Saturday, August 16, 2014

it gets so hard sometimes to understand

Continuing from the first part, we're picking up with binkey's reply to Matt Sierra:
"From an evolutionary point of view, humanity has been practicing monogamy for no time at all. That and the fact that as a species we're actually not very good at it, makes me doubt that it has had much of an effect on us as a species at all.

Anyway, your arguments are all just conjecture. If you can demonstrate your position with any evidence, I'd be interested in studying it more.

There is also a big difference between arguing for same-sex marriage and arguing for polygamy. Banning same-sex marriage is fundamentally unequal. You are saying that one group of people is allowed to do something that others cannot (marry one person of their choosing). There is nothing unequal about a law against polygamy. That law is applied equally to everyone.

Fundamentally though, I'm not sure I understand I get your economic argument. If you were arguing against the state sanctioning of all marriages, I would get it. But fundamentally you are saying 'Yes, I understand that banning same-sex marriage is unfair, but allowing it would cost me financially, so I'm opposed to it.'

There was a huge financial cost involved in getting rid of slavery, but eventually people recognized that it was fundamentally wrong and stopped doing it. As a species we have a much more solid and much longer tradition of slavery than we do of restricting marriage to being between one man and one woman, but no one (at least no one reasonable) would argue that because of that, we should go back to it."
I agree. And I also love how often Matt's sneaking in that polygamy reference, as if he's thinking we're going to start equating same-sex marriage with polygamy, oh teh shock and horror.

Matt's response:
"'If you can demonstrate your position with any evidence, I'd be interested in studying it more.'
lets see what happens when traditional marriage is let go of by a culture:
http://www.ibtimes.com/japan-encourages-young-people-date-mate-reverse-birth-rate-plunge-it-may-be-too-late-1562867
if a society does not support same sex marriage i dont see anywhere near the same repercussions. im not saying that im against seeing evidence for same sex marriage to be equally beneficial to society. but at this point i have not
His argument here seems to be "See? Japan allowed gay marriage and look what happened!" Except, that's nothing close to what happened. While there are, yes, gay relationships in Japan, for the most part few talk about it. And they have nothing to do with actual marriages among the population. What that article discusses is not homosexuality, but delay--in specific, that Japanese people are choosing to defer marriage until they're more financially stable, and concentrate on their careers in the meantime. As Japan thinks in terms of what happens decades after the now, in economic and sociological terms this is kind of a big deal. But it has nothing to do with same-sex pairings at all. Invalid argument. Next.

From Ella Mongrella:
"What's the difference between paying benefits for a straight couple who can't have kids of their own and a gay couple? Lots of straight marriages are childless."
Excellent question. Matt's response:
"weather taxes increase or not wont change weather the government gets less income or insurance companies get less money from same sex couples. it wouldnt make sense for married couples to file jointly if they ended up paying more. im not saying that same sex marriage will be a detriment to society or even that it will not have a net positive effect but to say that it has an equally good effect on society as traditional marriage is at the least unproven and therefor shouldnt just be blanketed with the same benefits. tax and insurance benefits are not a 'right' they are a 'privilege' that that the government should carefully weigh who to distribute to, rather than dole out so as not to hurt peoples feelings."
What?


First off, that would be "whether", not "weather", but how exactly, does that work in Matt's head? The government and the insurance companies get less money from same-sex couples? Why? Sure, currently, without formalized gay marriage in many states, same-sex couples do not suffer the 'marriage penalty' on taxes that heterosexual couples do--but by and large, they pay more because they're having to do everything by proxy that married couples get by fiat. Tacitly, the case can be made that for certain benefits, overall taxation might go down, but with the increase in marriages overall, taxation would stabilize at a higher, more consistent rate. Also, issues of partner death or illness, joint holdings of assets, and child-rearing would gain strong protections--which in turn would likely lead to more consistent taxation payments. He's just wrong on all counts.

From Ela, again, in a Google+ response:
"'tax and insurance benefits are not a "right" they are a "privilege" that that the government should carefully weigh who to distribute to'
So you are actually saying that gay couples should be denied a 'privilege' that straight couples can have. You're not making yourself sound any better.
He's really not.

Matt's response to that:
"yes, which is to say the same tax and insurance benefits that a single person like myself would experience. traditional marriage fulfills a vital role that same sex marriage or single people like me do not or at the least have not been shown to. would you actually say that single people should be denied a privilege that same sex couples should have? why shouldnt me and some random person just be able to file jointly or why cant i be covered by some random persons insurance benefits just because im not married? (protip: because it's dumb to just give out benefits so that people dont feel excluded)"
That's...pretty dumb as an argument, actually. Moreover, nothing does stop him--beyond filing feels, court costs, and hours of booked time with an estate lawyer--from filing jointly with another random person. It is possible, legally, to gain nearly every benefit of "traditional" marriage in contract law, because--guess what--"traditional" marriage as it is currently interpreted in the United States is contract law. Moron.

