16 August 2009

Missing The Same-Sex Marriage Mark (As I See It)

PREACHING TO THE CHOIRS

The same-sex marriage debate continues to floor me in its smoke and mirrors, its straw men, its red herrings. Both sides seem so completely fixated on their perspectives that the debate generally goes nowhere but is focusing on emotional appeals from both sides and only preaches to the respective choirs.



BULLCRAP

Couples are being limited in how they can love and told they're worthless by being denied? Bullcrap.
Moral majority setting rules is what democracy is all about, and if you don't like it, get out? Bullcrap (time marker 7:45).

I call bullcrap all around. We can go back and forth forever. Same-sex marriage proponents seem to believe this is the great civil rights battle of our generation. Same-sex marriage opponents seem to believe this is the great moral battle of our generation.



THE CRUX (AS I SEE IT)

Same-sex marriage proponents declare selective limitation of the right to marry to be an unconstitutional practice and an egregious civil rights violation, not to mention a sign of bigotry and tyranny in our society.

Same-sex marriage opponents declare opening marriage to all consenting adults to be a detriment to the foundation of healthy society and a forced redefinition and breakdown of a time-honored institution for the sake of social validation, not to mention it not being a civil rights issue.

"Wait...what? Not a civil rights issue? How can they say that? Of course it's a civil rights issue." "No, it's not a civil rights issue, it's a moral issue." Here, in the definition of marriage and whether it is, indeed, a civil rights issue (which is debatable depending on your definition of marriage, as is the question of whether marriage is a natural right), is where I think the problem is. If we have two fundamentally disparate definitions of what marriage is, the rest of the debate is mostly useless and superfluous.



WHAT IS "MARRIAGE"?

As I see it, to someone who believes the very word "marriage" is inextricably tied to a usually or ideally religious union of a man and a woman, generally for the purpose of raising a stable family, no matter how much that union has been abused over the years, "marriage" is not merely a civil contract but a moral, religious institution, and a heterosexual one by definition. In that sense, all people have equal access to the union called "marriage" because any gay man is welcome to marry a woman, and any gay woman is welcome to marry a man, if they so choose, as some do. If some feel they couldn't be happy in such a relationship, they are also free to choose not to marry or to enter into another kind of relationship. And from that perspective, marriage is, by its very nature, an institution which is unchangeable and fixed except perhaps by edict directly from God, so even if the word "marriage" is bastardized to include couples for whom it was never intended, it won't be authentic marriage but the government co-opting a religious institution which was never intended to be up for public revision.

As I see it, someone who believes "marriage" is a union by contract of two people who want to bring their resources and lives into one as recognized by society under the law naturally believes that to limit access to such a contract depending on sexual orientation and based on religious belief not only is fundamentally anti-American and a clear violation of civil rights but the terrible tyranny of religious beliefs mixing with government to marginalize those who don't fit an ideological mold. For some of them, their church would "marry" them if their church were allowed to, and they want the government to get out of controlling whom their church chooses to marry. Being "allowed" all the same rights under a civil union, or having a "commitment ceremony", may be nice, but feelings of degradation aside, it's just wrong to deny rights to people based on sexual orientation, and they see "marriage" as such a right.



EMOTIONAL POLITICS

Unfortunately, I'm afraid most people haven't even thought their own stance through to nearly that extent but have responded to emotional arguments. There are so many emotional appeals out there on both sides, and they're mostly irrelevant and specious. People who repeat them sound annoying and foolish after a while as they ring the same tinny bell.
  • We're not allowed to love who we want to. What's wrong with love?
  • Society will mock our traditional beliefs if gay marriage is allowed.

To me, the most galling examples of this were two ads during the Prop 8 campaign. The first, made by the organization sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, featured a young man saying if Prop 8 didn't pass, people upholding traditional beliefs would be subjected to social ridicule. I've rarely been so angry at a political statement, and if it's not obvious to you why that's such an offensive thing to say, it's probably not worth putting energy into convincing you. The second was an ad which targeted the church in a completely ridiculous and senselessly inflammatory way, a portrayal so absurd and so reflective of a lack of understanding that it's almost not worth mentioning.



