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Gay Marriage Issue

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#21 Mr.Calgary


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Posted 26 January 2005 - 09:38 PM

Well....if there's no objection I can share my assortment of perspectives here.

(as an aside, I'm an athiest)

My apologies for loading things up here, I've got four links and three quote segements)

Some will certainly have a Canadian politics angles to them.

This first link is probably, as the columnist himself describes "the best summary I have yet read."





Rex Murphy from Saturday's Globe and Mail


There's a growing notion that any exercise of the notwithstanding clause of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is heretical. But the notwithstanding clause is part and parcel of the Charter, and its inclusion is one of the key reasons why there is a Charter of Rights and Freedoms to begin with.

The notwithstanding clause was part of the ingenious midwifery of Roy Romanow, Roy McMurtry and Jean Chretien, whose celebrated "kitchen meeting" during the critical talks of November, 1981, is part of the constitutional folklore of this country. It was the compromise that saved the negotiations and, thereby, the Charter itself. There is surely nothing heretical about a compromise linked to any example of Canadian achievement.

We are such an energetically temperate, middle-of-the-road nation that, in fact, some people think compromise is the Canadian achievement. The not with-standing clause is not the antimatter of the Charter that its critics claim; it is, in fact, its guardian and progenitor.

When I read of Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic's argument to the Prime Minister that the notwithstanding clause should be invoked to stay the enactment of same-sex marriages, I recognized his position as being within that circle of moderation and calm that is almost ritualistically held out as a model of the Canadian way After all, an urging to use the not-withstanding clause to allow for a period of study and to gauge the social impact of same sex in the other jurisdictions that have enacted it, is neither radical nor incendiary.

Just as the clause itself is a creature of compromise, the call by the cardinal to exercise it beckons to the same spirit I'm glad Cardinal Ambrozic has intervened in this debate, for I fear same-sex marriage was becoming an issue resolved by means other than debate.

I am not convinced that those who harbour serious questions about the merits of same-sex unions have either been as forthcoming as they might wish with their objections or that till now at least — those objections were receiving serious consideration.

We're in an age when, on social issues, some people feel a constraint, by no means healthy in a democracy, when ranging themselves against what looks to be "advanced" or "progressive" positions. Political correctness is sometimes a subtle censor, and sometimes a cudgel.

The Liberal Party has been a buzz of mixed signals since the same-sex issue arose. The party has sought to isolate itself from whatever political costs are involved by sheltering behind court decisions, or seeking — as in its reference to the Supreme Court — court guidance in advance of legislation.

Both under Mr. Chretien and Paul Martin, the Liberal Party has wanted the gain of being seen as "progressive" on this issue, without bearing the costs that unequivocal, aggressive leadership on the issue would entail. And on the legislation the Liberals propose bringing to Parliament soon, the party is again a mixed basket. Mr. Martin insists that his cabinet support same sex but will allow the back bench to vote its conscience.

Indeed, the only political party that can justly claim to be absolutely unqualified in its position is the NDP.  The NDP knows where it stands on same-sex marriage and says so. I'd admire the NDP's clarity even more if it did not impose a party line on the coming vote in the Commons.

Cardinal Ambrozic's statement this week has the great virtue of clarifying the terrain of a real debate. For those who are seriously religious, same-sex marriage carries a profound moral threat. They see what they describe as the "fundamental concept of the family" being threatened and eroded by this new "right."

They regard the move as an "experiment" fraught with profound, and uncharted consequence. Changing the concept of marriage is not routine law-making. It is not the same as instituting a gun registry or refining the byzantine workings of the equalization formula.

Furthermore, religious leaders are, rightly on this one, less than convinced when the government insists that churches will never be ordered by the state to perform same-sex marriages.

The forces of secularism are now every bit as evangelistic as the forces of religion used to be. They are no strangers to zeal. Churches have every reason to feel that today's assurances will be a feeble shield against tomorrow's new thinking.

If same-sex marriage is a fundamental issue, it deserves a full debate. And the voices and interests of those who view the march toward same-sex marriage as carrying deep and negative consequences have every right to a full and honest hearing of their concerns.

Which is, as I read it, the heart of the cardinal’s plea.

