Marriage's Decline, and Society's
(This essay appears in the January 25, 2013, Providence Journal.)
For two years in a row now, The Journal’s article about the first baby born in the new year has contained no mention whatsoever of a father. Studies on the subject are clear that fatherlessness will be a disadvantage to these children, even if they weren’t already being born into disadvantaged communities.
We don’t hear much about it, locally, but we’re looking at a dangerous trend, and we’re ignoring the real harm to the children who will grow up to be our neighbors. In some neighborhoods of Providence and Newport, fewer than one in four black or Hispanic children live in homes with both of their parents.
It has seemed as if every article about education in Providence lately has included a teacher or student making reference to suburban Barrington as the distant, unreachable example with which city kids must strive to compete. Well, much of Barrington, East Greenwich, Exeter, and North Kingstown is notable for being on the opposite side of the spectrum in family life. Most children of every race there live with two parents.
Typically, to the extent that our society tries to address this problem, it focuses on symptoms, not causes, so we end up with a strategy of negation and perverse incentives. We try to prevent the children from ever being born by sterilizing the population through expanded access to contraception and stopping those who are conceived from ever taking their first breaths by aborting them. Then we use government programs and handouts to try to soften the hardship that the breakdown of the family causes.
One needn’t oppose such strategies, though, to admit the plain fact that, at the very least, they aren’t enough. The missing piece I would say the necessary centerpiece is the family structure that our society has been abandoning unwisely for a half a century.
Basically, as our culture advanced, it developed a way to control behavior with minimal coercion and with maximum freedom. It was to link men and women to each other and to the children whom they create through the institution of marriage. Marriage gives people a framework within which to behave responsibly.
It will never have perfect success, of course, because people aren’t perfect, but it is straightforward to understand that there is something inherently risky about sex outside of marriage and that the children whom men and women create together are living manifestations of the marriage that their parents should have.
Because it’s a way of conveying expectations, it doesn’t matter that some couples prove not to be fertile or choose not to have children. Their relationship involves an act that for almost all couples can bring new human life into the world, and so we have one institution for all. There’s no need for statements of intent or proof of fertility.
Such a message may sound simplistic, but that’s the point. It’s an institution meant to impart profound guidelines in a way that everybody can comprehend. Marriage, ultimately, is about the behavior and responsibilities of people who have the power to create children almost accidentally. It doesn’t take a sociology degree to use that power, and so the deep philosophies one hears in public debate about marriage are inadequate to define the culture.
We’ve drifted a long way from this understanding, to be sure, and many people have thrived outside of the marital model. But I’d point to the contrast of Providence and Barrington as a consequence. Who has been hurt by a sex-obsessed culture and no-fault divorce? Who is being harmed as state after state declares that gender doesn’t matter for marriage? Who is most affected by the idea that there’s nothing so different about the relationship between men and women that the law and compassionate people can treat it as unique?
Tragically, it’s those who have the least ability to take on any more obstacles: children who already face an uphill battle pursuing the American Dream. Children like Rhode Island’s first babies. Children whom Rhode Island should actually put first.
None of them will be testifying at the State House about the difference that it would have made to their lives if their mothers and fathers had understood the connection between them and their own adult relationships. And it definitely isn’t easy or comfortable to speak up in their place, but politeness and compassion count for little if we won’t even acknowledge such a central source of disadvantage in our community.
You get what you pay for, and just take a gander at what these young women get for being a--well, let's just use the term "unwed mother." Section 8 housing, WIC, an EBT card, a phone and more! All free! Life is good...
Even though it is inherently evil, you have to admire the successful tactics of progressives in this state/country. They are like a virus--they bring little to the "body", attack one cell at a time, turning the bodies resources (tax $) against itself and generating more dole-dependent parasites--that in turn vote to keep the largess coming, draining the bodies resources day by day.
Problem is that the host will eventually die...
Your medical analogy fits reasonably well, but I'd stress that people are not parasites. That's the view of folks on the environmental left who think we're parasites on the Earth. That's wrong, and it's wrong when you replace "Earth" with "society," too.
