The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Defense of Marriage" -- how does it defend? And WHAT does it defend?

Opponents of same-sex marriage often couch their opposition in terms which imply that they are “defending” traditional marriage — in fact, one piece of anti-gay legislation has been entitled the “Defense of Marriage Act.” But how can they make this claim? I simply do not understand how expanding the right of marriage to same-sex couples in any way negatively impacts the marriages of opposite-sex couples. This is one point that has never been explained in any way that I can find.

Marriage has sometimes been tied to procreation, and it is true that science has not yet found a way to combine two sperm cells to create a new human being. But not every opposite-sex couple is capable of procreation either. I have never heard of an opposite-sex couple being denied a marriage license because the woman has had a hysterectomy, or the man a vasectomy; nor has any law been enacted that would restrict marriage to couples in which the woman has not yet reached menopause. So there is certainly no reason that lack of the ability to procreate can be cited as a reason to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

I have held the opinion in the past that “civil unions are enough” — and I still think that this is so if a civil union carries all the privileges of a marriage. But in states like Virginia, those opposed to same-sex marriage also oppose civil-union legislation, so that, if the purpose of instituting civil unions is to quiet those who are upset with calling it a “marriage,” it has failed that task. Therefore, since no concessions can be obtained from the opposite side, pro-same-sex-marriage forces can hardly be faulted from seeking the whole deal. And once more I pose the question: “What are anti-gay-marriage forces ‘defending’?”

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