Robert R. Reilly Not Optimistic About SCOTUS Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage

Robert R. Reilly

Robert R. Reilly

Robert R. Reilly, writing for Crisis Magazine (“The Logic of the Court and the Prospect of Homosexual Marriage”, 3/19/13), finds grievous fault with a succession of Supreme Court decisions made over the past 40 years—decisions that have separated sex from procreation in civil law and prepared the way for the ante-penultimate horror that is same-sex marriage. (Polygamy and bestiality follow.) His article is timely, as the SCOTUS will next week begin hearing two major cases testing the constitutionality of laws prohibiting such marriages. (U.S. v. Windsor, testing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, testing California’s Proposition 8)

There’s an undeniable tendency among conservative Catholics to rely heavily on the authority of long-dead white Christian males when arguing everything from sex to statecraft. The more distant in time, the more the authority is respected. In their world, Thomas Aquinas’s “Summa” has never been surpassed, and should rightly form the basis of both legislation and jurisprudence in modern pluralistic democracies. Dean Hansen has put it nicely:

It’s part of the tight, intellectual box that freezes inquiry and stifles forward momentum.  Imagine where we’d be today if we rejected Einstein because he contradicted Copernicus, or rejected any medical advice that contradicted Galen of ancient Rome.

Paradoxically, I would encourage them in this tendency, because I have observed that it leaves them ill-equipped to argue their cases in courts of law, where the opinions of expert witnesses (who can be cross-examined) are greatly favored over quotations from dead savants.

Reilly quotes 18th-century English legal scholar William Blackstone to remind us that proscriptions against sodomy have a noble pedigree.

RonaldColman08

Ronald Coleman

Sodomy? Reilly has gotten it wrong right off the bat, and doubly so. First, lesbians don’t generally practice sodomy, many heterosexuals do, and many homosexual men do not. Second, and more important, same-sex marriage (the subject of his article) is not about sodomy or even necessarily about sex. It’s about love, companionship, and commitment.

If attorneys defending DOMA and Prop 8 enter the Supreme Court expecting to talk about the evils of sodomy, they will have a rude awakening: the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) assures our freedom from government intrusion into our bedrooms, and in 1987, the Court declared that sex is not a necessary component of marriage (Turner v. Safely: incarcerated prisoners may marry, even if they have no right to conjugal visits.)

Reilly squanders hundreds of precious keystrokes telling us how abjectly wrong Lawrence v. Texas was: It “cast aside millennia of moral teaching,” it demonstrated “the intellectual poverty of the legal profession,” and it showed “no grasp of the relationship between morality and the law.”

Now, if we can just persuade the attorneys defending DOMA and Prop 8 to lecture the Supreme Court on the law and “explain” to them why legal precedents are in error, we’ll have a clear path to victory.

William Blackstone

William Blackstone

Reilly is very big on tradition, as long as it pre-dates the sexual revolution of the sixties and seventies. Roman law, the English Reformation, 18th-century legal philosophy, the Bible—all are good. But don’t mention modern science, medicine, sociological and psychological research, or secular law and jurisprudence. They are only passing fashions parading self-importantly against the millennial backdrop of Judeo-Christian history.

For many secular progressives, the word  “tradition” is value-neutral but highly suspect when it is used to justify practices that are patently unjust. People who have spent their lives steeped in theology may have a hard time understanding this. To them, a practice grounded in millennia of tradition is self-evidently moral, because it has stood the test of time. Take genocide, for example … or slavery.

Like many other contributors to Crisis Magazine, Reilly has a hard time “hearing” the word “tradition” in the way that Supreme Court justices and policy-makers do. Ironically, he is using it to assert an authority superior to theirs, while they are well-aware that it is used this way.  And here, having already accused the court of casting aside millennia of moral teaching, he gives a slight, momentary nod to Justice Kennedy’s reasoning in the Lawrence v. Texas decision:

The Court stated that, “the fact that the governing majority in a state has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” That may be well and good, but at least such a tradition should invite an examination of whether the “practice” in question is, in fact, immoral. [emphasis mine]

Sodomy sculpture from Lincoln Cathedral

Sodomy sculpture from Lincoln Cathedral

Reilly himself clearly thinks the practice in question is “immoral,” because, as he said earlier, it has long been regarded as “a gravely disordered act” and has been proscribed throughout history. So Reilly’s own reasoning would have only led the Court in circles.

Reilly is right about one thing. “The Court,” he writes, “has already done much to prepare the ground work for the legalization of homosexual marriage.” Though he condemns the relevant rulings variously as “extraordinarily misconceived,” (Lawrence v. Texas) and “an act of barbarity” (Roe v. Wade), he at least does provide a useful overview of them, which is then supplemented by one of the commenters, Paul McGuire. I will list these in my next post.

Reilly makes no secret of his low opinion of the Court’s rulings on contraception, abortion, and intimate sexual practices. These rulings are indeed logically compelling, he says, but only if one accepts a premise that is “insane,” i.e., that marriage and sex can be separated from procreation.

Brethern and sistern, let us fervently pray that attorneys arguing to uphold DOMA and Proposition 8 next week will adopt arguments similar to the ones Robert R. Reilly has so eloquently presented. Amen.

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50 Responses to “Robert R. Reilly Not Optimistic About SCOTUS Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage”

  1. yan Says:

    Douglas!

    Hello. I just listened to the oral argument for the Hollingsworth case. My side didn’t do too well, I don’t think. It seems to me they repeated the errors they made in front of the 9th circuit. When the Justices asked what the harm would be in allowing gays to marry, Cooper didn’t have a ringer of an answer. His best shot was ‘we don’t know what would happen to society if we do this.’ True, we do not. But is ‘not knowing what would happen’ really a solid reason to keep gay marriage from becoming a constitutional right? Did the Founders decide on a monarchy because they didn’t know what might happen if they established the first republic the world had seen in almost 2000 years? This is not an argument which is very appealing to Americans.

    In front of the 9th, Cooper didn’t offer even this reason. That is why one can hardly blame that court for deciding the case on the basis of Romer: if no basis for a law is offered, how can the law have even a rational basis?

    I think the issue of homosexual marriage is about deciding how much prestige the state is required to give to persons that commit homosexual acts. Even if under Lawrence we cannot criminalize the homosexual acts of consenting adults, must we therefore grant to couples who commit these acts the dignity and honor of marriage? I think Olsen was right: when we deny marriage to homosexual couples, we are saying that their relationships are ‘not ok.’

