A Secular Argument Against Gay Marriage

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by Joe Hargrave

Recently Kyle Cupp at Vox Nova (one of the good ones, he is) addressed the arguments of a Peter Sunderman at The American Scene regarding the validity of arguments against gay marriage. In brief, Sunderman doesn’t really believe there are any. Instead opposition to gay marriage, even his own, is motivated by a vague “intuition” that cannot find adequate manifestation in any rational argument. While Kyle unfortunately appears to agree with Sunderman, I do not.

Let us first be clear that the case for traditional marriage between one man and one woman is already more than amply made. As Kyle points out, gay marriage advocates such as Andrew Sullivan are willing to acknowledge all of the great and useful aspects of traditional marriage. What they maintain is that opponents of gay marriage have not demonstrated how its legal recognition will harm traditional marriage.

I have never been the greatest adherent of the notion that “the law instructs.” Oftentimes I believe laws merely reflect shifting economic and cultural trends, often playing catch-up after the fact. In the case of homosexual unions, however, any act that places them on the same level as traditional unions will necessarily send a message to everyone in society, including children, that it is a matter of indifference whether one marries a person of the same sex or of the opposite sex.  And it must be mentioned here that in the face of declining Western birth rates, the case for traditional marriage is stronger than it has ever been. Contrary to overpopulation hysteria, which I suppose some will want to debate over, developed countries need more children, and they need them now. It is hard to see how the problem of declining birth rates will be addressed by a society that is indifferent to sexual behavior.

With that said, let us now make the easiest case against gay marriage.

1. Traditional, heterosexual marriages are good and necessary for the survival of society through procreation.

2. Traditional marriages survive and thrive when spouses are faithful to one another.

3. Faithfulness is undermined by social indifference to the nature and purpose of sexual unions.

4. Homosexual “marriage” is/would be both a product of, and a contributor to, such indifference.

5. Ergo, homosexual marriage harms traditional marriage.

At this point, I will add the obvious as well: heterosexual fornication, divorce and adultery also harm traditional marriage in the same way. And I don’t see any gay marriage opponents arguing for those things. The bad old Christians are still making bad old religious arguments against them too. Sullivan’s strongest argument is merely that the Christians have lowered the bar quite a bit for heterosexuals; so low, that the next notch down is acceptance of homosexual couples. He’ll get no argument from me on the relative weakness of modern Christianity, Protestant and, sadly, Catholic as well.

In my view only procreative unions should be recognized as valid and worthy of benefits, incentives, and the word “marriage.” For he is correct; to recognize non-procreative heterosexual unions and not homosexual unions has the following effect:

It creates one class of people, regardless of their actions, and renders them superior to another.

Procreative unions (including polygamy, though it is not superior heterosexual monogamy) ought to be superior to all other unions. But as for people, which are not identical to the relations they enter into, there of course ought to be no such distinctions. Heterosexual individuals ought not be rendered “superior” to homosexual individuals, nor would they be. Not all heterosexuals can procreate. Moreover, not all heterosexuals are parents, and it is to parents in particular that the bulk of social benefits ought to go.  Therefore plenty of heterosexuals would be placed in the same “class”, if one likes, as homosexuals. This doesn’t even include pedophiles, zoophiles, incestuous relatives, and others that would fall outside of this category. To place them all outside of this category, finally, is not tantamount to saying they are equivalents; no, I do not believe monogamous gays are as morally depraved as pedophiles.

Now I am sure some are already preparing to argue if people are born gay then it is not a question of indifference to choices; we don’t choose whether we are gay or straight, we only choose between remaining single or entering a union. Moreover, gay couples may adopt and raise children, becoming parents and thus entitling them to the same recognition and benefits of traditional marriage.

My answer is this: I believe as far as children are concerned, they can certainly be influenced one way or another based upon their life circumstances. Studies have also shown that children raised by gay parents are more likely to experiment with homosexuality (and to be clear, I don’t agree with the positive spin of that link; what it calls good, I say is bad for the most part). So while I would not argue that homosexuality is “chosen”, or can be “undone” in most cases, I do believe it can and should be prevented. This is not for hateful reasons, or purely religious reasons either; our opponents have insisted upon secular arguments, and so they will get one.

1. The more children who are raised in environments that are conducive to homosexuality,the more homosexuals there will be.

2. Homosexual parentage is conducive to homosexuality developing in children.

3. Homosexual “marriage” will result in more homosexual parentage, and more homosexuals.

4. The more homosexuals there are, the fewer heterosexuals there will be.

5. The fewer heterosexuals there are, the fewer traditional, procreative heterosexual marriages there will be.

6. Traditional, procreative heterosexual marriages are good and necessary for society.

7. Ergo, homosexual parentage harms traditional marriage, or at least undermines its secular purpose, which is procreation and the rearing of adults who will also procreate, thus ensuring the survival of society.

So once again, this good and necessary institution will be undermined by an increase of the homosexual part of society. Between the inflexible extremes of as not-yet determined “gay genes” and “freely chosen lifestyles” exists a muddled and complex grey area involving the dynamics of childhood development in various environments and familial contexts. But if it can be conceded, and I think most reasonable people can concede, that it is possible to increase or decrease the chances of homosexuality developing in a child, then policies ought to favor their decrease per the secular argument above. Moreover, how we treat individuals who are for all intents and purposes irrevocably homosexual is a separate matter from whether or not homosexuality can be prevented or the chances of its manifestation reduced in young children.

I will add that even if the adopted children of gay parents do not end up homosexuals, other harms to society can be done when gender roles are deliberately scrambled and confused, and naturally this is more likely to occur where there is not a mother and a father, and sometimes even when there is. It would be impossible to avoid all occurrences of this; we can however minimize them, and denying legal recognition to gay marriage and gay adoption would be a necessary, if not sufficient means of doing so. Yes, I believe that boys and girls are different. Yes, I believe incalculable social harms result from the confusion of gender roles, though my problem is not as much with the independence of women as it is with the “effeminization” of men. Call me whatever you like for that, but at least include “consistent reactionary” somewhere among the insults.

None of this will help the cause of “gay pride”, I readily concede. It will send the message that homosexuality is less desirable than heterosexuality, that it is a defect to be avoided. Homosexual activists will argue that this will ultimately harm gay individuals. Addressing hatred of homosexuals, however, can never include acknowledging homosexuality as positively good. We can never call evil (homosexual) acts good so that other evil acts (violence against homosexual individuals) may be somehow prevented, and I doubt the preventative value of these “useful lies” anyway.

Substitute for “evil”, “socially harmful” and for “good”, “socially beneficial” for the pragmatic secular version. It is no big surprise to Catholics that what is good for the soul is also good for society – seven of the ten commandments are social commandments.

After all, no one has proposed abolishing laws against theft because they appear in the Bible, because even secularists can see how they are necessary. That they have chosen to shut off their rational faculties in favor of unproven dogmas (see below) concerning the privileged position of traditional, procreative marriage is unfortunate, but it is nonetheless what they have done. Too many Christians and conservatives, on the other hand, have taken a lax view towards other threats to marriage, and they share responsibility for the moral confusion that has allowed this issue to arise in the first place. Their laxity is in some cases by malicious design, in the case of leftist subversion of the Christian churches, and in other cases because they took the privileged position of marriage for granted and therefore did not foresee the end result of their laxity.

On that note, it may be more accurate to say that there is no liberal egalitarian case to be made against gay marriage, and this we could have conceded all along. But in the first place, it is evident that liberalism and egalitarianism are not the only possible secular arguments. More importantly, egalitarianism, like any other secular idea taken to radical extremes, undermines society. To do harm to a socially necessary institution to satisfy a desire for “equality” is radical egalitarianism, it is certainly as much an article of an unproven faith as any religion and in my view far more irrational, and it should be avoided and rejected. This idea has already done untold damage in the economy and especially in the educational system. Applied to human relationships, it will cause even greater harm. Robert Bork’s Slouching Towards Gomorrah offers an excellent overview of this phenomenon, and indeed we have slouched our way into this mess.

So there you have it, my meager attempt at a secular argument against gay marriage. Does it work? I look forward to your comments, and to the holes I am sure some of you will poke in it.

62 Responses to A Secular Argument Against Gay Marriage

  • Diane says:

    put very simply, society is not obliged to treat homosexuality in the same what that it treats heterosexuality because they are not equal or the same. One is rightly ordered…the other is not.

    Equal rights and equal recognition for equal situations…they are not equal.

