The Real Threat Of Same Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

April 26th, 2008

NYT MagazineThe New York Times Magazine has a very illuminating story on young gays getting married. It turns out that they have a lot of goofy and ordinary similarities to their straight counterparts. They meet, fall in love, and then they start to figure out what that means to them. For many, that means “settling down,” which comes as a surprise to those who had no intention of settling down — just like a lot of straight couples.

And I think that this the real “threat” that social conservatives find in same-sex marriage: it humanizes us.

They’ve established a massive multi-million dollar industry to convince Americans that gays and lesbians are evil monsters threatening western civilization. Focus On the Family has 1300 employees. Think of it: that’s larger than many factories. And they use their massive resources — their broadcast outlets and their print publications — to portray us as being a part of an evil agenda bringing America to its knees. And until now, they’ve had free reign to say whatever they want about gay people. When few Americans were able to see real world examples to counter their false stereotype, it represented a very powerful wedge.

But gay couples getting married and setting up households couldn’t be more conventional. It is tangible evidence that we’re not all that different in many important ways. We get together for all the same reasons — good and bad — that straight couples do. Some of our relationships are long lasting and monogamous (something that social conservatives say is impossible) and some fall apart or experience a series of affairs (just like straight couples’ marriage.) Some should never have gotten together in the first place.

But for many of us, we are yet another household on the same block with dozens of other families. We’re attending PTA and homeowner association meetings. We go to block parties and neighborhood Christmas parties. We go to each others’ homes and play cards or have barbecue. We send graduation gifts, we wave goodbye when people move away, and we call on our neighbors to offer condolences when tragedy strikes.

And nothing could be more threatening to social conservatives than that.

Ben in Oakland

April 26th, 2008

Jim: you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. I’ve said many times on these pages that this is no more about mariage than DADT is about military preparedness or sodomy laws arre about G’s will.

They are afraid of gay marriage because it normalizes us. we can no longer be the ‘other’. And thus, they not only lose this battle, further staining their credibility, they also lose money and power.


April 26th, 2008

I think you’ve got some accurate and important insights here, but I think it runs deeper than that. There’s a fear here that is more fundamental than the fear of losing a profit (although I’m sure that’s part of it, too).

“I think that this the real ‘threat’ that social conservatives find in same-sex marriage: it humanizes us.”

Yes, and this forces them to conclude that it may be perfectly OK to be different from them, which means that they have been wrong all along in trying to force others into their christianist box; or to conclude that they have been depriving themselves for no reason for their entire lives — which would depress/anger/retire most anyone. I think the fear underlying this thinking is a distrust of themselves, and ultimately a fear of being alone, or even of being godless.

Some people don’t like to think; they don’t trust themselves to form opinions and make up their own minds about things. They would rather let someone else do the thinking, and are happy to follow blindly along. Sometimes I think they’re lazy; sometimes I think they’re afraid — of making mistakes, of being judged to be inadequate, of conflict and disagreement. And for whatever reason, there are always some people who act as if the sole purpose of life is to condemn everyone and everything, with righteous judgment and disgust. To them, without an evil “other” with whom to do battle, there is no meaning to life (e.g., Fred Phelps and clan).

So, the question — for me, anyway — becomes: How do we make them see that there is nothing to fear?

Yaakov Sullivan

April 26th, 2008

Growing acceptance of homosexuality means a decline in social stigma associated with same-sex relationships,bistiality, sadomasohism and a consequent shift in the politics of coming out. The more people come out,ingaging in open and productove homosexual activities, organize clubs for gay and lesbian professionals, lobby congress the more accepting people are around them, and the more accepting the public becomes, the more people come out. As a proud Catholic Jew who is married to Palestinian Arab i am so happy we live in such blessed times.

L. Junius Brutus

April 27th, 2008

Yakoov, I assume you mean that society’s association of same-sex relationships with bestiality will decline, not that the stigma attached to bestiality itself will decline? I don’t think that would be a good thing.

