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Gay Marriage Ruling With apologies to non-Americans on WC

#1 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 08:25

A group of scholars has attempted to enlighten those who oppose gay marriage because "the bible defines marriage as so and so...".

This article explains what the scholars did.

Quote

A trio of Iowa-based religious scholars penned an op-ed in a local paper this week, reminding readers that despite popular opinion, the Bible does not simply define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The joint editorial was written by Hector Avalos, Robert R. Cargill and Kenneth Atkinson and published in the Des Moines Register on Sunday. The men teach at Iowa State University, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa, respectively.


I applaud these scholars for trying to set the record straight.
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#2 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 09:03

I admit to having profoundly mixed feelings about the Gay Marriage ruling

1. I would very much prefer that religious sacraments like marriage are completely decoupled from the legal system. I profoundly dislike the fact that a wide variety of legal privileges like inheritance and visitation rights are tied to a religious act. I'd much prefer a system in which said rights are tied to some form of civil contract and marriage is a strictly private concept.

2. I am some disturbed by the courts reasoning. In particular their decision that, once the attorney general and governor of California decided not to defend the law, no one else had standing. I think that this creates some very real problems.
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#3 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 09:14

View Posthrothgar, on 2013-June-30, 09:03, said:

I admit to having profoundly mixed feelings about the Gay Marriage ruling

1. I would very much prefer that religious sacraments like marriage are completely decoupled from the legal system. I profoundly dislike the fact that a wide variety of legal privileges like inheritance and visitation rights are tied to a religious act. I'd much prefer a system in which said rights are tied to some form of civil contract and marriage is a strictly private concept.

2. I am some disturbed by the courts reasoning. In particular their decision that, once the attorney general and governor of California decided not to defend the law, no one else had standing. I think that this creates some very real problems.


Richard,

I would have to disagree with point #1 in that marriage is a contract between two parties, a totally legal concept. What should be decoupled is the religious connotations associated with marriage. The legal system needs to be totally secular in order to protect everyone equally.

Point #2 is not so clear.
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#4 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2013-June-30, 10:53

View Posthrothgar, on 2013-June-30, 09:03, said:

I admit to having profoundly mixed feelings about the Gay Marriage ruling

1. I would very much prefer that religious sacraments like marriage are completely decoupled from the legal system. I profoundly dislike the fact that a wide variety of legal privileges like inheritance and visitation rights are tied to a religious act. I'd much prefer a system in which said rights are tied to some form of civil contract and marriage is a strictly private concept.

Where do you get the idea that marriage is coupled to the religious system?

It is a civil happening: You obtain a marriage license from the county and you get married, by somebody who has the power to do that. This "somebody" has gotten that power from the civil government (and usually even makes a statement to that effect during the ceremony).

If religious people want this "somebody" to be a priest, a minister, a rabbi, their baseball coach or a pirate, by all means let them. And if they want this ceremony to be performed in a church, a temple, a stadium or the mall, fine with me. If they want to prey to Whatever they worship and want to have their marriage recognized or blessed by Him/Her/It/Them, what is the problem? If you are religious it makes perfect sense that you ask your Power for a blessing/recognition/whatever, since a marriage is a big step in your life and if you are religious you want your Power to be there. I wouldn't dream of taking that away from religious people. But marriage itself is a civil agreement that has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

Or do you think that it is impossible for non-religious people to get married in the USA?

Rik (non-religious and happily married in the United States of America to a non-religious wife in a very nice, but entirely non-religious ceremony)
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#5 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 00:21

View PostTrinidad, on 2013-June-30, 10:53, said:

Where do you get the idea that marriage is coupled to the religious system?

It is a civil happening: You obtain a marriage license from the county and you get married, by somebody who has the power to do that. This "somebody" has gotten that power from the civil government (and usually even makes a statement to that effect during the ceremony).

Try getting a marriage license for this civil contract for any situation other than two people of different sexes.

Polygyny, polyandry, polygamy are all fair game, IMO, for such civil contracts - but the law, at least in the United States, does not allow them. Why? Because the Puritans didn't approve. Similar civil contracts between two people of the same sex are currently being strongly opposed for the same reason. IMO, that reason is bogus, but the religious are many and vocal. And politicians tend to grease the squeaky wheel.

