Straight talk on gay marriage

Here is a thoughtful, calm and well-reasoned argument for why gay marriage is a bad idea. Aaron Fruh nails it when he says:

The argument for same-sex marriage is that a state that denies rights to romantic unions is discriminatory and unjust. It seems that supporting gay marriage has become a litmus test for whether a person is open-minded and politically correct. Gay marriage? Check no, and you're a homophobic, morally insane bigot. Check yes, and you've evolved and blossomed into a well-balanced and thoughtful genius who has enough good sense to know what's best for an open society. A seeming rite of passage, supporting gay marriage is the Nirvana of a free, nondiscriminatory republic. Some (erroneously, I think) try to compare the gay struggle for equal marriage rights to Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement.

(The link to the full article is here.)

When you posit something that changes so much you should be able to adequately explain why. So far, the reasons for gay marriage are about as deep as saying that "it's about time."

For more of my thoughts on same-sex marriage, see my Chicago Tribune column on Tuesday, May 15.


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  • Dennis, where in that excerpt does it give a reason why gay marriage is a bad idea?

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Yeah, I'm not sure if the title fits the content...

  • Sorry folks, I neglected to add the link. It's there now.

  • "When you posit something that changes so much you should be able to adequately explain why."

    What exactly will "change so much?" Will heterosexuals lose any right or privilege if gays are permitted to marry?

    Marriage is a contract. It determines the disposition of property and custody of minor children in a divorce or death, and power of attorney when one partner is incapacitated. A legally recognized union, commonly known as marriage, carries financial benefits.

    Why should same-sex partners have to jump through hoops by filing separate wills, contracts, healthcare power of attorney, etc to receive the same benefits opposite-sex partners receive when they purchase the equivalent of a fishing license? Why should only one same-sex parent be legally recognized as a child's parent (and the other lose custody should a partner die unexpectedly)? Why shouldn't their committed relationship be legally recognized in the tax code?

    This is a matter of equal protection under the law. Marriage isn't a sacred institution enshrined by god, it is a man-made civil contract.

    This post has failed to provide one reason why gay marriage should be opposed. In fact, this same "argument" was made years ago in support of banning interracial marriage, denying civil rights, denying women's voting rights, and continuing slavery.

    All men are created equal. Why continue to enshrine laws that treat them unequally?

  • In reply to Brent Cohrs:

    Well put.

    The article (linked above) is more a philosophical approach to the issue, not a realistic consideration of the facts of marriage in this country. As I said, this reply is well put. Let's consider WHY they want to redefine marriage - because it has been so sharply defined and people approaching civil unions vs. marriage are not getting the same benefits and rights.

    God, people care too much about what others do with their lives.

  • Not sure it was an argument. His argument at most says that some people harbor the sentiment that states that don't allow gay marriage, are acting unjustly. If you support these states' actions, you're harboring unjust sentiments. All of that is fine reasoning. I think most people that support gay marriage agree with him. The next statement can be summed up as, "I don't agree with these sentiments. ". I'm not sure if other's realize this or not, but that's not an argument.

    You should look up "well reasoned".

  • The main problem is that the gay marriage argument changes every time the argument starts. They say they have a "right" to marriage. When you point out that there is no such "right" to marriage for anyone they then say "well, it's all about love." Then when you ask if a man can marry his son and have a sexual union or if a woman can marry three guys because they "love" each other, then they say, "Oh, that won't happen" (so obviously it really isn't about "love" at all). The big problem is that they don't really have an argument other than "but I want to." And the "but I want to" argument doesn't work for a myriad of reasons in a thousand other areas of life and they know it.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Wait.... What? ^^ And who is "they"? I am assuming you mean every homosexual person in the world.

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    In reply to publiusforum:

    To the extent that anyone has a 'right' to marry, homosexual couples have that 'right' as much as heterosexual couples do.

    The 'well what about someone marrying their dog, etc, etc' argument is a straw-man. This debate is about one discrete legal arrangement: two people of the same gender entering into the legal state of marriage. Anything else is a separate debate and irrelevant to this one.

