Maggie Gallagher on National Review article: “Single best piece I’ve read” on same-sex marriage

September 8, 2010 at 10:06 am 134 comments

(Cross-posted at Good As You)

By Jeremy Hooper

Cover Overlay 100920A new National Review editorial that Maggie Gallagher calls the “single best piece I’ve read on the subject” of same-sex marriage features lots of the usual, increasingly-rejected arguments about procreation and slippery slopes. It also works the same “they’re gonna call us bigots!” victimization routine that Maggie’s National Organization For Marriage has taken on as their number one strategy as of late (while, of course, not taking responsibility for the “why” of that possibility). So since the piece is an amalgamation of what we take on here, nugget by flawed nugget, every single day of the work week, we’re not gonna pick the whole darn thing apart in this post.

We do, however, want to look at one particular segment that somewhat sums up the skewed mentality that underlies every last bit of our opposition’s marriage bias. Namely, this snip:

Same-sex marriage would introduce a new, less justifiable distinction into the law. This new version of marriage would exclude pairs of people who qualify for it in every way except for their lack of a sexual relationship. Elderly brothers who take care of each other; two friends who share a house and bills and even help raise a child after one loses a spouse: Why shouldn’t their relationships, too, be recognized by the government? The traditional conception of marriage holds that however valuable those relationships may be, the fact that they are not oriented toward procreation makes them non-marital. (Note that this is true even if those relationships involve caring for children: We do not treat a grandmother and widowed daughter raising a child together as married because their relationship is not part of an institution oriented toward procreation.) On what possible basis can the revisionists’ conception of marriage justify discriminating against couples simply because they do not have sex?

The Case for Marriage [Nat’l Review]

Sex. That’s where these opposition voices begin and end with us. Heterosexual married couples have love, commitment, companionship, shared goals and dreams, combined financial means, rights, privileges, tax breaks, PTA meetings, and entitlement to the easy marital currency that will be painlessly recognized in hospitals, courts, tax bureaus, and anywhere else where the one with whom a person has pledged a life commitment most comes into play. But gay couples? Well, we’re just friends who like to play with each others’ genitals, dontcha know? Like a pair of friends who are having so much fun exchanging orgasms that they decided to turn it into a permanent sleepover with their favorite bunkmate.

Now, these social conservatives have of course set up this heterosexual procreation argument because they think it’s the one thing we cannot refute. But marriage is not and has never been based around the ancillary component of children. Not fully. And nowhere else, other than in the confines of a politically-charged conversational contrivance like the one Nat’l Review‘s editors have proffered onto their partisan pages, would anyone debate that fact.

Human beings the world over know what love and marriage is, and we all know it goes well beyond whether or not the couple (homo or hetero) chooses to invoke on a path filled with diaper changes and Dora The Explorer DVDs. We know that Harry and June, sixty and childless even after being married for forty years, are no less nuptially-bonded than a teenage couple who spend their honeymoon in the maternity ward. We know that Bob and Joe, Sigma Delta Beer Bong brothers and roommates, have much more than sex separating their relationship from friendship to loving union (and that one drunken sex session isn’t enough to change that, so stop worrying, Joe).

We also know that marriage is one way that many committed couples choose to solidify this, the ultimate declaration that there’s more to this bond than just high fives and tenuous shared interests. And most importantly: We know that if one kind of couple within the known, scientifically-recognized spectrum of sexual orientation is included in the CIVIL system that we call marriage, than *ALL* couples who fit within this span are also to be included.

Oh, and some of us know that this is no longer a request: It is a demand.

***

*UPDATE: Now to be fair, Nat’l Review tries to blow off our beliefs by claiming that same-sex marriage advocates raise these three points:

The first is that law and society have always let infertile couples marry; why not treat same-sex couples the same way?



The second objection proponents of same-sex marriage raise is that the idea that marriage is importantly linked to procreation is outdated.

The third objection is that it is unfair to same-sex couples to tie marriage to procreation, as the traditional conception of marriage does.

The Case for Marriage [Nat’l Review]

And then they give the usual convenient reasons for why these points are supposedly faulty (hetero couples still have poss. of mating, the pregnancy connection is timeless, no animus is intended, etc.). But the problem? Well, in their strawman-like insistence on boiling down our arguments to three convenient claims, they fully overlook some of the more pertinent points that we raise. Points like:

1) That civil marriage laws do not speak to the ancillary component of children AT ALL, so the only way for these personal arguments about acceptable reproduction to come into play is for the religious right to start working toward procreation amendments rather than gay marriage bans.

(2) That when it comes to marriage’s supposed “tradition” and history, our modern opponents have no leg to stand on when it comes to marriage supposedly being the thing that we know it to be today.

(3) That nothing same-sex couples do or do not do in terms of their freedom to marry changes any of these beliefs, opinions, or even truths about marriage as we have known it!

And there are others, of course. All building on the actual reality of the world. One where gay people are born. Where gay people give birth. Where gay people contribute to births. One where the only folks who are playing politics with procreation are the social conservatives who look at the unique role that gay people play in the life chain, then take it upon themselves to decide that this role is to our society’s collective detriment.

Perhaps it’s time they embark on a National Re-Review.

Entry filed under: NOM Exposed, Right-wing. Tags: .

Prop 8 trial update with questions about Imperial County DEVELOPING: Schwarzenegger and Brown file papers with California Supreme Court responding to PJI’s appeal

134 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathleen  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Just subscribing.

    Reply
    • 2. Ronnie  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

      ditto…<3…Ronnie

      Reply
  • 3. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Of course Magpie will agree with the National Review. Their target readership is the same as NOM’s target audience and constituency. And they are bringing the same confusion they have always brought to the table. Yes, there is a reason for not granting marital status to two brothers who live alone, even when they are raising a child together. And the same for the grandmother and the widowed mother who are raising the grandchild. But they already get the tax breaks associated with that because whoever is paying the greater amount toward the monthly bills is able to declare head of household status on their tax return in addition to the deduction that is in the house for the child or children. WE cannot claim head of household.

    Reply
    • 4. Rhie  |  September 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      They also have a legally recognized relationship to that child – legal guardian. Gay couples in states that don’t allow adoption don’t have that. None have that federally.

      Reply
  • 5. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Click the box, Richard, before you click submit!

    Reply
  • 6. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Try this again!

    Reply
  • 7. Ann S.  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:22 am

    One of the arguments for Prop 8 was that without it, elderly widows might marry each other for the benefits of having health care powers of attorney, financial powers of attorney, etc., so that they could take care of each other.

