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" width="8" height="8"/> A Challenge: Dragononandonandonspirit
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Malevolent
post Aug 25 2005, 12:36 PM
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Multple times and in multiple variations, you have made the following argument:

"Supporters for gay marriage aren't truely about freedom. If it were, they would be for legalising gay, man-beast, and polyamorous marriage."

My challenge: elucidate on your argument for why we should think that gay marriage, beastility, and multiple-partner marriage are all equal.
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Dragonspirit
post Aug 25 2005, 06:53 PM
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Heterosexual marriage can claim two forms of superiority from other forms of marriage --

1. Tradition

2. Majority belief

What can homosexual marriage claim to make it co-equal to heterosexual marriage, and superior to polygamy, incest or beastiality?

I don't believe it can. Polygamy, in particular, even enjoys the advantage of being more traditional historically.

I believe it can only be justified on the basis of freedom. It can only be justified if one rejects those two given reasons, and in fact most any reason, and simply argues people should be allowed to do what they want - even if they are in the minority.

If so, and one embraces that, then how does homosexual marriage make the argument that it belongs but now the others don't? Doesn't that freedom argument advocate tolerance and acceptance? Where's the tolerance for these other forms of marriage?

Basically, once you 'move the line' how do you know where to set it down again unless you are simply being arbitrary? Current marriage isn't arbitrary, it has those two reasons supporting it. Legalizing all marriage also isn't arbitrary, as it has the freedom reason (this is also the option I support FWIW). But legalizing only homosexual marriage but maintaining the ban on the rest is simply without any objective justification.

Now, if someone asks themselves why would someone want to do that, the obvious answer is someone benefits. Who? Well, it would certainly have the affect of normalizing that form of marriage - particulary because it still offers a contrast with "not real" marriages (like incest).

That seems to fit an agenda quite nicely. That seems to be an agenda.
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acow
post Aug 25 2005, 11:01 PM
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tradition!

(sorry, couldn't resist, you two keep at it...)
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Malevolent
post Aug 26 2005, 11:35 AM
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Acow, you stole my line. I've been dubbing the argument from tradition the Tevye argument for years now. :P

DS -

QUOTE
What can homosexual marriage claim to make it co-equal to heterosexual marriage, and superior to polygamy, incest or beastiality?


The thing is is that supporters of gay marriage - particularly those who do not support ANY of the other three - is a combination of things. First, the denial of the necessary inequality of same-sex and opposite-sex marriage. They, in fact, do not argue that one is superior to the other.

Second, there's a bit of the tradition thing in there: that a marriage is between two people, and particularly in contemporary society, that no person has more than one marriage in the legal sense at any given time (whether or not other senses should be considered, I set aside for the moment).

Third, particularly for the polyamorouy (N.B. - I use this instead of polygamy because it's actually a bit broader than polygamy), they might well have a utilitarian argument. They might point, for example, to current instiations of societies that allow plural marriage and the plight of women in those societies.

QUOTE
It can only be justified if one rejects those two given reasons, and in fact most any reason, and simply argues people should be allowed to do what they want - even if they are in the minority.


Not strictly any reason. If those two are the only reasons to consider opposite-sex monogomy superior to same-sex monogomy, the argument is in a fair amount of trouble. Consider each in turn:

(1) Tradition

This assumes an implicit premise, that tradition ought to be maintained. But it doesn't seem to strictly follow from the fact that something has been done that it should be done that way. It might give us pause in how we go about bringing about change - for example, how quickly we seek institutional change - but it hardly follows from this that there should be no change.

Interestingly enough, the tradition argument is also a double-edged sword in this case: there is, I think, a case to be made that the contemporary notion of romantic love as the basis of marriage is actually quite recent.

(2) Majority Support

Open to the quite-often made statement that a policy being popular doesn't make it right. I'll spare the tired slavery example, since that itself reflects a bias of popular opposition to it in the present climate. Instead, let's use something more argumentative: the so-called Assault Weapons Ban. There are clever arguments for and against it.

At present, I've seen poll results that suggest a majority would actually have liked to renew it; and personally, I think that, when we look at the arguments and data, the most defensible position is against the ban. It adds nothing to the counter-argument to say that it enjoys popular support on whether or not we should renew the ban, particularly to one who disagrees with the position.

Or to add a second parellel: polls also show most people support keeping Roe v Wade around. You've done legal work, if I recall correctly. What does this contribute to the following position - the Roe v Wade decision was decided correctly and well-supported by precedent?

For....

