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There are several causes I get behind... - A Suburbs Boy Living a Country Life [Pete and Pam's pages (photos and some commentary)] [Pam's journal] [Our company] [My Flickr Photos] [Arisia]
January 21st, 2006
07:59 pm

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There are several causes I get behind...
In honor of christilyn's battles and victories--and all those surviving breast cancer, and those we have lost--I support Race for the Cure

For flyingwolf and others with MS, I support research for prevention, treatment, and an eventual cure for MS.

For owenthomas and gregorsf, and every "family-in-fact" that would like equal treatment under the law regardless of the gender (or, as I advocate, the number) of the adults involved, let's all get behind http://www.freedomtomarry.org/node.asp?id=3605 .

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From:wombat1138
Date:January 22nd, 2006 10:23 am (UTC)
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I think that group marriage will have a great deal of difficulty overcoming the stigma of rogue-Mormon polygamy. Even some of my friends whom I'd've expected to know better tend to say that polygamy will inherently perpetuate the coercion of underaged girls into unions with their uncles and such... well, no; forcible and statutory rape are both illegal already, and so is incest; aren't we already trying to quash the similar false equation between gays and pedophiles?

But then, I've been routinely getting myself into trouble over the years by trying to figure out exactly why pedophilia is wrong. Just to be clear, I have absolutely no doubt that it IS immoral and have no desire to quibble about that, but, y'know, exactly what is the underlying whyness and how does it work?

(...don't mind me, maybe this is a side effect of having stuck a fork into a wall socket in childhood to find out what would happen. *ZZZT*. I made sure I was properly insulated and everything, though, so mostly there was just a big bright spark and a black halo of smoke residue on the wall.)
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From:happypete
Date:January 23rd, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)

What can I say...

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I can't argue rationally with people who's refutation requires the negation of my proposition, which is, in essence: "Permit all consenting groups of two or more people who wish to marry or live together as a family to do so"

An underage on incompetent person cannot consent to a binding permanent legal relationship such as marriage, or, in general, any other binding contract. As to incest, one cannot enter into a contract to break the law--that's not a contract, that's a conspiracy.
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From:eeedge
Date:January 23rd, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)

Re: What can I say...

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Of course, in Fairfax County they're working to narrow the definition of a family. It's a bald faced attempt to discriminate against migrants, but under the new regulations (and I'm not sure if they've passed), each house may have only one family living in it. And grandparents are not considered family.

So, the lesbian couple I know here, one of whom has a daughter and the other of whom has a mother living with them, would not be allowed to live in a house together if the rules were enforced for a small white family.

My big difficulty with polygamy/polyamory is that I haven't seen a polygamous or polyamorous group stay together for more than a year or two. This is not to say it can't happen, I just haven't seen it. Of course, I've heard people say much the same thing about gay couples. Those are the people who have trouble believing that my great-aunt has been in a monogamous lesbian relationship for at least 40 years...

As to underage sex, I think that it's really hard to set reasonable hard-and-fast rules, so we have to go with something arbitrary. I think that I was a particularly immature 20, but others can be completely competent at 14. I also have problems with an 18 year old going to jail for having sex with his 17 year old girlfriend of 2 years, but it's enforced when it's convenient to enforce (usu. when the girl's parents don't like it.).

I don't know much of anyone who doesn't think that having sex with a seven year old is sick. The physical development *and* the psychological development don't allow it to be safe or consensual.
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From:happypete
Date:January 23rd, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)

Re: What can I say...

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I'd read about the "defining family" regulations...I'm sure they won't pass constitutional muster, once tested. Then again, I'm an optimist.

I've known polyfamilies that have stayed together for a long time--longer than many, many marriages. One quad I know stayed together, as a quad, for seven years. Some of the partners have moved on, recently--one moving on as the third member of a new group marriage, for example. I know another that was together for many years as an "N-quad" (as I describe it--meaning not everyone in the quad had a romantic relationship with everyone else, though there were all "co-habitating"). That too recently changed with the divorce of one of the original two marriages--but the family and their children are still all together, absent the fourth partner.

