let them get married already.

Since the newswires and the Blogosphere are abuzz with commentary on the California Supreme Court ruling regarding gay marriage (and because we haven’t had enough controversy around here lately), let me throw in my two cents on the ruling:

The decision by the CA Supreme Court was 100% correct, and I applaud and welcome it.

Now, before someone chimes in and goes on about “judicial activism” (an agitprop term that always means “a decision with which I disagree”), let me elaborate.

Government licensure usually depends on qualification by skill.  You can receive a license to drive, but you have to prove your proficiency to a government tester first.  You can receive a license to practice a medical profession, but you have to provide proof of sufficient education first.  Most licensure works in that fashion, and it means that in theory, anyone can obtain a government license by acquiring the necessary skills and qualifications.

If the Constitution of the United States and the state of California both stipulate that the government may not discriminate against an individual based on race, religion, or gender, then the practice of issuing marriage licenses to couples of a specific gender combination most certainly violates these Constitutions, because it denies a government-issued benefit or privilege to someone solely because of their gender.

That’s the problem when government gets into the licensing business–if a benefit is tied to the license, then the qualification for that license must be skill-based, otherwise it’s discrimination.  Denying a marriage license to a gay couple is legally and morally on the same level as denying women the right to vote, or blacks the right to marry whites, because it involves the same kind of arbitrary gender- or race-based exclusion.

That’s the entirety of the argument advanced by the California Supreme Court, and it is absolutely on the money.  Regardless of how you may feel about gay cooties and the “sanctity of marriage”, that’s the way the cookie crumbles–denying a government license to a couple because of their gender is discrimination.  (Of course, government licenses have their root in exactly that.  Marriage licenses are right up there with firearms licenses and carry permits as a much-abused tool for social control, because it allowed the local governments in many places to make sure that only acceptably-hued folks would carry guns, and that only similarly-hued couples got married.)

If you want to object and tell me how this country is going down the tubes because we let teh gayz get married and get “special rights”, answer me this before you compose your reply:

1.) What kind of “special rights” do homosexuals claim that aren”t already afforded to straight people?

2.) How exactly does the issuance of a marriage license to a gay couple threaten your marriage?  Does it make you love your spouse less, or somehow invalidate your vows?

(And don’t anyone drag out the red herring about people being allowed to marry goats or whatever.  A marriage is a contract, and you cannot enter into a contract with anyone but a consenting human being.  Livestock and objects cannot give consent or enter into legal contracts.)

Oh, and don’t fling Bible quotes at me.  I don’t care what your religion says about homosexuality, because the legal documents in question are the U.S. and California Constitutions, not the Bible or the Koran or what-have-you, and your deity’s view on the matter has absolutely no bearing on the argument.

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89 thoughts on “let them get married already.

  1. Thank you, Marko. You’ve hit the nail on the head, and other appropriate cliches.
    Plus, as always, you do so eloquently yet succinctly, and in such a fashion that makes most other people look and sound like frothing lunatics. Which they probably are.

  2. Breda says:

    A marriage is a contract, and you cannot enter into a contract with anyone but a consenting ADULT human being.

    What are your thoughts on polygamy?

  3. Vince says:

    I think homosexuals/bisexuals/trisexuals/whateversexuals should enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals until/unless the constitution is amended.

    That said, I think it is ridiculous to attempt to legislate morality when it comes to the “sanctity of marriage” PUH-LEASE! anyone see the divorce rate??

    The minute a senator/ congressman pens a proposed amendment to the constitution “defining” marriage to be the traditional man-woman arrangement, he should immediately, and repeatedly, be sodomized with a splintered broomstick until such a time that the distinguished gentleman realizes that there are more pressing issues that should command his efforts!

  4. M. Philbrick says:

    Well said. Thank you for making my life easier by making really good arguments in favor of what I believe. You go.

  5. Marko says:

    Vince,

    an amendment to restrict marriage licenses to certain genders would be just as morally reprehensible as one that restricts them to certain races.

    Breda,

    I don’t have a problem with the concept of polygamy in principle. Hell, the government shouldn’t be involved in the marriage business anyway. A marriage should be between its willing participants and their deity and priest/shaman/whatever. That said, we do tie property and inheritance rights to the legal status of being married, so a polygamist marriage would pose an interesting set of legal challenges. If the husband dies, which wife has precedence when it comes to the inheritance? What about life insurance? What about legal custody for children of a polygamist union? That’s a whole lot of stuff to iron out, legally speaking, and a fair argument for marriage as a contract between two individuals. On the other hand, that, too, should be a matter best handled by private contract, not the government.

    Also, minors can’t legally enter into contracts, so the “adult” is probably a redundancy. (Strangely enough, the age of consent is below the age of legal emancipation in most states. Guess which gender is responsible for that particular legal loophole…)

  6. Vince says:

    Marko,

    Oh I agree entirely, my point was that the CA court was on good footing on their decision based on the law as it is written- barring an amendment; and I am absolutely opposed to such an amendment- hence my whole sodomizing plan ;-)

  7. Paul Simer says:

    As a devout evangelical Christian, I agree with you. I find homosexuality morally repugnant, but if I have my government “crack down” on deviants, then I’ve given them the idea that they are the arbiters of morality. In fifty or sixty years, I could be on the receiving end of that punishment for my religion or my guns or for some thing that nobody has given any thought to yet.

    Reason or force, right? I’ll talk you you any time you want about my faith or even my beliefs about sexuality and marriage. I have that right, just like you have the right to either listen or tell me to pound sand. What I don’t have is the right to initiate force to make you listen or comply.

    I don’t have to *like* what you’re doing, but the moment I send men with guns to stop you from doing something that doesn’t harm someone else, I give up my right to complain when they come for me.

    Most of the things the government does, it does poorly.

  8. ChrisB says:

    I’d like to see marriage handled by churches and the govt. only get involved in ‘civil unions’ that could be gay/straight. It’d even be especially nice if a clause had to be intentionally inserted if one party wants to continously get paid out AFTER the relationship is over, we don’t expect X percentage of service with a phone company after we cancel our agreement, let’s apply this concept elsewhere and lower the murder rate at the same time.

