LTE: Fairness is an Empty Argument in Marriage Amendment


A pro-marriage citizen writes to the editor of the Minnesota PostBulletin responding to the "fairness" argument for redefining marriage:

"In the midst of all the “Vote NO” signs that litter the landscape, telling us not to “limit the freedom to marry,” I pray we will defend traditional marriage this November. I fear too many Minnesotans are letting so-called “fairness” throw sand in the eyes of common sense.

“Marriage is about love and a committed relationship between two people,” wrote Richard D. Hurt of Rochester in an Aug. 5 Letter to the Editor, “and should be provided irrespective of color, race, ethnicity, religion and gender. To stigmatize a whole group of people by prohibiting marriage is a step backward.”

No one wants to prohibit marriages based on race, ethnicity, or religion. But if a mere emotional bond is the only requirement for marriage, then what prohibits “marriage” between two brothers, two sisters, or a father and son?

Fecundity is a gift exclusive to opposite-sex unions. That fact is no less “fair” than saying humans can’t breathe under water or mosquitoes can’t complete algebra assignments. Healthy societies come from healthy families in which children are not denied their right to be reared by Mom and Dad."


  1. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The only government interest in marriage is uniting children to their mothers and fathers. Pseudo marriage is the vehicle that severs this link.

    Children deserve a mother and a father whenever possible. The opposition claims children have no rights. But is it "fair" to children to be denied a mother and father? Time for the opposition to grow up and think of someone other than themselves.

    Live however you want, but leave marriage alone. Give children their best chance in life.

  2. Jon
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Do you believe that homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt?

  3. John
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    So much in our culture is completely arbitrary. Societies can survive and even prosper without universities, without money, without our form of representative democracy, certainly without a president, a congress, or a supreme court, without corporations, without capitalism, and even without businesses. Since we live with these things and few question them, we come to believe they are not arbitrary, but they really are.

    On the other hand, heterosexuality and gender roles are not arbitrary. Whether you are religious and believe they were provided by God or you are not religious and believe they were developed over millions of years by the processes of evolution, a society cannot survive without them. What scares me is that there are apparently people in power trying to convince us that these non-arbitrary things are arbitrary. Success in that portends success in building a completely artificial reality for us to live in. If that happens, all bets are off and no expectations or values are safe.

  4. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Jon, regardless of whether or not same-sex couples adopt, we shouldn't redefine marriage. We don't abandon the ideal in order to accommodate the exceptions.

  5. M. Jones
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    My position is the same as the GOP Platform in Oklahoma, which states: “Those promoting homosexuality or other aberrant lifestyles should not be allowed to hold responsible positions over children, which are not their own, or other vulnerable persons.” “We believe that homosexuality is not a genetic trait, but a chosen lifestyle,” argues the platform. “No adoption privileges therefore, will be afforded homosexuals.”

  6. leviticus
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    This is why Obama and the rest of the Democrats in the Senate need to go.

  7. Paul McMichael
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    @Barb - If the only government interest in marriage is uniting children to their mothers and fathers then divorce is the vehicle that severs this link.

  8. Paul McMichael
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    @John - being gay is not arbitrary. Withholding equal rights is.

  9. Posted August 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Divorce is an evil that reminds us of how much damage we have done to marriage and to our civilization by buying into the "me me me" and "my my my" worldview which underlies both quickie divorce and same sex "marriage", Paul.

    But at least divorce involves married couples.

    Same sex "marriage" is, like white blackness, or square roundness, a contradiction in terms.

  10. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Paul McM., where marriage is concerned, name one State or U.S. territory where legislation exists which singles out and specifies "gay" persons as ineligible for marriage. Please produce even one marriage application license where one is required to publicly divulge either sexual political identity (gay), sexual orientation, or sexual history. If one is going to claim rights are being withheld, shouldn't there be at least some evidence? SS"M" is not an enumerated right.

    You say that "gay" is not arbitrary. Can you please enumerate the immutable characteristics of "gay?"

