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Gay Marriage

I can think of few topics more tiresome and stupid to talk about, however, since it never seems to go away I occasionally feel compelled. For no good reason, today is one of those days.

I’m a catholic and while, like any good catholic, I disagree on some matters with my church, this isn’t one of those matters. The church does not sanction gay marriage nor divorce. I’ll use divorce to illustrate why this is such a tiresome topic for me (it’s really the same religious issue when boiled down, you’ll see why).

Two people get married in a catholic church. Prior to this, they apply and receive a marriage license from (insert governmental authority here). A priest is only one of many officials entitled to marry people, others include judges, sea captains, notaries, ministers, etc, etc. Later they decide to get divorced because… who knows, they are idiots and got married at 18, it doesn’t matter. They get divorced.

Or do they?

The question is two fold. They do not typically apply to the church for a divorce, because the church does not sanction divorce, they apply to the courts and so the court divorces them. In fact the court only changes the civil side of the contract. In the eyes of the church the two remain wed and neither could get married in the church again without first obtaining an annulment. Either of the two may get married the next day by a judge or notary or whomever, but not in the catholic church.

This is where the two things, gay marriage and divorce come to a head. When people get married by a church they actually undertake two contracts, one in the eyes of the state and another in the eyes of the church concerned. So in essence the issue becomes not one of church and state but one of an individuals desire.

If gays wish to get married I don’t give a shit, I’m tired of hearing about it. If the state is not compelling churches to marry people against their will than it is not a question of church and state, but one of state policy alone. The situation becomes muddled because originally in the west marriage was a recognition of a religious custom not an official act of state. Today the two are completely separate, two contracts done at the same time if ratified by a church. One single contract if officiated by a state official.

The question isn’t and never has been one of church and state.

Let the government do what it will and let private institutions define marriage as they wish, whether it’s a catholic hospital or if its a private low income housing development they should be able to recognize one or both types of contracts when determining one’s spouse, but the state should recognize only one, the marriage that requires a license, not the one in the eyes of a church that requires a priest (or what have you).

(really the state should get out of the business entirely but that’s a separate subject. I fail to see why the state should be involved at any level in sanctioning contracts such as this, and vote against gay marriage proposals on these grounds, not religious ones.)

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2011/10/03 at 22:15

    Marriages come with rights that cannot be obtained otherwise. Those rights allow couples to act in a way that assures more of their freedoms. For instance, take the right to not be compelled to testify against one’s spouse. The fact that married couples enjoy that right allows them the freedom to interact with and confide in each other without worry about what the state may do. No alternative civil contract is going to provide that. (And I know you aren’t going to take this route, but I once raised this with a rather dishonest conservative – not of the Hudson variety, this time – and he acted like marriage for all would just be an excuse to protect all those gay criminals out there. It was stupid.)

    Besides that, there are plenty of other rights which are gained under the umbrella of marriage. Many of them can be obtained via other contracts, but none of them can be obtained under one simple, big tent of a contract. Making people jump through hoops to get certain rights and protections screams inefficient government to me and I would think you would be against that.

  2. 2011/10/03 at 23:19

    Rights that do not exist independent of government are not in fact rights.

    The protections granted in one manner by government may be granted in others. It’s not really a good argument that only a thing called marriage can confer certain benefits. The sole right you mention is that one can not be compelled to testify against ones spouse. Here again however, it would be a simple matter to allow churches and other organizations (notaries are the best example as they seldom work for the government and often marry persons, they affirm mutual agreement in signing contracts and such) to marry people as they see fit and simply recognize these changes in status.

    Interesting thought, some “extreme” Mormons have more than one wife, but only in the eyes of their church.

  3. 2011/10/04 at 09:05

    I only wish it were so simple. Unfortunately at both the state and federal level, the state has so entangled itself in our everyday lives it is unlikely that the state could extricate itself so cleanly from ‘religious’ marriages vs. secular ones. Theoretically the federal government shouldn’t have anything to do with marriage law, but Social security benefits and taxes are dependent on such recognition. And the individual states are a hodgepodge of laws that confer various benefits and penalties based on marriage status. Even the previously mentioned ‘spousal privilege’ isn’t recognized in over a dozen states, so it is hardly a ubiquitous benefit.

