Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Defining Marriage

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A discussion at a friend's blog last week has led me to do some reading and a lot of thinking about the issue of creating civil unions or expanding the legal definition of marriage. At the moment, I'm still trying to get a relatively good understanding of the issues and arguments involved, and I thought readers here might be able to help.

There are a number of issues that changes in the definition or status of various relationships would attempt to resolve. To my understanding, they basically fall into the following categories:

  1. Adoption and parenting rights.


  2. Tax issues.


  3. Next-of-kin issues such as medical decisions and access to information, visitation in hospitals and jails, inheritance and property rights.


  4. Immigration and citizenship issues.


  5. Medical insurance and other employer-provided spousal/dependent benefits.


  6. Criteria for hiring or providing services to various people. (For instance, whether privately-owned companies or churches should be required to provide adoption services, employment, marriage ceremonies, housing, and other services or benefits without regard for a person's marital status/lifestyle choice/gender/sexual orientation).

    What types of organizations, goods and services would fall under such laws and how they would be applied is not really clear to me, although I know there are many cases being argued about these types of issues.


So far I'm aware of a few different approaches that have been suggested to address these issues:

  1. Leave things the way they are. (This probably isn't a viable option, since case after case is already being challenged in court and many people are trying to pass various laws pushing things one way or the other.)


  2. Change the legal definition of marriage so that it applies equally to all adults regardless of gender.

    This may or may not limit marriages to only two people or maintain current prohibitions against marriage between relatives, etc. (There are those who would like to also do away with requirements that marriage partners be limited to adults only or to human beings only, but I think that goes beyond the scope of this discussion.)


  3. Expand who would be able to take part in legally-recognized marriage while at the same time tightening the laws surrounding marriage itself, making it more difficult to enter or exit lightly.

    Some ideas that have been suggested include mandatory premarital and/or pre-divorce counseling, doing away with the option of relatively quick and easy no-fault divorce, imposing some sort of disincentive against adultery (such as putting the offending partner at a disadvantage in divorce settlement proceedings), adding some sort of waiting period or restriction regarding remarriage after divorce, etc.

    This is a compromise that has been suggested, but hasn't been discussed much to date. [Thanks to Mark for the referral to the linked post, which is an interesting one.]


  4. Legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, while most likely creating a status of civil union or some similar entity (which may or may not be equal to marriage in terms of rights, responsibilities and benefits).


  5. Take the regulation of marriage completely or mostly out of the government's hands. Let marriage revert to being primarily a religious institution with no or very minimal state-imposed restrictions, definition, benefits or incentives.

    At the same time, create a new type of government-regulated system in which people could register as a family unit or domestic partnership. This new entity would have the benefits and incentives currently connected with marriage, and would apply to all genders and long-term committed relationships equally.

    This may or may not require a sexual relationship at all, but could potentially include such variations as two people covenanting to form a long-term platonic partnership for the purpose of raising a child together. This type of union could potentially exist without any requirements pertaining to gender, marital status or romantic elements to the relationship. Again, it might include family units containing more than two adults or it could be limited to two adults, depending on how the laws and regulations played out.


  6. Approach each problem separately, enacting laws or policies to deal with each issue as it arises.

    For instance, one example might be to pass a law allowing single and multiple-parent adoptions and requiring them to be recognized in all states. Such a measure could be completely independent of regulations and laws governing marriage and gender issues, and/or could coexist with laws defining marriage.


Am I missing anything major? I'd be interested to hear any other suggestions or discussion of the pros and cons of the various approaches.

Feel free to take one of the numbered or lettered points, or an alternative suggestion, and write a post or comment exploring the pros and cons of it or explaining it further. If you're not a contributing author of this blog you can either post a link here back to the relevant post on your own blog, or just use the comments section here to add your voice to the discussion.

I'd like to also start another discussion soon dealing specifically with church, religious and moral attitudes toward homosexuality and homosexual individuals. I think that's a somewhat separate, though related, topic.

173 comments:

MarkC said...

Here's an interesting development that I came across in my blog reading today.

Mark

steviepinhead said...

Wow, purple k!

What a great job of summarizing a huge number of aspects surrounding a complicated set of inter-related issues...!

Legal discussions sometimes approach a given set of rights/responsibilities (ownership of real estate, for example) using the analogy of a "bundle." In other words, there isn't just ONE "right," there's a whole interrelated set of rights and responsibilities, which impact several different legal "specialties," and which are not necessarily co-extensive from one area to another.

You seem to have intuitively arrived at the same metaphor.

It'll take me a while to even start to put my own thoughts together (heck, I'm still mulling the "limits" of science...), but I'll read with fascination as others try to get their arms around this expansive topic.

MarkC said...

PKanga,

That's a great list of affected issues that you put together. You've hit all the high points of political and financial impact. I'd add one significant item to the list, though.

7. Perceived dignity, acceptance, and/or societal validation of the relationship.

There's no particular monetary value that can be attached to this, but it is possibly the most significant factor for many people on both sides of the equation. Many homosexual couples want their relationship to be accepted as normal. Many opponents of homosexual marriage fear the normalization of homosexuality in society.

It's certainly something to take into account in these discussions.

Your list of possible fixes was also good. I agree that A isn't viable, and I also think it's a bad solution.

Option D is the one being mainly enacted these days (see the New Hampshire development I linked to earlier today, for example). However, it seems to be merely a semantic distinction to me, and ends up being identical to either E (if civil unions have equal status with marriages) or F (if civil unions have a subset of marriage benefits). The only conceivable difference between "civil unions" and "marriages" is in the area of social acceptance, and I find it ridiculous to use semantics to try to impose social stigma on a relationship.

Based on that, I'd lump option B and option E together. The only difference I see between them is whether we use the word "marriage" or the word "civil union" to denote the type of relationship the government is regulating, and I have no stake in the use of either word.

The New Hampshire situation is interesting here, because they are not using the term "civil unions", but instead "spousal unions". As one commenter on the Volokh blog pointed out, what if a state decides to call such relationships "marital unions", as opposed to "marriages"? At what point does it become clear that the differences involved are purely semantics?

Option C is the one that really intrigues me. A couple years ago I posted about strengthening marriage on my old blog, and I still think something along those lines is a good idea.

My tendency in these dilemmas (where so many intertwined emotional/political/sociological motives are at play) is to step back and try to describe the core principles that should drive our decision-making. I know that I can never completely isolate rationality from my emotionality or ingrained biases, but I can make some headway in that direction.

So, I ask questions such as: If we accept that society should support and encourage certain types of intimate relatinoships, what should the characteristics of those relationships be, and why? What is the benefit to society?

(Note that I am using the word "intimate" here in its non-sexual sense. I chose that phrase because it's not being used anywhere else, so it isn't loaded. Other than that, you could substitute any other term of your choosing. I'll refer to these relationships is IRs as a shortcut.)

* IRs should be mutually respectful and safe.
- We already have many protections along these lines, to prevent physical and emotional abuse, and make sure that both partners in an IR have equal rights and the ability to separate themselves from their partner.

* IRs should be long-term, preferably permanent.
- I believe this is a key component of stability in individual lives, and therefore in society. Easy divorce causes huge upheaval in individual lives (both the members of the IR and their dependents) that leaves ripples throughout society. There's much more I could say on that point.

* Members of an IR should be faithful to the terms of their relationship. If an IR is entered into as an exclusive sexual arrangement (the most-commonly-broken aspect of faithfulness), society has a strong interest in that agreement being maintained.
- This connects back to my "long-term" observation, because relationships that are not faithfully maintained will not remain intimate, and the benefits of long-term stability will be lost. This extends beyond sexuality, as well. I can imagine IRs that are entered into on explicitly non-sexual terms, but which would be primarily arrangements of shared responsibility (say, for an adopted child). For one partner to renege on their responsibility for the child in that arrangement would be equivalent to adultery in a standard sexual IR.

I found it interesting that Dale Carter on the Volokh Conspiracy blog post that PKanga linked to mentioned the idea that possibly "adultery should be discouraged and perhaps penalized in some fashion". Those are strong words, and I can't picture a way they would be implemented, but the idea intrigues me.

All of these points for me are built on the idea that two-person committed intimate relationships are a highly-beneficial foundation of society. Such relationships clearly provide the strongest foundation for the raising of children; there's no question about that. I think they also provide stability to individuals, making it easier to weather difficulty. And, I think the work necessary to maintain such relationships makes us better people, and better able to relate to others in society.

In addition, and to a lesser degree, I think there are particular societal benefits to male/female relationships. Men and women are distinctly different, and I think that children are better off raised by a male/female intimately-committed pair. I also think that to some degree being intimately connected to a member of the opposite sex does more to expand one's thinking and build relational skills (because of the work involved) than (in general) an IR with a member of the same sex. But, as I said, I consider those to be of a lesser degree of importance.

And I think that's enough rambling for today. I'm interested to hear what others have to say. :)

Mark

Anonymous said...

I think that marriage should be between a man and a woman for some specific reasons. First I have noticed that homosexual unions don't last as long as heterasexual unions on average and if homosexual marriage was more common place then the divorce rate would sky rocket and the court rooms full of these cases.
Second Homosexual relations are often more sexually based and this is why they don't last as long and they involve more risky behavior with more sexual partners which is a very good reason this union should not be allowed to adopt. This could be a very harmful environment. Perhaps there might be some less permixcuous couples in homosexuallity but these are few as I have seen from personal experiance. So I do say people have their agency just like they have angency to smoke or gamble or things like that I just think when they make their choices impeed the choices of others especially children that that is going too far. I want to fight to pertect the santity of the family and it's cohetion that is why I am for traditional marriage. The one the bible talks of.

liz said...

Anonymous, I respectfully disagree with your first suggestion that homosexual unions don't last as long as heterosexual unions.

In my experience of both, (half my parent's friends are homosexual - not unusual in NYC), homo- and hetero- sexual couplings tend to last an equal length of time. Among my parents friends are hetero people on their 5th or more long term relationship and homo-sexual couples who are celebrating over forty years together. My parents are each on their second ltr, their marriage to each other lasted 10 years, their marriages to my step-parents- over 30.

However, because the state does not keep statistics on homosexual couples due to the lack of a legal reason to there is no current way to track this in the US.

In other countries, legal unions of homosexual couples are no different in length that those of heterosexuals.

KLee said...

My personal feelings on homosexual marriage boil down to this: They should be allowed the right to live and love how they choose. It should be their choice.

Anon -- you make the point that homosexual unions tend to last less time than traditional unions. That may be true in some cases, but it is a vague generalization. Liz points out that she knows quite a few gay couples who have been together for quite a long time. I know of three or four in my community alone. Most gay couples just want the right to be viewed as any other married couple. They want the rights that married couples are entitled to: health care coverage, insurance, equitable distribution of assets upon death, custody in the case of children. Is that so much to ask?

You state that if a gay marriage bill were to pass, that you feel the divorce rates would skyrocket, and same-sex divorces would clog up our courtrooms. Well, I will agree that some same-sex marriages WILL probably end in divorce, but that's just as true of traditional marriages. Most same-sex couples that I know have already been together for so long that they've already weathered the storms that typically send most marriages towards divorce. Most who are willing to make their union legal by marriage, are just as likely to stay together as a heterosexual couple. It all depends on their commitment to each other. Don't they deserve the right to decide that for themselves?

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm old fashion and believe that God had a reason for wanting women to be with man. I think that Homosexuality is a choice but I also believe that it is wrong as much as gambling or smoking or drinking. Sure one should be able to choose to do wrong if they so choose but I think that making it legal will be a mistake be cause I don't think gay couples should be allowed to adopt. I guess that is what I was trying to say. And I do disagree that gay relationships last longer but in some places I suppose that's true but where I'm from the norm is less divorse and stronger families in hetersexual relationships. I Believe God wanted marriage the way he does for a reason and I guess some don't believe in God and make up their own laws of what is best for mankind but as far as I can see the more people try to go against what God put down in the scriptures the more this world suffers. So believe in God or not it is hard to ignore the obvious signs that wickedness never was happiness. I will never stop believing this because I see it every day. I read a book of a man who threw away a marriage because of his gay problem (like a porno problem) and his life was anything but happy after that. You'd think that if he was doing the right thing that he would be happier but he wasn't and he died misserabley addited to homosexuallity. I believe homosexuality is a adiction and nothing more. some are born with a stronger tendency towards it just like some are born with a stronger tendency towards alcoholism but overcoming this brings happiness not succoming to it. I have never and have yet to see happiness from homosexuality and I have seen a palethra of happiness from traditional marriages. Perhaps there are a few homosexuals who make it but they are few and far between and I still believe they would be happier if they would overcome their addiction. But most people don't realize how happy one can be because their lives are so full of liing, drinking, smoking, premiscuousness. I compare gayness to this. Yeah your free to do it but why should innocent children suffer. We take children out of homes of those who practice risky behavior to me this is risky behavior. remember sodom and gamora. I do feel strongly about it and am sad that more people don't

MarkC said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for sharing your perspective. I have a feeling, though, that it isn't gong to be all that effective at changing anyone's mind. It leaves very little room for discussion.

You have made two separate types of arguments here. You have argued from personal experience ("where I come from"), and you have argued from the Bible.

As other commenters have made clear, personal experience varies widely from one community to another. Your experiences may not be normative, and certainly are not universal, so I'd gently recommend that you listen and interact more with the experiences that others are sharing. Don't dismiss them as "few and far between" unless you have good reason (beyond your own also-limited experiences) to do so.

Your arguments from the Bible have two difficulties. The first is that many people in this discussion do not hold the Bible in respect as a book to be obeyed. This is especially important when we consider the question from the standpoint of society and government. If the only basis for your arguments is religious, then it would not make sense for a non-religious government (such as ours here in America) to enforce your views.

The second problem with your Biblical arguments is that the Bible is not as emphatic or clear in its statements as you have made it out to be. You haven't made any specific biblical arguments here, so I won't bother giving specific counter-arguments or refutations, but you might want to be careful not to over-simplify the biblical evidence.

Mark

Dave said...

Mark,

"The second problem with your Biblical arguments is that the Bible is not as emphatic or clear in its statements as you have made it out to be."

The view you present in your statement above isn't new, but I am surprised to hear it from you. I'd be interested to hear what you think the Bible teaches on this subject that is not emphatic or not clear.

While it is true that not all the commenters here view the Bible as as God's written communication to mankind, and not all of the participants here view the Bible as God's absolute authority to be obeyed, it is still an influential body of literature in our society. Therefore, your understanding of what it teaches in relation to this thread could provide some useful insight into how you answer the questions being discussed here.

-Dave

purple_kangaroo said...

I believe that everyone has a right to moderate their own opinions and actions based on their own beliefs and morality.

People can hold and live out their own beliefs as to what is right or wrong based on whatever religious or moral standards they choose to hold. That's freedom of religion and freedom of thought. We even, in this country, have the right to voice those beliefs--freedom of speech.

However, these rights don't give us the right to infringe on others' rights to do the same.

When it comes to making laws, we can't do it solely based on what's right and wrong. For one thing, even two people from the same religion don't agree on that in everything.

For another, just because something is wrong doesn't mean there should be a law regulating it. Let's assume for a moment that there is one absolute moral standard, and one faith has it pretty much right while everyone else has it largely wrong (which is basically what I believe, as do people in most religions).

The laws of our country aren't ultimately based on what's right and wrong. They are based on a balance between individual rights, not allowing one person's rights to infringe on another's rights, and the greater good of society.

We don't have laws against murder because the act of murder is wrong, but because murder deprives another person of the right to life. We don't have laws against stealing because stealing is wrong, but because stealing infringes on someone else's property rights.

Laws such as traffic laws and tax laws aren't based on morality; they're based on the government's interest in having a safe, smoothly functioning society.

Theoretically, if something is morally wrong but has absolutely no adverse effect on someone else's rights or safety and the functioning of society, then our approach is that it shouldn't be legislated no matter how "wrong" it is. That's how the government of this nation is set up--there needs to be a compelling reason rooted in the benefit or cost to society or the smooth operation of the country in order to make a law. Theoretically, anyway. :)

As for adoptions, that is an interesting question. Personally, I think private organizations should be allowed to use whatever standards they deem appropriate in deciding who does or does not qualify to adopt, as long as these standards are clear, consistent, and openly acknowledged.

This is for two reasons:

First, I think adoption agencies need to be able to follow their own conscience and standards when determining what will be the healthiest environment and what will be in the best interests of the child.

Secondly, it allows parents giving up a child for adoption some level of control over the kind of environment in which their child will be raised. So, for instance, if a young Catholic mother wasn't able to keep her baby, but it was very important to her that her child be raised Catholic, she might choose to use a Catholic adoption agency that allowed only Catholics to adopt through them.

State or federally-funded agencies, of course, would be under different standards than private agencies. It would be wrong to make a federal or state law that nobody except Catholics could adopt any child, ever.

The Bible teaches that idolatry is a severe sin, and that worshipping any god other than the God of the Bible is wrong. But I don't think anyone--even people who pattern their own lives strictly after the Bible--would advocate creating a law that only people who believe in the Bible and worship God should be allowed to adopt, even though in their eyes children would be much better off in such a home.

Even privately-funded agencies can't be too picky about their standards. If they hold out for only perfect families, no child will ever be adopted. Would you prevent a family with a smoker from adopting a child? How about a family with a parent that travels a lot for work, or works such long hours that he or she is rarely home? I believe that any of those situations, although not perfectly ideal, would most likely be better for the child than remaining unadopted would be. Adoption agencies and the law must balance the benefits and risks to make the best possible decision for the child.

Why prevent gay people from adopting when we're not preventing idol-worshippers, divorced and remarried people, people who dishonor their parents, Sabbath-breakers, people who covet, and other "sinners" from adopting? Such a double standard is hypocrisy at its worst. Unless it can be empirically proven that a particular lifestyle is truly harmful to a majority of children raised in it, I don't think we can necessarily limit adoptions based on lifestyle or family structure, moral standards, or even right and wrong.

As for two-parent or single-parent adoptions, I think they should be legal. For one thing, although I think a traditional two-parent family is the BEST for a child, even a single-parent home is better than no home, a group home, or being passed from one foster home to another.

Another point I haven't seen made much, if at all, is that there are plenty of situations where two people of the same sex might want to adopt a child together even if they're not gay.

Think of Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm. If her parents had died, is there any good reason why her two aunts should not be allowed to adopt her together? Shouldn't two siblings or friends who live together and plan to do so long-term be allowed to adopt a child together? Why should they not provide a home for a child and share in that child's upbringing together? It would be a far better situation for all involved if both could be legally parents to the child.

Finally, as regards people in same sex or unmarried heterosexual relationships, not allowing adoption isn't going to prevent children from living in the situation. Plenty of custodial parents choose to live with a partner, same-sex or otherwise, with their children.

Would it be better for the children if their mother and father had stayed together? Often, yes. But is preventing the parents' new partner from adopting the child (assuming the non-custodial parent agrees to the adoption) going to make life better for the child? Of course not.

Is outlawing gay adoption going to keep kids from being adopted into gay families? No; one partner can still adopt the child alone. All witholding two-parent adoption accomplishes is to force these families to have one parent with legal parental rights and one without.

As far as I can tell, refusing to allow two-parent adoptions holds no real benefit to the child or to society. But two-parent adoptions would make life better for those families which would otherwise have one parent with full parental rights and a second parent with no legal rights.

It is important to the family, to the parents, and to the child itself for both adults which are responsible on a daily basis for the child's well-being and care to be able to make medical decisions and have other rights necessary to the care of the child. No matter what the lifestyle of the parents, allowing both parents to have full parental rights will only benefit the child.

purple_kangaroo said...

Stevie, thanks for the comment. I think the bundle of rights idea is certainly descriptive of what we're looking at here.

Mark, I think you're right that societal acceptance and validation is one of the biggest forces in gay people pushing for actual marriage as opposed to other solutions.

Most Christians and Catholics will never be comfortable with calling a gay relationship "marriage" because, to us, marriage is a primarily religious institution, peronally ordained by God at the beginning of time. It has huge religious significance to us, and a very specific definition.

To people who hold this set of beliefs, calling a relationship between two women or two men "marriage" is like certifying an oyster Kosher . . . it just isn't, no matter what you call it.

I believe that people have every right to choose to have a relationship with someone of the same sex, have a ceremony, even call it a marriage if they want to. I think they should have the same rights as anyone else when it comes to property rights, designating their partner able to make medical decisions in an emergency, etc.

But I don't think they should be able to force me to recognize it as a valid marriage (although I'm not sure what that looks like). Because, although I believe they have every right to their choice and their relationship, to me it's simply not a marriage. Just like an oyster will never be kosher.

To me, this has little or nothing to do with the value or validity of the relationship or their value as people. It has everything to do with the fact that marriage is basically a religious institution with a very specific definition that is integral to my religion and that I believe was ordained directly by God. To Christians and Catholics, "marriage" is a very specific religious insitution--or even a sacrament.

Asking me to call a homosexual relationship marriage is like asking a Jew to call an oyster kosher. It's not that they don't think oyster is just as good and valid a food as any other; it simply doesn't fit into the definition of kosher and will never be recognized as such to those to whom the word kosher has religious significance and a very specific definition defined by their religion.

However, as Mark mentioned, at some point it becomes just a difference in semantics. Marriage has already lost so much of its original meaning. It has become something that requires permission from and regulation by a secular government and, to most people, is no longer a covenant between God, a man, and a woman with deep spiritual significance, symbolism and permanence.

I don't know what the best solution to that would be, but I tend to lean toward something like solution E, although it's possible I might be willing to consider one of the other compromises. Something like creating a new institution of "covenant marriages" and leaving plain "marriage" as a primarily social/legal non-religious and less limited institution may also be a viable option.

I believe homosexual relationships are not marriage according to the biblical definition of the word, but I'm not absolutely certain that the biblical definition should govern the laws of our land--especially considering that marriage already no longer legally means what it used to mean religiously.

Dave, as Mark mentioned, defining marriage biblically does run into some problems. I do believe the Bible is clear that homosexual behavior is a sin.

I have major problems with the inconsistency with which the church treats that sin differently from all others--for instance, the Bible is even clearer in its condemnation of baseless divorce and remarriage, and yet we don't see anyone arguing that people who have been divorced shouldn't be allowed to adopt children, even though second or subsequent marriages are also statistically less happy and less likely to last.

However, many Christians like to say that the Bible teaches "One man, one woman, for life" and I don't think that's necessarily something we can be dogmatic about.

Although to me it seems pretty clear that the Bible lays out the "one man, one woman, for life" pattern as the ideal, the Bible clearly does not condemn (and some say supports) polygamous marriage. It also allows what certainly seem to be exceptions that would permit divorce, at least in certain situations. Even though the Bible makes it clear that in general God hates divorce, it does seem to allow for exceptions.

So, although I feel strongly that God ordained and defined marriage with a particular meaning, and that meaning doesn't include same-sex unions, I have a hard time justifying biblically why something like polygamy should be outlawed. I do think that divorce with good cause such as adultery, abandonment or abuse should be allowed also. Remarriage I'm not so sure about, unless it's a situation where reconciliation with the original partner is truly impossible.

I'm not necessarily advocating that we make state or federal laws preventing people from remarriage after divorce. I do think the church should think twice about performing such marriages, especially if there is still the possibility of reconciliation with the original partner.

MarkC said...

Dave,

I intentionally listed the biblical argument last in my response to Anonymous, because it was the least important of the three.

And, I intentionally left it vague and unspecific, because it was in response not to specific statements made by Anonymous, but to a general impression I got Anonymous' comments. I could be wrong about what Anonymous is suggesting about the Bible, and so I'll keep my thoughts vague and unspecified for the time being. I don't want to carry this conversation off into that rabbit trail if it's not important to do so.

I think it's safe to say, since I know you in real life, that you need not be worried about by understanding of the Bible in this area.

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

One more concern I have with gay marriage as a solution to the problems listed is this: Gay marriage only "solves" the problems for a small percentage of people, and discriminates against others who have equal need for and right to such solutions.

For instance, look at a couple like Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables. They adopted a child together, they lived together long-term, owned property together, supported each other. Yet they were not married and had no romantic or sexual relationship of any kind.

People like the Cuthberts have the same needs and would benefit from the same rights as any other couple in a long-term relationship who are raising a child together. But using gay marriage to solve those issues would leave people like the Cuthberts out in the cold.

