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Old 2008-03-27, 13:25   #1
R.D. Silverman
 
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Default Marriage and other LGBTQ Rights

[Moderator note: Split off from the New U.S. President thread.]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spherical Cow View Post
There are already plenty of "protections" in place against the "tyranny of the masses".
Norm

Obviously not enough. Tyranny of the masses is quite evident in the states
who voted changes in their constitutions to allow discrimination.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2008-03-27 at 20:53
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Old 2008-03-27, 13:40   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
Obviously not enough. Tyranny of the masses is quite evident in the states
who voted changes in their constitutions to allow discrimination.
I disagree with the suggestion that those who voted to not extend marriage benefits to same-sex-couples are participating in discimination, or being tryannical in their lawmaking. It isn't nearly the cut-and-dried homophobia-based rant that we see on TV, when they are showing videos of the most blatant bigots. Rather, much of the decision is based upon careful consideration of the scientific evidence in the matter.

Is promoting such behavior through government subsidy beneficial to society? For example, are children more likely to be good citizens, have good education, be lawful, etc... if raised in a same-sex-couple household? What are the arguments for and against extending the benefits from married couples to civil unions? Why is government subsidizing regular marriage? Do those same reasons apply to same-sex couples? etc...
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Old 2008-03-27, 14:25   #3
R.D. Silverman
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
I disagree with the suggestion that those who voted to not extend marriage benefits to same-sex-couples are participating in discimination, or being tryannical in their lawmaking. It isn't nearly the cut-and-dried homophobia-based rant that we see on TV, when they are showing videos of the most blatant bigots. Rather, much of the decision is based upon careful consideration of the scientific evidence in the matter.

...
The idea that "scientific" evidence is relevant is undaulterated horseshit.
This is not a scientific issue at all. It is a social one. The bible-thumping
rednecks in the red states simply hate gays and have chosen to deny them
EQUAL RIGHTS.

The equal protection clause of the Constitution is supposed to convey rights
EQUALLY ON ALL. By denying gays the right to marry, some states have
engaged in discrimination. Whether there is a valid basis for discrimination
is irrelevant. If there are laws that prohibit certain groups from doing the
same thing that other groups can do, it IS discrimination by definition.
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Old 2008-03-27, 15:11   #4
tallguy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
The idea that "scientific" evidence is relevant is undaulterated horseshit.
This is not a scientific issue at all. It is a social one. The bible-thumping
rednecks in the red states simply hate gays and have chosen to deny them EQUAL RIGHTS.
Your comments are bigoted. To wit:
  1. I'm a Christian (although I don't "thump" my Bible).
  2. I don't believe gays should have the right to "marry" (and the question does raise legitimate issues whether anyone should get special governmental benefits by virtue of being married).
  3. My best friend is gay. I don't hate him (of course). I love him just the same as if he were straight.
Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
The equal protection clause of the Constitution is supposed to convey rights
EQUALLY ON ALL. By denying gays the right to marry, some states have
engaged in discrimination. Whether there is a valid basis for discrimination
is irrelevant. If there are laws that prohibit certain groups from doing the
same thing that other groups can do, it IS discrimination by definition.
From a literal use of the word "discrimination", yes. From a "this is a terrible injustice" standpoint, not necessarily.

We do not allow minors to marry one another, nor siblings, parents and children, and so on. Some states allow first cousins to marry, others do not. There is some judgment involved -- not all of us will see such issues the same way and gay marriage is part of our fundamental values and outlook, which is why it is such a hot-button issue (like abortion).

Let's get back to discussing Presidential candidates.... this will surely be an ugly black hole if we let the conversation get hijacked (again ).

Is it good or bad for McCain to be the forgotten man at this point? I'm not so sure it's good to be out of the spotlight for this long, even if the other two are getting nearly 100% negative publicity.
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Old 2008-03-27, 15:28   #5
Spherical Cow
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
Obviously not enough. Tyranny of the masses is quite evident in the states
who voted changes in their constitutions to allow discrimination.
I think the protections are still there, though. Convince the Supreme Court that those states are indeed discriminating, and what the "masses" have voted for will be overturned. The current court may not do that, but past courts have certainly struck down laws created by the masses.

