The Fallacy of Equal Marriage

“Same-sex marriage” advocates like to draw parallels between their agenda and the historical struggle for racial equality. And they use this persuasive technique as a tool to undermine well-reasoned opposition.

Let’s not be so easily fooled. The argument is false, because the underlying nature of these types of relationships (married couples vs. same-sex partnerings) is not equal. State Representative Bruce Morris explained this very well at yesterday’s Judiciary Committee meeting, when he said:

Same-sex couples are different in that [for] two men, biologically it is impossible without outside intervention to have a child; [for] two women, biologically – without outside intervention – it is impossible to have a child.

There is an inherent difference. It’s by birth. And that’s real.

There was no inherent difference between the races, but between a same-sex couple and a married couple – a heterosexual couple – there is an inherent difference.


For the furtherance of the human race, it is only heterosexual couples that are born as male and female to have children without any outside intervention. And that’s indisputable.


We’re talking about equality. Is this really equal?

Folks on the Left want to grant same-sex couples equal rights, when in fact the underlying nature of their relationships – and the attendant value to society – is not at all equal with marriage between opposite-sex couples. What is unequal by nature does not merit “equal rights”!

I’ve been reading an interesting study of this manipulative technique, by Lawrence Auster in his August 11, 2004 FrontPageMagazine article. And he correctly reminds us that the hypocrisy of the Left flows from their goal of “cultural socialism”:

Traditional morality and classical philosophy define justice as giving each person his due, with equals getting equal results and unequals getting unequal results. [Leftism] defines justice as the guaranteed equality of outcome between individuals of unequal abilities and accomplishments.


To establish homosexuality as a social norm while banning the disapproval of homosexuality, as today’s “liberals” are now doing, is not a universal agenda benefiting all mankind but a very particular agenda, aimed at empowering one concrete interest—radical sexual liberation—and at disempowering another concrete interest—the traditional social and moral order. By convincing everyone that their agendas represent the advance of a general “fairness” and “humanity” to which no decent person could object, modern “liberals” assure that no one can criticize these agendas on any principled ground. The result is that public discourse about the public good—politics itself—comes to an end. As an example of this abolition of politics, consider the fact that anyone who seriously opposes the unconstitutional imposition of homosexual marriage, one of the most radical social innovations in the history of the world, is automatically dismissed and shunned by many people today as a bigot or a cynical political manipulator. Consider the fact that as a result of the Boy Scouts’ moral and constitutional refusal to hire open homosexuals as Scoutmasters, many American cities now treat that once honored organization as a pariah.

Therefore the real debate that we conservatives must seek to join with our “liberal” adversaries is not between their alleged support for equality and tolerance and our alleged bigotry and hatred. The real debate is between their desire to dismantle our traditional morality, institutions, and culture, and our desire to preserve our traditional morality, institutions, and culture—indeed our very freedom and existence as a people.

We are in the midst of cultural war, and it’s high time to expose the Left for what it is: an unabashed attack on the classical philosophy of justice. The folks on the Left do not truly care about equality and tolerance; they are just cloaking themselves in these virtues to advance their revisionist agenda.

42 Responses to “The Fallacy of Equal Marriage”

  1. on 13 Apr 2007 at 1:54 pmmatt

    Traditional morality and classical philosophy define justice as giving each person his due, with equals getting equal results and unequals getting unequal results. [Leftism] defines justice as the guaranteed equality of outcome between individuals of unequal abilities and accomplishments.

    You couldn’t make it clearer: according to this article, homosexuals are unequal to heterosexuals. Do you believe that? I don’t, and I don’t believe that’s a position supported by law, either.

    By the way, I’m thrilled to have you pumping up Morris: that man’s seriously in the serious running for a Golden Dolphin award.

  2. on 13 Apr 2007 at 2:43 pmPaul

    I agree whole heartedly with Dave!

  3. on 13 Apr 2007 at 5:39 pmDave


    The question is not whether homosexual individuals are unequal to heterosexual individuals.

    To be precise, the difference inherently exists between the societal value of opposite-sex marriages and the societal value of same-sex partnerings. In other words, a difference between the value of these two types of unions. Consequently, unequal societal value cannot reasonably justify equal treatment under the law.

    Individual persons of whatever sexual orientation are in fact already accorded equal rights, as affirmed for example by the Washington State Supreme Court Decision:

    DOMA treats both sexes the same; neither a man nor a woman may marry a person of the same sex.

