12.06.2014

7.30.2014

Exposing the Kochtopus astroturf groups agenda

The internet is full of Kochtopus astroturf groups pushing libertarian agendas, but few people realize the Koch Brothers (at least one of which supports gay marriage), are also heavily involved in the marriage debate, dominating the messaging and legal strategy opposing same-sex marriage. Virtually every group on Twitter that opposes same-sex marriage (like @NOMupdate, @AllianceDefends, @PublicDiscourse, @Heritage) are known to be Kochtopus groups (well, NOM won't release the names of its top two donors), and probably many of the individuals who tweet in support of #1m1w (like perhaps @LisaGraas), also are paid to spread a certain message. But with the pay comes legal gag orders to not reveal the funding or talk about reproduction rights or using genetically modified gametes with someone of the same sex.

The media plays along, serving the pre-packaged story, and other pro-SSM groups play along, conspiring to establish the Kochtopus groups as legitimate social conservatives, knowing they are libertarians pretending to be social conservatives, funded by the Kochtopus and gagged by their funding contracts.

It’s easy to catch them in contradictions like how "What Is Marriage?" logically means fathers and daughters should be able to marry because they have the ability to form "bodily union" and procreate, because they are forced to make arguments that further their mission to separate conception rights from marriage, the connection of which is why fathers cannot marry daughters. It's also easy to spot them when they refuse to support any bans on genetic engineering children or making same-sex offspring, or any laws that preserve the conception rights of marriage.

Basically, their mission is to drown out my argument, and eventually lose the marriage debate, coming away instead with victory in the form of religious freedom to do whatever transhumanist nutso things they want to do and a weakened federal government that can’t stop them.

We need to ask @RyanT_Anderson and @Joe_LaRue and virtually everyone else on Twitter arguing for traditional marriage if they think marriages should have a right to procreate offspring, and if they think people have a right to attempt to procreate with someone of the same sex. I think it would be surprising to most people, to learn that they agree with gay marriage advocates about procreation rights. They all oppose the two objectives of the Natural Marriage and Reproduction Act I am pushing, the federal law that would actually end same-sex marriage by prohibiting creating a human being using cloning or genetically modifying or from same sex progenitors, and would protect the procreation rights of marriages to have natural children together using their own gametes. It seems to me to be a criminal treasonous conspiracy that needs to be exposed and defeated.

7.09.2014

Comments deleted on NationalReview personhood article

Unbelievable! I spent all afternoon commenting on a NationalReview.com story on embryos and contraception, and then someone suddenly swoops in and deletes all my comments!! Well, thanks to the CommentSave plugin, I can at least retrieve my words and copy them here. Too bad they are in reverse order and it's only my comments, but here they are. So screw NationalReview.com, don't bother commenting there, it's just Libertarian astroturfers who censor out conservative arguments.

Right, we should ignore scientists when discussing moral and legal definitions. I mean, we should rely on science to help us make policy choices, like say banning harmful drugs or pollutants, but not for judgements like what is good, or when people acquire rights. July 9 2014 19:32

I think all intentional conception of humans is unethical, especially involving instruments and manipulation of embryos and gametes. I agree with the Catholic church that IVF is gravely immoral, and children should be seen as gifts and responsibilities, not accoutrements to serve the parents. July 9 2014 19:21

Oh, and yes it sounds familiar, it sounds like you and others that pompously claim "science" has anything to do with what is a legal and moral subject. July 9 2014 19:11

People shouldn't be able to "earn an exemption" from any law due to having a belief. If we wanted to allow ceremonial religious use of peyote, just freakin allow it, don't enforce the law, rely on the discretion of the mayor and police. July 9 2014 18:05

It'd be nice to be able to read PhoenixM's comments. Did a moderator delete them? judging by the replies to them, they were substantial serious comments that people took time to respond to. July 9 2014 16:33

I'm against Transhumanism and genetic engineering of designer babies and commodification and trafficking of babies. I don't want people to think that there is an obligation to implant embryos, or that anyone has a right to implant an embryo. July 9 2014 16:16

Once a pregnancy has begun, ending it is an evil act, and contraception is evil, but so is creating embryos on purpose and so is implanting embryos. An IUD doesn't kill babies, Plan B doesn't kill babies, they reduce the chance of pregnancies that might not even happen anyway. It no more ends a life than failing to have sex and get every woman pregnant at every opportunity does, or failing to take extraordinary means to ensure that every pregnancy results in birth. July 9 2014 16:13

Thanks, but teaching is frustratingly hard, and doesn't pay very well. July 9 2014 16:04

Well, Justice Kennedy affirmed in Lawrence that marriage is about the right to have sexual intercourse, and no one has ever claimed there is a right outside of marriage to have sexual intercourse or beget children (no not Eisenstadt, which only said unmarried people have a right to use contraception and to make decisions about whether to bear or beget a child, but they have to get married to have the right to bear or beget a child.) Or are you asking for a source that there is no right to implant an embryo? Well I can't cite a source for something that doesn't exist, no one has ever claimed a right to implant an embryo. How about you cite a source that there is a right to implant an embryo or marry a corporation. July 9 2014 16:03

I disagree with her that an IUD ends a human life that has begun, because life begins at heartbeat and blood. Until then embryos are alive only in the sense that plants are alive, and are not yet alive with spirit and soul or will or consciousness and therefore are not killed and do not die a death when they stop growing. The die like a plant dies, it just stops functioning and dissolves into compost but does not suffer pain or loss. July 9 2014 15:57

More than just that, they are claiming to be exempt from laws that compel them to support destruction of embryos. That's why I am saying that they don't have a right to implant embryos, just because they believe them to be alive with a right to be implanted doesn't mean we have to let them do that. July 9 2014 15:35

I agree people should not be forced to pay for Plan B or Ella or any contraception. (Well, I do think Plan B should be given to victims of rape as part of standard rape treatment. And they shouldn't be given the erroneous propaganda that it would be aborting a baby, it would only be preventing implantation, "shutting the whole thing down" as Akin said women's bodies are able and allowed to do and have a right to do. In fact, a woman shouldn't be given a choice about it, since the soul has a right not to be ensouled in body that is a victim of rape if we can prevent it. We should do everything possible to make sure babies can be cared for by their genetic mother and father. Once pregnancy starts, of course, it is too late, the baby already exists. But an embryo isn't a baby and a woman is not pregnant until implantation. You don't think that implanting an embryo in a woman puts that woman at risk? It most certainly does. It also puts the baby at risk. There would be risk, no death, no loss of life and no suffering or pain to simply let the embryo dissolve without implanting. It's what happens in nature all the time. July 9 2014 15:26

The embryo isn't a person, no one would notice that it did not become a person. People that don't exist do not exist. July 9 2014 14:33

I can accept saying an embryo is alive, but not that it is ensouled or has a right to be implanted. Thousands of embryos do not implant and it is not considered a death or even unhealthy, and no religion has ever said death occurs when no pregnancy happens after sex. Yeah, tell me what happens if I am wrong? What if unimplanted embryos are ensouled, and we don't implant them? Then I guess the soul goes to hell, but God must have wanted that to happen and there was nothing we could have done to thwart God's will. At least it won't have cost us any money and put women and children at risk of harm, which is what implanting embryos does. July 9 2014 14:31

We don't need science to demonstrate soul or consciousness, they are mystical, spiritual and moral concepts. Can science demonstrate concepts like "legal" and "right" and "person" or "good"? Of course not, we don't ask science to tell us right and wrong, legal and illegal. July 9 2014 14:20

Hobby Lobby can think whatever they want to think, they can't claim a right to implant an embryo or create a human being. Only a marriage has that right, and you still can't marry a corporation. July 9 2014 14:18

Things can be alive in the sense a plant is alive, without consciousness or soul or will. Pre-ensouled embryos develop and grow by God's or Nature's design, not their own will which beats their hearts and animates their brains, and therefore there needs to be a heart and brain to beat and animate before a soul can move in. Sleeping people still have beating hearts and animated brains, but dead people do not (but even dead people are to be respected and not experimented on or exploited). July 9 2014 14:17

Pro-life people should stick to religion. Science has no value judgements about what constitutes life, or when something acquires rights. There is no right to implant an embryo. July 9 2014 13:44

It can be alive in the sense that a plant is alive. But it is not ensouled and is not killed when it fails to implant, it just doesn't keep growing and dissolves, like mustard seeds that find no fertile soil to take root. July 9 2014 13:43

The soul is ensouled after the body has implanted and developed a heart, the beating of the heart signifies life, just like the soul departs when the heart stops beating. Embryos that do not implant do not become ensouled. If nature is allowed to take its course on embryos created in a petri dish, the cells will divide a few times and then stop dividing. They need to be implanted, which is not letting nature take its course at all. In nature, no embryos are ever implanted in a body from outside the body. An unimplanted embryo is not alive and is not a person and should be allowed to dissolve and cease to exist. It should not be implanted, there is no right to implant an embryo.

