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Let me be clear on two points, before I begin.

  1.  I am a strong gay marriage supporter, though I think it should be fixed on the federal level.  Forcing a couple to stay in a specific state, in order to keep their marriage benefits, violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution.  I believe that Prop 8's passage actually, ironically, provides a far better chance at winning federal recognition of gay marriage than if the proposal had been defeated.  (Though, of course, had I lived in California, I'd have voted "no" with most of the rest of you.)
  1.  I am absolutely not making a moral equivalence between being gay, and committing incest.  

That said, I haven't seen the incest issue raised much in the current diary discussions, and it's worth examining -- not just as an intellectual exercise, but as a way of perhaps explaining why some otherwise liberal individuals still oppose gay marriage.

If you do a google seach for "gay marriage" and "incest", you will indeed find quite a few excellent articles and editorials.  There was a flood of them in 2003, when the Supreme Court was set to rule on the legality of sodomy.  Here's an excerpt from a Slate piece:

This week, the Associated Press published an interview with Rick Santorum, the third-highest ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. Referring to a pending case involving sodomy laws, Santorum argued, "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery."

David Smith, the communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's leading gay rights organization, accused Santorum of "disparaging an entire group of Americans." "He's advocating that a certain segment of American society be disavowed from constitutional protection," Smith charged. "The outrageous thing ... is he put being gay on the same legal and moral plane as a person who commits incest. That is repugnant in our view and not right."

Why not?

Let's leave adultery and polygamy out of it for the moment. Let's set aside morality and stick to law. And let's grant that being attracted to a gender is more fundamental than being attracted to a family member. Santorum sees no reason why, if gay sex is too private to be banned, the same can't be said of incest. Can you give him a reason?

I have struggled with this one myself.  My parents both oppose gay marriage, and the "what about incest?" counter is usually brought up by them at some point as well.  Of all the arguments I can refute, the incest question is the only one that genuinely stumps me.

The key issue, as I understand it, behind gay marriage equality is this: two consenting adults have the right to marry each other, and it's none of the government's business who you've fallen in love with.  I wholeheartedly agree.  

And yet bans against marrying your cousin, sister, father, etc., are probably supported by more than 95% of Americans.  In most states, it's even illegal to marry step-siblings or step-cousins with no biological relation at all.  It is illegal for the sole reason that the majority of Americans find incest repugnant.  

"But, but, birth defects!" someone will inevitably shout.  But this is an absurdly weak argument when you think about it.  For one thing, the risk of birth defects among first cousins does go up, but not significantly: "only 2 percent more of a chance of having children with birth defects as compared to unrelated couples," according to ABC News and other sources.  Risk of birth defects among incestuous siblings is higher, but still we're still talking 8-10% numbers (as opposed to 3-4% of unrelated couples.)  

More importantly in debunking the birth defects argument is the simple fact that we never, ever forbid someone to marry because they have a greater likelihood of children with genetic disorders.  There are all sorts of conditions one can have that causes a higher rate of birth defects.  Hell, if you're a woman on the acne drug Accutane, with causes birth defects more severe than thalidomide, I'm pretty sure you'd still get to marry who you choose to marry.  Would anyone really deny a couple the right to marry if, for example, they both contained the genetic markers to cause a diabetic or cancer-risk child?  Of course not.

So what's left?  Other than, we have a gut-reaction against it, an opposition based on morality alone?  If marriage should not be denied to any two consenting, legal-aged adults, what would be the legal, rational justification -- not moral, but legal -- for forbidding the rights of a cousin to marry a cousin, a mother to marry her son, a brother to marry his sister, or a father to marry his father?

Now, people have been throwing the word "bigot" around to describe those who supported Prop 8.  I am a non-believer and a strong Prop 8 opponent, but I refuse to believe that my parents, my friends, and my extended family are all "bigots".  That's simply too strong a word, and it offends me.  Marriage has been taught as the union between a man and a woman for countless generations.  You can't just expect hundreds of millions of people to forget something they've been taught their whole life, overnight.  How long do you think it took the average citizen to go from believing the world was flat, to believing it was round?  

Of course gay marriage is the fairest resolution, and most logically protected by law.  But remember, "same-sex marriage" is a pretty new legal concept anywhere in the world.  The first nation to legalize same-sex marriage -- in human history -- was the Netherlands, in 2001.  In fact, even legally recognized "civil unions" for gay couples is a brand new thing -- the first legal same-sex civil union happened in 1989, in Denmark.  If you've been taught and believed your entire life that marriage was a God-given right reserved for one man and one woman, it doesn't necessarily make you a "bigot" to, for example, support gay civil unions instead.  

So for those of you who continue to insist that anyone who doesn't support gay marriage is hopelessly bigoted, uneducated, or just plain evil, think about how you would feel if there was a proposition to eliminate all incest-related laws, and legalize and formalize any and all marriages, incestuous or otherwise.  Each and every argument in support of gay marriage would still apply -- a brother and sister getting married wouldn't affect your marriage, after all, why would you deny the rights of two fellow citizens the chance to love each other, solely on the basis of your own moral opposition?  

I must admit, I'm stumped.  Morally, it still feels to me that incestuous marriages are wrong, and should be illegal.  But I have absolutely no intellectual, rational reason for this belief -- and as such, aren't I a hypocrite for supporting gay marriage, and not this?

Originally posted to cartwrightdale on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:47 PM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Equality.

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From a legal perspective, I believe...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Again, please please... (39+ / 0-)

    ...do not think I'm arguing the moral equivalence of homosexuality and incest.  But from a legal, rational perspective, it's absolutely worth discussing, and I look forward to reading your comments on the distinction (if you believe there should be one.)

    Thanks!

    "Don't hope for a stronger America. Vote for one." - John McCain. I agree!!!

    by cartwrightdale on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:48:10 PM PST

    •  I was really hoping to see (10+ / 0-)

      a serious discussion of political and moral philosophy on the questions you raised. I'm really disappointed to see that commenters are instead slamming you for asking the questions.

      It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

      by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:55:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How is allowing gay marriage anymore of (9+ / 0-)

        a step to incest then allowing straits to marry?  I believe the number of opposite-sex insestual relationships as compared to same sex is the same as to the population in general.  So why hasn't my marriage to my wife lead to you marrying your sister (assuming you are a guy)?

        McCain = "A whine, a swear word, and P.O.W."

        by ETinKC on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:05:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think he's asking (14+ / 0-)

          for an argument in favor of gay marriage that would not also be an argument for incestuous marriage between consenting adults.

          He's trying to argue the point but he needs help with the argument.

          If you're going to attack the question, then you should propose how the question should be attacked, other than just ridiculing it.

          Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude.

          by InsultComicDog on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:11:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The question assumes the following: (5+ / 0-)

            if gay marrige then why not insest.  The problem is that the question itself makes no sense.  Might as well say if peanutbutter then apples - in what way does one follow from the other?

            If the argument is that one version of hte bible says being gay is wrong and if it allowed then all morality goes out the window, then that is the question we should be addressing.

            I guess I am saying we need to try to ban oppisite-sex marriage becasue it obviously leads to insest in more cases then gay marriage ever would.

            McCain = "A whine, a swear word, and P.O.W."

            by ETinKC on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:16:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Saying "well that makes no sense" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wee Mama, Norbrook

              without a coherant and logical reason as to WHY it makes no sense opens up the response, "well of course not, you're whole position makes no sense".  It's the same level of reasoning, and they win with the wookie defense.

              If the wookie lives on Endor, you must acquit.

              By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

              by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:26:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The question is this: (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wee Mama, jlynne, Seneca Doane, Norbrook

              Gay marriage rulings basically say that any two consenting adults have a right to get married - and that any prohibition based on religious belief is invalid.

              Essentially, there needs to be a state interest demonstrated aside from religious prohibitions if incest is to be kept illegal.  Gay marriage struck down the 'religious prohibition' argument.

              Right on, Dr. Dean.

              by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:26:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The question makes sense.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Guelph

              ...in the context of arguing against liberal arguments for SSM.  It is a more finely honed argument than polygamy, because it involves a qualitative as opposed to quantitative distinction, and the latter can be easily dismissed for all sorts of legal reasons.

              "We're half awake in a fake empire."

              by Alec82 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:31:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It makes a lot of sense. (6+ / 0-)

              There are traditional moral prohibitions against gay sex and marriage, even between two consenting adults.

              There are traditional moral prohibitions against incestuous sex and marriage, even between two consenting adults.

              If we decide that the moral beliefs of other people should not prevent gay couples from marrying, why would we not decide the same thing about incestuous couples?

              That is the very sensible question the diarist is asking.

              It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

              by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:38:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would think (0+ / 0-)

                that part of the equation comes down to how the group would be treated under an equal protection analysis.  For example, race and gender can be considered suspect classes (generally there is not a valid reason for the classification...though it is easier under current jurisprudence to prove a valid reason for gender when talking about certain professions).  I, personally, think that sexual orientation should be a suspect class...especially since gender has been held not to constitute a suspect class when the classification has to do with sexual orientation.  So, the question becomes what "class" is being affected by incest laws?  It wouldn't be race, or gender...possibly age, in certain circumstances.  If the class is considered close relatives, then it may not be a suspect class and any classification based on such distinction would be judged under the rational basis test...this merely requires that the law could theoretically relate to a legitimate state interest...whether or not that interest was in fact the basis for the law.

                Sorry for the rambling...

          •  As a Gay man from the Ozarks I kind of get it (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wee Mama, Catte Nappe, jabney, Yamara, Norbrook

            and I did kiss my male cousins rather than the female ones.

            One of the earliest ways, some may remember, we tried to actually establish inheritance rights that would stand up in Court was through adult adoption, and we ran head on into this issue.  It really is not irrelevant.  I could wander in to Court and secure your right to inherit from your partner and to be a legal family, and get you clobbered, although every one would know the whole adoption was simply a way to use what law we could, and any resultant incest at most theoretical, and that when the terms Daddy and son were caught on that tape they meant something entirely different.

            Having majored in Anthropology I did have to consider the question whether the incest taboo (described differently by different cultures) applied in America to sex between brothers as equally as to sex between a brother and his sister, for example, and if so why.

            It seems a long and somewhat academic battle, but two brothers, male cousins, whatever, are somewhat unlikely to inbreed.

            And as I said, being from Arkansas, incest has always been a point of interest <snark>, though I really was appointed as young attorney in the Ozarks to defend a man charged with incest as a crime, and also, somewhat paradoxically now, have a son I adopted as an adult whom Arkansas seems to have disowned along with my other adopted kids.  He and his female "partner" come for dinner fairly often.

            A truly marvelous world.

            God and ego are not equivalent expressions of reality.

            by Othniel on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:26:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Incest is a separate issue. (0+ / 0-)

            The diarist's parents bring this argument up because they too have bought into the slippery slope argument.

            All the diarist has to say to his parents is simply, marriage equality does not inevitably lead to incest.  For example, Massachusetts recognizes marriage between persons of the same sex, but it has not lead to legalization of incest.  Dismiss the slippery slope argument and move on.

            Opponents of marriage equality like to bring incest up because it blurs the argument and gives you that icky gut feeling that somehow they must be right.  Instead of saying, I am personally against two men marrying because I am ignorant/bigoted/religious/uncomfortable and revealing their true selves, they use the slippery slope argument and hide their true feelings about the idea of two persons of the same sex marrying.

            The only difference between a "Gay" marriage and a straight marriage is the sex between the parties legs.  If we believe that the constitution does not allow for discrimination because of one's sex, then recognition of "straight" marriage and not "gay" marriage is sex discrimation.

        •  Honestly (0+ / 0-)

          I think that straight marriage (the legally recognized union between two consenting adults, one male and one female) as a strong precedent for gay marriage AND some of these incestuous marriages.

          Right on, Dr. Dean.

          by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:25:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Because "allowing" straights to marry (0+ / 0-)

          is what has always traditionally been done. Legalization/legal recognition of gay marriage depends upon breaking down some traditional moral taboos about who should have sex with, and be allowed to marry, whom. So does legalization of incestuous marriage.

          It's pretty simple, really.

          It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

          by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:35:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  He is not saying it's a step. (0+ / 0-)

          He's asking what legal arguments can be made for different treatment.

          And with a name like Terri, why would you assume I'm a guy?

          It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

          by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:16:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps... (0+ / 0-)

        she is being 'slammed' because she ARGUES THE VERY POINT SHE SO DESPERATELY TRIES TO DEFLECT.

        If I came on her and argued that MISCEGENATION should be revived because it was only 40 years ago that the court stopped it (after centuries of it being the legal and moral position) - and because it is defensible using the same arguments - would you be quite this dense?

        This is - perhaps - one of the most ridiculous diaries I have ever read here - and that is saying quite a lot.

        I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

        by GayIthacan on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:28:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You say that miscegenation was stopped (0+ / 0-)

          40 years ago after centuries of being legal, and you imply that miscegenation isn't defensible, and you say I'M dense and the diary is ridiculous?

          FYI, miscegenation is marriage or sex between individuals of different races.

          Now, as to your silly argument:

          The diarist is not arguing against gay marriage. So the parallel of arguing against prohibition of miscegenation (which I assume is what you actually meant), on the basis that it is equivalent to incest, does not apply.

          What the diarist is saying is, essentially,

          1. I support gay marriage.
          1. Some people, including my parents, try to argue with me about gay marriage, because they say the justification for legalizing gay marriage is the same as the justification for legalizing incestuous marriages: the government should not prohibit marriage between consenting adults.
          1. I don't know how to respond to this argument, because I agree that in both cases it makes sense to say that consenting adults who love each other should be allowed to marry each other, even if it makes some people's skin crawl. Other than the birth defects issue, are there any other distinctions you Kossacks can come up with besides the birth defects?

          So which part of that is ridiculous?

          It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

          by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:07:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  If you aren't equating it, then why (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, sullivanst

      do so in your title?

      Speak softly and carry a big can of tuna.

      by Cat Whisperer on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:06:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A sort of answer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NWTerriD, Verstand

      The main difference is really in terms of the magnitude of society's disapproval. I know that doesn't help much, but it's the best I can do.

