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Comments for Journey To The Center Of Prop 8

There is so much rhetoric and illogical thinking around this topic you have to look at the issue from an unbiased perspective to get your head around it. Here are three points for you to think about.
  1. Under the law, there is no discrimination (legal definition of the word) or inequality. We all have the same rights under the law itself. And in order for discrimination to occur legally a protected class would have to be involved. Which is not the case here. The objective fact remains that the law itself gives all men and women the same right to marry under the definition of the word by our legislative powers. The real fight here is not over inequality or discrimination, but over the redefining of a word for legislative purposes. Besides, if you believe what anti-prop 8 people are saying then anyone who is not married to a person of the opposite sex is being discriminated against. This would include single people. Its just absurd what people will digest as a sound logical argument.

  2. Biology here objectively divides the same sex couple from a couple that can produce offspring. This objective fact is relevant to governments because governments govern people, and marriages (used here as defined by government) produce people. I think it makes logical sense here for a government to protect and guard this unique relationship (and its definition) in an effort to protect itself. In other words, governments have a unique interest/inherit interest in any relationship that directly effects it’s governing. All other relationships, while not prohibited, are just simply not relevant to legislative logic. The marriage that currently is being legislated produces future generations. Protecting this special relationship should not be taken lightly from a legislative perspective.

  3. When you boil this down in my opinion it really comes down to a subjective motive based on the emotional merit of respect. It seems that to some people respect can only be achieved through the perfection of equality. Or, the perception of perfection by attempting to make something equal by ignoring logic. Wcan bend the words, and even redefine them. But ultimately biology has the final objective say. And no matter how hard people want two different relationships to have the exact same definition the relationships attributes themselves will forever keep them different. Logically the endeavor to make two items exactly identical when they are inherently different seems pointless to me. The only way for this to make sense to most people is to wrap it up in emotional thinking and sell it as indecent from a human perspective. I say, if marriage, as legislated today is indecent than biology itself (the natural nature of human beings) and our entire race would have to be indecent for only choosing the relationship between a man and a women to produce offspring.

by cody at

The rights argument is the only one you can make in front either a court or the voters. Not sure why that's "insane".

As for the religious aspect, many Christian faiths don't consider marriage a sacrament (that's kind of a Catholic thing). Not sure where you'd even go from there. Folks of faith can't agree, why should the courts?


by alex at
This issue makes my head fill with sun-dried sidewalk chewing gum. All arguments on this issue are gross simplifications. You argument for "rights" is inane. ( I notice that no one argues that marriage is seen as a sacrament -- of course it has lost that "purity" by being absorbed into the state contractual system.) Also, one should never argue about issues such as this using analogy: the whole basis of the "it weakens the institution of marriage" argument is argument by analogy. C.R. above is arguing on the basis of utility theory -- the standard method, if not the best. It does seem, though, that homosexuals getting married is like playing dress-up. It is a pretense. (Of course most marriages are pretense anyway -- thus the ever-expanding elaborations!) An argument, or observation, based on analogy, that quickly goes nowhere. Now why anyone would want the hassle of marriage and divorce and property conflation -- that is really mind-numbing. All I see is $$$$ for family law practitioners. Anyway, I have enjoyed reading about Dojo.
by sw at
Hey C.R.:

A quick response. My personal experience with gay friends who are (or would like to be) married runs directly counter to most of the basis for your arguments. The intent is absolutely to create stable, monogamous relationships. Children (as in straight marriages) are a separate but related discussion, although sighting intent (which you don't seem to have actual knowledge of) instead of the barriers in many states to same-sex adoption is simply disingenuous.

How familiar are you with how screwed up and socially stigmatized adoption is in this country? You're arguing against social utility (another deeply dubious basis for this discussion) on the back of a-priori discrimination. On that basis alone your argument crumbles.

The the larger point is this: the state of California held that under the constitution, consenting adults of any sex had the right to marry. Californians then voted to destroy a civil right. We don't make laws to reduce risks that might be there, we create laws to eliminate harm which is already existing. The government may retain the ability to regulate those things in the future (hence the charter of negative liberties), but it certainly is not framed in such a way as to require affirmative grants of legal standing in cases of ambiguity. You have a rights until and unless they are taken away, particularly in cases where they do not negatively impact others. The pro-Prop 8 crowd was absolutely unable to show substantive harm in court, hence they lost and had to appeal to our worst angels with misleading and dangerous arguments.

What you are arguing for is simply a different form of government than the one which the framers radically and subversively created.


by alex at
You're missing / mis-characterizing a few of the yes on 8 arguments. I recommend you read what Stanley Kurtz has written on the subject.

A few quick points.

First, keep in mind that since a domestic partnership is defined in CA as the legal equivalent of a marriage (even after the yes on 8 vote), the only thing at stake with prop 8 is the state's use of the word "marriage."

If the yes on prop 8 vote stands, the state will have two legally equivalent institutions, one called "marriage" and one called "domestic partnership."

In that world, no one will have lost the right to be married. Any man -- straight or gay -- can have a marriage with a consenting woman. Gays aren't likely to exercise that right, but they'll have it.

The pro-8 folks aren't really worried that calling domestic partnerships marriages will cause there to be more gay people.

The main worry is: if we re-define the word marriage as being between any two consenting adults rather than between only a man and woman, aren't we then on a slippery legal slope in which we will eventually have to redefine marriage to include folks who define themselves as having been born into polygamous and polyamorous orientations, in which case the whole concept of marriage won't mean much? (Note: many gay intellectuals are interested in pushing gay marriage explicitly and precisely to undermine the traditional concept of straight marriage.)

Second, what is the negative consequence of potentially divorcing the idea of physical monogamy from the idea of marriage? The huge majority of gay men are not physically monogamous with each other, not even when in committed relationships. If these open relationships are legitimized as marriages, won't the notion of physical vs. emotional monogamy over time leak into straight culture and erode the idea of monogamous marriage? And won't that in turn reduce the odds of straight marriages surviving? Keep in mind, we are all children first, and it is in the interests of our unborn progeny to be born into a world in which married couples have the highest odds of staying together.

Flipping the question, why should the state offer marriage benefits to same sex couples?

The state doesn't compensate renters; it compensates home owners, because it views home ownership as good for society.

Similarly, the state doesn't compensate straight co-habitating couples; it compensates straight married couples, because it views straight marriage as good for society.

Why is straight marriage good for society?

First, promising you'll be monogamous to someone improves the odds you actually will be. Being monogamous improves the odds you'll stay together. When parents stay together it's good for children. So, encouraging people to marry is good for children.

Second, promising permanence to someone improves the odds you'll be with them until death do you part. This is advantageous to women. A sad fact of the world is that men have more options as they get older than women do. It's in the interests of women and all of society to get men to promise to stay with women even though they could leave and easily remarry. The institution of marriage helps stigmatize cad-like behavior by men.

What benefits does society get by defining male/male or female/female relationships as marriages?

Gays are only 2-3% of the population, tops. They are not anywhere near 10% as all modern research shows. Most gays don't have children nor do they want to have children. So, even if gays are more likely to stay together because you call it marriage rather than domestic partnership, you're only going to affect some teensy fraction of children. Probably < 1%. Not much benefit there.

Calling male/male relationships marriages won't do anything for gender complementarity. Nor will calling female/female relationships. And in neither case is there a reason to stigmatize cad-like behavior by men. Not much benefit there either.

So, you have very little upside from calling gay relationships marriages, but you have an unknowable downside from calling them marriages. Why take the risk?

by C. R. at
homosexuality is natural:

by Bernard Devlin at