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Same-Sex Marriage, Five Years On
Gay couples who brought the landmark lawsuit that led to the first legalized gay marriages in the United States pose for a photo during a reunion in Newton Mass, Sunday, May, 17, 2009, celebrate their fifth anniversaries, five years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. (AP)

Gay couples who brought the landmark lawsuit leading to the first legalized gay marriages in the United States posed for a photo during a reunion in Newton, Mass., on Sunday, May, 17, 2009. They celebrated their fifth anniversaries, five years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. (AP)

Post your comments below.

Gay marriage hit a wall in California yesterday. The state’s high court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage ushered in last year by California voters.

But around the country, that wall has been falling. Five years after it first gained a foothold, gay marriage is now legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa. Maine and Vermont will join that group in September. New Hampshire may be right behind.

Opponents are still fighting hard. But thousands of gay marriages are becoming their own reality. This hour, On Point: A new study looks at what gay marriage means for the people in it.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us from Washington, D.C., is Lee Badgett, research director for the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, which focuses on law and public policy around sexual orientation, and senior author of its new study “The Effects of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts: A survey of the experiences and impact of marriage on same-sex couples.” She is also director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Also from Washington we’re joined by Nancy Polikoff, professor of law at American University in Washington and author of “Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law.” She blogs at www.beyondstraightandgaymarriage.blogspot.com.

From Fluvanna County, Va., we’re joined by Sam Schulman, formerly publishing director of The American, a journal published by the American Enterprise Institute. His new article in The Weekly Standard is “The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Joe B.

    “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”. (Leviticus 18:22)

  • Pete

    And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you.
    )Leviticus 11:10=

  • pete

    If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
    Luke 14:26

  • Dave

    The evangelicals obviously haven’t heard of Separation of Church and State…

  • mike

    if they wanna get married let them, if a church does not wanna do it than, let someone that does marry them.

    “What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”
    – “A Memorial and Remonstrance”, 1785

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
    -letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774
    .

    “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”
    -1803 letter objecting use of gov. land for churches

    “The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes.”
    – letter to John Taylor
    .

    “Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?”
    -letter to Thomas Jefferson

    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”
    – “Notes on Virginia”

    The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation [birth] of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation [birth] of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
    – to John Adams, Apr. 11, 182

    http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

    stop pushing your dogma on others our four fathers didnt like it just as we dont now.

  • Charlie

    Opponents of same-sex marriage like to say, “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” But which of the two, Adam and Eve stories presented in Genesis should we believe? The Good Book contradicts itself from the first chapter. That’s one source of its glory. To read it as literal truth turns it into an abominable snow job. And any gay man would call himself Steven, not Steve.

  • John

    God didn’t create Adam and Eve either.

  • Dan

    I am ashamed of you, Tom, and to your producers, for giving Sam Schulman (who I had never heard of 24 hours ago) a platform. His ideas are completely wacky and without the slightest basis in…well, anything. And he hasn’t a shred of qualification to propound them—either by training, certification, or professional or personal experience.

    Can anyone who some wingnut journal has chosen to publish get a place on On Point? If you are just interested in airing inflammatory ideas, you can probably do better than that. Does your show really have no standards for selecting guests beyond this? Could you really find no more intelligent opponent of gay marriage?

    Shame on you!

  • Don A.

    What is the main differentiation between couples in same sex marriages from a parent and child living together (or, for that matter, roommates, housemates living together)?: that which the vast majority of people would call unnatural sex acts. Same-sex marriage denies the very biology of our bodies. Same sex marriages would give special benefits only to those couples who engage in unnatural sex acts! Is that reasonable?

    On the other hand, why have special benefits been given to married couples?: Because society has determined that there are certain benefits to encouraging traditional heterosexual marriages (preservation of the species being the main one). A marriage is not a public honor for a sexual relationship. It is a public protection for society’s basic unit.

    Why can’t we give the marriage benefits to every couple; heterosexual, homosexual, or even platonic.? Because it would be too costly on the general society without commensurate benefit to society to provide Social Security survivors benefits, tax breaks, insurance discounts, etc, etc to all couples. Don’t say that same-sex marriages don’t cost others anything. The general population would have to pay for all these benefits. It would be one thing to allow a contract between ANY couple that only effects that couple such as hospital visitation rights, medical decisions on behalf of a partner, inheritance, etc, etc (civil union?) but don’t expect the whole society to pay directly or indirectly for something for which the general society is not going to receive benefit from. (Perhaps there would have to be some special consideration for same sex adoptive parents.)

    In summary, I would not object to allowing a contract between ANY couple that provides benefits that ONLY EFFECT THAT COUPLE, not the general population, but would be against allowing the full benefits of marriage to those of the same sex that would be costly to the general public.

