Don’t Let It Go…Unheard #19

Geert Wilders acquitted. Gay marriage legalized in New York. Delta adds Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance. The GOP sends “mixed messages” on a variety of issues.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Don’t Let It Go…Unheard #19

  1. Proxywar

    I came up with an answer to the marriage question and I have frederic bastiat to thank for its inspiration. I postulate that Gay Marriage has always existed the problem is we’ve just never had any men able to make it into a law until now. Frederic Bastiat said the exact samething about: Life, Liberty, and property. Why not gay marriage?

  2. Maybe I am missing something here, but there seems to be a very simple solution to this gay marriage issue:

    Get the state out of marriage altogether. Treat it as a private contract between two (or more) individuals. I actually don’t see any rational reason why marriage ought to be handled by the state. It seems to me that in a proper government, the state would have nothing at all to do with marriage, aside from enforcing contracts between consenting individuals.

    • Yeah, as I said during the podcast, in a proper society the state’s involvement would be minimal, as it would amount to offering a certain type of default contractual relationship between people. If you are “married,” then the state will treat your assets a certain way when you die, in the absence of a will, the spouse can make decisions for you when you lose capacity, perhaps other basic things as well. I’m not necessarily wedded to the idea (pun intended), but I do see enough benefit there so that the state might offer it (just as, for example, the federal government standardizes, and limits the timeframe for, the protection of copyright and trademark). And, as I said, once it’s something that the state offers to heterosexual couples, why not homosexual couples? I would see no reason to deny it to them.

      The biggest problem with the issue today, as I see it (which I also discussed during the show), is all the laws that apply to married people under today’s mixed economy, and deciding whether all those laws should now also apply to homosexual couples.

  3. M.Stern

    Amy,
    Here is one of the more popular conservative arguments against gay marriage that I have encountered. Its more sophisticated than just God hates gays:

    it has the effect of devaluing marriage. Men often don’t want to get married, the social incentives, the prestige of marriage, need to be there if marriage is to happen. If you turn marriage in a soulless union of two “partners,” no longer focused on the forming of a family and the raising of children, but on the convenience of the two “partners,” you’ve stripped marriage of its specialness, the sense of joining something larger than yourself. Also, you’ve turned marriage into something which is based on a homosexual paradigm, which is not exactly going to increase its attraction to heterosexual men. So in that sense it would tend to make marriage less appealing.

    No one ever said that homosexual marriage would stop heterosexuals from marrying, but it obviously has the effect of downgrading marriage. If you know that at your wedding, the pastor, excuse me, the facilitator, is going to pronounce the words, “I now join you together as partner and partner,” rather than as “husband and wife,” how can that do other than reduce the mystique of marriage which it requires as the central institution of human society?

    This is very common amongst conservatives: the argument that same sex marriage downgrades or stigmatizes marriage thus making it unappealing to heterosexuals. The logical outcome they say is that there will be less marriages and thus less children born of healthy, intact families.

    I disagree with this, but I have seen no Objectivist offer a good counter example to it.

    • Talal

      Translation: if we let gay people get married, then getting married is gayer, so straight guys won’t want to do it any more.

      The argument from this conservative savage fails all epistemological standards. Its like frat boy logic

      Also, what is nonsense about marriage having mystique.You want people to go into some binding agreement supposedly for life with harsh consequences to break from that they don’t even get all that well?

      “Honey, let’s have a mystique!”
      “Ok but we have to put on these colored glasses”

      Call everything a civil union. Problem solved.

    • I would refer such a person to the material on friendship and love in Chapter 7, and sex in Chapter 9, of OPAR (Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand). Romantic and sexual relationships have value beyond that of procreating, whether the relationship is homosexual or heterosexual. Moreover, how is it that marriage now based on a “homosexual paradigm,” simply because homosexuals are being allowed to marry? They are still a minority, after all. Moreover, why should the value one derives from, or one’s attitude towards, one’s marriage be affected by what others are doing? If that’s the case, then we should not allow anyone to divorce, on the idea that allowing people to divorce “downgrades” marriage. Finally, I would ask such a person how it is that a monogamous romantic relationship is “soulless,” simply because the partners are of the same sex. Homosexuals have no soul?! Or is the “soul” of the relationship based upon the physical configuration of the bodies involved in the relationship? How does that have anything to do with soul?

      I hope some of this is helpful to you in answering such arguments.

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