Your Daily Dose of Schadenfreude

It has not been a good week for those who oppose same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court heard two relevant cases this week, and to judge from the questioning they seem likely to render a decision far more favorable to same sex marriage advocates. Of course, the questioning is not always a reliable guide. After all, Obamacare seemed to be circling the drain after the oral arguments. Still, it was a pretty rough day at the office for the lawyers advocating for discrimination. Meanwhile, politicians are tripping over each other in their rush to come out in favor of same sex marriage. It wasn’t that long ago that it required great political courage just to come out in favor of civil unions, as a sort of “separate but equal” version of marriage. Now we’re rapidly coming to the point where more courage is required to come out against same sex marriage.

This all makes me very happy. I do make an effort to put myself in the shoes of those with views different from my own, but on the subject of same sex marriage I find it impossible to do so. The views of those hostile to gay marriage strike me as so morally bankrupt that I find it impossible to see it from their perspective. The sheer human misery they have caused is hard to forgive, especially considering that their position is backed up with nothing more than a lot of dubious religious arguments.

So you can imagine how much I enjoyed Jonathan Chait’s brief obituary for the anti-gay rights movement. He focuses specifically on Maggie Gallagher, perhaps the most prominent anti gay marriage advocate. Chait writes:

In 2004, the campaign to prevent gay marriage was in its heyday. The Bush administration had seeded an initiative banning gay marriage in Ohio to mobilize activists and peel off traditionalist Democratic voters. Democrats nationally were running for cover, and even Howard Dean’s pro-civil-unions stance appeared risky.

Now the movement is in a state of total collapse, with every day seeming to bring new converts to the gay-marriage cause and the opposition losing all of its courage. There is no more telling sign of the opposition’s surrender than the public demoralization of Maggie Gallagher, the leading anti-gay-marriage activist and writer.

The essay is not very long, and well worth reading in full. Go have a look!

Comments

  1. #1 Mark Jones
    United Kingdom
    March 28, 2013

    A pedant writes:

    ‘Your Daily Dose’, surely, not ‘You’re Daily Dose’?

  2. #2 MNb
    March 28, 2013

    Like my gay father I was against gay marriage in the 80′s. This is what changed my mind:

    “The views of those hostile to gay marriage strike me as so morally bankrupt”
    Spot on.

  3. #3 JimR
    March 28, 2013

    MY PREDICTION
    DOMA will be struck down because Congress lacked the authority to pass it. This would further limit federal power in areas not enumerated in the constitution.

    Prop 8 was struck down by a federal judge because it took back a right that had been granted in CA. I don’t see the court striking down Prop 8 directly, but it may leave the district court ruling intact or find another way by stating some proposition and kicking it back to the lower court for further fact finding. I did hear that there was some question whether the plaintiffs had standing. That would give the court a quick exit from a Prop 8 ruling.

    I just do not expect any bold ruling.

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    March 28, 2013

    I’ve long been of the opinion that if somebody really believes that the ability of two people of the same sex to get married threatens his own marriage, then his marriage is so fragile that perhaps he shouldn’t be married to his present spouse. Because how, exactly, does the right of a couple to get married affect the existing healthy marriage of a different couple (short of a love triangle situation, and we have had those since before the invention of writing)?

    @JimR: I would also not be surprised if the Supremes punt on Prop 8, but how they punt matters. If they go back to the district court decision (on the grounds that the people pursuing the appeal lack standing), that creates the bizarre situation where gay marriage is legal in parts of California and prohibited in other parts (because the district court only covers part of California). IOW, you may be able to get married in San Francisco but not Bakersfield. OTOH, if they let the circuit court ruling stand, all of California is covered (but it is hard to see how they justify that on standing grounds).

    I could also see where the Supremes invalidate both DOMA and Prop 8, but fail to agree on grounds. Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor join a plurality opinion overturning on equal protection grounds; Kennedy (and perhaps Roberts) concur in part (on the overturning) and dissent in part (on the grounds).

  5. #5 Vincent Torley
    Japan
    March 28, 2013

    “I do make an effort to put myself in the shoes of those with views different from my own, but on the subject of same sex marriage I find it impossible to do so. The views of those hostile to gay marriage strike me as so morally bankrupt that I find it impossible to see it from their perspective.”