    There is no sexual-orientation “litmus test” required to obtain a marriage license. The law simply requires that individuals shall marry a person of the opposite sex, in recognition of the true purpose of marriage – the furtherance of our society from one generation to the next. It’s that simple. If you want to form a relationship of some other type, not consistent with the purpose of marriage, then perhaps it is something else worthy of recognition – but it’s not a “marriage”.

  4. on 13 Apr 2007 at 8:59 pmF.A. Malkin


    Exactly. This is not about marriage. The refusal to look at history relative to marriage is telling. It is not about rights and benefits. For all the rucus, none of that has been enough. This is about force feeding the rest of us with the revsionist agenda, and using the law to do it. No wonder they are all in a tizzy about Dawn and Maggie.

  5. on 14 Apr 2007 at 2:44 amJohn D

    So, you’re going on the record that marriage is for procreation? Certainly, that’s what the quoted section indicates:

    Same-sex couples are different in that [for] two men, biologically it is impossible without outside intervention to have a child; [for] two women, biologically – without outside intervention – it is impossible to have a child.


    For the furtherance of the human race, it is only heterosexual couples that are born as male and female to have children without any outside intervention. And that’s indisputable.

    I know what I’ll get if I ask about infertile heterosexual couples, but I can’t resist:

    Does this mean that couples who cannot “have children without any outside intervention” should be forbidden to marry? That’s pretty harsh.

    But of course you don’t mean that. You only bring up the lack of interfertility characteristic of same-sex couples, different from that of an opposite sex infertile couple, because…

    It’s a red herring. You have no intention of applying it to opposite-sex couples, so you needn’t bring it up.

    As for your concluding comment, “[t]he law simply requires that individuals shall marry a person of the opposite sex” is a contemporary version of this line that the law forbade both the rich and poor from sleeping under bridges.

    In your world, gay people can marry, but only in a loveless sham marriages. And that’s not what marriage is for.

  6. on 14 Apr 2007 at 6:31 pmGabe

    FA Malkin –

    Its Dawn and Michael, not Dawn and Maggie…

  7. on 14 Apr 2007 at 6:49 pmJohn D

    A further note.

    You conclude:

    We are in the midst of cultural war, and it’s high time to expose the Left for what it is: an unabashed attack on the classical philosophy of justice. The folks on the Left do not truly care about equality and tolerance; they are just cloaking themselves in these virtues to advance their revisionist agenda.

    I think it’s a terrible mistake to claim that your opponents are arguing in bad faith. It might be easy to dismiss their arguments if you can convince yourself that the do not care about equality and tolerance.

    But what if they do?

    What if the side supporting marriage rights for same-sex couples is doing so because they care passionately about equality and justice?

    Take us seriously. We argue for equality and justice because those are the issues at hand and they are what we truly believe in.

  8. on 15 Apr 2007 at 11:47 amDave

    If the Left really cared about fairness and justice, they would have pressed for true equal rights on behalf of all persons who are ineligible for marriage. Why restrict close relatives from joining together in a legally recognized union? Surely in the name of human dignity and compassion these people ought to become eligible for the same protections and rights. What’s wrong with two elderly sisters establishing a compact of mutual love and support? Or an uncle and a nephew? Or a widow and her son? Depending on individual circumstances, close relatives who have deep bonds of selfless love – and who are otherwise unmarried – may want to support one another and permanently commit to sustain each other through times of hardship. People like this ought to have some accommodation under law, and if the Left was truly the champion of equality that they claim to be then we would have seen them propose legislation that encompassed these persons.

    Instead all we have seen is legislation that is slanted towards the homosexual agenda, and which continues to exclude close relatives for no valid reason. For if it really is all about love and commitment, and not about the nature of a sexual relationship, then for what valid reason do we exclude this other category of persons?

    A much fairer approach is the “reciprocal beneficiary” status that exists in the state of Hawaii, which is open to all persons otherwise ineligible for marriage, without creating any implied linkage to a sexual relationship.

    By pursuing legal recognition only on behalf of gay couples, the Left has deliberately abandoned people who are equally deserving of protection. And that truly is unjust discrimination.

  9. on 15 Apr 2007 at 1:42 pmPaul

    Good point Dave !

  10. on 15 Apr 2007 at 1:58 pmchele


    It takes a truly sick mind to go down the road you’re going down.

  11. on 15 Apr 2007 at 2:55 pmmatt


    Tell you what, you get Lou Deluca to sponsor an incestuous marriage bill, and I’ll come up and testify on behalf of your strawman “Left.”