      Qualitatively, I haven't seen any argument about gay marriage that can't be used for incest (or polygamy and polyandry for that matter). I guess I'm in the same shoes as you.

    •  Social norms (0+ / 0-)

      I think the social norms against close relatives marrying--and the refusal of religious organizations to approve the ceremonies--are strong enough to deter marriages between close relatives.

      I think this is an area where social norms are sufficient.  A law isn't necessary.

    •  I understand what you were trying to say. (7+ / 0-)

      not agreeing or disagreeing, but well written and well stated.

      I am disappointed to see you slammed for it below though. It is your diary, it was well thought out and you had every right to publish it.

    •  As a 54 year-old gay man... (0+ / 0-)


      ...I've met more men than I can count whose first experience was with a cousin.

      So intellectually, it's an interesting question as far as gay marriage goes (I'd be for allowing it).

      As for discussing your inability to discern the difference between gay marriage and incestual marriage, I personally won't waste my time on this straw man.

      The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. - H.L. Mencken

      by two roads on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:23:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Incest is used as slippery slope argument... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, Cat Whisperer, vipersdad

      and does not relate to the merits for the argument for marriage equality.  Don't let them fool you.

      Description of Slippery Slope

      The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This "argument" has the following form:

        1. Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
        2. Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.

      This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.

      People use incest/beastiality/polygamy etc. as an excuse not to support marriage equality for whatever reason they may have; i.e. prejudice, fear, ignorance, religion.  Opponents of marriage equality argue that we would go down this slippery slope if we support marriage between same sex couples.  

      Incest/beastiality/polygamy are separate issues that opponents of marriage equality bring up to muddy the waters and instill fear in people.  When someone brings these points up in reaction to marriage equality, let them know that they are using a slippery slope argument that is false.  Let them know that marriages between persons of the same sex have been recognized in Massachussetts and Connecticut, and many other open-minded countries, and have not lead to the legalization of incest/beastiality/polygamy.  And if they would like to do a thought exercise about the merits of incest/beastiality/polygamy, then let them, but also remind them that these are separate issues from marriage equality.

      •  "Separate" does not mean "unequal" in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pinguin

        this context. Incest is a "separate" issue, but the underlying logical arguments for/against legalization of incest and gay marriage are pretty much identical.

        The only differences that would matter for purposes of the argument are the birth defects issue and the question raised by some commenters here about true "consensuality" in incestuous relationships. Take those two issues out, and the arguments for and against same-sex marriage are logically indistinguishable from those concerning incestuous marriage.

        It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

        by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:06:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, but you're wrong (0+ / 0-)

          Marriage equality is not a matter of "logic" but constitutional principles.  (For example, the trial court judge in Loving v. Virginia "logically" concluded that God put different races on different continents because He intended for them to remain separate; whatever logical appeal, it didn't comport with the Constitution).  Denial of marriage equality is a violation of the constitutional right to equal protection under the law, and a fundamental individual right.  In order to justify disciminating on the basis of sexual orientation, the government needs to establish the appropriate reason.

          Talk about incest or polygamy or "marrying one's dog or cat" is just a lame trick by the rightwing to distract from the analysis that courts - and voters/legislatures - should use.

    •  Look at it through a state interest lense (0+ / 0-)

      The state (government) has an interest in avoiding incest: there is a statistically significant and known effect whereby the future population would be degraded if there were more incest-based marriages.

      When it allowed same-sex marriages, the court found that

      1. the equal protection clause seemed to support gay rights
      1. there was no compelling state interest in rejecting gay rights

      That's the thing...courts and governments don't just have to uphold the law of the land, but they also have to ensure their own survival.  There is no state interest in barring gay marriage.  There is a state interest in barring incest.

      Now, to get to your point about genetic markers for disease and such--that's a separate bioethics issue, and I think we all agree we don't want to go down that road.  People already know if they are siblings; there's no great burden to pre-screen for that characteristic.  If we expect everyone to take blood tests for genetic markers before hooking up, that's an entirely different burden and personally I think it's very easy to draw the line between one group and the other.

      No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

      by steve04 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:50:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  However (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        steve04

        THis doesn't disallow marriages between family members of the same sex, infertile incestuous marraiges, or simply incestous sex acts.

        Right on, Dr. Dean.

        by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:52:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  State interest in consenting adults (0+ / 0-)

          If we're discussing siblings, there's an established precedent for drawing a line at consenting adults, and also the age of consent gets blurry if the age difference between people is less than 2 years or something.

          With siblings, there's a power dynamic between older and younger siblings that makes for a potential situation where the older one could prey on the younger one.  

          Gay twins who want to hook up?  Can I type that without having my tongue in my cheek?  At what point do we decide a subgroup of a subgroup is too small to warrant discussion and special treatment under the law?  Not everyone has to fit into a category that we can legislate for or against.

          No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

          by steve04 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:06:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Siblings already have familial status... (0+ / 0-)

          ...under the law. As I noteded further down-thread, If anyone thinks siblings should have more rights and protection under family law than they do now, then go for it. It is 100% nothing to do with, and is entirely irrelevant to the issue of ending gender discrimination in marriage law (i.e. legally recognizing same-gender marriages).

          It is thrown into the discussion by those unfamiliar with the law and/or those using it as a slippery-slope argument or scare tactic.

          cheers,

          Mitch Gore

          Proud to support President-elect Obama

          by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 07:02:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Separate comment, history of marriage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cat Whisperer

        Marriage hasn't always been such a cut and dried proposition.  Before the advent of accurate record keeping and good communication, the church government did not know what constituted every marriage performed under church auspices.  There are specific documented examples of same-sex couples marrying in religious ceremonies in American history and British history.

        There are also examples of gay couples being married by county clerks mid-century, in the absence of specific laws saying the clerks couldn't marry people of the same sex.

        http://www.womenofbrighton.co.uk/...

        This concept that gender is so cut and dried really falls apart when you learn that about 1 in 4500 children is born intersex, i.e. with genitals that don't fall on one side or the other of an invented tidy line that helps us organize our thoughts.

        No on Prop 8::Sometimes I get to hitch a ride on the Democratic Bus--they let me stand on the back bumper.

        by steve04 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:01:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  you can't debate ridiculous arguments.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KentuckyKat

      ...on their face or with good faith.

      Most incest is perpetrated by hetrosexual men against young female family members, but that is no more and argument against hetrosexual marraige than it is an argument against homosexual marraige.

      You can't argue it intelligently, the only thing you can do is point out and demonstrate why it's a false argument.

      You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

      by DawnG on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:55:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and, since I realize now the argument addresses.. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        steve04, Catte Nappe, KentuckyKat

        ...ADULT incestuous relationships, let me also counter that you almost NEVER see consentual sexual relationships between close family members EXCEPT as the result of sexual abuse as a child.

        Children do not come to desire their parents or sibling sexually unless they are raised (abused) to do so.  

        With a very few notable exceptions being where a married couple discovers they are half-siblings after being raised apart and not realizing their relationship.

        You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

        by DawnG on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:01:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I realize that you are getting slammed for this (5+ / 0-)

      but it's a legitimate question.  Here's my answer:

      I think that we suspect that the "threat to the nuclear family" problem actually does exist, and that allowing incest (at least at the nuclear family level) creates a danger of coercive sex within the nuclear family.  (Bear in mind that your poll would allow marriage between siblings, parents and children, grandparents and children, etc.)

      The problem -- interestingly, with both gay marriage and incestuous marriage -- may be less with "marriage" per se as with courting.  The thing that many men and women really find disturbing about gay sex is that it means that there is no social prohibition against members of their gender hitting on them in public.  (Hence, in particular, the male anxiety -- evident at any comedy roast -- with anal rape.)

      Now, frankly, my answer to that is that people just have to "suck it up" (that is intended as a completely non-sexual usage) and accept that people of their gender do have the right to hit on them, and they have the right to say "no" (or even "fuck off!", if not accompanied by violence) and have that preference be respected.

      It is not at all clear that the same is true as regards incest within a nuclear family or lineal descent.  Kids get brought up by parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even older cousins and siblings.  It's not a meeting between equals.  We simply do not want people who are raising or caring for underaged children being "groomed" as eventual sexual partners.  There seems to be good evidence that it's bad for the psyche and that such actors within a family should not be told -- like heterosexuals -- that they just have to suck it up and deal with it.

      Noting that some states do allow cousin-marriage (I think California and New York, for example), I would put that in a separate category than sibling or lineal descendant marriage, which is more troubling.  (Aunt/uncle-niece/nephew marriage is both more and less troubling: less opportunity for problems; less problem with taking the opportunity.)

      There is a solution that addresses the actual problem at hand, though it's one that I don't currently endorse, because it seems too weird: allow incestuous relationships only at an age where the more vulnerable of the partners would be expected to be past the point of being groomed and manipulated by the elder.  Now, many people might say -- based on horrific personal experience -- that that age never arrives, that even adult daughters get raped by elderly fathers.  But, in cases that are not pathological (and that, particularly, do not involve pre-adult "grooming"), we might find that it would be OK to relax constrictions against incest after age 30, or even age 28.

      It's a weird proposal.  I don't endorse it.  But I present it because it highlights the ways in which incestuous sex differs from gay sex, and therefore marriage.

      Good luck dealing with the responses you get to this.

      I spent the week before Election Day in Nevada and all I got is this great President!

      by Seneca Doane on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:00:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  People, and homophobic men in particular, (11+ / 0-)

        need to learn to politely say "no thank you" to unwanted sexual advances.  Women have been doing it for generations.

        •  I agree, at least so far as adults are concerned (0+ / 0-)

          But when we're talking about incest, we are generally raising the prospect that sexual advances, even if not leading to consummation of sexual activity, will start prior to adulthood.  Now, do you really want to impose the same precise burden upon children as we would impose on adults?  It surely gives me pause.

          I spent the week before Election Day in Nevada and all I got is this great President!

          by Seneca Doane on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:38:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's not easy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Seneca Doane

          A personal anecdote:

          Walking to the campus rec center one fine day, a man pulled up alongside me and, after asking a few questions, asked if I'd like to get in the car with him, the subtext being highly sexual. I'm about as gay friendly as they come, but the feeling of being, I don't know, let's say 'prey' was disconcerting to say the least. I'm sure if it'd been happening on a daily basis since I was 13 I'd be used to it. As it was, I was averse to approaching women for about a month afterward for fear of engendering that same feeling in them.

          I realize that was an extremely atypical situation, but all this is meant more as an explanation than as an excuse. I'm sure as time goes on and we become more relaxed about the whole thing, straight men will become accustomed, if not particularly comfortable, to gay men hitting on them, much the same way most straight women are with straight men.

          •  He asked you to get in the car with him? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pico

            I'm sorry, I don't mean to minimalize this but... seriously? That's nothing.

            Are straight men really this unclear on how obnoxious men are about sexual advances? You weren't touched, and it sounds like he didn't say anything overtly sexual or provocative. If that weirded you out, I don't know what you'd do in the fact of an actual sexual advance!!

      •  I love reading your posts. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        Intellectual honesty; clear, intelligent  and coherent writing; willingness to think outside the box. . . . I don't always agree with you, but those traits make you one of my favorite posters here.

        It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

        by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:13:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are 19 states, including California, that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChurchofBruce, steve04

      allow first cousins to marry.  Closer relations than that are not allowed.

      First cousin marriage are not uncommon at all, and give roughly the same amount of genetic risk as a woman giving birth at 51.  Link

    •  Maybe the first question you need to ask folks... (0+ / 0-)

      ...like your parents is, "What do you mean by incest?"

      It might just jar them enough, so that they pause in their knee-jerk spiel, and say, "What?"

      And that's your opening.

      "Do you mean adult parents molesting their minor children? That's clearly morally wrong, and illegal in every state in the US. Allowing adults to marry other adults won't change that.

      "Do you mean first cousins marrying? That's currently legal in half the states, although some have restrictions on the couple being allowed to have children.

      "Do you mean adult siblings getting married? There can be older/younger power issues there. But, what do you think? How about step-siblings, whose parents marry when the youth are 17, and they fall in love and decide they want to get married when they are 19. Some states call that incest and forbid that. What do you think?

      "And what do any of these issues have to do with two completely unrelated adults, whether the same or opposite sex, getting married?"

      They could come back with some kind of Biblically based answer, to which I have no effective response, being a complete heathen. (Although, when you get right down to it, that first generation after Adam and Eve, anyone getting married and/or having sex was hooking up with a sibling. After that, there would be aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins getting it on. The same kinda thing had to have happened after Noah's flood. I mean, there was Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives. That was it. According to the Bible. Extremely close consanguinity.)

      (Now, I'm being very silly here, but if Adam and Eve (rather than Adam and Steve) are presented in Christian circles as the core model of holy matrimony, then shouldn't the families that arose from that first couple also be models? That puts incest in all new (or very old) holy light.)

      Write the wrongs done you in the sand. Write the kindnesses done you in stone.

      by LoosCanN on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 07:41:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Siblings already have familial status (0+ / 0-)

      ...under the law. If anyone thinks siblings should have more rights and protection under family law, then go for it. It is 100% nothing to do with, and is entirely irrelevant to the issue of ending gender discrimination in marriage law (i.e. legally recognizing same-gender marriages).

      It is thrown into the discussion by those unfamiliar with the law and/or those using it as a slippery-slope scare tactic.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Proud to support President-elect Obama

      by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 06:58:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeeeesh (10+ / 0-)

    Why even bring this up?

    Love between two members of the same sex is not the same thing as love between two members of the same family. Different kind of love entirely.

    I've been in hiding so long, I forgot how to asdf.

    by droogie6655321 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:50:19 PM PST

    •  The diarist acknowledged that difference. (13+ / 0-)

      That does not invalidate the questions raised, or the degree to which the two situations are politically analogous.

      It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

      by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:57:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  With respect, droogie -- (0+ / 0-)

      unless you're a gay person who has experienced romantic love with a family member, how could you compare them?

