Free Markets, Free People

It’s hard being right all the time

Long ago, I argued that the end result of Lawrence v. Texas, and ultimately the legalization of gay marriage, would ineluctably lead to calls to polygamous marriage, and in some fringe cases, incest. Here I am arguing it in 2005. What I was told at the time, essentially was:

Ah, the famed ’slippery slope’ argument.  It goes like this: ’’Opening the concept of marriage to any interpretation will lead to a slippery slope for any type of relationship to emerge as the new norm.’’

This is patently offensive. It says that if a loving gay couple can marry, we will have to allow a zookeeper somewhere to marry his monkey.  Then, we have to allow Jethro to marry 8 women.  We have to allow dad to marry his daughter.

But that response was stupid. Because it was essentially, "Your artificial definition of marriage is monstrous. But my artificial definition of marriage will hold, impervious, for as long as the sun burns hot in space."

But, I was right, of course. Now that gay marriage seems to be becoming fixed as an accepted right, we find ourselves faced with the next logical push for expansion of marriage. In Slate today, Jillian Keenan has penned an article urging the legalization of polygamy. Indeed, according to her, it’s a feminist imperative.

While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.

It will empower women! Indeed, look at how empowered women are in all the polygamous societies that currently exist in the world. And in polygamous societies all throughout history.

Oh. Wait. It’s the exact opposite of that, isn’t it?

Anyway, the argument goes that, under the feministy, empowering regime of legal polygamy it won’t be patriarchal polygyny. No, a woman can have two or three husbands! Because, you know, men like nothing better than letting their wives screw other guys. That’s just human nature.

In any event, the definition of marriage is plastic, you see. it’s just a social construct and it can mean anything we want it to mean. And there’s nothing inherently better in one definition of "marriage" or another. It’s all good! Family is family, right? So, like, whatever.

But, let’s forget the argument about whether polygamy is a good or a bad thing. Ultimately the point is that I was, of course, right to argue that we’d end up with arguments demanding a right to polygamy and, despite gay marriage advocates calling me a monster for even suggesting such an unseemly slippery slope argument, well…here we are.

Eight years ago, the slippery slope polygamy argument was just a load of Rick Santorum, wingnut, Christer bullsh*t. Today, it turns out it was just a logical prediction that was correct, and entirely foreseeable. I suppose that means that, eight years from now, we’ll have to let Jaime and Cersei Lannister get married.

So, we should probably start thinking about how we’re gonna deal that little dick, Joffre, right now.

Dale Franks
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101 Responses to It’s hard being right all the time

  • There was a lot of laughing at Rick Santorum when he predicted this path.
    What was more interesting were the question of Justice Sotomayor, who asked where this ultimately leads and exactly what were the fire-breaks that allowed a society to say “enough.”  Her question seemed to ask what will stop pedercasts, and the like, once the authority of society to make moral judgements is stripped away.

    • Of course, the obvious answer is that once the courts get in, it will be forever a pile of cr@p.
      Just like abortion, this should be decided indirectly at the ballot and directly by state and local legislatures, else …

  • I could care less if consenting adults enter into whatever relationships they choose.  The obvious solution is to get the state out of the business of giving people permission via licenses.  If your two male neighbors hold a ceremony and call themselves married, but you define “marriage” differently, then you don’t have to recognize their relationship as such.  If a man has four wives, like on the TV show “Sister Wives”, and the women are happy with the arrangement, who am I to tell them they are unhappy, victims of patriarchy, or whatnot?  They say otherwise.  If you disapprove, then don’t associate with them.  But they don’t belong in prison.
    The underground cults in which old men have a harem of child brides, in which consent and adulthood are absent, on the other hand, don’t qualify.  But when they are driven underground in the first place to avoid prison for bigamy, that lends itself to secrecy and aberrations.
    For those who are religious, who insist that marriage is defined by the bible, or whatever text, there are many examples of Abrahamic religious figures having multiple wives, so that justification doesn’t work against polygamy.  And, the fact that marriage occurred for thousands of years before the religious texts were written also demonstrates that marriage is not defined by those texts.
    So, my definition of “marriage” includes traditional, same-sex, and polyandrous relationships between consenting adults.  But I don’t insist that you accept my definition, or that the government force you to do so.

    I find the hoopla about all of this quite pointless and droll.  Aren’t there economic matters which are far, far more important?

    • Yeah? Keep that state out of it? OK. So long, Probate Court! G’Bye Family Court! Ta-Ta, divorce Court!
      You’ve been thinking deeply about the implications, I see.

      • Religious courts, that operate like when businesses agree to arbitration in contracts?

        • The problems start when it becomes a “right”
          … you have a right to … a house … a doctor …  a marriage … a dog that get enough cheese

        • Even in business arbitration, you have a fall-back in civil law.  PLUS, who says people will form such agreements?

          • Can’t people solve these problems without resorting to the use of government force to make people get permission to enter into the most private of all relationships and to force everyone to abide by whatever definition that a judge or political body chooses, no matter how arbitrary?

            Use some freaking imagination here.  Stop running to mommy government to solve all of your problems.

          • OK. So, let’s say we have a group marriage, with two husbands and three wives. One of the husbands and one of the wives get in a terrible car accident are are killed. Sadly, they die intestate. Who inherits? What is the probate court’s guidance?

          • I have no idea.  That’s not an arrangement that would interest me, so it isn’t my problem to solve.

          • Oh, dear…!!!  Where’s that imagination…???  Are  you running home to mommy now…???

          • Why do I have to apply my imagination to something that doesn’t involve me?
            If you can’t figure out why your cell phone isn’t working right, that’s not my problem, either.  Call your damned carrier.

