Monday, June 20, 2011

Redefining some more words

Been busy today; still am. I've got time for a short post on the redefinition of words.

Let's face it: people who want to redefine the word "marriage" so that it can mean the romantic/sexual partnership of same-sex couples aren't thinking nearly big enough. Why, they've barely begun to redefine marriage! And when they're done redefining marriage, there are a whole host of other words they ought to redefine, too, just to keep up with emerging social trends. In my helpful way, I've got some suggestions:

1. Marriage: yes, I know, this one's already being redefined so that gender difference and the ability to participate in the one sex act that actually makes new people (let alone unites the biological parents for the sake of those new people) have nothing whatsoever to do with it at all. But come on, people--that's so narrow and limited. Why should marriage be about two people? Why shouldn't it be Adam and Eve and Cindy and Jane and Patricia? Or Eve and Steve and Jim and Bob and Joe? Or all of them: Adam, Steve, Jim, Bob, Joe, Eve, Cindy, Jane, Patricia, and all of their various offspring? Or none of them: if a woman wants to marry herself, isn't it stupid to tell her she can't? Isn't it terribly bigoted and hateful to insist that just because the word "marriage" has implied a husband and wife, one of each, for a whole lot of centuries that this is the best or only way? And another thing: why should marriage be about sex? If the heterosexual roommates Janet and Jill want a marriage to protect the dozen or so children the two of them have created with the help of different and transitory males whose company, however pleasant, doesn't last, who are we to tell them they can't get married and be Parent One and Parent Two to those kids? Why, don't we want them to have a stable family? And still another thing: is there any reason other than religious bigotry why James isn't allowed to marry his adult daughter Sarah? Hey, he divorced Sarah's mom a long time ago, and didn't even realize Sarah was his daughter when he met her at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch--how heartless and cruel would it be for society to tell them their love can't be celebrated with a walk down the aisle, a cake, and tax breaks? Why shouldn't the word "marriage" be as meaningless as any other word?

2. Parent: for far too long we've primarily used this word to refer to people who actually have and raise their own biological children. Sure, adoptive parents use the word, too, but that's because they are acting in loco parentis, so to speak--taking over the mother and father roles for children whose own parents died, or were unfit, or for some other tragic reason couldn't actually parent their children. But this word is so narrow, so restrictive! It has such heteronormative connotations! It ought really be replaced by the more politically correct phrase "parenting partners" to refer to any number of adults who are involved for any length of time at all in a child's life--but if we can't get people to use the new phrase, we'll just have to insist that "parent" simply means anybody who shows up during a child's minority. This way, we'll include biological mom, biological dad (unless either or both are reproductive prostitutes, in which case they forfeit the right to the term), stepmom, stepdad, lesbian "moms," gay "dads," mommy's new boyfriend who moved in after he'd known mommy for two weeks and had slept with her a few times, the lady at the daycare center who has spent more time with the child than any of mommy's boyfriends, and...well, just anybody! We'll get rid of stupid heteronormative holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day and insist that children celebrate Parenting Partners Week, which will have all the celebratory fun of the ALA's Banned Book Week, but none of the clever tee-shirts. Won't that be fun, boys and girls and others?

3. Child: right now we use the word "child" to refer either to humans during the age of legal minority, or to humans to whom we claim the outdated paternal or maternal relationship. That second will have to go; speaking of "our children" is not only offensive to those who have to pay people to manufacture children for them--it is also offensive to those beings older than age 18 who nonetheless are convinced that they would like to remain in a permanent juvenile state: people like this, and also many others who reach the age of 30 or so without ever cooking for themselves, doing their own laundry, or otherwise demonstrating independence. Who but a bigot would deny people the right for themselves to define their inner age, or release their inner child? What kind of ageist do we have to be before we realize that age is merely a social construct, based on an irrational belief in the actuality of time (which, of course, is a merely superstitious and largely religious way of describing what is actually relative to an observer's vantage point and way of chronicling events)? The word "child" should clearly mean, just like the word marriage, anything any individual or group anywhere ever wants it to mean. If that means we'll have thirty-five-year-olds in day care and ten-year-olds driving on the freeway, well, isn't that the price we have to pay for freedom and a truly secular society?

I could add some more, but I think you get the idea; you'll have an even better grasp of what I'm getting at if you read Matt Archbold's post today about the new trend of sexualizing baby girls by letting them shake their diapered-booties in bikinis marked "Juicy" across the derriere. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "bikini babes," doesn't it?