There are also real-life situations where people are separated from their children and/or spouse because of polygamy laws. People immigrating to the USA from coutries where polygamy is common run into problems with this, as do Mormons from certain sects who engage in polygamous relationships in the USA or Canada.

As this poster explained in the discussion Mark linked to, there are plenty of very good reasons why someone who is not engaged in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship might need access to benefits comparable to those conferred by marriage. It's not just a smoke-screen by people who are trying to derail same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage as a solution to the problems listed in the original post would be deeply inadequate. Many people see the extending of such rights to only gay people through legalizing gay marriage as a discrimination or special rights issue.

In my mind, we need to come up with solutions that don't require people to have a sexual relationship of any kind in order to receive the rights and benefits appropriate to their situation.

We need solutions that don't discriminate based on gender, lifestyle, sexual orientation, etc. and are equally accessible to all who need them.

Anonymous said...

Wow I am impressed with all the comments I have read. You have put a lot of thought and work into your thoughts. I'd like to take a different stance although I will not retract my others. I am worried that gay rights is akin to civil rights movement and to say ok would be to say they are making us accept something we consider as sin. It will be taught in schools as ok and for people to say no it's wrong others would say they are discriminating against it. I am ok with people's agency and with them deciding what they believe. I would hate if someone told me I had to believe how they wanted me to which is why the gay movement scares me. To me this movement is trying to force those who consider gay practices as sin to accept it as not. I say fine believe what you want but you don't want me teaching your children my beliefs in school so don't go teaching my kids your beliefs don't make me say it's right when I believe it's wrong. I am not against people choosing for themself I am against people infringing this view on me and my children.

I think adoption by gays would be harmful morso then smoking but this is personal. I am not sure how to rebuttle the areguments for this. I guess mothers should be deemed the right to choose who they want raising their child and if no mother is their then hopefully the agency will have the best in mind but if their is a law saying you can't discriminate for those who are gay then those agencies would have to allow more couples then they do now to adopt. I think that for a couple to adopt is taking away the rights of the child but again this is personal opinion and hard for me to combat because your arguments have got me thinking.

One thing I must clear up and that is that mormons do not now practice poligamy. No sect of mormanism now practices poligamy and those who you are talking about are from the reorganized church and are cults as far as I am concerned governed by satan so to say they are a sect of momonism is very wrong they stand for nothing Mormons do. They stand for themselves and their own lust. Just in the news the leader of one of these cults said "I was not called of God". Please please please do not bunch the mormons with these cults no better then koresh. Yes Mormons did practice some polygamy in the beggining of the church but it was few and not perverted like these cults and did not last long. They do believe in obeying the laws of the land. I know many people who are mormon and I know that they would hate for others to lump them with such cults.

purple_kangaroo said...

Thanks for your comments, Anonymous. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as Fundamentalist Mormons, practice polygamy. They consider themselves true Mormons while the official Mormon church does not consider them to be Mormons.

The type of polygamy practiced by the Fundamentalist Mormons (often forced onto unwilling underage victims) is very different from the consenting relationship between adults that many proponents of polygamy would like to make legal.

There are other pro-polygamy organizations that are against coerced or underage marriages.

I do want to clarify that I don't particularly personally like the idea of polygamy, though I can see the benefit --particularly in a society where, for instance, there were many widows or single women in a culture which made it difficult for them to care for themselves and their children, especially if women outnumbered men. That has historically been one example of a situation where polygamy might be a society's way of caring for some of those women and children.

Anonymous said...

I looked at the website and can see that you are right they do call themselves mormons. I guess the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday saints should never call themsleves Mormons again in that case. They keep getting a bad rap from those who are cultlike so to speak. It just scares me when I hear them being refered to as mormons because it makes the original church which is nation wide look bad. Those reasons for polygamy you gave are what I think the LDS church had in mind at first and this was a short period of time when it might have been needed. But like I said before it wasn't everyone in the faith just a few who perhaps were in the position to care for more.

What do you think of my other comments about comparing the gay rights movement to the civil rights movement. The reasons I'm scared for my rights about that.

MamasBoy said...

PK,

You make some interesting comments regarding the basis of law. For one, you state that laws are not based on morality, but on balancing individual rights with the rights of others and the common good of society. I would disagree with this assessment. Laws against suicide are in place because murder is wrong, even if the only person you harm physically is oneself. Even if one lives alone and has no friends or family, taking one's own life is wrong, because taking a life is wrong.

Another reason I disagree with that idea is that it separates the idea of rights from the idea of morality. How does society define what "rights" are in the first place? Divorcing the concept of rights from the concept of morality will not lead to a true or good understanding of rights. This was obvious to even the likes of Thomas Jefferson, when he wrote that we get our rights from God, not from any man, be he king or president.

There has been a drastic change in how society at large views morality and law over the last 50 years. When the US Supreme Court struck down the Comstock laws they created a new right to privacy and many people have taken this to the extreme in saying that if it doesn't affect anybody else, I have a right to do it... so let me have my harem of women, men, sheep and monkeys. Who the h@#$ are you to say my monkey doesn't like it when we tango?

Society does have a right to regulate behavior based on morality. There are certain foundational concepts within law and morality that deserve special protection from the law. The right to life is one of these. Marriage is another. The fact that our culture has abandoned good practice regarding marital stability and has enshrined that in no-fault divorce laws doesn't mean that society can't start to correct its mistakes and get rid of no-fault divorce laws because it might trample on some peoples' "right" to live as they choose, with whomever they choose, whenever they choose. It also doesn't mean that society doesn't have a right to outlaw homosexual acts and/or homosexual marriage. Given the current political/legal climate, I'd say that's an impossibility, but it doesn't mean that it is a bad or wrong idea.

MB

Anonymous said...

Mommasboy you make some excellent points and I can tell you put a lot of thought into it. I agree with a lot of your points. You put into words what I had difficulty doing.

liz said...

Anonymous, do you have pictures in your home? Do you eat pork? Do you sing on the sabbath? These are all considered major sins by various religions and yet they are not against the law in this country. In fact we subsidize the pork producers, the artists, and the choirs.

Forty years ago, in Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court said this, "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

This is a civil right. If interracial marriage is against your religion (which many people argued at the time), then you're just going to have to live with it in this country. There is no doubt in my mind that this will be true of same-sex marriages as well. There is no valid reason for the state - the state, mind you, not churches - to deny any person to freely marry any other consenting adult.

MamasBoy said...

Liz,

You stated, "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival."

While this is obvious in the case race, how is gay marriage "fundamental to our very existence and survival."?

One of the problems with our culture is that we are so self-absorbed, we've forgotten that marriage is not just for consenting adults but for children. Marriage is society's way of creating a stable, healthy environment for rearing children. This is best done with the child's mother and father.

Seriously, if we allow gay marriage, where do we stop? What basis is there for laws against polygamous and incestuous marriages if laws against homosexual marriages aren't valid or good.
This German couple is even suing to try and force the incest issue. Today the push for the "right" to legally have sex. If they succeed, they will surely be back asking for the right to marry. It's how the game is played.
[BBC Incest Article]

MB

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mamas boy that was my next argument. What next. Why not polygommy then and why not anamals why not incest. Owch now that would hurt our society. Marriage is about doing what is right for our future not about doing what ever we like cause it feels good. But again it is peoples choice but why should be be forced to accept it as right. We don't make Jews eat pork. We let them obstain from it so why she we as a nation be forced to accept this union we believe to be wrong. I would be like saying ok everyone has to eat pork and to not eat pork is descriminating against those who do. I agree with mamas boy. It is pure selfishness to want a gay society. Why would this make since you can't make a future generation with same sex couples and you can't bring up a healthy society when no one has to follow morals. Gayness goes against the very nature of man and how it survives. I think if men go against their nature eventually society will self destruct. and I ask again with mamas boy what next, polygamy,incest, animals. Scarry You might say that this would never happen but years ago noone would have dreamed that the world would have ever come this far with gay rights. anythings possible when you let your moral gard down.

liz said...

MammasBoy, I didn't state that. The Supreme Court of the United States stated it in 1967, in Loving V. Virginia.

Here's the link.

Like it or not, interracial marriage is legal in the US because of this one decision. And, again like it or not, it's a pretty good bet that sometime in the next forty years same sex marriage will be legal, too.

Again, you don't have to like it. No one is asking you to like it. No one's asking you to have same sex couples over for dinner. No one's asking you to give the next same-sex couple you see a toaster. All that is being asked for is the state-given rights that hetero-sexual couples are given.

State-given, not God given. The right to marry is a state-given right. The right to adopt - state-given. The right to do in one document what would otherwise take months, if not years of paperwork and lawyers fees (if it can be done at all): to declare a next-of-kin (for all purposes, and all that that entails); to change one's name; to share property; to share parental rights...and so much more.

As PK said earlier, this should be available not just for sexual couples, but for ANY couple (such as the Cuthberts). If we are giving these rights to a few, we must give them to all.

Anonymous said...

Sure let them do what they want but don't put something into policy that not everyone agrees on. Again I ask what is next incest, animals, polygamy. Any union huh. Are you sure you want to go there. Really what is the difference. Why can gay coulples do what they like but polygamist and inscest can't. what is the difference. some say they are more damaging to society. well I say gays are just as damaging to society if they would be allowed to marry. What is next!

MarkC said...

Mamasboy,

You suggested that government should be able to outlaw "homosexual acts". Should government also be able to criminalize heterosexual sex outside of marriage? Would you recommend that government do so?

A while back, I posted on a speech given by Barak Obama about faith and politics. Obama made a good point when he said that religious people need to "translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values". These "universal values" are the "morality" that is the basis of our laws. Opposition to abortion, I think, is easy to translate into such "universal values" (human life is sacred); but I have a real hard time figuring out how to translate opposition to homosexual marriage into "universal values". (I can think of significant arguments against homosexual marriage from a soceital/practical standpoint, but not a moral/values standpoint.)

These "universal values" may be based on Christian values, as seems to be the case in America. Those who wrote our founding documents explicitly mentioned a Creator God as the foundation of our freedoms. However, they also chose not to write in many other beliefs that they shared as Christians. They intentionally did not impose Christianity on society through the law. The imposed only basic universal principles, built on a foundation of individual human dignity given by a Creator God. As a nation, we continue to embrace those values, whether or not we as individuals continue to believe in the Creator God.

You wrote: Society does have a right to regulate behavior based on morality.

It all depends on what you mean by "morality". Our laws are, certainly, built on morality in a sense. Human dignity is a moral value more than anything else, and is the ultimate foundation of our right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". But, you seem to be meaning "morality" in the sense of "religious beliefs that I hold to be true".

We need to base our laws on shared moral foundations, and those shared moral foundations have already been defined and codified in our Constitution. You need to be able to frame your argument in those terms.

Given all that... why do you think we should outlaw "homosexual acts" or homosexual marriage? Is it simply: "I believe that God says it is wrong"? Or is there more to it than that? If there's more to it than that, can you help me understand it?

In your second comment, you argued against homosexual marriage from a societal-good standpoint (it's better for the children) and a slippery-slope standpoint (incestual marriage! yikes!). Neither of those are moral arguments. Is there a moral argument for outlawing homosexual acts and/or homosexual marriage that is somewhat universal... not, say, dependent on the sacred writings of a particular religion?

Thanks,
Mark

MarkC said...

Anonymous,

You seem to be missing the point of what liz and others are suggesting.

You wrote: let them do what they want but don't put something into policy that not everyone agrees on.

Do you seriously mean to suggest that we should only put into policy things that everyone agrees on? I don't think that can be what you mean. Maybe you can clarify?

Earlier, you wrote: why should we as a nation be forced to accept this union we believe to be wrong?

There is a problem with that last statement. Who is the "we"? If you are speaking of "we as a nation", then it is not accurate to say that "we" believe homosexual marriage to be wrong. Some of us do, possibly a majority of us do, but "we" as a whole do not. See my comment to mamasboy about universal moral principles for more discussion of that point.

I think the interracial marriage analogy is an excellent one in this discussion. Thank you, liz, for bringing it up. It is important to note that many Christians held (and a fair amount still do hold) that interracial marriage is contrary to God's law, and contrary to nature. You may not hold that view, Mamasboy, and so you can say that the interracial marriage issue is "obvious"... but to others it is not obvious, and their religious views should be handled the same way yours or mine should. If we should be able to outlaw homosexual marriage because "My religious beliefs say it is immoral", then we should be able to outlaw interracial marriage (or, as liz pointed out, hanging pictures) for the same reason.

This discussion is falling into a linguistic trap. Liz and purplek are talking about the importance of granting rights to people that are appropriate in society. Mamasboy and Anonymous are talking about not wanting to be "forced to accept" things they consider to be wrong. Both issues are centered on the rights of the individual, and both are valid. They're just not mutually exclusive.

We're actually talking about two separate issues, and talking right past each other. The first issue: What rights should homosexuals have in society? Within this, there are moral considerations, and societal-benefit considerations, and practical considerations. The second issue: What rights should those opposed to homosexuality have in relation to homosexuals? That's a difficult issue, actually. All I know is that the second question does not trump the first question, as it seems that Anonymous and Mamasboy are wanting it to.

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

Anonymous and Mammasboy, I just want to ask a couple of questions to clarify what you are or are not trying to say. I'll respond to some of your other thoughts later when I have more time.

Are you arguing that none of the rights listed in the original post should be extended to same-sex couples? For instance, that two people who are not in a traditional man-woman marriage (whether in a sexual relationship or a relationship more like Rebecca's aunts or Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert) should not be allowed to do things like adopt a child together, own property together, be able to make medical decisions for each other, sponsor one another for citizenship, get tax breaks for sharing a household, get health insurance through the working partner's employer when both are supported by one income, etc?

There have been a number of solutions suggested for those problems, and not all of the suggested solutions include same-sex marriage. Are there any of those solutions that you think you might be willing to accept, or at least discuss, or are you against extending any of those rights to a same-sex couple no matter what?

Would you see the extending of those rights to same-sex couples as being forced to participate in and approve of same-sex marriage, or not?

To me, it would greatly depend on how those rights were legislated and carried out. I do think it possible that we could find a solution that would extend such rights to those who need them without at the same time infringing on the rights of others.

MamasBoy said...

Liz,

I didn’t mean to dispute or imply that the source of the statement, "Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival."” was you and not the US Supreme Court. Sorry if I came off that way. I actually agree with the statement. I simply think that making the comparison between forbidding people to marry based on the difference/sameness of the concentration of melanin in their skin is fundamentally different than forbidding people to marry based on whether they want to marry a person of the same sex. In the case of interracial marriage, there is no fundamental, ontological difference between the accepted and forbidden marriages. In the case of heterosexual/homosexual marriages, there is a fundamental, ontological difference. In fact, the US Supreme Court points to this fundamental difference when they say that marriage is “fundamental to our very *existence* and *survival.*” Sounds a lot like the argument I made regarding marriage being about more than just adults.

Seriously, can you give any reasons that gays should marry that cannot be also applied to polygamous/incestuous marriage. Conversely, you come up with any reasons why polygamous/incestuous marriage should be forbidden that cannot be applied to homosexual marriage.

Regarding whether I think that homosexual marriage will be approved. I’d say probably within the next 10 years, 40 is too long in my opinion. That assumes a major countercultural movement that makes headway among the primary influencers of the next generation for most Americans (and I don’t mean parents). Perhaps it will take the dying off of the boomer generation, but I doubt it. The normalcy of the gay lifestyle has been preached from the pulpit of Hollywood and the educational system for far too long to change the minds of most younger adults and teenagers. I also think it’s pretty darn near inevitable that instances like this one will become more common. We live in a society that has lost its moral bearings. That doesn’t make immorality good. It just makes shit like this practically inevitable.
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/03/school.sex.ap/index.html

Lastly, the right to marriage does not rest in the state. If it did, then slaves who were forbidden/forced to marry and who had their families torn apart when only part of their family was sold did not have their civil rights violated. At the very least, the basis for their rights being violated could have been done away with by getting rid of the 14th amendment or by passing another amendment stating specifically that slaves have no right to marry. Basic human rights do not rest in the state. They are based on the natural law that supercedes state law. If a state passes a law (even enshrining it in their constitution) which states all Jews should be killed, then it is no law at all. That is how trials like Nuremburg can be held and people can receive just convictions, even though they may have been following their own national laws.

MB

purple_kangaroo said...

Anonymous, I don't think the person who believes it's a sin to eat pork should be forced to eat pork. But neither should they be allowed to prohibit everyone else in the nation from eating pork.

Each side has every right to hold, follow and even promote their own beliefs on a given issue. But they don't automatically have the right to make their beliefs in the matter govern everyone else's behavior--no matter how sincerely and strongly they hold those beliefs.

Mamasboy, as I mentioned before, even if we all agreed that a particular thing was morally wrong, that would not necessarily mean it should be governed or prohibited by law.

The Bible teaches clearly that coveting is wrong--it's one of the Ten Commandments, after all. To covet is morally wrong. I think most religions, Bible-based or otherwise, would even agree on that.

Even if 100% of people in the nation agreed that coveting was morally wrong, should our government be in the business of policing and penalizing people's thoughts, when those thoughts do not lead to any criminal action? Should we be putting people in jail for being jealous of and wanting to have their neighbor's car, even though they never even thought of or made any action toward stealing or harming it?

There's a huge difference between moral and lawful in this instance, as in many others.

There are many other issues that must come into play when it comes to making laws, and it may be that the standards that govern public policy may need to be significantly different from the standards that govern the actions of private individuals.

The government of the USA is a democratic republic, not a theocracy. Our laws and system of government reflect that.

purple_kangaroo said...

Liz, you made some articulate points. Thank you for your thoughtful contributions to the discussion.

However, I tend to think that marriage itself, in some form, is a natural or intrinsic right. I'm not exactly sure yet how that works out practically, what kinds of relationships and rights it would include. My thoughts are still in process on this. But I think at some level the ability to love, bond with, make a commitment to, have children with, etc. another person is a natural and not a given right.

However, the license of the state to marry, the recognition of a marriage by the goverment, and especially the giving of rights like tax deductions, etc. are certainly state-given rights that can be given or taken away at the whim of the law.

I tend to think that I'd rather not have marriage regulated, licensed, or governed by the state, although I can see why the state has an interest in controlling marriage unions to some extent. Such control should, in my opinion, be minimal at most.

Most or all of the "rights" given by the state in connection with marriage are not true intrisic rights, but would more accurately be called privileges. Those privileges are not inherent or unique to marriage. They could easily be given without discriminating based on marriage, gender or such variables.

I'd rather see such privileges detached from marriage altogether, and qualification for inclusion in those privileges made on some other basis.

MamasBoy said...

Liz,

You made the sarcastic comment, "No one's asking you to have same sex couples over for dinner."

Actually, I've done that without being asked, multiple times. I watched the super bowl last year with my lesbian neighbors. We invited them to our daughter's baptism. They came. It's not a matter of hating/loving gay people, it's a matter of protecting the foundation of society. The future of our country passes through the family. It's not a social institution that we should be tinkering with without some pretty damn good reasons.

A few months ago, I tried to meet my wife and some friends at a restaurant. Due to a miscommunication, we showed up about 1.5 hours apart. The restaurant manager gave me a free dinner and left his phone number on my bill. I don't hate such people, but I do feel sorry for people (gay or straight) who hit on married folk. I also feel especially sorry for guys with disordered sexual preferences who do such things.

I grew up in a city where the gay pride parade was the third largest parade in town. Every year they would have a convention and NAMBLA would show up and pitch their ideas. I don't find it encouraging that a group of people who tolerate/condone those who advocate lowering the age of consent to barely pubescent children is seeking the "right" to marry.

When I was in college I went to stay with a friend in SF one spring break. While there I got to meet several of his friends. One day, while gathering for dinner at Lyons, my friend's 19 year old high school buddy showed up with his 30 year old boyfriend. They brought the metal studded leather collar and leash to give everbody a preview of that evening's planned activities. I watched in silent horror as this behavior was laughed at and considered normal by the local crowd. From my perspective, this kid who still lived at home and was barely out of high school (he may have dropped out, I don't remember) was basically being preyed on by an older gay guy. The locals saw this as simply another hook-up for somebody who was legally of age and had started down that road a long time ago.

Oh, and what became of my good friend whom I was visiting that spring break. He is now in a polygamous relationship. He and his wife picked up a second man after they got married. Not that the state condones it or gives them the full "rights of marriage," but they have a sign on the wall of their house basically stating that they think this trio of Leos is a match made in Wiccan heaven. Me, I'm worried for my friend's welfare. He's not heading down the road to happiness and fulfillment.

Now, you may argue that my experience is not indicative of the LGBT community as a whole. While I have probably seen some of the seedier sides of things, social science backs up my own experience that these kinds of disordered relationships are a hell of a lot more common in the homosexual/bisexual community. After all, regarding polygamy, why should the state force a bisexual person to pick his/her sexual orientation when they get married. Isn't that kind of like asking a biracial person to pick their race in order to marry? If not, why not?

MB

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

You asked a lot of questions. I will try to get to them later, but first I want to clear up some misunderstandings. If it takes me awhile to get back to your questions, feel free to give me a jingle or drop an e-mail to remind me. I seem to be trying to carry on three discussions on just this one blog on this one topic at once. Combine that with other responsibilities and I don’t foresee being able to keep up this pace for very long.

M: “Human dignity is a moral value more than anything else, and is the ultimate foundation of our right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". But, you seem to be meaning "morality" in the sense of "religious beliefs that I hold to be true".”
MB: I disagree with that statement. One might be able to make that argument regarding homosexual acts, but not homosexual marriage. Regarding homosexual acts, there is opposition not simply in Christian culture, but in Hindu, Muslim, Confucionist, Buddhist and Animist culture as well. The only culture that seems to accept homosexuality, lock, stock and barrel is relativistic western culture. Among all other cultures, there is fairly strong disapproval and the complete absence of any legally recognized form of “homosexual marriage.”

M: “Mamasboy and Anonymous are talking about not wanting to be "forced to accept" things they consider to be wrong.”
MB: Huh? What are you talking about? Where did I state that? I’m talking about the state giving homosexual couples the right to “marry.” I’m not talking about being forced to accept such things, although that topic readily comes up when issues of freedom of speech are pitted against hate speech and other laws. It took the Supreme Court of Sweden to stop the prosecution from putting Ake Green in jail for hate speech when he stated in a sermon that, “Sexual abnormalities are a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society.” Gays said he was referring to persons, Mr. Green said he was referring to acts. It worries me either way. Trinity Western University in Canada almost lost its license to certify teachers because its code of student conduct prohibited homosexual relationships. It also prohibited other forms of unchaste behavior and didn’t simply single out homosexuality, but Trinity Western lost at every level of the Canadian court system, except the Supreme Court. Mark, if you want to discuss people being forced to accept homosexuality, I can do that, but that isn’t what I was trying to get at in my previous posts. I was trying to address the supposed right of the GLBT community to marry as they see fit.

M: “We're actually talking about two separate issues, and talking right past each other. The first issue: What rights should homosexuals have in society? Within this, there are moral considerations, and societal-benefit considerations, and practical considerations. The second issue: What rights should those opposed to homosexuality have in relation to homosexuals? That's a difficult issue, actually. All I know is that the second question does not trump the first question, as it seems that Anonymous and Mamasboy are wanting it to.”

MB: Where in my posts do I talk about the rights of those opposed to homosexuals in relation to homosexuals? I don’t understand where you are coming from and where you are going with this.

M: “Given all that... why do you think we should outlaw "homosexual acts" or homosexual marriage? Is it simply: "I believe that God says it is wrong"? Or is there more to it than that?”
MB: Obviously (or not so obviously) there is more to it than that. You might ask yourself, Why have all stable cultures throughout history and the vast majority of cultures today limited marriage to a heterosexual union? Obviously, they are not all based on the ideas of a single religion. Might there be something deeper that these major faiths/cultures share an understanding of which could illuminate the current discussion?

M: “We need to base our laws on shared moral foundations, and those shared moral foundations have already been defined and codified in our Constitution. You need to be able to frame your argument in those terms.”
MB: I disagree that I need to limit myself to a particularly American document when discussing a topic with universal application. This is particularly important to note when the consitituion is primarily geared toward describing how our government should function, not in laying out natural rights. There were some natural rights that were laid out in the Bill of Rights, but this list was by no means meant to be all-encompassing. It also deals primarily with those rights that the people of that time feared would be taken away. Thus, one would not expect marriage to be addressed in the US Constitution, unless the addition was of a much later date.

