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The Effects of Gay Marriage

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By Diana Hsieh from NoodleFood,cross-posted by MetaBlog

What will happen if gays are permitted to marry? Pundits disagree, but this pie chart seems pretty accurate to me:

gaymarriageconsequences-744720.gif

Oh yes... Be afraid, be very afraid.

Sadly, religious bigotry against gays -- although absurd in itself -- has very real consequences for gay couples and their children, as this Miss Manners' column shows:

Dear Miss Manners:

My partner and I adopted a child three years ago. He has become a happy, silly, active, loving child.

When we were going through the adoption process, the topic of being a "conspicuous family" was discussed. As two men with a child, we fall into that category.

Several times over the last couple of years, we have been verbally attacked. Twice we have been in a grocery store when someone informed us that we were not a "real family." On one of these situations, we were even told that we were condemned to hell!

Another time, when I was having breakfast out with our son, I was discussing children with a woman who was there with two of her own. The conversation was casual and amiable. When I mentioned "my partner" in the conversation, she started shouting at me, "You're evil! You are doing that child a great injustice!"

Our son's birth mother was a heroin and cocaine user during her pregnancy. She had the presence of mind to realize she couldn't take care of him and chose us as his adoptive parents.

We didn't decide to adopt to "save" a child, but the fact is, we will probably be able to give our son a much better life than if he had stayed with his birth mother.

How do we react to these people?

Miss Manners' advice is good, as usual:

A gentleman of Miss Manners's acquaintance was once subjected to a barrage of unwarranted insults. Outraged on his behalf, she asked why he did not trouble to defend himself.

His reply (and please forgive the inelegance for the sake of vividness) was: "If someone is throwing up on you, you get out of the way. You do not stay around to examine what is coming up."

There is nothing you can say to people who, whatever they may think, see fit to hurl crude insults at you, even in front of your son.

A stiff "I'm sorry you feel that way" is all you can utter before turning your back.

Happily, time is on the side of gay couples -- provided that America doesn't become the "Christian nation" sought by so many conservatives.

8LNC_FoRkI4MUE1fSMPUwY

Cross-posted from Metablog

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Thanks for the post.

I do have to disagree with laying the blame on "conservatives" though.

There's fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, religious conservatives and the list goes on.

There are plenty of democrats and liberals that are religious or simply anti-gay.

In fact, in many large minority communities the religious leaders of those communities are more vocal in pushing anti-gay agendas than your average "conservative" is.

I found this to be very common in Chicago, where Dear Leader got his political jump start.

The minority communities there were all very liberal when it came to welfare, socialism, handouts, anti-death penalty, anti war, pro govt controlled business and health, etc... as soon as the topic switched to gays though you couldn't tell the difference between a black community leader and some crazed good ol' boy picketing teh graves of HIV victims.

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Mrs. Hsieh, I disagree with this article of yours. I tend to agree with what Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism had to say about homosexuality.

I'm sorry you feel that way.

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Mrs. Hsieh, I disagree with this article of yours. I tend to agree with what Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism had to say about homosexuality.

I have to say, respectfully Mr.Christensen, that you seem to pick and choose which parts of Objectivism are convenient for what you already believe at any given moment.

I seem to recall your very strong anti-abortion stance whereas Ms.Rand found a woman's right to control her body to be of utmost importance. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/abortion.html

Now, of course I am not advocating that one abandon their own judgements and replace them wholesale with someone else's but it seems odd to impose one aspect of what you suspect to be her morality on others while finding her to be completely worng in others.

And, for the record, Ms. Rand while finding homosexuality to be flawed always made clear that this should in no way impede them from having equal rights in all regards. Her best freind, her husband's brother was gay if I recall correctly.

edited to add relevent link

Edited by QuoVadis

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Ayn Rand on homosexuality from The Objectivist Reference Center:

"Rand's only known public comments on the subject of homosexuality come from question and answer sessions following speeches. In answer to a question in 1968 about "laws prohibiting homosexuality," she said:

All laws against homosexual acts should be repealed. I do not approve of such practices or regard them as necessarily moral, but it is improper for the law to interfere with a relationship between consenting adults. Laws against corrupting the morals of minors are proper, but adults should be completely free.[*]

In 1971, the exchange was as follows:

Q: This questioner says she read somewhere that you consider all forms of homosexuality immoral. If this is so, why?

