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Anti-Gay Arguments We Don’t Bother With (And Should): Part 1

Gabriel Arana

January 26th, 2009

Some anti-gay statements/ideas make me huff in frustration, but because they seem — on the very face of it — silly, I huff and move on. These comments are iterated in casual conversations and debates but rarely receive close scrutiny because they don’t make it onto CNN discussion panels or the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times. They are the stuff of anonymous online comments, the product of an amateur punditocracy. But these memes are powerful; while an offensive comment posted on one of Chris Crocker’s YouTube videos may not be suitable for public debate, it is perhaps more indicative of where public opinion stands — and what people, in the comfort of their homes and under the cloak of anonymity, really think.

I wanted to dedicate a series of posts (five in total) to crazy anti-gay arguments and encourage BTB’s readers to respond to and engage them below.

#1: Any man — even a gay one — can marry a woman. Therefore, it is not discriminatory to deny marriage rights to members of the same sex given that a straight man can’t marry a man, either.

What irritates me about this is that it very obviously misses the point and tries to win the argument on a technicality: “Aha! The law treats everyone the same — I can’t marry someone of the same sex and neither can you.” Underlying the argument is a very amateur understanding of what it means for the law to “treat everyone the same.”

Let me try a reductio ad absurdum (though it seems to me almost like a straight analogy):

  • If the government passes a law requiring everyone to practice Christianity, it doesn’t infringe on the rights of those who are Jewish because they are treated equally; Christians can’t practice Judaism and neither can Jews.

Or to invert the principle:

  • Men aren’t granted the right to terminate their own pregnancy/abort, therefore the law is discriminatory against men.
  • Children are discriminated against because they are not allowed to buy guns.

The argument above is conflating and misunderstanding a number of issues:

First, what the right in question is. The real argument that proponents of LGBT rights are making is that the “fundamental right” in question is the right to marry the person one loves, not to marry someone of the other sex. It is also a moot point/irrelevant whether a straight person can or can’t marry someone of the same sex given that they do not want to (in the same way that, above, it is irrelevant whether or not a Christian is forbidden from practicing Judaism). I take exception with the narrow interpretation of the “marriage right” under dispute.

Second, the understanding of what it means for the law to treat everyone equally. “Equal treatment” without regard to the interests of the individual, age, identity etc. leads one to adopt silly positions such as those mentioned above. For very obvious reasons, the law does not treat all groups equally (though it strives to treat them equitably). Certain groups are “suspect classifications” and subject to special state protection. Thus, groups like Jews, blacks, and women are considered “suspect classifications” and protected from tyrannical interpretations of the equal protection clause. It is because the law does not strictly “treat everyone equally” that we can’t pass a law that says everyone has to practice Christianity just because it applies to everyone.

The premise of the argument — that the law is just so long as it “treats everyone equally” — is wrong. So is its narrow understanding of the right in question.

Next installment: The ‘slippery-slope’ argument: why allowing gay marriage does not entail allowing bestiality

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Steve - Geneva, IL
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Moreover, if someone suggests that a gay person can marry a straight person, it says to me that they are the ones who have little regard for the sanctity of marriage.

The notion that two people should enter into a lifelong covenant before God when one of them really is not put together in a way that will keep the marriage alive shows contempt for the sanctity of marriage. It shows contempt for the innocent children who may be produced by such a union and have to endure whatever awful divorce might ensue. It shows contempt for the unsuspecting straight person who did not ask to become part of a marriage that has a high probability of failure. Who always feels short of being satisfied by their mate because their mate just isn’t cut out to do it. It shows contempt for the gay person who is being told to cover up who he or she really is and try to live a lie.

Moreover, the question to ask anybody who suggests this is whether or not they would want their son or daughter to marry someone who was gay. Even if they have supposedly been through the Exodus programs. I bet there wouldn’t be many takers.

Ephilei
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

This series is a great idea! More in line with BTB’s mission than Haggard and Warren posts.

This may be where the phrase “special rights” comes from, that lesbians and gays seek the right to marry the same sex where heterosexuals cannot. (Which has other ludicrious implications!)

The same argument is thrown at transexuals. “Your birth certificate gender is the same as everyone else.” Transexuals want the equal right to have their documentation reflect the way they live, just as everyone else.

tjc
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Well, the “treat everyone equally” line really boils it down to sex discrimination:

Robert (a man) can marry Julie (a woman).

Sarah (a woman) can not marry Julie (a woman).

Robert can do something Sarah cannot, simply because of his sex. Or, turned around, Sarah can not do something simply because of her sex.

There is unequal treatment under the law.

I often use this line of reasoning against folks who try the line Gabriel took on above. It’s part of the Goodridge argument in Massachusetts.

Alex
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

What a great topic!! I look forward to reading more!

Timothy Kincaid
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Those who make this argument are often not receptive to the point that law is to be applied equitably rather than equally. So when I encounter those who claim that a straight man and a gay man are treated equally because both can marry a women, I point out that this is actually not in fact true.

A marriage with a straight man is not treated under law the same as a marriage with a gay man.

If ICE were challenging a green card, if heirs were challenging an inheritance, if an insurance company were challenging spousal coverage, if a DA were challenging testimony exemption, if a Catholic spouse wanted annulment, if pretty much ANYONE wanted to challenge legal recognition for ANY reason whatsoever, the assumption is that a gay man can’t “really” marry a woman. And that doing so is a form of fraud.

Rob Lll
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Great post.

This argument has always reminded of a TV interview I saw some years ago, in which a representative of some communist government (I think it was Cuba) asserted with a straight face that their government was fully democratic “because everyone has the right to vote”.

That only one candidate and one party were on the ballot was apparently a minor consideration. :)

Ben in Oakland
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

One could argue also that if marriage is gender neutral, than gays and straights still have exactly the same rights. The straight man and the gay man can both marry a man, so no one is being treated differently.

but then, our hypothetical straight boy owuld say– but I don’t want to marry a man.

Richard Rush
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

There is one question I would ask anyone making the argument that a gay man can marry a woman: Would you want your daughter to marry one?

Gabe Arana
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

I like Richard Rush’s argument above — it reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw a while ago re: gay marriage…”Let gays marry so we don’t marry you.”

cowboy
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

This argument was snidely used by one of my co-workers last year. He knew the utterance of such a statement was bogus the second the idiotic logic left his lips. He said it while having one of those George-Bush looks on his face: that smug, under-his-breath snickering.

The key is exactly as you say: “…the right to marry the person one loves.”

Very good topic. Thanks.

Priya Lynn
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

I use the same response as TJC. Being allowed to only marry someone of the opposite sex is not equality under the law. If a man can marry a woman a woman deserves the same right he has to marry a woman and vice versa. Anything else is sex discrimination.

David C.
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Sound reasoning seems to have never been a hallmark of ant-gay pundits, and critical thinking is even less so a characteristic of their typical followers. With much of the public already conditioned by centuries of orthodoxy and prone to pick up what they know of just about anything political from sound bytes, it should surprise no one that arguments concluded by logical fallacy are continuously reiterated in anti-Gay propaganda.

It might be unreasonable to expect much success educating the public about logic. Nevertheless, thanks for this first installment in your series. I’m sure most readers here will find it helpful the next time they are confronted by some wingnut on a street corner proclaiming the end of social order will surely follow from the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Josh
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Elisabeth Hasselbeck of The View use to champion this idea–that Prop 8 wasn’t discrimination because gay men could still marry women.

To me its like saying the ban on inter-racial marriage wasn’t discrimination because whites could still marry whites and blacks could still marry blacks.

Mike
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

It’s also important to note that in Loving v. Virginia the Supreme Court ruled that simply because anti-miscegenation laws applied to people of all races equally did not mean that the laws were not fundamentally discriminatory.

Pomo
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

I have a friend who makes this argument all the time. And he feels so proud of himself for making such an astute point!

I’m looking forward to this series.