MB

MamasBoy said...

PK,

I just wanted to clarify that I agree with much of your distinction of natural rights of marriage and privileges. I also haven't had time to address the privilege aspect, since the right to marriage aspect seems to have been consuming most of my time.

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

I'm sorry if I inappropriately lumped you together with Anonymous in my comments. The things you felt did not apply to you were based on things Anonymous said. I'm sorry for the confusion.

The rest of your comments, I think, can be assumed under the heading "natural law". And, I think I've finally figured out who you are. If I'm right about that, then you and I have been down the long road of discussing natural law with regard to sexuality in the past. Rather than go over the same ground again, maybe somebody else will engage you on that point, and I can listen in and learn something that way.

There is one thing I'll say. You wrote: "there is opposition not simply in Christian culture, but in Hindu, Muslim, Confucionist, Buddhist and Animist culture as well." I think that most if not all of those cultures have (or had in the very recent past) equally strong opposition to interracial marriage. Yet, interracial marriage is something you consider acceptable, because (if I understood you correctly) the partners are biologically sexually compatible. A great many cultures in the past, though not as much in the recent past, also embraced polygamy, which in your response to liz you seemed to imply was intrinsically immoral. For that matter, most cultures around the world embraced slavery for much of the world's history.

I guess I'm trying to say that cultures can get things wrong. It is an interesting data point that "all stable cultures throughout history and the vast majority of cultures today limited marriage to a heterosexual union", but not in itself convincing. As you said, it might indicate that there is "something deeper that these major faiths/cultures share an understanding of which could illuminate the current discussion"... or it might indicate that they were all wrong, as they were (if I'm reading you correctly) on the slavery and polygamy issues.

I think I know what that "something deeper" is that you're referring to, from our previous discussions. I think you know that that "something deeper" isn't convincing yet to me. Again, maybe somebody else will be willing to discuss that through with you, and maybe I'll be able to see it through different eyes this time around.

But, I wanted to point out that the historical and cultural observations by themselves do not in my mind necessarily point to a universal moral principle.

Mark

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

"A great many cultures in the past, though not as much in the recent past, also embraced polygamy, which in your response to liz you seemed to imply was intrinsically immoral."

I didn't state the above. What I was getting at was that if one were to approve homosexual marriage and disapprove polygamous/incestuous marriage, then many of the arguments go both ways. This is especially true in ethical framework most people have setup today which is largely experiential and subjective/relativistic.

Yes, I know I probably won't be able to convince you. I do find it interesting that my statement in our other discussion about the two concepts being intimately related has proven prophetic in the evolution of your own thought regarding homosexual marriage.

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

I didn't state the above

Sorry for misunderstanding. Throw away my references to polygamy, then, and I think the slavery example can stand on its own to illustrate the point I was trying to make.

my statement in our other discussion about the two concepts being intimately related has proven prophetic in the evolution of your own thought regarding homosexual marriage

My thoughts regarding homosexual marriage have not evolved, at least not in the last few years, since we had our other discussion. What led you to believe that they had?

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

LOL, Mark . . . in this thread you seem to have carefully avoided stating what your thoughts or beliefs on this issue actually are, so it would be hard for anyone to determine whether they have changed or not, or how they have or haven't evolved. :)

To everyone:

This question of universal or natural moral principles is an interesting one. I've been thinking about it since last night. Last night I said that I think the right to marry is an intrinsic or "inalienable" right, to use the language of this country's founding fathers.

However, I've been trying to think on what basis we could say people have that inalienable right. It seems inherently obvious that the right to marry and bear children is necessary to the structure of society, the safety of our offspring, the stability of our life, and the very survival of the human race. However, is it the type of right that applies equally to everyone, or are there limits about when and to whom those rights apply?

An intrinsic right to form a lasting, recognized, voluntary marriage would not be biblically-based, at least not as something to which every human had an equal right. The Bible allowed slaveholders, for example, to force a slave to marry or to tear a slave's family apart. When a slave gained his or her freedom, it was often at the cost of losing a spouse and children. (If the spouse was given by the master, the spouse and children belonged to the master even if the slave went free.) This was not condemned and was regulated in the Scriptures. Masters had the right to govern a slave's marriage or non-marriage almost completely.

Daughters could also be given in marriage, forced to marry against their will, or kept from being married.

I think today most would agree that such situations are morally wrong, but that argument cannot be biblically-based.

Neither can it be historically-based. Countless cultures throughout history have limited certain people from marrying, forced certain people to marry, or torn apart families because they did not recognize marriages as valid or permanent.

Historically and in most (all?) religions, it is simply not the case that everyone had the right to marry whom they chose, and to have that marriage recognized and honored by others.

Should marriage be considered an inalienable right? If so, on what basis and to whom should it apply?

It's an interesting question.

MarkC said...

(PK, I actually went into some detail about my thoughts on this issue way back at the beginning of the discussion. I don't know that I could state it any clearer than I did.)

Anonymous said...

Pk

As far as bible based slavery I think that slavery was part of the law and it was not God who started this I think man started it and God knew men were not ready to live a higher law so he gave them a lesser one. I don't think he liked it but he does not force his people to do right. It is those who have said yes we will do what you say and then don't that he gets mad at I think this comming from a religous point of view. I really don't think he liked slavery he just knew that the people weren't ready to live a higher law so he taught them other lesser laws to at least keep them undercontrol so they wouldn't self destruct and through Christ coming I believe he was preparing the Jews to receive the greater law. It's like you tell a kid ok your bed time is at eight and don't cross the street alone. then when they get older you say ok your bed time is at nine and look both ways before you cross the street. Do the kids say wait a minute you aren't being consistant. No because they know the rules changes as they get older and their needs change. I think things like slavery and stuff have a lot to do with that kind of aspect. And nowhere in the bible does it say that homosexuallity is permissable even in that lesser law. So I do think it could be argued biblically. It's not about doing what people want to it's about doing what's right for the good of the whole. I think the bible was more focused on that. these are my thoughts about that.

And again I ask what is next. I still haven't heard any rebuttle against this.

liz said...

Anonymous and MamasBoy,

This is going to be my last comment because I'm not changing your mind and you're not changing my mind.

There are two words that you keep leaving out of your "What's Next" scenarios. Those two words are "consenting" and "adults".

Let's take "adults" first. Adults are mature beings, legally of age, able to bind themselves in contracts, join the army, and vote. This definition excludes animals, children, and the mentally incapable.

Now, "consenting". Legally, consent requires that you be of sound mind, that you be informed of your options, that you are not under duress, and that you not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Please note the necessity of not being under duress. This means that adults in abusive relationships are not consenting.

May you both find peace.

PK, thanks again for the forum!

MamasBoy said...

Liz,

I take it your answer is that you don't have a problem with incest and polygamy as long as the adults are consenting. Thanks for being honest. Most people aren't.

MB

Anonymous said...

Thank you mamas boy I couldn't have said it better.

MamasBoy said...

RE: "Thanks for being honest, most people aren't."

I must issue a retraction. What I meant was that most people who hold very unpopular views about the normalization of sexual deviancy dance around the issue and aren't willing to admit them (at least in my experience).

Sometimes it take balls to be honest.

Doug

MarkC said...

MamasBoy,

You would actually consider polygamy to be "sexual deviancy"? Most of the world throughout history, including your and my religious predecessors, were open and proud sexual deviants, then... and God didn't say anything about it.

As Anonymous pointed out with regard to slavery, this doesn't necessarily mean God was condoning the behavior as desirable... but it does mean that it was lower on His priority list than all the other instructions He did bother to give them, which were numerous.

I can come up with some (what I consider to be) good arguments from a social perspective that polygamy is a really bad idea... but I wouldn't call it "sexual deviancy", and many societies have flourished in spite of polygamous practices.

Is incest, then, the real danger on the slippery slope? I doubt it. Many states already have laws, even in the "right to privacy" culture we live in, that prevent doctors from having sexual relationships with their patients, for example... sometimes up to two years after the relationship has ended. Why? Not because such relationships are intrinsically immoral... but because the danger for abuse of power (messing with the "consenting" part of liz's description) is too great to even take the risk.

I think it quite likely that sex between family members would fall into the same category... far too much risk of abuse of power to coerce a sexual relationship to even allow it as a possibility.

So, for societal rather than moral reasons, I think that both polygamy and incest are unlikely to take root in America whether or not we legalize homosexual marriage.

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

Liz, this blog tends to have slow-moving and long-lived discussions. Some of our regulars haven't even chimed in yet, while I'm glad to see several new posters joining in.

Anyway, all that to say that I appreciate your input to the discussion very much. I hope you'll check back and feel free to chime in again if you want to.

purple_kangaroo said...

Anonymous, may I make an off-topic request? It would be really helpful to me (and I'm sure to others) if you would be willing to pick some way to identify yourself and use it in your posts.

Not necessarily your real name, but a screen name, number or unique signature of some sort that would help us differentiate between different anonymous posters and know whether we're talking to one or more people.

We do get more than one "anonymous" in here and it's helpful to know which comments are from which anonymous poster. :)

Anonymous said...

This is my last post to this discussion. I will be following it still but I don't have much more to say. I have enjoyed the discusion and you all have really made me think. You have come up with some well thought out comments. I do stand by all I've said but I did enjoy hearing everyone else's point of view. I especially enjoyed mamasboy's comments and am glad I don't stand alone in some of my opinions.

Anonymous said...

Alright PK I will identify myself. I was reluctant at first to do so because I wasn't sure where this conversation would go but I wil now. All the Anoynomous's in this blog have been from me and you know me as KATIA from you personal blog page. I will respond if anyone else has questions for me directly but other than that I think I've stated all I can here of my opinion. Thanks and I will be looking into other discussional blogs and I will identify myself as Katia from now on but sign in as anonomous because I don't have an official page of my own really.

purple_kangaroo said...

As for the slippery slope argument, I think with any law regarding marriage, the government will need to justify a reason to regulate or not regulate it. I'll talk about that more later, hopefully tomorrow, when I have more time.

Honestly, my greatest concern at the moment (and something that we already see a trend toward) is that the only thing that will be seen as truly morally wrong is for a person to call anything morally wrong. The most despised "crime" seems to be the crime of disagreeing with the party line.

I was in a conversation recently that was a pretty good illustration of this. Several people were making statements along the line that anyone who did not agree with and work for fully-recognized gay marriage (not just equal rights given via some other method) was a homophobe, that churches which refused to perform gay marriages were homophobic, and that calling a homosexual relationship "homosexual behavior" and "labeling it a sin" is homophobic, and that it is impossible to treat a person with kindness, value, personhood and respect while disagreeing with their lifestyle and failing to recognize the validity of their relationship as a marriage.

I'm not exactly sure what the word "homophobe" means, but I'm pretty sure it's closer to "gay basher" or "hater of homosexual people" in the way it's used than to meaning someone who is afraid of homosexual people or homosexuality. But the idea that it's impossible to disagree with something (or even just not support it, or propose another solution that would have very similar results) without hating or fearing it is an idea that seems to be strongly taking root in our generation.

It's becoming a common belief in our society that disagreement is in itself a hate crime, that believing or stating that something is "wrong" or a "sin" is essentially an act of violence. That scares me. I think it's very, very wrong.

purple_kangaroo said...

Anonymous, I wondered if it might be you, though I certainly didn't mean to pressure you to identify yourself with the same screen name you use elsewhere. Feel free to use a different name just for this blog if you want to. I don't care what you call youself as long as I can tell you're only one person, KWIM?

I really hope you'll continue to feel free to join in if you want to. We love to get new ideas and perspectives in the discussions here, and the more variety of perspectives are represented in the discussion the more we all can learn.

I have been hoping a gay person would join in . . . I think that would add an important voice to the discussion too.

Anonymous said...

This is Katia

No worries PK. I would not have identified myself if I didn't want to. I decided I didn't mind. I would have given myself a different name if I would have still been nervous. But I'm ok with it. I have enjoyed this conversation. If anything I have heard someone with my similar views state some pretty good arguments. I am wondering how do I highlight a word that takes someone to a different link. I see a lot of bloggers doing this and have pondered doing it but don't know how. Oh out of curiousity how did you have an incline it was me.

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

In our culture, polygamy is considered deviant by most people.

I actually think a stronger argument can be made for legalizing polygamy and incest than homosexuality. I also think that your reason given for making incest illegal is pretty poor. Research has shown that kids who grow up together and watch each other be parented find sexual relationships repulsive, regardless of actual blood affinity. Those who didn't grow up together, on the other hand, do not have the same level of repulsion and sometimes none at all. That is the case for the German couple referenced in the article above. They met as adults and found themselves very attracted to each other. *If* the standard for whether or not the government can discriminate is set by answering the question, "are these people consenting adults?", then there is no question in my mind the German couple is being treated unjustly.

Frankly, I also disagree that allowing siblings or cousins to marry would violate the consent part any more than allowing coworkers or students to marry would. Maybe in some instances a sibling could feel coerced at some level, but it that could also be the case if coworkers were dating and most certainly is the case in many shotgun weddings where the woman is pregnant. We live in a free country, not Saudi Arabia. After one is an adult, they should be able to do whatever they damn well please, assuming they aren't hurting someone else, shouldn't they? Are we going to stop marrying pregnant women because there is a good chance she may be feeling some pressure to marry?

MB

MamasBoy said...

Liz,

I have to admit that I'm really sorry to see you go. I've finally found somebody who is willing to admit that the only standard the government can use to determine whether a couple/trio/whatever should be allowed to marry is whether they are "consenting adults."

Assuming that folks can agree to the consenting adult standard and that the US government should not be imposing WASPy definitions of marriage on people, then I have to wonder if the US government should be imposing WASPy definitions of adult on people?

Many cultures consider a person able to make that decision before the 16-18 year old standard various US states have set up. The 18 year old definition of adult that Oregon uses seems more rooted to me in arbitrary WASP tradition than science. For the government to impose that definition strikes me as discriminatory, by secular relativistic standards. Spain, Liechtenstein, and Latvia are hardly the backwaters of the world and those countries all have ages of consent in the 13-14 year old range. The US is well above the average worldwide age of consent, not to mention the European average. As a melting pot of various cultures, the US has people from many nationalities immigrating here. Who are we to tell them that their cultural standards are wrong by our male WASP-developed standards? http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

There will always be counter-examples, as you pointed out. Nobody disputes that.

Yet, our society does still have a high age of consent, and various other restrictive laws that presumptively prevent whole categories of sexually relationships to prevent otherwise nearly-unprovable abuses. You may think that's a bad idea, or you may just be arguing devil's advocate, I'm not sure... but I was simply attempting to describe what is the prevalent approach to these types of issues in our society. I see no reason to suspect that our underlying societal approach will shift as a result of homosexual marriage, civil unions, or anything else of that sort.

Opposition to homosexual marriage can come from three general areas: (1) societal concerns; (2) specific religious beliefs; or (3) natural law. Or, of course, any combination of the above.

I am arguing only that for those people who are not affected by (2) or (3), and who approve of homosexual marriage because they see no significant societal concerns... those same people are very likely in our society to see strong societal concerns related to polygamy and incest. Based on the actual reasoning embodied in many of our laws, I expect that there would be no "slippery slope" leading into legalized polygamy and incest if homosexual marriage were legalized.

Mark

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

10 years ago, there was significant societal concern about homosexual marriage. Today much of that has faded away due to shifting societal mores.

You have stated that those "who approve of homosexual marriage because they see no significant societal concerns... those same people are very likely in our society to see strong societal concerns related to polygamy and incest."

How long do you think that concerns like this will last. Most people today may be grossed out by incest or polygamy but the same could be said of homosexual acts 10 years ago and that has proven to be a very useless argument in convincing the culture at large to limit marriage to heterosexuals couples. Besides that, saying that homosexuality is OK as long as it involves consenting adults, while discriminating against consenting adults who are polygamous or incestuous is arbitrary and law should not be arbitrary.

You also state "Based on the actual reasoning embodied in many of our laws, I expect that there would be no "slippery slope" leading into legalized polygamy and incest if homosexual marriage were legalized."

What "actual reasoning" are you referring to? Also, is the "and" in the "polygamy and incest" statement there purposefully, or would you feel comfortable inserting an "or" in there?

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

I seem to have communicated badly. Let me try again.

First, "societal concerns" to me have nothing to do with people being "grossed out". The two are completely different things.

I tried to explain how the differences between incest and homosexuality are not "arbitrary" in society. I'll try again.

What "actual reasoning" are you referring to?

From a couple comments back:

Many states already have laws, even in the "right to privacy" culture we live in, that prevent doctors from having sexual relationships with their patients, for example... sometimes up to two years after the relationship has ended. Why? Not because such relationships are intrinsically immoral... but because the danger for abuse of power (messing with the "consenting" part of liz's description) is too great to even take the risk.

From my most recent comment, a similar example:

our society does still have a high age of consent, and various other restrictive laws that presumptively prevent whole categories of sexually relationships to prevent otherwise nearly-unprovable abuses.

That is the reasoning that I was referring to, well-represented in current laws, which would provide solid basis to outlaw incestuous relationships while not impeding homosexual marriage.

The societal reasoning against polygamy would run along different lines, but I think is equally strong and viable. I can explain my thoughts there if you'd like, but it would be good if I was able to communicate my incest argument understandably first. Let me know if I've done a better job this time around.

(In answer to your last question... "or" would be perfectly appropriate there, and probably preferable. Sorry.)

Thanks,
Mark

liz said...

I'm back for a second, still reading every few hours!

On incest: I do know personally of a couple (uncle and niece) who met as adults and married (back in the days before WWII). Four children, twelve grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren later they can count 7 doctors, 5 lawyers and several scientists among their progeny - and just one grandchild with severe delays which are similar to others in his mother's family (not a descendant of this couple).

So, no, I don't see a problem with healthy consenting adults marrying close relatives IF there is no element of power imbalances and coersion as there would be if they grew up together or knew each other when at least one was a child.

However, I do see problems with Doctor/patient, lawyer/client, minister/congregant, teacher/student, law enforcer/arrestee. These all could entail elements of coersion and certainly represent power imbalances which limit the ability to consent.

And Mark C. already addressed polygamy.

As to this country's age of adulthood, studies into brain function have suggested pretty strongly that until age 18-25 our brains are not fully developed and that we still have poor impulse control and are not fully capable of making reasoned decisions (in other words, before 25 we are more apt to leap before we look). So there is an argument to RAISE the age of adulthood.

MamasBoy said...

Liz,

Thanks for dropping in again.

Regarding the ability to give consent to marry, brain development and impulsiveness for those younger than 18-25 does not necessarily mean that the person is incapable of making an informed decision, though it does suggest that they probably need more time to reach a good decision. I would think a waiting period would be much more appropriate than an outright prohibition in such cases.

Thanks for going into incest more. Though I disagree, I find your logic consistent between allowing incestual and homosexual marriage.

Personally, I don't think the couple need to meet as adults to be able to give consent. In my experience, there is no power imbalance in cousin relationships that would impair consent. While being siblings might create a power imbalance and impair this ability, I don't think that would necessarily even be the case. Birth order, parenting styles and the size of the family would all play a part in that.

In any case, the pressure felt by the parents of a kid on the way would do far more to impair their decision making ability than any power "imbalance" present in cousin relationships and even most sibling relationships... and there isn't even a waiting period required in that situation.

Regarding polygamy, which of Mark's comments are you referring to. On the one hand, Mark has stated that there are powerful enough societal concerns to prevent polygamous marriage from being legalized. On the other hand, he has stated that such behavior is not deviant and that it has been accepted by numerous cultures in every epoch of history. I would think that the comment dealing with deviancy clarifies your position, but want to make sure.

Thanks again for dropping in.

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

Your example of cousins would be very analogous to an 18-year-old girl having sex with a 17-year-old boy, for example, in a state with an age of consent of 18 years. Even though in that particular scenario there is probably no imbalance of power, it would be sufficiently difficult to isolate those situations in the law that we consider that to be statutory rape. In general, such situations are handled by the prosecutor opting not to take the case to court.

In any case, the existence of exception situations like that does not, either in current law or in the likely future with regard to incest, cause us as a society to invalidate the general law.

It comes down to a principle of most efficiently preventing the greatest amount of harm, while at the same time impeding the least amount of acceptable behavior.

As for your other scenario, the power imbalance involved in coercion to marry when a couple has gotten pregnant... I think there is a whole separate societal principle driving that situation, the one that trumps nearly any other societal principle... the benefit of the child! I can't imagine that we as a society would ever put any impediment in the way of the parents of a child marrying each other, no matter what other factors we might consider to be at play.

Mark

steviepinhead said...

If we're really going to include polygamy in the range of issues here being traversed, let's not forget the term includes both polygyny and polyandry!

Though Americans are much more "familiar" with polygyny (from the former practices of the LDS, the current practices of some of its "heretical" sects, etc.), polyandry has its own well-deserved place in the anthropological literature.

steviepinhead said...

I'll be reading with care PK's approach of what government ought to legitimately care about.

The protection of children (not, in my view, from exposure to the "homosexual lifestyle" of otherwise responsible parents--though maybe "no more irresponsible than otherwise non-abusive parents" is closer to the actual standard) is one arguably legitimate concern.

The protection, or at least sensible administration, of vested interests in real and personal property and freedom of contract, are other arguable instances.

The impulsiveness and immaturity of youth (and I believe it's possible to articulate why the "age of consent" or "age of majority" might reasonably vary from, say, a rural and traditional society to an urban, high-tech, temptation-laden one...) is yet another arguably-legitimate consideration.

"Protecting" children-to-be from enhanced risks of genetic abnormalities is at least an articulable governmental interest, though perhaps one that, with birth control and genetic testing/medicine, may decrease over time.

I'm actually finding Liz's and MB's side diescussion interesting though, as I may have signalled above, I think the "problems" associated with legality/illegality of some of these other alternative domestic arrangements may most usefully be approached from PK's suggested framework of legitimate governmental/societal interest.

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

Given that no-fault divorce laws are in place, I'm not convinced the good of the child really plays all that much of a role (if any) in the state's decision to marry couples with a pregnancy. In my opinion, the fact that there is a child involved has no bearing on the decision in the eyes of the law.

Second, could you please point me to a state/federal law that prohibits things like doctor/patient relationships. I had thought that these sorts of things were handled by professional societies and have been unable to find any government that regulates it. In addition, I have found evidence that such relationships are actually pretty common. My next door neighbor growing up had a heck of a time getting a fair deal in court because his wife started having sex her lawyer. She even ended up marrying the bastard in the middle of the trial. My neighbor didn't have money to fight endless court battles and his ex-wife's husband was perfectly willing to sue at the drop of a hat. My neighbor couldn't even get the bar association to act on his complaints. Moving on to the doctor/patient relationship, recent research has shown that up to 10% of US doctors have had sex with a patient. Have you ever heard of any of them being prosecuted?


Stevie,

Thanks for dropping by. I have most certainly not forgotten about polyandry. The only polygamists I know are of that variety. Of course, their relationship isn't recognized by the law, but as I've stated above, if gay marriage is legalized, there is no rational, consistent reason to prohibit polygamous relationships where all the parties are consenting adults.

MB

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

Here is a court decision by the state of Oklahoma which found that doctor-patient sex was ONLY viewed as actionable if sex was presented as a part of the treatment.

Again, the driving force behind our incest laws is NOT the concern for power imbalances and consent. It is primarily (some would argue exclusively) based on natural law and religious constructs of marriage. In my opinion the idea that the US society/legal system will approve of gay marriage and then deny it to those in polygamous/incestuous relationships is naive. This is especially true in the case of polygamous relationships which have considerable support in many cultures.

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

Here's a link to the article where I heard about the laws regulating sex in doctor/patient relationships. It appears that I assumed that they were more widespread than they actually are.

driving force behind our incest laws is ... primarily (some would argue exclusively) based on natural law and religious constructs of marriage

Actually, the far-and-away most common justification for incest laws is the increased likelihood of genetic deformities, as stevie pointed out.

