Manfred and the SSM Debate or Riddle Me This Mr Liberal

Recently at Symphony I was privileged to hear Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, which is  loosely based on a Lord Byron poem of the same name. And while I am unfamiliar with the poem, I did in fact read the program notes. And what I read there spurred a question to which I have no answer with respect to the modern liberal position vis a vis marriage and who is allowed to partner in such arrangements.

The liberal position with respect to homosexual partnerships is that they should be allowed to marry even though the relative numbers of such partnerships is very small and the there is no possibility to have children. These are not dis-qualifiers for the state to sanction marriage in their view.

So here’s my problem. Manfred by Lord Byron is (we are told) is an expression of his forbidden sexual desire for his sister though the eponymous hero as proxy.  So to put a point on it, in the context of reasons the liberal arguments why can two men or women may marry but a man cannot marry his sister? Or let’s put it concretely. In a state where gay marriage is allowed, what argument could you muster for me not to marry my sister? What reasons for gay marriage are there that do not apply equally well to my marriage with my sister (or for that matter, my brother, my mother, my father, or grandmother/father …. if they are currently not married to anyone else)? It might be added that I have had a vasectomy, so no progeny are possible so the “genetically damaged offspring” argument does not apply and cannot be used. Also, the numbers of people desiring such relationships are not relevant (apparently). (side note: I have no sister so no siblings have been harmed by the this test case).

The non-religious conservative case, that marriage should privilege heterosexual marriage because children are both hard to raise and required to continue society forbids all these newfangled relationships. The exclusion of religious arguments depends both on the insistence that the Declaration of Independence separates law from morals/ethics and that the Habermas/Ratzinger debate is a clear Habermas win. I’ll concede the first half of this “both/and” but not the second, but note that most American’s although they should concede the first half, typically don’t.

So. Riddle me this Mr Liberal? What reasons for two men to marry don’t apply to me and my sisters’ desired nuptials? Or should we be planning seating charts and ordering a cake from a Islamic bakery (and will you condemn and attack said bakery for bigotry because they won’t deliver said cake because they object to our being wed in admittedly not-holy matrimony)?

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102 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    The liberal position with respect to homosexual partnerships is that they should be allowed to marry even though the relative numbers of such partnerships is very small and the there is no possibility to have children. These are not dis-qualifiers for the state to sanction marriage in their view.

    Curiously some states have laws permitting cousins to marry but only under two conditions:

    1. The partners are over 65 yrs

    and/or

    2. A doctor certifies one or both are infertile and unable to conceive children.

    So right off the bat, while some claim marriage law is about providing for children, we have the state enacting some classes of marriage that are designed to never produce biological children.

    So to put a point on it, in the context of reasons the liberal arguments why can two men or women may marry but a man cannot marry his sister? Or let’s put it concretely. In a state where gay marriage is allowed, what argument could you muster for me not to marry my sister?

    I’ll give you two:

    1. Biological inbreeding is a problem…yes brother-sister pairs do not automatically produce monsters but it is not like there are no negative consquences to multi-generational inbreeding.

    2. Allowing incest does create the potential for very negative family dynamics. Take father-daughter incest. You are essentially setting up a dynamic where a woman will raise a daughter who may end up being a rival to her husband. That would seem to seriously discourage mothers caring properly for their daughters. Bro-sister incest likewise may create clannish dynamics (interestingly the two leading family dynasties in Game of Thrones seem to use incest to avoid mixing with other families thereby decreasing their need to form alliances).

    So you may not think these reasons are convincing enough but they are reasons and they wouldn’t apply to simple SSM.

    The non-religious conservative case, that marriage should privilege heterosexual marriage because children are both hard to raise and required to continue society forbids all these newfangled relationships.

    This would make sense if marriage was a zero-sum good. In other words, if there was some quota of available marriages then childless couple down the street getting married this year may deprive another couple that would have children from getting married. But there is no cap on marriage licenses so there is no clear reason why Sam and Steve getting married down the street somehow prevents you from marrying your wife, having children with her, and continuing to keep your marriage with her in good standing.

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    So. Two reasons, but your point one is alas, made moot by your prior paragraph. And point two … “Bro-sister incest likewise may create clannish dynamics”. So? Why is that bad? What does it even mean? … and how does that square with your final paragraph.

    This would make sense if marriage was a zero-sum good.

    You forget that homosexuality is a scale not an extreme either or (witness, there exist those willing to engage in sex with partners irrespective of gender … and even a name for them). There is (apparently) no reason you can see for why Sam and Steve’s union might make Sam who in a world in which he doesn’t really care whom he partners with is influenced by societies praise and privilege for heterosexual marriage and the gender of his partner is not such a big deal that instead of marrying Steve he marries Karen, which is a win for society a break even for Sam but perhaps not for Steve.

    Sam and Steve getting married down the street somehow prevents you from marrying your wife, having children with her, and continuing to keep your marriage with her in good standing.

    Odd. Seems my argument was that raising children was hard and necessary which is why heterosexual marriage should be privileged. Not seeing how this statement has any relevance to that.

  3. Boonton says:

    Seems my argument was that raising children was hard and necessary which is why heterosexual marriage should be privileged.

    Are you arguing for envy? In other words, you seem to admit that if Sam and Steve are married down the street, it has no material or other impact on your marriage. There’s nothing you are losing yet you, because raising kids is hard want a ‘privilege’ which you seem to define as not a direct benefit to yourself but some type of mental satisfaction that someone else has something less than you. In other words, you’d rather make $100K a year knowing your neighbors make $50K than make $110K but your neighbors make $105K.

    I take your other argument to mean if Sam is bisexual and SSM is unavailable he might opt for a heterosexual marriage rather than a same-sex non-marriage relationship. Perhaps but I’m not convinced you’re going to dramatically improve heterosexual marriage by trying to coerce lots of bisexuals into the institution. Nor does “more bisexual parents” seem like much of a rallying cry for conservatives seeking to nurture children. But try it and see what your mileage is.

    ““Bro-sister incest likewise may create clannish dynamics”. So? Why is that bad? What does it even mean?”

    If you follow Game of Thrones, the major families are expected to cross marry their children off to each other. This forces alliances, esp. when children are often shipped off to live as ‘guests’ at distant houses. Two powerful families have a history of incest and that does allow them to avoid being forced into making alliances. That makes them more powerful but also makes civil war more common.

    Does this apply to ‘regular families’ or ‘common people’ or a modern society like ours? Maybe not but it does address your question:
    So. Riddle me this Mr Liberal? What reasons for two men to marry don’t apply to me and my sisters’ desired nuptials?

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Are you arguing for envy? No.

    I take your other argument to mean if Sam is bisexual and SSM is unavailable he might opt for a heterosexual marriage rather than a same-sex non-marriage relationship. Perhaps but I’m not convinced you’re going to dramatically improve heterosexual marriage by trying to coerce lots of bisexuals into the institution

    Apparently you think that was the primary purpose to privilege marriage (hetero). Again. Raising kids is hard. Raising kids is required. We should therefore value and reward those relationships which produce that which is hard and necessary. How hard is that to understand?

    Does this apply to ‘regular families’ or ‘common people’ or a modern society like ours? Maybe not but it does address your question:
    So. Riddle me this Mr Liberal? What reasons for two men to marry don’t apply to me and my sisters’ desired nuptials?

    Actually it doesn’t, because your argument runs contrary to your actual arguments for SSM. You need to find an argument that you would actually use in a consistent way to exclude me from marrying my sister but letting Sam marry Stan. And again, in the modern US context, why can’t I marry my sister? What is your reason? For example, you can’t argue “because marriage has never meant that” because that’s an argument which you have already rejected vis a vis SSM. Likewise “cause that would be clannish” is not good because both the US has little to no clan history and (more importantly) you reject the notion of “I don’t like those sorts of relationships” (clans and whatever) as a valid argument already in the supporting SSM.

    Try again.

  5. Boonton says:

    Apparently you think that was the primary purpose to privilege marriage (hetero). Again. Raising kids is hard. Raising kids is required. We should therefore value and reward those relationships which produce that which is hard and necessary. How hard is that to understand?

    Not hard at all, how is that an argument against SSM?

    Actually it doesn’t, because your argument runs contrary to your actual arguments for SSM. You need to find an argument that you would actually use in a consistent way to exclude me from marrying my sister but letting Sam marry Stan. And again, in the modern US context, why can’t I marry my sister? What is your reason?

