March 26, 2013

"It's easy to make fun of the folks in Georgia who don't want schools to use the word 'evolution' when teaching science..."

"But how different is it, really, from proposals to resolve the gay marriage issue by using the term 'civil unions' instead of 'marriage'?"

I think that's my first post about same-sex marriage, on February 3, 2004 — 3 weeks into blogging. I was looking for that post — which critiques presidential candidate Howard Dean's pride in the marriage/civil unions distinction — as a result of reading the Ted Olson/David Boies op-ed in the WSJ today.

Googling for the old post with the search terms althouse + Howard Dean + civil unions, I was surprised to find something I'd written in December 2003. That's the month before I started this blog. It turns out there's an archive from the Religion Law email list — a list of lawprofs — and there's a thread I started called "Civil unions and marriage."

Email lists were a sort of proto-blogging back then. I wish I'd busted loose into blogging earlier. All the bloggable things that didn't get blogged:
We chose not to do gay marriage because there were many people who felt that marriage was a religious institution, and churches ought to be able to make their own decisions about who gets married and who doesn't. But we felt it was really important to do equal rights under the law for every single American, and Vermont is the only state in the country where everybody has the same rights as everyone else....

[So why are we quibbling over a name?]

Because marriage is very important to a lot of people who are pretty religious.  
That was Howard Dean, back in 2003. Today, in the Supreme Court, we're still "quibbling" over that name. Is it a tiny thing or a big deal?

121 comments:

Dante said...

It's not the name. It's the money. It's the recognition by the state that children are important to its future, and that child rearing consumes enormous amounts of time.

So no, it's not "Fair" to give homosexuals the same rights.

Importation from South of the border doesn't seem to be working out so well, either. So the cheap fix isn't working.

Dante said...

Change "rights" to same "rules." I think that is more apt: middle class people who earn less than about $200K are incredibly heavily taxed.

Hagar said...

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It is a big deal to those people who take their religion seriously.

A tiny thing to people whose morality is founded on shifting sands.

rhhardin said...

The political point of using the word marriage is to destroy the word.

Its present conventions are to be made unthinkable.

Dante said...

It is a big deal to those people who take their religion seriously.

I suppose that's how Muslims justify Sharia law, with it's poor treatment of infidels.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The name Marriage is only a big deal to the extent that the name corresponds to a definition. Throw out the definition, and the name is meaningless.

Mitchell the Bat said...

"Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

-- Abraham Lincoln

Inga said...

Why not use two terms for everyone? Civil Marriage and Religious Marriage? Everyone must be married in the Courthouse first, then if they choose, go on to have a church wedding at the church they desire and agrees to marry them.

Synova said...

If the name is a religious thing and civil union is the exact same thing but with a different name, then making a big deal about the name is revealed as a desire to stick it to religious people.

And the Unitarians will marry you anyhow, if you want a religious wedding.

If it's not about benefits, and the tear-jerking story of not being allowed to visit a dying loved one, then it's about using law to force everyone else to approve of you.

Synova said...

Inga, I guess that's how they do it in Europe some places.

I had a friend in the Air Force that married his Filippina wife twice... once in a "civil service" to get on the wait-list for housing, and quite a bit later in a church wedding. They were very religious and didn't consider themselves married after the first, even if the Air Force did.

rehajm said...

Whatever the outcome,OED only needs to make minor refinements to it's current definition.

bpm4532 said...

Regardless of your sexual leanings, one thing is pretty darn clear, if you go back through thousands of years of human history, marriage has been an arrangement between a man and a woman. Even when when homosexual behavior was accepted, multiple wives was accepted, or sexual relations outside of marriage was accepted, the concept and definition of marriage was consistent and it was based on the need of society to perpetuate itself through procreation.

Recent efforts to redefine marriage would seem aberrant to human behavior and history.

edutcher said...

It's getting old, already.

Inga said...

Why not use two terms for everyone? Civil Marriage and Religious Marriage? Everyone must be married in the Courthouse first, then if they choose, go on to have a church wedding at the church they desire and agrees to marry them.

Why not one set of rules for everyone?

Oh, yeah, then our rulers wouldn't be our rulers.

hawkeyedjb said...

I'm sure Gov. Dean's views have evolved. Or is he still a bigot?

MayBee said...

You can already get married in a courthouse, or in a church, or both.

The US just allows the shortcut of allowing an ordained minister to also act on behalf of the state in performing a marriage.

Inga said...

Fine, let's use one set of rules for everyone as Ed says. No church can make a marriage be legal. Only the state can. How's that for freedom Ed?

I'd rather have called two different things.

bpm4532 said...

Because it's not about legal rights. it's about co-opting ALL institutions, public and private, religious and secular, to behave as proscribed or face vilification and extinction by force of law.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Synova at 9:54 summarizes it very succinctly.

As I said yesterday. A civil union for everyone and then a religious marriage ceremony for those who want that approbation by the church.

bagoh20 said...

Yes, why is it so important? The reason for the anti-SSM people is pretty obvious and varied: it's inaccurate to the point of being a lie, it's designed to destroy cultural norms long revered and highly valued, it's hoped it will separate religion from marriage, which is a basic reason for getting married for some, and most importantly for me, it will eliminate any barriers to who gets the special advantages of marriage at my expense. I wish nobody's marriage was recognized by government unless under contract. I should be treated equally without having to play house.