      • I’ve been thinking more about the principles and their consequences than you have.

        Check your premises: government marriage licenses are a recent phenomenon, historically.  Before the advent, there was not the utter chaos you suggest.

        Nothing I wrote was based upon whim.  I absolutely, 100%, mean everything I wrote and if you’re concerned with the difficulties, then I say come up with answers which don’t involve forcing people to get permission to enter into the most private of relationships and which don’t involve the government shoving their definitions down the throats of everyone.

        • “…which don’t involve the government shoving their definitions down the throats of everyone.”

          To clarify: those who advocate the government maintaining a “traditional” (*) definition of marriage must realize that so long as they look to government as the source for defining this private relationship, they open the door for people with radically different ideas who have government power shoving a radically different definition down their throats.

          (*) Note that the general meaning of “traditional” marriage has not always been the definition, particularly on the matter of monogamy and polygamy.  That should be qualified as “traditional for the past few centuries in most of the West”.

        • …answers which don’t involve forcing people to get permission to enter into the most private of relationships and which don’t involve the government shoving their definitions down the throats of everyone.

          Which, as is common with you and Pick, neatly stands things on their heads.
          Marriage is, by definition, a VERY PUBLIC relationship.  It is, by definition, EXCLUSIVE on at least two levels.
          The definition is what it is, and has been for centuries and across cultures/religions.  It is YOU who are joining with a minority of “Gay Marriage” zealots who are trying to shove YOUR definition down the throats of others.
          NOOOObody has to have “permission” to enter into a purely private relationship.  And nobody cares.

          • “Marriage is, by definition, a VERY PUBLIC relationship.”

            No, it isn’t.  Married people share he most intimate, private relationship.  Generally, they go behind closed doors, have their own bedrooms, etc..  None of that is “VERY PUBLIC” in the slightest.
            “It is YOU…who are trying to shove YOUR definition down the throats of others.”
            Read what I wrote.  If you still repeat that false statement, I’ll call you a liar.
            I’ll fix your last paragraph:

            NOOOObody should have to get permission to enter into a intimately private relationship.  And, nobody else should demand that they get permission or that, once permission is granted, that everyone accept it in the same manner.

          • In other words, “La, la, la…your wrong, I’m right, I can’t hear you, and I’ll fix whatever I don’t like that you say”.
            Keep it to yourself.
            Why do you think marriages are PUBLIC ceremonies, you poor confused non-thinker?

          • Why do you think marriages are PUBLIC ceremonies, you poor confused non-thinker?

            Did you get an invitation to my wedding?  No.  It was not public.  It involved family and friends.
            Where do you get these arguments?

          • Because, you dishonest coward, you and I and everyone here knows that a marriage ceremony is a rite of passage.
            It is customary…you know, the USUAL PRACTICE…to celebrate it before your friends and family…and state to the world at large that you are now something new WRT your status.  So, of course not a thing to which everyone on earth is invited, but a thing to which everyone on earth is put on notice.  A VERY PUBLIC transition.  Like with notices in the paper and everything.

          • You spout “dishonest coward” from behind a keyboard.  That doesn’t impress me.  It’s just playground name calling with no substance, about like calling me a “poo-poo head”.

            …you and I and everyone here knows that a marriage ceremony is a rite of passage.

            What does that have to do with your false claim that the ceremony is public.  Oh, sorry, it’s “PUBLIC“, because all caps means you are shouting so you don’t have to provide a rational argument.

            It is customary…you know, the USUAL PRACTICE…to celebrate it before your friends and family…

            Still not public or “PUBLIC“.  And, shouting “USUAL PRACTICE” does nothing to change that.

            …and state to the world at large that you are now something new WRT your status.

            So, if that’s what you mean by “PUBLIC” then when John and Ted “state to the world at large that [they] are now” married, how is that different than when Joan and Fred do likewise?  If some people say John and Ted aren’t really “married”, that’s their values, their definition.  If other people treat both couples the same, that’s their values, their definition.
            I don’t see how either group should get to shove their values, their definition down the throat of others.  The way they get to do that is by requiring permission slips and giving bureaucrats the power to impose one set of values, one definition.
            Rewinding a bit: after the ceremony if you choose to tell other people you’re married, how does that retroactively make the ceremony public or “PUBLIC”?  Informing the public or “PUBLIC” is not a requirement.  Except when you’re forced to get a permission slip from the government which makes such records public or “PUBLIC” to people who know how to seek such records.

            …but a thing to which everyone on earth is put on notice.  A VERY PUBLIC transition.  Like with notices in the paper and everything.

            My father in law married a woman in the UK during the aftermath of WW II.  When he shipped back to the US, she didn’t come with him.  Nobody in the US knew about it.  When he was ready to marry my mother in law, he went several counties over to secretly file for a divorce.  It took 50 or 60 years for my wife to find out about it.  Not very public or “PUBLIC“.  She had to do all sorts of detective work to find the divorce record, then send that to someone in the UK who did some detective work via a private organization which helps children of war brides to find their Yankee fathers.  It turns out their were no children, so it was pretty much a wild goose chase.

    • If we want to fall back upon traditional forms from biblical times, even the “consenting” part falls off the tracks.