  • gina

    way to go, joe b! you’re up posting comments at midnight, eleven hours before the show airs, and successfully hijacking the discussion to your narrow religious view. well, i suppose that’s a welcome change from your usual anti-abortion hobbyhorse, although no doubt you’ll be back to work that topic in somehow.

    pete, i appreciate your (implied) humor. i especially like your first biblical quotation, which, for literalists like joe b, prohibits the consumption of lobster. yay! more lobster for me! ;-)

  • Christine

    I absolutely support gay marriage. As a lesbian, Yale-educated long-term supporter of LGBT rights, I am grateful for the gains our community has garnered; I remember when, less than 10 years ago, I thought I didn’t even deserve civil marriage, only the second-class status of civil unions–this is an empowering journey for me and for us all.

    But the “empowerment” angle is not without its nuances–our earliest gains in getting governmental recognition of our relationships included Vermont granting us civil unions, and I and my former partner engaged in a civil union in 2003. Now, however, as many relationships go through ebbs and flows, this relationship has, sadly, ended; our legal relationship, however, as nonresidents of Vermont without being able to get jobs in the state, we have been unable to legally end our civil union for almost three years. We are not alone in this situation, and gay marriage being granted in states has not yet been demonstrated to give US rights to dissolve our relationship, to move on with our lives and healing, to form new relationships and hold in our hearts new possibilities.

    “Civil marriage is a civil right,” as my Unitarian Universalist fellowship proclaims. And the time is NOW. But what is going to happen to us “early adopters,” people who had faith in their relationships enough to accept the apartheid of “civil unions” only now to not be able to get divorces or, even, to now engage in civil marriage? How is this “justice?”

    With love and hope for all.

  • Ed Helmrich

    I can’t support same sex marriage. We can’t support what is disordered, though we deal with people with charity. This will reform our society, which we don’t want to do.

  • Liza

    I find the line of questioning about how marriage changes gay relationships to be a little insulting. Gay couples are affected by marriage in the same way that straight couples are effected. That’s the whole point – couples are couples, love is love, and commitment is commitment. It’s not about gay or heterosexual, it’s about equal rights in the eyes of the law.

  • Dennis Sonifer

    Separation of church and state should clear up much of the problems surrounding marriage. For the state, marriage is a set of contracts regarding property, children, medical care, etc. For a religious institution, it is promise and dreams and a sacrament (in some cases).

    ALL couples should be ‘coupled’ by the state — regardless of different or same genders. Then, the couple could have another, separate, non-legal ceremony with their community of believers.

    One problem remains: the word ‘marriage’. This is such a loaded, ‘religious’ term that the state should come up with some other word which it recognizes and uses instead of ‘marriage’.

  • Pam O’Hearn

    I am becoming furious with this argument. As a heterosexual married female who chose not to have children, I am offended by the inability of critics to comprehend the difference between marriage, a joining of 2 people in a committed relationship, and parenthood, as if my marriage is also not valid. marriage should be available to all, and should be separated from the other aspects of this discussion.

  • Frances
  • Maureen

    Did this man just say “marriage exists for women” or did I hallucinate?

  • Paula Durrant

    The gentleman who is claiming that marriage is to protect women has missed the point. Marriage was about paternity … allowing a man to be certain that his children were his children. From that came all sorts of ideas of property, possession, and ownership. Marriage has evolved from a paternalistic relationship to a partnership and all adults deserve to be able to live in the kind of relationship that works; partnership, civil relationship, marriage.

  • Tad

    I think my wife has the right idea: do it the way they do in Germany: a couple goes to the rathaus (town hall) and the church separately. Everyone who wants to be “joined” gets a civil union (with all the current benefits of marriage), and after that anyone who wants a church blessing (regardless of which church) gets married.
    Separate the church and state; let all the benefits of marriage be part of civil unions, period.

  • Julie

    The male guest is making the argument that marriage protects women. As a straight woman, I reject that entirely. In the contemporary world, women do not need (or even want) that kind of “protection.” And historically, marriage has been terribly oppressive to women.

    In addition, even if you accept his premise that marriage protects women, how does gay marriage threaten that? I have never understood why my straight marriage is in any way negatively impacted by extending the same right to others. In fact, I think it is quite the opposite.

  • Gerald MacDonald

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority rule. That’s why countries have constitutions protecting the rights of individuals. Otherwise the majority would trample the rights of the minority every time.

    I was a divorce lawyer for 14 years and I’ve seen what heterosexuals have done to the institution of marriage. It’s not an enviable track record and heterosexuals, myself included, are in no position to speak to homosexuals or anyone else on the exclusivity of marriage.

  • Matt

    Um, the “moral authority of a woman getting a commitment from a man?” Seriously? In what era are you living, Mr. Schulman? His assumptions about heteronormative and, indeed, Victorian marital principles as they apply (though not) to modern marriage are completely beside the point and rather shortsighted.