Why do pro-SSM want this? To force people to accept there choice for what it is not. To force everyone to pretend, and most satisfying of all to ram it down the throats of those who they secretly and not so secretly hate. It's clearly an aggressive, hateful movement in many cases, because all other "benefits" are available to gays with out this.

Inga said...

Bpm,
Then old folks and non procreators should not be allowed to marry? But we're all repeating ourselves already.

MayBee said...

So for people saying there should be civil unions and separate marriage- do you support all states having gay civil marriages? Because they don't all, right now..

Smilin' Jack said...

[So why are we quibbling over a name?]

Why can't we just call gay marriage "gay marriage"?

As in

"Can Tom and Dick get married?"

"No, but they can get gay married."

Or,

"Harry is such a pansy, he should get gay married."

That's what everyone is calling it now anyway, so that should satisfy everyone.

retail lawyer said...

I have long thought it really is about the name. It is a sacrament to Catholics, for instance. Seriously religious people are offended by the redefinition of the institution, and the activist secularists see a wonderful opportunity to poke the religious in the eye with this. I'm curious about why the more politically correct religions (Islam and Black churches) have held their fire rhetorically. Could it be that Islam is hoping for an opening for polygamy? Could it be that Black congregations do not want a generalized homophobic sentiment exposed?

retail lawyer said...

I have long thought it really is about the name. It is a sacrament to Catholics, for instance. Seriously religious people are offended by the redefinition of the institution, and the activist secularists see a wonderful opportunity to poke the religious in the eye with this. I'm curious about why the more politically correct religions (Islam and Black churches) have held their fire rhetorically. Could it be that Islam is hoping for an opening for polygamy? Could it be that Black congregations do not want a generalized homophobic sentiment exposed?

rhhardin said...

Marriage doesn't have anything to do with the church. It has to do with man and woman.

That's what annoys the same-sex people. They want to stamp it out, and have a new meaning.

Dante said...

Here is the person who is claiming her rights to equality were being impinged by the government:

The Obama administration rejects this view. Justice Department lawyers insist that for purposes of establishing standing, the underlying “case” is a simple tax dispute between the United States and the plaintiff, Edith Windsor, who is seeking a $363,000 estate tax refund..

Why the US thinks it should take to kidless able bodied Americans and provide these kinds of incentives is beyond me.

Same for health care benefits. Where's the commitment? Where's the sacrifice?

AllenS said...

Today, in the Supreme Court, we're still "quibbling" over that name. Is it a tiny thing or a big deal?

Do you own a dictionary?

edutcher said...

Inga said...

Fine, let's use one set of rules for everyone as Ed says. No church can make a marriage be legal. Only the state can. How's that for freedom Ed?

No, let's hold onto the set of rules we've had for 400 years.

I'd rather have called two different things.

As always, stoopid knows no bounds.

Jay said...

Kagan 2009: “There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage

What a bigot!!!!

Bob Ellison said...

retail lawyer said "I'm curious about why the more politically correct religions (Islam and Black churches) have held their fire rhetorically. Could it be that Islam is hoping for an opening for polygamy? Could it be that Black congregations do not want a generalized homophobic sentiment exposed?"

Fascinating questions. And Romney was noticeably non-anti-gay, which caused him problems on both sides.

I suspect that people who feel they have little moral standing are afraid to speak up. If your religion has a history of bigotry or polygyny, you lower your eyes and keep your trap shut when SSM comes up in discussion. If you smoke cigars, you don't complain a lot about cigarettes.

But if you're a reformed individual, you talk a lot, and at high volume, and you embrace any weapon or vehicle that will help other people to celebrate your reform.

bagoh20 said...

An analogy would be if I wanted to be called a lawyer without doing what is currently required to get that. Sure I could if I wanted too, but I don't want to. Still, I insist that the government and especially you lawyers recognize me as a lawyer with all the same advantages including your special powers and inclination toward evil.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So for people saying there should be civil unions and separate marriage- do you support all states having gay civil marriages? Because they don't all, right now..

Yes and No.

I support the right of EACH State to make that decision based on the votes of the population of each State. I then support the right of people to move to areas and states that are more compatible or agreeable. I don't support the right of a small minority of people to run roughshod over the will of the rest of the population.

Bender said...

"But how different is it, really, from proposals to resolve the gay marriage issue by using the term 'civil unions' instead of 'marriage'?"

Way to disingenuously twist things totally backwards.

It is not that people want to resolve "gay marriage" by calling it civil unions instead. It is that those who first pushed for civil unions, now want to equate that with marriage.

It is the gay rights thugs who want to twist and distort language.

bagoh20 said...

Oh yea, I want that smug pretentious thing installed too.

n.n said...

They don't want to teach evolution because it would be offensive to men and women who find its principles to be inconvenient to their lifestyle. Teaching evolutionary principles is objectionable to men and women engaged in homosexual behavior. It is especially inconvenient to women who violate basic civil and human rights when they choose elective abortion of a developing human life for their convenience.

It's worth noting that while the same men and women reject evolutionary principles as inconvenient, the same people are more likely to embrace an article of faith describing their simian heritage; but, take offense when referred to by their proper title.

