Felix and Oscar: A Post-Modern Marriage

Tony Randall as Felix Jack Klugman as Oscar Paramount Home Video

Felix and Oscar are going to tie the knot. They’ve been living together for twenty years.  Felix is a persnickety fellow, and does all the cooking and cleaning.  He’s a celebrated commercial photographer.  These days, he goes to his studio only once a week, because his back is in constant pain, and his asthma acts up when he rides the subway.  Oscar is a lovable slob, who used to write daily sports columns for the New York Post.  He’s working on his fourth sports biography.  This one is on Jim Brown, the greatest running back who ever toted the pigskin.  Oscar has lost the use of one of his lungs, because of an operation last year to remove a tumor in his chest.

Felix and Oscar quarrel all the time, but they cannot imagine life without one another.  Each has the other’s power of attorney.  There is as much chance of their moving to separate apartments, now, after all these years, as there is that the Empire State Building will spontaneously collapse into dust.  They wouldn’t know how to get through a single day.  So they wish to celebrate this lifelong friendship.  They wish to throw a party, and to gain the Social Security benefits that accrue to the survivor in a marriage.

So Felix and Oscar are going to tie the knot.

In a saner day than ours, someone would object, “There’s no knot to tie!  They can’t marry!  You’re confusing friendship with marriage.”  That would be quite right. Nothing prevents Felix or Oscar from naming the other as sole legatee in his will.  But nothing that Felix and Oscar do with one another is specifically marital.  The thing that a married man and woman do, that no one else can do, is to consummate the marriage, bringing it to its fullest realization.  The marital act unites across the chasm of the sexes and across the generations, from the past into the future.  In it alone do human beings bring together precious strands of human history, from the beginning of our race.  In it alone dwells the possibility of new life.  The act is biologically, essentially, summative of the past and oriented toward the future.

This is so, regardless of the feelings of those who engage in it; it is a plain fact.  That’s why sins against the marital act are always sins against its time-transcending and life-giving meaning.  Unlike the beasts, we human beings do more than suffer time.  Time is our inn on the way to eternity.  If that sentence sounds too theological, consider—we recall past ages, we memorialize our forefathers, we plant trees whose fruit we ourselves will not gather.  For us, then, the meaning of coitus cannot be severed from the permanence of marriage.  We cannot say, “You and I will now engage in the act that brings new human life into being, a human life that extends far beyond the present moment, in memory and in hope; but we will treat what we are doing as the act of a moment, and no more, and that will be all right.”  That is to engage in a selfish contradiction.

It’s important to keep in mind that the biological meaning of an act remains, even when the instance is ineffectual, because of chance, debility, or human selfishness.  John and Sally have been married for ten years and have no children.  They never will.  Sally caught an infection that destroyed her ovaries.  John had an accident that hurt his prostate.  Sally has acted to kill John’s seed.  John has acted to thwart his seed.  Yet whether they understand it or not, they still perform the act of marriage.  Children see them, by way of example if not in reality, as a mother and father: causa exemplare, though not causa efficiente.  Elderly people who marry fall into the same category.  Their marriages are real, and they participate in the act (they do what all the other married men and women are doing) that brings new human beings into the world.

I’ve said nothing about feelings.  The nature of the act doesn’t depend upon feelings, which come and go, and are so unreliable that often we do not know ourselves how we really feel.  Christians follow the suggestions of Scripture, and believe that married love is the most exalted form of love in this world, save for our love for God.  The ancient pagans reserved that honored place for friendship between men.  But neither the Christians nor the pagans would say that emotions which usually accompany marriage define it.  Friendship presupposes affection; but a marriage can endure in the desert for many years, without that feeling.  Married people can lose their affection for one another, and regain it more fully than ever, but they do not cease to be married in the meantime.

Back to Felix and Oscar.  They want to “marry.”  They want the Social Security benefits.  They want a party.  They want to make a splash.  They want to celebrate their lifelong friendship.

What’s wrong with that?  Other than the lie, I mean?  Is there something missing here, something that the proponents of same-sex pseudogamy need to ascertain?

Did I mention that Felix and Oscar are brothers?

Look again at my description of their lives.  There’s nothing to suggest that Felix and Oscar are not related to one another.  If marriage is cultural silly-putty, which we press to our favorite cartoons to take its meaning from them, what prevents Felix and Oscar from saying they are “married”?  If the meaning of marriage is wholly subjective, and if it depends upon a current willingness never to leave the other person, to care for him, to enjoy a fulfilling friendship with him, to buy him presents on his birthday and to see him through the trials of dying, then Felix and Oscar are firmly “married.”  Is there something wrong with their being brothers?  Doesn’t the familial relationship add even more to the permanence of their friendship?

“Yes, but they’re brothers!  You can’t marry a brother.  That’s against the law.”  My dear objector: what you cannot do, if you are a man, is marry another man; that’s an impossibility, like drawing a square circle.  You should not marry your brother, if you are a woman; it is incestuous, but it is not impossible.  As for laws, they may be changed, as you well know.

What makes us queasy, to hear that Felix and Oscar are brothers?  It’s that we assume that Felix and Oscar have been engaging in sexual Verwirrungen, confusion, and that that is why they want to “marry.”  But why should that be required?  Suppose that Felix and Oscar are not brothers.  Suppose that each one of them was once married, but is now divorced.  It’s been a very long time.  Felix sleeps in one bedroom, and Oscar sleeps in another.

Why does that alter the case?  The feelings remain the same, the devotion, the commitment to care for the other.  What is the all-important meaning of the sodomitical act?  It cannot, we see, be based in feelings and devotion and commitment, simply, because then, if those were present without the act, what need for the act?  If we bless same-sex pseudogamy on the basis of those things, there is no logical reason why we should not bless same-sex friendship without the sodomy, and in the same way, with the same perquisites.  Why would it be “better” for us, more productive of the common good, if Felix and Oscar were engaging in sodomy?

Suppose that Felix sleeps in one bedroom, and Oscar sleeps in another.  Again, they are two divorced men.  But after living with one another for so long, they occasionally do engage in sodomy, maybe once a year.  They have to be pretty drunk, and bored, to do it, and they feel odd about it for a week afterward.  Is that enough to qualify?  May they “marry” now?

If the proponents of same-sex pseudogamy are correct, then we all have a moral stake in seeing that Felix and Oscar are engaging in sodomy; we are better off if the Felixes and the Oscars of the world do this, than if they don’t.  But why?

We live in a nation awash in squalor.  Porn is everywhere, destroying marriages and lives.  Shouldn’t we see to that problem?  Two fifths of all children are born out of wedlock, a very bad thing for those children.  Shouldn’t we see to that?  Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.  Our mass entertainment is lewd and nasty.  Many young people despair of finding someone decent to marry.  In short, we have a lot of problems that stem from sins against that sixth commandment.  How can we begin to address a single one of them, if we say that Felix and Oscar should be engaging in sodomy—if we reward them for it, if we affirm that the common good is served by it?

There’s no way out.  If we say, “Whether they do or not is their own business,”—which is patently false, since we are social beings, and there is nothing so determinative of a culture, after religious faith, as are its sexual mores—then we’re back to the original problem, why Brother Felix and Brother Oscar cannot “marry,” or why Felix and Oscar who live according to their Catholic faith and do not engage in sodomy cannot “marry.”  And if Murray the Cop wants to join them, what of it?  We can’t then say, “But everybody knows that isn’t a marriage,” having just denied the reality of what everybody knows.  We cannot have it both ways.

Editor’s note: The image above is of Tony Randall (l) as Felix and Jack Klugman (r) as Oscar  from the 1970s T.V. show “Odd Couple.” (Photo credit: Paramount Home Video)

Anthony Esolen

By

Professor Esolen teaches Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College. He is a senior editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine. His most recent books are The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Press, 2010) and, most recently, Reflections on the Christian Life (Sophia Institute Press, 2013). Professor Esolen has also translated Dante.

  • Gian

    The American Christians must decide whether they serve the State or the Church. By continuing to participate in the political process, even after Roe, that declaration of American Independence from Christendom, all the Christians have done is to legitimize the abortion regime.

    It was an utmost folly to hope to decide fundamental questions through political means. The normal political processes serve to settle trivial issues such as tariff or the president of USA.
    Conservatives never tire of saying that marriage is older than State. Then why are they trying to define marriage through political means?

    The progressives have made a revolution and it would take a revolution to undo their revolution. And whining about judicial usurpation is not going to do it. There was no judicial usurpation of the state rights since no state complained or did anything to maintain the so-called state rights. Sovereignty is lost if not defended. It is not something that is conferred but must be won.

    • tom

      Worthy thoughts in the article and by Gian, to be sure. Yet, we, as Catholics, have leverage and are afraid to use it. We vote in local school board elections and often have the power to toss a libertine off the board. We can rev up the conscientious objection programs to what the popes call our “unjust wars”. That’s a third of the U.S. military, from General Martin Dempsey on down to a high school kid thinking of joining the USMC, examining their conscience. Then, the weak Catholic hierarchy can do what the German bishops did in ’32 against the national socialists….excommunicate anyone who supports the Beast! Telling jokes about eating too many cupcakes isn’t enough, Cardinal Weakling.

      • Frank Lozera

        I like your last idea, Tom. Use the excommunication stick. Get tough. Enforce fidelity by whatever means are necessary.