6.27.2013

Congress should act immediately to void all same sex marriages to avoid the legal nightmare and waste of money that will happen due to striking down Section 3 of DOMA.

It is time for Congress to enact "The Natural Marriage and Reproduction Rights Act" that will end same-sex marriage everywhere in The United States and preserve natural conception rights and human dignity and prevent genetic engineering of human beings. The law would be two parts. The first part would be an "Egg and Sperm law" that would prohibit attempting to create a human being by any method other than joining a man and a woman's unmodified genes. The second part would affirm the legal effect of marriage in the United States as approving and allowing the couple to reproduce together using their own genes. It would also prohibit Civil Unions for same-sex couples that give the rights of marriage. Congress should act immediately, because if it simply voids all same sex marriages in the United States, then we won't have to pay the millions of dollars in survivor benefits and estate taxes that we are now about to have to pay unless we void these marriages. They were allowed in ignorance of implications, no judge or legislature considered the possibility of same-sex procreation. And just like we do with legal marriages that are discovered to have been entered into in ignorance of incest or some other impediment, we simply say they are null and void, with no divorce or legal action required.

5.06.2013

Write in John Howard for Senator to stop SSM and Transgender Madness

The Massachusetts Senate special election presents a great opportunity to preserve marriage as a man and a woman throughout the United States: Write in "John Howard" to send me to Washington! I would do only one thing during the remainder of the term before the next election in 2014: I would introduce a bill that preserves marriage as a man and a woman by 1) setting the legal effect of marriage in the United States as approving and allowing the couple to have children using their own genes, and 2) prohibiting creating a child by any means other than the union of a man and a woman using their own genes. That would do more than just end same-sex marriage, it would also stop the madness in our schools where kids are taught that there is no such thing as fixed sex and that people can be either sex and reproduce with either sex. And it would also prohibit Civil Unions that are marriage in all but name and give the same rights as marriage. A majority of other Congressman would support the bill, because they would probably lose their re-election if they opposed either of the two provisions. It simply recognizes that there is no right to be either sex or reproduce with the same sex. Marriage supporters don't need to sit this election out, we can turn this into the marriage vote that we know we'll win. Spread the word quietly, lie to pollsters, and then on Tuesday, June 25, preserve marriage by writing in John Howard.

3.26.2013

SCOTUS suggests the solution

It's getting closer! The oral arguments were today for the Prop 8 standing case. The justices make a big deal about same-sex adoption and family formation, not just on parenting, with Scalia saying the word marriage would require allowing the couple to adopt or use ART, and Olsen retorting that the state of California already allows same-sex adoption. And Ginsberg mentioned that a state might repeal its civil union law, and perhaps replace it with one that doesn't go as far in the area of adoption and 3PR. It's like they are screaming: Enact the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise already! Tomorrow is the DOMA case about federal benefits, so perhaps it's another chance for them to suggest the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise as a way to solve these problems, or at least press Pause. The Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise is a set of three federal laws to be enacted together: 1) Stop genetic engineering by limiting conception of children to the union of a man and a woman's sperm and egg. 2) Federally recognize state civil unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights." 3) Affirm in federal law the right of all marriages to conceive children together using their own genes. Together they affirm marriage is only between a man and a woman, give equal benefits to all couples, and preserve equal natural reproductive rights.

12.09.2012

Why can't Rod Dreher just address it?

Rod Dreher has a habit of deleting my best comments just when people take notice and seem interested. He is pretty upfront about not wanting to discuss the topic of same-sex conception rights, apparently he doesn't want to resolve the issue just yet. He leaves some comments up, but always seems to delete the best ones, like my response to Nate deep in this thread. In case he deletes these ones, I'll post them here:
John Howard says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
December 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm
Specifically I say that the question of allowing a type of relationship to marry should be the same and always has been the same as whether we allow that type of couple to reproduce offspring together. If we want to allow same-sex couples to join their genes to make offspring together, we should allow them to marry, and vice versa.
What’s Rod got against my solution? What do you think you gain from suppressing it and not agreeing to it? What am I missing?

John Howard says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
December 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm
“Apparently, someone needs to tell all these unmarried couples that they don’t have the right to procreate.”
Huh? Every religion already says that, most countries and states already say that, the supreme court says that…what are you talking about?

12.06.2012

I support helping Intersexed people (for Dale Carrico)

Transhumanist "critic" Dale Carrico over at his blog Amor Mundi is still trying to get away with pretending he is a critic of Transhumanism and not a fellow traveller. He responded to my question with accusations that I don't support healthcare for intersexed people, and then said he would delete any follow-up comments I leave, so I will leave my comment here in case he deletes it there. (And when he says he's "been around the track" with me, no, Dale has always just gone around the corner, spewing ten thousand words of baseless accusations and diversions, and then when it seems far enough away, he scurries back to his comfy starting line refusing to print my follow up comments. Pretty low, but if you are a deceitful fraud, you have to do stuff like that I guess.)
Intersexed people should certianly be allowed to use medicine to enable them to be fertile and have children, but only as the sex which their doctors believe is their most likely chance of success, without genetic engineering of their gametes to be the other sex. The sex which someone most likely would be able to conceive children using their own gametes is usually abundantly clear, even when there is ambiguous genitalia, and when it isn't, the lab can figure it out very quickly. As for application of the law to intersexed people, we'd go by their public, legal sex for public legal recognition and marriage purposes, and the assumption would be that it matches the most likely to conceive sex so they would have the public approval to conceive offspring together (but not a guarantee, just like every other marriage). So some privately same-sex couples would wind up married. But a lab would notice after some preliminary lab work that they were both more likely to be fertile as the same sex, and thus it would be illegal to help them conceive offspring with each other. Their marriage would remain intact, because publicly they would still be a man and a woman, and the information about their true sexes would never leave the doctor's office. But the law is intended to stop unethical experiments in same-sex reproduction and genetic engineering, so of course it has to apply to the private actual sex, not the public sex. It's health care to help an intersexed person reproduce as the sex most likely able to help them, not the sex they most desire to reproduce as, or as the other sex of the person they want to reproduce with. That is transhumanism.

11.08.2012

Time for conservatives to unite as Bio-Conservatives

We can add Rod Dreher and The American Conservative to the list of supposedly conservative bloggers and websites that want to avoid the subject of same-sex conception and transhumanism. This was my most recent attempt to participate in his discussions, this on on his post "Conservatism: What's Next?" which I will copy here, and Tweet a link to it, @roddreher:

John Howard says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

November 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm
{{{I’m trying to sneak my suggestion into this thread about “what’s next” for conservatives without Rod noticing, so shhhh no one respond!}}}

{{{OK here it is: social conservatives and fiscal conservatives should unite as bio-conservatives. “Bio-conservatives” don’t worry as much about abortion and contraception and religion as they do about designer babies and genetic engineering and transhumanism and transgender/postgenderism. We think about the social costs and dangers of biotechnology, in particular reproductive biotechnology.

Social conservatives need to get the focus off of abortion and birth control and put it on something that even liberal women find appalling: genetic engineering of human beings, eugenics and loss of equality and dignity, exploitation of women, harm to babies, commodification of people and materialist manufacturing of people, wasting money and energy and health resources on something totally unnecessary and stupid.

Social conservatives should remember that the Republican party is based not on Libertarianism and states rights and materialist view of of people, but on human dignity and equality and a belief that people are created by God with equal rights and dignity.}}}

5.15.2012

It's still here: The Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise

It's great to see same-sex marriage is going to be an issue in the 2012 elections. Perhaps it will drive some traffic to this blog, which I don't update much, but still should contain most of my arguments (they haven't changed) and links to useful articles. It looks the same as it did when I created it in 2004. And the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise is still on the table just as it was in 2006: Federal recognition for state Civil Unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights" and give all the rights of marriage except the right to conceive genetic offspring together, while preserving marriage's essential right to conceive offspring together, and limiting the right to conceive offspring to a man and a woman. That would achieve the things we can agree on right now, and bring the issue of whether to allow genetic engineering and same-sex conception under the purview of the People, through Congress. If we ever decide to allow same-sex couples to conceive children, then we would allow those Civil Unions to be upgraded to marriages. But we would be better off to rule out the prospect of all-female or all-male reproduction, and being able to reproduce as either sex, to use our resources for more useful things.

4.02.2012

Wish I could comment on FamilyScholars

FamilyScholars.org has blocked me from commenting at their site, so I'll respond to Fannie's post here, and email them to ask them to respond. I suspect they will ignore my argument, we'll see.

Anyhow, Fannie makes the same old procreation/infertility argument as if I hadn't debunked it a hundred times:

This past weekend, a relatively of mine got married for the fourth time. She is in her mid-50s and has had a hysterectomy.

There will never be a link between procreation and marriage in her marriage. Just like every same-sex couple.

