Friday, November 17, 2006

The Frustrating Necessity of Family Policy

Allan Carlson concludes Conjugal America with a call for governmental "family policy." But he really doesn't want to. He wishes the government would leave the family alone. Since the Enlightenment, though, and especially since the New Deal, the reach of the government is so extensive that it is unrealistic to think the family and the state could leave one another alone. Better, then, to join them than to fight them.

Carlson wants family policy to recognize that the main social purpose of marriage is procreation, not pleasure. The government's main purpose in family policy, therefore, should be to support procreative marriage and to support married parents in raising their children. Everything else is secondary. The state will need to help support children when their parents can't – or at least it should support other institutions that step in the help the kids. And marriage, as a name and legal status, should be preserved for one man/one woman couples, because they could be procreative.

Does Carlson's position rule out homosexual marriage? Yes. Does it rule out homosexual civil unions? Probably not. By the same token, couples that have kids should not be supported by the state as if they were married; instead, they should be encouraged to just go ahead and get married. And any policies which create perverse incentives for parents not to get married should be eliminated.

Carlson has a reputation in liberal circles as a way-out-there conservative. The position that argues for in Conjugal America, though, is actually pretty centrist. It is also quite close to what most Americans seem to support, based on opinion polls and recent votes on marriage amendments. Marriage is for kids. Other relationships can be good enough. But the state should not treat them as the same as marriage, nor is it obliged to consider them just as good for raising kids.

25 comments:

Alan said...

So given that argument, why isn't there a push to outlaw non-procreative heterosexual marriage? Oh, that's right... because they're straight. Cynical? Nah... Just realistic.

See... I could at least believe that folks like Carlson actually believe all their own rhetoric about marriage if they actually applied it to anyone but gay people. Otherwise it's just a convenient excuse for discrimination. (And one that lots of straight married couples who don't have kids should watch carefully. Notice how the "traditional" definition of marriage keeps changing to include fewer and fewer people? How many straight people got married knowing that the unwritten rule was that they must, absolutely have kids? Hmmm....)

halifax said...

The institution of marriage in the Western world has historically been concerned with the production and education of children. This was the way the Greeks, the Romans, and the medieval Europeans understood marriage, and, up until fairly recently, the way modern Westerners understood it as well. It should go without saying that heterosexual relations (and, therefore, heterosexual marriage) are procreative in ways that other possibilities are not, even if those relations haven’t produced anything. Past practices are not necessarily regulative, of course, but it is particularly unwise to dispense with practices which have lasted for centuries merely to satisfy the ephemeral clamor of spurious and adventitious identity groups.

The reason that marriage seems attractive to many who would not classify as traditional couples has more to do with contemporary notions of romantic love and with the even more contemporary bundle of rewards which governments and companies dole out to married people. While it should be obvious that the advent of no-fault divorce has done more damage to traditional marriage than polygamists, polyanderers, homosexuals, or other polymorphous aspirants will do, it doesn’t mean that governments should compound their earlier error by further diluting the meaning the institution.

If homosexuals, polygamists, and polyanderers want to get married so that they can inherit property and visit each other in the hospital, then civil unions should suffice. Civil union laws would even allow spinsters and old bachelors to name someone who would be authorized to deal with their problems as if they were married. However, I sense that civil unions are not acceptable because homosexuals, polygamists, and polyanderers do not want tolerance from their neighbors but approval. That particular desire seems to be asking a bit much from a population which still holds a vague but increasingly confused understanding of the purpose of marriage.

Alan said...

"The institution of marriage in the Western world has historically been concerned with the production and education of children. This was the way the Greeks, the Romans, and the medieval Europeans understood marriage, and, up until fairly recently, the way modern Westerners understood it as well."

No one really believes this, right? Actually marriage in the western world was about property rights, until quite recently. The interest in procreation was to produce a family workforce for an agrarian society. I'm all for holding on to tradition, but we're not Amish, for heaven's sake. Times change ... welcome to the 21st century.

"are procreative in ways that other possibilities are not, "

Um...not to be snarky, but again, welcome the 21st century. You should see a gathering of my LGBT friends. It looks like the set of Romper Room.

"The reason that marriage seems attractive to many who would not classify as traditional couples has more to do with contemporary notions of romantic love and with the even more contemporary bundle of rewards which governments and companies dole out to married people. "

Thank you for speaking FOR us gay folk about why marriage seems attractive to us. But really, though we do often make much of the >1000 federal benefits given to straight people on the basis of their lifestyle choice to get married, marriage is NOT about benefits. That's as off the mark as saying marriage is about having kids.

