Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My answers to questions about gay "marriage"

Have a seat, this is a long one. Here is a list of the questions I come across most often, with my brief answers:


"Why are you against gay marriage?"

It's not that I am against gay "marriage" per se, it's that gay "marriage" is an ontological impossibility. It's like asking why I am against square circles. Marriage has an essence, a meaning. It has always been a certain kind of union of persons, specifically a conjugal union rooted in biology itself; it is complementary and heterosexual by its very nature. The particulars of marriage contracts have varied over time and cultures, but the essence of male/female has not. Brides have always presupposed grooms.

The fact that marriage is a "universal" throughout human history indicates something huge, namely the recognition that this one particular type of personal relationship is unique among all others: It is naturally ordered toward procreation. That children result from the union of man and woman (now mother and father) is the foundational reason that human societies have had an interest in protecting, elevating, and/or providing benefits for this type of union. 

Without this sexual complementarity, and without the ability to consummate a marriage, there can be no marriage. With bodies of the same sex, the marital act cannot be completed and consummation is not possible. A bride implies a groom in the same way that a lock implies a key. Two locks make no sense together. Two keys make no sense together. The union of husband and wife, like the integration of lock and key, is a relationship different from any other. 


"But what about heterosexual couples who are infertile? 
They are allowed to marry even though they can't procreate!"

The completed sexual union of male and female is always ordered toward procreation, even if the couple does not actually conceive a child. Age or illness or a defect in the reproductive system may make individual unions infertile, but that doesn't change the nature of the act, which is ordered toward generation. Producing children is not the basis of a valid marriage, the conjugal union is. Whether or not children are conceived is beyond human control. It's not the conception of children that makes a marriage, it's the total, one-flesh union of husband and wife. The conjugal union itself, not the fruit of the union, is the seal of the marriage. 

And as we've all known infertile couples who've eventually conceived years or even decades after their weddings, we can never say with certainty who will or will not be childless. God and nature have ways of surprising us. However, we can say with complete certainty that two men will never conceive a child from their sexual acts, nor will two women. The sexual "union" of two men or two women is always barren, as nature and right order would have it. It's the way it's supposed to be.


"What about men and women who are handicapped and 
not able to consummate? Are you saying that they cannot be married?"

This is a very delicate subject to discuss precisely because we have forgotten that marriage is a conjugal union. If there is no possibility of a conjugal union, not even one time, then the essence of marriage is missing. A relationship between two people without the ability to have sexual intercourse (i.e., to become "one flesh") is called a friendship. That sounds cold to the modern ear, since we want everyone to feel good and "be happy". But feeling good at the expense of what is true can never satisfy, not ultimately.

Impotence or the inability to consummate is an impediment to the Sacrament of Matrimony for sure, but even the secular state will annul a civil marriage on the basis of non-consummation.

Now, with today's technology, thank God, there are many ways to cure impotence and allow for marital relations, and that is a blessing.


"So you think marriage is all about sex! 
Can't you see it's about love?"

No, marriage is not "all about sex", of course, but sex is an intrinsic part of marriage. As mentioned above, a close and intimate relationship without sex is called a friendship, and neither church nor state would have reason to validate or elevate or give special status to that, as wonderful as friendship is.

Also, while romantic feelings (what people usually mean these days when they talk about "love") are ideal and desired between spouses, they've never, ever been a prerequisite for valid marriage. To say so would be to deny that many of our own ancestors (and even some of our parents and grandparents!) were actually married. My grandparents, for example, did not know each other well when they became husband and wife. Yet they were married for over fifty years and had many children and grandchildren (and great-grandchildren, and now great-great-grandchildren). A romantic feeling at the time of their wedding was not a requirement for a valid marriage.

Heck, if you ask Golde and Tevye (you all are huge Fiddler on the Roof fans like me, right??), they'd say their marriage turned out just fine, even though they met on their wedding day:

(Yes, I know they are fictional, but they are also representative. And you might notice that their understanding of love is closer to what authentic love actually is: A choice, and a willing of the other's good, not a "feeling".)


"But the state says that gay people can marry, 
so that means they can!"

There are many things the state has said that are legal fictions, i.e., that are not true or based in reality. For only a small example, governments have declared at various times that certain human beings are less human than others (slaves, Jews, the unborn), or that women are men and men are women (transgender laws). None of those laws can change reality. The law is not magic, and it cannot make black people less human, it cannot make women turn into men, and it cannot make marriage between two men (or two women) possible. The state can play with words, but it cannot change essences. The playing with words is a problem unto itself, and we should be very wary when any political agenda bursts forth in a frenzy, redefining a word to mean something foreign to anything it has meant before.

So, when someone says to me, "Look, if the state says two men are married, then they're married!" this is what I hear:

"Look, if the state says that a woman is now a man, then the woman is now a man!"
"Look, if the state says that all chairs are now clocks, then they are!"
"Look, if the state says that Jews are not human, then they aren't human!"
"Look, if the state says that black people can be the property of others, then they can be!"
"Look, if the state says that the unborn are not human beings, then they aren't!"

(Four out of five of those "truths" have happened, by the way.)

I teach my children not to lie. I will not go along with a lie. I will not teach my children to go along with a lie.

Marriage is pre-political -- no state invented it, nor can any state redefine it. Heck, even the etymology of the words "marry" and "matrimony" (derived from the word "mother") excludes the very concept of a homosexual "marriage".

Of course, the government can give out specific benefits and services to whomever it wishes (that's within its legitimate authority), but what it cannot do is redefine an institution that it did not create in the first place.

We may not legitimately demand the change of a thing's essence, simply because we have strong "feelings" about what we want. The truth about marriage is what Hillary Clinton so eloquently stated just a few years ago, before her "evolution"* on the issue. She believed:

"...the fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history, as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society in which they are to become adults.”
“Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.” 

Politicians cannot suddenly pass a law or judges sign some papers and change the truth of it.


"Why not support civil unions if you can't support gay marriage?"

That was tried and it didn't work well, to say the least. Clearly, gay rights advocates were not satisfied with that accommodation, as they barreled right past that and now demand that the word "marriage" apply to gay unions. Gay unions must be seen as on par with and equal to true marriage. Nothing less will be tolerated.

But even before the demands for full "marriage" recognition came, the problems with civil union laws were evident, as they effectively forced the closure of Catholic ministries, including foster care and adoption agencies, some of which had been serving the needy in their communities for a century. This happened despite the fraudulent assurances by the civil union supporters that the law would have no effect on faith-based services [which only begins to answer another common question, "How does gay 'marriage' affect you, anyway?"]

Ultimately, the concept of civil unions was always just a stepping stone to the bigger prize, and it never protected religious liberty or traditional marriage anyway.


"You should be concerned about all the ways that heterosexuals have weakened marriage!"

Oh, I am incredibly concerned about that! Divorce (especially the pernicious "no-fault" divorce), adultery, polygamy, swinging, pre-marital sex, contraception and abortion, etc.... All of that has harmed the institution of marriage and, of course, children. However, just because we've severely damaged marriage, that's no argument for demolishing it completely! The proper response to the sad state of marriage today is to strengthen it, not un-define it into oblivion. 

Besides, every marriage that is weak, irregular, or even broken has at least the potential to be strengthened, regularized and restored. But with two men (or two women), there is no potential for marriage in the first place (see #1). 


"The Church cannot impose her views of marriage on society!"

There are a couple of things wrong with this argument. First, no one is saying that all Americans should be married in a Catholic Church and have a sacramental marriage. In fact, the Church herself recognizes the valid marriages of billions who are not Catholic or even Christian. Valid marriages do not have to be sacramental. 

Second, the idea of the Church "imposing" the heterosexual nature of marriage is silly. One cannot impose something that has always been there. One cannot impose the status quo. The imposition, as I have written about before, is coming only from one side, and it's not coming from the Church. 

And of course there is the question of atheist regimes, which do not recognize gay "marriage". How can that be explained? Certainly, no one is going to try to blame the Catholic Church for that, right? After all, atheistic regimes are all about condemning and persecuting the Church, not acquiescing to her.

Clearly, marriage as conjugal union is a natural law issue and not a "Catholic" issue.


"Why do you talk about gay marriage so much?"

I wish you could see my face right now. How I wish and even fervently pray that I would never have to speak or write on this topic ever again. It's a cultural obsession (not too strong a word!), with the elites' only aim to beat us down into silence and/or submission on this topic. We are not to utter a peep against gay "marriage", or we will pay a price, whether that price is simply ridicule, mocking, and harassment, or a more serious penalty such as loss of friends, family, job opportunities, or livelihood. Perhaps jail one day? I wouldn't bet against it. 

I long for the days where gay "marriage" was not integrated into every news story, every college course, every television show, every court case, every sports event, every holiday, every legislative session, small school children's textbooks, car commercials, hamburger wrappers, etc., etc., etc.

I have gay "marriage" fatigue  (like everyone else I know), and yet there is no option but to speak for what is True, because that's who we are as Catholics. It's what we are called to do, in season and out. We won't hurt you or hate you or ask the government to fine you or ruin you if you disagree with us, but we will speak the Truth in love, because lies are no good for anyone. It is always better to understand what a thing is, and then to use that thing according to its nature. That is how human beings and human societies flourish, after all.

This is a blog about ideas and about truth. We dialogue here as mature adults (I hope), striving to draw closer to what is True, Good, and Beautiful. I assume that my readers are Truth-seekers on some level. None of what I have said above should be construed as "hateful" or "bigoted" or "mean". It is neither mean nor hateful to say that a dog is not a cat, or that a man is not a woman, or that a chair is not a clock.

Love is not a feeling. Marriage is not a construct. Society's very foundation may not be un-defined on a whim of "But I want it!" Happiness cannot be found by going against our human nature and dignity. Truth does not change. All of this must be talked about. And as much as I don't want to, I will continue to talk about it, because marriage is just that important.

*Can "evolution", by its nature, be something abrupt? A quick, 180-degree turn on a dime? I guess for politicians it can....

Related posts:   Should the Children Sit Down and Shut Up?
                           Was Jesus Really Silent on Same-Sex "Marriage"?



  1. Hi Leila,
    The more I debate this topic the more I’m amazed that educated people actually support SSM. The base rationale for the existence marriage in EVERY culture is procreation. Defining marriage as one man and one woman, and the way humans reproduce, isn’t just some weird coincidence. As a result, your question #2 comes up often.

    Two quick things...
    1. The infertility question brings a new question. Should marriage be defined as any man and any woman or only those willing & able to have children? This new debate would bring much discussion, but the question itself does NOT logically rationalize SSM.

    2. Consider a baseball analogy. A baseball team is orientated to winning baseball games like a heterosexual couple is orientated toward procreation. Even if the baseball team NEVER wins a game, no matter how much they try, they are still a baseball team and are always allowed on the baseball diamond. A football team also NEVER wins a baseball game, but a football team is not relevant to winning baseball games and are not allowed on the field of play, neither is a hockey team, or any other kind of team other than a baseball team.

  2. Hi Ben! As to #1, you might be interested in the second point, here:

    Contraception started us down the road to SSM, and Christians who are pro-marriage but also pro-contraception have a difficult philosophical argument to make. That said, of course we've never in history defined marriage as someone "able" to reproduce (and we can't know that anyway), so that would not follow. The Church sees the refusal to be open to children as an impediment to marriage, of course. It's even in the vows we made.

    The baseball analogy is exactly right!

    1. "vows we make"

      And wow, incoherence from me. Sorry, just woke up. Need breakfast.

    2. Don't forget no fault divorce laws. They coincided with a message that marriage is an institution that exists only for the personal happiness and pleasure of two individuals.

  3. Ben, re: #1: Even couples who are unwilling and (presumptively) unable to have kids can and sometimes will have kids. :)

  4. Hooray! Thank you for this summary. I hope it gets widely read!

  5. Agree with Stacy - like Ben's baseball team analogy. You are right. We are weary of this topic but we can't stop speaking the Truth.

  6. Ben, thank you! I meant to mention no-fault divorce, which is so incredibly destructive. I edited the OP to include it.

  7. You know it's interesting that you've brought this up now, because lately I've been thinking a lot about someone else's last accusation to me in a previous comment thread here about how while he acknowledges that the potential for procreation and reproducing is important, *I* am thinking that it is the only important factor in a marriage, and I refuse to see all the other important factors in marriage that both married hetero couples and "married" homosexual couples have in common. And I realize now how much I failed to communicate what I was trying to say.

  8. “Albert Sydney Herlong, Jr.”(February 14, 1909 – December 27, 1995) was a ten-time U.S. Representative (Dem) from Florida. On January 10, 1963 (right in the middle of the anarchic sexual revolution) he delivered a speech in the House of Representatives outlining 45 goals of Communism. It initiated a debate in the House, and subsequently in the Senate. The list of goals was entered into the US Congressional Record:

    “Communist Goals 1963”

    Perusing the list now, half a century later, one might be inclined to consider whether (and, if so, how many of) those goals have actually been achieved, by covert Marxist subversion of cultural America. As also, whether any of the goals not yet fully realized might be on the agenda of some far left leaning US government - to be furthered with vigor not just in America, but indeed globally. Like, for instance, Goal # 26.

    1. Oh, and do the following goals also have a strangely familiar ring about them now?

      3,11,13,15,16,17,19, 21, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 36, 37, 40, 41, 42

      You couldn't make this stuff up, could you?

  9. Thank you! Bookmarking for future debates!

  10. Thank you for this! As a returning Catholic in her 20s I love that this is so clear and concise. People just assume that those in our 20s blindly agree with these things and so often it comes up, it's nice to have something easy to understand that explains exactly why I can't support it! :)

  11. I knew you'd get more comments once you did another post like this one about the pelvic region . Why is that?

    What boils my blood is the topic of your most recent post about Christians being killed because they are Christians in Iraq.

    I have pelvic region topics fatigue myself.

  12. I typed up a decent length response to this, but the website ate it. Suffice to say, even as a supporter of gay marriage I am sick of the topic being so omnipresent. All the arguments have been made, all the legal reasoning has been presented, all the lines have been drawn, and it'll all likely be over in a year or two. In the mean time, I wish Americans could agree that things like war and poverty are much more pressing, that only things like that deserve the sheer media volume that homosexuality receives every single day. I'm glad you made a post about the crisis in Syria, and I'd be interested to hear your take on the fighting in Gaza as well.

    I think this post itself is a decent summary of the anti-SSM position. However, since you don't believe marriage can truly be redefined, I do wonder why you and others don't just focus on religious liberty and free association, instead of opposing gay marriage (which, as I'm sure you've noticed, is currently being mostly decided in courts, meaning that public opinion and activism don't make much difference for better or for worse).

  13. Hi Chris! I guess I am left wondering why you are a supporter of gay "marriage"? What is the philosophy behind your conclusion? Which of the points above do not make the case? Try as I might, I can only come up with the "we want it, so we should have it" as the reason why the foundational institution of human society should be decimated. It really is a head scratcher to me.

    I inferred from your comment that you believe that marriage "can truly be redefined". Can you elaborate, in light of #5? And if it can be redefined, what would the new definition be, what purpose would it serve, and why does the state care anymore?

    We actually do focus a lot on religious liberty as Catholics in America these days, and mostly because the gay "marriage" inroads have caused us to lose some of it, with no sign of abating. So, the two issues sort of go together. And as for why we keep speaking on what you see as a lost cause for our side, it's because we are Christian, and we speak the truth in season or out. As Mother Teresa said, "God doesn't call us to be successful, only faithful." It doesn't matter if everything we say falls on deaf ears in a sinful and godless society, we are still required to speak what is true. Courage is a virtue. Most people go along with whatever is popular in the culture at the moment (whether good or bad). Christians are to stay faithful to Christ, not the culture. We've seen moments like these many times before, and ultimately the truth does win out (after lots and lots of damage).

    It brings to mind Fulton Sheen's quote:

    "There is often an hour when the world cannot understand the reason the Church gives for her position, but there is never a time when men do not live to see that her judgment was reasonable."

    The fallout from gay "marriage" and the decimation of true marriage is just beginning to be seen, but after a generation or two, we will be sadder but wiser as they say. A culture does not destroy marriage and family without devastating consequences. We've seen that with broken families, now we will see it when marriage and family (and motherhood and fatherhood) mean "everything" and therefore nothing.

    As St. John Paul the Great said so succinctly:

    "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live."

    The family is going, that's for sure.

  14. Bravo Leila! Very comprehensive and clear! Thank you!

  15. Whoa. I just read this from the brilliant Robbie George of Princeton, who is having a respectful dialogue about gay "marriage" with a colleague. I want to put his questions to Chris and to anyone else who believes that gay "marriage" is a thing:

  16. I'll be honest here and say that it really does just boil down to giving people what they want, for me. The thing is, that isn't always bad or harmful. I don't want to rehash the usual arguments, so I'll just sum up what I can tell from history.

    As you've so often pointed out, the left wing and the gay community used to not care much about gay marriage, with some even opposing marriage as an institution. Among the radical left, especially in some forms of feminism and gay activism, marriage was considered at best an irrelevant thing that no one really needed, and at worst a society-wide system of oppression.

    So what happened? Over the past few decades, the far left made its case for destroying or drastically reshaping a number of things about society. Conservatives fought back by emphasizing the importance of traditional structures as not just relevant, but vital to society. And the thing is, in this one big area, you guys won! You successfully convinced almost everyone of the value of traditional marriage and family. Very few people are truly anti-family or anti-marriage anymore, even in the loonier parts of academia. Nothing exemplifies this more than the shift between disliking or condemning marriage to demanding that it be extended to gay people. The gay community is simply trying to enjoy the thing that conservative America taught them the value of--married family life. Maybe this isn't what you guys wanted, but it's what you got. And really, what else would anyone have expected? It's not like Americans have heard much talk of the value of celibacy. A good marriage and a good family are what most of us desire. One can certainly imagine why it is intensely frustrating for gay people that they are excluded from marriage, due in part to the law and in part to their own biology.

    It's true that gay people cannot naturally produce children, and as we've discussed before, so a gay sex act is not truly equivalent to a straight one. I also share your concerns with in-vitro fertilization (it's dangerous to treat children as a purchasable commodity, or as things that exist primarily for the parents' happiness). There are a lot of issues to deal with here, and I think the truth is that most gay marriage supporters do not see straight and gay marriage as 100% identical, but rather equally valid.

    Many gay couples want to marry, and I hope you can at least empathize. The desire to marry is simply part of a desire to settle down and be “normal.” As far as I know, there is no harm inherent to having our government treat some gay couples as married. Wouldn't you rather gay people live in a fashion imitating traditional marriage, instead of living in a less moral fashion? This is better both for individuals, and for society, contributing support and structure and stability—clearly there is a legitimate government interest in supporting loving, monogamous relationships. Our government can help encourage these relationships through extending the institution of marriage to gay couples. This would arguably be the final victory for the pro-family movement—the complete assimilation of the once anti-family LGBT movement into the very traditional structure of marriage.

    There may be another ideal that you want for gay people (celibacy) but it is up to conservative Christians to convince them that this is not simply a bad deal. This won’t be completely impossible—after all, you turned the radical left from anti-family to pro-family in mere decades.

