Secular Conservatism, Libertarians, Progressives, and Marriage

 

I take conservatism to be an appreciation and defense of what has been proven to work, and which benefits society and the individual in a balance.

If that seems overly-broad, let me provide an example.  Morality is effective in curbing largely destructive impulses and reactions, therefore morality is worth defending in principle, with some room for debate on many fronts.  Not all morality is the same, and it is not always helpful in the particulars.  But to hold that morality is not a necessary part of society is anti-conservative in my view, as morality is the most tested method for a society to control its own behavior with respect for the society and the individual in balance. 

Libertarianism is a radical extreme that places no value on society as a body, and progressivism is a radical extreme that places no value on the individual.  Conservatism is the compromise position arrived at through experience, and stored in our cultural traditions as the wisdom of the ages.  To a secular conservative, the Bible is one of many instruments to this end.  Just because there is a religious proscription against adultery doesn’t mean that only religious people can defend a belief that adultery is harmful to individuals and society.  Likewise with other religious proscriptions.

Religion is, of course, a large component of the conservative movement, but philosophically it is not a necessary component of a thoroughly conservative position.  Not even for marriage.  I view the partnership between religion and conservatism as a co-development from a common origin.  Shared predicates yield shared conclusions, and therefore common interest.  Where religion ascribes things to God, secular conservatism agrees to the extent that it is destructive of society and the individual for mankind to mess with certain things.  Progressivism on the other hand is the confidence that a small group of people in the present know better than (on the one hand) everybody else across time, and better than (on the Other hand) God in His infinite wisdom.  Secular conservatism and religion get along just fine as defenders of our culture.

I see value in describing much of libertarianism as allied with progressivism, because conservatism is where the middle is, and to pull us off that mark either this way or that is just as destructive.  If a movement seeks to abolish our traditions as proven over time, it is not conservatism.  Progressivism and libertarianism get along just fine as disruptors of our culture.

There is already a philosophical position consistent with conservatism which enshrines human rights and the liberty of the individual: it is called conservatism.

Now, not every tradition is valuable, and a slavish devotion to traditions which are not good is not conservatism; that’s mechanism, on the process level.  Radical opposition to a flawed and failing government is not anti-conservative, but radical opposition to the institutions of our culture, most definitely is.

For example, you could argue that big spending by government is now a tradition and that it is therefore conservative to defend it and radical to oppose it, but this is wrong for a number of reasons.  First, it may be a tradition, but empirically it has not been proven to be a useful one.  Some spending is necessary, some spending is excessive — making judgements is important, and at any rate, even if all projects were equally worthy, the sheer sum of spending which displaces other worthy but non-government projects must be taken into account and weighed for relative merit.  Big spending is anti-conservative because it is destructive.

Second, the dependencies come to play in that objects and policies are not the only subjects to be appreciated and defended.  The decision to spend less is no less valuable than the process by which we arrive at that decision, and its implications.  If we feel that the accumulated wisdom vouchsafed in our culture is probably more valuable as a guide for society (in the aggregate) than the intellect spawned in a few brilliant fellows, then a process which lends itself to operation gently over time by many rather than abruptly, once, by the few is an inherently conservative method of arriving at conclusions.  Big spending is anti-conservative because it operates through an anti-conservative process.

As the free market is operated gently by many, and government spending is operated forcefully by few, any problem not specifically recommended for government remedy is probably better handled outside of government.  So no matter how “traditional” big spending may have become, it is not conservative in itself, and it is not conservative to defend it merely because it is the status quo.

Marriage pre-dates any law.  It simply is, and it is between one man and one woman.  This may sound circular, or like a “no true Scot” defense, but I assert it as a foundational fact.   Marriage is not produced by law any more than our rights are.  Marriage is enshrined and defended by law in our culture, and if the law should fall, marriage would remain, just as our rights do.  The law does not trump marriage.

