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Marriage - two viewpoints - Comments

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 1 by RomeStu

Two comments that grabbed my attention over the last few days....

1) from the head of Stonewall in the UK. " People who don't approve of same-sex marriage should take care not marry someone of the same sex."

2) from a comedian on 10o'clock live (UK channel 4) "why is it that many of the people most opposed to gay marriage seem to spend alot of time on their knees begging a man to come for the second time."

My opinion .... Marriage should simply be a civil / government issued license between 2 consenting adults. Religions may then add whatever special woo to that after the event. In Italy the church may not conduct a marriage, only the state. IE its off to the town hall first and over to the church later for a service, although the second part is in serious decline in Italy. Downside in Italy is that the church still has alot of political influence so same-sex marriage is along way off here.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 08:11:39 UTC | #926850

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 2 by Schrodinger's Cat

The first article is a load of lengthy and pretentious post-modernistic waffle that manages to say precisely nothing.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 09:45:49 UTC | #926865

peter mayhew's Avatar Comment 3 by peter mayhew

I didn't understand this sentence from the first article: "In effect, if marriage is now understood as a lifelong sexual contract between any two adult human persons with no specification of gender, then the allowance of gay marriage renders all marriages "gay marriages."". Non sequitur? Surely you could just as easily argue that it renders all gay marriages heterosexual, which is clearly proposterous.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:06:37 UTC | #926873

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 4 by godsbelow

What Schrodinger's Cat said.

Who cares what any church has to say about marriage or homosexuality? Any argument based on a false premise, i.e. that Christianity has any truth to it, isn't worth considering: it is invalid from the start.

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." The religionists can assert that their gods have specific views about marriage and homosexuality all they like, but until they provide credible evidence that their gods exist in the first place, rational people ought not even to engage with their arguments.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:12:07 UTC | #926875

Net's Avatar Comment 5 by Net

if polygamy were ever to be considered in this way, and i don't think it should ever be, i would want to see women allowed to have more than one husband, too. presently, polygamous marriages seem to be hierarchical in the sense that the man is the head of the household, and the women subservient. i'm not sure how such an arrangement fosters love an intimacy. ....

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 10:38:12 UTC | #926879

Graxan's Avatar Comment 6 by Graxan

What strikes me as odd about this whole debate is that nobody has superceded all of the claims of identifying what marriage actually is with the truth. This truth, I think, would shut up a lot of people.

Rather than being owned by the faiths or governments, I would say the institution of marriage comes from far antiquity where things like fertility, mating rights and the value of women in a tribe were closely guarded assets. Women were (and still are in many third world countries) considered assets in this way and had to be protected from 'spoiling'. The gaurantee of a resulting child being of correct lineage would be of prime concern for any interested tribesman. So we can see therefore that marriage was merely a form of contractual arrangement involving the swapping of vows of commitment at a time when survival resources were more scarce than they are today. This can be seen in, for example, Spartan culture in ancient Greece, where hoplite warriors were encouraged to take younger men as lovers in order to release pressure from the risk of early copulation with young women. The reason for this being the sad fact that girls who were 'spoilt' before being wed were killed or exiled, or in some cases forced into becoming priestesses. Marriage has long been combined with concerns about procreation and material wealth, with the introduction of doweries and inheritance of familial and tribal estates. The modern issues of love and choice have historically had little to do with it.

In short, the church has no grounds to any say in the matter and the modern day form of marriage is a particularly new phenomenon, so its matters little who marries who as it has no effect on our 'tribe'.

That's what I think anyway.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 11:12:19 UTC | #926885

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 7 by QuestioningKat

Perhaps the word "marriage" should not be legally used anymore. All legal marriages should be a "domestic union" or "domestic partnership" regardless of sexual orientation.Religious marriages should be "spiritual unions." So if a hetero couple wants to get married, they would get a license for a "domestic union" and then have their spiritual/religious ceremony and get their certificate from the church. If a church approves of gay marriage they could also have both the legal paperwork for a domestic union and then a spiritual union.

I recently heard that the church originally was not involved in the marriage business. Does anyone know the history/details?

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 11:17:51 UTC | #926886

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 8 by AtheistEgbert

Marriage used to be a vow of loyalty between two people. Now it's been demoted to a contract, and as we know, all contracts require the interference and meddling of a third party, simply because it must! God is of course the most meddlesome of all, followed shortly after by the church and then the state.

