Marriage Archives

Shoving Us Down the Slope

The liberal-leaning magazine, The New Republic, had an article recently in which it re-redefines marriage. Titled “It’s Time to Ditch Monogamy”, it tries to make the case that the idea of a single spouse is just so “outdated”, as they put it. Their arguments are:

  • We’re living longer, which can lead to boredom.
  • Young people are used to “varied and transient love affairs.”
  • Girls can be more independent now than they could 50 years ago.
  • And basically, after a while, we just can’t help ourselves over our urges to wander, so to speak.

The only lip service Helen Croydon, the author, pays to the major responsibility of child rearing is to note that, hey, women can get artificially inseminated. Never mind that she’s encouraging the difficulty of single motherhood, reducing men to sperm donors, and ignoring the huge task of actually raising a child. No, it’s all just a technological hurdle to overcome.

As I’ve said before, cross one line, and there’s always another line to cross, another cultural norm to overturn. Remember, it’s conservatives that look to tradition and experience to determine the best course of action, while liberals are, by their own definition, “progressive”; trying out new things and throwing off old ideas, because, in their mind, this new thing ought to work, based on whatever arguments they can come up with. Hey, we’re bored, we can’t help ourselves, so let’s chuck these ideas that have worked in the past and try some social experimenting that may or may not actually work better, but at least we’ll feel better about ourselves after we indulge ourselves.

That is a recipe for a slippery slope, one that has been, rather easily, predicted by conservatives.

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    I Now Pronounce You Man and Machine

    A man in Florida is suing to be allowed to marry his pornography-filled computer. Chris Sevier would like to marry his Macbook, who, for the purposes of this post, I’ll just call “Mac”.

    Chris tried to get a license to marry Mac, but apparently was turned down. Clearly, Florida is against true marriage equality, and apparently prefers PCs. Why else would they allow for this sort of discrimination?

    Listen to some of what Chris says, and you, too, just might be won over.

    If gays have the right to “marry their object of sexual desire, even if they lack corresponding sexual parts, then I should have the right to marry my preferred sexual object.”

    If gays feel as is they are second class citizens, Mr Sevier argues then “those of us in the real minority, who want to marry machines and animals, certainly feel like third class citizens”.

    “Allowing my marriage to go forward will not adversely impact the fertility rate any more or less than a same sex couples.”

    “If there is a risk that is posed to traditional marriage and children, both man-man couples and man-machine couples pose it equally.”

    “In considering the equal protection clause, there are no fewer policy reasons for preventing man-machine couples from marrying than there are for same-sex couples.”

    Florida, as well as Utah, where he filed another suit, both turned him down. But how different, really, are his arguments than the ones for same-sex marriage. True, the main difference is that Mac isn’t sentient and can’t truly give consent for this, but the arguments are still quite similar. If who you love is the only determiner of who you can marry, who’s to say who you’re allowed to love?

    Or maybe, just maybe, marriage is actually about more than just love. Maybe, there’s a purpose, a goal, which marriage was the answer to, and the further we get away from it, the more pointless it will become.

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      Same-sex Marriage vs. State Sovereignty

      States? States? We don’t need no stinkin’ states! At least, that’s what a federal judge said last month. The state of Ohio does not have same-sex marriage, but the just said that they had to recognize a marriage license for one that was granted in another state.

      Well let me ask you, does the state of Ohio have to recognize law licenses, or medical licenses, or even hunting licenses from other states? No, they don’t. They may grant some leeway for licenses professionals from other states, they certainly don’t have to. It is within their state’s rights not to recognize them at all.

      The judge in the case cited the tradition of Ohio recognizing marriages from other states that Ohio itself would not have allowed. He didn’t say specifically, but I’m guessing things like marriages between people who are related to closely. In 2004, Ohio broke with tradition and passed a ban on recognizing same-sex marriage. But the judge seems to think that tradition is somehow legally binding. Ohio was well within its rights to make such a law, as it can with other license recognitions. But the judge was apparently channeling Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof”; “Traditiooon!”

      Well anyway, I guess we can now start applying this new legal concept to things like gun licenses, eh? No, we can’t? This wouldn’t have anything to do with politics or activist judges of a particular leaning now, would it?

