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Debate: Gay marriage

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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

  • Marriage is defined by love/commitment, shared by gay couples. Marriage is a commitment to love and care for your spouse till death. This is what is heard in all wedding vows. There is no mention of having children in these vows. This indicates very clearly that the definition of marriage must emphasize, above all else, love and commitment between two individuals. Because gays meet this standard, the definition of marriage should include gay marriage.


No

  • Marriage is defined as between a man and woman. Sen. Obama has said on multiple occassions during his political career, including the 2008 presidential election campaign: "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman."[3] Indeed, marriage, throughout its thousands of years of existence, has only been used to describe the union of a man and woman, toward the general end of starting a family and raising children. To change the definition to include gays would go against thousands of years of history, from which definitions are formed and should be maintained.


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."
  • Vows are about love, not reproduction; gays qualify Traditional Medieval Christian wedding vows read: "[Name], do you take [Name] to be your wedded [husband/wife] to live together in marriage. Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and keep [him/her] For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. And forsaking all others, be faithful only to [him/her] so long as you both shall live?" Civil marriage vows are almost identical in emphasizing love and commitment. Being the essential element of a wedding ceremony, these vows are clearly the heart and soul of what marriage is all about. And, the focus is entirely on love and commitment, not on reproducing and starting a family. Gays can clearly qualify for marriage according to these vows, and any definition of marriage deduced from these vows.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Gays cannot recklessly procreate as straights can. A New York Court ruled in 2006 ruled that a legislative ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional, but presented what is known as the “reckless procreation” rationale in favor of gay marriage. "Heterosexual intercourse," the plurality opinion stated, "has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children; homosexual intercourse does not." Gays become parents, the opinion argued, in a number of ways, including adoption and artificial insemination, “but they do not become parents as a result of accident or impulse.”[4]


No

  • Marriage is categorically about procreation despite exceptions Susan M. Shell. "The liberal case against gay marriage." Public Interest. Summer 2004: "marriage, in all the diversity of its forms, draws on a model of partnership rooted in human generation. [...] Gay relations bear a less direct relation to the generative act in its full psychological and cultural complexity than relations between heterosexual partners, even when age, individual preference, or medical anomaly impede fertility. Gay relations have a plasticity of form, an independence from natural generation, for which they are sometimes praised, but which, in any case, also differentiates them from their heterosexual counterparts." In other words, male-female partnerships, categorically, hold the potential for procreation. It is true that there are exceptions, such as infertile couples, but these are exceptions. Gays, conversely, cannot, as a category, reproduce together. This makes them ineligible for marriage, while still making it acceptable for infertile male-female marriages to exist, as they are consistent with the rule.
  • Marriage is safety-net for accidental pregnancies (N/A for gays). Marriage is often about men "doing the right thing" and marrying a woman that they make pregnant. This is beneficial for society as it discourages single-parent child-rearing. Homosexuals do not experience this circumstance and cannot claim marriage as a reason to aid children. This is an additional reason for denying them the ability to marry; it doesn't provide the same utility to society as it does for heterosexual child-rearing.

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

Pro

  • 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?


Con


Tradition: Is traditional insufficient to ban gay marriage?

Pro

  • 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."


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."

Marriage institution: Can gay-inclusion uphold the 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. 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."


Slippery slope: Can gay marriage avoid slippery slope to incest etc?

Pro

  • Gay marriage "slippery slope" argument is scare-mongering Scott Bidstrup. "Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives": "9. Same-sex marriage would start us down a "slippery slope" towards legalized incest, bestial marriage, polygamy and all manner of other horrible consequences. A classic example of the reductio ad absurdum fallacy, it is calculated to instill fear in the mind of anyone hearing the argument. It is, of course, absolutely without any merit based on experience. If the argument were true, wouldn't that have already happened in countries where forms of legalized gay marriage already exist? Wouldn't they have 'slid' towards legalized incest and bestial marriage? The reality is that a form of gay marriage has been legal in Scandinavian countries for many years, and no such legalization has happened, nor has there been a clamor for it. It's a classic scare tactic - making the end scenario so scary and so horrible that the first step should never be taken. Such are the tactics of the fear and hatemongers."