  9. IZinterrogator says:

    The way I see things, marriage is a religious union, and government has no say in what is or isn’t a marriage. Therefore, all marriages registered by the government should be defined as civil unions, not marriages, and open to any combination of gender. Also, the Constitution states that states must recognize each other’s legal documents, so a civil union in one state is valid in another. Now since a California civil union license is valid in Texas because the Constitution says so, my Texas CHL is valid in California since they must recognize by Constitutional law a license issued in Texas, and there is a comparable contract issued by the California government. Thoughts?

  10. Marko says:

    I’d agree, as long as civil unions come with the same rights as marriages in every area, including inheritance and being able to make medical decision for one’s spouse. Too many definitions of “civil union” are the modern-day version of “separate, but equal”, where the legal fine print allows for reserving certain rights for married couples exclusively.

    Regarding CHLs…isn’t it amazing how many states completely ignore the “Full Faith and Credit” clause of the Constitution when it comes to inconvenient clashes with ideology…whether it’s gay marriage or people being able to carry guns? (Proof positive that selective reading of the Constitution is not an exclusively liberal or conservative affliction.)

  11. perlhaqr says:

    IZinterrogator: I see no flaw in your reasoning.

    Marko saith: That said, we do tie property and inheritance rights to the legal status of being married, so a polygamist marriage would pose an interesting set of legal challenges. If the husband dies, which wife has precedence when it comes to the inheritance? What about life insurance? What about legal custody for children of a polygamist union? That’s a whole lot of stuff to iron out, legally speaking, and a fair argument for marriage as a contract between two individuals.

    In the vernacular, “Don’t piss down my leg and tell me it’s raining.” (Not actually intended as a hostile statement towards you.) The only reason those things are a problem is because the government has meddled in the situation. When rights are being violated because the government has stuck it’s nose in somewhere, the correct answer isn’t to continue denying those rights, but to smack the government across the nose with a clue-by-four and get it to back off.

    This whole thing is the correct answer, IMO (as far as it went) because it fits with my view on government. If you have to have a government at all, it should keep its filthy paws out of stuff that it has no business with, and anything it does do, it should do with an absolutely blind eye to the citizen.

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable, by NAP standards, for private business to discriminate based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, whatever. Fine, more customers / employees / free advertising for me. But the government, by virtue of being in a uniquely monopolistic position and existing through coercion, must treat all of her citizens equally.

  12. IZinterrogator says:

    That’s why I say all current marriages licensed by the government should be reclassified as civil unions. The straight couples would freak if they didn’t have the same legal privileges they currently have, so they couldn’t deny those privileges to the gay couples.

  13. John Hardin says:

    Another home run, Marko. {applause}

    Weren’t there also some (superficially reasonable) justifications for marriage licensing in some jurisdictions based on avoiding excessively-close consanguinity and incurable communicable diseases and such?

  14. ChrisB says:

    Marko,

    My ideal would be if the State took the Burger King approach to it where people could literally ‘have it their way’, if they wanted inheritance and other stuff they could set that up, if they wanted an alimony clause they could set that up as well. The current ‘marriage’ set-up, even if it has nothing to do with any church, comes with a lot of built in assumptions like favoritism for the woman when it comes to child custody, the male getting sapped with completely inconsistent alimony and child support requirements even if he never actually marries the female.

  15. pawnbroker says:

    “an American individual is free to do and act as he pleases so long as he harms or infringes the rights of no other individual.”

    man, it’s sometimes hard but always right to believe in and abide by that creed…

    let’s hope this is a judicial step in the right direction and the shitload of other personal rights now shackled by government can be freed.

    jtc

  16. Hank says:

    The wrong decision was made here. The court should have ruled that marriage licenses are not a legal device. You said it yourself…a license should pertain to a skill. So why should the government be in the business of licensing arbitrary “permissions?” If this sort of license can’t enforce biases, then what’s the point of the license? Also, I’ll point out that a marriage license is a license, not a contract.

    As wifey points out, marriage is a church thing, not a political thing. So it would make sense that the government would track civil unions as a form of contract, but marriage per se is of a religious nature…the churches can track that–it’s in their domain.

    Anyway, in my estimation, the court blew it. It should have declared the concept of marriage licenses null and void, and then encouraged the concept of a civil union contract in lieu of a marriage license.

    Hank

  17. MisstressM says:

    Well said! What i cant figure out is, how is prohibiting Gay Marriage going to do anything to us or even for us. They want to get married…LET THEM! Why is it that straight people can get married, screw things up, get a divorce, and do it all over again. And we have this stigma with gay marriage. Nothing changes, people are people regardless of their sexual preference.

  18. Wild Deuce says:

    Marko, how do you personally define marriage? Is it as you stated, merely a contract? Do you distinguish between what occurs legally and what occurs between the people invovled? If government were removed from the equation (issuing of licenses), how would you define marriage and what would be the purpose? Would it even be necessary?

    You limited marriage to a contract between consenting human beings. How did you arrive at that definition? Forget the goat ….what about consenting brother/sister, mother/son, father/daughter? Do these human beings even have to be adults (I think that is what Breda was pointing out)? Why or why not?

    How about these … marriage between consenting brother/brother, sister/sister, mother/daughter, father/son? What do we or don’t we discriminate against? The homosexuality or the incest?

    To answer your questions: 1) I don’t know if gays claim special rights but I do know that if someone spray paints graffiti on a neighbors fence, he will be charged with vandalism. If that same person spray paints anti-gay graffiti on a homosexual couple’s fence he will also face a “hate-crime” charges in addition to the vandalism. It’s a fact that special “hate crime charges” are routinely brought against people for commiting a crime against a gay person. 2) Gay marriage will not threaten my marriage or invalidate my vows.

    I’m almost 100% in agreement with Paul Simer’s coments. Except I don’t think that your post had anything to do with “craking down” on deviants. This is a discussion of government issued permits. Government should stay out of this business altogether.

  19. joe says:

    Hmmmmm. I’m curious. In my copy of the Constitution, I can’t seem to find any reference licensing for skills…perhaps I’m missing it.

  20. perlhaqr says:

    Wild deuce: So much the better to grant them full equality in the eyes of government, then, so they have no cause to claim special damages in the event of normal crimes.