Not to allow it would be ~- what shall we call it? — a democratic deficit of the highest order.

An editorial from Wednesday's National Post

National Post said:

Ever since Canada's courts began yanking the rest of the country toward legalizing same-sex marriage, religious leaders and organizations have expressed concerns that they will ultimately be forced to perform gay wedding ceremonies against their will. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada properly ruled that no such requirements should be foisted on to churches.

And as it prepares to reform the country's marriage laws, the federal government has offered reassurances that the legislation will include provisions explicitly to prevent gay rights activists from forcing traditional clergy to perform ceremonies that violate the core tenets of every major world religion. But precedent in this area does not provide us much comfort: Canadian jurists and bureaucrats often seem all too eager to put other freedoms aside so that they may enshrine the more fashionable cause of gay equality.

In this regard, a case before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal may prove to be the thin edge of the wedge. Deborah Chymyshyn and Tracey Smith are not trying to force an unwilling religious official to marry them. But the lesbian couple is trying to force a religious organization to provide its space for their marriage ceremony. Alleging that their booking of a Knights of Columbus hall in Port Coquitlam was cancelled in 2003 after the men's group found out that it was for their wedding reception, the women are now hoping that the tribunal will find they were the victims of discrimination.

The couple's lawyer has said that the women did not realize it was a Catholic hall when they booked it, which would suggest they were not initially aiming to score political points. But regardless of their original intentions, their case before the tribunal takes the unmistakable position that religious groups must be forced to facilitate gay weddings.

That result would, in and of itself, violate the religious freedoms contained in Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which Ottawa has explicitly committed to protecting. Worse, it would set the province -- and indeed, the entire country -- down a very dangerous path.

For now, the thinking among gay and lesbian activists is likely that even an overtly liberal outfit such as the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal would not go so far as to force churches to actually perform gay marriage ceremonies. A religious hall that is frequently rented out for secular purposes, the facility here at issue, makes for a much easier target. But once it has been determined that religious organizations have no choice but to offer up their physical amenities in the furtherance of gay marriage, it may only be a matter of time before the same standard is applied to their religious approbation.

We would like to think that it will never get to that point. But past cases suggest that gay rights are now taken to trump every other freedom. It was less than five years ago, recall, that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled that printer Scott Brockie had violated the provincial human rights code by refusing on religious grounds to make stationary and letterheads for the Toronto Lesbian and Gay Archives. Mr. Brockie's appeal to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice failed; he was ordered to pay $5,000 in damages to the archives' former president and forbidden to refuse to print similar materials in the future.

The same gay-rights-trump-all approach was taken in 2002, when a Saskatchewan court upheld a human rights ruling that equated the Bible with hate literature. The case emerged when an evangelical Christian placed an ad in a Saskatoon newspaper that cited four scriptural passages denouncing gay and lesbian sex, accompanied by the image of two stick men holding hands with a line running through them.

Those who seek to humble traditional religion in this country in the name of radical identity politics know just what they are doing. Just as the Lesbian and Gay Archives could have chosen almost any other print shop in Toronto, Ms. Chymyshyn and Ms. Smith have their pick of almost any facility in the Greater Vancouver Area. Regardless of how the ruling comes down, in other words, they have plenty of choices; what they are asking is that religious organizations have none.

The right to discriminate is not always a popular freedom to argue for. But it is an absolutely essential one to churches -- which, by their nature, must be able to pick and choose between what they believe to be moral and what they believe to be immoral. For that right to begin to be taken away even before gay marriage has been enshrined in federal law would be an immensely dark omen.

© National Post 2005

This last one was a contribution to a "Daily Digest" I receive.  I will caution that it is not a first-person report.


Kevin Schell

Joe, what follows is an e-mail from my Brother-in-law that I think your readers may find interesting.

Thanks for providing this forum for intelligent debate - something that is sorely lacking in mainstream media!

Kevin Schell
Mississauga - Brampton South

Heard a great call-in program on CBC on Monday. The topic was - will "same-sex' marriage lead to multi-spousal marriages. A very irate woman called in and said that the idea was stupid and absurd that it was time we accepted gay marriage in our enlightened society. She went on to say that the idea that this would lead to multiple spousal marriages was alarmist and short sighted.

