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Defend Marriage as an Institution to Avoid Slippery Slopes

As those who read this blog know all too well, I find it difficult to take seriously many advocates of gay marriage because they make the case for marriage as a right without defending it as a social institution.

No wonder many opponents of gay marriage believe state recognition of gay marriage would put us on a slippery slope to state recognition of polygamous and polyandrous (one woman to multiple men) unions.  We might feel we’re on less of a slippery slope if gay marriage advocates both defended marriage as a lifelong sexually exclusive partnership between two individuals and criticized those offering alternate definitions of the institution.

They could do just that, if, as blogging law professor William Jacobson, they faulted Newsweek for its fawning article on polyamourous couples.

Read his post to see just how he mocks Newsweek.  When I read it, I wondered (and not for the first time) how reluctant the leading gay marriage advocates have been to promote the social benefits of marriage and to defend one of the ancient institution’s essential aspects–sexual exclusivity.

Maybe if they did that, gay marriage opponents would find it far more difficult to raise the slippery slope argument.

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68 Comments

  1. We want those children to be born into wedlock not outside of it…

    Unless they are gay, right?

    We want children to be born into the protections of wedlock between their biological mother and their biological father. Gay relationships, by definition, cannot offer that ideal.

    Okay, then why not advocate the following, AmericanElephant. Allow only those who are able to, and want to, procreate to marry.

    for the 20th time. Because pregnancy is often an accident. People who think they dont want children, get pregnant, and people who are told they are infertile by doctors get pregnant despite their doctor’s diagnosis.

    If we dont allow those people to marry (in order to coddle your emotional problems and refusal to accept your differences) then those children end up being born OUTSIDE of wedlock. Which is rather against the point.

    Comment by American Elephant — July 31, 2009 @ 6:11 pm - July 31, 2009

  2. No, its unnecessarily intrusive

    No, it isn’t. You’re just wrong about that, AE.

    Funny, marriage has existed for hundreds of years in the United States (much longer outside it) without EVER needing fertility tests.

    But ILC has suddenly dictated that they are now NECESSARY! Or are you trying to argue that the government testing and keeping what may very well be inaccurate records about your fertility is not intrusive?

    Either way its utterly boneheaded.

    No. While same-sex couples are not capable of producing children in the manner of a fertile straight couple, they are capable of producing children in the manner of an infertile straight couple.

    ILC returns to trying to redefine the meaning of reproduce. When one member of a couple reproduces a child with someone outside the relationship, the couple is not reproducing. One of them is reproducing, heterosexually, outside the marriage. The other is not participating. At most, they are adopting.

    And no, gay couples, who are categorically incapable of reproducing are not like infertile heterosexual couples. Millions of supposedly infertile couples, reproduce despite their diagnoses. Gays never, ever, ever, ever, EVER reproduce.

    Moreover, even if a heterosexual couple adopts or otherwise goes outside their marriage, they still provide that child with a mother and a father, the closest approximation to a biological family that exists. And which gays couples, again, categorically cannot do.

    Real children, that are genetically related to at least one of the parents

    I have a newsflash for you. You and your DOG are capable of “reproducing” a real child that is genetically related to at least one of you in the EXACT same way that you and another man are.

    Your argument bolsters the case for bestiality just as much as it does same sex marriage.

    Comment by American Elephant — July 31, 2009 @ 7:37 pm - July 31, 2009

  3. Assisted reproduction is NOT A CRIME

    Neither is having a child outside of wedlock. Neither is sticking your dick in a light socket for that matter. It doesnt mean we want to encourage it. (Except, perhaps, in your case — there is still a school of thought that believes in the therapeutic effect of shock treatment)

    Oh – and society could also consider whether it wants to make assisted reproduction a crime. Or for what couples

    Or you could seek therapy and come to terms with the fact that homosexuality and heterosexuality are different.

    Which would be much easier and make much more sense.