      The automatic rejection by members of the gay community of those who assert that they want to marry a cousin (where prohibited) or closer relation reminds me very much of the rejection of gay marriage by people who once could not have their interracial marriages recognized.  I understand that raising the legalization of some or more incestuous relationships is politically inconvenient right now; well, so is gay marriage, and that isn't stopping us.  The political inconvenience of the incest-legalization movement (and there is one) doesn't mean that it can be rejected out of hand.  You need a better argument against it than "yuck."

      I spent the week before Election Day in Nevada and all I got is this great President!

      by Seneca Doane on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:45:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have no problem with it. (4+ / 0-)

    Just another one of those reasons that I should never run for public office.

  •  Um... (11+ / 0-)

    Marriage has been taught as the union between a man and a woman for countless generations.  You can't just expect hundreds of millions of people to forget something they've been taught their whole life, overnight.

    Black people were 3/5 of a person for countless generations.

    Do I think people who were taught racism and practice it are racists? Yes.

    "ENOUGH!" - President-Elect Barack Obama

    by indiemcemopants on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:51:24 PM PST

    •  Remeber the 3/5 compromise (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, NWTerriD, Onomastic

      A 5/5ths situation for slaves would have been far worse for slaves and better for their owners than a 0/5ths.  

      Basically, white racists got free congressional representation and electoral votes for having slaves, giving slave-owners more power to maintain their system.  I'd be interesting to see how much quicker an abolitionist president would have arrived if the South's EV strength were neutered by a 0/5ths rule.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:13:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yankee trading (0+ / 0-)

        The situation you describe would never occur, since the South would never consent to an immediate and guaranteed loss of that EV leverage. There would be no compromise, and therefore, no Union.

        And without a Union, there would have been no leverage on the slave states to change.

        3/5 is more than half human. Abolitionists could work up from that.

        "To such thinking you have only to say 'the land you loved is doomed' to excuse any treachery, indeed to glorify it." -Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories, 1938.

        by Yamara on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:38:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  3/5 was never a statement of how human they were (0+ / 0-)

          It was all about how much extra representation slaveholders should get in Congress due to their representing slaves.  That representation was a political rather than an ethical or scientific estimate, and worked to the detriment of slaves.

          I spent the week before Election Day in Nevada and all I got is this great President!

          by Seneca Doane on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:48:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Right -- I always taught this as (0+ / 0-)

        "the negative three-fifths compromise."

        I spent the week before Election Day in Nevada and all I got is this great President!

        by Seneca Doane on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:46:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's fair to bring these arguments up, to (5+ / 0-)

      be able to effectively argue against them. like when the same arguments were made about the morality of interracial marriage.  so what then?  why draw the line there, and not beyond gay marriage.  ultimately, it does have something to do with genetic defects.

      just like, ultimately, marrying animals boils down to legal standing along with morality (I guess, unless you're in India)

      but I do get a little tired of "traditional" marriage definitions.  come on.  let's at least be logically consistent about this.  in the "traditional" definition of marriage, wife and children are property that the father/husband has ultimate control over, including life or death.  we had no problem dropping those definitions over time.  hell, the idea of marrying for love is as recent as the 12th century.  look up elanor or aquitaine and the invention of courtly love for reference.  ultimately, marriage is an evolving definition that has progressed along with the values of the cultures practicing it all throughout history.  we've had polygamy, polyandry, wives and concubines. so forgive me if I get a little "WTF" over the "traditional" argument.

      so yeah, have to agree with the commenter above.

  •  Increased Genetic Diversity? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norbrook, sullivanst, sickofcynicism

    Okay, maybe with six and a half billion people on the planet, it may not be the strongest objection to incest, but there is that.

    The Personal is Political

    by Uthaclena on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:52:01 PM PST

  •  You are making the "slippery slope" argument. (21+ / 0-)

    "If gay people are allowed to marry aren't people and animals next?"  Silliness.  Deal with the question on its own merits and stop buying into the Santorum approach.

    •  This. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, MajorFlaw, davewill

      Why not throw in bestiality for good measure?

      Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. -H.L. Mencken

      by Kwaidan on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:54:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think so (6+ / 0-)

      The diarist says nothing about animals.  He merely points out that the arguments for gay marriage and consensual incest are very similar, and wonders if he's being a hypocrite for not supporting marriage rights for first cousins and such.

      I think it's an interesting point.  I barely know my cousins.  If I happened to meet one and we fell in love, why should it be the government's business?

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Mara Jade

        If I recall, there are one or two states (not much more) where first cousins can get married.  I think Ohio is one of them, and Kentucky the other.  I'm not going to swear to that, though.  

        I think that I have had enough of you telling me how things will be. Today I choose a new way to go ... and it goes through you!

        by Norbrook on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:18:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cousin Marriage law (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ScienceMom, Mara Jade

        Twenty U.S. states allow first cousins to marry without any legal restriction.  A further six states allow marriage in the event that procreation isn't likely due to age or infertility.  Others make distinctions for blood versus "in-law" relationships, half-cousins (children of half-siblings) and cousins at generational removes (first and second cousins).  Link

        quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Juvenal VI, 347-8

        by golem on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:38:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I Think It IS a Worthwhile Question to Ask (6+ / 0-)

      There should be an underlying logic to our legal system including that which codifies relationships. Consistency generally makes for a stronger argument against the haphazard "traditionalists."

      I've been contemplating the same question regarding polygamy (and the rarer polyandry)recently as a thought-experiment. True consent does seem to be the foundation for any sort of valid interpersonal relationship; most polygamy as currently practiced does not seem to be fully consensual, being male-dominated and generally coercive, but if it was an equitable union... why not?

      The Personal is Political

      by Uthaclena on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:58:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've helped with end-of-life issues, and there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, ScienceMom, Alec82

        are many times when one person is needed to hold the final authority in making a decision. In a polygamous union that's not possible. That is a heightened example of the fact that someone can't have two top priorities in their life, so it is logically impossible to have equal commitment to two partners simultaneously.

      •  because it's a legally unworkable (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, ScienceMom, pinguin

        Let's assume what we have is completely consensual polygamy (not the FLDS business).  The problem with this is that the nature of the relationships that result are so complex and difficult that they're largely unworkable from a legal standpoint.  For example, let's say five women and five men decided to all get married to each other and then all had children together not paying particular attention to who fathered which kid.  Let's now say that Man A wants to divorce Woman B, but not any of the others.  Can we dissolve this relationship without dissolving all the other unions?  Is it possible for Woman A to be married to Man A and Woman B, but for Man A and Woman B not to be married to each other?  How, exactly, is that a marriage?  What about Woman B's children?  Can she sue Man A for child support?  Can Man A sue for parental rights if he is not the biological father?  Would he have to prove biological paternity?  What if he wasn't the biological father, but had a father-child relationship with the children?  Could a biological father step in and try to prevent him from retaining parental rights on the grounds that he isn't the father?

        What about their employer provided insurance?  Could Man C demand his employer cover all nine of his spouses and all of their offspring, whether or not they are Man C's offspring?  What if Woman C ends up in the hospital and is rendered incapable of making medical decisions?  Which of her spouses gets to be her health care proxy?  

        Marriage is an institution between two people that creates a familial relationship where none existed before and allows for the two parties to share legal rights and responsibilities.  As an institution, it is not conducive to being shared among a group larger than two for the reasons above (as well as a ton of others - property rights, inheritance, taxes, etc.)  I know this sounds coldly rational and has nothing to do with loving relationships, but that's kind of the point (at least for me) when talking about government recognized marriage.  It comes with a great deal of legal implications that deeply concern the state and federal government.  

        Gay marriage presents exactly no problems for the legal issues relating to marriage (why the hell should the government care if your closest relative for legal purposes is male or female?).  Plural marriage creates huge problems in terms of property ownership and survivor rights, dissolution of marriage and child support, the availability and division of benefits (private or government sponsored), and the right of own spouse to act on behalf of another in cases of incapacity.  I know it seems that my position would suggest that full civil unions alongside marriage should be sufficient, but I do not believe that to be the case.  Separate but equal is a crock and the only reason for the 'separateness' here is bare animus against a minority group - constitutionally, that is not an appropriate reason for making distinctions between people.  

        If people choose to live a polyamorous lifestyle, that's their business.  But there is no sensible way to legally recognize such a relationship as a marriage.  It does not, for all intents and purposes relevant here, function like a marriage between two people and the government bestowed rights and responsibilities that pertain to a marriage between two people cannot be reasonably applied to a group marriage.  Unlike the case of gay couples, with polyamorous groups, there is a substantial government reason not to extend marriage to them.  This should pass constitutional muster easily.  

        Frankly, I'd like to see the civil/legal concept of marriage replaced by a concept of civil unions for everyone.  You can get a civil union with any one person you want and it has all the benefits of marriage - property ownership, next of kin status, etc., but with no regard whatsoever to whom this civil union is with.  I don't care if an elderly woman and her daughter get one (and I'm assuming no incest here) so that the daughter can properly take care of the mother's interests and needs or if a man and a woman get one for the traditional marriage purpose of having a family.  It would be a legal institution between any two people without any peering into the nature of the relationship.  If people wanted a more sentimental sort of marriage, they'd be welcome to have one of those, too, officiated by the religious authority or celebrant of their choice.  ;)

        •  Of course polygamy is legally workable (0+ / 0-)

          It's just not a part of Anglo-American jurisprudence. One would have to examine countries with a history of polygamous marriage. Every day I deal with people who were raised by more than one mother back in Africa or Asia. I imagine the President-elect himself has more than a passing familiarity with the issue.

          Polygamy is an issue of marriage equality that has to be addressed separately (and subsequently) from monogamous unions.

          "To such thinking you have only to say 'the land you loved is doomed' to excuse any treachery, indeed to glorify it." -Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories, 1938.

          by Yamara on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:02:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Someone's interests must become subordinate for.. (0+ / 0-)

            ...it to work though.  That's the issue.  

            "We're half awake in a fake empire."

            by Alec82 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:32:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

              Polygamy only legally works if it is one man, multiple women.  If it is a group of people who are all married to each other instead of Man A is married to Woman A and Man A is married to Woman B and Man A is married to Woman C, in which case the women are not married to each other in any real sense, polygamy does not work from a legal perspective.

              Secondly, in response to Yamara's statement, we live under the Anglo-American jurisprudence, so that's the system we work with.  In my opinion, it is a far preferable system of law than any tribal system or Shari'a based system that may be designed to accommodate polygamy.  All of those systems deal with the complexities of polygamy by simply denying equal rights to women.  Hardly a step we should consider taking.  

    •  He IS dealing with it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hastur, NWTerriD, Alec82

      on its own merits. And his point is that it's actually not that easy to argue against legalized incest on a rational basis.

      Denny Crane: But if he supports a law, and then agrees to let it lapse … then that would make him …

      Shirley Schmidt: A Democrat.

      by Jyrinx on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:00:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, he's not making that argument. (8+ / 0-)

      He's offering an exercise in thought.

      I find it interesting, personally... I can't find any legitimate reason that two family members should not be allowed to marry, though I wholeheartedly oppose it.  While also wholeheartedly supporting marriage rights for same sex couples.

      It is interesting to think about, and I give him props for making the diary.  He stated explicitly that he's not trying to compare marriage rights with incest.  It's purely a thought exercise.

    •  Well - to be fair... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MajorFlaw

      The diarist is struggling with the argument, but you're quite correct, it's the fallacy of "slippery slope" that is the problem here.

      It's the "gateway drug," or the "Sex-ed leads to promiscuity" argument....

      I question why the diarist is struggling with this issue at all.  

      Fact is that the issue of Gay Marriage needs to be treated and argued on it's own merits.  Conflating Gay marriage to incest, pedophilia, and Man-on-dog sex (Thanks Rick Santorum) is fallacious beyond the pale.  (I said fallacious people, stop giggling).

      To struggle with this argument is to fall in to the trap that is set in the fallacy itself.  

      Best to step outside it and not deal with it.

  •  Interesting Diary. (9+ / 0-)

    I find this to be a good thought experiment.

    I do think that you brush off the issue of birth defects a little too casually.  If there were to be a lot of incestuous marriages, the cost to the state could be significant.  OTOH, your arguement that we do not make the legality of marriage contingent on genetic counseling makes sense.

    Reccd.

    Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

    by Actuary4Change on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:54:05 PM PST

    •  The latest genetic research (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aerials, Norbrook

      indicates that the idea that consanguinity results in a greater incidence of birth defects has been debunked as a myth.

      •  for first cousins but not (8+ / 0-)

        for sibs which is very high

      •  Consanguinity does cause problems (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ScienceMom, Yamara

        Please cite your evidence for this being a myth.

        Here are two recent abstracts that would tend to counter this:

        1. Matern Child Health J. 2008 Nov 4. [Epub ahead of print]Click here to read Links

           Consanguinity and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: The North of Jordan Experience.
           Obeidat BR, Khader YS, Amarin ZO, Kassawneh M, Al Omari M.

           Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 2954, Irbid, 21110, Jordan, b_obeidat@hotmail.com.

           This cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the association between consanguineous marriages and adverse pregnancy outcome in the north of Jordan. Women delivered in four major hospitals in the north of Jordan between April 2007 and May 2007 were included in the study. Non-Jordanian women and women with multiple pregnancies were excluded. Mothers answered a pilot-tested structured questionnaire administered by trained personnel in the maternity ward. Data regarding pregnancy outcomes were obtained from the patients' individual records. A total of 3,269 women with a mean age of 27.2 (SD 6.6) years were included. About 49% of women had consanguineous marriages. Consanguineous marriages were significantly associated with low birth weight delivery (13.9% vs. 10.1%), preterm delivery (19.9% vs. 12.3%), and births with congenital anomalies (4.1% vs. 0.8%) compared with non-consanguineous marriages. In the multivariate analysis, consanguinity was significantly associated with preterm delivery (OR = 1.5, 95% CI 1.2, 1.9), and congenital malformations (OR = 6.5, 95% CI 2.8, 15.3). In conclusions, this study supports the association between consanguinity and some adverse pregnancy outcomes.

        Int J Rehabil Res. 2008 Mar;31(1):89-91.Click here to read Links
           Risk factors and clinical profiles in Turkish children with cerebral palsy: analysis of 625 cases.
           Erkin G, Delialioglu SU, Ozel S, Culha C, Sirzai H.

