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08/10/2008

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neilehat

Cal. Law wonderful! What a blueprint and precedent for the Nation and World. And how many "Prop's" have blown up in their faces to date? It ain't called the "land of fruits and nuts" for nothing.

Jaques

Jack:

First of all thanks for your reply, it's a good and reasoned one.

"Keep in mind that childless gays often have more time to devote to career, pay more taxes (no deductions for children) and by not putting two kids in the school system save their fellow taxpayers some $200,000 (the approx cost of K-12 education for two. It's interesting to consider that were the $200,000, typically invested in the education of the next generation, invested during those same years for retirement would make a very fine retirement fund.)"

This is not completely true. Let me explain. In some countries like Spain, gay couples can adopt children, then we don't save any money in taxes or education, and what is worse, spanish citizens (as me) might have to pay more taxes for expensive public courses for integrate the adopted children from other cultures.

I know that right now we are paying those kind of courses for heterosexual couples adopted child and inmigrant children, although it seems obvious that the unique posibility to a gay couple to have children is adopt them, and therefore this will increase for sure adoptions and its costs to society.

In the end I consider that the social costs of gay unions (if they have the right to adopt) will be higher than social benefits.

Would a lower population growth nation be wealthier per capita than a high population growth nation? Not sure, and it would seem a good topic for this board sometime. But I would think the slow growth would be wealthier as the costs for the small, existing population, to keep expanding infrastructure and building schools, homes, buildings for new arrivals is difficult in a growing population. What makes fast growth seem "wealthier" is all the jobs but a real per capita wealth increase is probably not taking place.

Moving to the second point, I must admit that if gay population can adopt children population will growth. However we should realize that children raised by homosexual couples have more probabilites to be homosexual than children of heterosexual couples, and I don't dare to guess what will be the result of this, but all seems to end in a population reduction in the end.

Your last question is very interesting. As far as I'm able to judge, the key is not a slow or fast population growth, the key is an equilibrated population growth, where people from all ages (young and old) are equilibrated. Besides right now we are seeing that old western societies are unsustainable in economic terms, on the other hand the young booming poor societies of the third world countries are completely failed. But sincerely I don't think that gay unions will contribute to equilibrate the population growth, even if they can adopt children.

Sorry for my english.

Hans Bader

The economics of gay marriage are probably similar to the economics of straight marriage: which is to say, a dubious blessing for those who legally enter into it.

The main people who profit from government recognition of marriage are not married people --who could live together (with or without a private contractual arrangement) without being formally married anyway -- but divorce lawyers.

Divorce law acts as an impediment to small-business creation, as I explain below.

Matrimonial law often encourages divorce and rewards the spouse who initiated the divorce, who often has immense tactical advantages by virtue of filing first for divorce. (Most divorces are no-fault divorces sought by one spouse over the other's objections).

Ironically, the states with the weirdest, most lawyer-intensive divorce laws are New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts — states with lawyer-heavy legislatures. (Given the ideology of my classmates at Harvard Law School, this doesn’t surprise me).

The New Jersey courts recently ordered a man to pay alimony to an ex-wife who killed his child, despite public outcry, in Calbi v. Calbi. Its lawyer-dominated legislature won’t do anything about this, although it regularly rewrites the state’s divorce laws to enrich divorce lawyers and harm husbands and fathers.

The Massachusetts courts typically set child support levels for middle-class families at 25 percent of a father’s gross income (that is, more than a third of his net income) for just one child, even though that vastly exceeds the actual cost of raising a child. Mothers commonly assign a portion of those child support payments to their lawyer in exchange for squeezing the money out of the father, which takes a lot of court motions filed by the mother’s lawyer, since the father often has difficulty paying such a huge amount out of his own pocket, and the threat of being held in contempt of court (and imprisoned) is thus necessary to make him borrow the necessary money from his parents or second wife (note that most divorces are no-fault divorces sought by the wife, not the husband).