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        The "Tolerance Police" Claim Their Next Victim

        I mentioned the case of Brendan Eich a little while ago. He’s the genius that basically invented JavaScript, which web programmers are very familiar with and have been using since 1995. He co-founded Mozilla, the company that produces, among other things, the Firefox web browser. He was going to be the company’s CEO recently, until someone noticed he gave $1,000 to the Proposition 8 effort in California to keep marriage to mean one-man-one-woman. He was run out of the company for what I called a Thought Crime. He was eminently qualified to be the CEO of the company, but because he had the politically incorrect idea that marriage should mean what it’s meant for millennia, he was pressured to resign. There were no allegations that he had ever treated someone badly because of their sexual orientation, but he had, according to some, the wrong idea about marriage, and therefore he was unfit to be CEO of the technology company he helped create.

        That’s what I want to stress here. In every other way, he was qualified for the job, but he had opinions that some disagreed with, and they created an atmosphere where Eich could not function in that job. That, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely what the word “intolerance” means. The irony is that those who created that atmosphere would very likely consider themselves the tolerant ones. The sad part is, they are unable to see intolerance in themselves because of the way they have redefined the word “intolerance” to mean “disagreeing with me”.

        That was exhibit A. Exhibit B showed up a couple weeks ago when twin brothers Jason and David Benham were green-lit to host a new show on Home and Garden TV – HGTV – about fixing up dilapidated houses for families in need. Who in the world could be against that?

        Well, in a radio interview, David Benham said this, and made some people mad.

        Read the rest of this entry

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          Thought Crimes

          Charles C. W. Cooke calls it fascism. I think that may be a little overwrought, but there’s no escaping the reality that, if you think something politically incorrect these days, your job is in peril.

          Another day, another witch hunt — this time in duplicate. “Twin brothers David and Jason Benham,” CNN reports, “have lost their opportunity to host their own HGTV show.” On Tuesday, the pair was gearing up for their new role; by sundown the next day, the network had announced tersely that it had “decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series.” And that, as they say, was that.

          HGTV’s mind was allegedly changed by a post on the blog Right Wing Watch, where the duo was described as being “anti-gay” and “anti-choice.” That post, David Benham told Erin Burnett yesterday, “was too much for them to bear — they had to make a business decision.” How sad. Certainly, the Benhams hold some heterodox views. They are not merely opposed to abortion and gay marriage, but critical of divorce, adultery, Islam, pornography, “perversion,” the “demonic ideologies” that have crept into the nation’s “universities and . . . public school systems,” and the general culture of “activist” homosexuality, which, David contends, is inextricably tied up with a wider “agenda that is attacking the nation.” But so bloody what? They were tapped to host a home-improvement show, not rewrite the Constitution.

          It matters not, however, to the "tolerant" Left, for whom that word now means "agrees with me". Redefining long-understood definitions seems to be their stock in trade, along with the word "marriage".

          Future students of language will wonder at the period in our history in which it was said with a straight face that diversity required uniformity, tolerance necessitated intolerance, and liberalism called for dogma. Of late, we have been told that Brandeis University is simply too open-minded to hear from a critic of Islam, that Mozilla believes too vehemently in “freedom of speech” to refrain from punishing a man for his private views, and that a respect for the audience of a show about duck hunting demands that we suspend a man for expressing his religious views in an unrelated interview. “Never,” David Benham confirmed in an interview with CNN, “have I spoken against homosexuals, as individuals, and gone against them. I speak about an agenda.” Later, he added that “that’s really what the point of this is — that there is an agenda that is seeking to silence the voices of men and women of faith.” Say, now where might he have got hold of that idea?

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            The (Cultural) Freedom of Speech

            (This is part of the script of the latest episode of my podcast, “Consider This!”)

            What is it that they say about conservatives? They’re haters, they’re whatever-phobes, they’re intolerant of people who are different than they are. Then what to make of this story.

            Over 5 years ago, some guy – we’ll call him Bubba – gave $1000 to a political cause. He gave his personal money, not on behalf of anyone else. A bit of free political speech in action.

            Fast forward to today, and Bubba was the target of a campaign to push him out of his job because someone found out about this contribution. Bubba gave in to the pressure, and resigned.

            If Bubba had given money to the Sierra Club to save the whales, or to Planned Parenthood to provide free abortions, and this had happened to him, the Left in this country would be outraged. But because Bubba, whose real name is Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla, gave to California’s Proposition 8, the effort to keep marriage between one man and one woman, the otherwise First-Amendment-loving Left are mum, as well as being the ones who did the pushing.

            I have said it a number of times before, and I need to say it again. The Progressive element in this country is all about Constitutional rights, right up to the point when those rights are used against their pet political causes. Then the hate, intolerance, and phobias that they accuse others of come quickly to the surface. A clearer case of projection – accusing others of what you yourself harbor – is not easily found.

