The controversy around Mozilla's new CEO Brendan Eich continues. Eich made a personal $1000 donation to California's Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. Now, dating site OkCupid has started redirecting Firefox users to a page explaining Eich's views against marriage equality, and asking users to switch to IE, Chrome, or Opera. The page states: If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it's professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.Visitors are then provided links to alternative browsers, or they can continue to the site by clicking a hyperlink at the bottom of the page.
The controversy around Mozilla's new CEO Brendan Eich continues. Eich made a personal $1000 donation to California's Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. Now, dating site OkCupid has started redirecting Firefox users to a page explaining Eich's views against marriage equality, and asking users to switch to IE, Chrome, or Opera.
The page states:
If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it's professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.
Visitors are then provided links to alternative browsers, or they can continue to the site by clicking a hyperlink at the bottom of the page.
So it's Ok to treat people as second-class citizens? Anyone who is "OK with one but not the other" is simply a bigot; there's no other way to say it. Either you're in favor of equal rights for everyone, or you're not.
You're either with me or against me!
Then perhaps we should get rid of marriage all together, or at least the privileges associated with it.
It really isn't necessarily that simple. I frankly haven't decided where I am going to land on this issue, but here is the direction my thoughts are going. Before one can have a genuine, well-considered position on this issue, you need to ask - and answer - several questions:
- What is marriage? A private agreement, like handfasting? A religious ceremony? A legal contract, defined by legislation? Really, marriage can be any or all of these to different people. Note that the only thing being discussed here is the last of those three.
- Fine, let's look at only the legal aspect of marriage: What does it entail? Why does it exist? Note: The fact that something exists, doesn't mean everyone has a right to it; sometimes laws are tailored to address only a specific group. The American ADA exists to target disabled people. Military regulations apply only to members of the military. State-recognized marriage, until recently, targeted only monogamous, heterosexual couples.
- Next step: Why was legal marriage instituted (it is a relatively recent invention)? What is its purpose? Why has it only targeted monogamous, heterosexual couples? Are those reasons no longer valid, or have they changed?
- Finally: If the reasons behind the legal definition of marriage have changed, how should the legislation change? Simply recognizing LGBT marriage is very narrow indeed. Perhaps the Mormons would like polygamous marriage allowed? What about polyandry? Group marriages?
Seriously, if we're going to reconsider the legal definition of marriage, let's do it right. Marriage, legally, is basically a contract, so let any arrangement of people enter into whatever legal contract they want. Of course, pretty much they already can, so the logical conclusion I am coming to is simple: Eliminate the concept of a special state-approved marriage contract entirely. Return marriage to a private and (if it suits you) religious agreement that has nothing to do with the government.
Of course, if we were to do this, the hand-wringing on all sides would begin immediately.
What is marriage?
This is easy: when you're talking about state-sanctioned marriages, you're talking about a legal contract, defined by legislation. The religious crap is irrelevant. No one's trying to make laws forcing religious organizations to do anything differently.
State-recognized marriage, until recently, targeted only monogamous, heterosexual couples.
Legally-sanctioned bigotry isn't right, and needs to be stopped. "It's always been that way" isn't an excuse. There's almost never a good reason for giving special privileges to certain people (esp. when they're in the majority, and denying those privileges to a minority amounts to oppression and reduces their quality-of-life).
Finally: If the reasons behind the legal definition of marriage have changed, how should the legislation change? Simply recognizing LGBT marriage is very narrow indeed. Perhaps the Mormons would like polygamous marriage allowed? What about polyandry? Group marriages?
You do bring up good points here, and the answer is simple: group marriages should also be allowed, because forbidding them is also discrimination and oppression.
Seriously, if we're going to reconsider the legal definition of marriage, let's do it right. Marriage, legally, is basically a contract, so let any arrangement of people enter into whatever legal contract they want.
Yes, this is exactly right.