Understand that a large proportion of poly-families are "undercover," in the same way that two gay partners used to be have to cover their relationship as "just roommates" to the world at large. You don't see them because there's a risk that they will suffer censure or serious repercussions, perhaps including the loss of custody of their children.
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From:chaos_wrangler
Date:January 25th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC)

Re: What can I say...

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Of course, in Fairfax County they're working to narrow the definition of a family. It's a bald faced attempt to discriminate against migrants, but under the new regulations (and I'm not sure if they've passed), each house may have only one family living in it. And grandparents are not considered family.

Have they noticed what this means for college-age or twenty-somethings who want to room together but aren't related? At one point I shared an apartment with two other women, two of us working and one finishing college, but none of us from the same "family" as the others.
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From:happypete
Date:January 25th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)

Re: What can I say...

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Yes, but you're clearly you're one of those immoral lesbians, so your opinion doesn't count in our fair commonwealth. "Shared an apartment" indeed.
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From:chaos_wrangler
Date:January 25th, 2006 03:16 am (UTC)

Re: What can I say...

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*giggle-snerk* I'm reminded of the time you walked into the middle of a conversation I was having w/flyingwolf at a con (Arisia I think) and based on what you heard you assumed I was only interested in women.
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From:eeedge
Date:January 25th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)

Re: What can I say...

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I read that "immortal lesbians," and had the strangest moment.

Everyone knows that if two women (especially hot young women) share an apartment, that they are having sex, even if they like men, too.
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From:eeedge
Date:January 25th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)

Re: What can I say...

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I suspect that it is all in the enforcement, isn't it? So, *technically* it would be illegal, but unless the neighbors complain... You could use the rules to get rid of those damned homysexyules, too.
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From:wombat1138
Date:January 25th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)

What about "playing doctor"?

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I don't know much of anyone who doesn't think that having sex with a seven year old is sick. The physical development *and* the psychological development don't allow it to be safe or consensual.

Definitely agreed in cases where a male adult achieves full genital penetration of a prepubescent child. However, there are various nebulous blobs shading away from that-- Mary Kay Letourneau doesn't seem to've coerced or intimidated her underaged partner into impregnating her (twice!), and yet the psychological impact on him was presumably much the same compared to the children in the other three possible permutations of gender within the same sort of power imbalance.

(And then there's the ongoing deep squick of "twincest" fics between Fred and George Weasley, Elladan and Elrohir, and so on. They're twins approaching one another as peers, so there isn't a power imbalance. Neither of them is going to get pregnant. I suspect that to better understand them, however, I would have to read them. Urgh.}

If the fundamental problem with pedophilia (or rather, statutory rape) is the inherent age-based power imbalance distorting the child's notion of proper relationships, then maybe instead of a strict Boolean cutoff before/after the age of consent, it might make more sense to have a sliding scale based on the participants' relative ages. But then there's also the endless argybargy about how much children should know about naked body parts in general-- every so often, advice columns run concerned letters about someone walking around naked in front of their children, usually answered by the statement that this constitutes a form of sexual abuse in itself.

And then there's the idiot in Washington state (iirc) who died after having sex with a horse. According to tastefully vague news accounts, this was not the first time he had done so; presumably there had been a safety harness of some sort which was neglected or broken on this last occasion. The horse was pitching and he was catching. There are videotapes. (I have not clicked on the online copies to view them. My brain has some sense of self-preservation.) This was, I think, a cast-iron case of being incredibly icky and too stupid to live. (For him, anyway. I don't know what happened to the horse.) But how does one go about analyzing what makes it morally wrong?
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From:eeedge
Date:January 25th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC)

Re: What about "playing doctor"?

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Re: underaged "abuse": I think that there is some distinction between how you, um, handle situations with boys and with girls. I think it is harder (tho definitely not impossible) to rape a post-pubescent boy. There is a certain cultural "Way to go, boy" attitude about a boy that has sex with an older woman. Also, there is absolutely no chance that the boy is going to get pregnant, which is emotionally traumatic and physically dangerous for a young girl.

