On Air: Is marriage a step too far for gay rights?

It was the tale of two weddings. On Tuesday, two gay rights activists made history when they became the first couple to tie the knot in Argentina.

Meanwhile in Malawi, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were also married in a traditional ceremony. They were arrested and charged with gross public indecency.

Bruno Cabral, a 42-year old civil engineer from Buenos Aires said that gay marriage a step too far, while posters have plastered around the city lambast the politician who allowed the marriage to take place. The gay Ugandan blogger writes: I cannot fathom how a commitment to love one another, between two consenting adult human beings is so upsetting that we need to be arrested because we did so.

So what is it about gay marriage that is so divisive? Are the symbolic and cultural resonance of marriage something that gay couples shouldn’t the entitled to? Do you agree with the bajan blogger who argues that supporters of gay marriage have to answer the charge that they always want “more” and will only be satisfied with an equality which certification cannot give?”

Is gay marriage a step too far?

A couple of articles came up during the broadcast that you might like to look at, the column by Errol Louis in the New York Daily News and the article about a study on lesbians as possibly better parents than heterosexual couples.

190 Responses to “On Air: Is marriage a step too far for gay rights?”

  1. December 31, 2009 at 11:20

    No. Marriage is a civil contract. It about ownership of property. The ceremony part is the party given by the local rep from some god IF THE MARRIED WANT IT. Religious folk can give the ceremony if they approve, but the state has no business denying people the contract if they want it.

    In my lifetime blacks and whites were not allowed to make marriage contracts because of laws. That was outrageous… and so are the laws that deny gays the right to form the same contracts.

    • 2 Willem
      January 1, 2010 at 19:14

      Indeed, governments have no place in ceremonies, regardless of whether it is baptism or marriage. The state should be restricted to a contract about property. Let’s stop conflating this contract with social bonds and deflate the term.

    • 3 Mary Beth
      January 1, 2010 at 19:58

      Absolutely agree with this viewpoint. As far as the state is concerned, marriage is a legal partnership, and should be allowed between two consenting adults. If the word is the hang-up, give all of us, heterosexual and homosexual, a civil union under the state, then allow the various religions to give the name of marriage to whomever they choose. As to the outrageous argument that only a man and woman can successfully raise a child, we don’t require competency tests or long-term commitment agreements before heterosexual procreating. A good parent is a good parent, and there are plenty of children who have been brought up in heterosexual partnerships that would have better thrived with a single loving involved parent than the neglect they endured in a “traditional” family.

    • 4 JoLynn
      January 1, 2010 at 20:23

      Couldn’t have said it better, pdxmike! The rights, privileges, and responsibilities that accompany marriage should not be denied any couple regardless of their orientation or any other status, with the exception perhaps being the closeness of blood ties due to obvious medical reasons. Marriage should not be an exclusive club nor be controlled by a segment of religiosity no matter how significant they think they are. I hope this coming decade sees the end of this prejudice.

    • January 1, 2010 at 22:42

      Mike is right. Marriage is a civil contract entered into by two consenting adults. And as such you might think that the group most interested in advocating the right to marry for gays and lesbians would be the lawyers.

      Given that the divorce rate is already above 50% what we are really practicing is a form of serial monogamy. Marriage at best is a temporary condition facilitated by the intrusion of lawyers between the tying and untying of the knot.

  2. 6 KevinPE
    December 31, 2009 at 11:52

    Firstly, let me be clear – my understanding is that “being gay” is not a choice, but a physiological factor involving brain and hormonal functions together with other factors that are beyond my medical understanding. I have many gay acquaintances and find the majority very sincere, honest and likeable people. Some have been partners for 15 years or more and are no different to any heterosexual relationship, complete with all the up’s and down’s. My only concern regarding legal marriage between gay people is the implications that follow. For instance what are the rights on adoption? Can a religious institution refuse to recognize the marriage as religiously binding? Can the same refuse to perform a ceremony/blessing. What are the legal and tax implications, what happens if there are minor adopted children in a divorce dispute? Morally, I understand the need of gay people to be equal in all before the law, but I am still weary of a potential slippery slope and a possible Pandora’s Box.

    • 7 El Gabilon
      January 3, 2010 at 01:09

      Religions can refuse to marry a couple if they choose to do so, or may refuse to recognize a couple as being married if they obtained a “marriage” (actually a civil union) from the state by say a Justice of the Peace. The Catholic Church does not consider a couple married if they did not get married by a priest in the church.
      Gays are fighting the wrong battle with the states…they should be fighting for civil unions with the state and once obtained take the matter of marriage up with the religion they belong to. A civil union is a union granted by the state. A marriage is a union joined together by a particular religion. Since marriage is a religious term, the state should not issued “marriage certificates”, rather “civil union certificates”

  3. 8 RICARDO
    December 31, 2009 at 12:46

    I am for gays tying the knots but so long as an innocent child’s life is not involved, cause i definitely think that gays if allow to get married should bring forth their own kids and should not consider adopting other’s people kids because the fact of the matter is that by allowing them the right to adopt kids it will simply mean nurturing future gays and lesbians, how on earth will the child feel being raised by two men or women? what about his mates in school how will it affect him/her? have they(advocates of gays’s right to adopt children) thought about the psychological drauma it may have on the kid?
    Gays feel free to marry but please don’t jeopardize innocent lives for selfish reasons.

    • December 31, 2009 at 13:48

      My goodness it is quite obvious that you don’t know any gay people, at least not that you know of. I am a proud gay father of 2 wonderful and VERY heterosexual boys. EVERY psychological study specifically related to the children of gays shows there is NO DIFFERENCE between those raised in a heterosexual home and a homosexual home. If your theory were correct then I would be militantly heterosexual because that is how my parents are. Your theory makes as much sense as saying that by hanging around tall people you will suddenly begin a growth spurt and become tall yourself. The latest statistics from the Kinsey institute show that 4% of children of gay parents end up being gay, and in 100% of those cases the children were genetically linked to the parents. I dare you to find grown adult children who were raised by gay parents and ask them how they feel about it. And I highly doubt that my eldest boy would be on his third tour of duty to Afghanistan is he weren’t well adjusted. Please sir, I beg you to open your eyes and try to clear out all of the propaganda of your backwards and uninformed OPINION.

    • 10 Mike in Seattle
      December 31, 2009 at 15:28

      There is a serious flaw in your reasoning, Ricardo. The vast majority of gay and lesbian individuals are raised and nurtured by straight parents.

    • 11 Jody
      January 1, 2010 at 19:54

      Wow I am adopted and can’t believe how little thought it seems is given to this opinion. Is there some reason you think being gay rubs off on people? That is no more realistic that saying color of skin rubs off on a child. As to single people in a gay relationship who are unmarried are you planning to have that stopped as well? Loving parents adopting an unwanted child is in short supply. It is clear to me that you have had very little if any with experience with children who are desperate for a home. I would suggest spending some time working with children in the foster care system in the country if you want to see how dire and heart breaking this can be for a child who needs a safe loving home.

  4. 12 JanB
    December 31, 2009 at 12:51

    Well, I don’t think people have the right to tell others how they should fill in their private lives. Besides as far as I know gay marriage does not hurt people any more than heterosexual marriage, nor does it infringe on the rights and freedoms of the couple or anyone else. So I see no logical or ethical reason to forbid gay marriage.

  5. 13 Linda from Italy
    December 31, 2009 at 12:54

    I really hope that WHYS will take the religion out of this one and we won’t be subjected to endless quotes from “holy books” whose proponents’ interpretations would dictate to people how to conduct their physical and emotional relationships.
    In societies that claim to be secular, at least in the sense that religious bodies have no direct say in how that society is governed, their indirect influence is of course always a moot point, why on earth is a marriage between two people of the same sex any different from the man/woman partnership?
    Marriage has immense symbolism in that it is a public declaration of a commitment of two people to share their lives and pool their emotional and economic resources in a civil union. It is considered a “good thing” in most societies since in creating these units it reinforces notions of caring for at least one other person’s welfare and happiness and thus, in theory, ought to set a benevolent example.
    I find it quite incredible that groups of people whose sexual orientation is different from those of another group still actually have to fight for the equality that should be theirs by right.

    • 14 KevinPE
      December 31, 2009 at 14:28

      Linda – while I would lean towards being agnostic myself, it is not so much about whether religious institutions should decide whether gay marriage is permissible or legal, but whether the law of the state will override the “religious laws”. If the intended gay couple were religious, could the state law compel the religious institution to accept and perform the marriage? Whose rights would now be infringed upon? It is a bit more complicated than just a equality issue.

      • 15 webb
        January 1, 2010 at 01:47

        What you’re missing is that in the US we have linked civil marriage with religious marriage into one ceremony. When the clergy person pronounces a couple married s/he does it “in the name of God and by the power vested in me by the state/commonwealth of ——“. In order to perform a marriage in most states a clergy person must get a license of some sort to do it. (In our county the clergy person provides a copy of his/her ordination papers to the clerk of court and then receives permission to perform marriages on behalf of the state.) Then s/he performs a civil marriage at the same moment that s/he performs the religious one. Remember, one must have a marriage license (from the jurisdiction) to get married.

        We need to go back to the way our foreparents did it in England. You go to the clerk and get married (civil) and then go to your church if you have one and if you want a religious marriage. Remember Charles and Camilla at the clerk’s office, but NOT at a church? If we would separate the two again, we would eliminate a lot of the hassle. States would grant civil marriages to everyone and then churches could do what worked with their set of believes or rules.

  6. 16 steve
    December 31, 2009 at 12:59

    Well, fortunately this is a non Issue in Iran, because according to Ahadmenijad, there are no homosexuals in Iran, hence there would be no need for gay marriage there.

  7. 18 Roberto
    December 31, 2009 at 13:15

    RE “” Is marriage a step too far for gay rights? “”

    ———- Not for the media who never met a gay story they didn’t like.

  8. 19 mat hendriks
    December 31, 2009 at 13:35


    It is a step to far!

  9. 21 Linda from Italy
    December 31, 2009 at 14:08

    @ Ricardo
    The adoption question should raise no different issues, kids are adopted because their own parents either can’t or don’t want to bring them up while the adoptive parents can and do want to do this. All the gay and lesbian people I know are the product of a pair of heterosexual parents, so that in itself suggests that sexual orientation is the result of nature not nurture, something that reliable medical science back to the hilt.
    The argument about kids from families perceived as outside the “norm” has long been used as an argument by racists opposing racially mixed marriages. Pdxmike refers to situations when these were actually illegal, but in the UK in the 70s/80s where they were always legal, I remember having conversations with people who maintained that mixed marriages were “wrong” because the kids would have a hard time at school (similarly even further back, kids of unmarried mothers) – not the case now I think.
    As a culture evolves these sort of prejudices evaporate and provided the schools and other societal institutions play their part in combating the sort of prejudices instilled by misguided parents the coming generations take forward this evolutionary process.

