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Public support for same-sex "marriage" surges in California

According to the latest Field poll, California voters now favor same-sex "marriage" by an astounding 25 point margin. Given the total stranglehold that ideological liberalism exercises over Calfornia's schools, and has for many decades now, in every county and at every level, it was only a matter of time.

Social conservatives in California need to find a new argument. I've said repeatedly that the democratic and majoritarian case for traditional marriage - you know, the one that goes "marriage should be between a man and woman because that's what the people want" - is a loser and will ultimately backfire. Here we are, folks.

Comments (55)

I'm sure it's moving that way, but I doubt the poll a tad considering the very recent rejection in 2008.

How about we adopt the "get the government out of marriage" argument?

I think that is the only safe way to guarantee that faith-based organizations won't be forced to recognize gay marriages! That may seem like a stretch but I think it's coming if we don't stop government intrusion into these matters.

I've said repeatedly that the democratic and majoritarian case for traditional marriage - you know, the one that goes "marriage should be between a man and woman because that's what the people want" - is a loser and will ultimately backfire.

I agree that sounds like a terrible argument, but has that ever been a popular argument against gay marriage as opposed to an argument in favor of passing a ban or amendment? I could see "you should oppose gay marriage, politician who wants to be elected, because look at the polls". But that wouldn't mean "gay marriage is wrong, because look at the polls".

I think gay marriage, along with most socially conservative topics, have been terribly handled. This issue should never have been allowed to turn into the soundbite of 'opposing rights for gay people'.

Once again, if you look behind the article to the statistics, you find that the numbers support contradictory conclusions, so that we don't really know what people really want. (Maybe the people themselves don't really know what they want.)

When they broke down the question into support of (1) gay "marriage", (2) gay civil unions, and (3) no legal recognition at all, only 50.9% are in favor of gay "marriage", and 44% were in favor of the other 2 options. So, in a sense, you could say that in California since Prop 8, the numbers have changed from 47.7% in favor of gay marriage to 50.9% in favor. That's a TOTALLY DIFFERENT sense of the electorate than what the article reported. Is it possible that the article didn't WANT to put it that way? Ya' think?

Here's a telling comment:

Eric Harrison, the interim executive director of Love Honor Cherish, said the group – dedicated to overturning Proposition 8 – suspended its campaign to qualify for the November ballot earlier this month because it could not raise the more than $1.5 million needed to collect enough voter signatures. He blamed uncertainty surrounding the 9th Circuit ruling and fractures within the gay community, not poor polling, for the lack of contributions.

If gay marriage is such strong support, you would think that it would be easy to pull in $1.5 mil, but also that you could get signatures using volunteer work and not have to pay people to twist voter's arms for signatures. You don't actually have to SPEND MONEY to get signatures for something people actually support voluntarily and intensely.

My argument against homosexual marriage is that it's another social experiment, and since all the other liberal social experiments have had catastrophic long-term consequences why should we risk yet another one?

It's also worth making the point that while homosexual behaviour is a private matter and it can therefore be argued its' nobody else's business, marriage is a public act and therefore it is other people's business.

Tony,

Once again, if you look behind the article to the statistics, you find that the numbers support contradictory conclusions, so that we don't really know what people really want. (Maybe the people themselves don't really know what they want.)

I think this is actually the most reasonable summary of these kinds of polls. Especially for people who don't feel terribly strongly about these subjects, I wouldn't be surprised if they were constantly shifting back and forth between being for or against something like this, depending on the mood of the day and how things are phrased.

That said, the OP seems correct on this much - people who oppose gay marriage should really think of how they're presenting their case. There has to be a better way to argue for it. I would be shocked to hear anyone say that there's no way to make a non-religious, secular argument in favor of 'traditional' marriage. (Well, I wouldn't be shocked to hear people in favor of gay marriage say it, but it's still incredible.)

Chucky Darwin asks:

"How about we adopt the "get the government out of marriage" argument?

I think that is the only safe way to guarantee that faith-based organizations won't be forced to recognize gay marriages! That may seem like a stretch but I think it's coming if we don't stop government intrusion into these matters."

Well, one problem is a lot of the people who say "get the government out of marriage" are just Libertarians or liberal Republicans trying to buy time until they can safely reveal their true support for SSM. A former GOP State Senate candidate in my district made this argument for a couple years, and just came out in favor of civil unions.

Besides, government intrusion is already near-maximized through anti-discrimination laws.

Regarding the 'Get the government out of marriage' business... what exactly is being suggested there? That Churches (or at least, Churches which disapprove of gay marriage) no longer work with the government when it comes to granting marriage licenses, etc? Or that the government should have nothing to do with marriage whatsoever, including state-sanctioned marriages of any type?

I've heard arguments of both types before, and I'm curious what's being used here.

I think this is why many paleoconservatives (e.g. Rockford) are against a federal marriage amendment. They recognize that we don't live in a majority Christian country (not even close) and haven't for some time and that any attempts to federalize the issue (or even have it decided at the state level) will backfire and result in the opposite of what we want.

Thomas Fleming, the editor of the paleoconservative Chronicles magazine, recently wrote (in agreement with the position of Jeff Culbreath):

Supporters of Prop 8, then, quite understandably like to portray the conflict as a struggle between the popular democracy and judicial tyranny. This is a mistake, a mistake in law, a mistake in political strategy, and, most seriously, a philosophical mistake.

All three mistakes are related, and they derive ultimately from a radical misunderstanding of what marriage is.

Many of the most vocal advocates of Prop 8 support all the legal rights to same sex unions that are on the books in California. This has been the Republican Party strategy everywhere on this issue. If the struggle is over the name and not over reality, the judges of the 9th Circuit were perfectly justified in concluding that to deny the name marriage to homosexual unions was, more or less, an act of petty malice designed to hurt the feelings of homosexuals. Wrong-headed in their view of the law and of the responsibilities of the federal courts, the conservatives naturally adopted a losing strategy.

He concludes his article:

It does not matter whether government authority is exercised a a large majority of voters or by a handful of dictatorial judges. Redefining marriage is like redefining gravity: a man can no more marry a man--whatever piece of paper they receive--than he can jump off a tall building and not fall to earth. Nature has a way of taking revenge on those who defy her laws.

Prop 8 was a terrible mistake, because it has served as an open-ended invitation to permit, nay to encourage governments in the folly of thinking they can redefine marriage. It is the perfect parallel to right-to-life proposals that would give the anti-Christian/anti-human rulers of the American part of this world the power to define life. Any rational person who knows anything about American politics can predict the ultimate result. At the end of the day, government, claiming to protect the rights of individuals, will increase its authority at the expense of the institutions whose actual responsibiity it is to arrange and protect marriages--the family and the Church.


