Marrying Your Porn-laden Computer?

Computer-love

Catholics are accused of blind prejudice, even of being guilty of a hate crime, if they espouse the traditional Christian teaching on marriage, specifically that by its very nature it can only be between a man and a woman.

How can you deprive a man of his freedom in this most intimate area of expressing his love? How dare you make judgments about his behavior when what he wants to do is make a life-long marital commitment. Doesn’t he have the right to define marriage the way he sees fit? Isn’t all this talk about the nature of things, in this case the “supposed” nature of marriage, just a smoke-screen to justify blindness and prejudicial revulsion?

In the face of such crowd-pleasing appeals to subjectivity and the unfettered pursuit of happiness, how can Catholics explain themselves without appearing mindless and Neanderthal? A recent extreme case in Florida gives us a chance to explain ourselves, perhaps even to the most closed-minded gay-rights activist.

A Florida man, Mr. Chris Sevier, is now suing in both Florida and Utah for the right to marry his porn-laden computer. As reported by David Milward at the London Telegraph, he wants to officially marry is Macbook:

His arguments are the familiar ones for the subjectivist definition of marriage, i.e., that marriage has no other nature than the one I as private individual assign to it. He argues that if gays should be allowed to marry, then so should other sexual minorities. Otherwise, they are an oppressed and insulted sub-group whose rights are being violated. Compared to gays who are treated as second-class citizens, “those of us in the real minority, who want to marry machines and animals, certainly feel like third-class citizens.” Thus to allow gays to marry but to deny him the same right is discriminatory.

He argues that if gays have the right “to marry their object of sexual desire, even if they lack corresponding sexual parts, then I should have the right to marry my preferred sexual object.” He goes on to argue that “the exclusion from marriage to a machine denies myself a dignity and status of immense import” and “if there is a risk that is posed to traditional marriage and children, both man-man couples and man-machine couples pose it equally.” Therefore, “in considering the equal protection clause, there are no fewer policy reasons for preventing man-machine couples from marrying than there are for same sex couples.”

Unfortunately, from the perspective of total subjectivism in the definition of marriage he has a point. But does anyone really think that the judges who ruled against him in Florida and Utah are simply operating out of hatred and prejudice? Or are they operating from the tattered remnants of a genuine insight into the true nature of marriage—that it at least has to do with persons, even if someone claims to fall in love with a pornography laden computer.

“Over time,” he says, “I began preferring sex with my computer over sex with real women”—and now he wants to make a life-long commitment.

If someone objects to this attempt to define marriage to include machines (and animals), is it tantamount to a hate crime? No, of course not. In fact it’s nothing personal at all. It’s a question of fact, not an ugly imposition of one’s private values out of prejudice. It’s not in the nature of marriage, it’s not in the nature of vows (quite evidently mutual vows in the case of “marriage”), that it can be accomplished between a person and a non-person.

Now the traditional advocates of marriage simply use a parallel argument, that marriage by its nature involves incarnate persons ordained to one another in a special way on all levels including the bodily. The sexual organs on the bodily level are ordained toward and complete one another—each is incomplete without the other. The marital act itself is intrinsically both unitive and procreative, even if specific acts may not live up to either or both of these essential traits.

And yet Justice Anthony Kennedy in his recent majority opinion striking down the Defense of Marriage Act accuses all who disagree with him of disparaging, degrading, and demeaning others. Here is part of Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent:

In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of a reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history.

But is any resistance to marrying animals and machines also “beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement” and motivated only be the desire to “injure” and “humiliate”? Or is it just a question of acknowledging the facts and defending reality?

Can even Justice Kennedy admit that there might be an actual “nature” to marriage that would not allow such extremes—extremes that would stretch so far as to destroy? As legal precedents from around the world, Mr. Sevier cites a case where a woman married a dolphin and a Chinese man wed a cardboard cutout of himself. Would Justice Kennedy go along? Or would he admit to some limits that are not motivated by hate but by real concern for the nature of the relationship and real concern for the person(s) involved—for their contact with reality and for their happiness?

Michael J. Healy

By

Michael J. Healy is Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Associate with the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

  • fredx2

    Under the rules laid down by the recent pro gay marriage decisions in the federal courts, a law that discriminates as to the “fundamental right” of marriage (redefined in the pro gay marriage decisions as the right of a person to marry and receive the benefits of marriage) cannot stand if the classification is not “substantially related to· a sufficiently important government interest.”

