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  1. #1
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    Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    tl;dr: Marriage can mean many things to many people, but the state's purpose in marriage is to create stable family units that will support unplanned pregnancies so that the state does not have to carry that burden. It is rational to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples because only opposite-sex couples can have the unplanned pregnancies for which marriage is offered.

    1) Lines are drawn for a reasonable fit, not a perfect one. Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage is both overbroad and underbroad, and marriage is a complex enough institution to have multiple effects on society, but this distinction can still be a rational one as to one purpose (unplanned pregnancy support) among many possible purposes.

    Examples: Refusal of the right to vote to those below 18 years of age and to convicted felons is rational even though that distinction is both overbroad and underbroad. Civic responsibility can be absent in adult free men and present in underage convicts, but refusing the right to vote to the underage and to felons still bears a rational relationship to the purpose of voting rights. In the area of marriage, adult incestuous relationships - between relatives who are mature and capable of making their own decisions, uncoerced by the other - are denied recognition to prevent genetic disorders even though the restriction is not a perfect fit. The restriction is underbroad because non-related couples with debilitating genetic traits are allowed to marry, even if the possible disorders have higher chances of inheritance than those that would occur by incest. The restriction is overbroad because adult incestuous couples are denied the right even when pregnancy would be impossible, either because one of the partners is infertile or because both adults are the same sex. I can only imagine that consanguinity is next after homosexuality.

    Regardless, a state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriage is rational so long as the fit between the refusal and the state's legitimate purpose is a reasonable one. Infertile, abortion-willing, or contraception-using opposite-sex couples will not have unplanned children, but state-drawn categories need not hew so finely to every distinction between kinds of people or accurately handle the vastness of human experience to be rational. Can more exacting distinctions be drawn? Yes (though I wouldn't be surprised if real policy concerns would make further distinctions unpalatable - "are you fertile sir? no? then no marriage." I can sympathize that refusal to recognize same-sex marriages itself is unsavory though). Marriages create stable families that can handle unplanned pregnancies to relieve state burdens, but those stable families can support planned adoptions as well - another variant of a legitimate state interest, but one for which same-sex couples are applicable. State institutions and programs are multi-faceted and can have multiple purposes. But it is still rational to make legislative distinctions based on some core or particular purpose, and a reasonable fit for that purpose justifies those distinctions even though those distinctions would not further yet other state purposes. Requiring a perfect fit proves too much - no distinctions will ever satisfy perfect fit between policy and purpose, let alone all possible policies and purposes at once.

    2) A showing of harm to heterosexual couples or marriage's purposes or the children or whatever because of same-sex marriage is not necessary.

    Though these harms could be part of a rationale for denying same-sex couples the right to state-recognized marriage, it is sufficient to show a reasonable fit between the state-drawn line excluding same-sex couples and a legitimate state interest. Then the exclusion would be rational, in the same way that free school lunches are rational by drawing a line at a certain level of child income. Free lunches could reasonably be provided to all children, but it is also reasonable to restrict the program of benefits to the poorest - even though a free lunch for the aristocrat's son does not actually harm the nutrition in the lunch given to the poor man's son. Providing lunches for the poor and not the rich can be rational without needing to show that lunches for the rich will damage lunches for the poor. Distinctions are rational by a reasonable fit to purpose, not as a critical foundation without which the program collapses nor even as a safeguard against marginal harm to the program's purpose. Necessity to the program's function or usefulness as a barrier against harms to the program's interest are sufficient to justify a distinction's rationality, yes, but they are not necessary.

    3) So a reasonable fit between the program's beneficiaries and a state interest is all that is required to justify exclusion of categories that do not align with the purpose of the program. Because the state has an interest in unplanned pregnancies - because the state wants these children to be raised by their birth parents rather than become burdens on the state - the state offers recognition of a package of rights, rules, and customs called marriage, and restricts the marriage program to the category of couples that can accidentally create children. This is rational. It is rational to restrict the beneficiaries of marriage rights when most of those outside that category do not align with that purpose and generally most of those within the category do fit the purpose. It's a rough fit but a reasonable one, and that's all that is necessary for the distinction to be rational. Asking more, again, proves too much and renders any state categorization untenable.
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  3. #2
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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    Because the state has an interest in unplanned pregnancies - because the state wants these children to be raised by their birth parents rather than become burdens on the state - the state offers recognition of a package of rights, rules, and customs called marriage, and restricts the marriage program to the category of couples that can accidentally create children. This is rational. It is rational to restrict the beneficiaries of marriage rights when most of those outside that category do not align with that purpose and generally most of those within the category do fit the purpose. It's a rough fit but a reasonable one, and that's all that is necessary for the distinction to be rational. Asking more, again, proves too much and renders any state categorization untenable.
    But that's not a rational argument.

    I'm all for having couples marry so that they are more likely to keep the child of an unplanned pregnancy. But I don't see how this equates a rational argument against gay marriage. Does allowing gays to marry somehow prevent heterosexual married couples from getting married or keeping unwanted offspring? Of course not. It has no effect at all and therefore banning gay marriage does not help heterosexuals marry and keep unwanted children.

    And if the ultimate goal is to relieve the state the burden of caring for unwanted children as much as possible, then it's just as beneficial for children who are abandoned to be adopted as it is to prevent such abandonment in the first place. They BOTH keep children out of the state system. So just as we want stable families who keep their unwanted children, we want stable families who will adopt unwanted children so we want gays to marry so there will be more stable family units that can adopt unwanted children. And as gays don't typically procreate they are probably MORE likely to adopt children, thus relieving the state of the burden of caring for children.

    So the issue of relieving the state of the burden of caring for unwanted children is an argument FOR gay marriage, not against it.
    Last edited by mican333; January 27th, 2015 at 06:37 PM.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    A well structured argument but I think the underlying premise that marriage exists primarily to provide support for unplanned children is as you might put it, underbroad. That is to say that there are many more purposes to marriage and that the one you cite is probably not even the primary interest.

    In the US presumably the State's interest is the peoples interest, or more broadly our societies interest so it covers a gamut of human experience and motivation.

    Marriage I think primarily is an arrangement to provide for the well-being of all children of the married couple, planned or unplanned.
    That said, it also provides many other benefits while not quite as essential are none the less significant.

    1. It provides individual companionship and stability for the individuals in a marriage. It is an intimate contract of trust that allows the couple to face life's challenges as a unified team where each shares an essential mutual interest.

    2. It creates political and social alliances within society to cement peaceful relations and cooperation between families and tribes.

    3. It creates a framework for the transfer of property and title after death. In our society that is all about property but in others it has been also about privilege and responsibility such as in a hereditary monarchy. This minimizes conflict over such resources by providing a stable social order.

    4. It provides a framework for legal authority when you are disabled in some fashion such that you can't represent your own interests.