    Its not because 'but I want to', its because we live in an open society where one person's rights extend right up to the edge of the next person's rights. Insofar as you doing something doesn't harm yourself or others, you should be free to do it.

    The above poster was correct, this is the same kind of weak reasoning that has been used to prop-up every other kind of bigotry in our nation's history. And like those other bigotries, its end is inevitable. You should be thinking about what side of history you're on.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    "I want to" is more than good enough when it's a right everyone else has. There isn't one thing different about why gay men and lesbians want to marry than from why heterosexuals want to marry.

    And if you say because of procreation that's obviously wrong since it's A) not a requirement to procreate to get married. B) Women over childbearing age and men who have had vasectomies are allowed to get married. C) Gay men and lesbians CAN procreate.

    In any event, as I've said before with a quote I've stolen from my dad, this problem is being solved actuarially.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Again, there is no such "right."

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Okay. There is no right.

    So what do you have, publiusforum, if not the right? The privilege?

    Then why deny the privilege to all?

  • In reply to js1414:

    That was poorly posted.

    Rather, why only allow that privilege to a selection of the population?

  • Well, Jimmy, a petri dish can procreate, too. Soon I am sure the petri dish will be able to procreate with the aid of computer-controlled robots with artificial eggs and sperm.

    I guess the question to be answered on both sides is, where to "rights" come from? And how many "rights" does a person have? And when does something become a "right"? If one believes government creates "rights", or sanctions "rights", there can be no end to "rights", based on the whim of the public (Or not, as in the case of gay marriage being voted nay in some 32 states) or those with an agenda.

    For those wanting gay marriage, I ask you, what is wrong, then, with polygamy? Or, honestly, what is wrong with brother/sister love? Isn't it time, at least, for a look at the former? Who is to say either is wrong? Are you able to say, Jimmy? Certainly, all parties , or a brother and sister, can "love" each other, and as sovereign individuals, they have "rights", including to be with whom they love and have that recognized before society?


  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard, if you equate gay marriage with incest then you must equate heterosexual marriage with incest. Because there is no distinction between gay marriage and heterosexual marriage. Your argument seems to say you don't think heterosexual marriage should exist.

    Let's pretend marriage never existed. And today somebody woke up and shared this idea of "marriage." Why would gay marriage be excluded from this new idea?

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Jimmy, you are a little defensive here. I was not equating gay marriage with incest; I was equating "choice" with "choice".

    I made no statement about whether or not any type of marriage should exist, but I did ask those who want more choices in the institution of "marriage" if there can be more beyond gay marriage? (I did mention in passing that 32 states have voted "no" on gay marriage, but this is the arena of ideas here in blog land).

    I ask you, why should multiple mates be excluded from the sudden idea of marriage? Or a loving brother and sister couple? Why? That's all I asked. What about those rights, those ideas?

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    I don't think I was defensive in the least. Brent's response works for me.

    But I will ask this again since you didn't answer it: "Let's pretend marriage never existed. And today somebody woke up and shared this idea of "marriage." Why would gay marriage be excluded from this new idea?"

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Adding polygamy and incest to this debate is using a false equivalency.

    Marriage laws already exist to determine property sharing between two individuals in a committed domestic relationship. Note: TWO individuals. Polygamy would require changing established precedent for multiple individuals while gay marriage only requires extending the interpretation to same-sex couples.

    As for incest, it is PROHIBITED due to genetic incompatibility. It has nothing to do with choice - it's based on science.

    Before you go down the marriage to minors and bestiality route, let me remind you once again that it is a CONTRACT. Minors and animals can't enter into contracts.

    Marriage is NOT an institution sanctioned by god. It is a legal construct for sharing property, providing power of attorney, and determining succession benefits. Why should specific individuals be denied full legal rights due solely to sexual orientation?

    I doubt you'll be able to answer this question...

  • In reply to Brent Cohrs:

    Jimmy, it may surprise you about me, but I do not want the state involved in marriage. It sanctions something that it should not.