    Comment by American Elephant — July 31, 2009 @ 7:46 pm - July 31, 2009

  4. Or you could seek therapy

    And, AE, you start in with your personal attacks. That means my argument won! 🙂 And that I needn’t respond to you further, on this topic.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 31, 2009 @ 8:04 pm - July 31, 2009

  5. No, it means your argument is worthy of nothing but ridicule. You already lost just by making it.

    Comment by American Elephant — July 31, 2009 @ 10:10 pm - July 31, 2009

  6. again, if AE and NDT have sex, is it beastiality?

    Comment by rusty — July 31, 2009 @ 10:17 pm - July 31, 2009

  7. I’ve stayed out of this thread, primarily because I’ve nothing to contribute.

    Guess that puts me one up on rusty.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 1, 2009 @ 10:21 am - August 1, 2009

  8. for the 20th time. Because pregnancy is often an accident. People who think they dont want children, get pregnant, and people who are told they are infertile by doctors get pregnant despite their doctor’s diagnosis.

    For the 20th time, AmericanElephant, I am well aware of that. I’m also aware that pregnancies lasts 9 months. Plenty of time for people to get married if one of those accidents occur.

    If we dont allow those people to marry (in order to coddle your emotional problems and refusal to accept your differences) then those children end up being born OUTSIDE of wedlock. Which is rather against the point.

    Once again, you have it all backwards. I’m using your own logic here. I’m not the one making arbitrary bans on marriage here. There is zero chance a couple in which the women is over 60 can procreate. No accidents possible here. Yet, not only do we ban such marriages, we encourage them. I see value in marriages, even when we know there is no chance of procreation. You don’t. That’s fine. I’ll agree to disagree.

    As for the emotional problem thing. Thanks. I’ll reread your irrational rant in another thread against those who support hate crime laws for inspiration.

    Or you could seek therapy and come to terms with the fact that homosexuality and heterosexuality are different.

    You also lost the argument, because no one made such a claim. The question is, are they different enough to allow marriage in one case, and not the other. We even discussed the differences. You still come on the side against same sex marriage. Others of us don’t. No need for therapy, (sarc) but thanks for suggesting it. That was really classy of you. (/sarc)

    Comment by Pat — August 1, 2009 @ 1:40 pm - August 1, 2009

  9. There is zero chance a couple in which the women is over 60 can procreate.

    Well Pat, not absolutely zero. NDT pointed out to me in another thread that the oldest woman to be pregnant was 70 or something like that.

    Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of women have fertility problems by 40 and are sterile by 50. It is normal, biologically and statistically, for straight couples to be as permanently infertile as any gay or lesbian couple, if the woman is over 50. And yet, we (society) don’t mind marrying them. Imagine that.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 1, 2009 @ 2:00 pm - August 1, 2009

  10. Here’s a link to an article which says what I’ve been saying all along:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/KathrynLopez/2009/08/01/winds_shifting_on_gay_marriage

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 1, 2009 @ 2:06 pm - August 1, 2009

  11. 49: You make my point–Stonewall was about sexual liberation, not gay rights. Those of use who want to be included in the world of marriage/covenants are completely different from those who want to destroy marriage.

    Comment by Ashpenaz — August 1, 2009 @ 2:08 pm - August 1, 2009

  12. For the 20th time, AmericanElephant, I am well aware of that. I’m also aware that pregnancies lasts 9 months. Plenty of time for people to get married if one of those accidents occur.

    No, unfortunately you STILL don’t get it, or you would understand that if we wait until AFTER people get pregnant until we encourage them to get married, that while some will go ahead and get married, others will chose not to get married. Whereas if we encourage people to get married BEFORE they have children, we dont have that problem. Which is why the institution works as it is constructed and DOESNT work with your intrusive, Orwellian requirements.

    I’m using your own logic here.

    No, what you are using has nothing to do with logic.

    I’m not the one making arbitrary bans on marriage here.

