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Maryland Senate Warned Of Star Trek’s Data and Android Marriage February 10, 2011

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Great Links,TNG , trackback

This week has brought another intersection between Star Trek and politics. This time in a public hearing over marriage legislation in Maryland an argument was made warning of a future Data-like android from Star Trek: The Next Generation being able to marry.

 

 

Data and the threat of Android Marriage? 

Every once in a while Star Trek and politics collide, as they did again this week in a public debate with lawmakers in Maryland over proposed marriage equality legislation. Computer programmer and 2010 Republican nominee for congress Robert Broadus spoke at a hearing before the Maryland Senate about the legislation, and he warned lawmakers that if they change the marriage law in Maryland, they are opening the door to Star Trek android marriages, saying:

If you pass this bill you will set the groundwork that one day, when artificial intelligence is that advanced, you will be considering whether people will marry their androids. Anyone who’s watched Star Trek, you’ve seen the character Data …He was able to generate a tear, because he could feel emotion..If you say that any two people who love each other can get married, then you set that precedent. 


In "The Naked Now" Data declares he is "fully functional" – but can he marry?

If there were any Trekkies attending the hearing, they might have noted there was some Starfleet legal precedent regarding Data. Quoting Starfleet Judge Advocate General Captain Phillipa Louvois (from "Measure of a Man")

Is Data a machine? Yes. Is he the property of Starfleet? No. We’ve all been dancing around the basic issue: does Data have a soul? I don’t know that he has. I don’t know that I have! But I have got to give him the freedom to explore that question himself. It is the ruling of this court that Lieutenant Commander Data has the freedom to choose.


Captain Picard argues that Data is a sentient person in "Measure of a Man" – does he have the right to marriage as well?

Takei takes on Robosexual Marriage

In another Trek connection to the concerns of Android love, here is a clip of George Takei from last summer’s Futurama episode "Proposition Infinity" which dealt with the debate over "robosexual marriage".

Futurama Thursdays 10pm / 9c
Preview – No on Infinity
www.comedycentral.com
Futurama New Episodes Futurama New Episodes It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

 

Comments

1. Matthew McColl - February 10, 2011

If you were to legalize marriage to artificial beings, most people would marry their smartphones!

2. Jeyl - February 10, 2011

Android marriage? Why not?

3. JimJ - February 10, 2011

Then people wonder why so many are fed up with politicians. We seriously have political figures debating what will happen when our world turns in to a Star Trek world? I love Star Trek, but this borders on insanity!!!

4. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

The day will come when one will have to be adroit at hitting on an android!

“So, can I lube your gears for ya?”

5. The Realist - February 10, 2011

I have a question, one that will shape the future of the human race, it will all life on this Earth, it will make the debate on climte change seem small and insignificant! WIll it be Android marriange be restricted to just Android 2.1 or will it include 2.2? This must be answered, if it is not answered all life on this Earth will be DOOMED, DOOMED I say!

6. Yob Mosher - February 10, 2011

Excellent story Anthony.

7. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

5.

2.1 or 2.2?? What’s YOUR point?

8. Phil - February 10, 2011

We can’t have them their damn robots pro-cre-ate-ting now, can we?? Their bodily fluids doing…ugh…I can’t even think about it……if that happens it’s just a matter of time before dem dare robot babies rise up and enslave us all…..aaahhhhhhhhh

9. Adam Shepherdson - February 10, 2011

What about the upcoming Android 3.0? hm…

10. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

Hmmm. Here we go again!! Next thing you know a Hologram will want to Marry an Android of the same Gender. Ok. I am for Gay Marriage. But this is way out in Left Field.

11. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

Q: what do you call an annoyed android?

A: doesn’t matter. it’s so pissed off, it won’t come when you call it anyway.

12. Viking - February 10, 2011

Politicians. Meh. Well, if this keeps ‘em busy, at least they’re not coming up with new and inventive ways of spending our money. ‘Cuz we ain’t got none left to spend.

13. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

10.

So, if I marry a gorgeous hologram chick, is it a sham because she’s mostly “smoke and mirrors”?

14. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

Harry. For you. Anything is Possible. Especialy if you had Access to a Holodeck.

15. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

Two female androids apply for the same job. Which one gets it?

The one with the biggest nacelles!

Shwing!!

16. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

Look! Out! Everyone!. Harry is on a Jokeing Warpath. Hit the Deck!!!!!!!!
Not all of them are that good!!!!!.

17. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

14

Commodore Mike, I’d tell you to go do something to yourself, but if a holodeck is handy, it’s scary to think that you might actually do it! :>)

18. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

16.

