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homosexual marriage

I have had several conversations about this topic lately and began to think that most people are arguing about two different things. I think before ever talking about it we must define what we believe marriage to be.

For example, I believe a marriage is a union between one man and one woman to love each other and, if God wills, have children. So, with that view of what marriage is, homeosexual marriage is not possible. It isn't that they aren't good enough or are evil, it simply can't happen. I know many people disagree with that definition, and I think that is the major point of argument.

I was wondering what others thought about it?

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    Jul 29 2012: If marriage is an official status in a society it cannot be constrained by the rules of a religious group that don't constitute 100% of the population. You're not allowed to grant yourself a priviledge from the government. You may give your marriage a special dimension within the confines of your faith, but marriage in the broader sense, with all its legal implications, should be for everyone. By all means keep the marriage you want, but don't mistake it for the institution that it is now in the Western world.

    Also to answer your recent point about going into father-daughter and polygamy, giving the right to vote to women has not made it possible for animals or children to vote which people at the time have actually advanced would happen.
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      Jul 30 2012: Agree majority rule should not trump human or minority rights in a civil society.

      Agree incest and polygamy are not the issues at hand.

      Each issue on its merits. Letting women vote or drive cars doesn't naturally lead to infants voting and driving cars.
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        Aug 1 2012: Hurrah for people with good hearts who make logic work for truth and kindness!
  • Jul 28 2012: My personal belief and feeling about marriage is that it does not suit me personally. You speak of traditional marriage, the definition of marriage or legal marriage. The relationship I have with my beloved does not seem to fit any of these. We are considered to be married in all of these senses, but to my personal thinking and feeling, it is a very bad fit. We refer to ourselves as being married as a matter of convenience, but we do not really believe it. To say our relationship is a marriage seems inaccurate. I am a man, and I am comfortable saying that I am a man because everyone recognizes the wide diversity of men. The word marriage, in its everyday usage, does not connote much diversity.

    Primarily, marriage is a legal institution, defined by the law. The law specifies the responsibilities and privileges of marriage and the procedures of divorce. When people use the word marriage, in normal daily discourse, all of these legal entanglements are part of the package, sitting in the background of the conversation, part of the context. The word marriage is further entangled with multiple traditions. Christians, Jews and Muslims each have specific expectations about marriage. I want to build my relationship from scratch, unencumbered.

    The word 'relationship' is suitable because it is so general; anything can have a relationship to anything. No word could specify our relationship. My relationship with my beloved is unique. Our relationship is constantly changing even as our feelings and thoughts are changing. I have no wish to nail it down with a word that limits any aspect of it.

    It befuddles my mind that homosexuals want to get married. But they do. You do not have the right to stop them by defining the word the way YOU think it should be defined. And if you try to push your ideas about marriage into my relationship, expect the fight of your life.
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      Aug 1 2012: Alll most of us hope for is for honest representation of self and I find the ability to do so quite admirable even when someone takes a stance that differs from mine.
      Good for you Barry.

      I have often quoted something from Shakespeare that I think goes like this:
      To thine own self be true and then, as the night follows the day, thou cannotst then be false to any man.
  • Jul 26 2012: People should not have the right to deifine what marriage is for other people. The divorce rate shows that most people have trouble defining marriage for themselves.

    Most of the argument stems from people's individual moral, religious beliefs. These have nothing to do with a legal right to marriage for anyone. Homosexual marriage is no different than a marriage that is based in religion vs a marriage based on a civil union. Some people swear before God in a service. Others give vows before a Justice of the Peace. I can't beleive it's taken as long as it has to make gay marriage legal.
  • Jul 26 2012: Suppose we treated everyone the way we treat homosexuals.

    Suppose we had a society in which everyone, you, me, your mother and father, everyone was identified by their favorite sexual act. Now only one of these groups could get married. All of the other groups are banned from marriage by law and custom because it just was not natural. Imagine being told that you cannot get married to the person you love because of something you do in the privacy of your bedroom that affects no one else in any way whatsoever.

    That society would be absurd, and so is the way we treat homosexuals. They are just people, more like you than you can possibly imagine. They are an integral part of 'us' however you want to define 'us'. You have no right to say they cannot marry, for the same reasons that you have no right to say that I cannot marry, and I cannot say that you cannot marry.

    Let people be people.
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      Jul 26 2012: "Mother, Father, I have something to announce. I enjoy blowjobs. This is my partner Joyce, we plan to get married in New Jersey, where it's legal for 'oralists' to get married. There is a large community there of people like us."

      Barry, you're on to something. Write the script, it's summer 2013's satire comedy hit.
  • Jul 25 2012: You don 't "believe" marriage to be an union between man and woman, you "want" that to be this way. It could also be an union between two adult people, if you want...
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    Jul 31 2012: The debate tends to conflate too many things:
    - civil / legal agreements
    - social recognition
    - religion / morality

    In a society based on equality there is no justification for denying civil and legal rights and social recognition purely because of sexuality.

    The religious conundrum is interesting. We already have schisms because some religions deny rights / enforce restrictions on the basis of gender, and similar schisms artising because of religious views on sexuality. I foresee a future where religions develop a clear divide between the tolerant churches and the intolerant.
  • Jul 27 2012: After reading all of the posts (and thanks to everyone who posted; I feel it's been a good discussion), two points keep coming to me.

    1) Many people have made it very clear they don't think we can define marriage or regulate it based on our personal beliefs. If that is the case, it is possible to define marriage at all? For example, would it be possible to keep a father from marrying his daughter, or a man from having multiple wives?

    2) This goes beyond homosexual marriage, but some have also said things like morality is subjectice, or that laws cannot be based on moral beliefs. My question is if this is the case, what can laws be based upon (this was addressed below by Matt Schultz)?
    • Jul 28 2012: Ross,

      1) While I understand how you come all the way into incest and polygamy, I think it looks like a diversionary technique. Perhaps the question could be where would the limits be put and why. That would be all right, but this debate is about homosexual marriage. Why not keep it there? I ask because supposing that nobody here would want polygamy or incest, that does not invalidate that marriage could be redefined enough to include homosexual marriages, and that there are excellent reasons to do so.

      2) I think there has been debate here about morality. Maybe consult those, or else start a new one if the debates before were not satisfying enough?
    • Jul 28 2012: Man with multiple wifes or woman with multiple males. Why not? Because a religion belief?

      By this way same sex relations discussions will be a thing of the past and the society will be free to love. Just, please don't turn off the light!
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      Jul 30 2012: Good clarification Ross.

      On 1) Incestuous relationships and polygamy are not the issues at hand. Each issue should be looked at on its merits. Giving adults the right to vote, drive or own guns doesn't mean we automatically entitle children to do the same.

      On 2) I guess individuals will look at the world through there moral filter. On this topic there is individual morality and then there are the laws of the land and what the basis for those should be. Human rights, equality, responsibility and freedoms (within limits) or Leviticus. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or whatever etc.
    • Jul 30 2012: Ross,

      1) I will not address the issues of whether incest or polygamy are moral or should be legal (or not). But I will address the narrow issue of how incest or polygamy fit into the definition of marriage. If the definition of marriage is broad enough so that it does not necessarily exclude incest, this does not imply that an incestuous marriage is legitimate. Polygamy is plural marriage. The definition of marriage should be broad enough to include polygamy. This does not imply that polygamy is legitimate. Because there is no implication of legitimacy, both of these issues are irrelevant to this discussion.
      • Jul 30 2012: Thank you Barry for addressing my question. I like your point on how even if it is not excluded by definition, that doesn't necessarily make it legitimate. I was truly looking for a reason, and you are the only person to provide one. Also, when writing my original post I was hoping to address the definition of marriage, not only debate everyone on homosexual marriage. Sorry if I wasn't as clear as I had hoped.
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          Jul 30 2012: Hi Ross,
          It feels like we DID address the definition of marriage. I provided accepted definitions from 3 different sources, which are all pretty consistant. Perhaps you would prefer the accepted definition agreed with your definition?

