The Judiciary Continues to Shine Its Murky Light on Marriage

Rhode Island’s marriage law is astonishingly specific when it comes to which relatives men may not marry:

Men forbidden to marry kindred. — No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter, stepmother, grandfather’s wife, son’s wife, son’s son’s wife, daughter’s son’s wife, wife’s mother, wife’s grandmother, wife’s daughter, wife’s son’s daughter, wife’s daughter’s daughter, sister, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter, father’s sister, or mother’s sister.

Indeed, the legislature is so specific as to add an entirely separate section to spell out the same for women:

Women forbidden to marry kindred. — No woman shall marry her father, grandfather, son, son’s son, daughter’s son, stepfather, grandmother’s husband, daughter’s husband, son’s daughter’s husband, daughter’s daughter’s husband, husband’s father, husband’s grandfather, husband’s son, husband’s son’s son, husband’s daughter’s son, brother, brother’s son, sister’s son, father’s brother, or mother’s brother.

And it added yet another section to affirm the status of marriages if somehow contracted in contravention of the law:

Incestuous marriages void. — If any man or woman intermarries within the degrees stated in 15-1-1 or 15-1-2, the marriage shall be null and void.

So why, given all of this specificity, would the Rhode Island legislatures of the past not have specified whether men could marry men and women women? Well, a person not set on bending culture and law to his or her social ideology might reasonably suggest that the legislatures of yore did not deem it necessary to legislate what they thought to be a clear and unambiguous definition.
Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is not, apparently, populated by reasonable people who are not set on bending culture and law to their social ideology. When determining whether a Massachusetts law that denies the granting of marriages to couples whose home states would forbid them, that court determined (PDF):

… that same-sex marriage is not prohibited in Rhode Island. No evidence was introduced before this Court of a constitutional amendment, statute, or controlling appellate decision from Rhode Island that explicitly deems void or otherwise expressly forbids same-sex marriage; and, after an exhaustive search, this Court has found no such prohibitory positive law.

The problem, it seems to me, is one that is sure to pop up whenever a court declares the English language to be void: we imaginative creatures can concoct all sorts of things that are not explicitly stated in amendment, statute, or appellate decision for the reason that nobody ever believed they had to be. It’s possible that some obscure case would prove me wrong, but I don’t see how the Massachusetts SJC could conclude otherwise than that Rhode Island does not prohibit men from marrying their fathers, grandfathers, sons, and so on. (Indeed, a very quick look at Massachusetts’ laws reveals the same for that state.)
Of course, what I’ve found in discussions on this topic before is that those who disagree with me on principle, having leveraged the absence of specific language to get their way, will fall back on the vagaries of “understanding” in order to reapply historical standards and intentions to the newly created “marriages.” In other words, once a court has asserted that the government has previously acted through inaction in such a way as to leave same-sex marriages possible, it then will turn around and interpret the statutes’ failure to ban same-sex incestuous marriages as clearly an oversight that needn’t be perpetuated in the law.
Why such a lackadaisical legislature would feel it necessary to write and enact equivalent statutes for each gender is a question beyond my ability to answer. Sadly, I fear that the Rhode Island judiciary, which will soon be poring over newly minted Massachusetts marriage licenses, will offer their rubber stamp without even asking the question.

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Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

Just a thought: does Carcieri risk political capital on this issue in an election year?

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

The dirty little (not so) secret in the legal profession is that judges often want to reach a particular outcome, and then find something (or a void) to hang their hat on to “justify” the decision.
Hence the activist judiciary, starting with FDR, who coerced the U.S. Supreme Court into trashing the U.S. Constitution to clear the way for “The New Deal.”
And hence finding a “right to privacy” making abortion a “Constitutional right.”
And hence Massachusetts justices finding a right to homosexual marriage under that Massachusetts’ Constitution.

rhody
rhody
14 years ago

The term “activist judge” is in the eye of the beholder.
Since many of the legislative forces that would seek a state constitutional ban on gay marriage are currently battling to jam Harrah’s down our throats, it might be a good time for those supporting gay marriage to turn up the heat. Plus, the injection of a social issue into the gubernatorial race might provide some fireworks.

smmtheory
smmtheory
14 years ago

The term “activist judge” is in the eye of the beholder.

That’s right! As you say, if people are beholden to the judge to get what they want, those judges aren’t considered activists at all.

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

In order to really settle the issue of whether or not the union of one man to one woman should be the only accepted form of marriage, laws currently defining marriage must be tested to their limits — as dramatically as possible.
The best way to do that would be for those who are hopelessly in love with animals to step forward and apply for marriage licenses. Surely, there is at least one Rhode Islander who wants to spend the rest of his life in a meaningful relationship with, let’s say, the rhinoceras at the Roger Williams Park Zoo.
Would some people object to such a union?–sure. But look at it like this: How would someone being married to a rhinoceras affect your life or your marriage?
Laws forbidding homosexual marriage aren’t on the books because — until recently — the idea of men marrying men and women marrying women was as ridiculous as someone marrying a rhinoceras or a tree or a ’66 Plymouth station wagon.