    As for the definition of marriage, remember that many words have multiple dictionary definitions. For marriage, God may have one, and America may have another. America can certainly change its definition if it likes—this is a real and legitimate change, but it does not rewrite truth or reality or God’s law in any fashion.

    What will the legal definition of marriage be in our future? I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer.

  17. Thank you for explaining further Leila. While I don't agree with you, I do understand a little better where you are coming from.

  18. Thanks, Liza!

    Chris, thank you for your honesty in admitting that this is just giving people what they want. If that's the principle behind undefining society's most important institution, it's a terrible one. Lots of other people want "marriage", too. Should they have it as well, in the name of empathy? Polygamists, man/boy lovers, those who want to marry siblings and inanimate objects? Why not expand to them? I actually have compassion for anyone who feels like an outcast, so why not extend the empathy to them?

    I'm not asking for a definition of marriage in the future, I'm asking you what the definition is for you, today.

    And, did you read the Prof. George article? He's asking great questions.

    But I really do thank you for your thoughtful answer and honesty! And I'm glad there are some points we agree on (the dangers of IVF, for one).

  19. Chris, as I wake up and go through my day, I may take up your answer point by point. This stuck out:

    "This would arguably be the final victory for the pro-family movement—the complete assimilation of the once anti-family LGBT movement into the very traditional structure of marriage."

    But that is the farce of it: They will have in no way have assimilated into the traditional structure of marriage. Marriage is a conjugal union. Marriage requires a bride and groom. So, like simulated sex, or simulated driving, or simulated anything, this is not real at all. It's an imitation that has nothing of the nature of the real thing. And we then pretend that it's the same thing. And we dress it up with weddings and manufactured (or bought and sold) children, and we pretend. It's all pretend, Chris, and it almost seems like you are admitting that?

  20. And Liza, I may as well ask: What is your philosophy behind your position, in light of my points in the article? Is it, like Chris, that we need to give people what they want because we feel sorry for them?

    I'm honestly asking.

  21. I did read the essay you linked, and while it was well-written, I think it did ignore the main distinction between gay marriage and other proposed forms of marriage such as polygamous marriage--polygamy is not an orientation, pedophilia is not an orientation, incest is not an orientation, love for inanimate objects is not an orientation. Orientation simply refers to the possible sexes that a person can be attracted to. So, it's not really discriminatory to tell someone they can't marry their sibling, because if they are straight they can marry another person of the opposite sex. They may be frustrated at this, but the law is still not entirely keeping them from having a marriage they would enjoy--they just must find a non-sibling if they wish to marry.

    Also, polygamous marriage would require an enormous rewrite of all of our marriage laws, which have all been developed with the idea that marriage is exclusive. Adding gay marriage into marriage is easy, whereas adding polygamous marriage would be nigh impossible if you wanted to keep the basics of marriage intact. Really, that’s one of the reasons gay marriage is such a popular target for activism. Personally, I don’t even assume someone actually cares about the gay community unless they are at least aware of some other issues that affect it.

    Interestingly, it's always funny when you bring up the marriage of humans to inanimate objects because that actually is not completely unheard of--it's just that the participants don't care if it's legally valid. Those who do it are certainly just “pretending” to be married, but they apparently do care enough about their anime body pillows and so forth to pretend-marry them, so I wouldn’t say it’s entirely meaningless. Of course, it doesn’t deserve legal privileges, but they’re aware of this. After all, they are just pretending. This sort of leads into the next thing—whether nontraditional marriage in general is a form of pretending.

    (I’m separating the comments here because the whole thing was over 4096 characters)

  22. Is it all pretend? If you have to put it that way, there is a bit of that. It’s certainly an emulation of a type of relationship that can naturally produce children. As sad as this makes many people, a man can have a baby with another man about as well as he can have a baby with an anime pillow. But that doesn’t mean the man-man and man-pillow relationships are the same, or even similar. What they have in common is that they aspire towards traditional marriage. But to compare a loving, committed relationship between two men or two women to a “married” relationship between a man and a pillow is to ignore everything about these two relationships except for whether they can produce children. Is that capacity important? Yes. But if you won’t consider other factors, you’re analyzing human relationships in a very shallow way. You don’t have to consider gay marriage to be marriage, but I think you should at least see the many ways in which it is similar to straight marriage. And I really think you should acknowledge the benefits that people can gain from living in a married or marriage-like relationship, even if they can’t have children together. There are many trappings of marriage that are important, and if you add all of them together you have something almost identical to modern, straight marriage—after all, most straight people today would not say that it’s all about the capacity to have children. So while gay marriage isn’t quite traditional marriage, it’s still a derivation of marriage, and I still see it as valid.

    I think it's often normal and right to let people have a derivation of something they can’t quite have. A painting of a pipe may not exactly be a pipe, but it’s not wrong to look at it and call it a pipe. If I were to hang a replica of the Starry Night on my wall, it would neither be a fake nor would it be somehow destroying or degrading the original. I will never be able to have the original Starry Night because it would be very expensive, but I could have a replica and still appreciate the qualities that are important to me. To extend the metaphor, someone might tell me that it didn’t really count because Vincent van Gogh didn’t directly paint it. That would be true, but it would be reductionist, annoying, and completely missing the point. I wouldn’t hang it on the wall because van Gogh made it, and wouldn’t pretend it was the real one—I’d like the way it looked, and it would get that job done as well as the original would. Sometimes, the thing that makes something “real” in one person’s eyes isn’t what makes it worthwhile in the eyes of another. Having a replica Starry Night wouldn’t exactly be “pretending” or living a lie.

    As for defining marriage, I’ll just admit that I don’t have a complete, consistent personal definition. Some things that I consider important to marriage are children, love, and exclusivity, but I don’t have these thoughts and ideas arranged into a coherent definition that includes everything I consider to be marriage, and excludes everything I don’t. However, lots of important things are equally tough for people to define—religion and art are two common examples. So this may be a weakness in what I have to say, I don’t think it’s a crippling one.

    Lastly, I don’t think you addressed what I intended as my main point—that society has not given gay people any better ideal to aspire to than marriage. Pro-family rhetoric generally has just as much about love and so on as it does about children. And this is the rhetoric that brought the desire for gay marriage into being. If celibacy is right for gay people, then perhaps the anti-SSM community should start working on convincing them of that, rather than spending so much effort on trying to stop them from legally marrying.

    I'll be out of town for the weekend, so I'll be commenting either sporadically or not at all.

  23. I know you will come back with what about sisters getting married, marrying a dog or 3 people getting married. I wouldn't support that. Those situations are not the same as heterosexual or gay marriage.

    In case you bring up transgendered people again in relation to ontological impossibility, let me say that I really don't have an opinion on that. I don't understand it so I don't think I'm qualified to say whether or not the state can say a man is now a woman. As far as lying to your kids goes, it isn't lying to explain the situation. Your children won't be children forever. They can handle it if you tell them you don't believe that a man is really woman even though that person believes they are a woman.

  24. I apologize. I cut and pasted incorrectly.

    I am not sure that I can explain properly as this issue is very complicated because of how I've been counseled by our parish priest, where I live and who I share the pew with. I will try.

    We don't need to give people what they want because we feel sorry for them. I view gay marriage as the same thing as women's suffrage. Women were not allowed to vote in this country. People decided that was wrong. Laws were changed to allow women to vote. Simple!

    1. I'm not hung up on the ontological impossibility because it doesn't matter in relation to gay marriage. We're not talking about things. We are talking about people. Sex is only one aspect of marriage. Having sex with someone doesn't make a marriage. We do not go into heterosexuals bedrooms to see if they are having sex in the "correct" way and judge whether they are married or not. The way people have sex is personal and the correct way is different for all. My marriage is a lot more than sex. While we do have children, my marriage isn't all about them either. Hopefully, the raising kids part won't be all there is because we will live a long life together.

    2. Almost the same as #1. There isn't a law that says we most procreate. Humans will not become extinct because of gay marriage. There's plenty of people making babies.

    3. I do not know what to say to this one. I am uncomfortable having an opinion on this as I have no idea what that situation might be. Seems like you are saying that if a woman wasn't born with a uterus or had a hysterectomy at a young age shouldn't ever marry. Or a man who has an injury from fighting in the war. Again, it all comes down to sex?

    4. The first three reasons you don't want to allow gay marriage is about sex and there's another one down below!

    5. There are and always have been bad laws. These laws are constantly changing to try and correct them. Not wanting to lie to your kids? You know there are ways to explain your faith and your beliefs without lying.

    6. Not every person who supports or is ambivalent about gay marriage is a gay advocate. What has happened with the closure of Catholic ministries is wrong. They should have been able to work out a compromise. In order to give civil union the same equality of marriage, thousands of laws would need to be changed. Allowing gays to "marry" eliminates a lot of bureaucracy.

    7. I don't understand what you want to accomplish. At this point there are gay couples who have been legally married for 10 years. Some have children - right or wrong - that's a fact. Is it more harmful for these children to be with two men/women who are married or is it more harmful to tear up their lives by saying their parents aren't married? Catholics can have their faith and Church along with gay people being able to marry. Seems like a better discussion would be how both sides can live together without animosity. I do think you won't understand until gay marriage is legal where you live.

    8. Conjugal union - sex again!

    9. I'd rather see gay people on TV than go back to the way it was when I was growing up when people would beat up and/or make fun of someone who they suspected of being gay. Denying that someone is married when they have a valid marriage certificate isn't a peep!

    You say that this blog is about ideas and truth and you dialogue here as mature adults. Most of the time that is true. However, I have seen comments that degenerate into making fun of gay sex. That isn't mature and furthers the idea that it's all about the sex and that you have a perverted mind and can only think about what gay people do in the bedroom instead of seeing them as people. It certainly isn't loving the sinner.

  25. Chris, I'm going to focus on the things that really popped out at me in your comments.

    You kept talking about capacity to have children (mentioned at least five times by my count). I am not sure you read my OP very closely, as I made quite clear in #2:

    Producing children is not the basis of a valid marriage the conjugal union is. Whether or not children are conceived is beyond human control. It's not the conception of children that makes a marriage, it's the total, one-flesh union of husband and wife. The conjugal union itself, not the fruit of the union, is the seal of the marriage.

    This distinction is crucial, crucial, crucial.

    Also, you say that SSA is an "orientation", but that pedophilia is not. Why? Who says? Where are you getting that? Is that merely your opinion? And why do you say that folks who "marry" inanimate objects are merely pretending? Not in their eyes. And why (on what basis) do you restrict the marrying of siblings? I'm not clear on that. I thought two consenting adults have a right to marry whomever they want?

    As for imitations. If I asked you to hand me my pipe so that I could smoke it, and you handed me a painting of a pipe, we would all laugh. We'd know that you are kidding, that it's not a real pipe. So, that analogy falls flat. Let's push it though. Let's say that I showed you a picture of a bride and groom getting married. I would know (and so would everyone) that that is a representation of a married couple. But it is not the married couple themselves. It's a picture. It is a given (meaning, understood) that it's not the married couple in actuality. Just like if I made a sculpture of my mom and told you it's my mom. You would understand that it's not really my mom, right?

    But that isn't even relevant anyway, because gay "marriage" is more like this analogy:

    My husband dresses up as a woman. I say, "Look, here's a woman!" Now, do you actually believe he's a woman? I mean, it's not even a photo of a woman, or a sculpture of a woman. It's a man pretending to be a woman. Most definitely NOT an actual woman, not even in a representative image. No one would say with a straight face and mean it: "Leila's husband is a woman, because he is dressed up to look like a woman." If they said that, they would either be lying, or they would be deluded in some way. We can't base a society on lies and delusions, can we?

    Again, I get that you feel sorry for gay couples, and gay people in general, and you want them to feel happiness and be affirmed in their choices and desires. But that is a completely, utterly different subject than whether or not they can legitimately get married. It's a completely different subject than what the essence of marriage is and has always been.

    Have a great weekend! I hope you are in a cooler place than Arizona at the moment. ;)

    1. By the way, I am so sorry if some of you are seeing this in script. I don't know why, and I don't know how to fix that. So sorry!!

  26. Liza:

    "Women were not allowed to vote in this country. People decided that was wrong. Laws were changed to allow women to vote. Simple!"

    Women voting has never been an ontological impossibility, ever. It may have been (and is) illegal in many places, but just like women driving, it's not impossible. It's very possible. Women have the capacity to vote. Women have the capacity to drive. Women have the capacity to skip. Women have the capacity to play basketball. But two gay men to do not have the capacity to consummate a marriage, or form a conjugal union, which is what marriage is. Hope that makes sense. Basically, you have no analogy there, as you are talking apples and oranges.

    Your numbered answers:

    1) When someone says they are "not hung up on ontological impossibility" as you did, then I know the dialogue is effectively over. If you don't care about what is real and true (that is ontology), then you and I occupy different universes, or we might as well when it comes to philosophical discussions. We simply cannot speak of truth now, as you have just thrown out that possibility. And yet doesn't truth (ontology) matter? Jesus said He was born for one purpose: To testify to the Truth. He said that to Pontius Pilate, who asked, "Truth? What is that?" I believe truth matters. I believe ontology matters, and matters for eternity.

    Also, please see what I wrote to Chris, above. never said that having children was the basis of marriage. I said something very distinct from that. I hope you will go back and re-read it, because I took a heck of a lot of time trying to be very clear when I wrote it. I do get frustrated when people argue points I never, ever made.

    2. See point above.

    3. More frustration from me. I never once even indicated that women without a uterus cannot marry. Women without a uterus marry all the time. They have the ability to consummate the marriage. They can have marital relations quite nicely, thank you, even with no uterus. I never said what you are saying I said.

    Now, if a man cannot make love to a woman, then yes, they cannot marry. Marriage is, in essence, about the ability to have a conjugal union. That is not the ONLY thing marriage is about. <--- I have said that many times. What I am saying about a conjugal union is that the conjugal aspect of marriage (which is not ALL of marriage) is the very thing that sets it apart. It's the very thing that makes the union unique among other relationships. If the couple can never have sex, it's called friendship.

    4. See above.

    5. I never said I would lie to my children. My children understand the truth very well. What I object to is the state and the elites lying. I object to the culture saying that I and my children must accept this lie, to the point of forcing me (were I a baker or photographer) to pretend and lie along with everyone else, or lose my business. It's a lie, and I won't go along with it. I am not worried about how "not to lie" to my children, because I tell them the truth, always. I want my government and culture to tell the truth, too. And I want to tell my children the truth without fear of being punished by the state. If I get punished, so be it. But I will not lie.

    to be continued....

  27. 6. But they were not able to work out a compromise, and in fact that was never the goal. The goal, if you haven't noticed (look at the news to see what happens to anyone who even speaks publicly against gay "marriage") is complete submission. We must accept gay "marriage" as good and true, or else we will pay a price. Tolerance is not enough. We must submit.

    7. What I am trying to accomplish is truth-telling. Nothing more, nothing less. If we lie, bad things happen. Lying, even to make people "feel good" is a sin, and it's never going to end well. And you said this:

    "Is it more harmful for these children to be with two men/women who are married or is it more harmful to tear up their lives by saying their parents aren't married?"

    That is a false dichotomy. Those are not the only two options. And, do you think that it really will "tear up their lives" by saying that a bride needs a groom? You don't think that fatherless and motherless children by design already have a life of confusion and loss, from the get-go? From what I hear from children who have been placed in these situations (and there aren't that many yet who are grown and can be reflective in adulthood as to what they experienced -- the culmination of this social experiment will come in a few decades), they are needing affirmation that they are not crazy. Again, check out, or the first link at the bottom of the original post. Telling the children that the emperor really does have clothes does not help them when they start to have some existential distress. What really bothers me about this movement is that it seems the concern is on making the adults feel good and giving them what they want, no matter the cost to society or children, but then tells the children to sit down and shut up and just be grateful they are here. Something is very wrong with that.

    It reminds me of the exchange I had with a married sex ed couple (reprinted on this blog) who would not use the "judgmental" word of "marriage" with inner city kids, because their own parents were not married and so they didn't want to "hurt their feelings"! Can you imagine? Kids who desperately needed to hear about the stability of having a mom and a dad, and that marriage was a positive good (and that they should aspire to marriage before bearing children in their own futures), were "shielded" from that truth so that they don't "feel bad". Oh, my! I've never understood that kind of thing. Children are okay with hearing what is true and good. They understand it when it's told to them!

    to be continued...

  28. 8. You missed the point, as that point was concerning the charge that the Church "imposes" her view, and not "conjugal union again!" Could you revisit the actual points I made in #8?

    9. Another completely false dichotomy. Those are not the only two options. I take the third option: Don't make fun of gay people or treat them disrespectfully (just as our Church teaches), and don't lie and pretend that two men (or two women) can "marry" each other.

    The accusation about having the "perverted mind" for arguing that sexual intercourse (and not sodomy) is the basis for marriage is just... I just... I don't know what to say about that. As I've said, I wish and pray I never had to speak of the whole gay sex, gay "marriage" thing again. The problem is that we are in such a confused and godless society that we think any type of sexual contact is "good". We have totally jettisoned any idea that sex is not a free-for-all and anything goes. It's not the Church (or the Catholics who champion and defend marriage) who are "perverted" for saying there is a truth and meaning to human sexuality. That is just so bizarre to me, and shows me how far we have fallen in just a few years.

    And I cannot know the heart or mind of your priest, but if he is telling you that gay "marriage" is okay, and that gay sex acts are not sinful, then he has betrayed his own priestly vow of obedience to Christ and His Church. Vows are gravely serious things, and I would be very wary if any priest is leading you to dissent from the very Church he vowed to faithfully serve in holy obedience. It's dangerous spiritual territory.

    Truth without Love is a clanging gong, and noisy cymbal, but Love without Truth is dangerous and dark. The two go together and cannot be separated. Did you read Pope Francis' first encyclical? He discusses this.

    to be continued...

  29. I know you will come back with what about sisters getting married, marrying a dog or 3 people getting married. I wouldn't support that. Those situations are not the same as heterosexual or gay marriage.

    Why are they not the same? If we can redefine marriage as something other than a conjugal union, then what is the difference? Help me understand.

    In case you bring up transgendered people again in relation to ontological impossibility, let me say that I really don't have an opinion on that. I don't understand it so I don't think I'm qualified to say whether or not the state can say a man is now a woman.

    You are not qualified to say? So, you think there is a possibility that a law can "make" a man become a woman? I am seriously confused by this. What do you mean? How would a law make a man into a woman? Again, we are talking ontological realities, which you said earlier don't concern you, so I am guessing that is why you are not sure if the law can turn men into women.

    As far as lying to your kids goes, it isn't lying to explain the situation. Your children won't be children forever. They can handle it if you tell them you don't believe that a man is really woman even though that person believes they are a woman.

