Responding to the ridiculous

There are many things I could say about the issue of same-sex marriage. Videos like this one make me want to rant long and hot. (Thanks to Hank and Eric at Dangerous Intersection for bringing it to my attention.)

But, fortunately, there are many responses already (thanks again to the folks at Dangerous Intersection) that use a technique more powerful than any I have yet mastered. Humour. Here is a selection (try a YouTube search for more):

(Mileage will vary – some viewers may not share this sense of humour.)


7 Responses to “Responding to the ridiculous”

  1. berenike Says:

    Colbert is a funny man. Here’s something less cringeworthy on the subject – the author is a good philosopher, when she’s not busy doing glamorous things:Is Marriage Just Discrimination?. You might find it interesting. Or not, of course 🙂

  2. berenike Says:

    I perhaps shouldn’t be commenting, because I don’t think I’ll be able to answer any comments on my comments, so feel free to delete all this.

  3. Timothy Mills Says:

    First, no comment gets deleted unless it is entirely irrelevant (I have deleted several spamming comments in the past) or gratuitously unpleasant. While I would love every commenter to engage in discussion, I’m not about to require it. (Having said that, I reserve the right to determine what is irrelevant or unpleasant on my own terms.)Second, thankyou for the link. The author of that article makes several well-considered arguments. Let me pick out a couple of key points.I think one of the key driving factors behind the support for same-sex marriage is that the meaning of marriage has changed for a great many of us. It is now, to a great many people, about the mutual commitment and support of two people, and about society’s acknowledgment of the value of that commitment.As for the needs of children, I do not agree that having two male carers, or two female carers, is inferior or inherently inadequate for a child’s healthy development. I have yet to hear a reasoned, plausible defense of that claim, or to see any good empirical support for it. People seem to simply assert that a child loses out if it has parents of only one sex.The second argument addressed by the author – that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry to ameliorate some of the negative consequences of being gay – is one I have not heard before, and I agree with her that it is not viable.The basis of our disagreement, I think, is about what constitutes a legitimate definition of marriage. It follows from one’s definition whether same-sex couples qualify or not. My definition – and the definition of an increasing number of people (see here for example) – is compatible with (indeed, requires) adapting the definition of marriage to remove its unnecessary restrictions on gender. The definition assumed in the article you link is not compatible with such an adaptation.I think that, over the next few years, we will be able to test the empirical claims on both sides of this debate – about the good of children and about the effect of same-sex marriages on other marriages. I am delighted that my country of birth, Canada, allows same-sex marriage. I hope everyone watches the countries that have made this move, to see what the consequences truly are of this controversial but (I think) completely justified change in our legal treatment of same-sex couples.

  4. berenike Says:

    You’ve rather missed the point of the article, I think.

  5. Timothy Mills Says:

    What I said is directly relevant to Schmid’s key point, but you are right in that I did not explicitly connect the dots.Let me quote from her concluding paragraph:”Not all arguments made by religious believers can be reduced to their religious beliefs, or are justified on the basis of their beliefs alone, and not all the reasons why the State should uniquely privilege marriage depend on the immorality of homosexual acts.”One can support the state’s “unique privileging of marriage” while also supporting same-sex marriage. (And I agree – religion is only tangentially relevant to the arguments on either side, at least as they are applicable to a society where laws do not privilege any religious position.)”The contribution of religious believers to the public debate on homosexual unions cannot be dismissed as inherently irrational and biased without denying them equality as citizens.”True. Which is why I (and, I think, most people who support same-sex marriage) do not dismiss any arguments on the grounds of their religious motivation. I may dismiss an argument if it has no secular justification, though. If an argument can only be defended by referring to a religious text, tradition, or belief, then that argument is not compelling to people who do not share that religion, and it cannot be used to justify legal restrictions in a society that honours freedom of religion.”Moral objections to sexual orientation are not necessarily irrational and it is only unjust to discriminate on the basis of these objections in areas where the sexual orientation of the individual is irrelevant.”Quite so. Which is why opponents of same-sex marriage have the obligation to demonstrate that sexual orientation is relevant to the state’s interest in marriage. It is Schmid’s arguments in this vein that I addressed in my previous comment.Essentially, Schmid and other opponents of same-sex marriage have failed to make the case for sexual orientation being relevant to the state’s interest in marriage in modern, pluralistic societies. (It is clearly relevant to religious interests in marriage, but of course nobody is suggesting that religious bodies should be forced to sanctify same-sex marriages.) Thus, by Schmid’s own definition, it is unjust to discriminate against same-sex couples in civil marriage (that is, marriage as defined in law).

  6. berenike Says:

    No, you’ve missed the key point. Tell me, why can two sisters not enter into a civil partnership? (b/c the law says so, I know.) But on what grounds can the law say so?

  7. Timothy Mills Says:

    Perhaps you should spell it out for me. What is the key point?I thought the key point was that discrimination is just when that which is the basis for discrimination (ie, the relative sex of the participants) is relevant to the situation in which discrimination is taking place (ie, marriage). I have pointed out that there seems to be no real secular basis for discriminating on the basis of the sex of the participants in the context of modern civil marriage. Seems pretty relevant to me.Why do you mention unions between sisters? If you think there is a good, secular reason why they should be disallowed, then feel free to present it. If it is valid, then there you are. I am willing to be persuaded on the grounds, for example, of demonstrable psychological harm to the participants. Or are you implying that unions between sisters should be disallowed even though you have no good reason for disallowing them?(In the many jurisdictions which allow same-sex unions of one sort or another, has the question of sisters wanting a union come up at all? If not, then perhaps you should pick a more relevant example.)

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