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Old 07-07-2006, 01:21 PM   #1
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interesting new angle on the gay marriage debate

[q]New York Judges Reject Any Right to Gay Marriage
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS
Published: July 7, 2006

New York's highest court rejected yesterday a broad attempt by gay and lesbian couples across the state to win the right to marry under state law, saying that denying marriage to same-sex couples does not violate the State Constitution.

By a 4-2 majority, the Court of Appeals found that the State Legislature, in laws dating back nearly 100 years, intended to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman, and that the Legislature had a rational basis for doing so.

The court said it would be up to lawmakers to decide whether same-sex marriage should be permitted, and the ruling had politicians and others mobilizing immediately for a fight in Albany.

The majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, found that limiting marriage to couples of the opposite sexes was based on legitimate societal goals, primarily the protection and welfare of children. It could well be argued, he said, that children are better off raised by a biological mother and father, rather than by a gay or lesbian couple.

[...]

The second majority opinion, written by Judge Victoria A. Graffeo, a Pataki appointee, upheld the Smith opinion but seemed to distance itself from its sociological arguments that the purpose of the marriage law was to promote families with children.

"Marriage can and does serve individual interests that extend well beyond creating an environment conducive to procreation and child-rearing," Judge Graffeo said, in a 22-page concurrence.

She exhorted the Legislature to take up the issue, saying, "It may well be that the time has come for the Legislature to address the needs of same-sex couples and their families, and to consider granting these individuals additional benefits through marriage or whatever status the Legislature deems appropriate."

[...]

On the issue of child-rearing, the majority wrote that despite scientific advances, most children are still born to heterosexual couples, so the state has a legitimate interest in promoting their marriages over others.

"Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like," the judges said.

Judge Kaye, however, argued in her dissent that the historical and cultural understanding of marriage did not justify discrimination.

"Simply put, a history or tradition of discrimination — no matter how entrenched — does not make the discrimination constitutional," the chief judge said. "As history has well taught us, separate is inherently unequal."

Judge Kaye, who has served on the court for 13 years, said that the understanding of marriage had evolved. Until well into the 19th century, for instance, wives were considered the property of their husbands and married women could not own property or enter into contracts. she noted.

"Only since the mid-20th century has the institution of marriage come to be understood as a relationship between two equal partners, founded upon shared intimacy and mutual financial and emotional support," she wrote.

She said that while encouraging opposite-sex couples to marry could be good for the welfare of children, denying marriage to same-sex couples did not further that desire in any way.

"The state's interest in a stable society is rationally advanced when families are established and remain intact irrespective of the gender of the spouses," Judge Kaye wrote.

Bearing children, she said, is not a prerequisite of marriage, since the elderly and even prison inmates are permitted to marry, and many same-sex couples do have children.

"Marriage is about much more than producing children, yet same-sex couples are excluded from the entire spectrum of protections that come with civil marriage — purportedly to encourage other people to procreate," she wrote.

Judge Kaye's dissent was a departure from the dry legal language of the main decision. She noted that the plaintiffs represented a cross-section of ordinary New Yorkers, including a police officer, a doctor, a teacher and an artist, who wanted "only to live full lives, raise their children, better their communities and be good neighbors."

Most people, she wrote, look forward to a wedding "as among the most significant events of their lives," and she said it was wrong for gays and lesbians to be denied marriage "because of who they love."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/07/ny...l?pagewanted=2

[/q]



i found this a very interesting decision for several reasons. firstly, the ruling is about whether or not the law banning gay marriage is rational, and on the surface, it does not appear to be irrational. why? the court seems to be saying that because straight couples are so irresponsible and often have children by accident they need more incentives than gay couples (who are more likely to be childless, but not always) to stay together. therefore, civil marriage, due to the history of straight irresponsibility, should be an exclusive privilege and incentive (at the expense, apparently, of gay couples). it seems that the court thinks that straight couples are so irresponsible, so reckless, and the consequences of their behavior can be so damaging to children, that they need marriage to prevent them from perpetrating any further harm.