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

In order to really settle the issue of whether or not the union of one man to one woman should be the only accepted form of marriage, laws currently defining marriage must be tested to their limits — as dramatically as possible.
The best way to do that would be for those who are hopelessly in love with animals to step forward and apply for marriage licenses. Surely, there is at least one Rhode Islander who wants to spend the rest of his life in a meaningful relationship with, let’s say, the rhinoceras at the Roger Williams Park Zoo.
Would some people object to such a union?–sure. But look at it like this: How would someone being married to a rhinoceras affect your life or your marriage?
Laws forbidding homosexual marriage aren’t on the books because — until recently — the idea of men marrying men and women marrying women was as ridiculous as someone marrying a rhinoceras or a tree or a ’66 Plymouth station wagon.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>or a ’66 Plymouth station wagon.
Welllllll, if it had a “slant six” engine that might be tempting.
I recall in my young days that one would sometimes seek out for a date a young women who had the reputation of being a “slant.” 😉

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Rocco,
Thank you for showing off how little you know about history, especially anchient Greece.

rhody
rhody
14 years ago

If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, the animal argument (courtesy Rick Santorum) is the second to last.
Back to the original points: Will either of the gubernatorial candidates try to make an issue of this decision, and is this the end of the apparent mutual non-aggression pact between both sides of the gay marriage debate in the General Assembly?
The pro-gay marriage folks seem to be cautious, waiting til they’re absolutely certain they have the votes. The anti-gay marriage people (Murphy, Montalbano, etc.) are tied up right now trying to jam the casino on us.
And what happens in the House leadership? You know the 1 (Murphy) and 2 (Fox) are going to be on opposite sides when this hits the floor.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Careful, Bobby, lest you show off your own ignorance. If you’ve evidence that the ancient Greeks practiced same-sex marriage, then you better get to a publisher ASAP. If, on the other hand, you’re equating “meaningful relationship” with “marriage,” then you’re making the same reckless mistake that many an SSM advocate has made.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Justin,
Both Rictor Norton and Stephen Murray have already beat me to it.
By the way, for 90% of recorded history, marriage was about property and little else. We still live in a world where close to 30% of all marriages are “arranged.”
This idea that marriage in the civil form is anything more than a contract borders on the silly. Marriage only gets its meaning from religion. Since in this country we are smart enough to separate the two: leave to religion what belongs to religion, leave to the government what is fair.
Because trillions of meaningful relationships are so much more important than a great deal of many marriages, over 50% fail, you’re right: we shouldn’t confuse the two.

Andrew
14 years ago

On a good day, when you try to completely separate “fair” from religion you get Khrushchev’s Soviet Union. On a bad day, you get the Khmer Rouge.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Bobby,
Either you’re misreading or Norton and Murray are misstating. To my (not inconsiderable) reading, all such claims about various arrangements throughout history are either naked propaganda, presumptuous rewriting, or (at best) unreasonable extrapolation. I really wish (also for the “90%” assertion) you would offer some evidence with your declarations. I truly would like to delve into these issues with you, but your comments read as if they’re regurgitations of rank advocacy documents.
As for the non-historical parts of your comment: nobody has said that marriage is (in civil terms) anything other than a contract. The question — one that the people of this representative democracy ought to decide for themselves — is: What does the particular contract of marriage portend? Your rhetoric appears to me (apart from being uber alles a liberal annunciation on behalf of homosexuals) to tend toward a complete abolition of civil recognition of marriage.

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

Bobby, you disappointed me by not being the first leftwing blog commenter in history, (‘anchient’ or otherwise), not to resort to insults in place of argument.
I’m being serious about who or what people should be allowed to marry.
If men can marry men, and women marry women, why should a man or woman not be allowed to marry a rhinoceras or a ’66 Plymouth station wagon?

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Justin, The 90% deal is easy. We have so many years of recorded history. WE have so many years of “romantic marriage”. The rest leaves 90%. In fact, every time I go to recalculate, turns out to be less. Sorry, but science again betrays you. If we can say that two people buried in a tomb with “supplies” for eternity with relics from their lives together are married then who does it change when two people of the same sex are found in the same condition? It should also be noted that a Papal succession (Pope Paul II to Pope Sixtus IV) was influenced by a “gay covenant”. If 10% of all people are homosexual now, then 10% of all people, or more in some cultures, were homosexual in 3400 B.C. or whenever. A fraction of those folks I’m sure wanted the same rights as anybody else. By luck of the draw, some of them would be born king or tribal chieftain or whatever and could use their “divine right” to bend the rules. Who’s going to say “no” to the “king”?? Your last question is most interesting. We seem to have been very able to clearly define what it does not portend by how we set up the rules. For instance, procreation of children cannot be involved since women beyond child bearing age are allowed to marry. It cannot be a forever thing because we have somehow made cashing in a Keno ticket more of a hassle. It is not totally religous because a justice of the peace can preside. However, in all that time, either gay or straight, and two women have had the sad misfortune of being my wife (I sound like one of those people in Time milestones), we do not seem to be very… Read more »