    Maybe I can help, Professor Rosenhouse. There’s a perfectly good, non-religious reason for opposing gay marriage, and it can be expressed in a single sentence:

    “Open Marriage” is an oxymoron.

    You don’t have to be religious to agree with that proposition. People talk about marriage as a “right,” but it’s much more than that. It’s a commitment. Most people understand it as a commitment which, among other things, involves making a public vow to engage in sexually intimate acts with only one person – your spouse – until “death do us part.” That’s why we refer to adultery as “cheating.” It is.

    To be sure, there are heterosexual couples who profess to have open marriages, but (a) they are the exception rather than the norm, and (b) most heterosexual couples would regard such marriages as sham marriages, anyway – like having your cake and eating it. And yes, it’s true that many married people (perhaps even a majority) cheat at some stage in their lives. Nobody’s perfect. But the point is that in the vast majority of cases, such people feel a genuine sense of shame for having broken their vows, and try to rectify their mistake and avoid future lapses. Those who refuse to do so, generally have the decency to recognize that the marriage is over, and get a divorce. In either case, it is publicly acknowledged that marriage is meant to be sexually monogamous. (And yes, I realize that some societies allow polygamy, but I don’t think anyone wants to copy their example, as their attitude to women tends to be pretty unenlightened.)

    What about gay couples? According to the New York Times, a staggering 50% of gay married couples have sex outside marriage, with the knowledge and approval of their partners. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/us/29sfmetro.html?_r=0 .) Beverly Hills sexologist Winston Wilde estimates that at least four out of five gay males couples are not monogamous. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-vaillancourt/gay-open-relationships_b_1217880.html .)

    Why does this matter? Because even if some gay couples practice monogamy, none of them are willing to say that couples who have have “open marriages” are not really married. That would mean pointing the finger at many of their hay friends. All gay couples accept that marriages can be open, even if theirs is sexually monogamous.

    Now suppose gay marriage becomes legal. It would then be illegal for a teacher in a public school to tell his/her students that you should be faithful to your spouse, and to describe infidelity as “cheating.” The parents of a child being raised by a gay couple could complain that such language is moralistic and judgmental. In short: if gay marriage becomes legal across America, it will soon become socially unacceptable to express disapproval of adultery.

    There’s more. What about bisexuals? Consider bisexual Bob, who’s passionately in love with Anna and Charles. “Why can’t I marry both, when I love them both equally?” he asks. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it, once you recognize gay marriages. But if we allow polygamy for bisexuals, then it will have to be legal for everyone else too – including heterosexuals. But if that happens, males in the the bottom 10 or 20% of the socioeconomic scale will never be able to find a wife. We’ll have a “bachelor culture,” like they do in China, and like they did in ancient Greece and Rome. You know why it will end up like that. A small but significant percentage of women (say 10%) would rather be the second wife of a billionaire than the first wife of a pauper – for purely Darwinian reasons. It’s a simple matter of economics. I’m not passing judgement on them; I’m just stating a fact of life. Making polygamy legal destroys the last vestige of a level playing field in the sexual arena. It also guarantees that we’ll have a sexual underclass of boorish and at times violent males. Kidnapping of women and prostitution will also increase.

    Look, I’m all for keeping government out of people’s bedrooms. And I”m happy for gays to have some kind of civil unions, giving them the legal right to tax concessions and pensions and other perks, if that’s what they want. All I ask is one thing: that they don’t call their unions “marriages.” Call them anything else, but not that.

  6. #6 Mark Jones
    March 28, 2013

    Vincent Torley

    “According to the New York Times, a staggering 50% of gay married couples have sex outside marriage, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.”

    On what grounds do you analyse relationships according to the individuals’ sexual orientation rather than, say, their religious beliefs?

    “Because even if some gay couples practice monogamy, none of them are willing to say that couples who have have “open marriages” are not really married.”

    Could you cite the evidence for this statement, please.

    If no heterosexual couples were willing to say that couples in “open marriages” are not really married (which could happen now without any law allowing SSM), what would follow from that? Would it then be “illegal for a teacher in a public school to tell his/her students that you should be faithful to your spouse, and to describe infidelity as “cheating.””

    If you’re worried about it becoming “socially unacceptable to express disapproval of adultery”, would you analyse other arbitrary groupings to establish their rate of adultery (evangelical leaders, for example) and campaign to deny them the right to marry? If not, why not?