          Whether or not we agree with the accepted definition, is very related to whether or not we accept same sex marriage. I think/feel your intent was clear....good topic:>)
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    Jul 26 2012: Note that you began a sentence with "I believe marriage is..." because for you, it has a certain purpose -- emotional, religious and reproductive. These are just a few of the many purposes that marriage can have in our society. One of the benefits of marriage that can become invisible to the people who benefit from it is respect. We live in a society that respects marriage and married people, and that leads to numerous micro-benefits. Married people tend to be healthier, more successful, etc.

    Whether it's fair that our society grants so much more respect to people who happen to choose to get married is another question altogether, but don't all people deserve the opportunity for this wide array of psychological, physical, financial and social benefits? Is it fair that some people's life partners can legally be considered their next of kin and others cannot? You're right, it does all depend on what you believe the purpose of marriage to be, but I think the answer to that is different in some small way for EVERY married couple. That doesn't one couple's interpretation should be made into law and imposed on all others.
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    Jul 26 2012: Unlike most of my conservative christian peers, I do not confuse my personal feelings with my concept of civil liberties.

    Marriage, insofar as the government has the authority to define it (and that's an important point) is a civil contract between consenting parties. If one's personal beliefs require something more restrictive, that's between oneself and one's clergy, but the government has no authority to graft moral values onto the law. While I am not personally or morally comfortable with same-sex marriage, I can't think of any valid civil reason to disallow it.
    • Jul 26 2012: I must ask the question, where should the government draw the line when it comes to "authority to graft moral values"? Surely morals play a part in current laws in preventing fraud, research/experimentation ethics, capital punishment, and countless other morally tricky situations. Why should, for this issue, the government be unable to apply moral values to the formation of law? You mention that you are morally uncomfortable with same-sex marriage. As evident by many of the post responses many people are morally uncomfortable without same-sex marriage. Why should your morals not count when other people's can? The argument should be a moral one, and go something like this...

      The fact of the matter is that same-sex marriage is a moral issue. I would cite Thomas Aquinas' natural law philosophy as a big reason why I think it is immoral. Aquinas states that human beings have a certain nature, and to do things against that nature are a abuse to the human being. Think about the word abuse. Ab- means to move away from, and use- means a designed purpose. Applying this definition to the sexual act, I believe that any sex outside of its permanently binding and potentially reproductive nature, is moving away from its designed purpose. As this applies to civil law, I think it would be against societies best interest to not normalize same sex marriage.

      I apologize for my brevity, but the point isn't to morally convince you. Rather, I want to point out that for moral issues moral discussion need to take place. It is not right to assume that because your views are based on religious beliefs that they should not count. It is also not right to assume that because others' views are not based on religious beliefs that they should not count. The government does have a responsibility, whether we like it or not, to apply some level of morality. So lets have discussions on morality rather than assuming that morals are subjective.
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        Jul 26 2012: Most laws can be applied with no moral values required, other than, "Thou shalt not interfere with the civil liberties of another person." Beyond that, I agree there are the issues were society must draw a line somewhere (research/experimentation ethics is a great example) and morality plays a valid function in those decision. So I guess I meet you in the middle on that point.

        However, on the specific issue of same-sex marriage, the moral objection, as I see it, is a private one between oneself and one's creed, and shouldn't restrict an entire class of citizens from making civil contracts with one another. Morally, I am in full agreement with you regarding the definition of the sexual act. But if I used my personal feelings to restrict the actions of others, no one could listen to country & western music. Yes, I morally object to same-sex marriage, but how is society harmed by it?
        • Jul 26 2012: It is not about personal feelings, it is about finding the objectively right decision regarding morality. You and I have similar personal feelings, which makes them somewhat less personal if multiple people have them. But even that doesn't matter. It is about deciding what is right.

          Country music is a preference claim. People can simultaneously hold contradicting preference claims and they would both still be right. This applies to music, ice cream flavor, colors, ect. Moral claims cannot be this way. How can a certain sexual act (or anything for that matter) be both moral and immoral at the same time?

          I think that normalizing behavior that is immoral will harm society in one way or another. I agree that it is difficult to point to direct and dire consequences for same sex marriage, but I think it is another step down the path of deconstructing the act of sex and our nation's respect for it. I think it might be safe to say that sexual morality has been thrown aside over the past 50 years. I'm not blaming this on those with same sex attraction, I'm merely pointing out that I believe that this is another step down that path.

          Legally speaking, I do think that there should be ways for people to give property rights, hospital visitation rights, and other things like that to whomever they choose. Civil contracts like that should exist whether or not two people are romantically involved.
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        Jul 26 2012: morality is relative. In some cultures it is moral to mutilate children genitals, to prohibit women from showing their face in public, or hating homosexuals.

        Laws should be about minimising harm and protecting rights.

        How is gay marriage harming you relative to giving them the same opportunity?
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    Jul 25 2012: I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.
    Homosexuals have the right to their relationships, and should be free to do what they like(within the limits of the law) with their bodies.

    But I dont think a homosexual union should be called marriage, or thought of as marriage.
    A word is associated with a meaning. There is a word called marriage, just like words like justice, democracy, truth. They mean something, and can not mean another.

    Refering to marriage as something else (like homosexual relationships) is like asking that Muammar Gaddafi be called a democrat in his days because he wears the traditional African attire like elected African leaders.
    • Jul 25 2012: I could not agree more! The fact is that marriage means something, and it involves man and woman. A homosexual union is therefore different than a marriage.
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      Jul 26 2012: What if Australian Aborigines are defined as flora and fauna, not human beings.

      What if the right to vote is defined as something only men or white people can do.

      I think you need a better rationale than something being the traditional definition before you deny the same rights to others.

      Slavery is a traditional practice. Sexism is traditional. Racism is traditional. Discrimination against same sex attracted people is traditional. This doesn't make these forms of discrimination valid.

      If you could comprehend that to many people prejudice against sexual orientation is similar to sex and race discrimination.

      I can come up with an secular argument why 5 years olds should be denied the right to a drivers license. I'm yet to hear a compelling secular argument against same sex marriage.
      • Jul 26 2012: I do not think that they were arguing that traditional is always right. Rather, they are arguing that the definition of marriage is, even in a very contemporary sense, a union between a man and a woman. You yourself used the term "same sex marriage". The fact that you (and the general public) specify a marriage as "same sex" proves the point that it deviates from the modern definition of marriage as a union between a man and woman.

        Also, I'm curious as to why arguments about law must be secular? Why should the general population be forced to think as if there is definitely no God? Categorizing an argument as non-secular is a great way to avoid that person's argument. In the words of Kierkegaard, "Once you label me, you negate me". I realize that this is not a theocracy, and that there is no state religion, and I'm not arguing for that. I am arguing that the moral opinions of those against same sex marriage be heard as well as the moral opinions for same sex marriage.
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          Jul 26 2012: Matt,
          Marriage is "a union between a man and a woman" in your limited worldview. Thankfully, that is changing. To use the phrase "same sex marriage" does not prove the point "that it deviates from the modern definition of marriage as a union between a man and my humble perception. It shows us that there is a change happening in our worldview.

          Ross has introduced the topic "homosexual marriage". There are those who insist that marriage is "a union between a man and woman". How else would you suggest we discuss this point, when we support same sex marriage? I support marriage between two people who want to make a loving committment to each other. You are the one who defines it as a right for only a man and woman.

          The general population is not in any way "forced to think as if there is definitely no God". You may think whatever you wish Matt. Your "thinking" however, does not constitute the right to deny others their human righs under the law.

          Speaking of are labeling yourself....are you not? The "moral opinions" of those against same sex marriage", have ruled for many years. Perhap it is time to include ALL people? Personally, I am not providing a "moral opinion" moral judgment, or argument. My argument is for the recognition, acceptance and respect for the rights of all people.
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          Jul 26 2012: Because morality is relative. In some cultures it is moral to mutilate children genitals, to prohibit women from showing their face in public, or hating homosexuals.

          To say something is right because you think it is right goes nowhere. How do we decide if slavery is ethical or not. The bible endorses slavery. Old and New testament.

          Morality with only a cultural or religious basis is completely relative. Why is your interpretation of your gods rules any better than someone elses?

