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  1.    #41  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bujin View Post
    Think of it this way: what if someone proposed a law that says that "black people can't be married, but can only have civil unions, because marriage is only between white people. Civil unions are just as good, anyway." Would that be acceptable?
    Firstly, I'm not against gay marriage at all. I'm suggesting a way for gay/lesbians to move forward through a process of making an intolerant society less ignorant first via civil unions - thereby removing the emotional aspects of this whole thing, that being the religious-based construct of "marriage".

    Second, what is the difference between "marriage" and a "civil union" that so offends you? Seriously, if for a moment my wife and I could undo our Catholic vows and all that was left was our legal "marriage", would it not be the same as a "civil union?"

    Please don't interpret my observations and suggestions as condoning the intolerance and bigotry that gay/lesbians are having to endure. I personally have no issue with their sexuality as I'm quite comfortable in my own and feel they ought to be afforded the same rights that a straight married couple are afforded. But when three states - including CALIFORNIA - vote to ban gay marriage, I'd say it's time to go back to the drawing board and draw up some new battle plans.
  2. #42  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    Firstly, I'm not against gay marriage at all. I'm suggesting a way for gay/lesbians to move forward through a process of making an intolerant society less ignorant first via civil unions - thereby removing the emotional aspects of this whole thing, that being the religious-based construct of "marriage".

    Second, what is the difference between "marriage" and a "civil union" that so offends you? Seriously, if for a moment my wife and I could undo our Catholic vows and all that was left was our legal "marriage", would it not be the same as a "civil union?"

    Please don't interpret my observations and suggestions as condoning the intolerance and bigotry that gay/lesbians are having to endure. I personally have no issue with their sexuality as I'm quite comfortable in my own and feel they ought to be afforded the same rights that a straight married couple are afforded. But when three states - including CALIFORNIA - vote to ban gay marriage, I'd say it's time to go back to the drawing board and draw up some new battle plans.
    Well, let me be clear: I have no real dog in this fight, and I'm not offended by the difference between marriage / civil union. I don't think I gave any indication that I've taken anything personal at all. On a purely logical / strategic level, I tend to agree with you. And I understand that you're taking the stance that the end result of a such a compromise may get gay people closer to the main legal protections that they are looking for.

    I will grant that there is no fundamental difference between civil unions and marriage - that's actually part of what I am trying to say. Even if the two process were identical, if I were a person who was told that marriage was for others and not for me, I may draw a very definite distinction. For some people, it has nothing to do with the quality of civil unions vs. marriage, but has all to do with whether they are treated equally under the law. Again, it's the same "separate but equal" argument used in the civil rights battles.

    To draw another analogy, if the water was equally clear and cold in the "colored water fountains" as the "white water fountains", does that make it okay to tell certain people that they can only access one and not the other?

    As I said, I don't actually have strong feelings on the issue. Just giving points to ponder.
    Last edited by Bujin; 11/06/2008 at 11:09 PM.
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  3.    #43  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bujin View Post
    Well, let me be clear: I have no real dog in this fight, and I'm not offended by the difference between marriage / civil union. I don't think I gave any indication that I've taken anything personal at all. On a purely logical / strategic level, I tend to agree with you. And I understand that you're taking the stance that the end result of a such a compromise may get gay people closer to the main legal protections that they are looking for.

    I will grant that there is no fundamental difference between civil unions and marriage - that's actually part of what I am trying to say. Even if the two process were identical, if I were a person who was told that marriage was for others and not for me, I may draw a very definite distinction. For some people, it has nothing to do with the quality of civil unions vs. marriage, but has all to do with whether they are treated equally under the law. Again, it's the same "separate but equal" argument used in the civil rights battles.

    To draw another analogy, if the water was equally clear and cold in the "colored water fountains" as the "white water fountains", does that make it okay to tell certain people that they can only access one and not the other?

    As I said, I don't actually have strong feelings on the issue. Just giving points to ponder.
    Points well taken...by me at least. But I don't think the majority of voters in California agree with that premise.

