Making a Declaration

I have to admit I am not much of a joiner – or signer. I have a rather innate tendency to go against the crowd and avoid populist movements. But when a statement brings together Evangelicals, Catholics, and those of the Orthodox persuasion, it catches my attention.

The Manhattan Declaration is just such a statement – it addresses three fundamental issues, critical to Christians everywhere, of every ilk – it is introduced as follows:

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

1. the sanctity of human life
2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

It’s pretty straightforward – three issues which require our response and steadfast affirmation. They are not popular positions to take, but this is time to be a shrinking violet Christian, compromising on principles.

The people who wrote this recognize that our backs are against the wall as it were, and at least on these issues we have much more in common than we have separating us, and these perilous times requires a unified response. Many of the names are immediately recognizable – but in my mind their names aren’t nearly as important as yours and mine – I would strongly encourage you to go to manhattandeclaration.org and sign their petition or common principles.

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11 Responses to Making a Declaration

  1. I would like to see a re-framing of point 1. Virtually everyone believes in the sanctity of life. The dispute is over what defines life. The rest is just political hogwash.

    Point 2 runs counter to individual liberties. What does not cause injury to another is effectively a right (at least as defined [in part] by Jefferson).

    For point 3 to be supported, government cannot be involved in religion – and visa versa. If one religion establishes itself in law or guideline, that inhibits the free exercise of religion; it inhibits the rights of religious liberty.

    We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    This sort of undermines the call to non-believers in the opening.

    They are not popular positions to take

    I disagree. The abortion issue is swaying toward the conservative end recently, equal rights for same-sex couples have been denied in 31 states by voters (including, most recently, in my New England state, and three is too vague to adequately address beyond what I have already said of it.

  2. Though it is a valid point that non-belief and secularism are generally on the rise, if overstated by this declaration.

  3. jackhudson says:

    I would like to see a re-framing of point 1. Virtually everyone believes in the sanctity of life. The dispute is over what defines life. The rest is just political hogwash.

    Well I don’t think the dispute is really over ‘what defines life’ – I think the dispute is over what constitutes a ‘person’ – everyone agrees a fetus is alive, not everyone agrees that they are persons – just as not everyone once thought blacks were persons – or at least fully persons.

    Point 2 runs counter to individual liberties. What does not cause injury to another is effectively a right (at least as defined [in part] by Jefferson).

    That would make chocolate a right. Or hamburgers. I don’t think that is what the Founders had in mind. And many things we do consider rights can have the effect of injuring others; ask anyone who has been on the receiving end of a press investigation, or lost an election.

    The Declaration of Independence, written in large part by Jefferson, makes it clear our rights are endowed to us by God and Nature – they aren’t there by default, they aren’t something the state assigns – they are something we recognize, that is derived from what humans are – we don’t get new ones because a lobby group has gained power.

    For point 3 to be supported, government cannot be involved in religion – and visa versa. If one religion establishes itself in law or guideline, that inhibits the free exercise of religion; it inhibits the rights of religious liberty.

    I am not sure how one can read point 3 as religion establishing itself by law; the language mirrors the 1st amendment.

    This sort of undermines the call to non-believers in the opening.

    I don’t think it’s intended for unbelievers; it’s calling for a common statement on these issues by various Christians. I am sure many unbelievers hold to these statements though.

    I disagree. The abortion issue is swaying toward the conservative end recently, equal rights for same-sex couples have been denied in 31 states by voters (including, most recently, in my New England state, and three is too vague to adequately address beyond what I have already said of it.

    Well the Manhattan Declaration itself elaborates on all these issues (the above is just a summary) but if the last election is any indication, there is every reason to believe our society is moving away from these stances.

  4. Well I don’t think the dispute is really over ‘what defines life’ – I think the dispute is over what constitutes a ‘person’

    Petty semantics.

    That would make chocolate a right. Or hamburgers. I don’t think that is what the Founders had in mind.

    To have those things is a right, yes. But I’ll let Jefferson say it.

    “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

    The anti-liberty, anti-same sex marriage bigots have entirely failed to show how allowing others legal rights infringes upon anyone else’s rights.

    I am not sure how one can read point 3 as religion establishing itself by law; the language mirrors the 1st amendment.

    I wasn’t reading it as such. It’s actually too vague to get much from it. However, what can be said is that in order for it to be true, the separation of church and state must be a two-way road. This isn’t obvious to everyone, I know, but I suspect should Muslims ever gain significant political power in the U.S., it would become so.