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Bobby, With apologies should this sound mean-spirited, I have to say that I don’t think it worth our discussing the historical case, because your bibliography appears to redline on the kook scale. But on points of principle: … procreation of children cannot be involved since women beyond child bearing age are allowed to marry. You do realize that you don’t even have to invoke the ire of senior citizens on this one, don’t you? You might as well argue that marriage isn’t about procreation because there’s no mention nor promise of children in the marital agreement, as far as the government is concerned. But the point remains that marriage is understood to be a sexual relationship between a man and a woman, and procreation is the most profound effect thereof. Civil marriage offers other benefits to society (e.g., individuals’ agreement to offer mutual care), but even menopausal marriages fortify the ideal and give substance to the cross-gender contract. It cannot be a forever thing because we have somehow made cashing in a Keno ticket more of a hassle. I don’t think you read my years of writing on this topic on Dust in the Light (which is absolutely fine), but I’ve said again and again that SSM advocates would dull a substantial thrust of their opposition were they to tie stricter divorce laws to their cause. I know it’s astonishing, but it appears that many of those who support same-sex marriage simply aren’t interested in fortifying the institution as a purposeful tool to cement relationships. Imagine that. … two women have had the sad misfortune of being my wife… An observation I’ve made before: having been divorced seems to increase the likelihood that a person will support SSM. Why is that? It seems to me, at any rate, that if… Read more »

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Rocco,
First of all, on behalf of most enlightened people, I resent your suggestion that homosexuality is the equivalent of bestiality. The ’66 Plymouth will have to fend for itself.
The Rhinosceros or hamster or toad or whale cannot legally enter into a contract. (I think there’s actual case law on this but what else might pop up while I’m looking keeps me from searching for it.) Therefore, your question has already been rendered moot. No human, no contract, no marriage.
Justin,
Your first point tells us you’ve never been married. That’s all right. Have you seen the surveys on the sex lives of married heterosexual partners?
I think we have a point of agreement on something. We have made it way too easy to get divorced. I understand during the old arrange marriages days, or even the Eisenhower domestic abuse is just fine days, but today we need a much more stricter standard. I believe the failure rate of marriage is so high because many of them never should have happened in the first place. (For the record, both exes married me before I found sobriety. They also did the asking in both cases, I never have. In short, as I’m sure they’ve told friends since, just what in the devil were they thinking?)
Your last point presents a trap. By your logic, staying in a god awful, or even abusive relationship, makes you more of an expert on who should get married that someone who has the sense to stop being hurt. That one won’t get you far with the female folks.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Your first point tells us you’ve never been married.

Wrong. If my first point should tell you anything about my personal life, it is that I’ve never been divorced, which blends with:

Have you seen the surveys on the sex lives of married heterosexual partners?

Yes. There are competing analyses, but my recollection is that those with the more persuasive methodology suggest that married couples — on the whole — have more satisfying sex.

I believe the failure rate of marriage is so high because many of them never should have happened in the first place.

It’s a cyclic problem. One of the reasons that marriages happen when they shouldn’t is that people know that they can back out so easily. Once begun, simple knowledge of the ease of breaking the vows has got to have an effect on behavior in ways explicit and subtle that influence the longevity of the marriage.

Your last point presents a trap. By your logic, staying in a god awful, or even abusive relationship, makes you more of an expert on who should get married that someone who has the sense to stop being hurt.

Not really. Those in unhappy marriages don’t offer particularly reliable feedback on “what marriage is about” either. Of course, I was only making an observation, here. Unless we believe that marriage, as an institution, is inconsequential (in which case, the government has no reason to recognize it), then the apparent correlation between those who’ve nullified their own marriages and support for same-sex marriage ought to raise a red flag.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

Bobby –
The whole homosexual marriage effort is part of an agenda to “normalize” – through social pretense – homosexuality.
Biology 101 tells us that it is abnormal. That it occurs with a certain statistical regularity doesn’t “normalize” it – many abnormalities occur with statistical regularity.
This abnormality doesn’t impact intelligence. It doesn’t make such individuals “bad” or “evil.” It doesn’t mean that they can’t be “nice people.”
But homosexuality is not, and never can be, “normal.”
Perhaps there is a genetic element; or perhaps something occurs in the womb during gestation – which means that someday there may be means to prevent it or treat it.
In the meantime, while homosexuals deserve our sympathy and respect, it doesn’t mean that we should warp the ages-old concept of marriage in order to promote a social pretense “normalizing” what is inherently abnormal.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Tom,
Let me guess: Homosexuals can be cured? Homosexuality is as normal as blue eyes, just a lot less frequent.
It is time, like most members of the flat earth society, that you caught up with science.
Justin,
Those surveys you refer to come straight from the kooks on the right. I really don’t know if you want to identify with them.
You want red flags? Someone argues that the government need to be less involved in the lives of individuals. Then, that same person argues that the government needs to make choices for individuals regarding their own bodies, what they choose to see, and what sexual orientation they engage in. There’s your red flag.
Why spend so much time and effort caring about what two people you’ll never meet do that will never affect you?