    Let me draw the game plan up a bit more:

    1. Get "civil unions" accepted and legally recognized over the next few years
    2. In parallel to obtaining civil rights via civil unions, those gay/lesbian couples who are religious should find a way to get their civil union recognized as a "marriage" within their church.
    3. Eventually challenge the traditional definition of "marriage". e.g. why can a member of the clergy from a "straight" church officiate a civil union of a straight couple, yet a member of the clergy from a "gay" church cannot officiated a gay couple entering into a civil union?
  4. #44  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bujin View Post
    I will grant that there is no fundamental difference between civil unions and marriage - that's actually part of what I am trying to say. Even if the two process were identical, if I were a person who was told that marriage was for others and not for me, I may draw a very definite distinction. For some people, it has nothing to do with the quality of civil unions vs. marriage, but has all to do with whether they are treated equally under the law. Again, it's the same "separate but equal" argument used in the civil rights battles.
    I, as well as many others, would see it more as a "different but equal" as opposed to "separate."

    Unfortunately, people (not necessarily anyone here) can't seem to accept that different is okay.
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  5. #45  
    Quote Originally Posted by DL.Cummings View Post
    I, as well as many others, would see it more as a "different but equal" as opposed to "separate."

    Unfortunately, people (not necessarily anyone here) can't seem to accept that different is okay.
    So, purely as an academic exercise, let me ask 2 questions:

    - Would "different but equal" water fountains and schools would be okay for black people? - Would it be okay if black people could only have "different but equal" civil unions, based upon the argument that civil unions are identical, but marriage is only for white people?

    Separate was defined as being inherently unequal. That was the basis for the whole Jim Crow legislation, such as Brown vs. Board of Education. Calling it "different" rather than "separate" doesn't change the issue, IMO.

    The main point of the civil union issue for many gay people has its basis in this argument.


    Let me draw the game plan up a bit more:

    1. Get "civil unions" accepted and legally recognized over the next few years
    2. In parallel to obtaining civil rights via civil unions, those gay/lesbian couples who are religious should find a way to get their civil union recognized as a "marriage" within their church.
    3. Eventually challenge the traditional definition of "marriage". e.g. why can a member of the clergy from a "straight" church officiate a civil union of a straight couple, yet a member of the clergy from a "gay" church cannot officiated a gay couple entering into a civil union?
    Well, if all marriages were uncoupled from the legal concept of a civil union, I agree that this would settle the issue; however, I would imagine that evangelicals would have a kitten.
    Last edited by Bujin; 11/07/2008 at 06:37 AM.
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  6.    #46  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bujin View Post
    Well, if all marriages were uncoupled from the legal concept of a civil union, I agree that this would settle the issue; however, I would imagine that evangelicals would have a kitten.
    Better to let them have a kitten years after they've achieved equality via civil unions and the concept becomes acceptable by society as a whole. If they can decouple the two, I am convinced that evangelicals will not have a leg to stand on in defending what would be strictly the religious based concept of marriage.
  7. #47  
    Personnally, I don't see how gay marriage hurts the institution of marriage any more than Newt Gingrich getting married three times.

    There have been some interesting reasons given why the ammendment passed: one, obvious, is that conservative churches mobilized for this like nothing else before. Another is that Obama's candidacy brought more African Americans to the polls than ever before and, for reasons I'm unsure of, blacks tend to oppose gay marriage at a higher rate than whites.

    I think, however, that time is on the side of gay rights. Young people, I think, are much more tolerant. The older among us will, inevitably, stop voting one day.


    As far as the whole argument over civil unions vs. marriage, separate vs. different, it's kind of pointless. There is no logical argument that can justify the discrimination against one class of citizens (it wasn't that long ago inter-racial marriage was illegal in many states) in the institution of marriage. As others have suggested, if you replaced "gays" with "Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, or politicians, almost everyone would agree it was absurd. This is an emotional / religious issue and, for most opponents, comes down to a single argument (although it may be phrased in somewhat different ways): God is against gay marriage*, the bible says so.

    Currently, there is no group in America less tolerant the conservative Christians. If they could re-write the constitution, they'd take the First Amendment and shred it. They feel compelled to force their beliefs on everybody. The old gag that a Puritan is someone who fears that someone, somewhere, is having fun is rooted in a fundamental truth. And today's conservative Christian's fear that someone, somewhere, believes differently than they do, and they simply can't tolerate that.

    *Some say God hates gays. I don't think God hates gays. I think he's just a little bit mad that they've found a loophole. You see, when Eve ate the apple, God punished mankind. Women got menstruation, cramps, and the pain of childbirth. Men....got to live with women. Gays found a way around that punishment. (On the other hand, lesbians must even things out, don't you think?)
    Last edited by meyerweb; 11/07/2008 at 07:58 AM.
    Bob Meyer
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  8. #48  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bujin
    Would "different but equal" water fountains and schools would be okay for black people?

