Thursday, April 27, 2006

compilation of findings

International Perspectives:
Luke Cowdin (For Marriage):
Facts on Homosexuality and Homosexuals in America
LOCATION: There are 601,209 same-sex couples living in the US and Puerto Rico. By State: 3 leading states by same-sex-couple population: CA, NY, TX 3 leading states by percentage of couples being same-sex: DC, CA, VT Urban vs Rural: A comparable proportion of same-sex couples live inrural areas. This population of same-sex couples is usually more female than male.
Countries: 50% of all same-sex couples live in just 91 counties. Conversely, 50% of the total U.S. population lives in 153 counties. 21 counties (out of 3,140), reported no same-sex couples. AGE The average age for lesbians is 42.8 years; for gay men 44.5 years The average age for all females 36.5* years; for all males; 34.0 **lower because children are included. PARENTING Percentage of same-sex couples with their own children in thehousehold: 30% Percentage of all households in US with own children: 48.2% RACE 78.8% of respondents are white. 89% of same-sex couples have partnersof the same race. Racial diversity is 4x more likely in same-sexcouples as in the general population. All racial categories are represented. 79.1% of the US householder respondents are white. EDUCATION & OCCUPATION 24.7% of same-sex couples have a college degree. 23.2% are high schoolgraduates. 15.29% of members of same-sex couples are unemployed or in school.
-Average household income: $76,460 for same-sex couples who live withnobody else. -Average household income for total adult population: $41,994
Top 5 jobs (by percentage) held by members of same sex couples:
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Retail Sales Workers
Driver/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers
Retail Salespersons
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Elementary and Middle School Teachers
15% of members of same sex couples report military service, eithercurrently or in the past
My conclusion: Homosexuals or those in society looking for the legalization of gay marraige are a very diverse group. They not only live in the Gay Hub Cities but all over the continent and in the suburbs as well. They have regular jobs and regular lives, they live the same lives as the rest of us, and contribute to society in the same ways we all do. So who are we to say how or who they marry.
Bev (against) Said:
These are interesting statistics and it doesn’t really surprise me. No-one doubts that gay couples are mostly educated, successful, socially good standing people. Many have a very good college education and enjoy fulfilled lives because they are financially sound. But all these statistics don’t change anything and have little or nothing to do with passing the law to allow “same-sex marriages”.
Stephanie(against): The following sites link to sites containing stories from countries that do not support same-sex marriage. Lebanon: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4154664.stm, Saudi Arabia, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/news_world_story_skin/563540, Middle East, http://www.al-bab.com/unspeakablelove/ Iran, http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/11/21/iran12072.htm Other countries that have no legal recognition of same-sex partnerships. This list is not all inclusive: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Moldova, Monaco, Poland, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine
Lonnie Nguyen (against):
How does Canada compare to other countries?
Is Canada behind other western nations, or at the fore, when it comes to legislation pertaining to same-sex marriage?
As of September 2005, only four countries have legalized same-sex marriage nation-wide: the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Canada.
Several countries have passed ‘civil union’ and ‘partnership’ laws that provide same-sex couples with some of the rights and benefits enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. However, these laws often do not give same-sex couples the equivalent status that married heterosexual couples enjoy. For example, Denmark’s partnership law does not permit same-sex couples to adopt children that do not belong to one of the partners. Also, in some countries civil unions are not recognized nation-wide. In the United States, where marriage is a state (and not a federal) responsibility, couples obtaining a civil union under state law do not enjoy the same rights and benefits that apply to married couples under federal law.
Examples of legislation regarding same-sex couples in other countries:
Europe
European Parliament: In March 2000, the European Parliament passes a motion calling on all European Union countries to pass legislation recognizing same-sex unions.
Netherlands: The Netherlands is the first country to recognize same-sex marriage nation-wide, with ‘registered partnerships’ introduced in 1996. These partnerships are open to same-sex as well heterosexual couples, involving the same rights and duties as marriage. In 2001, the institution of marriage itself is expanded to include same-sex couples, as well as the right for same-sex couples to adopt children.
Belgium: In 2003, Belgium becomes the second country to recognize same-sex marriage nation-wide. However, parental rights are not extended to same-sex couples. For example, same-sex couples are still prohibited from adopting.
Spain: In 2004, the Spanish government approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriages, including adoption rights. In doing so, Spain became the third country to allow same-sex marriages.
Denmark: In October 1989, Denmark passes a law recognizing registered partnerships. The law is amended in 1999 to allow couples in a registered partnership to adopt each other’s children. Since 1999, couples entering a registered partnership have been able to have their ceremonies conducted in the state Danish Lutheran Church. Couples in a registered partnership may be required to pay alimony if they choose to terminate the partnership.
Germany: In 2001, Germany passes a law recognizing registered partnerships. The final version of the legislation enacted is ‘watered down,’ removing certain tax benefits (normally given to married partners) that were included in the original bill.
Other European Countries: Countries such as France, Britain, Sweden, Finland, and Portugal have recognized some form of same-sex partnership or union, with many rights similar to those of marriage. However, as of February 2005, none of these countries had granted same-sex couples access to the institution of marriage.
United States
In 1996, the US federal government passes the Defense of Marriage Act. This legislation defines marriage as a “legal union between one man and one woman,” and allows US states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
In 2004, President George W. Bush, a Republican, states his desire to enshrine the traditional definition of marriage (as between one man and one woman) in the US Constitution.
As of February 2005, Massachusetts is the only US state to recognize same-sex marriages. The states of Vermont, California, Maine, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and New Jersey, however, all offer benefits to same-sex couples that are similar to benefits received through marriage (i.e. civil union, reciprocal benefits, or domestic partner laws).
Elsewhere
New Zealand: In New Zealand, a civil union bill has been introduced in Parliament, giving same-sex unions the same rights and responsibilities enjoyed by married couples.
Australia: Same-sex partnerships are recognized in most Australian states. In 2004, the federal government passed legislation banning same-sex marriages, while continuing to allow for same-sex partnerships. The federal government has also passed legislation prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting.
http://www.mapleleafweb.com/features/general/same_sex/international-perspective.html
In Asia, the lesbian and gay rights movements are clearly dominated by activists, who tend to think in terms of a binary opposition (homo vs. hetero-) and clear-cut categories. Based on “Western patterns,” the approach is practical, the arguments based on minority rights. “Coming out” is often perceived as a “white model” bringing more problems than real freedom. On the contrary, “Asian values” put the emphasis on family and social harmony, often in contradiction to what is pictured as “lesbian and gay rights.” Homophobia follows very subtle ways in Asian countries. Asian gays have to negotiate their freedom, lifestyle and identities in an atmosphere of heterosexism, and not the endemic violent homophobia prevalent in many western countries. In Asia, one's identity relates to one's position in the group and sexuality plays a relatively insignificant role in its cultural construction. That Asian gays often marry and have children shows the elasticity their sexual identity encompasses. Fluidity of sexuality does not really match the Western approach in terms of essentialist categories that have a right to exist. Most Asian societies can be thought of as “tolerant” as long as homosexuality remains invisible. Procreative sexuality can be seen as a social duty, and heterosexual marriage is often not considered incompatible with a “homosexual life.” The development of the Internet has even facilitated the encounters while allowing secrecy. Unfortunately, the traditional figures of transgender and transvestites have often been separated from the gay liberation movement.
http://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?sid=7S03BBCENLDB9GF74UTGRB6MN7CJ07CF&ID=51316
Conclusion: Even though many international countries are passing the laws for gay marriage, they don’t have the constitutional rights for adopting. As for Asia, Many people are coming out has portray as being gay but, as it invisible, then it tolerate. What is your perspectives on this?
Rachel (for): Why Gay Marriage is a Serious Civil Right Issue?
Author, Scott Bidstrup, in this essay examines why people are against gay marriage and what the real reasons are for this opposition. He then explains how these arguments do not hold water. His main point to the essay is to clear up some misunderstandings about homosexuality and the erroneous assumption that gay people enjoy the same civil rights protections as everyone else. One way Scott Bidstrup looks at the subject, is as a civil rights issue, along with many others fighting for gay marriage. They see it in black and white, you either have equal rights or you do not. When gays can not marry, they cannot make medical decisions for our partners in an emergency, they can be compelled to testify against their partner if they are arrests or provide evidence against them, which legally married couples are not forced to do, and can be subject to survive restrictions upon the death of their partner. Scott explains how "these are all civil rights issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with the ecclesiastical origins of marriage; they are matters that have become enshrined in state laws by legislation or court precedent over the years in many ways that exclude us from the rights that legally married couples enjoy and even consider their constitutional right."
Bev (against) said:
I can see the civil rights issue as gays feel they are being treated differently but nothing is clearly just black and white. It is not just yes or no, there are reasons for it, as otherwise the laws would be changed without a fight. There has to be other ways to be able to make medical decisions for your gay partner, i.e. legal affidavit's giving each other permission to make decisions on your behalf.. I have never heard of not being made to testify against your spouse before, I think if it was necessary because of a ruthless crime you would be made to regardless. Survive restrictions - I am not sure what you mean other than assets/debts of the person who has died, and who would get those in the case of your partners death.. Again that must be down to legalities as lets face it people can leave their money to anyone, they don't have to be married to them it just has to be legally documented. Civil rights issues may be connected to the origins of marriage; however, in this case I don’t think it is the real issue. Civil rights are not deliberately being denied here but gays feel that is what it is affecting. Which from their perspective I can see their point but that doesn't mean same-sex marriage should be legalized because of it. As you aware there are many issues that affect the reasons that are against gay-marriage, religion, moral and traditions to name a few.
Rachel (for) said:
Equal rights = "The case for allowing gays to marry begins with equality, pure and simple. Why should one set of loving, consenting adults be denied a right that other such adults have and which, if exercised, will do no damage to anyone else?" Why can they marry, why not? The author explains that a is a binding commitment, at once legal, social and personal, between two people to take on special obligations to one another, and "if homosexuals want to make such marital commitments to one another, and to society, then why should they be prevented from doing so while other adults, equivalent in all other ways, are allowed to do so?" About the argument that gay marriage would damage an important social institution, the author argues the reverse is surely true. The author explains how gays want to marry precisely because they see marriage as important: "they want the symbolism that marriage brings, the extra sense of obligation and commitment, as well as the social recognition." Also the argument against gay marriage due to religious ideas can not be used because the constitution expressly bans the involvement of the state in religious matters. This is why it would be especially outrageous if the constitution were now to be used for religious ends. The article is concludes that "marriage, as it is commonly viewed in society, is more than just a legal contract. Moreover, to establish something short of real marriage for some adults would tend to undermine the notion for all. Why shouldn't everyone, in time, downgrade to civil unions? Now that really would threaten a fundamental institution of civilization."
Bev (against) said: I understand your argument that gays being allowed to marry begins with equality. I also see how you can see it as something that is denying equal rights. And even more so I can understand how gays want to marry precisely because they see marriage as not only important but also as the symbolism that marriage brings. There is nothing wrong with wanting social recognition, and the sense that marriage brings with it a sense of obligation and commitment. But even if gays were allowed to legally be married there is still no guarantee that the "legal document" brings with it any guarantee that the marriage/commitment will work as it does for any heterosexual couple. At the end of the day it is just "a piece of paper", and those legalities that affect property and wealth can also be devastating. I am heterosexual and will never marry again. Not because I can't but just because I don't see the point. Most people marry for the commitment and social aspect of it. I believe you can have that and more by just getting married "emotionally" on a beach not legally and it mean just as much. There are many heterosexual couples that have never been married but are happy and faithful to each other. (Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell etc.) I think this is all a case of "because they can't" which is really the issue. I am sure if a gay couple had written wills, shared property etc. that was documented there is still legal issues that can protect them without being married.
Matt (for): Iowa Representative Ed Fallon - Speech transcript - 02/20/96
Iowa Representative Ed Fallon's speech regarding gay marriage was a relatively early support for gay marriage, taking place on February 20th, 1996. Fallon's argument strongly focuses on civil rights, and the threatening implications that a bill banning gay marriage would have on our country's perception of civil rights. Ed Fallon draws the audience's empathy by stating that, despite his old perjudice toward homosexuals, he has learned that the stereotypes he harbored, in fact, represented a small minority of the homosexual community. Since then, he says that he has made may friends with homosexual couples, one of which whose children go to school with his. Countering the argument that the lack of heterosexual parenting is detrimental to a child's upbringing, Fallon retorts that this particular couple has done a fine job, if not better than his own, at raising their children, who live completely functional childhoods. Fallon then moves on to cite the various eras in our country's history, during which civil rights were challenged, starting with our separation from Britain, the abolition of slavery, the challenges of women's suffrage, and finally the amending of leglistative bills that prohibited interracial marriages. Toward the end of the speech, he asks the public when they would have joined in the fight to overcome some of the obstacles involved in the afforementioned events. Conclusively, Ed Fallon's speech covered two major issues: these anti-gay marriage sentiments are sparked by ignorance and subsequent fear or hatred; and that these convictions, if they lead to the prohibition of gay marriages, would be denying people of their civil rights. It is also important to note that Fallon addressed religious convictions that speak against gay marriage, and stated that in a country whose founding was based on the separation of the state and religion, these religiously-driven sentiments should not affect our legislation. Fallon also reminds the audience that there are several religious institutions that "celebrate the unions between same-sex couples", including "Methodists, The United Church of Christ, Congregationalists, Reform Jews, the Metropolitan Community Church, Unitarian Universalists and Quakers." This speech ends with a call to defend civil rights, addressing the perceived problem of people remaining neutral or silent over the issue of gay marriage, despite the possibility that they may agree that it should be federally recognized. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Fallon concludes his speech by saying: " "A time comes when silence is betrayal." Such a time is now. With your no vote on this bill, you can help break the silence and stand with those who have no one to stand with them."
Bev (against) said: Although Fallon brings forward some interesting points, he is however, just speaking his mind like we all do. Just because he has recognized one couple that has done a good job on raising a child in a same-sex marriage does not mean in general that they all would be. I know you could argue the same for a heterosexual marriage but statistics will show there are differences and risks.
As for denying people their civil rights, perhaps he is right, but like I have mentioned before this is just one of many issues that have to be addressed. But in order to answer the question of Civil rights fully I would have to be an expert in that field which I am not. What I found interesting is that several churches recognize same-sex marriages, including my own Methodist Church, so that was news to me. Dr. Luther King Jr's partial speech noted at the end "Such a time is now. With your no vote on this bill, you can help break the silence and stand with those who have no one to stand with them." Well, a great speech and I can see the connection; however, you have to believe that what ever you stand up for you believe in, which in this case - we are against same-sex marriage, but could stand next to them on issues we do agree with.
Matt (for) said: Citing exceptions, in regards to same-sex couple child rearing, is an understandable refutal. However, I wonder if these statistics could be attributed to the social stigmas attached to homosexual couples?: "you CANNOT provide an efficient male (or female) figure in the child's life," "you CANNOT provide the same amount of care as a heterosexual couple can," "you CANNOT provide the child with proper moral values, because your life style IS NOT the norm." There is a particular perspective in sociology called symbolic interactionism, which states, amongst other things, that labeling further perpetuates generalized images of certain peoples or groups, and actually encourages behavior in accordance to that image. I think that the heterosexual reaction to homosexual couples should be held partially responsible for same-sex couples' perceived ineptitude in child rearing, and therefore their performed inabilities.
Emily (against) said: I have a hard time seeing gay marriage and the abolishment of slavery as similar civil rights issues. To liken the way they were treated and the struggles that African-Americans have gone through in this country to two men or two women not being allowed to marry is not only far fetched, but also disrespectful. Just talk to any black person (or read this article http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=17265) and see how they feel about this comparison and it should be clear that this is not a fair or legitimate argument.
Bev (against) said. I would second that, I really think that abolishing slavery, just like legalization of black/white marriages are all issues that are not anything to do with gay-marriage, and I don’t see why these types of issues are even being compared.
Matt (for): Leveticus 18:22
ReligiousTolerance.org presents us with a fairly indepth, and very helpful article regarding the linguistics of Leviticus 18:22, a commonly quoted verse of the Judaeo-Christian Bible by those who regard gay marriage as an issue of religious significance. The article deals mainly with the interpretations (or misinterpretations) of this particular verse, originally represented in Hebrew as: "V’et zachar lo tishkav mishk’vey eeshah toeyvah hee." The literal translation of this verse is "And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman." The article maintains that the Hebrew text is incomplete, and "lay lyings" is a concept which is not agreed upon by all denominations. Many more conservative Christian traditions insert a particle that will complete the sentence, such as "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman: it is abomination." However, this is not the only linguistically problematic part of the verse. The Hebrew translation of the Bible identifies this transgression as a sin, and it is clear in the verse that this act is forbidden; however, "lay lyings" does not necessarily define what the act is. Some say all homosexual behavior, while other say all sexual behavior between two men, or anal sex between two men, or anal sex in a Pagan temple ritual, or even sexual activities between men in a woman's bed-- the phrase "lay lyings" is so far removed from context. This problem in the interpretation of the verse challenges many conservative viewpoints on gay marriage. Religiously driven convictions regarding gay marriage are especially important, as it is, at most times, the foundation of anti-gay marriage arguments.
Bev (against) said: I can understand your point that if the bible was misinterpreted “lay lyings” could mean several things. However, religiously driven convictions are not the only issues against same-sex marriage, there are other issues such as social, child welfare etc. that also have to be addressed. I am not heavily involved in any religion so it is hard for me to have an opinion or comment when I lack knowledge in the subject so therefore it is hard for me to comment further. But I respect your views as I know that religion is an important issue and should not be igonored.
Luke (for): Same-Sex Marrieges and the Kids
The concept of gays, even committed gay couples, raising children seems to be anathema to many people. There has never been any evidence that children of gay couples (either biological or adopted) are harmed by their environment. In many cases these children seem to be more well adjusted than their "normally" raised counterparts. From T. Richard Sullivan, PhD affiliated with the School of Social Work, University of British Columbia, and Albert Baques, social worker with the B.C. Ministry for Children and Families, 1999 we learn that “The assumption that a gay and lesbian orientation is anathema to child rearing reflects homophobia and the idealization of a particular family structure that is assumed to be morally superior…[In fact though, research shows that]no differences in well-being and normative functioning have been found between children reared by heterosexuals and those raised by lesbian or gay parents. 'The fear that children raised by homosexuals will grow up to be lesbian or gay suggests that it would be awful if that were the case. In order to prove that they are worthy parents, lesbians and gay men have had to prove that they are not likely to raise children who will grow up to be like them' (Benkov). This despite the fact that studies of over 300 offspring of gay or lesbian parents in twelve different samples have indicated no evidence of significant disturbances in the development of sexual identity.” (8) In addition, common evidence that children of gay couples are healthy and normal is that they grow up to lead heterosexual lifestyles. What if you told a Christian couple that it was bad if their children grew up to be Christians? I doubt that would go over very well. But this is what gay couples are told every day. The only way their children can be normal, can prove that their parents haven't harmed them, is if they grow up to lead a heterosexual lifestyle. Granted, many gay couples would never wish their struggles against prejudice on their children, but telling them that if their children grow up to be like them they are horrible parents--I call that a subtle form of psychological torture. The other problem with assuming that heterosexual households are the superior environment for raising children is this: "[Gay couples and their children] present family units many in our society believe to be outside the mainstream of American family life. The reality, however, is that most children today do not live in so-called "traditional"…families with a stay-at-home mother and a father who works from 9:00 to 5:00. According to Bureau of Census statistics, twenty-five percent of children today are born out-of-wedlock to single women, mostly young, minority, and impoverished; half of all marriages end in divorce; and married couples with children now make up only twenty-six percent of United States households. It is unrealistic to pretend that children can only be successfully reared in an idealized concept of family, the product of nostalgia for a time long past." (9) Again, there is a conservative argument in favor of allowing gay couples to not only raise their own children without interferance, but to adopt children. Mark Strasser, Professor of Law at Capital University in 1999 argues: “same-sex couples are having and raising children, even if those children are not produced though their union. Indeed, some states recognize both members of same-sex couples as the legal parents of the same child, precisely because this will promote the best interests of that child. Thus, some commentators’ claims notwithstanding, the state’s interest in assuring that children will have a healthy, supportive environment in which to thrive militates in favor of the recognition of same-sex marriage rather than against it.” (7) I hope that the arguments I've provided here aid your efforts to bring understanding to the people around you. The only way to achieve equality for these members of our society is to fight to create change. In many cases, opinions are changed one person at a time. Now you are armed against your next encounter with the prejudiced and closed-minded. Below I provide several links for those of you who want to investigate this issue further. There's more evidence out there in support of this cause, and I wish I could have included a more comprehensive list. http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/phil/blphil_eth_gaym_kids.htm http://www.futureofchildren.org/information2827/information_show.htm?doc_id=290834
Bev (against) said: See some evidence I found that children ARE affected by being raised by same-sex married couples. http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IF03H01&v=PRINT or look at my blogs.
