Abandoning Conjugality

In seeking to redefine marriage to include same-sex partnering, a crucial element within the institution of marriage is being discarded as if it were irrelevant – the conjugal aspect.

Sociologists explain that while marriage is a complex relationship, it exists primarily in support of two purposes:

1. The companionate aspect, whereby two adults choose to express their love and commitment toward one another, and to form a lasting bond in which they may provide mutual physical and emotional support.

2. The conjugal aspect, whereby a husband and wife willingly accept the potential responsibility of conceiving children, and selflessly commit themselves to the task of raising any such children, in order to honor their moral obligations in the furtherance of successive generations.

In considering why society recognizes marriage as a beneficial institution that is worthy of a special privileged status, we need to understand that it is the combination of both the companionate and conjugal aspects that makes it uniquely valuable. It is disingenuous to suggest, as some have done, that the conjugal aspect does not occupy a major role in the societal value of marriage. To deny the significance of the family unit – of mother, father, and children – is to deny the reality of human existence as we have known it since time immemorial.

Let me challenge you then with this thought: what percentage of the societal value of marriage (by which I mean, the institution of marriage as a whole, rather than any specific individual instances of marriage) can be attributed to the conjugal aspect? And what percentage of the societal value can be attributed to the companionate aspect? Surely it is not a 100-to-0 split. Perhaps you answered 50-50, or possibly 60-40. In any case, all but the most radical among us would have to admit that the portion of societal value attributable to the conjugal aspect is a significant and substantial portion.

The “marriage equality” argument of SSM advocates is based upon an appeal to the human capacity for compassion and sympathy. By wrapping their agenda in the mantle of a campaign “civil rights”, they seek to categorize opponents as bigoted. But their argument is fundamentally flawed. They argue for “equal rights” between two societal institutions that are inherently unequal – not by any design of man to discriminate, but by the design of nature itself.

While same-sex partnering seeks to mimic the companionate aspect of marriage, it cannot help but lack the conjugal aspect altogether. Consequently, whatever same-sex partnering may be if we choose to recognize it as a societal institution, it cannot be the same as marriage because it lacks the essential qualities of marriage.

Father Ted Tumicki (who you must surely remember as the canon lawyer during the recent Judiciary Committee hearings) said it very well and succinctly:

Marriage is between a man and a woman. The ends of marriage are the good and benefit of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.

There it is again, the companionate aspect (“the good and benefit of the spouses” and the conjugal aspect (“the procreation and education of children”).

It is no surprise to me that the universally recognized qualities of marriage as a valuable societal institution are echoed by Catholic teaching, because the truth of human existence cannot help but drive the theological viewpoint. Marriage is what it is, not because the Church says that it is so, but because our human nature says it is so. Don’t like it? Take it up with the Creator who made us male and female, and who requires that newly conceived human life must arise from the combination of male and female gametes. Regardless of your religious viewpoint, this truth of our human nature is beyond question.

What will happen if we abandon the conjugal aspect as irrelevant? Looking to governments that have already adopted SSM, such as Canada, we can learn what happens when we move “Beyond Conjugality” as summarized here:

The state’s interest in marriage is not connected to the promotion of a particular conception of appropriate gender roles, nor is it to reserve procreation and the raising of children to marriage. The state’s objectives underlying contemporary regulation of marriage relate essentially to the facilitation of private ordering: providing an orderly framework in which people can express their commitment to each other, receive public recognition and support, and voluntarily assume a range of legal rights and obligations.

An excellent article that further explores the negative impacts of abandoning conjugality within our societal definition of marriage is “Canadian Marriage Policy: A Tragedy for Children” published by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

So much of this debate centers around our modern tendency to place self-interest above the needs of others. We need to rediscover the true reasons why society elevates marriage to its special status. It is not merely because of the mutual love and commitment expressed by those who desire to unite in matrimony. Though it is a noble and honorable purpose, the companionate aspect is in large part focused upon the self-interest of the married couple rather than their role within society at large. It is in fact the conjugal aspect, even more than the companionate aspect, that justifies marriage being elevated by society, because it is through conjugality that the institution serves the needs of others – the needs of children to have a mother and father, and the needs of society in its furtherance from generation to generation.