MayBee said...

DBQ- that's what I thought. It just seemed to me some people thought the civil/religious marriage was a solution to the question of whether gay people should be allowed to marry. I see it is more a solution to the semantic issue.

The one thing I will add to states deciding who should legally marry is the federal government should recognize those marriages.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The one thing I will add to states deciding who should legally marry is the federal government should recognize those marriages.

Absolutely. Otherwise, as I have pointed out many times, the whole thing is just an exercise in futility.

IF the real issue is equal treatment under the law for civil unions or whatever you want to call it, then the push to force States to recognize the relationship as a marriage means doosquat until the Federal laws are changed for those relationships.

IF the real issue is equal treatment under the law, then the activists should be taking on the Federal Government.

Without Federal treatment being changed, there is no point. Other than to try to stick it to religious people, as Synova points out.

Jane said...

Here's the issue:

say I get a new neighbor, a gay-married couple with two dogs and a child from a prior relationship. The point of having legal recogntion, not of civil unions, but of marriages, is to turn me into a bigot if I don't acknowledge them as a married couple just like any other and stick to terms like "partner" instead.

By the way, have you ever seen another occasion when cnn.com so actively promotes one side in a Supreme Court case?

Krumhorn said...

........what Synova said.

-Krumhorn

JL said...

The problem I have with some SSM advocates is their dishonesty. They claim they want to be able to get married. Well they can- there are ministers, preachers, and even some churches that will perform same-sex marriages.

Not good enough. They say they want legal recognition from the govt. Why do they want that? If it is for the legal benefits, then a legal civil union can give them that. But that is still not enough. It has to be called "marriage". Why? Do they think forcing the govt. to redefine marriage-- which is what they are asking, no matter what the law-talking folks say-- will force people to accept their marriage as valid?

Why do they want? Logical conclusion- they want churches and synagogues to be forced to perform marriages. It isn't just about about the govt. benefits, or acceptance from the public; they want acceptance by their religions. That can be the only reason they will not accept legal recognition from the state through a civil union. For example, my husband and I only have a court "marriage"; he and I would have no problem having it renamed a civil union. If we cared about the religious aspects we would have a church wedding.

SSM advocates who will not accept civil unions, have ulterior motives. I wish they would be honest about those motives, instead of playing the bigotry card against people who are being asked to alter their religious beliefs to suit the lifestyle choice of a tiny percentage of the population.

JL said...

Add "that" after "Why do they want", at the start of the third paragraph above.

MadisonMan said...

say I get a new neighbor, a gay-married couple with two dogs and a child from a prior relationship. The point of having legal recogntion, not of civil unions, but of marriages, is to turn me into a bigot if I don't acknowledge them as a married couple just like any other and stick to terms like "partner" instead.

Why not just call everyone a partner? Then you don't have to think. I have no issue with someone calling my wife my partner. Because, you know, she is.

If they insist that you call their partner their wife/husband, then you know you're living next door to someone who is annoying, and you can limit your interactions to the blandly superficial.

Win-win!

Renee said...

If marriage really revolved around a solely religious idea, how did it end up in our civil laws?

I go back to a more factual concern of father absence in the home. Men do not get pregnant, they do not give birth, and they can not breast feed. They are not physically attached to their children in the same way mothers are. It takes a bit more effort and support to encourage a man to stick around. Women need the fathers of their children integrated into home life. As mothers without the father, we take the brunt of work it takes in child raising. It isn't a judgment against single mothers, but a real lost that she and the children aren't getting the domestic/social help from the father.

To infer we have social obligations to children to be raised and loved by their mother and father and legally support that ideal is now seen as legal assault on one's personal individual liberties.

That kind of stinks to frame the issue like that, but I'm just going to keep on doing what I'm doing.

MadisonMan said...

If marriage really revolved around a solely religious idea, how did it end up in our civil laws?

Because government likes to control.

MayBee said...

Here in London, people ask about your partner way more than they'll ask about husband or wife. "Do you have a partner?" They'll say.

The only thing I don't like about partner is sometimes you don't know if they are talking about a business partner or a spouse-ish partner.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

say I get a new neighbor, a gay-married couple with two dogs and a child from a prior relationship. The point of having legal recogntion, not of civil unions, but of marriages, is to turn me into a bigot if I don't acknowledge them as a married couple just like any other and stick to terms like "partner" instead.

If I HAVE to talk to people, I usually use their names. Suppose the neighbors are a man and woman and you have no idea what their relationship is to them. Married? Common Law? Shacking up? It really isn't any of my business as long as they keep their kids and dogs off of my lawn (lol). I wouldn't use the term husband or wife then either. Just their names.

sydney said...

Historically, when a group of people did not agree with a stance of their religion, they broke off and formed their own religion. That's how we got Christians from Judaism, how we got Lutherans and Anglicans from Catholics, and all the myriad other sects of Christianity. I am sure it is true of other religions as well. So, instead of going through all of these lawsuits to change the definition of marriage and force religions to recognize homosexual unions as a sacrament, those who desire such a sacrament should break off into their own religious groups. That seems to be much less contentious. Most people don't have a problem with "civil unions," it's the redefinition of "marriage" and the sacrament it stands for which is the problem.

bgates said...

I suspect that people who feel they have little moral standing are afraid to speak up.