Rachel (for): Same-sex marriages BENEFIT society
The main argument in this article is same-sex marriages actually benefit society because the union of marriage benefits society. Those opposing same-sex marriages will agree that same-sex marriage does benefit society but that it does not enough to compensate for the damages it does have not taken a closer look at the benefits that could be had: -marriage promotes a stable society by encouraging stable relationships over transient ones -marriage promotes a stable society by providing the best environment for successful families (families are the fundamental unit of society) -marriage provides an efficient and tested social structure in which to bring up children. Some research demonstrates that same-sex parenting works as well as heterosexual parenting -marriage reduces state spending on benefits Broken relationships are the cause of much state benefit spending and the partner in a same-sex marriage will provide an unpaid carer in the event of sickness or injury -marriage promotes happiness Happier people contribute more to society, and cost less -marriage promotes health; married people are healthier than unmarried people; marriage reduces promiscuity and cuts the risk of AIDS transmission between gay men; better health reduces the costs of providing healthcare -marriage binds the partners into a single unit for third party dealings Information taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/samesexmarriage/pro_society.shtml
Bev (against) said: I would agree that economically same-sex marriages would not hurt society because many couples whether they are married or single often are well educated, have good jobs and enjoy to travel etc., but they would invest in the economy if they were single or married just like heterosexual people do also.
However, going down the list: All of these are twisting ideals that are really geared at heterosexual issues of marriage. Marriage does promote a stable society with stable relationships but not for same-sex marriages. The best environment for successful families is still considered to be a heterosexual unity not a same-sex one. Marriage provides an efficient and tested structure in which to bring up children. Very little research has proven that same-sex parenting works as well as heterosexual (look at my blog) it is quite the opposite when you look at the risk factors. Yes, I would agree that there might be a decrease on spending benefits if same-sex marriage was allowed because they would share benefits in health, financial and property. Also, I agree that marriage SOMETIMES promotes happiness. But not always it can also promote BAD HEALTH from being abused emotionally and physically in what every gendered relationship you are in. I am not sure if marriage cuts down the risks of AIDS as some will be promiscuious whether they are married or not. But yes, better health does cut down healthcare costs. But then again some health issues will be replaced by others, so sometimes there is little gain.
Emily(against) said: I agree that all these benefits are from the stand-point of heterosexual marriage. For thousands of years marriage has been defined as man and woman, adding gay marriage to the mix changes the definition and therefore changes what we know and how we look at the idea of marriage. For example the idea that "marriage promotes a stable society by encouraging stable relationships over transiet ones" is flawed when applied to gay relationships. Studies have shown that even homosexual partners (mostly male) who consider themselves "monogamous" have multiple other partners each year while still in the relationship. They consider that stability and monogamy because it is something that the partners have aggreed to. By allowing same-sex marriage we will be changing the whole idea and feelings behind marriage.
Luke: My findings
I put out a random questionaire on a worldwide website to find out how same-sex marriages and raising kids in them is viewed, and these are a few of my responses. Many responses revovlved around the same thing, that as long as the child is shown love and is nurtured they will be A OK! What are your personal views on same-sex marriages? -Well being as I am a lesbian and I want to get married one day, I see no problem with it. I feel like love is love regardless of your sexual preference. -I am for them. I don't see them as causing any harm. If two people love each other, let them marry. -i believe same sex marriages are a step in the right diresction for our country. i think by recognizing homosexuals as having equal rights as heterosexuals we will be moving forward towards a more peaceful and open society. which is needed in a more modern world. What are your feelings about same sex couples having kids? -Again..I also want kids oneday. I feel like children need 2 things. nurturing and love. I do however think that it is hard being the product of a same sex couple. The child kids bullied and made fun off. But all in all, love is all a child needs, and anyone with a heart can provide that. -If they want them, they should have them. Especially if they want to adopt unwanted children. - im all for it. i think a child would be raised perfectly fine by 2 mothers or 2 fathers. it all depends who those people are and how they do thier job as parents. whether you have a penis or a vagina shouldnt effect your child, seeing as they really could care less what you are. a child cares who you are and if you show them the love they need. also there are plenty of healthy children ebing raised in foster homes by gay couples, why shouldnt they have thier own children if they want? -i am all for same sex marriage, my wife and i have been together for 10 years. we have a son that i gave birth to and we are foster parents. our kids are lucky to have 2 moms. they get all the attention they need. and as for male influences, they have grandpa's and uncles. How do you feel that same-sex marriages will affect the children in the relationship? -I think when children are younger they dont necessarily understand that they have 2 mommies or 2 daddies. But as they get older and begin to understand their situation, I think it just depends on how the parents choose to raise there children. And what values and morals they instil in there children. - think they will be subject to ridicule for having two mommies or two dads, but all kids must inevitably face some sort of ridicule at some point in their lives -id say the children would be just fine with it. the only reaosn a child would posses thoughts in a negative way is because of the way our society already views gay couples. if it werent for the negative things they hear about it, they wouldnt feel that way. homophobia, like racisn, will never go away completely. but why not work towards making it less commen, for the future of our country -- the children.
Bev (against) said: This seems swayed towards the gay aspect, from a gays perspective therefore it is not a good arguement as you don't have both sides. As a single parent mother I would argue the issue brought forward of the scenerio where they have two mom's and have uncles and brothers for a male influence. No matter how many male influences you have, if the child's father is fairly good, there is nothing more nurturing than having contact with his/her father. I would not take that from either of my kids as I beleive that children get something different from both parents, male and female, they need both and that is way it is supposed to be. This is why I believe in heterosexual parenting.
Mark: homophobia
Homophobia is a primary contributor to the bias against gay marriage. Homophobia is a fear or misunderstanding of homosexual people. It has been stated that the majority of people that are against gay marriage rarely have contact with gay individuals. I feel that if people can overcome their homophobia they will realize that there is a minority out there that is being discriminated against. Homophobia: Aversion to gay or homosexual people or their lifestyle or culture. Behavior or an act based on this aversion. Examples of homophobia: -Gay people make them nervous -Making derogatory remarks “fag” “queer’ “that’s gay” -Cringing at photos of gay lovers -They would be upset to find out a close friend was gay These types of mentalities create an acceptable atmosphere of discrimination against homosexuals. As long as people have a secret bias against homosexuality they will always incorporate negative views with their language, thought pattern and equal rights such as gay marriage. To conquer the subject of gay marriage it becomes imperative that the first step is to deprejudize the populous. To deprejudize the populous we must cure the imbedded illness of homophobia. To cure homophobia people neutralize their mind and assimilate rational and unbiased decisions about homosexuality by making friends, studying and interviewing gay people on subjects such as gay marriage. If homosexuality remains vague the majority of people will not understand it. And what people don’t understand they dislike, misinterpret and discriminate against.
Bev (against) said: I would agree that some of the reasons why people are against gay marriage is because of Homophobia. However, the issue of gay marriage isn't about whether or not people are homophobic but if they really think that same-sex marriages should be allowed rather than the traditional man/women relationship marriages. It has to do with what is moral, religeious and many other factors. I personally don't have any problems with gay people having relationships but when you have to look at issues like raising children in same-sex marriages and in general the impact that gay marriages have on society there is cause for concern.
Emily (against) said: Compared to most other minority groups, homosexuals have little to complain about discrimination-wise. Discrimination tends to imply things such as lack of access to resources, inability to be involved in certain activities, and negative portrayals in our media and cultures. These things are not commonly true of homosexuals. Gay people's earnings tend to increase faster than the national average, and they generally have more money. They have great power in the political arena and it has become difficult to find negative representations in the media. African-American's civil rights struggles were about overcoming institutionalized discrimination. Traditional marriage is not a form of discrimination. http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/commentary/a0031621.cfm
Luke (for): Stability
“As an institution, marriage helps provide legal protection and stability to human relationships that might not otherwise survive problems and pressures under more informal terms. Financial and social benefits are thus conferred upon marital relationships because their long-term stability furthers general social stability. We haven, then, both essentialist and pragmatic reasons for the existence of marriage, all of which apply to gay marriages just as well as they apply to traditional marriages between members of the opposite sex.” -For the most part same sex couples are goin to find ways to raise children, whether it be through surgate parenting, heterosexual conception, or adoption. Gay marriage is not currently legal, yet 50% of those that I talked to who were invovled in same-sex relationships, reported having kids. So why not allow the children the security and stability that comes with a marriage.
Emily (against) said: But why does it have to be marriage? Can't they have committed, loving, stable relationships that last a lifetime without having to be "married." Traditional marriage started as a religious ceremony between a man and a woman. Isn't there some other ceremony that they can come up with that is separate from the actual term "marriage" but that can still be legally recognized?
Against Arguments:
Bev (against): Gay Marriage within the Cherokee Nation
Kathy E. Reynolds and Dawn L. Mckinley were married May 18, 2004, in a ceremony by a CN sanctioned religious official within the tribe's jurisdiction 5 days after receiving their marriage application from the CN District Court. When the couple obtained their marriage application, tribal law did not define marriage as a union between a man and a women, but as between a "provider" and "companion."
-They had no trouble getting the application but were warned they might have trouble finding someone to marry them. -Same-sex marriage is illegal in Oklahoma, but the state recognizes and honors Cherokee Nation Marriage licenses. ---But, federal law does not require Oklahoma to recognize same sex marriages from other states. -Since their marriage the laws have been revised by the Tribal Council that exclude same-sex marriages however, when the couple file their application again it will be allowed as it was done prior to the new law in place. -The original marriage was appealed but the lawsuit was dismissed because the nine Tribal Councilors because they failed to demonstrate a specific particularized harm. Under CN law, a person must prove individual harm before proceeding with litigation. In response, why was the marriage ever recognized at all as just because American Indians have special rights in some cases, this is going above and beyond. This kind of law should be on the same level as any race. The undefined wording for a marriage which was between a “provider” and “companion” clearly should have been revised a long time ago by the Tribal Councilors and this would have never happened. If Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriages in any other state and it is not legal in their own state why was this ever allowed in the first place? www.cherokee.org
Emily (against): "Gay Marriage" is a Contradiction
Why "Gay Marriage" is Wrong by Robert A. J. Gagnon http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles4/GagnonGayMarriage1.shtml http://www.robgagnon.net/homoPresbyTodayArticle.htm "..homosexual unions are not wrong primarily because of their disproportionately high incidence of promiscuity (especially among males) and breakups (especially among females). They are wrong because "gay marriage" is a contradiction in terms. As with consensual adult incest and polyamory, considerations of commitment and fidelity factor only after certain structural prerequisites are met." "The vision of marriage found in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures is one of reuniting male and female into an integrated sexual whole. Marriage is not just about more intimacy and sharing one's life with another in a lifelong partnership. It is about sexual merger--or, in Scripture's understanding, re-merger--of essential maleness and femaleness." This article goes on to explain that the creation story in Genesis tells of man being split in two, forming two different and complementing sexual beings. Marriage then, is the union of these two different parts or "halves" that are meant to fit together to create a whole. A same-sex couple cannot possibly create this whole because they lack the complementary sexual parts, therefore marriage is not an option. Homosexual desire is also "sexual narcissism" because the homosexual wants in another what they already are and the parts they already have. It can also be considered "self-deception" because the homosexual is delusioned to think of the same sex as "other" and not recognize that that is what they are as well. Homosexuals are "seeking completion" in someone of the same sex, when they need to realize what they really are and look for the true complementing parts, because only then can marriage and a true whole union be formed.
Lonnie (against): 12 Reasons Gay Marriage Will Ruin Society
Here are 12 reasons but, it just to think about: 1) Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural., 2) Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children., 3) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children, 4) Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful, 5) Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal, 6) Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities, 7) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in America, 8) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall, 9) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license, 10) Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children 11) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to cars or longer lifespans, 12) Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians. http://grove.ufl.edu/~ggsa/gaymarriage.html
Lonnie(against): The Argument Against Gay Marriages By Eddie Thompson
First, gay and lesbians already possess rights equally protected under the law. They have the exact rights that I have today. They can marry a member of the opposite sex if they so choose, just like I have done. I can't marry a member of my own sex, even if I wanted to. So, we have the exact same rights. What is being suggested by the gay agenda is not "equal rights" but "extra rights." They want to be allowed to reap the benefits of marriage without actually marrying in its tradition sense. There are many wonderful people who choose to remain single for myriad reasons, and these people are not clamoring for the rights granted to couples who marry. Why should those who refuse traditional marriage be granted such rights simply because they prefer sex with someone whose anatomy resembles their own? In fact, most of the so-called “rights” married couples have can be obtained through a lawyer’s legal maneuvers. What if they achieve this marital status? Does anyone really believe that it will stop there? Any heterosexual buddies could take the opportunity to garner for themselves incentives and privileges intended to support the traditional family structure by which our society survives. Make no mistake; there is a deeper agenda at work here, even if all gay and lesbians are not aware of it. Secondly, consenting adults can do many things, but there are some actions restricted even to consenting adults. Concerning marriage, we conclude as a society that incest is harmful and thus refuse to allow family members to intermarry. Also, we conclude that polygamy is harmful and restrict Mormons and Muslims from marrying more than one consenting adult at a time. We have age requirements on marriages as well. There are reasons we place restrictions on marriage. Homosexuals have never received marital status in the history of mankind until recently. There is a reason for that. It is not productive to continue to shred the fabric of our society. The burden of proof for changing history’s traditional marriage should fall upon the supporters of the homosexual agenda. I have heard of no compelling reasons that suggest homosexual marriages are necessary to the well-being of our society. Finally, the agenda pushed by the gay lobby encourages behavior deemed unacceptable by every major religion, by the vast majority of our society, and by nature’s evolutionary track itself. They already have the right to participate in aberrant behavior, but that isn’t enough. They want us to validate something we consider wicked. Where are the defenders of the law who claimed Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore must be fired for defying the law through civil disobedience when he placed a monument to the Ten Commandments in the courthouse? Where is the uproar for the firing of San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom for defying the law by granting marriage certificates to homosexual couples? There won’t be one. The double standard against Christianity in the public square will be ignored by most, but we should not succumb to those who mock our faith. If homosexuals win this issue politically, the victory will be hollow for them and harmful to our society. The truth of the matter is marriage is a sacred union ordained by God, and nothing man does can ever really change that. http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?AuthorID=17296&id=13199
Stephanie (against): The case against "Same-sex marriage" MARGARET SOMERVILLE
A Brief Submitted to The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights April 29, 2003. Table of contents:Establishing context, Marriage as culture, Reproductive decision-making, Intense individualism… Adult-centred reproductive decision-making… , Reprogenetic technologies… , Mutual respect, Attributing, Homophobia , Use of law, Social experimentation, Discrimination, Conclusion
Establishing context: I want, first, to outline briefly the context in which my comments on same-sex marriage are grounded, because in this debate context is definitely not neutral and is not the same for everyone. As this committee has heard, many people who oppose extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples do so on religious grounds or because of moral objections to homosexuality. They are not the bases of my arguments. Rather, my arguments against same-sex marriage are secularly based and, to the extent that they involve morals and values, these are grounded in ethics not religion.
