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How to Support Straight Marriage

There is currently a lot of discussion about how to protect “marriage“, such discussion is based on the issue of whether Gay Marriage should be prohibited to protect Straight Marriage. Some straight people believe that their own marriage would be better if homosexuals were allowed to get married, some have even declared that they won’t get married until discrimination in this regard is ended. I don’t believe that whether some other people get married will make any difference to my marriage.

I believe that any two consenting adults who are not closely related should be allowed to get married, but I am not going to write about that today. What I will address is some positive steps that can be taken by a government to protect Straight Marriage without regard to Gay Marriage.

By the most objective criteria, death is the greatest obstacle to marriage. To protect someone’s marriage you should first protect them from becoming a widow or widower for as long as possible. Also protecting the lives of children (both biological and adopted) is important for protecting marriage. Here are some of the many ways of preventing needless death:

  1. Don’t start wars except in the most extreme situations. Wars inevitably involve the death of soldiers (some of whom are married) and any war that is anything other than the smallest border incident will involve the death of civilians (married people and children).
  2. Protect the food supply and the environment. When toxic chemicals, heavy metals, or radioactive material are released in the environment it results in a statistical increase in the death rate from cancer.
  3. Increase the funding for medical research. Today there are many medical situations which can be routinely and safely resolved which would have been likely to be fatal 10 or 20 years ago. More medical research will lead to more diseases being cured.
  4. Spread positive technology around the world. Protecting marriage should have a larger scope than your local region, therefore life-saving medicine needs to be affordable in all countries. Patents that prevent this need to be voided in the poorer regions of the world.
  5. Increase the research on car safety. Car crashes are one of the largest causes of death and significant injury in the first world which can be easily reduced. Unfortunately there has been little research on making cars safe for women and children (crash-test dummies for woman and children are to a large extent scaled-down models based on research on men due to the lack of female and child cadavers for research [1]). Also I believe that the majority of car safety research in regard to crash test dummies was done in the US and therefore is biased towards caucasians and afro-americans – I believe that research on other races is needed to give equal protection to all races (caucasian and afro-american races are in a minority in the world).

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it does cover some issues that are current and well known.

Now the next objective way to analyse this issue is to look at statistics related to divorce. It seems that money is an issue related to divorce and therefore protecting the finances of married people is a way of protecting marriage.

The first thing that can be done is to give people more continuity of employment. Being in a situation where you could lose your job at short notice is stressful and has to have a negative impact on a married couple. Recently the supposedly “conservative” Liberal government in Australia was trying to ban Gay Marriage while also introducing legislation to make it easier to lay off employees who have done nothing wrong (based on business issues). Among other things the Work Choices legislation made it more difficult for such employees to take out bank loans (which means that they often pay higher interest rates).

A final issue that causes stress for married couples is the school system (which is broken in many ways). I’m not going to try and cover this in detail here, but I will note that installing flag-poles (as the Liberal government wanted to do) is not the solution to problems with the education system.

Addressing these real issues will take some government funding, but it’s not a lot and a much greater amount of money could be saved by ending the “war on drugs”.

If the people who claim to be protecting straight marriage can address these other more serious problems that threaten straight marriages then I still won’t agree with calls to ban gay marriage. But it would make then seem less hypocritical.

12 comments to How to Support Straight Marriage

  • Tim

    To every action, there’s a reaction.
    “The first thing that can be done is to give people more continuity of employment. ”
    Sure, but that also slows down the creation of new jobs. Job protection creates barriers between those in jobs and those who are unemployed. Also, job losses are absolutely desirable. That how the economy allocates the most precious resource we have, people, to the best place. Where would be if the typing pool was still taking a floor in every office building due to job protection? Or if every town still had five blacksmiths ready to shoe your horse? Some people call it creative destruction. Right now, we see a reallocation of smart people away from financial services and into other things.

  • M. Grégoire

    Why only two consenting adults? Can’t a person love more than one other person at a time?

  • Do countries with more continuity of employment have lower divorce rates?

    One factor that low-divorce-rate countries seem to have in common is more three-generation households. Zoning that encouraged mother-in-law apartments in single-family housing areas, and structures such as cohousing, might make life less stressful for parents.

  • I wish more people were aware of (and outraged by) how many deaths and serious injuries are caused by automobile accidents. On top of that, so much time, productivity, and energy is wasted by people sitting in traffic. Accidents cause traffic, and traffic causes more accidents.

  • Anonymous

    Personally, I don’t understand why anyone should need government approval for marriage in the first place, straight or otherwise. For the purposes of government, just replace marriage with a set of contracts for the various legal rights it confers between people. Anything else represents the business of the people involved, and nobody else’s.

  • etbe

    Tim: The US has always made it easy for employers who wanted to discard employees while the EU has made that a lot more difficult. The EU economy is doing a lot better than the US economy in recent times.

    Also discarding people is bad for the economy. People who have been laid off are not going to spend much money and people who fear that they might be laid off will just save money. Continuity of employment means continuity of spending. The main reason for bailing out the US car companies is to prevent millions of people becoming unemployed and destroying the US economy when they stop spending.

    M. Gregoire: If you want to tweak the fundamentalist Christians then mentioning all the incidents of concubines in the Old Testament might be worth doing. But from a legal perspective it’s not viable. One of the legal privileges associated with marriage is the ability to make medical decisions for a spouse who is unable to do so. If there were three people in a marriage then there would be the possibility of a dead-lock.

    Don: The best available evidence suggests that punishing people for getting divorce is the best way to reduce the divorce rates. Such punishment doesn’t need to be implemented by the state (in terms of requiring “fault” for a divorce), it also occurs by people disowning relatives who get divorced. Given this is seems very difficult to find evidence in this regard. However all surveys of divorced couples indicate a high incidence of money being one of the problems that led to divorce.