I suppose it might be a bit strange, but perhaps we might look to the Bible:

Genesis says, "When he brought her to the man, the man said:
"This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called 'woman, '
for out of 'her man’ this one has been taken."
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh."

Hmm.... Nuthin' about kids there.

"But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."

Nuthin' about kids there either. Hmmm... Could it be that this "procreative argument" is indeed just a backward way of making discrimination palatable by coating it in a lot of pretty, academic language?

Those verses are, obviously, descriptive, not proscriptive, but yet, I can't help but notice that they don't mention kids at all!

"However, I sense that civil unions are not acceptable because homosexuals, polygamists, and polyanderers do not want tolerance from their neighbors but approval."

Or perhaps we want equality!

OK, I admit it...I had to look up polyanderer. Apparently it's the practice of two (or more) brothers marrying the same woman.

Wow...as if the old bludgeons of polygamy, incest, adultery, and bestiality aren't enough to combat the horror that is gay marriage, now we're bringing out something which combines polygamy AND incest. Well played sir, well played. :) Is there some epidemic of polyandry out there of which I'm unaware? :)

Halifax, with respect, your comment does nothing to explain how loveless heterosexual marriages, arranged marriages, third marriages, fourth marriages, Britney Spears 45 minute Las Vegas marriage, Russian brides, and abusive alcoholic codependents locked in a cycle of violence and despair are somehow more worthy of recognition than gay marriages, childless or not.

Once you start a drive to ban those forms of "non-traditional" marriages, I'll believe that you're serious.

Anonymous said...

What about those of us who are adoptive parents? Should we not be allowed to marry, though we are heterosexual?

Alan, beautifully stated.

halifax said...

I find Alan’s reference to Genesis quite intriguing, as it is, of course, the same reference used by many fundamentalists to support their claim that homosexual is unnatural, unbiblical, and therefore immoral. You might notice that God gave Eve to Adam, not Bill to Adam. Further, though there is certainly an intimation that companionship is central to marriage, as Alan’s citation notes, it is obvious from the procreative imperative ‘be fruitful and multiply’ that procreation was central to the Genesis account and to the early Judaic conception of marriage.

As for the historical character of marriage, I tend to rely on primary sources like Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas rather than the mewling of contemporary grievance mongers. I am unaware of any philosophical, religious, or legal claim made by classical Greek or Roman, or medieval Christian writers that women ought to be understood to be the property of men. Indeed, Aristotle spends a great deal of time talking about the differences between the relationship of master and slave, parent and child, and husband and wife. Augustine and Aquinas likewise discuss the character of marriage at significant length. Of course, none of these folks live in the 21st century, so why should we care? As for the Amish, however, they are a going concern as far as I know and they are also cognizant of the current date, as well.

The mere fact that children are being raised by individuals with a wide variety of sexual peccadilloes is irrelevant to the moral judgment about whether it is a good thing or not. There are scores of children being raised by murderers, drug abusers, serial adulterers, drunkards, politicians, and all sorts of other irresponsible types. Neither of these facts relates to the inherent biological impossibility of two men or two women producing offspring by themselves.

Further, there is no logical difference at all between the arguments being made by those in favor of homosexual marriage and those made concerning polygamy and polyandry. Why should anyone have the right to deny the full recognition of the law to five men and one woman who have, in their capacity as rational adults and as a result of their genetic make-up, decided to wed themselves to each other as one very large happy family? It’s only those bigots still living in the 20th century (or the 13th?) who have anything negative to say about these put-upon, oppressed, and publicly maligned innocents.

Finally, I am indeed humbled by your high opinion of my powers, but I am actually not authorized to ‘ban’ any type of marriage at all. So the Britney Spears marriage and all other types of ‘bad’ marriages are free from the force of my stone-age proclamations.

Anonymous said...

Halifax, with respect, your comment does nothing to explain how loveless heterosexual marriages, arranged marriages, third marriages, fourth marriages, Britney Spears 45 minute Las Vegas marriage, Russian brides, and abusive alcoholic codependents locked in a cycle of violence and despair are somehow more worthy of recognition than gay marriages, childless or not.

So, carrying forward this particular rant to its logical conclusion, you would suggest that, after homosexuals are permitted to share the term "marriage," the government should subject people to some kind of values-laden test before they could be considered married.