    “true justice does not mean treating situations the same…it means treating situations appropriately”.

  • Proponents would argue that gay marriage does not harm faithfulness but promotes it.

    Opponents would then argue that the purpose of faithfulness is, in part, to raise a family, something that gay couples (absent adoption) cannot do.

    Proponents would then argue that even if procreation and the raising of children is a worthy goal, gay marriage doesn’t undermine it. Marriage isn’t a scarce resource.

    Opponents would then argue that if we’re going to promote family creation, it only makes sense to provide financial incentives to those who can create families.

    Proponents would then argue that that can be better accomplished through things like child tax credits than denying gay couples hospital visitation rights.

    Opponents would then argue that they don’t oppose things like hospital visitation rights for gay couples but not those rights linked to procreation like certain tax benefits.

    In the end, I think the secular argument is that the government should promote procreation through incentives that if offered to gay couples would unnecessarily cost taxpayers.

    As for gay adoption, what would you say to a proponent who argues that it’s better than nothing?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “Proponents would argue that gay marriage does not harm faithfulness but promotes it.”

    I think gay marriage can only exist in a climate of indifference towards marriage itself. If anyone and everyone can marry, then it loses its value. And this ultimately harms marriage, does it not?

    Marriage should be “scarce”, and this is one case where I don’t mind the government promoting rent-seeking behavior ;)

    “As for gay adoption, what would you say to a proponent who argues that it’s better than nothing?”

    I’d say it isn’t. A child is more likely to assimilate socially necessary beliefs about sexuality, gender and marriage in a Catholic orphanage than in a gay household.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Building further on this point; divorce and remarriage also devalue marriage, and should be discouraged for the same reason. The Church should not hand out annulments like candy, and I can’t say I am 100% knowledgeable on the official teaching, but it hasn’t always married infertile couples, has it?

  • I think gay marriage can only exist in a climate of indifference towards marriage itself. If anyone and everyone can marry, then it loses its value. And this ultimately harms marriage, does it not?

    But that still doesn’t explain why gay marriage specifically devalues marriage.

    A child is more likely to assimilate socially necessary beliefs about sexuality, gender and marriage in a Catholic orphanage than in a gay household.

    But from a purely secular POV that would be heavily outweighed by the benefits of having parents.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    RR,

    It contributes to the devaluation, specifically, by sending the message to society, and especially to children, that it is a matter of indifference whether one marries a person of the opposite or the same sex. It’s all “legal” and therefore all socially acceptable and possibly even good (that’s the next logical step, of course – teaching children that it is good to gay marry).

    As for the last point, I disagree. The Catholic orphanage may teach what it teaches because of religion, but it has a secular benefit. I’m not sure simply “having parents” is a superior benefit to learning correct views about sexuality and marriage.

  • Nat says:

    First off, let’s be clear that when you say “only procreative unions should be recognized as valid and worthy of benefits, incentives, and the word “marriage.””, what you are arguing for is quite radical. This would abolish many millions of marriages which do not bring about offspring due to choice, infirmity, or age. It does take you outside of any claim of “traditional” marriage, despite your use of the term; while there have certainly been societies that allow for failure to procreate as an excuse for divorce, that’s a different matter from requiring such a divorce or failing to recognize such a marriage.

    Secondly, your logic makes some leaps. You build as if homosexual parenting (which, despite one of the comments, is not limited to adoptive parenting; many same-sex couples have children that are the biological children of one member of the couple) leads to homosexual children… but the studies say differently. Yes, the kids are more open to a little homosexual experimentation, but ultimately end up just as straight as the children of mixed-sex couples.

    Third, your logical paths focus on whether you can find some argument for a harm that is done, not if there’s a net harm; you ignore paths for benefit as well. For example, one could reasonably surmise that individuals with strong homosexual desires marrying members of the opposite sex does not help the stability of marriage, as it encourages dissatisfaction in both parties, which in turn is likely to lead to unfaithfulness and/or divorce, and that such marriages would not help build a general view of marriage as a stable situation. Offering the socially-applied benefits of marriage to mixed-sex couples only incentivises those with homosexual tendencies to enter into mixed-sex marriage, to marriage’s harm.

    As for the claim that “A child is more likely to assimilate socially necessary beliefs about sexuality, gender and marriage in a Catholic orphanage than in a gay household”, it is offered without substantiating argument. Recent revelations in Ireland, for example, would certainly throw that into question.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Ah, now here is some good engagement.

    Let’s discuss this civilly.

    “First off, let’s be clear that when you say “only procreative unions should be recognized as valid and worthy of benefits, incentives, and the word “marriage.””, what you are arguing for is quite radical.”

    Maybe so. But I would argue that the problem we face is rather extreme, and so it requires a tough solution.

    “This would abolish many millions of marriages which do not bring about offspring due to choice, infirmity, or age.”

    Well, I don’t think that is necessarily true. Those marriages don’t have to be “abolished”; we can simply stop recognizing new unions that fall into those categories. It is comparable to my stance on immigration; seal the border, provide a path to citizenship for those already here.

    “It does take you outside of any claim of “traditional” marriage, despite your use of the term; while there have certainly been societies that allow for failure to procreate as an excuse for divorce, that’s a different matter from requiring such a divorce or failing to recognize such a marriage.”

    I do not endorse divorce, and so my clarification above should fix that. I don’t see how it takes me outside of a claim for “traditional marriage”, though. I don’t think those marriages are traditional at all.

    “Secondly, your logic makes some leaps. You build as if homosexual parenting (which, despite one of the comments, is not limited to adoptive parenting; many same-sex couples have children that are the biological children of one member of the couple) leads to homosexual children… but the studies say differently. Yes, the kids are more open to a little homosexual experimentation, but ultimately end up just as straight as the children of mixed-sex couples.”

    Well, where are your links? Let’s take a look at some studies. Find some for me. If you can, find me the ones that also show that children of gay couples have no different views of gender roles, because the studies I have seen show that gay parenting does have an effect in this regard. And for reasons I already explained, I find that socially harmful. So there is no “leap”.

    “Mixed-sex couples” – what a terrible phrase! As for the biological children of homosexuals, that is a more difficult case. But it does not justify recognition of gay marriage.

    “Third, your logical paths focus on whether you can find some argument for a harm that is done, not if there’s a net harm; you ignore paths for benefit as well.”

    Well the common refrain is that homosexual marriage causes NO harm at all. So if we can find some harm, we can at least put a stop to that argument. Then we can argue whether or not the costs outweigh the alleged benefits.

    “well. For example, one could reasonably surmise that individuals with strong homosexual desires marrying members of the opposite sex does not help the stability of marriage, as it encourages dissatisfaction in both parties, which in turn is likely to lead to unfaithfulness and/or divorce, and that such marriages would not help build a general view of marriage as a stable situation.”

    Who says that they have to marry members of the opposite sex? Who says they have to marry at all? And in any case, it is evident from the horrific divorce rates in modern society that “satisfaction” is wanting in a little over half of all heterosexual marriages as well, which brings us to an important point: the purpose of marriage is not romance. And indeed throughout most of history, it was not even love – though love can certainly grow out of arranged marriages.

    So I will fully concede that heterosexuals have distorted the ultimate purpose of marriage – they have indeed devalued it – to the point at which it now appears to be unjust to deny the word and the benefits to gays. But the answer is to shore up and strengthen the traditional marriage – not to contribute to its further degeneracy.

    To put it yet another way, I absolutely oppose divorce for reasons of “dissatisfaction” among heterosexuals. It is morally wrong and socially destructive, just like gay marriage. Indeed, gay marriage is the fruit of fornication and divorce among heterosexuals.

    ” Offering the socially-applied benefits of marriage to mixed-sex couples only incentivises those with homosexual tendencies to enter into mixed-sex marriage, to marriage’s harm.”

    I disagree. If a homosexual can control their urges, or, failing that, satisfy them discreetly (I don’t say this is morally acceptable, but it is a lesser evil), while raising a child in a traditional family, this is an objective good for society. Truth be told, I know of some situations like this first hand, and within a religious community there is a great deal of support for those individuals. They are heroes, in my view. And perhaps they ought to be rewarded by society as well, over and above what would go to a “happy” hetero couple – I wouldn’t oppose that.

    The fallacy here is that everyone must have perfect self-fulfillment, and all obstacles to it must be shattered. This is why fornication, divorce, and homosexual acts are on the same continuum; they are all expressions of selfish desires at the expense of social duties.

