« The virtues of virtues in the law?  Being humane to animals | Main | Douglas Baird on Proposed GM Bailout »

November 16, 2008

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c031153ef010535f244a1970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Democracy, Religion and Proposition 8:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

James Page

In response to Tammy, it is unfortunate that we tend to analyze this issue from the point of view of consenting adults rather than of children. Marriage without children is an absurdity, albeit painful for those men and women who are unable to conceive and have children. There is nothing that consenting adults receive as benefits of marriage that does not directly pertain to the care, protection, emotional stability, love, and psychological well being of the children who are brought into this world. No children – no need for marriage. Secular and religious authorities have recognized and enshrined this truth for as long as there has been human society. Every society that has taken a different direction has collapsed. The laws that we enact are to ensure that we survive as a society. Does homosexual marriage promote the success and long-term future of our society? Does the drive to homosexual marriage and other perceived homosexual rights constitute a tyranny of a (very small) minority? Very few people claim to be genetically homosexual (and there is no credible research that supports this position), most homosexuals and homosexual advocates proclaim that it is a life-style choice. If I get together with some other people and make a life-style choice, should the laws of our land be altered or uprooted because of that? Proposition 8 passed, regardless of how the voters decided to vote, because homosexual marriage is not beneficial to society. May be we should start thinking about “self-evident” truths rather than continually trying to bend and twist our constitution and laws just because we can.

Curtis Strong

Kimball,

I disagree, for a couple of reasons.

First, the "religious" reasons that are proposed here would not have led me to vote for Proposition 8, and I'm a religious person. So there is a major chicken/egg issue here that has been noted above. This leads to the problem I highlighted before: How do you know when religious people vote for religious reasons? It's impossible to tell, regardless of the proportions, just how much religious reasons played into the question. This is especially true when there were a few non-religious people who voted for proposition 8 as well...presumably those people had absolutely no religious reason to vote. What if this is a mix (which I think is probably the actual case with Prop 8) between religious and "secular," "economic," or "Professor Stonian" reasons? Is that enough to call the vote "un-American?" This borders on religion-bashing based on a bunch of statistics whose interpretation is sketchy at best, biased and insincere at worst.

Second, the "Stonian" reasons are incomprehensible. What are they? What if I vote for social security because of a religious conviction to help the poor, as opposed to a "humanitarian" reason to help the poor? It's a hogwasher's game. I've been on this blog for quite some time now, and Professor Stone has pushed this reasoning for a while, with your support, along with LAK's, and others. But to try and create a dichotomy between morality and religion is unproductive...it can't be done, because religion is a definition of morality, as opposed to a Kantian/Stonian secular view of morality, which can just as easily be recharacterized as an individual religious conviction.

With all respect to Professor Stone and what he's trying to accomplish here, he is trying to draw a line with his finger in the ocean. His is an indefensible conclusion based on a distinction that doesn't exist.

Tammy Cravit

James, the problem with your assertion is that, through surrogacy, foster parenting, adoption, and the like, there are more than 60,000 children in the United States who are being raised by same-sex parents[1]. And, doubtless, there are sizable numbers of people who are married who cannot, or choose not to, have children.

To argue that the only rational basis for affording marriage any legal status is to protect children is to argue that marriages involving people who are infertile, who are elderly, or who simply don't wish to have children should be annulled. Right? After all, you said that "No children – no need for marriage".

Setting aside theological dogma for a moment, the reality is that thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Californians *are* in committed long-term relationships and *are* raising children. Many of them began families before same-sex marriage was legal in California, and most of them will continue to be families with or without the blessing of the State (via the rights of marriage). If you're really concerned about the well-being of the children, surely it would be better to have those families benefit from legal protections than to have them existing in the shadows at society's fringes, unprotected and vulnerable?

After all, it's all about the children. Right?

[1] - http://www.urban.org/publications/411437.html

Josh

The idea that a particular religious belief is "imposing" a traditional definition of marriage through Proposition 8 strikes me as simply laughable.

