The contradiction in 'same-sex marriage'
#1
As suggested, I am taking the discussion on the FB page to this thread.
Here is the summary of the posts:

The link which started the discussion:
Link
Pravin:
To decide whether gay marriage should be permitted, it is necessary to first agree on the purpose of marriage. Depending on how you define the purpose of marriage, you can reach 2 conclusions.

1. The Government/Church should not recognize marriages at all, as it does now. (No need for the institution of marriage/Free for all )

2. If it does, it cannot permit homosexual marriages because of the way the 'telos' of marriage is defined now.

There is no middle ground. i.e. You can't have homosexual marriages.
This line of reasoning has been adopted in many court decisions pertaining to Homosexual marriages.
I can elaborate more if required.

Mathews Sunny Kunnelpurayidom:

the 'telos' is nullified if either partner in heterosexual marriage is known to be infertile, or are simply unwilling to procreate. Yet the state recognises such a marriage. Gay couples can adopt, or in some cases use sperm donors, so there is that too. In other words, your 'telos' isn't the criteria the government uses.

Pravin:
the chief end of marriage is not children as you have assumed. i never pointed towards that. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2009/06/259

Mathews Sunny Kunnelpurayidom:
The conservative American thinktank article you linked to does point to the chief end of marriage as children, so I don't know why you linked to that. Btw, linking to a large article instead of explaining yourself concisely is not considered very polite.

Ajita Kamal
In your opening statement you laid out your premise:
"To decide whether gay marriage should be permitted, it is necessary to first agree on the purpose of marriage."
I reject that premise. The state recognizes marriage as a tangible circumstance that affects various legal issues concerning familial and financial arrangements. "Purpose" is decided by us as individuals, and in progressive circles straight people have no right to exclude gay people from finding purpose in marriage.
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#2
@pravin, your link of nytimes does not work for me.
so i am unable to get what was the discussion about, was it marriages have a purpose , it is to reproduce,gay marriages do not serve this so should be illegal?
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#3
(29-Jun-2011, 12:29 AM)pravin Wrote: Ajita Kamal
In your opening statement you laid out your premise:
"To decide whether gay marriage should be permitted, it is necessary to first agree on the purpose of marriage."
I reject that premise. The state recognizes marriage as a tangible circumstance that affects various legal issues concerning familial and financial arrangements. "Purpose" is decided by us as individuals, and in progressive circles straight people have no right to exclude gay people from finding purpose in marriage.

I think I will disagree with you on that. Marriage as an institution is firmly in the grip of religion as the institution of marriage has predated organized government.The legal rules regulating it are decided after considering the religious aspects. For example, we have different Marriage Acts for different religions in our country (like Hindu Marriage Act)
The chief end/purpose of marriage , as it stands now is not decided by us but by religious institutions. This purpose cannot be altered when we enter into a plain vanilla marriage (according to HMA for example)
Child rearing is only one of the purposes of marriage. Marriage as a religious institution is chiefly to give legitimacy to a union between a man and a woman,
I am not in any way suggesting that this is how it ought to be. I am only suggesting that if you have to give legitimacy to a union between two homosexuals, marriage is not the correct institution.
If you want to permit homosexual marriages, you will have to first take away the institution of marriage from the grip of religion and make it a legal union only. Even when it is a legal union, other aspects like ethics of child adoption/rearing will have to be decided before giving it a go ahead.

In short, the way in which the rules are framed don't allow for Homosexual marriages. You have to oppose the institution of marriage which is a religious institution if you want to legitimize unions between gays. Another way is to just reject the power of religious institutions to solemnize marriages and enter into nuptial contracts with people. (after making sure the law recognizes it)

I am sorry about the link I shared. I skimmed through the first 2-3 paras before deciding to post it. Ignore it please.
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#4
(29-Jun-2011, 12:45 AM)lalitmohanchawla Wrote: @pravin, your link of nytimes does not work for me.
so i am unable to get what was the discussion about, was it marriages have a purpose , it is to reproduce,gay marriages do not serve this so should be illegal?

Sorry, here is the correct link:
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/06/26/2011-06-26_religious_leaders_bash_gay_marriage_law_vow_to_ban_pols_who_supported_measure.html


Edit: There seems to be a problem with sharing large links on the forum. Anyway, ignore the link. It's not important.

My point was that if you support formal unions between gays, you have to oppose the institution of marriage. i.e. Marriage is an unchanging religious institution and is not the right institution to accommodate such unions.
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#5
(29-Jun-2011, 12:51 AM)pravin Wrote: Marriage as an institution is firmly in the grip of religion as the institution of marriage has predated organized government.

