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Marriage and Divorce Entitlements

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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.

But people who participate in non-traditional relationships (where partners are not monogamous, for example) can get married, regardless of your beliefs. In other words, whether or not you believe these relationships should be referred to as marriage or not, is irrelevant, because they are.. granted they get a marriage license and go through all the other necessary steps.

That's why I believe the whole concept of "traditional marriage" is merely a subset of "marriage." For example, if traditional marriage means that the man is the breadwinner, and the woman is the housekeeper and child raiser, that is just one subset of marriage labeled "traditional." Another subset might be the opposite, where the man is the child raiser, and the woman is the breadwinner. Further, both individuals may work and decide not to have any children. The list goes on..

So in my eyes, "traditional marriage" no longer encompasses "marriage" as a whole, because of all these other non-traditional arrangements that people choose to make. I see no reason to treat same-sex arrangements any differently. Women are now apart of the workforce. Dads stay at home to raise kids. Lesbians adopt children. Point in fact: this isn't the '20s.

This example might have been used previously, but it is still very much relevant to the conversation: interracial marriage was fully legalized in the '60s. Notice that it wasn't and isn't called civil interracial unions, it's called interracial marriage (a subset of marriage). People back then recognized that the union of two people shouldn't depend on color, just like people are now starting to realize that the union of two people shouldn't depend on sexual preference.

And just as a reminder:

Civil unions work fine to accomplish the former, and jumping over a broom works fine for the latter, but marriage accomplishes both.

But asking someone to have an equitable civil union under the law lacks the romantic gesture needed to say "My heart belongs to you", at least in my mind.

DA and Dan both previously said that civil unions don't accomplish everything that marriage does, neither romantically nor legally, and I also pointed out that civil unions are only recognized in 13 states. So saying that the current unequal status (one which is completely dependent upon sexual preference) is OK, is not right.

Edited by mdegges
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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

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.

Well, if you want to discuss whether people who are the same sex should get married or relationships in general, that is an entirely different question. I would disagree but I can understand the debate then.

But we are discussing marriage as a social institution, which means the realm of politics. In politics the answer is clear.

As for why these relationships have been built historically, that is interesting from a historical perspective (I like history so I get it) but it is no reason to build an argument around. Historically people also had tons of kids to insure survival or provide for the elders as they got older. Historically early tribes encouraged sex and promiscuity for propagation but shunned real love as hurting the collective since it hindered propagation of the tribe. Historically at one time love was separated from sex, featuring the Christians considering sex as evil and love to be a purely non-physical gift from God(s). Or we could jump to the classic French tragedies of the Renaissance that deiced love should be non-physical and with someone else’s wife in the age of the troubadour.

These real world historical views of relationships obviously have no place in a real romantic relationship. The last thing we should be doing is allowing history to define our relationships.

As for traditional marriage, I can understand why you would oppose that. We should be opposed that that as it is no different than my Catholic relatives looking at me cross-eyed since I don’t have kids. Evidently getting married in their eyes turned my into a stud animal and my wife a broodmare, something I have in fact scolded a few people on for its absurdity and insult to both of us.

As I said earlier – If you don’t accept their ethics then in the name of the God(s) they invented don’t accept their definitions or standards. Make it your own!

But honestly if it bothers you too much then don’t do it. Perhaps a simple civil union and a party or dinner with a few friends is all you want. That is cool too. I have freinds who did that and I supported them in fact. I’m simply telling people you can make marriage your own and that is OK. It’s supposed to be about being in love so focus on that and not what some religious fundie thinks it is since he lives his life out of duty, resulting in damning lesbian marriage in public then running home to cruise the internet for the honeymoon videos.

It is about you, not them.

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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.

I'm honestly missing what you mean by this...

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Thank you Eiuol, for helping to clarify what I've been struggling to state. Context is everything and words have meaning. I've added about enough to this thread, so I'm going to retire to the sidelines for awhile.

You're doing just fine. You and Eiuol are making me think about this in a way I haven't for awhile and that is always a treat :)

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I see no reason to treat same-sex arrangements any differently

Right, but my "therefore" is let's forget marriage entirely. That isn't gonna happen anytime soon, so I'm personally fine with gay marriage for the interim, insofar as special considerations are made when there shouldn't be for marriage.