QUOTE
I believe it can only be justified on the basis of freedom.


In a sense, you're right. The argument that I favour is one based on Amendment XIV, Section 1 - the equal protection clause. By my understanding, the current jurisprudence on this is to the effect of the following:

The state may not create a de facto or de jure distinction between classes of citizens, unless there is either a valid public health or valid public saftey reason for doing so.

There's a very real sense in which freedom - and it's acceptable limits - is the basis of the argument. All the gay marriage opponent who accepts the above as the underlying premise needs to show is two things:

(1) That opposite sex marriage not being permitted falls into the above principle
(2) That the other forms of marriage do not.

To be fair, multiple forms of polyarmorous marriage may well not meet the second criterion; but it hardly follows from this that incest and beastility would not. There are, of course, other principles that can be applied - particularly since, when we deal with these sorts of questions, we must in part deal with sexual ethics:

The Principle of Consent: a sexual act is morally permissible if all involved parties give informed consent.

The Principle of Non-Consent: a sexual act is morally impermissible if all involved parties do not give informed consent.

This would, effectively, rule out: rape, paedophillia, and beastiality at a minimum. Of course, there's always the argument that things like 18 are arbitrary. But even this has a reply:

The law, like so many other things, has to deal with a series of quick-and-dirty heuristics. They sometimes misfire. For example, we presume full maturity at 18, but that doesn't rule-out the outlying cases of the immature 20 year old and mature 15 year old. Because we aren't an All-Seeing Eye in the Pyramid, we lack the ability to pass a law based on anything other than the general case.

QUOTE
But legalizing only homosexual marriage but maintaining the ban on the rest is simply without any objective justification.


Some sketches of arguments that would make the justifications work:

Polyamoury: Creates a signifigant potential for fraud, and signifigant problems with the tax code (for instance, the possibility of multiple common-law marriages).
Incest: Genetic defects in offspring create a public health problem.
Beastiality: Human-Beast sex is unclean to the point of a public health problem; inability of animals to give informed consent.

I do conceed, however, that there may well be no good, solid, legal reasoning for a continued failure to recognise plural marriage - though it hardly also follows that incest and beastiality are truely comparable.
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Dragonspirit
post Aug 26 2005, 04:26 PM
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For argument's sake, let's concede on that consent point. All marriage should require consent because that would cause one party (particularly a minor) to be in a marriage they didn't want to be in and violate their rights. I won't argue pedophilia or forcibly arranged marriage, etc.

However, in the case of beastiality, the only one who has rights is the person, not the animal. The animal is property. The animal doesn't consent when you take it to the vet. The animal can be killed and consumed at your whim. So, if the creature has no right to live and no right to choose, why then could it not be used otherwise?

I'd ask, as a point of clarity, do you support laws outlawing beatiality as a sexual act (rather than a marriage)?

In the case of incest, the state is making law based on a moral judgment. The only sound argument I've seen for rejecting incest (other than morality - and if you use morality you've just killed the case for homosexual marriage) is that offspring would be at an increased risk of health problems. Yet, this doesnt hold consistently, as we do not prevent people who could be genetically screened as likely to pass on debilities from getting married. There's no objective criteria. We do not set it as something like "if you are 55% likely to pass on a debilitating disease then you can't get marriage". We just simply say "no, that's icky, no marriage for you".

Finally, in polygamous marriage(s), the basis of rejecting it due to a greater potential for inequality in the marriage has no standing because we don't apply that standard to already accepted marriages. A couple who is going to be married, for example, under Islamic law or any devoutly religious household by that token is going to have an increased liklihood of inequality. Yet are we going to crusade in and tell them no, sorry, your religious roots are just too likely to result in an unbalanced marriage? This basis you used gives WAY too much power to the government to make decision on who ought to get married, turning big brother into Dr. Phil.

As for the fraud argument, again, it doesn't hold unless we apply that to other marriages. We have an increased likelihood of fraud when someone marries someone from a foreign country but we don't ban those marriages.

This post has been edited by Alberich: Aug 26 2005, 05:08 PM
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Malevolent
post Aug 26 2005, 11:48 PM
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QUOTE
So, if the creature has no right to live and no right to choose, why then could it not be used otherwise?


Legal marriage is a contract. Thus, while an animal might be affected by a contract - for example, who gets ownership in a divorce - the animal may not enter in to a contract. That is just a simple matter of law.

QUOTE
I'd ask, as a point of clarity, do you support laws outlawing beatiality as a sexual act (rather than a marriage)?


Of course.