    Now I don’t deny the reality of those desires, or their strength – heterosexuals feel them as well. For the social good, they should either control their desires (which they can do through spiritual discipline), or satisfy them discreetly.

    “As for the claim that “A child is more likely to assimilate socially necessary beliefs about sexuality, gender and marriage in a Catholic orphanage than in a gay household”, it is offered without substantiating argument. Recent revelations in Ireland, for example, would certainly throw that into question.”

    If the orphanage teaches what the Church teaches, then the only substantiation you need is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, cases of abuse nonwithstanding.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    “only procreative unions should be recognized”

    It’s not always possible to determine in advance which unions will be “procreative” and which won’t. A couple may marry with every intention of having children or accepting them if they are concieved, but due to circumstances beyond their control, end up not having any and not being able to adopt either.

    Perhaps what you meant to say is that only unions OPEN to procreation should be recognized. This is an essential element of marriage in Catholic teaching. Still, the Church does not bar couples who are physically sterile due to age or other factors from validly marrying. Are you proposing that secular law be “more Catholic than the pope” in this regard?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “It’s not always possible to determine in advance which unions will be “procreative” and which won’t.”

    Granted. We now have the technology to determine which will at least have the capacity for it, do we not? Perhaps a certificate from a doctor offering proof of fertility ought to be required. This couldn’t be done in any century prior to the 20th, but now that it can be, it seems a possibility worth exploring.

    “A couple may marry with every intention of having children or accepting them if they are concieved, but due to circumstances beyond their control, end up not having any and not being able to adopt either.”

    Granted. And in such case of course the sacramental nature of their marriage will not be dissolved. But what of secular benefits?

    “Still, the Church does not bar couples who are physically sterile due to age or other factors from validly marrying.”

    Is this a traditional rule, or is it a modern innovation?

    In any case, I would make this point: the Church can marry whom she pleases. We are here concerned with secular arguments, are we not? Openness to children should be as much a part of secular considerations as they are religious. Under the first amendment, gays can set up their own kooky religion and conduct what kooky ceremonies they desire to celebrate their unions.

    It has already been conceded by most gay marriage advocates that churches should not be forced to marry gays. So they should not be prevented from marrying the infertile, if they like.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Quite right Art as we see in several states where Church agencies handling adoptions have gone out of business after the passage of laws requiring them to process adoptions for homosexual parents. The whole purpose of this gay marriage charade is to coerce people and institutions to accept the gay lifestyle. In the name of tolerance the Church will eventually be compelled by some state legislature to perform gay marriages within the next twenty years. The Church will not bow to this and coercion will be attempted.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    So Joe, are you suggesting that the secular benefits of ANY marriage (tax deductions, inheritance, insurance coverage, etc.) not kick in until the couple has given birth to, adopted, or become legal guardians of at least one child? Would this consideration also apply to single or divorced parents who bring children of a previous relationship into a new marriage?

    Finally, what about couples whose attempts to have children end in repeated miscarriages or stillbirths — will they still “count” as having procreated even if those children never make it out of the womb?

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    “In the name of tolerance the Church will eventually be compelled by some state legislature to perform gay marriages within the next twenty years.”

    That’s certainly possible, although I don’t think that’s the most likely scenario. After all, the Catholic Church (as well as certain evangelical Protestant churches) has not yet been compelled by secular law to marry divorced persons.

    No, where the real problems will lie is in forcing private citizens and businesses to accommodate same-sex couples in the name of non-discrimination — i.e. landlords will be compelled to rent housing to gay couples, restaurants and banquet halls will be required to host gay marriage receptions, Catholic schools will be sued for not allowing “children” of gay couples to enroll or for firing teachers who marry gay partners, etc. I believe there have already been lawsuits filed against Catholic schools for firing teachers who marry outside the Church, though I don’t know if the plaintiffs have ever won such cases.

  • It contributes to the devaluation, specifically, by sending the message to society, and especially to children, that it is a matter of indifference whether one marries a person of the opposite or the same sex. It’s all “legal” and therefore all socially acceptable and possibly even good (that’s the next logical step, of course – teaching children that it is good to gay marry).

    That still doesn’t explain how gay marriage devalues marriage. How does indifference to gender devalue marriage anymore than indifference to race does? If the value lies in faithfulness to one another than I don’t see the validity of the devaluation claim. If the value lies in procreation than we’re closer to a decent secular argument but we’d still have to show why gay marriage will have a more than marginal negative impact on procreation.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “After all, the Catholic Church (as well as certain evangelical Protestant churches) has not yet been compelled by secular law to marry divorced persons.”

    The motivation is different Elaine. Divorced persons, as a group, have no reason to attempt to compel the Church to sanctify their unions. Far easier for them to either walk away from the Church or simply to continue going to Church and receiving communion anyway. Gay marriage on the other hand has very little to do with marriage and everything to do with compelling acceptance of the gay lifestyle.

    The tolerance that gay marriage advocates have for those who oppose their agenda is exemplified by this “humorous” vido attacking Maggie Gallagher.

    http://www.freedomtomarry.org/blog/entry/video-maggie-gallagher-meets-st.-peter

  • I think you might be allowing rigorous consistence to become too much of a object for its own right if you’re reaching the point of advocating fertility tests for civil marriage.

    To my mind, the thing Judeo-Christian culture has traditionally recognized as marriage is a union between one man and one woman of any age, and that ought to be good enough for us as regards to how our culture continues to recognize marriage.

    (In answer to Joe’s query: Yes, the Church has always recognized marriages even among the infertile — it’s pretty obvious if you’re over a certain age — to be valid, so long as they are physically able to perform the marriage act and consummate the union.)

  • Zach says:

    Darwin – if it’s known before the marriage takes place that one of the candidates is infertile, the marriage cannot take place in a Catholic Church, yes?

    The Church recognizes marriages where the couples are infertile if this is something that is discovered ex post facto, but knowledge of infertility is a disqualifier for a legitimate marriage in the Catholic Church.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Replies all around.

    Elaine,

    “So Joe, are you suggesting that the secular benefits of ANY marriage (tax deductions, inheritance, insurance coverage, etc.) not kick in until the couple has given birth to, adopted, or become legal guardians of at least one child?”

    Perhaps a fertile heterosexual married couple could still have incentives up until a certain point. After all, with the right economic incentives, arguments from economic hardship become less tenable.

    “Would this consideration also apply to single or divorced parents who bring children of a previous relationship into a new marriage?”

    I see no reason why not. Though from a moral standpoint I don’t think single or broken parenthood ought to be rewarded, from a secular social standpoint, a new procreative union is still an objective good.

    “Finally, what about couples whose attempts to have children end in repeated miscarriages or stillbirths — will they still “count” as having procreated even if those children never make it out of the womb?”

    For the purposes of benefits and incentives, no. But I would say they are still privileged enough, by virtue of their efforts to contribute to the good of society, to warrant the label of marriage.

    RR,

    “That still doesn’t explain how gay marriage devalues marriage. How does indifference to gender devalue marriage anymore than indifference to race does?”

    Did I use the phrase “indifference to gender”? I am speaking of indifference to marriage, meaning, indifference to whether one’s marriage is open to life and socially useful, or simply about pleasure, romance, self-fulfillment, or some other concept.

    Indifference to marriage places the best union, and these lesser unions, on the same level in the minds of the young. This is an objective social harm.

    “If the value lies in faithfulness to one another than I don’t see the validity of the devaluation claim. If the value lies in procreation than we’re closer to a decent secular argument but we’d still have to show why gay marriage will have a more than marginal negative impact on procreation.”

    The value lies in both. If marriage is a matter of personal fulfillment and unrestricted individual “rights”, then its permanent value is undermined. Why get married? Why stay married? Society has proclaimed that marriage is about you, the individual, and your arbitrary preferences. That isn’t harmful to marriage?

    As to the second point, there’s certainly a correlation between increasing acceptance of homosexuality and declining birth, marriage, and legitimacy rates. Many factors affect these declining rates, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to hypothesize that indifference to marriage is a contributing factor.

    In any event, if we agree that traditional marriage is the best marriage, then it should have a privileged position.

    Darwin,

    “I think you might be allowing rigorous consistence to become too much of a object for its own right if you’re reaching the point of advocating fertility tests for civil marriage.”

    Perhaps. But if this technology was somehow available to earlier societies, don’t you think it would have been used to that end?

    “so long as they are physically able to perform the marriage act and consummate the union”

    Hmm. Well, as I said, the Church’s position isn’t really under consideration here. Personally I think that’s fine. From a secular standpoint, though, I don’t see why an infertile couple should be privileged in the same way a fertile couple is.

