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Old 09-29-2008, 01:00 PM   #76
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So you're saying the courts *should* evaluate social factors and studies in writing their decisions or opinions? Including the fact that the social definition of family over several thousand years has been best articulated as both a mother and father who love each other and their children?


i know this wasn't addressed to me, but can you prove the latter statement? what do you mean by love? hasn't the very definition of love changed over the centuries? hasn't the role of both mothers and fathers and the expectations of children changed greatly over the past 50 years, let alone the past 5,000?

are two married people without a children not a family? and is marriage predicated upon the existence of a biological family? what about people who cannot have their own children?

i fail to see how two married lesbians in massachusetts who've adopted two cambodian children are any less a family than the Spears.
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:11 PM   #77
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So you're saying the courts *should* evaluate social factors and studies in writing their decisions or opinions? Including the fact that the social definition of family over several thousand years has been best articulated as both a mother and father who love each other and their children?
Sure, and they have done so (in this country at least). They consider it a factor, just like they consider race a factor in interracial adoptions. But that doesn't mean that the outcome hinges on this one factor or that the courts can't consider the historical development of social change and state that certain beliefs or practices are no longer consistent in a modern world.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:39 PM   #78
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hasn't the role of both mothers and fathers and the expectations of children changed greatly over the past 50 years, let alone the past 5,000?
But now we're actually talking about eliminating either mothers or fathers from the structure altogether, and declaring such a structure equal. There are passionate arguments to be made on both sides, but for this thread, the issue is whether in a system of representative government and self-governance, the right to such a fundamental redefinition of family resides in the courts or with the people.

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is marriage predicated upon the existence of a biological family? what about people who cannot have their own children?
We're not even talking about biology at this point, are we? We're talking about families where there is no father or no mother, and declaring that to be of equal worth and value. I think that's an issue on which voters might be allowed some say, don't you agree?

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i fail to see how two married lesbians in massachusetts who've adopted two cambodian children are any less a family than the Spears.
I didn't realize that laws pandered to the lowest common denominator.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:04 PM   #79
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But now we're actually talking about eliminating either mothers or fathers from the structure altogether, and declaring such a structure equal. There are passionate arguments to be made on both sides, but for this thread, the issue is whether in a system of representative government and self-governance, the right to such a fundamental redefinition of family resides in the courts or with the people.

but we're keeping the structure of two loving, devoted parents. and, in fact, we are taking family units that already exist, have existed for decades, and given them more protection and elgitimacy.

so this isn't nearly the redefinition that many seem to think, and it again becomes not an issue of changing an institution -- a vague word at that -- but of asserting equal rights for all citizens under the law.

that's why allowing women to vote didn't fundamentally change the nature of democracy itself. it simply extended rights to citizens.



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We're not even talking about biology at this point, are we? We're talking about families where there is no father or no mother, and declaring that to be of equal worth and value. I think that's an issue on which voters might be allowed some say, don't you agree?

no. if this were relevant, than only people who have children should be allowed to get married. people get married and never have children. spouses die, divorces happen, and people get remarried and they don't ever have children of their own.

further, we still have two parents. you're ascribing some kind of cosmic importance to the opposite-gendered pairing of parents as an unquestioned virtue. i'd argue that gender is mostly incidental to what actually makes a good parent.


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I didn't realize that laws pandered to the lowest common denominator.

but they do, don't they?

we're all equal in the eyes of the law. or are you going to tell me that a penis and a vagina are always and in all ways superior to same-sexed couples and families?
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:04 PM   #80
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you're ascribing some kind of cosmic importance to the opposite-gendered pairing of parents as an unquestioned virtue.
I'm not ascribing cosmic importance. I'm looking at millennia of biology and sociology and human development and (if you like) evolution. What are you looking at?

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i'd argue that gender is mostly incidental to what actually makes a good parent.
This is the fundamental question, isn't it: Does gender matter? It underscores everything else... and on this subject, you'll find a number of people who will say yes, myself included. And when the judicial system in a self-governed democracy decides that it's going to open the door to say that it doesn't, I think it's worth having a state-and-nationwide vote on the matter.
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:14 PM   #81
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I'm not ascribing cosmic importance. I'm looking at millennia of biology and sociology and human development and (if you like) evolution. What are you looking at?

i'm happy to debate this, but it behooves me to continually point out that having children and being married are not the same thing, and that you don't need to be married to have children, and you don't need to have children to be married.

so this is interesting, but a total sideshow to the issue itself.




