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A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

Dec 11th 2003

of massachusetts legal precendents in marriage law, or “why the polygamists shouldn’t have to choose just one…”

very busy!


but read this fresh argument against same-sex marriage from the best weblog that nobody knows about, the one staffed by professors at the claremont institute:

“Gay marriage” will do anything but strengthen the already weakened institution of marriage. Marriage has been weakened by many things—from adultery to divorce to cohabitation. Marriage, however, when it is honored, brings with it benefits that can be empirically documented. Changing the definition of marriage to meet individual preference and practice is a change in the institution of marriage, not a change in the behaviors and commitments of adults—one of the many purposes of marriage. Marriage, among other things, is about changing behavior, not changing the institution to comport with behavior.

Banning gay marriage is not discrimination. Any man, any woman, can marry—but they cannot marry anyone; for example, they cannot marry their first cousins, they cannot marry their sisters, they cannot marry someone already married, and they cannot marry someone under the age of 18. Until last month, they could not marry someone of the same sex. Now all the doors have been thrown open, and the codification and meaning of marriage has been eviscerated. [source]

here’s the news background, BTW, [link]. and for more discussion, try
conservative voice
brain fertilizer
attila the pundit

8 Responses to “of massachusetts legal precendents in marriage law, or “why the polygamists shouldn’t have to choose just one…””

  1. Nick

    How does the existance of one relationship weaken another, unrelated relationship?

    From the November 7, 2003 Salt Lake Tribune:

    Values Not Threatened

    Frequently, people express resentment about gays “pushing their agenda” because they seek the right to form families that enjoy the legal and social legitimacy of marriage. I suppose African-Americans were pushing their agenda during the Civil Rights movement. And women, to the dismay of many, continue to push their agenda in seeking equal rights and opportunity.

    The righteous and the afraid presented the same argument then as we hear today: It is against God and it will destroy the values we hold dear. In spite of this hysteria, we survived these changes and will weather and survive many more as we continue to evolve as human beings.

    As a person with many gay and lesbian friends, I consistently find that we have more in common than not. We have children and mates and jobs and extended families. Their sexuality is none of my business, and vice versa. They deserve every right that I am afforded, including that of marriage.

    If, as a society, we are able to rise above the myth of “lost values,” we will remember a simple truth that remains unchanged through the decades: Equal rights for any group does not diminish the rights of another. No external force can destroy one’s values. That happens from the inside out, and only with permission.

    Katy Stevens
    Salt Lake City

  2. travis

    well, i think us wacko right wingers are worried about the moral fabric of society in general.

    when we open the “floodgates” as one might put it on the gay marriage issue, we feel like we are weakening our nation morally. the consequences are not just ‘one relationship here, one there.’

    lots of wacko religous theories come into play here, too. but i dunno if i should bother you with them.

  3. travis

    the argument that the claremont blog makes is that marriage is a refining institution in our country, to tame the wild generation, and that we thwart this when we, as society, stretch the rules to fit our whims. they say this applies to any stretch to the marriage institution, not just same-sex relations.

  4. Amy

    Why imply all same-sex relationships are a “whim?”
    And I hardly think a tradition originally based on the idea that women are property (hence the dowery) can fairly be called an “institution” in a positive sense.

    My heterosexual marriage was an institution only if “mental” precedes it.

  5. amy, i’m sorry about your marriage, but wouldn’t you agree that in any human relationship, success can’t be guaranteed? and just as a business establishment may not be held responsible for the actions of its various patrons toward each other, the traditional institution of marriage should not be blamed for the failures of those who enter into it.

    let me clarify what i mean when i say “stretch the rules to fit our whims”: i don’t mean homosexuality is a whim. that’d be stupid. what i do mean is, marriage is part of a particular belief system. to seek one part of that belief system but not others is weird to me. my belief system teaches marriage. it also teaches monogamy. among those who practice homosexuality and who seek marriage, i have rarely, if ever, heard the idea of monogamy endorsed. so, in essence, we’ve got these nice folks who live a homosexual lifestyle coming upon this picnic basket of heterosexual marriage. they take some things but not all of them, and they still want to call it the same thing.

  6. David

    Beautiful post, Travis. it was just blossoming with the delicious pungency of bigotry. I apologize for the sarcasm, but sometimes i feel so out of touch with ideas like that. I get so caught up with my friends’ and my own ideals that I forget about the other side; that homophobia is very real in our society and an issue that must be addressed. I’m naming your response as homophobic, not as a form of name-calling, but as a way to show you another, very real, way of interpreting your ideology of surrounding the society of homosexuals. Hopefully, this will open up discussion about the issue.

    Why was your response homophobic? Well, first, one way to interpret it is to see the generalization you used. When you say “i have rarely, if ever, heard the idea of monogamy endorsed,” I understand you’re being honest about your experiences with homosexuals. However, using your limited experiences in a way as to imply that homosexuals are not monogamous is a generalization. Then you use this generalization to justify why homosexuals shouldn’t marry, they want to have their wedding cake and eat it too, with many more people than their partners. Here is where you divert from generalizations to homophobia.

