The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

What Rights Should Same-Sex Couples Not Have?

I asked earlier “What rights should same-sex couples have?” And the ongoing conversation has been interesting, to say the least, and even informative in terms of understanding where people on the opposite side of the issue are coming from. Of course, that’s after you get past the notion that gay people are basically the moral equivalent of segregationists or white supremacists or something. (I kid you not, but that’s a topic for another day. I have something else in mind for this one)

It’s also been informative in the sense that it’s made me consider that I might be asking the wrong question, and also asking the wrong persons. Maybe the question I should be asking on a broader scale, and to more people, is “What rights should same-sex couples not have?” (Especially if it means we don’t have to talk about it anymore.) The question comes to mind after much back and forth about same-sex marriage vs. civil unions vs. domestic partnership vs. various state constitutional amendments designed to prohibit all three. (And maybe other legal arrangements as well. Or not, depending on who you ask.)

In all of that, the term “RB’s” was brought up over and over again, as the answer to the questions I’ve been asking. I figured it was an abbreviation of something, but I wasn’t sure what. I made a mental note to ask, but decided to do a bit of googling which revealed that “RB’s” is an abbreviation for “Reciprocal Beneficiaries.” It turns out I wrote about it back in February. I already knew what it meant, but didn’t immediately make the connection. It also turns out to be a good place to start in terms of the previous question and the one that’s the title of this post.

Interesting thing about RB’s. They’re not new, and they don’t seem to make anybody entirely happy. That reminds me of a joke I heard in legislative and lobbying circles when I first moved to D.C. and started working in politics: If you end up reaching a solution that doesn’t make anybody completely happy, then you’;re probably on the right track. I’m not sure if that’s the case with RB’s or not, but their worth examining as an option since they have some interesting (and unexpected) supporters and opponents on both sides of the issue. And because it facilitates the discussion I hoped the earlier questions would have encouraged.

The concept goes back at least as far as 1997 (no, Ramesh Ponnuru didn’t invent it), when the Hawaii legislature passed the Reciprocal Beneficiaries Act, in an effort to head off any possibility of same-sex marriage happening in Hawaii. That sounds about right. As I recall, the Hawaii Supreme Court was dealing with a marriage rights case. The court ruled against same-sex marriage two years later, but at the time there was enough anxiety to go around. Enough that a year before, in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by Bill Clinton. I can’t speak for the Hawaii legislature, but I was working at HRC at the time and most of the gay organizations at that time didn’t want to touch the marriage issue, because the numbers were overwhelmingly against us no matter how you looked at them. (That’s changed significantly since then, but more about that later.)

Back to the question at hand. What did Hawaii’s reciprocal beneficiaries status include? Well, if the partners in question were over 18, unmarried, legally prohibited from marriage, not consenting under duress or fraud, and had signed and filed a notarized declaration of the relationship, the RB initially covered:

  • Worker’s compensation
  • Public employees health fund
  • Public employees retirement
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Inheritance without a will
  • Wrongful death
  • Hospital visitation (and health care decisions)
  • Consent to postmortem exams
  • Loan eligibility
  • Property rights (including joint tenancy)
  • Tort liability
  • Protection under Hawaii domestic violence laws

But then employers raised holy hell, and eventually the public employees health fund, public employees retirement, health insurance and life insurance were no longer covered. So that leaves:

  • Worker’s compensation
  • Inheritance without a will
  • Wrongful death
  • Hospital visitation (and health care decisions)
  • Consent to postmortem exams
  • Loan eligibility
  • Property rights (including joint tenancy)
  • Tort liability
  • Protection under Hawaii domestic violence laws

Now, I’m not sure that even all of these are covered under Hawaii’s current statute, but it’s enough to work with. It even still includes some of the rights mentioned in the previous post. Not all, (federal benefits like social security, etc. won’t be covered by a state law) but more than most same-sex couples get in most places.

By comparison, Vermont’s civil union includes same-sex couples the following benefits. (Interestingly enough, Vermont’s civil unions statute also simultaneously established reciprocal beneficiaries.)

  • Abuse — Able to qualify for various abuse programs as spouses.
  • Adoption — Entitled to all the protections and benefits available when adopting. Same-sex couples already are allowed to adopt, but laws would reflect that those couples would now be treated as spouses.
  • Custody
  • Definitions — Use of State laws that confer benefits or rights to people based on their marital or family status, such as family landowner rights to hunt and fish, or definitions of family farmers.
  • Discrimination — Use of laws prohibiting discrimination based on marital status.
  • Compensation — Use of victim’ compensation and workers’ compensation related to spouses.
  • Family Leave — Able to make medical decisions for incapacitated partner.
  • Health Care — Able to visit hospitals visitation and be notified of a partner’s condition.
  • Insurance — State employees are treated as spouses for insurance or continuing care contracts.
  • Lawsuits — Able to sue for wrongful death, the emotional distress caused by a partner’s death or injury, and loss of consortium caused by death or injury.
  • Property — Entitled to joint title, transfer from one to the other on death, and property transfer tax benefits.
  • Probate — Use probate law and procedures.
  • State Tax — Treated as an economic unit.
  • Testimony — Not be compelled to testify against one another.

By comparison, Vermont’s reciprocal beneficiaries relationship status offers eligible adults the following benefits, all of which apply to civil unions as well, but excludes plenty as well.

  • Hospital Visitation/Health Care Decisions
  • Anatomical Gifts
  • Disposition of Remains
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Patient’s Bill of Rights Coverage & Nursing Home Bill of Rights Coverage

Right away, the differences are apparent, and can be important to some same-sex couples if not all, which underscores an important point: there is no one answer to the question “What rights do same-sex couples need?” Because our families’ needs and circumstances differ from one to the next, as with every other family.

Some same-sex couples with children may need the protections related to adoption and custody. The Vermont. vs. Virginia case, in which Vermont upheld the parental visitation rights of one former partner in a civil union while Virginia did not, recently showed how differently states view our families based on their laws regarding families.

In Connecticut, where civil unions grant same-sex couples all the same rights as married heterosexual couples in the state, a lesbian couple is testing the law by suing for loss of consortium after medical malpractice left one of them can permanently debilitated and unable to participate in their lives together as she had before. And lest you think that “loss of consortium” merely concerns a couple’s sex life, PG at De Novo does a pretty good job of explaining what it entails.

Connecticut judges are less one-track minded than the press regarding the meaning of loss of consortium. “Loss of consortium is defined as the loss of services, financial support, and the variety of intangible relations that exist between spouses living together in marriage. The “intangible” components of consortium are the “constellation of companionship, dependence, reliance, affection, sharing and aid which are legally recognizable, protected rights arising out of the civil contract of marriage.”; Shegog v. Zabrecky, 36 Conn. App. 737, 751 (1995).