    Marriage per se did not exist per statute in Native American cultures, but was sanctioned by the elders and tribe, even though the concept of personal property write large was virtually non-existent. The several states and certainly the federal government did not bestow its blessings then. Why is the government in the "business" of defining marriage -- any marriage-- now? A question gone unanswered by both you chaps.

    Regarding using Brent's answer, contracts exist to determine property sharing between individuals as well. As for polygamy changing established precedent, that is a false equivalent. Laws exist, and contracts can be written, to ensure the division of whatever properties may exist. Wills and trusts exist for this reason.

    Brent further argues that incest is prohibited due to genetic incompatibility is a bit specious, too, as it sounds a little like banning gay marriage due to the idea that it does not allow for biological procreation. Science, after all, is science, and feelings are feelings and law is law. Consequences should be up to the individual, so long as nobody is harmed.

    Brent, you are too clever by half, as I was not going to go down the minors and bestiality route, so save your condensation for someone else. I am trying to discuss this subject in a reasonable manner, though it may be outside your comfort zone. However, you do confirm a point that you refute in the first part of your response: that marriage is a secular contract; therefore, all parties of sound mind and whatever orientation, can enter into with another.

    Please note, I said that marriage is a secular contract, as can be polygamy and, if wanted, incest, if all it involves is property and the possibility of genetic mutation, as does any mutual belongings and births between straight or gay couples. And today, thanks to science, any deformed fetus can be terminated, sparing society any grief and public expenditure.

    Why do you two want to deny the ability for those who love differently to be able to enter into a spiritual agreement with each other, as well as a secular agreement that is recognized by the state? Because a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman is no reason for any government to deny their union. Because a man or woman loves many --of the same sex or opposite-- and a brother or sisters cares for each other, why should they be denied a "marriage", as apparently you think they should.

    I think both your views are illogical and devoid of empathy and not respecting the differences and rights of others. When will your opinions evolve? Marriage or union is not based on statute but on love. Do you not agree?

    One more thing, Brent, marriage is not a legal right. Free association is, and you seem restricted on that issue.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Of course, you're being disingenuous or perhaps satirical, Richard. You intentionally use language you believe those you disagree with to use -- "I think both your views are illogical and devoid of empathy and not respecting the differences and rights of others. When will your opinions evolve?"

    That's fine, of course, you can use whatever language you prefer. I noticed you used the same technique on a recent post about mothers being obsolete.

    But it really doesn't have anything to do with the issue of gay marriage being equal to heterosexual marriage.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    This is no technique, and I am not being disingenuous. The government has no business being in some areas of life, and that includes marriage.

    I do not believe the state should be in the business of sanctioning marriage. No state, no worry about who is associating with whom.

    As far as mothers being obsolete, I think there is an argument for it, especially with the "birth" of President Obama's "Julia". It is already pretty much a given that fathers are not needed in the family unit. . We are not all molded from the same conservative cookie cutter. My views are not Dennis' views, nor Waren's or anybody's but my own.

    Your views, Jimmy, Brent, if extrapolated logically, do not make sense. Why are you opposed to free association and only sanctioned association by the state (government) of those unions you consider popular and valid by current thought?

    What do you both have against people of diverse views and practices associating even to the point of co-habitation and marriage?

    As stated, I have no problem with a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman or trans-sexuals proclaiming their committed love and living under one roof. They can, like straight people who are not married but committed, enter into contracts to make sure all is just and deserved.

    My position is all marriage is equal. I find the narrow views of some suffocating and given to popular whim.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "What do you both have against people of diverse views and practices associating even to the point of co-habitation and marriage?"

    Nothing. I cohabitate myself. If I want my partner to be covered by my health insurance, I have to provide documentation of our cohabitation and proof of collective ownership of an asset - home, auto, insurance policy, etc. I then have to include the value of her health coverage as income on my 1040 (which I don't have to do with my children). We each have to carry a healthcare power of attorney in case of medical emergency and must include one another in our wills. We could receive those and the benefits from the 1200 other statutes I mentioned simply by taking a blood test, going to the courthouse for a marriage license, and standing before a JP.