  • Ed S

    This Sam Schulman is quite a piece of work.

    Bumbling, stumbling moron. Please send him back to his cave. Unbelievable.

  • pupster

    Sam Shulman…WORST GUEST EVER. Not a single coherent point.

  • Kathleen Cahill

    Why does’t anyone point out that the passionate desire for same-sex couples to get married shows a respect for the institution of marriage which heterosexual couples have lost.

    Divorce is what disturbs the “sanctity of marriage.” Marriage means much more to gay couples than it does to heterosexual couples, and rather than disrupting the institution of marriage, it brings the meaning of marriage into focus.

    Kathleen Cahill
    I’m a grandmother who has been married for 30 years

  • LRaye

    I feel as though Mr. Schulman’s stance about women’s rights is sexist because a) it uses women’s sex/gender as power, and b) disregards the individual. Feminism is not about women’s rights, it’s about equal rights. The gay marriage debate is about human rights. Perhaps Mr. Schulman should revisit the fabulous film, “Kramer vs. Kramer” to understand the true extent of parental rights.

  • Mari McAvenia

    Quite frankly, I have found that opposite sex marriage holds no guarantees of security or safety for women and children. Any marriage contract is easily dissolvable if either party changes their mind about the bond. It’s called “no fault divorce” and it’s as common as dirt these days.
    Frequently, women and kids are left with a much lower standard of living as the men move on and start second and third families.
    I would certainly marry another woman before I’d consider marrying a man again!

  • Warren

    Sam Schulman has no argument, and is stumbling all over himself trying to hide this truth.

  • Marion Wingfield

    I have always felt that all of us should have “civil unions,” and those of us who felt a need to be recognized by their god or religion, should be able to do so within their church — gay or straight.

  • Don

    Where is the sense of perspective on this issue? Since the dawn of time marriage has been between a man and a woman. The basic family unit on the Earth in every species is male and female. If you look at all of the civilizations on the planet what percentage of them are gay?

    Is it good for all of society to redefine this? Are not there laws in place so as not to discriminate already?

  • Andrew

    Don’t we as a society have enough to worry about without keeping people who are trying to create something larger than themselves having access to a form of contract to try to make it work?
    Marriage is a civil contract, right? Kinship, children, property, labor, love, meaning … let’s not reduce those to that civil contract about property and labor. The ins and outs of happy, supportive relationships — whether contracted or not, married or not — depend on much more than the legal framework.
    The legal framework should be open to all persons. period. Then, let’s worry about the treatment of children, women, the aged, and community, kinship and meaning.

  • Carl

    Is that what this guys name? Sam Schulman? I honestly have no idea what his point is – why is he on the radio? The On Point producer needs to do a better job.

  • Doug

    Nancy P. @ AUCoL, has it right. My wife and I were married by a JP. No church recognizes our marriage. We have a civil union, contract, partnership, whatever you want to call it, and could not be happier. Let’s stop arguing over semantics and just let people who want to be together be together and have equal protection under the law.

  • Jean

    I just listened to Ashbrook’s program and did not feel it was a very balanced program in the usual style of his reporting. I’m guessing that the woman who performed the survey is gay although I do not believe this was mentioned (but I didn’t hear the entire program so sorry if I missed that). It was a little painful to listen to the guest who was opposed to gay marriage. Why not choose a guest who is more articulate on the issue, Tom? Was this intentional? Also, I would like to hear you interview a guest who used to be in a homosexual lifestyle and is no longer in one. These interviews are rarely given to the public (besides Christian radio) and the gay community is not tolerant of these people who also deserve to have a voice and to tell their stories.

  • Maureen

    My God. I am still speechless.

    Mr. Shulman has apparently named himself Knight in Shining 1950s Drag, here to protect us defenseless little womenfolk who might otherwise have our wedding rings tarnished by the sight of what? A gay couple?

    No one provided a cogent response to his argument, I think, because there was no argument on his part to even repudiate.

    Keep this man away from a microphone. Or paper. Or anyone who might actually pick up his utter absurdity, in the event it is contagious.

    He does NOT speak for women, for feminism, and certainly not for me.

    And anecdotally, the men I’ve dated have been very interested in marriage while I am far from enthused by the institution. I thought these stereotypes too rusted to even pull out of the closet.