    Personally, I think it would be much simpler if the state recognized marriages for the one reason they consistently benefit the state, and so incur the interest of the state – the state should recognize marriages that produce children. The reality is up until that point, in our society at least, it’s just two people getting together for an indeterminate period of time. The presence of mothers and fathers in a relationship however are a proven benefit to the state, and at that point all the privileges and state conferred benefits we associate with marriage can kick in. It also has the advantage of being a clean biological condition, unlike the nebulous ideas of shared affections or property.

  4. 2011/10/05 at 17:55

    This has been explained to your bigoted ears so many times, Jack. People past menopause, people who are infertile, people who have no intention of having children, people who take procedures to prevent themselves from having the ability to have children, and people who have not the mental faculties to care for children are all allowed to marry. You have no answer – none whatsoever – to why these people should be allowed to continue to get married while gays cannot. If marriage was about reproduction, then the laws would not only reflect that, but the government would have an interest in actually encouraging it. Furthermore, your argument falls apart if we get to a point where we want to control population size. But you damn well know you aren’t going to change your tune. Be honest for once. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are millions of children out there who need to be adopted. Gay couples can fill that void. (And before you continue down the path of dishonesty even further, there is zero evidence which says children of gay couples don’t do as well as children of straight couples.)

    Nate – As far as the US government is concerned, there exists the right not to be compelled to testify against one’s spouse. You can go down the philosophical road – which will only lead us to the conclusion that humans are making it all up anyway – but if we’re going to argue about the merits of government-sanctioned marriage, then we have to work within the framework of the government.

    Allowing churches and other organizations to marry people as they see fit does not in the least, tiny bit address all the rights and benefits conferred by a marital contract. Beyond that, what you’re proposing is that people should jump through hoops to and go from contract to contract, hire lawyers, and maybe even deal with a variety of government agencies in order to protect aspects of their relationship. And there isn’t even a guarantee that that will happen because who knows how a court will view a particular contract.

  5. 2011/10/05 at 17:57

    Perhaps I was too rough. Maybe it’s just the stereotype of gay people being in shape and healthy that makes Jack so discriminatory.

  6. 2011/10/05 at 18:15

    You are not getting the point I made. I don’t like the idea of government being in peoples relationships, and there is no reason for it, even with regard to the testimony issue.

  7. 2011/10/05 at 20:08

    That would explain your your obsession with the male physique.

  8. 2011/10/05 at 22:43

    Nate, people want government to be involved in marriage. This is a democracy and they voted in favor of it one way or another. Even if you don’t like it, that’s how it is. And now that we have this system in place, it must be applied evenly. And while we’re at it, let’s do it as efficiently as possible.

    But right now when you vote on the wrong side of history all you’re doing is voting against a piece of something. You’re voting against a sliver of a system, not the system itself. The end result is that some people have certain rights while others don’t.

    Jack, haven’t we been over this? You insinuating that I’m gay is hardly offensive. And you’re still fat and out of shape and old and likely to die earlier than the average person.

  9. 2011/10/06 at 00:08

    You can’t make the “it’s a democracy so put up” argument and than flip around and not accept it for gay marriage as well.

    And I fail to find any initiative or anything of that nature that people voted on to decide whether a license from the government was necessary to get married.

    One other thing, you don’t get to pick which side of history is the damned right one.

  10. 2011/10/06 at 05:30

    Democracy does not mean the majority giving itself special rights and privileges, so no, you absolutely cannot turn it around.

    People voted in favor of the state constitutions at one point. They continue to keep marriage a government-sanctioned thing. It’s a democratic process, even in silent approval.

    There’s no way you don’t know that gay marriage will be legal in every state within the next 20-40 years, if not sooner if the courts have something to say about it.