Richard Rush
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

A person using this argument clearly demonstrates that they care nothing about the “sanctity” or “protection” of hetero marriage. If they did, they would be horrified at the thought of a homo seeking to fake their way through life in a man/woman marriage. Most of us homos know the reality is that substantial numbers of people have been, and continue to be, faking it as a means of being accepted in the straight world.

Straight people need to understand that full equality and social acceptance is not only good for gay people, it’s also good for them. I would love to hear someone stumble their way through an explanation of how a homo faking it in a man/woman marriage benefits society.

Jason D
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Mike, Josh, good points. Yes, this argument is very much an echo of the rationale behind discrimination of the past.

People try to say well “white’s can’t drink out of the ‘colored only’ water fountains either, so it’s equal!” and yes, people tried to say that the ban on interracial marriage was fair because it applied to all races, not just blacks.

It’s so funny, people continue to say that gay rights are not civil rights, that we have nothing whatsoever to do with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s yet –yet– they can’t help but recycle the same bad argumentation used against racial equality. The arguments were false NOT because they dealt with race, but because the arguments are faulty in and of themselves. They didn’t suddenly become reasonable and fair when applied to gays.

One danger in using the words “person I love”, this invariably leads us into the ridiculous “polygamy/incest/beastiality/necrophilia is the same as gay” argument, the oversimplified “if gays, then what about a dog marrying a dead woman?!” becomes the next volley from the anti-gay side.
Perhaps “You get to marry the consenting, adult, non-relative of your choice, why can’t I?”

WaltzInExile
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you for starting this series. This argument especially annoys me (probably because I was a Comm major.) It’s a false equivalence on their part, and it’s quite harmful. This invalid argument from anti-gay activists is based upon interchanging of “equal treatment” proscribed by law, with “same treatment” by syllogism. They never come out and say “same treatment” but their example makes it clear that that is the crux of their argument. “Equal treatment under the law” can only mean “equitable treatment” and make any sense. But the anti-gay team has managed, with very little effort, to reduce the meaning to “same” and refuses to stop. (Why should they? Everyone feels so clever when they say that gay men are more than welcome to marry any woman they want, after all.) It seems petty, but I think all of us who want marriage equality for gays have to nip this in the bud by pointing out that “equal” and “same” are not interchangeable in the legal, constitutional sense.

WaltzInExile
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Jason D,
Excellent point. Although we probably need to revise once more to avoid the polygamy slope: “You get to marry ONE consenting, adult, non-relative of your choice..”?

Jason D
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

waltz, good point, but if you read my post again you’ll see something:

Perhaps “You get to marry the consenting, adult, non-relative of your choice, why can’t I?”

Notice that I’m saying non-relative which is singular, rather than non-relatives, which would be plural. BUT, considering who we’re dealing with, you’re right, we might as well be as specific as possible. Lord knows they’ll twist it anyway, but at least make it harder to twist.

CPT_Doom
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

There is another feature to this argument that has not been touched on. There are only three ways to be related to someone legally in this country, by blood, by adoption or through marriage. According to civil law, blood or adoptive relationships (e.g., parent/child, siblings) can only be superceded by marriage, as the Terry Schiavo case illustrated.

Even fundies will acknowledge that gy and lesbian couples have the right to live our private lives as we see fit. However, by preventing us from having a legal route to supercede our familial relationships with our chosen adult relationship, the law handicaps us.

a. mcewen
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

An ethnic twist to that argument – “Oh so you believe more gay men should be on the down low?”

Sean
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

You see, I always thought it was sexist that a woman could marry a man, but a man couldn’t marry a man, etc. I’m not quite sure why anyone ever makes this argument.

Mike
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you, Gabriel. Too often it seems like LGBT activists consider it beneath them to respond to our opponents’ stupid arguments. Except that our opponents’ stupid arguments work — especially in the absence of intelligent responses from our side. Exhibit A? Prop 8.

danielg
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

>> The real argument that proponents of LGBT rights are making is that the “fundamental right” in question is the right to marry the person one loves, not to marry someone of the other sex.

Then let me ask you, seriously (you may address this in a later post) – what argument is there against the questions:

1. in question is the right to marry the PERSONS one loves (polyandry, polygamy, polyamory)

2. in question is the right to marry the person I love, EVEN IF IT IS MY SISTER OR PARENT.

As a pro prop8 supporter, I will be reading your posts with interest. Here is another argument you might want to address.

Romantic love is only part of the definition that society uses for defining marriage. It also reflects the ability to procreate and the emotional needs of raising children, that is, of having both genders present for healthy development.

Regarding procreation, it is NOT a good answer to ask “what about infertile hetero couples” because, for one, that is considered a dysfunction (and so homosexuality would be also from this perspective), but also, we are not using fertility as a requirement for GETTING married, but we are looking to nature for the norm in order to define the boundaries. We do not make rules based on exceptions, but on norms.

Assuming then, that the primary purpose of marriage is the healthy creation and raising of children (for the sake of the children AND society), which both biology and psychology indicate require healthy hetero parents, we define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Gay unions can’t produce children, and arguably can’t provide both genders. I also understand the argument that a loving gay home is better than a dysfunctional hetero home, and agree in part with that. But it’s like arguing that a loving single-parent home is just as good as a hetero marriage, which it is clearly not.

In your defense, however, even biblically speaking, marriage is also seen as a hedge against promiscuity – that is, if you must have sex, it is ‘better to marry than burn with lust.’ Just admitting that procreation is not the reason d’etre for marriage.

Me, I am on the fence re: gay marriage (though I lean heavily right), so argue away. Thanks.

Ben in Oakland
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Daniel G– your objections questions have been addresssed numerous times and in numerous places. you can research this very website to come up with some cogent answers. But, on the off-chance that you are actually honestly asking an honest question, and will duly reflect on the answers, here are a couple of very short answers for you. Please feel free to discuss.

Polygamy: People already do polyamory, but are not pressing for marriage rights. Polygamy and equal marriage for same sex couples are seperate issues and each will be decided on their own merits or lack thereof. But what’s preventing polygamy now, at least in the US, excluding parts of mormon lands? Maybe no one wants it? Polygamy as is practiced in heterosexual society (I know no gay ones ones) is usually exploitive of females and destructive. 10 year old brides in Saudi Arabia are justified by religion. Child brides in mormonia have been in the news. Whose house actually needs cleaning?

The simple fact of the matter is that with a 50% divorce rate it’s clear its hard enough to make a relationship work when there are only two people in it let alone with trying to balance the needs and desires of three or more. These reason’s alone justify restricting marriage to two individuals.

From the california Supreme court decision:”the state continues to have a strong and adequate justification for refusing to officially
sanction polygamous or incestuous relationships because of their potentially detrimental effect on a sound family environment.” There you hear it from the legal authority in the matter. There is no reason in the case of gay people except that some people just don’t like gay people.

The is unintential irony in your question, because you yourself are making the argument that you have no reason to oppose polygamy. By your “logic” the only reason polygamy is opposed is because gay marriage is opposed. Otherwise, straight people would be doing it. That’s not a reason. And of course, despite your idea that one must follow the other, this has NEVER happened anywhere where same sex relationships have been recognized. The question is a red herring.

Personally, I think anyone who would marry more than one person– maintaining a marriage is work– is an effing idiot, and should be banned from marriage for just that reason.

Timothy Kincaid
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Daniel G,

If your arguments are based on your religious beliefs, then there is no point talking with you. If your religion said that the only legal marriage should be to those of the same faith or those of the same race or to those who rub fried eggs in their hair, this is what you will believe.

But I am going to answer your question assuming you wish to discuss logic.

It all boils down to how one views the role of government and the rights of citizens.

The first question you have to ask yourself is whether you truly believe in the principles of equality under the law and the inalienable right to pursue happiness. You may not, many people don’t when they actually spend time thinking about it.

But I am from the old-school Republican / libertarian way of thinking and so it is from this perspective that I argue. And I believe that rights are resident with the individual and the only appropriate time to restrict the rights of individuals is when the state has a compelling reason.

