Sunday, February 25, 2018

What "gay marriage" does

To be clear, same-sex relationships existed before gay couples could be married by the government, and they have been doing may marriage ceremonies since 1969, without getting arrested. What the gay marriage government initiatives, culminating with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in 2015, has been government recognition of gay marriages, so that, for example, a same sex couple could check “married filing jointly” on their tax return and get some tax advantages. 

Did gay marriage permit gay people to love who they please? No. What would prevent them from loving who they please would be sodomy laws, which have been eliminated in most placed and were unenforced in many cases before they were eliminated. These laws  were declared unconstitutional in 2002, 13 years before the Obergfell decision. 

36 comments:

bmiller said...

What would prevent them from loving who they please would be sodomy laws,

To be clear, no one has ever been forbidden to love whomever they wanted.
There were and still are laws regulating whom one can and can't have sex with though.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Reppert: What would prevent them from loving who they please would be sodomy laws




… say WHAT??

Hugo Pelland said...

Wow Victor... seriously... gay love is all about sodomy!?

One Brow said...

Mr. Green/Hugo Pelland,

The sodomy laws were not used to prohibit heterosexual sodomy, but to prohibit homosexual relationships, regardless of whether they included the physical cat of sodomy or not. The common term for the laws is not descriptive, but it is the common term.

Hugo Pelland said...

Well obviously! That's like the 1st amendment not being about separation of Church and State because it doesn't state that explicitly.

Victor's comment is tone deaf because he's downplaying the battle for marriage equality as if it wasn't a big deal, because gays could love each other already, because their sex lives weren't explicitly illegal.

Look, because you were technically correct One Brow, I'll rephrase my previous comment:
Wow Victor... seriously... gay love is all about sex!?

How does that sound?

One Brow said...

Hugo Pellard,

I apologize for my misunderstanding.

One Brow said...

Then I messed up your name as well. Sorry again.

Hugo Pelland said...

No problem! And to be clear, you were correct to point out the subtle difference in terms. But the posts I see on this blog regarding marriage are frankly appalling sometimes... Especially because it comes from smart people; the bar is just higher in my opinion. Oh well...

Cheers,
Hugo

Victor Reppert said...

I think you misunderstand. I am responding not to gay marriage, which I am inclined to support, but to some of the ridiculous rhetoric which often attaches to it. To hear some people talk, you couldn't be openly gay in America until government started recognizing gay marriage. Before gay marriage, to hear some tell it, gay people couldn't love who they wanted to love, and couldn't be who they are.

The reason I voted against the anti-gay marriage proposition here in Arizona was because I always agreed with C. S. Lewis that you shouldn't impose Christian morality in marriage law. And if you allow, say, men who dump their wives for no other reason than that they want to marry a younger model, and marry that younger model, then it seems odd to insist that they be the opposite sex for legal purposes. Names on a death certificate? Social security? Don't see the problem. However, please leave conservatives free to disapprove and to express that disapproval openly.

In short, I believe in separation of church and state. But unfortunately the state in America has started to take over the role of the church, with some bad effects.

Hugo Pelland said...

Ya I see what you mean, it's not like they couldn't be who they want to be, nor love who they want to love, as long as they are fine to be discriminated against when it comes to getting the same tax benefits as heterosexual, as long as they are fine with not getting a spouse on a visa because they are gay, as long as they are fine with being denied hospital visits, etc... ya, it was not that bad. I wonder why they make such a big deal out of it after all. They were completely free to do whatever they want!

So, without the sarcasm... No, gays were not, and are still not completely allowed to be who they are, even here in the USA. And no, there is no way we should let conservatives free to express disapproval without any consequences. Sure, they should be allowed to say that they want, but they deserve to be fought against, they deserve to be talked to loud and clear, when they spit out their irrational opinions. Why? Because being gay is not a choice, this is not something gays can decide to be or not be. You cannot disapprove of someone for just being themselves; you cannot disapprove of someone being gay! You can only understand that they are what they are and judge them, like anyone else, on their actions and impact on the rest of society. Anything else is nothing but stupidity or willful ignorance.

bmiller said...

One Brow,

Weren't you arguing previously that gender was socially constructed and more or less a choice then?

Hugo has just challenged that notion in no uncertain terms.

What is your defense?

Hugo Pelland said...

Geez, 3rd time...
Huh? This doesn't follow from what I wrote and isn't particularly relevant here, bmiller...

bmiller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bmiller said...

Hugo:
Because being gay is not a choice, this is not something gays can decide to be or not be.

This is an exchange from the "Pre-adolescent indicators of post-adolescent homosexuality? Evidence, anyone?