on the face of it, this seems like the correct ruling. if we are to take the fact that the consequences of straight sex (a potentially unwanted child) are far more damaging to society than gay sex, then perhaps there is a rational argument for keeping marriage between straight people, however unpersuading it might be. it retains logic. of course, this ignores the gay couples who have children, but these children are either adopted or well-planned-for, and as such do not face the same peril that children born to straight parents apparently do.

of course, the rationality of the law starts to fade in the face of straight couples who choose not to have children -- how are they any different than gay people? or post-menopausal women? or sterile people? so, if it all comes down to children, then doesn't it make sense that marriage is for couples with children only, and civil unions should be for everyone else? you can't be granted a civil marriage license until the day you birth or adopt a child. that seems to be the logical extension of this law
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Old 07-07-2006, 03:19 PM   #2
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What amazing waffling by the court. Guess no one can accuse this court of activism...maybe active passivity.

I liked Richard Kim's comments at The Nation blog:

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?pid=99577

"Need a translation? Heterosexual New Yorkers are reckless, irresponsible sluts who breed without regard. Gays, however, must dutifully and deliberately pursue adoption, artificial insemination or "other technological marvels" and are thus more likely to raise kids in stable families. Consequently, gays don't need the "inducement" of marriage. Voila! And in just a few keystrokes, the stereotype of homosexual promiscuity is reversed -- though with similarly anti-gay results.

"Judge Judith Kaye eviscerated this perverse rationalization in her dissent when she wrote, "Of course, there are many ways in which the government could rationally promote procreation--for example, by giving tax breaks to couples who have children, subsidizing child care for those couples, or mandating generous family leave for parents. Any of these benefits--and many more--might convince people who would not otherwise have children to do so. But no one rationally decides to have children because gays and lesbians are excluded from marriage." "
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Old 07-10-2006, 10:03 AM   #3
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By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer

The same court that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage ruled Monday that a proposed constitutional amendment to ban future same-sex marriages can be placed on the ballot, if approved by the Legislature.

The ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by gay-rights supporters who argued that Attorney General Tom Reilly was wrong to approve the question because the state constitution bars any citizen-initiated amendment that seeks to reverse a judicial ruling.

The Supreme Judicial Court, with a landmark 2003 ruling, cleared the way for same-sex marriages to begin in Massachusetts in May 2004. More than 7,000 gay couples have married since.

The state Legislature is expected to take up the question Wednesday during a constitutional convention.

Citizen-initiated ballot questions must be certified by the attorney general and then approved by two consecutive legislative sessions. Before the marriage question could be placed on the 2008 ballot, supporters would need to win the votes of 50 lawmakers — 25 percent of the Legislature — in two consecutive sessions.
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Old 07-11-2006, 01:26 AM   #4
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www.boundless.org/2000/features/a0000307.html

This is an interesting link. I'm sure I will get "tarred and feathered" for it, but it may add some insight to the “other side” of this debate.
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Old 07-11-2006, 01:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
www.boundless.org/2000/features/a0000307.html

This is an interesting link. I'm sure I will get "tarred and feathered" for it, but it may add some insight to the “other side” of this debate.
Oh it was interesting.
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
www.boundless.org/2000/features/a0000307.html

This is an interesting link. I'm sure I will get "tarred and feathered" for it, but it may add some insight to the “other side” of this debate.
You'd get tarred and feathered if you were the author. And I reckon you can guess why. A big fucking boo-hoo to those opposed to gay marriage who cry when called on homophobia.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem

A big fucking boo-hoo to those opposed to gay marriage who cry when called on homophobia.
Eloquent response.