    To which I said, why not?

    god forbid we should enact something that might benefit little old ladies??

    Reply
    • 8. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:58 am

      I agree, why not!? Gosh!

      In Salt Lake City, our mayor instituted mutual committement registry:

      “This registry is for adult residents of the City who share a primary residence and rely on one another as dependents. The measure would help many of our elderly residents, people with adult dependent children, as well as same-sex couples”

      http://www.slcgov.com/recorder/MCregistry.htm

      I’ve noticed a trend for some companies to allow employees to list one other adult on their insurance…not necessarily a spouse.

      Reply
    • 9. Kate  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

      Straight people do this all the time, especially to partake in health insurance benefits.

      Reply
  • 10. Evan  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:26 am

    … the “single best piece I’ve read on the subject”

    Again, Maggie Gallagher exhibits her very low standards for rational arguments. It doesn’t matter if it makes logical sense or not, she’s a fan!

    Reply
    • 11. Mouse  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Dear Maggie,

      Your standards are low enough. You can stop digging.

      Reply
    • 12. Sean  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:05 am

      Clearly Maggie doesn’t do a lot of reading…

      Reply
      • 13. Marlene  |  September 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

        I think the only things she reads is the NRO and those perverted Chick tracts!

        Reply
    • 14. Kate  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:30 am

      Maybe it’s the “single best” because it’s the only one out there that thinks the way she does. Who would trust a magazine that flaunts bad grammar on its cover anyway?

      Reply
  • 15. BradK  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Just browsing the home page of N.R.O., I’d have to say the site is about one baby step to the left of WingNutDaily. No doubt they have their share of loyal (if lobotomized) readers, but they hardly set the tone for any national debate or discussion. On the plus side, they actually manage to make Fox news seem “fair and balanced”.

    When Mags approves of your copy as “the single best piece I’ve read on the subject”, it’s time to step back and get some perspective.

    Reply
  • 16. Dave in CA  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Not sure if this has already been posted:

    Cal. Supreme Court Asks for Briefs Wed. on Duty of Gov., AG to Defend Prop. 8

    http://www.standardnewswire.com/news/950195539.html

    PJI first filed a writ petition late Aug. 27th in Sacramento’s Third District Court of Appeals. After the Third District rejected the suit without comment on September 1st, PJI filed a petition for review over the weekend with the California Supreme Court. Today the Court directed the governmental defendants to file a response by 9:00 am. Wednesday, with a reply from PJI due by noon the same day.

    Reply
    • 17. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

      I’m assuming that 9am (and 12 pm) mean TODAY (the article wasn’t clear, but appeals are due by 9/11, so next week woul be too late).

      Does anyone have (or can get) a copy of the filings? At this point, the response is due in about 40 min, so all the pprwork should be avaliable (or will be soon).

      Reply
      • 18. GRod  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm

        @elliom
        Can you repost/update, I suspect it is past noon your time, and whether filings are available. Closer to Crunch Time

        Reply
      • 19. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

        It’s well past noon here in the Bay Area.

        If Kathleen is her typical, on-the-ball self, she’ll have the postings on scribd as soon as she gets them.

        I was just getting a little antsy earlier. My bad! :>

        Kathleen: Any word yet?

        Reply
      • 20. Ann S.  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

        These don’t seem to be showing up in my email subscription for filings on this case. Will look further when I get a chance (work crunch right now).

        Reply
    • 21. BradK  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      Keep in mind that this is only a press release, not a legal filing of any kind. If there’s one thing we know for sure it’s that the other side loves their propaganda.

      To wit: “…If the Governor and Attorney General can defeat any voter-approved initiative simply by failing to show up in court…” is deliberate misdirection, if not a flat-out lie. What they’re trying to imply here is that PropH8 would likely be upheld if only the Governator and A.G. could be bothered to defend it. They make no mention of the overwhelming (damning, really) evidence contained in the trial record. In reality, neither Schwarz nor Brown could hope to save it if they tried.

      And may the Schwarz be with us. [:~)

      Reply
  • 22. Richard W. Fitch  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Someone else will need to submit the accurate details, but on the argument that procreation is the bedrock of marriage – SCOTUS has already blown that out of the water. The ruling that felons who are incarcerated for life, with no privilege of conjugal visits, still have the right to marry, totally contravenes this line of defense.

    Reply
    • 23. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:27 am

      Also, if that were the case, infertility would be grounds to divorce. There’s never been a law on the books saying that.

      Reply
  • 24. Sagesse  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Subscribing from work. Will read later. Skimming has given me a headache.

    Reply
    • 25. Ann S.  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:52 am

      ::hands you some Advil::

      Reply
  • 26. Powodzenia  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Part of the reason we are having this debate is because we are using archaic language to define ourselves. We talk about sexuality instead of the more accurate amorosity. It is our love lives we must discuss. Homoamorosity and heteramorosity are words we shoul choose over the 150 year old words we’ve been discussing. That will allow those in the discussion to recognize that it is our hearts and not our genitals that count in this discussion. http://powodzenia.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/sexuality-vs-love/

    Reply
    • 27. Franck  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

      I agree, Powdzenia. that is why I prefer the terms “same-gender” marriage” or “gender-neutral marriage” to “same-sex marriage.”

      Another term someone suggested was “homoaffectionate”.

      – Franck P. Rabeson
      Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1174 days, as of today.

      Reply
      • 28. Anonygrl  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:47 am

        I try to use “marriage equality” rather than “same sex marriage” whenever possible, although it sometimes requires some re-writing, because marriage equality covers everybody.

        Reply
      • 29. nightshayde  |  September 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

        I also use “marriage equality” whenever grammatically possible.

        Reply
      • 30. Sagesse  |  September 8, 2010 at 6:47 pm

        How about sexual and emotional orientation?

        Reply
  • 31. pgbach  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Generally, I’ve always tried to make serious, intellectual comments here since I am a serious intellectual. However, I feel I should state here my first thought re Maggie: Just because no one is willing to screw you isn’t a reason to screw those of us who can be screwed and loved.

    Reply
    • 32. Ann S.  |  September 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

      Hear, hear!!

      Reply
    • 33. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

      * Blushing * and LOL!

      Reply
  • 34. BK  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Oh my goodness–I am so behind in reading these posts! Sorry for such a bland post, but I had to say. Will do my best to catch up… Being behind isn’t fun. :) On second thought, though, at least I have a supply of P8TT material to read through. Happy times, happy times.