36 Responses to “Abandoning Conjugality”

  1. on 12 Apr 2007 at 10:07 amGenghis Conn


    I don’t have children. I don’t intend to.

    I am still married.

    Also, gay people can raise children just fine.

    Nice try, though.

  2. on 12 Apr 2007 at 2:42 pmDave


    I see you’ve dodged the question – don’t be afraid to answer. The question is not whether any individual marriage would produce children, it’s to what degree does the institution serve an important role within society based upon its conjugal aspect. Go ahead, give us a percentage estimate, as you see it. Surely it has some relative value. Or do you truly believe it’s value is zero, and it’s completely irrelevant?

  3. on 12 Apr 2007 at 2:54 pmDave

    FYI – I’ve chosen to delete yet another post from one of our regular opponents. As explained by Peter on another thread, we will not accept posts that descend into name-calling as a debating technique. Please, let’s keep the discussion in the realm of ideas, where people of differing opinions can properly interact with mutual respect and intellectual honesty.

  4. on 12 Apr 2007 at 5:33 pmGabe

    Tounge-firmly-in-cheek name-calling is out too? I was calling Genghis a breeder, obviously in jest!?!?!?!

    [Editor’s Note: I’m leaving this 2nd post intact. But honestly, how can we tell what is meant in the absence of context? It isn’t at all obvious. Moreover, isn’t it still just as offensive, no matter to whom the comment may be directed? I believe a post such as this would violate your own rules at …

    – No insulting or belittling other posters
    – Please make every effort to be courteous, civil and understanding

    I feel we should make every effort to avoid derogatory and uncouth language, regardless of one’s political views, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. Let us at least be civil, even while we may otherwise disagree!]

  5. on 12 Apr 2007 at 7:26 pmGabe

    Gabe’s Note: It wouldn’t be deleted at CTLP for two reasons:

    1. It’s not insulting to call someone a breeder after they point out that they are married, yet aren’t procreating – its absurd. Thats the point. Next time I will give it this context – Your views on the direct and immediate connection between marriage and procreation are ridiculous, here is my ridicule. When reading this blog, my tounge plants immediately and irretrievably into the dark recesses of my bleeding heart liberal cheek – so please take my comments with that context.

    2. Both Genghis, you, I, and everyone who has even glanced at this blog by accident knows that I agree completely with his point above. I am hard pressed to understand how satorically agreeing with him would be insulting.

    That said, do you guys have commenting rules? At Shea, there is no drinking after the seventh inning, but I’m home watching the Mets game, its in the eighth (winning 4-3, thank you), but I’m about to uncork a frosty Bud Light. Should I call Stadium Services and delete myself?

    Also, is breeder uncouth or derogatory? Seriously?

  6. on 12 Apr 2007 at 8:01 pmCGG

    Clearly you had nothing to work with in terms of context. It’s not like Gabe and Genghis post on the same blog or anything.

    Also I wasn’t aware that the FIC used the CTLP Rules for Commenting. Perhaps you should take the time to come up with your own.

    Once again I’d like to note that almost no one ever comments on your posts unless us pesky liberals start the conversation. Your silent majority sure is silent…

  7. on 13 Apr 2007 at 5:01 ammatt

    I hear Gabe is a breeder.

    Gabe, are the rumors true that you train your children so their first sentence is “To Chairmen Dean, Mao, and the Glorious People’s Revolution”?

  8. on 13 Apr 2007 at 5:34 amPeter

    CGG, on your second point, it is true that FIC Blog has thus far had a more open, permissive approach regarding comments than CTLP and many other blogs. (Though I gather from recent CTLP threads that your rules aren’t working out for you as well as you would like.)

    On your last point, you “pesky liberals” do indeed seem to spend a lot more time on blogs than others do. But could our “silent majority” have fallen silent in part because we’ve held back from banning the trolls? Something for us to think about.