    They are not ok! That’s right! And as a result, the state has an obligation, and certainly the right, to limit the proliferation of the act by refusing to honor it, and thereby conveying on it a certain amount of stigma. We don’t want more people committing homosexual acts because they tend to have harmful effects on those that commit them, and because they discourage the propagation of children, and because they encourage the commodification of children, and because they encourage the proliferation of other depraved acts, and because they encourage sexually fluid people to experiment with homosexual acts which individually harm their souls and cause more people to be homosexual, and because their approval confuses people as to the moral law which leads to moral and spiritual problems in individuals and by them to all of society.

    But Cooper didn’t say anything like that. Because most people cannot say anything about homosexual acts more than what Jerry Seinfeld famously said, even if they feel otherwise: ‘not that there’s anything wrong with that!’

    But there is, there is…

  2. thebentangle Says:

    Yan, I agree that the attorney defending Prop 8 didn’t do so well. I think we can at least count on Prop 8 being struck down.

    As for your point about the state “giving” prestige to homosexual partners in civil union, I think the question is rather how the state can justify denying that prestige to them. The salient question is whether these couples are being discriminated against. Why, in other words, are they given all the (state) benefits of marriage in California while being denied the right to call themselves married?

    Your argument that the state has the right and the obligation to “limit the proliferation of the act” pivots on a very subjective and sectarian view that carries no weight in the courts. (i.e., that the act is “not OK.”)

    The state should not be in the business of conferring “stigma” on acts of which it disapproves. But even if it were, the Supreme Court has already decided that homosexual acts are private.

    Homosexual acts are harmful to those who perform them? In what way?

    Propagation of children? Who is going to take care of all those foster kids? What about gay couples who have children from previous marriages? 37,000 children in CA are being raised by same-sex couples. What do you do with them?

    Homosexual acts are depraved? All of them? Are any heterosexual acts depraved?

    Homosexual acts harm people’s souls and cause more people to become homosexuals?

    Cooper didn’t bring up any of these arguments for a very good reason. They are totally without merit. They sound as though they came from one of those inflammatory religious tracts that one finds in the pews of Catholic churches. Their relation to reality is so tenuous that they don’t belong in a serious discussion of these issues.

    • yan Says:

      If my arguments against homosexuality are without merit then all morals legislation is without merit. But we have had morals legislation since the beginning of the English legal system in the 700’s A.D. up to and including to the present time.

      Are any heterosexual acts depraved? Of course. But they are not intrinsically depraved, if one understands that according to natural law principles, which the law is free to adopt. It is the adoption of natural law principles that gave rise to the recognition that marriage is a fundamental right. Why should you be able to have your cake and eat it too? The fundamentality of the right of marriage in the law has its basis in the law’s recognition of natural law principles. You say that the right is fundamental even when recognition of the right violates the same family of natural law principles that gave rise to the legal right. See the cases Skinner, Pierce, and Meyers.

      If gay couples have children from previous heterosexual liasons or marriages–which, they absolutely do–then that is excellent evidence of the fluidity of sexuality and therefore an excellent reason to deny the right of marriage to individuals whose identity is to some extent chosen by them.

      That marriage is a fundamental right does not mean I must be permitted to marry my neighbor’s wife or my sister or my daughter, even if I love her a real lot and she loves me a real lot. Nor can I marry my dog even if we love each other a real lot. Fundamental does not mean absolutely anything goes.

      Since people of the same sex being permitted to marry has less in common with the natural law which the law recognized as giving rise to a right of marriage than even the cases I just mentioned, bestiality excepted. If we can forbid those relationships from being recognized as marriage, certainly we can forbid homosexuals from marrying.

      But, it is all up to SCOTUS now. They will use whatever logic they find most convincing, regardless of what you or I think. But I certainly would have brought up those arguments, if it were me doing the arguing.

      I think it is most telling that the entire courtroom began to bustle when Kagan read out the legislative history of DOMA in which it was revealed that legislators wanted to morally disapprove of homosexuality. It is astounding to me that this could be considered to be a reason to strike down the law. Since when can a legislature not express its disapproval of certain lifestyles and acts? It has always done so and has every right to do so. Only if homosexuals were discrete and insular minorities would such criticism be possibly evidence of an unconstitutional motivation. But, since homosexuals are quite capable of heterosexual sex in most cases, this criticism is entirely valid.

      • thebentangle Says:

        Yan, the arguments that you offered are not empirical and will not stand up in a court of law. You say homosexual acts tend to have harmful effects, but if you are pressed to identify these harmful effects, you cannot do so. This is precisely why that argument is no longer used except in the religious sphere, for influencing opinion. I’ll grant you that public opinion can influence legal decisions, but when a rights case reaches an appellate court or the Supreme Court, you can be certain that the “harm” argument will not be allowed. It will be immediately thrown out. There’s no empirical evidence that homosexual acts harm anyone.

        Same for your other arguments:

        Propagation of children: This is not a valid legal argument. Procreation is not required for marriage in this country.

        Commodification of children: Also not valid. If straight couples adopt, gay couples should also be allowed to do so.

        Encouraging the proliferation of other depraved acts: First you have to show that homosexual acts are “depraved,” and to do so, you have to quote scripture, I suppose. That doesn’t fly in a court of law.

        Encouraging sexually fluid people to experiment and possibly become homosexual: This is just pseudo-scientific rubbish, and logically it is circular. If homosexuality causes no harm and has been declassified as a “disorder,” then why shouldn’t people decide to “become” homosexual if they wish?

        But of course, homosexuality is not a choice. (You do know that, don’t you?)

        The reason Cooper (in the Prop 8 hearing) did not use any of these arguments is NOT that he was intimidated by the gay mafia. It was because these arguments had no merit in a court of law.

        To address your most recent comment: We do hope that all legislation and all judicial decisions are “moral,” but morality has got to be guided by the truth. That’s “truth” with a small “t”, not the big Platonic/Christian “Truth.” I mean everyday truths about observable reality. E.g., you cannot maintain that homosexual acts “tend to have harmful effects” when you cannot point to any of these effects.

        Intrinsic depravity: You should probably define “depraved” for me, because I’m not sure what you mean by it. I assume you are using it in the pre-modern religious sense, and in fact, I cannot even put that word in any kind of modern secular context.

        So I assume for now that by “depravity” you mean “really serious sinfulness.” And by “intrinsic,” you mean something like “fundamental” in the sense that Asher uses it: eternal, transcendent, and perhaps even outside of time. (Time needs a universe, but Asher’s fundamentals don’t.)