William:
It is mainly a matter of whether one thinks the biology or the psychology should have priority in defining gender.

One Brow:
Since gender roles and expectations are socially constructed, that answer seems obvious.


One Brow takes the side that gender roles are socially constructed and therefore are not set in some sort of existential concrete.
You seem to tell us that they are.

What should I conclude from what you wrote?

bmiller said...

@Victor,

And if you allow, say, men who dump their wives for no other reason than that they want to marry a younger model, and marry that younger model, then it seems odd to insist that they be the opposite sex for legal purposes.

Right. A lot of Christian churches allow divorce and remarriage so the traditional view of Christian marriage has not been universal for quite a while and laws of the state have changed to reflect this. But the tone of your statement implies that you think there is something wrong with spouses dumping their partners. Why would you think that is wrong?

Victor Reppert said...

In cases where the sexual orientation is unchangeable (and I maintain there are clear cases of change), then it a critic of homosexual conduct has to hold that a hold that such persons ought to be celibate. There are gay people who have drawn exactly that conclusion, such as Wesley Hill. Lots of straight people are not in a position to find marriage partners and have to be celibate. Hence the disapproval is not to being gay (that may be the cards God dealt you), but to acting on it.

I present this position with some hesitation, not fully and completely endorsing it. You have to say that being moral can be difficult, and that a gay person who wants to follow God's will (assuming this is true) is facing a difficult path that I have never had to tread.

However, if your spouse becomes unable to have sex with you, your "need" for sex does not entitle you to go out and find some other partner to have sex with. Hence I agree with C. S. Lewis that we have no (moral) right to happiness, that is no right to pursue happiness through intimate relationships.

bmiller said...

@Victor,

I present this position with some hesitation, not fully and completely endorsing it. You have to say that being moral can be difficult, and that a gay person who wants to follow God's will (assuming this is true) is facing a difficult path that I have never had to tread.

Doesn't your particular church believe there are a range of sins but not everyone has a particular attraction to each of them? For instance, here is a list of the "seven deadly sins": pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

For instance, maybe a person has absolutely no inclination to be greedy. Should that Christian, who has never tred the path of overcoming an urge to be greedy, hesitate to endorse the notion that greed is a sin?


The reason I voted against the anti-gay marriage proposition here in Arizona was because I always agreed with C. S. Lewis that you shouldn't impose Christian morality in marriage law.

I wonder if you've read Tolkien's critique of Lewis's position on this subject especially wrt divorce.

However, if your spouse becomes unable to have sex with you, your "need" for sex does not entitle you to go out and find some other partner to have sex with.

So I assume here you are referring only to what Christians are obliged to do and not others right? That Christians have a unique morality that is OK for Christians but is not OK for others. But wouldn't that mean that morality is relative?

bmiller said...

In cases where the sexual orientation is unchangeable (and I maintain there are clear cases of change), then it a critic of homosexual conduct has to hold that a hold that such persons ought to be celibate.

That was my understanding also, that there is such a thing as gender fluidity. So I was surprised to see Hugo come out so forcefully against it.

I confess I'm not well versed on post modernism, so I was hoping Hugo and One Brow would explain their positions.

Hugo Pelland said...

bmiller,

A) Gender fluidity has little, if anything, to do with sexual orientation. I am no expert, hence the lack of certainty. But it's the 3rd time, I think, you confused the two here.

B) I only commented on sexual orientation, and marriage, and on how gender is actually irrelevant.

C) Therefore, what I come forcefully against is this: preventing individuals to be with who they want to be. Victor's latest comment on how gays ought to be celibate is messed up. Let consenting adults do what they want and mind your own business. Or prove that harm is being done, or whatever you think is wrong.

D) Afaik, I don't agree with much of what falls under post-modernism, and it's used as an insult most of the time anyway; like calling people Social Justice Warriors. It's a cheap way to disguise a lack of rational response, regardless of who's right.

bmiller said...

@Hugo,

A) You seem to be disagreeing with me without telling me why. Not very helpful.

B) I got that. That wasn't what I was asking One Brow about.

C) Before you said "Because being gay is not a choice, this is not something gays can decide to be or not be.". This was the reasoning behind your forceful opinion that apparently anyone who disagrees with is irrational or messed up. This is what I was interested in exploring. I take it as a fact you hold that being gay is not a choice. One Brow doesn't. I was interested in his reasoning vs your's.

D) One Brow used the terminology of social construction which I understand to fall under the postmodernist umbrella, so at least one of you is influenced by it. If you want to dispute that sexual orientation, gender, or whatever are not social constructions with One Brow, that's fine with me. It's interesting that you think postmodernism is an insult rather than an academic description of a movement. How *would* you describe your philosophical outlook?