  9. on 13 Apr 2007 at 8:41 amDave


    Absurdity is a poor excuse for vulgarity. According to your logic, we ought likewise to excuse Ann Coulter for her usage of a certain F-word (derogatory to male homosexuals) because it was directed towards John Edwards, who obviously is not gay.

    I cannot agree with this reasoning. As we’ve heard repeatedly throughout the marriage debate, words have significance. And some words are powerfully offensive no matter who uses them. Isn’t the N-word offensive regardless of whether it is spoken by a black or white person?

    The pejorative “breeder” is an epithet used by hateful, mean-spirited people to demean heterosexuals and diminish the virtues of fatherhood and motherhood.

    In any event, your original post – which I deleted – was beyond repair because it contained only a single-line reference to this offensive term, without bearing any indication that it was directed towards Genghis or to any other specific person. If it had included any other substantive content beyond the offensive phrase then perhaps it might have been edited, rather than deleted entirely.

    While even offensive language is protected under the First Amendment principle of “freedom of speech”, it is nevertheless wrong and morally indefensible. Ann Coulter was wrong for using that F-word. Don Imus was wrong for using a racial slur. Fred Phelps and his followers are wrong for their “God hates f-gs” campaign. And you are wrong when you choose to use this specifically inflammatory term to demean heterosexuals.

    In so doing, you have handily demonstrated a true hallmark of bigotry – labeling people with vulgar and derogatory words. You see, merely having a sincere difference of opinion on a question of public policy does not make one a bigot, although folks on the Left often make the false claim that we are bigoted. When we speak in opposition to things like SSM, we endeavor to explain ourselves in a dignified manner that is respectful of others who may hold a contrary viewpoint. Such discourse in the realm of ideas is called debate, and it is our right as citizens. Your hate speech seeks to unfairly squelch our viewpoint.

  10. on 13 Apr 2007 at 8:49 amchele

    “But could our “silent majority” have fallen silent in part because we’ve held back from banning the trolls? Something for us to think about. ”

    No need for deep pondering. You can just check your archives for the number of comments that were made in the “pre-troll” era. And you can check your sitemeter stats as well, to see how many visits you got, “pre-troll.” I think you understand how they work now, no?

    Of course, we could all go back to ignoring FIC and leave you to the dolphin people.

  11. on 13 Apr 2007 at 8:52 amopal


    Guess what CGG I know your blog spot Connecticut Local Politics and it doesn’t get so much in the way of diversity in it’s opinons.. Looks to me that you and your buddies-Genghis, True Blue, Spaz, Maura, CTKeith are the majority of the people posting on your own sights. You guys just name call at the conservative right until someone like myself jumps in and then you focus your vitriol on that person. You may not be silent but it is really only 10 or so of the same people ( who all seem to blog as well) hitting your sight and commenting.


  12. on 13 Apr 2007 at 9:08 amGabe

    Matt – I can’t even get her to say “MASS” when I say “U” – she is pretty much only saying Mommy and Daddy and Cookie – I’ll have to wait to indoctrinate her politically until she understands more words!

    Dave – the equivalence you drew between the f word and the b word is simply staggering. Let me know when you can cite an article about the gang of maurauding homosexuals leaving a heterosexual tied to a fencepost, dead, because he was a “breeder.” Breeder isn’t a pejorative, it isn’t hate speech, it isn’t bigoted, and it doesn’t squelch your ideas. In fact, it flows right from your post above – While same-sex partnering seeks to mimic the companionate aspect of marriage, it cannot help but lack the conjugal aspect altogether.

    What squelches your ideas is the marketplace that has rejected them.

    Does all this make me a self-hating breeder?

  13. on 13 Apr 2007 at 9:37 amGabe

    Opal –

    We haven’t used blogspot in about 4 months – go ahead and check us out at – I think you will find a range of view points from conservative to liberal. The divide is especially apparent (and active) on the topics of Iraq and tax policy…

  14. on 13 Apr 2007 at 10:28 amSteve

    Gabe – are there any conservative front pagers on CLP? Perhaps the numbers are down because everything there is so darn predictable. If you want to liven up the debate, then offer one.