           Ankara Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Education and Research Hospital, 3rd PMR Clinics, Ministry of Health, Ankara, Turkey. gultenerkin@yahoo.com

           The aim of the study was to investigate risk factors, clinical profiles and gross motor function levels of Turkish children with cerebral palsy (CP). A total of 625 consecutive children with CP, who were rehabilitated in the pediatrics rehabilitation clinic between 2000 and 2004 years, were included. Factors causing CP were investigated by interviewing the families and by scanning medical files. Risk factors were recorded as consanguineous marriage, maternal disorder, preterm birth, birth asphyxia, low birth weight, multiple pregnancy, neonatal convulsion, kernicterus, postnatal central nervous system infection and brain injury. Swedish classification was followed in CP typing. Of 625 children with CP, 370 (59.2%) were males and 255 (40.8%) were females, with ages ranging between 2 and 13 years (the mean age was 5.11+/-2.19 years). It was determined that 47.8% of the cases were spastic diplegic CP, 27.7% were spastic tetraplegic CP, 12.8% spastic hemiplegic CP and 11.7% were other types (ataxic, dyskinetic and mixed CP types). The most frequently encountered risk factors were low birth weight (45.1%), preterm birth (40.5%), birth asphyxia (34.6%) and consanguineous marriage (23.8%). Low birth weight, preterm birth, birth asphyxia and consanguineous marriage were top-ranked risk factors that were determined in Turkish children with CP. Compared with other countries, consanguineous marriage is still an important problem in Turkey.

    •  There doesn't have to be any birth defects (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Norbrook

      What if we are talking about a gay marriage between brothers, which would not produce any offspring?

    •  but that assumes children... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScienceMom, Uthaclena, st minutia

      one of the arguments the wingnuts make vis-a-vis gay marriage is that marriage is meant for family making--this was the argument that actually won the case in NYS against allowing gay marriage.

      It is an absurd argument, we don't forbid old people who can't have children from marrying, nor do we forbid couples with no intent of child rearing, nor do we forbid sterile couples from marrying either.

      What if two siblings want to get married and don't want to have kids?

      "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

      by michael1104 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:10:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  First cousin marriage is legal in 26 states (0+ / 0-)

      Link.  In twenty states this is the law with no restriction.  A further six allow first cousin marriage where procreation isn't possible due to age or infertility.  Maine allows for first cousin marriage provided that genetic counselling is obtained.  Other states have restrictions based on degree of consanguinity.

      Tony.

      quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Juvenal VI, 347-8

      by golem on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:57:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You left out... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timoteo, cacamp, Norbrook, robertacker13

    Dogs, cats, multiple wives, multiple husbands, large groups and inanimate objects.

  •  you're a sick puppy (6+ / 0-)

    why should you equate a completly unrelated criminal act to a civil rights question like gay marriage? Did giving people the right to inter-racial marriage make beatiality legal? Stupid question, right? Yours is stupid in the same way, think about it.

    •  or straight sex? (7+ / 0-)

      there's as much of a line from straight sex to incest as there is from gay sex to incest.

    •  You're not thinking... (3+ / 0-)

      he's not validating it, and you aren't successfully refuting it.  He knows it's messed up, but needs help putting together a logical response to the wingnuts that use this line of attack.  We all need to be ready, because using responses like yours makes us look irrational and wrong to the unenlightened (you know, the one's who's votes we need).

      By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

      by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:29:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I should give you an HR (4+ / 0-)

      The diarist is asking for help constructing a logical argument for something we all support (gay marriage), and wants said argument in opposition to the talking points that our opponents use.  You shouldn't insult, but rather help us brainstorm.

      All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

      by fizziks on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:00:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  false arguement (0+ / 0-)

        not to say foolish. First you should tell us why you chose the two things you're equating. The wingnuts equate gay rights with all kinds of dumb things without reason. So you need to tell us why you're accepting their meme.

        btw, I don't give a fuck about hr's, whatever they mean. I stated my opinion if you disagree hr me, that way you can hide your own ignorance of the issue.

    •  ANIMALS CAN'T CONSENT!!!! (0+ / 0-)

      Jesus fucking Christ, where did the Santorum idiots come from?

      Here's a test: give me a refutation of adult sibling marriage that doesn't depend on nonconsenting animals, children, or inanimate objects. Give me one reason why two adults should not be allowed to marry. And don't resort to the "childbearing!" argument, either, because that's another one used against gay marriage. Give me one that makes sense and does not also apply to gay marriage. Just one.

      And if you can't, you'll see what the diarist is getting at.

      What do you call a parent that believes in abstinence only sex ed? A Grandparent.

      by ChurchofBruce on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:32:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think consent would be a problem (10+ / 0-)

    Families are hierarchical, so I don't think that there could be true consent to incest because of the pressure some family members would be able to put on others.

    •  Estranged siblings? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, NWTerriD, Norbrook

      There are stories about separated-at-birth siblings marrying each other (unknowingly) and then having everything being torn up by the state.

      I don't know, maybe it's reasonable to investigate?  Coerced marriage isn't legal regardless of the cause; incestuous marriages certainly would provide cause for a more thorough investigation of coercion.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:05:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Coercion and consent are not the same thing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hastur

        A person can lack consent even without being coerced, such as an underage person. I think all incestuous marriages would have to be presumed to be without consent simply because one family member almost always holds power over another family member in one way or another.

        I think the situation you described is very rare, and probably falls under the maxim "Hard cases make bad law."

      •  there's another pragmatic issue at play here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        Estranged siblings who want to marry are about the only incestuous relationship most of us can think of that wouldn't typically involve some level of coercion.  Estranged siblings who want to get married are such a vanishingly small population that there's hardly a constituency to advocate for this issue and have it debated fairly (I'm a big believer in the advocacy model for debate - if you don't have someone zealously advocating for every reasonable position, you won't often get the best results possible).  

        Also, if you're like me and you don't believe there's one person for each of us, you can make the argument that forbidding gay marriage closes off that avenue to happiness entirely for gay people.  Prohibiting incestuous marriage - which is so vulnerable to coercion and manipulation anyway, and which raises the genetic problems - only tells people that there is a small number of people you are not allowed to marry.  

        To those who say the genetic problem issues only start to matter after repeated instances of incest, if we broadly legalized incest, how long would it be before this became a problem?  Not long, I would guess.  

  •  But why marriage and not civil union? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uthaclena, Norbrook

    Is there any difference between these two for the state of California?  There would still be differences between gay and straight marriages because of federal recognition.

    I'm gay but don't understand why everyone is so worked up about this, being that it is a fight about difference in wording, when gays can be fired/evicted etc. in most of the country.  Where are our priorities?

    •  The difference (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wendy Slammo, Norbrook

      Is that the word marriage is written into thousands of laws nation-wide. Defining something as civil union and not marriage allows for all sorts problems when it comes to those laws.

      •  but the marriage is not recognized nationwide (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norbrook

        Just in that state and in Calif. civil union and gay marriage has the same set of rights.  Even in a lot of New England states the various domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriages are only valid in that state and if you leave the state you have the rights in they are not valid any longer.

        •  which is exactly why it is faster (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NWTerriD, Norbrook, abarrenfuture

          to get equal rights to redefine marriage as being between any two concenting adults and not try to rework all of the laws nationwide (and all of the hospital policies, workplace benafits, etc) that refer to marriage

          McCain = "A whine, a swear word, and P.O.W."

          by ETinKC on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:08:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  except it creates a backlash in many states (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Uthaclena

            which makes it more difficult to eliminate discrimination in hiring, eviction, service etc.  

            I think effort to make discrimination against gays in hiring/firing etc should take precedence.  

            I am certainly sympathetic to the pro-gay marriage argument.  My partner and I live in different new england states with different laws, travel outside NE or other liberal areas always brings concerns of what happens if there is an accident and one of us is foreign and risks deportation if employment is terminated and the visa doesn't get renewed but I still don't think its a good use of political capital and I think its detrimental to making changes that actually are helpful instead of semantic.

            It should be a real check that over half of California voted for prop 8.  How would it fare in the rest of the country?

    •  Separete but equal is inherently unequal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NWTerriD

      It's the same principal. A civil union is by definition something less than "marriage".

      Gays are not second calss citizens and they don't have to settle for a second class marriage.

    •  That's exactly the argument made by (0+ / 0-)

      the gay rights orgs in the early 1990's when the fight for SSM first came up in a serious way. They wanted no part of it and actively discouraged gay couples from bringing lawsuits. But a number of gay couples refused to put their rights on hold because it was inconvenient for others with more pressing issues. The battle was joined by the anti-gay zealots and our glbt orgs realized that they had to get involved. That's where we are today. You can either give up or keep fighting. I say fight; you don't always get to choose your battles.

  •  I sincerely wish (7+ / 0-)

    that it was not true, but sexual relationships among relatives happen, because the more powerful person involved abuses and exploits the less powerful one. Like polygamy, in the real world, someone is being treated like a possession.

    Let tyrants fear.-Queen Elizabeth I

    by Virginia mom on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:56:41 PM PST

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    st minutia, Norbrook, abarrenfuture

    You can't just expect hundreds of millions of people to forget something they've been taught their whole life, overnight.

    I think that ignores the obvious: they can go on believing anything they like. Nobody's asking them to do otherwise.

  •  The problem with this question is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vipersdad, browneyes

    It's best to keep the incest question out of it. This debate is about allowing same-sex couples to have the same rights as everyone else. Period.

    Asking the incest question just adds more baggage to the fight for our rights. The two should not be discussed together. It sounds great on a theoretical level, but only adds more complexity and another hot-button topic to muddy the waters.

    "Troll-be-gone...apply directly to the asshole. Troll-be-gone...apply directly to the asshole."

    by homogenius on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:57:33 PM PST

  •  Prepare to be flammed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, Norbrook, Alec82

    Not by me but prepare yourself

    If you actually read my comment and not just the title of it please put a # in your reply.

    by acsguitar on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 01:58:09 PM PST

  •  The issue is consenting. In the south until the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timoteo, Hastur, Little, banjolele

    women's movement, the age of consetn was often seven.  Thus, rape in any form legally often did not exist.

    The rage over this finally spilled out in the election of Ann Richards.  The big deal was the incumbrant governor Clemens saying when all else failed a woman should just lie back and enjoy the rape.

    Rape by preachers, coaches, and fathers was rarely prosecuted in the south--they were always seduced by those coniving, scheming young girls who were secret followers of jezebel.

  •  I'm confused (0+ / 0-)

    Is incest only between two people of the same sex?  If a straight father rapes his daughter, that's not incest?  

    This diary seems a bit of a reach.  

    Pedophile and incest are not "gay" issues, they are sexually repressed human issues.  

    •  its a thought experiment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Norbrook, Alec82

      in which two adult sibs would seek marriage.  They would be consenting adults.  Its an effort to bolster the argument for gay marriage by making a contrast.

      •  More than a thougt experiment (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ian S, Hastur, Uthaclena, st minutia

        it's something we need to be prepared to shoot down, as it's a common tactic from anti-gay marriage people to disarm the pro-gay marriage groups.  It works not because it has any substance, but because it comes as such a surprise that we are frequently unprepared to offer a solid response.

        By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

        by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:13:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the choice argument is best (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey, sparkz, Uthaclena, Alec82

          someone posted it below

          there aren't people who are only attracted to siblings whereas there are people only attracted to members of the same gender.

          •  No, that's a weak arguement (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NWTerriD

            Laws should only be in place to protect people, so the argument must show a reason that people are safer for the ban to be in place.  In this case there is a reason, that consent is frequently not really there, and the relationship is almost always coerced, legally recognizing the relationship would be legally recognizing sexual slavery in too many cases to make it in the public's interests to allow it.

            By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

            by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:38:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Pedophilia is utterly different (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Norbrook, Alec82, Mara Jade

      because it involves (by definition) a child.

      But I have no problem with incest between consenting adults, except for the birth defect issue, which is mostly siblings, and could be handled with birth control

      •  Actually the instance of defects from siblings or (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mikey

        parent/child is statistically lower than that of an average woman over 40 having a child.  A large study in Europe (or was it Australia?) kicked up a storm with those findings, as the genetic issue was a major barrier to a group that was seeking marriage rights for incestuous couples.

        By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

        by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:11:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  where I would go on this is... (0+ / 0-)

      The problems with incest are twofold:

      One, it's a universal human taboo with almost zero exceptions, unlike same-sex relations which are disapproved in some cultures and approved in other cultures, historically and today.  Whereas the disapproval of same-sex relations in many cultures can be traced to concerns about continuing the propagation of a threatened tribe (e.g. in the Abrahamic traditions; see also sexual prohibitions relating to coitus interruptus & masturbation e.g. "spilled his seed on the ground"), the disapproval of incest can be traced to...

      Two, it carries very real risks of genetic illnesses being passed to offspring.  This factor is obviously not present in same-sex relations, which still require the collaboration of a third party in order to produce offspring.  

      Therefore, regardless of whatever "ick factors" we have about incest, the rational concern is to prevent incestuous reproduction, in order to protect the offspring (innocent parties) from genetic illnesses.  

      The result of which is:

      There is a compelling state interest (protecting the health of innocent parties, the offspring) in preventing incestuous reproduction.  Given modern medicine, this interest can be met by taking steps to assure that such reproduction does not occur regardless of marital status.  

      Thus it would fulfill the rational criteria, for relatives to be permitted to marry so long as reproduction between them is not possible.  This is a natural consequence of same-sex pairings of this type, but for opposite-sex pairings, it could be achieved by requiring that the male have a vasectomy, reversible only if the male remarries outside of their family relations.  

      That seems to be a viable solution here.  It may still make most of us go "ICK!", but it does not have the risks for which such marriages would be legitimately prohibited.  

      On the other hand, siblings, for example, already have certain legal rights including hospital visitation and emergency medical decisions for each other, that are otherwise granted through marriage.  That could be a balancing factor in deciding policy.  

  •  It's a totally bogus argument (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Little, vipersdad, abarrenfuture

    A homosexually married couple would have no more "universal right" to consensual sex with anyone living in their household, than a heterosexually married couple does.