    Actually, you are. All the current restrictions on the marriage institution (male/female, non-related adults) serve to further the state interest of reproduction and child rearing within wedlock between the child’s biological parents.

    YOU want to eliminate the gender restrictions making the institution an ENTIRELY arbitrary one that permits some people to marry because they love eachother while prohibiting others from doing the same.

    Your re-definition of the institution is utterly arbitrary.

    There is zero chance a couple in which the women is over 60 can procreate. No accidents possible here. Yet, not only do we ban such marriages, we encourage them.

    Yes, we allow ALL unrelated men and women to marry regardless of age. If we encourage ALL men and women to marry, then ALL children will be born into wedlock, regardless of individual intent or ability. There is no need to test for fertility.

    Moreover, by encouraging ALL men and women to marry one another, it strengthens the institution. The more married couples there are, the more pressure there is to be married. The less married couples there are, the less pressure people feel to be and stay married.

    Marriage strengthens marriage.

    Encouraging alternatives to traditional marriage does not. It only encourages more alternatives. If two adult men can marry because they love eachother, then why cant two brothers who love eachother? Why cant an adult father and daughter marry eachother because they love eachother? If two people of the same sex are allowed to marry, it is impossible to claim the institution has anything to do with procreation so what is to prohibit ALL people who love each other from marrying?

    But the only reason you want to prohibit elderly people from marrying is because they meet the broad requirements which gay couples are categorically incapable of meeting. Pure sour grapes jackboootery.

    Comment by American Elephant — August 1, 2009 @ 11:14 pm - August 1, 2009

  13. Well Pat, not absolutely zero. NDT pointed out to me in another thread that the oldest woman to be pregnant was 70 or something like that.

    ILC, I vaguely remember that. I thought, in that case, and other cases in which the woman was over 60, the embryo was implanted, or there was some other non-procreative means.

    No, unfortunately you STILL don’t get it, or you would understand that if we wait until AFTER people get pregnant until we encourage them to get married, that while some will go ahead and get married, others will chose not to get married. Whereas if we encourage people to get married BEFORE they have children, we dont have that problem. Which is why the institution works as it is constructed and DOESNT work with your intrusive, Orwellian requirements.

    I do get your point, AmericanElephant. Again, I don’t advocate the arbitrary bans on marriage that you do, as I encourage people to marry whether or not they can or want to have children. In any case, if a couple who would otherwise be married, doesn’t want to marry after pregnancy, then I guess it wouldn’t have been much of a marriage to begin with.

    No, what you are using has nothing to do with logic.

    Okay. So the feeling is mutual about each others’ logic.

    YOU want to eliminate the gender restrictions making the institution an ENTIRELY arbitrary one that permits some people to marry because they love eachother while prohibiting others from doing the same.

    No. What I advocate is for two non-related, consenting adults to be allowed to marry. Period.

    Yes, we allow ALL unrelated men and women to marry regardless of age. If we encourage ALL men and women to marry, then ALL children will be born into wedlock, regardless of individual intent or ability. There is no need to test for fertility.

    Same is true under my plan.

    Moreover, by encouraging ALL men and women to marry one another, it strengthens the institution. The more married couples there are, the more pressure there is to be married. The less married couples there are, the less pressure people feel to be and stay married.

    Marriage strengthens marriage.

    Change your phrase “men and women” to “adults” and we’re in agreement pretty much here.

    I believe, however, we should NOT encourage gay men to marry a woman, just as I believe we should NOT encourage a straight man to marry a man. Otherwise, marriage is NOT strengthened.

    Encouraging alternatives to traditional marriage does not. It only encourages more alternatives. If two adult men can marry because they love eachother, then why cant two brothers who love eachother? Why cant an adult father and daughter marry eachother because they love eachother?