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>Let me guess: Homosexuals can be cured? Homosexuality is as normal as blue eyes, just a lot less frequent. It is time, like most members of the flat earth society, that you caught up with science.
Sorry Bobby, but your assertion that “homosexuality is as normal as blue eyes” doesn’t pass a “Biology 101” test.
I hate to get a bit crude here, but for your assertion to be true then, e.g., male homosexuals would have to have ovaries up their rectal canal.
And yes, perhaps someday there will be treatment or “cure” for homosexuality, so that the “orientation” matches the plumbing.

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

Bobby, again you have disappointed me–this time by not being the first leftwing blog commenter not to resort to smug condescension in place of rational argument. I am not as “enlightened” as you and your fellow Foucalt-worshiping illuminati, but I do recognize a simple shuck ‘n’ jive move when I see one. For instance, you accuse me of equating homosexuality with bestiality. (Rocco is a homophobe!! Rocco is a homophobe!!) I made no such equation. What I did do, was take a shop-worn, postmodern ploy to the extreme in order to show how silly it is. The most elemental definition of “marriage” in the post-medieval, pre-postmodern Western world is ‘a declared, long-term committment of one man to one woman in order to produce, provide for and supervise children until they too, in turn, are capable of doing the same.’ This basic concept attached to the word ‘marriage’ (and vice versa) has been clear–and accepted — for centuries. Until recently in the West, there was no uncertainty as to what the word ‘marriage’ meant. (Bobby, if you reply to this comment, please refrain from tossing the “slavery was once accepted, blah,blah,blah” red herring into your reply–the imposition of slavery on a man does not equal the denial of a traditional, legal marriage to an otherwise free, prosperous homosexual couple.) And yes, though older, heterosexual couples incapable of having children do get married,the vast majority of heterosexual couples who marry have children. And most of those older people have had children in earlier marriages. Now, along come people (homosexuals) who cannot (for obvious reasons) be married based on the traditional, centuries-old definition of ‘marriage.’ What to do? (since things cannot be what they are not.) Answer? Perform a cheap trick: Arbitrarily change the definition of the thing or the word–then leave it… Read more »

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Rocco, Sorry, no sale. Marriage outdates Christianity. The whole one on one thing has not been the norm until the last 2000 years. We’ve been around a lot longer than that unless you’re a Creationist too. You lie down with dogs, you get fleas. Hang out with the ministers of intolerance and you will be indentified as such. Preach racism, be identifed as a racist. Equate beastiality and homosexuality, again, be it known that you are a homophobe and therefore, by definition, not enlightened. Don’t you know your history? Since day 1, the world continues to move towards social Liberalism. Soon, it will be everywhere. The other thing you can count on is science destroying precepts of religion. Happens every couple of hundread years or so. Marriage as meant so many different things throughout the ages, describing any marriage as normal is almost impossible. Lastly, as usual, your example fails because even if you change “what a contract is” you still have the problem of the rhino affirming that he or she is part of the bond. Nice try though. You must be a Santorum supporter. Lastly, terrorist and freedom fighter or all a matter of perspective. If you were born in West Jerusalem ( the Brits invented “Palestine” much like they invented “Iraq” so I reject those terms) your perspective, and therefore interpretation of those words would be different. Hence, we need a new word to describe the Islamo-Facists. This word should be clear across all interpretations that any attempt to force religous view on any people through any violent means is beyond reprehensible. Even the young child born in West Jeruslaem would understand that even on behalf of the prophet, some actions are not tolerable. Tom W, I see where you’re coming from now. All sex is… Read more »

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Why spend so much time and effort caring about what two people you’ll never meet do that will never affect you?

Because it does affect me: inasmuch as marriage has served a critical purpose (which, I would argue, is increasing the odds that children will be raised in stable homes with those who begat them), and inasmuch as you yourself are proving that the idea of same-sex marriage subverts that purpose.
As with most progressives, you blend various basic principles in an inappropriate way. To wit, you assert (yet again) that history moves relentlessly toward social liberalism (which requires a selectively cursory understanding of history, if you ask me), and yet you rely upon thousand-year-old precedent vis-a-vis polygamy. Why isn’t it that the one-man–one-woman model isn’t an evolved, more enlightened version of marriage?
Marriage has meant various things in its incidentals throughout history, and it has been leveraged for various uses, but it has always been between men and women. It takes a delusional force of will to deny that and to ignore the plain reason — the one thing that only one man and one woman can accomplish.

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

Bobby,
Like any social agenda, “social liberalism” taken to the extreme, can destroy cultures and civilizations from within. Look how its extreme implementation has destroyed the Netherlands and is close to causing the social collapse of England and France. (But hey, any culture is better than traditional Western European culture; the wellspring of “oppression,” so that collapse is actually a good thing.)
You say that a rhinoceras cannot “agree” to want to marry a human? I’ll fix that: I will simply find some social scientists who sympathize with rhino-human marriage to perform a “study” that shows that a rhino means “I do” when, upon approach by a particular human, it lifts its leg and farts twice.
Yes, Bobby.–one on one M to F marriage has “only” been the social norm for 2000 years. And it has been the West’s anchor and has served it well.

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

One more thing: It is not “equality” that the gay marriage movement seeks, it is “sameness.”