  • Joe,

    Perhaps. But if this technology was somehow available to earlier societies, don’t you think it would have been used to that end?

    No, not necessarily. It was pretty common for a man to re-marry if he had children of an age that needed care — and this would at times be a woman who was beyond childbearing age.

    Personally I think that’s fine. From a secular standpoint, though, I don’t see why an infertile couple should be privileged in the same way a fertile couple is.

    Because society is built on male/female mate-pair based households, regardless of whether they succeed in producing children.

    Zach,

    No, impotence (as in, physical inability to perform the sexual act) known ahead of time is a bar to marriage, but infertility is not.

    Can. 1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage:3/ those who are not able to assume the essential obligations of marriage for causes of a psychic nature.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “Because society is built on male/female mate-pair based households, regardless of whether they succeed in producing children.”

    I don’t see how that assertion can be justified on purely secular grounds. If we remove children from the picture, what is left of the secular argument?

  • I don’t see how that assertion can be justified on purely secular grounds. If we remove children from the picture, what is left of the secular argument?

    Well, I certainly don’t think we can remove children from the picture, I just think that fertility is necessary in every single instance for it to be valid. Personally, I think it’s valid to assert that since the human species is perpetuated via sexual activity between male female pairs, that an official social structure should exist for all such relationships.

    Now, I’ll proviso this with:

    a) I’m more into biological realism than most people seem to be.
    b) I have not found this to be particularly persuasive with those who favor gay marriage.

    On the other hand, my impression is that no argument is particularly persuasive with those who already favor gay marriage.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    “If we remove children from the picture, what is left of the secular argument?”

    Well, there is plenty of evidence that marriage, in and of itself, makes men, especially, more stable, productive and responsible citizens. If you don’t think so, just look at societies like China which are overrun with single men (due to the one-child policy and rampant abortion and infanticide of females).

    Ah, but wouldn’t gay marriage have the same effect? Nope. Men and women both become more grounded, I think, from the influence of the OPPOSITE sex.

  • CT says:

    A male/female couple even if infertile can still provide a safe and loving home for children through adoption. A pre-marital fertility test strikes me as draconian in that few people are truly sterile and even people with severely impaired fertility have achieved pregnancies. How impaired would one’s fertility have to be to warrant a denial of marriage? I agree with the previous poster that a male-female marriage that is open to procreation/adoption etc. is still beneficial to society and children and worthy of the privilege of marriage.

  • cminor says:

    You know Joe, if you take the evolutionary view of marriage–that it’s an adaptive response to a selective pressure on a population (namely, ensuring that the population at least replaces itself by increasing the likelihood that nursing mothers and young children will survive to their next or first shot at reproduction) it’s hard to come up with a rationale for same-sex marriage. Might create a new class of anti-evolutionists, though.

    Those of you above who argued that gay marriage promotes fidelity: quite a few studies indicate that gay men, even those in committed long-term
    relationships, are vastly more promiscuous than straight men or women of any sexual orientation. It would require optimism bordering on delusion to propose that marriage (already of limited usefulness in restraining the wandering impulses of many straight men) will improve that condition –and consequently society’s fidelity problem– to any significant degree.

  • Tampadad66 says:

    Mr Hargrave,

    Read through everything and still do not find your argument holds water. My understanding of your argument is:

    1. The only secular value of marriage is procreation.
    2. Allowing gays, because they cannot procreate, to marry will devalue the idea of marriage
    3. Because of this devaluing, heterosexuals will stop marrying and stop procreating.
    4. Society will cease to exist and this calamity is why gay marriage should not be allowed. .

    I find your argument lacking on several points. Most glaringly, society currently assigns a variety of values to marriage. Next time present a logical, well reasoned piece that takes into account the many values secular society grants marriage and than explain how allowing gays to marry will undermine all of those values.
    Don’t cherry pick what you think is valuable. That is not an argument, that is – wishful thinking.

    As a side note: Don’t waffle. If you are going to present an argument do not turn around and erode it with codicils. Your point, as I understand it,”all couplings that do not produce are not marriages” is eroded by your backtracking in your responses.
    “For the purposes of benefits and incentives, no. But I would say they are still privileged enough, by virtue of their efforts to contribute to the good of society, to warrant the label of marriage.” and
    “Well, I don’t think that is necessarily true. Those marriages don’t have to be “abolished”; we can simply stop recognizing new unions that fall into those categories.”
    Well which is it? Either only fertile couples who produce children are in or everyone is.
    If you allow this straight couple and that straight couple to take the title marriage, you are back to square one of explaining why you are denying this gay couple that title? Stick to your guns; otherwise, your argument is weak and not well supported.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    tampadad,

    Your understanding of my argument isn’t complete.

    I wouldn’t say that procreation is the ONLY secular value of marriage – actually raising the children so that they too will procreate is also important. This I contend is more likely to happen in a home where there is a mother and a father.

    I also think you make a bit of a strawman of the rest of the argument. I do believe that gay marriage will further devalue marriage in general, but I don’t claim that it alone will lead to the end of all traditional marriage. It will be yet another contributing factor, possibly a decisive one.

    Collapsing birth rates are a calamity in themselves; degenerating morals and deformed relationships are also serious problems.

    “Next time present a logical, well reasoned piece that takes into account the many values secular society grants marriage and than explain how allowing gays to marry will undermine all of those values.”

    Next time write your own piece. I made it clear at the beginning of this one that the challenge thrown out to gay marriage opponents is to show how it does harm to traditional marriage. That’s all I was interested in, and I think that’s what I did. All you’re really doing here is suggesting that there may be other harms I haven’t considered, and that may be true – that’s why we have comments and discussions.

    Moreover, I didn’t backtrack at all. You quoted me out of context – Elaine asked me about a couple that didn’t know it couldn’t reproduce, and had diligently tried to reproduce. I think that deserves recognition, if not material benefits. Of course it is hard to know who really tried, and who didn’t; assuming we could know, I would say such a couple has earned the right to be called a married couple. Their union began in good faith, and was sustained in good faith. That’s an exception to a rule that I would be willing to allow.

    As for continuing to recognize those infertile couples AFTER the proper understanding of marriage is legally secured, that is a prudential matter, sir. Like I said, it is similar to a reasonable approach to immigration: we can’t deport 20 million people, but we can prevent 20 million more from entering the country. Likewise, it would be impractical and I think unnecessarily cruel to abolish tens of millions of marriages with the stroke of a pen. The aim here is to create a policy that will benefit society; wiping out all of those marriages really wouldn’t do that, would it?

    So I’m not back to square one at all. The policy doesn’t need to be applied retroactively, and exceptions can always be granted. I think a reasonable person can agree.

  • auntybelle says:

    There is no “gay gene” according to the Human genome Project–on which a number of homosexual researchers worked.

    Further, many knowledgeable homosexuals were relieved to learn there was no “gay gene”, lest pre-natal genetic testing reveal the gene to parents who might abort a child with such a gene.

    Homosexuality is the behavior of persons with child and adolescent Gender Identity Disorder. The conditions of the disorder are multiple, but it is essentially a early developmental misstep that can be identified and easily addressed during the toddler years. It is less easily re-directed once a vulnerable child enters puberty and / or has a homosexual initiating experience at pubertal onset. This is why homosexuality winks at an internal, “gay community” cultural norm of preying on 10-14 year olds. Homosexual activity is a learned response to a deeper disorder, it is a temporary comfort to a discomforting emotional deficit. It is not genetic. Definitive studies with separated identical twins proves this long before the Human Genome Project was completed.

    Same sex attraction, preceded by gender identity disorder, can be avoided in 99% of the vulnerable population with proper attention to developmental stages of a child’s life and recognition of the traits of at-risk toddlers.

    With care and education, the incidence of homosexual adults could be as small .05% in two generations.

    Imagine for a moment that a child develops severe Rickets. It is clearly NOT the child’s fault. But He or she is unable to walk properly or to run and participate in sports. Now imagine that society, concerned for the happiness of Rickets sufferers permits a “rickets lifestyle” and demands that Rickets be accorded every benefit that those who walk normally have–including the right to have the rest of society accommodate Rickets based norms of locomotion and make schools add Rickets victims to the sports teams and promote of diversity policies to promote Rickets Pride in the community.

    Imagine further that a Rickets gait based on bone deformity is promoted as the equal of normal walking.