She gets to legally marry her chosen partner because she and her partner have the “correct” sex composition- male and female- and not because they have the ability or potential to procreate together.
Fannie, she is ALLOWED to reproduce with her chosen partner because they have complementary sex cells (and aren't already married, under 18, or related by a prohibited relationship). They aren't required to procreate, they are ALLOWED to procreate. All marriages should always be allowed to procreate using their own genes. No one should be allowed to procreate with someone of the same sex.

It shouldn't be hard to remember this simple argument, that same-sex couples should not have the equal right to procreate that a married man and woman have.

8.08.2011

Stem Cell Sperm Advance Getting Some Attention

DrudgeReport: "Sperm from mice stem cells offers infertility hope..."
Discover: "Worldwide First: Stem Cells Turned Into Sperm Turned Into Living Animals"

It's nice to see the comments on the Discover article immediately ask the question of whether a woman could make sperm or not. Of course it is possible, no one could say with certainty that it is not possible, but it's not a question of that. It's more a question of whether it is a good public policy to spend our extremely limited resources on it, and whether it should be allowed to be attempted at all. To those questions, we can answer definitively: No! It is wrong to make embryos from modified gametes. And making a sperm from a woman certainly modifies her gametes, it creates sperm that do not represent an actual person.

There are better ways to help prevent infertility than to make an industry that manufactures people.

6.01.2011

Maggie Wears Sheep's Clothing

NOM's Maggie Gallagher revealed a bit more of her Transhumanist Libertarian loyalties in an email she sent to a nomblog reader, who then posted it in the comments to nomblog's post about Clownfishgate.
Maggie's response on trans issues to an e-mail

"I do not have any developed views on this question--except I do not believe individuals have a right to expect they can change genders on a whim, or on a daily basis, and expect others to take it seriously. I'm much less concerned about transgenderism that requires permanent and substantive change (including surgery or hormonal treatment and petitioning the court). I may or may not agree with it--I have no clear developed views--but it will not affect the main question.

If it is possible to change gender, then it is possible--in which case it's an opposite sex union.

If it's not really possible, then it should not be possible. I do not have clear views on this"


Wow, so she seems to think that people should be allowed to change sex, that it is just a matter of whatever is possible. I don't think she is talking about mere cosmetic surgery when she says she's not concerned about transgenderism, I think I've alerted her to the possibility of "female sperm" and "male eggs" and she knows that's the real issue. I bet her "I do not have clear views on this" is her way of alluding to her contract with her Libertarian benefactors who have told her never to write about transhumanism or artificial gametes and to keep procreation rights out of the marriage debate. Her high-paying job is to make the public think that marriage is being defended and is still relevant after procreation rights are stripped from it.

It shouldn't be so hard for her to say that she thinks people only have a right to procreate as the sex they are born most likely to procreate as, with someone of the other sex. But she's never been able to come out and say that, I suspect because of a clause in her contract, which I bet Wesley Smith also has.

(I posted a diary about Clownfishgate on RedMassGroup We Are Not Clownfish.)

4.30.2011

Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise Turns Five

It is hard to believe that May 9th will mark five years since I proposed The Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise.

For five years now, I have been promoting the Compromise by sending emails, visiting legislator's offices, calling staffers, handing our leaflets, blogging and commenting on every blog I could find where people are discussing same-sex marriage, explaining how same-sex couples that are currently denied equal protections could quickly get federal recognition and legal protections in almost every state in exchange for giving up the right to have labs create offspring for same-sex couples.

The Compromise is the same set of three laws as it was five years ago:
1) An Egg and Sperm law that prohibits conceiving a person by any means other than joining a man and a woman's unmodified gametes.
2) A law that would recognize state Civil Unions as if they were legal marriages for federal purposes, provided the state has defined them as "marriage minus conception rights."
3) A law that unifies the effect of state marriages as protecting the right of the couple to conceive offspring using their own genes.

It's been amazing to see people twist and squirm and refuse to compromise, choosing to stick with the status quo, even as they claim not to care about same-sex conception (on the pro-SSM side) or claim to care about preserving marriage (on the anti-SSM side). That's five years of same-sex couples suffering without recognition, five years of divisive legal battles and meaningless debates, five years that we could have been addressing urgent problems facing the country, but people have thrown us all under the bus because they are addicted to insulting each other.

It's time to grow up, everyone. Come together. Larry Kramer, the most effective activist for gay people, is getting old now, and he is frustrated with the current strategy.:
There are these issues now. It's just that you don't think of them as galvanizing, mainly because they're not so life and death. I cite marriage, although I'm sort of fed up with how long it's taken and I think we've gone about it the wrong way. I'm 76, and my partner is 64. I'll obviously die before he does, and the way the laws are written it's very hard to leave him anything of substance compared to what I have to leave. It all goes to taxes because we're not legally federally married and that's not fair, that's just not fair. You don't care about it at your age, but I care about it at mine, and there are a lot of older gays who should care about it as well. That should be a galvanizing issue. Anything that keeps us from being unequal should be galvanizing. I want what they have. I do. And everybody should. But again, people don't think that way.What has frustrated you about the move toward gay marriage in the country?

Just that it's taken forever. I don't think we should have taken the state by state approach because it just makes it go on, and then you have to re-sue and defend. Things need to go to the Supreme Court as fast as possible. There were ways it could have gone to the Supreme Court a lot earlier. If we lose at the Supreme Court, which everyone was afraid of, you just come back again. These [state] marriage we have don't amount to anything. They're feel-good marriages. They make relationships stronger and all that, but they don't amount to a hill of beans in terms of anything legal or financial. You still need to pay federal taxes and you don't get any of these benefits the government pays you if you're heterosexually married.
Can any young gay activist really tell Larry Kramer that it is more important to insist on having a right to try to procreate offspring with someone of the same sex than it is for him and his partner to be secure and be able to share each other's property? It's time to try a new approach, one that actually puts people first, rather than winning an unwinnable argument.

3.16.2011

New Somerville article

Great new article from my hero Margaret Somerville of McGill on "Designer Children" or rather the Rights of Children. (hat tip FamilyScholars)
I propose that the most fundamental human right of all is a child’s right to be born from natural human biological origins and that children have human rights with respect to knowing who their biological parents and families are, and these rights must be recognized.
"Natural human biological origins" means from a man and a woman's unmodified gametes, not from stem cell derived artificial gametes or from two men or two women or cloned or whatever else.

This is great timing for Professor Somerville to remind us that same-sex couples just don't and should not have the right to have offspring together. When Congress debates DOMA, they should all take this issue into account. They should not inadvertently throw open the door to designer babies and a huge regulated or unregulated genetic engineering industry. Rather, they should recognize the right of children to be born from natural human origins by prohibiting creating children from unnatural origins, and preserve the natural right of marriage to create offspring, and recognize state civil unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights" as marriage for federal purposes.

3.01.2011

Don't Defend DOMA, Replace DOMA

DOMA shouldn't be defended, it is bad law that creates work for lawyers but is a mess for citizens. It is bad to allow same-sex marriage in some states, and useless not to allow it in others. There are aspects of marriage that are fundamental rights which are due to every citizen of every state, and fundamental rights which states should be prohibited from abridging. Even Section 3 of DOMA is bad law, it fails to properly protect or define marriage, and only allows the government to save money on spousal benefits.

DOMA should not be defended, it should be replaced with the three laws of the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise which would truly defend marriage:

1) Prohibit the conception of children by any means other than the union of unmodified gametes.
2) Protect the inherent right of marriage to conceive offspring.
3) Federally recognize state Civil Unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights"

The first two laws are urgently necessary and would have immediate and long term benefits, and would avoid the costs and ethical issues of allowing use of modified gametes and regulating conception rights separately from marriage. It is really hard to justify not enacting those first two laws, or delay enacting them one minute.

The third law is not as necessary as far as society is concerned, but it still would have immediate and long term benefits for society, and would certainly benefit the thousands of same sex couples that lack recognition right now, and I think would be fair and compassionate and not cost too much.

DOMA could be replaced with the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise with minimal deliberation and would achieve Obama's and the vast majority's goals in a principled and permanent and politically acceptable way:

1) It would preserve marriage as a man and a woman in every state.
2) It would allow Civil Unions in every state with fully equal protections and rights, except of course for the right to procreate genetically-related offspring together.
3) It would prohibit cloning, human-animal children, and producing children for same-sex couples using lab created artificial sperm or egg.

Who in Congress is going to say that any of those laws would be bad? That the status quo is better? I know that the libertarians here and at GOProud are going to object, but they'll look silly doing so.

12.28.2010

To Will Saletan, regarding Incest

While I am at it, here are two comments I left at Will Saletan's Slate article on why incest is wrong. He seems to think that we have to identify the single reason that can make incest wrong which doesn't apply to homosexuality. I disagreed with that requirement, and asked him to address procreation rights of fathers and daughters:

John Howard
Hey Will, can you do an article on the procreation rights of fathers and daughters, as opposed to the naked/orgasm/screwing rights? (Well, perhaps you could look at those three separately too, since they are rather different.) For instance, would it be a crime for a daughter to impregnate herself with a vial of her father's sperm? Is it something we have to allow a father and daughter to do, if they wants to?

