Collapsible Thinking: Tradition and the Slippery Slope

Collapsible thinking is my term for arguments so ludicrous they collapse under their own weight, without the need to refute them with studies and research and evidence.  Our opponents do lots of collapsible thinking.  Here’s one of my favorites, phrased nicely by a commenter on a conservative website:

If the traditional definition of marriage is changed by legal precedent or legislation, then marriage in the traditional sense will no longer have any meaning. People will then have the “right” to construe “marriage” to mean anything that suits their whims; for example…

…and he goes on to list marriage with children, with animals, and so.  It’s tempting to dismiss him as an idiot loon (he is, after all, the straight man who insisted straight sex is so good that straight people hardly ever want it).  Except we hear this stuff all the time — most recently from New Hampshire Republican candidate for Congress Bob Guida:

[I]n making his point on what he believes are the boundaries within the definition of marriage, Giuda reportedly said: “What’s going to happen next? Men and sheep? Women and dogs?

So much wrong with this, as usual.  But I’d like to focus on one horrifying implication this argument has for those who offer it, an implication so repellant that their argument collapses under its own weight. 

What are they really saying when they warn that we’ll have to let adults marry children (for example) if we change the traditional definition of marriage?

They’re saying that tradition is our only effective reason for banning adult/child marriage.

They can’t escape this conclusion.  They’re saying that without tradition, nothing will stand in the way.  They’re saying tradition is all they’ve got.

Are they truly such moral nitwits?  Can they really think of no other reason to prevent a grown man from marrying and then penetrating an eight-year-old?  How about physical and emotional damage to the child?  How about protecting children from exploitation?  There are plenty of reasons to ban adult/child marriage, reasons that have nothing to do with same-sex marriage, reasons that have nothing to do with tradition.

I imagine our opponents would agree with those reasons.  But they conveniently forget them when they claim that altering a tradition means anything goes.  And I have to wonder — again — if the case against marriage equality is so strong, why must they resort to arguments that collapse into repellent chaos with a moment’s examination?

Of course, that’s a question that answers itself.

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53 comments to Collapsible Thinking: Tradition and the Slippery Slope

  • 1
    JasonD says:

    “Are they truly such moral nitwits? Can they really think of no other reason to prevent a grown man from marrying and then penetrating an eight-year-old? How about physical and emotional damage to the child?”

    When faced with this, my response is usually

    How about “Been there, done that” followed by “it didn’t work out so well.”??

    At least with incest, pedophilia, and polygamy, we already tried it — and it didn’t go so well. What they seem to forget about “biblical tradition” is that these 3 now-banned versions of marriage were quite traditional back in the day.

  • 2
    Ben in Oakland says:

    I always like to put it this way:

    If a man can marry a woman, why can’t he marry three?

    If a man can marry a woman, why can’t he marry a girl child. she’ll be a woman.

    If a man can marry a woman, why can’t he marry a goat?

    And who and where are all thewse men who want to marry three women, a child, or a goat?

  • 3
    BradP says:

    Perhaps you should direct them here as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw

  • 4
    pbateman says:

    To be fair, tradition really is the main reason why we don’t allow people to marry 13-15 year olds. In evolutionary time, it was not long ago that it was “normal” for them to be procreating, as the teenage years are about the height of fertility, and it’s that way for a reason. I think that our society is now structured in a way that it makes sense for people wait until they are older to marry/have children, but that does not necessarily have to be the case. The fact that we view a 30 year old sleeping with a 16 year old as immoral is really just a result of the progression of societal norms which hss culminated in modern western society, which you might call “tradition.”

  • 5
    Ingenjören says:

    @pbateman: “To be fair, tradition really is the main reason why we don’t allow people to marry 13-15 year olds.”

    Except for the fact that this ‘tradition’ is quite recent.

    “The fact that we view a 30 year old sleeping with a 16 year old as immoral is really just a result of the progression of societal norms which hss culminated in modern western society, which you might call “tradition.””

    So you define ‘tradition’, not as the old ways, but the progression away from the old ways?

  • 6
    Stephen Redman says:

    @pbateman: “To be fair, tradition really is the main reason why we don’t allow people to marry 13-15 year olds.”

    Nope. The main reason, that I can see, is that they are not yet mature enough for the rights and responsibilities built into our current understanding of marriage. A 13 year old shouldn’t be able to enter a contract of that magnitude.

    Good post Rob!

  • 7
    demonyc says:

    “What are they really saying when they warn that we’ll have to let adults marry children (for example) if we change the traditional definition of marriage? They’re saying that tradition is our only effective reason for banning adult/child marriage.”

    These arguments are actually for saying anything to cancel out the chance for the other to talk and, when in person, say them louder than the opponent to drown their argument out. “What’s next?” is a dead giveaway that momentum is what they want to control; momentum of the sound of their own voice paired with portraying the opponent’s momentum at leading to chaos if he eases up pressure against him in the slightest.

    The opponent’s trap is to take the content seriously and debate it point by point. the method has nothing to do with thinking or collapsing or content or validity or logic or tendencies or trends or cause and effect; it’s all about obstructing with words.

  • 8
    pbateman says:

    Ingenjören: I think we agree, and you just reiterated my point. For these people, “tradition” is just the cultural scenario that they happen to remember. I don’t agree with them, and my point is that “tradition,” which I would define as a set of cultural norms present in our fairly recent past, is a very plastic concept. That is why statements like “traditional” marriage are ridiculous, because the people who say such things have an artificially truncated understanding of human history.

  • 9
    Rachel says:

    The wall across the slippery slope is consent, isn’t it? That’s what separates gay marriage from adult-child or adult-animal pairings and why one won’t slide into the other. I don’t see this put forward much but isn’t that it?