    Albert: Yes, a better public transport infrastructure would do a lot to improve things in that regard. When living in Amsterdam my probability of dying on the road was extremely small because on the rare occasions I was in a car it was usually a Mercedes taxi – and Mercedes makes really safe cars. Public transport also allows you to productively use the time. A significant portion of my early SE Linux work was done on Dutch trains, buses, and trams.

    Anon: That point is reasonable and I might write about that and similar issues in length at some future time.

    However my point in this post was not to explore alternatives to marriage or directly advocate for legalising gay marriage. My point was merely to point out that “protecting marriage” by persecuting a minority group is just bogus.

  • Tim

    “My point was merely to point out that “protecting marriage” by persecuting a minority group is just bogus.”
    Couldn’t agree more.
    Also, the same logic makes my point: ““protecting jobs” by persecuting a minority group is just bogus. The minority group being the unemployed or temporary workers with very low-rights.

    If saving some jobs with government money or subsidy is good, then saving all jobs must be better. The conclusion of your logic is that all jobs should be protected for ever. That would provide “maximum continuity of spending” … at least for a few years, until the whole thing fell over. Any less extreme position means choosing who gets protected, and who is forced to pay for the protection of others. I think those of us who like to vote should think about this and come up with our own answers. The worst thing is to be unaware that this choice must be faced.

    As for minimising the shock of the current collapse: very important. But there must be better ways to spend the money than keeping SUVs rolling off the line, or paying people billions to do nothing. The fact is that globally the car industry has much more capacity than it needs, which is linked to the incredible amount of government assistance it gets, everywhere. What is it about cars?

    PS It’s hard to compare Europe and the US. The Nordics, new members states, UK, Ireland and NL are quite liberal in employment flexibility, and the Germans are in my experience much more flexible in practice than on paper. The successful European economies prove the point of the economic liberals (a school of thought invented in Europe). Anyway, I don’t think the European economies will cope magically with the downturn. The latest outlook is gloomy. Interest rates were lower in the EU the past few years than in the US, so the Europeans have some asset bubbles of their own. The only way you can say the EU economies are doing better than the US is to be extremely selective about “recent times”. Employment flexibility touches on the long-term ability to take advantage of change and new technology, so the only fair comparison is long-term. However, if by “recent times” you mean “now”, you may be surprised to discover that the US, in recession for a year, still has lower unemployment that the Euro zone (http://www.economist.com/markets/indicators/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13031172)

    Anyway, we don’t need to leave Australia to test your theory. There is a relatively large pool of people with excellent, French-standard job security in Australia: permanent government employees. I wonder how their divorce rate compares to the rest of Australia? Well, we’ll never be able to correct for all the variables to know that.

    My conclusion is not to get in the way of letting people do what they want, as long as they don’t hurt others. If “protecting” one relationship (traditional marriage) means harming other relationships, that protection is invalid. Being consistent, I also won’t support protecting one person’s employment if it harms someone else’s employment.

  • Russell;

    You’re half a world away, yet your issues hit so close to home. It’s always nice to see you make such astounding points that reaches far beyond anything the talking heads in office decide to chatter on endlessly about.

    If someone got me in a debate, I wouldn’t ever think of any of these points, mostly because I classify these points as what they are directly (National Aid, Safety, R&D to further advance scientific possibilities, etc.). But putting them all together makes a lot of sense, every bit and piece of life together or individually makes up your experience and the experience of those around you.

    Great post as always. I am so glad Flameeyes pointed me toward your entries. Technology or Societal, your entries are amazing.

  • etbe

    Tim: Before recent changes to industrial relations legislation in Australia it was quite possible to dismiss people with short notice. You merely had to hire them as a contractor first! It was not uncommon to hire someone at an hourly rate as a contractor and then offer them a “permanent” position (at a rate which usually involved less money per day) if things worked well. The IR laws don’t facilitate creating jobs (which could already be done), it merely allowed employers to screw the little people by for example cutting the rates for every employee in a company.

    The IR laws had no affect on me and most of my friends. We have skills that are in demand and the ability to negotiate a good rate. It’s the poor people who suffer – as designed.

    Even before recent IR laws, it was possible to down-size a company (and it was done many times by many companies). But often there were requirements to pay for “outplacement” services to help employees find new jobs or to give them a payout that allowed them to live for a while before getting another job.

    I have never suggested that all jobs be protected forever, merely that it be possible for banks to feel confident in lending money to people without a great risk of them being laid off the next day without redundancy pay.

    The problem with the US car industry is that they produce products that don’t match what people really need. Sure they can sell some SUVs with enough advertising, but people want cars that don’t use much petrol and which have some safety features. The US car industry does need to be down-sized because it is producing products that are inferior to the German and Japanese companies. However if that happens overnight then the US economy will suffer badly.

    It seems to me that claims about making it easier to dismiss people leading to job creation rates similarly with the “trickle down effect” (which has been well debunked by economists).

  • etbe

    Jason: If someone got me into a debate I probably wouldn’t think of such things off the top of my head either.

    One of my aims in writing posts of this nature is to provide background information and ideas for others when they get in debates.

    I’m glad you liked my post, and I hope that it helps you not only win a debate but convince some people to change their views.

  • Mark Sprong

    Hi Russell,

    Was looking for things SE and stumbled across your blog. This post is hilarious! Excellent argument. What’s even more insane is that Google Ads offers me “Find your Ukraine beauty today..” (ukarainedate.com) with your article. And the voluptuous blonde in the ad’s picture would possibly pose a serious threat to my marriage when encountered IRL :-)

    Cheers, Mark