A: Because it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises, but there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality. Therefore I regard it as immoral. But I do not believe that the government has the right to prohibit it. It is the privilege of any individual to use his sex life in whichever way he wants it. That's his legal right, provided he is not forcing it on anyone. And therefore the idea that it's proper among consenting adults is the proper formulation legally. Morally it is immoral, and more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion, it is disgusting.[*]

Reports of private conversations held before and after these answers were given indicate that she sometimes expressed a more qualified position, stating that because the psychological origins of homosexuality were not clearly understood, blanket moral condemnation would be inappropriate. For example, Harry Binswanger described her attitude thusly:

I asked her privately (circa 1980) specifically whether she thought it was immoral. She said that we didn't know enough about the development of homosexuality in a person's psychology to say that it would have to involve immorality."

As you can see, when she said it was immoral it was still deemed to be an illness. That is the reason Rand gives for saying it is immoral.

Later, when attitudes within the medical community were changing and it was no longer deemed an illness she seemed to be changing her mind.

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Mrs. Hsieh, I disagree with this article of yours. I tend to agree with what Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism had to say about homosexuality.

So then you have no opinion?

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As you can see, when she said it was immoral it was still deemed to be an illness. That is the reason Rand gives for saying it is immoral.

Later, when attitudes within the medical community were changing and it was no longer deemed an illness she seemed to be changing her mind.

I find your conclusion to be a tad flawed. If something is "an illness," how could it be simultaneously immoral? Morality covers only that which is under an individual's control -- and, thus, illnesses (mental and physical) are not under the purview of ethics. It would probably be more accurate to say that Rand's views on homosexuality were changing to accommodate new evidence (incorrect though it was) that one's sexuality is not necessarily a matter of choice, and that a preference for the same sex may or may not be indicative of some underlying psychological (or physiological), as opposed to philosophical, issues. (Which, of course, isn't to say that the philosophical does not influence the psychological.)

I think it is best to see this part of Rand's views as sort of a "blip" -- she herself preferred to consider her written work hierarchically superior to impromptu explanations and elucidations, as the former was much more thought-out than the latter, and in written works there are few excuses for miscommunication, while speaking with very little preparation can understandably lead to errors and -- dare I say it -- a reliance on "unchecked premises."

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Correct. It reminds me of something Peikoff said in one of his podcasts concerning homosexuality, because it is a topic that people like the above pick-and-chooser ask him about (over and over and over AND over...) that he finally said sometime last year that he would not answer any more questions on the subject. He firmly stated that there is no immoral component in homosexuality and that the only thing Ayn Rand had ever stated from the point of view of her philosophy concerning sex was "that it was good." As we say in opera, Punto e basta, eh!

Edited by kainscalia

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I find your conclusion to be a tad flawed. If something is "an illness," how could it be simultaneously immoral? Morality covers only that which is under an individual's control -- and, thus, illnesses (mental and physical) are not under the purview of ethics. It would probably be more accurate to say that Rand's views on homosexuality

How? By knowing it is a problem and refusing to treat it. From what I have read of Objectivism and Rand's views on illness it would be irrational and immoral to know you are sick and not to attempt to correct your illness.

Of course it is silly now to think of consensual human sexuality as an illness.

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The OP of this topic makes the false assumption that Gay Marriage's effects are exclusive to the world we live in. According to Glenn Beck, the universe is comprised of marriage, as opposed to atoms. If gays get married, then marriage is broken. And if marriage is broken, the universe as we know it can explode.

My only objection to Gay Marriage is that.. well, I don't see it as a "right". On one hand, we should certainly get rid of the Defense of Marriage Act. The language of that statute is very insulting. On the other hand, unless there is something I don't know, there's no law that says that gays can't "marry". The issue is that it won't be recognized by the government.