    Of course this is not what happened with Rickets. Instead science found the cause and preventative. Now, one rarely sees a case of severe Rickets in nations where adequate nutrition and education about nutrition is available. Today, severe Rickets is rare in the developed world.

    When we divest homosexuality of the emotional politically correct policies and apply good hard science and medicine and education about the stages of early childhood development to the issue instead, then we will be able to avoid the pain, heartbreak and deep inner sadness of homosexual persons struggling to cope–not cope with a “hateful” society, but to cope with his/ her own unavoidable internal realization that “this is not right, not healthy.”

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    Some countries like France already have incentives to procreate, i.e. “baby bonuses”, generous maternity/paternity leave policies, free well baby care, etc. for the express purpose of raising their dangerously low birthrates. However, the results have not been all that spectacular; birthrates even in countries that offer such incentives remain well below replacement levels.

    The fact of the matter is that as standards of living rise and people start relying on themselves (via IRAs, 401Ks, etc.) or the government (Social Security, pensions) rather than family for care in their old age, they become less inclined to marry and have children. The higher the standard of living becomes, the more you (and your spouse) have to work to sustain it, which makes having children appear to be more of a burden than a benefit. While allowing gay marriage may well accelerate this decline, I’m not so sure that banning gay marriage can reverse it.

  • Kyle Cupp says:

    My agreement with Suderman extends to his speculation that a sufficient number same-sex marriage opponents will examine their opposition, see it as based on intuition, and ultimately change their minds when they cannot justify their intuition to themselves. I do not hold that there are no secular arguments against same-sex marriage, though I’m unsure of how persuasive they are, especially given our contemporary cultural conception of marriage.

    Regarding your argument, I’m not sure how recognizing same-sex marriage in addition to traditional marriage necessitates indifference to the nature and purpose of sexual unions. A person can hold that sexual unions have a biological meaning and see that meaning as important and socially necessary while also holding that the state should encourage and recognize stable, committed relationships among same-sex couples.

    Regarding Catholic marriages, Darwin is correct that infertility, even if known ahead of time, is not an impediment to marriage. Inability to consummate the marriage is.

  • Karen says:

    “We now have the technology to determine which will at least have the capacity for it, do we not? Perhaps a certificate from a doctor offering proof of fertility ought to be required. This couldn’t be done in any century prior to the 20th, but now that it can be, it seems a possibility worth exploring”

    Having gone through 15+ years of infertility with no explanation as to why let me tell you why this statement is just silly:

    1. The only way to determine a man’s fertility is to examine sperm count, usually obtained through mastrubation. This only shows the count, not the ability of the sperm to actually fertilize an egg.

    2. The only way to determine a woman’s fertility is an actual conception. Yes, sonograms will show egg sacs etc. but the only way of knowing if there is an egg inside is if it is fertilized (apart from harvesting the eggs for the purposes of invitro fertilization).

    3. Even if an egg is present there is no way of determining if it is capable of being fertilized unless it is fertilized.

    My doctors, infertility specialists, made those statement.

    So while issuing statements of fertility could possibly be done for men (based on count only) it couldn’t be done for women at this time. Even if tecnology did lead us down that road would we really want to do it? Do we really want the government involved in this? It sounds a lot like China where they issue certificates of pregnancy when a woman is “allowed” to be pregnant.

    As to not giving marital benefits to couples who can’t/won’t conceive that already happens financially through the child tax credit (an incentive to procreation albeit a small one).

    Having children requires self-denial and sacrifice, two things our society is sorely lacking in.

  • j. christian says:

    “…while also holding that the state should encourage and recognize stable, committed relationships among same-sex couples.”

    To what end? Is there social disruption I’m not aware of because gay couples cannot be married? (Private psychic pain does not rise to that level of state interest.) How exactly is the state’s interest furthered by recognizing these as marriages?

    “I’m not sure how recognizing same-sex marriage in addition to traditional marriage necessitates indifference to the nature and purpose of sexual unions.”

    It serves as yet another cultural marker that (1) marriage is not really about children and (2) the sexes are interchangeable, among other bad ideas. I don’t see how a Catholic can argue that culture doesn’t matter; the sad state of marriage today (forget SSM for a moment) has everything to do with a cultural shift (driven by technological and economic factors, to be sure). One can argue for sexual “liberation” or against it, but it is wildly inconsistent not to see how SSM is a fruit of that same tree. Why codify the death spiral of traditional marriage into law? What possible purpose does it serve?

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    j,

    Thank you, sir, for getting my point. I thought I had been terribly unclear.

    Karen,

    You’re right of course. I was trying to think outside the box. I don’t think we need to go that far. I’m testing y’all :)

    I’m fine with the tax credit being wasted on infertile or unwilling couples, frankly, because I think it will do more good than harm.

  • Kyle Cupp says:

    j christian,

    “Is there social disruption I’m not aware of because gay couples cannot be married?”

    I’ve heard the argument that monogamous committed relationships among same-sex couples is more socially beneficial than widespread promiscuity among homosexuals, so the state has an interest in promoting the former so as to see a drop in the latter.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    2/3 of all divorced couples in the US are childless, and gays are already less likely to stay together.

    No one is stopping gays from entering into long-term committed relationships. They don’t “need” to be recognized as married for that – they want it, because they want to be considered equal to hetero couples. We have no obligation to give it to them. We have no obligation to succumb to radical egalitarianism, especially when it will cause social harm.

    Of course people will say, “if gays could raise children, that would stabilize their relationships.” Among the many problems I see with gay parentage, yet another is that all schoolchildren will be forced to accept and even celebrate the gay family. How will we have children with two mommies or two daddies in school with children from normal homes? The alternatives are that the children of the gays get picked on, ridiculed, despised – or all the children are taught that gay families are normal, good, healthy, not essentially different than their own. And this is precisely what is happening in schools all over the country today.

    The first scenario is bad enough, but the second is absolutely unacceptable. I don’t know how we stop it or counter it exactly, but its social harm is beyond question in my mind.

  • Nat says:

    For the gay-parents-lead-to-gay-kids concern, rather than reeling off the studies here, I suggest that you go to this document and look at page 10, which covers them.

    DarwinCatholic has pretty well hit on the “traditional” claim; marriages of post-fertile couples have long gone on, even with concern for kids being part of the motivation (a widowed individual bringing in another parent figure.) The Catholic Church may have had limits on marrying the infertile within the church (or not, I’ve not verified that), but that only applied to Catholics; the church has long recognized marriages between non-Catholics as valid even when done outside of the regulations for Catholic marriage. (And surely we cannot require that the Catholic rules for relgiously-recognized and the governmental rules for civilly-recognized maintain strict alignment, because that would require either the Church being in control of the state or the state being in control of the Church, neither of which should be acceptable for a truly American Catholic.)

    “Who says that they have to marry members of the opposite sex? Who says they have to marry at all?”

    No one says they’ve had to, but basic economics says that if you incentivize it, some will, and we incentivize marriage in so many ways, socially, legally, and financially. You’ve seen it happen, with what you judge to be happy results; I’ve seen it homosexuals marry the opposite sex with disastrous results. Some of your plan seems to rely on simultaneously perfecting the institution and the people, which makes it seem at best quite unlikely to succeed.

    “It now appears to be unjust to deny the word and the benefits to gays. But the answer is to shore up and strengthen the traditional marriage – not to contribute to its further degeneracy.”

    I doubt you’ll be surprised that I don’t agree in your preferred vision. However, even if we take it as a given that your radical redesign over marriage – stripping away civil divorce, and eliminating the possibility of marriage for those who are infertile by choice, infirmity, or age – is preferable, it seems something that is unachievable in our lifetimes, if ever. As such, is not the appropriate thing to do to address the unjust situation you identify now, which is quite achievable, rather than to allow it continue? That would not prevent you from working on the longer-term fix… and of course none of this prevents you from advocating that people enter into lifelong marriages aimed at producing children who are biologically of both spouses, even if other options are available. I know of no one who is campaigning to make same-sex marriage mandatory.

  • Nat says:

    Whoops, I see that the link that was inserted into the previous post didn’t take – the document is at http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting-full.pdf

    “How will we have children with two mommies or two daddies in school with children from normal homes? The alternatives are that the children of the gays get picked on, ridiculed, despised – or all the children are taught that gay families are normal, good, healthy, not essentially different than their own.”