I don't think I will ever get married in a legal sense, as I don't need a third party to tell me to be loyal.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 11:22:08 UTC | #926887

potteryshard's Avatar Comment 9 by potteryshard

The purpose of the marriage contract is to (a) improve the lives of the participants, and to (b) improve the ability to successfully succor any dependents born to or adopted by the principals. Any combination of willing participants is equally valid; from the traditional pair, to a group of shared husbands and wives, to a basketball team or whatever. The makeup of the participants need only be limited by the imaginations of those participants as long as conditions (a) and (b) are met.

If you really want to improve the institution of marriage, however, the revised marriage contract needs to have a fixed expiration date. If the contract is not renewed after X number of years, it dissolves automatically according to pre-established terms. It would be far less traumatic and stressful, both for society and for the participants I would think, if a dying marriage was allowed to expire gracefully than to force participants to noisily murder it, or to just keep the suffering marriage on eternal life-support.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:35:25 UTC | #926900

Smegmar's Avatar Comment 10 by Smegmar

I don't see what atheism has to do with supporting gay marriage. What people think about marriage is different in different cultures, but I don't see the necessary connection with atheism.

Oh, and I disagree with Russell Blackford when he says the following: "Secular governments cannot presume to determine whether some form of conduct is immoral, all things considered."

Well, that's what secular governments do. So I guess that's what secular governments can do.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:39:58 UTC | #926902

mr_DNA's Avatar Comment 11 by mr_DNA

Comment 8 by AtheistEgbert :

Marriage used to be a vow of loyalty between two people. Now it's been demoted to a contract, and as we know, all contracts require the interference and meddling of a third party, simply because it must! God is of course the most meddlesome of all, followed shortly after by the church and then the state.

I don't think I will ever get married in a legal sense, as I don't need a third party to tell me to be loyal.

No I don't agree. You have it the wrong way round.

Historically marriage was seen as a contract and sometime in the fifteen century the church started to impose its self as the guardian of marriage as a Christian institution as notions of romance started to take hold.

I would have thought the value of a contract would be obvious but I'll state the benefits as I see them. Assuming a marriage doesn't work out or one partner dies or is medically incapacitated ( in a coma say ) there is a good chance legal situations will arise that will require a court to make a decision. Without a contract these situations become less clear cut and become messy. Lots of more work for lawyers without a contract which is great for them but not for the plaintiffs. This also applies to state benefits, pensions etc.

Without a contract you are basically asking the state to make a decision about whether you are part of a partnership or not; which when you think about it is more of a responsibility for the state than being an arbitrator. For me the contract is the main benefit of my secular state marriage. I know that if I die things will be a lot easier for my wife, If I am in a coma she will decide my medical treatment not my family, if my wife dies I get automatic custody of our daughter and so on. I don't see fidelity or any other personal quality that you associate with it as relevant.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:49:27 UTC | #926905

Smegmar's Avatar Comment 12 by Smegmar

Comment 11 by mr_DNA :

Historically marriage was seen as a contract and sometime in the fifteen century the church started to impose its self as the guardian of marriage as a Christian institution as notions of romance started to take hold.

I don't think that you can make claims about marriage from a historical point of view when it is not obvious for whom was it seen like you say it was seen. It's a difficult and complicated subject. Not something you can deduce from your atheism or dislike of religion.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 13:01:36 UTC | #926907

mr_DNA's Avatar Comment 13 by mr_DNA

Comment 12 by Smegmar :

Comment 11 by mr_DNA :

Historically marriage was seen as a contract and sometime in the fifteen century the church started to impose its self as the guardian of marriage as a Christian institution as notions of romance started to take hold.

I don't think that you can make claims about marriage from a historical point of view when it is not obvious for whom was it seen like you say it was seen. It's a difficult and complicated subject. Not something you can deduce from your atheism or dislike of religion.

I was being brief. I was summarising the churches involvement in 'wedlock' in my own country. I think I was giving a fairly impartial account of historical facts. Marriages were not originally carried out by the church and the church did not take an interest in them unless they were aristocracy. To quote :

"With few local exceptions, until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties.[24][25] The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required"

This quote is from a history web site not an atheist one and I was not applying a critique on grounds of atheism. Of course I have an opinion about whether there is a being who creates universes and then cares about the mating habits of a species of ape on an insignificant planet, but I wasn't addressing that point but rather the utility of marriage purely from a legal stand point.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 13:28:56 UTC | #926911

Smegmar's Avatar Comment 14 by Smegmar

Comment 13 by mr_DNA :

I was being brief.

