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. 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).
Marriage defined: Can definition of marriage include gay marriage?
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.
Marriage is about love/commitment, should include gays If you were to listen to wedding vows, the most fundamental principles expressed are those of the love and commitment shared between the partners. It is the most important foundation of any marriage. Because these principles can be shared between homosexuals, marriage should be allowed between them.
Opponents of gay marriage are opponents of love. What's the main purpose for marriage? Because you love that person and you want to spend your life with him/her forever. Opposing homosexuality is opposing someone's love for another individual. If a man loves a man but can't marry him because other people basically "deny their love," what could be worse than that?
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.
Man-woman def of marriage preserves family integrity. 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).
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.
Gay marriage weakens the institution of marriage. Same-sex marriage would be another deterioration to marriage (after no fault divorce), denigrating it to mere illicit cohabitation.
Churches: Can gay marriage fit into churches' role in marriage?
Church/state sep. precludes rel. arguments on gay marriage. It is not congress's job to decide who anyone can marry. Marriage could be considered a form of expression, and the First Amendment gives us the right to freely express ourselves. The First Amendment also states, "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or abridging the free exercise thereof".
Churches should not have to offer/recognize 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.
Reproduction: Does marriage go beyond reproduction?
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.
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 with institution of marriage?
Gay marriage is no worse for institution than other thingsTod 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.
Marriage is not an "institution" that gay marriage can violate. Marriage should not be in the institution in the first place, nor should religion. They shouldn't be in politics either. Religion bases their rules on faith, not on morality. Politics should create laws based on common sense, morality, and trends, not on religious views and traditions that become "institutionalized" by the state over time.
Gay marriage diminishes the sanctity of marriage.
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.
Parenting: Can homosexuals do a good job of parenting?
The quality of parenting should not be a factor in legalizing gay marriage, as 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.
Most health care organizations support gay parenting as equally capable as heterosexual parenting. These organizations are the most capable of determining the capabilities of homosexuals to perform dutifully as parents.
Children always benefit from having two parents opposed to just one, 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.
Gay couples are raising children now, but at a disadvantage without the benefits of 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.
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). Homosexuals, regardless of their gender, can never adequately model either mother or father. They can never adequately define "social boundaries" because they have compromised the most basic biological boundary.
Homosexuals teach a tolerance toward dysfunctionality. Homosexuals inherently champion every dysfunctional cause as a so-called right, the result of which has infected all of society with tolerating dysfunction
Gay marriage should be compared against average marriages; not worst case ones. All of the arguments negating this question are compared against the dysfunctions occurring in worst case marriages.
Religious arguments: Is same-sex marriage wrong on religious grounds?
The bible opposes homosexuality, and thus gay marriage. The importance of the Bible in guiding Western moral codes is very high. If the Bible opposes homosexuality and gay marriage, then it should be trusted and followed. While the separation of Church and state exists, the importance of the bible to the development of national principles cannot be denied and should leave room for the moral guidance of the bible in influencing policy against gay marriage.
Religious organizations oppose homosexuality Many religious bodies oppose homosexuality and, therefore, gay marriage. Many of these organizations are the moral foundation of national constitutions and principles. While a separation of church and state should be upheld, the moral guidance of religious organizations should not be denied.
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.
ALL major world religions support marriage between a man and a woman. While some support multiple wives, NONE support homosexuals marrying. Religion recognizes the central importance of "creation of family" as the fabric of the human race. To the extent that mankind recognizes spiritual importance and the source of all creation, mankind must raise marriage to a Sacramental elevation. We are free to worship as we ought, and free to define just how to elevate marriage. But the fact that religion elevates marriage does not segregate it into a religious-only institution. The fact remains that throughout history, regardless of religion, ALL societies from primitive to developed have established some form of marriage to reproduce new generations of people.
Freedom of religion principles mean that anti-homosexual principles of one religion (often in Christianity) should not be forced onto those of other faiths.
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.
Biblical passages that are claimed to condemn homosexuality are being misinterpreted. The Bible does not actually give any mention to homosexuality as a whole, but only homosexual acts. It does condemn certain specific homosexual acts, but in a context that does not clearly indicate a condemnation of homosexuality. For example, the Sodomites were condemned to death by God before sodomy was performed. The act of sodomy in that specific, inappropriate context was condemned, but should not be misinterpreted as the cause of the ultimate condemnation of the Sodomites.
United States were founded on religious freedom. Many people say that the U.S. was founded on religion. This is only partially true. The United States was actually founded on freedom of religion (or the lack thereof), and religion should not play a role in any laws made.
Religions "rules" only apply to those who believe 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.
Economics: Would same-sex marriage be damaging economically?
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.
Gay marriage would encourage lasting, stable commitments among homosexuals It is, to some extent, true that the homosexual culture suffers from a lack of commitment-making between partners. Marriage could certainly help strengthen commitment-making between homosexual partners, which would have many socially positive effects. And, after all, isn't this the main purposes behind the heterosexual institution of marriage?
Alternatives: Are there adequate alternatives for homosexuals?
Also known as the “love contract”, the registration of the union of gay couples has been carried out successfully in countries such as Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Spain. This would be an avenue for gay couples to declare their union to the world. The practice in countries which implement this system is to allow registered couples to be entitled to joint insurance coverage and to allow them to file for joint tax returns as well as inheritance and tenants’ rights. On the other hand, such a proposal makes no incursions into the sanctity of the institution of marriage itself, thereby proving acceptable to the religious sections of society.
Civil Unions would decrease the cultural importance of marriage. Of course it would be "separate and unequal" to marriage, because IT IS ... by natural law. Of course the cultural importance of marriage would cause it to be insufficient to homosexual activists, but IF there were gay marriage, then marriage would LOSE all its cultural importance. A union between homosexuals can NEVER truly BE more than a Civil Union.
Civil unions create a "separate and thus unequal" problem. Any proposed alternative to marriage itself would be unacceptable as “registered” gay couples would still not enjoy completely equal rights as married heterosexual couples in society. This would also fuel the idea that registered gay couples enjoy an inferior status to married heterosexual couples, thereby giving rise to discrimination all over again.
Gay marriage is unacceptable because it is not private. If two people choose to engage in this behavior behind closed doors, society should remain agnostic. However, when this behavior (like other aberrant behaviors), is championed as normal, natural, and a matter of "freedom" (as opposed to license), society has an obligation to protect children during their formative years and denounce these acts.