…This strikes me as a better conception of what harm the law should address. Sexual relations or lack thereof between spouses should not be a matter of much concern for others, but harms that have a more quantifiable economic cost — such as needing to change housing, pay for professionals to do what the injured spouse once did (which, in jurisdictions that prohibit prostitution, cannot include sex), devote time to caring for the injured spouse — should be recognized legally as damage done to the non-injured spouse that cannot be fully captured by compensating the injured spouse only for the harm done to her individually.

But in states where recognition of civil unions, domestic partnerships and other legal arrangements are prohibited by law, would a same sex couple facing a circumstances similar to those of the lesbian couple in the Connecticut case have legal standing to bring a similar suit? Granted the injured partner might be able to sue for malpractice in this particular case, but that doesn’t cover the partner whose life is also affected in the ways mentioned above. A child of the injured partner might have standing as well, according to the post at De Novo.

Would such a case be possible for partners in states where they can register a reciprocal beneficiaries? It remains to be seen. Interestingly enough, one of the developments that came out of the Massachusetts decision that legalized same-sex marriage in that state is that the some of the opponents of same-sex marriage proposed their own version of reciprocal beneficiaries that might (at least the way I read it) give same-sex couples to file this kind of suit under similar circumstances.

Other sections of the bill amend existing laws to extend the following rights and benefits to reciprocal beneficiaries:

  1. Hospital visitation rights;
  2. The right to designate a reciprocal beneficiary to make health care decisions in the event the other reciprocal beneficiary is unable to do so;
  3. Automatic revocation of a health care proxy upon the termination of a “Reciprocal Beneficiary Contract”;
  4. The right of the surviving reciprocal beneficiary to authorize organ and tissue donations unless the deceased reciprocal beneficiary has specifically and previously indicated otherwise;
  5. The right to make funeral arrangements for one another;
  6. The right of insurers to include reciprocal beneficiaries, like relatives:
    a. In a liability insurance contract;
    b. As recipients of annuities under a group annuity contract;
    c. In a group life insurance contract;
    d. As recipients of life insurance proceeds in the event no designated beneficiary is alive;
    e. Under any general or blanket accident or health insurance policy;
  7. The right to have health coverage extended for a period of 39 weeks, when a policyholder of a group medical insurance becomes ineligible because of involuntary layoff or death;
  8. The right to create a tenancy in common or joint tenancy with survivorship for a home;
  9. Certain rights under the Homestead Protection Act which protects home ownership in the event of personal bankruptcy;
  10. Inheritance rights when there is no will;
  11. Next of kin status for the reciprocal beneficiary of a mental health patient;
  12. Right to recover damages arising out of injury to the reciprocal beneficiary.

What’s interesting about the Massachusetts proposal is how much further it goes in terms of rights and protections than Hawaii’s did. Maybe that’s because where Hawaii’s bill was an attempt to head off a court decision legalizing gay marriage, Massachusetts is reacting to a situation in which same-sex couples have been given all the legal rights and protection the state confers based on marital status. It seems to be a trend that opponents of same-sex marriage (and civil unions, and domestic partnership) are proposing reciprocal beneficiaries status as an alternative. Perhaps it’s a concession to the reality that a majority of people support some legal recognition for same-sex couples, and some rights and protections to go along with it.

The same could be said for what’s going on in Colorado right now, where yet another anti-gay marriage amendment is on the ballot. But instead of fighting it gay organizations are supporting what’s basically a reciprocal beneficiaries bill. According to Coloradan’s for Fairness, the referendum gives committed couples rights and protections including hospital visitation, the right to make medical decisions, direct nursing home care and secure basic property and inheritance rights. On an interesting note, the referendum got enough signatures to get on the ballot, while the coalition opposing the referendum failed to get even half the signatures needed to get on the ballot. (In fact, the referendum received a few thousand more signatures than the amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual institution.)

And, as I wrote earlier, those supporting the referendum got some unlikely support from James Dobson and Focus on the Family, as well as opposition from the usual suspects like Concerned Women for America. (Interestingly enough, one organization for unmarried heterosexuals thinks it doesn’t go far enough, because it doesn’t take into consideration the legal status of unmarried heterosexuals.) But I think this post from Evangelical Outpost sums up the reason for conservatives like Dobson to support legal arrangements like reciprocal beneficiaries, by referring to the biblical story of Rugh and Naomi, and coming to a conclusion that echoes conservative support for the issue going all the way back to Hawaii.

But what if Ruth and Naomi lived in modern-day America? Would they be able to keep this commitment to each other without hindrance from laws that recognize only dependents, guardians, and spouses? The law may very well provide them “equal protection” under certain circumstances (i.e., powers of attorney) but often requires the ability to navigate a labyrinth of rules and regulations. Reciprocal-beneficiary contracts simplify this process.

Some conservatives and libertarians may see no need for the government to expand the definition of civil unions in any manner. But the political reality is that the change is inevitable. The issue is no longer when civil unions will be recognized but what form they will take. (The Colorado bill is competing with a domestic partnership proposal from Democratic lawmakers.) By desexualizing the issue we preserve the government’s purpose (a social institution that brings stability to our society) without endorsing behavior that many of us consider immoral.

In effect, neutering the question of marital rights and protections seems to be the answer, as it attempts to “head off” what even some one the right now see as an inevitability: that some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples is going to be a reality.

The only question is the form that it will take. which brings us back to the question of what rights same-sex couples should or should not have (or any unmarried couples or persons in dependent relationships, for that matter, but for the purposes of this post I’ll keep the focus on same-sex couples.) The various examples of reciprocal beneficiaries benefits varies from state to state, with some offering more rights and protections than others, but if I put them all together in one list, I get this:

  • Abuse – covered by state domestic abuse statutes
  • Adoption – Entitled to all rights and protections when adopting. Same-sex couples treated as spouses.
  • Custody – Same-sex couples treated as spouses
  • Compensation – Use of workers compensation, victim’s compensation, etc., related to spouses
  • Definitions – Confers benefits otherwise based on marital status, like property rights to hunt and fish, or definition of family farmers
  • Family Leave - Entitled to unpaid family leave related to spouses
  • Funeral Arrangements – Right to make funeral arrangements, re: disposition of remains, as with spouses
  • Hospital Visitation – Entitled to hospital visitation
  • Inheritance – Automatic inheritance rights, even in absence of a will;
  • Insurance – State employees treated as spouses for health insurance
  • Lawsuits – Entitled to sue for sue for damages and emotional distress in the event of wrongful death, as well as loss of consortium
  • Medical Decisions – Entitled to make medical decisions for incapacitated partner
  • Next of Kin – Recognized as immediate next of kin
  • Property – Entitled to joint title, property transfer, and transfer benefits
  • Taxes - Treated as economic unit
  • Testimony – Cannot be compelled to testify against each other

To that list I might also add pensions, since yesterday the president signed the Pensions Protection Act which would allow individuals to transfer retirement plan benefits to non-spousal beneficiaries, and to tap into those funds for medical or financial emergencies of the beneficiary. If the same could be applied to Social Security, I’d add that to the list too.