But hey, if we can define to the point of idiocy words like marriage, parent, and child, it's only fair that we start defining bikini babe to mean an infant dressed up like a future employee of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch. And so long as Daddy doesn't actually consummate his burning passion for his baby girl until she's old enough to give consent: why, only a bigot would object to their marriage!

Bigot (n.) a person (perbeing?) who is intolerantly devoted to his/her/its own opinions or values, and treats with intolerance people who just want the right to marry their adult daughters, or a group of men and women, or themselves, etc.; be "parenting partners" to a kid for a couple of months because it will give them easier access to the hot single mom they're presently enjoying carnally; or sleep in cribs and be bottle-fed well into their adult years, preferably at taxpayer expense.


Geoff G. said...

Oh Red, Red, you really are on a tear, aren't you? So very kind and generous of you to grudgingly allow adoptive parents to borrow the word, even though we all know they're not really true parents, right?

You didn't think I wouldn't check your work, did you?

c. transf. A person who holds the position or exercises the functions of a parent; a protector, guardian; sometimes applied to a father- or mother-in-law. Spiritual parent: a sponsor, godparent; also, a person to whom one owes one's spiritual life or conversion."

This from the 1888 first edition of the OED, with etymological citations going back to the 16th century.

Do you ever actually research your posts? Or do you just make it all up as you go along? Finding that definition took all of ten minutes, and it only took that long because I had to browse through a scan of the 19th century dictionary instead of being able to search it.

It's really a shame. Catholic education used to be the gold standard once upon a time. To think that it's devolved to this sort of dreck.

Hector said...

If you asked me, personally, what I believe marriage to be, I'd say it's a first and foremost a partnership for the purpose of having and raising children. I want to get married someday, first and foremost, because I want to be a father. I've always rolled my eyes a little at those of my friends or family who say, "I want to get marriage, but OF COURSE I don't want to have children....there's already enough children in the world." It struck me as mildly and faintly ridiculous, and this was long before I was a Christian.

However- this is the key- the United States Government isn't me, their definition of marriage isn't mine, my personal views are quite irrelevant to what society should do, and as a society we've already decided that marriage need not be either lifelong, nor oriented towards children. That having been granted, I don't see the logic beyond maintaining the requirement that it involve opposite sex.

Hector said...

The interesting thing is that Christianity, more than most other faiths and cultures, has always had a very high regard for adoption and for adoptive parents (just take a look at St. Joseph). This is much more the case than in Muslim cultures (where adoption is still not really accepted) or Hindu cultures (where adoption is very much a new thing).

Pete said...

Red, your post above does not inform the discussion.

It's clear that you think our laws should be based on your faith, but they are not. They are based on reason. You are jumping over reason and going straight for hysterical hyperbole.

Another of your correspondents said it best - when you have the law on your side, pound the law, when you have the facts on your side, pound the facts, when you have neither - pound the table. Your post above is table-pounding.

@Hector - of course your personal views are relevant to this discussion. That's how our laws are made - the will of the people (kept in check by the judiciary).

I appreciate that you post views that challenge your own.

John E. said...

Hey Pete, that lawyer quote (not original with me) was mine. I agree with your assessment.

Here's a link to a cartoon that seems relevant:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Fundamentally, I agree with Erin. Words mean something, there is a commonly accepted definition, and one or three, or 10,000 out of a million people who find that inconvenient does NOT automatically redefine the word.

This is rather like a friend of mine in SE DC who, when "dawg" started becoming a word of friendship on the street, said "No, DOG is an INSULT. You can't change what a word means like that!"

Some of the highly charged rhetoric in the debates Erin refers to remind me of Humpty Dumpty pontificating "When I use a word, it means exactly what I choose it to mean."

When I first read the decision of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in the Goodridge case (does everyone know those two women have long since divorced?), my first thought was, they put the cart before the horse. They analyzed equal access BEFORE they examined what a marriage IS. Every man, and every woman, in short, every individual human, has equal access to marriage. Some simply don't want it, they want something else.

I simply don't find any basis to claim that a specific relationship between a man and a woman is "similarly situated" to another relationship, between a man and a man, nor to a third relationship, between a woman and a woman. Any man, or any woman, can enter into any one, or any two, of these three distinct relationships. But they are not identical. A community may, or may not, choose to exalt and recognize, or to denigrate and marginalize, any one or more of them.

