Tatiana Talks

Day 19 - Now with Less Snark

So, again, there is some hubabaloo on the site about something I wrote. I want to clear things up. And to reduce the miscommunication and bring it all down a level, I am going to try to do this without relying on sarcasm.

This could get ugly. And by ugly I mean boring as I'm not sure what kind of writer I am without my snark.

I started reading this book because I am genuinely interested in why some folks think that by allowing two men or two women the opportunity to get married, their marriages or marriage in general will be less. I agree the government has an interest in regulating marriage. I don't want to see 15-year-olds walking down the aisle. I don't want to see first cousins getting married. I also don't think you should be able to marry someone you've known for less than 24 hours, yet, all of those things are presently legal in at least one state.

Also presently legal in some states is gay marriage.

And while I don't see or hear an uproar on television or online about Nevada's lackadaisical marriage (and divorce) laws, I am currently reading an entire book laying out why gay marriage is bad for our society.

So far it has yet to fulfill the promise of its title. Of course, I am only on chapter 4.

The arguments the authors are presenting have already begun to fold in on themselves. In the introduction we learned their definition of marriage to be “a comprehensive union: a union of will (by consent) and body (by sexual union); inherently ordered to procreation and thus the broad sharing of family life; and calling for permanent and exclusive commitment, whatever the spouses’ preferences. 

But then they offered that straight couples that can't have children (“This is not to say infertile couples cannot marry” followed by a confusing sports analogy) or simply don't want to have them (“procreation need not (even where it can) be the most important aspect of marriage”) can also considered comprehensively married. 

In chapter one they write that the revisionist view of marriage being based on emotional connections and bonds opens the door for polygamy, which of course is in direct opposition to the exclusivity requirement of conjugal marriage. Then in chapter three they write that polygamy is fine. It isn't perfect, but it is okay so long as it is a man with multiple women.

[snarky comment by Mark Twain redacted]*

This is a little confusing to the reader, because to borrow the author's words for a minute:
So a husband and wife’s loving bodily union in coitus and the special kind of relationship that is seals are valuable, even when conception is neither sought nor achieved. But two men, two women, and larger groups cannot achieve organic bodily union: there is no bodily good or function toward which their bodies can coordinate. 
So, then, why is polygamy okay? How can a man and his two or three or four wives coordinate their bodies to achieve an organic bodily union?

Further, if gay marriage allows for polygamy, then why isn't the reverse true? Why doesn't polygamy allow for gay marriage. Why is this inorganic bodily union okay, but not the bodily union of two men or two women without a man present? 

Still, I’m glad I went back and reviewed the text. Because, I think I might have found the root of the authors issues. It is hinted at in this chapter. It is fear.

Yes. Just like when the no-fault divorce law passed, divorce in this country was normalized, allowing gays to get married will legitimize their relationships in our society. Being gay will be looked at as something perfectly normal.

Because it is and should be.

And maybe that is what my father's issue is. Maybe he is afraid. Afraid that if gay marriage is allowed in our state, I will come out as gay and get married and beaten up by gay-haters and my children will be taunted and teased and beaten up and they will hate me and kill me and my partner as we sleep and Lifetime will make a movie about my life and Craig T. Nelson will refuse to play my father.

Daddy, if you are reading this: Again, I'm not gay. Picky. But not gay.

*Okay, the Mark Twain quote was just too good and too appropriate to not include here: In his short story Letter’s from the Earth, Twain writes as Satan, banished to the earth, who is writing letters to the other angels to recruit for his cause. One of his observations proving God’s finest creation Man is mad goes like this: “Now there you have a sampling of man’s “reasoning powers,” as he calls them. He observes certain facts. For instance, that in all his life he never sees the day that he can satisfy one woman; also, that no woman ever sees the day that she can’t overwork, and defeat, and put out of commission any ten masculine plants that can be put to bed to her. He puts those strikingly suggestive and luminous facts together, and from them draws this astonishing conclusion: The Creator intended the woman to be restricted to one man. 