    Reply
  • 35. Cat  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Many of the arguments against marriage equality rely on refusing to acknowledge the loving, sexual, relationship of a same-sex couple and their intent of enduring commitment when they want to get married. Comparing this to family members jointly raising children (e.g. mother & grandmother) is beside the point.

    Same-sex relationships are much, much, closer in spirit to opposite-sex relationships than our foes are willing to admit. In fact, it only differs when compared to an opposite-sex couple who are willing and able to conceive children, and only differs by that ability, not any other aspect. And we all know that having the two biological parents present in a family is neither mandatory, nor the only good way to raise children. I’ll place a loving stepparent above an abusive biological parent anytime.

    Using the ‘traditional marriage’ argument is a grave insult to all the single moms & dads, stepparents, adoptive parents, infertile parents, childless-by-choice couples and same-sex couples, as they are inferior in the eyes of the ‘traditional marriage’ advocates.

    Reply
    • 36. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:15 am

      All good points Cat!

      Reply
    • 37. fiona64  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

      We had a troll here for a while, Marc, who was well known to me from the SacBee boards.

      He absolutely believed that any infertile, postfertile or childfree marriage should be prosecuted for defrauding the government — and that any marriages that did not result in children after a certain length of time should be judicially annulled.

      There are some sick folks out there.

      But we knew that.

      Love,
      Fiona

      Reply
      • 38. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

        Hmm. Well, then it seems to follow that parents who produce children who are rude, criminal, obnoxious, tax cheaters, unemployed, or ugly should also be penalized. How many lashes for Marc’s parents, I wonder?

        Reply
      • 39. Josiah  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:07 pm

        Wow. I’m glad I missed that one. I’d have given him a piece of my mind as a straight, infertile, childless married man.

        Reply
    • 40. GRod  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      @Cat
      Following up on your last paragraph, and mindful of Charles Cooper’s procreation (0nly) argument on the state’s interest in procreation as a key reason for the state to be in the marriage business, and of Jeremy Hooper above off handed statement “marriage is not and has never been based around the ancillary component of children. Not fully. And nowhere else, other than in the confines of a politically-charged conversational contrivance like the one Nat’l Review‘s editors have proffered onto their partisan pages, would anyone debate that fact”, I make the following observation:
      I would have accepted both statments as fact and dismissed Cooper sentence until I was confronted with the August 31 decision of the 5th District of Texas Appeal Court” http://www.dallasvoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Gay.Divorce.pdf
      I share the following quote pg 32/33 “We considered whether Texas’ marriage laws are rationally related to the goal of promoting the raising of children in households headed by opposite sex couples. We conclude that they are. Because only relationships between opposite sex couples can naturally produce children, is it reasonable for the state to afford unique legal recognition of that particular social unit in the form of opposite sex marriage. Sited are Standhardt (Ariz 2003); Andersen (Wash 2006); Goodridge (Mass 2003).
      The reasoning of Justices Bridges, FitzGerald, and Fillmore as written by FitzGerald will certainly be evident in Mr. Cooper’s submission to the 9th District Court of Appeal. Let us all hope he and Imperial County do not gain standing.

      Reply
      • 41. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

        @GRob, yeah, that decision is really reactionary and disturbing, but it’s written at the state appeals level, not federal. I don’t know if that means it has less pull in a federal court appeal, but I would imagine so. Can Kathleen shed any light on that?

        Reply
      • 42. Ann S.  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm

        Elizabeth, a court is not bound by any other court than the one(s) above it. However, if they find an argument from another court persuasive, whatever court, then they can adopt it, if it applies to the situation at hand.

        Reply
      • 43. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

        Thanks Ann. This Texas decision is pretty much the same as NOM’s procreation argument, so we’ll see if Cooper can use it make that argument any more persuasive than he already tried to. (? weird tenses, sorry.)

        Reply
      • 44. bJason  |  September 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

        The Texas laws may be “rationally related to the GOAL of promoting the raising of children in households headed by opposite sex couples. (emphasis added)”.

        I think the issue is whether the GOAL is rational – Walker found that it wasn’t.

        Reply
      • 45. Dave P.  |  September 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

        And this one sentence right HERE…

        “Because only relationships between opposite sex couples can naturally produce children, is it reasonable for the state to afford unique legal recognition of that particular social unit in the form of opposite sex marriage.”

        …Clearly displays that the ruling is flawed, all by itself. There is no RATIONAL relationship between the statement that ‘Because only opposite sex couples can procreate’ and the conclusion that ‘it is reasonable for the state to afford unique legal recognition etc”. This also means there is no RATIONAL BASIS for a state establishing a “GOAL” of ‘promoting the raising of children in households headed by opposite sex couples’. Such a “goal” does nothing to help achieve any legitimate state interest. Morons.

        Reply
    • 46. Skemono  |  September 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      Same-sex relationships are much, much, closer in spirit to opposite-sex relationships than our foes are willing to admit.

      And on that note, look what came out today:

      While social conservatives in the 2010 election campaign depict gay marriage as a threat to married life as we know it, Iowa’s 18-month experience with the newly legalized institution has revealed striking similarities to traditional marriage and no discernible harm to it, according to an IowaWatch study.

      Reply
      • 47. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:24 am

        And the effect of a year and a half of same sex marriage? Divorce rates in Iowa have fallen to levels not seen since 1968. I’m a little disappointed… in Massachusetts they fell to WWII levels! But hey, it’s only been 18 months!

        Reply
  • 48. Wolfinlv  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

    if they wish to tie procreation to marriage then by all means do so. This would mean no marriage until there is a pregnancy if the pregnancy isn’t successful then the marriage is null and void until the next one. This would mean that once the kids are grown and out of the house the marriage would be null and void since procreation is done. That couples who remain childless or never intend to have children, or who meet later in life would have to settle for “civil unions” and would have to go through the legal hoops we currently have to. I think that would be a fair piece of swallow your own medicine.

    Reply
    • 49. Cat  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:31 am

      And let’s restore the noble old medieval tradition as well: an impartial witness in the newly-weds bedroom to make sure the marriage has been properly consummated. Or perhaps a modern replacement: mandatory DNA testing to make sure the child is legitimate. Illegitimate children are to be taken away and raised by the nuns.

      And here’s a fun fact (not the sarcasm): In April 2009, the National Center for Health Statistics announced that nearly 40 percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 were delivered by unwed mothers. It’s high time we restore traditional marriage!