        Again, you are using a language that fewer and fewer people speak these days, and it’s not acceptable in a court of law. We live in a secular world. I know that Catholics cannot get over that, but it is just a fact you have to accept.

        I would agree with you that natural law paved the way for modern constitutional law, but let’s face it: we’re never going back to natural law. It was deontological rather than consequentialist/pragmatic. This is the essential difference between them.

        Fluidity of sexuality: I do not accept your premise that there’s anything “wrong” with “fluidity.” All of nature is changing, variable, nuanced, diverse, and adaptive. Again, I think I detect Platonism in your views, and I firmly believe that Platonism is dead (or dying). We have to move on. There are no eternal essences, transcendent Ideas, or immutable categories.

        Incest, bestiality: Because there are harms in these practices, they are not comparable in any way to homosexuality or homosexual acts.

        You write, “If we can forbid [incestuous and bestial] relationships from being recognized as marriage, certainly we can forbid homosexuals from marrying.”

        No, actually, incest and bestiality have nothing to do with homosexuality, so your argument is frivolous. Again, I’m primarily interested in arguments that are acceptable in a court of law. If you want to equate incest and bestiality with homosexuality, then feel free to do so, but I believe that equation has about reached its expiration date and no longer has any legs.

        In your final paragraph, you express astonishment that a legislature should not express its disapproval of certain lifestyles and acts. Well, legislatures are perfectly entitled to do so, but when they do, they “tip their hand.” They reveal something about their motivations, and this can be of great interest to the Supreme Court, because a legislative decision based on nothing more than “moral disapproval” is highly suspect and only strengthens the opponents’ position that discrimination (motivated by animus) is at play.

        What? Homosexuals are “quite capable of heterosexual sex?” Well, not always. But even in those cases where they are, would YOU want to be the partner of such a homosexual? Let’s be a little more considerate of partners.

      • thebentangle Says:

        Yan, the following is from Dean Hansen:

        It’s interesting that you use the word prestige as though a court or body of law can grant such a thing, or that it has any ultimate gravity in civil law. The word is from the Greek praestigiae, which means a conjuring trick or magician’s magic. Is that what the court dispenses? Slight of hand? Maybe it should do away with prestidigitation altogether and just pull the rabbit of fairness out of the ancient hat of inequality and recognize that love trumps all other arguments and that gay people are just as capable of genuine love as anyone else and are entitled to all the same benefits that accrue to any married couple. Personally, I hope same sex marriage progresses organically, rather than through some ultimate, lightning decision by the highest court that will then be challenged endlessly. It takes time to assimilate such important changes. This will help diffuse the resistance that will arise from those who argue they are being coerced into accepting laws which either have not been tested or which they don’t approve of, even though they seem to give little thought to the fact that homosexual relationships have been a part of the human family since the beginning of recorded time, and will not be vanquished by disapproval or religious opprobrium no matter how much you want to believe their souls are in jeopardy for doing so. It’s time we treated one another as equals. It’s the Christian thing to do.

        If you paid for the cake, it’s yours to do with as you please. We’re talking about people who are asking the law to honor their wish to consecrate their commitment to one another for the psychological, social, physical and emotional benefits that accrue from the simple actions of fidelity, trust and loyalty. If you’re shocked to believe gay people actually want such things, it shows how little you know about human nature, and about how unwilling you are to make adjustments in your own thinking that will ultimately benefit you more than anyone else.

        Creating legislation to defend marriage through a constitutional act is like attempting to pass legislation to defend the breathing of air by a select group because someone with emphysema also wants to breath. It’s ridiculous and cowardly. It’s a paranoid fantasy. “We’ll have to sell the kids and get divorced now, honey! The SCOTUS just approved queer marriage! No, wait… I have an idea! Let’s have a Defense Of Marriage Act! Once the gays realize we mean business, they will never dare to presume they have any rights to do the same thing!”

        So…It’s valid to criticize the way homosexuals live when they’re capable of having heterosexual sex like the rest of us? What could be a better description of an “insular and discrete” minority than gay men and women living the lie of an outwardly heterosexual marriage? Sorry, it’s been tried and found wanting. It asks the individual to live an extended, painful and desperate lie that violates their identity based on nothing more than the fear of being found out and subjected to public derision. Those days are over. Forever. The idea that you think it’s a worthwhile solution shows just how toxic your prescription for legal sanction truly is.

  3. Asher Says:

    I don’t much care one way or the other about which way the court decides and whether or not the various states codify same-sex marriage into law. That said, the logic used to advance same sex marriage is identical to that which would be useful in advancing multiple-partner arrangements. In fact, a significant number of pro-SSM proponents have publicly made statements about how they approvingly anticipate the de-monogamization of heterosexual marriage via the implementation of SSM.

    In a previous post you offered a response to the writing of Robert George where you accused him of engaging in the slippery slope logical fallacy. Personally, I don’t find George’s arguments persuasive but he does not engage in that particular fallacy. A slippery slope argument is logically valid if the chain of reasoning is demonstrated.

    If the arguments used to implement SSM are adhered to without waiver then multiple-partner arrangements will be a fait accompli. To claim otherwise demonstrates a severe lack of intellectual seriousness and honesty, and this brings up two issues involving the legal recognition of multiple partner arrangements:

    A) There is no problem for society raised by such arrangements. If this is the case, then why do so many proponents of SSM deny that their arguments are equally logically valid for polyamory/polygyny?
    B) There is a problem for society raised by such arrangements. If this is the case, then why don’t proponents of SSM show how the arguments for SSM do not apply to polyamory/polygyny?

    The whole bestiality issue is absurd and the people who raise the issue on both sides of the SSM question are idiots. Animals lack the capacity to consent.

    I would reiterate my challenge: either explain why the SSM arguments don’t logically apply to polyamory/polygyny or establish the position that polygyny/polyamory don’t pose any problems in the context of a modern society. Unless you do one or the other you are just being intellectually dishonest.

    • thebentangle Says:

      Asher, I can make a strong case again polygamy. Can you?

      —Let’s assume for a moment that you can.

      If I understand you correctly, you’re trying to make the case that same-sex marriage should not be legalized because it opens the door to polygamy. Is that your only objection to same-sex marriage? If so, then there is nothing wrong with SSM in and of itself, whereas there is something wrong with polygamy. In that case, each form of marriage can be evaluated on its own merits because they are clearly distinct.