    Divorce is far too common, I agree. It should be much, much harder to get one. No fault divorce should be done away with, and the ability to sue for alienation of affection would probably slow it down, and cause folks to take their marriage vows more seriously. Divorce divides children from one or both parents, as does SSM.

  11. Richard
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    So much fodder...
    Marriage is arbitrary. Has always been. Each society determines how pairings happen and how to recognize those couplings. Marriage itself has changed dramatically in the last few hundred years alone. Until Constantine most civilizations recognized same sex couples.

    Homosexuality is much more than just a sex act. Biological science, including MRIs, and social science has determined that our sexualtiy is pretty set along a continuum of straight to bi to homo and extrememly difficult to change. See the most recent DOMA ruling.

    States that state SSM is illegal and will only recognize man-woman marriage is discriminating against same sex couples. Saying you can get married, just not to the one you love- is really disingenuous.

    Divorce- lots of abuse happening before no fault.

    Well, have a nice day.

  12. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Actually, marriage isn't arbitrary. If it weren't, eligibilty requirements wouldn't be codified in law. Your own words contradict your first statement: "Each society determines...." Determination isn't arbitrary. A quick glance at the definition of "arbitrary" shows exactly why marriage doesn't fit that description--not even close. Customs around marriage may have changed, but at its heart, it's always been the public union of male and female.

    States who legalize SSM give some same-sex couples marriage rights without giving all same-sex couples marriage rights, but without a proper review of the rationality behind their decisions, as it is mostly to pander to gay identity politics. That is not equal treatment under the law. There is nothing disingenous about marriage eligibility law. We can't marry just any person we love--our own siblings, a parent, a child, or a person outside of a marriage. There are limits to marriage, but it has nothing to do with sexual orienation; the govt. doesn't recognize define or recognize "love" as an eligibilty requirement for marriage. Marriage isn't organized around anyone's preference for sexual behaviors; it does recognize the inherent complementarity of the male and female, and encourages responsible procreation--SS"M" does not. Marriage, as an institution, is for any citizen willing to abide by its rules, regardless of their sexual orientation, their sexual history, or their political affiliations (gay). Marriage is not arbitrary, and it there is no enumerated right to redefine it to a neutered state.

  13. Richard
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Aw, DOE, "Customs around marrriage may have changed..." You contradict yourself. Customs have been codified and changed throughout history. Marriage is arbitrary, as any social institution gets changed over time. Lots of words, little concrete meaning, except to your narrow point of view.

  14. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Well, Richard, can you back up your claims with examples? For instance, in our country, women have customarily worn a white dress to their wedding as a symbol of sexual purity. Can you show where this has been codified in law? Thanks. 🙂 How about "jumping the broom." Codified? Can you produce universal long-standing evidence for same-sex unions, on the large scale?

    If you don't understand the words, and see no concrete meaning, it is because you do not apply yourself to undersstanding. A narrow point of view isn't a bad thing, if one has carefully considered the other possibilities and found them lacking in substance. But wilful ignorance, that is a shame.

    Do you know what the word "arbitrary" means? "Subject to individual will or judgement without restriction; contingent soley upon one's discretion."

    Marriage laws are codified by group will--not by the whim of one or a few individuals. There is nothing arbitrary about it. Marriage has restrictions. The universal male/female requirement for marriage stretches back for thousands of years. It is hardly arbitrary. SSM, however, better fits the definition--demanded by those with no logic, no respect for consequences, no thought for the future generations affected by it--"judgement without restriction." Or, rationale for restriction.

  15. Richard
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    DoE- it is apparent that I lack your education, but let me try.
    You are using ceremonial examples not the actual marriage itself. I might use an example of polygamy, which was the norm for many more years than man-woman. Or, perhaps, the concubines sealed to a wealthy person. At one time is was legal for the manor lord to have "first night" with a new bride. On a long standing issue- there are many examples of same sex unions in history and even within our country. Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome in the Western world, China and Japan in the orient and, belive it or not, it was not uncommon for our own native tribes to recognize same sex marriage. There is evidence that the early church may have even performed same sex unions.
    The recent historical hostile attitude towards homosexuals is a purely and arbitrarily religious one fostered by biblical and church teaching, fully open to interpretation based on ones own point of view. But, lacking real evidence of harm, except from ones own religious perspective. Similar to peoples animosity towards interracial marriage.
    Just my "arbitrary" thoughts.