          If you look at whether a proposal is on balance minimising harm and positive for the human experience you can distinguish moral beliefs from each other.

          If it is good enough to say my god says kill witches so that is moral, my god says kill disobedient children, my god endorses slavery, is that enough. Do we leave it there.

          You are entitled to your beliefs but not to harm or limit others because of them.Thats why I suggest you need a non religious argument. It protects you as well from harmful religious morals you don't agree with.

          Marriage can be defined as being between 2 adults (sex neutral). I think it is in some countries now. 1892 voting was just for men in a contemporary sense. 1893 it was for women too (New Zealand)
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      Jul 26 2012: "A word is associated with a meaning"

      Can a man who's had sex reassignment surgery marry a man?
      Can this sex-reassigned man marry a woman?
      Is marriage reserved to people who haven't messed around with the genitals they were born with?
  • Aug 1 2012: It is not true, that if we tolerate everything, we stand for nothing.
    Sounds great. Been around a long time. But it ain't true. It's a sound byte.

    It's a lot like, "those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."
    Also not true. One cannot repeat what they cannot remember. However,
    those who are brainwashed into remembering the past are then able to repeat it.
    And so we have for centuries and to the detriment of our planet, humans, human spirit and relationships of all kinds, especially love. Way to go twisted people.

    Acceptance is a practice that gives serenity, peace. Tolerance is a practice used for when one cannot or is unwilling to, practice acceptance. How do you learn them? Well, you need lots of impatient stimuli in order to practice and learn patience.
    And you need intolerable things to learn tolerance.

    The person at the far, far, far, far opposite end of your beliefs, looks like a dot to you.
    What in hell do you think you look like to them? Yet, they have to accept you or tolerate you while the majority have been trying to kill them for centuries. What would you do? Fight back? Of course, such actions rained down upon them are beyond intolerable for we all have a right to be. We are be-ings. Don't or won't accept that? Then tolerate it.

    This is a topic, built on and supported by lies, perpetrated for so long that it seems the truth and is not to be tolerated or accepted. People don't want the truth. You cannot cover up the truth with the truth. You can only cover it up with lies.

    People who are against love, are against, well, love.
    If we are supposed to be or do anything at all as a species it is but to love, not to love, but........
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      Aug 1 2012: Good point Random, to differentiate between tolerance and acceptance.

      Tolerance, is defined as..."capacity to endure pain or hardship; sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own...."

      Another good point..."acceptance is a practice that gives serenity, peace"...and I will BOTH those who accept, as well as those who are accepted. I agree with you that these are both learned practices.

      We have the choice to totally reject others when their beliefs do not agree with our beliefs.
      We have the choice to tolerate others when their beliefs do not agree with our beliefs...that means we endure and sympathize with them.
      We have the choice to accept, understand and respect those who have different beliefs.

      What choice do we make as individuals?
  • Jul 30 2012: We are, each of us, the product of chaos. No one of us was destined to become the person that exists today. We are the end result of a random mixing of genes that had no purpose, no destiny, no design or intent. If a different sperm reached the egg first, you would be a very different person. You might have had a different gender, or a different sexual orientation.

    This fact informs our ideas about legal rights. One of the concepts that the founding fathers of the USA rejected was royalty. The idea that at the time of birth your station in life would be set as superior or inferior to others. One of their basic principles was that incidents of birth should have no effect on your legal rights. These ideas are expressed in the simple and powerful statement, "All men are created equal."

    We now have sufficient scientific research to conclude that sexual orientation is an incident of birth. Given this, I believe it is only a matter of time before the Supreme Court of the USA decides that sexual orientation cannot be used to discriminate with respect to legal marriage. With that decision homosexuals will have the right to get married throughout the fifty states. Unfortunately, this will very likely take considerable time, as it took many years for African Americans to gain their rights under the law. Judges are very much a product of society. But because the issue is essentially an incident of birth, I believe this result is inevitable.

    In the end, your definition of marriage, as between one man and one woman, will go the way of other prejudices. Meanwhile, you can choose to fight the inevitable or you can choose, in the words of Krisztián Pintér, "let people do stuff, is all".
  • Jul 27 2012: If God gave me free will, then he doesn't will anything to me, so he should keep the fsck out of it.
    Everything is, was or has been forgiven because the tomb of Jesus was supposedly empty, indicating forgiveness was achieved and granted. If it hadn't been, his body would still have been there.

    If it was, and then it was removed, then religion has been lying to the world for all of time since.

    But, I don't believe in God, so his will, means nothing to me. If he exists, then start bestowing peace, love, caring, and showing up for dinner if it's all going to be our last one, instead of allowing 'his people' to destroy the lives of so many by doing all they can to destroy the human spirit.

    If you find someone to love and someone who loves you, you should be able to marry them. Laws, most of them are ludicrous, unjust, stupid, and it seems without real thought. You cannot legislate morality. Stay out of the lives of anyone who is not you. You, meaning to whomever.

    "In all the places we were hiding love, what was it we were thinking of?"
    • Jul 27 2012: Your first paragraph tells God to stay out of our business, but your third wants him to fix everything. Kinda opposing view points, don't you think? (I realize you were being somewhat sarcastic, just thought I would point it out anyway).

      Also, I have two questions after reading your post:

      1) If we should be able to marry whomever we want, and laws are stupid and shouldn't apply, would you be okay with a father marrying his daughter, or a man having multiple wives?

      2) If we don't base laws on morality, then what should laws be based on?
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        Jul 27 2012: Ross,
        With all due respect, you tried to divert this conversation with comparison to incest and polygamy before. The topic question you started is "homosexual marriage". It doesn't have anything to do with incest or polygamy.
        • Jul 27 2012: Many of the posts here have talked about defining marriage, and that was part of my originial post. In order to define it these questions would have to be taken into account. Therefore, it has everything to do with it. The exact same argument that people's rights were being denied could be used to support both polygamy and incest.

          I was hoping to get other's opinions on if those examples would somehow be different and could be regulated. If you do not want to address them, that is fine. However, I do hope someone would explain the reason these cases would be different (if that is the case).
        • Jul 27 2012: The problem here is with definitions. The government has traditionally defined marriage as a legal union between man and women. Colleen, you have challenged that definition, asserting that you believe it should be a union between consenting adults who love each other (forgive me for putting words in your mouth, but I believe you defined marriage that way in one of your posts). What Ross is trying to point out is with the definition I just described polygamy and incest would fit under that definition. Essentially, I challenge you to find a definition of marriage broad enough to cover same sex marriage, but exclusive enough to eliminate the polygamist and the father or mother wishing to marry their daughter or son.

          Building on that, many have mentioned on this post that the government shouldn't enforce morality, or tell people who they can and cannot marry. In the cases of polygamy and incest, that is exactly what the government does. Why the double standard?

          Colleen, while polygamy and incest are not directly involved, they serve as examples of how your definition is very broad.
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        Jul 27 2012: Ross,
        I do not perceive that "many of the posts here have talked about defining marriage". Marriage seems to be defined for many of us. Those who believe marriage "should" be ONLY between a man and a woman are exhibiting a preference, which in my perception is discrimination.

        You provided YOUR definition in your introduction...

        "For example, I believe a marriage is a union between one man and one woman to love each other and, if God wills, have children. So, with that view of what marriage is, homeosexual marriage is not possible".

        Many of us disagree with your definition and your judgment. I am providing my opinion regarding polygamy and incest....they are off topic.
        • Jul 27 2012: You seem to have missed that my entire point in starting this discussion was that different people define marriage as different things.

          In order for the government to regulate it (so they can offer marriage licenses, benefits, etc.) they have to have some sort of definition.

          In order to establish a definition, all the viewpoints must be considered. And some people would have no problem with a man marrying his daughter or with polygamy, so those must be considered in order for the government to have a defintion. I brought up the point to see if people considered these examples as somehow different than homosexual marriage.

          You really don't seem to want to answer that question, and that is fine if you choose. But I think it is very pertinent because some people would feel discriminated against if you were to ban these two examples.
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        Jul 27 2012: No Ross, I don't think I missed anything. I got your point. I am aware of the fact that different people define marriage as different things. My point, is that YOUR definition does not apply to everyone. It only applies to those who want to discriminate.

