The Stoner Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage

Rob Tisinai

September 2nd, 2011

This morning NOM points its readers to a blog post by Prof. John Araujo, a distinguished Jesuit law professor. Araujo is commenting on Laurence Tribe, a leading (perhaps the leading) liberal scholar of Constitutional Law:

[Tribe] also derides the use [of] arguments against same-sex marriage that rely on what he labels “pseudo-scientific claims.”

He does not identify the reasoning underlying these claims, but I wonder how he would consider this argument: Let us assume that two planets which have not yet been inhabited by humans are to be colonized by them; on Planet Alpha, heterosexual couples only are assigned; on Planet Beta, only homosexual couples. In one hundred years, will both islands be populated assuming that reproductive technologies are not available to either group? I suggest that Planet Alpha will be; but Planet Beta will not. Why? The basic answer is to be found in the biological complementarity of the heterosexual couple necessary for procreation that is absent in same-sex couple. This is a scientific argument, but perhaps it is, in Tribe’s estimation, counterfeit.

I suspect Tribe would say this isn’t an argument at all. It’s just a long-winded way of saying two members of the same sex can’t conceive a child without outside help. That’s it. Granted, Araujo takes many words and a convoluted path to say it, but he never makes an argument of it — never links to it to a clear point. It’s a kind of pointless pseudo-profundity that reminds me of stoners smoking weed back in college:

Stoner: Dude, I just blew my mind.

Rob: I’m trying to study.

Stoner: Dude, I figured out why gay marriage is, like, a no-go!

Rob: I don’t have time —

Stoner: DUDE!

Rob: Fine. Tell me.

Stoner: Suppose we dump a bunch of gays on an empty planet.

Rob: Why would we do that?

Stoner: Dude…

Rob: Never mind. Go on.

Stoner: And we dump a bunch of straights on an empty planet.

Rob: Okay.

Stoner: So if we come back to Planet Straight in, like, a hundred years, we’d find a bunch of new people.  BUT!  If we go back to Planet Gay, there’d be like no people at all.

Rob: Why not?

Stoner: Because – dude! – they’re gay.

Rob: So?

Stoner: They’re gaaay.

Rob: They can still —

Stoner: Gaaaaaaaaaay.

Rob: What’s your point?

Stoner: Um…

Rob: Right.

Stoner: I remember! Don’t let gays marry.

Rob: Why?

Stoner: Dude, one of the planets is empty.

Rob: So your point is…we shouldn’t colonize planets with lesbians and gays?

Stoner: YES! Wait. No. Don’t let gays marry.

Rob: On other planets?

Stoner: No, dude, here, now, today!

Rob: Why not?

Stoner: Because of the planets, dude!  The planets!

Rob: I don’t get it.

Stoner: Dude, you need to smoke more weed.

I suspect Stoner is right. I would have to smoke weed to view Araujo’s “argument” as an argument.  All he’s done is shown that same-sex couples fall in the same category as the many opposite-sex couples who can’t conceive children (but who can raise them) on their own — couples whom the law still allows to marry, couples whose marriages we consider no less real than anyone else’s.

Nevertheless, I hear this “if everyone were gay” reasoning again and again. I can’t imagine Araujo makes a habit of toking up, but the the whole thing is so thoroughly addled that I may just start referring to it as “the stoner argument against same-sex marriage.”


September 2nd, 2011

Well, I don’t know about NOM, but I live on planet EARTH where there are almost 7 billion people where small fraction of them are gay.

And once again, they are failing to realize that banning gay marriages doesn’t ban gay sex.

Ben In Oakland

September 2nd, 2011

As i like to say when this STUPID argument is presented, all that will really happen is:

fewer abortions.

probably NO unwanted children.

Less need for adoption services.

No homophobia as a means of social control and societal scapegoating.

But the real problem with this statement is the underlying appeal to bigotry and hetero-superiorty.

Gay people don’t value children.

gay people don’t want or value family. In fact they are the enemy of family.

Gay people are selfish and immature. The human race could die out while they spend their time not reproducing.

The subtext is always important. And this particualr one is always there.


September 2nd, 2011

It’s BS that a straight couple, for whatever personal reasons, does not wish to have children, and people don’t generally care for them. But if homosexuals get married, then it’s the end of humanity as we know it.

NOM needs to get the message that fertile egg and sperm are what makes humans, not attraction to someone. Even then, the fetus may have complications, but that’s another story.

Additionally, you can become a surrogate, or a donor, regardless of your orientation.

David in Houston

September 2nd, 2011

Pastor Swilley pretended to be a straight man for over 20 years, and fathered 4 children. So, yes, it is very possible for a gay man to procreate.