  10. 22 bob in bismark
    December 31, 2009 at 14:09

    Any one who doesn’t support gay marriage obviously do not see gay people as equals. Should we have separate water fountains for them, designate a ‘gay area’ on public buses and trains, limit their involvement with non-gay people?

    For those who’s hatred and myopia are controlled by thy Christian dogma, feel free to check out the similarities between the Egyptian God Horace and Christ, or is your life controlled by blind faith.

  11. 23 Linda from Italy
    December 31, 2009 at 14:21

    Hope I’m not being too voluble on this score but I have a person anecdote about kids from different backgrounds.
    We moved to Southern Italy when our son was 8 and he fitted in extremely easily as, being Brits we were perceived as “high prestige” immigrants. A year later a little Albanian boy joined his class and he and his family did encounter a lot of prejudice, but guess what? The two boys became best friends and Alex’s example worked brilliantly in combating those prejudices.

  12. 24 Leda
    December 31, 2009 at 14:39

    To KevinPE:

    “For instance what are the rights on adoption?”
    Is there any reason why they shouldn’t be the same as for any other married couple?

    “Can a religious institution refuse to recognize the marriage as religiously binding?”
    Of course they can. A rabbi doesn’t have to marry a Muslim couple, for example – that’s the law as it stands, and there’s no reason to assume it’d be different under a change in the marriage laws. Religious institutions may marry or refuse to marry any given couple on any grounds they see fit.

    “Can the same refuse to perform a ceremony/blessing.”
    See above.

    “What are the legal and tax implications”
    Is there any reason why they shouldn’t be the same as for any other married couple?

    “what happens if there are minor adopted children in a divorce dispute?”
    Is there any reason why the process involved should be different than for any other married couple?

    • 25 KevinPE
      December 31, 2009 at 16:08

      Leda – I am happy with all your answers bar two. “Religious institutions may marry or refuse to marry any given couple on any grounds they see fit.” Not too sure about this one – They may refuse to marry, but will they compelled to recognize it? (I am referring to gay couples that are and want to remain members of that faith.) “what happens if there are minor adopted children in a divorce dispute?” “Is there any reason why the process involved should be different than for any other married couple?” I think so – in most divorce settlements, custody of young children is awarded to the mother. I imagine, because mothers are deemed to be better nurtures especially to young children and especially girls. In a gay (male) divorce how do the courts decide who would be the “better” nurturer? Don’t get me wrong I am not anti – I just want to cover the bases.

  13. 26 Jennifer
    December 31, 2009 at 14:55

    Yes; it is.

    I really agree with the blogger’s statement that supporters of gay marriage have to answer the charge that they always want “more” and will only be satisfied with an equality which certification cannot give.

    If gay marriage was really about equal rights, “love” then they’d settle for civil unions. However, it seems to me that this is an attempt to seek (force) approval from others who may not agree with homosexuality especially God.

    Like someone else pointed out; what is going to happen when you allow this to occur. Look at the domestic violence rate for homosexual couples; it’s significant. Then, add “adopted” children and other things in the mess. You have nothing but a really complicated mess!

    • 27 Mike in Seattle
      December 31, 2009 at 15:34

      I feel like you’re confusing approval with legal protections here. The gay and lesbian couples I know really don’t care how you and others feel about their relationship. They simply want the same legal protections and privileges that all other couples receive.

      Also, why do you put love in quotes? Are you trying to imply that it’s not really love? I hope not!

      • 28 Jennifer
        January 1, 2010 at 15:40

        I don’t think homosexual people will be “happy” even after they get the same “privilege” as heterosexual people do. Maybe one way of looking at it is their projection of uncertain feeling onto others; some who many not approve of their relationships.

        It’s interesting that you pointed out that those you know don’t look for approval. Everyone wants affirmation for their beliefs and self actualization. While that may be the case, it is again interesting that you speak for people who are not you.

        I am not a legal know it all but isn’t it possible to leave a will as well as give medical authorization to someone of your choosing? So; if that’s that it is about them that should be that!

    • 29 Jin
      January 1, 2010 at 20:24

      I really don’t see your logic here. No one asks you to approve of homosexuality. In fact, why must homosexuality be approved, especially by heterosexuals? It’s bizzare that heterosexuals should feel so entitled to not only their own sexual and love life but also the power to define and decide others’ sexual and love life. Not granting homosexuals the right to marriage is oppression. It’s simple as that.

      • 30 susan
        January 2, 2010 at 09:44

        Yes, isnt it interesting how heterosexuals feel soooo entitled to judge and define homosexuals lifestyles, choices, parenting, relationships, dysfunctions and anything else that comes to mind. to people like jennifer…..ask yourself why you think you know what is best for me based on the fact that i love and cherish another woman?

  14. 31 patti in cape coral
    December 31, 2009 at 14:56

    Nope, I don’t think it’s going too far. I wish to extend my congratulations to the couples and wish them a life time of happiness, after Steven and Tiwonge hopefully get out of jail.

  15. 32 Leda
    December 31, 2009 at 15:02


    “If gay marriage was really about equal rights, “love” then they’d settle for civil unions.”

    Why, yes, of course! After all, Rosa Parks was just being pedantic – a seat at the back of the bus is still a seat, and she should have been grateful that black people were allowed on the bus at all.

    (I hope you can detect the sarcasm in my post as you clearly couldn’t detect the irony in your own).

    • 33 Jennifer
      January 1, 2010 at 15:49


      Racism is not remotely the same thing as opposing gay “marriage”…..unless we want to create a new term~sexual orientation discrimination.

      Can you not discuss gay marriage of it’s own accord (without the sarcasm)? Instead, it seems like you are grasping at straws to try to cast homosexuals as “victims”. They are not, they are also human beings.

      When it comes down to it marriage is a contract; legally. So, why would gay people be entitled to anything more than that? That’s all other people get.

      In my post; I reached farther because it seems to many do; to say that gay people deserve more “rights”. Considering those “rights” one can only think that it’s approval; from others and God that is being sought. That is meaningless as that is personal. As many laws as can be passed will not harness that approval.

      Please see my response to Mike in Seattle above.

      • 34 Tom K in Mpls
        January 1, 2010 at 17:23

        Excuse doesn’t matter, rights are rights. Civil or sexual doesn’t matter. If freedoms aren’t protected, they are lost. I personally see this example as completely silly, but rights are rights. I know if others can be denied, so can I.

        I am not fighting for them, I am fighting for me.

  16. December 31, 2009 at 15:10

    @Ricardo… I am a proud gay father of 2 wonderful and VERY heterosexual boys. EVERY psychological study specifically related to the children of gays shows there is NO DIFFERENCE between those raised in a heterosexual home and a homosexual home. If your theory were correct then I would be militantly heterosexual because that is how my parents are. Your theory makes as much sense as saying that by hanging around tall people you will suddenly begin a growth spurt and become tall yourself. The latest statistics from the Kinsey institute show that 4% of children of gay parents end up being gay, and in 100% of those cases the children were genetically linked to the parents. I dare you to find grown adult children who were raised by gay parents and ask them how they feel about it. And I highly doubt that my eldest boy would be on his third tour of duty to Afghanistan is he weren’t well adjusted.

  17. 37 John in Salem
    December 31, 2009 at 15:15

    Kinky Friedman said it best –

    “There’s no reason why they shouldn’t have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us”.

  18. 38 Agomo in ghana
    December 31, 2009 at 15:36

    i do not hate gay men i simply hate the idea and act,since it can be learned what happens to children adopted by gay couples emotionally and socially? i respect their rights but i think it should be limited.no adoption rights for gays!

    • 39 sal
      December 31, 2009 at 17:39

      yeah thats why some african leaders are so corrupt and thats why there was genocide?GAYS!!!straight people arent saints,hello look at “god fearing” africa and all the sick things that happen there.that poor albino had to FLEE for so called “godless” europe.

  19. 40 Linda from Italy
    December 31, 2009 at 15:42

    Who is this bajan blogger? The link doesn’t seem to work. ‘Fraid I don’t understand the comment at all, equality in terms of civil rights has to be “certified” under a body of law in order to demonstrate to society that people of different genders, races, sexual orientations etc. are indeed considered equal under that law.
    If people from an unjustly discriminated against group who are in every respect equal demand that they be “certified” as us such to preserve them from bigots, why are they asking too much?

    • 41 hebaayoub
      December 31, 2009 at 16:00

      Hi Linda, it’s Heba here.

      Link should be fixed now – thanks for pointing that out.

      • 42 Linda from Italy
        December 31, 2009 at 17:24

        Thanks Hebaayoub.
        Now I understand, this is about birth certificates for children conceived after fertility treatment, in which one parent in the sense of the child’s carers, is not the genetic parent of the offspring, although if you take conception in its broadest sense, the two who wanted the child could be said to have conceived it, by wanting it and taking action to ensure its birth.
        I still don’t see the problem if one of the gametes was not produced by one of the partners, but the “genetically non-contributing” parent’s name can still go on the birth certificate in the case of a heterosexual couple, why cannot the same be true of two women in a same-sex marriage?

  20. 43 patti in cape coral
    December 31, 2009 at 15:45

    People marry for all sorts of reasons that are “wrong.” People marry for money, status, security, sex, for immigration purposes, because they are afraid to be alone. What makes these more acceptable than homosexual marriages? What makes them more acceptable is that you can lie about these things. That you may be marrying for status or money is not as readily visible as marrying one of your own sex. Ideally people should be marrying for love, but how are you going to measure that?

    • December 31, 2009 at 16:41

      Patti as usual you have some excellent points! I don’t know if you were aware of a pro gay marriage rally here in Ft Myers in October (it was on McGregor and Colonial) but I was one of about 50 people, and 95% of the response from cars passing by was overwhelmingly supportive and positive, even in this enclave of right wing evangelical zealots. Thank you for living here and being such a brilliant lady!

      • 45 patti in cape coral
        December 31, 2009 at 17:12

        Wow, thank you Mike! I didn’t know about the the gay marriage rally, but my daughter is active in the pro-gay community at her university in Tampa. She tells me there are a lot of evangelical groups on campus who oppose this, but so far both sides have kept it respectful.