To summarize: I oppose discrimination on basis of sexual orientation, whether against homosexuals or heterosexuals. I believe that civil partnerships open to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples should be legally recognized and that the partners, whether opposite-sex or same-sex, are entitled to the same benefits and protection of the law. But I do not believe that we should change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. My reasons go to the nature of marriage as the societal institution that represents, symbolizes and protects the inherently reproductive human relationship. I believe that society needs such an institution. 2. Marriage as culture Marriage is, and has been for millennia, the institution that forms and upholds for society, the cultural and social values and symbols related to procreation. That is, it establishes the values that govern the transmission of human life to the next generation and the nurturing of that life in the basic societal unit, the family. Through marriage our society marks out the relationship of two people who will together transmit human life to the next generation and nurture and protect that life. By institutionalizing the relationship that has the inherent capacity to transmit life — that between a man and a woman — marriage symbolizes and engenders respect for the transmission of human life. (What such respect now requires has become an unprecedented issue in light of recent advances in reprogenetic technology. I discuss that shortly.) To change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples would destroy its capacity to function in the ways outlined above, because it could no longer represent the inherently procreative relationship of opposite-sex pair-bonding. It would be to change the essence and nature of marriage as the principal societal institution establishing the norms that govern procreation. Marriage involves public recognition of the spouses' relationship and commitment to each other. But that recognition is for the purpose of institutionalizing the procreative relationship in order to govern the transmission of human life and to protect and promote the well-being of the family that results. It is not a recognition of the relationship just for its own sake or for the sake of the partners to the marriage, as it would necessarily become were marriage to be extended to include same-sex couples. Reproduction is the fundamental occurrence on which, ultimately, the future of human life depends. That is the primary reason why marriage is important to society. In our highly individualistic societies, we tend to look only at its importance to individuals. That is necessary, but not sufficient in deciding on the future of marriage. People advocating same-sex marriage argue that we should accept that the primary purpose of marriage is to give social and public recognition to an intimate relationship between two people, and, therefore, to exclude same-sex couples is discrimination. They are correct if the primary purpose of marriage is to protect an intimate pair-bond. But they are not correct if its primary purpose is to protect the inherently procreative relationship of opposite-sex pair-bonding or to protect an intimate relationship for the purposes of its procreative potential. When marriage is limited to opposite-sex couples, there is no need to choose between these purposes, because they are compatible with each other and promote the same goal. The same is not true if marriage is extended to include same-sex couples. That would necessarily eliminate marriage's role in symbolizing and protecting the procreative relationship. We now need the procreative symbolism of marriage more than in past, because of new technoscience possibilities for transmitting life, if we believe that, ethically, there should be limits on the use of these technologies. Culture is what marks us as human; it is what distinguishes us and allows us to distinguish ourselves from other animals and, in the future, from intelligent machines. In the past, we used religion as an important forum and force in the foundation of culture — we did so by finding shared values through religion. That is not possible in a secular society; one result is that it makes it more difficult to find consensus on values. To form a society, we must create a societal-cultural paradigm — the collection of values, principles, attitudes, beliefs, and myths, the "shared story" through which we find values and meaning in life, as both individuals and society. In establishing a societal-cultural paradigm all human societies have focused on the two great events of every human life: birth and death. Marriage is a central part of the culture — values, attitudes, beliefs — that surrounds birth. We require a culture related to birth in a secular society, at least as much as in a religious one, and must establish it through secular means. That is one reason why the legal recognition of marriage is important. One argument in favour of same-sex marriage is that the culture of marriage has changed over the years and that recognizing same-sex marriage is just another change. A common example given is the change in the status of the woman partner, in that marriage is now seen as a union of equals. But that change goes to a collateral feature of marriage, not its essential nature or essence as recognizing same-sex marriage would. In short, these two changes are not analogous; rather, they are fundamentally different in kind. Advocates of same-sex marriage also argue that restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples based on society's need for an institution that symbolizes the inherently procreative relationship between a man and a woman, means that opposite-sex couples who cannot or do not want to have children should be excluded from marriage, or, more extremely, that only a man and a woman who produce a child should be allowed to marry. Marriage between opposite-sex partners symbolizes, however, the reproductive potential that exists, at a general level, between a man and a woman. Even if a particular man and woman cannot or do not want to have a child, their getting married does not damage this general symbolism. The reproductive potential of opposite-sex couples is assumed at a general level and is not investigated in individual cases. To do otherwise would be a serious and unjustifiable breach of privacy. It is also sometimes argued that the absence of a reproductive potential is obvious "on the face of the record" when a woman well past the age of child-bearing enters a marriage and yet we recognize such marriages. But again these marriages do not damage the reproductive symbolism of marriage in the way that same-sex marriages would. Indeed, they continue this symbolism at the grandparent level and, therefore, across the generations. Marriage's role in upholding respect for the transmission of human life — which is the first event in procreation — is of unusual importance at present. We are facing unprecedented challenges to that respect because of new technoscience that opens up unprecedented modes of transmission of life. That is another reason why marriage should remain limited to opposite-sex couples. Without it, we would have no institution that establishes a social-sexual ecology of human reproduction and symbolizes respect for the transmission of human life through sexual reproduction, as compared, for example, through asexual replication (cloning). Recognizing that a fundamental purpose of marriage is to engender respect for the transmission of human life provides a corollary insight: Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is not related to those people's homosexual orientation, or to them as individuals, or to the worth of their relationships. Rather, the exclusion of their relationship is related to the fact that it is not inherently procreative, and, therefore, if it is encompassed within marriage, marriage cannot institutionalize and symbolize respect for the transmission of life. To recognize same-sex marriage (which is to be distinguished from same-sex partnerships that do not raise this problem) would unavoidably change and eliminate this function of marriage. The alternative view is that new reproductive technoscience means that same-sex couples will be able to reproduce as a couple, so they should be included in marriage as the institution that institutionalizes, recognizes and protects procreative relationships. I discuss this argument in the next section. The inherently procreative relationship institutionalized in marriage is fundamental to society and requires recognition as such. Marriage carries important norms and values, "memes" (long standing units of deep cultural information passed on from generation to generation) related to reproduction. Marriage makes present in the present, the deep collective human memory concerning the norms and values surrounding reproduction. Extending marriage to include same-sex couples (or de-legislating marriage, which I discuss shortly) would seriously harm all of these societal level functions of the institution of marriage. 3. Reproductive decision-making Intense individualism… Our societies manifest "intense individualism" — including "intense moral individualism" (Frances Fukyama), "…my preferences are my moral values". As a result, decision making about "life" (reproduction) and "death" is seen as purely private. Pursuant to this view, those decisions are regarded as no one else's business and certainly not the state's, especially to interfere with through law. This view would favour the state getting out of the "marriage business", one of the options on your committee's agenda. But, as Samuel Johnson said, marriage involves a third party beyond the man and the woman — "Society [and] if it be considered as a vow — God". In short, marriage is not just a matter of private decision-making, it is also of concern to society. That becomes most apparent when a marriage breaks down and ends up in the divorce courts. If society has a valid interest in marriage, as I believe it does, it must remain involved in marriage through the law. Adult-centred reproductive decision-making… Our societies have also adopted adult-centred as compared with child-centred reproductive decision-making. Child-centred means, among other requirements, that we should work from a presumption that, if at all possible, children have a valid claim to be raised by their own biological parents. We must consider the ethics of intentionally creating a situation that is otherwise: It requires justification. There is an ethical difference between individuals choosing to create such a situation and society authorizing or facilitating it. While society would have ethical obligations not to interfere with the freedom of individuals in relation to reproduction (subject to restrictions on the use of reproductive technologies, discussed below), it also has obligations not to facilitate the creation of situations that are not in the "best interests" of children. In short, the compliance of society in helping to create non-traditional families in which children will be raised is not an ethically neutral act. One common response to the position I outline above, by those advocating same-sex marriage and families, is to point out the deficiencies of marriage. The issue is not, however, whether all or most opposite-sex couples attain the ideals of marriage in relation to fulfilling the needs of the children they produce. Neither is the issue whether marriage is a perfect institution — it is not. It is, rather, whether we should work from a basic presumption that children need a mother and a father, preferably their own biological parents. I believe they do. The issue is, also, whether society would be worse off without the aspirational ideals established by traditional marriage. I believe it would be. Reprogenetic technologies… The combination of adult-centred decision-making and intense individualism, together with reproductive technology can result in a claim of rights to "absolute reproductive freedom" (eg. See John Robertson, University of Texas). In this respect the judgement of Blair, RSJ, in Halpern et al v. Canada (Ontario Divisional Court) merits consideration. He addresses the argument that the same-sex partners could not reproduce with each other and, therefore, that extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples was not justified. He rejected that argument on the grounds that same-sex couples could use reproductive technology to have children (pp33-34). It is relevant to note, first, that in doing so, the judge recognizes that a fundamental feature of marriage is related to procreation. And, second, to the extent that the judge's ruling implies that people have a right to "absolute reproductive freedom", it would mean that there would be duties not to interfere with access to reproductive technologies to make reproduction possible or, for instance, with two men married to each other, having access to a surrogate mother. There would, also, probably be a duty to provide access to the means for "collaborative non-coital reproduction" (procreation through the use of reproductive technologies). After all, if exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is found to be discrimination by way of comparison with opposite-sex couples, not providing same-sex couples with the means for procreation — that is, excluding them from procreating with each other — when procreation is possible between opposite-sex couples, is a related discrimination. Indeed, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has held that failing to provide an infertile couple with access to reproductive technology was discrimination under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, although justified, in that particular case, under Section 1 of the Charter (Cameron v Nova Scotia Attorney General). These technologies open up a wide range of possibilities for having children. Does a duty of non-interference with their use mean, for example, that creating a child by cloning, or from two ova, two sperm, or multiple genetic parents is ethically acceptable? Could homosexual couples argue that it is discrimination to prohibit them from creating children between them by using reprogenetic technologies in whatever way they saw fit? It merits noting that Bill C-13, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, as recently amended, would support this argument: Principles sec. 2… (e) persons who seek to undergo assisted reproduction procedures must not be discriminated against, including on the basis of their sexual orientation or marital status; New reprogenetic technoscience confronts us with questions no other humans have had to address, because in the past the only mode of transmission of human life was sexual reproduction in vivo: What is required for respect for mode of transmission of human life to the next generation? And what is required for respect for the children who would result from the use of reprogenetic technologies? 4. Mutual respect The reason for excluding same-sex couples from marriage matters: If the reason for denying same-sex marriage is that we have no respect for homosexuals and their relationships, or want to give the message that homosexuality is wrong, then, the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is not ethically acceptable from the perspective of respect for homosexuals and their relationships. It is also discrimination. On the other hand, if the reason is to keep the very nature, essence and substance of marriage intact, and that essence is to protect the inherently procreative relationship, then excluding same-sex couples from marriage is ethically acceptable from the perspective of respect for them and their relationships. And such a refusal is not discrimination. Respect for others' religious beliefs in a multi-cultural society can raise complex issues. Some people object to same-sex marriage on the basis of their religious beliefs. These beliefs are often profound and the people who hold them see a complex interplay in marriage between its voluntary formation, religious sanction, social legitimation and natural origin. Even if we do not agree with these beliefs, indeed even more so if we do not, we need to understand what they are in order to understand the impact on the people who hold them of legally recognizing same-sex marriage. We must also likewise, take into account the impact on same-sex couples of refusing to recognize their relationships as marriage. We are in a situation of competing sorrows or harms. We must ask which approach to marriage best accommodates mutual respect. Both sides in this debate must recognize that they can only demand respect from their opponents if they give it; that is, if respect is to be present at all, it will only be so in a context of mutual respect. To the extent that we can avoid transgressing people's religious beliefs, even though we do not agree with them, we should not transgress them out of respect for the people who hold them, not out of respect for those beliefs. The same is true for people who oppose homosexuality on moral grounds, in relation to their having respect for homosexuals, if not for their beliefs. Ethics requires us to take the least invasive, least restrictive alternative, reasonably available and likely to be effective in achieving a justified goal. Maintaining traditional marriage and legally recognizing same-sex partnerships fulfils that ethical requirement. Note, this same accommodation of respect for beliefs in the formation of public policy, would not apply to beliefs, based on religion, about the wrongfulness of homosexuality. While such beliefs may be privately held, they are not acceptable as the basis for public policy decision-making in a secular society, if only because the harm of recognizing such beliefs far outweighs the harm of not doing so. That is the reason why opposing same-sex marriage on the basis that it involves recognizing a homosexual relationship, is not valid, but opposition based on such recognition necessarily destroying the essence of marriage is a valid reason. There is a major difference between not destroying the essence of marriage for people who will enter into that institution and whose religious beliefs mean that recognizing same-sex marriage would destroy it, and recognizing, at any public policy level, the same people's anti-homosexual beliefs. The latter is unacceptable, because it directly denigrates homosexuals, rather than seeking a justified goal (maintaining marriage); and because others' sexual orientation, unlike the recognition of same-sex marriage, in no way directly affects the people who regard homosexuality as morally wrong. 5. Attributing Homophobia Being against same-sex marriage is frequently alleged by proponents of same-sex marriage to be proof of homophobia (See "Same-sex hearings rife with 'gay- bashing,' critic says", Globe and Mail, 11 March, 2003, A6). A useful comparison can be made with people who take the view that being against infant male circumcision (IMC) is proof of anti-Semitism. (I, personally, have been subject to both sets of allegations in the public square.) The strategy adopted in both cases is to shame those who are against same-sex marriage or IMC into silence. The choice of language and framing of the issues is carefully crafted to achieve this result. (See William Eskridge, who has articulated important insights in this respect, through his analysis of the techniques used by identity-based social movements to place courts in the position that they see their only alternatives in reaching a decision as being either to find discrimination or to believe that in not doing so they would be approving of discrimination and themselves engaging in it. In the same vein, see Halpern et al v. Canada and arguments considered by the judges.) This strategy also involves using "ad hominem" arguments, that is, derogatorily labelling those who oppose same-sex marriage as homophobic or as religious (which is seen by some as a derogatory label), and claiming, therefore, their arguments against same-sex marriage should not be given any weight. The substance of these arguments, however, is not addressed. 6. Use of law The use of law can never be neutral, whether we are enacting, changing or repealing it. We use law in post-modern, secular societies, such as Canada, to challenge or uphold our most important societal values. (Whereas, in the past, our moral and values discussions used to take place in religion, now they take place in our legislatures and courts. One way to regard our Parliament, legislatures and highest courts is as the "secular cathedrals" of our society.) Same-sex marriage cases are already in the Canadian courts and the issue is before this committee. We cannot avoid the decisions of judges and Parliament regarding same-sex marriage affecting the values related to marriage — either to uphold or change them. One of the options that has been proposed, of Parliament repealing the laws on marriage and abandoning the area of marriage, would not be a neutral act. It would necessarily change the values and symbolism associated with marriage. We legislate about matters associated with our most important societal values, therefore, de-legislating marriage would be to detract from its importance and the values associated with it. Whether or not we agree with all of the provisions in the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill (Bill C-13), mentioned previously, its enactment recognizes that there is a need — both practical and symbolic — to legislate in relation to reproduction. It would be paradoxical, if, at the same time, we were to de-legislate marriage. At the individual level, many young people who see no problems with sexual relationships outside marriage or living together before marriage, get married either before having children or if pregnancy or birth occurs. That fact shows the current importance of the role of marriage with respect to the values governing procreation. We can argue that this reality makes maintaining the institution of marriage and the values and symbolism associated with it, more necessary and more important than in the past, and that requires maintaining marriage as a legal construct. If marriage were not available as a societal institution, but only as a religious (quasi-private) one, to mark out and mark off the intrinsically procreative relationship from other types of relationship, there would be no societally sanctioned way these people could symbolize for themselves, others close to them, and society that their relationship had changed because they were becoming or had become parents. That would be particularly true for people who were not religious. But what about homosexuals who bring children into their relationship, shouldn't those adults have access to marriage? This is the most powerful argument, in my view, for recognizing same-sex marriage, but I do not believe it justifies extending marriage to same-sex couples. First, marriage institutionalizes and symbolizes for society the inherently procreative relationship. It cannot do that if it is changed to include same-sex couples. Second, the joint reproductive incapacity of a same-sex couple must not be addressed through reproductive technologies. I believe that a child has a right not to be created from the genetic patrimony of two men or two women, or by cloning, or from multiple genetic parents. Therefore, same-sex relationships should not be included within an institution that symbolizes an inherently procreative relationship. Third, bringing children into a same-sex relationship should not be seen as within the norm, but rather, as an exception to it. Although it is considered a radical view by some people, and often seen as politically incorrect, I believe that a child needs a mother and a father and, if possible and unless there are good reasons to the contrary, preferably its own biological mother and father as its raising parents. (Adopted children's search for their birth parents and current moves to give children born through reproductive technologies, using donated gametes, access to the gamete donors' identity, show a deep human need to know our biological family origins.) Recognizing same-sex marriage would make bringing children into a same-sex relationship part of the norm, rather than the exception. We should recognize same-sex relationships and legally protect them and any children involved, but not by recognizing the same-sex couples' relationship as marriage. Finally, within the context of the legal issues related to recognizing same-sex marriage, we must ask what the private international law impact of changing the law would be on all Canadian marriages, not just same-sex ones. 7. Social experimentation It is relevant to consider the rules governing experimentation, in deciding whether to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. The rules governing any experimentation are especially stringent when vulnerable populations — that is, children — and those unable to consent for themselves — that is, children — are involved. The burden of proof is on those wanting to conduct the experiment, to show that it is reasonably safe to do so. In comparison, if we structure the claim to same-sex marriage as a right not to be discriminated against, then the person allegedly discriminating has the burden of proof to show that their actions are justified. Burdens of proof are not neutral in terms of the outcome of decision-making. In cases of equal doubt as to which decision should be taken, the burden of proof will favour the person who does not carry it, that is, the person with the burden of proof will lose his or her claim. Consequently, how the question of whether to include same-sex couples in marriage is structured, is not neutral with respect to the decision outcome. 8. Discrimination Homosexuals are not excluded from marriage, but their intimate pair-bonding relationships are. It is argued that is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. If that is correct, we must consider whether the discrimination is justified. I believe it is. One way the justification can be articulated, is in terms of the doctrine of "double effect": The primary intent in restricting marriage to opposite sex couples is to maintain marriage as the institution that fulfils society's need to protect the inherently procreative relationship and its functions for society, and is not to exclude homosexual relationships because they are homosexual. The discrimination involved in the exclusion is a secondary effect which is not desired but unavoidable, and it is justified or excused by the primary purpose which otherwise cannot be realized. A useful comparison can be made with the discrimination involved in affirmative action. That shows that sometimes discrimination and the harm it involves, can be justified when it is to achieve a greater good that cannot otherwise be achieved. It is also argued by those advocating same-sex marriage, that excluding same-sex couples from marriage is the same act of discrimination as prohibiting interracial marriage, which has rightly been recognized as a serious breach of human rights. That argument is not correct. Because an interracial marriage between a man and a woman does symbolize the procreative relationship, its prohibition is based on racial discrimination which is wrong. In contrast, not extending the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, is not based on the sexual orientation of the partners, but the absence of a feature of their relationship which is an essential feature of marriage. Conclusion In conclusion, society needs marriage to establish cultural meaning, symbolism and moral values around the inherently procreative relationship between a man and a woman, and thereby protect that relationship and the children who result from it. That is more necessary than in the past, when alternatives to sexual reproduction were not available. Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would affect its cultural meaning and function and, in doing so, damage its ability and, thereby, society's capacity, to protect the inherently procreative relationship and the children who result from it, whether those children's' future sexual orientation proves to be homosexual or heterosexual. See also: Margaret Somerville's notes for her Oral Presentation to The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Margaret Somerville, "The case against "Same-sex marriage". A Brief Submitted to The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, April 29, 2003. Reprinted with permission of the the author. For more information on this issue see the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law, and Culture. The Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law, and Culture is a non-partisan Canadian association for research and study of current trends and developments in marriage and family. THE AUTHOR: Margaret Somerville is Samuel Gale Professor of Law and Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University's Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law. She is the author of: The Ethical Canary: Science, Society and the Human Spirit and Death Talk: The Case Against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. Copyright © 2003 Margaret Somerville http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0063.html
Emily (against): Gay Marriage Will Destroy Traditional Marriage
Legalizing gay marriage will destroy the sanctity of traditional marriages. Marriage will no longer seem "special" and younger generations will be confused about what marriage really is if anyone can marry whoever they want. It will increase the amount of co-habitation, short-term relationships, and divorce because marriage will be seen more as a partnership than a committment. It will also pave the way for polygamy, incestual marriage, and interspecies marriage. This may seem far fetched, but if same sex marriage becomes a civil right then what is to stop these other forms of marriage to be determined a "right" as well? Where do you draw the line? "What will happen sociologically if marriage becomes anything or everything or nothing? The short answer is that the State will lose its compelling interest in marital relationships altogether. After marriage has been redefined, divorces will be obtained instantly, will not involve a court, and will take on the status of a driver’s license or a hunting permit. With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it. " "Eleven Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage" by Dr. James Dobson http://www.family.org/cforum/extras/a0032427.cfm "George W. Bush has said that marriage is "the most fundamental institution of civilization." I agree with him. If we refuse to protect heterosexual marriage, we're refusing to protect the very fabric of society, and we can only pray that we don't live to see the Dog-Men humping the spirit of freedom out of our grandchildren. In order to prevent this future, American activists must stop causing trouble and listen to the wisdom of our leaders. Gay marriage is immoral, ugly, and against the will of God. Those who pursue same-sex nuptuals are ultimately pursuing the ruin of Western civilization." "Gay Marriage: Why We Must Stop This Terrorist Threat!" by Chad Fifer http://www.thesimon.com/magazine/articles/article_of_the_week/ 0563_gay_marriage_why_must_stop_terrorist_threat.html
Emily (against) Kids Will Suffer From Gay Marriage
"The implications for children in a world of decaying families are profound. Because homosexuals are rarely monogamous, often having as many as three hundred or more partners in a lifetime — some studies say it is typically more than one thousand — children in those polyamorous situations are caught in a perpetual coming and going. It is devastating to kids, who by their nature are enormously conservative creatures. They like things to stay just the way they are, and they hate change. Some have been known to eat the same brand of peanut butter throughout childhood. More than ten thousand studies have concluded that kids do best when they are raised by loving and committed mothers and fathers. They are less likely to be on illegal drugs, less likely to be retained in a grade, less likely to drop out of school, less likely to commit suicide, less likely to be in poverty, less likely to become juvenile delinquents, and for the girls, less likely to become teen mothers. They are healthier both emotionally and physically, even thirty years later, than those not so blessed by traditional parents. Social scientists have been surprisingly consistent in warning about the impact of fractured families. If present trends continue, the majority of children will have several “moms” and “dads,” perhaps six or eight “grandparents,” and dozens of half-siblings. It will be a world where little boys and girls are shuffled from pillar to post in an ever-changing pattern of living arrangements; where huge numbers of them will be raised in foster-care homes or living on the street, as millions do in countries all over the world today. Imagine an environment where nothing is stable and where people think primarily about themselves and their own self-preservation. And have you considered what will happen when homosexuals with children become divorced? Instead of two moms and two dads, they will have to contend with four moms or four dads. How would you like to be a new husband a generation later who instantly had four or six or eight mother-in-laws." "Children Will Suffer the Most: Eleven Arguments Against Gay Marriage (Part 2 of 5)" by Dr. James Dobson http://www.family.org/cforum/extras/a0032429.cfm This argument is that children will be the ones most negatively impacted by same-sex marriages. This is because studies have shown that children in traditional, loving mother/father households have many benefits over kids raised in non-traditional households. They are less likely to do drugs and drop out of school, and more likely to be physically and emotionally healthy, among other things. Same-sex marriage is also detrimental to kids because homosexuals tend to have multiple partners and are rarely monogamous. This type of unstability is very unsettling for children because they are most comfortable in stable environments with little change. It also sets a bad example for these kids who see partners come and go so easily, and makes it more likely for them to be involved in multiple polyamourous relationships as adults.