      If there is nothing intrinsically wrong with SSM, while there IS something intrinsically wrong with polygamy, then why would there be a slippery slope from one to the other? It seems to me that there is a very robust barrier in place to prevent the slide. When you go past that barrier, you get into harm.

      Because there is an additional and unique issue to consider in the case of polygamy, there is no slippery slope. Anyone can clearly differentiate between the two modes of marriage. Polygamy is in another zone altogether.

      No court in this land is going to decide that polygamy has to be legalized because SSM has been legalized. We just don’t see that happening, and there are no signs that it will. It is a fabricated scenario without any basis in actual events or even probabilities.

      SSM proponents argue that we should be free to marry the person of our choice. That’s “person,” not “persons.” If polygamists try to jump on that sled, we say “no,” because polygamy entails harm.

      —-Now let’s assume that you can’t make a strong argument against polygamy. Then why do you oppose it?

      Can you make a strong argument against homosexuality without resorting to the slippery slope fallacy, which clearly does not apply here?

      • Asher Says:

        If there is nothing intrinsically wrong with SSM, while there IS something intrinsically wrong with polygamy, then why would there be a slippery slope from one to the other? It seems to me that there is a very robust barrier in place to prevent the slide. When you go past that barrier, you get into harm.

        A right is a right is a right is a right. Even if you blow up the entire universe and destroy all life in pursuit of a right then that right is a fundamental right and is absolute. You cannot balance harms against rights as they are fundamentally different categories.

        If the fundamental right to marriage is based on the criteria of love and the capacity to consent then no amount of harm to society can counter that fundamental right. However, if harm to society is a consideration then it is not a fundamental right. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t both have a fundamental right and practical considerations – you can have one or the other but not both.

        No court in this land is going to decide that polygamy has to be legalized because SSM has been legalized

        That may or may not be the case, and you ignored my caveat. In fact, the court may carve out some exception for polygyny that is what is known as an unprincipled exception. The court may find that an individual has a fundamental right .. until that right harms society .. in which case it is no longer a fundamental right. In such a finding the court is simply picking and choosing to issue rulings based on whim. Either a right is fundamental and inviolable or it is not. If it is an inviolable right then it is inviolable, even if it’s application were to destroy the entire universe. However, if it is not inviolable then it is not a fundamental right.

        If marriage is based solely on the capacity to consent then polygamy is a fundamental right, no matter how much harm it brings to society.

        SSM proponents argue that we should be free to marry the person of our choice. That’s “person,” not “persons.” If polygamists try to jump on that sled, we say “no,” because polygamy entails harm.

        When it comes to fundamental rights harm is irrelevant. By the very nature of fundamental rights there is no harm you can demonstrate that will invalidate them – if you can manage to demonstrate such harm then they aren’t fundamental rights.

        Can you make a strong argument against homosexuality without resorting to the slippery slope fallacy, which clearly does not apply here?

        Um, it’s not a slippery slope fallacy. No amount of harm to society can invalidate an fundamental right. SSM leads to polygamy unless courts create an unprincipled exception to basing marriage on the capacity to consent.

        • thebentangle Says:

          Asher, you think that fundamental rights will still exist if the universe is blown up?

          I don’t.

          My definition of “fundamental rights” is: those rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution. If they’re not there, then they’re not fundamental. The Constitution is as fundamental as you can get.

          I gather that you think rights come from God or some such place. I do not.

          • Asher Says:

            The constitution is just a piece of paper with writing on it, no more fundamental than if I took my morning poop and wrote “I am going to have sex with Lindsay Lohan” on the bathroom wall but decided to believe it.

            You are the on placing some mystical authority in the Constitution akin tt he authority that Christians place in the Bible. The difference is that Christians actually believe that the Bible is inspired by God, while we all agree that the Constitution was just written by men, men just like you and I.

            • thebentangle Says:

              I would only use the word “fundamental” in the way that I did. I am not placing any mystical authority in the U.S. Constitution. It was written by men just like you and me, only smarter. I do not believe in any Platonic “realm of essences” where our fundamental rights are stored.

          • Asher Says:

            Asher, you think that fundamental rights will still exist if the universe is blown up?

            Yes.

            If they don’t then they’re contingent and not fundamental.

  4. Asher Says:

    From Wikipedia:

    “The heart of the slippery slope fallacy lies in abusing the intuitively appreciable transitivity of implication, claiming that A leads to B, B leads to C, C leads to D and so on, until one finally claims that A leads to Z. While this is formally valid when the premises are taken as a given, each of those contingencies needs to be factually established before the relevant conclusion can be drawn. Slippery slope fallacies occur when this is not done—an argument that supports the relevant premises is not fallacious and thus isn’t a slippery slope fallacy.”

    It’s very clear that if you set a legal precedent that states that any adult has a fundamental right to marry any other adult who offers a reciprocal sentiment then that logically includes multiple-partner arrangements.

    • thebentangle Says:

      Asher, check your understanding of the legal precedent that is being set with same-sex marriage. I’m sure you mis-stated it. My understanding is that the current laws regarding marriage are to be extended to same-sex couples, and that is all. Those current laws do not allow multiple-partner arrangements. Why should you think that such arrangements would be permissible for same-sex couples if they are not already permissible for different-sex ones?

      • Asher Says:

        You are incorrect. Marriage is being redefined as an expression of love. If any number of consenting adults have the capacity to agree to marriage then love and capacity is the only criteria for marriage.

        Period.

        You are incorrect.

        Any extension of marriage based on the criteria of love and the capacity to consent is an extension to any arrangement that involves a statement of love and the ability to consent.

        You are wrong on the facts.

        Why should you think that such arrangements would be permissible for same-sex couples if they are not already permissible for different-sex ones?

        I am not arguing any *shoulds* of any sort. I am simply pointing out the logical implications of basing marriage on the criteria of love and the capacity to consent.

        SSM ====> polyamory/polygyny. It’s a necessarily logical conclusion of basing marriage on love and the capacity to consent. Why don’t you answer my challenge? I issued it almost 24 hours ago.

        • thebentangle Says:

          Asher, who said that marriage is being redefined as an expression of love? Where did you get that? It doesn’t match anything I’ve read or heard about same-sex marriage.

          If marriage is just an expression of love and nothing more, then of course polygamy, incest, and bestiality would be legal. But they are not. And that’s because marriage is not just an expression of love. Even same-sex marriage is not just an expression of love. There must be two spouses and only two, and they must both be human beings, and adults. Just like opposite-sex marriage.

