body of research. Methodological considerations and research designs put limits to what we can take away, but for me, evidence isn't all or nothing -- there's room for greater or lesser confidence.

There's no ethical way to experimentally investigate couplehood -- you can't randomly assign 50 people to enter into a pair bond, and 50 others to live as singles, and see how they are different 20 years later. Even though cause-effect relations are unable to be determined by correlational evidence, they still demonstrate clear associations between couplehood and better individual, relational, and social outcomes. If government is going to provide benefits to couples, I'd rather they do so on the basis of empirical evidence (even if this evidence isn't definitive), than on the basis of tradition or religious conviction (being married is better because it says so in the Bible).

By the way, the studies we have on the effects of childhood physical and emotional abuse, and both child and adult sexual assault, are also correlational, because we can't ethically investigate these crimes experimentally. I don't think it makes sense to eliminate government sanctions against abusive parents, or deny medical coverage for psychological treatment of abused kids and adults, just because the data doesn't allow us to definitively state that the abuse caused the damage.

Mark Crump
11-10-2006, 09:38 AM
The root of the issue is "marriage" as it is presently devised grants certain legal rights. These commonly come up in inheritance and health care issues.

People have successfully pushed this issue by declaring that since marriage is currently only allowed between men and women, it is discriminatory based on sex/sexual preference. And, therefore, their lack of access to these rights is based on discrimination. That's how they won in MA.

Flowers
11-10-2006, 09:43 AM
Just because some ladyboy cracks his leatherdaddy in the mouth for spending the grocery money on shoes does not mean that homosexuals in love should not be allowed to marry.

Supposing, for a second, that it did, I would then one up you and say that there has never been an incident where one party to a homosexual relationship raped the other one and got them pregnant, and then gave them a ride, tummy first, down the staircase three months later.

Horrible things to say aside, many of the elements that give rise to domestic violence situations in America are simply not present or are significantly altered in homosexual relationships. I learn me abouts DV fer werk, and I learns real good. It's a situation revolving around power and control brought about by an unacceptable value structure and sense of entitlement on the part of the abuser, who participates in calculated strategies in order to procure for himself those benefits, sexual, emotional, financial, societal, which he feels he is owed.

For those wishing to edumacate theyselves abouts the issue of domestic violence, I would suggest that you read, "Why Does He Do That," by Lundy Bancroft, which is an informative look into the minds of abusers that dispels many of the myths and exposes the aims of the patterns of domestic abuse.

With homosexual male couples, the substantial advantage that many male abusers possess, that of a percieved "male priviliege," that they represent to their victims as legitimate and upheld by society, is not present in its unaltered state. While one partner may demonstrate and use the fact that he is more financially well of or thought of in the community, homosexual men know that it is highly unlikely that society will step in to enforce the dominance of one man over another in a homosexual relationship, whereas inmany heterosexual couples, the women are under the impression that society will intervene to preserve their family unit and cement the traditional power structure of a man in charge of his wife. Furthermore, because this is a dynamic between two males, the differential in raw physical power between abuser and victim is not quite so aggravated. Although many situations of domestic abuse do not involve physical violence, many "nonviolent" abusers will employ their physical advantage in order to define the outer limits of discussions and arguments.

Religion, which in many cases is used by some subsets of abusive men to justify, intensify, and inform their behavior is largely unavailable to homosexual couples. Talks of reconciliation, where concerned family members and or religious professionals will speak with a woman to get her to return to her family and honor her vow of marriage, a major tool that many men can employ to get their spouses to return to them after particularly violent or abusive episodes are equally foreclosed to those couples where organized religion grants them no support for their family unit.

Oftentimes, as well, the cultural basis for certain patterns of abuse in subsets of the population are not present in homosexuals, who, not being embraced by their ethnicities traditional culture, abandon many of its practices and values in favor of those of mainstream society. (Machismo, for example.)

PeterGinsberg
11-10-2006, 09:44 AM
By the way, the studies we have on the effects of childhood physical and emotional abuse, and both child and adult sexual assault, are also correlational, because we can't ethical investigate these crimes experimentally. Would it make sense to eliminate government sanctions against abusive parents, or deny medical coverage for psychological treatment of abused kids and adults, because the data doesn't allow us to definitively state that the abuse caused the damage?

That's a hell of an analogy, I'll give you that, there are some issues though. The abuse itself is damage, after all.