    As for consensual incest, I’ve got no problem with that, either, so long as I don’t have to pay to support the offspring. I think it’s icky as hell, but that’s no basis for a just system of law.

  21. MarkHB says:

    Again, cogent and well-put my friend. That said, I have a beef with marriage as it currently stands.

    It’s the Church Bit.

    Marriage in the 21st Century, to me, is a contract between two people, stating that they are binding their fortunes together and promising to stay by one another ’til death they does part. If I have a beef with that (Her Ladyship and the milkman have been carrying on), or ‘er indoors finds out that I’ve been hoarding a chunk of change while the mortgage has gone wanting, then the Gubment’s role in that should be getting a judge to preside over the beef – as a last resort, if we’ve failed to resolve it our own selves.

    Yes, if two people think “Well, it’s been fun, but I don’t want to be married anymore” then maybe there could be a token fee for some clerk downtown to stamp the marriage notice as Divorced or something.

    Polygamies? Well why the hell not? Again, if it’s just a contract, then I don’t see problem here. Same-sex marriage? So what – go for your life. Again, it’s a promise to do stuff together and check each other’s six. Who cares what happens in the bedroom? In fact, what’s Mr. Gubment Man doing in the bedroom in the first place? Get the hell out of my shack, you gorram pervert, and tend your own knitting!

    The God thing? Well, that should be voluntary as well. One man’s meat’s another man’s poison, and my own opinion on organised (and disorganised) religion’s my own problem . If you think you’ve got so few problems that you can borrow someone else’s, then brother you ain’t paying attention.

    Screed ends. As you were…

  22. MarkHB says:

    Deuce,

    If siblings want to get it on, they’ll have quite enough trouble with recessive alleles in any progency and being ostracised by one and all without the government kicking in the door. It’s not a brilliant idea, for simple reasons of biology – but it’s also no skin off my ass if they want to be stupid and/or not breed. Ain’t that big o’me? (b’dum tish)

  23. William the Coroner says:

    The only problem I see with the whole ‘incest’ thing is the power differential based on age. Several pervs have claimed that father-daughter incest is acceptable (usually the guy, of course), when the situation started before the age of consent and continued.

    How to adequately protect the folks in society that need protection without crossing the line is a problem I do not know how to adequately answer.

  24. MarkHB says:

    William:

    Teach ‘em and arm ‘em. Did I miss something?

  25. lifehealing says:

    I totally agree with your post, Marko – especially the part about not throwing red herrings or using Bible passages. I’m not a gay person, myself, but I have friends and relatives who are, and the hell they’ve gone through because of their orientation has just been appalling. I’m glad California struck down the law banning gay marriages; it’s about time, in my opinion.

  26. nonracist says:

    this is ridiculous…there is no reason to let them marry…what a retarded joke this nation is turning into…

    every jackass and his brother is bending over to the homo’s and it is funny as crap…

    the limp wrists have really scared the pants of the real men of this nation…and now htey have made their chicken backside the new…”ho”…

    and i see the writer here is no exception…lolol..he had no serious arguemnts…

  27. Marko says:

    “nonracist”.

    your enlightened commentary makes abundantly clear that you wouldn’t know a proper argument if it walked up to you and bit you in the ass.

    Lolol.

  28. connie says:

    But nonracist, you haven’t presented any serious arguments either (unless juvenile name calling somehow translates into a legitimate argument).

    Thanks again for a well written and well thought out post, Marko. I’m with you. And thanks to all of the commenters above who have made such intelligent contributions to the discussion – the fact that (almost) everybody can have such different opinions and yet express them in a civil and respectful manner keeps me coming back for more. :)

  29. Tim says:

    My gift / blessing on them is Divorce Lawyers.

  30. Matthew says:

    What an awesome post. Well written and argued. I’m glad I found this blog. I’m bookmarking it.

  31. Don Gwinn says:

    Thanks for saying it, Marko. It’s really pretty simple if we all disregard what we think the law “should” say and look at what it says. The law says it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, and California was discriminating on the basis of sex. Now they’re legally enjoined to stop.

    How hard is that?

  32. theflatwhite says:

    In a gay marriage, which has the “skill” to birth a baby?
    In a lesbian marriage, which has the “skill” to provide seed?

    The only answer you may render redefines marriage. At which point, I expect you to defend ones right to marry their daschund, marry themselves, or marry their houseplant with just as much vigor.

  33. Marko says:

    theflatwhite,

    that argument doesn’t fly as a valid definition of a proper marriage.

    We let infertile people get married, and couples well past child-bearing age. In a marriage between a sixty-year-old man and woman, who has the “skill” to birth a baby? In a marriage between a woman with a hysterectomy and a man with a vasectomy, who has the “skill” to birth a baby or provide seed? Should we deny marriage licenses to testicular or ovarian cancer survivors?

    Where do people have to prove their fertility before being granted marriage licenses?

  34. theflatwhite says:

    Saying marriage is “just a contract” already redefines marriage. If this whole issue did not fundamentally redefine marriage, there would be no debate. Shouting down the opposition is bad form.

  35. theflatwhite says:

    P.S. What I meant by that last statement was the very very narrow way in which this whole argument was defined. Basically, “you can’t disagree unless you already agree to my definition of marriage.” Kinda silly, no?

  36. Marko says:

    The narrow way in which the argument is defined comes from the bone of contention here: not the concept of marriage, or the institution of it, but the way in which the state chooses to validate it: with a license.

    If they had left the whole thing between a couple and their church/temple/shaman of choice, there would be no debate.

  37. Wild Deuce says:

    I was hoping you would address at least a few of my questions. Perhaps you see where it would lead and you don’t want to be led down that path?

    I grant you that as long as you define the boundaries of the argument, you are 100% correct. I would even go as far as to say that I would agree with you … if those boundaries were legitimate. I see that at least one other person senses this ….

    as stated “you can’t disagree unless you already agree to my definition of marriage”

    You opened the door to debating the definition of marriage when you stated your definition.

    BTW … I apologize for all the grammatical errors in my previous post. That was terrible … I can spell: “involved, committing, comments and cracking.”

  38. Strings says:

    MarkHB:

    Unfortunately, your idea of “arm them and train them” doesn’t work. Although I don’t normally do thig, I think it moght be better if I exaplined that in detail in my own blog (don’t want to take up all Marko’s bandwidth).

