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Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Right" or institution?

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
How one understands the very nature of marriage will in large part determine how one sees its proper status in law and its relation to the state.

So, is marriage merely a right?

Marriage predates not only the section 15 "equality rights" of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, but also the association rights spelled out in the Canadian Bill of Rights (1960) and all rights accruing from English common law.

Marriage is not merely a right.  It is an institution that predates all states.

So, can the state have any role in respect of marriage, and are there rights which accrue to marriage?

"Yes" and "yes."

The role of the state is to support and promote the institution of marriage since it is this institution -- not the state -- that procreates and raises the next generation of people. There are certain rights which accrue to marriage by virtue of its importance to procreation and raising the next generation of people. There are some "free riders" -- some who acquire the rights of marriage without procreation, for whatever reason.

But now, by construing marriage as a right instead of as an institution, the Canadian state has expanded the range of "free riders" who acquire the rights that go with marriage without any possibility of procreation. And, over the last several years, the Canadian state has moved to create financial penalties and disadvantage in respect of children to those who marry or, even, form households.

Instead of upholding the character of marriage as an institution with rights that accrue to that institution, over time the Canadian state has seen fit to downgrade marriage into a bundle of rights. In so doing, the Canadian state no longer fulfills its responsibility to protect the integrity of an institution, an institution on which the Canadian state's future itself rests. If it no longer upholds the integrity of an institution whose central reason for being is the procreation of the next generation, will the Canadian state have a citizenry to govern which is capable of underwriting its program?

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on January 29, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Wow, this is the dumbest thing I've read today.

Marriage might be an institution, but it is not a 'Christian' institution nor is it the sole property of 'straight' people.

Marriage simply means the pairing of two (or more) people for the purpose of creating a bond and a family (which may or may not include kids).
Every citizen should have the right to take part in such a ceremony, not just a man and a woman who live in your preconceived notion of a 'pair'.

If you don't like gay marriage, then don't get one. Why does it matter to you if Joe and Jack in Flin Flon want to get married? Does it make your marriage any less of a marriage? No.

Posted by: Jes Golbez | 2006-01-29 9:45:59 PM

"Marriage is not merely a right. It is an institution that predates all states."

Well damn, if it is a right, but not merely a right, then hell, I think I'm a gonna walk right into my MP's office tomorrow, and demand a marriage! It's my right to be married, so hell, if it is MY right, then.. you are all obligated to find me a bride.

Now.. as far as this stuff about it being an "institution," I dunno about that. I figure it's just what folks did before there was ever a "State" - they kinda liked each other, and ended up screwing. Some guys even screwed lots of women, and took care of them all.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 9:48:04 PM

Not my "preconceived (now that's an interesting choice of word!) notion." The notion of marriage as the union of one mand and one woman predates any state. The notion of marriage as the union of one man and one woman also predates Christianity, BTW.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2006-01-29 9:52:37 PM

"The notion of marriage as the union of one mand and one woman predates any state. The notion of marriage as the union of one man and one woman also predates Christianity, BTW."

Incorrect. Marriage of one man and possibly MANY women predated Christianity or the State as we know it.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 9:54:40 PM

And furthermore, there was no necessity of a "ceremony" or vows or any such thing, either. Girls were property of their daddy's, and a suitable dowry was all that was required to screw a woman "decently" and have her have a man's children.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 9:57:18 PM

The Canadian state is construing marriage as a right. Your quarrel is with the Canadian state. Good luck with that.

That marriage is *just* a sexual association isn't borne out by millennia of history. That record more than suggests that marriage is an institution, recognized as such. Your pointing out that there were dowries tends to underline marriage as an institution. Thanks.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2006-01-29 10:00:03 PM

Let me understand you, Mr. Scott. Are you advocating in favour of polygamy?

I'm not.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2006-01-29 10:03:38 PM

Snort.. I'm taking issue with your assertion. Are you going to assert that polygamy was not acceptable, nor practiced and accepted before "The State?"

"That marriage is *just* a sexual association isn't borne out by millennia of history."

Who said it was "just" a sexual association? Not I. But I'm sure I wouldn't want to say that in the past millenia, sexual associations didn't have a lot to do with marriage.

Interestingly, if one studies monarchhial history, marriage had quite a bit to do with joining familes, through sex of course, out of necessity.. as it is only THROUGH sex that some product of two families could come to exist.

"That record more than suggests that marriage is an institution, recognized as such."

Define "institution" and then prove what you are saying.

Slaves were also purchased, perhaps not with something called a dowry, but the dowry for a wife and the purchase of a slave could have been of the exact same currency.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 10:10:20 PM

I've asked this Ian Scott chap - who brags about having burdened the state with four out-of-wedlock children with an indeterminate number of "baby-mammas" - a number of times whether he opposes adult-child sex and he was unclear in his answer. Ian Scott, do you oppose adult-child sex? Yes, or no?