But I do agree with your example- I think that what you're describing is discrimination, unless the state in question allows gays the access to all the rights of married people in a way that is just as easy and as simple as marriage (such as a very easy "civil union" ceremony, that results in each participant having all the legal rights that spouses automatically acquire by marriage).

Norm
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Old 2008-03-27, 17:02   #6
ewmayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
I disagree with the suggestion that those who voted to not extend marriage benefits to same-sex-couples are participating in discimination, or being tryannical in their lawmaking. It isn't nearly the cut-and-dried homophobia-based rant that we see on TV, when they are showing videos of the most blatant bigots. Rather, much of the decision is based upon careful consideration of the scientific evidence in the matter.

Is promoting such behavior through government subsidy beneficial to society? For example, are children more likely to be good citizens, have good education, be lawful, etc... if raised in a same-sex-couple household? What are the arguments for and against extending the benefits from married couples to civil unions? Why is government subsidizing regular marriage? Do those same reasons apply to same-sex couples? etc...
Not to re-hijack the thread, but Bob and I have debated this elsewhere - he argued that government [in that case, specifically the federal govt - but the argument is similar at the state level, except for the "interstate compact" aspect] has no right to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples.

My counterargument was essentially that govt certainly could assert such a right under the General Welfare clause of the constitution, along the following line of reasoning:

- The ultimate survival of any society depends on it having living members, i.e. human procreation is necessary for any society to survive.

- The only natural means of human procreation is that between a man and a woman, thus encouragement of this natural procreative act certainly falls under the GW clause, as does the giving of special status to social arrangements which further this aim, most especially marriage.

Following this reasoning, it is in fact more discriminatory to ban "alternative" marriage arrangements such as polygamy [which is perfectly legal in much of the world] than it is same-sex marriage.

Of course technology and overpopulation put a different spin on the "survival of society" issue than throughout most of human history - but the above line of thought addresses what to me is the first issue one must think through in this regard, namely "Why does the institution of marriage" [in all of its various forms] exist? The common thread in all human societies is the "stable arrangement to further procreation and raising of children."

AFAIC, if you want to allow gay marriage, fine, but then you have no right whatsoever to ban other forms of marriage between non-relatives.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2008-03-27 at 18:17 Reason: Added thread link
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Old 2008-03-27, 17:40   #7
R.D. Silverman
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post

My counterargument was essentially that govt certainly could assert such a right under the General Welfare clause of the constitution, along the following line of reasoning:

- The ultimate survival of any society depends on it having living members, i.e. human procreation is necessary for any society to survive.

- The only natural means of human procreation is that between a man and a woman, .
But I have never seen a requirement anywhere that procreation must be
a part of marriage!!!!! People get married without having children!
Is this not allowed?????

By the logic you present above, it seems that procreation must be a part
of marriage.
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Old 2008-03-27, 17:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
But I have never seen a requirement anywhere that procreation must be a part of marriage!!!!! People get married without having children!
Is this not allowed?????
It ought to be banned, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
By the logic you present above, it seems that procreation must be a part of marriage.
Up until about 50 years ago, it invariably was!

But seriously though... it is not a must, but rather a "has a tendency to". It's a basic physiological outcome in the absence of specific effort to avoid that outcome.
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Old 2008-03-27, 18:16   #9
ewmayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
But I have never seen a requirement anywhere that procreation must be
a part of marriage!!!!! People get married without having children!
Is this not allowed?????

By the logic you present above, it seems that procreation must be a part
of marriage.
Bob, George already addressed the logical fallacy of your argument here [i.e. confusing "providing a legal framework for X to occur" with "forcing every individual to do X"] in the original thread which I mentioned [but forgot to link to.]