    • Scott Waddell

      I completely sympathize with the idea that voting is the lex orandi to liberalism’s lex credendi. On the other hand, I remember St. Paul avoiding a stoning by flashing his Roman citizenship card. That is to say, for the sake of truth and salvation of souls, use whatever morally legitimate tools are at hand.

  • TMJC

    Why is it that people such as Mr. Esolen are not asked to speak on this topic? When it comes time to discuss this very subject, I never hear people who can speak like this on CNN, The Daily Show, The View, Bill Maher, Piers Morgan, or name some other superficial, pithy, sound-byte driven program parading itself as enlightened, progressive, and “in the know, in the now”? I only mention these programs not because they are serious platforms on which to discuss meaningful subjects but rather as programs that people tune into to gather catchphrases to use later on when discussing these subjects with others around the water cooler, dinner table, or cocktail parties. This was not only a beautiful, charitable, and well reasoned piece, but it spoke truth. The problem I find is that when people’s heads and hearts are filled only with “I want what I want when I want how I want” and “That’s YOUR truth, not MY truth” and “Love is love”, it is impossible to discuss this very subject. Excellent piece, Mr. Esolen.

    • Lillian C.

      TMJC: Mr. Esolen does, in fact, speak all the time here at ISI (the
      Intercollegiate Studies Institute)! You can see his page on our
      Speakers Bureau below. If you would like to hear Mr. Esolen speak,
      consider signing up for ISI membership and attending our events!

      http://faculty.isi.org/speakers/profile/view/id/1024/Anthony_Esolen#.UVw-fFcSSmE

      • TMJC

        Thank you for the information! I would still like to see Mr. Esolen be invited to speak to George Stephanopoulos or called in for a CNN interview with Erin Burnett or Barbara Walters before she leaves “The View”. I think many people would benefit from hearing Mr. Esolen discussing issues in those venues. Make it a dynamic duo and pair him with Father Robert Barron!

    • Martial Artist

      TMJC,

      The answer to your question is that you are listening, not to those who would broadcast the truth, but to those who are (wittingly or otherwise) devotees of the Father of Lies. Here is what I posted at another blog site which linked to Professor Esolen’s outstanding essay here at Crisis:

      And there you have it! The end result (at least in part) of government subsidization, even of such subsidization of something that is an unquestioned (and, IMHO, unquestionable) human and social good—heterosexual marriage. And it can all be traced back to the failure of our educational system to distinguish, and teach students to distinguish: between law and legislation, between natural rights and man-made “rights.”

      Pax et bonum

      • TMJC

        Martial Artist,
        Thank you for sharing your response! How about YOU taking a seat opposite Piers Morgan? : )
        I think my answer is born of the frustration that major news and information outlets refuse (are they refusing or do they just not know what they are doing?) to have well spoken, knowledgable, intelligent, and personable people answer questions about Catholicism and its positions. I get crippling chest pains watching any type of “discussion”, and I am using that term loosely, on what Cardinal Dolan referenced as “hot button” issues presented by CNN, BBC, FOX, the CBC here in my home country of Canada (which by the way would not allow Bishop Fulton J. Sheen’s weekly program to be broadcasted), and the list goes on.
        Frustrating. Just frustrating.
        God Bless, sir!

  • Phil

    We can all agree that the question marriages between friends and roommates, with no romantic component, is irrelevant to the debate on same-sex marriage. Such marriages are already possible, so legalization of ssm wouldn’t make them any easier. The true issue identified in this article is the importance of sex and affection in marriage.

    The argument that love and commitment is marginal to marriage is simply unconvincing. Esolen’s curt dismissal of married love as just “feelings that come and go” is offensive to anybody who has ever been married. For centuries at the very least, the commitment between spouses has been fundamental to the Western conception of marriage. It has figured in our debates on the status of women and other social issues, and is the driving force of our aversion to arranged marriages. To claim that love simply doesn’t matter is a more radical reversal of our conception of marriage than polygamy.

    The question of sex is argued in this article solely through the use of selective language; through calling heterosexual sex “consummation” and homosexual sex “sodomy”. If both were just called “sex,” what would happen to the argument?

    “The thing that a married man and woman do, that no one else can do, is to consummate the marriage, bringing it to its fullest realization. The marital act unites across the chasm of the sexes and across the generations, from the past into the future. In it alone do human beings bring together precious strands of human history, from the beginning of our race. In it alone dwells the possibility of new life. The act is biologically, essentially, summative of the past and oriented toward the future.”

    This is no argument. It’s a poetic description of procreation. Let’s see how it reads in simpler terms: “man-woman vaginal sex makes babies, has always made babies, and will always make babies. Baby-making reminds baby-making people that people make babies. Marriage enshrines this reminder.”

    The problem with this kind of reasoning is that it is only sensical when the matter is viewed through a certain theoretical perspective. If it were taken to its logical ends and used to ban non-procreative marriages then it would have some validity, but the toleration of such marriages divorces procreation from its practical ramifications. The idea that non-procreative heterosexual sex sets an “example” is unconvincing for the simple reason that it doesn’t actually set that example. The sight of childless couples does not remind children of coital union across the sex-chasm. It is true that the idea of a “childless marriage” points to an expectation for marital procreation, but it is also true that the idea of a “loveless marriage” points to an expectation for marital love. Marriage incorporates love, sex, and children, and the flexibility with which people accommodate each other’s marriages shows how expansive the social definition of marriage really is. This article, rather, would argue that a marriage is made only through the spouses’ belief that marriage exists for procreation, and that everything else, the love, the parenting, the sex, even the procreation, is irrelevant. I don’t think I’m the only one who would be unsatisfied by such a limp marriage.

    • Scott Waddell

      No one is arguing that love, parenting, sexual satisfaction are irrelevant. Procreation is however primary and it is undeniable that true marriage is by nature ordered toward procreation. This is why so-called non-procreative marriages are still marriages in same way a football team is still a football team even if it loses every game it plays. Homosexual “marriages” are lies precisely because they are by nature dead and barren.

      • Phil

        The problem is that natural procreation is not a truly significant way to order marriages, since homosexual couples are capable of raising children together. The means by which the children enter the family become irrelevant once the child enters the family.
        By arguing that it is the natural ordering of marriage which is the operative factor, the article does imply that love, parenting, and sex is irrelevant. The bulk of the article, in fact, is comprised of Esolen continuously belittling the value of human relationships.

        • Scott Waddell

          No, just because some things are secondary, does not make them irrelevant.

          • Phil

            From my perspective, if a factor doesn’t define the topic, then it is irrelevant, or at best incidental. There’s no point quibbling on this, however. The real point is that these secondary features are not restricted to heterosexual pairings and that the state is most interested in encouraging those secondary features. The importance of coitus is insupportable in a legal context.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              I checked the vows that the mayor reads to the couple at a civil wedding:-

              Article 212 Spouses owe each other respect, fidelity, support and assistance.

              Article 213 Spouses are responsible together for the material and moral guidance of the family. They shall provide for the education of the children and shall prepare their future.

              Article 214 Where an ante-nuptial agreement does not regulate the contributions of the spouses to the marriage expenses, they shall contribute to them in proportion to their respective means.

              Article 215 Spouses mutually oblige themselves to a community of living.

              Article 371-1 Parental authority is a set of rights and duties whose finality is the welfare of the child.

              It is vested in the father and mother until the majority or emancipation of the child in order to protect him in his security, health and morality, to ensure his education and allow his development, showing regard to his person. Parents shall make a child a party to judgments relating to him, according to his age and degree of maturity.

              That is what the couple sign up to and I don’t see the word “love” anywhere, but I see a lot about children.

              • Phil

                There’s nothing in there that is contrary to ssm. The parents’ obligation to their children is just as applicable to adoptive as to biological parents.

          • Frank Lozera

            Scott, two questions:
            (1) Why couldn’t a married couple prioritize these interests as they wish? (2) Why should a non-Catholic or non-Christian make “natural ordering” a priority, given that “natural ordering” is a specific religious concept?

            • Scott Waddell

              No, the natural ordering is specifically a rational concept by simply considering the facts.

              • Phil

                If the notion of a natural ordering were a rational concept, it would be borne by science.

        • msmischief

          A brother and sister are capable of raising children together, a la Anne of Green Gables. Three, four, or more people are capable of raising a child together. Etc.

          • Phil

            So?

            • cestusdei

              Muslims argue that their prophet married a 9 year old. If marriage is whatever we want it to be then why not? You might argue that 9 is too young, but that is simply your opinion. How can you discriminate against this other culture and its concept of marriage? How dare you impose your morality on them. See where this is going…?

              • Phil

                Moral relativism is completely, completely, completely, irrelevant. I urge you to judge others. I want you to judge others. The problem is that the judgement of ssm as wrong simply because gay sex is unprocreative is invalid. It has no rational basis outside of the theological realm. It’s not just a matter of whether or not I share your opinion. I may not agree with certain fiscal or social policies, but they are still rationally based. I may disagree on abortion, but I could acknowledge that both arguments have real, practical, merit. The ssm debate is unique in this sense because the opposition simply has no secular basis.

                • cestusdei

                  Notice again that Tony makes the argument and doesn’t mention theology.