          SSM is identical to opposite-sex marriage, except that it removes the requirement that the two consenting adults be of different genders.
          Procreation is not a requirement for civil marriage anywhere in this country, and it never has been. In the past, only two consenting adults (humans) of different genders could marry, and one hoped there would be some love between them. Now, in some jurisdictions, there is no gender requirement.

          I don’t think you need to worry about polygamy. The SCOTUS does not take that concern seriously, and neither should you.

          • Asher Says:

            I don’t think you need to worry about polygamy. The SCOTUS does not take that concern seriously, and neither should you.

            Fine. Then the SCOTUS is intellectually dishonest and will carve out some unprincipled exception to exclude polygamy. I am not discounting that possibility, as I already said.

            I am not *worried* about anything and I’m not sure why you are turning this into some effeminate emotional discussion.

            Asher, who said that marriage is being redefined as an expression of love? Where did you get that? It doesn’t match anything I’ve read or heard about same-sex marriage.

            Then you’re not paying attention. The entire SSM marriage side of the debate is arguing that we can’t choose who we love and that we should be able to marry whomever we love because of that. How oblivious are you?

            • thebentangle Says:

              Asher, I have been a part of the gay rights movement for many years, and I don’t recall anyone ever asserting that we should be able to marry “whomever we love,” unless it was in a context where it was understood that that meant one person. If we wanted polygamy, I think we could spell that out. Maybe you have been reading too much into our words.

      • Asher Says:

        Those current laws do not allow multiple-partner arrangements.

        Irrelevant. A right is a right is a right is a right. If the right to a marriage is absolute and fundamental then no law can stand in the way of that right.

  5. Asher Says:

    I consider Loving v. Virginia to have been decided wrongly, not on the outcome but in the reasoning used. The court used a holding that marriage is a fundamental right to strike down anti-miscegenation laws. However, the court didn’t need to establish such a right in order to strike the laws as unconstitutional. All they needed to do was to hold that government lacks the capacity to establish definitive racial identity. Poof! Anti-miscegenation laws struck down without having to establish a fundamental right to marriage.

  6. thebentangle Says:

    So, you don’t think marriage should be a fundamental right?

  7. Asher Says:

    As Jeremy Bentham noted, rights are nonsense on stilts. If we live in a world of cause and effect then every *thing* is an effect of prior causes. where does any “right” come from? What is the chain of causality?

    It’s pretty clear that the evidence is that you have a right to something until someone with enough power gets in a position to say that you don’t have that right. Then, you don’t.

    One thing I will point out is that the history of human ideas indicates that any particular norm is going to be, in the long term, predicated in a unitary governing principle. Heterosexual marriage has always been about regulating the norms that govern the sexual relations between men and women. The problem with marriage over the past few decades is that marriage has gone from being governed by that principle to one of an expression of sentiment, and so heterosexual marriage as a tool for governing sexual relations between men and women has significantly diminished. So, gay marriage isn’t really changing much and is really an after effect of the shift in marriage of promoting sexual norms to an effeminate expression of sentiment.

    I notice that you don’t even acknowledge my challenges to either explain why the arguments for SSM are all logically applicable or why modern society will be perfectly fine with widespread polygyny/polyamory.

  8. Asher Says:

    A perfect example of a unitary governing principle is the debate over “positive” versus “negative” rights, a widely contested dispute. In arguing over the “proper” meaning of “rights” both sides are entirely missing the point: there is no proper definition but only one can hold sway; either rights are positive or they are negative but they cannot be both.

    So, either marriage is about expressions of love or it is about regulating norms of sexuality between men and women. But it cannot be both.

  9. Asher Says:

    One error that people who argue like Robert George make is one of the four great errors of philosophy identified by Nietzsche: reversing cause and effect. They claim that SSM will decouple marriage from regulating the norms that govern sexual relations between men and women. Their error is in attributing causal influence to SSM, whereas the reality is that SSM is an effect of the decoupling that has already occurred.

  10. Asher Says:

    In one sentence give me the animating principle you envision for marriage.

    Here’s mine:

    To impose norms regulating the sexual relations between male and female.

    Now that is NOT an ideal, it is a regulating function. What is yours?

    • thebentangle Says:

      I like the model adopted in Massachusetts and eight other states:

      Marriage is a social union or legal contract between two consenting non-cosanguinous adults, called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations (1) between them, (2) between them and any children they may have, and (3) between them and their in-laws. The institution of marriage acknowledges that the relationship between the spouses is intimate, private, and usually sexual in nature.

  11. Asher Says:

    Asher, I have been a part of the gay rights movement for many years, and I don’t recall anyone ever asserting that we should be able to marry “whomever we love,” unless it was in a context where it was understood that that meant one person. If we wanted polygamy, I think we could spell that out. Maybe you have been reading too much into our words.

    Honestly, this is surreal.

    The distinction between one person and multiple people is purely arbitrary. I don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not you are advocating one or many partners. Once you base marriage on subjective feelings and not on a regulating concern of society then personal, subjective feelings are the only concern and it is irrelevant whether or not is is one person or one thousand people.

    The distinction between male and female is biological and, thus, not arbitrary.

    • thebentangle Says:

      The distinction between two and three is numerical, and, thus, not arbitrary. The distinction between monogamy and polygamy is in the dynamics of the group, and that distinction is not arbitrary. Polygamy entails harms, which I will leave it to you to research (as it is very easy to do), but monogamy does not entail harms.

  12. Asher Says:

    Maybe you have been reading too much into our words.

    No.

    You refuse to draw out the logical implications of your premise. That I draw out those implications is not me reading anything into what you say.

    If you offer a premise “A” and A implies B then when you say A you are also saying B. That you refuse to acknowledge logical implications of an assertion does not mean those logical implications do not exist.

    Look, I am not opposed to SSM. The entire institution of marriage is irrevocably broken in the west. Objecting to SSM is like objecting to a homeless man defecating on a burned out car – I mean you could but … who cares.

  13. Asher Says:

    Can you state in one sentence the premise on which you would base all marriage?

  14. Asher Says:

    You said:

    I like the model adopted in Massachusetts and eight other states:

    Marriage is a social union or legal contract between two consenting non-cosanguinous adults, called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations (1) between them, (2) between them and any children they may have, and (3) between them and their in-laws. The institution of marriage acknowledges that the relationship between the spouses is intimate, private, and usually sexual in nature.