Bruce, I'm not sure what you mean by "have it decided on the state level." It _is_ decided on the state level right now. There is no "have," as if states' defining civil marriage within their borders were some new proposal. The alternatives to "having the parameters of civil marriage decided on the state level" are a) to pass a federal marriage amendment declaring it to be between one man and one woman or b) abolish civil marriage altogether.

I would support a, and I don't think the argument that "we aren't a majority Christian country" really cuts any ice against a. Because if such a federal marriage amendment were passed, well, there it would be. It would show that, despite Christianity not having such a hold in the U.S. anymore, that amendment passed. Moreover, trying to pass a _specific_ federal amendment isn't just generally "federalizing" the issue, as though one were opening it up for "something or other" to be passed at the federal level, which might then end up being the opposite of what one wanted. I would support only a specific and quite simple federal marriage amendment. If someone proposed a different, and "opposite of what I want" federal amendment, obviously I would fight it. Amendments, as far as I know, aren't tinkered with later like laws. E.g. It isn't like the House and Senate passing different versions of some law and then some committee going behind closed doors and making up some third and perhaps quite different thing as a compromise. An amendment gets kicked off (e.g., by Congress) and circulates in a particular form which remains constant throughout its "life" as people try to ratify it in various states.

But obviously, sticking with the present situation of variation among states (until and unless some federal court federalizes the issue willy-nilly by declaring homosexual "marriage" to be required in all states) would be better than abolishing civil marriage altogether.

Prop 8 was a terrible mistake, because it has served as an open-ended invitation to permit, nay to encourage governments in the folly of thinking they can redefine marriage.

I am quite sure that Jeff Culbreath is _not_ saying that Prop. 8 was a terrible mistake!!! Whatever Fleming may say.

Lydia, I interpreted Bruce to mean something different. Something more like if the idea of a Constitutional Amendment addressing marriage started to enter the national conciousness in a serious way, bringing the issue to a head and clearly bifurcating the nation, then the true non-Christian nature of America (as Bruce says) would be awakened and the amendment may end up going the other way. Better to keep non-Christian America asleep and not be forced to make a choice, instead fight the battle around the edges.

Well, Andrew, in that case we're going to have to fight it at the state level. I live in Michigan, and in this state (which isn't one of the most conservative states in the union) amending the state constitution worked out great. We passed a state constitutional amendment (by referendum, I might add) that prohibits the state government from recognizing anything other than the union of a man and a woman as marriage *or similar union* for any purposes whatsoever. This not only blocked homosexual "marriage" in the state but also civil unions. Some people even grumbled about the latter, but it passed.

Now, that was a preemptive strike at the state level. The goal was to prevent either the legislature, the state courts, or some state regulatory bodies from finding various ways to require the recognition of homosexual unions--e.g., by requiring homosexual partnership benefits or by the legislature's changing the definition of "marriage" in the state.

If you're also afraid of awakening non-Christian America by attempted preemptive strikes even at the state level, then I guess you're just going to have to sit around and wait for the next attempt by the liberals to force the issue and then fight that on a case-by-case basis, preserving present state law (e.g., in a state that doesn't presently recognize homosexual unions) where possible.

I suppose that can be a tactical question, but certainly there is _no_ tactic that conservatives can adopt that amounts to, "Hey, let's just not do anything about this." Because if we don't, the other guys will. It's not like it's all going to go away if we ignore it.

I think something like what Andrew described was what I had in mind. I’m not a very good writer and didn’t get my point across very well.

I'm not necessarily opposed to a Federal Marriage Amendment, I was just giving my interpretation of Bruce's comment. I think I would welcome a move towards such an amendment to the Constitution. I've always been in favor of finding out exactly where we stand with the nation. If it's time for our destiny to take on some post-American form (as Auster wrote in his brilliant summation of the 2008 election http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/011791.html ), then so be it.

A federal amendment would be pointless. The main reason is because it is impossible anymore to pass an federal amendment on anything remotely controversial. The last amendment anyone cared about was passed 40 years ago, and it wasn't very controversial.

What you need is a Supreme Court decision, which is the new amendment process. There will be one eventually, though I fully expect it to be in favor of SSM. Interracial marriage was also decided via the Supreme Court, and many people incorrectly see it as the parallel to SSM. But in any case, that would 'settle' the issue as much as it could be settled.

The poll results are probably overstated, but even the correct results show that opposition to SSM is weakening. The arguments of individualism and freedom of choice are winning, because this is what most people are motivated by these days. A lot of people reason that gay marriage doesn't affect them, as they are not gay. QED. Speaking as a member of the younger generations (not entirely sure when that expires), we don't have the capability of even thinking in terms beyond the individual. So, we're naturally sympathetic to the desire to do whatever we want to do, because that is what we have been told all along we ought to be doing.

What you need is a Supreme Court decision, which is the new amendment process.

From a conservative perspective, the only positive SCOTUS decisions I can think of that would be justified would be the following: 1) No, homosexual "marriage" is not a constitutional right. (Phew, dodged that bullet for the moment, but the homosexual lobby will try again after the next shift in SCOTUS personnel or after they decide some member of the court has "grown.") 2) No, the full faith and credit clause doesn't require State A which doesn't recognize homosexual "marriage" to accept it from State B. If that one were handed down, I would expect it to be more stable.

Here's the thing: A SCOTUS decision that doesn't come to the liberal conclusion is never regarded as settling anything. It's only SCOTUS decisions that come to liberal conclusions that are taken to be "settled." Otherwise, they just keep trying, and they often succeed.

I think one of the main problems being highlighted in this conversation is the following: the idea that "we're not a Christian nation anymore" serves as an explanation of why gay marriage will be inevitably approved.

I'll admit that a considerable chunk of my opposition to gay marriage comes from being Catholic. But I also think that powerful arguments can be made against it which make no reference to Christianity, and those are the arguments which would be of the most benefit even to a Christian audience. If the idea is that one has to be a Christian to oppose gay marriage, or if non-Christians can't be trusted to oppose gay marriage, it suggests to me - and hey, maybe wrongly - that the sort of arguments and concepts being placed front and center in this debate are ones that assume the truth of Christianity to begin with.

I'd also agree with what I take Lydia to be suggesting - namely that liberals never regard anything as 'settled'. So maybe conservatives should stop regarding some things as 'settled'. In fact, that seems to be one reason why liberals tend to have greater success nowadays - a refusal to give up even in the face of, at the time, considerable opposition, even over years.