The very next caller was a gay rights activist and one of the people who had been fighting for 10 years to allow gay marriages. He frankly announced that the next levels of marriage that they are going to fight to legalize are multi-spousal marriages and other exceptions. He listed:
- two (or more) women and one man
- two (or more) men and one woman
- two (or more) women and two (or more) men
- two women who are not lesbians, but live together.
He was not kidding, he was very serious and sober. He mentioned neither animals nor inanimate objects but that is the general direction that this will probably go next.
Patrick Kilborn


(A question:did anyone hear the CBC talk show to corroborate Kevin's Brother-in-law's report to him?)

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#22 Josh


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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:01 PM

I've said this before but the chances of gay marriage laws passing through are slim to none with the influence of religious leaders. They should focus more on gay civil unions which bypass the shackles of marriage but you still get the tax breaks and official status. No one likes being discriminated against.

#23 Eskaminzim


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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:17 PM

Hello, Mr. Calgary.  I hope you don't mind a relatively new poster putting in her two cents on your topic.

Firstly, since you stated that you were an athiest, I will say I am one as well, and a lesbian to boot.

Reading the articles you posted, I find them a curious mixture of "slippery slope arguments" and rational thought arguments.  

To get the slippery slope stuff out of the way first:  I find it neither logical nor rational to believe that if gays are allowed to marry, then the next thing you know, brothers and sisters will be marrying, Mary will be marrying her pet goat while John marries his potbellied pig, and 40 year old Mister Roberts will be enjoying the conjugal pleasures of seven year old Chrissie.

The reason I find them neither rational nor logical is that, at least here in America, the same arguments were made before interracial marriage was made legal.  And as far as I know, it's still illegal for you to marry an animal, a child, or a first degree blood relative, so for me, that slope just doesn't wash.

Religiously speaking, JudeoChristianity espoused and sanctified father/daughter unions, as well as polygamy and the taking of many lovers and many wives, so the Bible, IMHO, doesn't really have a leg to stand on when it comes to these types of arguments.  And, frankly, I could care less about polygamy.  If all the parties are adults and consenting, let em marry if they feel like it.  Matters naught to me.

I find slippery slope arguments to be simple fear talking, and based on nothing but fear, and while fear is a powerful persuader, I don't find it logical or rational, or based anywhere in fact.

Now, as for the more rational arguments....

Sometimes people do stupid things which wind up hurting their "cause".  Heterosexuals do them. Homosexuals aren't in any way exempt from the process.

I think that renting out a Knights of Columbus hall for a lesbian wedding reception, no matter what secular uses it had in the past, is one of those stupid things.  Unless, of course, it had hosted things that went completely against its religious beliefs before, and then there would be a prescedent.  But even if there were such a thing, it's still rather dumb to rent out a hall of a religious institution while at the same time claiming that churches (of whatever variety) will never be forced to perform gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies.

As a lesbian, I would never expect such a thing, and if I were ever to get married, I'd make sure my reception was held somewhere that had nothing to do with religion.  We must coexist in this world, and while I find the thought of organized religion off-putting in the extreme, I also am smart enough to realize that those of a religious bent may find me just as off-putting.  

My argument for gay marriage may not be considered rational, or logical, but it is mine own, and I'll briefly state it here:  Should two same gendered people wish to share their lives as a family, in order to receive legal protection, they must jump through all sorts of legal hoops that legally married couples do not.  Power of medical and financial attorney being one, jumping through hoops for a birthmother to have her child adopted by her partner so that that partner has legal rights to raise and care for and provide for that child, etc.  

Now, it's true that heterosexual couples who choose not to marry jump through the same hoops, but it is their CHOICE to jump through those hoops rather than receive the blessings of the state under the sanctioned contract of marriage.  Homosexuals have no such choices.  If they wish to become a family, they have only one recourse.

The problem is, even with all the hoops jumped through, all the T's crossed and I's dotted and the rest, there is still no guarantee that what they believe they are protected from and against they actually are.

