Something to Consider

Most of my long time readers know that I volunteer for The Pink Pistols, a group that advocates gun ownership and self defense in the gay community. I do this for what I believe to be practical reasons. Itís important that help be extended to anyone who wants to learn how to safely and effectively use a firearm for their own defense, something of which the gay community seems to have a visceral hatred.

Those same readers also know that I advocate gay marriage, but for purely practical reasons. There are significant tangible benefits to marriage (taxes, insurance, loans, inheritance, division of property in case of divorce), and I fail to see why those same benefits canít be extended to same sex couples.

(As a side note, let me say that Iím not swayed by arguments which claim that full gay marriage is necessary for public acceptance. For example, I own firearms for my own defense and I teach others how to use theirs. As long as this isnít illegal I donít care one bit if anyone doesnít like me doing it.)

The reason why Iím mentioning this is due to this essay by Megan McArdle. (Quick follow up here.) She points out that there might very well be some serious unintended consequences if gay marriage becomes the law of the land. Iím not familiar with the examples she uses to reach her conclusions, so I canít comment on them until I do some research. But if sheís correct, then I certainly will re-examine my own position.

16 thoughts on “Something to Consider”

  1. But people thought society would collapse if Blacks were allowed to drink out of the same water fountains as Whites. They thought society would collapse if women were given medicine to ease pain in childbirth when anethesia/painkillers first came out (it was thought that pain was a necessary, important, and natural part of the birthing process.)

    Just because something has been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean it’s good or right.

    I wish government would just totally get out of the marraige business.

  2. chel, did you actually read what Megan wrote? I suggest you do.

    Also, pain is a natural part of the birthing process. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get pain killers though.

  3. Chel,
    You need some sense of proportion. The short-lived (in any historical terms) Jim Crow laws, peculiar to America, may be our country’s shame but are not the world’s conventions/traditions/institutios.

    Females copulate with males, the woman gives birth, and the pair raise the children that will guarantee the continuance of the species, the tribe,the culture of the couple has a good deal longer history. The culture is embodied in the relationship within the family, where the child first learns about it. This is core – and characteristic of our ancesters before they were our species.

    I have my doubts that we would be talking about this if we hadn’t divided procreation from sex and sex from procreation in the last forty years. That isn’t an argument for or against gay marriage, it is merely a point (I make tiresomely often, I’m sure) that we need to keep in perspective. I actually can’t imagine that gay marriages can’t undermine the shaky ground on which marriages in some subcultures and statistically across the country stands.

    McCardle’s essay shows proportionality and thought.

  4. Unlike most Republicans I’m sympathetic to gay marriage, on the grounds that the present situation is economically discriminatory towards gay couples. It also seems a little shaky to condemn gay promiscuity and then refuse to recognize committed couples. That said, Jane’s article was thoughtful, well reasoned and not rancorous. It was a nice change from most discussions of the issue, and she raised some points I’m going to have to think about for a while.

  5. A very good essay! Reminds me of an old adgae ” no good deed goes unpunished” Many of the countries attempts at social engineering have backfired and caused more harm than good. I am not sure that allowing gay marriages would have this effect but who knows until it is tried.

    From what I have read about the history of marriages and how they became legal under the laws of socuety leads me to believe that marriages were institued more to bond women to a man than to bond a man to a woman. Women were considered property first of a father then chattel of a husband. The only reason that my wife and I married was to get protection under the laws of the land. That was 42 years ago. I support gay marriage for that reason and that reason only. But, that does bring out the insanity of laws.

    Why does a couple that decides to marry and have children receive tax breaks. The childless are subsidizing the lefestyle of those who choose to have children. I figure that gays should at least have some protection under the law from taxes. At least they could file as head of household and get some break.

  6. Chel, I’m with you. Let’s get the government out of the marriage business.

    My rationale is libertarian to the core. If you want to shack up with someone, why would you look to the “gub’ment” for approval?

    I have a big beef with the Andrew Sullivan’s of this world because they appear to need some external force to sanction their private life choices. And in their strident advocacy, they wind up flirting with anti-democratic dogmatism.