  12. on 15 Apr 2007 at 3:41 pmDave


    Perhaps you can explain a bit more why you feel that way. I am at a loss to explain otherwise why the Left would fail to recognize what is clearly unjust discriminiation.

    I would also suggest that you consider the story of Joyce and Sybil Burden, who are in fact 2 real-life elderly sisters aggrieved by the lack of civil rights equivalent to those held by gay and lesbian couples. Their case was lost by the narrowest of margins (4-3) last year in the European Court of Human Rights. Attorneys for the sisters are planning to file an appeal.

    Vermont also provides a legal “reciprocal beneficiary” status for close relations who are ineligible to marry.

  13. on 15 Apr 2007 at 6:32 pmPaul

    One thing I have noticed when I started “observing” here a few months back, and I still see, is how rude, snippy, sarcastic the pro-homosexual lobbists continue to be. This continued name calling is really taking the low road. Calling people “sick”, “bigot”, “hater”, etc… I would suppose that people do that when they don’t have a logical defense for their position. It’s like a mob that can only try and shout down their opposition. Please try and make civil, and logical statements to try and defend your positition. Personally, I thought Dave’s argument makes a lot of sense.

  14. on 15 Apr 2007 at 11:42 pmCaroline

    Actually, I see no problem with two unrelated or closely related people being able to establish a legally-recognized partnership (or “household” if you will) for mutual benefit. Private clubs and secret societies and other social groups also can establish legal obligations to one another that are protected by constitutional freedom of association rights. I am at a loss as to why Connecticut has recognized same-sex civil partnerships but not opposite-sex civil unions.

    The fact is, the state cannot go into people’s bedrooms and regulate what consenting adults do there – not since Bowers v. Hardwick was finally overturned by the US Supreme Court. Legal mutual-benefit associations or agreements are a separate issue, and as you point out have been distinguished from “marriage.” We can still decide that “marriage” is between two people who have a committed, exclusive relationship that may include sexual activity, but also recognize these other choices that people make as “not marriage.”

  15. on 16 Apr 2007 at 10:38 amDave


    It is amazing how close we are in some respects (both agreeing that there ought to be legal recognition available to the 2 elderly sisters) and yet so far apart in other respects (who ought to be eligible to marry).

    You admit that it would be fair and just to create a two-category system of “marriage” and “not marriage” (by which is meant some alternative legal status with rights and obligations, for couples who are not deemed as eligible to marry). That suggests that there would need to be some determining factor, some justifying rationale, in deciding who is eligible for marriage.

    So it seems that our point of disagreement is in determining exactly who ought to be eligible to marry. It appears that you would want to include gay couples in the “marriage” category, but upon what basis can that be justified? Certainly not sexual activity, since as you pointed out the government has no business regulating what happens in one’s bedroom. And that leaves us back where we started – determining the rationale for why government ought to recognize the status of “marriage” as distinct from any other “not marriage” legal status for couples.

    There are many factors such as love, commitment, exclusivity, mutual support, shared property, etc., that are would be held in common between the couples in both categories – “marriage” and alternative “not marriage” structures like civil unions, domestic partnerships, and reciprocal beneficiaries. So it would seem that none of these factors makes the crucial difference between the 2 categories.

    From my perspective, that leaves only one factor – the potentially procreative aspect of marriage. And by nature this can only exist between opposite-sex couples.

    But I would be interested in hearing your perspective. If there can be 2 such separate and unequal categories of legal statuses for couples, then on what basis would you choose to distinguish them?

  16. on 16 Apr 2007 at 11:08 amGabe

    From my perspective, that leaves only one factor – the potentially procreative aspect of marriage. And by nature this can only exist between opposite-sex couples.

    But then in the regime that you and Caroline are working out, shouldn’t heterosexual couples that, for whatever reason (medical or by choice, etc.), cannot or know that they will not procreate, be barred from “marriage” and only be allowed to enter into “not marriage”?

  17. on 16 Apr 2007 at 8:02 pmCaroline

    Hmmm…good question. I guess there are some heterosexual couples now who don’t want to be “married” because of all the religious baggage that has been and obviously still is being attached to it by those who want to dictate for everyone who is “married” all the moralistic and religious rules they should follow because that word attaches to their union. (The rigid ideas about gender roles and procreation in marriage as it is now defined are particularly repellant to me )I think that if we did explicitly separate civil marriages completely from religious ones, and it was clear once and for all that “marriage” in the eyes of the state and federal government was spacious enough to include those of us who do not hold your religious, “natural law” beliefs, there would be no good reason to have a civil unions for ANYONE.