    Of course, the authoritarian, patriarchal religions have ever had a pretty uncertain grasp of the concept of consent…

    And you might notice that in theory polygamy can sit on this side of the wall; well maybe if it’s a kind of idealised, secularised Heinleinesque version but to be fair does that ever happen? Polygamy in the real world seems to be the province of authoritarian, patriarchal religious types, and a lot of the wives seem to be awfully young…

  • 10
    Kirk Holden says:

    I’m reading Karl Popper and ran across the term “pessimistic epistemology” which insists that all knowledge is based on authority and tradition. This is the underpinning of authoritarianism – every deviation from the wisdom of the ancients is a slippery slope to chaos. The truth of any statement rests upon the source of the statement or the history of the statement which Popper associates with “sources of ignorance” as opposed to “sources of knowledge” that come from “optimistic epistemology” wherein true statements (i.e. about morality) can be distinguished from false statements. From this we could establish that “consent of both parties” is a necessary condition of a union where “an iron age text dictates all permissible unions” clearly leads to possible misery for one party in a bad faith union.

  • 11
    Tyler says:

    Rachel,

    Though I generally agree with you, we don’t ask animals’ consent to slaughter them for their meat (or for fun from an Alaskan helicopter, etc.), so I think we should probably find a different justification there…

  • 12
    Mike says:

    Rachel,

    “Polygamy in the real world seems to be the province of authoritarian, patriarchal religious types, and a lot of the wives seem to be awfully young…”

    Assuming the awfully young person is of legal age, by what grounds would you deny them the right to plural marriage — because they’re religious, because you don’t like patriarchy or authoritarian life-styles? This is where the the rubber meets the road. If any number of consenting adults love and care for each other and want the societal advantages and approbation that comes with governmentally sanctioned marriage, on what grounds do you tell them no, that don’t apply to gay marriage? How is it that gender is not sancrosanct to the institution, but the number is?

  • 13
    Nim says:

    “we don’t ask animals’ consent to slaughter them for their meat (or for fun from an Alaskan helicopter, etc.), so I think we should probably find a different justification there…”

    I don’t think we do; marriage is a contractual or at least quasi-contractual agreement. Consent is necessary – in this country, you can’t marry someone involuntarily. (Non-human) Animals lack both the legal ability to contract, and the capacity to give informed consent to marriage.

    Killing for food has never been a contractual act, obviously.

    Nonetheless, drawing the line at “consenting adults” to rebut the slippery slope argument doesn’t address a few situations like polygamy, and, say, marriage between siblings of the same sex (where inbreeding isn’t an issue). And whether or not there is any sound basis in logic or policy for forbidding those types of marriages, they are going to remain taboo for the indefinite future, so it would be useful to come up with principled exceptions to the “consenting adults” rule.

  • 14
    Ben in Oakland says:

    Mike: Gays are not addressing the number of people involved in a marriage, but merely the genders of those two people. It’s false to presume that if we let gays marry, we have to let polygamists marry, we have already dealt with polygamy long ago.

    The problem with the question is that it ignores the obvious: making marriage gender neutral still means that marriage is a legal contract between two people that is recognized by the state, and all states. It AFFIRMS that marriage is two people, not many people. It does not negate the concept, it reinforces it.

    Women who are polygamously married are not married to each other, they are married to the same man. Polygamy in our country would involve a wholsale re-writing of all marriage and family laws, which same-sex mariage would not require.

    for a simple example, wife A has a kid. Man and wife A both die. Is wife B responsible for wife A’s kid?

  • 15
    Mike says:

    Ben:

    We had dealt with the issue of gay marriage also, until recently. It was illegal, and still is in most states. Second, if three or four people get married instead of two, the institution becomes even stronger, right? If there is a flexible definition of marriage, that is, if it is not defined by gender, there is no logical reason it should be defined by number. That is a function of tradition and prejudice.

    Polygamy is a far-more culturally accepted and historic variation on marriage than gay marriage. One of the great religions was founded by a man with multiple wives. I came to the hard decision that this country is better served by gays being allowed to marry because it was wrong to deny two people the social, psychological and legal benefits of the institution. But it is similarly wrong to deny them to three or more. Right now, if a Muslim man with multiple wives wishes to become an American citizen, he must divorce all but one wife. Our laws make him choose between women he loves and his religion, and citizenship. Can you give me a logical reason why? If they are all happy and fulfilled with the relationship and want their union which is religiously honored by a large and increasing number of the world’s population, to be validated by our government as well, what reason can you give to deny them? Why would you make him choose between his wives and his country?

    I bring this up because I am tired of people equating polygamy with bestiality and child marriage. Polygamy is not a red-herring, and it *is* a slippery slope that requires intellectually consistent people to realize that every argument that applies to gay marriage applies to it as well. You cannot have one without the other and be consistent. At least, I have never heard a remotely compelling argument to the contrary.

  • 16
    Mike says:

    Ben:

    In answer to your last question, I don’t know what the arrangements are or should be, but like divorce and adoption and step parents, legal and contractual arrangements could easily be made. “What about the kids?” is not an argument — it’s a policy decision. Either three or more people have the right to marry, each to the other if they desire, or both to one, or they don’t. We aren’t bound by the rules of Islam, or apostate Mormons, we are bound by logic and fairness, and equality before the law.

  • 17
    robtish says:

    Mike, thanks for your thoughtful input. I’ve written previously here about the differences between polygamy and same-sex marriage (though it’s just the start of a conversation, not the last word):

    What’s needed to legalize gay marriage? We know through experience: the California Supreme Court says same-sex marriage is legal, and cities start selling marriage licenses to same-sex couples. What else? Some updates to the gender language in forms and legal codes—but nothing in how the laws function.

    Okay, now polygamy. People think of it as a man with many wives, but it could be many men with many women. What if the group keeps getting bigger? We could see marriages of 10 people—or 100—or 100,000. Can current marriage laws accommodate that? Can they deal with issues like child custody, inheritance, Social Security benefits, and financial liability?

    No. States would have to create entirely new laws to deal with entirely new situations raised by this entirely new arrangement.

    But that’s not necessary with same-sex marriage. And that demonstrates how same-sex is quite different from polygamy.

  • 18
    Nat says:

    Tyler,
    We also don’t allow animals to sign contracts which is what civil marriage is. That right belongs to people and Pseudo people( i.e. organizations)

  • 19
    Mike says:

    Robtish:

    Your points are well stated, but again, they place policy considerations on an equal footing with fundamental human rights and equal protection of the laws. States have a limited right to exercise control over who can marry, and arguably, in legal terms, there is a compelling state interest in not allowing one-hundred people to marry. But, three or four? Don’t you believe the state should have to demonstrate that in a court of law before they can deny three people a wedding license? “But, these questions are really hard to answer,” or “But, we’ll have to pass some new laws,” is not a basis for making a man divorce one of his wives as a condition of citizenship, or requiring apostate Mormons like those popularized in “Big Love” to live in the shadows.

