May 10, 2012
Huge Hewgitt is spending the three hours of his show today to discuss same-sex marriage (he's agin' it). He would have done so yesterday, because of President Barack "Big Stick" Obama coming out on national TV; but Hewitt was too busy spending the three hours of his show promoting Dennis Prager, who has a new book out.
Not being a religious person or even a believer -- I'm a true agnostic, not an atheist tarted up as an agno -- I get frustrated when the religous argue against same-sex marriage (SSM). I'm frustrated that the argument always begins and ends with "God said so," with only a small forray in the middle towards a non-religious reason, that children are best raised with one male father and one female mother.
Which is certainly true; alas, however, that one secular argument still has a gaping hole: What about same-sex couples who have no intention of having children, which probably encompasses most of them? The government can't mandate traditional marriage on the basis that "God said so;" so if the lone non-religious argument is the welfare of children, then what is the "rational basis" for saying that two guys or two gals who don't want kids cannot marry?
(For that matter, what is the rational basis for denying marital status to a triplet comprising two women and one guy who's had a vasectomy? Or to a gaggle of swingers, male and female, whose only religious impulse is that they all religiously use condoms and the Pill?)
We need a solid and secular rational basis to restrict marriage to the traditional definition. A truly activist court can still ignore the basis and overturn it; but with such a rational basis, the odds are much greater that a supervisory court will overturn the lower court.
With this much buildup, you won't be surprised that I have just such a solid and secular rational basis to propose. Here we go:
Premise 1: The United States (and most of Western civilization) is based upon several premises, one of which is that males and females are of equal value in our societies.
Premise 2: Another traditional American premise is that, unlike, e.g., Afghanistan, we do not live in gender-segregated societies.
Men and women interact with each other all the time, and per above, should be able to do so on a basis of equality. American men are not supposed to treat women as property or prisoners, nor vice versa (though that's rare to the vanishing point, except among feminists).
These conditions may not prevail in every family, but they are organizing principles of American society. They set the standard we should all strive to meet.
Ergo, the rational basis of recognizing only the traditional definition of marriage is that it is the best marital system ever created for promoting gender integration and the full valuation of women in society.
Every other form of marriage either devalues and degrades women, leads to gender segregation, or both -- without exception. So if we want to promote equal value of both genders and a gender-integrated society, we have only one realistic choice: traditional marriage, regardless of the individual's personal sexual preference.
(Do I mean that gay men should nevertheless marry women, and lesbians should marry men? Yes, you betcha! That is exactly what I mean: It's better for society, better for kids (if they have any), and even better for the two individuals in the marriage.)
Why is this so?
- SSM, by its very nature, promotes gender segregation: A man married to another man is not forced into constant contact with a woman he is expected to treat as his equal; the same is true for a marriage of two lesbians, vis-à-vis men.
Most gays and lesbian naturally organize themselves into all-male or all-female groups: A gay man dates other men, hangs out with other men, goes to gay bars full of men, and may only come into even casual contact with women at work... and even that is iffy, since it's easier to avoid someone at work than avoid someone who lives with you.
Men who have no significant contact with female equals (wives, committed girlfriends) tend to be far more violent than men who do; women generally civilize men. Similarly, women who have no significant contact with male equals tend to be unambitious, unsuccessful, poor, and dependent upon welfare; men generally encourage women to become stronger, more confident, and more independent. (If the men in your life don't do that, replace them with men who do!)
Either of these conditions is horrifically destructive of American society. It's entirely rational that states wish to avoid them both.
- Then what about polygamy, polyandry, and group marriage? Don't they force men and women to live together?
Yes they do; but by its nature, polygamy devalues women, because you always have another woman waiting in the wings; you can "freeze out" the uppity wench who dares to think she's an equal. (Observe Moslem and African polygamous societies and how the women are treated.)
And by its nature, polyandry simply hasn't worked in any society in history I've ever heard about: Men are aggressive and jealous, and they will invariably start fighting each other for "bed rights" with the girl.
Finally, group marriage has the problems of both polygamy and polyandry, plus an increasingly attenuated and fragmented sense of being married; when everybody's "married" to everybody else, then nobody's really married to anyone.
So if you believe women and men should have equal value in our society and that they should not segregate themselves by gender, then rationally, you must support only traditional marriage. It is equally true for religious and irreligious, and for families with and without children.
And that forms the rational basis for the laws: to bring the female and male principles, the yin and the yang, together as equals in American society.
If that's not what you want to see in America, then go be a tribal chief in the Congo or a slaver in Sudan. Or join Occupy Wall Street, where rapists and woman abusers are celebrated!