    I said permitting incest might encourage negative family dynamics. That wouldn’t apply to Sam and Stan marrying (assuming they aren’t brothers) but would apply to Sam marrying his sister.

    Likewise “cause that would be clannish” is not good because both the US has little to no clan history

    The US also has no history of incest. Perhaps the lack of such a history, inherited from Europe, short circuited the dynamics that might lead to dysfunctional clannism.

    Again these reasons may not be fully convincing to you but they satisfy your request for reasons to oppose incest marriages that would not be equally applicable to SSM.

    you reject the notion of “I don’t like those sorts of relationships” (clans and whatever) as a valid argument already in the supporting SSM.

    Well people who oppose SSM do not generally accept all marriages that are legal under the laws they support. For example, most people find marriages of 70 yr olds and 22 yr olds very distasteful…esp. more so when it is the woman who is older (Hugh Hefner gets an exemption). Yet such marriages have never been legal dispite dislike of those relationships and those against SSM do typically share in that dislike.

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Not hard at all, how is that an argument against SSM?

    Uhm, the way our culture has privileged and honored those who join together to raise kids is an institution we call marriage. Duh.

    I said permitting incest might encourage negative family dynamics. That wouldn’t apply to Sam and Stan marrying (assuming they aren’t brothers) but would apply to Sam marrying his sister.

    But you’ve rejected the family dynamics argument by saying encouraging marriage for rearing children is an argument you reject, but that is exactly a family dynamic argument. You’ve argued it is not our place to do that. So you can’t.

    Again these reasons may not be fully convincing to you but they satisfy your request for reasons to oppose incest marriages that would not be equally applicable to SSM.

    Ah. But I didn’t ask for just any arguments against incest that are not applicable to SSM, I’ve asked for arguments against incest that are compatible with your arguments for SSM. So logic that can be used against incest which are also arguments against SSM don’t pass muster.

    Yet such marriages have never been legal dispite dislike of those relationships and those against SSM do typically share in that dislike.

    I assume you mean illegal.

  7. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I said permitting incest might encourage negative family dynamics.

    OK. Require incestual marriage partners have to be over 25. My sister and I are well over 25, we’re both in our 50s. So. Why can’t we marry?

  8. Boonton says:

    Uhm, the way our culture has privileged and honored those who join together to raise kids is an institution we call marriage. Duh

    So what does that have to do with SSM? Is your marriage less privileged and honored because of Sam & steve down the street? Was it less when there was a heterosexual married couple down the street that never had kids?

    But you’ve rejected the family dynamics argument by saying encouraging marriage for rearing children is an argument you reject,

    Never said I rejected it.

    I’ve asked for arguments against incest that are compatible with your arguments for SSM. So logic that can be used against incest which are also arguments against SSM don’t pass muster.

    I pointed out allowing incest marriages might harm the dynamics of married families. Several times now I’ve given you the chance to show how that could be applied against SSM and you’ve passed.

    Require incestual marriage partners have to be over 25. My sister and I are well over 25, we’re both in our 50s. So. Why can’t we marry?

    Notice my argument against parent-child incest was that it could harm dynamics before incest even happens. If a man could marry his daughter, you are providing an incentive for mothers to neglect and abuse their daughters (since they would essentially be raising rivals). That harm could happen even if a father has no such interest. After all, a mother might subconsciously figure ‘better safe than sorry, who knows how he will be when I’m old and she’s young”. So even if you restricted parent-child incest marriage to well into the child’s adulthood, you could still be setting up a dynamic that harms children. The same danger might happen with brother-sister incest. For example, imagine if some parents tried to raise their two kids to eventually marry.

  9. Boonton says:

    I think there’s also another problem with this argument you’re trying to make here.

    You are attempting to build a slipperly slope fallacy. You are trying to assert something like this:

    Reasons you give for SSM, would apply to incest-marriage too.

    You cannot come up with reasons against incest-marriage that would not also apply against SSM.

    You decide you don’t want incest-marriage no matter what, therefore you must conclude your reasons for SSM are flawed and we need to reject SSM.

    A real problem here is that this is not how logic works. You don’t decide ahead of time what conclusions you will accept and then decide that premises are true or false depending upon if they lead to that conclusion. You decide what premises are true and false and then you build to your conclusion.

    A person really dedicated to logic would look at the above and conclude that one should legalize incest-marriage too.

    But we are not purely logical entities. It is difficult to know what premises are true and false. There are premises that apply that we just haven’t thought of yet. So a person might say something like “I’m going to make a judgement that incest-marriage is wrong and should be illegal no matter what, but at the same time I acknowledge that I may not have a complete understanding of the premises that make it wrong”.

    That’s fine except it destroys your slipperly slope argument. I’m not required to come up with every possible premise that leads to a conclusion that every other type of objectionable marriage is wrong to talk about SSM anymore than I have to prove incest-marriage is wrong to support dropping the bans on interracial marriage from the 50’s.

    Another problem you have is that premises that work against one don’t always work against all. You say “you reject the notion of “I don’t like those sorts of relationships” (clans and whatever) as a valid argument ”

    Except dislike doesn’t quite work as an argument. People who say they oppose SSM because they dislike also dislike other types of marriage they don’t feel should be illegal. Why is dislike sufficient for one type but insufficient for another?

    That would mean even if a person said they opposed incest-marriage because they disliked it but thought SSM should be legal, you wouldn’t have a flaw in their argument.

  10. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    OK. It took me a while, but here’s the problem with your “clan” objection. Here’s the thing, you claim it will disrupt family healthy family dynamics so brother/sister incestual marraige should be opposed. But at the same you claim that preferring opposite sex parents because that a basis for healthy family dynamics is not a valid reason for opposing SSM. You can’t use the exact same basis for opposing one thing and arguing at the very same time that this is not a valid reason for someone else to oppose another. So either family dynamics against SSM is a good argument or you need to drop the clan thing. Which alas was you sole objection I think.

    That would mean even if a person said they opposed incest-marriage because they disliked it but thought SSM should be legal, you wouldn’t have a flaw in their argument.

    Certainly they do. They claim those that dislike is not a valid argument for who oppose SSM. You can’t claim dislike is a valid argument for one thing and it is for another and be consistent.

    they dislike also dislike other types of marriage they don’t feel should be illegal. Why is dislike sufficient for one type but insufficient for another?

    I don’t feel like this is a very serious question. I think you can come up with lots of reasons why adding complications and undue government intrusion into personal relationships isn’t necessary, that a simple (one man, one woman) is simple and symmetric while only marriage which is one man, one woman as long as both are close in age, sound of mind, in good health, fertile and USDA approved is complicated.

    You decide you don’t want incest-marriage no matter what, therefore you must conclude your reasons for SSM are flawed and we need to reject SSM.

    Not how this came up. As I said, I was listening to Manfred in the context of program notes noting that the subtext the poem on which this based was a tragic incestual attraction leading to damnation. In that musing it occured to me I could not think of an argument that is used for SSM that would also not apply to allow incest. And listening to your attempts. I still have not. And my conclusion is all SSM supporters should also support incest. If you don’t support incest then you either must admit that many anti-SSM arguments have more validity than you pretend or you have to admit to hypocrisy.

    But we are not purely logical entities. It is difficult to know what premises are true and false. There are premises that apply that we just haven’t thought of yet. So a person might say something like “I’m going to make a judgement that incest-marriage is wrong and should be illegal no matter what, but at the same time I acknowledge that I may not have a complete understanding of the premises that make it wrong”.

    Hmm. Seems like you also might want to admit that your thinking about SSM might be flawed.

  11. Boonton says:

    OK. It took me a while, but here’s the problem with your “clan” objection. Here’s the thing, you claim it will disrupt family healthy family dynamics so brother/sister incestual marraige should be opposed. But at the same you claim that preferring opposite sex parents because that a basis for healthy family dynamics is not a valid reason for opposing SSM.

    Since same-sex parents do not produce biological children this point would be moot. Ditto for the first cousin marriages that are legally required to be infertile or marriages by people who are very old or otherwise infertile.

    I don’t feel like this is a very serious question. I think you can come up with lots of reasons why adding complications and undue government intrusion into personal relationships isn’t necessary, that a simple (one man, one woman) is simple and symmetric while only marriage which is one man, one woman as long as both are close in age, sound of mind, in good health, fertile and USDA approved is complicated.

    Again the law seems pretty simple with cousin marriage. Either be old or have a doctor certify infertility. Yes it is simple, more or less, for the law to ban SSM. The law could also ban marriage between very tall and very short people (just have the clerk pull out a tape measure). Simplicity in enforcing something is not an argument for it.

