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Debate: Gay marriage

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Revision as of 20:57, 26 February 2010

Should gay marriage be legalized?

Background and context

The gay marriage movement has been developing for well over a decade in the United States. Along with this movement, a strong counter-movement has grown.
The passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 marked a strong federal response and rejection of gay marriage, and was supported by 68% of Americans.[1] The DOMA did two things. First, it recognized the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman for all aspects of federal law. Second, it ensured that no State is obligated to accept another State’s non-traditional marriages (or civil unions) by operation of the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause (art. IV, sec. 1). Following the passage of this law, thirty-seven States passed their own constitutional amendments or statutes commonly known as “state DOMAs” that further protect traditional, heterosexual marriage. For a time, this settled the debate. The gay marriage movement, however, continued to grow in support, the American public has become increasingly accepting of the idea (polls showing support between roughly 35% and 45%), and a number of state and municipal governments began challenging the DOMA after the millenia. With this increasing government and public support of the idea of gay marriage, opponents of gay marriage intensified their campaign, and in February 2004 for example, President Bush officially supported legislation designed to constitutionally ban gay marriage. This counter-movement to constitutionally ban gay marriage both on a federal and state level has certainly increased the stakes of the debate. Accompanying the state legislative "DOMAs" banning gay marriage have been a number of challenges and decisions in state supreme courts. In July, 2006, for example, New York’s highest court voted 4-to-2 that a legislative ban on same-sex marriage did not violate the state Constitution. This added to a small list of state rulings on the issue, including those of Indiana and Arizona (both of which also upheld legislative bans) and Massachusetts (which overturned a legislative ban).[2]

See Wikipedia: Same-sex marriage for more background.

Contents

Marriage defined: Can definition of marriage include gay marriage?

Yes

  • Definition of marriage can and should evolve to include gays Marriage was, at one point, an institution only for the elite. It was also something that, at one point, was denied to slaves. It evolved from both of these exclusive positions to be more inclusive. There is no reason to believe that the "institution" cannnot or should not evolve to also include homosexuals.


No

  • Marriage is defined as between a man and woman. Marriage has always been viewed by society as the religious and/or civil union between a man and a woman, and has always been regarded primarily as a heterosexual institution. This has involved thousands of years of tradition. The length of this tradition has made it unnecessary to produce a clear definition defining it. But, now that this lengthy tradition of marriage is under threat, its full historical force should be leveled in now defining it as between a man and a woman. If homosexual couples want equal protection under the law, that is one thing, but to call it "marriage" is to violate the rooted tradition and meaning of marriage.
  • Marriage has evolved but only in context man and woman. Margaret A. Somerville. "The case against "Same-sex marriage." Marriage Institute. April 29, 2003: "One argument in favour of same-sex marriage is that the culture of marriage has changed over the years and that recognizing same-sex marriage is just another change. A common example given is the change in the status of the woman partner, in that marriage is now seen as a union of equals. But that change goes to a collateral feature of marriage, not its essential nature or essence as recognizing same-sex marriage would. In short, these two changes are not analogous; rather, they are fundamentally different in kind."


Civil rights: Is gay marriage a civil right?

Pro

  • Gays are part of our society, should share in marriage. Ted Olson. "The conservative case for gay marriage." Newsweek. January 12, 2010: "No matter what you think of homosexuality, it is a fact that gays and lesbians are members of our families, clubs, and workplaces. They are our doctors, our teachers, our soldiers (whether we admit it or not), and our friends. They yearn for acceptance, stable relationships, and success in their lives, just like the rest of us."
  • Marriage ban makes gays second class citizens. Ted Olson. "The conservative case for gay marriage." Newsweek. January 12, 2010: "When we refuse to accord this status to gays and lesbians, we discourage them from forming the same relationships we encourage for others. And we are also telling them, those who love them, and society as a whole that their relationships are less worthy, less legitimate, less permanent, and less valued. We demean their relationships and we demean them as individuals. I cannot imagine how we benefit as a society by doing so."
  • Gay marriage is analogous to interracial marriage. Gail Mathabane. "Gays face same battle interracial couples fought." USA Today. January 25, 2004: "Although I'm not gay, for 16 years I've been in a marriage that a group of nine "activist judges," led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, legalized in 1967. They did so by striking down the laws of 16 states, mostly in the South, that had considered marriages such as ours illegal, immoral and ungodly. [...] In other words, I'm white and my husband is black. [...] Before the U.S. Supreme Court delivered the landmark Loving decision, interracial couples were in the same boat that same-sex couples are in today. They were vilified, persecuted and forbidden to marry. Interracial marriage was considered a felony punishable by five years in a state penitentiary."