Anyway, that’s as broad a list as I can come up with, and honestly if tomorrow I were offered the opportunity to register for legal status that — in one fell swoop — would give the hubby and I all of those rights and protections (only a few of which our current legal papers give us) that we don’t currently have I’d take it. I’m not saying that afterward I’d stop pushing for marriage, because there’d still be a lot to fight for. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. For starters, you can almost bet that in many states where all the benefits above might be granted to unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, efforts to overturn that legal status and/or eliminate some of the rights and protections would begin the day after they passed. That’s one of the vulnerabilities of that legal status: it’s separate from marriage, and can be redefined at will, even redefined right out of existence.

There are a few reasons why I think establishing a broad legal status like that above, not based on sexual orientation, might lead to something pretty damn close to same-sex marriage. For one, there’s the issue of portability. Assuming that states pass their own versions of the above, they will all probably be different from one another, with some offer a broader range of rights and protections than others. And some states may opt not to recognize reciprocal beneficiary relationships recognized in other states. The result same-sex couples and others who get this status don’t know what their rights are from one state to then next, whereas marriage is the same in all states, from Alabama to Wyoming.

Given how mobile people and families are now, and probably will be in the future, it doesn’t take much to imagine a pretty strong movement forming (because it won’t be just gay people anymore) to establish some kind of federally recognized status that covers the benefits above, and that’s recognized in the states, and stays basically the same from one state to the next. The likely outcome is that we end up with something encompassing most of the benefits approved by the states, as well as including some federal benefits (pensions? social security?). And if definitions are applied to these relationships at the federal level in the same way they are applied to spouses, well then you end up with something damn close to marriage, if not identical to it. And it may just be that by then the support for marriage equality that’s been creeping towards majority may finally get there.

Until then, the discussion’s gotten down to what rights same-sex couples (and, apparently, other non-married persons in interdependent relationships) should or shouldn’t have. The final list above is the most comprehensive one I can come up with that includes all of the rights and protections conferred by the states that offer some form of legal recognition to same-sex couples. So which ones from the final list make the cut? Which one’s dont? Apparently, that’s what we’re going to be debating for the foreseeable future.

34 Comments

  1. When ‘they’ come up with a list of benefits that gay couples should not have, (because we know it will involve children) please have them consider and explain this too.

    http://www.365gay.com/Newscon06/07/070506families.htm

    and then have these bigots explain why they enjoy persecuting our children so much.

  2. I would bet that the benefits involving the greatest monetary losses to states (I’d guess taxation, insurance, and property) will be the hardest to achieve. There are fewer obvious economic arguments against benefits related to abuse prevention, adoption, custody, family leave, funerals, medical decisions, and visitation. The latter benefits all have “humane” components, too (dare I say “compassionate”?), which I think are more likely to sway swing voters. As for the rest, it’s hard to say where they’d fall. Hopefully some would slip in with the “humane” items.

    Looking at the VT and MA RB benefits, they are indeed mostly the “humane” items (except for MA’s insurance one, which would seem to burden insurers more than the state itself).

    I’m not saying this is the order in which we should prioritize them (though personally I’d rather have the “humane” benefits than the purely economic ones, if I had to choose only one set). I’m just betting economics will play a big role.

    (“Humane” is perhaps not the right word. Certainly one could argue that it’s “inhumane” to deny any benefits to same-sex couples. Hope the distinction is clear for the purpose of this comment, though.)

    Thanks for such an exhaustive and intriguing post.

  3. Thanks. I think this post was too long to grab most people’s attention and get them to read to the end, but I wanted to get it all into one post.

    The final list is as exhaustive as I could make it, so I don’t whold any illusion that it would all pass muster. Hoever on the benefits involving the greatest monetary losses, an argument can be made that they fall into the “humane” category as well, particularly as pertains to the support the surviving partner and family in the event of one partner’s death.

    If something were to happen to my partner tomorrow, I’d still have Parker to raise, and I wouldn’t need any fewer resources to do it than would the family across the street if the same happened to them. It takes money to keep a family afloat. But no matter how you slice it, I’d get less either in terms of what I can’t inherit as a legal non-spouse, or in the taxes I’d have to pay on it for the same reason.

    But I suspect you’re right. Those would be the last benefits to win approval, I suspect. People can understand that my partner and I should be allowed to visit each other in the hospital, take leave to care for one another if ill, inherit from one another, etc. But when it comes to dollars and cents, that would take some persuasion.

    On the other hand, I wonder what the non-economic reasons would be for not supporting those benefits, and how would they outweigh the human arguements in favor of those benefits.

  4. The irony here is too much.

    “…it doesn’t take much to imagine a pretty strong movement forming (because it won’t be just gay people anymore) to establish some kind of federally recognized status that covers the benefits above, and that’s recognized in the states, and stays basically the same from one state to the next.”

    In some people’s rush to “defend” marriage they are actually encouraging the development of a marriage-like situtation. The establishment of RB’s for non-gay people would likely lead to fewer and fewer marriages.

    Anti-marriage equality groups are misguided on so many levels.

  5. Of course, that’s a best-case scenario, assuming that most states establish RB’s and make the benefits available to a broad range of people. As with domestic partnerships in some cases, if they were extablished but excluded non-married heterosexuals, there would probably be a few succesful discrimination suits that force them to be available to everyone. So, the smart move would be to make them available to everyone from the get-go.

    But it does kind of underscore Jonathan Rauch’s point about how creating a “marriage lite” or other alternative could “weaken marriage” by creating the possibility for heterosexuals to get most of the benefits of marriage without getting married. The likely result would be somewhat fewer eligible heteros tying the knot.

    The flip side of that, however, would take care of one of my concerns about RB’s: that, being separate from marriage, they are vulnerable to being constantly amendmended and whittled down to cover fewer and fewer benefits or protections. If they’re applicable only to gay people, then there’s likely to be less of a fight to defend them. But if they cover unmarried heterosexuals and other people too, there would be more protection against them being revised down in the future.

    The question then becomes, how much do they cover initially? Which brings us back around the question that’s the title of this post.

  6. After a good deal of thought I have come up with two answers to the original question.

    1. None. Every right or responsibility of marriage (as RBs) should be given to same-sex couples. There is no rational reason why couples shouldn’t have these rights–at least, I’ve never heard one.