This should not be too alarming; conservatism is a platform, a set of positions.  Some planks rest upon others and not all must be as heavily pedigreed.  I hold that marriage is a foundational plank in the conservative platform.  I hold that marriage is an emergent cultural defense against various destructive impulses and reactions, including those of jealous males, engineering females, and hostile out-group sentiment.  Good manners are a defense against some offenses which can become lethal, and marriage is a defense against outrage.

Humans are sexual beings (as our grade-schoolers are reminded every minute by government busybodies), and many of our impulses and reactions are not rational in the way we would like, no matter how logical they may be from a chromosome’s point of view.  As manners are typically maintained by society itself, morality is often maintained by religion as a specific example of a philosophy operating in context.

As the male-female pairing is not up for debate in conservatism (I challenge you to convince me that it is not what has been proven to work), so the societal adaptation which defends it is a necessary component of conservatism.  I realize that many “conservatives” disagree with this, but they are mistaken about either their conservatism or their conclusions.

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  1. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Larry3435: Pretending you have a marriage license not recognized by the state is like pretending you have a driver’s license not recognized by the state.  It doesn’t help much.

    As an example of what I mean by my last post, by using the word “license”, you changed the meaning of the word “marriage”.  

    A license is a right granted by government that come with commensurate obligation.  When I’m allowed to define words however I want, I can say that I’m  “Doctor”, but saying I’m a “Doctor” does not grant me a medical license in any state.  The government is allowed to restrict the issuance of that medical license to people that meet certain criteria.

    Similarly, you can say marriage means whatever you want it to mean, but that does not require the government to use the same definition as you do.  For this purpose, government has the same right to define marriage as it sees fit.

    As an example, in the US FLDS community today, there are many polygamous marriages.  Those families consider themselves married using your criteria of marriage.  The government does not ban that, they simply do not recognize the subsequent marriages. 

     

    • #631
  2. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Salvatore Padula: I think it is incumbent upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to acknowledge that what they are advocating is not really the recognition of a pre-existing right which has long been denied same-sex couples. We are supporting a change to the long established laws governing who can marry. I support the change because I think its effects will be salutary, but I don’t see any point in denying than what I am advocating is an innovation in the law and not the remedy of a historical injustice. Throughout history homosexuals have been subject to a great number of grave injustices,but denying legal recognition to same-sex relationships isn’t really one of them.

    Seconded.

     I can’t see how a ban that has always existed is any different than a ban that was recently adopted.  In fact, when the Ninth Circuit relied on that very reasoning to strike down Prop 8, I was outraged at its intellectual dishonesty.  (Especially since the right never actually existed until the California Supreme Court found it hiding in a penumbra somewhere.)  Would you agree that incestuous marriages are banned by law?

    • #632
  3. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Asquared:

    Similarly, you can say marriage means whatever you want it to mean, but that does not require the government to use the same definition as you do. For this purpose, government has the same right to define marriage as it sees fit.

    As an example, in the US FLDS community today, there are many polygamous marriages. Those families consider themselves married using your criteria of marriage. The government does not ban that, they simply do not recognize the subsequent marriages. 

    Of course polygamous marriages are banned, and people do go to jail for bigamy.

    I have never said marriage “means” whatever someone wants it to mean.  I have said that the purpose of a marriage is whatever purpose the partners have for getting married.  Your side of this debate endlessly conflates the words “meaning” and “purpose,” which are totally different.  Ed keeps saying that the purpose of marriage defines its meaning, and therefore any union that doesn’t serve the purpose he asserts cannot be a “marriage,” because only the purpose defines the meaning of the word marriage.  A contract, any contract, can be entered for any number of purposes, as defined by the contracting parties.

    • #633
  4. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Larry3435:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

     

    Seconded.

    I can’t see how a ban that has always existed is any different than a ban that was recently adopted. In fact, when the Ninth Circuit relied on that very reasoning to strike down Prop 8, I was outraged at its intellectual dishonesty. (Especially since the right never actually existed until the California Supreme Court found it hiding in a penumbra somewhere.) Would you agree that incestuous marriages are banned by law?

     Limited liability corporations did not exist until quite recently. That they exist now is a good thing, but it isn’t accurate to say that LLCs were previously banned. They just didn’t exist.

