AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (17 comments)

  1. Tom Harvey

    Assume for a moment you are comfortable ignoring those parts of The Bible that address marriage and homosexuality. Consider the likelihood homosexuals have probably been with us since the dawn of humankind. But for the last 2500 + years or so, moral philosophers have been teaching and writing about what the good life is and how to build a better society. From Aristotle and Plato, Buddha and Confucius, Aquinas and Hobbs to Kant and Hume, Niebuhr and Gandhi: none suggested society would be fairer , or in any way better, if individuals of the same sex were “married”. So what makes us , all of a sudden, so smart and insightful?

    1. Exactly right! It has taken 2000 yrs to figure out 1 man 1 woman raising their own kids creates the best outcomes for children, and society as a whole.
      Gays need to get over themselves. They are not special – they’re GAY! Who cares? It is not like they are Einstein, or the one with the cure for cancer.

  2. The young modern generation does not base their beliefs on dogmatic propaganda of past generations.They simply don’t buy any of the scare tactics spread by the American religious propaganda machine like past generations have.They base their societal beliefs on real life circumstances be it racial religion or sexuality.Hence this generation are the most non biased non judgemental,and secular of any past US generation.The US is transforming into a progressive nation right before our eyes,and for that I say”glory be to no god”

    1. Gosh, you young people are just so much smarter than the old fogies who brought you up. Why, Christianity is just some old silly notion that you are too smart to fall for. Your generation’s elevated levels of STDs and suicide and your reduced satisfaction with every-day life are just a big coincidence, I guess. Thank God my children didn’t embrace your nihilism and selfishness.

    2. Tom Harvey

      “don’t buy any of the scare tactics spread by the American religious propaganda machine like past generations have”.
      No they have bought in to their version of disinformation.
      When I attended university I was taught that the search for truth was paramount. These “LGBTQ” initiatives imply people are born homosexual, cannot change, and that it’s perfectly healthy and normal to engage in same-sex sexual activity. Two major problems: first, it’s not true – there is no strong evidence one is “born” a homosexual. You can change your sexual preferences. I have several acquaintances who left the homosexual lifestyle. Second, it’s not healthy to engage in same-sex sexual activities. There are good reasons the FDA bans blood donations from homosexual men

      1. “You can change your sexual preferences.”

        Perhaps you can, but I was born a heterosexual, and steadfastly remain so today.

      2. Really!!!! im sure they were forced to do that!!! And your the type of person that is close minded, and your probably gay yourself

    3. “The young modern generation does not base their beliefs on dogmatic propaganda of past generations.”
      No, you’ve replaced it with your own propaganda.
      “They base their societal beliefs on real life”
      No, they base it on a media blitz, wanting to be stroked and have everyone “win”.

  3. John Miller

    Perhaps our Supreme Court should take judicial notice of the higher power under which our Country was founded & nature created, mathematical science appearing to have established it beyond any reasonable doubt. Astro-physicists I understand acknowledge that odds of life on earth being created by chance are more remote than a perfect DNA match being wrong; & courts today make major decisions (life, death) based on DNA. Thus, it makes sense to have the Higher Power (God) & nature (man/woman) in the gay marriage discussion.

  4. Anation which [theoretically] prides itself on the liberty of the individual citizen being paramount in the eyes of the state….cannot, and should not deny civil liberties based on a citizens biological sexual preference.

    God can be part of the discussion, but as it is an unprovable entity, and citizens have no requirement to maintain the belief in any religion, the notion should not be a part of reasoned legal arguments.

  5. Kevin RP

    1) Is there such a thing as a homosexual?

    2) What “acceptance” of homosexuality will do is make being a Christian illegal. Currently it must be illigal to be a Christian in the military. Because if a Christian says what he/she believes to a homosexual then they are denigrating a fellow soldier. Therefore they will be written up and pushished. The best possible outcome is a dishonorable discharge. Also, in many instances it will be illegal to run a business if you are a Christian because you will be required to say that homosexuality is ok – when you know it is not. Therefore you will be hauled to court for not obeying the Atheist religion.

    And etc.

    1. I can only hope you were being sarcastic, because if you aren’t, every point you raise is an absurd parody on the law, natural rights and the tenets of liberty.

  6. JimCrammer

    I was trying to find out what science think about it on homosexuality and our future. There is an interesting research report came recently: http://wadiyan.com/2013/03/08/new-scientific-study-suggests-homosexuality-as-the-cause-for-dinosaur-extinction/
    Makes a lot of sense IMO.