    Therefore,there is no reason that a man may not marry his computer. After all, he loves it and is committed to it. The desire to be married is all that matters under those decisions. The state may not demean his choices, it may not relegate him to a second class citizenship. He is free, as Justice Kennedy said in Casey, to determine “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”

    After all, if a man and a woman is not required, and marriage can be redefined to suit the desires of the parties, then a computer – a semi-intelligent thing – cannot be excluded from the list of marital partners. Nor can fish, fowl or hairy beast. Nor can polygamous marriages be excluded.

    Futhermore,under those decisions, the people of a state may not decide what is possible for a marriage and what is not possible. Do do so only shows their prejudices and biases and the hatred n their hearts towards man- computer chip love.

    Now, as a matter of fact, Judge Walker in the California Prop 8 case was gay, and stood to personally benefit from the case because he would be able to marry his partner. Judge McShane in the Oregon case was gay, and he stood to personally benefit from the case, by being able to marry his gay partner.

    Obviously, these judges should have recused themselves and may have been guilty of a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct:

    Canon 2A. An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety.

    • TheAbaum

      Obviously, these judges should have recused themselves and may have been guilty of a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct:

      Welcome to the newest Pharisees. Your honor, my posterior.

      We need a new Jackson to say “the Court has opined, now let it enforce”.

    • JJ

      Explain how a computer gives informed consent.

  • msmischief

    One notes that those who are the very shrillest about the right for their “love” to be sanctioned are also the very shrillest with hatred of the very notion that anyone else’s “love” qualifies them for the same consideration.

    • fredx2

      I recall seeing Barney Frank during a hearing in Congress. A witness pointed out that the rationale for gay marriage would inevitably lead to approval of polygamous marriages.
      Frank got upset and said “That’s just crazy! Everyone knows that marriage is between only two people!”

  • publiusnj

    Who are these judges? What right do they have to impose their own views of marriage on our culture? Marriage existed before Kennedy was even a gleam in his father’s eye. In fact before Ben Franklin (the oldest of the Founding Fathers) or the US or any British colony or even Columbus was a gleam in his old man’s eye.

    Also: what right do these judges have to impose a view of marriage that is limited to the union of two people? When marriage is limited to male-female unions, the state has an interest in regulating the treatment of the issue from sexual congress between the man and a woman. Thus, a strong case can be made that the state needs to regulate the parties’ interactions because heterosexual congress has consequences and things like exclusivity are important to the question of who is whose father. Gay sex, though, CANNOT produce issue and therefore state involvement is unnecessary. What Governmental interest is served by imposing on Gay sexual congress a series of rules that used to be important for heterosexual congress? What state interest is there in marital exclusivity in gay relations? there is, of course, none.

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  • thebigdog

    I’d be willing to bet that five years from now when “gay marriage” will be legal everywhere in the U.S. — fewer than 20% of homosexuals will have ever gotten married and the divorce rate will begin to exceed the “gay marriage” rate after that.

    Satan’s goal is to deceive and destroy.

    • TheAbaum

      “divorce rate will begin to exceed the number of new “gay marriages” after that.”

      When the idea of pseudonogamy began getting “street cred”, I began to notice something. Ballot initiatives and supportive political candidacies inevitably enjoyed enormous financial support from lawyers and law firms.

      With authentic marriage already destabilized through no-fault divorce, “palimony” and “pre-nups”), the legal community had unique opportunity to create a new market which is INHERENTLY unstable-just think of the billable hours and fees enerated by the “need” for pre-nups, divorces, etc.

      • Nick_Palmer3

        Given the disproportionate affluence of this target audience, the legal payday is enormous.

        • TheAbaum

          Bingo. Welcome to the sodomocracy.

  • hombre111

    I suspect the guy who wants to marry his computer is doing it tongue in cheek. But as de Toqueville suspected, long ago, a democracy contains within itself a move toward individualism. He even coined the word: “individualism.” I guess the challenge is to maintain a democracy while maintaining respect for society and its institutions. No easy thing.

    • TheAbaum

      He even coined the word: “individualism.”

