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.
"Let them wed." Economist. January 4th, 1996: "MARRIAGE may be for the ages—but it changes by the year. And never, perhaps, has it changed as quickly as since the 1960s. In western law, wives are now equal rather than subordinate partners; interracial marriage is now widely accepted both in statute and in society; marital failure itself, rather than the fault of one partner, may be grounds for a split. With change, alas, has come strain."
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."
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."
Marriage is about much more than child-rearing."Let them wed." Economist. January 4th, 1996: "It is true that the single most important reason society cares about marriage is for the sake of children. But society's stake in stable, long-term partnerships hardly ends there. Marriage remains an economic bulwark. Single people (especially women) are economically vulnerable, and much more likely to fall into the arms of the welfare state. Furthermore, they call sooner upon public support when they need care—and, indeed, are likelier to fall ill (married people, the numbers show, are not only happier but considerably healthier). Not least important, marriage is a great social stabiliser of men."
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. [see section on love below].
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.
Marriage is about reproduction and family; can't include gaysMargarette 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 is reserved for procreation despite infertility exception A gay couple categorically cannot reproduce together. There are certainly ways in which one gay man can reproduce with a surrogate mother, or in which a lesbian couple can implant one of the woman's fertilized egg into the others' fetus. Yet, the couples cannot reproduce together, categorically. This is different than an infertile straight couple, as the category of straight couples still is able to reproduce. It is acceptable, therefore, to maintain a categorical definition for marriage that includes only straights on the basis that only they can, categorically, reproduce as couples.
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.
Love: Is marriage just about love, making gays eligible?
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 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.
Gay marriage discrimination lacks compelling state interest"Let them wed." Economist. January 4th, 1996: "To this principle of social policy, add a principle of government. Barring a compelling reason, governments should not discriminate between classes of citizens. [...] One objection is simply that both would-be spouses are of the same sex. That is no answer; it merely repeats the question. Perhaps, then, once homosexuals can marry, marital anarchy will follow? That might be true if homosexual unions were arbitrary configurations, mere parodies of “real” marriage. But the truth is that countless homosexual couples, especially lesbian ones, have shown that they are as capable of fidelity, responsibility and devotion as are heterosexual couples—and this despite having to keep their unions secret, at least until recently. Would gay marriage weaken the standard variety? There is little reason to think so. Indeed, the opposite seems at least as likely: permitting gay marriage could reaffirm society's hope that people of all kinds settle down into stable unions." Overall, any state interest in banning gay marriage is far too shady and debatable to justify discriminating against gays through a ban on their marrying.
Gay marriage ban analogous to past interracial marriage ban.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."
State-sanctioned, not "private", gay marriage is key"Let them wed." Economist. January 4th, 1996: "in truth, the state's involvement in marriage is both inevitable and indispensable. Although many kinds of human pairings are possible, state-sanctioned marriage is, tautologically, the only one which binds couples together in the eyes of the law. By doing so it confers upon partners unique rights to make life-or-death medical decisions, rights to inheritance, rights to share pensions and medical benefits; just as important, it confers upon each the legal responsibilities of guardianship and care of the other. Far from being frills, these benefits and duties go to the very core of the marriage contract; no church or employer or “commitment ceremony” can bestow them at one blow. If marriage is to do all the things that society demands of it, then the state must set some rules."
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."
Gays have no "right" to marry; neither do incestuous.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 marr. not discr. when marr. is for procreationMargarette 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."
Some gay discrimination is just to protect marriage.Margarette Somerville. "The case against gay marriage." McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law. April 29, 2003: "The primary intent in restricting marriage to opposite sex couples is to maintain marriage as the institution that fulfils society’s need to protect the inherently procreative relationship and its functions for society, and is not to exclude homosexual relationships because they are homosexual. The discrimination involved in the exclusion is a secondary effect which is not desired but unavoidable, and it is justified or excused by the primary purpose which otherwise cannot be realized. [...] A useful comparison can be made with the discrimination involved in affirmative action. That shows that sometimes discrimination and the harm it involves, can be justified when it is to achieve a greater good that cannot otherwise be achieved."
Bi-racial and gay marriages 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.
Institution: Is gay marriage consistent w/ institution of marriage?
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 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.
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.
Being unaccustomed to gay marriage is no argument."Let them wed." Economist. January 4th, 1996: "In the end, leaving aside (as secular governments should) objections that may be held by particular religions, the case against homosexual marriage is this: people are unaccustomed to it. It is strange and radical. That is a sound argument for not pushing change along precipitously. Certainly it is an argument for legalising homosexual marriage through consensual politics (as in Denmark), rather than by court order (as may happen in America). But the direction of change is clear. If marriage is to fulfill its aspirations, it must be defined by the commitment of one to another for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health—not by the people it excludes."
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?
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.
If kids can be adopted, they can be raised by gays."Let them wed." Economist. January 4th, 1996: "The question of children in homosexual households—adoption, especially—is thorny. That question, however, is mainly separate from the matter of marriage as such. In settling a child with guardians who are not the natural parents, the courts and adoption agencies will consider a variety of factors, just as they do now; a couple's homosexuality may be one such factor (though it need not, by itself, be decisive)."
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.
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."
Children do better with mother and father role models"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."
Diff b/w allowing gay parenting and sanctioning it w/ marriage.Margarette Somerville. "The case against gay marriage." McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law. April 29, 2003: "There is an ethical difference between individuals choosing to create such a situation [of a gay couple raising a child] and society authorizing or facilitating it [through marriage]. While society would have ethical obligations not to interfere with the freedom of individuals in relation to reproduction (subject to restrictions on the use of reproductive technologies, discussed below), it also has obligations not to facilitate the creation of situations that are not in the “best interests” of children. In short, the compliance of society in helping to create non-traditional families in which children will be raised is not an ethically neutral act."
Bad straight marriages don't excuse gay marriage.Margarette Somerville. "The case against gay marriage." McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law. April 29, 2003: "One common response to the position I outline above, by those advocating same-sex marriage and families, is to point out the deficiencies of marriage. The issue is not, however, whether all or most opposite-sex couples attain the ideals of marriage in relation to fulfilling the needs of the children they produce. Neither is the issue whether marriage is a perfect institution — it is not. It is, rather, whether we should work from a basic presumption that children need a mother and a father, preferably their own biological parents. I believe they do. The issue is, also, whether society would be worse off without the aspirational ideals established by traditional marriage. I believe it would be."
Stability: Does gay marriage encourage stable relations in gay community?
Religion: Is gay marriage acceptable on religious grounds?
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 marriageLisa 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]
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.
"The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality," from the Pontifical Council for the Family.
"Humanae Vitae"; "Love and Responsibility".
John Paul II's "Theology of the Body".
The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Economics: Is gay marriage economical?
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."
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.
See Debate: Civil unions vs. gay marriage. Sample argument:Susan Shell. "The liberal case against gay marriage." Public Interest. Summer, 2004: "Keeping the goals that advocates emphasize in mind, one can reach a principled and liberal public policy toward gay marriage. Most, if not all, of the goals of the gay marriage movement could be satisfied in the absence of gay marriage. Many sorts of individuals, and not just gay couples, might be allowed to form "civil partnerships" dedicated to securing mutual support and other social advantages. If two unmarried, elderly sisters wished to form such a partnership, or two or more friends (regardless of sexual intimacy) wanted to provide mutually for one another "in sickness and in health," society might furnish them a variety of ways of doing so--from enhanced civil contracts to expanded "defined benefit" insurance plans, to new ways of dealing with inheritance."