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A Marriage License Should Be More Like A Driver's License
I've said this for years. Here, from one of my very old old columns, Will You Bury Me?, the pretend approach:

Treat your marriage license like a driver’s license -- renewable every couple of years -- and you might be inspired to put as much effort into your marriage as you did into making the guy propose.

And from one of my slightly less old columns, Holding On For Dear Wife, the comprehensive plan:

I’ve always thought a marriage license should be like a driver’s license, renewable every five years or so. If your spouse engages in weapons-grade nagging or starts saving sex for special occasions -- like leap year -- well, at the end of the term, give them bus fare and a change of clothes, and send them on their way. But, what about the chi-l-l-ldren?! Maybe people who want them should sign up for a “delivery room to dorm room” plan, with an option to renew. It’s counterproductive to preserve some abusive or unhealthy family situation, but maybe more people would buck up and make parenting their priority if they knew they just had to get through 18 years on family track: “We’re very sorry you’re in love with your secretary, but there are children involved, so zip up your pants and take the daddy place at the dinner table.”

Some people do have to settle. They’re afraid to be alone, or they aren’t brave or creative enough to thumb their nose at convention, or it’s closing time in the egg aisle, and if it’s male and willing, they’ll take it. According to your friend’s father, “it doesn’t matter who you marry.” Maybe it didn’t matter to him because he’s one of those guys who really just wants a tidy house, regular sex, and hot meals -- and he never figured out he could come close with carryout food, topless bars, and a cleaning lady. Do you have what it takes to hold out for a woman who really lights you up? You might -- providing you don’t need another half to be whole. If you let this girl go, you may feel empty, bored, and lonely for a while -- but it beats marrying her and feeling that way for a lifetime. Maybe you can’t order up “happily ever after,” but if you try for “realistically ever after,” you might find “happily ever now.”

A German politician is coming around to my way of thinking. Madeline Chambers writes for Reuters:

Bavaria's most glamorous politician -- a flame-haired motorcyclist who helped bring down state premier Edmund Stoiber -- has shocked the Catholic state in Germany by suggesting marriage should last just 7 years. Gabriele Pauli, who poses on her web site in motorcycle leathers, is standing for the leadership of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) -- sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) -- in a vote next week.

She told reporters at the launch of her campaign manifesto on Wednesday she wanted marriage to expire after seven years and accused the CSU, which promotes traditional family values, of nurturing ideals of marriage which are wide of the mark.

"The basic approach is wrong ... many marriages last just because people believe they are safe," she told reporters. "My suggestion is that marriages expire after seven years."

After that time, couples should either agree to extend their marriage or it should be automatically dissolved, she said.

This means women would be less predisposed to take a life shortcut they often do -- being all about "Who am I with?" instead of "Who am I?", per my more recent column, Bridget Jones' Diarrhea (which some papers that use my headlines called "Quitting Old Turkey" -- my alternate title).

Of course, I'm for ending marriage privileging -- special tax breaks and allowances only for people who have longterm committed relationships the church-approved way; for removing religion from marriage (meaning anybody can get married, not anybody the church approves); and having a secondary system more like the PaCs (Pacte Civil de Solidarité) in France -- a form of civil union, but one that's a little more realistic about human nature. For starters, the bond is not assumed to be a lifetime thing. Which, I'm sure, mirrors the actual version of "'til death do us part" a lot of you (formerly) married people actually participated in.

And finally, a little story from Elmore's Christmas party. Gregg and I are very affectionate (no, we're not "doing it" in full view under the mistletoe, but people get that we're into each other). People, like a couple at the party, sometimes ask if we're newlyweds. The answer: Not newly, and not wed. When I told the couple this, they asked if we were getting married. My answer: No, we're very happy, no intention of getting married. Don't believe in marriage. The woman said: "Well, someday you'll meet the right man for you." Uh, what about "you look like newlyweds" seems like it isn't working?

Thanks, Flynne, for the link

Posted by aalkon at September 29, 2007 11:10 AM

Comments

I couldn't agree with you more and cheers to Gabriele Pauli who demonstrates more common sense than most politicians.

I think that couples considering marriage should be issued a learner's permit with a specified time limit. Six months or a year should be enough time to work out all the kinks or decide that the kinks are a bit too kinky. More importantly I think that before you are issued a learner's permit you must attend a course in long term relationships. If you don't pass the course you can't play house.

Now...taking this line of thought a little further (I'm putting on flame retardant clothing) ALL couples, married or not, who consider breeding MUST be required to attend and pass a child rearing course AND pass a psychological evaluation that would determine their competence to bring a new life into this complex world. There are too many chronic breeders out there dropping future sociopaths into society because they are in love....with their fourth or fifth husband/boyfriend. True love this time of course, just like the time before and the time before and the time before...

Posted by: Fred Miller at September 29, 2007 4:02 AM

I appreciate the sentiment about the parenting competency test, but I'm, number one, against state meddling in our lives, and number two, think it would be impossible to enforce. (What do you do, make them abort if they're asshats?)

That said, glad to see you have a sensible approach to partnerships!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 4:18 AM

> Of course, I'm for ending
> marriage privileging --
> special tax breaks and
> allowances only for people
> who have longterm committed
> relationships the church-
> approved way;

...Unless they're gay, and then all the sudden you think it's fair (and fair in the most grade-school sense; "Fair! Fair!"), and critically important.

The gay marriage thread earlier in the week had seemed extinguished, but there was a late flair-up that I missed, and Uninsured Brian fought the good fight. Society is being petitioned for a change in its standards. It's essential to ask: What's in it for us? Marriage is an institution permitted for only selected pairs. What do the rest of us get for the trouble of stretching an ancient, helpful and unimprovable boundary?

When people get married, we want it to mean that certain burdens which the individuals bring to the community will be privately answered thereafter. Ever after. Going for a short-term fix (renewables) begs the question. What do you want out of people? But that's not what you're asking; you're only concerned with what people can take.

In all of these matters, I think you betray an innately lefty, youthful, cynical presumption about civilization; That government is Dad, and Dad (a conniving old white guy, always) keeps all the money in his wallet. So the secret is just to get him to kick out a few ducats for whatever impulse moves us this week... Because after all, he's Dad, and he'll always have more for us if we're cute enough.

But our shared wealth, in the public realm no less than in the religious institutions, isn't generated by some cosmic midnight voodoo ceremony in the mints of Philadelphia and Denver, and certainly not in the basement of Los Angeles City Hall. All that money (and the goodwill, for that matter) is taken from people, essentially at gunpoint. So when you peevishly decide that there are some darling little boys and girls who need some more --Just because! Because it would be fair!-- then that value has to come from somebody. And that somebody probably had other, better plans for it.

I think the problem with Western Civ isn't that poor wretches can't get enough value out of it; it's that the work of putting value in is presumed always to belong to someone else.

And this is a very, very strange hour to be looking to Europe for guidance in matters of public finance.

Posted by: Crid at September 29, 2007 4:37 AM

Politically, Gabriele Pauli has been in a very difficult position after her open confrontation with Edmund Stoiber. Therefore, her suggestions on marriage are regarded as a publicity stunt by a lot of people over here in Germany. I think she's right, though. (If this became a law, my girlfriend of six years who is not reading this would be very astonished at the sheer speed of me asking her...)

Posted by: Rainer at September 29, 2007 5:16 AM

...Unless they're gay, and then all the sudden you think it's fair (and fair in the most grade-school sense; "Fair! Fair!"), and critically important.

I'm for ending all marriage privileging, but as long as the heteros get it, the homos should get it, too.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 5:28 AM

I'm back. I think it's actually the antithesis of leftythink to stop giving people prezzies (in the form of rights and benefits) because they do it the church way, and deny those rights to others who are not church-approved in their behavior. I'm stumping for a secular state instead of a superstition-driven one.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 5:53 AM

Crid, you wield a sword of fine edge. Amy had me very nearly conviced until I read your reply and you are quite right. But you are coy, hardly a manly quality.

I'd still like to hear more about "all morally aligned people" whom you mentioned on a previous thread. And since marriage is all about morals, this seems like a good place.

Who are these morally aligned people?
Do they make society better or worse?
How did they get morally aligned?
What are society's obligations toward the morally aligned? (to observe and respect their values or "cure" them?)

Red Ree mentioned the Tao on the previous thread. C.S. Lewis used this term in "The Abolition of Man" to describe the common elements of various faiths such as "do unto others as you'd have done unto you." Should that "tao" be considered in matters of law?

Posted by: martin at September 29, 2007 6:00 AM

On the contrary, Crid (sorry - keep getting interrupted, as I'm still at the conference in Savannah), you're the one who takes the nanny approach, not me.

When people get married, we want it to mean that certain burdens which the individuals bring to the community will be privately answered thereafter.

Which burdens are you talking about?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 6:30 AM

FAVORS the nanny approach.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 6:31 AM

"The woman said: "Well, someday you'll meet the right man for you.""

GAH! I hope the Goddess did a little smiting for that one. How rude! People just don't get it, do they. One time I told a co-worker I didn't want to have kids, and she said I'd want kids if I found the right man. I was like, no, the right man for me won't want kids either!

Posted by: Pirate Jo at September 29, 2007 6:45 AM

...ALL couples, married or not, who consider breeding MUST be required to attend and pass a child rearing course AND pass a psychological evaluation that would determine their competence to bring a new life into this complex world.

But instead of this, it's when you get divorced that the court imposes a parenting class on you - to try to get you to understand that after the divorce, both parents have obligations to their children! As in, no doing things together as a family so as not to give the poor little children *gag* false hope! Oh jeez don't get me started...o_O

Posted by: Flynne at September 29, 2007 6:53 AM

I do think, as long as one is not required to have a license to raise underparented children (as so many are), one should not be required to have a license to, say, arrange flowers.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 7:05 AM

Amy - You just don't want to get it. Children, as much as I despise them, are necessary for civilization to continue. And if we're going to have a government that keeps handing out goodies, we better make with the babies real quick, or we're gonna run out of people to steal from to pay for it.

Homosexual couples don't produce new offspring without the intervention of one or more other people. They're cheating. That's not part of the deal the State made when it started issuing marriage licenses.

The 'burdens' that Crid is talking about is the burden of creating, carrying, birthing, raising, educating, and eventually releasing into the world the next generation of producers. You and Gregg have opted out of that burden. No tax breaks for you.

And like PJ, I've been told (after remarking that I can't stand children) "You'll meet the right woman some day, and you'll change your mind". What they don't get is how ANYONE could HATE children. And I hate the little blighters. I am a genetic dead-end. Therefore, I do not deserve any legal or financial benefits from the State, regardless any relationship I may have at any future point.

And to tie this all up in a neat little bow, I fail to see how making marriages expire after seven years benefits anyone. You'll almost certainly end up with a bunch of women who want to stay married "for the children" and men who will take the free pass and get out of Dodge. And then we have all those lovely single mothers and their children on the dole.

Posted by: brian at September 29, 2007 7:10 AM

"One time I told a co-worker I didn't want to have kids, and she said I'd want kids if I found the right man." - Pirate

One time I was talking to my friend's older, newly married sister. She took the guy's last name (a horrid last name, but that's beside the point).
Somehow the conversation steered in a direction in which I mentioned: I don't want to take someone's last name. The sister then said that "when you find the right man, you will want to take his last name." What's w/ these people?!

I don't see how losing part of my identity that I've had my whole life will help create more continuity in the relationship or demonstrate a "proper" level of commitment on my end.

Taking someone's last name, to me, ascribes antiquated values to the relationship which I do not support. These values have roots in old American law: upon marriage a woman, essentially, became a man's property. A woman couldn't own land. If she broke the law HE did the time, etc.

I am completely committed to my man and he is to me. Marriage? Who knows what the future will hold. But I do know two things: I will not take anyone's last name and I will not wear a white friggen dress (reminiscent of a time when a woman's only asset was her undamaged hymen. Ooops, good thing I've got money in mutual funds). Baby blue is my color.

Posted by: Gretchen at September 29, 2007 7:34 AM

Marriage (with the fantasy that it's necesssarily life-long) gives women who go the mother route a false sense of security that giving up their careers (and/or seriously diminish their earning power in the short and longterm) to have children will mean they will be supported by the men they marry, as in the past.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 7:58 AM

For those of you who argue that marriage is...."For the childrennnnn!" ...how about gay parents who have families who can't have the protections of marriage?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 29, 2007 7:59 AM

And from the Bible we can find in Genesis 13:420 -- "and lo, Eve was loathe to bear the child until Adam produced a diamond of wondrous weight, and still refused, lest God smite them with tax penalties disadvantageous to their desire to take on the burden of creating the next generation of producers, thus guaranteeing a constant flow of wealth into the security system, of which there was but one, and its name was Social."

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at September 29, 2007 8:21 AM

Homosexual couples don't produce new offspring without the intervention of one or more other people. They're cheating.

So hetero couples who adopt or utilize sperm banks or egg donors or surrogates are cheating too? Sorry, but that's just a stupid argument.

Posted by: deja pseu at September 29, 2007 8:33 AM

The way I analyze it, from the perspective of the state, marriage is a contract into which some people choose to enter. They agree to share certain responsibilities and obligations, some of which are legally enforceable. Where does gender come into it? Why does the state care? It's a civil contract, and I don't see how the state has any right to prevent adults from entering into a contract with each other.

Posted by: justin case at September 29, 2007 9:21 AM

"What they don't get is how ANYONE could HATE children. And I hate the little blighters."

I think it has something to do with the noises they make. That's a start, anyway. I read a comment made by someone the other day, saying that people are biologically driven to have children, and then there's this "ticking biological clock" thing people talk about. I just don't get it. I have never in my life experienced any desire to have children. Do they mean it's something physical, like being hungry or thirsty?

Like those women who have their timelines all mapped out, who want to make sure they are married by such-and-such age so they can have their kids by such-and-such age, etc. Are they experiencing a physical, biological imperative to have children, or is it more of a cultural thing? It sure does seem like a lot of people have children because they have never considered any other alternative. If you tell someone you don't want kids, a lot of the time the idea seems utterly foreign to them - like it never occurred to them to question it. Yet if you ask them why they HAD children, you will get an "I don't know," response 100% of the time. So does this mean they are having children because of biological urges?

