Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

On gay marriage

Early last month my home state, Vermont, became the first state to legalize gay marriage via statute. Our governor, Jim Douglas opposed the bill citing first, the states civil union law (passed a near decade ago) as a sufficient legal measure to extend same sex unions legal benefits similar to traditionally married couples and later vetoed it, citing the ever important economic crisis as a matter of priority. In the end the Vermont legislative branch overrode the governor's veto and same sex marriage was legalized. The state of Maine has followed in similar suit today and New Hampshire is on the brink.

I'll be honest and admit that I, during the heated and much publicized governmental battle, remained largely ambivalent regarding the outcome. My personal perspective on this was (and remains) that any lifestyle that doesn't directly threaten my personal safety, the safety of my fellow citizens or the general structure of the civilization on which the latter two depend upon for their existence, should be accepted socially and legally.

That said, I am an activist in only "all things me and mine" and, given my lack of personal identification with it, this cause simply didn't fall into the narrow confines of "matters to be critically considered." Someday I may have to answer for that bit of selfishness but in the meantime life is complicated, busy and very much not in accordance with what I'd resigned myself to years ago. So you'll excuse me if, upon hearing of the reversal of governor Douglas' veto, I didn't lift a fist in celebration or whoop it up, rather merely nodded and thought "makes sense."

I've had discussions on this topic both online and off and never have I met a coherent argument against gay marriage that didn't include either religious prejudice or blatantly subjective bias. No argument has ever convinced me that, on the whole, the recognition of gay marriage is an inherent danger to me, my fellow citizens (beyond their selective and imaginative discomfort) or my society. Now, a decade after legalized civil unions and a month after legalized gay marriage, I've yet to see even circumstantial evidence here in my state to support the cause of those in opposition, much less anything strictly empirical.

I welcome any contrary (or supportive!) views as this subject, despite the addition of (essentially) two states, is far from being a historical matter. There are already concerns in Maine regarding a referendum which may well reverse the statute.

31 comments:

Jeff said...

Jay - I think the support of "marriage" being strickly defined as between a man and a women is based in sentiment or religious conviction. But then I don't have a problem with that. We're really arguing over a word here, "marriage." Civil Unions afford the same basic rights between couples. So while your right that there's no harm done to me personally I respect that some communities or states just don't support the idea of marrigage being between two same sex people. I do think this is a state issue not a federal issue. But, with that said, the states that do not have same sex marriage provisions should have the right to reclassify married gay couples from another state as "civil partners" if the state, the couple moves into, does not recognize gay marriage. This would at least allow the states the freedom to not desolve the marriage per se but be able to recornize it as they see fit. The benefits would remain the same but, again, but what we call it (the real issue) would change only. This compromise might cool the anger.

Just looking for compromise here. Anyway that is my take...for now.

Dan tdaxp said...

Secular Right gives 6 reasons:

http://secularright.org/wordpress/?p=1940

My take: tradition is the sum of everything that has kept us from being destroyed. Changing traditions without knowing what we are doing strikes me as wise as changing our genetic code without knowing what we are doing.

Adrian said...

Nice post. Similarly I have yet to hear of anything in Massachusetts indicating the destruction of society.

Dan tdaxp said...

Adrian's comment, unlike Jay's original post, is nonsensical.

The contrast between them is the difference between reasoned debate on the issue and the use of rhetoric and hyperbole.

One might as well say, "I have taken a mysterious pill and do not fill sick yet. The FDA should approve this immediately!"

Adrian said...

The world didn't fall apart when interracial marriage was legalized. Neither will it fall apart when gay marriage is legalized.

And what are single sentence blog comments for if not amusing rhetoric and hyperbole?

Eddie said...

Dan,

While the "Secular Right"'s arguments are reasoned and worthy of discourse, the rhetoric from some religious groups and advocacy orgs with large membership rolls and ample influence in society about gay marriage has been quite alarmist.

Also, I find your invocation of tradition on this issue striking when one considers many opponents of torture (especially in the military) make the same argument, one you find lacking on that issue. That said, I recall many a Southerner arguing for traditional race relations as opposed to equality along the same lines so maybe its an argument with a validity in only certain areas?

I agree with Jeff's idea of a compromise on how states can recognize the civil unions/gay marriages. That said, most states in the South will likely not recognize civil unions, let alone gay marriages, for another few decades. Where does that leave them in a legal sense?

