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November 12, 2004

Fix the Out-Door Before You Let More People In

On NRO, Jennifer Roback Morse has what almost reads like a summary of certain chapters in the blogosphere discussion about same-sex marriage. The immediate subject of the piece is sailor Judy Ann Patterson, who got married to a friend of a friend in order to gain additional benefits that the Navy offers to married couples. Giving the man a healthy monthly cut, Patterson padded her income quite nicely.

Morse writes the first questions that came to my mind, and with answers that I've long suggested (see here, and especially here):

Just ask yourself this: If Patterson and Huff had known that they could only obtain a divorce on grounds of adultery or domestic violence, would they have been more or less likely to contract this marriage? If couples had to have a two-year waiting period for a divorce to be finalized, would increased housing benefits seem like an adequate reason to get married? Marriage used to mean, "one to a customer for life." Now it means, "I stay married for as long as I feel like it." There can be no doubt that the easy availability of divorce contributed to making this kind of fraud possible.

At the very least, constructing the debate such that Morse's subsequent suggestions are seen as prerequisites for same-sex marriage — judging by the reaction they currently provoke — could dry up some of the pat-me-on-the-back and make-it-go-away support that SSM currently enjoys.

Posted by Justin Katz at November 12, 2004 5:35 PM
Marriage & Family

I've actually told some liberals that, if they would be willing to stand with me to make divorce much, much harder to obtain, I'd be willing to stand with them in saying that homosexuals should be allowed to have a -secular- marriage.

I wouldn't support them if they said my church couldn't refuse to acknowledge marriages in religious cermonies (Are there any that are affected by marriage, except for the wedding itself?). I would continue to see homosexual relationships in the same way I do now, which is to say that I believe they're sinful, but I feel no more hard feelings toward those couples than I feel to those who are involved in cohabitation arrangements with members of the opposite sex.

Most of the time they drop the subject pretty quickly. Apparently, they feel homosexuals should only want in on marriage if it's the same revolving-door establishment that people like Britney Spears and Larry King get to enjoy.

Posted by: Robin S. at November 17, 2004 3:02 PM


Yes, I've found that tying stronger divorce laws with a same-sex marriage law isn't a popular idea among those who advocate for the latter. It's too bad. I think that's a trade that many social conservatives would make. (Which would also deprive the homosexual activists of their powerful rhetorical slight that the opposition is entirely about hatred of gays.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 20, 2004 12:51 PM