    • #634
  5. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Sal and Tom,

    I want to make something clear here:  The “tradition” argument against SSM relies on the premise that a tradition represents the accumulated wisdom of society.  (That is not really the argument Ed is making.)  What I have said about the history of intolerance toward gays is that said intolerance has prevented any “wisdom” from arising, because SSM has never been tried.  No experience = no learning from experience.

    This is different from, say incest.  People learned the hard way (from experience) that inbreeding produces genetic defects, and therefore the tradition or taboo on close-consanguinity relations arose.  That represents a meaningful tradition.  The longstanding ban on SSM does not.

    • #635
  6. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Salvatore Padula:

    Limited liability corporations did not exist until quite recently. That they exist now is a good thing, but it isn’t accurate to say that LLCs were previously banned. They just didn’t exist.

     LLC’s are entirely an invention of the state.  Marriage is not.  The better analogy would be if LLC’s had always existed, but a limited subgroup of the population was not allowed to form one.  In such case, I would argue that the government needed a legitimate (or even compelling) state interest for such a ban, that the ban would have to be narrowly tailored to meet that state interest, and that no less intrusive alternative was available.  I’m sure that analysis is familiar to you Sal.

    • #636
  7. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Larry3435:  I can’t see how a ban that has always existed is any different than a ban that was recently adopted.  In fact, when the Ninth Circuit relied on that very reasoning to strike down Prop 8, I was outraged at its intellectual dishonesty.  (Especially since the right never actually existed until the California Supreme Court found it hiding in a penumbra somewhere.)  Would you agree that incestuous marriages are banned by law?

    I have a problem with the use of the word “banned” here.  Usually, the word is used to denote behavior that is prohibited.  In this context, it’s better to think of it as having one’s behavior recognized and sanctified.  Utah’s (recently-overturned) anti-bigamous cohabitation laws aside, anyone is welcome to live as thruple in the US, though the government will not recognize the relationship as such.

    States with SSM bans are very similar (though Virginia was something of a disgusting outlier on this ground); you’re welcome to live as you please, but not have the government recognize your relationship.

    • #637
  8. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Larry3435:

    Sal and Tom,

    I want to make something clear here: The “tradition” argument against SSM relies on the premise that a tradition represents the accumulated wisdom of society. (That is not really the argument Ed is making.) What I have said about the history of intolerance toward gays is that said intolerance has prevented any “wisdom” from arising, because SSM has never been tried. No experience = no learning from experience.

    This is different from, say incest. People learned the hard way (from experience) that inbreeding produces genetic defects, and therefore the tradition or taboo on close-consanguinity relations arose. That represents a meaningful tradition. The longstanding ban on SSM does not.

     Larry- I’m sympathetic to your point. I’m only taking issue with the term “banned,” which I don’t think is accurate in most contexts regarding SSM. That SSM has been affirmatively banned in some places is true, but I don’t think the term is applicable to situations where SSM simply has never been recognized.

    • #638
  9. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Larry3435: Of course polygamous marriages are banned, and people do go to jail for bigamy.

     I’m confused.  Do you support bans on polygamous marriages?  Why?  I don’t see any fundamental difference between your arguments in support of SSM and how they would apply differently to polygamous marriages.

    It’s worth noting that the bigamists that go to jail are people that register multiple marriages with the state (or get legally married without ending their previous legal marriages).  I am not aware of any FLDS polygamists going to jail because they only register their first marriage with the state.   They still think of themselves as married, even if the state doesn’t.

    However,  I acknowledge that I haven’t really followed it that closely, so I would be interested in seeing any evidence you have to the contrary.

    • #639
  10. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Larry3435:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Limited liability corporations did not exist until quite recently. That they exist now is a good thing, but it isn’t accurate to say that LLCs were previously banned. They just didn’t exist.

    LLC’s are entirely an invention of the state. Marriage is not. The better analogy would be if LLC’s had always existed, but a limited subgroup of the population was not allowed to form one. In such case, I would argue that the government needed a legitimate (or even compelling) state interest for such a ban, that the ban would have to be narrowly tailored to meet that state interest, and that no less intrusive alternative was available. I’m sure that analysis is familiar to you Sal.