      • No kidding.  It is beyond me why anyone would want to cite a book in which one is advised how to treat slaves, and all the other horrible things.
        If someone feels there is a reason to believe in a god, why not believe in something completely awesome, which encompasses billions of galaxies, black holes, quasars, quantum physics, and all sorts of amazing things the most brilliant people have yet to grasp?  Why turn to tales told by shepherds from thousands of years ago whose notion of god is petty and cruel, having the characteristics of human beings, not of something capable of creating the wondrously complex universe?  Why do people maintain such traditions?  Because their parents and grandparents did it.  And those people did it because their parents and grandparents did it.  All the way back to when people knew nothing about germs, galaxies, brain surgery, life around vents deep in the ocean, or any of the basic facts we take for granted.
        None of those discoveries were revealed by religious texts.  In fact, many innovators were persecuted for heresy, simply for stating facts we know to be true today.  Why hold fast to something which gives no substantive answers?  And, no, general advice on being nice to people, being wise, etc. transcends all religious texts and exists in secular philosophy just the same.

  • In my novel (that nobody reads), written two decades ago, I define the “Ecstatic Movement”…which is SO much more free than the Gay Movement, doncha know.
    Adherents of the movement advocate sex with anything, in whatever condition of animation.  Which is exactly where “thinkers” are headed right now.  Compared to some of the visions these people have, polyamorous relationships will seem like pretty tame stuff.
    And, no, Elliot, this is not trivial.  The family as a cultural unit is fundamentally, essentially important, and you don’t screw around with it willy-nilly.  I would have thought anyone could see that, based on the experience of the last 60 years.

    • No, let’s pretend the appearance of college seminars at formerly reputable universities on accepting the idea of bestiality aren’t a rather disturbing trend.

    • Projecting your fantasy of “sex with anything” onto what I wrote is factually incorrect.  It has nothing to do with my explicitly limiting these things to consenting adults and it is deceptive of you to combine your recounting of a fantasy novel with a distorted attack on my statement.
      I never said the importance of families was trivial.  My family (traditional) is important TO ME as well as to my extended family members, in laws, friends, etc..  I could give two spits what you think about us or if you have “willy-nilly” whims to “disrespect” what I and my family have together.  So long as you leave us alone, you can think what you want, define what you want.  None of that will hurt us or change us.
      I don’t insist you accept my values regarding same-sex or polyamorous relationships.  I certainly would not want the government to shove such definitions down your throat.  I don’t think my values make any change whatsoever to the “family as a cultural unit”.  Not one single “traditional” family (father, mother, 2.5 children) is at all changed or devalued when there are “non-traditional” families.  And, having committed relationships between consenting adults is, in my opinion, more stable to society than people shacking up, being promiscuous, etc..
      You accuse me of considering the issue to be “trivial”.  I said the debate was pointless and droll.  The answer is obvious.  Quit turning to government to tell you what is good and bad.  Figure it out for yourself.  That answer is not, in any way, trivial, even if it is far simpler than court cases, elections, legislation, etc..  People handling their own affairs, without turning to mommy government is not trivial nor necessarily easy.  But it is better than the elites imposing potentially arbitrary rules.

  • Abolish govt laws governing marriage entirely.
    Seriously, have laws against “polygamy” prevented people from having multiple-partner relationships? No.
    Have laws against cousins marrying prevented people from screwing anyone else? No.
    So what is the point of having the law at all?

    • Where are you from, Arkansas…???
      Bigamy laws are enforced.
      Screwing your cousin is not the same…or similar…to marrying your cousin.  Or are these subtleties lost on you?

      • Marriage between first cousins is perfectly legal in 19 states, with 6 more allowing it under certain conditions.  It is banned outright in 25 states (including Arkansas), with only 5 states making the practice a crime.
        Why is it a crime in Texas, just considered to be void in Kansas, but perfectly okay in Virginia?  We don’t have a single definition on this and never have in this country.

    • <blockquote>Abolish govt laws governing marriage entirely.</blockquote>
      Including all mandates of survivor’s and spousal benefits.

      • Oh, sure…let’s just throw out the evolved law of probate, too…!!!
        Where are you people FROM…???

        • I’m from the school of thought that says that there is one way that you can’t define marriage…a way that puts someone else’s hand in my pocket.
          You want to declare yourself married to seventeen people of various ages, genders, sexualities, and degrees of consanguinity?  Go right ahead, but when you die, your Social Security, Medicare benefits, veteran’s pension, and other government emoluments that I pay for <b>CEASE</b>.

          • As long as you are willing to put your hand into my pocket to give these benefits to your spouse because you both are considered to be legally married, all while denying me access, we’ll still have a problem.

          • I have a solution.

      • Before government issued licenses for marriage, there was utter chaos.  There were no customs or “common law” regarding widows or widowers.  It was all “willy-nilly”.


        • You are a historical boob, Elliot.  Sorry.  Just telling it like it is.

          • 200 years ago, when no one got a marriage license, was there chaos?  In tribal societies, who don’t have bureaucratic records, is there chaos?
            Explain what these pieces of paper, these “official” permission slips, changed, other than giving government power over others?

          • First premise…wrong.
            First answer…No, there was not “chaos”.  Indeed, far from it in Western nations.  Centuries before your first wrong premise.
            Second premise…wrong.
            Tribal cultures DID and DO have “not chaos” systems for recognizing married people in their culture.  They ALSO frequently required permission to marry.  Duh.
            Have you ever heard of “posting the banns”?  Do you have an idea how old that norm was?

          • Government marriage licenses in the US were, in many cases, introduced in the 19th century up into the early 20th century to prohibit miscegenation, much in the way that gun control had its origins in keeping freed blacks from bearing arms.  Before then, most places had no such license requirements.
            In many cultures the permission comes from the parents (usually the father), who arguably has a stake in who have a stake in who will father their grandchildren.  If you want to compare the familial involvement to an uncaring, uninvolved bureaucrat, that’s your lame argument to make.  I’m not buying it.
            The “banns” were a practice of the church, not the state.
            I have absolutely no argument with the idea that the Catholic Church gets to make its own rules for who can be married in a Catholic church, and that no one outside has the moral authority to tell them otherwise.  Likewise, the Catholic Church gets no say in what non-Catholics do.  If Presbyterians decide to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in Presbyterian churches, then Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, and anyone else gets to shut the hell up.

