Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Marriage is -- response to Critics

The world's first drivers' licence, issued by ...Image via Wikipedia

I've had a rather vocal critic over the past few days visiting the blog and throwing down challenges in the comment box. Never one to pass up a good challenge (assuming I have the time to answer), I thought that I would respond.

First, his initial statement about what marriage isn't:

What is "marriage" anyway? "Marriage" isn't about love. You can be in love and not be married. You can be married and not be in love. "Marriage" isn't about sex. You can have sex and not be married. You can be married and not have sex. "Marriage" isn't about children. You can have children and not be married. You can be married and not have children. "Marriage" isn't about religion. You can be an atheist and be married. You can be married without a preacher. "Marriage" isn't about vows. You can make vows without being married. You can be married without vows, only an affirmation; "I do". "Marriage" isn't about rings. You can wear rings without being married. You can be married without exchanging rings. Marriage is legally only about property, citizenship, kinship and inheritance. The marriage license is an application for State and Federal benefits granted a specific class of people. All arguments about love, romance, reproduction, religious dogma, tradition and family values are PERSONAL BAGGAGE and cultural ignorance of the legal fiction called marriage. Arguments that aren't about property, citizenship, kinship and inheritance are moot, leaving out most arguments against same sex marriage. Supporters and h8ters both need to learn what marriage ISN'T before trying to argue what it IS. Denying US Citizens benefits granted others on the basis of their sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Denying gays benefits because they offend the sensibilities of bigots is no more valid than denying the bigots the same benefits because "I" am offended by them. - Anonymous
 First off, let me say that I agree with about the first 1/2 of the statement. There are a lot of things in life that marriage is not about that seem to get inserted into the debate.What marriage is about, in a  short sentence (unless Walker gets his way) is regulating procreation. As the author points out, it is not about procreation itself (as many people have children outside of marriage) but about the regulation of procreation.

As a parallel example, consider my article about gay marriage leading to drivers licenses for the blind. Having a drivers license is NOT about driving (by the same arguments as above) because you can drive without a license. However, it IS about regulation of driving, just like marriage is about the regulation of procreation by the state. In the case of driving, most people avoid driving without a license because the penalties are so severe. In the case of procreating without a marriage, the penalties are not severe enough (perhaps unfortunately) to prevent most people from doing so.





Strangely enough, I also agree with the author's assertions that:

"Marriage is legally only about property, citizenship, kinship and inheritance. The marriage license is an application for State and Federal benefits granted a specific class of people"
 To this, I would add the part of the definition that he left out and say that it is done to regulate procreation for the benefit of children. But, yes, marriage is about that, and only that. It is NOT an inalienable right granted to us under the constitution (other than if someone has a right to marry a person of the opposite sex so do you under the equal protection clause) -- only an issue of state recognition of  an institution and licensing system created for a specific purpose.

All arguments about love, romance, reproduction, religious dogma, tradition and family values are PERSONAL BAGGAGE and cultural ignorance of the legal fiction called marriage.

One persons religious dogma is another persons moral values I would say. All laws are ultimately based on morality, so I see no reason to demonize moral values. Also, love romance, family and tradition all seem to be good things to me. What, did the author not get enough hugs when he or she was young? Is that the reason for the acrimony against family, etc?

Arguments that aren't about property, citizenship, kinship and inheritance are moot, leaving out most arguments against same sex marriage
 I would acquiesce to the fact that most arguments against same sex marriage touch on these ideas at some point, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that all arguments against same sex marriage that touch on ideas outside of these points are invalid. I'm personally pretty careful about using words like "all" anyway since it is easier to prove such statements wrong. 

Denying US Citizens benefits granted others on the basis of their sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Denying gays benefits because they offend the sensibilities of bigots is no more valid than denying the bigots the same benefits because "I" am offended by them.

This is the point where the argument gets confusing. Didn't the author just say, only a few sentences ago, that marriage is a licensing issue? So, which is it? Is it a "fundament right" or the state "granting a license"?  In the first case, fundamental rights are protected under the constitution. In the latter, it's something akin to the state allowing people to go hunting, a license which they can deny to any subgroup of people for an arbitrary reason.

Even though the comment had a good start, it seemed to fall apart and contradict itself by the end. I guess that the authors stopping point was a good one so that he or she avoided seeming even more silly.


Cute Heterosexual Girls:








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6 comments:

  1. "You can be married and not have sex."

    Boy, ain't that the truth!

    Gay marriage has been a tough issue for many Americans to accept. With Proposition 8, it became a focus point for people on both sides to direct their anger at.

    It makes me wonder where the country will be socially in 20 years from now and what the end results will be like.

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  2. Excellent and well-thought-out retort to the usual comments from the uber-liberals.

    I just posted an update: 9th Circuit puts brakes on decision that struck down Calif. marriage amendment - http://ow.ly/1qNKI0 . This is great news for family values!

    Thanks for standing up for the family. (-;

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