    5. Publicly advertise the sexual exclusivity of the couple and help encourage that exclusivity among the couple.

    All of these social and individual benefits extend from marriage contracts. State sanction is only required for 3 and 4 but then again state sanction is not required for the primary benefit of marriage either.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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  6. #4
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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    I don't know how rude it is to quote my own OP to respond to your posts, but I think it's probably saner to do that than to paraphrase myself. I take your responses seriously - the content of your posts is substantial enough that I prepared my OP in advance to discuss these kinds of arguments. Don't take my self-quote to be a light dismissal. Try to pretend I'm approaching these arguments fresh; I want to ensure that if you disagree with my below self-quote responses to these arguments that we be explicit about that so I can reframe the argument or give it another go if you see a flaw.

    First:

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But I don't see how this equates a rational argument against gay marriage. Does allowing gays to marry somehow prevent heterosexual married couples from getting married or keeping unwanted offspring? Of course not. It has no effect at all and therefore banning gay marriage does not help heterosexuals marry and keep unwanted children.
    Quote Originally Posted by my OP
    Though these harms could be part of a rationale for denying same-sex couples the right to state-recognized marriage, it is sufficient to show a reasonable fit between the state-drawn line excluding same-sex couples and a legitimate state interest. Then the exclusion would be rational, in the same way that free school lunches are rational by drawing a line at a certain level of child income. Free lunches could reasonably be provided to all children, but it is also reasonable to restrict the program of benefits to the poorest - even though a free lunch for the aristocrat's son does not actually harm the nutrition in the lunch given to the poor man's son. Providing lunches for the poor and not the rich can be rational without needing to show that lunches for the rich will damage lunches for the poor. Distinctions are rational by a reasonable fit to purpose, not as a critical foundation without which the program collapses nor even as a safeguard against marginal harm to the program's purpose. Necessity to the program's function or usefulness as a barrier against harms to the program's interest are sufficient to justify a distinction's rationality, yes, but they are not necessary.
    Second:

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    And if the ultimate goal is to relieve the state the burden of caring for unwanted children as much as possible, then it's just as beneficial for children who are abandoned to be adopted as it is to prevent such abandonment in the first place. They BOTH keep children out of the state system. So just as we want stable families who keep their unwanted children, we want stable families who will adopt unwanted children so we want gays to marry so there will be more stable family units that can adopt unwanted children. And as gays don't typically procreate they are probably MORE likely to adopt children, thus relieving the state of the burden of caring for children.

    So the issue of relieving the state of the burden of caring for unwanted children is an argument FOR gay marriage, not against it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I think the underlying premise that marriage exists primarily to provide support for unplanned children is as you might put it, underbroad. That is to say that there are many more purposes to marriage and that the one you cite is probably not even the primary interest.

    In the US presumably the State's interest is the peoples interest, or more broadly our societies interest so it covers a gamut of human experience and motivation.
    ...
    All of these social and individual benefits extend from marriage contracts. State sanction is only required for 3 and 4 but then again state sanction is not required for the primary benefit of marriage either.

    Quote Originally Posted by my OP
    [S]tate-drawn categories need not hew so finely to every distinction between kinds of people or accurately handle the vastness of human experience to be rational. Can more exacting distinctions be drawn? Yes [. . .] Marriages create stable families that can handle unplanned pregnancies to relieve state burdens, but those stable families can support planned adoptions as well - another variant of a legitimate state interest, but one for which same-sex couples are applicable. State institutions and programs are multi-faceted and can have multiple purposes. But it is still rational to make legislative distinctions based on some core or particular purpose, and a reasonable fit for that purpose justifies those distinctions even though those distinctions would not further yet other state purposes. Requiring a perfect fit proves too much - no distinctions will ever satisfy perfect fit between policy and purpose, let alone all possible policies and purposes at once.
    To elaborate on the second point - I agree that other kinds of relationships and institutions beyond opposite-sex marriages could be recognized by the state to handle unplanned pregnancies. I even specifically mentioned that same-sex couples could adopt, as mican suggested, which aligns fairly closely to unplanned pregnancies in their effect on state burdens. These are policy options and there are many reasonable ones that can achieve similar effects. I am arguing that the existence of other options does not render the distinctions and restrictions drawn around one such option irrational.

    If you want to contend that it is irrational to refuse extension of the marriage program to same-sex couples on that basis, however, may I suggest two possibilities for why we might disagree:

    a) You think marriage means something important or substantial enough that excluding categories of people from marriage based on a narrow purpose like "security for unplanned pregnancies" is a trivialization of a life-defining right. My response is that, though you may dislike this kind of clinical approach to the institution, states are rational in seeing marriage as a tool to achieve such policy goals even when marriage has as large an effect on people as it does. Institutions can be specialized as state tools even while they are generalized as broad life achieving milestones to ordinary people.

    b) You are fine with the clinical approach but you think marriage is too useful a state tool in other areas to be tailored in its categories only to security for unplanned pregnancies. My response is an extension of the last part of (a) - states can craft and define social institutions to fit more specialized intentions even when a different definition of the tool could cause broader effects. This is not itself irrational. I think you'd have to make a pretty substantial case of your own, requiring some amount of thought and maybe research, to argue that rational policy-making requires making a sledgehammer out of a policy tool whenever a state can do so. I've never seen that kind of argument successfully made. To reuse an example above for a different purpose, free school lunch programs aren't irrational by exclusion of the rich even if they could be plausibly re-tooled into a sledgehammer that provides lunches (and take-home dinners?) to all students regardless of their money situation at home. That's a low intensity example, but you'd probably have to at least square with examples like it to make that irrationality argument, or maybe differentiate it from marriage -- argue it's of a different kind or is special such that, though not all policies should be so generalized (school lunches are fine as they are), marriage in particular should be generalized and not exclusive for loud and outstanding reasons.
    Last edited by Fangrim; January 28th, 2015 at 12:28 PM. Reason: I have made some nontrivial edits to the last paragraph.
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  8. #5
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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    To elaborate on the second point - I agree that other kinds of relationships and institutions beyond opposite-sex marriages could be recognized by the state to handle unplanned pregnancies. I even specifically mentioned that same-sex couples could adopt, as mican suggested, which aligns fairly closely to unplanned pregnancies in their effect on state burdens. These are policy options and there are many reasonable ones that can achieve similar effects. I am arguing that the existence of other options does not render the distinctions and restrictions drawn around one such option irrational.
    But given the goal that the state is trying to achieve, the restrictions don't make much sense. If the goal is to relieve the state the burden of raising unwanted children as much as possible then the best policy is the one that most effectively achieves that goal and polices that are not as effective as the best policy should not be implemented when the best policy is an option.

    And since allowing gay marriage will help the state alleviate the burden of raising unwanted children better than banning gay marriage, it is not rational to ban gay marriage if our one and only concern is relieving the state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    a) You think marriage means something important or substantial enough that excluding categories of people from marriage based on a narrow purpose like "security for unplanned pregnancies" is a trivialization of a life-defining right. My response is that, though you may dislike this kind of clinical approach to the institution, states are rational in seeing marriage as a tool to achieve such policy goals even when marriage has as large an effect on people as it does. Institutions can be specialized as state tools even while they are generalized as broad life achieving milestones to ordinary people.
    Of course a state's policy has to be constitutional and I would argue that refusing to recognize gay marriage is unconstitutional and that will probably be a legal reality in our near future. But then just because there are very good reasons for not adopting a policy does not mean that there are not rational reasons for adopting a policy.