              • Frank Lozera

                Cestudei, your argument is going nowhere. It is illogical. Discrimination, in and of itself, is value-neutral. We discriminate against convicted felons, but we don’t (or shouldn’t) discriminate against African-Americans. To oppose discrimination against African-Americans is not to oppose discrimination against convicted felons. To oppose discrimination against gays in marriage is not to oppose discrimination against pedophiliacs. So you can stop making the linkage.

                • cestusdei

                  How is it illogical? You discriminate against Muslims by denying them their right to marry who they choose. If marriage means whatever we decide arbitrarily then it can mean anything. If everything is relative then nothing is normative. You just don’t like the end result of your logic.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    Cestudei, I think you are breaking up a bit here. Muslims in this country aren’t allowed to practice polygamy, but neither are gays. Marriage doesn’t “mean whatever we decide arbitrarily.” We haven’t entered the end-times of moral relativity quite yet. Plenty of norms are still in place. You’re okay.

                    • cestusdei

                      Why not? What is wrong with polygamy or marrying a 9 year old? Don’t impose your theology on others. Those “norms” will go fast and I am not okay. That is the siren song of the Left, don’t worry be happy…until it is too late.

        • cestusdei

          Procreation is what marriage is for at its most basic level.

    • accelerator

      Marriage exists for the pairing of man and women. That is such an obvious point you have to create an oxymoron, “gay marriage,” to entertain a different idea. There really is no argument, because legal or no, the Supreme Court can’t authenticate what is a non-reality, but can only play the Wizard behind the curtain, telling everyone everything is A.O.K. as they swoon over figurines of two men in tuxes atop a wedding cake.

      • Frank Lozera

        Accelerator, we use “gay marriage” for clarity, but the word “gay” there is only an adjective. “Marriage” is now defined—at least in many legal jurisdictions and in most dictionaries—as including gay couples.

        • cestusdei

          So brothers can marry, if we just define it that way? What if someone wants to marry their mother? Surely we can redefine marriage for that, it’s all about love right?

          • Frank Lozera

            Cestusdei, gay marriage differs from straight marriage in only one respect: the couples are of the same gender. No other alterations to the requirements for civil marriage have been made or proposed. Maybe it’s time to drop the “incest” argument. Its shelf-life has long since expired and the best SSM opponents have moved on to other arguments.

            • cestusdei

              So what? Why not those of the same family marrying? You simply can’t say why incest is wrong and want us to drop the argument. Not happening. It hits the nail on the head.

              • Frank Lozera

                No, Cestusdei. That was your thumb you just hit. Co-sanguinous marriage is potentially harmful because it increases the chances of inherited diseases. Homosexual marriage is simply not harmful in any way. That’s the difference that you will want to focus on. The “harm” difference.

                • Bono95

                  How is AIDS not harmful?

                  • Frank Lozera

                    What does AIDS have to do with homosexuality?

                    • Bono95

                      Well, considering that people who engage in homosexual adultery are far and away more at risk for contracting AIDS than any other group of people, I’d say lots. In fact, it used to be believed that only sodomites got AIDS. We now know that heterosexual adultery, drug abuse, receiving a blood donation from an HIV positive donor, being treated at a hospital using unsterile equipment, and being born to HIV positive parents can give a person AIDS too, but gay men are still the most at risk. Their average life span is only 39.5 years.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Bono95, you are referring to statistics in the U.S., I presume. I’ll check them out. In the meantime, can you tell me what you would conclude if there were a higher rate of HIV-infection among heterosexuals?

                    • Bono95

                      I would conclude that the heterosexuals in question we doing any of the non-homosexual causes of AIDS that I mentioned, but you’ll note there is no higher hetero rate.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Bono95, I think I see a pattern here. You have no data, no evidence, and no studies to cite, and yet you keep delivering your “expert” opinions as if they had any merit whatsoever.

                    • Caroline

                      Same sex marriage should reduce rates of AIDS in gay men. When they get married, it’s because they want to be faithful to one another and to avoid the behaviors that would otherwise put them at risk. Reducing AIDS is a good argument for encouraging gay men to marry and remain in stable relationships.

                    • Bono95

                      I don’t think SSM would reduce the rate significantly, if at all. Sodomy with just 1 person the same sex as oneself still increases the AIDS risk, even if it is by a smaller factor than sodomy with several people.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Bono95, you are certainly entitled to your opinions, but some facts would be much more persuasive. Doesn’t it just stand to reason that monogamy is less risky than promiscuity?

                    • Bono95

                      Yes it does, but homosexual monogamists still run a higher AIDS risk than heterosexual monogamists

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Well, that’s very interesting, Bono95. Can you tell me where you found that information? Is it from U.S. data or from worldwide data?

                    • Bono95

                      Much of what I know about AIDS I learned from my 10th grade health class, and I gained additional information from various other sources, most of which, unfortunately, I cannot remember the names of. Admittedly, no source said outright that homosexual monogamy is less risky than any form of promiscuity, but considering that nearly all of the first documented AIDS cases were in homosexuals, that sodomy is unnatural and sinful (note: the condition of homosexuality is NOT sinful, but any homosexual act is), it stands to reason that if one wants to minimize one’s AIDS risk as far as is possible, one should refrain from all forms of promiscuity (both homo and hetero) and avoid monogamous sodomy. Homosexual monogamy IS safer than homosexual promiscuity, but the same can be said for taking one cyanide pill versus taking a whole bottle, or for burning oneself with a match instead of rushing headlong into a burning building.

                    • http://twitter.com/Desertsunart Desert Sun Art

                      Active homosexuals, even “married” ones are much less monogamous than heterosexuals.

                • cestusdei

                  So what? They can take the chance. They are free right? How can you impose your rules on them? How can you DEFINE marriage to exclude them?

    • Colby

      A sacramental marriage does not and cannot take place if one or both people intend not to accept children, since that is one of the conditions of the marriage (proper intention), and something that they both vow before God and everyone present to do. How can two people of the same sex possibly vow to accept offspring, when physically speaking, they are unable to do so? It really gets me that in some countries birth certificates list, not mother and father, but progenitor A. and progenitor B. Do they not realize that two people of the same sex are simply unable to generate children? Thus, the Catholic Church will not and cannot recognize such “unions” as marriages, no matter what the law says. When God said to be fruitful and multiply, he was speaking to man and woman. The fact that adoption and in vitro fertilization/surrogate motherhood is possible seems irrelevant to the natural meaning and purpose of marriage as ordained by God.

      • Phil

        The Catholic Church is free to do what my will. My contention is that the Catholic notion of the centrality of coitus to marriage is inapplicable to the legal debate on ssm.

        • tom

          No connection between morality and law? Since when?

          • Phil

            There are different standards of morality and Catholic standards cannot be applied to law. Theological notions of sex and God have no place there.

            • msmischief

              So, you want to repel the Civil Right Acts? The Catholic Church actually excommunicated legislators for voting for segregation! Obviously, we must stop applying their standards in this law!

              Or do you just mean you want Catholics to shut up and think they have no rights if they disagree with you?

              • Frank Lozera

                Msmischief, you are saying that the Catholic Church, and individual Catholics, have a right to political activism. And you are right. But that’s not what Phil is talking about. He is arguing that courts of law do not look to Catholic theology when deciding cases. Judges may be informed by Catholic values, but they do not explicitly cite these in their decisions.

                • Phil

                  Exactly.

                  • cestusdei

                    Notice the article doesn’t mention theology. Marriage is an objective truth. When you mess with that then society suffers. The law is intended to protect society ergo it can protect marriage.

                    • Phil

                      The article doesn’t mention theology, but its argument is meaningless without the distinctly theological valuation of procreative coitus as the purpose of marriage. The only objective secular truth to marriage is that the parents raise children, how the children joined the family is incidental.

                    • Colby

                      You say that it is incidental, but I don’t think it is. Someone cited the vows made in a civil ceremony : “Article 371-1 Parental authority is a set of rights and duties whose finality is the welfare of the child.

                      It is vested in the father and mother until the majority or
                      emancipation of the child in order to protect him in his security,
                      health and morality, to ensure his education and allow his development,
                      showing regard to his person…”

                      Did you notice that it says father and mother, in addition to mentioning security and morality in that context? I can’t think of a compelling reason to change that to parents of the same sex. In Europe the compelling wisdom is that the rights OF children trump the right TO children. Do you have any evidence that children are as well, or better off, in same-sex households; because the evidence I’ve heard points to the contrary. Can you back up the claim that it makes no difference whether children are raised by same-sex or opposite sex children?

                    • cestusdei

                      Procreation was essential to marriage before Christianity and outside of Christianity. It is objectively true and not “incidental.”

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Cestusdei, can you be more specific about how society “suffers?” When the attorney representing Prop 8 was asked last week (in SCOTUS) to identify any negative consequences of gay marriage, he couldn’t. Can you?

                    • cestusdei

                      When marriage and family are undermined then all of us suffer. Those are fundamental to society. It is like destroying the foundation of a building. Eventually it falls down.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Cestusdei, that is a beautiful metaphor, but don’t you think *divorce* would undermine the foundation of marriage much more than gay marriage? What is there about SSM that produces actual, measurable harm to a straight marriage? And what exactly is that harm? Can you give the kind of answer that the Supreme Court Justice was asking for? I.e., something factual and concrete?

                    • Bono95

                      Of course divorce is wreaking havoc on families, and nowhere does Cestusdei deny that. The topic at hand just happens to be gay marriage rather than divorce, though it is very harmful too.