“WHY SO SERIOUS??!!”

19. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

Hmm. Harry. If I had access to a Holodeck i would recreate Erica Durance. Just for you.

20. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

I’m Not Serious Harry. Just being one of the 3 Stooges. Nyk Nyk Nyk.

21. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

I think I’d rather have the android!

22. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

20.

Yeah, I know that, but you said I was “Jokeing” around, so I quoted Ledger!

23. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

Harry. You want an Andriod Version of Erica Durance ?.

24. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

Q: what’s the difference between Durance android 2.1 and 2.2?

A: about six months!

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

oh, I think I wet myself!

25. Captain Dunsel - February 10, 2011

I think someone forgot to ask Mr. Broadus the most basic and important question: “So…?”

26. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

Harry. You are one of a kind. Thank God.

27. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

Yes, Commodore Mike, they tried to build an android of me, but he just sat in the corner “pulling his wire”!

28. losira - February 10, 2011

oh well to each their own, I cannot help thinking of a movie I saw “creation of the Humanoids” and this politician zealot reminds of a charterd member of “The Order of the Flesh @ Blood” acts like it too.

29. MvRojo - February 10, 2011

I guess this is what happens when fear-mongering meets stupidity.

30. keachick - February 10, 2011

Holy crap. Is this for real?

31. Dee - February 10, 2011

Yes, Lieutenant Commander Data has the freedom to choose … I absolutely agree with that … OMG! … LOL and +LOL!

Anthony Pascale, I admit and I surrender … you bring the best topics to be discussed here! :-) :-)

32. gingerly - February 10, 2011

LOLOLOLOL OMG!

Wow.
We’ve come to this??!

33. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - February 10, 2011

That’s It. everyone on this Post except for Harry and I get’s to spend some time in the Agoniser Booth.

34. Hat Rick - February 10, 2011

I find this fascinating. If an android is so realistic that s/he is indistinguishable from a human being, why NOT allow that android to marry?

And if an android is NOT so advanced as to be indistinguishable from a human being, then why would it be an issue?

Or is the existence of an android somehow against the wishes of the Creator? Are airplanes against the wishes of the Creator, then, since if he had wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings?

I’m genuinely perplexed about how some people think.

Perhaps it’s a matter of degree. Data isn’t truly human, although he’s more than a machine.

But see: “The Measure of a Man,” (TNG).

35. Shunnabunich - February 10, 2011

I think it all comes down to the argument — his argument — that marriage exists for the sole and exclusive purpose of facilitating the reproductive process, and nothing else. That if the pairing can’t produce larvae, it should be disallowed and looked upon with horror.

Clearly it hasn’t occurred to him that even if everyone who *wanted* to marry a sentient, emotional machine went ahead and did, there might be, oh, I dunno, a few (billion) OTHER people around to take care of the whole “perpetuation of the species” thing. It’s not like every last human on Earth would suddenly stop counting each other in the dating pool.

36. gingerly - February 10, 2011

@34

That’s what so sad and hilarious about his using this particular example. Data’s whole purpose of existence was about becoming human.

He often managed to be more human than those so-called humans he encountered.

TNG had many episodes, like the one you just mentioned devoted to debunking this man’s line of thinking.

It’s just crazy how much this man missed the point.

37. Hat Rick - February 10, 2011

35, thanks for your comments. It’s really ridiculous, at least as far as I’m concerned, to believe that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation. What does this say about all the marriages in the world in which one spouse is infertile? Or marriages between individuals, one of whom is past menopause? And does marriage become invalid or less valiable once someone is past the age or reproduction?

I am starting to think that the entire idea of state-sanctioned marriage should be invalidated simply because the state isn’t wise enough to laugh some of these claims out of the legislature or court, as the case may be.

Perhaps they should create a special classification for those who desire procreation-only marriage. But in that case, what’s to stop people from making the argument that they should be allowed to have sex outside marriage based on the idea that their children from their existing marriage are all grown? Wouldn’t this create a permission slip for infidelity after the age of childbearing or procreation? Wouldn’t this make a laugh stock out of marriage?

I’m sure all of this has been rehashed before. It’s obvious to me that no one wins from the endless and pointless debates over the persistence of state-sanctioned marriage.

If the goal of the state is to encourage a stable environment for children, then let it say so and create a special category of union called “procreative unions.” Why use the very word “marriage,” with all its religious baggage?

In other words, perhaps it’s best to junk the idea of state-sanctioned marriage and make simply a state-sanctioned union the sole replacement for state-sanctioned marriage to avoid this tiresome debate. This is a more libertarian idea and I think it’s one that we should consider.