Con

  • Marriage is no universal right (example: polygamy). Adam Kolasinksi. "The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage." The Tech (M.I.T.) February 20th, 2004: "state recognition of marriage is not a universal right. States regulate marriage in many ways besides denying men the right to marry men, and women the right to marry women. Roughly half of all states prohibit first cousins from marrying, and all prohibit marriage of closer blood relatives, even if the individuals being married are sterile. In all states, it is illegal to attempt to marry more than one person, or even to pass off more than one person as one's spouse. Some states restrict the marriage of people suffering from syphilis or other venereal diseases. Homosexuals, therefore, are not the only people to be denied the right to marry the person of their choosing."
  • Ban on gay marriage not discrimination; marriage is for procreation. Margarette Somerville. "The case against gay marriage." McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law. April 29, 2003: "People advocating same-sex marriage argue that we should accept that the primary purpose of marriage is to give social and public recognition to an intimate relationship between two people, and, therefore, to exclude same-sex couples is discrimination. They are correct if the primary purpose of marriage is to protect an intimate pair-bond. But they are not correct if its primary purpose is to protect the inherently procreative relationship of opposite-sex pair-bonding or to protect an intimate relationship for the purposes of its procreative potential. When marriage is limited to opposite-sex couples, there is no need to choose between these purposes, because they are compatible with each other and promote the same goal. The same is not true if marriage is extended to include same-sex couples. That would necessarily eliminate marriage’s role in symbolizing and protecting the procreative relationship."

Love: Is marriage just about love, making gays eligible?

Pro

Con

Reproduction: Does marriage go beyond reproduction?

No Background Information
END

Yes

  • Procreation is no prerequisite for marriage and excluding gays "Religion & Ethics - Same-Sex Marriage: Procreation." BBC. February 24th, 2007: "society does not insist that those who want to marry demonstrate that they can and will have children
    • heterosexuals who cannot have children are allowed to marry
    • heterosexuals who don't want to have children are allowed to marry
    • heterosexuals who don't want to have sex are allowed to marry (although the partners must have agreed to this before marriage)
    • heterosexuals who can't have sex because one partner is in prison for life are allowed to marry
    • heterosexuals can use technical assistance to have children
    • same-sex couples can have children using the same methods."
  • Love, not reproduction, defines marriage. Marriage should be about love, not simply to have children. Having children has nothing to do with getting married. Marriage is a commitment to love and care for your spouse, not an excuse to make babies. People should not marry simply to have children.
  • Gay spouses can helpfully adopt orphaned kids. Many children in the United States, let alone the world are orphaned. Same sex spouses frequently adopt children in need of a family. This is highly socially beneficial. A child receives a family and no additional children are added into an over-populated world. And, gay marriage would increase the adoption rate, since many homosexual spouses will want to start a family just like straight spouses.
  • Gays can reproduce and start a family. For a lesbian couple, one woman's egg can be implanted into the other woman's body and then fertilize with an unknown donor's sperm. After the baby is born, instead of the father's name being used, the other spouse's names can be stated.
  • Non-procreation b/w gays is good for overpopulated world. The inability of gays to procreate should not be seen as a problem and prohibitive factor in their getting married. Rather, this is a good thing in an over-populated world.