      And you will beat it to death.

      • hombre111

        Sometimes individualism and selfishness are only an eyelash apart. Individualists have a great deal of difficulty recognizing the common good.

        • TheAbaum

          And sometimes selfishness is a heterodox “cleric” who won’t keep his vows, but grasps onto the sinecure that it offers-even as all he really has to offer is seething envy.

      • ForChristAlone

        why even bother….eventually he might just go away

    • Bono95

      According to Plato and Polybius, democracy grows out of a cycle of monarchy to tyranny to aristocracy to oligarchy. Democracy is the last regime before anarchy, which comes about because the democrats tolerate any and all ideas, however nutty or dangerous, and so they welcome their own destruction with open arms. Fortunately, anarchy, being unstable, never lasts long. One strong guy takes over, and some sort of order is restored.

      • hombre111

        My memory of Plato and Democracy is a little distant, but I think he also stressed that people in a democracy will not vote for self-sacrifice. As problems are not solved and grow larger, the society’s infrastructure and moral commitment will gradually collapse, to be replaced by anarchy and then tyranny. Seems like this is what is happening right now, before our very eyes.

  • Keith Parkinson

    His argument isn’t valid. Gay marriage advocates claim that marriage is a contract between two adults who consent to a monogamous sexual relationship. A computer, being a machine, cannot give consent. Anyway, the computer is not his object of sexual attraction; the intangible images on the screen are. This new story is merely silly. And this article is even sillier for using it as subject matter. On a lighter note, or perhaps not, I am not so sure that this man is, indeed, a sexual minority.

    • Bibity Babidi Boo

      Perhaps, but the arguments used most often and most vehemently to support gay marriage can be easily applied to his case. Is it necessary for his happiness to marry a computer? He says so, and who are you to say otherwise? Would his marriage to a computer hurt anyone? Even if the computer – being an inanimate object – cannot consent, surely it isn’t hurt by the situation. Is it any of your business to tell him what is morally right and what he can and cannot do, as long as no one is being hurt? Certainly not! His computer is clearly very important to him. What if he wants the computer to have access to his insurance? What if he wants to leave money to his computer when he dies? Sure, you might say that a computer can have no use for such things, but if he wants it, who are you to tell him no? Can’t you see how much he’s suffering? After all, you can’t help who you love.

      • Interested

        Exactly correct.

    • Objectivetruth

      His argument is as valid as two men getting married. Once gays started redefining marriage, the flood gates were opened, it opens up the redefinition of marriage to whatever anyone wants it to be. Get used to it. Thank you gay agenda folks for inflicting your evil filth upon us.

      • Keith Parkinson

        “Once gays started redefining marriage, the flood gates were opened, it opens up the redefinition of marriage to whatever anyone wants it to be.”

        No, it really didn’t. You’re just saying that. Just because every once in a while conservative news sources churn out some pulpy story about a guy who wants to marry his best cow, and we all revel in it and say “I told you so,” doesn’t mean there is, in reality, a slippery slope created. There may be in the lazy minds of alarmists who will celebrate any opposing piece of evidence they can lay their hands on, but ultimately, there is not and never will be any real support or push for any version of marriage that is not between consenting adults. The only possible floodgate opened by all this is polygamy.

        If we are to oppose this trend effectively, it is important that we not look stupid, and make bad arguments. Then we just look like reactionaries who don’t “get it,” and we’ll get steamrolled by the spirit of the age, because thinking people who don’t share our convictions will ignore our bad arguments. And we, in turn, will muddle and confuse our opposition. There is a good reason gay marriage is wrong and ought not to be legal. “What’s next, people marrying their computers?” isn’t it. This guy is probably just a troll who is making fun of the kinds of arguments weaker minds on our side make.

        • Objectivetruth

          Incorrect.

          You’re making assumptions about this guy, but no facts. What I see is a guy quite serious about marrying his computer.

          And yes, gays redefining marriage have opened the definition to anyone, anything. If you’d tried to tell someone 30 years ago that someday in this country two men will be able to legally marry he/she would have laughed in your face, saying it never would happen.

          • Interested

            Your point is on target. In what sane world would any rational person ever think two men could be “married”? Now it has passed. In the blink of an eye.