    Actually, its not the rigid ideas themselves that are repellant, it’s the idea that the government tacitly approves them by limiting marriage only to couples approved by those who hold religious beliefs that the couple themselves don’t share. There, I would refer you to the ongoing testimony of the two married law professors presented at both the civil union and marriage equaility bill hearings. It’s a matter of equal protection under the constitution.

  18. on 17 Apr 2007 at 7:06 amGabe

    Caroline – I actually think that the better (than equal protection) argument to make is one of fundemental rights due process – I think that a showing of homosexuals as a protected class is going to be a difficult one ot make. That said, you use every arrow in your quiver.

  19. on 17 Apr 2007 at 7:37 amCaroline

    Totally agree Gabe. No one wants to get into debating whether being gay is an immutable characteristic, and inclusion of homosexuality under “sex” discrimination is complicated and somewhat tortuous. But, you do use every arrow in the quiver. I see this debate as being like a crystal or jewel with many facets that exist contiguously and as part of a whole. There is not a logical, linear, single path to “the right answer.” I guess that’s a big way I part company with natural law theorists who see morality and nature dualistically. That being said, I have to agree with Senator Kissel that there don’t seem to be any logical, rational arguments against this legislation that are not based on religious belief….which, as Senator Tong so eloquently pointed out, cannot be imposed by a majority onto a minority of citizens in our democracy. (still trying to check out “the Carolene footnote” to the Federalist Papers!)

    To Dave’s point, again, if civil marriage were not the discriminatory institution it is now, I’d have no problem being married rather than in a domestic partnership.

  20. on 17 Apr 2007 at 7:52 amCaroline

    And…I’m one of those (straight) people who just never had the urge or desire to have children. That’s why making civil marriage all about procreation is so wrong. There is this implicit assumption that straight people who exercise their right to marry “should” procreate, which has created a lot of discrimination and pain for those of use who just don’t have that on our agenda and don’t adhere to any religious doctrine that tells us we “should.”

    Those who see marriage as primarily a spiritual institution intended for procreation are now in a priviliged position vis a vis the civil law, and obviously don’t want to give up that superior position. But, religious minorities (that includes atheists) are supposed to be enjoy all the rights and benefits in our democracy that others do. And none of the “evidence” put forth by anti-equality folks has shown any compelling reason why that protection should be limited.

    I really think that single, unmarried folks are natural allies of those who want to enter into same-sex marriages and that this affinity of interets should be articulated more clearly.

  21. on 17 Apr 2007 at 8:05 amCaroline

    Ok, I hear you saying, so again, why not just stick with the separate but technically equal status of civil union for those who don’t want to procreate?

    The word is important precisely because it does connote privilege, just like where one sits on the bus (front row or back).

    I keep thinking of the Dr. Seuess story about the star-bellied sneeches. Some sneeches had stars on their bellies, others didn’t. Stars ruled. After the plain-bellied sneeches made a machine that put stars on their bellies, the star-bellied ones got angry and made a machine that had theirs removed. Some changed their stars again, but others didn’t. Pretty soon, no one could rember who started out with stars and who did not, and everyone accepted everyone else. Peace reigned.

    Somewhat simplistic, but I think it applies to many situations in life, including this one. I know that some folks think this would be the start of the antichrist’s reign on earth, but I don’t.

  22. on 17 Apr 2007 at 10:21 amDave


    I take it you were referring to Ian Ayres and Jennifer Brown in your earlier remarks about two law professors. By the way, the whole transcript of the March 26th hearing is online at

    Personally I found their repeated attempts to link the history of racial injustice (e.g. Loving v. Virginia, Palmore v. Sidoti, Brown v. Board of Education) to the present day question of same-sex marriage to be a real stretch and largely unpersuasive. The anti-miscegenation laws attempted to regulate a non-essential quality of marriage, and therefore were unjust. But attempting to set aside the essential qualities of marriage, as being related to procreation and gender complementarity, is an entirely different matter. Relationships that lack the essential qualities of marriage are unequal by nature, and therefore completely undeserving of equal privileges.