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-29 10:14:02 PM

"'ve asked this Ian Scott chap - who brags about having burdened the state with four out-of-wedlock children"

Your a liar. I have never bragged about any such thing. Back up your lies, Anonalogue.

The FACT of the matter is I have three sons, born in wedlock to my first wife.

It was NOT my decision to separate, but separation resulted nonetheless.

I now have a fourth son, who is right this minute, tickling me. His mother is my business partner, and who I live with.

I take total responsibility for ALL my children, Anonalogue, unlike you who have indicated that abortion or killing of my spawn would be a good thing.

"a number of times whether he opposes adult-child sex and he was unclear in his answer. Ian Scott, do you oppose adult-child sex?"

You are a double liar. You have never asked me any such thing, directly that I know of. I admit it MAY be possible you have asked me such a thing on some blog I have only visited once or twice.. I imagine that is a possibility.. but your "number of times" is an absolute lie. You are, Anonaloge, Mr, Anonymous, a liar.

I'll ask you a question: Was it evil for the early Christian men, and the early Jewish men, to take wives that were one third their age, the women sometimes being only about 13 years old, and yet, God blessed this arrangement?

What say you, Anonalogue, the liar?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 10:20:51 PM

Have you a dictionary at your disposal?

Actually, you did suggest that you consider marriage a sexual association in what you posted above, timestamped "9:48:04 PM."

It's my contention that a series of marriages entered into concurrently -- that is, polygamy -- is not, and never has been a good thing. I don't favour it's reintroduction, even though the Canadian state has now cracked open the door to precisely that.

I don't favour the reintroduction of slavery either.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2006-01-29 10:20:54 PM

"Actually, you did suggest that you consider marriage a sexual association in what you posted above, timestamped "9:48:04 PM.""

I was pointing to what folks did, before any State. You may misconstrue my statement out of context to suggest I believe what marriage is now, if you wish.

Will you rebut my belief that previous to the State, people did NOT kinda like each other, and end up screwing? Would you like some references from the Old Testament?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 10:24:13 PM

Mr. Scott -- You don't consider marriage merely a sexual association -- that is, as you put it: "they kinda liked each other, and ended up screwing"? If you don't consider it thus, why need I rebut that?

I've told you what I consider it: an institution predating the Charter, the common law, and all states intended for the procreation of children.

Tell me, what you do consider marriage to be?

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2006-01-29 10:29:54 PM

I'll ask again: Ian Scott, do you oppose adult-child sex? Yes, or no?

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-29 10:34:37 PM

"Mr. Scott -- You don't consider marriage merely a sexual association -- that is, as you put it: "they kinda liked each other, and ended up screwing"? If you don't consider it thus, why need I rebut that?"

I do consider that this is the indeed, the way of the "marriage" world that predates any State.

"I've told you what I consider it: an institution predating the Charter, the common law, and all states intended for the procreation of children."

Bullshit. You left one part out, where you stated that it predates all states. It's right there, above, in your post:

"Marriage is not merely a right. It is an institution that predates all states."

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 10:37:31 PM

Ask all you want, Anonalogue. Until you admit you're a liar, I'm ignoring you. After you admit you're a liar, we can discuss definitions and what is acceptable, and how we can accept anything.

Until you admit you are a god damned liar, needing forgiveness of your priest in confession, as well as a public admission that you have lied about me, fuck off, ok?

You're a two bit idiot, that has challenged people to meet at dojos when they point out your irrationality, and that is all you are.

Go admit to your priest your sins, come back here with a contrite heart, and we'll discuss. Maybe.

If I feel like it.

Hey Anonaloge, do you deny God blessed polygamous relationships?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 10:42:23 PM

OK, I asked this Ianism chap point blank twice if he was against poedaphilia and he declined to answer, like he usually does. Strange.

I'll put you down as "undecided" on the paedophelia (is this spelling grosser? Please advise!) issue, old chap; fair enough?

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-29 10:47:23 PM

Anonaloge.. dare you to make you accusations in a public court of law, where your identity is known. I don't blog anonymously, and I'm easy to find. If anyone wanted to investigate my "reality" about child-adult sex, they could do so quite easily.

Come on Anonalogue.. stop being a pussy (as you call my visitors to my blog) and out yourself, and make your lying charges real, where one can answer to you, face to face.

But you won't do that. In spite of you calling commenters on my blog "pussies," you hide behind your anonymity.

May your Pope Love you, Anonalogue. And may you confess your sins.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 10:49:17 PM

And I've pointed out Anonaloge is a liar. We'll put Anonalogue down as being a liar and utter fucking asshole.

And of course, Anonalogue won't provide his real name and hides behind some anonymous handle for his fucking insane insinuations.