No

  • Marriage is about reproduction and family; can't include gays Margarette Somerville. "The case against gay marriage." McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law. April 29, 2003: "Marriage is, and has been for millennia, the institution that forms and upholds for society, the cultural and social values and symbols related to procreation. That is, it establishes the values that govern the transmission of human life to the next generation and the nurturing of that life in the basic societal unit, the family. Through marriage our society marks out the relationship of two people who will together transmit human life to the next generation and nurture and protect that life. By institutionalizing the relationship that has the inherent capacity to transmit life — that between a man and a woman — marriage symbolizes and engenders respect for the transmission of human life. [...] To change the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples would destroy its capacity to function in the ways outlined above, because it could no longer represent the inherently procreative relationship of opposite-sex pair-bonding."
  • Marriage contract is not about love, but starting family. Why do lovers need to marry? Is it that they need a contract of marriage to prove their love for each other? No. No piece of paper is important in defining love between two individuals. Rather, the marriage contracts is a social compact designed to encourage men and women starting stable and long-lasting families together? Because it is about this, starting a family, it should not categorically include gays, which are not generally able or intent on reproducing and starting a family together.
  • Marriage is safety-net for accidental pregnancies (not gays). In American society we see more women having children without a male in the household. Is this by choice of the woman or by design of the man? We know (statistically), that children in single-mother households have some of the greatest deficits to overcome. By ignoring the traditional prescription for men "do the right thing" and marry a woman that they make pregnant, we see the licentious self-indulgence that punishes children. Homosexuals do not experience this circumstance and cannot claim marriage as a reason to aid children. Social Learning Theory tells us that adoptive homosexual parents will likely increase the number of children entering a lifestyle that produces significant medical pathologies because of the behavior of the participants. This would simply be child abuse.


Institution: Is gay marriage consistent w/ institution of marriage?

Yes

  • Gay marriage doesn't weaken institution of marriage. Ted Olson. "The conservative case for gay marriage." Newsweek. January 12, 2010: "Another argument, vaguer and even less persuasive, is that gay marriage somehow does harm to heterosexual marriage. I have yet to meet anyone who can explain to me what this means. In what way would allowing same-sex partners to marry diminish the marriages of heterosexual couples? Tellingly, when the judge in our case asked our opponent to identify the ways in which same-sex marriage would harm heterosexual marriage, to his credit he answered honestly: he could not think of any."
  • Gay marriage doesn't weaken desire of straigths to marry. Ted Olson. "The conservative case for gay marriage." Newsweek. January 12, 2010: "The second argument I often hear is that traditional marriage furthers the state's interest in procreation—and that opening marriage to same-sex couples would dilute, diminish, and devalue this goal. But that is plainly not the case. Preventing lesbians and gays from marrying does not cause more heterosexuals to marry and conceive more children. Likewise, allowing gays and lesbians to marry someone of the same sex will not discourage heterosexuals from marrying a person of the opposite sex. How, then, would allowing same-sex marriages reduce the number of children that heterosexual couples conceive?"
  • Gay marriage is no worse for institution than other things Tod Lindberg. "The case against gay marriage." Washington Times Op-ed. 2003: "Will the union of Mr. X and Mr. Y in particular, who want only to be married, be any worse for the 'institution of marriage' than any number of existing unions that fall far short of the social ideal, or for that matter fail altogether? This is an impossible contention. And if not, again, on what basis do you deny Mr. X and Mr. Y their claim to equal treatment? If the social institution of marriage must be defended, why does its defense begin with them, with the denial of their equal dignity, when they want only to abide by the norms of the institution and when so many other, bigger things have long been contributing to the undermining of those norms?"
  • Gay marriage would reduce pressure on gays to marry straight. Homosexuals marrying straight can cause terrible emotional and social strife. By denying marriage to homosexuals, the legitimacy of homosexual relationships is denied, and greater pressure is put on homosexuals to marry straight to meet social standards. This has consequences. Allowing gay marriage would decrease this damaging social pressure on gays to marry straight, which can lead to broken marriages, broken families, and even subsequent suicide.


No

  • Gay marriage weakens the institution of marriage/family. It has been this way throughout history, regardless of religion, in ALL societies from primative to developed. It is natural law. It provides the structure for procreation and then nurturing, educating, and developing the children into productive members of society. Each child needs a father and a mother in their upbringing to model both. There is ample evidence that when either are missing, poverty and dysfunction increases (however noble the efforts of the single parent).
  • Gay marriage devalues marriage, frequency of obtaining it. "High Cost of Tampering with Marriage – Kids Hit Hardest." Alliance Defense Fund on OpposingViews.com: "according to David Blankenhorn's book, The Future of Marriage, evidence suggests that when states adopt same-sex “marriage,” opposite-sex couples are more likely to decide that there is no need to get married prior to having children (cause and effect is an open question, but the correlation is definite). An increase in single parenthood and family dissolution as a secondary effect of devaluing marriage will be devastating to children and will generate significant additional costs to taxpayers."
  • Gay marriage will justify polygamous and incestuous marriage There are many possible ways in which gay marriage could lead to other attacks on the basic principles of marriage. It is possible that gay marriage will be seen as an opportunity by polygamists and polyamorists to attempt to obtain marriage rights. What logic could stop this if marriage is offered to homosexuals? If the traditional definition of marriage is stretched to include homosexuals, what rationale could prevent it from being stretched to include polygamy and polyamory? The same justifications for gay marriage could be put forward by polygamists and polyamorists; That there relationship is based on love and commitment. And, obviously, if marriage is extended to these groups, the traditional institution of marriage and the principles that it stands on will be damaged if not utterly destroyed.