By the way, I don't see that anyone answered it, so I'd like to ask these questions again:

Regarding the 'Get the government out of marriage' business... what exactly is being suggested there? That Churches (or at least, Churches which disapprove of gay marriage) no longer work with the government when it comes to granting marriage licenses, etc? Or that the government should have nothing to do with marriage whatsoever, including state-sanctioned marriages of any type?

Unfortunately, the day was lost to SSM long ago when the contracepted marriage became accepted and normalized. Without procreation as a fundamental purpose for marriage, then any non-procreational coupling can seem to qualify as "marriage". It just takes a little rhetorical maneuvering, which if accepted as logical, leads to illogical sequelae like the presumed "right" to a child (e.g., adoption into SSM). Begin with procreation as non-fundamental to marriage and end with the "goods" of procreation being a right of the married.

Begin with procreation as non-fundamental to marriage and end with the "goods" of procreation being a right of the married.

I'd say that argument is getting harder to make, since the "goods" of procreation are now no longer seen as even implying marriage in any way, but these arguments were never about consistency anyway.

But I also think that powerful arguments can be made against it which make no reference to Christianity, and those are the arguments which would be of the most benefit even to a Christian audience. If the idea is that one has to be a Christian to oppose gay marriage, or if non-Christians can't be trusted to oppose gay marriage, it suggests to me - and hey, maybe wrongly - that the sort of arguments and concepts being placed front and center in this debate are ones that assume the truth of Christianity to begin with.

Right, Crude. In my estimation, 50 years ago you would NOT have had people say "the reason I oppose gay "marriage" (after they got done laughing in your face after you proposed the idea) is because of religion." They would have said because it is obvious that you cannot have gays be married to each other. Now, 50 years into the sexual revolution, it isn't as obvious to people anymore, but it is just as obvious as hell in itself that this was and is the truth.

We have been losing the battle against the sexual revolution since 1964 or so, but this is not a fight that we can ever just throw our hands up about and just say "well, so much for that, time to give up." No sound Christian can say that, because no sound Christian can want his children to inherit such a culture. Even making a small dent, even carving out a small niche of breathing space on one or two of the issues (pornography may be all over, but we don't need a sex video shop in my neighborhood, for example) is better than just throwing in the towel. Gay marriage may be on the way in most places but that doesn't mean we can ignore the effort to slow it down, or prevent it in some places, or carve out enough space to allow some employers to not cater to it.

we're not a Christian nation anymore

I really don't agree with posing the situation in this sort of language. Yes, we are as a nation defying God on some things MUCH MORE now than we were 50 years ago. We are also defying his will on other things MUCH LESS now: racial bigotry by whites on blacks, for example. No nation as a whole was ever a set of perfect Christians. No Christian nation need be called "not a Christian nation anymore" because we are giving in to one sin much more typically now than earlier. What we are is a nation of very imperfect Christians. It just so happens that this particular group of sins is a dagger right at the heart of society, so it's pretty darn important compared to other nation-wide sins. Yes, as a nation we need to turn away from this category of sin once again. But it remains true that most people in this country think of themselves as religious, and a good deal more than half of those - somewhere around 85 to 90% of them, think that Jesus is at the root of religion (somehow or other). That's a start. It isn't good enough, but it's a start. It is perfectly legitimate, still, to use arguments of the form "we were formed as a Christian nation and that means something important to our culture and customs, and laws must comport with that reality."

Tony,

They would have said because it is obvious that you cannot have gays be married to each other.

Would they? I mean, it seems to me plenty of arguments can be mounted against it being it being self-evident. 'Secular' arguments, even, even though secular is inevitably associated (with no small justification) with all things left-leaning. I honestly feel one can go a very far way arguing for the sort of model of marriage which excludes gay marriage without touching on religious claims.

I really don't agree with posing the situation in this sort of language.

Agreed, I think.

It is perfectly legitimate, still, to use arguments of the form "we were formed as a Christian nation and that means something important to our culture and customs, and laws must comport with that reality."

I agree it's legitimate, but I also think most people - wrongly - melt down that sort of tack to, "God says X, therefore X", which in their minds gets countered, at least intellectually, by "God didn't say X" or even "I disagree" immediately. And I think there's something to be said for finding arguments that will be effective with a given group of people. Explaining why the religious arguments work and have value is worthwhile, but I'm worried about it being focused on A) to the point of exclusivity, and B) when people tune them out almost reflexively.

One of my biggest complaints about these sorts of topics is that Christians seem to allow themselves to be cast as "Opponents of gay rights". Which sounds terrible. I don't think the pro-life movement would have nearly the success and standing it has today if they allowed themselves to be defined as "opponents of reproductive health" or even "anti-choice". But I'm certain I've seen Christians and gay-marriage opponents call themselves "opponents of gay rights".

I mean, it seems to me plenty of arguments can be mounted against it being it being self-evident.

They can, but only by reason of a failure to understand what "self-evident" really means. Take the proposition "a triangle cannot have 4 sides". Now, given that triangle means something, and that something is the same something for everyone who understands English, it is truly a self-evident proposition. You don't need to argue to the proposition as a conclusion from other more basic propositions: knowing what "triangle" means includes knowing that a triangle cannot have 4 sides.

Same with marriage. Knowing what "marriage" means, and is exactly what virtually everyone 50 years ago meant by the term, it is self-evident that gays cannot be married to each other. The concept ITSELF excludes that gays can marry each other, you don't need to go back to more basic principles. Yes, you can argue the point by arguing all around the rest of reality that touches on marriage, but that's like arguing about triangles not having 4 sides from a 1000 other things that touch on triangularity - its all an effort to help a person see more clearly what is manifest in itself and objectively valid even apart from all the surrounding cooperating truths.

This, by the way, is part of the whole point of the debate gays have cooked up out of thin air: gays say "you can't prove it so Nyah nyah!" But of course you cannot prove the simplest truths, they are the base for proving everything else. Definitions are like that, nobody can prove a definition. But you can make an effort to make a definition or a basic concept more _manifest_. Dogs don't say meow, cats do. But "you can't prove that" is hardly a reason to doubt the truth of the matter. Jackasses like the judges in MA who overturned 6000 years of manifest truth because "they couldn't prove it" ought to be forced to prove that "triangles have 3 sides".

Tony,

They can, but only by reason of a failure to understand what "self-evident" really means.

Sorry, that was a typo on my part and may not have come through clearly. I meant, 'besides it being self-evident'. Not that 'of course they can argue against it being self-evident'. That'd be silly.