The New York courts treat your potential lifelong professional income as “property” that can be awarded immediately on divorce to your ex-spouse, under the theory that the income couldn’t have occurred if you hadn’t acquired a professional license or credential during the marriage, like a law degree, or even a routine real estate or securities license. As New York Court of Appeals Judge Robert S. Smith noted in a recent dissent in Holterman v. Holterman (2004), no other state follows New York’s bizarre rule that income potentially earned from a professional license is marital property even if no business has yet been created as a result of the license.

The law in my home state of Virginia is not as bad as New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts, but it does have the weirdest case law on alimony in the entire southern United States. In Bristow v. Bristow (1980), the Virginia Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s refusal to award lifetime alimony to a wife who sought a no-fault divorce after just weeks of marriage, ruling that the trial judge could not deny alimony without making extensive findings, even after such a brief marriage, even though state law explicitly lists the duration of a marriage as a factor in whether to award alimony.

The Virginia Supreme Court’s “generosity” with other people’s money was selective and discriminatory. That same year, in Counts v. Counts (1980), the state supreme court barred a man from suing his ex-wife for deliberately maiming him, applying the now-defunct doctrine of “interspousal tort immunity,” even though Virginia circuit judges previously allowed ex-wives to sue their husbands for any domestic violence under an “intentional tort” exception to that immunity. The state supreme court barred the ex-husband’s suit even though it had earlier (rightly) allowed an ex-wife’s estate to sue the ex-husband who murdered her in Korman v. Carpenter (1975). (In response to public outcry, the legislature eventually abolished marital tort immunity).

Why does divorce law matter economically? Because divorce cases outnumber any other category of civil case in state courts (nearly half of the docket of the Virginia Court of Appeals is made up of family-law cases), and redistribute far more money from any other category of case — and because decisions by divorce courts on how to set alimony and child support payments can be potent disincentives to setting up a small business, as I explain below. (By the way, since I’m sure you’re wondering, I am happily married, never-divorced, and have no kids with anyone but my wife).

Divorce courts often do things that are economically inefficient and unfair, like allowing awards of permanent alimony even after very short marriages (Bristow v. Bristow, 1980), then constantly allowing the alimony levels to be reset based on upward changes on the paying spouse’s income (Conway v. Conway, 1990), but not downward changes (Antonelli v. Antonelli, 1991), and allowing child and spousal support levels to be set based not on what the paying spouse actually makes (which would be an easy mechanical calculation that would not require any lawyer time or attorneys’ fees to compute), but rather based on higher, hypothetical (and sometimes arbitrary) estimates of what the paying spouse could make (”imputed income”), as in the cases of Cochran v. Cochran (1992), Antonelli v. Antonelli (1991), and Auman v. Auman (1995).

Setting support levels based on hypothetical rather than actual income results in lots of argument between opposing lawyers about what the hypothetical income should be, generating work for lawyers at the expense of the paying spouse. Similarly, allowing permanent alimony based on very short marriages results in lots of demands for such alimony by wives, and lots of arguments by their lawyers, even though such demands are often rejected anyway by the courts, based on statutory factors other than the length of the marriage.

Virginia’s divorce laws are an impediment to small business creation by divorced people, who comprise more than a million Virginia residents. (Virginia gets a high rating from the Institute for Legal Reform for how fairly it treats businesses, but in reality, it’s really Virginia’s fair-minded juries — not state judges — who make Virginia a fair forum for many business disputes).

As prominent divorce lawyer Richard Crouch once noted, Virginia courts employ a “heads-I-win, tails-you-lose” approach to people who try to start small businesses.

If you leave a steady salaried job in order to try to set up a small business, and it succeeds, increasing your income, you will have your alimony and child support payments increased over their prior levels. (Conway v. Conway, 1990).

But if the business fails (as most small businesses do), resulting in your income falling below its prior levels, the courts will force you to pay alimony and child support as if you were still making the higher income you made at your prior job, rather than at the income you currently make (Antonelli v. Antonelli, 1991).

