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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • If you care. [slashdot.org] It's not my complete thoughts, but it is a fairly succinct and accurate representation.

    Not that your post is necessarily about gay marriage per se, and more about the arguments, but still.
    • [Just to be clear, I'm not railing at you at all pudge.]

      I've head this one before. Government does legal "unions" between two people, leave "marriage" to the churches who are free to do whatever they want. Church and state remain separated as God and the Founding Fathers intended.

      I like this idea. Anyone can get hitched to anyone else and if they want a marriage they can go to whatever church will take them to put a preacher's stamp on it.

      However, I have seen this used as a hypocritical excuse for peo
      • However, I have seen this used as a hypocritical excuse for people to vote against gay marriage resolutions. "I'm voting against because I don't believe government should say what marriage is". Ok, but meanwhile they are. And isn't it convienient that the existing definition is in your favor? As long as marriage is a legal thing, might as well patch it up as best we can.

        I can understand disliking it, and while it may be hypocritical for some people, it is not necessarily hypocritical.

        I would not vote aga
        • I would not vote against gay marriage resolution because government should get out of it, I would vote against it because it is an arbitrary change to a fundamental American institution that much if not most of the country is against.

          This is a fine example of "tyranny of the majority", a danger in democracy acknowledged by the founding fathers and something our Constitution tries to defend against. When an overwhelming majority exists (for example, heterosexuals) they can use that majority to take (or i

          • When an overwhelming majority exists (for example, heterosexuals) they can use that majority to take (or in this case, keep) citzen rights away from minorities (for example, homosexuals).

            If you think civil marriage is a right, that would make some sense. As I do not think civil marriage is a right -- for anyone -- I can't really comment on this. As you say when you try to debunk the idea that marriage is a "fundamental American institution," is marriage mentioned in the Declaration of Independence? No. In the Constitution? No. etc.

            The judiciary isn't making new law, its keeping us honest.

            From your perspective, yes. From mine, no.

            You could try saying "gays can have a civil union which imparts all the same legal priviledges as a marriage, but we still call a union between a man and woman a marriage" but that's Seperate But Equal, a concept which has long since been shot down by the courts.

            This is where I think your argument breaks down. Of what special "right" is a label? If black people could drink from the exact same drinking fountain as white people, but we simply called it a "drinking geyser" instead of a "drinking fountain" while they were using it, I doubt the courts would have found that to be unconstitutional. Silly, perhaps, but you already know I think calling what we have "civil marriage" is silly.

            Yes, the analogy is imperfect, but what other examples do we have? Is there an example apart from civil marriage where someone had all the rights of everyone else, but it was simply called something else, and the courts found it to be separate but equal? I can't think of one.

            Furthermore, a lot of folks are tossing around the term "fundamental American institution". How does one define such a list? ... Is male/female marriage something which makes us unique in the world?

            I was not talking about "male/female" marriage as a fundamental American institution. If I had, then I would not have talked about it changing it, but destroying it: changing a fundamental American institution of male/female marriage to include homosexuals would destroy that institution and create another.

            And by fundamental, I merely meant what is self-evident fact: that marriages are the cornerstone of our society and our government. Our children are raised, mostly and ideally, within marriages. Our smallest non-individual governmental unit is the family, the spouses, which sets its own rules and doles out its own punishments and rewards. I do not exclude homosexuals from this; my language and thoughts are not gender-specific.

            Quite the contrary, in fact. It's why I want to have civil unions for all, and civil marriages for none. Government should not grant marriage/union just because people want it. Again, it is not a right. The reason government recognizes marriage/union is because it is in the best interests of society to do so, because marriage is important to society and protecting it is therefore worthwhile.

            I believe a much better argument to make on behalf of gay marriage is not the discrimination angle, but the benefit to society angle. Pooling of resources, helping each other, being legally bound to each other, it's all good for society.

            What else would that lead to? I dunno, crazy, non-traditional, unamerican things like a black man marrying a white woman. Its a bit of a low blow but the parallels are too strong not to make it.

