Thursday, August 12, 2010

California's Prop 8 Decision and the Illusion of Liberal Neutrality


Judge Walker’s decision, he tells us, is based on the principle that the state ought not to “enforce ‘profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles’” or to “mandate [its] own moral code.” But that is, of course, precisely what Walker himself has done. His position rests on the question-begging assumption that “same-sex marriages” are no less true marriages than heterosexual ones are, and that the only remaining question is whether to allow them legally. 
What we’re seeing here is just one more application of the fraudulent principle of “liberal neutrality,” by which the conceit that liberal policy is neutral between the moral and metaphysical views competing within a pluralistic society provides a smokescreen for the imposition of a substantive liberal moral worldview, on all citizens, by force....
That “liberal neutrality” is a fraud is blindingly obvious to everyone except (some) liberals themselves. ...
Edward Feser
I think I disagree with the ProFeser on this one.  I think most liberals do believe that their view is the only possible reasonable one and therefore the only possibly correct one.

At any rate, if one believes that children have the presumptive natural right to know the love of their father and mother, same-sex marriage rights [as part of the "rights" trajectory which seeks to gloss over the fundamental differences between same-sex vs. opposite-sex unions] negate this right. I was orphaned and adopted, and I know that not knowing my father and my mother has left me with a permanent grievous sense of loss and emptiness that no amount of sociological-happy-gloss can fix.

Update: For more on this Prop 8 and why it matters, go here.

25 comments:

Hræfn said...

"At any rate, if one believes that children have the presumptive natural right to know the love of their father and mother, same-sex marriage rights negate this right."

WRONG!

Reason 1 why Rick is wrong:

The choice in question is not between a heterosexual couple and a homosexual couple raising the children in question, but between a married homosexual couple and an unmarried homosexual couple. Whether the homosexual couple can marry or not will in nearly every case not affect their parental rights, and a homosexual couple unable to marry each other are highly unlikely to seek a heterosexual marriage. Who raises the children does not change, only whether they are married. Only a delusional Religious-Right-Wingnut would claim otherwise.

Reason 2 why Rick is wrong:

If this "presumptive natural right" is so strong, then why aren't children taken away from single-parent families? Families are all to frequently less than ideal. Many are single-parent (with the stresses, and competing calls on the sole parents time, that this can cause), many are abusive. There is no objective evidence that a family led by a committed, married homosexual couple is sufficiently sub-par (or even sub-par at all) that an argument could be made for removing children from their custody. In fact, as far as I know, the only 'expert' who claims otherwise, was both dismissed by the courts as not credible, and was latter outed in a rentboy scandal.

RkBall said...

You have missed the argument. If two men or two women have the "right" to be parents, then a child, by definition, has lost his right to either a mother or a father. More particularly, his mother or his father.

Stuff happens. One or both parents die. Fathers wander away from their kids. Children suffer the consequences. That's one thing.

But, when two persons deliberately set out to create a situation where the child will intentionally be denied the love of her father or her mother, will be intentionally denied the substitutionary complementary roles of mother/father offered by adoption, and, will be forced to live with the fiction that a child can have two mothers (but no father), or two fathers (but no mother), then the natural presumptive rights of a child have been eliminated.

This is reflected in the current laws of Ontario, where children's birth certificates simply register Parent #1 and Parent #2.

Why they limit the form to two parents is an open issue. An Ontario judge has ruled that a child can legally have two mothers and a father.

Anyone requiring "objective evidence" that a child will miss his or her father (or mother) is operating under a deeply flawed approach to epistemology.

Just look within.

Hræfn said...

"You have missed the argument. If two men or two women have the "right" to be parents, then a child, by definition, has lost his right to either a mother or a father."

THAT ARGUMENT WAS NOTED AND ANSWERED:

Who raises the children does not change, only whether they are married.


"More particularly, his mother or his father."

Then by all means seek a ban on sperm banks and adoption (which also 'loses' a child their birth father and/or birth mother), in addition to single-parent families (see above). Your arguments are nothing but Special Pleading fallacies.

"But, when two persons deliberately set out to create a situation where the child will intentionally be denied the love of her father or her mother, will be intentionally denied the substitutionary complementary roles of mother/father offered by adoption, and, will be forced to live with the fiction that a child can have two mothers (but no father), or two fathers (but no mother), then the natural presumptive rights of a child have been eliminated."

Irrelevant! Your argument (even if it were a valid one) is about Gay Adoption not Gay Marriage. You can have the former without the latter and vice versa.