    Hmm. Seems like you also might want to admit that your thinking about SSM might be flawed.

    Indeed it might, and thinking about opposing SSM might also be flawed.

  12. Boonton says:

    In that musing it occured to me I could not think of an argument that is used for SSM that would also not apply to allow incest. And listening to your attempts. I still have not

    You’ve been provided with two, actually three.

    1. Biological flaws that come with inbreeding.
    2. Harmful family dynamics that might erupt if incest was permitted.
    3. Clannish social structure that might come from families marrying inward rather than outward. By requiring marriage to be outside the immediate family, society requires families to form ‘cross alliances’ with each other since marriage will create in laws that were strangers to the immediate family prior to marriage.

    While I’m sure you could come up with other arguments against incest, these are all valid arguments against it and none of them would be applicable against SSM. You asked, you were answered.

  13. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Re #1. Recall we are talking about a specific case, me and my sister. I have had a vasectomy. #1 is mooted.

    Re #2 & #3 “family dynamics” this is an argument you specifically reject vis a vis SSM when you support it. It is hypocritical to apply the same criteria for and against the same thing (marriage).

    From above.

    Since same-sex parents do not produce biological children this point would be moot.

    So. You think would then support making it illegal for SSM couples (female) to have insemination and for SSM male couples to adopt. Since you actually do not support this you cannot use that above remarks w.r.t. family dynamics.

    Indeed it might, and thinking about opposing SSM might also be flawed.

    OK. So think about it then and get back to me. Seems to me you have a problem.

  14. Boonton says:

    #1 As you pointed out, keeping tabs on this sort of thing at a state level can get tricky. Your doctor might have botched the vasectomy or you might go to another doctor and have it reversed.

    #2 Again I’m not seeing how you have a case for family dynamics with SSM. If incest was allowed, that might alter the way you raise your kids today…even if you or they will never have any interest in incest. I’m not seeing how you could argue SSM being legal would have such a plausible impact on your family dynamics today.

    #3. Not following your objection to the clan argument. Marriage does require families to ‘extend’ via in-laws. That would be the same with SSM as with traditional.

    OK. So think about it then and get back to me. Seems to me you have a problem.

    Well we can confront your assertion with some plausibility thinking. I think you’d admit that some types of marriage are to be rejected legally. The reasons for their rejection, however, are likely to differ. For example, the set of reasons incest marriage isn’t legal does not match perfectly the reasons, say, forced marriage, isn’t legal. And the reasons underage marriage isn’t legal has yet a different set of reasons. These sets may overlap somewhat but I don’t think you’d claim they are exactly identical.

    Yet your argument here is that the set of reasons to oppose SSM happens to be exactly the same as the set of reasons to oppose incest marriage. Therefore if someone makes a successful case for SSM, they have also made a case for incest marriage.

    What reasons do you have to support this assertion?

  15. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    What reasons do you have to support this assertion?

    The reasons is that the arguments you mount against incestual marriage are almost identical and/or are incredibly close in form and content to arguments which those against SSM which you reject. Hence it seems you should not propose them. I’ve said this.

    I think you’d admit that some types of marriage are to be rejected legally.

    I certainly do. SSM for example.

    For example, the set of reasons incest marriage isn’t legal does not match perfectly the reasons, say, forced marriage, isn’t legal.

    Correct. But the claim is that there aren’t any arguments used by SSM proponents that exclude incest.

    And re: #1 … uhm, that makes no sense. See. If you did that, you’d be breaking the law. You’re suggesting not having a law because it might be broken. I mean, with that sort of logic, murder should be legal, because if we made it legal, somebody might break that law.

    Re #2: If incest was allowed, that might alter the way you raise your kids today…even if you or they will never have any interest in incest. And if Sam and Steve got married it might change how I raise my kids. I don’t see how me and my sister getting married affects how you raise your kids. Sorry. You’d reject this argument if I raised vis a vis SSM. You should reject it here too.

    Re #3: My objection to the clan argument is that the US isn’t clan oriented at all. If I marry my sister it’s not going to change your extended family structure. It’s not going to change the distribution of power via inheritance (primogeniture or whatever) in the kingdom, because there is no kingdom. Perhaps you’ve found an argument for why incest isn’t so great a notion in Westeros. But in the US, not so much.

  16. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Oh, and

    Yet your argument here is that the set of reasons to oppose SSM happens to be exactly the same as the set of reasons to oppose incest marriage

    You have it exactly backwards. My argument is that the set or reasons to support SSM apply just as well to support incestual marriage.

    Some of the reasons to oppose SSM incidentally (say the Torah forbids it) also apply to incest. But I’m thinking the Torah isn’t to your mind doesn’t form a very valid argument.

  17. Boonton says:

    The reasons is that the arguments you mount against incestual marriage are almost identical and/or are incredibly close in form and content to arguments which those against SSM which you reject. Hence it seems you should not propose them. I’ve said this.

    Not the question. I pointed out there are lots of reasons a person might logically oppose something. There are lots of reasons a person might logically oppose something else.

    You have a set of reasons to oppose X. You have a set of reasons to oppose Y.

    If the first set is exactly the same as the second set, then you can establish your ‘slipperly slope’. If you refute all the reasons to oppose Y then you have also refuted all the reasons to oppose X.

    BUT to do this you must show both sets are equal to each other. If there is but a single reason in set X that is not in set Y then the slipperly slope fails. To do this you have to do better than simply show a few reasons might happen to overlap both sets. After all, how do you know that my amazing logical powers are so infallible that I can articulate all possible reasons that might be in both sets?

    In fact it would be a rather amazing coincidence IMO if both sets happened to be exactly the same. Usually one would expect to find perhaps some overlap but not an exact match. Unless you are claiming that I or SSM advocates are perfect, you haven’t even begun to make a case.

    You have it exactly backwards. My argument is that the set or reasons to support SSM apply just as well to support incestual marriage.

    This doesn’t save your slipperly slope from failing the building codes of constructing logical arguments. The set of reasons to support X may indeed be exactly the same as the set of reasons to support Y. To decide if X, Y or both should be adopted you have to contrast the reasons to support against the reasons to oppose. Again you have to demonstrate the reasons to a oppose are exactly equal. If they are then you can argue that X and Y are linked…they should either both be adopted or both be rejected. If they are not, then you haven’t established a link *even if* every argument in favor lines up exactly the same in both cases.

    However you aren’t even aware of the arguments for SSM. For example, one of the main arguments for SSM is gender discrimination. A man can marry a woman but a woman cannot marry a woman therefore the law is treating people differently based on gender. Whether you accept that argument as strong or not doesn’t change the fact that it has no linkage to laws prohibiting incest-marriage.

    Re #1 – Inbreeding remains a reason to oppose incest-marriage. Your reponse is that we can avoid inbreeding with other policies like restricting incest-marriage only to the infertile (as some states do to cousin marriage). That might be, but that doesn’t remove the fact that there is a reason for opposition that would not apply to SSM. You cannot claim SSM will produce biologically inbreed children.

    Re #2 “And if Sam and Steve got married it might change how I raise my kids.” And you might raise your kids differently if the Jets win the Superbowl. But you’d have no logical reason to do so. ” I don’t see how me and my sister getting married affects how you raise your kids. Sorry” It wouldn’t, but your parents might have raised you and your sister differently if the possibility you might someday marry was open. They might have gone to extremes to avoid you two hooking up. Or they might have attempted to encourage you hooking up. Likewise you would have an incentive to treat your kids differently today if you knew incest-marriage was open to them when they become adults. I don’t think you could make this claim for SSM and even if you could it wouldn’t be anywhere near as serious.

    Re #3 “My objection to the clan argument is that the US isn’t clan oriented at all. If I marry my sister it’s not going to change your extended family structure. ” I assume when you are talking about incest-marriage you are talking about a general policy change, not simply a one-off exemption for you and your sister. If incest-marriage was allowed in general it would be more than just you who might be inclined towards it. The fact that the US isn’t clan oriented today is irrelevant since the US doesn’t have incest-marriage today either so that tells us nothing about what would happen if the US changed policy.

  18. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    For example, one of the main arguments for SSM is gender discrimination. A man can marry a woman but a woman cannot marry a woman therefore the law is treating people differently based on gender. Whether you accept that argument as strong or not doesn’t change the fact that it has no linkage to laws prohibiting incest-marriage.