    Turning back to your own arguments, I am concerned that you suggest there ought to be no good reason to have civil unions as a separate category for anyone. If the only element required between two people to enter marriage is their own choice and declaration, then you would re-open marriage itself to people for whom that status is inappropriate. Again we return to the close-relatives question. They ought not to be married, because we recognize the medical harm that would arise from children born of such couples. And yet they ought not to be deprived of the human right to form a partnership based on mutual love and support. So for these people, at least, we would need to have a separate and unequal category of rights and obligations.

    I find your characterization of natural law as a belief system to be rather amusing. While it’s true that the views espoused by the proponents of natural law have some overlap with the views of certain religious groups, this is no proof that one school of thought controls the other. Natural law goes back to Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and the Stoics, none of whom had connections to the Christian religious viewpoint. In fact, all of these folks go back to the days before Jesus even walked the face of the Earth! Natural law is a philosophy, not a religion. And governments are wise to consider philosophical and sociological arguments as they contemplate changes to their laws.

  23. on 17 Apr 2007 at 11:25 amGems

    Caroline–The Carolene footnote you’re referring to is actually a footnote in a case, not in the Federalist Papers. It’s footnote 4 in US v. Carolene Products (1938), which you can find here:

    Every law student knows the footnote well–or at least knows OF the footnote, I should probably say.

     [Editor’s Note: I fixed the web link so it works now. Adding a period afterwards, to end the sentence, caused a faulty link to be constructed. By the way, for the less scholarly among us, you can find a nice summary here on Wikipedia.]

  24. on 17 Apr 2007 at 11:27 ammatt

    The anti-miscegenation laws attempted to regulate a non-essential quality of marriage, and therefore were unjust.

    Non-essential to who? “Natural law” advocates felt it was essential to their tradition then – that it was essential to keep the races from mixing.

    Personally I found their repeated attempts to link the history of racial injustice (e.g. Loving v. Virginia, Palmore v. Sidoti, Brown v. Board of Education) to the present day question of same-sex marriage to be a real stretch and largely unpersuasive.

    So you’re one of the 15, are you? It clearly persuaded a majority of the Judiciary committee.

  25. on 18 Apr 2007 at 6:51 amCaroline

    Exactly my point, Matt. Since we don’t share the religious right’s faith-based assumptions about the “essential” nature of marriage, Dave’s arguments based on those assumptions beg the question. Those assumptions flow from Catholic and conservative Christian teachings…they just SEEM essential because they’ve been privileged for so long at the expense of principles of inclusion and pluralism, which are anathema to anti-equality advocates.

    And…I correct my prior post. The word “marriage” doesn’t just connote privlege, it CONFERS it based on religious doctrines that have no place in civil law.

    Law school was 25 years ago for me – yes, now that you mention it, I do remember Carolene Products. Thanks for jogging the memory of this ‘ol gal!

  26. on 18 Apr 2007 at 1:06 pmTricia


    Re your #19, Rep. Tong is not a “Senator.” And unlike you, as a member of the public in Connecticut (with a DP, I take it you are from out of state?) who was there on March 26th at the Public Hearing, I was NOT favorably impressed with Rep. Tong’s obvious bias which came out in his “questioning.”

    His questions were only to get information to buttress his own predetermined views on bill 7395, and to ‘show off’ his own knowledge of case precedents.

  27. on 18 Apr 2007 at 1:26 pmTricia

    To Caroline, Gabe, Matt et al (on the pro SSM side)–

    You can do all the verbal gymnastics you want, and I am unacqainted with (and frankly don’t care about) the role of the “Natural Law” as formed or articulated by the ancient philosophers.

    I have used the term, in my simplicity, when I guess I should have referred to “The Laws of Nature.” As I interpret them, they include such things as the simple fact that it TAKES A MAN AND A WOMAN to create a child. That is no accident, but by design, from the beginning of mankind, which is how marriage came about.

    Others have stated this far more eloquently—but again, “Marriage” preexisted governments. Governments have made some regulations regarding marriage, but that is not the same as creating the definition or institution of marriage.

    Thus, governments have no business trying to redefine what “marriage” is. In my view, they are as well advised to try to do this as they would be to try to overrule the Law of Gravity. And this notion of civil vs. religious marriage is bogus. Marriage is marriage is marriage, no matter where the ceremony is performed or what economic or other benefits may accrue. The nature of the marriage contract (and I’m not using the word in a strictly legal sense) is a union between a man and a woman.