Gender appears to be an essential element of marriage. Race was never really part of how marriage norms came about, so it was nonessential, and shouldn't have ever been an issue in the 60s. That is, being against it was protesting an inessential issue. Tradition might not have been the best word choice for me to use, but I have no reason to say the essentials are anything other than longterm/monogamous/heterosexual. The history is also very important, because that's what the concept marriage comes from. The same with capitalism as a concept. Marriage is built around heterosexual norms, and trying to make marriage work for all relationship types simply can't be done well with a good ending.

Well, if you want to discuss whether people who are the same sex should get married or relationships in general, that is an entirely different question. I would disagree but I can understand the debate then.

You misunderstood, I think. The premise (that I disagree with) is that because gender is so important to self-identity, there is no way you could consider heterosexual and non-heterosexual marriage to be both the same kind of relationship even. It's not about if you allow people to get married, it's about what you call marriage. I would opt for having gay marriage in our current system, but ultimately I don't think marriage even should be around as a legal institution of its own, precisely because I don't think gender identity is nearly important as Devil (or the majority of people) believes.

Historically, love has nothing to do with marriage. It's not part of the concept. Love is nonessential and incidental. You can be married with or without love. No-fault divorce is a new thing, so really marriage is growing to be *anything* you want it to mean. This isn't a problem to me, because I don't think marriage is something that can last in a world that grows more capitalistic over time - there is less restriction on how people can live, and more openness to individual differences.

Your historical examples are fine and all, Spiral, but that's why marriage was seen as heterosexual in nature by (almost) all societies (and it's questionable that any early tribes ever had marriage). Whatever incidental characteristics have changed, the essentials are still there, so you'd have to demonstrate by I'm wrong about longterm/monogamous/heterosexual being the essential points. All I'm sensing is "well, that's not nice for nonhetero relationships, let's not exclude them!" when it probably makes better sense to reject marriage as such. You've said make it your own before. I agree! Who needs marriage when a relationship ought to be what works best for the people you uniquely value?

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definition of marriage: a long term, monogamous commitment, between husband and wife, for the purpose of creating a family.

redefinition of marriage: a long term, monogamous commitment, between husband and wife, for the purpose of creating a family.

Yeah that's inclusive... a commitment between anyone, for the purpose of anything! Oh wait... that's already taken... it's called a contract!! Let's just toss marriage, civil unions and contracts, and pinky swear like BFFs, to hang out with each other until something better comes along??

LOL, I give up...

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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All I'm sensing is "well, that's not nice for nonhetero relationships, let's not exclude them!" when it probably makes better sense to reject marriage as such. You've said make it your own before. I agree! Who needs marriage when a relationship ought to be what works best for the people you uniquely value?

This is a very good point; marriage is a choice, not a necessity. The bottom line is, if marriage (as defined) doesn't suit your needs, find some other arrangement. Why force those who specifically choose marriage as a lifestyle to accept a different definition of what they value most. Let's put it this way... stripped of its legal entitlements, would marriage be desirable to anyone not choosing the convention it represents?

"I take you, to be my husband (wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life."

This vow is specifically addressed to the opposite sex for a good reason. Until recently, "shacking up" (aka fornication or adultery) was considered a social offense worthy of banishment or stoning. Committed bachelors and spinsters (regardless of their sexual orientation) flew under the radar, but men and women were strictly forbidden to set up house without the sanction of marriage. In terms of discrimination, marriage offered relief from social persecution. Eiuol's knowledge on this topic may provide greater clarity here as well, if I've misrepresented the historical context. Apparently this custom has worked so well that now it's viewed as discriminating against gays, who believe the sanction of marriage will deliver social recognition and acceptance of homosexuality; to which I say, good luck with that...

I believe the offense being pointed to in this topic, "Marriage and Divorce Entitlements", is not fairly assigned to marriage as a custom/ritual/commitment, but to the regulation of the custom. And I believe the effort to sue for entitlements and social recognition doesn't justify altering or diminishing the custom of marriage, because it targets those individuals who value the custom of marriage, instead of addressing the unjust (and unnecessary) regulation of that custom.