Marriage should be privatized.

Edited by Black Wolf

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My only objection to Gay Marriage is that.. well, I don't see it as a "right". On one hand, we should certainly get rid of the Defense of Marriage Act. The language of that statute is very insulting. On the other hand, unless there is something I don't know, there's no law that says that gays can't "marry". The issue is that it won't be recognized by the government.
In other words, eliminate straight marriage as well. It would be immoral for straight marriage to exist while gay marriage does not.
Marriage should be privatized.
Except that marriage is fundamentally a legal institution, which means it is a government matter. If you just want the personal closeness thing, you move in with your partner and you just have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Going beyond that to a named condition has legal consequences, and that means government recognition in some form.

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I bought this book and thought it honest to what both AR and NB had to say in regards to homosexuality qua Objectivism; Ayn Rand's philosophy. I defy anyone to to read the intro section and tell me where Mr. Firehammer is making false statements regarding Ayn Rand, Obvjectivism, and her thought regarding homosexuality.

http://www.amazon.com/Hijacking-Philosophy...5362&sr=8-1

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Except that marriage is fundamentally a legal institution, which means it is a government matter. If you just want the personal closeness thing, you move in with your partner and you just have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Going beyond that to a named condition has legal consequences, and that means government recognition in some form.

Couldn't marriage be privatized in the sense that a couple can sign any sort of contract they want concerning finances and any other matter inherent in marriages?

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Couldn't marriage be privatized in the sense that a couple can sign any sort of contract they want concerning finances and any other matter inherent in marriages?

For equality to be obtained the tax code would have to be changed. As it stands now gays are harshly penalized when a member of a couple dies.

Edited by QuoVadis

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In other words, eliminate straight marriage as well. It would be immoral for straight marriage to exist while gay marriage does not.

Yes

Except that marriage is fundamentally a legal institution, which means it is a government matter. If you just want the personal closeness thing, you move in with your partner and you just have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Going beyond that to a named condition has legal consequences, and that means government recognition in some form.

Which is something that needs to be abolished.

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I bought this book and thought it honest to what both AR and NB had to say in regards to homosexuality qua Objectivism; Ayn Rand's philosophy. I defy anyone to to read the intro section and tell me where Mr. Firehammer is making false statements regarding Ayn Rand, Obvjectivism, and her thought regarding homosexuality.
Given that Rand did not publish anything at all about homosexuality, it is astounding that someone would write a book on the topic. Anyhow, since it is unlikely that many will buy that book, if you really want feedback, you're going to have to explain what Objectivism as a philosophy says about Objectivism. It ought to be simple enough to point to a couple of published essays by Rand, where she addresses the subject from a philosophic (as opposed to psychological or personal) perspective. Produce (say) the two most important quotes.

If you can find none, then you'd do well to post saying that there are none, but that you do have something that she replied to impromptu in a Q&A, or something she wrote for her own use but did not publish, or something that Branden published but that she did not obviously authorize as something with which she would be in agreement.

In other words, simply start by pointing to the main quotes and being candid about the strength of any such reference. Otherwise, it comes across that you're simply grasping at some personal view expressed by Rand, and trying to insist that it is a philosophical viewpoint.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Which is something that needs to be abolished.

So you are opposed to people being able to establish a formal next-of-kin relationship with another person whereby their SPOUSE has, say, the right to determine what happens with family finances or to minor children or if the person is incapacitated and needs medical attention? Those decisions should ALWAYS default to parents or potentially more distant and even fundamentally estranged people simply because they're biologically related?

Legally, this is the primary and necessary purpose of marriage, and I think it's a very important one. The person I choose to live with me and be the other parent of my children has a much greater right to make decisions that involve me and my property (should I be unable to do so myself) than anyone else.

Granted, you could just establish that the other person has total power of attorney over everything and anything should you become incapacitated--people "marry" their lawyers like this all the time. But the need for some sort of contractual relationship and government protection of that contract would still exist. Since it's a *specific* contract that bestows the same legal rights and obligations, why shouldn't there be a specific word for it? It's no different from, say, "incorporation". Are you saying we should get rid of the word "incorporation"?