The temptation is to think I am just that much smarter than everyone else - all those dummies out there breeding because they were too stupid to think things over first, while I sit here all smug and superior, having figured out a way to avoid 95% of the problems other people have. I agree with you Brian, most people seem unable to grasp the concept of not wanting kids. But I'm guilty of being just as unable to grasp the concept of wanting them. All I can think of is, WHY? Sounds like nothing but a giant pain in the butt to me.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at September 29, 2007 9:37 AM

PJ, I love my girls, even when they're being the biggest pains in my ass you could ever imagine! Why? Goddess only knows, 'cause I sure don't! And you know I'm not married to their father anymore, so getting married just to have kids is a fallacy. Even getting married because you already have kids is! I mean, if you truly love each other and want to get married and have kids, good for you! And if you don't, good for you too! I think it's just an individual decision when it comes right down to it. There's no right or wrong, and people need to leave each other alone about it. Taj Mahal said (ok, sang) "...aint nobody's business but your own."
I know there's a multitude of people out their who feel they have a right to make it their business, but in all actuality they really don't. Except our esteemed government, who wants to delve even deeper into our lives than they already have a right to. I'm not getting my point across very well, am I? The girls are arguing about who's going to make lunch, so I better go referee! (Gives me something to do, other than sit here, I guess!) o_O

Posted by: Flynne at September 29, 2007 10:13 AM

Hello everyone! This is my first post. I think that Amy's blog and her readers are great and intelligent and probably all very very sexy. But...


Seven year marriage? Coinciding with the seven year itch? What's the point? I don't see how it would be useful in preventing bad parenting. Marriages may come and go, but your parents are your parents forever.


I agree with brian in saying that further mainstreaming of temporary marriages will just further increase single motherhood. For my part, I will be married before I give birth, and I will use every legal means at my disposal to make sure that he fulfills his responsibilities to that child and to me. Full stop.


I don't think that I am unrealistic. I am in a "long term relationship", or "living in sin" or whatever, and I don't see the bloody point of getting hitched until we want to have kids. But then, it is a whole 'nother story. I guess that I have to read more on this subject, because I feel that removing any legal protections a mother might have vis a vis the father seems very dodgy to me.

Posted by: Liz at September 29, 2007 10:20 AM

Flynne -

While my partner and I were separated (seemingly a permanent thing at the time) we had at least one outing a month, together with our son. One of my brothers had done the same thing with his ex-wife and I thought it seemed a reasonable thing to do. I was absolutely blown away when a friend of my partners suggested this might be a bad thing for the five year old. Of course, I discounted it wholesale, when the counselor our son went to, said it was just fine and probably quite healthy for him. Making the point that this showed our son that in spite of the fact that momma and papa don't get along well enough to live together, we love him enough to spend time together with him.

Gee Brian, you wonder why I think you're a nut.

Homosexual couples don't produce new offspring without the intervention of one or more other people. They're cheating. That's not part of the deal the State made when it started issuing marriage licenses.

Bullshit. Marriage licenses had very little to do with reproduction and everything to do with property (which can include children). In our modern society, we include more rights, such as hospital visitation rights and the right to make medical decisions on behalf of spouses. The continuity of the human race, is not a requisite, or do you actually believe that those who are infertile, or beyond childbearing years (such as my widower grandfather, who remarried in his eighties), shouldn't be allowed to marry?

I am a firm believer in the abolition of marriage as a legal institution. I am in favor of a basic, civil contract, that provides certain legal rights, notably, health care decisions and property rights. Not only should these contracts be open to homosexuals, they should also be open to close friends who choose to be domestic partners and family members who do the same.

But with the status quo being what it is, I am a absolute believer in marriage equality. I don't care if they are a same sex couple, there is absolutely no reasonable excuse for restricting their legal rights. Especially as a large and growing number of same sex couples are raising children. Those children deserve the very same legal security that my kid has. Yet in many states, they do not.

I know of one family in particular (Florida) who has been ripped apart, through lack of such security. The child involved is now thirteen and a ward of the state. When she was two, her mother died. Her father had already been with his male partner for over a year. They raised her together, until a year ago, when her natural father died in a car accident. Her other dad, has raised her since before her mother died, been her full time parent for more than ten years. When her natural father died, the state removed her from his custody, to be raised by the state. No visitation, no contact whatsoever. I'd like you to just think about that, how fucked up that is. I'd like you to consider how that child is feeling, having lost one dad to death and the other, shortly after to pure bigotry.

Liz -

...and probably all very very sexy.

Once upon a time, once upon a time. . .

I agree with brian in saying that further mainstreaming of temporary marriages will just further increase single motherhood. For my part, I will be married before I give birth, and I will use every legal means at my disposal to make sure that he fulfills his responsibilities to that child and to me.

But in effect, all marriages are temporary. While some people actually manage to stay together in the longterm, a significant number do not. Making marriages temporary, would provide a much less stressful out, than the horrors of divorce court. Like I said, I don't believe in marriage, but if we're going to have such a beast, it could and should be a lot more sensible than it is now. Another notion that I would like to see, is requiring prenups before people are allowed to get a marriage license. Not making a standard prenup that everyone must follow, just making the requirement that people consider what they both want to come out of the marriage with, if it does end.

Posted by: DuWayne at September 29, 2007 11:27 AM

Go DuWayne!

I don't have time to be perfectly clear with this post, but

today more than ever, there are many combinations of scenarios of loving couples in regards to gender, child-rearing and -custody, property claims and legal and financial protections and responsibilities

complicated by

the intrinsic yearning for a loving relationship to be a transcendent experience prompting many to leave their brains on the shelf

2 things need to happen (and Michael Jackson will be given a license to run a daycare center):

- the government steps up and facilitates the above, rather than advocating for hatemongering asshats, and

- people get smarter about planning their lives by having legal contingencies in place

Posted by: DaveG at September 29, 2007 12:15 PM

A long one. Pour yourself coffee.

> as long as the heteros
> get it,

There it is again, fairness uber alles. This inability to discriminate isn't even turtleneck nihilism... It's a teenage hissyfit. "How come Tyler got an ice cream after school but not me? It's not my fault that band practice ran so late...!"

> giving people prezzies (in
> the form of rights and
> benefits)

Amy, you're obsessed! It's wacky! It's inexplicable! It's crazy-making! You can't acknowledge that the funnel has another end, one where all that good stuff goes into the unit, the larger, sucking dimension which may be more important than that sweet little nozzle.

Y'know... Technologies can be lost. They say the techniques required to build the Panama Canal died within the skulls of its builders in the middle 20th-century. And that after the space race, a newly-impoverished NASA lost the human and paper records of how those huge rockets got made. All that's left are insanely complicated, dangerous designs like the shuttle. (The Soviets/Russians never had the distracting wherewithal to go high-tech, so we've been counting on them for what are called "big, dumb rockets"... Workhorse tools for when it absolutely, positively has to achieve escape velocity.) Hitchens says the Ankara telephone system was understood by one guy, and when he passed away, four million people went out to buy postage stamps all at once. And anyone in the States who's old enough to vote has seen a couple kinds of computer memory vanish in the mist.

I think this is one of those cases where the Western Machine has been working so well for so long that it's human routines have become invisible. Mexicans think Gringos have the money because they're on the part of the continent where all the money happened to be sitting when the borders were drawn... They don't see the years of education and continuing effort and compromising struggle that made so many Americans wealthy. Gays see the fulfillment in marriages of happy straights, but don't see the contractual bonds to the rest of the culture which demand sacrifice.

> hardly a manly quality.

Go fuck yourself. Say something interesting, maybe someone will care.

> you're the one who takes
> the nanny approach, not
> me.

It's not nannyhood, it's coercion. I'm quite happy to put state power behind social norms forms that have improved life in every society in which they've been applied. Dentists are legally required to wash their hands, too. Is that nannydom?

> Which burdens are you
> talking about?

1. It's telling that you have to ask.

2. We've covered this: http://urltea.com/1m8j

3. You really, really ought to pick a team. Otherwise, you're like a prosecutor in a corrupt county courthouse who wants one more payoff from the crime family before he subpoenas the mayor.

> the right man for me
> won't want kids either!

You are soalluring....

> no doing things together
> as a family so as not to
> give the poor little
> children *gag* false hope!

You've seen that happen?

> I've been told (after remarking
> that I can't stand children)
> "You'll meet the right woman
> some day, and you'll change
> your mind".

That's three of us on here. Fifty years ago, we were the normies and gays were the strange ones. Our day will come again.

> I fail to see how making
> marriages expire after
> seven years benefits anyone.

Well, it's not that no one benefits, it's just that the benefit conferred is a trivial convenience, one that happens to flatter the Sarah Jessica Parker sector of a person's emotional life. The civilizations that gave us marriage were hunting bigger game than that.

> I don't see how losing part
> of my identity that I've
> had my whole life will help
> create more continuity in
> the relationship or
> demonstrate a "proper" level
> of commitment on my end.

It looks like you understand perfectly... You just don't like it. Can't imagine why not.

> a false sense of security

We could make that sense less false if we wanted to, by insisting that people take marriage seriously.

> how about gay parents who
> have families who can't
> have the protections of
> marriage?

First, who says they can't? Gays have been marrying members of the opposite sex to have families for a very long time. Second, having two men or two women raise a child strikes some of us as inherently less desirable than giving the kid one of each from the word go.

Amy, you are blind, absolutely blind, deaf and insensate to your own presumptions.

> And from the Bible

Gog, I like what you're getting at, even if we might not agree about much.

> Where does gender come
> into it?

See "squandered awareness," above. It's amazing to have to remind people about this, but men and women aren't the same. It's why most of us have a fundamental preference. I think it's the biggest human distinction. It's bigger than race, faith, or language. Heck, I think it's even more important than height. (That may be a personal judgment.)

> I don't see how the state
> has any right to prevent
> adults from entering into
> a contract with each other.

Because it's a contract with others, not just each other. Amy is explicitly, shamelessly arguing that gays & singles are excluded from a payout, and it really sticks in her craw.

> I think it has something
> to do with the noises
> they make.

Also, the odors. And the expenditures they demand.

> Making marriages temporary,
> would provide a much less
> stressful out,

Civilization has higher aims than "reducing stress."

Posted by: Crid at September 29, 2007 2:18 PM

Am staying totally and completely out of the main argument. However, wanted to comment on this:


But I do know two things: I will not take anyone's last name and I will not wear a white friggen dress (reminiscent of a time when a woman's only asset was her undamaged hymen


Actually, this idea that wedding dresses should be white only dates back to the Victorian era, and it did not originally have anything to do with "purity." The daughters of the nouveau rich merchant class wore white dresses in which to marry in order to show off their wealth. White was very, very difficult to clean, so having made an expensive dress all in white basically said that you were rich enough to commission an expensive article of clothing that you were unlikely to wear again. Everyone below that did what women in the West had traditionally done...i.e. get married in their best clothing. Laura Ingalls Wilder, for example, got married in a black dress.



Anyway, despite what some ignorant idiots might say, all a white dress indicates is that the person wearing it is marrying for the first time. Miss Manners, who is a *real* Victorian (i.e. more shocked by someone RSVPing to an event and not showing up than she is by discreet sexual practices among consenting adults), gets quite cross with anyone who tries to limit white-wedding-dress-wearing to the "pure." By wearing a blue dress, you're actually doing a much better job of following old traditions than the chickadees lined up at David's Bridal debating over train/no train on their strapless white beaded wedding dresses. Especially if you wear the dress again.

This ends our brief diversion into the history o' hitchin'. You can resume the battle now.

Posted by: marion at September 29, 2007 3:51 PM

If Amy can't think of it as harsh oppression by a cartoonish Jerry Falwell type, she doesn't want to hear about it.

(Battle rejoined after a pleasant diversion)

Posted by: Crid at September 29, 2007 4:15 PM

"Because it's a contract with others, not just each other. Amy is explicitly, shamelessly arguing that gays & singles are excluded from a payout, and it really sticks in her craw."

So where do you stand on this, Crid? From what I gather, what sticks in YOUR craw is that ANYONE get any type of payout, because you are thinking about where the payout comes from. I can't say that I disagree - but what payouts do you see married people getting that come at the expense of anyone else? I guess they do get some tax breaks, although I have also heard that there is only a benefit if one person makes a lot more than the other. For two people earning similar incomes, they pay more taxes after they get married than when they filed as singles.

There's the hospital visitation thing, and the medical power of attorney thing, but how do those situations take something away from someone else?

I have found your comments about the preferredness of one-male/one-female parenting to be thought-provoking. I'm not sure where I stand on the issue, myself. I think you have mentioned before that too many children are being raised by women - as in, women alone. A past boyfriend of mine thought that boys raised by single moms with absent dads usually turned into pussies. Maybe he's right - it does seem like the most screwed up kids I have personally known were being raised by single moms. Not that the absent dads gave a crap one way or the other, and I totally agree with past comments you have made where you said you can't just plug a "male role model" into a kid's life like giving him a Vitamin C tablet every morning. In an ideal world, none of those people would be breeding and then screwing up their kids to begin with. But there are some gay and lesbian couples doing a damn good job of raising kids, and that story DuWayne told really bummed me out. If her other dad had been able to keep her, how would that be a "payout" that came at the expense of us taxpaying folks?

Posted by: Pirate Jo at September 29, 2007 4:25 PM

Gretchen, you've inadvertently wandered into one of my pet peeves - brides NOT taking their husband's last name. I generally find your posts interesting and provacative, so I'll try to make this as polite as can be.

"I don't see how losing part of my identity that I've had my whole life will help create more continuity in the relationship or demonstrate a "proper" level of commitment on my end."

*Its not your "identity." Its just your dad's last name. You're starting a new family unit (especially if you have kids). You guys should have the same name. And since the man's name is traditionally the one taken, why not use his? You're subjecting him to the possibility of ridicule (even if its unexpressed) if you don't. The contrary (you taking his name), on the other hand, typically elicits congratulatory chirps from all who notice.