  16. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that, DoE. I was thinking the same thing, that redefining marriage better fits the definition of "arbitrary."

    "Richard" just swings by here once in a while to blather.

  17. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Richard, you are missing the point: at it's core, marriage is an opposite-sexed union. Even polygamy, which includes more than one wife, still includes the husband. SSM does not. There are actual consequences to individuals when states choose to ignore 1) fundamental distinctions between males and females and 2) the complementarity of male+female. There is nothing arbitrary about neutering marriage. The fact that, once in a while, and on a limited scale, some few same-sex unions have been codified (still not related to gay identity politics, which are fairly recent), does not make it incumbant upon our nation to eject the sexually complementarity of the opposite-sexed marriage requirement, in order to pander to sexual identity politics.

    Furthermore, society's attitudes towards homosexual behavior are irrelevant to marriage eligibility, as those who choose to engage in homosexual behavior are permitted to marry. I venture to say that a cursory check in the history books would show that a few homosexual males still married females, with an eye towards perpetuating the family lineage.

    Also, one who has actually read and studied the Bible would quickly discover that nowhere is there stated doctrine that says the scriptures are open to arbitrary interpretation. As for the early church performing same-sex unions, if such were the case, it is to be remembered that an apostasy from truth is also a propohesy fulfilled, in the scriptures (2Thess.) Lastly, a person versed in racially discriminative marriage laws would know that only whites were not permitted from marrying a minority; minorities were allowed to marry each other. The ban against whites marrying minorities was to keep the blood lines "pure"--another nod at the universal ties marriage has to procreation, and which SSM has no interest, being a non-procreative union.

  18. Rob
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Jesus you bigots, give it up ... Let people who love each other get married, whats it to you?

  19. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    On a side note, Richard, what has become of the great empires of Persia, Egypt, Rome, Greece--even China? Japan? They once ruled the world. Their downfall? Corruption, sexual licentiousness, the disintegration of the family, and a pride that went rotten to the core. If SSM was one of the hallmarks of those lost empires, do we really want to go down that road?

  20. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    In a word, Rob,


  21. Richard
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    For one more "Blather" DoE, your entire post reflects a religious point of view and completely negates other truths. That, at its core, is the point. You are free to have your marriage views, just as racists have their views. Government should and does not have the right to restrict a fundamental right. Marriage has been determined to be a fundamental right. There has to be more to it than religious prejudice to establish a legitimate government interest.
    Finally, saying gays can get married, just to opposite sex is a poor and disingenuous comment. It undermines all of us.

  22. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Clearly, Richard, you only see what you want to see. For the record, I support interracial marriage. I support a "gay" person getting married to another "gay" person, as long as they're not close kin, are adults, legal citizens, and are opposite sexed. I support a child being raised by his/her married mom and dad. I support the paternity rights of all men (gay" or "straight") as protected by marriage and family law between a man and a woman. I support the presumption of paternity, which protects all child-bearing married women (be they "gay" or "straight."). I support equal representation of both sexes in each and every marriage union. I support people who love each other (or not) getting to choose with whom they spend their life, own property, have a bank account, bequeath their worldly goods, etc. I support discouraging divorce. I support abstiinance before marriage and monogamy afterwards. I support sexual self-control. I support males and females being equally responsible for their offspring. I support a married man and woman adopting and raising children (even if the man and woman both call themselves "gay"). I recognize the distintive differences between males and females, and what makes each necessary to a healthy society as well as to marriage and child-rearing. I recognize and support the sexual complementarity of human beings. All reasons for maintaining the opposite-sexed requirement for marriage, and not one nod to religion.

  23. TC Matthews
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Excellent DOE. It's just a convenient construct to frame the marriage issue as one of "us" vs. "them". Gay has ultimately nothing to do with it.