Both Balb and I are awaiting Anon to carry through with his challenge of "meeting in any number of Ottawa area dojos" - so.. what will it be Anonalogue? You gonna pussy out or what?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 10:53:03 PM

Settle down, old-timer, I'm asking a valid question. The fact is that like most consequence-free nihilists you don't care about children, or "right" and "wrong" or anything other than your own selfish soul. Selfish, selfish, selfish.

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-29 10:54:53 PM

While I don't agree with gay marriage per se, I do have a problem reducing the insitution of marriage to the issue of mere procreation.

How does that account for couples who are sterile, for example, or for someone who, like myself, is married but will not be having children with my (second) husband?

The way I'm reading this, there is a danger in neglecting the fact that creating children is not a factor in certain marriages. Does that make us any less worthy of the institution?

Posted by: RippleRock | 2006-01-29 11:06:03 PM

"Settle down, old-timer, I'm asking a valid question. The fact is that like most consequence-free nihilists you don't care about children, or "right" and "wrong" or anything other than your own selfish soul. Selfish, selfish, selfish."

You are so full of bullshit.

As I've mentioned, when you offer an apology for your outright lies, seek forgiveness with a contrite heart from your priest, agree to follow through with your own challenges to Balbulican and I with regard to "dojos in Ottawa" if in fact you have the god damned guts to carry through with your own challenges, then I will discuss with you what you mean exactly by "adult-child sex."

I certainly am in no position to judge the ancient Jews, who took wives of 12 and 13 year old women. But then, I'm not the one who claims the Holy Bible as infallible.

So, I guess in YOUR failure to answer the question about your beleifs about this Biblical at times tradition, and your non response to utterly damning the Old Testament Saints for their sex with what _I_ would call children, we can mark you down as a poedaphile supporter.

Yup, Anonalogue refuses to denounce Holy Scripture where it references old men having sex with 13 year old girls - he must support poedaphiles,

Old chap, just answer the question posed to you? Do you support Poedaphilia as described in the Bible, or not?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 11:07:54 PM


"How does that account for couples who are sterile, for example, or for someone who, like myself, is married but will not be having children with my (second) husband?"

I'm certainly not suggesting that your freedom of association, regardless of the outcome, is any business of mine. As far as the reality of PRE-STATE, however, I have no doubt that procreation and sex was indeed a major part of any decision of who one would "get with."

And if you don't believe me, hell, just do a study of British monarchs or the the 16th to 19th century.

I am certainly not suggesting that YOUR view of what YOU want for a relationship should have ANY external beliefs foisted upon it. But then, why should YOUR view be foisted upon anyone elses?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-29 11:11:48 PM

Ianism: The fact that you appear to be unable to discuss poedaphilia, polygamy, and gay sex marriage IN CANADA IN THE YEAR 2006 without making bizarre references to scirpture and whatnot makes me question your cognitive capabilities at this time. A haiku:

Silly nihilist
Don't look for truth in words, dude
Stuff came before words

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-29 11:33:10 PM

OK, Ian, Anonalogue, you are both acting like children.
Does the institution (as we shall call it) of marriage predate this state or any form of government? Has marriage always indicated a commitment between one man and one woman? (realizing polygamy is one man and one woman, oft with the man having many marriages - never same sex) So, is marriage a right, merely a benefits package available to any two people who choose to adhere to this "as long as the feelings remain" 'commitment'? That is all it has become, with the majority saying "screw the children" and "what if we don't want kids". The Liberals realized that with their lack of support for families and the raising of children, immigration had to step up in order to keep our population from dropping.

I have read some very agressive comments against Christians, but remember that Muslims and Jews also believe the same thing in regards to marriage. I am not sure of other religions, but for those claiming to follow the God of Abraham, marriage is designed for procreation and the raising of children.

Posted by: Eldon | 2006-01-29 11:56:13 PM

Loathe as I am to get into the middle of this lively personal scrap between Mr. Scott and Analalogue, Mr.Kuykendall's dubious proposition does seem to merit a response.

How you categorize marriage - as a right, a social value or an institution -- it seems dishonest to reduce it to something that "procreates and raises the next generation of people." (I always thought mothers and fathers procreated and raised the next generation, but apparently I have been misinformed). And it seems idous to dismiss all those who choose not to pursue this aspect of marriage with economic jargon such as "free riders" -- although I'm guessing that he has fewer problems with opposite sex "free riders", like someone I know who had a tubal ligation in her 20s and then married in her 40s. And if it's all about procreation and child-rearing, why should the door be barred to those same-sex couples who do procreate (by whatever means that suits them) or adopt children? Or is there, in the institutional small print, some mention that marriage is only for those who can (at least theoretically) make a baby in the backseat at the drive-in?

Over the millenia that marriage has existed (although not necessarily for all classes in all eras) it has served many purposes --economic, social, and political as well as procreative? Since the 19th century, it has evolved and shed qualities -- the doctrine of coverture, the restrictions against racial and religious inter-marraige -- that some people argued were fundamental to the institution and that others saw as odious.

