Archive | March 18, 2011

The Logic of Marriage, Part 2

The following letter appeared in today’s Opelika-Auburn News:

To the Editor:

Bruce Murray argues [Tuesday] that gays’ right to marry has not really been violated, since they have the same right to marry that straights do – namely, the right to marry someone of the opposite sex.

This is a statue of Constantine, who admittedly is not the Roman emperor best suited to illustrate my point, but his pose is perfect

With equal logic, a Roman emperor could have argued that Christians under pagan rule had the same religious freedom that pagans had – namely, the freedom to worship Jupiter.

How would Mr. Murray feel if the government were to permit only same-sex marriage, and to assure him that straights have the same marriage rights that gays do – the right to marry someone of the same sex? Would that be genuine equality?

Oddly, Mr. Murray complains that “homosexual unions are far from monogamous.” But if this is a bad thing, as he clearly supposes, then why further discourage monogamy by denying to gays access to the institution of marriage? That seems inconsistent.

Mr. Murray points to the supposedly harmful effects of same-sex marriage in other countries to bolster his support for special rights for heterosexuals; but then he admits that the same effects are occurring here without same-sex marriage, thus undermining the plausibility of the putative causal connection.

Finally, Mr. Murray maintains that the purpose of marriage is to “encourage mating couples to establish a permanent home for their children.” This claim raises several questions.

First, why are infertile or aged couples allowed to marry, then?

Second, gays have children too. Why does Mr. Murray seek to discourage them from raising their children?

Third, since when is social engineering a proper function of the law? The Declaration of Independence limits government’s legitimate powers to the protection of individuals’ rights to control their own lives. Encouraging particular patterns of family structure is none of the
government’s business.

Roderick T. Long

Relative Dimensions

The next season premiere of Doctor Who is a little over a month away, but in the meantime here’s a two-part mini-episode that Steven Moffat wrote for Comic Relief. It’s a bit of a self-parody, riffing on Moffat’s love of temporal paradoxes; there are nods to “Blink,” “Time Crash,” “The Big Bang,” and “A Christmas Carol” (as well as a bit of Coupling).

The YouTube descriptions below call these “Time, Part 1” and “Time, Part 2,” but the actual titles are “Space” for the first one and “Time” for the second.

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