using biology to defend civil rights

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby mosc » Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:35 pm UTC

markop2003 wrote:It seems to me it would be easier just to remove the legal side of marriage all together then there would be no arguments about it.

This has always been my opinion. Tax exemptions or any such similar state/federal benefits due to marital status is morally reprehensible to me. It should be given to any two people who want to file as such or abolished.

Personally, I don't care if the word "marriage" is restricted by the state to mean a union between a man and a women. As long as that does not lead to any discriminatory treatment whatsoever, there's nothing wrong with the word. I care more about inequality and bigotry then verbage.
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby Waylah » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:29 am UTC

Using biology as an argument for or against changes to rules in marriage is sort of missing the point. In places where homosexuality is not a crime, people will live in whatever relationship they like. What needs to be considered is what legal recognition of marriage means for couples.

If you choose to subscribe to a point of view in which the word "marriage" applies to union between a man and a woman, then there is nothing to stop you from doing that, regardless of what is written in any dictionary or piece of legislation. If you choose to call your same-sex relationship marriage, then the same applies: no one can really stop you. If someone wants to marry a teddy-bear, no harm is done to anyone, and I don't think it's actually even possible to stop them. Nothing physically happens at a wedding to make a marriage real.

Governments are made out of people, and as people, we should be trying to make other people happy.

Whereas in some parts of the world, being in a homosexual relationship full-stop is illegal, and can get you whipped, in other parts of the world, being in a gay relationship is totally legal, but enjoys no actual legal recognition. Then we have places where gay unions do not have exactly the same rules, rights, and regulations as marriage, yet have some sort of legal recognition. In yet other parts of the world, gay marriage is effectively legal, yet goes under a different name. Then, finally, we have places where there is one marriage law, that is gender-neutral.

Fortunately, there is no government that can actually make it illegal to be gay. I think a good first step world-wide would be the eradication of laws that make living in a gay relationship punishable. As I said, we should be trying to make other people happy, and whipping isn't fun. (unless you're into that sort of thing ;P)

That's fairly strait-forward; being gay should not be a crime anywhere on earth. In the places where being gay is not a crime, there isn't anything to stop a couple getting married, really.

The main issue is all the periphery bits of law- what legal recognition of your relationship grants you. If there was no legal recognition of any relationship between people, then there would be no issue. However, there are many, many bits of legislation surrounding marriage. Marriage, in most places, has an impact on many things financial. It also impacts on adoption. But a little less concrete than this, legal recognition of a marriage flows on to societal recognition of a marriage. If one couple has a wedding and signs a legal document, gets a marriage certificate that is recognised by the laws of the land, and another has a ceremony just the same, and signs a personal pledge that has no legal recognition, the difference is not very tangible, but it is still there.

Financial and property rules and regulations that take relationships into consideration can be, and in some cases are, neutral to gender, and neutral to marital status of the relationship. The same can be said of adoption. All these periphery bits of law could be arranged such that legal recognition of marriage afforded no benefit that was not available to any couple. But that still leaves that last, intangible, feeling of recognition. The equality is not complete.

We need to ask, does legal recognition of marriage, not marriage itself, still serve society, specifically, couples? If it does not, then we should remove it, and let people do whatever the hell they want. If it does, then we should extend the recognition to all couples.

Looking at what is happening in the countries of the world, we are not seeing a dissolving of legal recogntion of marriage, but an alteration of it. Even if we sit here and decide that we do not need legal recognition of marriage, it seems that it is a shorter path to gender-neutral law than no law at all.




P.S. - regarding the Guenther vs thc thing:
The movement to grant the vote to both genders, and to all races, was a movement for the equality of individuals. The movement to grant equal legal status to gay relationships is a movement for the equality of couples. looking at it that way makes that whole Guenther vs thc thing irrelevant.

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:25 pm UTC

Waylah wrote:Whereas in some parts of the world, being in a homosexual relationship full-stop is illegal, and can get you whipped

if not killed.
Fortunately, there is no government that can actually make it illegal to be gay.
I think you mean than laws can't change innate orientation. How ever, they can make acknowledging that orientation quite dangerous-see above.
While it would be great to see a whole world where being gay was no big deal, working to make even our little corner of it with its history of relative tolerance and principles of individual freedoms accept it is an ongoing struggle because plenty of folks think their religious ideas should set the limits on moral behavior.
In countries where there is no separation of church and state this just won't happen any time soon.
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby Le1bn1z » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

Waylah wrote:P.S. - regarding the Guenther vs thc thing:
The movement to grant the vote to both genders, and to all races, was a movement for the equality of individuals. The movement to grant equal legal status to gay relationships is a movement for the equality of couples. looking at it that way makes that whole Guenther vs thc thing irrelevant.