Of course, pretty much they already can,
Not exactly. Contract law is a pretty large body of law with its own specialists. Marriage is easy; even though it's mostly a contract, it's a pre-defined and pre-approved contract. Any moron (or rather, two morons) can head down to the county courthouse, get an application for a marriage license (aside: why do we need a license to get married?), fill it out, pay the fee, then get the Justice of the Peace to make it official. You don't need to hire a lawyer to get married, just go through the simple and usually inexpensive process, and you now have all the privileges (which are are many, including tax advantages) accorded to married couples.
Writing up a contract to do something different from this, however, isn't so easy. You can write your own contract, but it's quite likely it will have clauses that won't be enforceable or legal, so to make a good contract, you probably need to hire a lawyer. That's expensive, plus such contracts can be challenged in court. Good luck contesting the terms of a standard marriage in court.
Returning marriage to a totally private matter doesn't work, because there's too much stuff entwined into our society associated with it, legally speaking. Inheritance rights, visitation rights, power-of-attorney rights, tax privileges, etc. Just imagine the uproar if you try to take away the tax privileges associated with marriage, saying "it shouldn't have anything to do with the government". How do you handle non-working spouses, for instance? Tax the working partner at the single rate, and then give welfare benefits to the non-working partner? Or deny them welfare because they enjoy free rent and board, but then force the working partner to pay the same taxes as a single person? You'll never get many people to agree to that.
I do agree with legalizing group marriages, but the whole issue is very complicated, and dismissing it by saying "return marriage to a private agreement that has nothing to do with the government" is woefully naive, and completely unworkable because it totally ignores how most of our society operates.
I think the answer is to treat it much like regular contract law, but create different pre-approved marriage contracts that couples or groups are allowed to choose from. (They can also create their own, but it's advisable they hire an attorney to do so. They could also amend one of the standard contracts, which is much less risky and expensive.) A hetero couple could just choose from "standard marriage contract, community property version" or "standard marriage contract, non-community property version". Homo couples would likely do the same. Polyamorous groups could choose from different standard contracts, reflecting the nature of their relationship, whether it's a triad, a "vee", a quad, etc., if someone is a "full partner" or more of a "secondary", and specify how they want to handle things if a partner leaves the group. There's a lot of complexity involved in group relationships, which is probably why government probably isn't too keen on legalizing such things, but it could be done.
aside: why do we need a license to get married?
The purpose of state-sanctioned marriage is to make divorces easier. In contract law, 90% of disputes are as to whether or not a valid contract exists, with one side or the other trying to nullify the contract.
When a married couple breaks up, things tend to get messy, and the state gets dragged into it for the purposes of divvying up property and children. They short circuit the process by requiring you to meet some basic qualifications. Head down to the country records office and make sure Bob isn't still married to Alice before he marries Susie. Make sure everyone is of a proper age to consent to be married. Make sure no one is being forced or coerced into the marriage. This simple act eliminates a huge amount of the arguments that would otherwise be presented during a divorce hearing.
I think the gay marriage debate is hilarious because people don't understand this. They think state-sanctioned marriage is some kind of reward, a special little cookie for being in love and getting married. When no, no it's really just to make divorce easier. LGBTs think they're getting gay marriage, when all they're really getting is access to gay divorce.
Which brings up an interesting question. In a lesbian divorce, how will the family court judge know whom to blame if there's no man involved? And if it's two men getting divorced, would they just burn the house down because there's no woman to give it to?
The purpose of state-sanctioned marriage is to make divorces easier.
No, not really. That's a modern add-on or perhaps side-effect; divorces used to be extremely difficult to get, if not mostly impossible. They used to take that "til death do us part" line seriously, for better or for worse.
I think the gay marriage debate is hilarious because people don't understand this. They think state-sanctioned marriage is some kind of reward, a special little cookie for being in love and getting married.
