Published: 18 May 2009
Last edited: 11 November 2010
My writing this was prompted by my ridiculously long post on the Legalization of Prostitution that I wrote due to an online debate I was participating in, and then I participated in another online debate about Gay Marriage (Same Sex Marriage [SSM]) as well. Since I posted a page in support of that I decided to to do this topic justice too. I have written posts about this topic before so an aggregated page is a good idea. Whether you agree with me or not… enjoy (or not)… =)
I am going to start this off with a little poignant list that that I found somewhere here on the Internet. It is a bit condescending, but it handily makes the point, and brings to light many of the common arguments against the gay marriage issue.
- Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, cosmetic surgery, hair dye and air conditioning.
- Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
- Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
- Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
- Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Brittany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
- Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.
- Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
- Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.
- Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
- Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
Why Same Sex Marriage Should Be Legal
Traditional Marriage and the Unnaturalness of it all
As many opponents to SSM would like to say “We are trying to save traditional marriage.” meaning life-long heterosexual monogamy. Anthropological and historical fact, and even Biblical writings speak specifically to the invalidity of that phrase. “Traditional marriage” is a relatively new construct that has been attempted to be forced upon us by the Catholic Church following the Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion, and the church’s mad grab for money and land. My references below highlight the fact that what we consider “traditional marriage” is not really traditional at all. The romanticization of marriage started in European writings in the early to mid 1800’s which strongly contributes to magical ‘soul mate’ or ‘the one’ factor common in our culture and standards and helped to cement the illusion “traditional marriage” into our culture. Marriage has taken very many forms over the years from matriarchal and patriarchal polygamy, celibacy, to heterosexual and homosexual monogamy, even within Christianity, but the first recorded case of homosexuality was 2400 B.C.E in Egypt, and homosexuality is found throughout 1500 species in the world. Both of these facts tend to point to homosexuality (and bisexuality by extension) being a natural permutation of sexual expression within living creatures far beyond our recorded history. Of course, homosexuality could not be the statistical norm otherwise our species would die out, so in the interest of species perpetuation (by virtue of natural selection) heterosexuality has to be the majority, but that does in no way demure the validity of other non-majority forms of sexual expression.
No where in nature does marriage exist. Marriage is a human secular institution for bestowing specific rights, responsibilities, and privileges. Nature has never defined marriage. Nature has never written a book or a law, or given a speech, or anything else for that matter. “Nature” is an abstract concept that is being personified in a vain attempt to rationalize prejudice and fear-mongering.
The only thing that nature has wrought via natural selection and necessity (within this context) is that heterosexuality is statistically the genetic majority to ensure that our species is perpetuated. That is it. Assuming that heteronormity as definitive of nature’s plan for marriage is incorrect. “Nature” does not have anything to do with marriage, since it cares not about secular institutions, it only cares about species perpetuation.
Marriage is a construct of humanity and it is us that cares about heterosexuality or homosexuality. Nature does not. So, please do not use some slanted abstraction such as “nature” as arationalization and a cover for prejudice within humanity’s institution of marriage, especially since homosexuality exists in “nature” too.
Marriage and Sexual Intercourse is for Procreation Only
If you check my Traditional Marriage links below you will find distinctly that marriage has not historically been done with the primary reason of procreation – lust perhaps, but not specifically procreation. I have never looked a woman and thought “I think we would have great children.” and then decided to pursue them solely based on that criteria (at least not on a conscious level). Marriage has been mostly about power, influence, land, or, more recently in humanity’s history, marriage has evolved to be primarily about love. Rarely has it been specifically about procreation. You could say that the existence of heterosexuality in humanity is for procreation and the perpetuation of our species. That I would believe. Contrary to what some may say or think, but the act of sexual intercourse for most humans is not done solely for the intent of species perpetuation. Humans, as well as some primates and dolphins, if I remember correctly, are the primary species that engage in sexual play or intercourse for recreational purposes. Sex is not just for generating progeny. It is also for pleasure, bonding, and social interaction. (Homosexual Activity Among Animals Stirs Debate, National Geographic, 2004) Of course, if you really are going to use this argument then those couples who chose to be celibate, who choose to not have children, or who are infertile should also not be allowed to get married. This would also apply to the elderly as well. It sounds as if you almost want to require a document to be signed by the couple to be married that they ‘will have children‘ otherwise you are not really married.