Knowing what "marriage" means, and is exactly what virtually everyone 50 years ago meant by the term, it is self-evident that gays cannot be married to each other. The concept ITSELF excludes that gays can marry each other, you don't need to go back to more basic principles. Yes, you can argue the point by arguing all around the rest of reality that touches on marriage, but that's like arguing about triangles not having 4 sides from a 1000 other things that touch on triangularity - its all an effort to help a person see more clearly what is manifest in itself and objectively valid even apart from all the surrounding cooperating truths.

I get what you're saying, and I agree with it. My primary concern here is one of being effective at changing minds - because 'changing minds' is precisely what's needed at this point. And if they say "Well, I reject your starting base" - or if people don't understand the point you're making because it's grounded in a way of thinking that is foreign to them, that's where you have to work from in politics. Most people would think a first principle is the guy who was in charge of the school when they were in kindergarten.

Arguments and communication, they go hand in hand. If I have an airtight argument and I can't communicate it, through no fault of my own, it's a mistake to try and ride it if my goal is to change minds. I don't have to deny the argument, I just have to expand my options and methods.

This, by the way, is part of the whole point of the debate gays have cooked up out of thin air: gays say "you can't prove it so Nyah nyah!" But of course you cannot prove the simplest truths, they are the base for proving everything else.

Well, I think another thing 'gays' have cooked up is exactly that: changing them from 'people, who happen to have inclination X or engage in acts X' to something closer to 'a distinct species and group of people', aka 'gays'. And I think this is another area where Christians, myself included, have fallen for the move hook, line and sinker, to our detriment. Once this group is thought of as some monolithic people, or almost a distinct race, rather than as people who make choices and some of those choices may well be wrong... it becomes vastly harder to engage the topic. There has to be a way to reframe these topics, and if there is, it's going to involve playing the language game. Not 'better not offend', but 'what concepts do we convey by the words we use, intentionally and not'. Back to the 'against gay rights' move.

I agree, we have to frame the truth in a setting that people can grasp. Just saying "it's self-evident" isn't something that most people are going to get. We also need to make the positive argument rather than the negative one. One basis is that marriage is a recapitulation in creatures what the life of God is in the Trinity: person-generating at the very same time it is love generating, the two cannot be separated. Try making THAT clear to a new-ager, or a Unitarian, or an atheist or agnostic.

Try making THAT clear to a new-ager, or a Unitarian, or an atheist or agnostic.

Well, I'm thinking of arguments that evade explicit religious commitments altogether. Not that they exclusively have to be relied on, but simple, straightforward arguments should take front and center. Even something as simple as, "Here's the traditional picture of marriage is meant for, here are the variety of cultures that accepted it, here's the importance of it. We're not 'anti-gay' because plenty of heterosexual couples shouldn't be recognized either." I think the most effective route would be upholding a standard of marriage, maybe even a legal requirement of it, that at least addresses some of those problems. It's a big undertaking, but it has the benefit of (in my novice opinion) being persuasive, something that can be communicated.

Though frankly, part of me sometimes wonders if the wiser route wouldn't be to simply - when a gay marriage amendment is yet against pushed in a state - have conservatives pull a 180, and immediately up the ante. Legalize gay marriage? Well, this bill will legalize gay marriage, polygamy, marrying inanimate objects, marrying yourself, marrying immediately relatives, marrying your best friend who you never intend to have sex with... If civil marriage is going to be a sham and there is, in that state, no short-term prospect for reversing the trend, then run in the opposite direction and make it meaningless. And put gay marriage proponents either in the position of supporting the law, and getting the very definition of a pyrrhic victory, or opposing the law and trying to explain why gay marriage is acceptable, but polygamy and various other combinations are not.

In fact, now that I think about it - I am ignorant of this aspect of government - why isn't this done now? When a gay marriage bill comes up, why don't conservatives try amending it to add all these things to it on top of it all? It would be interesting to see that tried in at least one state, making it clear what they were doing and why.

Crude, I think I'll go for the pyrrhic victory if/when the Supreme Court thinks it can force the federal and state governments to all permit and all recognize gay "marriages". Until then, the cost might be a little high.

I can just see it, though: you get everyone in a state to marry ONE person who is a federal government employee, and then the federal government has to supply health insurance for them all. (Heaven help them if he gets fired! Though that's nearly impossible.)

Crude, I think I'll go for the pyrrhic victory if/when the Supreme Court thinks it can force the federal and state governments to all permit and all recognize gay "marriages". Until then, the cost might be a little high.

I wonder if it really is. It may actually be a way to get through to people, to highlight the unreasonableness of it all. But it's a question of tactics and strategy.

I can just see it, though: you get everyone in a state to marry ONE person who is a federal government employee, and then the federal government has to supply health insurance for them all. (Heaven help them if he gets fired! Though that's nearly impossible.)

Exactly. If marriage is going to be abused this much, then let's really abuse it. Let's take the logic to its conclusion ourselves. My worry is that gay marriage will be the law of the land in state X, and christians will continue to treat said civil marriage as sacred, 'but flawed' or somesuch. I think there has to be a point where, after enough changes, it's seen as something wholly other - an idol to be burned down. To use some illustration, it's like a war where a city is fled because the enemy's advance can't be halted at that point. Sometimes, burning the city to the ground makes sense.

When I say "get the government out of marriage" what I mean is: I don't think the government should have a say in these matters because I don't think marriage should be under the government's jurisdiction. It's a 'role of government' thing for me. Is it really the role of government to determine who can marry who? I don't think so. I think that's a societal thing and I think the drift away from traditional marriage reflects the drift away from traditional values in our society. Government cannot impose traditional values on people, nor should it. If we get into those weeds we run the risk of all kinds of messy morality-based laws coming down the pike. I think the safest bet is to advocate for less government involvement in all social issues and more liberty--and the responsibility that goes with it--for all.

Is it really the role of government to determine who can marry who? I don't think so.

How far are you willing to go with this? Should the government have zero say in cases of employment-based discrimination? How about in determining who the legal guardian of a child is in various cases (divorce, out-of-wedlock births, etc)?

If we get into those weeds we run the risk of all kinds of messy morality-based laws coming down the pike.

I'd be sympathetic to this, if I thought it were at all possible to avoid in a practical sense. I've heard of ethicists arguing that infanticide is ethical. That right away would lead either to a 'morality-based law', or the lack of one - which itself would have some considerable moral repercussions. I have no idea where you're coming from on this topic, though. Utter libertarianism?