You may be right that my reasoning is not as prevalent as I thought it was. If that's the case, I would want it to be part of the discussion, and probably part of the law, if a law was passed that legalized homosexual marriage. I believe that sort of reasoning from societal benefit would be likely to stand up to any court challenges.

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

Mark, I hadn't heard of laws prohibiting doctor-patient relationships, etc. either. Lots of doctors or nurses end up marrying patients, or doctors end up marrying nurses, etc. I know of shcools that have policies teacher/student relationships, but I'm not aware of any federal/state laws to that effect.

Mamasboy, I agree that the existence of a child has little or no effect on the govenrment's approving or disapproving a marriage.

Katia, it wasn't so much, actually a thought that it was you in particular as a nagging thought that the writing "voice" sounded familiar and that reminded me of someone I'd read comments from before, possibly you. :)

Liz, I'm glad you're still around too.

I'll try to get time to comment more later on the slippery slope thing and my thoughts about what justifies government regulation and licensing of marriage. Today was a very busy day.

purple_kangaroo said...

Stevie, glad to see you joining in again too. You brought up some of the points I had in mind already, but I'll have a few more to add when I get a chance.

steviepinhead said...

I know that MarkC, like me, lives in Washington. A former state bar association president was disbarred in this state for having sex with a client he was representing in divorce proceedings.

While there is no "regular," legislative prohibition on a lawyer having sex with a client, it is against the bar association rules regarding conflict of interest. These rules are promulgated by the state supreme court--which administers the judicial branch of government--and such rules have the force of law as to lawyers regulated by the supreme court.

Here's the relevant court rule:

RPC RULE 1.8
"Conflict Of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules

"(j) A lawyer shall not:

"(1) have sexual relations with a current client of the lawyer unless a
consensual sexual relationship existed between them at the time the client-
lawyer relationship commenced; or

"(2) have sexual relations with a representative of a current client if
the sexual relations would, or would likely, damage or prejudice the client
in the representation."

I'm pretty sure Washington's medical review board also has a rule against doctor-patient sex. I'll try to track that down.

In any event, Mark's impressions about this area have a basis in Washington regulatory practice. It wouldn't surprise me if the legal and medical regulatory bodies in other states--though probably not all of them--had also enacted similar restrictions, which might not be turned up by a casual search of state legislation.

steviepinhead said...

I realize this is just one tiny facet of PK's large and interesting topic, but I did want to tie up the dangling thread with regard to physician-patient sex in the State of Washington.

(My thread-tidying inclinations are not urgent enough to motivate me to do research beyond the state lines...)

Washington physicians are regulated by a Medical Quality Assurance Board. I believe this board is a creature, in a sense, of state statute, but its regulations are not found in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), the compendium of everyday legislative enactments, but in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), which is the repository of regulations adopted by the various state agencies.

I was only able to access the provision in question in a PDF, and wasn't able to make cut and paste work (I may need to upgrade Acrobat), but here is the gist of WAC 246-919-630(2):
"A physician shall not engage in sexual misconduct with a current patient..." There is a long list of definitions of what constitutes "sexual misconduct," and what other terms in that brief statement mean, etc., but I can represent that, yes, basically, doctor-patient sex is officially frowned upon by the Medical Quality Assurance Board of Washington. That board does have the power to suspend licences, and so forth, and it is not unusual for a male physician, for example, to be required--as a condition of being allowed to continue in practice--to always be accompanied by a female nurse while examining a female patient...

So, again, I think Mark's views on how these potentially power-imbalanced relationships are viewed was generally correct, at least if we limit that to the state of his residence, with which he and I are most familiar.

MarkC said...

The article I referenced earlier also links to this case, where a Minnesota massage therapist was disciplined for having sex with a former client that she later married.

It appears that Minnesota law is very similar to Washington's in this area.

In any case, it was reading those scenarios on the Volokh Conspiracy blog, combined with a lack of any contradictory evidence in my experience, that led to me to believe what I did about the state of legal reasoning (and societal reasoning) on the issue. MB, you've helped to temper my views somewhat. Thanks!

Mark

MamasBoy said...

I hail from WA state as well. My neighbor was in the the exact same situation as Stevie described, except it was his wife having sex with her divorce lawyer. He tried appealing to the bar association over the "ethical violation" and his requests were completely ignored.

These sorts of rules are regularly flaunted (by 10% of physicians) and rarely if ever enforced. The guy sitting on the state bar association was giving the entire industry a black eye by flaunting the rules. I imagine that's why he got disbarred. The average Joe lawyer/doctor can get away with having sex with his clients as long as it is consentual... and many do. 10% is a pretty high number. Figure out how many doctors there are in your metro area and do the math. These laws are enforced about as often as the sodomy laws were enforced before Lawrence vs. Texas was overturned. As the article Mark referenced shows, there is much disapprobation toward broadly written laws, even among the legal community. As Mr. Volakh wrote, "But the trouble here is that the rules go vastly further than these special situations, and vastly undervalue the countervailing reasons to limit regulation--people's right to choose whom to date, have sex with and marry, even including their dental hygienists, opticians, and the like. So much for the right to marry; so much for sexual autonomy; so much for consenting adults deciding whom to love, without the fear of losing their livelihood."

I smell a lawsuit challenging these laws. For starters, they are inconsistent with Lawrence vs. Texas, as Mr. Volakh rightly noted early on in his article.

Medical and legal societies ever so loosely regulate their professions so that clients don't get shafted in court or have their health endangered. What's the worst thing that can happen if cousins get married? They *might* have a kid with Down's Syndrome or something like that. Isn't that what abortion is for? Doctors are now required to offer testing for DS so parents can abort the child if they don't want a disabled baby. The biggest reasons for outlawing incest are based on natural law and religion. This is obvious when one looks at other situations where the likelihood of a handicapped child is comparable to incest. Is the US really prepared start limiting who can have kids based on potential health risks? Shall we add genetic screening to the typical blood testing and use that as the basis for limiting marriage? What about all the middle aged professional moms who are getting married late and desperately trying to jump start their reproductive systems after medicating them into a state of infertility for years on end. I can just imagine the conversation, "I'm sorry Ms. Jones. You are 45 years old and have never been married or had kids. It's too late for you now. You cannot get married." This double standard is blatant discrimination that becomes even more obvious when you look at the fact that incestuous couples who are sterilized are subjected to the same laws as those who aren't. The German couple in the article referenced above is a perfect example of that situation. The guy had a vasectomy and they are still being prosecuted for disobeying the law.

Regarding polygamy, our society really has no problem with multiple spouses. I have several relatives who have had multiple spouses serially. It is only when one tries to have multiple spouses in parallel that people bat an eye anymore. Even then, as long as all the polygamous partners are consenting adults and are willing to stay in the closet and not ask for legal recognition, society doesn't bat an eye. It is only when they seek legal recognition or when a minor is one of the "married" partners that there are problems with the law.

MB

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

I hadn't seen your response when typing mine.

What does this mean for your position now? Do you think society can/will keep incest and polygamy outlawed after gay marriage becomes law? What is the basis of your beliefs?

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

It means, as best as I can articulate, and as I've already said, that I would want such restrictions and logic written explicitly into the law at the same time that homosexual marriage was legalized, if that were to happen through the legislative process.

Ultimately, I continue to think these issues should be determined in society on the basis of societal-benefit reasoning, even if my version of that reasoning ends up disagreeing with the majority or prevailing view.

My clearest description of what I believe the best societal-benefit reasoning would be was stated very early in this thread, in (I believe) my second comment. None of that has been altered.

Thanks,
Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

About incest:

Most societies, and even half the states in the USA, don't consider marriage of cousins to be incest.

Here's an interesting summary of marriage traditions in India . . . interesting that in some places cousin marriage is preferred, while in other places avoided.

In ancient Egypt and Greece, brother/sister marriages were relatively common, especially among royalty.

Biblically, it seems incest was not forbidden until Levitical law was put into place, and even then cousin and uncle-niece marriages were not forbidden, and in some cases were even commanded.

Apart from marriage, New Jersey and Rhode Island both do not have laws that would impose penalties for incest between consenting adults, while Ohio penalizes only parent-child adult incest. Here's an interesting article looking at incest laws in the USA and suggesting an alternative paradyme for them. It mentions Marks' argument about abuse of power and suggests that dependency relationships be the primary determiner of incest.

According to this article, France and the Netherlands have no laws against consensual incest between adults, although such marriages are not legal. The article claims that Sweden allows siblings to marry, but a web search didn't pull up any verification of that for me.

Some places include adopted siblings in bans on marriage, while others don't.

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

Your IR definition is a bit confusing to me. Are you calling for IRs and marriages, or are you suggesting that this IR idea will replace marriage?

MB

MamasBoy said...

There seems to be a lack of agreement/clarity between the BBC article and the cousingmarriage website. The BBC states, "In parts of the US, first cousins may marry if they are beyond reproductive age or ability." The cousinmarriage website states, "26 states allow first cousin marriages; Most people can marry their cousin in the US" Of course, they also map out Texas as allowing it, while noting that it was recently made a felony in Texas to marry first cousins.

MB

Neither website ref

MarkC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
purple_kangaroo said...

MB, here's a site with links to the basic marriage laws in US states. Many of them allow unqualified cousin marriages, while a few have an age or infertility requirement and less than half don't allow it at all.

MarkC said...

MB,

I wasn't making a decision one way or the other. I was attempting to make a case for what is important about intimate relationships (what are currently called "marriage"), and therefore what laws and regulations society should be willing to make.

I am following, here, PKanga's leading in making a separation between what the state legislates, and what religious groups sanction and perform. There is no necessary reason why the state must sanction what religions ordain, or that religions must recognize what the state legislates.

More directly to your question, I am still open to the idea of having a two-tiered system within the societal system, where one tier might be called "marriage" (or "covenant marriage" or something else). I haven't gotten to the point of forming specific ideas about what the end result should look like yet. I'm trying to formulate the answer to the question, "Why should these relationships matter to society? What is the benefit to society from endorsing them?"

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this discussion.

I think the goverment has a burden to show the necessity and benefit of regulating anything before they can make laws regarding it. For instance, the state has a right to regulate the way we drive, who can drive, etc. because they provide the roads (which essentially belong to all of us because they're paid for with taxes) and because unsafe driving practices are a hazard to both the driver and to everyone else.

With marriage, there are few justifications for the state to regulate it at all. One is what mamasboy (I think it was) alluded to, that there is an interest in protecting the children from these unions. That's the main reasoning for the laws against marriage of people who are too closely related--to protect children against the higher chance of birth defects (and also in some cases to protect against incestual abuse).

Also, the government has an interest in marriage because it makes for a more stable society. Marriage is also a more stable place for children to grow up, having many benefits to society in that way.

The sharing of resources within a houshold also makes for better use of resources, less cost, etc.

That's the reason for many of the benefits and priveleges confered by the state such as tax deductions, etc. Because marriage has benefits for society as a whole, the government has an interest in providing incentives for it as well as regulating it.

However, as soon as an entity (individual, business, couple) starts receiving benefits from the government, the government automatically has more control over that entity's actions relating to the benefits given. When the state begins granting license and benefits for marriage, it gains control over marriage relationships.

To illustrate my point, consider schooling. Many states are now piloting programs to provide curriculum and other resources to homeschoolers. But the catch is that when the homeschoolers join these programs, they become part of the public school and the state then gains the right to regulate their schooling much more heavily than if they remained independent. The state can dictate what curriculum they use, what they are and are not allowed to teach, what requirements they must meet, etc. to a much greater degree than if they are not part of these programs.

In regards to most things, I tend to think that less government regulation and control is better even if it means receiving fewer benefits. I'm a bit of a libertarian, I guess.

Therefore when it comes to making laws about something I tend to come at it from an angle of whether the state has a right to regulate it, whether there is compelling reason to regulate it, etc.

As I've mentioned before, I think that many of the benefits given by the government should be given without discrimination, unconnected to marriage or sexual relationships. If that was the case, I think there would be very little compelling reason for the government to regulate or promote gay relationships. They could have a ceremony if they wished, and call themselves married. But currently it's an area that the government for the most part does not regulate, and I have yet to see a compelling reason for the government to license or regulate such relationships at all.

But again, as I've said before, I'd prefer to see less government interference in traditional marriage as well.

To me, redefining marriage to include gay relationships is less about any benefit to society and more about government regulation and about infringing on religious freedom, since I see marriage as a religious institution.

I don't think there's any good reason for the gay community to try to make the government force the redefinition of an established religious institution as leverage to try to get rights and society's approval. If some churches, religions, organizations and people want to recognize such relationships as marriages, then let them call them that, but don't force everyone to do so. Don't legislate it.

There are perfectly good ways to accomplish gaining the rights and benefits wanted by people in non-traditional marriages or other partnerships, without calling it marriage or taking a sacred religious institution and legally redefining it according to what the state says it is. As I said before, to me it seems comparable to the state deciding to certify oysters kosher, and to require everyone to recognize them as such.

Don't discriminate or give special rights based on sexual orientation or marital state, and don't tell the church how it has to define marriage. That's what I think the government should do.

I don't really think there should be a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, also for other reasons I hope to explain later. But I also am really against laws redefining marriage as any two adults who want to make a committment to each other.

I don't really think definitions and regulations of marriage belong in the constitution at all. I see a case for some laws regulating some aspects of it, but I think redefining marriage is an infringement of the goverment in something that's not appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Katia says

Then why not polygamy. Personally I think polygamy is less harmful when done willingly, although I don't endorse it, then gay marriage. If we are talking about the greater good then how are we supposed to grow as a nation with families where selfishness and non responsibility for one's action is taught. I do think that the gay act is extremly harmful for the next generation and for this one. It's a self destructive behavior and I have seen many examples that demonstrate this fact and the more it's spread and excused the more this country will self destruct. So I do think it would be for the greater good if this was not encouraged by legalizing to be more wide spread. For the future of our country I think it is important to see what makes a nation grow not deminish. If everyone was doing it then we would have no future generation. I think if there is something that everyone is doing and it benefits the common good if everyone did it then this act should be leagal but an act that harms society if everyone is doing it has no place in legalization because the more you leagalize the more it will spread and the greater risk we have for the future of mankind. Yes I do think this is serious because I do not think being gay is a state of being I think it is an addiciton and like drugs and alcohol it can consume those who practice it and those around them. I've seen it happen. Tell me what you will but I have seen it happen heard of it and read about it. The only good is from rumors but what I see speaks a lot loader than rumors. It is selfdestruction. It is a choice and it should not be leagalized or encouraged. Why are there so many suicidal gays. It's not because there is not much acceptance, there is tons of acceptance, it is because this lifestyle cannot bring happiness no matter how one trys to fake it. Why should we encourage something that is making our country misserable. This is my thought for today. freedom is not doing whatever you want. It is doing what's right so that you wont be a slave to the consequences wrong choices bring.

liz said...

I'm sorry, Anonymous has just made my head explode.

purple_kangaroo said...

Katia, I forgot to answer your question about making clickable links earlier. You can do it with HTML tags.

I'm not exactly sure whose comments you are responding to in your last comment, but could you clarify a bit?

I am suggesting that the government leave marriage alone and deal with things like adoption laws, next-of-kin issues and inheritance laws without bringing sexuality into it at all. There is no reason to give rights like that to only married couples or only couples in sexual relationships, same-sex or not.

For instance, a widowed grandmother should, I think, be able to designate a friend or family member to be her "next of kin" for legal and medical issues without any requirement that there is a marriage or sexual relationship in the equation at all.

It is already legal in many states for homosexual, heterosexual, or polygamous couples to live together, have private ceremonies
(religious or not), call themselves married/spouses/whatever they want, etc. What they don't have is marriage licenses or official state/federal recognition of their relationship as marriage from a legal standpoint. Personally, I am of the opinion that the state should not be in the business of changing the legal definition of marriage. I think they should leave it alone.

In your last comment, it seems you've gone beyond the discussion of marriage or other rights and are talking about homosexual acts themselves needing to be illegal, separate from the issue of marriage. Is that what you're saying? Are you suggesting that all homosexual acts be illegal and punishable by law?

If so, would you include extramarital heterosexual acts in that also? Premarital sex between unmarried people? How about divorce? Lust? Coveting? Marriage of people from two different religions? Interracial marriage? Idol worship? Not being circumcised? An unqualified person entering a holy place or taking part in a ritual? Engaging in intercourse during a woman's period? Masturbation? Breaking the Sabbath? Dishonoring one's parents?

Biblically, all of those things are sin, or were at least prohibited and punishable at some point in time. Almost every sin I just listed was punishable by death in Old Testament law. Why single out homosexuality?

As I said before, just because something is wrong doesn't automatically mean it should be illegal or punishable by law. It particularly seems inconsistent to me for the church to rail against homosexuality while saying little or nothing about divorce and other sins which are equally strongly condemned in the Scriptures. And that's even without taking into account things that are considered sins by other religions, such as eating meat, eating pork, a woman leaving her head uncovered, listening to music, driving cars, dishonoring the Koran, and a myriad other things.

Again, we're back to the question of what basis we use when deciding what to regulate, allow, prohibit reward or punish by law.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I think I cofused some people about my last post. I do not mean the act itself be illegal cause it's up to people weather or not they want to do it that's their freedom I'm just saying to legalize it would be like saying they can't help it and would make it more wide spread. I am not for stopping it I am for stopping putting it into the limelight and encouraging others to follow suite. I am against anything that would encourage it's increase. For the good of this nation we say no poylygamy and no incest relationships I say for the good of this country no gay marriage. People can do it sure but making marriage and the act more acceptable and less deviant will encouarage increase so I say I am against anything that incourages a poinsen to spread.

Katia

purple_kangaroo said...

Katia, what do you mean by saying that we shouldn't "legalize it"? If it's not legal, then by definition it's illegal and punishable by law.

You say that you're against anything that would encourage the increase or normalization of homosexuality, but I don't think anybody here has been talking about promoting homosexuality.

Someone on another blog shared recently about her teenage son who was assaulted and fairly seriously injured at a concert or something like that. He was attacked randomly by someone who supposedly thought he "looked gay." Never mind that he wasn't, but IMHO that kind of behavior should never be tolerated, no matter who it's directed at.

Speaking out against that sort of thing is vastly different from promoting homosexuality, IMHO. So is my suggestion that sexuality should not come into play in determining who is eligible for many state-given rights and privileges that are currently dependent solely on marital status.

As for your other comments, I'm hoping to write a new post soon that will indirectly reply to some of them.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm not a hater or anything like that. I have no problem with trying to treat everyone with decency no matter what they choose to do. I am against Gay marriage and against having society be that accepting as to legalize gay marriage everywhere. I think that those who say that gay marriage should be accepted but not willing incest or polygamy are blind to the fact they are being unfair to other unions. I am for keeping marriage traditional so as to keep from the confusion of what should constitute as a marriage. Perhaps they could give people similar rights as citzens who have a common bond and want to share proporty but I do not agree with making gay marriage itself accepted and widespread. I fear this step and hope they don't go this far for reasons I already stated. and again I AM NOT A GAY BASHER OR A HATER AND WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CONCERT WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN MY VIEW BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO MAKE THEIR OWN DICISSIONS BUT I DON'T THINK IT SHOULD BE AS ACCEPTABLE IN SOCIETY. WE DON'T ATTACK PEOPLE WHO GAMBLE YET GAMBLING IS SEEN BY SOME AS RISKY BEHAVIOR. THIS IS WHERE I THINK GAY PRACTICES LIE AND WISH SOCIETY WOULD KEEP IT THEIR. I DON'T BLAME OR HATE INDIVIDUALS JUST FIGHTING THE POINT THAT I THINK THE PRACTICE IS WRONG AND THAT MAKING GAY MARRIAGE LEGAL OR ACCEPTED WOULD ENCOURAGE THE POSIN. I FEEL SORRY FOR THOSE WITH THE ADDICION TO SAME SEX ATTRACTION LIKE i FEEL SORRY FOR A ADDICTIVE GAMBLER OR ALCOHOLIC. I KNOW THEIR LIFE MUST BE HARD BUT ADDICTIONS ARE HARD TO BREAK AND I CAN HAVE SYMPATHY FOR THIS. I JUST DON'T LIKE THE FACT SOCIETY IS TRYING TO DO THINGS TO ENCOURAGE THESE PRACTICES AND NOT DISCOURAGE THEM.

purple_kangaroo said...

Okay, so you're saying you don't think the government should license or give incentives for gay marriage. Not that it should be illegal in the sense of punishing anyone who engages in such behavior? There's a big difference there.

liz said...

Head still exploded. Brains on ceiling.

Anonymous said...

Yes PK you are right. That is exactly what I am saying. Liz can you tell me why your feelings are so strong is it from anger or offence or is it from being overwhelmed. Please clarify. I'm curious to know you opinion.

Katia

liz said...

I think my head has exploded due to several factors.

a) That you feel so strongly about what others do or don't do with the people they love.

b) That you seem to think that homosexuality spreads. It doesn't. You're born gay or you're not. That's it.

c) If the bible preached against braille, would you forbid the blind to read?

What is it about this one thing that makes you so angry? Why do you type in all caps about it? Now, I'm Jewish (and not very observant at that), so I'm no expert, but doesn't Christ say to love your neighbor? To judge not? Would Christ be this uncharitable?

If Christ were alive now and writing into this blog, which side of this issue would he be on?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are born gay this is a choice and why not incest and polygamy because it isn't for the good of society. Either is gayness. You may be born with the tendency like someone is born with the tendency to become an alcoholic and some arent but you don't have to it is not wired into you like you have no choice. Yes I think it is spreading and yes I think it is dangerous to spread. People who are straight do pick up on the addiction. So I do not agree. I put in caps to enphasize I was not a gay basher I do not hate the specific people who practice it I just don't like endorsing it. Christ forgives anyone who comes to him and he loves all and hope they will come to him but he does not tell people to keep doing the wrong. He said in the bibble you sins are fogiven and SIN NO MORE. I don't think I would compare this to reading brail since reading brail enriches and helps society where as gay acts do not. They are selfish and yes why shouldn't people be let to indulge in selfish act. Well they are but I don't want it endorsed by encouraging it. I do not follow the societal bandwagon that says you are born with it. We are born with weeknesses to overcome. This is my believe and to overcome this is a great feat. But again I an not a hater I do not hate people just for their choices. I have many friends whose choses I don't agree with but I still love them. I just don't want gay marriage legal cause it encourages risky behavior to spread. I really think it will. Thanks for clarifing your opinion

Katia

Anonymous said...

I think what is uncharitable is to endorse gay acts because the acts have a self destrutive nature and You cannot convence me otherwise. I have seen it with my own eyes. So it would be more charitable to discourage it and save people from a lot of heart ache. In the scriptures it says wichedness never was happiness and it also states homesexuallyty is wicked so it's not selfrightessness that goes in to condeming the act it is the concern for the well being of God's children for God knows when people indulge in sin it will not lead them to happiness, not true happiness. True happiness comes in those moments when one does something truly good and controls themself over wickedness. It is a vitory over self and a concern for the greater good that overcomes the desire to fulfil ones selffish desires. Yes it does spread and did so in Sodem and Gamora and that city was wiped out perhaps to show compation on the future generation so the evil destructive behavior would stop being passed down. I am against society's endorsment of this act and my heart goes out to those who are addicted in this act and have no escape because society tells them it's ok. So I do not attack those who do it I attack society and the media for teaching lies about it so as to confuse people and not teach them the truth about such a harmful behavior. When you say they are born with it then they loose their agency. This is the worst lie society has taught. and if you look at the evendence to prove it there really isn't any that is substantial. If peope realized it was a choice then they would know they could or could not do it it is a chose and this would increase their agency and release them from the prison of thinking they have no control over themselves and their appitites. This is also why sexually transmitted deseases are so wide spread because no one wants to control their passions anymore at least the media is trying to get people to believe it's ok to let go and not control ones passions. Just do what feels good. So I attack media and society for teaching lies. Where in is there proof it is not a sin. I have seen none. I see the unhappiness that comes from it and I see the scriptures preach against it. I am not one to jump on the bandwagon of popular opinion just so I will be agreeable to those around me and have no confrentation. I stand for what I feel is right and will always do so because I am concerned for the furture of our society if certain practices are encouraged to spread. And this includes more than just homosexual acts. But that is the topic of this blog so I am trying to focus on it at the moment.

Katia

liz said...

