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Marriage amendment

2004-03-02 21:03:18.660351+00 by Dan Lyke 30 comments

On the ATMP mailing list, "lenps" forwarded along this modest proposal:

With all the debate on marriage, I thought we might turn to the bible for inspiration.

Subject: What is a marriage? (please distribute widely)

The Presidential Prayer Team is currently urging us to: "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles. With any forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government."

Any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action.

So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on Biblical principles:

  1. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5.)
  2. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron11:21)
  3. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)
  4. Marriage between a believer and a nonbeliever shall be forbidden.(Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)
  5. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)
  6. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut25:5-10)

[ related topics: Religion moron Sociology Law Marriage ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-02 21:40:23.338433+00 by: ziffle

Having been through the end of a marriage (twice) I wonder if all these same sex couples will really want this once they get it. Now if they have differences they simply part ways - not so for different sex marriages - boy oh boy! At least they won't have child support to deal with...

Be careful what you ask for - you might just get it...

Ziffle of Mayberry

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 02:35:18.095767+00 by: John Anderson

At least they won't have child support to deal with...

Maybe not in Mayberry, but out here in the big wide world, many same-sex couples have children, either by adoption or IVF.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 04:53:34.680169+00 by: markd

Unfortunately, that stuff is Old Testament, which can be glossed over when it's inconvenient. I think it was in Paul's Letter to the Hoozits that said "yea verily thoust can ignore such what was written ere' before when it impedeth thoust moulding the lives and willes of others." or something like that.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 14:10:26.287764+00 by: ziffle

John - I was being optimistic I suppose - so, then -- the federal guidelines call for 43% of your net income (for three children) plus health care plus a college fund plus judges discretion for college fund reserves, if your income is over around 100k, plus often college education so its through age 22. For those of us who spent 15 years in this inhuman child support system its a terrible burden to your life. Until we get rid of the conservatives and the liberals this nonsense will continue.

Markd - thoust is verily superb at olld aenglish.

As Ann Richards tells the story - the old preacher said - 'if English was good enough for Jesus tis good enough for me'. And so it is. Isn't it convenient that Jesus and everyone was white so Mel Gibson could make his movie using white actors for white audiences? Ahh -- the convenience of it all.


#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 16:16:36.36157+00 by: aiworks

According to this article at CNN, there have been something like 3000 homosexual couples issued marriage licenses since about 2 weeks ago. Presumably that number is higher now and I'll also assume that some couples bought a marriage license on a lark, took it home, framed it, and didn't actually have a marriage officiated.

So we'll go with that 3000 number as the number of marriages performed.

Half of all marriages end in divorce. We'll say that there's virtually no divorce after 20 years of marriage (I'm lazy... go look these stats up yourself).

So, we're looking for 1500 couples to divorce at a rate of 6.25 divorces a month (1500 / (12 * 20) ). I'm sure that there are peaks in divorce activity (12 months, 18 months, 7 years?) such that it's not this slow, steady monthly march to divorce court, but you get my gist.

At any rate, shouldn't we be coming up on the first divorce of one of these couples?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 16:40:45.523143+00 by: Mars Saxman

I don't think you can apply heterosexual marriage stats that simply, aiworks; after all, a lot of these couples have been living together and functionally married for many years already. This is just a delayed recognition of the state they would have entered years ago if they were allowed to. So there is a filtering effect, where the early breakups have already happened, unnoticed, and now we're seeing a *backlog* of marriages rather than a normal stream of couples hooking up.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 18:57:37.865021+00 by: aiworks

I don't know if I can get anyone else to chime in agreement here, but marriage changes the relationship significantly (even the long term ones). I don't think there is such a thing as functionally married.

Marriages are difficult to break (that's the idea). This leads to feeling more content/secure or trapped.

Regardless, I agree that the divorce stats for these early couples will be different. Nontheless out of 6000+ people, someone has got to be feeling suffocated and wanting to head for the exit.

The reason I bring this up is that I'm sure that this will be big news. I suspect there's a possibility of divorce proceedings being delayed while the rest of the dust settles. That's going to be pretty scary for the couple involved.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 19:01:14.547458+00 by: Dan Lyke

One of the people I know who was recently married works for a family law firm that has done a lot of child custody and property dispute type work for gay couples (or at least one party of a gay couple). I expect they'll be getting questions soon.