  15. on 13 Apr 2007 at 11:30 amGabe

    Steve –

    We have 5 front page posters, 2 liberals, 2 conservatives, and GC, who is drives me mad with his moderation on most issues.

    So we offer two – also, who said anything about numbers being down? Did I miss a memo?

  16. on 13 Apr 2007 at 11:33 ammatt

    Are CTLP’s numbers down? I thought they were going up steadily.

    We’ve gotten thousands of visits at MLN with our marriage equality coverage, especially from the popular clips MikeCT did of anti-marriage-equality testimony interspersed with dolphins, bats, butterflies, cocoons, and the like. We had over 2200 visits (and 7000 pageviews) yesterday alone, with probably only a handful from folks in the FIC office. Mike’s videos are over 9,200 views!

  17. on 13 Apr 2007 at 11:54 amDave

    Is it really so hard to believe that hate speech can potentially flow in both directions? Consider this excerpt from a June 14, 2006 article in The Boston Globe:

    Provincetown, MA – Town leaders here are holding a public meeting today to air concerns about slurs and bigoted behavior. And this time, they say, it’s gay people who are displaying intolerance.

    Police say they logged numerous complaints of straight people being called “breeders” by gays over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Jamaican workers reported being the target of racial slurs. And a woman was verbally accosted after signing a petition that opposed same-sex marriage, they said.

  18. on 13 Apr 2007 at 12:21 pmSteve

    Perhaps I read too much into the “New users won’t comment. Old users drift away. CTLP heads for Internet Oblivion.”, etc. comments recently posted on CLP by Genghis Conn. I don’t spend alot of time on CLP, but, honestly, I have yet to see the conservative viewpoint represented there.

  19. on 13 Apr 2007 at 8:27 pmCGG

    CTLP has more conservative and moderate commenters than liberal. We also have two conservative Front Page posters. All political viewpoints are welcome.

    Also I have no idea where you got that idea that our traffic was down. We’ve been slowly growing ever since our move to the new site. I’m actually surprised that we haven’t dipped a bit more considering that this is a municipal election year. But then our community are dedicated political junkies, and we all need our daily fix of politics.

    Apologies to the FIC for derailing this thread. That wasn’t my intention. And snark aside, I really am interested in the community here. I’ve said this before but I really would like to see the local conservative blogosphere grow and develop.

  20. on 13 Apr 2007 at 10:05 pmTricia

    Re “Your silent majority sure is silent…” it just could be that most readers of this blog find the reasoned commentary and the facts presented herein by Peter, Dave and others to be compelling and sufficient.

  21. on 15 Apr 2007 at 7:51 pmSteve

    CTLP has more conservative and moderate commenters than liberal. We also have two conservative Front Page posters. All political viewpoints are welcome.

    Perhaps. All I can say is that I’ve yet to see any conservative material on the front page. For example, I just now clicked over to CTLP and every single post on the front page was originated by Genghis Conn, CGG or Gabe. In my experience this isn’t a unique occurrence. Based on what I’ve seen there, CTLP seems like a liberal blog – whether it’s intended or not.

  22. on 17 Apr 2007 at 4:57 pmDiana

    Being gay does not make you infertile….children and procreation can be part of any couples complex relationship.

    This being said, we should annul all marriages within 3 years if the relationship does not produce a child; adoption should become illegal; and definitely anyone over child bearing age should not be permitted to marry.

  23. on 17 Apr 2007 at 7:07 pmDave

    Being gay does not make you infertile …

    No argument there, but actually begetting children while in a SSM means either: (1) you violated your promise of fidelity to your marriage partner, and had extramarital sex in order to conceive; (2) you used a surrogate parent to supply the missing biological material necessary to conceive. Either way, you would be depriving the child of one of his natural parents. Doesn’t that seem a rather selfish thing to do? And if you wanted to beget children, why live the homosexual lifestyle? It all seems so unnatural, to unnecessarily disassociate babies from their natural parents.

    we should annul all marriages within 3 years if the relationship does not produce a child; adoption should become illegal …

    As usual, this idea sounds like it resonates from a heart of bitterness. It isn’t the first time we’ve heard it, and it won’t be the last. Yes, we have heard the WA-DOMA argument before, and discussed it in detail earlier on this blog.

