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Marriage and Divorce Entitlements

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I'll give you 1a for free. ;)

Thanks for the lagniappe :thumbsup:

Now onto #1b. I don't know what you're referring to when you say "financial and biological need." (I agree that if a woman is pregnant and not in a position to go on maternity leave, she'll most likely be supported by her husband until she's able to go back to work. Is that the "financial need" you're talking about, for the man to be the breadwinner? If so, that is only be true for 9 months.) Other than that, I don't see any other financial/biological need for the woman to be the homemaker, and the man to be the breadwinner.

Yes, that's what I mean; the financial/biological pairing required for spouses to produce a child. Prior to WWII, women were actively discouraged from competing in the workplace, and let's face it, men are biologically exempt from being pregnant. The presumption was (and still remains) that men and women marry to create a secure nest for raising children. By agreement, a woman's work was to keep house, and a man's was to pay for it, so it makes sense that legally the woman was at greater risk of getting left out in the cold due to being financially dependent on her working partner. Marital law reflects the historical legal precedents created by financial/biological pairing.

As for #2.. The premise here is that same-sex couples are double income, childless families. But same-sex couples may be, and often are, single income, +children families. This may be for a variety of reasons: they have adopted children, they have other children from previous relationships, or one (or both) of them have been artifically inseminated. So the premise that same-sex couples are DINKs does not hold. (But the most important point here is that the needs of one family over another should not entitle them to any extra legal benefits. Family needs should to be taken care of by the family.)

Yes, times have changed but the greater percentage of marital pairings today still follow the historical model, so existing marriage and divorce entitlements remain justified in that context, i.e. the context of providing financial security for those (and their children) who by agreement, rely on a breadwinner to raise a family. Civil unions accommodate the legal needs of other marital pairings resulting from today's economy and biological alternatives to personally becoming pregnant, thus avoiding the financial necessity of a relying on a breadwinner. So, marital law is necessarily different than civil union law, verbal agreement, etc, and therefore justifies different legal benefits.

Please note that I'm not claiming that current law, as it applies to marriage, civil unions, etc, is perfectly just; it's a work in progress, and progress towards better law that reflects today's realities needs to be made. And there's the tax issue, which no one believes is just to begin with... however, if married couples get better restitution from an unjust tax code, are we not to some degree claiming sour grapes? My main point is, the legal reality of a breadwinner and his pregnant spouse is necessarily different than that of two breadwinners living together with an adopted child, so claiming that all families ought to be constrained by the same contract doesn't reflect the reality of diverse family situations.

Also, FMS = free market society.

Ah, that makes sense... thanks for the clarification.

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Marriages sure are similar to other types of contracts, like wills. The governments role in marriage should be to enforce such contracts and create certainty regarding legal interpretation. So it make

Fixed. The opposite would be, "Gay people can practice Objectivism, but they can't be called Objectivists."

Because it has no bearing on the concept of marriage - Sexual organs, nor any other random part of physical appearance like height, weight, or skin color, has any effect on it. It is unessential, and

I understand your point, but I disagree. Same-sex couples are not allowed to marry because religious fanatics believe that homosexuality is a (chosen, and entirely preventable) sin, and that giving them the right to marry would be an affront to god and his 'holy union' of marriage. So as a way of appeasing gay people, civil unions were created to give them a separate-but-sorta-equal way of formalizing their relationship. But even that was a battle: note that civil unions are only recognized in 13/50 states, a whopping 26%.

Your argument that straight couples are entitled to more legal benefits because they may be starting a family and may be living on one income, isn't valid.. Especially since same-sex couples may also have children, and may also be living on one income. I think that as long as marriage exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of relationships: interracial, intergalactical :alien:, same-sex, etc. The government shouldn't be giving any special privileges to any group of people, especially if that privilege is determined based on sexual orientation of all things.

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I understand your point, but I disagree. Same-sex couples are not allowed to marry because religious fanatics believe that homosexuality is a (chosen, and entirely preventable) sin, and that giving them the right to marry would be an affront to god and his 'holy union' of marriage. So as a way of appeasing gay people, civil unions were created to give them a separate-but-sorta-equal way of formalizing their relationship. But even that was a battle: note that civil unions are only recognized in 13/50 states, a whopping 26%.

The separation of church and state delimits the political reach of religious fanatics. Whatever political maladies occur are the result of constitutional abuses not fairly attributed to a defense of marriage. The goal of civil unions as an alternative for alternative lifestyles is worth pursuing, but the expectation that civil unions are the same thing as marriages needs to be checked; A=A.

