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Know What Might Help?

I agree with Clayton Cramer that the spread of HIV within the gay and bisexual communities is a serious problem, and is related to frequent changing of sexual partners.  Know what might help change gay culture to a safer, more monogamous one? Gay marriage. Just sayin’.

UPDATE: I should probably clarify I’m not all that serious about this line of argument.  It was more meant to be a lighthearted jab at Clayton.  I do support legislatively enacted same-sex marriages, but I don’t think there’s any right to one.  The state has the power to define marriage within the limits of the 14th Amendment, which has always allowed the law to treat sexes differently in some instances.

29 Responses to “Know What Might Help?”

  1. Jim W says:

    Nothing’s stopping gay men from having monogamous relationships now. I’ve met quite a few such people. The guys who are having anonymous sex in airport bathroom stalls are choosing promiscuity. I don’t think they’d stop if you made it economically or legally advantageous to get married.

    Why is this? Because adultery isn’t a crime. Nor are sham marriages or marriages in which the partners are separated. Promiscuous gay men can get the benefits of marriage without abandoning their dangerous lifestyle.

    At best, you can say a few of them will be adopting a legal risk to their assets that is associated with divorce, but unless these promiscuous gay men also happen to have lots of money to become marital property, I don’t see how this will be a problem.

  2. Jim W says:

    Also, this is a self remedying problem. They are engaging in behavior that causes them to die. It only harms others to the extent that we are forced to pay for their health care.

    There used to be problems with blood donation or with women becoming infected by closeted gay men, but I think that has diminished somewhat due to the lack of sitgma associated with being gay.

    Anyway, the solution is simple- let them die and don’t pay for their health care. Problem solved. They bear all the costs of their behavior.

  3. Do you really think marriage makes anyone more monogamous, regardless of sexual orientation? With divorce rates over 50%, even in the church going subculture, I have to say that is the one thing I’ve ever read here that sounds a little ridiculous.

    Marriage isn’t the problem. Human nature might be, though.

  4. Jessup says:

    Did you ever ask yourself why “marriage” needs to be defined by The State, at all? It seems to me it should be a legal contract between individuals, and the sole role of government should be to mediate contract disputes in the civil courts.

    Contracts could be as conventional or unconventional as people choose. Churches could require people who wish to be considered “married” by that church, to utilize that church’s contract. Otherwise, standard marriage contracts could be sold at stationers, just as standardized rental leases are. If churches wished to say you “weren’t really married” if you weren’t adhering to their contract stipulations, God bless them, they could say that. Some churches say that already. Our present participation in the definition of marriage by The State smacks a bit of the establishment of religion proscribed by the First Amendment.

  5. Sebastian says:

    It’s possible it wouldn’t fix anything. But it’s possible having a culture of monogamy within the gay community might help steer dangerous sexual behavior away from the norm.

  6. Bill Waites says:

    Hmm…Just like heterosexual marriage has stopped adultery?

    Yeah, not so much. In fact, in todays society, it’s an epic fail to believe that any marriage contract will stop adultery or the so called and sanitized “extramarital affair”.

    What will stop the spread of STD’s is two things:

    1) The death of all those so infected, or
    2) The acknowledgement that multiple partners is a risky business at best, and a return to basically monogamous relationships.

    I think it’s bigoted to crucify the folks who want to have bigamous or polygamous relationships inside marriage and then say that the contract of marriage should be between individuals and not state governed. (I happen to agree with that belief, but recognize that if you are going to allow two parties to enter into a contract, why not 3 or 4 or 5?)

    If you change the definition of marriage, to allow any two consenting individuals to marry, then you have to acknowledge that allowing any number of partners to enter into that legal contract is also both reasonable and right.

    Is that what we want as a nation, because you can’t have one, without the other rapidly becoming an issue.

  7. Sebastian says:

    Ideally, I tend to agree the state shouldn’t be in the business of sanctioning marriage, but I think it’s such a part of the legal system and common law that it would be nearly impossible to extricate it. It would create a legal mess that would be difficult for judges to clean up in a reasonable way. Even with no marriage, the courts are still going to have to deal with dissolving long standing relationships. I seem to recall, though I can’t seem to find, a case in which a gay couple tried to use contract law to reproduce what is in effect marriage, but were unable to do it. It’s a nice idea, but I put it in the same category as cash and carry for a submachine gun at the local hardware shop. Wish it would happen, but probably ain’t gonna.