            The phoney consent argument is a favorite of the “gay” lobby. How anyone could believe such rubbish is beyond logic. Of course, consent can change and has changed over time. There is no magical reason why suddenly consent is carved in stone. What a joke.

        • Interested

          You could not be more incorrect. The very idea that two men can act as husband and wife is beyond absurd. That is not only moral logic, but simple human reasoning.

          The idea there is no slippery slope is absurd. Once marriage is misdefined there is no reason for anything else to be prohibited.

          he ones who appear stupid are those who pretend “gay” marriage will not change anything legally or culturally.

    • Interested

      Consent is a mere legal technicality. It, too, can be changed on a whim.

      • Tony

        Consent is also porous, and morally irrelevant.

        What happens when somebody has to do a lot of arguing to persuade me to buy a certain thing, and I shake hands on it and sign a contract, but then I have second thoughts. Do I get to say that I didn’t “really” consent?

        If consent is so crucial, too, then why do we have compulsory schooling for teenagers? The argument will be that teenagers are too young to know what they are doing when they drop out of school. Really? But they are not too young to know what they are doing behind the woodshed? Don’t we make people, in various situations, do all kinds of things despite their consent?

        If consent is morally decisive, what about when two people consent to do something evil? That is what duelists did, and the Church called them murderers. Why should “consent” be decisive in the matter of sodomy, but not in the matter of preserving one’s “honor”? That question cannot be answered without a lot of circular reasoning.

        • Scott W.

          Add to that the onslaught to sexualize children with sex-ed at earlier and earlier ages, and then one need only propose that “Well, they are informed, so why not count that as able to give consent?” Over 60% of the Church’s sex abuse cases were between priests and post-pubescent males. Yet, put these same situations outside the context of the Church, and our homosex defenders consider these just “coming of age” stories.

        • Keith Parkinson

          You’re absolutely right. That doesn’t mean that the trajectory of American law and justice agrees with you, though. The direction we’re moving in is: People can do whatever they want; and people can make any contracts they want, as long as the public good is not compromised. Everyone agrees that dueling would harm the public good; but not everyone agrees that homosexuals marrying would do so. Our government isn’t libertarian. It will impose its standards of morality. And here, its standards of morality have nothing to say. So, neither the libertarian and the authoritarian strains of our sovereign authority have any good reason, they think, to disallow it any longer. Thus it will be allowed. And our culture will continue to suffer (though honestly, I don’t think this will do more damage than no-fault divorce).

          I’m just saying that it will not spread beyond consenting adults. If I’m wrong in twenty years, I’ll own up.

          • Interested

            You are wrong now.

      • Keith Parkinson

        No. Consent is the very bedrock on which the legal argument for homosexual marriage rests. It all reposes on the libertarian understanding of freedom of contract: consenting adults can make any contract they want; and once they do, it is the government’s job to enforce it. (If I make a contract with you, and you break it, and the government doesn’t come after you and enforce it, I never really had the freedom to make a real contract with you.)

        So, if two men want to make a civil union with each other, the government cannot tell them, “no you may not,” because they are consenting adults. If they want to call that civil union a marriage, there isn’t any good reason why they shouldn’t, because a civil union and a (civic) marriage are basically the same thing anyway.

        John Zmirak, the most consistent libertarian I know, has argued that gays should have the right to freely consent to marriage contracts with each other… and that Catholics should also, in turn, have the right to freely consent to marriage contracts that cannot be broken. It all reposes on freedom of contract – that’s how these people think.

        The spirit of the age does celebrate subjective definitions of love, it’s true. But that does not mean people will start making a serious campaign to marry inanimate objects or animals. The legal argument for gay marriage is erroneous, but it has decades of mounting supreme court precedent behind it, and that’s why it will pass within ten years. These other oddities people are bringing up, like consent being done away with, would require a whole new set of precedents starting from scratch. It won’t happen. There is no grounding whatsoever for it anywhere in our legal or political culture.

        • Interested

          I disagree completely. The homosexualists and libertarians are the ones who mistakenly think consent is a god. How consent is defined has changed. The age has changed. There is no legal reason why consent cannot be as plastic as marriage. None. All it takes is some man or woman in a black dress to declare it so as has happened with marriage.