Katia,

1) The proportion of homosexuals in the human population has remained steady at about 2% (plus or minus 1%) for at least a century and a half (while it is hard to obtain these numbers due to stigma, one can extrapolate from other data). Only for the last 30 years or so has there been any tolerance for homosexuality. If your argument were correct there would have been a surge in that number.

2) Other higher-order mammals (such as monkeys, dolphins, dogs, and mice) have been shown to have homosexual members at about the same proportion as in the human population.

As a gay friend said to me, "Why would I choose this? Life would be so much easier if only I were straight."

3) I'm trying hard to answer your arguments in a thoughtful fashion, but it would be easier if you did some research first.

Anonymous said...

alright I'll do some research. But life would be easier for an alcoholic if they could overcome too, just cause it seems impossibble to overcome doesn't mean it is.

katia

katia said...

This is the best research I could find at the moment. I still don't know how to do HTML tags.

"The Bible & The Homosexual"


By E. L. Bynum

[The moderator has removed the text of the article from this post for copyright reasons. Reposting another author's article in full without permission is a copyright violation. Please click above link to read article.]

4/27/2007 3:26 PM

Anonymous said...

Thank you moderator. If someone could give me more explicit directions of how to do this for myself please do. I still don't know how to do a HTML tag. I am computer illiterate in that area.

katia

Kevin said...

Katia,

You can create a link using an html anchor tag "a". For example:

<a href="http://google.com">Google</a>

The above text creates this link: Google

In this case, the text displayed is Google and clicking the link goes to http://google.com .

Blogger also permits a few other tags, including "em" and "b":

you type: <em> This is emphasized text </em>
result: This is emphasized text.

you type: <b> This is bold text </b>
result: This is bold text.

Also, prior to publishing your posts, you can click the circle next to "Other" and enter your Name in the input box so your nickname will show up as "Katia said...", rather than "Anonymous said..."

Hope that helps.

Kevin

/me waves at moderator. :)

MamasBoy said...

I found it interesting that the assertion has been made that Katia needs to do her research. This is especially ironic to me given the number of assertions everybody has made (me included) that haven't been backed up by references to research. It is understandable though not ideal that this lack of research would occur given the time consuming nature of finding reputable sources. PK is about the only person who has been regular to this discussion and included links to articles in majority of her posts (though Mark may have done so as well). By my count, Liz and Katia have both offered up the same number of articles to back up their ideas. It is not acceptable to only apply the criticism to one person, Katia and let everybody else off scot-free.

As an example, it has been said without support or proof that "b) That you seem to think that homosexuality spreads. It doesn't. You're born gay or you're not. That's it."

This is a direct contradiction of much of the social science literature out there. There has never been a gay gene identified. Also, people's sexual preferences do change over time. This is especially true in the lesbian world and has given rise to such terms as hasbian and LUG (Lesbian Until Graduation). The idea that we "know" people are born gay and that sexual preferences do not change is useful propaganda for the gay movement, but its backing in the social science literature is far from overwhelming. The following article was published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, Volume 29, Pages 119-128.
PWQ Article

Here is another article that appeared in the February 10, 2003 edition of the New Yorker.
New Yorker Article

Sorry to comment and run. Things have been rather busy on the home front.

As a side comment, I've been meaning to apologize to Mark for misstating his position on a topic I can't recall, but I do remember doing so. Anyway, sorry Mark. I will try to read and understand your position better in the future before commenting on it. To summarize in a language you will understand:
MB's Sorry = ((misreading==1 OR misremembering==1) AND misstating==1)

if MB's Sorry ==1
>>MB will try harder to understand >>>>Mark (and others) better before >>>>commenting
end

Have a spiffy day y'all.

MB

PS: Does anybody besides me wish the English language still had a plural second person pronoun like other languages?

MamasBoy said...

grrr. The how-to of tabbed text is not apparent to me in html/blogger.com land. The if, then statement above offends my eyes.

MB

MarkC said...

Katia,

I was halfway through a response to this article, when something dawned on me. The author cites a great many news articles and anecdotes. Not a single one of them is dated more recent than 1976.

There isn't a copyright date on the article, but it's obvious that it was written well before 1980. Social research from 30 years ago isn't all that applicable today, I don't think.

The article also attempts to draw a number of conclusions from the Bible. That, at least, hasn't changed since 1980. However, I don't think the Bible is really pertinent to this discussion about society (since we're not a Christian theocracy, we're a religion-neutral republic). And, the use of the Bible here is so painfully wrong it is... painful. I could respond to each of the biblical references, and if you want me to I'm willing to do so over email, but it seems way off-topic for this thread.

I'd be interested to hear you interact with the research that Liz presented. Do you find the research regarding global rates of homosexuality and the existence of homosexuality in animals to be significant? If not, why not? Do you doubt Liz's statements? If so, why, and what would you provide as alternatives?

I really think that if this conversation is going to go anywhere, we need to start conversing with each other. That means interacting directly with what each other has to say.

It seems to me that Liz tried that in a small way with her observations about rates of homosexuality in humans and animals, directly interacting with your previous comment.

Would you be willing to do the same in return, interacting directly and specifically with her observations?

Because otherwise, this discussion is likely to end up like those pointless presidential debates where each candidate ignores the questions and parrots their predetermined talking points.

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

Creating hyperlinks in HTML.

Katia, I read the article you linked to.

I couldn't find any substantiated facts in the article, other than some anecdotes and statistics about the level of perceived acceptance of homosexuality in the church and society. There's nothing about the actual incidence of homosexuality, for instance, whether that rate has changed throughout history or not, or whether the percentage of homosexuals who molest or proposition children is comparable to the percentage of heterosexuals who do so. I'd be interested in that type of information, if anyone comes across good sources for it.

I found it interesting that the author, Mr. Bynum, did not mention in his list of definitions that the word "sodomy" also applies to heterosexual non-procreative sex acts. [It's an interesting fact that most laws regarding sodomy apply equally to acts that many or most heterosexual couples engage in and can be enforced with a married man and woman also, and some even apply to solo masturbation. (Sarcasm here: Now that's something so unnatural and dangerous to society and individuals that it should be a crime punishable by law, right? That would be a GREAT use of our prison space.)]

I've noticed that a lot of people, including Bynum, are quick to point to the non-procreative nature of homosexuality as a reason to outlaw it, but they don't advocate for laws against letting infertile people get married or laws requiring that every married couple must have children.

Bynum makes some claims that seem blatantly ridiculous to me, such as in this article where he claims that homosexuality is caused by women wearing pants or vice versa.

Bynum also argues (as you have said you disagree with) that the government should mete out punishment to anyone who engages in homosexual acts.

If anyone is going to argue for that, it seems hyprocritical to not also advocate that other sins--particularly heterosexual sexual sins--should also be criminalized and receive punishment. Yes, homosexuality was a capital crime in the Old Testament, but so was adultery, and so was a man's having intercourse with his wife during her period. Not to mention non-sexual crimes like idolatry, blasphemy, dishonoring parents, gluttony and drunkenness. The list of capital crimes is quite long, actually. Should all those things be penalized by law in the USA?

In a theocracy that might make sense on some level, but we are a constitutional democratic republic here in the USA. As several of us have mentioned before, our laws and the standards of the government are not based on the Bible.

Speaking of the Bible, I do think a number of the Scripture passages Bynum uses are taken out of context, misapplied, or used in ways that don't seem to fit the intent of the passage.

But since this particular discussion is about the law of this nation, I'm not sure if we want to get into a big discussion about Scriptural teaching on the issue here. If there are several people interested in such a discussion, I would suggest we start a new thread for that topic.

MamasBoy said...

"I've noticed that a lot of people, including Bynum, are quick to point to the non-procreative nature of homosexuality as a reason to outlaw it, but they don't advocate for laws against letting infertile people get married or laws requiring that every married couple must have children."

Infertility is a condition that can come and go. It is also a very common condition in an age where women regularly medicate their their fertility into nonexistence during its natural peak time. Laws like you suggest would be just plain stupid even to the few people in the US who do believe that the intention to have children should be a requirement of civil marriage.

MB

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

You state as a criticism of Katia's article that "Social research from 30 years ago isn't all that applicable today, I don't think."

Why not?

I'm not saying its better or worse, I'm just asking why you would categorically dismiss research of your parent's generation (or perhaps even younger).

MB

purple_kangaroo said...

mamasboy, since when it is a bad thing on this blog to encourage someone to do research or use facts? You've accused people of not doing research or asked people to read up on facts often enough, yourself. :) Facts, research and supporting data are always encouraged here.

I don't think it was out of line at all for Liz to say, when pressed, that she found it rather pointless to respond to katia's questions unless katia was willing to do some research and use facts relevant to the discussion.

Liz, it would be particularly helpful if you could point us to some sources, such as where you get the statistics and information you cited. I would be interested in seeing them, too.

As for the argument about people being born gay or straight, that doesn't make sense to me.

For one thing, babies don't have sex drives or sexual orientations. They're not sexually attracted to anyone, no matter what gender they are. That's something that doesn't happen (usually) until they hit puberty.

Genetics may or may not influence it at some point, but I don't believe anybody is "born" gay, straight, etc.

For another thing, there are a lot of people who are bisexual or who switch from gay to straight, straight to gay, and maybe back again at various points in their lives. I personally know several people who have been one and then the other, or both.

Finally, we all have choices about our actions and behavior. Even if someone is sexually attracted to someone else, people are not robots who must automatically follow every impulse.

My husband and I were both virgins when we got married, and that's not because we were genetically predisposed to not have sex until marriage. It's because we learned to control our actions, thoughts and attitudes regarding sex and regarding other people.

I have never been in love with anyone besides my husband--not because it was natural for me not to fall in love, but because I believed that my heart should be reserved for the man I would marry and that it was wrong to cultivate romantic feelings toward anyone I had no intention of marrying. I specifically avoided cultivating romantic feelings toward anyone (or defrauding anyone by leading him on and encouraging him to fall in love with me) until the time came to give my heart to my future husband. It's a joy and a privilege to be married to my first and only love.

Hopefully most married people avoid cultivating romantic emotions toward people other than their spouse, but I think this type of mental and emotional self-discipline has been largely lost to much of society.

Sex drives and emotions--of any sort--are not an overwhelming uncontrollable force that override a person's will and force them to act in a particular way.

This is equally true with heterosexuals. I see a lot of people justifying affairs or leaving their spouse for someone else by saying that a person can't control who they fall in love with or are sexually attracted to. They "can't help it."

I just don't believe that. People have choices about what kinds of thoughts, beliefs and actions they choose to harbor in their lives. We aren't ruled by our hormones.

I do think it's true that we can't necessarily control our initial impulses or temptations or whatever you want to call them. But we can certainly control how we respond to them and whether we choose to cultivate and act on them or not.

I hope my children never come to believe that they do not have choices and control over their actions.

However, focusing just on our actions will ultimately lead to failure. It's even more important to focus on our thoughts and beliefs if we want our behavior to follow.

What we normalize and fantasize about in our minds becomes what we do. That's why practicing a golf swing or a speech in your mind can actually help performance.

The more we imagine ourselves doing something, the more comfortable we are with the idea, the more "normal" it seems to us, the more likely we are to do it.

That's why pornography, for example, is so dangerous. Like drugs, it is often addictive and it requires more quantity and more shocking/stimulating quality to provide the same effect over time. People who start out looking at soft porn, if they become addicted to it, will likely progress to harder and harder stuff until they're seeking out violent, underage or other equally dangerous pornography.

Child porn and rape porn are bad for two reasons: because they usually invove perpetrating a crime in the making of them, and because people who fill their minds with such images and fantasies are more likely to ultimately act on them. Unfortunately the natural progression of a person who is severely addicted to porn is that it WILL affect their actions--many end up abusing their spouses or children, becoming peeping toms or committing other crimes.

What we choose to fill our minds with does affect our actions and attitudes, even if we don't want it to.

The same with violence: the more kids are exposed to violence, the more it is normalized, and the more it is presented as a positive thing, the more desensitized they will be to it, the more they will think of it as normal, and the more they will be likely to engage in it.

In a more neutral example, people tend to enjoy the foods and activities that are popular in their culture.

Standards of beauty and sexual attaction are very much influenced by environment--what one culture might find beautiful and sexually attractive (such as artificially large lips or tiny feet) another might find repulsive, primarily because they are conditioned that way.

To use a more closely applicable example, people who grow up in a polygamous society, a sexually permissive society, or a society without marriage are more likely to conform to those norms than people who don't grow up in such an environment, no matter what their genetic makeup.

I do think that if entities like the government and schools actively promote homosexuality as a normal and desirable thing, encourage kids to consider whether they might be homosexual or not, teach them that if they ever have a "homosexual" thought or feeling then they must be homosexual and they have no choice about or control over it, then more kids who could have gone either way will end up as practicing homosexuals when, in a different environment, they could have been happily heterosexual.

Past experiences can also influence sexual orientation; I believe many people who are into BDSM have been abused, as is also the case with many homosexual men. Some women may become lesbians because they have had bad experiences with men.

BDSM is a pretty good example of something that I don't think is necessarily wrong or harmful to society in general, if done "correctly," but I think it's kind of sad that anyone would get aroused by hurting someone or being hurt.

I don't think that should be promoted as the natural and normal way to do things. If people want to do that it's their perogative as long as nobody is being abused, and I don't think the government or anyone else has a right to tell couples whether they can or can't do it.

I don't have a problem with someone else doing it, but I sure don't want my kids being taught how to do it in school or encouraged to think that seeing someone beaten or being hurt themselves is a turn-on.

I'll see if I can find some studies or other evidence to back up my assertions later; right now it's way past my bedtime. :)

purple_kangaroo said...

mamasboy, I meant permanent infertility, such as post-menopause or surgically-induced infertility. Should a woman without a uterus be allowed to get married?

MamasBoy said...

"mamasboy, since when it is a bad thing on this blog to encourage someone to do research or use facts? You've accused people of not doing research or asked people to read up on facts often enough, yourself. :) Facts, research and supporting data are always encouraged here."

I never said it was "a bad thing" to encourage someone to do research. Please, reread what I said before making such assertions. My point was the fairness in which standards are being applied in this thread. Katia has come under a fair amount of criticism recently. Some of it was justified and some of it wasn't. Particularly unjustified were criticisms of Katia that apply equally well to other people. If you reread my earlier comment, I'm sure that will become obvious.

There are other things that could be said on this topic, but I'd rather discuss those over e-mail than online. You know the address if you are interested.

MB

MamasBoy said...

PK,

Thanks for the clarification.

MB

Katia said...

Wow I think I reawakened this topic. It's exciting to see so much discussed again. Thank you Mama's boy and thank you PK you have backed up my resource and my feeling of Gay not being inborn. I do love some of the things you said. I too have noticed that those who are abused tend to go towards homosexuality more than those who are not. And the statement about porno is so true PK. My father started porno when he was a young boy and he had some mental autistic disabilities where he was what you call a bit of a loner. He sexually abused me and my siblings and we grew up in foster homes for the other half of my childhood. I know first hand what dangers that can be and I have to tell you once I read some dirty books for a rise and listened to dirty music but I came to a point where I was so depressed I wanted to die and hated myself and felt so dirty and things like that. I struggled to let that filth go, never went into much worse but that was bad enough for me, when I finally let the filth go with God's help I felt good about myself again and free. I'm sorry but I do believe sin is bondage and doing good is freedom. When one sins they become slaves of that sin. Well this is a little off the subject but I was responding to PK's comments. Also one of my sisters lived in a group home in her teens and was surrounded by some lesbians which inticed her to try it out but she decided it wasn't for her eventually. I don't think she would have even considered it if she hadn't been abused or surrounded by those who practiced it.

As far as comparing us to animals. I happen to believe not all animals are purfect. I've seen some bad dogs in my day. And also animals don't have the same amount agency as man does. They are governed more by their lusts and instincts. Are we to reduce ourselves to animals. Is that what it has come down to. But to me there is no contest. I do not like to be compared to an animal. I believe we are children of God on decendants of primates so this kind of aregument doesn't faise me. As for the statement about the non spread I don't believe it. Those are only numbers but as I see it the article I posted has a lot to say of how it is spreading and I will try to do more research on that as well. I really like how PK and Mamas boy backed me up on so many points and I would say amen to many of their statements.

I like the article I found and know some of it is off the subject from this blog but I like how it shows the growth and encouragement of growth of homosexuallity. It shows the evils of it. I guess you could try to read anything into the bible you want to but when something like this is mentioned so many times then it makes an impression on me that God is against it. If you don't believe in the bible then this argument would mean nothing to you but I do and scriptures is where I base a lot of my principles and feelings on so this is why this article hit home for me. This is not my religion per say but this person is Christian like me and I agreed with his comments in this article. I show the biblical point of view with this article to show where my belief of destruction and degeneration of society because of these acts and promotion of these acts comes from. To me the bible is history. It happened once and it could happen again. I know man has their agency but I don't think society should encourage it just like I don't think they should encourage drugs, alcohol, porno, infidelity and other self-destructive behavior. This is for the good of the society. And I think those who feel this way need to stand up and let society know. Then maybe the conservitive voice would be heard and our society will now completly self-destruct. I do feel strongly about this which is why I do not want Gay marriage or anything that shows exceptance. It is as bad or worse than incest in my eyes and should be kept in that category.

katia said...

I have to make two corrections where I was talking about animals I meant to type I do not believe we are decendants of primates. I believe we are chilren of God.

The other correction was about the destruction. If more conservitives spoke up then maybe not all this society will self-destruct or something to that effect. Sorry for the type Os I will try to do more research later.

purple_kangaroo said...

Mamasboy, you said, "I found it interesting that the assertion has been made that Katia needs to do her research. . . . It is not acceptable to only apply the criticism to one person, Katia and let everybody else off scot-free."

I just don't see where Katia was being singled out or treated differently than anyone else. For quite a while Katia and I were the only ones posting anything of substance, so I directed my comments primarily to her. I like to use someone's name when replying to their post.

By the time Liz posted her suggestion that Katia do some research (which was directly in response to Katia asking for more clarification on Liz's views, which was also perfectly appropriate), nobody else had posted anything substantial to the thread for weeks. You were the last person who had made any significant factual claim (rather than, for instance, asking questions or suggesting varying dichotomies for approaching the issues) and you were challenged on that. Liz has been asked to provide evidence to back up her assertions also. I just don't see where you're getting this "singling out, inconsistent" thing.

As for the non-procreative issue, I forgot you had already highlighted that very well previously. Although I think you may have been speaking sarcastically, the points do make some level of sense. It is inconsistent, I think, to outlaw homosexuality and incest on the basis of procreative and possible birth-defect grounds, when other things that cause the same effects are not treated the same way.

purple_kangaroo said...

Here's a question I'm wrestling with:

Assuming for the moment that homosexual behavior is damaging (and I think it would be difficult if not impossible to prove that it's any more damaging than, say idolatry or divorce), should we outlaw or refuse to allow everything that will ultimately make people unhappy or have an adverse effect on society?

For instance, isn't idol worship pretty damaging to society and to people's ultimate happiness, from the perspective of any monotheistic religion?

So, should we advocate to have the state not give tax deductions to or license any organization that practices or promotes idol-worship? I don't think so--if we value freedom of religion for ourselves, we must be equally adamant about giving it to others.

How about alcoholism? Though most people from all walks of life and most religions (with the exception of a few like moslems and mormons) don't believe drinking wine in moderation is wrong, most people believe that a lifestyle of drunkenness and alcoholism is harmful to individuals and to society. Some feel that there's no good reason for hard liquor to be legal.

The prohibition, however, was not a success by any means. Our current approach makes more sense to me--prosecute things like drunken driving, which DO have a clear impact on society, and otherwise leave license for adults to make their own choices.

Would the refusal to license homosexual marriages be comparable to the refusal of the government to license liquor stores or pagan churches? Why or why not?

Obviously we can't decline to set any limits on society at all, or decline to enforce laws against things like murder. But where do we draw the line? How do we "choose our battles," so to speak?

Most people would agree, for instance, that it would not be not worth the expense in time, jail space, tax dollars and other resources to prosecute people for engaging in oral sex with their spouse, although it is technically against the law in some states. Even if it was "wrong" in some way (which is a view held by a very small minority even in religious circles) it just doesn't make sense to me for the state to try to regulate or prosecute it. There's absolutely no benefit to doing so.

I'm all for repealing those kinds of laws rather than just having them on the books and making no effort at enforcing them.

But where and how do we draw the line?

katia said...

Yes how do we know when to draw the line. To me homosexuality is more damaging to society then concenting polygamy. So why does homosexual marriage have to be legalized and not polygamy what makes them have all the rights. So I do not see it as fair to let homosexuals marry if people can't marry animals, siblings or even multiple partners. Hey what right do we have to say who they can and can't love. Anything goes right. Well I say with the exception of concenting polygamy all that is wrong and belongs in the same boat harmful for society. So I ask again were do we draw the line. Why not keep marriage traditional and not have to worry about the line and let people do their deviant behavior under the table where it belongs and not in the limelight where it effects the future generation. To endorse gay marriage is to say nothings wrong with it. Well don't stop incestial or other stuff if you won't stop gay marriage. I'm sorry but I fail to see the difference between these deviances. Some of you have said that it's for the better good to not have incest and polygamy well I believe it's for the better good to not have gay marriage and can see more evidence to show how gay practices do and continue to harm society. And yes so does porno and other things like that but hey do you want porno displayed in all stores and make people accept it. Keep it under the table is what I say. So the poisen won't spread. My father made choices and had to eventually take responsibilty for his actions but I also blame society for his promlems because they encouraged his behavior not caused but encouraged. There is becoming a scarcity of trustworthy people who follow morals and don't go after there passions and briddle themselves against harmful behavior and this causses a lot of heart ache for the children who don't have parents who are good examples or are even who arn't their for them. But this is going into a whole other topic. I just wanted to show I am against those other deviences as much as homosexuality and I like to keep deviences in society with the devience group. Once gay marriage is leagal than it becomes less deviant and more excepted and more will buy into the lie that no harm comes from it. This is the lie I am fighting against. Not the right people have to make their own decisions but the right to ring the truth of ones consequences and stop the lies of no one is accountable for their actions and what they do is fine and that bad feeling they are getting is because some few say it's wrong and are trying to make them feel bad. They feel bad cause it's wrong and that is a natural consequence of doing something wrong but society would have you believe gilt comes from being tricked into being gilty. I am fighting for the right for the truth to be told. Those who smoked at first didn't know they were headed to lung disease but when this info came out it discouraged many from picking up the practice and even tryed to calm down the practice by not having it in some public places so others who didn't want the harmful effects weren't exposed to it. Well the society refuses to admit homosexual behavior is harmful and it admits many other things are and the more it is accepted and not seen as harmful the more it will spread just like smoking did. It's called making an informed decision and many who are gay are not able to make an informed desision because society continues to lie about consequeces just like they do for so many other devients out there. Well we tryed to discourage people from smoking even though they have angency so why not try to discourage people from gay acts which are harmful to the soul. Again I have never seen any good from these act and have yet to have proof of any good.

Anonymous said...

Google

Katia said...

Here is another site that supports my view of my idea of harmful effects

newswithviews

The previous post is from me I was experimenting with this tag stuff.

katia said...

newswithviews

I am trying this again. having some problems. Let me know if you can link to this site.

katia said...

Well here are more sites to back up my arguments. Enjoy. I need to get back to my family =)

thelight

bmj

for this next reference play close attention to Gagnon whose comments are in neon yellow green. I really like his arguments and think he makes really good points

blogspot

Kevin said...

Katia, the links in your last two posts work fine; good job. You can also use the Preview button to preview your post and test its links before you actually Publish it.

Kevin said...

Purple_Kangaroo,

While the US was not founded upon the Bible, it is not entirely unrelated, since the US was founded on the morals of specific group of Christians. But I agree that I would not want the acts you link to be capital crimes, which makes me wonder, how do you reconcile that with your subscribing to a religion and God that ostensibly calls or called for those crimes to be punished by death?

Kevin

Kevin said...

MamasBoy,

How would you break down or attribute rights for each of PK's sub-topics of Adoption, Next-of-kin, Citizenship, Tax/Insurance/Benefits, and Hiring and/or Providing Services? e.g. in light of PK's examples of non-sexual couples or families, and Stevie's appeal to freedom to contract, etc.

Kevin

katia said...