Currently government is influenced by religion, but it shouldn't be. There are many things that religion influences that predated government. Murder and theft predated government and was for a long time in our history judged using religious edicts. Reason has firmly placed these aspects of social life within the purview of the government. There is no reason why marriage should not be also removed of religious vestiges.

Quote:I am only suggesting that if you have to give legitimacy to a union between two homosexuals, marriage is not the correct institution.
If you want to permit homosexual marriages, you will have to first take away the institution of marriage from the grip of religion and make it a legal union only.


Religion should not be a factor influencing government's position on marriage. But that cannot be an excuse to deny to some legal rights that are available to others.

Quote:Even when it is a legal union, other aspects like ethics of child adoption/rearing will have to be decided before giving it a go ahead.

What about the "ethics of child adoption/rearing" for straight couples? Who "decided" those for straight marriage before "giving it a go ahead"? In any case, that is a separate issue, and one that has been discussed a lot before. There is absolutely no evidence (except on conservative right-wing propaganda sites) that conclusively says that a child reared in a loving same-sex household will be less healthy, happy and a productive member of society than someone brought up in a mixed-sex household.

Quote:You have to oppose the institution of marriage which is a religious institution if you want to legitimize unions between gays.

I reject that marriage is a religious institution. It may have been one for a long time, and it may still be in part under the influence of religion in India, but this is a flimsy excuse to deny some people the legal rights that should apply to all people. If you want to oppose religious influence over the institution of marriage, very well. One of the first things that will have to go is religion-motivated legal infringements on gay marriage.


"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#6
(29-Jun-2011, 01:23 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote:
Quote:Currently government is influenced by religion, but it shouldn't be. There are many things that religion influences that predated government. Murder and theft predated government and was for a long time in our history judged using religious edicts. Reason has firmly placed these aspects of social life within the purview of the government. There is no reason why marriage should not be also removed of religious vestiges.

No problem with that. I am only saying this is not how things are now.


Quote:Religion should not be a factor influencing government's position on marriage. But that cannot be an excuse to deny to some legal rights that are available to others.

As it stands now in almost all countries, marriage is in the domain of religion. It is always a priest/pundit who solemnizes marriage. You can grant legal rights to homosexuals by recognizing nuptial agreements between them solemnized by the state. You cannot have traditional marriages solemnized by priests for homosexuals.


Quote:What about the "ethics of child adoption/rearing" for straight couples? Who "decided" those for straight marriage before "giving it a go ahead"? In any case, that is a separate issue, and one that has been discussed a lot before. There is absolutely no evidence (except on conservative right-wing propaganda sites) that conclusively says that a child reared in a loving same-sex household will be less healthy, happy and a productive member of society than someone brought up in a mixed-sex household.

It'e difficult to say anything here without giving evidence/studies. In my personal opinion (which could be wrong), I think that children of same-sex couples reared in societies where homosexuality is looked down upon will be at a disadvantage (somewhat similar to the trauma faced by bastards). And this has nothing to do with how loving their parents are. It's based on how society will perceive them.



Quote:I reject that marriage is a religious institution. It may have been one for a long time, and it may still be in part under the influence of religion in India, but this is a flimsy excuse to deny some people the legal rights that should apply to all people. If you want to oppose religious influence over the institution of marriage, very well. One of the first things that will have to go is religion-motivated legal infringements on gay marriage.

Marriage is very much a religious institution, not just in India but all around the world. The right way to go about it is not to try to make amendments to what is permissible in marriage(which will obliviously be resisted by the people who control that institution) , but to get out of it completely and perhaps frame a new sexual ethic for our times that can accommodate human desires as well as enforce parental responsibility.

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#7
(29-Jun-2011, 01:47 AM)pravin Wrote: As it stands now in almost all countries, marriage is in the domain of religion. It is always a priest/pundit who solemnizes marriage.


It is not that simple. Marriage has traditionally been influenced by religion, just as religion has traditionally influenced many aspects of human life, but religion is losing its grip on this institution just as it has in many other areas of human society. In any case, all you really need is a registrar and 2 witnesses for two consenting straight adults to get married. This line of reasoning in no way justifies denying that right to same-sex couples.