  • 20
    SNC says:

    Mike,

    I don’t believe in “rights” at all–I don’t think a piece of paper, even one as vaunted as the Constitution–can give something so powerful as a right. A privilege, maybe, on a good day, if cops/courts/corporations are going along with it, but not a right.

    I do believe in fairness, though, and I don’t see any compelling state interest in preventing two people of any gender from marrying each other. I do, however, see issues of serious state concern with more than two people marrying each other.

    Most of it comes down to money. In most places where polyamory is legally sanctioned/protected, it’s really just polygamy–one guy, bunch of women. This may work in an agrarian society (or one comfortable with high rates of poverty) in which multiple women simply produce more workers, but it doesn’t work well in an urban industrial/post-industrial economy.

    For at least two generations, and really since industrial work moved from the tenement front room to the factory, kids have been much more about consumption than production. Crassly put, they are not profit makers. More recently, stay-at-home wives (even one) have become a rarity, even those with kids. We are well past the point where most men can support one woman and their two or three offspring on his income until those kids are grown and on their own. It’s difficult to imagine how we would accommodate polygamous families. It’s worth noting that when these polygamous settlements are broken up, it’s often the case that the wives and children are dependent on welfare, which pretty much proves the point.

    Many single and/or childless people (and some environmentalists) already resent the tax breaks people with kids get for each kid and some argue that tax write-offs should be halved for a second kid and eliminated for a third or more to encourage more realistic family sizes as a matter of public policy in a post-industrial economy. (I think Dalton Conley, the NYU sociologist has written about this, though not from an anti-kid or enviro standpoint.)

    Polygamy is not the only multi-partner marriage possibility, but it’s certainly the most common one extant, and we’d have to think long and hard about whether we wanted to accommodate that, looking at the state’s best interests in terms of economics and, frankly, how best to protect the rights of women who may be pressured by their ethnic or religious community into an undesired polygamous marriage (not to mention what to do with the boys who get pushed out of polygamous communities because there are not enough women to go around and older/more powerful/better off men win out).

    It is true that if marriage equality for same-sex couples becomes the law, advocates of polyamorous marriage arrangements may point to it as an example of why the law should be further changed. But as Rob and others have pointed out, it’s a MUCH bigger set of policy changes with much different consequences.

    If we’re using the slippery slope metaphor, there are a lot of big hills on the slope from gay marriage to multiple-partner marriage.

  • 21
    Ben in Oakland says:

    “But as Rob and others have pointed out, it’s a MUCH bigger set of policy changes with much different consequences.”

    Not to mention– they’re going to have to make that case for themselves. I’m not going to do it for them. They will have to present the issue to the public, they will have to make their case, they will have to contact the legislators to do the total rewrite of family law, child welfare law, marriage law, employment law, child support law, spousal benefits law, retirement law, contract law, and so forth.

    If I were going to oppose polygamy at all, it would be on that basis. Let’s have the matters of law cleared up first, and THEN let’s have polygamy.

    Same sex marriage requires no such wholesale rewrite of the law. Two words only: “man and woman” to “two adults”.

    But this type of slippery slope argument is inherently dishonest, because we’re not talking about red herrings sliding down slippery slopes. Nor are we talking about radically re-defining marriage. We are talking MARRiAGE EQUALITY for opposite marriage and same marriage, for heteros and homos, and the myth of heterosexual superiority in service to the reality of heterosexual privilege. They get treated exactly the same.

    Polygamy, or more accurately, group marriage, everywhere it is practiced, is inherently unequal to its participants. It is inherently complicated, as the wife A and wife B example I cited above shows. What if Wife B wants to marry Husband #2, is Wife A’s kid now his responsibility? Is Husband #1 now gay-married to Husband 2?

    Muvch the same argument is used by those opposing ending DADT “If we let the homos in, then everything will change and we won’t klnow what to do and there will be assault and harrassment and blah blah blah.” Not true at all, of course. Because the issue is in fact equality, and nothing else. Exactly the same rules, standards, and expectations that govern heterosexuals in the military will govern homosexuals in the military. There is nothing that will need to change except the idea that something will need to change besides the unquestioned homophobia and heterosexism that provides the irrationale for gay people and straight people EVER to be treated differently..

    However, all that being said, I suspect that is not Mike’s issue.

  • 22
    Mike says:

    First, your argument boils down essentially to one of pragmatism and precludes the existence (or at least the materiality) of fundamental rights. Is the reason you believe in gay marriage is because it’s fair and it doesn’t cost too much? Certainly it costs something. Increased medical and pension costs just for a start. Would the argument that in these really tough economic times we just can’t afford gay marriage sway you? Or is there something more there?

    Second, why do you assume that so many people would suddenly leap to become polyamorous if it were legalized that it would break the bank? Would it ever be anywhere near the number of gays who will marry if given the chance? How do you know? If it cost less than it would to allow gays to marry, would you support it as well, or even instead of gay marriage?

    As for historical polygamy in the U.S., is it fair to deny someone the right to marry more than one person based on the socio-economic consequences of polygamy on a frontier sect surrounded by desert and shunned (and sometimes murdered) by those outside the sect? Equality for women, physical and social mobility, mass media, and a culture of tolerance make this a much different world from that of the early Mormons. For that reason, mainstreaming polygamy would, arguably, offer protection to women who might otherwise be exploited, while honoring the beliefs of those who consent to the practice.

    And as for the apostate Mormons living today, is their relative poverty a result of their polygamy, or are people living an illegal and, by most lights, immoral lifestyle more likely to congregate in areas where jobs are scarce? And don’t you need to have a relatively fringe mentality in the first place to choose to live in that socially unnacceptable manner? Now, with the normalization of homosexuality we’re seeing the “End of Gay Culture” and some of its attendant weirdness according to Andrew Sullivan.