I have often used gender-specific words such as “father” and “husband” to describe those who pay alimony and child support in my above discussion, even though state laws do not prevent judges from giving a father custody of the children or awarding support to the father. I do that because, in practice, it is usually the husband and father who pays them, and the law is not applied in a gender-neutral fashion, as Virginia attorney Richard Crouch observed in a 1992 article in Family Law News. (For example, the Virginia Court of Appeals denied alimony to a father even though his ex-wife made five times what he did, and he was the caregiver for the couple’s children, and instead ordered him to pay his ex-wife 40 percent of his meager disability pension, in Asgari v. Asgari [2000]. It is hard to imagine a similarly-situated ex-wife not receiving alimony for at least a few years).

saxdrop

Two empirical papers on the economics of sexual preference by Andrew Francis (Emory University, Dept. of Economics)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The Economics of Sexuality: The Effect of HIV/AIDS on Homosexual Behavior in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, 27(3): 675-689

Abstract:I test a simple microeconomic theory of sexuality. I apply the theory to make
predictions about the effect of AIDS on sexuality, since AIDS dramatically altered the cost of
sexual activities. Using a nationally representative dataset on sexuality in the United States, I
estimate the effect of AIDS on male and female homosexual behavior. To do so, I postulate that
people who have a relative with AIDS, on average, have more knowledge, awareness, and fear of
AIDS. Empirically, this variable is uncorrelated with a number of individual background
characteristics. I present evidence that AIDS causes some men to shift from homosexual to
heterosexual behavior, whereas AIDS causes some women to shift from heterosexual to
homosexual behavior. Thus, sexual behavior may respond to incentives. I consider alternative
hypotheses, including biological theories of sexual orientation and stigma-related survey bias,
and argue that they are unlikely to explain the results.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Family and Sexual Orientation: The Family-Demographic Correlates of Homosexuality in Men and Women," forthcoming, Journal of Sex Research

Abstract: Using a nationally representative sample of young adults, I identify the family-demographic
correlates of sexual orientation in men and women. Hence, I test the maternal immune
hypothesis, which posits that the only biodemographic correlate of male homosexuality is the
number of older brothers, and there are no biodemographic correlates of female homosexuality.
For men, I find that having one older brother does not raise the likelihood of homosexuality.
Although having multiple older brothers has a positive coefficient, it is not significant. Moreover,
having any older sisters lowers the likelihood of homosexual or bisexual identity. For women, I
find that having an older brother or having any sisters decreases the likelihood of homosexuality.
Family structure, ethnicity, and education are also significantly correlated with male and female
sexual orientation. Therefore, the maternal immune hypothesis cannot explain the entire pattern
of family-demographic correlates. The findings are consistent with either biological or social
theories of sexual orientation.

Reversal

Readers should check out William Eskridge's very perceptive take on some of Posner's other views on gay issues:
Eskridge, The Economics Epidemic in and AIDS Perspective, in The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 2 (Spring, 1994), pp. 733-774.

Stores Open on Christmas

I am totally against same sex marriage and think the economy will be stronger with a marriage between and a man and a woman.

thanks

jay
http://www.storesopenonchristmasday.com

Dan Dufresne

All of this high-minded talk about the sanctity of marriage desperately needs a Marxist perspective. (I mean Groucho, of course.):

"I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury."


"Marriage is a noble institution [bursts out laughing]."

"Politics doesn't make strange bedfellows, marriage does."

Dan Dufresne

All of this high-minded talk about the sanctity of marriage desperately needs a Marxist perspective. (I mean Groucho, of course.):

"I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury."


"Marriage is a noble institution [bursts out laughing]."

"Politics doesn't make strange bedfellows, marriage does."

Jack

Jacques your English is fine and LOTS better than my Espanol!


Jack:

First of all thanks for your reply, it's a good and reasoned one.

"Keep in mind that childless gays often have more time to devote to career, pay more taxes (no deductions for children) and by not putting two kids in the school system save their fellow taxpayers some $200,000 (the approx cost of K-12 education for two. It's interesting to consider that were the $200,000, typically invested in the education of the next generation, invested during those same years for retirement would make a very fine retirement fund.)"

This is not completely true. Let me explain. In some countries like Spain, gay couples can adopt children, then we don't save any money in taxes or education, and what is worse, spanish citizens (as me) might have to pay more taxes for expensive public courses for integrate the adopted children from other cultures.