Las Vegas marriages and quickie divorces already make the idea of the sanctity of state-sanctioned marriage something of a joke, anyway.

38. angie - February 10, 2011

Well at least that would solve the man shortage, wouldn’t it? LOL

39. Locke for President - February 10, 2011

Harry Mudd ended up with an android wife — that didn’t turn out so well for him!

How about an hot android mistress instead? — Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!

40. DJT - February 10, 2011

WTF? What does this guy got against androids? What did androids ever do to him?

Like, really, who wouldn’t marry Andrea from the TOS ep. WALGMO?

C’mon!

41. Bob Tompkins - February 10, 2011

My God, what a misogynistic, narrowminded, hateful point of view; not to mention downright stupid.
They better stop drinking their own tea!

42. DeShonn Steinblatt - February 10, 2011

Sex-bots for trekkies! Shyness and obesity no longer a problem. Plus they could be programmed to stay awake when you start droning on and on about the borg.

43. Basement Blogger - February 10, 2011

I would say something political here but was warned to not post about politics. All I can say, is that Star Trek TNG expanded the definition of sentient life to artificial beings. The crew had human emotions for Data. see Time’s Arrow. Picard went to save Data in First Contact. In the vieeogame Halo 3, the Master Chief rescoes an AI program as if she were a real woman. There might be a time where arrificial life becomes sentient. Think about it.

44. ITSBRY - February 10, 2011

These nutbags will say and do anything to be against marriage equality. What a laughable argument.

45. ITSBRY - February 10, 2011

These desperate nut bags will come up with any excuse to deny gays equal marriage rights. What a laughable argument.

46. Sebastian - February 10, 2011

Sounds like Maryland is getting an early head-start on future anti-android bigotry…

Why is it that bigotry and warfare seem to be the ONLY things that some of these thick-headed, low fore-headed government officials choose to get proactive about? And yes, I agree with #45; that is about the most ludicrous anti-gay marriage argument I’ve ever read.

Who gives a royal damn what two consenting adults (or one consenting adult human and one consenting, sentient android) do in the privacy of their own bedroom?? This, from the party that (supposedly) advocates for ‘smaller government’. Well, I think a good first step towards smaller government would be to get the HELL out of people’s sex lives already!
Move on; show’s over!

47. Red Dead Ryan - February 10, 2011

I believe at least one android has been married. Tom Cruise. And perhaps Keanu Reeves as well. :-)

48. Guido Fox - February 10, 2011

Throughout history there have been many other state-sanctioned reasons for marriage, such as political and economic consolidation between upper-class families, subjugation of conquered nations, and replacement (or additional) females for jaded males.

It seems to me that one difference between Left and Right is that the former wants to stay out of your bedroom but look into your dodgy financial or political dealings, while the latter would let dirty deals reign but camp out in your bedroom to observe you judgmentally with clipboard and camcorder. Notice I said “your” bedroom, not theirs.

49. Harry Ballz - February 10, 2011

Once you go ‘droid, your life is a void!

50. Dr. Cheis - February 10, 2011

… why does he want to take away Data’s right to marry? IMO this guy never watched Star Trek. He just heard there’s an android character on some space show in the future and brought him up, unaware that he is well-liked by fans and treated with the dignity of a human being.

Just wish I could hear Keith Olbermann’s response to this if his show were still on. It would have been pretty much what was said here, but louder and with graphics. Plus he seemed to enjoy referencing Trek when he could get away with it.

51. La Violetta - February 10, 2011

Perhaps the most hilarious part is that, when you really look at his argument, it pretty plainly states that love isn’t a primary criteria for marriage. Good to know those blowhards are keeping “values” in place. God, spare me these cretins…

52. Shunnabunich - February 11, 2011

@37: Amen, bro. Amen.

@42: …Exactly! :D

@51: Sad, but true. I think quite a few religious values are rooted in a time when the human species was much less plentiful and more worried about survival; the taboo against male masturbation, for example, probably has a lot to do with the mere fact that the end product doesn’t end up in a woman. That was a real problem back thousands of years ago when you HAD to be popping out babies. Then they become culturally ingrained habits, then institutions, without anyone examining if they’re still relevant.

53. JMAN - February 11, 2011

I have a feeling that marriage isn’t going to exist the way it does now by the time that this stuff becomes an issue… you know, in a hundred years or so.

54. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - February 11, 2011

And when we have paranoid androids, we’ll have to give them robot antidepressants, too!

55. Daoud - February 11, 2011

@41 It isn’t tea they’re drinking.

Plenty of Republicans and fiscal conservatives who like the “Taxed Enough Already” side of the T.E.A. parties are true libertarians as am I, and wish for equality in marriage too.