    But this has nothing to do with rights and principles and is simply a piece of legislation.

    Again, please give me your ANIMATING PRINCIPLE for marriage IN ONE SENTENCE.

    • thebentangle Says:

      Asher, do take a deep breath. I don’t want anyone to have an aneurism while blogging here.

      Your insistence on a single sentence is arbitrary, obsessive, and reductionist. What I gave you is what you get.

      • Asher Says:

        Your insistence on a single sentence is arbitrary, obsessive, and reductionist. What I gave you is what you get

        The reason I ask for a justification in one sentence is that the longer a justification gets the more ad hoc it gets. Your basis for “fundamental rights” is mere sentimentality – I’m not just talking about SSM but all rights.

        Most of the time I see accusations of “reductionist” is that that the accuser wants to just want to wave their hands around in the air and have their sentiments accepted without question.

        • thebentangle Says:

          I think my definition was very tight. Marriage is too complex for one sentence.

          • Asher Says:

            Your definition was a purely legal one and simply meets your sentimental wants. It had nothing to do with a justification.

            The historical function of marriage was to regulate sexual norms between male and female. Your definition fundamentally changes and eliminates that function. BTW, your definition is already the existing one for heterosexual unions so extending it to same-sex couples is simply a logical extension of that existing definition.

            However, the problem is that your definition isn’t a principle, so, the exclusion of multiple-partner arrangements is pure arbitrariness on your part. Limiting the number without offering a principled explanation, which you have not done, is simply arbitrary.

  15. Asher Says:

    Look, almost every principled justification for SMM takes the following form:

    We should be able to marry whom we love

    Erwin Chermerinsky who is a highly prominent leftists lawyer and has argued several dozen cases before the SCOTUS has explicitly made that statement.

    This is surreal. I have read or heard that exact statement from dozens, if not hundreds, of advocates for SSM. I feel like we’re in Alice in Wonderland territory.

    Look, the Loving case that overturned anti miscegenation laws was based on that exact premise, so I’m at a loss of what you’re talking about. The entire trend in “rights” language is that anyone should be able to do anything they want provided it does not directly infringe on someone else’s rights..

    Lets say I want to marry Sue, Mandy, Jeremy and Lisa and they all want to marry me as well as each other. Who is harmed? Be specific. “Society” isn’t a valid answer because society doesn’t have rights. I want a specific individual who is harmed by a group marriage of two men and three women, all consenting adults.

    • thebentangle Says:

      Asher, I suspect you may not be very sensitive to context and nuance. People advocating for SSM don’t want to spell everything out for you everytime they mention SSM. It is just assumed that certain things are understood.

      I can assure you that SSM advocates who say that “we should be able to marry whomever we love” do NOT mean multiple partners unless they specifically say so. You are taking them too literally.

      The default understanding of that statement is really not that complicated: We want to marry the partner of our choice.
      I shouldn’t have to add every time, “…as long as it is only one partner, a human being, and not co-sanguinous.” Pretty soon, our interlocutor would say, “Alright, alright, I get it; you don’t have to repeat that every time.”

      Earlier you made a remark about my “turning this into an effeminate emotional discussion.” Well, I’ll put you on notice: I am gay and I do not shun my feminine side, and I can be emotional if I want to. However, I would like to just point out that you are the one who has been emotional: controlling, imperious, hysterical at times, and over-reactive.

  16. Asher Says:

    You do understand that anything that is subject to any empirical consideration or constraint simply can’t be a fundamental right? Do you not understand that?

    If marriage is a fundamental right then it cannot be constrained by any harm done to society – it can only be constrained if it infringes on the rights of other specific individuals. I mean that’s the entire premise of political liberalism.

    • thebentangle Says:

      Asher, I think it should be clear by now that you and I have different definitions of “fundamental.” Mine is the dictionary definition, and it doesn’t say anything about “fundamentals” surviving the annihilation of the universe.

  17. Asher Says:

    Asher, I suspect you may not be very sensitive to context and nuance. People advocating for SSM don’t want to spell everything out for you everytime they mention SSM. It is just assumed that certain things are understood.

    Translated this simply means “I can offer whatever ad hoc claims I want without justification and you just have to accept whatever I say without questioning it”. This is a pretty standard debating tactic I encounter from all sorts of political and philosophical walks. A lot of the argumentation from the anti-SSM is similarly ad hoc so it’s not just your side. Falling back to “nuance” and “context” is usually just an excuse for handwaving.

    I can assure you that SSM advocates who say that “we should be able to marry whomever we love” do NOT mean multiple partners unless they specifically say so. You are taking them too literally.

    What you want, what they want, what anyone wants is irrelevant. Once you establish a premise then you don’t get to pick and choose the implications of that premise. That is why your premise must be concise and unitary and the statement that relied on the Massachusetts law is neither concise nor unitary.

    The default understanding of that statement is really not that complicated: We want to marry the partner of our choice.
    I shouldn’t have to add every time, “…as long as it is only one partner, a human being, and not co-sanguinous.”

    Ugh. The problem lies in your use of the words “we want”. You want one thing and others want other things. If marriage is a fundamental right then there is no level of contingent harm that can vacate that right … or it is not a fundamental right. If marriage is a fundamental right then it is a fundamental right as long as all parties involved in the arrangement have the capacity to consent. If marriage is a fundamental right then it violates the right of people who want multiple partner arrangements to have them if you refuse them marriage.

    “Earlier you made a remark about my “turning this into an effeminate emotional discussion.” Well, I’ll put you on notice: I am gay and I do not shun my feminine side, and I can be emotional if I want to. However, I would like to just point out that you are the one who has been emotional: controlling, imperious, hysterical at times, and over-reactive.

    The feminine side provides intimacy, lightness and joy. The masculine provides rules, order and structure. The feminine is small-picture and the masculine big-picture. Both are equally necessary for a fulfilling social environment that meets human needs. The trend over the past several decades is to completely reject the masculine and celebrate the feminine and gay males have exhibited a distressing tendency to be in the vanguard of this trend.

    I would challenge you to demonstrate where I’ve been emotional or controlling. What I’m doing is following the rules for rational debate that have existed in the western tradition since the ancient Greeks and which you seem to reject. The only emotion I’ve experienced in this discussion is frustration in your rejection of reason and logic. Your entire position boils down to “I want”, which is not rationally arguable, either for or against. However, basing public policy and social norms on subjective desire inevitably leads to chaos and social disorder.