        There IS a definition, and many states in the USA are using an accurate definition to provide EVERYONE the same rights under the law.

        No, incest and polygamy DO NOT need to be considered when legalizing same sex marriage. When our legislators were discussing legalizing same sex marriage, not once did polygamy or incest come up in the many hours/days of discussions. Incest and polygamy do not have anything to do with same sex marriage.

        I'm answering the question, several times, very clearly. Incest and polygamy do not have anything to do with same sex marriage. You seem to want to insist on diverting the conversation, and I have no desire to follow that diversion with you.
      • Jul 28 2012: HI Ross.
        yes, I was letting off some steam and you make some good points and I appreciate Colleen's defense.
        Something that really nags at me is how much trouble has been caused, rained down upon the heads of innocent, unsuspecting people, simply because we don't mind our own business. And morally, the results, to me, are staggeringly horrible. What we tolerate and what we "say" we don't tolerate.
        People immediately jump to worst conclusions, which to me, is akin to crossing the stream of life by trying to take leaps and bounds to rocks that cannot be reached any other way, but by taking smaller steps. I'm sure people by the billions would be marrying their children, just like that. Or their horses or dogs. Live and let live. We continue to function mainly it seems from fear, judgment and self-loathing of our human being. Very sad, pitiful but also damaging, hurtful and destructive.

        I practice and believe in letting go of all, old ideas, absolutely. I will discover what it is I need to know and need to do. We play God and figure it all out ahead of time, thus holding on to what doesn't work and what does hurt. I'm not for that. Sorry. I don't have all the answers, but the answers are to be discovered and they aren't for me. They are for those who need them and who will be alive when they need them. I will die soon, so why should I expect changes that only suit me? They aren't for me! I wish for the younger world to have one that is peaceful, inclusive, safe and not tyrannical, morally, politically, or religiously. That to me is tenderly, genderly, and patiently. All the things I have never seen this so-called God bestow.

        I said, personally, god, stay out of my business. For those who do believe God exists, I was just stating, why not act like one - the benevolent one, the loving one, the caring one, the protective one, the present one, not the absent, malevolent, uncaring, sadistic and cruel one that has been documented through all time.
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        Jul 30 2012: whats morally wrong with polygamy?
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        Jul 30 2012: Laws should be based on protecting people - morality might be a good starting point, but morals evolve
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      Jul 27 2012: I believe you're right Matt, in that one of the challenges is with definition. No, I will not forgive you for putting words in my mouth. I do not appreciate that behavior, and it is not necessary.

      The definition I provided in my very first post is from the dictionary...Webster's dictionary copyright 1980, and going back to 1898.
      "The state of being married: mutual relation of husband and wife; wedlock: the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected esp: the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities: an intimate or close union".

      You notice that it says "men and women are joined". It does NOT say ONLY the joining of a man and a woman.

      It is religions that have defined marriage as ONLY the "union between man and women". And yes, governments have sometimes created laws based on what churches prefer. Thankfully, now we are truly seperating church and state, and that seems to be a challenge for churches.

      That's all one needs to do to understand the legality of same sex marriages, is look at the last part of the accepted definition..."an intimate or close union". That is what states are looking at to recognize the legal rights of ALL people.

      I will say again, incest and polygamy have nothing to do with the topic question other than to divert the conversation.
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      Jul 30 2012: Christianity seems to have freewill with a gun to your head.

      You are free. You may even use your mind to determine that all religions are nonsense. But you will go to hell if you don't follow some sort of ambiguous scriptural writings or suffer for eternity. This is one of the most evil things I have heard.
      • Jul 31 2012: I love how all hate crimes (and I consider talking against marriage between same-sex couples without providing any real arguement a hate crime) come down to marriage.

        State and church NEED to be separated in a country that wants to call itself "democratic". Where a religious majority can effectively control the lives of the minorities in any ways, things start to divert into rather dictatoric directions. I don't consider myself religious in any traditional sense, or believe in any god(s), but I do think that people should be able to believe in whatever they want.
        But of course, they moslty choose to believe in things that don't let others to believe in other things.

        Anyways, I'm strongly opposed to non-secular arguements in secular matters. And yes, non-religious marriage IS a non-secular matter.
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    Jul 26 2012: Ross,
    Part of the accepted definition of marriage is..."an intimate or close union". You would deny some people the right to have an intimate and close union because YOU do not agree with their sexual preference? That is discrimination. You say, with your view, "homosexual marriage is not possible". Well, that is true.....with YOUR view. However, same sex marriages are taking many parts of our world, in spite of YOUR view. In my humble perception, your view is discrimination.
    • Jul 26 2012: Is it not possible to have that intimate or close union without a marriage? Also, where did you get the definition (just curious, is there an established definition used by the courts)? And I know that is MY view. I think what makes it difficult is that there are different views, so how do we decide whose view should be the law in the U.S.?
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        Jul 26 2012: Hi Ross,
        Of course it is possible to have an intimate, close union without a marriage. Same sex and opposite sex partners have been intimately in relationships forever, without benifit of marriage.

        Our world is getting more complicated, however, and for the purpose of allowing equality when it comes to health care and issues like that, it is a good idea to allow ALL people, regardless of sexual orientation, the same benefits....don't you think?

        I think we ARE deciding how the law is working in the US. I'm sure you are aware that same sex marriages are legal in several states? I'm proud to say that I live in one of the first states to legalize civil unions, and one of the first states to legalize same sex marriage.

        I got the definition from the dictionary:>)
        • Jul 26 2012: I do agree with you that they deserve benefits with regards to health care and issues like that, but I think it would be something different (due to my definition of marriage, as described in my original post). I think that would be the fairest way to try to treat them equally.

          Yes I'm aware of that. So you think it should be left up to individual state to decide?

          Haha ok, thanks :)
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        Jul 26 2012: Ross,
        What do you propose this "something different" to be? People are people, and beliefs of SOME people, are not enough to deny equal rights. We are talking about equal human rights for ALL people. Do you agree with that concept?

        Right now, states have the authority to allow everyone equal human rights under the law, so yes, it is up to the state to decide if they want to recognize ALL people as deserving of human rights.....or not.

        You have a certain definition of what marriage "should" be, and you have a right to marry whomever you please. Wouldn't you like to see everyone have that same right?
        • Jul 26 2012: As far as what it should be, I think a lot of people are trying to work out something that would work (such as a civil union).

          And yes I agree with equal rights, but telling people they have a right to anything is a stretch. What do you say to a father who wants to marry his daughter, or a man who wants to have multiple wives, etc.?
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        Jul 26 2012: Ross,
        Civil Unions do not provide the same benefits as marriage. If a person is injured or ill in ICU, for example, many times only immediate family members are allowed in. That would disqualify a same sex partner, even if united under a civil union. Many insurance companies did not recognize same sex partners for benefits, even when united under civil unions. Wouldn't you want people who are in committed relationships to all have the same equal rights?

        Your topic question is "homosexual marriage" Ross. We're not talking about father/daughter or multiple wives marriages. Those are other topics.
        • Jul 26 2012: Sorry, I was not sure what was included in civil unions. But to me that would be simple: civil unions should include those things you speak of (and others I'm sure you didn't mention).

          Also, I realize those are other topics, and I apologize if I am discussing something here that should be its own thread. I simply stated them to show my opinion that the argument "people love each other and deserve equal rights, so they can be married if they want" can be applied to many situations that would not be acceptable (though I can't say I've done a lot of research into opinion on those topics).
        • Jul 26 2012: Mr. Steen, I believe that Ross Johnson was attempting to bring up a different point when he brought up civil unions. I believe that he was stating that civil unions should have the same rights as a marriage. They should be treated the same. He wants homosexual partners to have the same exact rights a heterosexual couple. The only real part that bothers him (and me) is the term marriage. Marriage to me has a certain religious meaning as well as a legal meaning. When Ross brought up the idea about civil unions, I believe that he was simply trying to find suitable name for marriage. (maybe domestic partnership would be better)

          In my view, I think that homosexual couples should get the same legal rights. They can have a huge celebration for their marriage. They still get to enjoy their love and live happy lives. It is really just the term marriage itself.
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          Jul 26 2012: Ross your view is fairly progressive.
          if civil unions had the same rights as marriage they would be called marriage.
          Why deny them the word?
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        Jul 26 2012: Thanks Noah, for the confirmation. I agree...civil unions "should" have the same rights as a marriage, but they don't usually.