                    • tom

                      Divorce sure doesn’t help. We need married couples who can procreate. Otherwise, we’re subject to importing people to make up for all our 55,000,000 abortions and aberrant behaviors we now lionize as the “new normal”. Nihilism and narcissism go nowhere and necessarily destroy a society.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Tom, why are you linking nihilism and narcissism with same-sex marriage? Do you really think that gays and lesbians wanting to marry are nihilistic and narcissistic? These are not attributes that one associates with marriage. In my own city, many of the same-sex couples that recently married had already been together for decades, they had jobs and families and paid their taxes and did community service. They had often successfully raised children. Where’s the nihilism? Where’s the narcissism? I don’t see it.

                    • cestusdei

                      I oppose divorce in most cases too. I also oppose living together outside of marriage. We have decades of family deconstruction and we can see the results. Visit inner city Detroit and look around.

                    • cestusdei

                      Take a look at how children suffer when they don’t have a normal two parent family. We have been deconstructing the family for some time now and the results are plain to see. We need to bolster the family not destroy it.

                    • tom

                      Our “elites” aim to destroy all morality and all our institutions. if it’s not a Democrat in Congress, it’s a judicial dictate created out of thin air…instead of through a Constitutional Amendment. Catholics need to stop serving this Beast, especially in our endless “unjust” wars. Let the atheists and gay couples take to the trenches. Catholic Americans? No more!

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Bono95, what kind of opposition do you propose? Put your plan of action out there.

                    • Bono95

                      What are you talking about? Nowhere did I say I was proposing any opposition.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Oh, good. You had me a little worried.

                      So it’s all just hot air.

                • Scott Waddell

                  You don’t have to be Catholic to know that just because you make a lie legal, it doesn’t make it any less a lie.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    Scott, SSM is not a lie. It is a reality. If you continue to disparaging gay marriages in this way, people will think you are a crank.

                    • Bono95

                      I don’t think he’s a crank. I think he’s honest and courageous.

                    • tom

                      Gay marriage is only a chancre sore compared to our government’s investment in “single moms” who have illegitimacy heading towards 50% of live births. The diagnosis for Uncle Sam is terminal.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      You may be one, too.

                    • Bono95

                      I can live with that.

            • tom

              Then our social mores and claims to being a moral society are doomed. Worse, the “best interests of children” is subject to the gay lobby. That’s unacceptable. We need to march on our gubmint slugs…including those in bathrobes. One federal judge has even ordered a sex change operation for a man who murdered his wife under fear that massachusetts is being cruel in not paying for this mockery of nature, itself.

        • Colby

          The thing is that something isn’t true because the Church says so. Rather, she says so because it is true in the first place. If it were true that homosexual unions constitute marriage, you can believe that the Church would declare it to be the case, and then the law can follow suit, and I would be persuaded. However, that will never happen.

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        And yet couples get married all the time outside the Church who have no intention of accepting children that come. The Church is free to decline to recognize those marriages. The Church is not free to mandate that for all society marriage must involve accepting children. It is the same with same-sex marriages. The Church is free to decline to recognize same-sex marriages. The Church is not free to prevent society from opening up the marital institution to include same-sex couples. Civil marriage and Holy Matrimony are not the same thing. Countless couples throughout the country marry without any intention of going to the Catholic Church to ask if they consider the marriage they entered valid. They are still considered married for purposes of the state.

        • cestusdei

          The issue isn’t the Church preventing, rather natural law itself prevents it. There is no such thing as gay marriage. Marriage is ordered toward children even if the couple cannot conceive. Homosexuals are not free to manipulate marriage to the detriment of society.

          • Phil

            “Natural law” is an inherently religious belief. Outside of religion, the only “natural law” is science.

            • cestusdei

              Not at all. You make a common error.

              • Frank Lozera

                No, Cestusdei, Phil is right about natural law.

                • cestusdei

                  We are not discussing natural science, but rather morals.

            • Martin

              Exactly, Phil. “Natural law” is a completely subjective concept. Even within the Catholic Church, our perceptions of natural law can differ widely. It’s time to start respecting freedom of conscience.

          • Frank Lozera

            Cestusdei, gay marriage is a reality that can no longer be denied. You can stuff your ears and hold your breath until you turn blue, but that’s not going to change the fact the gay marriages exist. Your view that “marriage is ordered toward children” is a Catholic view, but many married couples do not share it. Rather than trying to foist your particular view of marriage on everyone, maybe you should consider acknowledging that there is more than one way of being married.

            • cestusdei

              It isn’t a reality. There is an objective reality that no law can deny. You can call it what you want, but it is not a marriage and never will be. You are the ones trying to foist your view on everyone else.

              • Martin

                cestusdei, you call it “objective reality”, but that is really only your opinion. Others can in good conscience disagree.

                • cestusdei

                  It isn’t just my opinion. It is the way things have been and are.

              • Frank Lozera

                Cestusdei, if I were supporting a piece of legislation that denied you the right to marry the woman you love (assuming that you are of the masculine persuasion), that would be an egregious instance of my trying to foist my view on everyone else. However, you are blogging here because you do not want me (gay) to have the right to marry (I do already have it in my state). Doesn’t that mean that you are trying to foist your view on me?

                • cestusdei

                  The issue is the definition of marriage. I can marry a woman because I am male. That is what marriage is.

        • Martin

          Exactly, Paul. The Church does not and may not, as you say, “mandate that for all society marriage must involve accepting children.” I don’t believe this is an argument that proponents of gay marriage really believe themselves since they very seldom apply it to traditional marriage, only SSM.

        • Colby

          However, marriage is not merely a social construct. Would you argue that there is no real difference between male and female, and deny the natural mutual complementarity between sexes? And do you really not think that much pressure would be brought to bear on the Church to recognize such unions? That seems disingenuous. In any case, the two parties are the ones who either enter into or don’t enter (as the case may be) the marriage. The Church just witnesses it. If the proper conditions aren’t present, the marriage is null. The state already recognizes civil marriages that the Church doesn’t, i.e. when one of the spouses is/has already been married, divorce notwithstanding. As G.K. Chesterton put it (and I paraphrase) we’ll have to differentiate between those who are married and those who are REALLY married.

          • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

            I don’t deny that the two sexes complement each other as you say but you seem to deny that there is such a thing as gay or lesbian individuals. I think any pressure brought on the church directly to recognize same-sex unions would be unsuccessful. [This is to say, I don't think anyone would force priests to perform same-sex marriages they don't believe in.]

            Of course pressure will be brought on other secular institutions run by the church (schools, adoption agencies, etc) to recognize same-sex marriages just as pressure was put on church run schools to allow interracial marriage and interracial dating. In the 70s, Evangelical run colleges lost their tax exempt status when they had policies prohibiting interracial marriage and dating. They took it to The Supreme Court but ultimately lost. (See http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0461_0574_ZS.html)

            While I agree with you that the Church just witnesses marriages, the point of my post was that the Church currently is taking a very active role in the national debate over marriage equality. Their only real arguments are based on the bible, which should not be the basis for policy arguments. If the Church just recognized that the debate is over civil marriage not religious marriage then they could stay out of it. Clearly, the bishops (and Pope Benedict) believed that not only is the Church able to join in but they are obligated to do so.

            • Colby

              I don’t deny that there are individuals with homosexual inclinations and attractions; some follow through on them, and some choose not to. We probably all know some who do, some who don’t (I commend all those who live a life of chastity, something we all are called to.) But to define an individual as gay as though that is their whole identity seems to make it harder for anyone to oppose the practice of homosexuality as distinct from persons themselves. One may be predisposed towards that action, but no one is compelled. I recognize that it may be very difficult to avoid such a relationship, if one is drawn toward it. But I don’t know that people are being honest by saying that such is “good.” As in good for society, i.e. the common good; good for the individuals involved, etc. I think the burden of proof would be on those who are trying to change the status quo. And I’m not talking about feelings of love. Marriage is not a self-serving institution.

              • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

                I recognize that using the term gay makes opposition to homosexuality interlinked with the person. I recognize the Church’s teachings on chastity but I also know human nature. Few people are called to chastity (as some would call asexual, completely unattracted to the idea of sexual relations with others) and for those gay men who are not, living a life of chastity is quite difficult.

                Considering that such a teaching is enough to push those lacking in faith to leave the Church entirely, I don’t see how it benefits them. Few young people are truly able to live by the Church’s rules that prohibit premarital intercourse and yet they are rarely singled out for their failings. At least then they are told to be chaste until they can marry. I doubt very many of the commenters here who suggest gay men should live chaste lives would be able to do the same themselves. Even many priests have difficulties with chastity, thus the whole scandal of child abuse.

        • tedseeber

          Exactly- which is why we need the government to stop issuing marriage certificates entirely.

      • Bono95

        Yeah, in places where true marriage is known, understood, and embraced, we get the simple, sane, and obvious titles of Mother and Father.

        You might ask the “progenitors A and B” people why they stop at B? There’s 24 other letters in the English alphabet, and more Spanish, Cyrilic, Cambodian, etc. Can a child have as many progenitors as a given alphabet provides letters for?