Day 17

I know. It has been entirely too long. The problem is, once I put that book down, I struggled to pick it up.

It was always around, taunting me. Taunting me from my bedside table. Teasing me on my coffee table. Calling out to me from inside my pocketbook, “Tatiana! Read me! You have blog readers curious about what additional nonsense lies inside these pages that wills slowly drive you to madness.”

Finally, after remember one of the new rules I learned in “The Happiness Project” (because I can never read one book at a time) “tackle a nagging task” I picked up a highlighter, a notepad and this god-forsaken book.

And oh boy am I glad I did. I forgot how much fun it can be to laugh at idiots.

We continue with the explanation about why the state should be involved in the regulation of marriage in the first place. I can’t argue with the premise that society is better off when we are all invested in the well being of the next generation (and the one after that) and yes, after the passage of no fault divorces and society’s general acceptance of the divorcee, divorces skyrocketed. Of course, how that isn’t an argument for banning no-fault divorces is beyond. But hey, I didn’t go to Harvard.

The discussion about how marriage actually binds three parties -- the husband, the wife and society, I found particularly interesting. The authors bring up a valid point: when the state recognizes a marriage – everyone else has to. So, say there is a law on the books that states if a woman if married and a man enters her room, impersonating her husband and engages in intercourse with her, it is rape like this California law (from 1872); that intruder is being forced to recognize the validity of her marriage and is therefor a rapist. That a single woman, as it turns out, doesn't have the same protection is a matter for another post.

Of course, in California, it is currently not the law for two women (or two men) to get married, so a homosexual couple wouldn’t be protect by this law either. Further proving the Supreme Court's point in Brown v. the Board of Education Topeka, Kansas: Separate is not equal. Civil unions do not a marriage make. 

Onward. The authors make a final impassioned plea for why the states need to regulate marriage. Because it protects society. Much like traffic laws (yes, they are comparing one’s right to get married to one’s right to obtain a driver’s license – I couldn’t make this up). The obvious fault in this logic is that the state isn’t allowed to discriminate as to who can and can’t get a license. If you are of age and pass the pre-requisites, you get to drive a car. The state can’t say to a young woman, after she has passed all the necessary tests, “Oh, yeah, hey, nice work. Congratulations on passing and all, but you have blonde hair and blue eyes and I have seen “Clueless” enough times to know you must be a terrible driver. So, come back after you’ve dyed your hair. Buh-bye.”

So, after that bulletproof argument, we are back to talking all about how important it is for children to be raised by married biological parents. According to the book, children fared far worse when raised in a “single-motherhood, cohabitation, joint custody after divorce, and stepparenting” household. Fascinating. I noticed there wasn’t a specific mention of gay couples. Are you lumping them under cohabitation? Stepparenting?

And of course, there have been extensive studies proving children raised by married, gay couples also fare worse, right?


Again, interesting. So, children raised by married parents do the best, but we don’t have a lot of studies of married gay couples raising children BECAUSE MOST GAY COUPLES CAN’T GET MARRIED.

Like I said, fascinating.

I pointed this out before, but I have to say, again, to Anonymous and the authors – if this is all about the future of our children and we can all agree that every study proves children raised in households where the parents were married and remained married fared best – why aren’t we talking about banning divorce.

Or licensing parents?

But wait. This wasn’t even my favorite part of the chapter.

I mentioned in my earlier post that I wondered how the authors would deal with the issue of polygamy. In my head, I assumed they would blissfully ignore it. I assumed they were too smart to touch this topic, especially after pointing out that allowing gay marriage would inevitably lead to polygamy and eventual lawlessness.

Here, on page 48 we learn that exclusivity is not even that important in the conjugal view of marriage – so long as rearing children remains the central focus. Yes, other cultures throughout history have had different opinions about what is important and what is moral. So, yes, “permanent, exclusive commitment -- is less represented. Hence the presence of polygamy in many cultures.” And then a footnote:
Unlike a union that involves coitus, children and permanent commitment, but not (say) exclusivity, the partnerships of two men or three women lacks even what is most basic to marriage. So such partnerships cannot even be seen as imperfect participation in the good of marriage; they are not true marriages at all.