    2. It depends on the jurisdiction. While #1 above is the ideal, this is the pragmatic answer. Marriage and RBs are bestowed through unique processes in each state/district/territory in this country. Whatever rights can pass through the legislature sooner rather than later would be a step forward. Whatever RBs that are not made available to same-sex couples is still discrimination. So, the fight then shifts to expanding RBs toward the ideal.

    Whether or not #2 would prolong the struggle, seems to me, is a reasonable debate. After recent set-backs in the courts, this piecemeal approach might be the way to go.

  7. Thanks for your thoughtful and comprehensive assessment – it’s a great resource! At the Alternatives to Marriage Project (www.unmarried.org) we’d like to see more rights available to everyone and fewer rights based on marital status. Marriage has become a weak descriptor for the basket of goods/services/rights/responsibilities that government should provide, because as you note “families’ needs and circumstances differ from one to the next”. You note that, when rights “cover unmarried heterosexuals and other people too, there would be more protection against them being revised down in the future” – yes, and also society would become more fair for many millions of people! As you note, RB bills are often much too skimpy and vulnerable. Could momentum grow for de-coupling your list of key rights from marital status altogether?

  8. I started reading your article, but it’s too long. I skipped to the end and like your list. You may want to add work-place protections though, especially if your in the military. The question you ask makes all sides of the same-sex marriage controvery to seriously consider how they would dole out discrimination. What rights should same-sex couples NOT have? Excellent perspective, thank you. My answer to your question is that same-sex couples should have all rights and responsibilities of opposite sex couples with the exception of church-sanctioned ceremonies. Some churches will sanction it and some will not. The focus of rights/responsibilities of all committed couples should not be based on religion, which logically excludes marriage. All committed couples, straight or gay, should have the same process for recognition and documentation, but leave the religious part out of law.

  9. Terrance,

    I like this post, I’ll link to it from Opine.

    One qualm unrelated to the list, I don’t think you give FoF and CWA enough credit. They’ve been proponents of RB’s for a long time. You should be open to the idea that perhaps they do not really harbor the emnity that so many ascribe to them.

    My only concerns from the beginning have been to preserve the unique ability that a marriage has to keeping families intact. That provides preservation of children’s attachment to their heritage, a UN recognized right. That provides responsibility to an uncertain future of having children inspite of entirely unpredictable results. That treats children as people, and preserves them from becoming a commercial product. The hireling (or in this case person purchasing) does not have the same commitment.

    The only thing on your list that may (just might) conflict is adoption, but in a way that is probably extemperaneous to what you are seeking. The ability to have full custody of a child is seperate from the concern of what is written on their birth certificate.

  10. Well, the discussion continues. I won’t hazard a guess as to where it will end up, but it will be interesting to see.

    On reciprocal beneficiaries, I remain undecided. It’s an intruguing idea, but it remains to be see if or how it will work, and whether it’s a means to an end or an end in itself. If defined as broadly as I tried to put it in my final list, it would be very close to marriage. It remains to be seen how narroly it will be defined. My guess is that other arguments will come to bear on some benefits, like economic arguments about health care insurance and pensions.

    On the adoption issue, I’ll just say that it’s important to keep in mind the trend towards open adoption that’s intended to preserve the adopted child’s ties to his or her biological heritage. Our son’s adoption was an open adoption, and we maintain contact with his birthmother through the adoption agency. When he’s older we can share with him her letter explaining why she chose us, and the agency can help him contact her if she’s also willing.

    In terms of our legal rights, we have the adoption decree, signed by the judge on the day the adoptions was finalized, whether that would stand up without a birth certificate naming both my partner and myself as his parents, I’m not sure. I am sure I don’t want to have to find out.

  11. On Lawn, I am unclear as to why adoption “may (just might)” be more of a problem for same sex couples instead of opposite sex ones.

    It seems to me that adoption is adoption and is quite independent of the state-approved adoptive home where the child is be placed. My adopted son has a birth certificate with my name (parent A) and my same-sex partner’s name (parent B). How is this any different from when I was adopted by my opposite sex parents 4 decades ago and was given a birth certificate with their names on it?

    Like our gracious host, Terrance, my son’s adoption is also an open adoption. My adoption by my parents wasn’t. This difference reflects the most current understanding of the life-long process of adoption, however.

  12. Scott,

    On Lawn, I am unclear as to why adoption “may (just might)” be more of a problem for same sex couples instead of opposite sex ones.

    A good question. I’ll defer to NYU Professor David Velleman. I am against re-writing birth certificates in general. At best I can see issuing a temporary one until the child is 18 like Oregon does. I used to be against re-writing birth certificates entirely, because re-writing it to reflect new parents turns a certification of an event (birth) into a reciept of ownership. I still believe that is a danger to be avoided, but it turns out there is a good reason to do so for certain situations. I discuss this a bit with Terrance below.

    Terrance,

    In terms of our legal rights, we have the adoption decree, signed by the judge on the day the adoptions was finalized, whether that would stand up without a birth certificate naming both my partner and myself as his parents, I’m not sure. I am sure I don’t want to have to find out.

    I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that the adoption certificate is sufficient. The additional step of securing a newly written birth certificate is there for cases where for safety reasons the identity of the birth parents should be hidden.

    If you ask me a “permenant guardianship” certificate would do, and leave the birth certificate as something that can act to establish permenant guardianship, but primarily records an event.

  13. On Lawn, I see the distinction. I can’t think of a reason why keeping record of your genetic heritage would not be a positive. Birth certificates are certainly used for that. However, a birth certificate is also used for more than just a record of birth at least at this time. It is also used as a legal record of the adult(s) who are responsible for the welfare of the child. As an adoptee I can truly appreciate the difference you are raising here.

    I may be the genetic offspring of my birthparents; but, when it comes to social and emotional support I turn to the adults who were the only parents I knew for 3 decades. At this point I am building a relationship with my genetic family and the difference between these familial groups is quite clear to me. If you were to ask about my family it is the the adoptive household and extended relatives that spring to mind. If the doctor asks about my blood cholesterol and family history, it is my birth family that springs to mind. Not every adoptee’s experience is exactly the same but I am not alone on this either.

    In the meantime, I would suggest that preventing the legal recognition of the families headed by same sex couples is disproportionally detrimental on children. Not working for legal recognition of families headed by same sex couples is the same as working to tear them apart. My cynical side tells me I shouldn’t be surprised that the biggest losers from the passage of DOMA statues and marriage amendments are children.

  14. OnLawn says this:

    “My only concerns from the beginning have been to preserve the unique ability that a marriage has to keeping families intact.”