Why shouldn't it continue to evolve? Why can't it serve a variety of purposes in the modern world? If two people who want to proclaim their devotion by accepting certain obligations towards one another, but don't want to have children, why should it make a difference if they are of the same sex or opposite sex? And if a same-sex couple wants to raise children and take steps to that end, with more thought and consideration than many heterosexual couples give to the process, why should they be denied access to the institution if they chose to enter into it?

Seems to me the burden of proof in these matters lies with those who would exclude same-sex couples from equal access to a public institution (if that's how you care to characterize it). So far, I've heard nothing but speculation and hate. Show the harm or shut up.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-01-30 12:43:16 AM

" but for those claiming to follow the God of Abraham, marriage is designed for procreation and the raising of children."

I wouldn't disagree with that at all, and in fact, would point to Jacob, Abraham's grandson, who had sex with two wives, and at least two concubines in order to procreate.

It was the first known "surrogate" pregnancy in fact, as far as Rachel was concerned.

This was all blessed by God too.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-30 12:43:21 AM

History is cool and stuff, but it seems to me that in this thread some are spending far too much time dwelling on such a narrow stream of history. Less Leviticus, more rational thought informed by a broad appreciation of history. On that note: Is there a single blogger in Canada with any knowledge of Buddhism whatsoever? You ignore 2,500 years of collected wisdom at your own peril.

For what it's worth, the case for polygamy in Canada always seemed stronger to me than the case for gay sex marriage. And I am not in favour of polygamy.

I asked our special amoral nihilist friend Iansism if he was in favour of paedophilia for a specific reason: as a silly libertarian, he believes virtually all of society's rules are a "buzzkill". Accoringly, it is entirely logical to speculate that he may have few if any reservations about adult-child sex and perhaps incest too. Ianism, can you share how you feel about these subjects?

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-30 1:05:10 AM

Note to truewest: Until recently, the concept of marriage without children was unheard of with the exception of physical problems. There was little if anything held more dear than one's children. Do we follow darwinian evolution and drop sexual procreation simply because science may permit pregnancy without sex?

Ian, the Bible does have examples of men having multiple wives, another example being David. BUT, God and His word (the Bible) does not condone this. When David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and had her husband killed, did God condone that? Did God still use David regardless?
God did not tell Jacob to marry both Rachel and Leah, it was their father Laben who tricked Jacob into marrying the one, and jealousy and barrenness leading to the children from the maidservants. God never promoted those marriages.

"This was all blessed by God too" is incorrect. The unions (two marriages, two sleeping with) were not blessed, Jacob's children were, as was promised to Abraham (again, despite his lack of faith and illegitimate son Ishmael).

Posted by: Eldon | 2006-01-30 1:06:23 AM

Anonalogue, I wish I knew Buddhist history, but even from what I do know about buddhism, marriage and procreation was never a big deal. Wikipedia it and check it out, but that is why I only focus on the three I am sure of. However, in thinking of Chinese culture, how much value do they place in the family and children, even today under communist rule? the concept of only one child is ridiculous to the older generations and is being forcibly removed from the minds of the youth.

Posted by: Eldon | 2006-01-30 1:12:06 AM

I stand corrected, somewhat...

Posted by: Eldon | 2006-01-30 1:15:25 AM

All of you are on the wrong page - marriage is, and always has been, about property. Before 'the pill' and AIDS, marriage protected women from rogue females who would make inroads into her household. Bastard children could not inherit and were not given a last name. Cruel for the innocent children of illicit sex but it kept the fortune hunters from the door and protected married women from ending up in the streets. "The Pill' and other birth control made decent men stop from thinking twice before hopping into bed with multiple women, it also gave women the power to sleep around without the possible consequence of an illegitimate child to support - on her own. AIDS has made 'free love' a conundrum - it is not 'free' if the penalty is death. Your choice. The Lord does not like people fornicating like animals, he has made some new 'rules' and the selfish resent those rules. I think that hailing back to the past and the different arrangements that people made to reproduce themselves is useful only if people are prepared to look at the whole picture. Multiple wives was the norm at one time, in certain places - but only for the very rich men. Women in those days did not work and help support themselves, the man with many wives had to feed and water them all and their children! I don't think any of the pampered Canadian men of today would want to do that.
Men and women in the 'peon' class have always formed partnerships with each other (one man, one woman) and have closed the family circle for protection from other families - like the clans in Scotland and Ireland. If Canada loses the concept of the family , it loses it's reason to exist as a nation. Families are the foundation of a country; people who own nothing, have no loyalty to anyone, love only themselves, care about anything (including their country) only as long as that person or thing 'serves' them are IMO, worthless. Marriage gives people siblings to back them up them throughout life and parents and grandparents to protect them when they cannot look after themselves. A family gives people a group of people to love without the sexual and financial conditions of marital love. Marriage is not JUST about TWO people of the opposite sex forming a partnership, it is about many people - all these people are part of a FAMILY.