THE (IR)RELEVANCE OF MOTIVES

Emotional appeals aside, there are also arguments for or against based on the motivations for supporting/opposing same-sex marriage.

I've heard from many people, including some gay rights supporters, that the gay marriage debate is not about the right to marry in and of itself but is about social validation and ending bigotry by changing cultural perception through legislation. I don't think any reasonable person would deny that there are activists who are trying to use same-sex marriage as a wedge to gain social acceptance at any social cost (though they may not believe the costs are or would be negative or grave, as many opponents do), but to say that the majority of same-sex marriage supporters are just seeking validation and forcing tolerance and not actually interested in preserving freedom and rights for all is diminutive.

I've also heard from many people, including some religious opponents of same-sex marriage, that opponents are only enforcing their morality on society and that they don't really care whether "equality" is obtained because gay relationships are inferior and unworthy of social recognition. I don't think any reasonable person would deny that there are religious conservatives who don't care whether this is a civil rights issue at all because the social good is what they're after, not equality (though they may believe, as I mentioned, that all have access to marry...someone of the opposite sex), but to claim that all opponents of same-sex marriage are bigots and homophobes and not actually interested in preserving the institution of marriage is diminutive.

Such accusations are, aside from being inflammatory and dismissive, almost entirely irrelevant because if something is right (legally speaking), it's right no matter why some people are pushing it, and if something is wrong, it's wrong no matter why some people are pushing it. If you try to tell me gay marriage should be illegal because gay people don't really want marriage because they don't stay together longer than two years anyway, and if you try to tell me gay marriage should be legal because those who oppose it are bigots, you've made no argument whatsoever. Seriously. You've just told me you're willing to deny rights or change the law based on someone else's motives, not on legal merits.

Where motives do become relevant, in the political arena, is in perceiving where a power grab is masked in championing a good cause. The greatest political players know that to accomplish anything, you have to hide behind heroism and strong ideology. So it's wise to question motives, and it's wiser still to prepare to respond to those and to negate them through negotiation or proposing alternative actions, but it still doesn't change whether something should happen on its own merits. It just means you have to be aware and wise about how legislation is worded and implemented, no matter which side you're on.

For example, most of us agree health care should be reformed, but we're cautious about what will sneak its way in with the reform, so we understandably have taken our time in figuring out what to do. We don't trust each other. We probably shouldn't. But that doesn't mean certain changes shouldn't be made, so we try to move ahead and negotiate and make sure nobody's going to use a good thing to completely overturn our country's foundation, like conservative worry about Obama's proposed health care reform pushing us towards socialism. But...then again, we don't see much open dialog there, either, mostly just all-or-nothing debate. Politics as usual.



ERA ALL OVER?

Speaking of politics as usual, I've heard talk, in relation to the church's involvement with Prop 8, of the church's successful opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, a position which the church clarifies on its web site as not being against equality for women but against the implications of its wording and the lack of necessity based on other avenues of procuring "equality" while "allowing for natural differences". Today, you'll provoke the ire of many if you voice a belief in inequality of women and men, yet the Equal Rights Amendment is still not part of the U.S. Constitution. Things seem to have worked out fine with women achieving equal status but without the potential mess of the ERA's apparently sloppy or vague wording.

Or, if you flip it around, is it possible that Prop 8 was a sort of counterpart to the ERA: a quick blanket fix without regard to a more gradual, nuanced approach of achieving equality and protecting the rights of religions from government control by instead hastily changing a constitution to achieve the desired effect?



RENDER UNTO CAESAR...

And if we're going to change the constitution anyway, I propose a different change than those attempted thus far: take marriage out. I say if marriage is a religious institution, invented by and managed by "the church", then give it back to the churches, get the state out, and let the government govern the legal rights and obligations of "civil" unions, which would be required completely independent of marriage.

But aside from being very skeptical about our ability to change something that's been such a part of our history from the beginning (I can only imagine the outraged backlash from ultraconservatives, but let them fume), I think the battle would then move to civil unions and the ramifications of legalizing them and placing them on equal footing as heterosexual civil unions. Would adoption agencies not still have the same issues? Would schools not have the same ability to teach homosexuality? ...if those were ever valid arguments, won't they still apply with civil unions? Won't we still have a civil rights debate on our hands...?