    Excellent post, Marko! When I grow up, I want to write half as well as you do.

  39. Very well done.

    The argument against gay marriage almost always boils down to “Cuz… they’re homos!” Ah, succinct. Unfortunately, far to many folks out there can’t abide the thought of some one doing something that they don’t like, even if no harm is done. Arguments against the behavior are made with nearly complete disregard to facts or law. Again, they make it an emotional issue rather than a logical one.

    Should gays be allowed to get married? Hell, yah! Giving them a better chance at having a better and more stable life can only benefit society at large. And seriously, you son or daughter isn’t going to “catch tha gay” by seeing two boys kiss. Your kids are either going to be straight or homosexual based on genetic markers and that’s it. Plus, as your excellent argument pointed out Marko, it’s in the Constitution folks. Don’t like it? Tough; but don’t mess with the Document just so you can oppress a minority. Not ok.

    Turkish Prawn

    http://foxandmaus.wordpress.com/

  40. dianarn says:

    Marriage licenses were created in the 1920’s so black people couldn’t marry white people, if they so chose. I don’t want a contract between me, my spouse and the government. Unfortunately, since in this country it seems that we don’t have a right to our own bodies/properties, I guess the government can pick and choose who is allowed to get married and who is not.

    That’s the whole principle of eugenics and if people won’t stop arguing over holy this and that, they’ll wake up one day being forcefully sterilized, like they did it in the 20’s.

  41. Cheryl says:

    Hi Marko,

    Great! I like your arguments, totally agree with them. Love the religion bit!

    You said, “Oh, and don’t fling Bible quotes at me. I don’t care what your religion says about homosexuality, because the legal documents in question are the U.S. and California Constitutions, not the Bible or the Koran or what-have-you, and your deity’s view on the matter has absolutely no bearing on the argument.”

    Sadly, we cannot avoid the fact that religion rules over politics and guides those politicians and lawmakers in writing the constitutions.

  42. Marko says:

    Cheryl,

    luckily, the Constitution and the Bible have virtually no commonalities. I can’t find anything in the Bible concerning the right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and so on.

  43. Marko says:

    Wild Deuce,

    my definition of marriage is completely irrelevant to the subject matter of this post. What’s relevant is the government’s definition of marriage (a legal union authorized by a license), and the fact that the granting of such a license on the basis of gender alone conflicts with the constitutional requirement to not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender.

    My own definition of marriage is also irrelevant here because I don’t seek to make that definition valid for everyone by force of law.

  44. Tam says:

    Wow, bringing up teh gayz will sure spin a sitemeter. I think I should go post about it…

  45. Bozo says:

    Well said. It still creeps me out.

  46. theflatwhite says:

    Your kids are either going to be straight or homosexual based on genetic markers and that’s it.

    People may like to believe that lie to conveniently satiate their own preconceived notions of morality, but please. Have some real evidence before spouting a myth with less evidence for it than the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.

    That is a completely unsubstantiated theory at best, and a lie at worst. Even from a biology POV, both common beliefs of origin (God or evolution/natural selection) make no room for a ‘gay gene’.

    Dean Hamer’s gene hypotheses in Science in July of 93 and similar studies since then have been widely refuted in the scientific community, but lightly reported.

    Also, in my immediate family experience with this, research, and counselor’s reports, homosexuality is invariably a result of environment. Even if you don’t agree with this reality, maybe you can see why there are those that oppose the sanctioning of such an illegitimate union that has very legitimate psychological and health risks. It fosters an environment that does adversely affect the lives of our children. Framing this only as “it doesn’t affect your marriage so shove it” is flat wrong.

  47. ” the government shouldn’t be involved in the marriage business anyway.”

    That is the Alpha to the Omega of the subject, pure and simple.

    The only bad part of the whole mess in this case is that the Cali-Supremes are making an already big gummint that much more leeway for more/further abuse, in general, in the future. Whatever the court thinks it can get away with, in terms of unilaterally overturning any sort of law/voter mandate, only emboldens the creeps with dilusions of their own self effacing crap.

    Next bet along the same lines? Bueller? Anyone?

  48. From theflatwhite…

    “homosexuality is invariably a result of environment”

    I happen to be straight. Always have been. I happen to find women attractive. My good friend Dave is gay. Women do nothing for him. He’s ALWAYS found men attractive. He’s ALWAYS been gay.

    Anyone who thinks that sexual orientation can be changed by seeing boys kiss or have it switched back again with a 12 step program or praying 23 hours a day is, in my book, trying to essentially brainwash them selves. Why on earth would anyone CHOOSE a life full of bigotry, personal attacks and being oppressed by a gay fearing nation?

    Last point… My Grandfather is about as far right, politically as you can get with out being a total extremist. He will agree 100% with what ever the GOP says.. except about gays. Here’s why.

    In 1944, he was in and around Borneo running LST’s and other craft courtesy the US ARMY. While he was there, they found a group of natives hiding in a river delta, who had been run off their land by the Japanese. These are stone age people were are talking about. Guess what? One of the men in the group of natives was gay (or as one of the villagers told their interpreter “He thinks he’s a woman”). How’s THAT for a lonely existence. Do you really think that would be a life he’d pick if he had the choice?

    You’re either gay or not, and that’s reality. Let’s leave them alone and let them have what everyone else has by default. Life’s a roll of the dice. You’ll be happier if you just accept that and move on.

  49. theflatwhite says:

    So. In support of the gay gene, you have “a gay friend”, some misguided suppositions, and your grandpa’s stories. MIA is evidence.

  50. rex says:

    The problem is not with “letting” gays marry. Rather, the problem is with elitists ignoring the votes of the people.

    If it’s so true, so just and so right that gays should marry, let them do it legitimately – under an honest implimentation of our laws: Rally themselves and many move to a particular state. Once ensconsed there with a voting advantage, change the laws the way they should be – via legislation and/or initiativee petition.

    It’s the flim-flam of courts saying that red means green / stop means go, which people are offended by. The PEOPLE of CA said “no” but the CA courts ignore that and say “yes”. That’s BS. If the gays want my support, they need to stop cheating me out of my vote.