    In most places in America, there is no real oppression of gay couples. They can execute wills, inherit wealth, adopt children and act out virtually all of the other spousal duties of a straight couple.

    Ginny, nature’s ways are not so easily overthrown. The pendulum will always swing back to the exegises of biological reproduction, although the swervy experiments along the way may give some cause for fright.

  7. Well, I guess I was responding to the opening part of Megan’s essay where she reminded me of the arguement of social conservatives — that marriage is an institution and we shouldn’t muck around in it. (And then for the rest of the essay she goes on to discuss of peices of legislation on social issues that in her opinion had bad consequences that were in line with what the social conservatives had warned about.)

    My point is that denying civil rights to a part of the population also has really bad consequences, some of which we aren’t able to even realize since we’re so entrenched in our culture. There are plenty of things that people have done for ages, take infanticide, that probably made a big hiccup in the social structure when they ended. I don’t like the “people have been doing x for a long time and that means it’s absolutely good.” arguement. No doubt we have some cool traditions, but this arguement alone doesn’t cut the mustard for me, especially when the arguement is being used to deny rights to Americans.

    I want to live in a country where people are not denied rights.

  8. Chel, you really should read the whole thing. You are arguing against a simplistic straw man that no one is raising. Megan’s article has coherent arguments. You obviously care about this issue. It would be good to get your considered response to what is actually there.

  9. Guys, here’re two more cents:
    Jane Galt reasons with David Brooks that the spectacle and expense of weddings increases for their ‘show-value’ “…because you aren’t really making a lifetime committment; you’re making a lifetime committment unless you find something better to do.”

    This gets to the heart of our nation’s debate on the legalization of gay marriage. In my observations, male homosexual couplings have the life-expectancy of a house-fly, and so, if a governmental subsidy (ie. tax breaks) were offered to their “comittment”, it would likely involve the continued “dumbing-down” of the word.

    Ms. Galt could just as easily have written: “(Y)ou aren’t really making a lifetime committment; you’re making a lifetime committment until you find someONE better to do.”

    As long as the government stays out of the business of using tax policy to favor certain “committments” by offering subsidies to them at the expense of others, the apparent delimiting of rights that Chel and others object to won’t come to pass.

    Local church and community sanction seems a better solution for this American. Let the Fed’s focus on border enforcement, National Security, and protecting my property rights.

  10. Lex,

    I feel so misunderstood! I wasn’t arguing against Megan (or with Megan.) I was just putting in my 2 cents on the general sex sex marraige issue. In the whole debate over same sex marraige there are certainly lots of folks who are against gay marraige because they feel it would be detrimental to society. Not a straw man at all.

    Lex said, “It would be good to get your considered response to what is actually there.”

    Why thank you. I’ll try to do this if if I get a chance.

  11. “Why does a couple that decides to marry and have children receive tax breaks. The childless are subsidizing the lefestyle of those who choose to have children.”

    GUYK, this isn’t true. It is those who have children that subsidize the existence of the childless. In addition to giving birth to the childless, the people who have children subsidize the social security of the childless. Perhaps we should change the law so people receive social security directly from their own children’s paychecks. This would certainly cause people to have more children. The childless would be responsible for their own retirement since they don’t have to spend considerable amounts of money raising children, sending them to college, etc.

  12. This would stop the free rider phenomenon that has led to a considerable number of baby boomers just assuming social security will be there for them, but not bothering to have enough children or in some cases any children to actually finance the program. And any moral parent would realize that they should work hard to plan and save for retirement so as not to overburden their children. You could cap it at 10% of each paycheck. Yeah, it sounds a lot like bondage, but that only highlights the immorality of the current system.

  13. Lindenen, you’ve effectively turned the issue of “subsidy” on its head. Good job. I cannot muster an argument to counter your sharp point.

    The fact of the matter is that before the federal gub’ment got into the welfare business, we relied on our children to lend their labors to the welfare of family and community. In my opinion, government intervention in our economy, like the creation of “safety nets” like SS, unintentionally denecessitates cohesive families and communities.

    You quote McArdle’s point which suggests that it is Government intervention in the economies of *relationships* that may be having similar unintended, perverting effects.

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