  7. Robert M

    Maybe we need to step back and get clear in our minds why the government even acknowledges marriage. To my mind, the only reasons would be to promote societal stability and encourage the growth, or at least no decline, in the population. What other reasons would there be? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m interested in what other think.

    Having said that, why doesn’t the government leave the “morality” of “marriage” to those outside of government, mostly (I say mostly, not all) religious communities.

    The government wouldn’t concern themselves with these marriages at all. However, what the government could do is register any couples, heterosexual or homosexual, so that they can avail themselves of the benefits of being a couple. In this case, the couple wouldn’t have to go to a preacher to get hitched. The government would simply ignore the issue of marriage. They would only concern themselves with the legal aspects of a partnership.

    By doing this, the moral aspect is removed from government interference and it simply becomes a legal contract between two people. This would (hopefully) remove a lot of the passion from the issue.

  8. (1) Public policy can be determined democratically; but, science is not established by a poll. It begs credulity to assert that, in any higher order mammal, ANY complex behavior is determined by some kind of pre-programing. Genetics governs the transmission of structure, not the transmission of philosophy, ethics, or ideas. Yes, it is possible for structure to favor some behaviors over others (it is easy to teach a dog to sit and very difficult so to teach a wolf). But, the idea of some kind of iron casting by which some in the population are “gay” and others are “straight” defies everything we know about how biological systems work. No poll can change that.

    (2) Nature does not classify; it only presents. It is human beings who classify, and this is the other nail in the coffin of biological determinism. All falsifiable research yields the conclusion that nature presents a continuum of structural arrays, and that ultimate behavior, through learning, is built upon this. Some people are strongly inclined toward homosexuality; others (perhaps the greater number) are equally the other way; but, most of us are somewhere in the middle, and that raises the question re what our society should be doing in terms of encouraging “A” or discouraging “B.” Law can be and is discriminatory in this election. The law against bank robbery would not become a “denial of equal protection” on the day the bank robbers all got together and formed themselves into a lobby. Similar considerations govern polygamists, pedophiles, and homosexuals.

    (3) Furthermore, whatever the law says constitutes some kind of policy choice (even doing nothing is a policy choice). Once the full array of choice is laid upon the table, it is impossible to take a “government hands off” position as some kind of “libertarian” ideal which avoids this conflict. Marriage is an institution both of religion and law. Taking the position that marriage has neither religious nor legal consequences amounts to saying that marriage no longer exists as an institution of society. It amounts to saying that, in the interests of some unspecified “equality,” there should be no difference between marriage and non-marriage. That is a position one can take, but understand that this flies in the face of a thousand years of human history during which the vast majority of individuals have said exactly the opposite. And, in a democracy, that ought to count for something.

    (4) For one who does not believe in gods or goddesses (and I am one of them), founding any argument upon religion has obvious drawbacks. It remains a fact that our society historically has opposed the idea that marriage and pretensions to marriage somehow can be equal. The Bible does not make homosexuality per se unlawful or wrong, but it clearly proscribes certain homosexual activities (specifically sodomy) as criminal abominations. The prohibition is in Leviticus and thereby reaches all Jews, all Christians, and all Moslems. Christians are obliged to “hate the sin and not the sinner,” but that does not erase the prohibition. Marriage as an institution comes to us from the Church and takes the Church’s forms. It is not possible for homosexual couples to marry. A certificate on a wall signed by an “official” would not change that. As a matter of law, a license to do that which cannot be done is a nullity.

    (5) Demonstration of the truth of this is easy. The institution of legal marriage was designed to accommodate the undeniable differences between men and women and incorporates numerous distinctions, e.g., dower and curtesy, which exist solely because of such differences. To say that two homosexual men can be “married” is just silly. Or, are we to have one of the prospective pair jump up and down before the justice of the peace while waving his hand in the air and shouting, “I get to be the mommy!” Seriously: Which of the couple legally pledges to “support” the other as an enforceable contract at law (especially given the prohibitions of the Thirteenth Amendment)? What would be the consequences of divorce? When we look at marriage as a legal institution, we realize that, for better or worse, marriage historically evolved as an institution designed to encourage that which homosexuals simply cannot do. What homosexuals are demanding is not the right to marry but the right to engage in the pretense of marriage. To allow that does not elevate the pretense, but it would degrade marriage. It would change the law so that those who are married will have less than what they had, which in a democratic society married persons should have the right to oppose.

