Your Rights: Disappointingly Not in Danger

I would have liked to believe that the idea that our rights are diminished when the rights of others are increase was a thing of the past.  Sadly, that is not the case.  It doesn’t make any sense to me.  I mean, when women won the right to vote, it’s not like anyone stopped men from continuing to do so:

[Mr. Jones enters the polling place.]

Ms. Smith: Hold on there, mister.

Mr. Jones: Huh?

Ms. Smith: Is it true that you are, in fact, a man?

Mr. Jones: Uh…wha?

Ms. Smith: That is to say, you’re of the male gender?

Mr. Jones: Well, uh, yeah, last time I checked.

Ms. Smith: You might want to check again, just to be sure.

[Mr. Jones steps away to check.]

Mr. Jones: Yup, still a man.

Ms. Smith: And is it also true that your wife, Mrs. Jones, is a woman?

Mr. Jones: Last I che…uh, I mean, yes.

Ms. Smith: Well, according to this paper here, now that she has the right to vote, you are no longer allowed to do so.

Mr. Jones: Why?

Ms. Smith: Well, you see, when one person gets the right to vote, it means we have to take it away from someone else.  You have now given your vote to your wife.

Mr. Jones: . . .

Ms. Smith: I just need you to sign right here that you understand your new lack of rights. [holds out a paper and pen]

[Mr. Jones signs the paper.]

Right.  Last election, both my husband and I were allowed to vote.  Funny how that works, you know, that whole “women’s suffrage” thing.

Same thing with marriage equality.  The fact that the two men the next street over can now legally marry each other didn’t somehow negate my marriage.  I believe the certificate is still filed away in our attic, and so far, no one has come knocking on our door to reclaim it.

And before anyone gets his or her undies in a bunch, here are a couple of things to consider:

  1.  Yes, your church will be able to say “no” to a same-sex couple.  Churches deny people marriage ceremonies all the time.  Divorced people, people living together, partners of different religions, non-members.  Chances are, if a same-sex couple isn’t already attending your church, they’re probably not going to go there just to get married.
  2. No, this isn’t ruining “traditional” marriage.  There are a lot of other things that have already taken their toll.  Stop grousing about this one.  Don’t like same-sex marriage?  Fine, don’t marry someone of the same sex.  Don’t like divorce or adultery?  Don’t do those either.
  3. No, this isn’t going to lead to people being able to marry their dogs or small children.  I’m pretty sure a good case can be made that the dog and the child can’t consent.
  4. Yes, there’s a chance that some things may change in public school curricula so that all types of families (including ones with two moms or two dads) are represented.  But guess what?  Your kid, whether you know it or not, is already exposed to these things.  Don’t like it?  Homeschool, send your kid to private school, or tell your kid you don’t agree.  It’s not all that different from having evolution taught in high schools.  Not to mention the fact that no one is telling your kid to be gay, merely pointing out the existence of gay people.

I’m not telling you that you have to support marriage equality.  But I am asking you not to prevent it, particularly not on the grounds that you are somehow losing your own rights.  You’re not.  You still have every right to get married.  You still have the right to all the privileges and benefits of marriage.  Giving someone else the same thing does not in any way change that.  Stop using that as your argument.

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12 thoughts on “Your Rights: Disappointingly Not in Danger

  1. Interesting, but several issues here. . .

    First, I know what you were trying to say with the right to vote, but you need to pick a different right. The right to bear arms for example. Your right to bear arms is not diminished by allowing someone else the right to own guns (unless the number of firearms is limited and by allowing someone else the right to own them decreases your ability to buy them). But the right to vote is different. Allowing more people the right to vote always decreases your right to vote.

    Here is the way it works. Suppose a corporation with ten members. I am one of the ten members, I vote on who the officers are, expansion, what the corporation is going to do, etc. If there are only ten members, I have one tenth of the voting power of the corporation. I need to convince only five more people that I am right to get my resolution passed. Now suppose that we increase the number of members. We sell some shares and now there are twenty members. I still get one vote. My right to vote in the corporation is the same. However, my voting ability has been cut in half. I now only have one twentieth of the voting power of the corporation. I now need to get ten people to vote with me in order to pass my resolution.

    Similarly, when women were allowed the right to vote, assuming an equal number of men and women in this country of voting age, the voting power of every man was cut in half. Not saying that was a good or bad thing, just the reality of what happened. So, your analogy to voting is flawed, but in saying so, I get what you were trying to say.