Here's one place where I think we could agree... that's not something any of us would ever wish.

My point is that this point is weightless... the same lovelessness, the same pre-arrangement, the same failure... all of that is not dependent upon sexual orientation of the couple, and eventually the same things we don't admire about heterosexual marriages would be apparent in homosexual marriages.

Great relationships are great relationships... horrid relationships are horrid relationships... sexual inclination is not a deciding factor.

Once you start a drive to ban those forms of "non-traditional" marriages, I'll believe that you're serious.

Again, to do so would be to cross the line into territory that few if any of us would be willing to concede to government regulation (that is, beyond the obvious that if you're beating your spouse, we can't allow that for the same reasons that we can't permit anyone to assault anyone in our society).

Conversely, sexual machinery is not a matter of judging values, but of observing genetalia. A society that seeks to propagate the species does well to give special merit to those who have the biological capacity to accomplish that task.

But it goes well beyond simply having children, to attempting, as a society, to give children a greater, better life than what we ourselves have been able to enjoy.

A society that emphasizes what is best for the children over what is best for the adults is the society I want to live in.

From where I stand, that is the supreme guiding principle.

Some of the implications of that may be considered pro-heterosexist; but a longer look also reveals ways in which it is pro-homosexist. But to anyone who places supreme value on the consequences to children, the consequences to heterosexuals or homosexuals is not material.

Mark Smith said...

One point that others here haven't discussed.

I think it's a HORRIBLE idea to force people into marriage just to get benefits for the child that they've already created. This will undoubtedly increase child abuse, spousal abuse, and a host of other problems - none of which are good for the child in question.

The problem of out-of-wedlock children by non-committed partners is not going to be solved by forcing them together. It has to be solved by making marriage the right thing to do again.

Mark Smith said...

halifax,

Please drop the straw man argument of linking homosexuality to other non-traditional marriage forms. This is just a "guilt by association" trick used to conservatives to condemn homosexuality.

Homosexuality vs. heterosexuality is independent of monogamy vs. polygamy. They are two different dimensions of the same space - we're talking x axis vs. y axis here. The number of people involved doesn't have anything to do with their sexual preferences. For that matter, incest and age of consent aren't related either.

And speaking for myself, I am strongly in favor of gay marriage, and strongly in favor of a requirement for monogamy (serial monogamy at worst) in both pre-marriage and married relationships.

Gruntled said...

Alex asked way back there about adoptive parents. Why shouldn't adoptive parents marry? Adoption is great, especially for children whose natural parents could not, for one reason or another, raise them. Adoptive parents also have been known to make some of their own, too, sometimes by surprise.

Mark Smith has suggested that it was a bad thing for parents to get married because they were going to have a child. I have to disagree. In fact, Peter Laslett and his Cambridge team estimate that, historically, between a fifth and a quarter of all brides are pregnant. Surprise pregnancy is a frequent trigger to marriage, and most of those marriages have worked out.

RightDemocrat said...

I agree that public policy should support and reward marriage. Cohabitation, no fault divorce and same sex marriage all are threats to the traditional family. A nation that survives and thrives will be focused on creating a stable environment for families and children.

Anonymous said...

Mark Smith said: I think it's a HORRIBLE idea to force people into marriage just to get benefits for the child that they've already created.

I do, too.

Whoever is forcing those people into marriage should stop it.

Now, on the other hand, if no one is forcing them, and if a given couple wants to get married, our society should support them in that venture and find ways to help them be successful.

Agreed?

jenny said...

It's important for those interested in viewing marriage in terms of morality or right vs. wrong, that you cannot legislate morality. Because my source of authority, the Word of God, is explicit on this issue is good enough for me. I don't need a federal law telling me what is right and what is wrong, because again, it is not my authority.

Let's take a look again, at Romans 1:18-31. Is clear that God has abandoned our secular society--should we not then expect these things?

And, let us to remember that the union of a husband and wife is a picture of Christ's relationship with the Church. If we see marriage as a mirror of this relationship, then we can see why it is so important to keep it holy. But-- we cannot expect secular society to uphold this ideal. So, all we can do is live our life by our convictions--and Preach the Word in season and out of season.

Enrique Cardova said...

alan sez:
So given that argument, why isn't there a push to outlaw non-procreative heterosexual marriage? Oh, that's right... because they're straight.
There isn't a push to outlaw non-procreative hetereosexual marriage because the central principle of procreation is preserved in a male and female union. Hence even if such a couple does not have kids, the PRINCIPLE is affirmed.