THE UNEDUCATED HAVEN'T EARNED A RIGHT TO VOTE

I've heard it argued many times that gay people don't stay together anyway, and when they do, they have open relationships, so why do they even need marriage? It's a "farce", some say, to take gay people at face value when they say they want the right to marry because all they really want is social validation since they obviously don't know the first thing about real commitment. It's ridiculous that they even presume to be capable of marriage, others say (an idea possibly rooted in the belief that homosexuality is a symptom of emotional deficits, sexual disorder, gender role issues, men not being "wired" for monogamy and needing women to tie them down, or some such thing).

Besides, why should the majority of society bow to their whim in wanting marriage by changing the definition that has always existed and been the foundation of functioning society throughout all of recorded history, just so they can "feel" validated, especially when they can have all the same rights through civil unions and other legislation anyway?

To those who view marriage as an inherently male-female institution, this does make sense. To those who view marriage in a different way, somewhat like land ownership or the right to vote, it seems more like a copout reason to withhold rights. Once upon a time, there was no precedent for women to vote, and that was supposedly as it should be because it maintained well-working social structure and roles. Some see marriage as similarly denied based on archaic social constructs. Of course, the comparison runs into problems when sexual orientation is not seen as an innate characteristic, such as gender or ethnicity.

And of course, there may be some who don't care whether marriage is a civil right anyway because the social good overrides civil rights. Perhaps those same people are consistent in their views, such as believing uneducated people shouldn't have a right to vote because they haven't earned that responsibility, and we should therefore identify subsets of society in which lack of education is rampant and remove their right to vote. That argument certainly has been made in the past. But then, the definition of "vote" is pretty clear, so we have the added problem of debating what "marriage" means, whether a religious institution or a civil contract.



MY POINT
...though it may only make sense to me...

My point is that, as I see it, whether traditionalists will be socially ridiculed, and whether gay people are capable of lifelong fidelity, and whether schools will teach gender-neutral sexuality, and whether society "validates" homosexuality, and whether "love" is being denied people, and whether being allowed only civil unions makes people feel "second class" are all specious arguments. They are mostly valid concerns which should be addressed, but they do not make legal arguments as to whether "marriage" should include couples of the same sex. They're all distractions from the real discussion: what marriage is and whether it is a civil right. Everything else, like what ramifications it might have to open it or close it to same sex couples, is secondary and can probably be worked out in the long run.

It seems to me that if marriage is exclusively defined as a religiously ordained institution which is inherently heterosexual by nature, then we already have marriage equality, and any changes really are not issues of civil rights but of simple majority rule deciding whether to "change" the definition of marriage, and all talk of "civil rights" should cease as irrelevant. Perhaps then it'd be time to turn to gaining other rights that, to me, seem more important: employment and housing non-discrimination, domestic partnership rights for financial and medical protection and stewardship, etc. Here I'll admit I think of "marriage" as used in legal framework documents as inherently non-denominational, therefore subject to interpretation, and referring, in law, to civil contract by virtue of separation of church and state, but I also admit I have no formal education to support that view. That being the case, it seems to me that if this definition of marriage is adopted, government should divorce itself from the term "marriage", but we all know that's not likely to happen any time soon.

But if marriage is a civil right, then it seems to me we should grant it to all equally and pass any laws to protect or guard against possible consequences of it, such as those enumerated by Prop 8 supporters. But perhaps I'm deluded and need to face the possibility that even "civil rights" can and should be denied if there is a greater social good to be preserved or established. But that's a pretty scary philosophy, if you ask me, even if it were legal: feeling justified in telling a group they can't have rights you have because you think it's better for the republic that they not.

