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What exactly IS marriage anyway?

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hush
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450 posted 02-03-2005 01:37 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Ess- the point is that marriage isn't necessarily sacred in the religious sense. We don't all marry because God compels us to. Hell, we don't all even marry because love compels us to. Maybe our parents set us up- maybe I've never even met my future husband nutil I walk down the aisle. Not an uncommon practice on some other countries, BTW. Maybe I married for money, for political alliance, for my hot trophy husband. What's sacred about that?

Oh, and for the record, I agree with Stephen. If it's murder when Scott does it, but a right when she does it- there's a pretty big schism there. My personal opinion is that he probably should have been charged with manslaughter for the baby, since it was a of a viable gestational age (I don't believe that abortion after the age of viability should be legal.) Had it happenned earlier, I'm not sure what my call on that would be- it's not an easy question.

But, what that has to do with people getting married doesn't make sense to me. Killing a baby/aborting a fetus seems to be a much more compelling difference (and an obviously much more damaging act) than what equipment your lover packs under their belt.
Capricious
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451 posted 02-03-2005 02:46 PM       View Profile for Capricious   Email Capricious   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Capricious

hush, I agree with you on the viable gestational age thing - the only abortions performed after this time should be in the case of dire medical danger to the mother.

The Peterson case dealt more with intent, I think, than any other consideration.  He murdered his wife in cold blood and in so doing ended the life of her unborn child which he knew she planned on carrying to term.  It was an interpretation of the law that, in my opinion, fit the circumstances in question.  Another case might suggest that manslaughter for the fetus was justified, but the nature of the crime in this case made it "feel" more like murder.

I would only be concerned if a law was changed as a result of this case.  Legal precedents, while useful, can and sometimes should be ignored.
Essorant
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452 posted 02-03-2005 03:10 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Ess- the point is that marriage isn't necessarily sacred in the religious sense. We don't all marry because God compels us to


Hush,

That is true.

But it is also true that marriage is not necessarily unsacred either; even if not very religious.

People make their own mead.  If they give their mead more honey it is more honeyful and sweet.  If they give it less it is less.  But if they give no honey at all, all they have is water in their meadglass, not mead.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (02-03-2005 04:08 PM).]

Stephanos
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453 posted 02-03-2005 04:40 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Capricious:
quote:
Actually it's more like charging Peterson with homocide for killing the unborn child because it was not his choice to make.  Had Mrs. Peterson attempted suicide, they'd not charge her with attempted homocide because according to our laws, the life of the unborn child is hers to terminate as it is part of her body at that time.  It's not pretty, maybe it's not even fair, but there is logic to it.  Unless it is terminated with the mother's consent, that fetus is a potential child, and the courts chose to charge Peterson accordingly.


Whether or not it was Peterson's "choice to make" is not in question.  Everyone knows it wasn't his choice.  But you can't charge me with murder, for something that would only be disposal of personal property, when done by you.


When you say that the Peterson case "dealt more with intent than with any other question", you're only avoiding the issue.  Homocide, by definition, deals not only with intent but with the unlawful termination of human life.  Why else are drunk drivers charged with vehicular homicide, even when they didn't "intend" to?  


And using "present laws" as an argument accomplishes very little, since it's the consistency and justice of these laws which we're questioning.



Your using of the phrase "potential child" for a life which one may be charged with homicide for taking, is too nebulous, and only illustrates the inconsistency and confusion I've been describing.  To be honest I think it's avoiding the central issue.  If I killed someone's non-pregnant sister, I can't be charged with homicide of your "potential" nephews and nieces.


That's very illogical logic, if you insist on calling it that.  My point is that the court, by charging one man with murder for killing a fetus, and supporting the rights of women to do so freely, was making a very arbitrary, and may I say, capricious judgement.
  

quote:
Stephanos: You can't get more inconsistent than that.


CapriciousYou know what they say about sweeping generalizations, don't you?



I was talking in very specific terms about the Scott Peterson case.  Just how is that a sweeping generalization?


quote:
This "slippery slope" argument where a man marries his shoe or his dog are quite non-sequitur with regard to this subject, and the pedophilia and incest cases have clear physiological and/or legal barriers.



It always amazes me how those who don't see this, just assume that their own personal lines of demarcation will not be affected by their own arguments.  There are traditional points that they tend to want retain, and scoff at the suggestion that these will ever be challenged.  But the reasons they give, (as to why they won't be seriously challenged), don't hold water in the face of their own arguments against homosexual marriage.  


Let me give you an example...


Remember how one of the big arguments against gay marriage, earlier in this thread, was the claim that sexuality had nothing to do with marriage?


Reconsider your statements about Children and Adults marrying, in light of that.  Who said anything about pedophelia if marriage has NOTHING to do with sex?  


And whether or not brothers and sisters should be able to marry, cannot be anwered by anything physiological, if marriage is merely a social contract for civil benefits and has nothing to do with sex.  