  11. 2011/10/06 at 08:06

    Jack, haven’t we been over this? You insinuating that I’m gay is hardly offensive. And you’re still fat and out of shape and old and likely to die earlier than the average person.

    Diversion doesn’t mask your defensiveness on the issue.

    Personally, I don’t care if Michael Hawkins is gay, it’s irrelevant to the question.

  12. 2011/10/06 at 13:59

    Marriage is, or was, defined in few if any state constitutions. It is a fairly recent phenomenon that the government has even involved itself.

    Even than, the first big involvement was when governments started to meddle in religion more than was typical, Martin Luther got that going. Prior to that, the state never had had ANY involvement. Indeed it wasn’t until the high middle ages that the churches really involved themselves.

    The idea that you seem to be promoting is that society cannot have definitions that are in any way exclusionary. Of course that is nonsense, society, government excludes people all the time, one only has to look at the federal grant process to see that exclusions based on physical, social and many other things are commonplace.

    For some reason marriage is special. Except for one little issue, it isn’t.

  13. 2011/10/06 at 15:25

    You are certainly right as far where the government came into the process. That is because marriage is function first of human biology, then culture, and only much later did governments concern themselves with it. The only particular reason the Federal government got involved in the 20th century was because of tax and benefit concerns – and even then those fluctuate depending on what laws govern those particular concerns. And other governments (like Britain’s) have handled this without having the government sanction gay marriage.

    Our government didn’t create marriage, it was handed to them by history – they have no businesses experimenting with it.

  14. 2011/10/07 at 00:16

    Personally, I don’t care if Michael Hawkins is gay, it’s irrelevant to the question.

    Of course you do. You read my blog daily, you call my family members, you steal my posts, you pretend to have a degree in biology because you’re envious of my endeavors, and you’ve lied about being in shape out of jealousy of my fitness and youth. You’re obsessed with me.

    Nate,

    Marriage is, or was, defined in few if any state constitutions. It is a fairly recent phenomenon that the government has even involved itself.

    They also voted in favor of individual laws and regulations. That isn’t recent; people want the government to recognize their contracts in a special way.

    The idea that you seem to be promoting is that society cannot have definitions that are in any way exclusionary. Of course that is nonsense, society, government excludes people all the time, one only has to look at the federal grant process to see that exclusions based on physical, social and many other things are commonplace.

    The courts have established and held that the US constitution bars government from discriminating against a group of people based upon certain attributes if those attributes are irrelevant. Of course, their language is more precise than that, but you know that the government as well as many private entities cannot forgo hiring a woman due to gender in most cases (exceptions being obvious things like in not casting an actress for a male role).

    Gays are being excluded for no other reason than that they are gay. It is not a compelling case; few, if any, courts have upheld that as a valid reason for discrimination in marriage over the past 10 years without a state constitutional amendment in their way.

  15. 2011/10/07 at 01:33

    Of course you do. You read my blog daily, you call my family members, you steal my posts, you pretend to have a degree in biology because you’re envious of my endeavors, and you’ve lied about being in shape out of jealousy of my fitness and youth. You’re obsessed with me.

    Actually your blog is boring, I don’t comment on it nor do I interact with you or family members if I can at all avoid it. You are pathological liar who has been stalking me for years on the web. In every case where I could I walked away from you or blocked you.

    Of course, none of this is relevant to you obviously being in denial.

  16. 2011/10/07 at 02:18

    Michael, you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth. If the government can discriminate against groups in hiring and grant giving than surely they have the ability to discriminate in other areas.

    There are grants, for example, specifically for gays and for women (and any other group you can think of).

    I am excluded from these grants by virtue of being straight and male (etc. etc.). You cannot both have your cake and eat it too, you have to pick one.

  17. 2011/10/07 at 05:24

    You are pathological liar who has been stalking me for years on the web.

    And now I know I’ve beat you. (But it really is weird that you would steal your ideas from me. That has never happened before, nor has it been extensively documented in a number of places.)

    Also, you’re fat.