JJJJJJJJJ I guess every social discussion must have a base line, so my comments would be to compare the age of openness and gay marriage to that of the 50's or so and living "in the closet". So, sure raising kids is raising kids and I can see it may be more of a problem for a gay couple.

But, (to some of the comments of others here) in terms of societal costs and adoption wouldn't our baseline have to be how those kids would have been raised had they not been raised in the gay household? ie......... that one would NOT use a "normal" hetro household for a comparison but perhaps a group home or series of foster homes?

I know that right now we are paying those kind of courses for heterosexual couples adopted child and inmigrant children, although it seems obvious that the unique posibility to a gay couple to have children is adopt them, and therefore this will increase for sure adoptions and its costs to society.

In the end I consider that the social costs of gay unions (if they have the right to adopt) will be higher than social benefits.

jjjjjjjjjj Ha! perhaps you are listening to too many who oppose gay marriage, as we could segment out all deviations from "the norm". Say those of poor education? Those of addictive tendencies? Those ill-suited to earn their own living? (In the US, Ha! while not necessarily their fault a fairly high fraction of households are subsidized in one form or another.)

Would a lower population growth nation be wealthier per capita than a high population growth nation? Not sure, and it would seem a good topic for this board sometime. But I would think the slow growth would be wealthier as the costs for the small, existing population, to keep expanding infrastructure and building schools, homes, buildings for new arrivals is difficult in a growing population. What makes fast growth seem "wealthier" is all the jobs but a real per capita wealth increase is probably not taking place.

Moving to the second point, I must admit that if gay population can adopt children population will growth.

jjjjjjjjjjjj Well the "fertility rate" would be the number born. Are gays in any significant number having women bear extra children for them to adopt? Or adopting from kids who already are born?


However we should realize that children raised by homosexual couples have more probabilites to be homosexual than children of heterosexual couples, and I don't dare to guess what will be the result of this, but all seems to end in a population reduction in the end.

jjjjjjjjj I've seen studies showing that "maleness" or "femaleness" is not a binary situation but something of a gradation. So I suspect that where society is quite accepting of gay behavior that there will be those who had once suppressed their desires coming "out" in some aspect or another. In other words I'd not assume the 50's 60's to be the norm for sexual behavior.

Your last question is very interesting. As far as I'm able to judge, the key is not a slow or fast population growth, the key is an equilibrated population growth, where people from all ages (young and old) are equilibrated.

jjjjjjjj Some of this is how society is set up. Consider: Here in the US Detroit, one the lucrative automotive capital is a disaster; you can buy a home there for a dollar or $100 plus taxes. As robots took over the building of cars those thrown out of of work did not participate in the productivity increases enjoyed by the corporations. So....... you'd see a population in decline and increasing poverty.

JJJJJJJJJ but let's take two islands where everything is cooperatively owned. The one having a lot of growth would have to build a lot of homes, schools, roads and experience greater pressure on their natural resources. The isle that is stable or declining would only have to rebuild their aging structures and spend more time at the beach or playing music.


Besides right now we are seeing that old western societies are unsustainable in economic terms,

jjjjjjjjjjjj Indeed. And IS that because they ARE built on a Ponzi scheme of ever increasing "growth" as we perhaps reach certain natural limits? In the past surely outgrowing one's grazing areas led to war or starvation, so at 6 billion it certainly valid to question how much population growth is advisable. Sans birth control could increasing homosexuality be a part of the reaction to overcrowding? Were gays particularly despised when the Ceasars of the world were trying to build the biggest armies?


on the other hand the young booming poor societies of the third world countries are completely failed.

jjjjjjjjjjjj and ......... hmmmmm, tremendous population growth amidst scarce resources, with too little capital, and could one make a case for corruption being a by-product of a hopelessly impoverished society?


But sincerely I don't think that gay unions will contribute to equilibrate the population growth, even if they can adopt children.

JJJJ I don't know if you mean "maximise" BUT!! maxxing population is not anyone's task these days. If it were we could easily create incentives for a higher fertility rate just as the Chinese have done the reverse. No...... one's gift to the next generation has got to be quality instead of quantity and raising 2.2 well educated kids is a fair task for most these days! Jack

Sorry for my english.