          Consent will deform more. No, it is no bedrock. It is one more concept open to deformation. You cannot be that credulous?

        • TheAbaum

          “the most consistent libertarian I know”.

          There is no such thing.

    • redfish

      I agree it isn’t valid from a legal perspective, although the “consent to a monogamous sexual relationship” part is irrelevant. The LGBT lobby has successfully argued that the ability to have children isn’t a legal requirement for marriage. Well, under similar rubric, having a sexual relationship isn’t a legal requirement of marriage, either. Under modern law, your marriage isn’t annulled if you choose never to have sex. Though illogical, the only reason they’ve insisted on the “sexual relationship” part is to make gays look like they’re special victims of discrimination.

    • msmischief

      So — you would have no objections to enforcement of laws against adultery?

    • Interested

      When marriage means anything, then marriage means nothing.

      • Shannon Marie Federoff

        You beat me to it.

        Ultimately, to open up the definition of marriage will lead to its (even more rapid) destruction.

        What happened to “marriage is only a piece of paper!”

    • Bruno

      May he marry the images, then? I understand that consent is still impossible, as there is only one person and not two. But why is this requirement important? We already deprived marriage from its essential element, that is, a union between a man and a woman.

      What keeps us from removing another, if that will make someone feel better and not discriminated and if no one has anything to do with this man’s (and his computer’s) business? We all agree that fidelity is a good thing, and this man can be faithful to his computer for his whole life, which is more than most straight marriages can show nowadays.

      Will we then be destroying the concept and meaning of marriage, for a shared concept which means one thing to each man is neither shared nor properly a concept (apologise for the redundancy, but it is necessary)? Oh….

      The story may be silly, the man may be sillier, but the point they symbolize is very good. When logic doesn’t convince, perhaps we can only count on absurdity.

      • Keith Parkinson

        I’m pretty sure this guy is a gay marriage supporter who is making fun of the kinds of arguments our side latches on to. I’ve been secular before. I know how a certain segment of that culture works. They get really snarky, but it’s always amazed me how oblivious the objects of their derision are, and how wide open they leave themselves to mockery…

    • Scott W.

      The argument is valid because by what authority do they declare that consent is necessary?

  • Thomas

    Man who marries computer suffers bytes during sex.

    • thebigdog

      …and loses half his stuff in delete court.

  • Scott W.

    John Zmirak, the most consistent libertarian I know, has argued that gays should have the right to freely consent to marriage contracts with each other…

    John Not-voting-GOP-is-the-moral-equivalent-of-masturbating Zmirak is wrong. And not just wrong, he is against the explicit instruction of the Church: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

    “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”

    This is the exact same language that Evangelium Vitae uses with regards to Catholic’s responses to abortion laws. Appropriate considering that I’ve heard same-sex whatchamacallit defenders deploy the argument that even though the arguments for homosex are exactly the same as the ones pedophiles use, the difference supposedly is that a child cannot give consent. Well, this is crap because no one protests that a child who happens to be in a womb can’t give consent to an abortion. And if one has trouble with the whole womb thing, consider that families with the authority to give consent on behalf of another incapacitated family member can be overridden by doctors and subsequently starved to death. Consent is a hollow and arbitrary doctrine.

    • Interested

      Oh, yes. It is quite wrong.

  • Bono95

    Is it just me, or does the guy in the picture at the top look eerily like Pajama Boy (albeit in daytime clothes)? :-D

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  • JJ

    A computer cannot provide consent. It is a nonsensical article .

  • Marie

    Absurdity knows no bounds when religion is at the base of it.

    • JohnnyVoxx

      Uh, yeah, the religion of Christ produced Western Civilization and helped shape the very idea of marriage that is now being overturned. The absurdity comes from those who deny the reality of God and God’s law.

      • Marie

        You mean like the time the Conquistadors smashed babies heads against the rocks, after baptizing them first of course, and then, taking their legacy of gold and riches for the Vatican Bank? Science would have gotten along just fine without the creeps of the RCC.

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  • profling

    I’m old. What is being done about “gray” marriage rights?

  • http://www.kenranderson.com/ Ken R. Anderson

    Would be a short lived marriage as most computers only last a few years. And I guess he would have to get a “divorce” if he simply wanted to get a newer model five years later.

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