This is aside from the fact that procreation has never been a requirement to getting married. So his entire argument is pointless… and stupid.

Grandmère Mimi

September 2nd, 2011

Rob, your conversation with the stoner had me rolling on the floor. I know the anti-gay marriage folks are deadly serious, but satire that exposes arguments such as that of distinguished Prof. John Araujo, SJ, as ridiculous is surely one way to go to reveal their lack of critical thinking skills.

Lorenzo from Oz

September 2nd, 2011

This “but what if everyone did …” argument turns up in various forms. I call it the “argument from excluded diversity” since it presumes that diversity is not an option.


September 2nd, 2011

Awwww, why hate on stoners? Remember Silent Bob? He was nice.


September 2nd, 2011

I’ve always found this particular argument to be one of the shoddiest out there from their perspective. There are two other outcomes in the proposed scenario that Araujo has neglected to mention:

1. The closeted gays, “ex-gays” and bisexuals, not having been adequately screened out in Araujo’s scenario, would reproduce on both Planets Alpha & Beta with some of them also finding same-sex partners on the “down-low”.

2. Somewhere around 5% of the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of the original heterosexual couples on Planet Alpha would, you guessed it, be gay or bisexual.

This is really an absurd line of reasoning that folks on Araujo’s side keep trotting out. Try again.

Rob in San Diego

September 2nd, 2011

Don’t the people of planet Beta know that it is the job of all males to be sperm donors?


September 2nd, 2011

The answer to his stupid question is simple. We have an example of what happens on Planet A, it’s called EARTH. in about 20,000 years it will have over 7 billion people and growing at an exponential rate until there are massive die offs, the natural result of over-population.

Now on the proposed Planet B, 20,000 years later the Planet would still be populated, but with about 1/3 the population (since at least 30% of gay people have children), and 100% of the children born would have been planned for and WANTED. Planet B would be MUCH healthier, happier and sustainable.


September 2nd, 2011

Rob, you got me laughing very hard at that little dialogue. *wipes off tears*

Ah, what a nice “Catholic legal theory” blog we have there. Now what happens if we colonize a planet with Catholic priests and nuns? :)

Ben M

September 2nd, 2011

A Jesuit huh… ok… let’s try this one…

Let us assume that two planets which have not yet been inhabited by humans are to be colonized by them; on Planet Alpha, Protestant clergy (and spouses) only are assigned; on Planet Beta, only Catholic clergy. In one hundred years, will both islands be populated assuming that reproductive technologies are not available to either group? I suggest that Planet Alpha will be; but Planet Beta will not.

I guess that means Catholic clergy are like teh Ghey.


September 2nd, 2011

If I lived on planet Beta, I’d take one for the team and impregnate a lesbian.

Nick Thiwerspoon

September 2nd, 2011

All good arguments. I found the stoner conversation hilarious. And also Ben M’s point about Catholic and Protestant clergy.

In any case, technology will make the whole stoner argument irrelevant, even if it wasn’t already deeply flawed:

The Uterine Replicator

Grandmère Mimi

September 2nd, 2011

Rob, I posted your entire stoner conversation at my blog, giving you a link and credit, of course. I hope you don’t mind.

One of my commenters said, “Let’s see..what if we colonize one of the planets with celibate priests? Hmm…” Brilliant, yes?


September 2nd, 2011

Actually, as we all know, in 100 years, the population of Planet Alpha would consist of 3 to 10% gay people. The only real answer to the gay “problem: if for straights to stop…umm…well, you know….

John B.

September 2nd, 2011

The really funny thing is that the heterosexual planet would STILL end up with a bunch of gay people.


September 2nd, 2011

Jesuits have no business trying to make reasoned arguements as they rely on a book of fairy tales for their facts.


September 3rd, 2011

I AM stoned, and that “argument” still makes no sense at all!


September 3rd, 2011

The Jesuits are traditionally renowned for their incisive and remorseless logic. You’d never guess it from reading this little gem by Professor Araujo.


September 3rd, 2011

That’s not an argument, it’s a completely irrelevant fantasy.

I think it’s highly instructive that a Jesuit would fall back on the procreation argument — i.e., people are nothing more than breeding stock. There’s a hell of a lot more to marriage than that, and a lot more to sex. The Church’s attitude toward humanity is kind of depressing.


September 3rd, 2011

The gay planet wouldn’t be empty because the straight planet would produce more gays that could be shipped to the gay planet.


September 3rd, 2011

I’m with you, apparently it’s ok to dis stoners. I suppose you all think it’s funny to equate a homophobe to people who use the herb. talk about lame arguments and analogies;-)


September 3rd, 2011

The argument is flawed because its major premise is invalid–homosexuals can and do conceive children.
The process may differ from a box turtle orgy.