And if "marriage" is a vague term not well defined and under dispute, then the nation (or the states) probably should define it in its (or their respective) constitutions to clarify its role. Admittedly, if that's the case, then that is quite possibly what happened in California: the majority of the population simply decided marriage meant "man and woman" and is not a "civil right" for any two consenting adults, while the side which lost believed marriage to be a contract and therefore a civil right but were outvoted in their definition of marriage. My problem is that, judging from the scare-tactic ads about homosexuality being taught in schools and churches being forced to perform gay marriages, I seriously doubt most voters ever even considered whether they were removing someone's civil rights, and I suspect many indeed thought they were blocking civil rights for a greater social good, and that bothers me a lot. See, I'm more concerned about why people voted the way they did, on both sides, than which way they voted.

As far as I can tell, whether it's a civil right (or what the definition of "marriage" is) is still being decided and will continue to be decided state-by-state and through court cases nationwide. In the meantime, can't we have more dialog about compromise?

17 comments:

Thomas said...

Thanks for saying all of this. From my perspective, the real issue that Marriage already has 2 segments: a religious ceremony part, and a legal contract part. Same-sex marriage seeks this civil marriage/contract aspect as a legal right.

In many ways, it could be argued that the Church already gave up "ownership" of marriage by allowing civil marriage for heterosexuals; by accepting divorce; and by allowing such a broad and crazy mix of stuff be labeled as "getting married." Now, they want to re-own Marriage- take it all back as if it were just this religious ceremony. Not sure that is going to work

Looking forward to following your blog. I write at thomscwaters.com

Kengo Biddles said...

Well put. Thanks for this.

Christian MIller said...

Consider a graceful solution to the same-gender battle: get government out of both the marriage business and the special civil union business.

Think about it. Why not? It is certainly fair to everyone including single people.

Quinn said...

I said to one of my friends that marriage was recognized far before there was any government. It just happened that when government was created, they decided to recognize marriage and give its participants certain rights. So the government has no say in what rules and regulations must be followed to constitute a marriage.

Thank you for your thoughtful post. It was very intriguing.

Anonymous said...

I continue to like you. Even more so after reading this.

Chedner said...

My opinion:

If marriage is a religious construct, then it is everyone's constitutional right that every religious activity receive the same governmental benefits and restrictions as any other.

(In other words, it doesn't matter if, by large, the religious definition of marriage is between a man and a woman; if *one* religion believes that marriage can be between a man and another man or between a woman and another woman, then the government, if granting benefits and applying restrictions upon one religious definition of marriage, *must* grant such things to every religious definition of marriage. The government cannot and must not favor one religion over another. It is our constitutional right.)

If marriage is a social construct, then it is everyone's constitutional right that our social activities be free from religious influences and be allowed or restricted based upon society's leading experts.

In my mind, it is 100% a civil right for gay marriage to be treated equally to heterosexual marriage in the eyes of the government. Religiously speaking, gay couples being married by various churches should receive the same governmental benefits and restrictions as straight marriages. Socially (meaning the secular sense) speaking, society's leading experts strongly see gay couples and heterosexual couples as comparable equals; therefore, there is no secular reason to deny equal standing of gay marriage to straight marriage.

Bravone said...

Thank you for outlining the issues from various vantage points. It was interesting and caused me to think more than a body should have to on a Monday morning.

Original Mohomie said...

Chedner, your point is why I think "marriage" in legal documents needs to be regarded either as civil contract or, if taken religiously, removed to let religions unify whom they will, leaving contracts to the State rather than having the State "recognize" religious rites. But to some, that's unacceptable because it's moving toward heathen secularism.

The problem I'm seeing is that the "marriage" issue has been muddied by the initial involvement of government, a meshing of church and state I suspect was made because of clear social benefit to promoting and recognizing marriage.

The concern I think I'm hearing from many is about the government being used as a pawn to force redefinition of the inherently heterosexual "institution" of marriage at the whim of a subset of population which, by and large, has yet to prove its regard for the institution as what it was meant for and really just wants social validation. So if the majority of the population will agree that "marriage" as written in the law always meant "man and woman" and that equality is already achieved in any man and woman being able to marry, then there is no inequality anyway.

