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Maine Continues Centuries of Marriage Discrimination

pudge (3605) writes | more than 5 years ago

United States 11

Despite news reports, Maine has continued its policy of maintaining discrimination against marriages by consensual adults. The state has continued the false assertion that marriage is primarily about procreation. It has sustained this discrimination for only one reason: cultural and societal bias.

Despite news reports, Maine has continued its policy of maintaining discrimination against marriages by consensual adults. The state has continued the false assertion that marriage is primarily about procreation. It has sustained this discrimination for only one reason: cultural and societal bias.

I am, of course, talking about incestuous marriage. Most news reports have falsely stated that Maine's newly signed law allows marriage between "any two persons." But there's a big exception (other than minor and mentally disabled persons): "A person may not marry that person's parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, nephew, niece, aunt, uncle or first cousin."

If the intent of this were only to prevent procreation, then it would add, "... if there is any chance of the couple procreating." So same-sex incestuous marriage, or incestuous marriage where the female has reached menopause, should be allowed. So clearly, the intent is not about preventing such procreation.

So the bill itself, in maintaining discrimination against incestuous marriage, undermines the claim of the gay marriage proponents that social stigma is an insufficient reason to maintain discrimination.

This is not about the principle of equal rights. People who do things for the sake of principles are consistent in the application of those principles whenever possible, and there can be no doubt that the principles apply here to incestuous marriages just as much as gay marriages, as long as procreation is taken out of the equation.

Abigail Adams, in the late 1700s, pointed out to her husband John the hypocrisy of claiming all people inherently have liberty, while maintaining the enslavement of a race of people, and subjugating the rights of women. Of course, to the extent her husband agreed, the Union hung in the balance. No such danger faces us today: so where are the gay marriage proponents speaking up for the rights of same-sex siblings to marry?

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

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11 comments

Don't... (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27889993)

Don't give them ideas. Gays today, siblings tomorrow, and pets a year from now. They of course won't touch polygamy since Mormons do it, and since that is a religion it should be banned.

Re:Don't... (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890331)

I just want them to explain their explicit support of marriage discrimination.

Re:Don't... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891197)

Easy, they'd say (of incestual marriage et al.) "because that's just perverted!".

Because they're not preaching tolerance and open-mindedness on alternative unions. They like to compare it to the race (civil rights) issue, so I'll use that: What's basically going on is as if black people had said: Yes, all non-white races are lesser, and nothing should change re: discrimination against them, we just want you to consider us white.

Re:Don't... (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27891907)

Easy, they'd say (of incestual marriage et al.) "because that's just perverted!".

Right. And thereby undermining all of their principled arguments FOR gay marriage.

Re:Don't... (1)

Zeriel (670422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905033)

I suspect it'd be the same as anyone else's reason for incest prohibitions in the first place--that is, "the state has an interest in regulating this due to the vastly increased risk of disabled children in such marriages." Nothing in there about social stigma at all, even if the biology is arguable (and it'd be far from the worse scientific mistake made in legislatures this decade, after all, on either side of the left-right divide).

Re:Don't... (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907283)

I suspect it'd be the same as anyone else's reason for incest prohibitions in the first place--that is, "the state has an interest in regulating this due to the vastly increased risk of disabled children in such marriages."

But the Maine law was changed EXPLICITLY with this pro-gay-marriage bill to exclude GAY incest. Where there is no such risk, of course. So that is argument FAIL.

Re:Don't... (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28040703)

That can always say it was a concession to the other side so that it could get passed. There is still a large block of voters (a significant power) who want government heavily involved in marriages, and who think government force should be used to prevent some marriages, but they might favor government force in some situations (e.g. incest) more passionately than others (e.g. gay). By giving that block a prohibition against incest, the ones who want to overall lessen regulation may be able to do so.

Sure, somebody had to be victimized, but the deregulators are doing a "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" thing. Winning liberty isn't easy, and they can come back for incest later when more of the pro-government voters/reps have aged and died off.

God damn it's hard to write that w/out sounding like a troll. In fact, I probably didn't succeed. ;-)

Re:Don't... (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 5 years ago | (#28063551)

That can always say it was a concession to the other side so that it could get passed.

Yes, they could make the argument they sacrificed the liberty of some people to get liberty for themselves. It's not a very principled argument, but they could make it.

Re:Don't... (1)

Zeriel (670422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905011)

As a staunch supporter of gay marriage rights, I find myself in the position of happily supporting the right of consenting adults in situations where there are no power imbalance issues to marry even incestuously, preferably with some kind of genetic testing requirement so as to avoid the kind of birth defects that occasionally result. In practice this means that I'd allow sibling and first cousin incest, but not intergenerational ones due to the potential for abuse.

I'm perfectly happy with polyamory too if one can think of a reasonable legal framework for it--I've heard seriously proposed a system whereby people can be in multiple one-to-one marriages, and the sole additions to the code would be a reinforcement that each person can only be claimed once as a dependent/exception regardless of how many people they're living with, and some concept of ranking the order of one's marriages to un-muddy the waters with regard to decision-making.

Pets can't consent, they're not humans. So no worries there.

Who's the "them" you're talking about?

Oh, and Pudge? I think you'll probably find that the reality is that A) no one thought it through or B) they left the incest prohibitions in so as to keep people (like FroMan here) from being able to use support of incest as evidence for a general support of amorality in the writers of the bill.

Re:Don't... (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907343)

Oh, and Pudge? I think you'll probably find that the reality is that A) no one thought it through or B) they left the incest prohibitions in so as to keep people (like FroMan here) from being able to use support of incest as evidence for a general support of amorality in the writers of the bill.

a. just means they are not very good legislators. b. means their support of the principle of equality is not what they say it is.

Re:Don't... (1)

Zeriel (670422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27920497)

I wouldn't care to argue with you on either point.

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