Tuesday, November 10, 2009

proud of Webster's

From Scott Coffman in the C-J...

a facile reference to discrimination...oh well!

it's good to see that the voters in Maine don't discriminate against the dictionary...


At November 10, 2009 at 9:51 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

Voters in Washington State approved Referendum 71, legalizing "everything but marriage" domestic partnerships. The ballot measure summary:

This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.

Do you support that? That is, would you vote for that were it to be on the ballot in Indiana?

At November 10, 2009 at 10:34 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

Eric, I hope you would not support such a measure

Fine if you want "domestic partnerships" for certain legal purposes such as who makes end of life decisions, power of attorney in case of incapacitated state, right to inherit estate, who gets what in case of separation...

But no, domestic partnerships should not be equivalent to marriage - the basic builing block of society, the place where children are nurtured and grow. No "discrimination" intended, but kids need a mom and a dad.

It's interesting that I have heterosexual friends who will argue this point from a different angle. They say that kids don't need the dad (or mom) in the home, parents are free to come and go; the kids will be just fine as long as there is "open communication". In my view, two consonants describe this ideology; one starts with a capital B

It's too bad the state has somehow become in charge of this, anyway. My only guess as to why, is that it was necessary because of all the divorces and neglected children out there.

In any case, what particular "rights" are being sought by homosexual individuals wishing to "marry" that "domestic partnerships" as described above do not afford?

At November 11, 2009 at 9:20 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...


First, a clarification: there is a difference between (degrees of) active and tacit support and opposition. So, "vote for" is the lightest form of "support". Trying to persuade others would be moreso. Actively lobbying, spending money, etc. would be moreso.

Second, a question: would you "support" it?

Third, an answer: yes, probably. The only consideration for which I would still have concern: adoption. At least as a practical matter, married couples should have priority over same-sex partners (and singles). Of course, unfortunately, not enough married couples are currently willing to step up to adopt, so there is still a need for adoption into other family structures.


I agree completely that a husband/wife combo is the best biblically and practically. But with rampant divorce and births out-of-wedlock, we have far larger fish to fry. Biblically and practically, why would one rate same-sex unions behind most divorces and out-of-wedlock births?

At November 11, 2009 at 9:26 AM , Blogger William Lang said...

Thank you, Eric.

At November 11, 2009 at 9:34 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

My pleasure...but what's your answer?

At November 11, 2009 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Jenna said...

Eric, that first paragraph made you sound like a true politician - Just because I voted for it doesn't really mean I am "For It"

I must say that I am surprised by your answer, but at least you were honest. Then again, you are hard core Libertarian. Not sure I could support you over another candidate who would vote against gay marriage.

I do not believe that as a people group we should affirm or recognize gay marriage simply because too many people are getting divorces.

You are talking about messing with foundational structures for a healthy and productive society; the institution/definition of marriage and family should be preserved and protected. This is where the argument really lies - it has little to do with what consenting adults do behind closed. That said, I'm not sure I agree that there are "bigger fish to fry"

William, you did not answer my question either

At November 11, 2009 at 11:14 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Actually, I'd say that nuance, clarity, and candor would separate me from the typical politician!

You sound like the politician, twisting my words like that! I am firmly against "same-sex marriage" (as definitionally nonsensical in addition to [further] damaging the institution of marriage). But I would support "same-sex unions".

Back to the point about support: Practically, voters and politicians must prioritize, by definition. So there are necessarily things that one would support in varying degrees. (For example, you hear many Christians say that X, Y and Z are important, but pale in comparison to abortion. Or most Republicans would have said that they wanted to get rid of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, but didn't prioritize it with any noticeable "support".)

In this context, I wouldn't sponsor or co-sponsor legislation on same-sex unions-- or campaign on the issue-- but would vote for it if it came up.

Although I'm a Libertarian, I don't see this as a particularly libertarian issue.

At November 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM , Blogger Jenna said...

I'm not twisting your words - William asked if you would vote for a measure that made "same-sex unions" the direct and definite equivalent of marriage and you said "yes" - feel free to explain then how the "same-sex" unions you would vote for/support (are these two equivalent? :-)) and marriage would be different.

Your Webster's defense won't help here as WA voters (as opposed to Webster's) are choosing defining these two exactly the same.