There was more back and forth arguing, mostly about taxation and insurance costs, but Matt steadily lost coherency, so I'm done with him.

Peter Peterson said:
"You know Hank, the fact that you don't understand the Anti-Gay point of view is why you are unable to effectively argue against them and change their point of view. To actually change someone's point of view you have to understand why someone believes something and the context of the situation rather than just throwing your arguments at someone. People don't believe in Gay Marriage because they believe God hates it. They don't understand that attempting to ban it is the equivalent of voiding the right of freedom of religion, or if they do they likely believe that to allow Gay Marriage is not upholding God's laws/values, and they must uphold God's values regardless of what laws are put forth in our Constitution.

Remember that Christians (Catholics & High Church Protestants in particular*) are often told stories about Martyrs sacrificing their lives to fight the government for the Glory of God, so the 'Government/Constitution says you can't ban it' argument won't be overly effective.

Similarily, Christians (Low Church Protestants and Evangelicals in Particular*) are heavily entrenched in their beliefs and the culture surrounding their beliefs, so attempting to challenge the underlying biblical beliefs are, while possible, quite difficult.

Merely deflecting their arguments in a hostile fashion will simply make them see you as a non-believer and cling to their beliefs even more. Instead you must see the world from their view, and work to change that view in the issue you want to change it in.

Unless you just want to 'win' an internet debate, which I would argue is impossible since the other side usually runs away screaming 'I CANT HEAR YOU' after hours of arguing, if that was your ultimate goal.

*For reference, the "High Church" Protestants are generally considered to be Lutherans, Anglo-Catholic Anglicans, Presbyterian, Methodists and Calvinists occasionally while "Low Church" Protestants are considered to be Baptists, Pentecostals, Evangelical Anglicans, and most of the smaller Evangelical & Liberal churches. However, the line is a bit fuzzy; there are some low-church Lutherans and high-church Evangelical churches, though the latter is much rarer than the former."
I think Hank's point was more that, however tenacious the "traditional" religious types are about this, that our government as a whole should not allow themselves to be swayed by religious interests. (Which is hard, because they are so annoyingly vocal, EVERYWHERE, right now.) That whole separation of church and state is kind of a big deal to many of us, and seeing it chipped away year by year is hurtful. We are more diverse a population than the fundamentalists care to understand--they just want things to go their way. (But the problem inherent in that is even among hardcore fundamentalists, their perceptions of 'their way'/'the RIGHT way' to do things varies WIDELY.)

From Isabel Greene in response:
"f you can find a place in the bible where it says that god doesn't like gay people. i will applaud you. :P And I agree that it's impossible to argue it w/o understanding their view point, but i also think that this country is supposed to have a separation of religion and state and that anti-gay marriage laws clearly violate that in most cases. YES there are arguments about how having two of the same sex parents can be bad for a kid, but a) not being married doesn't mean they can't have kids, so it doesn't matter, and b) there's not a lot of good evidence to support that."
There are passages that are widely interpreted--which is the key word, here--to reference homosexuality. What's problematic about all of them is that, as the NALT Christians Project clearly points out, what we understand today as homosexuality--and heterosexuality, for that matter--didn't exist in the times in which the Bible was written. It's mostly Paul in various letters in the New Testament giving specifics, anyway, about what constitutes abhorrent and un-approved behavior for other Christians, and nowhere in anything that he writes does he ever, not once, refer to a happy, committed gay relationship as sinful or against God. What he does reference, and often, is the behavior of Roman statesmen, who were the main oppressors of the emerging Christian faith at the time. And what were Roman statesmen mainly known for? Having sex with their slaves as a diversion. Anyone who is enslaved cannot give consent, even if they are not morally opposed to what's being asked of them. They are enslaved, forced to another's will, and thus lack agency in any way. Plus, many of the preferred sexual slaves of choice were young boys, which adds on a whole separate layer of non-consensuality.

The Bible, through the writings of Paul, rightly, I think, condemns these forced "relationships" as against God for various reasons. But these relationships have nothing to do with homosexuality as we understand it now. So this entire line of thinking is wholly specious and without merit.