Your argument that straight couples are entitled to more legal benefits because they may be starting a family and may be living on one income, isn't valid.. Especially since same-sex couples may also have children, and may also be living on one income. I think that as long as marriage exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of relationships: interracial, intergalactical :alien:, same-sex, etc. The government shouldn't be giving any special privileges to any group of people, especially if that privilege is determined based on sexual orientation of all things.

The government shouldn't giveth nor taketh away from the practice of marriage, except to secure the individual rights of spouses and their children. However to say that, "as long as marriage exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of relationships", is equivalent to saying, "as long as Objectivism exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of philosophy." Why should Paul Ryan be discriminated against just because he practices Objectivism differently than Ayn Rand? :whistle:

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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However to say that, "as long as marriage exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of relationships", is equivalent to saying, "as long as Objectivism exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of [people, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, etc]."

Fixed.

The opposite would be, "Gay people can practice Objectivism, but they can't be called Objectivists."

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Advocates for gay marriage primarily endorse the view that equivalent consensual relationships ought to receive the same legal recognition and benefits, and for the most part I agree with the goal, but not the tactics. I think the push for equivalency via marriage vs civil union unnecessarily provokes a hostile response from people like myself, who being married, find themselves caught between two very different generational value systems. Most people who oppose gay marriage have no problem with gay civil unions, and generally aren't aware of the legal disparities that currently exist between the two. It's the same kind of knee jerk emotional response you get from efforts to rename Christmas to Winter Festival, and doubly ironic because the reality is that Christmas was derived from Winter Festivals...

Legalities aside, for me personally, marriage celebrates a man and woman being able to overcome gender biases in order to work together towards long term, mutually shared goals, in a way that two men, or two women, never address. Maintaining an intimate relationship with the opposite sex is no small feat I can assure you. Whatever personality differences gay couples may have to overcome, they understand how their own gender works. I love my spouse, but it took me years to understand the perspective of my spouse's gender. Heterosexual marriage will remain distinct from gay marriage because of gender, and to marginalize historical custom and physical reality for legal expedience, as opposed to promoting civil unions on the merits of legal rights, is a tactical blunder that creates adversaries who otherwise would be allies.

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"However to say that, "as long as marriage exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of relationships", is equivalent to saying, "as long as Objectivism exists, it needs to be inclusive of all types of [people, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, etc]."

Fixed.

The opposite would be, "Gay people can practice Objectivism, but they can't be called Objectivists."

^This.

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How did we get derailed into gay marriage? It's very simple - The purpose of Government is to protect rights. Two people getting married doesn't violate my rights and I certainly don't need Obama to protect me from the happy couple. That makes who gets married a non-issue.

I beg to differ...

The issue at hand, "Marriage and Divorce Entitlements", questions the justification of entitlements which favor heterosexual marriages, on the presumption that the role of gender falls outside the context of what a marriage is: "The idea that marriage is the union of one male and one female has been thought to be so basic that it is not ordinarily specifically expressed by statute. This traditional principle has been challenged by gays and lesbians who, until recently, have unsuccessfully sought to legalize their relationships. In Baker v. Nelson,, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971), the Minnesota Supreme Court sustained the clerk's denial of a marriage license to a homosexual couple."http://legal-diction...ry.com/marriage

My position is that a significant element of context (pairing by gender) regarding what marriage currently is, is being dropped to promote an inconsistent view of what marriage ought to be. The presumption that heterosexual marriage and gay unions are the same thing, is a false premise for reasons already given (and not yet rebutted). The rights of those who marry according to the legal recognition of traditional marriage, are violated by those who attempt to alter the identity of marriage, essentially diminishing the value of their marriage earned by their effort to maintain it. In terms of property value, redefining marriage can be viewed legally as trespassing or vandalism.

Everyone agrees that the purpose of Government is to protect rights, and not meddle in consensual relationships; what I'm challenging in this thread is:

1) The repeated presumption that heterosexual marriage is the same thing as gay marriage; this claim has yet to be established.

2) Why should the legal value and identity of traditional marriage be altered to accommodate those groups who don't share traditional values?

It seems to me that we are assessing the value of apples according to the identity of oranges.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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My rights are not violated by someone getting married. People get married everyday and my life or property doesn't sway in the balance of who gets married and why. There are no legal repercussions for me based on who gets married, and if it ever did that would be the fault of statist laws by autocrats playing social engineer, not marriage.