Fair point.

I was summarising the churches involvement in 'wedlock' in my own country. I think I was giving a fairly impartial account of historical facts. Marriages were not originally carried out by the church and the church did not take an interest in them unless they were aristocracy. To quote :

"With few local exceptions, until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties.[24][25] The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required"

That may be true but I believe it doesn't support your claim that "the church did not take an interest in them unless they were aristocracy".

Of course I have an opinion about whether there is a being who creates universes and then cares about the mating habits of a species of ape on an insignificant planet, but I wasn't addressing that point but rather the utility of marriage purely from a legal stand point.

Well, utility... you're probably English.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 13:43:50 UTC | #926916

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 15 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Comment 7 by QuestioningKat :

Perhaps the word "marriage" should not be legally used anymore. All legal marriages should be a "domestic union" or "domestic partnership" regardless of sexual orientation.Religious marriages should be "spiritual unions." So if a hetero couple wants to get married, they would get a license for a "domestic union" and then have their spiritual/religious ceremony and get their certificate from the church. If a church approves of gay marriage they could also have both the legal paperwork for a domestic union and then a spiritual union.

Kat, I wholeheartedly agree. From what I hear, the main argument that is being made against same-sex marriages is that it completely alters the meaning of a marriage (male-female, spiritual). Let religion keep the outdated term 'marriage', or change it to spiritual union, whatever. As long as the actual, contractual partnership between two people, any two people, is carried out by an independant institution or secular government. This guarantees equal rights and benefits for any two people who wish to enter in such a contract.

Then it's off to the small details. If churches are legally mandated to perform this specific civil contract, are they allowed to refuse gays when they have the alternative to have the same contract made at City Hall? Will proponents of same-sex marriage continue whining that there is still a difference between a marriage and a partnership? etc.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 14:21:04 UTC | #926938

chinadoll's Avatar Comment 16 by chinadoll

I managed to get to the end of the Millbank article, and I have to say I found it amazing how magisterially he presented prejudice (gay people are such wonderful carers and so artistic), half-truth ("homosexuals are neither in a relation of solidarity with nor attraction to the opposite sex, but may well sometimes be in a relationship of rivalry") and outright lie (research shows that children are best brought up by heterosexual couples) with such learning and gravitas, in order to prove what he first thought of. This is as fine a demonstration of the validity of theology as an academic discipline as I have ever seen.

My favorite passage, though was this: "Christians are likely to frame the debate over gay marriage in terms of the true human good, the proper goals that human beings should aim for. Secular people, on the other hand, are likely to reject the idea that such goals can be objectively shared in common, and to frame the debate in terms of rights and private utility".

If I look at the evidence from environmental concerns, I would say that it is to secular people I would rather look for acceptance of the idea that there are objective common goals that human beings should aim for. Many Christians, on the other hand, appear happily to assert their individual rights to consume as much fossil fuel and to have as large families as possible, and hang the true human goood.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 15:50:19 UTC | #926982

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 17 by AsylumWarden

Marriage has always existed in society, they argue. But only since each area/culture/country has had a developed society, has there subsequently been marriage. Marriage never predates society. In other words, each definition of marriage has emerged following the emergence of a new society.

As we seem to be entering a new societal era (relatively speaking of course, through slow evolution!), why should we not subsequently be laying down our new definition of marriage that comes with it?

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:26:21 UTC | #927002

mr_DNA's Avatar Comment 18 by mr_DNA

Comment 14 by Smegmar :

Comment 13 by mr_DNA :

I was being brief.

Fair point.

I was summarising the churches involvement in 'wedlock' in my own country. I think I was giving a fairly impartial account of historical facts. Marriages were not originally carried out by the church and the church did not take an interest in them unless they were aristocracy. To quote :

"With few local exceptions, until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties.[24][25] The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required"

That may be true but I believe it doesn't support your claim that "the church did not take an interest in them unless they were aristocracy".

Of course I have an opinion about whether there is a being who creates universes and then cares about the mating habits of a species of ape on an insignificant planet, but I wasn't addressing that point but rather the utility of marriage purely from a legal stand point.