And, how about the marriage rights of fathers and daughters? I think that the procreation rights and marriage rights of fathers and daughters are synonymous. Indeed the Massachusetts Incest law has one paragraph describing the crime and punishment that applies interchangeably to either sexual intercourse or marriage (which of course would have to have been an unlicensed illegal marriage, since such a marriage is also prohibited by the marriage statutes). Interesting how that shows marriage means having sexual intercourse as far as the public understanding of marriage goes. It also means having children together.
Today, 00:14:47

John Howard
How come there can't be multiple reasons that, taken as a whole, call for incest to be illegal and wrong? Not everyone agrees that procreation is not an issue between fathers and daughters, that's pretty ballsy to just say that unethical procreation is not an issue because now we have contraception. As if that somehow makes it impossible for a father to impregnate his daughter! Or a brother to impregnate a sister, or aunt, etc... There are also other reasons to criminalize bodily union between relatives, as well as to not allow marriage between them. (And there are reasons why affinity relationships that are prohibited from marrying are not criminalized and punished the same as consanguineous relationships are.)

The "family unit" reason is a reasonable reason too, as is the "impossible consent due to grooming" reasons. Not everyone has to agree on the reason they think incest should be a crime and is wrong, there just have to be enough people that agree it should be a crime to say it should be a crime. They don't have to all agree as to what is "the" reason that holds true in every case and is logically consistent with marriage or gay rights or feminism or whatever, they can just feel there might be good reasons to prudently prohibit it.
Yesterday, 23:57:39

Response to Kenji Yoshino

Kenji Yoshino does the usual takedown of Robert George's article, because Robert George avoided the issues of procreation rights and same-sex procreation and so walked right into it. Because my comments often get deleted from Slate, here is my comment to Yoshino's latest response:

Marriage is approval to procreate offspring together, using the marriage's own genes. It is not given to siblings and other couples that are not allowed to procreate offspring together. It is given to couples that are approved and allowed to procreate, whether they wind up procreating or not.

Using the baseball analogy, a team is approved and allowed to win the game, no baseball team is prohibited by rule from possibly winning a game. That approval is why losing teams are not demeaned, they still have the dignity of being allowed to try to win games, and if they managed to, everyone would celebrate their good fortune and the rightness of them winning a game.

Same-sex couples, unlike infertile couples, should not be approved or allowed to procreate offspring together. Even if technology could be used to facilitate it, perhaps using stem cell derived gametes, or perhaps computer sequencing and DNA synthesis, using such methods to create a human being should not be allowed. The only way that people should be allowed to be made is by joining the egg of a woman and the sperm of a man. That is the only ethical way for people to be created, all other attempts would demean equality and dignity and turn procreation into a form of manufacture and deny the child their right to exist as a equal human being, as an equal member of the species. It is terrible public policy for same-sex procreation to be legal, it confuses children who think it might be an option for them someday, and it wastes tons of energy and money on research. Plus, it might actually lead to children being made, which puts the child at enormous risk of birth defects and requires that the child be monitored and studied for its whole life, and its children too, and that would require a huge government regulatory agency which would be unsustainable and expensive, and if it became entrenched, would wind up limiting everyone's freedom to have children naturally and force people to be screened and modified.

Civil Unions should be defined as "marriage minus conception rights" so that they can be enacted in all 50 states and federally recognized immediately, to give same-sex couples all the other benefits and incidents and obligations of marriage, without allowing same-sex procreation, or stripping procreation rights from everyone's marriage. Marriage should continue to approve and affirm the couple's right to procreate offspring using their own genes. People should only have that right with someone of the other sex.

Letter to Robert George on 'What Is Marriage?'

Dear Robert George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan T. Anderson,

Congratulations on publishing a fine paper. I was however disappointed that your paper did not address the possibility of same-sex couples being able to procreate together using stem cell derived gametes or other methods. That possibility renders many of your arguments moot, or even worse, turns them into arguments for same-sex marriage.

Have you heard of this research, or of Postgenderism, or Transhumanism?

I think we need to make sure marriage continues to mean that the couple is approved and allowed to conceive offspring together from their own genes. In other words, the answer to "what is marriage?" should be "conception rights." And same-sex couples should be like siblings: denied conception rights, even though it might be possible for them to conceive, because it would be unethical.

This explains why infertile and elderly people are allowed to marry: they still retain their right to procreate, it is not illegal for them to procreate.

Is that not a good argument? Is there some danger or downside to making that argument? I think it is profoundly important to protect everyone's right to procreate with their own genes, with their spouse's own genes, and to stop genetic engineering. I think it would be a popular mainstream position, especially when combined with a Civil Union compromise.

Please let me know what you think of my proposed Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise. It's three federal laws, to be enacted as a package:

1) Stop genetic engineering by limiting conception of children to the
union of a man and a woman's sperm and egg.
2) Federally recognize state civil unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights."
3) Affirm in federal law the right of all marriages to conceive children together using their own genes.

Sincerely,
John Howard

12.23.2010

Why is NOMBlog opposed to a law?

I've been trying to figure out why some of my comments make it through the NOMBlog moderator while others get blocked. I think they don't like it when I point out that we should prohibit same-sex procreation. Here is my latest comment of mine that didn't make it, retrieved with the back button and reposted:
#
John Howard
Posted December 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

@Mike Brooks - Same-sex couples might be able to procreate using stem cell derived artificial gametes. Researchers have already made mice from same-sex "parents", using ridiculously complex processes involving lots of genetically modified mice and experimenting. But the point is, whether it is possible or not, doesn't mean we have to let them try it. We don't have to allow same-sex couples to try to make offspring, we can say people don't have a right to reproduce with someone of the same sex. Congress should prohibit it, like Missouri has done.

12.08.2010

Researchers Create Mice From Two Fathers

They had to jump through some crazy hoops, so this isn't the big news that Postgenderists have been dreaming of, but the headline sure makes it seem like same-sex procreation is a real possibility. Wall Street Journal Online reports:
Scientists have created mice that are the genetic product of two fathers, the latest in a series of unusual experiments in mammalian reproduction.

Researchers at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and elsewhere first engineered a female mouse whose eggs contained the DNA from a male. When the female was mated with another male, the offspring had genetic contributions entirely from two males. The study appears online in the peer-reviewed journal Biology of Reproduction.

While the achievement is technically intriguing, its practical benefits are far from clear. Any move to try the same experiment in people is certain to be more complicated and controversial.

The study describes the technique as "a new form of mammalian reproduction" that could potentially be used to improve livestock breeds or preserve endangered species. More provocatively, the authors argue that if certain technical hurdles can be overcome, "then some day two men could produce their own genetic sons and daughters." But those technical hurdles are extremely high.

"It has been a weird project, but we wanted to see if it could be done" in mice, says Richard Behringer, lead author of the study and a developmental geneticist at M.D. Anderson in Houston.
Not only is this kind of research a terrible use of resources, it sends a very confusing message to people, especially children, about their reproductive potential. We should make it clear that same-sex procreation is never going to be a possibilty, because it will always be unethical and wasteful and damaging to our natural procreation rights. Prohibiting same-sex procreation also makes it possible to resolve the marriage debate, by creating a difference in rights between marriage and civil unions, so that civil unions could be enacted in all 50 states and federally recognized as if marriages. That would help same-sex couples much more than holding out hope for radical technology to enable same-sex procreation.

12.01.2010

Illinois should enact Recognition-Ready Civil Unions

Illinois looks like they are about to pass one of those unconstitutional, unpopular, stepping-stone, marriage-in-all-but-name Civil Union laws. Though the language of their bill doesn't say that Civil Unions have all the "rights" of marriage, it does say that Civil Unions would offer the same "protections." One of the protections of marriage is of the right to procreate offspring together, marriage protects the couple's right to use their own genes to procreate offspring.

To make Civil Unions constitutional, they have to explicitly have different rights to justify having a different name. The right they should be missing is the right to conceive offspring together, which is also the essential, definitive right of marriage.

People should not have an equal right to procreate with someone of either sex, people should only be allowed to procreate with someone of the other sex. Attempting same-sex procreation requires genetic engineering to make artificial gametes from stem cells and would be unsafe, expensive, require big government regulation and research, and open the door to all forms of genetic engineering. It needs to be prohibited with a federal ban on making human beings by any method other than joining the sperm of a man and the egg of a woman.

At the same time, Congress should also federally recognize state Civil Unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights." Illinois should modify their proposed Civil Union bill in the Senate to add a clause explicitly stating that they do not protect the right to conceive offspring, so that they would be federally recognized immediately as soon as Congress enacts the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise.

11.23.2010

Stripping procreation rights from marriage is an old idea

Allow me to relate some interesting quotes from eugenicists I found in "Eugenics and Other Evils" by GK Chesterton. These quotes were included in Chesterton's essay by the editor of this volume to give some context, so modern readers can understand just who Chesterton is responding to.