The idea that the value me and my wife have for each other is increased or diminished by others based on if they get married is also ridiculous. That is the opposite of egoism as it places values in others first, as if their status would magically alter our life and our marriage would become less because two ladies got married. A guy could decide to court a lawn tractor for that matter and it still does not affect my life - There is no causal relationship between me and the happy couple. In the later case that is a good thing!

1. The presumption that one kind of marriage is the same thing as the other is because it is a very simple fact that it simply is. Who needs to even clarify or build a chain of reasons when it is painfully obvious that two people getting married does not somehow reach out across space and time and violate my rights? Two people fall in love. They get married. They live happily ever after. It happens every day and my life does not hang in the balance as if we were collectively connected some how. The only reason I can see that people put their nose into the business of these relationships is because A) Tribalism - The collectivist standard of pressuring relationships has been the norm for most of humanities existence (which is why romantic love is a distinctly Western phenomena in origin), or B) God(s) said so thus we need to find a way to pretend it matters so which ever of the 3000+ God(s) we seek to appease will not send a storm to punish us.

2. The legal value of marriage? Value to whom? By whose authority? Evidently not the couple in love who is, you know, the only two people really involved. The idea dangerously cascades back into the classic tribal view of relationships and I don’t think you meant that so I’ll assume I’m missing something here or you misspoke.

But I mean, really. Marriage is about romantic love. It’s hard enough for people in today’s philosophic and psychological vacuum to find it when they have a hard enough time finding themselves. Let’s not start adding legal restrictions too… Let it soar!

~ Spiral the Romantic

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The presumption that one kind of marriage is the same thing as the other is because it is a very simple fact that it simply is.

In the context of gender relationships, would you say that father/daughter relationships are the same thing as father/son relationships? That gender is equally irrelevant to all parent/child relationships??

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1) I wouldn't say that same-sex relationships are the same as opposite-sex relationships, for the same reason I wouldn't say that your marriage is the same as Dan's: different individuals are involved and each relationship is unique. But why should that matter? There's plenty of opposite-sex couples who have non-traditional marriages: some have open relationships, while other are into some really, really weird stuff. Does that mean these couples should no longer be allowed to get married, because they don't fit inside the traditional man=breadwinner, woman=housekeeper box?

2) What traditional values do you mean? Living together, loving each other, raising a family? That's usually what comes to mind when I think of marriage. Why else would anyone marry anyone, straight or otherwise, except to 'attain' these values? I imagine that same-sex couples desire the same things that traditional married couples do, with few exceptions!

The rights of those who marry according to the legal recognition of traditional marriage, are violated by those who attempt to alter the identity of marriage, essentially diminishing the value of their marriage earned by their effort to maintain it.

Is this really your premise: it's easier to be in a gay relationship than a straight one? As I said above, each relationship is unique and has it's own challenges. Just because your marriage might be harder than Dan's, that doesn't mean the value of your marriage somehow diminishes because his is easier.

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Is this really your premise: it's easier to be in a gay relationship than a straight one?

No, my premise is that it's different, i.e. not the same thing. Marriage presumes a heterosexual partnership, and to include gays requires additional identification; gay marriage. Changing the traditional definition of "marriage" to include gays is context dropping. The idea that you can blank out the role of gender in marriage, and everything else about the relationship will remain the same is, well... let's say it's questionable according to the standard Objectivists usually apply to the process of identification. The argument that traditional marriage and civil unions ought to share the same legal entitlements has merit. The argument that traditional marriage and civil unions are the same thing, so we should drop the term 'civil union' and refer to every pairing of gender as being married, doesn't have merit.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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No, my premise is that it's different, i.e. not the same thing. Marriage presumes a heterosexual partnership, and to include gays requires additional identification; gay marriage. Changing the traditional definition of "marriage" to include gays is context dropping. The idea that you can blank out the role of gender in marriage, and everything else about the relationship will remain the same is, well... let's say it's questionable according to the standard Objectivists usually apply to the process of identification. The argument that traditional marriage and civil unions ought to share the same legal entitlements has merit. The argument that traditional marriage and civil unions are the same thing, so we should drop the term 'civil union' and refer to every pairing of gender as being married, doesn't have merit.

There's no question (at least none that I'm aware of) that marriage has historically referred to a pairing of man and woman.

But is there a good argument that it must remain so? You say that "blank[ing] out the role of gender in marriage... [is] questionable..."

Okay. But don't leave it there.

Yes. The case for "gay marriage" is to recognize marriage as a relationship between two individuals without respect to gender. And you find that transition from what you correctly identify as "traditional marriage" to be "questionable" at least. But on what grounds? Simply because it is a change?