    If you feel that a proposal like “Initiative 957” is warranted, nothing stops you from independently organizing for it. But as the WA-DOMA folks have discovered, their combative “sour grapes” attitude has only helped to galvanize public opinion against the homosexual agenda.

    I wonder what you’d want to do with the orphans. Hopefully not this.

    anyone over child bearing age should not be permitted to marry …

    It will be interesting to see what age you’d propose for such a limitation. Some women have been known to bear children in their 50s and 60s. Some men have been known to father children even in their 80s and 90s. These at least are the scientifically verifiable cases in modern times. Legend has it that the entire Jewish nation owes its existence to Sarah giving birth to Abraham’s son, Isaac, at age 90. And there is always that story about Margaret Krasiowa (Konin, Poland) which you can Google for your amusement and edification.

  24. on 17 Apr 2007 at 8:40 pmmatt

    It all seems so unnatural, to unnecessarily disassociate babies from their natural parents.

    First they came for gay marriage, then they came for the adoption agencies!

    Either way, you would be depriving the child of one of his natural parents. Doesn’t that seem a rather selfish thing to do?

    No. And since there’s lot of hetero precedent for this (surrogates, sperm banks, egg donors), it’s certainly well-established that such a behaviour is legal.

    It hardly matters if you like it or not, since we talking about the law, not “How to make people do what Dave wants.”

  25. on 18 Apr 2007 at 9:45 amDave


    Let’s not forget the word, “unnecessarily”. When opposite-sex couples look to adoption or reproductive technology, it is because they have already tried and failed to beget children naturally. A person within a same-sex relationship cannot make the same claim, of having genuinely tried to conceive naturally with their partner. Therefore the same-sex partner cannot justly claim access to those alternatives on the basis of necessity, because they haven’t yet exhausted the possibility of naturally conceiving a child. If they’re so drawn to becoming a mother or father, perhaps they should listen to that naturally instinctive calling and renounce their homosexual lifestyle.

    Children do have a natural inherent right to a mother and father. That’s not just based on Catholic and conservative Christian teachings. It’s implied by nature itself, in the way that a child must be conceived from the combination of male and female gametes. Every child deserves a “mommy” and “daddy”.

    On the subject of adoption – we live in an imperfect world, and unfortunate circumstances can and do arise that separate a child from its parents. But once the damage is already done, when prospective adoptive parents step forward in selfless love to bring that child into a situation paralleling the naturally-intended pattern of being raised by a mother and a father, that at least is a restorative act. Indeed, so many such parents exist that quite a number of them now turn to overseas adoptions. For a man and woman to want to have a child, even though they may be unable to conceive, is very much in proper alignment with their natural and instinctive role.

    Reproductive technologies are medical treatment for opposite-sex couples who should have been able to conceive, but were somehow prevented by some ailment. As such the use of reproductive technologies ought to be held as inappropriate for same-sex couples, because the reason for their inability to conceive is not rooted in a medical problem.

    You are of course correct that this debate is not about what I want. Nor is it about what you want. It ought to be about what children want and need. And it ought to be about what the people of Connecticut want. But opinions are intended to inform and prompt introspection. That’s what this blog is all about.

  26. on 18 Apr 2007 at 9:47 amTricia


    “What Dave wants” (as well as most of those against SSM) is to have the law protect the best interests of CHILDREN.

    But in the focus of the gay activists on their own selfish demands, they refuse to ‘see beyond their own noses.’

  27. on 18 Apr 2007 at 2:57 pmmatt

    Dave says:

    Children do have a natural inherent right to a mother and father. That’s not just based on Catholic and conservative Christian teachings. It’s implied by nature itself, in the way that a child must be conceived from the combination of male and female gametes. Every child deserves a “mommy” and “daddy”.

    Again, they don’t, and it isn’t. Many, many animals (there are kittens in my house right now as living proof) are reared by only one of their biological parents. Many animals “naturally” adopt.