    I don’t think it’s intended for unbelievers;

    They called for non-believers to join them. They may well do that, but it undermines that call to then say they are doing it under the Jesus banner.

    That is, some non-believers surely agree with the statements, but obviously for different reasons. If this group wants people to join them, it probably isn’t the most savvy idea to say they want them to do it for disagreeable reasons.

  5. jackhudson says:

    Petty semantics.

    I am not quite sure how a person who has any familiarity with the law can say that.

    No one disputes whether the unborn are alive, so you are plainly wrong on that; and historically, civil rights extend to individuals to the degree to which a society considers them fully persons. And to the degree that a society denies someone personhood – whether we are talking blacks, or Jews, or even women to some degree, to that degree we deny them life and liberty.

    This isn’t ‘petty semantics’, it is the essence of the law.

    To have those things is a right, yes. But I’ll let Jefferson say it.

    “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

    The anti-liberty, anti-same sex marriage bigots have entirely failed to show how allowing others legal rights infringes upon anyone else’s rights.

    Well, Jefferson certainly represents the libertarian view well (which is ironic, being someone who kept slaves for concubines); nonetheless, one still has to deal with what constitutes a ‘right’ – because as rightful liberty is only limited by the ‘equal rights of others’, we must first establish what those rights of others are before we can apply them equally; that is why we delineated them in the Bill of Rights. Beyond those specifically endowed rights, the states can regulate and legislate.

    But I think this begs the question a bit; it really isn’t a matter of ‘allowing a legal right’ but a question of what marriage is and what government’s role is in it.

    To the extent government plays a role in marriage at all, it sanctions the institution because it recognizes the essential benefit of it. In short, the government sees it is in the interest of a society to place an official imprimatur on what is a biological reality – that families begin as the product of a relationship between a man and woman, and that children best develop when this primary relationship is nurtured and sustained. Marriage is a product first of this biological (and traditional, spiritual, and legal) relationship, and the legal sanction is merely a recognition of what already exists, not a creation of it. Society has no similar self-interest in recognizing gay relationships, as they provide no similar benefits or outcomes. If anything they are entirely burdensome to a society as they have all the difficulties of heterosexual relationships with none of the benefits.

    In the same way our government doesn’t recognize nor sanction relationships between minors and minors, or adults and minors, or siblings, or polygamous relationships – for the same reasons they don’t officially recognize homosexual ones; it is against society’s interest to do so. It is the common sense understanding that regularly leads majorities of people to reject gay marriage – whatever their religious views.

    They called for non-believers to join them. They may well do that, but it undermines that call to then say they are doing it under the Jesus banner.
    That is, some non-believers surely agree with the statements, but obviously for different reasons. If this group wants people to join them, it probably isn’t the most savvy idea to say they want them to do it for disagreeable reasons.

    They are fairly clear that those making the declaration are “Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians” – so it is a given that they aren’t necessarily “partisans of any political group” but “followers of Jesus Christ”. They invite all citizens interested in defending those principles of justice and common good to defend them – an action which doesn’t require assenting to a particular creed.

  6. I am not quite sure how a person who has any familiarity with the law can say that.

    The phrase “what defines life” obviously refers to how people define and value life at different levels (consciousness) and stages.

    . It is the common sense understanding that regularly leads majorities of people to reject gay marriage – whatever their religious views.

    You’re often wrong, but usually sincerely so. [Edit: Michael you are free to make arguements based on logic and reason here to your hearts content – but ad homs wil have to stay on your own blog]. Religion is the number one cause same-sex marriage fails. There are other factors – homophobia, sexual insecurities (neither of which have to do with your “common sense understanding”) – but religion dominates. The strongest reason equality recently failed in Maine is on the immoral lap of the Catholic church (which, incidentally, should be taxed for its political contributions, but I digress).

    Society has no similar self-interest in recognizing gay relationships, as they provide no similar benefits or outcomes.

    Society also has on self-interest in recognizing the right of the KKK to march, but rights transcend self-interest (until it is shown how one is being harmed in some manner – see Jefferson).

    Your argument works as well against infertile or elderly couples as it does same-sex marriage. What if someone doesn’t want to or can’t have children? What about the elderly who have no family members? What function do they serve? I think you’re doing marriage and your wife a disservice by claiming that the primary reason for your legal rights come down to the viability of your gametes.