If anything, at least there seems to be a movement from legislating through the courts to actually courting and counting votes in a legislative environment with allegedly accountable politicians.

I would affirm Jay's opinion here. We as of yet have no evidence of terrible consequences nor any particular developments that would make one doubt the alleged legislative wisdom of Vermont's political representatives, so it is at least too early to tell.

Social conservative commentator Cal Thomas expressed thoughts about this in a column bemoaning the gay marriage ruling in Iowa that I feel are worthy of sharing because he gets at a core truth of the flaw in so much social conservative activism at this point:

"What poses a greater threat to our remaining moral underpinnings? Is it two homosexuals living together, or is it the number of heterosexuals who are divorcing and the increasing number of children born to unmarried women, now at nearly 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

Most of those who are disturbed about same-sex marriage are not as exercised about preserving heterosexual marriage. That's because it doesn't raise money and won't get them on TV. Some preachers would rather demonize gays than oppose heterosexuals who violate their vows by divorcing, often causing harm to their children. That's because so many in their congregations have been divorced and preaching against divorce might cause some to leave and take their contributions with them."

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/thomas040709.php3

Dan tdaxp said...

Adrians' first sentence is both true and irrelevent.

One might as well say the world didn't fall apart with the introduction of aspirin, so the FDA should just automatically approve all drugs.

I am saddened by Adrian's affection for "amusing rhetoric and hyperbole." I go to blog's like Jay's to learn more, and improve my understanding of the world. Comments like Adrian's simply waste the time of everyone who takes conversation seriously.

Eddie,

While the "Secular Right"'s arguments are reasoned and worthy of discourse, the rhetoric from some religious groups and advocacy orgs with large membership rolls and ample influence in society about gay marriage has been quite alarmist. True.

Yet throwing the baby out with the bathwater is like throwing out reasoned concerns of global climate change because of Al Gore's alarmism.

Also, I find your invocation of tradition on this issue striking when one considers many opponents of torture (especially in the military) make the same argument, one you find lacking on that issueNot sure what you mean here. Waterboarding was used during the Spanish-American War's clean-up phase. Are you arguing that painful interrogation techniques are part of our traditional tools? If so, this undercuts your own case.

That said, I recall many a Southerner arguing for traditional race relations as opposed to equality along the same lines so maybe its an argument with a validity in only certain areas?This is reasonable. Think again of genetics, another area where our behaviors are guided by traditions sketched in carbon.

Tinkering with genes -- simply throwing out what seems to be junk, or what seems to regulate cancer, or whatever, may well do some good. In fact, in certain cases, many lives can be saved.

From this, do you demand immediate unregulated gene therapy for and genetic engineering of humans?

I doubt it.

I agree with Jeff's idea of a compromise on how states can recognize the civil unions/gay marriages. That said, most states in the South will likely not recognize civil unions, let alone gay marriages, for another few decades. Where does that leave them in a legal sense?In a system of competing local authorities, which is the whole point of a federalist system.

If anything, at least there seems to be a movement from legislating through the courts to actually courting and counting votes in a legislative environment with allegedly accountable politicians. Not sure what your point is. In New England two states enacted homosexual marriage democratically. In the Midwest, Iowa did it by judicial fiat. Most states have been by judicial fiat.

I would affirm Jay's opinion here. We as of yet have no evidence of terrible consequences nor any particular developments that would make one doubt the alleged legislative wisdom of Vermont's political representatives, so it is at least too early to tell. Obviously. Again, go back to the FDA analogy.

Of the Cal Thomas quote...

The first paragraph is rhetoric, a logical fallacy. It raises a false dichotomy. It's not worthy of being taken seriously.

The second paragraph is rhetoric, a logical fallacy. It raise an ad hominem attack. It's not worthy of being taken seriously.

Eddie said...

Dan,

"Yet throwing the baby out with the bathwater is like throwing out reasoned concerns of global climate change because of Al Gore's alarmism."

I would agree. Adrian perhaps was referring to the utter hyperbole and outlandishness of comments regarding MA's descent into chaos and what-not that came from some of these groups.


"Waterboarding was used during the Spanish-American War's clean-up phase. Are you arguing that painful interrogation techniques are part of our traditional tools? If so, this undercuts your own case."

And those who engaged in it were punished by military authorities via the UCMJ. Opposition to torture and torture methods such as waterboarding, stress positions, etc. has gone back to General Washington.

