Monday, May 19, 2008

The not-so-gay marriage post

(This post is dedicated to Myrhaf. He inspired me, but not in the way he intended.)

Why do we have marriage at all?

What do WE gain as individuals, or as couples, from the state sanctioning our relationships?

Wikipedia has this somewhat overly simplistic answer:
A marriage, by definition, bestows rights and obligations on the married parties, and sometimes on relatives as a consequence. These may include:

*giving a husband/wife or his/her family control over a spouse’s sexual services, labor, and/or property.
*giving a husband/wife responsibility for a spouse’s debts.
*giving a husband/wife visitation rights when his/her spouse is incarcerated or hospitalized.
*giving a husband/wife control over his/her spouse’s affairs when the spouse is incapacitated.
*establishing the second legal guardian of a parent’s child.
*establishing a joint fund of property for the benefit of children.
*establishing a relationship between the families of the spouses.

Mind you, all of these things can be obtained or done outside of marriage, although admittedly some of them are more expensive than others. But based on this list, one could easily conclude the purpose of marriage was to save some hefty legal fees.

(Of course, anyone who has been through a divorce knows they get you on the back-end with the legal fees.)

So basically marriage is kind of a no-brainer for any couple, regardless of their sexual orientation. If you completely trust someone, why not marry them? The practicality of marriage extends beyond the answer of "love".

But marriage is NOT just a contract between two people: The state sanctions it. Because of the legal arrangements involved, the institution of marriage is a three-way deal: you, your spouse, and WE THE PEOPLE!

So what benefit do "WE THE PEOPLE" gain from the sanctioning of "love"? If I am going to be paying taxes to keep your marriage license filed as well as a whole bunch of other legal freebies, not to mention your tax breaks, what's in it for me?

If you tell me your "happiness", I'll call you naive on the subject of marriage. Anyway, I am NOT paying money to the government to support your happiness. Get your own.

Now if you tell me you are going to have children, or adopt children, THEN you have my blessing (and my tax dollars). Your children are not only your future, but also the future of our country. Love them, and raise them well.

Unfortunately, that brings us to the issue of gay marriage (the ultimate oxymoron). My answer on this question is similar: If a homosexual couple already has a child from a previous relationship, or if they will adopt a child, or if they want to be artificially inseminated, then I have no problem with them getting married.

Otherwise, they are no different than a heterosexual couple living together. Have your jollies, then move on. But DON'T ask me to sanction your relationship!

This brings us to the question of how is the government supposed to ascertain the intentions of marrying couples. It is quite simple really: When a man and a woman get married, what are the odds of procreation occurring? Now compare those odds with those of a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?

Many years ago, when this issue first came up, I asked a simple question: Would you give a blind man a driver's license? Then why on earth would you give a homosexual couple a marriage license?!

This whole issue is about asking for rights, with none of the responsibilities. When the homosexual community shows me they are serious about the responsibilities of marriage, specifically procreation or raising children, THEN I will support them politically.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't follow your logic.

Well, first, I do believe the state has an interest in supporting long-term relationships. Leaving that aside, I don't follow your logic even if I did agree with you.

You single out gays and lesbians as the only viable target for your "kids-only" policy for marriage. What about couples over 62?

Second, the number of gays and lesbians taking care kids is relatively high, even if it isn't as high as heterosexual women. This study found 18.1 percent of lesbians have kids.

That is a lot of kids for you to be telling their parents haven't "proven" they're worthy to be married. Considering women tend to make less than men, it is kind of crazy you think lesbian parents should fork down $10,000+ to get a fraction of the legal protections afforded to married couples.

Let's get to the brass tax. You just don't want gay people to marry.

If you really did believe only couples with kids should marry (gay or straight), then it follows only couples with kids or in pregnacy should be able marry. That legislation would cover 100% of your intentions. It would even cover the gays and lesbians that have "proven" worthy of your definition of marriage.

EdMcGon said...

I do believe the state has an interest in supporting long-term relationships.

If so, should the state make it harder to obtain divorces?

What about couples over 62?

It is still possible to conceive after 62.

Second, the number of gays and lesbians taking care kids is relatively high, even if it isn't as high as heterosexual women. This study found 18.1 percent of lesbians have kids.

(btw, your link didn't work)

You made my point. Only 18 percent of lesbians have children? What would happen to our society if only 18 percent of heterosexual women had children?

That is a lot of kids for you to be telling their parents haven't "proven" they're worthy to be married.

While I don't have the stats, I would be willing to bet you there are more children to single mothers than to lesbians.

If you really did believe only couples with kids should marry (gay or straight), then it follows only couples with kids or in pregnacy should be able marry.

I wouldn't be averse to that idea actually. Religions can still perform marriages for their reasons, but the state should take a more practical approach.

Rodak said...

This whole issue is about asking for rights, with none of the responsibilities.

This is to suggest that any childless marriage entails no responsibilities, which is absurd on the face of it.

William R. Barker said...

I'll just never understand the philosophical arguments against gay marriage. (*SHRUG*)

Ed. Anonymous pretty much sums up my feelings.

(Rob got in a good shot too.) (*SHRUG*)

Now... do I believe gay marriage is a Constitutionally protected Right - either according to the federal Constitution or any particular state constitution - no I don't.