Geoff's definition of "parent" is well documented and well grounded. He did not, however, offer a similarly broad definition of "marriage," and only a dictionary published in the past 20 or 30 years would provide one. Before 1970 or so, people committed solely to homosexuality never sought to have what they shared recognized as a marriage. For most of human history, married men indulged in rape of men with lower social status just to show who was in charge, not exactly a definition of a distinct "orientation."

I don't favor enshrining the canons of the Roman church, or any other church, into secular law. I have on two occasions informed jihadist Catholics, who advocated this more stridently than Erin ever has, that if we didn't live in a secular constitutional republic which denies them real power to implement such a program, I would have to kill them, and would do so with a clear conscience.

But every time someone doesn't instantly get their way, it does not automatically amount to bigotry.

I'm not highly motivated either to advocate that my state issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, or to oppose it. I voted no on my state's "Defense of Marriage" act. There was no chance the state Supreme Court was going to mandate same-sex marriage. I fully supported the ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that the police should leave people along in the privacy of their own homes. I also support the Tenth Circuit ruling in the St. Aidan's case that a church can have an open discussion about homosexuality, and no offended lesbian can sue them for it.

But words mean something. Further, up to a point, biology IS destiny. I would like to redesign my body so that all waste products are reduced to harmless, odorless emissions that I don't have to maintain a special room in my house to deal with, or observe any social proprieties about, but that's not how my species evolved.

Sexuality exists for the propagation of the species. Whatever else we make of it is a human peculiarity. Homosexuality is a statistical outlier, an evolutionary dead end. But it does exist in every generation, and I'm not interested in condemning those who respond to the set of emotions they find in themselves.

John E. said...

>I've always rolled my eyes a little at those of my friends or family who say, "I want to get marriage, but OF COURSE I don't want to have children....there's already enough children in the world." It struck me as mildly and faintly ridiculous, and this was long before I was a Christian.

Well, since that pretty well describes my marriage - partnered up, no kids, unable for either of us to have our own genetic children, and no intention of adopting any - you are describing my marriage as faintly ridiculous.

Which isn't a problem for me - your opinion of my marriage does not affect it or me in any way.

On the other hand, since it is our second marriage for both of us, I am certainly glad that you don't have the power to implement your aforementioned opinion that the State not recognize second marriages of divorced individuals.

Frankly, I'd be happy if The State only issued Civil Unions and all tax, insurance, survivor rights and benefits, etc. flowed from that status - and the whole 'Marriage' word was reserved for those who wanted to take that on through whatever means that was taken on.

That way, everyone who cared could argue about whether or not second-marriages, marriages outside the Catholic Church, gay couples married by an Episcopalian female priest, pagan group moonlight ceremonies, or just deciding to call oneself 'married' were 'real' marriages - but everyone else could just kick back and enjoy the security that comes with a State-recognized Civil Union.

But reality is what it is and we as a society are going to have to argue what should be a simple question of "what, if any, default rights and benefits should accrue to which associations of individuals" in the context of what has become a religious issue, with all the emotional baggage that gets dragged along because of that.

>This is rather like a friend of mine in SE DC who, when "dawg" started becoming a word of friendship on the street, said "No, DOG is an INSULT. You can't change what a word means like that!"

And yet, the meaning has changed...

Red Cardigan said...

Siarlys wrote: "Geoff's definition of "parent" is well documented and well grounded. He did not, however, offer a similarly broad definition of "marriage," and only a dictionary published in the past 20 or 30 years would provide one. Before 1970 or so, people committed solely to homosexuality never sought to have what they shared recognized as a marriage. For most of human history, married men indulged in rape of men with lower social status just to show who was in charge, not exactly a definition of a distinct "orientation.""

Siarlys gets it! I didn't think anyone (particularly Geoff) would fall into my 'dictionary trap' so easily. Of course, the real change to the word "parent" comes when we insist that "parent" must be a genderless word and that words like "mom" and "dad" are meaningless outdated heteronormative constructs, which plenty of gay rights activists do insist (just Google it, friends; I'm still busy). I think at least one province in Canada mandates the use of "parenting partners" on school forms, government documents, etc., just so we don't offend anybody (except, of course, for biological parents who are always okay to offend).

But I digress: the point is that the word "parent" usually implies a specific type of relationship to some juvenile person, and the word "marriage" has been similarly defined to describe a specific type of relationship between a man and a woman (in every dictionary published until at least 1970, that is). Using the word "marriage" to describe same-sex couplings is a redefinition, and it's one being imposed upon a mostly-unwilling society.