Otherwise it's just a convenient excuse for discrimination...How many straight people got married knowing that the unwritten rule was that they must, absolutely have kids? Hmmm....)
Of course its discrimination, and a good thing too. Human experience through millenia has confirmed the primary place of male and female in the marriage bond, with procreation as the central purpose. If this discriminates against homosexuals, its with good reason- procreation for the future of the species, and the maintenance of stable arrangements for those children. There need not be conditions of perfection for this basic principle to be valid. There has been no "narrowing definition."

And male-female couples do not HAVE to have children to make their union morally valid. Their union, being male and female, reaffirms the moral and practical PRINCIPLE laid out over the centuries. This is nothing unusual. A child does not need to be perfect to validate such principles as respecting the property of others. If the principle is violated, it is not thrown out, but rather reaffirmed via corrective action.

It seems gays want to throw out the principle in question to make special accomodation for themselves, but it should be one principle across the board for everyone.

enrique cardova said...

Halifax sez:
If homosexuals, polygamists, and polyanderers want to get married so that they can inherit property and visit each other in the hospital, then civil unions should suffice. Civil union laws would even allow spinsters and old bachelors to name someone who would be authorized to deal with their problems as if they were married. However, I sense that civil unions are not acceptable because homosexuals, polygamists, and polyanderers do not want tolerance from their neighbors but approval. That particular desire seems to be asking a bit much from a population which still holds a vague but increasingly confused understanding of the purpose of marriage.
Exactly. It appears to me that homosexuals want special treatment the rest of us are not getting. Right now they are free to get married (to a person of the opposite sex) and have children, just like everybody else. If that is not their personal lifestyle preference, fine. They are free to hold whatever ceremonies they want, and to call it whatever they like, and are free to enter into private contracts to divvy up their property. The real bottom line though is that many want the societal recognition, approval and prestige that comes from marriage. They hope to erase the stigma of engaging in homosexual behavior. As for civil unions, I see no need to even go there. based on its central importance to human civilization and procreation, I see nothing wrongi n governments privileging marriage with a variety of benefits, AND of course a set of responsibilities. The primacy of the male-female principle should be clear, and should not be reduced to even lower levels by special accomodations to homosexuals, who can get most of the benefits of material marriage now (except the societal approval) through a variety of means.

enrique cardova said...

Alan said...
Actually marriage in the western world was about property rights, until quite recently. The interest in procreation was to produce a family workforce for an agrarian society.
Actually this is inaccurate. Procreation and education of children have been the primary focus. Property rights are a byproduct of that but by no means the main focus.

But really, though we do often make much of the >1000 federal benefits given to straight people on the basis of their lifestyle choice to get married, marriage is NOT about benefits.
I agree. Its not about benefits. Its primarily val of stigma, and seeking of societal approval.


..suppose it might be a bit strange, but perhaps we might look to the Bible:
... Genesis says, "When he brought her to the man, the man said:
Hmm.... Nuthin' about kids there.

Good quote, but you conveniently ignore the central point. It was a WOMAN who was brought to Man to be his partner and helpmate, not another man. From such a union, it is obvious procreation would flow. Conveniently, like many supporters of homosexual marriage, you also forget the following from Genesis 1: vs: 27-28- "And God created Man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply.." Obviously this principle would give male-female unions the central place, not that of homosexuals.

Alaz also quotes:
"But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother. and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.Nuthin' about kids there either. Hmmm... Could it be that this "procreative argument" is indeed just a backward way of making discrimination palatable by coating it in a lot of pretty, academic language?

Hmmm indeed.. selective quoting, but it cannot hide the central thrust of the passage you quote: "male and female" who were to be joined. The only "hmmm.." should be: "where do homosexuals fit here"?

Those verses are, obviously, descriptive, not proscriptive, but yet, I can't help but notice that they don't mention kids at all!
Actually they are VERY proscriptive, for it they were not, sex with animals would be fine. And they don;t have to mention kids since the context of the passage obviously looks forward to procreation. In any event, the conveniently omitted passage from Genesis 1: 27-28 should suffice lest there be any selective confusion: "And God created Man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply.."

enrique cardova said...