    Uhm. That’s insane. Your terminology is nuts. Heterosexual marriage does not “gender” discriminate. Both men and women have equal access to marriage. Furthermore this argument moves over without change to incest (“A man can marry a woman but a man cannot marry that woman, therefore the law is treating people differently based on parentage”).

    Usually one would expect to find perhaps some overlap but not an exact match. Unless you are claiming that I or SSM advocates are perfect, you haven’t even begun to make a case.

    Uhm. I’m not arguing perfection. I’m saying exactly what I’m saying. Your arguments for SSM are don’t exclude incestual marriage, in fact those arguments you use for SSM can be used for incest and your counters to defend SSM work to defend incest.

    That might be, but that doesn’t remove the fact that there is a reason for opposition that would not apply to SSM. You cannot claim SSM will produce biologically inbreed children.

    No. There are those who argue against SSM because gay men in the bath-house culture abuse drugs (which is illegal). This is a bad argument because illegal drugs are, as you might suspect, illegal. Likewise you can’t argue that inbreeding (illegal) for incestual marriage is a problem for infertile incestual marriage.

    Re #2.

    But you’d have no logical reason to do so.

    Of course. I don’t want my kids in a gay marriage, so I raise them differently. You don’t want your kids in an incestual marriage so you raise them differently. What don’t you understand. Your assumption is that SSM marriage and relationships are (or should be) socially acceptable so there is no “reason” to change how you raise your kids (or that homosexuality is genetic and not nuture or choice … but why then do you figure that incestual attraction is any different than homosexuality in that way). But if incest was (as my sister and I would prefer) socially acceptable there’d be no reason to change how you raise your kids. Sorry. No. Difference here.

    What you are still needing to do is find an argument against infertile incestual marriage that doesn’t apply to SSM. If you can’t, either you should (logically) support incestual marriage or drop your support for SSM.

  19. Boonton says:

    Your terminology is nuts. Heterosexual marriage does not “gender” discriminate. Both men and women have equal access to marriage.

    Like black and whites had equal access to restrooms in the South?

    Regardless, you didn’t ask for an argument you agreed with, you asked for an argument that would not apply to incest-marriage. Equal Protection doesn’t.

    Your arguments for SSM are don’t exclude incestual marriage,

    That is only relevant if there is a reason to believe I am capable of providing an exhaustive list of reasons for SSM and every item on that list applies equally to incestual marriage.

    No. There are those who argue against SSM because gay men in the bath-house culture abuse drugs (which is illegal)

    The ‘No’ you stated there ends your argument. You asserted no difference between the reasons for and against SSM and the reasons for and against incest. AS I pointed out incest can produce inbreed children, SSM cannot. An advocate for incest IMO would have to overcome quite a few arguments, but that would certainly be one that no SSM advocate need ever worry about.

    The problem with the second statement is that it does not fit the requirements you put forth. OK so I think incest marriage would be bad because it might create unhealthy dynamics between parents and children. You think SSM might be bad because pot smoking in gay bath houses may increase. Those are two different reasons, not the same reason. Our justification for these reasons might be the same, we both have a ‘hunch’, but they aren’t the same reason.

    Your assumption is that SSM marriage and relationships are (or should be) socially acceptable so there is no “reason” to change how you raise your kids (or that homosexuality is genetic and not nuture or choice … but why then do you figure that incestual attraction is any different than homosexuality in that way). But if incest was (as my sister and I would prefer) socially acceptable there’d be no reason to change how you raise your kids.

    Ahhh but you are confusing two different animals here. That which is legal and that which is socially accepted. Many marriages are legal but not socially accepted. And of course ‘socially accepted’ is strictly speaking a bit of a democratic affair. Something is accepted if a large portion of people accept it, other it is not.

    I’m also not very impressed by substituting hypotheticals for actuals. You ask might there be a sexual orientation of sibling attraction? I suppose, but such a thing would be very specific wouldn’t it? How would it manifest itself in people who don’t have any siblings? The life of the law is lived in experience goes a famous quote. Do we have experience of a incest orientation or perhaps just isolated cases of incest? I tend to think the latter.

  20. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Like black and whites had equal access to restrooms in the South?

    That makes no sense.

    You ask might there be a sexual orientation of sibling attraction?

    Manfred is the reason for the post. Lord Byron to be specific. And regarding “orientation” it has been argued by many you don’t choose with whom you fall in love.

    The ‘No’ you stated there ends your argument. You asserted no difference between the reasons for and against SSM and the reasons for and against incest. AS I pointed out incest can produce inbreed children, SSM cannot. An advocate for incest IMO would have to overcome quite a few arguments, but that would certainly be one that no SSM advocate need ever worry about..

    You are right. You have an argument when considering fertile incestual relationship. Alas, that’s not what we are considering. When you change the premise and argue a straw man there are things you have to worry about. An advocate for infertile incest, just like SSM, would never have to worry about inbreeding.

    Your justification for these reasons might be the same, we both have a ‘hunch’, but they aren’t the same reason.

    But if the justification for one is accepted you can’t reject the justification for the other. Right?

    OK so I think incest marriage would be bad because it might create unhealthy dynamics between parents and children.

    Still not seeing it. You make this claim but I don’t see any reason for a changed relation between parents and children any more than parents and their gay children. If infertile incest was socially acceptable then parents would be fine with it and in fact might encourage it … just as the left hopes occurs with SSM relationships. You’re not creating the separation you think you are. Look. This is exactly like a lot of arguments people use against SSM which you reject. If you argue “A” is bad in defense of one thing and “A” is bad in defense of another then what am I to do? Advise me.

    The left likes to imagine they are very good at seeing other points of view. Try it. Imagine this from the point of view of someone who wants to marry his sister. Who wants to have his relationship blessed by society, accepted and to be married in the eyes of his neighbors. You think this sort of relationship is natural. Now re-examine your “parents” point. It should look a lot like a SSM supporter talking to a person who thinks hetero parents can’t love gay children.

    That is only relevant if there is a reason to believe I am capable of providing an exhaustive list of reasons for SSM and every item on that list applies equally to incestual marriage.

    No. I believe you aren’t capable of finding any arguments for SSM that don’t apply to infertile incest.

    Like black and whites had equal access to restrooms in the South?

    Uhm. No. Both sexes have equal and exactly the same access to marriage. SSM doesn’t change that one whit. Equal protection is irrelevant.

  21. Boonton says:

    That makes no sense.

    Again a man may marry Sue but not Stan. Why not Stan? Because Stan is a man, hence the law encodes gender discrimination.

    Your ‘equal access’ counter is no different than restrooms in the South or interracial marriage (“Ohhh, true a black guy can’t marry a white woman but then the white guy is *equally* prohibited from marrying a white woman so how can someone say its discrimination). Like it or not banning SSM is gender discrimination. Now you can argue it is justified discrimination (as bathrooms are) but if you recall your assertion was no argument against SSM couldn’t also be deployed against incest. Well sorry I’m not seeing how gender discrimination would work here as an argument against the ban on incest-marriages. Please show how or admit you’ve been disproven.

    You are right. You have an argument when considering fertile incestual relationship. Alas, that’s not what we are considering.

    We aren’t? Why? Since most male-female marriages are fertile or potentially fertile why would that not be a consideration in a discussion about incest-marriage?

    You’re trying to say that you could perhaps overcome the inbreeding problem by some policy other than an outright ban. Perhaps you could, but that would still be irrelevant. You still have a problem with incest-marriage that you wouldn’t with SSM. Hence you cannot be correct in your assertion that all the arguments for and against are of equal value and type.

    But if the justification for one is accepted you can’t reject the justification for the other. Right?

    of course you can. Take a step back and remember this argument here. I asserted another problem with incest would be unhealthy family dynamics. That’s a hunch, I can’t prove or disprove it would happen. You asserted SSM could encourage lots of drug abuse in bathhouses. Again you have a hunch.

    To assert my hunch must be equal to yours is intellectual affirmative action. I have good reasons for my hunch. You have none (why, would the legal status of SSM cause gay men to use more drugs in a bathhouse for example? Do you drink more at bars in states with SSM than in ones that don’t?). I’m well within my rights to toss aside your assertion but keep mine unless you have actual reasons or evidence to demonstrate there’s more merit in your assertion than meets the eye.

    Still not seeing it. You make this claim but I don’t see any reason for a changed relation between parents and children any more than parents and their gay children.

    Well I could see three possible responses to the first. If it was legal, some parents might try to make it happen (think Flowers in the Attic), others might try to prevent it and the third option would be parents who wouldn’t change anything. I think the first is clearly unhealthy for children, the second may not be unhealthy but could become so if parents take it to an extreme…the third would be no change.