    Nate,

    Imagine I said the government cannot simply go and kill its citizens. Now imagine that I note the caveat that it, however, can legally kill citizens after due process*. If, at this point, you jump in and claim that I just said the government can kill people and that’s that, you’ve obviously ignored a key factor: due process. But you probably wouldn’t jump in and claim both of my statements were the same thing because you know there is a legal difference between the government killing people whenever it wants and the government killing convicted felons.

    Now let’s jump to the discrimination. Just as there is a legal distinction between the types of killing above, there is a rational (and legal) distinction between types of discrimination. Where the characteristics of a group are irrelevant to a job (or education or housing or etc), discrimination cannot take place. Obviously in my actress example, sex plays a pivotal role. But if we’re talking about becoming a cashier at Wal-Mart, it is not relevant and it is thus illegal to discriminate there.

    The merits of grants is a different subject, one which I suspect needs to be examined with specific examples. But it isn’t particularly relevant here. When it comes to allowing people to enter into contracts, the government cannot discriminate without a rational basis. Currently, it hasn’t one. Why should a woman be prevented from entering into a legal agreement with another woman? There isn’t a reason. And to compound the issue, it isn’t that all women and all men are being targeted. This issue is irrelevant to the vast majority of people out there. The reason for anti-gay marriage laws is to target a specific subset of the population based upon its particular characteristics; no rational excuse has even been offered.

    *Let’s ignore for a moment the separate discussion of the recent killing of the terrorist from New Mexico.

  18. 2011/10/07 at 09:08

    Delusions Aside, I agree completely with Nate – the government can choose to sanction some marriages and refuse to sanction others based on what is best for the institution itself. It sets age criteria, it sets the number of people one can marry, and it always has, and always should, determine that marriage is intended to structure the relationships of men and women.

  19. 2011/10/07 at 18:47

    Michael, you are skipping over the fact that barring discrimination in home loans and other forms of housing is not the same thing as declaring from on high that X number of loans must go to blacks or women or any such thing. That’s discrimination every bit as much as excluding groups for some reason.

    I merely say that if the government can do such things with hiring and so forth than they can damn well do it with marriage.

    The only way to remove discrimination from the picture in who can marry and who cannot is for the government to give up its job of making such definitions. I don’t support expanding the definition because, as I have said before, I feel it’s someplace the government doesn’t belong and I’d prefer they were involved with as few relationships as possible if they must be involved at all.

    Think of it as the government poking around your house without a warrant, would you support expanding the definition of who’s home can be “warrentlessly” searched? I see it as a bad thing, so no vote for expansion, ever.

    I know the debate usually gets ridiculous when people say, “well why can’t three people get married?”, but it’s a great question. Why should groups not be married? Some religions support the idea and I imagine there are atheists who don’t see anything wrong with it and might even be interested in such a thing. So entirely seriously, why is three any different than any two?

    I have also discovered that indeed, non-family can visit in the hospital if that person holds a medical power of attorney, something that goes along with marriage. I can find very little that can’t be gained outside marriage and there would be nothing if the government stopped issuing licenses and got out of the business entirely.

  20. 2011/10/07 at 23:19

    Jack, it isn’t a delusion that you’re fat. I feel bad for your kids that they’ll probably lose their father 10-15 years earlier than they should, but it’s the bed you’ve made. Ya know, ’cause yer fat.

    Nate, you’ve ignored my entire analogy – and the direct distinctions given – when you say if the government can discriminate in hiring, they can do it in marriage. It is not merely that they are allowed to discriminate willy-nilly in hiring. That is not how it works; that is illegal. There must exist a rational basis for the discrimination. There does for actresses and actors, as well as any other job which demands specific traits and characteristics. There does not for the Wal-Mart cashier. Just the same, there exists no rational basis for preventing gays to get married. None. This is the place where your argument needs to focus if you want it to go anywhere.

    What you’re saying when you argue for limited government in marriage is effectively that you don’t want government involved, but if it is involved, it should be to the smallest extent possible – even if that extent means discrimination. In other words, in order for you to be consistent, you have to come out against Loving v. Virginia. After all, that expanded government involvement in marriage by expanding the combination of people which could get married. I hope you aren’t against that ruling, but your argument says you are. And if you are, why was the Supreme Court wrong? (Are you with Rand Paul when he says businesses should be able to discriminate against people based upon any reason whatsoever?)

