Theatre Website Of The Absurd

Further proof that my “Logic For Leftybloggers” series – especially the piece two weeks ago on the Tu Quoque Ad Hominem – is long, looong, lo-o-o-o-ong overdue comes in a piece yesterday at the Minnesota Birkeydependent where Andy Birkey, taking a rare break from covering Bradlee Dean, writes:

In testimony before Minnesota Senate and House committees last week, religious leaders and representatives from religious right organizations cited single-parent families and a skyrocketing divorce rate as reasons to protect marriage from being redefined to include same-sex couples by “activist judges” and “handfuls of legislators.” And GOP members rebuffed efforts by DFLers to include a ban on divorces in a proposed ban on gay marriage. However, a number of the legislators who say they want to protect marriage appear to have been divorced.

Right.  But in fairness, a number of DFLers aren’t really gay,aren’t on welfare, and haven’t had abortions either.

Note to DFLers and the writers writer at the MinnBirk: the fact that someone making an argument has not always been utterly consistent with their side of the argument is not evidence against the argument.

In a sense, we should be happy that this is the best George Soros can get for his money.

On the other hand, to 43% of our population, this is what passes for an argument.

13 thoughts on “Theatre Website Of The Absurd

  1. Civil marriage is a State thing, grafted onto the religious institution for reasons of expediency. Without religion their would be no civil marriage that we would recognize. There is a reason why, when you go back not too far in history, marriages, deaths, and births are church records, not state records.
    Civil marriage, unmoored from religious considerations, was pioneered by the Napoleans and the Bolsheviks. My god I don’t know why libertarians are on the wrong side on this. SMM makes the world more unipolar. It strengthens the power of the State against the individual’s conscience.

  2. My god I don’t know why libertarians are on the wrong side on this.

    Because we don’t make the distinction between libertarian and libertine very well.

  3. Maybe because a lot of libertarians — and a lot of other folks, who are passively voting with their feet by not fleeing the several states where there is SSM — really think that SSM doesn’t do harm to anybody.

  4. The idea that having been divorced means that one can’t talk about marriage (and the state’s role in marriage) is foolish. Those who hold such a notion, or think that it counts as a serious argument, haven’t seriously engaged the issue.

    But while I will not criticize everyone who has been divorced, I think there’s a special category for people who divorce their spouse in order to marry the person with whom they’ve been having an affair. It’s ridiculous for Gingrich, for instance, to talk about defending traditional marriage. Gingrich has rejected traditional marriage for himself, and is unapologetic about it. That doesn’t mean that none of his arguments need to be considered — just that he is a woefully bad choice for a spokesman.

    I would sooner listen to Robert Hanssen on the topic of patriotism than I would listen to Gingrich on the topic of marriage.

  5. I don’t see what value SSM can provide to the state, so why affirm, encourage, certify, sanctify it?

  6. Troy: good issue. Here’s some values, in no particular order:

    1. The kids. It’s generally agreed that it’s better for kids to have two parents, rather than one. (Simple proof: with two parents, if one of them gets run over by a bus, there’s still one parent left, rather than just the orphans.) Under SSM — without the expensive legal gymnastics necessary for crossadoption by unmarried folks — Heather (remember? the girl with two mommies) can legally have two mommies pretty easily. Right now, the two moms can get that only by expensive and lengthy legal processes. And when families break up, it’s at least arguably better for the kids if there’s two parents, one of whom has to provide child support. (Men who have been shafted in that sort of thing — I assume you know some, too — could get all schadenfreudey over a kicked-out lesbian partner being turned into a human ATM.) Adoption of one spouse’s kids by the other spouse is, I’m told, just this side of automatic.

    2. Taxation. Married DINKs pay the “marriage tax” (which is why some heterosexual couples with two largish incomes don’t get married, by the way). Married folks with a stay-at-home parent (which some people think should be encouraged) get a tax break, encouraging (some) spouses, now, to stay and home and raise the kids, rather than putting them in day care. Is it better for society for a lesbian couple to be pressured by taxation (and let’s not get into health care, for a moment) to both of them taking day jobs and putting the kids in child care, or one of them staying home with the kids.

    3. Families. It’s to the benefit of the state that family relationships have legal recognition, generally; it makes some things that otherwise would be complicated easy (like who gets to make calls about end-of-life issues, for example), or where the estate goes with somebody dies without a will.

    That’s for affirm, encourage, and certify. Sanctify? I’m pretty sure I want the state out of the sanctifying business on most matters; YMMV.

  7. joelr:

    These seem like three general arguments in favor of families with a “makes things easier for gay couples” flavor to them, not really “benefits to the state”. I don’t mean to say “it would be bad to make things easier for gay couples”, but when I say “benefit to the state”, I am thinking in comparison to regular old marriage (since we are discussing making them one) so I may set the bar higher than others.

    Sanctify has a few definitions, but I meant the “to give social or moral sanction to” one, not one of the more religious ones.

    I think of marriage as a device (tradition, template) that does some things that SSM does not. It is probably that I think of marriage in a strange way, so my opinions come with a complimentary grain of salt. Enjoy!

  8. Troy: sure. And the same arguments — the secular benefits — apply to state recognition of conventional marriages (without, of course, the benefits according to parents/children, in the cases of conventional marriages where there aren’t children). Stable familial/couple relationships are a public good, IMHO.

  9. joelr: Will SSM, if it gains acceptance, create a larger number of stable familial/couple relationships?

  10. There are plenty of them now which provide all of the same public good stability to partners and children, without those families in fact receiving any of the benefits that they should receive.

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