    Now explain to me the impact of SSM on parents raising children again? Yes some parents might be encouraging of gay children and others discouraging but that would be the case with or without SSM.

    The left likes to imagine they are very good at seeing other points of view. Try it. Imagine this from the point of view of someone who wants to marry his sister. Who wants to have his relationship blessed by society,…

    This seems a bit deeper than SSM. You seem to be asking if I approve of someone’s same-sex relationship then how could I disapprove of someone else’s incest relationship? You tell me since I assume you disapprove of both by what basis do you choose to say no to both rather than yes to both or yes to one or the other?

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Again a man may marry Sue but not Stan. Why not Stan? Because Stan is a man, hence the law encodes gender discrimination. … Please show how or admit you’ve been disproven.

    Ok. I see. So. I may marry Stan (not my brother) but may not marry Joy (my sister) because of parent. That’s parental discrimination. Should be equally applicable. You can’t offer different laws because of who my parents are, the law encodes parental discrimination. You can’t sit there on the bus, your parent is a felon. You can’t do that, you’ve got the wrong parent. Sorry. Don’t see how you can justify that either.

    We aren’t?

    No. Remember. I have a vasectomy. I want to marry my sister. That’s infertile. It’s what we started talking about.

    You still have a problem with incest-marriage that you wouldn’t with SSM.

    And I have a similar problem with SSM … namely it cannot produce children.

    I have good reasons for my hunch.

    And I have good reasons for my hunch. (and btw, your reasons for your hunch suck … remember we are talking about infertile incest. Your hunch points don’t apply, unless you figger parents are going to sterilize their kids. And if you want to seriously suggest that you’ve gone too far off the rails to talk further). Let’s see, might it be possible that a stable married couple be less likely to frequent places for random sex with strangers? Gosh, that seems reasonable. Hunch validated.

    You seem to be asking if I approve of someone’s same-sex relationship then how could I disapprove of someone else’s incest relationship? You tell me since I assume you disapprove of both by what basis do you choose to say no to both rather than yes to both or yes to one or the other?

    No. I’m asking you to consider the question (SSM vs sterile incest) from a perspective a person who is in committed sterile incestual relationship. From that point of view, can you not see the two as similar parallel arguments?

  23. Boonton says:

    Ok. I see. So. I may marry Stan (not my brother) but may not marry Joy (my sister) because of parent. That’s parental discrimination

    OK. Parental Discrimination is not the same as Gender Discrimination hence this would still be a different ‘problem’ or ‘objection’ for an advocate of incest-marriage. Putting a sign up saying “No women may apply for the manager’s position” is a different animal than telling the hiring manager he may not hire his brother or sister (i.e. no nepotism).

    No. Remember. I have a vasectomy. I want to marry my sister. That’s infertile

    That would be one way to address one problem with incest-marriage. That still makes SSM different. Would anyone who objects to SSM change their objection if all SSM men got vasectomies? No they wouldn’t but as you point out some who object to incest marriage would yield if the participants were infertile. In fact that is essentially what some states have actually encoded in law, letting cousins marry if they are infertile.

    And I have a similar problem with SSM … namely it cannot produce children.

    Opposite problem. With incest marriage we DON’T want children produced. That’s why you proposed to solve it with a vasectomy. You’ve just proven these are two different things.

    And I showed why producing children is a problem with incest marriage, you have not showed why not producing children is a problem with SSM. If every gay person got married maybe 1% of all marriages would be SSM. That is a trivial amount of marriages and the % of marriages that are infertile either by nature or choice is no doubt much larger than 1% so how is not producing children a ‘problem’ that needs to be solved here.

    And I have good reasons for my hunch. (and btw, your reasons for your hunch suck … remember we are talking about infertile incest. Your hunch points don’t apply, unless you figger parents are going to sterilize their kids. And if you want to seriously suggest that you’ve gone too far off the rails to talk further).

    1. You’ve presented no good reasons for your ‘hunch’ that SSM would cause gay men to increase drug abuse in bath houses.

    2. Infertile incest only addresses the inbreeding problem. As I pointed out parents are incentivized to treat their kids in unhealthy ways if incest is permitted.

    No. I’m asking you to consider the question (SSM vs sterile incest) from a perspective a person who is in committed sterile incestual relationship. From that point of view, can you not see the two as similar parallel arguments?

    So I gave you two possible ways a parent may respond in an unhealthy manner regarding incest. They may try to shape their kids towards incest (i.e. Flowers in the Attic) or go in the opposite direction and keep their kids apart so they don’t fall towards incese. A hypothetical person who is in a committed, sterile incestual relationship that they nonetheless consider healthy could see why this would be unhealthy for other kids.

    So yes I get your point. The person you are thinking of might see society’s objections to incest as akin to society’s objection to gay relationships or interracial relationships from an earlier era and as a result that produces unncessary and unjust pain for themselves and others. Nonetheless, that doesn’t establish a logical analogy with SSM or gay relationships (by logical analogy I don’t mean sharing some characteristics but being alike in all the relevant ways that you could reason from one to the other).

  24. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Infertile incest only addresses the inbreeding problem. As I pointed out parents are incentivized to treat their kids in unhealthy ways if incest is permitted.

    And your examples of parents has nothing to do with infertile marriage. Children aren’t born infertile.

    They may try to shape their kids towards incest (i.e. Flowers in the Attic) or go in the opposite direction and keep their kids apart so they don’t fall towards incese

    Not infertile. Not what we’re talking about (straw man fallacy).

    Nonetheless, that doesn’t establish a logical analogy with SSM or gay relationships (by logical analogy I don’t mean sharing some characteristics but being alike in all the relevant ways that you could reason from one to the other).

    That’s right. And what I was suggesting was that I failed to see any arguments for SSM that didn’t have very close (and sometimes exact) parallels in infertile incest marriage.

    With incest marriage we DON’T want children produced. That’s why you proposed to solve it with a vasectomy. You’ve just proven these are two different things.

    Actually no. An infertile couple cannot produce children. Likewise neither can two men or two women. Exactly the same.

    In fact that is essentially what some states have actually encoded in law, letting cousins marry if they are infertile.

    So. We have precedent. Why not brother sister? You’ve just demonstrated that infertility can allow union when your genetic issue is at hand.

    Putting a sign up saying “No women may apply for the manager’s position” is a different animal than telling the hiring manager he may not hire his brother or sister (i.e. no nepotism).

    So you think that Google (say) could have legally have hiring practice which said that “people with this set of surnames need not apply, we’ll never hire them”. I don’t think that would stand. Apparently you think that would be just fine. And I don’t think “you can’t hire a relative” for a hiring manager is legal (currently, whether it’s moral/ethical or not I’ll pass on that), I think you’d just have to establish and document that person in question is the best qualified applicant. If they in fact were the best qualified you’re probably going to be liable if you don’t hire them.

  25. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    The point on equal protection is that gender/race are not relevant to the issue in question, i.e., you claim equal protection is relevant because race (then) gender (now) are not a relevant features when considering marriage. I’m unclear on how parent is not the exactly the same as this. The claim by myself (and my sister) is that likewise who are my parents is also not relevant to the question at hand. This is exactly the same argument and question.

  26. Boonton says:

    And your examples of parents has nothing to do with infertile marriage. Children aren’t born infertile.

    I assume you are talking not about a one-off policy of allowing you to marry your sister but a general policy of allowing incest marriage provided it is infertile. As I pointed out, this still leaves an incentive for non-incestuous parents today to alter the way they raise kids today.

    Actually no. An infertile couple cannot produce children. Likewise neither can two men or two women. Exactly the same.

    And you are saying being infertile would be a solution to the problem of allowing incest-marriage but in SSM being infertile is the problem. This means the nature of the objections to SSM are radically different to the objections to incest-marriage. Therefore it hardly follows that all arguments for SSM apply equally well to for incest.

    So you think that Google (say) could have legally …

    This is irrelevant. You can argue that ‘parent discrimination’ is just as bad as gender discrimination but even if that is true, that doesn’t change the fact that they are different things. Which means yet another argument for SSM (gender discrimination) is demonstrated to have no applicability to incest-marriage thereby refute your thesis.

  27. Boonton says:

    The point on equal protection is that gender/race are not relevant to the issue in question, i.e., you claim equal protection is relevant because race (then) gender (now) are not a relevant features when considering marriage. I’m unclear on how parent is not the exactly the same as this. The claim by myself (and my sister) is that likewise who are my parents is also not relevant to the question at hand. This is exactly the same argument and question.