  • Christina Willis

    WHAT IN THE WORLD is Sam trying to say?! ALL I can figure is that he WANTS desperately to get the word “MORAL” in there, and then HE is going to describe morality. I am a straight woman whose sibling absorbed such deep self-hatred from society’s view of his homosexual orientation that he adjusted well to a catastrophic injury BECAUSE it took him out of amorous/sexual participation! Homophobia is evil. The HAPPINESS you hear from the callers who are gay and married shows how important equal rights are!! How DARE Sam try to CONSTRUCT a view of morality when the ONLY evidence he gives is his OWN logic, which isn’t LOGICAL at all! AND, if his logic WERE logical, it would still only be logic, which is just a SMALL fragment in the arsenal of intelligence and understanding!!! EQUAL RIGHTS trumps it all and certainly trumps Sam’s inarticulate attempts to cloak his bigotry with false syllogisms!!!

  • Heather E.

    can someone please explain what in the world that man Sam i think his name was, was talking about? I was utterly confused, and if he was saying what i think he was saying well then the arguement against gay marriage has grown mighty grim. Gay individuals are capable of commitment and love, they deserve the right to marry, and the human race deserves the chance to evolve, to grow. Bottomline: If you don’t believe in, or agree with gay marriage, then simply don’t marry someone of the same-sex.

  • Todd E. Lewis

    I have two comments. First, when shows are about African-American issues, you do not bring on the KKK to offer a counterpoint; for Jewish issues you do not interview a Nazi for a counterpoint. Why do you bring on right wing Christians for gay issues? Second, concerning the “homosexual lifestyle” (Jean), my lifestyle is this: I get up in the morning, walk my dog, go to work, go home, eat and watch some TV, walk the dog, go to bed and read, sleep. The next day I start again. People do not choose to be homosexual. There is no such thing as a “homosexual lifestyle.”

  • Mary

    I couldn’t understand Sam Shulman at all, so I went to the Weekly Standard website and read his article. Here’s a quote: “Every day thousands of ordinary heterosexual men surrender the dream of gratifying our immediate erotic desires. Instead, heroically, resignedly, we march up the aisle with our new brides, starting out upon what that cad poet Shelley called the longest journey, attired in the chains of the kinship system-”

    So, aha! he thinks it’s not fair that . . . gay men won’t be doing this awful thing? And so pretty soon straight men won’t bother to either? Because the only reason men get married is because they have to? I think that’s it.

    Turns out he has even less respect for men then he does for women. Why was he on the show?

  • Maureen

    And Dennis — You are right on.

    I once went to a wedding in Switzerland: One ceremony in the city office, one ceremony in the church. They are even on different days.

    We’ve got this distinction entirely confused in the states.

    Christians need to realize they can do (or not do) whatever they want in their own churches, but that the government exists to provide basic services to ALL citizens regardless faith, gender, and persuasion.

    In your church, it is a question of ideology and you are entitled to it. At the city clerk’s office, it is a question of a license being issued. You’ve no right to interfere with this service being provided to another citizen.

    And lastly, Mr. Schulman used this old expression of gay marriage as a great “social experiment.”

    It makes it sounds like we’re going to mix a bunch of potentially dangerous chemicals in a test tube and see if they explode.

    This is rhetorical warfare. The only thing to change with gay marriage is those people living next door to you will now have the same guaranteed rights as you have. Hardly dangerous. Rather, I would call it the backbone of a democracy.

    And I would argue the great “social experiment” we have now of denying some rights to people of a minority sexual orientation is hardly going well.

  • John

    Mrs Larry Craig is a woman who is better off thanks to not allowing gays (even those who are not, nor have ever been gay) to marry.

  • Maureen

    “Every day thousands of ordinary heterosexual men surrender the dream of gratifying our immediate erotic desires. Instead, heroically, resignedly, we march up the aisle with our new brides, starting out upon what that cad poet Shelley called the longest journey, attired in the chains of the kinship system-”

    How could you have this man on your show?

    I think we deserve an explanation.

    This is just beyond offensive.

  • Pamela

    I’m a young hetero woman who accepts and supports gay marriage. I have to say Sam’s ideas are completely insulting to all men and women gay and straight. He also seems to have a rediculous idea of what marriage should mean to people. I’m sorry a woman who has to demand a ring from a man is not what a healthy marriage is based on children or no children. The day I beg or guilt a man into marriage will be a cold day in hell. Marriage is not just for women or just for men it’s for people who love and commit themselves to each other. I’m not going to say shame on you for having him on, to each their own and confused and ignorant people have their right to free speech… maybe he’ll learn something new from the experience. I doubt it but it would be just as ignorant not to show both sides I guess.

  • Dee

    I really don’t understand why there is so much controversy here.

    Religious opposition to same-sex marriage rings hollow as we have a separation of church and state in this country.

    Arguments about parenting are invalid as not every heterosexual marriage produces children and unmarried parents are not exactly rare.

    If the argument that same-sex marriage has a financial cost to society is to be taken seriously, then the number of heterosexual marriages ought also to be limited.

    I am a heterosexual woman who has been married to the same man for 15 years. The legalization of same sex marriage here in Massachusetts has produced no change in my feelings for my husband.