It violates the Principle of Non-Consent.

QUOTE
Yet, this doesnt hold consistently, as we do not prevent people who could be genetically screened as likely to pass on debilities from getting married. There's no objective criteria.


Quick-and-dirty heuristics strike again. The resources to genetically test everyone is cost-prohibitive. However, you either are or are not within a certain degree of relation to someone, and this takes just a family tree with biological parents to determine.

QUOTE
Finally, in polygamous marriage(s), the basis of rejecting it due to a greater potential for inequality in the marriage has no standing because we don't apply that standard to already accepted marriages.


Polyamorous marriage forms are actually the point I'm most willing to conceede. Mainly because, like failure to recognise same sex monogomy, I'm not convinced that there's a valid public health or saftey reason to fail to do so - creating, effectively a distinction between the majority (monogomy) and minority (polyamory).
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Dragonspirit
post Aug 27 2005, 04:33 PM
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QUOTE
Of course.

It violates the Principle of Non-Consent.


What is the distinction, then, from eating them or taking them to the vet? Being killed is much worse than being used sexually. You can, for example, get the death penalty for a single murder. You can't get it for rape, no matter how serial or vile in nature.

Unless you are advocating a ban on meat consumption and slaughterhouses, how do you reconcile this seeming inconsistency?

As a side note, it wouldn't even necessarily be non consentual. Ever had a dog try to hump your leg? If an animal was behaving in such a manner (quite consenting), should it still be illegal? If so, why?

QUOTE
The resources to genetically test everyone is cost-prohibitive.


My dear overlord, that is a dodge. The law, and how it is enforced, are two different things. And we don't make laws (or fail to do so) based upon the difficulty of enforcement. Look no further than our laws against drugs, terrorism, rape or hate crimes.

What's more, it's quite easy that the costs of such testing could be shifted to the marriage applicants thus putting the burden on them to prove their genetic compatibility.

Let's go one further - let's say future technology allowed people to be tested for genetic compatibility that was NOT cost prohibitive. Should marriages between those that would have a great(er) liklihood of passing off genetic disease be banned?
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Malevolent
post Aug 27 2005, 07:20 PM
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QUOTE
Unless you are advocating a ban on meat consumption and slaughterhouses, how do you reconcile this seeming inconsistency?


Simple: the Principle of Non-Consent, if you look at the wording, applies only to sexual ethics. Where other things are concerned, a principle of non-consent does not strictly apply. Food is one of them, since we can not coherently apply a principle of consent and survive.

QUOTE
Ever had a dog try to hump your leg?


Canine Psychology: this is *not* a sexual thing. It's a *dominance* thing. By doing that, the dog is attempting to challenge your social status.

QUOTE
My dear overlord, that is a dodge.


No, it's not. THIS is a dodge -

(IMG:http://www.edmunds.com/media/2003/laautoshow/dodge.magnum/dodge.magnum.concept.r34.500.jpg)


QUOTE
And we don't make laws (or fail to do so) based upon the difficulty of enforcement. Look no further than our laws against drugs, terrorism, rape or hate crimes


Depends on the value of the law. Sometimes, the quick-and-dirty approach is far, far more efficient than a more heavy-handed one. By your own standards, we should be going by the consequences of a policy, not their enforcement.

QUOTE
Should marriages between those that would have a great(er) liklihood of passing off genetic disease be banned?


It would depend on the likelihood.

Incidentally, a parellel argument just occured to me: the vast majority of incestuous relationships are ALSO non-consensual and/or paedophillia.
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Malevolent
post Aug 27 2005, 07:23 PM
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I now ask a couple of counter-questions:

Why should monogomous opposite-sex couples not be recognised? Or polyamorous ones?

Surely we have reasons aside from popular belief and tradition.
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Dragonspirit
post Aug 28 2005, 12:58 AM
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QUOTE
Where other things are concerned, a principle of non-consent does not strictly apply. Food is one of them, since we can not coherently apply a principle of consent and survive.


It's a rather weak definition, then, as the basis for it at least should be protecting the being from harm. I view this whole thing as only having validity if it's concerned with protecting the person's life, not just their sexual participation. Sex surely ranks lower than life itself.

And, of course, we could always eat vegetables.

QUOTE
Canine Psychology: this is *not* a sexual thing. It's a *dominance* thing. By doing that, the dog is attempting to challenge your social status.


Not exclusive of each other. Some animals are horny... animals. Yes then.