Everything sexual is so very subjective that I can't even begin to formulate ideas on how to create a fair legal system. I've known boys who *knew* they were homosexual from a young age and others who had a sudden undertanding/realizatin in college. So is a homosexual encounter between a twenty-something man and a boy who sure of his own preference wrong? Why is sex between an 18 year old and a 17 year old illegal, but not between two 18 year olds? *Is* sex between a boy and an adult woman less bad than between a man and a young girl?

I have my notions, but they probably don't agree 100% with anyone else's. So we legislate morality and that bugs me. But I also want my little girls covered by the law as well as my own care, even though the legal system is always going to be post-crisis coverage instead of protection.

Re: Nudity: C'mon lawmakers. You *have* to give us some latitude within our own homes on what we let the children *see.* In our house, my husband keeps covered up and we don't worry too much about the girls seeing me naked. I've let the children see a drawing of a naked man in a text book, and we also talked about it. I don't think either child is traumatized. Other families are more conservative, others less. Personally, I don't think that nudity in a non-sexual context is going to hurt the mind of a child, but others disagree.

Re: Beastiality: Not going there. Ever since reading about women who smear honey to get their cats to lick them, the whole subject makes me twitch.
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From:wombat1138
Date:January 24th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC)

But by your definitions...

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...given "one cannot enter into a contract to break the law--that's not a contract, that's a conspiracy", what objective differences would you use to explain why poly is okay and incest isn't, *if* one assumes the same underlying preconditions of fully-informed adult consent from all parties?

*brandishing VC Andrews books in a cheerfully fork-in-the-socket spirit of intellectual curiosity*

I could be wrong, but I get the impression from "I can't argue rationally with people who's refutation requires the negation of my proposition" as if you thought you had a choice about arguing with them at all. Also, rational arguments have the advantage of being backed by facts-- not that those can't be ignored by those who are more in love with "truthiness", but then you get to tease out the illogic of their underlying assumptions to entertain and possibly win over some of the large audience of bystanders who have no strong feelings either way.

Bleh. I'm going all meta from the original topic again. Don't mind me, I'll just be trying to decide between a cocktail fork and a cold-meat fork over in the kitchen....

(Esprit d'escalier factoid: one of the biggest non-pedophilia-based objections I've seen to the way polygamy is practiced by the rogue Mormons is welfare fraud on a grand scale; since only the first wife is legally married for tax purposes, all of the others (and their kids) file for welfare benefits even if their husband owns the town and everything in it. Paradoxically, those welfare benefits provide the only degree of financial independence that the secondary wives are likely to ever have....)
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From:happypete
Date:January 24th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)

Re: But by your definitions...

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Bottom to top--allowing legal marriage would remove that "loophole" in the welfare laws.

Honestly, incest AMONG ADULTS doesn't bother me one whit, provided that it truly is consensual. So, you have a point...I shouldn't bring law into this.

This is purely a moral debate--we should attempt to craft our laws so that they are in accord with our mores.
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From:eeedge
Date:January 25th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)

Re: But by your definitions...

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incest AMONG ADULTS doesn't bother me one whit, provided that it truly is consensual.

Here I tend to cry "What about the Children?" with the rest. Then again, we don't prevent people with genetic disorders from having children, so why should we single out incest if that's what they want to do? Still makes me squirm.

we should attempt to craft our laws so that they are in accord with our mores.

There is no such thing as "our mores."

You get three people in a room and you'll have three sets of values, even among people who basically agree on things. The fact is, you can only legislate based on compromise among the values of the majority in power. So, when we have a socially conservative government of old white men in power, we don't get laws that necessarily agree with what you and I (or even the majority) might want.

Personally, I think that the people that want to ban abortion in favor of adoption are mostly envisioning healthy, white children. I'm probably doing some of them a disservice, but I do know that many of the people I have talked to on the issue don't think about who raises the deformed, retarded and/or addicted babies whose mothers never wanted them.

What I would like to see is laws being made to protect rights, not legislate values. I don't care what my neighbor does consensually in the privacy of his home. However, if she beats up her husband, or if he tries to force sex on his little girl, I'd like to see them have recourse.
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