"This is reasonable. Think again of genetics, another area where our behaviors are guided by traditions sketched in carbon."

Perhaps scientifically reasonable, but we have the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence that get in the way of that concern (as we are a nation of laws, not science). Just because a position is potentially reasonable does not mean its valid or serious.

"From this, do you demand immediate unregulated gene therapy for and genetic engineering of humans?"

Some scientists certainly argue for that. I am not one and consider it a red herring in this conversation.

"In a system of competing local authorities, which is the whole point of a federalist system."

Agreed. I fear the litigation costs as a taxpayer though.

" Not sure what your point is. In New England two states enacted homosexual marriage democratically. In the Midwest, Iowa did it by judicial fiat. Most states have been by judicial fiat."

My point is that outside of MA and IA, the last three states moving forward (VT, MA and now apparently NH) are doing so in a legislative fashion. Much better to me than judicial fiat.

I disagree with your assertions of Thomas committing logical fallacies. Another example is a church group that is vested in anti-abortion advocacy while saying nothing and raising no money for Christian pregnancy care centers which encourage women to not have abortions and help find them assistance and volunteers in the community (especially in this economy) to help with the baby is an organization with a terrible sense of priorities.

Thomas makes twin points about skewed priorities and motives in a cable TV outrage machine environment. Those seem especially valid to me watching the fundraising of some of these groups on such issues as gay marriage at a time when so many of the faithful are struggling mightily.

Dan tdaxp said...

Eddie,

Why is the analogy a red herring?

It fits. In both cases, proponents argue that their right to form contracts with whom they wish should take precedence over a legal caution over unintendend consequences.

Eddie said...

Equality to me doesn't necessarily consist of some of the more liberal requirements (i.e. whites must sell goods to blacks, whites must allow Mexicans to work in their place of business, etc.) but more of an equality under the law, from equal voting rights to an equal right to an education.

So to me, that is not a contract to be entered into, unless the protesting party would like to move to another country or go to jail b/c they cannot adhere to our Constitution.

That's why I considered your point there a red herring, diverting the discussion because that's not in any way what I was referring to.

deichmans said...

Soob,

While Dan makes a good point regarding "tradition", I think he has it backwards: this is an expansion of a tradition's "demographic footprint".

The institution of marriage, while historically a bartering mechanism between patriarchal families to increase their standing, is a lifelong commitment of monogamy to another person.

Strip away the issue of gender and you have the same tradition (which I think is the point Adrian was making). And though Moses and the Apostle Paul don't see it this way, I believe any enduring commitment to another is a noble and worthy endeavor deserving of our support.

Dan tdaxp said...

Eddie,

I do not understand your point. Is marriage not a contract?

Deichmans,

Generally agreed.

In the same way, simply replacing a child's A and C DNA molecules with with Z and P molecules would leave him with the same DNA. [1]

Will it screw things up later on? Maybe, maybe not. You get into the ethics of experimenting with live children, which is generally discouraged in an educational setting, and generally demanded by proponents of homosexual marriage.

Do you support father-daughter marriages? (This is a real question, not rhetoric).


[1] http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/090214-weird-life.html

Monado said...

Domestic partnerships giving same-sex couples many of the rights of marriage were established in Canada by a Supreme Court decision in 1999. However, that left their rights and obligations uneven from province to province. The Crown's (federal) lawyers determined that discrimination would fail a constitutional challenge and that same-sex marriage should be legalized by statute.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in some provinces of Canada since 2003. It has been legal across the country since July 2005. All it has done is increase the number of people who can marry if they wish, allow more people to declare their commitment, stabilize their relationships, and clarify their legal status with respect to hundreds of laws and regulations.

Jay@Soob said...

Sorry to all for the lag in responding.

Jeff, the argument that proponents have put forth (and it's bears merit, IMO) is that so long as the union between a gay couple remains termed and considered in a different fashion than that of marriage, they remain unaccepted by and outside of the mainstream.

Dan, thanks for the link. SR's explanations seem to be conservative fluff ("anti-minoritarianism") nonsensical ("equating gay marriage to marrying a pony") outright inaccurate ("no society has ever approved of homosexual bonding") and inductive ("When I was in college no homosexuals were beaten and brutalized.) I'm tempted to post a "Fisking" of it.