Personal experience time:  I had two friends in college who were in love, both women.  Their families disowned them when they learned they were gay.  They wanted to form a family, so they underwent a "holy union" in a gay accepting church in Louisiana, got all their legal POA and the like papers signed, joint mortgage, joint savings, wills specifying each other sole heir, etc, and, basically, did everything the lawyers suggested they do so taht they would have protection.

After fifteen years of marriage, one of the partners got up from her couch and went into the kitchen for a can of Mountain Dew.  The other partner heard a crash, and when she went into the kitchen, she found her wife dead of a massive heart attack.  She was only 40.

All those legally sanctioned protections she thought she had?  Well, she didn't.

The family of the dead woman found a sympathetic judge in Louisana and had the will declared null and void, pulling out the old chestnut that Homosexuality is a mental disorder and thus the woman was not in her right mind when she had it drawn up.  The joint accounts and mortgage were annulled, and the living partner found herself without a house, a car, a bank account, a stick of furniture, or any of the possessions they had jointly owned for fifteen years.

The dead woman had expressly stated in her will that she wanted to be cremated and her ashes given to her wife to do with as she wished.  Her family, strict Catholics, trumped this with the revocation of the will, and had her buried.  The living spouse was not allowed to attend the funeral, and further, was not even told where her fifteen year long partner was buried.

She eventually found out and went to visit the grave.  The family was there and chased her away, then filed a restraining order against her.

After fifteen years of love and devotion, she has nothing.  No home, no money, not even a place to visit the woman she loved for so long.

If they had been allowed to legally marry, none of this would have happened.

Sure, she can fight it in the courts, and she is, but this was close to ten years ago now, and she still has nothing.

A simple marriage certificate conferring on each the full rights and responsibilities of all married couples would have nipped this in the bud.  She was prevented legally from getting one, adn this is what happened.

Lest you think this a one of a kind incident, ask around.  Most of my friends know of at least one example in their own lives.


#24 Pallas


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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:29 PM

^^^^ How sad  :down:
I also agree with your post.


I was disagreeing with the statement that the gay unions didn't change socieity. They situations you mentioned also produce a negative effect on society. I'd love to keep people from divorcing, you better believe it. I think divorce is way too prevelant in our society today. People need to grow up. Once you've got kids you have an obligation to them.

Yes but why is a heterosexual marriage the best case scenario?
The obligation to your children, in my opinion, is to provide the best possible environment for which they can grow up in happy, safe and loved which can exist in many settings. Having children shouldn't mean an automatic ball and chain around one's ankle.
Gay unions don't change society in that it becomes a slippery slope leading to polygamy, polyandry, whatever. It is a political instrument to gain the rights and benefits that any heterosexual couple has because not to give it to them is discriminatory against gays and lesbians.
As for marriage being for the purposes of procreation--there are many abandoned children who need a family. There are plenty of live kids who need loving homes (irregardless if they have two fathers or two mothers) nevermind those who are yet unborn. The state's concern is over its citizens; the potential for a child does not count as a citizen.
I do not see the issue as whether we should preserve marriage in any definition or not on so-called "moral" terms. I'm an atheist secular humanist and I believe that humans are entitled to the full opportunities that life has to offer. I personally do not see any real objections to gay marriage(this is not to say that I don't see both sides of the issue; I do and I understand it but from a personal perspective, it seems strange to me. Please do not take this a disregard to the opinions of others). One solution I have heard is to eradicate the term marriage all together and refer to the process simply as a civil union.

Edited by Kalistria, 27 January 2005 - 10:26 PM.

We can do noble acts without ruling the earth and sea--Aristotle

#25 Mr.Calgary


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Posted 26 January 2005 - 11:13 PM

Eskaminzim, on Jan 26 2005, 08:17 PM, said:

Hello, Mr. Calgary.  I hope you don't mind a relatively new poster putting in her two cents on your topic.

Firstly, since you stated that you were an athiest, I will say I am one as well, and a lesbian to boot.

Reading the articles you posted, I find them a curious mixture of "slippery slope arguments" and rational thought arguments. 


Where currency is involved, your two cents is as good as mine.  :duhsmile:

I'm popping in right now (primarily) to say I made a boo-boo on my first post this morning.