        I understand that the word "marriage" bothers some people. I understand that the word marriage "has a certain religious meaning as well as a legal meaning". Do you think or feel that same sex partners might want to experience that religious and legal meaning, the same as other people?

        What I do not understand is why you need to find a different name for the same purpose? If, as you say, "it is really just the term marriage itself", why does it "bother" you?

        BTW, I have lots of friends who have many different sexual orientations, and I went to my first same sex marriage last year because it was recently legalized in this state. The beautiful ceramony was officiated by a minister, with a huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters witnessing the wonderful event.

        The women who married, lived contentedly together before marriage was legalized, but the pleasure on their faces, when they could experience the happiness of being united under the "term" (as you say) marriage was beautiful to behold:>)
        • Jul 26 2012: Well, I'd like to repeat the fact that equal rights should be guaranteed for same-sex couples. We are all in favor of that. Right now we are just talking about how we should reach that goal. So the legal aspect should always be the same.

          The reason that I believe that reason that it bothers many religious individuals and myself is because it not what my religious beliefs define as marriage. I understand that not everyone has my beliefs, and I understand that. When homosexual couples are allowed to marry, many religious institutions see that as redefining what the entire meaning of marriage. I believe that there is a social definition of marriage (what people think about it in addition to culture and tradition) and a legal definition. There is still lots of controversy about the social aspect of it. The legal should definitely be the same. Changing the social definition causes friction with many religious individuals. It seems more efficient and easier to simply redefine domestic partnership (or civil union or whatever is most fitting term) as the same thing as marriage. People can still have a wonderful wedding and have religious aspect to their relationship. It would also avoid much of the protests of those that feel that homosexual marriage isn't marriage. When I stated that "It is really just the term marriage itself," I meant that the two should be treated exactly the same. Changing the name would simply avoid much of the controversy about the topic.
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          Jul 26 2012: Hi Noah you seem to be saying let gays have the same rights but call it something other than marriage.

          That is pretty progressive.

          Its not quite equal, in that they are denied the word and the status of marriage.

          Wedding parties are for marriages. Civil union party wouldn't be quite the same thing.

          I see your point about reducing friction, although many are against anything homosexual.

          Is the discomfort of some sharing the status if marriage enough to deny others?
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        Jul 26 2012: Hi again Noah:>)
        Yes, we seem to agree that equal rights should be guaranteed to everyone. Yes...we agree...the legal aspects should be the same.

        I understand that it bothers you and some religious individuals because it is not what your religious beliefs define as marriage. I understand that some religious institutions perceive equal rights for everyone as redefining the meaning of marriage, in THEIR THEY have defined marriage. Does that mean that you expect everyone to be ruled by your particular religious beliefs?

        In my mind and heart, and that of many other people, there is no controversy. Some of us truly believe in equality. The "friction with many religious individuals" is their own "friction" with their own beliefs. I imagine it is confusing to say we love, respect and accept everyone....BUT....those people who have a different sexual orientation are not going to be treated the same. I can see where that idea may create "friction" in a person's perception of themselves, and their beliefs.

        I can understand why it may seem easier to you to " to simply redefine domestic partnership (or civil union or whatever is most fitting term) as the same thing as marriage". That would be "bowing" to your belief that same sex partners cannot use the term marriage....would it not? I can see how that may be more comfortable for you and those who oppose same sex partnerships.

        You say..."Changing the name would simply avoid much of the controversy about the topic". I say that accepting people as people, all having the same rights, would also avoid much of the controversy about the topic:>)
        • Jul 26 2012: well, Mrs. Steen, I would like to state one more time that Im all for equal rights under the law.

          However, I would like to point out that while you do note that it is "THEIR" definition of marriage, this perception of marriage has been fairly common in western culture. The same-sex marriage movement has been a relatively new movement. While their has always been a few who pushed for homosexual rights, throughout the course of history, the movement hasn't had influence until lately. The nations which have accepted equal treatment for homosexual couples began really pushing for equal treatment around the turn of the millennia. Only within the last decade or so has the movement really gained a large amount of influence. So while you do mention the fact that the current legal definition of marriage in the country is influenced by religion, it has also been the precedent that has always been used in the country. So "THEIR" definition has, until recently, been the predominate one.

          That also being said, I still believe that the idea that I presented about giving domestic partnerships equal status as marriage is the best solution given the situation.

          I'd also like to mention your idea of "bowing" to religious beliefs. I think that no matter what happens, people will differentiate between homosexual and heterosexual marriages. It doesn't matter. If we legally make it where both are called marriages, then religious people will refer to heterosexual marriages as "traditional" marriages or some equivalent. I think that by forcing the term marriage instead of the legal benefits of marriage, the nation is just prolonging the discrimination. People will always separate the two types of marriage; I just think that the fastest and easiest way to get equal rights is to change the legal definition of domestic partnership than the social definition of marriage.
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          Jul 26 2012: Noah, its not quite equal or the same if it is called something else.
          You are denying others the right to call their union a marriage and all the status that goes with that.
          But appreciate it is a fine distinction and pretty close.
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        Jul 26 2012: Hello again Noah,
        And I will state another time that I'm hearing you when you say you are all for equal rights under the law.....that's a good thing!

        I agree...the definition you use has been common in western culture, and it is only recently that same sex couples are asking for the same rights under the law as other couples have. Are you saying that because "it has also been the precedent that has always been used in the country", that is what we are obligated to continue? Or do you think/feel that all people have equal rights? OH! I forgot, you've said several times that you believe in equal rights!

        I and many other people do not differentiate between homosexual and heterosexual marriages. I recognize that people are people, and choose marriage for many of the same reasons. Saying what you believe over and over again does not make it true you know:>)

        ALL marriages are called marriages in Vermont, and some other states. If some states can do that, I'm assuming that all states can....would you agree? People can refer to the union of two people in whatever way they choose...don't you agree? Personally, I'm not trying to "force" anything. I would simply like to see ALL people have the same rights. You are absolutely right...people will do whatever they choose. I choose to recognize marriage as the union of two people.

        As I said before, I believe your idea is the "fastest and easiest way" for YOU:>)
        • Jul 26 2012: Sorry for the wrong abbreviation in from of your name! The Mr was entirely a typo, and Mrs was a sign of respect. (I guess it is just a habit but I normally put Mrs instead of Miss.)

          We have different views about this subject, and I respect your view. I tried to respectfully present my ideas and my reasoning why. I felt that the sarcasm when you stated "Or do you think/feel that all people have equal rights? OH! I forgot, you've said several times that you believe in equal rights!" was not very necessary in the discussion. I respect your opinions, but respectfully hold my own.
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        Jul 26 2012: No problem about the names you gave me Noah. It was amusing to anticipate what you might call me next!!! LOL:>)

        I respect your opinions and respectfully hold my own as well:>)
  • Jul 25 2012: Actually, the word marriage already means many different things. In the USA there are fifty states, and each state has its own laws with respect to marriage. Even within a single state, the marriage laws can effectively be different depending on which judge hears your case. Marriage is entangled in our laws and contracts and provides many legal benefits. This is immoral. That is right, I am saying that our current marriage laws are immoral because they are unjust and unequal. Even today, mothers are much more likely to win custody disputes just because they are female.

    Before the law, all persons should be treated equally. A married person should be treated in the same manner as a single person. To accomplish this, marriage should be removed from the law completely. Marriage is a personal commitment and in many cases a religious commitment. The government has no overriding interest in defining marriage, overriding our right to define our personal relationship. If a couple wants to make their marriage include legal commitments, this should be done by contracts.
  • Jul 25 2012: I dont think it matters if the couple is homosexual or heterosexual in order to be married i.e. in order to have a family. Love exists between people and the gender is not relevant. The important thing are the love and loyalty = the family.
  • Jul 25 2012: Well, I am a little torn on this subject. I understand that there are certain legal aspects that go with marriage. I know that taxes are done differently for married couples and hospital visitation rights are different for married people. Since there are legal benefits that go with marriage, I can understand the argument that there has to be homosexual marriage. If the US government denies homosexual couples marriage or an equal equivalent, I see that as discrimination. I know that domestic partnerships are an option, but I think they currently are treated with same legal standing as a marriage.