          • You are a liar.  A complete and total denier of history in the pursuit of your bullshit agenda of radical libertarianism.
            You won’t even bother to correct your bullshit via education.  There was no “chaos”, you historical boob.

          • You are a liar.  A complete and total denier of history…

            Says the man hiding behind a keyboard, who can’t cite anything about which I’ve been dishonest.

            There was no “chaos”, you historical boob.

            *face palm*  Really, you’re going to pretend my obviously sarcastic remarks are to be taken literally?  Who is being dishonest now?

            My point, which you failed to grasp, perhaps due to an inability to understand sarcasm, but more likely due to an aversion to honesty, was that marriages which didn’t involve magical bureaucratic pieces of paper did not result in chaos, and that magical bureaucratic paperwork didn’t somehow end some chaotic condition (other than the “chaos” of people mixing races, which the racists didn’t like).

          • Government marriage licenses in the US were, in many cases, introduced in the 19th century up into the early 20th century to prohibit miscegenation, much in the way that gun control had its origins in keeping freed blacks from bearing arms.  Before then, most places had no such license requirements.

            That is a completely false statement…one of several you have made as statements of historical fact.
            You are either stupid enough to persist, or a liar.
            I doubt you have the integrity to educate yourself and come back and admit your falsehoods, but we will see.

          • That is a completely false statement…

            Do a little research on when common law marriages, which are still legal in many states, were outlawed in other US states.
            Educate yourself on miscegenation laws.

    • Laws against murder haven’t been entirely successful either, banish them too?

      • That only works if you equate marriage with murder. I think Elliot is right. Let people form personal contracts and get the government out of the marriage business altogether.  Otherwise the inevitable ending will be the government FORCING churches to perform ceremonies on gays or polygamous couples or anything else, and you know that is coming.

    • People have been imprisoned for bigamy.  In some states, you can be charged and convicted if you have more than one partner living under the same roof, regardless of whether you’ve had a marriage ceremony.
      Even if you think marriage should only be between one man and one woman, can you at least agree that people who have multiple partners (in which all are consenting and fully aware), should not be charged with a crime?

  • You and every other conservative may have been right on this issue—so what?  Is it important?

    • Yes.  Only vitally important.
      Any yet, that is what Pres. Freakout and your Collective are spending time on.  Funny.

    • I don’t think gay marriage is an important issue.

      That said, the push for gay marriage requires logic that applies to other forms of marriage as well. I’d expect a push among some in say, the mormon or islamic communitities to push this. In the end it likely will be a case where feminists supporting gays end up throwing women under the bus.  Leftist hypocracy may allow a counter push against any mormon fringe group, but it will fall flat against islamics.

  • If it’s not important Tad, it’s not an issue, right?
    So why all the hoopla to get marriage UN-defined as being between a man and a woman.  Is it important?

    • Now you’re getting somewhere.
      Do you see that the problem is not that Ted and John holding a wedding ceremony is going to cause families with one father and one mother to suddenly crumble and become less important or meaningful?  It’s that judges and legislators are attempting to cram their “UN-defin[ition]” down your throat.
      You don’t want to call Ted and John “married”?  Fine.  They don’t have to consider you and Mrs. looker “married”, either.  What is important is that fore any given couple, their children, their relations, their loved ones, their friends, and anyone with whom there may be an issue of property, child custody, and the like agrees with that couple.  Ted’s mother doesn’t get a say in who gets your property if you should die.  Why should your father get to decide what happens if Ted dies?

      • Or…more globally and candidly…”Let’s tear down all norms”.  Why should you get to decide what is your property?  C’mon, take that, “Can’t we all just get along” nonsense you beat out to logical end-points.
        My father doesn’t decide what happens if Ted dies.  Ted SHOULD, according to the LAW, and if he doesn’t, the law will decide.
        Ad hoc “being nice” will not work.  Which is WHY we find the structures we evolved to have so much utility.

        • I said no such thing about “all norms“.  It’s dishonest of you to characterize my modest suggestion to get government out of the marriage licensing business as total chaos, utter nihilism.
          Marriage as a lifelong commitment is a “norm” in which I participate and have no interest in eliminating.  Government licensing of marriage, however, is not a “norm”, it’s a bureaucratic process, a means for “officials” to control others, without any good cause.

          Why should you get to decide what is your property?

          If I devoted a piece of my life to creating something, or exchanged my time, effort, and creativity with an employer for another value (cash, gold), then the fact that it was my life involved in that means it is my property.  It’s not that I get to “willy-nilly” decide that anything I want is my property–certainly not something that another person spent part of his life creating which didn’t involve me.
          I never suggested “we all just get along.”  On the contrary, my suggestion is that we quit trying to impose our values on each other, quit trying to “get along” and work out our own problems, to live our own lives on our own terms, without meddling in the affairs of others which don’t concern us.  Your “being nice” crack is similarly unfounded.  If you tell Ted’s family that his marriage ceremony, which they all participated in, doesn’t matter, then you’re not “being nice”.  You’re butting into matters which don’t concern you.
          Your invocation of “utility” and the fallacy of the collective in your final statement are utterly worthless.  Neither you nor I came up with the notion of marriage being one man and one woman, nor with licenses, nor inheritance, etc..  So “we” didn’t “evolve” any such thing.  Other people made quite a number of rules and laws, some of which were awful (as Jane Austen could have explained to you, or any woman in most of the Third World).  At some point, a politician or bureaucrat thought it would be “useful” (to them) to require that people go to the government to get permission slips.  That person should have been tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail.