    •  That's not what he's saying. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      st minutia, NWTerriD, Norbrook, Verstand

      He's not talking about a couple having sex with a third person in their household.

    •  I'm amazed (15+ / 0-)

      at how many different ways there are to misunderstand the point of this diary.

      It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

      by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:08:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NWTerriD

        at how many different ways there are to misunderstand the point of this diary.

        Hard to blame the people who do the misunderstanding. I regularly read comments on right-wing blogs, and the way they talk about homosexuality is especially amusing, and terrifying at the same time. One of their 'arguments' is: "WHAT ABOUT POLYGAMY? WHAT ABOUT INCEST?? WHAT ABOUT BESTIALITY??? WHAT ABOUT MARRYING TREES?" So... I think some people might read this and think: "Not this sh-t again..."

        •  unless they read carefully (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChurchofBruce, NWTerriD

          you know, actually take the time to do more than skim a few sentences.  Shocking notion, I'm aware.

          Then the point of this diary is immediately obvious.  I had no problem getting it.

          All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

          by fizziks on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:03:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And the deeper point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cartwrightdale, fizziks

            Is that this confusion is the political torpedo aimed against marriage equality.

            The diarist is not concern-trolling by pointing out that a discussion of incest presents a potential political threat to the bastion liberal concept of consenting adults.

            I think we'll need to emphasize that incest remain banned, due to the potential of coercion of minors, as other commenters have said more clearly here. This helps to delineate that homosexuality is not the same as pederasty, an old conflation that the Prop H8ers wish to maintain, and that marriage egalitarians seek to eliminate forever.

            "To such thinking you have only to say 'the land you loved is doomed' to excuse any treachery, indeed to glorify it." -Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories, 1938.

            by Yamara on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:33:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

              I think this was actually a GREAT diary because I read it and couldn't come up with a good reason why incest among consenting adults should be illegal.  And I will need such a reason if I am going to be arguing in favor of gay marriage with narrow minded fundies.

              All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

              by fizziks on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:17:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Or to lay the snark on it. (0+ / 0-)

        Look, we have in our power to define appropriate boundaries in the law.  Allowing people to marry the gender of their choice does not automatically imply that consensual adult sibling, parent/child or cousin incest is next.  The slippery slope argument is a fallacy, whatever it's used to support.

  •  it's a testament to the defeat of liberalism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks, banjolele, audiored

    Once, all these things were considered possible. As late as the 20s, a large number of Americans believed in the potential of open marraiges with unlimited partnesrs. But then came the Red Scare and the systematic reactionary regression of Aemrican society to a near theocracy. To quote Marquez, when one soldier fighting in the Liberal revolutionary army asks another,

    "Will we be able to marry our aunts after we win?"

    The other solider replies:

    "We are fighting this war so that sons can marry their own mothers if they want to."

    Let's not forget that our ultimate goal is the maximum amount of personal freedom. The state should respect our choices and not discriminate between them on the basis of traditional morality or irrational cultural mores.

    Law is a light which in different countries attracts to it different species of blind insects. Nietzsche

    by Marcion on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:00:23 PM PST

  •  I think marriage should be between any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DMiller, fizziks

    number of consenting adults, period.

    But there might need to be some control over becoming biological parents.

    That said, incest has nothing to do with gay marriage ... incest could be male-female, male-male, or female-female.

    I also think polygamy, polyandry, and various other forms of marriage should be legal

  •  what doesn't the right get about ADULTS + (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matilda, Timoteo, banjolele

    CONSENT?

    that rick santorum, if they don't spell it out, he's liable to have sex with _________ (put anything in this blank),

    Obama 44! So why are we moving to the right again?

    by jj24 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:05:14 PM PST

    •  The right doesn't really believe in consent. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uthaclena

      Particularly in the right not to consent.

      [When] the land... has become private property, the landlords... love to reap where they never sowed, and demand rent even for its natural produce. ~Adam Smith

      by ogre on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:18:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What makes a family? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dennisl

    Marriage takes two persons and grants them primary rights concerning the other person. It makes a new family unit recognized by society. If a previous family relationship exists, I believe that would bar the formation of a new family. Someone can't stop being your sister and become your wife because you can not dissolve the "sister" relationship.

    McCain/Palin - building a bridge to no future

    by borndem on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:05:26 PM PST

  •  its about Choice (2+ / 0-)

    Being Gay is NOT a choice and thus you have no options.

    Incest is the result of enviornmental conditioning that can be 100% avoided.

    Most arguments for being Pro or anti gay rights begin and end with whether you believe being Gay is a choice or not.

    If being gay is not a choice (which should be obvious for anybody with common sense), it becomes increasingly morally reprehnsible for a society to deny full rights to the Gay community.

    So how does the gay movement take on the moral majority?  Hard to say.

    If we can find the Gay gean... that would be HUGE!

    •  I think (7+ / 0-)

      I don't think being gay is a choice; obviously, tthere's overwhelming evidence against it.

      But whether or not it's a choice is entirely irrelevant to why I think gay marriage should be legal.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:07:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i agree (0+ / 0-)

        ... but if the question is how to create an argument to allow Gays to be more fully accepted in society, answering the question of whether its a choice or not becomes critical.

        One would stand on a much stronger footing arguing for Gay rights because its something they are born with rather than a hobby they picked up.

        Being Gay is not a choice and thus Government should not descrimenate against them (arguments similarly made by Women (not a choice)or Blacks (not a choice))

    •  That is a pretty good argument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yamara, InsultComicDog

      There aren't sibli-sexuals :O)

      •  The point isn't about sex. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NWTerriD

        It's ABOUT being able to marry the person you're in love with (jointly, consensually).

        [When] the land... has become private property, the landlords... love to reap where they never sowed, and demand rent even for its natural produce. ~Adam Smith

        by ogre on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:20:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why Should It Matter if It's Genetic or Choice? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fizziks, dennisl, NWTerriD

      Anyone who wants to form a legal, consensual relationship, for love, sex, or other more practical reasons?

      The Personal is Political

      by Uthaclena on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:10:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you're right (0+ / 0-)

      Comparing the two situations assumes that both are choices.

      Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude.

      by InsultComicDog on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:17:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Eh. (3+ / 0-)

      One doesn't CHOOSE whom one will fall in love with, either.

      [When] the land... has become private property, the landlords... love to reap where they never sowed, and demand rent even for its natural produce. ~Adam Smith

      by ogre on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:19:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Know your biology (3+ / 6-)

      In humans, ALL sexual behavior is learned.

      I don't follow your argument about choice anyway. Just because you are predisposed towards a certain behavior that doesn't mean you are powerless to control yourself. There are genes linked to drug addiction, gambling addiction, etc.

      •  i don't agree with you first point but (0+ / 0-)

        .... you make a good second point.

        I think its fair to say that being gay is inherit (in the sense that a gene from your parents is "activated/matched" or something).  And scientifically proving that is not a choice via the "Gay Gene(s)" may not be the silver bullet that allows Gay rights to overwhelmingly accepted (ie your argument about genes related to addictions).

        But i would say if enough facts back up that being gay is more than a hobby and is in fact in someone’s DNA, the Gay Movement will be able to win a majority of Americans on their right to Marry.

        Obviously its common sense to give Gay people FULL and Equal rights (Prop 8 really killed me) but we have to find ways to improve on the argument. thanks.

      •  Good second paragraph, TERRIBLE first sentence (0+ / 0-)

        That said, I don't agree with the HRs you are getting.  

        But seriously, you can't possibly believe that all human sexual behavior is learned, can you?  Are you really claiming that if you put baby Jack and Jill on a deserted island with no cultural influences but plenty of food so they could grow up, they wouldn't eventually know how to start huggin, kissin, and slammin?  

        Then you make really good point.  The totallity of any individual's behavior is a product of genes and cultural influences.

        All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

        by fizziks on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:10:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Male babies get erections in the womb. (0+ / 0-)

        So I'm not buying your false argument.

        My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

        by clonecone on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:37:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So far the only argument you've offered (0+ / 0-)

        for your assertion that all sexual behavior is learned is a statement to the effect that no biological basis for sexual orientation has yet been demonstrated.

        But this is not logically the same thing as proving that there is no biological basis for sexual orientation.

      •  sexual behavior (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PaintyKat

        and sexuality are not the same thing.

        and to make the comparison of "choice" and addictions is both ruthlessly petty and so so so far out of bounds.

        if you knew one whit about the biomechanics of addictionb, yoiu'd not be spouting off such glib and uselesds coimmebnts as this one.

        if you knew spit about homosexuality you would not be exposing us to your unmistakable homophobia.

        "predisposed" towards a behavior?  wtf?

        i take it you either have read or were making a allusion to the ratzinger letter of october 1986.

        hydrated for the homophobic comment.

        _______________

        it's their screen name because they couldn't figure out how to spell "moran."

        -9.75 (e), -7.18 (s)

        by dadanation on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 11:28:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wow. You really ARE (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KentuckyKat

        as stupid as I thought. No sexual behavior is completely learned. Babies masturbate in the womb--I know, I know--not much elee to do in there. But study after study shows that sexual preference is set at sometimes surprisingly early ages and perhaps by certain pre-birth stages. There are genes linked to addictive behaviors including sexual addictions. But you give yourself away in the suggestion that homosexuality is a product of a genetic marker for addiction. Apparently you have a genetic prediliction against educating yourself before you open your mouth.

      •  Care to back that up with data? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KentuckyKat

        In humans, ALL sexual behavior is learned.

        To me, it seems a false argument to try to prove the natural origin of sexual behavior.  It won't really make a difference to the fearful, anyway.  

        The part of these debates that really bother me, is the  either/or definition that denies the flexibility of human sexuality.   Population studies routinely show a wide distribution of homosexual and heterosexual behaviors in those who identify in one group or the other.  

        -5.75 -5.85 Belief in absolutes is the laziest form of delusion.

        by FeastOr on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 01:58:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The example you give would be very rare (0+ / 0-)

    compared to SS marriage.  It seems we have a natural repulsion to attraction to sibs, although if separated at birth this may not take hold (or if not sibs and raised together it may).

    Supreme court loves exploring examples like this so its best to be ready.

  •  from a legal perspective, marriage shouldn't be a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uthaclena, vipersdad, Norbrook

    term.

    civil unions for any 2 or more consenting adults of whatever combination.

    Obama 44! So why are we moving to the right again?

    by jj24 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:08:33 PM PST

    •  Sorry but too late (0+ / 0-)

      Marriage is the word we have given power to in our society.  People are "married" in our society.  People are not "civil united", they are "married."  That word is not going away any time soon.

  •  Actually the reason this wins out is strictly (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mikey, Hastur, banjolele, browneyes, Norbrook

    legal and not moral, at least not in the sense that people expect.

    The fact is that the occurances of incest between two actually consenting adults is incredibly rare (close, nuclear family, not cousins and what not which is actually legal in many states).  They may be pressured or convinced to consent, but their freedom is rarely certain.  In most cases the younger or female member of the incestuous "couple" is held to the social or psychological power of their older or male "partner".

    The ban on incest is consistently held up to protect people from this problem, which only holds because this is actually the rule rather than the exception.  It protects people from getting trapped into legally recognized sexual slavery.

    I say this having actually known a pair of siblings that had an incestuous relationship.  They were otherwise pretty normal, and the relationship had an unusually even power dynamic (both were very quiet about what they did, and were very afraid of people finding out).  Regardless they were an exception, and exceptions such as they are not generally pursued by the law.

    By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

    by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:08:40 PM PST

    •  But they're not allowed to marry. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      browneyes, Norbrook

      It's morning again in America....Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better - 1984 RR campaign ad

      by NWTerriD on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:12:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norbrook

        because they are exceptions, and the law is in place to protect the bulk of people.  They are sufficiantly rare that the number of people put at actual risk by allowing incestuous marriage far outweighs the number of people that would enjoy a modest increase in freedome.

        Besides, in this case they have no desire to marry, they just have a sexual chemistry they have chosen to explore (as far as I can tell, I only know what limited information they have allowed me to know).

        By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

        by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:18:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Birth defects" argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks, Norbrook

    I think that would set an extremely bad precedent:  if you had a married couple who both carried a recessive gene for some birth defect, their children would have a 25% chance of inheriting it, far higher than any generic cousin/sibling situation.  If you ban the latter for genetic defect reasons, you'd have to ban the former, right?

    Right on, Dr. Dean.

    by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:09:10 PM PST

  •  Incest (5+ / 0-)

    is family-destructive. Not in the sick minds of religious fanatics, but in reality. Imagine if a father had a daughter and started grooming her for a sexual relationship at age 18, if he were permitted to marry her. Not a very good thing.

    Moreover, incest has been universally condemned and punished, unlike homosexuality. There are other important differences too, there aren't people (other than the occasional eccentric at worst) who are exclusively attracted to their family members. There is unlikely to be a push for family marriages.

    And I think that every definition of marriage is going to be, at least somewhat arbitrary. I don't think that limiting it to the union of two people is any more arbitrary than having it be between a man and a woman. It's not at all true that once you change something about marriage, everything is up for discussion.

    •  Actually, in my opinion: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Norbrook

      Imagine if a father had a daughter and started grooming her for a sexual relationship at age 18, if he were permitted to marry her. Not a very good thing.

      This right here.

      Moreover, incest has been universally condemned and punished, unlike homosexuality.

      Not this.  It was not long ago that homosexuality was a greater crime than heterosexual incest.

      There is unlikely to be a push for family marriages.

      Actually there is an interest group pushing for this in Europe.

      By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

      by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:21:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

        Not this.  It was not long ago that homosexuality was a greater crime than heterosexual incest.

        Not my point. You can thank Christianity for that, at least the stupid factions in that religion. However, anthropologists have found that every society has prohibitions against incest, while only a part of societies prohibit homosexuality (between men).

        Actually there is an interest group pushing for this in Europe.

        And there is "an interest group" pushing for pedophilia, namely NAMBLA. Yet I wouldn't say that there is a push-proper for pedophilia, because they are (1) a laughing stock and (2) universally despised.