John E. said...

>and it's one being imposed upon a mostly-unwilling society.

How do you define 'mostly' and what metrics are you using to determine the percentage of folks upon whom this expanded definition is an imposition?

Geoff G. said...

Um, "parent" is a genderless word. Unless you're trying to say that either fathers or mothers are excluded from parenthood. In which case I really don't follow you at all.

I've made my own personal views on the definition of "marriage" clear elsewhere.

However, to all of those who insist that the meaning of words never expands, contracts or changes, I just have one thing to say to you: Gé beoþ ungléawe. (What? Can't you read plain English?)

Geoff G. said...

Incidentally, you're missing the point on the dictionary issue. It's not that that particular definition was in the dictionary. It's that it was in a dictionary from 1888.

The whole point of your post was that those terms have been redefined in the recent past and/or present. On that word, at least, you've been proved wrong.

But please, by all means, continue to go all Sarah Palin and inventing your own history (and word etymologies and definitions) to suit your prejudices.

Robert Hagedorn said...

Yes, according to the story, God did make Adam and Eve before making Steve. But Adam and Steve could have done the same thing Adam and Eve did. For a surprise, do a search: First Scandal.

Red Cardigan said...

And, Geoff, you've missed my point (and Siarlys's): what does that lovely 1888 dictionary say about marriage? Did you look it up?

But let's get to another matter: are you going to tell a father/daughter couple they can't get married? Or a polygamist group with four men and eighteen women? Since Hefner's fiancee dumped him, shouldn't he just be able to marry all the occupants of his mansion? Is there any reason (other than your own bigotry) why you'd tell these people they can't get married?

John E. said...

Is there any reason (other than your own bigotry) why you'd tell these people they can't get married?

As long as at least one person in the father/daughter couple is sterile, I'm okay with that list.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Meanings of words do evolve -- just try reading a 1950s novel or newspaper, and see what the word "gay" meant on the social pages. (The sorority had a gay soiree, the young man admired the girl's gay figure...) I can remember a few young ladies who were named "Gay" by their parents, at birth.

But you can't base claims to constitutional right on a substitution of definition. Also, if I announce that the color of the sky is now called "orange," and other people say "no, it's blue, it's always been blue," guess who loses the argument? It is reasonable to expect adherence to a long-standing, common definition. The burden is on the person pushing a change to convince everyone else that the change should be commonly accepted.

Further, while many self-consciously "gay" people resent it, if the argument is "I can marry whomever I want," the logic provides no stopping point. Why not my car? (Men are reputed to have erotic feelings for their cars, no?) I am reminded of a soft-porn novel about holes appearing in trees, which are at first thought to be the work of some mysterious woodpecker, but (oops, there's a pun there) turn out to be the result of some man's fetish for trees. It could give a whole new meaning to the term "tree hugger."

It's a bad line of argument. This really is a matter for legislation, not court cases, and there is a reasonably good chance that legislatures will increasingly grant some legal recognition of same-sex couples, even call it a marriage. That doesn't mean it is "the same thing" as a heterosexual union, nor would SPECIFIC recognition of two distinct human relationships open the door to ANY OTHER that someone might desire.

As for parents, it is an androgynous plural term. But the words "father" and "mother" have distinct meanings, as any child with two mommies and no daddy can easily explain. There is no credible evidence that children do not benefit from having both -- and as it is the natural biological condition, all church canons aside, all other things being equal, it should be the baseline for child raising. (All other things are not equal).

Robert, it may be true that Adam and Steve could have eaten of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but they could not have conceived and given birth to Cain, Abel, Seth, or any other offspring, no matter how they knew each other.

John E. said...

>Why not my car?

Because (all together now) inanimate objects do not have the capacity to enter into a legal agreement.

Red Cardigan said...

But John, who says a car is inanimate? And even if it is, all we have to do is redefine "inanimate" and "object," and we're good to go.

Or we can define marriage as "a contracted relationship between anybody(s) and anybody(s) or anything(s) else, so long as at least one of the parties to the relationship is able to demonstrate rational thought." There! Problem solved. Let the car-brides vroom down the aisle!

Seriously: aside from religious bigotry, why not?

John E. said...

Sure Red, why not...after all, you don't even recognize my marriage as a 'real' marriage, do you? So why not a guy and his car?