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-01-30 1:48:44 AM

I believe that jema54j is close to the truth of this matter. Even with multi wives they also worked to support the family. One must remeber all this started since the start of time andit progressed. Another plus was the children was raised by everyone with in the tribe or the family unit.
Now days no one raises the off spring we have a leash laws for our pets but what do we do with our kids. No we push the Goverment to do that.

Posted by: Carl Roy | 2006-01-30 6:01:50 AM


"...all liars, shall have their art in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Rev 21:8

Please, if you are a liar who bears false witness, you are headed for a very very serious end. And this end will last forever. Forever man! Think about it.

Posted by: Tom | 2006-01-30 7:52:06 AM

Bible history is a progression of God's relationship with man, and His progressive revelation of Himself, and His will . Man took a long time to learn some things (but a shorter time to fall back). For example, God allowed divorce in Moses' time because the people's hearts were too hard to accept reality or obedience.
With Jesus, and the fullfillment of revelation, many things were made more clear to those who 'hardened not their hearts'.

The Church teaches that the purpose of 'sex' is for the permanent bonding of the man and the woman. 'The two become one'. A permanent covenant with God as partner. This is the appropriate and beneficial arrangement for children. Having children and 'procreating' is a participation with God in His creative power. Therefore, deciding to have 'sex' but not co-operate with God's creative power is breaking the covenant, which damages the relationship with God, and with spouse.
This is why, homosexual acts,and adulterous acts,and sex outside marriage are not acceptable. They belie a desire to remain attached to earthly pleasures above the desire for God. He takes it personally, but He allows choice. Choices can be good or bad, towards freedom or towards slavery to human desires and weaknesses.

(Of course, this is mostly relevant to those who are open to God's love and mercy. )

Canadian society, in its drive to accept the 'enlightenment'that others have moved past, has rejected God's place in human business. It seems rather foolish, and Canada will continue to decay socially until the prayers and sacrifices of those who love God and Country, accomplish what blogs cannot.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-30 9:17:25 AM

From where I stand, marriage "before the state" looks pretty much like a contract between two men -- the father of the chattel and the owner-to-be.

Contract. Not institution.

In fact, even now many Christian marriage ceremonies mention 'the covenant of marriage', which to me is much more palatable than 'the institution of marriage,' as long as we evolve it to be a contract between the two people getting married (since the earlier sort seems to me a little too similar to the contract between pimp and john).

And since the state doesn't need to be involved in a 'covenant', it could stay far, far away from marriage too.

Then every religion, sect, organization and individual can mix and match marriages however they want them.

And polygamous contracts and same sex contracts of that sort... the contracts of other consenting adults are not my business. Nor yours. Nor the state's.

I totally understand the Christian desire to see society conform to their morality, but I think it'd probably be better for Christians (or Muslims, or whatever other belief system has its own code of morality) to think more about converting people to their religion and less about converting people to their morality. After all, if this life is just a blip in eternity, what good is a hell full of unsaved people with Christian morals anyway?

Posted by: Wendy | 2006-01-30 10:44:03 AM

There is a tendancy to define "wants" as "rights." I think legal analysis would be much sounder if the word "right" were banished from its vocabulary. It is essentially a political term with no substantive meaning.

Every enduring institution comes to serve multiple functions. The real issue is why is it relevant to society now. I think this is one issue Trudeau had right--the state has no interest in the bedrooms of the country. That is, if marraige is defined as committed sexual union, then the state has no legitimate interest in marriage. MArriage should be abolished as a state concept.

The fact is, the state has a critical interest in the procreation and nurturing of children and ought to support an institution designed to support this task. Committed reltionships are a means, and just a means, to this end. People who "want" a committed relationship and "want" social recognition/acceptance, claim it as a "right."

The state should consider altering the concept of marriage in the way that divorce law de facto recognizes it. There are two types of marriage in divorce law: mere economic partnerships and "traditional marriages" as they are referred to often in the cases.

The problem with watering down the institution of marriage is that it undermines its most important social function--to promote and support the procreation and nurturing of children. The data from Europe in jurisdictions that have introduced gay marriage is shocking. By de-linking the concept of marriage from procreation/nurturing, the rate of children born out of wedlock has skyrocketed. Why bother marrying to have kids, since marriage has nothing to do with kids and who wants a state-regulated sexual relationship?

This is perilous social experimentation, especially in a country whose birth rate is just 1.5 (2.1 required for stable population) and faces the onset of boomer retirement.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. observed, experimentation in negations is a fine sport, so long as one appreciates that it takes a century to replace a tree.

