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Old 03-06-2008, 02:53 PM   #16
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Originally posted by nathan1977
I have a hard time believing that marriage is a "right". A privilege, certainly, but a right...not sure on that one.

IMHO, marriage laws across the country should be tightened, not loosened. Given the rate of divorce, it seems like people need more education about healthy marriages and healthy relationships in general.

If, let's say, you applied for a marriage license, but then had to take a six-week class on "Life and Choices", for example -- a class or small group that talks about things like finances, sexuality, family-planning, children etc -- designed to get you and your potential mate/spouse/partner/etc talking about core issues involved in marriage, I think that would go a long way towards making sure that people who have hooked up in a moment of passion don't wind up making a decision they'll regret while walking back up the aisle.

I don't think it's crazy to do that. We have sex ed classes and driver's ed classes, and while you can't equate marriage with a five-thousand pound automobile, the financial and emotional cost of a divorce is oftentimes higher and longer-lasting than that of a car accident.

If we were willing to do that, I would probably be more in favor of gay marriage outright, and certainly civil unions. There are some couples (like my former boss and former theater owner) who have been together for 30 years -- they've taken advantage of legal means to protect themselves and don't need the "M" word to validate their relationship. So there's different ways to look at this on all sides.

But right now, civil unions only opens the door for couples (regardless of sexual orientation) to equate a three-month relationship with something more, shack up, and then regret it later on -- a picture that grows only more complicated with cohabitation, children, etc.

The divorce rate is high enough; I don't think we need to come up with new ways for people to split up.
So, wait, are you saying that because heterosexuals fuck up marriages frequently that homosexuals should be denied civil unions/marriage?
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:00 PM   #17
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Originally posted by nathan1977
I have a hard time believing that marriage is a "right". A privilege, certainly, but a right...not sure on that one.


this is an interesting question, and i think reality falls in between. i do agree that marriage is a privilege -- it is a privilege one has when one is heterosexual. marriage is not a right, but when one is married, there are 1049 different "rights" in the form of tax breaks and incentives that one has the right to. there's also a strong amount of respect that tends to come with a relationship that is sealed through marriage, even if that relationships is a Britney-style 48 hour Vegas binge.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:00 PM   #18
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I would say the divorce rate is likely to decrease as the number of marriages is higher.



"The divorce rate is high enough; I don't think we need to come up with new ways for people to split up."

This sentence sounds as if marriage was only to get eventually divorced.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:01 PM   #19
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Originally posted by martha
What an ass-backwards way to say you don't think men should be allowed to marry each other.
gay men should not be allowed to marry straight men

I know it leaves an unfair burden on women
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:08 PM   #20
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quite honestly, i'm not all that troubled by a high divorce rate. people often divorce for very, very good reasons. and there's little financial incentive for women to stay with men who are terrible to them, and so i think that the misty eyed nostalgia for different generations is misplaced -- women stayed because they couldn't leave. now, with women earning more than 55% of all college degrees, marriage is as much a choice, a voluntarily entered into institution as anything else.

if you look at divorce rates across the country, the marriages that tend to last are usually amongst the higher educated -- possibly because they aren't as subjected to financial pressures to the same extent as lower-educated couples -- and those who get married later in life. it really does seem as if Nathan is absolutely right -- marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. it takes perspective, maturity, and clear-headedness that isn't polluted by notions that a woman is an old maid by the time she's 25, or, quite frankly, that sexual intercourse belongs only in the confines of marriage.

i will simply compare my family and friends to Memphis's family and friends. where i come from in the northeast, while it's not exactly as if anyone is encouraging teenagers to have sex, there's none of this "NO SEX UNTIL MARRIAGE" mantras passed along. most kids i knew growing up assumed that they would eventually have sexual partners, maybe several sexual partners, and after an extended period of dating in their 20s, find someone who was compatible in all ways, including sexually, and then they'd settle down and make a life with that person. they use birth control, condoms, etc., and generally had an attitude towards intercourse that it was part of an adult relationship, and should be treated as a joyful means of physical affection, and, yes, even fun sometimes.

i contrast this -- anecdotally -- to people who grew up with a "NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE" mantra, and they tended to either get pregnant at 19 and then get married, or to rush into marriage in order to (finally!) have sex, or at least not feel badly about having sex.

i think it's the quarantining of sex to marriage that leads to an unhealthy "need" for marriage itself, as if that will fix things, that will make you an adult. and it does, and then you're divorced 5 years and 2 kids later.

just my humble experience.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:17 PM   #21
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So, wait, are you saying that because heterosexuals fuck up marriages frequently that homosexuals should be denied civil unions/marriage?