Stephanie - This article focuses mainly on the idea that arguing against same sex marriage is not equal to promoting inequality and discrimination, then further argues why same-sex marriage will destroy the family unit and screw kids up. When Did Defending Marriage Become an Act of Bigotry? 4/10/2006 Robert Knight presents written testimony to the Maryland House Judiciary Committee. Written Testimony by Robert H. Knight, Director,Culture & Family Institute,an affiliate of Concerned Women for America For the Maryland House Judiciary CommitteeJanuary 31, 2006Concerning H.B. 48, the Maryland Marriage Amendment Marriage defenders often hear some pretty amazing claims from opponents, such as, “You want to put bigotry into the Constitution.” Or: “You’re against equality and for discrimination.” They’re now even hearing such wild charges from sitting judges. According to Baltimore Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock, who took it upon herself on January 20 to strike down Maryland’s marriage law because it doesn’t include unions that exclude a bride or a groom, the very nature of marriage as we have always known is discriminatory. Since when did defending the integrity of marriage become an act of bigotry? Well, it’s not. For all of America’s history, marriage has been defined as the union of a man and a woman. In fact, all major religions honor marriage. Marriage was created by God and is protected in the law because it is indispensable to human social order. Morality is not bigotry, even if Judge Murdock apparently thinks it is. Marriage is about more than the union of two people, which is why the law bothers to take an interest. It is about two families joining, about children coming into the world and having a mother and father, about extending kinship patterns, passing on family names and property, and binding the sexes together in a unique, complementary union. If marriage was not so important for what it actually is, we would not even be worrying about its legal status. But the attempt to eject an entire sex from the equation and then call it “equal,” is not only dishonest but also dangerous. It imposes a lie on people who know better. That leads to tyranny. It’s one thing for people to have their own ceremonies and declare their affections. It’s a free country; anybody can do that. But it is another thing entirely for the state to recognize a union, create incentives for such a union, and to impose that definition on all organizations and institutions. Marriage was not – I repeat, not – invented to annoy and exclude homosexuals. Those who accuse marriage defenders of being “bigots” are engaging in name-calling, nothing more. The term “marriage” refers specifically to the joining of two people of the opposite sex. When that is lost, “marriage” becomes meaningless. You can no more leave an entire sex out of marriage and call it “marriage” than you can leave chocolate out of a “chocolate brownie” recipe. It becomes something else. Giving non-marital relationships the same status as marriage does not expand the definition of marriage; it destroys it. In Scandinavian nations, marriage rights were “expanded” two decades ago to unwed couples, destabilizing the real thing. Over the past decade, the conferral of marriage rights on homosexual couples has nearly finished the job of destroying marriage. According to a well-documented article, The End of Marriage in Scandinavia , by Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institution, acceptance of “gay marriage” has accelerated the process to the point where the vast majority of children in Norway, Sweden and other nations are now born out of wedlock and are being raised essentially by the government. The Netherlands is now on the same path. If that is the kind of future Marylanders want, then Judge Murdock will become the patron saint of a new order in which government will increasingly become both Daddy and Mommy. Marriage, the Natural Family, and the Best Interests of ChildrenMarriage is the union of the only type of couple capable of natural reproduction of the human race—a man and a woman. Children need both mothers and fathers, and marriage is society’s way of obtaining them. Even childless marriages are a social anchor for children, who observe adults as role models. Besides, childless couples can be “surprised” by an unexpected pregnancy, and they can also adopt, giving a child a mother-and-father-based family. Single parents can eventually marry. And marriage is a stabilizing force for all. Even when a couple is past the age of reproduction, the marital and family commitment usually keeps an older man from fathering a child with a younger woman outside wedlock. Children learn about family life by observing crucial relationships up close: interactions between men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and parents to children of the same and opposite sexes. Human experience and a vast body of social science research show that children do best in married, mother-father households. It is wrong to create fatherless or motherless families by design. The arrangement may gratify some adults, but it is not in the best interests of children. Homosexual activists and their allies at professional organizations often assert that "science" has proved that children are no different if raised in homosexual households. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) even released a statement to this effect, and featured an article in an AAP journal by a pro-homosexual researcher as the foundation for its assessment. This researcher showed her biases right up front by describing marriage-based family law as “heterosexist.” So much for objective science. Most "gay parenting" studies compare children in lesbian households with children in heterosexual, single-mother households. The only major study to directly compare children raised in married, single-parent and same-sex households was published by the journal Children Australia, and it revealed that, "Overall, the study has shown that children of married couples are more likely to do well at school, in academic and social terms, than children of cohabiting heterosexual and homosexual couples." The "gay parenting" studies, as a whole, are extremely flawed, with all but a handful written by pro-homosexual researchers. In No Basis: What the studies Don't tell us about same-sex parenting, authors Robert Lerner and Althea Nagai demonstrate that all of these studies are "gravely deficient," with some having self-selected sample sizes of less than a dozen people. Earlier, the Journal of Divorce & Remarriage examined a number of "gay parenting" studies and reported: "The conclusion that there are no significant differences in children reared by lesbian mothers versus heterosexual mothers is not supported by the published research data base." In 2001, a team of pro-homosexual researchers from the University of Southern California did a meta-analysis of "gay parenting" studies and published a refreshingly honest article in American Sociological Review, "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" The authors concluded that, yes, studies show that girls are more likely to "be sexually adventurous and less chaste," including being more likely to try lesbianism, and that boys are more likely to have "fluid" conceptions of gender roles, and that researchers should stop trying to cover this up in the hopes of pursuing a pro-homosexual agenda. The researchers said, in effect: Some of the kids are more likely to turn out gay or bisexual, but so what? Even with all their statistical shortcomings, the parenting studies, as a whole, show that children raised in same-sex households are more likely to view homosexuality positively, try homosexuality themselves, or to suffer gender identity confusion. This makes sense; children's most important role models are their parents. If homosexual behavior is offered to them as normal on a daily basis, more of them are going to think it is normal and desirable. In an often-quoted study by Susan Golombok and Fiona Tasker, the authors note that the "large majority of children who grew up in lesbian households identified as heterosexual." But another of their findings is often ignored: "Those who had grown up in a lesbian family were more likely to consider the possibility of having lesbian or gay relationships, and to actually do so." The authors conclude that growing up in a lesbian household's "accepting atmosphere" of homosexuality "may facilitate the development of a lesbian or gay sexual orientation for some individuals. But, interestingly, the opportunity to explore same-sex relationships may, for others, confirm their heterosexual identity." Since there is no credible scientific evidence that homosexuality is genetic, it makes sense that kids exposed to parental homosexuality will tend to see it as a viable option. This is tragic, since homosexuality has well-documented health risks, especially for young men, but also for young women. The drive for homosexual “marriage” by whatever name leads to destruction of the gold standard for custody and adoption. The question should be: “What is in the best interests of the child?” The answer is: “Place children, whenever possible, in a married, mom-and-dad household.” As homosexual relationships gain status, marriage loses its place as the preferential adoption-family option, thus short-changing children. Defining Marriage is not “Discrimination”Maryland’s marriage law is not discriminatory. Marriage is open to all adults, subject to age and blood relation limitations. As with any acquired status, the applicant must meet minimal requirements, which in terms of marriage, means finding an opposite-sex spouse. Same-sex partners do not qualify. To put it another way, clerks will not issue dog licenses to cats, and it is not out of “bigotry” toward cats. Comparing current laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman with the laws in some states that once limited inter-racial marriage is irrelevant and misleading. The very soul of marriage—the joining of the two sexes—was never at issue when the Supreme Court struck down laws against inter-racial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. “How Does It Hurt You?”Proponents of same-sex “marriage” often ask the question, “How does a gay ‘marriage’ hurt you or your marriage?’” First, creating counterfeits undermines support in the law and culture for the real thing. Second, requiring citizens to sanction or subsidize homosexual relationships violates the freedom of conscience of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and other people who believe marriage is the union of the two sexes. Civil marriage is a public act. Homosexuals are free to have a “union” ceremony with each other privately, but they are not free to demand that such a relationship be solemnized and subsidized under the law. Homosexual activists say they need legal status so they can visit their partners in hospitals, etc. But hospitals leave visitation up to the patient except in very rare instances. This “issue” is a smokescreen to cover the fact that, using legal instruments such as power of attorney, drafting a will, etc., homosexuals can share property, designate heirs, dictate hospital visitors and give authority for medical decisions. What they should not obtain is identical recognition and support for a relationship that is not equally essential to society’s survival. The Legal and Social FalloutProviding non-marital relationships with marital-type status will: Further weaken the family, the first and best defense against an ever-encroaching government. Encourage children to experiment with homosexuality. This will put more kids at risk for HIV, hepatitis A, B and C, “gay bowel syndrome,” human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases. Homosexual households are also more prone to domestic violence. For example: “The incidence of domestic violence among gay men is nearly double that in the heterosexual population,” according to D. Island and P. Letellier in Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them (New York: Haworth Press, 1991). A study in the Journal of Social Service Research reported that “slightly more than half of the [lesbians surveyed] reported that they had been abused by a female lover/partner.” (G. Lie and S. Gentlewarrior, “Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications,” No. 15, 1991.) More cites can be found in Tim Dailey, The Negative Health Effects of Homosexuality, Insight paper, Family Research Council, 2001. Put more children at risk as adoption agencies abandon the current practice of favoring married households and begin placing more children in motherless or fatherless households. Encourage more people to remain trapped in homosexuality rather than seek to re-channel their desires toward normal sexuality. Pit the law and Maryland’s government against the beliefs of millions of people who believe homosexuality is wrong. Create grounds for further attacks on the freedoms of speech, religion and association. Businesses that decline to recognize non-marital relationships will increasingly be punished through loss of contracts and even legal action. This is already occurring in California and Canada. Change the popular understanding of what marriage is and what it requires. Homosexual relationships, which usually lack both permanence and fidelity, are unlikely to change to fit the traditional model of lifelong, faithful marriage, as several homosexual activists have admitted. Instead, society’s expectations of marriage will change in response to the homosexual model, thus leading to a further weakening of the institution of marriage. Some homosexual activists have acknowledged that they intend to use marriage mainly as a way to radically shift society’s entire conception of sexual morality. (See appendix.) Conclusion“Marriage” for same-sex couples (or the counterfeit equivalent under pseudonyms such as “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships”) is being promoted as an extension of tolerance, equality and civil rights. But all these devices are really wedges designed to overturn traditional sexual morality and to win official affirmation, celebration, subsidization and solemnization of behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society, and that is still viewed as morally wrong by a majority of the American public. For the well-being of children and of society, we must not allow the creation of judge-imposed counterfeit “marriage” by any name. Marriage is civilization’s primary institution, and we tamper with it at our own peril. H.B. 48 is essential to protecting Maryland’s future generations from social engineering and the type of judicial overreach epitomized by Judge Murdock’s ruling. Robert H. Knight is director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America. Mr. Knight was a draftsman of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the current law that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for all federal purposes and allows states to resist demands to recognize counterfeit “marriage” licenses. Some references were drawn from “Questions and Answers: What’s Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples ‘Marry?’” by Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council, InFocus, Number 256, August 14, 2003. Appendix: In Their Own Words Homosexual activists have long understood the radical power of achieving official recognition for homosexual relationships as “marriage.” Here is a sample: “A middle ground might be to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society's moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.” —Michelangelo Signorile, “Bridal Wave,” OUT magazine, December/January 1994, p. 161. * * * “[E]nlarging the concept to embrace same-sex couples would necessarily transform it into something new....Extending the right to marry to gay people -- that is, abolishing the traditional gender requirements of marriage -- can be one of the means, perhaps the principal one, through which the institution divests itself of the sexist trappings of the past.” —Tom Stoddard, quoted in Roberta Achtenberg, et al, “Approaching 2000: Meeting the Challenges to San Francisco's Families,” The Final Report of the Mayor's Task Force on Family Policy, City and County of San Francisco, June 13, 1990, p.1. * * * "It is also a chance to wholly transform the definition of family in American culture. It is the final tool with which to dismantle all sodomy statutes, get education about homosexuality and AIDS into public schools, and, in short, usher in a sea change in how society views and treats us." —Michelangelo Signorile, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,” OUT magazine, May 1996, p. 30. * * * “Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so. … Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process, transforming the very fabric of society. … As a lesbian, I am fundamentally different from non-lesbian women. …In arguing for the right to legal marriage, lesbians and gay men would be forced to claim that we are just like heterosexual couples, have the same goals and purposes, and vow to structure our lives similarly. … We must keep our eyes on the goals of providing true alternatives to marriage and of radically reordering society’s view of reality.” —Paula Ettelbrick, “Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation?” in William Rubenstein, ed., Lesbians, Gay Men and the Law (New York: The New Press, 1993), pp. 401-405. * * * And there’s this from pro-homosexual and pro-pedophile author Judith Levine: “Because American marriage is inextricable from Christianity, it admits participants as Noah let animals onto the ark. But it doesn't have to be that way. In 1972 the National Coalition of Gay Organizations demanded the ‘repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers.’ Would polygamy invite abuse of child brides, as feminists in Muslim countries and prosecutors in Mormon Utah charge? No. Group marriage could comprise any combination of genders.” — Judith Levine, “Stop the Wedding: Why Gay Marriage Isn’t Radical Enough,” The Village Voice, July 23-29, 2003. Levine declines to mention that the 1972 Gay Rights Platform also called for abolishing age of consent laws. This is a curious omission since Levine herself has written in favor of lowering the age of consent to 12 for sex between children and adults in her book Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex (p. 88). (http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0330/levine.php)
Stephanie - This article focuses on what would happen if same-sex marriage were legalized. The basic arguments of polygamy and beastiality to follow, ruined moral foundations, destruction of the sacred institution of marriage and a host of other arguments are all presented here as possibilities. Beyond Gay Marriage From the August 4 / August 11, 2003 issue: The road to polyamory. by Stanley Kurtz 08/04/2003, Volume 008, Issue 45 AFTER GAY MARRIAGE, what will become of marriage itself? Will same-sex matrimony extend marriage's stabilizing effects to homosexuals? Will gay marriage undermine family life? A lot is riding on the answers to these questions. But the media's reflexive labeling of doubts about gay marriage as homophobia has made it almost impossible to debate the social effects of this reform. Now with the Supreme Court's ringing affirmation of sexual liberty in Lawrence v. Texas, that debate is unavoidable. Among the likeliest effects of gay marriage is to take us down a slippery slope to legalized polygamy and "polyamory" (group marriage). Marriage will be transformed into a variety of relationship contracts, linking two, three, or more individuals (however weakly and temporarily) in every conceivable combination of male and female. A scare scenario? Hardly. The bottom of this slope is visible from where we stand. Advocacy of legalized polygamy is growing. A network of grass-roots organizations seeking legal recognition for group marriage already exists. The cause of legalized group marriage is championed by a powerful faction of family law specialists. Influential legal bodies in both the United States and Canada have presented radical programs of marital reform. Some of these quasi-governmental proposals go so far as to suggest the abolition of marriage. The ideas behind this movement have already achieved surprising influence with a prominent American politician. None of this is well known. Both the media and public spokesmen for the gay marriage movement treat the issue as an unproblematic advance for civil rights. True, a small number of relatively conservative gay spokesmen do consider the social effects of gay matrimony, insisting that they will be beneficent, that homosexual unions will become more stable. Yet another faction of gay rights advocates actually favors gay marriage as a step toward the abolition of marriage itself. This group agrees that there is a slippery slope, and wants to hasten the slide down. To consider what comes after gay marriage is not to say that gay marriage itself poses no danger to the institution of marriage. Quite apart from the likelihood that it will usher in legalized polygamy and polyamory, gay marriage will almost certainly weaken the belief that monogamy lies at the heart of marriage. But to see why this is so, we will first need to reconnoiter the slippery slope. Promoting polygamy DURING THE 1996 congressional debate on the Defense of Marriage Act, which affirmed the ability of the states and the federal government to withhold recognition from same-sex marriages, gay marriage advocates were put on the defensive by the polygamy question. If gays had a right to marry, why not polygamists? Andrew Sullivan, one of gay marriage's most intelligent defenders, labeled the question fear-mongering--akin to the discredited belief that interracial marriage would lead to birth defects. "To the best of my knowledge," said Sullivan, "there is no polygamists' rights organization poised to exploit same-sex marriage and return the republic to polygamous abandon." Actually, there are now many such organizations. And their strategy--even their existence--owes much to the movement for gay marriage Scoffing at the polygamy prospect as ludicrous has been the strategy of choice for gay marriage advocates. In 2000, following Vermont's enactment of civil unions, Matt Coles, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, said, "I think the idea that there is some kind of slippery slope [to polygamy or group marriage] is silly." As proof, Coles said that America had legalized interracial marriage, while also forcing Utah to ban polygamy before admission to the union. That dichotomy, said Coles, shows that Americans are capable of distinguishing between better and worse proposals for reforming marriage. Are we? When Tom Green was put on trial in Utah for polygamy in 2001, it played like a dress rehearsal for the coming movement to legalize polygamy. True, Green was convicted for violating what he called Utah's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on polygamy. Pointedly refusing to "hide in the closet," he touted polygamy on the Sally Jessy Raphael, Queen Latifah, Geraldo Rivera, and Jerry Springer shows, and on "Dateline NBC" and "48 Hours." But the Green trial was not just a cable spectacle. It brought out a surprising number of mainstream defenses of polygamy. And most of the defenders went to bat for polygamy by drawing direct comparisons to gay marriage. Writing in the Village Voice, gay leftist Richard Goldstein equated the drive for state-sanctioned polygamy with the movement for gay marriage. The political reluctance of gays to embrace polygamists was understandable, said Goldstein, "but our fates are entwined in fundamental ways." Libertarian Jacob Sullum defended polygamy, along with all other consensual domestic arrangements, in the Washington Times. Syndicated liberal columnist Ellen Goodman took up the cause of polygamy with a direct comparison to gay marriage. Steve Chapman, a member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, defended polygamy in the Tribune and in Slate. The New York Times published a Week in Review article juxtaposing photos of Tom Green's family with sociobiological arguments about the naturalness of polygamy and promiscuity. The ACLU's Matt Coles may have derided the idea of a slippery slope from gay marriage to polygamy, but the ACLU itself stepped in to help Tom Green during his trial and declared its support for the repeal of all "laws prohibiting or penalizing the practice of plural marriage." There is of course a difference between repealing such laws and formal state recognition of polygamous marriages. Neither the ACLU nor, say, Ellen Goodman has directly advocated formal state recognition. Yet they give us no reason to suppose that, when the time is ripe, they will not do so. Stephen Clark, the legal director of the Utah ACLU, has said, "Talking to Utah's polygamists is like talking to gays and lesbians who really want the right to live their lives." All this was in 2001, well before the prospect that legal gay marriage might create the cultural conditions for state-sanctioned polygamy. Can anyone doubt that greater public support will be forthcoming once gay marriage has become a reality? Surely the ACLU will lead the charge. Why is state-sanctioned polygamy a problem? The deep reason is that it erodes the ethos of monogamous marriage. Despite the divorce revolution, Americans still take it for granted that marriage means monogamy. The ideal of fidelity may be breached in practice, yet adultery is clearly understood as a transgression against marriage. Legal polygamy would jeopardize that understanding, and that is why polygamy has historically been treated in the West as an offense against society itself. In most non-Western cultures, marriage is not a union of freely choosing individuals, but an alliance of family groups. The emotional relationship between husband and wife is attenuated and subordinated to the economic and political interests of extended kin. But in our world of freely choosing individuals, extended families fall away, and love and companionship are the only surviving principles on which families can be built. From Thomas Aquinas through Richard Posner, almost every serious observer has granted the incompatibility between polygamy and Western companionate marriage. Where polygamy works, it does so because the husband and his wives are emotionally distant. Even then, jealousy is a constant danger, averted only by strict rules of seniority or parity in the husband's economic support of his wives. Polygamy is more about those resources than about sex. Yet in many polygamous societies, even though only 10 or 15 percent of men may actually have multiple wives, there is a widely held belief that men need multiple women. The result is that polygamists are often promiscuous--just not with their own wives. Anthropologist Philip Kilbride reports a Nigerian survey in which, among urban male polygamists, 44 percent said their most recent sexual partners were women other than their wives. For monogamous, married Nigerian men in urban areas, that figure rose to 67 percent. Even though polygamous marriage is less about sex than security, societies that permit polygamy tend