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Traditional or Biological?

CriticalThought

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I think the religious right does a disservice to their argument to reserve the definition of marriage to a man and a woman when they refer to it as the "traditional" definition. Historically speaking, marriage has changed definitions several times throughout history. Same sex marriage has even existed and been practiced by various culture throughout the world. Some evidence suggests that even early churches accepted same sex marriages.

Today's definition of marriage is far removed from the tradition of the last two millennium. The definition of marriage used to allow for a man to have more than one spouse, but the outlawing of polygamy has changed this in a large segment of the world. The definition of marriage used to heavily restrict how often a person could marry, but serial monogamy is now a common feature of marriage and few would condemn an individual for having been married once, twice, or even more times over the course of their life. The definition of marriage used to designate women to the level of property of their husband, and that has clearly changed with the emergence of women's rights.

The reality is that the argument for the "traditional" definition of marriage is actually an argument for a definition of marriage that has existed for only a few decades, a definition which allows a person to marry as many times as they want as long as they are married to a single partner at any one point in time and which is generally recognized legally as a partnership. What people typically mean by that term is to exclude same sex couples because they cannot procreate.

Fine, then I posit that it be referred to as the "biological" definition of marriage. Obviously a same sex couple cannot procreate. And while marriage is a sociological institution, if the premise is going to be based on the biological capacities of the participants then let it be named as such. Let's not perpetuate the myth that the definition of marriage has not changed several times throughout history by referring to a modern religious right perception as "tradition".
 

00timh

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I think the religious right does a disservice to their argument to reserve the definition of marriage to a man and a woman when they refer to it as the "traditional" definition. Historically speaking, marriage has changed definitions several times throughout history. Same sex marriage has even existed and been practiced by various culture throughout the world. Some evidence suggests that even early churches accepted same sex marriages.

Today's definition of marriage is far removed from the tradition of the last two millennium. The definition of marriage used to allow for a man to have more than one spouse, but the outlawing of polygamy has changed this in a large segment of the world. The definition of marriage used to heavily restrict how often a person could marry, but serial monogamy is now a common feature of marriage and few would condemn an individual for having been married once, twice, or even more times over the course of their life. The definition of marriage used to designate women to the level of property of their husband, and that has clearly changed with the emergence of women's rights.

The reality is that the argument for the "traditional" definition of marriage is actually an argument for a definition of marriage that has existed for only a few decades, a definition which allows a person to marry as many times as they want as long as they are married to a single partner at any one point in time and which is generally recognized legally as a partnership. What people typically mean by that term is to exclude same sex couples because they cannot procreate.

Fine, then I posit that it be referred to as the "biological" definition of marriage. Obviously a same sex couple cannot procreate. And while marriage is a sociological institution, if the premise is going to be based on the biological capacities of the participants then let it be named as such. Let's not perpetuate the myth that the definition of marriage has not changed several times throughout history by referring to a modern religious right perception as "tradition".
I agree with you here.... But let me jump ship for just a minute.... In every aspect of life just about, there is the traditional vs modern new age argument. Take golf for instance. You see the guys who are typically older, in their 60's maybe, arguing about going back to the "traditional" clubs. balls, course set ups yadda yadda. They say it is ruining the game, it can't be played the way it was meant to be played, and people are losing skills because of the new modern stuff.

Just wanted to draw an interesting parallel here. Carry on
 

jambalaya

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This is really a tired argument in the SSM debate. The tradition of opposite sex marriage has been widespread. In relation to the U.S. and many, many other cultures and countries an exception existing in some other culture doesn't affect their tradition at all. About all one can say is that it is an interesting difference. The tradition of multiple wives in this country was isolated but it still involved opposite sexes. You are reaching far and wide here. The argument is just not credible. Just be honest and realistic. You can say that the tradition must change or I guess more accurately no longer exist. I can fully get on board with that argument but your argument here is just not based in reality or reason.
 