I think, at least, that's where many/most Prop 8 supporters are coming from, but there's a possibility some of them see it from another angle: necessary inequality for greater good. I've spoken with a person or two who seem, at least, to believe that unfortunately, since we live in an imperfect world, we can't always afford to be idealistic or overly principled in public policy and that if we are, the nation will fail. So it's the failure of the nation or inequality. I think that's how some people see it: inequality must exist at times to avoid plunging the nation into irreversible and fatal moral or economic decay. If someone is convinced that to legalize same-sex marriages would affect the more impressionable masses in a way which would foster overly permissive morality on several fronts, leading to normalizing all kinds of sexual deviation, increasing social instability due to loss of increasingly many Judeo-Christian values, and the destruction of everything this nation is founded on, that person is going to be hard-won by even arguments for "equality", I suspect.

To flip it around on a certain subset of supporters of same-sex marriage, if legislation were being pushed based on equality of religious expression and freedom of churches to do as they please, but you were absolutely confident that legislation would open the door to, for example, widespread and aggressive evangelical proliferation, some might be hard-won as well, especially if there were any way around it, because you'd hate to see the nation fall under the tyrannical grip of the religious right.

I think some turn a blind eye to equality because they believe that in some cases, equality is not what's best for the nation. But I suspect most simply don't believe this is about equality: it's about what marriage is and what it was meant for, and nobody has a "right" to change that. Sure, divorce and other factors have already decimated marriage, but they'll be damned if they're going to lie down and let it be bulldozed one more time without a good fight.

...but again, I wasn't and am not a Prop 8 supporter. Nor am I a staunch opponent. If I had to come down on one side, I'd come down against it because I'm just not convinced, and I think there has to be another way, such as a divorce of the religious word from the civil contract, as I think Thomas indicated.

That said, Chedner, I'm not sure I disagree w/anything you said, except that I may not be so convinced "same-sex marriage" is, in fact, a matter of civil rights, though I admittedly tend to think of it as such. Feel free to add something, or feel free to leave it alone because I'm too thick-skulled a devil's advocate or you've already said your piece. Though I may pick your brain in person at some point if you don't pipe in again. :-)

Chedner said...

Firstly, I would dare say that, by large, heterosexuals have yet to prove its regard for the institution as what [they claim] it was meant for.

Nonetheless:

Section I of the Fourteen Amendment of the US Constitution declares, No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Dictionary.com defines the word, 'abridge' as follows:

1. to shorten by omissions while retaining the basic contents: to abridge a reference book.
2. to reduce or lessen in duration, scope, authority, etc.; diminish; curtail: to abridge a visit; to abridge one's freedom.
3. to deprive; cut off.


One could argue that Ia) a gay person's privilege to marry is [rather significantly] abridged by the definition that marriage is only between a man and a woman; Ib) our immunity from religion is being abridged; II) a gay person's liberty to marry unabridged is being deprived without due process of law; and III) a gay person is not receiving equal protection to freely marry unabridged, not only referring to the protected liberties and privileges afforded straight people's unabridged marriages, but also and perhaps more importantly to the lack of protection from, say, a majority's vote on their marriages and the protection of having another person's religious beliefs be applied to their lives.

To reiterate:

I) Declaring that gay people *do* have the privilege of marriage, as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex falls, in my opinion, under the "Abridged Privileges" header (numbers refer to dictionary.com's definitions of 'abridge'):

1. "If we strip marriage down to it's 'basic contents' [which are decided by the majority, based primarily on their religious beliefs and tradition], omitting concepts such as marrying the person you love most dearly in this world and being exemplary parents as two men or two women, then gays can still marry."

2. "I'm all for marriage-like rights for gay couples."

3. "Marriage is a privilege between a man and a woman [because our God/tradition/theories(read non-empirical views) say so]."

Ib) Basically, it is not the religious sects, themselves, controlling the definition of marriage. So, we're basically free from religion... if we omit or diminish the fact that it's the majority's religious leanings that's controlling the definition of marriage.