    The stereotype that homosexuals are non-monogamous is just that, a stereotype. While there are many who have multiple partners, there are many still who have long-term, committed relationships. And here, I am speaking from my own experience.

    Additionally, the arguement that gay marriage will open the “floodgates” is flawed too. Many, so-called “concerned americans” had the same worries when, not too long ago, anti-miscegenation laws were struck down. However, these concerns fell to the wayside as society began to understand that inter-racial marriage wasn’t at all challenging to the so-called “moral fabric” of our society, but instead allowed for deep divides and wounds to heal. True, legal melting finally began in America’s pot.

    What gays and lesbians our asking for with marriage laws isn’t a free-for-all society, though i’m sure some people, gay and straight alike, wouldn’t mind that as much as the one we have now. Instead, they’re asking for equal rights. While I understand marriage is wrapped up in many religions’ belief structures, it is also wrapped up in our government. Inheritance laws, employee benefits, medical issues, adoption, tax breaks… all of these issues have something to do with marriage, and usually those who are married reap the benefits from these institutions. I firmly believe in the separation of church and state; however, that is not the kind of government we live in. Marriage is an institution that may have originated in a religious context, but the truth of the matter is our government grants benefits to those who participate in this institution.

    Perhaps gay marriage will open the door to legal polygamy. I doubt it, but the legal precedent might be laid. However, that same argument could have been made when interracial marriage became legal. And similiar such arguments have been made throughout history whenever our country was on the verge of a social change.

    Call me a hippie or just naive, but the one thing I ask for people is understanding. Understand that gay marriage is about people wanting to be legally recognized as equals in the eyes of the government, nothing more. If we really want to defend marriage, we shouldn’t worry about legislation that will deny others rights. Instead we should go home and tell our wives/husbands how much we love them. Maybe give one more hug to each of our children everyday.

    Travis, you said “marriage is part of a particular belief system.” While this is true, we must not forget that marriage is also a part of our government and grants people with certain rights. But that’s just political speak. I think the most important thing about marriage is that it’s an expression of love and devotion. Homosexuals aren’t sex maniacs, at least not any more than heterosexuals. Some of them just want to settle down and securely say i love you to just one person everyday.

  7. david,

    thank you for your comment. i feel compelled to agree with you.

    i knew my argument was weak when i made it; i based it on my limited personal knowledge.

    in reality, my side has lost the fight against gay marriage. it doesn’t matter what i think. it’s going to happen.

    i harbor no bad feelings toward any gay person, personally (you’ll notice i even called them “nice folks”). but it is easy to sound like that as i critique their chosen lifestyle.

    please enjoy your new-found freedoms. and if i ever meet you in person, rest assured i don’t hate you, we just disagree.

  8. David

    Thank you for your response, and yes, I do agree that it’s easy to sound like “the bad guy” whenever one critiques another lifestyle.

    As for my new-found freedoms, I do feel like gains have been made. I can now safely have sex in all fifty states without fear of prosecution, which is definitely an improvement. Also, there is heightened visibility within the media. However, this aspect does have its dark side. Along with visibility comes the formation of stereotypes and assumptions that there is a single monolithic personality of all gays and lesbians. Diversity goes unacknowledged and people with very little experience with lesbians and gays assume many have similar aspects to their personalities. The truth of the matter is that homosexuality is only one aspect of a person’s identity. There are gays all over the world. There are republican gays. There are very effeminate lesbians and gay men who love football. These diverse elements seem to become marginalized as visibility increases within the mainstream.

    However, that’s neither here nor there. The main issue of this response is to open up discussion about something you wrote in your last post. You stated that you “critique their chosen lifestyle,” chosen being the key word. One thing pops in my head while thinking about your words. Do you remember, I believe it was, a Time Magazine article about converted homosexuals? An ex-gay man and an ex-lesbian were on the cover because they were professing that they had been converted back into a normal lifestyle of heterosexuality. Regardless of whether you remember this article or not, it comes to mind because it is an example of what is being currently debated by many people, if homosexuality is chosen, therefore can be changed, or if homosexuality is natural, that is, genetic.

    I can understand how you can critique the lifestyle if you feel as though it is chosen. However, not enough is known about homosexuality to conclude that such is the case. We, as a public only know what gays and lesbians tell us, and they tell us that no, it was not a choice for them. Was heterosexuality ever a choice for heterosexuals?

    Basing critiques on the assumption that the lifestyle is a choice is flawed, because it is just that, an assumption. Homosexuality is here to stay, and it always has been. It is not just a Western thing, nor special to this historical moment in time; nor are we the only species on this planet to exhibit homosexual behaviour. I’m not asking you to stop critiquing homosexuality; in fact, I find such critiques very important. It challenges people to think about issues that shape our society. However, basing such critiques on homosexuality as being a chosen lifestyle only pits one side against the other, and neither side has the answers. Instead, it might be more productive to listen to each other’s experiences without making claims that dismiss those experiences.

    As for that Times Magazine article, both the man and woman reverted back to homosexuality after the story was published.