The other key difference is one which I'll happily admit is largely subjective. "Child abuse causes long lasting psychological damage" doesn't have a plausible alternative explanation, unless you're saying kids who are destined to have psychological issues are more likely to be abused (that kid was totally asking for it!).

Whereas "having a mother and father at home makes for happier kids" has a totally obvious alternative explanation "happy families are more likely to stay together, happier families have happier kids". I'm leery of people, for what I think are personal bias reasons, championing the former explanation. "Yes, we know you hate each other, but you shouldn't get divorced for what it might do to the kids! They'll die sooner, look at the research!".

awdougherty
11-10-2006, 09:45 AM
Personally I feel that, the way our government currently handles marriage, it's obviously a privilege and I guess the government isn't stepping outside of its boundries to use incentives to promote behavior. Since those incentives exist, I wish that those same incentives would be offered to anyone wanting to get married, but I guess a conservative government, without a needed law to prevent it, has the option to promote a certain type of marriage in its efforts to promote marriage itself.

That being said, marriage itself is just a symbolic act, maybe like getting baptized, and doesn't really have to carry the meaning we put on it. The real problem for me is government intruding into a symbolic gesture and placing cash on it like a roulette number.

Actually, none of this probably makes much sense now that I read over it again.

skedastic
11-10-2006, 09:52 AM
I strongly disagree with Sidd that if the only evidence we had on the effects of marriage were correlations between marital status and various outcomes that we should should conclude the correlations reflect causality and implement policy on the basis of those correlations. There are many examples in social science of correlations which have plausible causal interpretations, but which turn out not to be causal at all. Since selection on unobservables and "reverse" causation are also plausible mechanisms in this context, if correlations were all the evidence we had we should not conclude that there is "evidence" of causation, even if we mumble caveats.

But not all of the evidence on marriage is correlational. We don't necessarily need to conduct controlled experiments to estimate the causal effect of marriage because nature is sometimes kind enough to conduct experiments for us. For example, Josh Angrist recently published a paper (ftp://repec.iza.org/RePEc/Discussionpaper/dp368.pdf) using the effect of immigration flows on the male-female ratio to identify the causal effect of marriage on labor market outcomes. Studies using similar methods to disentangle causality and correlation typically find that much or most of the correlation is attributable to a causal effect of marriage.

Simply, the evidence does suggest that marriage does indeed cause improvments in a number of outcomes, particularly labour market outcomes. These results do not hinge simply on correlations between marital status and those outcomes.

Sidd_Budd
11-10-2006, 10:02 AM
I strongly disagree with Sidd that if the only evidence we had on the effects of marriage were correlations between marital status and various outcomes that we should should conclude the correlations reflect causality and implement policy on the basis of those correlations.
You are disagreeing with a position I never took, and I apologize if I wasn't clear. I've never stated that correlational studies allow assumptions regarding causality. I have stated that I'd rather use empirical studies, acknowledging the limits of these, to guide policy, if the alternative is to set policy according to tradition or religious conviction that has *no* empirical evidence -- limited or otherwise -- to back its position.

If the results of these correlational studies end up being spurious, so be it. I'm comfortable with why I hold my current position on legal benefits for couplehood (same or opposite-sex). I see no reason to expect significant negative societal consequences for increased couplehood, even if some or even most of the benefits don't pan out.

Glenn
11-10-2006, 10:41 AM
Did you read the article you just linked to?I glanced at it. Briefly. I was more interested in providing the setup for a Dykes On Bikes joke.


That doesn't seem to be saying what you are saying (that it is "much higher"), it seems to be saying that it's a problem in all relationships but therapists have been ignoring it or not handling it correctly in gay couples.The author chose to hedge in his summary so as to avoid offending his audience. As for me, I really don't care about offending strangers in other states. I'd give you more and better links to back up the "much higher" assertion, but seriously, if you actually cared at all you would have found them yourself, instead of wasting all that time justifying the preemptive dismissal of facts contradicting your worldview.

skedastic
11-10-2006, 10:51 AM
Sidd: It sounded to me like you were saying that the only evidence we have is correlational; the only way to infer causation is from controlled experiments; and absent controlled experiments we should assume correlations are causal because at least then we're using empirical evidence, even if it isn't "definitive." If that isn't what you meant, then I am glad we agree that all of those assertions are mistaken.