    I get that you can see the possiblity of a compelling state interest against polygamy, I see it myself. But I don’t know if I’m right. Shouldn’t the government have to prove it? I realize that strict scrutiny(which puts the burden on the government to demonstrate why it should not allow someone to marry) does not apply to marriage laws federally, but it does in at least one state (California) and most people who agree with gay marriage agree with the standard. Why not for polygamy?

  • 23
    Mike says:

    Ben: The previous post was meant for SNC, but much of it applies to your response. And I notice you’re getting a bit personal. As for marriage equality, you’re for it for two people, but not three. I get it. And you see a big difference. And Muslims and breakaway Mormons need to make their own case, just like blacks and gays have, and if they don’t you’re okay with that. And if blacks and gays hadn’t made their case well enough, you’d be okay with that too I guess.

  • 24
    Ben in Oakland says:

    I didn’t mean to be personal. I apologize. I started to say sometihng else, realized that it wasn’t what I was trying to say, and didn’t see I had not eliminated the whole paragraph. Sorry.

  • 25
    SNC says:

    “First, your argument boils down essentially to one of pragmatism and precludes the existence (or at least the materiality) of fundamental rights. Is the reason you believe in gay marriage is because it’s fair and it doesn’t cost too much?”

    I doubt seriously that too many people care about my personal philosophy, but to be clear, no, I do not believe in fundamental rights. I think this concept is a little myth people tell themselves to feel better.

    We have principles, beliefs and, stemming from those laws. One of the principles that matters to me is fairness, so I want to see laws that embrace fairness. That said, I am, as you say, a pragmatist. I see no upside (and plenty of downside) to permitting multiple partner marriage. If the downsides could be mitigated–without placing undue burden on others–I see where the law might someday be changed.

  • 26
    Ben in Oakland says:

    Actually, I am not against it, as I said. I think only an idiot would believ that coming home to three pissed-off spouses is going to be better than coming home to one. And I don’t frankly care about it all that much. It’s not going to affect my life.

    But you’re wrong about this. “And if blacks and gays hadn’t made their case well enough, you’d be okay with that too I guess.” Yes if there were no case to make, no records of legal disadvantage, persecution, and oppression. And no. It would not be and has never been ok to treat people unequally if there were a case to make. And there is. Why do and man and any woman hwo met five minutes ago and who have $85 for a marriage license have the right to get married, and rights to all of the benefits and privileges attached thereto, but my friends Shelley and Pam, with six children and 15 years between them, cannot. Fundamental inequality that polygamists do not experience.

    But polygamists are asking for special rights, to coin a phrase. They can still marry like everyone else– one at a time– to coin yet another argument. This is about heteroseuxal and homosexual equality, not heteros getting even more special rights than they already have.

  • 27
    Ben in Oakland says:

    I see no upside (and plenty of downside) to permitting multiple partner marriage. If the downsides could be mitigated–without placing undue burden on others–I see where the law might someday be changed.”

    Perfectly stated, and also what I was getting at.

  • 28
    Mike says:

    Ben:

    Accepted. And I apologize for the snark. The “I suspect that is not Mike’s issue.” hit a nerve, because I’m not pro-polygamy, but I am for gay marriage. But I wasn’t until a couple of years ago. And this was despite a life-long friendship with a gay man who agreed to disagree with me on the issue.

    It was a long decision in the making for many different reasons: it felt wrong; traditional marriage and a nuclear family is an ideal I believe in; all things being equal, diversity of gender in parents is an ideal just as diversity is rightly lauded in so many other areas, etc.

    And frankly, I was really angered by people who thought the whole subject was a “no brainer” and that I was a bigot for not embracing it right away. And truly, the arguments I hear against polygamy by people who favor gay marriage are in most cases exactly the same type of arguments I made against gay marriage, which resulted in me being called a bigot.

    Gay marriage is a complex question. It really is. Really good people can disagree about it. The same is true about polygamy. And I truly believe that it is mostly prejudice, and not reason, that makes me dislike it, especially as would be practiced in the U.S. But, it just wouldn’t feel like America any more, would it? I felt the same way about gay marriage. Now it doesn’t feel like America without gay marriage. And I bet within another ten years or so, probably due to a court proceeding, we will engage polygamy as an issue in earnest. And I would have to support it even though I dislike it, because other than my personal preference, I don’t see the distinction.

  • 29
    SNC says:

    Mike,

    That’s an interesting description of how you came to be in favor of gay marriage and not of polygamy–but feeling you should be.

    I guess a lot of it comes down to the standards you choose to apply.

    You say with regards to your change of heart on same-sex marriage: “It was a long decision in the making for many different reasons: it felt wrong; traditional marriage and a nuclear family is an ideal I believe in; all things being equal, diversity of gender in parents is an ideal just as diversity is rightly lauded in so many other areas, etc.”

    A lot (perhaps all) of what you describe here is discomfort with change/difference, something you made your peace with or at least came to see as insufficient reason for a ban on same-sex couples getting married.

    I suspect part of this had to do with asking who would be helped and who would be hurt by a change in marriage law that would permit same-sex couples to wed. The fact that we are talking about adults making their own decisions (as opposed to children or animals, the canards) makes this a lot easier. Who would be helped? The gay couples who want to marry. Who would be hurt? Well, it would make some people uncomfortable, but no one’s rights would be taken away by letting gay men and lesbians marry their partners. We can look at several states’ experiences and several countries’ experiences for evidence to back this up.

    The potential for harm–and the evidence of it–is stronger with multiple-partner marriages, particularly in the case of polygamy. We cannot ignore that it tends to be popular among cultures and subcultures that put a lower value on women, thus raising the question of whether women in these settings are able to withhold consent to enter multiple-party marriages. We also can’t ignore that in a setting in which more powerful, older men have multiple wives, younger, less powerful men are effectively shut out of the marriage market (assuming they’re straight) and often sent out of the community. IF we were to permit multi-partner marriage, we would have to think very, very carefully how we would–if we even could–protect the autonomy and well being of women and younger boys/men who could be very adversely effected by polygamy. The other things we’d have to address–inheritance, pensions, health insurance, custody–aren’t trivial, to be sure, but they are not as essential, to me, as making sure women and young boys/men are not badly harmed by a change in marriage laws.

