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Post 60

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 3:21amSanction this postReply
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Love needs no sanction, though it is more gratifying if sanctioned by the beloved. Sex needs no sanction but that of all that engage in it, neither has anything to do with marriage - marriage needs sanction from those that hold the power to grant the rights given in marriage, to deny the contract of marriage based on the sexual turn-ons of the applicants is privacy infringing discrimination. To deny the contract of marriage based on the gender of the applicants is discrimination no different than denying marriage based on race, nationality or religion.

(Edited by Søren Olin
on 7/21, 7:11am)




Post 61

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 6:08amSanction this postReply
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Left-handedness is a trait of about 10% of the population. It is likely not genetic, yet has a strong physiological influence combined with some environmental ability to be chosen or repressed. Nature/nurture investigations into the amount of influence from physiology or cognitive/social effects and how they interact can be very fascinating - for sexual attraction or handedness or many other areas. However, would anyone really worry about simplifying it down to whether lefties are 'natural'?




Post 62

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 8:23amSanction this postReply
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Mark,

 

My mention of sex-crazed Bonobos was in response to and in refutation of what you wrote here: 

For example, "homosexual" encounters tend to become less frequent in higher primates...

-Jordan




Post 63

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 8:26pmSanction this postReply
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I am for the separation of marriage and state, period.


The "gay" gene intrigues me. It is apparent that there has been a genetic disposition in several species toward homosexual behavior for as long as man has been breathing. Eons of such behavior has existed, so what gives the "gay" gene it's longevity?

In humans, the prehensil tail gene has long been dormant, yet the "gay" gene seems to be existing unabated. Would not a prehensil tail be more productive, in an evolutionary sense, to our survival? Doesn't homosexual behavior seem to be irrelevant in the terms of survival. A fifth appendage would be far more conducive to our surviving here on earth than say the "recreational" usage of homosexual relations. By recreational I mean it does nothing for the procreation and the continuance of the species. And with homosexual behavior being more prevalent in the more intelligent species it would seem that it is, for the most part, almost always recreational in nature i.e. you can't reproduce with homosexual sex. With that said, genetically speaking, there seems to be no purpose for it.

Now,  I ask "Why does that particular gene have such longevity?" I do not know, but I truly believe that further "serious" study aimed at isolating it and studying its makeup could lead to the hybidization of other genes. Imagine the longevity characteristics of the "gay" gene being applied to so called anti-aging genes or anti-cancer genes etc.

Perhaps we should study the biology of homosexuality without preconceived prejudices and with a more focused purpose. We just might find the key to our own survival comes from the non-procreative genes of gay folks.


gw

(Edited by gary williams on 7/21, 9:02pm)




Post 64

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 8:50pmSanction this postReply
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Gary,

Be careful, you're giving evolution foresight. There's no motivation as to what would or wouldn't contribute more to survival. Adaptation is a trial and error and error and error and...

As to homosexual behavior and survival: I remember reading that the bonobos, I think, had higher frequency of homosexual behavior in generations which had higher levels of stress among their group when they were born. The bonobos exhibiting homosexual behavior acted as a kind of peacekeeper group between the sexes. Since stress plays with hormone levels, this is one brick in the hormone levels as (at least partial) cause of homosexuality position. Incidentally, some think that homosexuality once acted as a kind of catalyst for advancement. An individual with no interest in reproduction could instinctually take more risks, try new things, etc. I don't know how much weight that holds though, I haven't seen it too many places.

Sarah



Post 65

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 9:17pmSanction this postReply
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I read a hypothesis somewhere about the gay gene’s longevity. True, for thousands of generations the homosexual did not reproduce his genes, but he kept the girls under control while the men were hunting. Seriously. And by being with the women and the babies, he contributed vastly to the survival of his younger siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc. This way he contributed to the survival of many individuals, who went on to reproduce fractions of his (supposedly gay-prone) genes. That’s about how the argument went.