  51. LabRat says:

    Cripes.

    Okay, first off, there ain’t NOTHING in evolution that “rules out” a “gay gene”. If all genetics were simple Mendelian inheritance where every trait was controlled by a dominant or recessive allelic combination, then you’d have a better argument, but EVEN IF IT WERE it could still persist in a population as a recessive. This is why we still have all kinds of genetic diseases that kill people before they reach reproductive age.

    As it turns out, almost no traits follow simple Mendelian inheritance patterns, especially not big, complex ones like sexuality. Genetics is a lot more complicated than you can explain to a high school science classroom. Most traits involve lots of genes controlled by complex systems of markers- some genetic, some activated by environmental conditions- with dizzying arrays of “go” or “kill” signals. This is why puzzling out the genetics of anything is vastly more difficult than the media generally presents. It’s pretty trivial to construct a plausible scenario in which some of the genes involved in an ultimate phenotype of homosexuality grant an advantage to those who only have some of them; that kind of heterozygote advantage is behind a lot of other reproductively disadvantaged common phenotypes. (Sickle-cell anemia being the teacher’s favorite, because that one IS a nice, simple Mendelian trait.)

    Meanwhile, various forms of homosexual behavior are not only not unknown in nature, they’re shockingly common, especially with brighter and more complex animals whose sexual behavior goes beyond the basic “mate when fertile”. Gay rams are common enough that sheep ranchers were shocked to find that their economically-driven efforst to figure out what caused it and how they could get rid of it were so politically controversial. Mallard ducks and bottlenose dolphins have higher rates of males that prefer to mate and pair-bond with other males than humans do. Evolution can’t “rule out” something that shows up so extensively over the animal kingdom.

    Do more science homework before you drag biology into your “gays are all gay because they got somehow twisted into gayness!” argument.

  52. teqjack says:

    The word “marriage” was used in the legislation of most States as a matter of convenience, and because at the time the laws were written almost noone was thinking about an alternative wording.

    But “marriage” is a religious affair. And the substitution of “civil union” would affect something like two percent of the laws usin the word.

    Nor is the State saying a religion must allow a “marriage” of a type it does not wish to – where are people finding that?

    And the State’s license/certificate does not have anything to do with religion. Firstly, all States allow what the law calls a “marriage” to be performed on an netirely non-religious basis by government officials, e.g. judges of a certain level. And in my State, the religions allowed to have a representative sign the State papers in lieu of a non-religious official are limited to six. Wnat a Shinto marriage? Go right ahead – but the State will not recognise it, you must also go before a State official if you want State recognition.

    Slippery slope to polygamy, polyagany, polyandry or whatever? Maybe. Perhaps even to inter-species unions, as with Mr. (not Dr.) Spock’s parents.

    And I wonder how many of those ranting aginst this belong to a religious group that say my parents, grandparents, etc. were never “married” at all? I suspect it is a significant percentage, ranging from Hindus through various “Christians”, Moslems, perhaps Jewish and even Buddhist…

  53. theflatwhite says:

    LabRat,
    Once you are done over complicating things, explain how being gay is either a genetic advantage or is a recessive trait like a disease (Ooops. You made the comparison, not me).

  54. divemedic says:

    rex-

    No one is stealing your vote. You appear to e suffering from the delusion that we are living in a Democracy. We are not, and never have. The Constitution was established to prevent the “tyranny of the majority” by placing limits on what the government could do to the minority. The court properly, IMO, protected a minority (minority in the voting sense, not the racial one) by preventing them from being discriminated against by an unconstitutional abuse.

    The other argument that I saw here- that children are influenced by example, is also a false one. That is the same argument that was used to prevent interracial marriage. What example are you setting for your own children, by raising them in an environment where it is OK to discriminate against others because they do not believe the same things you believe?

    “The sanctity of marriage” is a farce- only in recent history has marriage been defined as being between one man and one woman. For the majority of human history, marriage has had many other meanings.

  55. theflatwhite says:

    The other argument that I saw here- that children are influenced by example, is also a false one.
    1) Do you even have children? To say they are not influenced by example is ignorant.
    2) The common environmental factors that foster homosexuality are not limited to monkey see, monkey do.

    I’ve already said everything I want to say. Have a nice day.

  56. LabRat says:

    Things are as complicated as they are; I have overcomplicated nothing. Biologically, it is not simple no matter how much you may wish it to be. In species where sex has a social context as well as a reproductive one, homosexual behavior becomes more common, and with it, instances of individuals that are exclusively homosexual. How could it be an advantage? Perhaps in those cases, individuals that are more willing to participate in that social context are more successful. Both the genetic and (yes, most genetic factors have complicating environmental factors, though often not what you’d thik) are so relatively unknown that speculating is mostly spinning just-so stories. Nonetheless, it is there, it is widespread, obviously not being selected out, and therefore it is not reality that is defective, but our understanding of it.

    As for comparing it to a “disease”, all biological variance from the most common phenotype is abnormal to one degree or another. If you can drink milk and not get sick, that’s comparable to a disease in that sense, as is having such fair skin that you burn and run the risk of skin cancer in any climate sunnier than Sweden. We generally only call variants that lead to illness and death for the individual a “disease”.

  57. perlhaqr says:

    Sorry Rex, I’ve got bad news for you: There are some things in life you just don’t get to vote on.

  58. theflatwhite says:

    (Yea, I said I was done. I retract that.)

    LabRat,

    But, you merely reenforce my point. Nobody has any definitive evidence that there is any such thing as a “gay” gene. To assert such as fact in the face of an astonishing lack of evidence is about as wrong headed as it gets.

    On the other hand, research would indicate that key familial environmental factors do foster a tendency towards homosexuality in humans (analog studies in animals are severely lacking as evidence and frequently flawed due to the complex non-analogus societal structures that are mostly unique to humans). Factors such as no strong male role model, overly agressive and protective female parent, abuse, etc. are so very prevalent that to discard “environment” in favor of “genetics” when there is so much evidence for the former and so little evidence for the latter is absurd.

    Also, givin the extreme mental and physical health risks of the homosexual lifestyle, your definition of disease in relation to recesive genes is mighty ironic.

    P.S.
    divemedic, what you describe sounds more like an autocracy than a republic.