  21. 46 Tom K in Mpls
    December 31, 2009 at 15:53

    Marriage is a religious term. leave it to the peoples religions. Now, laws or social contracts regarding the legal forming and administration of families, need to be completely reevaluated. I see no reason to treat *anyone* different from anyone else.

    • January 1, 2010 at 18:46

      “Marriage” is a term that belongs in the public domain. I think the religious folks should come up with their own term — like Holy Moley Matrimony. Then they could copyright it and grant it to those they approve of.

  22. 50 t
    December 31, 2009 at 16:11

    No, it’s not. Take it a step further.

    If we don’t allow same sex couples to wed, then why not extend that to anyone else that “society” thinks shouldn’t be allowed to also wed. Do we put an age limit on marriage? Statistically you’re going to die soon after you marry anyway. What’s the point then of doing it?

    What if Obama wasn’t allowed to marry his wife because she’s 100% black. And (God forbid) he’s “bi-racial.” So obviously we can’t have THAT? It’s amazing to me the idiotic ideas that these people come up with. To deny two people a basic human right to be happy, for God’s sake.

    Is it really almost 2010?

  23. 51 audre
    December 31, 2009 at 16:24

    I honestly don’t know why we are still talking about this topic at the end of 2009.

    People are people and everyone should have exactly the same rights. What is so hard to understand about that?

    Why do we think we have the right to judge how others live their lives, if they are not hurting us? This is so barbaric!

    Having said that, if I were a homosexual I wouldn’t touch religious vows with a ten foot pole.

  24. 52 Kate M.
    December 31, 2009 at 16:31

    Being homosexual does not make someone any less human. Why should I have more rights because I am attracted to the opposite sex? As a Christian I am very angry that other “Christians” have made this a major issue when there are far bigger issues we could tackle.

  25. 53 Gary Paudler
    December 31, 2009 at 16:50

    There must be no restrictions on expressions of love and commitment to another person. That is something that strengthens a community and society should encourage it at least by affording equal rights to any couple who wants to codify their commitment to each other. How in the world does same-sex marriage threaten any institution? There must be no rights enjoyed by one person and not everybody else.

  26. 54 A R Shams
    December 31, 2009 at 16:57

    According to most people I meet gay marriage sounds and seems something beyond morality that may damage the society ultimately.

  27. 55 Elias
    December 31, 2009 at 16:57

    Not only a step too far, it is also rediculas and never should be allowed under any circumstances.

  28. 56 Anthony
    December 31, 2009 at 17:03

    I think gays should be just as miserable as straight people. It’s only fair.

    So I can get married to someone who brinks beer, watches UFC matches, and plays PS3 / Xbox 360. Plus we could share clothes!!! Hmmmmm, maybe I should turn gay.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 57 stephen/portland
      January 1, 2010 at 19:44

      Beer and Tv. Your making me HOT!!

      Just one question on your idea. Who will do the cooking and cleaning?

  29. 58 Anthony
    December 31, 2009 at 17:04

    I feel that gays should be married, but just give it a different name. If their sexual orientation has a different name, then why not their bond?

    That would also please a lot of people.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 59 James Ian
      January 1, 2010 at 10:00

      Sounds good to me, it’s just a name right? I mean as long as they have all the same legal rights, what’s in a name?

      But if they have to call it marriage then let them, it’s just a name right?

      I’m not but I think more people should be gay, It’s a good form of population controle. Hey wait! The world is becoming more and more over populated and at the same time there seem to be more and more gay people! Hummm I wonder? Is this natures way of contoling population? Just a thought. 🙂

      • 60 Tom K in Mpls
        January 1, 2010 at 17:26

        In the US, tax laws and other issues come into play. The whole mess needs to be reevaluated, especially divorce.

  30. 61 Leda
    December 31, 2009 at 17:08

    Hi, KevinPE. Thanks for your further comment. Let’s see:

    “They may refuse to marry, but will they compelled to recognize it? (I am referring to gay couples that are and want to remain members of that faith.)”

    Either way, I see no need for legal intervention here. If they were an openly gay couple, I shouldn’t think they’d be members of a church that disparaged them in any case. Let’s not forget that there are plenty of faiths that will solemnise same-sex unions – the Quakers, Episcopalians, Unitarians and Wiccans, to name but a few.

    The law does not currently insist that churches conduct marriages that violate their doctrine (for example, even though someone may be fully and legally divorced, they still can’t wed again before a Catholic altar against the Pope’s wishes). Other countries such as Canada, the Netherlands and Spain have long ago taken the step of providing civil marriage to gay couples without any infringement on the self-determination of their churches. I’m sure we can, too.

    “in most divorce settlements, custody of young children is awarded to the mother. I imagine, because mothers are deemed to be better nurtures especially to young children and especially girls.”

    You bring up a good point, but bear in mind that custody decisions are not automatically decided on the basis of parental gender – they are made by a judge after what can sometimes be a quite lengthy hearing in which both parents will plead their case. It would still be the same process with a same-sex couple. Besides, isn’t it about time we DID challenge any existing prejudices about gender roles in parenting? Being female doesn’t automatically make someone a better parent, nor should the courts act as if it does.

  31. 62 sal
    December 31, 2009 at 17:15

    love me some rights for people who PAY TAXES!and last time i checked gays wasnt the cause of all the crime in the caribbean(hello jamaica and that bajan blogger),check those thug “macho” homophobe kids you are bringing up

  32. 63 Peter Gizzi UK
    December 31, 2009 at 17:46

    Being born homosexual in 1942 I was not only “different” I was to become illegal. My parents had me baptised a Roman Catholic which I fully understand though now question. They eventually accepted me for what I am. The Church did not! I suppose because they say “God Made ME”? I am now officially an atheist having had my Catholocism officially revoked.

    I have always tended to be a “loner” enjoying company and yes the occasional sexual encounter but sex was not that important. As for marriage if that’s what they want why not? I have more heterosexual friends than homosexual. Many are NOT married but very happy and are now mostly grandparents. A gay couple I know have been together for 40 years! Sounds like the old song.! They are not married. An important part of any relationship is deciding what happens to property when sadly separation, divorce or death occurs. That is where a marriage, civil partnership etc. can come in useful.

  33. 64 rob z.
    December 31, 2009 at 17:52

    If you are to have true freedom of speech and true equality;then as an adult you should have the right to marry or legaly join with whom ever you choose.
    To say I can marry any woman I want ; and then tell another man or woman who has the same feelings for their mate can not is wrong.
    A human must be free to choose his or hers own destiny,choosing who you share your life with is a fundamental human right.
    Rob in Florida.

  34. December 31, 2009 at 18:15

    Long live freedom of choice! What is gay marriage a step too far from? I am a little confused about that one.Being gay is not a question of deliberation,either one is or one is not gay,it is a natural selection,one can also be bi-sexual.Marriage is a religeous stumbling block,designed to keep you within the tribe.

  35. 66 John
    December 31, 2009 at 18:39

    “A step too far?” No.

    Equality. Yes.

  36. 67 KevinPE
    December 31, 2009 at 18:57

    Leda, your points are convincing, assuming all the legal pundits play ball. There will obviously still be a resistance from various religious groups, but if they are accommodated, I don’t see why they should protest. To those hoping to take the plunge – RUN – just kidding. Actually sometimes I wish I was gay – they’ve always got twice the money and five times the taste of us straight guys. Oh, and plenty of gorgeous “girlfriends” – SIGH.

  37. 68 Will, British Columbia
    December 31, 2009 at 19:27

    As long as they don’t ban marriage between men and women, I have no problem at all, far be it from me to decide who should marry and who should not, I think its sad that this debate over what rights gay and lesbian should be denied is still going on. It’s kind of like suggesting that sufferage is going to far for womens rights, absurd.

  38. 69 Tom D Ford
    December 31, 2009 at 19:40

    Congratulations to them!

    And this is just one more step towards all people having their equal human rights recognized and honored.

    Our US Declaration of Independence is still a work in progress and an inspiration to all.

  39. 70 stephen/portland
    December 31, 2009 at 20:16

    Yes it is to far.

    Although the should be given there own ceremony and the same right to be married and miserable as every heterosexual person.

    And this whole thing needs to go away now as these activists empower the idiot Neo cons that use this subject to get elected and distract voters from the real issues. Bush got back in power in 2004 protecting the good people of this world from the evil gays trying to destroy America.

    The crazy Sarah Palin right needs this subject to be in the news to use it to there advantage.

    Any sensible person could not care less; just give them equal rights that should be enough.

  40. 71 Josiah Soap
    December 31, 2009 at 20:39

    I am not religious, and I do have gay friends, but I do not believe in gay marriage. But being gay is fine. Why don’t I believe in gay marriage? For 2 reasons. 1. For thousands of years (maybe 10s of thousands) in all cultures marriage has been between a man and a woman, or a man and several women. Now in the last 20yrs we are told we have reached some new enlightenment and all morals are relative and everyones lifestyle and morals are equal. I don’t agree

    But I am mostly against gay marriage because of political correctness as we seem to no longer be allowed an opinion. If you voice your OPINION it is equated with a phobia, if you disagree it is equated with hate or bigotry. People need to realize its just an opinion, a disagreement, a different outlook. We are told to be tolerant, but they do not tolerate others opinions. I get the feeling that gay marriage is not about letting others love each other. There is no law about being gay, no one is stopping you love whoever you want. I see gay marriage as forcing people to accept gays as totally normal and that their relationship should be celebrated as equal and as wonderful as a heterosexual one and anyone who disagrees can be called nasty names, be fired or charged with a hate crime. In this way these PC rules have totally turned me against gay marriage.

    But hey thats just my opinion. I wonder if I am allowed this opinion without a whole barrage of name calling? Would that be tolerant??

  41. December 31, 2009 at 22:23

    Never thought to live the day to read/hear serious discussion about same sex marriage. A union yes but the institution of marriage which has been practice by the world over time should NOT be changed for a minority which has made a moral issue one of civil rights.

  42. 73 Dennis Junior
    January 1, 2010 at 00:02

    No, Marriage is not a step too far for gay rights; I am glad, that the Argentinians couple will be allowed to get married…..


  43. 74 Josiah Soap
    January 1, 2010 at 01:58

    A lot of posts say that gay marriage is all about equal rights, and if men and women can get married so can same sex couples.

    Gays are not being discriminated against, it is just a historical and cultural fact that marriage has been between a man and a women.