  8. Sebastian says:

    The bigamy/polygamy argument doesn’t really work because I don’t favor judicially mandated gay marriage. I think the state, within the framework of our discrimination laws (we allow discrimination between sexes in many instances), is allowed to define marriage. I don’t think there’s any right for the state to recognize your marriage. There won’t be bigamy or polygamy because most states outlaw it. I don’t see society ever accepting it enough for that to change. Judges sure aren’t going to want to deal with breaking up multi-party marriages.

  9. Xrlq says:

    Straight marriage as we know it arose because straights as a culture tended to be more-or-less monogamous. It didn’t happen because we were all banging everything of the opposite sex that moved until the state decreed monogamy. What makes you think it would work that way for gays, either?

  10. Sebastian says:

    I updated to post to make it a bit more clear I’m not really advocating this as a solution. It was meant to be more of a lighthearted jab at Clayton. I just think it’s a bit unfair to chastise gays for being polyamorous, and then oppose expanding a monogamous institution so they can take part in it.

  11. Bill Waites says:

    My point, and admittedly it wasn’t very clear, was that if you start allowing modifications to the marriage contract, you are going to have extreme difficulty closing the door on additional changes to that contract.

    with the rapid spread of Islam, which allows multiple marriage, it will be very difficult to say that polygamy should be outlawed, while other changes are OK.

    “There won’t be bigamy or polygamy because most states outlaw it. I don’t see society ever accepting it enough for that to change. Judges sure aren’t going to want to deal with breaking up multi-party marriages.”

    Wow, I could see myself making that same statement, and I heard lots of others making it, just 25 years ago about gay marriage, and here we are discussing it as a done deal!

    What is it they say about Pandora’s box? :)

  12. Sebastian says:

    Breaking up two people is already a well defined problem.

  13. Bill Waites says:

    True, but dividing partnerships in business is already done also, even with multiple partners, so doing so does have a precedent.

    It can be done, but I don’t think anyone in their right mind wants to go down that road anyway, it was mostly to get people thinking about what happens when you change something so radically.

    It will be a huge paradigm shift, regardless.

  14. Sebastian says:

    There’s a bit of a slippery slope argument to be made. The slippery slope is real, after all. But the mechanism of it doesn’t quite work in the case of gay marriage, mostly because I don’t think gay marriage really works to sensitize people to other types of unconventional marriages. You could see a case being made if you register handguns, and license owners, it’ll be politically easier to take the next step. But I don’t see polygamists being numerous enough to ever be able to create a movement. Unless we get a lot of people from religions where it’s OK. But even so, if the majority of the people support it, who I am to say it should be illegal?

  15. Bill Waites says:

    Why does it matter if the majority of people support it? Most states won’t/don’t statistically support gay marriage, and yet we are going to see it in the next few years.

    Look at the statistics regarding the spread of Islam in the US and Europe, and think about those implications regarding polygamous marriage.

    Here’s a video I ran across the other day:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU&feature=related

    The sustaining numbers are right, I do not know if the Islamic numbers are, however.

  16. Sebastian says:

    It matters if you get it through legislative means. I don’t support gay marriage happening through judicial fiat.

  17. RAH says:

    Gays choose to be promiscous or monogamous. Marriage has nothing to do with it. Among gays they like to flirt with death and want to have unprotected sex. There is a strong death culture among gays.

    I have heard many outspoken gays hate women especially those with children and call them breeders. in a contempous way.

    If they want to chose death by AIDS then I have a strong enough libertarian streak to allow them to go there own way. Just don’t ask me to pay to save them.

    I do not desire marriage to forced to redine it self to include same sex marriage. Gays just want to mandate approval of their lifestyle which is the reason for pushing marriage. In those states where the push has been strongest already had civil contract for gays.

  18. Bill Waites says:

    Sebastian,

    I understand your point. I agree, so far as that goes.

  19. Sebastian says:

    If it’s going to happen, it has to happen because the people accept it. There’s no right to have your marriage recognized by the state. There can be discrimination between the sexes for certain reasons. I think marriage can be defined as between a man and a woman. I did not support all the anti prop-8 nonsense in California. The people have spoken and don’t support gay marriage. I’m OK with that. I just count myself as one who would be fine with the legislature recognizing same-sex marriages, or at least some form of civil union that would have the same benefit. The activists who insist it be called marriage I think are short sighted.