    This is interesting, since you are a stickler for semantics. What is traditional marriage? Is it the polygamy we had in the past? Is it the incestual marriage that some royal families engaged in to preserve the blue blood? Is it the arranged marriages that coerced people to marry? Is it one in which only persons of the same economic class could marry each other, or ones in which the races had to be the same? Where the woman was treated as property? Thankfully, “traditional” marriage has changed over and over again to where it is today. A lot for the better, and granted, some for the worse. I’m glad that (even excluding any same sex marriages) we’ve had the “alternatives” that we have today.

    As for your latter point, I already answered why, although I favor same sex marriage, I do not favor marriage between close relatives of either sex.

    But the only reason you want to prohibit elderly people from marrying is because they meet the broad requirements which gay couples are categorically incapable of meeting. Pure sour grapes jackboootery.

    Again, I do not wish to prohibit elderly people from marrying, even though they fail to meet the broad requirements of procreation. You’ve basically made the point that marriage = procreation. I’m fully aware that you do not believe that all marriages lead to procreation. I get that. And I understand that you don’t want to prohibit an elderly couple to marry for the reasons you stated. My point is, with your beliefs, why would you encourage an elderly couple to marry? How does that in anyway encourage a young couple to marry and procreate? What it may encourage is that young couple to say, “Gee, look at that nice elderly couple getting married. They obviously can’t have children, but yet they can still marry. I guess we don’t have to procreate, which is good, because we really didn’t want to anyway.”

    It’s not sour grapes at all. In fact, as I said, I encourage all unrealted adults, regardless of age, gender, ability to procreate, etc., to marry. You don’t. But I’ll be fine whether or not same sex marriage. It sounds like you’ll have more issues if same sex marriage happens.

    Comment by Pat — August 2, 2009 @ 11:11 am - August 2, 2009

  14. Way too much logic and good sense in that, Pat. I guess the prescribed ‘therapy’ didn’t work on you, heh 🙂

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 2, 2009 @ 8:00 pm - August 2, 2009

  15. I do get your point, AmericanElephant.

    No, you clearly don’t. Nor do you “get” the definition of the word arbitrary, the state interest in the marriage institution as defined by the legislatures and upheld by the courts, or how logic works among many other things.

    I don’t advocate the arbitrary bans on marriage that you do…What I advocate is for two non-related, consenting adults to be allowed to marry. Period.

    you are the ONLY one proposing arbitrary restrictions. The restrictions that are all in place now exist because the institution is defined as one that is about ensuring as many children as possible are born into the protections of wedlock between their biological parents.

    Closely related people are currently not allowed to marry because they are much more likely to produce children with birth defects. Three people are not allowed to marry, and people of the same sex are not allowed to marry because it takes one and only one person of each sex to procreate.

    If the state interest in the marriage institution is not procreation and child rearing as it necessarily CANNOT be if same sex couples are allowed to marry, then your restrictions of “two” and “non-related” are entirely arbitrary. If two men can marry simply because they love eachother, there is no logical reason whatsoever that three people shouldnt be allowed to marry because they love eachother, or why related people shouldnt be allowed to marry because they love eachother. But then again, you clearly dont understand the meaning of the word arbitrary.

    In any case, if a couple who would otherwise be married, doesn’t want to marry after pregnancy, then I guess it wouldn’t have been much of a marriage to begin with.

    Proof positive that your concept of the marriage institution is a selfish and meaningless one that puts the whims of adults before the needs of children. Why bother getting married before pregnancy? You can get married after pregnancy! And it you dont get married after you get pregnant thats OK too!

    Marriage becomes a meaningless, purposeless entitlement program under your definition.

    Okay. So the feeling is mutual about each others’ logic.

    Thats rather the point. Feeling has nothing to do with logic, which is convenient as you have nothing to do with logic either.

    Same is true under my plan.

    Wrong, you were arguing that ONLY people who want to and can have children should be allowed to marry. My, how quickly you pretend you never said what you said.

    Change your phrase “men and women” to “adults” and we’re in agreement pretty much here.

    But then the statement would be untrue. Which is I guess why you would agree with it.

    Encouraging same sex marriage does not strengthen the institution, It makes it a meaningless, purposeless entitlement program for adults.