The people who fall into dependency are part of our community. They create a problem, to be sure, and it is critical that we persuade them that there is a better way to structure their lives and our society, but for something to be a parasite it must be distinct from the host.
Top-down morality and one-size-fits-all public policy are social engineering more often associated with the progressive movement. A policy of excluding gays from marriage by law to achieve a better social result is conservative in ideology but progressive (statist) in methodology. These aggregation (on-average) arguments are not persuasive to me because I don't view the role of law in such utilitarian, collectivist terms. A marriage law that is both overinclusive and underinclusive is bad law. Proper laws are narrowly tailored while also allowing for exception and nuance - very difficult in practice to achieve, which is an excellent argument for legislative humility and fewer laws overall. It's precisely these types of outcome-based justifications that have facilitated all manner of progressive affronts to individual liberty through state imposition over the years - affirmative action, minimum wage laws, and mandated health care are just a few obvious examples. When you label people and treat them as aggregated statistics, you rob them of their individuality and turn them into pawns for the central planners to tinker with.
"Marriage gives people a framework within which to behave responsibly."
What's interesting is that Justin acknowledges the personal benefit to marriage for individuals and then seeks to justify denying that benefit to a class of people based on some vague, moralistic, and collectist concept of the effect on "society."
Can you image the reaction over here if a progressive suggested denying individual rights on that basis? (seems like at least Dan spotted that one)
As usual, you're trying to reframe my statement in a way that seems to have little relation to what I've written. The framework of marriage is a benefit to the individual in my worldview, but it may not be according to his or hers. The benefit that makes it a public concern is that to the children whom irresponsible people may create.
The class of people for whose benefit I don't believe marriage should be redefined are substantively different because their casual behavior cannot create children.
It really is that simple, and your continued attempts to distort my arguments illustrate that you're trying to avoid them, not to address them.
This is not "top-down morality and one-size fits all public policy." Nobody is forcing anybody to enter into marriage, or not to enter into marriage. As a point of law, homosexuals are not excluded from marriage. They are just not permitted to equate their relationships to something that they are not.
That isn't a value judgment or a moral condemnation. It's an acknowledgement of biological reality in a way that is perfectly nuanced, in the sense that I think you mean. There is no test for fertility or intention to procreate, and there is none necessary.
Here's the series of beliefs that I'm applying:
* Marriage is a cultural institution that the society is wise to encourage among people who whose sex can create children.
* The government's role is most notably not to undermine that institution by muddying its plain and simple meaning.
* A government as intrusive as ours will almost necessarily have to require social relationships whose members think of themselves as one legal entity.
* Therefore, the government should be careful to draw distinction between relationships that are different for important cultural reasons.
In order to get to the proper ordering of government and society on which you and I mostly agree, we must reduce the intrusiveness of government first. Otherwise we're going to destroy our civilization.
As a practical matter, a substantial flaw in your argument is that the proposition on the table is to take the action of eliminating a long-existing legal definition. That is very different from (pretty much the opposite of) instituting new social programs.
I'm telling you that you are helping to write the play book for the destruction of the civic principles that you hold dear, and all for nothing, because there is simply no way that libertarians can win the argument with the statists in the modern world.
There is nothing "progressive" about euthanasia, pornography, dope addiction, a welfare state, the normalization of the the stomach turning crime of sodomy, etc., etc., etc. All of this is a throwback to declining societies from the dawn of recorded history. The Greek city states. The Hellenistic empires. The decline of the Empires of Rome, Byzantium, China, France, Turkey and Persia. The waning era of the Shoguns in Japan. And many more.
Who thinks it's a coincidence that every country which accepts the moral and medical pathology of homosexual sodomy is not growing in population but every place that imprisons, hangs, stones or beheads these criminals IS?
"There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide"
Now Justin please note that the above post is 90% FACT when you get the inevitable "I don't want you to censor or silence him but you better censor and silence him or else" from the usual suspects- the self-proclaimed "tolerant" ones.