I would ask that all the gay-marriage discussion continue there.
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Old 2008-03-27, 18:34   #10
Zeta-Flux
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
The idea that "scientific" evidence is relevant is undaulterated horseshit. This is not a scientific issue at all. It is a social one.
I disagree that this isn't an issue which scientific studies can shed light on. Further, I disagree with the implied argument that social issues are not prone to scientific investigation.

Quote:
The bible-thumping rednecks in the red states simply hate gays and have chosen to deny them EQUAL RIGHTS.
I would argue that if you are trying to argue that discrimination is wrong, you should avoid it yourself. I would also argue that it isn't only red southern states which have passed these laws.

Quote:
The equal protection clause of the Constitution is supposed to convey rights EQUALLY ON ALL. By denying gays the right to marry, some states have engaged in discrimination. Whether there is a valid basis for discrimination is irrelevant. If there are laws that prohibit certain groups from doing the same thing that other groups can do, it IS discrimination by definition.
First, marriage is not a right. Life is a right. Privacy is a right (in some contexts). But if I am unable to persuade someone to marry me I cannot sue the government for not providing me my "right" (as you would call it) to marriage. Marriage, rather, is a legal status given by the state with attendant benefits.

Second, it can be argued (rather persuasively) that marriage and same-sex unions are inherently different. But the real question, as you implicitly brought up in your previous post, is whether that difference goes to the heart of the benefits that government conveys. Does government *really* give its sanction to (traditional) marriage because it provides the best model for raising a healthy and productive new generation? You better believe it. If not, I'm all for getting rid of government involvement in marriage altogether. But for now, to me (and most of America) we view the government benefits as an incentive to (hopefully) provide the most stable (known) place for children to be raised.

Third, discrimination (as you are using the word) implies hate-based legislation. There are very rational reasons for restricting government benefits (which are not *universal rights*) to specific behaviors. This in't discrimination.

Quote:
By the logic you present above, it seems that procreation must be a part of marriage.
Government incentives are not there to force specific behaviors, but encourage them. We can see the opposite effect on some poor classes in America, where they choose *NOT* to marry specifically because they'd lose their government check. On the other hand, giving tax breaks to couples who have children is just one more incentive to have said children. Think of it as a process. Government has a vested interest in *encouraging* couples to marry, so that they *later* will more *likely* provide a good environment to raise children.

Our laws are clearly not perfect in this regard. But that doesn't imply that we should mess the system up even further by extending benefits to a class of behaviors which have some positives but a lot of less desirable side-effects too (such as; lack of ability to naturally procreate, an environment less likely to raise law-abiding citizens, an evironment seriously more prone to infidelity, etc...). We aren't talking about the *right* to engage in physical intimacy. We are talking about the perk of state sanctioned marriage with its attendant benefits.
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Old 2008-03-27, 19:30   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
Marriage, rather, is a legal status given by the state with attendant benefits.
The legal institution of mariage has more to do with property and inheritance law than anything else. In most societies mariage is a bond between two people and does not require an institution to legalise it. Even in the christian faith, mariage is a sacrament administered by the involved people only, formally one does not need a priest, pastor or preacher to marry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
But for now, to me (and most of America) we view the government benefits as an incentive to (hopefully) provide the most stable (known) place for children to be raised.
In view of the divorce rate in the USA, and to a lesser extent, Europe, I suppose the reference to stability is a joke ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
But that doesn't imply that we should mess the system up even further by extending benefits to a class of behaviors which have some positives but a lot of less desirable side-effects too (such as; lack of ability to naturally procreate, an environment less likely to raise law-abiding citizens, an evironment seriously more prone to infidelity, etc...)
Not being married has never prevented anybody to procreate "naturally" and being homosexual does not render a person sterile. You mean that non married and/or homosexual people not marrying are more inclined to trespass the law, will incite their entourage to disregard the law ? You have statistics about extramarital affairs versus extra relationship affairs giving "scientific" evidence ?

Jacob
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