Is it your impression of black Christians in America and Muslims the world over that they feel they have little moral standing?

Renee said...

Madison it also sucks, because if I disagree with how the term marriage expresses an idea I'm getting labeled a bigot.

You know what the Church teaches....

"All people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human
dignity that must be acknowledged and respected.1
In keeping with this conviction, the Church teaches that persons with a homosexual
inclination “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”2 We recognize that
these persons have been, and often continue to be, objects of scorn, hatred, and even violence in
some sectors of our society. Sometimes this hatred is manifested clearly; other times, it is
masked and gives rise to more disguised forms of hatred. “It is deplorable that homosexual
persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment
deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.”3"

.......

To many that's bigotry in the Catholic Church, because we teach.

"Because of both Original Sin and personal sin, moral disorder is all too common in our
world. There are a variety of acts, such as adultery, fornication, masturbation, and contraception,
that violate the proper ends of human sexuality. Homosexual acts also violate the true purpose of
sexuality. They are sexual acts that cannot be open to life. Nor do they reflect the
complementarity of man and woman that is an integral part of God’s design for human
sexuality.8 Consequently, the Catholic Church has consistently taught that homosexual acts “are
contrary to the natural law. . . . Under no circumstances can they be approved.”9"


But the government is making the Catholic Church approve financially contraception as well, so what else is new.

bgates said...

have you ever seen another occasion when cnn.com so actively promotes one side in a Supreme Court case?

I seem to remember Al Gore involved in a legal dispute about 13 years ago.

Bob R said...

There is a lot of talk of equality today, but not a lot about the unequal treatment of singles and married. Being for SSM (as I am) means you are for equal opportunity for unequal treatment. The only people calling for true equality are those who want to get the government out of the business of treating married and unmarried unequally.

MadisonMan said...

Most people don't have a problem with "civil unions," it's the redefinition of "marriage" and the sacrament it stands for which is the problem.

The problem is that Govt usurped the word marriage -- it's not a sacrament of the church when the Govt defines it. And Govt can define it any way it sees fit.

I do not share the fear that some do that ultimately a Church will be forced to marry people they don't want to. Two Baptists can't be married as Catholics, after all.

Original Mike said...

I see no similarity between the two ("evolution" vs. "civil unions").

In one case, you are teaching science to children. Do you really want them to move onto college hobbled with funny notions? In the other case, it's a matter of culture, so what we call it is open to debate.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Is it a tiny thing or a big deal?

I'll stick with the answer I discerned at the time in the Ninth Circuit decision: It "is, at one and the same time, important enough to constitute a civil-rights violation, and too unimportant for the people's insistence on the traditional definition to serve any rational purpose."

Paul Zrimsek said...

Do you really want them to move onto college hobbled with funny notions?

Of course we do. Think of the time it'll save.

Freder Frederson said...

A civil union for everyone and then a religious marriage ceremony for those who want that approbation by the church.

So you won't have a problem with a gay couple married in a church (and yes contrary to your narrow world view, there are many Christian and Jewish congregations that have no problem performing gay marriages)? If their religion considers them married, why should you say "that's not good enough for me"?

Freder Frederson said...

Why do they want? Logical conclusion- they want churches and synagogues to be forced to perform marriages.

That is a completely irrational and illogical conclusion.

Renee said...

No they don't want to force churches to marry same-sex couples, rather they want to designate churches as 'hate groups'.

Bob Ellison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

"That is a completely irrational and illogical conclusion."

If it didn't lead to lawsuits against churches, I'd eat my hat. Whether or not they'd win, I'll not hazard a guess.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So you won't have a problem with a gay couple married in a church (and yes contrary to your narrow world view, there are many Christian and Jewish congregations that have no problem performing gay marriages)?

Of course not. If their church beliefs allow this then that is the right of the participants and the Church. They can marry a ham sandwich for all I care. However, if the religion or the Church does not want to perform such a sanctification or it is against the tenets of the church, then no. Find another religion.


You have no idea what my world view is and distortion is your middle name.

Bender said...

It is no coincidence that the people pushing for so-called "same-sex marriage" are the same folks who pushed for and still advocate for easy divorce, as well as repeal of laws against adultery and cohabitation.

This is not about promoting marriage or extending it, it is about tearing down any and all social institutions, especially those most fundamental and foundational institutions, such as marriage and family.

JL said...

Why do they want? Logical conclusion- they want churches and synagogues to be forced to perform marriages.

That is a completely irrational and illogical conclusion.

I spelled out how I reached my conclusion. Can you be more specific how you reached yours?

BTW, to spare you playing the bigot card, I am in favor of the state redefining legal marriage to include gay couples, so that they can reap the same legal benefits. I don't care if they call it marriage, civil unions or mashed potatoes.

I believe it would be tough to legally force religious institutions to perform SSM if they do not want to. But I also am awake enough to know that will not stop some people from trying to do so.

How am I wrong?

Bender said...

It is not that they will seek to force the Catholic Church (for example) to perform same-sex weddings, it is that they will very definitely and purposely seek to force the Catholic Church to recognize Bob and Ted as being married, to publicly give its assent to the proposition that a man and another man can be married to each other.

Original Mike said...