    (6) There are additional deleterious consequences as well. Let us be truly libertarian here and therefore fully tolerant. Assume that two homosexual men who genuinely love one another elect to be “married.” A true libertarian both can condemn the anticipated behavior and say, “This is a private matter which truly is none of my business.” There is nothing inconsistent there. But, as soon as we equate legally marriage and the pretense of marriage, then what we are saying is that those who pretend have the same legal rights as those who do not. Finding examples which frustrate the libertarian idea of self-ownership is not difficult, viz.:

    (7) A “married” homosexual couple would have no capacity to create children of their own but a full and equal capacity to adopt third parties — wards of the state — into what arguably is an immoral relationship punctuated by criminal behavior not in the best interests of society or the child. Furthermore, such a couple could order even those morally opposed to what they are doing to become agents of the recruitment. Indeed, this already has happened in some places, obliging the Catholic Church to close its adoption centers and, concurrently, imposing major additional expenses on the state and its taxpayers, who were obliged to shoulder the slack.

    (8) To overturn a legal prohibition against that because someone somewhere was denied a tax exemption makes a mockery of the very process by which constitutional questions of great import should be decided. In the first place, all that was claimed (in the current attack on DOMA) was a conflict between two laws. Assume the conflict, itself, created some unconstitutionality. The Supreme Court could do no more than to rule that such a conflict is impermissible. The Court is not a legislature and cannot tell Congress which of the conflicting laws it must rescue. If fault lies solely in the conflict, it is a 50/50 choice concerning where the infirmity lies, and unconstitutionality must be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, the Court does not have a case before it which allows it to impose same-sex “marriage” on the federal government by overturning DOMA.

    (9) Arguably, the Court does not have a case before it by which it could overturn anything. What if I were to “marry” a building? What if I were to “marry” my cat? Would it be “discrimination” for the IRS to turn down my claimed tax exemption? However cleverly presented, the case before the Court is no different. The law remains that we have used the institution of marriage to encourage certain kinds of behavior, and that we have used the tax code to encourage marriage. No snub of that could justify allowing an adult to drag an innocent minor into any kind of relationship founded on behavior which society has the right to call “illegal.”

    (10) We are brought to the ultimate question: Given that the Bible does NOT declare homosexuality wrongful, but only the conduct associated with it, does society have a right to limit “marriage” to a man and a woman only? It is not enough here to argue that homosexuals cannot help being what they are. If there be a continuum of behavior ranging from very strongly homosexually inclined to very strongly heterosexually inclined, then that argument is false on its face for the vast majority of human beings — it simply is bad biology. Furthermore, that argument largely is irrelevant, because what can be proscribed is not being but action (where “action” is defined as “purposive behavior”). Whatever the inclinations imposed upon someone by his or her genes or glands, the fact remains that the behavior potentially prohibited is behavior people can choose not to engage in. Legally, what we have here is the difference between being a “heroin addict” and illegally possessing heroin. If a society decides that it is in the general interest to prohibit widespread heroin use, then there must be a power somewhere which makes it illegal to possess heroin without a prescription or license. And, again, in a democracy, this is decided through the processes of elections and passing laws enforced by the executive, not by tricking judges with clever contrivances founded upon constitutional phrases of uncertain or infinite meaning.

    (11) It is in the interest of our society to promote marriage solely as the legal union of a man and a woman. Marriage creates and perpetuates strong families and steers those of adolescent years into beneficial behaviors they might not have chosen had there been some social ambiguity concerning what the better choice is. Similarly, denying marriage to homosexuals (a) makes clear society’s choice that there is, indeed, a difference between marriage and the pretense of marriage, and (b) allows society to deny to homosexuals any right to draw into their relationships non-consenting third parties, especially minors, and especially wards of the state.

    (11) Finally, because the legislature is the institution constitutionally empowered to determine that interest, it is beyond the power of a court to interfere in such a legislative determination, and certainly beyond its power to make such interference on little more than the creation or annihilation of a tax exemption. The current case before the Court can create no precedent. Indeed, even assuming some kind of infirmity somewhere, it’s unlikely the decision even can have any certain application. It still would be Congress’ choice to keep DOMA and get rid of the tax provision.

  9. There is nothing wrong with encouraging the acceptance homosexuality and bisexuality in society. It certainly won’t hurt anyone. It should be seen as normal and equal to heterosexuality, because it is! A huge benefit to society is that same-sex couples can adopt babies to give them a loving home and family. They should get tax exemptions and all benefits to encourage them!

  10. verberat

    There is nothing wrong with encouraging the acceptance homosexuality and bisexuality in society. It certainly won’t hurt anyone. It should be seen as normal and equal to heterosexuality, because it is! A huge benefit to society is that same-sex couples can adopt babies to give them a loving home and family.

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