    On thing I think you have sorely missed is that the government is here for us, not the other way around. It is here to protect liberty.

    As an anecdote from a local paper a few weeks back (and I can dig up a quote from the article on my blog, if you want), a woman discussed her nearly 30 year relationship. Her partner died a few years ago. When she went to make funeral arrangements, she was allowed no part in it because she had no legal standing. Does that make you feel good? Is this somehow protecting society? More importantly, is this protecting these two human beings and their liberty? And what of hospital visits, picking up sick children from school, or the simple dignity of filing joint tax returns? I see absolutely no harm in allowing any of these things.

    In the same way our government doesn’t recognize nor sanction relationships between minors and minors

    No legal standing. Analogy fails.

    or adults and minors,

    Are you sure this isn’t just a filthy, bigoted slur alluding to the common comparison that being gay is like wanting to have sex with children?

    or siblings

    Genetic issues, coercion issues.

    polygamous relationships

    I have no problem offering marital rights to people who wish to marry multiple people, provided it is possible to prevent abuse of the system (and provided a fair taxation system would be implemented). Legal blessings, as it were, provide just that – protections under the law for simply legal rights as they pertain to family matters. No matter how much some people may wish it, these groups are still families; they will continue to exist, with or without legal protections.

    They invite all citizens interested in defending those principles of justice and common good to defend them – an action which doesn’t require assenting to a particular creed.

    I can envision myself leading an atheist group (which I don’t, by the by) and calling together humanistic groups and individual agnostics (because I’ve never heard of an agnostic group) and making a joint declaration for the cause of liberty as defined by Jefferson (which I often do, though on an individual basis). I could ask believers and non-believers alike to join me, but if I ask them to do it by also rejecting God at the same time, I’m not being too swift. I’m really asking them to take up my cause while also taking up an atheistic cause.

  7. jackhudson says:

    The phrase “what defines life” obviously refers to how people define and value life at different levels (consciousness) and stages.

    No one doubts an unborn child is alive or that life should be valued; it turns on whether the unborn are persons, and thus should be given the full protection of the law as persons. Our current law is actually contradictory in this regard.

    Religion is the number one cause same-sex marriage fails. There are other factors – homophobia, sexual insecurities (neither of which have to do with your “common sense understanding”) – but religion dominates. The strongest reason equality recently failed in Maine is on the immoral lap of the Catholic church (which, incidentally, should be taxed for its political contributions, but I digress).

    I didn’t say religion played no factor, nor do I dispute their might be other factors; but the reality is that while we as a society tolerate homosexual relationships, homosexuals as leaders and actors and athletes, while we grant them the full protection of the law in regards to employment and property ownership, we do not as a society (and this seems to include even very liberal states like California and Maine) believe the law should sanction homosexual behavior by pretending they can be married. It really measures the baseline for the what we consider acceptable behavior – this no more reflects a phobia or insecurity then the fact that we don’t official sanction incestuous or polygamous relationships.

    Society also has on self-interest in recognizing the right of the KKK to march, but rights transcend self-interest (until it is shown how one is being harmed in some manner – see Jefferson).

    There is a difference between ‘allowing’ something, and sanctioning it. The government may allow gays to have relationships, just as it allows the KKK to march, but to sanction it by granting it recognition would be akin to subsidizing Klan rallies.

    Your argument works as well against infertile or elderly couples as it does same-sex marriage. What if someone doesn’t want to or can’t have children? What about the elderly who have no family members? What function do they serve? I think you’re doing marriage and your wife a disservice by claiming that the primary reason for your legal rights come down to the viability of your gametes.

    The primary reason for sanctioning marriage is because male and female relationships result in children, and children are best raised by the parents who produced them. If no humans relationship resulted in offspring, their would be little reason for the government to be involved in it all – i.e. if all people were elderly, or infertile, or homosexual, then the institution of marriage would be unnecessary (for a number of obvious reasons).

    However beginning with that biological imperative, we understand that fertility may fail, or end, in which case while the biological imperative is diminished, marriage itself is not altered by includsion of heterosexual couples who aren’t capable of having children.

    On thing I think you have sorely missed is that the government is here for us, not the other way around. It is here to protect liberty.