    I have tried to understand the logic behind the arguments against same-sex marriage. I can’t. I had actually hoped that today’s program would perhaps help me to understand the opposing opinion, but I found Sam Schulman to be confused at best about his own feelings.

    Mr. Schulman, how can you tell me that marriage is something I used as leverage with my husband? We entered into our marriage willingly as partners and equals.

    Your argument that marriage is a protection for women is silly. Historically, marriage was a way of ensuring that a man’s partner was his property.

  • Heather

    Sam Schulman provides air to a stiflingly biblical debate about contemporary marriage. Marriage should have the strength of kinship that Schulman describes to promote social order and respect for families. It is bold to state that marriage is a legal arrangement to contain the sexual impulse. This is needed more today than ever before with our advancing medical technology. It is a breath of fresh air to hear a the perspective of both sides of this debate, which doesn’t criticize the individuals. Schulman highlights the the legal issues, of which marriage is being forced to unfortunately be.

  • Maureen

    “Schulman highlights the the legal issues, of which marriage is being forced to unfortunately be.”

    Marriage was a legal issue long before we attached notions of romance to it.

  • Pamela

    I’m pretty sure marriage to prevent sexual urges has been proven not to work bevause you are who you are. Heather a gay man or woman entering into a straight marriage as I believe you are saying to control their sexual urges of the same sex is NOT going to have any positive reprocussions. I have known people who end up leaving their hetero marriages for a partner of their own sex. maybe I misunderstood what you are saying in defending Sam but if I am correct you have no idea what you are talking about. you are who you are and pretending you’re something else is only going to create other problems

  • Julia

    Get government out of the marriage business. There are now more single adults than married adults in this country and SINGLE people are supporting the benefits to married people without the same benefits themselves. Single people should unite for equal benefits. Until then no relationship is truly freely chosen.

  • Don A.

    What is the main differentiation between couples in same sex marriages from a parent and child living together (or, for that matter, roommates, housemates living together)?: that which the vast majority of people would call unnatural sex acts. Same-sex marriage denies the very biology of our bodies. Same sex marriages would give special benefits only to those couples who engage in unnatural sex acts! Is that reasonable?

    On the other hand, why have special benefits been given to married couples?: Because society has determined that there are certain benefits to encouraging traditional heterosexual marriages (preservation of the species being the main one). A marriage is not a public honor for a sexual relationship. It is a public protection for society’s basic unit.

    Why can’t we give the marriage benefits to every couple; heterosexual, homosexual, or even platonic.? Because it would be too costly on the general society without commensurate benefit to society to provide Social Security survivors benefits, tax breaks, insurance discounts, etc, etc to all couples. Don’t say that same-sex marriages don’t cost others anything. The general population would have to pay for all these benefits. It would be one thing to allow a contract between ANY couple that only effects that couple such as hospital visitation rights, medical decisions on behalf of a partner, inheritance, etc, etc (civil union?) but don’t expect the whole society to pay directly or indirectly for something for which the general society is not going to receive benefit from. (Perhaps there would have to be some special consideration for same sex adoptive parents.)

    In summary, I would not object to allowing a contract between ANY couple that provides benefits that ONLY EFFECT THAT COUPLE, not the general population, but would be against allowing the full benefits of marriage to those of the same sex that would be costly to the general public.

  • Ed

    People who don’t know the difference between “effect” and “affect” shouldn’t be allowed to marry. They might have inferior offspring which would be costly to the general public.

  • Expanded Consciousness

    “Same-sex marriage denies the very biology of our bodies.”

    Obviously, it doesn’t.

    “Same sex marriages would give special benefits only to those couples who engage in unnatural sex acts! Is that reasonable?”

    So, the state can annul any heterosexual couple that engages in sodomy?
    ————
    “The most recent U.S. data from a national representative sample comes from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which was conducted on over 12,000 men and women aged 15 to 44. Results show that 34 percent of men and 30 percent of women reported engaging in anal sex at least once.”
    ———-

    “preservation of the species being the main one”

    Ha! You are worried that humans are going to be put on the endangered species list? Over-population is the reality.

    “costly to the general public.”

    $? A lot of things would turn you a profit. Slavery. Child labor. Abolishing the minimum wage.

  • Maureen

    Don A.,

    Let me suggest a truly “unnatural sex act”: rape.

    If the conservative movement had gotten behind that issue with one iota of the passion with which it denounces same sex marriage, I may actually stop to listen to your argument.

    Until then, you are just chasing a stray cat while your living room is overrun with lions. Where are the priorities in the Christian right?

    Incidentally, you speak of “the biology of our bodies” as somehow proving the superiority of intercourse. Do you suggest people who refrain from sex are also denying the “biology” of their bodies? Is there some sort of inevitability we should all be succumbing to? Or, as I suggest, can the body can be used for many things–or not–at will?