You obviously haven't been paying attention. There are many benefits to state-sanctioned marriage. Taxes are a big one: married couples pay lower taxes. There's also inheritance rights and other things accorded to married couples. Health insurance benefits are another. Here's a big-ass list of benefits. Some other big ones: receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits for spouses, veteran's benefits for spouses, lower auto insurance rates, being able to sue for wrongful death of a spouse, the list is quite long. These are the things gay people want which straight people take for granted. [nolo.com]
And yes, an easier divorce process (due to modern laws) is part of the package. Why wouldn't they want it to be easier to split up if it comes to that? There was some case in Florida a while ago about a lesbian couple that couldn't divorce because the state didn't recognize their marriage (I think they married in a different state), and couldn't make a clean break (co-mingled house ownership IIRC) and one ended up murdering the other. Imagine if battered wives who own part of their house weren't able to leave their abusive husbands without losing their portion of their house and also their money in the shared bank accounts, basically rendering them impoverished and homeless?
> The purpose of state-sanctioned marriage is to make divorces easier.
That is an argument which ignores the fact the divorce was exceptionally rare until quite recently, even having been illegal in many countries. Yet they still had state-sanctioned marriage for centuries if not millenia.
One thing I'm happy about is that this brand of dilatory "just asking questions" evasiveness is clearly having no impact on the political process. More gays will get married, they will be more happy and be able to support each other better, the right-wingers and religious types will be further freaked out, and all of that's just grand.
If "end legal marriage" came up on a ballot, then I'd vote for it and rejoice. But it's not, so the best harm-reduction we can do at this time is to allow gay marriage and let that serve as an example for how young gay people need not feel ashamed or like second-class citizens.
Mr Eich's support of Prop 8 means he wants gay marriage to be illegal.
OkCupid's allegation is that "if individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal".
Gay Marriage != Gay Relationship.
OkCupid's statement is simply bullshit; there's no other way to say it.
So basically you're OK with treating a group of people as second-class citizens. That makes you a bigot.
WTF? Either point out how my argument was wrong, or shut the fuck up. You obviously have strong opinions on the issue of gay relationships, but resorting to wild assumptions and name calling is just piss weak on your part and does nothing to validate your position.
What makes your remark even more stupid is that it is not possible to reach that conclusion logically based on what I wrote. This was never about my views on the subject, I was only pointing out that what OkCupid are saying is not correct.
But I guess when you're emotionally invested in something, thinking about what you write just isn't that important, is it.
You're arguing a technicality, when it's obvious that you're against gay marriage. That makes you a bigot, plain and simple. It's only bigots who trot out the argument that "gay people can have relationships without getting married", because the whole argument is trying to justify the idea of excluding a class of people from privileges enjoyed by others.
They didn't lie about anything. Eich is a bigot, just like you.
Oi, watch it Tangaroa! There's only room in this thread for ONE bigot, and that's ME, geddit!? Find your own thread to be a bigot in! ;)
That goes for you too, Eich!
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Every time I hear you say "bigot", it sounds like "I hate you I hate you I hate you! Burn in hell!!"
I never proposed stoning bigots; I don't think Jesus had a problem with people criticizing bad behavior in others. There's a big difference between criticizing bad behavior and oppressing or hurting someone because of their bad behavior.
Is calling someone a bigot really an attack on the behavior, or the person? The saying is obviously not meant to be taken literally, that we're talking about pelting anyone to death with stones.
It's not an attack at all, it's a word used to describe someone based on their actions or words. It's no different than calling someone a "sociopath" if their behavior shows them to be such, or calling someone "selfless" or "fair" or "wise" or "foolish" or "selfish" or any other descriptor. If the shoe fits....
It's no different than calling someone a "sociopath"
If you also have a tendency to call people sociopaths at the drop of a hat, I suppose...
A couple of things. First, it's weird to think of gay marriage as being a right. The concept never even existed in the 6000 years of human civilization until about 15 years ago. Now it's a "right."