    For all those who talk about discrimination and equal rights – I never see any postings about polygamy. I couldn’t marry 3 (willing) women for example. I would be charged with bigamy and could be thrown in jail. Is this discrimination?
    The only reason that people get so passionate over gay marriage is that gays fit the “victim” status required by political correctness, whereas to allow an historically “oppressive” male to “control” more women through polygamy would never do.

  44. 75 pastol
    January 1, 2010 at 03:02

    Tom, the assumption that religion “owns” marriage is false. Marriage is, and always has been, a legal binding contract. The fact that many marriages are performed inside a religious establishment is mere custom. It is one of many examples of religion hijacking and claiming ownership of many aspects of our secular lives. It is the civil marriage that makes a union legal. Ordained clergy are invested by the authority of the State to sign the marriage license. The marriage license is issued by the state, not the clergy. The signing of the license is what makes a ceremony legal. Ceremonies can be performed with or without clergy; however, they cannot become legal without the civil marriage license. It’s all about that piece of paper that is issued by the STATE. It isn’t the church that gives married people the ability to file a joint tax return, be included in medical insurance, or be considered family legally.

    It is interesting to listen to the arguments against gay marriage in the sense that opponents are baffled and bewildered at the thought of something being taken away from them that they perceive to be owned by them. If it were not so boorish, it would be laughable.

  45. 76 James Ian
    January 1, 2010 at 09:51

    I policed in a small town with a LARGE gay population for over 17 years. One thing I noticed was that I was called to more domestic disturbances between gay couples than I did straight couples. What was that all about?

    • 77 Chris in Santa Cruz, CA
      January 1, 2010 at 19:29

      >I policed in a small town with a LARGE gay population for over 17 years. One thing I noticed was that I was called to more domestic disturbances between gay couples than I did straight couples. What was that all about?

      That lesbians & gays are more likely to recognize that domestic abuse is a crime & have the assertiveness to do something about it.

  46. 79 claudine
    January 1, 2010 at 14:22

    It seems to mainly “too much” in religion dominated societies (christianity, islam, judaism.)
    If you leave religion out of the game, there is anyway no god or higher being, then whatever it is should be OK.

  47. January 1, 2010 at 15:32

    Marriage is tradionally a holy union between a man and woman who exchange solemn vows to love and cherish each other and have a loving family together. Of course gay couples will not be able to have children naturally unless they adopt them. As long as consenting couples, straight or gay, do not destroy the fabric of society and respect the laws of civil society, they should be left to their own devices. The operating word is ‘respect’.

  48. 81 mohammad
    January 1, 2010 at 16:47

    in the United States, former African slaves were some of the first people to be denied the right to marry.
    Ideally, rights do not discriminate based on things such as gender, or skin color- these are natural traits that one is born in to, and of course nobody should be discriminated against based on their genetics (if so, let’s lock up all those evil redheads, or only grant child-bearing licenses to pretty people, or sterilize non-aryans…) The following assumes homosexuality is a natural born trait, and not a cultural decision (which is a whole different debate all together).
    I personally believe that government has no business in marriage, let one’s church or other community group deal with it; however if a government is going to grant rights to people based on the fact that they have decided to commit to each other, then that right should extend to everyone, regardless of how they were born.

    If marriage is for the sake of procreation, then should we deny the rights of seniors to marry? What if one of the persons in the marriage is sterile?
    The whole “sanctity of marriage argument” is flawed, too. If you believe in preserving the “sanctity” of marriage, then you should be as passionate about banning of divorce as you are about banning gay marriage. And let’s not forget how holy, and sanctified Britney Spears 8 hour “just for fun” marriage was…
    If you talk about marriage, and the tradition of it being between a man and woman- well, great. Let’s bring back the tradition of slavery, or that of stoning heretics! See? getting rid of “tradition” is another way of saying “social progress”
    The argument of “if we allow gay marriage, where will it end? Next we’ll be marrying people to animals” is a classic example of ‘reductio ad absurdum’ or “slippery slope” it is an inherent logical fallacy.

    So, no. Marriage is not a step too far.

  49. 82 Livia Varju
    January 1, 2010 at 16:51

    In any dictionary, marriage is between a man and a woman. If two homosexuals want to make a formal commitment to each other, they can simply draw up a contract with a lawyer. Calling their union marriage is an aberration and detracts from the sanctity of marriage. If we accept mariage between two people of the same sex, next they will be demanding the right to adopt, then the right of a man to marry a young boy or a goat, and the right of a woman to marry her dog.
    Livia Varju

    • 83 aliciatrujillo
      January 1, 2010 at 17:12

      HI Livia
      We would really like to talk to you on the programme today. Please let me know what telephone we can call you on?

    • 84 Linda from Italy
      January 1, 2010 at 18:09

      @ Livia
      In law a marriage is between two adults who are compos mentis enough to consent. In countries where civil law regulates marriage, such abominations as marrying underage girls to old men, without their consent is rightly illegal. This blows your people marrying “young boys” (but not girls apparently) and animals right out of the water because these are not deemed capable of giving their consent.
      By the way, dictionaries reflect usage and as such change and need to be updated, so if you had a look a dictionary from 100 years ago, not only would you find a lot of words missing, but you would find many changes in definitions.
      Who defines “sanctity” by the way?

  50. 85 David Arnold
    January 1, 2010 at 17:22


    What kind of bigoted question is this??

    Would the BBC ask “Is inter-racial marriage a step too far for negro rights?”

    Or “Should religious people be treated equally to sane people?”

    etc etc

    Whoever designed this question should seriously think about what human rights mean.

    • 86 stephen/portland
      January 1, 2010 at 19:35

      What kind of bigoted question is this??

      Well the Gay community want to be married and be treated exactly like any Heterosexual couple, what are you suggesting that we don’t discus this in any way or form and assume that everyone is as enlightened as yourself?

      Should we just do what ever the Gay community want in the name of political correctness?

      How Arrogant!

      • 87 sal
        January 1, 2010 at 23:47

        “Well the Gay community want to be married and be treated exactly like any Heterosexual couple” um gays still cant get married soooo it aint equal.so when it is equal playing field then heck yeah with your point,BUT it aint equal

  51. 88 Dan
    January 1, 2010 at 17:36

    Gays destroy their own argument equating Gay marriage to the civil rights movements of Blacks. This is NOT civil rights nor is it equatable to mixed race marriage.
    Religion has branded Gays but over time and as society gained sophistication that negative labeling ebbed.
    With homosexual lifestyles taught in school we now are at the milestone of Gay marriage and people are worried where will it stop? Is sex in the streets next? Will straight lifestyle be made illegal?
    As for me I cannot see how someone being Gay diminishes me as a human being.
    As long as it remains a CIVIL ceremony and not a religious ceremony why do we care?

    • 89 Linda from Italy
      January 1, 2010 at 18:23

      What precisely are “homosexual lifestyles”, as opposed to hetero life styles, and in what form are these being “taught” in schools?
      If you mean acceptance of people whose physical (probably genetic) make-up means that they can only find sexual fulfilment, love and happiness with a person of the same sex, this is surely to be applauded, particularly for those children who may finding out for themselves that they are not heterosexual to prevent them feeling agonies of fear and guilt.
      Sex in the street – oh please! I’ve seen plenty of X-certificate heterosexual snogging in public places, why would accepting same-sex marriage exacerbate this? Quite the opposite probably and anyway, if this sort of behaviour upsets you, why not just avert your eyes?

  52. 90 Sheel,15,Kuwait
    January 1, 2010 at 17:38

    I am not a gay nor have any gay friend but i strongly beileve in gay marriage after all they are humans with certain hormonal changes and they deserved to be free in practicing their rights.
    If women can get equal rights and a place in the modern society then why not gays?

    If countries are spreading the notion of freedom and human rights then why cant gays get their equal rights like any other human being.
    I guess it will take some time for the modern world to reconsider about the issues of gay rights.

  53. 91 Elina, Finland
    January 1, 2010 at 17:54

    “Is marriage a step too far for gay rights?”

    No, it’s not. Gays should have the same legal rights and protections than other couples. I’m happy for the Afgentine couple — gongratulations and all the best wishes to them!

  54. 92 Shannon in Ohio
    January 1, 2010 at 17:56

    I lived with the man who is now my husband for over a decade before we were formally married in a secular ceremony preformed by a local judge.

    In that time, we survived financial hardships and life threatening illness and carved out an existence based on mutual love and respect. But society at large–including some in our own families–did not consider our relationship fully “legitimate” until we had the liscence in hand. Thereafter, I was immeditely eligible for health care benefits through my huband’s employer, and many minor legal issues that cropped up in daily life suddenly disappeared.

    Everybody should have the right to have their longstanding bond recognized by their government and the world at large. Those who think otherwise are advocating the kind of world that brought us systems like Jim Crow and Apartheid.

  55. 93 Richard in Arkansas
    January 1, 2010 at 18:13

    I have long been a straight supporter of gay rights and the right to marriage. Differing people show their love in different ways, and so it is with our gay and lesbian neighbors. Gay and lesbians should be able to marry and adopt as well. It is the only fair way to do it. And the question I often have for my fellow straight neighbors who oppose this is: How do you think gay and lesbian marraige will adversly effect you? Answer: It won’t.

  56. 94 Mike in Seattle
    January 1, 2010 at 19:08

    Ultimately I just don’t understand the arguments against gay marriage. There are plenty of places all over the world that officially recognize such unions, and nothing bad has come of it.

    I guess I have a question for those who are against it then: what harm does it cause you? Isn’t the stability of marriage useful to society?

    Also, if marriage is for the children, why don’t we require men and women to be fertile? Why don’t we dissolve the marriages of childless couples?

  57. 95 AP
    January 1, 2010 at 19:11

    Elizabeth: So marriage is only for couples who reproduce? Are couples with fertility problems forbidden from marrying?

    Also, you can’t say you don’t support discrimination and then in the same sentence say homosexuals should be denied marriage. That’s pretty blatant hypocrisy.

  58. 96 Maria Mann
    January 1, 2010 at 19:12

    You only have to look at the footage of these two men in Argentina to know that they are profoundly happy and in love. Let us be proud of this historic step and respect their right to be truly a couple. The question “too far?” is bit sophomoric. Peace to them, and to us please.

  59. 97 Pamela
    January 1, 2010 at 19:13

    I get soooo tired of hearing that gays shouldn’t get married because marriage is for people who can make babies! I am a 55-year-old woman who has had a hysterectomy. Does that mean that I should not be permitted to get married–to a man– now?