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You misunderstood, I think. The premise (that I disagree with) is that because gender is so important to self-identity, there is no way you could consider heterosexual and non-heterosexual marriage to be both the same kind of relationship even. It's not about if you allow people to get married, it's about what you call marriage. I would opt for having gay marriage in our current system, but ultimately I don't think marriage even should be around as a legal institution of its own, precisely because I don't think gender identity is nearly important as Devil (or the majority of people) believes.

Historically, love has nothing to do with marriage. It's not part of the concept. Love is nonessential and incidental. You can be married with or without love. No-fault divorce is a new thing, so really marriage is growing to be *anything* you want it to mean. This isn't a problem to me, because I don't think marriage is something that can last in a world that grows more capitalistic over time - there is less restriction on how people can live, and more openness to individual differences.

Your historical examples are fine and all, Spiral, but that's why marriage was seen as heterosexual in nature by (almost) all societies (and it's questionable that any early tribes ever had marriage). Whatever incidental characteristics have changed, the essentials are still there, so you'd have to demonstrate by I'm wrong about longterm/monogamous/heterosexual being the essential points. All I'm sensing is "well, that's not nice for nonhetero relationships, let's not exclude them!" when it probably makes better sense to reject marriage as such. You've said make it your own before. I agree! Who needs marriage when a relationship ought to be what works best for the people you uniquely value?

I agree gender isn’t important so I really don’t understand why anyone would associate gender with marriage or any other definition of a relationship. Honestly, it sounds more like the concept has simply been tainted for you by those who been allowed to define the concept. You wouldn’t accept a Progressive’s definition of Capitalism (or a “Compassionate Conservative” for that matter), and this is no different. Go back to basics and own the concept as a rational one, just like we need to do for all the other mis-integrated and stolen/frozen/floating concepts running amok in society.

Maybe it’s just the romantic side of me, but I consider a truly Capitalist society to be the only one that can claim marriage and save it from the primitive tribe mentality that has suppressed romantic love as a whole. It is no mistake that marriages went from pre-determined and a duty to about love and choice in the last 100 years, and the remnants of the non-individualist system is still seen in non-Westernized societies today.

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definition of marriage: a long term, monogamous commitment, between husband and wife, for the purpose of creating a family.

redefinition of marriage: a long term, monogamous commitment, between husband and wife, for the purpose of creating a family.

Yeah that's inclusive... a commitment between anyone, for the purpose of anything! Oh wait... that's already taken... it's called a contract!! Let's just toss marriage, civil unions and contracts, and pinky swear like BFFs, to hang out with each other until something better comes along??

LOL, I give up...

I typed up a nice response then scraped it. I realized that the problem is simply people are not living how you want them too and as such you are going to argue that they be forced to accept your standard of value. I should tell my wife we have failed since we did not create a family, now that should be good for “the look<ahttp://forum.objectivismonline.com/uploads/emoticons/default_biggrin.png' alt=':D'>

This argument is no different then the talk radio bobble heads who rationalize their desire to protect me from happy couples by claiming “If gay people can get married then what is to stop a guy from marrying his dog?!” fully demonstrating why those idiots fail at protect rights since they can’t tell the difference between a conceptual being with a non-conceptual one.

I’m not accusing you of this thinking by the way, I’m just pointing out it is fundamentally the same argument in principle sense you are now claiming that anything goes since I keep shooting down the traditional definition. The truth is reality and your life are the primary standards of value, the later so you can choose what to do and the former for how you do it. Like all values, it’s focused on you (egoism) and not others (tradition).

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definition of marriage: a long term, monogamous commitment, between husband and wife, for the purpose of creating a family.

redefinition of marriage: a long term, monogamous commitment, between husband and wife, for the purpose of creating a family.

Yeah that's inclusive... a commitment between anyone, for the purpose of anything! Oh wait... that's already taken... it's called a contract!! Let's just toss marriage, civil unions and contracts, and pinky swear like BFFs, to hang out with each other until something better comes along??