    No.

    - Would it be okay if black people could only have "different but equal" civil unions, based upon the argument that civil unions are identical, but marriage is only for white people?

    No.

    Separate was defined as being inherently unequal. That was the basis for the whole Jim Crow legislation, such as Brown vs. Board of Education. Calling it "different" rather than "separate" doesn't change the issue, IMO.


    For me, it does only in the sense that the word, “different” refers to each group (blacks/whites & same-sex couples/opposite sex couples) uniquely—which is why I patently reject most (if not all) analogies to racial discrimination. As I look at it, the affirmation of two people joining in a publicly recognized and legal status of a union serves two major functions: provide for society and provide for the individual.

    For the individual, we find such things as love, sexual desires, wills, life decisions (medical and such), etc. For society we find items such as family, having children and raising children (and yes, I acknowledge overlap). My issue with refusing the term “marriage” as opposed to the term “civil union” is an issue of properly defining the joining of two people based on inherent functionality of each type.

    Same-sex couples . . .
    - can have families—which I don’t dispute
    - can successfully raise children—which I don’t dispute (though not optimal IMO)

    But,

    What they can’t do is produce children by sole means of their relationship—they are forced to seek means elsewhere (adoption, surrogate mothers, etc.).

    At this point is where “different” comes into play and unlike the black/white issue, it’s a matter of functionality and not mere appearance. A black heterosexual couple shares the same inherent potential function with their relationship, as does a white heterosexual couple. On the other hand, same-sex couples shares only most of the same inherent potential as do their opposite-sex counterparts.

    I say different but equal because I don’t place any value of one over the other; it boils down to simply a nomenclature issue.
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  9. #49  
    D.L., you're grasping at straws. I know several married couples who are physically unable to have children, for a variety of reasons. By your logic, they should qualify only for civil unions, and not marriage, because "it’s a matter of functionality and not mere appearance." As you say: "What they can’t do is produce children by sole means of their relationship—they are forced to seek means elsewhere (adoption, surrogate mothers, etc.)."

    So, would you argue that marriage is only for those who can, without artifical or outside assistance, bear children? Where would you draw the line? How about where one half of the couple can, but the other half can't? What about couples who need in-vitro fertilization? How about those who are able to, but chose not to have children?

    The institution of marriage, both civil and religious, has nothing to do with children. I know of no religion in the U.S. that requires it's members to stipulate they will have children before agreeing to perform a marriage ceremony, or that will dissolve a marriage for the sole reason that the couple didn't have children. Certainly no major religion.


    Back to "different." Different is separate, no matter how you try to slice or dice it. Ignore marriage for a second, and apply your logic to other situations. Would "different" water fountains, bathrooms, and lunch counters for gay people be acceptable?

    Or let's take another look at "functional" differences. There are many handicapped people in this country who have significant "functional" differences from the majority. The congress and supreme court have upheld that, with rare exceptions, it is not OK to treat those people "differently." As a society, we need to do everything we can to give equal rights and access to people regardless of their "functional" differences. A man with Down's syndrome can marry a woman with spina bifida, in spite of their functional differences. A woman with congenital abnormalities caused by, say, Thalidomide can marry. Heck, even a trans-sexual can marry (as long as the marriage partner is the opposite, err, the same, err, sex), even though incapable of bearing or fathering children.

    So what twists of logic will you come up with now to justify what is nothing but prejudice?
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  10. #50  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bujin View Post
    To draw another analogy, if the water was equally clear and cold in the "colored water fountains" as the "white water fountains", does that make it okay to tell certain people that they can only access one and not the other?

    As I said, I don't actually have strong feelings on the issue. Just giving points to ponder.
    I read this post and I havent finished the string yet, I wanted to get this idea out before I forget. As far as the colored fountains goes theres something to remember thats important and very similar here.... Im compounding or adding to your point I think...

    Whites could drink from the "colored" (hate that) fountains if they wanted to. The same obviously wasnt true for the Afican Americans... they couldnt drink from the whites.

    The same is true today in this case... straight people can enter into a civil union OR get married but Gays/Lesbians cant and if civil unions were to get passed they still wouldnt be able to get "married".

    This is what drives me insane about the Repulican platform... (again hate to lump people in a single group) They say they are for smaller government yet they want to have the government tell people what they can and cant do. IE same sex marriage and Roe v Wade. Sorry to generalize but it just drives me batty! Also, when the Republican party was formed wasnt it based on equal rights?

