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  •  And, again, it appears you just didn't read (0+ / 0-)

    the actual argument that I am responding to.

    He or she has proposed that we separate the contractual process, to which legal rights and responsibility are attached, from the ceremonial process.

    No. You're substituting your defensible idea for her awful one. I'm not going to stop calling the latter awful.


    AND - here is where you seem to miss the point and respond to a straw man rather than a proposed argument - any people would be entitled to engage in whatever "marriage" ceremony or ritual they would like not just religious, but secular, atheistic, whatever.

    Nope. That's not Soothsayer's argument. She has explicitly contended "that the word  'marriage' should be reserved for religious ceremonies." Among other nasty things that you haven't picked up on.


    Where did he or she say that irreligious people could not get "married"? I missed that.

    Yes, you did.


    I recognize that your proposal lacks the brutal atheophobic effect of Soothsayer's, but I don't agree with yours either. For the government to surrender any interest in the term "marriage"--despite the fact that marriage has been a secular institution for the entirety of American history--would be a stunning retreat in the battle against homophobia, among other types of right-wing nastiness.

    In the face of the slow but steady advance of GLBT rights, permanently ceding the marriage field doesn't make any long-term sense. The "equal rights" you cite are on the way, without the need for such concessions, because institutionalized homophobia is not long for this world. Why concede anything to it at all?

    •  Because I prioritize achieving equality (0+ / 0-)

      over scoring points.

      There is no "concession", except a concession that religious priests are no longer automatically qualified to formalize contractual arrangements between two human beings - only state agents may do so, and priests can apply for the privilege just like anyone else, and be subject to the same requirements - which, in the case of state agents, includes a pledge not to discriminate based on beliefs.

      That may lead some religious leaders to decide they don't choose to become certified state agents for the purpose of certifying a union between two people, but that is their choice - it is not something either required or denied them.

      It is equality all around. What is the problem? Attachment to a term? We don't approve of people calling African Americans "nigger" anymore, either. Should we fight more for the word, or more for true equal rights?

      My proposal does not constitute "ceding" the marriage field to anyone. It preserves the legal equality of all, and frees people to conduct ceremonies, separate from the legal part, however they wish.

      Win-win.

      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

      by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 04:29:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not talking (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        decca

        about "scoring points"!

        The institution of marriage is a valuable thing; it's not a scoreboard "point." It's something that the state has considerable interest in holding onto, and as such it can't be abandoned without a very serious justification. I'm not seeing that.


        There is no "concession", except a concession that religious priests are no longer automatically qualified to formalize contractual arrangements between two human beings - only state agents may do so, and priests can apply for the privilege just like anyone else, and be subject to the same requirements - which, in the case of state agents, includes a pledge not to discriminate based on beliefs.

        I think all of that sounds swell--but if the state is giving up the word "marriage," I'm afraid that that is, in fact, a very large concession.

        (Actually, I think an even better solution than the above would be to disqualify everyone other than judges, justices of the peace, and other similar state employees from adjudicating legally binding marriages. Then religious folks--and for that matter ceremony-inclined irreligious ones--can go off and perform a commemorative ritual of their choice. But it ain't a marriage in the eyes of the law until and unless the state agent says it is. No more "by the power vested in me by the state of..." stuff from clergy.)


        Should we fight more for the word, or more for true equal rights?

        What Perry shows, and what gays and lesbians have been arguing for a decade, is that equal rights are impossible without that word. Equal rights without the title "marriage" would require a cultural sea change in the way Americans conceptualize human relationships. Maybe that can happen over decades' time, but wild Internet hypothesizers like you and me have no right to just wish it into existence. Gays, lesbians, and atheists have to live in the real world.

        •  I question your basic assumption (0+ / 0-)

          the institution of marriage is a valuable thing; it's not a scoreboard "point." It's something that the state has considerable interest in holding onto, and as such it can't be abandoned without a very serious justification.

          Why? Other than legal enforcement of the contract, and of the rights and responsibilities the state attaches to such a contract, why in the world is it the business of the state to get involved in personal decisions people make about their life-partners?