LOL, I give up...

Changes in legal definitions occur over time as the culture changes. Until the 60s, marriage use to exclude interracial relationships. Are you suggesting that because historically they weren't included, interracial marriage shouldn't be called marriage? Maybe we can call it interracial civil unions, give them the same legal rights, just under a different name? Then we can call marriage between two men or two women homosexual civil unions. Then people that don't get married to procreate, how about we call that non traditional civil unions?

Edited by Matt Giannelli
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I agree gender isn’t important so I really don’t understand why anyone would associate gender with marriage or any other definition of a relationship.

I can't get my head around this notion of gender being a non-essential contextual element of marriage but hey, whatever floats your boat... I hear claims that living together is just like being married, or that having a dog is just like being a parent, or that alligator tastes just like chicken, and I have to chuckle, because I know better. ;)

I have to say though Spiral, I liked your earlier comments (from the perspective of a practicing Objectivist) as to why you chose to marry.

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Changes in legal definitions occur over time as the culture changes. Until the 60s, marriage use to exclude interracial relationships. Are you suggesting that because historically they weren't included, interracial marriage shouldn't be called marriage? Maybe we can call it interracial civil unions, give them the same legal rights, just under a different name? Then we can call marriage between two men or two women homosexual civil unions. Then people that don't get married to procreate, how about we call that non traditional civil unions?

No, my issue is with recognizing the custom from the regulation. As a legal matter, any contract between consenting adults ought to be valid so long as it doesn't coerce the lives of other non-participants. Again, civil rights issues are legitimately addressed by asserting individual rights, not by identifying all genders and races to be the same thing; Brunettes don't have more fun by claiming to be blonde. Equal justice for diverse lifestyles is rational; claiming that all lifestyles are the same (not diverse) isn't a rational observation. Blaming the custom of marriage for the unjust regulation of it, misrepresents the actual abuser of rights, and calling any living arrangement between individuals a marriage only makes the application of existing regulations more ambiguous.

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I realized that the problem is simply people are not living how you want them too and as such you are going to argue that they be forced to accept your standard of value.

LOL, seriously... and what about single discrimination? Just look at all the twofers they miss out on... I know, let's call single people married too, so they can receive all the entitlements given to selfishly married and bigoted hetero couples! I never realized the statement A=A, and the process of identification was so inherently discriminatory... A=?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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This vow is specifically addressed to the opposite sex for a good reason.

This gets to the heart of the matter; it's a statement you haven't proven, and I don't know if you can (you know that saying- if you can't prove it, you either don't understand it fully or it's not true). So here are the main points against your argument:

1) Race and sexual orientation are specifically things that individuals have no ability to change. For that reason, they are non-essentials when it comes to marriage.

2) Allowing different types of people to get married wouldn't affect your personal relationship with your partner, nor violate any of your rights.

3) The traditional definition of marriage doesn't apply to all hetero marriages.. and people don't always get married for the reasons you think they should. I can meet a guy in a bar tonight, hop on a plane to Vegas, and marry him at 4am. The only restrictions are that we're both over 18, and of the opposite sex. Legally, marriage means you're entitled to multiple benefits because you paid for a marriage license and a ceremony. Personally, marriage can mean whatever you want it to. So the idea that a legal marriage must be traditional according to your definition (long term, monogamous commitment, between husband and wife, for the purpose of creating a family) is null and void -- and simply, it's not a legal or personal requirement.

4) Same sex couples can only get civil unions in 13 states, and they are entitled to fewer legal benefits than married couples. So the idea that civil unions are separate but equal (legally and romantically) is not true.

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This gets to the heart of the matter; it's a statement you haven't proven, and I don't know if you can (you know that saying- if you can't prove it, you either don't understand it fully or it's not true).

Yes it does, but the claim to be proven is that non-heterosexual unions are the same as heterosexual marriages. Points 1-3 are essentially appeals to guilt, or as Eiuol put it, "well, that's not nice for nonhetero relationships, let's not exclude them!" In the spirit of quid pro quo, I'll give you point 4; I'm not claiming that marriages and civil unions represent "separate but equal" romantic legalities. But my response to your remaining points is, "cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it". Marriage vows speak to heterosexual relationships, identified by Eioul as: "longterm/monogamous/heterosexual". Why? Because the reality is that a heterosexual relationship produces children (intentionally or by accident), and homosexual relationships don't.