    This is what makes polygamy/multi-partner marriage a much bigger potential issue to me than gay marriage. It’s not just how a person may feel about it but who is helped and who is hurt by it that is different.

  • 30
    Lymis says:

    The biggest red herring here is requiring gay people to justify why their marriage won’t lead to polygamy before allowing them.

    I had one friend ask me, “Well, if gay marriage is allowed, what prevents polygamy?” And my answer was “What is preventing it now?”

    If you look through just the arguments above, you see that people take the evil of polygamy as a given, without ever explaining what it is that would be wrong about it, but then claiming that gay marriage has to serve as the barrier to it, rather than allowing equality for all individuals and then discussing polygamy on its own merits.

    I cry foul. Most of the arguments against gay marriage (Biblical tradition, childbearing, etc) apply far more to support polygamy than to oppose gay marriage.

  • 31

    Rob, once again, you simply cannot answer the main question.

    How is your relationship negatively affected by allowing people to marry animals, children, multiple partners, or whatever they want?

    Since you insist that marriage is a “fundamental right”, that it is unconstitutional to prohibit people from marrying the person they “love” or the partner of their “choice”, and that laws that do so unnecessarily stigmatize and discriminate against people based on their sexual choices, what is your argument?

    Since reproduction is irrelevant to marriage, on what grounds do you ban incestuous marriage?

    This post is merely an attempt to cover up the fact that gays and lesbians like yourself cannot make a persuasive argument for gay-sex marriage to the electorate, and are thus trying to ram it through the courts using idiotic rationales, which easily and simply validate plural, incestuous, child and other marriages.

    Furthermore, I found this most amusing.

    Can they really think of no other reason to prevent a grown man from marrying and then penetrating an eight-year-old? How about physical and emotional damage to the child? How about protecting children from exploitation?

    Give us a break.

    Gay and lesbian parents dress children as sexual slaves and take them to sex fairs to “show off” to their friends, calling it an “educational experience”, and not a peep from you.

    And then there’s the actions of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, the primary representative of the gay and lesbian community, the main organization of gays and lesbians providing consultation to the UN, and the one endorsed and supported by US gay and lesbian organizations:

    In 1985, ILGA adopted a position on “Age of Consent/Paedophilia/Children’s Rights” that urged member organizations to “lobby their governments to abolish the age of consent law” so long as there is “adequate protection for youth from being sexually abused without the age of consent law.”

    In 1986, ILGA adopted a position that says the group “supports the right of young people to sexual and social self-determination.”

    In 1988, ILGA declared “this conference recognizes that existing same-sex age-of-consent laws often operate to oppress and not to protect; that in many countries, existing laws on sexual coercion and rules of evidence also often operate to oppress and not to protect; that therefore member organizations are urged to consider how best children, adolescents, and people of all ages can be empowered and supported against both sexual coercion and sexual oppression and to work towards that end.”

    In 1990, ILGA “calls on all members to treat all sexual minorities with respect and to engage in constructive dialogue with them. In another position adopted that year, ILGA declared that it “supports the right of every individual, regardless of age, to explore and develop her or his sexuality.”

    And again, not a peep from you.

    So why should anyone buy your argument when it’s clear that you don’t even believe it yourself?

    But then again, perhaps I’m being too harsh. After all, if you attacked your fellow gays and lesbians, you would be self-loathing and a homophobe. Thus, your behavior is perfectly rational; who cares if children are molested by other gays, when your own personal popularity would be shattered if you called it out and condemned it?

  • 32
    robtish says:

    That’s an odd comment. You keep saying, “Not a peep from you,” right after you quote me as saying that sex with kids is exploitation and brings physical and emotional harm to children.

    You also make this claim nearly every time you encounter me: “Since you insist that marriage is a “fundamental right”, that it is constitutional to prohibit people from marrying the person they “love” or the partner of their “choice”, and that laws that do so unnecessarily stigmatize and discriminate against people based on their sexual choices…”

    Neither (nor Ted Olson) have ever insisted any such thing. But you do present a paranoid parody of what the anti-equality folks insist we’re thinking. I think I’ll deal with that when I get back when my trip for the 4th.

  • 33
    Ben in Oakland says:

    Rob– I’ve seen this guy’s postings before. It is a waste of time–apart form intellectual exercise– to get in a discussion with him.

  • 34

    That’s an odd comment. You keep saying, “Not a peep from you,” right after you quote me as saying that sex with kids is exploitation and brings physical and emotional harm to children.

    That would be because, Rob, you endorse and support gays and lesbians and gay and lesbian organizations who insist the exact opposite.

    Kind of hard to buy your attempt to spin that sex with children is bad when you have no problem with people saying that taking toddlers to a sex fair is an “educational experience”, or when you support gay and lesbian organizations that “support the right of every individual, regardless of age, to explore and develop her or his sexuality”.

    You also make this claim nearly every time you encounter me: “Since you insist that marriage is a “fundamental right”, that it is constitutional to prohibit people from marrying the person they “love” or the partner of their “choice”, and that laws that do so unnecessarily stigmatize and discriminate against people based on their sexual choices…”

    Neither (nor Ted Olson) have ever insisted any such thing.

    Actually, you have.

    Plaintiffs will describe the harm that they suffer every day because they are prevented from marrying. And they will describe how demeaning and insulting it can be to be told that they remain free to marry—as long, that is, that they marry someone of the opposite sex instead of the person they love, the companion of their choice.

    Pedophiles love children and prefer children as the companion of their choice. Plural marriage practitioners love and prefer multiple people, incest practitioners love and prefer blood relatives, and bestialists love and prefer animals.

    And there’s more.

    They have been classified as degenerates, targeted by police, harassed in the workplace, censored, demonized, fired from government jobs, excluded from our armed forces, arrested for their private sexual conduct, and repeatedly stripped of their fundamental rights by popular vote.

    So have child, plural, incestuous, and bestial marriage practitioners. Therefore, since they have been treated similarly, they should be granted “equal rights”.

    And then there’s this lovely quote from Evan Wolfson which you fully endorsed and supported.

    What counts is not family structure, but the quality of dedication, commitment, self-sacrifice, and love in the household.