Do I believe gay marriage SHOULD be legal? Yes I do. (*SHRUG*)

Is there a contradiction within these two views? No. One is a legal argument based upon my reading of the Constitution as an "Originalist," the other is an ethical view based upon my personal morality.

You have every right to oppose gay marriage. I think you're wrong, but I don't think your view is hateful or immoral. (In truth I do find it "backwards" though. My feeling... to paraphrase Jesus... "You know not what you do.") (*WINK*)

BILL

EdMcGon said...

This is to suggest that any childless marriage entails no responsibilities, which is absurd on the face of it.

Rodak,
Have any kids? If so, you'd know the responsibilities that go with raising children are tenfold over over any responsibilities dealing with a spouse. A childless marriage is a walk in the park.

Anonymous said...

If so, should the state make it harder to obtain divorces?

Agreed. Seems much more pro-family than not letting people get married.

It is still possible to conceive after 62.

Most women finish menopause between 55-60. A lesbian is much more likely to raise kids in her lifetime then 62+ year old women conceiving.

(btw, your link didn't work)

Take 2: http://tinyurl.com/54quup

You made my point. Only 18 percent of lesbians have children? What would happen to our society if only 18 percent of heterosexual women had children?

Nobody is proposing heterosexual women stop procreating at their current rate. My point is there are a fair amount of lesbians are raising kids. You make it sound like a competition.

While I don't have the stats, I would be willing to bet you there are more children to single mothers than to lesbians.

I would agree. If every lesbian raised kids there would still be more single mothers. This is not the point.

The point is marriage is important for people that want to share the responsibility of raising kids as a family. There are a lot of kids being raised by lesbians, and it is better for those kids if their parents have access to the institution.

I wouldn't be averse to that idea actually. Religions can still perform marriages for their reasons, but the state should take a more practical approach.

Then start arguing for this system rather than one that poorly approximates your objectives. Your no-gay-marriage system is over exclusive (gay parents) and over inclusive (straights that can't or don't want kids).

EdMcGon said...

Anon,
You miss my point. I want the main benefits of marriage to be limited to those couples with children, regardless of sexual orientation. If that means creating some kind of lesser designation, such as "civil union", for childless couples, so be it.

William R. Barker said...

Ed,

What are these "benefits" you speak of that should only be available to married people?

BILL

EdMcGon said...

Bill,
Just off the top of my head, the ability to file jointly on your income taxes, as well as being able to acquire all those other privileges I listed in the post which would normally require thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Anonymous said...

This brings us to the question of how is the government supposed to ascertain the intentions of marrying couples. It is quite simple really: When a man and a woman get married, what are the odds of procreation occurring? Now compare those odds with those of a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?

Many years ago, when this issue first came up, I asked a simple question: Would you give a blind man a driver's license? Then why on earth would you give a homosexual couple a marriage license?!


I did miss your point. The above statement suggests that you are against same-sex marriage as a government approximation for a couple's child-rearing intentions. I apologize for the confusion if you meant something different, but it is difficult to tell by the wording.

My point is that this tactic is over exclusive (gay parents) and over inclusive (straights that can't or don't want kids).

If you believe families, regardless of the parent's sexual orientation, are of important enough that they are the sole reason the state should grant legal protections, then why not champion for those families currently excluded.

Sure, same-sex marriage will have a higher percentage of childless couples. But what is the lesser evil? Giving marriage licenses to 4/5 lesbian couples without kids, or denying marriage licenses (and all the important legal protections included) to 1/5 lesbian couples raising kids?

And in the grand scheme of things, gay people make up a much smaller percentage of the population compared to all of the married childless couples. This policy would save little money, and deny some parents important legal protections and frameworks that are in the best interest of children.

EdMcGon said...

Anon,
I agree marriage is not a perfect system as it stands now (much like most government programs). However, it does catch the majority of couples with children, or about to procreate children.

There is another factor: When a heterosexual family works (and I confess there are too many dysfunctional families out there), it has been proven that it is better for the children. Homosexual marriage is too new in our world to provide such statistical evidence. Frankly, I am waiting for a few decades to see the affect of homosexual marriage on the European countries where it has been legalized.

William R. Barker said...

re: Ed 5/21/2008 6:24 PM

Actually, Ed... (*SMILE*) (*SHAKING MY HEAD WITH AMUSEMENT*)... filing jointly was historically known as the marriage PENALTY... not the marriage "benefit." (*SNORT*) (*CHUCKLE*)

In any case... your problem seems to be with the tax code. (*SMILE*) Change the tax code then! (*GRIN*) Not to go off on a tangent, but I've always believed that taxes - LIKE RIGHTS - should be INDIVIDUAL in nature, not "group."

re: Anon 5/21/2008 10:49 PM

Anon. (*STERN LOOK*) Be gentle with my buddy Ed. He's from Georgia! (*GRIN*)

Ed... seriously, dude... you're being taken apart here. (*SHRUG*) You have every right to your opinion... but it's just not convincing. (*SHRUG*) At least to me. (*SMILE*)

Great post and fine thread though! Glad to see you're getting active again online!

BILL