Con

  • Gay marriage is slippery slope to polygamous marriage etc 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.


Civil rights: Is gay marriage a civil right?

Pro

  • Gay marriage is a civil rights issue Scott Bidstrup. "Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives": "When gay people say that this is a civil rights issue, we are referring to matters like the fact that we cannot make medical decisions for our partners in an emergency. Instead, the hospitals are usually forced by state laws to go to the families who may be estranged from us for decades, who are often hostile to us, and totally ignore our wishes for the treatment of our partners. [...] These aren't just theoretical issues, either; they happen with surprising frequency. Almost any older gay couple can tell you horror stories of friends who have been victimized in such ways. [...] These are all civil rights issues that have nothing whatever to do with the ecclesiastical origins of marriage; they are matters that have become enshrined in state laws over the years in many ways that exclude us from the rights that legally married couples enjoy and consider their constitutional right."
  • 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."
  • Denying gays a right to marry causes real hardships. Alliance Defense Fund on Opposing Views.com. Retrieved 3.1.2010: "The US Government has identified over 1,000 protections, benefits, and responsibilities that civil marriage provides for committed couples and their children. These range from hospital visitation and decision-making to inheritance to parenting. Gay and lesbian couples now face problems and challenges that other families don’t. Getting health insurance can be difficult. Partners can be denied hospital visitation rights, or the right to make key decisions when one of them is disabled. These families deserve the same level of protection as heterosexual couples. This is about ending discrimination faced by tens of thousands of families every day."


Con

  • 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."
  • Gay exclusion is just to protect procreative marriage 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."


Race analogy: Is gay marriage ban analogous to interracial marriage ban?

Pro

  • 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."

Con


Discrimination: Is the case against gay marriage simply discriminatory?

Pro

  • All anti-gay-marriage arguments are ultimately anti-gay Tod Lindberg. "The case against gay marriage." Washington Times Op-ed. 2003: "I think that once you grant the essential premise, namely, the presumption of equality, there is only one basis for saying "no" to Mr. X and Mr. Y, and that is that what they are doing is wrong. The only serious basis for claiming that gay marriage undermines marriage (the union of a man and woman) is that the problem lies not with the "marriage" part of gay marriage but with the "gay" part. Thus, one denies the status of marriage to those whose union, being sinful or immoral, is precisely not that of holy matrimony."


Con

  • Opponents of gay marriage are not simply "anti-gay" Jack Kerwick. "The failed case for gay marriage." Intellectual Conservative. February 19th, 2010: "Presumably, the mere fact that homosexuals are denied something that they value or desire proves that the resistance which they face is driven by 'hate.' The grossly simplistic and glaring question-begging of this reasoning aside, when taken to its extreme logical term, it's blatant silliness becomes obvious as well, for its inescapable implication is that whenever anyone's desires are frustrated by others, it can only be because of the latter's hatred of them. So, for instance, that Mormons and Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and Africa are prohibited by law from entering into polygamous marriages can only mean that the non-Mormon and non-Muslim majority 'hates' them."


Social gain: Is gay marriage good for society?

Pro

  • Gay marriage is beneficial where it exists today Alliance Defense Fund on Opposing Views.com. Retrieved 3.1.2010: "Massachusetts no longer shuts committed same-sex couples out of marriage. The sky has not fallen, and actually communities are better off, because promoting responsibility is good for everyone. As observed by the Massachusetts newspaper The Republican, 'even some of [the] most vocal opponents have come to realize that the controversy over [allowing access to] marriage was a lot of fuss about nothing.' In fact, The Boston Globe reported that in the first election after the discrimination ended, 'every challenger to a supporter of gay marriage was defeated.'"