    The government doesn’t need to be sanction marriage at all for it to exist (just as protecting speech or press doesn’t require the government to sanction particular forms of speech or press) however governments recognize the institution of marriage because it is in society’s interest to do so.

    As an anecdote from a local paper a few weeks back (and I can dig up a quote from the article on my blog, if you want), a woman discussed her nearly 30 year relationship. Her partner died a few years ago. When she went to make funeral arrangements, she was allowed no part in it because she had no legal standing. Does that make you feel good? Is this somehow protecting society? More importantly, is this protecting these two human beings and their liberty? And what of hospital visits, picking up sick children from school, or the simple dignity of filing joint tax returns? I see absolutely no harm in allowing any of these things.

    It really doesn’t matter how it makes me ‘feel’, because my view of the law isn’t informed by how I feel but by logic and reason. And if a state wants to modify it’s laws so that homosexual couples can pretend they are a family, it’s the right of the citizens in the state to do so – but marriage existed thousands of years before this pretense for good biological, social, and legal reasons, and arbitrarily modifying this so some people can feel better about themselves and their choices is something most people haven’t fallen for yet.

    No legal standing. Analogy fails.

    No legal standing? Begs the question as obviously homosexuals have no legal standing in this regard either – the question is why, and the answer is that marriage serves a purpose, one which minors aren’t suitable for fulfilling.

    Are you sure this isn’t just a filthy, bigoted slur alluding to the common comparison that being gay is like wanting to have sex with children?

    Well, again, you are avoiding the point with emotionalism – the reason we don’t allow minors to marry (while granting them certain other rights) is because marriage exists for a purpose, and minors aren‘t mature enough to fulfill that purpose.

    Genetic issues, coercion issues.

    Well, yes exactly – because the close relatives are likely not to produce healthy children – which is the purpose of marriage; and it is in the interest of the state to produce healthy marriages.

    I have no problem offering marital rights to people who wish to marry multiple people, provided it is possible to prevent abuse of the system (and provided a fair taxation system would be implemented). Legal blessings, as it were, provide just that – protections under the law for simply legal rights as they pertain to family matters. No matter how much some people may wish it, these groups are still families; they will continue to exist, with or without legal protections.

    Sure – just as homosexual couple will continue to exist without marriage, and teens will sleep with each other – the state though has no interest in sanctioning unhealthy relationships, though their may be a societal interest in not attempting to prevent them.

    I can envision myself leading an atheist group (which I don’t, by the by) and calling together humanistic groups and individual agnostics (because I’ve never heard of an agnostic group) and making a joint declaration for the cause of liberty as defined by Jefferson (which I often do, though on an individual basis). I could ask believers and non-believers alike to join me, but if I ask them to do it by also rejecting God at the same time, I’m not being too swift. I’m really asking them to take up my cause while also taking up an atheistic cause.

    I am sure if a group of religious leaders didn’t make it clear where they stood you would accuse them of some sort of stealth movement to recruit people into a religious movement – why you fault them for honesty is beyond me, though I suppose it’s because you see them as nefarious either way.

  8. while we grant them the full protection of the law in regards to employment and property ownership, we do not as a society (and this seems to include even very liberal states like California and Maine) believe the law should sanction homosexual behavior by pretending they can be married. It really measures the baseline for the what we consider acceptable behavior – this no more reflects a phobia or insecurity then the fact that we don’t official sanction incestuous or polygamous relationships.

    Actually, it wasn’t until 2005 that Mainers (after rejecting the bill several times) finally upheld measures to protect homosexuals in employment, housing, education, and other areas. Currently, many states do no offer this same protection; firing someone in some states (I’ll go out on a surely sturdy limb and say they are mostly in the south) for being gay is perfectly legal. Conversely, firing someone for being straight is a-okay, too.

    It really measures the baseline for the what we consider acceptable behavior – this no more reflects a phobia or insecurity then the fact that we don’t official sanction incestuous or polygamous relationships.

    This is an invalid, anti-liberty argument. You must first show how same-sex marriage adversely impacts your (or someone’s) well-being. No one has done that to date.

    Not liking something is not a reason to ban someone else from doing it. That is one defining characteristic of bigotry.

    There is a difference between ‘allowing’ something, and sanctioning it. The government may allow gays to have relationships, just as it allows the KKK to march, but to sanction it by granting it recognition would be akin to subsidizing Klan rallies.

