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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:27 pm 
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Griffin wrote:
why is it not appropriate for the legislature to assign providence of what was originally a religious institution back to religious organizations

Marriage very well could be argued to be a religious institution. But civil unions? A justice of the peace can do all that without reference to god (or God) and the like. That is a legal matter for reasons that Dana specified above. The two happen to overlap for the most part.

I would argue that sexual reproduction is not a religious institution. Just ask your dog. And check out what the trees, birds, and bees are doing every spring. :oops: For we humans, it is an unalienable right of (wo)man.

Whether or not you want to call "it" separation of church and state (and I think you have this wrong, but I am not a lawyer or judge...) you cannot deny someone the civil right to union on the grounds that they do not recognize the religious institution. THAT is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

How we define that civil union is another matter altogether.

For the record... I think religions should be allowed to keep "marriage" as "marriage" and however they want to define it. But if you want the civil union and all legal rights that come with it, that is a matter of the state. As such, I am against gays and lesbians demanding state recognition for "marriage", but all for the civil union business.

I see no reason to spare them the agony... :P

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:46 pm 
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States should have the right to govern Civil Unions, I agree with that. And unions between people who do not desire a union based on religious beliefs should seek one. But, my point is, if a religion is prepared to support gay marriages, and marriage as an institution can be argued to be primarily a religious institution, then neither the legislature nor the courts should have a say in the matter. That sounds like the seperation of church and state, doesn't it, Bill?

In my original post I stated that the legislature should pass the responsibility of what should or should not be considered a marriage to religious organizations. But, there is a need to word any such legislation so that someone doesn't simply make up a new religion for the express purpose of allowing gay/lesbian marriage. Much like someone from Montana can't simply convert to Rastafarianism (or whatever it is called) just to smoke marijuana. I hope U understand my sideways logic now?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:32 pm 
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I understand your logic up to a point.

We should allow civil unions completely irrespective of "marriage." This in my opinion is one of those "inaliable rights" talked about in the declaration of independence that we all are entitled to. And it's up to the state to determine what a civil union is, as that determines all the LEGAL rights that come with it.

And I could care less what religion wants to call a marriage, and don't think it is the business of the state to legislate it so long as it doesn't interfere with matters of the state. This doesn't mean that government shouldn't care about ethics, matters of public health, and individual rights. That means the state has a right to legislate against pedophilia, beastiality, and even polygamy.

Before I thought about it much, I was even against the notion of gay civil unions as they couldn't be based on procreation. But then it became obvious to me that civil unions (a.k.a. marriages) could happen without procreation, adoptions are legal, and infertile couples could even seek out sperm or egg donations. Now you're talking about something that gay and lesbian couples could do. Should we deny it? If the biology is inevitable (I can't relate, but that's MY problem) should we be legislating against these civil unions? Here I now come down on the side of gays and lesbians. I know many such individuals who make much better couples and parents than most heterosexuals I know who are currently married.

The "morality" of it all isn't my charge. I'll leave that to The Big Guy, whomever (s)he is.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:40 am 
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Griffin, you at first seemed to take issue with my proposition, but now it seems to not only suit Bill's tastes, but yours: "And since some people (myself included) wholeheartedly support the idea of seperating church and state, why is it not appropriate for the legislature to assign providence of what was originally a religious institution back to religious organizations?" Hey, that's my idea!

No religion in civil unions, no state in marriage. Done.

Bill, there are six BILLION people on this earth. Given the prevailing social climate and the complexities and scacity of multiple marriages, I am not worried in the slightest that laws permitting unions between more than one person would cause loss of diversity. Diversity of gene, culture, environment, location, and whatever else is orders of magnitude more assured now than before. Besides, you've assumed one guy is going to have too many wives/kids. There might be a web of co-mingling and the same number of combinations as if there had been multiple marriages instead of one big one. Plus, if you're worried about weakening the species, what about medicine? We keep REALLY sick people around for a long time, many of which are infirm and old, but also many of which can reproduce, and we make a great effort to help infertile people conceive. THAT'S distorting darwinism's hand on genetic quality.

My question is:

1) are there enough people who need this to bother to push it on society?
2) how do you write the divorce / hospital visitation / next of kin / custody laws for a pod of 8 men and 8 women?? Sounds like a logistical nightmare.

The tougher one is, while we can say bro and sis can't marry for health reasons, what if one is infertile? What if bro and bro and sis and sis are involved? There's no health reason. We'd have to invoke family dynamics and their distortion of consent. But that's kind of sketchy. More happens in certain cultures, for example, with arranged marriage. So, we're really left with taboo.