Hugo Pelland said...

@bmiller

A) I am not sure what we disagree on. Let me rephrase and put it as a statement of fact: sexual orientation is distinct from gender identity. Right?

B) I don't think you got it, no. Because you're commenting on both gender identity and sexual orientation as if they were the same thing.

C) Correct, being gay is not a choice. Just like being straight is not a choice. Where I agree with Victor is that someone can choose to act, or not, on their sexual preferences and impulses. Pedophilia, for instance, almost always come up in that context, because some people don't understand what part we do control (our actions) and what we don't control (our desires).

What's messed up is to ask people who happen to have very different preferences than ours, and have no control over those preferences, to not act on these preferences when there is literally nothing wrong happening as a result. In the specific context of homosexuality, the only reason why it's labeled as wrong is because of that difference in preferences and historical bigotry installed by most of the world religions over centuries. It makes no difference whether their preferences change over time.

D) I am clearly missing something; I don't have the full context of your conversation with One Brow apparently, so I cannot comment on what he said or not. I am not saying that it is an insult, I said that it's used as an insult instead of addressing the content of certain ideas.

Not sure how I would describe my philosophical outlook. I like to think it's fact-based, very liberal à la vivre et laisser vivre, capitalist/non-egalitarian as I value healthy competition and it's utopic to think we're all the same, but also socialistic as I think we need to give everyone a chance and safety nets, naturalistic because I don't see reasons to believe there's something more out there, etc, etc... but these labels are very context-dependent and not set in stone.

Hugo Pelland said...

That sentence should have been on another line:
"I am not saying that [labeling something as post-modernist] it is an insult, I said that it's used as an insult instead of addressing the content of certain ideas. "

One Brow said...

One Brow,

Weren't you arguing previously that gender was socially constructed and more or less a choice then?

Hugo has just challenged that notion in no uncertain terms.

What is your defense?


One Brow takes the side that gender roles are socially constructed and therefore are not set in some sort of existential concrete.
You seem to tell us that they are.


I don't need a defense. My response to you is that gender roles are not directly connected to the morphological indicators which generally direct those with a sexual preference to specific individuals. So, I don't see any incompatibility between Hugo's statement and mine.

bmiller said...

@Hugo,

A) I'm not sure what we disagree on either. You claimed I'm confused and I very well may be. I'm pretty sure no matter how *I* defined those terms someone would claim I'm confused. So why don't you define them so we have your basis to start from?

B) Let's clarify A first.

C) So how would you define "being gay" or "being straight"? Does that it mean that one *is* what one desires? If I desire someone else's money, does that mean I'm "being a thief"? If not, then it seems I do have some choice over *what* I am. I don't mean this to be flippant, but to explore your definitions.
If you think my example is bad, then let's say I like ice cream but avoid it for some reason or the other. Am I an "ice creamer"? Or I used to eat ice cream all the time, but now I don't...maybe I don't even desire it any more. Am I still an "ice creamer"?

What's messed up is to ask people who happen to have very different preferences than ours, and have no control over those preferences, to not act on these preferences when there is *literally nothing wrong happening as a result.*

Have you heard of natural law and the argument of perverted facility?

D) OK, but I think it's worth examining where and why one has the worldview one does. A common argument for gay marriage is that marriage is merely a social construct that has no basis in an objective morality. This is a postmodern idea.

So for the most part, the arguments for or against gay marriage rather miss the point. The arguments are merely a symptom of more basic disagreements regarding whether morality is subjective or objective.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Are the terms gay and straight social constructs?
Can someone be gay and then change? Or can someone be straight and then change?

One Brow said...

Are the terms gay and straight social constructs?
Can someone be gay and then change? Or can someone be straight and then change?


Gay and straight are categorizations we use to simplify the diversity of human sexual attraction, and are a gross distortion of the underlying reality. I think we learn some social signals concerning what is sexually attractive (whether your partner should be taller, fat vs. thin, etc.), and many of these can be adjusted/removed if we choose to do so. Usually, being attracted to what you consider male or what you consider female is not as easy to adjust.

If you were to use a slightly less large distortion of measuring orientation on a scale of 0 (only attracted to the opposite sex, ever) to 100 (only attracted to the same sex, ever), then from what I have read, people who put in committed effort for several years will change by a mean of 10 points on that scale, sometimes not at all, sometimes as much as 20 points. So, a person might go from bisexual with a small gay preference to bisexual with a small straight preference (again, only after years of effort, and even then only if they are lucky).