    A local man recently sued either the city or the state (I don’t recall which) over its marching and protest permits (it was the city’s issue, but it may have had state-wide implications; it’s been many years). They were deemed excessive (which was obviously true to anyone who wasn’t a member of the police department or city council, apparently). The result was that the city/state had to foot more of the cost of police and other services for marching/protests/etc. This means that if the KKK ever wanted to march in Maine, the state would have to subsidize some of its costs.

    But this is all moot. Gay families still exist. The difference between them and straight families is the lack of rights and increased economic difficulties wrought by this pure bigotry. I think this penny-pinching argument is especially bad as rights transcend costs, but you’ve got it backwards anyway. Since these families already exist and will continue to exist, it serves no economic function to deny them the rights that will help solidify their own financial well-being.

    The primary reason for sanctioning marriage is because male and female relationships result in children, and children are best raised by the parents who produced them. If no humans relationship resulted in offspring, their would be little reason for the government to be involved in it all – i.e. if all people were elderly, or infertile, or homosexual, then the institution of marriage would be unnecessary (for a number of obvious reasons).

    Unfortunately for you, the government doesn’t make such a stringent fertility emphasis. It allows marriage without regard to the ability to produce offspring.

    The latter half of your argument misses the fact that people need and want certain legal rights; there is no good reason to deny them. Even without children, marriage offers benefits which cannot always be attained otherwise (and when they can be attained, it isn’t always easy or under one simple banner).

    The government doesn’t need to be sanction marriage at all for it to exist

    As far as the government is concerned, marriage is a secular legal contract officiated by itself; government must sanction it for it to exist because part of its very definition involves government!

    And if a state wants to modify it’s laws so that homosexual couples can pretend they are a family,

    I see what sort of person I’ve been dealing with.

    No matter how prideful you are of your bigotry, homosexual couples exist, they have children, and they are families. Your pigeon-hole definition that says families are constituted by people who don’t do things you think are icky is not important.

    it’s the right of the citizens in the state to do so

    The 14th Amendment specifically says otherwise, and common sense generally agrees. The majority should not be ruling on the rights of the minority. For instance, because the majority has been imposing its unlawful will recently, marriage is actually no longer a right – it is a privilege. That threatens the institution more than giving two same-sex couples a few necessary rights.

    No legal standing? Begs the question as obviously homosexuals have no legal standing in this regard either

    …what? Minors have no legal standing to enter most contracts specifically because they are minors. Your awful argument only works if you constrain yourself to homosexual minors. Otherwise, homosexuals do have legal standing (though more so than in other states: see aforementioned decade-long battle to protect homosexuals in housing, employment, education, etc).

    Well, again, you are avoiding the point with emotionalism – the reason we don’t allow minors to marry (while granting them certain other rights) is because marriage exists for a purpose, and minors aren‘t mature enough to fulfill that purpose.

    You’ll notice I won’t hesitate to call you (or absolutely anyone) a bigot; I’m being as emotional as all those uppity negroes were in the 50’s and 60’s.

    So your point was that minors aren’t mature enough to fulfill the purpose of marriage? Really? Because I could have sworn I just spent 10 minutes reading and responding to arguments which said that marriage was for reproduction. And are you saying homosexuals are intrinsically less mature than heterosexuals?

    It’s an obvious fact: minors do not have legal standing because of their age. The lack of legal standing for homosexuals in most states has nothing to do with age.

    Well, yes exactly – because the close relatives are likely not to produce healthy children – which is the purpose of marriage; and it is in the interest of the state to produce healthy marriages.

    And evolutionists make pro-eugenics arguments? How about people who have Huntington’s disease? They have a 50/50 shot of passing on their disorder, far higher than the odds a child will come out with some sort of genetic issue as a result of sibling reproduction. Should we not allow them to reproduce since they “are not likely to produce healthy children“?

    I am sure if a group of religious leaders didn’t make it clear where they stood you would accuse them of some sort of stealth movement to recruit people into a religious movement – why you fault them for honesty is beyond me, though I suppose it’s because you see them as nefarious either way.

    I’m faulting them for not being as politically savvy as one might expect is all.

  9. DanJames says:

    Thanks for spreading the news, Jack. I haven’t read this yet, but I intend to.

  10. jackhudson says:

    Actually, it wasn’t until 2005 that Mainers (after rejecting the bill several times) finally upheld measures to protect homosexuals in employment, housing, education, and other areas. Currently, many states do no offer this same protection; firing someone in some states (I’ll go out on a surely sturdy limb and say they are mostly in the south) for being gay is perfectly legal. Conversely, firing someone for being straight is a-okay, too.