CriticalThought

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This is really a tired argument in the SSM debate. The tradition of opposite sex marriage has been widespread. In relation to the U.S. and many, many other cultures and countries an exception existing in some other culture doesn't affect their tradition at all. About all one can say is that it is an interesting difference. The tradition of multiple wives in this country was isolated but it still involved opposite sexes. You are reaching far and wide here. The argument is just not credible. Just be honest and realistic. You can say that the tradition must change or I guess more accurately no longer exist. I can fully get on board with that argument but your argument here is just not based in reality or reason.
This seems entirely disingenuous to me. Allowing same sex couples to marry would in no way end opposite sex marriages, so I'm not sure how that argument makes any sense. In fact, it verges on absolute lunacy. I'm not even sure how it would change anything. This catastrophic thinking the religious right wing has adopted just seems so childish to me. It seems as if you are saying if we change anything about the status quo then we are destroying the foundations of society but you offer nothing to support this view.

The reality is, even if you refuse to acknowledge or accept it, your so called "traditional" definition of marriage is only a few decades old. Now if you want to argue the opposite sex part has largely been enforced in Judeo Christian society through the historical killing, imprisonment, torture, and mutilation of men and women who engaged in same sex relationships, then great. The reality then is it isn't a "tradition" so much as a history of prolonged, cruel and unjust treatment and control. That is the reality that you seem to wish to embrace.
 

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"Tradition" isn't even the point.

It is a simple, unalterable, biological fact that in humans, only a union between a man and a woman can produce offspring. Two men cannot do it, and neither can two women. The purpose of marriage always has been, and always will be, to establish a permanence to this union, to bind the parents to each other and the children to their parents, to establish the family unit which is the basis of every stable human society. There cannot be any such thing as "same sex marriage" because it is biologically impossible for a same-sex couple to fulfill the function of marriage and family.
 

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I think the religious right does a disservice to their argument to reserve the definition of marriage to a man and a woman when they refer to it as the "traditional" definition. Historically speaking, marriage has changed definitions several times throughout history. Same sex marriage has even existed and been practiced by various culture throughout the world. Some evidence suggests that even early churches accepted same sex marriages.

Today's definition of marriage is far removed from the tradition of the last two millennium. The definition of marriage used to allow for a man to have more than one spouse, but the outlawing of polygamy has changed this in a large segment of the world. The definition of marriage used to heavily restrict how often a person could marry, but serial monogamy is now a common feature of marriage and few would condemn an individual for having been married once, twice, or even more times over the course of their life. The definition of marriage used to designate women to the level of property of their husband, and that has clearly changed with the emergence of women's rights.

The reality is that the argument for the "traditional" definition of marriage is actually an argument for a definition of marriage that has existed for only a few decades, a definition which allows a person to marry as many times as they want as long as they are married to a single partner at any one point in time and which is generally recognized legally as a partnership. What people typically mean by that term is to exclude same sex couples because they cannot procreate.

Fine, then I posit that it be referred to as the "biological" definition of marriage. Obviously a same sex couple cannot procreate. And while marriage is a sociological institution, if the premise is going to be based on the biological capacities of the participants then let it be named as such. Let's not perpetuate the myth that the definition of marriage has not changed several times throughout history by referring to a modern religious right perception as "tradition".
I don't understand your argument. What is it you are advocating for precisely? That opposition to same sex marriage should come from a biological and naturalistic standpoint? Or that the issue is biological in nature and thus should not involve religious or recent sociological attitudes?
 

Sherman123

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"Tradition" isn't even the point.