I should have said, I've yet to see a convincing, logical argument in favour.

I've not been convinced by any of the rights/equality/discrimination angles or the assurances that it's not a slippery slope.  To be on the safe side,(time wise), less than 15 years ago homosexual activists were assuring us that marriage was not on their agenda, yet here we are.

As to polygamy, it has much, much more acceptance around the world than homosexual marriage.    

Currently, marriage and divorce are both much too easy and casual.  Whether it's heterosexual marriage or same-sex civil unions, I think some type of counselling or preparation should be required.  99% effort getting ready for the ceremony and 1% for the marriage is goofy.

gotta go.....
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#26 QueenTiye


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 12:06 AM

Anastashia, on Jan 26 2005, 09:21 PM, said:

I think the reference to civil unions as secular and marriage as religious in the context of HMs post were set by the peopel who participated in that particular thread. It doesn't really matter what the situations are called, the concensus was about separating the two states in order to allow for the same sex unions in a secular context with regard to rights such as insurance etc.


doesn't do anything to the rest of the society.

I disagree. One possible issue I see is the lack of parental role models of the opposite sex for children of these unions. I think that lack has the potential to make a big change in society.



Yes on all counts.

But there is another reason to support civil unions that has nothing to do with homosexual rights, and everything to do with what it means to be in domestic partnership with someone.  

I think we ought to recognize that for some, marriage means one man, one woman.  PERIOD.  It isn't a negotiable point.  Given a referendum to ask if marriage means something else, some people - are going to be forced by conscience to vote against said referendum, no matter what they think about gay rights.  I'm one such person.  So the real issue is to look at WHY gay people are agitating for this in the first place.

If indeed gay people are trying to get the sanction of religious institutions (and many are) then they are pushing against something that the government has no right to interfere in.  They cannot force the church to recognize gay marriage - and using a backdoor alley of government intervention isn't going to fly.  Religious people who are also homosexual activists bring up their scriptural arguments in their respective religious bodies, and then wage the battle of conscience.  In some cases this may lead to splintering of religious groups, but whatever the case may be - it isn't a government affair.

But there are many who do not care what religions say- they are concerned about the exclusion from specific benefits that are pertinent to them.  Some of these include the right to be named a beneficiary, the right to be considered "next of kin" in medical circumstances, the right to file taxes jointly, state protection in case of divorce.  All of these are legal issues. And - they don't ONLY apply to homosexual couples.

Take, for instance, elderly people who choose to live together for mutual support and companionship who may need the same protections as someone who is married -but that is NOT the nature of their relationship.  Here's the question.  Who knows that?  And why would the government care?  Why would the government care whether or not two people are going to bed together or not?  It isn't any of the government's business.  The government only needs to know that two people have endeavored to live their lives together, and need the protection of that arrangement, the same as any other people.  At the time when marriage was the only conceivable arrangement in which people would live together, the government overseeing of marriage made sense.  But that is not the only situation in which people live together.  There are now more reasons for people to live together, more variation of life choices, more economic pressure for people to partner....  it is time (in my opinion, and after listening to the informed opinions of others here) to separate the two things.  The legal concept of partnership is a government protected practice.  "Marriage" is a religious institution which has special meaning to the practitioners of various religions, with various, and sometimes contradictory rules.  It is not the government's right to legislate that at all.


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#27 TechHarper

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 03:57 AM

Wow!  Talk about a ton of responses.  Rather than address each one individually, I'm going to throw in my (revised) viewpoint while also addressing a couple of specific points.

After considering the idea of "civil unions" from the government and "marriage" from religious institutions, I have to say that that's just fine with me.  As long as all heterosexual couples who are unable/unwilling/don't want to be married in a religious ceremony are considered to be in civil unions as well AND so long as civil unions offer EXACTLY the same rights as marriage, who can complain?  (Okay, yes, some will complain, but not for any rational reason.)  Personally, so long as the 1st amendment is obeyed and rights are distributed equally to all devoted couples, I have no problem with making that distinction.

