By John Hosty Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 08:04:01 PM EST On Talk2Action.org
I wish to share my thoughts on points I have seen brought to the knowthyneighbor.org blog from opponents of gay marriage. It is my observation that most if not all arguments can be identified as falling into one of these catagories, and in that can be counter argued with the counter points listed. Thank you for your time.
The arguments on the opposition of marriage can be summed up in about ten points:
1. The definition of marriage is between a man and a woman argument.
2. The homosexuality goes against God argument.
3. The protect the children argument.
4. The tradition of marriage argument.
5. The impact on society argument.
6. The slippery slope effect on marriage laws.
7. The against nature argument.
8. The forced policy changes for religions argument.
9. The SJC hijacked marriage argument.
10. The Marriage is for procreation argument.
Let's start with the arguments that I consider to be the weaker ones and move on to the ones we need to explain better as we go on.
1. The definition argument. A legal definition can be changed with the stroke of a pen. Gay used to mean happy, and then society decided it most commonly meant homosexual. Definitions change with time. To simply say the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman is not a good enough reason to deny millions of people equality.
2. The tradition of marriage argument. Marriage and its composure has changed so greatly in the past one hundred years that most of its origional meanings are gone. Immigrants from all over the world came here to form a great melting pot of different views, religious and otherwise. Marriage to most was "chattel" which is not much more than a father giving money to be rid of the financial burden of his daughter to her new master, the husband. I think that most people want to imply that their viewpoint of marriage has a certain sacredness to it via tradition. I bring the point of chattel to argue that things have changed greatly in a short amount of time, and if you ask most women they would not be eager to go back to the old ways. What is one person's idea of tradition in America is not applicable to another because the government is set up to give us the freedom to believe what we want and to honor people's different viewpoints equally. Gay marriage is the next most logical step looking at the history of civil rights, and no one person's sense of tradition should be so great as to enable them to impose their traditions on someone else.
3. The against nature argument. The idea that homosexuality goes against nature implies intelligent design theory, and in that becomes a religious viewpoint. Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion. You are perfectly within your rights to believe what you want, as am I. My beliefs incorporate a God that made me this way and wants me to experience the world from this specific view not only for my benefit, but for the benefit of those who I meet. My gut response to the gay marriage is against nature argument is, "So what?" People get tattoos and body piercings, liposuction, and artificial limbs. These are all against nature too, but we are free to pursue what we wish, are we not? My marriage to Ray, if that ever happens, will likely not effect any of you that do not wish it to, because our circles don't mingle together.
4. The protect the children argument. It is a known fact that homosexuals adopt children of broken homes and give them more love and support than they would have received from being in a shelter or foster care. Being in a loving environment that nurtures growth is what is most important for anyone's development, not just children. People have said that a child is best served by having two parents, a male and a female, for role models. This argument's flaw is that it doesn't take into consideration that there are many children that this is not an option for. The details of how well children do in a same sex family setting is out there if you want to see it.
5. The slippery slope argument. Basically said, if the society allows gay marriage we will next have to allow marriages to animals, children, and polygamy will be legal. Marriage cannot be created between man and beast because we don't know if the beast agrees, and that should be the end of that. Children are protected from making a decision on marriage until they reach a certain age because again we don't know if a younger child understands what marriage means. The legal age in New Hampshire is 14 as long as you are straight. Kinda young don't you think? As for polygamy, people who want to have multiple partners will, no matter what others say. It happens in every society.
6. The forced changes in religion argument. If gay marriages stay, the next step is that they will make religious organizations sanction gay weddings. Very plainly put, most gay people want equal rights and they want some respect. We have no intention of invading your religious institutions and demanding you change your beliefs to include us. Your rights to believe what you want are protected and guaranteed. Civil marriage is government sanctioned and has nothing to do with anyone's religion. Feel free to continue to deny rights to all the parishioners that will put up with it. Ladies, how is the fight to be ordained coming?
7. The impact on society argument. This basically states that if we continue down the path of homosexual equality and marriage we as a society will face negative ramifications and our morality will slide into oblivion. There are many people that have opinions on this matter, I am going to listen to the people that have their education in the field of psychology and sociology. The American Psychiatric Association has made its view clear on gay marriage: it is for it. Massequality.org has the quote in full if you want to read it.
8. The religion argument. The Bible teaches people that homosexuality is an abomination to God. On the same page it also says that eating pork is an abomination to God. We understand the need to educate the poor hundreds of years ago that eating pork can kill you if it is not cooked properly, so they would say God told you not to eat it. We eat pork all the time now and God has not come to smite us for that, how is it that it could be worded in the same strength as homosexuality if it was not His will? We could keep going with this thought and get into other religions that forbid homosexuality. I could also bring up that we have had Catholic sanctioned gay weddings around 300 A.D., but it fractures the point I wish to make. Again, like in the tradition point, religious freedom in America protects your right to believe what you want, but it protects me from having your beliefs forced onto me.
9. The courts have been hijacked argument. This argument states that the SJC made an illegal move in considering Goodridge vs. State of Massachusetts. If this court decision was illegal where are all the lawyers? Are there no straight lawyers to argue this case, or do they just happen to know that the SJC has the authority, by the people, to create such a mandate. I have posted before a quote from George Wallace that parallels this argument, let me post it one more time for us to compare:
On June 11, 1963, Alabama's Governor George Wallace came to national prominence when he kept a campaign pledge to stand in the schoolhouse door to block integration of Alabama public schools. Governor Wallace read this proclamation when he first stood in the door-way to block the attempt of two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, to register at the University of Alabama. President John F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard, and ordered its units to the university campus. Wallace then stepped aside and returned to Montgomery allowing the students to enter.
STATEMENT AND PROCLAMATION
GOVERNOR GEORGE C. WALLACE
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
June 11, 1963
"As Governor and Chief Magistrate of the State of Alabama I deem it to be my solemn obligation and duty to stand before you representing the rights and sovereignty of this State and its peoples.
The unwelcomed, unwanted, unwarranted and force-induced intrusion upon the campus of the University of Alabama today of the might of the Central Government offers frightful example of the oppression of the rights, privileges and sovereignty of this State by officers of the Federal Government. This intrusion results solely from force, or threat of force, undignified by any reasonable application of the principle of law, reason and justice. It is important that the people of this State and nation understand that this action is in violation of rights reserved to the State by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alabama. While some few may applaud these acts, millions of Americans will gaze in sorrow upon the situation existing at this great institution of learning."
10. The procreation argument states that marriage is for the purpose of creating children and in doing so creating a future generation for our country to survive. First we need to recognize that we allow marriage between people that are unable or unwilling to have children all the time. In order to fairly use procreation as a point to deny gays marriage it should be true for all citizens wishing to marry, but it is not. There is little wiggle room on this point, so I won't waste more time on it unless someone wants to challenge that thought.
When your government puts into place laws that prevent people from being equal they set the stage for those who discriminate to feel justified. As people who have suffered discrimination it is our hope that gay marriage will end the government sanctioned part of our suffering and will be a light for people to see the error of judging people by who they are inherently. People come in many shapes sizes and forms. We have a great opportunity living in America to seize that diversity and make it work for ourselves. All we have to do is start listening to each other. We can all live together in harmony if we want to, we just have to set that mentality into action. Ask yourself what benefits you receive by denying marriage to those who seek it? I will gladly entertain any responses. Thank you for your time. We are all one small part of something very big. Let's start treating everyone like neighbors.