    Therefore, incestuous marriage, plural marriage, child marriage, bestial marriage, and so forth, are perfectly OK, since structure doesn’t matter and such relationships are capable of “dedication, commitment, self-sacrifice, and love”.

    So again, Rob, let’s make you follow your own rules. Please lay out how allowing children, bestialists, incest practitioners, and plural marriage practitioners to marry whomever they want will negatively affect your relationship.

    And remember. You cannot use your own personal morals as a reference because you have stated that personal morals are irrelevant to government. You cannot deny people the right to marry because, quote, “we all have the freedom to marry” and even convicted criminals have the right to marry. And, since you insist that structure “doesn’t matter” and that government has no right to judge “dedication, commitment, self-sacrifice, and love”, you cannot act arbitrarily against any other form of marriage.

  • 35

    Rob– I’ve seen this guy’s postings before. It is a waste of time–apart form intellectual exercise– to get in a discussion with him.

    That’s funny, Ben; I find I learn something from everyone with which I discuss matters.

    But then again, I forgot; gay and lesbian people don’t really have to learn anything. They just have to repeat the party line.

  • 36
    Ben in Oakland says:

    Honey– there is really not a lot to learn from homobigots. I got it that you don’t approve. i got it that you don’t like us, and feel we should be legally disadvantaged so that you can express your diasapproval. I got it that you will twist anything anybody has to say to make sure that it is taken in the worst possible way. I got it that you will trot out these tired old “arguments”– weil, innuendos, but that doesn’t matter– that have been dealt with over and over at every other place you post.

    I got that you are a homophobe, a homobigot, and a heterosexist.

    I doubt you have anything else that’s new to say. And i REALLY doubt that you learn anything form conversations with other people. Because if you did, we wouldn’t be having this ocnversation right now.

  • 37

    You know, Ben, that might be effective, if I weren’t aware of the following:

    When gay and lesbian people are molesting children, they shriek “homophobe” to intimidate people into letting them continue to do it.

    When gay and lesbian people are sexually harassing and demanding sex from their coworkers, they scream “homophobia and sexism” to stop anyone from investigating or punishing them for doing it.

    There’s a whole mess of information demonstrating that the gay and lesbian community thinks age-of-consent laws are homophobic, bigoted, and heterosexist.

    Every week when I pick up the Bay Area Reporter and the Bay Guardian, I can see that anyone who opposes higher taxes, unlimited abortion, and drug use, and supports enforcement of immigration laws and imposition of sit-lie laws, and so forth is a “homophobe, a homobigot, and a heterosexist”.

    Finally, what is “homophobic, homobigoted, and heterosexist” varies significantly with political and religious affiliation. For instance, you can carry out the immediate murder and execution of gays, as does Hamas, and still have “Queers for Palestine” singing your praises. You can endorse and support the FMA and firing gay and lesbian employees, and still be endorsed as pro-gay and gay-supportive.

    So to summarize, “homophobe, homobigot, and heterosexist” when flung by gay and lesbian people like you, Ben, are coming from the same place as “You’re the worst parents in the world” as screamed by an eight-year-old. In both cases, it is less about an honest assessment of the situation than it is about a temper tantrum and an attempt to use hostile words to get someone to give you your way.

  • 38
    robtish says:

    ND30, I’m doing this from my phone so this is all I have time for: I don’t think “You have stated that….” means what you think it means. Unless you’re just a liar. More on Tuesday.

  • 39

    ND30, I’m doing this from my phone so this is all I have time for: I don’t think “You have stated that….” means what you think it means.

    Hmmm.

    With the presumption that that applies to this statement:

    You cannot use your own personal morals as a reference because you have stated that personal morals are irrelevant to government.

    Come now, Rob. Do I really need to link to all of the posts in which you have insisted that peoples’ personal morals, i.e. religious beliefs, are irrelevant to government and should not be used as a reference?

    This is the price of moral relativism, princess. You take away the right of other people to disapprove, your own has to go with it.

  • 40
    Ben in Oakland says:

    With all that hate and paranoia inside, it must really suck to be you.

  • 41
    Regan DuCasse says:

    ND30, ah I see you’ve found another site to foist your contrary opinions on. Arguing just for the sake of getting your rocks off on it are you?
    Must suck to be you, to spend so much time throwing bombs as if your questions, or contrary opinions haven’t been answered quite effectively. You just prefer to ignore all that.

    You’re just like the rest, a person that can’t distinguish people that are exhibitionists, or paraphilias, from people that are gay. When you bring up characteristics that are not exclusive to either orientation, but discuss them as if they are only to gay people, then YOUR credibility is in the toilet.

    You can’t bring yourself to acknowledge who holds the privilege, socio political majority and cultural influences in most societies where the NEGATIVE influence and history are most evident.
    Polygamy, and incest and so on…straight males entitled (and still do) themselves to young girls. They are the only ones who seem to get away with this behavior with impunity. They are not assumed to be guilty of such lusts, without any evidence it actually happens the way gay adults are.

    Your arguments retrograde that influence as if expansion of equality to gay people is representative of RETURNING to more despotic practices that polygamy and incest represents. Human history has experience with those practices and found distinct negative results.
    Whereas there are no negative results, nor redefinitions of current marital requirements were gay couples included. Gay couples have to adhere to the SAME restrictions as op sex couples.
    THAT is the point.
    Because you have so little regard for who you’re talking to, doesn’t mean it’s deserved.

    Incestuous, polygamous or animal fetishists NEVER had to wait for gay marriage to make their stand. They’ve always had the courts, the legal and civil routes that gay people have.
    They’ve always had the option of visibility and consciousness raising.
    Gay people are not the limits to them, nor do gay people represent them otherwise.

    The people who agree with you might be that stupid, but not those who don’t.
    Marriage laws, as we know them are relatively simple and easy to understand. Once a couple is married, the protections are more complex, but the basics are basic precisely so that they can be understood.
    They are limited to:
    1. CONSENT

    2. minimum age of adult majority

    3. TWO adults

    4. Non married, and non closely related

    What marriage is about is to form KIN, from people who are not kin.
    The spouse takes on all responsibility and custody that otherwise BLOOD relatives would assume. And PRIMACY in marriage, super cedes the multiple kin to further simplify who is consulted in that relationship.