II) Retaining the abridged privilege of marriage because of a partial majority's vote; tradition; unproven and dis-proven theories; and slippery slope and other logical fallacies instead of the testimonies of expert and character witnesses; children raised by gay couples; and other empirical evidences (in other words: without a fair trial, so to speak) is denying gay people the liberty to marry whomsoever they choose without due process of law. (I think "due process of law" is vital here; I agree that not anyone can hold claim to a governmental-ly protected liberty and proclaim it in the name of civil rights; there should be an impartial hearing which weighs the empirical data to decide if the liberty is, indeed, to be afforded.)

III) The fact that gay marriage advocates have to fight so arduously to simply have their case heard fairly, by impartial ears, is a testament that lawful protection simply is not a reality.

... so... it's still feeling like a civil rights issue to me...

Chedner said...

... sorry... more...

Concepts of the day:

Theories vs. Empirical Evidences
...as an explanation of what our 'due process of law' is built upon...

Abridged Privileges
...strike one against our civil rights...

Abridged Immunities [From Religion]
...strike two against our civil rights...

Deprived Liberties Without Due Process of Law
...strike three against our civil rights...

Unequal Protection
...strike four against our civil rights...

(...and you only need one strike to be out here...)


So to sum ('cause I'm enjoying typing... the sound... 'cause I'm losing my mind... no, really, I'm typing merely because the sound of typing is pleasing, not because I don't think my message has yet to be understood):

The privilege to marry is being abridged via the abridgment of our immunity from religion, the liberty to enjoy the privileges of marriage with whomsoever we wish is being denied without due process of law, and one side of this argument is receiving far more protection than the other side... which protection, frankly, is present because of an abridged immunity from religion.

THE END.

Poke holes, tear what I've said apart, etc. Challenge me, please... yes, I'm still typing... my goodness, something's snapped... I'm fearing for my well-being...

Original Mohomie said...

Chedner, thanks for expounding. I think your arguments are well thought-out, and maybe I'm just dense, but I'm just not sure they make the necessary jump for someone who doesn't believe marriage is limited to begin with because it's open to all and who believes same-sex couples can pursue happiness in their own unions that are created for a purpose other than procreation or...something, and that's where I think their argument starts to break down for me. :-)

I know it seems intuitive, but I just don't know if it's possible to make that jump for some people. I'm not sure I am completely inside their heads, though, so I'm not sure I can argue their case beyond what I've said. So unless others have comments, I'm stumped for now. :-) ...and honestly too tired and worn out to care enough about the issue right now to pursue it. :-/ (I don't mean that to be dismissive; I've just had a rough and busy day.)

Quinn said...

Let me just throw a 10,000 pound elephant into the conversation.

It we are to allow people to marry those who they love, do we allow 5 women to marry one man. (omit ant LDS polygamy discussion please and just speak for the greater whole).

Do we allow a man to marry his horse?

Just wanted to throw a wrench in the conversation.

Original Mohomie said...

Ha, OK I guess I have enough energy for one thing: as far as I know, the horse argument is easy to dismiss, since horses aren't citizens with legal rights to contracts, yadda yadda yadda. The plural marriage concept, however...

*sitting back and withholding my explanation of lack of opposition to plural marriage legalization to see what someone else might say 'cause I'm worn out...* :-)

Quinn said...

(first off I do dont support either of these views)

Yes the horse has no legal rights..... yet........ But the man does, and he loves his horse so much... would you deny him love?


P.S. I am not comparing gay marriage to animal/human marriage, but this is a part of the debate. If we grant marriage to some, we must grant it to all.

Chedner said...

I dont' think there's really a relevant "elephant in the room."

I'm not talking about opening marriage up to someone for the sake of, "If she gets a cookie, he should get a cookie!" -- because, indeed, if he gets a cookie, just because she gets a cookie... then everyone should get cookies.

Privileges are earned.

I'm talking about opening marriage up to those who have earned it, who are able to perform equally to any comparable couple already afforded the privileges, liberties, and protections of marriage.

Using the cookie analogy: "She got a cookie because she cleaned her room. He cleaned his room, so he should get a cookie." <-- This is what I'm talking about.

A gay couple can be compared to a barren heterosexual couple.