    Equal protection is a concept for ways that gov’t is and is not permitted to categorize people and treat them differently by category. Racial discrimination and gender discrimination are good illustrations of this. Gov’t has a very high bar it must jump to justify racial discrimination. The bar to justify gender discrimination is also high, but not quite as high as race.

    That is why we have gender segregated restrooms but race based restrooms are long gone. You are suggesting adding a novel type of discrimination (based on your parents) to this analysis but if you want to propose this you have to go all in on it. Why would parental based discrimination merit equal scrutiny to gender or race discrimination? Let’s say it does and parental discrimination is equal to race or gender discrimination in terms of being odious.

    Fine, then one could argue the ban on incest-marriage violates the principle that gov’t should never discriminate based on one’s parents. Your problem, that wouldn’t be an argument that has anything to do with SSm. A requirement that marriages be of mixed genders says nothing about who the biological parents of the bride and groom are.

    Likewise gender discrimination doesn’t apply to a ban on incest-marriage. You can’t marry Sue because she shares your parent(s), not because she is a woman or because you are a man.

  28. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Fine, then one could argue the ban on incest-marriage violates the principle that gov’t should never discriminate based on one’s parents. Your problem, that wouldn’t be an argument that has anything to do with SSm. A requirement that marriages be of mixed genders says nothing about who the biological parents of the bride and groom are.

    Likewise gender discrimination doesn’t apply to a ban on incest-marriage. You can’t marry Sue because she shares your parent(s), not because she is a woman or because you are a man.

    and

    OK. Parental Discrimination is not the same as Gender Discrimination hence this would still be a different ‘problem’ or ‘objection’ for an advocate of incest-marriage. Putting a sign up saying “No women may apply for the manager’s position” is a different animal than telling the hiring manager he may not hire his brother or sister (i.e. no nepotism).

    You are still not getting it. Let me try again.

    We have three parallel marriage arguments.

    Equal protection is a concept for ways that gov’t is and is not permitted to categorize people and treat them differently by category.

    That’s right. And furthermore one way they can’t categorize me is based on who my parents are. Typically in fact they do not. This is one case in which they do.

    1. Race. Not allowing people of the different race to marry violates equal protection because race is not a valid category on which to exclude.
    2. Gender. Not allowing people of the same gender to marry violates equal protection because gender is not a valid category on which to exclude.
    3. Incest. Not allowing people of the same parents to marry violates equal protection because lineage is not a valid category on which to exclude.

    Can you not see these are the same argument? I don’t understand how you cannot see how parent, gender, race are all equivalent for this point. If you support SSM (because you think gender) is not a valid exclusion the argument that lineage is not a valid reason is the same argument.

    Your problem, that wouldn’t be an argument that has anything to do with SSm.

    Not my point. My point is that the arguments for infertile incest marriage (IIM?) are the same as those arguments for SSM.

  29. Boonton says:

    Can you not see these are the same argument?

    Not really. YOu are saying there is a set. This set consists of categories the gov’t is not allowed to use to exclude.

    You then propose that this set consists of 3 members:

    A: Race – which implies interracial marriage
    B: Gender – which implies SSM
    C: Incest – implies incest-marriage.

    So the set, according to you, consists of A,B,C. But if the set includes just A and C then you would have incest marriage but not SSM. A person who says the set is empty would say the state could exclude all those types of marriage.

    Not my point. My point is that the arguments for infertile incest marriage (IIM?) are the same as those arguments for SSM.

    You asserted the ‘problem’ with SSM is that it cannot produce biological children, which presumably we need from marriage?. You admit that IIM ‘solves’ the problem that we DON”T want children from incest marriage.

  30. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Not really. YOu are saying there is a set. This set consists of categories the gov’t is not allowed to use to exclude.

    I’m not talking about sets. I’m talking about equivalent arguments. All three are the same argument. The structure and content is exactly the same. I’m not saying the “set includes” any combination of a,b,c. I’m saying if you find the argument for SSM (gender) valid, you have to admit that the same argument holds for incest. We’re not talking at all about what I support, the whole discussion was that supporters of SSM cannot exclude IIM because the identical arguments they use for SSM apply to IIM and having accepted one set of arguments cannot logically reject the same arguments for IIM.

    You asserted the ‘problem’ with SSM is that it cannot produce biological children, which presumably we need from marriage?. You admit that IIM ‘solves’ the problem that we DON”T want children from incest marriage.

    No. No. No. I said if you support SSM (which has no children) then the absence of children is not an argument against IIM.

  31. Boonton says:

    I’m not talking about sets. I’m talking about equivalent arguments. All three are the same argument. The structure and content is exactly the same. I’m not saying the “set includes” any combination of a,b,c. I’m saying if you find the argument for SSM (gender) valid

    Well this is just pathetic. By this standard you could make the same assertion about dropping the ban on interracial marriage. After all, according to you it doesn’t matter what the membership of the set is, A, B or C, its all the same. But forgive me I fail to see how this makes any sense. If C is not a member of the set, then the argument for incest-marriage fails. Explain, please, how it ‘doesn’t matter’?

    No. No. No. I said if you support SSM (which has no children) then the absence of children is not an argument against IIM

    Why would the absence of children be an argument against IIM?

    To review….you are saying IIM is ok because it won’t produce children. You are saying SSM is NOT OK because it won’t produce children.

    To review, the absence of children appears to be an argument for IIM but is an argument against SSM. This belies your claim that the arguments for the two are the same.

  32. Ed Darrell says:

    Genetics and the public good that comes from preventing inherited diseases from the genetics that often result from incest.

    Can’t make that argument against same-sex marriage.

  33. Ed Darrell says:

    P.S.: What legal benefits derive from incestuous marriage that are not already achieved by being siblings? What is the case FOR incest, in other words?

  34. Mark says:

    Ed,
    We’re discussing infertile incest (in the example I was marrying my sister and I’ve had a vasectomy). No kids.

    And

    What legal benefits derive from incestuous marriage that are not already achieved by being siblings? What is the case FOR incest, in other words?

    First off, try to get a conjugal visit. And seems to me the SSM advocates response to “you have all the legal benefits available without marriage” didn’t fly. They apparently wanted social acceptance that a marriage license (allegedly) provides. Again. Recall this exact argument was used against SSM, those same arguments apply equally well to IIM (Infertile Incest Marriage).

  35. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    To review….you are saying IIM is ok because it won’t produce children. You are saying SSM is NOT OK because it won’t produce children.

    To review, the absence of children appears to be an argument for IIM but is an argument against SSM.

    Grrr. I’m saying if you argue for SSM you have to argue for IIM because the arguments for each are identical.

    Explain, please, how it ‘doesn’t matter’?

    I don’t understand this objection. I’ve said the arguments are equivalent. I’ve clearly shown the parallel. What don’t you understand?

  36. Boonton says:

    I don’t understand this objection. I’ve said the arguments are equivalent. I’ve clearly shown the parallel.

    They are only equilivant in the sense if you go up to a high level of abstraction they take the same form. i.e. “Fertility is a reason to oppose IIM, Fertility is a reason to oppose SSM” so now you say “Since fertility is not a reason to oppose SSM, it shouldn’t be a reason to oppose IIM.”

    But no one has argued against SSM because of fertility, instead they have argued against SSM because of infertility. By your own logic, if SSM couples were naturally fertile, that would be an argument for SSM. But natural fertiliy is an argument against IIM. You attempt to save IIM by a modified ban that allows for infertile couples to get married.

    Not the same form and not equilivant.

  37. Boonton says:

    I do agree that the legal benefits of marriage cannot be recreated for incest couples banned from marriage.

    Mark’s congragal visit is one. A more important one would be legal obligations. One advantage to being married is you have a legal claim on your spouse’s income. If Donald Trump’s wife shows up at the food stamp office, they will deny her claim because of her husband’s income. If she says Trump refuses to provide support to her, a court can order Trump’s assets and income infringed to force him to support his wife. No such legal tool exists for siblings, close friends, or those who are just in a legally informal ‘relationship’.

  38. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Look again.

    1. Race. Not allowing people of the different race to marry violates equal protection because race is not a valid category on which to exclude.
    2. Gender. Not allowing people of the same gender to marry violates equal protection because gender is not a valid category on which to exclude.
    3. Incest. Not allowing people of the same parents to marry violates equal protection because lineage is not a valid category on which to exclude.