Con

  • Gay marriage does not help society; can't justify costs Adam Kolasinksi. "The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage." The Tech (M.I.T.) February 20th, 2004: "Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason to grant them the costly benefits of marriage. [...] When a state recognizes a marriage, it bestows upon the couple certain benefits which are costly to both the state and other individuals. Collecting a deceased spouse's social security, claiming an extra tax exemption for a spouse, and having the right to be covered under a spouse's health insurance policy are just a few examples of the costly benefits associated with marriage. In a sense, a married couple receives a subsidy. Why? Because a marriage between to unrelated heterosexuals is likely to result in a family with children, and propagation of society is a compelling state interest. For this reason, states have, in varying degrees, restricted from marriage couples unlikely to produce children."
  • Gay marriage legitimizes gays (a concern to some). Al Rantell, a homosexual talk-show host in LA. “forcing a change to an institution as fundamental and established by civilization as marriage is deemed by gay activists and other cultural ’liberals’ as the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for homosexuality itself. The reasoning goes that if someone can marry someone of the same sex, then being gay is as acceptable and normal as being short or tall.”[5] This is a legitimate concern to individuals that don't see homosexuality as a natural and moral practise, and who would rather not encourage it.


State-involvement: Should the state be involved in gay marriage debate?

Pro

  • Govt should not dictate who should/shouldn't not marry. Gail Mathabane. "Gays face same battle interracial couples fought." USA Today. January 25, 2004: "Some conservatives argue that the government should keep its nose out of people's private lives. I agree. The government should have no role in dictating whether two individuals can marry. Gay marriage, like interracial marriage, is not a threat to the sanctity of marriage and will not upend America's social structure."
  • 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."


Con

Benefits: Is extending benefits of marriage to gays important?

Pro

  • Benefits available to gays are insufficient vs marriage. "Marriage Helps Couples Keep Their Commitments." Lambda Legal on Opposing Views.com: "Many same-sex couples cannot afford the legal documents that create the few protections available. Those who can afford them, while increasing their security, still find that the documents are sometimes ignored in certain situations. That is no surprise because the exclusion from marriage marks the couple as unworthy and thus deserving of discrimination. It’s wrong to put committed couples in harm’s way and cause these tragedies."
  • Marriage allows gays to see each other in hospitals. Lambda Legal re-visits a story on OpposingViews.com about Bobby Daniel, a gay man dying in a hospital. His lifelong partner Bill Flanigan was kept for hours in the waiting room because he was not considered "family". Bill would later say, "When you love someone and make a commitment to each other for good times and bad, there is an awful feeling when you can’t follow through on your promises. I have a huge hole in my heart, and my soul, because I wasn’t allowed to be with Bobby when he needed me most."[6] Marriage ensures that gay couples can see each other in any hospital no matter the circumstances. This is a fundamental right that should be afforded to couples.
  • 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."


Con

  • Gays can already obtain most benefits of marriage. Adam Kolasinksi. "The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage." The Tech (M.I.T.) February 20th, 2004: "Advocates of gay marriage claim gay couples need marriage in order to have hospital visitation and inheritance rights, but they can easily obtain these rights by writing a living will and having each partner designate the other as trustee and heir. There is nothing stopping gay couples from signing a joint lease or owning a house jointly, as many single straight people do with roommates. The only benefits of marriage from which homosexual couples are restricted are those that are costly to the state and society."
  • Civil unions offers same benefits as marriage. 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." See Debate: Civil unions vs. gay marriage for more arguments along these lines.

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.
  • 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.


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."
  • Children have claim to have biological parents. Margarette Somerville. "The case against gay marriage." McGill Center for Medicine, Ethics and Law. April 29, 2003: "Our societies have also adopted adult-centred as compared with child-centred reproductive decision-making. Child-centred means, among other requirements, that we should work from a presumption that, if at all possible, children have a valid claim to be raised by their own biological parents. We must consider the ethics of intentionally creating a situation that is otherwise: It requires justification."
  • 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?

Pro

  • Benefits of marriage help gays stay together Marriage helps couples keep their commitments." Lambda Legal on Opposing Views: "Marriage provides protections for couples who have made a lifelong commitment to take care of and be responsible for each other. Keeping those commitments is harder when couples are barred from marriage, especially in tough times, because they may be denied the right to: 1. stop an eviction when the landlord says unmarried adults cannot live together 2. get social security benefits the couple earned through involuntary deductions to their paychecks. 3. get family medical leave to care for an ill partner. 4. make medical decisions for a partner in a coma 5. visit a dying partner in the hospital 6. carry out the wishes of a deceased partner for a memorial service and epitaph 7. keep the home and personal possessions after a partner dies without a will and unknown relatives appear with a moving truck."


