Saturday, November 04, 2006

Same-Sex Marriage and Polygamy

As you might have seen, the commments following my rant about anti-gay Republican campaign tactics evolved into a discussion of same-sex marriage. My friend Scot has responded to comments left by my friend Jason comparing same-sex marriage and polygamy.

1 comment:

Jed Eye Thunder said...

Thanks, Chris, for starting this thread where we might more carefully focus our attentions on marriage equality, which is often currently referred to as "gay marriage."

I'm glad to see your link to the really very clear and persuasive ideas from your friend Scot on why issues of polygamy are entirely separate issues from those connected to marriage equality.

In my post in your prior thread (on the GOP), I was responding to the tendency among defenders of the Faith to assert that if we "redefine" marriage by allowing same-sex couples to partake of it, we are then on the slippery slope toward polygamy and who knows what other chaos. From everything I've been able to read on both issues, I'm persuaded that these are such entirely separate issues that there is simply no relationship or cause and effect between them. I think Scot makes a good initial effort at pointing this out.

In response to what I posted on that thread, one of your good friends asserted that my analogy of extending the Priesthood to blacks was "so far off" that he didn't know quite how to respond.

Perhaps I left something out. Perhaps I confused everyone. For the sake of clarity, let me just say that I was merely addressing the concept of REDEFINITION.

Many people, including a good many LDS people and leaders, have argued that extending the rights, benefits, and obligation of marriage to two people of the same sex would REDEFINE marriage (and thus, weaken or even destroy it).

In focusing on the concept of "redefining" something, I appealed to the example of Blacks and the Priesthood: when the LDS Church finally extended the Priesthood to the Blacks, were they redefining the Priesthood? (I think not.) (And was the Priesthood weakened or destroyed? I think not.)

In the same way, it seems to me that extending obligations of marriage to people of the same sex does not redefine marriage. All it does is include more people than it used to. And that has happened to marriage many, many times. Need I point out that it wasn't all that long ago that here in my State of Virginia, it was illegal for any mixed race couple to marry? Need I point out that even prisoners in jail are now allowed to marry? Need I point out that sex offenders, drug addicts, dead-beat dads, bankrupt people, and even (God forbid) Atheists are allowed to marry? Has any of this destroyed marriage? Has any of this led to polygamy?

True, one example is a religious issue, and the other example is a legal issue, but that's not the point. I'm only talking about what it means to redefine.

Oh, I suppose viewed from the examples I just listed, we're constantly "redefining" marriage, though I see all of this as only extending it as a civil right. That's how civil rights are. They tend to spread.

But NONE of these "redefinitions" have changed marriage from being a one-on-one proposition, which I called a question of numerosity (not numerality - puh-leeese!!)

That's not so hard to understand, is it?