          • I said no such thing about “all norms“.  It’s dishonest of you to characterize my modest suggestion to get government out of the marriage licensing business as total chaos, utter nihilism.

            Oh, please!  I’ve read your bullshit before, remember?  YOU are the dishonest one here.

          • I’ll leave it up to readers to see what I wrote, compare it to your shrill “Let’s tear down all norms” hysteria, and decide for themselves if your ridiculous accusation of utter nihilism has any basis.
            And, they can google any exchanges between you and me in articles past.  I’ve never been dishonest.  I may have been in error now and again.  A reader may judge my argument to be stupid.  But dishonest?  No, you don’t get to level that accusation without direct quotes.

          • You are being dishonest here.  And I will be happy to leave it to readers who know your positions on government (i.e., your animus to the democratic process, for instance), or care to learn them.

          • My “animus” towards democracy is not a rejection of “all norms”.  It isn’t chaos or nihilism.  It is a rejection of mob rule, of winner-take-all rules in which a slight majority gets to cram its values down the throats of a slightly smaller group, it’s a rejection of giving people who have no skin in the game getting a vote, just because.  It’s a call for people to be civilized in that the people who have skin in the game sit down and work out mutual, consensual agreements which benefit all parties, instead of the winner-take-all savagery.
            As for a general attitude on government, that’s a recognition that, as a civilized, rational man, I don’t get to tell you how to solve your problems, and vice versa.  Gun to my head, if we must have a government, can we just limit it to very, very basic things, very decentralized, without the nation-wide mandates and crap?

      • The point Dale made is the slippery slope argument, and he pointed out that, lo and behold, we’re now further down the slope they said wasn’t slippery.
        So too with Rag’s point about norms, and my point about the cockamamie bestiality and other traditionally non ‘norm’ sexual practices that were being feted at some Ivy League school recently (sorry, the place escapes me, but it was a big gun school).
        Sometimes ya know, we’re not just being difficult old fuddy duddies when we’re against an idea.  Sometimes there’s a lifetime of practical observation and sanity that we can’t even put into words, but instinctively KNOW.  I guarantee you do things yourself based on instinctive time honed observation without necessarily being able to express WHY.  Words and arguments can be tricky things, words can be twisted, arguments NEVER cover every point that one might want to cover because of the fluid nature of the discussion.  But that doesn’t mean we’re nutz, or cranks, or evil because we expect some societal rules to exist and understand why there ARE rules, and why we do have to have some.
        On the other hand – rotate the chess board and look at it this way….
        Marriage, the religious have made very clear, is a concept they value above and beyond the mere aspects of property rights and family.  Sanctioned by higher power,  whoever passed for that during the ages.
        If it doesn’t matter, why are the non traditionalists fighting so HARD to call it marriage.  If there’s room to be peeved at the religious for being against calling two men or two women ‘married’, why is there such a desperate fight by the two men or two women to call what they are doing “marriage”?   They know it pisses off the conservatives.  Assume their goal isn’t to piss them off, and to attain the same set of legal, not spiritual, rights that the bond would allow…for heaven’s sake (heh), you’d think they’d go after the rights they want and devil take the use of the word “marriage”.
        But that’s not what’s going on.

        • Marriage, the religious have made very clear, is a concept they value above and beyond the mere aspects of property rights and family.  Sanctioned by higher power,  whoever passed for that during the ages.

          Marriage as a concept predates the texts of all religions.  No religion can make an honest claim to have invented it.  As with Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and other pagan holidays which the Christians subsumed, religion came after the fact.  That they tied a belief in a higher power is, for them, important, but for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their religious beliefs, such a connection is not only useless, but often offensive or preposterous, going against their own values.  If people were bound to stick to “traditional” marriage as a religious concept, then explain how people went from ceremonies in which some pagan god (Zeus, Odin, Quetzalcoatl) was invoked to those invoking Yahweh or Christ or Allah.
          You and those who share your values are free to consider your marriages blessed.  But some of us do not believe in anything supernatural (because, after all, the natural world is far more amazing and beautiful than anything described in a holy text by someone who lived centuries ago–who didn’t even know about germs or quantum mechanics).  To accept your claim that your marriage is more special is the same as humoring a fiver-year-old child that gnomes made the mess in their bedroom.  You believe what you want, just don’t demand that I give special deference.

          If it doesn’t matter, why are the non traditionalists fighting so HARD to call it marriage?

          Those people are fighting hard to cram their values down your throat, via the power of government.  To them, it matters what government says.  To the “save traditional marriage” people fighting them, it matters what government says.
          But why does having a special title, wearing a black robe, having a big wooden hammer, magically confer to these “officials” magical powers to determine the moral values you should hold?  They are just as fallible as anyone else.  And, when major portions of hundreds of millions of people have opposing viewpoints, why does there need to be a winner-take-all political settlement?

          • But why does having a special title, wearing a black robe, having a big wooden hammer, magically confer to these “officials” magical powers…

            Total bullshit.  Tribal elders have done the same thing FOR-FLUCKING-EVER.  You are too dishonest and extreme to even deal with here.

          • And, tribal elders often made rules which were cruel and unfair.
            Stooping to a bare argument for tradition fallacy is weak sauce.
            Again, you accuse me of dishonesty, but you offer no cause for such an accusation.  It’s just playground name-calling from you, apparently.