    Second, you use straw men to set up the arguments of those you disagree with so you can knock them down. You argue that same sex marriage would not lead to the marriage of a person to a child or a dog because of issues of consent (you posted a cartoon regarding the same argument several months ago which I believe referenced a marriage to a toaster). The issue isn’t that of consent. The issue is in what types of marriage the state has any business in recognizing.

    We don’t allow a man to marry three women even though the man and all three women can consent. We don’t allow this even if all three women have the knowledge of all the man’s other relationships. We don’t allow a person to marry a relative, even though all parties have the ability to consent.

    When posed this question of why we do not allow relatives to marry, the answer is always, “well, that would produce children from the ‘shallow’ end of the gene pool and we don’t want that.” But in doing so, you have just acknowledged the fundamental purpose of state recognition of marriage, the protection of the family unit. If marriage has absolutely nothing to do with family, nothing to do with procreation, then there is no reason to deny siblings the right to marry nor is there any reason to deny a person the right to marry multiple partners.

  2. Adam,

    You pretty much posted the same silly argument here that you did on that cartoon that Amy posted a while back… so in the interest of laziness, i’ll just copy and paste my responses from last time….

    “Nonsense Adam. All you managed there is to prove that legal prohibitions against consensual adult incest is also unconstitutional. Your argument that they can never have children is just plain stupid… by the same reasoning infertile couples can not marry either

    i think incest is disgusting and polygamy is crazy… but if everyone is consenting adults it’s none of my freakin business.

    remember in the bible a marriage is a committed union between one man , one woman, his 699 other wives and 300 of their closest lady friends with benefits.”

    • This is why it is impossible to have an argument with a liberal, you can never keep them focused on one issue. Answer the question about incestuous marriages then we can discuss fertility if you choose. I did not raise the fertility question, you did. The law presumes fertility, which is why incestuous marriages are not allowed. But that is off the topic, let’s stick on point shall we.

      Just so we are clear, your position is that the state should not prevent marriage between relatives, or marriage between multiple adults?

      First, the lengths that you have gone to in order to justify your argument have now reached the absurd. Of course marriage between relatives and multiple partners should be restricted. We don’t want children born from close relatives. Genetics don’t favor those relationships. And we don’t want multiple partners, our court system can barely handle marriages between two, do you really want them considering three or more? As an attorney, I most definitely do not.

      Second, if any relationship is acceptable, why then should the state recognize ANY marriage? Just live together, let your church (if you have one, or no church if you don’t) bless your union but the state should just stay out.

      Finally, again, completely off topic, but since you brought it up, if you believe the Bible has a marriage as a union between one man, one woman and other wives, you need to re-read your Bible. The Bible clearly states that “a man shall leave his mother and father and join with his wife and the TWO shall be ONE flesh.” The fact that multiple marriages happened and were recorded in the Bible does not mean that was what God intended when He established marriage, nor does it mean that he blessed those unions when they did happen.

  3. “This is why it is impossible to have an argument with a liberal, you can never keep them focused on one issue.”….

    aren’t you the one who used polygamy and incest as ways to talk about homosexuality…. or are you the only one allowed to make relevant analogies?

    your leaps of bad logic are amazing to me…

    on the topic of incest the exact same reasoning you use has been used to justify banning interracial marriage … who are we to decide whose children are unacceptable… it’s a very short slide down a slippery slope to use your own reasoning to support the mandatory abortion of children with genetic abnormalities…downs syndrome for example…

    and “because it’s legally inconvenient and complicated” seems like a pretty flimsy rational for banning polygamy…. by the same reasoning we should ban all corporations and complex financial transactions…. there’s far more biblical support for that anyway.

    “The fact that multiple marriages happened and were recorded in the Bible does not mean that was what God intended when He established marriage, nor does it mean that he blessed those unions when they did happen.”

    i believe that you may need to reread the Bible yourself…

    “Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; 8I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. ” 2 Samuel 12:7-8

    If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.” (Exodus 21:10)

    “ If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other disliked, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the disliked, and if the first-born son is hers that is disliked, 16then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the first-born in preference to the son of the disliked, who is the first-born.”Deuteronomy 21:15-16

    “When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her” Deuteronomy 25:5

    now i don’t have any desire to marry any more wives than the one i already have… but there is no scriptural or logical reason why it should be illegal for consenting adults to marry multiple consenting adult partners…

    • You advocate incest and then question my logic? You can’t see a difference between interracial marriage and homosexual marriage and question my logic? Too funny.