    Not only can they handle it, but they understand it. As I said before, it's not my own children I'm worried about, it's that the state is lying, and the culture is deluded. That affects us all in the end. It's very sad. I miss the days when critical thinking and philosophy and truth was the aim of education. I am sorrowful that we base what is "true" on our "feelings" now. It's a recipe for disaster. Watch and wait. We are already sliding downhill so fast. Now, for Catholics, we hold onto the Rock and we know the ending. But a lot of pain and suffering comes before the final chapter is written. As Christians, we should welcome it, but I'm a wimp. And even as we suffer (which Christ promised we would), we are still obligated to speak the truth, in season and out, even to our own deaths. It's deadly serious, as the war were are fighting is not really between gay and straight, left and right, Catholic or atheist, but between powers and principalities. It's a spiritual war, and we cannot concede even one soul to the devil.

  30. To my knowledge my priest has never told me or said anything in Church that is against his vows or the Church teachings about gay marriage or anything else.

    You aren't going to give on your position and I'm not going to give on mine.

    I do appreciate that you tried to help me understand where you are coming from and allowing me my say.

  31. Liza, you are confusing me very much. I am not sure why you mentioned your priest and what he said, if he agrees with Church teaching (which is consistent with what I've written in this post). I think you may have mentioned your priest in another thread, but that may have been someone else I'm thinking of.

    I never asked you to "give" on your position (although as a Catholic, you may not condone or promote sin). I asked you to stay on point and address the issues I've actually mentioned. I have stayed with you, and I have redirected you when you have misrepresented what I actually wrote. I wish you would not give up, but rather argue the direct points (and give your philosophy behind them), not for me (because of course I will not change my position), but for the lurkers who are reading. Make your points as best you can to refute what I am saying. Anyway, I know it can be tiring, but it's an exercise worth having, for the sake of truth-seeking. Isn't truth important?

    You are always welcome here to have your say. I just want you to hang with me and let's take our ideas to their logical conclusions. Thanks!

  32. Wow! This is really good. No vitriol, no name-calling, just quick answers to quick questions. If you can only find time for one of the videos (they are so short!) go to the second one. Very quick, very logical. Tell me what you think! I'm sort of in awe of this guy...

  33. Leila- Very good summary. I especially enjoyed your discussion on laws and the danger of just saying "Well....the State says so." Law is a man-made tool we use to construct our societies but allowing the law (or the state) to run amuck is never a good idea. The State should always have a REASON for the laws it makes and enforces and American citizens should always challenge those reasons to make sure they hold up.

    The government's job at the end of the day is to keep us all alive and happy enough we aren't killing each other or raiding each other's home for survival. The government isn't interested in helping us grow up and become the unique little snowflakes we are. The government doesn't really care if you are moral or good provided you don't cause too much trouble. Don't believe me- Why does Chicago elect known crooks? Because they keep the city running.

    So, of course, the State is going to say "give 'em what they want." They are the babysitter in the store giving into the tantrum of the child because the babysitter just wants the child to stop crying. It is the parents who love the child enough to reach through the annoying wailing to try to teach their child social behaviors and coping skills.

    We've covered several times on this blog that marriage does impact everyone. It impacts the children who are created or adopted into homes without a mother and a father. It impacts Churches who have to close their charities because the "State" decided to overturn a thousand years worth of culture and laws. It impacts business men and women who have to make decisions on how to run their business or risk lawsuits for the same belief they held 10 years ago without fear.

    This _is_ tyranny. But I hate to say it......we are so brainwashed, so lacking philosophical education and so docile we don't even see it anymore.


  34. Anyone else get mad when people say "Well, you are on the wrong side of history?" I really want to reply: Actually, history is the study of the written record of the past. Given that throughout almost all of human history marriage has been limited to a man and a women I am actually on the RIGHT side of history. I think what you mean to say is "Resistance is futile" but then you'd actually might see how absurd your position is. Better to go back to the iphone. I think there is a new Angry Birds app.

    :-) Sorry for the rant.....that comment just always makes my eye twitch. I want to come back and say "Well, I'm on the right side of eternity" but I always hear the Holy Spirit saying "That will not help the discussion and it is not a loving thing to say." Yes, Lord. :-)

  35. This thing keeps eating my comments.

    Kat, you said it so well!! Thank you for laying it out like that! Wow!

    And yes, the "right side of history" thing is a head scratcher. I only care about being on the right side of Truth.

  36. I will come back and answer. Don't have the time today. Plus, I'd like to think about it. Have a good Saturday :)

  37. Thanks, Liza, no hurry. Enjoy your day! :)

  38. Thank you for writing this post. I have a loved one who is living out "their" same sex attraction and has now gone so far as to "marry" the partner. The couple is catholic and claim to have been told by priests that this is all okay. I once successfully avoided a discussion on the topic with one of them, but I always felt my silence was a failure. I honestly know the Truth, but didn't know the right words to speak it. I am sharing your post in the hopes that it will be read by those who need to hear it.

  39. I can't accept the argument that behind the idea of "marriage" there are certain unalterable definitions which reached their perfect state with the modern, heterosexual couple. Marriage is no longer just a religious rite, each religion certainly can define "marriage" on its terms, but I want to approach the subject as a secular and political concept as well.

    One could argue that, once upon a time, "voter" was by definition a "white landowning male," and if all definitions remained static, than that is still what an American voter would be today. You could have used the same argument, that because "voter" intrinsically meant "white landowning male," that trying to change the definition to include "black non-landowning female" would be creating a paradox, like creating a "circle square" contradiction, because the new definition goes against every bit of the "voter" we once knew.

    The fact is that word meanings change all the time, just like any word up in the Oxford English Dictionary (unabridged). One of the earliest definitions of a "marriage" was a "dowry," (from 1325) or a part of "feudal law" (now obsolete) so if we want to be extra literal, no one today should be "married" until a dowry is paid.

    Words need to change, public policy needs to reflect the dynamic world we live in, and when marriage became a secular right, one that affects many things from insurance policies, to inheritance, to parental guardianship, to taxes, etc., it became an idea open to reform. Catholic marriage can certainly still be between procreating heterosexual couples, but there's no need for the public, nonreligious concept of "marriage" today to fit that definition.

    Political rights need to reform to meet the needs of the people. I see "gay marriage" not as breaking ontological rules in a world where everyone feels like they need to get whatever they want; I see it as a human rights issue. Homosexual couples are denied the full benefits under the law that heterosexual ones are (and civil unions often fail to fill that gap). This is something that should be discussed, evaluated, and debated, but that doesn't mean it's an ontological absurdity to think that marriage can be re-defined. I think it's a good thing that more people view the concept of marriage not as strictly heterosexual (including the OED) but even so, I certainly respect your candid and thoughtful opinion.

  40. monkeyman, wait... I mentioned that marriage is pre-political, and it's never been merely religious. So this doesn't make sense:

    "Marriage is no longer just a religious rite, each religion certainly can define 'marriage' on its terms, but I want to approach the subject as a secular and political concept as well."

    You mention that marriage has become a secular "right". But is marriage a "right" at all? If so, why doesn't everyone have that right? Help me understand what you mean by a "right".

    And, can you define marriage? If it's not a conjugal union, then it's a... what? An issue of contract law? Then, as the second video here shows (very short, please watch), you have more problems if you want to call it "marriage":

    How would you answer him? From a logical and legal perspective?

    And, if a "dowry" was required in England, or wherever, that in no way negates that marriage was/is a conjugal union. A dowry requirement for marriage (just as if a license is required, or a certain age of attainment is required), does not mean that the marriage is not a conjugal union, correct?

    Help me out by addressing those points. Thanks!

  41. Monkeyman- Why do you believe it's homosexual couples who are denied rights? What about thruples or polygamous groupings? I guess my main point is what is the fine line of marriage? Why is it that only hetero or homo couplings have rights but no other groupings (including non-amorous varieties such as sisters) not have similar rights under the law? Or do they? Why can't say two spinsters who live in the same house not file a joint tax return? Are their rights being violated? I'm just trying to understand if you believe their is a line and where to draw it.

  42. Hello again, Leila. Sorry if I used the wrong phrase to differentiate straight marriage from gay marriage. I did read your post, but I don’t always think of the difference between “can perform conjugal union” and “can have children.” I know that there are plenty of heterosexual couples who have trouble conceiving, and I didn’t mean to leave them out of straight marriage.

    SSA is an orientation and pedophilia is not because sexual orientation is defined as “The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes” according to the American Heritage Medical Dictionary. Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation because “child” is not a sex/gender. A pedophile is a pedophile in addition to their sexual orientation.

    I say that folks who marry inanimate objects are merely pretending because marriage is legally a contract, and inanimate objects are unable to sign contracts. Additionally, to actually believe that an inanimate object is “real” in the way that a person is would represent a serious disassociation from reality. By contrast, people who pretend-marry inanimate objects tend to write in a way that attempts to justify their actions with an awareness of the real world. They often claim that their fictional wives (frequently anime or video game characters) represent a particular set of traits or a personality type that they consider ideal. While this sort of outlook may be disturbing (they often reference the story of Pygmalion and Galatea in a positive way), it’s clear that they are aware of reality and are consciously choosing to pretend.

    I don’t believe siblings should be able to marry because allowing two people to marry effectively condones their relationship, and the state should not condone incestuous relationships. Incest blurs and destroys the normal roles and relationships held between family members. It is almost impossible to commit incest without some gross abuse of power. You may protest here that I’m expressing support for making laws based on morality, in conflict with liberal rhetoric. But the whole “don’t legislate morality” thing rings shallow to me. All social policy is made based on the morals of the people crafting it, and it is impossible to divorce yourself from your sense of morality. In other words, if I believed that gay relationships were inherently immoral or harmful to a certain degree, I would not support gay marriage.

  43. With regards to analogies: they all fall flat if you interpret them in ways counter to how they were intended. If you asked me for a pipe to smoke and I gave you a painting of a pipe, you wouldn’t get what you wanted, of course. My point was that there are some objects which can be appreciated for multiple qualities, and some of these qualities are not confined to the original object. The reason I used a work of art as an example is because one of the things easiest to appreciate about a painting is its visual appearance. A collector might care more about whether it was an original or not, but the average art fan would simply be happy to have a nice picture in their house. In this way, a replica van Gogh painting could make me about as happy as a “real” one, if all I cared about was its beauty. Marriage is like that—while there are some differences (and important ones) between gay and straight marriages, the vast majority of qualities that people consider important to marriage can be found in both versions. This is why I consider gay marriage to be a form of marriage.

    I know that this doesn’t really matter to you, because there is still a clear difference between gay and straight marriage.. However, even if you don’t think qualities like romantic love are required for a marriage to be legitimate, you should be able to see that a gay couple who experience romantic love for each other is a little different from two male friends who have sex. If the roles they fulfill for one another are similar to those of a traditional married couple, it does make sense to give them some legal designation, even if you don’t want to call it marriage.

    I honestly think your section on civil unions should be expanded, because your argument basically comes down to noting that gay activists prefer the word “marriage” and noting that the same challenges to religious freedom still occur. When you say civil unions were tried and didn’t work, I do wonder why you’re suddenly so practical all of a sudden. Why not shoot for a civil union law that respects religious freedom, even if it’s tough to attain?

    I won’t discuss your crossdressing example because it would probably mutate into another debate about transgender people. :-)

  44. Sorry for the triple post, but one last thing I wanted to address: How do you think it is that gay couples are living a lie or a delusion by considering themselves married? Most of them are well aware of what their relationship entails, what they can and cannot do. When they say "marriage," they mean something different from what you mean by "marriage." This is a difference in language, but I don't think it makes them liars or delusional.

  45. Hi Chris, and thanks!

    I don't mean to imply that actual individuals are delusional. I think most people really do believe that marriage can mean anything that "feels" like marriage to them, regardless of the reality of what marriage is. Our society is absolutely based on "feelings" now, rather than anything else. We want gays to be able to marry because of how it makes us feel (compassionate) and how it makes them feel (happy).

    I think you hit on something when you talked about marriage as a contract, and that is why I would like you to go back to the video that I posted, and at least watch the second (very short) segment. I think the exchange is so telling, and I wonder how you would address the speaker?

    I'm still not sure why two sisters could not marry? Or a brother or sister? If it's about consenting adults who love each other and want to be happy together permanently or at least for a time until they divorce (if that is what marriage is, and you haven't told me otherwise), then who are you to judge? And where is the "gross abuse of power" between siblings, let's say? What about thruples? (sorry, spelling)

    I don't peg you for a "you can't legislate morality" type, since you are smart enough to know that all laws are someone's morality legislated. So, no worries there.

    As far as orientation... you realize that at some point, the medical dictionaries (and the APA) might very well normalize the inclination to be attracted to pre-pubescents, right? They almost normalized it a while back and there are many pushing for it now. The man/boy love folks believe that "God made us this way" and use the same arguments as the gay rights movement. Just because they are not recognized as an "orientation" now does not mean they never will be. What then?

    Try as I might, it seems as though your whole argument is based on the feelings factor (which you admitted at the beginning, I think). Even the analogy to the painting is "the imitation of the painting makes me feel just as good as if I had the real thing" (even though I stand by my premise that the painting analogy does not hold).

    Here is the gist: "I really want to feel like I'm married, so let's say that we are." Which is no different than a woman saying: "I really want to be a man (and I feel like one!), so let's say that I am."

    But see, the reality is not there, even if the feeling is.

    As for civil unions. How do you propose we put that genie back in the bottle and make it work? Suddenly, no more "marriage equality" movement? I don't think that's going to work anymore (and my point is, it never did, because the movement was NEVER going to be satisfied with it). So, that ship has sailed, and it was a leaky vessel at that.

  46. "However, even if you don’t think qualities like romantic love are required for a marriage to be legitimate, you should be able to see that a gay couple who experience romantic love for each other is a little different from two male friends who have sex. If the roles they fulfill for one another are similar to those of a traditional married couple, it does make sense to give them some legal designation, even if you don’t want to call it marriage."

    Why would the state have a vested interest in it? Why does the state care about anyone's romantic relationship or status?

  47. HI Leila
    We have gone round a jillion times on this to no avail. All of your arguments don't speak to my viewpoints, and I'm sure visa versa. But I do want to say that reducing the desire of SS couples to have access to the legal rights of legal marriage to wanting to "feel good" is very insulting. Wanting medical care for one's partner or one's partner's children is important and not about "feeling good." There are many many important legal issues related to having a marriage license that are important for people's lives to work--important for their security and the security of their families.

    Do you think paraplegics should be unable to legally marry? If so, shouldn't you advocate for their marriages to be illegal?

    Anyway. the Catholic Church is welcome to define marriage any way it wishes and require their members to abide by that definition. I have no problem with that.

    When you are working from a paradigm that all of your veiwpoints are inherently correct and anyone who disagrees with you is inherently wrong (as in not Catholic) then discussion is pretty moot. I've been on bubble to know that's how things roll and I do pretty well not getting frustrated.

    In the meantime I still enjoy hanging out here. Your ability to treat people you don't agree with in a deeply respectful manner continues to impress me--it's why I'm here. You are a great model.


  48. Chris P,

    I’m enjoying (as I'm sure many others are) the exchange between Leila and you on this topic, with all the substantial questions and answers. Indeed, IMHO this is turning out to be one of the best written threads on the Bubble, and all its contributors should take a bow!

    If I might jump in for a sec, I’d like to pose a couple of questions to you. Actually they’re more of a request for clarification to comments you’ve made.

    “Incest blurs and destroys the normal roles and relationships held between family members.”

    I agree.

    Now, if, in some particular familial arrangement, a woman is excluded from the role of mother (a woman’s “normal” role, taken over – by design, from the outset – by a man, rendering the woman redundant, except, perhaps, for use of her ova and hire of her womb) or a man is excluded from being a father (a man’s “normal” role, taken over – by design, from the outset – by a woman, making the man redundant, except, perhaps, for utilization of his sperm), and a child’s relationship with his or her biological mother or father is – by design – severed, and all knowledge/experience of his/her biological brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins suppressed – by design, would any of this qualify as blurring and destruction of “the normal roles and relationships held between family members”? What is your opinion?

    “… if I believed that gay relationships were inherently immoral or harmful to a certain degree, I would not support gay marriage.”

    Assuming you’re talking about same sex “marriage” here, does this mean that you see nothing inherently harmful in children being raised fatherless or motherless in a same sex “marriage” – by design? I mean ‘fatherless’ and ‘motherless’ as in the absence of a male father (foster father, in the case of adoption) and a female mother (foster mother, in the case of adoption).

    How do you react when a US President, talking about the pain of his own fatherless childhood, tells you, "I didn't have a dad in the house, and I was angry about it, even though I didn't necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn't always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short… The only difference is that I grew up in an environment that was a little bit more forgiving. So when I made a mistake, the consequences were not as severe…"

    ”I can see myself in America’s young black men.”

    (An aside: as you can see, he goes on to exhort his audience to strive for success in life, because the “circumstances of your birth” must not define them or their future. How is it, then, that a man who so suffered from being fatherless in his youth, now seeks to institutionalize a familial setup which of necessity must make any children in them either fatherless or motherless? SMH.)


  49. “How do you think it is that gay couples are living a lie or a delusion by considering themselves married? Most of them are well aware of what their relationship entails, what they can and cannot do. When they say "marriage," they mean something different from what you mean by "marriage."

    Are you sure? If same sex attracted people, when saying “marriage”, indeed mean something different from what has always, commonly, been understood to be marriage, then why the insistence on calling it “marriage”? In fact the whole agenda is to deny that gay “marriage” is any different from heterosexual marriage (hence “marriage equality”) – with all the patently obvious differences either unaddressed, rendered insignificant, or casually papered over. Last year, in a formal submission to a parliamentary enquiry on Same Sex Marriage by the Legislative Council Standing Committee of the NSW Parliament, the Australian lobby group Marriage Equality wrote:

    “We do not use the term “gay marriage” because this may suggest that the reform we seek is something special, lesser or different than marriage for different-sex couples and that it also applies only to gay persons. The term “marriage equality” makes it clear that once reform has occurred the rights, responsibilities and status of marriage will be exactly the same for all couples.

    When it is necessary for us to distinguish between same-sex and different-sex couples or marriages, we use the term “same-sex” rather than “gay” because some same-sex partners may identify as bisexual, transgender or be intersex.”

    “Inquiry Into Same Sex Marriage Law Iin NSW.”

    (I, too, prefer the term “same sex marriage” to “gay marriage”, because it facilitates discussion about all unions among people who either do not consider themselves man/male or woman/female or who wish to sexually partner people of like gender.)

    Weirdly though, just 4 paragraphs later in the above document, in the Executive Summary of the submission, this pops up:

    “… marriage equality is about treating marriage-like relationships with equal respect and dignity, regardless of the sex, gender identity or intersex status of the partners involved.”

    The question begs itself: is a same sex “marriage” really marriage or just “marriage-like”? Seems that even some people campaigning for it aren’t quite sure (or just wary of being specific)…

    It’s amazing how much I’ve read and heard on this topic to date, without coming across a single clear and concise definition of what a same sex “marriage” actually is. Anyone reading this is invited to contribute one for clarification to all. (We Catholics, of course, refuse to acknowledge that such a thing even exists in reality – ontologically, as Leila would say - despite all the legal fictions and official licenses formally declaring that it does.)