"Anyone requiring "objective evidence" that a child will miss his or her father (or mother) is operating under a deeply flawed approach to epistemology."

Thank you for "bearing false witness" against me by misrepresenting what I said, Rick.

I DID NOT ask for "'objective evidence' that a child will miss his or her father (or mother)". I stated that "There is no objective evidence that a family led by a committed, married homosexual couple is sufficiently sub-par (or even sub-par at all) that an argument could be made for removing children from their custody. In fact, as far as I know, the only 'expert' who claims otherwise, was both dismissed by the courts as not credible, and was latter outed in a rentboy scandal."

If you think that there is "objective evidence that a family led by a committed, married homosexual couple is sufficiently sub-par (or even sub-par at all) that an argument could be made for removing children from their custody" (NOT "'objective evidence' that a child will miss his or her father (or mother)") then please provide a citation for it.

This isn't the first time you've twisted my words Rick. Why do you keep on doing it? Do you really think that nobody will notice or care?

Anonymous said...

I guess when you type "wrong!" in all caps it makes your arument more convincing.

I'm with Mr. Ball on this one.

P@J said...

No, Rick, you missed the point.

Prop 8 had zero, nothing, zilch to do with parenting. It in no way changed the rights of anyone in regards to having children. Drunks, crack addicts, convicted felons, teenagers, serial abusers, Rush Limbaugh, all the worst elements of society, are still legally able to have kids. The entire “think about the children” argument is a red herring.

Prop 8 was struck down because it denied rights to citizens for no reason (other than preventing self-loathing closeted narrow-minded religious fanatics from feeling “icky”). I’m surprised they didn’t attack it on First Amendment grounds.

RkBall said...

You need to go back and take a look at what Feser's article was all about.

Take a look at the original sentence or two of my quote of Feser, and then take a look at what the scope of what Feser is talking about.

RkBall said...

" The entire “think about the children” argument is a red herring."

It was silly of me to think that marriage had anything to do with an institution designed for the creation, preservation, and well-being of children.

Hræfn said...

No Anon, it makes it slightly more difficult for Rick to Gish Gallop past my points.

Hræfn said...

"It was silly of me to think that marriage had anything to do with an institution designed for the creation, preservation, and well-being of children."

It was silly of you not to notice that people have and raise children, whether or not they get married.

It was silly of you not to noticed that people get married whether or not they have children.

Stopping gay marriage will have zero effect on the number of children being raised by gay couples -- it will just mean that those gay couples raising children will be unmarried. How is that an improvement?

Banning gay marriage will not miraculously turn gay couples, or gay parents, straight.

RkBall said...

People may conceive children and raise children under all kinds of undesirable conditions, but that does not mean that the state is obligated to sanction such arrangements, nor, in the case of artificial insemination, etc., fund them.

I suppose, based on your reasoning, you are in favor of recognizing polygamy and any other number of "arrangements" -- after all, "polygamy happens", and banning polygamists from marriage isn't going to stop the practice.

RkBall said...

"Irrelevant! Your argument (even if it were a valid one) is about Gay Adoption not Gay Marriage. You can have the former without the latter and vice versa."

The judge in his ruling didn't think it was irrelevant. It was founded on his belief that being raised by one's actual parents provides no substantive benefit.

RkBall said...

"Prop 8 was struck down because it denied rights to citizens for no reason (other than preventing self-loathing closeted narrow-minded religious fanatics from feeling “icky”).

Your comment is completely unsubstantiated and frankly delusional.

California voters approved the ban in November 2008 by a 52.3 percent majority.

The judge, meanwhile, ruled that it was "irrational" to believe that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman, thus accusing just about every human who has lived during the history of the earth of being irrational.

The myth of liberal neutrality.

Hræfn said...

"The judge in his ruling didn't think it was irrelevant. It was founded on his belief that being raised by one's actual parents provides no substantive benefit."

The judge addressed this issue because:

"Perhaps recognizing that Proposition 8 must advance a
secular purpose to be constitutional, proponents abandoned previous
arguments from the campaign that had asserted the moral superiority
of opposite-sex couples. Instead, in this litigation, proponents
asserted that Proposition 8:

...

3. Promotes stability in relationships between a man and a
woman because they naturally (and at times
unintentionally) produce children; and
4. Promotes “statistically optimal” child-rearing
households; that is, households in which children are
raised by a man and a woman married to each other."

