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. Portland tony

    Aside from all the fluff, marriage is just a legal contract. To break that contract you must appear in court. Any two sane individuals can enter into a legal contract. Nuff said!

    February 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    lmao @ lee, i was *shown* in the bible ya goof. And @ jj, most times i am a smartass, however when it comes to your comment about the will of the ppl i was serious. Our government is corporate motivated not citizen. Sorry if i confused you lol.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. leeintulsa

    @nsaidi: I was replying to you again because my response to your response to my comment got deleted.. Then I noticed YOUR response to my comment got deleted.. We all must fear the comment slasher..

    February 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. leeintulsa

    woah.. they all just came back..

    February 7, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. leeintulsa

    Sorry about all this drivel.. and yes, blue and black tonight.. Mary said she commented to a post I did earlier, and since what time I posted it means nothing to someone who can't page back on a phone, I had to get on the computer.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    Talk about trolling? Not one comment on the subject.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      They were all on topic.. until the slasher came and took away the essential posts to make it all make sense..

      someone, maryashley7, rolled out the first post.. I rolled out the second – both relating to marriage and/or gaydom. Everyone responded to them, then they got deleted.. The nsaidi comment? That was a reply to my comment, technically the third post made on the thread. It was deleted a little while ago, then came back with alot of my meaningless 'register a complaint' posts..

      Now everyone's floating around trying to restart cuz the head of the comments got chopped off.. so to speak..

      February 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The6thsense

    Let gays marry and suffer like any other married couple 🙂 equality for all

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

    @ The6thsense
    that's a good one.
    seriously though its between upholding the Bible and upholding the Constitution. I wonder which of these made us great? And that's a no-brainer.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. saywhat

    @ The6thsense
    That's a good one.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. saywhat

    seriously though its between upholding the Bible and upholding the Constitution and the spirit of Americanism.
    Ever wonder which of these made this nation great? And that is a no-brainer.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. saywhat

    seriously though its between upholding the Bible and upholding the Constitution.
    Ever wonder which of these made this nation great? And that is a no-brainer.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BOMBO ©

    I would like to issue a complaint about people who complain about people complaining. Every second random comment relating to such complaints should be deleted, then the resonses to those deleted comments should then be bundled into a to be deleted section before the entire thread is then deleted. Some of the deleted comments, after being carefully reviewed versus their corresponding complaints, could then be reposted in their original order, but in a special undeleted thread section, not to be confused with the to be deleted thread section. Simple?

    February 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Sorry about the confusion. I deleted a couple obvious outdated delete requests for the sake of clarity. One suggestion I can give you is look at the timestamp of a comment or reply, and that will give you a clue as to whether the remark is current or a bit older.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      Holy crap. I'm so confused after that one bombo. The beer isn't helpin matters!

      February 8, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mary

    @ BOMBO ©, You said it all ! 😉

    February 8, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    Lmao @ 6thsense, perfect! Marriage is like a 3 ring circus, lst, the engagement ring, 2nd, the wedding ring, and 3rd, the suffer ring!

    February 8, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. green3ey3z

    It's crazy how people want to speak against religion when it comes to their "freedom" or "rights". How can you argue that the law should not appeal to religious views in matters of gay marriages when the law repeatedly uses religion to support their beliefs?? For example, the pledge of allegiance, if I am not mistaken, is cherished by all Americans and is taught to you when you began school, speaks on one nation under God. So please save me the ridiculous theatrics. People choose to be religious only in certain aspects of their lives, and not all. When it comes to fighting a war, innocent people are risking their lives for a nation who speaks on serving God. Atheists, polygamists, pedophiles, or whatever else the case may be, if you consider yourself American, then you abide by the pledge of allegiance and therefore you should technically be religious. You can't argue that you're an American and not be religious. It's hypocritical. Furthermore, marriage comes from the bible and it states that it is a union between a man and woman. I understand that gays get judged (we live in a cruel world) but nonetheless you should not try to change the definition of marriage. You aren't being hauled to jail for being gay (and though some cases are brutal and violent) on a daily basis so feel free to do as you please. You have that right as stated in the Constitution. Live with your "partner" in a monogamous relationship or what have you. But one thing that you can't do is try to marry someone of the same sex because that is disrespectful to religion itself. I do not have an issue with homosexuals. It is something that I don't understand nor do I try to. I don't hate them, but as a religious person who believes in God, I do not agree that you should take a Godly sacrament and try to change it just so that you can get what you want.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
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