    Ah, well, until someone actually provides a clear definition of what this new fangled phenomenon actually is, what it entails (and doesn’t), and why it should be codified (other than for extension of healthcare benefits, property rights, etc… which can indeed be covered by other relevant laws), we just might have to go with: “We already are evolved, you and me, psychically, in tune to the stars…” :)

    “Support Gay Marriage.”

  50. Thanks, Johanne! I enjoy your posts and friendship, too!

    But what frustrates me is that you did not actually address the points. Do you see marriage as simply a contract between people and the state that gives benefits? Do you not believe that it has been around since forever (which speaks to the universal nature of ... something of its character and nature? Do you still think it's a "Catholic" thing (as you imply), when I have mentioned time and again that even atheist regimes see the heterosexual, conjugal nature of marriage? I am so confused when you say things like that. It's like saying that being for motherhood, or being against stealing, is a "Catholic" thing. ??

    And could you watch at least the second video here (it's so short!) and tell me if the questioner has the view that you do about marriage (contract law)?

    Finally, many paraplegics can consummate a marriage (I won't get into all the medical devices that can assist in making that possible), so no, I never even thought about making their marriages "illegal". I don't really know what to say to that?

    Anyway, thanks for hanging in here! :)

    1. Sorry for the missed parenthesis for all the OCD folks out there, ha ha!! I am always missing stuff when I post upon waking. And yes, it's 8:47 here, and I just got out of bed. Sue me! ;)

  51. Francis, those are compelling questions! Thank you. And it's so mind-twisting that Obama could lament his fatherlessness and celebrate the fatherlessness of others. He supports gay "marriage", which institutionalizes fatherlessness and motherlessness. Makes my brain hurt.

  52. Deltaflute-
    It’s true, that’s an important question. Where do we draw the line? If we decide, for example, that 18 year olds can vote, why not 17 year olds? Or maybe we should hold off until the age of 21; after all, if you aren’t responsible enough to sip an alcoholic beverage, why are you considered aptly qualified to elect the most powerful leader in the world?
    I think the short answer is that we need to collectively try to decide who should have those political rights, and then be open to re-evaluating our decisions later on. That’s why I think it is so important to debate these issues, and try to come up with a consensus together. That’s also why I appreciate your responding to my comments and for Leila for addressing this issue on her blog.

    Where does it all end? Why not incest, polygamy, interspecies marriage or necro-nuptials? I guess my response is simply: under what grounds do you consider homosexual marriage to be equivalent with polygamy, incest etc.? I’m proposing extending the wide umbrella which already defines legal marriage in the United States to allow one more group in: same sex couples.

    Slippery slope arguments shift the focus from the issue at hand. Such arguments have commonly been employed when considering extending rights to new individuals. To draw further on my voting analogy, almost two centuries ago people Americans were asking whether or not their horse could vote if black men were to be allowed to, or their youngest children, or women, or felons? We know how history has answered those questions, but back then people asked the same questions as today: where do we draw the line? For now, I’m focused on drawing attention to the issue of consensual same sex couples of legal age, and whether or not they should have the political rights of marriage that heterosexual couple do. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important to also consider other interpretations of marriage, it’s just that I don’t want to dilute focus from this important topic, because ultimately I don’t believe same sex marriage is equivalent to polygamy or incest.

  53. monkeyman, if I could jump in (while awaiting Deltaflute's response to you). First, I don't think any Catholic here considers gay "marriage" the equivalent to polygamy (which has much more the character of exclusive marriage, as it is conjugal in nature) or incest. No one is arguing equivalence. But slippery slopes happen to unequal things.

    Consider this, from a gay "marriage" supporter who scoffed at the notion of slipper slope, then very quickly recanted (I wrote this, please check link at bottom):

    I recently came across an interesting couple of articles by gay "marriage" proponent Professor Kent Greenfield of Boston College Law School. Just a few months before the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA, Mr. Greenfield mocked the many friend-of-the-Court legal briefs opposing gay "marriage", including the idea that gay "marriage" would lead to a slippery slope:

    Then there’s the fixation on how a ruling in favor of gay marriage will start the nation down a slippery slope toward polygamy and incest. Adam and Steve today; tomorrow Adam, Steve, with Cain and Abel along for the ride as well. But no one seems to notice that the slippery slope worries are as great with heterosexual marriage as same-sex marriage. The slope between gay marriage and polygamous or incestuous gay marriage is no steeper and no slicker than between heterosexual marriage and polygamous or incestuous heterosexual marriage.

    So how would this “slippery slope” danger play out? Is the worry that recognizing marriage equality for gays and lesbians will drive straight men into the arms of their sisters? Well, now you’ve lost me.

    The guy just can't see it, apparently! Then four months later, just after the gay "marriage" rulings, our good professor has suddenly, inexplicably reversed himself:

    It’s been a few weeks since the victories in the marriage cases at the Supreme Court, and maybe it’s time for the political left to own up to something. You know those opponents of marriage equality who said government approval of same-sex marriage might erode bans on polygamous and incestuous marriages? They’re right. As a matter of constitutional rationale, there is indeed a slippery slope between recognizing same-sex marriages and allowing marriages among more than two people and between consenting adults who are related. If we don’t want to go there, we need to come up with distinctions that we have not yet articulated well.

    And here is the kicker from him, which I see in my debates all the time:

    In private conversations with leaders in the marriage movement, I often hear two responses. The first is that there is no political energy behind a fight for incestuous or polygamous marriages. The second is that they would be fine if those restrictions fell as well but, in effect, “don’t quote me on that.” The first of these responses, of course, is a political response but not a legal one. The second is to concede the point, with hopes that they won't have to come out of the closet on the concession until more same-sex victories are won in political and legal arenas.

    Check out #1 here, for all of what I wrote:


  54. Thanks! I'm surrounded by children and have an appointment to get to, but can we define our terms, quickly? What is marriage (and not just "marriage in 21st Century America")? Thanks! Back later...

  55. Monkeyman- I get that the slippery slope issue is a nuisance. The reason why I asked the question was to try and assess what your line is and why you draw it there.

    As for the drinking age, I live in Canada so the age is 19. In Canada, same-sex "marriage" is legal but polygamy (which is legal in a number of other countries) is not. In 2011 the Supreme Court of BC, where there exists a polygamist community, ruled that polygamy is illegal, However since 2007 many groups have wondered whether or not polygamy-bans is a violation of the Charter, which uphold religious-freedom. In other words, Canada has been exploring the slippery slope argument for a while now. The last prosecution for polygamy was in 2009 and before than 60 years prior. It appears that the government isn't interested in upholding the law unless there is abuse and exploitation of women and children. But they aren't explaining why they won't change the law either.

    If same-sex "marriage" passes in the US, will you be equally interested in allowing plural marriages? You say it is not the same thing, but what of the parties' religious rights? Why extend marriage benefits to only one group? Isn't that discrimination too (by the definition that I read)?

    I see that you want to focus on one group, but to be fair that is how voting was in the US. First it was landowners, than all white men, than black men, and then all women. At what point does the government say "that isn't a marriage" or are you not concerned that the government will eventually realize that they have no actual definition legal or otherwise once they ignore what many states have already defined? At some point one has to decide what marriage means and separate that out from any special benefits the government decides to afford members of the populace. I suppose we could just do away with any benefits. I mean is it even fair that folks without children have no benefits in Canada or the US but those who do get tax breaks/money? Is it really all about legal rights or just plain recognition? Can a sister put her sister on her medical insurance? Where's the line and why draw it there?

    BTW gay people can get married under the law, but like heterosexual couples there are parameters. I can't marry my underage son or my brother even if I am heterosexual. Should I legally be able to? Why can't I have my brother inherit property without penalty or why I can't I receive his cushy medical insurance benefits or veteran's benefits?

  56. Ack sorry Leila. I didn't hit reply (or maybe I did without realizing) so I have no idea why it did that. I just typed in the box.

  57. Not to nit-pick, but MonkeyMan, your definition of "voter" is incorrect, even for 100+ years ago. Voter = one who casts a vote, usually (but not limited to) in an election of political candidates. The fact that who that "one" was at any given time in history does not change the definition of voter.

    Marriage = the unique relationship where by 1 male and 1 female (thereby meeting the most basic biological requirement for potential procreation) commit to spend the rest of their lives together.

    If one claims that marriage is, now, changed to a union of any two consenting adults, then what exactly do we call this unique relationship above, that has always been known as marriage? It is a unique relationship, that deserves to be set apart and recognized for it's unique benefit to society and "the State", that of providing the most effective, cost-efficient, stable means of rearing the next generation of tax-payers?

    I'm just curious.

  58. Maybe someone can answer this for me: Putting aside religious convictions and focusing on government and philosophy....Gay marriage is proposed for two main reasons 1) benefits and 2) recognition.

    Benefits have by their very nature an element of discrimination. The government purposely excludes people under a certain age to receive social security or Medicaid, for example. It usually gives out benefits for a reason.

    Likewise the government recognizes certain relationships for a reason as well. Business partnerships are beneficial for helping drive the economy.

    These two together are built up for the good of society. The question on the table is what good for society would the government be doing by recognizing gay marriage? What benefit are we missing that needs to be recognized? And there isn't anything. No gay marriage advocate has put forth a reason. Nothing strongly compelling enough to say that gay people need this benefit or recognition over other groups like thruples or polygamy. So why should I be compelled to vote for “gay marriage rights?” What discrimination is being put upon gay persons that isn't put upon single persons, under age persons, etc? What is discrimination exactly? Can a government make parameters and allocate benefits and recognition along those parameters?

    1. I hate when I do that...It should say Medicare not Medicaid. You'd think I'd watch my typing more closely.

  59. Exactly, Deltaflute, but I'd even go further. Even if there were a reason for the government to be recognizing and providing benefits to same-sex couples, it would not, nor could not be the same reason that married (straight married) couples are recognized and receive benefits because they are not the same, they physically can't be the same. From there it would be very difficult to say they should receive the same benefits and recognition but for different reasons.

    It would be like a mall security guard claiming he should receive veterans benefits. Or me, the SAHM (never worked for the state in my life) claiming I should receive a state-pension fund.

  60. Q: Which of these two relationships have more elements in common with marriage as it has always (“traditionally”) been understood? Those elements being:

    - biological complementarity, meaning capacity for conjugal (one-flesh) union of participants
    - ordered naturally towards procreation and
    - availability of both biological parents to nurture offspring.

    Based on these criteria, which relationship better fits the descriptor “marriage” and should therefore – arguably – be recognized first?

    From Merriam-Webster:
    polygamy : marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time
    [Legal status of polygamy: A majority of the world's countries and nearly all of the world's developed nations do not permit polygamy]

    gay marriage : the word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above.
    same sex marriage : the word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above
    [Legal status of same sex/gay “marriage”: being progressively recognized in law in certain jurisdictions in the developed world]

    As for (ruamonkeyman’s objection to) the slippery slope argument, such argument is not only valid but is employed universally, in everyday situations. Just ask a parent whose 14 year old son wants a glass of his dad’s beer and dad responds by asking what should happen if his 13 and 11 year old daughters also wanted the same. There is nothing wrong with rational boundaries on our social/familial structures, per se, and to argue otherwise is patently imprudent. Also, if boundaries are to mean anything, they need to be drawn in real red lines, not pink crayons, as one international fiasco of recent memory amply and embarrassingly illustrated.

    On the issue of the rights to marriage and family:

    “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.”“UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 Article 16.1”

    “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 Article 16.3
    “The right to found a family implies, in principle, the possibility to procreate and live together.” - “UN International Human Rights Instruments General Comment #19”

    Note: According to a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (IMO following logically from the foregoing), Gay “marriage” is not a human right”.

    On the issue of rights of children:

    “The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.”“UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child, Article 7”

    “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.” - UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child, Article 30

  61. Deltaflute- I actually think in many ways we are thinking on the same page. Maybe the root of the matter is simply that there shouldn't be any legal benefits towards getting married (joint taxes, inheriting social security etc.) if at the end of the day marriage is in fact just an element of religion, not open for debate in its definition.

    If marriage is, as Bethany puts it "the unique relationship where by 1 male and 1 female (thereby meeting the most basic biological requirement for potential procreation) commit to spend the rest of their lives together," I would ask who has the authority to define marriage as exactly that, to keep marriage forever under that definition, and why is marriage an innate quality that cannot be re-defined? If all this argument is tilting toward religious absolutists than isn't the status of marriage in America demonstrably religious favoritism?

    My example of voting rights being re-interpreted over the years to become more inclusive I think still stands, (despite the semantic argument about what "voter" should mean). The right to vote is an idea we came up with as humans (I don't think democracy was passed down from on high) so as humans we need to constantly discuss and re-evaluate why we set certain parameters on who has the right to vote. I think a legal marriage shares the same status as the right to vote: it can be re-defined.

    If marriage is instead supposed to be unalterably the union of man and woman for procreative reasons, if that definition is based in religious, and not secular roots, and therefore inerrant, and perfect in its essence, then I would simply point out that there are plenty of people who don't accept the particular Judeo-Christian essence to that argument, and giving people tax breaks for entering into a sacrament together not only shames the state, it degrades the religion.

    Ultimately Deltaflute, my answer is yes, I'm open to other interpretations of marriage beyond hetero and homosexual limitations. Maybe ultimately there are excellent reasons for advocating polygamy as well; it's something I'd like to think more about. I'm (and forgive the geekiness here) a fan of Mass Effect where humans come into contact with sexy humanoid aliens, aliens who display as much passion, reason, and empathy as humans, so maybe one day we will be discussing if consensual humanoid relationships merit the term of marriage?

    In college I had a professor who lamented that the term "gentleman," no longer applied, as it originally did, to "landowning gentry," but instead now means, "a nice guy." He felt this was just one more example of humans backsliding into chaos, of the bastardization of language, giving up on those absolutes for subjectivity. Ultimately though, the world is bound to change, and it is our responsibility to look at that change with as much honesty, open mindedness, and open hearts as possible. If we all can agree at least on that, then we'd all end up with more agreements, compromises, and new insights, so hopefully they do :)

  62. Bethany- I think we're starting to overpopulate the earth to such a degree that single people with no children should be getting tax breaks in preference of large families. That's just my opinion of course, but it would be interesting to see analyzed the tax revenue projection of demographics of children vs. the cost of maintaining that population. I've read articles stating that America's sustainable work force can only guarantee about 200,000 jobs. If that's true more children means more unemployment, means more welfare, means more taxes, hence giving tax breaks to heterosexual families with children doubly hurts everyone else. I'd be interested to hear what you think though.

    "All everything that I understand, I understand because I love"

  63. ruamonkeyman,

    Overpopulation? "... to such a degree...?"

    Here's the latest UN population Report on: “World Population”

    The Executive Summary on Page 1 of the document reveals, on current trends:

    1. far from alarming numbers
    2. a stabilizing population
    3. to be followed by decline globally.

    Indeed, Page 2 contains some details of the growing problem of rapidly ageing populations in certain locales.

    The UN also has a recent report out that no less than half of the food of the world is wasted daily - in significant part due to poor infrastructure/inefficient distribution systems. You might wish to Google for that info yourself.

  64. Conversations in the Brave New World:

    What’s your fatherland?

    [Fatherland the native land or country of one's father or ancestors]

    I don’t know. I was conceived from donated third party sperm and I don’t have a father, only two mommies. I have no idea who my biological father is/was nor where my ancestors were from.

    How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?

    I didn’t. I have two daddies, but have no idea who my biological mother is/was.

    "All children are equal, but some children shall be less equal than others."

  65. monkeyman-
    1) That is of course up to the individual voter, but I do see the value to society in having tax benefits. Since most people who marry end up having children, social benefits show that children tend to commit less crime, have a better chance at social upward mobility, and so on and so forth. As I pointed out to my husband, the government wants to encourage people to have stable relationships to bring biological children into so it simply isn't a matter of encouraging people to have children. It's the environment in which to raise children.

    2) I'm glad you acknowledge that the objective is to redefine marriage. But as was pointed out what else would you call a unique relationship in which two persons of come together for life and exclusively and make children together? My brother and I are two persons who share a life long (and in our case exclusive) relationship but we would define that as being siblings. I don't think anyone would argue to redefine that. Even if one my parents remarried someone else who had children, we would be step-siblings. The definition of a full-blooded sibling only applies to my brother.

    3) You can't really redefine a voter. You can put parameters around who votes, but as Bethany pointed out is the act of voting that makes one a voter. In this way is marriage. An act of matrimony (signing a document and so forth) and consummation is what completes the marriage bond. At that point its permanent, much like your vote is permanent. You can put parameters around it such as being of a certain age to consent, but unless a person consents and consummates, it's something else. Unless a person casts their vote, it's not voting; it's something else.

    4) Marriage does and then again does not have anything to do with religion. Marriage is something that happens in atheism and many atheistic countries don't recognize homosexual "marriage." Marriage has been around since as long as anyone can remember or have a recorded history. We have over-time had dowries and whatnot but the basic understanding of 1 man and 1 woman hasn't changed. As I asked above, how else would you describe or define such a unique relationship? Do you want to have a different word? Because let's face it, there's a difference between homosexual couples and heterosexual couples. For one thing, in heterosexual couplings one does not need to look to a third party to produce children. So what do you propose to call it? I call it marriage.

  66. I've thought about this for a couple of days. I'm in the same place as Johanne. We're in a circular argument. Same sex marriage is here and nothing is going to make it go away. I'd rather talk about how to exist peaceably without each side being offensive.

    I watched the Ryan Anderson video. I disagree with him and actually thought he was rude to the man asking the question by trying to deflect the question by bringing up polygamy and incest. Homosexuality is not polygamy or incest. Marriage has gone through changes throughout history. A good change - wives are no longer their husband's property in most places. Bad change - no fault divorce.

    I got married because I loved my husband. I wanted to share my life with him under the same roof. Oh, and have sex. Sounds superficial and it kind of was but I wouldn't have married him without all that. With real life, a bunch of kids and some bad times, the love is very different than the starry eyes that it was in the beginning. If you want to say that I'm all about feelings and compassion, so be it. I've been called much worse than compassionate.

    From listening and observing gay relationships, it's the same as what I have with my husband. When you think they have the same relationship, you know it isn't right not to allow them to marry legally.

    As far as their souls, that's between themselves, their priest and God just like it is for everyone.

  67. You are right, Liza, that we are going round and round. I think my 9 points address the objections, and so when we start repeating our points, we just get stuck.

    And you already told me that you don't care for ontology, which is about what is True and Real. If you don't care about what is True, then it's very hard. It's hard for me to understand, and hard for me to dialogue. Especially as you are a Catholic.