My points about the slippery slope remain valid.  The greatest proof if it is, that you are on that slope yourself, desperately trying to retain some traditional, common sensical, boundary that you've assumed has valid reasons behind it.  And it does have reasons, just not the relativistic, sterile, impossible kinds that many are trying to use to spearhead such radical social changes like gay marriage.  As Francis Schaeffer said, the unthinkables of this decade will always become the thinkables of the next ... in relativistic society.  



Stephen.
Essorant
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454 posted 02-03-2005 05:35 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"radical social changes"

It is only radical because people make it radical!  
  
Capricious
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455 posted 02-03-2005 05:51 PM       View Profile for Capricious   Email Capricious   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Capricious

quote:
Whether or not it was Peterson's "choice to make" is not in question.  Everyone knows it wasn't his choice.  But you can't charge me with murder, for something that would only be disposal of personal property, when done by you.


Only someone who has never been faced with that choice would ever use the term "personal property."  If you insist, however, I maintain that I may not remove your kidney without your permission - in fact, I'd face criminal charges if I did, even if you were dead and no longer using it - but you are free to donate it to whomever you wish without fear of legal reprocussion.  Until technology becomes such that fetuses become viable upon conception, there will always be a mother's prerogative regarding what she does with a part of her own body.

If a woman makes a decision to carry a fetus to term, and she and her unborn child are killed, there are circumstances in which the spirit of the law suggests that punishment for murder is applicable in both cases.  Apparently, the judge thought the Peterson case was one such set of circumstances.  In fact, had Mrs. Peterson survived, I would have been disappointed to see anything less than a murder verdict on behalf of her child.

quote:
When you say that the Peterson case "dealt more with intent than with any other question", you're only avoiding the issue.  Homocide, by definition, deals not only with intent but with the unlawful termination of human life.  Why else are drunk drivers charged with vehicular homicide, even when they didn't "intend" to?


Are you suggesting that circumstances and motive should not play a part in judicial process?  Oh, but wait, you just acknowledged the difference between murder and vehicular manslaughter, so which is it?  Do you believe that the drunk guy whose car kills a busload of kids is as guilty of murder as someone who commits a single premeditated homocide?

Not saying I'd disagree with you; just asking.

My position is that a fetus is a "human life" as soon as it is born or its mother makes a conscious, legally competent decision to carry it to term.  Nevertheless, mitigating circumstances have the potential to be a little more lenient in light of the fetus' "nebulous" legal status, such as in the case of a drunk driver who kills a pregnant woman in a collision.  Regardless of his guilt in the deaths, the intent to kill was not there, so a lesser sentence with regard to the fetus would be understandable.

quote:
And using "present laws" as an argument accomplishes very little, since it's the consistency and justice of these laws which we're questioning.


Right, but there has to be some guideline, else there's nothing to interpret.  Laws don't change every time a judge interprets them in a new way for a new set of circumstances.  Peterson has a right to appeal just like any other citizen, and the law under which the judge made his decision is subject to the same scrutiny and, if necessary, revision that any other law on the books endures.

quote:
Your using of the phrase "potential child" for a life which one may be charged with homicide for taking, is too nebulous, and only illustrates the inconsistency and confusion I've been describing.  To be honest I think it's avoiding the central issue.  If I killed someone's non-pregnant sister, I can't be charged with homicide of your "potential" nephews and nieces.


Abortion isn't an easy issue, Stephen, and I never claimed it was.  See my above position regarding the "humanness" of fetuses and you'll see I'm avoiding nothing.  If "potential child" bothers you, use whatever semantics you feel comfortable with.

quote:
I was talking in very specific terms about the Scott Peterson case.  Just how is that a sweeping generalization?


"It couldn't possibly get any worse."  These are called 'famous last words' for a reason.  Either way, this statement is hardly central to my point.  

quote:
It always amazes me how those who don't see this, just assume that their own personal lines of demarcation will not be affected by their own arguments.


Right, but challenges to laws aren't just accepted willy-nilly.  They're subject to scrutiny, review, appeal, amendment, etc.

quote:
There are traditional points that they tend to want retain, and scoff at the suggestion that these will ever be challenged.  But the reasons they give, (as to why they won't be seriously challenged), don't hold water in the face of their own arguments against homosexual marriage.


I'll say again, marriage is a civil union with secular benefits.  Whatever other traditional or religious significance someone chooses to attribute to it is their business, and is hardly subject to dictation by the State - and it is the State's jurisdiction regarding marriage, and ONLY that jurisdiction, that I am concerned with conferring as a right of all citizens regardless of gender preference.

quote:
Let me give you an example...


Remember how one of the big arguments against gay marriage, earlier in this thread, was the claim that sexuality had nothing to do with marriage?


That wasn't my claim, but ok, I'll work with you here.

quote:
Reconsider your statements about Children and Adults marrying, in light of that.  Who said anything about pedophelia if marriage has NOTHING to do with sex?


Children are not legally capable of entering into a binding contract.  There's really no need to address this scenario beyond that.  However, Even in the nonexistent hypothetical case in which the child was capable of understanding and entering into such a contract, so long as the laws regarding sex with minors would still apply and not be superceded by the marriage, then I say no harm, no foul.

quote:
And whether or not brothers and sisters should be able to marry, cannot be anwered by anything physiological, if marriage is merely a social contract for civil benefits and has nothing to do with sex.