        •  Not quite (0+ / 0-)

          However, anthropologists have found that every society has prohibitions against incest,

          That isn't true.  Ancient Egyptian royalty had a requirement to marry siblings.   There's similar cases around the world.  We can also look at the degree of consanguinuity among European royalty in more modern times.  

          I think that I have had enough of you telling me how things will be. Today I choose a new way to go ... and it goes through you!

          by Norbrook on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:36:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What Pharaoh (0+ / 0-)

            is allowed to do is different from what an Egyptian farmer is allowed to do. In this case, I very much doubt that a poor Egyptian farmer could marry his sister, if he wanted to. So the societal norms were against it, even if the Pharaohs tried to imitate Isis and Osiris.

            As for European royalty, did they engage in any of the two universal taboos: sibling and parent/child marriage? I doubt it.

            •  You're making an assumption (0+ / 0-)

              We have a great deal of information on Egyptian royalty, but very little on what the average person did in terms of marital customs or allowances.  

              I think that I have had enough of you telling me how things will be. Today I choose a new way to go ... and it goes through you!

              by Norbrook on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 08:04:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  No not Nambla (0+ / 0-)

          they are something else entirely.  There is an interest group that's made up of heterosexual couples (siblings and parent/child pairings... guess how many of these have older males in the pair though) trying to get this made legal.  they are failing, thankfully, as it's pretty clear they are not made of healthy, but unusual, self-reliant humans.

          By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

          by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:42:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

            as I suspected, they're being about as successful as NAMBLA is (I didn't say that they were NAMBLA, just that the existence of one interest group does not necessarily signify a 'push' for something).

            And... well, this is sick.

            •  I think you should read.... (0+ / 0-)

              ...Moral Panic, by Philip Jenkins.  He examines the history of child sexual abuse in some detail.  It is pretty eye opening.  NAMBLA would still be controversial for being a male-male organization back in the 1800s, but the position on age of consent would have been the norm.  

              "We're half awake in a fake empire."

              by Alec82 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:56:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm very glad (0+ / 0-)

                that we're more civilized than in the 1800s. Or that women can no longer be raped by their husbands. Or that abortion would be punished even in cases of rape or incest. Or laws that infringe upon one's right to cohabit or have a relationship with whomever one liks. And just like a modern-day advocate of slavery would be despised, so is NAMBLA to be despised.

                Oh, and I think that there was an age of consent in the 1800s. NAMBLA holds that there should be none.

                •  oh that much is true the age of consent.... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...was 12. :-P

                  I guess it depends on your view of social history, and whether it is straightforward progressive or a little more cyclical.  Anyway, it is a good book, and by no means advocates for NAMBLA.  

                  "We're half awake in a fake empire."

                  by Alec82 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:38:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh, I think it's cyclical (0+ / 0-)

                    It's just that I think you have a higher 'base-point' after every cyclic swing. For example, you had slavery in the 1850s. Then the slaves are liberated and many black men start having a big voice in governments (this is the high-water mark). Then Reconstruction ends and Jim Crow laws are enacted to keep them down. But there's no question that they're better off than they were under slavery. There was some progress, even though it wasn't as much as we wanted there to be.

                    "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." - Martin Luther King

            •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

              I was simply stating that there will be people asking for just about anything, and you need to have a response prepared if you might find yourself confronted with the issue.  In this case we need to avoid generalizations devoid of logic such as "well that's crazy, no one is asking for that" or "well that's obviously just sick and wrong" because it then validates the illogical arguements our opponents put forward against gay marriage.

              There are good reasons to say no to incestous marriage, we need to use those reasons rather than expect people to be rational themselves.

              By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

              by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:58:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  wasn't cousin-cousin marriage encouraged (0+ / 0-)

      Moreover, incest has been universally condemned and punished

      It seems like every Jane Austen novel I read has some cousin marrying some other cousin, wasn't this type of thing encouraged not condemned until the late 19th Century?

      •  Heh. (0+ / 0-)

        The more primitive a society is, the more first-cousin marriages occur. My point was that every society has some sort of prohibition against incest, even though the definitions tend to vary. They can be very limited (only prohibiting parent-child and sibling marriages), or very expansive (at the end of the first millennium, the Catholic Church had prohibited marriages if you had a common ancestor of 7 generations past, including the family of people who had married into your family). The point that there is some direct family whom you can't marry stands.

        I looked it up some time ago, and it surprised me how many U.S. states allow first cousin marriage. That doesn't necessarily mean that they allow 'incest', although first cousin marriage is pretty bad.

        •  In ancient Egypt, Pharaohs routinely married (0+ / 0-)

          their sisters, from what I recall.  Or aunts, or whatever relative was handy, to keep the royal bloodlines 'pure'.

          If there was a prohibition about incest there, then I suppose it might have been prohibited for the lower classes.

          Got a problem with my posts? Quit reading them. They're usually opinions, and I don't come here to get in arguments.

          by drbloodaxe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:57:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ooh, I hate the slippery slope argument. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vipersdad, Maori

    There are lots of reasons that marriage should be illegal for close relatives.  Genetic health issues being first and foremost.

    Gay marriage isn't a gateway to bestiality.  Contrary to what some dumbasses believe.

    Tiger the Tabby 1990-2008 RIP

    by browneyes on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:14:28 PM PST

    •  Genetic issues are last (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      evanaj, fizziks, browneyes

      There are lots of marriages that could cause genetic problems, that the state has obviously no business in prohibiting.  

      Jim Kelly is a hall of fame quarterback, but he's also a carrier for Krabbe Disease, a genetic condition that causes seizures, paralysis, and ultimately death, usually by the age of 2.  His wife, Jill, is also a carrier, and tragically, their son inherited the disease and passed away a few years ago.

      Wouldn't a state interest in genetic health therefore justify the dissolution of their marriage?

      The heavy risk of coercion is by far the strongest argument against marriage between close relatives; genetics is not the state's interest.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:18:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  tipped for using the word "dumbasses" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      browneyes

      One of my favorites...

  •  As an incest survivor, I will only say this: (11+ / 0-)

    Incest is almost always a case of a relative forcing themselves on another, usually younger relative.  Then threatening them to everlasting condemnation if they speak of it.  You could argue that incest can be consensual, such as a cousin marrying a cousin.  In my husband's family, there are two first cousins married to each other, legally.  But they both had to be fixed first.  It was the law then.  I still personally think it's squicky, but whatever. I just don't think that the incest argument works here.  Too much stigma attached.  

    I'm Black and I voted No on Prop 8. Ease up out ma face, k?

    by Red Reign on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:14:53 PM PST

    •  fixed? What does that mean? (0+ / 0-)

      there are two first cousins married to each other, legally.  But they both had to be fixed first.  It was the law then.

      Do you mean sterilized? That would be pretty weird, but I can't think of any other meaning of "fix" that fits the context any better.  Can you elaborate? And say which "law back then" you're referring to?

      Silvio Levy

      •  FWIW (0+ / 0-)

        Arizona :
        First Cousin Marriage is allowed IF each of the couple is more than 65 years old, or if one of them is unable to reproduce.
         
        Illinois:
        First Cousin Marriage is allowed IF they both are 50 years old or older, or if one of the partner is sterile.
         
        Maine:
        First Cousin Marriage is allowed IF either partner present documented evidence that the couple has had genetic counseling.
         
        Wisconsin:
        First Cousin Marriage is allowed IF the female is at least 55 years old or if one of them is sterile.

        http://www.geocities.com/...

        "Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama runs won so our children can fly."

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:32:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow - live and learn. (0+ / 0-)

          Thanks for the eye opener.  What stupid laws.

          But doesn't the premise of such laws completely destroy one of the key arguments against homosexual marriage? After all, here's the government telling you that you can ONLY marry the person of your choice if you ENSURE that no procreation can take place.

          Silvio Levy

      •  Vascectomy and hysterectomy. That kind of fixed. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm Black and I voted No on Prop 8. Ease up out ma face, k?

        by Red Reign on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:54:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Marrying your relative is not uncommon... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uthaclena, Hopeful Monster, Norbrook

    ...in some contexts, especially where a minority population feels that the integrity of the community is more important than genetic diversity.  When I was living in Hungary, I had a friend who had grown up in California whose parents were Hungarians from Transylvania in Romania, and he ended up marrying a first cousin who was still living in Transylvania.  God forbid he (or she) might have married a Romanian instead...

    Or consider royalty.

    Marriage has never had one 'traditional' definition.  Marriage has been defined in incestuous, polygamous, and monetary terms, and has had too many different interpretations that ran the gamut from civil unions to outright ownership for anyone to ever claim that there is a universal norm.

    Most logical and legally consistent outcome would be for the state to limit itself to defining the legal boundaries in which consenting couples can make legal arrangements relating to parental custody, inheritance, end-of-life decisions, and so on.  Let people use whatever name they want, and let them get whatever religious sanctions they want.

     

  •  Most people relate incest == pedophilia (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Norbrook

    I think most people view incest as pedophilic in nature.  That is why they oppose it.  Historically, in "rural" communities, it was more common to marry distant relatives, and certainly accepted.

    It is interesting though:  Different states have different rules regarding how close you can be to marry.  If I marry my first cousin in Alabama and move to Ohio (to pick two random states), the marriage is still honored (Full Faith and Credit ftw).  The same is not true of Gay marriage.

    On the flip side, even virulent opponents of abortion make allowances for "rape or INCEST".  I think the latter is more related to pedophilia again, rather than genetic worries.

    •  Um (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Norbrook, Onomastic

      On the flip side, even virulent opponents of abortion make allowances for "rape or INCEST".  I think the latter is more related to pedophilia again, rather than genetic worries.

      Not Sarah Palin.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:19:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong, actually. (0+ / 0-)

      If I marry my first cousin in Alabama and move to Ohio (to pick two random states), the marriage is still honored (Full Faith and Credit ftw).

      Actually, marriage is a long-established exception to the Full Faith and Credit clause. A state may choose to recognize out-of-state marriages that would not have been valid if performed in-state, but such recognition is not required by the Full Faith and Credit clause.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:09:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Kind Of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drbloodaxe, rf7777, vipersdad, Onomastic

    sounds like the 'Dogs and Cats Marrying' argument.
    It completely cements the viewpoint that if gays are allowed to marry, all Hell's gonna break loose.
    Straight Panic.

    "This time must be different" - President Barack Obama

    by Maori on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:19:44 PM PST

  •  I know what you said that you were not doing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, cacamp, vipersdad, Onomastic

    but
    when you basically say
    Gay Marriage and Incest, compare and contrast
    you are doing it.

    •  Nah (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, NWTerriD, Norbrook, Verstand

      We do these thought experiments all the time.  I've had similar discussions in undergrad philsophy courses.  It isn't that controversial.  Well, ok, it is controversial, but that isn't what he's doing

      "We're half awake in a fake empire."

      by Alec82 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:23:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No they are not, why can't people wrap their (6+ / 0-)

      heads around this?

      We have to have a clear refutation ready for this line of attack against gay marriage.  There are tons of responses that shut this line of reasoning down, but we have to be ready with them so we don't look like idiots when blindsided with this question.

      The question must be discussed as a ridiculous comparison, so we are prepared for this tactic, which is a common one from wingnuts.

      By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

      by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:24:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that kind of thinking is what ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        st minutia

        gets us in trouble.  These are two completely different arguments.

        Why not say that Gay Marriage leads to rape?  Gay Marriage leads to higher gas prices?  The conflation of one argument with another ... more offensive and emotionally charged thing is fallacious in several ways:

        1.  Slippery slope - If we allow Gay Marriage, we HAVE to allow incest, bestiality, plural marriages, etc....when there is no logical reason for one lead to the other... they are separate issues.
        1.  Appeal to tradition - "just because we've always done it this way...."
        1.  Ad-populum - because a majority of CA voters voted for this thing, it must be right
        1.  Red Herring - the incest/bestiality, etc... diversions have nothing logically to do with Gay Marriage but are inserted there to confuse the issue (which is clearly working with this diarist)
        1.  (weaker) False Dichotomy:  There is what is "right" (trad. marriage) and Wrong (anything else).  If you are arguing for something besides traditional marriage, you come down on the wrong side of the argument.  

        This incest-Gay marriage thing is so full of holes I'm putting it on my ham and rye sandwich (with plain yellow mustard - not that deli crap)

        •  If you can point out those holes (0+ / 0-)

          then great, you've shut down the arguement.  But be ready to actually do so, otherwise they will look logically superior and their constituents will remain unswayed.

          None of the above examples show why their argement is an invalid comparison (even though it is invalid), you will lose any debate trying this approach.  You may not like the slippery slope BS, but it's a valid debate tactic that works, so you better be ready to defeat it logicially and show why it is in fact NOT a slippery slope if you're going to discuss it.

          By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, [journalism] keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. - Oscar Wilde

          by The Laughing Man on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:02:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

      Whether you think the comparison is fair or not, you still need a good response to the question. I doubt Christian conservatives are going to be swayed by accusations of homophobia.

      •  They aren't swayed by appeals to REASON (0+ / 0-)

        by the presentation of scientific evidence, either. They make claims about the ability of ex-gay groups to change sexual orientation--but those groups refuse to allow reputable scientists to examine their data so those claims can be proved or disproved.  There is ONE study that means desperate fundy Christian gays may in a few cases become bi--but most still fantasies about gay sex, which makes them bi, not straight as Exodus et al claim. That study was by Spitzer. It also makes clear that the treatment will not only fail not most gays, however desperate, but can lead to deepening depression from constant lectures that they are going to hell and even to suicide.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 07:58:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Slippery slope argument (6+ / 0-)

    Because you allow A, you must then allow B.

    It's bogus in and of itself, in general, because A does not equal B.

    It's especially bogus in this case because sexual orientation and blood relation are entirely different categories. We abandoned miscegenation laws 40 years ago, and are only now discussing gay marriage.