The old standard of 'the government should stay out of people's business, not enforce moral choices' was something I heard repeatedly growing up. Instead it usually played out that people didn't want moral choices they disapproved of being enshrined in government, but ones they approved of were another matter entirely. And more and more, I get the impression that - barring something like greater state and local power over such questions - the result is going to be the government enforcing morality of some type, with "which type" being the only practical question.

Is it really the role of government to determine who can marry who? I don't think so.

Perhaps so. But it is a government role to determine who is to have custody over a child, when the child has been involved in a tug of war between opposing adults. In principle, the state must have a category for asking "who is married to whom", because they cannot decide the custody without the answer from that question. The consequence is that the state must be capable of saying "for purposes of law, X and Y are married, and for purposes of law, X and Z are not married."

Government cannot impose traditional values on people, nor should it.

PLEASE, stop trying to do your thinking in cliches and bumper sticker slogans. It just isn't true. Government DOES impose values on people, and SHOULD impose values on people, and CANNOT AVOID imposing values on people. The law against murder does that. So does half of the statutory code. If you want to get government out of "imposing values", you have to get rid of government altogether.

If we get into those weeds we run the risk of all kinds of messy morality-based laws coming down the pike.

Society is a risky, messy business. That's life. It is literally impossible to have a government without its making choices of values to impose that could lead in the long run to some evil. Every act of creating a law is subject to the warning "if you let them start down this slippery slope without any restraint, you'll end up wishing that you never started this..." But since every possible course of action is subject to that warning, the proper logical answer is "then we have to take responsibility for remaining on guard, and not let 'them' continue on down this route without restraint or limit or supervision." All slopes are slippery, choosing not to embark on this one merely puts you on that one. That's why citizens must be alert and on guard, as Tom Jefferson and his confreres said, it's NOT why we shouldn't write laws about moral subjects.

Crude: How far are you willing to go with this? Should the government have zero say in cases of employment-based discrimination?
I think so yes. A company should be able to legally hire whomever they prefer for whatever reason.
Crude: How about in determining who the legal guardian of a child is in various cases (divorce, out-of-wedlock births, etc)?

Tony: In principle, the state must have a category for asking "who is married to whom", because they cannot decide the custody without the answer from that question.


How do they decide custody when the parents were never married? Is the process any different when the parents were married? It would seem that the criteria would be the same - the most fit parent with the most stable homelife, etc. Besides, this question has nothing to do with marriage per se, rather it is about legal custody and guardianship of minor children. Since (I believe) it IS the role of government to protect its citizens, it would seem that whenever there is a dispute over the custody of a minor child (arguably the most vulnerable of citizens), that such disputes should be in the scope of government.

Crude: I've heard of ethicists arguing that infanticide is ethical. That right away would lead either to a 'morality-based law', or the lack of one - which itself would have some considerable moral repercussions. I have no idea where you're coming from on this topic, though. Utter libertarianism?

Tony: Government DOES impose values on people, and SHOULD impose values on people, and CANNOT AVOID imposing values on people. The law against murder does that. So does half of the statutory code. If you want to get government out of "imposing values", you have to get rid of government altogether.

These are not issues of morality, but rather issues of individual rights. Whenever one individual infringes on the rights of another (infanticide, murder, robbery, fraud, etc.) it is the proper role of government to act in defense of the harmed party. We are not talking about that though, we are talking about marriage.

It would seem that the criteria would be the same - the most fit parent with the most stable homelife, etc.

Which depends on the definition of "parent", now doesn't it? There's biological parents, and adoptive parents. And now, thanks to evil uses of science, there are gestational parents and genetic parents. And so on. Chucky, why should the state recognize any male's custodial rights to a child? Better yet, shy should the state recognize a woman's? We have said, and have ALWAYS said, that parental rights are presumptively valid, but this obviously depends on the meaning of 'parent'. If the state never cared about a category called "marriage" then it should never care about male parentage either, and you have just thrown father's rights down the drain.

whenever there is a dispute over the custody of a minor child (arguably the most vulnerable of citizens), that such disputes should be in the scope of government.

Right, and traditionally the male married to the woman who bore the child has presumptive claims before the state. Your approach would throw that under the bus - he only gets claims if his capacity to care for the child exceed some other party's, say Donald Trump who comes in with scads of money and promises of caretakers and college tuition. Under your theory, the father has no claim before any other male on the planet.

These are not issues of morality, but rather issues of individual rights.

And you cannot establish, outside of a moral framework, that so-called "individual rights" is something for the state to pay attention to. Along comes a nihilist and says "what care I for 'individual rights'? That's such a bourgeoisie theory of morality and all. Power to those who have the strength and fortitude to grab it, that's a man's morality for you." There is no obligatory content to a state outside of a moral concept of society, and thus morality as such informs law.

Not to mention the fact that the "individual" is subject to being re-defined at whim, (as is exemplified in Jeff's posting about infanticide), unless you have a deeper ground to the state that establishes morality.

Which depends on the definition of "parent", now doesn't it? There's biological parents, and adoptive parents. And now, thanks to evil uses of science, there are gestational parents and genetic parents. And so on. Chucky, why should the state recognize any male's custodial rights to a child? Better yet, shy should the state recognize a woman's? We have said, and have ALWAYS said, that parental rights are presumptively valid, but this obviously depends on the meaning of 'parent'. If the state never cared about a category called "marriage" then it should never care about male parentage either, and you have just thrown father's rights down the drain.

I don't see how marriage factors into your arguments. As I pointed out, the criteria is the same for married or unmarried parents and the courts often decide between biological and adoptive parents as well. Marriage has very little to do with any of this.

Right, and traditionally the male married to the woman who bore the child has presumptive claims before the state. Your approach would throw that under the bus - he only gets claims if his capacity to care for the child exceed some other party's, say Donald Trump who comes in with scads of money and promises of caretakers and college tuition. Under your theory, the father has no claim before any other male on the planet.
Where do you get THAT from? You seem to be reading a lot into my argument that isn't there!
And you cannot establish, outside of a moral framework, that so-called "individual rights" is something for the state to pay attention to. Along comes a nihilist and says "what care I for 'individual rights'? That's such a bourgeoisie theory of morality and all. Power to those who have the strength and fortitude to grab it, that's a man's morality for you." There is no obligatory content to a state outside of a moral concept of society, and thus morality as such informs law.

Not to mention the fact that the "individual" is subject to being re-defined at whim, (as is exemplified in Jeff's posting about infanticide), unless you have a deeper ground to the state that establishes morality.


