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 (143 Responses)
  1. leeintulsa

    define sodomy. the dictionary says any of various forms of.. basicly, anal s e x between men (i guess it's ok for men and women – open the gates, ladies) or beastiality. i put it to you, mary, that you need to be more specific.. what a stupid word..

    February 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      No lee, anal s e x is not ok with God even between men and women.
      Again ladies does it feel right or wrong when a man does that?
      That hole is for things to come out NOT go in.

      The first marriage was between a man and women
      The purpose of marriage was to fill the earth
      I hope that this explains my stance on this issue and do NOT confuse my obeying Gods word with being a

      Hater or bigot

      February 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Ya know the problem with the bible? It's hearsay. It would never stand up in a court of law.

      You go live however you want. Please allow me to do the same.

      You're not hating or being a bigot. You just seem incredibly shallow and narrow minded... Why do you care what other people do? Will it, somehow, impede your progress to heaven, which I hear is already full..? Really, what business is it of yours what people do in their own lives?

      February 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Adam and Eve sure did populate the earth using a lot of incest, and that's fine...right?

      February 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      apparently, the whole religion is based in incest. Abraham? That guy who all religions reference when they say the god of abraham? His daughters? Keeping the seed alive?

      That was enough to show me this was not the book for me.. And I read alot of raunchy books..

      February 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That's my point exactly, lee...there is a lot of things in the Bible that are contradictory...
      My question:
      Are the majority of anti-gay marriage folks posting here really just objecting because of that word that is tossed around here so frequently...sodomy...involved?
      Um...lesbians don't that...
      Are people aware that the word 'gay' refers to both genders?

      February 7, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    Gods word also says be kind to others, treat others as you would have them do unto you! And if im of the same mind as banasy than i consider myself in good company!

    February 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Supporter

    What in this world do some people do sit around and try to figure out all of these words?who cameup with this word anyways. Im a bi male but i dont go to the back door on me or anybody else!!!!! But i have to support this movement. The only way is to quiet this issue down so every body can get some rest. Im not in an relationship, and dont plan on it any time soon, why because i can live without the drama but i do support the gay lesbian community

    February 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    And last i knew mary, the bible was comprised with alot of one liners!

    February 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    lmao ok mary, how about if they agree to oral only?

    February 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Ahhh...but isn't that oral *sodomy*...? lol

      February 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mary

    @ lee, I replied to your 7:14 post
    I'm done on this one for the night
    So long

    February 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    I dont think youre a hater mary, in fact i think youre quite smart! When youre not letting that other person do youre thinking for you. Which is EXACTLY why im anti-marriage! And am still against that, EXIT ONLY!

    February 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      The will of the people just got thrown out the window. No mention of that here but that is not surprising

      February 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    I believe my opinions are my own when I have read for myself what the bible has to say. Philip is the best friend I have ever had and will remain so.

    Good night

    February 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    Lmao @ jj, the government no longer runs on the *will of the people* theme!

    February 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      chrissy I can't tell if your being a smart ass or being serious. Lol

      February 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    And lee, lmao, the day of reckoning hasnt arrived yet so no one is in heaven yet! Lol.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @chrissy: so where are they?

      February 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fc

    Watch out California! Marriage is between a man and a woman. God is not please and will not be mocked! He created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam or Eve and Eve.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • epiphany82

      "Adam & Adam or Eve & Eve". BTW, your talking about cloning. Wrong issue buddy. Just saying...

      February 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    @ lee, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and when the day of reckoning comes, they will arise from the dust. If chosen only. Something i only just learned myself. I always thought the same as you until i was shone diferently recently.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      lol.. shown differently? someone came back from the dead and said, 'no, we're all still here.. stuck in this hole waiting for jesus'...lol.. I can tell you *some* people have been there for a very long time..

      February 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kelvinhanratty

    Reblogged this on kelvinhanratty and commented:
    Interesting comments. Some really need their head sorted, esp 'nalga'.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    How about calling it carriage, because one shouldn't CARE who one marries?

    February 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa


      February 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      there are already more than a few definitions for carriage.. Doesn't english suck that way?

      Maybe concername? Cuz it doesn't concername?

      February 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Marry who you want.
    There is no logical reason on Earth not to.
    If one wants to marry, contrary to what one believes is God's laws, then let that person worry about their spiritual state.
    It is no one's business.
    Want to be against gay marriage?
    Be against it.
    But thank God that it cannot be legislated into law, as it is unconsti tutional, being that it is taking away the cilvil rights of many.
    I am glad to live here.
    I am glad that impartiality prevailed.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
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