    Your “every child deserves” is a fine opinion, but it derives from your interpretation of biblical teachings, not from nature. Or again, from the law. And since we’re talking about the law, it bears repeating: it hardly matters if you like it or not, since the law doesn’t recognize “how to make other people do what Dave wants.”

  28. on 18 Apr 2007 at 4:44 pmDave

    As if these were my opinions alone!

    To anyone who feels that marriage should only be between one man and one woman – for the good and benefit of the spouses, and the procreation and education of children – please take note: It hardly matters what you think, because Matt says the law doesn’t recognize “how to make other people do what you want”. And you! And you, too! Just in case you had any misguided notions that your opinions mattered in government.

    So next time we have elections, don’t even bother to show up if you’re a conservative. It doesn’t matter what you think.

    [Yes, I’m being sarcastic.]

  29. on 19 Apr 2007 at 2:07 ammatt

    Excuse me? These are things that you already said you don’t want enshrined in law because of the harm it’d do to families with heterosexual parents.

    Of course I enjoy your long-winded treatises that boil down to “homosexuality is yucky,” but when you spend that long making arguments you don’t really believe, you shouldn’t be surprised when someone calls you on it.

  30. on 23 Apr 2007 at 5:29 amCaroline

    Guess what Dave? There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.

    I am straight, and agree with you to the extent that I think children do better in a home with two parents rather than one, if both parents are “good enough” parents. But, were I in a committed relationship I would absolutely forego conception and reproduction and adopt VOLUNTARILY, not because I COULDN’T conceive, but because there are already too many unwanted or uncared-for children in the world who need families.

    Here in CT, we asked and answered the question about whether gay couples make fit parents several years ago when we passed the law allowing gay couples to adopt. In the hearings on the civil union bill, Mike Lawlor got a high-level Catholic official to admit on the record that adoptable children are better off in gay homes than in group homes, safe homes, and other institutional settings. Conjugality is a Catholic doctrine, and legislators have no business imposing religious doctrines on the rest of us. I have a right to be free FROM your religion and its dictates, just as you have a right to practice your religion as long as your practice does not infringe on the rights of others.

  31. on 23 Apr 2007 at 9:39 amDave


    I applaud your willingness to adopt. Whether parenting a naturally-born or adopted child, it takes a selfless person to devote themselves to the time, effort, and long-term commitment that is required to nurture a child. And it really shows what love is all about, to give of one’s self for the benefit of another.

    Thank you for pointing out an error in the way I articulated my previous argument (in comment #25 above). I omitted a crucial word, and should have said “When infertile opposite-sex couples look to adoption or reproductive technology, it is because they have already tried and failed to beget children naturally.” We are in complete agreement that adoption need not be limited to infertile couples. It’s all the more selfless when a couple is so moved by compassion for the needs of orphans that they choose to adopt even when they already have natural children of their own, taking on additional obligations of support. And likewise it’s a selfless gift of love when, as you’ve illustrated, a couple chooses to adopt prior to conceiving a natural child – as my own sister has done in adopting a baby from overseas, still not knowing whether she may yet conceive naturally at some future point in time. The point of the earlier debate with Matt was the differences between infertile opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples, not about the generalities of adoption and its virtues.

    There is actually more to my argument about the rational justification for marriage than just procreation. I see you’ve only joined our blog discussions within the past 3 weeks, so you might have missed my earlier article “The Social Rationale for Civil Marriage“. You may want to read it for the sake of perspective. Despite the intensity of the debate surrounding SSM, I find that I am nevertheless acquiring a better understanding of other world-views by reading the opinions of those who disagree.

    This may seem a bit like splitting hairs, but beyond any occurrences of procreation, yet another aspect of marriage that sets it apart from same-sex coupling is the potentiality of procreation. It is quite a common occurrence that married couples start out at first with a feeling that they won’t want to have any children, but their feelings change over time within their marriages. Ought we to judge them for the lack of “timely” procreation? Or should we give nature time to work its course, both in body and mind, for the couple to have an open-ended opportunity to choose the creation of new life if their hearts are so moved? Same-sex couples simply do not have this potentiality, no matter what timetable we might choose to allow.