     Civil marriage is entirely a creation of the state. 

    I take your point about scrutiny, though the precise level of scrutiny applied to laws regarding homosexuality is somewhat unclear at this point.

    • #640
  11. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Larry3435: I have never said marriage “means” whatever someone wants it to mean.  I have said that the purpose of a marriage is whatever purpose the partners have for getting married.  Your side of this debate endlessly conflates the words “meaning” and “purpose,” which are totally different.  

    But your entire point about purpose was that government is not allowed to define what the purpose of marriage was.  As a result, you haven’t answered the question why the government should be precluded from defining marriage in a given way and distributing benefits to marriages that meet a certain definition.  

    If government subsidies are intended to benefit biological parents (as I argue they objectively are), why is it discriminatory to prevent couples that are not capable of becoming biological parents from receiving those benefits.

    • #641
  12. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Larry3435:…..

    …..Ed keeps saying that the purpose of marriage defines its meaning, and therefore any union that doesn’t serve the purpose he asserts cannot be a “marriage,” because only the purpose defines the meaning of the word marriage. ….

     Actually, I haven’t been saying that. I’ve been using meaning and purpose somewhat interchangeably, depending on the context of the comment. Instead, I’ve been saying that there is identifiable public purpose and meaning to civil marriage, regardless of whether it’s assigned or whether it’s immutable based on the nature of marriage.

    On the other hand, you seem to be saying that there is not and has never been identifiable and discrete  public purpose and meaning to civil marriage except for perhaps intolerance of gays, and that marriage has no nature that makes it identifiable and distinguishable from other coupling or relationship types. My suspicion is that this is based on your refusal to affirm the distinction between reasons people would desire to be married versus reasons that society (through government) would institute civil marriage over your objectuions that there are no legitimate reasons so so institute civil marriage.

    • #642
  13. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Ed, you keep asking for a “definition” of marriage, so I’ll give you two:  From the Oxford dictionary – “The legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.”  My definition – “An agreement by two or more people to commit to mutual support and sexual exclusivity.”

    Of course, neither of those is the “one, true definition,” which can only be discerned by studying history and deducing the motives of those who used the word marriage centuries or millenia ago.  (I jest, of course.)

    • #643
  14. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Asquared:

     

    If government subsidies are intended to benefit biological parents (as I argue they objectively are), why is it discriminatory to prevent couples that are not capable of becoming biological parents from receiving those benefits.

    I recognize that we’ve covered this and I don’t think either of us us going to be persuaded to change views, but you’ve really just assumed away the matter under dispute.

    • #644
  15. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Asquared:

    If government subsidies are intended to benefit biological parents (as I argue they objectively are), why is it discriminatory to prevent couples that are not capable of becoming biological parents from receiving those benefits.

     If government subsidies are meant to benefit biological parents, then give them to biological parents.  Only.  

    By the way, why do you exclude adoptive parents and include biological parents who are not married?

    • #645
  16. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Asquared:

    But your entire point about purpose was that government is not allowed to define what the purpose of marriage was. As a result, you haven’t answered the question why the government should be precluded from defining marriage in a given way and distributing benefits to marriages that meet a certain definition. 

    That was not my point, and I do say that government is allowed to define civil marriage any way it chooses, including SSM.  It is Ed who is saying that government cannot define marriage because there is a “true” meaning of the word which is immutable and not subject to redefinition.

    If you are going to put words in my mouth, at least have the good grace to use ones that are not the exact opposite of what I have said.  What I have said is that, although government can do whatever the hell it wants, it should not exclude a group from the rights and benefits of marriage without a good reason.

    • #646
  17. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Salvatore Padula:

    Larry- I’m sympathetic to your point. I’m only taking issue with the term “banned,” which I don’t think is accurate in most contexts regarding SSM. That SSM has been affirmatively banned in some places is true, but I don’t think the term is applicable to situations where SSM simply has never been recognized.