Kevin I do believe in God. I do not choose the commandments he gives just cause I like them or I don't I do it because I believe God is the God of all and I have seen and been through much to prove this for myself. I believe he is my God therefore I trust his judgement. Don't worry God doesn't have to come down and kill Gays directly they are doing their own selfdestruction. Capital punishment in the bible is a way in my opinion of saving the society for the continued spread of poisen that is self destructive in nature. Again no proof has come forward that it is not self destructive. Only that some are fighting for the right to have it accepted as a non deviant act. I believe and endorse the bible and it's laws against homosexuality. This is an non issue for me. My testimony in this is so firm as to be knowledge for me and no one can take away the proof I've seen and felt. My testimony is not up for debate. I believe God said it's bad and I believe in times in history where people actually listened to him they tryed to run a more clean society for the protection of rightousness. So yes this is my religion and no I'm not a blind follower My testimony goes to my heart and no one on this earth can shake it. I've been through the fire I've seen what deviant and selfish acts can do for myself and for those they effect like their children. It is something I will fight for indefinatly and that is the pratices of rightous behavior and good old selfcontrol and concern for the well being of society not for it's lust. A good parent doesn't give their child everything they want a good parent gives them what they think will make them the happiest in the end. Disipline and love raise a child who is happy and loving. indulgence and allowing of unbriddled acts creates recless children who continue to infect our society with crime and desease. I say encourage society to do good and help us build a safe society. We say killing is wrong but let kids play games where they are become murderers, this has led many times to mass murders. We say pedefilia is wrong but allow porno which leads to sexually deviant acts as was in the case of my dad. I'm sorry but these deviant acts are precursers to worse acts and homosexuallity is right in that boat as far as I'm concerned prooven by the awful acts and consequences that stem from it. So to protect society in the biblical days I do not have any doubt that God would call on capital punishment. It sybolizes the self-destruction that is enevitable from these acts anyways. I still have yet to see good come of the gay movement. By your fruits you shall know them and so far the fruits of gays has been awful.

I do not say I endorse capital punishment in this day and time. Times are different and those who experienced it in biblical times made covenants that they would not do these acts and if they did God could cut them off. So they agreed to this. But many today have not therefore I do not believe they are as accountable for their acts as those who willingly rebel when they know its wrong. Instead of God cutting them off they cut themselves off from God and from goodness and they poisen their soul. this is natural consequeces and so like smoking wouldn't it be good to at least advertise the real consequeces and results of this behavior instead of trying to endorse it. Save the future generation stop promoting these lies. There is no good in homosexuallity only bad so why endorse it or support it. This is another reason why I am against gay marriage.

katia said...

As far as first of kin and stuff well people should be able to say where their stuff will go and who shares rights to their stuff. But i do not think gay couples should have rights to their partners stuff when they split up. If people really want to cojoin own their stuff then have them put it in writing but I don't think marriage for gays has to be approved just so gays can co own stuff. And as far as adoption I strongly advocate against gay adoptions and will forever so that is a non issue for me. They are harmful to the next generation. YOu wouldn't allow an alcoholic to adopt would you. This is not about civil rights its about devient behavior being allowed to infest and ruin our society.

steviepinhead said...

Wow, you guys type fast!

Very respectfully, just for my aging eyes, could I ask katia to use the Enter key a tad more often, to put a little paragraph space between her thoughts.

Here are some stray responses:

We would not expect to find a (single) Gay Gene. We would expect that most complex behaviors would be influenced by any number of genes--pleiotrophism--as well as by environmental factors.

We would not expect babies to express strong gender-based sexual preferences, in part because babies have somewhat more urgent tasks, in part because the relevant hormones aren't timed to kick in until much later, and in part because--to the extent that they do begin to express their 'sexuality' (but what, given their very limited cultural and experiential base, might better be called something like 'body curiousity'), there would be no particular reason to expect a strong gender bias.

Well, that last point is either not very independent of the prior ones, or is perhaps tautological without a good deal more explanation. Let me try it this way: to the extent that babies manifest behavior that might be termed 'proto-sexual,' it seems to be more omni-sexual than hetero- or homo-sexual (metrosexual? obviously, this is a delicate area for any kind of in-depth research, as babies must be observed in "normal" environments--they are not 'subjects' capable of meaningfully consenting to a given research protocol; nor could any ethical researcher encourage babies to engage in anything remotely resembling adult sex acts).

However, interference with "normal" hormone timing and dosages during development does seem to affect gender preferences in various ways, and these out-of-sequence, "disrupted" hormone regimes are probably, in most instances, the result of abnormalities that are ultimately genetic or chromosomal in nature.

Depending on the particular developmental trajectories involved (maybe "trajectories" is a more-neutral term than "abnormalities'), you can get major impacts on organ formation, or impacts--no less major--which manifest behaviorally rather than physically.

Because there's a wide variety of these trajectories, they can produce a spectrum of impacts, which are, of course, in turn affected to a greater or lesser degree by cultural/environmental factors.

So, yes, while sexual expression may, to a certain extent, be channeled by cultural norms and standards, and there may be--as with any spectrum of anything--"borderline" behaviors (bisexual men or women, for example, or those who may manifest one gender preference for a while, and then another), there are also persons who are very much at the extremes of the spectrum.

For these people who arguably, at least, DO have their preferences strongly "set" for the, er, non-socially acceptable preference, one does wonder, with liz, why anyone would "choose" to be that way. For these people, we are not saying, "abstain from your urges until you are more mature" or "more economically capable or raising a child" or "until marriage" or "until it's a safe time in your cycle" or "until the risks of disease or _______ are much less," we are essentially saying, "you may not express your sexuality at all, ever in your life, even with a consenting adult who shares your preference."

While I respect katia's view that people are specially created by her deity, it seems to me that, for purposes of this discussion--which has to do with how society as a whole should deal with this area, rather than with how believers of a particular religion should deal with this area--that we must at least consider the possibility that animal behavior may be relevant to human behavior.

Just as animals may validly serve as models for laboratory tests of drugs and medical procedures based on biological or structural similarities to humans, similarly we at least need to consider and assess animal behaviors that are, in some cases strikingly similar to human ones.

This would particularly be the case if, for example, we were to find that similar behaviors tend to result from similar alterations in developmental trajectories. In fact, because animal "social/cultural" behaviors and "moral/altruistic" behaviors tend to be less complex and elaborate, on the whole, than human behaviors, it may actually be easier to tease apart the genetic/developmental effects and the sociocultural ones.

With regard to porn, drugs, alcohol, I would agree that there are persons with poor impulse control, as there are probably also persons with genetic/biochemical dispositions, who cannot "handle" these things in safe moderation. (My Episcopalian background may be emerging here--"all things in moderation.") I'm disagreeing here, I guess, with pk's claim that there is an inevitable progression from "soft" to "hard" behaviors in (some of) these areas, while agreeing with her more pragmatic response that "prohibition" of moderate non-dangerous levels of behavior seems not to work well. Society may better off trying to control--in one fashion or another, not always via criminalization--the excessive or dangerous persons or behaviors, rather than trying to impose abstinence on everybody.

And, no, I don't have links for my contentions either! But if any particular assertion generates enough interest/controversy, I may be challenged to go google!

Thanks for pk and katia for getting this thread revved up again. It's gotta be right up there with one of the longest on mark's blogs...! Well, since I started hanging around, anyway!

liz said...

I will get the sources for my statistics for you. They came from several lectures and textbooks in classes I took a few semesters ago (and sold back to the store), so it will take a few days to cite them precisely.

I'm sorry to say, however, that Katia will probably not find them convincing as they come from texts that have, as an underlying assumption, our basic genetic relationship to other mammals and to apes in particular.

Personally, I find no contradiction in the belief that we are all children of God and that we and apes evolved from a common ancestor. But there you go, it takes all kinds to make a world.

katia said...

I do not believe apes are litteral children of God but I do believe we are and as such are higher in our abilities to control ourselves then animals. So I will never see myself as comparing myself to animals. I love Gods creatures but God told Adam to rule over the animals not take lesson from them.

I do not or ever will believe gay is inborn. I still put it with other deviant acts and these are not outlawed but they are not encouraged either as something people can't help. I know my religious view is personal but I still see so much evidence of the filth and awful consequences of gay acts and I still have yet to see any good come from it. So no I don't think it should be outlawed at least not at this time so many are beyond that but I don't want to see anything that would encourage it. And as my sources point out if gay marriage passes that what will stop other things from passing like they already have come to in other areas of the world

In one of my sources it states how in some places where gay marriage is legal there has been further acceptence of other deviant unions even animals. So Whats next. I still have heard no good argument to incest and polygamy and animal unions being any worse then homosexual they all harm the society in my opinion and the proof is in arm loads as I have seen on the internet. The only proof for gays is opinion. But missory loves company and I'm not buying this makes them happy and if they can't they will never enjoy love. Bolony. If lust and animal passion is what they call love then they have never experienced it to begin with.

Well I am getting a little off the subject again but I am trying to respond to the other posts. Anyways I think gay marriage is wrong for society as I think smoking is a canker on those who are addicted to it. The more I research the more proof I see of this. NOt jut my religous convictions convence me of this but the proof what I see and read around me. Answer me this what would happen if all practiced homosexuality. Would you like to live in such a society. What if all practiced heteresexuality which society would you like to live in. I'm sorry but an act that wouldn't be good for the society as a whole isn't good for any member of the society so I say don't encourage it. Keep it under the table. Let peopel have their agency but don't let it infringe upon ours. I don't want it preached in schools I don't want people told they are discrimnating if they say you can't participate cause you practice gay acts. We say you can't smoke here cause it will hurt those who don't so don't shove down our throught something that will hurt us

but again society teaches that it won't hurt us and their in is the lie that is proved to be a lie with all the awful consequences world wide that stem from it. So puting religion asside it is still harmful and bad for society and encouraging it with gay rights acts and leagalized marriage is just another step in the poiseness spread of such a self destructive behavior. The following scripture is my responce to supposedly being born gay. We all have deviant passions and appitites. Strength isn't succoming to them strength comes from doing what is right and the more we do the more those appitites desires will leave. I have seen and heard it happen and those who do overcome, not just stop doing but loose the desire, speak of a much happier life because they feel good inside not because society accepts them more.

"The natural Man is an ememy to God and has been since the fall of Adam and will be until he yields to the enticing of the holy spirit and puttith off the natural man and becometh as a saint submissive meak and humble willing to sumbit to the spirit as a child doth submit to his father"

This is scriptural yes but it is the best argument I can come up with at this time for being born with it.

I guess the argument is. Is it harmful to society. My research tells me yes. I have yet to have anyone prove otherwise.

katia said...

here is another site

jewishworld

purple_kangaroo said...

One interesting factor to take into consideration in discussing whether homosexuality can be "inborn" or not is the existence of intersexual people--those who cannot be clearly categorized as either male or female, or may have characteristics of both. Hermaphrodites (now more commonly called people with ambiguous genetalia and chimeras are two examples of this.

Although rare, there are people who have genetic material that is both male and female combined in one person. So a person can actually have both male and female apparatus, or could have some body parts and brain centers that are male and others that are female (maybe male sex organs but a female brain, or vice versa). Or they can have genetalia that are neither clearly male nor clearly female.

Even chromosomes are not necessarily clear-cut. Ther are variations that are neither male nor female, or have male (XY) chromosomes but develop into a female body (since a particular hormonal environment is needed to create gender during development, not just a certain chromosome combination).

Additionally, it is possible for there to be a situation where a person is truly one gender, but looks like the other. For example, consider the case of David Reimer.

Reimer was born a normal, healthy boy. After his genitals were destroyed during circumcision, his doctors and parents decided to make him a girl, since female parts are easier to surgically reconstruct than male parts.

He was raised as a girl, but although (s)he (named Brenda at the time) did not know WHY (s)he never felt like a girl, the experiment was horribly unsuccessful. When, after a childhood of much emotional struggle, "Brenda" became suicidal at age 13. When (s)he was 15, "her" parents finally told the "Brenda" truth about "her" gender reassignment. Brenda became David, and went on to marry a woman and become stepfather to her children before eventually committing suicide at age 38.

As Liz mentioned, people in such situations do not choose such a life. There are people who could go either way, or could be influenced one way or the other, and that's why I think homosexuality shouldn't be something that's taught or promoted--proseletyzed, if you will. But environment, culture and influence alone cannot account for all instances.

It seems clear that there are some people with either inborn or hormonally-caused factors that put them in the situation of not knowing what gender they "really" are, or not physically matching their felt gender.

Those kinds of situations aren't "normal" or something most people would desire, but they do happen through no fault of the person, and I don't think we can judge them.

That's one of the problems I see with legally defining marriage as between one man and one woman. What will happen, for example, to the some 54,000 U.S. citizens with intersexual characteristics when such a law goes into effect? (The Wikipedia article I linked above cites an incidence of 0.018%, which it computes to about 54 thousand people in the USA.)

That's also one of the reasons why, although I believe homosexual behavior is a sin (primarily because the Bible says so in a way that I feel is prescriptive, universal and applicable to today's society), my convictions apply primarily to my own actions and to what I think should be taught as normal and right, or promoted as healthy, to my children. I know I'm a woman, and I know homosexuality is wrong, so for me it would be wrong to engage in a sexual relationship with another woman just as it would be wrong for me to carry on an extramarital affair with another man.

I don't feel I really have a right to judge anyone else's behavior. For all I know, things may not be as they appear. Who am I to decide whether that person with XY chromosomes but a female-appearing body is a man or a woman in God's eyes? Should someone like David Reimer be forbidden to marry?

Would it be homosexuality for Reimer to have married a man if his parents had never told him that he was actually a boy, and he believed he was a woman? Was it homosexuality for "her" to marry a woman after being raised as a woman in a woman's body? I don't think so. I don't think anyone really has the right to judge that, frankly.

Things aren't always so clear-cut and easy.

purple_kangaroo said...

Oops, here's the link about David Reimer.

There's been a lot of great discussion here today, and it's going to take me a while to respond to some of the very good points and questions that were brought up.

Obviously, my own thoughts are still very much in process. While I do strongly feel that people can make choices and control their actions, Stevie made some good points about how gender identity is formed, and the reading I did today about gender identity threw some wrenches in there too.

I think it's highly inaccurate to say that everyone who engages in homosexual behavior was "born that way" and that it's irreversible or uncontrollable. But it also seems inaccurate to say that there are never physiological factors that are outside of a person's control, which might affect their gender identity and sexual desires. Whether most of these truly qualify as homosexuality or not is another question.

I did want to reply to a couple of things quickly tonight.

First of all, Katia, good job on figuring out the HTML links! I haven't gotten a chance to read the articles you've linked to yet, but I will look at them later.

Also, Katia, as for your examples regarding bestiality and incest (at least with immediate family as opposed to cousins, etc.), there is a difference between those two things and between homosexual or polygamous marriage.

Incest, bestiality and child marriage are all unions which leave out one thing that is generally considered integral to a valid marriage (at least in our culture)--that it be a relationship between two consenting adult people, with (theoretically, at least) no coersion.

Incest, animal relations, and child marriage do not involve two parties that are able to fully consent without the likelihood of coersion, abuse, or an imbalance of power. Animal relations and child marriage both involve parties that are not able to fully understand and consent to the relationship. Incest is a bit more of a fuzzy area (for instance, should adopted siblings or step-siblings who were not raised together be forbidden to marry?), but generally (and especially in the case of a parent-child relationship) involve a relationship that is not unequal enough and carries enough of an imbalance of power to be generally assumed that it would be abusive or coercive if it took place.

That's been discussed several times earlier in this thread, but it might help to summarize it like that. That's the main difference between those acts, in most peoples' eyes.

Stevie, here's a fairly well-footnoted/documented source discussing some of the research and other evidence connecting porn use with rape.

The Meese Report from The Attorney General's Commision on Pornography also has a lot of information regarding the effects of porn on society.

Of course pornography does not in and of itself cause rape, but it can certainly be one contributing factor. What we fill our minds with and accept as good and positive does affect or attitudes, beliefs and actions whether we want it to or not. This won't always lead to crime, but it will have some influence.

If what we're told, taught, and conditioned to accept as normal and desirable didn't affect behavior, we wouldn't have a multi-million-dollar advertising industry. :)

purple_kangaroo said...

Ugh, sorry for the typos. I really need sleep.

Oh, and Katia, I just wanted to send you a (o) for sharing your personal stories of how porn, incest, etc. have affected your own life. That must have been difficult.

purple_kangaroo said...

Hmmm, I was thinking that "scripture" passage that Katia posted wasn't anything I'd seen before. It's not in my Bible. :)

For anyone who was wondering, it's from Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, not from the Christian Scriptures.

That helps me to understand better your input to the discussions, Katia. I'm not very familiar with the Book of Mormon. Our faiths, though they have some similarities, are also completely different.

It's interesting to get a Mormon perspective on this issue, as I've never had opportunity to discuss it with someone from that faith before. It's a perspective we haven't had represented on this blog before, as far as I know.

I'm glad to have both Liz and Katia joining in and adding new perspectives to our discussions. And I'm glad so many of the regulars are taking part, too.

katia said...

Well PK you you caught me. I was wondering if someone would recognize that scripture or recognize it wasn't in the bible. I was going to put the reference but wanted for people to read it first before they disclamed it since not many are keen on the Book of Mormon. I do enjoy the bible as well though. I wondered when you would guess my faith. I thought you might have when I left you a post in you personal page about how I never desired alcohol, drugs, smoking and such as you never not only cause I don't want to but because of my faith. Anyways now that you know my faith can you tell me yours. We seem to have a lot of similar views.

Well lets see in responce to the Unichs as they are called in the bible which is half man half woman or those with both sexual tendencies. I propose they decide what they are and stick to that and not fluctuate. But in the case of the man who was made female but undoutadly had more testosterone well maybe he really is a man and I would not feel like I could judge a situation like that. I would leave those situations up to God. But for those who are clearly one of the other then I oppose to this or at least the teaching that it is right.

I do have compation for all people and do not proffess to be a perfect person, far from it. Sometimes I watch too much TV for example or am too idle and this brings feelings of depression which seems to leave when I become more productive again. When I see my kids watching to much TV I try to encourage them to go out and play. I try to teach them that not moving around can be bad for your health and they need exercise and outside play.

Homosexual practices are harmful, I have yet to hear otherwise, so to teach it as ok and that there are no consequences is wrong. If schools do want to bring it up I would like them to warn against it's dangers. My argument at this point is how harmful this behavior is and why do we try to discourage other harmful behavior but want to endorse this one. Please convence me that it isn't harmful. We all do harmful behavior sometimes like watching too much TV and stuff but to know it is harmful and be warned against it will help this nation make a more informed disicion and take more responsibility for their actions.

The desires are there perhaps but acting on those desires bares no good fruit. The acts itself is what I am so against and gay marriage will encourage these acts. I am not attaching people and their right to do this or not. I am trying to fight to stop the lies that it doesn't hurt anyone else and it doesn't harm the person or society. Giving into gay marriage is like saying the holy order of marriage is null and void and marriage is nothing more then a leagality so people can have certian rights. I am married and my marriage is forever. I hold the order of marriage sacred and the D word is not said in my house unless it refers to someone else. I see so much good from my marriage and from PK's and others I know. I do not see good from homosexual marriage. Why would I want to promote something that harms society and bears no good fruits.

As far as incest and polygamy and stuff I was talking about consenting adults. What difference is there between those consenting adults. Why have marriage at all if it is just something that can be changed at whim. Like so many things in this world people have began to make their own definitions regarless of the evidence that is before them. To me the bible principles are based on truth. I have been on both sides of the fence and I speak as someone who decerns not only from my religion but from personal experience. The world is on the here and now but the bible speaks of eternal and long term consequences that the world ignores or refuses to relize they are related.

My feelings are not to have everyone perfect as I myself am not. My feelings are to not endorse an act that may one day ruin our society. My feelings are to tell the truth of the results of homosexual acts as those years back finally came forward with the truth about smoking.

Yes there are exceptions like unichs but I leave these to God and researve his judgment. I do not however believe that gives licence to do homosexual acts. This is different in my opinion.

I can understand how many feel for people when they bear their soul and talk of trying to stop but they can't. I believe that sometimes adictions like this are so impossible to overcome by oneself that it takes help from God to do it especially when the addiction is so deep. But I have seen and heard of this happening as stated in some of my sources. I can give you more from stories from those of my faith if you like. I have read these as well. These people speak of losiing there suicidal desires and being happy again. With all the evedence that surrounds me of the awful consequeses of these acts is it any wonder I would be against it.

I can see where a lot of you may be coming from. I have heard those who were gay give pretty convencing arguments for their actions but I have never seen someone who was gay bear good fruits through their gay acts. Never. People talk but for me actions speak loader than words. I fight for what I feel is right no matter how unpopular my voice is and this is not only cause I was raised like that, in fact my only santuary through some of my childhood was my God and my personal relationship with him. It is my personal convictions that go down to my soul and my heart achs for the world around me who do not know the truth of their actions and what they may lead to. I do not fight for a perfect society with perfect people or I would be the first to go=). I fight for truth and helping others see that truth so their desisions and actions will be more informed and if they do so chose they do so willingly knowing what consequences may follow.

I wish the consequences of gay acts were as advertised as those of smoking then maybe this would be a non issue. Why promote something so harmful. You do all make good points but I have not seen any proof that gay acts bear good fruits so why promote it?

katia said...

I just want to clarify I am from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter days saints and have not affiliation or simaliarities to that of any of the reoragized secs or cults as I like to call them. I do not endorse polygamy. I believe in following the laws of the land. The religion I belong to is world wide and not in just a few isolated secs. I just had to clarify that. I hate being mistaking for the reorganize churches out their who give my religion a bad name espcially those involving child abusive polygamy.

For those who love the bible here is a scripture from the bible to support the one I gave from the Book of Mormon. Just to balance things.

Bible ref

also let me apologize for not quoting with exact correctness the passage from the Book of Mormon. I was typing from memory and sometimes memory can fail us.

purple_kangaroo said...

I'm going to move these discussions about religion and about LDS vs. historical Christian beliefs to the new "What do you believe" discussion thread, since this thread is getting so long and I'd like to keep it on-topic.

I'll leave the posts that are relevant to the homosexuality and marriage topic, but I'm moving the posts that discuss religion without relevance to the marriage topic over to the new thread.

Feel free to continue or expand on the religion conversation there.

chessman said...

Hi I'm new on this blog, I just happened on it, and have simply observed from a distance just today what has been discussed, I just sat down and skimmed over the entire page, and found it interesting twords the end, down there that the topic has gone from the original topic of gay marriage, to an attack on the religion of 1 of the only people who support positions against it. As If to disqualify the arguement they make against gay marriage, by perhaps, attempting to smear them by suggesting the one lady is not christian.

As a historian, I'd like to shed some lite on the argument of who is right and who is wrong.

After investagating many religions, I have discovered that each one claims they are right, while the others are wrong. for centeries, the catholics, said the lutherines were wrong, while the lutherines said the catholics were wrong, and the methodists, have fought against both of the other sects, The lds church says they are right and have the authority, while every other church critisises them for so doing.
So If each church claims to have some ultimate authority from god, and that all the others are mere illegitamate offshutes of the 1 true church. Who is right, and who is wrong. One thing is certain, if every church is different, yet every church claims to be the correct one, than the conclusion must be that each one all together is wrong, or, there really is one true church, and only 1 true authority on any given matter.

So from a historical point of view, lets see if we can solve the problem here and now.
In order to first do so a few things must be accepted first off,
Since we are talking about christian churches, a few things must be accepted. First, christ, when he was living on the earth, set up his church. It had his authority, since he set it up, It was how God wanted it in all of it's paticulars. So what happened, This is where there is considerable confusion. but non christian historical records can be found that talk about the execution of all the prophets, and apostles. So what happened, The catholic church holds that the direct authority of christ continued down in a direct line from the apostle peter down to the current day in an unbroken line of authority. And that the modern day pope, is the only one on earth who holds the direct line of authority in a direct line from the apostle peter.

If that claim is true, That makes the catholic church the one and only true church with the original authority of christ passed down in a direct line. And all the other church's are nothing but illegetimate offsprings of the catholic church.