    I want to speak to you, Catholic to Catholic. When you say this:

    "When you think they have the same relationship, you know it isn't right not to allow them to marry legally"

    it becomes a serious spiritual problem. We are Catholic. Jesus founded our Church and He is God. He protected the moral teachings of the Church (and even placed it so deeply in our hearts that non-Catholics can understand the universal moral law with use of reason alone, no revelation needed). Gay relationships are mortally sinful (just like other sexual sins, since sex is sacred, the very means by which God perpetuates life). Meaning, if sexual sins are done willfully, with full consent, knowing their gravity, it will mean separation from God forever. If you feel compassion for, if you care about, if you love people, you would never, ever confirm them in mortal sin. Not ever. It's so serious, so grave for you to be a Catholic and approve of mortal sin. I cannot stress enough how spiritually harmful this route is. I pray that you reconsider. Read the saints, read the Scriptures. Sin is what put Our Lord on the Cross and it's the reason He died: To save us from the very sins (mortal) that we celebrate today. Listen to your Church, the faith you profess. Mortal sin is not a mystery, it's not something we celebrate, it's to be fled from at all costs, and we cling instead to Christ, and the virtues.

    The devil wants nothing more than to destroy souls (including the souls of gay people, who are wounded and searching) and he wants to destroy the family at its heart.

    You have free will, and can think what you want, of course, but as a fellow Catholic, I have to tell you that it's dangerous, dangerous spiritual territory.

    Despite all that, I really do thank you for hanging in there with me! Blessings on your day.

  68. I got married because I loved my husband. I wanted to share my life with him under the same roof. Oh, and have sex. Sounds superficial and it kind of was but I wouldn't have married him without all that. With real life, a bunch of kids and some bad times, the love is very different than the starry eyes that it was in the beginning. If you want to say that I'm all about feelings and compassion, so be it. I've been called much worse than compassionate.

    Those may be the reasons why you got married, and why you wanted to get married, but they are not what make you a married woman, nor what make you and your husband, a married couple. The state, nor the little piece of paper you signed make you a married couple either. They only acknowledge that you do, indeed, meet the criteria for being a married couple.

    The fact that one part of your married couple is a man and one is a woman, and for same-sex couples that is not the case, THAT is what makes them different. Not the same. Different is important. Different is good.

    Someone above, I don't remember exactly who questioned why are these "criteria" the definition of marriage and why can't they be changed? Well for the same reason that if I changed the rules of basketball so that there are now 9 players on a field rather than a court, with a diamond with 4-bases, and bats, and small round relatively hard balls, and big gloves, it wouldn't be basketball anymore, it'd be baseball. The same reason that if I changed the definition of chair to say it now is a round, flat surface I hang on the wall with numbers and hands that move at certain rate of speed. Well if that's what a "chair" is now - even if every living soul on earth accepts my new definition of "chair" - I still need a word that refers to the 4-legged, single seat with a back that the word chair had previously defined.

    Does that make sense?

    1. Bethany, it makes perfect sense! So, so clear. Thank you. I hope it made sense to Liza, too.

  69. Leila, I did watch both videos you linked. Is “throuple” really a word now? It sounds really dumb and I refuse to use it. Anyway, I think the speaker makes the same error that many same-sex marriage opponents make by confusing orientation with other preferences (I’ll expand later on why this distinction is important and why I don’t believe politics will change it). For example, “two people at once” isn’t a sex, and thus cannot be the target of a sexual orientation. In fact, nearly all people who experience sexual desire can experience attraction to multiple people at once. Does this mean that we’re all polygamists? Of course not. To decide that gay people can marry a partner of the same gender is an allowance made for their sexual orientation. If a straight man can marry one woman, and a gay man can marry one man, both people can marry someone in a way that complements their sexual orientation. Even if one or both of them is sad that they cannot marry a second person, no one is discriminating against their sexual orientation.

    From the perspective of gay marriage advocates, the SSM debate centers on whether the lack of gay marriage is discrimination leveled at gay people based on their sexual orientation, and if so, whether it’s okay to discriminate between gay and straight relationships. Polygamy is not a part of this discussion because polygamy is not an orientation. If they want, polygamists can start talking about why they think they are discriminated against. However, just because one form of discrimination is bad does not mean another is. Discrimination is simply treating two things as different. Polygamists will have to make their own new arguments instead of just pretending they’re a logical extension of the current gay marriage movement.

    Overall, the speaker has a very good presentation, and it’s certainly striking that the people he interacts with don’t really know how to respond to his arguments. However, I think the whole thing is a bit circular—the first questioner can’t marry his boyfriend because the definition of marriage excludes same sex couples. He wants marriage to be extended to include same sex couples. The speaker responds that the definition of marriage excludes same sex couples, so marriage cannot be extended to same sex couples. I don’t know why SSM opponents are so worried about someone else changing the definition of marriage—it’s clear that you have a very specific definition that you hold to, regardless of what courts may decide. The thing is, SSM supporters don't completely share this definition. As I said, I can see the difference between straight and gay marriage, but I don't think the difference is enough to make one legitimate and the other illegitimate.

    With regards to the second video, replacing the idea of legally-recognized marriage with simple contract law sounds appealing at first. After all, governments can’t literally care about love, happiness, or ontological truth, so why not leave important things like marriage in the hands of the people? The problem with this is the government has an actual interest in marriage, which is why it legally exists in the first place. Even if the government chooses to extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples, that does not mean the legal reasoning behind straight marriage has gone away.


  70. There’s more to marriage than just “consenting adults who love each other and want to be happy together.” Sorry if you weren’t satisfied with my explanation of why incest is wrong. I think I would agree with whatever reasons you have for believing it is wrong, if that helps.

    Whether pedophilia becomes normalized and whether it is considered an orientation are completely different topics. Orientation is a medical term that refers specifically to which sexes a person is attracted to. The only possible orientations are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and sometimes asexual. Regardless of what specific preferences are seen as acceptable, they are not considered orientations. BDSM, for example, is becoming more socially accepted, but no one considers it an orientation, and practitioners do not want it treated as such. Generally, the trend is to attempt to rebrand non-socially acceptable sexual practices as “kinks,” “fetishes,” or at very least “natural.”This sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

    I doubt pedophilia will become accepted because most people understand why raping children is wrong. Also, remember that the NAMBLA crowd was once more successful at fitting in with the gay community, but they were metaphorically kicked out around the time it became mainstream. With this in mind, I don’t think things are trending in the pedophiles’ favor.

    It’s true that civil unions don’t seem like a likely solution at this point. However, the preservation of traditional marriage laws also looks pretty unlikely, especially since it’s ended up as primarily an issue for the courts. Unfortunately, at this point nearly all opinions (both for and against gay marriage) are not going to make much difference. This is frustrating for me, because I don’t think courts are usually a good way to enact societal change.

    I understand that you’re not happy with arguments that rely too heavily on people’s feelings, and much of what I have to say in favor of gay marriage boils down to that. If that sort of argument doesn’t satisfy you, I’m not sure what I or anyone else could do to change that. The best I can say is that a person’s feelings are a real and legitimate part of them. A person is a single package—body, mind, and soul—and while feelings do not rewrite reality they are certainly a part of reality, and quite important.

    Francis, I’m currently typing up a response to you.

  71. Francis, I’m afraid I won’t have a whole lot to say because I agree with most of the points you’ve made here. I’ve generally avoided talking about children in this thread because I’m definitely not qualified to talk about parenting. I’m very young, and I realized a while ago that debating people much older than me (many of whom are actually mothers and fathers) about raising children is absurd. I remember being surprised when I asked my liberal parents about gay parenting—both of them had issues with it, despite their acceptance of gay relationships. As Leila stated in the post, children are not absolutely necessary for marriage, so I don’t think my comments in favor of SSM imply that all forms of gay parenting are okay. I see it as a separate, though admittedly closely related, topic.

    The situation you describe in your first question sounds pretty bad. I said earlier that I don’t support in-vitro fertilization. It manufactures a child to be motherless or fatherless. I agree with the UN that children have a right to their families.

    It’s not ideal to raise a child motherless or fatherless, though it is a sad reality for many kids. Right now, we’re seeing the first generation of young adults that includes a sizable number who grew up in gay households. All we can really do is listen to what people have to say, good experiences and bad. Personally, my guess is that being raised by two men or two women is better for a child than being raised by a single parent, but not as good as being raised by a mother and a father.

    With that said, to answer your second question, the fact that a motherless or fatherless relationship is a bad idea for children does not make it immoral for two men or two women to have a sexual relationship (or consider themselves married). After all, it’s not like they’re going to accidentally bring a baby into the world!

    It’s striking to hear President Obama speak about fatherlessness. What he’s saying is not politically correct, but it’s true. I wonder what he would say if you asked him about it in the context of the gay marriage issue.

    To be completely honest, I’ve probably switched back and forth several times in this thread between arguing for gay marriage as “marriage” and as “marriage-like.” I think the best way to put is that sometimes the differences matter, and sometimes they don’t. I maintain that gay people do know the differences between gay marriage and straight marriage (otherwise, we’d be hearing a lot about the mysteriously high prevalence of infertility in couples which just so happen to be gay—perhaps biology up to its old homophobic tricks again). They may not want to dwell on the differences (understandable), but I don’t think they’re in denial. And while marriage may have historically been defined in a certain way that would preclude gay marriages, you can hardly blame gay people for not knowing this specific definition if so many straight people don’t know it either.

    I’m not entirely sure I can define gay marriage. The best attempt I’ve seen is Merriam-Webster’s, “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.” I think gay marriage will always be (vaguely) defined in relation to straight marriage, and as such the difference will never be completely ignored. The whole "like straight marriage, mostly" outlook on SSM half-heartedly validates and invalidates all opinions on the subject. I think both gay and straight people will learn to deal with this.

    1. Catching up on the thread, I just noticed that you referenced Merriam-Webster's lacking a definition for "gay marriage" or "same sex marriage," while I just said that it had one. The one I cited was a secondary definition for "marriage," rather than its own page. Just wanted to clarify.

  72. Thanks, Chris. I was indeed wondering where you'd gotten that from.

    Because I like what/how you're writing (even though we mightn't agree on some things) I will write some more on this subject, and attempt to address one or more of your points, starting, perhaps, with a comment regarding the (crucial) essence of things. Later. For right now there's a hideously obese To Do List ensconced on my fridge door clamoring for some radical weight loss surgery! Take care.

    1. “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.”

      Sounds like even the pundits at Merriam Webster are struggling to develop a definition - in the absence of any precise one provided by the proponents of "gay marriage". :)

  73. Bethany, I understand what you are saying. The issue is about people, not things or what you call their relationship. I really really wish that same sex marriage had another name but was identical to what heterosexuals have.

    Leila, thank you for your concern. I haven't expressed myself properly or you wouldn't have that concern. For that I apologize. I knew when I started that I probably couldn't do it so I shouldn't have tried.

  74. Liza- Actually we are talking about a thing. Marriage, a relationship is a thing. It involves peoples, yes, just as basketball involves people. If Tiger Woods decided he really, really felt like he should be playing basketball, and then came on the court with a golf club, ball, tee, and caddy, and tried to hit holes in one, we would not consider him to be playing basketball, even if he is convinced he's playing basketball. The point is that, while yes, people are involved, people's feelings don't get to change the nature of reality. Reality is Marriage is the word that has described a particular type of relationship, one that involves 1 man and 1 woman united together in permanent stability. If Marriage now is supposed to mean a loving relationship between consenting adults, (because lets be honest, we can't limit the amount of people, nor the type of love, those would be arbitrary restrictions, at best) then what do we call that first relationship, that unique one. It involves people, too.
    And while I have no problem coming up with a name that describes a same-sex relationship, it can't be identical to straight marriages because the relationships are not identical. One carries the potential of creating new life and one doesn't. That is an important distinction. It's the potential for creating new life while simultaneously offering the stability necessary to rear that new life into responsible adults that the government is recognizing and benefiting, not the love of the couple. But how that couple is helping the future flourishing of society.

  75. Bethany- I guess my point is that the parameters of marriage ARE arbitrary.
    Here are two short articles discussing those changes:
    Even basketball has changed its rules since it's invention:

    So I see that your argument could be that same sex marriage so alters the definition of marriage that it would be like turning basketball into golf, altering it beyond recognition. I don't agree that it does alter the idea of marriage as dramatically as that, in the same way that I wouldn't say that allowing dunking around 1977 has robbed everyone of the true meaning of basketball.

    1. It may be even more insightful to ask: Is the WNBA "real" basketball? I'd say it is, even though the sexes of the players so dramatically changed when the league began in 1978.

  76. I like that I decided to check in today, my 8th anniversary to my beautiful husband.

    Compelling arguments all. We disagree. No anger or animosity. No insulting, it's nice.

    Leila et al, you have the power to stop talking about it. It's that simple. Just stop.

    But as you don't, many others of us won't either.

    Couple of points.

    Yes opposite sex relationships are indeed different than same sex relationships. Yes opposite sex relationships can lead to biological children. However, that does not make them more than really good friendships than same sex relationships. Do you consider your husbands your best friends?
    If you don't/can't see the difference between friendships and marriages I fear we are doomed from the very beginning.

    Most of the analogies fail for me. You are talking about taking things so far apart from each other and renaming them something that doesn't even have the same principles. (or principals, I always get those two mixed up)
    A chair isn't a clock, they have different uses.

    As I have stated before pologamy, incest, pedophilia and marrying non human's are totally different, and really have no dog in this fight.
    I think Chris is doing a fantastic job explaining why.

  77. monkeyman, so you don't agree that marriage has always been seen as a conjugal union? (I always wonder, how did someone as educated and "brilliant" as Hillary Clinton get her history so long for so long?) Then what was it? Was it based on love? What was the essence, or core, or base, of marriage for all these millennia? I guess I'm just asking personally: What made "marriage" marriage?

    A voter is a voter because he can perform the act of voting (that is a thing, a real thing, and it makes a voter). A married person is married because he can .... (fill in blank). (Remember, it can't be "because he has a marriage license, because of course marriage has been around way before any of that.)

    Alan you said:

    "Leila et al, you have the power to stop talking about it. It's that simple. Just stop."

    Alan, why would I stop? It's the defining institution of society, and its destruction is harming children. Why would I stop speaking what is true and good, simply because it's uncomfortable and tragic? Christians are to speak and propose what is true, good, and beautiful, in season and out. If I don't, then it's on my soul.

    Liza, so then you are against gay "marriage"? Because to condone a mortal sin is a mortal sin itself. I am confused about your stance. Are you okay with gay "marriage" or not? Thanks!

  78. ruamonkeyman,

    1. Male/female partner replaced by female/male partner.

    2. (Procreative) conjugal, one flesh union reduced to (sterile) mutual masturbation, anal intercourse and other passing delights.

    3. Third, fourth and fifth parties brought/bought/hired into the equation to manufacture “offspring”.

    4. A child's mommy replaced by a second daddy or his/her daddy replaced by a second mommy.

    5. The entire family connections, genealogy, ancestry and inheritance of a child/children annihilated, at least from one side of the family tree.

    That's just for starters. And you still reckon the “idea of marriage” has not been altered “as dramatically as that”?


  79. Leila:

    "And you already told me that you don't care for ontology, which is about what is True and Real. If you don't care about what is True, then it's very hard. It's hard for me to understand, and hard for me to dialogue".

    "1. the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such.
    2. (loosely) metaphysics. "

    No where does this definition use the words true or real.
    One could argue that the use of the word ontology in regards to marriage is wrong, but as I rarely seem to be able to convey my points to you I'm not going to even try. But I will say the word doesn't necessarily work. I've spoken with friends smarter than me (one of whom is that delightful husband to whom I've been married to eight years today) and they have had compelling arguments as to why this is the wrong use of word.

    Marriage is a man mad construct. Regardless of how long it's been around and when it was started. It was created by man.
    Many concepts (like marriage) have been around for a long time. Some of them have been determined to be wrong (slavery). It took time though. And eventually the majority seem to have understood that it was wrong. So maybe this is just marriages turn.

    Yes marriage has been almost always exclusively heterosexual (do a little research and you will see that there are times when it maybe wasn't). Perhaps that was due in part to the fact the opposition had more power (similar to what you now seem to think the gay lobby has), or not who knows.

    Perhaps homosexuals didn't seem to want marriage, but you don't know their hearts. My husbands uncles were together 55 years before one died. They had a great marriage. But they never seemed to think they could have that because of what society told them. But I'd still put their relationship up against any marriage any day.

    My marriage is no more about feelings than yours. My marriage is no more about what I want than yours.
    As the only homosexual I've seen here I feel distinctly qualified to make that statement.

  80. alanl64-
    I don't know of any homosexual couples who would agree that their love is no more than just a "really strong friendship."

    You're right, analogies can be strong or weak, but if they are strong enough they can provide helpful insights or new perspectives.

    I know what you're getting at "a chair isn't a clock," implying that marriage has an essence that cannot be redefined. Leila, in writing this BLOG, demonstrates great courage in trying to define that essence, but I still fail to understand the "why" marriage just "has to be" how it is being defined here.

    So many of our concepts have changed over the years (marriage not being immune to an evolving understanding). I see it as a man-made social institution, not a mathematical concept or scientific truism.

    A chair isn't a clock, but is the concept of same sex and opposite sex marriage such a disparity of definitions? My issue is I see more similarities than differences between the two, is a sundial a clock (I know, more analogies lol)? I'd like to see same sex marriages recognized only as a legal precedent, not a universal truth.

  81. Leila, this statement:

    "I wish you could see my face right now. How I wish and even fervently pray that I would never have to speak or write on this topic ever again."

    Goodness you aren't aware that you have the power to never speak about it again?

    True and good.....that's your opinion. Not fact.

  82. "...the nature of existence or being as such."

    Um, Alan, the nature and existence of something = what is true or real.

    Just because I wish I didn't have to do something does not mean I don't have an obligation to. Some days, I wish I didn't have to form my children in virtue, or even give them lunch. But I have an obligation to do so. You see the distinction, correct?

    Sorry, that's all I can type for now, as I am out the door to my parents' house and have a packed day!

    Grace and peace to you all, and please carry on without me! Reminder that if for some reason we hit 200 comments, readers have to click the "load more" link at the bottom to get to the rest. :)

  83. Francis Choudhury
    My response in brackets

    1. Male/female partner replaced by female/male partner.
    [replaced by male/male and female/female. Not sure why you changed the order, should male come first and dominate?]

    2. (Procreative) conjugal, one flesh union reduced to (sterile) mutual masturbation, anal intercourse and other passing delights.
    [Are you implying that heterosexual couples never engage in anal sex or mutual masturbation, or other "passing delights"?]

    3. Third, fourth and fifth parties brought/bought/hired into the equation to manufacture “offspring”.
    [Heterosexual couples who can't conceive often do the same thing. A pox on those who adopt children!]

    4. A child's mommy replaced by a second daddy or his/her daddy replaced by a second mommy.
    [I fail to see the issue here at all. Should we gasp at single parents as well?]

    5. The entire family connections, genealogy, ancestry and inheritance of a child/children annihilated, at least from one side of the family tree.
    [Oy vey: imagine life without a family tree...]

    That's just for starters. And you still reckon the “idea of marriage” has not been altered “as dramatically as that”?
    [I guess so]

  84. I've been posting too much, I'd better stop; I'm starting to feel like a troll lol.

    Leila and community, thank you so much for the excellent and candid discussion!