  28. on 20 Apr 2007 at 4:16 amCaroline


    I would agree that monogamous commitment (between gay couples and straight ones) probably pre-existed the civil institution of marriage. Again, when you use the word “marriage” you have in mind something very different than what I have in mind when I use the word. I don’t share your presumption that creation of children is or ever has been a necessary element of monogamous commitment, whether recognized or not by religion and states as “marriage.” Even though you haven’t said so, I’m betting that you adhere to a set of religious beliefs that informs your conclusions here….and my point is that even though I don’t share those, my freedom to enter into civil marriage should not be abridged by that under our constitution.

    The boundaries of civil marriage are not immutable, as repeal of Loving v. Virginia most recently demonstrated.

    Also, do you treat infertile heterosexual couples who adopt (rather than procreate) like they are second-class citizens? Then why treat same-sex couples as inferior because they cannot physically procreate? That’s the logical outcome of your line of reasoning.

    For the record, I’m very much a CT resident and have been for years.

  29. on 20 Apr 2007 at 4:21 amCaroline


    I do stand corrected re: REP. Tong. Thanks for the clarification.

  30. on 20 Apr 2007 at 8:57 pmCaroline

    And, might I add at the risk of monopolozing this forum, just as the Pope has now dispensed with the concept of “limbo,” perhaps at some point he (and we) might decide that unchecked procreation is NOT an essential function of marriage because it’s going to mean the demise of life on earth. We have managed to soil our own nest pretty thoroughly, to the detriment and hardship of coming generations. I think there’s a very rational and even biblically-based argument to be made that NOT adding to the enormous drain on the world’s resources is the most loving thing we could do for God and fellow creatures. This is another reason I have chosen NOT to procreate in this lifetime. Perhaps someday we might decide to favor those marriages that do NOT produce children for this reason. (see Bill McKibben’s book “Only One.”)

  31. on 20 Apr 2007 at 9:20 pmDave


    Regarding your book suggestion, did you mean “Maybe One: A Case For Smaller Families” (Bill McKibben) ?

    It’s an interesting argument, generally, about the question of overpopulating our planet. I’m not sure I can agree with the notion, as McKibben suggests, that the United States bears more responsibility than others for curbing population growth. Indeed, much of our country’s population growth presently comes from immigration rather than the birth rate.

    Nevertheless, I would like to think there’s room enough to accommodate the recognition of partnership rights without compromising the uniquely special value of marriage. This “all or nothing” thinking by SSM advocates is perplexing.

    Don’t worry, you’re not monopolizing the forum. And thanks for contributing thoughtfully. It’s refreshing to have a civilized discussion.

  32. on 21 Apr 2007 at 4:13 amCaroline

    Yes, sorry. that is the correct title of the book.

    Re: immigration – whatever. All the more reason to curb our own procreation. It’s a global community we’re contributing more people to, not just our own here in the U.S. We all breathe the same air and draw from and burden the same ecosystem of natural resources.

    I guess gay folks who have experienced the second-class status of being separate and therefore inherently unequal by being shut out of civil marriage don’t understand why their position is so perplexing. Haven’t Catholics been treated as second-class citizens at times in our nation’s history? What if our laws prohibited you all from worshipping in public and limited you to meeting in private homes because the majority of citizens were Protestant? I would not be perplexed if you then campaigned for the same privileges that Protestants had.

  33. on 22 Apr 2007 at 3:17 amCaroline

    To expand the metaphor a bit further….what if Protestants were allowed to call themselves “churches” and worship publicly in buildings called churches, but groups of practicing Catholics could only call themselves “gatherings” and gather in people’s homes. What if Connecticut law specified that “gatherers” and “chuch members” had identical rights in CT, but that gatherers could never call themselves church members (and the law would never refer to them as such) because Protestantism was special and unique and ordained by God as the one true church, and because it had always been that way? I would not be perplexed if you fought like hell over being recognized in state law as a “church” because the word mattered that much to you.

  34. on 22 Apr 2007 at 2:12 pmDave


    You so conveniently pick a metaphorical example that presumes a fundamental underlying equality. Argument by metaphor is a technique of deception that is commonly used by the Left to misframe the subject of debate. Or as described by conservative blogger Cassandra:

    Argument by metaphor is just another tool in the fight to establish a moral equivalence between things that are not in any way, shape, or form, morally equivalent.

    With this in mind, it’s no surprise you would use this approach to side-step the fact that nature itself makes opposite-sex coupling and same-sex coupling so unequal.