I really do not believe that everyone who opposes gay marriage is necessarily "homophobic." The word is really becoming meaningless by its overuse. (not because it is losing importance, but because it is losing "meaning")

While I was not the author of the article and do not agree with it entirely - I thought several reasonable points were made.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


I really do not believe that everyone who opposes gay marriage is necessarily "homophobic." The word is really becoming meaningless by its overuse. (not because it is losing importance, but because it is losing "meaning")
Honestly I find the church to be coming closer to meaningless more than this word, for their abuse of scripture.
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:23 AM   #9
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reading the article, these seem to be his two main points:

[q] First, adoption by homosexual couples is still exceedingly rare and the law — though many are surprised to learn this — is aimed at the general case. To confer legal benefits on the entire class of would-be homosexual spouses just because some very small minority of this class approximates the pattern of the nuclear family would be a bit like admitting all applicants to a select university on the grounds that a few of them had been shown to meet the entrance requirements.[/q]


but this simply isn't true. almost 40% of same-sex couples are raising children. further, this reinforces the conclusions of the NY court -- that straight people and their reckless sexual practices are such a danger to children that we need to throw benefits in their faces for the sake of the children they could potentially do so much damage to.

and that's fine, we just then need to exclude all post-menopausal women, sterile couples, or couples who never intend to have children from ever getting married. since there is no legitimate argument to be made about the moral superiority of an opposite-sex couple compared to a same-sex couple -- and, please, if someone thinks there is one, go ahead and make the argument, but i think it's safe to say that the morality of the couple is dependent upon the members of the couple, not their gender status -- then it seems that we must have two categories: civil unions, and marriage for parents.

but not gay parents, exactly.

it's the author's failure to address issues such as as this, by asserting ("chuckling" as he so smugly says) that gets him rightly branded as a homophobe -- why? he fails to recognize gay people as people, and he fails to recognize that same-sex relationships are every bit as wonderfully terribly human as opposite-sex relationships.


[q]Second, the right of this small minority to the benefits of marriage is dubious in the extreme. Homosexual "families" of whatever type are always and necessarily parasitic on heterosexual ones.[/q]

what can he mean by this? and how can he refute claims of homophobia with such statements?


[q]In both of these respects, then, the counter-argument from adoption falls well short of its intended mark. Indeed, supporters of domestic partnership who employ this argument inadvertently diminish their case. By accepting that benefits can only be accorded for reasons of social interest, they exclude the overwhelming majority of their constituency — all of those homosexual unions which do not sponsor children — while reaffirming as legitimate the whole range of benefits accorded to heterosexual marriages.[/q]

so 60% of gay people who don't have children is an "overwhelming majority"?

apparently, the children of gay people don't matter at all, since they were probably adopted and not produced by the godly union of man and woman ... oh, wait, they *were* produced by the goldly union of man and woman and then tossed aside like the condom that obviously wasn't used.

ultimately, isn't marriage about love and commitment? isn't supporting someone, childless or not, in a stable, committed relationship a social benefit in and of itself?
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:25 AM   #10
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oh, and it's hard to take a website seriously that links to a site that refuses to acknowledge some of the most basic medical understandings of homosexuality.

regard:

[q]Homosexuality


You've seen Hollywood embrace "gay pride." You've been told that homosexuals make up 10 percent of the population (the actual number is less than 3 percent). Perhaps you've struggled with troubling thoughts, causing you to wonder about your gender identity, or maybe you've even sought to meet your needs for companionship and acceptance through a same-sex relationship. If so, you need to know that you do have a choice in the matter, that you're not simply "wired that way." Indeed, you don't have to be gay — there is hope for those who want to change.

http://www.family.org/married/topics/a0025114.cfm

[/q]
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:07 AM   #11
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Originally posted by Irvine511


almost 40% of same-sex couples are raising children.
Irvine, you do make a compelling argument, even if I do not agree with your conclusions.

For the sake of this discussion - is there evidence to back up this claim? That number seems pretty high.

Also, the scientific/medical community is definitely NOT in agreement over the causes of human homosexuality. Just a few google searches will pull up amazing articles that address both "sides" of the argument.