For the record, I've also stated repeatedly that *the bulk* of relational research is correlational, but we've also got longitudinal work, natural experiments, and controlled experiments (on relational micro-processes, not global couplehood effects) that suggest couplehood has advantages over being single.

You did? Where? In some thread I missed?

Robert Sharp
11-10-2006, 01:20 PM
I think you are getting into slippery definition ville Robert. Are you asking about marriage in the sense of two people being able to mate without outside interference? That would be a right. Are you talking about preferential treatment under the law, as in the legal insitution of marriage? That one is much murkier, I'd come down narrowly on the side of privelege on that one.


I thought I was pretty clear. Why would I use the word marriage to talk about mating, which is just sex? I specifically mentioned legal protection and that I was talking about rights and privileges. I'm talking about legally defined marriage and the recognition of various things that come with it. So your second choice.

Robert Sharp
11-10-2006, 01:23 PM
The root of the issue is "marriage" as it is presently devised grants certain legal rights. These commonly come up in inheritance and health care issues.

People have successfully pushed this issue by declaring that since marriage is currently only allowed between men and women, it is discriminatory based on sex/sexual preference. And, therefore, their lack of access to these rights is based on discrimination. That's how they won in MA.

Exactly, Mark. And this is my problem with how it is treated. If there are rights that come along with being married (and there seem to be), then to consider marriage itself as a privilege and not a right seems odd to me. So I'm trying to figure it out. However, if marriage IS just a privilege and not a right (as anti-gay marriage people seem to assume), then it seems we need to get rid of the rights associated with it.

PeterGinsberg
11-10-2006, 02:24 PM
The author chose to hedge in his summary so as to avoid offending his audience. As for me, I really don't care about offending strangers in other states. I'd give you more and better links to back up the "much higher" assertion, but seriously, if you actually cared at all you would have found them yourself, instead of wasting all that time justifying the preemptive dismissal of facts contradicting your worldview.

Actually, I spent 10 minutes trying to find an article that backed up your assertion, and couldn't find anything that said anything other than what this article concluded (roughly the same rates). The only "study" I found that supported what you said was from the "Family Research Institute" (a rabid right wing anti-gay group) and was so full of logical holes I assumed you must have something better. Maybe you do, but you'd rather just be insulting I guess.

So, to review, you tossed out a surprising claim (that rates of domestic violence are "much higher" among lesbians than gay men or heterosexuals), I read the article you linked and it didn't support what you said, I ask you about that and you act like an ass and call me close minded for no apparent reason. Nice work there Glenn.

shift6
11-10-2006, 02:50 PM
I think the problem lies in that historically the meaning of marriage has been between a man and a woman. This isn't really a fair way to put the question.

The biggest problem I see in the Gay community is that they are trying to insist that "Marriage" is their right. Well, no, not really unless you're a guy and a girl according to history.

Now if they would like to attempt to add a definition or addition to current laws that states something along the lines of a "Civil Union" between two people, gay or otherwise, they might actually get somewhere. As far as redefining what the word marriage means? ForgetAboutIt!
Dude, we've tried presenting that position on QT3 before. It will only get you called (or lumped in with) ignorant homophobic neocons. Yes, even if you support everything about it save one terminology.

Probably one of the most even-tempered and sociologically-minded people on QT3 (Sidd Budd, PhD) posted this very same thing in this thread and look where it got him in just a couple hours. You can also see previous threads.

Robert Sharp
11-10-2006, 02:56 PM
Did Sidd get attacked? And I'm pretty sure he doesn't throw around his PhD. But anyway, my question is more about why marriage would be a right even for a "guy and a girl". History doesn't present that as a right, AFAIK. In fact, if the church doesn't want to marry you, they don't have to.

But if you prefer the civil union label, I have no problem with that.

shift6
11-10-2006, 03:04 PM
Wasn't referring to you, Robert. But if you look at Backov's post, you'll perhaps see the beginnings twinge of the kind of vitriol I'm referring to. See previous threads for some real explosions.

Rimbo
11-10-2006, 03:29 PM
Marriage is:

A legal mechanism to ensure that mothers have financial assistance, since they are generally less able to perform physical labor when they are pregnant and raising young children.

A moral/religious mechanism to ensure that men understand the necessity of providing for mothers and their children.

A social tradition to promote the propagation and growth of a society by ensuring that sufficient funds are diverted to the health and training of the next generation.

