The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marriage and Government

For John, BLUFWe are in a middle place re "marriage".  Do we think we are coming to rest or do we think there are more changes coming?

Law Professor Ann Althouse blogs about the appearance of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Meet the Press Sunday AM (I was working), "Scott Walker entertains the notion of entirely extracting government from the business of recognizing marriage".

On "Meet the Press" today, David Gregory asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:  "Are younger conservatives more apt to see marriage equality as something that is, you know, what they believe, that is basic, rather than as a disqualifying issue?"  Walker said:
Well, I think there's no doubt about that.  But I think that's all the more reason, when I talk about things, I talk about the economic and fiscal crisis in our state and in our country.  That's what people want to resonate about.  They don't want to get focused on those issues....
Later, pushed to talk about a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Walker said:
Well, the interesting thing on the generational standpoint is I've had young people ask me--I think an appropriate question is not expanding it to include folks who are not one man and one woman, but rather questioning why the government's sanctioning it in the first place?  And that would be the alternative, say not have the government sanction... marriage period.  And leave that up to the churches and the synagogues and others to define that....
This is an issue that's been raised time and again in the comments to same-sex marriage posts on this blog...

Chris Matthews jumped all over Walker's idea:  "Well, you can't get away because here are issues of Social Security payments and all kinds of things involved in that.  And rights of prisoners and rights of people in the military. You have to recognize spousal rights."

Marriage is very deeply embedded in so much of what government does.  How could you disentangle it now?...

I would like to start by saying that Mr Chris Matthews is either not now, or is no longer, a critical thinker.

I like what Governor Scott Walker says, but Professor Althouse raises a good point when she says:

Marriage is very deeply embedded in so much of what government does.
As a society we tend to be buffaloed by what my Wife calls the seven last words of the church, "We never did it that way before."  Down that path is rigidity.

If we visualize that what the Government cares about is good contracts, faithfully executed, involving the rights and responsibilities of the committed adult partners and any offspring (and perhaps even parents), then we have a path forward.  We have formal contracts, executed down at the City Clerk's office, and we have defacto contracts, self executing when adults enter into long term relationships or procreate.  Having made that decision, we then, by law, incorporate all those rights and obligations into the new contract, perhaps named Contract of Civil Union.  And we make it retroactive.

If you want to get married, see your local Rabbi or Minister or Imam or have your best friend's Brother officiate at some form of commitment service in a beautiful local, or do it yourself, as Professor Althouse and Meade did, out in Colorado, a few years back.  Or do nothing.  The Government shouldn't care.

Regards  —  Cliff


Craig H said...

Amen. The sooner we focus our government on the problems we need our government to solve, the sooner we begin to climb out of the hole we're in. Marriage remains a glaring "separation" issue that we've allowed to seep past the church and state barrier, and it needs to be set right to where it belongs. Recognizing relationship contracts is absolutely the way to go on this where government is concerned. Best of all, then anyone with a personal issue can sue their offending religious order for discrimination and our courts can then affirm the rightful balance of protections for individual rights vs religious freedoms according to law and not populist whim/oppression. Though I'm quite sure someone will always be offended...

Craig H said...

Establishing the grounds for being offended is, I'm learning, one of the primary purposes of religion...

Neal said...

Kad, to your second observation, I think I am inclined to add politics to that list for which offending and being offended seems to be a primary function. Perhaps even more so than religion.

Moreover, I am offended by this notion that just because the government has become so "involved" in the matter of "marriage," we are simply unable to undo it. Really?? We undid decades of slavery and even more decades of denial of civil rights. Is what the government does somehow immutable law?

W/r this particular issue, I would venture that the VAST majority (as opposed to a "right wing conspiracy) could really care less....even with great effort...about the whole issue. It is kept alive by few loud mouths on both sides...much to our detriment...and to the benefit of the breathless, sensationalist press.

Frankly, for my part, I could not give a royal rat's patoot who "marries" who...or what they choose to call their union. I don't have to participate in it.....and it should not impact my life in the slightest way. The argument that social security is somehow impacted is a red herring. Two people who get married..or hitched..or betrothed....of hooked up....are entitled to SS anyway. Get over it.

The only issue is what they "owe" each other as a union...and that is between them.