    "Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”
    Pope Francis

  85. Someone may have already touched on this in the comments - but your third point is against Catholic Canon Law. I personally am not Catholic, but this is one area I do agree with. A marriage that is not consummated is still a valid marriage - it is not merely a friendship. To state such a thing is an insult to many beautiful marriages that have happened before God.

    Western Code of Canon Law
    Can. 109 §1. Affinity arises from a valid marriage, even if not consummated, and exists between a man and the blood relatives of the woman and between the woman and the blood relatives of the man.

    Can. 1061 §1. A valid marriage between the baptized is called ratum tantum if it has not been consummated; it is called ratum et consummatum if the spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for theprocreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh.
    §2. After a marriage has been celebrated, if the spouses have lived together consummation is presumed until the contrary is proven.

    Can. 1085 §1. A person bound by the bond of a prior marriage, even if it was not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.
    §2. Even if the prior marriage is invalid or dissolved for any reason, it is not on that account permitted to contract another before the nullity or dissolution of the prior marriage is established legitimately and certainly.

    1. Brandi, this is so important that I am answering with the "reply" function, which I normally prohibit.

      I NEVER (repeat, NEVER) said that a non-conusmmated marriage is not valid! I said that the couple must have the ABILITY to consummate. My daughters were recently married. When they were at their reception, they were, of course, VALIDLY married! They had not yet consummated, but they were married. Please, please, read what I wrote very carefully! Thank you.

      I do appreciate that you put Canon Law up for us, though. I am glad that you did. :)

  86. ruamonkeyman

    As I understand it, the entire gist of your last comment is that prevalent allowances, aberrations or exceptions (often a consequence of tragic, involuntary circumstances - which might also include anal attraction) should be defined as some new, healthy, meaningful norm. In that case, I guess two wrongs do make a right or, perhaps more appropriately in this situation, two imperfections perfect a thing.

    1. Oof, now I have to comment on that.

      Francis, I suppose you're claiming you know what is moral, justified, healthy, pure, and meaningful for all other people?

      I'm not in support of moral relativism, but moral absolutism means someone is claiming they know best for everyone else. Here I'd quote William James: "ought all men to have the same religion?"

      Tomas Aquinas who is one of the most famous logicians in the Catholic Church once said that masturbation was a worse sin than rape, because at least rape allows for the possibility of conception- the true purpose of copulation. That's absolutism for you.

      So if oral sex is perhaps one of those imperfections that can't turn something into a perfect thing... maybe you're not doing it right?

    2. by the way, I meant last comment as a universal "you're" and not a personal one. I'm trying to be facetious but not insulting, and I apologize if that came across as personal

  87. I will try to respond later, but as I'm exhausted right now, I'm going to try getting some rest before taking the kids to a baseball game. I just wanted to say to MonkeyMan - don't feel like a troll. We can usual tell the difference between trolls and those in sincere discussion, even if there is little hope of conversion. It is always a pleasure dialoguing with those who disagree, it helps us hone and strengthen our points. :)

    Until later, folks!

  88. ruamonkeyman,

    So if oral sex is perhaps one of those imperfections that can't turn something into a perfect thing... maybe you're not doing it right?

    Nah. I reckon I'll desist from responding to this, even at the risk of the entire audience of this conversation missing out on an expert, graphic instruction from you as to how a man/woman should "rightly" receive a penis in his/her mouth &/or up his/her anus to achieve perfect marital bliss.

    Ugh. I guess we're now getting really close to ground zero of this "marriage" debate.

  89. Brandi- I believe Leila has discussed Josephite marriages before. The difference between what you linked and impotency is that with impotency (which is very rare) there is never a reasonable expectation that a person will be able to perform the act. One has to be able to perform the act at some point. It's in the marriage vows that one must be open to life (which means at some point you must be willing to act). Otherwise it is grounds for an annulment. One (and this occasionally happens) must be willing to perform the deed. If a person cannot or will not ever, than either party can file for an annulment, which is essentially saying it was not a true marriage.

    This sounds a bit like gossip, but I have heard of an occasion where one of the parties did not know anything about sexual intercourse. She went through marriage prep, but didn't ask the priest a single question. It wasn't until later that her husband discovered how little she understood. He ended up seeking an annulment. Not sure of the exact circumstances, but I guess she had no desire to ever act. In any case, the priest said he learned his lesson and now he verifies that every member of each couple he counsels knows what sexual intercourse is.

    So yes you can be married but have not consummated. This is different than being married and agreeing to never consummate (or cannot) which is what some asexual partnerships decide (although at that point it's not a marriage). Make sense?

    1. Are you saying someone who cannot have sex is less than perfect, and not privileged to the wonderful gift of marriage God has given us? Are you saying God punishes those who have been born with or developed a disability?

      The information I got was specifically from Catholics, and from Catholic Canon. It's quite clear in the Canon, and does not specify "this only applies if you don't know you're not going to consummate." You can marry someone knowing full well it will not be consummated, and it is still and always will be considered a marriage. It is NOT a friendship, or "less than" marriage. The only difference is that it can be annulled.

  90. Monkeyman, is this from that interview with an atheist?

    "Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”
    Pope Francis

    If so, it's out of context (and the very elderly atheist reconstructed the interview without notes, from memory. I would read Pope Francis' first encyclical (Lumen Fidei) to get at his ideas about Truth and Love and their place. It's honestly quite illuminating and there is no speculation as to what he actually means.

    And I agree, you are not a troll, so no worries. I wish I had more time today to be here. Sorry!

    1. Dang! I love parenthetical thoughts (as everyone here knows) and yet I so often leave off the second parenthesis!! Sorry!!! UGH!

    2. Yes, it was from that interview. Pope Francis did attest to the trustworthiness of Scalfari's publication (which the pope was given for review) but it obviously was not an in-depth analysis on the subject of morality. No brief quote could be, and most quotes from famous figures suffer from losing context. As you point out though, the context here is a conversation between the pope and an atheist.

      I find it disappointing that it seems every time Pope Francis says something nice everyone else runs damage control. Isn't the essence here, that all people have some, innate sense of good and evil, and we should all cultivate the good, continually, sincerely, and to the best of our knowledge and ability? If the pope only meant "all true morality is found within Mother Church" wouldn't he have felt obliged to especially make that clear to an atheist?

  91. Leila, I hope you will think and pray about how you come across on this issue.

    As I pointed out on another post, you blog about gay marriage more than any other sin - more than any other subject even. It's insincere to say you are just truth-seeking or that the media and TV are shoving it down our throats and you need to counteract it. As Alan pointed out, no one is making you write about it.

    I can promise you that I have and will continue to think and pray about gay marriage.

  92. "As I pointed out on another post, you blog about gay marriage more than any other sin - more than any other subject even."

    You must be very interested in the subject, too, to analyze one little blogger's post about it. Question: You haven't said outright... why do you think I blog about marriage (gay or otherwise) so much?

  93. @Leila

    "But what frustrates me is that you did not actually address the points."--but I have done so thoroughly and exhaustively in the past to no avail. So I have given up!

    Congratulations on your anniversary!

  94. I learned two new words today! (The language is expanding so furiously now, in its bid to accommodate the various new phenomena in the Brave New World, it's hard to keep up!)


    The refrain “marriage equality” is already being followed by a demand for “reproductive equality”.

    In response to the (understandable) emotional pain and frustration experienced by infertile heterosexual couples, several states have required health insurance providers to cover infertility treatments. But now “infertility”, once considered a medical problem, must, like marriage, be redefined (or renamed) to encompass gay couples (whose “unions” are, perforce, invariably incapable of procreation). For example, the California State Assembly recently approved a bill requiring that insurance coverage for the treatment of infertility must also be extended to gay couples.

    In a recent article, “It Is Time for the U.S. to Cover IVF for Gays and Lesbians Too”, Dov Fox, an academic fellow at Georgetown University Law Center, and I. Glenn Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Law School, deployed this new term, “dysfertility”, to emphasize a “social” obstacle rather than a “biological” obstacle to reproduction. They acknowledge that “dysfertility fits less comfortably within the medical model”. But they ask, “Why should that alone make less worthy the desires of gays and lesbians to have a genetic child?”

    This question segues by default to the second word I learned today:


    This is a facility to which men (i.e., males - one of the 52 genders of human beings, as recently defined by Facebook) report, to provide sperm for infertile/“dysfertile” couples. On arrival, they are directed to a room containing pornography. There, they masturbate until they ejaculate into a cup, and then they deliver the cup to a staff member. The contents may be split up into as many as nine vials and frozen with liquid nitrogen. If the man’s sperm quality is found to be good enough, he will get paid.

    A recent survey among such men elicited the following reactions:

    Ethan: “What’s weird about it is going into a doctor’s office and jerking off. It’s kind of like a sexual thing you’re using in a totally nonsexual way. It’s not the privacy of your own bedroom, and it’s not whenever else you might choose to masturbate. This is like masturbation on demand. You’re a lab rat. You can go in and smile and say all the nice things you want every morning, but they really want you for one thing. You are a walking sperm donor.”

    Ben: “I felt like a piece of meat almost. I felt like a cow. I’m being milked for something that I can provide.”

    Dennis: “You’re sort of like an asset to them, and if you’re not performing, they don’t want to have any part of you. I finished giving my sample, and they were like, “So you’ve had three bad samples. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what the problem is, but you really need to fix this.” I was like, “Yikes. Okay!””

    These men’s profiles are then paraded on the internet like cattle at an auction where women shop for sperm, based on features like height, weight, eye color, SAT scores, and athleticism.

    Despite all the careful pre-selection (or, perhaps, precisely because of the mindset that dictates it), some children born from donor sperm are not fully accepted and loved, because they fail to develop as advertised. In other words, a mother who pays for looks, intelligence, and athleticism but sees none of those in her child may not love the child unconditionally. In consumer terms, this would be called purchasing a “lemon”. No one would ever want to believe this, but as the sperm is shipped around the world, nobody checks on who is getting it. Nobody checks child abuse records. Nobody checks mental health history. Nobody checks anything about the buyers. A recent high profile case of rejection was the one involving Sherri Shepherd (a heterosexual) who washed her hands off an unborn IVF baby after her relationship with her partner collapsed.


  95. Brandi (it won't let me hit "reply" under your last comment; I hope you see this),

    Did you see my comment under your first comment? Please address that. And, what do you supposed Jesus meant here:

    “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:12). - See more at:

    What could those first two categories refer to? Thanks!

  96. Brandi- Canon Law doesn't always address every aspect of Catholicism. For example, the portion discussing standing and kneeling during reception of the Holy Eucharist is in another document and not found in Canon Law.

    Likewise the ritual for the Nuptial Mass asks that you accept children. A priest will also discuss one openness (or ability) during pre-Cana. Here's some more information about impotency.

    Thank you for being interested in Catholicism. I hope that you will continue to read more about our faith.

  97. Jesus is always the problem. Dang!

    1. That depends on what your definition of the word, "is", is.

  98. Johanne, but my response to you was directly addressing the things that you had just said or implied. So, I questioned you about them. And then you leave it hanging. The questions were really quite to the point, I think, and it wouldn't take much time for you to answer them, as I just answered yours. But I know it is wearying, believe me. I understand, and I am weary, too.

    Chris, amen to that!

  99. Leila, the reasons why I think you write about gay marriage so much more than anything else are purely speculative. I encourage you to think and pray about it.

  100. Liza, that's very condescending of you. I will give you the answer: It is the issue I am most asked about these days, and it's the cultural issue that my children are most confronted with (and people challenge their position every day when they are at school. The older kids, not the younger ones who are getting a very Catholic education). In the past, it was abortion that occupied my blog space and Facebook and conversations. Now, let me ask you: Why do you think I spent so much time talking about abortion? Do I need to be encouraged to think and pray on that, too? Because it's not really a mystery that needs to be prayed on.

    1. Here is something you might want to consider as you pray on the issue of marriage:

      "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live." - St. John Paul the Great

      I find that very prophetic. What do you suppose he meant by that? Not what we spirit-of-the-age American Catholics think he means, but what did he actually mean?

    2. “Children need parents who will provide them with a stable family environment,” this quote is taken from the same homily (out of context, yes). I’d ask though, wouldn’t same sex marriage provide more stability for couples/families, not less? As such, wouldn’t it be a social benefit? Wouldn’t preventing it cause more harm than good for the things we wish to preserve, such as committed couples and caring homes?

      Leila, if indeed your opinions on marriage are correct, if they represent Truth and the idea of “gay marriage” is simply an absurdity, then who truly loses if that absurdity were to be legally allowed? Does anyone? Conversely, who is losing now by gay marriage being illegal? By establishing not only that you and yours have total access to Truth, and then insisting that others must live under that Truth rather than follow their own absurd ideas, are you actually benefiting anyone? Are you trying to convert through inquisition? Or is it to safeguard your own sacrament? What tangible benefits are to be had?

      You can’t force someone to accept your beliefs, trying to force them by insisting that national laws coincide to your values is only a way to draw battle lines, not open dialogue. Legalizing gay marriage in no way diminishes personal morals, in no way creates more evil than already is in the world. Legalizing same sex marriage would not harm the family unit, it would only mean that the same homosexual couples living together now without it, would be able to commit to each other within it, and be recognized for legal benefits.

      It’s impossible to get away from the issue of “separate but equal” with the question of civil unions and marriage- just look up the many differences between the two; they’re not equal, nor is it likely they ever can be. Just think of those who you are forcing your opinions on, and not even (at least as I see it) for a perceived good, but instead as an insistence that you are right and they are wrong. Denying the legality of same sex marriage does not change anyone’s actions, it simply ostracizes one group that is supposed to be absurd (and underneath it all, but rarely stated: sinful) rather than the many other groups that do not fit the category of traditional Catholic marriage who CAN legally get married. It’s singling gays out, and causes more harm than good, inevitably making “traditional marriage” proponents look like the bad guys.

      If gay marriage was legalized tomorrow it will neither pick your pockets, nor cause you harm, nor hurt your families, nor subtract one iota from your Truth. It wouldn't be an insult to the status of your marriage, or force you to participate in it, or like it, or cause you to stop trying to talk others out of it- nor would it cause Rome to burn or Leviathan to rise.

      Please address if I’ve failed to understand your views. As I see it, even if you have access to God’s very Truth, it still does not harm one’s fellow man to allow the nation to legalize gay marriage. I think it conversely opens up many more possibilities for good, many more chances for fruitful discourse, and a greater hope in the future. I know this isn't the hard line the Vatican embraces, but doesn't it seem by far the most humane route?

      Conversely, and maybe only as a hypothetical, please ask yourself: what if you’re wrong? You probably already have, but isn’t there a great deal of needless suffering caused if you don’t have things right? What a misfortune it would be if the Truth you perceive is actually the absurdity? Then not only would it mean that your values were not the absolute Goodness you perceive them to be, it would also mean those arbitrary values were being forced upon others, whether or not they believed or wanted to accept them! Isn’t that perhaps the greatest horror of all? At least no one if forcing you to accept their standards, or as an alternative, to pay higher taxes, receive fewer benefits, lead a harder, less acceptable life, and all for the sake of embracing your absurdity in the shadow of their Truth.

  101. If I could jump in with a comment about voting. I would ask, what is there about women, blacks, non-property owners or horses that makes them incapable of fulfilling the office of "voter"? Let's see…. A woman is capable of considering issues and choosing which candidate best meets her position on those issues. The same is true for blacks and non-property owners. Horses, on the other hand, are not capable of considering the issues and making choices that align with those issues. Neither are children, although someday they will be capable of it and will be given the right to vote.

    How does this compare to marriage? A gay couple is not capable of performing the activity which makes marriage necessary for society. Yes, married couples care for each other, support each other, help each other through life, but non-married people can do the same for each other. If it were not for the fact that heterosexual sex produces new life that must be cared for, what concern would the government have for any of these relationships? Interesting… we have been informed that there will be no marriage in heaven, and that must be for the same reason that the society would not need marriage if heterosexual sex did not produce babies - certainly not because we won't care for each other, help each other and be there for each other in heaven.

    1. Although I mentioned heaven, I would like to point out that the statement, "A gay couple is not capable of performing the activity which makes marriage necessary for society" is not by any means a religious statement. It is a biological one.

    2. Sharon,

      “A gay couple is not capable of performing the activity which makes marriage necessary for society”

      By this of course is meant procreation? Please correct me if my assumption is false.

      It’s been mentioned before though, that procreating is not necessary for a marriage to be a true marriage, and certainly less necessary for it to be considered a legal marriage with all the benefits thereof.

      If we examined this statement further, is it not also apparent that many gay couples adopt children? Isn’t adoption a necessary benefit for society? It just seems by drawing the line at homosexual verse heterosexual and making allowances for non-procreative heterosexual couples but not for child raising homosexual couples that these kind of arguments fall flat.

  102. Speaking of marriage, I hope you post more wedding pictures soon and more baby pictures too. Pictures of flowers would be nice too. After skimming through some of the comments I have to think of something pure and lovely like that Bible passage. I think it's in Phillipians (sp?).

  103. Hmmm, I'm afraid the social benefits of heterosexual marriage here are sounding a little too nuanced and intangible. Should same sex marriage be denied simply on the grounds of "je ne sais quoi?"

  104. To answer the question about homosexuals who adopt versus heterosexual couples who do not or cannot have children, I think the difference is that society has an interest in people seeing the importance of marriage when it comes to heterosexual sex. The interest society has is that society benefits if people see sex as something that belongs in marriage, that society is more secure when sexual activity takes place in a marriage. Because society benefits when people see sex as something that belongs in a marriage, then society benefits if sex takes place within those confines, even if the heterosexual couple either doesn't or can't have children.

    Another point Leila has made is that adoption is meant to replace what a child has lost - a family with both a mother and father. No matter how wonderful a person a woman is, she cannot teach a boy to be a man or really share a man's perspective with her daughter. No matter how great a guy a man is, he cannot teach his daughter how to be a woman, nor share a woman's perspective with his son. Nature itself knows that children need both a man and a woman to guide them, and we, as enlightened as we may be in the 21st century, are witnesses to what happens to children when we try to pretend that we know more than nature does.

    1. "Because society benefits when people see sex as something that belongs in a marriage"
      -I don't think this is accurate. I think Catholicism insists upon this point, but I also believe it's been proven time and again that people/society are the losers when love sex and marriage are so narrowly defined. This is getting close to the idea of insisting on abstinence only education, on banning the use of condoms, on banning sexual acts not deemed appropriate in and of themselves. The benefits seem so vaguely and loosely (and narrowly) defined that I don't see how or why your beliefs should take legal priority over the lives of millions of people who fundamentally don't agree with you.

  105. Thank you Johanne for the anniversary wishes.

  106. Leila, you say you want to stop talking about it then stop talking about it. You are an adult. You decide what you do and don't talk about. Only you decide that.

    You've no obligation to. It's a decision you make.

  107. Sharon:

    "A gay couple is not capable of performing the activity which makes marriage necessary for society."

    Sorry but this sentence makes no sense to me whatsoever.
    Are you saying sex acts make marriage necessary to society? Because that is what I an reading.