      And yeah, complex financial questions are exactly the same as property division, maintenance, and custody/visitation questions between three or four spouses. Tell me, what is the best interest of a child who grows up with a daddy and four mommies? Is that a decision you want an elected judge making?

      And you conveniently ignore the 200 lb gorilla in the room. If all marriage is equal, and complex legal questions regarding people’s lives are not something the courts should stay out of, why have the state involved in marriage at all? Let’s stop fighting for marriage equality and ban state recognized marriage completely.

  4. Why, only recently when my state voted in marriage equality, I could feel my own marriage beginning to dissolve!

    …Except where that totally didn’t happen.

    And now, people I love are able to function as fully-participating 100% citizens, and enjoy rights I’ve had the privilege of taking for granted for going on fourteen years. The world is a little brighter and better now than it was before.

    Human institutions, on the whole – democracy, marriage, religions, communities, nations – improve when they become more inclusive, and decline as they become less so. Purebreeds are pretty, but it’s the mongrels who have the stamina, smarts, and adaptability to survive in the long run.

    (On related subjects, when I hear the Slippery Slope argument come out that this will lead someday to multilple marriages, I can only think, on behalf of my poly friends-and-relations,* “Good heavens, I certainly hope so.”)

    *Including, not all that incidentally, the leader of my own religious community, who is also a) a natural parent, and b) a citizen for whom the possibility of SSM is not an abstract issue.

      • Something about “200 wives and 200 porcupines,” innit? 😀 Hang on, maybe the bestiality thing isn’t so far down the slope after all. But Old Sol was famously kind of a weirdo, so there you go.

        Not that such a union is in much danger of consummation, if Nanny Ogg is to be believed.

  5. So…just to clear things up, my point was that heterosexual couples are not having their rights taken away by the Big Bad Evil Gay People. I usually respond to individual comments, but not when commenters set up straw men. I never said even one word about whether or not anyone should change their personal views on sin. I also never said anything about polygamy or marrying one’s biological kin. I said that 1) het rights aren’t being curtailed and 2)people aren’t going to marry kids and pets as a result. The end. Don’t put words in my mouth (or on my blog, as the case may be).

    • I did not mean to put words in your mouth. My. Point was simply two fold. 1) your analogy regarding a person’s right to vote is flawed. As no one seems to have responded to that part of my argument, I will leave it at that. You should switch you analogy though as a person’s right to vote is diminished when that right is extended to others.
      2) you set up a straw man when you said hay marriage will not lead to people marrying dogs or kids. I do not think any rational anti-gay marriage proponent is arguing this. Key on rational. The argument being made is the one I made. I would not argue that gay marriage will lead to beastility. I have not heard either of the three big radio personalities argue that either. Maybe some fringe person argues it, but most people realize that argument is a non-starter.
      In short, I was not putting words in your mouth, I was simply giving the argument used in this case as you had stated the argument differently in you attempts to knock it down.

      • 1) The analogy is not flawed. Andrew’s right to vote does not go away because Betty gains it as well. What Andrew loses is a position of privilege, in that his voting power is lessened – he and people exactly like him do not get to be the only voices in the discourse. But the institution of voting is not diminished; on the contrary, it’s expanded to include a broader population. I shed no tears for Andrew in this scenario, who is just going to have to live with other people being Real True Citizens who have different viewpoints, agendas, cultural protocols, and investments in the social order. We call this “civilization.”

        2) “Some fringe person” got so famous for comparing gay marriage with bestiality (spelling ref, btw) that he earned himself the nickname “Man-On-Dog.” This same person got perilously close to being a serious contender for Leader of the Free World. So not a strawman; people saying this, and worse, are taken very seriously by a small but disproportionally influential segment of the population. It’s been so indelibly and tenaciously part of the conversation about marriage equality that SSM proponents have needed to address it, and other “slippery slope” absurdities, almost every time the subject comes up. Our Hostess can be forgiven under the circumstances for preemptively clearing that argument from serious discussion.

        • And yes, people have actually made *that very argument* either on my FB page or on friends’ pages, so “rational” people do indeed argue it! This blog post: talking about real things real people have said in real conversations with the real me.

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