This is about damage control and jurisdiction.  The State has little or no powers to limit or control the sexual activity of consenting adults, but neither does it have any vested interest in recognizing a contract that would seem to encourage or at least condone a reproductive practice that is known to be genetically unsound.  Moreover, whether or not my marriage is sex-free is none of the State's business, nor should it be the State's job to police such.  The same could apply to the child marriages were they not otherwise legally barred: what you are proposing here is not only a redefinition of marriage, but several definitions of marriage, with different sets of rules for each.  I am arguing for the single, universal, "The union of one consenting adult with another consenting adult, with all the rights and responsibilities hereunto appertaining."  No other stipulations or limitations not already legally established under the "traditional" definition of marriage need be considered.

quote:
My points about the slippery slope remain valid.  The greatest proof if it is, that you are on that slope yourself, desperately trying to retain some traditional, common sensical, boundary that you've assumed has valid reasons behind it.


What indication, other than the obviously fatal one of disagreeing with you and the "traditional" stance on marriage, can you give me that I am on said slippery slope?

Out of time, back later.


Stephanos
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456 posted 02-03-2005 07:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Capricious:
quote:
Only someone who has never been faced with that choice would ever use the term "personal property."



I'm not the one using the term "personal property" to say that's what I consider unborn humans to be.  I was merely expressing that that's how the legal system is presently treating the issue of on-demand abortions.  
  

quote:
If you insist, however, I maintain that I may not remove your kidney without your permission - in fact, I'd face criminal charges if I did, even if you were dead and no longer using it - but you are free to donate it to whomever you wish without fear of legal reprocussion.



That's good, but even if I killed you in the process of removing your kidney, your family's lawyers would hardly expect to get a "double-homicide" charge to stick.  Your example proves my point much more than yours.  No one legally treats a Kidney as if it were a person.  


If the fetus is merely another organ, like a kidney or a heart, then why stop at the fetus in the Peterson case?  Let's just say he committed homicide for each of the major organ systems.  You say that's absurd.  Of course it is.


quote:
Until technology becomes such that fetuses become viable upon conception, there will always be a mother's prerogative regarding what she does with a part of her own body.



Well that IS the whole question of the abortion debate.  The viability argument doesn't hold water.  Here's why ...  Viability is simply a technical term for dependence.  And yet a newborn is just as dependent upon the mother as any unborn.  Left to it's own resources, the newborn infant will die.  And yet a woman had the right to terminate this life a few weeks before, merely based upon location (inside her body versus inside her house).  After that change of location, (NOT change of dependence), that same woman will be charged with infanticide.  That is inconsistent and arbitrary.  The question is still  whether or not that fetus is a human person, not where it happens to be.


quote:
If a woman makes a decision to carry a fetus to term, and she and her unborn child are killed, there are circumstances in which the spirit of the law suggests that punishment for murder is applicable in both cases.  Apparently, the judge thought the Peterson case was one such set of circumstances.  In fact, had Mrs. Peterson survived, I would have been disappointed to see anything less than a murder verdict on behalf of her child.



Good.  I wholeheartedly agree with you.  But you still haven't shown how that is really consistent with the court's tendency to allow a woman to end the same life, if she so chooses.  How one can be just doing what I choose with my own, and the other homicide?


In the case of double homocide, one of those charges must be NOT against the mother but against another individual.  That's what homicide IS right?  How can one woman be murdered twice?  Unless she can be, or that unborn life is considered legally as an individual person, that ruling is bosh.  


I agree with the court here as much as you do.  I'm only pointing out the glaring contradiction this creates with another stance the courts have taken.  


And all of this merely to say that the argument, "The courts agree with me", which I've encountered several times throughout this thread, doesn't really mean that much.


quote:
challenges to laws aren't just accepted willy-nilly.  They're subject to scrutiny, review, appeal, amendment, etc.



Of course they are.  I never suggested that challenges to laws are accepted willy-nilly.  
  

quote:
I'll say again, marriage is a civil union with secular benefits.  Whatever other traditional or religious significance someone chooses to attribute to it is their business, and is hardly subject to dictation by the State - and it is the State's jurisdiction regarding marriage, and ONLY that jurisdiction, that I am concerned with conferring as a right of all citizens regardless of gender preference.



But you still have to define what marriage is.  "Two consenting adults" is bare, insipid, and without content.  For what purpose?  Why adults?  Why two?  Why not siblings?  Why not grandparents and grandchildren?  If there is not some traditional aspect of marriage retained, there can be no definition that will hold in check the will of the people simply to do what they want, not necessarily to do what's best for the nation.  And these include the traditional aspects of marriage that you think should be retained as well.  The sterile idea of "secular benefits" doesn't mean enough to give the institution any meaning whatsoever.  The house has no walls, much less a roof.

Just a side note, neither do I accept that our Government has ever been an entirely secular enterprise anyway.  Many of its basic assumptions of human rights stem from religious truths, not secularism.  That's why rights have been called "inalienable", and "endowed by our Creator".  That's why our rights are not derived from Government alone.  Even our Government appeals to something higher.  