"Taking someone's last name, to me, ascribes antiquated values to the relationship which I do not support. These values have roots in old American law: upon marriage a woman, essentially, became a man's property. A woman couldn't own land. If she broke the law HE did the time, etc."

*First of all, I don't know how accurately you've portrayed "old American law." Women have owned property since pre-Revolutionary days. Many of the New England taverns where independence was first debated were women-owned. And I've never heard of a husband doing his wife's criminal time.

But that aside, the key words you've expressed are "to me." What about what it means to your husband? And the people with whom you surround yourself? When a man marries, he typically gets the short end of the stick - he generally makes more money (half of which the wife is now entitled to) and he has to give up having sex with other women (and please don't tell me its the same for women - biologically, its just not). And hey, that's fine. He knows going in this is the price he is volunteering to pay. But losing your old man's name is a small exchange on your part.

The funny part is that when asked, most women who keep their maiden names always say "well of course the kids will have my husband's name." Like the thought of taking the emasculation that far would just be cruel, even though a woman bears the physical burden of pregnancy. Of course, at this point, the wife is just being selfish for its own sake - building a new family and then excluding herself from it.

I'm sure I'll hear a ton back on this. Here are the preemptive arguments:

"That's just society's bullshit!" - yes it is. If we lived in South America, I'd be buying into that society's bullshit and combining names with my wife. But I don't, so I won't.

"But we're not having kids!" - OK, that's fine. You've opted out. Congrats. Your husband's friends will still make fun of him. Well done.

This is purely anectodal - but of the women I've known who married without taking their husband's last names, all have divorced and those who remarried took the last name the second time around. YMMV

Posted by: snakeman99 at September 29, 2007 5:01 PM

Snake -

Thanks for being the first to comment on Gretchen's feminist-inspired un-history lesson.

There has never been a time in the United States (including colonial times) where there was a legal restriction upon women owning property. Nor were women considered property. They were protected, but they were not property. Would it surprise you to know that there were blacks in the Northeast in the 1700s and 1800s that were property owners and businessmen?

And I don't get this shit about hospital visitation and medical power of attorney. I've not found any evidence of laws concerning hospital visitation. I went to visit my grandfather in the hospital, but there's no way anyone there knew we were related, because nobody bothered to ask. And just like wills, medical power of attorney can be challeneged in court even for married people. Just ask Michael Schiavo.

I have always believed that the only reason the homosexuals want acutal legal marriage is very simply this: access to divorce.

Right now, a long-term homosexual couple breaks up, everyone takes their shit and goes away. There's no opportunity for one partner to completely fuck up the life of the other. With marriage, they get access to divorce, and all the attendant bullshit that they can cause in another person's life.

Posted by: brian at September 29, 2007 6:21 PM

I'm sure I'll hear a ton back on this.

Uh...how about, "This has been my name all of my life, and I'd like to keep it the way it is"?


Or, "If my husband-to-be's ego is so fragile that he feels humiliated because I would like to keep my name the way it is, then we have big problems"?


For the record, I have a last name that is difficult to spell and pronounce AND I live in a part of the country where pretty much every woman takes her husband's name upon marriage. I like life to be easy. If I ever get married, I will almost certainly take my spouse's last name, unless I marry a member of the Krzyzewski family or something. But that doesn't mean I don't see why some women choose not to. Especially after spending time living in a country - Spain - where everyone gets one last name from each parent and women don't change their names when they get married.


And if we're going to argue based on anecdotes, all of the women I know who have kept their own names are still married to their first husbands.


As for restrictions in the US as to what women could or could not do, click on my name to go to a piece about the history of women's rights in Texas. It's interesting. Short version: For several decades there, from a freedom point of view, it was better to be a single woman than a married one.

Posted by: marion at September 29, 2007 6:37 PM

> I don't see how the state
> has any right to prevent
> adults from entering into
> a contract with each other.

Because it's a contract with others, not just each other.

Bullshit. My marriage is my business, and my wife's. We're adults, we work, we pay our taxes, etc etc. We take care of our shit and don't fuck with yours. Why should what goes on in our home matter at all to you?

Amy is explicitly, shamelessly arguing that gays & singles are excluded from a payout, and it really sticks in her craw.

Yeah, which may or may not be the case. Marriage can reduce taxes in some cases, and increase them in others. It's rarely a net benefit when both people work and earn decent money, but if can be if one person doesn't work or there is a big income disparity. But I agree that in general, two adults working and living under the same roof should pay the same tax rates as other adults regardless of their marital status.

Posted by: justin case at September 29, 2007 6:47 PM

Brian -

There has never been a time in the United States (including colonial times) where there was a legal restriction upon women owning property. Nor were women considered property. They were protected, but they were not property. Would it surprise you to know that there were blacks in the Northeast in the 1700s and 1800s that were property owners and businessmen?

First, since when has marriage been a purely American ideal? Second, where did I refer to any notion that women couldn't own property? The point that I made and stand by, is that marriage has traditionally been about property, including the kids. The property brought into the marriage, by either partner and the property accrued during the marriage. You admit as much in your spew at the end, about gay marriage being about divorce.

As for the bit about blacks at the end, what the fuck? Seriously, what does that have to do with the discussion? Honestly, I fail to see the relevance of any of this.

When I made the point about property, it was about who gets the property, should one partner die. Should a person in a lifelong commitment, lose out on the property that they and their partner accrued over the course of a lifetime together, because they happen to be the same gender and the deceased partners family wants to stake a claim? For that matter, it is also relevant in divorce (this way I can fit this one in now). When two people have been together for many years, they accrue many things together. If they have a nasty breakup, why should their relationship be different than that of a hetero couple in the same circumstances? Why should they not have some legal remedy when splitting up property they own jointly? What about kids that might be involved in the whole situation?

And I don't get this shit about hospital visitation and medical power of attorney. I've not found any evidence of laws concerning hospital visitation. I went to visit my grandfather in the hospital, but there's no way anyone there knew we were related, because nobody bothered to ask.

Tell that to couples that have been refused the ability to be at their partners side, at the bitter end, when only family is allowed to be there. Hospitals can and some routinely do, refuse admittance, to life partners, because they are the same gender. Even more disgusting, some of the same hospitals will allow unmarried opposite sex partners in, because they don't actually ask for a marriage certificate at the door. The only reason they wouldn't allow the same sex partner, is because it is obvious they aren't married.

And just like wills, medical power of attorney can be challeneged in court even for married people. Just ask Michael Schiavo.

Indeed they can, but who did the court ultimately rule in favor of? The marriage adds a whole lot of weight to it. I have the medical power of attorney for a close friend, who is HIV positive and wanted control out of his families hands. When we filed the paperwork for it, we were told that it would actually be harder for the family to challenge, if we were married, or in a civil union, now legal in OR. As it stands, my power of attorney, is about as strong as a living will. The only thing that can prevent his family from interfering, is making sure they don't know about a potential lifesupport situation. I have strict instructions from him, not to inform his family, until he is actually dead.

I have always believed that the only reason the homosexuals want acutal legal marriage is very simply this: access to divorce.

I answered why this too is important above, but I am going to have to call absolute bullshit.

There are a multitude of reasons, not the least of which being, that the legal entitlement to marry, shows that queers are not any less than anyone else. They are people, just like you or I. There is no reason that they should not have the rights that everyone else does. Crid made some cryptic comment about "they have one, I want one too." Well, yes, in this case, why the fuck not? Are gays any less deserving than heteros or breeders? Are they really just second class citizens, not to be taken seriously? Fuck you. They're human fucking beings, just like the rest of us, it's time to fucking treat them that way.

Second, there are a lot of legal protections that marriage provides. Why shouldn't they have the right to know that they will come out of a longterm relationship, with some of the jointly owned property and not get totally fucked? Why should the partner that stayed home to raise the kids and take care of the household, have some security if the worse happens, just like their hetero counterpart? Why shouldn't they be legally recognized as family and thus have a stronger claim than siblings and parents, in inheriting the property of a deceased partner?

Finally, their is recognition of the couple as a family, for the purpose of employment benefits. While a number of employers have stepped up and begun providing bennies to domestic partners, many do not, notably, many government employers. Indeed, some states have passed constitutional amendments codifying into law, the inability of state employees, to confer their benefits onto their same sex partner. You can argue whether the state should do that for any family, but as they do it for heteros, why shouldn't they for homos?

Instead of trying to downplay the significant and justified reasons that marriage (which, as I mentioned, I would like to see abolished as the standard) provides legal security, to say that it doesn't matter if queers can marry, why not give me a rational reason why they shouldn't? Seriously, why not? Even if, as you seem to think, it is pointless, why shouldn't gays have the legal right to marry? All that you have done thus far, is to explain why it doesn't matter if they can or not, in a legal sense. That should make this even easier then, why shouldn't they?

The only answer that I have ever heard, is either religious, or simple, pure bigotry. Get the fuck over it already. We're all just folks. No matter how and with whom we choose to exchange bodily fluids, we're all just people. We should also be equal.

Posted by: DuWayne at September 29, 2007 8:08 PM

Oy, I forgot to reiterate the notion that the children of same sex couples, are also affected. I am kind of curious Brian, how do you justify ripping a 12 year old child, out of the hands of her father, just weeks after her other father died, to be raised as a ward of the state? Please explain how that's ok, I really want to know.

Posted by: DuWayne at September 29, 2007 8:11 PM

> what sticks in YOUR craw
> is that ANYONE get any
> type of payout

Well, there's a lot of little cranky issues at work here. I wouldn't mind a payout for gays if only someone could offer a reason to give them one, but so far no one's even tried. People are just saying “It has to be the same!” without explaining why.

I (along with most of the rest of civilization) think good heterosexual marriage is an enterprise with all sorts of positive impacts on the race, including the making of children. Since I think the difference between men and women is the greatest human difference, the people who face that demon down every day --and do so in a loving, peaceful and practical context-- deserve a little extra respect, and maybe a little extra tax love. (I have no idea what marriage means to finances, or even how you'd gauge such a thing. And absent a patently offensive disproportion of treatment, it's too boring to think about, as are hospital visitations and property rights and all the rest. Like, wut-evar.)

So I don't mind that marrieds get a little extra voltage from government. It's the same reason I'm happy to pay reasonable taxes for schools; it's cheaper than having lots of abjectly illiterate and unsocialized children running around.

> Bullshit. My marriage is my
> business, and my wife's.

Then why the fuck did you get married? You wanted something from us, or you wouldn't have bothered to ask us for the certificate.

Also, I find your “Bullshit” to be really silly.

Y'know...

Life today has so much texture. Not only are we safe and fat here in the United States, but we're given all this comfort in an enormous rainbow of choices. You can specify your color, size, technique, flavor, make and model for just about everything in your life... This is why it was always so scary to read about Soviet Russia, where there was one kind of laundry detergent, and it sucked, but people were grateful to get it anyway. Here in rich America, the only thing you can't do is pay too much, because there are too many people making excellent laundry detergent for anyone to get away with charging too high a price. And because there are so many choices in what kind of detergent to get, there are a lot of people in the detergent business (and the toothbrush business and the garden hose business and all the rest.) All this choice means everyone has a job. And it's like that for every corner of your life, everything you drive and touch and eat and read and sit on and on and on...

And we're all completely dependent on each other. Not just because we're urbanized to such an outrageous degree, although that helps. But I wouldn't be surprised if there were people reading this blog who haven't grown any of their own food, or repaired any of their furniture, or sewn any of their clothing, or managed any of their own investments for the last year... Or maybe across their whole lives. And none of us could purify our own water without looking up how it's done... Hell, we don't even carry water.

So when people on blogs talk that way --“I'm my own man! I live by my own rules! I don't need society telling me how to live or how to love!”-- I just gotta think, who the fuck are you kidding?

(I stole most of that from Cosh http://urltea.com/1mbv
and other parts from Virginia Postrel)

All this richness came into our lives because of the way we do things, and I think our approach to marriage is a big part of it. Bullshit, you say? Are you, Justin, suggesting that your wife, and the way she came into your life, and the plans you made for your years together are some wholly innovative thing that government strictures might have clumsily corrupted? For a conventional marriage to be conventionally happy is not a small thing... Most American happiness is actually pretty fabulous for being rote, and people shouldn't pretend it came to them through courageous, singular, lonely improvisation.

> Fuck you. They're human
> fucking beings

No, fuck you! (On principle. Don't be a snot.)

Nobody's saying they're not human beings. Some of us are saying marriage is a special thing because a man and a woman are a special case, especially when they're two age-appropriate, sane, unrelated people who might by the course of nature be making babies in short order.

You can disagree if you want. But listing a series of Disney-brochure platitudes (“We're all just folks,” “simple, pure bigotry”), and saying that gays need the right to marry so they can soil the nation's courts & conscience with wretched applications of family law ("Just like straights do!") isn't very convincing... It gives the impression that you haven't thought about it much or discussed it with anybody. (Lena said that once... 'Gays just want the right to be as fucked up as straights,' or words to that effect, and won't be allowed to forget it.)

(PS- I didn't read the thing PJ mentioned about whoever you knew. It's really late here)

Posted by: Crid at September 30, 2007 5:49 AM

DuWayne - you were replying to something I said to someone else, but here goes.

First, the reason for the mention of blacks was a pre-emptive strike against Gretchen, should she decide that after being told that women weren't property in colonial America, to bring up blacks instead. Her whole piece was attempting to derail the discussion, not enhance it. However none of your ranting will change one simple fact - marriage is not a right.

And the bit about divorce, you'll notice, I did not say was about property. It's about revenge. How many times have you heard women talking about how they are going to absolutely screw over their ex-husband in the divorce? Well, my theory does, at least, have some heft behind it. A Canadian lesbian couple, having been together five years, got married as soon as it was legal. Five days later, they separated and filed for divorce. The joke was on them, though. Apparently nobody had the forethought to assume that all these gay couples advocating for marriage would be so quick to head for the divorce courts.

Oh, and as far as the 12 year old goes? I am against any child being made a ward of the state so long as it is in the care of a competent adult, regardless of relation. The state is the worst possible choice, and should be used as sparingly as possible. That won't happen for a bunch of reasons I won't get in to here, but suffice to say that it is a cottage industry in itself.