So, for me, the question is not “why should we let gay people get married” but rather “why should government exclude gay people from the basic civil right to marry the person of their affection”.

The same question should be asked about multiple-marriages and closely-related party marriages.

With multiple-party marriages, there is no way in which all parties have an equal standing. Some societies don’t see a problem with this (generally women have little rights in such societies) but I believe that such arrangements would lead to the creation of inherently inequal contracts and utter governmental confusion when seeking to protect the rights of any party in such a marriage. Those societies that favor multiple wives (none that I know of favor multiple husbands) tend to recognize few rights for women within such contracts and thus there’s little problem administering them.

I, however, believe in the inherent equality of women and so I cannot favor a marriage in which the status of women is devalued.

My objection to marriages to a family member are similar. There are absolutely built-in inequalities that would lead to abuse. And, in addition, there are genetic considerations – at least with siblings and parents. Interestingly, states vary in regard to how closely a family member can be.

But no such abuse is automatically present in same-sex marriages (or no more so than in opposite-sex marriages). Nor can I think of any other reasons to deny gay citizens their shot at equality that would have greater priority than my basic beliefs in freedom.

You’ll note I didn’t discuss the “definition” or “purpose” of marriage. Such things are generally highly subjective and seem to me to be little more than after-the-fact arguments whose only purpose are to provide justification for discrimination. Everyone ends up “defining” things how they wish.

Courts (and lovers of freedom) tend not to deal much with such “definitions” but instead ask the question “does the state have a compelling interest to limit the freedom and rights of this person?”

Gabe Arana
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Hey danielg,

I’ll try to address some of the questions you posed, but I think others might be too far afield for the forthcoming post, so I’ll try to have a brief discussion of them here.

I am not sure if I’ll be able to convince you anyway; even before we start talking about the issue, you and I seem to have very different assumptions.

1. “[T]he primary purpose of marriage the the healthy creation and raising of children … ”

One thing I have struggled to understand is why people think there is some transcendent, absolute “purpose” to marriage. The entire debate about marriage is taking place because the legal standard of what constitutes “marriage” is falling behind the changing social standard (though this of course depends on where you’re coming from); I can think of no better evidence than this for the fact that the purpose of marriage is socially determined.

By personal fiat, you’ve decided what the purpose of marriage is (procreation), so then whatever you think of gay marriage will be judged against that standard.

Another assumption (one I don’t think you bothered researching) that children from gay homes are worse off than those from straight homes and that it is better to have a house with both genders is not substantiated by research; you are assuming this, maybe because it seems reasonable enough to you.

2.”[W]e are looking to nature for the norm in order to define the boundaries. We do not make rules based on exceptions, but on norms.”

I think this is an interesting argument because you have taken natural phenomena (homosexuality and heterosexuality, for all you can say about them, are both products of nature, even if you think one is disordered) and classified them into “natural” and “non-natural.”

Natural phenomena and even evolution are not imperatives; they just happen. Nature produces infertile couples and gay people and the intersexed. So if you are really looking to nature to set boundaries, I’d say your own boundary is tighter than nature’s given that nature produces all sorts of people, some who do not procreate.

3. Infertile couples are disordered.

Again, I think “disordered” here is problematic. What about people who choose to get their tubes tied? Or guys who get a vasectomy? Have they given themselves a disorder? I’d say not. In medicine and psychology, the concept of “disorder” is not as cut and dry as the layperson thinks (for instance, the APA is now considering whether to classify/declassify all sorts of things as disorders). Certain things that threaten life, like cancer or AIDS, are more clear-cut than others.

What you think is disordered depends on what you think order is. For couples who want to get pregnant but can’t, being infertile constitutes a disorder; for those who don’t want to get pregnant, elective infertility is a solution.

… These thoughts are my own and not representative of what other gay people might say. The points you’ve made evince fundamental beliefs about nature, evolution, God, the law, etc. — and I think for many reasons I do not share your assumptions about how the world works and should work. It seems that you are religious (at least enough to mention the Bible), so maybe someone who is religious (I’m not) as well might be better suited to spar with you.

Regan DuCasse
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Daniel G, I cannot expound much better on all the points before you.
This one before mine in particular is especially cogent where you need not ask the question again.
Gay men and women are within the specific boundaries of two consenting, non related, non married individuals.

In this, exclusion is STATUS based, not necessarily ATTRIBUTE based. Tim is correct, definition in that regard is too subjective and broad.
Procreation or not is another freedom as is the PRIMACY of responsibility and custody between the couple.

Stefano A
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, above, has pretty much presented my own opinions, still, to prevent, as Ben stated, information that has been abundantly provided, I’ll simply refer to a past previous post of mine regarding similarly situated individuals whom the state has no compelling reason for denying marriage and my comments about polygamy…

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/11/08/5985?comments=true#comment-23214

As an aside, to address this myth:

Assuming then, that the primary purpose of marriage is the healthy creation and raising of children (for the sake of the children AND society), which both biology and psychology indicate require healthy hetero parents, we define marriage as between a man and a woman.

This is false. Both sociological and psychological studies have shown that two-parent households are better for children when compared to single-parent households. However, gender orientation of the two-parent households has been shown to have no influence. That is, children of two-parent heterosexual and two-parent homosexual households do equally well.

Stefano A
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Gabe Arana:

You posted while I was composing a post.

Thank you for your elaboration on what I was saying in my “aside”.

Suricou Raven
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

I have some favourate bad arguments!

‘If everyone was gay, humans would go extinct. Gays are anti-human.’

‘If gay marriage is legalised, churches that refuse to marry gays will be closed down and their pastors imprisoned for hate crimes. It’s already happened in Sweden – I read about it on World Net Daily.’

‘By recognising gay rights, we deny gays access to the churches they need to cure them.’

‘Marriage is an ancient institution, it violates tradtion to change it.’

‘Marriage is defined as between one man and one women, therefore there can be no such thing as gay marriage. It isn’t marriage by definition.’

‘The gays want to recruit our children into gayness. That’s why they are invading schools with gay-straight alliance clubs. What reason could they have for going into schools except to gain access to children so they can be raped?’

Joel
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

I BELIEVE…
I BELIEVE… that is so logical. Not.
“but I believe that such arrangements would lead to the creation of inherently inequal contracts and utter governmental confusion when seeking to protect the rights of any party in such a marriage. ”

Not that i stand for it, but this would definately be a weak position to take against it.

“The is unintential irony in your question, because you yourself are making the argument that you have no reason to oppose polygamy. By your “logic” the only reason polygamy is opposed is because gay marriage is opposed. Otherwise, straight people would be doing it. That’s not a reason. And of course, despite your idea that one must follow the other, this has NEVER happened anywhere where same sex relationships have been recognized. The question is a red herring.”

This has been the strongest argument I’ve heard/read against slippery slope arguments.

“3. Infertile couples are disordered.

Again, I think “disordered” here is problematic. What about people who choose to get their tubes tied? Or guys who get a vasectomy? Have they given themselves a disorder? I’d say not. In medicine and psychology, the concept of “disorder” is not as cut and dry as the layperson thinks (for instance, the APA is now considering whether to classify/declassify all sorts of things as disorders). Certain things that threaten life, like cancer or AIDS, are more clear-cut than others.

Gives a bit more depth on the disorder issue.

“Courts (and lovers of freedom) tend not to deal much with such “definitions” but instead ask the question “does the state have a compelling interest to limit the freedom and rights of this person?””

Do they really ask that question? If they did we wuld already have equality imo.

“‘If gay marriage is legalised, churches that refuse to marry gays will be closed down and their pastors imprisoned for hate crimes. It’s already happened in Sweden – I read about it on World Net Daily.’” A Catholic church i attended(and i assume by extension that the catholic church as a whole) joined this chorus. And everyone kept bobbing their heads up and down.

“The gays want to recruit our children into gayness. ” Or more accurately to what i heard “Gays can ‘recruit’ children.”