HM07, there are a number of things I disagree with you on or, as is the case with being against the term "marriage" for homosexuals, I can't comprehend, but I really appreciate your honest and insightful posts.  I must admit, I'd never thought along the lines that you've pointed out and, as I stated above, I think the comprise you mentioned is a perfectly acceptable one.  I would like to comment on one thing, however.  While I understand that you attribute religious values to the word "marriage," I don't believe the majority of the activists do.  They're attempting to gain equal rights, not force their relationships on religious institutions that don't wish to acknowledge them.  For the record, as much as I support gay marriages/civil unions I would never support breaking down the wall between religion and the government.  What's more, I don't believe the Supreme Court would ever allow the Constitution to be usurped in such a way.

Mr. Calgary, I must admit that I completely disagree with you.  The articles you posted are merely claims that the religious community will be forced to acknowledge gay marriage even if their beliefs contradict such a union.  While I fully admit that I don't know most of the details of the Canadian system of government, I DO know that in the U.S. such a thing would be unheard of.  We have safeguards in place and a complicated system to protect us from such an infraction on the Constitution.  It's not impossible that it could happen, but I would literally bet my life that I will never see it at any point in my life (and I've got at least another 60 years to go ;)).  As for the last article, that is a bit distressing.  Nevertheless, I can't help but think that this person is on the fringe.  And as for marrying inanimate objects and animals... umm... I think you may be extrapolating a BIT much from what one man said who seems to be on the fringe of his movement and who mentioned nothing to even indicate that he wants to go in that direction (you'll notice that all of the situations mentioned are between human adults...).

Kalistria, can I just plagiarize your post from now on? :D  I think you pretty much summed up my view on marriage in regard to children.

Edited by TechHarper, 27 January 2005 - 03:59 AM.

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#28 Godeskian


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 04:14 AM

I've attended the marriage of a friends mother to her life partner in Holland a few years back, and to the best of my knowledge, they are still happily married.

So i have not, don't, and doubt I will ever understand why it's such a big deal. Gay Marriage affects no one but the people getting married, and those invited to snarf on wedding cake.

Anyone who claims they are 'affected' by two people they've never met, and most likely never will meet, getting married, is abrogating themselves, for more rights than I'm willing to give them.

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#29 Heropa


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 06:57 AM

Handmaiden07, on Jan 27 2005, 05:06 AM, said:

So the real issue is to look at WHY gay people are agitating for this in the first place.s



.A great deal of perspective is afforded to me as a black man on this issue of gay marriage.  This is another case of "separate but equal" driven by structured fear.
Three of my brothers where in Detriot in the 60's and my parents lived in Alabama and Tennisee, until the 30's or 40's I think. And as far as the honesty in TV news goes, I was on the phone, in Indiana, with my sister in L.A., when the Rodney King riots went by her church The news was lieing by not saying people marched the streets all over the city. The police hadn't quardoned off anybody. Enough background.

Here's the patern of separate but equal treatment.
"Sure you are an American. Pay all your taxes and we will give you all the protection and respect of a Citizen." That's the sales pitch anyway. It only lasts until you try to USE your citizenship.

"I'm sorry. The legal documents you paid to have, and signed, and filed through us that we approved... they don't count you're gay."

Gee, other words can end that sentence and move us back through time. Black, Japanese, Jewish, Irish, Chinese, Italian, Protestant, "In'jun", Colonists.

Having your existence deemed criminal and be a dictate of what people think you do. Having your government act on those assumptions. Getting restricted from what others call rights. Being told your lovelife and emotions don't count. Oppression makes people get fed up for some strange reason.

...I'll keep my mouth shut about how this could become a messy uprising.
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#30 Heropa


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 07:21 AM

And when it comes to what children of same-sex couples get. The fear is that gays will intend  to raise gays and molest them. The majority of child molestations are by a hetero family or friend. Something like 7% are gay molesters. Just  as straight parents can't control the sexual orentation of childern neither can gays. It's just that the childern are not afraid of their parents to declair their homosexuality. One of my webgroups has had an openly gay parent count off three straight kids, one lesbian and one bi-sexual. He's pointed out how he only pressed his kids to put off any announcements of preferance for eighteen.
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#31 sierraleone


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 10:31 AM

Sorry if this has been brought up before, haven't had time to read the whole thread, I'm going off computer soon (though will likely be back later today).