So the total dichotomy between religious life, and public life is untenable in my opinion.  The framers of our Government, as wary as they were of the State ruling the churches, were not "secular" in the way you describe.  


quote:
The State has little or no powers to limit or control the sexual activity of consenting adults, but neither does it have any vested interest in recognizing a contract that would seem to encourage or at least condone a reproductive practice that is known to be genetically unsound.



It doesn't have to have a "Vested interest" anymore.  And that's my point.  (No one here has really argued any kind of vested interest we would have in redefining marriage).  Not recognizing a policy, only has to be percieved by a few judges as being discriminatory.  If marriage is challenged as to gender reciprocity, then the question naturally follows what marriage really has to do with sex at all?  You can see that this is the flow, evidenced by the fact that many have already questioned this on this thread.  If marriage is determined to be a separate thing altogether from the sexual question, then whether or not it "condones a sexual practice that is genetically unsound", becomes null.  By definition, if it is NOT about or related to sex, it cannot condone any sexual practice.  And even though it will in actuality, it will not be proveable, because of the accepted ideological fuzzy definition of "marriage".


quote:
Moreover, whether or not my marriage is sex-free is none of the State's business, nor should it be the State's job to police such.  The same could apply to the child marriages were they not otherwise legally barred:



See what I mean?  The barriers you are already  surrendering one by one.  Now it's mere consent, and laws surrounding that, which will suffice in the retention of what you deem to be essential to the marriage definition.  


quote:
what you are proposing here is not only a redefinition of marriage, but several definitions of marriage, with different sets of rules for each.
  


No, the multiplicity I mentioned, I was not proposing.  I was describing the decomposing effect of the public institution of marriage, if one definition is not held on to.


quote:
I am arguing for the single, universal, "The union of one consenting adult with another consenting adult, with all the rights and responsibilities hereunto appertaining."



But you haven't stripped marriage of all possible "traditional" aspects yet.  Your definition still rules out and excludes many, whose voices will be heard in the guise of "rights".  Why not consenting children?  Why only consenting adults, especially if the person desiring to marry them has "Power of Attorney" over them?  Why only two?  What "rights"?  And What "responsibilities"?  


You dream that that's a basic and finally reduced definition of marriage that can be deconstructed no more, for the sake of individualism and personal "rights"?  You're assuming way too much.


quote:
No other stipulations or limitations not already legally established under the "traditional" definition of marriage need be considered.



It's not a question of "need be", but "will be", in my opinion.


quote:
What indication, other than the obviously fatal one of disagreeing with you and the "traditional" stance on marriage, can you give me that I am on said slippery slope?



Read my above reply.


Stephen.
Stephanos
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457 posted 02-03-2005 08:04 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Are you suggesting that circumstances and motive should not play a part in judicial process?  Oh, but wait, you just acknowledged the difference between murder and vehicular manslaughter, so which is it?  Do you believe that the drunk guy whose car kills a busload of kids is as guilty of murder as someone who commits a single premeditated homocide?
Not saying I'd disagree with you; just asking.

I forgot to respond to this.
Of course I'm not saying intent has nothing to do with it.  It plays a major part.  But you can't set intent over against the question of what the crime is.  If I slander you publically, (maybe I call you "Capricious" or something, ) you shouldn't be able to prosecute me for stealing.  If I kidnap your daughter, and she remains alive, I shouldn't serve years for murder.  That was my point.  


Stephen.
Essorant
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458 posted 02-03-2005 08:05 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"The question is still  whether or not that fetus is a human person"


No it's not Stephenos.  


If there is human life and a human body, that is a human.  Period.

That is now his or her life and body, not just a body part in the mother.  

Humanlife + humanbody = Human being.

It is no matter how young or old, how dependant or independant, because those points don't change the absolute and physical fact of a life, a body and being.

It's not a question, its "traffic jam" of overcomplication.  The most important and serious things are always over complicated by men, but once you shave off the overcomplication, you see the simple and undeniable truths.

A life, a body, a being.  

Nothing changes that.  
Stephanos
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459 posted 02-03-2005 08:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
If there is human life and a human body, that is a human.  Period.
That is now his or her life and body, not just a body part in the mother.  
Humanlife + humanbody = Human being.



Essorant,  you should know by now that I agree with you on that point.  


What I meant was, that the central question of the abortion debate (and therefore of the Peterson case as well) is "Is the living fetus a human being", and not merely "What is the intent of the person who ends the life of the fetus"?  Not that that isn't important too.



  


Stephen.
Ron
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460 posted 02-03-2005 08:57 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
It always amazes me how those who don't see this, just assume that their own personal lines of demarcation will not be affected by their own arguments. There are traditional points that they tend to want retain, and scoff at the suggestion that these will ever be challenged. But the reasons they give, (as to why they won't be seriously challenged), don't hold water in the face of their own arguments against homosexual marriage.

You make challenge sound like a bad thing, Stephen? Worse, you make it sound like something to be feared.