Posted by: brian at September 30, 2007 6:26 AM

I (along with most of the rest of civilization) think good heterosexual marriage is an enterprise with all sorts of positive impacts on the race, including the making of children.

Just woke up, and I'm on deadline, but I will, again, bring up gay parents. And how about adoptive parents. A woman who works for my syndicator who was at the conference told me her two children are adopted. She's married, which means these children will not be ripped away from her husband if something happens to her. The same, as DuWayne points out, cannot be said for gay parents.

If marriage rights are really about rights for children, not about making a religious ritual a state ritual, then only allow marriage for people who have children. All of them and any of them who have children.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 30, 2007 7:05 AM

Crid,

"Well, there's a lot of little cranky issues at work here. I wouldn't mind a payout for gays if only someone could offer a reason to give them one, but so far no one's even tried. People are just saying “It has to be the same!” without explaining why."

Where I live, there is an expensive French restaurant, which it says "Shoes and Shirts required." on the front entry door. I never ate there as I cannot afford $50 a plate dinner. If they add another sign "over six foot people only", I (vertically challenged) will be the first one picketing in front of the restaurant to demand to put the sign down. However, even after they put the sign down, I will not still eat there because simply I cannot afford it. Besides, I prefer Kung Pao chicken better.

Even if we legalize gay marriages, I am not certain how many gay people will take advantage of it. But the sign "hetros only" in front of the city hall makes a lot of hetros and gays angry as we see that as a discrimination based on the sexual orientation. The word "discrimination" is very ugly word. You argued that it is for the benefits of whole society, which includes baby making. But I am not convinced because children can be produced either by hetros or in the labs of hospitals. Better yet, why can't we produce robot children as a member of society rather than biological children? Why our legacy has to be continued by the biological children only?

If our society goes into hell as a whole, I can guarantee you that it is not because we allowed the gay marriages. It will be something else.

Posted by: Chang at September 30, 2007 8:54 AM

Crid -

Some of us are saying marriage is a special thing because a man and a woman are a special case, especially when they're two age-appropriate, sane, unrelated people who might by the course of nature be making babies in short order.

So what you're saying is that people who are sterile, should not be allowed to marry - no chance of kids there. Or, as another example, the elderly, beyond child-bearing years, should also be restricted from marrying. Would you go as far as saying that those who don't intend to have kids shouldn't be allowed to marry? I think at that point, it just makes sense to restrict marriage to those who actually have a "bun in the oven" so to speak. Or should we just require that people sign an affidavit, categorically stating their intention to reproduce and penalize them by stripping them of their marriage license and fining them, if they fail to do so within a certain time frame?

Nor are men and women at all special. Any fucking moron can breed. I am surrounded by them, my child plagued by their repugnant, nasty little offspring. There is nothing special or superior about male/female couplings. Nor for that matter, is there anything special or superior about same sex couplings. But when you claim that there is something special about hetero relationships, you are, in effect, saying that same sex couples are lesser humans than the rest of us. So again, fuck you. Not being a snot, just objecting to the idea that the majority of my friends are somehow less worthy than you or I.

It gives the impression that you haven't thought about it much or discussed it with anybody.

As remarkable as this may seem to you, I have. Indeed, as I was a believer in the abolition of marriage as a legal institution, before I came to support marriage equality for queers, for quite some time, I was not a huge fan of gay marriage. It was only through getting to know gay couples raising families, that I realized that as long as marriage is the legal standard, gays deserve it just as much as heteros. I had to talk to others, a lot of others, about it. Then I really had to give it serious consideration, as I really am dead against marriage as a legal institution.

...and saying that gays need the right to marry so they can soil the nation's courts & conscience with wretched applications of family law isn't very convincing.

Why not? Why don't they deserve the exact same legal security that everyone else can have? Unless you honestly think that no married couple should have any of those legal securities, then why shouldn't queerfolk have them too? They invest exactly the same things that heteros do, to a relationship. Many of them are raising families, just like heteros do. Many heteros don't have families, never intending to have families, getting married only to achieve the legal security that marriage provides. How can you justify not allowing those legal securities to gays?

Brian -

However none of your ranting will change one simple fact - marriage is not a right.

Then what exactly is it? If you want to say it's a responsibility, it changes nothing that I've argued, indeed I agree. That doesn't make it any less of a right too. I have a right to marry my partner, though we choose not to exercise that right. The two fathers of a friend of my five year old, do not have the right to get married, in spite of their raising three kids, that no one else wanted to take care of, kids who were not infants when they adopted them. They don't have a right to marry, in spite of the fact that they are better parents than most, arguably my partner and I included.

And the bit about divorce, you'll notice, I did not say was about property. It's about revenge.

I am aware that you didn't say it, but ultimately, that is what divorce is about. It is unfortunate, that divorce is abused in the manner you describe, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a very legitimate purpose. The acquisition of property throughout the relationship and subsequent dispersal, if and when it ends, is important. Gays are no less deserving of securing legal remedy in such circumstances, than straight people.

Oh, and as far as the 12 year old goes? I am against any child being made a ward of the state so long as it is in the care of a competent adult, regardless of relation.

Yet you are dead against the most reasonable remedy for that exact case. You object to her two dads having the right to marry, thus negating the entire, horrible situation. Her dad, the only family that she had left, was not recognized by the state, as her dad. Never mind that he had raised her for as long as she could remember, never mind that he loved her, she him, just like the step-parent of any hetero couple, more than many. You object to the notion that her parents should have been able to marry.

Again, neither you, nor crid, have provided any reason for not allowing gays to marry. Please, explain to me how allowing gays to marry, would have a negative impact on society. Making claims that can apply equally to hetero marriages, is not a reasonable argument against gay marriage, they are just arguments that support the abolition of marriage as a civil institution.

Posted by: DuWayne at September 30, 2007 10:27 AM

Fantastic, DuWayne. Exactly my sentiments.

I loved this expression of what too many children are, too:

Any fucking moron can breed. I am surrounded by them, my child plagued by their repugnant, nasty little offspring.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 30, 2007 10:33 AM

However none of your ranting will change one simple fact - marriage is not a right.

Then what exactly is it? If you want to say it's a responsibility, it changes nothing that I've argued, indeed I agree.

I think what Brian was getting at is that marriage, in addition to being a responsibility, is also a privilege, no? Not just anyone can get married by any means they see fit, there are certain things that have to be adhered to, blood tests, licenses, etc. Anyone can enter into a committed relationship without any of the legal crap, it's when you look at what the legalities involved are that it becomes an issue. And I think if you go by the book and do it right, it shouldn't matter if you're gay, hetero, purple, or whatever, but that you enter into it with a reasonable amount of intellegence about it all. Keanu Reeve's character in the movie "Parenthood" says "You need a license to drive a car, get married, hell, even catch a fish, but any butt-reaming asshole can be a parent!" And the government, for all its trying, still cannot find a way to legally legislate morality. (Believe me when I tell you, there is no vaccine for stupidity!)

Posted by: Flynne at September 30, 2007 11:44 AM

I think what Brian was getting at is that marriage, in addition to being a responsibility, is also a privilege, no?

That still doesn't change anything. There was a time when a black person, didn't have the legal privilege of marrying a white. Very few today, would argue that this should still be a legal restriction. Gay marriage is exactly the same. (I did notice that you mentioned that gays shouldn't be restricted, I just didn't really think about the privilege aspect earlier. I should have, but ultimately I think that the difference between rights and privilege is an awfully fine parsing.)

Posted by: DuWayne at September 30, 2007 3:09 PM

Must get in a word.

Snakeman, I think you miss the point. The idea of accepting someone's last name for the sake of creating a NEW family unit doesn't bother me in the least. It's the inherent lack of balance in this tradition. If it's feminist to point out an obvious fact then I'm guilty. Oh well.

My last name has a lot of family history. My (very German) last name reflect half of an equation which equals ME. My mother's maiden name, an Irish one, is my sister's middle name - I would have liked to have it part of my name, too. MY family and our past is important to me, not sure how that's radical or tough to understand.

All of the mushy family history stuff aside... and please don't puke, why do I have to take HIS name? Because tradition deems it so? You (and brian) can reject my "non history" but are you honestly going to say that woman have historically been "equal" to men? Women have advanced but the fact that a woman takes a man's last name (and that the reverse is perverse, and emasculating! what a feminist BITCH I am!) upholds this idea.

I love my guy and he loves me. But taking his name for the sake of tradition and keeping his mom happy doesn't interest me. By getting married we'd create a new family unit and combine our family histories. We'd be bringing in our past and starting fresh at the same time - I like that. But being expected to just drop half my name "cause that's how it is" is fucking dumb.

"Cause that's how it is" is ALWAYS fucking dumb. If that reasoning was worth a damn we'd still have slaves and I wouldn't be allowed to vote. I know pushing the status quo is scary and, for the "unaffected parties," not highly desirable. But...tough shit.

Posted by: Gretchen at September 30, 2007 4:17 PM

To address my "faulty history":

Post civil war a woman could NOT own her own property in her own name. It was an issue that women attempted to address but failed. The next issue was suffrage and it didn't work out either: "The Fourteenth Amendment deliberately excluded women from the language by refusing to add "sex" to the list of prohibited bases for denying the right to vote," (Lindengren 14). For many years "A wife could neither sue nor be sued. She could not execute a will or enter into a contract...her personal property become her husband's at the moment of marriage. He owned her jewel,s furniture, or goods, whether she brought them with her to the marriage or thereafer acquired them, and he could sell or give away even the clothes on her back...He acquired rights to control and manage her land. Any proceeds derived from improving the peroperty, harvesting and selling crops, or leasing her land belonged to the husband alone," (Speth - reprinted, citation below).

But for decades after our nation was born the American people upheld traditional British law (Americans upheld it longer than the Brits themselves did...). A collection of commentaries, written by William Blackstone, constituted the structure to which Americans stuck. The law saw the married persons as one unit, "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidatd into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything..." (From Blackstone on Coverture, William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England).

But, boys, those things were the status quo. Accepted. Upheld in courts for hundreds of years, from the time we were just little colonies until onward. Taking the man's last name is COMPLETELY tied to these former traditions. A woman traditionally took the man's name b/c she became a part of his manor and estate. It isn't feminist of me to just point out the facts. This tradition pisses me off b/c, luckily, I own my own shit...therefore I shouldn't drop my name any more than some guy should drop his.

But as for convenience and the lovely idea of creating "one unit"...there might be some arguments to be made there - but the AUTOMATIC EXPECTATION that I have to give up MY name b/c I'm a WOMAN really PISSES ME OFF. K?

Reference:
Lindengren, J. Ralph, Nadine Taub, Beth Anne Wolfson, and Carla M. Palumbo. The Law of Sex Discrimination. 3. Belmont, CA: Thomson - Wadsworth, 2005.

William Blackstone's Commentaries of the Laws of England

Linda E. Speth's "Women and the Law: A Social Historical Perspective"

Posted by: Gretchen at September 30, 2007 4:32 PM

Gretchen -

I find it rather intruiging that folks have an issue with your desire to retain your name. I have a few friends who, when they married, decided to keep there maiden name. I even have a friend, who's last name is Romanian and very difficult to pronounce, much less spell, who took his wife's name (Lucas) when they married. It isn't really surprising that the same people who object to gay marriage, also seem to object to the notion of your desire to retain your name.

I would also point out that there have been cultures that passed the family name, through the maternal line, not the paternal. Obviously, there is no question of who the mother is, though there might a question as to the father.

If (hopefully when) my partner and I join in a civil union, she will probably keep her name and I will keep mine. She's kind of back and forth about it, the reason that our kids do/will carry my name, is that she has a profound hatred for her paternal family. She didn't want them to have anything to do with that. But she is who she is, which really needn't change, simply because we have been legally joined. (For the record, the only reason we would actually be so joined, is if we buy a house and start accruing property of value.)

Posted by: DuWayne at September 30, 2007 4:56 PM

> as we see that as a
> discrimination based
> on the sexual orientation.

Relax! It is a discrimination based on the sexual orientation. Everything is as it should be.

> children can be produced
> either by hetros or in
> the labs of hospitals.

I think that's just stupid. It pretends that the forefront of medicine is exactly where the line should be drawn. But this technology might not be safely, cheaply and broadly available for decades. We can't even get AIDS meds into Africa! For the most of humanity, babymaking will continue as it has for the entirety of the human past... As a sexual enterprise requiring a man and a woman. And certainly, knowing that this is how the miracle happens ought to be worth something to you.

There's a favorite line I may not have used here in awhile. It's amazing, embarrassing and confounding to me that all these terribly sensitive, compassionate and open-minded people can't find instruction in a most obvious truth: Children are literally delivered to the intersection of a man and a woman. There's a cosmic lesson in the harmony of those meanings, and it's neither a power-mongering religious proscription nor accidental biology.

> I can guarantee you
> that it is not because
> we allowed the gay
> marriages

How will you do that, young Chang? ([Sniff!] That funny odor? Rhetorical overreach!)

> So what you're saying
> is that people who are
> sterile, should not be
> allowed to marry

Well, I would have said that if it was what I meant. But I actually said was --and you can review above if like-- that civilization has made a judgment about a particular union that deserves to be certified and protected. And that people petitioning for a variance should be compelled to offer evidence supporting their request, which nobody seems able to do....

...Except by whining "Unfair! Unfair!" I think Mr. Chang has no experience distinguishing meanings of the word "discrimination."

> Nor are men and women
> at all special.

Good luck selling that. It will be fun to watch you. The vast, vast majority of men and women on this planet have had experiences to the contrary.

> you are, in effect, saying
> that same sex couples are
> lesser humans than the
> rest of us.

Why can't people on this blog fight arguments without translating clear meanings into something obviously irrelevant and bogus? Remember that commenter Cat Brother? He used to do that all the time. "In effect, you're saying that everyone who owns a blender should enjoy a kitten/banana smoothie as a snack during primetime TV."