  60. 98 Victoria
    January 1, 2010 at 19:13

    No! It is not far enough! The woman against gay marriage has stated that marriage is an institute to ensure heterosexual couples stay committed and take care of the children they make. What about heterosexual couples who choose not to have children?? Should they too not be allowed to get married? Marriage provides couples with hundreds of safeties and securities, many of which same sex couples are not allowed to “enjoy” simply because they are not allowed to marry. If we changed the word to something else but allowed same sex couples the exact same rights under the law would she feel better??

  61. 99 steve
    January 1, 2010 at 19:14

    I don’t think there should be any state recognition of marriage as it’s a religious institution. If you want to get married, fine, but there should be no state recognition or benefits for anyone, married or straight.

  62. 100 Scott From GA, USA
    January 1, 2010 at 19:17

    Marriage is not a simple civil contract. It is such a fundamental part of most of the religions of the world that governments everywhere recognize it. Personally I would be satisfied if the states here in the US would all recognize a civil union that is neutral to the gender of the participants. It would guarantee the rights of EVERYONE, not just one side or the other.

  63. 101 Akira_Oni
    January 1, 2010 at 19:18

    This is my message to Elizabeth.

    I’m an American, and have been one from the day I was born. Therefore I can tell you from both experience and statistics that what you are promoting is a completely fallacious argument. If you are promoting marriage between adults to keep them together then you have completely overlooked the divorce rates in America. Furthermore you are overlooking gay families who have completely well adjusted children.

    Your argument has absolutely nothing to do with gay marriage. It is a red herring.

  64. 102 Jonathan (San Francisco)
    January 1, 2010 at 19:19

    Oh, so marriage is about children? Opposite sex couples must have children, or plan to have children, or be capable of having children, to be permitted to marry? That’s a radical change in the institution of marriage as society now understands it. That is a scary proposal.

    Now your guest backtracks and says “We aren’t trying to keep people from getting married.” Oh. So there’s no problem then. Thought she was.

    “Men and women make babies, whether they mean to or not.” Maybe careless, irresponsible, unlucky, or remarkably ignorant ones do, but (a) Does your guest celebrate this? (b) Does she purport that this should be encouraged? (c) What does it have to do with marriage? The people who have children without meaning to are often not married. How is this relevant to a discussion of marriage rights?

  65. 103 Heidi Preuss
    January 1, 2010 at 19:20

    I believe marriage is a religious convenant. To keep state and church separated marriage should stay completely in the realm of religion. Only God should oversee the deportment of marriage. Conversely the government should equally recognize civil unions for all couples, either heterosexual or homosexual or otherwise. The rights given to people by the state should be the same regardless of the religious status of any parties. The problem is the word marriage, has been intwined into the business of the state, it should be removed. If some churches wish to bestow marriage on homosexual couples, they are more than welcome to do so. “Marriage” and people’s rights under the law/government should be independent.

  66. January 1, 2010 at 19:21

    Marriage serves many functions other than raising children. Above all, it is a mechanism for the preservation and transmission of family wealth. It is very much a legal institution serving many legal functions with ready-made structures. In the US, there are over 100 legal benefits of marriage and this is clearly an issue of equality.

    There are numerous variables affecting the outcomes of child-rearing and research has found that parental sexual orientation is not among them.

  67. 105 Mark Sandell
    January 1, 2010 at 19:23

    John E Johnson posts :

    Marriage does not have anything to do with children. Marriage is a device of government to define a relationship between 2 adults with regards to property rights, inheritance rights, custody rights, etc. Marriage is between 2 people regardless of any offspring.

  68. 106 John E Johnson Jr
    January 1, 2010 at 19:24

    Marriage does not have anything to do with children. Marriage is a device of government to define a relationship between 2 adults with regards to property rights, inheritance rights, custody rights, etc. Marriage is between 2 people regardless of any offspring. Cleveland, Ohio

  69. 107 Kate
    January 1, 2010 at 19:24

    Discrimination against gay individuals stems from ancient dogmatic religions around the world. I think it’s these dogmas that should be outlawed. They stifle human rights now, as they always have.

  70. 108 Chris in Santa Cruz, CA
    January 1, 2010 at 19:26

    The planet is being destroyed because of heterosexuality. Gay marriage should be promoted not blocked. It just proves that emotions still trump reason in politics in the 21st Century.

  71. 109 jccalhoun
    January 1, 2010 at 19:26

    The woman on the show who is against gay marriage is either self-delusional or lying to justify her bigotry. Nothing she says makes any sense at all. She says that marriage is about children but it doesn’t matter if infertile men and women marry. What? She has these examples about gay men using surrogate mothers and lesbians using sperm donors and the child not knowing the surrogate or donor. So what? Gays did not invent the concept of surrogate or sperm donors. Straight people use them every single day.
    Her entire argument boils down to “I don’t like it.”

  72. January 1, 2010 at 19:26

    No, marriage is not a step too far. But it’s really the wrong question. The question should be why is government taking any position on marriage at all?

    Religions don’t agree on who can marry. Some accept homosexual partners and some allow multiple partners. Given the lack of consensus and the Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state, government should make no law respecting the definition of marriage or confer any rights upon married couples that it doesn’t confer upon individuals.

    Protecting children doesn’t justify denying all the other rights that are traditionally conferred upon married couples. Let churches overlay their moral code upon constituents that voluntarily submit to their authority.

  73. 111 Cate
    January 1, 2010 at 19:26

    So marriage is for the good of the children resulting from that marriage. Ok, I can see that. A stable home life is important.

    Doesn’t that make DIVORCE, not gay marriage, the primary enemy of child security? This organization that has studied the effects of absent parents on children – has it worked to make divorce illegal?

    Also, there are many stay-home fathers today acting in place of the mother who works full time. Do you disagree with that? How would that be any different from two males who act in those respective roles?

    In the end isn’t this just a knee-jerk reaction to something that has long been a taboo without logical reason? And isn’t this faulty reasoning about “traditional” values just a cover for prejudice? Let’s be honest.

  74. 112 Joenick
    January 1, 2010 at 19:27

    Marriage is covenant, by which a man and a woman establsih between themselves a partnership of the whole life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.

    Homosexual union can never be called marriage. You may call it some other name or the state may legalize it and call it same sex union or whatever, but it can never be called marriage at all, since it is essentially not a marriage.

  75. 113 Nicolas
    January 1, 2010 at 19:28

    The civil aspect of such a contract should give the same legal rights as any other form of heterosexual marriages. The religious aspect is another side of this question which will take longer, but as long as legal aspects are concerned, LGBT people should be granted equal rights and opportunities, in family aspects, ownership, work, social assistance etc. Gays have always existed and should, in this new decade, be granted equality, not be considered (though not officially…) as second-class citizens.

  76. 114 Peter
    January 1, 2010 at 19:28

    Here in kenya, being gay is seen as a thing of western culture, however last year 2009, we as kenyans were shoked when we learned that two qay men had flown to uk to get marriage, as a typical kenyan and african i never thought that there was a gay kenyan or a black man who was gay. Over the past few months i have tried to understand what makes a person to be attracted to “same sex” , and slow i am being to understand, however i think that marriage is only ment for a MAN and a WOMAN ,this in my africa culture, is what has always been. I highly oppose gay people getting marriage.

  77. 115 margot in oregon
    January 1, 2010 at 19:28

    I understand Elizabeth’s concern about problems with children not getting the suppport of two parents. However I don’t think those problems have any bearing on or will be affected by same sex couples being able to marry. Because of the civil/ legal rights given to married persons, no other option (civil union, etc) is enough for gay people.

  78. 116 Kimberley
    January 1, 2010 at 19:30

    Elizabeth is confusing the issue. I do not dispute that children are better off in a two-parent home, however she’s trying to say that getting married is somehow mutally exclusive with having children. She needs to realize they are two very different issues and while they do intersect, you do not need one to have the other.

  79. 117 Mike
    January 1, 2010 at 19:30

    Of course marriage between two or more humans of whatever gender is not a step too far. I’m also intrigued by the view that marriage is the best method we (whoever the we is) for heterosexual couples (whatever they are) to procreate. I’m sure a study of the sociology and history of marriage and would reveal many and more complex reasons we have marriage today.

  80. 118 Fred In Portland
    January 1, 2010 at 19:31

    You would never hear someone arguing that just because a couple was married in a Hindu or Catholic ceremony that they aren’t married.

    If you can’t prove that something is causing real harm, you shouldn’t deny it as a right to others. Isn’t love, acceptance and tolerance the way to show love community and lead people to the divine?

    Clearly denying any rights to any group is not just a bigotry, but there’s no real rational argument for it.

  81. 119 Jan in Utah
    January 1, 2010 at 19:33

    Perhaps I have a unique perspective as a member of a religion that was persecuted because of the types of marriages it supported.

    I think we need to distinguish between “marriage” and “civil union”. I think governments should *only* recognize civil unions. Homosexuals should be able to enter into civil unions and so should heterosexuals. Why should there be any difference? Marriage, on the other hand, I think of as more of a religious ordinance. My particular religion places a strong emphasis on marriage between a man and a woman and on families. While my religion doesn’t choose to recognize homosexual relationships as marriage, I don’t see why other religions couldn’t recognize them as such.

    I object to special status, sanctioned by a government, of “married” people. I don’t have a problem with special status, sanctioned by a government, of people in a committed civil union. I don’t think government should say, one way or the other, who can or should be involved in a civil union. Why not recognize other civil unions, too? Why can’t groups of people, who want to be in a committed relationship with each other, have the same rights and responsibilities as couples?

    Group unions, with multiple men and/or women in a committed relationship, should also be recognized and have the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else. If a particular religion chooses to call that grouping a “marriage”, why should that affect or impact any other religion’s view of marriage?

  82. January 1, 2010 at 19:34

    What about all those children (teenagers) who are known to be confused about their sexuality, how do those children react in an environment where same sex marriages become the norm?

  83. 121 Jonathan (San Francisco)
    January 1, 2010 at 19:34

    I’m sorry. Clearly I misunderstood the topic today. Your guest responded to me by declaring that babies should not be torn from their biological parents and forced to live with strangers.

    I quite agree! I had no idea that such a horrible thing was being done, or even contemplated.

    I had thought that today’s topic was whether people should be prohibited from getting married because they are the same sex. I’m against such a prohobition.

    If instead the topic is kidnaping children, put me down as against that too.

  84. 122 ShannonPDX
    January 1, 2010 at 19:35

    elizabeth claims that the children of gay couples would be denied one of their parents. my daughter’s father died tragically when she was an infant. she will never know her father. however, if elizabeth has her way, my daughter would never again have the opportunity to have another loving, nurturing parent who could care for her in the event of my death, and from whom she and her children could inherit. my partner loves my daughter and longs to have the formal relationship with my daughter that other children are allowed with their step-parents who ultimately adopt them. elizabeth’s position is so narrowly constructed that she leaves out thousands, even millions, of children being raised by their biological parents (NOT created through artificial processes).