Well, utility... you're probably English.

Smegmar I don't have time to write to write a dissertation. I assume that an intelligent reader would know the history of patronage of the late medieval church and know the interlocking interests of the church and the nobility. To say that the church only cared about the marital affairs of the this class is accurate. Inheritance, power and dynastic alliances were common concerns for the church in a land where a duke might have his brother as his bishop. The church enjoyed significant income from pardons, bequests etc from the nobility, not the peasants! I am speaking in a descriptive manner about the behaviour of the catholic church which was a cause for reaction and revolt in this century because of the perception of corruption and privilege; this is hardly a radical statement.

Marriage does have utility. It should be a fantastic day ( for anybody, not just heterosexual couples ). But you shouldn't lose sight of legal benefits and responsibilities. The problem is that the perception has grown up in popular culture about it simply being an excuse to blow a fortune on frocks and cakes. So I repeat my point. You don't need a priest to marry you but you do need a lawyer to fight your case if you split up. Without the little bit of the paper somebody will likely end up disadvantaged.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:30:29 UTC | #927003

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 19 by Scruddy Bleensaver

My opinion .... Marriage should simply be a civil / government issued license between 2 consenting adults.

It's not that I disagree, but I wonder how we could - with a straight face - legally end discrimination against gay marriage and yet keep the ban on polygamy in place. Why just two people?

I think civil unions - a legal contract - should be open to anyone. 3 people, 5 people, cousins, a brother and sister, two brothers, anyone. When it comes to visitation rights in hospital, survivor benefits and the like, to deny anyone to designate whom they would like to receive these benefits would be bigotry in my opinion.

When the state gets involved with tax benefits, etc, however. you're looking at social engineering. Clearly society benefits when children are raised in stable families. Just as clearly, society is not helped by incestuous unions between brothers and sisters, therefore those are not to be so encouraged.

Gay marriages fall in the middle. I can easily see why the benefits of the social contract (again, hospital visitations, etc) should be allowed. I can't see the benefit of same-sex marriages to society, though, nor do I see why they are (from the point of view of society) superior to polygamous unions.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:37:03 UTC | #927007

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 20 by hungarianelephant

Comment 19 by Scruddy Bleensaver :

When the state gets involved with tax benefits, etc, however. you're looking at social engineering. Clearly society benefits when children are raised in stable families. Just as clearly, society is not helped by incestuous unions between brothers and sisters, therefore those are not to be so encouraged.

Gay marriages fall in the middle. I can easily see why the benefits of the social contract (again, hospital visitations, etc) should be allowed. I can't see the benefit of same-sex marriages to society, though, nor do I see why they are (from the point of view of society) superior to polygamous unions.

Well plenty of children are raised perfectly well by couples who have two uteruses, and the evidence is that having no uterus at all is no detriment to the child. So gay marriages, at least the ones which are likely to produce offspring, don't "fall in the middle" of this classification at all. Whereas marriages of people beyond childrearing age, whether gay or straight, would.

The way to square this circle is to admit that the state has no business choosing between different configurations of genitalia, or (in my view) even the number. Where it does have a role is in promoting stable family units in which to raise children.

This doesn't require any particular institution. In its simplest form, it could be achieved by allowing tax allowances to be moved around a stable, child-rearing family unit. In a sane system, this would include the allowances of the children themselves, but that is a discussion for another day.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:59:26 UTC | #927018

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 21 by Scruddy Bleensaver

The way to square this circle is to admit that the state has no business choosing between different configurations of genitalia, or (in my view) even the number. Where it does have a role is in promoting stable family units in which to raise children.

Agreed, but where's the justification to discriminate against polygamy then? Are there statistics to show having multiple mothers is harmful to the children?

Well, I guess you said that already with your "even the number". Is there anybody who can cogently argue for gay marriage, but against polygamy? How would you phrase that in a non-discriminatory fashion legally?

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 17:14:04 UTC | #927027

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 22 by hungarianelephant

Comment 21 by Scruddy Bleensaver :

Well, I guess you said that already with your "even the number". Is there anybody who can cogently argue for gay marriage, but against polygamy? How would you phrase that in a non-discriminatory fashion legally?