Posted by: Murray | 2006-01-30 10:58:46 AM

The reason the 'state' has become involved in marriage is that historically, it has been to the state's and society's advantage to promote healthy, productive families, supported in varying degrees by social programs and tax laws. Has this reason changed? Is it no longer to the state's advantage to promote families? Or has the gov't decided that legislation is for the benefit of the party in power-to keep it in power- rather than the actual advantage of society. I fail to understand the reasoning in favour of same-sex marriage, from the state's perspective, or the perspective of a thriving society. That is not the only step taken by recent gov'ts to destabilize and disadvantage traditional families, though perhaps a little more 'in your face'.
To Christians, there is only one morality, (although there are plenty who refuse to go along with it). It is the morality put in our nature by God, and revealed to us by Him for our own benefit. Therefore, converting to 'religion' or to 'morality' amounts to a difference of degree. Christians hope and pray for all humanity to , in the end at least, recognize God when they see Him and not turn away. That is also God's preference. May Hell be empty and the Devil lonely.

Wendy, part of the problem IS that not enough people in Canada care what anyone else is doing, so long as they can't perceive a direct disadvantage to themselves.(Selfish). Many people don't realize how much individual choices affect others. For example, the fact that some (perhaps all) provincial education depts. mandate teaching homosexuality as an alternative and equal lifestyle was accomplished by heads in the sand while very loud lobbies went forward. Does it affect everyone? You bet. Canada will reap the benefits soon enough.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-30 11:17:48 AM

I concur with Murray; marriage is a social system (I would hardly call it an 'institution' and it is certainly not a human right)that is focused around the future of the society. As such, it is involved in the production, nurturance and socialization of children.

This is also an economic function, for the maintenance of the society's population is economic. In small hunting/gathering societies with no ownership of land or goods, whose economy is surface extraction and migratory (eat your way out of an area, move on, allow regeneration, and return in a year) marriage and its kin-groups provides all services (reproduction, economic nurturance, protection, socialization). Usually, the family unit is 'extended' rather than nuclear and many members are involved in these tasks.

In larger populations, the economy changes and family ownership becomes necessary for the economy to function. Ownership of the land (where you plant seeds, which you have as surplus, protect that land while you wait for the harvest); ownership of capital (animals, tools, seeds)..all of which are future-oriented and must be preserved as surplus. This moves marriage into a unilinear focus, where the capital must move through the family from generation to generation and be protected against dissipation. Marriage becomes a very important economic system. (Nothing to do with the feminist talk of 'chattels' and 'objects'; it's a realistization that your economy depends on your ownership of X-goods, and your family/clan must control these goods or everyone will starve). Marriage is then carried out as an economic transation (I marry this woman, whose children will contribute to the operating strength of the family as an economic unit...and I am thus depriving her family of its economic strength..so, I must pay them a dowry or brideprice..).

In larger societies, marriage remains as that economic system, enabling families to reproduce, and socialize the children. Now- if we remove marriage as the system around which a society physically reproduces itself and e ven socially reproduces itself, then - who carries out these necessary tasks, of nurturance and socialization? The group, i.e., the state? That puts us, systematically, right back to the hunting/gathering type of society. Interesting.

I am, myself, indifferent to the various types of marriage (heterosexual, homosexual, polygamous)and am examining them only as to their results for a society. Polygamy, in an industrial society, can lead to abuse of the women. It was certainly common in pastoral nomadic economies and swidden (wet horticulture) economies - but- these were economic actions. In an industrial society, where the economic requirement for a large family doesn't exist, then, polygamy moves out of an economic mode and into a personal mode. That's a basis for psychological abuse.

I am opposed to the state moving into the tasks of nurturance and socialization of the next generation; that's too socialist/communist for me, and in a large population, can only be achieved by repression. Additionally, such a tactic represses heterogeneity and dissent. A large population without the capacity to question, dissent and deviate from the majority norm - is in serious trouble.

Posted by: ET | 2006-01-30 11:32:09 AM

Man, I just love it when people who don't know me, and have never met me, take it upon themselves to make monumentous decision for me. And if you can't read the dripping sarcasm in that sentence, you need your eyes checked.

Exception: Truewest, thank you for your voice of reason, as well as your sense of social history. Absolutely no sarcasm meant for you.

Russ, if Balbulican finds his way here, I think you will be treated to his excellent reasoning as to why marriage is not a right in this country. It is an arrangement between two (at the moment) people, licensed by the government, and solemnized by a ritual decided upon by the two people involved. Period.

Religion has nothing to do with marriage under the law. Its importance or non-importance is entirely up to the people who are being married.

Children have nothing to do with marriage under the law. Procreation or the lack of it is entirely the choice of the people being married, barring unforeseen medical problems that would result in a childless marriage for people who would wish to have them -- but there are other answers for that problem, including AI and adoption.

The rights that come of a marriage contract are very important in this country, however -- including the right of automatic inheritance, the right to speak one for the other (especially in medical terms), the right to support and be supported in any number of ways, the right to keep silent in a court of law. There are other rights, but these are the ones that came immediately to mind.