Are people that afraid of the world? That subterranean sneaks will cheat the language and we'll all have our backs against the wall before we know it? Do people have that little faith in their own clarity?

Just like Amy, you combine...

> I came to support marriage
> equality for queers

...with...

> I really am dead against
> marriage as a legal
> institution.

...And people will wonder if you're being serious.

> don't they deserve the
> exact same legal security
> that everyone else can
> have?

This thread buckles under the boredom of childish phrases like "exact same" and "discrimination" and "fairness" and "equal" this and that. You guys aren't demanding some nuanced appreciation of justice: You're youthfully nihilist.

> have provided any reason
> for not allowing gays to
> marry.

Gays can marry just like straights do; they live under exactly the same laws as straights. How are they being discriminated against?

Sincere best wishes for your union: If we were better acquainted, I'd ask where you're registered. But I don't see why you and your partner couldn't start "accruing property" right now.

> keeping his mom happy
> doesn't interest me.

Does she know that? (Har!) I just knew a 'Gretchen' had to be a sister German (or German-derivative.)

Seriously... If you have a daughter (or were inclined to make babies with this other-named fellow), whose name would you want the kid to get? Would the rules for your name apply to hers?

Posted by: Crid at October 1, 2007 12:21 AM

"Seriously... If you have a daughter (or were inclined to make babies with this other-named fellow), whose name would you want the kid to get? Would the rules for your name apply to hers?"

Honestly - that isn't my biggest concern. I'm in my 20's and having kids just isn't a goal at the moment and won't be on the docket for consideration for at least 8 years. I want to have a child..."someday." I'm sure that in that time I will be able to figure out "what to name it."

Maybe we can wait until the baby is born and if it looks Italian it will have his last name and if it looks German it will take mine. Haha, yes!

My guy and I don't fight, nor at we petty. It could turn into an issue but I'm confident it wouldn't. If it is direly important to him the kids can have his last name (and mine could be a middle name?)...it's not worth it (in my opinion) to ruin a relationship over naming the kids. Either way, I'm keeping my last name - compromise or cop out? Whatevvvah.

And P.S: I adore his mother, but she is a traditional woman, like most 69 year old Bostonian Catholics. My lack of religion and tradition could be an issue, but I bake a mean apple pie and I'm not above bribing my way into people's good graces with food.

Posted by: G at October 1, 2007 4:27 AM

My wife and I both kept our names on marrying. Our children have her surname, and my surname as their middle name. I answer to her surname as well as to my own, and she does (or rather did - she's dead now) likewise. The only problems this ever caused was with my family when our son was born. He was the first grandson - there were previous granddaughters - but he didn't have the family name! Arrgghh! We are going to die out! Nobody else gave a damn. Occasionally, like when opening a bank account, we had to produce a marriage certificate. Big deal.

The family reaction pissed me off, because it completely denigrated the granddaughters - my nieces - as being of no value.

I have posted this anecdote before, I think.

Posted by: Norman at October 1, 2007 5:52 AM

Gays can marry just like straights do; they live under exactly the same laws as straights. How are they being discriminated against?

This is a silly statement and I wish you would stop making it.

Marrying somebody you aren't sexually attracted to is disaster in the making -- especially if kids come into the picture.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 1, 2007 6:03 AM

Thanks DuWayne and Norman for your stories!

(My last comment was posted under "G" not Gretchen - I think auto fill did something funky.)

Posted by: Gretchen at October 1, 2007 6:34 AM

I agree with you Brian, most people seem unable to grasp the concept of not wanting kids. But I'm guilty of being just as unable to grasp the concept of wanting them. All I can think of is, WHY? Sounds like nothing but a giant pain in the butt to me.

PJ, I was thinking about this last night, while I was downloading some music, and I came across The Pretenders' "My Baby", written by Chrissie Hynde, for her own baby; she had Ray Davies' (or was it Dave Davies? you know, of the Kinks?) child, a girl. (Now, keep in mind I have 2 daughters.) After listening to it, and crying my eyes out (the words are beautiful), I have your answer: Love. Just...love. And yeah, love is fleeting between some people, and everlasting between others, but there it is...just love. I mean, I could just feel it, hitting me right between the eyes. (Yes, I'm a silly sentimental sap, can you tell?)o_O

Posted by: Flynne at October 1, 2007 6:45 AM

"And that people petitioning for a variance should be compelled to offer evidence supporting their request, which nobody seems able to do...."

Are you sure about that? Should it really fall on gays to justify why they should be allowed to get married? Or should it fall on the current system to justify why they should continue to be disallowed? This makes me think of the drug war - of the people who think pot should be illegal, well, because it already IS illegal. Which is just silly, because stupid laws are not justified simply on the basis of the fact that they already exist. Any time the government wants to do something to restrict your freedom, to tell you "no" to something you want to do, the responsibility falls upon the government to justify why. Demonstrate how your desired activity will harm others or compromise someone else's rights. If two gay people want to marry each other, why should THEY be the ones who have to justify it? The default should be that they are allowed to, as long as the activity harms no one. Do you have some idea in mind of how gay marriage would harm anyone?

And I have to agree with Amy - please stop saying a gay man can marry a woman any time he wants. That is truly silly.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at October 1, 2007 6:47 AM

> This is a silly statement
> and I wish you would stop
> making it.

Naw, it's an obvious question that shows the logical rot in the foundation of your argument, and that's why you want it to stop.

People marry to get their needs met after doing their own math regarding the tradeoffs, erotic and otherwise. Are you going to get in the habit of telling them when they're correctly pursuing such private interests? For a woman who thinks marriage is a state intrusion (unless people are gay, when all the sudden you're for it again), you're quite the busybody.

> compromise or cop out?
> Whatevvvah.

I sincerely admire your patience, but IJS... Your name as always been a function of an oppressive patriarchal machine that wants to grind your immortal soul into the dirt and brutal obscure the proud heritage of your mother and her sisters.

(...Unless is wasn't, unless it was all just a mechanical convenience. Why is Hillary Rodham so ashamed of her mother's name?)

> it completely denigrated the
> granddaughters - my nieces -
> as being of no value.

"Completely denigrated"? "No value"? Isn't that a little twitchy?

Posted by: Crid at October 1, 2007 6:57 AM

Should it really fall on gays to justify why they should be allowed to get married? Or should it fall on the current system to justify why they should continue to be disallowed? This makes me think of the drug war - of the people who think pot should be illegal, well, because it already IS illegal. Which is just silly, because stupid laws are not justified simply on the basis of the fact that they already exist.

Thanks, Pirate Jo, I'm on deadline, and a little behind.

What Pirate Jo said.

I'll add just a bit about names: My name is Amy Alkon because that's the name I was given. It would fit me much better to have one flamboyant name -- as affected as I'm sure that will sound to Crid!

Anyway, I have been known as Amy Alkon for so long, and so many bylines, starting in high school, that it's too late to change. Feel free to tempt me with suggestions, however.


Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 1, 2007 7:02 AM

So Crid seems to be making this point: Marriage is really important to society and has been for years and years and etc. Because of this, we should be cautious when making changes to how it works. It's a classic conservative argument. But if marriage is such a good thing and stabilizing to society, it then seems we should seek to make this stability available to more people in committed relationships.

Posted by: justin case at October 1, 2007 7:19 AM

> why should THEY be the ones
> who have to justify it?

Because they want something from other people. Before they get it, they should be expected to say why.

This is so insane... People just can't live without the fantasy that they're bold pioneers struggling for a foothold in a harsh, uncaring and unpopulated Wild West, even as they petulantly pester their neighbors for the most trivial expressions of support.

It's crazy-making. People are shits, I tell ya

Posted by: Crid at October 1, 2007 7:24 AM

More later, later for work, but Justin I wish you guys would stop translating and just consider what's actually been said

Posted by: Crid at October 1, 2007 7:26 AM

I wish you guys would stop translating and just consider what's actually been said

Sometimes restating things helps to make sure I'm understanding them. It also offers you the chance to clarify.

Posted by: justin case at October 1, 2007 9:01 AM

Crid -

that civilization has made a judgment about a particular union that deserves to be certified and protected.

Which one? Marriage has meant many different things, in many different cultures and times. And just curious, what does it need protection from?

Why can't people on this blog fight arguments without translating clear meanings into something obviously irrelevant and bogus?

I am. When you say that they don't deserve the same legal security that everyone else can have, the they don't deserve the same rights as everyone else, you are saying that there is something wrong with them, that they are lesser persons than everyone else. It is neither irrelevant or bogus.

Well, I would have said that if it was what I meant.

Actually, what you said was; Some of us are saying marriage is a special thing because a man and a woman are a special case, especially when they're two age-appropriate, sane, unrelated people who might by the course of nature be making babies in short order.

...And people will wonder if you're being serious.

I believe that marriage as a legal institution should be abolished. I think the standard should be a civil union that provides the legal security that marriage currently imparts. I think that this should be available to gays, straights and people who are non-romantic domestic partners. However, short of that happening, people who happen to be gay, deserve the same legal security that is available to everyone else, in their same sex relationships. This is not a matter of, "oh, it's just not fair." It is a matter of discrimination no different than that of a black person who wants to marry a white person, being told this is unacceptable. The arguments that you make, are no different than the arguments made against legalizing inter-racial marriages, just decades ago.

You guys aren't demanding some nuanced appreciation of justice: You're youthfully nihilist.

And you aren't making a coherent, reasonable argument against said justice, you're arguing from cantankerous bigotry, pure and simple.

Gays can marry just like straights do; they live under exactly the same laws as straights. How are they being discriminated against?

It's funny, I have an uncle, who died of AIDS. He managed that exact sort of fiction, throughout four marriages. Of course, he had a lot of self loathing, because he knew it was a sham, but hey, that's ok right? He also had a lot of very unhealthy sexual practices, as he was married and being gay just wasn't acceptable. So rather than settling with one man, he fucked around (for many years, behind the backs of wives), until he found out he had AIDS. Even before he contracted AIDS, he had seriously fucked up his family life and alienated his children, reconciling with only one of the three, who died in a car accident. I and my brother, were the kids at his side when he passed.

Maintaining a fiction, is not healthy for anyone involved in said fiction. Far better for two people who love each other and are comfortable with their lives, to raise a family. And like it or not, many same sex couples are doing just that. Some badly, some really well, most just managing to do it, just like straight families.

Because they want something from other people.

What exactly do they want? Marriage is not about tax breaks, sure it can provide a few, under certain circumstances, but those are minimal and if both partners make roughly the same amount, they pay more, not less. All that any of them want, is legal security.

Before they get it, they should be expected to say why.

Ok, so I'm not gay. But I have a lot of friends who are, who have explained exactly why. And I have been telling you exactly why they want it. It is you who are ignoring it.

More later, later for work, but Justin I wish you guys would stop translating and just consider what's actually been said

Then start making sense. Give us a clear, coherent reason for not allowing gays to marry. Explain how society is harmed by allowing gays to marry. If you can't do that, then there is nothing left but bigotry and we will read that into everything you say. Where is the harm?

Posted by: DuWayne at October 1, 2007 9:13 AM

“There's a cosmic lesson in the harmony of those meanings, and it's neither a power-mongering religious proscription nor accidental biology.”
Cosmic? This week it’s cosmic? You continue to make appeals to things I can’t find in a law library. You say they are not “power-mongering” religious things (leaving just plain religious open?) You refuse to define further but argue that a noticeably troublesome law should be left as is because of a cosmic lesson. You are on thin ice and you hope being abrasive will keep people from noticing.

“Naw, it's an obvious question that shows the logical rot in the foundation of your argument, and that's why you want it to stop.”
How you sat there and watched your fingers type those words has me stumped.

Posted by: martin at October 1, 2007 9:15 AM

"It isn't really surprising that the same people who object to gay marriage, also seem to object to the notion of your desire to retain your name."

*Uh, never said this - please don't lump me in.

I would also point out that there have been cultures that passed the family name, through the maternal line, not the paternal.

*I did note this - again, if we were in South America, fine - but we're not.

Gretchen - your summary of Blackstone's treatises are interesting but misleading. Blackstone's commentaries are a summary of English judge's decisions (aka the "common law") from which many of our modern judicial precepts derive. They were NOT statutes adopted wholesale by the American colonies. Women's property rights developed in each state, in each municipality, according to the mores and electorates therein. I think if you do a little more research, you'll find women's individual property rights (in New England in particular) begin to develop by statute as early as the 1700s.

And hey, if you and your man are happy - fine. I just think it generally shows a lack of respect to your husband to not take his name, not to mention an acute display of selfishness to have a name different from your child's. Of COURSE its bullshit and its "the way it is." But there are some battles against the status quo not worth fighting.

Equating your attachment to your father's last name to this country's civil rights struggles is laughable.

Posted by: snakeman99 at October 1, 2007 9:17 AM

Snakeman: I said
"But for decades after our nation was born the American people upheld traditional British law (Americans upheld it longer than the Brits themselves did...). A collection of commentaries, written by William Blackstone, constituted the structure to which Americans stuck." --> note: STRUCTURE, NOT STATUTE. The Commentaries played an enormous role in how common law (case law) played out within our borders for many years.

"I just think it generally shows a lack of respect to your husband to not take his name,"

Why?! Shall I take his last name, turn in my company badge, drop to my knees and suck him off before I do the laundry? If I DON'T is that showing him a lack of respect?

"not to mention an acute display of selfishness to have a name different from your child's."
Oh, honestly, Dr. Freud-wannabe. Do you have a psycho analysis of mentally disturbed children who can't function b/c their mom or dad's last name is different? If this were the main reason for the argument then you'd be perfectly willing to accept a man taking the wife's name. It is clear that it isn't uniformity which you seek but rather upholding a tradition born from antiquated ideals that simply aren't applicable to most women.

"Of COURSE its bullshit and its "the way it is." But there are some battles against the status quo not worth fighting."

Yeah...and you have a penis and I have a vagina. And that's why this one, to you, isn't worth fighting. I have to change something critical about myself to "show him I love him." To show him I respect him. You don't face outdated ideologies in such a blatant way.

"Equating your attachment to your father's last name to this country's civil rights struggles is laughable."