"The benefit that makes it a public concern is that to the children whom irresponsible people may create."
And here again, you acknowledge the benefit for children of being raised in committed relationships (I completely agree) but then seek to justify denying those benefits to children of same-sex couples based on amorphous and moralistic concerns about the effect on "society." I know quite a few children being raised in same-sex households, irrespective of your odd fixation on homosexual sex and it's potential for procreation.
Calling the intimacy of committed, monogamous couples "their casual behavior" only tips us to your underlying bias.
The benefit is most substantially to those children *who would not otherwise be raised by their two parents.* (Given our distance in logic, I'll leave aside the argument that the greatest benefit is to children raised by their own biological, that being the ideal toward which culture ought to aspire.)
Couples that must adopt or go through deliberate medical procedures in order to create children are inherently not in as much need of encouragement toward familial behavior.
As to your last, dumb statement, now you're just being obtuse. My statement had nothing to do with "committed, monogamous couples." As I just said, homosexual couples can create children (or, rather, have them created), but not in a casual way. Heterosexuals can create children through casual behavior. That's the point.
Tell me, are you afraid that if you acknowledge the plausibility of any point that I make, your entire worldview might unravel?
The problem is that the 10% (or whatever the percentage might be) is dumb and destructive of the rest of your argument. All you do is invite anybody who doesn't have your emotional reactions to the topic at hand to ignore the point you're trying to make.
That's so obvious that it does raise the question of which came first in your thought processes: the emotional reaction or the collection of evidence. It also raises grounds for concern that you might prefer violence against people whose behavior you dislike to the public policies being debated.
"As I just said, homosexual couples can create children (or, rather, have them created), but not in a casual way."
You really don't seem to know many (any?) same-sex couples. They can and sometimes do have children from prior relationships. Those children benefit just as any others would from the protection and stability of marriage.
"Tell me, are you afraid that if you acknowledge the plausibility of any point that I make, your entire worldview might unravel?"
No, not at all. In fact, I agreed with you that marriage is beneficial for individuals and for children.
The 150,00-member American Psychological Association (APA) has passed a resolution in support of full civil marriage equality for same sex-couples and calls on states and the federal government to enact such laws. The resolution concludes that it is “unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage with all its attendant benefits, rights and privileges,” and that, “there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to sexual orientation: lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.”
Part of APA’s strong support for marriage equality rests on extensive research showing the importance of the institution of marriage as a stabilizing force in people’s lives in terms of psychological well-being, physical health, economic, social and legal benefits. Allowing same-sex couples to marry will provide public validation of the union as well as protection for children.
But then that couple didn't create that child casually. Some other couple that happened to include one of its members did.
If the marriage is socially linked to child created, then who is cut out of the loop in the cases that you mention? Or is it a reason to begin thinking of marriage as a match of multiples?
"Who thinks it's a coincidence that every country which accepts the moral and medical pathology of homosexual sodomy is not growing in population but every place that imprisons, hangs, stones or beheads these criminals IS?"
posted by Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston is advocating violence and murder of our hard working, law abiding, taxpaying fellow citizens. Many of whom are fighting for our country in Afghanistan RIGHT NOW, or have fought for our country in the past.
In my opinion I think that's a little over the top. Even out here in the wild west, comments like that would not be tolerated on the most conservative of websites.
And here we go...
As reckless and offensive of a thing to write as I think Tommy's statement is, I think you're distorting its meaning. That Tommy thinks the West's tolerance begets decline while the extreme institutional intolerance of Islamist nations is associated with fecundity does not mean that he is advocating for replacing the former with the latter.
I'm sure we all have our speculations about where between here and there he thinks a society should stop, but at this distant level of insinuation, I don't think it best to try to sweep such sentiments under the rug, but rather to air them and to consider what they do and don't mean for the social debate.