George
George
14 years ago

“which, I would argue, is increasing the odds that children will be raised in stable homes with those who begat them”
In which you would be wrong. Studies done by the Psychiatric Assosiation of American say that gay families have no effect on their kids mentally and sociological studies have shown that they have no effect on the family structure.
Essentially, your arguments boil down to , well straight families do such a great job when data would show that gay families do a great job.
You neighbors to the north in MA have found that the world won’t end if you allow such things to happen. Civilization will continue. No one is asking for the church to marry these people, if they don’t want to, that is their perogative under the 1st Amendment. However, if you are going to give married persons economic rights and other rights via the government, the same must be applied for homosexual couples.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>be it known that you are a homophobe and therefore, by definition, not enlightened.
Well, we can all sleep better at night, knowing that Bobby is the arbiter of what does (or does not) constitute “enlightenment.”
>> Don’t you know your history? Since day 1, the world continues to move towards social Liberalism. Soon, it will be everywhere.
Yeah, and Marx said the same thing about Communism.
>>I see where you’re coming from now. All sex is about procreation. In that 1871 Biology 101 textbook you’re reading from . . . does it mention if the female orgasm exists or not?
Bobby –
Nice try at diverting from the core issue, but no go. Reproduction is a fundamental and universal biological imperative (as even your buddy Darwin would agree), and other than some asexual species, this involves “opposite sexes.” Birds do it . Bees do it. Humans do it.
For a member of a particular species to be “oriented” toward the same gender is inherently abnormal. That such an abnormality occurs with a certain statistical regularity does not alter this (anymore than Autism or Down’s Syndrome occuring with a certain statistical regularity makes individuals afflicted with those conditions “normal”).
>>The Rhinosceros or hamster or toad or whale cannot legally enter into a contract. (I think there’s actual case law on this but what else might pop up while I’m looking keeps me from searching for it.)
Bobby –
Your friends at PETA may beg to differ with you.

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

After reading all these comments, I’ve yet to hear a VALID reason why same-sex marriage threatens my heterosexual marriage. It just all seems a lot of Chicken Littleism to me.
Denying gays the right to marry like the rest of us can just seems so Taliban to me. We supposedly send American troops to fight against against this kind of thing in other countries, while we promote it at home.
If anybody’s seen “Mr. Conservative” on HBO recently, Barry Goldwater had it right (no pun intended) about religious fundamentalism and homophobia.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Justin,
The moment you start about “raising kids in stable environments”, you lose all credibility. There is no study that anyone outside the fringe Christian Right takes seriously that even hints at this as a possible conclusion.
One person – one person marriage is the evolved model. One man – one woman is just a step along the way.
Tom W,
Where in god’s name do you get your science from? Only the Manhattan Institute or Focus on the Family could intentionally be that wrong.
However, I do have to agree with your last point about PETA.
Rocco,
Again, that has been the norm for 2000 years. It has also been used to ok lots of things that I hope you would not support.
Lastly, we get back to basic freedoms again. How do any you feel you have the right to deny the rights of others based on sexual orientation?
Please don’t tell me it is because the nice man in the robe, who may or may not have been with a couple of kids only moments ago, told you so before he changed water into wine. (As a person devoted to St. Thomas Aquinas, I fully believe in the power of the Eucharist. I do not believe in the power of a priesthood that has lost moral authority on just about all issues.)

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>Where in god’s name do you get your science from? Only the Manhattan Institute or Focus on the Family could intentionally be that wrong. Bobby, Since you didn’t provide any credible rebuttable of my “science” – only your opinion that it is “wrong” – there is nothing to respond to. >>Lastly, we get back to basic freedoms again. How do any you feel you have the right to deny the rights of others based on sexual orientation? Since the state requires persons to get a “license” to marry, then by definition it is not a “right” – for one does not need a license to exercise a right. (Though you lefties have, at least for now, imposed this fiction in the realm of the right to keep and bear arms.) >>After reading all these comments, I’ve yet to hear a VALID reason why same-sex marriage threatens my heterosexual marriage. Rhody: First, it not our obligation to provide a “valid reason” for opposition to homosexual marriage. It is up to the proponents of homosexual marriage to provide valid reasons why, in an inherently “either / or” situation, their recent desire for homosexual marriage should overturn thousands of years of Western cultural norms. Since homosexuals are unfettered in their ability to have relationships with each other, and cohabit if they wish, then this “movement” for homosexual marriage is about something else. The “property rights” / visitation / inheritance “issue” is also a red herring, as the “gay rights” movement wants not just civil unions, but homosexual marriage. What it is about then is the desire by the “gay rights” advocates to “normalize” homosexuality (hence the homosexual imagery being presented to second graders in Massachusetts). As discussed above, homosexuality is inherently abnormal. The homosexual marriage movement is just part of an effort to… Read more »