    But let’s consider your approach for a bit longer. How about another metaphor? Imagine for a moment the people who love pets, care for them, and support them. One day they decide to band together and lobby the government for equal rights. They insist that they should be able to claim their pets as “dependents” for income tax purposes, since their relationships with their pets are every bit as important to them as human children are to their parents. After all, love makes a family. And who can deny the fact that the pets are indeed dependent upon their owners. Or perhaps we should insist that these pet owners be called “parents”, since names have important meaning and significance. After all, it is a matter of respect and inclusion. And we all know that making people feel excluded even by the use of a name is a sign of bigotry and intolerance.

    Amazing technique, really. I’ll have to learn to use it more often!

  35. on 22 Apr 2007 at 8:44 pmTricia


    Maybe you did not get enough sleep, (your comments were made before 4:30 a.m.) but you seem to have totally missed my point that “this notion of civil vs. religious marriage is bogus. Marriage is marriage is marriage, no matter where the ceremony is performed or what economic or other benefits may accrue. The nature of the marriage contract (and I’m not using the word in a strictly legal sense) is a union between a man and a woman.”

    I will try again to explain this in other words for you. I (and most thinking people who are not part of the radical SSM movement) understand that the NATURE or DEFINITION of “marriage” was determined from the beginning of human existence by the Laws of Nature–one being the complementarity of the male and female human anatomy. The institution of “marriage” stood alone, INDEPENDENT of governments, and in fact preexisted governments.

    You and the other advocates of SSM are unable to refute these facts, so you attempt to ignore or discount my arguments (which have NOTHING to do with religion) with your statement “Even though you haven’t said so, I’m betting that you adhere to a set of religious beliefs that informs your conclusions here.” Since your training in law school undoubtedly “informs your conclusions,” why don’t we all discount your opinions? (Turn about’s fair play, is it not?)

    In case it is not obvious to you, I totally reject this false notion of a “civil marriage” vs. “religious marriage” dichotomy which you and Andrew McDonald and Michael Lawlor are so fond of proposing as the easy solution to the whole controversy.

  36. on 22 Apr 2007 at 8:54 pmDave

    More about that crazy notion of pets as dependents … when I wrote that earlier post (truly intended as a sarcastic deconstruction of the “argument by metaphor” technique), little did I know someone’s actually arguing for this in real life. Check out this letter someone sent just a few weeks ago to Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. And this one. There is even a “talking points” article from a 501(c)(3) organization called “DogsOnly”. Unbelievable – truth is stranger than fiction!

  37. on 22 Apr 2007 at 9:24 pmTricia


    It is NOT at all (as you stated) “the logical outcome of your line of reasoning” to treat “infertile heterosexual couples who adopt” and “same-sex couples” as equivalent (in effect–not your exact words). Dave and others have thoroughly explained the fallacies in your whole argument that heterosexual and homosexual couples should be deemed “equal.”

    Here are a couple of other thoughts which occurred to me after reading your replies regarding the procreation aspects of marriage:

    1. Since you and others propose denying the title “marriage” to those who don’t procreate—why should not lawyers who don’t practice law (who teach, act as corporate executives, make a career as politicians, etc.) be denied further use of their lawyer credentials?

    2. You are obviously proud of your choice “NOT to procreate in this lifetime.” Since we all know that there IS NO “Social Security Lockbox,” but that payments going out even now are dependent upon general tax revenues–and since you are not providing any future taxpayers to help alleviate the general tax burden and support you in your old age–I submit that you should renounce any future claim to Social Security benefits.

  38. on 23 Apr 2007 at 5:00 amCaroline

    I haven’t checked out the letter to Schumer, but I have considered the pet question and think its a different issue. Some states do give financial incentives to people who adopt abandoned pets, and some businesses offer pet-care benefits as part of a cafeteria plan.

    In our situation here in CT, we are arguing that the civil rights in question attach and should flow to each partner of human/human couples, not human/non-human couples. Right now, animals do not enjoy the same rights as humans and I don’t see that happening anytime soon because animals, though sentient beings, cannot participate in a democracy in the same way as people do.

    I know y’all don’t like it when we bring this up, but your example does come uncomfortably close to sounding like you think practicing homosexuals aren’t human, just as opponants of the anti-miscegeny laws felt non-white people were not fully human.

    I actually wasn’t so much trying to make a logical argument from metaphor as to try to have you imagine yourself in a similar position to gay couples and perhaps feel empathy for them and see things through their eyes. Isn’t this ultimately the same approach you guys used to get the Supreme Court to ban partial-birth abortions? Is empathy only relevant politically when the empathy flows to people you want to privilege?