Slippery Slope Arguments
Slippery slope arguments are used that state that ‘The acceptance of SSM will bring on incest, bestiality, polygamy, pedophilia, and marrying houses and cats. All, except one, are unfounded and are a method of inciting Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in the masses in the absence of a valid and objective argument. Unfortunately, many people are greatly influenced by these fear laden arguments. Normally, I would ignore such arguments, but, sadly, I see these too much to not address them. Pedophilia and Child Marriage: In no court of law is a child is able to engage in contractual arrangement (unless emancipated) or able to give legal “consent”. Not only that, but due to the protection of a child’s physical and emotional well being will this never come to pass. We currently have laws to protect against sexual relations and they are there for a good reason. Incest: Marital relations with first order relatives is similar to the above. These laws are in place to prevent genetic mutations as well as working with our natural tendencies toward mating outside the immediate familial unit, for much the same reason. Bestiality and Animal Marriage: The marriage of animals is prevented by a lack of a precedent that allows any of these animals to consent or to sign a contractual agreement in the court of law. Inanimate Object Marriage This logic here is the same as above and it is about consent and legal recognition – not possible. Polygamy/SSM/Polyamory: is about a consensual and contractual arrangement, namely called marriage that monogamous heterosexual couples have. I will cover this more in depth in a similar treatise.
Homosexuality Is Immoral and Not Christian
I will eventually pull this out and write a page on Separation of Church and State so I can aggregate all of my writings on this topic. This argument rankles me in a few ways and I will spend most of my time addressing this issue…. Ultimately, if you want to say that the Bible forbids it then your church may feel free to do so. In this context we are specifically discussing it in the secular context and the rights of all humans regardless of their religious or a-religious beliefs. This is not a religious matter that we are discussing. It is a secular matter.
Separation of Church and State
First Amendment to the Constitution
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” (First Amendment to the Constitution) The specific words “Separation of Church and State” are not said here. They are coined from a letter which Thomas Jefferson wrote to Danbury Baptists, if I remember correctly, but the intent is manifest in the words of the first amendment. “make no law respecting an establishment of religion” – in other words – shall not pass laws that shall establish a state sponsored religion or to enforce specific religious morality by the hand of law onto the masses (I.e. not legislating religious morality). “prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” – in other words – shall not prevent people from freely practicing their religious beliefs, and part of that would be not legislating religious morality, which by virtue would inhibit the free practice of religion by creating a religious underclass by giving a specific religious body the upper-hand by legislating its values, especially when said legislated values are contrary minority values. Creating a State Sponsored religion can be done directly as in Church of England or Islamic Countries or indirectly by legislating its morality. Each is equally a violation of the Constitution.
The Use of ‘Creator’ in Our Founding Documents
Separation of Church and State, and religious freedoms was such a divisive issue those days especially with Catholic Churches atrocities were something that were in there near history and something that many of the colonists were fleeing from in Europe. Thomas Jefferson won verses John Adams due to his stance on separation (pro separation). Many of our founding fathers were Unitarians (John Adams) and Deists (such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Pain). If they meant God they would most definitely said God, but they did not do so in an effort to ensure that Christianity was not legislated to allow for freedom of practice and a separation of government from religion and religion from government. James Madison specifically fought for the separation of church and state and so did many of the churches simple because each colony was typically run by a religion faction which persecuted or severely limited all other factions. Unless you were a priest of the city’s majority faithing you were pretty much unable to preach or you may possibly go to jail or have other punishments inflicted.
The rights which we have as humans, as humanity as a whole, as we are created and exist regardless of your beliefs. This is a strong reflection of the political and enlightenment era philosophies of the time.
Basic Separation Information
Religion, spirituality, or aspirituality is a personal choice and our government is not really a personal choice. The government governs over all of us regardless of what our personal beliefs are. Unless you want to start a Conservative Christian Theocracy (and maybe you do) I would suggest keeping in mind that there are other religions out there and your religion is not the only choice, and to impose it on others is wrong and a violation of our Constitutional rights. To do so is to take a step back to the heretical days where thinking and questioning was a crime for which you were burned at the stake. If you base all laws off of conservative Christian morality you are automatically discriminating against other religions. Due to the nature of the topic. If you do not like it, you do not have to do it. You do not have to support it and you can teach your children likewise, but others have the option to do the exact opposite. Legalizing is does not mean that we are going to force you to participate or support it. If this becomes law everyone does not have to be gay. What the Bible says or not should have exactly nothing to do with the laws that we pass, since what is good for “Christians” and in their currently mainstream view, may explicitly be a violation of Hindu or Atheist (or whoever’s) beliefs. What matters is how the laws is from a purely humanitarian or civil rights standpoint – a religion agnostic point of view, if you will.
