I had really thought I had said all I wanted to say about gay marriage, but then a commenter said something that has made it so that I cannot repress this further. You can see my reply there, but the gist of it is that I feel that what we are seeing in the “gay ‘marriage'” agenda is the final fruition of a completely a-rational manifestation of an entirely feelings-based movement. I say ‘a-rational’ rather than irrational, because even though the arguments are irrational, that only matters insofar as there is actually an attempt to have an argument–in the logical sense of the word. If someone is acting based on feelings or instinct, reason and rationality has nothing to do with it.
In a vain attempt that is almost certainly a waste of my time, let me take a moment to illustrate the utter depths of idiocy that we have been driven to regarding gay marriage. The goal here is not to belittle anyone or beat them, just like the goal of the mother in Baltimore didn’t want to beat her teenage son so much as save him from his own actions. Likewise, in describing what follows as idiocy, my hope is to fan into flames any tiny sparks of reason that may be left–while it still matters… if it still matters–because what is transpiring is, in any sane universe, most appropriately called idiocy and lunacy. It is not an insult if it is true, and that is the case here: we’re just talking about some really, truly, stupid things. I don’t like using such language, but I do like using accurate language. I am in the unfortunate position of finding that what I am seeking to describe, if described accurately, requires this brutal description.
I refer, of course to the arguments made by Mary Bonauto to SCOTUS in the recent gay marriage case, Obergefell vs. Hodges. I’m probably even going to take the unprecedented step of sending this blog entry to Bonauto, in the baseless hope that some flicker of reasoning might go off and we can all be spared later monstrosities from appearing in oral arguments.
Justice Alito: “Suppose we rule in your favor in this case and then after that, a group consisting of two men and two women apply for a marriage license. Would there be any ground for denying them a license?”
Now, this is the question that has been asked of gay marriage proponents from the very beginning. You see, there are self-evident grounds for defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. I hate to be crass, but we are faced here with a strange thing: the people who tend to be the sort to back gay marriage are also the kind who think sex education–early and often–is a good idea, and yet these same seem to be unaware of the fact that boys have penises and girls have vaginas; only one penis will fit in a vagina at a time, and when this happens, the sperm that is ejaculated from the man will meet and have a merry time with egg provided by the woman, and–get this!–an entirely new human will be created. These new humans we call children, or babies (if wanted; otherwise we call them fetuses, and we destroy them for any damned reason we wish). Up until recent technological advances, there was no other way for new humans to be made.
Forgive me for making this as clear as it can be made, but it seems to me that propriety and politeness has obscured certain facts: a penis inserted inside an anus will not create a new human. Two vaginas in close, physical proximity will not create a new human.
Thus, there is something entirely non-arbitrary and objective about the male-female sexual relation, having nothing to do with love (see: children conceived in rape), and everything to do with simple, basic, biological facts. When progeny is produced and brought to term, it must be cared for, else it will DIE. It has likewise been a true fact of human nature that the two individuals deemed most obviously suited to raise particular children are the two particulars that created those particular children in the first place. We call them parents, and this new kind of relation, the Family. Again, this is thoroughly grounded in reality.
I am not being mean, or unsympathetic, or uncaring, or, well, Republican, by pointing out these basic truths about REALITY. I have ‘religious’ views on this, but what I am describing is not in the least bit ‘religious.’ There is nothing arbitrary about this framework. The framework spontaneously emerges whenever a man and a woman have sex and a child is created. A child is never created when a man has sex with another man or a woman has sex with another woman.
Forgive me for belaboring this point, but we evidently live in a society where NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THIS.
Now we ask ourselves, given these non-arbitrary REALITIES, on what possible basis could the state justify imposing itself on such a framework? I mean, this kind of thing is going to happen whether the government gets involved or not. Individual men are going to identify individual women, and lifelong monogamous relationships will form in which it will often be the case that new humans will be created, whether the state likes it or not. That’s because we’re talking about a reality that belongs to the order of creation. Marriage is not an institution so much as the word we use to describe a phenomena we observe, just like gravity is not an institution, but instead the word we use to describe what happens when an apple falls onto Newton’s head. You can re-define ‘gravity’ to mean “what happens when water boils” but there will still be the original phenomena, but without its own word to describe it. Gays may eventually be given the legal right to ‘marry’ but whatever that means, it will have NOTHING to do with the original phenomena, which will still exist and will always exist; a new word will have to be invented to describe it (which liberals will naturally seek to co-opt ASAP, out of a visceral urge to fight any kind of ‘discrimination’), when we had a perfectly good word for it all along, but a ‘rose by any other name is still a rose.’ All this being the case, we ask again, what on earth does the state have to do with any of this?
It is purely pragmatic: sometimes, the man or the woman or both will die, leaving their offspring to fend for itself–that is, it will DIE. Who will take care of this orphan? Obviously the extended family is the natural place to look, and this works out to a degree, provided members of the extended family can be identified, and so on. In the real world, a community may discover that there are children for whom no caregiver can be discovered, and not wanting to just snuff the orphan out (ie, the ‘new human’ described above), has to do something. Similarly, it is sometimes the case that the man or the woman will die, and there will be the matter of their belongings. What shall be done with them? Well, again, since everybody dies (at least once), here again is a phenomena that is going to happen whether there is a community (read: the state) or not. There are going to be belongings left over when people die. Again, naturally the extended family is going to be looked at, with the immediate descendents being the most obvious first place to begin: but these may not yet be old enough to manage the inherited estate.