    Of course, the same argument could be made about the kid with two Jewish parents, two Muslim parents, two atheist parents… The real answer is, of course, you should discourage kids from picking on anyone, much less judging them directly by their parents. We should not be hiding kids from the fact that some people live different lives; that’s the real social harm.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “However, even if we take it as a given that your radical redesign over marriage – stripping away civil divorce, and eliminating the possibility of marriage for those who are infertile by choice, infirmity, or age – is preferable, it seems something that is unachievable in our lifetimes, if ever.”

    I don’t claim it is possible to strip away civil divorce. I am against it, opposed to it morally, but that ship has sailed. One day in the future perhaps, but not now, no.

    I do think it is possible to reserve the word “marriage” for traditional, procreative unions, for the purpose of benefits. I think we can do that now.

    Now this doesn’t prevent anyone from going to their voodoo witch doctor, having a ceremony, and calling themselves “married.” But this will not entitle them to a single benefit from the state.

  • Nat says:

    “I do think it is possible to reserve the word “marriage” for traditional, procreative unions, for the purpose of benefits. I think we can do that now. ”

    I suspect you are vastly underestimating the political problems involved in achieving that, due to many people being in or being related to people who are in non-procreative marriages. I can tell you that most of the members of my immediate family are in marriages that are non-procreative, due to age or choice. The age demographic that is the most against same-sex marriage is senior citizens – and plenty of them either never had kids, are on a second marriage entered into after the age of female infertility, or are single and would like to retain the option of entering into such a marriage. As such, it’s hard to see where the political base for your change would come from.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    I’m not pleased with what I wrote before. I think I allowed you to throw me off track. So now I’m going to get back on track. First, I want to address this:

    “No one says they’ve had to, but basic economics says that if you incentivize it, some will, and we incentivize marriage in so many ways, socially, legally, and financially.”

    So what? In my view, this is for the good, secular and religious if they care at all about their souls.

    “You’ve seen it happen, with what you judge to be happy results; I’ve seen it homosexuals marry the opposite sex with disastrous results.”

    A lot of marriages aren’t very happy. It would be better for parents to fake it ’till they make it than “be true to themselves” or whatever nonsense they use to justify it. Remember, we were talking about gays who already have kids. That means they have responsibilities. It means they have to make sacrifices. A lot of heteroes marry men or women they don’t love because they knocked up or got knocked up. Where do you think the shotgun wedding comes from?

    “Some of your plan seems to rely on simultaneously perfecting the institution and the people, which makes it seem at best quite unlikely to succeed.”

    I don’t know what you mean by that.

    ” The real answer is, of course, you should discourage kids from picking on anyone, much less judging them directly by their parents. We should not be hiding kids from the fact that some people live different lives; that’s the real social harm.”

    Sure, but all of our discouragement won’t make sense if we simultaneously teach our children that homosexuality is immoral or – for heaven’s sake, we want to keep it secular – socially undesirable and harmful. In truth I view homosexuality as an unfortunate psychological illness, and I think it was removed from the list of mental disorders for politically correct reasons.

    But to be consistent, I think most people have at least one mental disorder. None of them are helpful to society, but then, few of them are ever elevated to lifestyles that must be protected and recognized and celebrated and embraced upon pain of being label a hateful bigot.

    “I suspect you are vastly underestimating the political problems involved in achieving that, due to many people being in or being related to people who are in non-procreative marriages.”

    I don’t think I am. I think you may be partially right, but at the same time, I don’t think old people, even the kinds you describe, would necessarily oppose my idea. I think it may be you who underestimates the willingness of people to vote for the common good. I don’t claim it is a great and unerring willingness, but perhaps greater than you imagine.

    Finally, if you’re right, I don’t care anyway. I will support the unfair status quo before I ever acquiesce to legalized gay marriage. I wanted to put forward my ideal scenario, what I thought would be fair if I could have my way, because Andrew Sullivan has a point. But that point, in the end, is not compelling enough for me. “Fairness” and “egalitarianism” are in my view irrational, deformed religions in their own right, especially in their radical forms. And they are ultimately the foundation for this demand – “we want to be equal”. Well, you’re not equal. Not in nature, not in the true religion, and not in terms of social contribution. You’re the victims of a mental disorder that our diseased, cowardly ruling elites have become too terrified and self-loathing to firmly deal with.

    But the people are still willing to, through their vote. And thank God for that.

  • c matt says:

    Ignoring all moral considerations, what it boils down to is that, on their best day, the SSM advocates can make some secular argument in support, but there are just as good secular arguments against. Which is why to the extent the government is to recognize SSM, it should be through the voting booth, not the courts.

  • mundabor says:

    I think this is all rather a quaestio de lana caprina.

    Homosexuality is a perversion. The discussion whether homosexuality be “damaging” to anyone only makes sense in a world in which there is no religion. That is, it doesn’t really make sense.

    Until Christianity exists, homosexuality will be opposed by Christians (and most other religious affiliates) because of what Christianity says about it and will be opposed by a bigger or smaller number non non-Believers according to what is popular at the time among them. Nazi and Commie regimes will condemn homosexuality, liberals and perverts will approve it.

    But in the end, the opposition to homosexuality will be a religious one as only the religious motivation moves people not only not to do what is disgusting, but to want to avoid that others do it.

    I always refuse to consider homosexuality under any other aspect than the religious one. It just takes the attention away from the real argument.

    M

  • Nat says:

    “A lot of marriages aren’t very happy. It would be better for parents to fake it ’till they make it than “be true to themselves” or whatever nonsense they use to justify it.”

    Seems to me that they might be better not to be put in a position of faking it in the first place. You may think a lot of fraud is for the social good, but it is quite easy to disagree.

    “I think it may be you who underestimates the willingness of people to vote for the common good.”

    I think plenty of people vote for what they see as the common good. I doubt you’ll be effective at convincing many people who see themselves and others gaining much from the advantages in stability which come from marriage that stripping people like them from access to these advantages will be in the “common good”.

    ““Some of your plan seems to rely on simultaneously perfecting the institution and the people, which makes it seem at best quite unlikely to succeed.” I don’t know what you mean by that. ”

    You want a “perfect” form of mixed-sex must-breed no-divorce marriage, and then act as though there should be no consideration for damages because the perfect homosexual will fake it until they make it. In order to judge the effects of the radical experiment you desire, we’d have to expect that people will not respond as you optimally desire them to.

    “Sure, but all of our discouragement won’t make sense if we simultaneously teach our children that homosexuality is immoral or – for heaven’s sake, we want to keep it secular – socially undesirable and harmful. ”

    It might make sense, if only you had some basis for arguing that one can hate the sin but still love the sinner… now I wonder where we could find that source? Perhaps that may be the more important lesson to teach them first, before teaching them how to identify the sinners and their kids? Or maybe that it’s more important to worry about the beam in their own eye than the mote in another’s?

    “Well, you’re not equal. Not in nature, not in the true religion, and not in terms of social contribution.”

    Yes, it’s amazing how many times I’ve heard that about homosexuals. Oh, and Jews. And black folks. And….

    But I see it comes back again to your desire to make the world conform to your religious viewpoint – which is understandable but not to be expected, until you win them all over to your religion.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Nat,

    “Seems to me that they might be better not to be put in a position of faking it in the first place. You may think a lot of fraud is for the social good, but it is quite easy to disagree.”

    This is an abuse of language. I did not suggest “fraud”. “Fake it ’till you make it” is I suppose a rather simplistic way of saying: even though this not your preference, live with it until you learn to accept and perhaps even like it for the sake of a greater good (your children, to whom you are responsible). That isn’t fraud. It’s responsible adulthood.

    “I doubt you’ll be effective at convincing many people who see themselves and others gaining much from the advantages in stability which come from marriage that stripping people like them from access to these advantages will be in the “common good”.”

    I propose to take nothing away from anyone who genuinely needs or deserves it. But it is manifest that a couple incapable or unwilling of having children does not need, and does not deserve, the same benefits as a couple that does. Anyone who thinks the opposite is not thinking of the common good, but themselves.

    “You want a “perfect” form of mixed-sex must-breed no-divorce marriage, and then act as though there should be no consideration for damages because the perfect homosexual will fake it until they make it.”

    I refer you to the earlier point. Marriage isn’t about romantic love or self-fulfillment. If that’s what a person wants, then they can co-habitate, and/or have some witch doctor or pagan high priestess or whatever looney-toons false religious minister declare them “married”.

    They don’t need to be married in the eyes of the state. They only want to be, to be “equal” with couples who are willing and able to form natural families. They do not deserve this equality.

    And please stop adding “no divorce.” That isn’t part of this particular deal.