My father's last name has nothing to do w/ this country - it has to do with ME and my family and my family's history.

Civil rights struggles are, luckily, fairly far behind us. However, you can't deny that the tradition to take a man's name is directly related to this country's paternalistic roots. The information about "this country's civil rights struggle" was intended to show how the evolution of certain ideals contributed to this tradition - I thought it was an obvious causality, sorry I don't have time to write a 20-pager for ya.

I hope you have a nice, docile little woman who hangs on your every word and accepts things blindly w/o thinking. You might try stealing Chuck's wife.

Excuse me while I go get some electro-therapy to try and turn myself into a lesbian... ugh.

Posted by: Gretchen at October 1, 2007 11:20 AM

G -

I love how there is nothing in between for you. A woman either retains her last name or she's a "docile little woman" who should "turn in [her] company badge, drop to [her] knees and suck him off before [she] do[es] the laundry."

I'm not arguing against how your characterize the origins of the tradition. I've repeatedly agreed with you on this. The origins are only as important as you make them. This is the point. YOU feel threatened by the history and so YOU hold on to your maiden name for dear life. (Oh yeah, that last sentence would be my first stab at the Dr. Freud phsycho-analysis; saying it would be selfish for you to have a name different from your child is a value judgment).

"You don't face outdated ideologies in such a blatant way." - true. Men face entirely different blatant outdated ideologies to be the household's primary earner, remain sexually monogamous, fix things around the house, and lose half my earnings in the case of a divorce. I wish all I had to do was change my name!

"Civil rights struggles are, luckily, fairly far behind us." Yup. I'm sure most minorities and gay people agree with you on this one.

Look, my point is real simple - if you're starting a new family, it helps the kids if you all have one name. Unless you have some kind of celebrity goodwill built around your name, there is virtually no public downside to using the husband's. Picking the wife's name, on the other hand, puts the husband at risk of ridicule. Why do so? You keep saying your name is "critical" to you, but you don't say why.

Oh, and while I don't have a "docile little woman," I am engaged to an awesome, easy-going woman, we both frequently drop to our knees for one another, and we're pretty psyched at the prospect of spending the rest of her lives together. She's looking forward to taking my last name.

Posted by: snakeman99 at October 1, 2007 11:47 AM

:::earworm alert:::

Nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

Posted by: Flynne at October 1, 2007 12:17 PM

Crid,

"all these terribly sensitive, compassionate and open-minded people can't find instruction in a most obvious truth: Children are literally delivered to the intersection of a man and a woman. There's a cosmic lesson in the harmony of those meanings, and it's neither a power-mongering religious proscription nor accidental biology."

I think you are onto something. I am going to accept that the status quo of cosmic lesson, reproduction of its own species at all cost, is something needs to be left alone. Because I cannot come up with a logical reason why it needs to be changed mainly because I do not understand it.

Our government protects its citizens' rights to marry and promotes cosmic behaviors with tax breaks when they reproduce. If government's job is to find the "golden mean" to find the tipping point between protecting a right of its gay citizens versus discouraging non cosmic activities (gay couple's inability to reproduce on their own), then the current status quo might be desired. And your argument starts to make sense to me.

However, as soon as I figure it out "cosmic lesson", (i.e., why all the species are wired to reproduce and who benefits at the end?), your argument will be challenged again.

Posted by: Chang at October 1, 2007 12:31 PM

Crid, if you are standing on my foot, and I want you to stop, do I have to justify myself to you because I want something "from" you? Bullshit! You shouldn't be standing on my foot in the first place.

"There's a cosmic lesson in the harmony of those meanings, and it's neither a power-mongering religious proscription nor accidental biology."

Why not accidental biology? Seems to me like that's precisely what it is. Not necessarily cosmic or meaningful - if you find it harmonious or cosmic, that's just a matter of aesthetics.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at October 1, 2007 12:55 PM

"I love how there is nothing in between for you. " - snake

I'll give you that much...I didn't realize I had such strong feelings until this heated up a bit. Maybe if I stew over it for a few years I'll come to the center, as most people do on most issues over time.

If your lady doesn't feel that she's giving up something important then...I guess, who cares? If she's cool w/ it then that's spectacular and I'm glad you and she are on the same page.

My boyfriend says he wouldn't like to give up his last name b/c "it's just the way of things." If he were to look me in the eyes and tell me that taking his last name would mean the entire world to him (followed by some sort of logical reasoning that doesn't have to do with the children we don't have) I'd maybe do it... b/c it's a *nice sentiment* to merge lives and families.

I just hate the arbitrary acceptance of bullshit traditions with sexist/racist/whatever roots. "The way of things" changes and I'm, let's say, down with it.

And thus is thus. It's been fun, Snakeman.

Cheers.

Posted by: Gretchen at October 1, 2007 2:22 PM

Holy shit, how did I miss this load of crap from Crid;

all these terribly sensitive, compassionate and open-minded people can't find instruction in a most obvious truth: Children are literally delivered to the intersection of a man and a woman. There's a cosmic lesson in the harmony of those meanings, and it's neither a power-mongering religious proscription nor accidental biology.

So what? Seriously. Any moron can fuck and reproduce. We can even do it on accident, as my next child proves. So fucking what? It certainly isn't special nor is it cosmic. It's basic biology. Unlike straight couples, gay couples can't have kids by accident. So I would argue that gay couples, all around, are a lot more special. There's less of them and they only have kids if and when they really want them.

Some people are born, really liking members of the opposite sex, others liking members of the same sex. None of them are special because of it. Cosmic significance? What a load of shit. Certainly no justification for preventing people who are gay, from having the same legal security that straights have. Definitely not something that will harm society.

I also will add, that this too, is very similar to arguments against inter-racial marriage.

Chang -

Our government protects its citizens' rights to marry and promotes cosmic behaviors with tax breaks when they reproduce.

No reason why anyone with kids, shouldn't get those tax breaks, indeed they do. It has nothing to do with marriage either. I get tax breaks for my child, because he is my dependent and I make more money than my partner. It wouldn't make a lick of difference if we were married or not, excepting that if there is a large enough gap, I could declare her a dependent. The monetary rewards are not all that significant.

I would also note, that gay couples raising kids, get the tax breaks too.

Snakeman -

I realized that you weren't arguing against gay marriage. But both Crid and Brian made comments about what Gretchen had to say. Sorry, it's parsing it fine I guess, but that's why I didn't say that those who are arguing with her, are also arguing against gay marriage.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 1, 2007 5:57 PM

> Sometimes restating things helps
> to make sure I'm understanding
> them.

Oh puh-leeze. You are such a kidder over there, what with your jokes and your humor.

> if marriage is such a good
> thing and stabilizing to
> society it then seems we
> should seek to make this
> stability available to more

One thing that makes marriage marriage is that it's exclusive. It only happens to a certain class of folks (unrelated/opposite sex/sane/[usually] age-appropriate/etc). Trace flouride is good for a city's dental health, but you don't give every kid a steaming mug of sodium hexafluorosilicate with his morning Wheaties. As Marion notes in a nearby thread, we recognize the hand of shabby caregiver by its disregard for proper dosage....

> available to more people in
> committed relationships.

Who's interfering with anyone's ability to commit?

> Marriage has meant many
> different things, in many
> different cultures and times

Right. I'm for keeping it as is right here right now.

> what does it need protection
> from?

Well, it needs protection from you. But I was speaking of the people who get protected, mostly from taxes and other pressures.

> that they are lesser persons

You keep saying that. Gays are no more lesser people than are un-marry-ables of any kind. I can't marry my little brother, but neither of us is diminished by the constraint. In any case, I don't want to rewrite every law in the land to make sure that each little weasel enjoys a soothing, respectful pat on the back and an explicit affirmation of his personal grooviness.

> I believe that marriage as
> a legal institution should
> be abolished...

Well, Golly, I guess we disagree. And again, it will be a tough sell for you. But if you chase those silly Modern Bride-type magazines out of business, I'll take you and your friend out to Red Lobster.

> It is a matter of discrimination
> no different than that of
> a black person who wants
> to marry a white person

Color is not behavioral, as are sex and marriage.

> you're arguing from
> cantankerous bigotry

No, you're just pissed when you lose.

> that exact sort of fiction

The relevance escapes me.

> What exactly do they want?

Well, you tell me... you're the petitioner. I'm Mr. Status Quo.

> we will read that into
> everything you say

Shameless infantilism.

> there are some battles against
> the status quo not worth
> fighting.

Word.

> Equating your attachment
> to your father's last name
> to this country's civil
> rights struggles is
> laughable.

Word word!

> (i.e., why all the species
> are wired to reproduce and
> who benefits at the end?)

Huh? Isn't a cynical indictment of evolution itself a little bit grandiose?

> You shouldn't be standing
> on my foot

Nobody's standing on anyone's foot. Someone got caught swinging an empty palm through the collection plate.

> Why not accidental
> biology?

I now officially regret the use of the word 'cosmic.' But at some point, you and Chang and all the others have to acknowledge that not everything about our circumstance is elective, and that we're oppressed (and rewarded) by forces that have nothing to do with policy. First, people started saying that the love of men for women and women for men has actually been nothing special. Now people are saying a crotch is just a crotch, "that's just a matter of aesthetics."

What's next? I mean, what could be weirder?

Posted by: Crid at October 1, 2007 11:53 PM

I'll have more responses later Crid, but I still, really want to know, how does giving gays the same legal security that straights get in their relationships, hurt society? Not one thing you have said, explains why this would be a bad thing. Nothing you have said, explains how this would somehow, undermine everyone else's marriages. If you want to deny someone to hose rights, then please, give me a reason. Show me one harm that this would cause society.

Color is not behavioral, as are sex and marriage.

Color is immutable, as is sexual orientation. Sex is a behavior, sexual preference is not.

No, you're just pissed when you lose.

Lose what? Thus far all you have done is thrown out a bunch of fucking moronic bigotry. When you actually come up with a reason why gay couples and their families are any less deserving of the legal security that marriage provides, then we can talk about losing. Again, please, please explain how giving them that security, in any way harms society. All that you have argued, all that you have said, is based in bigotry (and the cosmos). Come up with a actual, coherent argument against it, then you at least have some premise by which

Posted by: DuWayne at October 2, 2007 12:16 AM

> I'll have more responses
> later

This is why I think you're considering it for the first time. But if nobody else wants to kick in some thoughts, we can wrap it up 'til next time. Amy does this one three of four times a year. It feels like these have been your first loops around the track. And loops they are: Being called a "moronic bigot" by someone who can't present an affirmative case or take a point isn't such an illuminating time. Especially after a promise that the taunt will continue until the world agrees with them. Meanwhile...

> Color is immutable, as
> is sexual orientation.

Not that I care much, but culture does much to influence orientation.

> Sex is a behavior, sexual
> preference is not.

Interior conditions are not something policy should have to fuss over.

Posted by: Crid at October 2, 2007 12:59 AM

Anybody getting anywhere here? No? I'm shocked.

Crid, here's your affirmative case for why gay couples should be able to marry. It won't persuade you of anything because as I noted above, your perspective on this is the classic conservative one - that you don't just fuck around with important social constructs without good reason, and for you there aren't good reasons for letting gay people get married. But here it is:

Marriage is on balance a good thing for people and society. It helps them to pool resources to get stuff done that it's really hard to do alone. It helps married people that they have someone who can make medical decisions for them if one partner is incapacitated. Married people live longer and have a better standard of living. These are all things that our society has decided are good things. Gay couples being married most likely means more people living longer, more productive lives; more people settled down an investing in their communities. And it won't affect the breeders one bit.

Posted by: justin case at October 2, 2007 7:22 AM

For a different slant, check out this link:

http://www.slate.com/id/2174380/?GT1=10538

Posted by: Flynne at October 2, 2007 8:12 AM

Crid -

This is why I think you're considering it for the first time.

Actually I was checking on my way to bed.

It feels like these have been your first loops around the track. And loops they are: Being called a "moronic bigot" by someone who can't present an affirmative case or take a point isn't such an illuminating time.

When every "argument" you make is based on moronic bigotry, people will assume your a moronic bigot. Especially when you ignore every argument someone makes in favor of something and pretend they haven't made any. On top of that, steadfastly refusing to make an argument in the negative. Still waiting to hear about how exactly gay marriage will negatively impact society. But if you need another round-up of reasons gays should get married, here we go.

First. Many gay couples are raising children theses days, just like straight couples. Their families, like any other, not only deserve, but need the same legal security that marriage is the standard for providing.

Second. Gay couples, who like many straight couples don't have kids, still have relationships that are exactly the same. They are no less deserving of the legal security that marriage provides. Such as the right to hospital visits at the end, without fear of discrimination in a very difficult time. They also are no less deserving of legal remedy in property disputes at the end of a relationship or when their partner dies.

Third. They deserve to be able to share their employment bennies with their partners, just like straight people do.

Finally, their relationships have no less value than those of straight people. They themselves have no less value than straight people. Homosexuality is entirely normal, for homosexuals. They do not, with very few exceptions, choose to be gay. Cultures only influence on the process is to make them more comfortable with accepting who they are and being open about it. Equality is just that, equality, whether it's inter-racial marriage or gay marriage.

The relevance escapes me.

You're the one arguing that gays can marry - members of the opposite sex. It is relevant, because such marriages are nothing but a sham, unhealthy for everyone involved. Had my uncle been able to accept and be who he actually was, he likely wouldn't have felt the need to fulfill himself in the only way available at the time, by fucking around with many different partners. Might have even avoided contracting AIDS, requiring his family (including me) to sit with him as he wasted away, weighing half what he should at the end, with a pallor that makes the crypt keeper look good.

Well, Golly, I guess we disagree. And again, it will be a tough sell for you. But if you chase those silly Modern Bride-type magazines out of business, I'll take you and your friend out to Red Lobster.

Wouldn't have the least bit of effect on that. People could and would still get married, it just would no longer be the legal standard. Not so tough a sell either, mostly thanks to bigots like you. Every time this discussion comes up, I find more and more people either agreeing with me, or making comments to that effect before I get to it.