Any so-called "traditional point" I feel should be retained, I'm perfectly willing to argue on its own merit. I'm not going to let a fear of what might happen influence what should happen. Adults marrying children? Brothers marrying sisters? Any example you can imagine, and several I suspect are well beyond your imagination, have but to pass the same litmus test that I have repeatedly asked you to apply to homosexual marriage.

Who does it hurt?


Capricious
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461 posted 02-04-2005 01:14 AM       View Profile for Capricious   Email Capricious   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Capricious

quote:
That's good, but even if I killed you in the process of removing your kidney, your family's lawyers would hardly expect to get a "double-homicide" charge to stick.  Your example proves my point much more than yours.  No one legally treats a Kidney as if it were a person.  

If the fetus is merely another organ, like a kidney or a heart, then why stop at the fetus in the Peterson case?  Let's just say he committed homicide for each of the major organ systems.  You say that's absurd.  Of course it is.


The point of this example was that a person has power over their own body, not that a fetus is an organ.  I'm sure the distinction is clear, but just to be sure: left to its own devices, a kidney has a zero percent chance of developing into a human being.

quote:
Well that IS the whole question of the abortion debate.  The viability argument doesn't hold water.  Here's why ...  Viability is simply a technical term for dependence.  And yet a newborn is just as dependent upon the mother as any unborn.  Left to it's own resources, the newborn infant will die.  And yet a woman had the right to terminate this life a few weeks before, merely based upon location (inside her body versus inside her house).  After that change of location, (NOT change of dependence), that same woman will be charged with infanticide.  That is inconsistent and arbitrary.  The question is still  whether or not that fetus is a human person, not where it happens to be.


No, actually the whole question of the abortion debate is whether at any time the rights of a fetus should supercede the rights of its mother to decide what to do with her own body.  A newborn infant can have its needs met by anyone without further effort by, or impact upon, its mother.  A fetus, in most cases, cannot.  Again, the mother decided to carry the child to term, therefore it is a person.

quote:
How one can be just doing what I choose with my own, and the other homicide?

In the case of double homocide, one of those charges must be NOT against the mother but against another individual.  That's what homicide IS right?  How can one woman be murdered twice?  Unless she can be, or that unborn life is considered legally as an individual person, that ruling is bosh.


Again, the rights of the mother > the rights of the fetus.

quote:
And all of this merely to say that the argument, "The courts agree with me", which I've encountered several times throughout this thread, doesn't really mean that much.


Fair enough.  Humans are fallible, laws are subject to interpretation, times change, etc.  However, a judge's job is to interpret the laws on the books and apply them to the case at hand.  That's what they do.  So in essence, saying that "the courts agree with me" means that current laws can be interpreted to agree with your position.  If tradition is so important to you, wouldn't laws be moreso?  Aren't laws just enforceable traditions?

quote:
But you still have to define what marriage is.  "Two consenting adults" is bare, insipid, and without content.  For what purpose?  Why adults?  Why two?  Why not siblings?  Why not grandparents and grandchildren?  If there is not some traditional aspect of marriage retained, there can be no definition that will hold in check the will of the people simply to do what they want, not necessarily to do what's best for the nation.  And these include the traditional aspects of marriage that you think should be retained as well.  The sterile idea of "secular benefits" doesn't mean enough to give the institution any meaning whatsoever.  The house has no walls, much less a roof.


"For what purpose?"   I suspect if you asked a traditional couple the same question you'd not get the same answer twice.  Should it matter to the state whether two people are getting married for the tax benefits, for insurance or inheritance purposes, or because they are undyingly committed to each other?  It doesn't, and it shouldn't.  Two consenting adults don't need to declare a purpose in order to make a marriage valid, and this applies no less to a homosexual couple than to a heterosexual one.

"Why adults?"  Because they're the only parties capable of entering into a binding legal contract.

"Why two?"  I'll leave the polygamy argument to someone else, but again, I'll say jurisdiction and damage control with regard to child and spousal support.

quote:
Just a side note, neither do I accept that our Government has ever been an entirely secular enterprise anyway.  Many of its basic assumptions of human rights stem from religious truths, not secularism.  That's why rights have been called "inalienable", and "endowed by our Creator".  That's why our rights are not derived from Government alone.  Even our Government appeals to something higher.  

So the total dichotomy between religious life, and public life is untenable in my opinion.  The framers of our Government, as wary as they were of the State ruling the churches, were not "secular" in the way you describe.


Yes, Stephen, but times have changed.  We don't hang adulterers or burn witches anymore, not that I'd suggest that sort of thing was what the Founding Fathers intended.  The framers of our constitution were genius in that they realized that their personal religious convictions should not have the power to make laws, nor should the laws have power to make religion.  

quote:
It doesn't have to have a "Vested interest" anymore.  And that's my point.  (No one here has really argued any kind of vested interest we would have in redefining marriage).  Not recognizing a policy, only has to be percieved by a few judges as being discriminatory.


On the contrary, how is guaranteeing equal protection and privilege under the law to a legally recognized minority NOT a vested interest?

quote:
If marriage is challenged as to gender reciprocity, then the question naturally follows what marriage really has to do with sex at all?