Banning Marriage
Special provisions as to which it might be open to question whether they were primarily in the interest of the individual have been omitted, as for example Clause 50 in the earlier Bill, which prohibited marriage with a defective. There is, however, an amendment proposed to reinstate this clause in Committee, but the matter has not yet been reached. - EUGENICS REVIEW, 1913

Marriage without Parenthood
It is to parenthood on the part of the transmissibly unworthy that we object. Negative eugenics has no right to object to their living or to their marrying. This must be insisted upon. Hitherto marriage and parenthood have been regarded as synonymous or equivalent by writers on eugenics, and they have said that such and such persons must not marry, when what they meant was that these persons must not become parents. - C.W. SALEEBY, 1914
Saleeby was unsuccessful in stripping procreation rights from marriage, but the idea did not die, Margaret Sanger proposed exactly what Saleeby was talking about twenty years later, when she urged an "American Baby Code" in American Weekly Magazine in 1934:
American Baby Code
Article 1. The purpose of the American Baby Code should be to provide for a better distribution of babies. to assist couples who wish to prevent overproduction of offspring and thus to reduce the burden of charity and taxation for public relief and to protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.

Article 2. Birth control clinics shall be permitted to function as services of government health departments or under the support of charity, or as nonprofit, self-sustaining agencies subject to inspection and control by public authorities.

Article 3. A marriage license shall in itself give husband and wife only the right to a common household and not the right to parenthood.

Article 4. No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child, no man shall have the right to become a father, without a permit for parenthood.

Article 5. Permits for parenthood shall be issued by government authorities to married couples upon application, providing the parents are financially able to support the expected child, have the qualifications needed for proper rearing of the child, have no transmissible diseases, and on the woman's part no indication that maternity is likely to result in death or permanent injury to health.

Article 6. No permit for parenthood shall be valid for more than one birth.

Article 7. Every county shall be assisted administratively by the state in the effort to maintain a direct ratio between the county birth rate and its index of child welfare. When the county records show an unfavorable variation from this ratio the county shall be taxed by the State.... The revenues thus obtained shall be expended by the State within the given county in giving financial support to birth control....

Article 8. Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable diseases, and others found biologically unfit should be sterilized or in cases of doubt should be isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.

Eugenics was forced to become "crypto-eugenics" due to the Nazis getting a little impatient with it and applying it to living people rather than yet-to-be-conceived people, but the idea of stripping procreation rights from marriage and having separate "parenting licenses" did not die, and now in the age of genetic engineering it has found a new strategy of redefining marriage to not include a procreation right by declaring same-sex couples to have equal marriage rights.

It is as important as ever to oppose eugenics and defend everyone's equal procreation rights, and to not allow procreation rights to be stripped from marriage. All marriages should be allowed to procreate with their own genes, and all people should have an equal right to marry. We should not ban people from marrying for eugenic purposes as the Eugenics Review advocated in 1913, nor strip procreation rights from marriage as Dr. Saleeby proposed in 1914 and Sanger echoed in 1934.

2.03.2010

Mandated coverage for Transgender surgery?

Interesting article on HuffingtonPost Transgender Surgery is Deductible; Medical Coverage Coming reporting on yesterday's ruling by the US Tax Court that sex reassignment surgery is not cosmetic and therefore is a deductible medical expense.

The suit was brought by GLAD, and they are not finished. As the article points out, the goal is to have transgender surgery covered by medical insurance, mandated like IVF is mandated in Massachusetts. And if surgery to make the body look like the other sex is mandated, of course the genetic engineering to enable the person to procreate as the other sex will be also.

12.07.2009

New Kono experiments on fatherless mice

Professor Tomohiro Kono, from the Tokyo University of Agriculture, has published some new reports on his research on fatherless mice created from two mothers. He was the creator of the mouse "Kaguya", the first mammal with same-sex parents, in 2004, which prompted me to create this blog. Well, he's apparently continued working on making fatherless mice, and his new findings, published last week in the science journal Human Reproduction, "provide the first evidence that sperm genes may have a detrimental effect on lifespan in mammals", leading to lots of "End of Males?" articles in the British press like this one in the Daily Mail.
'We have known for some time that women tend to live longer than men in almost all countries worldwide,' said Professor Kono.

'However, the reason for this difference was unclear and, in particular, it was not known whether longevity in mammals was controlled by the genome composition of only one or both parents.

He said the fatherless mice were essential to the research. The genetic material taken from eggs collected from young mice was manipulated in the laboratory so the genes behaved like sperm genes.

This manipulated genetic material was transplanted into fully grown, unfertilised eggs of adult mice and they developed into embryos, which were transferred into surrogate mother mice.

The mice born as a result were bimaternal, having genetic material from two mothers, but no father, and their lifespan was compared with identical mice with both father and mother.

But does the study suggest that getting rid of fathers could maximise the longevity of human beings?

Professor Kono was unequivocal. 'This is not realistic,' he said.

Interestingly, no one questions whether it should even be allowed to try to do experiments like that to create human children. The article just assumes that it is only a question of can it be done, not whether it should be legal. We don't need to do any more research to know that it shouldn't be allowed to try to create humans from stem cell derived artificial gametes for two people of the same sex.

10.06.2009

"ax" admits SSP is core demand at Opine-Editorials

I came across a good discussion happening at Opine-Editorials, where a new commenter named "ax" had just jumped into the blogger-collective's sparring ring. After three days of discussion with Chairm, On Lawn, and the Playful Walrus, I joined the discussion and turned "ax" to the issue of same-sex procreation. His first response is a pretty good summary of his argument:
Dude, you're crazy.

But hey, if two men or two women want to conceive a child together, I'm fine with that.
I then proceed to tell him many reasons why it should not be allowed, why it would be better for society if we banned it, etc etc, and I'm answering every objection, rejecting every deflection, and ax is cornered, unable to answer the decisive question On Lawn and I teamed up to ask that would have established "the core of marriage" - whether procreation rights were essential for marriage. And, he's callously refusing to see the difference between choosing a risky medicine to treat one's own disease, and choosing purposeful risky creation of other people. It was a very good discussion with ax, he was very revealing and open about how of course same-sex couples have a right to procreate together!

But On Lawn at Opine has ended the discussion there before ax replied, and deleted my "last word" calling him out for not living up to the the goals of his blog. But luckily I still had the thread open in another tab, and was able to save the post with my last comment intact before more of my comments were deleted. I've copied it here for reference, and I will mark any edits and additional comments in bold. The original is here.

9.10.2009

Great new website on Transhumanism

Check out these YouTube videos someone put together about Postgenderism. There are three parts, so I'll embed the Pt 1 here and let you find Pt 2 and Pt 3 yourself. They're from a website called www.TransAlchemy.com which seems to have lots more articles and videos skeptical of Transhumanism and Postgenderism. For example, the video pointed me to an article about artificial wombs by Colleen Carlson in Harvard Science Review, Fall 2008:
So why has relatively little attention been paid to research that could lead to a major change in reproductive capacity? In fact, much work goes unpublished because of the uproar it might create among activists, politicians, and religious figures for its social implications.
That's what I've been saying! (For the record, I would support banning artificial wombs also, they're inhumane and unnecessary, and instead work to preserve everyone's health and fertility)

9.03.2009

John Howard for United States Senate

That's right, I want to be elected to replace Ted Kennedy as the next Senator from Massachusetts, in order to introduce the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise bill to end same-sex marriage nationally, preserve natural conception rights, stop the Brave New World of genetic engineering, and to extend federal recognition as marriages to same-sex couples in state Civil Unions, and provide a model for achieving full protections for same-sex couples in all 50 states.

I have two giant stacks of nomination papers that I need to fill up with signatures, and about two months to do it. I'm obviously going to need help, so I am going to contact the Vote On Marriage people and MassEquality people to seek their support and manpower to achieve the goals of each via the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise.

On January 19th, 2010, please vote to send me, John Howard, to the Senate to resolve the marriage debate so we all can move on to other pressing issues.

8.04.2009

Good article explaining epigenetic imprinting

Scientific American has a nice article explaining epigenetic imprinting that should help people understand genetics a little better. Lots of people, even scientists, believe that the genes in a sperm and the genes in an egg are interchangable. As the article points out, Gregor Mendel's Laws of Inheritance assumed that it didn't matter which parent passed on which genes, and that incorrect assumption is strongly ingrained in the public's mind to this day. But now we are realizing that men and women have complementary genes.
When passing on DNA to their offspring, mothers silence certain genes, and fathers silence others. These imprinted genes usually result in a balanced, healthy brain, but when the process goes awry, neurological disorders can result.
When eggs and sperm are created by the process of meiosis in the gonads, two are created at a time by a stem cell that splits in two, dividing its pairs into two sets of single chromosomes randomly. Each gamete gets one chromosome from each of the 23 pairs, creating "haploid" cells from a "diploid" cell. Which single chromosome of each pair that each gamete gets, either from the mother or father, is random. In a man creating sperm cells, the original imprinting is stripped off of the genes that came from his mother, and new male imprinting is applied, so that it is ready to join with an egg. In a woman, the opposite happens, female imprinting is applied to the chromosomes she inherited from her father and she passes on female imprinted genes.