    Well yes, and as much as an employer might or might not fire someone due to their sexuality, the law appears to be somewhat equal in that regard. There is no evidence that homosexuals are suffering as a class due to any economic hardships.

    This is an invalid, anti-liberty argument. You must first show how same-sex marriage adversely impacts your (or someone’s) well-being. No one has done that to date.
    Not liking something is not a reason to ban someone else from doing it. That is one defining characteristic of bigotry.

    No one is banning anyone from being homsexual or doing what homosexuals do; the government simply isn’t obligated to sanction what they do by officially recognizing their relationships. Liberty doesn’t entail government sanction.

    A local man recently sued either the city or the state (I don’t recall which) over its marching and protest permits (it was the city’s issue, but it may have had state-wide implications; it’s been many years). They were deemed excessive (which was obviously true to anyone who wasn’t a member of the police department or city council, apparently). The result was that the city/state had to foot more of the cost of police and other services for marching/protests/etc. This means that if the KKK ever wanted to march in Maine, the state would have to subsidize some of its costs.

    That doesn’t exactly constitute offical recognition; it sounds like what the city has to do is foot more of the bill for any public event – this is a protection for the city and its citizens, not a recognition of the legitimacy of the Klan’s particular views as legitimate.

    But this is all moot. Gay families still exist. The difference between them and straight families is the lack of rights and increased economic difficulties wrought by this pure bigotry. I think this penny-pinching argument is especially bad as rights transcend costs, but you’ve got it backwards anyway. Since these families already exist and will continue to exist, it serves no economic function to deny them the rights that will help solidify their own financial well-being.

    Gay families are a wholly artificial construct based on a parasitic relationship with heterosexual activity; if there were no heterosexual activity no families would exist – on the other hand if all homosexuals disappeared today, there would be no fewer families

    Unfortunately for you, the government doesn’t make such a stringent fertility emphasis. It allows marriage without regard to the ability to produce offspring.

    The latter half of your argument misses the fact that people need and want certain legal rights; there is no good reason to deny them. Even without children, marriage offers benefits which cannot always be attained otherwise (and when they can be attained, it isn’t always easy or under one simple banner).

    Firstly, government doesn’t simply ‘allow marriage’; it is a human institution that precedes the existence of any current governments; perhaps any that ever existed. Government recognizes marriage as a fundamental cornerstone of society – marriage itself came into existence as a means of perpetuating humanity, without which government would not be possible. It is not really even a matter of ‘legal rights’ as marriage didn’t come into existence as a product of law – it is a matter of recognizing what marriage is and always has been.

    As far as the government is concerned, marriage is a secular legal contract officiated by itself; government must sanction it for it to exist because part of its very definition involves government!

    No, marriage existed and exists apart from government sanction; in the interest of society the government is a party to the marriage contract because governments are to insure order, sanction those essential activities which are beneficial to a society, and discourage or disallow those activities which are harmful to a society. A libertarian might make a good argument that the government shouldn’t be party to the marriage contract at all, but this isn’t an argument for the sanction of homosexuals marrying.

    I see what sort of person I’ve been dealing with.
    No matter how prideful you are of your bigotry, homosexual couples exist, they have children, and they are families. Your pigeon-hole definition that says families are constituted by people who don’t do things you think are icky is not important.

    As much as I appreciate the modern McCarthyism of calling people bigots when one has no reasonable argument to make, it has really lost its power due to overuse. Homosexuals do not have children; homosexuals can care for children others have helped to produce, but they are not progenitors of humanity.

    The 14th Amendment specifically says otherwise, and common sense generally agrees. The majority should not be ruling on the rights of the minority. For instance, because the majority has been imposing its unlawful will recently, marriage is actually no longer a right – it is a privilege. That threatens the institution more than giving two same-sex couples a few necessary rights.

    The 14th amendment doesn’t define marriage – and that is what at issue for those who oppose gay marriage, not whether it is a right.

    …what? Minors have no legal standing to enter most contracts specifically because they are minors. Your awful argument only works if you constrain yourself to homosexual minors. Otherwise, homosexuals do have legal standing (though more so than in other states: see aforementioned decade-long battle to protect homosexuals in housing, employment, education, etc).