Chris Graves

I want to contest the view that homosexuality is not chosen but is an innate characteristic for those who are homosexual as well as open homosexuality not being a threat to (heterosexual) marriage.

First, let's consider the issue of homosexuality being purely determined. According to the research cited by James and saxdrop in their posts above, it is doubtful that homosexuality is a product of genetics or conditions in the womb, although these factors might play a role in the formation of a person's sexuality. Certainly, identical twin studies such as those discussed by James as well as a study by J.M. Bailey and R.C. Pillard show that homosexuality has its roots spread more broadly than simply genetics. Bailey and Pillard in their study, “A genetic study of male sexual orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 48:1089-1096, December 1991 show that only 52% of identical twins are both homosexual. If genetic structure determined sexuality then the percentage of identical twins both being homosexual would have to be 100%. So, other factors must be at work.

Second, there are cases of people deliberately experimenting with homosexuality as well as other deviant sexual practices. Some young women deliberately choose to pursue lesbian relationships while in college and then move to heterosexual relationships later in life in order to avoid pregnancy and other complications while in college. Even when free choice is not so explicit, one can choose to open oneself to certain practices and cultivate a taste for them even if one is not inclined in that direction. Consider Tom Wolfe's analysis of sexuality in *I am Charlotte Simmons* where constant exposure to promiscuous sex opens the title character to sexual behavior she had never engaged in nor would have considered engaging in previously.

Finally, Judge Posner makes a strange distinction between being a homosexual and engaging in homosexual behavior. Would he use the same analysis in discussing adultery? Most every man is potentially an adulterer, but he is not one until he actually commits the sin.

The key issues is this debate are: (1) Do such moves as recognizing homosexual "marriage" that acts to legitimize homosexuality reduce the cost of engaging in deviant forms of sexuality thereby increasing their frequency? (2) Does providing less costly, competing outlets for sex and emotional attachment make the costly and demanding institution of marriage less attractive for people to invest in?

I suspect that the answer to both questions is "Yes."

David Heigham

Round about 60 years ago, I realised that a few of the people I knew were in relationships that were homosexual as well as being stable and happy. Not many years later, I had concluded that a few people might or might not form homosexual relationships. They could and probably would be influenced by social and economic incentives. Whether they chose homosexual or heterosexual relations had and has no effect on the rest of us; there was therefore no ground for social intervention in those choices.

What did affect the rest of us was the stability of the relationship formed; the more stable the better for us all. Since those days we have accepted the social costs of increased divorce incidence, in the name of the gains to individual freedom and self determination.

What worries me about opposition to homosexual marriage and "civil partnership" is that it seems to seek to reduce both the social benefits of greater stability offered by allowing a normal legal recognition of a partnership intended to be permanent, and to deminish the scope for individual self-determination. (e.g. the Defece of Marriage Act is aimed at discouraging social recognition of freely chosen stable partnership.)

I can see that in the days (before my time) when society perceived benefits from a rising population, discouraging non-reproductive behaviour made a sort of sense. However, since sometime in the 1950s, we have realised that the principal problem of population is that we risk too many of us making claims on our planet that it cannot meet. One of the current divisions between the religious establishments and their lay followers is that the lay people have largely taken aboard that fact. Only in those religions where there is close emotional identification between the preacher and the preached to do we find substantial surviving lay support for the traditional teaching. On procreation as the sole aim of married sex, that teaching is largely honoured in the breach. On homosexuality, the change has gone less far.

Ian

By your logic, Judge Posner, why not allow polygamous couples to marry? Whenever, I mention this to homosexual couples they are offended. But why? Pologamy was in the bible and many societies have allowed it in the past and some still do. If we no longer wish to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman then why not open it up to multiple groups? I think the reason that gay couples mind this is they discriminate against polygamous couples, while believing there is no difference between a gay and straight union. Untrue. Both gay and polygamous lifestyles are minority lifestyles.