Human institutions do change, routinely. What constituted a "citizen" in ancient Athens is different from what "citizenship" is today in the United States. To say that a change is proposed is not to argue that this change is good or bad, or should be adopted or dismissed.

So, given that the recognition of "gay marriage" does indeed represent a change from a traditional perspective, do you think that change is good or bad, and on what grounds?

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A father’s relationship with his daughter would be different than his son, of course. I’ll give you the next line of thinking and that I also agree that a romantic relationship between a man and a woman is going to be different in subtle ways than a relationship between two guys. Everyone is different but in this case there will be obvious psychological/physiological issues that change based on the exact nature of the people involved in the relationship. But that is interpersonal between the two people involved in the relationship and only effects how the happy couples deal with each other (and that is a private matter).

Politics, which is ethics applied socially, has nothing to say accept what needs to be done for the equal protection of rights of all people within its jurisdiction. As far as a “social standard” goes, marriage has only a practical purpose in a social context: It is in people’s rational self-interest to have protections and definitions in place when property is jointly owned or dispersed (for example legal proof of a relationship for insurance reasons). But this practical application is not the reason, of course, the reason is romantic. Whether a couple is man/woman or woman/woman is their concern (they are the ones in love) and has no affect on me or anyone else. Changing something as unnecessary as the reproductive organs of the married couple don’t alter the social application of marriage since rights are not altered by the additional presence or lack thereof a penis. I’d be scared of a society in which property identification was rationed in such a way.

OK, now I can’t stop thinking about the Mel Brooks film set in WWII where one guy was forced to wear a pink triangle since he was a homosexual. What film was that again?

Anyway, are the people different? Yes. But that is between them and still does not affect me. As a political issue of socially applying ethics, it also has no effect no more than it would in some other field of protecting rights like theft or murder.

~ Spiral “The Germans would have made me wear a dollar sign”

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So, given that the recognition of "gay marriage" does indeed represent a change from a traditional perspective, do you think that change is good or bad, and on what grounds?

I think it's unnecessary. The onus is on those proposing to change the definition of marriage to justify the need. Legal expediency is insufficient, as civil unions have already been defined to cover all non-traditional marriages. The objection to marriage and divorce entitlements isn't resolved by combining groups of relationships for the purpose of expanding objectionable government entitlements. So, if the argument falls to one of recognition, i.e. identification, forcing traditional marital couples to identify gay relationships as being the same as heterosexual relationships is not only irrational, but unjustified coercion.

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I think it's unnecessary. The onus is on those proposing to change the definition of marriage to justify the need. Legal expediency is insufficient, as civil unions have already been defined to cover all non-traditional marriages. The objection to marriage and divorce entitlements isn't resolved by combining groups of relationships for the purpose of expanding objectionable government entitlements. So, if the argument falls to one of recognition, i.e. identification, forcing traditional marital couples to identify gay relationships as being the same as heterosexual relationships is not only irrational, but unjustified coercion.

Let's go a step at a time so I can examine my own rationale, and hopefully we can find those places where we disagree. (This may get messy as I tend to be a little discursive... please forgive.)

I imagine myself as a gay man. I'm in a romantic relationship with a partner I love. I examine my relationship with my partner, and it seems analogous to relationships I've observed among heterosexual couples with respect to several criteria: we share love and fidelity; live together; have arranged our household in a particular manner, reflecting shared tastes and compromise; expect to be with each other for the extent of our lives; we may have an extended family, like shared children, or plans to create one.

When heterosexual couples possess those criteria, they often get married. Is there any reason for me to get married? There is the potential romance of a formal expression of those things I've listed, and whatever it may be worth to a person to have a traditional expression of those things as well. There is a social recognition of that same relationship. What might that social recognition be worth? I'm unsure, though one aspect might have an engagement akin to a verbal commitment, and the wedding a formal "Letter of Intent" in college football recruiting (if that example is worth anything to you). There are rules within recruiting about competing schools contacting those athletes who have already made commitments and issued a Letter of Intent... and socially it may be acceptable to court an unattached woman or man, but possibly less so someone who is engaged or married. The engagement/wedding ring, as much as anything else, can be a signifier to someone who might not otherwise know (like a stranger) that this person is not interested in new romance.