One clarification - it's a shame in my view that conservatives afford so much attention to piddling social issues like gay marriage because they become a distraction from the economic issues that are so much more pressing and relevant to people's everyday lives. Rhode Island will look exactly the same 5 years from now regardless of whether there is gay marriage or not, but it could change into a very different (and much improved) place in that same time period if much-needed economic reforms were made. I criticize these posts not because I consider the issue a priority, but because I do not. I realize that the articles here are intellectual fodder and focusing on a diversity of issues is conducive to that end, but this particular issue is such a convenient and polarizing rallying cry against all tenets of conservativism - economic and social - that I truly believe it does more harm than good. Even here in Virginia I can hear the opposition cheer go up every time one of these articles is posted. It's handing progressives the keys and allowing them to drive to town on our gas money. Believe me - as someone who was banned from RIFuture for posting simple hard truths - progressives would like nothing more to debate these nonsense social issues all day. Their biggest fear is having to face the real, severe economic problems of the state for which they are largely responsible, and they will do anything to avoid having that discussion. The simple fact is that they get vastly more mileage out of this discussion than we do.
I disagree on just about every count.
The Left relishes these debates because they know they put folks like you in an awkward position. It's a wedge issue among deeply thoughtful right-leaners, and it's a discomforting issue for everybody else (most of whom don't really care about the issue, but don't want to be called bad names).
Believe me: there was plenty of factual debate in the early days of this issue's life. As activist judges began rewriting laws and ultra-rich financiers began throwing money behind the messaging and political campaigns (include entertainment media in that), the Left realized it didn't have to bother with anything beyond the emotional pleas and name calling.
The same exact strategy will be deployed against the economic issues you believe are numerically sacrosanct. The groundwork is already being built.
And the underlying problem is that libertarianism, by itself, provides no counter narrative --- no way of tapping into people's sense of the importance of community --- that will ever appeal to enough people to hold its line. Abandon this barrier and you're handing them the title to the car as well as the keys.
"If the marriage is socially linked to child created, then who is cut out of the loop in the cases that you mention?"
The step parent, of course. Many couples make the decision to remarry, often because of the benefit of the children. Consider as well that the option for some is between single parenthood or remarrying due to any number of circumstances. You seem to suggest those couples don't know what's best for their own children.
The question didn't bridge the gap from my views to yours. I'm arguing that the fundamental principle (meaning the ideal, not necessarily the practical reality 100% of the time) should be that children are physical manifestations of the marriage between their parents. (The parents are biologically joined in the child in the same same way that they are socially joined in marriage.)
In the case of remarriage, to whom is the child no longer joined? It's a strange question, I realize, but the point is to illustrate that one parent's "casual" creation of a child in a previous relationship is not the same as the same creation in a current relationship.
And I don't "seem to suggest" any such thing. Parents who know what's best for their children don't need a cultural institution providing a framework for responsible behavior.
"I'm arguing that the fundamental principle (meaning the ideal, not necessarily the practical reality 100% of the time) should be that children are physical manifestations of the marriage between their parents."
It's certainly not the practical reality much of the time. People who can never have children marry, something you seem to ignore. Their marriage doesn't factor into your view or, if it does, only as some kind of outlier, an anomaly. It's no surprise, of course, because to admit that marriage is about a social contract that may or not involve shared responsiblity for raising (not just creating) children, would be to acknowledge that the sex of the parties entering the contract is not of central importance.
Interesting as well that the other day you indicated you had no philosophical objection to denying marriage to the infertile or the elderly, only that the logistics of verifying fertility would be a breach of medical privacy. Of course over a certain age we could easily dismiss couples as extremely unlikely to procreate "casually" and who therefore would have no reason in your worldview to enjoy the benefits and protection of marriage.
"cultural institution providing a framework for responsible behavior."
It's actually kind of sad that you choose to reduce marriage to that. imho, it's much more than that to formal commit to shared responsibility with a spouse.