          I think an even better solution than the above would be to disqualify everyone  other than judges, justices of the peace, and other similar state employees from adjudicating legally binding marriages. Then religious folks--and for that matter ceremony-inclined irreligious ones--can go off and perform a commemorative ritual of their choice. But it ain't a marriage in the eyes of the law until and unless the state agent says it is. No more "by the power vested in me by the state of..." stuff from clergy

          Um, other than the unconstitutional, discriminatory disqualification of certain citizens from applying to a job based on their religious preference, the rest of that is EXACTLY what I and Soothsayer have both been advocating.

          Exactly. I spelled it out multiple times.

          Equal rights without the title "marriage" would require a cultural sea change in the way Americans conceptualize human relationships.

          Huh? What "sea change"? Today, a marriage isn't a marriage unless a civil license, signed by both parties to the contract, is filled with the state.

          And, it is not necessary or required for a religious representative to formalize a marriage - it can be done in a completely secular process, by appointment, in City Hall.

          In point of fact, it is the confusion of "marriage" with religious ceremony that is the error that needs correction.

          My proposal would be a win-win for both secular and religious interests.

          - It would remind people that a contractual union between two people is a secular affair, that it is covered by secular law, including a prohibition on discrimination.

          - It would not require churches to perform ceremonies they consider violations of their constitutionally protected beliefs and practices.

          BTW, this is not a new proposal for me. I have been advocating this for a good 40 years, universally.

          It is exactly the point Soothsayer repeatedly made, about separating the civic, secular, legal contract from the ceremonial aspect, and how confusing the two has led us to this sorry state.

          What you present are emotional arguments, not realworld facts.  And, you are fighting against people who essentially agree with you, certainly about desired end results, and even mostly about means.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 05:13:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, come now. (0+ / 0-)

            Why? Other than legal enforcement of the contract, and of the rights and responsibilities the state attaches to such a contract, why in the world is it the business of the state to get involved in personal decisions people make about their life-partners?

            Come on. Courts (including Perry--"The state’s primary purpose in regulating marriage is to create stable households") have repeatedly recognized the legitimate state interests in regulating marriage. Are you seriously contesting that?


            Um, other than the unconstitutional, discriminatory disqualification of certain citizens from applying to a job....

            What? Where did I say anything about "applying to a job"? You've put an entirely unwarranted and very silly spin on what I wrote.

            Anyone can apply to be a justice of the peace, based on criteria that already exist and are necessarily religiously neutral. My suggestion is just that such a state actor--in his/her capacity as a state actor--would be the necessary and dispositive participant in any legally binding marriage. I am merely suggesting ending the practice of granting temporary "state actor" status to clergy (or any private citizen) performing a marriage. There's nothing the slightest bit religiously discriminatory about that proposal.


            the rest of that is EXACTLY what I and Soothsayer have both been advocating.

            No, as I have pointed out continually, it is nothing like what Soothsayer has been advocating. What she actually wrote is there for anyone who's willing to read it.


            Equal rights without the title "marriage" would require a cultural sea change in the way Americans conceptualize human relationships.

            Huh? What "sea change"?

            A sea change in the way "marriage" is conceptualized and understood as the sine qua non of legitimate long-term adult romantic relationships. If you'd like Americans to take such relationships seriously without giving them the title "marriage," a sea change is necessary.

            Of course, your proposal doesn't appear to aim for "equal rights without the term 'marriage,'" so this is of little import to what you are arguing. You. In particular.


            What you present are emotional arguments, not realworld facts.

            Oh, please. I have presented plenty of rational argument and not a few "realworld facts" on this thread. As for emotions, I'm (rather justifiably, IMO) angry because of the horrendous things Soothsayer has actually argued, notwithstanding your refusal to address those actual arguments.

            It's not often that the strawman fallacy is invoked to defend another's argument, but that's precisely what you're doing here. The Soothsayer you are defending is simply and demonstrably not the one who has posted on this thread.

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