    "Without the ability to have that kind of a sexual relationship, the relationship is something, but whatever it is, it is not a relationship that society has a serious need to set aside as vitally important to the basis of society. "

    So we admit the relationship is something? I guess that might be getting somewhere.

    But who are you to determine a gay relationship is any less vitally important to the basis of society?

    I've seen written here many times that marriage binds a couple.
    I've seen it written here that marriage creates a more stable relationship, and that benefits society.
    Now you seem to be saying marriage is about one specific sex act.

    But see a marriage of two men and two women is as binding as one of one man one woman. It should create as strong a relationship as that of a man and a woman. So how is society not benefitted by these strong relationships?

  108. Just realized: everyone I know is married, even the single folk!

    Every one of them
    - has a stable relationship with someone or other to whom he/she is bound by sincere love
    - is committed to being there lifelong for the other, come better or worse
    - regularly does heaps of chores and fun activities with the other
    - is sure to include the other in his/her last will and testament and
    - is even known to give the other the occasional fabulous backrub

  109. Francis it's sad that as much as you are fighting to keep marriage the same you don't seem to understand how marriage is different than friendship. I'm not sure if I feel worse for your friends or you wife due to this.

    Or were you just trying to be funny again? One never seems to know with you.

  110. Alan, if something very detrimental were happening in your culture, and if it were being pushed as something good and wonderful, and it were unrelenting, would you speak out about it even if you wished you didn't have to? And if you would remain silent, then why? I'm just curious.

  111. So Alan, explain the difference(s) between friendship, marriage, and gay "marriage" (if you reckon there are any) for me.

    By the way, I'm not "fighting to keep marriage the same". Marriage will always be what it has always been in its essence, just like persons, shadows, love, war, motherhood, maternity leave, clocks, chairs, fatherhood, paternity, sexual intercourse, impregnation, genealogy and the universe will always be what they have always been, regardless of whether you and I exist, or whether we work to "keep" them or "not keep" them, redefine them - or even try our damnedest to destroy them. It's merely the current ill-conceived, precocious attempt by a small number of people/nations around the (Western) world to classify a host of other relationships (commencing with "gay" interactions) as "marriage", and the pernicious legal fictions starting to emanate therefrom, that this debate is all about.

  112. These objections seem to be based on religion and other imaginary concepts ( essences? ,natural law? ). The government needs to base its laws on the real world. Also. don't idealize marriage, it's just a legal contract. As for tradition 1 man + more than one woman is the most traditional, hardly romantic.

  113. Truth Seeker- Are you married? Are you happily married?

  114. Leila,
    I find Francis to be a detriment to society. Should I speak out against him?

    OK kidding aside.

    Yes and no.
    Your use of the word detrimental is where we have a divide.
    ISIS killing catholics, killing gays merely because they are gay, Israel Hamas conflict, those are detrimental, Air Malaysia flight being shot down, I think we'd all agree are detrimental.

    But time and time again you've been told my marriage, gay marriage will not affect you. And it won't. So it's not detrimental.

    What if I find a particular religion to be detrimental to society? How should I handle that?

    And again, you have the power, it's simple, you don't want to talk about it then don't.
    Not sure why that concept seems to be going past you.

  115. Delta, why does someone marital status matter?

  116. Leila, I notice you're being encouraged to shut up. Why? Simply because the other side is unable to "put up"? I, for one, am still waiting on a clear definition of gay "marriage" - from any of its proponents. For me, Merriam Webster's current allusion to "marriage like" doesn't answer my questions. Nor, I suspect, does it yours. If anything, the Bubble has made at least this much clear over and over again - for those who refuse to buy into mere spin - so thank you for that.

  117. Francis, the essence of marriage has indeed changed over the years. I think what you actually meant to say is the heterosexualness of marriage. Thats all you don't want to change.

  118. Truth seeker, if there is no "truth" (Natural Law is simply the universal moral law = truth), then why do you seek it?

    And about polygamy... even there, the marriage bond is between the man and (each of the) woman. Not between women and women, so even then, it is bride and groom, which is of a completely different character than male on male or female on female.

  119. Alan- I wasn't aware that I needed to give an explanation for the question I asked. I figured it was pretty plain. Most people who are married or consider themselves to be including yourself do not see their marriage as simply being a contract. If it's only a contract than the point of this discussion on "gay marriage" is lost on me. So do you view you're relationship as a contract?

  120. "Gay marriage will not affect you"?

    Alan, with all due respect, which world are you living in? After ALL that's been pointed out here about the gay agenda's increasing infringements on religious freedoms (with UN committees now even daring to tell the Catholic Church to change its doctrines/beliefs!!!), children being manufactured/commodified, being denied the right to know their genealogy, ancestry and heredity, being ripped from any relationship with their own blood relatives, having children of the opposite sex enter their toilets, et al... Please tell me you're just kidding and not in some pathological state of denial!

  121. Alan, interestingly, you still did not answer my question.

    Let me try it this way: If divorce (or abortion) were the newest wave of destruction of the family, I would speak on it. Speaking against wrongs is what we are called to do, even if the rest of the world says we are to embrace it. Gay "marriage" is not an isolated incident, it's saturating the culture from the elites on down. It's a sea change, and so yes, I will fight against it. Even if I don't like doing so. (Don't you know that we are to do the right thing, even if it's uncomfortable and unpopular? I thought we all understood that as a universal value? Maybe not.)

    As for this:

    "But time and time again you've been told my marriage, gay marriage will not affect you. And it won't. So it's not detrimental."

    Um, how many hundreds of times do we have to go over this? Yes, it is detrimental to marriage, to society, to children (the most vulnerable) and to religious liberty (which is Constitutional, unlike "sexual rights"). Yes, it is detrimental and those who don't have the politically correct speech and thought on this will continue to be marginalized and punished. Sad, but it's nothing Christians haven't seen before. The one thing about the "tolerant" left is that they only tolerate thoughts and ideas that agree with their own. If one disagrees, one will be silenced and crushed, often through the powers of the government. Nice. So tolerant.

  122. Truth Seeker, what religion is preventing the People's Republic of China from even considering same sex "marriages" among its people? Indeed, what religion has preempted its development as a foundational social institution among any people ever?

  123. "Francis, the essence of marriage has indeed changed over the years. I think what you actually meant to say is the heterosexualness of marriage. That's all you don't want to change."

    Alan, is this an acknowledgement then that heterosexuality has always been integral to the essence of marriage?

  124. Soon to be codified as politically incorrect, scientifically erroneous or criminally discriminatory, hateful, bigoted, intolerant speech:

    boy/girl, Mr/Mrs, gentleman/lady, lion/lioness, bull/cow, peacock/peahen.

    (Never mind any seemingly apparent difference - in appearance, anatomy, interactions or whatever).

    To be added to the list later:

    yin/yang, black/white, cold/hot, day/night, etc...

    1. Welcome to the twilight zone, where everything's a fabulous shade of androgynous grey.

  125. Since my chair/clock analogy was a little too different for some people to acknowledge, let's explore Ruamonkeyman's analogy.

    Is a sundial a clock? Yes, a sundial is a clock, a very specific and unique type of clock. Sundials are studied in history and science classes, I remember making one in Astronomy; my children will make one in science this next year. They are unique and important and are recognized as such by most everyone.

    Let's say, that the "wind-up gear clock with Roman numerals on the faces" enthusiasts decide that they, too, want the same recognition and support for being important as sundials receive. So they petition the general public to give them that same recognition and support as sundials, to even call them sundials.

    We really are just sundials, and it's only fair to get the same recognition and level of importance."They say.

    But you're not the same, you're not a sundial, you're wind-up gear clocks with Roman numerals on your faces (wugRnf's). Sundials are something completely different. Those who know what sundials actually are, respond.

    Well we both tell time, and that's the only important thing that matters, we deserve the same recognition, the same level of importance as you sundials. We're really the same thing.

    But you're not the same thing. We use the sun and shadows and the rotation and curve of the earth to tell time (-I'm simplifying here-). You have gears that must be wound up.

    Well what about a sundial whose arm is bent and broken? It does't use the sun and shadows properly but it's still considered a sundial. We're just like that.

    No. Even a broken sundial, still uses sun and shadows and the rotation of the earth, it is still a sundial, and there is always the possibility that it could be fixed.

    Well the only really important thing is that we tell time, just like you. So that makes us the same.

    If telling time was the only important thing then what about battery-operated clocks, pocket-watches, and digital clocks? Should they be sundials, too?

    We're NOT the same thing as a pocket-watch or a digital clock. That's offensive! But... if they feel like they really want to be sundials too, who are we to stop them.

    But if the only important thing is to tell time wouldn't that effectively make all clocks then sundials? Then what are we going to call sundials?

    Ah, ah, ah, there's no such thing as a slippery slope argument.

    And so the conversation goes until the majority of the public has been "convinced" (or in some cases bullied into believing) that wind-up gear clocks with Roman numerals on their faces are sundials. But those who understand that they're not the same thing are accused of being hurtful, hateful, and bigoted for even thinking as such let alone stating the obvious.

    I realize this isn't a perfect analogy, but it's pretty darn close.

    The truth is male and female marriages have the inherent potential to do something that NO OTHER relationship has, naturally create and raise children in a stable environment.

    Yes, marriages often contain loving acts of kindness that go above and beyond simple friendship, or relatives. But those loving acts that are also often present in many same-sex relationships, are not why the government, any government, ever, chooses to recognize and set apart male/female marriages. They are set apart precisely because they provide offer something unique.

    Perhaps same-sex relationships do provide something unique in and of themselves for society (that's a different discussion that involves faith and religious implications than the current one I'm making), but whatever that may be it will not and cannot be the same unique thing that male/female marriages provide. Otherwise it wouldn't be unique and therefore wouldn't warrant recognition or benefits.

    Hope that makes some sense.

  126. No, I am not married. Married people may not think of it as a contract but that's just emotion. I don't know why China doesn't have gay marriage. They aren't exactly on the cutting edge of societal evolution. Again this "natural law" business sounds fabricated and New Agey like "law of the universe"

  127. “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.

    But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes.

    We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

    How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction? How many?

    Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools, and more outstanding teachers in the classroom, and more afterschool programs for our children. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities.

    But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception.

    We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.

    When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me – how do I make my way in the world, and how do I become successful and how do I get the things that I want. But now, my life revolves around my two little girls. That is our ultimate responsibility as fathers and parents. We try. We hope. We do what we can to build our house upon the sturdiest rock. And when the winds come, and the rains fall, and they beat upon that house, we keep faith that our Father will be there to guide us, and watch over us, and protect us, and lead His children through the darkest of storms into light of a better day.”

    ~ President Barack Obama, Proponent Extraordinaire of fatherless lesbian “marriage”.

    (You’ll have to excuse the rather careless/unenlightened references to “maternity” and “paternity” - as though they're two different things that call for differentiation. Understand that the correct word, “parenternity”, hasn’t actually made it into Merriam Webster - yet.)

  128. Truth Seeker, actually, Natural Law is the farthest thing from New Age, since it's classical and it's what our own set of laws were based on. Have you ever read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From a Birmingham Jail"? He was not a New Ager. Here is an interesting passage from the whole (which you can find online easily):

    [T]here are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

    Honestly, this is basic stuff that my generation was never taught, and probably yours as well. So, if we truly seek truth, we must learn about what thoughts came before ours, since we do not have the corner on wisdom (only a very immature generation thinks that they are the smartest people ever to have lived). Learn about Natural Law, if only to be culturally literate.

  129. “…marital norms make no sense—as matters of principle—if marriage is just intense emotional regard.

    There is no reason of principle why

    - emotional union should be permanent
    - or limited to two persons, rather than larger ensembles or
    - or sexual, much less sexually exclusive
    - or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands.

    This isn’t to say that couples couldn’t decide to live out these norms where temperament or taste so motivated them; but that there is no reason of principle to demand it of them. So legally enshrining this alternate view of marriage would undermine the norms whose link to the common good justifies state action in the first place.”

    Why Is Government In The Marriage Business?

    1. I guess we are all at an impasse. I think getting to the root of this issue demonstrates that marriage must follow your definition on the grounds of either religious fundamentalism, or some sort of philosophical Platonic Theory of Forms which includes marital bliss. Where else do you get that marriage equals one man and one woman? If it's a social construct it can be changed, it it's a word that words definition can be altered. Marriage is not simply an abstract principle. Even if there was an exclusive historical and legal precedent dating back through the centuries that marriage was and always has been between one man and one woman that would not be grounds for keeping it as such per se.

      If marriage is a sacrament granted from on high, well than... who can say anything to that? Other than the fact that it has been devalued by the act of tying it so closely to secular, legal status so that things like tax credits can be enjoyed as well as God's blessing, and then denied to others because they don't follow your God on the same terms. If you don't want to feel bullied to allow other forms of marriage, maybe you shouldn't try having your cake and eating it too( render under Caesar...)

      I think it's ironic that there are some statements above saying that marriage is one man and one woman and trying to say otherwise violates religious freedom, as if the only religious freedom that matters is your own. Allowing same sex marriage is not the same as denying heterosexual marriage, how would you feel if the roles were reversed?

      No one is saying that marriage should be so loosely defined that everyone is already married, so watered down that it loses it's essence. What if we say marriage is an amorous relationship and a life commitment between two partners of a legal age? That doesn't have to be our definition, but if we recognize marriage as a social construct, designed by humans to do good for humans, I think such a relationship is beneficial for society and should be granted the same credits heterosexual marriage claims, and at the end of the day I'm not personally offended if one definition is called "marriage" and the other "gay marriage" to recognize the two relationships as distinct from one another; if only that were enough to appease!

      If you look at marriage vows, those aren't the kinds of things to be taken lightly, it's not a commitment I would say make with a roommate, it's not a "family plan" with a cell phone company, and just because we are arguing to extend the definition of marriage in one way, does not mean it's suddenly a free for all and anarchy ensues.

    2. Oops, I meant this as a general comment. This is not really in direct response to Francis' comment here.

    3. Actually upon reflection, we probably can't have "marriage" and "gay marriage" with equal benefits and status between the two, unless it was explicit that neither one nor the other could be discriminated against. Otherwise companies like Hobby Lobby would cite religious freedom on the grounds to deny paying into any employee benefits toward "gay married" couples who they would not recognize.

  130. Truth- So if it's just a contract than why gay "marriage"? There are powers of attorney, wills, and so on. Why some sort of legal recognition? I get hetero marriages need something because biological children need legal recognition and stability. But gay couples cannot have biological children related to both unless it's incest. Please explain what the argument is because all I hear is about marriage=emotional relationship so government should recognize that.

    1. There are many differences between marriage and civil unions:

      It means gay couples have to pay more, their unions are not recognized between states, their union does not have the same protections, further complications if they do adopt etc. I like how the author puts it: separate but unequal.

  131. @Leila Miller: When I was in school and took math, history, science, English etc. I don't ever recall learning anything about natural law. Is it religious, i.e law of God? If that's the case then it would be a violation of the separation of church and state to teach it. I'll read up on it though.
    @Deltaflute: I suppose gay couples would want the same legal protection for their relationships as heterosexual couples.

    1. You learned it, you just didn't realize you learned it. Where do you think our "inalienable rights" came from? Western civilizations has largely based its secular laws on the "natural laws" which are considered written on the human heart. Otherwise, what is our law based on? How can you seek Truth or Justice when Truth or Justice is unknowable?

  132. Monkey- "It means gay couples have to pay more.." So do spinster sisters. So do polygamous couples. I think we've discussed that the government does have the right to afford privileges to some and not to others. If the problem is the privileges than why are there no petitions to simply end them to heterosexual couples instead of grant them to gay couples? It's not. It's more complicated than that.

    "their unions are not recognized between states" neither are friendships or fiances

    "their union does not have the same protections" what do you mean? People can put whomever they want in their will. They can assign power of attorney anyone they please. I'm not sure exactly how an individual's rights are being violated. We all share these. As for couple's rights, do such things exist? I doubt it. Friendships have no rights.

    "further complications if they do adopt" See here's the thing. I believe that children's rights are being violated if they a purposely without a dad or a mom. So it's not just a gay adoption thing. I argue that single parents shouldn't be adopting either unless of course this person is biologically related to the child/children in question. Such as a biological uncle or aunt. Simply adopting children to purposely withhold their having a mom or a dad is wrong.

  133. I think everything said here (and the focus on sex) is true and well thought out, Leila, however the point made about the definition of marriage not being a Catholic thing may not strictly be true, since there IS a Catholic definition of the Catholic sacrament of Matrimony (aka, marriage). Not mentioned in this discussion thus far is that the Catholic matrimonial covenant is also “ordered toward the good of the spouses” (CCC 1601). Also, they “help one another to attain holiness in their married life” (CCC 1641), and “they are called to grow continually through total mutual self-giving” (CCC1644). As Bishop Sheen wrote so beautifully, it takes three to get married; God is part of a Catholic marriage, an important part. I know of no one speaking of God as being part of a homosexual union.

    Mike Huckabee, in his book Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett, has a beautiful, simple chapter on love and marriage. In it he describes the three Greek words for love, eros (a superficial love), phileo (the love of reciprocity), and Agape (the unconditional love God has for us). He notes “A relationship based solely on eros or phileo is absolutely destined to fail.” This, I believe, describes the definitions of “marriage” being discussed here.

    “Agape,” he notes, “requires us to work at it … the rest of your lives.” He ends noting that “Learning to love someone who is very different from you is how you grow,” and illustrates that ultimate growth in the example of the spouse lovingly caring for his mate who has Alzheimer’s disease.

    I see this type of love and marriage in my Caregiver’s Support Group meetings. There is no sex, not even something which could be defined as friendship in those marriages, but oh, there is love, a love all marriages should aim for.

  134. Truth- What legal protection? I wasn't aware that gay individuals didn't have the same legal protections. Please elaborate.

  135. Truth Seeker, since our Founders based our system of laws based on Natural Law (as opposed to positive [man-made] law, then why would teaching the foundation of our nation's laws be a "violation" of anything? And where are you seeing "separation of church and state" in the Constitution? Every monument in D.C., presidential speeches from the get-go, etc., all had references to God and faith. The Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause do not exist in tension with one another; the first was put in place to assure the second. It was not about "forbidding" speaking or teaching or thinking about religion or God. If you want to know why *all* nations have been traditionally against stealing, or willful murder, or homosexual "marriage", it's because of Natural Law. It's the universal moral law that can be known through reason alone, without revelation. Yes, please read up on it. It's the basis of our civilization, and yet we've wiped it from the schools and even law schools. Crazy.

    1. My experience of "Natural Law" is usually just a way of saying something is universal to avoid debate. Otherwise there wouldn't be such a thing as "Catholic Natural Law," "Islamic Natural Law," "Classical Natural Law," or "Stoic Natural Law." Citing "natural law" in this discussion is perhaps a way of implying that homosexual acts are "unnatural." There are many arguments against this implication, here's one:

      Here's a pretty good approximation of natural law: "natural law ethics is about trying to discern what God's purpose for us is from studying nature. I think there is a fallacy here in that no matter what we learn about how nature is like, it can't tell us about how things ought to be." For example, outside of human interaction where do we see handshakes in nature? Handshakes must be about as "unnatural" an action as they come, so what does natural law really tell us about morality?