I just don't see the sense in focusing on a social issue of such speculative impact and no practical importance to the here and now when doing so sacrifices so much common ground between libertarians and conservatives and alienates the substantial portion of the population that might otherwise be recruited back to sane economic policy, which is far more important to the well-being of the state. Most Rhode Islanders don't understand what central planning is or why it's harmful - it's not disagreement, it's ignorance. When you explain it to them, they very often arrive at the conservative/libertarian side of the issue. Gay marriage falls in the opposite category - most people, and especially younger generations, have thought about it at length and don't agree with the conservative position. If your purpose in writing is to educate people about what is truly destroying the state and recruit them to your cause, I only see these gay marriage pieces as harming those prospects.
I'm just plain out of time, here. You accuse me of reductionism, but then grab this or that word from prior posts (or anywhere) and use it for purposes completely removed from its purposes. I can only spend so much time chasing down the bombs you throw (thinking an old Atari game, here).
Funny how quickly you go from "most Rhode Islanders understand" to "especially younger generations." I've been astonished to find how many in the younger generation really *don't* come to the conservative/libertarian position when it comes to central planning. Sustainable development, the dependency portal. I'm sorry to report that I'm finding no difference in those debates about which you're going to be very, very passionate over the next decade and the development of the same-sex marriage debate over the last decade.
You don't appear willing to ponder that possibility (that we're dealing with a change of what "most people" believe, not some natural state of people's philosophical comprehension).
"You accuse me of reductionism"
No, I accuse you of attempting to redefine marriage and to redefine it so narrowly as to exclude the relationships of many married couples.
"...then grab this or that word from prior posts (or anywhere) and use it for purposes completely removed from its purposes."
Hehe, yes, who can even remember what one said all the way back on last Thursday!
"To Save Constitutional Liberty, Save Marriage"
Posted by: Russ at January 17, 2013 11:41 AM
Your [sic] repeated attempts to redefine marriage as only about childbirth only make the mental gymnastics required to hold that position more and more obvious to anyone reading.
Would you therefore not object to denying marriage licenses to the elderly or the infertile, or do you feel differently about discrimination on the basis of age or disability?
Posted by: Justin Katz at January 17, 2013 3:38 PM
The state cannot know whether couples are "infertile." Actually, even "infertile" is very often not the same thing as "sterile." Imagine how intrusive a regulation would be to test for fertility.
Dan, spot on btw.
What a difference a name makes! Above there is a reference to "unwed mother", which has been replaced by "single mother".
I know a woman who is one of 8 children. Her father (married to her mother), died when she was 9 years old. In her estimation this made her mother a "single mother". They were not wealthy, as I have no other explanation,it appears that the kids all pulled together to help each other. Excepting one, they are all college graduates.
My friend fumes when she hears a derogatory comment about a "single mother". She seems not to understand that it is "code".
I didn't say I didn't deny writing anything. I said you took it out of the context. The context was a response to you. I didn't "indicate that I have no philosophical objection"; I pointed out that more practical considerations obviate the need for making that determination.
I'm a little tired of ignoring the fact that the AIDS epidemic in the US was spread by irresponsible homosexual behavior(along with IV drug abusers)and it was politicized so no one could be prevented from spreading it.Society has routinely separated lepers and I know my grandfather was involuntarily detained in a TB sanitarium in the 20's simply because he was contagious-he didn't engage in serial unprotected sex-someone probably sneezed in his face that had TB-he was separated from his family and there was no "safety net".He fooled the bastards and lived to 93.I'm sure Russ and "sammy" would like to register gun owners.How about registering HIV carriers?It wasn't the IV drug abusers who managed to keep widespread testing from taking place.They don't usually know what day it is.It was the organized male homosexual community.If you think about it,they hurt their own worse than anyone else,so I'm not sure what the resistance to testing accomplished.Microorganisms don't have political agendas.If anyone can attack what I'm saying a a factual,non-emotional basis,please have at it,but keep the emotion to yourself because it's so much crap.