Individual rights are defined in the Constitution. Again, you seem to be overreacting a bit here. It's like you perceive me as some sort of anarchist (which I'm not!!)

Where do you get THAT from? You seem to be reading a lot into my argument that isn't there!

Well, no. I can see that you might not agree, but I think the logical consequence of this:

As I pointed out, the criteria is the same for married or unmarried parents

is that the "same criteria" means, effectively, that the court doesn't care whether a male happens to be (or was) married to a woman, for custody purposes. The court will put the child where the child will be cared for best, even if that happens to be twice-removed step-great-uncles Bob and Pete. That is, if "same criteria" means what it appear to mean, then the condition "married" is an irrelevancy for the state, and that means that any male is on the exact same footing as any other male, ALL other males, in terms of claims on the child.

You say "or unmarried parents" but the meaning of "parent" before the law is something that the LAW has to either define or receive as already decided, it is not written in the sky. According to traditional natural law approach, an "unmarried parent" gets rights only because positive law grants those rights. A married parent has rights whether or not a law recognizes them. But if (as you want) the whole matter is left to the positive written law, then the law can say: "parent" means the person to whom we grant custody, and until that happens it is a meaningless word.

Individual rights are defined in the Constitution.

Yes, in the Bill of Rights. And, without a foundation deeper than the Constitution, they can be taken right back out again by amendment. (Happened with drinking, remember.) And by a Supreme Court that feels free to re-interpret the clear meaning of the words written into something that suits their purposes. Nothing in the Constitution gives anyone a right to kill babies in utero, but the judges found that 'right' too, in violation of your wished for "individual rights." And by a President and HHS secretary who are happy to exceed the writ of authority for their purposes. Individual rights cannot be successfully protected without a deeper foundation than a specific document.

...the "same criteria" means, effectively, that the court doesn't care whether a male happens to be (or was) married to a woman, for custody purposes. The court will put the child where the child will be cared for best, even if that happens to be twice-removed step-great-uncles Bob and Pete. That is, if "same criteria" means what it appear to mean, then the condition "married" is an irrelevancy for the state, and that means that any male is on the exact same footing as any other male, ALL other males, in terms of claims on the child.
Only that's not what it means. Courts typically give weight to many factors - and paternity is often key - so "twice-removed step-great-uncles Bob and Pete" have a significantly smaller chance of gaining custody than "biological-father Dave" does. However, what if "married-father Ted" is an abusive scumbag who is in and out of prison? Is it right that he, because he's married to "mommy Sally", gets preferential treatment and "rights" that he doesn't deserve?
Yes, in the Bill of Rights. And, without a foundation deeper than the Constitution, they can be taken right back out again by amendment. (Happened with drinking, remember.) And by a Supreme Court that feels free to re-interpret the clear meaning of the words written into something that suits their purposes. Nothing in the Constitution gives anyone a right to kill babies in utero, but the judges found that 'right' too, in violation of your wished for "individual rights." And by a President and HHS secretary who are happy to exceed the writ of authority for their purposes. Individual rights cannot be successfully protected without a deeper foundation than a specific document.
So are you suggesting that a statute is a "deeper foundation" than the Constitution? Because that's what we're arguing about here! Or are you saying what I've been saying all along - that the Church should be instilling morality in society and that morality comes from within?

Tony, I apologize in advance for not helping you go round and round with Chucky on this issue this time, but I did it before in a different thread and am all tired out. He is incapable or unwilling (I vote for incapable) of thinking about the issue of marriage except in extremely shallow and virtually meaningless libertarian-sounding soundbites. And he's quite happy in effect to promote the homosexual agenda by asking us mean conservatives to try to put ourselves in the place of the poor homosexuals denied recognition of their union as "marriage" by our "imposition of our morals." Yet at the same time he wants government to "get out of marriage," which would presumably mean that _no one's_ union would be recognized as civil marriage. He doesn't seem at all sure what exactly he has in mind. Nor does he actually have any idea of the legal near impossibility of abolishing any recognition of anything like civil marriage, even were such a thing desirable. We've tried to point it out to him ad infinitum, but to no avail. Anyway, some radical social experiment or other that seems to him to accord well with his shallow thinking and his libertarian-ish soundbites, and perhaps with some notion of being "fair" as between normal and sodomite unions, will evidently be better to him than anything that smacks of the defense of traditional marriage.

It's a waste of time to try to dialogue with him on this issue, I've concluded.

and paternity is often key

Chucky, your making an assumption, which you seem to be wholly unaware of as an assumption: "Paternity". From tradition, we knew generally what we meant by paternity, it meant siring a child. But even within that general concept, there were some loose ends that needed more definite application of thought and consideration. If a woman has a child 7 months after she gets married, whose paternity does the law refer to? Most societies for most ages said we consider the man she is married to at birth as the father of the child, even though technically some other man may have brought about the pregnancy. The Jews, however, did something else: if her husband died leaving her a childless widow, her dead husband's brother married her, and the first child following the marriage was considered the child of the deceased husband. Before the law, paternity belonged to the first husband. But this only applied to the first child.

The point is that "paternity" as a concept before the law does not have to be in an exact one-to-one correspondence with "the male who brought about pregnancy in a woman." Which is good, because with the pre-in-vitro methods of artificial insemination, the doctor who "brought about pregnancy" was a medical practitioner, who was neither the man to whom the woman was married nor the man who donated the sperm.

Furthermore, it is not a given that we want the law to depend on a DNA test before deciding whether to grant a man some interest in the child. If a man is married to a woman when she has a child, even though she was unfaithful and conceived the child by some other man, it is by no means a given that the law ought to grant the biological source of one half of the chromosomes paternal rights before the man to whom the woman is married. Being the "man who brought about the pregnancy" is not the absolute standard of what we want to mean by "paternity" before the law.

IF you drop your unthinking assumption about "paternity", you will perhaps see more clearly that we have always relied on the condition of marriage to do the heavy lifting for the state on how to take into account the status of different parties for purposes of custody: the husband of the woman who bears a child is presumed to have an interest before other men. When you remove from the ambit of the law's consideration "who is married to whom" you remove the presumption of ANY man's claim, and then each and every possible claim must be considered in detail by the court from all different angles: like the next door neighbor saying "but I LOVE her more, so that is more important than Joe is a genetic source". The courts are already tied in knots about this stuff, what you want to do - get rid of the presumptive claims of husbands - will quadruple the problems.

Only that's not what it means. Courts typically give weight to many factors

Right, because courts take into account things like "who is married to whom" which you want to drop off the table as being irrelevant. You cannot use current practice to provide illustrative support for your untried theory, there is no society now on earth that uses your approach of treating marriage as an irrelevancy.