    These three are exactly the same argument. Nothing about “sets”. I don’t understand how you say that they aren’t equivalent.

  39. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I see. You like the “naturalism” argument? Hmm. Isn’t that an argument used by Catholics against SSM? Are you sure you want to use that sort of argument. And besides, infertile couples are infertile. I’m not saving “Infertile Incestual marriage” by a modified ban. You’ve offered yourself that some states allow infertile cousins to marry. It seems there is precedent.

    Try again.

  40. Boonton says:

    These three are exactly the same argument. Nothing about “sets”. I don’t understand how you say that they aren’t equivalent.

    They are equilivant in a trivial manner….you could just as easily say since all three arguments are in English that proves the English language could argue for both SSM and IIM.

    Your assertion seems to be one of very nitpicking logic. To you two arguments are the same if they carry the same form, but different premises.

    Argument A: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates will die.

    Argument B: All men are immortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates will never die.

    Ok I get you. This is the ‘same argument’ but it isn’t the ‘same’ in the sense that you originally presented:

    So to put a point on it, in the context of reasons the liberal arguments why can two men or women may marry but a man cannot marry his sister? Or let’s put it concretely. In a state where gay marriage is allowed, what argument could you muster for me not to marry my sister? What reasons for gay marriage are there that do not apply equally well to my marriage with my sister (or for that matter, my brother, my mother, my father, or grandmother/father

    I would say that at least in this context ‘reasons’ seem to include both premises and the logical structure of the conclusion (aka ‘the argument’). Argument A is a ‘reason’ for Socrates to buy life insurance. Argument B is not such a reason.

    Likewise it matters a great deal what are the members of the set of things which gov’t may base discrimination on. If you think it doesn’t, then why are you arguing against SSM here? After all, I’m sure you agree with #1, that interracial marriage bans are wrong. So by your assertions here, if you hold by #1 then you have to hold by #2 and #3 because they are all chained together under your view of them being the ‘same argument’. Otherwise you must feel the gov’t can legitimately ban interracial marriage.

    Set theory here provides a way to cut to the chase.

    The set of things gov’t may discriminate on might be empty. In that case then any type of marriage you can think of will be something the gov’t must allow.

    The set of things gov’t may discriminate on might be everything. In that case anything the gov’t decides to restrict cannot be questioned.

    The set of things may contain some elements, but not other elements.

    99.999% of people belong to the last ‘argument’. But here your slipperly slope collapses. It is easy to explain why IIM is not ok but SSM is. Some element that would permit gov’t to ban IIM is part of the set but not an element that would apply to SSM. Simple. SSM would not imply you have to accept IIM unless you can show that the set of elements that would justify a gov’t ban of IIM has at least one element in common with the set of elements that would justify a ban on SSM and at least that one element is also in the set of things gov’t may legit. base unequal treatment upon.

  41. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Argument A is a ‘reason’ for Socrates to buy life insurance. Argument B is not such a reason.

    Ah. But you (as an SSM supporter) actually believe all three premises (unlike your (failure) with respect to your belief that premise for Arg B). You believe neither race, gender, or lineage are not covered under equal protection. You don’t think the feds can make a law that singles out a person by race (Blacks must ride at the back of the bus). You don’t think the feds can make a law that singles out a person by gender (Women must ride at the back of the bus). You don’t think the feds can make a law that singles out a person by race (People with a father surnamed “Olson” must ride at the back of the bus). Unlike all men are immortal, you actually accept the premises of all three.

    SSM would not imply you have to accept IIM unless you can show that the set of elements that would justify a gov’t ban of IIM has at least one element in common with the set of elements that would justify a ban on SSM and at least that one element is also in the set of things gov’t may legit. base unequal treatment upon.

    I’m unclear on how that is different than what I’m asking for. I’ve asked for, and not received, an argument for SSM that does not apply to IIM.

    (first paragraph fixed)

  42. Boonton says:

    You believe neither race, gender, or lineage are not covered under equal protection. You don’t think the feds can make a law that singles out a person by race (Blacks must ride at the back of the bus). You don’t think the feds can make a law that singles out a person by gender (Women must ride at the back of the bus). You don’t think the feds can make a law that singles out a person by race (People with a father surnamed “Olson” must ride at the back of the bus). Unlike all men are immortal, you actually accept the premises of all three.

    Actually no I don’t believe that all three categories are equal in terms of odiousness. Also Equal Protection doesn’t quite say the gov’t cannot use categories in discrimination, only that when it does use categories, the bar to justify such policies can be set high, very high, or only modestly high. That makes the discussion much more complicated because sometimes you can have two policies that share the same category yet one is ok and the other isn’t. For example, a prison wardan may segregate by race to put down a race riot. But the clerk at the marriage office can’t refuse interracial marriages because he has a convoluted theory that doing so will eventually bring about a race riot.

    But even if I did, it wouldn’t save your argument. Yes a person who believed items 1,2 and 3 were categories gov’t can’t discrminate by would support your ‘right to incest-marry’. Then again so would a person who just supported #3 but not 1 or 2. Or a person who supported 1 & 3. You’ve utterly failed to show us a reason why a person who supports either 1 or 2 or both is compelled to also include #3.

    I’m unclear on how that is different than what I’m asking for.

    In order to produce a slipperly slope you have to show that a reason for one is also a reason for another. So if one is allowed, then so much the other. As I pointed out, ‘reason’ is more than just the logical structure of the argument but the premises as well.

    Hence this is why you are collapsing…trying to get us to believe saying “because SSM can’t have kids that’s a problem but since IIM can’t produce kids that solves a problem” is coherent and consistent when all of us, esp. you, know it isn’t.

  43. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Actually no I don’t believe that all three categories are equal in terms of odiousness.

    You do realize that “repugnance” is an argument against SSM that you reject.

    “because SSM can’t have kids that’s a problem

    When have you argued that because SSM can’t have kids that is a problem? I’m confused. Seems to me you’ve said the reverse, that even though SSM can’t have kids that isn’t a problem. Which also means not being able to have kids also shouldn’t be a problem for IIM.

  44. Boonton says:

    You do realize that “repugnance” is an argument against SSM that you reject.

    So what? There are 3 categories and the question is which, if any, are members of a set. If they are members of the set, then marriage discrimination associated with said category is unconstitutional.

    Explain why asserting that #2 is a member requires one to also assert #3 is a member? I also assume you agree #1 is a member (that was the one that would ban interracial) but why wouldn’t believing that require one to add #2 and #3? You hidden premise here is that all 3 elements share some type of link that requires them to either all be in the set or all outside of the set. Upon what do you base that premise?

    When have you argued that because SSM can’t have kids that is a problem? I’m confused. Seems to me you’ve said the reverse, that even though SSM can’t have kids that isn’t a problem.

    You have asserted infertility can solve the problem with allowing incest marriage. You have asserted that infertility is the reason we can’t have SSM.

    So which is it? If infertility is a barrier to marriage then how is making it requirement for incest marriage ‘solving’ the problem of figuring out a way to justify removing the ban on incest marriage while at the same time asserting that infertility is the reason to keep the ban on SSM?

    Your mission was to identify an argument against incest that would not also apply against SSM. Genetic problems fits the bill. That’s a problem with incest marriage, not a problem with SSM.

    You assert that the problem can be ‘solved’ with incest marriage by requiring infertility. Yes that is one way to solve the problem. Another way is to just not have incest marriage at all. Either way this is unique to incest marriage and not SSM.

  45. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    You have asserted infertility can solve the problem with allowing incest marriage. You have asserted that infertility is the reason we can’t have SSM.

    You don’t understand. I’m not talking at all about my arguments vis a vis SSM. I’m talking about the arguments used by supporters of SSM. This isn’t my argument. It’s about your argument. My claim is IIM is a problem for SSM supporters. It is, as you note, not a problem for SSM non-supporters.

    Your mission was to identify an argument against incest that would not also apply against SSM. Genetic problems fits the bill.

    Nope. Infertile marriages don’t have a genetic problem. Yes, if you change the question you’ll find you often don’t have an answer to the original question.

    You hidden premise here is that all 3 elements share some type of link that requires them to either all be in the set or all outside of the set. Upon what do you base that premise?

    And how you you remove #3 from the set? By what principle? I’ve told you the link. Lineage, gender, race … and equal protection. Are you claiming that lineage is indeed a valid legal principle that avoid equal protection issues, that you can write a law that says people with surname Olson cannot vote?