Keep your religion out of our government; Keep our government out of your Religion. James E. O’Neill, IVJames E. O’Neill, IV
Our Constitution was almost never ratified due the fact that colonists were clamouring for a bill of rights, and more specifically a religious protection clause. James Madison had to come back from Europe to slap people around to let them know, most vehemently, that Thomas Jefferson and I’ are working on amendments to the Constitution that will enact these protections. Just pass it and we will be working on it. Virginia, I think, was the last hold out and a bastion of Anglicanism, if I remember correctly. Many of our founding fathers were not specifically Christian. Many, especially Thomas Jefferson were devout Deists, as were many others, and some were Unitarians too. Thomas Jefferson found the supernatural moments in the Bible somewhat stilting and created the Jefferson Bible The Constitution or the Declaration of Independence never bares the word God or Jesus and there are good reasons for that. Note that they use the word ‘creator’, which lends great credence to their Deist and Enlightenment era leanings, or, if you will, there strong desire to protect the government from religious interference and to protect the people from government condoned/sponsored religion. Now keep in mind, I will not say that there some of our Founding Fathers were not mainstream Christians (or Quakers, etc) as it were, because there most definitely were, but their collective work (and voice) shows tolerance and openness, as well as a distinct desire for religious protection on both sides of the wall, regardless of the their religious predilections.
Judge Gay Marriage Based on the Merits of Gay Marriage Alone
Oh, and to add a really important point to this discussion, from a more legally mindful standpoint, I want to say to judges, lawyers, and lawmakers out there, that to decided which side you will lobby for or how you will decide this issue, that if your position on this issue is based off these “slippery slope” ideals then you are committing a grave injustice and crime against our legal system and our fundamental principles of freedom. Your position should be founded solely on this issue alone, and not the potential ramifications on other issues it may have. To go against Gay Rights just because you think it may lead to the legalization vicious donkey love is to not judge the Gay Rights issue based solely on the merits of the Gay Rights issue at hand, but to judge it based off another issue all together. If you want to rule against vicious donkey love then rule against vicious donkey love if and when that issue gets here. Do not judge Gay Rights on an issue other than Gay Rights.
Equal Rights for Equal Commitment
This is a civil rights issue about the consensual choice that adults make to love and support one another. People just wish to love and support each other, and the government is willing to punish them for that even though their familial structure can be as stable or even more so than a hetero/mono marriage. (Have you seen the divorce rate lately?) It is happening and there is nothing wrong with it since no one is harmed, and they should be accorded the same rights for the exact same commitment as their hetero/mono counterparts. Albeit some conservative Christians will most likely argue that someone is harmed, in a Biblical sense referring to sin, but please remember that this is not applicable due to separation of church and state which is covered earlier. Everyone is in the United States is not Christian.
Homosexuality is a Consensual Crime
Homosexuality/Sodomy is a consensual crime, and this is also key to many of today’s civil rights movements such as prostitution and poly rights, drugs, and so on. Work towards the abolishment of the criminalization of consensual crimes may see a sort of a renaissance in the coming decades or so as gay rights and polyamory/polygamy soldier on. The book “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do: The Absurdity Of Consensual Crimes In Free Society” covers this topic in great detail. While I do not agree with everything the book says about all consensual crimes it is a great read and very applicable to this discussion.
Because Something is Currently Illegal Does Not Mean It Should Be
There are so many laws that have been passed in our country’s (and others) history that have propagated gross civil rights violations and have been repealed because their unconstitutional nature has been recognized. Part of this is due to evolving cultural values and an increase in understanding in civil rights and the very nature of our humanity. Just because something is currently illegal, does not mean that it should be. African American and women not having rights, interracial marriages and so on are all things that have been limited or illegal and in the face of cultural evolution and greater understanding of civil rights these gross violations have been corrected, but the historical damage done to those is these demographics still remain, as horrible vestiges of the past.
Separate Is Not Equal
The case Brown vs Board of Education most assuredly shows that separate is not equal. Calling it something else, like civil union, automatically makes their “union” inferior and not equal to heterosexual monogamous “marriages”, relegating them to a societal and legal relationship underclass thereby perpetuating discrimination and inferiority.
Marriage is an Inalienable Right
The case Loving vs Virginia brings marriage as fundamental right under protection of the 14th Amendment of Due Process and Equal Protection, as well as establishes it as perhaps a part of our “inalienable rights” and the “pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness” as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
Due Process and Equal Protection
The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution as quoted partially below states:
… ; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
As stated in Loving vs Virginia above, but also more specifically equal protection under the law and may not be denied protection without due process.