Justin - You might have read my post quickly; my statement is in agreement with yours. In my experience, most Rhode Islanders are ignorant of or apathetic about the central planning that goes on in the state and the depressing effect it has been having on its economy. But when it is explained to them, very few are actually indoctrinated in progressive ideology. To take an obvious example, ask 10 people on the street if government should be loaning taxpayer money to private businesses. 9 out of 10 people will answer "no," and at least 6 of those 9 will be "hell no." There is a powerful educating opportunity there for conservative commentators. The numbers and the evidence are squarely on our side in that arena - all we need do is present them. Gay marriage, on the other hand, is a largely ideological and emotional issue. Arguing with proponents changes no minds and only makes dialog on the important economic issues of the state more difficult.
To Sammy in Arizona-more likely Sammy at RI-NEA headquarters:
If I needed the money or was younger I would subpoena your ISP information and sue your ass for defamation.
I thought progressives were "tolerant of other cultures"?
Where is your tolerance for the giant swaths of the world, mostly "of color" who punish the crime of homosexual sodomy?
I thought "progressives" loved world government?
Why do you not respect the United Nations which (see article at the end of this post) recently approved executing homosexual sodomites. Even Cuba, N. Korea and Vietnam, "progressive" countries you must surely love voted "aye."
I actually agree with Dan that the homosexual marriage issue is not in the top 100 issues that concern, or should concern, libertarians or conservatives of any stripe; including me. I am not the one who inaugurates the posts on this issue. I think the ship has sailed on the insane way the West treats this pathology.
Finally, major kudos to our beloved elder statesman Joe Bernstein who is ALWAYS unafraid to "speak truth to power"
"There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide"
Here is the article:
UN votes against protecting gays from execution
November 22, 2010
In what can only be described as terrifying news, the United Nations has removed a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution condemning arbitrary and unjustified executions. The resolution contained a reference opposing the execution of gay people in its 2008 version. But this year, the new version was passed minus the reference to gay rights. This was because a group of mostly African and Asian countries, voted to remove it. 79 countries that voted to remove the reference to sexual orientation from the resolution, including Uganda, Afghanistan, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Most Western countries, including the US, voted in favor of keeping the reference to sexual orientation in place. The US abstained from the final vote to approve the resolution, with American diplomats telling the UN that the US was “dismayed” at the decision.
“This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development,” Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said in a statement. “It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality.”
That reference was to a bill introduced in Uganda in 2009 that would allow the death penalty for acts of gay sex or for any gay person carrying HIV. Regardless of international outrage, Ugandan officials said last month the bill would soon be law.
Here is a full list of the 79 nations that would like the right to execute you if you are gay or have HIV:
In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
I looked at Tommy Cranstons list above. I was surprised that so many of the countries were predominately Muslim. Islam, in fact if not in theory, restricts heterosexual contact. I have always thought that would icentivize (this is the first time I have used that word) homosexual activity. An example from history is classical Greece where soldiers were not permitted to marry before age 35. Simultaneously, homosexuality was accepted. I had suspected the same of Islam.
Thank you mom. Rest in peace. She raised my brother and I in a single parent family and never, ever accepted one dime of government aid. We were taught to make do with what we had, and that if you wanted something the only acceptable was was to work for it.
I'm not saying this is a blueprint for everyone, but I'm thankful that she emphasized a work ethic and personal responsiblity that helped her kids build productive lives.
No, I accuse you of attempting to redefine marriage and to redefine it so narrowly as to exclude the relationships of many married couples.
Wait, who's redefining marriage???
No, I accuse you of attempting to redefine marriage and to redefine it so narrowly as to exclude the relationships of many married couples.
That is the comment of the day, maybe even year!!!
I would have paid $ to see Justin read it.
Tommy on what basis would you be able to get the ip adress and sue anyone. Perhaps you should move to Uganda since you seem so in tune with the local politics.
"I didn't 'indicate that I have no philosophical objection'"
So you do have a philosophical problem with denying marriage protections to women who are beyond their "casual" child bearing years or are you simply making the point that you're avoiding that question to avoid collapsing your stance against equal protections for gay couples?