    I was not calling you, personally, effeminate but noting the general degeneracy into effeminacy that has overtaken western civilization. The masculine is more important in setting the structure for society while the feminine is more crucial in interpersonal and family relationships. However, what has happened is that the feminine has undermined and supplanted the masculine in the public sphere and that is rotting away the foundation of civilization, which is order and structure.

    Too many gay men, certainly not all, are at the forefront of that crusade to undermine the masculine imperative for providing structure and order in the public sphere. There is probably a good reason for this which is that woman needs taming and gay men don’t have much experience in meeting that requirement for a masculine life. If you had the project of taming woman that straight men, such as myself have, then you would have a significantly different understanding of things.

  18. Asher Says:

    Fundamental

    Adjective
    Forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
    Noun
    A central or primary rule or principle on which something is based

    Harm is something that is contingent upon circumstances and evidence. Something that is contingent can never trump something that is essential or fundamental.

    If something is a fundamental right then that right can never be impinged upon by any harm, no matter how great.

    • thebentangle Says:

      Asher, in this country we have a fundamental but not an absolute right to freedom of religion. In certain cases, that “freedom” impinges upon other people’s fundamental rights. So these rights have to be balanced. If you do not wish to attach the word “fundamental” to these rights, then that is okay with me. Call them whatever you like.

  19. Asher Says:

    In certain cases, that “freedom” impinges upon other people’s fundamental rights.

    That is correct. The only thing that balances a fundamental right is another fundamental right. “Freedom from harm to society” is not a fundamental right, therefore,it can never be a basis for curtailing or abrogating fundamental rights.

    If I marry two women where have I violated someone else’s fundamental rights?

  20. Asher Says:

    emotional:

    Cite an emotion. Be specific.

    controlling, imperious, I

    I am simply following the millenia old tradition of rational debate. Take a position and argue for it. Your entire narrative has nothing to do with rationally arguing for a position and is nothing more than a sentimental “I want”. Desire is no basis for social order and structure.

    Frankly, I simply ask for you to justify your positions based on the implications of premising social institutions on subjective choice.

    hysterical at times, and over-reactive.

    We obviously have far different definitions for these labels. I am quite impatient with people who refuse to engage in a conversation with reason and logic and resort to hand waving. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of people on the anti-SSM debate also don’t engage using reason and logic, but using that as a justification is simply tu quoque.

    • thebentangle Says:

      Asher, the following is from Dean Hansen, to you:

      “…I am not *worried* about anything and I’m not sure why you are turning this into some effeminate emotional discussion.”

      Your ruminative intellectual behavior seems a tad disturbed on the psychiatric level. I suggest you make that friendly call to your local pharmacy as your meds seem to be running low. If you have no “horse” in this race, why are you asking Dough to ride yours? And why would you describe Dough as effeminate? Is he showing characteristics typical of women? He is homosexual as you well know. But he doesn’t betray it in his writings. You, on the other hand, are demonstrating characteristics typical of a closeted gay venting a tremendous amount of animus and hostility to someone who is going out of his way to show you deference and kindness. Are you thinking of joining the priesthood to keep it under wraps? Don’t.

      You remind me of an errant computer with a bad logic board having a battle of wits with James T. Kirk just before the smoke starts coming out of your ears. Watch out for those closed logic loops. They can create a feedback cascade that will blow your circuits if you’re not careful. A right is a right is a right is a right unless you’re wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. And you are wrong. You are infinitely wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Thoroughly wrong. You are incorrectly wrong and wrongly wrong on the facts. Truth is not constitutional. It does not compute. Rights are not privileges, duty is not honor. Input is not outcome. Serendipity is not sausage. Error. Error. Now compute pi to the 10 millionth digit. I do….not…I…It….. *SIZZLE* *POP!*

      “…As Jeremy Bentham noted, rights are nonsense on stilts.”

      Jeremy Bentham is stuffed and preserved in a box. Who gives a quick, dirty coital thrust what he thought? He had no right to be stuffed in a box. Did he love the box? Was he married to the box? Are rights granted by the eternal taxidermist? Where is the chain of causality? Where is the ex nihilo proposition? Is there miscegenation in the box? Why would he need stilts? Where is the unitary stilt principle? Does not compute. Error! Error! God is a concept by which we measure our pain. Or our sentiment….but NOT both!! I’ll say it again. Error! Error!

      Remember, Nietzsche spent much of his time being bat shit insane and talking to a horse in Turin, Italy before he was carted away. Is he your philosophical resource for all things squirrely?

      “…It is an argument that the current political arrangement we call the US is unwieldy, ineffective and is just begging to be broken up.”

      Is your mind following the example set by the U.S. or merely setting its course?

      “…In one sentence give me the animating principle you envision for marriage.

      Here’s mine:

      To impose norms regulating the sexual relations between male and female.

      Now that is NOT an ideal, it is a regulating function. What is yours?”

      You can no more regulate the sexual norms between males and females than you can take a frog’s temperature by jamming your foot in a horse’s ass. Do you love the ass? Do you compute the ass? How many rat’s asses does it take to make a horse’s ass? Do you square the ass by the inverse of the surreal? Error! Error! Does not compute! Your “animating principle” seems to be doing wonders for Jeremy Bentham. He looks pretty good after 200 years. Formaldehyde would also do wonders for imposing norms on people. Providing you don’t mind them being dead.

      “…The distinction between one person and multiple people is purely arbitrary. I don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not you are advocating one or many partners. Once you base marriage on subjective feelings and not on a regulating concern of society then personal, subjective feelings are the only concern and it is irrelevant whether or not is is one person or one thousand people.”

      Wrong, Einstein. The distinction, as Dough has elucidated numerous times, is not to compromise the value of marriage but to enrich it and make it available to couples everywhere. If you want multiple partners, you can try Saudi Arabia or Utah. You apparently don’t give “a rat’s ass” about much of anything, so this concept shouldn’t bother you either: you can’t construct a society by ignoring the subjective feelings of its members, or claim that laws are only fair and just when they ignore them. Need proof? Go ask Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, whose animating principle is complete and unchallenged power and political control over everything and everyone.

      “…Your definition was a purely legal one and simply meets your sentimental wants. It had nothing to do with a justification.”

      I want the moral universe to reflect my own desires. Given the failure of that, I want to be sane. To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten. If that’s sentimentality or justification, I’ll take it in a heartbeat over anything you’re offering.

