[extropy-chat] gay marriage

Harvey Newstrom mail at HarveyNewstrom.com
Sun Feb 29 18:10:42 UTC 2004

Kevin Freels wrote,
> I am so angry I can't even type a decent letter! This gay marriage thing
> is just as stupid as segregation!

It is interesting that you compare this debate with the one on segregation.
I see the concept of civil unions as being "separate but equal" for gays.
Gays can't participate in the same marriage that heterosexuals can, but the
government will supposedly provide a "separate but equal" facility.  Of
course, this never works.  I don't see the president or congress fighting to
give gays spousal social security benefits, spousal legal privilege, joint
tax returns, inheritance tax exemptions, etc.  The government accounting
office has identified over 1000 laws that give special rights to married
couples that civil unions currently do not enjoy.  I doubt that this
"separate" type of civil union will ever actually be "equal".

> Neither side can see where they are
> going wrong, and the entire country is debating this as if it is actually
> worthy of debate!!

Right.  There is no debate required.  Equal rights for all.  That's what the
constitution already says, and what the courts have interpreted.  Gays
already should have equal rights.  That is why it takes a constitutional
amendment to remove equal rights for gays from the constitution, in effect
saying "Oops, we didn't really want those people to get equal rights as

> The problem is that the words "marriage" and "religion" are so
>  especially in the Christian faith. Marriage is a function of religion
> is recognized by the state.

I don't believe this.  Many cultures have had marriage across all different
religious settings.  Even pagan, primitive or non-religious cultures have
had marriage or family units.  Even other species have their mating rituals
and pack-like groupings.  This is not a religious institution invented by
churches.  We know from history and evolution that it is not.

> This needs to be done away with entirely. Marriage should be completely
> replaced by "legal unions" for everyone. Not just gays. These should be
> open to anyone of legal age regardless of race, religion, color, creed,
> or sex.

I agree with this, but I would even go further.  Why have any legal union at
all?  Why not let people choose other people for any relationship they want?
Let people live with whomever they want.  Let people leave their property to
whomever they want.  Let people buy health insurance or life insurance for
whomever they want.  Let hospital patients put anybody they want on their
visitor list.  Let social security benefits get assigned to any beneficiary
the original payor chooses.  Let any group file a joint return or claim any
dependents they support.  Why should any group decide for anybody else who
qualifies and who doesn't for benefits paid for by any individual?

> In our culture, marriage is more than a legal contract, it is a
> religious ritual. By pressing for acceptance of gay marriage, gays
> are asking a bunch of people who believe what they are doing is wrong,
> to change their rituals for their benefit.

You are accepting the claim that the religions "own" the concept of marriage
and that no one else can participate without their permission.  This is
bogus.  Individuals should decide their own relationships.  The era of state
or church arranged marriages is over.

> Meanwhile, by pressing this issue, gay rights advocates are going to
> see an amendment banning gay marriage to come to a vote, which regardless
> of the outcome, will set equal rights backwards by validating the marriage

Strange that you blame the victims of the new legislation for its passage.
Check your sequence of dates.  It was leaked last year that the republican
strategists were planning to bring up the issue of gay marriage before the
election to make the democratic party look bad.  President Bush announced
the amendment and then the San Francisco mayor reacted, not the other way
around.  The Massachusetts court didn't invent rights for gays.  They
interpreted "equal rights for all" as including gays.  It takes a change to
the constitution to say that we want to start excluding gays from exercising
their equal rights for all.

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