That being said, it is an undisputable fact that thousands of homosexuals have changed their sexual orientation. Whether or not we think they "need to" is another discussion. (I suppose a straight man could go through a program to become homosexual if he really wanted).

On a separate note – if homosexuality is genetic, where did those homosexual genes come from? I am just assuming that they cannot be “passed down” from one generation to the next. In Darwinian terms – how was the homosexual gene “selected for” in the natural selection process? It seems, this is either a hole in Darwinism or an argument against a homosexual gene.
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


(I suppose a straight man could go through a program to become homosexual if he really wanted).

Could you?
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
For the sake of this discussion - is there evidence to back up this claim? That number seems pretty high.



[q]Still, an atmosphere of retrenchment distracts from a wider truth -- more same-sex couples are raising children than ever before. What was once unheard of is now a fact of life. Forty percent of same-sex couples aged 22 to 55 are raising children, about 5 percent of whom are adopted, according to the Williams Project, a UCLA Law School think tank. If you include children born in once-heterosexual marriages, raised by single parents and parents of all ages, up to 10 million children are estimated to have a lesbian or gay parent.

http://bostonworks.boston.com/news/a...ption_hurdles/

[/q]


[q]Also, the scientific/medical community is definitely NOT in agreement over the causes of human homosexuality. Just a few google searches will pull up amazing articles that address both "sides" of the argument.[/q]

i'm sorry, but this simply isn't true. no serious psychologist, psychiatrist, or MD who isn't affiliated with a religious organization of any sort will say that homosexuality is anything other than an immutable human characteristic with a strong genetic link. please check the sources of these "amazing" articles.



[q]That being said, it is an undisputable fact that thousands of homosexuals have changed their sexual orientation. Whether or not we think they "need to" is another discussion. (I suppose a straight man could go through a program to become homosexual if he really wanted).[/q]


this is incorrect. most of these groups claim a 'success' rate of less than 20%, at best, and it's usually done through celibacy and not true re-orientation.

here's what actual doctors have to say:

[q]AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION

* “The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone “reparative therapy” relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed ... the APA opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based on a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual orientation.

* “There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of ‘reparative therapy’ as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation. It is not described in the scientific literature, nor is it mentioned in the APA’s latest comprehensive Task Force Report, Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders (1989).

* “Clinical experience suggests that any person who seeks conversion therapy may be doing so because of social bias that has resulted in internalized homophobia, and that gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.”

AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

* “Even though homosexual orientation is not a mental illness and there is no scientific reason to attempt conversion of lesbians or gays to heterosexual orientation, some individuals may seek to change their sexual orientation or that of another individual (for example, parents seeking therapy for their child). Some therapists who undertake this kind of therapy report that they have changed their clients’ sexual orientation (from homosexual to heterosexual) in treatment. Close scrutiny of their reports indicates several factors that cast doubt: Many of the claims come from organizations with an ideological perspective on sexual orientation, rather than from mental health researchers; the treatments and their outcomes are poorly documented; and the length of time that clients are followed up on after treatment is too short.

* “In 1990, the American Psychological Association stated that scientific evidence does not show that conversion therapy works and that it can do more harm than good. Changing one’s sexual orientation is not simply a matter of changing one’s sexual behavior. It would require altering one’s emotional, romantic and sexual feelings and restructuring one’s self-concept and social identity.

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

* “Most of the emotional disturbance experienced by gay men and lesbians around their sexual identity is not based on physiological causes but rather is due more to a sense of alienation in an unaccepting environment. For this reason, aversion therapy (a behavioral or medical intervention which pairs unwanted behavior, in this case, homosexual behavior, with unpleasant sensations or aversive consequences) is no longer recommended for gay men and lesbians. Through psychotherapy, gay men and lesbians can become comfortable with their sexual orientation and understand the societal response to it.”