The creation of children is the threshold that you, et al, need to cross in order to establish that gays have a right to marry. A right is a freedom of action, but the sexual action of gays (with their partners) doesn't produce children, therefore they don't require the same legal security (or social recognition) that sexually active members of the opposite sex do, or that children created by their biological parents need to have. This is not to say that gays (or heterosexuals) can't acquire children, but that isn't an essential function of marriage. Being married doesn't allow for the automatic adoption of children; that requires a separate legal process, and one that is already available to gay couples.

So put away your genetic pity cards and get real. The bottom line is, marriage and divorce entitlements address social and biological realities that exclusively occur as a consequence of heterosexual activities sanctioned by marriage; not gay activities. Heterosexuals have no civil duty to embrace alternate lifestyles and share benefits that are derived from creating children (naturally delivered), as opposed to acquiring them (adopted).

finis

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I can't get my head around this notion of gender being a non-essential contextual element of marriage but hey, whatever floats your boat... I hear claims that living together is just like being married, or that having a dog is just like being a parent, or that alligator tastes just like chicken, and I have to chuckle, because I know better. ;)

I have to say though Spiral, I liked your earlier comments (from the perspective of a practicing Objectivist) as to why you chose to marry.

First of all thank you.

Next, me and my wife were single and lived together for years and there wasn’t any real change with us from being single to getting married. Getting married didn't change much outside of a few legal issues (tax reporting for example and our rate). From a relationship perspective it was just a way of solidifying our commitment to each other. I made a big deal of how import she was to me and we set about solidifying the fact she agreed. Part of it was selfish pride (to horrify Eiuol with another metaphor I use to tell people it was to make sure they knew Mrs. Spiral was off the market) and I know part of it was the fact my wife appreciated knowing I felt that way and made the commitment in no uncertain terms so we could commit to long term planning (she is a very organized planner). Well that and she just enjoyed being chased a little ;)

So yes, I can say in certain terms that it does taste like chicken because it was really the same thing except that attitudes of those involved (us) which does has no affect on the status of our relationship or other people.

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Devil's advocate, I just have to jump in here to say I disagree. If Marriage contracts essentially facilitate automatic adoption, then you are right to say that marriage isn't for gay men. But then marriages are not just for heterosexuals, either; In fact, they are even more important for lesbians. Marriage isn't and shouldn't come with the blanket assumption that the spouse of the child-rearing woman automatically gains custody of any children (or that the biological father automatically loses custody). This position doesn't hold water.

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Devil's advocate, I just have to jump in here to say I disagree. If Marriage contracts essentially facilitate automatic adoption, then you are right to say that marriage isn't for gay men. But then marriages are not just for heterosexuals, either; In fact, they are even more important for lesbians. Marriage isn't and shouldn't come with the blanket assumption that the spouse of the child-rearing woman automatically gains custody of any children (or that the biological father automatically loses custody). This position doesn't hold water.

It's not my position that marriage facilitates adoption; that remains a separate legal issue. Marriage sanctions heterosexual relationships that create children, and that's very different from sanctioning relationships that acquire children from biological parents outside a marital relationship. In this regard, the sexual preference of gays isn't relevant to marriage, because the biological children of gays MUST fall without the legal union marriage creates, therefore requiring adoption. That implies that while marriage is suited for long term, monogamous heterosexual relationships, it's neither necessary, nor discriminatory regarding gay relationships that acquire children via adoption.

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First of all thank you.

You're welcome. It's gratifying to know that hopeless romantics like ourselves still exist to challenge today's bleak vision of political correctness :)

So yes, I can say in certain terms that it does taste like chicken because it was really the same thing except that attitudes of those involved (us) which does has no affect on the status of our relationship or other people.

in certain terms (but not as a referent to the actual thing)... taste like chicken (but not actually chicken)... it was really the same thing except that (then it wasn't the same thing)...