    And to allow other people to marry won’t keep your families intact? How fragile your families must be.

    Terrance, Daddy Papa and Me has linked on their website a report that shows that marriages are healthier in states that do not have anti-gay legislation and that states with anti-gay legislation and anti-gay amendments are the ones who cannot keep their families together.

    It seems that reality is completely the opposite of the desires of those who would preserve through bigotry.

  15. Steve,

    I appreciate your comments, but they assume something that is pretty fallacious on the face of it…

    And to allow other people to marry won’t keep your families intact? How fragile your families must be.

    Marriage doesn’t exist just so little ol’ me can get married. And I don’t want to be the only participant.

    But to make family in a same-sex household one must break up in-tact families. As you might say, how fragile that makes families to be…

    The Daddy, Poppa and me is referencing a study that is not very accurate. When factored with the marriage participation rate, the divorce rates become about the same.

    Also even prominent GLBT proponents expect more divorce from homosexual couples than heterosexual couples.

  16. I think at some point we have to be honest and realize that we are never going to agree on same-sex marriage. However, I think the issue itself is a lot like the abortion issue: the two sides are never going to be in full agreement, but there may be related issues on which people on both sides can find some level of agreement (i.e., better prenatal care, prevention, etc.).

    That’s why I framed the two questions the way that I did. Instead of focusing on marriage itself, my intent was to refocus the discussion on the specific rights and protections same-sex couples should or shouldn’t have because there might be greater agreement on those than on the meta-issue. The discussion thus far has borne that out, I think: people who disgree on same-sex marriage can reach agreement on many of the rights and protections same-sex couples are seeking, even if the marriage issue remains unresolved.

    On the subject of families, particularly gay & lesbian families, I don’t know of anyone who’s actively sought to break up “intact families.” As I mentioned before, in our adoption, the birthparents chose us from among a number of porential adoptive parents. In a sense, the birthparents make most of the choices, starting from approaching the adoption agency to picking the adoptive family, and even then they have a certain amount of time to change their minds (sometimes several months, though it varies from state to state) before the adoption is finalized.

    I’m not sure that amounts to breaking up a family, particularly since an open adoption preserves the chance for a child to access his or her biological roots by maintaining contact with the birthparents through the agency. It’s not a kidnapping, after all, any more than it is when a heterosexual couple adopts (like our neighbors down the street are also doing).

    Now if you want to address how and why people end up having children that they need to put up for adoption, I think there are a number of issues that could be discussed under that heading.

  17. On the subject of families, particularly gay & lesbian families, I don’t know of anyone who’s actively sought to break up “intact families.”

    Such is not the stated intention, and you’ll find no disagreement of that from myself. But though unintended (and even argued against by many marriage nueterists) it is undeniably a consequence.

    Looking at the statistics the children in same-sex households come 100% from taking a child away from their mother or father. A vast majority of the time they come from divorces. This doesn’t try to say that there are not valid reasons to divorce or children otherwise are removed from their parents, but that at the best case it is the best way to cope with tragedy.

    Instead of promoting the ideal circumstance, it takes and promotes a less-than ideal circumstance as a standard. It promotes less-than intact as the standard, not just the best we can do for children in bad situations. Another look at this concept is in a piece I wrote called, A exists in B: The Parent Trap.

    And I do see agreement in our positions but I’d like to rephrase it. I see that we are both willing to present unmarriagable relationships, homosexual couples being among them, to the democratic process to determine what value they might have for society and what benefits and priviledges make sense for their welfare. Like a fair trial, there is no promise of the outcome, just the process. You should have faith in your fellow americans that they will look at this, as a whole, objectively and without malice to homosexuality (even though the final outcome may not provide homosexual activists with everything on their list). But I’m willing to have the dialogue with them, and I hope you are too. I’m willing to stand behind the results, and I hope you are too.

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  19. “But to make family in a same-sex household one must break up in-tact families. As you might say, how fragile that makes families to be…”

    Not at all. I am the biological father of my child. No family was broken up. So what are you saying, that gay couples with children ‘take’ them from already existing households? It shows how ilttle you know.

    ANd furthermore, outlawing marriage does not stop same-sex households from making families. YOu forbid us equality and you forbid our children the basic protections of other children, but we still make families.

    So continue to deny millions of AMerican children families and continue your delusion that you are strengthening families by doing so.

    On Lawn…what is that a reference to, a dog crap in the yard?

    “Steve, I appreciate your comments”

    Well, I don’t appreciate yours or your bigotry. Thank God and Lady Justice that you are ‘ultimately’ on the losing side.

  20. I said this before, and perhaps it is because I am both black and gay, but if you think that the moving ball is about what rights they do or do not want you to have, then you are missing the ball. This is a shell game. This isn’t about rights. It’s about denial of you as a gay person just as Jim Crow and slavery were denial of blacks as people. Marriage and all these other issues are just the out form the discussion takes, but, at its heart, is prejudice. Prejudice is an irrational thing not based on fact or data or in rational argument. You are, in other words, trying to argument with a drunk man as though he is sober. Have you ever tried to do this? It’s a waste of time until you address the real underlying cause for the lack of real conversation.

  21. Akai said it all. AMEN!(Disclosure: I am a caucasian unrepentent Rooseveltian secular humanist liberal.)There can be no rational conversation with homophobes. Homophobia, at its very core, is irrational, and mostly religion-based bigotry and hatred of homosexuality (often, also, based upon fears arising from the fragility of one’s own gender-identity). Trying to have this rational discussion with bigots is like making efforts at bi-partisanship on social programs with radical right-wing conservatives whose entire agenda is to destroy the very social programs we put in place over the last 6 or 7 decades. Agreement, to them, means we agree to cooperate in the dismantling of these vital, hard-fought-for programs. Duh!

  22. SteveS

    I am the biological father of my child. No family was broken up.

    I assume then you are still married to the mother. Or how else do you assume your family is intact?

    So what are you saying, that gay couples with children ‘take’ them from already existing households?

    Intellectual honesty would expect from you at least a basic reading of my post. I’m afraid you didn’t do the minimum one would expect. The post clearly states:

    A vast majority of the time they come from divorces.

    The stats don’t lie, though I am afraid some of the people replying to my post have.

    outlawing marriage does not stop same-sex households from making families.

    Preserving marriage means that families remain in-tact. That is all, your attempt to argue the inverse is both uncompelling and childish.

    On Lawn…what is that a reference to, a dog crap in the yard?

    As if the childishness needed any re-enforcement…

    Akai,

    A very ignoble effort of yours to ignore the arguments presented. For all of Terrance’s rational and articulation there are people like you who appeal to something much more base, and much less civilized.