    On the other hand, I believe that a religious institution has a right to marry (or not marry) whom they wish. Marriage definitely has close ties to religious institutions. I don't think that the government should be able to require these institutions to marry homosexual couples if homosexual marriage is against the institution's dogma.

    I see both sides of the argument. While I personally know that homosexual marriage is against my religion's teachings, I also see that homosexual couples are treated rather unfairly in the US today.
    • Jul 25 2012: I definitely agree that homosexual couples are often treated unfairly, and that we must do our best to stop that unfair treatment. But I don't think treating everyone the same is what it means to be equal. That is why I think that couples should have legal rights and things like that, but, under my definition, that would still be different than a marriage.
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      Jul 26 2012: Hi Noah,

      I agree that religious institutions should not be forced to marry same sex couples.

      However, they should have the option to do that if they choose.

      Not all marriages even with hetero couples are religious in nature. Mine wasn't. I'd like to see same sex couples have the same opportunity.

      We can change rules and definitions if we want as a society to enhance equality and reduce discrimination.

      Why should gay couples be limited by your definition of marriage? So far the arguments are about personal beliefs and definitions - basically opinion. Arguments from tradition.
      • Jul 26 2012: Obey No1kinobe, perhaps I was unclear in my post. I am completely supportive of having equal rights, and I understand that many homosexual couples are treated unfairly. When I stated that marriage has close ties to religious institutions, I was mainly thinking of weddings. Weddings normally have some sort of clergy involved who actually marries the couple. It sometimes is done in churches, and some couples include God in their vows. I wasn't stating that all marriages have to include some religious aspect, but I believe that the typical American wedding does involve some action by a religious institution. Not all weddings do, but I personally have never witnessed a wedding that didn't have some religious institution involved.

        That being said, I repeat my earlier post. I think equal rights should be given to homosexual couples, but I don't think a religious institution should have the ability to choose who they marry. I in no way wish to "limit gay couples;" I think they should be treated equally under law.
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          Jul 26 2012: I agree churches or mosques shouldn't be forced to marry same sex couples. I think it is idiotic for catholic priest not to be able to marry, but no one is forcing them to be priests. If someone wants to belong to a faith that sees them as deviant, that is their choice. I contrast this with kids not being given the choice about being sexually abused and the church covering it up. This should not be allowed.

          I'm for religious free until it harms others.

          But do you agree if a church wanted to too they should be able to?

          Do you agree same sex couples should be able to marry via some secular authority, city hall, a judge etc? We have justice of the peaces here who can marry. Given 20% are non religious and another x% have no close association with churches many choose to get married by the beach, in a park etc.

          I think the law should be changed so that any two adults can marry. Equality under unjust or unequal laws is not justice or equality.
      • Jul 26 2012: I really believe that we are saying the same thing just in different words. I'm not sure what children being abused by priests has anything to do with this conversation; it doesn't seem relevant.

        Here is what I believe that would be the easiest and most effective way to handle this situation. If Congress create a law that states something along the lines of "domestic partnerships(or civil unions or whatever term is most appropriate) shall be treated with the same legal parameters as a heterosexual marriage." Give them both the same legal standing which would remove any discrimination; it would be the same exact thing as a marriage but with a different name. Then you can have any secular authority wed two people. It would be treated exactly like a marriage, but I doubt there would be nearly as much protest by religious people. It seems like both sides would be happy, and there would be less discrimination in the country.
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          Jul 26 2012: Hi Noah,
          The way I connect the topics of children being abused by priests, is that the priests and the catholic church say they are against homosexuality and same sex marriages in their church. Many male priests throughout our world, performed homosexual acts with unsuspecting little male children in their church. Many leaders of the church KNEW about the abuse, and covered it up for many years. See any contradiction there?

          It appears that the church is saying it's ok to use and abuse little innocent boys for homosexual activities, but it's not ok for two consenting adults to enter into a committed marriage in our church, because we believe homosexuality is not natural.

          You want congress to create a new law regarding the rights of people? Our government HAS laws addressing prejudice and discrimination. It seems that it is mostly the churches and religious extremists who have "friction", (as you said in another comment) with this issue.

          Changing a word, does not remove discrimination. To remove discrimination, one has to change his/her perception. You would like us to change the laws, and change words in order to stop the protest by religious people? No, that does not make both sides happy.....that makes the religious people happy. There may be less discrimination when the religious people stop being contradictory and hypocritical.
  • Jul 25 2012: Lars-- I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but I do choose to believe what I do. And when people choose different ideas of what marriage is, then we will never be able to define it.

    Debra---First I am very sorry that happened to you. That sounds terrible and I cant really pretend to know what it would be like. But I would still think that is simply him not doing his part in the marriage, so it doesn't really seem to change what that marriage should be.

    Gerald---You and I have VERY different views of what marriage is, which is kind of my point. If I agreed with you about what it is and that it's a joke, then I would see no problem with anyone getting married. However, like I said in my original post, our conflicting ideas about what marriage is seems to cause our disagreement.
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    Jul 25 2012: OK Ross, given that you have had the courage to ask a tough question, I think you deserve a direct and honest answer.
    I was married to a man for 28 years with whom I had 5 great kids. He left for a woman who was not even born when we married who happened to be my financial advisor at my local credit union. So what did marriage mean to him?. To me it was exactly as I promised plus all that I was or would become. His arms and legs and other parts could have all fallen off and he would still have been ten feet tall to me. I was utterly faithful and utterly committed to him. In our society - especially in our churches - that meant less than nothing but if I had done it to him, it would have been another story.
    So if two other people want to take on that sort of mutual dedication, I will support them and wish them well - no matter who they are and if all it means is a way to get healthcare benefits - who cares?.
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        Jul 26 2012: Hi Sibin!
        I am for people and they are much more than their sexuality. I could not care less about someone's sexuality unless they are my beloved and I think the world has no business thinking about anyone that way. So, if we put our purient speculations aside, human rights has to prevail when deciding these issues. Ask yourself if the outcome you want for 'them' is one you would want for yourself if you were the one who was 'different'?
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        Jul 26 2012: RE: You are for homosexuals! Right?

        Maybe some of us are just for people.

        Whether gay or straight.

        It shouldn't matter
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    Jul 29 2012: If we don't define it, then it has no meaning or value. If we begin to devalue everything due to opposing opinions, humanity becomes rather pointless. If we don't grow up with core family values, which is a growing segment of the population, then we don't understand the value of it at all. We learn value through hardship, discipline, honor, and love. We learn appreciation though hard work and equal reward for that hard work.

    Let's remove the governmental entitlements of legal marriage and then see where this conversation goes.
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      Jul 29 2012: Wade,
      Every definition I can find includes a legal componant. It would be silly not to consider it, don't you think?
      "Marriage (also called matrimony or wedlock) is a social union or legal contrac"
      1. a. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. Antonyms: separation.
      b. a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage. Antonyms: separation.
      2. the state, condition, or relationship of being married; wedlock: a happy marriage. Synonyms: matrimony. Antonyms: single life, bachelorhood, spinsterhood, singleness; separation.
      3. the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple..."
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        Jul 29 2012: I agree Colleen. I'm just suggesting to remove financial advantage that comes from being married. Primarily tax credits. If all we want is legal recognition to enter into a contract between two people.

        I'd like to believe two people get married out of love for each other. I would hope two people would not get married because it is simply a convenience or creates a financial advantage.

        I think what I'm trying to accomplish is to remove variables to help me discover the importance of being recognized as legally married.
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          Jul 29 2012: Hi Wade,
          I believe that two people enter into a legal, committed marriage out of love for each other as well.