This was the most recent one i’ve heard being defended. Not on the basis of gay ppl being evil but on the basis of paradigms and perceptions. How ones thinking and view of the world can completely rewire ones hormones/thoughts and by extension attraction itself. This grounded on scientific evidence that it IS socially conditioned.

Theres a myriad of anti-gay arguments… i am looking forward to this series.

SistahBerry
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

One thing I have struggled to understand is why people think there is some transcendent, absolute “purpose” to marriage.

Hmm. Marriage is certainly about birthrights and inheritance of children (and in some belief systems, procreation). Marriage is not just a civil issues and, fair or unfair, it is linked to religious and moral beliefs and practices. It varies by society and is almost always tied to property. Not so much to love or equality. The government underpins marriage contracts.

BTW. Miscegenation laws were put into place to keep the black children of white men from claiming birthrights or inheritance.

Gender equality is traditionly considered to be male vs. female equality under the law. I am trying to understand but still don’t see how this is about gender equality. Can someone cite a case where the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion was primarily based on a same-sex comparison that didn’t involve another Constitutional issue? You know Loving vs. Va wasn’t about marriage per se, it was based on 14th Amendment arguments.

danielg
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Thanks to all the answers. Again, I do not want to preempt further posts, nor do I wish to troll on this particular site :). However, here are some responses, and thanks for your forbearance. Here, I’ll answer BEN:

>>BEN: your objections questions have been addresssed numerous times and in numerous places. you can research this very website to come up with some cogent answers.

This is a big site. Perhaps a FAQ on ‘stupid questions’ is in order. I hate it when I visit a blog that has thousands of posts, and someone says “I already answered that, go look it up.” Perhaps all of us who run topical sites ought to create FAQs. At least, provide links to where the answers might be if you know where they’re at.

>> BEN: Polygamy: People already do polyamory, but are not pressing for marriage rights. Polygamy and equal marriage for same sex couples are seperate issues and each will be decided on their own merits or lack thereof.

People already do homosexuality, but ARE pressing for such rights, and I’m not sure I see any difference in the logic for giving or withholding rights from either.

>> BEN: polygamy … Maybe no one wants it?

Not with so many Muslim immigrants – you can bet that’s on the docket for the near future. Would you support marriage ‘rights’ for them? I agree that may be a separate argument, and gays will probably be on both sides of it. But from my side of things, it is simple to draw the line at hetero monogamy, in practical and logical terms, as well as in terms of intellectual laziness ;).

>> BEN: Polygamy as is practiced in heterosexual society (I know no gay ones ones) is usually exploitive of females and destructive.

I don’t think that gay advocates (or heteros) can safely use this argument. I mean, what if some were NOT exploitive or destructive? What is polygamy (as some argue) keeps widows out of poverty? I’m not sure you can argue that polygamous marriages are by their very nature exploitive.

>> BEN: Child brides in mormonia have been in the news.

Child brides may be part of an unhealthy polygamous system, just like their gay equivalent, man/boy love.

>> BEN: With a 50% divorce rate it�s clear its hard enough to make a relationship work when there are only two people in it …These reasons alone justify restricting marriage to two individuals.

Just because the majority of heteros in America are godless, have poor relational skills, and an easy-out view of marriage doesn’t mean that hetero marriage is bad, nor does it necessarily follow that polygamy will multiply the effect. In fact, you might find that the added female companionship stablizes the family unit, and takes relational pressure off of the man. Just saying, your conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow – you’d have to do a study.

>> BEN: There you hear it from the legal authority in the matter.

And what if that same authority said the same about gay marriages? Would you believe it because some political authority said it? I don’t think so. Many so-called ‘medical’ and scientific public policy decisions are often made for political, not scientific reasons.

>> BEN: The is unintential irony in your question, because you yourself are making the argument that you have no reason to oppose polygamy. By your logic the only reason polygamy is opposed is because gay marriage is opposed.

Quite the contrary. I have not made an argument against polygamy yet. I am saying that pro-gay marriage logic can not exclude polygamists without exercising the same ‘bigotry’ they say heteros use. *I* don’t say it’s bigotry, but rather, think that YOUR use of that adjective seems hypocritical if you then turn around and exclude other intimate human relationships.

danielg
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

>>TIM: If your arguments are based on your religious beliefs, then there is no point talking with you.

I agree. In matters of public policy, we must appeal to reason and a shared set of ethical principles. Whether I am motivated by the Bible, the Koran, the Communist manifesto, or the Humanist manifesto, however, is interesting but not material to the argument.

>>TIM: whether you truly believe in the principles of equality under the law and the inalienable right to pursue happiness.

Of course, I believe in it, but I may not interpret as you do.

Gays actually have the right to marry in a gay affirming church or whatever, just not have it recognized in the civil arena. Correct or no?

If you can get all of the legal rights of the heteros through civil unions, powers of attorney, and written wills, why push for that extra legal term ‘marriage’, esp. when the implications go way beyond just giving it legal approval (the main concerns of conservatives are the impact on children – on school curriculums and adoption / child bearing).

To make a crude analogy, it seems like you want to call red ‘blue.’ That’s your right, but to force everyone else in society to start accepting ‘blue’ as a valid alternative to the word ‘red’ seems selfish, if not insane.

I don’t make this analogy to make a sophisticated argument, but to communicate how I view it – you are seeking to redefine a sound social construct, and in doing so, dilute it and put society at risk, perhaps children.

The truth is, no one is breaking into your home and arresting you for sodomy. You have the right to whatever relationship you want as long as no one is getting abused. But to change the legal and social construct seems like hubris.

>> TIM: With multiple-party marriages, there is no way in which all parties have an equal standing. Some societies don�t see a problem with this (generally women have little rights in such societies) but I believe that such arrangements would lead to the creation of inherently inequal contracts and utter governmental confusion when seeking to protect the rights of any party in such a marriage.

So do divorce and remarriage, but we seem to find legal answers. And the answers could be as simple as calculating rights to moneys by ‘time served’ in the marriage, with number of one’s own children thrown in. Again, I don’t think that taking down polygamy adds much to the gay argument – in fact, I think that the argument FOR polygamy is stronger than that of homosexuality, though I accept neither at this point.

>> TIM: I, however, believe in the inherent equality of women and so I cannot favor a marriage in which the status of women is devalued.

Again, I don’t think that women are by definition of lesser value in a polygamous, polyandrous, or polyamorous relationship. It may be be more possible, but that’s not a good enough argument.

>> TIM: My objection to marriages to a family member are similar. There are absolutely built-in inequalities that would lead to abuse. And, in addition, there are genetic considerations – at least with siblings and parents.

What inequalities can exist between brother and sister? Or parent and child, or step child? I think you are projecting something that is not, by definition, there. However, I agree that there are genetic considerations. But if two people fall in love, who are we to tell them that our superior medical knowledge forbids it?

>> TIM: But no such abuse is automatically present in same-sex marriages (or no more so than in opposite-sex marriages).

I think that it is interesting that the main argument made by gays to forbid other relationships is the spectre of ‘abuse.’ Not only do I think it does not hold up well, but I think that it conveniently ignores the argument that heteros make against gay marriage – we never accuse abuse, but rather, we appeal to nature – that is, fertility, design (anal canal not meant for penetration), and other medical issues (higher rates of mortality, morbidity, and mental illness). All debatable, I’m sure.

Jaft
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Nice to see this argument addressed. I, too, am looking forward to this series.

danielg
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

>> GABE: I can think of no better evidence than this for the fact that the purpose of marriage is socially determined.

I don’t think that it is socially determined, but rather, it mirrors the ideal biological and psychological conditions for healthy individuals and society. While societies may seek to redefine it (mostly broaden it to include all sorts of other configurations), on the surface, it appears to be our highest and healthiest ideal.

>> GABE: By personal fiat, you�ve decided what the purpose of marriage is (procreation), so then whatever you think of gay marriage will be judged against that standard.

Again, not by fiat, but by my contention that it leads to optimal health.