  59. John Hardin says:

    rex:

    The people cannot vote the government power in excess of the limits set forth in the Constitution. If they wish to do so, they must first change the Constitution.

  60. shdwfx says:

    @JH
    I see your Constitutional argument, and I raise you the 10th Amendment.
    Me thinks rex’s view is in perfect harmony with the Bill of Rights.
    Yes, the Federal.gov lacks the power to make these stupulations, but if the people of a given state wish to legalize or prohibit gay marriage, that is their right.
    That court ruling is the one out of line.

  61. shdwfx says:

    …and here it comes: the “slavery”/Civil War whipping boy. Such comparisons insult the very real and egregious antibellum opression.

  62. TattooedIntellectual says:

    Thank you LabRat, I was itching to get home from work and type some of that out myself.

  63. LabRat says:

    Flatwhite,

    First, you’re right, there is almost certainly no “gay gene”, because almost no complex (or even simple) trait is controlled by a single gene rather than a great many in concert with environmental influences. The fact that you seem to regard this as an either/or dichotomy only shows that- again- you really need to go do some science homework. Even something as trivial as skin color is controlled by *at least* eight genes in concert with levels of exposure to the sun.

    Second, the fact that homosexuality, either as isolated behaviors or full-blown exclusive preference with pair-bonding, is as widespread in nature as it is suggests that there is SOMETHING biological going on, as the environmental influences are fare too widespread to all be happening to the same species. Even if we ignore the rest of the animal kingdom (where we so often look for insight into other puzzles), the various forms, incidences, and cultural responses to it in humans is far too old and too widespread to blame on modern environmental influences. Taken together, the degree of prevalence in animals and human societies alike suggests that regardless of what we think straightforward evolutionary logic should be (and it rarely is), this may well be a feature rather than a bug.

    Third, please cite your “evidence” for your stated environmental influences so we can evaluate the studies. Until very recent years, people were convinced autism was caused by poor parenting and cited a host of “influences” very like the ones you just gave. Studies of human behavior are always made more complex by the fact that there are so many more variables not under direct study influencing the results, since we can’t put a group of babies in a totally controlled laboratory environment.

  64. theflatwhite says:

    I find it a bit amusing that after failing to produce any sort of evidence for the gay gene (or genes if that makes you feel better – parsing words really, and I think you know it) and even admitting as much that suddenly it is I who has not done the homework and must bear the burden of proof.

    *sigh*

    I know you are bright and fully capable of dredging up the social studies on this topic (great home work assignment by the way). And, I’d be happy to get off my lazy net seat, call up some counselor contacts and provide study links, but here’s how it would go down. You’ve already cast a foreshadowing of doubt with you autism analogy (what’s with the diseases meme, anyway) and it would turn into the grown mans equivalent of a little boys spitting contest. No thanks. If you are fully capable of copping out with the “do your homework” retort, please consider the favor returned.

    Regards,
    theflatwhite

  65. Marko says:

    tfw,

    “almost no complex (or even simple) trait is controlled by a single gene.”

    Seems like LabRat pointed out precisely why there is no “gay gene” any more than there is a skin color gene. You can’t provide evidence for something that doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t mean you won the argument. LabRat merely points out that just because there’s not a single gene for homosexuality *doesn’t* mean it’s *not* dependent on genetics. That’s like claiming that skin color is not dependent on genetics by insisting there’s no “skin color gene”…a statement that’s semantically correct, but completely irrelevant to the argument.

    Your logic is shaky, and you’re trying to back out of the argument, but your point was addressed rather convincingly by LabRat.

  66. theflatwhite says:

    If you wish to parse words and take issue with the plural or single tense label applied to a very general concept (Gay Gene Theory = idea that gayness is predominantly determined by genetics) then have at it. LabRat’s red herring on tense proves nothing and misses the point entirely. I know what he’s saying – genetics is complex and our current knowledge can’t reliably determine gay or straight. Exactly. Maybe the theory is correct. But please. Don’t assert the “Genes Theory” as fact especially when you admit there is no evidence to show us.

    To borrow a pattern set in your opening paragraphs, “shaky logic” is an agitprop term that always means “an argument with which I disagree”.

    Have a nice evening.
    theflatwhite

  67. LabRat says:

    I didn’t assert a “gay gene theory” as “fact”. I laid out the reasons I think it’s logical to assume homosexuality almost certainly has a strong biological basis- because the same environmental factors do not affect penguins, mallard ducks, bottlenose dolphins, domestic sheep, plus human cultures across history and in various isolated times and places. To look at that and say “I really don’t think it’s domineering mothers that are responsible for this phenomenom” is not quite the same. You’ve also been talking this entire time as though genetic/environmental was an either/or proposition; given that and your consistent use of the singular “gay gene” that has so far failed to show up and claim responsibility (much as Sasquatch has failed to turn out to be responsible for cattle mutilations), I really don’t think I can be blamed for not having a lot of confidence in your scientific literacy.

    If you would like to find an argument for why you look at all the available evidence and conclude that it IS, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from ceasing your assault on that poor sack of straw over there and sharing it with us. I’m still waiting on those cites, by the way.

  68. og says:

    “How exactly does the issuance of a marriage license to a gay couple threaten your marriage? Does it make you love your spouse less, or somehow invalidate your vows?”

    Words have meaning. Marriage is one of those words. If the supreme court decides that “well regulated militia” means only college educated men (read: Liberals) between the ages of 18 and 26, and then decides that only those men have the right to keep and bear arms, that’s perfectly OK with you?

    You’re confusing personal rights with judicial activism. Gays have every right, and should, to form stable pair bonds. And they should have all the legal rights married couples do. Period. But their desire to call that relationship with a marriage is one thing only, and that is to provide them with a weapon to destroy the churches that do not accept their lifestyle.

  69. john b says:

    ***copy of comment I made elsewhere***

    Ellen is marrying someone else, (sniffle)!

    Is AAHH-Knee! going to perform the Ceremony?

    I think the gay community is shooting itself in the foot on this one.

    They want the same rights and privileges as everyone else…..

    Why exactly?

    I thought the point to being Gay was difference and diversity.

    I mean I have made the professional acquaintance of any number of black men who could qualify for the KKK just by opening their mouth…..