I heard this morning on a radio debate that lawsuits brought against Catholic adoption agencies to force them to place children with same sex couples in, I believe, Massachusetts, have forced said agencies to shut down.

If this is true (I have no independent knowledge), I think it's a pretty good indication that the same will be tried w.r.t. marriage.

MadisonMan said...

Bender, my recollection is that the Catholic Church does view, say, two Baptists as married when they are married in the Baptist Church. But it's far easier for a Baptist to divorce his/her Baptist partner and re-marry into the Catholic Church because that Baptist Marriage is not a sacrament in the view of the Catholic Church. So annulling is not an issue.

If two people are married, and one works for a Catholic Entity -- as a secretary in the Church, for example, should the Health Benefits, if provided, also be extended to the partner? Yes, I think so, regardless if the partner is Baptist, or same-sex. Is that what you mean as 'force them to recognize them as married'?

Apologies to Baptists for using them as an example. Quicker to spell than Lutherans, Presbyterians or Episcopalians.

Bender said...

There is a real and substantive difference between a Baptist man and a Baptist woman getting married, and a man of whatever religion/race/ethnicity and another man of whatever religion/race/ethnicity claiming to be "married."

JL said...

What Bender & Original Mike said fall under the "ulterior motives" heading. Some SSM advocates want to affect religious institutions. Those who deny that are asleep, or are being dishonest.

rhhardin said...

It does not seem to occur to people that you can definitely know what a word means but be unable to come up with a definition.

That's in fact the usual case, not the unusual one.

It's not sloppiness but following obscure cultural instincts very exactly.

Cavell's example of "chair" is good on the point, if you missed it, here; explicating what Wittgenstein was up to.

pp 70-73

It's to bring out how usual the case is, and how unusual it is for an explicit definition to exist.

How much more so with marriage.

What's being defended is that exact following of cultural instincts, without which no word means anything.

Renee said...

Madison Man,

Catholic Church recognizes natural marriage, so you would need an annulment even if you were a Baptist/legal marriage.

Renee said...


http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/life-and-family/marriage/catholic-marriage-and-annulments/



"We base this understanding of natural marriage on the text of Genesis 2:18-25, which teaches that God's will has established all marriage. True marriage is heterosexual (between a man and a woman); it is monogamous (one man and one woman); it is exclusive (the two form a new and unique relationship; the two become one); and it is permanent (if the two become one, this new union cannot be divided; a conclusion Christ confirms in Matthew 19:3-12"



"The Catholic Church presumes the validity of any marriage between two people who are free to marry at the time of their wedding. (They must have no previous marriages.) Basically, if the non-Catholic religious community of either spouse recognized the marriage, so does the Catholic Church. Since marriage, as God created it, is permanent, then the Catholic Church must also investigate these marriages. Because the non-Catholic wishes to marry a Catholic, the Church's law applies to the proposed marriage, since canon law still binds the Catholic whom the non-Catholic wishes to marry."



OK this is an interesting question for the Catholic Church, if the previous marriage was a same-sex marriage from secular law, would the individual need an annulment process for that marriage? But because the marriage did not fit the definition of 'natural law' within the Church law no annulment would need to take place. The marriage never existed, can't be annulled.

MadisonMan said...

Catholic Church recognizes natural marriage, so you would need an annulment even if you were a Baptist/legal marriage.

That is true -- but my recollection is that an annulment is much easier for a person divorced from a Baptist Marriage than a person divorced from a Catholic Marriage.

MadisonMan said...

if the previous marriage was a same-sex marriage from secular law, would the individual need an annulment process for that marriage?

No. Marriage as a sacrament did not occur.

AllenS said...

[So why are we quibbling over a name?]

So, if one of your students says "statutes" means "automobile" and "case law" means "football field" would you say: "Good point, let's have more than one meaning for word/s!"

Freder Frederson said...


I believe it would be tough to legally force religious institutions to perform SSM if they do not want to. But I also am awake enough to know that will not stop some people from trying to do so.

It would simply be impossible and I will give you several concrete examples. It is obviously discriminatory that certain denominations do not allow women to be pastors or priests. When has that ever been litigated? Forty-six years after Loving v. Virginia, when has a religious institution been forced to perform an interracial marriage. Finally, if a couple of Baptists decided they wanted to get married in a Latvian Orthodox church because they like the hats, they would be politely told that was impossible, and they would have no recourse. Heck, I wasn't even allowed to be the "official" best man in a Greek Orthodox wedding because I was not Greek Orthodox.

Bender said...

Apparently, the theory of evolution applies to constitutional law.

JUSTICE SCALIA: Was it always unconstitutional?

MR. OLSON: It was constitutional when we -- as a culture determined that sexual orientation is a characteristic of individuals that they cannot control, and that that --

JUSTICE SCALIA: I see. When did that happen? When did that happen?

MR. OLSON: There's no specific date in time. This is an evolutionary cycle.

ken in sc said...

If I remember correctly, the Emperor Caligula (Little Boots), had an affair with his sister, married his horse and appointed it to the Roman Senate.

This is the road we are on, I fear.

ken in sc said...

I don't know if the horse was male or female. It doesn't matter I guess, but I don't think there were any female Senators--that would have been scandalus.

Freder Frederson said...

No. Marriage as a sacrament did not occur.