>> GABE: Another assumption (one I don�t think you bothered researching) that children from gay homes are worse off than those from straight homes and that it is better to have a house with both genders is not substantiated by research

Perhaps more research needs to be done, but here’s some studies that indicate that children with single parents (one gender) have a deficit. I can list relevant studies if you need me too, but let me just say that I think my claim of the need for dual gender parenting is both obvious and true, and science does support it.

>> GABE: homosexuality and heterosexuality, for all you can say about them, are both products of nature, even if you think one is disordered) and classified them into natural and non-natural.

Well, we can save a lot of time by avoiding using the ambiguous term ‘natural’ – seeing as everything genetic in origin could be considerd ‘natural,’ that is, in nature, we would then be arguing that cancer is ‘normal.’

What I mean is that some things lead to health and wellness, while others do not. Those that do not, I consider ‘unnatural.’

I suspect hx of being a disorder (not ‘disordered’) because epidemiology shows it to have higher incidences of sickness and death, because some of the sexaul activities add risk (predominantly anal sex, which I think is unhealthy for heteros too), and because in both clinical and my own observation, gays have a much higher incidence of being victims of social rejection, molestation, and other proposed causative events.

Those ‘reparative therapy’ guys have proposed a gender formation model that makes sense of this data and have put forth a model which can be tested, researched, and used for therapy. Whether or not it actually works is, of course, still being debated.

But my point is, for ALL of these reasons, I wonder if hx is not correctly labeled as a developmental disorder and emotional coping mechanism rather than a healthy variant.

>> GABE: Nature produces infertile couples and gay people and the intersexed.

My point exactly. We consider infertility as a disorder, a not-quite fully functional biology. Why exclude the others from this category? We are not making a moral or value judgment on the infertile, so we don’t have to for hx or intersex people either, but why not take ‘corrective’ action through therapy, medicine, or surgery?

>> GABE: What you think is disordered depends on what you think order is. For couples who want to get pregnant but can�t, being infertile constitutes a disorder; for those who don�t want to get pregnant, elective infertility is a solution.

I disagree. While infertility may be desired for medical or practical reasons, this is a LOSS of normal function, and is therefore NOT ‘normal.’

>> GABE: It seems that you are religious (at least enough to mention the Bible), so maybe someone who is religious (I�m not) as well might be better suited to spar with you.

I am not trying to make religious arguments, though I am familiar with them.

danielg
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

Again everyone, thanks for your patience, I am just answering the objections and seeing where they lead.

>> REGAN: Gay men and women are within the specific boundaries of two consenting, non related, non married individuals. In this, exclusion is STATUS based, not necessarily ATTRIBUTE based.

I think you are mistaken. Non-related is an ATTRIBUTE which can’t be changed. But I see your point. But I am not sure I buy your “status only” argument, since your inclusion of ‘non married” is as arbitrary as my saying ‘hetero’, even if mine is an ATTRIBUTE, which of course, is arguable, since there is some evidence that people can CHANGE their sexual orientation, which would then render it a status.

>> STEFANO: Both sociological and psychological studies have shown that two-parent households are better for children when compared to single-parent households. However, gender orientation of the two-parent households has been shown to have no influence.

References?

>> SURICOU: If everyone was gay, humans would go extinct. Gays are anti-human.�

Actually, the argument is ‘if gay’s can’t reproduce, why do they persist? Why aren’t they selected againts in evolution?” There are some attempts at answering this question.

>> SURICOU: �If gay marriage is legalised, churches that refuse to marry gays will be closed down and their pastors imprisoned for hate crimes. It�s already happened in Sweden – I read about it on World Net Daily.�

You may find this concern ridiculous, but seeing as you are painting this as a civil rights issue, are conservative churches wrong to think that if they refused, for instance, to marry two blacks, or a mixed race couple, that they could not be sued? Just asking.

And seeing all of the crazy things happening under Canada’s Human Rights Commission, it’s no wonder conservatives are worried.
Guide to Completely Idiotic Canadian �Human Rights� Tribunals

Thanks everyone, and good night for now.

grantdale
January 26th, 2009 | LINK

danielg

Ultimately people like you need to learn to mind your own business. It would take 7 years in a Manchurian gaol to get through all the false swill you’ve been all too ready to believe as if it were fact. None of us care to waste that much time.

We are discussing gay couples being as equally treated by the law as are straight couples; not polygamy. I realise you learn these little word games in Christian School an all, but you’re called on it: conflation is not an argument.

Perhaps the law is unfair. Perhaps people should be free to marry more than one person at the same time. But that would be the case REGARDLESS.

Anyone wanting to change the law to allow polygamous marriage should feel free to pursue the case. I’m not interested in doing so, and especially not on their behalf.

Can we move onto the why can’t I marry my horse nonsense now?

Buffy
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

I want to pound my head against a wall every time I see that ridiculous and hateful argument.

danielg,

Nobody is asking you to recognize blue as red. We’re asking for the same civil rights that straight couples have. Domestic partnerships/Civil unions, no matter how well intentioned, *do not* provide the same rights, benefits and protections that marriage does. What you are asking us to do is take something called a “gays only drinking fountain” and be satisfied with it. Sorry. “Separate but Equal” didn’t work before and it doesn’t work now. If you think Civil unions are so fabulous then you take them, and give us marriage.

Gabe Arana
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

After a certain point I realize that discussions like this lead nowhere and stop engaging.

It is not that danielg has considered the information and come out against gay marriage.

Rather, he has invincible convictions about gay people, marriage, the world for which he constructs arguments — the reasoning process is retroactive. For instance, he didn’t look up whether having two same-sex parents in the home was better for children than two opposite-sex parents; he just made it up because he had decided that gay marriage is wrong and needed a backstory.

His argument is of the form: “Here, let me make an anti-X argument and you tell my why it’s wrong, e.g. DEFEND YOURSELF AGAINST MY RACISM. I think it’s futile to do so. The real public debate isn’t with people like this anyway. When did the civil rights movement ever get anywhere arguing with white supremacists?

The way people like this change is not because you convince them. It takes getting to know someone gay — respecting and caring about them — to change their ideas. Is danielg’s best friend gay? Is his brother? Has he ever seen a gay person he cared about suffer, want a normal life and not be able to have one? Of course not.

It is important to discuss arguments like this because of how they shape public discourse and how they affect people who are on the fence, but ultimately if someone is invincibly ignorant it’s tough to convince them.

Gabe Arana
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t mean to say, danielg, that it is no good talking to you — I mean instead that I think the only real way your views would change would be to have a gay best friend, brother, etc.

Jason D
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Then let me ask you, seriously (you may address this in a later post) – what argument is there against the questions:

1. in question is the right to marry the PERSONS one loves (polyandry, polygamy, polyamory)

Gay marriage doesn’t deal with any other number than 2. A couple. This issue is unrelated. But let’s think for a second, well first of all with polygamy we’ve been there, done that. We know what’s going to happen, and often it isn’t so good. Secondly, the argument flow directly from heterosexuality, “If a man can marry a woman, why not 3 women?” You don’t need gay marriage to get there, so again, connecting the two is a mistake. Gays are not addressing the number of people involved in a marriage, but merely the genders of those two people. It’s false to presume that if we let gays marry, we have to let polygamists marry, we have already dealt with polygamy long long before people were even using the word “gay” to mean homosexual. Should the debate come up again, we will deal with it separately, because it is a separate issue with it’s own set of attributes and problems.

2. in question is the right to marry the person I love, EVEN IF IT IS MY SISTER OR PARENT.
Again, this is irrelevant, as gays are not asking to marry brothers or sisters, but members of the same sex. Again, incest flows quite easily from heterosexual marriage, “If a man can marry a woman, why not his sister — she’s a woman.” And again, we’ve been there, done that, long long before gay rights were even a real topic. And again, the subject is separate and can be dealt with separately if it comes up. As with polygamy, whatever legal arguments that are in place preventing it right now do NOT hinge on gay marriage being illegal, nor are those arguments destroyed by legal gay marriage.

As a pro prop8 supporter, I will be reading your posts with interest. Here is another argument you might want to address.