What you are trying to do is claim the word "marriage" for religion. I see no reason for doing so. IMO, religion needs to be driven out of public life as much as possible. We have done this in many areas of social life. One of my friends in the US is a humanist minister who frequently officiates marriage ceremonies between atheists. There are many many secular marriages happening around the world today, and there is absolutely no need for atheists who want to celebrate their commitment to each other in public to refrain from doing so just because some people think marriage belongs to their puritanical religious belief system, especially since this particular social activity has important legal implications.

Let me get back to the legal angle. Marriage is recognized by the state today, but not for certain people. None of your arguments along the line of reasoning you present above justify denying homosexuals that same right. If you are against ALL government involvement in marriage, that is of course not a reason for specifically denying to homosexuals the current set of rights that heterosexuals have. And that is certainly not a reason for why homosexuals must not get married.

In any case, even if government gets out of the business of marriage, I still would oppose religious monopoly over the concept and practice of marriage.

Quote:It'e difficult to say anything here without giving evidence/studies.

You are the one who brought up ethical considerations related to child-rearing, so it is up to you to present relevant evidence, preferably from large sample-size, double-blinded studies in peer-reviewed journals. In any case, I have already stated why this is inconsequential to the equality argument. Without evidence even bringing up such an argument suggests subconscious prejudice.

In truth, each case of adoption requires individual oversight. Straight foster parents are as capable of abuse and neglect as gay ones. Some gay parents will undoubtedly be better parents than some straight parents.

Quote:In my personal opinion (which could be wrong), I think that children of same-sex couples reared in societies where homosexuality is looked down upon will be at a disadvantage (somewhat similar to the trauma faced by bastards). And this has nothing to do with how loving their parents are. It's based on how society will perceive them.

Firstly, this is obviously a problem with society, not with the gay couple who wants to lovingly bring up a child in this world. It is society that must be the target of our activism.
Secondly, I have a feeling that most kids would rather have a home, food to eat, and good loving parents than not be looked down upon.
Thirdly, such attitudes change over time. There was a time when divorcees were looked down upon (as they still are in some conservative settings). There was a time when women who worked were looked down upon. There was a time when being dark-skinned was looked down upon. Societal change comes by addressing the prejudice, not by conforming to it.

Quote:Marriage is very much a religious institution, not just in India but all around the world.

As I said above, no it is not. Like many aspects of society it is still unduly influenced by religion. But religion's influence over marriage must go, especially considering the importance marriage has in our society and in our appearance before legal system.

Quote:The right way to go about it is not to try to make amendments to what is permissible in marriage(which will obliviously be resisted by the people who control that institution) , but to get out of it completely and perhaps frame a new sexual ethic for our times that can accommodate human desires as well as enforce parental responsibility.

Can you name one area of influence over people's lives in which "people who control" the institution of religion were happy about giving up their power? There are many things that once were the domain of religion. If one wishes to build a society where religious bigots are not arbitrators of what is the norm, one must fight the religious institution itself. It is important to keep in mind that even though religion has undue influence over these aspects of our lives, it does not have any meaningful input in any explanatory or descriptive sense. Those aspects are naturalistic, and can be supplemented with naturalistic purpose, as we have done in many areas of social living. After all, marriage, as a form of ceremonious celebration of love and commitment, predates every extant religion, and will continue to exist long after all extant religions are unrecognizable in their current forms.

Today, on paper, marriage is much more of a secular thing than you make it to seem, since it transcends all religions. All cultures have some form of marriage. It is the many systems of law that we have come up with using reason, within the modern nation-state and shaped by its interactions with other nation-states, that have shaped the most relevant of contemporary marriage laws (think about the religious marriage laws around the world that have been discarded, not the ones that still persist). In the future, it will be these secular forces that determine what marriage will mean to us as part of a global community.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#8
(29-Jun-2011, 02:43 AM)Ajita Kamal Wrote:
Quote:What you are trying to do is claim the word "marriage" for religion. I see no reason for doing so.


I think what we both agree on is that homosexual unions should have the same legal rights as heterosexual unions. What we disagree on is how it is to be achieved. While I recommend getting out of the institution of marriage completely, you suggest reforming it to include homosexual marriages. Although, it might not seem a trivial disagreement, actually it is a disagreement based only on the choice of words. When I say 'marriage' , I don't include atheist marriages performed without the religious authority solemnizing it. Anyway, its only a disagreement on the definition of marriage. What you call a marriage would be called 'nuptial contract/agreement or a civil union by me.

Quote:Marriage is recognized by the state today, but not for certain people. None of your arguments along the line of reasoning you present above justify denying homosexuals that same right.