          Financial advantage/disadvantage is not the topic of this conversation, nor is it really any of our business why two people choose to make that committment to each other. It is clear that what you are trying to accomplish is to divert the conversation.

          Why are you afraid of same sex marriage/partnerships?
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          Jul 30 2012: Wade,

          I would suggest this is about ending discrimination based on sexuality.

          Financial discrimination is part of it.

          Denying same sex couple the symbolic social institution of marriage is another part.

          I doubt if removing the financial rights would eliminate the drive for social and symbolic equality.
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        Jul 29 2012: I've read many of your posts Collen and you pull out the diversion card everytime somenes says something you don't agree with. The subject matter is a debate forum on the definition of marriage not a simple gallup poll of for and against.

        You can't talk in much depth about a light bulb without discussing elements of electricity.
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          Jul 29 2012: Wade,
          I remind people that they are trying to divert the conversation, when they are trying to divert the conversation.

          You are absolutely correct...we cannot talk about a topic without bringing in all RELEVANT information.

          You stated..."I think what I'm trying to accomplish is to remove variables to help me discover the importance of being recognized as legally married"

          YOU are the one Wade who wanted to remove the legal aspect of marriage.

          Why are you afraid of same sex marriage/partnerships?
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        Jul 29 2012: I have no problem with same sex marriage/partnerships. To each his own. It is their business and as you have stated none of mine. I still, however, can't help recalling some strong words my mother said to me: She says "If we tolerate everything then we don't stand for anything" I love culture and appreciate our differences. I fear we may be entering a society where those unique cultural differences slowly disappear. Metaphorically, removing my olfactory nerve because food has no flavor. I look forward to buying my next car and not having to choose between models and color. They will all be grey and slow. Thanks for your input, much appreciated.
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          Jul 30 2012: Good point Wade, and I agree with your mom..."if we tolerate everything then we don't stand for anything". What are you "tolerating" regarding same sex marriage?
          See, I am not "tolerating" anything regarding same sex marriage. I simply recognize the right of ALL people to choose who they want as a partner.

          You understand that homosexuality is not a "cultural difference"....right? Homosexuality spans all cultures, and has been practiced throughout history. The only thing we are doing with legalizing same sex partnerships is recognizing that all people have the the same rights under the law.
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          Jul 30 2012: Wade, the slippery slope argument is a false dichotomy.

          You could connect tolerating women voting to cultural decline or homogenisation - and it would be a false connection.

          We still get to choose what we tolerate. Equal marriage rights for homosexual couples doesn't mean anything goes. Doesn't mean polygamy or forced marriage is okay.

          Each issue on its merits.
      • Jul 30 2012: Is this post to remove the legal aspect of marriage or to acknowledge the fact that today's society views marriage much differently? Colleen, you speak to marriage being out of love for each other but out of breach it becomes a legal contract. If in love, it is a Union of two people working together to form a life against odds stacked, not always, in their favor. A struggle and a daily check of balances of their own happiness measured against the happiness of the unit (the marriage).

        A legal contract has a checklist....Statement of Work actually...what this party will do and what the other party will do and when in breach, it gets negotiated until both parties expire it due to differences.....hence divorce. While all marriages are built on negotiation, love and legal contacts are not synonymous. To be honest, I've known more homosexual couples who respected their love for each other without that legal contract than I have married couples who thought someone owes them something for a ceremony.

        So...if we removed the entitlements of the legal aspects of marriage such as tax credits, insurance, many mature marriages do you think today would be built on love?
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          Jul 30 2012: Hi Mia,
          I commented with the post you refer to (I think) because Wade stated...
          " If we don't define it, then it has no meaning or value...Let's remove the governmental entitlements of legal marriage and then see where this conversation goes".

          I provided the definitions, which included legality, and yes, it also shows us that our views of marriage are least some of us.

          I believe there are many different factors which influence marriage. My point, throughout this thread, is that everyone has the same rights under the law.

          I totally agree with you....I have also known many same sex couples who respect and love each other without legal contract. I also know many same sex couples who are happy that they can have the same right to be married as everyone else, under the law in this state.

          Sorry, I cannot even begin to answer your question..."how many mature marriages do you think today would be built on love?" I don't know.
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        Jul 30 2012: What I fear most is further down the road, long after I've moved on. I fear there will be no discerning characteristics between male and female. Basically becoming an Asexual society. Maybe I'm a dying breed who overly enjoys the natural flavors of life. I guess you could catagoize me as a naturalist if there is such a catagory. So my closing statement would be live love laugh and may no man or law take away your right to choose your life and live it how you want to.
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          Jul 30 2012: Wade,
          Different sexual orientations have existed since the beginning of humankind. Do you honestly think that after a couple thousand years of different sexual orientations, we are now going to all become Asexual because we recognize same sex partnerships? Think about it my friend:>)

          I also enjoy the "natural flavors of life", and that includes accepting and respecting others, even if they have a different sexual preference than mine. I also am a "naturalist", and I believe everyone has the right to be his/her own "naturalist" as long as it does not adversly impact others. I like and agree with your "closing statement":>)
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          Jul 30 2012: Male/Female/Hermaphrodite are biologically different.
          We can celebrate our differences and still have equal rights.
          Equality under the law does not equal absolute sameness.

          All people are a bit different.
          Look at the diversity in society now compared to any time in your life.
          More choice to be who you are or want to be (in some societies)
          I guess I don't share your fear of some bland unisex future.
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        Aug 1 2012: I am normally big on dictrioary definitions but this case reminds me of letting nazis define what Jew are. How can we take the defininition of a person or persons who are totally imersed in a world view that does not allow the possibility of the other perspective? In addition, a dictionary must cater to the already common idea of a concept so that does not allow adaptation.
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          Aug 1 2012: Debra,
          Did you actually look at the definitions, or read other comments? People are asking for accepted definitions of marriage, which I provided. The definitions which are accepted include same sex marriage. I do not understand your objection.

          The accepted definition of marriage in the dictionaries, has included same sex marriage for a long time, as I'm sure you know, and the newer definitions have adapted to reinforce same sex marriage as part of the definition. If you do not have this information, you might check further down in this comment thread to see another older definition I provided, which accepts same sex marriage.

          Honestly Debra, it sometimes seems like you are cranking out so many comments in a short period of time, it appears that many times you are not looking at other comments to evaluate the content or context. In this case you are simply contradicting an attempt to contradict me??? LOL:>)
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        Aug 1 2012: You know what, Collen, thank you. I thought I did and yet you are right. I must have jumped the gun. I accept that critique and it was partially based on the actors involved. This is a rare event and you are absolutely in error regarding my record but that is not surprising because you have never had a charitable moment towards me. Thanks for the valid part. I will be more vigilant.
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          Aug 1 2012: I understand Debra, that your comment was because of the "actors" involved rather than the actual information.

          I have reached out to you Debra because I care about you, and if you want to continue to say that I "have never had a charitable moment" towards you, or that I am passive agressive, or abusive, as you have labeled me, that is a choice you make. I choose to continue to treat you with kindness and respect NO MATTER WHAT!

          But...this discussion is not about you and me Debra, it is about homosexual marriage, which I wholeheartedly support, as I have throughout this comment thread. I have many friends with different sexual orientations, and I would sincerely like them to all have the right to be in relationship with the same legal rights as everyone else. I am grateful and proud to live in one of the first states in the USA to legalize same sex marriage:>)
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    Jul 26 2012: Ross, and other commenters,
    Think about this scenario, which happens often.

    A child is born into a family that practices a certain religious tradition. Throughout his/her childhood, s/he attends services, makes friends within the religious organization, feels like that is his/her loving community. Most religions have the core belief of love one unto others....etc. The child feels safe and accepted in their loving community.

    The child grows up, and realizes s/he is attracted to same sex partners. S/he finds a partner with whom s/he wants to spend his/her life in a committed relationship. Based on what s/he learned while growing up, his/her community is supportive and loving. Suddenly, because of sexual orientation, this person is denied the right to have a ceramony in which his/her "community" witnesses a committment to a loving relationship. They are told it is not "natural", so we do not allow it in our church. How do you think that might feel?
    • Jul 26 2012: Mrs Steen, I am not certain that this particularly emotional example is relevant in this debate. It doesn't mention the legal aspect of marriage at all. As for "how would I feel?" question, I'm sure that would not be a pleasant experience, but government has no authority to tell us what we should believe to be "natural." It also has no authority to tell us what to support as a religious institution.