However, what if "married-father Ted" is an abusive scumbag who is in and out of prison? Is it right that he, because he's married to "mommy Sally", gets preferential treatment and "rights" that he doesn't deserve?

Current practice is that Ted has presumptive rights, which the court can overrule for sufficient reason. The presumption is the starting point, not the conclusion of custody decisions. You START with Ted's presumptive rights, and apply additional reasons to support or not support those rights in practice.

What if Ted the one-time scumbag is the sperm donor, who 10 years after donation gets cancer, and chemo kills his ability to have any children, so he goes back and locates his existing genetic offspring and files for paternity rights? Do you really want the fact that Ted is the genetic "father", together with the fact that Ted now has lots of money and can easily support the child and be home with her 24-7 because he doesn't have to work to outweigh the rights of the man who was has been married to the mother for the last 9 years and raised the kid from birth? Or even to be put on the scales for serious consideration?

Tony,

All of your arguments are confusing to me. I don't see how government defining what marriage is has much, if anything, to do with these things. I gave paternity as one factor - not as the deciding factor. Most of the things courts will consider have little to do with marriage. It's going to be about (or at least it should be about) who is the best parent. Is a man who is married to a woman for 9 years automatically a better father than a man who has lived with a woman for 9 years? He may be... he may not be... All factors must stand or fall on their own merits. There is no magic marriage wand!

All of your arguments are confusing to me.

Apparently so. Look, let's make it simple, so you can see where I am going. Scenario is as I indicated above: Peggy is married to Jim in 1970. They have no children for 3 years, Peggy goes to a doctor and finds that _her_ fertility is not an issue. She wants to have Jim checked, but he won't even talk about it. So she goes to a sperm bank and gets doctored up, and 9 months later Jenny is born. Ted is the sperm donor, though at the time he never knows it. 9 years pass, Ted has "grown up" during this time and wants kids, and then discovers he will never have children because of the chemo. He backtracks to the sperm bank and gets records that shows he is the donor for Jenny. He sues in court for partial (or full) custody, providing evidence that he has immense amount of money, has a great home life, a fantastic wife, caretakers and governesses and tutors for Jenny, etc, and will be a model dad.

According to Chucky, the court has to consider who will make the better dad, and decide on that basis. It has to sit through weeks of court discussion of the pro's and cons of Ted's potential and Jim's capacities as dad, dozen's of witnesses, several trees worth of documents, etc. Since the fact "Peggy was (and is) married to Jim" has absolutely NO bearing on the court's judging process, Jim has no choice but to enter into the whole process on the same basis as Ted: he has to rebut each of Ted's contentions, and present reams of his own evidence and witnesses about his skills as a parent, and they each hire experts with competing definitions of "better" parenting. Ted thinks nothing of spending 300,000 on the effort, and Jim cannot afford anything like that but goes into debt for 40,000, and the court ends up spending another 30,000 of the taxpayers' money on the process.

According to 6000 years of tradition, ancient law, common law, and written law as it existed in 1970, the court doesn't have to even consider Ted's suggestions, doesn't have to consider who would be a better dad to Jenny. They can look at the fact that Jim was married to Peggy when Jenny was conceived, born, and since, and say WE SIMPLY DON'T CARE whether there is an argument that Ted could make the better father. That argument never gets started, there is no standing to begin to make the argument. The court dismisses the case without ever even looking at the reams and reams of documents Ted submitted, never holds trial with dozens of witnesses about parenting skills, etc. (In some jurisdictions, Ted might be fined severely for filing a frivolous case, and because of that he probably would not have bothered the court to begin with.)

Now do you see the logical consequence of the court not having any interest "who was married to whom"?

By the way, please note that nothing in the above in the least depends on the law controlling who may get married. It only depends on the law having a definition of marriage, which it can ascertain after the fact simply by receiving a document from a church, for example (or a dozen other methods), that Peggy and Jim satisfy. They can (depending on jurisdiction) satisfy it under common law marriage standards, which do not require a license or any formal act at all.

I think your scenario is a bit absurd. No court is going to take Jenny from the only father she's ever known and give here to a stranger based on paternity.

But let's take your scenario and tweak it just a little...

Let's say everything is exactly the same except that Peggy and Jim never got married - they've just been living together for 9 years (Jim is still the only father Jenny has ever known). Does that one difference - under current law - give Ted a bunch of additional rights in regard to Jenny that he wouldn't have if Peggy and Jim were married? I really don't think so (but I could be mistaken).

I think your scenario is a bit absurd. No court is going to take Jenny from the only father she's ever known and give here to a stranger based on paternity.

Let's have some logical consistency here, Chucky. I didn't say based on paternity alone. I presented a scenario with paternity and a whole host of other features and conditions. Back about 1:55 pm on March 3:

It would seem that the criteria would be the same - the most fit parent with the most stable homelife, etc.

and

Courts typically give weight to many factors - and paternity is often key

I gave you paternity and lots of other factors, and you come back saying "No court is going to take Jenny from the only father she's ever known" when earlier you said the criteria is "the most fit parent". So, you admit NOW that you think "the only father she has ever known" ought to be able to trump "most fit parent". Is that it? Not only trump it as ONE (strong) condition among the many, but trump it so that the court doesn't even need to enter into the weighing process and figure out the full weight of all the other factors?

The scenario is indeed absurd - but something like it either has already happened or will soon come along in the real courts, because the courts (and legislators) are willing to go to absurd lengths to defy the social meaning of marriage in its roots. It is not absurd in the sense of being logically impossible.

Yes, we are as a nation defying God on some things MUCH MORE now than we were 50 years ago. We are also defying his will on other things MUCH LESS now: racial bigotry by whites on blacks, for example. No nation as a whole was ever a set of perfect Christians. No Christian nation need be called "not a Christian nation anymore" because we are giving in to one sin much more typically now than earlier.

Right before Roe v. Wade, (almost 40 years ago), a majority of Americans thought that the decision for a woman to kill or not to kill her unborn child was between her and her doctor. Most contemporary Americans think that fornication is not immoral. I’m relying on polls here. Most Americans think that tattooing and piercing oneself to look like a pre-Christian pagan Brit is fine (relying on personal observation here). On my typical suburban, American block there’s lesbian couples and Wiccans and only two families go to Church on Sunday. Sodomy is being institutionalized in our military and no one cares. “Christian”, whether used as a noun or adjective has a meaning. I don’t think contemporary America fits that meaning.