Your own reservations seem to suggest that the allowance of gay marriage may destroy the tradition of marriage (hence the "tradition is the sum of everything.") I'd be curious to know how that destruction could come about?

Jay@Soob said...

Adrian, good to hear you and I agree! Also good to hear and see (I've just returned from Burlington MA) that the commonwealth of Mass remains intact.

Dan tdaxp said...

Jay, so I know who what is under discussion, what is your opinion about father-daughter marriages?

Jay@Soob said...

Eddie, Cal Thomas's commentary provides ample evidence that the existing institution of marriage is decaying and i appreciate the comparitive and the message (that of "hey let's not worry about gay marriage, rather let's shore up traditional marriage) but it's not much of an argument for gay marriage, and I don't expect it was meant to be.

Dan, the analogy between genetic engineering and gay marriage is interesting but a bit of a stretch. One consideration is the matter of negative consequence and the ability to reverse course to correct that consequence. Gay marriage can be redacted through amendment where as a run away strain of pathogen X or some nefarious genetic malfunction in humans identified three generations on would require much more arduous (perhaps impossible) efforts to correct.

Jay@Soob said...

Dan (sorry, commented over your comment) my thoughts on father daughter marriages? Two fold. The personal: it's insidiious and disgusting. The analaytical: Incest invites birth defects, birth defects equate to less or non-functional humans, less or non functional humans equate to the demise of a society (within the context of today.)

Jay@Soob said...

I should amend that to say that a growing demographic of less or non functional humans equate to the demise of a society. Hence, father/ daughter marriages (assuming they a consecrated) are a natural taboo for human kind.

Jay@Soob said...

Shane. agreed and well said.

Monado, thanks much for the comment and Canada certainly seems to be the obvious bellwether for any social destruction wrought by same sex marriage though I'd toss in the caveat that how Canadian society reacts and how American society reacts may be two different cases. I'd be curious to know what the provincial lean was in Quebec before this bit of national legislation passed.

Dan tdaxp said...

Jay,

Thanks for the comment(s) in reply! :-)

One consideration is the matter of negative consequence and the ability to reverse course to correct that consequence. Gay marriage can be redacted through amendment where as a run away strain of pathogen X or some nefarious genetic malfunction in humans identified three generations on would require much more arduous (perhaps impossible) efforts to correct.I think this is an incredibly optimistic view of the reversibility of social engineering. I do not know of any large-scale social engineering effort that you can point to as being easily reversed without lasting consequence, while examples of large-scale social engineering efforts that have irreversible lasting consequences are too numerous to count.

The analaytical: Incest invites birth defects, birth defects equate to less or non-functional humans, less or non functional humans equate to the demise of a society (within the context of today.)The eugenical argument is interesting.

Of course, it would allow marriages between stepfathers and stepfathers, even in cases where the girl has been legally adopted. Likewise, it would allow marriages between fathers and daughters, in situation were the daughter is considered a biological descendent for legal purposes (eg, child support) but not from a genetic basis.

Do you apply it to equally damaging situations, such as women over 40 who have children? Or should it be illegal for 40 year olds to marry, as well?

I seem to recall several celebrities older than 40 who had children, and society remains intact.

Further, do you believe that people with heritable diseases should be prohibited from marrying?

Are you limiting 'damaging' exclusively to diseases that lead to a rise in morbidity, or other socially undesirable traits as well (such as low intelligence). If so, do you propose that blacks should be prohibited from marrying, as children of black-black unions tend to have an IQ one standard deviation below children of white-white unions?

Basically, I am trying to find a basis for your beliefs here (in favor of homosexual unions, against father-daughter unions) beyond the idiosyncracies of personal bias.

Hence, father/ daughter marriages (assuming they a consecrated) are a natural taboo for human kind.It is an open question, but it may be that interaction with a member of another race is a natural taboo for human kind. Very young children can distinguish members of other races, and show greater hesistancy to engage with them. If your argument for criminalizing a loving union between two people is 'natural taboo,' would you thus seek to criminalize interracial marriage.

Further, what degree of innate bigotry raises to the level to trump individual rights. For instance, I do not know offhand the statistics of father-daughter incest v. exclusive homosexuality, but I would hesitate to assume that the former is rarer than the latter. If so, would you thus argue for the legalization of father-daughter marriages and the criminalization of homosexual marriages.


