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January 20, 2005

What Slippery Slohhhhhhh...

A frightening and-don't-you-forget-it catch by Marriage Debate:

...In response to a student's question about gay marriage, bigamy and polygamy in certain communities, [Nadine] Strossen said the ACLU is actively fighting to defend freedom of choice in marriage and partnerships.

"We have defended the right for individuals to engage in polygamy," Strossen said. "We defend the freedom of choice for mature, consenting individuals."

Posted by Justin Katz at January 20, 2005 12:06 AM
Marriage & Family
Comments

"We defend the freedom of choice for mature, consenting individuals." And why do they do that? Because making everything about "me, me, me" is a good way to deconstruct a society, like good little Marxoids want to do.

Posted by: ELC at January 20, 2005 10:48 AM

Well, Justin, here it is again: the dreaded word of "choice."

It seems that all is "choice." THAT seems to be the supreme "value."

Nothing is ever said (or, written, or specified) as to WHAT is chosen!

It's all about the selfish and I, I, I (once again).

Keep up the good work, Justin. You may have to devote your entire life to it.

Posted by: Aaron at January 20, 2005 4:49 PM

Yeah, if a Straight couple gets married, and the wife gets survivorship benefits from Social Security after her husband is killed in a car accident, well, THAT'S all perfectly nice and reasonable. But if I pay into the Social Security as well, and I wish to provide for the well-being of MY spouse should I die prematurely, well, I'm just being selfish.

Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at January 21, 2005 2:16 PM

Chuck,

No, of course you're not. What you're doing is making an argument for reform of Social Security such that citizens can dictate where their lifelong investments in the system should go upon their deaths, rather than having it all go toward and flow from a communal pot. Or perhaps some other reform of Social Security.

It would be a grave error, however, to manipulate marriage policy on the basis of its effect on Social Security policy.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 21, 2005 2:26 PM

You may be aware that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) basically insures that the Social Security Administration and the I.R.S. can ignore Gay couples, even those that get legally married in Massachusetts. Married Gay couples in Massachusetts STILL can't file joint federal tax returns nor can they declare one another beneficiaries under Social Security. If you think it might be reasonable to alter the law to accomodate them, well, that's awfully charitable of you, but DOMA stands in the way.

That having been said, perhaps you can put yourself in my place for just a moment and imagine how frustrating it is to read postings from people who think it's nothing but pure selfishness for Gay couple who wish to make that commitment to each other. They say, "It's all just I, I, I." "Nothing but ME, ME, ME." "Selfish, selfish, selfish." Can you imagine a heterosexual couple having to contend with such derision?

Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at January 21, 2005 3:12 PM
If you think it might be reasonable to alter the law to accomodate them, well, that's awfully charitable of you, but DOMA stands in the way.

Is there something about DOMA that excludes it from the phrase "alter the law"?

put yourself in my place for just a moment and imagine how frustrating it is to read postings from people who think it's nothing but pure selfishness for Gay couple who wish to make that commitment to each other

I don't think Aaron's comment to this post is properly read outside of the context of this post, to which he's making explicit reference.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 21, 2005 3:25 PM
That having been said, perhaps you can put yourself in my place for just a moment and imagine how frustrating it is to read postings from people who think it's nothing but pure selfishness for Gay couple who wish to make that commitment to each other. They say, "It's all just I, I, I." "Nothing but ME, ME, ME." "Selfish, selfish, selfish." Can you imagine a heterosexual couple having to contend with such derision?

First of all, how frustrating it is for you is essentially irrelevant to the question of how marriage should be defined - the "feelings" argument can be used to support any definition of marriage. Second, of course heterosexual couples get derided for their selfishness - it's bizarre to think otherwise.

You are completely missing the point of Strossen's outlook - she explicitly says that the only criterion is whether the two (or more) people are consenting. The specific content of their behavior is irrelevant as long as they both consent. She says, in response to the question "how shall we define marriage?", "any relationship entered into freely by consenting adults should get equal consideration." Because, as Aaron says, the liberal mantra is that the highest good is individual choice. The fact that some choices are harmful to other people, or to society as a whole, is not acknowledged. Your response is to say, "but my choice is not selfish!" But Strossen doesn't care whether your choice is selfish or not - all choices are equal in her view. In her world, you have no claim to be making a morally superior choice, since your choice is no better or no worse than the polygamist who marries 3 women so that he can be gratified sexually more often. Your complaint is basically a non-sequiter with respect to her comment (and Aaron's comments which were directed at the attitude exemplified by her comment, not at any particular choice).

If you want to move from Strossen's world back to the real world, where the particular choice you make has consequences, then we can debate whether we should elevate your choice to be intimate with a member of the same sex to an equal status with the decision to enter into a traditional marriage or not. But the point here is that the discussion necessarily entails considerations outside your particular relationship. We cannot decide the question of how to define marriage based upon the motives of any particular couple. So, again, your protestation is mostly a non-sequiter.

Finally, your comments completely ignore the practical point that in SSM debates, supporters routinely deny that enacting SSM will enable any further changes in the definition of marriage. How do you, as a conservative supporter of SSM, respond to a direct refutation of that claim? Your emotional outburst doesn't give me much confidence that you take this aspect of the debate seriously.

Posted by: Mike S. at January 21, 2005 3:47 PM

If you think it might be reasonable to alter the law to accomodate them, well, that's awfully charitable of you, but DOMA stands in the way.

Well, it might take an act of congress to pull off, but thankfully, that's really not such a big deal in this country now is it? Sure as heck beats living under the dictates of a dictator... ;)

As for Strossen:

"any relationship entered into freely by consenting adults should get equal consideration."

Which can only mean that Armin Meiwes should be entitled to the Social Security benefits of Bernd Brandes, had that been part of their peculiar arrangement.

Posted by: Marty at January 21, 2005 6:09 PM