  24. Rich
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Remarkable. If "gay has nothing to do with it" why in the blue blazes do you people spend your whole lives obsessed with gay marriage?

  25. Zack
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink


    "Jesus you bigots, give it up ... Let people who love each other get married, whats it to you?"

    Using the lords name in vain and throwing in a blanket statement.

    It matters, gender matters. Marriage= 1 man and 1 woman.

  26. bman
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Paul McMichael-> If the only government interest in marriage is uniting children to their mothers and fathers then divorce is the vehicle that severs this link.

    Agreed, but that's an argument to repair divorce and to oppose policies that would sever children from their parents [like same sex marriage].

    If a fence has a hole in it, that is an argument to repair the hole, not an argument to make more holes in the fence.

  27. leehawks
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Excellent, Bman!

  28. TC Matthews
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    It is pretty obvious Rich. SSM is an issue because SSM is being pushed. Polygamy, polyamory and no fault divorce are also threats to the definition of marriage, but currently, LGBT activists are using SSM as the most recent assault on the definition of marriage.

  29. Paul McMichael
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    bman - marriage is not a fence. It is a conceptual social construction. Bad analogy.

  30. Paul McMichael
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    @DofE: I understand you are trying to be clear and use modest language. But this doesn't make sense.

    "I support a "gay" person getting married to another "gay" person, as long as they're not close kin, are adults, legal citizens, and are opposite sexed."

    If you were really consistent, you would NOT support such a hair-brained thing. It is a terrible idea for a gay person t marry the opposite sex. It is a disaster for their personal emotional well-being never mind if there are children. Only equal marriage would give gay person the kind of opportunity for mental and physical well-being that marriage is proven to do for heterosexuals.

    Now that would be c'onsistency'

  31. Posted August 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink


    Quite to the contrary, consistency is achieved when the marriage laws promote *marriage*; that is, the one relationship that unites mothers and fathers with the children that commonly result.

    Many other relationships involve love, commitment, fulfillment, or mutual advantage.

    But only one of these is a marriage.

    You can tell which one by noticing that it involves a *bride* and a *groom*.

    Notice, also, that all brides are female- it is in the nature of a bride to be female.

    All grooms are male- it is in the nature of a groom to be male.

    Do you see anything other than this?

    You are looking at some other kind of relationship.

    Whatever it might be, it certainly is not a marriage.

    Hope this helps.

  32. bman
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Paul McMichael-> ...marriage is not a fence. It is a conceptual social construction. Bad analogy.

    That, or, you have a very narrow perspective

    Try a word search on marriage and fence and perhaps you will see how the analogy applies.

  33. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Good analogy, bman. If marriage is in trouble, we should try to repair it, not weaken it further by redefining it.

    The opposition has a notable lack of ability to grasp figures of speech.

  34. Daughter of Eve
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Paul, clearly you don't have as much faith in the abilities of a person with same-sex attraction to make a successful marriage, to a person of the opposite-sex, as I do. No one who gets married goes in with their eyes shut. If a person with SSA desires to get married, and then gives 100% effort to their commitment, I believe that person can be as successful as anyone else. Opposite-sexed couples have their private challenges in the bedroom, as anyone else, and their struggles with finances, kids, jobs, etc. The bottom line is, a man and woman completely commited to their marriage first, and then to their kids, can't help but be successful, no matter their challenges. You seem to imply that a "gay" person is less able to make and keep comitments to marriage. I think and feel otherwise. But then, I'm willing to treat "gay" people as equals to non_"gay" people. Aren't you?

  35. John B.
    Posted September 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Well, there you have it: NOM and their supporters dismiss fairness as an argument for same-sex marriage. Why not just come right out and say we don't deserve equal treatment under the law either?

  36. John B.
    Posted September 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Daughter of Eve, I have known several gay men who tried their hardest to be heterosexual and attempted marriage to a woman, and I know several more who are STILL married to women. Without exception these have been unhappy and dysfunctional marriages, and most ultimately end in separation in divorce.