However, the only evidence presented was to the contrary:

"Psychologist Michael Lamb testified that all available
evidence shows that children raised by gay or lesbian parents are
just as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by
heterosexual parents and that the gender of a parent is immaterial
to whether an adult is a good parent. When proponents challenged
Lamb with studies purporting to show that married parents provide
the ideal child-rearing environment, Lamb countered that studies on
child-rearing typically compare married opposite-sex parents to
single parents or step-families and have no bearing on families
headed by same-sex couples. Lamb testified that the relevant
comparison is between families headed by same-sex couples and
families headed by opposite-sex couples and that studies comparing
these two family types show conclusively that having parents of
different genders is irrelevant to child outcomes."

And no Rick, it was not "founded on his belief", it was founded on EVIDENCE! The plaintiffs provided it in spades, the proponents only called one witness on the Gay parenting issue (and one on government initiatives generally), David Blankenhorn:

"Plaintiffs objected to Blankenhorn’s qualification
as an expert. For the reasons explained hereafter,
Blankenhorn lacks the qualifications to offer opinion
testimony and, in any event, failed to provide cogent
testimony in support of proponents’ factual assertions."

Hræfn said...

"Judge Walker’s decision, he tells us, is based on the principle that the state ought not to “enforce ‘profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles’” or to “mandate [its] own moral code.”"

Actually, these not the judge's own principles, these are direct quotes of what the Supreme Court of the United States told him to do. As part of the federal justice system, Judge Walker is required to follow SCOTUS's precedent in this.

Both are quotes from Lawrence v. Texas, where the Supreme Court "asked whether a majority of citizens could use the power of the state to enforce 'profound and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles' through the criminal code. 539 US at 571. The question here is whether California voters can enforce those same principles through regulation of marriage licenses. They cannot. California’s obligation is to treat its citizens equally, not to 'mandate [its] own moral code.' Id (citing Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa v Casey, 505 US 833, 850, (1992))."

I'm also unamused that Feser cites as his source the National Review rather than the decision itself. Talk about Right-wing echo chamber! Right-wing Christian Rick cites right-wing "writer and philosopher" Feser who cites right-wing NRO which cites the decision (and correctly quotes it in context). In all this echoing, the context of who is actually being quoted is is lost (you will note that the bits Feser quoted aren't even the bits the NRO highlighted).

My opinion of Feser, based upon this abysmal effort, is that he is an incompetent polemic hack.

I would therefore strongly suggest any reader wanting to know what the decision really says to follow the NRO's lead and read the decision for yourself. It can be found here.

Hræfn said...

On the marriage versus child-raising issue, I'd like to ask Rick the following question:

Exactly how will forbidding gay marriage change the make-up of families raising children?

*Exactly how will it mean that more families have both a "father and mother"?

*Exactly how will it mean that more families are "loving"?

*Exactly how will it mean that more children know their birth parents?

*How will it change any of these relevant factors, rather than simply changing whether a family is led by a married versus unmarried gay couple?

This is the relevant issue on how gay marriage affects child-raising, and which the proponents of proposition 8 completely failed to address in the court case, so I think I'm going to insist on an answer.

RkBall said...

Proponents of same-sex marriage seek to elevate same-sex relationships to the same moral and social status as opposite-sex relationships. In other words, to receive state sanction and blessing. This is very clear in the judge's ruling.

The fact is that any same-sex union involving children cannot rise above "broken family" status, where the innocent child is intentionally denied either her mother or father.

The state is under no obligation to treat something as equal in law when it is unequal in fact, and in fact, ought to resist doing so.

The state is under no obligation to assert rights for a special-interest minority when assertion of these rights leads to a fundamental destruction of children's natural rights, and in fact, ought to resist doing so.

Hræfn said...

("nor that any such destruction would IN ANY WAY amelioate this alleged "destruction"." should read "nor that any such denial of marriage would IN ANY WAY amelioate this alleged "destruction".")

Hræfn said...

I would also ask Rick to state how the decision is inconsistent with the controlling precedent set in Lawrence v. Texas (but I think the chances of an answer are slim -- this is clearly a sectarian moral crusade to him, not an issue of law, and the application of the rights bestowed by the Bill of Rights).

Hræfn said...

[repost, with slight alteration, as original seems to have disappeared]

"Proponents of same-sex marriage seek to elevate same-sex relationships to the same moral and social status as opposite-sex relationships."

I see Rick is more interested in putting words into the mouths of "Proponents of same-sex marriage" than addressing the actual issues.

(i) Governments are not in a position to legislate personal morality, particularly a sectarian view of personal morality (see SCOTUS precedents above).

(ii) Further, you have provided no (non-sectarian) reasons why same-sex couples should not have "the same ... social status as opposite-sex relationships."