That pretty much reflects my viewpoint on the choice of sexual partners too. First and I read the Bible...or any other religious mandate that purports to be The Final job is not to judge. So why take the time and energy to do so. My job is to live MY life. If someone wants to bed down a is painfully weird to me....but NMP.

Maybe if we took a much more "live and let live" approach to our lives, many of the diseases we suffer would go away, we would have much more time on our hands, and 90% of our laws (which are largely the result of somebody being "offended" by somebody else) would suddenly have no purpose....further simplifying life itself.

Just imagine.

I suppose if Eve had ignored the snake we wouldn't be having these discussion today. Yeah....I know....I just offended women world wide.

Renee said...

I commented on that thread. I m surprised you post on the side issue at the Lowell YMCA.

So sad for the law professor fail to see "

We talk about rights as if there are no obligation or duty held to any one else. Rights were always balanced with obligation, but when it comes to family we no longer hold anyone accountable or responsible for their domestic behavior. To infer we have social obligations to children to be raised and loved by their mother and father and legally support that ideal is now seen as legal assault on one's personal individual liberties."

If government doesn't care about marriage, so give it back to the religious. No, the professor says that it is legally impossible. That is what freaks me out.

So depressing...

Craig H said...

Renee, the crux of the problem (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) is, at least on the one side, a refusal to acknowledge that a sound legal footing for enforcement is BETTER for children vis a vis "family" (for one obvious example) than the present alternative. "Marriage" is a religious institution that has crudely been appropriated by our laws to express our societal interest in stable family units. However, religious doctrine (NOT sound legal principle or even society's best interest) often inhibits and restricts the institution from being most fairly, extensively and committed-ly applied. This we can fix, if we would just get over our terror of making better, stronger families.

Laws restricting "inter-racial" unions are of the same abomination as those we currently argue, prohibiting legal recognition to pious, stable and absolutely committed gay unions. I am in NO WAY suggesting Catholics (for one unfair example) be castigated for their faith that Catholic marriages (for one unfair example) should be between a man and a woman. But Catholics should have no hegemony over any other denomination, the same way they should not have hegemony over our laws, in the same way that our laws should disrespect Catholic doctrine where Catholics are concerned. And you can insert the name of any religion into the previous sentence.

Yes, it's in society's best interest to promote stable, enduring and committed family units--loving, even. (Imagine that!) Children born of legally binding unions should be the primary focus of our family law, NOT the parents, and such obligations to their children by parents should be deepened and broadened and stressed at all steps along this way.

But, seriously, we HAVE to get the religious doctrine out of our laws. It's wrong, first of all, but it's divisive and corrosive and serves no legitimate societal interest in and of itself.

If we want stronger "marriages", we should start by enforcing stronger legal commitments that are fair, equitable and enforceable under the religion-blind law.

Renee said...

Ok then call it something else.... I don't care what you call it. Have civil unions for everyone, then when a child is born have the state's registrar ensure parentage and responsibilities. Just like you can't leave the hospital without a carseat.

The civil law is stating marriage is embedded so much it can not be removed or renamed. The Catholic Church isn't even that bureaucratic!?! If government wants to make marriage's goal about two people getting benefits, then the Churh will rename marriage to maintain the definition of a man and woman coming together (out of love) in a natural order to raise and educate offspring.

I get no material benefit for being married in the Catholic Church. I do get a husband who loves me and our children, but that is because of free will.

Sort of like choosing a Pope, the cardinals use free will to vote but constantly seeking guidance from God.

Neal said...

Amen Kad. ( that a "religious" statement?)

Just to "restate"....from the mouth of the Man!!!!! "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and render unto God that which is God's."

Here is the problem, the institutional Church is an artifact made by men and given "validity" by men proclaiming its authority deriving directly from God. As such, and as history shows, the Church (lets not dither around with all the flavors) is in fact much more secular than divine. In fact, the church has, over the years ensuing the death of Jesus on the Cross and His resurrection, inflicted more pain and suffering on people (all in the name of God) than most nation-states.

Sadly, in all the pomp and institutional dogma, we forget that God's promise was in the end, very personal...and the relationship with Him is one on one...with NO intermediary. THAT is the church. Given that perspective, I would strongly suggest that the same "contract" exists between someone who is gay and God as exists between me and God. Thus, I'll leave the "sanctity" of being gay and "married" up to God and His "petitioner."