    “It might make sense, if only you had some basis for arguing that one can hate the sin but still love the sinner… now I wonder where we could find that source?”

    You and I might agree to that. But unfortunately the politically correct gendarmes don’t see it that way; to teach that an act is immoral is to teach that the people who do it are immoral. To deride a moral act is to deride a person. It is to “spread hate and intolerance.” That is how they see it.

    “Yes, it’s amazing how many times I’ve heard that about homosexuals. Oh, and Jews. And black folks. And….”

    We are speaking of relationships, not individuals. It is the male/female marriage bond open to parenthood that is superior to all other relations. If we can teach people to love the sinner and hate the sin, we can teach them that inequality in relations does not necessarily mean inequality among individuals.

    “But I see it comes back again to your desire to make the world conform to your religious viewpoint”

    If it can be done without explicit reference to that view point, then it is no different than any other political argument. You may not see radical egalitarianism as a religion, but I do. They may not see that natural law and conservative common sense can be secular arguments, but they can.

  • Nat says:

    “I refer you to the earlier point. Marriage isn’t about romantic love or self-fulfillment.”

    Marriage is about many things. You may wish to redefine it otherwise, of course.

    “They don’t need to be married in the eyes of the state.”

    Unless, of course, if what they is to create the legal bond of mutual responsibility, which serves society well because it means there are a lot fewer people without support, without someone having the legal right to make decisions on their behalf when they are incapacitated. That social good seems to have escaped you in your insistence that there is only one valid type of social good in marriage.

    “But unfortunately the politically correct gendarmes don’t see it that way;”

    “To deride a moral act is to deride a person. It is to “spread hate and intolerance.” That is how they see it. ”

    Apparently, that’s how you see it as well, as you position that if you teach homosexuality is immoral, it will cause “the children of the gays [to] get picked on, ridiculed, despised”. Teaching the immmorality gets people – not even people committing the sin, we should note – to be “despised”; sounds like spreading hatred to me.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “Marriage is about many things. You may wish to redefine it otherwise, of course.”

    Differently than “many things”? Huh? From a secular standpoint, the primary and essential (not exclusive – surely you know the difference) purpose of marriage is the eventual family that grows from it.

    What do you mean by “without support”? And why does a mere contract between two people bestowing one with the ability to “make decisions on their behalf when they are incapacitated” have to rise to the level of marriage? Let that contract be made between any two or more people who care to create it. I don’t see why marriage should have anything to do with it.

    I can’t imagine, for instance, too many battered wives wanting their husbands to be able to make decisions about their health when they are incapacitated by beatings from those same husbands.

    “that’s how you see it as well, as you position that if you teach homosexuality is immoral, it will cause “the children of the gays [to] get picked on, ridiculed, despised”.”

    I think young children see things in black and white, whether we like that or not.

    I would rather they learn nothing about it at all until they are old enough to make subtle distinctions, and that no child ever be raised by gay “parents”.

    Unfortunately, public schools dominated by left-wing fascists insist upon uprooting and undermining everything that a child might learn at home that does not completely align with their agendas.

  • Nat says:

    “And why does a mere contract between two people bestowing one with the ability to “make decisions on their behalf when they are incapacitated” have to rise to the level of marriage?”

    That’s what civil marriage basically is – a system of creating mutual responsibility and dependence.

    “Let that contract be made between any two or more people who care to create it.”

    Plenty have tried, but in too many cases to sad and disastrous results. Next-of-kin status is something that is understood and recognized immediately. In an emergency situation, there is unlikely to be someone involved who can quickly judge the content, intent, and validity of a document even if you happen to be carrying it with you.

    “I can’t imagine, for instance, too many battered wives wanting their husbands to be able to make decisions about their health when they are incapacitated by beatings from those same husbands.”

    Which is why the law can make conditional exceptions. Who do you expect to be making decisions for the incapacitated if not their next of kin? Or does your redesigned marriage plan include not giving spouses next-of-kin status?

    “Unfortunately, public schools dominated by left-wing fascists insist upon uprooting and undermining everything that a child might learn at home that does not completely align with their agendas.”

    This coming from the person who posted that “A child is more likely to assimilate socially necessary beliefs about sexuality, gender and marriage in a Catholic orphanage than in a gay household” — i.e., that it’s better for a child not to have a family than to learn something at home that does not completely align with your agenda.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “That’s what civil marriage basically is – a system of creating mutual responsibility and dependence.”

    That’s neither necessary or sufficient for the historic purpose of marriage, which is parenthood and families.

    If mutual responsibility and dependence is what people want, then draw up contracts and call it something else. Problem solved. But it isn’t about that. It is about “gay equality.” They want to change how others view them.

    “Plenty have tried, but in too many cases to sad and disastrous results.”

    If there is a valid contract, then those who have been wronged by a failure to recognize it should take their case to the courts. Enough lawsuits will change the behavior of those responsible for honoring those contracts in those situations – as it does in many other cases. Hopsitals would probably rather spend the time and money training staff to honor such contracts than face an endless barrage of lawsuits, don’t you think?

    ” it’s better for a child not to have a family than to learn something at home that does not completely align with your agenda.”

    We were talking about orphans, not children being raised in a proper home.

  • Nat says:

    “That’s neither necessary or sufficient for the historic purpose of marriage, which is parenthood and families.”

    That is far simpler than the rich history of marriage suggests… and even in catechism we find more purpose than that (“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring” – emphasis mine.)

    “If there is a valid contract, then those who have been wronged by a failure to recognize it should take their case to the courts.”

    Yes, they should.

    “Hopsitals would probably rather spend the time and money training staff to honor such contracts than face an endless barrage of lawsuits, don’t you think? ”

    I think hospital costs are high enough without having to add a pile of lawsuits and a resultant need to have a lawyer available for the emergency room at all times, don’t you?

    “We were talking about orphans, not children being raised in a proper home.”

    Actually, we were talking about getting them in a proper home rather than raising them in an orphanage.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    This is too good to be true. The whole point of this exercise was to counter the claim that the only grounds for opposition to gay marriage are rooted in religion – and here you are quoting the Catechism at me!

    If you think I disagree with what it says, you’re wrong. But if we’re challenged to make secular arguments, we can’t refer to the Catechism can we now, you bigoted theocratic fascist you.

    A lesson in logic: the good of spouses as understood by modern hedonistic man is a necessary but not sufficient condition for marriage. “Good” means something different to Catholics. The good of their souls, for instance, which cannot be served in a homosexual union. If you’re going to go to the Catechism, in other words, you can’t define good as modern hedonism goes (i.e. “I’m free to live however I like! Yay me!”)

    “I think hospital costs are high enough without having to add a pile of lawsuits and a resultant need to have a lawyer available for the emergency room at all times, don’t you?”

    I don’t see why it should be that difficult. Surely there is some way we can streamline the process – a “next of kin” or “legal medical guardian” card or paper or something that hospital staff honor as valid. Or something else.

    “Actually, we were talking about getting them in a proper home rather than raising them in an orphanage”

    And I maintain that a gay home is not a proper home, from a religious and secular standpoint.

  • TheHx says:

    How’s this. Mind your own damn business. Who cares what YOU view as a proper home. YOU are not God. YOU are not in charge of OTHER people’s lives. So shut your yapping mouth and mind your own business. Busy body idiots.. sheesh. You people are nuts.

  • Nat says:

    “The whole point of this exercise was to counter the claim that the only grounds for opposition to gay marriage are rooted in religion – and here you are quoting the Catechism at me!”

    Yes, to point out that your assumptions, which do not match the real world, do not even match the world as painted by the religion to which you adhere. It was not presented to suggest that Roman Catholicism supports gay marriage – it quite provably doesn’t – but merely that what you simply present as fact is not simply a fact.

    But that does get to a basic difference between religious-based logic and secular logic. Religious logic, particularly when grounded in a hierarchical religion such as Catholicism, has a much simpler sense of authority. In a discussion among genuine RC adherents, one can note that scripture says “X”, or that catechism says “X”, or any of a number of other official sources says “X”, and then for discussion, X is true. There may be questions about how X applies to a given matter, but that base of X is there to work from, not to be questioned. In proper secular logic, all authority can be questioned, both on the source of their information and the quality of their analysis.