"In other words, to receive state sanction and blessing. This is very clear in the judge's ruling."

See (i) above.

"The fact is that any same-sex union involving children cannot rise above "broken family" status, where the innocent child is intentionally denied either her mother or father."

BALONEY!

This is NOT a "fact" as you have provided NO SUBSTANTIATION WHATSOEVER OF IT!

Further, the proposition 8 proponents provided no substantiation whatsoever of anything resembling this point.

Further, the plaintiffs provided ample expert testimony rebutting this claim.

"The fact is", that in common with much of the Right Wing, you claim any prejudice grabbed out of thin air as a "fact". Similarly it is a "fact" that the number on the back of US Social Security cards indicates the bank which has bought the holder based upon a projection of their life savings, and it is a "fact" that the 'Obamacare' legislation set up "Death Panels", and all sorts of other nonsense.

"The state is under no obligation to treat something as equal in law when it is unequal in fact, and in fact, ought to resist doing so."

Neither you nor the Proposition 8 proponents have substantiated "unequal in fact", so "the fact is" that the state of California has no legitimate basis for discriminating against same-sex couples.

"The state is under no obligation to assert rights for a special-interest minority when assertion of these rights leads to a fundamental destruction of children's natural rights, and in fact, ought to resist doing so."

BLATANT Gish Gallop past my "Exactly how will forbidding gay marriage change the make-up of families raising children?" question.

This statement is emblematic of your empty and dishonest rhetoric. You have neither substantiated that a compelling 'natural right' exists (if it did, then the government MUST outlaw all single-parent familes, sperm banks, adoption, etc), nor that gay parents cause a "destruction" of it, nor that any such denial of marriage would IN ANY WAY amelioate this alleged "destruction". You, like the Proposition 8 proponents therefore have nothing but empty rhetoric.

Hræfn said...

RE: "Update" -- more from deep within the Religious Right echo chamber. And R. Albert Mohler's legal qualifications are what exactly? How is this evidence of anything of anything other than a vapid 'it's religious persecution for you not to allow us to persecute gays'. I would also note that the tide has turned on this issue.

RkBall said...

"Proponents of same-sex marriage seek to elevate same-sex relationships to the same moral and social status as opposite-sex relationships."

I see Rick is more interested in putting words into the mouths of "Proponents of same-sex marriage" than addressing the actual issues.

Response: The judge said as much in his ruling.

RkBall said...

(i) Governments are not in a position to legislate personal morality, particularly a sectarian view of personal morality (see SCOTUS precedents above).

Response1: The dividing line between personal and public morality is arbitrary. Morality -- right and wrong -- is just that. Perhaps you mean personal views. But, under your subjective view of morality all moral views are by definition personal. The judge's moral views which he brought to bear were personal. Perhaps you mean social consensus vs. personal. The social consensus of Californians was and is that marriage is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all other sexual or non-sexual arrangements.

Response2: Anything involving marriage, adoption, and the raising of children is not "personal" -- it is public.

Response3: Of course governments can legislate personal morality. They have done, and can do.

Response4: The ruling itself legislates what you consider "personal morality" by providing the stamp of state approval and dismissing the rights of anyone who would dissent.

Response5: All views of morality are sectarian on one way or another -- this is a red herring.

Response6: Governments, which are according to your lights merely invented human institutions and nothing more, can do whatever they wish.

RkBall said...

"(ii) Further, you have provided no (non-sectarian) reasons why same-sex couples should not have "the same ... social status as opposite-sex relationships."

Non-sectarian is a red-herring. There are religious arguments for same-sex marriage, and the definition of sectarian as religious (if this is what you mean) is arbitrary.

RkBall said...

"The fact is that any same-sex union involving children cannot rise above "broken family" status, where the innocent child is intentionally denied either her mother or father."

BALONEY!

This is NOT a "fact" as you have provided NO SUBSTANTIATION WHATSOEVER OF IT!

Response1: Persons with same-sex attractions can of course produce children (and thus are "us" and not "them") but homosexual unions cannot.

Every same-sex union that involves two men or two women becoming the "parents" of a child entails a child being denied a father or a mother, and, more particularly, his or her mother or father. When a childless homosexual couple sets out to produce a child, this entails intentionality.

A same-sex union can never therefore rise to the status of an opposite-sex union that produces children in the context of a permanent stable union between the husband and wife, and father and mother. It is, at best, broken.

RkBall said...

"This statement is emblematic of your empty and dishonest rhetoric.

Response: And with this accusation, you have just made your last posted comment on this topic.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"