These are all entirely pragmatic concerns. You can call me mean, or mean-spirited, or say that I lack empathy, or whatever else you want, and all it would mean is that YOU ARE OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY. The problem is all YOU. I’m not being mean or callous in the slightest by pointing out the non-arbitrary, objective (that is, realities that exist apart from whatever I feel about them) aspects of REALITY. And you can re-define things or call them whatever you want, but these realities are not going to disappear. Do you know why not? Because they are realities.
Now, these pragmatic concerns have historically been precisely the reason why the state has gotten involved in marriage and the family in the first place. Going back centuries, now, there was common law that arose that reflected how various communities dealt with these issues, and eventually (eg, under Blackstone) these were codified. I am not here saying that this was a good idea, or that in fact it was proper for the state to get involved. In fact, hindsight being 20/20, I think it was probably a bad idea. At most, I think, these concerns should never have been allowed to be codified at a level beyond say, the county. But I understand why it moved to the state level and then the Federal level. The point, though, is that it was because of disputed and/or abandoned and/or orphaned children and property that was the basis for government involvement in this question.
But what if we were talking about relationships where no new defenseless humans are created? What might be the basis for state interest then? What possible parameters could conceivably be needed to handle the property that, say, corporate law or what not couldn’t cover? More to the point, are the people who will have to deal with the fallout from broken families be allowed to govern themselves? Or are they just going to be MADE to PAY, MADE to COMPLY, MADE to AFFIRM, whatever some Federal court or bureaucrat dictates? If it is the latter (and it has been the latter for some time), the Republic is a Republic in Name Only.
So, now Bonauto steps up to the plate to take a swing at Alito’s pitch:
MS. BONAUTO: I believe so, Your Honor.
JUSTICE ALITO: What would be the reason?
MS. BONAUTO: There’d be two. One is whether the State would even say that that is such a thing as a marriage, but then beyond that, there are definitely going to be concerns about coercion and consent and disrupting family relationships when you start talking about multiple persons.
Bless Scalia, who replies, “Well, I didn’t understand your answer.” The answer is practically incomprehensible; it should make us nervous if anyone did understand it. Where on earth does ‘coercion and consent and disrupting family relationships’ play into this, given what they are proposing to do? Nonetheless, she is clearly appealing to the fact that it would be practically unworkable for the state to manage such a thing. Kind of like how it is already unworkable to decide who should take care of a child when it was carried to term by a surrogate mother paid for by two gay men* who then go on to get divorced; and what if neither of the men provided the necessary sperm in the first place (perhaps due to fertility problems) so that neither of them have a non-arbitrary connection to that child? How does all this get sorted out in any sane, rational basis? Oh, wait a minute. I’m a bigot, I guess, just for asking the question.
At any rate, her argument reflects precisely the same concerns that my argument does. Except maybe the “coercion and consent” thing. That was just weird.
So, Scalia and Alito press her, and finally she says:
MS. BONAUTO: Number one, I assume the States would rush in and say that when you’re talking about multiple people joining into a relationship, that that is not the same thing that we’ve had in marriage, which is on the mutual support and consent of two people.
Oh no she didn’t.
So, lets get this straight. Bonauto is party to a lawsuit that has the specific purpose of overturning the results from the last time “the States” ‘rushed in’ says that the results won’t get any crazier because… “the States would rush in”!
Are people flippin’ nuts? I mean, are you KIDDING ME? We’re not talking about some wayward reactionary response by some county government or an isolated state. The laws and amendments that Bonauto are hoping will be reversed were the result of the efforts of tens of millions of Americans, working their way through the tedious processes required in order to pass actual amendments to their state constitutions, etc. These very same people, she says, will–properly–preserve the ‘traditional’ understanding of “marriage, which is on the mutual support and consent of two people.”
Please. Please stop me. I am currently slamming my head against the wall, and cannot type through the blood spurts. The abject stupidity of this argument, given what they are trying to do in their case, is mind-blowing.
The very thing that she wishes to overthrow is the thing she says will prevent increasingly creative relationships!
I wish that Alito or Scalia would have called attention to this lunacy. I mean, at that point, there is nothing left to say. End the hearing and go home: “The people have the right to govern themselves; which they did, and you expect that they will quite properly do again. You just would have them govern differently–well, then how about YOU try to get your own legislation passed, instead of getting a handful of men and women (say, NINE) to do your dirty work in overthrowing what MILLIONS have presently concluded.”
Because basically what we learn here is that her whole argument really amounts to, “We just don’t feel like those kinds of relationships are legitimate whereas we feel these ones are, so we’ll support government limitations on the former rather than the latter.” There is no principled reason for placing limitations on the former. Some further Bonauto can be expected to make this very point; indeed, with this kind of cognitive dissonance in play, we can practically expect Bonauto herself to be the one to make that argument some day.
Do we really have to take this seriously? Are we really going to utterly transform society and completely obliterate the legislative wills of millions of Americans on the basis of such specious reasoning?
Alas, it appears that this is precisely going to be the case.
And let me just say that in a contest between reality and what we wish is true about reality, reality wins every time. A society that has decided to live in fantasy-land is not a society that will be along for very long.
You hear arguments that no harm will come to the rest of us if gays are married. I think this is wrong for a number of demonstrable reasons that have already come to light (ie, people being put out of business), but it is wrong for another reason: a nation that is governed on feelings or fantasy is one that will be governed right into the ground. And I, and my family, will have to pay the price for that incompetence just like everyone else will.
It’s time to grow up, friends. If you think you have an argument to make, then make it. Get your laws passed. Persuade your fellow man in your local community. Don’t think you can change reality by calling the realists bigots. It won’t work, because reality is reality for a reason: it’s reality.
* Just as a reminder for our liberal sex-education enthusiasts: gay men cannot conceive children solely through the use of their own ‘equipment.’