One Brow said...

Have you heard of natural law and the argument of perverted facility?

The natural law/perverted facility argument depends upon the arbitrary determination of what the true purpose is of a process. If I make a different determination of the true purpose, I get a different conclusion from natural law.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

Gay and straight are categorizations we use to simplify the diversity of human sexual attraction, and are a gross distortion of the underlying reality.

Did you answer the question "Are the terms gay and straight social constructs?" I can't tell. And what is the *underlying reality*?

If you were to use a slightly less large distortion of measuring orientation on a scale of 0 (only attracted to the opposite sex, ever) to 100 (only attracted to the same sex, ever),

Isn't it a fact that no one can determine what about a person's lifetime attraction was until that person is dead? It doesn't address what a living person may do in the future.

then from what I have read, people who put in committed effort for several years will change by a mean of 10 points on that scale, sometimes not at all, sometimes as much as 20 points.

Not sure about your point system, but this article tends to support the notion that sexual orientation is not necessarily set in stone over the course of a person's life. People chose a different orientation later in life, or so it would seem.

I tend to agree with you that people do have free will.

bmiller said...

@One Brow,

The natural law/perverted facility argument depends upon the arbitrary determination of what the true purpose is of a process.

Sounds like an arbitrary assertion to me.

If I make a different determination of the true purpose, I get a different conclusion from natural law.

And this sounds like a tautology to me.

One Brow said...

Did you answer the question "Are the terms gay and straight social constructs?" I can't tell. And what is the *underlying reality*?

Yes, in the part of my post you did not quote. "Usually, being attracted to what you consider male or what you consider female is not as easy to adjust." However, what you consider male or female is socially constructed, so that is a complicating factor. The underlying reality is that sexual attraction is a complex phenomenon that we can’t adequately model.

Isn't it a fact that no one can determine what about a person's lifetime attraction was until that person is dead? It doesn't address what a living person may do in the future.

I don’t think it’s any easier after death, so that seems to me to be a highly confused statement. What a living person "does" may or may not reflect to whom they are attracted, so again, that is a highly confused statement.

Not sure about your point system, but this article tends to support the notion that sexual orientation is not necessarily set in stone over the course of a person's life. People chose a different orientation later in life, or so it would seem.

Dr. Pepper Schwartz does not mention the term "bisexual" at all in her post, much less the existence of a spectrum. That raised a red flag with me.

I tend to agree with you that people do have free will.

I have yet to hear of a coherent definition of free will that was observable in humans, but not computers. So, sure?

Sounds like an arbitrary assertion to me.

Sounds like you haven’t studied natural law, or the Thomistic philosophical underpinnings, enough to intelligently comment on that.

And this sounds like a tautology to me.

Every logical proof can be converted into a tautology, hence every philosophical position, for those philosophies based in logic.

bmiller said...

Thanks for sharing One Brow.

Legion of Logic said...

One Brow: "However, what you consider male or female is socially constructed"

This seems about as legitimate as saying "whether a gamete is an egg or a sperm is socially constructed", since in biology male is linked with sperm and female is linked with egg.

Of course, if by "male or female" you refer only to so-called "genders" then in that progressive world there are potentially as many genders as there are people, thus the term becomes rather meaningless. But by referring to male/man or female/woman, I've been able to tell the difference between them since before I was old enough to even be told there was a difference. Everything I've read from biology would also indicate that my child-self's powers of observation were quite accurate in that regard.

If you're saying that my observations (and, from what I can tell, biology) are incorrect and that male and female don't actually correspond to anything in the real world, then I'd be curious to see the evidence.

bmiller said...

@Legion,

It seems from his last sentence, that you're trying to engage in logical argumentation with someone who doesn't believe in logic.

Good luck with that.

One Brow said...

This seems about as legitimate as saying "whether a gamete is an egg or a sperm is socially constructed", since in biology male is linked with sperm and female is linked with egg.

Looking back, it would have been better to say 'what you consider masculine or feminine is socially constructed'. My point being that we have relatively inflexible orientations regarding masculine/feminine people, but what we consider masculine or feminine is based on what we learned, not biology.

It seems from his last sentence, that you're trying to engage in logical argumentation with someone who doesn't believe in logic.

I love logic enough to recognize its limitations as well as its strengths. I don't see logic as something that a person believes in. That's like saying you believe in a hammer. A hammer is something you use; logic is something you use.

bmiller said...

I rest my case.

Legion of Logic said...

One Brow: "Looking back, it would have been better to say 'what you consider masculine or feminine is socially constructed'."

Fair enough.