      “…The distinction between male and female is biological and, thus, not arbitrary.”

      No shit, Sherlock. The distinction between up and down is context, Mr. gravity.

      “…What you want, what they want, what anyone wants is irrelevant. Once you establish a premise then you don’t get to pick and choose the implications of that premise. That is why your premise must be concise and unitary and the statement that relied on the Massachusetts law is neither concise nor unitary.”

      Bullshit. Apparently your house of cards is collapsing right in front of you. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but we are human beings, not machines. Present company excluded. We carve our own fucking destiny because we have minds, hearts and feelings. You just carve minutia from rhetorical dead ends. We can be as sentimental, sloppy, irreverent, lazy, productive as we God Damned well please. We make and break laws when it suits us to do so. Got it? That’s how we diminish harm and enshrine value. That’s why we have a court system and a jury system and a legal apparatus. As dysfunctional as it can be, it is there to protect us and honor our evolving ideas of justice, clemency, mercy and life. It doesn’t rule US we rule IT. We created the concept of marriage and we can alter it if we wish. We’ve already done so. We are not beholden to an invisible force that demands we give an account for everything we do, or that we dot every fucking i and cross every t. You want to live under the law? Then die under it. It’s still your choice. Stop trying to cement everything into one inescapable conclusion. The rest of us have free moral agency, because love is not a penalty in the dance of life, it is the real function and sole meaning of living. We can abolish commitments to it or make them inclusive. Avoid marriage or support it. It’s not going to disappear or be damaged because some numbskull like yourself wants to sit up all night arguing convoluted crap through his ass just to be a contrarian. Stop imbibing the philosophical jargon for five seconds and try taking your pulse to see if you have one. If you don’t, go join Jeremy. The poor guy looks like he could use some company.

      “….Too many gay men, certainly not all, are at the forefront of that crusade to undermine the masculine imperative for providing structure and order in the public sphere. There is probably a good reason for this which is that woman needs taming and gay men don’t have much experience in meeting that requirement for a masculine life.”

      Yes, you’re right, Asher. I’ve been thinking about this problem since the gay commies started fluoridating our water supply. I first became aware of it during the physical act of love. It was followed by a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness. Luckily, I was able to interpret these feelings correctly: loss of essence. An inability to meet the requirements for a masculine life. Asher, do you know why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure grain alcohol? It’s to counteract the Gay Plot. As a result, women sense my power and seek my essence. I do not avoid women, Asher, but I do deny them my essence.

      Gay men are presently too busy actively and tirelessly participating in the undermining of society to be good masculine role models. It won’t be long until the typical marriage involves Donkeys, Sheep, Gerbils and Gummy Bears. Emmm! Gummy Bears, Asher, Gummy Bears! We should probably round all the queers up and put them in death camps before their subjective sentimentality and rights agenda brings down the kingdom. After all, that’s their main task as hounds of hell. They are exercising their corrupting skills through a number of organizations even as I speak, such as the Bilderbergs, the Trilateral commission, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Merovingian dynasty, the Carbonari, the Knights Templar, the Zeti Reticuli, the Reptoids, the Fibonacci sequence, cold pizza, gas station Sushi and the destruction of Sodom as well as the exhaust fumes that emanate from floundering democracies. Most importantly of all, the queers have robbed straight men of their testicles, their moral compass, and their Nikes.

      And you’re absolutely right, Mandrake….er, Asher. Women definitely need taming. But stern discipline and a penal whip hand wont be enough. Once the gays have feminized the masculine world and conquered stem cell reproduction and cloning, the birth rate will drop to zero and we can finally be done with uppity women who will have taken over all the heavy lifting since our wrists will be too limp to carry our own weight. Thanks for the head’s up. in the name of Her Majesty and the Continental Congress come here and feed me this ammo belt, boy!

  21. thebentangle Says:

    Asher, the following was sent to me via e-mail by Dean Hansen. It’s for you:

    The key feature of every disagreement on the internet revolves around eliminating conversation by beating someone to death with logical fallacy rules that insist you’re avoiding one. But the people who do this make objection the only rule, because there is nothing substantial to discuss once you clear that wall. It’s just another form of avoidance, masquerading as knowledge. I don’t have to be mean spirited to you to call you an ass, and you don’t have to revert to Aristotle 101 as a deflection from the charge.

    Appeals to inflexible values are what religion does best, and whether they’re true or not will never be settled by reference to a system that imitates them note for note. In the meantime, those who are repulsed by the fervor of Aristotelian polemics as an answer to everything, will note the inflexible and equally stringent demands of your so called logic, when it knee jerks itself into its own version of religious piety by embracing the same assertion of authority in itself which it denounces in everyone else.

    You might want to add this to your growing list of logical rules. The fallacy from skeptical awareness: An imaginary point of transcendent reference or objective clarity from which “rules” are applied, which though they seem reasonable, cannot account for, or answer to every element in every argument, because they are compromised by the fallibility and/or arrogance of the questioner who imagines that he/she is at all times removed from their appeal, influence or impact; or that their influence is a foregone guarantee of negative results which demands a rule of proof to protect from its automatic consequences. Conclusion: Life is a mystery that rules don’t solve or protect anyone from. You’ve already said SSM is a fait accompli. Get over yourself and stop wasting our time. You don’t want serious intellectual discussion. You just want to be right at any cost even when you admit to losing the battle. Maybe you should pursue a political career if you don’t already have one.

    By the way, harm is always relevant. That’s in great part why we have laws; to minimize the damage our rights/obligations cause to one another. We drive cars. Driving a licensed car is a fundamental right of adults in our society. Cars cause extensive damage and harm both to people and to the environment. So does alcohol. They are both legal, and both extremely harmful when used in conjunction with one another. Did the right to drink solidify before it’s harms were known? What if we decided to outlaw liquor? We’ve done it before. Prohibition doesn’t work, it increases harms to society exponentially. There is a greater harm to disallowing what was previously granted than living with the harm it causes as a right. We mediate those harms as best we can, we don’t eliminate them. Why? Because we don’t live in a perfect world. Marriage is a fundamental right. It leads to wife beatings, abuse, court settlements, alimony, custody disputes, hatred and vengeance. It’s also the best system we’ve discovered for insuring that two loving partners can grow, share and benefit from being together. Love trumps harm. Gays are entitled to the same misery and joy as everyone else. Case closed.

    Are you Antonin Scalia’s out of marriage love child or just someone with a severe case of OCD or Asperger’s Syndrome?

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