      Reply
      • 50. Shannon  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

        Cat: I can only speak for myself, but I am troubled by that 40% figure and think it is both a symptom and a cause of some social problems in our country. It’s an issue you’d think NOM and its supporters might also care about. But as you joked (I think it was a joke!), NOM would use that statistic in its arguments against same-sex marriage… but of course it has nothing to do with same-sex marriage or gay people. (Except perhaps for a very small number of babies born into lesbian families) NOM never stops using gays/lesbians as the scapegoats for every social ill.

        Reply
      • 51. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

        Add another tradition:

        Women must be examined before the wedding to ensure they really are virgins. No hymen, no wedding. And the blood stained sheets must be run up a flagpole, so noone questions the validity of the exam or the marriage. No blood stain, and the marriage is void.

        Of course, men would not be subject to such examination. After all, it’s just biology, and it’s not discriminatory to treat men and women differently, right? And who cares if he’s a virgin? Someone needs experience so the poor, scared girl will know what she has to do to make him happy.

        Reply
      • 52. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

        And one more that I couldn’t resist: Prima Nocta

        Since we don’t have Lords to take the wife on the wedding night, perhaps we could use elected officals? Philandery seems right up their alley…..

        Reply
      • 53. Cat  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:54 am

        Rest assured, I was being sarcastic (I guess Poe’s Law can be applied to my earlier comment). That statistic is indeed worrisome, as probably a large portion of those pregnancies weren’t planned to be outside of a marriage (if at all), and are likely to result in a struggle for both mother and child. Not a good situation.

        One would think that NOM would be happy to lower that percentage by advocating for marriage equality, so more children will have legally married caretakers (again, being sarcastic, although this would be a good thing if it were true).

        Reply
      • 54. Joel  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm

        I’ve heard Poe’s law mentioned more than a few times. Can someone tell this uneducated queer what that is?

        Reply
      • 55. Franck  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm

        Joel, Wikipedia is your friend:

        Poe’s law (religious fundamentalism) — “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”

        Named after Nathan Poe who formulated it on christianforums.com in 2005. Although it originally referred to creationism, the scope later widened to religious fundamentalism.

        – Franck P. Rabeson
        Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1174 days, as of today.

        Reply
      • 56. Steve  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

        @elliom
        That’s more of a legend or myth popularized by “Braveheart”. Historically, there is very little evidence of it. At least not in that form and not under that name.

        Reply
      • 57. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

        Figured that makes it as traditional as their definition! :>

        Reply
      • 58. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:22 am

        Thankfully there’s plenty of gay couples out there who can’t have children on their own to take care of all those babies straight people keep making!

        “Perhaps God created gay people to ensure the best and brightest members of society were unencumbered by children.”

        Reply
  • 59. Shannon  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I can read the National Review piece and think “OK, this is pretty well thought out and somewhat fair.” But the argument falls apart when you consider modern reality. What is being advocated here is not just a ban on same-sex marriage but a longing to retreat to bygone days where no one had sex before or outside of marriage, no one got divorced, and gay people were not seen or heard. Those days are long gone and never coming back.

    Reply
    • 60. Kate  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:31 am

      Sounds like NOM’s ultimate goal…….

      Reply
    • 61. mandy  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

      Reality is that never happened. There were never any golden years where marriage was like that.

      Reply
  • 62. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

    OK, something that’s really been bothering me, and not sure how to deal with it.

    What do we do about Teh H8r (if they can call use teh gey, then….) constantly preempting and coopting our language, and twisting it all around to their own purposes? Some examples (I’m sure the’re more):

    They trample our rights, and then say we’re taking their rights.

    They do everything they can to push us down, then call us bigots.

    They call our love hate, and their hate love.

    There’re now so many definitions of things flying around (mostly, because they CHOSE to REDEFINE words from their TRADITIONAL meaning) that i’m sure some of the lay people out there have their heads spinning, and added confusion is no help to our cause. I’m not sure much, if anything can be done about it, other than reinforcing our own concepts, but that seems reactionary, at best. Anyone have any ideas how to combat this attack on our vocabulary in a proactive manner? My guess is they’re trying to take away even our ability to discuss the situation, by redefining away the concepts.

    Reply
    • 63. mandy  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      Maybe it will comfort you to know that it is the last dying breath of a very hateful cause. They are trying to turn themselves into victims because they know what they are doing is wrong. They have no arguments. Nothing supports them not even the bible. All they have is trying to turn the arguments and voices of those on the right side of equality and make it their own.

      Reply
      • 64. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        I get why they do it. I’m just not sure how to counter-act it, without it becoming a he-said/she-said type of thing.

        I’m thinking back to my debate days, where who got do define what could make or break an argument. (“It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.”)

        Reply
      • 65. mandy  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

        Do you mean on a one on one sort of setting or as a group in general?

        Reply
      • 66. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm

        I guess even more broadly than that. Maybe on a movement level?

        Of all the coverage, I really think this is one of the least addressed issues. But, as well all know, WORDS MATTER!

        Words define the frame and scope of discussion. Words convey concepts, ideas, and nuances, When different words are used, different meanings are inferred. When words are redefined (either deliberately, or just over time), meaning becomes garbled, and understanding becomes difficult, if not impossible.

        We CANNOT let that happen. We CANNOT let them do to us what they accuse us of doing to them. Words are our tools in this fight, and they’re trying to blunt every one of them.

        What I want to know, is how do we stop them, and if we can’t stop them, how do we rehone that dulled edge, ’til it’s nice and razor sharp again?

        Reply
      • 67. JP  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:10 pm

        Elliom,

        It really is at this point where their words begin to dig their grave for them. It is also at this point, where we have to be clear and concise when discussing issues, that we have to be careful how we react to people emotionally. This is where people start to move to our side in larger numbers and they need to see that we support them and don’t hate them for their past ignorance.

        Reply
    • 68. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:18 am

      Many people also fought for segregation, because they believed it trampled on their rights to live in a segregated society. It’s easy to make these distinctions when you believe one person is worth less than the other.

      “The right to swing your fists ends as my nose.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

      Reply
  • 69. Kate  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Jerry Brown has now responded, too. Yay! I wish they’d post these responses online.

    Reply
  • 70. JuliaL  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

    This claim is seriously flawed in several ways you didn’t mention.

    “This new version of marriage would exclude pairs of people who qualify for it in every way except for their lack of a sexual relationship.”