And the answer to that question is that it doesn't matter.  You don't have to declare your reasons for getting married; whether or not your marriage will involve sex is your own business so long as you violate no other laws.  Getting married does not mean you can have sex with your spouse without their consent.

quote:
You can see that this is the flow, evidenced by the fact that many have already questioned this on this thread.  If marriage is determined to be a separate thing altogether from the sexual question, then whether or not it "condones a sexual practice that is genetically unsound", becomes null.


Again, it's damage control.  I can't say it any simpler than Ron did: "Who does it hurt?"  While the State has no need nor right to police the sexual habits of its consenting, adult citizens, it does have a responsibility to protect itself and its citizens when the sexual practices in question have the potential to harm someone other than the participants.

quote:
By definition, if it is NOT about or related to sex, it cannot condone any sexual practice.  And even though it will in actuality, it will not be proveable, because of the accepted ideological fuzzy definition of "marriage".


Again, the State has no interest in limiting the lawful practices of consenting adults, married or otherwise; however, it does have an interest in limiting any practice, sexual or otherwise, that may be injurious to someone outside the circle of willing participants.  

quote:
See what I mean?  The barriers you are already  surrendering one by one.  Now it's mere consent, and laws surrounding that, which will suffice in the retention of what you deem to be essential to the marriage definition.


No, I really don't see what you mean.  What barriers have I surrendered that I ever recognized in the first place?

quote:
No, the multiplicity I mentioned, I was not proposing.  I was describing the decomposing effect of the public institution of marriage, if one definition is not held on to.


Right, but why is your definition of "a man and a woman" better than mine of "two consenting adults?"  Because it's been around longer?  Because it's "tradition?" Because God says so?  Are we hanging adulterers and burning witches again?

quote:
But you haven't stripped marriage of all possible "traditional" aspects yet.  Your definition still rules out and excludes many, whose voices will be heard in the guise of "rights".  Why not consenting children?  Why only consenting adults, especially if the person desiring to marry them has "Power of Attorney" over them?  Why only two?  What "rights"?  And What "responsibilities"?


There is no such thing as a consenting child with respect to a binding legal contract.  This repetition is getting tiring.  If you can't demonstrate that children can fulfill this first requirement of marriage or any contract, please drop it already.

By rights and responsibilities I mean those conferred by the civil contract: tax benefits, inclusion in health insurance policies, implied power of attorney for medical issues (in the absence of a living will), child adoption, etc.  There will always be those voices in the guise of rights; however I have faith in the legislative system to determine that while Bob and Tom, as legally consenting adults, are eligible to get married, Bob's award-winning begonia probably isn't capable of fulfilling nor understanding the marriage contract regardless of Bob's desire to wed it.

quote:
You dream that that's a basic and finally reduced definition of marriage that can be deconstructed no more, for the sake of individualism and personal "rights"?  You're assuming way too much.


You haven't given me a valid example to support this statement.


  
quote:
quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What indication, other than the obviously fatal one of disagreeing with you and the "traditional" stance on marriage, can you give me that I am on said slippery slope?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read my above reply.


I have, Stephen, and the question still remains.


[This message has been edited by Capricious (02-04-2005 04:03 AM).]

Stephanos
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since 07-31-2000
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462 posted 02-09-2005 09:02 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:  
quote:
You make challenge sound like a bad thing, Stephen? Worse, you make it sound like something to be feared.

Ron, I'm not making challenge (in any universal or general sense) out to be a bad thing, or a good thing.  There are good and valid challenges, as well as invalid ones.  And much of what I'm saying is to question the criteria and assumptions used in such challenges.  


If you, on the other hand, want to make "challenge" seem to be unconditionally good, you end up a revolutionary and nothing more.  Of course, from your own reply, I don't think that's what you're really intending to do.  You did, after all, mention that you would argue each point "on it's own merit".  I'm quite certain we disagree on what constitutes “merit”.         Your narrow definition is embodied in your question "Who does it hurt"?  But I have questions about your criteria.  What does "hurt" mean?  


I had a discussion with someone I work with (last night actually) who told me that he agreed that certain things aren't in any way good for individuals or society as a whole.  But his Libertarian ideology piped in, "But unless it causes immediate bodily harm, there should be no laws of regulation."  So he conceded that harm is more than just possible, but out of pre-commitment to libertarianism, he limited laws to only a certain kind of harm.  I told him that's being arbitrary.  Of course it was put forth as if it were so self evident that the only kind of harm worth considering is that which is immediate and bodily.  


I get the feeling the same kind of thing is going on when I talk to you.  There's no use for you to keep firing the question "Who does it hurt" at me, if we can't agree as to what is valid harm ... if you've already got a precommitment as to what would constitute valid harm, in the outworking of public policies.    


There's a danger in your approach, I think, that all prediction, or long-term considerations, may be nullified by the too strict criteria that we must be able to predict the future with 100% accuracy.  That doesn't mean a whole lot, if anyone has ever been right about their apprehensions, concerning the trends that they see.  It rules out all warnings of a social nature, based on nothing more than the insistence on immediate demonstration.  