    Please dont take this as finger pointing or trying to stir the pot I just cant stand double standards.
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  11. #51  
    Quote Originally Posted by Hdhntr23 View Post
    This is what drives me insane about the Repulican platform... (again hate to lump people in a single group) They say they are for smaller government yet they want to have the government tell people what they can and cant do. IE same sex marriage and Roe v Wade. Sorry to generalize but it just drives me batty! Also, when the Republican party was formed wasnt it based on equal rights?

    Please dont take this as finger pointing or trying to stir the pot I just cant stand double standards.
    Well, for the sake of this conversation, I consciously tried to avoid the partisan issues, as it caused folks to line up by party, and nastiness always results.
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  12. #52  
    Quote Originally Posted by meyerweb
    D.L., you're grasping at straws. I know several married couples who are physically unable to have children, for a variety of reasons. By your logic, they should qualify only for civil unions, and not marriage, because "it’s a matter of functionality and not mere appearance." As you say: "What they can’t do is produce children by sole means of their relationship—they are forced to seek means elsewhere (adoption, surrogate mothers, etc.)."


    Actually, I’m not; you are just picking and choosing what portion of text to respond to. In addition to the above statement, I also stated this:

    “. . . is an issue of properly defining the joining of two people based on inherent functionality of each type.”

    In other words, I grouped them together and instead of trying to look at all possible anomalies, chose—as I stated quite clearly—the inherent potential of each type. The fact is there exist zero potential for a same-sex couple to reproduce within the sole confines of their relationship. On the other hand, within opposite sex couples there exist a high probability of it and any instance that cannot is considered an anomaly (or an abnormality). Where you and I differ is that I actually held the same standard for measuring both types of relationships—I said inherent potential.

    The institution of marriage, both civil and religious, has nothing to do with children. I know of no religion in the U.S. that requires it's members to stipulate they will have children before agreeing to perform a marriage ceremony, or that will dissolve a marriage for the sole reason that the couple didn't have children.


    Strawman. Nothing I said suggested necessity for nomenclature—argue that point with someone who actually went down that road. Besides, I managed to express my view without religion—can’t you?

    Back to "different." Different is separate, no matter how you try to slice or dice it. Ignore marriage for a second, and apply your logic to other situations. Would "different" water fountains, bathrooms, and lunch counters for gay people be acceptable?


    Do different water fountains, bathrooms and lunch counters relate to function in anyway?

    The answer is no—sort of. I mean, we do have separate bathrooms for males and females . . . who oddly enough are aptly named differently (male & female) based upon . . . . that’s right being different and yet are viewed as equal—go figure.

    Or let's take another look at "functional" differences. There are many handicapped people in this country who have significant "functional" differences from the majority. The congress and supreme court have upheld that, with rare exceptions, it is not OK to treat those people "differently."


    I think you are missing the point and possibly need to scroll back and read over my previous comments regarding same-sex marriages. As I previously lined out, same-sex couples would be offered the same protections as opposite sex couples under the law. I have already stated a methodology that provides equality through taxes, medical decisions, hospital visitations and private property (think: how we treat).

    At this point, I am merely pointing out why I prefer to use certain terms to describe certain relationships—which is because by nature, I am a pedant and has nothing to do with your baseless, unfounded accusation of being prejudice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hdhntr23
    The same is true today in this case... straight people can enter into a civil union OR get married but Gays/Lesbians cant and if civil unions were to get passed they still wouldnt be able to get "married".


    I agree that such does happen; however, I do not accept the idea that heterosexual couples fall within the scope of a civil union. If you are heterosexual, it is a marriage; if you are homosexual, it is a civil union. Both are entitled to the same provisions in society (as I see it), and the only difference is what label goes with who.
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  13.    #53  
    Quote Originally Posted by DL.Cummings View Post
    I agree that such does happen; however, I do not accept the idea that heterosexual couples fall within the scope of a civil union. If you are heterosexual, it is a marriage; if you are homosexual, it is a civil union. Both are entitled to the same provisions in society (as I see it), and the only difference is what label goes with who.
    Interesting. So if both have the same rights, why does it matter what it is called?

    Also, if a gay couple were to enter into a civil union and then drive down the road to their local Episcopalian church and participate in a "marriage" ceremony, what would that be called?
  14. #54  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    Interesting. So if both have the same rights, why does it matter what it is called?
    Two reasons (and in this order):

    1: I prefer to use certain terms to describe certain relationships—which is because by nature, I am a pedant. When I say, "pedant" I really do mean it.