    Again, you pre-suppose that same-sex coupling isn’t “natural” whereas many, many people who don’t share your faith-based assumptions and see much evidence in genetics and nature to the contrary, disagree and do not want to be deprived of basic rights because of religious beliefs they don’t share. It is not the place of government to create separate categories for citizens based on whether other citizens think they are “unnatural.”

  39. on 23 Apr 2007 at 5:08 amCaroline

    Obviously, the argument about whether government should legislate morality goes way, way back and I think this is what the fight between religious conservatives and civil rights advocates is about. This fundamental disagreement about the role of government, we both know, is the real agenda. I guess we’ll keep on fighting about that forever, or at least as long as we value pluralism rather than religious hegemony in civic life. I don’t think we’re going to change each other’s minds about that.

  40. on 23 Apr 2007 at 8:17 amCaroline


    Where did you get the idea I wanted to deny the title of “marriage” to couples who don’t procreate? Read the subsequent posts.

    Don’t worry. I’m NOT counting on any future social security benefits, and will be working well into my elder years rather than drawing out any benefits that might be due me. I prefer to use those benefits, if any, to contribute to organizations like LMF. I also fear I will be using my financial resources to drive desperate pregnant women over the border to Canada for their abortions!

    I am working politically and professionally to help insure that as many other people as possible have jobs and are able to keep them. Also, I am paying into the system by working full-time. Stay at home moms who believe their primary role is to be caregivers of children do not. That’s their legitimate choice, and it’s fine for them, but just not for everyone. There are other ways for women to be creative and life-giving besides having babies, including earning an income and using their positions and finances to benefit others. I wouldn’t think of forcing all women to work any more than I would force all women to have babies. This is a sensitive issue and I think women have to support each other in whatever choices they make vis a vis working or child-rearing rather than judging one another. I personally have never been in a position where childbearing was a sensible option – perhaps I would have felt differently if I had.

    My personal choice has been to live as simply and generously as possible so as not to tax the earth and others. Although I am not Catholic, the Catholic Worker movement is a shining example of this philosophy and a big influence on my life.

  41. on 23 Apr 2007 at 11:27 amDave

    The point of the “pet rights” metaphor was simply to illustrate yet another way that people can – and now, apparently, do – insist upon “equal rights” for situations that are not equal. As such it was meant to underscore that such argumentation is logically flawed. “Equal rights for unequal conditions” is a point of view that cannot be rationally sustained.

    No, I don’t agree with the implication that anyone is less “human” because of their sexual orientation. But having said that, there is a rational argument that male/male and female/female couplings are not equivalent conditions to male/female couplings. The institution of marriage accrues to couples, not individuals. Therefore we ought to consider the equality or inequality of their condition as a couple, rather than their individual human rights. And considering the question from this angle, one need not even try to determine whether same-sex couplings are “natural” or “unnatural”. They are, quite simply, different. And, as Rep. Bruce Morris said, “That’s not a bad thing!”

    Within the legislative context, one can reasonably arrive at this conclusion – “unequal conditions do not merit equivalent rights” – without necessarily making any value judgment on the homosexual lifestyle. It is not moralizing. Nor is it imposing a religious viewpoint upon anyone. It is simply acknowledging reality for what it is.

    Empathy does not guarantee agreement as to the appropriate legal framework for same-sex couplings. To assert that conservatives lack compassion, simply because they do not accede to unwarranted and unjustified demands for “equal rights”, is presumptuous. Despite our portrayal as villains, we do not seek to persecute. We do not condone violence; we do not support intimidation or bullying. What we do support is freedom, and a model of governance that recognizes equitable rights. Understanding that not all circumstances are equivalent, but that nevertheless persons may seek to partner with each other for purposes other than marriage, there are people on the Right who agree with “domestic partnership” and “reciprocal beneficiary” legislation, such as we have seen in the States of Washington and Hawaii. This is good law that does not impinge upon the special nature of marriage.

    Unlike SSM advocates, we do not see this as an “all or nothing” question. Perhaps it is worth considering the idea that sometimes differences are valuable in their own right, instead of seeking to homogenize society according to a single rubric. In life, not everyone is called to the same vocation. In like manner, not everyone is called to the same lifestyle. Differences exist. It’s not a bad thing!

  42. on 02 May 2007 at 10:01 amCaroline

    I don’t think that’s going to fly. Marriage does certainly accrue to individuals, who choose it, comprise it and remain discrete from one another in the eyes of civil law. It’s a religious view that “the two shall become one” etc.

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