      • Martin

        Colby, it’s just fine if you want to apply that condition to your own marriage. What is NOT OK is for you to insist that everyone else has the same “proper intention.” How many straight people get married with no intention of having children? Should a woman who has lost her uterus to cancer be forbidden from marrying? It’s very easy to tear down your argument.

        • Colby

          We have to differentiate between civil marriage and sacramental marriage. Either our idea of marriage is in accord with reality or it isn’t. Why did God say in the Bible that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife? Did He not mean it?

        • Colby

          And, to answer your question, no, a woman who lost her cancer to uterus should not be forbidden to marry. Provided she does nothing of her own accord to prevent children, she does not invalidate the marriage.

  • dch

    Getting desperate now I see by pulling in fictional characters and hypotheticals. Why resort to hypothetical examples when there are thousands of same sex couples to analyze to find the harms to society caused by their marriages. You lose in court because REAL people show up and demand equality and your side shows up with gibberish.
    In a few weeks this will be a dead topic until the SCOTUS announces the outcomes of he DOMA and Prop 8 cases (no matter the outcomes). The facts remain unchanged – its perfectly legal for same sex couples to marry in nine states, give it another year and it will be ten or eleven. Then a few more years will pass and even fewer people will oppose it – then the existing bans will be tested in courts and people will sue for equal treatment and win.

    • Scott Waddell

      Believers in true marriage do indeed have to prepare for the possibility that barren same-sex mutual-masturbation arrangements legally rubberstamped “marriage” will become the rule of the land. But we have already had a foretaste of the feast of ashes and scorpions to come: People have been fired from jobs for refusing to affirm false same-sex marriage, charities have been forced out of providing their services, and one woman had to flee the country with her biological daughter to escape her creepy lesbian ex-“spouse”. This is only going to get worse and recently I heard the most astonishingly frank admission from a same-sex “marriage” supporter when he said in essence: “You guys are paranoid talking about persecution. It’s not going to happen, but if it does, you guys deserve it.”

      • BradCav

        Scott, you take a number of liberties with the facts in your assertions. Those who were fired were done so for failing to uphold the standards and ethics of practice as dictated by their own professional governing body or university. And that number is virtually non-existent to the number of gay and lesbian people who have been fired, denied employment, housing, or faced other very real discrimination for simply coming out of the closet. Catholic Charities were told that as a condition of accepting public money, they would have to abide by the state’s non-discrimination laws. Rather than obey the law, they chose to cease serving orphaned children. Disapproval of and discrimination against gay people was more important than fulfilling Christ’s own command to serve “the least of these.” Lisa Miller is a federal fugitive who fled the country to defy a court order to share custody of their daughter with her former partner. None of these make particularly good examples of religious persecution. Rather they are better examples of religious communities throwing a tantrum when they are not extended a special privilege to operate outside the law.

        • Scott Waddell

          On the Lisa Miller case, one of my friends posed a question to a proponent of same sex marriage asking if he would obey a law that required heterosexual couples to give up children to homosexual couples in the name of “family diversity”. After much dodging, hemming and hawing, he finally admitted that he would. Interestingly enough, on the way to admitting this, he also admitted he would return a slave to his master under the Fugitive Slave Act. He said he would countenance the lesser injustice of returning him against the greater injustice of breaking the law. How returning a slave was the “lesser” injustice wasn’t clear. What was clear however was the legalism to the point of insanity. Let no one defy a court order even if the heavens should fall! This is the blueprint–make the Truth illegal and make the truthful criminals.

        • cestusdei

          Some cub scouts were told they could not meet in a public school just this week because they don’t allow homosexuals. Some are already arguing that teaching religion to your children is child abuse. The real issue is that forcing us to obey the homosexual agenda is more important then placing children in good homes, to you.

          • tom

            The best interests of the child be damned. It’s all about our narcissistic LGBT brothers and sisters, now.

            • Frank Lozera

              No, Bono95, it is in the best interests of all children to be taught to obey the law and not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or certain other categories.

              • Bono95

                Is it in the best interests of all children for them to obey laws that discriminate against traditional marriage and family? How about laws that say women can kill their children at any time for any reason?

                • Frank Lozera

                  Wow! Bono95! Is there REALLY a law that allows women to kill their children at any time for any reason? I didn’t KNOW that! Can you give more details? This is horrible!

                  • Bono95

                    Sure, I’ll give you more details. Right now, a girl as young as 12 or 13 can access various drugs that increase her risk of breast cancer, cause weight gain, and can lead to fatal blood clotting without her parents knowing she’s taking these things.
                    She can also get any baby who doesn’t get killed or “prevented” by the contraceptives sucked out of her womb and torn to shreds by a vacuum device, have him dismembered with (often unsterile) forceps, poison him with saline injections, have him left to die without medical assistance if the saline fails, or have him forcibly turned into a feet downwards position, push out all of his body except for his head, have the “doctor” cut a hole the baby’s skull and suck his brains out with a device 29 times more powerful than a household vacuum, than deliver the dead body and have it tossed into the nearest dumpster.
                    The girl or woman can legally do this if the baby’s interfering with her empowered lifestyle, to avoid taunting, if the baby has a disability or is the “wrong” gender (usually female), or for any other reason (or no reason) whatsoever.
                    The laws vary from state to state, but all states allow some form of this abomination, and if the HHS Mandate goes through, everybody’s gonna be barfing up their hard-earned cash to fund it whether they want to or not.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      But Bono95, you had earlier claimed that a woman could legally kill her children at any time for any reason. Are you backing away from that claim?

                    • Bono95

                      No, I was saying that some states don’t allow things like sex-selection abortion, but others do, and baby-killing in some form is legal everywhere in America. Again, how is supporting laws like that good for children?

                • Martin

                  Bono95 writes, “Is it in the best interests of all children for them to obey laws that discriminate against traditional marriage and family?”
                  How do laws discriminate against traditional marriage and family? This claim of discrimination is not an argument. It’s a whine. It’s a self-centered demand that a MINORITY (and yes — those who oppose SSM are now a minority and a shrinking one at that) should be allowed to continue to discriminate against gays. Well, sorry. That might have worked in the past, but the number of straight allies for SSM has reached critical mass, so the true discrimination is finally nearing an end.

            • Martin

              What is narcissistic is trying to deny others an opportunity to marry someone they love just because you have a problem with it. And what is a “good home”? Is that one that teaches a child bigotry? Gay couples can be better parents in some cases than straight couples. You hear so much about the horrors of boys growing up without fathers, but the same people can’t stand the thought of the boy growing up with two fathers.

          • Frank Lozera

            Cestudei, it is certain atheists, not “the” homosexuals, who are arguing that religious instruction to children is a form of child abuse. Why are you conflating all these different issues if not to smear and besmirch homosexuals?

            • cestusdei

              They are fellow travelers and often the same people. It is your side that does the smearing and besmirching.

        • Bono95

          How do you know Mr. Waddell is taking liberties? The gay rights movement is newer than cell phones and the internet, and chances are the jobs the people lost weren’t. When most of the people working today first got their jobs, at no time and under no circumstances were they expected to cave in to any homosexual agendas, because there were no agendas. Now, they’ve come along and are forcibly crushing anyone who stands in their way.

          • Frank Lozera

            Bono95, Brad is correct. I’ve investigated so many of these claims about denial of rights, and I can’t remember a single one that had any legs. It is a common misconception that gays are “crushing” anyone who stands in their way. It they were, you could cite robust examples. Instead, the ones you do cite are groundless. They have made the circuit countless times and have been endlessly refuted by actual evidence. Nevertheless, they keep popping up like dandelions.

            • Bono95

              How is cub scouts denied a school meeting place groundless? Is it OK to fire, ignore, or otherwise harass people just because they have well-formed consciences and know how to listen to them even if they’re oppressed for it?

              • Frank Lozera

                Bono95, as public institutions, public schools may not discriminate against people on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. And they may not host organizations that do so. The BSA has to play by the rules. Isn’t this what they’re supposed to teach boys?

                • Bono95

                  They’re supposed to teach boys that it’s OK to discriminate against anybody who says homosexuality is wrong?

                  • Frank Lozera

                    Wait. I’m trying to figure that one out… OK, I think I got it.

                    So, some states have anti-discrimination laws that apply to sexual orientation. So if I am a gay restaurant owner, I cannot deny service to a straight guy. That would be illegal.

                    But you appear to think that those laws actually discriminate against the discriminators. So if you repeal the law, you will be discriminating against those who have discriminated against the discriminators. And if I oppose the repeal effort, then I will be discriminating against those who discriminate against those who have discriminated against the discriminators.

                    What do you think the boy scouts should be taught? That it’s okay to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation? And should they be taught to obey the law, or to disobey it?

                    • tom

                      Have you been drinking? You make no sense and certainly have no understanding of what the Church considers intrinsic evil. Immoral laws should NEVER be obeyed.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Tom, I’m just trying to figure out your and Bono’s position about what boy scouts should be taught. So I gather that you think that they should be taught to disobey immoral laws. There might be some merit to that position, but then I should think you’d want to be very careful about teaching that certain laws are immoral. Because the boy scouts are youth, and because resisting the law can be a very dangerous and even deadly path for them, I should think you’d want to encourage them to reflect and wait until they are more mature before deciding to resist the law.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      Socrates asks in the Crito, ” Has a philosopher like you failed to discover that our country is more to be valued and higher and holier far than mother or father or any ancestor, and more to be regarded in the eyes of the gods and of men of understanding? also to be soothed, and gently and reverently entreated when angry, even more than a father, and if not persuaded, obeyed? And when we are punished by her, whether with imprisonment or stripes, the punishment is to be endured in silence; and if she leads us to wounds or death in battle, thither we follow as is right; neither may anyone yield or retreat or leave his rank, but whether in battle or in a court of law, or in any other place, he must do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their view of what is just:”

                • tom

                  The Boy Scouts shouldn’t have to admit gays or LGBT types into their tent.
                  Why, Frank Lozera, would you want them to do so?