    “All I ask is one thing: that they don’t call their unions “marriages.” Call them anything else, but not that.”

    But many of us call them marriages already; are we slipping irrevocably down the slope to devilish polygamy? Is polygamy wrong morally, or because of its consequences? Do you think people will demand the right to marry tables next? If not, why not?

  7. #7 Jason Rosenhouse
    March 28, 2013

    Mark –

    ‘Your Daily Dose’, surely, not ‘You’re Daily Dose’?

    Oops! Thanks for pointing out the error, which has now been fixed.

  8. #8 rork
    March 28, 2013

    I actually do think there is a non-religious argument that goes like this. Men (say) will be more likely to live like a homosexual often does, since the downside of doing so will be less. (My evidence: I look both ways and it has been part of my calculation.) Others might find this disappointing or disturbing, perhaps especially if it’s your son. Maybe there’d be a few less kids too – not sure if that’s actually bad (or even true).
    OK, I didn’t say it was a good argument.
    The potential for greater happiness for the man wanting to openly bond with another man is a benefit that I weigh against these costs, and it’s not even close. There’s gonna have to be very dire consequences before I deny people equal rights on this score.
    Disclaim: catching fists and spit for dressing too provocatively might bias my valuations.

  9. #9 DonJindra
    March 28, 2013

    Vincent Torley,

    Gay marriage is a non-issue to me. Like you, I think a civil union should be perfectly acceptable. Same-sex couples will never be exactly like heterosexual couples, no matter what we call the union.

    However …

    “Most people understand it as a commitment which, among other things, involves making a public vow to engage in sexually intimate acts with only one person – your spouse – until ‘death do us part.’”

    It’s been many, many years since I repeated my marriage vows, but I don’t recall sex talk as being part of the ceremony.

    “even if some gay couples practice monogamy, none of them are willing to say that couples who have have ‘open marriages’ are not really married. That would mean pointing the finger at many of their hay friends. All gay couples accept that marriages can be open, even if theirs is sexually monogamous.”

    You imply this matters but I saw nothing in your post to indicate that it does matter. And I think, if true, there’s an easy explanation for what they are willing to say. Those gay couples, rightly or wrongly, perceive that social pressure — even bigotry — tried to shame them into living a life ruled by someone else’s standards — standards that felt wrong to them. And now they don’t want to be accused of the same thing. Who can blame them for that?

    “It would then be illegal for a teacher in a public school to tell his/her students that you should be faithful to your spouse, and to describe infidelity as “cheating.””

    I fail to see why the subject would come up in the first place. And if it did come up (Athena forbid!) I fail to see why gay marriage would limit the teacher’s input any more than is currently the case. “Cheating” is a common subject outside of marriage already. High school kids “cheat” on their girlfriends and boyfriends. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with marriage.

    “if gay marriage becomes legal across America, it will soon become socially unacceptable to express disapproval of adultery.”

    We have no reason to suspect this would be the case. Government does not set the standards for moral behavior. In everyday life, we don’t consult current legislation before deciding how to act among our friends and families.

    “Making polygamy legal destroys the last vestige of a level playing field in the sexual arena.”

    There’s no reason to think polygamy is related to gay marriage. We can count to two. The number two is blind to bigotry and prejudice.

  10. #10 dean
    March 28, 2013

    And I”m happy for gays to have some kind of civil unions,

    Sadly, all too often those stop before partners are given the same rights as spouses – medical decisions, legal decisions, etc. Without these a “civil union” is worthless.

    I find your other comments and objections foolish.

  11. #11 Vincent Torley
    Japan
    March 28, 2013

    Mark Jones,

    Thanks for your questions.

    1. You requested that I provide evidence for my assertion that “even if some gay couples practice monogamy, none of them are willing to say that couples who have have “open marriages” are not really married.” It’s pretty hard to prove a negative, so let me ask you: can you find even ONE statement by a gay couple in America or Europe, to the effect that couples who have have “open marriages” are not really married?

    2. You ask what would follow if we lived in a society where no heterosexual couples were willing to say that couples in “open marriages” are not really married. On a purely sociological level, my answer would be that it would be impossible for such a society to instill the norm of sexual fidelity, and it would also become impossible to publicly criticize adulterous behavior.