From Andrew Whythe:
"If somebody wants to marry their brother?
spamvicious in response:
"That's illegal because it would be incest, regardless of their gender."
Andrew's reply:
"Yes it's illegal - but if they want to. You're not supportive of marriage equality?"
Here's the thing about marriage equality, Andrew, and it's the same argument that can be made for incest, bestiality, and polygamy (not that these things are related, just listing other proposed 'married states' that usually crop up in Christian arguments). If something is illegal for all citizens, then it's not something that impacts equality. Everyone's already equal in that no one is allowed to marry their siblings, marry goats, or marry groups. How'ver, the fact that a man can marry a woman, but a man cannot marry a man (or a woman a woman) in some states means that they do not have full equality. Does that make sense, Andrew, or do I need to dumb it down further?

Jocelyn Bowling
"That is illegal more for the factor of mutation that would come of the offspring over what the person 'wants.' Incest creates medical issues that are purely avoidable, which is why it is made illegal."
Absolutely. To which Andrew replied:
"And homosexuality does not? The point is, it's inconsistent to forbid (thus far) incestuous or pedophiliac, polyamorous etc. marriages and enshrine this one."
Err, no, because incestuous and pedophilic relationships are already illegal, and that's not likely to change. And while I, personally, would like polyamorous relationships to be legalized, I can cope that the majority of people do not want them to be, and since--again--polyamorous relationships are not allowed marriage rights for all citizens, there's no inequity involved.

Jocelyn in reply:
"Homosexuality cannot biologically produce offspring so thetefore no, homosexuality does not give potentially deadly preventable diseases to babies. Sorry."
And it's true. While, at some point in the far future, we may be able to genetically engineer two sperm or two eggs to create reproductive ability, in a lab, I'm fairly sure it's never going to happen "in the wild", so to speak. So she's right, there.

Andrew in response:
"The life expectancy, incidence of STDs, alcoholism and other things are way higher in the homosexual community. And who are you to tell people who want to marry their sister (and vice versa) that they can't, what sort of bigot are you."
Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were just an idiot. Turns out you're a troll. Right. Done with you, too.

From Sara St. Clair:
"Also in a homosexual relationship both people know what they are getting into and any children adopted or surrogated will be okay. But in a brother and sister relationship the child that may be produced has no way of controlling the brain defects and other diseases you have a chance of forcing on them. This is why it's wrong because it is literally genetically wrong."
A very good point.

From Kaci Smith:
"Marriage should be between two people who love each other. A man and a woman marrying that arent in love is worse than teo people of the same sex marrying... A few decades ago marrying outside of your race was illegal. For example an African American could not marry a white person. It was also illegal for a black person to drink from the same water fountain as a white person.. To most of us these laws seem ridiculous, barbaric and unconstitutional yet not allowing same sex couples to marry is ok.. In a few decades people will look back at how same sex couples are treated and have the same thoughts that we do about how African Americans were treated in the past. They will wonder how and why so many ppl were so ignorant and full of hate... Ill never understand why ppl believe same sex couples getting married will harm them. Even if youre a Christian you should believe that God is the one and olny person who can judge them and if God believes same sex couples are a sin then he will deal with it. Just because Fred and Bob get married and have sex it doesn't mean everyone in the world is going to hell.... If anything thr bible says ur suppose to love all of Gods creatures not just the ones who have sex with the opposite sex... In my opinion religion breeds more hatred than love and acceptance... Who Bob, Fred, John, Jacob, Ashley, Amanda, Victoria, Suzie etc decide to have sex with and or marry is nobodies business except the person they decide to marry or have sex with... Sex before marriage is also a sin and yet 97% of Christians have premarital sex.... Stop judging others and pointing out their "sins" and pay attention to your own sins... Religion is one thing ive spent years studying and disliking... The more I learn, the more i dislike it..."
Also a good point.

stfwho responded:
"the right to marriage is not the same as the right to drink water. The act of drinking water wasn't created specifically for linear reproduction and raising of offspring. Marriage was designed to be between a man and woman specifically because of the awesome power that men and women have when they combine their lives and their sex organs. One man and one woman have sex, and a life is created that they both need to stick together to nurture and raise. Two men have sex, and they walk funny the next morning. One of these could really NEED marriage, the other just needs lube. That's really the only logical reason to say marriage should be exclusive to heterosexuals... it's their ritual that works well with their superpower of creating life. Gay people should have all the same rights as regular people. It's just that marriage itself isn't so much a right as it is a ritual and practice based on a need for an answer to a sexual issue. Thank you for your time."
So, from your perspective, only those who can breed should be allowed to marry? What if the heterosexual couple can't? Or doesn't want to? Would you have the government force sexual testing on all potential marriage partners? And what happens to children who are orphaned, or abandoned? Are you saying because they weren't born into a household with a man and a woman who fathered and gave birth to them, specifically, that they don't matter?