Not at all. Actually the opposite. I think if the government is going to be in the business of marrying people, the government can and should try to help those people, whatever their orientation be. Otherwise, seriously, why bother?

Irvine's assessment of my position is probably closer than he thinks it is.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:28 PM   #22
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Originally posted by nathan1977

Irvine's assessment of my position is probably closer than he thinks it is.


i think we're totally on the same page.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:29 PM   #23
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Originally posted by Irvine511


when one is married, there are 1049 different "rights" in the form of tax breaks and incentives that one has the right to.
This is a line I've heard since Queer Alliance meetings in college, and I don't buy it. Tax incentives don't kick in when you get married -- you get penalized, in actuality, by being kicked into a higher tax bracket. Significant tax breaks don't kick in until you own a home.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:30 PM   #24
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Originally posted by nathan1977

Irvine's assessment of my position is probably closer than he thinks it is.


i think we're totally on the same page.

but i don't see how letting Memphis and i get married somehow "loosens" up the institution.

how does it? or does it?
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:45 PM   #25
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Originally posted by Irvine511


i contrast this -- anecdotally -- to people who grew up with a "NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE" mantra, and they tended to either get pregnant at 19 and then get married, or to rush into marriage in order to (finally!) have sex, or at least not feel badly about having sex.
Then, anecdotally, that wasn't my experience. After an emotionally bruising and sexually active relationship in college, I came to the realization that if sex is the big deal people say it is, it's probably worth waiting to experience with someone whom you're not wondering will leave you one day on a whim. (That still happens in some marriages, but walking away from a marriage is much different from walking away from a boyfriend or girlfriend.)

Quote:
i think it's the quarantining of sex to marriage that leads to an unhealthy "need" for marriage itself, as if that will fix things, that will make you an adult.
Tell that to my friend who had his father bring him to a prostitute when he turned 16. (The kid turned out gay, in the ultimate case of irony.) Plenty of people are told that sex outside of marriage is healthy -- particularly (but, these days, not exclusively) guys, who are encouraged to play the field.

If you replace the phrase "unhealthy 'need' for marriage itself" with "unhealthy 'need' for sex itself," I think we are closer on our viewpoint. In an increasingly sexualized culture, people -- particularly young people, if any of the stories of "blow job parties" in junior high are to be believed -- are realizing that you don't need to be married to have sex. Sex is promoted increasingly as the way to intimacy, as the way to maturity. There's a reason we are growing increasingly emotionally stunted as a culture. Nobody has any clue how to communicate or relate to each other outside of the bedroom, and it's everything outside the bedroom that makes a relationship work...whatever your orientation may be.
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:48 PM   #26
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Originally posted by Irvine511




i think we're totally on the same page.

but i don't see how letting Memphis and i get married somehow "loosens" up the institution.

how does it? or does it?
I think you and Memphis wanting to get married opens up a much broader national conversation, which I am very happy with, about marriage in general, its role in public life, its place as an institution, and whether it should continue to be treated as casually as it does. (Your Britney example is perfect.)
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:06 PM   #27
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Originally posted by nathan1977


This is a line I've heard since Queer Alliance meetings in college, and I don't buy it. Tax incentives don't kick in when you get married -- you get penalized, in actuality, by being kicked into a higher tax bracket. Significant tax breaks don't kick in until you own a home.


[q]Good benefits add to wedded bliss
For most middle- and upper-income people, though, there are plenty of financial benefits to marriage, regardless of their income tax situation. Among them:

* Workplace health and pension benefits coverage. While some companies offer health coverage to domestic partners, this benefit is typically taxable as income. When spouses are covered, the benefit is tax-free.
* Social Security retirement and survivor benefits. A husband or wife is entitled to one-half of the spouses Social Security benefits and to additional benefits in the event of death.
* Lower insurance rates. Married people usually get a discount on auto insurance and may pay less for other types of insurance.
* Automatic inheritance rights. Die without a will, and your spouse gets your stuff. In many states, the surviving spouse has a legal right to at least one-third to one-half of your estate.
* Preferential estate tax treatment. The $1 million estate tax limitation doesnt apply to married people: you can leave an unlimited amount to a spouse without owing one penny of estate tax. In certain states, this benefit is multiplied by special capital-gains tax treatment for homes and other assets held by married couples as community property.