    As for polygamy, it is usually raised in these debates as a red herring. Most people don’t want to defend it, but by forcing gay marriage supporters into arguing for or against it, the focus is taken off the debate at hand. I happen to support it (though I don’t know how things would work out in the tax code and other areas of law), but it is not relevant. Even if the arguments are exactly the same for polygamy and gay marriage, and even if a gay marriage supporter is entirely inconsistent, zero has been said about gay marriage. It would be one thing if the point was to show that there are reasons for making the definition of marriage be between one man and one woman, but it isn’t. The point here is to just show inconsistency in a person, not a flaw in any argument. (Whereas, on the other hand, I raised your possible inconsistency over Loving v. Virginia because it demonstrates a flaw in your argument, assuming you are not against it.)

  21. 2011/10/08 at 00:38

    But Michael, there will be one less dangerous and deluded Christian in the world; I would think you would be overjoyed.

    Of course, if I live as long as my predecessors who lived much less healthy lives than myself, I will still be around 40 years from now enjoying my grandkids.

    And you still won’t have kids or a girlfriend.

  22. 2011/10/08 at 00:39

    I’m tiring of this, as I led with in the post, but yes, non-governmental entities should be allowed to discriminate as they wish, as should their customers. There is no market advantage, in fact it’s a disadvantage, when a company brackets off a whole group of potential employees. That has little to do with my issue of race quotas flying under flag of diversity, which is in fact just discrimination.

    Loving v. Virgina is an interesting case, and one that is an excellent example of what I am trying to say about my voting record. I don’t approve of government involvement and I would not vote to expand marriage under any circumstances. I don’t see it as desirable in any way. Kind of like if the government was crippling people. Would you vote to let the government hobble blacks along with whites? Or gays when the government has only been crippling straight people? When you view something as an injustice are you typically inclined to extend that injustice to others in the name of fairness, or eliminate it instead?

    On the other hand, and you might be interested in my take on this, a key difference with polygamy (I would presume also back in the day with bans on interracial marriage) merely using the words married and/or wife/husband would make one guilty/result in punishment.

    What I’m arguing for is to allow people, churches and organizations to determine who is and is not married, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t care (and I doubt the catholic church does either) who says they are or are not married, and the government doesn’t care about gays doing that either. This nasty little cut throat would of governmental “endorsement” has been created, where everyone is vying to exclude these people and include others. All the while few, (I guess Bob is with me on this one, who knew?) are asking whether a legitimate task of government is to ‘bless’ and define relationships between people.

  23. 2011/10/08 at 00:40

    Jack, Mike may not have kids or a girlfriend, but I’ll have his mother.

  24. 2011/10/08 at 06:42

    The idea of death or injury to another human being does not give me joy, Jack. I know the idea of causing physical harm to others gives you a boner, but it doesn’t excite me.

    But yes, you got me on being single at the moment. I guess you win this one, what with you having about 250lbs more woman hanging off your flabby arm than I have on my fit arms.

    Nate, I was just curious about the business thing. That is consistently libertarian, but it’s an awful position. It brings about actual harm, not liberty, to minorities. You can just look to history to see the average living conditions of a black person compared to a white person in America; it’s undeniable.

    I think your analogy between crippling people and marriage falls flat. People are not being harmed physically by virtue of marriage contracts. All that has happened is they have gained government-protected rights under a single banner. I understand that you see it all as black-and-white injustice, but that’s just wrong. In marriage contracts, the injustice you see is that the government is involved where it shouldn’t be. In the crippling of people, the injustice is that people are being harmed; it isn’t even relevant that the government is involved there. Indeed, you have already argued that it is definitely not an injustice when churches and other private organizations are involved in marriage.

