Arguments Against Gay Marriage

Afternoon boredom often finds me browsing through an eternal stream of Youtube videos.  This afternoon I ran across a video containing a brief interview with Chase Whiteside, one of the creators of New Left Media.  You can visit their Youtube page HERE.   In this short informal interview, Whiteside discusses his place in the LGBT (or LGBTQ, as I’m slowly becoming accustomed to pronouncing) and how he views the collective national discussion on gay marriage and gay rights in general.  Almost in passing, Whiteside states that there are no real arguments against equal civil rights for homosexuals.  He agrees with a point that Dan Savage makes, and that point is that just like there are not two sides to Black rights, there are no two sides to gay rights.  You can watch this interview HERE, and skip to the 9-minute mark if you’re just interested in Whiteside’s response I mentioned.

As simple as this is, this struck me as an incredibly powerful yet painfully simple fact – there simply aren’t two legitimate sides to the argument when you really look at all the information.  You can’t say that homosexuals are equal with heterosexuals and then stipulate that they should somehow be treated differently.  That doesn’t make any sense at all.

A quick Google search using the keywords ‘arguments against gay rights’ brought up several pages but BalancedPolitics.org struck me as particularly interesting.  On their site is a table outlining the common arguments both in favor of and against marriage rights for homosexuals.  As with any good table, the points mirror the opposite point in theme and subject.  He is the list of arguments in favor of legalizing gay marriage:

  1. Denying them is a violation of religious freedom (civil and religious marriages are two separate institutions).
  2. Marriage benefits (such as joint ownership, medical decision-making capacity) should be available to all couples.
  3. Homosexuality is an accepted lifestyle nowadays with most evidence strongly supporting biological causation.
  4. Denying these marriages is a form of minority discrimination.
  5. It doesn’t hurt society or anyone in particular.
  6. The only thing that should matter in marriage is love.
  7. The number of child adoptions should increase since gay couples cannot pro-create (although some might see an increase in gay adoptions as an argument against same-sex marriages).
  8. It encourages people to have strong family values and give up high-risk sexual lifestyles.
  9. The same financial benefits that apply to man-woman marriages apply to same-sex marriages.

I think the majority of people would agree that at least most of these points are sensible and derived from rational thinking.  Now here are the list of arguments against the legalization of gay marriage:

  1. Most religions consider homosexuality a sin.
  2. It would weaken the definition and respect for the institution of marriage.
  3. It would further weaken the traditional family values essential to our society.
  4. It could provide a slippery slope in the legality of marriage (e.g. having multiple wives or marrying an animal could be next).
  5. It confuses children about gender roles and expectations of society, and only a man & woman can pro-create.
  6. The gay lifestyle is not something to be encouraged, as a lot of research shows it leads to a much lower life expectancy, psychological disorders, and other problems.

The strongest point on this list, and the one that so commonly used to argue against the legalization of gay marriage, is the argument from religious belief.  Regardless of how liberal and free-thinking some Christians may be, there are still clear-cut verses in the New Testament that label homosexuality as a sin.  Happily enough, this is completely irrelevant for legal purposes, due to the separation of Church and State.

The majority of the rest of the arguments (notice there are fewer against than in favor of) at least partially rely on the argument for the maintenance of the sanctity of marriage and the preservation of ‘traditional family values.’  Shotgun weddings in Las Vegas that are annulled only hours later are the most immediate example of how thoroughly heterosexuals have trampled on the sanctity of marriage.  An incredibly high divorce rate speaks to the same issue.

When it all comes down to it, there doesn’t appear to be any legitimate argument against the legalization of gay marriage, especially when religious arguments are rightfully removed from the legal equation.  So what then, are we waiting for?

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4 Responses to Arguments Against Gay Marriage

  1. vegandeb says:

    Once more, a great discussion topic! So my input: Your comment “Regardless of how liberal and free-thinking some Christians may be, there are still clear-cut verses in the New Testament that label homosexuality as a sin. ” leaves open the argument that slavery is acceptable since several passages in the bible point to not only the acceptability of slavery but even provide helpful tips, not quite Martha Stewart-ish tips but still, suggestions on how to treat slaves. So if we follow the logic, if the bible can be used as an authoritarian source for a discussion on gay rights then should it not also be equally a source for other social constraints?

    Love your blog. Makes me miss my grad school ethics class. And just to be clear, my stance is that obviously gay marriage should be legal and slavery is an abomination of past civilization.

    Link to bible quotes on slavery: http://etori.tripod.com/slave-verses.html

    • Cody Deitz says:

      I completely agree. The text you pulled out was a reference to the strain of Christianity that strives to move away from the uglier aspects of the religious tradition and more towards a more humanistic approach. These are the same people that often view say, the book of Revelations as metaphor rather than a literal prophecy. Personally, those are my favorite Christians because they tend to make their scripture conform to their own thinking rather than conforming their thinking to the scripture. There’s so much discussion to be had on this topic, it makes my head spin! I’ll have to see that it gets proper attention in a post of its own. Thanks for commenting Deb!

  2. crisap444 says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with your argument, but marriage as a religious institution shouldn’t have government dictate to it what it is and isn’t. Wouldn’t removing marriage entirely from the law books, replacing it that any two people of any gender combination can get a civil union (that way everyone is equal under the law), and let religions call whatever they want to marriage (that way you don’t have a possible first amendment violation in government dictating a religious institution) make more sense?

    • Cody Deitz says:

      I hear what you’re saying. One of my best friends makes a similar argument that ‘marriage’ should remain between a man and a woman. The problem we run into with that kind of reasoning is one of distinction and definition. Let’s be clear here – the marriage being fought for by the LGBTQ community is not a religious marriage. Whether we like it or not, a ‘marriage’ is a legal status just as much as your national or state citizenship. It is this legal status that dictates certain rights and privileges of which I’m sure you’re at least somewhat aware, i.e. hospital visiting rights. So the real battle is a battle for equality. I would imagine the majority of same-sex couples could care less if they get married in a church. They’re just interested in having the same rights as everyone else. As far as the ‘civil-union’ thing goes with same-sex couples, I can understand the reasons people argue for that approach, I think it just sounds too much like a ‘separate but equal’ clause that we’ve gladly done away with concerning a whole other issue.
      Making all romantic binding contracts known as civil unions is a nice idea and I can see why you’d consider that, but the fact is that the institution of marriage is deeply ingrained in our culture and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The best road to take, in my opinion at least, is to allow all citizens the same legal rights to marry a loved one of their choosing. I’m not interested in making any given religious doctrine conform to U.S. law. The separation of church and state clearly protects the church from any such regulation, and that’s how it should be.
      Sorry about the long-winded response. I guess the coffee must be strong this morning. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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