  85. January 1, 2010 at 19:35

    Saying that marriage is only for babies is practically Nazi-like!! If two people cannot have children, does that mean they have no right to be happy by organizing a relationship between themselves?

  86. 124 Aaron
    January 1, 2010 at 19:37

    If these people want to keep marriage all to themselves fine… so long as they make one change — make divorce illegal under any circumstances ever. Once you’re together that’s it your stuck for all of your natural life. Your guest who’s flawed “children” argument is laughable — Would she and others who think like her still feel the same if there were no divorce? Other then taxes there really is no reason for marriage therefor any couple of any sex make up should be allowed to do it.

  87. 125 eSCe
    January 1, 2010 at 19:38

    Does being a human give us the right to be gay. In the animal world a gay animal would not survive in the law of the jungle. My neighbours a lesbian couple arranged to get married to get pregnant and divorce later. Her son grew up normally except that he hung around me for for companionship or otherwise he sits in church all day when he is alone. He is a very disturbed kid.

  88. 126 Teak from Portland, OR, USA
    January 1, 2010 at 19:38

    I am a gay woman who just had the wonderful opportunity to register for Domestic Partnership with my new wife here in Oregon, which has all of the same rights and responsibilities as marriage under state law. We would have loved to have gotten married if we could. The main difference between civil unions, domestic partnerships and marriage is that marriage is a kinship bond between spouses. the only other ways to have this bond is adoption and biological connections. Gay people want to make their partners their “family” in the same way that straight people do.

    also, I wanted to respond to Elizabeth’s arguments about sperm and egg donors and children being denied their biological parents in gay families. Would this extend to straight families who get artificial insemination from donors? or to families who adopt? are these children at a disadvantage because they are brought into a family that wants them consciously, plans for them, brings them into the world with a stable environment? I think the argument about broken homes is not the same as the argument against gay couples: the thing that damages children is the broken home, the unstable environment. Gay couples provide a loving, stable environment for children that they consciously bring into the world or adopt.

  89. 127 Jennifer
    January 1, 2010 at 19:39

    Are there any studies that show that kids in gay or lesbian families do worse than those in heterosexual families? Anecdotally, it seems that the children of gays and lesbians – who, of course, are ALWAYS WANTED! – do very well, perhaps better than those of heterosexual couples…


    p.s.: I think it’s an insult to ask gay couples why they want to get married! This question is NEVER asked of heterosexual couples!!!

    pps: I am a heterosexual mother of three, married to my sons’ father…

  90. 128 natarajan
    January 1, 2010 at 19:39

    The family values guest makes a common error: The hypothetical lesbians are raising their children as a couple commited to each other and the child.
    All available evdience shows that children of same sex couples have the same developmental benefits as those of mixed-sex couples.
    It’s an odd and not entirely coherent position that civic approval of couples’ raising children together encourages irresponsibility over procreation among other parents.

  91. January 1, 2010 at 19:40

    I think we are dealing more with a population explosion problem that a moral or human rights issue. Nature will take its course if we fail to make the right choices to secure social and economic sustainability.

    In a lot of cases, the denial of the rights of people to make personal choices, could very well work against long-term sustainability.

  92. 130 Laura in Portland
    January 1, 2010 at 19:41

    If marriage is for the preservation of children, let’s ban divorce.

  93. 131 Jennifer
    January 1, 2010 at 19:41

    ps: i am from Portland, Oregon and, to clarify, when I say children of gays and lesbians are always wanted, I mean they’re always planned! You can’t accidentally become a parent if you’re gay/lesbian…

  94. 132 roger
    January 1, 2010 at 19:41

    i heard gay-ugandan refer proudly and defemsively to ugandan culture as opposed to western culture, when the issue of nuclear family arose…..his nationalism was evident when he defended the ugandan way of life….that is …his culture…i am curious…what is the ugandan culture with regards homosexuality and even more interesting homosexual marriage…is he accepting western culture when it suits him??…note that he referred to jail time for homosexual mrriage

  95. 133 Jonathan (San Francisco)
    January 1, 2010 at 19:46

    [After nine minutes and five subsequent comments being cleared, mine of 19:34 still awaits moderation and clearance when I looked just now. It contains no obscenity, no insults, nothing but sweeness and light. Have I transgressed?]

    [Thanks and happy new year!]

  96. 134 Flora
    January 1, 2010 at 19:47

    The Netherlands doesn’t recognise polygamous marriages/relationships and isn’t very keen on giving “the other wives” benefits or any legal status. I don’t know where Elisabeth gets her information from, but if it must have been a single (ver specific) case she refers to.

    It sounds as if she has a reigious agenda and is hiding behind the “being able to have kids” mantra. She overlooks the legal aspects that come with a marriage and are nowadays more important than just to start a physical nuclear family.

  97. 135 Peter
    January 1, 2010 at 19:48

    All people have the right to Civil Marriage, which is essentially a contract. As far as separate religions, the issue of whether Gays are able to marry ‘within the church’ – i.e., as a religious sacrament – will have to be decided by each church. That said, marriage is marriage, and ‘civil unions’ are not. People who would deny the right to gays are at best, ignorant of reality (homosexuality DOES exist in nature and the animal kingdom), or at worst, hypocrites and bigots.

  98. 136 Charles
    January 1, 2010 at 19:48

    Why should gays feel the need to imitate a traditional bourgeois heterosexual model that is proving not to be succesful at all in Western countries – in Western Europe, where there’s a free choice – 2/3 of all people in marriages choose to end their union at one point. But if gay people expressly want to marry, why stop them? Would some listeners be as hard on heterosexuals which obviously would not seem to qualify as good parents because they come from an underprivileged background e.g., simply because they do not have the means or the skills to bring up children responsibly (which would cut out a large proportion of the world population). Compare that to a prosperous and loving gay couple that want children and see the inequality and injustice! Why put a manifest political (ideological) agenda first? What hypocrisy…

  99. 137 Jonathan (San Francisco)
    January 1, 2010 at 19:48

    [14 minutes and eight subsequent questions by others now.]

  100. 138 Akira_Oni
    January 1, 2010 at 19:49

    I have a question. Growing up in poor neighborhoods in America, I can tell you that single parenthood is considered “ok” now even where gay marriage is not. So, historically speaking, nothing happens in a vacuum.

    This argument is silly. I’d prefer to be watching Monty Python.

    — Isham from Indiana

    • 139 Akira_Oni
      January 1, 2010 at 19:50

      errr… I forgot to ask my question. My question was “if nothing happens in a vacuum, how can you say that gay marriage is the single stimulus for ALL of these negative things that are pointed too in the most common “slippery slope” argument?”

  101. 141 Laura in Portland
    January 1, 2010 at 19:50

    Elizabeth, I am 1 of 6 children raised by a single mother because my father died when I was 5. We’re all upstanding, productive, educated , tax paying members of society. I really don’t think we’re part of the downfall of western civilization, and neither are the children of gay parents.

    • 142 muneer
      January 4, 2010 at 10:36


      I am 1 of 4 children raised by a single mother because my father died when I was 10. We are all doing very well thank God.

      However, not having a dad in my life was a huge vacuum which can not be filled with anyone else. I feel it was so tragic for me.

      I totally agree with Elizabeth. I think you got her wrong, Laura.

  102. 143 Mark Sandell
    January 1, 2010 at 19:50

    I have a brother who is married in a traditional marrage. In there family he beat his wife, she fought back, she beat the kids, he beat the kids, he cheated, this ended in one child killing himself, and anouther who is in prison, both have children out of wedlock, both treated their partners bad, and now ones child can not see him, one is being raised by his parents…learning the same things. How can you say that this is a better way then 2 loving parents, male/female, male/male, female/female…as long as they are loved.
    Your guest is wrong in insisting that only a mother and father can raise children right…she needs to take a look around…this world is full of “bad” parents. Most are straight.

  103. 144 jccalhoun
    January 1, 2010 at 19:50

    The caller mentioning the study by David Blankenhorn and called Blankenhorn a respected sociologist neglected to say that Blenkenhorn is also is founder and president of the Institute for American Values, an organization devoted to renewal of marriage and family life. So he is a researcher with a very clear bias who is out to prove what he already thinks.

  104. 145 cBart
    January 1, 2010 at 19:50

    as soon as they can procreate then call them married

  105. 146 David Schwartz
    January 1, 2010 at 19:51

    Why don’t we just abolish civil marriage and make both heterosexuals and homosexuals enter into civil contracts of domestic partnership that carry the same rights and obligations as marriage s it is defined today? The commingling of religious and civil is the artificial fulcrum of the issue.

    Further, I find it interesting that as the debate over gay rights has progressed, the argument has moved from one where homosexuals are different from heterosexuals in that they were incapable of sustaining committed relationships to one where we are denying them the ability to enter into the same committed relationship from which they were previously accused of being incapable of sustaining.

    In the United States the divorce rate in Massachusetts is the lowest of all 50 states in the country and, in fact, has gone down since the introduction of gay marriage there.

    • 147 Tom K in Mpls
      January 2, 2010 at 01:49

      Why didn’t I just state your first paragraph, instead of point out parts of it to others? Our laws do need a redo that covers equal rights for everyone, *and* a separation of church and state. That is the true issue here.

  106. 148 Mark Sandell
    January 1, 2010 at 19:51

    Penny in Finland
    I think the issue here is whether a person brings a child into the world and then walks away from the responsibility of raising it. I don’t think it is relevant whether the person is half of a gay couple or a straight one.

    Kokkola, Finland

  107. 149 Joan in California
    January 1, 2010 at 19:51

    What about all the gay couples who are adopting children that would otherwise not have a home? I know several such couples. They adopt children no one else wants and provide them with a great home. No one could say these children would be better off elsewhere.

  108. 150 Jonathan (San Francisco)
    January 1, 2010 at 19:51

    [thanks mods!! 🙂 ]

  109. January 1, 2010 at 19:52

    No state should be sanctioning, recognizing etc ANY marriage. When governments enter the business of licensing a spiritual ( for some religious ) ceremony we have gone too far. Peace.

    • 152 Akira_Oni
      January 1, 2010 at 20:00


      The state, if it will sanction anything, should sanction civil unions.

      Then churches can “marry” whoever the hell they want!