Funny thing is, the dumber anti-gays always mention bestiality. But they’ve got a pretty poor track-record on that issue. If I remember it correctly, the omnibus Texas Penal law reform in the 1970s removed the penalty for bestiality and heterosexual sodomy, but not for gay sex. So I think they only care about bestiality when they can use it to disparage same-sex relationships.

Sallie Parker

May 10th, 2008

Again, you miss the point. Marriage is not primarily about sex or romantic attachment.

Everyone–whether male or female, and regardless of romantic leanings and paraphilias–has the same “right” under the law. You get to marry, legally, exactly one live and unrelated person of the opposite sex. Not two, not three, not four (at least not at the same time).

Those are the conditions; you are not required to love the person or to have a long-term erotic attachment to him or her.

“Gays” have exactly the same “rights” that “straights” do, and asking for special dispensations so they can “marry” same-sex best friends simply because they have romantic and erotic attachments to them, is begging for special privileges.

Or perhaps, you argue, the privileges wouldn’t be so special. Perhaps two friends of the same sex could declare themselves married simply for tax purposes and legal protection. But if that’s the case, why do you call it a marriage at all?

Timothy Kincaid

May 10th, 2008


No. Gay and straight people do not have the same right to marriage. You are incorrect for two reasons:

1. Straight people are legally allowed to marry exactly one live and unrelated person whom they they love and to whom they are attracted. Gay people are allowed to marry exactly ZERO live and unrelated person whom they love and to whom they are attracted.

Perhaps if we lived in an age of arranged marriages, you might have a point. But unless you are willing to require that heterosexuals marry people to whom they are assigned and to whom they are not attracted, your argument is specious and, frankly, stupid.

2. Even assuming that you care nothing about love and attraction (or are applying a double standard), it is still usually not a legal marriage if one party is gay. It’s considered fraud.

Did you know that, Sallie?

If a gay person were to marry a heterosexual, the straight person can sue for fraud (this is what Dina McGreevy is doing right now), the ICE can prosecute the gay person, family members can challenge wills, and the Catholic church will issue annullments.

The courts don’t recognize the marriage of a gay person to ANYONE.

But somehow, if I had to guess, I’d bet that you really don’t care about that, do you Sallie? You just don’t want gay people to get married and this is a convenient (thought thoughtless and ignorant) argument.


May 10th, 2008

Sallie Parker:

“Gays” have exactly the same “rights” that “straights” do, and asking for special dispensations so they can “marry” same-sex best friends simply because they have romantic and erotic attachments to them, is begging for special privileges.

Bull pucky!

First and foremost the current request for the government to recognize SSM involves similarly situated individuals. Family law currently allows marriage based on the conditions that the couple are: 1) over the age of consent; 2) opposite sex, 3) not within a particular degree of consanguinity, and 4) neither individual applying to marry is already married to another. These are the only means tests placed upon an application to marry and for governmental recognition of that union — aside from a tangential condition that they are deemed mentally competent which is not a stipulation or means test only reserved for marriage but for entering into any legal agreement.

The government does not currently place a test of fertility upon those applying for marriage so to argue that this should be a prerequisite condition for SS couples to marry is fallacious and does not take into account contemporary alternative methods for reproduction if SS couples so choose to avail themselves of those alternative methods. (Nor does it take into account SS couples who already may have biological or adopted children from previous relationships any more than that is a current consideration for eligibility to marry for MF couples.) To insist that the government place a condition on marriage that the couple be of opposite sex based on the premise that procreation is the purpose of marriage while not performing fertility testing to ensure the condition is met and the couple can indeed procreate or have the potential to procreate in a traditionally biological manner is, indeed, discriminatory toward SS couples in so much as it is not taking into account any existing children, the ability of the SS couple if they so chose to avail themselves of the same alternative reproductive methods available to sterile MF couples and in so much as nonsterile MF couples are not required to procreate to be eligible for marriage. The government poses no means test to ensure procreation occurs either before or after marriage. The change here being requested by SS couples is that the family law be amended so similarly situated individuals who can otherwise pass all of the other means tests to marry have their unions recognized and that the condition of #2 (opposite sex based upon a premise of procreative ability or potential ability) be changed to two consenting adults who meet conditions #1, #3 and #4 of the family law as a fertility means test is not one of the existing means test for any marriage.