          • Heh – wonderful – if you can’t see it, if it wasn’t written, it didn’t happen.  You KNOW this….because?   You have no idea if religion came first, neither one of us can prove it, but it’s 50/50, and you’ve got no more proof that it didn’t come about for religious reasons than I have that it did.   Logically I can presume that the current incarnation, linked to religion, has reasons for being linked that stem from oral tradition and tribal legacy passed down generation to generation until we could write it down.  You, on the other hand, have nothing to demonstrate it didn’t.
            As to the other things, what we’re fighting over for whatever reason, is a desire by a bunch of people to screw with a tradition, so they can enjoy all the aspects of the very tradition they’re trying to change. Why people who are, according to various religions, hell bound, or some other belief, want to be recognized BY that religion in a ceremony is beyond me, but there it is.  The word clearly matters if people who have been excluded want to participate in it so badly.
            Don’t presume to think I consider my marriage ‘blessed’.  Not an issue, and in fact I was fully prepared to be married outside of the church by a justice of the peace.  God’s blessing would certainly be nice, but I don’t get all bent out of shape about it one way or another.  I did it because it made the parents and in-laws happy, not because I believe in the magic.  This is an intellectual exercise for me, I’m okay with civil unions, I’d have been okay with same sex marriages if there wasn’t a religious objection.  I’m fine with what I have without benefit of a church which I don’t attend.  If there’s any words to be exchanged between me and a creator, I figure I can do that myself.
            But I get the tradition, just like I get the tradition of wearing clothes even when it’s hot outside.
            My argument stems strictly from what obviously will and won’t work, and what’s happening now won’t work without all the screaming and shouting we currently see.  And I have to ask myself what the goal is.   And I’ve come to the conclusion that there might be a couple who are willing to be blessed by the religions that have spent years telling them they’re going to hell for their wicked ways, but I think there are more who are strictly interested in poking a finger in the eyes of the establishment.
            Don’t tell me that we won’t get to the point where they won’t take the various churches to court to MAKE the churches violate their religions teachings and marry couples, quartets and quintets in the eyes of whatever god they worship.   Damn right they will, and for no other reason than to stick it to the religion.   Maybe a sort of revenge for telling them that God specifically doesn’t LIKE them, as individuals, in person.
            So if it’s rights they’re after, fine, work to get the rights, leave the churches out of it.  If that means NOT calling it marriage, then don’t call it marriage.
            “But why does having a special title, wearing a black robe, having a big wooden hammer, magically confer to these “officials” magical powers to determine the moral values you should hold?  They are just as fallible as anyone else.  And, when major portions of hundreds of millions of people have opposing viewpoints, why does there need to be a winner-take-all political settlement?”
            So, what you’re saying, is if we have to screw SOMEONE and not give them what they want, let’s SCREW the religious people.  I’ll leave it to you and readers why you picked that group to screw over.   The argument is a demand to change tradition so one group can participate in it when the larger group doesn’t want the tradition to change.  It’s THAT simple.
            Okay, fair enough.  I saw we screw the others, there are fewer of them. less trauma.

  • This is more or less what I wanted to tell my Facebook people when they started the “it’s all about love” argument.
    Yes, you may be fine with redefining marriage as “what people who love each other do”.
    And that’s fine.
    As long as you’re okay with it being any willing adults in any combination, because “love” patently doesn’t exclude the examples our host gave as reductio above.
    (Me, I have enough of a libertarian streak to say that’s fine by me, especially since I want “marriage” to be completely decoupled from the power of the State.
    But not everyone making the “love!!!” pseudo-argument is in that position, so they may find themselves in a “what I really meant was only this kind of love” position. Which is, you know, an awkward place to be, is all.)

    • I’ve loved many women, but married only one.
      People who jump into marriage too quickly often discover that divorce is very expensive.  Caveat maritus.

  • One article and you are proclaiming there is a big move to polygamy?   You can find an article supporting almost anything, and I bet there were articles supporting polygamy back before we decided to give basic equal rights to gays.  Don’t fear liberty!  Don’t fear giving people their basic rights!  It won’t lead to the downfall of civilization!

    • Don’t fear giving people their basic rights!

      No one gives anyone rights.  Rights are inalienable, not social constructs.
      I have no problem with same-sex couples marrying and I treat them (I only know one couple) the same as any other.  But while I consider it a right of consenting adults to have relationships they and their loved ones call marriage, I don’t think they have a right to force people who have a more “traditional” view to accept that definition.  And, vice versa.
      Since about half the people are for gay marriage and half against it, settling it in a winner-take-all fashion is stupid.  Take politics out and let people work out the specifics without getting special permission from bureaucrats.

      • Rights are inalienable, not social constructs.

        SOME rights are inalienable.  Others are certainly NOT, and ARE social constructs.
        There is no “right” to marry, and there never was in all of recorded history.  That is just a fact.
        “Gay marriage” advocates argue for the creation of ANOTHER totally new, and unprecedented “right” which is alien to history or our Constitution, like the “right” to abort a child.
        That ALSO is a fact.

        • Hey we are free to construct any rights we want to.  Is that too much freedom for you?

          • No, THAT is too much tyranny for me.  Stupid question, yes?
            A “right” in you sets up an obligation in me.

          • “Hey we are free to construct any rights we want to.”
            You may think you’re saying something else, but what you’re saying is the tyranny of the majority is acceptable to you, and might makes right.