However, true students of History will be able to point out that the catholic church didn't even really exisist until around 420 A.D.
With the death of the apostles, and the slow decline of the original church, things had started to slowly run out of control. Some form of christianity exisisted, but was becomming corrupted.

The emporer constintine found that the idea of christianity made it easy to keep people in line, and made it kind of a state sponsered religion. and a group was formed, to try to figure out how to run this state sponsered religion, And to try to come up with a statement on what this state sponsered religion would believe. The resulting body of men voted on what they would believe, they wrote it down, and it became known as the nicine creede. Thus catholicism was born.

Several hundred years later, a man named martin luther, dared to challange the catholic beliefs. He knew he didn't have the authority from God needed to origanise the true church. he recoginsed that the catholic church was not quite right, and had the balls to protest against it at the peril of his life. His followers, also recoginsed that the catholic church was not in line with God's original church, and formed a movement in the name of martin luther, which came to be known as the lutherine church. It was simply a group who had been formed as a break off of the catholic church, and claimed no reorganizational authority, or in other words, they formed a church, but did not claim that it had been commanded of God, but more of a protest against the organised catholic rule. which in many cases was harsh, and overly controling, people were often put to death for disagreeing with it's teachings. As this movement gained power and momentum to be able to break away from the catholic church's authoritian rule, other churches broke off of the origanal luthern movement. And were also formed in Protest to the original catholic church. Thus the name protestant. None of these churches claimed that they had been completley reorganised with all new authority. They only claimed to teach about christ. and each one claimed to be the only one with the real, and correct interpertation of the bible.

In fact, none of them had any claim to be recieving relevation from God, (something nessary for a reorganisation) In fact all of them claimed that the heavens were closed, and there was no more revelation flowing from heaven.

So, In lite of this history lesson, Either the catholic church's claims are correct that an unbroken line of authority has continued from christ to the present day in an unbroken line of authority, Or, none of the churches of our day are correct, seeing as how none of them make any claim to revelation. So the strength of the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are second only to those of the catholic church. Either the catholic church is true, or no one is. Seeing as how all other christian Protestant churches are nothing more than protesting offshutes of the catholic church. So if the catholic church wasn't true allready, than the church's who were offshoots of the catholic church who dont even claim revelation, are even further off the beaten path of reality. If the catholic church is not the true church, than there was an absolute need for everything to be brought back by God himself. And for an opening of the heavens and revelation to be restored, and for God's true authority to be reestablished. God is not the author of confusion, I testify that there is only 1 right way to do things. I testify that either all are wrong, or only 1 is right.
While many churches have much good in them, and even much truth, there is only 1 true church. With all of God's authority, and with claim to revelation.

Joseph Smith went into the woods to pray in the year 1820. God And his son jesus did appear to him. The priesthood was restored, the true nature of god was again revealed, the darkness and confusion that for centuries had resulted from a bunch of guyz getting together to try to decide what they believed and was only agreed upon by a vote, was dispelled. And I myself have claim to the wonderful bennefit of going to God in prayer and having him talk to me. I know God is real. Through revelation I have the ability to speak to him and have him answer. this is not up for debate. No one can tell me wether or not God has answered my prayers and spoken to me. For someone else to know that would take revelation, and since other churches claim there is no more revelation, they are not in a position to say I cant do it.


As to the gay rights issue, All I have to say about that is.
Lets take a homosexual couple and a straight couple and follow it through an example and see if I can explain my position there.
(by the way) I'm doing this all in 1 post because I dont plan on posting again)I'm not a blogger, I dont like comming on these kinds of chat rooms, I dont really think it does a lot of good, but I couldn't resist this one. Forgive the length and the number of subjects covered.

Lets say adam and eve, a straight couple and a different couple, Adam, and steve, a gay couple. both met each other in a bar, went home and both the gay couple and the straight couple had unmarried sex with each other. I dont like it either way. but at that point they are equal acts. both Immoral, both only hurting only themselves and whatever close family members and close friends that may be associated with them. At this point both adam and eve, and adam and steve, have their rights, they have the freedom to do what they want. I may not like it, but I cant do anything about it. At this point, both couples have their freedom, both have gained a certain amound of freedom and acceptance from society, and both are on equal ground.

The difference here is that adam and eve dont wake up in the morning after having slept with eachother and say, oh, that was really cool, lets get down to the local court house, and start filing law suits saying that this kind of behavior has to start being taught in schools, and they dont force society to accept it by passing laws to enforce this bad behavior, they simply use their freedom to have some fun, and that's that. Than there is the Homosexual couple adam and steve, who wake up the next morning, shake off their hangover, and head down to the courthouse, and have began to systematically pass laws, to try to force this kind of behavior on society as a whole. At that point, it turns form a privite fling, to a public matter. And that's where my resistance comes in. Legalising this kind of behavior takes society closer and closer to distruction. The family through out history has been considered the basic unit of society. And from a historian's point of view, I can cite that every society that has gone down the road to having it's basic fundamental unit, (the Traditional family) go down the toliet, have all without fail gone on to be completly destroyed. One of the most famous examples is Ancient Rome.

The roman empire had become one of the strongest powers on earth. It's control and influence was unlimmited. It's millitary was unstoppable. It's buildings and archeture was magnificant. It all was destroyed, records show in great detail that the moral decay was rampant. Homosexuality was everywhere, along with all kinds of other crazy and insane things going on. The fundamental unit of society had been trampled into the ground. And Rome, with all it's millitary power, and influence was diminished to garbage, cause it couldn't find anyone within it's boundries who had the will and moral vision to overcome the wickedness around them. and it fell hard.

Someone in this blog, also Mentioned sodom and gamorah. Let me assure you all, research has been done and it did exisist. It sat where the dead sea now is. The main act that was purpertraited in sodom and gamorah was homosexuality. And now it lays at the lowest spot below sea level on the plannet. God burried it from his site.

To those who are gay, Some of whom I know personally, I say to you, I accept you with love, and wont distance myself from you cause you have the weakness and tendancy of being gay. I have friends who I treat with respect who do these kinds of acts. I dont agree with them, but I also know I have my own weakness's and my gay friends are as accepting of my weaknesses, as I am of theirs, However, you take this to court, and fight to have your bad behavior shoved down my throat, and it's all over.
Every good person on earth has a responsibility to push that which is good, and defend against that which is wrong. Our very society depends on it. Europe is in the very process of loosing it's virtue at an alarming rate, and the effects are allready starting to show. They are loosing their freedom, and thier will and desire to defend themselves. They are well on the road to becomming a group of passivist nations, who have no guts, and who will soon loose all freedom. In such envirnemtns it is easy for dictators to rise to power. A people without moral courage, and no compas to guide their behavior are easy to control. In america,
that is comming we are about 20 years behind europe in our decline. Our basic unit of society,(the family) is under attack at an alarming rate. The signs of moral decay are all around us. Dont think that virginia tec was an isolated incident. Things like this, and worse will continue to increase in frequency. No nation can keep itself free for long, if it does not take measures to hang on to the basic values it is founded on.

I speak not only against homosexuality, but against all forms of evil. Coruption in business, and politics are every bit as damageing. lying, cheeting, pornography is enslaving, rap music, drugs, and all sorts of other stuff. All these will eventually lead us as a nation to somewhere that we will wish we hadn't gone.

Do what you will. beleive how you may. Respond to this how you will. but when society falls apart, dont say you wern't warned.

MarkC said...

chessman,

Welcome. I'm going to write a response to your comment on the other thread that PKanga set up for the discussion about religion.

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

chessman, I also replied to some of your comments about religion on the "what do you believe" thread.

katia said...

I am still wondering if anyone has convencing evidence gay acts are not harmful and do not reep awful consequences. So if they are harmful why endorse them is my question now?

purple_kangaroo said...

Katia, nobody here has argued for endorsing or promoting gay acts, that I've seen so far.

This post was initially discussing how best to solve a certain set of problems, listed in the original post. There were a number of suggestions given as to possibilities for dealing with those problems.

I'd be interested to hear which of those you think would be the best solution, or whether you have another approach to suggest?

katia said...

My feeling is that if Gay marriage is allowed this would endorse and encourage gay acts and say its and ok act and not harmful This is my standpoint. So my feelings are to be agaisnt anything that would promote this harmful act.

steviepinhead said...

Just for the record (I guess I'm responding, though not necessarily in a negative way, to katia's apparent belief that "some of us" commenting may be gay, and to chessman's "cute" adam-and-steve hypothetical), I'm not gay. Or, if I am, I manage to have hidden it from myself exceedingly well for almost six decades…!

In fact, I'm probably "guilty," if anything (in this context), of being a victim of testosterone poisoning. This may well be TMI, but my, uh, gender-preference memories go back at least as far as "playing doctor" with the little girl down the road at age 8, several years before I hit puberty.

(And then there were all those fights and road rage incidents in my younger days. But we won't get into those, I trust.)

And, just from checking out liz’s profile (“I have a husband, a son and a large extended family…”), I have a feeling that she’s not going to fit into any neat preconceptions on this issue either.

Now that that's out of the way (or, perhaps, opened up for someone to address more directly...):

I want to first join pk in expressing my sympathy for some of the things that katia has gone through in her past life, and join pk in applauding katia's courage in overcoming and sharing those things with us here.

However, I've also been wondering what it is exactly that homosexuals do that katia keeps referring to as "evil." I mean, I'm talking about actual sexual behavior here, as opposed to the moral/religious/cultural overlays.

This could, I realize, get gross or graphic, so (with pk's porn concerns in mind, though I'll probably have to agree to disagree with any correlations claimed by a committee chaired by Mr. Meese), I'll try to keep it fairly dry or clinical.

So, for male-male homosexuality, we've got anal sex and oral sex, basically, right? And maybe manual stimulation.

For female-female homosexuality, we've got basically manual stimulation and oral sex, right? Along with maybe some genital-genital stimulation and use of, um, assistive devices, aka vibrators and their, um, non-vibrating fellow "toys."

Believe it or not, if all of the homosexuals in the world could be (temporarily, painlessly, and reversibly) banished, all of these practices would continue to be found among many heterosexual couples.

Now, I'm not saying that everybody needs to agree that all of these practices are perfectly okay--some of you may well continue to classify some of these practices as perversions or evils--but they really are not exclusive to the homosexual community.

I suppose, then, that the fallback position would be that the homosexual community--unlike those darned perversion-practicing heterosexuals--must engage in practices of this kind, since the option of "regular" (I'm tempted to say "vanilla") penis-vagina sex isn't available.

And that, necessarily (for those for whom this is an important consideration), homosexual sex can never be about procreation.

Again, however, as we move from the personal (where we can do or not do whatever fits our individual belief system, so long as it doesn't violate the law or endanger others) to the social (where we are required, as a practical matter, to adapt and conform our behavior to the reality that not everybody else believes or votes as we do), why is it any of "our" business (in the social sense, again) what other people--heterosexual, homosexual, or metrosexual--are getting up to (or, um, not getting up to, in their bedrooms--or in their reading--or on their video screens?

Pk makes the argument (and has provided links to supporting research)--which I'm not persuaded by, but which is sufficiently off topic for me to not yet be motivated to go and do a bunch of research to counter--that stuffing our "societal" heads full of enough pornography correlates with, and arguably even causes, dangerous and illegal behavior.

(I'm also presuming--though we haven't reached that stage in the discussion--that pk is most concerned about pornography that depicts violent, degrading, child-molesting, etc., behavior...)

Setting aside our personal beliefs (upbringing, squeamishness, etc.) about the actual sexual acts that homosexuals (and many heterosexuals) engage in, let's turn to the issue of danger.

[b]All[/b] sex acts that involve bodily fluids carry the risk of sexually-transmitted disease and HIV/AIDS. While certain cultural behaviors that may or may not be correlated with homosexuality may import an increased risk of disease transmission (alleged male homosexual promiscuity, for example), there is no fundamental reason that "homosexual" sex acts necessarily involve any significantly increased disease risk. Do I need to go into detail here, folks (safe sex, honesty, testing, responsibility in general)?

To the extent that male homosexual promiscuity might itself be identified as a risky "culture," how would "encouraging" committed male homosexual relationships (marriage or unions)--that is, accomodating them within some sort of legal framework--increase any of these risks to society?

(In any event, I'm not aware of any claims of significantly increased risk associated with female-female homosexual behaviors.)

Likewise, I suppose it's arguable that anal sex, in iteself, carries a somewhat higher risk of injury and infection (here, I'm talking about microbial infections in general, not STDs in particular, see above). Again, lubricants and other risk-minimizing practices would seem to be available and are, presumably, used by most people--of whatever preferenc--who engage in these acts most of the time (or our hospitals would be flooded with, um, distressed persons).

And, again, whatever risks of this latter sort may be involved would seem to be largely confined to the consenting adults involved and not to implicate risks to society in general.

Then we have the non-procreative aspect of homosexual practices. While I appreciate the "argument from extension" ("What if everybody were homosexual?") that's been made here, I've gotta be a little blunt and say that that's just fantasy.

First of all, there's people like me. I don't care how much of a homosexual agenda you think may exist (and I've noted previously in these pages that my door gets knocked on a whole lot more by JWs than it does by "homosexual agitators"), there's simply no evidence that the overall percentage of identified homosexuals is increasing or has varied greatly over time (or, pace katia, across species). The world is, realistically, in no danger from homosexuality spreading so broadly as to threaten the extermination of the human species.

(And, while it's off-topic here, there are very good arguments that most of humanity's environmental and political plights are highly exacerbated by the exact opposite phenomenon--there's WAY too many people on this groaning globe already. We certainly don't need to go out of our way to worry about the effects of underpopulation any time soon.)

In conclusion, while we may well make a reasonable case for individual aversions to homosexual sexual practices as immoral, unsanitary, gross, disgusting, or fattening, I'm arguing that it's a little harder to make any kind of solid case that these practices present any significant risk for those outside the homosexual community or for society at large.

The one exception for which an argument might be constructed is for male homosexual/bisexual promiscuity and the spread of HIV/AIDS. (And are these "bisexual" guys for real, or are they true homosexuals leading a "cover" lifestyle?) For a variety of reasons, at least in developed countries with robust medical research and treatment regimes and effective health education, I would argue that HIV/AIDS is better treated as a public health problem than a "gay disease."

In this regard, it's important to know that AIDS did not initially originate or spread as a result of anything that homosexuals did or didn't do (actually, pace katia again, there is very strong evidence that HIV originated as a viral disease among our ape and monkey relatives, where it was relatively harmless until--probably through the practice of eating "bush" meats--it spread to humans, where the simian immuno-deficiency virus mutated into the lethal AIDS strains). Anal sex may well have played a part in the early (and ongoing) spread of AIDS in Africa, but due to heterosexual resort to anal sex as a crude birth-control practice rather than as the result of homosexuality (again something which effective public health and education programs could have--and still would--ameliorate).

And if developed-country male-homosexual promiscuity is the primary locus of concern, it's again unclear to me how discouraging the formation of more committed relationships would help to reduce that concern.

If there are other factual--as opposed to moral/religious--reasons to label homosexual sex acts as dangerous and evil (in the social sense), though, I'd certainly be willing to try to discuss and understand them.

As is our credo here.

katia said...

I look at the fruits and though you don't correlate with the gay acts we have a difference from what we agree the cause of so many of todays problems stem from and I do believe any kind of permicuous behavior is wrong. And I think the cause of aids originated from a man having sex with a monkey but I will have to research this. I still have yet to see good come of gay acts and though you may say it's not evil it sure doesn't seem to be good.

katia said...

for I have seen no good fruit come from them

purple_kangaroo said...

Katia, I am curious about the "no good fruit" argument that you have mentioned several times. What exactly do you mean by "good fruit" in this context? What would good fruit look like?

Obviously you cannot mean that no gay person ever has anything good in their lives, or that they cannot possibly ever be good, kind, loving people who make a contribution to society. I don't think that can be what you're saying, is it?

From a religious context I can see the argument that it is harmful in that anything which is sinful is harmful. I believe that. But from society's standpoint, in a non-religious context, what do you see the harms as being?

You mentioned one harm as being the lack of procreation, and said essentially that if anything would be harmful for all of soceity to do, than it's harmful for any one person to do.

Do you feel the same way about celibacy? Is it wrong for anyone to make a committment to remain celibate, or to not marry at all, because if everyone did that then society would die out?

You compared it earlier to watching too much TV. Do you think TV should be outlawed, because too much TV is harmful? Or should the government not be in the business of licensing TV stations and giving them permission to operate?

Again, I'm not arguing that homosexuality is a good thing. I'm just not convinced it should be something our now-secular government regulates or forbids.

I think I'm understanding now that you feel the state allowing homosexuals to get marriage licenses is tatamount to promoting homosexuality.

How would you feel about some kind of domestic partner law, where any two people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, could register as a family unit, have visitation rights in a hospital or jail, own property together, adopt a child together, etc? It would apply equally to couples that were NOT homosexual, but were not married and had reason to need such rights and privileges. Would you have a problem with something like that, or would you feel that was a good thing?

purple_kangaroo said...

Stevie, that's a good point. With most of those issues, it seems that a long-term exclusive commitment between two partners would minimize risks and stabilize society more than multiple partners and short-term relationships would, no matter what the type of sexual relationship.

Could some type of long-term commitment be a "lesser of two evils", perhaps? If long-term exclusive gay relationships are better than short-term multiple-partner gay relationships for society, then does the government have an interest in encouraging them to have committed long-term relationships, from a purely secular standpoint? It's an interesting question.

purple_kangaroo said...

Stevie, are you saying that you do not think what we spend time thinking about, accept as good, and see as normal has absolutely no effect whatsoever on our behavior? That people are no more likely to do something they think is normal, good or neutral than they are to do something they think is wrong or abnormal? Because that doesn't make sense to me at all.

katia said...

Oh I don't mean to outlaw it I just want it to stay lumped with that definition of harmful behavior and feel that to say they can marry is to say it's not harmful. I do not believe this would lessen permiscuousness but encourage it. I do not think that most people who are gay stay with one partner. Some do and these are rare but most don't. They act itself is what I think is evil not the person. People can do good sure but when they do gay acts I consider these harmful to them and the society and this is what I say bears no good fruit. I do not attack the people persay but the idea that gay acts are ok and no one is hurt by them and they are not bad. This is what I firmly disagree with and the fruits of homosexual acts shows me this. The references I gave earlier show this and I can get tons more. Sure I have heard stories of people who sound convencing but the results of this behavior now and in the past speak louder than words. I think that to tamper with marriage would be to allow sin into law and make others have to accept sin like a person who has to accept that a person can smoke in someone's house who doesn't want them to. Perhaps you say this is not the case. Perhaps not know but this is where it is headed. I am afraid for this to be taught in schools and already people are fired from their jobs if they don't confess that it isn't a sin. I think to myslef sin comes in stages and this is one stage and history has shown where that can go. This seems harmless but like porn where will it lead.

I do not say people can't do it, I just don't think the public should be forsed to accept it as a bonified marriage if they don't believe it is right. The schools shout at religion to not come near our schools with their beliefs yet they want to endoctrinate us with the acceptance of sins like gay acts and permiscuousness. No prayer is allowed in school and yet highschoolers are allowed to have Gay rights days and promote gay acts during school I have seen this happen even in Utah. Schools endoctrinate our children with the theory of evolution when they have no real proof of it and the big bang theory yet they will not allow the biblical version of the birth of this world to be presented. I say that society is predudiced against others beliefs and trys to endoctrinate the world with their beliefs. I do not think this is fair and pushing for gay rights is just one more thing that is being pushed on our society. People say these things aren't beliefs and this is why they can be presented but I say they are because I do not believe them and I have a right to not believe them so these laws infringe on my rights as much as prayer infringes on the rights of those who don't believe in God.

katia said...

PK I would be ok with a common law thing since that already seems to exist but I will never endorse gays adopting children anymore than I think an alcoholic should.

steviepinhead said...

katia, I understand that it is your view that "bad fruit" flows from gay sex acts. And you have posted various links to indicate this.

Along with pk, I think, I'm trying to learn what, in your own words, you identify as that "bad fruit"? Other than the "spread of the gay lifestyle." Unless that IS it.

I'm also interested in learning just what it is about those sex acts themselves that you think is so bad--other than the religious-sin aspect. That's why I've tried to disassociate--break the link--between the acts themselves and the "gayness" of them. (Again, I understand that you probably view many of these acts as "sinful" regardless of the gender preference of the persons performing them.)

Since we know that most of these acts are performed at times by completely-heterosexual persons, my question really is, what about those acts--other than the gender preference of the person performing them and other than what the Bible tells you about their intrinsic "sinfulness"--do you find to be dangerous to society at large?

(As an aside, and perhaps we don't really want to expand on the topic, but I'm having a hard time visualizing a man acquiring AIDS by having sex with a monkey. Here the, um, direction of flow of the bodily fluids would seem to be going the wrong way for transmission of the virus. Which suggests a female human somehow receiving infected bodily fluids from a male monkey, which I'm having an even harder time visualizing. Or even imagining motivations for...!)

Perhaps the above "aside" wasn't quite as silly as it probably sounded, since--in essence--I'm trying to gain an understanding from you (without getting too graphic) of what actual facts--as opposed to attitudes--you have at your command about these acts. I think it's all too "easy" to just mentally substitute *yucky* *sinful* for what's actually going on.

Put another way, if we were alien sociologists or doctors, "studying" the variety of human sex acts in the same manner as fisheries biologists study the sex acts of squid, for example, what honestly would be the difference in our attitudes--*morally*--as between a male squid impregnating a female squid and a male squid, um, "pleasuring" another male squid. (I have no idea whether squids are a good example here, but it's just a hypothetical.) I mean, other than the potential impact on the squid population, why we would care, one way or another?

Do you view these acts--if they are taking place between consenting adults who are being as responsible as we expect anyone else to be about disease--as necessarily leading to physical harm for the parties involved?

Endangerment of some kind for other persons (aside from disease)?

Or is it really just the "moral" contagion that is your primary concern?

And is this a "free-floating" moral concern (that is, it's bad because a religious authority say it's bad) or is it one that you view as rooted in some underlying physical injury or danger. I mean, we know that murder isn't a good thing--not just because the Bible tells us so--but because someone winds up so physically injured that they are, well, dead.

Likewise with many of the other Biblical prohibitions--either in the circumstances prevailing in Biblical times or still today, the prohibited activity led to some physical harm that could not, then or now, easily be avoided: physical injury, disease (as to a lot of the food restrictions), severe social disruption, etc.

So far, no disrespect intended--since I agree that you are perfectly entitled to hold and advocate for your religious convictions--it sounds like your reasons keep coming down to the sinfulness--or moral harm--inherent in these acts, rather than to concrete, identifiable physical harms or dangers, or severe societal disruptions.

Again, that's fine (your opinion is your opinion, and I'm not trying to argue you out of it; I'm just trying to understand it).

But for me, the phrases "bad fruit" or "good fruit" just don't allow me to figure out if you are worried about a physical injury or endangerment as opposed to a moral/religious danger flowing from these acts.

And, if it's the latter, why should we get upset about homosexual people engaging or indulging in the acts, but not get nearly so worried about the heterosexual people (say people who are married and having children, but who are also engaging in some of these same acts "on the side," for variety, or birth control, or for whatever reason...)?

That's getting to be kind of long-winded, so I'll end with that for now.

**************

pk: I don't disagree that "good thoughts" are better thoughts to think than "bad thoughts." Nor am I necessarily here to argue "in favor of" pornography, as compared with butterfly collecting, philately, or mountain climbing. (Although I see them all--in the main, and with qualifications as below--as ways of passing time, where we could argue about the social or personal utility of spending large chunks of time in those ways as opposed to other, more "productive" ways.)

But when I say "pornography," I am not including graphic violence, non-consensual acts, acts with minors, acts involving abuse of authority, etc. I'm just talking, whatever, titillating accounts of consensual sex acts intended to get people in the mood for (probably, mostly) self-gratification or (at least some of the time) mutual gratification.

Again, while some of you out there may have individual moral or religious issues with sex acts (or titillating descriptions thereof) between unmarried persons, or between married persons and unmarried persons, or between married persons for reasons other than procreation, I don't see any grave harm to society at large--as opposed to the moral and spiritual status of the people immediately involved--of most of these things.

(Contra, once again, as to accounts of violent, etc., acts that have no arguable artistic merit or other redeeming feature--and where I think we would largely agree.)