Those who argue that kids are better off (even if you only mean averages) in a family with 2 heterosexual parents (no, I'm not going to bring up single/divorce/etc parents ;) ), aren't taking into consideration there are already kids with 1 or 2 gay parents, for whichever reason. Whether one came out of the closest recently and already had kids, or got raped, or was really bisexual and had a kid, or adopted/has a relative's/friends kid, or used reproductive tecnology to get a child. There are already children in families like these. Shouldn't these children parent's be given all the rights and benefits that straight married parents do?
If only for the protection of their children?
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Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
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#32 Mr.Calgary


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 11:52 AM

TechHarper, on Jan 27 2005, 01:57 AM, said:

Wow!  Talk about a ton of responses.  Rather than address each one individually, I'm going to throw in my (revised) viewpoint while also addressing a couple of specific points.

Mr. Calgary, I must admit that I completely disagree with you.


That's okay (sniff)   :winky:
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#33 Spectacles

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 04:46 PM

Lotsa good posts here.

To recap, it looks like the arguments for gay marriage are:

*gay and lesbian couples who choose to commit themselves to a relationship ought to have the same rights and responsibilities under law as straight couples.

*there are already hundreds of thousands of children being raised by gay/lesbian parents, and civil unions or marriage would safeguard their relationships with their parents and their parents' relationships with them

*gays/lesbians are citizens and, since homosexual love is not a crime, ought to be afforded the same rights and responsibilities under law as other citizens

(Please feel free to add more. I'm summarizing off the top of my head here.)

The arguments against are:

*If gays are allowed to marry, society will decay.

*If gays are allowed to marry, soon people will marry anything.

*Gays are sneaky people who said fifteen years ago that they weren't going to push for marriage. Who's to say what they'll push for fifteen years from now: polygamy? Bestiality? Incest? They want to ruin us!

*Gays will try to force churches to sanctify their relationships.

* Gay marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage because it would cheapen the institution of marriage.

OK. I'm obviously biased (and it seeps through in my summary). But it seems to me that all of the arguments against gay marriage boil down to a lack of understanding that most gay and lesbian people are just like most straight people.
In short, they all seem to be predicated on the notion that gays and lesbians are some sort of pernicious "other" and therefore to legitimize their relationships would endanger society. I confess that I might be unfair here because of my own bias. But it's hard for me to perceive gays and lesbians as a threat of any kind when many of the most decent people (and best parents) I know are gays and lesbians.

So to me, the arguments against appear to based more on fear of the "other," buttressed by extreme examples,  rather than rationality.
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#34 QueenTiye


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 05:19 PM

Your bias completely ignores my post.


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#35 Palisades


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 06:00 PM

Handmaiden07, on Jan 27 2005, 05:19 PM, said:

Your bias completely ignores my post.



Of course it did. What else did you expect to happen with this topic?

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#36 Eskaminzim


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 06:05 PM


I read your post, and if I'm understanding it correctly, I can agree with it intellectually, if not in my heart.

What I'm hearing you say (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that many people who might be "for" legal gay and lesbian family bonds might vote against such a measure should those legal family bonds be called a "marriage" because that definition, for some, means one man and one woman, period.

And this is true.  What's even more true is your word "some".  And here is where it all boils down to where one poster suspected it would:  tradition, and a relatively brief tradition at that.

For some, marriage means one man and one woman.  For others, it means one man and many women, and for still others it means one woman and one goat.  

So, which "some" do we allow to keep and fully and irrevocably define the word "marriage"?

Well, if we're talking about the good ol' US of A, then I suppose the "some" would be the JudeoChristian religious majority.

But even there, I see a problem, because the term isn't a religious one.   Back in our not-so-distant past, marriage didn't mean one man and one woman. It didn't mean anything to do with humans at all, really.  It was the marriage of two estates using progeny as proxy to those estates.  Where King Lots-A-Land married his lands to King Plenty-Soldiers' army though his son and Plenty-Soldiers' daughter, so now they had...lots of land and a huge army to watch over it.