            And consider this. At the time of his donation, Brendan felt the same way about the issue as President Obama, Vice President Biden, and, as it turned out, 60% of California voters. Five short years later, he’s being punished for it by the real Thought Police. There are no allegations that he mistreated, maligned, or otherwise caused harm to any homosexuals in his company. One’s views on this topic have no connection whatsoever with the business of Mozilla; most notably the Firefox web browser. This is completely, 100% a “thought crime”.

            It’s the progressive Left that likes to proclaim that it is more tolerant, that is more free-thinking, right up to the point where you disagree with them. Beyond that point, they want to dictate what you can and can’t think, culturally if not legally, and sometimes even legally; just ask Hobby Lobby, or proprietors that don’t wish to participate in same-sex weddings. No, you must toe the line of the tolerant, free-thinkers. Is anyone noticing the irony here, where “mutual respect” only works one way?

            “If you like your beliefs, you can keep your beliefs. To yourself. If you don’t, you can’t keep your job.”

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              Next Step: Accepting "Open Marriage"

              Now that same-sex marriage has been accepted by some states, it’s no longer a draw for the evening news, so ABC News in America has decided to move on to the next big thing; open marriage. These are marriages where fidelity is more of a suggestion than anything else. It’s not polygamy, which at least formally acknowledges, in one manner or another, a lasting relationship with more than one spouse. Instead, open marriage, or polyamory, means two people are legally married while continuing to see other people.

              So ABC News decided to present a generally positive quote-unquote “news” piece about those for whom commitment is something only for mentally disturbed people. The most critical thing said in the whole segment was that reporter Nick Watt thought it just wasn’t his thing, and that his wife wouldn’t like it. But the rest of the segment, including questions to a psychologist, was generally positive. Not a hint of an opposing viewpoint.

              This is what passes for “news” in the 21st century; one-sided advocacy journalism. Even if Watt isn’t personally in favor of it, showing one side only, on a controversial topic, on a news show, is advocacy.

              Do other news organizations do it? Yes, on both sides of the aisle. But while Fox News and the Wall Street Journal get lambasted anytime they don’t play it down the middle, so many liberal news watchers have such a blind spot when something like this airs. Conservative media bias is outrageous. Liberal media bias is…hey look, a unicorn!

              The other issue, of course, is that those who said that same-sex marriage would lead to a slippery slope have been, yet again, proved absolutely on target. We aren’t falling for it, but the news media is pushing.

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                Same-sex marriage got a gentle nudge from the Supreme Court in the recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. But, as much as it seems that it’ll be a state-by-state issue, a court ruling in late July suggests that same-sex marriage anywhere may mean same-sex marriage everywhere. A federal judge in Ohio ordered state officials to recognize the marriage of two men who were married in Maryland, for the purposes of listing on the death certificate of one that he was married to the other.

                Yeah, it’s just a blank on a form being filled in, but if it stands, it would be a legal precedent that could easily be built upon. So here’s the question for same-sex marriage proponents. Do you really believe this should be decided by each state, or should it be handed down from the federal government? If the former, you should be against this judge’s action. If the latter, you should be letting us all know. My guess is that if people knew that proponents are looking to force this on all states, there would be quite the backlash. And so, in the meantime, it’s not spoken of much in polite company. After all, if you think the federal government shouldn’t define marriage via DOMA, then it shouldn’t define marriage, period.

                And the people of Ohio would get to choose how to deal with this situation themselves.

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                  Attorney Generals Are Not Judges

                  [This is part of the script from the latest episode of my podcast, "Consider This!"]

                  The Supreme Court said that the people of California have no standing to defend a constitutional amendment that they passed if the state won’t defend it. It’s now open season on laws that state administrations don’t like. Exhibit A.

                  Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane announced Thursday afternoon she will not defend the state in a federal lawsuit filed this week challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, calling the prohibition “wholly unconstitutional.”

                  Who promoted her to judge? Whether or not it’s unconstitutional is not her call to make. The Attorney General represents the state and defends its laws; all of the state and all of its laws.

                  If a state Attorney General refuses to defend those laws, that’s an abdication of his or her primary responsibility; their oath of office. AGs do not (or at least should not) have this prerogative. Otherwise you’ll have one set of laws when one administration is in power, and another set for another administration.

                  The Supreme Court said that they’re leaving it up to the states to decide what marriage is. But are we leaving it up to the state governments or to the state’s people?