Nitpicking, I know, but this isn't really true.

Many in the feminist movement happily used racist arguments to advance their cause (you'll give the vote to a black man, but not to a white woman, who is so clearly superior?)

Nor were the movements necessarily egalitarian. Some earlier feminists though women of a certain class ought to have rights, while the "unruly masses" could not be trusted. Class, not gender, would be the determining quality. But this is not about the liberation of individuals.

The gay marriage thing is as much about individual rights as the aforementioned movements: the right to equal protection under the law (in case of incapacity or speration) and equal diginity in society (freedom from persecution and harassment at hospitals or when seeking schooling.)
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby scioneyed » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:17 am UTC

Personally, I think biology is a stupid way to argue rights. Particularly in the case of homosexuality since there's no evidence to support homosexuality being either biological or a choice. (My personal feeling on the matter is that it's probably in large part, environmental. But even then, irrelevant to the topic.)

Marriage is a religious tradition. Governments are based on religious values. (Even though those values are not necessarily maintained.) I think whether or not to grant legal privelidges to married couples (or groups) is a government issue, and one that should not impact on who's "allowed" to get married. I think that in this sense, the reluctance to allow same sex marriages stems from traditional inequities in society. Statistically, women still earn less than men. To grant equal financial benefits to a same sex marriage of men as to a heterosexual marriage could cause perversions of the opportunity.
For example 2 Gay men, married (to each other) and earning executive sallaries could potentially claim significant tax benefits due to being married, and potentially, further benefits for adopting a child. However, you could have the same situation, with two heterosexual men, which, frankly would be a perversion of the spirit of the right to get married.
The question becomes, how can we allow gay men rights that we deny heterosexual men? Or alternatively, how to we combat the inevitable tax dodges etc?

But even then, I think the bigger issue stems from religion itself. And I think many of you are underestimating the fervency of the beliefs held by many religious people. For many religions, homosexuality is wrong. And should be illegal. Because of this, forcing a government to say "Gay marriage is legal" will mean that priests and ministers will be forced to go against their beliefs to avoid anti-discrimination law suits. You'd be granting rights to one group, and taking them away from another.

In my opinion, the decision of who can get married to who should come down to the person performing the ceremony. In this way, if a Catholic priest wishes to only allow a union between a man and a woman, the gay couple is welcome to find a civil minister who will marry them. At this point, let the government deal with what family tax benefits, and legal rights and what not they want to bestow on married couples.

Obviously, this will not elminiate discrimination, (It could be argued that it would increase discrimination) but the right to be married would not be denied to anyone. Be they heterosexual, homosexual, or some redneck in love with his tractor.

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby the_phoenix612 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:01 am UTC

scioneyed wrote:Marriage is a religious tradition. Governments are based on religious values.

Woah there, easy with the weighty suppositions. Marriage is a civil matter, which may involve religion if both parties choose to have it involved. Governments are no more based on religious values than your basic moral compass is based on religious values, which is to say, not necessarily at all. It's hard to claim a government is based on religious values when it is explicitly secular in its Constitution...
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby scioneyed » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:00 am UTC

@the_phoenix612
I was speaking in a traditional sense. Marriages have been performed as religious ceremonies since the dawn of religion. I'll concede to the point if you can illustrate evidence of marriage occuring prior to religion. Modern marriages reducing the religious aspect of a marriage doesn't change where a marriage ceremony has come from.
As for governments being based on religous values, have a careful look at the correlation between, for example, the laws of western countries and the 10 commandments. Or for that matter, middle eastern countries and their laws and governments. The government may be explicitly secular in its constitution, but it's laws are still based on religious values.

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:23 am UTC

Marriage is a religious tradition. Governments are based on religious values. (Even though those values are not necessarily maintained.) I think whether or not to grant legal privelidges to married couples (or groups) is a government issue, and one that should not impact on who's "allowed" to get married. I think that in this sense, the reluctance to allow same sex marriages stems from traditional inequities in society. Statistically, women still earn less than men. To grant equal financial benefits to a same sex marriage of men as to a heterosexual marriage could cause perversions of the opportunity.
For example 2 Gay men, married (to each other) and earning executive sallaries could potentially claim significant tax benefits due to being married, and potentially, further benefits for adopting a child. However, you could have the same situation, with two heterosexual men, which, frankly would be a perversion of the spirit of the right to get married.
The question becomes, how can we allow gay men rights that we deny heterosexual men? Or alternatively, how to we combat the inevitable tax dodges etc?