    What is traditional marriage?

    It is the legal union of one and only one non-related, adult member of each of the sexes necessary to make a child so that as many children are born into, not outside of, the protections of wedlock between their biological parents as possible — as defined by the people through their legislatures. The way any free people defines their institutions

    “The Legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to the survival of the human race and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by children’s biological parents,” ~ SCOWA

    The ONLY way free people can define their institutions.

    I’m glad that (even excluding any same sex marriages) we’ve had the “alternatives” that we have today.

    Gay marriage, polygamy, incest, racial restrictions, bestiality, ARE the alternatives today.

    The enlightened contemporary understanding is that marriage is best when it exists to serve childrens best interests. Children that people of the same sex cannot make with one another. Do try to catch up with the times.

    I already answered why, although I favor same sex marriage, I do not favor marriage between close relatives of either sex.

    It doesnt matter why. Your definition of marriage is arbitrary and as such cannot stand. If same sex couples are allowed to marry, then marriage by definition cannot be about procreation. If marriage cannot be about procreation, but only exists to give out goodies to people for being in love, then ALL people who love one another must be allowed to marry no matter their number or relation to one another. But again, you understand neither logic nor the meaning of the word arbitrary.

    Again, I do not wish to prohibit elderly people from marrying

    Yes, you do. That was exactly your argument. You argued that if gay couples as a CLASS cant marry because they don’t even have the requisite equipment to make a baby, then all INDIVIDUAL couples who have the requisite equipment but may or may not use it to have a baby MUST be prohibited from being married until such time as they have a baby in order to make it fair to the entire CLASS of couples that are by definition categorically incapable of reproducing.

    You’ve basically made the point that marriage = procreation

    Yes, we as a society have decided, through our representatives, that it is best for society if the marriage institution remains focused on its most important function to society, reproduction and promoting the best interests of children.

    My point is, with your beliefs, why would you encourage an elderly couple to marry? How does that in anyway encourage a young couple to marry and procreate?

    Because, when the majority of society is married to a person of the opposite sex, it becomes the norm. And people who arent married, feel pressure to be married. It creates a society where mothers are always asking their sons, “when are you going to settle down and get married and give me grandchildren?” It creates a norm so powerful that even men who are attracted to other men would rather pretend that they fit into a norm that they do not, rather than come to terms with being different.

    And as anyone who has eyes can see when they look at communities where the out of wedlock birth rate is 70%, and every social ill is rampant, it is enormously destructive to society when men and women don’t marry before having kids. Kids are more likely to be poor, uneducated, unhealthy and criminal. Adults are more likely to become wards of the state.

    All because we lose focus on the fact that marriage exists for the benefit of children and thus society, not for the benefit of adults. Indeed, we have to create incentives –you know, all the incentives gays are demanding they have a right to — to convince adults to enter into marriage because it isnt always in their immediate best interests.

    It’s not sour grapes at all.

    yes, it really is. And whats more, this entire conversation is an enormous waste of my time.

    Comment by American Elephant — August 2, 2009 @ 10:42 pm - August 2, 2009

  16. you are the ONLY one proposing arbitrary restrictions.

    AmericanElephant, how is that when I advocate any two non-related consenting adults to marry whether or not they can or choose to have children? You’re the one limiting it to opposite sex couples.

    Thats rather the point. Feeling has nothing to do with logic, which is convenient as you have nothing to do with logic either.

    I stand corrected. Your logic is horrendous. Better?

    Closely related people are currently not allowed to marry because they are much more likely to produce children with birth defects. Three people are not allowed to marry, and people of the same sex are not allowed to marry because it takes one and only one person of each sex to procreate.

    No kidding.

    Proof positive that your concept of the marriage institution is a selfish and meaningless one that puts the whims of adults before the needs of children.

    Another example of your incredible lack of logic skills.