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

Tom, I grew up in the Judeo-Christian heritage (and have 13 years of Catholic education to prove it – you won’t hear me bad-mouthing it, either). If the Catholic church doesn’t want to recognize gay marriage, it doesn’t have to.
Many of us still believe in a kind and merciful God, not the ideological enforcement arm certain political and social forces try to make of the supreme being. I compare it to why I fly an American flag in front of my home – I still believe in God and country, and am not going to let Talibanesque political and religious leaders define what they mean (sorry, I’m not a flag-burner).
I’m not telling you what Judeo-Christian values you have to live by. And I’m equally entitled not to have to live by YOUR definition of Western values.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>I’m not telling you what Judeo-Christian values you have to live by. And I’m equally entitled not to have to live by YOUR definition of Western values.
Fair enough. And “nor I yours.”
The dispute lies in the imposition of “your” values via judicial fiat.
If the question were put to a vote via referenda, and “my” side lost, so be it. Democracy is about resolving such fundamental differences, with the minority willing to accept the majority’s verdict – simply because the minority had its opportunity in a fair process AND has the continued opportunity to PERSUADE so that it’s views become the majority.
But the homosexual lobby wants not to persuade, but to impose its will on the rest of us.
Hence the lawsuit (instead of a ballot initiative) in Massachusetts (gee, I wonder why they chose that State)?
Ditto the ACLU’s continued persecution of the Boy Scouts (this after losing at the U.S. Supreme Court) – a private organization – merely because it chooses not to have openly homosexual scout leaders.
Ditto the indoctrination in public schools – not only without parents’ permission, but in spite of their objections – including the aforementioned homosexual imagery (kissing men) placed in SECOND GRADE materials (again, in Massachusetts).
Funny tactics from those who preach “tolerance” and “diversity.”
Most of us, when it comes to homosexuals, adhere to “live and let live.”
The problem is, this isn’t good enough for the homosexual lobby.

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Tom,
Please read either of the following:
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html
http://www.psychminded.co.uk/news/news2003/march03/Psychiatrist%20who%20helped%20declassify%20homosexuality%20as%20mental%20illness%20dies.htm
Even our friends at the Pentagon disagree with you:
http://www.pageoneq.com/news/2006/pentagon_062806.html
By the way, you need judicial fiat when the majority (slavery, female enfranchisement, et cetera) refuses to allow the minority to enjoy rights protected under the Constitution. In short, your argument has lost every time before and this time shall be no different. It just takes time.

Andrew
14 years ago

Bobby,
The examples of slavery and women’s suffrage make exactly the opposite point that you are trying to make. Women were given the right to vote and slavery was outlawed through the formal process of amending the constitution, not through judical degree.

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

Bobby – Red herrings. The UC Davis site – when one goes to the home page – shows the “agenda” of that analysis. One of your recommended sites said that the religious animosity toward homosexuality began around the 12th century. It’s implication was that homosexuality was “tolerated” before then – which is a far far cry from it being embraced and condoned e.g, officially reecognized and sanction homosexual marriage. And in the last 8-900 years it certainly hasn’t been condoned – so is it your position that we’re supposed to assume that (alleged) social morays from before then are superior and we should adopt them. How many instances in history are there of a society condoning homosexual marriage???? And though it’s not my field, that the APA states something may (or may not) be credible. “Professional” organizations often reflect the political agenda of a dominant group of “officials” rather than sound policy. The ABA takes positions all the time that are more politically driven than legally compelling. In a 180 degree reversal, the AFL-CIO is promoting illegal immigration, even though the increased supply of cheap labor hurts “working families” – because the AFL-CIO sees unsophisticated immigrants as prime targets for organizing campaigns. In any case, that homosexuality is not classified as a “mental disorder” doesn’t alter the debate. I don’t believe that anyone on this blog has made such an assertion – we all know homosexuals who function quite well in society and in their day-to-day lives. And it certainly doesn’t impact intelligence. But that it is not classified as a “mental disorder” does not mean that it is normal. There is probably a genetic and/or gestational explanation for the condition. I’m sorry to have to get a little crude again – but it seems necessary to drive home the… Read more »

Justin Katz
14 years ago

George,

In which you would be wrong. Studies done by the Psychiatric Assosiation of American say that gay families have no effect on their kids mentally and sociological studies have shown that they have no effect on the family structure.

Firstly, I should say that I think you’re misreading me. I listed two distinct goals for marriage:

  1. increasing the odds that children will be raised in stable homes
  2. with those who begat them

I didn’t claim that 2 directly affected 1 (although of course I think the two should be present). Secondly, I’d have to read the specific studies that you note, but I’ve found such studies to be rife with problems — particularly in their methodologies and in their thresholds for what constitutes an “effect.”

You neighbors to the north in MA have found that the world won’t end if you allow such things to happen.

Nobody’s ever said that the effects would be immediate. We’re talking at least decades, here.

No one is asking for the church to marry these people, if they don’t want to, that is their perogative under the 1st Amendment.

Yeah, for now. A few years after the total enactment of same-sex marriage, I’ve little doubt that the refrain will become: “No one is forcing the church to offer civil marriage certificates.” Look at the example that our “neighbors to the north” provided with the church and adoption.

if you are going to give married persons economic rights and other rights via the government, the same must be applied for homosexual couples.