If economic benefits were the primary reason, gay rights advocates wanted marriage for gays then there would be a compromise, i.e., civil unions. Gay friends, I speak to though, find the concept of civil unions to be offensive and even the term gay marriage offensive (they prefer "marriage equality"). In essence the push to marriage is less about economic benefits and more about equality. Unfortunately, biology dictates that natural procreation only happens when there is sex between a man and a woman not between two members of the same sex. Obviously, gay relations are an abnormality. That doesn't mean that those who are born gay should be treated badly or badmouthed as some do but it also doesn't mean that their lifestyle should be considered the same as a heterosexual lifestyle. And unfortunately that and not economic benefits (which could be had tomorrow in most states) is what they want.

Jack

Chris; A few of your conclusions do not seem valid:

“A genetic study of male sexual orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 48:1089-1096, December 1991 show that only 52% of identical twins are both homosexual. If genetic structure determined sexuality then the percentage of identical twins both being homosexual would have to be 100%. So, other factors must be at work.

jjjjjjjj No. A 52% correlation is enormous by comparison to a 5% rate in the population as a whole. 1 in 2 compared to 1 in 20??? And, of course other factors are at work; human beings and their relationships are complex and diverse.

"Second, there are cases of people deliberately experimenting with homosexuality as well as other deviant sexual practices. Some young women deliberately choose to pursue lesbian relationships while in college and then move to heterosexual relationships later in life in order to avoid pregnancy and other complications while in college. Even when free choice is not so explicit, one can choose to open oneself to certain practices and cultivate a taste for them even if one is not inclined in that direction. Consider Tom Wolfe's analysis of sexuality in *I am Charlotte Simmons* where constant exposure to promiscuous sex opens the title character to sexual behavior she had never engaged in nor would have considered engaging in previously."

jjjjjjjjjj Tom Wolfe is a story teller and neither he nor I know how prevalent female "gay til grad" behavior is.......... nor whether and how often it continues post graduation. It's "interesting" that college women who are but 25% of the population seem most mentioned in this ............ mythology?

"(1) Do such moves as recognizing homosexual "marriage" that acts to legitimize homosexuality reduce the cost of engaging in deviant forms of sexuality thereby increasing their frequency?

jjjjjjjjjj Who knows? But surely marriage and perhaps the task of child rearing lessens the frequency of sex with different partners.


"(2) Does providing less costly, competing outlets for sex and emotional attachment make the costly and demanding institution of marriage less attractive for people to invest in?"

jjjjjjjjjjj Like what prostitution? I guess it IS true that some very poor societies engage in the sharing of a "wife" when no one man can afford to do so, but I don't think we've become that poor so far.

"Finally, Judge Posner makes a strange distinction between being a homosexual and engaging in homosexual behavior. Would he use the same analysis in discussing adultery? Most every man is potentially an adulterer, but he is not one until he actually commits the sin."

jjjjjjjjjjjjj Surely such a "strange distinction" is the position of many a church and I suppose for the most part we'd like to assume that the celibates of some religions are hetro but who don't practice. BTW when does the "adulterer commit the sin?" Pres Carter "lusting in his heart?" Flirtation and engaging in 'hot chat' at work, party or on the net? The technically "non-sex" of Bill and Monica? Other?

"I want to contest the view that homosexuality is not chosen but is an innate characteristic for those who are homosexual as well as open homosexuality not being a threat to (heterosexual) marriage."

jjjjjjjjjj And, how does any of this "threaten" hetero marriage?

Jack

Ian asks:

By your logic, Judge Posner, why not allow polygamous couples to marry?

JJJJJJJ Our society takes almost no position in dating multiple partners, having extra-marital affairs or even mate swapping.

So what is it with all these rules about "marriage?" As we see in the current debate over "gay marriage", marriage is something of a social contract, the essence of which is NON-polygamy, as no one is stopping anyone from having a house or several houses full of roommates, friends or lovers.

Since there are a number of societal benefits to marriage, gays have a solid argument that they are being denied those rights.