    There is a real dialogue happening with or without you. Trying to play a game of ad-hominem (even worse attempted ad-hominems by false and simularly childish accusations) is nothing more than ignoring the truth being written, plugging you ears and mumblin to yourself in the corner “homophobe, bigot” to yourself. It is a move to console yourself in the lack of articulation, and preserve your own discredited paradigms.

    As I said before, the real hypocrisy in your position is exposed in how equal gender representation in marriage is the new bigotry, and promoting gender segregationism is the new equality.

    Even the term “same-sex marriage” to describe marriage in Massachusetts is bigoted. It only looks at a small subset of individuals and defines marriage around them. It presents homosexuals for the resources set aside for the handicapped, but homosexuality is not a handicap. That amounts to fraud. It also turns children into relationship accessories, denying them of any reference to heritage, and makes the promotion of fatherhood and motherhood tantamount to white supremacy.

    Coolbot,

    It is a real shame that so many worthy causes cannot come up with a word to bite down on to whip people who may be against them. And it is a shame that for the worthy cause of teaching people to tolerate one another, even with their sexual orientations, that the word “homophobe” is so misused by people such as yourself.

    There are real cases of injustice against homosexuals that need to be discussed and dealt with. But to pretend that anything that does not cow-tow to your adolescent selfishness is the same as that injustice does a disservice to everyone.

  23. Terrance, thank you for giving me a sounding board to vent.

    OnLawn asks me:
    I assume then you are still married to the mother. Or how else do you assume your family is intact?

    Merriam-Webster defines family as:

    1 : a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head : HOUSEHOLD

    So On Lawn, the answer is simple. I’ve never been married but I still have a family. That is because I and the rest of the nation defines family different than you.

    OnLawn says:
    Intellectual honesty would expect from you at least a basic reading of my post.

    Intellectual honesty? Hardly. One doesn’t need to read the diatribe from the KKK in order to know they are full of it.

    OnLawn says:
    I’m afraid you didn’t do the minimum one would expect.

    But OnLawn, I’m conversing with you yet again. That would be the minimum. Swallowing your garbage would be above and beyond the call of duty. And for the record, no, I didn’t read the majority of your comments. I read enough to get pissed. I got the ‘drift’. Many times one doesn’t need to completely lift the lid to know the bowl is full of shit.

    So you say that most gay families come from divorces. Rather than target the gay families why don’t you target the deadbeat heterosexual dads? You don’t have to answer that, because I know the answer.

    On Lawn says:
    Preserving marriage means that families remain in-tact.

    Preserving marriage between a man and a woman does NOT lower your divorce rate. Statistics clearly show you are a dumb idiot.

    Seriously, Terrance, make him (if he continues to post on your site) elaborate as to how preventing two gay men from marriage keeps heterosexual families intact. THAT’S WHAT HE’S SAYING and I want statistics, proof and links as to how such a stupid comment can be allowed to stand. HOW can keeping marriage between a man and a woman keep families intact On Lawn? Do you even know how stupid you sound?

  24. So On Lawn, the answer is simple. I’ve never been married but I still have a family.

    I’m not sure that you understand well enough what is being said. For starters no one challenged that you don’t have a family.

    From what I’ve written so far, what do you believe I mean by intact family?

    One doesn’t need to read the diatribe from the KKK in order to know they are full of it.

    Free speech exists in this country is so people can hear and understand for themselves who is full of it and who isn’t. I may not agree with what you say, but I support your right to say it. Getting you to talk and blatantly appeal to ignorance in statements such as the above, does more to discredit you than anything I say.

    And for the record, no, I didn’t read the majority of your comments. I read enough to get pissed.

    Apparently so.

    So you say that most gay families come from divorces. Rather than target the gay families why don’t you target the deadbeat heterosexual dads?

    Gay families are not a problem, and as I’m most here realizes but you — I’m not against gay families. I’m for helping them present a legitimate case for the benefits they need in order to help themselves and reciprically benefit society.

    I devote my efforts to first helping people understand a real ideal of marriage before they get married. Second, to helping people stay married and develop love, honor, and mutual respect between them. After that I try to help families do the best they can after divorce. Even those that divorce and re-form in homosexual headed households.

    Your question shows your chauvanism though, “why don’t you target … heterosexual[s]…” Is that what you do? Create some stupid homo v heterosexual warfare? Is marriage nothing more to you than a way to get the heterosexuals? I’m not sure you are, but your constant seperation of the social universe into those two camps makes me feel like you really have some issues.

    Preserving marriage between a man and a woman does NOT lower your divorce rate.

    It can do that and many things worse than that. It can decrease (as seen in northwest europe) the marriage participation rates. Look at black america, there the percentage of children who are raised by their birth parents is suprisingly low, and so are the marriage rates. There is a real marriage divide, and it lies across the lines of responsible procreation. And the children are the ones who suffer.

    how preventing two gay men from marriage keeps heterosexual families intact.

    Again, the heterosexual there is useless. It is your chauvanistic us-vs-them mentality that is showing through. And again if you really want to understand my position the first place to start is by realizing that you are sweeping some real drastic and chartable changes with the phrase, “preventing two gay men from marriage”. Gays are not prevented from marriage, but in order to call a sex-segregationist combination a marriage we have to alter our understanding of marriage away from responsible procreation and principles of basic human rights.

    This happened in Massachusetts, Spain, and all the other nations that currently have neutered marriage. The statistics you want for proof are right there, the correlation is a perfect 1.

    How about your family? Every homosexual family is built on the broken back of a failed heterosexual union. In that respect it is a zero sum game. Same-sex marriage is built on failed heterosexual unions, such as the one that you had before forming your current family. The statistics there? Again a perfect correlation.

    Failure can be understandable tragedy, purposeful selfishness, or even a paid-for commercial service. There needs to be a way to seperate the first from the second two categories, but I suspect that is not something you want to see. By neutering marriage you not only present passive endorsement of all three, but actively enforce the three to be equalized. You rob benefits and rights of marriage from people who are showing responsibility in procreation, and make the standard the commercial enterprise.

    Children have a right to be raised by the parents who brought them into this world wherever possible. Why every species on earth restricts procreation to those who show the capacity to love, honor, and cherish people of the other sex is a mystery. But it is also a scientific fact. To neuter marriage is to pretend that this requirement of equal gender participation came from government (and is therefore bigoted, racist, homophobic, etc…) is laughable to say the least.

    Also what I wrote in this post has direct relevance to your demand. Starting with, “You have it backwards. …”

  25. By the way, SteveS

    At your current clip, you’ll have to admit you are not contributing to the conversation and leave sooner than later. At some point you’ll realize that ignorance and slanderous accusations will not overcome the deficiencies in your arguments.