    So I do agree that IF there is a noticeable state benefit for not recognizing gay marriage, then there can be a rational reason to not recognize them even if the reasons for recognizing gay marriage outweighs them by a large margin.

    But as I said, I have yet to see what I consider a rational reason for the state to not recognize gay marriage. The ban has to realistically achieve some goal that benefits the state so before it can be said that there's a rational reason, it has to be demonstrated that the state will benefit from the ban.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    tl;dr: Marriage can mean many things to many people, but the state's purpose in marriage is to create stable family units that will support unplanned pregnancies so that the state does not have to carry that burden. It is rational to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples because only opposite-sex couples can have the unplanned pregnancies for which marriage is offered.
    The state's purpose in supporting marriage is genderless:

    1. It provides for couples a legally legitimate reason for assuming responsibility to another person's assets for inheritance and shared resposibility
    2. It allows employers and insurance companies to define a family unit for medical insurance purposes.
    3. For military couples, a spouse would receive benefits.
    4. If one person is terminally ill, some organizations (mainly religious) only allow opposite sex partners to visit them; if they were legal spouses then those organizations would be unable to refuse visitation rights.
    5. For tax purposes, couples are given advantages if filing together.

    I'm also having trouble with the title of the OP, "Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests". What are procreative interests? Why do they need to be furthered in the first place?

    Unfortunately, the number of single heterosexual parents undermines your central premise that the state's purpose in marriage is to create stable family units - it is clear that marriage has nothing to do with stable family units at all: there were single heterosexual parents before there gay marriage - allowing gay marriage will not change that. In fact, it may even potentially prevent gay single parents from forming the stable family units.

    So I have to reject your thesis on several fronts:

    1. It mis-states the governments role in supporting or defining marriage - there are other factors.
    2. The idea of procreative interests is not well defined
    3. The central idea of stable family units can be created by government is clearly false given the number of single parents.
    4. In disallowing same sex marriages, you are also preventing certain kinds of family units to be created thus undermining your own OP.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    marriage should not exist full stop you don't need the government or church or contracts in a relationship. however it does exist. same sex marriage should not be allowed becasue the definition of marriage used to be "legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman" and that is how it should of stayed.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Neurotic View Post
    same sex marriage should not be allowed becasue the definition of marriage used to be "legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman" and that is how it should of stayed.
    Why does it need to stay like that?

    If there's a good reason to change, then a change should occur.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But given the goal that the state is trying to achieve, the restrictions don't make much sense. If the goal is to relieve the state the burden of raising unwanted children as much as possible then the best policy is the one that most effectively achieves that goal and polices that are not as effective as the best policy should not be implemented when the best policy is an option.
    I think you have a less charitable view of state rationality than I do, and a less practical view. There is a vastness to state policy options that dwarfs the ability to write about them or even comprehend them unless you're an expert in the particular area of policy. I don't think it's neat or comfortable to require that rational state action can only be the one best option out of the sea of all possibilities. It is better, I think, to credit the state with rationality by choosing an option that has a reasonable fit to its goals. Requiring any more perfect fit is crippling to a good definition of rationality in state action.

    So, just noting that I'm not conceding this point.

    However, I will humor the idea that you are right and I am wrong, and that the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriage can only be rational "if there is a noticeable benefit for not recognizing" it.

    Consider this new argument then. I'll make a few low-ball stipulations (surveys have varied in their results over the years, so be flexible with the numbers). First stipulation: 300 million Americans. 1% homosexual. 1% bisexual. These aren't trivial numbers, that's a lot of people. Second stipulation: some marriages are more valuable to the state than others. For example, there is more merit to a marriage between people who are somewhat closer in age than those who are 40 years apart in age. Some qualia in marriages all else equal are more productive and foster better social utility - they are better partnerships and bear better fruit. Third, that opposite-sex couples have more such merit than same-sex couples, if for no other reason than in the value of bearing children rather than only adopting others' children. However much value you personally put on that feature, the state can realistically put some decent value on that and find opposite-sex couples to have some greater merit. Fourth, refusing to recognize same-sex marriage encourages the bisexuals of America to pursue opposite-sex partners. I think it's easy to think this is silly, but ordinary everyday people do think practically about their future partners, and the prospect of marriage and its high prestige is easily understandable as a motivating factor for someone choosing between partners. At the very least, this human decision point is not irrational as something on the radar for state policy-making.

    Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage encourages a non-trivial number of people to pursue opposite-sex partnerships, which have appreciably more merit than same-sex couples. The state can rationally reserve the most culturally salient label for the most valuable form of partnerships to encourage those who have a choice between opposite-sex and same-sex partnerships to choose the one that provides more utility.

    I wouldn't be surprised if you don't like the argument - you might find a ranking of marriages from most utility to least unsavory - but at least consider whether it demonstrates a reasonable fit between a policy option and a legitimate state interest, and I think you'll agree that it does. I'll note off-hand that this argument is not easy to make ever since the "disappearance of the bisexual" in same-sex marriage discourse. It's no coincidence that plaintiffs in the chosen, elect same-sex marriage cases are not bisexual plaintiffs. Erasing the bisexual from the discussion helps avoid the argument.

    ---

    And to JimJones, I feel like any good response to your points 1, 3, and 4 would mean my repeating the OP. I encourage you to read my second post in the thread above, post #4. There are 1:1 correspondences between your points and the arguments I prepared in advance to address them. Until then I'll think about your point 2, which I haven't addressed.
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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    However, I will humor the idea that you are right and I am wrong, and that the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriage can only be rational "if there is a noticeable benefit for not recognizing" it.
    For the record, it is true that fundamental rights can only be limited if there is a justifiable state interest.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that Marriage is a fundamental right.

    Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm...8_0001_ZO.html.
    Per the 14th Amendment, fundamental rights require an equal application in the law. You canít give the right to one person, and not another:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    And while there are exceptions to the above rule, those exceptions must meet the requirements below:

    Where certain "fundamental rights" are involved, the Court has held that regulation limiting these rights may be justified only by a "compelling state interest," Kramer v. Union Free School District, 395 U.S. 621, 627 (1969); Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 634 (1969), Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, 406 (1963), and that legislative enactments must be narrowly drawn to express only the legitimate state interests at stake. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S., at 485; Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500, 508 (1964); Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 307-308 (1940); see [410 U.S. 113, 156] Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S., at 460, 463-464 (WHITE, J., concurring in result).

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/wmn/rvw/rvw08.htm

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Granted. The thread stipulates something like a rational basis test. I don't much care to argue whether refusal to recognize same-sex marriage passes higher levels of scrutiny or whether such higher standards of review ought to apply to denial of same-sex marriage rights.

    After the SCOTUS recognizes heightened scrutiny in whatever way it's going to, I don't have much of a stake in the argument. But as written the OP isn't even restricted to a United States context. Until my third post it was state agnostic.
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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    I think you have a less charitable view of state rationality than I do, and a less practical view. There is a vastness to state policy options that dwarfs the ability to write about them or even comprehend them unless you're an expert in the particular area of policy. I don't think it's neat or comfortable to require that rational state action can only be the one best option out of the sea of all possibilities. It is better, I think, to credit the state with rationality by choosing an option that has a reasonable fit to its goals. Requiring any more perfect fit is crippling to a good definition of rationality in state action.
    This isn't that complex.