Moving on from these questions, which I would enjoy an answer too...

The only refernces to "pony" in the post are in the comment section, none of which were penned by the author. Your comment, as it was written, is deceptive. If you do right a post in reaction to SR, I hope it will be less deceptive.

Your own reservations seem to suggest that the allowance of gay marriage may destroy the tradition of marriage I have no idea.

Certainly, if you think that unintended consequences are limited only to the specific phenemonon under discussion, then you are searching for 'black swans' in an radically limited space.

I'd be curious to know how that destruction could come about?I point out there may be consequences that are "unknown unknowns", to use Rumsfeld's phrase. You ask for a list of mechanisms these unknown unknowns. Obviously, if mechanisms are listed, then they would become known unknowns!

More broadly, I should point out that your hyperbole is an example of the fallacy of the excluded middle -- you appear to be arguing that because the worst possible outcome has not occured, negative outcomes will not occur.

Jay@Soob said...

Dan, a partial (in the extreme) response for now as it is late. I'll address your well thought commentary in full as soon as I can.

In regards to the "marry a pony bit," give the post another read and I think you'll find this:

"Once marriage has been redefined to include homosexual pairings, what grounds will there be to oppose futher redefinition — to encompass people who want to marry their ponies, their sisters, or their soccer team?"

The reference in the commentary was, as I remember, to a llama.

I'm not much on blatant deception when it comes to critical discourse, Dan.

Dan tdaxp said...

Indeed! There were three references to ponies in the comments, but there clearly was one in the original post as well.

The fault is entirely mine. The criticism is retracted.

Now, sleep beckons for me, as well.. :-)

deichmans said...

Dan,

Provocative question! My first instinct was similar to Jay's: morally reprehensible, and the medical record shows a propensity for genetic disorders like hemophilia.

However, that logic does present a slippery slope: should medical jurisprudence dictate the legality or permissability of a matrimonial bond? I think not.

Ibid. for polygamous unions. If the women so wish, why not allow it? (Didn't Solomon have several hundred wives?)

On one extreme, you have the preference for individual dictates: do whatever you want, because freedom of choice in an unalienable human right. Pro individual, anti-moral code.

The other extreme is rigidity of social norms, whereby nobody deviates. While I find same-sex marriages acceptable as the monogamous expression of love between two cogent and willing adults, as a father of daughters I find the notion of father-daughter marriage morally reprehensible.

Where does the middle ground lay? In forbidding such variance from established moral codes due to genetic or other arguments? That would make some unions unacceptable (father-daughter, polygamous, etc.) but others acceptable (e.g., between mentally disabled pairs or other couples where there may be a demonstrable disadvantage genetically).

NYkrinDC said...

I lean libertarian on social issues, so for me, the state has no business getting in the business of marriage. Call it a civil union for all, male-female, same-sex. If people want to marry, they can choose to find a church that caters to their specific lifestyle. The only rule of course would be, that both parties are consenting adults & human, and not related by blood or other relationship.

The state sanctions contracts, the church marriages under whatever god they choose to worship.

As for father-daughter marriages, I think there's an element of abuse that would immediately be raised in such a situation since a father by virtue of being a parent has a certain authority over a child even into adulthood that is different from say, joe on the street.

Dan tdaxp said...

NYkrinDC's advocacy that the state not negotiate certain contracts is interesting.

He writes that "there's an element of abuse that would be immediately raised." I am not sure what he means here. Is his argument that there is a conclusive presumption that contracts between parents and adult children is done under durress?

Certainly, there is a "certain authority" in parent-child relationships. If by this, NYkrinDC means that the love of a child can be so great that the absense of a parent creates a lonliness, this is hardly unique. Any exposure to love poetry, romance novels, or for that matter humanity in general, would indicate such situations are widespread and often celebrated.

I get that NYkrinDC may find certain bedroom-related contractual relationships between consenting adults weird and disgusting, and cannot imagine how anyone would enter into them outside of an abusive relationship. Such feelings are widespread among at least some critics of homosexual marriage, as well.

Dan tdaxp said...

Deichmans,

It is a tricky situation. The last possibility you present leaves the law as little more than the collection of whatever bigotries and biases are politically correct at the moment. Hopefully the laws we wish are more just than that!

It strikes me we can shield ourselves in tradition, or free ourselves with respect to contracts [1], but should be wary of laws based on bigotry, fear, and the legalization of the familiar (a sentiment which is widespread among both opponents and proponents of homosexual marriage.)