    Why the screaming struggle to be just like everyone else?

    There’s the very real danger you might succeed.

  70. Kevin says:

    Wild Deuce brings up an interesting point
    I am the care provider for my older brother, disabled with Downs Syndrome. I have a good Job, great benefits. He has SSI and crappy gov’t healthcare. I can not get him added to my health insurance as a dependent so he is stuck getting substandard care while I can get better.
    If we were not related, I could take him to CA or MA and get married and he then would be covered on my insurance.
    My brother and I have been in a loving, albeit non sexual, relationship of over 50 years, I am his next of Kin, yet we do not have the same rights as residents of San Francisco!
    Where is MY equality?
    Drop the Marriage BS and call it a civil union and open it to all people, not just Politically correct, protected classes.

  71. Harris says:

    John B:

    By your logic, then, is “the point” of being straight homogeny and identicality?

  72. shdwfx says:

    excellent point, kevin

  73. Feanaro says:

    I really don’t know why anyone gives a fuck if Bob gets hitched to Bill.

    As for the wording, marriage stems from a Latin word. You know, those pagan people.

  74. mediageek says:

    Even if it could be proved beyond a shadow of theflatwhite’s doubt that homosexuality was genetic, I suspect he would still be aghast at the notion of gay people getting married.

  75. og says:

    Kevin: the domestic partnership should be open to you as well, just like a couple in their 90’s who choose to live together for safety and convenience. No protected class indeed, you are spot on.

  76. TattooedIntellectual says:

    Wasn’t there a proposal in CO a couple of years ago that would allow people to form partnerships (like roommates etc.) that would give them many of th benefits of marriage like hospital visiting, insurance, beneficiaries, etc?

  77. […] are getting married in Kali!”. She does point out a couple of people that do discuss “Let them get married already” and “Gay marriage ban […]

  78. Windy Wilson says:

    #2 is irrelevant as narcicism. Should I be disinterested in something that would be bad for the country merely because it does not affect me?
    As to #1, the hate crime add-on is one such additional “right” or “benefit”

    The real problem is this will actually discourage marriage in the long run.
    We already have the lie that men’s and women’s sexuality are the same except for social influence. Imagine now, and it isn’t hard, that in school the questions go to “who do you want to marry”, that sort of teasing conversation that goes on in elementary school. A little girl who says “I want to marry Billy,” will now be told, “you can marry a woman, too”. Later, in high school, when she decides that she doesn’t want sex in the same way and frequency as the boys, I guarantee that she will conclude that because that is so, she must be lesbian.
    And what then? There will be a lot of unhappy men in their 20’s

  79. Mike says:

    Sorry, the argument above is bogus.

    Marriage, like death, is not an invention of the state. You need not get a license to die. Yet the state must deal with death (and birth and a whole host of other things we have discovered about ourselves).

    The point is this, marriage is older than any state and it is older than any notion of modern law. Therefore it is NOT a legal concept, nor a state invention. It is older than all recorded history.

    When a couple comes before their society, and offer themselves (or have themselves offered up, as with arranged marriages) for consensus judgement that they are in fact seen as married, what they are really doing is presenting themselves as something ancient, and basic to our species. They are saying that: “We are a human mating pair”.

    A more profound arrangement for any species that forms such pairs (ours is not the only one) is difficult to imagine.

    In other words: Marriage is the english language word for “human mating pair”.

    Profound, simple, and ancient.

    I said before, it is not an invention, but a discovery. Now you know why. It is part of the discovery of how our species works, the literal behavioral foundation to our reproductive process.

    Some may not wish to form a mating pair, or find that they can not (as in other species).

    Oh well. That’s life.

    The iradication of the concept of the human mating pair from our collective minds and our laws can serve no good purpose, for to do so is a claim that human mating pairs are of no value worthy to differentiate them from anything else.

  80. mcdonatl says:

    If you want to “drive” a plane get a pilots license. If you want to drive a car get a drivers license. If you want a marriage license, marry a person of the opposite sex.

    See the difference.

  81. tommyz says:

    Not all of us gays are for hate crimes laws. Murder, vandelism, or inciting others to violence should all be equal regardless of the group offended. In fact, the terminology for “protected classes” now is so broad as to include everyone.

    As for marriage, the historical basis for national or governmental intervention in social contracts and / or spiritual contracts comes from a nations need to defend its property rights. One write above discussed the French model whereby you can designate survivor benefits. This is in direct cultural reference to the differentiated legal system and inheritance laws versus the English model which protected the rights of the first born male to full inheritence ensuring ongoing viability of the lands.

    The church (Catholic) itself was merely a secondary taxing authority with key positions reserved for the rich and second born of royalty who otherwise based on patriarcy laws would have no option to succeed but to murder their siblings. It was only partially successful.

    The debate is interesting in the people tend to use the same word for two meanings. Its like live and live (with a hard i). Similar but different. Marriage in the eyes of the state is primarily a contract designed to ensure property ownership. Until recent history that included the “woman” as the man’s property. As culture has evolved – so has the meaning of marriage.

    Religious marriage too has evolved. Once used as a way to aggregate lands, marriage today is more a means of ensuring tithing through the creation of pregeny. But even the churc accepts childless marriages – though unconsumated ones are generally available for anullment.

    So – in both cases, the meaning of “marriage” continues to evolve to essentially protect the interests of the parties entering into the “governmental marriage”. In the California court case the interesting statement was that the state must provide a compelling reason why one group should not be provided the same rights as another.

    Religious marriage is also available to gays. I was in fact “married” within a Protestant church to my partner on Feb. 16 by our pastor. I did not need permission to share my union with my family and friends. I could have done without the 10k in contracts needed to secure only a partial number of the rights my childless Aunt and Uncle secured by going through a less arduous process.

  82. tycho says:

    If only our representatives & the framers of our constitution had the ability to draw such clear & simple conclusions as the one above. I wonder, however, if the author of these penetrating words is not perhaps rushing things just a bit. Now I suppose he/she is quite certain of the soundness of their conclusions, as for myself however, I wonder if they have not drawn an unwarranted conclusion by either intentionally or carelessly assuming a conclusion for which they have not provided any convincing argument. You say-

    “If the Constitution of the United States and the state of California both stipulate that the government may not discriminate against an individual based on race, religion, or gender, then the practice of issuing marriage licenses to couples of a specific gender combination most certainly violates these Constitutions, because it denies a government-issued benefit or privilege to someone solely because of their gender.”