BTW..."marriage" is a "church" thing....NOT a Biblical mandate. The "vows" are not found in the Bible.

Renee said...

Neal, Did God come down directly to you?

For myself He did not. If it was not for 2000 years of some organizational skills of individuals coming together to worship, I would never of known who God is. I'm not a holy woman who can sense the supranatural. I rely only on the natural world to sense things, in the same way as an atheist would. I rely completely on a blind faith.

C R Krieger said...

I thought marriage WAS in The Holy Bible.  Doesn't it say "What God has joined together let no man put assunder", or something like that?  Then something about Moses allowed divorce because of your hard hearts.

Yes, agreed, render unto Ceaser and all that.  Time to separate marriage from Civil Unions.  They almost do it on the Continent of Europe.   All go to the Town Hall to get legally hitched.  Then some go to a church to get married.

Regards  —  Cliff

Craig H said...

Can help but add: Any advocate for "Catholic" marriage loses me right at the top of the dictionary with the word "annulment", so let's not get all sanctimonious over any of these points. (You sign a contract--and a "marriage" license should be just that--and you should be bound plain and simple. Period). I don't want some bought and paid-for prelate screwing one party to such a commitment just because the other party to such a commitment has more influence, and neither should anyone else. (I do believe Sheila Rauch agrees,,,) ESPECIALLY where kids are involved. Justice needs to be fair in addition to blind. Meaning, once again, "marriage" as a religious institution, is more capricious, less fair, and less in the interest of family than a properly instituted governmental policy that is built according to the bedrock and enduring strength of our laws and founding principles. We've had religious "marriages" in this country officiated on the basis of polygamy fer JC's sake. Let's stop the nonsense, and put it right.

Renee said...

Kad, point taken. Give me some time to respond.

Neal said...

To Cliff's question and point, and to a lesser extent to Kad's last comment (which I agree with), I failed miserably to complete the thought regarding "not Biblical." The phraseology IS in the Bible Mark 10, but was not used in the context of a marriage ceremony or even contract..per se. It was in response to a question by a pharisee regarding divorce. Jesus outlined the process of a man leaving his parents and becoming one flesh with a woman and that MAN should not then separate that which God has arranged and blessed. This of course assumes that God is in control of everything. In short, it is a prohibition against divorce (and other infidelities), not a condition of marriage. A fine, but important distinction. Jesus....God....doesn't get into the legal business of marriage...the state does that.

I don't even want to discuss "man and woman" vs "same sex." Those are matters between those involved and God...on a one to one basis.

But there is a fundamental reason that God has put for the prohibition about divorce. It causes a lot of problems, particularly for those who have no control over it...the children of such a union. Mark does not reference "marriage" or a "marital contract."

Renee, God speaks to me the same as every other mortal...but we mortals have to listen or we won't hear him. Beyond that, I am not "divinely inspired" and I don't have any special dispensation or message. I go on blind faith the end of the day...I can't PROVE that there is God..but I KNOW it...and that is about as blind as you can get. Well...other folks might also attribute to me a great degree of "Dumb" as well as blind. They could be correct.

Renee said...

It is OK to point out the personal bias, to think the Catholic Church has a pretty nice idea of what marriage should be.

Which is "by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring;" 1601

The US Government is free to define its own legal terms and to name what ever idea they want by any name they choose.

The US Government could of allowed polygamy, but found just reason to discriminate against it in its public policy. As we've seen on the the Mormon compounds how it affect young men cast aside and rejected and women being hoarded. Or with women and men have children with several partners, resources are not combined for the children but are spread out thinly.

Even in places without polygamy, we've seen the affects of gender imbalance in China and Northern India in which women become a commodity in human trafficking as women become 'scarce' and a healthy marriage becomes unattainable for men.

The U.S. Government and the states are free with define and rename any word they wish as a matter of law, but when legal marriage becomes so distant from the religious forms of marriage that it may confuse individuals that the Catholic Church teaches bigotry. That is wrong, because we are called to fight against unjust discrimination against homosexuals. This brings confusion in discussion.

While people may accept gay marriage in our public policy, they know very well about the other marriage inequality.