And for those of you who keep quoting scripture and referring to the bible as if it were empirical evidence of the truth: fine for you, if that's what you want to believe. But it actually has nothing to do with the subject matter. And it does not speak for all citizens in this country. I've seen Christians, time and again, crying that there is an "anti-Christian bias" in the media, on the street, in blogs -- everywhere. And my answer to that is: if you'd keep your damned bible to yourself instead of constantly shoving it in other people's faces, there wouldn't be any anti-Christian anything. You are bringing it upon yourselves!

And for Ian and Anonalogue: Would you two please get a room? Or a referee? Thank you.

Posted by: Chimera | 2006-01-30 11:39:25 AM

And my answer to that is: if you'd keep your damned bible to yourself instead of constantly shoving it in other people's faces, there wouldn't be any anti-Christian anything. You are bringing it upon yourselves!

Posted by: Chimera | 30-Jan-06 11:39:25 AM

Please tell me there is sarcasm implied in that quote, too. Do Christians (or Jews, etc) suddenly have LESS rights than homosexuals? Because maybe, just maybe, if gays & lesbians would stop shoving their lifestyle in other people's faces, there wouldn't be anti-gay anything!


Posted by: RightGirl | 2006-01-30 11:48:54 AM

Rightgirl: No sarcasm. I mean it. I was speaking of the perception of anti-Christian religious bias that is being made up by the whiners who insist on trying to gather the unwilling into a common herd. I find that kind of proselytizing reprehensible.

Separate religion from sexuality. The one does not, under any circumstances, imply the other. Nor does one negate the other. They are two separate issues, so don't try to combine them.

And why should gays not have the SAME rights that straights have? I have never yet met anyone who is gay who wants to convert the rest of the world to homosexuality. Sexuality is a genetic pre-disposition. Religion -- or lack of it -- is a choice. You cannot equate the two.

Posted by: Chimera | 2006-01-30 12:10:17 PM

It appears that there are two primary considerations in this discussion: the role of the State in relation to marriage, and the role of God/Belief Community in relation to marriage. I would submit that it would be better to decouple these two considerations as the best means of moving forward.

The Christian church has, in my opinion, in recent history adopted the incorrect view that "what is legal must equal what is moral" on "key" social issues, or else society is doomed to self-destruction because religious belief will be curtailed. I think that it is now struggling to come to terms with the fact that the alignment of those two realms has diverged significantly enough with regard to marriage that there appear to only be two options: 1) Work politically to re-align the two realms (i.e. change the laws back so they align with moral values), or 2) Give up and predict the coming end of religious belief as we know it within society.

I would submit to you that this is a false dichotomoty. The Christian church entered the world at a time of similar circumstances, and, rather than dying out, it experienced incredible growth - perhaps because of the lack of synchronization, rather than in spite of it.

So, to me, there is a third way, and that is for the Church to decouple itself from the State with regard to marriage (and, ultimately, charitable status, but that is another discussion). Under this model, on the "religious" side, people entering into marriage under the paradigm of a set of religious beliefs will recognize that they are making a commitment to i) each other, ii) God (their deity), and iii) the community that is recognizing their vows. On the "State" side, the individuals entering into marriage can choose whether they want to be formally recognized by the State for the purposes of tax law, property law, etc. by entering into some contractual arrangement (defined by the word "marriage" or "social contract" or "business partnership" or whatever, who cares), or just live under the "common law".

The perceived advantage of this approach is that it allows the evaluation of different types of "marriage" arrangements to become a social policy issue and not a religious issue. If, over time, the sociological data proves that some forms of relationships are not beneficial to the goals of society (i.e. raising children that are productive members of society), then governments can move to discourage them legally (by higher taxes, etc.) without having to get embroiled in religious debates. Further, proponents of different models will be able to place their ideas into the "marketplace of ideas" for consideration by their follow citizens without the government explicitly choosing "winners" and "losers". Over time, the "losing" models will die out naturally as society recognizes them as undesirable.

The key to this model, however, is going to be the protection of freedom of speech and the right to debate the various models without being accused of some type of "ism" or "phobia". Because, if I choose to tell my children that my personal belief system doesn't approve of a particular arrangement, I shouldn't have to be worried about being hauled into court for "hate speech" charges.

Posted by: Active Listener | 2006-01-30 12:13:50 PM

A strong comittment to marriage means a country that is demographically survivable.

In countries where marriage has been debased to the point of thinking homosexual marriages are the same as mine with children and a future in 100 years they go into a demographic spiral.

Is sustainability not an issue? The country has nothing to gain from homosexual marriages it has everything to lose by ruining normal family units.

Posted by: ghollingshead | 2006-01-30 12:31:38 PM

Ghollingshead, you have a point. The Lord said choose life. That is my choice.

I will write my comment a second time because the Shotgun's filter did not let me in for some reason. That will give me a chance to refine my comment in order to show respect of people reading it.

I have read with attention all the comments.