But as Mars commented, I figure it'll be another half a year to a year before we see the first of those.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 19:12:36.98508+00 by: Shawn

marriage changes the relationship significantly

I think this depends a great deal on the persons involved - and the culture they've been steeped in.

I've been married twice and in both cases we lived together before taking The Leap. (Although I'll admit the comparison is not completely equal since the second time we shacked up for much longer.) In the first marriage things did change quite a bit. But in the second, we both had to keep reminding ourselves of our new status.

Also, attitudes are changing. The concept of marriage changing things I think comes from an older perception of marriage, gender roles, etc. I suspect the majority of younger people these days don't view hitching as the same momentous life change that it used to be considered. (But then I'm out of touch with mainstream America, so I could be way off base.)

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 19:58:49.061746+00 by: aiworks

I definently agree that any situation depends on the individuals involved. Clearly, two women who have spent their lives together and now, in the autumn of their lives, take advantage of being able to marry are probably not going to get divorced. It's couples like these that I keep seeing in print and on television.

However looking at the group as a whole, not everyone is going to be that clearly commited. I've got to imagine that many of those couples are (relatively) youthful.

Operating under the assumption that youth==stupid, some stupid people just got married who probably wont want to be married very long. I also think that anyone (espcially more youthful types -- speaking in general) who doesn't at least acknowledge that some things will be different in post-matrimonial state is deceiving themselves (dangerously so). If nothing else, other people will treat you differently. And I'm speaking as someone who is realtively stup... youthful.

6 months before we see the first divorce? Maybe on the outside. I think I smell a wager here. I would imagine that we'll hear something about divorce by June 1.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 20:08:03.192252+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hmmm... Let me see if I can write up some betting pool code...

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 21:09:27.893554+00 by: Mars Saxman

I don't think there is such a thing as functionally married.

Well, when a relationship changes after the couple marries, what causes the change? Is it really the legal document, or is it the big public ceremony and the accompanying change in social status, or is it perhaps the changed expectations of the people involved? For a couple who have been living together for years, perhaps decades, who have most likely already had a wedding ceremony with friends and family, and whose legal and financial lives are most likely jumbled quite thoroughly together already, it's hard to see what could change after finally getting the county recorder's stamp on their paperwork.

All I'm trying to argue is that there are going to be a disproportionate number of long- established couples like that getting married right now, since they have all had to wait for years for the opportunity. As a result, I expect the homosexual divorce rate to be significantly lower than the heterosexual one over the short term. (How's THAT for family values, eh?) Of course there will be some dumb kids who get caught up in the moment and go spend a weekend waiting in line down at the courthouse, and the divorce rates will converge over time; but I can't even guess how long it will take.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 22:30:06.567951+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

anyone ... who doesn't at least acknowledge that some things will be different in post-matrimonial state is deceiving themselves

- or -

They could be shrugging off the shackles of societal conditioning and expectations. (Other people treating me differently sounds like their problem.)

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 22:57:12.933177+00 by: aiworks [edit history]

Well, when a relationship changes after the couple marries, what causes the change?

Two things:

  1. Leaving the relationship involves facing divorce. Divorce is a horrible, scary experience. Divorce is much, much harder than signing paper to undo all of those power of attorney's, joint tenantship, etc... People can change; even people in a long time relationship. If you're spouse chooses to go to war over the divorce, the results are ruinous.
  2. Marriage can lead to the notion that two people are stuck together not because they want to be but because undoing the marriage is so hard.

There's little doubt that the divorce rate will track differently initially. My point is that with 6000+ people involved, the first divorce is going to happen soon and be a big deal. I went out and researched the Vermont civil union situation: there are people who are quasi stuck together because they're not Vermont residents (residency is required for divorce in any state) and they can't get their home state to recognize the union to dissolve it. I foresee a similar situation here.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 23:19:48.352713+00 by: Dan Lyke

Mark (aiworks) pegs why I'm so against marriage for myself. I want to know every morning when I wake up next to someone that we're both there because we still want to be in it, not because the state wants us to be in it or it's a big hassle to get out. But I digress from what actually moved me to post:

Either Gavin Newsom's PR people are much better at guiding photographers, or my bet is the first divorces are going to come from people married in Portland. I can't find a link to the image that they're running on the front page as a lead to this article on the marriages on Portland, but the crowd there looks much more in the "20 year old hip lesbian" vein than the "20 year relationship old established couple" genre that we saw so many pictures of in San Francisco.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-03 23:44:30.782652+00 by: Shawn


You state true aspects of divorce. As I stated, I may very well not have my finger on the pulse of young America, but my impression is that the majority of them don't consider such things. When they think about divorce at all, as something they may really have to deal with, they do think of it as being a fairly straight-forward process.