Wrt aggregate level thoughts, words, and deeds (in other words, what you’d use to characterize a society), in the old America of 50 years ago whites wanted social separation from blacks (who have violent, dysfunctional communities and are also very distinct, physically and culturally from whites). Hence the “bigotry” of 50 years ago. I don’t agree that we were defying God’s will because we weren’t anti-racists.

The only way to oppose "gay marriage" is to go way back and call out the obvious: the sex of the person is important. Two men and two women is NOT the same as one man and one woman. Let us suffer the wrath of the feminists and make opposing "gay marriage" a gender issue because that is what it really all is about. Sex doesn't matter right? Or does it? Make it a gender issue ASAP and talk about innate sex differences. Wake up the crazy feminists on this. Whenever a stupid gay activist goes "GAY RIGHTS! HUMAN RIGTHS! CIVIL RIGHTS!", we go "The sexes are not equal. A man is not the same as a woman. Marriage is not for love. Sex is not about recreation." Just see the look on their faces. Going anti-feminist on marriage is about our only choice. Just look how crazy the left went on the contraceptive issue when the Catholic Church fought back.

Right before Roe v. Wade, (almost 40 years ago), a majority of Americans thought that the decision for a woman to kill or not to kill her unborn child was between her and her doctor.

No way, Bruce. That change of attitude (as a majority) did not happen for several years AFTER Roe. In other words, until women got used to the idea that their "right" to kill the baby would be supported in law.

I grant you that general attention to Christian teaching is at a low ebb compared to many other times and places. But if you compared it to, say, Rome in 330, I think you would find that we are much MORE Christian than that culture, even though it was the official state religion. There are lots of degrees. There are lots of ways in which Christianity still forms a core foundation of practices, even where people have no idea where those practices come from originally. Like, for example, fairy tales having a happy ending: that's is much more a Christian thing than pagan, Buddhist, etc. idea.

It might be the case that a good description of this period of our culture is "post-Christian", but if (by God's grace) we manage to turn things around and return to full-bore Christianity, we would eventually end up calling this time a low ebb rather than a non-Christian period.

Tony,

So yes, you've twisted me up into knots trying to keep up with all the variables in your scenarios, but you've failed to prove how marriage is relevant to your case! The only argument you've made for that is that somehow marriage would keep a paternal father from having standing in court - which I doubt is even true (given the fact that your scenario said the guy had loads of money and high-priced lawyers!)

Chucky, now I see. You haven't a clue what you are even attempting to say, much less a clue as how to understand my comments. You simply throw out words hoping that they mean something, any ole thing. Well, that won't cut it here. You think you don't want the state to have a definition of marriage, but you haven't any least idea how that would play out in specifics, and you are unwilling to follow a series of 4 or 5 logical thoughts to their conclusion to SEE how that would play out. You don't want logic, you want sound bites. I hear TV is good for that. Blog com-boxes - not so much.

Tony,

You have failed to prove your case. It's really that simple. I followed your fairly absurd scenarios as much as anyone would in normal argumentation - even though they never reinforced your unfounded claim... which is, as near as I can tell, that: because you can imagine some scenario where a fictitious judge or jury would see things the way you say they would, I should drop my contention that government regulation of marriage is a bad thing.

You ignored every request I made that you show me how government regulation of marriage would make a difference in any of your scenarios except when you made another unfounded (I believe) assertion that marriage would somehow negate a paternal father's standing in a court of law.

To be as kind as possible - you've got squat! I, however, am more convinced than ever that there is no sound argument for government regulation of marriage. Thanks for that.

One more thing about your scenarios...

Any case will be decided on its own merits. Paternity may be a deciding factor in one case and not even come into play in another one. That's normal. It's the same with marriage - in some cases it will be a deciding factor, in others not so much. You have not shown - in any way shape or form - where government regulated marriage would change anything.

I rest my case.

I followed your fairly absurd scenarios

No, you obviously didn't. And you said as much earlier: "So yes, you've twisted me up into knots"

Any case will be decided on its own merits.

You make it clear that you don't know a thing about law. Many, many times the case is NOT decided on its merits: the judge explicitly refuses to

Even Consider The Merits

of the case, because (just for example) one of the parties does not have standing to make the claim in court. For example, if I were to sue my next door neighbor because he bilked the paperboy of $10, the judge would throw the case out without hearing my argument: I have no standing. I might be absolutely right about the claim, and I might be able to prove it in documentation and videos, and he would refuse to consider the evidence for one minute because I have no standing. It simply isn't true that any case will be decided on its own merits.

I did not present a single argument about state _regulating_ marriage. My point was STRICTLY about the state having a definition of marriage. Not the same issue. The fact that you cannot understand the difference shows why you fail to understand the argument.

In addition, I wasn't (directly) making a POSITIVE case about the state's having a definition of marriage making a difference, I made a NEGATIVE case about it: when the state has no definition of marriage, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the state to use marriage as a factor or criterion (for custody decisions), so it cannot become one of the constellation of factors the judge applies. Obviously, it is only where the state can identify what is meant by "marriage" is it possible for the state to consider it a factor, though the condition where the state has a meaning for "marriage" does not, of itself, prove that the state does take it into account for a custody case.

There are some quite sound secular arguments for restricting marriage to heterosexuals, but they are completely undermined by the cultures general acceptance of contraception.

It is in the interest of the state that it continue into existence, and its existence is dependent upon future citizens coming into being. SSM cannot beget children without extreme measures that make it impractical for the survival of the state. Thus, heterosexual marriage should be favored (or at least, the state has no interest in promoting SSM).

Of course, since the culture no longer recognizes the purpose of marriage is for having and raising children, but only for the individual fulfilment of the spouses (hence, acceptance of contraception as licit in marriage), there really is no basis for preferring one type of sterile marriage over another. And that, my friends, is why we will lose the SSM battle in the foreseeable future.

I take that back, somewhat - we may win in the short run if some miraculous change in the culture occurs, and if the culture does not change, true marriage will win in the long run because of demographic suicide.

There are some quite sound secular arguments for restricting marriage to heterosexuals, but they are completely undermined by the cultures general acceptance of contraception.

c matt, I agree. The arguments about what marriage is have been damaged gravely by the acceptance of contraception, and by the notion that an intentionally sterile marriage is perfectly fine. It might be, effectively, necessary to skip over narrow attempts to defeat the gay agenda while leaving unprotested the contraceptive culture, and just go after the entire culture of death altogether in ALL of its manifestations before we can make any headway. Put that's a pretty daunting prospect.

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