Post 66

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 10:07pmSanction this postReply
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Sarah,

I by no means intended to imply any expertise in genetics or evolution. I do believe you and Marcus Bachler would spank me badly in these areas!

I am simply curious about  the longevity of the homosexual gene and others in the genetic pool. You have given some interesting examples of possible causes. Food for thought. I am now really interested in stress as a genetic trigger.

The purpose of  my post was to put out a big fat "Why?". I want more scientific answers and less of  the moral pontifications by others on the subject. Homosexuality is a science based physiological phenomenon, not a question of morality. I think the bonobos are proof of that. Basically, I would like to see certain genes isolated, then broken down to their basic elements, reassembled and then torn down again until we have a more proficient and functional knowledge of their structure and can apply that knowledge to our own purposes. If the homosexual gene has physical characteristics that give it genetic longevity, why not try to apply those characteristics to other genes? I would like to see serious study of that question.

It seems to be a question of biological mechanics. Why do certain genes have certain characteristics? Can they be manipulated? And what do we have to do to get to that point?


gw
 


p.s. - Stress as a genetic trigger? Hmmm? I hope the next time I get nervous I don't sprout something prehensil!






Post 67

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 10:23pmSanction this postReply
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Gary,

Not a genetic trigger, just a trigger in general. There's a certain stage in fetal development when a "hormone shower" is released (despite legislation to require the more resource conserving "hormone bath") which influences brain development and therefore things like sexuality. If the mother is highly stressed this can cause hormones to be released out of whack and something like homosexuality can occur (though not always).

I suspect that things like peacekeeper behavior or, as Jon suggests, a group survival benefit are simply 'perks.' To say that homosexuality was an adaptation for group survival is too much like group selection, which doesn't jive with neodarwinism as I understand it. So I don't really know why, just that it is.

Sarah

(Edited by Sarah House
on 7/21, 10:24pm)




Post 68

Friday, July 22, 2005 - 6:34amSanction this postReply
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Sarah,

Yeah, I thought about the bonobos peacekeeper group this morning and it seems highly unlikely that a "class" of peacekeepers would somehow come into existence. It would appear that more incidents of homosexual bonobos should/would occur if many of the females of the overall group came under simular stress at close to the same time. The class-ish behavior is probably a "birds of a feather" thing.


gw

(Edited by gary williams on 7/22, 8:58am)

(Edited by gary williams on 7/22, 12:07pm)

(Edited by gary williams on 7/22, 12:08pm)




Post 69

Friday, July 22, 2005 - 7:06amSanction this postReply
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Thank you, James Kilbourne, for taking the time to write this article. Thanks to all the thoughtful participants on this topic.

My  own temperament and economy of time keeps me now, as ever, in the school of Ida, a black character in Another Country, when she tells her white lover Vivaldo why she's not going to attend some family event for which he has been campaigning. She's not going to spend her precious life trying to convince his family that she is human.

I have one penny I'll add to the coffer. In the USA we have a constitutional principle of "equal protection under the law." Justice Brennan once wrote in an opinion that that principle applies not only to laws that prohibit or enjoin, but to laws that confer legal powers. That's right.

Ashley Frazier, thank you for being you.

Stephen





Post 70

Friday, July 22, 2005 - 12:06pmSanction this postReply
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Well, a few days later I am back. My internet connection hasn't worked but for a few minutes a day since this was posted. I am sorry I missed such an interesting connection. Particular thanks to Ashley and Jon. You two are great.



Post 71

Friday, July 22, 2005 - 1:19pmSanction this postReply
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Laws against same-sex marriage aren't really discrimination or denial of equal protection, for the simple reason that the rule is the same for gays and straights alike: if you want to marry, your partner must be of the opposite sex.

The obvious rejoinder will be that straights don't want to enter into such marriages while gays do.  The answer to this in turn is that any law, trivially, falls differently on different people: some are breaking it, others would if they could get away with it, and yet others just aren't interested.  This is true of good laws (against killing) and bad ones (against alcohol consumption).  Closer in to the case in point are laws against marrying underage partners, immediate family members or people already married.  Not many people want to make such marriages, but nobody calls them victims of discrimination if they do.