    Those who argue to maintain marriage between one man and one woman, show a serious ignorance of these facts, and historical context with regard to the evolution of marriage. Marriage has become MORE egalitarian along gender lines, not less. And marriage within a gay couple is more representative of that egalitarian principle.
    There is no single role, nor can it be legislated, what one’s gender has to do with how a marriage is conducted.

    And each and every argument to maintain a ban on gay couples, assumes and expects to make laws where NONE exist in the argument.
    NO ONE is banned from marrying for lack of intent or ability to have children.

    NO ONE is banned based on assumed physical incompatibility that prohibits sexual satisfaction or babies (two men or two women’s physical incompatibility can’t make babies)
    NO ONE is banned based on having no biological connection to their children (adopted) or one parent has that connection (step parent).

    There are no laws that have ingress into these situations, yet the majority truly expects the courts and majority vote (aka mob rule) to invoke all this against gay people.

    Since NONE of these situations are the harbingers of poly/incest/beast fetish relationships for heteros, no rational and reasonable person can assume it is for gay couples.
    There is no reason to assume it, but for prejudice and such prejudice definitely should not be invoke when deciding on such a vital quality of life issue for gay people.
    Because the rationale for the bans, have absolutely NOTHING to do with gay people in the first place.

    See, you can have your stupid opinion answered quite easily, and you only bring up the ‘slippery slope’ aspect because it makes for fear inducement.
    If you have to go that route, you lost the debate already.
    It’s been done. And it doesn’t work, but in the short run.
    And it certainly doesn’t mean you were right.
    Gays and lesbians who want to marry, and who have children, have opened their lives to the intents and purposes of getting married. Hve opened their lives to the media scrutiny, court scrutiny and public scrutiny. There’s nothing hidden or intended that no one knows about and there is no widespread support FROM the gay community for the other creative bullshit about marriage that straight people are coming up with. And it’s obvious it’s for the same reasons as rational and fair minded straight folks do.
    Deal with it.
    Gay folks are not what you wish, and neither are straight people for that matter.

  • 42
    SNC says:

    HD30, at first I thought perhaps you were simply confused. Now I think it’s willful ignorance, or else you have been reading another blog and ascribing its viewpoints to Rob. To be clear, I don’t know Rob at all, but I have seen enough on this blog to know that your interpretations are woefully inaccurate.

    Rob’s posts on government (particularly, but not exclusively, with regard to marriage equality) suggest to me that he expects government to act in accordance with some basic, overarching principles, chief among them the principle of preserving individual liberty as much as possible and treating all citizens with equal respect. Individual liberty would have to be curtailed if it interferes with other legitimate government functions, such as protecting people from exploitation or abuse.

    Hence, I have fairly extensive property rights, but I cannot build an amusement park or nuclear power plant in my back yard, as this would be detrimental to my neighbors and the value and usability of their properties. I may start a company and run it pretty much as I please, but I will have to follow wage and worker-safety laws so that my entitlement to run a business does not infringe on my workers’ entitlement to work safely and be treated fairly.

    With regard to marriage, Rob and others here have argued that the principle of individual liberty would indicate that the state should not prohibit two consenting adults of any gender from marrying one another because doing so does not interfere with any of the state’s interests, and it does not infringe on anyone else’s rights or expectations of protection.

    This would, of course, not be in keeping with some people’s moral codes. They would not be required to marry someone of the same sex, nor to conduct a ceremony for a same-sex couple. This preserves their rights to object–without letting their discomfort or personal morality interfere with the rights of others.

    As has been noted before, many people object to atheism or to people marrying after having been divorced, but the law permits atheists to marry, and it permits people to marry after having been divorced.

    You mention multiple-partner marriage, incestuous marriage and child marriage and try to justify them by saying rights can’t be abridged (or rather that Rob has expressed such views). But as noted, one person’s rights end where they infringe on the rights of another. Children have the right to grow up unexploited and unmolested, and the government has a legitimate interest in ensuring this. Hence, it is easy to justify a ban on marrying children. The same type of prohibition applies to marrying animals.

    I am sure you would recognize that incest–in which the power dynamics and traditions of family life are subverted for exploitation–is abuse. In terms of government limitations on marriage between close blood relatives who are adults, the state has a legitimate interest in preventing birth defects and continuance of devastating recessive conditions, making such prohibitions reasonable limitations on individual liberty (in my view, anyway). While Rob and others have said that procreation is not REQUIRED for marriage (and certainly we all know it can take place outside the bounds of marriage), I don’t believe anyone has said procreation never has anything to do with marriage. Hence, it makes sense that the state should be able to consider the likelihood of offspring when setting rules about how close of kin may marry.

  • 43
    Ben in Oakland says:

    Regan– as always, a well reasoned and well-reganed reply. but I fear it was wasted on this one.

    But I did want to note this. Gay people want to get married, and all of a sudden, we here this nonsense about polygamy, marrying children, and goat-f**kers marrying thier paramours. nothing we ever heard aobut when it was hets only until death do us part.

    And yet, one of the many oddities surrounding this: who is it that actually thinks this is possible, desirable, sure to follow, required?

    People like Our Boy Here.

    I never hear anybody gay people claiming that this is what they are looking forward to. “Hey, goat-f**kers!
    We’re getting married. Now’s your chance!”

    Though the child molestors of NAMBLA ilk have occasionally and publicly stated that age of consent laws should be abolished and that grown men should be able to marry children– as far as I can tell, a heterosexual practice wherever it actually exists– I have never heard a one of them say: “Well, now that gay people are getting married, it’s our chance!”

    I have never heard an actual goat-f**ker demand the right to marry their beloveds, yet people like our boy here are absolutely certain that this will follow as sure as night follows day. After all, there really is no reason at all to prevent it, is there.

    And though there are plenty of poly-amorists and polygamists around, I’ve never heard of the former making a movement and demanding marriage rights, and the latter have been doing it heterosexually and with the full authority of their religions behind them. and even they haven’t been screaming for the right, they just go ahead and do it.