to reject the idea of marital fidelity--for everyone, polygamists included. Mormon polygamy has always been a complicated and evolving combination of Western mores and classic polygamous patterns. Like Western companionate marriage, Mormon polygamy condemns extramarital sex. Yet historically, like its non-Western counterparts, it de-emphasized romantic love. Even so, jealousy was always a problem. One study puts the rate of 19th-century polygamous divorce at triple the rate for monogamous families. Unlike their forebears, contemporary Mormon polygamists try to combine polygamy with companionate marriage--and have a very tough time of it. We have no definitive figures, but divorce is frequent. Irwin Altman and Joseph Ginat, who've written the most detailed account of today's breakaway Mormon polygamist sects, highlight the special stresses put on families trying to combine modern notions of romantic love with polygamy. Strict religious rules of parity among wives make the effort to create a hybrid traditionalist/modern version of Mormon polygamy at least plausible, if very stressful. But polygamy let loose in modern secular America would destroy our understanding of marital fidelity, while putting nothing viable in its place. And postmodern polygamy is a lot closer than you think. Polyamory AMERICA'S NEW, souped-up version of polygamy is called "polyamory." Polyamorists trace their descent from the anti-monogamy movements of the sixties and seventies--everything from hippie communes, to the support groups that grew up around Robert Rimmer's 1966 novel "The Harrad Experiment," to the cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Polyamorists proselytize for "responsible non-monogamy"--open, loving, and stable sexual relationships among more than two people. The modern polyamory movement took off in the mid-nineties--partly because of the growth of the Internet (with its confidentiality), but also in parallel to, and inspired by, the rising gay marriage movement. Unlike classic polygamy, which features one man and several women, polyamory comprises a bewildering variety of sexual combinations. There are triads of one woman and two men; heterosexual group marriages; groups in which some or all members are bisexual; lesbian groups, and so forth. (For details, see Deborah Anapol's "Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits," one of the movement's authoritative guides, or Google the word polyamory.) Supposedly, polyamory is not a synonym for promiscuity. In practice, though, there is a continuum between polyamory and "swinging." Swinging couples dally with multiple sexual partners while intentionally avoiding emotional entanglements. Polyamorists, in contrast, try to establish stable emotional ties among a sexually connected group. Although the subcultures of swinging and polyamory are recognizably different, many individuals move freely between them. And since polyamorous group marriages can be sexually closed or open, it's often tough to draw a line between polyamory and swinging. Here, then, is the modern American version of Nigeria's extramarital polygamous promiscuity. Once the principles of monogamous companionate marriage are breached, even for supposedly stable and committed sexual groups, the slide toward full-fledged promiscuity is difficult to halt. Polyamorists are enthusiastic proponents of same-sex marriage. Obviously, any attempt to restrict marriage to a single man and woman would prevent the legalization of polyamory. After passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, an article appeared in Loving More, the flagship magazine of the polyamory movement, calling for the creation of a polyamorist rights movement modeled on the movement for gay rights. The piece was published under the pen name Joy Singer, identified as the graduate of a "top ten law school" and a political organizer and public official in California for the previous two decades. Taking a leaf from the gay marriage movement, Singer suggested starting small. A campaign for hospital visitation rights for polyamorous spouses would be the way to begin. Full marriage and adoption rights would come later. Again using the gay marriage movement as a model, Singer called for careful selection of acceptable public spokesmen (i.e., people from longstanding poly families with children). Singer even published a speech by Iowa state legislator Ed Fallon on behalf of gay marriage, arguing that the goal would be to get a congressman to give exactly the same speech as Fallon, but substituting the word "poly" for "gay" throughout. Try telling polyamorists that the link between gay marriage and group marriage is a mirage. The flexible, egalitarian, and altogether postmodern polyamorists are more likely to influence the larger society than Mormon polygamists. The polyamorists go after monogamy in a way that resonates with America's secular, post-sixties culture. Yet the fundamental drawback is the same for Mormons and polyamorists alike. Polyamory websites are filled with chatter about jealousy, the problem that will not go away. Inevitably, group marriages based on modern principles of companionate love, without religious rules and restraints, are unstable. Like the short-lived hippie communes, group marriages will be broken on the contradiction between companionate love and group solidarity. And children will pay the price. The harms of state-sanctioned polyamorous marriage would extend well beyond the polyamorists themselves. Once monogamy is defined out of marriage, it will be next to impossible to educate a new generation in what it takes to keep companionate marriage intact. State-sanctioned polyamory would spell the effective end of marriage. And that is precisely what polyamory's new--and surprisingly influential--defenders are aiming for. The family law radicals STATE-SANCTIONED polyamory is now the cutting-edge issue among scholars of family law. The preeminent school of thought in academic family law has its origins in the arguments of radical gay activists who once opposed same-sex marriage. In the early nineties, radicals like longtime National Gay and Lesbian Task Force policy director Paula Ettelbrick spoke out against making legal marriage a priority for the gay rights movement. Marriage, Ettelbrick reminded her fellow activists, "has long been the focus of radical feminist revulsion." Encouraging gays to marry, said Ettelbrick, would only force gay "assimilation" to American norms, when the real object of the gay rights movement ought to be getting Americans to accept gay difference. "Being queer," said Ettelbrick, "means pushing the parameters of sex and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society." Promoting polyamory is the ideal way to "radically reorder society's view of the family," and Ettelbrick, who has since formally signed on as a supporter of gay marriage (and is frequently quoted by the press), is now part of a movement that hopes to use gay marriage as an opening to press for state-sanctioned polyamory. Ettelbrick teaches law at the University of Michigan, New York University, Barnard, and Columbia. She has a lot of company. Nancy Polikoff is a professor at American University's law school. In 1993, Polikoff published a powerful and radical critique of gay marriage. Polikoff stressed that during the height of the lesbian feminist movement of the seventies, even many heterosexual feminists refused to marry because they believed marriage to be an inherently patriarchal and oppressive institution. A movement for gay marriage, warned Polikoff, would surely promote marriage as a social good, trotting out monogamous couples as spokesmen in a way that would marginalize non-monogamous gays and would fail to challenge the legitimacy of marriage itself. Like Ettelbrick, Polikoff now supports the right of gays to marry. And like Ettelbrick, Polikoff is part of a movement whose larger goal is to use legal gay marriage to push for state-sanctioned polyamory--the ultimate subversion of marriage itself. Polikoff and Ettelbrick represent what is arguably now the dominant perspective within the discipline of family law. Cornell University law professor Martha Fineman is another key figure in the field of family law. In her 1995 book "The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family, and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies," she argued for the abolition of marriage as a legal category. Fineman's book begins with her recollection of an experience from the late seventies in politically radical Madison, Wisconsin. To her frustration, she could not convince even the most progressive members of Madison's Equal Opportunities Commission to recognize "plural sexual groupings" as marriages. That failure helped energize Fineman's lifelong drive to abolish marriage. But it's University of Utah law professor Martha Ertman who stands on the cutting edge of family law. Building on Fineman's proposals for the abolition of legal marriage, Ertman has offered a legal template for a sweeping relationship contract system modeled on corporate law. (See the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review, Winter 2001.) Ertman wants state-sanctioned polyamory, legally organized on the model of limited liability companies. In arguing for the replacement of marriage with a contract system that accommodates polyamory, Ertman notes that legal and social hostility to polygamy and polyamory are decreasing. She goes on astutely to imply that the increased openness of homosexual partnerships is slowly collapsing the taboo against polygamy and polyamory. And Ertman is frank about the purpose of her proposed reform--to render the distinction between traditional marriage and polyamory "morally neutral." A sociologist rather than a professor of law, Judith Stacey, the Barbra Streisand Professor in Contemporary Gender Studies at USC, is another key member of this group. Stacey has long championed alternative family forms. Her current research is on gay families consisting of more than two adults, whose several members consider themselves either married or contractually bound. In 1996, in the Michigan Law Review, David Chambers, a professor of law at the University of Michigan and another prominent member of this group, explained why radical opponents of marriage ought to support gay marriage. Rather than reinforcing a two-person definition of marriage, argued Chambers, gay marriage would make society more accepting of further legal changes. "By ceasing to conceive of marriage as a partnership composed of one person of each sex, the state may become more receptive to units of three or more." Gradual transition from gay marriage to state-sanctioned polyamory, and the eventual abolition of marriage itself as a legal category, is now the most influential paradigm within academic family law. As Chambers put it, "All desirable changes in family law need not be made at once." Finally, Martha Minow of Harvard Law School deserves mention. Minow has not advocated state-sanctioned polygamy or polyamory, but the principles she champions pave the way for both. Minow argues that families need to be radically redefined, putting blood ties and traditional legal arrangements aside and attending instead to the functional realities of new family configurations. Ettelbrick, Polikoff, Fineman, Ertman, Stacey, Chambers, and Minow are among the most prominent family law theorists in the country. They have plenty of followers and hold much of the power and initiative within their field. There may be other approaches to academic family law, but none exceed the radicals in influence. In the last couple of years, there have been a number of conferences on family law dominated by the views of this school. The conferences have names like "Marriage Law: Obsolete or Cutting Edge?" and "Assimilation & Resistance: Emerging Issues in Law & Sexuality." The titles turn on the paradox of using marriage, seemingly a conservative path toward assimilation, as a tool of radical cultural "resistance." One of the most important recent family law meetings was the March 2003 Hofstra conference on "Marriage, Democracy, and Families." The radicals were out in full force. On a panel entitled "Intimate Affiliation and Democracy: Beyond Marriage?" Fineman, Ertman, and Stacey held forth on polyamory, the legal abolition of marriage, and related issues. Although there were more moderate scholars present, there was barely a challenge to the radicals' suggestion that it was time to move "beyond marriage." The few traditionalists in family law are relatively isolated. Many, maybe most, of the prominent figures in family law count themselves as advocates for lesbian and gay rights. Yet family law today is as influenced by the hostility to marriage of seventies feminism as it is by advocacy for gay rights. It is this confluence of radical feminism and gay rights that now shapes the field. Beyond conjugality YOU MIGHT THINK the radicals who dominate the discipline of family law are just a bunch of eccentric and irrelevant academics. You would be wrong. For one thing, there is already a thriving non-profit organization, the Alternatives to Marriage Project, that advances the radicals' goals. When controversies over the family hit the news, experts provided by the Alternatives to Marriage Project are often quoted in mainstream media outlets. While the Alternatives to Marriage Project endorses gay marriage, its longer-term goal is to replace marriage with a system that recognizes "the full range" of family types. That includes polyamorous families. The Alternatives to Marriage Project's statement of purpose--its "Affirmation of Family Diversity"--is signed not only by Ettelbrick, Polikoff, and Stacey but by several polyamorists as well. On a list of signatories that includes academic luminaries like Yale historian Nancy Cott, you can find Barry Northrup of Loving More magazine. The Alternatives to Marriage Project, along with Martha Ertman's pioneering legal proposals, has given polyamory a foothold on respectability. The first real public triumph of the family law radicals has come in Canada. In 1997, the Canadian Parliament established the Law Commission of Canada to serve Parliament and the Justice Ministry as a kind of advisory board on legal reform. In December 2001, the commission submitted a report to Parliament called "Beyond Conjugality," which stops just short of recommending the abolition of marriage in Canada. "Beyond Conjugality" contains three basic recommendations. First, judges are directed to concentrate on whether the individuals before are "functionally interdependent," regardless of their actual marital status. On that theory, a household consisting of an adult child still living with his mother might be treated as the functional equivalent of a married couple. In so disregarding marital status, "Beyond Conjugality" is clearly drawing on the work of Minow, whose writings are listed in the bibliography. "Beyond Conjugality"'s second key recommendation is that a legal structure be established allowing people to register their personal relationships with the government. Not only could heterosexual couples register as official partners, so could gay couples, adult children living with parents, and siblings or friends sharing a house. Although the authors of "Beyond Conjugality" are politic enough to relegate the point to footnotes, they state that they see no reason, in principle, to limit registered partnerships to two people. The final recommendation of "Beyond Conjugality"--legalization of same-sex marriage--drew the most publicity when the report was released. Yet for the Law Commission of Canada, same-sex marriage is clearly just one part of the larger project of doing away with marriage itself. "Beyond Conjugality" stops short of recommending the abolition of legal marriage. The authors glumly note that, for the moment, the public is unlikely to accept such a step. The text of "Beyond Conjugality," its bibliography, and the Law Commission of Canada's other publications unmistakably reveal the influence of the radical theorists who now dominate the discipline of family law. While Canada's parliament has postponed action on "Beyond Conjugality," the report has already begun to shape the culture. Scoffing The decision by the Canadian government in June 2003 not to contest court rulings legalizing gay marriage is only the beginning of the changes that Canada's judges and legal bureaucrats have in mind. The simultaneity of the many reforms is striking. Gay marriage is being pressed, but in tandem with a registration system that will sanction polyamorous unions, and eventually replace marriage itself. Empirically, the radicals' hopes are being validated. Gay marriage is not strengthening marriage but has instead become part of a larger unraveling of traditional marriage laws. Ah, but that's Canada, you say. Yet America has its rough equivalent of the Law Commission of Canada--the American Law Institute (ALI), an organization of legal scholars whose recommendations commonly shape important legal reforms. In 2000, ALI promulgated a report called "Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution" recommending that judges effectively disregard the distinction between married couples and longtime cohabitors. While the ALI principles do not go so far as to set up a system of partnership registration to replace marriage, the report's framework for recognizing a wide variety of cohabiting partnerships puts it on the same path as "Beyond Conjugality." Collapsing the distinction between cohabitation and marriage is a proposal especially damaging to children, who are decidedly better off when born to married parents. (This aspect of the ALI report has been persuasively criticized by Kay Hymowitz, in the March 2003 issue of Commentary.) But a more disturbing aspect of the ALI report is its evasion of the polygamy and polyamory issues. Prior to publication of the ALI Principles, the report's authors were pressed (at the 2000 annual meeting of the American Law Institute) about the question of polygamy. The authors put off the controversy by defining legal cohabitors as couples. Yet the ALI report offers no principled way of excluding polyamorous or polygamous cohabitors from recognition. The report's reforms are said to be based on the need to recognize "statistically growing" patterns of relationship. By this standard, the growth of polyamorous cohabitation will soon require the legal recognition of polyamory. Although America's ALI Principles do not follow Canada's "Beyond Conjugality" in proposing either state-sanctioned polyamory or the outright end of marriage, the University of Utah's Martha Ertman has suggested (in the Spring/Summer 2001 Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy) that the American Law Institute is intentionally holding back on more radical proposals for pragmatic political reasons. Certainly, the ALI Principles' authors take Canadian law as the model for the report's most radical provisions. Further confirmation, if any were needed, of the mainstream influence of the family law radicals came with Al and Tipper Gore's 2002 book "Joined at the Heart," in which they define a family as those who are "joined at the heart" (rather than by blood or by law). The notion that a family is any group "joined at the heart" comes straight from Harvard's Martha Minow, who worked with the Gores. In fact, the Minow article from which the Gores take their definition of family is also the article in which Minow tentatively floats the idea of substituting domestic partnership registries for traditional marriage. ("Redefining Families: Who's In and Who's Out?" University of Colorado Law Review, Volume 62, Number 2, 1991.) So one of the guiding spirits of Canada's "Beyond Conjugality" report almost had a friend in the White House. Triple parenting POLYGAMY, POLYAMORY, and the abolition of marriage are bad ideas. But what has that got to do with gay marriage? The reason these ideas are connected is that gay marriage is increasingly being treated as a civil rights issue. Once we say that gay couples have a right to have their commitments recognized by the state, it becomes next to impossible to deny that same right to polygamists, polyamorists, or even cohabiting relatives and friends. And once everyone's relationship is recognized, marriage is gone, and only a system of flexible relationship contracts is left. The only way to stop gay marriage from launching a slide down this slope is if there is a compelling state interest in blocking polygamy or polyamory that does not also apply to gay marriage. Many would agree that the state has a compelling interest in preventing polygamy and polyamory from undermining the ethos of monogamy at the core of marriage. The trouble is, gay marriage itself threatens the ethos of monogamy. The "conservative" case for gay marriage holds that state-sanctioned marriage will reduce gay male promiscuity. But what if the effect works in reverse? What if, instead of marriage reducing gay promiscuity, sexually open gay couples help redefine marriage as a non-monogamous institution? There is evidence that this is exactly what will happen. Consider sociologist Gretchen Stiers's 1998 study "From this Day Forward" (Stiers favors gay marriage, and calls herself a lesbian "queer theorist"). "From this Day Forward" reports that while exceedingly few of even the most committed gay and lesbian couples surveyed believe that marriage will strengthen and stabilize their personal relationships, nearly half of the surveyed couples who actually disdain traditional marriage (and even gay commitment ceremonies) will nonetheless get married. Why? For the financial and legal benefits of marriage. And Stiers's study suggests that many radical gays and lesbians who yearn to see marriage abolished (and multiple sexual unions legitimized) intend to marry, not only as a way of securing benefits but as part of a self-conscious attempt to subvert the institution of marriage. Stiers's study suggests that the "subversive" intentions of the radical legal theorists are shared by a significant portion of the gay community itself. Stiers's study was focused on the most committed gay couples. Yet even in a sample with a disproportionate number of male couples who had gone through a commitment ceremony (and Stiers had to go out of her research protocol just to find enough male couples to balance the committed lesbian couples) nearly 20 percent of the men questioned did not practice monogamy. In a representative sample of gay male couples, that number would be vastly higher. More significantly, a mere 10 percent of even this skewed sample of gay men mentioned monogamy as an important aspect of commitment (meaning that even many of those men who had undergone "union ceremonies" failed to identify fidelity with commitment). And these, the very most committed gay male couples, are the ones who will be trailblazing marital norms for their peers, and exemplifying gay marriage for the nation. So concerns about the effects of gay marriage on the social ideal of marital monogamy seem justified. A recent survey of gay couples in civil unions by University of Vermont psychologists Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solomon confirms what Stiers's study suggests--that married gay male couples will be far less likely than married heterosexual couples to identify marriage with monogamy. Rothblum and Solomon contacted all 2,300 couples who entered civil unions in Vermont between June 1, 2000, and June 30, 2001. More than 300 civil union couples residing in and out of the state responded. Rothblum and Solomon then compared the gay couples in civil unions with heterosexual couples and gay couples outside of civil unions. Among married heterosexual men, 79 percent felt that marriage demanded monogamy, 50 percent of men in gay civil unions insisted on monogamy, while only 34 percent of gay men outside of civil unions affirmed monogamy. While gay men in civil unions were more likely to affirm monogamy than gays outside of civil unions, gay men in civil unions were far less supportive of monogamy than heterosexual married men. That discrepancy may well be significantly greater under gay marriage than under civil unions. That's because of the effect identified by Stiers--the likelihood that many gays who do not value the traditional monogamous ethos of marriage will marry anyway for the financial benefits that marriage can bring. (A full 86 percent of the civil unions couples who responded to the Rothblum-Solomon survey live outside Vermont, and therefore receive no financial benefits from their new legal status.) The Rothblum-Solomon study may also undercount heterosexual married male acceptance of monogamy, since one member of all the married heterosexual couples in the survey was the sibling of a gay man in a civil union, and thus more likely to be socially liberal than most heterosexuals. Even moderate gay advocates of same-sex marriage grant that, at present, gay male relationships are far less monogamous than heterosexual relationships. And there is a persuasive literature on this subject: Gabriel Rotello's "Sexual Ecology," for example, offers a documented and powerful account of the behavioral and ideological barriers to monogamy among gay men. The moderate advocates say marriage will change this reality. But they ignore, or downplay, the possibility that gay marriage will change marriage more than it changes the men who marry. Married gay couples will begin to redefine the meaning of marriage for the culture as a whole, in part by removing monogamy as an essential component of marriage. No doubt, the process will be pushed along by cutting-edge movies and TV shows that tout the new "open" marriages being pioneered by gay spouses. In fact, author and gay marriage advocate Richard Mohr has long expressed the hope and expectation that legal gay marriage will succeed in defining monogamy out of marriage. Lesbians, for their part, do value monogamy. Over 82 percent of the women in the Rothblum-Solomon study, for example, insisted on monogamy, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Yet lesbian marriage will undermine the connection between marriage and monogamy in a different way. Lesbians who bear children with sperm donors sometimes set up de facto three-parent families. Typically, these families include a sexually bound lesbian couple, and a male biological father who is close to the couple but not sexually involved. Once lesbian couples can marry, there will be a powerful legal case for extending parental recognition to triumvirates. It will be difficult to question the parental credentials of a sperm donor, or of a married, lesbian non-birth mother spouse who helps to raise a child from birth. And just as the argument for gay marriage has been built upon the right to gay adoption, legally recognized triple parenting will eventually usher in state-sanctioned triple (and therefore group) marriage. This year, there was a triple parenting case in Canada involving a lesbian couple and a sperm donor. The judge made it clear that he wanted to assign parental status to all three adults but held back because he said he lacked jurisdiction. On this issue, the United States is already in "advance" of Canada. Martha Ertman is now pointing to a 2000 Minnesota case (La Chapelle v. Mitten) in which