Con

  • Most gays don't care for marriage commitments. Most homosexuals are not interested in the restrictions and commitments of marriage. This simply argues against the notion that offering marriage will have a widespread stabilizing effect. Since very few gays will opt for it, it will really not have a significant effect in this regard.


Religion: Is gay marriage acceptable on religious grounds?

Yes

  • Gay marriage is civil, not religious, issue. Andrew Sullivan. "The conservative case for gay marriage." Time. June 22, 2003: "As for religious objections, it's important to remember that the issue here is not religious. It's civil. Various religious groups can choose to endorse same-sex marriage or not as they see fit. Their freedom of conscience is as vital as gays' freedom to be treated equally under the civil law. And there's no real reason that the two cannot coexist."
  • 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

  • Laws are devinely inspired, depend on God's def of marriage. Pat Boone. "Marriage: One man, one woman." Knight Ridder. May 14, 2004: "'Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure,' Jefferson asked, 'when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?' [...] Our views on marriage are shaped not only by America’s laws, but by God’s laws. It is part of the shared heritage of the civilized world. [...] There are moral absolutes in this life — and the sacred institution of marriage is one of them."
  • 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."
  • Marriage ban impairs ability of employers to attract gays. Lambda Legal on OppossingViews.com: "The exclusion from marriage also impairs the ability of employers, large and small, to attract and retain the most comprehensive pool of talented and committed employees. Current and prospective employees place a value on whether they live in a place that supports their commitment to take care of and be responsible for a loved one. They often will make their employment decisions based on whether the state respects that value."


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.


Internationally: What is the impact of gay marriage internationally?

Pro

  • Gay marriage exists successfully in many countries Alliance Defense Fund on OpposingViews.com. Retrieved 3.1.2010: "Twenty-eight nations have helped same-sex couples keep their commitments, and the sky hasn’t fallen. For the United States to lag behind so many other nations contradicts its own history and principles. [...] Same-sex couples can marry under legislation passed in Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, and The Netherlands. Such couples have many of the protections of marriage in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. And they have at least some protections in Andorra, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, and Switzerland. That’s 28 nations ahead of the United States in keeping promises and helping couples keep their own promises."


Con

Public opinion: Where does opinion stand?

Pro


Con

  • Acceptance of gay marriage should not be imposed on citizens. Susan Shell. "The liberal case against gay marriage." Public Interest. Summer, 2004: "That liberal sword cuts both ways [...] American citizens should not have the sectarian beliefs of gay-marriage advocates imposed on them unwillingly. If proponents of gay marriage seek certain privileges of marriage, such as legal support for mutual aid and childbearing, there may well be no liberal reason to deny it to them. But if they also seek positive public celebration of homosexuality as such, then that desire must be disappointed. The requirement that homosexual attachments be publicly recognized as no different from, and equally necessary to society as, heterosexual attachments is a fundamentally illiberal demand. [...] To insist otherwise is not only psychologically and culturally implausible; it imposes a sectarian moral view on fellow citizens who disagree and who may hold moral beliefs that are diametrically opposed to it."

Civil unions: Is gay marriage better than civil unions?

Yes

  • See Debate: Civil unions vs. gay marriage Civil unions are "separate, but not equal" During the 50s and 60 in the United States, a segregationist principle was established called "separate but equal" under the Jim Crow laws of the time. This was struck down by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, who wrote: "The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal."[7] Civil unions are precisely the same arrangement, attempting to give gays a "separate" arrangement than marriage, while conferring "equal" benefits. But, because "separate can never be equal", civil unions can never equal. Civil unions, therefore, are unequal, segregationist, and discriminatory, just as were the "separate but equal" laws of the past.


No

  • See Debate: Civil unions vs. gay marriage. Sample argument: Civil unions offers same benefits as marriage. 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."

Homosexuality: Is homosexuality tolerable?

Yes


No


Pro/con sources

Yes

No

Activist groups

Yes


No

  • 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



YouTube videos pro and con

Yes


No

See also

External links

Books:

Videos

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