    Yes, it is a fact that Connecticut chose to legalize adoption by gay couples. Other states such as Mississippi and Florida have chosen a different path. It seems that we have not reached a consensus on this question as a nation. And as you’ve intimated elsewhere with the “can’t legislate morality” argument, merely because something is legal does not mean it is moral. The U.S. Supreme Court obviously felt that the arguments of the State of Florida had merit, when they listened receptively to Casey Walker’s assertions:

    It is rational to believe that children need male and female influences to develop optimally, particularly in the areas of sexual and gender identity, and heterosexual role modeling.

    The fact that the justices chose not to hear the case in Lofton v. Secretary of The Florida Department of Children and Family Services implies that the lower courts’ findings – that Florida’s ban against gay adoptions was grounded upon a “rational basis” for legislation – were not an improper restriction of liberty.

    Whatever happens here in Connecticut, I do think we ought to keep in mind the bigger picture. When we create a hodge-podge of incompatible laws in different states, for matters that are so fundamental to our everyday lives, we are laying the groundwork for much future strife in reconciling these differences.

    If opposition to the homosexual agenda could be so conveniently “boxed in” as being merely grounded in religious bias, then I suppose it would be easier to defeat. The fact is, of course, that opposition to SSM is not limited to religious arguments alone. When social values are held in common by many people of diverse backgrounds, who share a mutual understanding of the human experience in accordance with nature, that’s not a matter of religious views being forced upon anyone.

  32. on 23 Apr 2007 at 9:05 pmCaroline

    Please tell me where I can find good arguments against SSM made by athiests or others who have no religious agenda. I did not hear a single one at the public hearing, nor have I found one elsewhere. I don’t hear or see any of the people you mention in the last paragraph arguing against this legislation. And, we’re deciding for OUR culture, not others, whether we want to expand the definition of civil marriage. And, apparantly other cultures do bless same-sex relationships and hold them equal to others. (I think this is referred to in a law review article by William Eskridge)

    Potentiality of creation is also a faith-based rationale which, I understand flows from biblical teachings, but isn’t persuasive to those who don’t share that view of marriage. I understand that point of view, but I still don’t understand why having a marriage ceremony that is blessed by your church or whatever isn’t enough. Your church can still refuse to marry same-sex couples, but those couples would have the option of civil marriage. Do you not want to be a part of civil marriage if it includes same-sex couples?

  33. on 24 Apr 2007 at 12:56 pmDave

    Please tell me where I can find good arguments against SSM made by atheists or others who have no religious agenda.

    Is it inconceivable that religiously-affiliated people might have a valid social policy argument not rooted exclusively in their faith? How many atheists would need to oppose same-sex marriage for you to admit that it’s not an exclusively faith-based viewpoint? It’s hard to find good data on this, because many polls lump their respondents into broader categories (e.g. Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Other) that make it difficult to separate true atheists from other non-Judeo-Christian religions. But there was a poll in Massachusetts several years ago by Merrimack College and the Eagle Tribune that specifically tracked atheist/agnostic as a response category. While 53% of the atheist/agnostic group supported SSM, there still remained another 47% believing that SSM was not warranted! The exactitude of the numbers isn’t what’s important in answering Caroline’s challenge; it is sufficient to observe that there are at least some atheists who find a rational basis to oppose SSM legislation. Admittedly support for SSM is higher among atheists than Christians, but it’s not an absolute truth that atheists always support SSM.

    Now having shown this, let’s get back to the real question. Ought people to be deprived of their voice in government merely because they adhere to a particular religious faith? Or should we consider governance to be the exclusive prerogative of atheists and agnostics? It’s true we don’t want to live in a theocracy, because freedom of religion is a fundamental right in our country. But neither should we live in an “atheocracy” in which citizens are deprived of their right to a voice in government, as a consequence of their faith. We live in a democracy, which entitles everyone to participate regardless of their choice of religious faith (or lack thereof).