That’s only true if we assume that there is no significant difference between the two types of couples, and that assumption is ridiculous on its face.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Rhody,

I’ve yet to hear a VALID reason why same-sex marriage threatens my heterosexual marriage.

Notwithstanding your emphasized weazle word (“VALID”), I’m not sure why you missed my point that it is the institution of marriage (and its social benefits), not a marriage in particular, that is threatened.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Bobby,

The moment you start about “raising kids in stable environments”, you lose all credibility.

Sorry. I don’t accept you as the arbiter of credibility.

There is no study that anyone outside the fringe Christian Right takes seriously that even hints at this as a possible conclusion.

What conclusion? That children ought to be raised in stable environments? That marriage helps to encourage stable households? (If no on the latter, then why bother recognizing it civily at all?)

One person – one person marriage is the evolved model. One man – one woman is just a step along the way.

Why one and one? What’s the difference, if it’s all about love and orientation? Or are you the arbiter of evolution, as well?

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

George said, “In which you would be wrong. Studies done by the Psychiatric Assosiation of American say that gay families have no effect on their kids mentally and sociological studies have shown that they have no effect on the family structure.
More nonsense from a group of politicized leftwing “scientists.” (This is the same crew that swore on the validity of “repressed memory “therapy” — a “therapy” that destroyed the lives of many innocent people.)
Gay adoption is a recent phenomenem. There isn’t enough long term data available to make such a judgment. I will predict that in 15-20 there might be enough data for non-politicized scientists to make an untainted assessment of the subject.
Two years ago, I worked for two gay “married” men who had adopted a 2 year-old male child. For four months, I spent approximately 6 days per week, 10-12 hours per day at their house. If what I saw, heard and experienced is any indication of what future scientific studies find in terms of how children fare when raised by a pair of gay males, it ain’t gonna be pretty. My guess is that there will be a disproportionately high incidence of severe emotional problems, drug abuse and suicide among children raised by two “married” homosexual males.
Jim McGreevey said (in his Oprah interview) that one of the reasons he went off the deep end was because he was gay and his parents weren’t, so they couldn’t understand him.
Am I the only one who catches the flip side of that coin?

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Tom W, If we’re going to be crude, let’s be crude together. While I will not use your words describing two males, I will describe two females engaged with each other as beautiful. In fact, there are many sexual acts that occur between men and women that have nothing to do with procreation that are both exciting and enjoyable. This is not a missionary position society. I am so sorry that you hate science so much. I could post another objective 10 links and you would complain about their agenda because it does not fit yours. Justin and Rocco, Your premises are bad. What is more stable: loving homosexual household or abusive heterosexual household? Let me state this again: the state recognizes marriage for its contract value. No more, no less. Please try and see behind your pink shaded Judeo-Christian glasses. You might find an entire world of people doing just fine however their relationships are arranged. Perhaps the next step, as has happened in the past, will be more than one on one. Right now, we are equipped to handle one on one (imagine a 3-way divorce). The last point is always the same: you have no right to deny others from engaging in a state controlled process based on sexual orientation. No where is the institution threatened because two women fall in love and we sanctify it. There can only two reasons for thinking that it is: a.) immaturity; b.) sexism, i.e. the church. Rocco, you especially should be ashamed. You work for one family, while there are hundreds of studies going the other way, but you know all. I am not surprised that someone this homophobic would use the exact same arguments used at Bob Jones University to discourage interracial relations. Andrew, How soon you forget… Read more »

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Why is it, Bobby, that you cannot address arguments put forward, rather than simplistic summaries of the arguments that you think your opponents are making? If you misunderstand, ask for clarification on phrases that you find misleading. Or do you presume that you needn’t listen to particulars because you peer right into our souls and see the thoughts that truly lie there? One more try, and then I’m concluding that your condescention is really just a mechanism to disguise your lack of desire to understand: Society’s overriding purpose for investing in marriage as an institution is to increase the likelihood that children will be raised in stable families headed by those who begat them. Any household can be “stable,” but only male/female households can beget children. More specifically, even taking into account, e.g., adoption, only male/female households can beget/bring in children without its being the result of a deliberate process. We want the ideas of marriage and of child-rearing families to be intrinsically linked for that very reason. Same-sex marriage, as you yourself are proving, is corrosive of that link. If I may respond to points directed at others: I could post another objective 10 links and you would complain about their agenda because it does not fit yours. Is this a joke? You have yet to link to a single bit of objective science. You have linked to: A history of psychiatrists’ handling of homosexuality, compiled by a gay activist. An obituary-type article about the psychiatrist “credited with convincing his profession to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental illness,” which proves (if anything) that the decision was more a matter of activism than of science. News of the military’s correction of an irrelevant and overlooked classification. What are you trying to prove? Elsewhere: How soon you forget history. Long… Read more »

Rhody
Rhody
14 years ago

“Seems to me that, without at the very least a change of strategy, the SSM movement will ensure that the proverbial marriage of Steven and Bob will have the very real effect on me of dragging our representative democracy toward judicial oligarchy (i.e., tyranny).”
To say this is overdramatic would be a tad understated.
As for the institution of marriage, violence, substance abuse and infidelity are much bigger dangers to it than the desire of Adam and Steve to participate, mmmkay? Or as Bill Maher once said, “Gays should have to suffer like the rest of us.”