  20. Ian Argent says:

    There are a couple of things that cannot be replicated thrrough contract law (as alluded to above). Spousal privilege in testimony is a biggie.

  21. One of the first gay marriages in Massachusetts was described by one of the grooms as an “open marriage.” I can remember in the late 1980s reading some of the gay Internet newsgroups, and being struck by a few postings by gay men who described going home to the wife (another man, even though not legally married) after a night of having sex with other guys at gay bars.

    Lesbians tend to be pretty monogamous, although not all of these relationships are long-term. (Two common jokes in the gay community that while exaggerating, make important points that even many gays recognize: “What does a lesbian bring to a second date?” “A moving van.” Another joke told in the gay community: “What does a gay man bring to a second date?” “What’s a second date?”) There are gay men who are stable and monogamous, without question. But there are an awful lot for whom “husband” is a method of getting health coverage, and to have someone to go home to after striking out all night.

    Any relationship that needs state recognition to make it stable and monogamous is pretty darn weak.

  22. MicroBalrog says:

    Are you implying that any kind of “open relationship” is the equivalent of “randomly sleeping around with total strangers at gay bars”?

  23. Bill Waites says:

    MIcro,

    Open relationship implies that sexual relations outside of marriage will be less than highly selective. While SOME may be, the general understanding is that it means there will be “affairs” under less than ideal circumstances.

  24. Jake says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of hate against gays being expressed here. I’ll probably regret even getting into this one, but here goes.

    JimW said: “Because adultery isn’t a crime.”

    Actually, in many states (including here in Virginia), it is. So is “fornication” (since adultery only covers sex outside marriage if you’re married, fornication covers sex if you’re not married at all).

    RAH said: “Among gays they like to flirt with death and want to have unprotected sex. There is a strong death culture among gays.”

    Um… WTF? A death culture? How the heck do you get that nonsense?

    “I have heard many outspoken gays hate women especially those with children and call them breeders. in a contempous way.”

    You should probably consider the possibility that that’s a reaction to all the hate, violence, and discrimination that those gays have been subjected to throughout their lives. When you’re constantly attacked, it’s a natural (though not necessarily correct) reaction to hate everyone like those who have attacked you. Women can become hated because many gay men find the idea of sex with women as disgusting as straight men find the idea of gay sex – and they’ve been pushed at women all their lives. The resentment focuses on women in general (again, a natural, though not necessarily correct, reaction).

    “Gays just want to mandate approval of their lifestyle which is the reason for pushing marriage. In those states where the push has been strongest already had civil contract for gays.”

    No, gays just want the same recognition and benefits from the state that others in similar situations (i.e. religious marriages) get, which they are legally prohibited from getting in many states. Those civil contracts? In most states they did not give all the same benefits, even on a state level.

    Clayton E. Cramer said: “Any relationship that needs state recognition to make it stable and monogamous is pretty darn weak.”

    Amen.

    [And now my own $0.02]

    I’ve long been convinced that the culture of promiscuity among gays – especially gay men – is in large part a result of the fact that for several generations being discovered as gay was a death sentence. If the state didn’t execute you for it, someone else likely would – and the state would look the other way. If you didn’t get killed, you would end up in jail (gay sex is still on the books as a felony in Virginia, even though they can’t enforce it), or unemployable, etc. A monogamous relationship creates many telltale signs, and was a good way of getting caught. Casual encounters were easier to hide, and became accepted because – before AIDS showed up – they were actually safer.

    Remember, it’s only been 6 years since Lawrence v. Texas established that the state can’t outlaw private sexual activity between consenting adults. That’s not nearly long enough to counter a cultural trend established over several generations. In addition, as much as acceptance of homosexuality has increased, there are still many dangers for gays who come out, including job loss, eviction, and loss of family and friends, and there are still parts of the country where the police will ignore a gay bashing (and not always the places you would think, either).

    Monogamous relationships among gays will probably increase as danger and fear decreases.

  25. Bill Waites says:

    Jake,

    There is an awful lot of speculation in your thoughts, not the least of which is that the promiscuity among gays is BECAUSE of discrimanatory activity.

    In fact, the MORE sexual activity you have, and the greater the number of partners, the HIGHER the risk of exposure.

    As an example, think of high schools, which, by and large, are a closed society, much like the gay community of the ’80’s.