                  • Frank Lozera

                    I think the burden is on you, Tom. Why wouldn’t you want homosexual men to supervise boys? And why wouldn’t you want gay boys to be members of the scouts?

                    • Bono95

                      Because I wouldn’t want my son or brother to be in danger of sexual harassment from his scout masters or fellow scouts.

                    • cestusdei

                      Homosexual men taking young boys camping? What could go wrong?

                    • Todd August

                      Why don’t you tell us about it cestu – describe to us the scene going on in your head.

              • tom

                They live in a state of denial with respect to their gay rights demands, and consider anyone in the way of their juggernaut…child or “normal” family….expendable. it’s mean-spirited to say the least and crushing to any attempt to have a moral society. They even forced UPS to stop contributing to the Boy Scouts of America.

                • Frank Lozera

                  Bono95, how did they “force UPS” to stop contributing to the BSA? Did they come in a threaten to bust up the joint? Did they make threats or break people’s knees? And what is this “juggernaut” metaphor? You mean like Godzilla? Or are you talking about the antagonist of the mutant superhero team in X-Men? In either case, maybe it’s time to put aside the comic books.

                  • tom

                    The LGBT lobby is far more effective than the Bishops’ conference. Our Catholic leaders are timid souls, bowled over by the like of a Biden or Pelosi, with her questions about our “conscience thing”. We need clergy with backbone to fight intrinsic evil and grave sin.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Well, then, Tom, why don’t you get some clergy with backbone instead of blaming the LGBT lobby for their successes? All you’ve done is acknowledge that gays are good at pushing their agenda and that the Catholic bishops are not.

                • http://twitter.com/anthonymarks5 anthony marks

                  What bothers me about these tiny groups being able to force companies to do their bidding is that we Christians, if we would just band together, could shut down UPS or any other business that went against our beliefs. Somehow, we have to find a way to unite, forget our petty differences and stop them. An organized Christian boycott could change everything.

                  • tom

                    Well said. Chrsitians have been losing the culture war against the heathens since the 19th century. it started with Europe which is now non-Christian and is enveloping America. The simplest way is to direct Christians away from our unjust wars and military life in general. Catholics need a more muscular conscientious objector system. That’ll get our “elites”s attention because their kids avoid combat, completely. Let the gays join the USMC. Christians will go to a Catholic school and get a good job, with the help of other Catholics. No more missing legs!

                    • Bono95

                      This culture war started with the Protestant Revolt. Questioning and rejecting the Catholic Church ultimately leads to questioning and rejecting God himself.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    Anthony, you can start the boycott now. Just refuse to buy any products from Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks, Facebook, Google, JC Penney, Morgan Stanley, Nike, Verizon, Levi Strauss, AIG, … the list is far too long for me to reproduce here.

                    And, in case you haven’t already figured this out, you’re not going to shut down these companies. Just last week, Starbucks CEOs announced that you can take your money and invest it elsewhere. They don’t want your business.

      • tom

        At some stage, we have to take to the streets. Our ruling elites” will push us as far as they can, but fear ‘the people” only when a million of us march down Broadway or into a state capitol building. It gives them shivers. Yakkitu yak makes them laugh at us. Biden’s typical of these nihilists.

    • Martin

      I agree, dch. How are we supposed to find a fictitious situation compelling? How many cases of brothers trying to get married have occurred? And why are the partners in this scenario both such weirdos? Is the author trying to imply that all gay men are curmudgeons? If so, that would be very bigoted!

    • tedseeber

      And with that last, will start the lawsuits against Churches and the destruction of public worship in America.

  • John Kinsella

    Wow! I have never read such a compelling article outlining what is at stake in the postmodern attempt to rewrite our dictionaries beginning (typically postmodern) not at A but at M for Marriage. Thank you Professor Esolen for a thought provoking article

    • Phil

      How can you call this article “compelling” and “thought-provoking” when you already agreed with it before you read it?

      • Augustus

        Just because you might agree with the conclusion doesn’t mean you can’t be moved or surprised or intrigued by well-crafted original arguments. Learn to make distinctions between premises and conclusions. It’s basic logic.

        • Phil

          Perhaps, but it’s worthless and sycophantic praise nevertheless.

          • Scott Waddell

            You are carping at this point.

  • GrahamCombs

    Kentucky legislators in anticipation of the legalization of same-sex marriage have passed and then overridden a gubantorial veto of House Bill 279 to guarantee religious liberty specifically under the highest possible constitutional standard, that is a compelling state interest. In response the gay activist lobby including the govenor and the media have labeled their actions precipitous and implied they were motivated by bigotry. So we can’t win either way. Gay marriage is intended to truncate religious freedom. That’s its main goal. The Church, at least many in the Church, is a threat to a political agenda not a civil rights agenda. The morphing of civil rights into power movements is an old story and it never has a good ending especially for those it says it is trying to defend. Prof. Esolen hits it on the head, in a “saner time,” that is not a time of madness such as ours.

  • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

    The irony with your use of the word friendship to define same-sex marriages as many others have before you is that when you look at marriages where a gay man marries a straight woman the only thing that could define their relationship is the word friendship. The only reason they think that they might have a chance at a life long marriage is because they are best friends. Countless gay and lesbian people over the years have married their best friend of the opposite sex in order to fit in and conform to society’s expectations. The majority of these marriages ended horribly because friendship is not enough to sustain a relationship. Inevitably the gay man in the relationship realizes that he can’t lie to himself anymore and the marriage ends, leaving the straight spouse scarred and without the ability to trust.

    This then brings us to the question of what separates friendship from romance? While engaging in sex is generally one of those things, it is one of many. Romance also tends to include kissing, holding hands, looking longingly into one another’s eyes, and the feeling that the other person is so interconnected to you that they are your significant other. Correct, there is no requirement for opposite-sex couples to be in love to marry any more than same-sex couples are required to be in love to marry. However, I doubt that you will find two men who decide to marry without the romance. To suggest that no same sex relationship is anything more than a deep friendship is to deny the reality of countless couples who are deeply in love.

    • Scott Waddell

      Infatuation that involves disordered sexual contact is not love.

      • Frank Lozera

        Scott, homosexual sex is not disordered according to every medical and psychological association in this country. The World Health Organization has said, and I quote, “Homosexuality is not a disorder.” The view that homosexuality is disordered is a minority religious view unsupported by medical evidence.

        • cestusdei

          It was taken out of the DSM due to politics not science.

          • Frank Lozera

            And a “myth” is a way of denying an unpalatable reality.

            • tom

              Why are you intent on scuttling a moral society to replace it with the Death of abortion, homosexual trysts, disease and narcissism? Your mixed up, Frank. Did you ever have a moral compass?

              • Frank Lozera

                Tom, you must be mistaken. I am a highly moral person. I am neither diseased nor narcissistic. What are you talking about?

            • cestusdei

              Like the myth that there is such a thing as “homosexual marriage?”

              • Frank Lozera

                Cestusdei, you seem to have trouble accepting reality. Hundreds of thousands of gay couples are “married.” You can deny this simple fact until the cows come home, but it will still be true.

                • cestusdei

                  The reality is that some homosexuals live together in sin. That isn’t marriage. That is the truth and you can deny it, but it will always be true. Even if you kill all of us who say it, it will still be true.

          • Malik

            It was in their in the first place because of prejudice, not science.

            • cestusdei

              Not at all. They now ban any science about homosexuality out of PC fears.

  • Mike

    Tony is the man!

  • cestusdei

    Excellent. There is no mention of scripture or Catholicism. He uses arguments that are secular and shows the natural truth of things. No one can claim he is “trying to impose his religion etc.” Thanks.

    • Scott Waddell

      Correct. Even the ancient Greeks, arguable rather permissive about homosexual acts, were never so out to sea that they thought two men made a marriage. Only in this ideological age of self-contradicting moral relativism can such monstrosities exist.

      • cestusdei

        Ancient Greeks didn’t have gay marriage. They knew what marriage was for. But using your logic, since pederasty was practiced at times among them then you have no objection to it?

        • Scott Waddell

          I think you are misreading me. That was my point: Greeks would have found same-sex marriage ludicrous.

          • cestusdei

            Oh, sorry. It is hard to tell sometimes when I have several posts on one subject.

