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Baron Korf

As a stand alone proposition it sounds fine to me. Especially in light of roommates that could then share health coverage and other expensive measures, thought I would caution someone strongly about doing that lightly.

However, in the context of the modern battle for the family this could be dangerous. Some people are starving for family of any sort, even if that is merely a band of friends living under a roof. So while it might not weaken the definition of marriage and family, it may very well weaken our dependence on it.

e.

Tim J.,

You're better than this; this appears to be an "easy out" for those couples who would rather escape the responsibilities, accountability and sanctity of marriage relationship and, instead, engage in such "domestic partnership" in order to enjoy "lust fest" and, along with it, these same rights accorded to these by rewarding such reckless behaviour through such civil arrangement.

It almost seems to me a "license to lust", if you will, with all the accoutrements of the state that would have been granted them through marriage, except they need not bother with that all too traditional, sacred institution.

Del

It makes special sense, in the case of familial arrangements - like a single adult child and an invalid parent or aunt.

I'd like to see it limited... say, to a specific sort of Income Tax filing status.

Then, employers would be free to choose whether or not they want to extend insurance benefits to "domestic partners."

And individual states can decide if they want to advance certain property rights to such partners.

the advantage is that other states are not required to recognize such unions as marriage.

Of course... this will not satisfy the GLTB people. They want all citizens to be required to perceive their behavior as being "normal."

pcNielsen

It's the kind of idea that I've warmed to recently, mainly as I continue to think about how irrelevant it is for marriage to be something that the state needs or deserves the right to validate or oversee . . .

Adam D

"... I continue to think about how irrelevant it is for marriage to be something that the state needs or deserves the right to validate or oversee . . ."

Seriously, Paul? It's wholly in the state's best interests to encourage the traditional family structure, as strong families contribute to strong societies.

I agree with others that such domestic partner benefits can be good to a degree, but need to see some clear demarcation too. For instance, I see no reason to forbid anybody to choose whosoever they wish to grant hospital visitation rights to. The fact that a gay person's partner cannot visit him or her in the hospital because they aren't married is just plain cruel. But the idea that any particular pairing of couples deserve special tax breaks is just a breakdown in logic. The state has no interest in giving tax breaks to people willy-nilly. The state has it in its interests to promote a strong society by encouraging the traditional family structure by giving tax breaks to couples in marriages.

Now, where to draw all the lines between the rights of individuals to have their living partner recognized in a special manner because it's simply a humane way to indiscriminately treat individuals versus where certain benefits only pertain to married couples as benefits meant to encourage the traditional family, well it does get complicated and murky. I'm glad I'm not a legislator!

Foxfier

I've been trying to figure out a form of this for a few years, now.

A "household" contract, for lack of a better term-- I envision it as a way for folks who are living in the same house and taking care of each other, but aren't blood-kin or married (or even interested in that) to adopt each other.

Shoot, maybe adoption would be the best way to form it-- there's a lot of traditions of the blood bond, after all.

I wouldn't suggest any tax breaks, or legal requirements for support, just a way for the classic little-old-lady-roommates to have legal standing to take care of each other.

There would be abuses, the first of which that comes to mind being the black widow nurses-- you know, the ones that always seem to make friends with lonely old ladies a few months before they die, and get a large chunk of the will? (My grandmother is the only person I know who kicked one of these to the curb.)

Mary

The "problem" with adoption is that it is not severable. And you can bet they don't want permanent domestic partnerships.

Foxfier

Mary-
Feature, not a bug. ^.^

Nick Milne

There is at least one ominous implication to such a scheme: the myopic and ahistorical understanding of concepts among moderns being what it is, it would likely only be a matter of time until traditional marriage became widely viewed as "just another domestic partnership," rather than the higher and exclusive good that domestic partnerships were meant to mimic. Reduced to just another option rather than a positive and desirable good, meddling with it would become all the easier and defending it, in terms the general public would grasp, all the more difficult.

It's getting that way already, of course, but there's no need to help it along. Slopes are slippery enough without us pushing all the way to the bottom.

Tim J.

I agree with a lot of the points raised above. My reservation about the idea of domestic partnerships is that it makes it that much easier to avoid marriage.

On the other hand, great numbers of people enter into marriage with a warped or stunted idea of what marriage really is... and end up as serial divorcees. The "household contract" at least makes more explicit the fact that this is a matter of practical convenience and not a Sacrament.

e.

Tim J.

"On the other hand, great numbers of people enter into marriage with a warped or stunted idea of what marriage really is... and end up as serial divorcees."

Are you seriously suggesting that instead of couples commiting to each other faithfully through the Sacrament of Marriage, that they take the easy way out to certain unadulterated "lust fest", which inevitably such civil arrangements would indeed encourage since such arrangements provides them practically all the benefits of marriage absent the inherent sanctity & outright serious and sacred commitment of it?

Would you really rather your daughter opt for a civil arrangement with some boy instead of marriage?

pcNielsen

@Adam:

It goes back to my up and coming Libertarian leanings: I don't think the states should have authority in such matters. If they want to encourage healthy family relationships, great. But legislation won't change how people think!

Governments have so overstepped their bounds in America (federally, in particular — as per the constitution D.C. does NOT have the authority to butt into such matters) that I, admittedly, might tend to swing a little too far in an anarchical direction. I'm absolutely cynical about politics, and I know that isn't always a good thing.

But the politicians done brought it on themselves!!!

Tim J.

e. - You continue to put words in my mouth and ideas in my hard that aren't mine. Must you assume the worst?

That's me all over - chomping at the bit to compromise with the gay agenda and hoping everyone - especially my daughter - will consider shacking up as an alternative to marriage.

