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|
If you were to legalize marriage to artificial beings, most people would marry their smartphones!
Android marriage? Why not?
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!!!
The day will come when one will have to be adroit at hitting on an android!
“So, can I lube your gears for ya?”
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!
Excellent story Anthony.
2.1 or 2.2?? What’s YOUR point?
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
What about the upcoming Android 3.0? hm…
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.
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.
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.
So, if I marry a gorgeous hologram chick, is it a sham because she’s mostly “smoke and mirrors”?
Harry. For you. Anything is Possible. Especialy if you had Access to a Holodeck.
Two female androids apply for the same job. Which one gets it?
The one with the biggest nacelles!
Look! Out! Everyone!. Harry is on a Jokeing Warpath. Hit the Deck!!!!!!!!
Not all of them are that good!!!!!.
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! :>)
“WHY SO SERIOUS??!!”
Hmm. Harry. If I had access to a Holodeck i would recreate Erica Durance. Just for you.
I’m Not Serious Harry. Just being one of the 3 Stooges. Nyk Nyk Nyk.
I think I’d rather have the android!
Yeah, I know that, but you said I was “Jokeing” around, so I quoted Ledger!
Harry. You want an Andriod Version of Erica Durance ?.
Q: what’s the difference between Durance android 2.1 and 2.2?
A: about six months!
oh, I think I wet myself!
I think someone forgot to ask Mr. Broadus the most basic and important question: “So…?”
Harry. You are one of a kind. Thank God.
Yes, Commodore Mike, they tried to build an android of me, but he just sat in the corner “pulling his wire”!
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.
I guess this is what happens when fear-mongering meets stupidity.
Holy crap. Is this for real?
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! :-) :-)
We’ve come to this??!
That’s It. everyone on this Post except for Harry and I get’s to spend some time in the Agoniser Booth.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Well at least that would solve the man shortage, wouldn’t it? LOL
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!
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?
My God, what a misogynistic, narrowminded, hateful point of view; not to mention downright stupid.
They better stop drinking their own tea!
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.
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.
These nutbags will say and do anything to be against marriage equality. What a laughable argument.
These desperate nut bags will come up with any excuse to deny gays equal marriage rights. What a laughable argument.
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!
I believe at least one android has been married. Tom Cruise. And perhaps Keanu Reeves as well. :-)
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.
Once you go ‘droid, your life is a void!
… 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.