Halifax, with respect, your comment does nothing to explain how loveless heterosexual marriages, arranged marriages, third marriages, fourth marriages, Britney Spears 45 minute Las Vegas marriage, Russian brides, and abusive alcoholic codependents locked in a cycle of violence and despair are somehow more worthy of recognition than gay marriages, childless or not. Once you start a drive to ban those forms of "non-traditional" marriages, I'll believe that you're serious.
You are asking for a state of perfection in this particular human institution, and since perfection exists nowhere, you then advocate essential radically changing that institution. This is indeed extreme. Most normal people don't follow this approach in other areas of life. For example, simply because laws against crime do not prevent some criminals from striking, we do not cast away anti-crime laws. We don't expect perfection, but institutions like the judiciary and police remain. In any event, marriage does not have to be 100% perfect and error free to be "valid." Despite the individual fauilures of human beings the PRINCIPLE and practice of male-female marriage is sound and MOST marriages are not the loveless wastelands homosexuals often invoke. But there is also an element of hypocrisy with the gay argument along these lines. Homosexual relationship themselves are sometimes prone to violence, racism, drug abuse, co-dependence and despair. If these such bad things occur in homosexual relationships, why don't homosexuals therefore cease them and practice what THEY preach before presuming to lecture heterosexuals?

enrique cardova said...

mark smith sez:
I think it's a HORRIBLE idea to force people into marriage just to get benefits for the child that they've already created. This will undoubtedly increase child abuse, spousal abuse, and a host of other problems - none of which are good for the child in question. The problem of out-of-wedlock children by non-committed partners is not going to be solved by forcing them together. It has to be solved by making marriage the right thing to do again.

Actually people DON'T have to be married for children to get benefits. Child Support agencies in almost all states will take legal steps to extract the needed monetary support, marriage or no marriage. The scenario you posit hardly exists. And I agree. Marriage has to improve, but does it make sense to impose yet another destructive element like homosexual unions on the institution?

enrique cardova said...

Anonymous said...
Halifax, with respect, your comment does nothing to explain how loveless heterosexual marriages, [etc].. are somehow more worthy of recognition than gay marriages, childless or not.
Actually he did explain it, namely saying that whatever the particular failings of individuals, they had little bearing on the fundamental character of the institution- the procreative dimension he speaks of. Quote: "There are scores of children being raised by murderers, drug abusers, serial adulterers, drunkards, politicians, and all sorts of other irresponsible types. Neither of these facts relates to the inherent biological impossibility of two men or two women producing offspring by themselves."

the same lovelessness, the same pre-arrangement, the same failure... all of that is not dependent upon sexual orientation of the couple, and eventually the same things we don't admire about heterosexual marriages would be apparent in homosexual marriages..
Fine. But if all these negatives are not dependent on the sexual preferences of the couple, why do many advocates of homosexual marriage continually bring then up to demonstrate that gay marriages are just as worthy as hetereosexual ones? If we find such negatives in every human relationship, why should homosexuals get any special recgonition or rights via marriage? They are quite capable of racism, substance abuse, lovelessness, etc etc WITHOUT the benefit of traditional marriage.

Mark Smith said...

One of the Anonymouses said:
Now, on the other hand, if no one is forcing them, and if a given couple wants to get married, our society should support them in that venture and find ways to help them be successful.

Agreed?


Agreed.

I'm just concerned about forcing an unwanted marriage simply because of a wanted or unwanted child. To receive welfare benefits, for example.

Mark Smith said...

enrique says:
Actually people DON'T have to be married for children to get benefits. Child Support agencies in almost all states will take legal steps to extract the needed monetary support, marriage or no marriage. The scenario you posit hardly exists. And I agree. Marriage has to improve, but does it make sense to impose yet another destructive element like homosexual unions on the institution?

Understood - I was not talking about a situation that exists, but rather one that is implied by the blog owner's description of Carlson's argument.

However, I totally disagree with you on the destructiveness of homosexual unions on marriage. Please provide information on how heterosexual marriage has been harmed by homosexual unions or marriages. I don't see any damage - merely lots of people foaming at the mouth because other people are successfully creating couples that don't match their preconceived idea of what a marriage should be.

Alan said...

Halifax writes, "Further, there is no logical difference at all between the arguments being made by those in favor of homosexual marriage and those made concerning polygamy and polyandry. "

Nor, interestingly enough, is there any difference at all between the arguments he's making against gay marriage and those arguments made against interracial marriage. Somehow, miraculously, society was able to repeal anti-miscegenation laws without approving of polyandry.