    3, You ask if I would deny the right to marry to other groups of people with a high rate of adultery – for example, politicians. No, I wouldn’t. As I said, the issue is not the rate of adultery as such; it’s the recognition of the ideal of fidelity. For at least half of gay couples, fidelity isn’t even an ideal. Politicians still pay at least lip service to the ideal, when they appear on TV apologizing for their affairs, after being caught by journalists.

    So what if most politicians publicly endorsed open marriages? Would I deny them the right to marry then? No. What makes gays distinctive is not merely that many of them practice open marriages, but that ALL of them recognize open marriages as real marriages (at least publicly). That means that when they do get legal recognition at a nationwide level, the definition of what makes a real marriage will also change, on a sociological level. Fidelity will drop out of the definition. I think if you asked most Americans how they felt about that, you’d get a very negative response. Fidelity still matters to most people.

    4.You also ask whether polygamy is wrong morally, or because of its consequences. I’d go with the former option. Marriage is a partnership between equals. Can you even imagine a polygamist viewing his wives as equals? I can’t. The simple fact that he’s willing to marry TWO women obviously implies that he thinks that no ONE woman, by herself, is good enough for him. What does that tell you about his attitude?

    5. Finally, you ask if same sex marriage entails that people can marry tables. I see no reason why it should. The law could still consistently decree that only adult persons can marry. However, I do think that legalization of polygamy, as well as incest (which is already legal in two dozen countries, including Brazil), will inevitably follow from the legal recognition of gay marriage. The logic is inexorable.

  12. #12 Vincent Torley
    Japan
    March 28, 2013

    DonJindra,

    A couple of quick comments before I retire for the evening. This will be my last post on this thread.

    You write that cheating is common outside marriage, and that high school students cheat on their boyfriends or girlfriends. Sorry, but the notion of cheating makes absolutely no sense here. Outside of marriage (and engagement), there is no obligation whatsoever to remain true to one partner. After all, what could possibly be the basis of such an obligation?

    You write that government does not set the standards for moral behavior, and you argue that public disapproval of adultery could still continue, even after gay marriages become legal. You overlook the impact of gay marriage legislation on the next generation. If a teacher in a public school could be sued by the parents of one of his/her students for expressing disapproval of adultery in a classroom, then the same standard will eventually apply to comments made by children in the schoolyard. Sneering at publicly known adulterers and expressing disapproval of their behavior will be called a form of psychological bullying that may make children of open marriage advocates feel miserable, and earnest-looking, finger-wagging human rights commissioners will soon go the rounds of public schools, inveighing against what they will call “bigotry.” The next generation will thus be brainwashed into accepting a new norm. That’s how it will happen.

  13. #13 Mark Jones
    March 28, 2013

    Thanks Vincent

    “It’s pretty hard to prove a negative, so let me ask you: can you find even ONE statement by a gay couple in America or Europe, to the effect that couples who have have “open marriages” are not really married?”

    Hmm, well of course I don’t have to answer that because I’m not making any statement of fact, simply asking you to support your statement of fact. But here, you made it easier for me:

    “What makes gays distinctive is not merely that many of them practice open marriages, but that ALL of them recognize open marriages as real marriages (at least publicly).”

    No negatives to prove there, so could you cite the evidence for this statement, please?

    “On a purely sociological level, my answer would be that it would be impossible for such a society to instill the norm of sexual fidelity, and it would also become impossible to publicly criticize adulterous behavior.”

    Good, OK, so at least you don’t think this is something that might only happen in the event of legalised SSM.

    “As I said, the issue is not the rate of adultery as such; it’s the recognition of the ideal of fidelity.”

    I took the logic of your comment to go from adultery, to attitude, hence I asked the question about adultery. But the logic still stands. You say:

    “Fidelity will drop out of the definition. I think if you asked most Americans how they felt about that, you’d get a very negative response. Fidelity still matters to most people.”

    Your contention (which I’m accepting for argument’s sake) is that if marriage embraces gay people, fidelity will ‘drop out of the definition’ of a ‘real’ marriage. So would you start analysing other sectors of society to understand their attitudes to fidelity, in case they’re corrosive too? There are no doubt other demographics who might be entirely relaxed about fidelity. You need to present a good reason for us to worry so much about gay perspectives that it overrides those individuals’ rights to be treated equally, or concede that we should also pursue any other grouping, be it racial, religious, political, social, that might show such tendencies. For example, if all Marxists thought that fidelity was an imposition on the proletariat, so should be rejected, would you deny them the right to marry?