Of the responses to this thread so far, I'm in closest agreement with yours and Eiuol's; but whereas Eiuol identifies marriage for what it is in order to reject it, and you advocate making it something other than it is, I say embrace it for what it is, or pursue some other kind of relationship. But for pity's sake, don't reduce marriage to some form of virtual (kind of, sort of, almost like) reality. Go real, or stay at home B)

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You haven't taken into account lesbian couples that use an outside source of sperm to conceive. The childbearer in such a couple would be in a position of dependancy on the breadwinner in the same way you claim heterosexual mothers are dependant on their hubbies. In fact, all important aspects of this kind of lesbian relationship would be the same as a heterosexual marriage. If you really think that "sanctioning" child-creation is what marriages are all about, then you have to concede that marriage is appropriate for lesbians.

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You haven't taken into account lesbian couples that use an outside source of sperm to conceive. The childbearer in such a couple would be in a position of dependancy on the breadwinner in the same way you claim heterosexual mothers are dependant on their hubbies. In fact, all important aspects of this kind of lesbian relationship would be the same as a heterosexual marriage. If you really think that "sanctioning" child-creation is what marriages are all about, then you have to concede that marriage is appropriate for lesbians.

No, because in the case of lesbians, as of gay men, any "outside source" of procreation requires a non-marital solution to establish legal guardianship of conceived children; it creates a 3rd partner that conventional marriage doesn't provide for. Heterosexual couples using outside sources also create 3rd partners, and marriage doesn't provide for that either, so it certainly isn't the case that marriage is better suited for gays... just the opposite in fact.

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I touched on this earlier, and again Eiuol may have a better historical perspective to offer, but essentially marriage is intended to sanction the creation of families. The performance of the ceremony usually involves establishing the clear title of the man and woman getting married:

"We are gathered here today in the face of this company, to join together this man and this woman in matrimony; which is an honorable and solemn estate and therefore is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly. Into this estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any one can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace." ~ Traditional ceremony

Being willing and available, the family names of the bride and groom are announced for the public record; both families releasing guardianship of their child so that a new family may be legally recognized. The bride and groom express their intent to share a long term ('til death do us part), monogamous (I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner...) relationship with each other, as a socially autonomous unit (even the police are reluctant to get involved in marital squabbles). The presumption of course, is that the future husband and wife will produce and raise children, thus providing future members of their community, who in turn will provide future members to their community.

Politically, marriage combines individual rights into family rights (of husband and wife) to govern the raising of their children (as their property until they become adults). For the most part, traditional marriage is about the ownership and transfer of property (don't cringe Eiuol, *snicker*). Of course these days it apparently "takes a village" to raise a child, so the politics are shifting from respect for family autonomy, to respect for the "beneficent" concerns of a community of interlopers. Children are still property, but they are in the process of becoming the property of the State... but that's for another topic...

Pertaining to this topic, legal marriage is expressly for long term, monogamous relationships that create property in the form of children. Why? Because that's what happens when men and women shack up, and frankly that (the creation of children) doesn't happen when members of the same sex shack up. The language, e.g. bride, groom, husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, specifically highlight the necessary roles of gender within a marriage. So there's no question of the context or concept of what a marriage is, and there's no question that it isn't legally structured to accommodate the biological offspring of same sex relationships. As to heteros who don't marry, it's a choice, not a legal necessity. mdegges, et al, may object to marriage and divorce entitlements, but those who choose to marry don't, because obtaining legal security to have and raise children is a good thing.

So, if your objection to marriage entitlements is some form of Eiuol's, "well, that's not nice for nonhetero relationships, let's not exclude them", my response is, "cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it". All those "benefits" you covet can be obtained legally by other means, but no restructuring of marriage will ever address the legal needs of biological offspring of same sex couples; only adoption does that. This isn't a civil rights issue, because not getting married certainly doesn't prohibit the sexual pairing of consenting adults, nor does it prohibit them from adopting children. Marriage only reflects the biological reality of what happens (accidentally or intentionally) when boys and girls choose to spend the rest of their lives together.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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