Most of the laws that exist (e.g., hospital visitation rights) are based on promoting the legal structure above; others (e.g., the Marriage Penalty) are based on taking advantage of the popularity of existing morals/traditions to increase tax revenue, curb liberties, etc.

In a society such as ours where having children is perceived to be a luxury and not the necessity that it is, and where women have the ability and right to work twice as hard as men to juggle both career and family, it's worth bringing up for debate whether or not the institution is anachronistic in all three senses.

Or perhaps we have unfairly devalued the once-noble act of child-rearing.

bigdruid
11-10-2006, 03:34 PM
Marriage is: <a bunch of stuff having to do with kids>


...and that's why historically, infertile or elderly couples can't get married?

Childrearing is a big, but not the only motivation behind the institution of Marriage.



Dude, we've tried presenting that position on QT3 before.

I have to say that after the last thread, I was convinced that civil unions for gays was a reasonable stepping stone.

I still think people opposed to gay marriage are homophobes, but I'm willing to grant them their homophobia if gay couples have all the pragmatic (legal/social) benefits of marriage, even if they have to call it a "civil union".

Robert Sharp
11-10-2006, 07:51 PM
Having children is a necessity, Rimbo? So those of us who choose not to have children are what...unnatural? Perhaps even perverse?

Glenn
11-10-2006, 09:23 PM
I read the article you linked and it didn't support what you said, I ask you about that and you act like an ass and call me close minded for no apparent reason. Nice work there Glenn.I'm often needlessly rude. Backtracking to actual journal articles, I can only find one (Ellis, L., Hoffman, H., & Burke,D.M., “Sex, sexual orientation and criminal and violent behavior,” Personal Individual Differences, 11 (1990) 1207-1212.) which found a statistically higher incidence (is that the right word) of domestic violence in lesbians as compared to homosexual men of heterosexual couples. So, you're right, for that specific claim I have to back off from "every study", it was instead "multiple citations of the same study". I also don't know where you can find free access to that particular journal online. You win, in that I can't fully back that claim.

As to the more general claim that numerous studies have repeatedly found more domestic violence in homosexual relationships, I'm still quite certain that you can easily confirm that on your own.

Lloyd Heilbrunn
11-10-2006, 10:37 PM
This is a serious question. I'm honestly not sure, and it may be critical to my take on this gay marriage debate. On one hand, our society is built to give certain tax breaks, legal recognitions, etc. to married people. So, not having even a chance to get those breaks would seem (prima facie) to be wrong. But there are lots of programs in the govt. that help only certain groups.

OTOH, marriage does not seem like a human right. It's clearly a societal issue, and one that needs govt. recognition before any non-religious person would have a good reason to care about it. In other words, anyone can say they are married, or stay monogomous. But the issue is whether there should be benefits, and that makes me wonder if it's not a privilege rather than a protected right.

Does anyone know where law stands on this right now?

Beyond legality, what's your view on it?

Marriage may not be a right but equal protection is.....

Backov
11-10-2006, 10:38 PM
I don't have any problem with people that have problems with the nomenclature, shift6 - I just believe that there are infinitesimally few that actually care about nomenclature and are not just using it as a smokescreen.

Sidd_Budd
11-10-2006, 11:31 PM
Did Sidd get attacked? And I'm pretty sure he doesn't throw around his PhD. But anyway, my question is more about why marriage would be a right even for a "guy and a girl". History doesn't present that as a right, AFAIK. In fact, if the church doesn't want to marry you, they don't have to.

But if you prefer the civil union label, I have no problem with that.
* I better not throw around my Ph.D., because I don't have one yet. I'm just a Ph.D. candidate, and won't be much longer if I keep responding to these threads rather than working on my dissertation.

* I felt attacked. I didn't intend my initial post to be confusing; I was trying to provide empirical support for why I believe government should extend benefits and privileges to any two adults that choose to commit to a pair bond. It seemed like 20% of respondents agreed with my marriage vs. civil union distinction, 60% fixated on my admitted unsupported (and erroneous) assertion that gay couples are more prone to violence while ignoring the other five or six benefits of couplehood for which I did provide evidence and led to my *support* for same-sex unions, and 20% agreed with my conclusion, but implied I was stupid for coming to that conclusion by putting faith in nasty correlational research by psychologists rather than flawless natural experiments by economists. But hell, it's the P&R forum on Qt3; I knew what I was wading into.