They continue:
"Ever wondered why it's a sin to have sex before marriage? Cuz it creates chaos and disorder. If everyone waited until marriage, we would never have any bastards or abandoned single mothers or kids whom the mother doesn't know who the father was. All of that is because of sex. Why is the only legitimate reason for divorce in the bible sexual infidelity? Because if your wife sleeps with another man, your sexual exclusivity is broken. That would lead to confusion as well. Now of course all of these things are of course going to be broken by everyone, but the rules do make perfect sense from a mathematical view. That's why marriage exists; in a perfect world, we'd have perfect order, and an incredibly big part of that would be the whole practice of marriage. It's where the next generation would come from. Raised by their biological parents in a nuclear family setting. That's why marriage is so special and that's why it isn't just about love and feelings. It has a practical purpose that was designed for a reproductive couple. If you think marriage is all about love, why has arranged marriage been a normal thing in the world far longer than our modern idea of marriage?"
So, in a perfect world, they're saying, everyone would wait until they were old enough to marry (impossible), there would be no rape (ludicrous, considering the rape statistics), no incest (REALLY ludicrous considering that one in EVERY four women in the US has been sexually abused or raped), and only single, virgin men would marry single, virgin women and immediately begin to raise children for the coming generations. That's...that's baffling to me, just how wrong-headed that is.

Plus, arranged marriage everywhere had nothing to do with love or reproduction--it had to do with property rights and estate wealth. Virtually everywhere you look throughout history, it was a trading game. In India, the family of the bride traded the bride--a burden on the family economically, but a valued unpaid servant--for economic gain, thus supplanting that servant to both increase the family's coffers, and potentially buy another servant to take her place. In Western Europe, plots of land typically were retained--though not legally "owned"--by women, and by marrying them, men gained legal rights to their holdings, and thus, any economic gains received. We see this pattern over and over, and it has nothing to do with babies in the least.

From steve cannon:
"Marriage was originally about property rights. The woman became the property of her husband and all her property became his. Marriages were arranged so that property would be kept in families. Marriage assured that the children of the couple would be the "legitimate" heirs and bastards wouldn't be able to inherit. That's what marriage was about in the earliest years, not love or God, property. If procreation were the goal, people who were barren would not be allowed to get married (like older folks who can't have kids and people who marry but decide NOT to have kids), only folks of child bearing age with the ability to have kids would be allowed to get married. Before you start talking about biology and morality, get your facts straight (sic)."
Yes, exactly, thank you for echoing my points.

From Henry Wallace:
"If you're talking in a mathematical point of view, the best way to create a 'next generation' is where one man has several wives because a man can produce sperm on a daily basis but it takes 9 months for women to produce babies. This means that if one man were to have, say 5 wives, he would be able to produce 5 babies every 9 months rather than one. Maybe Islam got it all right...."
As strange as that would make America, and as much as people on all sides of the issue would carry on about it, from a purely biological point of view, he's not wrong.

From Granticus3000:
"It is against my religion to allow gay marriage. Marriage is meant for a man and a woman, that's how God made it. I don't expect everyone to believe in my religion and I know many people don't believe in my religion, but that doesn't mean I have to support gay marriage. Really that argument is being hypocritical, it's saying that not every believes in your religion so we should not base laws on it, but we should allow gay marriage because I believe in it. Not everyone believes in gay marriage so stop using that argument, it's hypocritical!
Thank you, Granticus, for completely missing the point of the entire video. Ffffft.

And while I was willing to go on into part three, I think you get the point from here. Gay marriage remains an incredibly divided issue, and the closer religion's a part of the mix, the more the other side just fails to hear anything clearly.

This country abolished slavery because we felt it to be wrong--but not just morally wrong; it was economically and sociologically wrong, as well. It took several years of struggle before full rights were granted to blacks, including both the right to marry citizens (of any skin color), the right to enter establishments owned and operated by white people, the right to serve in the military...the list goes on. And there are still hardcore, defiant racists to this day who feel this country made the wrong decision.

Now we have gay marriage, another situation where one sector of the population is being restrained from full legal rights to marry and engage with other citizens in chosen contractual obligations, and while great strides have been made, these types of attitudes are exactly why we're having the struggle in the first place: because again, it's not just a moral issue, it's an economic and a social one, as well. In the end, I think we will look back as a society and realize how pointless this all was, and how much easier it would have been if we'd just allowed it in the first place.

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