          • So I can “construct” anything to be a “right”?
            I can “construct” the “right” to transport myself to exoplanets thousands of light years away?
            I can “construct” the “right” to own every oxygen atom in the solar system, thus requiring you to pay for every breath you take and every drop of water in your body?
            I can even invent a “right” to decide that because I disagree with your politics, I can surround your home with tanks, pump lethal doses of tear gas in, and keep fire fighters away as it burns down with you and your loved ones inside?
            Far out, man.  Far out.
            That’s like, totally total freedom, dude.
            Pass me the shrooms, OK?

          • He didn’t say anything about a majority.  He said we are free to construct any right we want.  So, I am free to “construct” the “right” to own Scott Erb and make him pick cotton.
            This is Richard Bach type horsespit.  You can do anything you want, man.  Groovy.

          • But Elliot, he will only acknowledge you can take away his rights if you show him the piece of paper that says the village voted to make him a cotton picker, well….or if you can stick a gun in his nose and tell him to get back to work.
            Other than that he’ll….well, he won’t do much, because he thinks his rights DO come from you and the others in the village.  Maybe he’ll lecture you like the muddy peasant in the Holy Grail  “Ah! now we see the violence inherent in the system!  Help! Help!  I’m being repressed!”

        • Anything which is a “social construct” is not a right.  It is a legal privilege, a political entitlement, etc., particularly when it imposes an obligation onto others.
          I agree that advocates of same-sex marriage are attempting to create a legal privilege and political entitlement, imposing an obligation on everyone to treat them the same as “traditional” married couples.  They call it a “right”.  But it is just an attempt to get a political majority, or a powerful court, to cram this new definition down the throats of everyone.
          If you were paying attention, you’d realize that.

          • If…IFFFFFFFFFF…you were paying attention, you’d realize you have a novel vocabulary that is unique to you.  Not that that means anything to you.
            All rights impose an obligation on another person or entity.  IF you are too obdurate to recognize that, well…

          • But those are the only rights that matter – legal privilege.  Your concept of rights is airy-fairy.  You claim they exist, but you have no proof.  They are ought statements that reflect your beliefs about reality, but they have no empirical validity.  Any right that is real is socially constructed.  Otherwise it’s just a belief about what some person subjectively thinks “ought to be”

          • …you have a novel vocabulary that is unique to you.

            Because Bastiat, Rand, Mises, Rothbard, et al. don’t count.

            All rights impose an obligation on another person or entity.

            “Negative rights” do not.  You’re speaking about “positive rights”, and I would argue, like many others, that to extend these concepts to their logical conclusions, only the “negative rights” are rationally classified as rights, and that “negative rights” are political privileges, entitlements, etc. and not based upon any sound principles.

          • You claim they exist, but you have no proof.

            The proof is reality.  You can claim to not be convinced, you can continue to deny reality, but you can’t escape the consequences of denying reality.

            Any right that is real is socially constructed.

            John Locke’s descriptions of self ownership is one way to demonstrate that rights are based upon this principle, which has nothing to do with “social construction”.  And, it is trivial to refute the notion of rights being “socially constructed” by citing examples of laws in which people were enslaved, slaughtered in genocide, etc..
            You’ve been schooled on this for years.  You either realize that you have to deny it to sustain your ideology, attempting to avoid cognitive dissonance, or you’re just that stupid.  I really don’t care.

      • That’s your belief about rights but empirically it’s just a belief, there is no tangible evidence.  Empirically rights do not exist when they are not protected and defined in some ways.  Empirically most of human history has not seen people respecting or claiming the concept of individual rights.  So you certainly can have your belief, but it is just that – your belief.  That’s OK  – politics is based on people trying to get their beliefs turned into empirical reality.  Unless that happens – unless it is socially constructed – beliefs have no clout.

        • The evidence is reality.
          Repeating the word “empirically” doesn’t change that fact.  And, getting your approval to tell me that something I do is OK means nothing, considering how irrational, obtuse, and hostile you have always been, despite the transparent Mr. Rogers veneer.

        • “Empirically rights do not exist when they are not protected”
          Again, might makes right.   If you’re not strong enough to defend your rights, you don’t get to keep them.    So, you have no right to life under your system, you have a right to life only if someone, obviously other than you, because you’re….you… willing to defend the right to life they’ve decided to grant you.
          You think about that.   I’m content to think the founding fathers would have left you in whatever hovel you’d have been in while they created the country and established the rest of us have inalienable rights that don’t come from you and people like you.

          • Yet, looker, you don’t offer a counter point, you don’t argue against what I said.  The founders certainly understood that rights don’t exist unless they are defined and defended – socially constructed.  That’s why they constructed the system we have.   You may think you have an “inalienable” right, but unless it’s defined and defended, it doesn’t exist.

          • The founders certainly understood that rights don’t exist unless they are defined and defended – socially constructed.

            They did?

            We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

            After all, “endowed by their Creator” means “socially constructed” if liberals decree it.

            The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

            You fail.

          • Thank you.
            As for you Erb, you don’t have a clue – the guys who crafted the country were a world above the one you live in, that’s just an obvious fact every time you get on this subject.  You have a sad view of your rights and where they come from.
            You’re like an 5 year old learning the Lords prayer and repeating the words you think are “Our father who art in heaven, Harold be his name”.

          • “Self evident” Scott, look up the meaning. You’ll find it has nothing to do with voting or pieces of paper defining anything.

          • That’s rhetoric Elliot, not an argument.  You are totally incapable of proving such rights exist.  You can claim they are “self-evident” but that is an opinion you hold.  It may be true, it may not be.  Unless you can prove it, you have NOTHING.  Faith.  Faith as in religious belief.  Rights only matter if they are socially constructed.  That’s reality, and all the hemming and hawing and bombastic statements proclaiming you’re right fall apart because you can’t put forth a real argument.  Rights only matter if they are defined and protected – socially constructed.  Otherwise, they’re just notions.