I think there is a practical consideration. In polygamy as usually practised, at least one of the parties has no choice in the matter: the first wife. The logic of allowing more than two parties in a marriage only works if all the parties truly consent.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 17:26:46 UTC | #927036

some asshole's Avatar Comment 23 by some asshole

[A] supposed "extension" of marriage to gay people in fact removes the right to marry from heterosexual people.

This can seem like a perversely contorted claim, but its logic is quite straightforward: the intended change in the definition of marriage would mean that marriage as traditionally defined no longer exists. Thus heterosexual people would no longer have the right to enter into an institution understood to be only possible for heterosexuals, as doubly recognising both the unique social significance of male/female relationship and the importance of the conjugal act which leads naturally to the procreation of children who are then reared by their biological parents.

Blah, blah, blah, YAWN. So if gay marriage becomes possible in my area, I've lost something? I guess this reasoning could be extended to anything. When women gained the ability++ to vote, men lost the right to vote. When blacks gained the ability++ to sit wherever they like on public transportation, whites lost the right to do so. How much brain damage do I need to submit to for this to make sense to me?

Isn't it ironic that, as usual, it's conservatives who put forth this ridiculous idea? They love "small government", "individual rights", yada yada, but oh--by the way--we'll deny your rights and peep into your bedroom window.

++ I say "the ability...", not "the right..." because I'd opine that "the right" was there all along--it had simply been denied.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 17:31:48 UTC | #927039

SalGagliano's Avatar Comment 24 by SalGagliano

The issue has nothing to do with "the Church" or "Religion". Those are meaningless distractions from the actual nature of the question, which is anthropological. A society's first and foremost interest is by definition, it's own propagation. Stray dogs can "make babies", but those babies must be raised to be healthy (mentally as well as physically) productive adults in order for the society to have continuity. Consequently, long ago, the fundamental societal building block organically coalesced from pairings of individual men to individual women, as observable reality clearly demonstrated that this was the most efficient and effective means of accomplishing this. "Marriage" is therefore not some invention of or bestowment from the State; it's simply a recognition of what already exists in nature (consider "common law" marriages, for example). Now, it may fairly be pointed out that some marriages - those in which one or both of the parties may be sterile, impotent or advanced in age - have no possibility of producing and raising children. However, in order to accommodate those situations, the definition of "marriage" - in a legal sense as well as in the public lexicon - does not have to be changed or altered. Such is not the case with "gay marriage" (an oxymoronic term if there ever was one). "gay marriage" has no natural basis, for it serves no group evolutionary strategy or purpose, and is therefore not a "marriage" at all. It's simply a rationalization concocted for purposes of providing self-gratification for the individuals involved. Nature always trumps human rationalizations - if science has taught us anything, it's taught us that much ...

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 17:51:33 UTC | #927045

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 25 by Cartomancer

SalGagliano, comment #24

What a nauseating bigot you are!

I shall leave aside your faulty anthropological just-so stories, and cut to the chase. Why is your weird definition of marriage (which I can only discern as something along the lines of "a legal institution that represents heterosexual pair-bonding and heterosexual child-raising) a better definition than a more tolerant, more inclusive, more liberal one that ensures a far greater benefit, happiness and equality for everyone? Allowing equal marriage for same-sex couples has no disadvantages and provides massive benefits. Continuing to make marriage a discriminatory institution on the arbitrary grounds of the number of trouser bulges possessed by the participants only causes harm.

gay marriage has no natural basis, for it serves no group evolutionary strategy or purpose

It has just as much natural basis as mixed-sex marriage. Same-sex love, same sex commitment and social bonding and partnership is just as natural and just as ancient as its mixed-sex counterpart. It also fulfils a vital social role - it is just as important for social group cohesion as mixed-sex marriage is. Significantly more important to those of us who are gay! It clearly did evolve, so it obviously has an evolutionary basis (and it occurs in every animal species we have studied), though that has nothing to do with its moral and ethical validity.

You are simply wrong here.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 18:44:34 UTC | #927059

some asshole's Avatar Comment 26 by some asshole

"gay marriage" has no natural basis, for it serves no group evolutionary strategy or purpose, and is therefore not a "marriage" at all.

Wow, SalGagliano, you've got it all figured out, don't you? So even if gay couples were to adopt and raise children competently, resulting in "healthy (mentally as well as physically) productive adults", that would serve no "evolutionary strategy or purpose"?