    How long does it take the male population of a high school to figure out which girls are “putting out” and how fast does that spread? A girl could be having sex every day, but if it was with only one partner, no one might ever know. But if it is with 2 or 3 or 4, the chance that it will become known multiplies exponentially.

    To believe that the promiscuity is a reaction to the possibilty of exposure is a very weak argument.

    Add to that the risk of illness or death associated with multiple partners and I think that argument in VERY unlikely!

    I tend to believe the real answer is that men will willingly have sex with anyone who wants to have sex with them, and that when there is no moral, cultural, or societal boundary they will do so. Monagamous relationships go out the window when you step across the boundaries to have a homosexual relationship. The thought process seems to be, “I’ve broken that barrier, why should any of the others matter?” Of course, that is speculation on my part as well!

  26. Jake says:

    “In fact, the MORE sexual activity you have, and the greater the number of partners, the HIGHER the risk of exposure.

    As an example, think of high schools, which, by and large, are a closed society, much like the gay community of the ’80’s.

    How long does it take the male population of a high school to figure out which girls are “putting out” and how fast does that spread?”

    Except that information doesn’t make it out of that “closed society” – the high schoolers (for the most part) don’t tell the adults which girls are “putting out”, and the gay community doesn’t out gays to the rest of the world (with rare exceptions).

    It also plays on popular assumptions. When a man is with a woman there is an automatic presumption of the possibility of a romantic or sexual relationship. When a man is out with another man, that presumption does not normally exist – but if he’s seen repeatedly with the same man, and they “do everything together”, people become suspicious. If he’s out with different people all the time, well, he just has a lot of friends.

    Also note that the difference in risk (of being found out) doesn’t have to be true, as long as it’s believed to be true to a significant number of gays.

    “I tend to believe the real answer is that men will willingly have sex with anyone who wants to have sex with them”

    I actually (somewhat) agree with you here. This is (though not in such an absolute form) also what I believe to be the other main reason. In general, men are more likely to say yes when someone proposes sex then women. When you have men on both sides of the equation, you’re going to have a lot more promiscuity. If women were as likely to say yes as men, you’d have the same results with heterosexual activity.

  27. Bill Waites says:

    “Except that information doesn’t make it out of that “closed society” – the high schoolers (for the most part) don’t tell the adults which girls are “putting out”, and the gay community doesn’t out gays to the rest of the world (with rare exceptions).”

    I’m not so sure as you about that, but it is essentially unprovable, while the opposite, that more exposure creates higher risk is well accepted and well known.

    “When you have men on both sides of the equation, you’re going to have a lot more promiscuity. If women were as likely to say yes as men, you’d have the same results with heterosexual activity.”

    Except that men have no biological imperative, as women do, to choose a partner who will protect and provide for them. Men have no risk of pregnancy, thus they have a much higher liklihood to be promiscuous. It has nothing to do with saying yes, it has to do with natural selection and child bearing risk. Women are inherently less likely to accept the risks of multiple partners because of that single, biological issue.

    BTW, how do you italicize quotes like that?

  28. Jake says:

    “I’m not so sure as you about that, but it is essentially unprovable, while the opposite, that more exposure creates higher risk is well accepted and well known.”

    Are we talking about the same “risk” here? I’m talking about the risk of discovery – and really, more the perceived risk of discovery. You sound like you may be talking about the risk of disease, something that wasn’t really considered a “major” risk compared to the dangers of being “caught” until AIDS popped up – which is really fairly recently when you’re talking about the development and changes in a diverse, non-centralized “culture” like the gay culture.

    “Except that men have no biological imperative, as women do, to choose a partner who will protect and provide for them. Men have no risk of pregnancy, thus they have a much higher liklihood to be promiscuous.”

    That’s why it’s an “if”. And men do have a biological imperative towards promiscuity – to impregnate as many females as possible to preserve their genes – which carries over in homosexuals. It has little to nothing to do with the risk of pregnancy.

    “It has nothing to do with saying yes, it has to do with natural selection and child bearing risk.”

    It’s the biological factor behind the difference in likelihood they’ll say yes.

    “BTW, how do you italicize quotes like that?”

    Put [i] in front of what you want to italicize, and [/i] at the end, substituting left and right carets for the brackets.

  29. Bill Waites says:

    Thanks!

    Yes, we are discussing the risks of discovery. As my old man would say, “A secret is something one person knows, a rumor is something two people know, and common knowledge is something 3 people know

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