    Seriously, would YOU marry a man knowing he's sexually attracted to other men but not to you? Would ANYBODY here advise their sister or daughter to marry a gay man, or their brother or son to marry a lesbian?

    BTW I did indeed try to be heterosexual, many many years ago. Those relationships were shams and in each and every case it was better for both of us that it ended. The fact that anybody would have to TRY to be heterosexual should say something right there. I finally stopped pretending to be something I was not and have been in a happy relationship with another man for 30 years, and two years ago we were able to legally marry.

  37. bman
    Posted September 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The fence analogy for marriage seems more relevant if we think of a fenced yard.

    What is inside the fenced yard [monogamous sex, reproduction, child raising] can thrive only in a protective legal, moral, and spiritual fenced area that all society respects and honors.

    That which is inside the fenced yard [sex, reproduction, child raising] is also prevented from causing harm to the community, harm that would occur if those things were not fenced in by marriage law and the moral principles of the community.

    Sexual anarchy is the alternative to marriage. Sexual anarchy would also harm society. The harm would come in the form of juvenile delinquency, poverty, welfare costs, crime, abortion, teen pregnancies, school drop outs,drug use, alcoholism, domestic violence, gang violence, general social chaos etc.

    A community needs marriage law to protect itself from these harms. Those who want to abolish marriage are effectively lobbying for sexual anarchy and the harms that go with that, even if they call it something else [like libertarianism, feminism, or a redefinition of marriage indifferent to sex and reproduction, such as SSM]

    In sum, the public purpose of marriage law is to protect monogamous sex and reproduction in society so it thrives responsibly, while preventing sexual anarchy from harming society.

    Marriage is indeed like a fence. Currently, however, marriage is like a fence with holes. We need to repair the holes so the fence can do what it was designed to do, not add more holes or tear it down.

    Lastly, here is a well known piece by the great English writer G. K. Chesterton describing those who want to tear down the fence.

    There exists....a certain institution or law; let us say for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road.

    The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away."

    To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

    This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there.

    It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street.

    Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious.

    There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease.

    But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution.

    If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, or that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served.

    But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
    (The Thing, CW 3:157).

    Marriage is like that fence!

  38. Chairm
    Posted September 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Richard's comments are examples of the quicksand of SSM-speak. There is so little actual solid substance upon which it is uttered.

    He admited that in his view marriage is arbitrary. That negates the pro-SSMcomplaint that invoked "fairness".

    SSM is a very recent invention and there is no precedent in the anthropoligical and historical records for SSM as the moral, legal, and cultural equivalent of marriage. None.

    Marriage arises from the two-sexed nature of humankind, from the opposite-sexed nature of human generativity, from the complementarily-sexed nature of human community. Marriage is a coherent idea that iakes it shape as a social institution which is foundational to civil society. This is not arbitrary.

    Not in terms of the vast range of types of societies throughout human history. Not in terms of the religous-irreligou spectrum. Not in terms of the political and economic spectrum. The man-woman core of marriage is not the peculair emphasis of this or that society across the millennia.

    By contrast,the gay emphasis of SSMers is arbitrary on all these terms.

    Plus, that gayness emphasis is unjustified. That is to say, it is unjustified as a basis for lawmaking on marriage. Unjustified, it is arbitrary. Indeed there is no pro-SSM proposal to make gayness a legal requirement for those who'd SSM.

    Fairness would command that SSM not be imposed on society.

  39. Chairm
    Posted September 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Paul McMichael invoked the purity of gay identity and also illustrated how SSM-think is closely analgous with the racist basis of the anti-miscegenation system.

    He admitted that SSM is designed to be segregative by sex and by sexual attraction. He would emphasis gay idenitty and so SSM in his view is also segregative by group identity politics.

    That, too, is unjustified as a basis for lawmaking on marriage. This racist-like thinking of SSMers was been repudiated when the ban on 'interracial' marriage was dismantled because it was an unjustified law. Unjustified, it is arbitrary.

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