  46. Boonton says:

    You don’t understand. I’m not talking at all about my arguments vis a vis SSM. I’m talking about the arguments used by supporters of SSM. This isn’t my argument. It’s about your argument. My claim is IIM is a problem for SSM supporters. It is, as you note, not a problem for SSM non-supporters

    Errr, no, IIM is a problem, I suppose, for anyone who doesn’t support incest marriage on the grounds of genetic problems with children without any relationship to how one stands on the issue of SSM.

    Nope. Infertile marriages don’t have a genetic problem. Yes, if you change the question you’ll find you often don’t have an answer to the original question.

    True, nonetheless incest marriage has a problem that SSM doesn’t. Namely genetics. You propose to solve it by requiring infertility, a requirement that does not exist for other marraiges.

    And how you you remove #3 from the set? By what principle? I’ve told you the link. Lineage, gender, race … and equal protection. Are you claiming that lineage is indeed a valid legal principle that avoid equal protection issues, that you can write a law that says people with surname Olson cannot vote?

    That’s not a link. You are simply asserting that 3 elements are all members of a set. Why? The set of even numbers does not include prime numbers other than 2. It does not include odd numbers. The set of people named Stan does not include people named Bill.

    And how you you remove #3 from the set?

    Irrelevant. Whether I have to justify removing #3 from the set or you have to justify including #3 into the set, what does that have to do with #1 or #2? Why does #2 being in the set require #3 to be in the set? What you are asserting is as silly as saying the number 3 must be a member of the set of even numbers because its close neighbor, number 4, is a member of that set.

    What you have to do here is show that #2, gender, is somehow tied to #3, lineage so that if one is a member of something then the other must also be a member. Otherwise you haven’t made your argument.

    Asking me to prove the two aren’t linked doesn’t count. There’s no logical reason to assert the two are linked unless you present one. Perhaps they are both members of a set, or maybe one is and the other isn’t or maybe neither is.

    Possible combinations:

    #2 #3
    yes yes
    no yes
    no no
    yes no

    I am not required to take any stand on these possibilities. IMO incest marriage would be a debate unto itself. If you, however, want to assert that only ‘yes yes’ or ‘no no’ can be valid then you must provide evidence and logic to support that assertion.

  47. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    incest marriage has a problem that SSM doesn’t. Namely genetics. You propose to solve it by requiring infertility, a requirement that does not exist for other marraiges.

    I agree. Incest Marriage “has a problem” with genetics … but we’re talking about IIM, not IM. You can’t say IIM has a problem with genetics. Sorry. Just like a SSM supporter can’t say gay marriage doesn’t have a problem with gender as long as the two gay people getting married are of the opposite sex.

    That’s not a link.

    Certainly it is. You can’t make laws based on lineage (equal protection). I’m unclear

    What you have to do here is show that #2, gender, is somehow tied to #3, lineage so that if one is a member of something then the other must also be a member. Otherwise you haven’t made your argument.

    Huh. I’ve showed how the arguments are parallel. I’ve claimed that SSM arguments are the same as IIM arguments. You’ve insisted that infertile couples have a problem with fertility and that two things both covered by equal protection have to be magically linked in some way. #3 is “linked” to #2 in the same way that #1 is linked to #2. That’s it. Either drop it or tell me why

    And how you you remove #3 from the set?

    Irrelevant.

    Actually it’s not irrelevant. It’s the crux. It is exactly the thing you aren’t able to provide which is why SSM supporters must support IIM. If you don’t support IIM, tell me why and show that that argument doesn’t apply to SSM.

    IMO incest marriage would be a debate unto itself. If you, however, want to assert that only ‘yes yes’ or ‘no no’ can be valid then you must provide evidence and logic to support that assertion.

    I’ve asked you why yes/no is a valid position. You’ve said it isn’t but have never said why. I’ve said that equal protection applies to gender and lineage. You haven’t disagreed with that. Therefore they are linked in that way.

  48. Boonton says:

    I agree. Incest Marriage “has a problem” with genetics … but we’re talking about IIM, not IM. You can’t say IIM has a problem with genetics

    1. You didn’t say IIM. You there was no argument against incest marriage that wouldn’t apply against SSM and vice versa.

    2. IIM is the same thing as incest marriage with the addition of an ad hoc rule. What purpose does this rule serve? To avoid a problem with incest marriage that SSM doesn’ thave.

    Certainly it is. You can’t make laws based on lineage (equal protection). I’m unclear

    Why not? More importantly, why does making laws based on gender magically also allow you to make them based on lineage?

    Huh. I’ve showed how the arguments are parallel. I’ve claimed that SSM arguments are the same as IIM arguments.,

    I have no idea how this is relevant to anything:

    Exposure to solar radiation may cause cancer.

    Exposure to chemical X may cause cancer.

    Exposure to grapefruit may cause cancer.

    All these statements are parallel. If the first two are true, that in no way makes the 3rd true. Likewise if the first two are false, that doesn’t vindicate grapefruit. It very well may be that all three are true, or false but it could very well be that some combination of them are true and false.

    Now suppose you show that chemical X is present in grapefruit. Now you have a link. If X causes cancer, then grapefuit may cause it too since it has X. If X doesn’t cause cancer, then grapefruit may be safe. (That is simplistic of course, grapefruit may have other things that neutralize the cancer causing impact of X so perhaps X causes cancer but not grapefruit despite the large amount of X you get).

    Actually it’s not irrelevant. It’s the crux. It is exactly the thing you aren’t able to provide which is why SSM supporters must support IIM. If you don’t support IIM, tell me why and show that that argument doesn’t apply to SSM.

    Absent a link SSM supporters have to do nothing. Why not IIM? Simple, lineage is not a member of the group that gender is. Why isn’t it a member? Not my problem. There are no doubt quite a few members of the set, I don’t have to map out ever one. AS far as SSM goes all that concerns me is whether or not gender is a member. If gender is a member, that doesn’t make lineage a member. If gender isn’t a member, that doesn’t mean lineage isn’t a member. A person could, after all, support IIM while opposing SSM. Indeed some states appear to have taken that very stance when they outlawed SSM but adopted cousin marriage.

    I’ve asked you why yes/no is a valid position

    Who cares? There are 4 possibilities…y/y, n/n, y/n and n/y. Absent any other knowledge, it would appear there’s a 50% chance the ‘right answer’ is y for IIM. If I tell you the answer on SSM is y, you are still left with 2 possibilities (y/y, y/n). Again odds on the right answer for IIM remain 50%. Knowing SSM tells you nothing about the validity of IIM.

    Now if you show that SSM and IIM have to be linked, then you remove the mixed combinations and are left with Y/Y and N/N. Now if you know one answer you know the other. Nice. But how do you know combinations aren’t allowed?

  49. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    You didn’t say IIM.

    Did too. See the orginal post. Why can’t I marry my sister was the question in which the prior condition notes that I have had a vasectomy.

    IIM is the same thing as incest marriage with the addition of an ad hoc rule

    Not Ad hoc. It was the premise.

    More importantly, why does making laws based on gender magically also allow you to make them based on lineage?

    Guess you’ll have to ask someone who supports SSM why they so frequently compare SSM to inter-racial marriage. Let me know when you find an actual SSM supporter.

    Absent a link SSM supporters have to do nothing.

    You don’t have to do anything. However to remain logically consistent you have to show why IIM is different than SSM (if you in fact do not also support IIM). As I’ve noted, I see no arguments for SSM that do not apply equally well to IIM. You have offered nothing to contradict that.

    Simple, lineage is not a member of the group that gender is

    And race is? Why? What group? If race and gender are both members why is lineage not?

    Who cares?

    Well, only you if you prefer consistency. Apparently you do not.

    But how do you know combinations aren’t allowed?

    Because I’m pretty sure you can’t make laws based on lineage.

  50. Boonton says:

    However to remain logically consistent you have to show why IIM is different than SSM (if you in fact do not also support IIM).

    And so do you. If you oppose SSM because you think in this case gender happens to be in the set of things gov’t can discriminate on, why is lineage also in that group (in which case IIM is out the door) or is it not in that group (in which case IIM is in while SSM is out)?

    But actually I don’t have to show anything unless I want to discuss IIM and assert it either should be banned or should be accepted. Since gender and lineage are two different things one simply does not lead to the other.

    Because I’m pretty sure you can’t make laws based on lineage

    Say this is right. Then IIM is in. That doesn’t tell me anything about SSM. Likewise if gender is out, that doesn’t tell me anything about IIM.