    Adding same-sex marriage wouldn’t exclude anybody who isn’t already excluded, so saying it “would exclude” is a lie.

    “Elderly brothers who take care of each other”

    An elderly brother and her elderly sister who take care of each other are also forbidden marriage despite the fact that they are a one-man and one-woman couple, even if they, in fact, do have sex with each other. They are forbidden to marry because of their relationship to each other. Where same sex marriage is legal, the same restriction applies because of the presumed genetic link. If National Review wishes to remove the restriction on marriage between closely related people, it is welcome to argue for that, but allowing marriage between close relatives has nothing whatsoever to do with same-sex marriage.

    “two friends who share a house and bills and even help raise a child after one loses a spouse: Why shouldn’t their relationships, too, be recognized by the government? The traditional conception of marriage holds that however valuable those relationships may be, the fact that they are not oriented toward procreation makes them non-marital.”

    Completely untrue and ridiculous. In fact, if the two friends are male and female and they ask for a marriage license, their relationship will indeed be recognized by the government. The government does not inquire into whether couples feel friendship or romantic attraction for each other. The government does not ask if they are “oriented toward procreation.” Most of us have probably known at least one set of people who married from a mutual desire for stability or convenience, or whatever, rather than because of a deep romantic attachment or a desire for sex with each other.

    Where same-sex marriage is permitted, this right of friends to marry, already held by two friends of opposite sex, would simply be extended to two friends of the same sex.

    “(Note that this is true even if those relationships involve caring for children: We do not treat a grandmother and widowed daughter raising a child together as married because their relationship is not part of an institution oriented toward procreation.)

    Nonsense. A grandmother and her widowed son can’t marry either, even if he is twenty and she is thirty-five and they’d just love to produce children together. They aren’t allowed to marry because of the genetic link, and same-sex marriage would not in any way change that.

    “On what possible basis can the revisionists’ conception of marriage justify discriminating against couples simply because they do not have sex?“

    Again, no marriage requires sex if both of the marriage partners are satisfied without it. This is true now everywhere and continues to be true where same-sex marriage is permitted. It is nonsense to suggest that a desire to have or not have sex is the basis for permitting or refusing any couple a marriage license.

    Frankly, it would be in the economic best interest of this country to set up, in addition to marriage, household-establishment licenses that would give the tax, insurance, inheritance, and other practical benefits of marriage to any competent adult couple who wished to increase their financial stability and decrease the chances of either of them ending up on welfare. But same-sex marriage has no more to do with that than opposite-sex marriage does.

    One other comment: I think that those of us who support same-sex marriage should in most cases eliminate from our vocabularies the phrase “If same-sex marriage is permitted” and replace it with “where same-sex marriage is permitted.” Too often, we speak as though same-sex marriage were a new and untried experiment, while opponents imagine all sorts of dreadful stuff. The fact is that same-sex marriage exists in a great many places, and none of these imagined disasters have occurred there.

    Reply
    • 71. Shannon  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

      Great points Julia! I never cease to be amazed and intrigued with the focus on SEX when debating gay marriage… as if marriage is a license to have sex! Ignoring the reality that a) many people have lots of sex outside of marriage; and b) lots of married couples don’t have much sex.

      Reply
      • 72. mandy  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm

        ahh but doesn’t the haters world revolved around sex.

        Personally I believe people who are getting good lovin would not be haters. Or at least not as many. Otherwise why obsess over other people’s sex lives.

        Reply
    • 73. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm

      The idea about setting up household licenses is interesting and somewhat refutes the National Review’s argument. I think it’s in Stephanie Coontz’ book “Marriage: A History” where she notes that some northern European country (can’t remember which right now, sorry) does exactly that, so any two people can “marry” in order to receive domestic benefits: elderly sisters, a celibate clergyperson and a housekeeper, etc. I don’t see anything horrifying in that, except it pokes big holes in this weird idea of marriage purity/exclusivity (or, as I call it, the “NOM in a manger” notion.)

      Reply
  • 74. Carpool Cookie  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    If you believe what’s said on SOME boards, straight men claim sex dies in a marriage, anyway….so doesn’t that put heterosexual marriages on the same “just friends” footing?

    I mean really….how much sex do you think Maggie Gallagher or Hak-Shing William Tam actually HAVE?

    Reply
    • 75. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      Ooooo, I dunno Cookie–it’s those repressed and repressive ones who can never get enough–they are obsessed, you know.

      Perhaps we should be asking if Maggie and Tam have been seen with any “luggage lifters” lately.

      Reply
      • 76. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

        *Lightbulb comes on*

        Mags, Will, and Bri are in a secret love triangle, and this is all an elaborate way to hide it from their spouses!

        OOPS, my bitterness is showing again! Bad, BAD GAY!

        Reply
    • 77. Anonygrl  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      I admit to being twisted sometimes, Cookie, but my mind immediately went to Maggie and Tam having sex with EACH OTHER. Thanks for THAT image.

      I am at work. I need to go home and find the mental bleach.

      :)

      Reply
    • 78. rf  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      Mrs. Srivastav had a child out of wedlock. She can’t keep it in her pants.

      Reply
    • 79. Andrew_WA  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      OMG… my eyes! My eyes!

      (must think of sunny days… warm beaches… winning the lotto… la la la la)

      I hope you realize that I am getting ready to lose the lunch I just enjoyed over those comments!

      Besides – Magpie’s sweetheart’s name is Dura Cell – not Tam.

      Reply
    • 82. Josiah  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm

      “If you believe what’s said on SOME boards, straight men claim sex dies in a marriage, anyway….so doesn’t that put heterosexual marriages on the same “just friends” footing?”

      Well, I’m a straight man who’s been married for nearly 16 years, and the sex hasn’t stopped yet. But then, I’m childless due to infertility (mine), so my marriage is inferior too.

      Perhaps it’s not marriage, but having kids that ends the sex?

      Reply
      • 83. Ann S.  |  September 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

        Well, I only have one child, but — no. OK, yes but only for a while.

        Reply
  • 84. Bill  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    As this all plays out before us, I am losing more and more respect for anti-gay heterosexuals. Not that I had an abundance of respect for them before.

    However, the fact that they dress up their true intentions with all of these nonsensical doomsday theories is wearing thin.

    This is now and has always been about 1 thing and 1 thing only:

    Anti-gay heterosexuals denying dignity to their gay children in any and every way possible. That’s it. That’s their ball game. That’s ALL of it. They seek to diminish and degrade the very people they created.