     C’mon Sal.  If a gay couple walked into your law office for advice on getting married, would you seriously tell them ,”Don’t worry.  SSM isn’t actually banned.  It just isn’t recognized.”  Talk about a distinction without a difference!  (Notice that I use lawyer talk only with you.)

    • #647
  18. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Salvatore Padula: I recognize that we’ve covered this and I don’t think either of us us going to be persuaded to change views, but you’ve really just assumed away the matter under dispute.

     Well, I will argue most SSM supporters  assume away the matter under dispute, so I don’t think I would disagree.  

    The question is, why does government grant certain benefits and privileges to an institution called marriage.

    SSM supporters say government provides those benefits for the adults, I say they provide they provide those benefits for the children.  

    I agree with SSM supporters that government should get out of the business of recognizing marriages, but we disagree that SSM is a step in that direction (though I do believe that SSM will inevitably result in the most valuable tax benefits, such as the right to pass your entire estate to your spouse tax-free, being separated from marriage)

    • #648
  19. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Larry3435:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Larry- I’m sympathetic to your point. I’m only taking issue with the term “banned,” which I don’t think is accurate in most contexts regarding SSM. That SSM has been affirmatively banned in some places is true, but I don’t think the term is applicable to situations where SSM simply has never been recognized.

    C’mon Sal. If a gay couple walked into your law office for advice on getting married, would you seriously tell them ,”Don’t worry. SSM isn’t actually banned. It just isn’t recognized.” Talk about a distinction without a difference! (Notice that I use lawyer talk only with you.)

     

    Well, I practice in Illinois (I’m also admitted to the bar in California), so my response to that couple would be to offer my congratulations. To answer the spirit of your question I would almost certainly tell them that the law would not recognize their marriage, rather than say that gay marriage is banned. You might think that is a distinction without a difference, but being a lawyer I embrace such distinctions.

    • #649
  20. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Larry3435:

    Asquared:

    If government subsidies are intended to benefit biological parents (as I argue they objectively are), why is it discriminatory to prevent couples that are not capable of becoming biological parents from receiving those benefits.

    If government subsidies are meant to benefit biological parents, then give them to biological parents. Only.

    By the way, why do you exclude adoptive parents and include biological parents who are not married?

     I am STRONGLY in favor of only giving the subsidies currently associated with marriage to parents (adopted or biological – traditional and SS couples) and I’ve said so several times in this space.

    As for the reference to biological parents, I simply meant that the history of subsidies associated with marriage derive from marriage being used by government as a proxy for a nuclear family (much like the government currently uses race as a proxy for poverty).  In other words, government subsidized this particular arrangement because 95% of the time, this arrangement resulted in children produced the old-fashioned way.

    • #650
  21. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Larry3435:

    Ed, you keep asking for a “definition” of marriage, so I’ll give you two: From the Oxford dictionary – “The legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.” My definition – “An agreement by two or more people to commit to mutual support and sexual exclusivity.”

    …..

     That’s partly what I’m asking for. What I’m mainly asking for, though, is acknowledgement that civil marriage has some set of identifying characteristics based on some purpose.

    • #651
  22. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Asquared:

    I am STRONGLY in favor of only giving the subsidies currently associated with marriage to parents (adopted or biological – traditional and SS couples) and I’ve said so several times in this space. 

    Then we agree, so I don’t know why you keep challenging me.  But, of course, government won’t do that because the actual purpose of all those subsidies is not for the benefit of children.  The politicians’ actual purpose (as it is, was, and forever shall be) is to buy votes, and children don’t vote.

    • #652
  23. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Ed G.:

    Larry3435:

    Ed, you keep asking for a “definition” of marriage, so I’ll give you two: From the Oxford dictionary – “The legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.” My definition – “An agreement by two or more people to commit to mutual support and sexual exclusivity.”

    …..

    That’s partly what I’m asking for. What I’m mainly asking for, though, is acknowledgement that civil marriage has some set of identifying characteristics based on some purpose.

     As I said, you endlessly conflate the words “meaning” (or “definition”) and “purpose,”; and you endlessly make the teleological argument that the purpose controls the definition. 