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This is the fundamental question, isn't it: Does gender matter? It underscores everything else... and on this subject, you'll find a number of people who will say yes. Myself included...

and studies say that the opposite-sexed parent structure doesn't advantage children over same-sexed parents.

you can quite rightly say that kids tend to do better with two parents than with one, but it's a leap from that to "studies have shown that children do best with a mother and a father."

and gender matters no more than any other quality that an individual brings to a relationship.

are you going to look the child of gay parents in the eye and pity them and tell them how woefully disadvantaged they have been because they didn't have a mother and a father? or are you going to look at the quality of the unit as a whole, without a prejudicial eye that's been indoctrinated to only understand and accept male/female unions, and understand it on it's own terms and measure the success by the happiness of the child?

what about a family where the father is 25 years older than the mother, as will soon be the case with my cousin? what about a family where the father works all the time and never sees the children? what about children who are raised mostly by nannies?
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:27 PM   #82
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it behooves me to continually point out that having children and being married are not the same thing, and that you don't need to be married to have children, and you don't need to have children to be married. so this is interesting, but a total sideshow to the issue itself.
Not really. As the LA Times Op-Ed piece I quoted recently pointed out:

"Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving, and many of its features vary across groups and cultures. But there is one constant. In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children."

So I would say that the issue of parenthood is precisely part of the issue, because marriage is directly related to the issue of children. Certainly there are exceptions to every rule, but laws aren't really created for the exceptions.

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and gender matters no more than any other quality that an individual brings to a relationship.
If what you've said about your perspective as a gay man is true in other threads, then sexuality is directly rooted to ones' identity -- at the very least a core fundamental defining element, if not THE defining element. Either sexual identity is important, or it isn't -- but to dismiss it actually undermines your own past arguments about the intrinsic importance of recognizing sexuality as a part of identity. It's very difficult to argue both sides of the coin on this one. Either it matters more, or it doesn't matter at all, but it's hard to say that ones' sexuality is about as important as whether one is left-handed or not.

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or are you going to look at the quality of the unit as a whole, without a prejudicial eye that's been indoctrinated to only understand and accept male/female unions
So gender/sexuality is merely a construct? Is yours?
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:44 PM   #83
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So I would say that the issue of parenthood is precisely part of the issue, because marriage is directly related to the issue of children. Certainly there are exceptions to every rule, but laws aren't really created for the exceptions.

this simply does not work. there are people who remain unmarried and have children, and there are people who get married who choose not to have children, who cannot have children, or who had children but are on a second (or third) marriage. are you going to deny two people who meet late in life the happiness of a marriage after their spouses have died?

what's happening, nathan, is that you're taking a sweeping generalization about the human experience and using that to justify a position that washes over any nuances of the human experience itself.




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If what you've said about your perspective as a gay man is true in other threads, then sexuality is directly rooted to ones' identity -- at the very least a core fundamental defining element, if not THE defining element. Either sexual identity is important, or it isn't -- but to dismiss it actually undermines your own past arguments about the intrinsic importance of recognizing sexuality as a part of identity. It's very difficult to argue both sides of the coin on this one. Either it matters more, or it doesn't matter at all, but it's hard to say that ones' sexuality is about as important as whether one is left-handed or not.

what on earth are you talking about here? i didn't dismiss sexuality. i said it was no *more* important than other qualities one brings into a relationship. you're the one who's valuing heterosexual intercourse more than any other quality in a marriage and (again, in your view, necessarily) in parenting as well.

of course sexual identity "matters" in the way that race matters, that nationality matters, that religion matters, that all of our experiences "matter." but what you are saying is that there's a magical alchemy to male/female parenting that is so exclusive and necessary to the successful rearing of children that it becomes necessary to codify that as the *only* acceptable way to raise children. in fact, there are many, many ways to be a successful family, and many non-traditional families -- say grandmother-mother or mother-aunt or grandparents and father -- work very well and possibly better than if the uninterested, abusive, dysfunctional parent had stuck around. it's quite terrifying to think that there's only one way to do things, and that there's only one way to be a successful family.

when i talk about being left handed, or about having red hair, what i mean is that being gay is of course an abnormality, a naturally occurring and unchosen abnormality that harms no one.