    Homosexuals don’t have legal standing with regard to marriage because the definition of what marriage is precludes its use for sanctioning homosexual relationships – standing has to do with the right someone has to be party to a case – homosexuals have no such standing because of what marriage is, not what they desire.

    You’ll notice I won’t hesitate to call you (or absolutely anyone) a bigot; I’m being as emotional as all those uppity negroes were in the 50’s and 60’s.

    It takes about as much bravery to call someone a ‘bigot’ today as it did to call someone a communist in the 50’s; the word really has no meaning anymore other than to denote when the user has run out of reasonable arguments. Basically it is a reflexive response by a mind that can’t imagine anyone disagrees with their rather narrow positions, often used by those cocooned on a university campus.

    So your point was that minors aren’t mature enough to fulfill the purpose of marriage? Really? Because I could have sworn I just spent 10 minutes reading and responding to arguments which said that marriage was for reproduction. And are you saying homosexuals are intrinsically less mature than heterosexuals? It’s an obvious fact: minors do not have legal standing because of their age. The lack of legal standing for homosexuals in most states has nothing to do with age.

    My point isn’t simply that marriage aids in reproduction, but into the raising to healthy maturity children so they might be worthwhile citizens later in society – part of how that happens is two mature adults joining together with a full understanding of what marriage entails and being prepared to undertake the activity. Though minors may be able to reproduce, they often lack the ability to actually raise the children they produce. Homosexuals of course can’t even get that far by themselves.

    And evolutionists make pro-eugenics arguments? How about people who have Huntington’s disease? They have a 50/50 shot of passing on their disorder, far higher than the odds a child will come out with some sort of genetic issue as a result of sibling reproduction. Should we not allow them to reproduce since they “are not likely to produce healthy children“?

    Well, again, it is not merely a matter of reproduction but overall health of a society in terms of the ability of individuals to raise the children they produce. Even in the above scenario healthy children can be produced; this is never the case with homosexuals apart from aid from others.

    It’s like recognizing that the fastest way for a passenger to cross the Atlantic is by jet; that statement doesn’t mean jet won’t fail either mechanically or through user error, but the recognition remains. With regard to marriage homosexuals are like car producers who feel it’s unfair that jets are recognized this way – and so they sue to be recognized in the same way; but such recognition doesn’t make a car a jet, or allow it to cross the Atlantic without the aid of another sort of vehicle.

    In the same way, even when heterosexual marriages don’t live up to their potential – biological mechanics fail due to age or disease – it doesn’t diminish the value of marriage in its primary purpose, or the importance of having the government recognize its worth. But it does preclude homosexuals from full participation in the institution, even if the law were to change.

  11. Well yes, and as much as an employer might or might not fire someone due to their sexuality, the law appears to be somewhat equal in that regard. There is no evidence that homosexuals are suffering as a class due to any economic hardships.

    Try being an out of the closet gay in Aroostook County and see how easy it is to get a job. Then try doing the same in a place that doesn’t have the same laws.

    Anyway, this isn’t a very quality argument. So because gay and straight people can both be fired, that’s equal? Okay, then it must be equal if it’s legal to fire absolutely any race, right? I mean, sure, it’s legal to fire blacks, but they can fire whites! It’s totally fair!

    Of course, your use of the word “somewhat” is awfully telling.

    No one is banning anyone from being homsexual or doing what homosexuals do; the government simply isn’t obligated to sanction what they do by officially recognizing their relationships. Liberty doesn’t entail government sanction.

    It does if one group is getting something another group is denied and no compelling reason for the difference can be offered.

    That doesn’t exactly constitute offical recognition; it sounds like what the city has to do is foot more of the bill for any public event – this is a protection for the city and its citizens, not a recognition of the legitimacy of the Klan’s particular views as legitimate.

    This goes to a point I’ve made too many times in the past few months. Allowing same-sex marriage is not offering a recognition of homosexuality as good or bad. Indeed, I attach no morality to sexuality, but I voted “no” on repealing the law that allowed same-sex marriage. Does that suddenly mean I am offering an opinion on the “legitimacy” of homosexuality? Of course not. My “no” vote doesn’t change the fact that I think homosexuality (and heterosexuality) is amoral.

    Gay families are a wholly artificial construct based on a parasitic relationship with heterosexual activity; if there were no heterosexual activity no families would exist – on the other hand if all homosexuals disappeared today, there would be no fewer families

    Exact same argument can be applied to infertile marriages.