Unless of course they did get a sacramental marriage. E.g., the Episcopal Church in the U.S. leaves it up to bishops whether to sanctify gay marriages, the United Church of Christ approved Gay marriages back in 2005 and many reformed Jewish congregations have been performing gay marriages for years (I know a woman who married her partner in a Jewish ceremony way back in 1992).

AllenS said...

Let me put it a different way. If you gave your students a test, and two of the questions were describe "case law" and "statutes", and one of your students said case law means football field, and statutes means automobile. Would you pass that person? And, if they complained about your not passing them, what would you use to tell them they gave the wrong answers. Blacks Law Dictionary?

Revenant said...

What is the word the people in Georgia want to use in place of evolution? "Development"?

AllenS said...

Bonus question --

Q. Describe res ipsa loquitur.

A. Gay marriage!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

No. Marriage as a sacrament did not occur.

Unless of course they did get a sacramental marriage. E.g., the Episcopal Church in the U.S. leaves it up to bishops whether to sanctify gay marriages, the United Church of Christ approved Gay marriages back in 2005 and many reformed Jewish congregations have been performing gay marriages for years (I know a woman who married her partner in a Jewish ceremony way back in 1992).

And this affects the Catholic Church...how?

Freeman Hunt said...

Rhhardin's chair link is great. I read it last night.

It does not seem to occur to people that you can definitely know what a word means but be unable to come up with a definition.

That's in fact the usual case, not the unusual one.


Just bears repeating.

Freeman Hunt said...

"What is the word the people in Georgia want to use in place of evolution? "Development"?"

"Devil-ution," of course.

Okay, not really.

A good friend who was a young earth creationist jokingly referred to it that way to me once during an argument about evolution. He even said it in a Devil voice and made menacing arm movements. Hardcore fundamentalist with a sense of humor.

MadisonMan said...

Unless of course they did get a sacramental marriage. E.g., the Episcopal Church in the U.S. leaves it up to bishops whether to sanctify gay marriages, the United Church of Christ approved Gay marriages back in 2005 and many reformed Jewish congregations have been performing gay marriages for years (I know a woman who married her partner in a Jewish ceremony way back in 1992).

Given that the question was about secular marriage, your point is interesting but completely unrelated to the discussion.

Does the woman you know who married her partner in a Jewish ceremony way back in 1992 also find you completely boring, as I do?

Jeeze. Stay on point. It's not that hard to do.

Howard said...

1. Jane and other narcissists: Yes, it's all about you, my dears. The gay want to "marriage" so they can call their neighbors bigots.

2. It's a scientific fact that no words ever get redefined. Like the word of god that says slavery and polygamy is A OKAY.

3. The gay have cooties that become more contagious when the government sanctifies their partnership into a marriage.

4. Once the gay get marriage and tons of free velveeta, then all your teabagger kids will want to marry their pets.

5. if the gay get marriage, they then Janet Reno Napolitano will arrest the pope for hate thought crime.

EMD said...

Everyone on my FB now has red equal sign profile pics.

Fucking lemmings.

What was wrong with the good old blue/yellow ones?

I support gay marriage, but I'm not changing my profile pic as a shallow political statement.

EMD said...

I need to ask Andy R. what's up with the rebranding.

Pink Triangles
Rainbows
Blue/Yellow Equal Signs
Red Equal Signs

Pick a symbol and stick with it people.

MadisonMan said...

I support gay marriage, but I'm not changing my profile pic as a shallow political statement.

Same. I don't think my facebook friends want to know about my politics.

If they ask, I'll tell them.

Bob Ellison said...

I believe it would be tough to legally force religious institutions to perform SSM if they do not want to. But I also am awake enough to know that will not stop some people from trying to do so.

Freder Frederson replied "It would simply be impossible and I will give you several concrete examples."

You have taken this hill, but it's the wrong hill. Many people who care about issues like SSM are keenly aware that Obama is shoving contraception and abortion down the throats of religious institutions, like it or not.

SOJO said...


I used to think "civil union" was a fair, logical compromise to move the issue along, make everyone kind of sort of happy (with the government ONLY being able to perform civil unions for gay and hetero people and ONLY religious people being able to be married), but now that it's been moved along, I find I don't care. So the religious people were right in that sense. (Slippery Slope!) Hah.

That evolution v. biological changes over time thing is flat out nuts. I had no idea things like that were occurring in the classrooms. Does it actually shut the anti-science people up if you put it that way? Would it be a choice of *not teaching the subject* or using that term? Really? Is this Todd Aiken land? If so, I guess it's better than nothing if it gets the job done for kids who really can't afford to wait.

Jane said...

Howard -- I'm not speaking literally of neighbors moving next-door, but rather that I think the need for the label "marriage" comes from SSM-supporters wanting society (in all its particulars, from social institutions to the people gathered at the block party) to recognize their relationship as a marriage, or else they wouldn't keep pushing it even after they've already got civil unions.

JL said...

I believe it would be tough to legally force religious institutions to perform SSM if they do not want to. But I also am awake enough to know that will not stop some people from trying to do so.

It would simply be impossible and I will give you several concrete examples....

I never tried to argue that SSM advocates would be successful at forcing churches to marry gay couples; I said it was logical to conclude that some of them want all, or certain specific, religious institutions to recognize the validity of their marriage, and some will sue to be allowed ceremonies in those institutions once the govt. recognizes their legal married status. Just because you claim it is impossible, doesn't mean that some court will not take their case.