Another new discovery is that the DNA in a sperm is more tightly packed than in an egg, with a small portion of the gene left "open":
But sperm don't have elaborate cells, just a tightly packed nucleus and a tail for swimming to the egg. So when they form, the histones are stripped off and replaced with another molecule called protamine, which shapes the DNA into an even tighter bundle, where the genes cannot be read. The British researchers have found, however, that CTCF protects some histones in sperm from being replaced, leaving about 4 per cent of the genome in an open conformation, so that its instructions can be copied. Since the pattern of exposed areas is not random, they believe it must have a purpose, and the simplest explanation is that it is a key that influences the developing embryo even before the father's genetic contribution has been unpacked.
Both of these recent discoveries are setbacks for same-sex conception, in that they show that reversing a person's imprinting is much more complex than anyone understands. But more than just being setbacks, they really show that it would be unethical to attempt to create sperm for a woman or an egg for a man for procreation.

7.12.2009

ABC Nightline: A World Without Men

Last night Nightline aired this report on the sperm-from-stem-cell news:

A World Without Men? Scientists create human sperm from stem cells. Will men soon be irrelevant?

I'm glad they aren't shy about focusing more on the same-sex conception angle rather than the infertility angle, as some stories did. But I wish they weren't so sensationalistic and jocular about it, as if the only issue was just male insecurity and silly worries about men no longer existing. They should have addressed the costs and implications of allowing same-sex conception and not implied the only issue was who would take out the trash. And they shouldn't have treated it as inevitable. That's especially disappointing because in England, where this report seems to have been produced, same-sex conception and genetic engineering are already prohibited, and Parliament is debating whether to change the ban to allow the use of stem cell derived gametes, and it looks like they will allow it for infertility but not same-sex conception. They could have been informative, instead of trying to make an entertaining Doctor Who episode (which is impossible, but I digress). Oh well.

But it's still a very provocative report that should get people talking, and it's great to see this story is finally breaking through the media blackout and starting to reach the American public.

5.25.2009

My reading of Eisenstadt v Baird

I find myself repeatedly discussing certain Supreme Court cases with lots of people around the blogosphere, and as they are often tangential to the point I'm making about stopping genetic engineering (not to mention even further off-topic to the thread I'm hijacking as it is), I thought maybe I should devote a blog post here to them, and just direct people to this post when they bring them up.

Eisenstadt v Baird is currently being touted by the commenter Carlo as declaring a right to have children outside of marriage in a long comment thread over at Opine Editorials. He cites the oft-cited passage that at first blush does seem to find such a right:
It is true that in Griswold the right of privacy in question inhered in the marital relationship.... If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free of unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.
Even though unmarried conception is irrelevant to my point about protecting conception rights within marriage, I think it is important to defend against the common idea that Eisenstadt declared a right for single people to bear children, and so struck down fornication laws in 1972.

Eisenstadt was about contraception, and I read it as saying that unmarried people have a right to use contraception to protect themselves from bearing or begetting a child, in case they lose self-control and make a regrettable spontaneous decision to have sex, or are raped. But I don't see it as saying that there is a right to have unmarried sex. Even that quote doesn't go so far as to say that single people have a right to actually bear a child - it only says that single people have a right to decide to bear a child, and presumably if they decide to, then they would go get married. It could have been written "matters so fundamentally affecting a person as bearing or begetting a child", but they added the words "the decision whether to", and opinions are carefully written, they don't add words just to conform to Iambic pentameter.

An analogy works pretty well here: a person without a motorcycle license has a right to decide whether or not to ride a motorcycle, right? But if they decide to, they either have to get a license, or risk getting caught and punished for riding without a license. The analogy to Eisenstadt would be that unlicensed riders have a right to wear helmets, states can't prohibited selling helmets to unlicensed people. Allowing unlicensed people to buy helmets doesn't endorse unlicensed riding, but it recognizes that prohibiting people access to helmets only puts them at greater risk if they ride anyway. The analogy seems strained because spontaneously riding a motorcycle is not as common a thing as "accidentally" going from making out to having intercourse in the heat of passion. What the court recognized was that respectable people DO sometimes have premarital sex (perhaps their own lovely daughters with their no-good boyfriends) and they should be allowed to protect themselves from rash passionate mistakes, or no-good boyfriends.

Also, note they allow for warranted government intrusion, and note that actually bearing and begetting a child is certainly NOT something that could be called "private", as a child is certainly a matter of public record, indeed a member of the public itself. So they would have to be out of their minds to think that bearing a child was a private matter - and clearly that's not what they were thinking. They were only thinking that unmarried people should have a right to protect themselves from pregnancy. I'd agree with that decision, but its a shame that they couldn't see that it would lead to more unmarried sex and therefore more unmarried pregnancies. Perhaps they thought that would be OK, what with new accurate paternity tests, etc.
Supporting my reading that they didn't strike down fornication laws in Eisenstadt is the fact that the court relied on Wisconsin's fornication law two years later to reach their decision in Zablocki v Redhail. And at the time of Eisenstadt, the case wasn't interpreted as striking down fornication laws or making unmarried sex legal, it was merely reported as being about access to contraception for unmarried people. It may seem like a hedge, but it's a legal distinction that is quite common, coming up in cases where property owners set lethal booby traps for robbers, and drug dealers sell lethal drugs to addicts - it shows that addicts and robbers have rights too, but those rights don't create a right to do drugs or rob.

4.19.2009

Love Makes A Family shuts down

Well, this is interesting: Love Makes A Family is apparently not enough any more, as the Connecticut organization is shutting down at the end of the year. They say it is because they've achieved their objectives (Connecticut now has same-sex marriage), but I think it is because their name and message are no longer in agreement with the new goals of the marriage equality movement. I have often reminded same-sex marriage advocates who were demanding same-sex conception rights that "love makes a family", and that same-sex couples do not need to be both biologically related to have a loving and close family. But of course my point was not appreciated, and it was clear that "Love Makes A Family" was an embarrassing anachronism contrary to the new goal of full equal marriage and conception rights. This action seems to prove it. I continue to believe that Love Makes A Family, but apparently they don't believe it anymore.

3.02.2009

Blankenhorn & Rauch's compromise is useless and unworkable

Ugh, what a flawed compromise Blankenhorn and Rauch came up with. It's a good premise, that we ought to work out a compromise based on some sort of principle, but that one is wildly off the mark. It suggests that churches exist outside the law and are opposed to civil authority, when in fact most religions consider civil authority to be God-given and teach that it should be respected. And practically speaking, how can a church not recognize a same-sex marriage or civil union? Most states have laws against knowingly officiating bigamist and other civilly-invalid marriages. A priest or minister would be punished for marrying a man and a woman if the woman was officially civilly unioned to another woman at the time, so they couldn't just ignore it, they'd have to recognize it. The compromise won't work.

Their compromise led Fitz at Opine Editorials to ask the question everyone is struggling with: “Why should couples of any kind receive special treatment from the government?” Well, why? Isn't it because we should give special treatment to couples that might conceive children together? Of course it is. We never give that special treatment to couples that we forbid from conceiving together, like siblings or people already married or children. We only give it to couples that society approves of procreating together, on the condition of them affirming their consent to procreate with each other and committing to each other as procreating partners.

What do Blankenhorn and Rauch say about whether or not to allow same-sex couples to attempt to conceive together? Blankenhorn has already in his book said that marriage is, anthropologically, defined as societal approval of procreation. And, that we should only allow procreation by a man and a woman. So it's a shame he didn't suggest that as the basis of the compromise with Rauch, instead of this useless "religious exemption" that is not only irrelevant to the real issues facing us as a society in the near future, but won't work because civil law is respected by the church and the state law applies within churches. It's outrageous to suggest that churches become outlaws.

The right compromise is to recognize state civil unions that are defined as identical to marriage with the sole exception of prohibiting, rather than protecting, procreation between the couple. Churches would have to recognize them, but they certainly wouldn't recognize them as marriages, because they wouldn't civilly BE marriages. In the situation described above, where a man and woman wanted to marry but one was in a same-sex civil union, they'd have to respect the law that says that this person has entered a civil agreement not to marry anyone while they are in this civil union, just like they'd have to (and want to) respect the civil law about siblings, and about people in secular marriages that wouldn't be performed by the church, or who are already married to someone who abandoned them. Churches tell couples in those situations that they have to respect the civil law, so they have to get a civil divorce or annulment before the church can officiate their wedding, even if the church doesn't believe the existing civil marriage to be a "sacred" or "real" marriage. That's what they'd have to tell a couple where one was in a same-sex civil union. They can't ignore the legal reality, but they wouldn't be forced to recognize any same-sex marriages, because there wouldn't be any. No same-sex couple would have conception rights.