    2: It provides something for gay persons that does not have to be seen necessarily as lesser; however, it does require a revamping of how we see individual rights and such (which is better in the long run for everyone anyway).

    Also, if a gay couple were to enter into a civil union and then drive down the road to their local Episcopalian church and participate in a "marriage" ceremony, what would that be called?
    To be perfectly honest . . . I don't care what they call it. I'm only speaking for official legal terms. If a church wants to reduce the term, "marriage" to mean any two people, that is up to them. I mean hell, the term, "Christian" has a plethora of meanings depending on which church, and who you ask for a definition--some more inclusive than others.
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  15. #55  
    Quote Originally Posted by DL.Cummings View Post
    If a church wants to reduce the term, "marriage" to mean any two people, that is up to them. I mean hell, the term, "Christian" has a plethora of meanings depending on which church, and who you ask for a definition--some more inclusive than others.
    By reducing one can only infer that its lesser... thats the whole point... its NOT lesser. It shouldnt BE lesser.

    Reduce means to take away or subtract. How can it be equal if its lesser?
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  16. #56  
    Quote Originally Posted by Hdhntr23 View Post
    By reducing one can only infer that its lesser... thats the whole point... its NOT lesser. It shouldnt BE lesser.

    Reduce means to take away or subtract. How can it be equal if its lesser?
    Again, that was if a church wishes to do so (not the US government)--as a matter of how they see fit.
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  17. #57  
    Quote Originally Posted by DL.Cummings View Post
    Again, that was if a church wishes to do so (not the US government)--as a matter of how they see fit.
    Just so I understand your point here: are you supporting the idea that everyone can access a legal civil union, and then anyone can access a "for religious reasons" marriage, if they find a church to bless it? Or are you advocating that heterosexuals can have a legal marriage, and homosexuals can have a legal civil union?

    If it's the former, I can agree with it. If it's the latter, I respectfully disagree, mainly due to the premise that seems to state that the purpose of marriage is producing children, and the inability to have children disqualifies a class of people.

    Quite frankly, the fascination that folks have with the 1950's version of family values is deeply rooted in religious upbringing & really is neither necessary nor sufficient for the successful raising of children.
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  18. #58  
    Quote Originally Posted by DL.Cummings View Post
    To be perfectly honest . . . I don't care what they call it. I'm only speaking for official legal terms. If a church wants to reduce the term, "marriage" to mean any two people, that is up to them. I mean hell, the term, "Christian" has a plethora of meanings depending on which church, and who you ask for a definition--some more inclusive than others.




    Than what do you call common law marriage?
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  19. #59  
    I guess what Im asking is that most/some states recognize that if a man and woman live together long enough than they (the couple) are recognized as married and most or all the laws and protections apply.

    How or why wouldnt this be different in a same sex relationship?
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  20. #60  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bujin View Post
    Just so I understand your point here: are you supporting the idea that everyone can access a legal civil union, and then anyone can access a "for religious reasons" marriage, if they find a church to bless it? Or are you advocating that heterosexuals can have a legal marriage, and homosexuals can have a legal civil union?

    If it's the former, I can agree with it. If it's the latter, I respectfully disagree, mainly due to the premise that seems to state that the purpose of marriage is producing children, and the inability to have children disqualifies a class of people.

    Quite frankly, the fascination that folks have with the 1950's version of family values is deeply rooted in religious upbringing & really is neither necessary nor sufficient for the successful raising of children.
    I'm suggesting that heterosexual couples qualify for a marriage, and homosexuals qualify for a civil union--which again, only differs in name (at least as far as the law is concerned).

    You can call it "disqualify" if you want but you will have to ALSO accept that heterosexuals would be disqualified from having a civil union--as I have put it in this thread. This means that, in fact, both groups are on the same footing with each other. Both have the same protections and both have the same limitations, period.

    Furthermore, everyone can quit attempting to hold me accountable for the various options that exist (such as common law) as I believe that I have stated my view quite clearly. For the record, I find common law marriages silly and pointless--for any group.

    There is no fascination with anything except the desire to correctly identify any legitimate differences--which you seem incapable of accepting (which is fine, just admit it and we'll be on our way).

    Lastly, this "1950s" version of the family existed well before 1950, or even the US.
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