    It's triply bogus because there are a couple of reasons for objecting to incest which do not apply to same-sex marriage. I shall explain:

    Incestuous sex of any kind is illegal. This is not the case for homosexual sex in most states. The reason it's illegal is birth defects, but they are just a symptom of what is now better understood to be a wider problem: genetic diversity. Incest leads to much greater susceptibility to a broad spectrum of diseases, defects and disorders - just check European aristocracy's rates of hemophilia. Now, the Bible-bashers would at this point of course scream "AIDS", but the fact is the best science suggests that HIV transferred to humans through bestiality, and it has spread throughout Africa mostly through heterosexual contacts.

    The other main objection is the 'position of authority' argument. A parent, aunt or uncle, or an older sibling is in a position of authority in a similar way to a teacher. Incest is also frowned upon for the same kinds of reasons it's frowned upon for a teacher to have relations with a student. Incestuous relationships are often developed underage, and often have an abusive component. This is why it's still considered incest and illegal even when there is no genetic connection, just a marital one (step-siblings, step-parents etc).

    I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. - Bertrand Russell
    -5.38, -6.41

    by sullivanst on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:21:22 PM PST

    •  Agreed, but there's more to it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fizziks, st minutia, sullivanst

      Incestuous heterosexual sex is banned in part because of birth defects.  But before the 19th century we had no clear idea why birth defects occurred, and incestuous heterosexual sex has been banned from time immemorial in most cultures.  As has incestuous homosexual sex.

      I would suggest that one reason societies ban incestuous relationships is to promote greater interdependence in the society between families.  If fathers had the option of taking the best girls out of the marriage market, it would be a severe blow to the inter-familial bonds that would otherwise develop.

      This is actually much the same argument put forward by gay marriage opponents who argue that it will undermine the foundations of society.  And so it has been for centuries.

      The best way to confront this line of thinking is to recognize it and take it on directly, as did Keith Olbermann the other night.  We need to stand up FOR gays, promote the stability that recognizing gay relationships would bring, point out the harm it does to force gays to closet themselves, and how laws against them like the marriage ban reinforce their status as second-class citizens.

      "The old boy's network. In the McCain campaign, that's called a staff meeting."

      by Simian on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:38:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Homosexual sex is legal in every state. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sullivanst

      Since Lawrence v. Texas.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:11:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's been said before... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norbrook

    If marriage is viewed as a contract, which is basically is, one party should not exert undue stress upon the other to enter into it. Incest often, but not always as has been noted, crosses that line. Teachers who pressure their students into having sexual relations with them is considered abusive, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that a parent who does the same would not be the same (and many, including myself, would argue is far worse).

    Otherwise, personally, I don't see a huge problem with incest, so long as there is no abuse in the relationship. It's a far simpler legal matter to simply ban incest outright rather than for the courts to decide what is "loving" and abusive rather than what is loving and supportive.

    For what it's worth, judging by the "lesbian sister incest" porn out there, there is certainly an interest in it. Feel free to Google "lesbian sister porn" and note the 1,250,000 hits. Even if a fraction of them are "legit" lesbian incest porn, it's obviously more than a niche market.

    But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor. (1776)

    by banjolele on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:21:50 PM PST

    •  I'd guess it's 0% real (0+ / 0-)

      But think about how many people fantasized about a threesome with the Olsen Twins.  People attacked the pedophilia aspect of it, but the incest sort of floated by.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:00:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Traditional marriage" (3+ / 0-)

    For what it's worth, in Western Society, the traditional definition of marriage included pedophilia (Marie Antoinette was married at 14), polygamy (King Solomon had 700 wives, and never mind King David, Abraham, etc.) and of course, incest (see, well, every inbred royal family up until the 20hth century!)

    Right on, Dr. Dean.

    by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:22:45 PM PST

  •  This was a rationale suggested by..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ola senor

    ...one of my undergraduate professors for Justice O'Connor's concurring opinion in Lawrence for using equal protection to strike down sodomy laws.  It is interesting, because when you begin to evaluate a right to consensual sex between two adults as a matter of substantive due process privacy rights you invariably run into this problem.

    "We're half awake in a fake empire."

    by Alec82 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:27:07 PM PST

  •  Power imbalance (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mikey, GN1927, Hastur, Greasy Grant

    Incest is parent/child - even if the child is an adult.
    Same reasoning is used in sexual harassment at work, doctors having sex with patients, pastors with parishioners, etc.

    "Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama runs won so our children can fly."

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:27:14 PM PST

    •  This is the strongest argument (0+ / 0-)

      I do think that a power imbalance is inherent to any incestuous relationship between parents and children.

      I'm not sure this applies to siblings or cousins, though.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:31:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it applies to siblings, too (0+ / 0-)

        There's usually an elder/younger dynamic in families. With cousins it would probably depend on how close they are. I've got cousins I've never even met.
        Along those lines there are interesting story plots revolving around siblings (or half siblings) raised separately and then meeting and falling in love as adults, all unaware of the blood connection. Probably happens in real life, too, since truth often IS stranger than fiction.
        In such cases I'm not sure there should be a legal or ethical barrier to marriage. Maybe a medical question due to the genetic diversity issue.

        "Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama runs won so our children can fly."

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:38:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There are no right answers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, HeyMikey, st minutia

    to wrong questions.

    The best answer to "What about incest?" is something on the order of: "And that's relevant . . . how again?"

    I personally might follow that with: "So what's with your fixation on incest?"  But then, I have trouble responding to an offensive and ridiculous argument with anything that isn't meant to offend or ridicule.

  •  Clearly I am lacking some intellectual (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    st minutia

    depth, because I don't see why incest would be raised as an objection to SSM.  But then, as long as there is no coercion or genetic danger, I don't really care who marries anyone else.

    And while I was typing this MSNBC ran as ad for its special on high end prostitution.  Does the American preoccupation with the bedrooms of others ever end?

    Piffle crack eat monkey snow. Really. Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald

    by Susan Grigsby on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:31:17 PM PST

  •  Hmmmm.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Catte Nappe, leolabeth

    Interesting argument and oddly enough this argument comes up all the time in the animal husbandry world where we do what is called "line breeding," a practice that where we breed closely related animals in order to keep or strengthen a desired trait or to reinforce type.

    We don't as a general rule breed immediately related animals together. Usually they are separated by at least one or more degrees, i.e. (great)grandsire to (great)granddam, "uncle" to "niece" etc. Done correctly, the results can be quite good, but if not done carefully or too much the results can be disastrous.

    That brings me to this - While the first time birth defect rate is fairly low (it is still more than double what you would expect breeding outside your genetic background), with each additional generation of incestuous relationships the rate of birth defects and mental deficiency in the offspring skyrockets. The state has an interest in that in the past disabled people ended up becoming wards of the state and therefore a burden to the state. Given that even though there are almost no state run residential facilities for the disabled, we still have government programs to assist them. Because of that the state has an interest in reducing the likelihood any given couple will have mentally challenged offspring.

    So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

    by Cali Techie on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:32:13 PM PST

    •  That is a real interest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Techie

      Although it has to contend with individual rights to privacy.  I'm not sure where that line is drawn exactly; I think we agree that even though drinking while pregnant can cause birth defects, we don't want to imprison any mom who gets drunk, say.  

      I'm not sure where this lies on the privacy vs. state interest scale.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:51:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Drinking and smoking while pregnant (0+ / 0-)

        do lead to an increase in birth defects. However it's not as dramatic as incest. My mother both drank and smoked while she was pregnant with me and well, I came out pretty normal at least physically and intellectually.

        Incest almost guarantees decreased mental abilities especially after the first generation.

        BTW there are states with laws on the books that charge women who drink and/or smoke while pregnant with abusing their unborn child. Even more states have similar laws regarding illicit drug use while pregnant. With states beginning to define life beginning at conception I imagine there will be even more laws on the books in this area.

        And yes it does tend to impinge on privacy, but given you have to notify the state when you want to get married, there isn't a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to marriage licenses since they are a matter of public record. I don't think we can expect law enforcement to monitor every pregnant woman, but I would be against any law that requires a doctor to report on her/his patients.

        So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

        by Cali Techie on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:07:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Amish intermarry, though I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, NWTerriD

    think they have a religious dispensation from the state.  They also have one of the highest, if not THE highest rates of genetic birth defects of any population and are the basis for tons of research studies into the causes of these anomalies.

  •  I should note this: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Josiah Bartlett, second signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and his first cousin, Mary Bartlett[citation needed]

    John C. Calhoun, seventh Vice President of the United States, and his first cousin once removed, Floride Calhoun[5]

    Charles Darwin and his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood.[8] In addition, their grandparents, Sarah Wedgewood and Josiah Wedgwood, were also cousins.[9]

    Albert Einstein and his first cousin (through his mother) as well as second cousin (through his father), Elsa Löwenthal née Einstein[11]

    Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, and his second cousin once removed, Regina Peruggi[16]

    Martin Van Buren, former president of the US, and his first cousin once removed, Hannah Hoes[39]

    Right on, Dr. Dean.

    by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:34:51 PM PST

  •  Go back to the Santorum quote... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    ...if that's going to be the battlefield:

    "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery."

    Um...I'm looking for the word gay. Don't see it.

    Pulling out the other terms in his quote:  Consensual sex, bigamy, polygamy, incest, adultery.  Those are all choices. Those are all actions.

    Homosexuality?  Not a choice, not an action, but a state of being.

    I have a dream:  Gay marriages are ratified by the Constitution.  To protest, a number of wingnuts show up at the Justice of the Peace to get married to their dogs.  My dream?  They let them marry the dogs.  Have fun on the honeymoon, boys.

    Palin/Bachmann 2012. Oh please oh please oh please...

    by jacksonqueens on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:36:01 PM PST

    •  I'll supply the peanut butter....LOL! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fizziks
    •  choices vs being (0+ / 0-)

      Sexual activity of any flavor is a choice!  Heterosexual and homosexual.  Yep, both choices.  

      Polygamy is not a choice tho.  It is a state of being.  

      But we can't go by who you are physically attracted to alone.  You can't go by state of beings alone.
      What about the people who are attracted to children? They are not ok, because their action of choice is not with a consenting adult.  Animals?  Same argument.  Bigamy/polygny/polygamy - more than two.  (as to adultery - well that's just an action - not a state of being.)

      The argument is that marriage should be between two individuals capable of consent.

      So in this regard - how is a marriage between Adam and Steve different than a marriage between Hansel and Gretel?
      You can't quibble about abuse, because as horrible as it is, people are abused into traditional marriages as well.  Same with the reproduction argument, we don't have genetic testing.  For that matter, marriage isn't sex anyway.  Etc.  

      The original poster asked, how, in any meaningful way, can we justify same sex marriage and at the same time not justify marriage between family members capable of consent?

  •  I do actually (0+ / 0-)

    kind of question the sanity of people who, however homophobic, relate gay marriage to incest or the other favorite, bestiality.  Notions of consent and real biological science-based reasoning make these scenarios completely disparate to me.  Kind of like, "why can't I marry someone my family hates," being responded to with, "what's next, are you going to marry your brother?"

    Your heart is in the right place, but I don't believe that even most homophobic people really think gay marriage is equivalent to incest.  I think homophobes use the comparison to express disgust with GLBTs and for purposes of inflicting insult and abuse.

    "If you don't have a record to run on...You make a big election about small things." - Barack Obama

    by GN1927 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:36:45 PM PST

    •  My apologies for being a day late here (0+ / 0-)

      but wanted to add that what offends me the most about discussing incest as part of a discussion concerning Same sex marriage is that marriages of any variety are more than sex.

      We don't relate only to sex when we discuss marriage in other populations.

      It seems that any discussions of GLBT issues brings up discussion of sex and mostly perversions of one type or another.

      I would guess that I am a bit older than the diarist and I was not raised to believe marriage was between a man and a woman.  Had not even heard the discussions until the late 90s as discussions started cropping up concerning family formations for same sex couples.

      My parents were staunch bible Baptists (dunkin' Baptists, if you will) and my mother has no problem with same sex marriage.

      I find the discussion of incest as part of discussions about same sex marriages as unrelated.  Haven't a clue how many reported cases of incest exist each year, but it is pretty safe to suggest that these occurrences have been in the standard male/female marriages.

      So why would it not be automatic to discuss incest when standard marriage discussions occur?

      PaintyKat

      WWYTR? Voting, contributing, supporting, and electing Democrats

      by PaintyKat on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 10:14:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gender discrimination is the difference (4+ / 0-)

    I've always felt that the easiest way to rebut any slippery slope type argument is to frame the issue of Same Sex Marriage as one of discrimination based on gender rather than sexual orientation. I realize that such rationalization may not be appealing, as I would assume that homosexual people do not feel they are discriminated based on their gender, but rather on their sexual orientation.

    I, as a man, have a right to marry a woman.  A woman apparently does not have that right.  Thus, the laws of this country are denying a right to that woman because she is a woman.  That is gender discrimination.  The converse is also true.  I am denied the right to marry a man, even though a woman has that right.  I would be discriminated against -- by the law -- because of my gender.

    But with incest and the other slippery slope arguments made above, there is no such discrimination.  For the incest example, it's true that one adult male seeking to marry his adult sister is denied a right that any other single adult male would have.  To the extent that is discrimination, it is discrimination based on familial relationships, which (unlike gender) is not a protected class under the laws of this country.

    Beastiality is an even more obvious distinction.  No one is allowed to marry an animal.  Thus, no one has a right that someone else doesn't.  

    •  just to be clear (0+ / 0-)

      when i said

      frame the issue of Same Sex Marriage as one of discrimination based on gender rather than sexual orientation

      i was referring to the rejection of same sex marriage as being an issue of discrimination based on gender.

    •  interesting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlynne, st minutia

      .... never thought of that... its sort of an argument meant for a gender neutral society.

      Unfortunately, we still have the likes the Neo-cons who drum to the beat of obeying their husbands.

      Thanks for your post.

    •  yes. (0+ / 0-)

      anytime we talk about gay rights, people on both sides tend to confuse the issues of sexuality and gender.  They are distinct concepts.  

      The gay vs. incestuous marriage argument is a good example.  Most people's reactions are based on their moral objections to certain types of sexuality.  That's why the two get equated.  But as you so eloquently point out, the gay marriage issue is one of gender equality, just as Loving vs. Virginia was about racial equality - neither had jack to do with sexuality other than in the repressed deviant fantasies of the Santorum crowd.  