First, that is an argument against the government using tax incentives to encourage marriage more then anything. Secondly, do you actually see two people who don't love each other getting married(while lying about their sexuality) just to save some tax money?
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby scioneyed » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:28 am UTC

@mmmcannibalism
I can't see any rational person doing it. That being said, there's some pretty dumb and unethical people out there. And it's not just taxes. Things like child support and alamoney payments etc can be gotten around through creative coupling. (This isn't necessairly true in all countries.) In a world where a man will marry a pillow with a picture on it, I'd not put anything past anyone.

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:36 am UTC

scioneyed wrote:@mmmcannibalism
I can't see any rational person doing it. That being said, there's some pretty dumb and unethical people out there. And it's not just taxes. Things like child support and alamoney payments etc can be gotten around through creative coupling. (This isn't necessairly true in all countries.) In a world where a man will marry a pillow with a picture on it, I'd not put anything past anyone.


Let's assume that is true; how is this any different from the current ability of a man and woman to marry for similar purposes?

something I missed earlier

But even then, I think the bigger issue stems from religion itself. And I think many of you are underestimating the fervency of the beliefs held by many religious people. For many religions, homosexuality is wrong. And should be illegal. Because of this, forcing a government to say "Gay marriage is legal" will mean that priests and ministers will be forced to go against their beliefs to avoid anti-discrimination law suits. You'd be granting rights to one group, and taking them away from another.


Make all marriages require a state license(I think this is already the case?) write in to any legislation that the clergy/church have the right to refuse marriage to any persons they see fit. Everyone has equal rights, religious freedom isn't restricted.
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby scioneyed » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:45 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Let's assume that is true; how is this any different from the current ability of a man and woman to marry for similar purposes?


lol yes, this is an extremely valid point, and one I agree with, but I've heard the argument used as a reason not to allow gay marriage.

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:29 am UTC

scioneyed wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Let's assume that is true; how is this any different from the current ability of a man and woman to marry for similar purposes?


lol yes, this is an extremely valid point, and one I agree with, but I've heard the argument used as a reason not to allow gay marriage.


As I said, if this is a concern it is a matter of whether or not the government should be using tax breaks/penalties to encourage a certain lifestyle(I think not).
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:19 pm UTC

Where do people get the idea that allowing same-sex marriages will morph into forcing churches to marry just anyone who walks up and asks? At the moment a Lutheran church can refuse to marry a Missouri Synod couple, much less be forced to marry a pair of Anabaptists. Catholics can't be forced to marry Jews, or Muslims to marry Buddhists. Heck a church can refuse to perform your marriage because you didn't agree with something in their mandatory premarital classes.
The law will only make it legal for same sex couples to get married and enjoy the same status under the law as other married couples. It says nothing about who will perform the ceremonies, which, being religious in nature, are not the problem of the State.
As for the fact that many religious people think homosexuality is wrong and will send you straight to hell-they can take their religion and cram it up their hairy white butts. Or they can continue to believe whatever they want to, as long as they don't force me to believe it through enacting laws based on their insanity. The whole idea of our system of laws is to protect the unpopular minority. Crowd rule is not the way to have a free society, which requires disagreement and diversity.
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby Oregonaut » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:32 pm UTC

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby thc » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
scioneyed wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:Let's assume that is true; how is this any different from the current ability of a man and woman to marry for similar purposes?


lol yes, this is an extremely valid point, and one I agree with, but I've heard the argument used as a reason not to allow gay marriage.


As I said, if this is a concern it is a matter of whether or not the government should be using tax breaks/penalties to encourage a certain lifestyle(I think not).


Of course the government should encourage certain lifestyles. The govt should encourage people to raise children in a loving family and provide knowledge and mental growth (public school is govt subsidizing just that). Because well adjusted children are important, of course.

The govt should also encourage people to form lasting and caring relationships with one another, which gives people vested interest in not fucking their lives up (probably).

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:00 am UTC

Of course the government should encourage certain lifestyles. The govt should encourage people to raise children in a loving family and provide knowledge and mental growth (public school is govt subsidizing just that). Because well adjusted children are important, of course.

The govt should also encourage people to form lasting and caring relationships with one another, which gives people vested interest in not fucking their lives up (probably).