Romantic love is only part of the definition that society uses for defining marriage. It also reflects the ability to procreate and the emotional needs of raising children, that is, of having both genders present for healthy development.
Regarding procreation, it is NOT a good answer to ask “what about infertile hetero couples” because, for one, that is considered a dysfunction (and so homosexuality would be also from this perspective), but also, we are not using fertility as a requirement for GETTING married, but we are looking to nature for the norm in order to define the boundaries. We do not make rules based on exceptions, but on norms.

People seem to be fairly good at having kids regardless of marital status. People have kids without bothering to even learn each other’s names, let alone get married. Some married couples manage to stay married for decades and never bother with producing children. While marriage and children often go hand-in hand this is not a legal requirement. If we are not going to require that straight couples have kids after marriage, if we’re not going to require parents to get married, then we can’t use this a legal reason to deny marriage to gays. If procreation is a requirement of marriage, then it needs to be a requirement for all, not just a way of avoiding gays — which is the current tactic.

Assuming then, that the primary purpose of marriage is the healthy creation and raising of children (for the sake of the children AND society), which both biology and psychology indicate require healthy hetero parents, we define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Key word being ASSUMING. The law makes no such assumptions, and THAT is what we are dealing with. Again, you are layering your personal beliefs about what marriage is and using that as justification to deny gays. Nothing in our laws states the purpose of marriage is to have children — we don’t divorce couples who remain childless, and we don’t prevent seniors, women with hystorectomies, or men who’ve been castrated from getting married.

Gay unions can’t produce children, and arguably can’t provide both genders. I also understand the argument that a loving gay home is better than a dysfunctional hetero home, and agree in part with that. But it’s like arguing that a loving single-parent home is just as good as a hetero marriage, which it is clearly not.

Again with the layering in your bias. I know a few children of single parents who would BEG TO DIFFER with you on whether they got shafted by not having both parents. Is it easier to raise kids with two parents — ABSOLUTELY! But we don’t take kids out of single parent homes, we don’t force those parents to get married, thus it can’t be used as a legit reason to deny gay couples from marrying and having children.

In your defense, however, even biblically speaking, marriage is also seen as a hedge against promiscuity – that is, if you must have sex, it is ‘better to marry than burn with lust.’ Just admitting that procreation is not the reason d’etre for marriage.

If you admit that, then you’ve completely undone your arguments up until this point.

All of your questions in this post can be separated into two categories

A) Things that are unrelated (polygamy, incest)

B) Double-standards not written into law. We don’t require these things of heterosexuals, so it would be extremely unfair to suddenly use them to measure the worthiness of gays to marry each other.

Thus you have not brought anything to the table that actually deals with homosexuality and why we should be denied our rights. That should tell you something right there.

Consider this: We let murderers on death row get married. We let serial rapists get married. We let child molestors get married AND let them have kids. There is no crime too foul, no injustice too great that society will revoke your right to marry, but if you happen to want to marry someone with the same gender — that’s considered too much to ask. How is this remotely fair?

cowboy
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

The gist is: danielg thinks his ‘red’ marriage is deserving of preferential treatment in eyes of the law. Whereas we think our ‘blue’ marriages should have equal standing in the law.

Why continue to debate it with someone who thinks we are a developmental disorder.

Should we continue to feed his ego?

Ben in Oakland
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Daniel G: This is what I wrote as a preamble to my answers to you: “But, on the off-chance that you are actually honestly asking an honest question, and will duly reflect on the answers, here are a couple of very short answers for you.”

I figured you were not actually interested in matters of logic or fact, merely in your own beliefs. You proved it to me, at least, when you made this statement: “Just because the majority of heteros in America are godless, have poor relational skills, and an easy-out view of marriage doesn’t mean that hetero marriage is bad, nor does it necessarily follow that polygamy will multiply the effect.”

I never said any of that, and you gave your bias away in the very first phrase. I chose hte polygamy argument for a very specific reason– very easy to answer. And, in fact, gay marriage is the antithesis of the polygamous “argument”. In fact it supports the idea that marriage is between two people. It’s always the heteros that bring up polygamy– stopping gay marriage is the only way to prevent heteros from polygamy, and they are the only ones I know of that practice it.

Gabe said it best: “It is not that danielg has considered the information and come out against gay marriage.
Rather, he has invincible convictions about gay people, marriage, the world for which he constructs arguments — the reasoning process is retroactive.”

Sorry, honey. No more letters from me.

Ben in Oakland
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Jason– as always– brilliant. Even smarter than me (sniff).

Ben in Oakland
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Grantdale–also brilliant, as always. That cute little link was amazing. here was DG in all of his pointy-headed, christianist glory.

honey,(DG), you made this statement, and it is a flat out lie: “Me, I am on the fence re: gay marriage (though I lean heavily right), so argue away. Thanks.” You’re not now and have never been on the fence.

Maybe it would help you navigate outside the christianist mindset if you learned a little bit about honesty. Remember: you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

And then try some compassion.

John
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

danielg does not believe in equal protection for all before the law. He clearly believes that heterosexual citizens are entitled to rights and priviledges that should be denied to gay and lesbian citizens.

Instead of addressing the issue at hand, he just trots out the same old tired red herrings (this post was about debunking the arguement that gay men and heterosexual men have the right to marry a women-regardless of their actual desires). This post wasn’t about polygamy, incest or any of the other red herrings that danielg would like to trot out. That was made pretty clear in the original post.

Today’s bigots seem to be ashamed of their bigotry and have to hide behind these silly, convoluted arguements. Wouldn’t it be so much more refreshing if the bigots just came out and said they have no respect for gays and lesbians and therefore want gays to be denied full, equal rights as citizens?

I guess they don’t have enough personal integrity to just make that leap to honesty, but like the emperor who had no clothes, everyone sees them for the bigots they are.

john
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

I guess we should let the gays get married in Tehran where they can be properly beheaded. The U.S. seems to accept significant irrational and immoral behavior as the norm. I say let that behavior be tested in the international world.

Priya Lynn
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

John, there is nothing irrational or immoral about doing that which harms no one.

Timothy Kincaid
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

Ah, the international world:

Legal Same-Sex Marriage:

Netherlands
Belgium
Spain
Canada
South Africa
Norway

Other legal recognition (Domestic Partners, Civil Unions, Civil Partnerships, PACS, etc.):

Denmark
Sweden
Greenland
Iceland
France
Germany
Portugal
Finland
Croatia
Luxembourg
New Zealand
Slovenia
Great Britian
Andorra
Czech Republic
Uruguay
Columbia
Switzerland
Ecuador
Australia
Hungary
Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul
Buenos Aires and the Argentine state of Rio Negro
Mexico City and the Mexican state of Coahuila

Ya know, most of Western Civilization. But John, well he sees himself much more in alignment ideologically with Tehran.

Ken R
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

The U.S. seems to accept significant irrational and immoral behavior as the norm.

You are so right john! The U.S. just came out of 8 long years of irrational and immoral behavior!

Ben in Oakland
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

“I guess we should let the gays get married in Tehran where they can be properly beheaded. The U.S. seems to accept significant irrational and immoral behavior as the norm. I say let that behavior be tested in the international world.”

You’re so right. We tolerate rleigious groups with such different versions of god and his message that it seems that none of them could possibly be right, let alone the one that is The One True Faith– and we don’t insist that everyone who doesn’t believe it die or convert.

We even tolerate people who are so irrational on a subject they they know nothing about (except their own fears and hatreds) to have their say. We even tolerate people who are so immoral that they advocate, or at least approve of, a horrific death at the hands of an immoral authority of people whom they do not know and clearly know nothing about…

Except again, of course, their own fears and hatreds.

you are so right. we tolerate a great deal of irrational and immoral behavior. And more and more of the civilized world is starting to see that that is the case….

and wonder what is wrong with us. Perhaps YOU have an answer/

Joel
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

For Daniel…
Seems as if the social construct of hetero-marriage comes to its exclusionary end, EVERYTHING will be permitted. It’s not that he has a substantial reason to oppose gay marriage(other than the obvious biased false assumptions he makes of gay child bearing), but rather BECAUSE he has no tangible reason to forbid that and polygamy/group marriages, and incest… is because he opposes it.