* I may not be clear on the distinction between right and privilege. I believe that adults shouldn't be penalized for engaging in emotional and/or sexual relations with as many other consenting adults as they choose; I term this as a right. For example, I would say that a landlord shouldn't be able to deny renting an apartment to a sexually involved couple (same or opposite-sex) simply because they weren't married. I believe individuals and societies benefit from legal and social recognition of a committed union, and I don't care if you call it a marriage, civil union, or kartoffelunterfleisch. Whatever it's termed, it's a privilege characteristic of a progressive enlightened society and one that should be extended to all couples regardless of gender, but IMO, it's not a fundamental human right.

caesarbear
11-11-2006, 01:09 AM
Marriage existed before Christianity. Contracts for marriage and divorce exist in some of our earliest recorded history, before monotheism. In places where polygamy is or was accepted, it was only practiced by the very powerful and wealthy, or the sheltered communal minority. Could it be that natural monogamous unions have been a part of humanity throughout time? If so, I'd say that gives it some points towards a fundamental human right.

Rimbo
11-11-2006, 01:56 AM
Having children is a necessity, Rimbo?

I'm not sure which part of my post you failed to comprehend to get this ridiculous notion.

Marriage is an ancient, and anachronistic, institution. It exists today only for nostalgia's sake.

Edit: Actually, "anachronistic" may be the wrong word. The point is, it is a social institution that exists for a biological need. The less important the biological need -- as the population gets closer to the point where it can be sustained -- the less necessary the institution. As a result, a lot of extra stuff gets thrown in with the institution that both capitalizes on its popularity and encourages people to continue to marry despite fewer legitimate reasons for the legal safeguards.

In other words, the question is not whether having children is a necessity; the question is whether or not marriage is a necessity. If what you want is a monogamous relationship, well then, have a monogamous relationship! But you don't need to get married to do so. In fact, marriage has frequently had little to do with partners being in monogamous relationships. It's more common to go hand-in-hand because it's cheaper to buy trinkets for the mother of your children whom you must support, and it's more convenient to fuck the woman who lives in your house.

In other words, I take issue with the question, "Is marriage (in the legal sense) a right or a privilege?" It is neither. It is a legal contract over property.

shift6
11-11-2006, 09:20 AM
* I better not throw around my Ph.D., because I don't have one yet. I'm just a Ph.D. candidate, and won't be much longer if I keep responding to these threads rather than working on my dissertation.
Oops, shit my bad. I thought you had already gotten it. MY FAULT EVERYBODY.


I don't have any problem with people that have problems with the nomenclature, shift6 - I just believe that there are infinitesimally few that actually care about nomenclature and are not just using it as a smokescreen.
Fair enough. I'm still wary from one of the last times we had a thread on this. Like I said, your post was just the beginnings of what I actually had in mind. Thankfully, some of the real jerks from that last time haven't joined this thread at all.

bigdruid
11-11-2006, 09:58 AM
Thankfully, some of the real jerks from that last time haven't joined this thread at all.

Liar! I did *so* join this thread.

skedastic
11-11-2006, 10:17 AM
* and 20% agreed with my conclusion, but implied I was stupid for coming to that conclusion by putting faith in nasty correlational research by psychologists rather than flawless natural experiments by economists. But hell, it's the P&R forum on Qt3; I knew what I was wading into.


No, one person criticised some of your remarks. Criticism does not imply a charge of stupidity. I don't think you're stupid -- far from it -- and never implied that you are.



I believe there is good evidence that both individuals and society benefit from people who establish long-term emotional & relational bonds with another person. Married folks who live together live longer, have fewer mental health issues, have lower crime rates, are less likely to live in poverty, and have kids with fewer problems than unmarried folks or single-parent households. Of course, all this research is correlational, so we can't be certain that marriage causes these benefits, people with these benefits are more likely to stay married, or that unobserved third variables explain the relation.

But "all" of the research is not correlational, as you correctly later noted:


For the record, I've also stated repeatedly that *the bulk* of relational research is correlational, but we've also got longitudinal work, natural experiments, and controlled experiments (on relational micro-processes, not global couplehood effects) that suggest couplehood has advantages over being single.

You did not say any of this once, much less "repeatedly." Indeed, you quite clearly stated the opposite. I don't see how it's fair to claim I implied you're "stupid" for pointing out an erroneous assertion that, in retrospect, you obviously agree is erroneous.