It's all pretty much equivalent to you, right?

Anonymous said...

saying that two men getting married is the same as a man and a dog or a man and a car is so insulting, I am not even sure it deserves a response. It's not just insulting, but ridiculous. Siarlys, I'm surprised at you. Marriage as a legal entitiy is for people in their majority. Or, for minors with parental permission in certain states. Now, if a church wants to recognize marriage between a person and pet or car, or cookie jar, whatever. The law does not have to recognize what any church says, and vice versa. Red, I'm sorry to tell you that our society, whether you like it or not, is increasingly tolerant of homosexuality. I think the reason is because many are no longer afraid enough to stay in the closet. Now that people have sons, daughters, friends, cousins, etc. who are openly gay and still remain good honest people who are capable of loving relationships, many have decided that being gay is not just for flamboyant sexual deviants.

There are people starving, young childrens are being sold into slavery, and here we sit, typing away about people who are taking unwanted children and giving them not only a fighting chance, but a loving and secure home.

find something else to fight about. the horse is dead.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

Karen Anonymous, I for one am rather indifferent to the trend in our society toward increasing tolerance of homosexuality. It is happening, it probably will continue, and I see no great harm in it, EXCEPT if those who are pressing for it DEMAND that EVERYONE should bow to their beloved icon. I will always speak up for the right of those who believe an action sinful to say so, whether it be sexual consort between two persons of the same sex, or drinking alcohol, or eating shrimp, or wearing make-up and jewelry.

I fully agree that people starving, or children being sold into slavery, are much more important concerns. That could be turned as a criticism on those who devote so much time and energy to demanding marriage licenses for same-sex couples, as if that is the sine qua non of justice in the world.

Now, as to marrying a car, or a tree. True enough, two human beings who want to marry are two sentient beings, neither one an inanimate object. That is a reasonable repartee. But the common argument is "I have a right to marry whomever I want. So if I want to marry another man, even if such a relationship lacks an essential characteristic of the previously accepted definition of marriage, is my right, what if I want to marry an inanimate object? It certainly can't object.

A marriage license is a public, communal recognition of a human relationship. There is no individual right to a license, unless the individual is engaged in what the community as a whole recognizes as a marriage. Its the narcissism that bothers me, more than the notion that two individuals of the same sex might have a stable, life-long monogamous love for each other.

John E. said...

>There is no individual right to a license, unless the individual is engaged in what the community as a whole recognizes as a marriage.

Siarlys - But we've already established that Hector, for example, doesn't recognize the association of my previously divorced self and the previously divorced woman who shares my life as a marriage.

Erin hasn't chimed in, but my understanding is that an orthodox Catholic would not recognize the union of a couple in which there is a positive decision not to have children as a real marriage - that and the aforementioned previous divorces.

So when you say 'as a whole' are you saying there must be a 100% buy-in of the community?

Heck, I doubt 100% of Americans would recognize a Black/White union as a real marriage.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Blogger ate my long-winded response as I logged in, and I forgot to copy it first. Let's see what I can still remember.

Five individuals with five different opinions is not the consensus of a community. Perhaps the community has no consensus. In that case, the word marriage has no meaning at all.

For most of American history, marriage laws were pretty consistent and noncontroversial. Marriage had a definition that almost everyone accepted without even thinking about it. People who were attracted to their own sex either considered it a sideline to a marriage, or a totally different world, but didn't claim to be married to a same-sex partner.

No law claims perfect and complete obedience. There are always some who break any law, criminal or civil, and some get away with it. There are even those who get away with murder. Laws keep a lid on, keep most action constrained within a statistical norm, but none are in full control.

If a MAJORITY disrespect a given law, the result is sheer chaos, and the prudent course is, ultimately, to repeal the law. The sincere Protestant reformers who advocated Prohibition had plenty of real evils to complain of, but the law was absurdly out of sync with the people expected to obey it.

If the "pro-life movement" ever got its way, they would run into the same difficulty, especially when they found themselves hanging doctors from lamp posts and beheading women who aborted. (I know, that's not the program now, but just try to enforce a law, as distinct from reaching out to win hearts and minds).

Marriage laws are generally not about criminal enforcement, but about recognition and regulation of mutual rights and obligations. The definition enshrined in statute books can be amended or expanded. That is beginning to happen through the legislative process. By and large, those who disagree have nothing to withhold from those who are authorized by law to seek a license, so they will repair to their various churches to announced "not here you won't." But the law will reflect what most people are willing to live with.