    And yet, equal protection of the law does not mean that all persons or groups of persons must be treated alike by the state. Some sort of discrimination is permitted if a reasonable basis exists for doing so. In fact, are there not exceptions to our rights based upon capacity? If the people & their representatives determine that marriage requires the capacity to procreate, and gays lack the capacity to procreate, then the ‘practice of issuing marriage licenses to couples of a specific gender combination’ does not necessarily violate Constitutional rights.

  83. Marko says:

    Tycho,

    that’s exactly what “equal protection” means.

    And if gays can’t get married because they can’t procreate, then the State must not issue marriage licenses to infertile couples, or people beyond childbearing age, otherwise it damn certainly is discrimination.

  84. tycho says:

    1. Marko infertile couples, or people beyond childbearing age, still possess the capacity to procreate. These individuals (infertile couples, or people beyond childbearing age), are unlike gay couples because they still possess the potential/capacity to procreate even though it is not actualized. Does salt have the capacity of solubility while in the salt shaker? Does an acorn buried in the soil retain the capacity to sprout roots even if it is contained in a jar? Does an English speaker have the capacity to speak Spanish even if never exposed to it?
    Regardless if it enclosed in glass, the acorn has the ultimate capacity to actualize & take nourishment from the surrounding soil if it has developed the lower order capacities of a root system & the still even lower order capacity to develop a root system. When a couple by virtue of some defect, say infertility or old age, is unable to procreate it does not follow that they have lost the ultimate capacity to procreate, it only suggests that they lack a property or lower order capacity. Consider the deaf, the blind, the handicapped, and the diseased. Marko, are you suggesting that all who cannot hear completely lack the capacity to do so, all that are blind, paralyzed & diseased lack the capacity to actualize wholeness? Man, this world is sure throwing away crap loads of money on research & medical interventions because they disagree with you.
    Further, enhancements or defects, presupposes the presence of a continuing deep unity of capacities remaining the same through out change. If a heterosexual couple goes from being fertile to infertile, young to old, & loses some properties & lower order capacities, a structural unity of ultimate capacities still remains. One born lacking a particular property or lower order capacity, call it a defect if you will, has not lost the entire hierarchal category of capacities natural to its particular or ultimate end. There still remains potentiality regardless of actuality. If this were not the case Marko, why pursue medicine? Why cell research? Why cryogenics?
    Consider for example, that research has identified neural stem cells in adult organs, including the brain, containing stem cells with the capacity to regenerate vital tissues. Stem cells possess the remarkable structural unity to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, the cells capacities produce a set of ultimate capacities which can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the capacity to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. This has generated excitement in the field of regenerative medicine. These insights help to guide efforts to generate replacement nerve cells from stem cells giving promise that cells created and tailored in the laboratory will be able to promote the repair or regeneration of brain areas injured in devastating neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
    None of this can be said of a gay couple because they do not possess as a copulating pair, the properties or ordered structural unity necessary for the ultimate capacity to procreate, specifically, a pair of chromosomes in which one member of the pair is obtained from the organism’s maternal parent XX and the other from the paternal parent XY. Though it is scientifically possible to generate primitive sperm cells in women and men using stem cells, theoretically allowing gay & lesbian couples the capacity to produce a child of their own, and this process lacks the opposite sex chromosome & its inherent first order capacities & properties. Therefore, it follows from what has been said above regarding stem cell research in its application to hematopoeisis, musculoskeletal, neural, cardiovascular, pancreatic/liver & epithelial therapies is different in kind not in degree from all application to same sex procreation.
    In short same sex couples lack capacity to procreate.

  85. momma says:

    Well said Tycho- I’m in complete agreement.
    There’s a difference between race and gender in my eyes.

  86. tycho says:

    Thanks Momma!
    Yeah! I don’t understand how one equates race & gender. In order to argue that “Denying a marriage license to a gay couple is legally and morally on the same level as denying women the right to vote, or blacks the right to marry whites, because it involves the same kind of arbitrary gender- or race-based exclusion.”, one must demonstrate how GENDER is the same as RACE in all or most of its characteristics. One must explain how the denial of inalienable political liberties, specifically the direct, or indirect participation in a representative government to whose laws one must submit, AKA enfranchisement, is the same in all or most of its characteristics to participating in a marriage which is not a political liberty. I understand that race or skin color is a property within the unity of mankind & cannot be used to exclude a person or group of persons from membership in the class of humanity. And that gender, like race, is not an essential or necessary condition for any ones inclusion into the class of humanity & for this reason gays, like women, have a right to claim equality of opportunity & treatment under the law as they relate to humanity. However, though both gender & race are classes of humanity, only gender possess the added property of potential for actuality. Blacks are a class of colored peoples. There are also red, yellow, white and a whole wide variety of different colored peoples. Gays are a class of gendered peoples with a wide variety a well. As a class however, race or colored people lack potentiality for race specific actuality. Color lacks function or action. One cannot say, for example, that red, black or yellow performs certain red, back or yellow acts. Color lacks the capacity or process of manifesting in reality any potential inherent to it. Color cannot run, jump, count, catch a bus, think, will, or reason. However, gender as a class, is that which possesses an essential potentiality, capacity or tendency to actualize & therefore is subject to the substances (possessors) freedom to express. In other words, gender is to sexual union as acorn is to oak. The essence of gender is to manifest or actualize.

  87. Mike says:

    Marko, you may be right with regard to ability to procreate, but as yet, there is know proven or workable way to obtain such proof in our society. Perhaps if you came up with a way, it would be supported.

    Since it is not currently demonstrated as being possible to do, then it does not makes sense that you should expect the state to do the impossible.

  88. Steve Anderson says:

    I’d like to see LabRat and theflatwhite in a cage match. My money is on LabRat, knowledge beats religion/superstition every time. Kudos to theflatwhite for grammar and presentation, his point is stated well, even if it is misguided.

  89. This is quite a hot information. I think I’ll share it on Delicious.

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