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Couldn't marriage be privatized in the sense that a couple can sign any sort of contract they want concerning finances
Cut you off in mid-sentence here... yes, to the extent that there is a matter that might be the subject of a contract.
and any other matter inherent in marriages?
No, probably not. There are more matters that are inherent in marriage than can be the subject of a contract. Black Wolf has clarified that indeed he does seek the end of marriage of any kind, qua legal form. Numerous legal details cannot be covered by contract (anything in the realm of 'next of kin' reasoning). Since 'next of kin' is also a state-sanctioned legal device that goes beyond the bounds of what a contract can do, presumably genetic 'next of kin' rules would have to go away as well. Actually, contracts are state-sanctioned legal devices, so if we're disposing of all state-sanctioned legal devices, we have anarchy rather than a civilized society. So in order to judge what might be possible in a society without government in certain areas, we'd need to know exactly what the proposal is. Marriages are a subcase of the law of agreement, and contracts are a different subcase of the law of agreement. I wouldn't suppose that the proposal is to eliminate any government involvement in the law of agreement (doing so would make it unenforceable and therefore not law). But I don't know what the exact proposal is.

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Ayns opinion of homosexuality is not a 'doctrine' of Objectivism. Objectivism is a philosophy defined by its essential characteristics, not particular concrete instances and issues. And to be quite honest, it seems that in regard to gay marriage, whether or not you condone one type of sexual practice over another is not the issue. The issue is do you believe in rights and liberty and the consequences that they entail? I dont have to agree with everything that people do in order to agree that they have the right to make those choices. For instance, if you want to be a heroin junky, I'd say that was a terrible idea, but also know that despite my moral disagreement, i do not have the right to impose my will on other people, and I must recognize their freedom, as I do my own. To flip the coin, he has no right to impose a life a heroin addiction on me either.

If you have some moral problem with homosexuality, and think that romantic love and sex should only take place between the opposite sex, I defy you to defend this without resorting to mystical/intrinsic arguements.

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Marriage should be privatized.

Marriage is a contract. What do you mean by privatized? If you're against the government enforcing contracts, that's another matter entirely. You should read what Objectivism has to say about contracts, here: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/contracts.html, and in detail in the essays the excerpts are from. Then, if you have objections to the points raised, make a thread and bring them.

Couldn't marriage be privatized in the sense that a couple can sign any sort of contract they want concerning finances and any other matter inherent in marriages?

Well, they should be allowed to sign any contract they want (and they can sign all sorts of contracts, both along with as well as without marrying). But those contracts made up by various people definitely shouldn't be called by the same name, of marriage. That might get confusing.

Why do you have a problem with the existence of a pre-defined contract (one in which the discrimination against gays, and some other not objective tendencies are eliminated from), that can be accompanied by various pre-nuptial agreements? People seem to like it, and it's not like you have to enter into such a contract yourself, if you don't want to. (of course, various tax and other laws favoring married people should also be eliminated, but those have nothing to do with the contract of marriage)

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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How? By knowing it is a problem and refusing to treat it. From what I have read of Objectivism and Rand's views on illness it would be irrational and immoral to know you are sick and not to attempt to correct your illness.

Of course it is silly now to think of consensual human sexuality as an illness.

My point was that the illness itself is not a matter of morality, because that illness is not a matter of choice for you (though, to a certain extent, the reasons for having that illness may be entirely controllable, thereby validating what you say above). You did not make the distinction, in your original post, between the fallacy I mentioned and the entirely valid point of view which I reference in parentheses. If a person has a mental illness, as some contend is the case with homosexuals, then it is generally not under their control, and it may be incredibly difficult for them to become self-aware in that regard, so I hardly think being mentally ill is somehow a sign of immorality on the part of the ill individual. If this is not what you were talking about, I apologize for misinterpreting, but I think you should have been a bit clearer.

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