Also, you use the "fear" label, as a sort of ad hominem.  Everyone assumes (why, I don't exactly know) that ALL fear is somehow unhealthy and imbalanced.  But those accused of undue fear, if their concerns are realized, are later considered prudent and as having foresight.  But as with the challenge issue, fear is neither intrinsically good or bad.  It is contingent upon context.  Sometimes it is right, and sometimes it is wrong.  Sometimes it is personal fear, sometimes it is vicarious.  Sometimes it is for yourself, sometimes it is for the community.  Sometimes it is mistaken.  Sometimes it is valid.


Even if harm were not certain in an immediate sense, I reject too the idea that if it “doesn’t hurt anyone”, we should therefore do it.  I think with an institution as grounded and culturally rooted as exclusively heterosexual marriage, it would be foolish to change it on the whim of some.  Not only does it fly in the face of our democratic process, but in the face of cautious prudence as well.


I heard the same kind of argument used for legalized prostitution ... “Who does it hurt”?  And even though it is a different issue, here’s an article which shows that negative effects can come in quite unforseen ways, when traditional morality is thrust (by mere ideology and nothing more) out of the legal sphere of what constitutes public policy ...
  
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/30/wgerm30.xml




Capricious:
quote:
The point of this example was that a person has power over their own body, not that a fetus is an organ.  I'm sure the distinction is clear, but just to be sure: left to its own devices, a kidney has a zero percent chance of developing into a human being.



Yes, the distinction is very clear.   The fetus is a distinct and separate human organism, though it is inside a woman's uterus.  Therefore your example of “the person having control over their own body” (their kidney), does not apply.  Maturity and basic biological identity are two different things.


But back to the Peterson trial ... If the judges are going say a fetus is presently non-human (with only potential to become a person) as in Roe v. Wade, they shouldn't charge someone else with homocide, which means to kill another actual human individual.  

Like me, you believe that the Peterson ruling was correct.  Where I differ from you is in this, that I recongnize a subsequent ruling can be so self evidently true and right, that it only brings out the error of a previous ruling that contradicts it.  Sometimes a puzzle piece reveals that previous ones were put in the wrong place.  That's what I believe has happened here.  


quote:
 Another case might suggest that manslaughter for the fetus was justified, but the nature of the crime in this case made it "feel" more like murder.



Notice how, without conceding the actual humanity of the unborn, you end up defending a homicide charge, because it felt like murder.  So a crime that is severly punishable can be charged according to subjective emotions?  Why, by those standards, even when a woman voluntarily aborts, it may "feel" like murder to her husband, her parents, her friends, or anyone else.  Likewise, some people are so emotionally attached to their pets, that their dog may “feel” as if it were a daughter or son.  If such a beloved dog were poisoned (as despicable as that crime would be), are you suggesting that we charge the perpetrator with the premeditated murder of a human being, because of the subjective feelings of the pet owner?


But you can't really be charged with homicide for hurting someone else's feelings.  (Thankfully!)  The charge of homicide must be against the individual human being killed.  If there is no individual killed, there is no homicide.  The Peterson judgement resonates in our minds as so very right, precisely because an actual human being was killed in an early stage of development.  

quote:
For what purpose?"   I suspect if you asked a traditional couple the same question you'd not get the same answer twice.  Should it matter to the state whether two people are getting married for the tax benefits, for insurance or inheritance purposes, or because they are undyingly committed to each other?  It doesn't, and it shouldn't.  Two consenting adults don't need to declare a purpose in order to make a marriage valid, and this applies no less to a homosexual couple than to a heterosexual one.

I suspect that if you asked 1000 traditional couples, though there may be some superficial differences, you’d get very much the same kind of answer with all of them.  Whether or not it matters to the state if people marry for secondary reasons, that is no argument to suggest that the State should rush to change the recognized primary ones.  What you are arguing, by the support of such a radical change, is that the State has never recognized the primary foundational reasons, and that they are unessential to what marriage is and accomplishes.  Exceptions don’t negate the rule.  And they certainly don’t make it wise or beneficial to eradicate it.


quote:
"Why adults?"  Because they're the only parties capable of entering into a binding legal contract.
"Why two?"  I'll leave the polygamy argument to someone else, but again, I'll say jurisdiction and damage control with regard to child and spousal support.


The first example of tradition you use current law to defend.  But we are talking about the tendency to question those very defining laws with doubtful criteria.  That law could be subject to change as much as any other, depending upon social pressure, and political clout.  My point, being, using current law is no argument ... else I’ve already won the homosexual marriage debate.  The 11 states which voted on the issue all have voted for State constitutional ammendments rejecting the legalization of this travesty of marriage.