These benefits will persist, even if Congress marriage-related tax changes dont. (All the marriage-related changes are scheduled to expire at the end of next year, although Congress will face tremendous pressure to renew them.)

http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/taxes/p48908.asp

[/q]
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:16 PM   #28
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* Automatic inheritance rights. Die without a will, and your spouse gets your stuff. In many states, the surviving spouse has a legal right to at least one-third to one-half of your estate.
In Zoo Confessionals you can see how this makes a tremendous difference in some cases.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:16 PM   #29
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Originally posted by nathan1977


Then, anecdotally, that wasn't my experience. After an emotionally bruising and sexually active relationship in college, I came to the realization that if sex is the big deal people say it is, it's probably worth waiting to experience with someone whom you're not wondering will leave you one day on a whim. (That still happens in some marriages, but walking away from a marriage is much different from walking away from a boyfriend or girlfriend.)



it sounds like it was quite a learning experience for you. as difficult relationships always wind up being. i support your conclusion, and in no way do i think that there's a one-size fits all approach to sexuality. in fact, i am resisting just that -- the notion that sex belongs only in marriage. i'm sure that works for some, not for others. my problem is when it's handed down as an imperative by parents, pastors, etc., and most people find themselves unable to live up to this ideal, and i'm not sure that it's such a good ideal to have in the first place.

i think we can agree that maturity is an imperative in adult relationships. and maturity also means being able to walk away when something isn't healthy, when something is destructive, instead of a sense of having failed because a marriage didn't work our.

i deal a lot with crime in my field. i am stunned at the amount of women who wind up killing their husbands because they don't want to suffer the embarrassment of having gone through a divorce. and these crimes tend to happen in areas where marriage/family are held up as god-ordained ideals. it must be tremendous pressure.





[q]Tell that to my friend who had his father bring him to a prostitute when he turned 16. (The kid turned out gay, in the ultimate case of irony.) Plenty of people are told that sex outside of marriage is healthy -- particularly (but, these days, not exclusively) guys, who are encouraged to play the field.[/q]

i think that's a pretty extreme example, and it's hardly something i'm recommending, let alone condoning. in fact, i've seen lots of damage done when someone has had sex too early. what i am advocating is giving yourself the freedom to enter into adult relationships in your 20s and truly seek out a good mate for life. and to delay marriage until one is emotionally ready for it. of course this will vary person to person, but in general, in my experience, getting married at the age of 20 seems to be as foolish a decision as having sex at the age of 14, and the consequences can be far, far worse.

i think that sex is healthy or it's not, marital status hasn't all that much to do with it. people can have unhealthy sex in the midst of a marriage, or fulfilling, happy sex in the midst of a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.



Quote:
If you replace the phrase "unhealthy 'need' for marriage itself" with "unhealthy 'need' for sex itself," I think we are closer on our viewpoint. In an increasingly sexualized culture, people -- particularly young people, if any of the stories of "blow job parties" in junior high are to be believed -- are realizing that you don't need to be married to have sex. Sex is promoted increasingly as the way to intimacy, as the way to maturity. There's a reason we are growing increasingly emotionally stunted as a culture. Nobody has any clue how to communicate or relate to each other outside of the bedroom, and it's everything outside the bedroom that makes a relationship work...whatever your orientation may be.

i'd argue that the sexualization of culture comes from corporations wanting to sell. it's capitalism at it's purest form. this has nothing to do with morals or values. unless you want to say that the ultimate value in a capitalist system is improving hte bottom line. i find stories about "blow job parties" pretty sensationalistic, but i'm sure it happens, though we tend to hear about these things more now than we did in the past due to things like the internets.

i'd argue that our emotional stunting as a culture comes from our bipolar attitude towards sexuality, where you have some talking about it as sacred and Godly and only for marriage, and yet it's used to sell Diet Pepsi.

this is where i think we'd have much to learn from our European friends who have a much more mature attitude twoards seuxality. in my opinion.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:17 PM   #30
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Originally posted by nathan1977


I think you and Memphis wanting to get married opens up a much broader national conversation, which I am very happy with, about marriage in general, its role in public life, its place as an institution, and whether it should continue to be treated as casually as it does. (Your Britney example is perfect.)


i appreciate the constructive approach, but this does feel like a bit of a dodge.
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