It is a simple, unalterable, biological fact that in humans, only a union between a man and a woman can produce offspring. Two men cannot do it, and neither can two women. The purpose of marriage always has been, and always will be, to establish a permanence to this union, to bind the parents to each other and the children to their parents, to establish the family unit which is the basis of every stable human society. There cannot be any such thing as "same sex marriage" because it is biologically impossible for a same-sex couple to fulfill the function of marriage and family.
How does it preclude men and women from engaging in a marriage compact and accomplishing those things, by also allowing same sex couples to engage in a similar marriage compact? Heterosexual sex and reproduction is one thing, marriage is another. We can talk about the evolutionary roots of marriage but I don't think its necessary. Using your definition do we deny marriage licenses to sterile couples? Couples that have no interest in having children? If not, why not? Our species distinguishes itself from other species in part due to our amazing ability to transcend our biology and our natural environment. Why should this be an off-limits exception?
 

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"Tradition" isn't even the point.

It is a simple, unalterable, biological fact that in humans, only a union between a man and a woman can produce offspring. Two men cannot do it, and neither can two women. The purpose of marriage always has been, and always will be, to establish a permanence to this union, to bind the parents to each other and the children to their parents, to establish the family unit which is the basis of every stable human society. There cannot be any such thing as "same sex marriage" because it is biologically impossible for a same-sex couple to fulfill the function of marriage and family.
Marriage is not about producing babies for all people. That may be the mainstream, "first thing you think of when you hear the word marriage" definition, but that's meaningless. There are plenty of heterosexual people who don't want babies. They get married, and their marriage is about binding the two of them together and making a commitment and a promise to each other. That's it. It's perfectly acceptable. There are plenty of heterosexual people who can't have babies because they have had sterilization procedures or the woman is past menopause. Their purpose of getting married is also not about having children. It would be pretty asinine for you to tell these people that their marriage doesn't fulfill the correct function of a marriage or a family.
 

jambalaya

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This seems entirely disingenuous to me. Allowing same sex couples to marry would in no way end opposite sex marriages, so I'm not sure how that argument makes any sense. In fact, it verges on absolute lunacy. I'm not even sure how it would change anything. This catastrophic thinking the religious right wing has adopted just seems so childish to me. It seems as if you are saying if we change anything about the status quo then we are destroying the foundations of society but you offer nothing to support this view.

The reality is, even if you refuse to acknowledge or accept it, your so called "traditional" definition of marriage is only a few decades old. Now if you want to argue the opposite sex part has largely been enforced in Judeo Christian society through the historical killing, imprisonment, torture, and mutilation of men and women who engaged in same sex relationships, then great. The reality then is it isn't a "tradition" so much as a history of prolonged, cruel and unjust treatment and control. That is the reality that you seem to wish to embrace.
Once again, just overblown rhetoric and exaggeration on your part. I am not suggesting that opposite sex marriage ends, I am suggesting the argument that opposite sex marriage or unions ONLY ends is one I can respect. Since you have created a fictional character to argue with over right wing religious thinking I will leave you to debate yourself now.
 

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I think the religious right does a disservice to their argument to reserve the definition of marriage to a man and a woman when they refer to it as the "traditional" definition. Historically speaking, marriage has changed definitions several times throughout history. Same sex marriage has even existed and been practiced by various culture throughout the world. Some evidence suggests that even early churches accepted same sex marriages.

Today's definition of marriage is far removed from the tradition of the last two millennium. The definition of marriage used to allow for a man to have more than one spouse, but the outlawing of polygamy has changed this in a large segment of the world. The definition of marriage used to heavily restrict how often a person could marry, but serial monogamy is now a common feature of marriage and few would condemn an individual for having been married once, twice, or even more times over the course of their life. The definition of marriage used to designate women to the level of property of their husband, and that has clearly changed with the emergence of women's rights.

The reality is that the argument for the "traditional" definition of marriage is actually an argument for a definition of marriage that has existed for only a few decades, a definition which allows a person to marry as many times as they want as long as they are married to a single partner at any one point in time and which is generally recognized legally as a partnership. What people typically mean by that term is to exclude same sex couples because they cannot procreate.