Even if your ridiculous claims were true, it does not defend the denial of the right to marry. Your argument could be twisted to apply to the right to own property and housing, the right to own weapons, or many other things--and it still would not make sense to exclude certain classes of people from those rights, based on what ignoramuses call "natural".

Homosexuality occurs in nature, and not just in humans. And I'd wager you know little about evolution.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 18:44:57 UTC | #927060

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 27 by Cartomancer

I also find Mr. Milbank's nigh-unreadable article the epitome of condescending faulty logic. "Natural Law" arguments applicable to all? No thanks, that kind of conceited scholastic wankery went out of general appreciation centuries ago, and has no valid evidential basis.

Indeed, the phrase "no valid evidential basis" pretty much sums up the piece. It is essentially thirteenth-century logic chopping redeployed to shore up the inherited homophobic prejudice he nurses. And as for the tosh about the "internal logic" of homosexuality... the man seems obsessed with the idea that the trouser furniture who you want to live with and sleep with has some profound implication for the stability and future prosperity of society. Not based on evidence and sociological and economic studies, which all point unambiguously to the fact that equality promotes better societies - but based on some weird aesthetic appreciation of "symmetries". This is not philosophy or ethics, this is a kind of personal, subjective art appreciation. Why Mr. Milbank thinks it has any relevance to the discussion we're having in the real world is anyone's guess.

More telling, he seems to assume that society needs his kind of abstract aesthetic onanism in order to thrive and prosper. The fact that people have been getting on with organising and living in and progressing with society for thousands of years while paying little or no attention to such rarefied fallacious conceptions seems to quite escape him. He has no understanding of the fact that a society, by and large, derives its cultural attitudes and rationalisations of its situation from its underlying social realities, and not the other way around.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 18:58:29 UTC | #927065

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 28 by Cartomancer

And I simply do not get this habit among the bigoted proponents of marriage inequality of pointing to the fact that the majority of children are born into heterosexual partnerships and raised by their biological parents.

Yeah? So?

It's not like having some discriminatory institution called "marriage" present in society is what keeps that happening. It's not like heterosexual reproduction is in any way dependent on marriage customs. It's not like people will suddenly stop doing that when marriage becomes equal and non-discriminatory. It's not like the marriage equality in Canada and Sweden and the Netherlands has stopped heterosexual procreation from happening.

The biological urge to procreate and nurture children is fairly fundamental to human biology. The cultural trimmings around it are the flimsiest kind of window-dressing. It doesn't need cultural trimmings to sustain it or make it special in the minds of the people who do it. Likewise, homosexual love will still be present in all human societies however much the culture tries to stamp it out. The last two millennia of savage bigotry have amply confirmed that.

Whereas things like tolerance and respect and equality - which fly in the face of our inherited primate urges toward in-group and out-group conflict and dominance hierarchy - THOSE need to be promoted and valued and talked up with cultural institutions. Those things are the things we can do something about, and do need to work on.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 19:09:49 UTC | #927067

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 29 by alaskansee

@ SalGagliano

Anthrax is natural too. :-) Go ahead, "it's natural."

Brought to you by The Natural Fallacy just one more logical fallacy in your long list of failures of basic reasoning.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 19:29:04 UTC | #927074

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 30 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 10 by Smegmar

I don't see what atheism has to do with supporting gay marriage. What people think about marriage is different in different cultures, but I don't see the necessary connection with atheism.

I could not agree more. I also think the myth that support for gay marriage is somehow the 'rational' choice should be dispelled. Certain causes have more or less hijacked the whole arena of rationality in recent years.......to the extent that the proverbial 'most people' dare not even question whether they are actually founded on rationality...for want of getting a '-phobe' of some sort hurled in their direction.

I object to the subtle twisting of facts that 'supports' this alleged rationality. One example, and it is in one of the above articles and also on a BBC article and a Guardian article, is the insertion of questions like ' when exactly did love come into marriage ?' The implication being that prior to the 18th century or so......nobody could possibly have married anyone because they loved them. So it is then implied that love in marriage is solely a modern thing and doesn't have a long history anyway........which really is complete and utter nonsense.

I object to these sort of subtle revisionisms that seem to be quietly acquiesed to in order to make the cause 'rational'. I object to the whole idea that this is simply an argument over the meaning of 'marriage'.....when in fact to a great many people the debate over the word 'normal' was never resolved first but simply bullied into resolution by political correctness.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 19:54:29 UTC | #927085