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS

* “The psychosocial problems of gay and lesbian adolescents are primarily the result of societal stigma, hostility, hatred and isolation. The gravity of these stresses is underscored by current data that document that gay youths account for up to 30 percent of all completed adolescent suicides. Approximately 30 percent of a surveyed group of gay and bisexual males have attempted suicide at least once. Adolescents struggling with issues of sexual preference should be reassured that they will gradually form their own identity and that there is no need for premature labeling of one’s sexual orientation.”

http://www.anythingbutstraight.com/learn/exopinion.html

[/q]


Quote:
On a separate note – if homosexuality is genetic, where did those homosexual genes come from? I am just assuming that they cannot be “passed down” from one generation to the next. In Darwinian terms – how was the homosexual gene “selected for” in the natural selection process? It seems, this is either a hole in Darwinism or an argument against a homosexual gene.

both my parents are right handed, yet my brother is a lefty. how could that have happened?!?!?!
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:41 AM   #14
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Originally posted by Irvine511


both my parents are right handed, yet my brother is a lefty. how could that have happened?!?!?!

Are you saying that NO ONE in your lineage is a lefty? Grandma? Great great grandpa? Obviously, left handed people can still pass on their genes through procreation.

However, it seems that the "homosexual gene" would be far more difficult to pass down, being that there is only one miraculous birth that I am currently aware of.

In terms of evolution- how would a homosexual gene benefit the survival of the species? How could it possibly be passed down if it did "randomly occur" in nature? And if it does "randomly occur" - isn't that considered a "mutation" of the genetic blueprint? (not my words - Darwin's)

Most of the compelling arguments against a homosexual gene come from evolutionary biologists - not from Christian preachers.
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
[B]Are you saying that NO ONE in your lineage is a lefty? Grandma? Great great grandpa? Obviously, left handed people can still pass on their genes through procreation.

my mother's father was a lefty.

my father's cousin was a lesbian. i have another cousin who's gay.

there's also this recent study:


[q]June 26, 2006 — The number of older brothers a man has may influence his sexual orientation, researchers say.

A first-born son has a 3 percent chance of being homosexual, which is standard for the population. However, the fourth son's chance of being homosexual doubles to about 6 percent.

Sexual orientation researcher and study author Anthony Bogaert, at Brock University in Canada, studied 944 heterosexual and homosexual men in Canada, with either biological or non-biological (adopted or step) brothers.

Previous theories suggested that the older brothers' psychosocial interactions with their younger brothers influenced their sexual orientation. If this were true, then the leading factor would be that the younger brother was raised together with older brothers — biological or non-biological.

In Bogaert's study, only the number of biological older brothers, regardless if they were raised together, increased the chances that the younger brother would be homosexual.

"In fact, [the gay men] had more biological older brothers who they were never reared with, which means there's probably some biological prenatal factor to account for this older brother effect," Bogaert said.

His research suggests that, in at least some cases, homosexuality is biological and may account for about one of every 7 gay men in North America.

"This is an important contribution," said Dean Hamer, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, who discovered genetic links to sexual orientation. "It's possible to really show this is a biological rather than social or psychosocial effect."

This older brother effect "does not explain everyone, but this is definitely a part of it," said Sven Bocklandt, a researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=2120218&page=1


[/q]



[q]In terms of evolution- how would a homosexual gene benefit the survival of the species? How could it possibly be passed down if it did "randomly occur" in nature? And if it does "randomly occur" - isn't that considered a "mutation" of the genetic blueprint? (not my words - Darwin's)[/q]


why are there gay animals? this does beg an interesting question -- what is a homosexual for?

my quick answer to that is that homosexuals demonstrate that being alive and being human is about much, much more than reproduction.



Quote:
Most of the compelling arguments against a homosexual gene come from evolutionary biologists - not from Christian preachers.
most don't think that there's a specific "gay gene" but nearly all biologists think that there is a very strong genetic component to sexual orientation.

ultimately, what we can all agree upon is that sexual orientation is 100% involuntary.
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