  • publiusnj

    At the Prop 8 oral argument, Judge Kagan arrogantly tried to dismiss Procreation as a reason for limiting Marriage to male-female couples on the ground that some male-female couples (those over 55 for sure) cannot have children. Supposedly, even Justice Scalia dismissed that distinction out of hand (actually,he didn’t; he made a joke to point out how arrogant her decision to prevent traditional couples over 55 from marrying would be). Yet, Procreation and its result: children living with their parents is the key reason why Marriage shouldbe reserved for couples that at least have the possibility of propagation.
    The simple truth of the matter is that, if “Marriage” is limited to two lovers’ living arrangements, “Gay Marriage” is necessarily infertile. Always and not as an exception as in “Opposite Sex” Marriage. Even if one of the two “GM” participants decides to put his/her genetic material into play in an effort to generate a child and the other “spouse” concurs in that quest, “GM” necessarily requires the outsourcing of the provision of opposite sex genetic material from an outsider to the “GM”. That means, among other things, that the product of any such conception enterprise will be raised in a “family” arrangement in which one of his parents has to be absent. Thus, no “child of a Gay Marriage” can be the blood of the blood and flesh of the flesh of both the people raising him/her.
    Why is it good to have parents that are blood of the blood and flesh of the flesh of the child? Because they are more likely to have the natural affection for the child that a non-blood member of the “GM” cannot have. Sure, some “biological parents” end up disregarding their obligations (particularly given Society’s withdrawal of any taboo from non-marital sex) or otherwise abusing their children physically or even sexually. Yet, adoptive parents are not necessarily saints either, and when the child is their “spouse’s” natural child there may even be some level of jealousy or even other unacceptable emotions.
    At best, a non-parent “Gay Spouse” can only love his/her spouse’s natural born child as someone else’s child, perhaps adopted but not natural. By contrast, a child born of his married mother and father’s love in the course of a marriage that survives, will be raised by both parents. Even if one of the parents of a Traditional marriage somehow disregards his/her responsibilities, the other spouse is also the flesh and blood parent of the child and can stand up for his/her blood. That blood relation is probably a lot more certain a protection than any state’s “Division of Youth and Family Services employee.”

    • Amazed

      And the couples where one is infertile who use a sperm donor or egg surrogate?
      Wow, y’all are way outdated.

      • publiusnj

        Nothing outdated about Biology. I am simply making the point that not all males feel a need to support the children of the spouse they are living with, particularly not when someone else sired them. To take the male-female couple example you offer: the husband in a marriage that outsources the provision of sperm to a stranger donor is NOT the flesh and blood progenitor of any resulting issue. What that non-contributor “legal” father (since the law presumes paternity of issue born during a marriage) might think/feel about the child can span the gamut from jealousy and resentment on the one hand to the most selfless LOVE imaginable, I suppose, but the fact remains that he would only be fooling himself if he conceived of the child as his own flesh and blood. It is that simple.
        And in “gay marriage” when one spouse has contributed genetic material to a conception, the other “spouse” CANNOT be the father. If the spousal contribution was an egg, then the “gay marriage’ was female-female and the other spouse could not have contributed sperm and therefore cannot be the “father.” If the other spouse’s contribution was sperm, there is even less reason to “presume” a non-contributing male spouse had anything to do with the pregnancy. The pregant woman is not married to him and his male “spouse” was the contributor.
        Wow, you know, the more you have made me think about this, males in male-female couples are being discriminated against in the maintenance of that legal presumption of paternity. If one loves a woman instead of a man, one should not be any the more put upon by a legal presumption that makes no sense in many “marriages.”

      • enness

        Precisely. There is a biological parent out there, who is not one of them, and they are deliberately depriving the child of that parent — for what? What is a good reason to do that? Children are not objects for filling some void in adult lives. They are not owed to anyone.

      • tedseeber

        IVF is just as much against Catholic Teaching as Gay Marriage.

    • Esquire

      One, you are incorrect about the genetic material. Science is soaring in this aspect where it is already possible for a person to have 3 genetic parents. Secondly, even if you’re argument that traditional marriage is better, no one has yet, nor can they seem to, explain how same-sex marriage would cause the decline in traditional marriage. National divorce rates are already above 50 percent as are divorce rates among practicing Christians. The way I see it, you heterosexuals have done more than enough to devalue marriage and now when a group of people want to join the institution, screaming to our young and old how important marriage actually is, you tell them they can’t join. Your argument basically tells the young of America marriage isn’t that special, at least not enough to be a fundamental right. If any side favors the importance of marriage, it is the side of promoting marriage as a right.

  • Malik

    This article is not going to impress anyone who isn’t already opposed to SSM. There is no logical argument here. The slippery slope argument that SSM will open the door to incest, polygamy, and people marrying box turtles is absurd.

    • tom

      The box turtles have had the good sense to run (albeit slowly) for the hills with these lechers taking over society and attempting to gain access to the children.

      • Rick McCallister

        Yes, because studies show how many more pedophiles are gay… Oh wait, the exact OPPOSITE is true.

        • Todd August

          Thank you Rick. Jesus, these people are awful.

          • Bono95

            If we’re so awful, why are you hanging around here?

            • Bono95

              And please do not take Jesus’s name in vain like that.

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  • paleo

    There is no use using logic, reason and common sense when refuting the abnormal insanity of “homosexual marriage.” The only “reasoning” the judiciary and the elite are making nowadays is based on
    idiotic so called arguments that are so full of holes that they would
    make Swiss cheese look whole, but it doesn’t matter one iota since
    homosexual marriage is to be forced down the throats of society no
    matter it’s illogical insanity. and contrary to what homosexual pundits
    have been preaching for years it will have(and is having) devastating
    consequences on society which is obviously what happens when a blatant
    lie is regarded as truth.

    • Frank Lozera

      Paleo, what are the “devastating consequences” that same-sex marriage is having for society? The attorney defending Prop 8 in the SCOTUS hearing wasn’t able to name any, and he was extremely well-paid and well-prepped. Why is SSM “illogical insanity,” and what do you think are the harms resulting from it?

      • Scott Waddell

        Persecution for refusing to affirm the lie of same-sex “marriage”. It’s actually quite astonishing how fast the rot is spreading. At first we were assured that it won’t affect heterosexuals in any way. Then we start seeing those on the side of true marriage losing their jobs, parents not given the ability to opt out of sex-ed propaganda classes that teach homosexual normality. But the The Usual Suspects just scoffed and said, “Hey, want to work for someone, you gotta abide by their ethics policies!” knowing full well that every place of employment will eventually be coerced into adopting “diversity” mission statements. Then recently, I was told point-blank by a same-sex “marriage” advocate that we deserved persecution.

        • Frank Lozera

          Scott, do you have any idea how many major U.S. Corporations and municipalities recently signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting same-sex marriage in the DOMA case? There were nearly 300 of them, and they included Adobe, Amazon, Apple, CBS, Cisco Systems, Citigroup, eBay, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Google, Intel, JetBlue Airways, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss, Mars, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nike, Pfizer, Planet Fitness, Starbucks, Sun Life Financial, Twitter, Viacom, the Walt Disney Company, and Xerox. They were joined by the cities of Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, Providence, San Francisco, and Seattle, among others.

          It is important to understand why they did this, and I think you will be surprised. I would recommend Googling “U.S. Corporations Supporting Same-Sex Marriage” and finding articles from major news sources.

          As I write, I am sitting in one of the libraries of a large state university. There are about 100 young people here, and most of them are not “white.” A large number of them are of Asian origin. They come from a huge variety of backgrounds and are religious and non-religious in a variety of ways. Most are probably straight, but many are gay. All these people get along, and the university hums like a well-tuned engine. This could not happen if the university did not have robust anti-discrimination policies. No one is excluded or disparaged on the basis of their sexual orientation. Any student or faculty/staff member who publicly and inappropriately did disparage gays would probably be disciplined. Do you think this is unfair and unjust?

          To call this a “spread of rot” is just crazy. Everyone in the world seems to be slowly figuring this out, but you still do not get the “diversity” thing. And yes, you will eventually find yourself marginalized because of your paleo-Conservative opinions. I’ve seen it happen to so many people, especially as they grow older. The world changes rapidly around them as they cling to worn-out paradigms. Yours is threadbare.

          • Sigfridii

            I have been sitting in university libraries for forty years, surrounded by many people from different cultures, languages and social classes. For much of the early time during that forty years, free speech was guaranteed on campus, and – mirabile dictu! – the whole thing worked just fine. Everyone got along and despite the absence of draconian laws about “sexual orientation” there was no “discrimination or disparagement” of the imaginary kind used to justify the overturning of civil society in order to impose homosexualist dogma of the kind your comment neatly illustrates.

            But now there is suspicion – hostility – people delating other people to the authorities with accusations of discrimination, disrespect, dissent of any and every imaginable kind. And not just in universities, but as you record, major employers, states, political parties, are jumping on the bandwagon, fearful of being accused of anything other than cheerleading the way to a world defined by people’s sexual preferences.

            Some of us have seen it all before, behind the Iron Curtain, and in a host of repressive societies throughout the last and present centuries. A climate of fear, inculcated by a State which has decided to impose an ideology on all its citizens, and to police it by denunciation, secret courts, hidden rules, exclusion from employment and education, and ultimately by fines and imprisonment.

            And we are only at the beginning of this particular ideological curve. It is designed to destroy, not to extend or enhance marriage, which it sees as a bulwark against its corrosive design of overturning freedom, justice, the rule of law, and turning people into workers within a wholly materialistic society governed by fiat issued by a central directorate. The place of religion as the opium of the people is being taken by pornography, drugs and complete abandonment of any kind of morality in favour of sexual gratification on the street corners. Welcome to East Germany, North Korea, Gotham City, and Las Vegas – the deconstructed society of the future.