    The goal in question is to relieve the state of the financial burden of caring for unwanted children. There are only two options available - allow gay marriage or ban gay marriage. Whichever one will save the state the most money is the rational choice.

    And since allowing gay marriage will save the state the most money when it comes to caring for unwanted children, it is not rational to ban gay marriage if one is concerned with saving money in that fashion.



    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    consider this new argument then. I'll make a few low-ball stipulations (surveys have varied in their results over the years, so be flexible with the numbers). First stipulation: 300 million Americans. 1% homosexual. 1% bisexual. These aren't trivial numbers, that's a lot of people. Second stipulation: some marriages are more valuable to the state than others. For example, there is more merit to a marriage between people who are somewhat closer in age than those who are 40 years apart in age. Some qualia in marriages all else equal are more productive and foster better social utility - they are better partnerships and bear better fruit. Third, that opposite-sex couples have more such merit than same-sex couples, if for no other reason than in the value of bearing children rather than only adopting others' children. However much value you personally put on that feature, the state can realistically put some decent value on that and find opposite-sex couples to have some greater merit. Fourth, refusing to recognize same-sex marriage encourages the bisexuals of America to pursue opposite-sex partners. I think it's easy to think this is silly, but ordinary everyday people do think practically about their future partners, and the prospect of marriage and its high prestige is easily understandable as a motivating factor for someone choosing between partners. At the very least, this human decision point is not irrational as something on the radar for state policy-making.
    But a rational state policy has to promote a legitimate state goal. Your argument fails to identify a state goal that is more likely to be achieved by banning gay marriage. You seem to be implying that it's a "legitimate state goal" to help influence people to seeking opposite-sex unions instead of same-sex unions. You can argue that one is more beneficial in some fashion but to hold up your argument, you have to show that it's beneficial to the state as in it helps the state achieve a goal that one would generally agree is a legitimate state interest.

    Since you have not spelled out how this helps achieve a legitimate state interest you have not shown a rational reason for the state to ban gay marriage.

    And for the record, I do not think it's a legitimate state goal to encourage procreation. I'm definitely for people procreating but we don't have a problem doing that at a sufficient rate on our own and therefore there is no legitimate need for the state to encourage us to breed more than we might without state influence.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised if you don't like the argument - you might find a ranking of marriages from most utility to least unsavory - but at least consider whether it demonstrates a reasonable fit between a policy option and a legitimate state interest, and I think you'll agree that it does.
    Incorrect. You have not provided a legitimate state interest to consider.

    Assuming you continue this argument, please include something like "The state has a legitimate interest in (stated goal) and banning same sex marriage helps achieve that goal". I do not think it's a legitimate state interest to try to influence people to be involved with the opposite sex instead of the same sex, although you may seek to argue that doing that helps achieve a legitimate state interest that you have yet to identify.
    Last edited by mican333; March 12th, 2015 at 12:36 PM.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    This isn't that complex.

    The goal in question is to relieve the state of the financial burden of caring for unwanted children. There are only two options available - allow gay marriage or ban gay marriage. Whichever one will save the state the most money is the rational choice.

    And since allowing gay marriage will save the state the most money when it comes to caring for unwanted children, it is not rational to ban gay marriage if one is concerned with saving money in that fashion.
    I hope to get back to this later. But for now, I'll give a bit of my reaction and then go on to the secondary argument we were having.

    A set of marriage policies can rationally reserve the marriage label to heterosexual couples because the label has an enforcing power to encourage the stability of the kind of couple that most needs to be kept stable, i.e., the family unit that will need to handle unplanned pregnancies. The state can rationally assess that an adoptive same-sex family needs the protective umbrella of marriage less because such a couple went into the adoption headfirst and intentionally.

    Most of what I mean to say is that state policy-making can make distinctions in the way it tackles a problem. You say that "whichever one will save the state the most money is the rational choice," but this is not so. No program is so simple. Otherwise, I dare say, (if you'd be generous for the moment and pretend we agree that procreation is a legit state interest and part of marriage's purpose) you would require that the rational marriage policy would be restricted only to fertile couples that are sexually active or to any couple who intends to adopt. That seems quite cheap and effective: sign a paper that says "I intend to adopt or have no reason to think I am infertile." Now the marriage policy is super-rationally tailored, isn't it? I don't disagree that this is in the realm of rational policy-making, but the difference for me is that I recognize that there is more than one rational choice. That's sensible. The world is complex. States have multiple goals. So choices aren't black and white.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    You seem to be implying that it's a "legitimate state goal" to help influence people to seeking opposite-sex unions instead of same-sex unions. You can argue that one is more beneficial in some fashion but to hold up your argument, you have to show that it's beneficial to the state as in it helps the state achieve a goal that one would generally agree is a legitimate state interest.

    Since you have not spelled out how this helps achieve a legitimate state interest you have not shown a rational reason for the state to ban gay marriage.

    And for the record, I do not think it's a legitimate state goal to encourage procreation. I'm definitely for people procreating but we don't have a problem doing that at a sufficient rate on our own and therefore there is no legitimate need for the state to encourage us to breed more than we might without state influence.
    You do not think encouraging procreation is a legitimate state goal, but "one would generally agree" that it is a legitimate state interest, mican. Most people would, I don't doubt, but if you want me to go to the level of proving that an increased population is a goal for the state, that's a big enough topic to deserve its own thread and I don't have the stomach to take that on. As an aside, states have different goals than any one person does, but I can understand your reluctance to recognize that interest as legitimate. Thankfully, I'm only interested in proving the OP, i.e., "refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests." The scope of the debate is limited to procreative interests from the get-go. We can reach a point where you say "Yes, a same-sex marriage ban can be part of a rational set of state policies to further procreation, whatever procreation's merit as a goal" or "No, it can't be," while still declining to agree that procreation is a legitimate objective of the state. You'd be doing the good work of furthering the dialogue for the benefit of the rest of us who do think encouraging procreation is a legitimate state interest.

    All that said, then, say the state wants to funnel bisexuals toward opposite-sex relationships because those relationships can result in home-grown pregnancy. I don't pretend to think that's very nice to treat individuals as mice being pushed toward one piece of cheese over the other. It's the state, and the state thinks clinically about such things. But is that not within rationality?
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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    A set of marriage policies can rationally reserve the marriage label to heterosexual couples because the label has an enforcing power to encourage the stability of the kind of couple that most needs to be kept stable, i.e., the family unit that will need to handle unplanned pregnancies. The state can rationally assess that an adoptive same-sex family needs the protective umbrella of marriage less because such a couple went into the adoption headfirst and intentionally.
    It cannot assess than an adoptive same-sex family needs the umbrella less than an adoptive opposite-sex family, though.

    And likewise it cannot assess that they need it more than an opposite-sex couple that will not bear any children (such as old people who marry).