To be clear. The authors aren’t talking about a man being married to two women not counting as marriage – that is an“imperfect participation in marriage.” They are saying that two men, or two women (or three women – wherever the hell that came from) who are exclusively engaged in a bodily union with a connection to creating and raising children aren’t involved in true marriages.

If you recall, earlier the making babies part wasn't all that important either, whether a couple couldn't make a baby or just didn't want to, so long as the couple was engaged in coitus. And coitus here is defined as a penis penetrating a vagina.

It gets better. They then rail against polyamory (again) (I thought these dudes went to Harvard, you think they would be too smart to bring it up right after pointing out that polygamy was cool). Because, again, if you want gay marriage, you can’t not allow polyamory, which would eventually lead to the downfall of society. The same can’t be said for polygamy because, again with another footnote:

Polygamy -- whereby a man can have more than one wife -- would undermine women’s social and political equality. But the proposal considered here is polyamory (emphasis theirs): legal recognition of a group (of whatever (again them, not me) gender distribution) as a sexual-romantic unit.

But hey, I mean, if women have to lose their social and political statuses, that’s okay. They have only had them for what? Less than 50 years. It is not as if they have gotten used to them. But gay marriage! Gay marriage will result in polyamory and that could bring our whole society to a screeching halt.

Raise your hand if you think it might be time for our current society to come to a screeching halt.

Also, these dickheads are okay with arranged marriages, because there is nothing saying an arranged marriage can’t be consensual. Tell that to these little girls, you effin’ pricks.

What is Marriage: A Review of the Book that Is Meant to Change My Mind About Gay Marriage

So, as some of you know, I agreed to read “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.” At first, I was going to write an answer to the whole book at once, when I was finished. But then I found myself yelling at the book. A lot. And so I started thinking about live tweeting my reading of the book, but that seemed like a lot of work. Plus, I like to drink when I read. And I learned (the hard way) drinking and tweeting should never mix. 

So I decided to live blog (sort of) the reading of What is Marriage: Man and Woman: A Defense. Since I’m not that far along, I would suggest you all buying the book and reading along with me. But that would mean giving these two guys more money. So, maybe next time. Oh, I know, we can all read the Millionaire Matchmaker’s book together. I don’t mind lining Patty’s pockets.

In the meantime, here we go:

Day One

The introduction. Where I learn that there are two definitions of marriage. The revisionist and comprehensive (also conjugal). The revisionist is what most of us are currently subscribing to even those (I gather) that are opposed to gay marriage. It is the belief that you marry someone you love more than anyone else. No, for real. Here’s the quote:
It sees marriage as a union of two people who commit to romantic partnership and domestic life; essentially an emotional union, merely enhanced by whatever sexual activity the partners find agreeable.
The comprehensive (or conjugal) union is something only a man and women can form. But I have no idea why. It is defined as:
A union of will (by consent) and body (by sexual union) inherently ordered to procreation and thus the broad sharing of family life; and calling for permanent and exclusive commitment, whatever the spouses’ preferences.
Beyond not really understanding (yet, I’ll give them that, it is only page 6) why this has to be between a man and a woman, it would seem to me that the only other difference is the permanence thing. Which makes me wonder -- why outlaw gay marriage and not divorce? 

Day Two. AKA I Can Do This. I Can Get Through This Book:

Seriously, is there anything I won’t do for you guys? I think I’d rather read Why He Didn’t Call You again, or maybe the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. Both seem an easy read in comparison. Fortunately it is short.

In defense of the book and the authors, under the comprehensive definition of marriage, it is hard to say where we will stop. No, I am not suggesting we will soon allow men to marry goats or women to marry their cats (though, didn’t some chick marry a cutout of Robert Pattison, so why not a cat?). But, if we say two consenting adults of the same sex can get married, why can’t three consenting adults get married? But really? Why can’t they? I will bring this up again later (if the author doesn’t address it) but for a very long time (like, really long time) polygamy was the norm. Why? Because the more wives a man had, the more kids he had. So, he had more help in the fields and hunting and spares to be heir to his mini kingdom. It is only after the industrial revolution (and child labor laws) that having tons of kids (and polygamy) went out of fashion. Not because people suddenly hated having so many kids around, but because kids are expensive when they aren’t pulling their own weight in the fields or factories. True Story. 