Note: I care about the US. I don't much care what other countries do. That's their business.
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#6 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 04:09

I care about the US too. After all that is where I got married. The point is that Hrothgar seems to think that marriage is a religious thing ("religious sacraments like marriage"). It isn't, it is a civil thing. And, of course, people of all religions are allowed to celebrate such an important step in their life in their own religious way. But key is that marriage is a civil agreement between partners.

So, our civil structure (i.e. our elected officials) decides what a marriage is and not our religious structure. We can democratically decide to allow marriages between more than 2 people, people of the same sex, or to set an age limit. We can allow a cat and a dog to get married if we want to. Churches have nothing to do with it.

Rik
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#7 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 06:02

View Posthrothgar, on 2013-June-30, 09:03, said:

I admit to having profoundly mixed feelings about the Gay Marriage ruling

1. I would very much prefer that religious sacraments like marriage are completely decoupled from the legal system. I profoundly dislike the fact that a wide variety of legal privileges like inheritance and visitation rights are tied to a religious act. I'd much prefer a system in which said rights are tied to some form of civil contract and marriage is a strictly private concept.

2. I am some disturbed by the courts reasoning. In particular their decision that, once the attorney general and governor of California decided not to defend the law, no one else had standing. I think that this creates some very real problems.


1. Just consider marriage a civil contract, that couples can choose to commit to via a religious ceremony if they want to.

2. Who cares about the court's reasoning? It would only matter if the supreme court were bound by precedent. That notion seems to exist only in the pundits' world of commentary, not in the judges' world of actual decisions. If the same logic would lead to an outcome that Kennedy disapproves of, I promise they will find a way around it.
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#8 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 06:20

View Postcherdano, on 2013-July-01, 06:02, said:

1. Just consider marriage a civil contract, that couples can choose to commit to via a religious ceremony if they want to.


If US society didn't keep trying to impose restrictions based on religious constructs I'd have no problem with this suggestion.

As is, I think that we'd do much better to emulate the French where there is much better separation between the religious ceremony and registering the secular construct with the government.
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#9 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 06:42

The confusion arises because government and religion mean two different sorts of union, but both use the word "marriage". I agree with Hrothgar that this would be simplified if government chose a different term for the civil contract. I also think the civil contract (or "marriage license") should expire and need renewed, say every 5 years or so. If you want to stay hitched, no harm done. If not, just let it expire. If nothing else, it would save a mint on divorce proceedings.

Personally it surprises me that this issue is even under debate. The only arguments against gay marriage are religious. In the US, one fundamental is (should be) clear: we don't make law out of religious belief. A few opposers at least recognize this, and attempt to dress their religious position in secular clothing, using words like "traditional values"; much the same as their attempts to present "intelligent design" as something other than religious creationism. It is just as much a fraud.
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#10 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 07:27

View Postbillw55, on 2013-July-01, 06:42, said:

The confusion arises because government and religion mean two different sorts of union, but both use the word "marriage". I agree with Hrothgar that this would be simplified if government chose a different term for the civil contract. I also think the civil contract (or "marriage license") should expire and need renewed, say every 5 years or so. If you want to stay hitched, no harm done. If not, just let it expire. If nothing else, it would save a mint on divorce proceedings.

Personally it surprises me that this issue is even under debate. The only arguments against gay marriage are religious. In the US, one fundamental is (should be) clear: we don't make law out of religious belief. A few opposers at least recognize this, and attempt to dress their religious position in secular clothing, using words like "traditional values"; much the same as their attempts to present "intelligent design" as something other than religious creationism. It is just as much a fraud.


Renewing marriage contracts on a 5-year basis is a really bad idea when one stops to ponder on what happens to children/assets if the contract is not renewed, and then add on top of that the property divisions of second/third/fourth marriages. It is not practical to mandate prenuptial agreements.
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#11 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 07:35

View Postbillw55, on 2013-July-01, 06:42, said:


Personally it surprises me that this issue is even under debate. The only arguments against gay marriage are religious. In the US, one fundamental is (should be) clear: we don't make law out of religious belief. A few opposers at least recognize this, and attempt to dress their religious position in secular clothing, using words like "traditional values"; much the same as their attempts to present "intelligent design" as something other than religious creationism. It is just as much a fraud.


I think there's more to it than this. In the UK and the US there are a number of naturally conservative older people who struggle to believe that being gay is "normal" and see it as a lifestyle choice. Some but not all of these people are religious. Add to this younger religious people and you have a substantial body of people who believe gay marriage is unnatural, and just haven't challenged the belief that many of them have had more or less since birth (reinforced at school) that marriage is between a man and a woman.