            • Rick McCallister

              Sig, freedom of speech doesn’t prevent others from non-violently reacting to your speech with their own expression. Speech always has consequences, whether you like it or not.

          • Scott Waddell

            Depends on what you mean by disparage. Show me ANY of these corporations that explicitly say it is acceptable for an employee to not believe same-sex marriages are real, then we can talk. That’s my point: believing in true marriage is going to be counted as “disparaging”. The truth never becomes worn out. Chopping off my legs and wearing a funny generals does not make me Napoleon. It won’t make any one else that does it Napoleon a hundred years from now. Same-sex “marriage” is a lie given a legal rubberstamp by a government that has taken leave of its senses.

        • Rick McCallister

          So because you don’t like being called a bigot, tens of millions of people shouldn’t have equal rights? Grow up.

          • Scott Waddell

            When did I say anything about being called a bigot? No, I don’t particularly like it, but I expect it. That’s what happens when a society wages war against truth. Same-sex “marriages” are lies with a legal rubberstamp. There is no such thing as equal rights for falsehoods.

            • Todd August

              …or biblical fairy tale nonsense…oh and btw, yes you are a bigot Scott, so it’s a good thing that you “expect it”. Gives you an excuse to play the martyr.

  • Ford Oxaal

    Marriage is society’s oldest and most venerable institution, and it is all about how society creates and raises children. A discussion of marriage cannot overlook a discussion about raising children. If marriage does not involve children, nothing does. The article shows the irrationality of homosexual marriage from the standpoint of the partners: either it enshrines and promotes sodomy, or it opens marriage to friends and brothers. All that remains is to show the irrationality of homosexual marriage from the standpoint of raising children. What is normal by any measure whatsoever is that a child is raised by the natural mother and father, ergo, what is next best is that a child is raised by an adoptive mother and father. The raising of children by homosexual couples is abnormal, and will always be abnormal, and therefore should not be promoted and enshrined by society. A society which embraces homosexual marriage enshrines and promotes the abnormal.

    • Frank Lozera

      No, Ford. I don’t know how you can continue to make such arguments. First, your view that marriage is about procreation is a particular religious view not supported in civil law. Civil law does not require there to be children or even any intention of procreating.

      Second, your view that gay marriage “enshrines” sodomy is about as absurd as a claim that heterosexual marriage “enshrines” violence against women. Lesbians are not famous for practicing sodomy. Many homosexuals do not practice it, and many heterosexuals do. On the other hand, abortions are almost exclusively had by heterosexuals. Maybe heterosexual sex “enshrines” abortion?

      Homosexual marriage opens marriage to siblings? No. It doesn’t. Heterosexual consanguinous marriage is potentially harmful in that it increases the risk of inherited diseases in offspring. The state has a compelling interest in prohibiting such marriages. It has no compelling interest in denying marriage equality to homosexuals.

      There is nothing abnormal or “disordered” about homosexuality. All the major health and social care organizations say so, including the World Health Organization.

      • Scott Waddell

        All the major health and social care organizations say so, including the World Health Organization

        You mean the same people that think it is acceptable to reach into a woman’s womb with forceps and shred an innocent human to pieces? It is disordered. You know it is disordered. Repent while you still can.

        • Rick McCallister

          Sigh, go thump a Bible to somebody who cares about your infantile definitions of when life begins.

          • Bono95

            That might be hard. There are at least 55 million unborn people in the US alone who care, and who were murdered by people who don’t. I’m born and I care, and so do many others. Mr. Waddell can thump his Bible with me any day.

            • Rick McCallister

              They’re clumps of cells. Not human beings.

              • Augustus

                I recommend you educate yourself by spending a few minutes with a biology textbook before you embarrass yourself further with more profoundly ignorant comments about human development.

              • Bono95

                If that’s true, then that means that you also were a clump of cells until you were born or until whenever your mother decided that you achieved human status. Anytime before you became a person then, your mother could have poisoned, starved, decapitated, disemboweled, crushed, or otherwise tortured and killed you without committing murder because she had decided that you were not human. Are you sure you’re OK with that blob-of-cells concept?

      • Bono95

        heterosexual sodomy? That’s a contradiction in terms. Heterosexuals can and unfortunately many do perform adultery in a sick variety of ways, but by definition, sodomy can not be committed heterosexually.

        • Esquire

          Um, actually the definition of sodomy is any sex that isn’t vaginal. Last I checked, heterosexuals could have anal or oral sex. Thus, yes, heterosexuals can commit “sodomy”.

          • Frank Lozera

            Heterosexuals can and do commit sodomy. A CDC poll of thousands of people between 15 and 44 from 2006 through 2008 found that 44 percent of straight men and 36 percent of straight women admitted to having had anal sex at least once in their lives. And then there’s oral sex: A 2012 National Health Statistics study showed that about 2/3 of females and males aged 15-24 and polled in 2007-2010 had had oral sex.

        • Rick McCallister

          Bono, if you don’t know that sodomy exists in heterosexual relationships, I feel bad for your SO.

          • Bono95

            SO? What’s my SO?

      • publiusnj

        Frank Lozera would limit homosexual marriage to non-siblings only. Why? There is simply no rational basis to permit some same-sex “marriages” and prevent others, so long as the participants have both attained their majority. If the marriage of two siblings or a father and his son is homosexual, there is no concern for issue that is the product of incest. In for a penny, in for a pound in this, the “land of the free to abort and the home of the gay.”

      • Ford Oxaal

        It is normal for children to be raised by their mother and father. Any other arrangement is abnormal by degrees. It is in society’s interest that children be raised in the normal manner. If the natural mother and father cannot raise the child, the next most normal thing is for a foster mother and father to raise the child. Those are the facts, not a religious argument.

    • Rick McCallister

      Dead wrong, Ford. Infertile, post-menopausal, and couples who simply choose not to have children have recognized marriages.

      And not a single study in the world suggests that kids are harmed by having a same-sex parentage upbringing.

      • Ford Oxaal

        –>”post-menopausal…”

        So what? That’s like saying cars aren’t for driving because sometimes they don’t work. It’s like a bad joke of an argument — a mantra that makes no sense.

        –> “not a single study…”

        Studies are for people who need a manual for raising children, because for whatever reason, Darwin has selected against them in terms of progeny. These so-called studies, bought and paid for by interested parties, are mostly pure nonsense and hogwash, discredited a few years after they come out. At best, they are a sales pitch. Here is the plain truth: kids need normal, not abnormal. Normal is a Mother and a Father, not two Moms, two Dads, or Woody Allen and his pet horse. It really is that simple.

        • Rick McCallister

          LMAO so all the evidence against your bigoted preconceptions don’t count, because it’s evidence?

          You have fun being as unimpressive as humanly possible. It’s the logic of a child plugging their ears and screaming.

          • Ford Oxaal

            Facts speak for themselves. No matter how much money you spend trying to rationalize taking a child away from a normal family life, the fact remains: a child has a mother and a father, and a child needs a mother and a father.

            • Rick McCallister

              You don’t know what a fact is, do you?

              • Ford Oxaal

                Well, you tell me then. Is the following statement a fact: It is normal for a child to be raised by their mother and father (that means a female and a male) — by any measure of normal?

                • Rick McCallister

                  No, it’s not “normal.” The nuclear family is an advent of the post-war era.

                  • Ford Oxaal

                    Here is another fact: There are no stronger ties than blood — family ties.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Papa-Mincho/100000631305321 Papa Mincho

    So marriage isn’t about feelings? So straight couples who simply don’t want to have kids or can’t have kids don’t have a ‘final cause’ to their union? So your marriage is invalid if the sex is boring or less than perfect? Gotcha, Esolen!

    Thanks for providing a complete list of your writings, so I can avoid them.

    • Scott Waddell

      Perhaps you ought to avoid them if you are going to provide such tendentious and unjust interpretations of them.

      • Rick McCallister

        His interpretation is spot-on, you simply don’t like that he posted it. Go ahead and explain where he’s incorrect.

        • Scott Waddell

          I can’t explain when someone is being incoherent and reading an article in bad faith. No one could read it and reasonably conclude that it argues that boring sex invalidates a marriage.

          • Rick McCallister

            Except that the entire premise of the article is based on the concept that achieving the ultimate act defining marriage is vaginal sex. this is nothing but bigoted sexual judgements.

  • http://twitter.com/BrianCDunning Brian Dunning

    Brilliant. I hope my daughter goes to Providence College so that she can take your classes. Maybe they’ll let me go with her from time to time.

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  • whatsup54321

    I think this is the best presentation regarding what some would call “same sex marriage” I have ever read!

  • The_Repentant_Curmudgeon

    Those who want to redefine marriage are turning it into a meaningless farce, and they appear to be driving the car on this matter in a handful of states. Maybe we should move out foot over on top of theirs and push the accelerator to the floor….

    I can’t say I have given this idea more than a moment’s thought, but here it is: Perhaps Christian men should start “marrying” their Christian brothers and sons in every state that redefines marriage. It makes no difference if you are already married. Such men (and women) should work this out with their church first so that everyone knows what they are up to.

    It would be no good for a handful of people to do this. It would have to be a coordinated programs with hundreds of participants from the states that have redefined.

  • Rick McCallister

    There are literally hundreds of federal rights and privileges, protected by the 14th amendment, not covered by power-of-attorney agreements. What a garbage article.

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