    I’m not suggesting any of this is at all likely; I’m just trying to understand your thought processes.

    “For at least half of gay couples, fidelity isn’t even an ideal.”

    Could you cite the evidence for this statement, please?

    “The law could still consistently decree that only adult persons can marry.”

    Just as the law could consistently decree that two is the maximum in a marriage?

    “However, I do think that legalization of polygamy, as well as incest (which is already legal in two dozen countries, including Brazil), will inevitably follow from the legal recognition of gay marriage. The logic is inexorable.”

    But what I’m asking is: why do you think that? Don’t just say it; explain why the law can stop people from marrying tables but it cannot stop people from marrying more than one person or from marrying their sibling.

  14. #14 Sean T
    March 28, 2013

    I think I have a solution to the whole issue: get the government out of the whole marriage business. What compelling interest does the government have in who anyone engages in a sexual relationship with in the first place?

    If we want to continue to recognize relationships, let people enter into “relationship contracts” (I don’t use the term civil union here because that has the connotation of being something that is a gay equivalent to marriage. My term would replace marriage for both gay and straight couples). These contracts could be entered into by any two adults, whether same sex or different. The contract need not imply existence of a sexual relationship, so even related people who want to live together and share financial resources could enter into one. These contracts could confer the tax benefits, right to make health care decisions, etc. that are now conferred by marriage. (Or alternatively, we could scrap the whole idea and treat everyone in the same manner as single people are currently treated).

    One of the main objections of those who oppose gay marriage is that it redefines the institution of marriage. This is a way around that objection. We would not be redefining marriage. Anyone who want to enter into a traditional marriage could go to the church of their choice and do so. If that church wants to deny marriage to same sex couples, then it would have the right to do so.

    I would think that religious organizations could get on board with this since that would offer increased protection of their first ammendment rights. Nobody could argue that their religious freedom to deny marriage to same sex couples should be abridged because that denial amounts to discrimination. The same sex couple could obtain their civil rights in the exact same manner as an opposite sex couple, namely by entering into the relationship contract.

    The original purpose of marriage, at least insofar as it is of concern to civil society, was establishment of the paternity of children. That is obsolete today anyway. If we want to establish paternity, a DNA test will do so. Considering that, what is the purpose of civil recognition of marriage?

  15. #15 Jason Rosenhouse
    March 29, 2013

    Let me apologize to anyone who tried to leave a comment here recently. I was trying to turn off the comments to an earlier post, but in a moment of carelessness I shut off the comments to this instead. Sorry about that!

    Vincent, since your argument is based on ludicrous stereotypes of gay people, along with gobsmacking overgeneralizations about them, I am simply amazed that you seem to have put it forth in all seriousness. I’ll just point out that the issue is equal protection under the law, and since the law recognizes open marriages no less than the non-open sort I don’t see how you have said anything relevant at all.

  16. #16 dean
    March 29, 2013

    Sneering at publicly known adulterers and expressing disapproval of their behavior will be called a form of psychological bullying that may make children of open marriage advocates feel miserable, and earnest-looking, finger-wagging human rights commissioners will soon go the rounds of public schools, inveighing against what they will call “bigotry.” The next generation will thus be brainwashed into accepting a new norm.

    You wrote this as a joke, right? Surely nobody would really believe this fantasy?

  17. #17 SLC
    March 30, 2013

    I find is really amusing that someone like Maggie Gallagher, who has had a child out of wedlock, has the temerity to accuse anyone else of immorality. The chutzpah of the born agains like her is mind boggling.

  18. #18 SLC
    March 30, 2013

    Another issue arising from the Supreme Court hearings this week was the lameness of the arguments by the opponents of same sex marriage. The arguments were so lame that they even inspired Billo the clown O’Reilly to criticize them for lameness.

    However, the most ludicrous argument they put forward was a statement that same sex partners, unlike opposite sex partners, were unable to have unplanned pregnancies. I quite fail to see the point of this argument, as most pregnancies of opposite sex couples these days are planned. Is the defense really trying to imply that unplanned children are somehow superior to planned children? My suspicion is that this is really a subtle diatribe agains contraception.