    So what are we to make of people like Our Boy Here and their certainty that all of these forms of sexual immorality– except when practiced by heterosexuals with full authorization of their churches– are just waiting to spring out of the anxiety closet?

    Project much?

    Megalomania much?

    Fantasize much?

    Paranoia much?

  • 44
    robtish says:

    ND30, quick question. You said: “And then there’s this lovely quote from Evan Wolfson which you fully endorsed and supported. ‘What counts is not family structure, but the quality of dedication, commitment, self-sacrifice, and love in the household.’”

    Could you tell men when I endorsed and supported that?

  • 45

    You can’t bring yourself to acknowledge who holds the privilege, socio political majority and cultural influences in most societies where the NEGATIVE influence and history are most evident.
    Polygamy, and incest and so on…straight males entitled (and still do) themselves to young girls.

    The entertaining part about that, Regan, is that you really don’t care about the rape of young girls if it’s a liberal doing it or if you get the abortion money, or if the person perpetrating it is of the correct skin color. When those are met, you can, like Whoopi Goldberg and your fellow Obama Party members, insist that thirteen-year-olds CAN consent to sex, medical procedures, and all those other things.

    You’re just like the rest, a person that can’t distinguish people that are exhibitionists, or paraphilias, from people that are gay.

    Probably because the gay and lesbian community itself has endorsed and supported both exhibitionists and pedophiles as part of the gay community and called for the abolishment of laws criminalizing their behaviors.

    And because, as I linked above, gay and lesbian parents are saying that people who object to their taking children to a sex fair dressed as sex slaves are homophobic, gay and lesbian parents are saying that investigating people for child molestation is homophobic, gay and lesbian people are saying that investigating and punishing someone who demands sex from their coworkers and punishes those who don’t comply is homophobic and sexist– and, as an added bonus, gay and lesbian organizations are saying that raising the age of consent and enforcing it is homophobic.

    One would think that other gays and lesbians would be incensed about these clear examples of gay and lesbian people linking paraphilias and exhibitionism as being the inevitable product of homosexuality, but then again, that assumes that gay and lesbian people are similar to heterosexuals and capable of condemning the behavior of others of their same sexual orientation.

    Now that we’ve dealt with that, let’s get to the crux of the matter.

    There are no laws that have ingress into these situations, yet the majority truly expects the courts and majority vote (aka mob rule) to invoke all this against gay people.

    Perhaps you’re unaware of this, Regan, but every single one of those conditions that you claim to support on marriage has been implemented by majority vote — which you are now claiming is “mob rule”, illegitimate, and unconstitutional.

    Meanwhile, we have the gay and lesbian community and its leftist allies openly calling for the legalization of plural marriage and claiming that bans on it are unconstitutional, in addition to its adamant opposition to age-of-consent laws and its insistence that the underage can consent to sex, as outlined above.

    In short, you are undercutting the legal mechanism for keeping such people from marrying because you are incapable of persuading the public that gay-sex marriage is a good thing. And the reason you are incapable is because you are unwilling or unable to condemn gay and lesbian people who misbehave and try to blame their misbehavior on their sexual orientation, just as you are completely incapable of admitting any wrongdoing on the part of a black person because of your skin color.

    Just because you judge on the basis of skin color or minority status doesn’t mean that everyone else does or should, Regan.

  • 46

    Children have the right to grow up unexploited and unmolested, and the government has a legitimate interest in ensuring this.

    But, as I have demonstrated above, the Obama Party and the liberal left do not in fact think having sex with underage children constitutes exploitation or molestation, and argue that drugging and having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl against her wishes does not constitute rape. Indeed, the gay and lesbian community has openly stated, quote, that it “supports the right of every individual, regardless of age, to explore and develop her or his sexuality”, and we have parents dressing their toddler-age children as sexual slaves and taking them to sex fairs to “show off” without a single peep from either the government or the gay and lesbian community.

    I am sure you would recognize that incest–in which the power dynamics and traditions of family life are subverted for exploitation–is abuse.

    I would recognize it, yes. But I adamantly disagree with the statement of the gay and lesbian community that “what counts is not family structure, but the quality of dedication, commitment, self-sacrifice, and love in the household”. Since the gay and lesbian community has declared that family structure is irrelevant, it can hardly argue for incest.

    And, while I also agree that the possibility of birth defects is a compelling reason to significantly restrict marriage of blood relatives, the gay and lesbian community has made it clear, as in Regan’s post above, that reproductive capability or results are irrelevant.

    Get the picture, SNC? When the government’s capability to limit marriage is taken away, marriage cannot be limited by age, number, or species. When “majority vote” is ruled unconstitutional and marriage is assigned solely based on one’s sexual preferences and preferred partners, you end up marrying people who prefer children, animals, and multiple other individuals.

    THAT is the problem here.

  • 47

    Could you tell men when I endorsed and supported that?

    Certainly.

    Feel free to object at this point and/or say that Evan Wolfson is wrong. It would be a nice change of pace.

  • 48

    Gay people want to get married, and all of a sudden, we here this nonsense about polygamy, marrying children, and goat-f**kers marrying thier paramours. nothing we ever heard aobut when it was hets only until death do us part.

    Because, prior to this point, we haven’t really had people arguing that preventing them from marrying that to which they were sexually attracted, that which they “love”, or their “partner of choice” was unconstitutional.

    Nor have we had people arguing that, as gays and lesbians have, that being called “degenerates, targeted by police, harassed in the workplace, censored, demonized, fired from government jobs, excluded from our armed forces, arrested for their private sexual conduct, and repeatedly stripped of their fundamental rights by popular vote” automatically means that laws preventing such people from marrying are wrong.

  • 49
    robtish says:

    Okay, you directed me to a statement by someone else. You’re just full of lies. Do you even realize that?

  • 50
    robtish says:

    Nor have we had people arguing that, as gays and lesbians have, that being called “degenerates, targeted by police, harassed in the workplace, censored, demonized, fired from government jobs, excluded from our armed forces, arrested for their private sexual conduct, and repeatedly stripped of their fundamental rights by popular vote” automatically means that laws preventing such people from marrying are wrong.

    Show me your source. I’m confident that, as always, it will not say what you claim it does.

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