If this is the case and neither of the above actually have nothing inherently wrong about it, it might prove worthy(yet not due to our time or cause) to take a really hard look at these issues.

So essentially the reason to oppose gay marriage is not based on reasons but lack-there-of. This being the case… the future seems slightly more hopeful, as IMO, ppl are moving away from the baseless/ignorant grounds of faith/tradition to a more critical and reasoned one.

Joel
January 27th, 2009 | LINK

“and other medical issues (higher rates of mortality, morbidity, and mental illness). All debatable, I’m sure.”

Prolly because its more pro-gay than not you actually just try and implicitly spin it around.

Abuse and unnatural are the same thing… ok… Talk about a skewed logic. Not to mention that this unnatural behavior is actually natural. *shrug. Or that previously you asserted “You have the right to whatever relationship you want as long as no one is getting abused.” implying sexual behavior too.

“But to change the legal and social construct seems like hubris.””

Not sure blacks and women will agree with you on this point.

“I disagree. While infertility may be desired for medical or practical reasons, this is a LOSS of normal function, and is therefore NOT ‘normal.’”

So not everything you consider unnatural is wrong? Is this like a point in FAVOR of gay marriage?

“I can list relevant studies if you need me too, but let me just say that I think my claim of the need for dual gender parenting is both obvious and true, and science does support it.”

Even though i cannot provide you the references for it, as i do not know where the links are. But there was a debate here with Glenn Stanton and someone else(dont remember who) on this very issue.

I believe Glenn Stanto stopped debating on the same note of your assertion, yet the other person still upheld the contrary(pro-gay). Most of the ppl that ive seen uphold your view ARE religious yet those that are from the ‘secular’ arena do not. The American Anthropoligical Association being one of them, and unlike you i do not believe its because their afraid/cautious of the gays or their supporters, in other words, not political.

“are conservative churches wrong to think that if they refused, for instance, to marry two blacks, or a mixed race couple, that they could not be sued? Just asking.

And seeing all of the crazy things happening under Canada’s Human Rights Commission, it’s no wonder conservatives are worried.
Guide to Completely Idiotic Canadian �Human Rights� Tribunals

Seeing as their are white supremacist groups that ban black ppl from their congregation, i do believe that churches can actually do that without being sued… although i aint a legal expert, but it would make sense that they NOT do it on the basis of their religion.

Canada, last i heard does not exactly have the SAME constitution as we do. I read of one instance where a guy had to go to a 3year trial because of being critical of islam, doesnt quite have the same ring to our consitution.

Ben in Oakland
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

*looks around room*

And so the two trolls, called on their trollity, disappear.

danielg
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

>> BEN: And so the two trolls, called on their trollity, disappear.

Actually, it looks like you are still here Ben. And so am I. You have celebrated your victory too soon, and contributed little to said victory, I might add.

I may take time to answer again if the site owner allows my continued presence, but let me sum up my thoughts on the responses:

1. Don’t assume that I have not researched my conclusions just because I don’t immediately provide a list of references, and I’ll do the same for you. We are all busy.

2. I think you entirely miss my use of the polygamy argument – I am not comparing homosexuality to polygamy at all. What I am saying is that (a) the abuse argument against polygamy doesn’t hold, and (b) I’m not sure how you can exclude polygamy while include your own favored intimate arrangement. It seems hypocritical. I am not arguing for or against polygamy, just against your exclusion of it – if you exclude it for medical or ‘abuse’ reasons, I too should be able to exclude gay marriage for similar reasons.

3. Jason: again, I think you misunderstood (purposely?) my discussion of ‘natural.’ What I am saying is that we have an ambiguous term which, for the sake of clarity, we ought to define and agree on. I submitted my definition, which is that ‘natural’ is what leads to health or reflects the fully functional biological norm, as opposed to ‘what occurs in nature.’ That is how I would like to use it.

If we can’t agree on that, I’ll stop using the term and just say ‘healthy.’

4. John: “Instead of addressing the issue at hand, he just trots out the same old tired red herrings ”

Um, is that not exactly what this thread is about?!? Believe it or not, I am contributing valuable fodder for you, and with a decent attitude, which might soon be spoiled by yours ;) So lighten up, Francis (Stripes reference).

danielg
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

>> JASON: Again with the layering in your bias. I know a few children of single parents who would BEG TO DIFFER with you on whether they got shafted by not having both parents.

Actually, I *do* have a bias, as I am the product of a single parent household (mother only), and I spent a small part of my adult life having to do inner child and gender work to move towards emotional health.

When a boy has no healthy men to bond with, he can have a gender identity deficit, as I did. Seeing the true masculine as an adult helped me quite literally ‘become a man’ in my self concept, for which I am grateful.

I personally WAS shafted without a father. My own experience, observations, and reading of the literature on this subject lead me to the conclusion that ‘complimentarian’ parenting (both genders) is required for optimal emotional health and self-development in children. YMMV, but I am not JUST talking out of my rear.

Timothy Kincaid
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

danielg,

Your desire to chat on and on about polygamy is not relevant to this thread. I’m sure Gabe will have a commentary about polygamy in his Anti-Gay Arguments We Don’t Bother With (and Should) series.

In fact, I’m sure Gabe will discuss all of your anti-gay arguments.

In the meanwhile, we are all aware of your long history of anti-gay activism and are not much disposed to play definition games with you at this time.

We know full well that your purpose here is not to exchange ideas in the hopes of finding a common place. We know that you are here seeking to disrupt and cause discord. That’s why Ben refered to you as a “troll”.

And we also know that the best rule of internet communication is “do not feed the trolls”.

Emily K
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

I love how he describes Love Won Out as the most “gentle” Christian response to gays.

…Except that they blame parents for their children ending up gay and then encourage them to bilk them into a life of repression and sexual dishonesty.

seriously, anti-gays should just leave us alone. we’re not doing anything except loving our partners.

Priya Lynn
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

DanielG said “‘complimentarian’ parenting (both genders) is required for optimal emotional health and self-development in children. YMMV, but I am not JUST talking out of my rear.”.

You ARE just talking out of your rear. There are NO studies that suggest that and dozens and dozens of studies that show that children of same sex couples do just as well, if not better, than children of opposite sex couples. In a dishonest attempt to make your case you refer to studies that compare dual parent families to single parent families. Those do indeed show dual parent families are better, but they DO NOT compare opposite sex couples to same sex couples as parents- you’re a liar:

http://www.bidstrup.com/parenbib.htm

“These studies, reports, and articles all reach the same conclusion: Children raised by lesbians and gay men do not differ from children raised by heterosexuals “on measures of popularity, social adjustment, gender role behavior, gender identity, intelligence, self-concept, emotional problems, interest in marriage and parenting, locus of control, moral development, independence, ego functions, object relations, or self esteem.” Additionally, no significant differences have been observed in regard to “teachers’ and parents’ evaluations of emotional and social behavior, fears, sleep disturbances, hyperactivity, and conduct differences.” (Meyer, “Legal, Psychological, and Medical Considerations in Lesbian Parenting,” 2 Law & Sexuality: Rev. Lesbian & Gay Legal Issues 239-240 [1992])
The same article goes on to note that a very few differences HAVE beenreported by some researchers: One study found children raised by heterosexual mothers had a HIGHER rate of psychiatric disorders and psychiatric referrals than those raised by lesbians. Another study found that those raised by heterosexuals were more domineering and more often engaged in power struggles. Other studies found that children of lesbian parents showed greater tolerance for diversity and that daughters of lesbians chose to play with opposite sex partners more often than daughters of heterosexual mothers.”

http://www.religioustolerance.org/ssparcdn2.htm

“The strongest conclusion that can be drawn from the empirical literature is that the vast majority of studies show that children living with two mothers and children living with a mother and father have the same levels of social competence. A few studies suggest that children with two lesbian mothers may have marginally better social competence than children in traditional nuclear families, even fewer studies show the opposite, and most studies fail to find any differences. The very limited body of research on children with two gay fathers supports this same conclusion.”

http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/lgpstspec.html

http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/lgprevspec.html

Ben in Oakland
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry, Timothy. I’m going to toss the troll a morsel.