    My advice is to calm down, take a rational look at what is going on. Actually read and try to understand what others are saying, especially if you disagree with them.

    I feel Terrance is doing this, and have heard positive feedback from others on this site who are. They don’t agree with me, and I’m not here to make them. But they are taking a more dispationate look at what is really going on, and I think (judging from Terrances comments at least) feel they are benefiting from it. I know that I always benefit when I put my own emotions aside and actually try to walk a mile in anothers shoes.

    Having debated this for many years now, I can tell you for every thousand or so people like yourself, who feel some self-righteous sense of justice to make a complete imbecile of yourself, there is one or two who are able to be more dispationate and rational.

  26. Every homosexual family is built on the broken back of a failed heterosexual union. In that respect it is a zero sum game. Same-sex marriage is built on failed heterosexual unions, such as the one that you had before forming your current family.

    Waith a minute. See, it's statements like this that make me wonder if I'm talking to a reasonable person or not.

    Every gay family is build on a broken heterosexual union? How is this so? Neither I nor my partner have been previously married to women. In fact, neither of us ever even dated women, because we were both aware of our orientations an an early age. (So, the logic went, why go through the motions of faking it?)

    In fact, I think probably the biggest favor I ever did for heterosxual unions was to not inflict myself as a husband on a woman who would be better off married a heterosexual male than to me.

    So, if there aren't any failed heterosexual marriages or relationships in our pasts, how is what my partner and I have build on failed heterosexual unions?

    The only heterosexual unions in our pasts are those of our parents, which have been pretty successful in terms of producing offspring and avoiding divorce. (His parents are still together after 50 years, mine were as well until my father's passing earlier this year.)

    So, how is what my partner and I have built on the back of failed heterosexual unions? Particularly, how is that true for gay couples who fit the description above and who don't have children? If we're talking about people who've never been married to or in relationships with the opposite sex, how are their same-sex unions built on the backs of failed heterosexual unions?

  27. On Lawn asks:
    From what I’ve written so far, what do you believe I mean by intact family?

    This statement here, OnLawn:
    I assume then you are still married to the mother. Or how else do you assume your family is intact?

    You clearly imply that I need to be married to a woman or you have NO idea how my family is intact.

    OnLawn says:
    Getting you to talk and blatantly appeal to ignorance in statements such as the above, does more to discredit you than anything I say.

    OnLawn, you don’t understand. I can come up with the actual truth and you won’t believe me. So you have discredited me simply because I support gay marriage. So it doesn’t matter if I’m civil or if I’m a name-calling pissed off mofo, in either case, your opinion of me and of my opinions is the same.

    OnLawn says most absurdly:
    Is that what you do? Create some stupid homo v heterosexual warfare? Is marriage nothing more to you than a way to get the heterosexuals? I’m not sure you are, but your constant seperation of the social universe into those two camps makes me feel like you really have some issues.

    No OnLawn, the division is the makings of YOUR side. YOU ARE THE ONE INSISTING ON A SEPARATION AND A DISTINCTION.

    Preserving marriage between a man and a woman does NOT lower your divorce rate.

    OnLawn says:
    Gays are not prevented from marriage, but in order to call a sex-segregationist combination a marriage we have to alter our understanding of marriage away from responsible procreation and principles of basic human rights.

    alter your understanding away from basic human rights? You are babbling nonsense. So to you, it is more important that a household have a penis and a vagina rather than love. Now that I know that you recommend for us to raise children in loveless marriages, I know you are truly full of it.

    OnLawn says:
    This happened in Massachusetts, Spain, and all the other nations that currently have neutered marriage. The statistics you want for proof are right there, the correlation is a perfect 1.

    Onlawn, read this and then shut up.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2100884/

    OnLawn says:
    How about your family? Every homosexual family is built on the broken back of a failed heterosexual union.

    The mother of my child was married to a man and she still is (as far as I know). It was a surrogacy, it was my sperm and I am the biological father. They are still married and still helping gay families be created as far as I know. Before you say that legally he is the father, I AND my partner are both on the birth certificate. Legally and in a court of law, they are not recognized as the family and their family was not broken up.

    OnLawn says:
    Same-sex marriage is built on failed heterosexual unions, such as the one that you had before forming your current family.

    No, I’ve been with my partner for 20 years and my child is 4. You assume and you are wrong.

    OnLawn says:
    Children have a right to be raised by the parents who brought them into this world wherever possible.

    AMEN! I worked for 5 years to bring her into this world.

    OnLawn:
    Why every species on earth restricts procreation to those who show the capacity to love, honor, and cherish people of the other sex is a mystery. But it is also a scientific fact.

    Shows how little you know. There are species that change sex. There are species that do not need another to procreate. What a dumb statement you made. Show me the scientific proof you have that EVERY species is male/female.

    OnLawn says:
    At your current clip, you’ll have to admit you are not contributing to the conversation and leave sooner than later. At some point you’ll realize that ignorance and slanderous accusations will not overcome the deficiencies in your arguments.

    I have no interest in changing your mind because that cannot be done. I have thanked Terrance several times for letting me vent because that (venting my anger at the harm you put upon children of gay families) is the most that can be gained here.

    Call me an imbecile, stupid, whatever names make you feel righteous, I don’t care.

  28. Steve,

    My experiene with On Lawn is that he’s probably entirely aganist surrogacy (something about paying parents to have nothing to do wit their children, etc.) and leans against gay adoptions (something about adoption, even open adoption, basically taking children away from intact families, even if the birthparents enter into the adoption process voluntarily, make all the choices including who the adoptive parents will be, and maintain contact and thus the connection to the child’s biological heritage.

    He may be in support of same-sex couples having some legal rights and protections, since he seems to be supporting of most of the list at the end of this post. But he seems to have a sticking point when it comes to gay couples raising children. And let’s not even start on birth certificates, though I’d be concerned that a gay parent whose name isn’t on the birth certificate might find his or her parental rights being challenged at some point.

    But there’s one point that bears further discussion, if only to debunk.

    OnLawn:
    Why every species on earth restricts procreation to those who show the capacity to love, honor, and cherish people of the other sex is a mystery. But it is also a scientific fact.

    Shows how little you know. There are species that change sex. There are species that do not need another to procreate. What a dumb statement you made. Show me the scientific proof you have that EVERY species is male/female.

    Actually, Steve’s right. Just last night I was watching a Logo special about homosexuality in the animal kingdom. There are also at least a couple of books on the subject: Evolution’s Rainbow and Biological Exuberance. I’ve read both, and at the very least the show that (a) there are many animal species in which there is some degree of same-sex activity (usually a minority of individuals, but sometimes most of the population engages in some amount of same-sex activity, and (b) there are some species in which a minority of same-sex pairs raise offspring.