    But same sex individuals don't have the choice that she and I have. They don't receive the succession and tax benefits and aren't eligible for protection under those 1200 laws that become available to either of us should we marry.

    My argument has been, is, and always will be about equal treatment under the law. Why should I be afforded a choice when someone else is denied the same choice just because society - not the law - defines their sexual orientation offensive and their domestic situation unacceptable?

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard, state-sanctioned marriage - which is what the argument is about - has nothing to do with love or religion. It is a privilege, enshrined in contract law, that offers its parties nearly 1,200 statutes for the division of property, etc.

    The "right" as I wrote below is equal protection under the law as outlined in the 14th Amendment. Denying the right to be covered under the 1,200 statutes related to "marriage" is discriminatory. Ultimately, this will be the view held by the court.

    I'm no expert on Polygamy, but I have watched enough Big Love and Sister Wives to know that only one wife can benefit from the 1200 statutes relating to the marriage contract. Additional wives enter into their verbal contract with the husband with no legal standing in a court of law NOR any established legal precedent for their property claims. If polygamists want legal status for their unions, they would have to lobby for their own legislation.

    Same gender marriage, on the other hand, would simply require interpreting existing statutes to include any two individuals of legal age who were not prevented from marrying under existing statutes due to blood relation. If brothers and sisters want to marry, they can lobby to have those restrictions removed.

    It's not a complicated concept to fathom. I haven't contradicted myself nor endorsed the idea of marriage being a religious institution. Either states refer to all domestic partnerships as "marriage" or "civil unions". It's a lot easier to add a ruling that states same gender unions are the equivalent to marriage as legally defined than change the reference to "marriage" in 1,200 statutes to "civil union."

    And if there weren't 1200 statutes recognizing or clarifying marriage contract law, there would be no need for the state to sanction anything. Unfortunately, that horse has already left the barn...

  • In reply to Brent Cohrs:

    "it's based on science" - HA! And does science show is that due to genetic compatibility two men can marry or two women? :) Heck, their bodies aren't even compatible, let alone two sperm joining to form new life or two ova ... so your argument runs that it's the offspring that determine that two siblings can't marry "based on science" ... what about when there's zero possibility of offspring for a couple 'cause science tells us that two men (nor two women) can't produce a baby? Well they could adopt or use a sperm donor or embryo implantation etc. Hmm ... if so, then the "genetic incompatibility" argument goes out the window for siblings - particularly for two brothers, or two sisters - for they just as safely could employ those same means for acquiring offspring and science would be content.

    So .... I see they do have a choice, and a valid one. Brother espoused to brother, sister to sister, mature adults with free consent ... what within the pro same-sex marriage argumentation could negate this without a de facto contradiction in logic?

  • An argument in favor of gay marriage: Bans on gay marriage violate the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Good thought, Eddie, but no person, gay or straight, as a "right" to marriage.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    True, but every individual has the right to equal treatment under the law.

    No single individual's right to justice is subordinate to another's and ultimately, any law that prohibits equal treatment under the law will be ruled in violation of the Constitution.

    As marriage laws are written, they are discriminatory. States with constitutional bans will eventually be determined unconstitutional.

    No state can encode discrimination into its laws per the US Constitution.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    No, every person has the right to marriage. The Supreme Court has held repeatedly that marriage is one of a handful of 'fundamental rights' guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Look up "Loving v. Virginia" and follow the case law from there.

    As a follow up point, even were you correct that no one has a 'right' to marry, you're misconstruing the Equal Protection clause. All that section does is ensure that rights afforded to some groups are not denied to others without a sufficiently compelling reason for their denial. Straight marriage is sanctioned and even encouraged by all 50 states and the federal government. To turn around and deny that right to gay couples requires an extraordinary showing. Outside of arguing that gay marriage violates god's laws, which would make such a ban unenforceable on first amendment grounds, there are no coherent arguments against gay marriage. Without a compelling reason for the ban, it's unconstitutional and must be struck down.