QUOTE
Sometimes, the quick-and-dirty approach is far, far more efficient than a more heavy-handed one. By your own standards, we should be going by the consequences of a policy, not their enforcement.


By having the law on the books, we could find ways to easily prevent genetically risky couples from pairing. That is, after all, why we don't allow incest, right?

Most law, incidentally, is quite inefficient.

QUOTE
It would depend on the likelihood.


50%? 75%? 99%? 100%?

QUOTE
Why should monogomous opposite-sex couples not be recognised? Or polyamorous ones?


Err.. they are, and I think they should be (I think, if I understand the question).

QUOTE
Surely we have reasons aside from popular belief and tradition.


Belief and tradition are what is used to justify it. Same reasons used by those trying to include gay marriage. Freedom is used by those who aren't making exclusions to any legally consenting adults.
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Malevolent
post Sep 9 2005, 10:46 AM
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Sorry this took so long.

QUOTE
It's a rather weak definition, then, as the basis for it at least should be protecting the being from harm.


It does, presumably, protect from harm, since non-consenual sex will cause physical, psychological, and emotion damage.

QUOTE
Sex surely ranks lower than life itself.


Hence the reason why the Principle of Non-Consent might be disregarded in areas where life is threatened, since the Principle of Non-Consent defines a set of prohibited activities. I can take another being's life to preserve life; for example, if I see a mugger and believe the victim's life is in danger, we would both agree that I'm morally justified in shooting him.

QUOTE
And, of course, we could always eat vegetables.


Is that why the doctor told mom she had to eat more meat?

QUOTE
Not exclusive of each other. Some animals are horny... animals. Yes then.


Doesn't mean that they aren't trying to do a dominance thing, or that they would be capable of giving any sort of rational consent. Sexual activity in the example we're discussing is a physical reaction, not the result of deliberate cognition, triggered by scent.

QUOTE
By having the law on the books, we could find ways to easily prevent genetically risky couples from pairing. That is, after all, why we don't allow incest, right?


That's one reason; another reason would be the fact that most incidents of incest also count as incidents of rape or paedophilla.

QUOTE
Err.. they are, and I think they should be (I think, if I understand the question).


Ooops.

I wrote opposite-sex when I was thinking same-sex.

QUOTE
Belief and tradition are what is used to justify it


Which aren't convincing arguments to the supporter.

Two premises are needed, both of which most people would probably agree to reject (or agree need severe modification) -

Principle One: "If x has popular support, x is the right thing to do."
(Really? So if it became popular to, say, go out and kill a black person at random, that's ok? Jim Crow was ok, because it had popular support?)

Principle Two: "If x has been done before, x should continue to be done."

QUOTE
Same reasons used by those trying to include gay marriage.


Er, no. They use Equal Protection.

QUOTE
Freedom is used by those who aren't making exclusions to any legally consenting adults.


Animals lack the rational capacity to give informed consent.
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necrolyte
post Sep 19 2005, 08:05 AM
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QUOTE
1. Tradition

2. Majority belief


Aren't both of these on the list of recognized logical fallacies, in that neither indicate a superiority of argument, but an appeal to non-rational support?

There is no logical, rational reason why tradition or majority beleif are in any way better than minority beleif. There are logical reasons for these, but from a historical point of view alone, if we kept traditional lifestyles alone we would not be beyond the stone age, and if we accepted majority opinion as truth then the Progroms in Russia were OK.

So wouldn't it be good for DS to validate the majority beleif and tradition arguments first?
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Malevolent
post Sep 19 2005, 11:00 AM
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QUOTE
Aren't both of these on the list of recognized logical fallacies, in that neither indicate a superiority of argument, but an appeal to non-rational support?


Only in some situations. If you accept

(1`) Traditions should be upheld

or

(2`) Majority Belief should determine the law

then, without additional modifications, they do provide rational support. Note that in both cases, I deliberatly made the statements unqualified. One could easily hold, say -

(2``) Majority Belief should determine the law, unless a rights violation is involved

and still be coherent.
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necrolyte
post Sep 19 2005, 06:22 PM
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There is no argument for why traditions should be upheld over change unless you can show that those traditions are somehow superior.

This is obviously a rights violation. The right likes to classify it otherwise because it involves a contract between two people, and two people cannot be given rights. However, I would point out that, in the area of free speech, both a speaker and an audience is needed. If speech is free, one is free to speak and one is free to listen, and the rights of two individuals are protected here.

I'll leave this up to you two to finish, I just felt like interjecting.

This post has been edited by necrolyte: Sep 19 2005, 06:23 PM
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