    So by the criteria you forward, the state has just as much rationale to not recognize opposite-sex elder marriage as it does to not recognize same-sex marriage. In fact, very old people are less likely to raise children at all so they need the "umbrella" less than younger same-sex couples who are raising adopted children (for those with adopted children need the umbrella more than the childless). So we have more rational to not recognize elder marriage than same-sex marriage.





    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    Most of what I mean to say is that state policy-making can make distinctions in the way it tackles a problem. You say that "whichever one will save the state the most money is the rational choice," but this is not so.
    Your earlier argument was that the state has a rationale reason to not recognize same-sex marriage out of financial concern for the state having to raise unwanted children.

    So to be clear, are you dropping that line of argument? If not, then at least for that particular argument whether the state will save money is very much an issue and "whichever one will save the state the most money is the rational choice" is very much so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    No program is so simple. Otherwise, I dare say, (if you'd be generous for the moment and pretend we agree that procreation is a legit state interest and part of marriage's purpose) you would require that the rational marriage policy would be restricted only to fertile couples that are sexually active or to any couple who intends to adopt. That seems quite cheap and effective: sign a paper that says "I intend to adopt or have no reason to think I am infertile." Now the marriage policy is super-rationally tailored, isn't it? I don't disagree that this is in the realm of rational policy-making, but the difference for me is that I recognize that there is more than one rational choice. That's sensible. The world is complex. States have multiple goals. So choices aren't black and white.
    Right. The rationale for recognizing a couple's marriage is based on multiple reasons and the issue of bearing children is just one of them and it is not currently a requirement for marriage. If it was, then post-menopausal people could not marry.

    Since there are multiple reasons to recognize a marriage and many of those reasons apply to same-sex couples, there is not a rational reason to ban same-sex couples. Not aligning with ONE reason that we recognize marriage is not a rational reason to refuse recognition of marriage.

    In fact, the criteria has pretty much always been two opposite-sex adults consenting to marry the other and the kind of criteria you forward is not factored at all and to start making it a relevant factor would have us radically change the laws regarding traditional marriage and would justify not recognizing certain traditional marriages, particularly that of the elderly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    You do not think encouraging procreation is a legitimate state goal, but "one would generally agree" that it is a legitimate state interest, mican. Most people would, I don't doubt, but if you want me to go to the level of proving that an increased population is a goal for the state, that's a big enough topic to deserve its own thread and I don't have the stomach to take that on.
    That's up to you. But until you do support that it's a legitimate state interest to encourage procreation, the argument that that is a legitimate state interest fails for lack of support.

    As I said, I feel the population procreates at an adequate rate without the state being involved and therefore the state's help is not needed in that area and therefore it is not a legitimate state interest. Any argument to the contrary requires support before it will be accepted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    As an aside, states have different goals than any one person does, but I can understand your reluctance to recognize that interest as legitimate. Thankfully, I'm only interested in proving the OP, i.e., "refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests." The scope of the debate is limited to procreative interests from the get-go. We can reach a point where you say "Yes, a same-sex marriage ban can be part of a rational set of state policies to further procreation, whatever procreation's merit as a goal" or "No, it can't be," while still declining to agree that procreation is a legitimate objective of the state. You'd be doing the good work of furthering the dialogue for the benefit of the rest of us who do think encouraging procreation is a legitimate state interest.

    All that said, then, say the state wants to funnel bisexuals toward opposite-sex relationships because those relationships can result in home-grown pregnancy. I don't pretend to think that's very nice to treat individuals as mice being pushed toward one piece of cheese over the other. It's the state, and the state thinks clinically about such things. But is that not within rationality?
    It might be a rational way to achieve the goal but you have not supported that the goal itself rationally furthers a legitimate state interest.

    If the state had a legitimate interest in upsetting gay people, then it would be rational to ban gay marriage to further the goal of upsetting gay people. But since upsetting gay people is not a legitimate state goal, banning gay marriage for that reason does not rationally further a legitimate state goal.

    So until you can show that banning gay marriage would rationally further a legitimate state interest (as opposed to rationally further something that is not a legitimate state interest), you cannot show that the state has a rationale reason to ban gay marriage.
    Last edited by mican333; April 19th, 2015 at 08:50 AM.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    tl;dr: Marriage can mean many things to many people, but the state's purpose in marriage is to create stable family units that will support unplanned pregnancies so that the state does not have to carry that burden. It is rational to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples because only opposite-sex couples can have the unplanned pregnancies for which marriage is offered.

    1) Lines are drawn for a reasonable fit, not a perfect one. Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage is both overbroad and underbroad, and marriage is a complex enough institution to have multiple effects on society, but this distinction can still be a rational one as to one purpose (unplanned pregnancy support) among many possible purposes.

    Examples: Refusal of the right to vote to those below 18 years of age and to convicted felons is rational even though that distinction is both overbroad and underbroad. Civic responsibility can be absent in adult free men and present in underage convicts, but refusing the right to vote to the underage and to felons still bears a rational relationship to the purpose of voting rights. In the area of marriage, adult incestuous relationships - between relatives who are mature and capable of making their own decisions, uncoerced by the other - are denied recognition to prevent genetic disorders even though the restriction is not a perfect fit. The restriction is underbroad because non-related couples with debilitating genetic traits are allowed to marry, even if the possible disorders have higher chances of inheritance than those that would occur by incest. The restriction is overbroad because adult incestuous couples are denied the right even when pregnancy would be impossible, either because one of the partners is infertile or because both adults are the same sex. I can only imagine that consanguinity is next after homosexuality.

    Regardless, a state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriage is rational so long as the fit between the refusal and the state's legitimate purpose is a reasonable one. Infertile, abortion-willing, or contraception-using opposite-sex couples will not have unplanned children, but state-drawn categories need not hew so finely to every distinction between kinds of people or accurately handle the vastness of human experience to be rational. Can more exacting distinctions be drawn? Yes (though I wouldn't be surprised if real policy concerns would make further distinctions unpalatable - "are you fertile sir? no? then no marriage." I can sympathize that refusal to recognize same-sex marriages itself is unsavory though). Marriages create stable families that can handle unplanned pregnancies to relieve state burdens, but those stable families can support planned adoptions as well - another variant of a legitimate state interest, but one for which same-sex couples are applicable. State institutions and programs are multi-faceted and can have multiple purposes. But it is still rational to make legislative distinctions based on some core or particular purpose, and a reasonable fit for that purpose justifies those distinctions even though those distinctions would not further yet other state purposes. Requiring a perfect fit proves too much - no distinctions will ever satisfy perfect fit between policy and purpose, let alone all possible policies and purposes at once.

    2) A showing of harm to heterosexual couples or marriage's purposes or the children or whatever because of same-sex marriage is not necessary.