    It those things it is used for that truly harm or threaten another that should be the concern of any moral individual.

  • Todd E. Lewis

    From Don A.

    “Don’t say that same-sex marriages don’t cost others anything. The general population would have to pay for all these benefits.”

    I am a gay man. I pay my taxes. I already pay for everyone else’s benefits. Why should I not benefit from the system, too?

    Ever hear of “taxation without representation”?

  • david

    It’s difficult to trust the gay community on this issue. They got hate crime protection that is not afforded to normal citizens. If they get marriage rights they will sue to force all religions to perform the weddings or lose their tax-free status.

  • Expanded Consciousness

    It is difficult to trust those who oppose gay rights. If they get their way who’s rights will they arrogantly impose their will upon next? Yours! That’s who!

  • Diana Wells

    It’s unfortunate that marriage is legal union and a fixed concept in our culture.
    Domestic partnerships with the same legal benefits are essential.

    Those that press for religious acceptance should fight their battles within those arenas. Not publicly. Basic tenant of separation.

    Marriage or no, is not a public health concern, just a question of, why would anyone be in a religion that didn’t want them? Doesn’t that say a lot of icky about that system of beliefs? Judgment is a form of attack in TRUTH. How “Holy” is that? Fear based even?

    Its not your right to say John or Jane Doe cannot sign medical paperwork for their partner. As a cancer survivor, I find that to be a rather large frightening invasion in the personal area.

    It’s not anyones right to deny legal anything because of someone Else’s belief system.

    It’s krappity when the Taliban does it, and krappity from you too.

    Watching this debate over the years has completely destroyed my respect for the institution of marriage. It’s a joke of the privileged who believe in control and illusions, rather than freedom and Love.

    I’m actually domestically partnered to the opposite sex.

    I’ll never marry him until everyone has the same rights as I do.
    I will sit like Rosa proudly and I will beat the crap out of you if you touch me.

    Seriously, point to ponder…
    What would you do if Jesus were reincarnated as a lesbian?

    (Its true, I’ve met her :)
    Kisses Loves
    TRUTH in LIGHT

    2cD

  • Isa Kocher

    i am an anthropologist. throughout most of human history in most parts of the world, same sex marriages have always been part of the mix. heterosexism as preached currently is the anomally. even the chrstian churches historically to the end of the middle ages had formal church ceremonies for same sex unions. the man is factually just plain wrong.

  • Claudia

    that Sam guy sounds like a total quack. why do you keep asking him questions?

  • Isa Kocher

    Gay families, children of gay families, suffer 20% less income and need that piece of paper. period.

  • Mari

    “What would you do if Jesus were reincarnated as a lesbian? (Its true, I’ve met her :)”- Diana

    Cool! When can we, the openly faithful and patiently tolerant, all sit down to share the First Supper together? Count me IN. I’ll ride shotgun with you on that bus ride to liberation for ALL.
    Peace,
    Mari

  • Fanya

    I read Schulman’s essay because I couldn’t tell what he was talking about from Tom’s interview. (aside to Tom, why didn’t you press him to explain himself. If you had, you and the whole audience would have seen the bankruptcy of his argument. He never really explained himself.) If you read his article, you will see that he’s just thinly disguising patriarchy with what he calls kinship relations. He also stresses that “the kinship system, and kinship depends on the protection, organization, and often the exploitation of female sexuality vis-a-vis males.” Bottom line is, the system is set up to protect women’s sexuality so that it can be preserved for male access. His argument, if he had been pressed, is totally sexist. His view of marriage, too, is that it’s necessary so that men can legitimately have sex, otherwise, sex without marriage is illicit. In other words, males are in control of women’s sexuality. Nothing about women deciding for themselves how and when to be sexual. Only within marriage. He basically wants to go back to the 50′s, or maybe earlier. Tom, if you have someone like this on, you should at least flush him out for what he is. Make him explain himself.

  • Frederic C.

    Prop Hate and other anti-same-sex marriage backers aren’t defending marriage, they are debasing marriage by making heterosexual marriage a symbol of exclusion and intolerance.

    Just remember the vehemence of the anti-same sex person is proportional to their unconscious desire for what they have become conditioned to believe they are repulsed by.

  • Bobi

    OMG, I can’t believe Sam Schulmane is not a parody. That Weekly Standard article is the FUNNIEST unintentionally horrifying marriage argument I’ve ever heard.

  • Jim T

    Don A. says, “On the other hand, why have special benefits been given to married couples?: Because society has determined that there are certain benefits to encouraging traditional heterosexual marriages (preservation of the species being the main one).”