      Gay marriage would not, could not, open the door to allowing incestuous marriage because the ban on incestuous marriage is based on familial relationships, not sexuality, and not gender.  Brothers could have consensual sex with each other, yet still not be allowed to marry - not because they are gay, not because they are male, but because they are brothers.  

      I do have questions about the legitimacy of the ban on incestuous marriage, and whether in today's reality, there is still a need for such a ban and to what extent.  But that presents a very different issue that cannot be mixed and matched with the discussion on gender equality in marriage.

      Steny Hoyer = a slam dunk argument for term limits

      by jlynne on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:08:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  To summarize (0+ / 0-)

    I think the reasoning for banning cousins from marrying is very weak, for banning siblings is better, and hte arguments for banning people from marrying their own kids very compelling.

    Anybody disagree?

    Right on, Dr. Dean.

    by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:48:06 PM PST

  •  You're absolutely fucking kidding me. (0+ / 0-)

    This place has really truly gone off the deep end this week. I fought and argued all afternoon, and now this.

    I think I really truly am done with this place now.

  •  New Rule! Stop letting the Right play... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cacamp, jacksonqueens

    On our side of the field....

    the ONLY way to get clear of this is to redefine the issue.

    Conflating Incest to Gay Marriage is playing by someone elses' messed up fallacious set of rules.

    Can we stop this now?  

  •  Incest taboo serves a vital function (9+ / 0-)

    Specifically, to discourage "relationships" based on coercion.  Drawing the bright line, even if we think some individual case is not necessarily just, is critical (and indispensable) to preventing a greater evil - the risk of sexual exploitation, a risk that, given the considerable autonomy enjoyed by family units under the law, the close proximity in which family members live, and the amount of control parents exert over their children, would be considerable.

    The legal analogy is that even fundamental rights under our constitution are not absolute - infringements of such rights are subject to strict scrutiny - the infringement must be narrowly tailored to address a compelling state interest (which is a bunch of legal terms of art amounting "Not bloody likely").  It's a very stringent standard, and almost everything fails to meet it.  The one case that I can recall of the Supreme Court finding a government action meeting that standard, the Court later went back and said "Um, actually, it didn't, never mind" - the Korematsu decision approving of the detention of Japanese-Americans during WW2.  Prohibitions on incest do meet that standard, because the harm is so great, the infringement so narrow, and the relationship between the two so strong.

    Same sex marriage, in contrast, cannot be linked sufficiently directly to any harm that is compelling for the state to address.  Which is why the best arguments by the anti side are so anemic, and why the argument tends to end up, ultimately, boiling down to "Ick!".

    •  Thank you for taking the diarist's questions... (0+ / 0-)

      seriously and answering them clearly and cogently.

      I've always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific. -- Lily Tomlin

      by leolabeth on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:17:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd also add (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Curufinwe

      The prohibition is additionally narrow in applicability because it restricts marriage to relatively few individuals, perhaps as few as none if all living relatives are dead to a few dozen with a large family. Contrast that with the number of individuals one is excluded from marrying by a same sex marriage ban, which excludes roughly half the population.

      In addition to the coercion factor, there is also the concentration of power and supplantation of power factors.

      If incest were permitted a family could prevent dilution of any aggregated wealth and power from generation to generation by intermarrying in much the same manner that royalty throughout history only allowed marriage with other royalty for generations.

      Additionally, if a child could marry a parent, the child could in essence supplant his siblings in authority and precedence under law. Suppose a parent of three children dies. The parent's estate, by default under law, goes principally to the spouse. If a child of the union can then marry the living parent, the child's share of the estate upon the death of the other parent significantly increases to the detriment of the child's siblings.

      There are 10 kind of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

      by craigkg on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 07:07:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  All good points (0+ / 0-)

        Your expansion on the narrowness question gets precisely at why the cases are so different.  Sophistry about how gay people can marry opposite sex partners notwithstanding (funny how the people who make it never seem to consider their ability to marry a member of their own sex a perk, but expect gay people to find the reverse acceptable - go figure), a gay marriage ban cuts (for gay people) the universe of "people with whom it is possible to form a lifelong marital (in all senses of the word) relationship" from 'n' (where n = the number of affectionally-compatible members of the appropriate sex, i.e. for gay men, 'n' would be 'all gay or bisexual men') to zero.  The incest ban reduces that set of people from 'n' to 'n-minus-maybe-a-few-dozen-tops'.  Which is a very long way from zero ('n' being, even in the most narrow case and the most conservative estimate, still a population of a few million in this country alone).

        BTW, love the sig. :-)

  •  Since no one else seems to have mentioned it, (0+ / 0-)

    this is all I can think of when anyone mentions the word "Santorum".

    Read at your own risk.

    Good Christians fix themselves and help others, not the other way around.

    by skrekk on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:04:45 PM PST

  •  values and laws originate from human nature (4+ / 0-)

    that some 8% of people are innately attracted to the same sex is the foundation of the value system and the legal argument for gay marriage. On the other hand, contrary to Rick Santorum's blather, there are very few humans who yearn for marriage with a canine. A gay couple functions very similar to a straight couple. A man-dog couple would function radically different. This is why the Santorum "slippery slope" argument is an absurdity.  

    It is because of our biological and cultural nature that we innately organize our legal philosophy around concepts such as marriage between two consenting human adults. The same-sex extension to marriage is a natural progression resulting from the flowering of human rights over the past 60 years. In an earlier time, women were regarded as a kind of possession of men and so androcentric polygamy was the norm. After the Enlightenment, women in Western culture slowly began to be regarded more as equals and ultimately the concept of monogamy prevailed.  

    Incest marriage between consenting adults is not going to be legalized because there is no strong desire among individuals for such couplings. I don't know what psycho-biological reason there is for the suppression of incestuous impulses, but for whatever natural reason that it doesn't prevail, the cultural values and laws follow.  If our psycho-biological make-up were different and it were rather a frequent and natural occurrence to possess sexual desires with family members, the culture and its legal framework would reflect this characteristic. But since we are all Homo Sapiens with our unique specific nature, don't expect incest marriage or trans-species marriage any time soon.

    •  I don't think that's accurate (0+ / 0-)

      I would guess that more than 8% of the adult male population would want to have sex with your average 16 year old pop starlet, but that's no reason to make it legal.

      And as marriage has changed dramatically over the course of the past 200 years (of which gay marriage is really the least part) I think changing culture has more to do with anything innate.

      I do agree that nobody arguing for it, seriously and outside of a thought experiment, would keep any serious challenge to incest laws from arising.

      Right on, Dr. Dean.

      by Mikey on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:17:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alec82

        It's legal in lots of states. The AOC is sixteen or younger in, IIRC, 34 states.

        Including mine :D

        What do you call a parent that believes in abstinence only sex ed? A Grandparent.

        by ChurchofBruce on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:39:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It would be stupid for it to be otherwise frankly (0+ / 0-)

          Unless they had a staggered system to protect Romeo and Juliet couples, as some states do.  Prosecuting young adults for that is absurd.

          "We're half awake in a fake empire."

          by Alec82 on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:46:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I was referring to relationships between adults (0+ / 0-)

        The issue of sex with minors includes an additional set of values, that of adults protecting children. At what age is established for consent is culture driven.

        I agree that marriage values are culture driven, but ultimately culture evolves from the biological. That which gives us desires, perception, memory, bonding, etc.

  •  We probably don't have an adequate language (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, craigkg, Yamara, sullivanst

    to talk about this in English.  I'm thinking about the love that exists between siblings and inside a family -- philia -- and the romantic love that exists between a committed couple -- eros.  

    It's easy to get them confused, and so the "informed consent" part of consenting adults comes into play.  Can a daughter, who really loves her father, actually consent to have sex with him in a marriage?  Is it really possible to sort out those feelings?  

    Our conventional wisdom says, "No. Consent doesn't mean anything when it's so contaminated by these other feelings, so it's best to simply forbid these combinations."  

    I expect the inclusion of cousins is due to early family structure, where the tribe, village, clan lived very close together.  

    So, I would say that the lack of consent would be the key factor, which would preclude marriage between brothers and sisters, parents and children, and step parents and children, where there is absolutely no possible "birth defect" arguement to be made.  In fact, I'd forbid marriage between two foster children who had been brought up in the same household and were emancipated without ever being adopted and thus have no particular legal familial relationship at all.  

    I think any two consenting adults should be allowed to marry, but the flaw in the insest argument is that family members are already in a relationship, and cannot reasonably consent to a marriage relationship.  

    •  Very good point n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama runs won so our children can fly."

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:49:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Almost all states prohibit marriage... (0+ / 0-)

      between people related only through adoption, if the adopted relationship qualifies under one of the taboo categories, e.g. you cannot marry a niece or nephew who is only your niece or nephew by adoption.

      As to cousins, the laws vary by state. It is a 26-24 split on whether one can marry one's first cousin or not, I think 24 saying yes and 26 saying no. Additionally some states are even more restrictive. In some, one can't even marry a first cousin once removed. In a couple, Arizona and Illinois I believe, first cousins can marry, but only if they are beyond child bearing age or if one is irrevocably infertile. North Carolina permits first cousin marriage except in the case of double first cousins, i.e. both cousins have the same set of four grandparents.

      There are 10 kind of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

      by craigkg on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 07:17:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The whole question is backwards. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, cartwrightdale

    If the argument against gay marriage is that allowing gay marriage would lead to allowing incest...

    Get them to defend the ban on incest. Then see if the argument they come up with (A) is valid, and (B) applies to gay marriage.

    I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. - Bertrand Russell
    -5.38, -6.41

    by sullivanst on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:37:32 PM PST

  •  Here.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    Research Into Incest

    is an excellent discussion of the incest problem. AS far as cousins go, it is not much of a problem. 95% of the world permits first cousins to marry.

    Brother/sister or parent/sibling couplings, however, are FAR MORE PROBLEMATIC. The health risks to the offspring rise between 7% and 31% in such pairings. These should probably remain illegal, since there is an objective and measurable advese risk to an innocent 3rd party when they occur.

    Of course, absolutely none of this affects gay marriage - no same-sex coupling having produced offspring to date.

    I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

    by GayIthacan on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:38:11 PM PST

  •  I am strongly against incest... (0+ / 0-)

    because none of my close relatives are at all attractive ;)

    Got a problem with my posts? Quit reading them. They're usually opinions, and I don't come here to get in arguments.

    by drbloodaxe on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 03:51:17 PM PST

  •  If you want it, fight for it (0+ / 0-)

    Gay rights, including gay marriage rights, are a fairly recent concept. I would guess that Carter, ca. 1976, or Dukakis, ca. 1988, would dismiss and condemn the concept, as would the majority of American liberals.

    What happened since? It isn't that people got tolerant and understanding entirely through reflection and consideration of the logic, biology and legal issues. It is that millions of gay people came out, put themselves on the line, and bit by bit showed the public that as a group they are not criminals or molesters, and that they fit into all walks of life, including as parents. That, more than anything, made the public accept gayness.

    Well, if there are sibling couples who want to gain acceptance, they will have to come out, and they will have to fight. I don't think a simple argument for logic and legal equivalency will win the hearts of the public.

    Incidentally, does any state which allows domestic partnerships restrict them by family relationship?

  •  The answer probably has to be a legal one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yamara

    I have read through almost all of this thread.  I think the question a good one, and many responses are thoughtful, (though there are many which seem to me knee-jerk, inane or nonresponsive).

    The legal issue would likely turn on the constitutional right being protected.  Generally, a minimal state interest is sufficient to legislate, unless there is an equal protection problem or interference with fundamental right, in which case a compelling state interest is required.  The question here, properly framed as legal one, is what compelling state interest allows discrimination against consensual incestual couples seeking the right to marry.  

    If privacy is the main right being advanced, the distinction between consensual incest and consensual homosexuality presents a tough distinction, as this thread demonstrates.  It would seem the best one can do would be to argue that the genetic risks, and the risks of coercion in such relationships warrants state action to preclude them.  Perhaps those are sufficiently compelling state interests.  But for purposes of arguing this issue with opponents of same sex marriage, one can simply concede those as compelling state interests and thus agree that the state may regulate incest.  The anti same sex marriage crowd is unlikely to argue that such state interests would not be compelling, so you win the legal argument.

    The recent California Supreme Court case, however, was decided primarily as an equal protection case, and indeed that seems to be the primary legal argument in favor of same sex marriage.  Equal protection is violated when the law creates a suspect classification system in treating people differently.  If a suspect classification is involved, a compelling state interest is necessary and presently no compelling state interest exists to discriminate against homosexuals.  

    This allows an obvious legal distinction between same sex couples and same family couples.  Legal discrimination on the basis of family relationship has never been held to be a suspect classification.  In fact, there are many laws allowing such discrimination, generally anti-nepotism statutes.  Since legislation against same family relationships has never been held to create a suspect classification, presumably any governmental interest would allow legislation against incest when subjected to an equal protection challenge.  

  •  Diarist here (waves!) (0+ / 0-)

    I had to unexpectedly run off right after posting; looks like I missed a good debate, that I started!  :)  I've read all 300+ comments and find quite a few jewels.  I'm not sure anyone's actually offered a specific, rational, legal reason to forbid consenting adults to marry, that is separate from moral concerns, but there have been a few steps.  I think I'll try a followup to this diary after I've had a few days to think over your thoughts.  Thanks especially to those of you who didn't have a knee-jerk response!  

    "Don't hope for a stronger America. Vote for one." - John McCain. I agree!!!

    by cartwrightdale on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 06:19:11 PM PST

    •  I will try again since I just found this thread.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaintyKat

      ...in the past few minutes, and responded up-thread which you may have missed.

      Siblings already have familial status under the law. If anyone thinks siblings should have more rights and protection under family law, then go for it. It is 100% nothing to do with, and is entirely irrelevant to the issue of ending gender discrimination in marriage law (i.e. legally recognizing same-gender marriages).

      It is thrown into the discussion by those unfamiliar with the law and/or those using it as a slippery-slope argument or scare tactic.

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Proud to support President-elect Obama

      by Lestatdelc on Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 07:05:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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