Further, there can be political dimensions to marriage, as tax codes may be written to reflect how people manage their households in practice, or whither fall military benefits for the deceased, or other issues of property inheritance, etc. (This is not to take up the argument for or against any one of these policies specifically, or to say whether, as an example, relief from an unjust tax is an "entitlement" or not. This is merely to posit why I, in my guise as a gay man, might want to get married to my partner.)

In terms of lifestyle, when I and my same-sex partner can describe ourselves as "all but married," or see ourselves in the same roles as a heterosexual couple who would then get married... then it appears to make sense for me to seek marriage itself. If some aspect of it is denied by others (such as legal recognition, and the consequent adjustment to tax codes or inheritance policy), we may opt to still perform our own extra-legal ceremony. If the world is hostile enough, it might be a secret one. But indeed, we would be "married" to each other, which in this case is a recognition of the reality of our relationship -- that of spouse to spouse -- just as a heterosexual couple might be married to each other, though in some frontier situation without the benefit of a formal government capable of codifying the institution.

Beyond that, why would we "need" legal institutions to reflect this reality, and to treat us as they do heterosexual unions? What of "civil unions" as my relief?

I suspect that there's a case to be made about "equal protection," and maybe related to Brown v. Board as against Plessy v. Ferguson*, and the doctrine of "separate but equal." Earlier I suggested citizenship as an institution that has changed over time, in terms primarily of who is allowed citizenship. Imagine that we had a society in which only whites were allowed citizenship, and that we were confronting a movement to extend citizenship to blacks.

Suppose, in response, we said that we would identify these so-called "black citizens" as "civil members of society" rather than citizens, for after all, citizenship has traditionally been reserved for whites only, and it is unfair to whites to impress upon them this new meaning. But a "civil member of society" will receive every legal benefit of citizenship, so there is no reason to complain or need anything different.

Were I a black man in such a society, I would be worried that it would be all-too-easy to devise different legal approaches for a "civil member of society" as against a citizen, if those approaches didn't already exist. But beyond that, I would wonder why the government would feel it necessary to codify a difference between "citizen" and "civil member of society" if the only actual difference is skin color. Why would the government deem it necessary to treat people differently according to the color of their skin, and should it? Isn't this a statement that this distinction is not just historical or traditional, but real and worth preserving? That there is a *real* difference between "citizen" and "civil member," accounting to skin color and thus demonstrated in our terminology? If this is not discrimination itself (the bad kind, I mean), doesn't it almost demand it?

To bring this back to marriage, if we say that heterosexual couples who treat themselves and each other in every respect as a "married" couple may do, can in fact be married, but a homosexual couple who acts likewise may only enter into a "civil union," then aren't we (in our capacity as "government") saying that there is a meaningful difference between these pairings that we must reflect with our laws? But where is that meaningful difference? When I initially posited my scenario, I said the following: "we share love and fidelity; live together; have arranged our household in a particular manner, reflecting shared tastes and compromise; expect to be with each other for the extent of our lives; we may have an extended family, like shared children, or plans to create one." So what is it that a heterosexual couple has that entitles them to marriage, that such a homosexual couple, alike in everything but gender, lacks? Where is the meaningful difference between these two relationships that justifies two separate terms to describe them (if not legal strategies, though that will almost certainly follow, if we're being honest)?

Please note, when you say "forcing traditional marital couples to identify gay relationships as being the same as heterosexual relationships is not only irrational, but unjustified coercion," that this is not at all what we're talking about. I don't care at all about the beliefs of any specific "traditional marital couple." They can view gay relationships in any manner they please. They can hate blacks, and consider them not to be "real citizens." They may think whatever they'd like, and I wish them well in their intolerance. But when we're talking about how we administer the governance of our country, then I must insist upon equal protection before the law, and that separate is not equal. With regard to marriage, I find that a homosexual couple can have a relationship that is in every important respect the equivalent to a heterosexual couple. And so to treat them differently (or as a "civil union" suggests, to treat them the same yet call it something different, which I find disingenuous on its face) is not only a failure to recognize the reality of the situation, it is an affront.

There is another argument to be made that government ought not be involved in marriage at all, and perhaps that's true. But just as I do not believe the government ought to be educating children, yet I will insist upon equality of education for children without respect to skin color, so long as the government *is* educating children, I must similarly argue for equal treatment for homosexual and heterosexual couples.

***

*Odd trivia: Plessy triggers spellcheck, but Ferguson does not. Spellcheck likewise triggers spellcheck.

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So, if the argument falls to one of recognition, i.e. identification, forcing traditional marital couples to identify gay relationships as being the same as heterosexual relationships is not only irrational, but unjustified coercion.