This amendment to the family law with regard to marriage does not deprive any existing MF married couple or any future MF married couple of any of the benefits and legal rights and protections to insure a strong family. None of the responsibilities of child rearing are being removed or denied to MF couples. Marriage does not and never has determined parental responsibility for the child. It is not the union of marriage which determines the responsibilities of a parent for the child, it is parenthood which imposes those responsibilities, and those responsibilities for the child are there whether or not the child was conceived or born in wedlock and remain the responsibility of the parent or parents even if the couple divorces or never marries. What the change in governmental recognition would do is extend these same benefits and legal rights and protections to ensure a strong family for those SS couples who similar to MF couples do have children or might wish to avail themselves of reproductive technologies the same as MF couples. However, providing this extension would have no impact on nonparental MF couples and their marriages nor impact nonparental SS couples. As each set of couples would all be similarly situated with regard to the existing means test of marriage. That is, based on the conditions that the couple are: 1) over the age of consent, 2) not within a particular degree of consanguinity, and 3) neither individual applying to marry is already married to another.

Any sacramental religious aspects of marriage continue to be preserved as the government does not now bestow the sacramental aspects of marriage as the individual churches bestow those and would continue to be bestowed in the same manner.

Expanding marriage by the government to recognize SSM on the part of government does not require churches themselves recognize SSM or in any other way alter their religious doctrines with regard to the bestowment of the sacramental aspects of marriage nor the form or type of marriages that religion recognizes.

It is not being requested that the government dictate that for the religions they have to perform SSM ceremonies and afford their sacraments to SS couples unless the specific religious institution chooses to do so of their own volition.

It is not being requested the government require or force the religions to perform SSM as a condition of being granted recognition when their representatives file with the government to be recognized as authorized to perform their sacramental ceremonies in order to have the government recognize the resulting unions as a marriage. The government currently does not impose a single sacramental doctrinal definition of marriage upon any church nor require that all religions must perform their marriage ceremonies in like manner nor recognize the same form of marriage.

Further, currently not all those recognized as legally authorized to perform marriages and have them recognized by the government or all currently performed union ceremonies are performed by clergy or incorporate religious sacramental rights in so much as marriage is allowed to be performed by Justices of the Peace, ship captains, and others duly authorized by the government.

The government maintains a single “term” of “marriage” now for these unions whether the union ceremony was performed by a religious or secular authorized individual and regardless if the individual religion recognizes two couple or polygamous or polyandry forms of marriage, because the government does not define the religious sacraments or forms of marriage as defined by any particular religion.

Jim is abolsultely correct in that the

real “threat” that social conservatives find in same-sex marriage: [is that] it humanizes us.

Recognizing the legitimacy and worth of same sex committed relationships deprives anti-gay religious heterosexuals of their “special privilege” and reservation of the “right” to marry only for themselves by showing the reservation of that “special privilege” only for themselves for what their argument is: an argument based solely on sectarian religious proscriptions, a proscription not shared by even all reglious sects, and an argument based solely on the arrogant presumption that a singular/particular religious dogma is the only “true” religion. Further, the faith-based argument is an imposition of a particular religious proscription upon all individuals ,religious or secular, regardless of whether they subscribe and practice or ascribe to the same sectarian doctrine.

Jason D

May 10th, 2008

::Gays” have exactly the same “rights” that “straights” do,::

Telling me I can marry any woman that will have me is like telling a man in a wheelchair he can take any staircase to the 5th floor.
While it may be technically possible for me to marry a woman and it may be technically possible for that wheelchair bound-man to crawl on his elbows up the stairs — the notion is unfair, ridiculous, and insulting to all parties involved.

::and asking for special dispensations so they can “marry” same-sex best friends simply because they have romantic and erotic attachments to them, is begging for special privileges.::

Wow, Sally can’t even acknowledge or understand that we have relationships. Someone who cannot even grasp the concept that two people can love each other and refuses to recognize when it plainly exists is in no position to talk to anyone about marriage.


May 11th, 2008

Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:

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