Fine, then I posit that it be referred to as the "biological" definition of marriage. Obviously a same sex couple cannot procreate. And while marriage is a sociological institution, if the premise is going to be based on the biological capacities of the participants then let it be named as such. Let's not perpetuate the myth that the definition of marriage has not changed several times throughout history by referring to a modern religious right perception as "tradition".
But you selected only one aspect of marriage.

Sex outside of marriage was very strictly taboo, for which marriage was license to have sex. Now in much of Western culture, marriage is restraint on sex. Now for many people, monogamy is only required in marriage. That is a massive total change from the past.
 

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This seems entirely disingenuous to me. Allowing same sex couples to marry would in no way end opposite sex marriages, so I'm not sure how that argument makes any sense. In fact, it verges on absolute lunacy. I'm not even sure how it would change anything. This catastrophic thinking the religious right wing has adopted just seems so childish to me. It seems as if you are saying if we change anything about the status quo then we are destroying the foundations of society but you offer nothing to support this view.

The reality is, even if you refuse to acknowledge or accept it, your so called "traditional" definition of marriage is only a few decades old. Now if you want to argue the opposite sex part has largely been enforced in Judeo Christian society through the historical killing, imprisonment, torture, and mutilation of men and women who engaged in same sex relationships, then great. The reality then is it isn't a "tradition" so much as a history of prolonged, cruel and unjust treatment and control. That is the reality that you seem to wish to embrace.
They also used to and in many places still do execute women for adultery and/or fornication.
 

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Once again, just overblown rhetoric and exaggeration on your part. I am not suggesting that opposite sex marriage ends, I am suggesting the argument that opposite sex marriage or unions ONLY ends is one I can respect. Since you have created a fictional character to argue with over right wing religious thinking I will leave you to debate yourself now.
But I don't understand, why is it the only one you respect? Definitions are subjective, and it is part and parcel with our being human that we shift our definition and our norms as we progress or change as a civilization. Calling something natural or biological does not mean it is good or bad, to do that would fall into the naturalistic fallacy, it merely means it is biological. Whether or not a marriage can result in offspring we issue marriage licenses to heterosexual couples who do not plan on having children, who are naturally or artificially incapable of having children, etc. Considering what we use marriage for and what it means with regard to benefits and the creation of a family unit in our society I don't see why the definition shouldn't be extended.
 

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I don't think it should be referred to as "biological" marriage because it isn't a biological process, nor is it necessary for any biological process.

It should be referred to as "religious marriage", perhaps sub-categorized into "traditional religious" and "modern religious", since as the OP pointed out, the definition even within religion has changed.
 

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People don't necessarily marry for biological reasons.

Attraction = generally biological.
So some people aren't attracted to each other along 'biologically compatible lines' per say - :shrug: We can look at it in the same way as someone wanting to marry another when they know they aren't capable of having children - medical reasons. Or two people who are past their reproduction-years getting married :shrug:

Marriage satisfies multiple needs - I didn't choose my husband based on fathering skills. . . if I wanted that and only that I'd've had people fill out an application - and looks wouldn't really have mattered.

I think this entire argument cuts people down to the basics of some animalistic compulsions when we're much more complicated than that.
 

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Marriage isn't a biological construct and it isn't something that is natural in nature.

To use biology in support of traditional marriage (specifically saying that only a man and woman together can procreate), in my opinion, is silly. What about women who are sterile? Or men? Not all heterosexual couples can procreate.

Marriage is a legal contract between a couple and in no way does it include a clause that says, "Must have children."
 

Bob Blaylock

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Not all heterosexual couples can procreate.
Not all heterosexual couples can or do procreate, but only heterosexual couples can or do procreate. No human being ever does, has, or will come into existence without the participation of a mother and a father. Marriage is about establishing the relationships and responsibilities that go with procreation.
 