    If two men can marry simply because they love eachother, there is no logical reason whatsoever that three people shouldnt be allowed to marry because they love eachother, or why related people shouldnt be allowed to marry because they love eachother.

    And yet another example. And further, now you’re arguing that your version of “traditional” marriage does not necessarily involve love. I’m starting to dislike your sense of “traditional” marriage even more.

    as defined by the people through their legislatures. The way any free people defines their institutions

    I guess it kind of sucks that more and more legislatures are defining marriage to include same sex couples.

    If same sex couples are allowed to marry, then marriage by definition cannot be about procreation.

    Then by your “logic” if elderly couples are allowed to marry, then marriage by definition cannot be about procreation. Again, since I don’t believe that marriage does not necessarily equal procreation, unlike you, I don’t have a problem with an elderly couple marrying. I guess you don’t either, that is, unless they are same sex.

    And people who arent married, feel pressure to be married.

    Exactly. Except if it’s a gay man, he should feel pressure to marry another man, not a woman!

    It creates a norm so powerful that even men who are attracted to other men would rather pretend that they fit into a norm that they do not, rather than come to terms with being different.

    Which is a huge problem. As this has encouraged gay men to marry women. Are you saying that this is acceptable? Heck, as a gay man, you would actually marry a woman? Or you want to pretend to? If so, we will definitely have to agree to disagree on this point.

    And as anyone who has eyes can see when they look at communities where the out of wedlock birth rate is 70%, and every social ill is rampant, it is enormously destructive to society when men and women don’t marry before having kids.

    I’m in somewhat of agreement here. But the problem here is not so much marriage, because in those cases, marriage doesn’t help the problem. It’s that these persons shouldn’t be having children to begin with, until and if they are ever ready to have children. And yes, they should get married before that point.

    yes, it really is.

    Fine, believe what you want. I’m telling you I’ll be fine whether or not same sex marriage happens. I simply support same sex marriage. You don’t, and you did your best to debunk my reasons. No biggie.

    And whats more, this entire conversation is an enormous waste of my time.

    Then I’m sorry you felt the need to write a long response.

    Comment by Pat — August 3, 2009 @ 7:30 am - August 3, 2009

  17. [AE] If same sex couples are allowed to marry, then marriage by definition cannot be about procreation.

    [Pat] Then by your “logic” if elderly couples are allowed to marry, then marriage by definition cannot be about procreation. Again, since I don’t believe that marriage does not necessarily equal procreation, unlike you, I don’t have a problem with an elderly couple marrying. I guess you don’t either, that is, unless they are same sex.

    Pat, like you, I have no problem with the elder couple marrying – because the States have instituted marriage in order to privilege stable two-person relationships, with or without children. In the institution of marriage, society realizes important benefits to children; and society realizes other important benefits as well, even if children are not present. Marriage is so good for society, so much worth promoting, that childless couples should be brought within its orbit. That includes elder couples. And it includes gay couples.

    And you may have noticed that AE’s “logic” (I hereby apologize to the gods of Logic for calling it that) has once more blithely ignored the reality of gay couples that have kids, or that even procreate in the manner used by infertile straight couples. For someone hell-bent on misrepresenting his opponents as out of touch with sexual reality, AE is having an awfully hard time facing up to that.

    [Pat to AE] you did your best to debunk my reasons.

    … and AE blatantly failed.

    [AE to Pat] And whats more, this entire conversation is an enormous waste of my time.

    The willing participant (not to say “lady”) doth protest too much.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 3, 2009 @ 10:36 am - August 3, 2009

  18. In the institution of marriage, society realizes important benefits to children; and society realizes other important benefits as well, even if children are not present. Marriage is so good for society, so much worth promoting, that childless couples should be brought within its orbit. That includes elder couples. And it includes gay couples.

    Exactly, ILC.

    The willing participant (not to say “lady”) doth protest too much.

    Yeah, it makes you wonder what that’s all about.

    Comment by Pat — August 3, 2009 @ 2:17 pm - August 3, 2009

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