a court did grant parental rights to lesbian partners and a sperm donor. Ertman argues that this case creates a legal precedent for state-sanctioned polyamory. Gay marriages of convenience IRONICALLY, the form of gay matrimony that may pose the greatest threat to the institution of marriage involves heterosexuals. A Brigham Young University professor, Alan J. Hawkins, suggests an all-too-likely scenario in which two heterosexuals of the same sex might marry as a way of obtaining financial benefits. Consider the plight of an underemployed and uninsured single mother in her early 30s who sees little real prospect of marriage (to a man) in her future. Suppose she has a good friend, also female and heterosexual, who is single and childless but employed with good spousal benefits. Sooner or later, friends like this are going to start contracting same-sex marriages of convenience. The single mom will get medical and governmental benefits, will share her friend's paycheck, and will gain an additional caretaker for the kids besides. Her friend will gain companionship and a family life. The marriage would obviously be sexually open. And if lightning struck and the right man came along for one of the women, they could always divorce and marry heterosexually. In a narrow sense, the women and children in this arrangement would be better off. Yet the larger effects of such unions on the institution of marriage would be devastating. At a stroke, marriage would be severed not only from the complementarity of the sexes but also from its connection to romance and sexual exclusivity--and even from the hope of permanence. In Hawkins's words, the proliferation of such arrangements "would turn marriage into the moral equivalent of a Social Security benefit." The effect would be to further diminish the sense that a woman ought to be married to the father of her children. In the aggregate, what we now call out-of-wedlock births would increase. And the connection between marriage and sexual fidelity would be nonexistent. Hawkins thinks gay marriages of convenience would be contracted in significant numbers--certainly enough to draw the attention of a media eager to tout such unions as the hip, postmodern marriages of the moment. Hawkins also believes that these unions of convenience could begin to undermine marriage's institutional foundations fairly quickly. He may be right. The gay marriage movement took more than a decade to catch fire. A movement for state-sanctioned polygamy-polyamory could take as long. And the effects of sexually open gay marriages on the ethos of monogamy will similarly occur over time. But any degree of publicity for same-sex marriages of convenience could have dramatic effects. Without further legal ado, same-sex marriages of convenience will realize the radicals' fondest hopes. Marriage will have been severed from monogamy, from sexuality, and even from the dream of permanence. Which would bring us virtually to the bottom of the slippery slope. WE ARE FAR CLOSER to that day than anyone realizes. Does the Supreme Court's defense of sexual liberty last month in the Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case mean that, short of a constitutional amendment, gay marriage is inevitable? Perhaps not. Justice Scalia was surely correct to warn in his dissent that Lawrence greatly weakens the legal barriers to gay marriage. Sodomy laws, although rarely enforced, did provide a public policy basis on which a state could refuse to recognize a gay marriage performed in another state. Now the grounds for that "public policy exception" have been eroded. And as Scalia warned, Lawrence's sweeping guarantees of personal autonomy in matters of sex could easily be extended to the question of who a person might choose to marry. So it is true that, given Lawrence, the legal barriers to gay marriage are now hanging by a thread. Nonetheless, in an important respect, Scalia underestimated the resources for a successful legal argument against gay marriage. True, Lawrence eliminates moral disapprobation as an acceptable, rational basis for public policy distinctions between homosexuality and heterosexuality. But that doesn't mean there is no rational basis for blocking either same-sex marriage or polygamy. There is a rational basis for blocking both gay marriage and polygamy, and it does not depend upon a vague or religiously based disapproval of homosexuality or polygamy. Children need the stable family environment provided by marriage. In our individualist Western society, marriage must be companionate--and therefore monogamous. Monogamy will be undermined by gay marriage itself, and by gay marriage's ushering in of polygamy and polyamory. This argument ought to be sufficient to pass the test of rational scrutiny set by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. Certainly, the slippery slope argument was at the center of the legislative debate on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and so should protect that act from being voided on the same grounds as Texas's sodomy law. But of course, given the majority's sweeping declarations in Lawrence, and the hostility of the legal elite to traditional marriage, it may well be foolish to rely on the Supreme Court to uphold either state or federal Defense of Marriage Acts. This is the case, in a nutshell, for something like the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution, which would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. At a stroke, such an amendment would block gay marriage, polygamy, polyamory, and the replacement of marriage by a contract system. Whatever the courts might make of the slippery slope argument, the broader public will take it seriously. Since Lawrence, we have already heard from Jon Carroll in the San Francisco Chronicle calling for legalized polygamy. Judith Levine in the Village Voice has made a plea for group marriage. And Michael Kinsley--no queer theorist but a completely mainstream journalist--has publicly called for the legal abolition of marriage. So the most radical proposal of all has now moved out of the law schools and legal commissions, and onto the front burner of public discussion. Fair-minded people differ on the matter of homosexuality. I happen to think that sodomy laws should have been repealed (although legislatively). I also believe that our increased social tolerance for homosexuality is generally a good thing. But the core issue here is not homosexuality; it is marriage. Marriage is a critical social institution. Stable families depend on it. Society depends on stable families. Up to now, with all the changes in marriage, the one thing we've been sure of is that marriage means monogamy. Gay marriage will break that connection. It will do this by itself, and by leading to polygamy and polyamory. What lies beyond gay marriage is no marriage at all. Stanley Kurtz is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Stephanie(against) - See PS on who Charles Colson is below.
I note this article as an FYI, I found the introduction or part I didn't have to pay for relevant to the anti same-sex marriage discussion. As a broke college student who can think of a million things I'd rather spend my money on, I am not wasting my money on subscribing to Christianity Today for the sake of this discussion so if you want the whole article, it is up to you to become a bonifide subscriber. Colson: Why Not Gay Marriage?If people believe marriage is just an invention, then they will feel free to change it, redefine it, or even discard it.by CHARLES COLSON & Nancy Pearcey To read, go to: http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/1996/october28/6tc104.html PS: article written by Charles Colson, the notorious convicted Watergate felon, wrote this anti-gay marriage piece for Christianity Today. You will have to PAY to get the whole article.
Stephanie(against): All of this is information found on and linked to the nogaymarriage.com site, aka the American Family Association. Although you may not be able to access the information from this blog, go to nogaymarriage.com and click on "More Information". All of these articles should be listed. Here are some links to articles which explain the need for the Marriage Protection Amendment, and detail the critical nature of this issue. Marriage Protection Amendment Action CenterA list of important information to assist you in understanding the need for the Marriage Protection Amendment. Why I'm supporting the proposed Marriage Protection AmendmentAFA Founder and Chairman Donald E. Wildmon shares his views on the current state of the FMA. Why We Need the Marriage Protection AmendmentYou may not have heard about it, but there is a proposed constitutional amendment currently before Congress. The Marriage Protection Amendment, which was crafted by the Alliance for Marriage, is supported by members of both political parties, as well as a broad coalition of Protestants — both mainline and conservative — Catholics, historically African-American churches, Jews, Orthodox Christians and secular groups. Gay Marriage: Why Would It Affect Me? Alliance for MarriageA national Wirthlin poll released March 4, 2003 by the Alliance for Marriage shows that a majority of Americans favor a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Death of Marriage in ScandanaviaWell researched article by Hoover Institution research fellow Stanley Kurtz on the state of marriage in Scandanavian countries, and the effects homosexual "marriage" has had on marriage there. (PDF) State Action Steps to Protect MarriageHere are some steps state organizations and individuals can take to protect marriage and help pass a state marriage amendment. Family Research Council Kansas City Declaration on MarriageThis is a document prepared by a noteworthy panel of evangelical ethicists and other church leaders who met at Kansas City's Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in November. The document is known as the Kansas City Declaration on Marriage, and asserts marriage is the "union of one man and one woman for life" and calls on Christians to exhibit a "greater determination" to honor their marital commitments. The statement also calls on Christians to "reach out in redemptive ministry" to homosexuals. Talking Points on MarriageTalking points on the defense of traditional marriage. Robert H. Knight, director of the Culture & Family Institute, Concerned Women for America What is the Public Purpose of Marriage?Why is marriage a public, civil institution, rather than a purely private one? Peter Sprigg, senior director of the Center for Marriage and Family Studies, Family Research Council What's Wrong with Letting Same-Sex Couples "Marry?"Answers key questions why homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. Peter Sprigg, senior director of the Center for Marriage and Family Studies, Family Research Council A Biblical Response to Unholy Gay 'Matrimony'A sermon by Rev. Ronnie Floyd preached September 14 at First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas What Homosexual "Marriage" Will Mean to America's ChildrenIf same-sex relationships become the law of the land, homosexual marriage will be presented to America's schoolchildren as the equivalent of heterosexual marriage. Commentary by Linda Harvey, President of Mission America Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Same-Sex "Marriage" From Focus on the Family's CitizenLink Social Issues section. The Threat to Marriage from the Courts (PDF)Commentary from the Republican Policy Committee. What Marriage is For Children need mothers and fathers. Commentary by Maggie Gallagher, editor of MarriageDebate.com and the co-author of "The Case for Marriage." Sponsor of the Marriage Protection Amendment shares her motivationThe congresswoman who has introduced the Marriage Protection Amendment in the U.S. House is expressing some frustration with political colleagues who don't think the legislation is necessary. Beyond Gay MarriageThe road to polyamory. Commentary by Stanley Kurtz, research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Same Sex ControversyA book that clarifies the Bible's stand on homosexuality. Subjects include the basis of biblical morality, biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality, the new "homosexual apologist," and both Old and New Testament witnesses against homosexuality. Constitutional Amendment ProcessDetails the amendment procedure as spelled out in the Constitution. Our Last, Best Option Recent Breakpoint commentary from Chuck Colson calling for support of the FMA. We Need the Marriage AmendmentEvery American has a stake in how marriage is defined, and the decision should not be left either to a tiny minority of the population or to unelected judges. Commentary by Al Knight, Denver Post Courting a Crisis of LegitimacyWhat exactly is the Constitution? The Constitution is whatever Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says it is. On any given Monday. Commentary by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post Marriage Protection Amendment Gets Push After Court Ruling The campaign to protect marriage in the United States Constitution has gained momentum in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that some say could pave the way for homosexual unions. Canada Set to Legalize Homosexual MarriageIn a series of moves that has stunned Christians and conservatives in the U.S., Canada appears to be on the verge of legalizing homosexual marriage. Forever and Ever, AmendWith gay "marriage" just one bad court decision away, a diverse coalition aims to protect traditional matrimony by taking its case to a higher authority - the U.S. Constitution. Bill to Define Marriage Tried Again in HouseA bill to change the U.S. Constitution to clarify that marriage is the union of one man and one woman has been reintroduced in Congress recently. The Coming BattleThis coming summer, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is likely to legalize gay marriage. If that happens, a national battle over gay marriage will break out. The ultimate outcome of our coming national culture war over gay marriage will either be legal gay marriage throughout the United States, or passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment. Before the Big OneOnce Massachusetts legalizes gay marriage, it will be a domestic culture-war story like no other. Gay couples will flood into Massachusetts from around the country to get married. Returning to their homes, these gay couples will initiate a series of lawsuits attempting to force recognition of their marriages onto their respective states. There will also be legal challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Bev(against): Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the motives
Most people are in favor of equal rights for homosexuals. They are fine with the same rights for housing, jobs, public accommodations, and should have equal access to government benefits, equal protection of the law, but when it comes to gay marriage that is when they disagree. More than half of the people in the United States oppose gay marriage, even though three fourths are otherwise supportive of gay rights. Therefore, people who are even passionately in favor of gay rights still oppose gay marriage. This article is about clearing up misunderstandings about what homosexuality really is as well as erroneous assumptions that gay people do actually enjoy civil rights protections as everyone else does. It also covers the stereotypes about gay relationships, and the even touches on the misunderstanding of what marriage itself is and what the purpose of it is. Although all the above matters are part of why gay people want to be married, our focus as a group is to argue gay marriage so that is the only section that I concentrated on. Marriage is an institution between one man and one woman is a recently passed U.S. Federal law but also the consensus of most people in the United States and why most are against gay marriage. This is argued because they let murders, rapists etc. get married, and as we have no concrete reason it should be allowed. I found this a weak argument as this is hardly the same thing. Same-Sex couples aren’t the optimum environment in which to raise children. Most people feel this way because they are concerned that the children will grow up homosexual because they are exposed to homosexuality at a young age. The argument is that there is no evidence to support this claim and just as many children that are raised in a homosexual couple’s home group up to be “straight” as in a traditional man-woman relationship. Again they argue how straight rapists and killers are freely allowed to marry and procreate, so why is this allowed when society is supposed to be protecting children. I would argue that it’s not like society goes out of its way to encourage such unions, if it was left to me they could get married but should be sterilized so murders and rapists can’t produce more as it is probably genetic, but do you see my point this is getting off track of what the issue is here “opposing gay marriage.” Gay relationships are immoral. They really stretched the reasons for this using the bible and religion as their savior. Stating that they are not being allowed religious freedom and that some religions like Buddhism have no problem with homosexuality and have the authority to make legal marriages. This was a tough argument for me as I am a Christian but not an avid bible reader but felt they needed to stop hiding behind the bible and religion as it seems to be “immoral” means that it is not “normal” which is really what people think and it has little to do with religion. Marriage is traditionally, a heterosexual institution This is the biggest argument as opposition for gay marriage. The argument addressed issues about slavery being a traditional institution, based on traditions going back in history but it was abolished in the 19th century. They argue we need to recognize the truth that there is no legal ground on which to support the tradition of marriage as a strictly heterosexual institution. This was their weakest argument yet and should have been one of their strongest. I would argue that if marriage was not supposed to be “heterosexual” how come it has always been that way until recent years. Even the American Indians have re-written their laws to be specific on what a union is supposed to be – a man and women, not a provider and a companion as it was traditionally. Source URL:http://www.bidstrup.com/marriage.htm
Matt(for) said: More than half of the people in the United States oppose gay marriage, even though three fourths are otherwise supportive of gay rights. Therefore, people who are even passionately in favor of gay rights still oppose gay marriage. "Passionately in favor" is an interesting inferrence. Are you sure that there isn't just a quarter of our population that doesn't care about gays' equal rights either way, but would fill out a survey with a positive response so as not to feel like a bigot? Most people feel this way because they are concerned that the children will grow up homosexual because they are exposed to homosexuality at a young age This may be true, assuming that sexuality is a socially determined element. I think that sexuality studies have determined that many children experiment, sexually, at young ages, and that it is not unusual for these experiments to take place between children of the same sex. However, many, if not most (looking at the general ratio of heterosexuals to homosexuals in our population) of these children grow up to be straight. Simply because a child is exposed to what would be considered homosexuality at a young age doesn't mean that their innate sexuality will necessarily change. Their social perception, however, regarding sexuality may lean toward the support of homosexuals as a group, and I think that it is this idealogical "reproduction" of homosexuality that most of the opposition is worried about. Regarding your response to the alleged religious foundation of the gay marriage opposition, I think that, as a country, our sense of normality is highly influenced by Christian values, as it is the dominant religion here in the states. Ideologies regarding normality don't develop in a vacuum. We do not have a natural, biological impulse that tells us to oppress homosexuals; these are learned social responses that originate from a source, and the US's prime source of morality is the Christian church. I would argue that if a member of the opposition is not religious, then their sentiments of opposing gay marriage at least come from societal norms, which are based upon religious values. I would argue that if marriage was not supposed to be “heterosexual” how come it has always been that way until recent years. Perhaps this is because gay rights activism was frowned upon or quelled significantly until recently, similar to how Black rights activism was poorly received up until the 60s, or perhaps, arguably, later. Even the American Indians have re-written their laws to be specific on what a union is supposed to be – a man and women, not a provider and a companion as it was traditionally. "American Indians" is an interesting choice of blanket terms, here, as you seem to be implying that Native American cultures are all governed by one "American Indian" government. My understanding is that tribes, or groups of tribes that share a region, are localized in their governance, and though they do answer to our federal government, each individual tribal body dos not, to my knowledge, observe a grand Native American doctrine, other than those regulations passed and supported by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I did see, however, that the Cherokee Nation has defined their traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman, but in support of my observation of tribal autonomy, it seems that the Navajo president vetoed a similar bill. These were all interesting perspectives and refutals. The strongest argument, I'd say, was that concerning child rearing. Other than that, there doesn't seems to be less logic behind the following arguments, and more conjecture or subjective reasoning. Other than the child-rearing factor (also note that having children isn't the only reason why same-sex couples wish to marry,) there seems to be little evidence that the oppposition stance is based on anything else other than prejudice and an expressed reluctance toward change.
Bev (against): The Case for Gay Marriage
In this article it addresses the issues that George Bush is in favor of unequal rights, big government intrusiveness and federal power rather than devolution to the states. I am not a big fan of George Bush so can’t argue that he does do some off the wall things however; this particular case does have more to it. Although this article was done in 2004 many of the facts remain the same. Bush in 2004 made an announcement to support efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in America banning gay marriage. In most countries other than Belgium and the Netherlands, gay marriage is still banned. There are arguments that until the 1960 even whites and blacks could not marry and that precious few would defend that ban now on the grounds of that it is not “traditional”. This is a very weak comparison as this was still a union between a man and women only race was an issue. I am ashamed that interracial marriages were ever an issue as let’s face this is just two people with different color skins, it is hardly the same as two people who are from the same sex. The main argument in this article is that marriage is a union between a man and a woman so why can’t that be extended to same-sex couples. They can live together, love each other but cannot be married, why not? Why should they be prevented from marrying when other society members, equivalents in other ways are allowed to do so? Bush states that same-sex marriages would damage an important social institution. Gays argue that the reverse is true because they want to marry because the symbolism that marriage brings, the sense of obligation and commitment, as well as the social recognition would add to social stability. For them of course that is true, as they would be the same as other people, I can see that, but socially for the “others” the ones against same-sex marriage, including Bush this would not be true. http://www.economist.com/opinion/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=2459758
Matt(for) said: I find it interetsing that one would cite the fact that the vast majority of countries ban gay marriage, as a support for a similar federal ban in the United States. 'Because other countries do it' has hardly ever been a basis for legislative decisions in the United States; in fact, we've tended to ignore other nations' endeavors if they do not meet our needs. Not to go off on a tangent, as this is a particularly weak point, but socialized economies and the Kyoto Emissions Protocol are two standing examples of drastic social/economic/legislative reform in which some of, and in the case of the KP most of, the world's nations have partaken. It is understood by most everyone that, yes, sexuality and race are two entirely different issues. The only similarities shared between the two are the suppression of equal rights for certain minority groups, right? However, it seems that both issues also revolve around one aspect: the prohibition of either unions are largely attributed to the majority's negative perception of the minority group in question. There are various alleged behavioral issues that White Anglo-Saxon Americans had with Blacks; they were perceived as being thieves, rapists, and generally inferior to White folk. I'm sure there are documented incidents of Black Americans stealing, raping, and murdering; this is, however, omitting the millions of Black Americans who live perfectly normal and socially functional lives. The same can be said toward your previous argument regarding same-sex child rearing. It has been stated that the majority of child molestors have been homosexuals, and that the majority of daughters of lesbian couples are MORE LIKELY to engage in sexual promiscuity; however, does the MAJORITY of -homosexual- men are child molestors? Or that the MAJORITY of lesbian-parented daughters are sexually experimental or promiscuous? Unless there is empirical data to show otherwise, the previous statements are, like those generalizations of Black Americans, omitting the fact that there are socially functional gay parents and children of gay parents in our society. Just as Interracial Marriages have been legalized due to the sheer prejudice foundations of prohibiting them, in the face of statistics that may point to certain unpleasant generalizations, same-sex couples, too, should be given the opportunity to marry on the grounds that the prohibition, despite its non-racial nature, is still a flagrant expression of prejudice. At the closing of your posting, you state: For them of course that is true, as they would be the same as other people, I can see that, but socially for the “others” the ones against same-sex marriage, including Bush this would not be true. The last fragment seems to be a bit unclear. Would it not be true for the "others," because there would then be married couples comprised of the same sex? Please clarify. Thanks.