#Comment Re: I may very well not have my finger on the pulse of young America made: 2004-03-07 14:10:24.498824+00 by: polly

Marriage should not be allowed until the consenting partners have established careers, are financially secure, are over 30yo, and have good attornies.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-07 15:09:30.619371+00 by: John Anderson

Marriage should not be allowed until the consenting partners have established careers, are financially secure, are over 30yo, and have good attornies.

And spellcheckers.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-08 15:42:04.549974+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Forget marriage issues. I can't believe we have been so blinded to the real cause of moral decay throughout the world: crustaceans. We must defend the sanctity of our oceans!

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-08 18:02:04.039379+00 by: aiworks

I support a Constitutional Ammendment that defines marriage as a sacred union between two humans; people shouldn't marry outside of their species.

What... what did you link to? Nevermind.

#Comment Re: crustaceans link made: 2004-03-08 18:21:03.692853+00 by: polly

oh yeah, love the link! i guess i'm going to hell, got to have lobster & shrimp. i believe i'll be able to skirt around the marriage issue since i've had plenty of marriages to last me a lifetime, lol.......polly

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-09 03:28:58.233007+00 by: Dan Lyke

Polly, my take on it has always been that if you waited until adults actually got to the stage where they understood what was really involved in marriage, few people would do it. I understand that there are people out there who have fulfilling marriages, and I don't mean to denigrate their relationships, but far too many people end up in marriages without an understanding of what a lifetime commitment to a partner really means.

Maybe I'm taking that commitment too seriously, because I won't accede to it, but I've far too many way older friends to want to take part in that particular institution.

And I'm a big fan of prawnography.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-09 13:31:57.472571+00 by: ziffle

Prawnography? Surely you know http://godhatesshrimp.com/

and SPECIFICALLY http://tomcowan.net/churchsign.jpg

BTW how does the Passion movie end?


#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-09 15:30:09.109796+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Surely you know http://godhatesshrimp.com/

Hmmm... perhaps I should've made my link more clear...

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-10 14:54:15.833377+00 by: ebradway

An interesting side note: in Tennessee, the bride can legally change her name to that of the groom if she wants, just as traditional American culture dictates. But if the groom wants to change his name, to the brides or something else, he has to pay a lawyer to draw up a petition and pay a $124.50 filing fee!

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-10 18:10:19.243182+00 by: John Anderson

In Iowa (which happens to be where I got hitched), either party can change their last name as part of the marriage process. I know this because I changed mine.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-10 23:15:46.92187+00 by: Mars Saxman

I don't know anything specific about Tennessee law, ebradway, but in Oregon, Washington, and Nevada at least, change of name is a simple enough process that you can do it with no more legal assistance than a $15 book from Nolo Press. Your point is still a good one, though - that's fundamentally unfair.

#Comment Ah, yes, Dan.... made: 2004-03-12 06:33:00.554616+00 by: baylink

Courtly love. Isn't it wonderful?

Check out the new Spenser book; just out like, yesterday. :-)

On the name biz; I'm sor of fond of "both parties pick a new last name they like, and they both change it."

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-12 14:43:54.957131+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

baylink: that's the plan. We are changing our last name to Wolf. I guess I'll have to change my user name to ewolf!

And Mars: can I get a link to that book?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-12 18:50:32.033543+00 by: Mars Saxman

well, of course now that you ask, I can't find it.... my copy is long gone, and there are different versions for different states anyway. The only one I can find on the Nolo Press site is for California. Digging around on Amazon, it looks like there are versions for lots of different states, from different publishers, but I don't see one for Tennessee.

I ended up doing it in Nevada, and it was pretty straightforward. The paperwork consisted of a single double-spaced page where I had to fill in my old and new names, and maybe my birthdate and current address, or something like that. I had to file a paper stating my intent to change my name, run a newspaper ad to that effect once a week for a few weeks, then come back with the change-of-name form for the judge to stamp. The court filed away the original, and I got a few notarized copies for the bank, DMV, etc. It was really painless.