      The jump from natural law to saying that only heterosexual marriages should be recognized by the nation is a large leap indeed.

  136. Do Not Be Anxious, yes and no. Our non-Catholic members of the human family have always seen marriage as a conjugal union (they do not need to understand it as a Sacrament, nor does the Church require a Sacramental marriage in order for a marriage to be valid). Marriage as conjugal union is natural law, as being against murder is also natural law. Do we believe it as Catholics? Yes! But when I say it's not a "Catholic" thing, I mean revelation (or being Catholic) is not necessary in order to know that marriage is a conjugal union.

    Monkeyman, actually, some states don't require marriage vows at all. They only require a signature and a notary. And yet, for a non-Catholic, this union may indeed be valid and even recognized as by the Catholic Church (I am talking non-Catholic marriage, since Catholics are required to have a marriage witnessed by the Church). So, one could have no romantic feelings for someone, and also make no actual vows, and still could have a valid marriage. What makes it a marriage? It's a conjugal union.

    1. I didn't mean marriage vows were some sort of requirement, simply that maybe they speak toward the heart of what marriage is all about...

  137. monkeyman, I'm not sure you are going to very good sources. Natural Law is not to be confused with "laws of nature". In fact, if we just went by laws of nature, then killing and eating our own kind would even be considered "natural" and a part of "natural law". Please don't confuse the two.

    I direct you to the works of Professor J. Budziszewski, a former atheist who writes quite a bit about Natural Law.

    1. Oh, I admit the background scheme was a little sketchy on that last one :-) I think the ideas were well constructed though. I could read Professor J. Budziszewski, but he draws heavily from Aquinas. I've already provided a telling quote from Thomas Aquinas above and I believe, again, that it is asking quite a lot if you want the entire nation to accept an interpretation of natural law grounded in someone like Aquinas.

      Here's a MUCH better source for you from Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York :-)

      I admit I find the section on "Nocturnal Pollution," perused with the razor edge of Aquinas' logical pursuit of natural law, to be particularly telling.

    2. I ask my readers to please post their comments at the very bottom, and not use the "reply" function, thanks! (And you can cut and paste if you need to answer a specific line.)

      I'm familiar with Fordham. My nephew is a presidential scholar there, currently. ;)

      By the way, "someone like" MLK used "someone like" Aquinas in his writings on Natural Law. I am not sure who would write on Natural Law and not use "someone like" Aquinas, who is one of the greatest philosophers of Western Civilization and all time? That's where I'd get suspicious. ;)

  138. Ruamonkeyman, you might want to let the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy know that Natural Law doesn't exist, because they have quite a long article about it:

    As has been said, "natural law" is different from the "laws of nature" so the objections raised about homosexuality being unnatural aren't relevant. That being said, just because something occurs in nature does not mean that it is therefore kosher for humans. Some species kill and eat their young but infanticide and cannibalism are still taboo among most humans. One could also argue that rape occurs in nature as a way to indicate dominance yet one would hardly suggest that rape is acceptable for humans.

    1. I didn't say it doesn't exist per se, just that humans have many varied opinions on what natural law means and how to interpret it.

  139. @Deltaflute: I don't mean legal protection as individuals but their are certain benefits for married couples. I make no claim to be a legal expert.
    @Leila Miller: Those references to God are usually legally defended as being ceremonial tradition and not religious. As far a other nations throughout history not recognizing gay marriage, gays are a small minority and nations don't have a long positive track record of protecting minority rights. Combine that with religious opposition and the "ick" factor many heterosexuals feel towards homosexuality.

  140. "Those references to God are usually legally defended as being ceremonial tradition and not religious."

    Wait... have you actually read those speeches and such? They are not merely "references", like when Obama tosses off a "God bless America". I'm not interested in what later generations "legally" decided they were, I'm interested in what they actually were.

  141. Monkeyman, Aquinas is one of the greatest philosophers of all time (this is acknowledged by anyone who is familiar with philosophy). And you are upset by the use of the word "nocturnal pollution"? Even I understand what that means, many centuries later. Are you of the opinion that the search for what is true (philosophy) cannot be taken seriously if we look to what the ancients thought? I wrote about that here:

    And I hope you will take time to read this post, where I interview Mensa member Dr. Kevin Vost (former atheist), who wrote the book, From Atheism to Catholicism: How Scientists and Philosophers Led Me to the Truth. It really is good stuff, and you might enjoy it.

    1. Whoops, forgot the link:

  142. "For example, outside of human interaction where do we see handshakes in nature? Handshakes must be about as "unnatural" an action as they come, so what does natural law really tell us about morality?"

    Why are you trying to tie social gestures to morality in order to attempt nullify natural law?

    Handshakes are a social gesture. They are a learned behavior within a culture, for social benefit.

    What is your hypothesis? That to be moral an act has to be found in nature?

  143. Ruamonkeyman, perhaps you didn't intend so, but your comments come across as extreme hubris. Why should we believe you over Thomas Aquinas, exactly?

    1. Aquinas was clearly a genius, a great and honest thinker, far smarter and a better person than myself. I in know way would ever try to do what he did, and create a philosophy that unites religion and the natural world. I don't think it requires extreme hubris though, to think that Aquinas, as a human being himself, might have used his logic to follow through to some erroneous conclusions, or to entertain the possibility that people today who adhere to a Thomistic philosophy on morality might possibly be wrong about gay marriage :(

  144. Thank you, JoAnna, that was what I meant to say!

  145. "If it's a social construct it can be changed, it it's a word that words definition can be altered."
    1. See pt. # 8 and explanations included: Marriage is not a construct. Correct?
    2. Words possess exclusive conditions, frameworks and inherent structures. Emotional momentum and degrees of passion don't drive meanings and definitions of words, correct?
    3. If we extract the sex descriptor from the inherent meaning of the word, marriage (man and woman), then hurrah. Your problem is now twofold. Can anyone arguing Leila's post guess what they are?

  146. You have to look at what a word presupposes, and at what it has always stood to symbolize.

    You cannot call geometry algebra, even though they both use and describe mathematical 'relationships' and concepts. One is not equivalent in meaning to the other, and cannot be used under the same banner, because the basic composition of the words are exclusive in meaning. These words do not "evolve" to take in larger meanings than what they've always intended to mean.

    You cannot call a house a condominium, even though both are a type of dwelling. One is not equivalent to the other on the market, and they are not interchangeable because the inherent condition and meaning of the word is exclusive.

    You cannot call a door panel an instrument panel, even though both have a relationship to a car, and can share similarities in some measurements and descriptions. They are not interchangeable terms.

  147. Universal "you":

    You cannot call every vehicle a car, even though vehicles appear similar. Saying "car" doesn't represent every type of vehicle there is, same goes for representing different types of relationships.

    You cannot say there are no differences and therefore, all are the same, and so should fall under the banner of that meaning. There is exclusivity for clarity. That's why we have words. That's why meanings are built in to words (inherently).

    You cannot say there are no differences between men and women. Similar in body type, yes, but not *the exact same*.

  148. Truth- Of course. But there is a difference between legal protections such as the right to own property or not be murdered and legal benefits which are things like tax breaks. Everyone is afforded legal protections under the law. What's at issue (correct me if I'm wrong) are the legal benefits. Most gay couples are looking for 1) legal recognition which in turn leads to 2) legal benefits. The problem is thus far no one has made a compelling argument as to why gay couples should be legally recognized above other groups. And also no one has said that these legal benefits should be abolished. In fact rather than leveling the playing field as far as legal benefits go I've heard 1) the government can discriminate as to which group it affords legal benefits and yet 2) gay couples should qualify. For what compelling reason I've yet to hear. I disagree that benefits should be given out willy nilly. But that's the crux of the issue, isn't it?

  149. Monkeyman, you said:

    "I don't think it requires extreme hubris though, to think that Aquinas, as a human being himself, might have used his logic to follow through to some erroneous conclusions, or to entertain the possibility that people today who adhere to a Thomistic philosophy on morality might possibly be wrong about gay marriage."

    Where does morality come from?

    And, admittedly there are a lot of comments, and I may have missed something, but when has marriage (before two seconds ago, historically) been anything other than conjugal? It would never have occurred to Aquinas that gay "marriage" could be wrong, since gay "marriage" is not a thing. It's like a square circle. Not a thing.
    There's the impasse.

  150. I think morality is inherent in this debate but perhaps not, as you point out in the opening of this blog it may instead be about absurdity and delusions. I touch upon absurdity in my reply to your quote from St John Paul the Great (July 30)

  151. Does anyone else like how, when the Bubble page is loading in the browser, Leila Miller's pretty, pleasant face shows up first? Nice, no? :)

  152. Francis, I agree. And to think such a pleasant face could mask a boiling hatred that would make her obsess over SSM after all the conclusive debate. After all, it's been like 5 years since 80% of her fellow Americans ( including Hillary) completely agreed with her position. Now that 30% of them have flipped based on a deep intellectual foundation of "hey whatever" you think she would just go away. I can only imagine what buried bones must be driving her ridiculous idea that marriage is one man and one woman. Of course that is purely speculative.
    I actually met Leila on a pleasant family occasion at the beach and can say that she does come across quite normal at first. Over time though some real indicators surfaced. Like when she started attacking seagulls with a broomstick and then turned on her unruly children. And trying to chase down bikini clad woman and cover them towels while doing that Arab tongue rolling noise was quite the scene. And the poor old woman she berated for sporting a rainbow colored umbrella is probably still suffering PTSD. That final verbal assault on the police officer is what really clued me in. Ohhh, the eff bombs were enough to make Tony Montana blush!
    That being said, I could still tell that she fully understands the complexities of the human condition, swims in the real world, has deep true compassion for people and yet insists on Truth. So odd. At least these days. Rock on sister.
    Oh and with all the potential material to comment on from up thread just two things.
    1. Christians, have you truly answered the question "who do you say that I Am?"
    2. Francis, if you would like to see a demonstration of that second word you learned, just turn on C-Span

  153. Francis, aw, thanks!! :)

    And Chris, you make me laugh, as always! It was quite a scene that day on the beach, no? (And by the way, why didn't we take any pictures?? Give my best to your wife and the cherubs.)

  154. Bethany, on clocks...

    From above you say "We're NOT the same thing as a pocket-watch or a digital clock. That's offensive!"

    The analogy here is that calling gay marriage just a plain old marriage is offensive, where does offense sneak in?

    Here's an excerpt from the Oxford English Dictionary on Clocks:
    clock, n.1
    Forms: (OE clucge), ME clok, clokke, clocke, 15 klocke, 15– clock.
    Etymology: Old English clucge (or cluccge ... )

    †1. A bell (the sense of Old English clucge; in Middle English prob. only as a retention of the French use). Later, the gong of a striking watch. Obs.
    [c890 tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. iv. xxiii., HleoĆ°or heora clucgan [v.r. cluccgan].]
    [c1715 London Gaz. No. 5307/3, A Gold striking Pendulum Clock Watch.]

    a. An instrument for the measurement of time; properly, one in which the hours, and sometimes lesser divisions, are sounded by strokes of a hammer on a bell or similar resonant body; but many clocks now do not strike. The mechanism consists of a train of wheels set in motion by weights or a spring, actuating and regulated by a pendulum or balance-wheel, and requiring to be periodically wound up; the passage of hours, minutes, etc., is indicated by ‘hands’ or pointers, on a ‘face’ or dial-plate.(The precise meaning in the earliest quots. is not certain.)
    c1386 Chaucer Nun's Priest's Tale 34 Sikerer was his crowyng..Than is a clok, or an abbay orologge.
    ▸c1449 R. Pecock Repressor (1860) 118 Neuere saue in late daies was eny clok telling the peise and bi stroke.
    a1616 Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 1 (1623) i. iii. 21 Their Armes are set, like Clocks, still to strike on.

    b. = dial n.1 6a; spec. a taximeter, speedometer, or mileometer. colloq.
    1930 ‘A. Armstrong’ Taxi iv. 39 Unscrupulous young men..who didn't mind paying what was already on the clock and a bribe besides.
    1970 Commercial Motor 25 Sept. 64/2 Neither vehicle had much mileage on the clock.

    c. In an electronic computer (see quots.). Also attrib. and Comb.
    1947 A. W. Burks et al. in Von Neumann's Wks. (1963) V. 68 There are many advantages in deriving these pulses from a central source, called the clock. The timing may then be done either by means of counters counting clock pulses or by means of electrical delay lines.

    ...etc. (The OED is here greatly abridged)

    So a clock was originally a bell, than it was the type of clock that uses bells, somewhere along the way the importance of the definition of clocks became telling time so now we can even have clocks on our computers.

    An analog clock and a digital clock are both unique, but is it offensive to just refer to either one as simply "a clock"? I agree, it's not a perfect analogy, but its close.

    Also from above: "Ah, ah, ah, there's no such thing as a slippery slope argument," that's not true, sometimes such an argument would be legitimate, but it is commonly over-employed to legitimize our fears about something.

    Those who want to argue that the definition of marriage is a unique joining of one male and one female have to prove WHY that definition cannot be changed. It's has historically changed in Western Civilization to exclude polygamy, incest (Roman Emperors used to be a fan) and often to include something like love and choice (almost unheard of before the 18th/19th century). So marriage as it is seen culturally and socially and legally has been changed, and I read a lot here ringing of "it is what it is" as a fundamental and essential and unapproachable finality, and I just don't see it, I don't see why, unless it is on a religious basis, marriage cannot also include same sex marriage :(

    "Tis not too late to seek a newer world"
    -Alfred Lord Tennyson

  155. After the internet ate my comment twice:

    1) You haven't answered my question about why marriage can't be defined as being between 1 man and 1 woman? Homosexuals not too long ago used the terms civil union or domestic partnerships.

    2) The types of marriage you cited are still all heterosexual in nature. But as of current law today, marriage has been understood as 1 man and 1 woman. That's why for the past few decade in the US if two men wanted a marriage licence, they couldn't. Legally that's been the definition. Are you arguing to change a legal definition and why? Why not some other word to describe homosexual relationships? The legal definition as it stand seems fine to me. Words can be exclusive.

    I had a better comment, but in frustration I'm typing this one at warp speed. Sorry if it sounds confusing and needs to be flushed out.

  156. Deltaflute

    1. Why can't marriage be defined as 1 man and 1 woman? It could be, but I think it is a man-made social institution so there is an inherent degree of arbitrariness to it. Just like our drinking age for example, we come to terms that we agree works and that causes the greatest good for the greatest number of people but that does not mean it should not be re-evaluated from time to time to see if it's still working. Marriage laws could just as easily be changed if we agree that there is a better definition that causes a greater social good. Plenty of people here say same sex marriage is not a social good at all and I would challenge you then to provide statistical, empirical evidence of that fact rather than circumstantial stories about babies being born in bottles and the like.

    2. I am arguing to change the definition based on what I see as a utilitarian social philosophy (I know that alone could cause a firestorm of debate). As I mentioned above, we could try to call it by some other name but with identical rights and protections, but I don't feel that would appeal to traditional marriage proponents, and there is always the likelihood that "separate but equal" turns into "separate but unequal." That's what we have now. Civil Unions do not provide the same rights and privileges of marriage and the bottom line to me reads "well that's because they're gay, not straight, their marriage isn't real, they are harmful to children and society" and so is it any wonder that I pause to take the side of traditional marriage?

  157. 1) It isn't just a matter of social good. As I said before, the government has to have a compelling legal reason to recognize social relationships. Friendships are not recognized, but no one is arguing that there isn't a social good that comes from them. So what compelling legal reason would the government have to recognize gay relationships? Are you arguing that all relationships should be legally recognized? I mean I knew an elderly lady who had no immediate family. She was taken care of by a close friend who she legally designated as her health care advocate. She has since passed away, but there was no legal recognition of her friendship. As far as the law was concerned, her friend was her lawyer or something.

    2) Again you agreed that the government does give certain benefits to whomever it wishes. But the argument sits that they are 1) being denied a right, which that's not true. What rights are being denied? and 2) have not made a compelling argument over why gay relationships should receive benefits over say the two friends I already gave as example. What you suggest is that the government should give out benefits willy nilly. We should just abolition all social programs for the poor for example because that's a form of classism? Convince me the status quo should change.

    The primary point of legal recognition of traditional marriage is to encourage children to be raised by both biological parents. It's for the benefit of the children and their best interest. Outside of that, the government has no other compelling reason to legal recognize such a relationship. So what compelling reason for gay couples again?

  158. Deltaflute, great questions! I am off-grid for a day or so, but thanks for the great contributions to the discussion. Very compelling questions.

  159. I guess I could conversely ask: why is it so wrong for other people to call something a marriage that you don't think is a marriage? To you, it would be just a marriage in name; it does not change your own meaning in the slightest. Would it make you upset that they would get benefits? That they are gay and yet are recognized as equal under the law by the name of marriage? Or perhaps that if this concession is made, that marrying one’s toaster will be next? I don’t understand why it is such an insult, an atrocity, for same sex marriage to be legal throughout the United States as it already is in Argentina, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, South Africa and so on. Who does it hurt? The children? Is it better to live in a foster home and then get kicked out at 18 rather than have two loving mommies for life (or at least the duration of mommies’ lives)? There is not a single gay couple I know who wouldn’t make excellent parents, or who don’t deserve the same recognition as a heterosexual couple at least in name, at least under the law. You may not agree with same sex marriage, but you don’t have to agree with it. I don’t agree that 12 year old females should be able to get married in Massachusetts with parental and judicial consent, but that doesn’t mean I refuse to recognize it as a possible interpretation of marriage.

    What is the ground zero for you that makes this so worth fighting for? I suspect, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you see it as an insult to your religion, maybe to God, maybe to the institution of your sacred marriage vows, perhaps a backsliding into chaos, a philosophy of "anything goes," or maybe just “absurd.” But that means you're trying to enforce your absolutist worldview onto others who will never agree with you, rather than recognize American pluralism. Doesn’t an absolutist interpretation of natural law shine brightest under a code like sharia law? I know few people likes a comparison to the Islamic world, but essentially, isn't sharia law enforcing an idea of natural law through a religious worldview, and then instilling that same law onto the public, willing or not? At least it’s honest, but does that kind of reasoning belong in America?

    Again, it’s not that we can’t say that some things should not be changed, that some things are essentially good and perfect in essence, and some are not, but the reason I’m arguing here is that no one has convinced me that legal marriage as defined currently should not be altered to allow same sex marriage as well, implying that it would somehow hurt people/society/logic/principles/(morality?) to do so . I’m trying to be pragmatic, weighing the value of same sex marriage verse the value of saying they cannot be married, and I think that’s what happened in Norway, the UK, Argentina, etc. and they decided to go with legalizing same sex marriage because the benefits outweighed the cost of upsetting traditional marriage proponents.

    “Conviction is a good motive, but a bad judge.”


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