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Monday, June 26, 2006

Question of the Day #49: Alternative marriage

Is the fight for legal recognition of same-sex unions related to the fight for legal recognition of polygamy, or are these two completely separate issues? Why?

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8 Comments:

At 6/26/2006 8:24 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Politically, they're separate issues. There are a lot more people (read: voters) who would be interested in same-sex marriage than there are who would be interested in polygamy.

However, both are related morally. To wit: what right does the state have to prevent any person from entering into any consensual relationship/contract?

 
At 6/26/2006 11:29 AM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

I agree with Zach. The "cause" for same-sex marriage is the cause for same-sex marriage. Generally they aren't interested in the rights of polygamists to have their unions legalized.

However, when looked at logically and morally, it all looks rather silly. Why should any unions be registered with the state? And why shouldn't anyone be allowed to live in a home and share expenses, and have power of attorney over someone who requests it? This is where the traditionalists show the issue--they want it nice and simple for when the state needs to come and take away the children resulting from such unions.

But what in the world does the issue have to do with children? Because the traditionalists are really more interested in regulating the sex lives of straight people who breed. They want to stop cohabitation. They want straight couples to have to register with the church and the state before breeding. and, well, gay couples and triples and whatnot mess up their paperwork.

 
At 6/26/2006 3:06 PM, Blogger BlackSun declaimed...

Clearly, all relationships between people should only involve the people themselves, and not any 3rd parties. Only individuals can determine for themselves how they define 'family.' For some people, their friends and lovers are more family than their blood relations.

Government attempts to intervene, regulate, or participate in contracts between consenting adults are unjust and doomed to failure.

Polygamy, polygyny, and even group marriage are no different than same-sex marriage in this respect. The only interest government or society has in either is to be sure there is no coercion. In the case of polygamy, coercion has been the norm, with large age-differences. Coercion in any relationship should always be prohibited.

But banning either same-sex marriage or consensual polygamy serves no legitimate state interest.

Like slavery, we will eventually see all such prohibitions as immoral and anachronistic.

 
At 6/26/2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Boss Foxx declaimed...

The "slippery slope" mindset seems to be an irrational one, particularly when it comes to same-sex marriage. I don't pay close attention to the current events of European countries, but I haven't heard about any uproarious demands for legalized polygamy in the countries that have legal forms of same-sex unions. Maybe I'm wrong though.

 
At 6/26/2006 5:16 PM, Blogger JaundiceJames declaimed...

They're all related to the legal fight for Republicans to mind their own fucking business. -JJ

 
At 6/26/2006 7:50 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

I second what Alleee said. Why should any unions be registered with the state? All the possible combinations are out there anyway, and have been since prehistory. The coercion issue has been out there in "traditional" marriages also, and still is. It is more common in many other countries than it is in the US, but it happens here too. So what makes monogamy any better if one partner is a dominant asshole?

 
At 6/27/2006 2:39 AM, Blogger olly declaimed...

Three thoughts:

1.) there is, from a functional societal perspective, there is no difference between legalizing polygamy and same-sex marriages. In both cases, the State, controlled and influenced by the extreme Christian Right Wing of the GOP, are enforcing the Us vs. Them mentality. They are saying 'we have a moral monopoly on human sexual/emotional/societal interaction, and we plan to keep it that way'.

2.) The idea of marriage (speaking as a happily married person) is to commit yourself to someone else for whatever reason you think that commitment appropriate. Granted, marriage, especially in the United States, has a decidely religious connotation to it, but in the end it's a celebration of an emotional bond shared with other people (whether one person or many).

3.) Functionally, the State should have no say in the contract of marriage. From a governmental perspective, we have made it clear that we wish to enforce laws equally for one or many. From a religous perspective, let the churches do what they want, if they want to ban gay-marriage or polygamy from their own worship ceremonies, then fine, but that's apolitical (or should be). An amendment regarding marriage of ANY kind should not be tolerated from a church/state seperation standpoint. Right or left, Repub or Demo, Lib or Cons, we need to fight to keep religion out of our political discourse and life.

-olly

 
At 6/30/2006 11:53 AM, Blogger Brucker declaimed...

As for myself, I think people are rather shocked to hear my views as a fundamentalist Christian--especially most other fundamentalists--come awfully close to Alleee's viewpoint expressed here. Although the chances are about nil that it would ever actually happen, I think the ideal situation for solving the problem of the "sanctity of marriage" is to take it completely away from government oversight. While I think the First Amendment allows my church to say that they refuse to recognize same-sex unions as valid marriage, I think it also may imply that it gives the government no right to do so. Furthermore, the call for the separation of church and state to mean that the government may have nothing whatsoever to do with the religious aspects of living seems to imply that governments should have no part in defining marriage in any way, shape or form, if indeed my fellow fundamentalists insist on marriage being "ordained by God".

If "marriage" were completely removed from government oversight and it became a matter between you, your loved one(s), and whatever moral/religious institution you were a part of, then the debate would largely disappear. In its place, however, I'd like to see a substitutionary concept of a "domestic union" or whatever we'd like to call it, in which consenting adults could agree to share legal rights, power of attorney, custodial rights toward children, and various entitlements such as health care benefits.

I do disagree in part to what Blacksun says in his first paragraph, though he may not mean what I think he does. In a "marriage" however it may be defined, there are certain 3rd parties that indeed have a vested interest, notably children. (Also employers who provide family benefits, but in a less vital manner.) As far as I know, there is little or no evidence that same-sex marriages are damaging to children, so there is no problem there (from a secular standpoint), but I have heard that divorce definitely can be troubling, and doing away with institutionalized marriage doesn't resolve that potential conflict. Whatever family structure a child is raised within, I think it needs to be a stable one.

 

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