All the comments with an evolution world view are bound to be untrue because evolution is a not valid theory. No offence to commentators. I choose to rely on a valid Bible world view (although unproven) because I rather rely on God than on faiilible man.

Comments in favour of homosexuality try to justify the deviations rather than looking for truth.

But where can we find the truth? See the Owner's manual. If you want to understand how your car is built, how to drive it, how to take care of the car, where you can drive it, see the owner's manual. If you want to understand marriage, see the Bible. Where? In Genesis.

Genesis 1:28
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Under the Edenic covenant, Adam had six obligations:
1. To replenish the earth with children
2. To use nature for his
physical needs
including food and shelter
3. To have dominion over animal life
4. To eat fruits and vegetables
5. To labor for his
6. To obey God by abstaining
from eating the
forbidden fruit.

Genesis 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Marriage is so important in the mind of God that it was the first of three divine institutions and was patterned to illustrate Christ's love for the church.

God did not say shall a man leave his father and his father nor his mother and his mother. So it is clear that God said one man and one woman.

So I think marriage is a covenant between three persons: a man, a woman and God. And it became a divine institution, not a state institution. So the state does not have to say if marriage is between a man or a woman. Or between a man and a man. Or between a woman and a woman. Or between a man and many women. Or between a woman and many men. Or between a woman and an animal! Etc etc....

God has said what it should be. The state tries to be God by interfering with marriage.

After the fall (when sin and death entered the world), all kinds of things happened. There was adulterers, polygamy, concubines, homosexuality, etc.. God tolerated different combinations between a man and many women without condoning it. Jesus said it was because of the hardness of their hearts. But He never tolerated homosexuality. See Genesis 19, Sodome and Gomorrah.

God loves homosexuals. God rejects homosexuality, but He does not reject homosexuals. God asks homosexuals to repent and receive His love. Many people think that sexual orientation is genetic. I think it is not proven. Many people think a homosexual cannot change his sexual orientation. I don't know. They may be right. But to God everything is possible. Ask and thy shall receive.

Posted by: Rémi houle | 2006-01-30 2:34:16 PM

Wow! You won me over. I'm a convert. All it took was a little scriptural razzle dazzle. Sorry, no, it passed. I guess I was laughing so hard I forgot to breathe. Never mind.
Nobody would suggest their marriage is the same as yours (the mind boggles). But I would like to see your evidence of a demographic spiral, in the unlikely event that such evidence exists, since same-sex marriage is a relatively new phenomenon and this would be really cutting-edge stuff. Assuming, though, that you're correct and there is demographic spiral, what do you figure is going on in the minds of straight folk confronted with the curious that gay people love each other and want to get married? Does the though of Adam and Steve so shock them that they lose all desire to have sex (at least for reproductive purposes). Do they abandon conventional intercourse for a steady diet of sodomy? Do bits fall off? Do tell.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-01-30 3:27:40 PM

"So I think a marriage is a covenant between (sic) three persons: a man, a woman and God."

Great. Now here's someone who thinks God is a polyamorist.

Posted by: Chimera | 2006-01-30 3:30:53 PM

truewest- maybe you can answer this.

In the context of a gay relationship, what about marriage is attractive to the 'loving' couple. Recognition? I can't see how it holds any economic benefits(anymore), and a 'spiritual' benefit is doubtful. Is it just the'forcing society to register them' that is attractive i.e. homosexual activism? If so, why should society go for it? What's the benefit to society? Keeping them quiet until their next great idea?

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-30 4:59:00 PM

Of course I can answer that. The benefit to a same-sex couple is exactly the same as to an opposite sex-couple who doesn't believe that God is a party to their partnership (a concession, I'm sure you'll understand, to your argument on "spiritual" benefit). Actually strike that; in some denominations, same-sex couples will derive the same spiritual benefits.

Marriage is, among other things, a public declaration of committment, which necessarily involves a desire that others -- friends, family, the state and society at large -- recognize that committment.

That's not "homosexual activism"; that a very natural and human desire.

Of course, you're entitled to withhold your recognition if you want and hide behind little semantic tricks like putting the word loving in quotation marks. Just so long as you don't refuse to rent them the honeymoon suite. Beyond the provision of public services, you're entitled to be as petty and small-minded as you like. And from your other posts, I see you don't need any encouragement in that regard.

As for the benefit to society, it is, likewise, the same as in any heterosexual marriage. If they have or adopt children, those children will be raised in a more stable and economically secure environment. If one of the partners gets sick, the other will care for him or her. Ideally, there'll be two fewer lonely people in the world.
Of course, this is all subject to the vagaries of human nature. Just like heterosexual marriage.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-01-30 5:56:07 PM

I read two comments ref. to my previous comment. But laughing or writing "sic" do not amount to any argument.

So truth is you have no argument. Facing the truth, I understand no one can argue with the truth.

Remember, truth will make you free.

Posted by: Rémi houle | 2006-01-30 6:15:32 PM

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