[1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2009/05/09/marriage.html

Jay@Soob said...

Dan,

I do not know of any large-scale social engineering effort that you can point to as being easily reversed without lasting consequence, while examples of large-scale social engineering efforts that have irreversible lasting consequences are too numerous to count. Yes, the reversal is hard (we even fought a civil war over one) but not irreversible. Contrary to potential genetic dalliance which once done cannot be undone via legislative or judicial means. Sorry, the analogy, for me, just doesn't fit.

Beyond which, there exists a social bellwether for same sex marriage in the form of civil unions.

Which brings me to your next point:

Of course, it would allow marriages between stepfathers and step[daughters], even in cases where the girl has been legally adopted. Likewise, it would allow marriages between fathers and daughters, in situation were the daughter is considered a biological descendent for legal purposes (eg, child support) but not from a genetic basis.So far as I know there is no law against marrying a stepchild so long as they are of age. I could be wrong.

As far as the biological daughter bit, it's incest and incest, like cannibalism, isn't received favorably by nature.

The 40 year old mother, well I'm not privy to how this damages society or to what degree those mothers birth damaged children. I suspect, were it a worrisome trend I'd have read about it.

As far as interracial relations go, that's a reach at best. If there's science out there that suggests interracial breeding results in inferior off spring I'd like to read it.

I point out there may be consequences that are "unknown unknowns", to use Rumsfeld's phraseThat's a hollow argument. It would hold merit if the concept of homosexuality and the subsequent facet of homosexual relations had suddenly sprang forth last Wednesday, but they obviously didn't.

you appear to be arguing that because the worst possible outcome has not occured, negative outcomes will not occur.No. I'm looking at real world evidence and suggesting that there is no "worst possible outcome." Aside from presenting possible social maladies that might occur via older mothers and incest I'm at a loss as to any plausible evidence (other than unknown unknowns) you've presented in contrary to gay marriage.

Can you offer, point blank here it is, some evidence against it?

Dan tdaxp said...

Jay,

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, the reversal is hard (we even fought a civil war over one) but not irreversible. Contrary to potential genetic dalliance which once done cannot be undone via legislative or judicial means. Sorry, the analogy, for me, just doesn't fit.I'm not sure I get your point here. The Civil War killed of something like 2% of the population and saw the use of Constitutionally innovative legal techniques (sending in troops to prevent quorums in state legislatures, suspending habeus corpus, etc).

Allow a kill-off of 60 million Americans and a suspenion of the much of the Constitution, direct military rule in half of the country, and one-party rule, and you could be pretty successful in reversing any number of genetic dalliances.

Beyond which, there exists a social bellwether for same sex marriage in the form of civil unions.Not sure what your point is here, either.

My concern here is avoiding a legal standard that is merely a reflection of the biases and bigotires of the day. If you're argument that homosexual marriage is in keeping with the politically correct biases and bigotries of the moment, I could hardly disagree.

So far as I know there is no law against marrying a stepchild so long as they are of age. I could be wrong.According to Wikipedia (always infallible, I know), state laws on incest range from legal in New Jersey to criminal even among non-blood relations in Hawaii. [1]

The biases and bigotries of the moment vary from place to place.

As far as the biological daughter bit, it's incest and incest, like cannibalism, isn't received favorably by nature.

The 40 year old mother, well I'm not privy to how this damages society or to what degree those mothers birth damaged children. I suspect, were it a worrisome trend I'd have read about it.
Unlikely, as older people currently enjoy the legal ability to marry, and so there is little politcal advocacy happening here. Here are some links to get you started. [3,4] Health journals at your local library have more.

While the harm varies from situation to situation, in general both older parents and married first cousins inflict on their offspring 2% greater morbidity and mortality.

As far as interracial relations go, that's a reach at best. If there's science out there that suggests interracial breeding results in inferior off spring I'd like to read it. I am aware of none. Rather, the argument was made that father-daughter marriage should be criminal as there exists some natural taboo against it. Banning sexual activities to which to which there is some ingrained genetic bias against seems rather stupid, if you ask me.

That's a hollow argument. It would hold merit if the concept of homosexuality and the subsequent facet of homosexual relations had suddenly sprang forth last Wednesday, but they obviously didn't. That's a hollow reply.