A barren heterosexual couple is allowed the privilege of marriage; therefore, if a gay couple is capable of performing comparably to a barren heterosexual couple, then gay couples should be allowed the same privilege of marriage.

In other words, if the only difference is outward appearances, there should be no difference in treatment/reward/privilege. It's the entire concept of equality, n'est-ce pas?

Back to the cookies: If she cleans her room and gets a cookie, and he cleans his room but doesn't get a cookie because it's a girl's job to maintain the cleanliness of the house... we have a problem which falls under the equal privilege, equal liberty, and equal protection (aka civil rights) area of things. The privilege is limited to girls for no other reason than that they are girls.

Now, to say, "Marriage is already available to homosexuals; they just have to marry someone of the opposite sex" is like saying, "He can get a cookie; all he has to do is go clean his bike [as boys should]; he still has access to a cookie!" ... it's almost irrelevant.

If the government is "handing out cookies" for "cleaning rooms" then anyone who "cleans a room" should "get a cookie."

If the government is "handing out cookies" to only "girls" for "cleaning rooms," then "boys" who are "cleaning rooms" just as well (perhaps even better, maybe?) as "girls" should be treated equally to "girls" and, therefore, "get a cookie."

(I don't care if you think "girls" are ideal "cleaners." "Boys" can, and have proven themselves to be sufficient "room cleaners" (besides, "cleanliness" is often subjective).)

And it makes absolutely no difference if "boys" can "get cookies" if they "clean their bikes" ... if they "clean their rooms," and the government is "giving out cookies" for "cleaning rooms," then "boys" should "get a cookie" if they "clean their rooms."

It doesn't matter if a gay person has the option of marrying someone of the opposite sex already. If a gay person can comparably perform the duties of marriage within a homosexual union, then that gay person should, due to our civil rights of equality, have all the privileges and such of marriage within that gay union.

--
Applying this to the three big slippery slopes: if polygamy, or siblings in love, or pedophiles want the same privileges of marriage as heterosexual couples, they need to find a comparable situation which is already afforded such privileges and show how they are performing equally.

(In other words, are they in the "cleaning their room" category?)

---
Thanks for letting me blabber on... it's been helping me clarify my own position on the issue. To be frank, I, too, wasn't too convinced that this is a civil rights issue... but the more I argue for it being so, the more I am convinced... even if my thoughts aren't perhaps clearly and orderly being presented here.

steps said...

Before the middle ages came around marriage was never at any time a religious union. Marriage is has it should be no matter which sex is marrying which sex. A legal union between two people, there is no bigotry or implied bigotry or discrimination, or morality issue only a legal issue of shared assets and life experinces when marriage becomes defined has a "legal" union which in essences is exactly how the "law" views a marriage. When you can a divorce the judge does not ask which one is a more christian then the other, or if one is more religious then the other. When you buy a house there is nothing in the contract as to which partner is more religious and should therefore in this marriage become its sole owner.
Its all a "legal" issue. The law by the consitution can not use a "religion" in deciding the assets of a marriage nor to my knowledge has it done so.
In a wedding no one is asked which is the more "moral" or which is the more "religious" it only asks if each want each other.
The issue is exactly what it appears it be ,an issue of discrimination and bigotry of equal application of "the concept of a marriage"
That concept if exactly what it has been applied to in "Legal" terms. A legal union.
The term marriage is nothing more then a term of use and not a legal application of the meaning.
If one looks at the terms of assets and legal application of it in a marriage it has nothing to do with religion. No one is even required to marry in a church.
There as always been one enemy in the world,this enemy has been responsible for more murder,torture,illness,hate then any other enemy to of every existed.
This enemy has a name and its name is "bigotry" its prefered weapon of choice is "religion"
Call it a marriage or whatever you like call it a bird if you like but the botton line is its a "legal" issue and a civil rights issue.
Take the "religion" out of it and it no long becomes an issue at all.

Alan said...

@Quinn:

Your horse analogy fails because in a marriage, whether religious or civil, both parties must have full capacity to judge, consent, and indicate free willingness to enter into the relationship. Even in a purely religious setting it is a contract. So the whole slippery slope thing about marrying animals is a red herring and always has been.