Tradition: Is traditional insufficient to ban gay marriage?

Pro


Con

  • Gay marriage threatens cultural tradition of marriage/family. Margarette Somerville. "The case against gay marriage." McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law. April 29, 2003: "To form a society, we must create a societal-cultural paradigm — the collection of values, principles, attitudes, beliefs, and myths, the “shared story” through which we find values and meaning in life, as both individuals and society. In establishing a societal-cultural paradigm all human societies have focused on the two great events of every human life: birth and death. Marriage is a central part of the culture — values, attitudes, beliefs — that surrounds birth. We require a culture related to birth in a secular society, at least as much as in a religious one, and must establish it through secular means. That is one reason why the legal recognition of marriage is important."

Parenting: Can homosexuals do a good job of parenting?

Yes

  • Quality of parenting should not be a factor against gay marriage This is because it is not a legal factor in ordinary marriages. Many characteristics of individuals would lead one to believe that there is a high probability that they will be bad parents, but this cannot cause the state to ban these individuals from becoming married parents. Neither should it for gay couples.
  • Children always benefit from two parents, gay or straight This is regardless of whether they are straight or not. "Single-parent mom" is an all too frequent term. It is costly to children, primarily from the standpoint of having half the support that a child deserves. Married gay couples can provide twice the support that a single parent can provide, and this is always a good thing.
  • Gays raise children now, but at a disadvantage w/o marriage Gay couples currently have the right to raise children and they are exercising that right. So, first, to claim that denying them marriage is somehow protecting children is counter to the de facto reality. Second, those homosexual couples that choose to raise children, but who are denied marriage, are denied the benefits to child-rearing that marriage offers. This is unfair to the children of homosexual couples as well as to gay couples.


No

  • Children do better when raised by biological parents. "High Cost of Tampering with Marriage – Kids Hit Hardest." Alliance Defense Fund on OpposingViews.com: "The state’s interest in recognizing marriage is to ensure that as many children as possible grow up with their own married mom and dad. Every child has a biological mom and dad. The nonpartisan social science research is overwhelmingly conclusive. All other things being equal, children generally do far better, by every measure, when raised by their own married parents."
Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby warned in 2003 that the Massachusetts decision imperils "unique sex roles in family life."[3]
UCLA Professor Douglas Kmiec said in an LA Times Op-Ed that Children of gay parents miss "the benefits of child rearing by the distinct attributes of both father and mother."[4]
"Marriage Means that Both Moms and Dads Matter." Alliance Defense Fund on Opposing Views.com: "Judges and politicians should never impose a system that purposely deprives children of a married mom and dad. De-defining marriage does this. Marriage de-definers insist, without supporting evidence, that all kids need is a “loving home” with two “parents.” But they continue to dodge the most obvious follow-up question in this debate: “Which parent is unimportant to a child: mom or dad?” :We already know – through all non-partisan research and plain common sense – that kids need a mom and a dad. Kids who grow up in homes without a married mom and dad are far more likely to drop out of school, to abuse drugs and alcohol, to commit suicide and suffer from depression, to engage in early promiscuous sex, to become pregnant, to contract an STD, to suffer poverty, and to be incarcerated."
  • Bi-racial and gay parenting are not comparable. A man and a woman from different racial backgrounds can unquestionably procreate children and provide father and mother models in nurturing, educating, and developing them. Two people of the same sex simply cannot do this basic marital function. For a judge to compare racial differences to sexual differences (or orientation) shows plain ignorance of biological and historical facts, as well as judicial incompetence.