    As explained by Francis Beckwith at the Atheocracy Blog:

    … religious believers often come to the public square, not merely with blind faith and sacred Scripture, but with arguments and reasons that are distinctly public. We believe that these ought to be assessed on their own terms. Citizens should not be dismissed by an atheocratic litmus test that excludes them from the conversation because they happen to be religious believers, or requires that their arguments be ruled out a priori because they happen to be consistent with views congenial to belief in God and inconsistent with atheocratic views on the nature of law, morality, the good life, or human beings.

  34. on 24 Apr 2007 at 4:40 pmmatt

    Is it inconceivable that religiously-affiliated people might have a valid social policy argument not rooted exclusively in their faith?

    That wasn’t the question, D.

    And since you ask, it is increasingly inconceivable that there are any valid social policy arguments to your anti-equality views. Dodging questions like this doesn’t help your case.

  35. on 24 Apr 2007 at 6:11 pmDave

    Trying to have a genuine debate about SSM is growing increasingly futile, thanks to closed-minded people who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of any argument – even a secular argument – when it is voiced by a religiously-affiliated person. In their eyes, we are “guilty by association” regardless of what we have to say.

    As correctly described by Professor Robert P. George (Princeton University) in his article “A Clash of Orthodoxies”,

    Secularism aims to privatize religion altogether, to render religiously informed moral judgment irrelevant to public affairs and public life, and to establish itself, secularist ideology, as the nation’s public philosophy.

    Orthodox secularism promotes the myth that there is only one basis for disbelieving its tenets: namely, the claim that God has revealed propositions contrary to these tenets. Most orthodox secularists would have us believe that their positions are fully and decisively vindicated by reason and therefore can be judged to have been displaced only on the basis of irrational or, at least, nonrational faith. They assert that they have the reasonable position; any claims to the contrary must be based on unreasoned faith.

  36. on 09 Apr 2008 at 1:43 pmVan

    The fundamental issue seems to be one of faith. Do you or do you not believe in a Creator. I answered that question for myself in the same way Einstein did. If nothing had ever existed it, nothing must now exist. Something cannot come from absolute nothingness. Nothing, according to Einstein, is a figment of our imagination. We, as humans, have not always been here. But physics tells us that something “call it the force if you wish” has always been around and has always had the capacity to create new existences. The idea promulgated by some physicists, “that we are just part of an infinite number of random explosions” is a circular argument.
    An infinite number assures that at least one explosion will create a being far superior to us, with the capacity to create and affect us. An infinite amount of time has passed, so by statistical probability ” a Creator must exist”. if you apply your logic long enough, it will be obvious we cannot be alone. But, the question is, What kind of a creator? The hands off uncaring clockmaker? The playful but neglectful child? The interested and loving Creator of human scripture? It is easy to look at human suffering and assume clockmaker or child. But think harder, deeper. What of our capacity to love, our ability to feel passion and to know beauty? What of our
    ability to apply our logic to solve human problems and create a better world? As humans we have the ability to throw instinct aside and think through problems to the good of other humans. Why this, if we were made by a foolish child or a benign clockmaker? Our very ability to empathize with others
    lends strength to the loving creator of scripture and something deep within even the most hardened atheist yearns for meaning in our lives. How so?

    Yet if there is a creator who cares for us, then that creator has a purpose for us here. I think it is what I want from my own children. It is what I want from my spouse and friends.
    I want them to freely choose to love me. Love is not love, until it is a choice. We are here to choose. Choosing God ensures love and peace for our eternal essence (yes our soul). At the same time, it binds us to do the creator’s will as we percieve it and to the best of our ability. Choosing to believe in chaos and emptiness frees us to do as we wish. But at the expense of love and peace in our soul. A hard choice; trust and obey or my way and anxiety.

    If you choose to trust the communication from the creator. Marriage between man and woman, procreation, obedience to certain restrictions are a must for our well being as humans. If not? We are a rudderless ship, pretending for a while that we are headed to the promise land, but no werewithal to get there.

    I have met so many Gay people. They are full of justifications and explanations and vehement arguments about why they have the right to do what is against nature. What I’ve never seen in any of them is peace. Peace cannot be ripped from God’s hands. It must be accepted as a gift when one is in complete obedience to the Creator. So, obey!

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