It's a much better compromise, and it should be the compromise that Congress considers, because Congress also needs to prohibit genetic engineering and same-sex conception and making a baby any way other than joining a man and a woman's unmodified gametes.

What will happen if we enact their proposed compromise, and leave same-sex conception legal? Is a church supposed to "not recognize" the very existence of people created through same-sex conception? That's ridiculous.

2.09.2009

For the record...

For the record, my post on BMG that LGBT posters forced the editors to delete was about how there is indeed an unchanging constant element to marriage throughout history. I said that I'd read both Stephanie Koontz's and David Blankenhorn's recent histories of marriage specifically looking for any mention of marriages that did not have a right to conceive children together, and found none, zero. Every marriage, everywhere, had a right to have sex and conceive children together, using their own genes. There was a lead-in about how both sides of the debate bring up the same debunked points over and over again, and I mentioned how people sometimes try to prove me wrong by bringing up those infertile-cousin marriages and incarcerated prisoner marriages, but in neither case is the couple prohibited from conceiving children. That was pretty much the whole comment, it didn't even mention the issue of same-sex conception.

11.26.2008

Obama must know this won't work

President-elect Obama has posted his Civil Rights Agenda at his change.gov site. Among the items are these two which are relevant to this blog:
  • Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

  • Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
Regarding Civil Unions, how could he seriously be proposing Civil Unions with all the rights of marriage after every state court that has addressed the issue has said that is unconstitutional to use a different name for same-sex unions with the same rights? He said he "respects" the California court's decision, but that's hard to reconcile with supporting the very solution that they rejected as harmful and unconstitutional. The fact is, almost no one supports civil unions that are "marriage in all but name", even if they were constitutional, so it's not going to work. But he can still accomplish federal recognition of Civil Unions that give all those 1,100+ federal legal rights, and, he can do it in a way that preserves marriage and makes the Federal Marriage Amendment unnecessary: by enacting the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise to prohibit genetic engineering and same-sex conception by limiting conception to a man and a woman's sperm and egg, preserve marriage as conception rights, and recognizing Civil Unions that are defined as "marriage minus conception rights".

11.15.2008

New Scientist Editorial: Getting ready for same-sex reproduction

I wish I had seen this New Scientist editorial when it came out in February: "Getting ready for same-sex reproduction". It's no surprise that New Scientist magazine is smugly in favor of it and calls the "fears" of same-sex reproduction "largely irrational", as they have editorialized for same-sex marriage and against the irrational religions that oppose "science" many times in the past, but at least they called for a public discussion of the issue, right now. Too bad I hadn't seen this during the election.

Thanks to Dr. Maurice Bernstein at his Bioethics Discussion Blog for starting a discussion of the issue there and pointing his readers to the New Scientist editorial. I don't know Maurice's position as I just came across his long-running blog recently, but I think tries to be neutral on issues and just host a discussion. I hope he gets some interest and generates good discussion there.

11.06.2008

California should be the first to enact Recognition-Ready Civil Unions

In addition to the speculation about what happens to existing same-sex marriages in California (the options are: turned into the old DP's, voided, left standing but not 'recognized' in California, or, unlikely but suggested by some, still recognized but no new marriages issued), there is also the question of what prop 8 does to DP's if they want to go back to them. Does Prop 8 make DP's unconstitutional also? Well, no, it doesn't, but even so, they can't go back to those old DP's as they'd been defined either, because those were already unconstitutional.

The court said it is unconstitutional discrimination to call identical legal institutions different names for same-sex couples. Proposition 8 didn't amend the constitution to say that it was OK to now call identical institutions by different names, it said that only a man and a woman can be recognized as legally married. So it would still be just as unconstitutional now as it was seven months ago to use a different name for the same rights. If that opinion was right then (and I think it was) then it is still right today.

So uh-oh, it looks like there is a bit of a bind here. The only constitutional option is to make them unequal institutions, with different legal rights and protections. The best way to do that is with a "marriage minus one" formulation, so that all the other rights are known to be included. The right has to be intrinsic to marriage in order for it to be subtractable from marriage, such as the right not to self-incriminate your spouse, or the right to inherit property. It wouldn't work to say "marriage minus the right to vote", because that is an individual right, something done by individuals. It has to be something marriages have a right to do together, and something that same-sex couples don't want or need, or it would defeat the purpose.

How about...the right to conceive a child together using the couple's own genes? This has the advantage over other possibilities because it's something we need to ban as soon as possible anyhow, and there would be lots of long lasting benefits to banning it.

California should be the first state to enact "Federal Recognition Ready" Civil Unions that are defined as marriage minus the right to conceive children together, so that when Congress enacts the Egg and Sperm Law and repeals DOMA, their Civil Unions will match the necessary definition to be recognized as marriage and they could qualify immediately. Then other states would follow suit soon after.

9.22.2008

Kmiec: "Say 'no' to the Brave New World"

Finally! Prominent Constitutional Law professor Douglas Kmeic has written an op-ed for SFGate that raises the issue of same-sex procreation and how it relates to marriage. It doesn't go all the way to the conclusions I'd like it to, but it points in the right direction.
Separating marriage from procreation may also have other remote, but frightening, ill consequences. Society should be skeptical of wider use of asexual procreation. An earlier dark moment in U.S. history employed eugenics to forcibly sterilize the mentally disabled. The push for artificial wombs and the genetic manipulation of intelligence already peppers scientific literature - a push that would no doubt grow, accommodating even the minimal same-sex desire for simulating natural child birth - claimed to be of interest for 20-30 percent of same-sex couples. When carefully assessed, the acquisition of unnatural reproductive means often advances the interests of the very affluent through a libertarian exercise that would threaten all hope of democratic equality.

In a depopulating world, the claim that there is a universal right to marry regardless of gender becomes a frightening ally of a claimed universal right to access to genetically engineered children. People should reject this claim by returning traditional marriage to its rightful place.
The best part is that Professor Kmeic is a close advisor and supporter of Barack Obama, and used to advise Bush I and Reagan on Constitutional law too. So maybe he'll give Barack the right advice and he'll arrive at the right conclusion, and come up with the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise on his own. He needs to advise Obama to start using conception rights as the distinction between civil unions and marriage, and to start actually opposing same-sex marriage in states that already have it, as opposed to having "no problem" with it, and saying that same-sex couples should have all the rights of marriage. He needs to say that same-sex couples in Civil Unions should have all the rights of marriage except the right to conceive children together using their own genes, which should remain the essential right of marriage, and be reserved for a man and a woman.

9.14.2008

A vote for Democrats is a vote for Gattaca

Joe Biden gave a talk last week where he revealed the real hopes of Democrats for Embryonic Stem Cell research. Here is his quote:
“I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have both the joy, because there's joy to it as well, the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect. Well guess what folks? If you care about it, why don't you support stem cell research?”

Biden received a thunderous ovation when he made the remark at a town hall style meeting this morning in Columbia.
First of all, the Republicans do support stem cell research and always have, they just don't support embryonic stem cell research, which involves creating a new embryo and pulling it apart into disorganized embryonic cells, which destroys its chance to be born. Adult stem cell research (where pluripotent stem cells are created directly from skin cells or marrow cells, and no new embryo is created) has already produced treatments and made great progress, and Republicans support it fully.

So why do Democrats give a thunderous ovation for embryonic stem cell research? Well, there's a big clue when Biden talks about birth defects, and suggests that "if you care about it, why don't you support stem cell research." The insistence on embryonic research can only mean one thing: they ultimately aspire to do genetic intervention to prevent birth defects by designing the embryo's genes.

That there would be "a thunderous ovation" indicates that there is far more being cheered for than stem cell research. There are far too many Transhumanists and people who call for designer babies to think their brand of thinking would not find a comfy home in that crowd of Biden supporters. That applause was for the whole promise of genetic intervention, perfect designer babies, and not having any babies with birth defects in the first place. In the context of "the difficulty of raising a child with a developmental disability" (note his need to carefully remind the crowd that there could be joy in raising an imperfect baby, lest they thunderously boo), it's clear the Democrats are calling for Designer Babies and genetic intervention.

The Republican platform, on the other hand, calls for a ban on Cloning and experimentation on embryos (not sure what their definition of cloning is, hopefully it would be a blanket ban on all conceptions that do not combine sperm of a man and an egg of a woman, like Missouri's ban).

The Democrats call for embryonic and genetic research and reproductive freedom. The Democrats insist on same-sex conception being legal. On BlueMassGroup, they even refuse to condemn Will Saletan's incredible call for genetic intervention to raise IQ's of Nigerian babies. Are they out of their minds?

A vote for Obama and the Democrats is a vote for Gattaca. For government regulated, state funded eugenics and same-sex conception, coercive genetic intervention, and the loss of basic human rights to have a natural child.

8.07.2008

Why Civil Unions Are Right For Same-Sex Couples

[I just submitted this to Alternet.org]

There is one right that all marriages should have that same-sex couples should not have: the right to conceive children together, to create genetically related offspring from the couple's own genes.