  • I'm just very disappointed that so-called "enlightened" individuals will only allow to the idea that only straits or gays can be married, and nobody else. So much for tolerance. So much for suddenly, loving the Fourteenth Amendment while having no use for the much of the Constitution otherwise.

    Maybe someday, your sister or good female friend will come to you and want you to endorse the idea of poly love, and then what do you say? It's okay for some, for my gay friend or brother or my straight sister, but you are not as equal as they under the Fourteenth Amendment?

    Do not talk about 1200 statutes. Talk rather about what the rights of all people should be, not just your popular flavor of the month. Talk about repealing unfair laws, just as Jim Crowe laws were repealed. Do not give me legal mumbo-jumbo to cover your prejudice. Give me solid LEGAL reasons why marriage should only be between the parties mentioned. That is a question that will go unanswered.

    Talk about intolerance. Shame.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard, not once did I say I want to deny polygamists equal protection under the law. I merely pointed out that you can't apply 1200 statutes with established precedent for a contract between two individuals to include SEVERAL individuals.

    Imagine a man in the hospital dying and one wife wants to continue life support while the other wants to pull the plug. How does current law decide which wife is entitled to make that call? That's entirely different than a same gender partner being prevented from making that call while an opposite gender partner's decision is honored without question under current statutes.

    Why do you insist on inferring a stance that I have not taken?

    Everyone is entitled to equal protection. The whole issue of gay marriage really boils down to an interpretation of what marriage between two people is legally defined as. The statutes already exist for two-people marriage, so nothing needs to be changed except the interpretation. Denying any INDIVIDUAL his or her right to be protected under existing laws based on sexual orientation is discriminatory.

    Polygamists have every right to lobby for a change in marriage laws to include multiple parties to these domestic partnerships. But that isn't the issue and trying to conflate the two is disingenuous. If the law prohibits marriage between more than two people it applies to all people equally. It has no discriminatory component.

    I leave it up to you to prove that a law prohibiting marriage with multiple parties denies a single individual equal protection under the law.

    I'm done with your false equivalency arguments and insinuations that I selectively support equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

  • Brent, I am finished with your insinuations that I also do not support equal protection under the law.
    As I mentioned, I do not care if a man marries a man or a woman a woman, but I do care about why so many are suddenly in favor of one aspect of marriage and not another.

    It is a shame that you really are selective in whom you see as equal and not. You example of the two wives and pulling the plug is humorous, but that is why there are living wills.

    You have not answered any of the questions posed, which shows that you support gay marriage only because you think it is a good idea and nothing more.

    The issue is who can be "married" and who cannot be married. I only hope some day you will be open-minded and see that there can be many definitions of marriage, not just your narrow view.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    The topic of sexuality and is multifaceted and has been around for thousands of years.

    This blog entry is about one facet of that topic. It inot about "choices" for union among multiple people; rather it is for "choice" for union among two individuals.

    To bring up polygamy and multiple partners in a blog entry that opines a belief on the value of a union between two people is irrelevant and off topic. It is not Brent who is narrow minded here it is the commenter that is trying to broaden a multifacted and currently, a very heated topic.

    Perhaps the commenter should commence his own blog about his views on polygamy as it is most certainly off-topic here.

    This is not a comment on beliefs of same-sex marriage; it is merely to state the opinion that the commenter is off-topic on this blog entry.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    I agree with EveryCrayon below - these are two separate issues.

    I have never stated my personal belief about polygamy, so you don't actually know if I have, in your words "a narrow view" or not. I'm divorced after 17 years of marriage and living in an unrecognized domestic partnership. My personal views on the institution of marriage are irrelevant to the matter at hand - extending the same legal rights to same gender individuals under current marriage laws.

    I apologize for inferring that you don't believe in equal protection - clearly you have your beliefs regarding this matter. But you still didn't answer my question as to how denying everyone the legal right to take multiple spouses is unequal to all individuals or discriminatory toward any individual...

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