With your second example, you have to understand when “rights” are at stake (if it is culturally percieved as that) damage control becomes very subjective.  The damage itself can always be said to be from secondary causes.  Direct correllation is rare and rarely proven.  And also, all the proposed “damage” will be speculative and in the future.  Perhaps also, those who support conservative views regarding polygamy will be slurred as being “afraid”, for their projected concerns, as valid as they might be.  See my point?  Your standards are as questionable as mine, if we accept the criteria mostly used by homosexual marriage advocates.


quote:
Yes, Stephen, but times have changed.  We don't hang adulterers or burn witches anymore, not that I'd suggest that sort of thing was what the Founding Fathers intended.  The framers of our constitution were genius in that they realized that their personal religious convictions should not have the power to make laws



I’m not for hanging adulterers or burning witches.  For you to even bring it up is to identify me with an extremist fringe?  


The founding fathers also realized that the very foundation of law were principles extracted from the Judeo-Christian worldview.  “Inalienable rights endowed by our Creator” is an explicitly religious statement, not a nebulous or general one.  So I think your total separation of religious ethics and state policy represents a contemporary exaggeration and interpretation of what the Founding Fathers intended.  


quote:
On the contrary, how is guaranteeing equal protection and privilege under the law to a legally recognized minority NOT a vested interest?



I’ve maintained that recognizing homosexual marriage, amounts to granting special rights over and above.  Neither do I presently have the legal right to marry a man.  What would be the vested interest in changing such a biologically and gender based social institution, apart from the questionable assumption that someone’s rights have indeed been violated, not merely here and now, but whenever and whereever marriage has had boundaries of definition?

quote:
And the answer to that question is that it doesn't matter.  You don't have to declare your reasons for getting married; whether or not your marriage will involve sex is your own business so long as you violate no other laws.



It DOES matter to what the definition and function of marriage will be in a society.  If marriage means any two adults regardless of relation, then marriage will be meaningless... nothing but an extension of welfare society.  Yeah my brother and uncle got married, for fincancial perks.  You see, if you insist that sex doesn’t matter in the question of marriage, just because you can point out exceptions to a very necessary rule, then you lose the ability to protest, on that basis, any form of union that is politically pushed to claim the financial umbrella of “marriage”.  


quote:
Again, the State has no interest in limiting the lawful practices of consenting adults, married or otherwise; however, it does have an interest in limiting any practice, sexual or otherwise, that may be injurious to someone outside the circle of willing participants.



Yeah, but you’ve just lost the ability to even say that such a union might encourage something like incest.  When the government doesn’t have the right to intrude, or even consider, even statistics lose their voice.  There’s no longer the freedom to ask “Will this be good for community as a whole?  Will it be destructive or beneficial?”  Each case of incest, pedophelia, or sexual abuse of a harem, will have to be treated as individual cases limited to the confines of individual free will alone.  Treated rather than avoided.  Because all grounds of avoidance are surrendered to the false criteria of present law and immediate demonstration of harm.  Incest, just for example, is often willing.  Do you really think publically sanctioned marriage between siblings wouldn’t contribute to a marked increase in it?  


quote:
No, I really don't see what you mean.  What barriers have I surrendered that I ever recognized in the first place?


I don’t know.  Perhaps you didn’t have any.  In which case my argument is that marriage should not be a meaningless financial contract between anyone, any number, for any reason.  Yet earlier you did seem to suggest that certain traditional aspects of marriage were self evident and likely to hold out against the common left standards of judgment.


quote:
Right, but why is your definition of "a man and a woman" better than mine of "two consenting adults?"  Because it's been around longer?  Because it's "tradition?" Because God says so?  Are we hanging adulterers and burning witches again?



Time tested things should be examined as to their overall effectiveness ... as well as the underlying assumptions that has made their longevity possible.  So that’s certainly a place to start.  Certainly it’s a reason to pause, and ask whether or not it’s in place for a good reason.


Tradition?  Same answer.


Because God said so?  Yes, that IS actually a good reason.  I have no problem with taking some things on authority, especially when it has so much cultural, biological, and antropological support.  Though I’m not arguing this totally from the authority angle, it always gets back to that at some point.


Are we hanging and burning witches again?  No we’re not.


quote:
 This repetition is getting tiring.  If you can't demonstrate that children can fulfill this first requirement of marriage or any contract, please drop it already.



Why would I want to demonstrate this?  I am not for child marriage.  My whole point is that according to your own standards you may have to rigorously demonstrate that they CAN’T.  The burden of proof, seems to be according to you, on the side of tradition.  And that proof will be rigorously, if not impossibly mathematical, statistical, and genetic.  Intuition, gut feelings, common-sense, is not accepted.  And heck, you might not even have time to get the research done.      



Stephen.
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


463 posted 02-09-2005 11:51 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephenos,

I don't mean to be repetitious but I still stand on the same questions as earlier:

http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum8/HTML/000497-18.html#446

What "content" about gender and homosexuality are you making a moral and legal judgement by?

You seem to be avoiding speaking directly about gender and homosexuality themselves.  
But, I think we all need to understand better what those are before we may be more sure about our judgements, and other judgements of the past.  

What exacty IS gender?

AND

What exactly IS ("hetero"/"homo") humansexuality?


Furthermore, how much do, or why should, these determine social capabilities, rights, and freedoms?

[This message has been edited by Essorant (02-10-2005 09:56 AM).]

 
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