Attempting to create children by joining the genes of two men or two women is radically unethical and unnecessary and is a wrong-headed goal and a mis-use of resources. It requires genetic modification to reverse the epigenetic imprinting that makes male and female gametes complementary so they can join together to make a new human genome. It is not just a new form of IVF, it is a radical push into genetic engineering of human beings that should not be allowed, not just because of the high risk of genetic defects in the child, but primarily because of how it would effect society and individual reproduction rights if we allowed people to be created from engineered genomes.

But it is currently legal, and many researchers are working on techniques to enable same-sex couples to conceive using stem-cell derived gametes. And though most same-sex couples are not the least bit interested in having their children be guinea pigs and do not feel that shared biological connections are required to have a loving family, there are also many that are eager to try it. It is not science fiction, it is perhaps just a year or two away from being attempted by a reckless lab and an emotionally manipulated couple.

Congress should ban cloning, same-sex conception, and other forms of human genetic engineering with an "egg and sperm law" that would prohibit conceiving children by any means other than joining an egg of a woman and a sperm of a man, unadulterated and unmodified so that they are truly "of" the person.

This ban would create a distinction in the rights of same-sex couples and man-woman couples that should match the distinction between marriages and civil unions: marriages should guarantee the couple the right to attempt to conceive children together, civil unions should be defined by states as being exactly like marriage except lacking conception rights.

At the same time they enact the "egg and sperm" anti-cloning law, Congress should make two more additional laws. The second law would be to recognize state civil unions as marriages for all federal purposes, if the state civil union is defined as being exactly like marriage except lacking conception rights. This would provide states with uniform Civil Union language that would make it possible to enact CU's in all fifty states, even those that have prohibited giving same-sex couples the rights of marriage in their constitutions. The third law would define in federal law that no marriage in the United States can be prohibited from attempting to conceive children using the couple's own genes, and affirm that all people have an equal right to marry and procreate. Together, these laws would truly preserve marriage, while also limiting it to a man and a woman.

These three laws make up "The Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise" and should be enacted immediately. There is no reason to wait, and doing it before the election will allow people to be free to vote on other issues rather than being held hostage to their position in the marriage debate.

8.05.2008

What is a woman?

There were some interesting articles in the New York Times recently about testing female athletes at the Beijing Olympics if they were "suspected" of being male. (article and op-ed)

I agree with those articles that verifying gender is needlessly intrusive and problematic and should not be done for athletes, but disagree when the articles veer from athletics and try to assert the broader Postgenderist position that sex itself is needless and obsolete, malleable and fluid, and should not be fixed or determined by anyone for any reason. What does it mean to "live as" a gender, if not an offensive embrace of stereotypes?

There is of course one area where sex matters: reproduction. People with intersexed conditions, XXY chromosomes, and fluid gender expression have always existed, but never has any person reproduced as both a man and a woman, never has anyone both fathered and mothered offspring. Every person has one sex which they are most likely able to reproduce as, and one sex (the other sex) with whom they are most likely able to reproduce with, and that never changes throughout a person's life. It might not match, and need not define, the legal or social or apparent sex by which a person lives or even believes themselves to be, but it usually does and always should (though its OK when it doesn't). But that "most-likely-to-conceive-as" sex is what matters when it comes to reproduction: people should only be allowed to conceive as the sex which they are most likely to succeed as. After we enact the egg and sperm law, labs would make that determination if they are hired to facilitate a conception. Obviously merely living as or legally being the other sex cannot be a way around the egg and sperm law, or the law will not shut the door on genetic modification. But that lab-determination would be private, the public wouldn't know why the couple was unable to conceive.

On the other hand, if a couple is publicly, legally, a same-sex couple, but both-sexed by their most-likely-to-conceive-as sex, they would be publicly prohibited from attempting to conceive, even though their genes were in fact complementary. A lab would have to turn same-sex couples away at the door after looking at their legal sex, they wouldn't even get to the stage where genetic imprinting matters. If they were somehow able to do it naturally even though presenting as a same-sex couple, that should be cause to correct their legal sex (though not their gender expression).

To sum up, these articles are wrong that sex is fluid and cannot be defined. A woman is someone who would most likely be able to conceive with a man, a man is someone who would be most likely able to conceive with a woman. People should only be allowed to conceive as the sex which they are most likely to succeed as, and should be assigned that sex at birth, and their fertility and sexual identity should be protected as they grow up so that they are able to marry and procreate.

7.23.2008

"We Must Choose"

"We are now at the point in history where we must choose whether or not to subject human nature to market forces and industrial production systems."

That's from "Genetic Modification: This Time It's Personal", an excellent issue paper from Human Genetics Alert urging the British Parliament to not allow scientists there to create genetically modified human embryos. The vote on Britian's Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill has been "delayed until Autumn". You can find a link to download the whole HGA paper here at Alliance For Humane Biotechnology.

7.09.2008

Some Transhumanism Articles

The cloyingly intellectual webzine The Global Spiral devoted their June issue to Transhumanism; hat tip to Austrailian Transhumanist Russell Blackford who critiqued each of the six articles on his blog MetaMagician3000. The article by Ted Peters starts with a darn good summary of what Transhumanists generally believe and value, but in the second half he winds up pulling his punches so as not to seem a "luddite" and seems to endorse a "careful" version of Transhumanism that keeps a watchful eye out for bad applications. Perhaps that's why Russell thought it was the best article. Katherine Hayles also chickens out, making a point to disagree with Francis Fukayama (who I've emailed a couple times), saying "I do not necessarily agree with Fukuyama’s argument that we should outlaw such developments as human cloning with legislation forbidding it". I think she, like most people in this debate, is making the mistake of not appreciating what a ban would do.

Most Transhumanists frame the question as: should we keep moving toward this post-human future, where we could eradicate diseases and enhance human capabilities and even achieve Universal super-intelligence, or (the sole alternative), should we let the "anti-science" and "luddite" Chicken Littles keep us stuck in this disease-ridden world because they fear change? They never consider that a ban would be change, and they are desperately trying to maintain the status quo. A ban on genetic engineering would be a radical and revolutionary change, not only causing a massive shift in funding to health care and prevention and research aimed at helping existing people today, but it would have an enormous positive effect on every person's sense of responsibility and self-worth, by affirming each of our lives as fully equal and deserving of dignity and respect. Affirming that all people are and forever will be "created equal" as the child of a man and a woman, and have the same right as everyone to reproduce with their unmodified gametes, will be a big change, it will make people stop assuming that technology is our only hope, that we are only in the way. Instead, we will be the only hope, and that affirmation of our responsibility as an integral part of nature will be felt the world over. Choosing to maintain the Transhumanist status quo is missing out on how beautiful life will be in a post-Transhumanism world. We need to put Transhumanism behind us as soon as possible.

7.02.2008

Obama Needs Help On Marriage

Barack Obama is rightly taking heat all over the blogosphere for his inconsistencies on same-sex marriage. But could they all be explained by his ignorance of same-sex conception? If it turns out, after learning about the efforts to enable people to conceive genetically-related offspring with a same-sex partner, that he believes that it would be unethical to attempt it and that people should only be allowed to conceive with someone of the other sex, then he could use that distinction to explain his opposition to same-sex marriage. Marriages, he could say, should continue to protect the couple's right to conceive children together, while Civil Unions should provide all the other rights and protections that he has been saying same-sex couples should have access to. Hopefully he does not want to strip the protection of conception rights from marriage and allow states to prohibit a validly married couple from using their own genes to conceive children together.

6.22.2008

Also, negligent lawyers

In the post below, I challenged the blogosphere's prominent marriage defenders and bioethicists to explain why they aren't calling for a Missouri-style "egg and sperm" law banning the use of modified gametes. While I'm at it, I should also challenge the blogosphere's prominent lawyers, such as Jack Balkin, Eugene Volokh, Ann Althouse, Dale Carpenter, Andrew Koppelman, etc (man there are lots of them) to end their silence on this subject and offer their expert opinion. I have posted many comments over the years at their blogs, and never once has one of them replied to me that I was wrong. I think that's interesting.

When I pester them enough, they generally respond that they simply aren't interested in the subject, or haven't thought about it, which is total bullshit: they just don't want the subject to be raised yet, they think they can just ignore me and pretend that they've never been asked if conception rights are the sine qua non of marriage and if the state might have an interest in stopping same-sex conception or genetic engineering before it happens. There are students studying genetics law and reproductive law in law schools today, but lawyers are never disinterested parties. That whole lucrative, interesting field will be gone if Congress enacts the Egg and Sperm Compromise. Just like the "marriage experts" and the "bioethicists", these are people that have a vested interest in extending the controversy indefinitely and bringing us slowly down the slippery slope one expensive case at a time.

Well here is the challenge to the above law profs: explain to me where I am going wrong. Engage in a discussion here with me, tell me about how marriage and conception rights are related or not related, or whatever. Just address the damn subject already.