          • It’s “rhetoric” when you disagree.  But not when you agree.
            You’re unconvinced and require “proof” when you disagree, but not when you make a blatant assertion of fact.
            It’s “faith” when you want to deny an argument without making an effort, but irrefutable fact when it’s part of your mantra, which you don’t have to substantiate.  (I noticed you started playing the “faith” card when you found out I was an atheist.  Lame attempt at provocation.)
            You can continue to press the argument that murder, slavery, rape, theft, etc. are not bad until some people get together and vote then write down the rules.  But decent, rational civilized people don’t require “official” documents to know these things are wrong in the first place.

  • I’m sure there are a few small corners somewhere, but essentially nothing prevents two people anymore from living together, engaging in sex, sharing incomes, and pledging fidelity/loyalty to each other.
    Those are your rights.
    Marriage however, is a collectivist activity inherently.  Its society’s ‘blessing’ of the relationship.  But like a lot of things, if its forced, it means nothing.  You can’t force someone to like you.  You can force them to say they are your friend at the point of the gun.  But are they suddenly your friend when you’ve just forced them to make the declaration?  No, not at all.
    For forcing society’s blessing, they have effectively undone marriage.  In countries that allowed gay marriage, marriage rates have declined.  I believe its because at least subconsciously people recognize its been devalued.  Just like things are wanted more when there’s some degree of exclusivity attached, when marriage becomes automatic, it no longer means anything.
    But I think that’s the point.  The marxist/statist nature of the Left despises any competitors to the state.  People often mention “God, Family, Country” or some variant of that.  The Statists can’t have any rivals.  So religion is despised.  The Family is despised as well.  So how do you weaken the family?  You cheapen marriage.  Once cheapened, many people won’t even get married anymore.  And without society’s expectation, I can see a lot of guys never even trying to stick it out.  So at the same time they dismantle an element of society they despise, they pander to a special interest.  Win-win.

    • It’s just bigotry to oppose gay marriage.  No straight person is hurt by it.  It does no social harm, to the individual or the collective.  It devalues nothing.  Marriage rates decline in advanced industrial countries (as do birth rates) as a result of development.  Do you really think a couple that otherwise would get married suddenly will decide not to just because gays marry?   Undone marriage?  Against the family?  Most people I know on the left are devoted to their families.  You’re setting up a straw man in a kind of weird paranoia about “the left.”  Alas, many on the left have a similar paranoia about “the right.”  You all should get along great.

      • It’s just bigotry to oppose gay marriage.

        That is a lie, and you are a liar.
        But we knew that.

        • You’ve lost this battle Rags.  Gay marriage now has majority support and very high levels of support (nearing 70%) among the youth, who will in the future dominate.  It’s over.  Freedom expands!

          • Why should personal values be a winner-take-all battle to win?
            Freedom expands when people are free to choose their own values.  I treat same-sex couples who have marriage ceremonies as married.  If I knew any, I’d consider polygamy/polyandry the same, if all were consenting adults (certainly not to put them in prison for bigamy).
            Others have different values.  I don’t want any battle to force them to have my values.  Freedom means they keep their own, even if I consider them outdated and likely to be subsumed by cultural changes.

          • Yeah, Rags, because when 70% of people agree with pollsters that Pi is 3.0, then mathematicians will be required to change all the textbooks and quit teaching that outdated, complicated stuff.

            It’s over.  Whole integers prevail!

        • Where did I lie?  Face it Rags, on the big political issues of the day, you’re on the wrong side of history.

      • “It’s just bigotry to oppose gay marriage.”
        That is a fantastically obtuse thing to say.

        • No it’s not.  But luckily it looks like the bigots are on the losing side of this issue and opposition to gay marriage in 20 years will be as weird as opposition to interracial marriage is now.  Freedom marches on!

      • “It devalues nothing.”

        Yes, it does, and for the same reason that straight people no longer use the word “gay” to mean joyous.  Gay became a euphemism for homosexuality, and thus it became a disphemism for joy.  The word was devalued.

        Now marriage itself is homosexual, and in the future no straight guy will want to get “married” because marriage is gay.

        • Now marriage itself is homosexual, and in the future no straight guy will want to get “married” because marriage is gay.

          By that logic, no man would want a woman to perform fell*tio on him.
          Sorry, but if a guy doesn’t want to get married because “it’s gay”, then he is trying to get out of a commitment by a lame excuse.  The woman should seek a real man who is ready to be a husband and father, with all the challenges that entails, instead of pus*ing out with some whiny excuse.
          I think it might be better if more people got cold feet before getting married and skipped the whole marriage, misery, divorce cycle.  Ideally, skipping the whole out-of-wedlock birth would be very good, but trends show that is an increasingly common mistake.
          Also, with more cultural acceptance of homosexuals, more people will skip the whole sham marriage, secret unsafe sex, etc. catastrophe.

          • Who cares what you, in your antiquated white-knighting, think is “lame”?  You’ll be irrelevant in a generation.

            Feminism has already made marriage a raw deal for men with no signs of reversal.  This is just one more nail in that coffin.

          • Feminism has already made marriage a raw deal for men…

            Not for men who are smart enough to hold out for women who honestly appreciate good men for their masculinity and honor.  And, for women to honestly approach their need for a masculine, honorable man.  (Which is another reason to have long engagements.)
            There is a certain amount of schadenfreude seeing a woman realize, after being married to a wimp for years, that she wants a “real man” after all.