Overheard on CNN.com: What is a 'marriage' anyway? Prop 8 commenters debate
In light of a federal appeals court's ruling against Proposition 8, readers are talking about the meaning of marriage.
February 7th, 2012
04:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What is a 'marriage' anyway? Prop 8 commenters debate

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

A federal appeals court ruled against Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. It argued that the ban unconstitutionally singles out gays and lesbians for discrimination. People hashed out the finer points, but there are plenty of thorny questions involved. What is the definition of "marriage"? Who has a say in what parts of people's lives? What will the impacts of this decision be?

Appeals court rejects California's Proposition 8

This reader said they don't understand the controversy.

1doctor: "Kim Kardashian's 90-day marriage (for publicity) and Britney Spears' one-week marriage consummated during a drunken state in Las Vegas is legal, recognized and upheld as a foundation of society this is worthy of protecting. But, my 30+ year monogamous committed relationship with my same-sex 'partner' (hate that word) is illegal; a threat to marriage and the family. Maybe ... just maybe one day, our U.S. Supreme Court will settle this once and for all, making marriage equality real for all of us across this great nation."

But this person said they stand by their beliefs. Some agreed, and some did not.

M1sf1ts: "I will not condone, accept, or recognize a gay partnership as a marriage, nevermind the law."

worktolive: "Neither I nor my children nor my grandchildren nor any generation thereafter. They will be taught it is a sinful lifestyle and against God's will. And if our schools try to make our kids accept this against parents' wishes - homeschool or send them to a Christian school."

This was the most-liked comment:

yooobetcha: "This is a very bad day for religious fanatics who want to legislate their hate."

One interesting discussion started about the motivations behind the ban and possible impacts of the decision against it.

queersmurf: "The main point in this whole appeals process is that judge after judge is finding the same thing that makes this entire thing unconstitutional ... that the opposition hasn't and can't give a rational, reasonable reason that this ban should be upheld. All they have is personal religious beliefs and prejudiced opinions that cannot and should not be enshrined into law. And this has been the crux of the debate from the start – the reasons being given as to why some people think this should be upheld are irrational, unreasonable and are based solely in personal opinion and religious belief rather than on fact. And the facts speak for themselves: no straight marriage will be affected by this, no religious person, organization or entity will be forced to do something against its will, no religious freedoms or liberties are being removed as nobody is telling religious people they can no longer have their marriage as they see fit. The list goes on but I think I've made my point."

Ethnya: "Not yet. One day, a gay man will apply for a position at a local parish, or a gay couple will request to be married in a church building that has been allowed to be used for a fee. The conflict against their religious beliefs will forbid them, and they will sue. This has already happened in California, and the church lost its tax exempt status, de facto religious persecution. It's only a matter of time."

Some said it's an issue of reproduction, although some argued on that point.

matybostonZ: "I takes a straight couple to make a gay person."

imkookoo: "Not necessarily if you have a gay sperm donor and a lesbian surrogate."

One reader said it's difficult to ask people to vote on some issues.

CathyfromK: "Civil rights should never have been put to a vote in the first place. Segregation would have lasted another generation if it had been subject to a vote in Mississippi. Interracial marriage might still be banned. You have the right to marry the consenting adult of your choice. Simple."

Others debated the terminology of "marriage" versus "civil unions."

DohickeyJoe: "I am heterosexual, I am a conservative, and I will be voting Republican in this election ... and I 100% agree with the Appeals Court. Homosexuality is not a 'choice' or a 'lifestyle' or 'fashionable' - not for real homosexuals. And those people should absolutely be allowed to marry each other if they choose. My only question is this. Does a civil union come with the same rights and benefits as a marriage? If so, then why push for the 'marriage' label, which has more religious connotations than legal connotations? Religion, as you know, hasn't been kind to homosexuals."

thobrg: "No, the same rights to not apply to civil unions as to marriage. That's why I think all government sanctioned "unions" whether gay or hetro couples should be civil unions with equal rights. States should issue civil union licenses to all and make judges available to have the union ceremony. If a couple wants to get "married" keep that label for churches who wish to perform the marriage ceremony based upon that church's doctrine. Some will 'marry' gay couples, some will not. Some churches may only want to 'marry' gay couples and not straight. This way federal and state rights could be applied equally."

This commenter offered another definition of "marriage."

wellthen1616: "Marriage is not a right. Tax benefits, hospital visitation, civil liability claims relating to spouses, etc. are privileges that should be afforded equal protection. Marriage is something old and stupid that was created by religion and they can do with it what they want. What the government can't do is provide married people with certain benefits and protections and deny those same things to other couples who can't marry."