Incidentally, I am glad to see that "natural experiment" has entered your lexicon. :)

Robert Sharp
11-11-2006, 04:55 PM
In a society such as ours where having children is perceived to be a luxury and not the necessity that it is

There you go Rimbo. That's where my reading comprehension apparently failed me.

And BTW, marriage was never about producing children. That was never a real issue. It was about heredity; making sure you had some idea who was responsible for the children.

Robert Sharp
11-11-2006, 04:57 PM
Oops, shit my bad. I thought you had already gotten it. MY FAULT EVERYBODY.


I have a PhD. Does that make my views more valid? If so, I'm happy to start throwing it around.

Aeon221
11-11-2006, 09:12 PM
Sidd_Bud: Thank you very much for providing serious firepower to your original post. Much of it was a strange, if interesting read. I agree, it does back you up but good.

shift6
11-12-2006, 09:56 AM
I have a PhD. Does that make my views more valid? If so, I'm happy to start throwing it around.
If that is your area of expertise, then your views have more weight. Damn straight. For instance, your posts on philosophical topics hold far more weight with me, doubly so when correcting my errors, than someone with an unrelated BA who reads a couple blogs and links to the wiki. In the past we've discussed things like Kantian ethics and so forth and when I see your name on a post, I sit down and listen. I may disagree or want to do my own evaluation, but still.

unbongwah
11-13-2006, 11:03 AM
I don't mean to over-react, but garbage correlation "studies" have been used to make a lot of specious arguments in all areas of society.
True, but that doesn't render all of them worthless just because some of them poison the information well. Get enough correlation evidence and it at least tells you, "OK, we should take a closer look, try to figure out how these things are related." First you observe a recurring pattern; then you try to figure out what causes it.


Many of the arguments currently used against gay marriage are the same arguments used against interracial marriage in the past.
Miscegenation laws were not declared unconstitutional until 1967 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/12/AR2006061201716.html). At the time, Chief Justice Earl Warren said, "Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides within the individual and cannot be infringed on by the State."

Substitute "either gender" for "another race" and welcome to today.

Of course, a key difference is the issue of children: miscegenation laws were designed in part to prevent interbreeding between races. Obviously, gay couples can't procreate without help. Furthermore, even if we presume that homosexuality is inherently genetic and decided at conception, I'm not aware of any credible proof that gay people are more likely to have gay children than straight parents. Children from racially mixed unions, OTOH, will definitely inherit genetic traits from both parents.

But that's another tangent.

As to the original point: I would say that marriage has traditionally (as in "whole of human history") been defined as a social obligation, not a right. We're all expected to get married and have kids, in order to help perpetuate our bloodline / clan / country / species. It is one of the most fundamental ways in which we are expected to contribute to society: women in particular feel the societal pressure to procreate. [Yet single mothers routinely have their virtue impugned. Curious, that.] It's how the basic biological imperative to perpetuate the species bubbled up into social structure.

Since countries see it as a public good to have families creating new citizens who grow up to be productive members of society, thus continuing the Circle of Tax Revenue (cue Elton John & Carmen Twillie), they provide various incentives to encourage couples and support children, e.g., tax breaks. In extreme cases, you get things like China's one-child policy: i.e., social engineering on a massive scale, often with unintended consequences. [China has a serious gender imbalance, because sons are still considered more valuable than daughters, and if you only get to keep one kid, well...]



So those of us who choose not to have children are what...unnatural? Perhaps even perverse?
No, just using marriage as a tax shelter. ;-)

Dirt
11-13-2006, 11:09 AM
It's a social necessity.

Robert Sharp
11-13-2006, 12:55 PM
Anyone know the anthropology surrounding marriage? What I mean is that many societies have some version of marriage. Are there any that have removed the option or newly insituted it in a way that we could historically cite as an example? I'm just wondering if anything can be learned from those instances.

Nick Walter
11-13-2006, 01:19 PM
Anyone know the anthropology surrounding marriage? What I mean is that many societies have some version of marriage. Are there any that have removed the option or newly insituted it in a way that we could historically cite as an example? I'm just wondering if anything can be learned from those instances.

There may well be examples of this in history, but I don't see them as being at all relevant to the current situation. You can't examine a societies marriage traditions without also looking at their sexism, pre-assigned gender roles, and how all of the above relate to how the society operates economically. Things that worked or didn't work in previous societies would probably function radically differently in a modern America where we don't force people into roles based on gender and marital status. Well, theoretically we don't. Legally anyway.