    If they will not be honest about that, even to themselves, they will continue to sink to ever increasing lows in their quest to abuse and brutalize and dehumanize the very gay children they themselves, either via nature or nurture, created.

    I am so thankful that I am not one of them. We ALL should be. I would sooner take 1,000 years of their abuse rather than be one of those people whose greatest contribution to planet earth will most certainly be their eternal exit from it.

    Reply
    • 85. Andrew_WA  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Amen Bill!

      I guess they are so upset that their children are not doing what they want them to do, they are in fact seeking legal punishments against the very protections and liberties that every American enjoys.

      Reply
    • 86. nightshayde  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      Amen, Bill.

      I simply can not fathom how parents can abuse, brutalize, or dehumanize their own children whether they be gay, straight, or somewhere in between.

      If you make the decision either to bring a child into this world or to adopt a child, you should love, cherish, protect, and support that child. I love my daughter with all my heart — and I solemnly swear that my love for her will not ever be dependent on her sexual orientation.

      Reply
  • 87. Joel  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Civil marriage is a contract that bestows kinship on two otherwise unrelated adults. It would be redundant for siblings, or for a parent and child to marry, as they already share legal kinship.

    I won’t speculate on the number, but I’d be willing to bet that there are thousands of straight married couples in this country who are enjoying a “marriage of convenience,” whether it’s to get insurance benefits, or to get one of the couple legal citizenship, or for many other reasons. I was married to two different women when I lived in Japan, for the singular purpose of being allowed to live and work there.

    The procreation argument us simply a non-argument, for all the reasons you have all so eloquently stated.

    Reply
  • 88. Anonygrl  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    From the article…

    The symbolic message of inclusion for same-sex couples — in an institution that makes no sense for them — would be coupled with another message: that marriage is about the desires of adults rather than the interests of children.

    Where have we heard THAT phrasing before? Does Maggie like this article because she helped write it, perhaps?

    Reply
    • 89. Bill  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      Indeed.

      As long as Maggot, um I mean Maggie is willing to concede that heterosexuals should only be issued a marriage license upon successful childbirth, she might have a point.

      Otherwise, she’s still Mayor of Bigotville, USA.

      Reply
      • 90. Joel  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

        LOL, Bigotville, USA! Are the main cross streets Murder Ave and Homophobia Blvd? (apologies to the writers of Will and Grace)

        Reply
    • 91. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:11 am

      It’s about both. There’s no requirement for a couple to have children in order to marry. Two straight best friends of mine have absolutely no intention on having children and laugh at the idea that marriage must be for procreation. Two male friends of mine just adopted a foster child, and that child deserves every right to grow up in a stable household where her parents are bound by law to each other.

      This isn’t an “either/or” thing. Marriage isn’t just about ONE thing. I thought this black and white thinking went away with the Bush administration!

      Reply
  • 92. AndrewPDX  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I get a sad chuckle how NOM goes on and on about how ‘Marriage is for Procreation’… but then our Federal Government goes after Fernanda Romero for having a ‘sham marriage’ to get a green card.
    There’s no talk about if they planned to have children, only if they got married for money (what’s more ‘traditional’ than that?) or gasp love.

    If NOM wants to rewrite the LEGAL definition of marriage to mean ‘Channeling procreative activities’, then this case would have been much easier to prosecute: “No children yet? Then no green card.”

    Yeah, that sounds real moral indeed.

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

    Reply
    • 93. Anonygrl  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      Because one way or the other, they are going to justify coining the term “anchor babies”.

      Silly conservatives.

      Reply
      • 94. nightshayde  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm

        Those silly conservatives really make me both sad and angry. At least they make me laugh from time to time when their ridiculousness just gets too ridiculous.

        Reply
  • 95. Jeff  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Regarding the appeal to the CA SUpreme Court:

    UPDATE from a reliable source:
    The letters Schwarzenegger and Brown filed this morning are brief and reiterate their positions that they have discretion to choose which rulings to appeal. They also say that PJI miscalculated the deadline for filing an appeal with 9th Circuit–that it was Sept. 3, not Sept. 11.

    http://www.lgbtpov.com/2010/09/developing-california-supreme-court-wants-governor-and-attorney-general-to-explain-themselves-on-prop-8/

    Reply
    • 96. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      But here’s my question: even if someone with the authority to do so orders Jerry and Ahnold to defend the case, can’t the state just mount a lousy, wimpy defense? I mean, they wouldn’t have to listen to what NOM said about how to present the case, right? Couldn’t they just put Blankenhorn on the stand and let him contradict himself all over the place again? Maybe you can compel someone to mount a defense, but I don’t see how you could compel them to mount a meaningful or effective defense if they didn’t want to.

      Reply
      • 97. Jeff  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm

        It is possible – however that would leave it open to any newly elected officials (read Whitman) to try and defend it after the 9th Districts ruling…

        Reply
      • 98. elliom  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

        Brown basically says this in his letter (pg 3 p 2).

        Reply
      • 99. Anonygrl  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm

        Proponents are not looking for the Attorney General to mount ANY defense at all. They merely want him to indicate his intent to participate in the appeal, lending his name to the process. They are hoping that this will provide them with standing, at which point they would mount the defense themselves.

        That they got a “third party” (PJI) to file the paperword does not truly disguise (as AG Brown points out in his letter brief) that this is their only aim in forcing him into the appeal he has no interest in persuing.

        Reply
      • 100. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm

        So I guess Brown is pointing out how his filing a notice of appeal doesn’t grant standing to others….which now that I think about it seems obvious, but sheesh.

        Reply
  • 101. Mark  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    The National Review’s Editors pretty much show their cards in the article…

    “The philosophical answer boils down to the observation that it is mating that gives marriage its orientation toward children. An infertile couple can mate even if it cannot procreate. Two men or two women literally cannot mate. ”

    If you believe that same-sex couples are not optimal human beings – that they are incapable of being human beings…then the law can be used to any purpose to regulate the sub-humans.

    Reply
    • 102. JP  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      maybe they should look up the word mate. We most definitely can, according to the dictionary I looked at anyway.

      Reply
      • 103. nightshayde  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm

        Same here. Maybe we’re using activist dictionaries while they’re relying on a traditional dictionary.

        Reply
    • 104. Steve  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      By “mate”, they probably just mean “insert rod A into hole B”.