I would really like to hear your negative argument. I am assuming that you have some great insight into the damage that gay marriage will have on society and straight marriage, I would really love to hear it. Actually, at this point in the game, I am beginning to suspect that you don't actually have one, but if you do, please share it. I have been waiting for days to see it.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 2, 2007 9:03 AM

Please do not compare gay marriage to the civil rights movement.

Posted by: PurplePen at October 2, 2007 9:58 AM

I did not finish my post. An irritating phenomena is the comparison between gay marriage and inter-racial relationships. Being gay is not the same thing as me being Hispanic, just like being Hispanic is not the same thing as being a woman. Women and race minorities are both considered an oppressed class…….so…If a white woman said that being a woman is like being ‘another race’- like being a black man in the 1920’s for example, imagine the outrage.

I could be a raging flaming homo in the 1800's and have the world at my feet. Financial success, admiration, etc. Everyone would just call me a ‘bachelor for life’. Cecil Rhodes comes to mind. Good luck trying to get that as one of his African workers.

Posted by: PurplePen at October 2, 2007 10:39 AM

DuWayne,

"I get tax breaks for my child, because he is my dependent and I make more money than my partner. It wouldn't make a lick of difference if we were married or not, excepting that if there is a large enough gap, I could declare her a dependent. The monetary rewards are not all that significant."

You are absolutely right. However, if you did not father the child, the government will make you do extra expensive legal work (adoption) before you could claim the child as a dependent. You will not be able to claim your unmarried partner as a dependent depending on the states you live in. Yes, the marriage in tax makes a difference. The monetary reward can be significant considering people will kill each other on the street for less than $100.

So you see that government is rewarding its citizens, who marry, produce and raise their children. That is the status quo, which happens to align with "cosmic lesson". Just calling this unfair is not going to change this status quo but showing the benefits in "cosmic" sense will. I do not like it but I am going to accept this status quo until I find out more about this almost sad evolutionary circus.

Posted by: Chang at October 2, 2007 11:31 AM

> And it won't affect the
> breeders one bit.

Then why is it necessary? Listen, gays want something from society. Society is being petitioned, OK? The most disheartening thing about this is the way advocates can't make a case for this based on an exchange. Why should society do this for gays? What's in it for society?

I've literally been asking this question on this blog for years, and it's about the fifth time in this thread, and it just vanishes into the ether. The inability to even hear the question tells me two things about GM advocates. First, they're political neophytes who are not used to --in the political sense-- "dealing". Secondly they are, as Amy was (gently) taunted far above, youthfully naive in their faith that things become valuable --that value is simply created out of thin air-- once Dad or some plurality summons it. (Thirdly, the teen fascination with momentary measures of fairness is reminiscent of Brittany.)

You're not being asked what's "fair." Society does all sort of things that aren't fair. It locks men into the most violent settings imaginable for a lifetime, scars the landscape to harvest petty natural resources, and terrorizes the innocent with eminent domain. The advantages married people enjoy from civilization are not fair. But that's OK, because civilization loves married people best. It's more important to make the lives of married people go well than other kinds of people, because so many of civilization's other problems vanish thereafter.

> based on moronic bigotry

OK, I won't bother with the rest. You're a child.

There's a despicable name for people who think they can insult people while concurrently persuading them: They're called Democrats. Well, anyway, that's what the Huffpo and Kos Democrats do... They sit around thinking up new and inventive ways to explain how the voters are venal and incompetent, certain that when these compelling new arguments are heard, those same voters will turn to them with gratitude.

One gets the sense that looking down on others is the reason they got into the game, and that portraying themselves as morally superior means more to them than distant outcomes anyway.

Posted by: Crid at October 2, 2007 11:36 AM

Republican legislator Ted Klaudt was charged with raping girls under the age of 16.

Republican city councilman Joseph Monteleone Jr. was found guilty of fondling underage girls.

Republican congressional aide Jeffrey Nielsen was arrested for having sex with a 14-year old boy.

Republican County Commissioner Patrick Lee McGuire surrendered to police after allegedly molesting girls between the ages of 8 and 13.

Republican prosecutor Larry Corrigan was arrested for soliciting sex from 13-year old girls.

Republican Mayor Jeffrey Kyle Randall was sentenced to 275 days in jail for molesting two boys -- ages ten and 12 -- during a six-year period.

Republican County Board Candidate Brent Schepp was charged with molesting a 14-year old girl and killed himself three days later.

Republican Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned from Congress after "sexually explicit" emails surfaced showing him flirting with a 16-year old boy.

Republican executive Randall Casseday of the conservative Washington Times newspaper pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a 13-year old girl on the internet.

Republican chairman of the Oregon Christian Coalition Lou Beres confessed to molesting a 13-year old girl.

Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting sex from an 8-year old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable.

Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

Republican Party leader Bobby Stumbo was arrested for having sex with a 5-year old boy.

Republican petition drive manager Tom Randall pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.

Republican County Chairman Armando Tebano pleaded guilty to fondling a 14-year-old girl.

Republican teacher and former city councilman John Collins pleaded guilty to sexually molesting 13 and 14 year old girls.

Republican campaign worker Mark Seidensticker is a convicted child molester.

Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.

Republican Mayor Tom Adams was arrested for distributing child pornography over the internet.

Republican Mayor John Gosek was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from two 15-year old girls.

Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.

Republican Committeeman John R. Curtin was convicted of molesting an underage teenage boy and sentenced to serve six to 18 months in prison.

Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.

Republican zoning supervisor, Boy Scout leader and Lutheran church president Dennis L. Rader pleaded guilty to performing a sexual act on an 11-year old girl he murdered.

Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.

Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.

Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.

Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.

Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.

Republican advertising consultant Carey Lee Cramer was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting two 8-year old girls, one of whom appeared in an anti-Gore television commercial.

Republican fundraiser Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.

Republican Congressman Donald "Buz" Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.

Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.

Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.

Republican campaign chairman Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child and was arrested again five years later on the same charge.

Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.

Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russell admitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.

Republican Judge Ronald C. Kline pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer.


Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.

Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.

Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. "Republican Marty"), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.

Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.

Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.

Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced prison after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.

Republican talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old girl.

Republican anti-gay activist Earl "Butch" Kimmerling was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.

Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.

Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-year old girl.

Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.

Republican legislator Keith Westmoreland was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).

Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was found guilty of molesting a 15-year old girl.

Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty to molesting a male child.

Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.

Republican candidate Richard Gardner admitted to molesting his two daughters.

Republican Councilman and former Marine Jack W. Gardner was convicted of molesting a 13-year old girl.

Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.

Republican City Councilman Fred C. Smeltzer, Jr. pleaded no contest to raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6-months in prison.

Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.

Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.

Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.

Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a "good military man" and "church goer," was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.

Republican campaign worker, police officer and self-proclaimed reverend Steve Aiken was convicted of having sex with two underage girls.

Republican director of the "Young Republican Federation" Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp. Russell Harding pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.

Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.

Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the rape of children in Iraqi prisons in order to humiliate their parents into providing information about the anti-American insurgency.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at October 2, 2007 12:28 PM

Yer point?

In all fairness, now go google "Democrat child molesters" and see how long that list is.

Posted by: Flynne at October 2, 2007 1:14 PM

What's in it for society?

Sometimes I think you intentionally avoid the point. Perhaps I should have written "And it won't negatively affect the breeders one bit." And if you don't think any of the previous points I made are a net positive for society (e.g., people living longer, being more productive, etc.) fine. I really don't care. Because the anti-gay marriage perspective will lose eventually, and society as a whole will be the better for it.

Posted by: justin case at October 2, 2007 1:53 PM

I swear by my life and the love of it, that I will never Google for anyone else, and I ask no one else to Google for me.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at October 2, 2007 2:02 PM

> Sometimes I think you intentionally
> avoid the point.

Goddamit, Justin, what have I missed? You keep saying that it's absolutely nothing but that it's also absolutely essential. Both these things can't be true.

Nihilism... Surreality... And a dripping dollop of childishness on top.... "Everyone can be special!"

You want to give specialness to gays.

WHERE
WILL
THE
VALUE
COME
FROM?

Posted by: Crid at October 2, 2007 2:13 PM

> I will never Google for anyone
> else, and I ask no one else
> to Google for me.

If you mean that other people shouldn't force to you do their research for them, you're absolutely right. But it's still a wonderful tool with which to surprise and delight as scattershot.

Try me!

Posted by: Crid at October 2, 2007 2:18 PM

You keep saying that it's absolutely nothing but that it's also absolutely essential.

Never said it was absolutely essential (really! find it). It's absolutely nothing in terms of negative impact on straight marriages and it's positive in terms of the lives of gay people which equals a broader net positive (economics and health and community stability all affect the broader world). That's where the value comes from (it doesn't strike me as a zero-sum game where gay people gain and therefore I lose). And if anything, it's giving not specialness to gays, since it's something your average heterosexual person can do.

Posted by: justin case at October 2, 2007 5:27 PM

Try me! I did. Nice boobs!

Posted by: justin case at October 2, 2007 5:28 PM

It took 85 comments before someone could even hear the question. Why is that?

Review this stack; Pro-GM types take their righteousness as a matter of arrogant, Falwell-style faith. Their minds are closed, but they don't want to have to defend their faith in rational terms. So we get things like "there is nothing left but bigotry and we will read that into everything you say", which is like a Believer declining to acknowledge suffering (and has witch-hunt overtones besides). And we get "the anti-gay marriage perspective will lose eventually, and society as a whole will be the better for it," which sounds a lot like a Second Coming... We don't need to make arguments, all we need to do is await His Return.

> It's absolutely nothing
> in terms of negative impact
> on straight marriages

I disagree, though it's always great to find people who don't think zero-sum, even when they're wrong... Unless, of course, you're guaranteeing that there will be no additional drain on the public coffers?

Also, please explain how this makes sense:

> it's giving not specialness
> to gays, since it's something
> your average heterosexual
> person can do.

I think marriage is one, just one, of the many things that makes heterosexuality (and conventional romantic bonding in general) pretty fuckin' special.

Posted by: Crid at October 2, 2007 7:01 PM

Purple Pen -

I am only following in the footsteps of the late Correta Scot King with that. Google "Coretta King" "gay rights", for the very eloquent articles she wrote on the topic and her comparisons of it to the civil rights struggle her husband died for.

Being gay is not the same thing as me being Hispanic, just like being Hispanic is not the same thing as being a woman.

I didn't say that it's the same. However, women's sufferage and the civil rights movements, have vast similarities, many of which are shared by the gay rights movement. Similarly, nearly every argument that is made against gay marriage, was also made against inter-racial marriage, before the courts declared that to be legitimate.

Women and race minorities are both considered an oppressed class…

Are you trying to say that gays aren't? Seriously?

Chang -

You are absolutely right. However, if you did not father the child, the government will make you do extra expensive legal work (adoption) before you could claim the child as a dependent.

It cost my dad less than twenty dollars to adopt me when he married my mom 29 years ago. I imagine it's a bit more expensive now, but not significantly.

So you see that government is rewarding its citizens, who marry, produce and raise their children.

The government also rewards those citizens who adopt. And they don't have to marry to get that. I get that break and I'm not married to my partner. This tax break, has nothing to do with marriage. The only tax break that is related to marriage, is in the event that one partner can declare the other, their dependent. Indeed, if both partners make the same and enough, they pay more in taxes as a married couple, than they would if they were single.

Crid -

Then why is it necessary? Listen, gays want something from society. Society is being petitioned, OK? The most disheartening thing about this is the way advocates can't make a case for this based on an exchange. Why should society do this for gays? What's in it for society?

Funny, I haven't yet seen this question from you on this thread. I haven't been involved in any other threads here, on this topic. This one's easy. Society gets every single benefit that it gets from hetero marriage. I think I have repeated every reason that it is necessary, none of which you have answered. Nor have you yet explained how society is harmed. So who's losing the argument?

Indeed, you answer what the benefit is right here;
It's more important to make the lives of married people go well than other kinds of people, because so many of civilization's other problems vanish thereafter. Well, gee, that seems like a pretty good reason to not only make it legal, but to do everything possible to encourage gay couples to marry.

OK, I won't bother with the rest. You're a child.

No, I'm making an honest observation. You have not made a single argument that gay marriage is a bad thing. Not once have you shown the harm. You keep asking why it's important, yet ignore the answers entirely. After eighty some comments, you finally ask your driving question, still failing to show any harm that gay marriage would cause. There's the moronic part.

You obviously think that healthy, stable gay relationships are a bad thing (though you have yet to say why), while hetero relationships are somehow superior, thus your argument is based in bigotry. Don't like the observation, then answer one simple question;

What harm will gay marriage cause society?

If you can't actually answer that question coherently, then yes, your argument is based entirely in moronic bigotry. Personally, I think your little tizzy, is because I have actually given several good reasons to support gay marriage, which you are incapable of answering.

There's a despicable name for people who think they can insult people while concurrently persuading them: They're called Democrats.

First, I am not trying to convince you. You don't like teh Gay, I get it. I am simply trying to figure out, what harm gay marriage will cause society.

Second, I take being accused of being a democrat, on a par with being accused of being a republican. I would honestly rather be accused of being a liar and a thief. I believe that the very worse thing to happen to our democracy, is political parties.

One gets the sense at looking down on others is the reason they got into the game, and that portraying themselves as morally superior means more to them than distant outcomes anyway.

Unfortunately, it is taking far too long for your kind of bigotry to die off, but dying it is. Within my lifetime, we will have gay marriage, if marriage is still the legal standard, which I doubt it will be. Young people don't see the problem with it. Most of us know gay people, work with gay people, have gay friends. The more gays are out, the less strange it seems. This even infects many older people, unfortunately not nearly enough. No difference, slowly but surely the tide is turning. State after state is legalizing civil unions, with one allowing full marriage and others talking about it.

Review this stack; Pro-GM types take their righteousness as a matter of arrogant, Falwell-style faith. Their minds are closed, but they don't want to have to defend their faith in rational terms.

I have repeatedly given very rational, reasonable reasons for supporting gay marriage, not one of which you have answered. Who's being close minded and irrational?

So we get things like "there is nothing left but bigotry and we will read that into everything you say", which is like a Believer declining to acknowledge suffering (and has witch-hunt overtones besides).