The classic case of a discriminatory law is one which expressly distinguishes between one kind of people and another.  Christians can own real estate but Jews can't, or whites can go to white schools but blacks can't.  Such explicitness isn't a necessary condition, though.  Some laws manage to avoid admitting what they're about but, seen against their historical background, do this de facto.  San Francisco once had a law requiring one kind of business license for laundries that delivered by carriage and another, more expensive, for those that delivered on foot.  It made no mention of the fact that white-owned laundries tended to use carriages while Chinese-owned ones tended not to.  The Massachusetts law that Romney recently exhumed to keep out-of-state gay couples from marrying was, according to last week's Economist, a progressive-era measure intended to keep mixed-race southern couples from coming there to evade their home-state prohibitions.  So, similarly, with the Davis-Bacon act and so on and on.  No one could plausibly claim, though, that laws against same-sex marriage were passed ad hoc to make life harder for gays.

This is not to say that the restriction is a good idea, simply that this particular line of objection isn't as potent as you might think.

(Problem: if, as the Supreme Court ruled decades ago, laws that say your partner must be of the same race constitute denial of equal protection, even if the rule is the same for everybody, doesn't this follow for the rule that your partner must be of the opposite sex?  The answer might be that neither amounts to unequal protection, but they are bad ideas for other reasons.)

Peter




Post 72

Friday, July 22, 2005 - 1:29pmSanction this postReply
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Peter, you wrote: “Laws against same-sex marriage aren't really discrimination or denial of equal protection, for the simple reason that the rule is the same for gays and straights alike: if you want to marry, your partner must be of the opposite sex.”

In the reversal, doesn’t this tell me: “Laws against hetero marriage aren't really discrimination or denial of equal protection, for the simple reason that the rule is the same for gays and straights alike: if you want to marry, you need simply and only to let your partner fuck you in the ass.”?



Post 73

Friday, July 22, 2005 - 2:14pmSanction this postReply
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Laws against hetero marriage aren't really discrimination or denial of equal protection, for the simple reason that the rule is the same for gays and straights alike: if you want to marry, both partners must have ovulated in any of the 99 months previous to the 1st day of the month in which the application was filed.



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Post 74

Saturday, July 23, 2005 - 2:13pmSanction this postReply
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James,

You sure stirred one up from the posts around here. Of course I agree with you in every essential point you raised.

Unfortunately, this particular article of yours is doomed to will fade into oblivion over time. I agree with you that gay marriage is about as unstoppable as abolishing slavery was, given the premises of individual rights this country was built on. Thus, later down the road the reason for your article will no longer be a real issue in America, but an historical curiosity instead.

Anyway, congratulations on a fine exposition of the present gay marriage situation and solidly rational projections for the future.

Michael




Post 75

Saturday, July 23, 2005 - 2:40pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Jody!!



Post 76

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 - 9:48amSanction this postReply
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Most of the people here seem to be non-right-wing, but this may be useful in arguments with friends.

Forbidding gay marriage will weaken the institution of marriage!

I'm serious. Why? Because the longer gays can't marry, the more rights will be won for domestic partners. If domestic partnership ever gets approximate parity with marriage as a legal institution, some het people will choose not to marry. Why tie yourself into a twisted mess of social stigma when you can enter a much cleaner, more lightweight (efficient) contract?

The social and economic gestalt seems to be saying that it's time to give gay people the same marriage rights as straight people. It will happen one way or the other. So conservatives who are worried about marriage have only two choices: they can defend the surface form of marriage while building a viable secular alternative that will weaken the institution of marriage, or they can short-circuit the "domestic partnership" movement simply by letting gay people call themselves married.

(Note: This argument is framed from my best estimate of a right-wing point of view. That is not my point of view.)

Chris




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