      The legal aspect of a homosexual marriage is a very valid one. This wasn't mentioned though. However, I know of no law which prevents a homosexual couple from having a ceremony with loved ones to celebrate their commitment. It just isn't called a wedding. People are not prohibited from assembling or throwing celebrations.
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        Jul 26 2012: You are right Noah, my example, which many people experience, does not address the legal aspect of marriage at all. That's why "homosexual marriage", which is the topic of this discussion, is being made legal in more and more states in the USA. I'm sure this will please you, as you said several times that you believe in legal equal rights for all.

        You are absolutely right that government has no authority to tell us what we "should" believe, so it will be good when religious institutions start recognizing what the governments are legalizing:>) We still have a little of this challenge here in Vermont you know? Although same sex marriage is legal, some religious institutions are still discriminating unfortunately.

        FYI. It IS indeed called a wedding when same sex partners have a ceramony to make a loving committment to each other.

        BTW, I am not a "Mrs.", nor am I a "Mr.", which you labeled me in another post:>)
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      Jul 26 2012: The three tiers are religious, legal, and emotional. Of these the largest is legal. If the marriage is made legal the effects are giagantic in terms of changes in law and rights of spouses. Religions adjust over time due to social and cultural influences. Emotional concerns include individual, community, and family.

      Except for emotional the impact is money ... as usual.

      Colleens scenero is very much a part of the discussion. It may not be along the lines you wished to go but still is valid. I am of a generation which had uncles that never married and aunts that were not related and still lived together. It occured and was disguised because we did not discuss those issues. I am still tied to that generation. It is not for me but who am I to condem others for their lifestyle.

      Sally Ride, astronaut died this week and her lifestyle is the major conservation not her accomplishments. She had a same sex partner and is being tried in the press. Is that fair.

      Look the issue is here ... emotional, legal, religious, and very personal as Colleen expressed ... where do we go from here? Put it back in the closet or face and resolve the dragons.

      Colleen my long time friend all my best and Noah my new friend thanks for clarifying some of the issues that are not on the surface.

      All the best. Bob.
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        Jul 26 2012: I agree Bob, that Noah has helped to clarify many of the issues relating to this topic. I am from the same generation, when same sex relationships were not talked about. Here we are talking about it on a public forum, and I think that is GREAT progress. There certainly are some folks who are still uncomfortable with it, and that is usually because of religious dogma.

        Too bad about the focus on Sally Ride's sexual orientation rather than her accomplishments....that's just foolish! I do not believe this topic will ever go back into the closet, and that's a good thing.

        OH....I've got another story:>)
        A friend of mine was in a heterosexual marriage for many years, had two kids, then divorced. She was a wonderful councelor, psychologist, therapist, teacher. I say "was" because she died of cancer several years ago.

        Anyway, after she divorced, she dated and had relationships with men for quite a long time, and was usually frustrated. Finally, one day, we were chatting, and she told me that she met a wonderful woman, and was in an intimate relationship with her. She know....I found a person who I love deeply and can relate to on so many levels, it doesn't matter that she is the same sex as I am....I love that person. They were together many years until my friend died of cancer. Her partner, who was a nurse, was by her side every single moment. Does it matter what sex they were?
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          Jul 26 2012: I think it is a shame to put limits or bounds on things either physical, intellectual, or emotions.

          To often the label defines the situation, the person, and at the same time revels the true person who is using the label. It could be many things including those who are unsecure in their masulanity.

          Be well my friend. Bob.
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        Jul 27 2012: I agree Bob, that it is a shame to put limits or bounds on things, ESPECIALLY when we don't have all the information. To make blanket statements like we see on this thread that say homosexual marriage is wrong, inappropriate, unacceptable, un-natural, etc. simply shows me that some folks are not willing to accept or respect the choices of others.

        I agree that using a label reveals the person using the label more than the one s/he is trying to label. I also agree that homophobia is often a projection of ones own insecurity with his/her sexuality.

        Thank you....I am too my friend:>)
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    Jul 26 2012: I remember a comment I read or heard (I don't remember how It got in my head lol) which was, don't homosexual people pay the same taxes as heterosexual people? This argument pretty much sums up how useless all the discussion about the topic is.
    PS: I'm just talking about getting homosexual marriage legal in the eyes of the government, I don't care about all those other eyes.
  • Jul 26 2012: It is also a hot spot in China these years.There are also many same sex couples in our country.Since their relationship is not allow in our society ,they may marry to a woman to conceal theirsexual orientation. It's horrible to women for they have no idea about the relationship between husbands and wives.More importantly, the wives of those men may get hurt both physically and mentally.
    In my opinion ,we have the rights to choose our own life.
    well,religious is not in my consideration since ^our country is ^
  • Jul 26 2012: As I understand the law is using two terms; marriage and same-sex marriage and each one is defined separately. In law, one term must have one definition. Example: Legal person and natural person are two terms that has two different definitions. The law has to provive a legal mechanism for both cases.
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      Jul 26 2012: Efrain,
      The law simply needs to recognize all people as people, which has happened in several states in the US.
      • Jul 26 2012: The use of the term mariage to define three spaecific legal status is too complex. By nature, complex things are more prone to misinterpretation.

        If my comment implies that same sex couples has to be treated inferior my apologies to all TED comunity.
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          Jul 26 2012: Efrain,
          What is complex in believing that all people should have the same rights?
    • Jul 26 2012: I think that homosexual marriage is not a legal problem, it is a social problem that people turn into a legal problems to find more agruments againts .
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        Jul 26 2012: Good point Oscar!
        I believe it is only a "problem" when people try to impose their own personal beliefs onto others, and to deny some people the rights that other people have, is a violation of human rights.
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    Jul 26 2012: The choice we have as a society is whether to allow same sex couples the same rights and recognition as opposite sex couples.

    Beliefs in themselves are not enough to deny equal rights.

    You don't have to marry someone the same sex if you don't believe in it. Religious organisations shouldn't have to endorse it if they don't want to. But laws are for everyone.

    You might believe that Muslims can not marry non Mulsims. Or Anglos with Asians. Or 20 years olds with 40 years olds. Or that certain races shouldn't have a vote. Or that women shouldn't be able to drive. You might define voting as something only for men. But you need a secular argument to restrict the rights of others.
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    Jul 25 2012: Mariage is a party where your mother in law meets your cousin. None of the government's business.
    The whole institution is a joke. People do what they want to do anyway, regardless of all the paperwork.

    It's depressing every day how slowly we're crawling out of the Dark Ages.
    • Jul 25 2012: If you want to be this way, it will be. If someone really loves you, he/she will not do what he/she wants anyway but will think about you and your opinion. The partner will care about you more than for himself/herself. And this is called love. Marriage is the institution, which was initiated to establish the family. It's another question how people transformed it with the time in order to become non sense. Therefore, there are not many people who have the luck nowadays to meet such special person. Its very rare. But out there are small percentage of people who are reliable, know the meaning of love and are honest and loyal. They love for life. I think such people are for marriage and such people should be appreciated in life in general. Instead, they are appreciated when it is already late. Lucky is the one who appreciates them in time and marry them. Then, the marriage would totally change its meaning for such person.
      • Jul 25 2012: "It's another question how people transformed it with the time in order to become non sense."

        Actually, if we are discussing marriage in the real world, and not some other world where everything happens the way it 'should' happen, then this non sense is the very essence of the problem.

        Your vision of marriage is very romantic, but unfortunately marriage is a matter of law and the privileges granted by law. And the laws are wrong.
        • Jul 26 2012: Marriage actually can be very romantic even nowadays if you make it such. Don't look the problem in the laws. The people are the problem and their values. If someone is not honest and loyal to the ONE, the marriage won't help him to save the marriage. Marriage is simply a symbol for family and love and certainly not a saviour. So, Barry it all depends on your values.