    To put that all another way, if government involvement in marriage is an injustice just like government-sanctioned crippling would be an injustice, then it is because those things cause harm; something is not an injustice merely by virtue of government involvement. (If that was the case, you ought to be against all forms of government in all cases.) Just the same, if private crippling is in an injustice, then so must private marriage be an injustice. The involved entity does not itself make something unjust, but rather it is some intrinsic property of an action which makes something wrong.

    Again, if people vote for government involvement in marriage, then it is a legitimate task of government. But any task the government undertakes does not exist in a vacuum; it still must adhere to all the other rules, rights, and protections set in place.

    As for my mother, that’s the aunt of the person to whom Jack sent text messages last year. How dare you.

  25. 2011/10/08 at 06:43

    Also, I’m not sure if I was clear on one point, so I want to say it in no uncertain terms:

    Yer fat, Jack.

  26. 2011/10/08 at 13:49

    Can we end this? I didn’t really intend to post my my word on gay marriage because I’m tired of hearing about it and end up in a lengthy discussion about the same.

    I understand what you are saying. That if people want government to do something that that is a legitimate function. That is nonsense though. Many people would be happy to have the government put people to death quicker than 40 years after conviction, but that’s not a good thing. Many people would like the government to pay all their bills or hundreds of other things.

    In no way does that make them legitimate functions. I also doubt that if asked whether you should have to get permission, essentially what you need, from the government to get married, most people would find this ridiculous, and of course you have to pay the government a fee before you may marry.

    And sorry, Michael, but I think my crippling analogy is a good one, I think you took it the wrong way though. I choose crippling because its biggest effect is indeed a mental one, there is very little cripples can’t do, myself being a future cripple, yet although one can do everything perfectly fine it is a tremendous inconvenience to have your legs not properly work all the time.

    And if you think that government involvement in relationships like this are alright I find it odd that you are against other intrusions of government into peoples personal life. Everything from abortion to sexual practices are fair game when the government has, what it believes, to be the peoples blessing. The whole point of our system of government was weak government. Central planning doesn’t work and power corrupts absolutely. Solution? Decentralize and leave little power to be corrupting.

    Leave, in other words, the power to the people. The people making determinations about what marriage is, instead of the government, seems to me to result in the most freedom and despite what you say, the least harm. Your ideal of an all wise and powerful government that somehow controls everything and results in lots of freedom. I find that kind of like something falling up and down at the same time, but hey, the mind of a liberal works in mysterious ways.

  27. 2011/10/08 at 15:44

    I think the issue here is with the distinction between a legitimate function versus a good function. This is a democracy and so long as the laws adhere to the constitution, anything is a legitimate function of the government. That doesn’t make it all good, but it is perfectly legitimate. That’s the entire idea behind that “government by the people” part.

    On the crippling analogy, it isn’t important whether the effect is primarily physical or psychological (though you pointed out the physical inconveniences). It happens to be both, but even if I concede that it is primarily mental, it still falls flat as an analogy. Most people like that the government sanctions their marriages. Otherwise they would simply get married under their own rules and ignore the legal aspects, as you might prefer. People are not being mentally (or physically) harmed by marriage as it stands – with the exception of gays.

    But if you want to end this, I think there are two essential things we should take from this: One, Jack is pretty fat. I mean, c’mon. It’s gross. And two, your mother.

  28. 2011/10/08 at 15:58

    And yet not girlish like yourself. Weight of course can change.

  29. 2011/10/08 at 17:22

    You do have something of the woman about you, Michael… Perhaps its the lipstick and such that you wear or it could be the sundresses…

  30. 2011/10/08 at 19:45

    It is the meticulously maintained figure. Drives the guys crazy.

  31. 2011/10/08 at 19:59

    Bahahaha.

  32. 2011/10/08 at 22:47

    Weight can change, Jack, but when you don’t exercise – such as you don’t – it tends to only go up whilst your waist goes out.

    Nate, those sundresses you’re always seeing on the floor and the lipstick you see on me have excellent explanations: your mother.

  33. 2011/10/08 at 23:43

    I’ll give you credit, well played.

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