In short, as to this less-than-hardcore "pornography," I don't see it as much more "harmful" than the reading of "romance" novels, the watching of soap operas, and other similar time-wasting diversions. The people partaking are frittering away their precious lives on earth on substanceless, "white bread," second-hand "experience," rather than engaging with others, accomplishing good works, or doing something incontestibly wholesome and "12-grain bread," like, um, ...mountain climbing. Or blogging on the internet!

But I fail to see a huge harm that distinguishes this particular frivolous activity--at least as I have attempted to qualify it--from many others that we countenance in ourselves or others.

*******
While I probably was setting up a lesser-of-two-evils argument, I don't necessarily see the engagement between persons which results from homosexual urges as evil in any degree (like almost any human activity, I don't doubt that these activities can be turned to evil, but there's nothing special about homosexual urges, acts, or relationships in that regard).

Setting procreation aside for the moment, I think engagement and involvement with others is generally a good thing. If heterosexual attraction leads to--or at least bundles with other, deeper, and more significant engagements to promote--love, companionship, homebuilding, comfort, support, bonding, friendship, etc., then I'm unclear why these same things become less desirable simply because they result from or accompany homosexual attractions.

And where relationships of that kind also lead, in at least some cases, to productive economic partnerships and even to the adoption of children who might otherwise go unwanted or unloved...I frankly don't see "bad fruit." I see, potentially, "good fruit" where otherwise we would have unhappy, alienated, frustrated, and disengaged human potential.

*********
I do see all this, as interesting as it is, as a bit of a sidetrack from your original discussion about the legitimate role of government and legislation--what rights of contract and association should all people enjoy regardless of gender preference. I would like to use this--already long!--discussion as a means to clarify some of my own thinking in that regard.

But we seem to keep getting distracted!

purple_kangaroo said...

Here's a page discussing the various theories of how HIV may have crossed species from monkeys to humans. One of the most popular theories seems to be the one Stevie mentioned, that it happened by hunters eating contaminated meat or getting monkey blood into a wound in the course of hunting and cooking monkeys (a common practice in some parts of the world).

This article mentions a few more.

This is the only article I found that seems to think the transfer from monkeys could be related in some way to sex, and it mentions an ancient practice in some parts of Africa of using monkey blood as a lubricant in human-to-human interactions, much the way many Americans use K-Y jelly. It gives a case for why that's an unlikely theory, though.

The author also points out that there were a lot of various scientific experiments being done with injecting monkey blood into people, grafting monkey parts onto people, or growing vaccines for human use in monkey tissue.

Here's an article examining in detail the theory that the virus originated or was initially spread by Hebatitis B research done in gay men.

That's a complete rabbit trail, but an interesting one. :)

katia said...

I guess my point a view is a lot religiously based. I base the fruit thing on the spread of desease and also the fact that I believe these acts don't bring true happiness probably relief because gays don't have to fight their erges anymore but not true happiness. I agree that gay acts aren't singled out. All those other acts are harmful as well but I was not suggesting this. I am merly saying that to say there are no bad consequences to gay acts is wrong and to try to endorse it in anyway and even let them adpopt is not something I am for. and I look at the history of the Roman empire and others like it to show that gay acts do not lead a nation to happiness and wellness.

On PBS is detailed many interviews about the church from the documentary. I especially like this one about Jerrery Holland and his responces. Pay close attention to the question and responce about gay acts. It's found near the end of the interview. I would say these are just about my last words on this. I agree with what he said.

interview

Also here is a article from my church magazine about the issue. Not to be preachy just found some things that explain better my feelings on the issue.

same gender attraction
____
One more thing. Perhaps it wasn't spread to humans in a grotesque way but It sure spread within the human population in a grotesque way. This is what some of the research says.

katia said...

I messed up and homefully this link will work

same gender attraction

MamasBoy said...

PK:

Just a clarification, "As for the non-procreative issue, I forgot you had already highlighted that very well previously. Although I think you may have been speaking sarcastically, the points do make some level of sense."

I wasn't being sarcastic, though I was playing devil's advocate and arguing for a side I don't believe in. If it is unconstitutional to limit marriage to heterosexuals, then I truly see no reason to limit it to monogomous couples, especially when so many in society have many spouses serially.

I've been formulating a similar line of reasoning for abortion. Hopefully, one of these days life will slow down enough to actually write it up and post it.

MB

MamasBoy said...

Kevin,

You asked, "MamasBoy,

How would you break down or attribute rights for each of PK's sub-topics of Adoption, Next-of-kin, Citizenship, Tax/Insurance/Benefits, and Hiring and/or Providing Services? e.g. in light of PK's examples of non-sexual couples or families, and Stevie's appeal to freedom to contract, etc."

That's a big topic, requiring a post at least as long as the one that started this discussion. I haven't had time to do it justice, so I have been avoiding the larger issue and focusing on side issues.

If you care to read an opinion hastily formed with no links or references, read on. I only post because specifically asked to.

Basically, I think that concept of marriage has suffered greatly in the last couple generations to the point that children who are born to married parents and continue to live with those parents until 18 or one parent dies are (I believe) the minority. This statistic conflates two ideas, out of wedlock births and divorce rates, so I don't have a ready statistic on hand. The point though is clear. The number of kids living with biological parents has declined tremendously over the last couple generations. This has led to tremendous problems for todays youth. I don't have the source readily on me, but I have read before that the highest correlation to academic performance is not wealth or race, but the presence of a father in the home.

Children who live with their mother and father do far better in live by nearly every statistical measure. Nothing else comes close to providing that kind of stable environment. Given marriage's state and what is at stake, I don't favor giving out the privileges of marriage to an ever widening circle of people. There are ways to take care of all those things that don't involve marriage. It may cost more and it may take longer, but I don't find that a compelling reason to mess with the definition of marriage.

Until the family concedes the care of their children to the state, the future of civilization passes thorugh the family. That's a damn good reason in my mind to shore it up, instead of making it like any other long term relationship.

There are other arguments regarding the morality of homsexuality that come to bear on this topic, but given societies acceptance of so many other things, I think making those cases is pretty pointless. For instance, if somebody accepts contraception in marriage as intrinsically OK, they are well over halfway to accepting gay sex as at least amoral if not moral. Most of the arguments for why gay sex is immoral apply to contraceptive sex.

So, since you asked, there's my 5 minutes response from my brain to my fingertips, no editing and no research. Take it for what it's worth. If I read it tomorrow I'll probably take exception to it myself.

MB

MarkC said...

Doug,

Sounds like you basically take the same approach that I did way back at the beginning of this discussion.

In short, I said that the key benefit to society of marriage is the stability that it provides the partners in the marriage, their children, and society at large. In order to realize that benefit, marriages need to be committed, permanent, intimate relationships.

Rather than becoming more permissive with marriage, we need to become more stringent. We need to make divorce a rare exception to the norm. We need to find ways within society to help married couples stay intimate and committed. We need to provide strong incentives for couples to work through difficulties and provide stability to themselves and their children and society.

If I had to compromise and accept homosexual marriages in order to achieve those goals I've stated above, I'd happily do so, even though on its own I think homosexual marriage is an unwise idea. The societal problems we are facing today as a result of the instability caused by lack of relational commitment in marriage are dire, and need urgent attention.

Mark

MamasBoy said...

Mark,

Yes, I found much of what you wrote in your earlier post resonated with me. I'm not sure I would want to support homosexual marriage to achieve more permanence, but that is more preference of methods than of goals. Personally, I think that much of gay culture is profoundly opposed to permanent IRs similar to what you and I see as crucial to the development of children, associating it with the intolerant past. At least that's the view from my knothole.

MB

MamasBoy said...

3) I'm trying hard to answer your arguments in a thoughtful fashion, but it would be easier if you did some research first.
"By the time Liz posted her suggestion that Katia do some research (which was directly in response to Katia asking for more clarification on Liz's views, which was also perfectly appropriate)"

PK,

I try to distinguish between asking somebody to explain themselves and telling somebody to do more research. One I view as a simply request to learn where the other person is coming from and the other is a request for links, etc. That's fine if it is applied evenly, but my perception was that Katia was the only one to receive this request, while posting the same number of links as others. At least that's how I interpreted things. Perhaps I was wrong in taking it that way.

Also, reading my response to your misreading of my earlier comment, I really came across like an asshole and apologize for that. I shouldn't have been blogging so late at night and didn't mean to sound so harsh when a simple clarification would have sufficed.

MB

MarkC said...

MB,

You wrote: "Personally, I think that much of gay culture is profoundly opposed to permanent IRs similar to what you and I see as crucial to the development of children, associating it with the intolerant past."

You're probably right. Interesting, though, that those aren't the examples put in the news stories or advocating before Congress. A compromise bill that made safeguards for the permanence of marriage much more powerful, while opening it up to the (very few, I expect) homosexual couples that want to be in such permanent relationships, might be a move that would be politically possible. I believe it would be highly beneficial to society. It wouldn't be ideal, but I can see it happening....... OK, not in the near future, but maybe in the mid-term future. :)

Most of the objections to it would come from heterosexuals, I expect. It would be an affront to the personal lifestyles of a good many of our legislators. That makes its actualization somewhat
less likely.

Still, I can dream... :)

Mark

purple_kangaroo said...

mamasboy,

Thanks for your comments. Liz and Katia are both new commenters here, so maybe we can give them both a bit of slack?

As we all hopefully give to each other, since we all need it occasionally. :)

MamasBoy said...

"A compromise bill that made safeguards for the permanence of marriage much more powerful, while opening it up to the (very few, I expect) homosexual couples that want to be in such permanent relationships, might be a move that would be politically possible"

Put the way you did, you almost have me convinced that such a bill would be better than the status quo. I'll have to think about it some more. You've at least convinced me that a bill recognizing some form of gay marriage probably isn't worse than the current situation if it could somehow greatly strengthen marriage among the heterosexual population.

MB

katia said...

I still can never support gay marriage and I don't think it will strengthen bonds just make it so they can do all that leagel stuff. I believe most bonds in homosexuality are based on lust and most will not last for the few that do there are always exceptions I guess. I would like to know how many gays stay with one partner their whole life. Well anyways I just don't and won't ever support comprimising marriage for someone elses ideas of what is better for society. Mamas boy is right this is not good for society so why endorse it. Keep it under the table and not in the fore front of public acceptance.

purple_kangaroo said...

Katia said, "I would like to know how many gays stay with one partner their whole life."

I'd like to know that also, and comparable statistics among heterosexuals.

Obviously, with heterosexuals we have something like a 50% divorce rate, and of those who don't get divorced many have had or will have some sort of extramarital sexual relationship, either before or after marriage. I wonder if there are accurate statistics available? My impression is that the couples who have only one intimate relationship during their entire lives are the rarity rather than the norm, even among heterosexuals. That's sad, and the state of marriage certainly is something that would seem beneficial to address somehow.

Honestly, I think if we are going to get anywhere with strengthening marriage, it needs to start with simple things like churches fighting harder to help couples whose marriages are struggling, discouraging divorce, and maybe even refusing to remarry previously divorced people (especially in cases where reconciliation with the original partner might still be possible).

I would like to see more readily-available resources for strengthening and supporting existing marriages, such as low-cost or free counseling for those who need it. It seems to me that such a service might be helpful.

steviepinhead said...

In addition to the "unions-in-difficulty" counseling and support that pk discusses above, I would suggest that pre-union/marital counseling is also important.

Particulary with regard to communication and "argument"-resolution skills.

Of course, folks in that pre-union lustful meltdown phase may not always lend a fully-receptive ear to such counseling and impartation of skills.

Which is why I would also emphasize something like an "interpersonal communications/argument resolution" course for high schoolers.

I suspect there are ways to design the curriculum and exercises for such courses which would not degenerate into "pc" post-modernist drivel and cliches, and would not unnecessarily antagonize particular political or religious stakeholders. (For example, it's difficult to see why such skills oughtnot to be encouraged for both genders, even for those who hold to beliefs about female-deference and modesty...)

It's a lot easier and more effective to head problems off in advance, before they gain too much momentum and become too deeply entrenched in their self-made ruts...

steviepinhead said...

The new issue of Discover magazine contains a roundup of recent investigation into the area of genetic/developmental effects on gender preferences.

I have not yet had a chance to read the article in detail, but one larger-font quote caught my eye: something to the effect that--if there is a significant genetic/developmental contribution to gender preference--then, to the extent that social pressures force homosexuals to remain "in the closet" (including participating in heterosexual marriages and fathering/bearing children)--as opposed to being "out," participating in homosexual unions, and not having (or adopting others') children--then the continued repression of homosexuals will tend to be self-defeating, as it only facilitates the retention of hereditable "gay" genetic and developmental factors in the population.

I realize, of course, that the "if" is a big "if" for some of our contributors, but the potential ironies involved still struck me...

katia said...

No matter how strong a erge there is to do something wrong that will negativly effect oneself and others it still is wrong and therefore should be avoided or at least not accepted by society as a whole. I know it's hard but so is being an alcoholic. What I am talking about it doing what's right for society regardless of how hard it is. Alcoholics can drink but this is considered wrong and dangerous. I would like to keep gay practices in that definition and not put it out as a acceptable practice supported by marriage.

steviepinhead said...

But, katia.

So far your reason (as I have understood it from your previous comments) why gay sex is potentially harmful for society at large is that these sexual practices--if indulged in irresponsibly--carry a risk of spreading disease.

And that the Bible says they are wrong.

Whiile I respect your personal decision to privilege those interpretations of the Bible, they don't amount to reasons why society at large--at least in a diverse, secular society such as ours, where people believe in many different interpretations of many different religions, and in none--should discriminate against gay marriage. (Again, your personal belief would furnish an excellent reason why you might abstain from homosexual acts and gay marriage, even if you found yourself burdened with such "urges.")

And heterosexual sex acts--if indulged in irresponsibly--ALSO risk the spread of disease.

This is true even of "normal" heterosexual sex acts, as opposed to the less directly-reproductively-related ones.

Of course--and this is intended partly as a comment on your "promiscuity" concerns--if all heterosexuals abstained from all sex before marriage, and if all heterosexuals stayed married to the same person until death did them part, and if all heterosexual married people were completely faithful, then there would be relatively little risk that heterosexual sex practices would spread disease.

We might then persuasively contrast the risks of disease posed by promiscuous married/unmarried homosexuals and faithful heterosexuals, and find some societally-valid support for restricting marriage to heterosexuals (though, even under these assumptions, it's difficult to understand how allowing homosexuals to marry--with the result that, for at least some homosexuals some of the time, the risk of disease transmission would be "confined" to their marital partner--would increase the already-existing risk to society).

But, of course, heterosexuals in general (as opposed to a few persons with strong value commitments) do NOT abstain from sex before marriage, do NOT limit themselves to strictly-procreative "normal" sex (se the recent studies on increased throat cancer due to oral sex and transmission of HPV), and--to a distressingly great degree--do NOT remain completely faithful to their one-time-only marital partners.

So, fairness seemingly requires that we either crack down--massively and unrealistically and fruitlessly (see Prohibition and the War on Drugs)--on heterosexual fornication of all kinds (as used to be the "legal" approach to sodomy, etc., with equally unimpressive results). And disallow all divorce. And punish straying from the marital bed draconically...

Or that we allow homosexual couples to share in whatever benefits and responsibilities of marriage that society affords to heterosexual couples.

We might wish people behaved differently than they do. But we expect our legislators and our government to deal effectively and fairly with people as they are.

As I have suggested before, allowing and encouraging homosexuals to marry might actually assist in undermining whatever prediliction towards promiscuity exists in the gay lifestyles that developed under a regime of persecution.

And might actually--and over a long period (and without any morally-abhorrent governmentally mandated "eugenics" effort)--tend to reduce the number of genetic/developmental factors giving rise to same-gender preferences as currently exist in the gene pool...

Again, I don't expect you to change your religious values or personal beliefs. But I'm interested in what you think about these social fairness and pragmatism issues.

(Off-topic: some day we'll have to chat about your beliefs related to evolution and the origin of the human species, katia. It is my understanding that the LDS church has no anti-evolutionary stance, so it would be interesting for me to understand where you acquired your stances, if not from your church.)

katia said...

I do not think that making gay marriage leagal will keep gay coulples together longer. I do think it will make gay acts more acceptable by society and might lead to gay rights acts that will infringe upon my rights to believe that gay acts is wrong and should not be taught as acceptable anymore than permiscuousness or alcoholism. I am not saying I am for forcing people not to do it I just don't want something like marriage to give it more social acceptance. I want it to stay deviant and not a acceted life style that evential leads to gay rights acts. I just see it as leading to no good and this is why I am against it. Yes I do see other things as problems as well but at least those doing them aren't trying to get the rest of the world to say hey you need to see what we are doing is ok and let us teach it to your kids.

(See what do you believe thread for my responce to your question on my stance on evolution.)

steviepinhead said...

katia, I appreciate your responses, both on this thread and (re: evolution) on the Belief thread.

I think we have developed a pretty good understanding of each other's positions on this thread. I'm content to leave it at that for the moment. Again, I've appreciated your participation and your sharing of your experiences and views.

When I get a little time, I hope to post a comment about your evolution/origin of humans statement on the other thread.

katia said...

I agree. I really appreciate this embracing the risk oppinions sight. It really give everyone a fair chance to share their view and focus on sharing and not attacking so people can actually enjoy one anothers thoughts and not be caught up on the defensive. I have really enjoyed that. thank You you for sharing your view as well.

Kevin said...

Stevie,

Stevie wrote: "if there is a significant genetic/developmental contribution to gender preference [...]"

That would be ironic. Just out of curiosity, genetics are essentially heritable, but what heritable developmental contributions are you considering?

I've read about some developmental biological correlations (e.g. this mentions a correlation with severe maternal stress during pregnancy, and effects of testosterone), but are these considered heritable?

I'm mildly curious about new evidence the Discovery article presents, since it's been my understanding that studies have not shown any significant heritable component of gender preference.

Kevin

Kevin said...

I did some brief searching a while ago following PK's tangential question about correlations between molestation and sexual orientation.

The statistics at ReligiousTolerance (RT) indicates that there is no correlation between homosexuality and molestation. They suggest that the gender of victims is often immaterial to pedophiles (youth is paramount) and that it is erroneous to associate males who molest boys with homosexuals in general (e.g. as might be inferred from AFA). They also point out that the term "homosexual" or "heterosexual" in this context often refers only to males.

However, Family Research Council (FRC) provides statistics, some of which contradict RT (e.g. in one study, 86% of male homosexual pedophiles would classify themselves as homosexual or bisexual) and indicate that there is a positive correlation between (male) homosexuality and molestation.

The diametric interpretations are remarkable. In part, I think it is due to their definitions and differing views on the degree to which sexual attraction and self-knowledge can be independent from behavior, but there also appears to be actual discrepancies between the studies they quote.

Kevin

steviepinhead said...

Kevin, I'll try to take the Discovery article on board ASAP.

But it's already been one of "those" weeks at work. Maybe tonight!

Until then, I'll postpone any preliminary ruminations on the degree of linkage/heritability of developmental trajectories...

Likewise as to the LDS's "official stance" on evolution. I did a quickie google yesterday, but I want to do a better job and have a chance to consider and comment upon whatever I turn up.

Kevin said...

Thanks, Stevie. I have a deep sympathy for life during one of "those" weeks. I'm in no hurry. :)

MamasBoy said...

Regarding whether homsexuals are more likely to molest youth or not, one studied to death group of people that says there is a very strong correlation are Catholic priests. I've read that about 80% of abuse victims were adolescent males and that that number was over 90% at the height of the abuse crisis. That number is highly disproportionate to the number of gay priests. Are there factors that would exacerbate the difference in abuse rates among gay/straight priests, potentially, but I doubt that they could account for the entire difference. The fact that NAMBLA is tolerated and accepted in much of the gay community instead of being ostracized and run out of town on a rail indicates to me that this type of behavior is much more common in that community.

One group that has common abuse problems but for whom I haven't read much are teachers. I've read and heard from teachers that there are more sexual abuse cases among teachers every year than among the Catholic clergy in the last century (unfortunately for victims, there are very strict litigation limitations). It would seem that even though teachers tend to skew strongly female that there would be enough males (gay and straight) to do some sort of study on molestation rates.

MB

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

I'm reposting to fix my first sentence, sorry about that...

MamasBoy,

One of the main assertions of the ReligiousTolerance.org (RT) page I linked to previously is that a man who molests boys should only be considered homosexual if he is also explicitly attracted to adult males. In a sense, they view pedophilia as a distinct sexual orientation. I'm not sure if you are taking that into account in your description of priests or dismissing it.

I noticed that RT additionally provides statistics suggesting that about one third of priests are homosexual, and also summarizes child abuse by clergy by stating that pedophilia (pre-puberty) is lower, but hebephilia (post-puberty) is much higher among clergy than the general male population.

I assume most usage of the term "pedophilia" often encompasses both pre and post puberty children. Perhaps post-puberty hebephilia correlates more with male homosexuality than pre-puberty pedophilia?

I agree that the greater acceptability of NAMBLA, et al., in the male homosexual community does lend support to a positive correlation with pedophilia.

Thanks for mentioning the correlation with teachers. I wasn't aware of that. Here's a couple of quotes from an article I found:

"[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?" she said. "The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."
...
"Only about 4% of offenders get busted"

Kevin

MamasBoy said...

Kevin,

You wrote, "One of the main assertions of the ReligiousTolerance.org (RT) page I linked to previously is that a man who molests boys should only be considered homosexual if he is also explicitly attracted to adult males. In a sense, they view pedophilia as a distinct sexual orientation. I'm not sure if you are taking that into account in your description of priests or dismissing it."

I honestly hadn't read the RT reference, so I wasn't taking it into account.

Taking it into consideration, I guess I would say that I disagree with it. While RT does a decent job in some areas of describing various beliefs, they are distinctly biased on the homosexual issue, even referring to some passages which condemn homosexuality as "clobber passages" while dismissing the unanimous interpretation of those passages for the past several thousand years.

Regarding whether gays are more likely to be child molesters, I doubt it. However, I do think that men are more likely to be molesters in general. In general, it seems a pretty safe bet that straight men are more likely to molest adolescent teenage girls than women are and gay men are more likely to molest adolescent teenage males than women are. These are my intuitions based on past reading, so I don't have studies on hand to back it up (in other words there's a decent chance you can prove me wrong). Perhaps one way to reconcile the views is to consider the difference between tendencies among gays to act on such impulses and tendencies among heterosexuals to act on such impulses. It seems to me that if a community is willing to tolerate teenage sex advocacy groups like NAMBLA, then that might lead to a perceived acceptance/justification in the minds of potential abusers and thus lead to higher abuse rates, even though the rates of "attraction" are virtually the same. I'm totally talking off the top of my head there.

Also, as a criticism of the RT article, they don't distinguish between pedastry and pedophilia. This is critical, in my mind, in correctly determining abuse rates. Herek himself is a "an internationally recognized authority on sexual prejudice (also called homophobia), hate crimes, and AIDS stigma." From an admittedly superficial reading of his website, I don't think I would consider him an unbiased researcher. He isn't just a researcher, he's an activist. Surely there are less biased sources than Herek that RT could have relied on.

Bring this back to the example in the Catholic Church, the increase in abuse can be traced to certain priests of certain seminary graduation years that correlates with a takeover of seminaries by theological liberals and the emergence of open homosexuality in many of those seminaries. Also, since altar girls have been allowed (only officially since 1994), they have grown tremendously in numbers (in many dioceses outnumbering boys), boys victims still outnumber girls by about the same percentage (over 80%+). Anybody who claims that the Catholic abuse problem isn't related to gay clergy hasn't read the John Jay report which was put together by a wide range of people who don't necessesarily agree with the Church on morality (e.g., former Clinton cabinet member and pro-abort Leon Panetta).
http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030928churchwomen0928p4.asp
http://www.usccb.org/nrb/nrbstudy/nrbreport.pdf

In summary, my view of homosexuality and child molestation is shaded strongly by two things I have some exposure to. The first is the presence of NAMBLA at gay pride events in my former hometown and the second is the abuse of minors by Catholic priests. In both cases, the evidence seems to contradict what the RT article is saying.

Thanks for the link to the article on abuse among school teachers. I'd forgotten where I read about the US Dept. of Education research and even who did the research.

MB