My comment was a complaint about SSM proponents who are not being honest, maybe even to themselves, about their desire to affect religious institutions.

My original comment did not touch upon the likelihood that some couples, gay and straight, want a govt. marriage rather than a civil union, because they want the govt. recognition to be about more than just material concerns like taxes and visitation rights; they want a govt. marriage ceremony to also sanctify the non-material aspect of their marriage, something traditionally fulfilled by a religious, or some other private, ceremony. I would ask these people, do they need, (or really want), the govt. to have power over non-material aspects of their relationship? Is that not a mixing of church and state roles?

Dante said...

Apparently, the theory of evolution applies to constitutional law.

That seems like a reasonable argument, except that gays have no control over their orientation isn't a fact. It's a theory (and probably correct beyond some point in life).

hombre said...

"Civil union" between consenting adults is a legal arrangement that makes a statement and makes sense.

"Marriage," given its traditional and spiritual significance, when between people of the same sex becomes an absurdity.

But then that's the point, isn't it?

Synova said...

I think that marriage is mostly about property, second about children, and only about religion to the extent that religion tends to codify "good" sociological/anthropological mores. Ie., getting married doesn't do something for God, it does something for you, your personal welfare, and your ability to successfully reproduce. It shows up across the board, no matter what religion is involved. In any society there are rules about how people pair up and how children are taken care of, doweries and obligations, etc. and generally wanting to know who the father is.

So maybe "fixing" this mess, at least on the side of the state, ought to be about property, and wanting to know who the father is and who has what obligations toward children.

Any tax benefits can be based on how many other people you directly support (something that is a benefit to bagho, who then doesn't have to pay taxes to support those people) and married or not-married can be completely irrelevant to that. People with incomes who combine their domestic effort already benefit. And who cares if adult people who all work are married to each other? But if you're supporting kids or a stay-at-home adult or senior citizen, then maybe people should thank you for not laying that burden on the state with a tax break.

And bagho shouldn't have to get married in order to leave his estate to whomever he darn well pleases to leave his estate to without the government stealing it after he dies and can't defend his stuff anymore. It's been taxed many times over, no matter what it is. An estate shouldn't be subject to looters. Period.

It's best for children to live in a home with both his or her parents, but we can't enforce that. What we can do is rationally lay the burden of support and authority... because we know how to tell who the father is now. We don't need a state of being married as a proxy for a paternity test.

We can deal with the question of children, by dealing with the question of children.

Bender said...

There is a greater right to marry one's own mother or father than there is to "marry" a person of the same sex.

And by the logic of SSM, especially if the argument is one of tax benefits, then of course we ought to be allowed to marry our parents and thereby get the unlimited marital exemption on estate taxes when they die. That a child may or may not ever have sex with said parent is none of the government's business.

If they "love" each other - and more importantly want the financial benefits - then they should be allowed to marry, at least by the logic of SSM.

CWJ said...

Hombre, I agree.

Madame hostess, I read your original post plus update. In a word, Bullshit!

I've said it before, if the objective was to obtain the legal benefits that derive from marriage, then the homosexual community would have jumped at the chance for civil unions and not looked back. The fact that they haven't tells me there's something else afoot.

Madame hostess, pray tell, what in fact is so wrong with the concept is civil unions? I have no trouble with the secular concept of SSU, why does it have to be SSM?

CWJ said...

Bender, as horrified as I am by your comment, I don't have a good rebuttal. Exactly, if SSM is to be codified, what exactly is the rationale for outlawing incest?

Darrell said...

Madame hostess, pray tell, what in fact is so wrong with the concept is civil unions? I have no trouble with the secular concept of SSU, why does it have to be SSM?

I've heard that song and it goes something like this--Because everyone dreams of marriage--not civil unions! Who ever heard anyone say I dream someday of getting civil unioned? Did Lerner & Loewe write "I'm getting civil-unioned in the morning"?

EMD said...

"Going to the courthouse,and we're going to get civil unioned" really doesn't have the same ring, does it?

EMD said...

If they "love" each other - and more importantly want the financial benefits - then they should be allowed to marry, at least by the logic of SSM.

Forget it Bender, It's Chinatown.

CWJ said...

Madame hostess, regarding your update to your original post, second class citizenship is being legally separated from the rest of society. Its drinking at a separate bubbler. Its being legally denied access to the same facilities. Its being told you legally CAN'T do things with the rest of society.

How can it possibly be that a concept the AFFIRMS someone's right to the same legal benefits as someone who is married be considered second class cotizenship? Again, bullshit!

CWJ said...

Darrell and EMD, give it time! Broadway will come up with the necassary rhymes. (They'll drop the civil part and just go for union) Besides, shouldn't they have to "evolve" like the rest of us.

Synova said...

In a sense, marriage is anti-love.

Think about it.

The permanence and property/legal issues protect spouses and children from a change of feeling. Marriage may be entered into out of a feeling of love, but Historically, that was that. You could marry to join family wealth or make alliances or because it was practical and you wanted a home or wanted children or because you were in love. And if your partner felt different tomorrow you weren't out on your butt with nothing to show for it, if your spouse had affairs or mistresses or children elsewhere, you and yours were protected AGAINST changes in feelings, you were protected against "love."