Bose in St. Peter MN

September 3rd, 2011

Not only would Planet of the Gays figure out how to reproduce easily enough, human nature suggests that Planet Straight would hardly be Reproductive Utopia. Couples would split, babies would be borne of infidelity.

Most insulting, though, is the assumption that lesbians and gays are fundamentally too stupid, or too self-serving, to care for their communities.

Necktie Knot

September 3rd, 2011

This one is priceless. A day brightener on a Saturday morning. Thank you.

Priya Lynn

September 3rd, 2011

WMDKitty said “I AM stoned, and that “argument” still makes no sense at all!”.

LOL – that’s hilarious.

Michael Hearts

September 3rd, 2011

This kind of statement by NOM reminds me of the argument against solar power: if the sun isn’t shining at night, then no power generation, which implies we have no power sources and no electricity. Not true. In reality, during the daylight hours, solar power offsets other fuel sources, thereby reducing pollution, global warming, dependence on imported oil, etc. We can have the benefits of solar power (peak daytime AND other sources (nighttime).

Same goes for gay people – we’re not operating in a humanity vacuum here. Gay people are coming from somewhere! Due to overlapping orientations, at the end of 100 years, yes, there will be more people on both planets AND they will be mixed straight and gay.


September 3rd, 2011

What exactly does reproduction have to do with marriage?

One need not be married to reproduce; one need not reproduce to be married.

As such, I see no logical connection between the two items whatsoever.


September 3rd, 2011

What we DO know about Planet Alpha
1. Everyone has really ugly haircuts
2. There are no florists or dance instructors
3. There is no TV, movies, radio, or art galleries or art or music
4. The furnishing of their homes is really ugly
5. No catholic church
6. Everything else remains the same (or worse): murders, constant wars, men molesting minor children, rape, teen pregnancy, high divorce rate, domestic violence, etc.

Planet Beta? FAAABULOUS!

Regan DuCasse

September 3rd, 2011

Actually, all that needs to be done is that the all gay inhabitants of Planet B have turkey basters.

Proving once again that Araujo and his ilk are assuming that gay people aren’t capable of improvisation.



September 3rd, 2011

I was gonna argue against same-sex marriage, but then I got high! Because I got high. Because I got high. Because I got high! LOL!

Grandmëre Mimi

September 3rd, 2011

Hunter said, “I think it’s highly instructive that a Jesuit would fall back on the procreation argument — i.e., people are nothing more than breeding stock.”

If humans are nothing more than breeding stock, why don’t Jesuit priests breed? They are not doing their part.

Jim Burroway

September 3rd, 2011

I wonder of Araujo’s church uses Doritos as communion wafers. …

Bruce Garrett

September 4th, 2011

Araujo, if you do a little Googling around, is also out there arguing against letting gays adopt, and bellyaching about how Catholic adoption agencies are being told that have to allow gays to adopt if they want to stay sucking on the government teat.

So he knows that even though a same-sex couple cannot themselves bear children, that many same-sex couples are nonetheless very interested in raising them. So what does he think is going to happen in his theoretical planet of Teh Gay? Well of course he’s not thinking.

Here’s what’s going to happen: Gay men and Lesbians will agree to bear each other children, just like they do now. Most of those children will be heterosexual. Those children will eventually grow up, find love, have sex, bear each other children, most of which will also be heterosexual… and so on.

Give it three or four generations and Planet Of Teh Gay will look an awful lot like planet Earth does now. With perhaps one outcome I’m sure Araujo would positively hate: This planet’s children, knowing their entire world’s population sprang from gay and lesbian couples, might decide that yes, as a matter of fact, God Did create Adam and Steve, and Abby and Eve, and that’s why we’re all here now.

Probably not a whole lot of religious persecution of gay people on that planet…


September 4th, 2011

Ironic that someone would mock someone for deriding arguments against same sex marriage as pseudo-scientific…

…and then turn around and use an example that could only exist in science fiction at this point.

I’m starting to wonder if this guy is for real.


September 4th, 2011

One presumes there’d be a lot of duplexes and co-parenting happening on planet B.

Tony P

September 4th, 2011

Interesting. And since he’s a Jesuit he’s also a priest. Like I’m going to take the word of a priest over that of a constitutional scholar? Not on your life!

And that the original piece by Tribe was written TWENTY years ago, what the hell took the Jesuit so long to deliver such a poor rebuttal?

Ben In Oakland

September 4th, 2011

“what the hell took the Jesuit so long to deliver such a poor rebuttal?”


He had to think one up that didn’t make him sound like an ignorant, illogical butthead.


September 5th, 2011

“He had to think one up that didn’t make him sound like an ignorant, illogical butthead.”

Epic. Fail. Dude.

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