  110. 153 David chisanga
    January 1, 2010 at 19:57

    I think Gay marriage is step too far, its actually an insult to nature, am a Christian and no where in the Bible is it mentioned were they tolerated Gay marriage, God created Man and woman and created Sex to be between man and woman not between man and man or woman and woman. Marriage is a sacred institution which should be given utmost respect. These guys should realise that they have a problem at hand and get counseled and people should not discriminate them but make sure that these people are aligned back to their true nature. We should actually be ashamed because not even animals ever portray feelings for the same sex animal and we as humans are thinking of legalising same sex marriages, its wrong and should not be tolerated,

    • 154 Akira_Oni
      January 2, 2010 at 01:36

      Your arguement is false.

      Ever seen two male dogs have sex? It happens, pretty frequently.

      Homosexuality is natural. It may be a genetic defect, and it may remove homosexuals from the gene pool, but it is natural in every way.

  111. January 1, 2010 at 19:57

    i was displeased to hear the moderator cut off a caller presenting empirical evidence from controlled or longitudinal research in favor of more opinion which is far less relevant.

  112. 156 Laura Ricker
    January 1, 2010 at 19:59

    This conversation just drives me mad! Ask all the hetrosexual people in your room and on your panel how many couples they know who have stayed married to one person. Divorce, cheating, lies, etc. The real question is marriage at it’s core. I am gay and I want the same rights as the person next to me. But, if they are getting their rights through a mechanism that doesn’t work – look at the stats! – then we need to look at the bottom line. This is about equal rights! Let’s find a way that all couples can have equality.

  113. January 1, 2010 at 20:01

    ILGA-Europe is working for equality an human rights for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) people at European level. You can find more information on those European countries which provide legal recognition to same-sex families and their children on our website:

  114. 158 Candice
    January 1, 2010 at 20:01

    HUMAN RIGHTS. The idea is for every person to have the same human rights. To bring in polygamy or the argument that every child should have a mother and a father is to make straw arguments–if it is agreed that every person should have the right to marry ONE other person, then we don’t have to worry about polygamy; cross that bridge IF we get to it, and children already grow up in single parent families; heterosexual parents in no way guarantee that a child will be raised by both.

    That this is such a difficult issue for some people to understand boggles my brain. It’s really quite simple. HUMAN RIGHTS.

  115. 159 ahimsamonkey
    January 1, 2010 at 20:03

    In the United States, we have a “separation of church and state”. Marriage is a *legal* institution that gives special rights to its participants (legal rights, tax rights, hospital visitation rights, etc.) Why are we even considering the “moral opinions” of religious fundamentalists in regard to this topic? Right-wing “Cultural Values” organizations like The Institute for American Values are trying to legislate their religious beliefs and impose them on the world.

  116. 160 saqib wasil
    January 1, 2010 at 20:07

    i think in today’s society everything should be made legal by the government…and it should be left to an individual whether an act is legal or illegal…thats how this problem can be solved..

  117. 161 Chaudhry
    January 1, 2010 at 20:12

    I think it is a step too far. Natrualy a man and a man can’t have a child so it’s really simple. If a man in next 50 years falls in love with a monkey, would the government allow their merrage?

  118. January 1, 2010 at 20:14

    Very interesting programme!
    But in relation to Prof Erskine writing off my comments on the huge global studies done, his interpretation of the Danish situation (which he concentrated upon) is not as certain as he would have us believe, in my opinion. But more to the point, across the globe, in country after country where surveys are done, in the countries where gay marriage is legal, other non-traditional adult relationships have greater preponderance. At the end of the day, it is more about adults than children, and in my view, that is tragic, because they do best when they are raised by the two people who love and made them.

    Moreover, as Elizabeth said, the gay marriage argument is being used to bolster polygamous marriage in Canada (just this past January) and also in Utah, where it was insisted that if a child can have two mummies, why can’t she have two mummies and one daddy? Polyamourists — see BeyondMarriage.org — are openly promoting plural marriage as well along a more post-modern, bisexual line.

    Finally, there is a hugely distorted view of ‘fidelity’. Perhaps Evan Wolfson could care to share his view of the distinction between ‘monogamy’ (psychological exclusivity and faithfulness) versus ‘exclusivity’ (sexual faithfulness). The two are not the same but those in straight world assume they are. Gays undergoing civil partnershipsdo not promise to love honour and commit to one person sexually and psychologically until death. Did you know?

  119. 163 Nikita (San Francisco)
    January 1, 2010 at 20:35

    I must say the “babies” argument against same sex marriage is the new low in this whole discussion. They just need to realize that the amount of babies will not increase from banning gay marriage. But the number of unhappy people in the society will!

  120. 164 Dan
    January 1, 2010 at 20:37

    @ Linda from Italy
    Way too angry.
    Schoolchildren are being taught homosexuality before they have had any chance to understand or explore their own sexuality.
    I am opposed to that as I feel that the greatest gift a child has is innocence and the longer a child maintains their innocence, the better.

  121. 165 Jonathan (San Francisco)
    January 1, 2010 at 21:14

    One caller touched briefly on an issue that I think sheds light on the vast gulf between marriage and not-marriage in the real world, but that has been overlooked today in favor of discussion of children. (The “think of the children” canard has been nicely skewered this morning by more articulate people than I.)

    I refer to the right to see and care for one’s life partner when accident, illness, or old age places one in a hospital.

    Everywhere in the world, a husband or a wife has the right to visit his or her wife or husband when ill, and to make decisions on care, including life-and-death. People understand what marriage is: a solemn, legally and morally and religiously acknowledged, binding commitment by two people to place each other as the most important person in their life, above even blood relatives. The rights and responsibilities ensuing from that commitment are likewise understood and enshrined in law and custom.

    No improvised, artificial legal fiction provides anything like that understanding. An assertion of “civil partnership” under the laws of San Francisco, for example, will require detailed explanation an hour away in Stockton, California, never mind Athens or Azerbaijan. Where legal rights exist at all, they are subject to misunderstanding, interpretation, challenge, delay, etc. Some people have been barred from visiting their longtime partners at all. Urgent and tragic situations demand the immediate, automatic, unambiguous treatment that only marriage ensures.

    I’m no expert on this, but I hope I’ve articulated this other aspect of the case for marriage rights.

  122. 166 Diego
    January 1, 2010 at 21:15

    No civil right can be a step too far….

  123. 167 Leda
    January 1, 2010 at 21:15


    “as soon as they can procreate then call them married”

    Oh really? I have a friend who has been married for 19 years. She had her ovaries removed due to cancer when she was eight years old. She has no eggs whatsoever. I think we can safely say, then, that her chances of procreating with her husband were zero from the get-go. Are they not married either?

  124. 168 Nikki
    January 1, 2010 at 21:18

    Thank you, Scott. It’s such a simple solution. The genesis of marital laws in the US had to do with outdated concepts such as a man’s ownership of his wife, and a child’s entitlement to his/her father’s care and support if he/she was born out of wedlock. If these concepts are indeed no longer pertinent, then neither are any laws concerning an agreement between two adult human beings. My fear is that while we might pay lip service to our progression away from such archaic ideas that violate the basic rights of women and children, we have not moved very far at all. The rights of homosexual couples are directly linked to the rights of women and children; once marriage stops being about heterosexual male entitlement and starts truly being about love between two people, then we might get somewhere. As it is legislated now, it is still about ownership, property, and money.

    • 169 Tom K in Mpls
      January 2, 2010 at 02:06

      Nikki, you touch on something that baffles me. When you look at all the things happening in the world, how can anyone seriously believe mankind has ‘evolved’? While my posts should make it clear I support concepts that most consider noble, when practical, I know this is really nothing more than a dream yet.

      In this ‘enlightened’ age, in this industrialized society, we still have people doing all they can, to control others, out of fear.

  125. 170 muneer
    January 1, 2010 at 23:48

    I am Muneer from Bahrain. I listened to the program, and tried to speak but was not given the chance.

    Any way, I totally agree with Elizabeth. She made a lot of sense. Others tried to confuse the issue by bringing in Racism?? This is about Biology. Marriage is between two partners who complete each other biologically.

    It takes a female and a male to complete each other.

    Gays are people who have their sexual orientation gone out of the norm for some reason or another. We can not change the law of nature to satisfy these wrong sensations.

    Gays may satisfy each other sexually, but the fact is they can not produce a baby?Therefore marriage is out of the question.

    As Elizabeth said, having a mother is something very important in the life of a baby, and depriving any child from a mother is a crime & tragedy.




  126. 171 Josiah Soap
    January 2, 2010 at 09:19

    I think a gay couples should have all the rights of a legally married heterosexual couple e.g. healthcare, inheritance etc. If they get this through a legal contract then it should be termed a civil union, and the term civil union should be reserved for same sex couples only. I oppose the word “marriage” for gays because it suggests the contract is every bit as valid and normal and great as a heterosexual marriage. I see the whole argument is not about rights, or even equal rights, but more about gay activism. Being gay is OK, I don’t care until you start pushing it down everyones throats. A bit like religion, thats fine too until you start preaching at me!

  127. 172 Thomas Murray
    January 2, 2010 at 22:24

    I realize this is rather a dead letter issue, but…

    In this age of HIV-AIDS I’ve come to the conclusion that gay marriage is ethically a high-water issue, as it promotes monogamy, and the safety of a monogamous contract trumps the religious prohibition against it, HOWEVER…

    It would be far too dangerous to federalize it, that is, from the top, from the oval office,”at the stroke of a pen” so to speak. Here in the states, gay marriage laws are being passed state by state — hence, what we call a “state’s rights issue” — and they’re often subject to popular vote.

    No matter what side you take in this isue, I think we can all agree to one thing: What the federal government mandates, it can also take away — and this includes one’s status in public, or in the bedroom.

    –Louisville, Louisville, US.

  128. 173 Halima
    January 4, 2010 at 10:16

    not too far, It is about time that such a union is recognized as legally legitimate.
    Congratulations to them I hope they can do better than 75% of heterosexual couples!

    That it is even an issue is a sorry state of ignorance and prejudice in the 21st century.

  129. 174 muneer
    January 4, 2010 at 11:33

    This debate is not on whether Homosexuality is Right or Wrong.

    There is no single religion on earth which allows Homosexuality. There is a general concensus historically.

    But for some reasons, probably political, Gay have received more freedom to express their identities. We have no choice about that.

    However, to allow them to get Married and adopt Kids, should definately be a No-No !! Coz that deprives kids from their rights to have both a Mother and a Father, Period!