    Roughly one third of children are born out of wedlock. That means just two thirds of children are born to married parents. Roughly 50% of all marriages end in divorce so, all things being equal, half of the two thirds of children born to married parents will be raised in homes with parents who stay married. That leaves just one third of all children who will be born and raised by married parents and who will enjoy all the benefits Don A. references. Would that one third of parents that are left reject marriage or fail to remain married if they did not receive the benefits bestowed by the state? Of course not!

    The bottom line is that these benefits are not at all effective in promoting marriage. They are nothing more than spoils doled out to the politically favored. Don A., why should the general public have to pay for political spoils?

  • Frederic C.

    Homophobia is the response/result inner desires are deeply repressed.

  • Frederic C.

    So, the more animus displayed by the homophobic, the more gay they actually are.

    So when you hear folk talking about, ‘protecting marriage,’ what they are really saying is, ‘protect my illusory sense of heterosexuality.

  • Expanded Consciousness

    Re: Toni’s last point, her fear that those who elected Obama will fail by sitting back and waiting for him to fix the problems (health care, etc). What exactly should they be doing that they aren’t? Any specific ides?

    Great interview.

  • Expanded Consciousness

    Opps … wrong thread. Excuse.

  • Expanded Consciousness

    Yes, what is repressed returns, often in projection. When anti-gay rights crowd talks about “protecting” marriage, they reveal that their aggression has been projected outward and then experienced as an attack from the outside.
    So, how does it work exactly?
    I meet my dream girl.
    I want to marry her for an eternity.
    I want to raise kids with her.
    I meet a dude at work that tells me about his husband (I did, I live in MA).
    And now I don’t want to marry my dream girl??? Huh?

    If logic reigned, you’d think they’d make the opposite argument, gay couples who don’t get married reminds me that you can be a couple and not get married. Obviously gay marriages strengthen the institution of marriage.

  • Rev. Betty Sue

    As an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, I was fascinated with the apparent disjointedness of Sam Schulman’s argument. I had the opportunity to listen to the segment a second time and took some detailed notes. From this second listening, I think I can make some sense of his thinking. Before I continue, I want to say that, as a theologian and a feminist, I disagree with his views.

    Based on the notes that I took, I would guess that Schulman has a fairly negative view of human beings and human relationships. Men are not able to be faithful to women unless they are bound within a marriage commitment. Individuals are not able to abstain from sexual relationships with parents or offspring unless they are bound within a man-woman marriage commitment. Women do not have the “moral authority” to ask men to be faithful outside of a man-woman marriage commitment. Women are not able to care for themselves and must be bound within a man-woman marriage commitment.

    In such a situation, the man’s role is significant. In each family there needs to be a father figure with either “legal or religious” recognition. Men, though unable to make and keep commitments outside of marriage, are the key to good families. I think for Schulman, the marriage institution itself takes flawed humanity and creates the structure that will transform these human failings into an acceptably moral form of relationship.

    Generally, this view is usually based on the idea of original sin. Genesis 2 tells the story of the snake who convinced Eve to eat the forbidden apple, who in turn convinced Adam to do the same. The author of the story then blames Eve, and all future women, for the entire problem of evil. Rest assured, when we do our homework on this passage, we can find a much larger story.

    Personally, I think that those who are afraid that same-sex marriages will change everything, are right. Same-sex marriages, equal relationships between women and women and between men and men, tell us that we do not need a man as “head of household”. It removes men from that dominant role in the family. Since the way a man rules his family has been considered evidence of how he will function in the larger society, since patriarchy has functioned to benefit the position of men in many societies around the world, removing men as “head of household”, also threatens the dominant male role in the rest of society.

    As a feminist and a theologian, as one who champions justice as an expression of faithful religion, I say, thank God! It’s about time! I am totally in support of same-sex marriage! “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

  • Betsey

    Why do we not have separation of church and state? When a couple gets married (at least in MA) the pastor, minister, rabbi etc. becomes an agent of the state signing the license.

    We should have two types of unions, one civil which would be all about legal rights and one religious for those who choose it. My understanding of marriage is that it is a covenant between two individuals and their God. This could be very different depending on which church you belong to. There are many people who would choose the church marriage over the civil union (I know at least two couples who have) because of financial reasons.

    Having two types of unions would eliminate the religious controversy as to whether homosexuality is a sin except in each individual church, synagogue, and house of religion.

    BTY, I work with youth, in a very short time this will become a non-issue. Youth don’t get what the big deal is. On this issue, they are much more evolved than many adults!