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 10, 2012, at the time of 4:47 PM
The following hissed in response by: BigLeeH
I live in North Carolina and we just voted on a referendum for an amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman. The vast majority of my Facebook 'friends' are filled with purple-pants-busting Incredible Hulk rage that it passed. If I assume that their postings that start with "If you voted for Amendment One..." refer to me then I have been called more, and worse, names in the last week than at any time since my last middle school fist fight.
The URL I entered for this posting leads to my wandering diatribe on SSM my blog (click on BigLeeH). It explains why I am against it. I won't recap it here since I have thought of another angle for the argument and I will try that out here instead.
As you pointed out, one of the frustrations of arguing against Same Sex Marriage is that any time your argument parallels anything that was ever said in Sunday School, no matter how sensible, one is accused of being a deep-cover secret Bible-thumper. So this line of reasoning starts with some observations about evolution.
By my evaluation the three most important factors in the evolution of H Sapiens are:
1) The use of fire to cook food which allowed our ancestors to evolve bigger brains. We devote 20 percent of our metabolic energy to our brains. Without soft, easy to digest, high-energy food stuffs we couldn't have afforded the adaptation.
2) The domestication of dogs which made us more efficient hunters and let us outsource most of our sense of smell. Before our ancestors had dogs a much larger part of their brains were used in olfactory processing. Having dogs let us get smarter yet.
3) The invention of cultural rules for marriage which allowed larger groups of early humans to live together without the males spending all of their time trying to kill each other off. Of course this process wasn't ( isn't ) perfect -- men still enjoy fighting over women -- but it did ( does ) help.
So, I oppose SSM because I am down with evolution.
The above hissed in response by: BigLeeH at May 10, 2012 9:20 PM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
I propose another argument, along the same lines, starting with the notion that the fundamental duty of government is to preserve the society and its culture. The production of children is the means by which the society survives, and the rearing of those children in two-parent families best preserves and transmits the society's culture. The introduction of alternatives weakens the survivability of the society, since formation of an SSM "family" can only occur with the destruction of at least one OSM family, or by eliminating the possibility of TWO OSM families. Even if a couple chooses to not produce children, or is even incapable of it, government must pretend to the possibility to preserve the institution.
Besides, if all that was involved was a formal "commitment ceremony," there are lots of churches that will solemnize such. What the SSM push is about is achieving government benefits and recognition of something that government should rightly reserve only for those pairings it wishes to promote, as its legitimate and fundamental interest in societal and cultural survival.
The following hissed in response by: mdgiles
I had never thought of the points you raise, which are good. Along those lines, you mentioned opposite sex encounters among gays and lesbians being pretty much exclusive to work, are there any studies on opposite sex employees dealing with gay or lesbian bosses? Even within the confines of a work situation, where interactions are pretty much scripted; how do these play out?
The following hissed in response by: Big D
I'll make the opposing argument.
Goverment should not be involved in purely social issues, and has no more business promoting marriage than it does passing hate crime legislation, taxing citzens to pay for charity, ant-discrimination laws, or banning rap music lyrics. Once you cede such power to goverment then goverment gets to define society, not the other way around.
Marriage is in the bible? Fine. Leave it there. Each religon is able to define marriage any way it choses, and we are all, in-turn, free to not to recognize marriage at all.
Marriage is good for society? Great. Guess what? Most people will either figure that out or not give a crap. Are there really people out there saying, we should get married for the good of society? That we should get married for the cool tax breaks? Goverment recognition of marriage does abslutely nothing to encourage its existence.
I am "married". That is to say, I had a preacher marry me to my wife at a botanical garden. However, were not married in the church, as my religon demands, hence some of my relatives still pretend that I'm not 'really' married. That's okay, since I pretend to still like them.
Marraige is fundimentally a religous construct. leave it at that. Change all the laws to something along the lines of domestic partnership between two people. Contracts can only be entered into by adult humans, and you limit such partnerships to only two people. What you call such a domestic partnership is entriely up to you - call it marriage, call it civil union, call it tag team wrestling. Just don't make me call it anything or officially recognize it as anything and its all good.
The goverment should make marriage a civil contract, and stay out of the rest of it.
The following hissed in response by: MikeR
On a different subject:
Looking at the RCP Current Polls page for the presidential election, one thing jumps out at me.
In the column "Sample", some say LV (likely voters) and others say RV (registered voters). The correlation is strikingly obvious: Obama only leads on the registered voter polls, no matter which polling company did them. On the likely voter polls, Romney is consistently doing better than Obama.
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