Raising children(if you choose to have them) properly being encouraged by the government I'm willing to view as not a terrible idea; however, why should the government encourage people to go form stable relationships? It's certainly better in general if people are in healthy relationships, but where can you draw the limit on the government incentivizing "good" behavior?
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby the_phoenix612 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:38 am UTC

scioneyed wrote:@the_phoenix612
I was speaking in a traditional sense. Marriages have been performed as religious ceremonies since the dawn of religion. I'll concede to the point if you can illustrate evidence of marriage occuring prior to religion. Modern marriages reducing the religious aspect of a marriage doesn't change where a marriage ceremony has come from.
As for governments being based on religous values, have a careful look at the correlation between, for example, the laws of western countries and the 10 commandments. Or for that matter, middle eastern countries and their laws and governments. The government may be explicitly secular in its constitution, but it's laws are still based on religious values.

And scioneyed, take a close look at your ten commandments and look at the correlation between them and, for example, every written code of law ever, no matter from where the leader claimed to get his right to rule. The laws are not based on religious values, they are based on common sense and the most basic tenets of a social contract. Religious laws happen to follow those because the common sensical rules get tied in with the ... "bat-shit crazy" ones ... to lend the whole thing an air of propriety.

This forum was the last place I thought I'd have to point out that correlation != causation...
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby PAstrychef » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

or even that morality !=religion. much less that religion !=morality.
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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby scioneyed » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:03 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Where do people get the idea that allowing same-sex marriages will morph into forcing churches to marry just anyone who walks up and asks? At the moment a Lutheran church can refuse to marry a Missouri Synod couple, much less be forced to marry a pair of Anabaptists. Catholics can't be forced to marry Jews, or Muslims to marry Buddhists. Heck a church can refuse to perform your marriage because you didn't agree with something in their mandatory premarital classes.
The law will only make it legal for same sex couples to get married and enjoy the same status under the law as other married couples. It says nothing about who will perform the ceremonies, which, being religious in nature, are not the problem of the State.
As for the fact that many religious people think homosexuality is wrong and will send you straight to hell-they can take their religion and cram it up their hairy white butts. Or they can continue to believe whatever they want to, as long as they don't force me to believe it through enacting laws based on their insanity. The whole idea of our system of laws is to protect the unpopular minority. Crowd rule is not the way to have a free society, which requires disagreement and diversity.


@ PAstrychef - If a law is passed that sates it is legal for people of the same sex to get married, those denyed marriage by a priest can claim discrimination, which is illegal. One law would force people against their own religeous practices.

the_phoenix612 wrote:And scioneyed, take a close look at your ten commandments and look at the correlation between them and, for example, every written code of law ever, no matter from where the leader claimed to get his right to rule. The laws are not based on religious values, they are based on common sense and the most basic tenets of a social contract. Religious laws happen to follow those because the common sensical rules get tied in with the ... "bat-shit crazy" ones ... to lend the whole thing an air of propriety.

This forum was the last place I thought I'd have to point out that correlation != causation...


@the_phoenix612 - If it was only in western nations, then certainly one couldn't base an argument on it, however, laws and religious teachings are far too similar across all the nations. Obviously, there are laws, and religious rules that don't match, but that's simply because laws change to match the needs of the people. You also need to take into account that when most western laws were created, religion played a MUCH greater role in day to day life than it does these days.

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Re: using biology to defend civil rights

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:44 am UTC

@ PAstrychef - If a law is passed that sates[sic] it is legal for people of the same sex to get married, those denyed [sic] marriage by a priest can claim discrimination, which is illegal. One law would force people against their own religeous [sic] practices.

No, this is just incorrect. I cannot sue a rabbi for not performing a religious ceremony for me if I'm not a member of her/his congregation, much less if I'm not even Jewish.
The State cannot force a given religious body to perform marriages. IF a church gets federal funding for jobs training or other social service programs they can be compelled to avoid certain language or religion-based requirements in those programs. Otherwise the State has no legal right to tell any religious body what to do. That whole separation of church and state thing goes both ways. For example, Christian Scientists are free to eschew medical treatment unless it endangers the life of a child. Even though those teachings have undoubtedly led to premature, unnecessary deaths in adults, the State cannot force those practitioners to the doctor.
So my question stands-where did you get this idea?
All the law would do is grant couples of any sexual make-up the same civil protections now granted only to heterosexual couples. The law would allow same-sex couples to get married. It would not compel any non-State organization to perform ceremonies that went against its tenets.
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