And it isn't even a "right" for straight people. The purpose of marriage licensing is to make divorces easier for the state to adjudicate, since 90% of contract law is arguing over whether or not a valid contract existed. The state gets dragged into divorce disputes because there's property involved. Marriage licensing is just a way to short circuit the process by making sure everybody is of legal age, not currently married to someone else, not being coerced, etc before they enter the contract so the courts don't have to decide these questions years later.
Marriage licensing is not a special right or benefit or reward for straight people. Congratulations, gays, you now have access to gay divorce.
Female voting wasn't a right for 6000 years of human civilization either, and only came about around 100 years ago or so. Then again, male voting wasn't a right either for most of 6000 years of human civilization except some brief periods such as in Athens, and then later with the advent of modern democratic governments. Are you going to argue now that people don't need these rights either? How about free speech? That doesn't exactly have a long history either, and still isn't a right in most places.
Women were denied their right to self-determination. Free speech rights are denied by oppressive governments. A "right" to marriage, gay or straight, is an invented thing. It's not a natural, unalienable right like speech.
That doesn't mean it shouldn't be allowed by law, although it wasn't always necessarily forbidden by law, either. It just didn't exist as a concept until 15 years ago. To call marriage a "right" is to invent a right. Can we do that? Can we start inventing rights?
Voting is a right, and it certainly isn't old, historically speaking. We invented it. If you want to say it's a necessary thing for self-determination, and that the self-determination is the fundamental right being protected, that's fine.
Similarly, marriage has been a privilege (perhaps not exactly a "right") for some time too, though again not that long if you're talking about voluntary marriages (as opposed to arranged marriages). It's just that this privilege has only been accorded to certain people, namely hetersexuals, for various reasons (religion, tradition, dealing with inheritance, etc.). But in modern times, we generally recognize that people have the right to equality, to equal treatment under the law, and this means not giving special privileges to groups of people without a very good reason. (And when we do give special privileges for a good reason, it's to a small minority to try to help them achieve equality, such as the ADA which tries to help disabled people. We don't, or at least shouldn't, give special privileges to a vast majority at the expense of a minority.) The existence of the privilege of marriage (and its various benefits as discussed earlier, both financial and social) and it being restricted from a group of people violates this right to equal treatment under the law.
So if we simply abolished legal marriage altogether, then yes, that would remove the inequality. However, not many people, even extreme libertarians, are in favor of abolishing at least some of the benefits of legal marriage (like inheritance). So unless we replace legal marriage with something else that treats everyone equally, we have to give marriage rights to gay people too. (And this isn't the end; group marriages are the next step after this. If two people can voluntarily enter into a union that provides various benefits, then three or four should be able to do the same or similar. Of course, there's some feasibility problems which would have to be worked out; obviously, we can't have a "marriage" of 100 people, and then expect the government to dole out Social Security or VA benefits for 99 indefinitely after one of them dies. Eliminating Social Security and many other government benefits in favor of a universal basic income would eliminate many of these problems however.)
This can lead to an endless debate on what human rights are. Under the Lockean view of rights, you have the right to do anything that is not against the law and that causes no direct financial harm to anyone else. In this perspective, gay marriage may not have existed but it was a human right until it was made illegal by the state government, at which point is was not a human right anymore. Rousseau was more explicit in saying that one gives up one set of human rights to become a member of civilization in exchange for the protection of a subset of human rights. Paine disagreed with Rousseau on this point and attempted to erase the distinction Rousseau made between natural and civil rights. The French Declaration of Rights went against Locke's idea of parliamentary supremacy and limited the authority of government to matters where one person causes harm to another, and then the French killed everyone who publicly disagreed with any policy of the Directory. Different viewpoints on the subject get more divergent and confusing from there.
If I'm not mistaken, it's only recently been a few states that ever made gay marriage illegal. For the rest of human civilization it wasn't "illegal," it just didn't exist as a thing to be legal or illegal.
But you're correct, this idea of a recently invented "right" opens a can of worms. What other rights do we have that we don't know about? Why don't we have a right to food, to shelter, to clothing? Should the government grant us those rights, too?