Really? As someone who has been with my wife for 20 years I have never felt coerced into anything about marriage. No one has ever showed up at the door, pointed a gun at me, and said, “Mr. Spiral you are now forced to believe [X] about marriage”.

About as close as it gets is in fact the fundamentalists that project this imaginary line that, but for other reasons. For example, my Catholic family seems to think that marriage turns me into a stud horse and my wife into a broodmare and they we have some duty to procreate by virtue of being married. The fact me and my wife do not have children might bothers their definition of marriage but it certainly doesn’t force them at gun point into accepting our version of it, not should the law have a say in the matter as well.

Edited by Spiral Architect
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For clarity, I don't see marriage as a civil rights issue. In terms of discrimination by race or gender, legal reform was accomplished by asserting individual rights; not by renaming members of all races and genders, "white males". The only thing redefining marriage will do is add another check box titled, "Sexual Preference", to loan applications and jointly filed tax returns.

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But it is an issue of rights. The purpose of Government is to protect rights so it has to be about rights. Two people getting married does not violate my rights and I don’t need Obama to protect me from the happy couple. I keep coming back to this point because it is the final arbitrator of political action in a moral society – Whether force will be initiated by the state of be used ethically for retribution.

Blocking people from getting married is initiating force, not retaliation.

As for the check box, I see no reason for forms to have a sexual preference. Who cares? An insurance carrier only needs to know who is enrolling in their benefits, not something completely useless to insurance like sexual preferences. If they do care then they likely issues and you should do business with a company that is run better.

As for Government forms, if the Government is big enough to care about your sex or it’s preference it is too big to begin with.

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Spiral and DonAthos, I think you're missing a big premise of Devil's, which is that gender is a significant portion of one's self-identity and way of acting, thus it has fundamental affects upon long-term romantic relationships. The fundamental differences can't be ignored when discussing marriage. It's important to note that marriage and its historical existence is primarily heterosexual in nature, with very few exceptions (although, the exceptions are pretty cool!). The reason is views on what relationships are supposed to provide for those involved. Supposed to provide, of course, varies throughout societies and history. Ability to procreate, financial security, binding families together as a property agreement with the woman being more like a symbol of the agreement, ability to raise kids, etc. These viewpoints are shaped by gender norms to a large extent, and I'd even say marriage is specifically aimed at heterosexual, monogamous, long-term relationships. Heterosexual is relevant there, because that's the terms marriage has developed under, as well as what people in society say a marriage ought to provide if the marriage is to remain valid. Generally these days, "ought to provide" has evolved into just a romantic relationship that's long-term. Which is very messy, because a legal agreement shouldn't take into account feelings like love. So, what should be done is maintain marriage as one concept, and use a different concept for non-heterosexual relationships.

I actually agree with all of the above (insofar as I understand what Devil is saying), *except* the premise marriage rests on! I do not think gender is fundamental to one's self-identity, so heterosexual relationships are not inherently different than non-heterosexual relationships. Any differences are only due to what people believe based on cultural influence.

As a whole, I do not think marriage is benefiting anyone on a societal scale because of how (traditional) marriage unreasonably constrains ideas on how romantic relationships are supposed to operate. That's why I'm opposed to marriage as such. If the relationship is not traditional marriage of monogamy/longterm/heterosexual, then it's not marriage in my eyes. At least, if you call it marriage, I'll say you're wrong, but that isn't to say the relationship is wrong or immoral.

Lest DonAthos' citizenship example is brought up to me, the concept of citizenship (as far as I know) comes from significantly different origins than marriage. As people here should know, concepts develop over time and generations. Although a concept's definition may change over time, and some particulars will be discovered or removed, what a concept refers to does not change, even if the essential is wrong. Man is defined as rational animal, while others could say man is defined as a featherless biped. Whatever the case, the referrent of man is still those two-legged things that wear clothes, eat food, type on keyboards, discuss disagreements, etc. A definition with nonessentials doesn't mean the characteristics identified are wrong - humans *are* featherless bipeds. To try to put it succinctly, while it isn't false that marriage often refers to long-term, romantic relationships, heterosexual really should be included in the *definition* of marriage because of what the concept has referred to for so long.

Edited by Eiuol
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Blocking people from getting married is initiating force, not retaliation.

This example is not a good one. Is blocking incorporation of a company an initation of force when the company isn't operating as an incorporated company in the first place? The government ought not give favors to incorporated companies, but that doesn't mean there aren't standards to what can be considered an incorporated company.

Edited by Eiuol
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