Stephanie(against): Brief article detailing the Wirthlin Poll showing that most of America is against same-sex marriage. It may be relevent to point out that the poll was promoted and released by the Alliance for Marriage, an anti same-sex marriage group. From the Alliance for Marriage site http://www.allianceformarriage.org/site/PageServer?pagename=mac_30304 NATIONAL WIRTHLIN POLL FINDS THAT MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO DEFEND MARRIAGE
Communities of Color Lead the Way In Support for a Federal Marriage Amendment on a Day When Marriage Goes On Trial in the Massachusetts Courts WASHINGTON, DC — A national Wirthlin poll released March 4, 2003 by the Alliance for Marriage shows that a majority of Americans favor a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman from lawsuits being filed by activist lawyers in courts across the country. The release of these findings comes on a day when the state supreme court of Massachusetts will hear oral argument in Goodridge v. MA Dept of Health — a case that activist lawyers intend to use as a foundation for "constitutional" challenges to all of America's marriage laws. For example, the Boston Bar Association has openly called for "federal constitutional claims" to be brought against all state and federal marriage laws in the aftermath of a victory in this case. One of the most important findings of this new Wirthlin poll is that overwhelming numbers of Hispanics (63%) and African-Americans (62%) support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage from such lawsuits. This is ironic since most of the legal arguments in the Goodridge case — and similar suits filed in New Jersey and Indiana — are based upon comparisons between the marriage laws of contemporary America and racist laws enforcing legal segregation and discrimination in the South. In addition, working class and low income Americans (63%) are also among some of the strongest supporters of a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. The findings of this national Wirthlin poll have a margin of error of 3.1% and are based upon a survey of 1,000 American adults conducted last month by Wirthlin Worldwide. The Alliance for Marriage is a non-partisan, multicultural coalition whose Board of Advisors includes Rev. Walter Fauntroy — the former DC Delegate who organized the March on Washington for Martin Luther King Jr. -- as well as other civil rights and religious leaders, and national legal experts.
Lonnie(against): Health Risk for gay couple
Executive Summary
Sexual relationships between members of the same sex expose gays, lesbians and bisexuals to extreme risks of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), physical injuries, mental disorders and even a shortened life span. There are five major distinctions between gay and heterosexual relationships, with specific medical consequences. They are:
Levels of Promiscuity Prior to the AIDS epidemic, a 1978 study found that 75 percent of white, gay males claimed to have had more than 100 lifetime male sex partners: 15 percent claimed 100-249 sex partners; 17 percent claimed 250-499; 15 percent claimed 500- 999; and 28 percent claimed more than 1,000 lifetime male sex partners. Levels of promiscuity subsequently declined, but some observers are concerned that promiscuity is again approaching the levels of the 1970s. The medical consequence of this promiscuity is that gays have a greatly increased likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS, syphilis and other STDs. Similar extremes of promiscuity have not been documented among lesbians. However, an Australian study found that 93 percent of lesbians reported having had sex with men, and lesbians were 4.5 times more likely than heterosexual women to have had more than 50 lifetime male sex partners. Any degree of sexual promiscuity carries the risk of contracting STDs.
Physical Health
Common sexual practices among gay men lead to numerous STDs and physical injuries, some of which are virtually unknown in the heterosexual population. Lesbians are also at higher risk for STDs. In addition to diseases that may be transmitted during lesbian sex, a study at an Australian STD clinic found that lesbians were three to four times more likely than heterosexual women to have sex with men who were high-risk for HIV.
Mental Health
It is well established that there are high rates of psychiatric illnesses, including depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempts, among gays and lesbians. This is true even in the Netherlands, where gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) relationships are far more socially acceptable than in the U.S. Depression and drug abuse are strongly associated with risky sexual practices that lead to serious medical problems.
Life Span
The only epidemiological study to date on the life span of gay men concluded that gay and bisexual men lose up to 20 years of life expectancy.
Monogamy
Monogamy, meaning long-term sexual fidelity, is rare in GLB relationships, particularly among gay men. One study reported that 66 percent of gay couples reported sex outside the relationship within the first year, and nearly 90 percent if the relationship lasted five years.
Encouraging people to engage in risky sexual behavior undermines good health and can result in a shortened life span. Yet that is exactly what employers and governmental entities are doing when they grant GLB couples benefits or status that make GLB relationships appear more socially acceptable.
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html
Lonnie(against): Sri Lanka's gays share their journey
Throughout South Asia, homosexuality has been a taboo subject. But there are signs in some areas that gay people are now becoming more open in their behaviour. In the second of a series of articles from the region, the BBC's Chloe Arnold looks at gay life in Sri Lanka. When Sujeewa told his older brother he was gay, he beat him up and chased him out of the house.
That was eight years ago, since when Sujeewa has started helping out at Companions on a Journey, Sri Lanka's only society for gay men and women.
"It was very difficult for my friends and family to accept I was gay," says Sujeewa, who doesn't want to give his last name.
"It's a bit easier today, but people are still suspicious of me. I have to be very careful where I go."
We are sitting in a neat white room with comfortable sofas and a large television in the corner.
Companions on a Journey is a drop-in centre in Colombo that's become a lifeline for Sri Lanka's gay community.
Once a week it shows films with gay themes - Priscilla - Queen of the Desert, Maurice, The Crying Game and Boys Don't Cry.
On the other side of the room, half a dozen book shelves are stacked with gay literature, from novels to magazines to advice on how to cope with the HIV/Aids.
Growing confidence
Sujeewa, who is 28, wears leopard-print corduroys, a tight T-shirt and gold earrings, and his long hair is tied in a sleek ponytail.
"I get a lot of nasty looks because of the way I dress," he says. "But it's something I've just had to get used to."
Since he first discovered Companions on a Journey, Sujeewa's life has turned around. He feels more confident with his sexuality, he has started working as a hairdresser and now has a steady boyfriend.
"Before, we had to be so secretive about where we met," he remembers.
"Now at least being gay is less of a taboo."
Sherman de Rose, the founder of Companions on a Journey, agrees.
When he started the group last year, he used to receive death threats.
It got so bad, he says, he had to leave the country for a while until religious groups, political leaders, and some sections of the media, the most vehement opponents to his organisation, calmed down.
"But attitudes have begun to change," he says.
"At the beginning, people wouldn't even discuss the topic of homosexuality. They refused to recognise it existed.
"Now we can hold demonstrations to demand better rights and we won't get chased off the streets."
'Afraid to be themselves'
One of the most difficult things for gay men and women in Sri Lanka is simply coming to terms with their homosexuality. Given the social intolerance, it is very difficult, Sherman says.
"So many gay men marry and have children because it is easier than coming out," he says.
When he first opened his doors, people used to turn up and say they weren't gay themselves, they were coming for a friend.
"Even here, they were afraid to be themselves," he says.
Others just came and sat there for an hour or two, not speaking, not doing anything.
"They saw us as a safe haven, a place where they could go through a sort of healing process," he says.
"It takes an enormous amount of courage for people to come here. They suffer from very low-self esteem because of the rejection."
He still receives dozens of letters from around the country from people who don't give their names or addresses, but who just write to thank him for being there.
"They simply say that they are glad they aren't alone," he says.
Legal challenge
Companions now have two more drop-in centres in Sri Lanka, one in Kandy and one in Anuradhapura. They put out a monthly newsletter and every full moon they organise a big party.
"It's a chance for people to let their hair down, really be themselves," Sherman says.
"And we always have a competition to find the most beautiful drag queen."
But there is a more serious side to the organisation.
Working with a network of lawyers, they are trying to persuade lawmakers to change Sri Lanka's criminal code, which outlaws homosexuality.
"There is still a lot of opposition," he says, "and we still aren't even close to Europe or the United States when it comes to gay rights.
"But we've come a long way in eight years. We aren't expecting miracles, but I think we're getting there, bit by bit."
The following comments reflect the balance of views received:
Having lived all my 17 years in the multi-cultured, multi-faith and multi-gendered city of London, I have never had a problem with the idea or sight of gay, lesbian and bisexual couples. People who live in a society such as I do have little experience of extremists who cannot accept ideas other than their own beliefs. I think that if, globally, people were made more aware of those that do and do not agree with this taboo, we all might begin to understand each other. While I understand that, to some people, religion is life and they will dedicate themselves to the stated guidelines and sanctions, nowhere does it say,(correct me if I am wrong) that gayness is a sin. People are, as someone before me quite rightly said, hiding behind their religion in an attempt to be the kind of person that others want them to be rather than the way their 'God' and creation intended. Victoria, England
In Nigeria, issues of homosexuality are not discussed; nobody is a homosexual, you simply cannot afford to be. It is so painful when you talk to people who are gay but try to cover it up so that they can fit in. I hope that someday people will be able to speak out without fear, like is currently happening in Sri Lanka. Perhaps then, "normal people" like me, can accept their sexuality and live with it. Olu, Nigeria
As a lesbian activist in Sri Lanka, it is nice to see such an article in the international news. I have personal and organisational experience of the sort of problems that the gay community faces. I am sorry to say that sometimes the problems came from within the gay community as well. However we have now overcome these problems. Congratulations COJ on the decade-long journey! It could be said that the COJ and the personal commitment of Sherman de Rose led the way for others to work on the same issues. The fact that there are two more organisations on LGBT issues in Sri Lanka at present shows how much Sri Lanka has changed! But there is a lot more for all of us to do. Upeksha, Sri Lanka
There is factual error in Charith Buddhika's comment. He says "In every religion, homosexuality is described as a sin" I do not know about other religions, but as far as Buddhism is concerned homosexuality per se is not sin, (unless you sleep with a person who is already in an accepted relationship with someone) Buddha never looked down upon homosexuality. So we can assume he treated it in the same way as any heterosexual relationship. Homosexuality was common in Sri Lankan society even in the past but it has been taken as normal and was never made a big issue, till the colonial masters introduce a law against it. Overall, our society is much less homophobic than any Western one. Wijeratne, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a somewhat mixed-up attitude to being gay. Society is conservative so boys and girls cannot mix at an early age. Therefore lots of young people have same sex activities at a young age. One survey found that as much as 60% of males stating that they had had at least one same sex experience in the process of growing up. It is quite common practice in schools. However, this does not mean they are gay in their eyes. Once they become adults and start working, marriage is more or less forced upon them as Channa says. The majority then settle down to humdrum daily lives of wives, children, work etc. Sadly, 99% of the genuine gays too are forced to marry due to social and family pressure. Most of them continue to have gay activities on the sly. Sometime their close family know of it and tacitly accept it. Sometimes even the wives do so. As long as one does not talk about it, and are very discreet, it may be tolerated. It is only in some of the more elite levels of Colombo society that being openly gay, and living with a gay partner, is accepted. Let us hope that over the next generation more gay people will be able to come out. Indi, Sri Lanka
No decent society will openly permit the practice of homosexuality. If homosexuals can go about their business quietly, without forcefully bringing it to our attention, that will be all well and good. If they continue with their present pattern of trying to force society to bow down to their whims and caprices, then they are setting the stage for a future confrontation that they will not be able to endure. Greg Allen, USA.
I am Sri Lankan-born gay living in the UK at the moment and I think it's absolutely fantastic that you have written an article and done research into this field because it is such a sensitive issue. When my family were aware of the fact that I was gay I was socially outcast and feel that I cannot return to my roots without feeling abnormal. But now being in the UK I have met a lot of understanding gay people especially at university and I want to say there is hope for Sri Lankan gay people so keep strong! Janakan Ratnarjan, UK
It is a good thing that these issues are being discussed and hopefully in the long term this will lead to more gay people in Asia feeling able to be open about their sexual orientation and being able to lead their own lives. It frustrates me to see the current situation in the US where politicians are exploiting deep seated homosexual prejudices to further their political ambitions. Hopefully in the future the scientific community will continue its research and prove that homosexuality has a genetic or hormonal cause. Then the religious right will have to manufacture a whole new bandwagon on which to parade its prejudiced beliefs! Holly Manktelow, UK
Having many gay friends in Sri Lanka I am happy to see the extent of change taking place. At least in Colombo the awareness far exceeded my expectations. There is a long way to go but it is certainly going with a positive momentum. The only sad thing is when people use Buddhism (the majority religion there) as a smokescreen for their own prejudices. Yes one must take into account people's sensibilities in any society but as far as Buddhism is concerned homosexuals are not sinners! Saying that to those who interpret things religiously will be more difficult however. Miles Vollner, Switzerland
Social condemnation of any group of society can never be classed as fair. If countries boast about democracy and human rights, then all parties whether political, religious or other need to examine their purpose in life. If two consenting adults decide to be together and that they cause no harm to anyone else, then basically it is nobody else's business but theirs and the choices they make. I am pleased to hear of the progress achieved in Sri Lanka and hope that at the end of the day a fairness and social acceptance wins the day! Paul, USA
I have a strong hunch that sexual orientation is the fruit of gene arrangement, and would be glad to see that possibility investigated. If it ever became established truth, I think the world's attitude towards homosexuality would be turned topsy-turvy over night. Fr. Dick Zeimet, Republic of China
I am gay and European and I have my "boyfriend" in Indonesia, because of the strong love we feel for each other I am moving to Indonesia to be together. My gayness is certainly not genetic, it is based on two souls which love each other beyond sex, money and age. Once you recognize that souls have no sex, gay marriage is only natural. Good Luck Sri Lanka, every long journey starts with a first step. Ananda, Europe
I am gay, I knew it from the very young age. I was totally satisfied with my gay life. However, my family and the society were not ready to accept my choice of freedom. I am from an extremely conservative Kandyan family and the question of not marrying even did not arise. I also work in a senior position in a leading bank and there is no way that I can reveal my sexual orientation to my office people. That would have surely ruined my career prospects. So there was no option left other than getting married. I know even my office people want me to have a wife by my side when attending office parties. Bringing a male companion to an office party was simply unthinkable. I don't want to discuss my married life, but all I can say is I would have been a happy man if I could lead a lifestyle that would have gone hand in hand with my orientation. I envy my gay friends who had the guts to come out of the closet and decide the way they could lead their life. I never had that courage. I wish I had. Channa, Sri Lanka
Interesting story, these certainly are issues that are being dealt with here in America. I am encouraged that an openness is beginning to be tolerated in South East Asia. As with many issues, there are underlying moral questions or religious questions and this is true with homosexuality and transgenderism. As a Christian my desire is that all would experience the love of God through Jesus. Tim Harstad, US
I am a Sri Lankan person living in US. I cannot believe this difference in Sri Lanka. Now they are talking about homosexuality openly. This means we have to expect lot of changes in the future. Anonymous, US
It's encouraging to see this happening cause it makes me feel like our country has hope too. It is a taboo here, but secretly some people think its cool and will go to great lengths to prove that someone is gay. You have to be guarded and expect a lot of animosity. However it's still undercover, and though people will try to make you reveal yourself so that you become a spectacle for them to laugh at, no-one will ever accuse you in your face without some concrete evidence. Good luck Sri Lanka and kudos to companions on a journey. Anonymous, Kenya
South Asia has largely conservative societies where being gay or lesbian is a big social taboo. Personally, I don't see any trouble having gay and lesbian people around. It should be left with individual to select their sexual orientations. But we also need to look at the future repercussions on the healthy functioning of societies as well because there is high probability of adverse effects on family as an institution. Given the current trend of fast erosion of familial values, supporting an open gay culture can speed up the process of the erosion of familial values which would not be a desirable thing. I believe that unless these taboos are not broken, and such societal issues not discussed, the chance of having healthy societies in future is a far off possibility. Gulab Khan, Pakistan
This is truly an encouraging trend in Sri Lanka. I fear, however, that the US is moving backwards in its acceptance and tolerance for peoples of variant sexual orientations, particularly under the oppression of the current administration. It is truly a tragedy to see people needlessly maligned and mistreated for something that is so clearly of a genetic nature. I only wish that the "religious right" of all nations can wake up to see the majesty of the human spirit in all of God's creation - white, black, brown, gay, straight, male and female. Christopher Bennett, US
Overcoming the whole "family first" excessively traditional mentality of South Asians is really the problem at hand. People are not seen as individuals in South Asia, but rather, constituents and representatives of their families. Thus, people feel that they owe it to their family to hide or abandon something that may be taboo or even non-traditional, whether it is a career path or a choice in lifestyle. Sadly, this is also why so many South Asian youth today are having more mental breakdowns than any other country One should never have to forsake a life true to himself or herself. I applaud Sujeewa and Sherman de Rose for taking difficult steps and leading the way. Sanhita Choudhury, Fishkill, NY, USA
Poverty and the freedom for gay rights can't go together in South Asian countries. The reason for raising gay rights in Western countries is because of economical solvency. People and governments in South Asian countries have so many other fundamental things to work for - food, accommodation, education etc, rather than spend time worrying about gay people. In addition, religious and political faith won't allow gay to accelerate there rights soon. Syed Uddin, USA
Articles about gays that seem to concentrate on the 'feminine' attributes that some gay men possess, and illustrate their text with photos of drag queens, do little to advance the cause of homosexual emancipation. Harry Barrowclough, The Netherlands
We feel extremely sorry for these people. Whatever they say or try to achieve doesn't seem to be real. In every religion, homosexuality is described as a sin, so wherever they are they will always feel the cultural taboo. That is the reason these people are looked down as outcasts. If the world becomes a place void of religion these people might get the due recognition. Until such time they will be treated as the same way they are being treated right now. Charith Buddika, Sri Lanka
I never realized that gay issues were so extreme in some parts of the world. Growing up gay in the US is not an easy thing for most people as well, but because of the deeply rooted cultural taboo of homosexuality and without the civil liberties afforded by a liberal constitution, I can see how in a country like Sri Lanka being gay could be very difficult. Furthermore, deeply rooted ignorance and hatred does not simply go away with the change of laws, it will undoubtedly be a long and arduous struggle for the gay rights movement in Sri Lanka. I hope that their struggle will afford changes as soon as possible! Josh Borden, USA http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4551903.stm
Lonnie(against): Same sex marriage against all religion
I am disgusted at the way the British media have given so much coverage to civil partnership between same sex people. Homosexuality is wrong morally, ethically and medically. It has been declared sinful by all the religions of the world including Christianity. It is bad enough making homosexuality a norm of society through legislation but now by approving 'marriage' between homosexuals, are we not accelerating towards the day of doom. I think we are not far away from the end of the world and we are failing to understand the significance of signs such as the tsunami, the south Asian earthquake, climate change and wars in every corner of the world. God has forbidden homosexuality in all of his faiths yet we chose to ignore his order. Why?