Speaking of black/white unions, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were evaded for a century after Reconstruction because nobody in power wanted them lived up to, and the rest of the population was sufficiently divided that no overwhelming demand developed for any other course. That change in the middle of the 20th century because:

1) North-migrating black voters became an essential component of the multi-ethnic ticket in northern Democratic machines,

2) Winning WW II (which was by no means a sure thing) required significant concessions to Americans of African descent,

3) The U.S. could not win cold war competition with the USSR and PRC for support in Africa and Asia without cleaning up its own house,

4) The real capitalists had played the race card for all it was worth, and the more sophisticated players were moving on to new ways of making more money,

5) The population remained divided, and therefore it was possible to enforce these long standing legal principles for real, finally.

So, if it is a matter of law, there is SOME definition, and if it is to be changed, it needs to be changed, not simply bypassed. Your opinion, mine, or Hector's is insufficient. Something like an overwhelming majority, to really make it stick.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Now I have to answer myself before someone else does. Erin would argue that whatever the legislative branch of a human government does, marriage has already been defined by God. So does her entire church, many Protestant churches, most branches of Judaism...

They may be right. If so, what the legislature does is irrelevant to what happens in the next life, but it will do fine for division of property in the event of a divorce here on earth.

Also, if most people in the country, or even in a state, consider and recognize that marriage IS the union of a man and a woman, then nothing else is going to be RECOGNIZED as such by governmental bodies reflecting that popular will.

In any event, there IS a definition, and it is changed by changing ALL the minds involved, not by proclaiming "When I use the word marriage, it means..."

If God is involved, changing HIS mind could be quite a challenge. Those who are not up to it can of course ignore him. Geoff would say, in all sincerity, that God approves of Geoff as he is. In all other respects, Geoff is an orthodox Roman Catholic -- I've asked him about that at Alexandria back in the day. But still, a word meaning SOMETHING, or language is no aid to communication at all.

John E. said...

People who were attracted to their own sex either considered it a sideline to a marriage, or a totally different world, but didn't claim to be married to a same-sex partner.

Yeah, well now enough of them feel differently that they are demanding protection for their relationships.

I'm sympathetic to their arguments. So are other folks.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Oh, I'm sympathetic to their desires, if not always to their arguments. Within the old-time framework that if someone in the village has offended the gods, the gods will destroy us all, one might have a basis to say no. But then, on that basis, we could execute anyone who picked up the salt shaker with their left hand instead of their right, or vice versa.

I'm all for mutual property, hospital visitation, etc. etc. etc. I don't really much care if it gets called a marriage. But, maybe its not one. There is no inherent right that "every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that two individuals of the same sex in love with each other is a marriage."

Anonymous said...

In other words, there perhaps is a difference between truth and sham?

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I can't tell which side of this argument you are on Anonymous. The word "sham" generally infers an intention to deceive, which is more than mere untruth. I don't think anyone promoting or resisting civil marriage licenses for same-sex couples is shamming. Any human being approaching the divine should do so with sufficient humility to recognize that we aren't nearly capable of determining exactly what The Truth objectively is.

Accordingly, I resist either the notion that people with homosexual inclinations should be stoned, spot upon, and denounced, or the notion that anyone who thinks homosexual acts are an offense against God should be suppressed as a bigot.

Getting back to John E., whose contributions often require a good deal of thought per line of text, IF enough people, a critical mass of the community, sympathize, then, indeed, two more human relationships will receive recognition in the form of a marriage license. That is as it should be. I'm just saying, if that critical mass is lacking, there is not inherent right to recognition, celebration, and approval, although there is inherent right to be left alone to live your own private life in your own way.

John E. said...

Getting back to John E., whose contributions often require a good deal of thought per line of text...

Aw shucks, thanks...

if that critical mass is lacking, there is not inherent right to recognition, celebration, and approval...

Most of the gay couples I've met are less interested in recognition, celebration, and approval than they are interested in hospital visitations, joint ownership in property rights, and inheritance rights.

I've said this before in different ways, but I suspect that if the gay activist community had gone for 'civil union' instead of 'marriage' they would have been a lot further along in getting those rights codified into law.

But the didn't ask me and, for reasons that seemed right and important to them, they didn't go the 'civil union' route so here we are - basically arguing over the use of a symbolic and highly charged word instead of getting on with our lives.