Saturday, February 01, 2014

Is the granting of a marriage license morally neutral?

The role of government in marriage licensing is a critical part of the discussion of same-sex and other kinds of marriages which is often overlooked. Is government's granting of marriage licenses to gay couples, or to polygamous partnerships, entail a moral approval of those relationships. Robert George argues yes, here. 

Yet, clearly our government does give marriage licenses to people whose relationships do not pass any kind of moral test. For example, the government has no qualms in giving licenses to couples who began their relationships in adulterous affairs. 

16 comments:

Crude said...

Yet, clearly our government does give marriage licenses to people whose relationships do not pass any kind of moral test. For example, the government has no qualms in giving licenses to couples who began their relationships in adulterous affairs.

I think you're on shaky ground with this one. Will the government take adultery into account in the process of arbitrating a failed marriage?

That's a can of worms to open up, but nevertheless, I think it's appropriate given where you're going with this one.

Ilíon said...

"Is the granting of a marriage license morally neutral?"

No ... and nothing of importance is morally neutral.

Consider the claim (of moral neutrality) for a different angle. If the granting by the state of a marriage license were morally neutral, then why all the fuss and demand that centuries of settled law and millenia of social practice be overturned so as to satisfy a small, vocal minority who don't give a damn about actual marriage in the first place, and whose leaders and organizers openly admit that their goal is to destroy marriage, both as a social institution and as a legal institution?

Ilíon said...

Not to put too fine a point to it, but *all* arguments based upon the assertion that the State must be morally neutral are intellectually dishonest, they are made hypocritically: for true object isn't to attain some desired state of moral neutrality -- which is impossible, in any event -- but rather to supplant the common/majority understanding of the State’s moral role by an understanding which at odds with it.

im-skeptical said...

"whose leaders and organizers openly admit that their goal is to destroy marriage, both as a social institution and as a legal institution?"

Who would that be?

"*all* arguments based upon the assertion that the State must be morally neutral are intellectually dishonest"

So you would dictate who is entitled to civil rights bases on your religious morality? Maybe we should enact sharia law?

BenYachov said...

Random thoughts


I once recalled that Vox Day pointed out that in early American History there was no such thing as a Marriage License. You went to Church to marry not to City Hall to get papers.

Marriage can only objectively exist between a man and a woman by both natural law and religion but the modern crowd define marriage as some societal sanction & or state recognition of our personal long term romantic sexual relationships.

I say nuts to that.

I suppose the only way to solve the gay marriage mishigoss is to simply legally reduce everything to domestic partnerships on paper.

I only care for the recognition of the Church for my marriage I could give a rat's arse what the State thinks.

That having been said during the 60's and 70's those on the left where calling for the abolishment of marriage as an outdated Patriarchal oppressive institution. Now they say gays must enter into this outdated oppressive institutional bondage or they don't have equal rights?

That is just weird. Atheist Madelyn Murry O'Hair called marriage a "License to F***". Now modern gnus are so into it?

What do I think? I think liberal Gays just want to get "married" just to be annoying. Like my Brother at 6:30 always wanted to watch some stupid program I knew he didn't really care for because Dr Who was on and he wanted to bug me.

I could be right.


im-skeptical said...

"Random thoughts"

True.

"I only care for the recognition of the Church for my marriage I could give a rat's arse what the State thinks."

Then why all the fuss about who is allowed to marry? The state sanctions marriage for legal purposes, not for religious purposes. So it's really none of your business if someone else is granted the same legal rights and benefits you have. I don't give a rat's ass what your church thinks of it.


BenYachov said...

>Then why all the fuss about who is allowed to marry?

You mean why do people who spend two decades or more complaining about how antiquated, oppressive, Patriarchal and outmoded this particular institution was now suddenly are all gungho for it for gay people?

You tell me.

>The state sanctions marriage for legal purposes, not for religious purposes.

Actually I think the state just wants control nothing more.

>So it's really none of your business if someone else is granted the same legal rights and benefits you have.

I would be more tolerant of it if fascist liberals didn't fine Christian photographers for not photographing a gay "marriage" ceremony in a State where Gay Marriage is not yet even formally legal. Or Courts legislating gay marriage from the bench while ignoring the First Amendment rights of Christians to opt out.


>I don't give a rat's ass what your church thinks of it.

Whatever but why those of your ilk stay silent in the face of the government Forcing Catholic Christians to buy you birth control & fine Christian bakers and photographers for opting out of same sex weddings is beyond inconsistent

Besides there is a profound moral difference between not having the right to get the same piece of paper others get & the same label vs fining people who wish to opt out of the ceremony that makes that happen.

oozzielionel said...

"Is the granting of a marriage license morally neutral?"

A state license for marriage is morally irrelevant. A state license only affects morality in the sense of a moral obligation to obey the laws of government. When the state legalizes behavior, however, it does determine the morality. That which is legal can be (and often is)immoral.

oozzielionel said...

I meant "When the state legalizes behavior, however, it does NOT determine the morality."

planks length said...

I suspect that NOTHING human beings do can ever be truly "morally neutral" - whether we act as individuals or as a collective (e.g., government).

Ilíon said...

planks length: "I suspect that NOTHING human beings do can ever be truly "morally neutral" - whether we act as individuals or as a collective (e.g., government)."

Nothing that matters is "morally neutral" ... and a lot that may not at first blush seem to matter is also not "morally neutral".

No law that commands or prohibits can ever be "morally neutral" -- only the intellectually dishonest (such as the typical proponent of "gay" "marriage") would deny that. But, even the sort of "fluff" laws that modern legislatures love to churn out are not always "morally neutral", for even without containing a command or a sanction or an enforcement mechanism, they still signify a position of approval or disapproval of something or other.

And even at a personal level, a seemingly "morally neutral" decision may not be, after all. The decision to eat a bowl of ice cream or not *appears* to be "morally neutral", but it may not be; it depends upon the circumstance.

If one is morbidly obese, then eating that bowl of ice cream most assuredly has moral meaning. Or, if the world were such that the only vanilla flavoring available in the whole world was produced by slave-labor, then eating a bowl of vanilla-flavored ice cream most assuredly has moral meaning.

Buying an item imported from France has an entirely different moral meaning than buying a comparable item imported from China – for China is one huge slave-labor camp, and even if the particular item was not produced by slave-labor, its purchase still lends support to that wicked regime.

planks length said...

I've lately been plowing my way through one of the most challenging books I've attempted in quite some while, The Need for Roots by Simone Weil. The very first words of that book are somewhat pertinent to this discussion:

"The notion of obligations comes before that of rights, which is subordinate and relative to the former. A right is not effectual by itself, but only in relation to the obligation to which it corresponds. The effective exercise of a right springs not from the individual who possesses it, but from other men who consider themselves as being under a certain obligation towards him. Recognition of an obligation makes it effectual. An obligation which goes unrecognized by anybody loses none of the full force of its existence. A right which goes unrecognized by anybody is not worth very much.

It makes nonsense to say that men have, on the one hand, rights, and on the other hand, obligations. ... The actual relationship between the two is as between object and subject."

im-skeptical said...

planks length,

Good quote. We have an obligation to our fellow humans to treat them as humans, and to accord then the respect and dignity they deserve as humans.

planks length said...

im-skeptical,

You might appreciate Simone Weil. She cannot be categorized, and subscribes to no "ism". Check out some of her ideas HERE and HERE.

Even when one disagrees with Weil, it is impossible to not appreciate how she expresses herself.

im-skeptical said...

planks length,

Good stuff.

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