Mohammed Salim, Rochdale
Comments: Sometimes rules are written but are sometimes amended. I am not a gay man and in fact happily married. In fact somebody asked me what I would think if a gay married couple moved in next door to me. I said to him, it's not a problem for me because 40 years ago, the same person might of asked me, what do you think of a black family living next door to you. In this world, we have to accept all people as they are. What people do in there own time is their own business unless they are hurting, harassing or killing other people. You need to start adjusting to modern society. Johnny, Blackburn 08/02/2006 at 22:02
http://www.theasiannews.co.uk/haveyoursay/s/208/208492_same_sex_marriage_against_all_religion.html
Lonnie(against): Ethnic Communities Speak Out Against Gay Marriage
News Analysis, Elena Shore, Pacific News Service, Jun 08, 2004
Editor's Note: In cities across the United States, some of the staunchest opposition to gay marriage comes from African American and immigrant communities. A new wave of opposition to same-sex marriage is gaining ground among ethnic communities and recent immigrants, according to ethnic media reports. In San Francisco and in cities across the country, ethnic communities are "coming out" in full force, forming their own religious coalitions and organizing protests to oppose same-sex marriage. If gay-friendly comedian Margaret Cho is your idea of the Korean American community, look again. The image of Cho marching at a rally for gay marriage, as appeared in the May 19 edition of the Korean-language newspaper Korea Times, is anything but typical. A commentary in the Korea Times just four days earlier may be a more accurate reflection of the community's politics, according to community insiders. The author compared same-sex marriage to mad cow disease: Gay marriage "destroys holy marriage and the cycle of life. It makes humans mad, so I call it mad human disease," writes Young Goo, who is a pastor at a Christian church. Ethnic Christian coalitions are at the forefront of the movement against same-sex marriage. On May 18, 100 people gathered in Los Angeles to voice their opposition to same-sex marriage. Among the speakers were Latino activists Luis Galdamez, spokesperson for the Campaign for California Families, and Vicente Martín, president of the organization Familia Hispana, which represents 1,900 Christian churches in California, reports Marilú Meza in the May 19 issue of Spanish-language daily La Opinión. A recent "Rally to Protect Marriage" in Sacramento was co-sponsored by BOND (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny), a Christian organization dedicated to "rebuilding the family by rebuilding the man." "If California legalizes same-sex marriages," says BOND founder and president Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, "it will destroy the family, especially the black family." On April 25, some 7,000 people in San Francisco's Sunset district -- primarily Chinese Americans and Christians from 180 Bay Area churches -- protested same-sex marriage, reports Julie D. Soo in the May 21 edition of San Francisco's English-language weekly AsianWeek. Gay marriage "could lead to the extinction of the entire human race," said event spokesman Rev. Thomas Wang, as reported in the Chinese newspaper Sing Tao. "There will be no future if the United States does not repent." Marcos Gutierrez, host of a Bay Area Spanish-language talk show on La Grande 1010-AM, estimates that 65 percent of the people who call in to his show are against same-sex marriage. Most of these defend their beliefs by quoting the Bible. Religion is the backbone of politics opposing gay marriage, according to a national survey of 1,515 adults of every ethnicity conducted Oct. 15-19, 2003, by the Pew Forum and the Pew Research Center. More than eight in 10 opponents of gay marriage said it ran counter to their religious beliefs. Ethnic groups in San Francisco are far less supportive of the city's decision to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians than the city's white population, according to a citywide poll of 1,034 people conducted on March 2, 2004, by the Chinese American Voters Education Committee. While 76 percent of Caucasians said they supported the decision to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, only 62 percent of Latinos, 49 percent of African Americans and 38 percent of Asians agreed. There are cultural and historic reasons for the Chinese community's strong backlash against same-sex marriage, says former political candidate Rose Tsai. "Chinese, in 5,000 years of history, have acknowledged that homosexuality has always existed. But, it is accepted with the understanding that you don't glorify such relationships," Tsai is quoted as saying in AsianWeek. Chinese Americans value family and community over the individual, adds Rev. Cal Chin, a senior pastor at the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown. "I wouldn't use 'conservative' to describe Chinese American views," Chin says in the same article. "I would say that Chinese Americans are more corporate in their thinking; they think about how an individual and an individual's actions impact the community. You can't act in isolation." Many new immigrants, especially those from China and Korea, believe that same-sex marriage goes against their culture. But radio talk show host and San Francisco community leader Julie Lee says this may change as people become more educated. "China used to jail homosexuals, but even China has become more open-minded." Some reject the notion that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue. Rev. Raymond Kwong, who organized the rally in San Francisco, leads the newly formed Bay Area Christians for Traditional Marriage (BACFTM). "We are sympathetic to true minorities. Gays and lesbians are not a genuine minority," he says in the AsianWeek report. "I have talked to many African American ministers and they are incensed that the civil rights bus has been hijacked by a radical group. When were there separate entrances for gays and straights? When have gays gotten worse jobs and lower pay than straight people? I've never seen any gays who had to go to the back of the bus." Detria Thompson, in the March 19 edition of the black newspaper San Francisco Bay View, writes that many African Americans believe that race "easily trumps sexual orientation in the now crowded different-discrimination sweepstakes." But this "assumes that lesbians and gays have the option, if not a duty, to mute their behavior so as not to alarm straight people." Yet, "all gays and lesbians can't 'pass' for straight, and even if it was possible to do so, being able to 'pass' misses the point." White gays and lesbians may experience less discrimination than African Americans, but they still experience discrimination, just as educated middle-class African Americans still experience racism, Thompson writes. "Quantifying discrimination by demographics is necessary, but is usually futile and counter-productive precisely because your pain never quite measures up to mine." PNS contributor Elena Shore (eshore@pacificnews.org) works for NCM, an association of over 600 print, broadcast and online ethnic media organizations founded in 1996 by PNS and members of ethnic media. Aruna Lee contributed to this report.
Comments
Clayborn Jones on Jul 24, 2004 12:20:55, said:
This article is almost not worth responding to...I mean I can give the author contacts that do not profess Christianity as their reason to not be supportive of Gay Marriage. Most so-called Christians are so full of hate that they do not realize how rediculouis it is to publiclly discriminate against another humanbeing in America. Oh yea...George Dubya does it...well he is ignorant tooo. The fact is that Blacks were routinly lynched by Christians..{I still can't understand how African Americans can be Conservitive Christians}...and the radical racist right uses issues like this to scatter the masses all over the feelings chart so come election day you will not revolt when they stop people of color from voting! Here is the part that frustrates me...it works!!!! Most of the articles participants are Easterners who reject their own cultural identities to embrace the ideal that is America...News Flash we stopped lynchings by fighting back!!!! Gays have something that most of you cannot touch it is called Cash and it is liquid...Politicians could not get past their own right ring facist members to pass legislation to prevent gays from marrying...why..? because their constituents are not people like you and I. They are people with alot of liquid disposble income...And the last time I checked...Money talks! Grow up folks, if you are a person of color you need to be on the left. The Southern Baptist Hate Mongers will always loose out to the Constitution of the United States Of America!
Melvin Jones on Jun 10, 2004 13:17:29, said:
First, I object to the use of minority classes for "special" protection. But I object even more to the idea of wanting to give that same special protection to people who choose a lifestyle. The law has never denied the humanity of homosexuals any more than it has denied the humanity of bigamists, child abusers, or thieves. However, being Black was a cause to have your humanity denied. It was strike against your humanity just to be black. Being black is not the same as choosing to engage in homosexual activity.
Scape Martinez on Jun 10, 2004 09:19:11, said:
Thank you. A fascinating article I must say. It is an argument that warrants further mainstream media coverage. I have argued to many deaf ears some of these same ideas. Being an artist, one is constantly surrounded by very Liberal Left leaning thought, thoughts that don't hold up well upon closer scrutiny. The Gay Marriage Movement is one thing, Civil Rights is another. Race and its related struggles have been one of the great factors for movements in this country for centuries, ie.slavery and inherent White Supremacy. Gay Marriage simply doesn't fit into that paradigm. Nobody should be judged by what they do in the privacy of their bedroom, but what they do in their bedroom should not be thrust upon greater society either.
William Kessler on Jun 10, 2004 06:39:48, said:
The big problem with this movement is that it has a large Christian opposition that so far has been very quiet, nevertheless, at this time makes up a considerable portion of the United States population. Hope you will consider an article on ethanol and how it is one of the fastest growing industries in U.S. to replace the need for exported oil. If you would like information I would be very glad to send it to you.
W Cheng on Jun 09, 2004 15:33:45, said:
This article over-generalized the reaction from Asian communities, at least in the Chinese community. Christian and Catholic Chinese people are a small portion, mind you. Most of Chinese people are Budhists or Taoists with no religious dogma regarding Genesis 18 16-33.
India Crum on Jun 08, 2004 19:13:38, said:
I don't think same sex marriage is wrong. That's what's wrong with the world today. Everybody judges people and the way they choose to live thier life. Start looking for what's on the inside. No human has to answer to another human only to God and no human is God. No sin is greater than the next.
James Ashburn on Jun 08, 2004 14:22:50, said:
As a gay white man, I support same-sex marriage. Luckily, free-thinking Americans agree that the separation of church and state are important in this country and therefore, all those religous zealots are free to believe what they want, as long as they don't impose their views on others. In America, as time marches on, we tend to accept and protect the civil rights of minorities and this includes Gays and Lesbians.
Todd Malpass on Jun 08, 2004 13:34:13, said:
I'm incensed when I hear comments such as "When were there separate entrances for gays and straights? When have gays gotten worse jobs and lower pay than straight people? I've never seen any gays who had to go to the back of the bus." When was the last time a black family disowned or rejected a member for being black? This happens to gays all the time, not even at home do they feel accepted. I'd argue that this is worse than racism, but the bigger point is that you shouldn't be weighing one prejudice against another – inequality is inequality.
http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=c76120f9bd844ba78ddab4e4f327992a
Lonnie(against):Asian / Gay: Arthur Hu's Index of Diversity
Yes, there are Gay Asians, but not many
One of the biggest issues in Asian Americans studies is gays, and AIDS, and a lot of movies have been on gay Asians. The official party line anywhere you look is either (A) male homosexuality is equal across all races and cultures or (B) homosexuality is so closeted that there is no accurate data. Sorry to break this to you folks, but there's actually quite a lot of data on just how many Asian Americans have AIDS and gay Asians there are, and almost every data point shows that Asians have a lot less of both, for better or worse, and you'll only find it right here, since nobody else has the guts to point out this simple truth. Asians are really, really conservative on stuff like this. So while there ARE lots of Asian gays and Asians getting AIDS, it's still much less than the white population. See aaids.htm for data on AIDS in Asians, since most cases are among gays. Since HIV rates are actually equal between white and Asian heterosexuals and corresponding homosexuals, but the overall AIDS rate is much lower, algebra tells us that the rate of homosexuals must be just as low as these survey samples tell us they probably are.
This is yet another piece of the "Asian Superiority" puzzle, where the morally "regressive" Asian culture results in much lower rates of health and behavioral problems associated with homosexuality, whatever one might think of the merits of homosexuality are independent of associated problems. Either a low rate of homosexuality is a good thing, or the Asian community should work towards equality in numbers of Asian gays, and Asians with AIDS, STDs and other associated problems.
Index is representation of race relative to actual population, 1.00
equal to white, 2.00 twice -2.00 half
Rank by Index Black Hisp Asian
Stanford Health 2.3 2.0 2.7
Stanford Gay Parade 1.0
Rural China 2% 1.0
China College 8% 1.0
------- equal --------------------------
Overlooked USA wome -2.2 1.2 -1.5
Vote gay marriage -2.0
Unmarried Partner 1.2 1.1 -2.0
Overlooked USA men -3.4 -1.1 -2.7
SF Lesbian 1.4 -1.1 -2.8
SF Young Men's Surv -1.1 1.0 -3.1
Seattle Gay STD 88- 1.7 1.6 -3.3
San Jose Metro Pers -2.9 0.0 -4.9
DC Blade -4.3 -2.2 -6.9
Los Angeles Rand -3.6 -3.2 -8.2
Seattle STD Clinic 1.7 1.8 -8.9
Japan -10.0
San Francisco EMT F -4.2 -4.5 -11.4
San Francisco EMT M -3.1 -5.6 -14.6
San Francisco Gay S -1.2 -1.6 -16.0
Gay Parade SF -4.8 -6.2 -32.1
Gay murder victims 0.0
Also see comparison of AIDS rates for Asians which is
comparably lower as well.
doc913:gaywant.rs1
doc\94\3\priv\astranv.txt - transvestites in Singapore
%%activist
\priv\95\02\chua.txt .doc
"Founder of First Gay and Lesbian Asian Group Succumbs to AIDS" Asian
Week Sept 2, 1994 p. 3 Daniel C. Tsang. Siong-Huat Chua, a native of
Malacca Malaysia died Aug 15 at Beth Israel Hospital, age 39. He was
profiled in "Fighting Chance" a video on HIV positive Asians, where
Chua refused to apologize for getting AIDS and said that he would
change nothing in his behavior, adamantly declining to accept blame
for the disease.
@@China
ONLY 2% OF CHINESE HAVE HAD HOMOSEXUAL EXPERIENCES, 10% IN COLLEGE
doc\92\doc924\chinaids.txt - Ruili China 1992 SF Examiner Sept 29,
1992 A11 Uli Schmetzer Chicago Tribune SF Examiner Sept 29, 1992 A11
Uli Schmetzer Chicago Tribune In a six city survey by China's
foremost sexologist, Dr. Liu Dalin, 0.5 percent urban residents and
2.31 percent of rural people reported having had homosexual
experiences. At Universities, this figure was 8.4 percent for women
and 7.5 percent for men.[that's comparable to US] 93 percent of gays
had completed at least secon- dary school, many had spent time in
prison for being gay. Only one-third of the 254 homosexuals his 14
researchers interviewed had sex with their partners. Among those who
did, nearly 40% stuck to one partner. 85 percent of interviewed
homosexuals would not openly disclose their sexual status. years,
Canton and Shanghai have become havens for gays from Asian countries
@@equal
Common wisdom is that the rate of homosexuals and activity is equal
for all races, however there is zero evidence to support this, as
rates for AIDS and HIV vary widely between races.
"Revolution by Stages" AsiaWeek Aug 7, 1998 p. 38. Persecution has
been largely banished, but ostracism has not. If it is true that one
person in 10 is gay, then maybe 315 million Asians are living a lie.
Many asian cultures are tolerant. India, Singapore, Malaysia outlaw
gay sex as "unnatural". China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and
Thailand have no laws.
"If you look at all societies", says Frederick Whitam [University of
Arizona], who has researched homosexuality in cultures as diverse as
the United States, Central America, and the Philippines,
"homosexuality occurs at the same rates with the same kinds of
behavior. That suggests something biological has been going on. The
biological evidence has been growing for 20 or more years" "Born or
Bred" Newsweek Feb 24, 1992
Comment - This is measurably false by any methodology for
quantitatively measuring homosexuals and homosexual activity in the
United States, China, or Japan. The author claims there is no
evidence of different rates (I've documented dozens of pieces of
evidence) and offers no specific instances of quantitative measures
which show numerical equality.
@@Health
%%Syphilis
GAY SYPHILIS IS 150 TIMES GENERAL POPULATION, 3/4 HIV+
http://archives.seattletimes.com/cgi-bin/texis/web/vortex/display?slug=aids10m&date=20000510&query=aids
z42\clip\2000\06\syph.txt Seattle Times Company May 10, 2000 No end
in sight to syphilis outbreak by Warren King Seattle Times medical
reporter About 40 to 50 cases of syphilis in gay men are being
reported annually in King County. The rate of infection in the gay
population is 150 times greater than for the heterosexual population.
Of nearly 100 gay men with syphilis interviewed during the past two
years, about two-thirds said they had recently had unprotected sex
with at least one anonymous partner. The average age of the infected
men was 35. Three-fourths of the cases are in men who also are
carrying the AIDS virus. "I think there is a small number who are
consistently unsafe and a larger number who are unsafe sometimes."
@@japan
\clip\96\05\japngay.txt Couple visit schools to dispel myths about
gays TOKYO, Sept. 25 (Kyodo) "''Statistics show that 3-5% of
population are homosexual, so there must be quite a few homosexuals
among the students we met." "Although some 10% of the students at
Kikukawa Junior High still said they could not understand
homosexuality even after listening to the lecture, about half of them
said their images toward homosexuals have been changed."
@@Opinion
CHINESE IN SF SAY NO TO GAY MARRIAGE
Asian Week Mar 9, 2000 p15
SF Poll mirrors early results
Bush heavily over mccain 18-6 vs 13-12 gen
52 chinese vs 26 for prop 22 (only 2 sex marriages)
@@Parade
"Proud to be queer Asians" Seattle Interntional Examiner July 3, 1996
p. 10 Denise Tang F072297 Sunday, June 30, over 100 Asians from
across the Pacific Northwest marched together in Seattle's Pride
parade, featuring "Queerzilla, the Original Flamer" "Being a queer
Asian breaks stereotypes of Asians as primarily heterosexual"
@@Population
Lots of surveys on gays which
include Asians, table was at the front of this file as
a summary.
[[Boston
doc942\priv\gaybost.txt 1/4 of gays are open, small in boston
[[DC
\doc\94\17\washblad.wk1
Wash Blade Survey
Asian gays: 1/92 Washington Blade Survey, DC + Suburbs
Index W1.00(1.31) B-4.29 H-2.22 A-6.92
Percent W87.6 B7.7 H2.3 A0.7 O1.7
[[Japan
doc\94\11\priv\japad871.txt 1 percent gay in Japan vs. 10 US
different from that in the United States,'' Shiokawa said in an
interview. He estimated that less than 1 percent of Japanese men are
homosexual, as compared with the United States' 10 percent. The
d:\doc\94\17\priv\jpaids11.txt SJM 8/7/94 JAPAN TRIES TO QUELL ANXIETY
AS AIDS SUMMIT OPENS - estimate is 300,000 nationwide or 0.3%
[[China
doc\doc924\chinaids.dxt - survey of gays in China
[[Los Angeles - See RAND study
[[San Francisco
see AIDS study
[[Seattle
d:\doc\94\seahiv.wk1 1993 STD clinic, of gay clients: W1.0(.99) B1.69
H1.79 A-8.91 NA1.10
[[US
@@race - also see AIDS figures, which are closely related to gay population
\doc\95\05\macs.txt Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study
83.1% white
10.1% black
5.3% hispanic
1.5% Asian/NatAm/Other
\doc\95\02\asiasex.doc - survey of asian gay polls
D:\DOC\94\3\LATGAY.WK1 LA Times US exit poll of 92 presidential voters
Ethnicity Index
men women men women
gay all lesbia all gay all lesbia all
White* 79% 85% 74% 83% 0.93 0.89
Black 13% 9% 15% 12% 1.55 1.34
Latino 4% 3% 7% 3% 1.43 2.51
Asian 0% 1% 0% 1% 0.00 0.00
Other 4% 2% 4% 1% 2.15 4.30
Minority voters more likely to call themselves gay, except Asian
* White is gay / all, others are gay / all / white
d:\doc\94\20\gaykill.wk1 - Gay murders by Race
Gay Murder Victims W1.00(.83) B2.85 H1.33 A0.00
doc\94\19\famstruc.wk1 - Family structure US Census 1990
US Unmarried Partner Households (Urban) W1.00 B1.19 H1.11 A-2.02 NA 1.80
\doc\94\17\gaymark.wk1 - Overlooked Opinions Survey
Overlooked Opinions 1992 survey of gay men in USA
Men W1.00(1.12) B-3.36 H-1.06 A-2.8 NA1.28
Women W1.00(1.05) B-2.17 H1.24 A-1.57 NA 2.18
Note that US Asian AIDS rate is 1/3 vs. 1/2.8 in survey
[[World
doc923:eqgay.txt[asian,gay] no proof of different number of asian gays
[[San Francisco
doc938:lesbaids.xls SF survey of Lesbians
population B1.4 H-1.1 A-2.8 NA 3.9 http://www.arthurhu.com/index/agay.htm#population