  • BrooklynC

    As a middle-aged divorced man who has been sleeping with the same woman for 7 years, I have no ambition to get married, yet would have no problem doing so in the eyes of the law. If we did, our doing so would fulfill none of criteria that these moralizing homophobes impute to the institution of marriage–like slavery, a peculiar institution in my eyes. We have raised five children between us, of whom, two, so far, have declared themselves gay. Within the current legal framework, neither child can get married. Two of the five are straight, living with members of the opposite sex, and have announced their engagement. Again, there is no legal impediment, and we are happy to “bless” these marriage, as if that would make any difference to the kids involved. While my own marital experience was mixed–it did result in three swell kids and thus I have no regrets–I wish the same mixed blessing to all my children equally. It’s an institution for people who are “in love”, whatever that means anymore, whether the lovers are Britney and Kevin, or Levi and Bristol, or “Adam and Steve.” I have a feeling that when you scratch the surface of this fellow from the Weekly Standard, you will find some revulsion at the ick factor with which many people regard gay sex, and that he’s afraid of his own latent tendencies. I must point out that there’s very little in the gay bedroom repertoire that hasn’t been done by straight couples as they explore passion or struggle to keep boredom at bay during the course of a long relationship. Mr. Schulman, either come out of the closet, or keep your dirty, judgmental thoughts to yourself. You have a right to express them, and we have the right to laugh at you.

  • Kelley

    I have a sister who lost everything to her abusive, philandering husband – including access to her children for years – in the divorce. My other sister had to pay alimony to her husband, who refused to work during or after their marriage until even the judge commented on his laziness. Don’t believe that marriage is about protecting women. It doesn’t work that way.

  • Uncle Jellybones

    Where does one begin on Sam Schulman’s argument (although BrooklynNyC did a nice job)? I’ve NEVER actively thought about the word ‘obfuscation’, but after listening to him talk, BAM, that’s all that came to mind! I found myself rewinding the podcast to try to find exactly what he was trying to say and couldn’t really figure it out. I was waiting for a punchline where it would all come together and there would be something to respond to, but that moment just didn’t come. So I referred to his article and found his writing to be as cryptic as his talking. Seriously producers, I am steadfast on this issue and was looking forward to hearing some intelligent/coherent opposition to bring some gray areas to it (as you usually do)…I’m sure you’ll do better next time.

  • Steve

    I was deeply disappointed with your guest, Sam Schulman. There are a whole host of other people who would be able to respond in a cogent manner to the issues gay/lesbian marriage brings with it.

    If, you’d like me to name some names, I will. How about Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, or Colleen Carroll Campbell? Both of these are cogent, competent and courageous in their stand for marriage.

    As you address this issue in the future, please do some more homework beforehand.

  • Maureen

    Rev. Betty Sue,

    Your post is just about the best thing I’ve read in these forums.

    I had a chance to read the original article and agree Mr. Schulman is deeply cynical, but mixes this sentiment with an astonishing strain of naivete.

    Mr. Schulman observes women in the public sphere are subject to rape, dehumanization, and abuse. But rather than suggesting this public sphere be transformed, he deems it necessarily to therefore ferret them into the private sphere. He suggests this is for their own good, but uses deeply patriarchal language in its defense: “This most profound aspect of marriage–protecting and controlling the sexuality of the child-bearing sex–is its only true reason for being…”

    What he does not explain is how men who would otherwise abuse and objectify women are suddenly to be transformed into doting husbands and attentive fathers by virtue of a wedding band.

    Conveniently, Mr. Schulman does not bring up domestic abuse, adultery, or abandonment; we are to assume once married women are socially “safe.”

    In between these arguments are some suggestions that can only be categorized as asinine: Mr. Schulman, who confesses to having been married three times, advises gay couples that they won’t find marriage much fun, admitting: “Many of us feel that licit sexuality loses, moreover, a bit of its oomph. Gay lovers live merrily free of this system.”

    He goes on to suggest, gay marriage will inevitably “disappoint or bore the couples now so eager for its creation … I suspect that the gay marriage movement will be remembered as a faintly humorous, even embarrassing stage in the liberation saga of the gay minority.”

    And one can’t but pity his spouses for this public pronouncement “But without social disapproval of unmarried sex–what kind of madman would seek marriage?”—a choice he later categorizes as picking up the “chains of the kinship system.”

    In the end, Mr. Schulman manages to insult nearly everyone: Gay people, straight people, men and women alike.

    And it remains deeply disturbing to me that he was given a platform on this show. I imagine if a woman were invited on public radio to discuss how marriage is good is for men, indeed “exists” for men, we would at a minimum expect her to bring some scientific studies and some valid experience by which she could claim to be an expert on men’s sexuality and its expression in society.

    Mr. Schulman met none of these criterion. Is it still so easy for men to “speak” for women’s sexuality? What does it say that an author who defends marriage for its ability to “control” and “protect” the sexuality of half the population is invited on the airwaves as guest and–at it implies–expert?

    Though I do take comfort in how many people objected to his arguments, I remain demoralized over this entire episode.

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