    Though these harms could be part of a rationale for denying same-sex couples the right to state-recognized marriage, it is sufficient to show a reasonable fit between the state-drawn line excluding same-sex couples and a legitimate state interest. Then the exclusion would be rational, in the same way that free school lunches are rational by drawing a line at a certain level of child income. Free lunches could reasonably be provided to all children, but it is also reasonable to restrict the program of benefits to the poorest - even though a free lunch for the aristocrat's son does not actually harm the nutrition in the lunch given to the poor man's son. Providing lunches for the poor and not the rich can be rational without needing to show that lunches for the rich will damage lunches for the poor. Distinctions are rational by a reasonable fit to purpose, not as a critical foundation without which the program collapses nor even as a safeguard against marginal harm to the program's purpose. Necessity to the program's function or usefulness as a barrier against harms to the program's interest are sufficient to justify a distinction's rationality, yes, but they are not necessary.

    3) So a reasonable fit between the program's beneficiaries and a state interest is all that is required to justify exclusion of categories that do not align with the purpose of the program. Because the state has an interest in unplanned pregnancies - because the state wants these children to be raised by their birth parents rather than become burdens on the state - the state offers recognition of a package of rights, rules, and customs called marriage, and restricts the marriage program to the category of couples that can accidentally create children. This is rational. It is rational to restrict the beneficiaries of marriage rights when most of those outside that category do not align with that purpose and generally most of those within the category do fit the purpose. It's a rough fit but a reasonable one, and that's all that is necessary for the distinction to be rational. Asking more, again, proves too much and renders any state categorization untenable.

    1.) There are 7 billion people on this planet. 153 million of them are orphans. We have a serious overpopulation problem in the world.

    Please explain to me, in lieu of these facts, why any government that's not Japanese should be concerned in any sense with continuing to increase their population? For instance, if you belong to India or China, I would think that to be homosexual would actually greatly help their overpopulation problems.


    2.) Homosexuals can have children of their own. If you take two lesbians, two gay men, and an in vitro fertilization program, you can have two full families, just the same if you took two men and two women and placed them into two heterosexual couples. On top of this, gay couples also can adopt the vast plethora of orphans in their countries, because every country has a great swath of orphans. That, also, seriously could help alleviate the government's need to support orphaned children and young adults that you're pretending to be very concerned about.


    So you'll have to forgive me, but I find your argument to be exorbitantly specious and you need only spend approximately ten seconds thinking it through to see precisely why.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    tl;dr: Marriage can mean many things to many people, but the state's purpose in marriage is to create stable family units that will support unplanned pregnancies so that the state does not have to carry that burden. It is rational to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples because only opposite-sex couples can have the unplanned pregnancies for which marriage is offered.
    Perhaps you could direct me to the Constitutional statement...or law...or whatever government supported document that supports and substantiates your claim here. Im having difficulty finding any documentation that verifies that this is, indeed, the purpose of marriage in the state's eyes.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    1.) There are 7 billion people on this planet. 153 million of them are orphans. We have a serious overpopulation problem in the world.

    Please explain to me, in lieu of these facts, why any government that's not Japanese should be concerned in any sense with continuing to increase their population? For instance, if you belong to India or China, I would think that to be homosexual would actually greatly help their overpopulation problems.
    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    As I said, I feel the population procreates at an adequate rate without the state being involved and therefore the state's help is not needed in that area and therefore it is not a legitimate state interest. Any argument to the contrary requires support before it will be accepted.
    GoldenPhoenix, as I noted in my exchange with mican, I'm not interested in any rigorous proof that states ought to care about increasing their population. The original OP can even concede that a growing population is not a proper state interest at all and focus on constructing marriage as an institution to handle unplanned pregnancies not as a boon to society but as a sort of natural phenomena that happens between couples. Your concerns aren't irrelevant, though. They do good work as to the second, side-argument I made with mican that I introduced when I found he gave little credit to the original OP. I wanted to continue a dialogue with him, though, so I tried out a new, different argument.

    I think it's proper to question whether the state has an interest in a growing population. It shouldn't be too difficult to imagine why that interest could be legitimate, though. Granted, I'm not a state, so I don't readily think in terms like "As long as I can support more people, I want to have more people than my neighboring countries so that I have more power." But I don't think it's so bizarre an idea to imagine -- so long as a country can support population growth -- that this population growth can be part of a state's agenda.

    I'm not overly attached to arguing about this side-argument, though. I find that most people readily concede that the above state-thinking can make sense and most people then accept the argument, but if you guys differ so much on that point, I can drop it. It's a thread unto its own and not a thread I'd relish participating in.


    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    2.) Homosexuals can have children of their own. If you take two lesbians, two gay men, and an in vitro fertilization program, you can have two full families, just the same if you took two men and two women and placed them into two heterosexual couples. On top of this, gay couples also can adopt the vast plethora of orphans in their countries, because every country has a great swath of orphans. That, also, seriously could help alleviate the government's need to support orphaned children and young adults that you're pretending to be very concerned about.
    My dialogue with mican and the original OP have responses to this kind of argument. The argument developed well for a bit.


    mican, this part requires I quote the relevant pieces of our exchange and how it got here.
    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    The goal in question is to relieve the state of the financial burden of caring for unwanted children. There are only two options available - allow gay marriage or ban gay marriage. Whichever one will save the state the most money is the rational choice.

    And since allowing gay marriage will save the state the most money when it comes to caring for unwanted children, it is not rational to ban gay marriage if one is concerned with saving money in that fashion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    A set of marriage policies can rationally reserve the marriage label to heterosexual couples because the label has an enforcing power to encourage the stability of the kind of couple that most needs to be kept stable, i.e., the family unit that will need to handle unplanned pregnancies. The state can rationally assess that an adoptive same-sex family needs the protective umbrella of marriage less because such a couple went into the adoption headfirst and intentionally.
    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    It cannot assess tha[t] an adoptive same-sex family needs the umbrella less than an adoptive opposite-sex family, though.
    Adoptive families don't need the marriage umbrella to identify paternal responsibilities. Marriage is a useful institution because it puts a presumption on the both members of couple to raise children born to the mother during their wedlock. This is what creates a stable family household for unplanned pregnancies. The father has a duty to the child even if he didn't want the child, and the state presumes that he is the father if the child is born during their marriage.

    Adoptive families seek out a child intentionally. The usefulness of marriage in the way I described isn't there. This is why I've had such trouble with your argument that refusing to recognize same-sex marriage doesn't rationally further the state's interest in unplanned pregnancies. You've said that the state would rationally see that same-sex couples can adopt the unplanned children, so their relationships should be recognized as marriages, too. But it is not the couple's voluntary undertaking in raising a child which gives motivation for the state to recognize their marriage. It is their becoming married which enables to state to impose upon the couple the duty to raise unplanned children. You have reversed the concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So by the criteria you forward, the state has just as much rationale to not recognize opposite-sex elder marriage as it does to not recognize same-sex marriage. In fact, very old people are less likely to raise children at all so they need the "umbrella" less than younger same-sex couples who are raising adopted children (for those with adopted children need the umbrella more than the childless).
    This is all correct. And ergo, the state could rationally refuse to recognize marriages between people of a certain age, or between people whose ages are very far apart, or between people with genetic disorders or who are in the same nuclear family. Eugenics is terribly oppressive policy, I'd like to be able to marry my soulmate even if we only meet once we're 65 and I don't want the state to stop me, and partners whose ages are far apart can still form a good household: these are all good policy reasons why the state shouldn't do those things. But I don't discredit that base rationale for why the state might want to limit marriage in those ways. The policy conclusion we all get to when we consider "should the state prohibit marriage between the elderly" is no, the state shouldn't prohibit it because that would make people unhappy, but that conclusion doesn't deny that a state could rationally do so.