In that case, the woman is the chattel, part of the dowery to sweeten the pot.

And this wasn't very long ago, when marriage was first coined.  It had absolutely nothing to do with one man/one woman forever and ever amen.
Nothing to do with religion.  It was an entirely state sponsored affair.

In Judeo-Christianity itself, marriage has more than one meaning.  It can mean "one man/one woman" or "one man/many women" since both are espoused in the writings of the bible.

In any event, it wasn't termed a marriage until the state sanctioned contract thing came into being.  Marriage was, to put it gently, "adopted" by religion, and by a religion whose primary body of work, the Bible, can't even define it for itself.

If we're talking about the word marriage, and we are, it's not a religious word, but a secular one.

So who are we, who is anybody, to say "well, we've got it, and we're not giving it up!  We don't CARE if it was originally coined to connote a secular joining of estates, and we don't CARE if it was never used in the Bible, and we don't CARE if it carries with it no religious connotation at all!  And, furthermore, we don't CARE how we as Judeo-Christians defined it BEFORE, this is how we're defining it NOW, and if anyone doesn't like it, tough nits.  You're just going to have to deal with it."

That's why I see so many problems with getting down to brass semantics, as it were.

"Marriage" isn't religious.

Religion's primary works can't even define it for themselves as meaning only one thing.

But we, as American citizens, are expected to just bow our heads and accept the "adoption" of a word never meant to be used in the context it is being used in presently so that those folks whose religion supposedly espouses "love your neighbor as yourself" can keep for themselves a measly little word and not share it like they're asked to by the very Bible they hold in their hands.


#37 Spectacles

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 07:13 PM

Don't I get any props for admitting bias? ;)

I didn't mean to sound as though I was ignoring your post, HandMaiden. I appreciate your posts; you genuinely address the issues and more fairly than many.

I would agree with E, though, that legal "marriage" is not a religious institution and I think this should be taken off the table. How religions define marriage is up to them. How our government defines it is the real issue.

And that's true currently--regarding heterosexual marriage.  If a man and a woman get married at the courthouse, their marriage is legal and churches can choose to recognize the marriage or not. In some faiths, even legal marriages are not considered sanctified when the couple haven't met certain conditions--or in some cases if the marriage is inter-faith. So legal marriage is one thing; church-sanctioned marriage is another.

I'd say 99% of the gays and lesbians I know are content to let churches sort out their own doctrines on the matter, but feel strongly that if they are to be full citizens of their country, they should have the same choice about legal (civil) marriage as any other law-abiding taxpayer.
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#38 Pallas


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Posted 27 January 2005 - 09:27 PM

I think Eskaminzim has pretty much summed up everything else I had to say yet I can still see why Handmaiden would argue as such. Given the fact that marriage has become connotated with Judeo Christianity, it doesn't invalidate the concerns of the Church because it's largely associated with the religious context so I can see how it would be considered "hijacking" the word.

As for the slippery slope to free for all unions...incest, bestiality, polygamy, polyandry, sexual deviance of any kind already happens and society more or less turns a blind eye to it unless it comes for the forefront of the news. However, I've yet to see any sign of an activist movement for decriminalizing or legalizing these acts in modern society. If somewhere along the way it gets down to it...well, then I suppose it's time to reevaluate our societal norms again. *Shrugs* It happens; I'm not too worried.

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#39 waterpanther

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 10:09 PM

While I have no confidence at all in Rick Santorum's intelligence (marriage will devolve to man+dog if gays are allowed to  marry) or John Cornyn's (marriage will become man+box turtle), it seems to me that most adults who can manage to tie their own shoes ought to be able to figure out why nothing's going down that particular slippery slope, or the one that leads to the marriage of a dewy  nine-year-old and a forty-five-year-old pedophile.

To wit:  consent.

Marriage requires that the parties be legally able to give consent to a binding contract.  Indeed, in those churches that regard marriage as a sacrament, it is the consent that makes the marriage, not the wedding ceremony or the license issued by the state.  No nine-year-old is capable of legal consent.  Neither is Fluffy or Fido or Terry the Tortoise.  

So it's really simple, folks.  If you can't sell it your house, you can't marry it.
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