"The problem, though, is that the kids do worse. A government check isn't a substitute for a father, and while plenty of single-mom kids do fine, most tend to do worse on measures ranging from educational attainment and future income to criminality. And the process feeds on itself: Women want "marriageable" men -- those with good incomes and stable lifestyles -- but the more single-parent households there are, the fewer men are likely to be "marriageable" in the next generation. Government programs like Head Start don't make up the slack, because no institution can invest the amount of time and energy in a kid that his or her parents can."

Craig H said...

"We are called to fight unjust discrimination against homosexuals".


Dogma is always a slippery slope. We can trot out aphorisms from Leviticus, but then we'd have to be trading women for farm animals and all sorts of other "abominations". Plain and simple, Catholicism rejects homosexuality as an abomination, and the moment anyone acts on such sexuality, they become pariah and fair game for all sorts of abuse. I find that most all homosexuals view this as "unjust discrimination". Catholics, inexplicably, excuse their oppression of these people as "just discrimination". And so it goes.

My point is that a religious definition of "marriage" is meaningless beyond the narrow boundaries of one doctrine and/or faith. Women were taken as chattel as part of Catholic "marriage" for centuries. Practices vary so much from religion to religion, that it is not sensible to use the word in civil ceremony without invitation for all sorts of consequent pain and suffering.

I say stop the madness. When Catholics marry Catholics they should be able to call it whatever they please, and govern it ecclesiastically however they please. However--when they show up at City Hall looking for all the legal perks that go along with it, they should be bound by fairer principles. ("Fairer" to mean principles that are recognized and followed by ALL faiths, not just the one). When the State recognizes unions, the parties to those unions should understand that they are being treated fairly under the law, and equally to all. That means Catholic opinions about "abominations" have NO PLACE in state proceedings. As society as a whole may recognize something as an abomination, e.g. polygamy, then all religions, even those who prefer it, have to yield. Likewise, as society as a whole recognizes homosexual unions, even those who abhor it, e.g. Catholics, have to yield.

"Marriage equality"??? There can be no such thing under any single religious doctrine vis a vis all the rest. But legal equality is our birthright as Americans. We should fight for it regardless of our creed, so that our creed is likewise respected under the law.

Otherwise, Catholics and each of the rest are merely sowing the seeds of their own oppression as other faiths rise in demographic power.

You can't have it both ways.

C R Krieger said...

I am not sure we should be picking only on Mackerel Snappers here.  Most religions have some thoughts on marriage.  And then there is the question of Government vs Religion and also Syncretism, such as the finding of ancient Jewish customs amongst the Muslims of Afghanistan.

The key point is that all religions should be free to operate within some broad parameters, but it is the civil government that must (1) register contracts between adult partners-for-life (or a long time), and (2) determine what is out of bounds, such as child brides.

As for the Roman Catholic position on homosexual acts, it is a sin.  But, then, so is adultery.  Remember, Samuel didn't condemn King David for homosexual acts, but rather for adultery (and then what David did to cover up his sin).  These kinds of problems give rise to arguments about predestination and eternal security, outside the scope of this particular blog post.

Regards  —  Cliff

Renee said...

All cultures even the aborigines in australia have marriage.

Well I gave kad the definition of marriage and its intent and purpose, instead he thinks it was meaningless and falsly makes stuff up against the Catholic Church that we hate homosexuals.


Craig H said...

Excuse me, Renee?

Catholics prohibit homosexual unions and call related acts of sexual expression an "abomination". I'm not making that up, falsely or otherwise--I'm quoting the same doctrinal sources as you are. And if you want to pretend such isn't hateful in its enforcement, and if you prefer to call that love or any other word you please, then I'll still tell you I hope I never have to suffer such, thank you very much.

I would dearly love to get into a Leviticus quoting contest with you, if you would. The same place where we find that homosexual acts are "abominations", we find rules for owning other human beings and the proper amount of farm animals to trade for a woman.

I'm sorry that you find quoting your own doctrine back to you as "falsely made up", but you don't get to wield scripture to oppress others without my feeling compelled to quote that same scripture back to you. You can't pick and choose your convenience for yourself, if you are picking and choosing oppression for others.

That, by clear definition of the word, is hateful. Or, if you'd like, I can come on over with a few oxen and asses to ask your father to hand you over.