    In the latter case, parenting stems either from same-sex pairs adopting the abandoned eggs or offspring of others, or one or both member(s) of the pair (in female pairs) mates with a male and then returns to a female partner to raise their young together. Some studies go back several generations in the animal groups studied, 100 years or more, suggesting that the behavior isn’t a recent development due to, say, environmental pollution, etc.

    Basically, it suggests that the behavior is at the very least non-detrimental to the species and that it might even be beneficial in ways we don’t entirely understand yet, because otherwise it would have died out the species.

    (And yes, there are species that have more than one gender, and species in which individuals change gender in order to play a role in mating, rearing offspring, etc.)

    That’s all.

  29. Every gay family is build on a broken heterosexual union? How is this so?

    More importantly how is this not so. You two are caring for a child, where did it come from?

    Perhaps you take a simply gay-union as its own family? If so, fair enough. But that statement of mine refers only with ones that have children.

    You clearly imply that I need to be married to a woman or you have NO idea how my family is intact.

    Rather than responding with confusion and bewilderment, you could have simply asked.

    An intact family means one without broken familial bonds. That means parent to parent and parent to child.

    I can come up with the actual truth and you won’t believe me.

    You are very sure of your brand of truth, that is for sure. But that shows more of bigotry and selfishness.

    In the call to bring this to a more grand democratic dialogue, if you were more sure of your facts you would be more sure about making the case. Instead you have making a fool of yourself pretending invectives and ephithets can substitute for arguments.

    So you have discredited me simply because I support gay marriage.

    I’ve responded to the arguments you’ve presented, and the lack of argument. Such reductionism on your part has the footprints of your ignorance. You support gay marriage, and are welcome to make a case for it. I can’t see any value in the one you’ve made so far.

    The mother of my child was married to a man and she still is (as far as I know). It was a surrogacy,

    Surrogate and egg donor, that is important for Terrance’s bounce off your point.

    And yes, that qualifies as irresponsible procreation. Treating children as something that can be commissioned and used to adorn a relationship, like property.

    Onlawn, read this and then shut up.

    Opine opened up a dialog with Badgett at one point over the data. This should also be of interest to you.

    By the way, even if I shut up your ignorance still predicts your failure to connect with the every-day rational human beings that make up a large majority in the democratic discourse. You realize that, don’t you?

    it is more important that a household have a penis and a vagina rather than love

    This is another strange manifestation of your imagination. That assesment doesn’t jive with what I’ve written:

    Gay families are not a problem, and as I’m most here realizes but you — I’m not against gay families. I’m for helping them present a legitimate case for the benefits they need in order to help themselves and reciprically benefit society.

    I devote my efforts to first helping people understand a real ideal of marriage before they get married. Second, to helping people stay married and develop love, honor, and mutual respect between them. After that I try to help families do the best they can after divorce. Even those that divorce and re-form in homosexual headed households.

    I assume this means you are still reacting irrationally to my posts rather than reading them and understanding them.

    I worked for 5 years to bring her into this world.

    Relationship accomplishments such as those in a marriage rarely manifest themselves as “I”, but rather we. What you ignore continues to say volumes about your outlook, and consequenty the outlook that the same-sex marriage argument creates and flourishes in.

    Shows how little you know. There are species that change sex. There are species that do not need another to procreate.

    True, some produce asexually. What is important to note is that the more evolutionarily advanced the species, the more that rule is enforced.

    Also, you really should check your comments before writing them. Spontaneous sex changes in some frogs is not homsexual reproduction. Neither is asexual reproduction. And both are unavailable to humans.

    Terrance came in to try to shore up your point by making a case that homosexuality does happen in animals. Bully for him, but that has nothing to do with marriage. In fact, since marriage evolved out of our species understanding of mating, the fact that nothing evolved socially for homosexuality except promiscuity says a lot about it. That doesn’t mean something couldn’t evolve, and I hope it does.

    Call me an imbecile, stupid, whatever names make you feel righteous, I don’t care.

    It shows much of your problematic reasoning that you have to assume a psychological disorder to explain how little impact your arguments have. That puts you in a dream world, not me.

    even if the birthparents enter into the adoption process voluntarily

    More accurate to say it is orthoganal to the point. Purchasing slaves could be a voluntary act, and that doesn’t make it right. The princples that demark humanitarian goals and selfish human bartering are presented above.

    But he seems to have a sticking point when it comes to gay couples raising children.

    This is not accurate. I would not care about RB’s at all if it weren’t for their capacity to help children. I really don’t accept the romantic enforcement ideal (forwarded by Jon Rauch, Sullivan and Dale Carpenter) which says monogamy is something the government should become involved in as a goal in and of itselft. But that is probably my libertarian leanings speaking.

    I believe everyone concerned can agree that the best thing for a child is to be raised by their mother and father in a marriage. The statistics bear this out time and time again. Even step-parent and adoptive families (though they might be the best some children can hope for) do not seem to have the capacity to help children.

  30. Steve, I’m going to refer you back to my previous post. I think there really is a point at which continued dialogue ceases to make much difference.

    I think, through the discussion on previous posts, I understand On Lawn’s position a bit better, though I still don’t agree with it. My guess is he’d say the same of my position. In the meantime, we’ve staked out a middlegound of sorts, where we can both agree on some things. B

    But ultimately, we’re coming from different places with different beliefs we’re both unilkely to part with. And I think that’s the point at which continued dialogue becomes pretty much a waste of oxygen (or in this case, bandwitch), because now we’re bumping up against beliefs and positions from which neither of us are likely to budge.

    Continuing to argue them, at least to me, takes energy and focus away from shoring up existing support and reaching out to people who are likely to be supportive if persuaded. At that point, it no longer serves it’s purpose, and I think then the smart thing to do is end the discussion, walk away with the knowledge you’ve gained of the opposing view, and use it to strengthen your own argument and progress towards you goal.

    At least that’s how I’m seeing it now that the discussion has reached this point. It kind of feels like a terminal point to me. Because, well, we could do this all day… but don’t we have better things to do?

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  32. I am writing a final exam paper for one of my college classes and I said I wanted Gay Rights, teacher said good now I have to write 10 page paper on the rights WE should have always had from the very start . But I proud to prove this argument (it a Philosophy class)

  33. I just want to pose this question: How are same sex partners different to any other couples?

  34. akia, same-sex couples are different because their gametes are not complementary. Males and females have complementary imprinting of their genomes, so that when they join at fertilization, the resulting zygote has the correct number of copies of the required genes. Same-sex conception, fertilizing an egg with a nucleus from a woman, or replacing an egg’s nucleus with a sperm’s and trying to fertilize it, doesn’t work. The resulting embryos don’t grow properly.

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