No, Mr. Russ. I pointed out that the philosophical distinction that you're trying to draw is a fantasy. (Yours is not an uncommon ploy of the Left... make stuff up and demand that your opposition make distinctions that don't exist.)
There is no means of determining when a couple will be totally sterile that would not be unreasonably invasive. Moreover, there is no non-invasive way to determine whether opposite-sex couples in some biological way contradict the idea that marriage and the ability of male and female homo sapiens to create children are intrinsically related.
Oh, please. And here we have not an uncommon ploy of the Right... hypocritical double-standards.
Yes, folks, your 80 year-old grandmother should be considered more "casually" fertile than a 30 year-old female in a same sex relationship! Want to make a bet which group has more live births in RI, gay couples or geriatric ones?
More evidence of the mental gynastics necessary for some on the right (with apologies to libertarians) to hold these positions.
One day I'll figure out if you really can't follow logical arguments or just refuse to do so.
More refuse to follow a logical argument, as one would need to reason and actually think through a complex, ill-defined problem and consider second and third order consequences before acting. Much easier to declare moral superiority (e,g., "I coach soccer!" and move on with one's nose in the air.
It's all about good intentions; actual results be damned (or just ignored). One example from the teachers union--"it's all about the children" when it is all about the teachers. Another is the war on drugs. Many argue it has failed as drug use is up, etc.. They state we should just stop and save the $ we are throwing at a program that has clearly failed. However, when one argues that, based on this logic, the war on poverty has also failed... Ah, the hypocrisy...
"One day I'll figure out if you really can't follow logical [sic] arguments or just refuse to do so."
Well, if we're talking about your arguments it's the former. Personally, I don't assume everyone who disagrees with me to be either a fool or a villian.... takes a certain kind of arrogance.
"I have learned to be less confident in the conclusions of human reason, and give more credit to the honesty of contrary opinions."
--Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1824.
I don't do that with everybody. You've got a long, long record, here, from which to judge.
Well Russ Conway, there ARe 2 things I know for sure:
1. Sodomy will never produce a child; the laws of God being infinitely less flexible than than the laws of progressive man.
2. You are clearly both a fool..and a villain- but not a "villian" (sic).
When the right runs out of ideas, the ad hominem attacks begin. How erudite of you both.
It's not ad hominem for somebody to make an observation of another with whom he has a great deal of experience. It's not as if I'm saying you're illogical because you, I don't know, don't like peanut butter. That would be a logical fallacy.
btw, I do follow the logic of your thinking...
1. Marriage must be between a man and a woman.
2. Same sex couples cannot "casually" procreate.
3. Therefore marriage must be soley about procreation.
(and ignore any couple's marriages that don't neatly fit that definition)
No, you are incorrect in just about every point of your analysis. But thank you for illustrating that my expression of frustration above was merited, not an ad hominem attack.
Just occurred to me that it might be to the benefit of others for me to offer my actual logical steps:
1. It is critically important that as many children as possible are born into and grow up within the best circumstances possible.
2. The ideal circumstance is within a committed household with the two people with whom the child bears a biological connection.
3. Men and women are able to create children through an activity that they find pleasurable and in which they are predisposed to engage.
4. The most important function of marriage is to increase the number of couples who behave responsibly when creating children.
5. Marriage has other important functions, such as stability in a home with children who are not biologically related to both parents as well as mutual care and teamwork between the adults.
6. Point 5, combined with the considerations that (a) only a very small number of couples proves to be naturally sterile over the course of their entire lives, (b) it would be invasive to screen for fertility, (c) biological and philosophical factors suggest a strong preference for freedom, and (d) for it to function socially, marriage must be a social draw for couples engaged in the targeted behavior, all mean that the boundaries of the institution should be drawn as broadly as plausible.
7. But point 4 is so important that we should take pains not to carry point 6 so far as to undermine it.
8. Same-sex marriage makes the core requirement of marriage that the couple has a caring commitment to each other, not that their intimacy tends to create children. That shift makes a precondition out of what ought to be the objective. ("I'm not going to marry her just because we made a child, because I don't feel a commitment to her.")