    This is where I point above to our disagreement about state rationality:

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    I think you have a less charitable view of state rationality than I do, and a less practical view. There is a vastness to state policy options that dwarfs the ability to write about them or even comprehend them unless you're an expert in the particular area of policy. I don't think it's neat or comfortable to require that rational state action can only be the one best option out of the sea of all possibilities. It is better, I think, to credit the state with rationality by choosing an option that has a reasonable fit to its goals. Requiring any more perfect fit is crippling to a good definition of rationality in state action.

    So, just noting that I'm not conceding this point.
    Anyway, back to your response.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Your earlier argument was that the state has a rationale reason to not recognize same-sex marriage out of financial concern for the state having to raise unwanted children.

    So to be clear, are you dropping that line of argument? If not, then at least for that particular argument whether the state will save money is very much an issue and "whichever one will save the state the most money is the rational choice" is very much so.
    I am arguing that the state has a valid interest in unplanned children being raised by the people who birthed them rather than than by state, and that refusing to recognize same-sex marriages is in line with that interest -- it's a reasonable fit between ends and means. I grant that it's not a final policy conclusion, and an alternative policy package could do things differently, but a same-sex marriage ban is rational. The state could even do away with marriage recognition entirely and handle unplanned pregnancies by putting a lot of funding into orphanages or by creating large tax breaks or basic incomes for single women with children whose fathers ran away. The state has a lot of things it could do. But a same-sex marriage ban isn't an unreasonable fit between means and ends merely because other means exist or other ends exist.

    I'm not dropping that line of argument, no.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican
    Right. The rationale for recognizing a couple's marriage is based on multiple reasons and the issue of bearing children is just one of them and it is not currently a requirement for marriage. If it was, then post-menopausal people could not marry.

    Since there are multiple reasons to recognize a marriage and many of those reasons apply to same-sex couples, there is not a rational reason to ban same-sex couples. Not aligning with ONE reason that we recognize marriage is not a rational reason to refuse recognition of marriage.

    In fact, the criteria has pretty much always been two opposite-sex adults consenting to marry the other and the kind of criteria you forward is not factored at all and to start making it a relevant factor would have us radically change the laws regarding traditional marriage and would justify not recognizing certain traditional marriages, particularly that of the elderly.
    I think this is where we get back to stuff in the OP. Reasonable fit between means and ends, that's rational state action. Same-sex marriages can be refused recognition because most such marriages are outside the scope of the state's proffered interest in marriage, supporting unplanned pregnancy. I don't doubt that any number of people reading that sentence has a lot to disagree with it as a policy conclusion, but put the final policy conclusion to one side and assess whether it is irrational for a state to limit school lunches to the poor kids and we might understand one another.


    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    Perhaps you could direct me to the Constitutional statement...or law...or whatever government supported document that supports and substantiates your claim here. Im having difficulty finding any documentation that verifies that this is, indeed, the purpose of marriage in the state's eyes.
    Maybe you'd be generous enough to give credit to Blackstone's commentaries on English law. Blackstone is, y'know, Blackstone, lol. Blackstone below is explaining why a bastard should not be legitimate merely because the mother weds the father years after the fact, as the Romans allowed. The context isn't relevant to our discussion, then, but the principles of the English common law that he uses along the way are relevant, that marriage creates a shelter for an unplanned child in identifying who has the duty to take care of him.

    William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769), Chapter XVI
    "the establishment of marriage in all civilized states is built on this natural obligation of the father to provide for his children; for that ascertains and makes known the person who is bound to fulfill this obligation; whereas, in promiscuous and illicit conjunctions, the father is unknown."

    "And the reason of our English law is surely much superior to that of the Roman, if we consider the principal end and design of establishing the contact of marriage, taken in a civil light, abstractedly from any religious view, which has nothing to do with the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the children. The main end and design of marriage, therefore, being to ascertain and fix upon some certain person to whom the care, the protection, the maintenance, and the education of the children should belong..."

    I can concede that states have a lot of interests, and I'm open to the idea that the institution of marriage could be a useful tool to accomplish multiple such interests. Multiple jurisdictions in the United States, anyway, are opening up marriage to accomplish different things than a Blackstonian state would use it to do.
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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    I don't think it's so bizarre an idea to imagine -- so long as a country can support population growth -- that this population growth can be part of a state's agenda.
    Deficit spending by governments, which is very common, is considered reasonable on the expectation of a growing population and increasing tax revenues. A government practicing deficit spending has a rational basis to encourage population growth.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    Adoptive families don't need the marriage umbrella to identify paternal responsibilities. Marriage is a useful institution because it puts a presumption on the both members of couple to raise children born to the mother during their wedlock. This is what creates a stable family household for unplanned pregnancies. The father has a duty to the child even if he didn't want the child, and the state presumes that he is the father if the child is born during their marriage.
    But the father likewise has a duty to the child even if he did want the child. There are certainly fathers who leave their families even if they originally did want the child.

    So assuming the overall goal is to encourage fathers to stay with their families and care for their children, there is no rational reason to deny fathers who intentionally had children these responsibilities and therefore no reason to restrict marriage to those fathers who did not plan to have children.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    Adoptive families seek out a child intentionally. The usefulness of marriage in the way I described isn't there. This is why I've had such trouble with your argument that refusing to recognize same-sex marriage doesn't rationally further the state's interest in unplanned pregnancies.
    I don't argue that it doesn't'. I'm arguing that you've not shown that it does.

    Marriage does give a father of an unwanted child an incentive to stick around and that's a good thing. So that rationally justifies allowing fathers of unwanted children to marry.

    But I don't see how that rationally justifies not recognize other types of marriages.



    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    This is all correct. And ergo, the state could rationally refuse to recognize marriages between people of a certain age, or between people whose ages are very far apart, or between people with genetic disorders or who are in the same nuclear family. Eugenics is terribly oppressive policy, I'd like to be able to marry my soulmate even if we only meet once we're 65 and I don't want the state to stop me, and partners whose ages are far apart can still form a good household: these are all good policy reasons why the state shouldn't do those things. But I don't discredit that base rationale for why the state might want to limit marriage in those ways. The policy conclusion we all get to when we consider "should the state prohibit marriage between the elderly" is no, the state shouldn't prohibit it because that would make people unhappy, but that conclusion doesn't deny that a state could rationally do so.
    Given any particular state policy (no mater how bad it might be), ANY action can be considered rational. Considering the state goals of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust was rational. And if the state goal was to get everyone to wear pink hats, then a state policy that anyone not wearing a pink hat will be shot on site is rational.

    I was under the impression that we are limiting the debate to legitimate state goals. And yes, stabilizing families with unplanned pregnancies is a legitimate state goal.