Religion: Is gay marriage acceptable on religious grounds?

Yes

  • Church/state sep. precludes rel. arguments on gay marriage. "The case for gay marriage" The Economist. February 26th, 2007: "It is no business of the state to impose a religious choice. Indeed, in America the constitution expressly bans the involvement of the state in religious matters, so it would be especially outrageous if the constitution were now to be used for religious ends [that aim to ban gay marriage]."
  • Many faith groups welcome gay marriage. The Pagan religion Wicca, for example, has "hand-fasting" which is equivalent to a wedding, and which does not exclude homosexuals. There are other examples of religions that accept homosexual marriage. Therefore, we need to look at everyone and not just one religion.
  • Religious "rules" apply only to those in that religion. For example, if a Christian man opposes homosexuality because of his religion, he'll not marry another man to "obey the rule". But that does NOT mean that he has the right to decide if other individuals can/cannot marry. If your religion doesn't allow homosexuality, then just keep it to yourself; why not let others? It's not like everyone in the world believes in your religion.
  • Bible offers poor model for defining marriage Lisa Miller. "Our Mutual Joy." Newsweek. December 6th, 2008: "Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists." [See argument page for extended argument]

No

  • Churches should not have to offer gay marriage. The state has an institution of it's own called the "Civil Union". The state should recognize civil unions between same sex couples, since they should be afforded the same rights under government as any other partnership (i.e. marriage). The idea of marriage should be defined only in the context of religious beliefs, and the state should not have any power over what the church deems as appropriate or inappropriate.
  • Legalizing gay marriage will incite attacks on Churches If gay marriages are sanctioned, religious organizations that don’t allow homosexual marriages and don’t recognize gay marriage as legitimate will come under attack for their beliefs and when preaching the bible. It may even come that preaching the bible and the same religion the United States was built upon, will be unconstitutional, charged with hate crimes.
  • The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage The Catholic Church is the most prominent of Christian institutions. The Vatican's opposition to gay marriage carries significant weight against the notion of gay marriage.


Economics: Is gay marriage economical?

Yes

  • Gay marriage is a stable economic partnership. Ted Olson. "The conservative case for gay marriage." Newsweek. January 12, 2010: "Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society."
  • Banning gay marriage weakens community bonds. Ted Olson. "The conservative case for gay marriage." Newsweek. January 12, 2010: "Conservatives and liberals alike need to come together on principles that surely unite us. Certainly, we can agree on the value of strong families, lasting domestic relationships, and communities populated by persons with recognized and sanctioned bonds to one another. Confining some of our neighbors and friends who share these same values to an outlaw or second-class status undermines their sense of belonging and weakens their ties with the rest of us and what should be our common aspirations."


No

  • Gay marriage's legal benefits would strain taxpayers While it is true that homosexuals would benefit financial by getting married and receiving the benefits of marriage, that is actually a concern in many people's eyes. The concern is simply that a change in law that allows same-sex marriage will suddenly create a major financial strain on taxpayers that fund marriage benefits. Hundreds of thousands of same-sex marriages would result from any cross-the-board legalization. Given the significance of the benefits provided to married couples, the new strains would be substantial on tax-payers.


Public opinion: Where does opinion stand?

Pro


Con

Civil unions: Is gay marriage better than civil unions?

Yes


No


Homosexuality: Is homosexuality tolerable?

Yes

No

Pro/con sources

Yes

No

Activist groups

Yes

  • Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
  • Abiding Truth Ministries: Defending the Family - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • American Family Association - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Americans for Truth - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Campaign for Working Families - Christian Anti-Gay Rights PAC
  • Center for Reclaiming America - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Christian Coalition of America - Christian Anti-Gay Rights PAC
  • Culture & Family Institute - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Exodus International - Christian "Ex-Gays" Organization
  • Family Research Council - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Focus on the Family - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Forerunner International: Homosexuality - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • GodHatesFags.com - Radical Christian Anti-Gay Organization
  • NoGayMarriage.com - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Repent America - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization
  • Save Our Scouts - Anti-Gay Rights (Pro-BSA) Organization
  • Traditional Values Coalition - Christian Anti-Gay Rights Organization



No




YouTube videos pro and con

Yes

No



See also

External links

Books:

Videos

"Why homosexuality should be banned"

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