CriticalThought

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Not all heterosexual couples can or do procreate, but only heterosexual couples can or do procreate. No human being ever does, has, or will come into existence without the participation of a mother and a father. Marriage is about establishing the relationships and responsibilities that go with procreation.
Sorry to be the first to inform you of this...but marriage isn't essential to procreate. Marriage also doesn't ensure that people are good parents. Lots of married people out there abuse and neglect their children. Marriage is great because it is less likely that adults who have committed to each other are going to treat children badly but it isn't some magical thing that grants people the power to practice responsible procreation and child rearing.
 

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Not all heterosexual couples can or do procreate, but only heterosexual couples can or do procreate. No human being ever does, has, or will come into existence without the participation of a mother and a father. Marriage is about establishing the relationships and responsibilities that go with procreation.
In marriages where the couples don't want to procreate, why would they have to establish relationships and/or responsibilities that go with procreation?
 

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Not all heterosexual couples can or do procreate, but only heterosexual couples can or do procreate. No human being ever does, has, or will come into existence without the participation of a mother and a father. Marriage is about establishing the relationships and responsibilities that go with procreation.
Actually, we're very, very close to using female eggs to create a "sperm" cell capable of causing pregnancy when joined with a non-modified egg.

So it is quite possible that science will allow us to procreate without male participation in the future.

Absolutes are almost always wrong.
 

jambalaya

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But I don't understand, why is it the only one you respect? Definitions are subjective, and it is part and parcel with our being human that we shift our definition and our norms as we progress or change as a civilization. Calling something natural or biological does not mean it is good or bad, to do that would fall into the naturalistic fallacy, it merely means it is biological. Whether or not a marriage can result in offspring we issue marriage licenses to heterosexual couples who do not plan on having children, who are naturally or artificially incapable of having children, etc. Considering what we use marriage for and what it means with regard to benefits and the creation of a family unit in our society I don't see why the definition shouldn't be extended.
Didn't say it was the only one I respect. Said it was one I can respect. Extending the definition, changing the definition are all valid points. Still doesn't change what has been tradition regardless of whether the reasons behind it are perhaps faulty or irrelevant for many in todays society.
 
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jambalaya

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Actually, we're very, very close to using female eggs to create a "sperm" cell capable of causing pregnancy when joined with a non-modified egg.

So it is quite possible that science will allow us to procreate without male participation in the future.

Absolutes are almost always wrong.
Great. We can go to the baby store and order our children in the future.
 

00timh

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This seems entirely disingenuous to me. Allowing same sex couples to marry would in no way end opposite sex marriages, so I'm not sure how that argument makes any sense. In fact, it verges on absolute lunacy. I'm not even sure how it would change anything. This catastrophic thinking the religious right wing has adopted just seems so childish to me. It seems as if you are saying if we change anything about the status quo then we are destroying the foundations of society but you offer nothing to support this view.

The reality is, even if you refuse to acknowledge or accept it, your so called "traditional" definition of marriage is only a few decades old. Now if you want to argue the opposite sex part has largely been enforced in Judeo Christian society through the historical killing, imprisonment, torture, and mutilation of men and women who engaged in same sex relationships, then great. The reality then is it isn't a "tradition" so much as a history of prolonged, cruel and unjust treatment and control. That is the reality that you seem to wish to embrace.
I am not going to get into the lunacy of the pro and against arguments these types of threads tend to create. However I would say that I would back up the decades notion to a couple of centuries as far as most western culture goes. The basic premise of marriage has been about the same. A few minor differences, one of them being age. The celibacy/virgin concept till marriage of say 150-200 years ago wasn't such a crazy one as people were getting married at a much younger age. about the time they were figuring out what their organs were meant to do and wanting to do it, they were getting hitched so that they could. I would imagine that there would have been far virgins at the time of marriage if they were waiting till their mid 20's or later to get married.

I do agree overall that marriage pre dates the western religious culture what we now think of as traditional. Traditional for the U.S. maybe... but I do get so tired of the traditional arguments. In any concept, those today who are older but still functionable and talk about the traditional this or that... they are hypocrites as when they were just starting out as adults, the very same people making the arguments today for traditional were considered to be anything but.
 
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