He expressly states that the conjugal view of marriage prohibits marriage between more than two people -- but that is crap. Read your bible, sirs. Jacob and all his wives were all married in your conjugal sense -- it was permanent and for the good of the family and society. In fact, it was this very definition that allowed him to marry so many women. After all, we get old. Our insides dry up and we can’t keep making babies, but Jacob still needed sons to work and support his expanding brood. So, he went out and found younger, fertile wives. The older wives accepted this because what choice did they have? Watch their husband get it on with a teenager or get kicked out of the family: essentially a death sentence. Yep. The conjugal definition of marriage sounds awesome. I can’t imagine why we ever moved away from this.

But, I digress. Back to reading what marriage isn’t (here’s a hint, roommates are not married).

Day Three: 

I’m also going to need someone to explain to me why the U.S. Supreme Court is undemocratic. And, as popular opinion turns (good for you, Minnesota, that makes 12 states), if the Supreme Court decides in favor of marriage equality, does that make it more democratic?  

Day Five -- Another Marathon Session: 

Here’s the thing: you can’t say “procreation is the good that fulfills and extends a marriage” and then go on and on about how sex that leads to making babies (even when it doesn’t lead to making babies but it could possibly lead to making babies) is what makes a marriage a marriage because it is a reinforcement and reminder that these two came together for the better good of making a family and then, three paragraphs later -- the same freakin’ page for crying out loud -- say, but of course this doesn’t mean infertile couples aren’t married.

How. How does that not mean that?

He says he will explain it in Chapter Five. I’m not sure I can make it to Chapter Five, but I suppose I must.

Oh, wait, now the dudes are just effin’ with me. Did they even read this book. On one page they write “That is why marriage alone is the loving union of mind and body fulfilled by the procreation -- and rearing -- of whole new human beings.” Then, on the next page, practically directly across from the text I just typed are the words, “On the other hand, procreation need not (even where it can) be the most important aspect of a marriage, nor should it be its sole point.


He’s trying to make it clearer using baseball, but I still don’t get it. I don’t get why as a woman who is attracted to men, I can get conjugally married, even though I don’t want children. But two men (or two women) who want lots of babies and want to raise them to be the best possible people ever, can’t be married. Not in the conjugal sense anyway. Because they can’t make the babies. But infertile couples who can’t make babies can be married, even if they have to make the babies using the exact same options available to gay couples. 

Chapter Five can not get here fast enough.

To the author’s credit -- they make wonderful arguments for why marriages must be exclusive and permanent. However, nothing they have said thus far makes it clear how a) this differs from the “revisionist” view and b) why this exclusivity and permanence can only exist between a man and a woman. If it is because only a man and a woman can “unite” to make a baby -- then it would seem to me that the government should also prevent any man and woman who a) can’t physically make babies or b) don’t want to make babies from getting married. Because they aren’t really married in the first place.

Also, at this point I am giving up on the “revisionist” definition of marriage. Primarily because I don’t think it exists outside this book. I don’t know anyone who gets married thinking “I’ll give this a go, but, hey, if I get bored with him in a couple of months, I can divorce him.” I think everyone gets married thinking I want to share my mind, body and soul with this person for the rest of my life. This person is not just my best friend, they are a part of me and my life and I need them for the rest of it. 

Of course, if this isn’t the case, and there really are people out there who believe marriage is just the sharing of space with someone you really like a lot right now, then I will concede this is complete crap, not what marriage is about, and possibly the reason we have such programs like Teen Mom

I will not concede, however, that in order to allow gay couples to get married we must change the definition to this. I can’t. And so far I have read nothing that proves as much.