    Of course, if your definition of family is going to be “ones I don’t find yucky”, then we just have a pigeon-hole definition – not a good one.

    Firstly, government doesn’t simply ‘allow marriage’; it is a human institution that precedes the existence of any current governments; perhaps any that ever existed. Government recognizes marriage as a fundamental cornerstone of society – marriage itself came into existence as a means of perpetuating humanity, without which government would not be possible. It is not really even a matter of ‘legal rights’ as marriage didn’t come into existence as a product of law – it is a matter of recognizing what marriage is and always has been.

    The government offers legal protections. The social, religious, and historical context of marriage has no bearing on rights. You are citing temporal issues while rights transcend time and generation.

    and discourage or disallow those activities which are harmful to a society.

    The government is to reach actions. How does gay marriage harm you? How does it harm others? What specific rights are infringed? Does your wallet suffer? None of these questions can be answered in favor of your position because allowing more people more legal rights cannot possibly do anything to shorten the liberty of others; it can only increase liberty for the minority.

    The 14th amendment doesn’t define marriage – and that is what at issue for those who oppose gay marriage, not whether it is a right.

    As a big fan of Jefferson, I find this particularly disturbing. Where the government is involved in the lives of its citizens, it is there to protect liberty. Trying to define marriage as something which does not embrace liberty is a very dangerous thing.

    Homosexuals don’t have legal standing with regard to marriage because the definition of what marriage is precludes its use for sanctioning homosexual relationships – standing has to do with the right someone has to be party to a case – homosexuals have no such standing because of what marriage is, not what they desire.

    Your original point was that government does not sanction marriage between minors because it is not in society’s interest. The real reason is because of the legal standing of minors. The reason they have separate legal standing is because they do not possess all the faculties of an adult and thus are not qualified to do many things. Homosexuals do not have certain legal standings, but not because they do not possess all the faculties of an adult. That the fundamental flaw in your argument.

    Again, you said denying minors legal rights is done for society’s interest. This may incidentally be beneficial in some way, but the real reason is the inability of a minor to comprehend like an adult does. This is why we deny minors certain rights. Homosexuals do not have the same deficiencies.

    It takes about as much bravery to call someone a ‘bigot’ today as it did to call someone a communist in the 50’s; the word really has no meaning anymore other than to denote when the user has run out of reasonable arguments.

    Had you been involved in all the campaigning about Maine’s recent ballot measure on the issue, you would have quickly noticed that very few people used the word bigot. I think this was a tactical mistake. It makes for good political rhetoric.

    My point, however, in using the word is to place shame on those who hate homosexuality (and by extension, homosexuals) so much that they would essentially tell gays that they are lesser people. Really, I would hate to not be able to point to these efforts in the 50 years when same-sex marriage is legal across the land and people view our time as they view the 50’s in terms of civil rights.

    My point isn’t simply that marriage aids in reproduction, but into the raising to healthy maturity children so they might be worthwhile citizens later in society – part of how that happens is two mature adults joining together with a full understanding of what marriage entails and being prepared to undertake the activity. Though minors may be able to reproduce, they often lack the ability to actually raise the children they produce. Homosexuals of course can’t even get that far by themselves.

    And we find ourselves back at the infertility argument. Alternatively, perhaps you favor gay adoption.

    Well, again, it is not merely a matter of reproduction but overall health of a society in terms of the ability of individuals to raise the children they produce. Even in the above scenario healthy children can be produced; this is never the case with homosexuals apart from aid from others.

    Okay, good. The government can encourage same-sex couples to adopt. There are plenty of orphans out there. Oh, and the infertile couples must be barred from marriage since it “is never the case” that they can reproduce “apart from aid from others”.

    In the same way, even when heterosexual marriages don’t live up to their potential – biological mechanics fail due to age or disease – it doesn’t diminish the value of marriage in its primary purpose, or the importance of having the government recognize its worth. But it does preclude homosexuals from full participation in the institution, even if the law were to change.

    Please explain how homosexual marriage will diminish the value of marriage in its primary purpose. How will homosexuals discourage heterosexuals from reproducing? Perhaps on those nights when things get hot-and-heavy, husband and wife will start thinking about all those gays enjoying their silly little legal rights, causing them to completely stop mid-act?

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