If people usually on the left would *realize* this, they would find that the Equality issue could be won without painting the whole right side with a sloppy brush.

Marriage is the union of two sincere, sentient, self-chosen soulmates, period, end of sentence.

56. Niall Johnson - February 11, 2011

No mention of Rabbits! Or am I being a git?

57. Pierss - February 11, 2011

@55
The left cant hear the libertarian message because your message is getting drowned out by the religious nuts, fear mongers and air-head hockey mom wannabe- presidents.

We get it that you don’t want to be told what to do and I support that, but the Palins , Becks and their supporters will certainly want to know if you light up a joint or what your fetish is.

58. Red Dead Ryan - February 11, 2011

54

I believe that Radiohead warned us all about paranoid androids in their song, “Paranoid Android”……

59. Trek Nerd Central - February 11, 2011

I’m glad someone spoke up about this. Because I’m really worried that in the future, my coffee pot will marry my salad spinner.

It could happen. Not only that, this is all a MUCH more pressing problem than, say, job creation or the war in Afghanistan.

60. I am not Herbert - February 11, 2011

…yeah, and if my gramma had wheels, she’d be a wagon! ;-)

61. I am not Herbert - February 11, 2011

…i’d marry an android before i’d marry some of the hateful idiots on this planet… who claim to be “human beings”… =(

62. TBW - February 11, 2011

55)

Or, if more of you so-called “true libertarians” (I don’t mean that as an insult, I’m just not sure I buy it) would be more vocal about supporting marriage equality, the wide brush would be harder to use, eh?

Sentients should be able to marry sentients, within appropriate legal structures.

63. Bob - February 11, 2011

And this is what we’re spending tax dollars on…

64. losira - February 11, 2011

well I say marry who or what makes you both be happy. its strange how reproduction sprang up.In the movie I mentioned Cragis @ Maxine were engaged upon discovering their true selvies as R-96s they were offered an option becoming R-100s by suegical proceedures to have kids. So the great debates….life will find a way

65. scifib5st - February 11, 2011

I’m not sure, but if you went back and read some of the comments when whites started pushing west to open up this country, you would probbly find the same type of “back ward thinking”…. or when blacks married whites, more “back ward thinking”….
Lean Forward, think forward…. Think!!!

66. Josh H - February 11, 2011

42: “Droning” on and on about the Borg? Pun intended?

67. D.Chris - February 11, 2011

All I had to do was read the title and I automatically thought “Republican” and I was right. They’re love of the slippery slope argument is amazing.

This will lead to this which will lead to this and then this and on and on and on and finally it will destroy us all.

Republican politicians are really kind of sad and I’d pity them if so many of their decisions didn’t affect so many people.

68. Phil - February 11, 2011

No android marriage….vibrators are okay, though.

69. Guido Fox - February 11, 2011

67: Also known as the “thin end of the wedge” argument.

70. Phil - February 12, 2011

67. D.Chris – February 11, 2011

Actually, you can find plenty of Democrats who embrace the slippery slope arguement, too. I’ve listened to plenty of environmental arguements where it was proposed to spend millions to save some insect, as failure to do so would mean the end of man. Here in the great bankrupt state of CA the Dem’s have ruled the roost for a while now, and it is sad that so many of their decisions have ruined the lives of millions.

71. Pinsent - February 16, 2011

I think you guys need some androids in the senate… here in Canada we’ve had one for Prime Minister now for years – we have yet to teach of love.

72. Jack2211 - February 16, 2011

70. Ah, and back to “oh yeah, well you…” politics.

Personally, I kind of want to marry a wookie. I like hairy guys, and have a great vacuum.

73. David Tester - February 16, 2011

Look folks, the bottom line is that we are behind history, as many cultures in the past have been. Either we catch up….or we become the buried that never made it to the “Future” We All hold so Dearly in Star Trek Lore…….

74. Phil - February 18, 2011

72. Jack2211 – February 16, 2011

Just pointing out that there are trolls on both sides of the isle. They fiddle while Rome burns…

75. Marcelo - September 21, 2011

seria o fim da raça humana com certeza absoluta!!! já pensou encontrar a mulher perfeita o homem perfeito! iam viver para sempre, o vizinho ia topar e viveria feliz tambem, o outro idem etc… quando nasceriam pessoas de novo? resposta: nunca mais.

76. Marcelo - September 21, 2011

ou será que não? seria tudo perfeito de mais e fundiriam startrek com matrix! lembram-se safras inteiras perdidas pq o ser humano não se dá bem com perfeições o tédio da perfeição. xi suicidio grupal no fim.

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