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                    The Supreme Court "Proposition 8" Ruling

                    The Prop 8 ruling was perhaps more troubling than even DOMA. The Supremes decided, cutting across ideological lines interestingly, that the people of California had no standing to bring their own challenge against the ruling of a judge that Prop 8, which created a state constitutional amendment defining marriage, was unconstitutional. Here’s a graphic I found that describes the problem the best.

                    While I’m against true direct democracy (the ol’ “two lions and a sheep voting on dinner” analogy), the proposition feature of California law has a high enough bar to clear to get something on the ballot to safeguard that. But now the people’s will can be simply ignored, with the ruling of a single judge, and we, the people, have no standing to challenge it at the Supreme Court. Wow.

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                      The Supreme Court DOMA Ruling

                      In the recent spate of rulings from the Supremes were two that dealt with same-sex marriage; the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA), and California’s Proposition 8. I’ll look at Prop 8 tomorrow.

                      The portion of the DOMA law that was ruled against is a provision that denies benefits to legally-married gay couples. Gay couples, under federal law, will now be considered “married.” The DOMA vote was 5-4, with Justice Kennedy writing for himself and the liberals on the court. He wrote that DOMA is a violation of, “basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government.” Very interestingly, he also pointed out that DOMA infringed on states’ rights to define marriage.

                      Having just written about the Voting Rights Act yesterday, let me just say that that last observation is almost humorous coming from the liberal justices. The same people who said that 50-year-old data is sacrosanct in one ruling, said, in another ruling released the same day, that the definition of marriage, which has been defined for millennia, is just a states’ rights issue. The duplicity and blind partisanship is simply breathtaking.

                      In one respect, I agree with the DOMA ruling, regarding the idea that the federal government doesn’t need to be in the business of defining marriage. Now, I don’t thinks states should do that either, but it sets a precedent, that marriage is decided at the ballot box. It isn’t. And besides, regarding federal involvement, it’s the states that give out marriage licenses, not DC. So from that angle, it does make sense. Sort of.

                      The problem is, some states have decided to insert government into marriage like it has never been before. Glenn Reynolds, one of the most popular bloggers out there, the Instapundit, has been voicing his support for the repeal of DOMA by saying that government should get completely out of marriage. But as I have said before, when the government defines marriage, it is completely in the issue. Politics and PR will now define marriage. It didn’t need formal definition before, because it was almost universally agreed that it was one man and one woman. Cultures and religions, outside of government, defined marriage. All the state did was sanction what had already been decided. Back in episode 38, I discussed this in detail, so there’s a link in the show notes if you want to catch up on that. But basically, now that states decide what marriage is, the logical end of this is that marriage will mean what anyone wants it to mean, which means it will be meaningless. Since states were redefining an already well-defined term, it fell to the federal government to bring a little order and common sense to this chaos. I didn’t like it, but didn’t see any other good way out of it.

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                        Study Shows the Sun Rose Today

                        (This is one of the segments of the most recent episode of my podcast, "Consider This!")

                        The NY Times recently reported on a study that, I imagine, came as a shock to most of the Times’ readership. “News organizations are far more likely to present a supportive view of same-sex marriage than an antagonistic view, according to a content study by the Pew Research Center to be released on Monday.” The Pew study also noted that the views of the public at large, contrary to the news reporting, are evenly divided.

                        For conservatives, this is like a study showing that the sun rose this morning, or the Pope is actually Catholic. But this paranoia about news coverage does, in fact, prove the adage that it’s not paranoia because, if you have the unapproved viewpoint, they really are out to get you.

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                          Live and Let Live?

                          (This is one of the segments of the most recent episode of my podcast, "Consider This!")

                          From the state of Colorado comes this news story, showing just how intolerant this country has become.

                          A neo-Nazi couple is pursuing a discrimination complaint against a Colorado bakery, saying the business refused them a Swastika wedding cake to honor their ceremony, and alleging that the owners have a history of turning away white-supremacist couples.

                          Would you support the bakery in their refusal? Certainly, neo-Nazis don’t agree with our civil rights laws, so based on a civil rights objection, should a bakery be allowed to refuse to make a cake glorifying the Third Reich?

                          As you may have guessed, I’ve modified this news story slightly to make a point. This is really a story about a same sex couple, from Massachusetts, suing a baker in Colorado. Religious freedom is the first of the freedoms guaranteed in the first amendment, even before speech. And yet folks exercising that freedom are not given the same deference as someone who might discriminate based on something that the Constitution doesn’t specifically protect.