Rather, the modern conception of homosexuality is just that -- modern. It's unattested in the historical record, before the last century or so. Homosexual marriage is simply unheard of. [4]

. I'm looking at real world evidence and suggesting that there is no "worst possible outcome." Aside from presenting possible social maladies that might occur via older mothers and incest I'm at a loss as to any plausible evidence (other than unknown unknowns) you've presented in contrary to gay marriage. I'm simply looking for a coherent argument for it that is not also legalizes old-old marriages but excludes father-daughter marriages. So far, all I've heard is a littany of special pleadings and innate biases.

Your inability to see a black swan hardly convinces me that one does not exist.[5]

If you want to advocate for freedom, do so, and except it may lead to misery in the natural course of things.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_regarding_incest#United_States
[2] http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2008/12/cousin_marriage_should_not_be.php
[3] http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2009/03/old_fathers_have_duller_childr.php
[4] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/04/22/homosexualism-v-homosexuality.html
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism#Development_of_Western_conservatism

NYkrinDC said...

NYkrinDC's advocacy that the state not negotiate certain contracts is interesting.Actually Dan, I'm not saying the state shouldn't negotiate it, rather simply change the name of what it is negotiating or arbitrating.

Marriage, as a word is problematic because society ascribes to it certain religious connotation, hence the rabid opposition from religious groups. Using the separation of state clause then, the state cannot legally sanction marriage for one group of people (male-female unions) while denying it to the other (same-sex couples) where the underlying reasoning for that negation is religious in nature. Hearing most of our legislative leaders on this, it can pretty much be summed up as "preserving the 'sanctity' of marriage.

Given that this is the case, and the state cannot deny equal protection, rights under the law simply due to religion, then it is better for the government to not be in the business of marriage, and instead switch to recognizing solely civil unions between male-female, same-sex couples, with marriage being the purview of each's respective religious establishment. If gays find a church that recognizes their union, then more power to them.

He writes that "there's an element of abuse that would be immediately raised." I am not sure what he means here. Is his argument that there is a conclusive presumption that contracts between parents and adult children is done under durress?

Certainly, there is a "certain authority" in parent-child relationships. If by this, NYkrinDC means that the love of a child can be so great that the absense of a parent creates a lonliness, this is hardly unique. Any exposure to love poetry, romance novels, or for that matter humanity in general, would indicate such situations are widespread and often celebrated.

I get that NYkrinDC may find certain bedroom-related contractual relationships between consenting adults weird and disgusting, and cannot imagine how anyone would enter into them outside of an abusive relationship. Such feelings are widespread among at least some critics of homosexual marriage, as well.
Again, this argument is mostly a red herring meant to distract from the actual argument at hand, you are essentially using the "well, if we allow gay marriage, then what's next man-dog love" line of reasoning here.

That said, let's explore your example. Describe the conditions under which a parent-child relationship develops into romantic/sexual relationship. At what age did this relationship develop? Is the other parent dead, absent? Are you cheating on your spouse during this relationship? What is your role as a parent? Have you been absent for a long period of time? Or did you raise the child from the time he/she was an infant and then decide you had romantic/sexual feelings for them? or they for you?

Anyone else, feel free to add other queries we may need answered in order to address Dan's example.

Dan tdaxp said...

NYkrinDC is correct that the word "negotiate" is out of place in my comment. It should read "enforce." This is the sole significant point of his comment, and it must be noted.

Later on, NYkrinDC attempts to evade what he takes to be a reductio ad absurdum attack by simply declaring it a "red herring." This is clearly a non sequitor, and thus easily disposed with.

NYkrinDC then describes me as presenting an "example," when I have presented none, and demands details of this example. I have no idea why he does this.

His questions would seem to be irrelevent. For instance, after making up the example in his head, and demanding that I describe it, he demands details, such as

"At what age did this relationship develop? Is the other parent dead, absent?"

Would he prohibit a homosexual marriage if one of the would-be grooms first was attracted to another male at age 12? Or age 18?

Would he prohibit a homosexual marriage if one of the grooms had an absent father? Or frigid mother?

All of this, of course, is irrelevent to the broader question, of how NYkrinDC can provide a basis (other than his own biases and prejudices) for criminalizing father-daughter marriages while legalizing homosexual marriages. He has not done so. Instead, he has raised a number of distractions to avoid this question.