Hnoey– I think YOU miss the point. You wish to discuss polygamy. It is a red herring. It is not the same as gay marriage, but quite the opposite. I don’t care about it. it is not the issue under discussion.

The question, which you seem to ignore, is why heterosexuals get legal rights and privileges that are denied to gay people? could it be prejudice? It is not now and never has been about marriage. It is about how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people, a some who wanna be straight but ain’t.

Your medical and abuse proof is all the proof anyone who doesn’t think like you do needs to know about you to know that you think like you do. Straight=good. gay=bad. Anything is you justifying your basic anti-gay feelings.

Think about the family of the guy who killed his wife and 5 children today. Man. woman. the natural family.

Right.

danielg
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

>> BEN: Think about the family of the guy who killed his wife and 5 children today. Man. woman. the natural family.

That’s your argument?

Timothy Kincaid
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Aaaaaaand we’re back on topic.

danielg,

I see that you don’t want to discuss Priya Lynn’s references or Ben’s questions.

So, to avoid red herrings, pointless rounds of cut and paste, and endless off-topic declarations, I’ll request that you keep the remainder of your comments to the topic of the thread.

Do you have any comments about the argument that because gay persons can marry someone of the opposite sex then they are not subject to discrimination?

If not, save your arguments for the rest of Gabe’s series.

Ben in Oakland
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

“BEN: Think about the family of the guy who killed his wife and 5 children today. Man. woman. the natural family.

That’s your argument?”

RTFLMAO: no. that’s the irony of the situation. It’s yours!!!!

danielg
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Will do. However, I can’t answer today…real life interrupts.

Timothy Kincaid
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Ben,

If I’m restricting danielg to the topic of the thread, then you have to also.

Joel
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

dont boot daniel!…

Maybe im just young, but it seems to me that we should be focusing on daniel logic and reasoning and less on her perceived trollness. You guys are aware, im sure, that this(or some extension/mutation of it) is the line of reasoning we might actually come up with on the street, at least. And anyways, isnt the essence of this post FOR “Anti-Gay Arguments We Don’t Bother With…” AND SHOULD.

I’m from a place where slippery slopes are used almost everytime gay issues come up.

I honestly want to see how many and which arguments daniel can come up with stemming from slippery slopes and substantiated with reasoning. Fodder if they fail to convince any of us.

Daniel, plz provide your evidence against gay child bearing. Those here have seen the evidence FOR it, not the least of which are the ones preya linn presented. Yet the evidence against it seems to fall short of the evidence FOR it, if this isn’t the case, plz do provide. Maybe then the Arizona mayority vote to ban adoptions or the propaganda used might not seem so bigoted and infused with ignorance.

Adressing Danielg.
“2. I think you entirely miss my use of the polygamy argument – I am not comparing homosexuality to polygamy at all. What I am saying is that (a) the abuse argument against polygamy doesn’t hold, and (b) I’m not sure how you can exclude polygamy while include your own favored intimate arrangement. It seems hypocritical. I am not arguing for or against polygamy, just against your exclusion of it – if you exclude it for medical or ‘abuse’ reasons, I too should be able to exclude gay marriage for similar reasons.”

You ARE trying to compare them through what imo is parallel logic. And like you, i do not actually see the abuse arguments holding water for polygamy, but unlike you, your reasoning on WHY gay relatinships are abuse(BECAUSE it is unnatural) is far-fetched and superfluous – here im assuming natural is that which “reflects the fully functional biological norm”. As for the medical, you did not specify why, is this related to the child-bearing or is this intertwined with the abuse issue? Since, if i’ve followed you correctly, natural=healthy- healthy being of the medical nature.

Are you implicitly asserting that gay relationships, on its sexual nature, is unhealthy on the grounds of medicine?

“>> BEN: Think about the family of the guy who killed his wife and 5 children today. Man. woman. the natural family.

That’s your argument?

I believe that was in allusion to the fire and brimstone preaching.

Ben in Oakland
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

ok.

Ben in Oakland
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

I just thought it was pretty funny. not the murder, but the irony.

grantdale
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Poor Timothy — I can see that one’s gonna be Trouble :)

Aaaaaaand we’re back on topic.

Do you have any comments about the argument that because gay persons can marry someone of the opposite sex then they are not subject to discrimination?

0) assume ‘opposite sex couple’ exists. List the characteristics of such relationships.

1) list: why do opposite sex couples marry?

note a: do not restrict this list to the reasons why you would marry.

2) list: who do opposite sex couples marry?

note: you may chose to restrict this to current times and your own society, or take a broader anthropological perspective.

3) is there such a thing as a ‘same sex couple’?

3i) if no, explain. Refer to 0) 1) 2). End.
3ii) if yes, explain. Refer to 0) 1) 2). Continue.

4) Halt: compare and contrast: can/do the lists at 1) and 2) also apply to the same sex couples identified at 3)?

4i) if no, explain why not. End.
4ii) if yes, explain. Continue.

5) is it therefore discriminatory (by definition) to permit opposite couples to marry but not same sex couples?

5i) if no, explain why it is not. End.
5ii) if yes, what should be done about the situation and why? End.

Timothy Kincaid
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Joel,

it applies to you as well.

Alex H
January 28th, 2009 | LINK

Great article!

Well put and makes perfect sense to me! Why others can’t come to the same conclusion is beyond reason.

danielg
January 29th, 2009 | LINK

>> JOEL: Maybe im just young, but it seems to me that we should be focusing on daniel logic and reasoning and less on her perceived trollness. You guys are aware, im sure, that this(or some extension/mutation of it) is the line of reasoning we might actually come up with on the street, at least. And anyways, isnt the essence of this post FOR “Anti-Gay Arguments We Don’t Bother With…” AND SHOULD.

Thank you Joel, that’s kind of my excuse for being here, though as Tim has equitably requested, we should stay on topic. I’m sure if i wander too far into trolling, he will shut me down. But I really am trying to contribute, though from the other side.

Crowepps
January 30th, 2009 | LINK

The churches will be punished and pastors will be jailed argument has a reverse which hasn’t been considered here. At the present time churches which oppose gay marriage are free to refuse to do such marriages while continuing to do heterosexual marriages in religious ceremonies which will subsequently be given legal recognition by the government.

On the other hand those churches which are willing to solemnize gay marriages are unequal before the law because although their faith includes the celebration of those unions, the religious ceremony is subsequently ignored and considered invalid by the government and the law does not recognize the couple as married. There seems to me to be a religious equality and freedom of religion issue there.

Richard Rush
February 7th, 2009 | LINK

It seems that Maureen Mullarkey, the New York state artist who gave $1,000 to Yes-on-Prop8, and made substantial dollars painting gay subjects, has used the very argument that is the subject of this blog post.

In a comment on marriagedebate.com back in 2004, she wrote, in part:

Homosexuals already have the freedom to marry. They choose not to exercise that freedom in order to live as they choose with whomever–or however many whoevers–they choose.

Like some other donors to Prop8, she was happy to exploit us for profit while secretly working to deny us the same human rights as she enjoys. And like the others, now she’s outraged at being called on it.

Mitch Turner Googles himself, dislikes result : Equality Loudoun
March 5th, 2009 | LINK

[…] understand that as well. Box Turtle Bulletin recently published a series of posts entitled “Anti-gay Arguments We Don’t Bother With (And Should)” that unpack some of those anti-gay activist memes that are too fringe to be taken seriously […]

Dorine
July 25th, 2014 | LINK

Hi! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now and
finally got the courage to go ahead and give you
a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to say keep
up the good job!

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