    However, consider the case of two sons of Mitt Rmoney. They have the misfortune of having low sperm counts so that resort to IVF was required in order for their wives to conceive. These were certainly planned pregnancies so is the defense arguing that the children that were born to the two sons were inferior to unplanned pregnancies?

  19. #19 hobbes
    March 30, 2013

    Torley cites two sources to make that claim that gay marriage will promote “open marriage”. One is an anecdotal statement from a “Beverly Hills sexologist” on a blog at Huffington Post. Enough said about the credibility of that.

    For the second, Torley writes, “According to the New York Times, a staggering 50% of gay married couples have sex outside marriage.” The NYT article he refers to “draws” from a published research study. However, as sadly is the case with much journalism about scientific studies, the NYT article mischaracterizes the research. And then Torley extrapolates the error by mischaracterizing the article. So we have misinformation squared. First, Torley’s statement is literally untrue. The NYT article never says “50% of gay married couples”, it says “50% of those surveyed.” Torley was probably seduced into making that switch because the misleading headline on the NYT article is “Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret,” implying that the research study discussed in the article is going to be about gay marriage. However, if either the journalist or Torley had bothered to read or understand the actual research study they’d know that it had nothing to do with gay marriage. It was a study of the characteristics of gay men’s relationships for the purpose of understanding more about their risk for HIV. The people surveyed in the study were those in any type of relationship. Less that 20% of the couples in the study were married. The authors don’t break out the statistics for that group, so we have no idea whether the married subjects were more or less monogamous than overall, but for all we know they might have anchored the monogamous half of the subjects. But the bottom line, there is absolutely no validity to drawing conclusions about gay marriage using this study. Zip. Zilch. None. The study can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2906147/

    It is no secret that research has consistently revealed that gay men tend to be much less monogamous than heterosexuals in (non-marriage/union) relationships. But there is as yet little data about those in marriages/civil unions. But if we are going to base our view of the appropriateness of marriage on our perception of a group’s commitment to monogamy, then perhaps Torley would like to promote lesbian marriage as the exemplar, since much research has suggested that lesbians tend to be even more monogamous in their relationships than heterosexuals.

  20. #20 Lenoxus
    March 30, 2013

    SLC:

    However, the most ludicrous argument they put forward was a statement that same sex partners, unlike opposite sex partners, were unable to have unplanned pregnancies. I quite fail to see the point of this argument, as most pregnancies of opposite sex couples these days are planned. Is the defense really trying to imply that unplanned children are somehow superior to planned children?

    The argument is that one of marriage’s primary purposes is to compel the parents to raise the kid they didn’t plan to have; hence, marriage between people unable to have accidental kids is pointless. I’m not making that up. (Though of course my presentation is slanted.)

    In a weird way, there might be something going for the first part of that argument, in the sense of “historical motivations for marriage.” Now that we have paternity suits and DNA tests, that bit is moot (the law can sort-of compel parents to provide for their kids) and either way it would obviously be totally irrelevant to the issue of same-sex marriage.

  21. #21 SLC
    March 31, 2013

    Re Lenoxus @ #20

    Thus, according to that argument, marriage with a woman past menopause is pointless. Marriage with a sterile man is pointless. When they start proposing that such marriages also not be legally recognized, then I will take them seriously. Until them, they are just blowing smoke.

  22. #22 GS test
    http://www.gstest.com/
    March 31, 2013

    Your Daily Dose of Schadenfreude – EvolutionBlog

  23. #23 Sean T
    April 1, 2013

    I still fail to see why the government has any interest in who I choose to love/live with/have sex with in the first place. Lenoxus in 20 points out a historical reason, namely the need for establishment of paternity. However, with the advance of DNA testing, this reason is now obsolete.

    If I live by myself and I decide that I need help in paying the rent and bills, I can advertise for a roommate. I don’t need the government’s permission, nor do I need to inform the government of my decision. Why should it be any different if I decide to take on a “permanent roommate”?

    Obviously, those who believe in traditional marriage would be totally unaffected by the government’s getting out of the marriage business. You want to be married, go to the church of your choice and get married. No reason churches could not continue to marry people. The government doesn’t worry about whether you are baptized or not, why should it worry about whether you are married or not.

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