December 26, 2009

Marriage Every Which Way

Justin Katz

The typical response from the opposition has been simply dismissive when I've argued the inappropriateness of civil rights claims for same-sex marriage. Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and it's plainly true that nothing bars homosexuals from entering into such relationships except their own desire. Advocates for the redefinition of marriage respond, essentially: "Gee, great. They have a right to something they naturally do not want and are barred from equating what they want with that to which they have a right."

In that context, one discerns a degree of self-refutation in such testimony as that offered by Erna Howarth, of Coventry:

I was married to a wonderful man for 26 years before his passing. I am now in a committed relationship with a wonderful woman. We have been together for eight years. There is no difference! ...

This country was founded to allow its citizens to live and believe freely, despite our differences. It was founded to prevent discriminatory laws that deprive the minority the same rights as the majority!

As an American citizen, I have the right to marry the person I am in a committed relationship with, to live and work where I choose. No one has the right to tell me no!

How much clearer can it be that Ms. Howarth has precisely the same right as any of her fellow Americans to enter into the relationship that the society understands as marriage? What she is actually claiming is a right to define the terms by which her fellow Americans may define their society. She claims for herself, that is, the right to deny those with whom she disagrees the ability to affirm the bleedingly obvious distinction between male-female relationships and, in her case, female-female relationships.

The conversation could proceed in a variety of directions — from the relative importance of self-governance to the requirement of specificity in the law to the variety of "committed relationships" to which Howarth's argument may also be applied. The fundamental disagreement will follow us on all counts, however. To the Howarths of the modern day, one need only recast one's preferences as a "right" in order to demand wholesale reworking of the entire civic sphere.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I see nothing in Ms. Howarth's argument for what used to be known as a "Bostn Marriage", that does not apply with equal force in favor of polygamy. When this is mentioned, it is also scoffed at.

It is well to remember that until the late Medieval period, when it became infused with romance, marriage was strictly to provide for the legitimacy of children and the orderly descent of property.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 26, 2009 2:51 PM

Happy Holidays to you and you partner.
You should know that the Radical Right-Wing folks at Anchor Rising do not represent most of the people in RI.

Wishing you and yours all the best

Your Neighbor

Posted by: Ryan at December 26, 2009 8:04 PM

Erna, know that the people of Rhode Island are with you, regardless of what some elected officials or some in this forum may tell you.
We are not a hateful, vengeful people in this state. Don't judge us by the words of our governor or a few letters to the editor writers or blog posters. God bless, and disregard the power.

Posted by: rhody at December 26, 2009 8:16 PM

"You should know that the Radical Right-Wing folks at Anchor Rising do not represent most of the people in RI."

OMG, it is the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" all over again. Someone had best alert Hillary.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 27, 2009 8:22 AM

Warrington, speaking of Hillary, check out this list: looks like she made someone's top ten list of the smartest people of the decade.

Posted by: Monique at December 27, 2009 9:33 AM

Justin what are you so afraid of? Will
gay marriage somehow devalue your own marriage?don't give me that procreation argument. If you fall back on that, then all
straight but non child rearing people are involved in pointless or useless relationships,

Posted by: Princess [AR codenamed: Assigned Pest] at December 27, 2009 10:33 AM

Monique, speaking of Hillary, have you ever noticed that Chelsea seems to bear some resemblence to Janet Reno?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 28, 2009 1:21 PM

Chelsea actually looks a little like she could be related to Webster Hubbell.
You know,the convicted felon confidante of the Clintons?

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 28, 2009 9:41 PM


Juanita Broaddrick, the mysterious Jane Doe No. 5 from the secret Sexgate files, has broken her silence to charge that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her in a Little Rock hotel room in 1978.

He then told her not to worry because he was "sterile" due to a child-hood bout with the mumps.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 29, 2009 3:31 PM
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