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Old 09-29-2008, 03:14 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, 04:27 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, 04:44 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, 05:05 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, 05:31 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, 05:58 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, 06:00 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, 06:01 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, 06:16 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, 06:22 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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Old 09-29-2008, 06:24 PM   #91
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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.
What paradigm? The quote -- as I've pointed out repeatedly -- says "Marriage is primarily a license to have children." Not exclusively, not solely. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but again, laws and principles apply to the rule, not the exception.

Most married people will at some point have children.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:34 PM   #92
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What paradigm? The quote -- as I've pointed out repeatedly -- says "Marriage is primarily a license to have children." Not exclusively, not solely. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but again, laws and principles apply to the rule, not the exception.

Most married people will at some point have children.


for someone who's greatly concerned about religious freedom, you don't seem too concerned about individual freedoms.

most married people marry not to have children, but to express their romantic love and choice of a partner. romantic love and personal choice are topics that are new to marriage. you know, despite thousands of years of the tough taskmasters of biology and stuff.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:37 PM   #93
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Can you justify why evolution says gay marriage is wrong?
It's not a question of morality. It's a question of reproduction and propogation of the species.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:40 PM   #94
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for someone who's greatly concerned about religious freedom, you don't seem too concerned about individual freedoms.
Democracy has equal restraints on all, doesn't it? Individual freedoms collide with social ones all the time, from limits on religious speech to the abundance of pornography. It's a tough old world.

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most married people marry not to have children, but to express their romantic love and choice of a partner. romantic love and personal choice are topics that are new to marriage. you know, despite thousands of years of the tough taskmasters of biology and stuff.
Actually, an awful lot of people get married to settle down and raise a family, and that instinct's been around a whole lot longer than romantic love and personal choice. The rise in cohabitation rates amongst Americans in their 20s, and the later marriage age for both women and men, bear this out, at least in part. People don't get married to have sex, or to show who they're with. Generally speaking, these days more than ever, people get married when they start talking about kids.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:42 PM   #95
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Yes, but that doesn't account for the biological basis of homosexual behaviour, there are other gay animals out there as well as plenty which don't pass on their genes directly. The reality of homosexuality undercuts that line of thinking.

And just to remove ourselves from that what of IVF lesbians? They are able to reproduce and propagate the species (ignore adoption because those situations aren't real parenting).
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:47 PM   #96
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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.

that's what i've been doing this entire thread. marriage is not primarily anything other than a contract entered into by two parties who have agreed to it's terms and conditions. often children are a part of that, sometimes they aren't, and *how* a couple has children isn't terribly important, is it? or are you going to inadvertently crap on adopted kids like the LA Times article does?

what continues to be lost is the fact that if you are going to allow people like martha to get married, people who are in their 60s and 70s who remarry, people who even want to adopt, then you cannot ban gay people from that institution without coming out and saying, yes, in all circumstances, straight relationships are by definition, always and in all ways, better than gay ones.

so just come out and say it.

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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?

since i have to go cook spaghetti and meatballs for my partner as we pantomime what a real relationship must be like and imagine just how much better the spaghetti would taste if it were informed by the irreducible and eternal mysterious and joyful differences between a penis and vagina -- the poor kids who ever have us as dads, the hours they'll spend sitting in the windowseat watching the rain and pining for mommy -- i'm just going to post an old quote of Yolland's that always springs to mind whenever the millennia argument is trotted out to, as ever, justify simple prejudice:


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Romantic love, mutual personal fulfillment, and certainly any idea of who the prospective bride or groom would rather be intimate with were quite beside the question. This is not to say that something in some ways resembling our notion of romantic love did not exist; pretty clearly, it did (e.g. lucky Jacob and Rebekah, though who knows whether she also "loved" him after that one brief encounter)--but, as a hoped-for "bonus" that might develop with time and shared hardship, not as anyone's right to expect, let alone demand, of their parents as a precondition for marriage. Such a demand, as well as any other demand whose fulfillment might thwart the goals of marriage as conventionally understood (be fruitful and faithful, in the spirit of submission to the will of your parents and the greater good of Israel and its laws), would have been seen as at best laughably audacious, and at worst dangerously impious (how dare you put what pleases your own desires before your obligations to our customs?).

Happily for heterosexuals though, we've managed the trick of grafting a wholly foreign set of sensibilities about love, personal fulfillment, and individual autonomy onto this matrix which was never intended to accomodate it. And...3000 years and thousands of miles away from all that grim nose-to-grindstone stuff...doesn't it just feel oh, so right?



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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?

the problem is that it is perverse to vote on civil rights. certainly, it's a tactic, and Prop 8 will likely be defeated, and the largest state in the country and the 8th largest economy in the world will treat gay people like people. but the point remains -- the schools had to be desegregated by "activist" judges. so, it seems, does marriage.

but if you want to continue to argue that boys will be boys, and girls like pink dresses, go right ahead. most of us left that behind in the 1970s.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:49 PM   #97
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Democracy has equal restraints on all, doesn't it? Individual freedoms collide with social ones all the time, from limits on religious speech to the abundance of pornography. It's a tough old world.

and perhaps one day, you'll feel what it's like to be told that you, nathan, are a second class citizen and that you are, by definition, inferior to others.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:02 PM   #98
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Nathan, why do you keep pointing out an op-ed as your source as if it's the end-all-be-all?

And in what way does allowing homosexuals to marry harm the "reproduction and propogation (sic) of the species?"
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:12 PM   #99
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Most married people will at some point have children.
Not me.

So, where do I fit in? You didn't answer my question.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:13 PM   #100
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Generally speaking, these days more than ever, people get married when they start talking about kids.

Or after they've discovered that she's pregnant.

What about the families headed by single parents? Are the "real" families, since they only have a parent of a single gender?
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