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Justin,
1.) Your point about raising kids holds absolutely no weight yet you continue to state it as if it is truth. It also insults all the single moms out there.
2.) No one cares about begetting. If begetting mattered, there would be a fertility test along with the drug test.
3.) Since about 1910 or so, marriage and child rearing became very unlinked and remain so. Perhaps, your first step since you obviously believe so strongly as to ask legislators to reestablish the linkage and see if that passes.
4.) Same sex is not corrosive of anything. Again, had some guy in a robe on some Sunday not told you to believe that way, you wouldn’t. How can people, who live together anyway, “corrode” anything? Your language is way over the top here.
I could post another 50 links saying what modern science knows to be true and you would reject them. You are no different than the folks who went after Galileo.
When we passed the slavery Amendments, it is my belief that we protected all Americans from being discriminated against by the state based on matters of birth. Sexual orientation is matter of genetics and therefore a matter of birth. I am only asking the courts to enforce laws already on the books. Your point about tyranny would be true if the laws were not already there.
As science evolves, so must our laws. Madison told us it was a living breathing document.
P.S. Did you steal this George/multi-personalitied character’s lunch money at some point back in school? It’s the only way I can understand “his” behavior.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

You continue not to understand my actual argument, Bobby, so I’m not sure what more to say. Moreover, this is beyond the pale:

… had some guy in a robe on some Sunday not told you to believe that way, you wouldn’t.

I have spent years researching, thinking, and writing about this issue. Over that time, I’ve pieced together thousands upon thousands of words, some of them for national publications. I’ve devoted hours actually reading and trying to comprehend the arguments of those with whom I disagree so that I can try to get all concerned toward an understanding of the fundamental differences, and most of those with whom I’ve disagreed have thought me fair-minded.
For you to casually dismiss all of that out of hand because you lack the intelligence or the imagination or the empathy to understand how others can disagree with you and not be ignorant or wicked persuades me that you are not worth responding to, and I will do so no longer.

Rocco DiPippo
14 years ago

Bobby said, “Rocco, you especially should be ashamed. You work for one family, while there are hundreds of studies going the other way, but you know all. I am not surprised that someone this homophobic would use the exact same arguments used at Bob Jones University to discourage interracial relations.” Hundreds of studies? Show me. Bobby, I seriously resent your mindless habit of calling me homophobic. You don’t know a damn thing about me. You’re an uninspired, leftwing parrot who counters arguments not by refuting them with facts, point by point, but by chucking out insults when you’ve run out of decent arguments. I normally don’t even engage the likes of boring clowns like you and here’s why: Every time I make the mistake of torturing myself by engaging a leftist in “debate” it goes like this: Osama bin Laden is a terrorist. . . Typical leftist response: White, Christian, Timothy McVeigh was just as much of a threat!!! Islamism is the gravest threat the West currently faces . . . Typical leftist response: Christian fundamentalists are as much of a threat, George W. Bush is a greater threat and also the world’s biggest terrorist! Free market capitalism . . . Typical leftist response: Down with WalMart!! Halliburton!! Pepsi!! Coke!! McDonalds!!!(or any other manifestation of positive, successful American capitalist enterprise) I’m Opposed to gay adoption because I think it puts children at risk for enormous emotional and developmental damage. Typical Leftist response: You’re a homophobe, you’re a homophobe! You’re a homophobe!!! It’s time for blacks to take responsibility for their predicament by shucking off the chains their leftwing pappys have enslaved them in. Typical leftist response: You’re a Racist! You’re a hatemonger! You’re a racist! You’re a hatemonger! Pulling a late term fetus’s head outside its mother’s womb, plunging a… Read more »

rhody
rhody
14 years ago

Time out: Is there any particular reason why we must personalize all our debates here? (I admit I defend myself vigorously when attacked, but don’t feel the need to assault anyone myself). Goes for both sides.
Sometimes, I’m glad none of you know who I am (and vice versa).

Bobby Oliveira
Bobby Oliveira
14 years ago

Dear Justin and Rocco,
We’re back to lipstick on a pig.
If you say certain things, you must be certain things.
By the Rocco, when did I become “a typical leftist”? Unlike you, most of my positions are pretty well known like my support for the death penalty, my original support for the war in Iraq and my support for the right to bear arms.
Justin, you parade around as if you have invented the wheel. Instead, you repeat the same tired nonsense that has been used against many different minorities and women for different purposes.
Come up with something not 300 years old and perhaps you will be rewarded.
Lastly Rocco, don’t think your chess rating is anywhere close to mine. Then again, I know something about winning elections too.
As far as any of your cracks regarding my intelligence, I suggest before making them you find out a little bit regarding my scholastic record and the schools that accepted me.
You can go back to your hatred of women and minorities now.
Lastly, the process you describe Rocco is not in the Physician’s Desk Reference nor is it recognized by the AMA. Wait a minute, I forgot who I was talking to. You don’t recognize the AMA as an authority.

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