And then we changed that. We decided that vagaries of feeling or infatuations elsewhere were a good enough reason to allow one person to financially bankrupt another person and to tear children's lives apart.

That's what *love* has gotten us.

Darrell said...

When everyone has "married," we'll have sacrimarried. Suckers!

Synova said...

Two people who LOVE each other is about the worst argument I can think of as an argument that the people in LOVE have the highest calling and must be allowed to marry.

(Yes, some people NEED to be divorced and no one should have to stay in an abusive situation, but we're not talking abuse, we're talking WHIM.)

What the primacy of LOVE means is... screw your kids. Your LOVE is what is important. Screw the person who married and trusted you. Your LOVE is what is important.

That we can make arguments in favor of gay marriage on the basis of love, proves that marriage is dead anyway. You can leave it any time you like, mess up your kids, destroy your former partner financially, and for "no fault"... no reason at all. Love is what is important and this is where basing such an important basis of human society on *feeling* has gotten us all.

So here we are.

Baelzar said...

So the marriage of words and music to form a song, or when airlines "marry" two air segments together in a route, are the words male and the music female? Is my flight from Phoenix to LAX female, but the LAX-Vancouver segment male?

Marriage already has another meaning; the joining of two things into one thing. It's not gender specific, neither. So WTF is this really all about, huh?

Unknown said...

@CWJ

Ridiculous power disparities (Stockholm syndrome in abusive situations) and a strong liklihood of genetic mishaps?

Darrell said...

"The word marriage doesn’t just mean the joining of two entities. It means the joining of two different entities. Two entities defined by their difference from each other, with the aim of creating a third entity from the act of synthesis.
In the field of ideas, for instance, we might talk about some new scientific theory that marries one account of the universe with another partially contradictory account, to produce a third and better version. Darwinism was married to Mendelian genetics to create the Neo-Darwinian synthesis, because Darwin proposed a vague and unsatisfactory mechanics of heredity. Mendelism contradicted his suggestions, but Neo-Darwinism marries the two ideas to produce a synthesis that best reflects reality in a way that is preferable to each account taken individually, without denying the vital contribution of either.
In the sphere of human relationships marriage means uniting a man and a woman with the presumed end of producing children.
Why? Why should it?
Because that’s what the word means. I’m very sorry; I wish it were otherwise, if for no other reason than for putting this enormously tiresome argument to bed. But it ain't.
I’m all for every single legal right and responsibility being conferred on homosexual partnerships same as heterosexual ones. But ‘marriage’ in this context means joining a man to a woman."

http://venerablebeads.blogspot.com/2013/03/gay-marriage-not-all-that-interested.html

Baelzar said...

So when you marry two pieces of rope - a nautical term that has been around quite a long time before this whole BS argument - are the two ropes different? Like, man/woman different?

You see how fucking silly this is?

Darrell said...

"So when you marry two pieces of rope"

You join it. Stupid/ignorant/uninformed doesn't earn you any points.

Darrell said...

People misuse absorption and adsorption everyday. Sailors still splice ropes, though.

Baelzar said...

"Stupid/ignorant/uninformed doesn't earn you any points."

You got that right.

The justification in your blog paste is weak. He uses circular logic - marriage means the union of two different things because that's what it means, so it means that. Why? Because I say so.

It doesn't bear out, not even in context. A man and woman can marry with no intention of having children. Or they can marry without the ability to have children. They are capital-M Married, with all the church blessings and state benefits.

Darrell said...

The "third entity" doesn't refer to children, made-up-name-man/woman/beast. You expect us to accept your definitions at face value, too. Because you said so? Because some uneducated fisherman call it "marry a rope" rather than splice a rope? If your niece called your aunt your uncle, did you buy her Old Spice for Christmas?

Darrell said...

And I expect you missed the "money shot" of the cited article--

This is a campaign organised in large measure by people who despise the institution of heterosexual marriage, dismiss it as slavery and the family unit as a tyranny, and hate the church even more. They want not to join but to dismantle, and in recruiting the sincere and the sensitive to their campaign they are guilty of a far greater cynicism than I am for daring to make the point.

CWJ said...

Unknown @5:46,

I assume that you are responding to my 5:03 comment regarding incest.

OK, yeah and so? I'm not saying that I approve of incest. I believe I said I was horrified by Bender's scenario.

So as far as what you said, so what? How is the argument against incest materially different from that of gay unions? Its only because YOU find the reasons compelling. Other people might not. I may agree but once you say butt fucking is just fine, don't mix the gene pool too closely, I must ask just what is the legal justification for that.

Here's a new thought experiment for you. Woody Allen and his underage stepdaughter. Cool or not? No gene pool mixing there. Right?

Baelzar said...

THAT is your example of the "money shot?" That's not even an argument. It also proclaims his bias, and goes a long way towards explaining his faulty rationale for everything else.

Although I think this is clearly a State's rights issue, I want it off the table. We have much bigger things to worry about, and this is a huge distraction, and a losing issue for Republicans. But hey - keep it in the spotlight. The statists will thank you for it.

Darrell said...

I always trust guys/gals that take their made-up names from the world of video gaming.