I think this is a priority although you make a good point that as a voter, "you can't always get 'what' ya want"

At November 11, 2009 at 11:39 AM , Blogger William Lang said...

Regarding your question, Eric, I do support full marriage rights for same-sex couples. It's not as important what we call this legal structure, although I do support same-sex marriage.

Jenna, a detailed description of the rights now given same-sex domestic partnerships in Washington State is available at Wikipedia. These include adoption rights.

At November 11, 2009 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Jenna said...

BTW, I did commend you on your honesty (candor)!

At November 11, 2009 at 11:45 AM , Blogger Jenna said...

Thank you, William.

That is where the discord/debate lies.

For some of the reasons outlined above, I am against this.

At November 11, 2009 at 11:52 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

William, are you saying that you would (actively or tacitly) "support" Washington's referendum then?

At November 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM , Blogger William Lang said...

Yes, I certainly do support their referendum.

At November 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

too much debate now over the definition of "support".

William is saying he actively supports the WA definition - right, William?

I guess you're not going to answer me, eric.

Maybe you already did?

You tacitly support "same-sex" unions (meaning you would vote in support of them) even if they were defined as exactly equivalent to marriage, except that you think man/woman should be able to adopt before man/man or woman/woman.

At November 11, 2009 at 12:22 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I thought I answered, but yes, that's an accurate description of my position. I also like the wording in the WA referendum, that a same-sex union is equivalent to but equal to (the same as) marriage.

At November 11, 2009 at 12:40 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

>William is saying he actively supports the WA definition - right, William?


At November 11, 2009 at 1:03 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

You're playing semantics, Eric --in typical political fashion, might I add.

You support everything that would mean same-sex couples can "marry", except we can't call it that.

Lexical meanings have been known to change over time.

At November 11, 2009 at 1:25 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I don't see this as semantics, but as basic definitions and equitable public policy.

Equal means equal; equivalent means equivalent-- and is not equal to equal!

Same-sex union is a coherent definition; same-sex marriage is nonsensical (under the current lexicon). And if one wants to preserve the term "marriage" in its current form, practically, the smartest thing to do would be to allow same-sex unions. If not, there is much greater risk of seeing the (official, secular) definition of "marriage" changed.

At November 11, 2009 at 2:46 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

...more word games.

Evidently you care little about what the law means in terms of real impact. You are too concerned about the words themselves.

The WA referendum changes what it means to be "married" by extending the marital rights, responsibilites and obligations to same sex couples, according to the law. In effect, they can get "married" too

I know you like to consider "spirit of the law" interpretation, so look at it this way -- the spirit of the WA law is to allow gay couples to "marry", for all intents and purposes.
If you really think "marriage" is between a man and woman, this is something you would oppose.

Word definitions can change according to cultural meaning, therefore "union" could be changed to marriage if the same rights, responsibilities and obligations are extended to both types couples and this eventually becomes culturally accepted and commonplace.

At November 11, 2009 at 3:17 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

As a believer in The Word, I believe that words matter. These words-- union and marriage, equal and equivalent-- are simply not the same.

Allowing same-sex partners to have similar legal and other arrangements is debatable, I suppose, but fine in my book.

And in any case, that's the direction that society is going, so do you want to call "it" union or marriage?

At November 11, 2009 at 6:23 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

So what are you saying--that you are just going with the flow?

As far as words go, I think "domestic partnership" is more the meaning I have in mind related to allowing certain "civic" rights for gay couples. "Full rights, responsibilities and obligations equivalent to married spouses" makes "unions" the same as "marriages" and so I am opposed.

I'm thinking we are just not going to agree, although I appreciate your blog and this discussion.

Also - Not all states are approving this, as your blog post notes.

At November 11, 2009 at 9:20 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I've enjoyed the discussion as well and it sounds like we're wrapping this up.

But I would note that prudential/practical concerns are worth considering when there is not a clear ethical answer. And while homosexual conduct is not biblical, using/pursuing various govt remedies against those behaviors is an open question.

At November 11, 2009 at 10:21 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

I would agree with that except to say that I am not proposing using govt remedies to control homosexual behavior, but do think it prudent to operate within the current framework to keep marriage between one man and one woman.


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