                          Could a baker refuse to decorate a cake with text featuring the N-word, or any other word that we usually identify by its first letter? If they could, what about the customer’s freedom of speech? Does it override the baker’s freedom? I don’t believe this would even be an issue, or if it was, the ACLU might even be on the side of a baker not wanting to display a Swastika or an obscene word on their product. As it is, the ACLU is supporting the out-of-state same-sex couple, because a religious objection doesn’t make the cut.

                          Nor does it for a florist from Washington, nor a photographer from New Mexico. Same-sex marriage is not a case of “live and let live”. It requires others to validate it, regardless of any objection buttressed by the Constitution.

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                            Overcoming Such Unanimity

                            Ben DeBono is one of the co-hosts of a podcast I listen to, "The Sci-Fi Christian".  I have the distinction of having named their alien mascot, "Theo".

                            Ben is a recent convert to Catholicism, while I am a  long-time Protestant. And yet there are commonalties that people tend to ignore too often. He highlighted one of those commonalities in a recent Facebook post.

                            Here’s a thought experiment for Christians arguing for biblical support of homosexuality and/or homosexuall [sic] marriage:

                            On the subject of homosexuality theologians as diverse as the Apostle Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Martin Luther and every other major pre-20th century Christian thinker stand in complete agreement. Such unanimity is all but unprecedented in the tradition. Even a doctrine as fundamental as the Trinity has greater diversity of thought than homosexuality.

                            Regardless of how you view the authority of tradition, doesn’t such complete agreement deserve to be acknowledged and taken seriously? If you say yes, how can you justify the near complete lack of engagement with the tradition by those arguing for an understanding of Christianity that is pro-homosexuality? Wouldn’t such a drastic change on this issue demand a lengthy and complete engagement with the tradition?

                            If you say no, how do you justify the implicit claim that your interpretive abilities are superior to 2,000 years of unanimous teaching on this issue – Protestant, Catholic and otherwise?

                            Ben shows that, over the millennia, smart Christian guys from all over the spectrum, have been unified on this topic. I made a similar point 2 years ago when I noted that the Bible speak of homosexuality 100% negatively, and of marriage 100% heterosexually. I said essentially the same thing, "Ignore all of that collected wisdom at your peril."

                            The religious Left has been accepting homosexuality as a "non-sin" over the past 40 years, and same-sex marriage as blessed just for the past 10 years or so. Relatively speaking, however, this is nothing compared to the unanimity of the faith for the last 2,000 years. If one is going to throw out 2 millennia of doctrine, you had better have a good argument that a) this is really what the Bible says and b) the other guys were wrong. Yelling "Equality!" is not such an argument.

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                              We Hate to Say We Told You So

                              That’s the title of John Stonestree’s article about how the folks pushing for polygamy and polyamory are making the very arguments that conservatives made for decades, right up until very recently.

                              In a scene from Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm, the mathematician skeptical about whether the park is a good idea, watches the T-Rex burst out of its enclosure and says, "I hate being right all the time."

                              Princeton Professor Robert George and other defenders of traditional marriage understand these sentiments. For years, they’ve warned that redefining marriage beyond the union of one man and one woman wouldn’t-indeed couldn’t-stop with same-sex unions. The same reasoning that extends marriage to same-sex couples would easily be applied to polygamy and polyamory also.

                              The standard response to these concerns was scoffing and accusations of fear mongering.

                              Well, the fences are down and the beast is loose.

                              He provides 3 examples of recent attempts to argue for them just within the past few months. But these arguments are not new. It’s just who is presenting them that is.

                              As Dr. George pointed out in "First Things," when Christians pointed out the logical link between same-sex marriage and polygamy, proponents of same-sex marriage rejected the connection. They insisted that "no one is arguing for the legal recognition of polygamous or polyamorous relationships as marriages!"

                              George writes in response, "That was then; this is now." The "then" he referred to was last week; the now is today.

                              George predicts that Keenan’s article "will not produce a single serious critique by a major scholar or activist from the same-sex marriage movement."

                              Now he would love to be wrong. But defenders of traditional marriage know that the enclosures that kept marriage a "monogamous and exclusive union" are being dismantled. And no one should be surprised by what emerges, least of all those doing the dismantling.

                              If George was right about what would happen, would critics also be right about the predicted results of this breakdown?  Marriage is more "for the children" than any other institution or government program that has had that label slapped on it. The best arrangement for children is to be raised by their loving and committed biological parents.

                              And yet, we are tinkering and tearing down the one thing that can best protect the next generation. The results have been predicted to be calamitous. If we were right about predicting the slippery slope this far, wouldn’t it be prudent to consider whether we’re right about the rest of the ride?

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