I see the intelligent design argument as different. There is IMO so much hard scientific proof that it's simply wrong, that unless your faculties are swayed by religion, it's well nigh impossible to believe in it. The gay marriage debate is different, it is possible to be non religious and still believe gay marriage is wrong, I think it's terrifically unlikely that you can scientifically prove to an open minded anti gay marriage person that gay marriage should be permitted, I don't believe there are any open minded intelligent design advocates.
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#12 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 07:44

View Postbillw55, on 2013-July-01, 06:42, said:

The confusion arises because government and religion mean two different sorts of union, but both use the word "marriage". I agree with Hrothgar that this would be simplified if government chose a different term for the civil contract. I also think the civil contract (or "marriage license") should expire and need renewed, say every 5 years or so. If you want to stay hitched, no harm done. If not, just let it expire. If nothing else, it would save a mint on divorce proceedings.

Personally it surprises me that this issue is even under debate. The only arguments against gay marriage are religious. In the US, one fundamental is (should be) clear: we don't make law out of religious belief. A few opposers at least recognize this, and attempt to dress their religious position in secular clothing, using words like "traditional values"; much the same as their attempts to present "intelligent design" as something other than religious creationism. It is just as much a fraud.

oops meant to comment on this one rather upvote.

Letting marriage expire after 5 year is a bad idea imho. I second Winston's comment.
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#13 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 07:52

View PostWinstonm, on 2013-July-01, 07:27, said:

Renewing marriage contracts on a 5-year basis is a really bad idea when one stops to ponder on what happens to children/assets if the contract is not renewed, and then add on top of that the property divisions of second/third/fourth marriages. It is not practical to mandate prenuptial agreements.

There are of course complications, but I don't see why they would be any more so than exist already when marriages are dissolved. Children and property must be apportioned by courts no matter how a marriage ends. But term limits (?) would greatly simplify the many cases where people just want to go their separate ways. Or if you prefer, perhaps the legal expiration could cease once children are introduced. I think it would be a net simplification. And what a boon for the wedding industry - renups every five years! Imagine the job growth ;)

View PostCyberyeti, on 2013-July-01, 07:35, said:

I think there's more to it than this. In the UK and the US there are a number of naturally conservative older people who struggle to believe that being gay is "normal" and see it as a lifestyle choice. Some but not all of these people are religious. Add to this younger religious people and you have a substantial body of people who believe gay marriage is unnatural, and just haven't challenged the belief that many of them have had more or less since birth (reinforced at school) that marriage is between a man and a woman.

I see the intelligent design argument as different. There is IMO so much hard scientific proof that it's simply wrong, that unless your faculties are swayed by religion, it's well nigh impossible to believe in it. The gay marriage debate is different, it is possible to be non religious and still believe gay marriage is wrong, I think it's terrifically unlikely that you can scientifically prove to an open minded anti gay marriage person that gay marriage should be permitted, I don't believe there are any open minded intelligent design advocates.

Intelligent design theory need not conflict with scientific evidence. Only the crudest ID clings to the young earth dogma. It is quite simple to say "god made it that way" in explanation of any observation whatsoever.

And yes, some (mostly older) people object to gay marriage without (explicit) religious basis. For them, it is IMO a simple personal bias - I don't, so you shouldn't. One could easily say that playing bridge is also unnatural, but that doesn't mean that the more numerous poker players can ban bridge.
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#14 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 09:12

View PostTrinidad, on 2013-July-01, 04:09, said:

I care about the US too. After all that is where I got married. The point is that Hrothgar seems to think that marriage is a religious thing ("religious sacraments like marriage"). It isn't, it is a civil thing. And, of course, people of all religions are allowed to celebrate such an important step in their life in their own religious way. But key is that marriage is a civil agreement between partners.

So, our civil structure (i.e. our elected officials) decides what a marriage is and not our religious structure. We can democratically decide to allow marriages between more than 2 people, people of the same sex, or to set an age limit. We can allow a cat and a dog to get married if we want to. Churches have nothing to do with it.

Churches should have nothing to do with it, but they do. That's the reality, and it will be very hard to change it. We should try (and we are), but it's gonna be a long road.
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#15 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 09:39

View Postbillw55, on 2013-July-01, 06:42, said:

Personally it surprises me that this issue is even under debate. The only arguments against gay marriage are religious.