On the other hand a society would seem to be on firm ground to decide what sort of arrangements qualify as being approved as marriage. So, perhaps in another age, in which war or pestilence had decimated the male population perhaps that society would be inclined to give their blessings to the multiple partner relationships what would be likely. Or? that prostitution would become legal and accepted? "Polygamy" can take many forms!

Jack

Ian:

"Unfortunately, biology dictates that natural procreation only happens when there is sex between a man and a woman not between two members of the same sex. Obviously, gay relations are an abnormality. That doesn't mean that those who are born gay should be treated badly or badmouthed as some do but it also doesn't mean that their lifestyle should be considered the same as a heterosexual lifestyle."

jjjjjjjj Is procreation THE reason for marriage? I'd agree that the institution seems heavily weighted towards providing a nest within which children can grow and have some protection, but would anyone question the right of those with no intent, or perhaps ability, to have children to marry?

Would it help to think of gay marriage in the light of childless marriage or marriages between older divorcees or those remarrying after the death of a spouse?

Ian

Jack, I don't claim that procreation is the reason for marriage. I do claim that it is abnormal for gay sex as if everyone was gay there would be no way to procreate naturally.

What Judge Posner gets wrong in my opinion is that gay marriage is not primarily about economics but about equality. If gay marriage was about economic benefits, gay rights organizations would have no problem with civil unions. Instead, gay rights organizations find the idea of civil unions to be offensive. I, on the other hand, will not say that there is no difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationship. Economic benefits as a compromise, yes but recognizing the equality betweeen the two, no.

Ian

I believe Judge Posner underestimates other problems caused by gay marriage such as adoption. Gay marriage, in its limited form, mainly affects two consenting adults. Adoption, affects another person. Since the vast majority of people (even those who favor gay marriage) do not consider gay marriage equal to heterosexuals ones and do harbor prejudice against gays (term gay is always used as a put down as others), there becomes a problem when a gay couple as equal rights to adopt with a heterosexual couple as the child who is adopted is going to be made fun of. Unlike Florida, I believe gays should have a right to adopt in limited circumstances but I strongly prefer (all other things being equal) for a heterosexual couple to be given a preference.

BTW, I concede that I just misread Judge Posner's post and he acknowledges that gay marriage is primarily about equality.

Jack

Ian.... not to take you to task too often, but.............

Jack, I don't claim that procreation is the reason for marriage. I do claim that it is abnormal for gay sex as if everyone was gay there would be no way to procreate naturally.

JJJJJJJ It's accurate to say gay relationships are "abnormal" as they are not close to being the norm. Having agreed that it is an "abnormal" minority one need not worry about "everyone" being gay. Indeed with ALL gays have been born to hetro couples at an incidence of about 5% one really not worry at all about gays affecting the fertility rate. Since "marriage" is a social construct and only enables a more rational approach to the gays who've always been with us, I see no measurable effect on procreation. However if it did have some slight downward effect, wouldn't that be a good thing?

What Judge Posner gets wrong in my opinion is that gay marriage is not primarily about economics but about equality.


JJJJJJJJJ Well, he opted to look into the economic aspects, but yes I'd agree that being treated equally UNDER THE LAW is what it's about.

If gay marriage was about economic benefits, gay rights organizations would have no problem with civil unions.

JJJJJJ Basically true if the union conveyed all of the rights.

Instead, gay rights organizations find the idea of civil unions to be offensive. I, on the other hand, will not say that there is no difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationship.

JJJJJJJJ Our right to free speech and practice of religion ensures your right and I can't say as I see no difference either. On the other hand I see a LOT of diversity in the world such as marriages between celibates, those of borderline IQ's for living independently, buxom young women and old men with large bank accounts and funny comb overs, and can't help thinking that government would be wise not to look to closely.

Economic benefits as a compromise, yes but recognizing the equality betweeen the two, no.

JJJJ Hmmmm, as the momentum has built to critical speed and there is no turning back, how do you intend to express your position?

HH

"By your logic, Judge Posner, why not allow polygamous couples to marry?"

Two reasons: we're in a primarily Christian nation, and because of basic evolutionary psychology.