I used to think, marriage without one of the religious acts was not possible, but after checking I found that there is a 'Special Marriages Act' too. So, there should be no reason why same-sex couples cannot be 'married' under this act. They cannot however be married under other acts.


Quote:You are the one who brought up ethical considerations related to child-rearing, so it is up to you to present relevant evidence, preferably from large sample-size, double-blinded studies in peer-reviewed journals. In any case, I have already stated why this is inconsequential to the equality argument.

I tried to search for studies but mostly found excerpts on christian websites (confirmation bias). If you want a drink of water, Internet is like a fire-hose.I don't spend my time reading scientific studies, so I could not help with the evidence part.

Quote:Without evidence even bringing up such an argument suggests subconscious prejudice.

It is not prejudice. Rather, before taking the plunge, the worst case scenarios are always to be considered. When you allow adoption for gay couples, you will obliviously want to find out what is the worst thing that could happen to the children. Say, you believe that they will be more prone to stress. You will use that hypothesis and test if it is really true. I never claimed my argument to be true, I merely said it was a possibility.

Quote:Firstly, this is obviously a problem with society, not with the gay couple who wants to lovingly bring up a child in this world. It is society that must be the target of our activism.
Secondly, I have a feeling that most kids would rather have a home, food to eat, and good loving parents than not be looked down upon.
Thirdly, such attitudes change over time. There was a time when divorcees were looked down upon (as they still are in some conservative settings). There was a time when women who worked were looked down upon. There was a time when being dark-skinned was looked down upon. Societal change comes by addressing the prejudice, not by conforming to it.

Agreed.

Quote:It is important to keep in mind that even though religion has undue influence over these aspects of our lives, it does not have any meaningful input in any explanatory or descriptive sense.

Although I am not religious, I have always recognized the role of religion as an organizing force that brings stability and order. Religion has utilized the principle ' Fear of God (Unknown Forces) >> Fear of Man'.
Religion might be outliving its requirement as we transition into a society where the rule of law is growing stronger.

Quote:Those aspects are naturalistic, and can be supplemented with naturalistic purpose, as we have done in many areas of social living. After all, marriage, as a form of ceremonious celebration of love and commitment, predates every extant religion, and will continue to exist long after all extant religions are unrecognizable in their current forms.

Today, on paper, marriage is much more of a secular thing than you make it to seem, since it transcends all religions. All cultures have some form of marriage. It is the many systems of law that we have come up with using reason, within the modern nation-state and shaped by its interactions with other nation-states, that have shaped the most relevant of contemporary marriage laws (think about the religious marriage laws around the world that have been discarded, not the ones that still persist). In the future, it will be these secular forces that determine what marriage will mean to us as part of a global community.

I think you are right. I searched the internet and found that non-religious marriages are possible too, not just in India but in other countries. I always had the image of a priest/pundit solemnizing marriages so I might have exaggerated the role of religion in marriage. And if what you say about marriage pre-dating religion is true, then it makes even more sense to get religion completely out of marriage. When I talked about discarding marriage and forming a new sexual ethic, I meant a sexual ethic drafted by men considering the interests of all parties involved, people as well as children. No big deal if we would still want to call it marriage because then, we would be free to define what marriage means.

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#9
Quote:I think you are right. I searched the internet and found that non-religious marriages are possible too, not just in India but in other countries. I always had the image of a priest/pundit solemnizing marriages so I might have exaggerated the role of religion in marriage.

ofcourse there are, check this out too it was held on (1/1/11) smile .
[Image: 4m.jpg]
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#10
To add quickly: In India, there is the Special Marriage Act of 1954 that stipulates no religious ceremony whatsoever.

From wikipedia:
The main reason behind passing the Special Marriage Act, 1954 was to provide a special form of marriage for the people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of the religion or faith followed by either party.[1] The Act originated from a piece of legislation proposed during the late 19th century.

In 1872 Act III, 1872 was enacted but later it was found inadequate for certain desired reforms, and Parliament enacted a new legislation. Henry Sumner Maine first introduced Act III of 1872, which would permit any dissenters to marry whomever they chose under a new civil marriage law. In the final wording, the law sought to legitimate marriages for those willing to renounce their profession of faith altogether ("I do not profess the Hindu, Christian, Jewish, etc. religion"). Overall, the response from local governments and administrators was that they were unanimously opposed to Maine’s Bill and believed the legislation encouraged marriages based on lust, which would inevitably lead to immorality.[2]

Special Marriage Act, 1954


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