I have nothing against homosexuals or gay marriage, but I don't think the above is true. I think many people believe that homosexuality is unnatural or improper, and that the religious prohibition against it (if such even exists) simply reflects that underlying truth. It's like murder: we don't think murder is wrong because it's in the 10 Commandments, there's a commandment against it because it's wrong.

Referring to the Bible in arguments is an extra piece of ammunition. It allows someone to claim "It's not just my opinion, God said so, so it must be true." Of course, this argument is not persuasive to people who don't give a damn about religion, or who follow a different Bible. But it's very effective in rallying a large number of people.

#16 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 09:40

View Postblackshoe, on 2013-July-01, 09:12, said:

Churches should have nothing to do with it, but they do. That's the reality, and it will be very hard to change it. We should try (and we are), but it's gonna be a long road.

They don't really have all that much to do with it. Ministers are approved to perform the ceremony, and that's about it as far as the law is concerned. And I see no need to change that.
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#17 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 09:47

View Postblackshoe, on 2013-July-01, 09:12, said:

Churches should have nothing to do with it, but they do. That's the reality, and it will be very hard to change it. We should try (and we are), but it's gonna be a long road.

Well, maybe I should limit myself to my own experience:

In my wedding (and I asked my wife to check), church or religion had nothing to do with it. When we talked about it now we both said that we would have interrupted the ceremony if anything with church or God or the FSM would have entered the ceremony, something like: "Your honor, could we please do that again without the G-word?".

But I guess what you mean is that religion has a major influence on the politics regarding marriage. And that is a completely different thing. Maybe politics should -just for fun- threaten to do the same to religion sometimes. ;)

Rik
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#18 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 09:50

View Postbarmar, on 2013-July-01, 09:39, said:

I have nothing against homosexuals or gay marriage, but I don't think the above is true. I think many people believe that homosexuality is unnatural or improper, and that the religious prohibition against it (if such even exists) simply reflects that underlying truth. It's like murder: we don't think murder is wrong because it's in the 10 Commandments, there's a commandment against it because it's wrong.

Not the same at all. Murder infringes the rights of others, as do other crimes. Indeed, this is largely why they are crimes. Gay people getting married infringes on nobody's rights. As I stated before, the "unnatural" argument is just personal bias, based in fear, revulsion, or bigotry.

View Postbarmar, on 2013-July-01, 09:39, said:

Referring to the Bible in arguments is an extra piece of ammunition. It allows someone to claim "It's not just my opinion, God said so, so it must be true." Of course, this argument is not persuasive to people who don't give a damn about religion, or who follow a different Bible. But it's very effective in rallying a large number of people.

It should not be persuasive to anyone who believes in our system of government, and the rights and restrictions of our constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Those offering religious objections seem unaware that their right to practice Christianity is also protected, and is precisely the same as others right not to. Hypocrisy in action.
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#19 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 09:51

View PostTrinidad, on 2013-July-01, 09:47, said:


But I guess what you mean is that religion has a major influence on the politics regarding marriage. And that is a completely different thing. Maybe politics should -just for fun- threaten to do the same to religion sometimes. ;)



Politics is already in religion. Look at the cases of people in the UK being sacked for wearing crosses, jewellery or an irremovable symbol of faith ?
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#20 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2013-July-01, 10:11

View Postbillw55, on 2013-July-01, 09:50, said:

Not the same at all. Murder infringes the rights of others, as do other crimes. Indeed, this is largely why they are crimes. Gay people getting married infringes on nobody's rights. As I stated before, the "unnatural" argument is just personal bias, based in fear, revulsion, or bigotry.

Unless you're a strict Libertarian, the fact that it doesn't infringe other people is not persuasive on its own. Some people still believe that certain immoral acts should also be illegal. Suicide doesn't infringe anyone's rights, but we outlaw that, too.

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It should not be persuasive to anyone who believes in our system of government, and the rights and restrictions of our constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Those offering religious objections seem unaware that their right to practice Christianity is also protected, and is precisely the same as others right not to. Hypocrisy in action.

Well, it's a simple fact that many people form some of their moral judgements from their religious background. By the time they're making decisions about who to vote for, their morals are set, and they no longer think of them as purely religious arguments.

What I think happens in many religious people's minds is this: If an edict in the Bible is consistent with their beliefs, they think "Of course the Bible says so, it's obviously true". But when it disagrees with them, it's "an obsolete myth" or "just a metaphor".

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