The effect of the Christian heritage of the West obviously has a lot to do with how we perceive marriage and relationships in general. The "one man, one woman" rule has been around for a while and we're taught that's the norm, so we reflexively dislike the idea. I imagine at different times in a different society, we'd be okay with it.

Second, and probably more importantly, our basic evolutionary psychology goes into a lot of it. The "one man, one woman" rule is essentially a compromise solution that works rather well in modern society. Evolutionarily, there is no reason why several women shouldn't want to be with one man, as long as he has sufficient resources to take care of them all [and their children, the proximate evolutionary motivator]. But that's pretty dangerous for the men who could actually accomplish this: it would lead to a shortage of women, and the men who end up without them could free up a lot by taking out the men with multiple wives [it happens to alpha male hippos a lot]. "Rationing" partners essentially ensures some level of stability, giving everyone at least a chance at a partner. [Better men still get a shot at better women though.] For the women, marriage to one man is similarly beneficial, as marriage is a credible commitment device by the man to the woman and her children.
[You can flip genders in the above paragraph if you'd like.]

I'd also add that we don't combat polygamy very well. Divorce & remarriage, adultery, dating multiple people, etc, are all ways that people circumvent the rationing of partners. But I'd still say that limiting the legal recognition of marriage to two people is probably a low cost solution to potentially destabilizing problems of legally recognized polygamy.

Becker and Posner addressed this in a post within the last couple of years, if I remember correctly.

PS: Jack, quality posts on this topic.

neilehat

Since this discussion seems to be revolving about the stasis theme of "rights & equality", does this not also apply to those who prefer BDSM and other "unnatural" forms of sexual expression? The real question that needs to be answered is, "Where does one draw the "line in the sand""?

HH

neilehat

Aren't all forms of sexual expression legal, as long as all participants are there voluntarily?

Saint Darwin Asissi's cat

Thanks for my best chuckle of the afternoon "people marrying their dogs or cars" ... still LOL. Great post. Come on, we cannot prove any of this ... no one can prove whether same sex sexual preference is biological or environmental and really why care? We can care about brutality in the armed forces against persons who acknowledge their sexual preference. We can and should care about how government accurately executes the wishes of the diseased. Changing laws to accommodate a behavior around since the beginning of time (were amoebas subject to same sex attraction?) seems a waste of precious resources. Or, are we maximizing utility when we devote our energy to this task? A better use of time could be the posting of calories next to food names! (See Judge Posner's post a bit back.) I was reprimanded for saying that a child was acting gay, in other words, he was cutting up and off task. The middle school principal didn't even want to talk about the dual use and meaning of words in language ... so no talk about puns or homophones! When divorce is all too common why push for alternative marriage ... or as Roseanne Barr said "if we are so worried about same sex behavior have them get married and then there won't be any sex just like it is for married non same sex persons." Hey JP, your pizza bearing sex tern earned her masters at the London School of Economics. Her thesis was entitled "finding an impartial juror." So much for your snooty reference to her undergraduate institution!

daphne

hello,I'm a college student from China,and I'm learning economics. But i don't think there exists any connections between the economics and the gay marrriage. i'm sorry but i haven't met any gay around me, in my country gays are few,and unacceptable. i'm confusing that if i want to study further and be someone famous like you, must i study such thing like gay marriage?
i'm really sorry,because i admire you. i'm not questioning your conclusion ,just can't understand, being a new learner

daphne

hello,I'm a college student from China,and I'm learning economics. But i don't think there exists any connections between the economics and the gay marrriage. i'm sorry but i haven't met any gay around me, in my country gays are few,and unacceptable. i'm confusing that if i want to study further and be someone famous like you, must i study such thing like gay marriage?
i'm really sorry,because i admire you. i'm not questioning your conclusion ,just can't understand, being a new learner

Jack

HH thanks and likewise. As an aside, relevant to nothing, or perhaps the "concern" that a few gay marriages will lower our fertility rate to the point of population decline, consider two life boats land on two different islands. One has 8 men and 2 women, while the other has 2 men and 8 women. A few years later I'm betting the one with the 8 women has a lot more children.......... or, Ha! some strong female rowers.

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