    In the case of your “secular” arguments, you rely heavily on your assumptions. When you state “the historic purpose of marriage [...] is parenthood and families”, you are appearing what is at best your own analysis, one which is at odds with every sociological (as opposed to religious or political) analysis of marriage I’ve ever seen, which point to a range of purposes that have been served historically by marriage. When you say that same-sex headed families would not teach their children proper gender roles, you are making multiple assumptions, both about what “proper” gender roles are and about whether a same-sex-headed family would teach them. Your assumptions are of course grounded in your beliefs, and Catholicism is so strong a core of your belief that we cannot separate it out, cannot say “well, even if this is an assumption, it is at least a secularly-motivated one, not influenced by religion.”

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    “Yes, to point out that your assumptions, which do not match the real world, do not even match the world as painted by the religion to which you adhere.”

    Well, first of all, they do match the real world, and secondly they do match the religion to which I adhere. You’re completely wrong, and I already explained why – your conception of the “good of the spouses” is not the same as the Church’s, which can never be considered a feature of gay “marriage”. But if asserting things as if that makes them true is your thing, keep at it.

    Your distinction between “religious logic” and “secular logic” is complete nonsense. Read some Aquinas. Read some basic Catholic moral theology. There is no moral teaching that isn’t based in reason, there are no arbitrary commands. Those belong to “secular” philosopher kings like Josef Stalin or Pol Pot. Oh wait – maybe their secular logic wasn’t “proper.”

    As if “secularists” don’t become hysterical and invoke arbitrary principles such as radical egalitarianism, political correctness, and other deranged beliefs with all of the airs and presumptions of a 2000 year old religion, but with none of the wisdom or any of the love.

    “odds with every sociological (as opposed to religious or political) analysis of marriage I’ve ever seen, which point to a range of purposes that have been served historically by marriage.”

    I never denied a range of purposes – I said it was the primary purpose. Or if I didn’t say that, allow me to clarify – it is the primary purpose. It is the necessary and sufficient condition for marriage. Show me the sociological studies that contradict that.

    The only ones you’d probably find are those that have now “discovered” gay families, which “proves” that marriage isn’t about children after all! How convenient.

    “When you say that same-sex headed families would not teach their children proper gender roles, you are making multiple assumptions, both about what “proper” gender roles are and about whether a same-sex-headed family would teach them. ”

    You’re darn right I have beliefs about what proper gender roles are. If boys and girls are not correctly socialized, they may not become functional members of society.

    But these beliefs, I would hold, without religion. You don’t seem to get that. If I weren’t religious, I’d probably be even further to the right than I already am. I could go much further from a pre-Christian, pagan natural law perspective, which would be infinitely more healthy for any society than the radical egalitarian dreck served up by the radical left.

    You don’t seem to get that either – that radical egalitarianism is a truly irrational religion. Much of what the Church teaches morally is based as much in Aristotle as it is in the prophets and the saints. That said, I don’t think you want to see natural law apart from its Christian influence. I don’t think you want to see pure and perfect secular logic apart from the influence of Christ and his Church. Because let me tell you, it doesn’t support radical egalitarianism.

    As for my assumptions about what same sex families teach their children, or how they influence them anyway (which is often more important) – I already cited a study which shows the harmful effects. So it isn’t really an assumption at all.

  • Nat says:

    Let’s see: I’m “completely wrong” when I disagree with your suggestion that marriage only has one historic purpose (“That’s neither necessary or sufficient for the historic purpose of marriage, which is parenthood and families”), but then you backpedal away from your own claim (“I never denied a range of purposes – I said it was the primary purpose. Or if I didn’t say that, allow me to clarify – it is the primary purpose.”) Sure doesn’t sound like I was completely wrong. Or if you’re trying to claim that I was wrong about what the Catechism means by “good of the spouses”, you may want to look at what I’ve actually said, which was just to indicate that it was something that wasn’t itself procreation.

    “You don’t seem to get that either – that radical egalitarianism is a truly irrational religion.” I really don’t see what “radical egalitarianism” has to do with the central question here; perhaps that comes from not being a radical egalitarian myself. There is nothing “Radical” about support for legalization of same-sex marriage; depending on the poll and the wording of the question, support runs anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the American populace; hardly radical. And belief that same-sex couples should have the same access to marriage as infertile mixed-sex couples is no more egalitarian than your own beliefs, because it actually is your own belief; we just differ over whether it is best achieved by recognizing more rights for same-sex couples or your more radical plan to recognize fewer rights for the infertile mixed-sex couple.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Nat,

    If all you can do at this point is hair-split my language, you’ve lost the argument. I haven’t “backpedaled” – I clarified my position to you. To assume anything else is dishonest. You were completely wrong, and still are.

    Secondly, what the Catechism says is only relevant if we are considering the validity of religious arguments – you invoked it not to show “something other than procreation”, but to attempt to show that I am somehow contradicting my own religion, which is nonsense.

    I’m not going to fall into that trap. On purely secular grounds, procreation (and what follows from it, the raising of socially functional adults) is the primary purpose of marriage.

    ” I really don’t see what “radical egalitarianism” has to do with the central question here”

    It has everything to do with it, as I have explained dozens of times: the primary reason gays want legal recognition of their unions as marriage is to be “the same” as heterosexuals. They say it is about “equal rights.” That is radical egalitarianism – it is egalitarian because it is demanding equality, and it is radical because it undermines the most important social institution.

    “Radical” is not defined by the number of people who do or not subscribe to a view. You’re thinking of fringe or marginalized views. Not the same thing. The word “radical” comes from the Latin word “radix” which means “root” – a radical wants to uproot something and change it, and plant a new root. It matters not if they make up 1% or 99% of the population.

    To say my beliefs are egalitarian is simply absurd. I believe in a clear hierarchy of social relations, in which heterosexual monogamy is at the top, heterosexual polygamy might be below, other acceptable forms may be below, and homosexual “marriage” absolutely and forever banned from society, along with the marriage of those below a certain age to adults, or the marriage of men and beasts.

  • Nat says:

    “I haven’t “backpedaled” – I clarified my position to you. ”
    Yup, you “clarified” it by making a claim that contradicted your earlier one… that’s what “backpedaling” is.

    “You were completely wrong, and still are. ”

    When you cannot point to what was “completely wrong” , but still insist on making that your claim, well, that’s the sound of you losing the argument.

    So what was I completely wrong about? That procreation is not the sole purpose of marriage, which you backpedaled into agreement with? Or is it “my” interpretation of “the good of the spouses” that you invented on my behalf?

    “as I have explained dozens of times: the primary reason gays want legal recognition of their unions as marriage is to be “the same” as heterosexuals.”

    I understand that you have said that repeatedly. Repetition doesn’t make it correct.

    “a radical wants to uproot something and change it, and plant a new root.”

    Funny, I’ve not seen many serious gay marriage arguments that want to uproot marriage. Hanging something new on a tree does not require uprooting. In all the discussions on this I’ve seen, the one who has come the closest to wanting to uproot things is you.

    “To say my beliefs are egalitarian is simply absurd.”

    I never said your beliefs were egalitarian.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    Nat,

    “Yup, you “clarified” it by making a claim that contradicted your earlier one… that’s what “backpedaling” is.”

    I did no such thing. Now you’re lying, or, you’re too dense to understand the proper meaning of words.

    I originally said that marriage had a “historic” purpose, and I later clarified that it was the primary purpose. “Primary” would only be a contradiction if I had previously said “sole” or “only.”

    To say that something has a primary purpose is not to say that it has a sole purpose. Primary means first. First does not exclude second, third, forth, etc.

    I don’t believe you are so stupid as to not understand that.

    “When you cannot point to what was “completely wrong””

    Again, you are lying.

    You said, above:

    “Yes, to point out that your assumptions… do not even match the world as painted by the religion to which you adhere.”

    I responded:

    “Well, first of all, they do match the real world, and secondly they do match the religion to which I adhere. You’re completely wrong, and I already explained why”

    That explanation was:

    “if we’re challenged to make secular arguments, we can’t refer to the Catechism”

    Conclusion: you are a liar.

    Moreover, I did not “invent” a position for you on the good of spouses. I simply clarified what a Catholic believes is good. You lied again.

    If you don’t understand how radical egalitarianism motivates the campaign for gay marriage, then you are simply ignorant.

    “Funny, I’ve not seen many serious gay marriage arguments that want to uproot marriage.”

    What they “want” is irrelevant – what will actually happen is the topic. And I explained why gay marriage threatens traditional marriage, not “marriage” as such, in the post.

    “I never said your beliefs were egalitarian.”

    You said:

    “belief that same-sex couples should have the same access to marriage as infertile mixed-sex couples is no more egalitarian than your own beliefs,”

    Implying that my beliefs are egalitarian.

    You’re done here.

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