    But I’ve refuted that argument too many times, and I’m tired of it.  You asked for a definition.  I’ve given you two, and SSM fits comfortably within both of them.  If you want to know why the politicians saw fit to stick their noses into marriage, you can bet it is because they thought it would benefit them in getting elected.

    And after SSM, every existing marriage will go on exactly as before.

    • #653
  24. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Larry3435: Then we agree, so I don’t know why you keep challenging me.  But, of course, government won’t do that because the actual purpose of all those subsidies is not for the benefit of children.  The politicians’ actual purpose (as it is, was, and forever shall be) is to buy votes, and children don’t vote.

    What’s funny is that you don’t seem to understand that government recognition of SSM is just another way to buy votes.

    It’s not some great fight for civil liberty, it’s about using government subsidies to buy votes pure and simple.  And you are on the side of the people that want to use the issue to buy votes.  Even though your stated goal is get government out of the marriage recognition business, your short-term tactic is to get government deeper in the marriage recognition business.

    I find that strategy less than thoughtful.

    • #654
  25. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Asquared:

    Larry3435: Then we agree, so I don’t know why you keep challenging me. But, of course, government won’t do that because the actual purpose of all those subsidies is not for the benefit of children. The politicians’ actual purpose (as it is, was, and forever shall be) is to buy votes, and children don’t vote.

    What’s funny is that you don’t seem to understand that government recognition of SSM is just another way to buy votes.

    It’s not some great fight for civil liberty, it’s about using government subsidies to buy votes pure and simple. And you are on the side of the people that want to use the issue to buy votes. Even though your stated goal is get government out of the marriage recognition business, your short-term tactic is to get government deeper in the marriage recognition business.

    I find that strategy less than thoughtful.

     Whose votes?

    • #655
  26. Asquared Inactive
    Asquared
    @ASquared

    Salvatore Padula: Whose votes?

     Whose votes are the politicians buying?

    • #656
  27. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Larry3435:…..It is Ed who is saying that government cannot define marriage because there is a “true” meaning of the word which is immutable and not subject to redefinition.

    …..

     In the context of this discussion I am not saying that.

    1) I am saying that governments have defined marriage in a fundamentally consistent way to serve fundamentally consistent purposes.
    2) SSM obviously relies on a different definition.
    3) Less clear is what public purpose it is to serve now.
    4) That you say there is no public purpose does not mean that there is no public purpose according to the rest of society which shapes the law and its application.
    5a) If there is truly no public purpose as you say, yet civil marriage continues, doesn’t the greater potential for abuse of rights lie with the purposeless government institution rather than the limited and purposeful government institution that doesn’t actually prohibit any activity?
    5b) If society really does continue to find that the new definition of civil marriage serves a purpose, then what purpose would that be and how would it be less objectionable than the limited and purposeful government institution that doesn’t actually prohibit any activity?

    • #657
  28. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Larry3435:

    Ed G.:

    Larry3435:

    Ed, you keep asking for a “definition” of marriage, so I’ll give you two: From the Oxford dictionary – “The legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.” My definition – “An agreement by two or more people to commit to mutual support and sexual exclusivity.”

    …..

    That’s partly what I’m asking for. What I’m mainly asking for, though, is acknowledgement that civil marriage has some set of identifying characteristics based on some purpose.

    As I said, you endlessly conflate the words “meaning” (or “definition”) and “purpose,”; and you endlessly make the teleological argument that the purpose controls the definition.

    …..

    So how government defines civil marriage is unrelated to what purpose government thinks civil marriage should serve?

    • #658
  29. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Asquared:

    Salvatore Padula

    Whose votes are the politicians buying?

     Yup.

    • #659
  30. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Asquared: I agree with SSM supporters that government should get out of the business of recognizing marriages, but we disagree that SSM is a step in that direction

    Just for the record — though as Ed would say, I’m in a minority on this — I do not present SSM as a precursor for getting government out of the marriage business.  I have no problem with government licensing marriage.

    • #660
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