    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    I am arguing that the state has a valid interest in unplanned children being raised by the people who birthed them rather than than by state, and that refusing to recognize same-sex marriages is in line with that interest -- it's a reasonable fit between ends and means.
    I don't see how. Explain how banning gay marriage keeps unplanned children with their birth families instead of being given up to the state.

    Yes, I concede that allowing the parents of an unplanned pregnancy to marry helps keep the children with their families. But I don't see who not allowing gay couples to marry effects that situation.




    Quote Originally Posted by Fangrim View Post
    I think this is where we get back to stuff in the OP. Reasonable fit between means and ends, that's rational state action. Same-sex marriages can be refused recognition because most such marriages are outside the scope of the state's proffered interest in marriage, supporting unplanned pregnancy.
    ONLY if the ban can be shown to have a positive impact on the families with unplanned pregnancies. If such policies do not help these families, then it is not rational to implement them for that reason.
    Last edited by mican333; April 24th, 2015 at 12:57 PM.

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    Re: Refusal to recognize same-sex marriage rationally furthers procreative interests

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But the father likewise has a duty to the child even if he did want the child. There are certainly fathers who leave their families even if they originally did want the child.

    So assuming the overall goal is to encourage fathers to stay with their families and care for their children, there is no rational reason to deny fathers who intentionally had children these responsibilities and therefore no reason to restrict marriage to those fathers who did not plan to have children.
    I don't understand this reply. My post juxtaposed the adoptive father vs the accidental father. An adoptive father takes on the legal duty to care for the child by the very process of legally-recognized adoption. An accidental father has no such legal duty unless the state identifies the father and imposes that duty on him -- that's why marriage is a useful institution, because a couple's married status creates the presumption that any children born from the wife is the husband's child.

    I'm going to respond to these next few parts piece-meal because I think that will work better, but when you respond feel free to respond only to what you actually disagree with. You might find some of what I say mere clarification that is mutually beneficial.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Marriage does give a father of an unwanted child an incentive to stick around and that's a good thing.
    To be specific, marriage imposes on a husband the duty to support a child born from the mother because the state presumes that any child born from the mother is the husband's as well. Without marriage, there is no such presumption that the child is a product of these two particular people. The incentive to stick around is legal repercussion on top of cultural shaming.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So that rationally justifies allowing fathers of unwanted children to marry.
    That reverses the timeline. State-recognized marriage is offered as a package of rights and responsibilities to couples. Couples take the state up on this offer. When the couple produces children, including unplanned children, the state imposes on the husband the duty to care for the child.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But I don't see how that rationally justifies not recognize other types of marriages.
    When a couple will not produce unplanned children together -- that is, because they are the same sex -- the purpose of marriage to secure the unplanned children's support from the couple disappears. The above description I have provided is not applicable to same-sex couples. Same-sex couples will either adopt -- in which case they are voluntarily and explicitly taking up the duty to care for the child in the course of legally adopting it as their own, so the automatic presumption of such duty due to marriage re:unplanned pregnancies is inapplicable -- or through IVF, which (though it does not impose the explicit duty on both partners to care for the child) requires a significant investment of resources up-front to test the willingness of the partners to go through with raising the child in a way that unplanned pregnancies do not.

    I will repeat what I said earlier, since I think it did well then:

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    You've said that the state would rationally see that same-sex couples can adopt the unplanned children, so their relationships should be recognized as marriages, too. But it is not the couple's voluntary undertaking in raising a child which gives motivation for the state to recognize their marriage. It is their becoming married which enables to state to impose upon the couple the duty to raise unplanned children. You have reversed the concept.
    Also, by the way. To anyone who quotes the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    When a couple will not produce unplanned children together -- that is, because they are the same sex -- the purpose of marriage to secure the unplanned children's support from the couple disappears. The above description I have provided is not applicable to same-sex couples.
    ...and says "the above description does not apply to sterile couples/love-less couples/couples using birth control/etc., therefore the state is being irrational in excluding same-sex couples when it doesn't exclude the sterile, love-less, and birth control-using," you should know what my response is if you read the thread.

    Back to you:

    Quote Originally Posted by mican
    Given any particular state policy (no mater how bad it might be), ANY action can be considered rational. Considering the state goals of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust was rational. And if the state goal was to get everyone to wear pink hats, then a state policy that anyone not wearing a pink hat will be shot on site is rational.

    I was under the impression that we are limiting the debate to legitimate state goals. And yes, stabilizing families with unplanned pregnancies is a legitimate state goal.
    I was responding to this: "So by the criteria you forward, the state has just as much rationale to not recognize opposite-sex elder marriage as it does to not recognize same-sex marriage."

    Because state interests cut across many aspects of our lives, one state interest could provide the same basic rationale to do X as to do Y as to do Z even if X, Y, and Z are different in moral degrees or kinds. It's not a significant argument or appeal to absurdity to say that because state interest P could motivate evil state actions Y and Z that the state interest P is insufficient to justify benign state action X. There are counter-motivations and interests that cut the other way on actions Y and Z, so the existence of evil products of a state interest doesn't undermine the legitimacy of more benign action X. Does that make sense?



    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I don't see how. Explain how banning gay marriage keeps unplanned children with their birth families instead of being given up to the state.

    Yes, I concede that allowing the parents of an unplanned pregnancy to marry helps keep the children with their families. But I don't see who not allowing gay couples to marry effects that situation.
    As I said, lol, I think at this point we've circled back to the original OP. Here is what I explained then:

    Quote Originally Posted by me in the OP
    A showing of harm to heterosexual couples or marriage's purposes or the children or whatever because of same-sex marriage is not necessary.

    Though these harms could be part of a rationale for denying same-sex couples the right to state-recognized marriage, it is sufficient to show a reasonable fit between the state-drawn line excluding same-sex couples and a legitimate state interest. Then the exclusion would be rational, in the same way that free school lunches are rational by drawing a line at a certain level of child income. Free lunches could reasonably be provided to all children, but it is also reasonable to restrict the program of benefits to the poorest - even though a free lunch for the aristocrat's son does not actually harm the nutrition in the lunch given to the poor man's son. Providing lunches for the poor and not the rich can be rational without needing to show that lunches for the rich will damage lunches for the poor. Distinctions are rational by a reasonable fit to purpose, not as a critical foundation without which the program collapses nor even as a safeguard against marginal harm to the program's purpose. Necessity to the program's function or usefulness as a barrier against harms to the program's interest are sufficient to justify a distinction's rationality, yes, but they are not necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    ONLY if the ban can be shown to have a positive impact on the families with unplanned pregnancies. If such policies do not help these families, then it is not rational to implement them for that reason.
    This is not what rationality requires. Exclusion of irrelevant categories is rational. Same-sex couples do not bear to the marriage model's imposition of child-rearing duties because only opposite-sex couples can produce the unplanned children for which an imposition of this duty is useful. So exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is rational.

    If you put the most effort into any particular thing I've written, I hope it's put into that last paragraph.
    ----------
    Libertarianism has also been defined with some plausibility as the form taken by liberalism as common sense asymptotically approaches zero.
    --Richard Carnes

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