9. The fact that same-sex couples must take additional steps, requiring third-party assistance and often encountering a screening opportunity of some sort in order to bring children into their homes, offers some mitigation with respect to concerns about point 5, but it's definitely an area that merits further social consideration.
Contrary to the progressive way of thinking, social institutions don't work like machinery among the society. They're messy and vague. But incentive structures and cultural philosophy do matter.
Hehe, nothing muddled about that. Which would Occam's razor say was correct?
Silly me, I married my wife because I loved her and she loved me. If only I had read the Katz doctrine before hand. The disgust with same sex marriage is so clear from the author even when he tries to couch it with big words and pseudo intellectualism.
Love is an excellent reason for a man to marry a woman. It's just not really a very good criterion for defining public social policy.
As to your libel, I'll just say that your powers of perception are deficient.
What happened to "casual act" in the Katz doctrine?
It is funny because "casual act" is now the talking point of the lawyers taking the SSM case to the SCOTUS.
Basically arguing that gay couples should have ample time to plan a family and put aside money for a child's insurance needs whereas straight couples need the safety net of a marriage contract (because none of us can remember to wear a condom) does not answer the question of basic fairness or equal protection under the law. Never mind the 1,049 statutory provisions — which includes tax breaks, disability benefits and joint parenting rights — that marriage gives couples access to. Apparently, gay couples have some magic planning technique to get around those as well.
Society is changing, laws need to change to protect the children and gay families.
And what about fairness for children in disadvantaged circumstances from whom we're methodically removing the advantage that a core family structure of mother, father, children provides?
As a group, homosexuals are wealthier and have achieved higher level of education than the population as a whole. It's reasonable to suppose that those of the kind you describe are even more advantaged.
"And what about fairness for children in disadvantaged circumstances from whom we're methodically removing the advantage that a core family structure of mother, father, children provides?"
You're arguing that same sex marriage is doing that? Small wonder Justin advocates discriminating against those couples (to protect those poor children from their parents).
No, I'm arguing that (1) the decline of the institution of marriage is causing that and (2) changing the definition of marriage to explicitly sever the link between childbirth and marriage (inherent in the male-female definition) makes it impossible to repair what had already been damaged.
By the way, for over a decade, I've been saying that it might very well change the calculation for me if the same-sex marriage movement were coupled with a reform of the legal changes that have helped to make divorce such a common occurrence.
So you're not saying that children in same sex couples are "disadvantaged?" Seemed pretty clear in your statement above.
As for destroying marriage, I'd say divorce by far has had more impact than whether a same sex couple gets to file a joint tax return. Or how about premarital sex. Why buy the cow, eh? Perhaps you should work to ban both of those. Oh, wait that would violate your rights instead of someone elses.
Yes, if only couples couldn't divorce! What a world it would be for those children.
So you want to give "disadvantaged" children of heterosexuals an advantage over children of homosexuals because homos are usually wealthier and have achieved higher education?
Justin, I didn't know you we're a supporter of affirmative action.
Marriage is a social construct/contract...it is amazing how common it is across cultures. It was, simply, a stable structure into which to rear children.
Over time, marrige and the family unit became a unit sought by the gov't, as stability fostered growth and security. Tax advantages were given to promote the construct and rules/regulations put in place (age restrictions, first cousins ( in most states) and brothers/sisters couldn't marry... (Hmm. It is about the children...)) and so forth. Social acceptance and economic advantage.
Getting back to the original article, it is a moral outrage the we encourage many women to have children out of wedlock. Through EBT cards, etc., we doom entire generations to poverty and pain, as well as the social ills these conditions engender. Good intentions pave the road to hell.
Posted by Justin Katz
"As a group, homosexuals are wealthier and have achieved higher level of education than the population as a whole."
From this, it would seem possible to contruct a reasoned argument that homosexuality springs from wealth and education. Seems as likely to me as the "gene theory".