            The parallels are strong, but so are the dissimilarities. Most important is that the societal definition of marriage did not exclude it. They believed it should be discouraged and illegal, but that is not the same thing. Most would not have said a black person marrying a white person of the opposite sex was not marriage. They would have said it was an abomination or should be illegal, not that it was not marriage.

            So the definition of marriage did not change when anti-miscegenation laws were repealed, what changed was merely what sort of marriages were acceptable. We still disallow marriages between siblings and first cousins in our law; should we choose to accept them, it would not constitute a change in our societal definition of "one man, one woman."

            should we have waited until the majority was comfortable with the idea? Would they ever have become comfortable without having to live with it and see that society did not in fact collapse?

            I think they certainly would have accepted it without it being forced on them, yes. There were far more people in favor of gay marriage in 2000 than in 1990; why do you think that is? If we need it to be forced on people for them to accept it, and it was not forced on them, how did they come to accept it? And while the lines kept going up, they began to go back down once the courts stepped in. Funny that.

            I think the courts stepping in was the worst thing to happen to the cause of gay marriage. I remember when the verdict was announced in anti-sodomy case in the Supreme Court, I said that if activists tried to use this to force gay marriage through the courts, there will be a backlash that will do more harm than good to their cause. It was easy to see it would happen, and it did.

            Finally, even if it is an arbitrary change is it right to deny full citizenship to a minority

            Again, I don't believe anyone is being denied full citizenship.

            not because you're worried that the change itself will cause a problem, but because some possible "flood gate of radical change" it might open up in some non-existent future set of laws?

            You misunderstood what I meant by arbitrary. I am not saying that gay marriage might lead us to further radical change, but that certain justifications for gay marriage might do that. That is, the slippery slope I aim to fight against is not radical changes to our marriage laws, but in making laws that are not well-considered.

            For example, I am against a current move in WA to increase taxes on cigarettes, not because I am opposed to an increase in taxes on cigarettes, but because it is being done irresponsibly: the legislature needs more revenue so it just looks to see who it can increase taxes on without upsetting very many people. It, to me, is an example of a very poorly considered law, and sets (well, continues) a terrible precedent, where taxes only need to fit some narrow criteria to be justified: tax because you can.

            And this terrible precedent has led us to a place where now the legislature is trying to increase tax on doctors. Doctors. You see, medical insurance causes most of our financial problems, so recoup some of that from the doctors. Who just pass it on to the consumer. But because doctors are a small constitutency, and most voters don't think "hey this hurts me more than the doctors," they don't suffer political consequences. They tax because they can.

            And what I am worried about is not that this opens the door to all sorts of terrible marriages I may disagree with, but that it sets the bar in a terrible place. "We should be married because we love each other, because it is our right, even though that right has never been enumerated anywhere." What other potential marriages could fit that description? Why not first cousins? Why not three or more spouses? Why not two friends who live together merely wish to take advantage of prevailing marriage law? How does your justification for gay marriage exclude any of those things?

            Perhaps you think neither *should* be excluded. That's fine, but it's why I want to get rid of civil marriage and have civil unions. We are changing the definition of marriage such that it no longer fits -- either now, or in the future if we continue down the path -- what society's definition is. They are different, so let's call them something different.

            Maybe we *should* allow those things. But we must consider first the direct consequences the arguments have. And I think putting the focus on the individual marriage unit instead of society, where it belongs -- again, as civil marriage is recognized not for the benefit of the individual marriage unit, but for the benefit of society -- sets a terrible precedent.

            I can argue against anything with that sort of logic. Freedom of religion? No way! If we let in the Buddists before you know it we'll be allowing baby eating Satanists!!!

            We can simply outlaw baby-eating. It's not a problem. This sort of logic might be applied to disallowing marriages between first cousins and siblings (or with children, which I didn't mention above because it is nonconsensual by our standards, as baby-eating is), but not to much else.