For one thing, the term "imposing" only has content when there is a status quo or other opposition position which is assumed to be not "imposed"-- that is, "forced" by anyone. Without a notion of something else, which is presumably "unforced" or "chosen" existing ex ante, there is no such thing as something "imposed."

Upon what basis can you make the claim that Prop 8 was "imposed" on some preexisting "chosen" or "unforced" ("unimposed," if you like) reality? I can see none.

It is not conservative rhetoric, but a pretty fair description of reality to note that Proposition 8 has a far greater claim to having been "chosen" (by about 53% of the voting populace) than did the five month old gay marriage right enacted by four judges on the California Supreme Court over a strenuous dissent from the other three. Assuming we don't like the "imposition" of moral beliefs on others, then how are we to tell who is doing the imposing? The only sensible way to do that (if one exists) would be by reference to pre-existing status quo-- not the five month long one that was "chosen" only by 4 of 7 Justices on the California Supreme Court, but by the literally thousands of years of history during which "marriage" referred only to men marrying women and vice versa. Under any sensible way of thinking, the judiciary imposed, not the people who freely "chose" Prop. 8-- unless you are prepared to say that all democracy is an "imposition." I would agree with that argument, but in that case, I fail to see how the word retains the derogatory content you appear to want to ascribe to it.

To the extent that this is an "imposition" because of some notion that the Establishment Clause makes it unconstitutional to enforce laws that the majority voted for in whole or in part because of their religious beliefs, you are wrong for two reasons. First, you are empirically wrong if you assume that there is no argument that does not depend on religion upon which religious people could have been relying to support the measure. Plenty have been and were put forward, including the threats to religious civil liberties that have materialized in Massachusetts in the wake of Goodridge, the fact that the state may want to subsidize only those sexual relationships that tend to be monogamous and are inherently procreative, and even the fact that we don't need gay marriage because we have a very generous domestic partnerships law. Those are not religious arguments qua religious arguments, and could stand up under any version of the establishment clause you would want to pick. If you want to go farther and say that the fact that religious people are more likely to find those arguments persuasive is by itself enough, then see argument #2. You are well on your way to facism.

Second, what I am afraid you really mean (and suspect I could show that you mean if I could question you) is that when religious people vote their religiously-informed consciences, that is an "imposition" because they are religious people and presumptively irrational. However, when non-religious people do the same thing, it is not an "imposition" because the very fact that they have no religion entitles them to a presumption of rationality and cool-headedness.

That argument is not only poorly-reasoned and self-contradictory (it is nothing less than the establishment of atheism by disenfranchisement of the religious), but, for lack of a more appropriate term, evil. Left intact long enough it will inevitably lead to the complete disenfranchisement of religious people and eventually to their imprisonment for their "irrational" and "intolerant" beliefs.

You are not peddling hate, yet. But if arguments like yours win the day, our grandchildren will be, and they will be citing your arguments when they do it. When that happens, remember that you were warned.

Chairm

Kimball said: "Chairm´s model would seem to consign sex to procreation only"

Not at all.

Sex integration is far more than "having sex", procreational or otherwise.

And regardless of the ratio of frequency of sexual relations to frequency of conception or child-bearing, society does need the relatively non-coercive influence of the contingency for responsible procreation.

These things combine to form a coherent whole.

Marriage is a social institution, foundational to civilization.

SSM is not foundational nor is it a bonafide social institution. It is incoherent. It lacks definitive criteria that sets it apart from nonmarital arrangements. It is sex-segregative and cannot provide for the unity of motherhood and fatherhood.

Whatever its merits (and demerits) the one-sexed arrangement (sexualized or not) is extrinsic to the conjugal relationship type and extrinsic -- even anti-thetical -- to the social institution of marriage.

Merging it with marriage would be highly unjust.

al loomis

it doesn't matter what reason those fools in california chose to vote against prop. 8, it is their right.

the minority group of fools would be worse off, in a state without citizen initiative, because it is likely to be even less 'progressive.'

there is nothing wrong with people voting against prop. 8, and nothing wrong with taking the decision to a federal court, in law.

but i would bet the electorate of california are a more reliable bulwark for minority rights than the supreme court. they got it wrong this time. come back in ten years, they'll get it right.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.