Mark Smith notes that these arguments against polygamy, polyandry, etc. are just "guilt by association" arguments. I think that's giving them more credit than they deserve. They're simply red-herring arguments and slippery slope arguments. However, given that polygamous and polyandrous marriages can produce children, Halifax should be all for them, I'd think, since child production is the chief end of marriage.

Halifax also writes, "Finally, I am indeed humbled by your high opinion of my powers, but I am actually not authorized to ‘ban’ any type of marriage at all."

Nice dodge. But clearly the point that I am making is that no one is trying to ban any type of heterosexual marriage, regardless of how harmful it might be to the "traditional" definition of marriage, society as a whole, or children. If folks really believed what they're saying, I think they might want to think about the fact that >90% of the population is heterosexual. Thus protecting children from the miserable failures that often pass for heterosexual marriage would be far more helpful, useful, and effective. But then, that would actually be restricting the rights of straight people, instead of simply discriminating against gay people. So, a ban on say, 5th marriages is probably unlikely.

anonymous writes, "Again, to do so [ban bad heterosexual marriages] would be to cross the line into territory that few if any of us would be willing to concede to government regulation"

Heh. Though banning gay marriages (good OR bad) is a territory you're all too willing to concede to government regulation. However, let's get beyond the "values" argument. Let's just ban childless heterosexual marriages. That's completely consistent with the arguments being provided here. If the chief end of marriage is creating children, then obviously a sterile heterosexual marriage is of no more value than a gay marriage.

anonymous also writes, "A society that emphasizes what is best for the children over what is best for the adults is the society I want to live in."

And our society apparently believes that orphanages are better than having children live in loving homes in which the parents happen to be gay. Even though there is plenty of evidence that kids with gay parents are just as healthy and happy as kids with straight parents.

Anonymous writes, "Conversely, sexual machinery is not a matter of judging values, but of observing genetalia. A society that seeks to propagate the species does well to give special merit to those who have the biological capacity to accomplish that task."

You're joking right? One of the primary environmental problems on Earth is overpopulation. The human race is hardly in danger of becoming extinct regardless of the special rights given by governments to parents on the basis of their lifestyle choice to have children.

Gruntled writes, "Alex asked way back there about adoptive parents. Why shouldn't adoptive parents marry? Adoption is great, especially for children whose natural parents could not, for one reason or another, raise them."

Unless of course, they're gay parents. Then they should not be allowed to marry, even if that leaves the legal status and security of the child in jeopardy.

Enrique writes, "Good quote, but you conveniently ignore the central point. It was a WOMAN who was brought to Man to be his partner and helpmate, not another man. "

Actually I didn't ignore it at all. I clearly referred to that when I noted that both quotes are descriptive and not proscriptive.

It is amazing to me how may words can be written to dance around the real issue here: prejudice and discrimination. We all agree, apparently, that heterosexual marriage with it's 50% divorce rate is in real trouble. The difference is that your response is to ban gay marriage instead of actually doing anything to strengthen heterosexual marriage. When I suggest that the same arguments that you use against gay marriage can be used against bad heterosexual marriages, you claim powerlessness to do anything about it, while simultaneously extolling the virtue of banning gay marriage. The fact is, heterosexuals have had over 200 years in this country to do something to protect and strengthen marriage, and the best you can come up with is to ban gay marriage and the best reason you can come up with is because gay people cannot have children?

Mark Smith said...

Alan,

The fact is, heterosexuals have had over 200 years in this country to do something to protect and strengthen marriage, and the best you can come up with is to ban gay marriage and the best reason you can come up with is because gay people cannot have children?

You're generalizing. I'm straight, married, with no children, and I AGREE with you. However, your comment about heterosexuals failing to protect and strengthen marriage strikes home with ME. You're insulting ME with that statement.

Please try to be a bit more accurate with your arrows.

Mark

Alan said...

Mark,

Indeed. I think we're all speaking in generalities here, and we all need to realize that.

My point was aimed at those folks who attempt to make the argument that they want to "protect" the institution of marriage, and yet have done little (or nothing) to protect it, other than to ban gay marriage. That is, I'm skeptical that they really care very much, given that they've had over 200 years to do something about all the *real* threats to the institution of marriage and they've done essentially nothing, as evidenced by the unfortunately huge divorce rate.

Mark Smith said...

Indeed. I think we're all speaking in generalities here, and we all need to realize that.

VERY FUNNY! Subtle, and funny.

Alan said...

:)

No reason we can't inject a little humor here and there, eh? I was hoping someone would catch that. ;)