Along the same thread, there were a couple of commenters who said the comparison of marriage to racial equality doesn't quite work.

upsetinCA: "Mixed race marriages can have children. Try getting that with two dudes. I have no problem with same-sex partnerships and certain legal/insurance protections, but to me "marriage" is something different and if a MAN and a WOMAN want to get married – best of luck to them, regardless of their ethnic make-up."

nalda: "Marriage is between a man and woman ... period. There is nothing 'hateful or bigoted' about that belief. The polygamists, pedophiles and others will use 'freedom' and 'bigotry accusations' for their twisted logic just the same as the gays."

This person said they are conservative but still liked the decision.

RKW29: "I consider myself a conservative but I have no problem with Gays marrying. It does not effect me or my life or my family. The only reason other conservatives are against it is because of a reference in the Bible and having nothing to do with their American way of life. Get over it and let these people be happy. If there is a God, let him judge them. They are not hurting anyone."

IggyDad: "Are you sure you still have a place in what the Republican Party has become?"

RKW29: "IggyDad, you would be surprised. Many real conservatives or moderate conservatives have the same viewpoint. We agree with less government intrusion in our lives, more individual accountability and are very patriotic, but are annoyed by the vocal religious right's morality war."

Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Mary

    Your playing around with your potenial to have a beautiful enternity Donna and I call you Donna because this is not a game. Just think if this life is all you really want and if so then keep going down the road your headed on, otherwise think long and hard about What God says and not some blogger on Cnn that wants you to play with her.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy ©

      My road to eternity is on course.
      You wouldn't know that, of course, because you do not know what my beliefs really are, and never did.
      I do not care what anyone's beliefs are, really, as long as they do not infringe on the rights of every citizen in this country, whether *I* believe it personally to be right or wrong.
      Live your life as you see fit; let others do the same.
      Worry about your own salvation; what two women who love each other want to do is none of anyone's concern but their own.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    But mary, isnt that EXACTLY what your doing? And im referring to your last post, about playing with some blogger! I dont believe god would want you to badger people and every persons interpritation of the bible is dif. Doesnt mean yours is right nor wrong

    February 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. chrissy

    And i must say this *anal fixation* that you and Philip have isnt healthy! How can one go thru life with THAT focus alone?

    February 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. banasy ©

    3:23 comment meant for Zildane.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mary

    Trying to live ones life by Gods laws while stating ones opinions based upon facts of the Bible in a dogmatic manner may seem to some as infringing on others; yet those here continuously debate issues as though we are caratictors of the Supreme court.

    This is about the one and only REAL God and his WORD to live by if we wish to obtain enternity.
    This is about real peoples eternal lives.
    This is about real people who have been scaved in life. Some more than others

    In the end it's about a choice to take the gift God has offered, and for those who don't know about God or what has to be done to obtain a chance to receive that gift based about the TRUTH of Gods WORD.

    February 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Rational Libertarian

    Great day for gay rights. There are absolutely no arguments against gay marriage which are not based on archaic dogmatic beliefs which have no place in a modern democracy. It's strange that there are some people who would like to turn the US into an Iran-like theocracy (looking at you Santorum).

    February 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rebelwolf625

    Marriage is a RELIGIOUS ceremony. If our government is truly bound to separate church and state, then there should be a different process by which couples are recognized as a single unit. And in that, there is no need to discriminate against gays and lesbians. If the religious ceremony is important to a couple, by all means, go ahead and have it. But that should not be a determining factor in a country that separates the church from the state government. All couples should have to form a civil partnership in order to be recognized by the government if we truly live by that principle. Marriage itself shouldn't matter. I mean, baptism doesn't count for anything with the government. A bar mitzah doesn't suddenly make you a legal adult in the eyes of the government. Why should the RELIGIOUS ceremony of marriage be any different? This protects those who cry that marriage is 'sacred to God' but affords the ability to form a partnership to those who live by a differing lifestyle the ability to have the same type of partnership IN THE EYES OF OUR GOVERNMENT. After all, the government is not God, right? Why should religions care what the government recognizes? The government is not there to protect any one religious belief, it is there to protect ALL people.

    February 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. chuckly

    Wanting to keep gay marriage illegal because it is against your religion is like wanting doughnuts banned because you are on a diet.

    March 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. thessaloniki shopping

    Hello there, I found your blog by way of Google while looking for a related matter, your web site got here up, it seems great. I've added to my favourites|added to my bookmarks.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
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