    Nobody should have that Right to Deprive kids from their Rights. Not even the state.

    Besides, if Gays cant make children, why have any committment? Better stay FREE, and enjoy each other while both partners are satisfied !!

    If it is a matter of Financial committment, Gays can always have an agreement through any Law firm??

    • 175 Jennifer
      January 4, 2010 at 17:22

      All that is being talked about is “rights” that homosexual people are being denied.

      Maybe we need to look at the purpose of marriage.

      I get the visual of trying to cram something into a mold that just DOES NOT fit! Yet, over and over again, people try to cram it in; just because they want their “rights”. What’s going to happen when people get these rights and heaven forbid noone will marry them? Then, they’ll be denied further “rights”. It’ll never end……

      • 176 Nick K
        January 5, 2010 at 03:33

        Jennifer – I bet you a million dollars that you and I have extremely different concepts of what the purpose of marriage is. My marriage is a civil social contract between my partner and I – a promise to love one another for ever – that the state recognizes and grants us benefits for. You can dress it up all you want in the fabric of social tradition, religion, and history, but ultimately that’s what it all comes down to…at least in the USA.

        What purpose does marriage have for you?

  130. 177 RICARDO
    January 4, 2010 at 17:49

    it strikes me how sure you are about the likelihood of not having gays in iran well it may interest you to know that you can’t be 100% SURE of what you state.
    Mike from seattle i am really sorry and i don’t think because majority of gays and lesbians are offsprings of heterosexual couples that you have to buy the idea of gays having the right to adopt, in any case i am not for gays adopting kids and i think Agomo got my point there.

  131. January 4, 2010 at 18:12

    Jennifer writes: “I get the visual of trying to cram something into a mold that just DOES NOT fit! Yet, over and over again, people try to cram it in; just because they want their “rights”. What’s going to happen when people get these rights and heaven forbid noone will marry them? Then, they’ll be denied further “rights”. It’ll never end……”


    We allow elderly persons to marry, despite the fact that they cannot conceive or bear children. We allow infertile couples to marry, despite the fact that they will never become parents. And unmarried couples have children all the time, notwithstanding the social stigma attached to having children outside of marriage. If you believe that gay persons seek to “cram” something into a “mold” that does not fit, you will have to do better than this.

    The touchstone of marriage is not, and has never been, procreation. Were it so, then marriage would be both underinclusive and overinclusive as a means of cementing relationships with childrearing.

    At an absolute minimum, those who are opposed to gay marriage must demonstrate the existence of a rational basis for the prohibition of gay marriage. Several state courts have gone further, requiring that the state meet the burdens of “strict scrutiny” (California) and “quasi-strict scrutiny” to justify the prohibition of gay marriage…


  132. 179 Leda
    January 4, 2010 at 18:25

    I see several new points that require addressing.

    1) There are two broad lines of argument here – one that states that gay people shouldn’t marry because they can’t have children, and another that states that gay people shouldn’t raise children. Can the two camps please get together and work out which line they’re using, because they really are mutually exclusive, folks. For the record, though, homosexuality doesn’t cause infertility, and be it through IVF or surrogacy, gay people have both the right and ability to have children whether they are married or not.

    2) Unless I missed a change in the law, people don’t have to have children after they’re married, nor do they have to be married to have children, so why bring the issue of reproduction into the question when the two are not inextricably connected?

    3) Leaving property in one’s will to a same-sex partner is not “enough”. Wills can be challenged by blood relatives, and this is in fact often the case after people have lost their life partners. There is also the right to plan funeral arrangements, and this right is not something that can be written into a will…it passes automatically to the next of kin, and without a legal marriage the next of kin is always the nearest blood relative.

    4) In the UK at least, gay people are already permitted to adopt children, although not as a couple (one partner will apply as a single person instead). So, once again, this point is long since moot.

    5) On the question of religion, there are in fact several faiths that do NOT condemn same-sex relationships; Wicca, Quakers, Unitarians, Episcopalians to name but four.

  133. January 4, 2010 at 19:40

    Leda — thank you for pointing out that documentation such as wils and proxies are no adequate substitute for marriage. I cannot overemphasize the number of times I have heard of the relatives of a deceased gay person (who in many cases abandoned that person years previously) descending like vultures and doing everything in their considerable power to break the wills of the deceased. In some jurisdictions, judges have simply alluded to “public policy” to strike down the wills of gay men and lesbians (holding that the state’s “public policy” does not permit such bequests). In other cases, the “relatives” of the deceased have mounted “undue influence” claims in their efforts to strip gay persons of their inheritances.

    In short, there is simply no substitute for marriage.


  134. 181 Kindi Jallow
    January 4, 2010 at 23:29

    I am firmly with the opinion that gay marriage undermines the fabric of the institutions of marriage in our society firstly in the eyes of the law marriage goes with responsibility of caring for the offspring’s. This is made possible only when two people of opposite sex engage or get married legitimise their actions within the institutions of marriage and the norms and values of society at large. Normally children should grow up in a balance family that is to say a mother and a father of different sex. For the child there is nothing that can replace the love and warmth she or he has for both parents and denying the child to grow and be brought up in this setup is denying the fundamental rights.

  135. 182 Nick K
    January 5, 2010 at 03:16

    This topic is getting tiresome. I am a 30 year old heterosexual. I am married. The fact that a male counterpart my age in my profession, with my IQ, who like jazz and blues as I do, who is as caring and intelligent person as I am, could be denied the social contract I am granted based simply on the fact that he is not attracted to women is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. Sometimes I think we just have to wait for the older generation to die off before progress can truly happen. Younger people who have grown up knowing LGBT couples in their communities are far more likely to think this is ludicrous.

  136. 183 evets
    January 5, 2010 at 16:53

    Think of all the business for same sex couple divorce lawyers…

  137. 184 Muneer
    January 5, 2010 at 18:43

    Wow … Evets !!

    Very nice point? I bet some lawyers are behind this idea 🙂

    They need more business??? LOL !!

    Otherwise, gays would be stupid to get into such unnecessary committments when they even cant make kids? Unless the poor partner wants to trap the rich one??? Aaaa Ha !!

  138. 185 Bill Flass
    January 5, 2010 at 23:46

    I am still trying to understand homosexuality, so an opinion on the marriage bit will have to await my comprehension of the concept.

    This is what I understand:
    Some persons are born with genes/hormones which make them feel sure that they were born into the wrong body. Hence, if a male feels he is a female, then he craves a male partner. That is very easy for me to understand, and I have no problem with it.

    This is what I do not understand:
    Any male partner who feels/knows that he is a male would/should naturally crave relations with a bona fide female, not a male masquerading a a female, so that the “female in a male body” would have to seek a similar partner. Would these then be de facto lesbians?

    If “real” males want anal sex, they could engage in same with females and still have the other advantages of male/female relationship (vaginal sex, superior texture/feel of the female body, including breasts, traditional children and family, etc.)

    Could someone please enlighten me so that I can take part in the discussion on gay marriage?

  139. 186 Philip Chandler
    January 6, 2010 at 06:35

    Kindi Jallow writes: “I am firmly with the opinion that gay marriage undermines the fabric of the institutions of marriage in our society firstly in the eyes of the law marriage goes with responsibility of caring for the offspring’s.”


    Then you must be opposed to marriages involving elderly couples, who cannot conceive children. You must also be opposed to marriages involving couples with fertility problems that make procreation impossible. And you must CERTAINLY be opposed to marriages involving couples who make the conscious, open decision never to have children (two of my closest friends married back in 1989 but decided never to have children).

    Furthermore, unmarried couples have children all the time.

    Procreation is not the touchstone of marriage. Marriage is both underinclusive and overinclusive with respect to conceiving children…


  140. 187 Philip Chandler
    January 6, 2010 at 06:42

    Kindi Jallow writes: “Normally children should grow up in a balance family that is to say a mother and a father of different sex. For the child there is nothing that can replace the love and warmth she or he has for both parents and denying the child to grow and be brought up in this setup is denying the fundamental rights.”


    There is now a wealth of scientific data that show that gay couples are just as capable as heterosexual couples of bringing up children who are happy, healthy, and well adjusted. The data show that children raised by gay couples are just as psychologically and socially well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual couples.

    But your logic is confused. First, you opine that gay persons should not be permitted to marry because they cannot reproduce without assistance. Then you argue that children raised by gay couples lack “fundamental rights”. You are trying to have it both ways — you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Sadly, many children raised by heterosexual couples end up being raised by only one parent (the divorce rate for heterosexual first marriages exceeds 50%). The data clearly show that two parents tend to be much better for a child than one parent, and that the sex of the parents is not a significant factor in the adjustment and emotional health of the children.

    However odd this may sound, it is the duty of any serious person to defer to the data…


  141. 188 Philip Chandler
    January 6, 2010 at 06:47

    Nick K writes: “Sometimes I think we just have to wait for the older generation to die off before progress can truly happen. Younger people who have grown up knowing LGBT couples in their communities are far more likely to think this is ludicrous.”


    Nick, you are absolutely right. All of the research indicates that younger people tend to be much more accepting of gay marriage than are older people, and this attitude does NOT shift as younger people grow older (longitudinal studies confirm that younger people maintain their belief in the legitimacy of gay marriage as they grow older). Maggie Gallagher and her acolytes from the “National Organization for Marriage” (NOM) (which is nothing more than a propaganda-spewing hate site) know this; time is not on their side.

    Where will Maggie Gallagher and her cronies be a mere 30 years from today?

    With luck, I will still be here to witness gay marriage become legal nationwide. As for Gallagher and her ilk — I really don’t care…


  142. 189 Muneer
    January 6, 2010 at 10:26

    We can be very philosophical about any issue I guess? including this one.

    True of the matter is, a baby needs a mom & a dad to come into life. They form a family. To keep track who is who, God invented the system of Marriage.

    Gays have no place here by choice. Nobody forced them to become Gays?

    In rare cases, people are born with some defects in their sexual identity. That is not the norm. Tough luck. At least you are alive?

    Similarly, old people who get married at a later stage in their life. That is not the norm;in addition to few other cases, such as those not being able to reproduce?

    In any discussion, exceptional cases must be ommitted, otherwise, we can keep on arguing forever on every simple matter.

    Gays: The anus is not a sexual part. You got it wrong? Its a part for refuse discharge! Hence, you are not capable of Marrying. Sorry!!

  143. 190 A R Shams
    January 7, 2010 at 17:33

    A senior friend of mine while commenting on ‘gay marriage’ says stressing that if we do not condemn it, we should not encourage it at least for multiples of social reasons.

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