I say that because you have yet to explain where the harm to society comes from. Waiting, still waiting for a response. Frustrated by the lack of coherent, rational response, I have assumed that all you have is bigotry. Because you have given nothing else.

We don't need to make arguments, all we need to do is await His Return.

Again, I have made several arguments, none of which you have responded to. On the other hand, you have yet to actually make one. It is true though, we will win.

I disagree, though it's always great to find people who don't think zero-sum, even when they're wrong... Unless, of course, you're guaranteeing that there will be no additional drain on the public coffers?

No more of a drain than straight marriage. Personally, I am perfectly content with removing all tax breaks that don't involve children. That not only gets rid of the problem of a further drain, but saves tax dollars.

I think marriage is one, just one, of the many things that makes heterosexuality (and conventional romantic bonding in general) pretty fuckin' special.

And you wonder why I accuse you of bigotry. Heteros are no better, our relationships are no better, than those of gays.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 2, 2007 8:48 PM

It took 85 comments before someone could even hear the question. Why is that?

I don't know.

Unless, of course, you're guaranteeing that there will be no additional drain on the public coffers?

Course not. But I think it's a worthwhile gamble.

I think marriage is one, just one, of the many things that makes heterosexuality (and conventional romantic bonding in general) pretty fuckin' special.

Well, I think it's special to the people experiencing it, much less so to others for the most part. My relationship with my wife is very special to me, and to her, but probably not to anybody who isn't extremely close to us. A few circles out and we're most likely just another statistic. And not special to those people. Doesn't change our experience one bit, though.

Posted by: justin case at October 2, 2007 9:26 PM

Duwayne, you're a stinkin' brat, and I'm not going to bother any more. When you call people horrible names, there's no reason to believe you're interested in persuasion or logic. Go away.

> I don't know.

Let "religious fervor" be your working explanation until you sort it out: Unthinking allegiance to ideas like this is the witch hunting of our age. (Peak oil and various environmental panics are like that too... Based on things that everyone just knows, but don't really exist.)

> Course not.

But you just said 'no added value required'

> I think it's a worthwhile
> gamble.

Since you'll be gambling with my money, what do you say we hold off a few more centuries? 'Kthxbye.

> I think it's special to the
> people experiencing it

So is prison, another ancient state-authored condition of living. But I trust you're OK with its selective application. Maybe it's best not to judge these things on how special they make us feel on an individual basis.

Posted by: Crid at October 3, 2007 12:21 AM

Damn Crid, and here I've been waiting for an actual argument against gay marriage or a refutation of even one of the arguments I made for it. Hell, I'd have settled for logic of any sort. So it goes.

FYI, I wasn't trying to convince you of anything. Just was hoping you would actually explain the danger gay marriage poses.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 3, 2007 1:56 AM

I firmly believe that it doesn't take all kinds, we've just got all kinds. What the hell ever happened to live and let live? o_O

Posted by: Flynne at October 3, 2007 5:45 AM

But you just said 'no added value required'

No, I thought I just explained how it did add value to society.

Since you'll be gambling with my money, what do you say we hold off a few more centuries? 'Kthxbye.

Nah, as I've said. I think it's a good idea. EVERYTHING is a gamble and might cost us more in the long run. All we can do is try to gamble wisely.

Maybe it's best not to judge these things on how special they make us feel on an individual basis.

I don't think that's what's happening here. Clearly people in our society are trying to figure out as a group if letting gay people marry is a good idea. Not surprisingly, opinions differ. Usually, eventually, by people trying to do what's right things get sorted out.

Is there a new post to get us all riled up yet?

Posted by: justin case at October 3, 2007 7:18 AM

Can we not get into "Republicans suck!"/"Democrats suck more!" on this entry?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2007 7:37 AM

Was on deadline...there's more uptop...hate crimes legislation.

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2007/10/whats_wrong_wit_8.html

And a sexy witch for Crid.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2007 7:39 AM

@Crid
"What's in it for society?
I've literally been asking this question on this blog for years, and it's about the fifth time in this thread, and it just vanishes into the ether. "

Maybe this answer is so obvious you missed it: They (GM advocates) will stop petitioning society for a change. There is a social cost to inequity; citizens have a disincentive to act for society’s benefit. And there is the cost of endless and increasingly expensive litigation. Reduced cost = benefit.

You ran from the term “cosmic” and used “forces” instead. The “forces” are beyond our control but policies are not. Society continues to learn more about your “forces” even if we can’t change them and we set our policies to better match the “forces” as we understand them.
The current policies are out of alignment and your objections to changing them amount to inertia and some fear about how “weird” things might get if we keep going at this rate. Life is weird, you'd think a Zappa geek would appreciate that more.

I don’t think you even care about this. I think you are just pissed that you finally got your ass handed to you on your pet topic. And quit telling people to get lost. If you don’t like the company you know what to do.

Posted by: martin at October 3, 2007 7:47 AM

Okay, per justin case's request, there's a new version of this topic up here:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/archives/2007/10/one_true_purpos.html

...slashing and burning the silly "one true purpose" for marriage argument. Thank you, Eugene Volokh!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2007 9:20 AM

*Can we not get into "Republicans suck!"/"Democrats suck more!" on this entry?*

I think the gigantic mockery bomb of documented sex crimes has already ended that silly departure from the topic!

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at October 3, 2007 9:56 AM

Amy -

Can we not get into "Republicans suck!"/"Democrats suck more!" on this entry?

Sure! (Although, I am afraid that if something quite miraculous, cosmic even, happens, I'll have to revise my apposing sentiment, that democrats suck, but republicans suck more. That is in a couple years, when we end up with democrat domination, similar to that of the republican domination that died in the mid-terms. I'm pretty sure there will then be equality in the suckage of both.)

Quick list of negatives.

Put party power over the interest of the country. Republicans, check, democrats, check.

Pandering to corporate interests. Republicans, check, democrats check.

Believe that government can't do anything, make sure it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Republicans, check, democrats - ooh, chalk on up for the dems. May not always work, but at least they try.

Child molestation. Republicans, check, democrats, check.

Sexual hypocrisy (i.e., I hate teh Gay, except when I'm doing it) Republicans, check, democrats, not quite as bad, but still a check.

Pandering to the religious rightwing. Republicans, check, democrats, not so much.

Pandering to the psuedoscience of creationism, excuse me, intelligent design. Republicans, check, dems, not so much.

Believe that government should control the bodies of it's citizens. Republicans, check, dems, check.

So ultimately, the dems really don't have that many advantages, but they are a slightly preferable bunch.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 3, 2007 10:03 AM

DuWayne,

"It cost my dad less than twenty dollars to adopt me when he married my mom 29 years ago. I imagine it's a bit more expensive now, but not significantly."

Actually, if you married your partner, you could claim his/her child as a dependent and you do not have to adopt the child to do that. So, the cost is zero.

"The only tax break that is related to marriage, is in the event that one partner can declare the other, their dependent."

That is not true. Here are the tax benefits for married couples.

You get to file as either married filing joint or separate. Depending on your situation, you can substantially reduce your tax liabilities (vs. two singes) by playing these two options.

You can contribute to IRA for your non working spouse.

If you owned a business and hired your spouse as an employee, you do not have to follow all the labor or tax laws applicable to the third party. They are usually advantageous.

While some companies offer health coverage to domestic partners, this benefit is taxable as income. When spouses are covered, the benefit is tax free.

A husband or wife is entitled to one half of the spouses Social Security benefits and to additional benefits in the event of death.

If you died without a will, your spouse gets a good chunk of your stuff automatically without paying tax.

The $2 million estate tax limitation does not apply to married couple. You can leave an unlimited amount to a spouse without owing one penny of estate tax.

I can go on and on but our government clearly favors married couple over singles.

"Indeed, if both partners make the same and enough, they pay more in taxes as a married couple, than they would if they were single."

It is called Marriage Penalties and it is gone now due to recent legislations in the past five or so years. Now, the couple will get a tax bonus with disparate incomes. The wider the gap between the paychecks of husband and wife, the bigger the bonus.


Our government clearly favors married couples over singles with very favorable tax laws. The gentle, caring and possibly senile Crid actually is making a valid argument these benefits is reserved for hetros only (status quo) unless gays could show how the hetros will benefit by changing the status quo. I have not seen any credible arguments from the commentators to convince any politicians otherwise, who wants to be re elected again. As long as the hetros do not see the big benefit (mainly related to money), the Bible wagging majority hetros would prefer the status quo. And I do not blame them.


Posted by: Chang at October 3, 2007 10:15 AM

> Maybe this answer is so
> obvious you missed it:
> They (GM advocates) will
> stop petitioning

Nobody made that argument, probably because it would be a childish way to do policy. "Dad, you should buy me a Camaro because then I'll stop harrassing you about it every time you walk in the door." (On the other hand, that's well in line with the "I'll-hold-my-breath-until-I-turn-blue" rhetoric that we have heard.)

> If you don’t like the
> company you know what
> to do.

Your feelings have been hurt, we can tell.

> Okay, per justin case's
> request

Huh? Request? Where? Is someone slipping notes to Teach behind our back?

> there's a new version
> of this topic up here

It's not a new version, it's a new topic! "One true purpose" is a phrase unseen in this discussion. You guys have cut and run!

Victory is at hand. You owe me dinner. Everybody dress well, I won't be seen in the company of slobs.

> already ended that silly
> departure from the topic!

Maybe, but still, I'm glad to be a lifelong Democrat.

> Our government clearly
> favors married couples

It's important that this truth be accepted at a fundamental level, and thanks to Chang for a shot of jen-yooine data. But this isn't just a government regulation. It isn't something being done to us by some disinterested party in a remote office. In the United States as in no other nation, the government is of the people. Straight marriage is favored period.

> gentle, caring and possibly
> senile

Three horrific characterizations.

> the Bible wagging majority
> hetros would prefer the
> status quo.

Has Amy got a blog for you! She loves to blame things on the Bible-Thumpers!

> And I do not blame them.

What do you know, the young guy wants to hear rational argument instead of expressions of faith!

Thanks, it was good.

101.

Posted by: Crid at October 3, 2007 11:28 AM

Okay, per justin case's request

Whoo hoo! A full-service blog! Thanks, Amy.

Victory is at hand. You owe me dinner

Victory is hardly at hand. But I'd happily buy you a drink anyway.

Posted by: justin case at October 3, 2007 12:17 PM

Chang -

As long as the hetros do not see the big benefit (mainly related to money),...

What exactly is the benefit of marriage for heteros? How would any benefit not also come from gay marriage?

Seriously, gay marriage, would provide the same benefits for society that straight marriage does. I fail to see the benefit at all, as marriage is virtually meaningless in terms of bringing stability to relationships. But it does provide legal security that gay couples deserve just as much as straight couples. No one has yet to explain why gays don't deserve the same legal security. Nor has anyone come up with a single argument against gay marriage that cannot be equally applied to hetero marriage.

Instead, those most voracious in defense of the status quo, ignore every rational, logical argument for gay marriage and make arguments that are bigoted and ground in the cosmos, then changed to an even more ambiguous, "force." There hasn't yet been one rational, logical argument made to support the status quo, despite repeated pleading for one. Sorry, but I just don't see it.

People who are averse to gay marriage or the equivalent, are saying that straight relationships are superior, without saying why. If it's all about the kids, then couples who do not have kids/intend to have kids, should not be allowed to marry. However, the flip side of that is, any couple who does, should be allowed to marry, thus still legalizing gay marriage. Short of that, people arguing against gay marriage, are also saying that it's ok to rip families apart, take kids from their parent to be raised by the state, because the parent is gay. They are saying that those kids do not deserve the advantages the children of hetero couples have, as marriage does provide them with legal security too.

So please, Chang, explain what the argument against gay marriage is, that is not based in moronic bigotry. Any advantage marriage provides society, would be the same in gay marriages too. If, as has been claimed, marriage improves society, provides stability and other good things, then expanding the institution to include gays, could only improve society that much more.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 3, 2007 12:18 PM

DuWayne,

"So please, Chang, explain what the argument against gay marriage is, that is not based in moronic bigotry."

You are asking a wrong guy. I prefer gay marriages and agree with every single of your argument. It is not realistic to expect the majority of hetros to feel that way. Crid made a rational argument and I agree with that even though I did not like it. I hate being a sore loser.

Posted by: Chang at October 3, 2007 12:41 PM

> hardly at hand.

You are so BUSTED!

Posted by: Crid at October 3, 2007 12:42 PM

You are so BUSTED!

I don't follow.

Posted by: justin case at October 3, 2007 1:04 PM

Chang -

What rational argument? I have been downright begging him to give us one.

Put simply. Every single argument that he has made against gay marriage, applies equally to hetero marriage. Conversely, every single argument in support of hetero marriage, would equally apply to gay marriage.

He threw a hissy, because I handed him his ass and he couldn't respond. No, calling someone a moronic bigot, is not nice. That is why I referred to his arguments as such. He's the one who decided to identify himself to his arguments, instead of making a rational argument that is not based entirely on the bigoted assumption that hetero relationships are somehow superior to those of gays. Nor has he made a rational argument for said superiority.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 3, 2007 2:38 PM

Chang -

BTW, back on the adoption issue. Your response is actually another decent argument for gay marriage. However, it is always a very good idea, to adopt if possible. In my situation, it was a huge boon, as it ensured that if I met my biological father, it would be on my terms and mine alone. After meeting him at eighteen, I was profoundly grateful that my dad did that for me.

Apparently when I was eight or nine, he finally had an interest in meeting me (he had never laid eyes on me before, not even as an infant). When I did finally meet him, he tried to pretend he actually had any sort of authoritative stance in my life. He was also quite less than qualified to be such.

This is probably not always the case, I know it's not. But it happens all too often. Adoption is the best way to absolutely secure your relationship with your child. It also means that that child has a legal, full on parent. It proves that you are in for the long haul and will always, regardless of circumstance, be their parent. It shows a much stronger commitment than merely marrying their other parent.

Posted by: DuWayne at October 3, 2007 3:08 PM

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