      Reply
    • 105. AndrewPDX  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm

      Wait. There are three standard meanings for the verb “to mate”:
      1)to procreate (“the mating call of the wild fundimencia idioticus is that of a martyr being ignored”),
      2) to form together in lnto one entity (“my soulmate and I want to get married but are not allowed”), or
      3) to “fit together” sexually

      This article rejects the 1st definition by allowing that “An infertile couple can mate even if it cannot procreate.”

      I know for a fact that two men indeed can fulfill #3.

      So, they are either saying we are incapable of having a soulmate, or they are “redefining the meaning of mating”.

      I h8 their hypocrisy.

      Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
      Andrew

      Reply
    • 106. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

      I believe the word you’re looking for is heterosupremacist. Blacks and women were both encoded in the constitution that they were second class citizens, and now they have been made equals. These people would change that so now “All men are created equal…. some exceptions may apply.”

      Reply
  • 107. Jeff  |  September 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    http://metroweekly.com/poliglot/2010/09/08/Letter%20Brief.pdf

    Browns brief to the CA Supreme Court

    Reply
    • 108. nightshayde  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:08 pm

      My favorite line from this:

      “Attorneys general are not potted plants in the judicial process.”

      Reply
  • 109. Jonathan H  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    It’s interesting to me that most of the examples they show are people who are already family. I don’t see how they can miss the point when they’re holding it up themselves.
    And it’s still all so vague. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand that if you’re trying to deny people the right to define their own families on their own terms then you really have to show solid evidence of harm. This vague hand-wringing just doesn’t cut it.
    It also intrigues me that they always speak of it in the future-tense, as if it has never been done before, anywhere. Like there aren’t 18,000 such families in California.

    Reply
    • 110. nightshayde  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      Plus the fact that same-sex couples are legally allowed to adopt children or be foster parents whether they’re married or not.

      Reply
      • 111. nightshayde  |  September 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm

        My comment refers to California, of course. I know other states have other rules…

        Reply
      • 112. Jonathan H  |  September 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm

        And remember, those loving families are worse than being wards of the state!

        Reply
      • 113. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 7:58 am

        I think in most all of the states, same sex couples can become adoptive and foster parents. There’s only a few that have an explicit ban on adoption for same sex couples (Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, Michigan), and only one (Florida) that has an explicit ban on gay single people adopting. And statistics show about a quarter of same sex couples are raising children.

        Reply
  • 114. Rhie  |  September 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I love (and by love want to repeatedly hit my head on things) how they imply that the only kind of relationship that should be recognized by the government is a marriage. Civil unions? Domestic partnerships (which can include roommates or other family arrangements in some states)? Legal guardianship status – like a grandmother caring for her grandchild?

    Apparently these aren’t “real” relationships and deserve no protections of under the law. The only relationship that deserves protection is a male-female marriage. Urgh.

    I wonder what they think of the new law that disallows hospitals accepting Medicaid from barring same sex partners. It’s not marriage but it IS a federal recognition in law of the relationship…

    Reply
  • 115. anwaya  |  September 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Why isn’t there a movement to enforce the arguments of the Proponents of Prop 8 further? Why isn’t there a demand for a constitutional amendment that says that only demonstrably fertile heterosexuals may marry, make that an explicit part of the contract?

    If that’s going to be the H8er’s argument, I think they should be given the opportunity to get what they ask for.

    Reply
    • 116. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

      It’s like asking the National Organization of Marriage to focus on any aspect of marriage except same sex marriage. New York is the very last state to have at fault divorce, and is considering doing away with that too. NOM even stopped by Albany… to protest same sex marriage, of course.

      Reply
  • 117. Roger  |  September 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    @ Shannon | September 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I never cease to be amazed and intrigued with the focus on SEX when debating gay marriage… as if marriage is a license to have sex!

    It isn’t “as if”. That in essence is the traditional Christian view of marriage. Sex of any kind (whether between man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, even solo) is grievously sinful, the punishment being eternal damnation; but God in His mercy has instituted marriage so that people unable to control their urges can have sex without sin. But only within marriage. Marriage is indeed a license to have sex.

    And this is at the root of the opposition to making marriage available to same-gender partners. It would mean giving a license to have not just sex but sex which God (and Bible-believing Christians) regard as “an abomination”.

    Every argument the anti-gay-marriage people make follows from that premise.

    Reply
  • 118. Phil L  |  September 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    This not only offends me on a basic level (as such articles usually do) but on a far more personal level. I’m completely sick of the “marriage is all about couples who might possibly be able to have babies.”

    TELL THAT TO MY SISTER WHO HAD TO HAVE A HYSTERECTOMY! She was married at one point and is now engaged once again but will NEVER possibly have children. This simple fact right shows that their argument that opposite sex couples have the possibility of procreation is flawed – this particular couple isn’t just “infertile” but completely lacks a uterus.

    It’s come to my attention though that such facts are simply overlooked (for convenience) by people like Maggie “Gallagher” and those who write for publications such as the National Review. Just because my sister is female and her fiance male appears to be enough, regardless of the fact that she can’t possibly meet their procreation requirement.

    Ugh… the hypocrites!

    Reply
    • 119. Josiah  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:16 pm

      As a straight, married man who is infertile and therefore childless, I also find this argument infuriating and offensive. I supported marriage equality before I discovered that I was infertile, but the issue has become even more personal when I discovered that I was in one of the categories of marriage that, according to these arguments, is failing to fulfill the purpose of the institution.

      Reply
  • 120. Sagesse  |  September 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Is marriage about ‘procreation’, or is it about family? LGBT people have families, raise families too. All of a sudden, there’s more common ground than they’d have everyone believe.

    Reply
  • 121. Leo  |  September 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    This new version of marriage would exclude pairs of people who qualify for it in every way except for their lack of a sexual relationship.

    Huh? Someone’s proposing to ban asexual people from getting married?!

    That was seriously my first thought when I read that nonsense.

    Reply
    • 122. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 7:48 am

      As far as I know, no one has been legally required to check if anyone has “consummated” their marriage!

      Reply
  • 123. Josiah  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    I’ve been off the Trial Tracker for a few days due to real life stuff, but I did see this National Review article earlier when a conservative acquaintance of mine posted it on Facebook, describing it as “the best, most complete statement of this position that I’ve read”. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook as a reply:

    The article is more reasonable than anything else I’ve read making the case against marriage equality, but the argument is still flawed. The first flaw is the assertion that the purpose of marriage is solely procreative. The regulation of procreation is undoubtedly one of the purposes of marriage, but it is not and has never been its sole purpose. The union of two individuals comes prior, both logically and temporally, to the conception of children, and the fact that childless marriages have always been regarded as legitimate shows that procreation — or even procreative potential — cannot be a logical prerequisite for marriage.