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So gender/sexuality is merely a construct? Is yours?

let me pause to take those words you've put in my mouth out.

gender and sexuality are partially constructed, partially biological, but the prejudice that surrounds them is entirely a construct.

am i naturally homosexual? absolutely. is my identity as a gay man a construct? yes. there's a difference, as i'm sure you know, between sex and gender. one is blunt biology, the other is performance. i think biology informs an authentic performance, and much of the social construct is learned so unconsciously that it is performed without much thought.

so, the sideshow alongside marriage continues.

but you have yet to put forth a single argument as to why an intentionally childless male/female couple can be married and why a lesbian couple with children cannot.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:05 PM   #84
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this simply does not work. there are people who remain unmarried and have children, and there are people who get married who choose not to have children, who cannot have children, or who had children but are on a second (or third) marriage. are you going to deny two people who meet late in life the happiness of a marriage after their spouses have died?
Of course not. Read what I quoted again: "Marriage...is primarily a license to have children". It does not say "Marriage is ONLY a license to have children." If you want to disagree, that's fine, but you're going to have to show how it isn't so.

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i didn't dismiss sexuality. i said it was no *more* important than other qualities one brings into a relationship. you're the one who's valuing heterosexual intercourse more than any other quality in a marriage and (again, in your view, necessarily) in parenting as well.
Do you really think sexuality only has to do with intercourse? That's interesting, since I don't, but that's because I believe sexuality informs a whole range of behaviors, perspective, etc. (Including intercourse.) I'm surprised that you don't seem to agree. As far as valuing a loving father and mother who love each other and their children, I'm only going based on precedent set by millennia of biological, chemical and social human development. Again, is there another precedent to go on?

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but what you are saying is that there's a magical alchemy to male/female parenting that is so exclusive and necessary to the successful rearing of children that it becomes necessary to codify that as the *only* acceptable way to raise children.
Biology and sociology are tough taskmasters, aren't they? So is evolution, if you'd like to go that route...

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but you have yet to put forth a single argument as to why an intentionally childless male/female couple can be married and why a lesbian couple with children cannot.
That's not the point of this thread. The point of this thread is whether people have the right to vote on such matters as part of a free democracy. Your inability to see how redefining marriage at the core level affects the values society places on gender and how society defines family aside, there are those who would like to vote on these matters and honor the time-tested principles of democracy upon which the country was founded. Is that a problem?
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:31 PM   #85
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The thing about voting on something like this is the majority of people who vote will not be directly affected either way because they are not gay. So what happens is that you have a majority voting on whether or not they want to let the minority have this right or not. So what happens is that you are essentially silencing this minority's voice because they will never have enough votes to defeat the majority of straight people who can't deal with the concept of gay marriage. The result is that the minority - in this case gay people - don't get to decide their own destiny. They have to live with the set of rights granted or not granted to them by the majority, a majority which almost certainly has a good number of bigots and homophobes in it. That simply does not seem right to me. A majority shouldn't be able to strip a minority of rights like that.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:58 PM   #86
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Of course not. Read what I quoted again: "Marriage...is primarily a license to have children".

Please explain how I fit into your paradigm. I married my husband fully intending to never have children. I made sure that would never happen six weeks after my marriage.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:00 PM   #87
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We're talking about families where there is no father or no mother, and declaring that to be of equal worth and value. I think that's an issue on which voters might be allowed some say, don't you agree?

Dang. I didn't realize we got to vote on the legitimacy of families headed by single mothers.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:01 PM   #88
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A majority shouldn't be able to strip a minority of rights like that.

When the majority includes you, and you don't get affected in any way, you get to.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:16 PM   #89
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Biology and sociology are tough taskmasters, aren't they? So is evolution, if you'd like to go that route...
Can you justify why evolution says gay marriage is wrong?
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:22 PM   #90
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So what happens is that you are essentially silencing this minority's voice because they will never have enough votes to defeat the majority of straight people who can't deal with the concept of gay marriage.
Are you aware of how Prop 8 is polling in the state of CA?
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