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--Ian


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:53 pm 
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I'm jumping in late here, so I hope my 2 cents are not redundent:

Marriage is one word with different definitions based on the context:

Legal/Political context is defined differently than the Religious/cultural context.

Even between religions, marriage is defined differently.

The way I look at it, The political body could get in trouble for restricting marriage into a 'Judeo/Christian' limit when the population is so varied. If we are going to be a democratic and equitable nation, 'marriage' needs to be a legal/political term that clearly defines the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved but not limit who can and can not be married.

I can have my personal 'marriage' definition based on my values/religion/moral code because that right is protected by the gov.

I am not condoning, approving, or saying that I would choose a same sex marriage, polygomy or anything like that BUT, much like my stand on Rel/Pol leanings: as long as it is not a violation to someones safety, endangers children or civil rights - do your own think in your own house. That is what makes democracy work in my mind.

Change the legal definitions so that tax incentives, probate and other martial/inheritance issues are clear sure. But restrictions are unconstitutional.

If I were to get voted into an office based on my personal values, my scope of influence and responsibility to uphold that platform would change my 'opinion' into 'authority'.

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Paul R. Martin

The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.
John Locke (1632 - 1704)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 4:12 pm 
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Ian wrote:
if you're worried about weakening the species, what about medicine? We keep REALLY sick people around for a long time, many of which are infirm and old, but also many of which can reproduce, and we make a great effort to help infertile people conceive. THAT'S distorting darwinism's hand on genetic quality.

Please go back and read what I wrote, Ian. I was very careful in how I stated my case.

I am advocating genetic diversity. Time and again, this has proven to maximize the probability of surviving through the ages over any one interpretation of - in your words - "genetic quality." What is advantageous today may or may not be so tomorrow. Explain to me why the significantly stronger Homo Neanderthalinsis lost out to the weaker Homo Sapiens. And I'm sure you are aware of the genetic superiority of sickle cell carriers in an environment where malaria is prevalent. We cannot measure "superiority" by today's transient standards.

Furthermore, a well-respected and well-published graduate school professor of mine (in biomathematics, graduate of MIT) had a provocative theory about evolution. His premise was that we can no longer be separated from the technology we use when considering our genetic traits and issues of survival. When you consider gene therapy right around the corner, he has a point.

Go study what they do to re-establish an endangered species. That process involves looking for the maximum genetic differences between coupled pairs when breeding.
Quote:
Maximizing Genetic Variation is the number 1 goal for any Captive Breeding Program especially one concerning an Endangered Species.
- tigerhomes.org

A lot of work goes into genetic studies before putting sperm to egg. This process works, and has been responsible for the revitalization of many species.

- Bill


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 Post subject: I love a good debate
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:45 pm 
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As I'm sure all of U have noticed.

Wasn't the original question about under who's providence does marriage belong? True, the definition of marriage varies between religions. Certainly it varies between sects who fall under the broader label of a religion. While the official Mormon stance is against polygamy, some Mormons still preach it and indeed still practice it. The same goes for Islam, which happens to be the most popular religion in the world. So sticky points abound in the entire debate. And this is exactly why Jefferson and the rest of our country's founding fathers didn't want religion in government or vice versa. But the basics of the institution of marriage for whatever religion is basically the same: The joining of two people in the eyes of the God which they worship. Laws limiting the number of spouses only makes sense. Many people in this country have a hard time raising a family with only one pair of parents. Add spouses and more children come into the mix, which leads to involuntary neglect. Most families simply can't supply the basic needs for families with multiple adults with exponentially more children. The last Mormon arrested and sentenced for polygamy in Utah had, I think 5 wives and almost 20 kids!!! AAAAAUGH!! I probably would have plead guilty just to get a vacation!!

So, based on the defininition of marriage being between two people, it makes sense that religious institutions would still have the authority to define what originally belonged to them to begin with and the Legislature can enact laws that serve to protect the people which they govern. Bigamy/Poligamy is illegal because we need to protect the children. Polyamoury? Well, if someone wants to bring those headaches on themselves, then that's their problem.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2005 1:23 am 
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Bill, it's true you made that distinction, but I still believe no human intervention can really impact our gene pool much given our tremendous numbers. I also think that government efforts to impact the gene pool are judgements of quality. Just calling it diversity doesn't really change the basic premise: that state intervention in human affairs can increase the quality of the gene pool, whether by diversity or by selecting certain genes. The "quality" of diversity is still a quality. And while I think any program would be squelched by humanity's spontaneous efforts, I think anything beyond preventing recessive diseases by preventing close marriages is about as involved as the state should get.

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--Ian


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