    (On a personal note, as a married man who is apparently infertile, I object to the insinuation that a childless marriage is incomplete, or failing to fulfill the purpose of the institution.)

    Second, the author argues that divorcing marriage from procreation will undermine the institution’s purpose of raising children in stable families. But if as a society we recognize adoptive parents as forming a legitimate household for the raising of children, and we accept that same-sex couples can and do raise children as effectively as opposite-sex couples, then we must logically admit that same-sex couples can serve as legitimately as parents as opposite-sex couples can, regardless of whether the children are a biological result of the pairing.

    The final logical flaw is the unstated assumption throughout the article that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would somehow diminish the meaning of the institution for opposite-sex couples, or for society at large. Marriage, like other rights, is not a zero-sum game: when you extend rights to a previously excluded group, that doesn’t mean that there are fewer rights to go around for everybody else. My understanding of my own marriage has grown through my experience of same-sex married couples: my married gay and lesbian friends have shown me new models for married love and married life which I have been able to apply in my own marriage. I can’t imagine any heterosexual person being less likely to marry just because gay and lesbian people can too. How can there be harm to “the institution” without causing harm to any individual participating in it?

    Reply
    • 124. AndrewPDX  |  September 8, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      Well said! Thank you for posting that on FB

      Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
      Andrew

      Reply
    • 125. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

      That’s perfect. I couldn’t have said it better myself! (And I’m the son of an English teacher!)

      Reply
    • 126. Ann S.  |  September 9, 2010 at 9:04 am

      Very well put, Josiah.

      Reply
  • 127. Joe  |  September 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

    This still doesn’t stop the fact that “procreation” is a post hoc excuse for banning same sex marriage. The word “procreation” doesn’t appear once in the Prop 8 literature! They’re just making this stuff up as they go along!

    Reply
    • 128. Anonygrl  |  September 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

      They had to, because Judge Walker NAILED them on the fear based insinuations that children needed protection from homosexuals and homosexuality (which had no basis in reality).

      Reply
    • 129. Ann S.  |  September 9, 2010 at 9:04 am

      This has actually worked in other jurisdictions, though.

      Reply
  • 130. Elfwreck  |  September 9, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Elderly brothers who take care of each other; two friends who share a house and bills and even help raise a child … a grandmother and widowed daughter raising a child together…

    The key aspect of marriage is that it creates a *FAMILY* of formerly unrelated people. (Or unrelated enough; 2nd cousins and such can marry because the state doesn’t acknowledge a strong family connection between them.) Siblings who care for each other are not married because they’re already family; the state already recognizes a relationship between them.

    Two friends who care for each other and raise a child… don’t need to be married if they don’t consider themselves family. If they both want to have parental rights over that child, they’ll need state acknowledgment. Why *wouldn’t* they consider themselves married–unless they’re intended to marry someone else? The example given implies that one or both people may wish to marry someone else in the future; that alone is enough reason for them not to be considered married. Their genders don’t matter; a pair of friends who pool their resources and care for a child aren’t automatically considered married. (What makes the “two friends” in the example a same-sex couple? What makes them different from an opp-sex couple in the same circumstances?)

    The anti-marriage bigots really, REALLY want to focus on procreation, because they don’t want to acknowledge what *else* marriage is. They don’t want to have to look at the awful three-year marriages of college students and the celebrities on their fifth marriages and say “this! This is what marriage is really about!”

    They want to define marriage as “potential spontaneous procreation, hypothetically, at least as far as we can tell without invasive medical testing that would be too complicated to require,” because any other definition would involve admitting that many opp-sex marriages aren’t “real” marriages.

    Reply
  • 131. Sagesse  |  September 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Very late to the party. Finally catching up on my reading, and actually read the entire National Review article.

    What strikes me about it is that it does not once mention religion. All their discussion of the defining and redefining and tautologizing is done, supposedly, in a social or cultural context. The arguments are all the same, but it is strangely dissonant.

    Not sure what it means, just took me by surprise.

    Reply
  • 132. Sagesse  |  September 12, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Back to my favourite point. Flip the discussion on them… it’s all about family, not just about marriage.

    They focus narrowly on ‘marriage’ and ‘procreation’ and ‘child rearing’, which are things adult couples do. The children are objects of the marriage, like plants, or pets or cars to be cared for and maintained. The role of the government is to discipline errant adults to behave responsibly, supposedly in the interests of the children. What happens, tho, when the errant adults refuse to behave responsibly…. when they have children out of wedlock, or divorce? Nothing. The marriage police fail in their goal of channeling responsible procreation into unions of one man and one woman and their biological children, but otherwise, marriage law does nothing for their children. To the traditional marriage crowd, they are just collateral damage.

    Families. Adult couples raise families. Families include the children being raised. The children are participants, not outputs. Children benefit from a stable family structure, of whatever kind. The reality is that living with their biological parents is only one of the ways that happens in 2010. Government supporting families is a holistic, rather than selective approach to benefiting children… all children, however they came to their family situation (the old-fashioned way, fostering, adoption, step-parenting, artificial conception technologies, single parenting, crawled out from under a cabbage leaf, immaculate conception).

    The proper government interest is supporting children by supporting their families, not regulating adult sexuality.

    Reply
    • 133. AndrewPDX  |  September 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      The children are participants, not outputs.

      Well said.

      It would appear that NOM et al think that — like the 18,000 California same sex couples that are currently married, or like the thousands of such couples in other states / countries — the children being raised by same-sex couples just don’t exist.

      As SG mentions below, ‘the other side stops cold when asked about the children of GLBT’s’… but for me, I’m afraid I know what they would say to ‘what should be done about them’… NOM would say ‘steal those children and put them in opposite-sex foster homes!’

      If NOM et al TRULY cared about children, they would SUPPORT marriage equality and end their discrimination. But they won’t do that because, to them, children are just pawns in their horrid game of bigotry.

      Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
      Andrew

      Reply
  • 134. Straight Grandmother  |  September 12, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Very well written opinion Sagesee. It is like I have always said the other side stops cold when asked about the children of GLBT’s, what should be done about them. They only care about the children of OS couples, no matter how they were conceived.

    Reply

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