"...inevitably such civil arrangements would indeed encourage since such arrangements provides them practically all the benefits of marriage absent the inherent sanctity & outright serious and sacred commitment of it?"

Thing is, we are already hip-deep in state-sanctioned "marriages", minus the "sanctity and serious and sacred commitment". Do you propose that a third or fourth marriage (after divorce) is really - other than in name - somehow different from or superior to a "domestic contract"?

The "lust fests" have been with us since the beginning... I would prefer that such arrangements NOT be called "marriages", as they are presently. Should we feel better when we call such a thing a "marriage"?

I am only in favor of calling things by their right names.

Still, I think it may be a moot point, as the cutting edge of the gay marriage movement will likely have none of it. They will not rest until any damned arrangement can be called a "marriage".

e.

Tim J.,

I apologize if I might have misinterpreted your comments; but even your latest one seem to suggest (and correct me if I remain in the wrong) that rather than couples go for marriage (for fear that they might inevitably fall short of its demands) that they have the alternative arrangement of domestic partnership.

Again, that would only encourage the kind of vile arrangment which would only fuel the already deplorable state of couple relationships which should only strive to find its end within the sanctity of marriage, I would think.

Your argument seems almost the kind that would endorse condoms; couples will have sex anyway so might as well provide them with the alternative that will prevent the kind of dedication and commitment that would ultimately result from unwanted pregnancies which would end either in already too overwhelmed orphanages or, even worse, the abortion clinic.

Tim J.

Good grief, when we insist on calling Donald Trump's third living arrangement a "marriage", who can blame gay activists for thinking the word means whatever one wants it to mean?

I would much prefer that it be called a "domestic partnership".

However, issues like hospital visitation, health insurance and inheritance can be solved without recourse to such a legal contrivance, just by changing the law to allow individuals to designate anyone they choose to receive these benefits. I believe this is already happening.

If I buy insurance, I ought to be able to designate anyone I like as the beneficiary, regardless of their relationship to me. Same goes for making out a will or receiving hospital visits. Again, this has nothing to do with romantic feelings, or sex, or the Sacraments, or gay-ness or straight-ness.

Tim J.

Sorry, e., I composed that last comment while you were posting yours.

Practical concerns have always been part of the equation of marriage, but the practical considerations of times past were more the artifacts of nature, not the artificial constructs of a state bureaucracy.

Do we really want to entice people to marriage with tax and insurance benefits?

The appeal of marriage comes from those things native to itself... the God-ordained complementarity of man and woman, the hope of having children... children in whom the man and wife become literally One Flesh. The desire to enter with God into his creative work and carry forward the life of our ancestors.

If we're really at the point where we feel the need to offer meager financial benefits as a "carrot and stick" to entice people into marriage, then I'd say that's a sign the society went of the rails a long time ago.

e.

Tim J.,

That people do not live up to the sanctity of Marriage does not justify undermining that very sacred institution by offering folks an alternative arrangement that gives all its benefits but without the bother of living up to the virtue, indeed, the very "Sacrament" of such sanctity.

Dominic

Tim,
The possibilities are complicated. I'm not sure what, if any implications there might be. But, my initial reaction is that its a good idea.

It seems to me your proposal could help many people (such as the two old men) without pushing any agenda that would seek to destroy the sanctity of marriage.

Thomas E. Vaughan


Tim, it seems to me that a legal framework allowing domestic partnership of some kind is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as we do not establish in law a system that encourages immoral behavior.

This discussion is interesting to me because I have been thinking for a few years about the distinctions among

(a) natural marriage,
(b) sacramental marriage, and
(c) civil marriage.

I do not feel confident that I understand the relevant principles well enough to make solid conclusions, but I shall offer some thoughts. First of all, I don't even feel confident about what things are properly called; so I make a few definitions.

By "natural marriage", I mean a bond between a man and a woman, at least one of whom has not been baptized. It seems that this type of marriage is one that could in principle be dissolved, according to the Church. A natural marriage would seem to exist even without any legal framework for civil marriage.

By "sacramental marriage", I mean a supernatural bond between two baptised Christians, a man and a woman. This is indissoluble. A sacramental marriage, too, would seem to exist even without any legal framework for civil marriage.

By "civil marriage", I mean an artificial legal status established by the state. A civil marriage may be associated with a natural marriage, with a sacramental marriage, or with some other arrangement between persons, as defined by the civil law.

In my view, civil marriage ought to be associated only with a natural marriage or with a sacramental marriage.

Because, in the United States, the Christian religion may not be established as the state religion, civil divorce must be possible, for a civil marriage may apply in the context of a merely natural marriage. Nevertheless, the reason for the existence of civil marriage is to complement the natural law by strengthening natural and sacramental marriage; primarily, in order to increase the chance of a stable home for the development of children (the state's future citizens) that naturally proceed from a bond between a man and a woman. So the laws establishing civil marriage ought to provide benefits to married persons, and the laws ought to provide discouragements against divorce.

Along these lines, the state has no compelling interest in encouraging a union of domestic partners (and in discouraging its dissolution), except in the case of natural or sacramental marriage. For example, I see no reason for the state to encourage a homosexual couple to enter into civil marriage and to discourage that couple from separating. Children do not naturally flow from such a union. It would be best if the "marriage" in "civil marriage" were reserved for a bond that naturally produces children.

At least, that's what I've been thinking, though I'm not confident that it's altogether right or complete.

I don't see why we shouldn't provide a legal framework in which a person may easily designate anyone of his choice as having the power to make certain decisions for him, etc. But I do think that the state should craft laws encouraging domestic unions between persons (and discouraging their dissolution) only in the case of a natural or supernatural bond between a man and a woman.

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