References and Links
Homosexuality and the Sciences
- Top 7 claims for why homosexuality is “unnatural” refuted
- Homosexuality within the world’s species
- Homosexual Activity Among Animals Stirs Debate (National Geographic, July 2004)
- Homosexual behavior in animals (Wikipedia article)
- The Human Beast (Psychology Today, June 2009)
- 1,500 animal species practice homosexuality (American Medical Network, Oct 2006)
- Central Park Zoo’s gay penguins ignite debate (San Francisco Gate, Apr 2004) )
- Homosexuality and Psychology
- Homosexuality not a ‘disease’, says Archbishop (Telegraph, Sep 2007)
- Homosexuality and Psychology (Wikipedia article)
- Sexual orientation and homosexuality
- Conversion Therapy (Wikipedia article)
- Reparative Therapy: Statements by Professional Associations and Their Leaders
- Ethical issues related to conversion or reparative therapy (American Counseling Association, May 2006)
- Homosexuality (HumanTruth.info, March 2005)
- Harms of Reparative Therapy (collection by MenStuff.org)
- Wikipedia Article on Homosexuality
- It’s all about children (or at least the anatomical possibility thereof). (Non-Traditional Family Law, Jan 2011)
- For Better or Worse? The Case for Gay (and Straight) Marriage (Jonathan Rausch, May 1996)
- Out in Scripture (Human Rights Campaign)
- In defense of same sex marriage (Dave Mauriello, The Examiner, May 2009)
- In Defense of Same-Sex Marriage (4 Parts) (Voice of America, June 2009)
- I Thee Wed: The Battle for Equal Marriage Rights by Fred hammond (June 2007)
- Top 10 Reasons Anti-Gay Crusaders Are Morons. – from After Ellen
- anti-gay arguments we don’t bother with (and should): Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V(2009)
- The Science of Love, and the Future of Women by Helen Fischer: Ted (2006 – Video/Audio)
- Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses
- to Sexual Orientation
- Critique of Pure Relationships: On Consent and Compulsory Monogamy (A Free Society, Dec 2010)
Gay Marriage Throughout History
- Did you know that Gay Marriage is as old as history? ‘When Marriage Between Gays Was a Rite’ (Gay Christian 101)
- An Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* History (Paul Halsall, 1998)
- New Book by UCSB Scholar Examines the History of Love Between Women (University of Santa Barbara. Jan 2010)
- History of Gay Marriage Gay Unions Throughout Time (Suite 101, Peter Valk, Dec 2009)
- Taking a ‘Husband’ A History of Gay Marriage (Rictor Norton, Feb 2004)
- Homo History (The World Report, Apr 2009)
- Procrustean marriage beds (Sep 1994)
- The Real Marriage Revolution (Origins, Stephanie Coontz, Apr 2009)
- Myth, Sexuality, and Culture: The influence of the church (3 parts)
- History of Marriage in a Western Civilization (Magnus Hirschfeld Archives for Sexology, Belin, Germany; There’s a lot there.)
- Traditional Marriage: What Tradition? (June 2009)
- The Perfect Family is a Myth (Live Science, December 2008)
- The Major Myths About Marriage (Classically Liberal)
- Anthropologists debunk ‘traditional marriage’ claim: The Washington Blade (2004)
- Gay Marriages Fit into this Adaptable Instutution (2004)
- Scientists counter Bush view: The San Francisco Chronicle (2004)
- Multicultural marriage: Boston Globe? (2006)
- Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage (A comedian and the biblical examples of marriage)
- Gay Marriage and Anthropology (Professor Linda Stone – Washington State University – May 2004 Anthropology News)
- TED Talks – New York Senator Diane J. Savino on Senate Floor
- Betty Bowers Explains “Traditional” Marriage – a bit irreverent but highly poignant
- Please watch this video of Jon Stewart Railing Mike Huckabee on Gay Marriage and send Jon a line to say thanks.
- Julian Bond speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Dinner
- “Prop 8 – The Musical” starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and many more…
- Sex with Ducks – a video by two girls in response to Pat Robertson’s comment about Gay Marriage leading to sex with ducks
- This Guy Makes A Living Crushing Arguments Against Gay Marriage. Note: He’s Really Good At His Job.
- The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality (from Matthew Vines)
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LBGT) Project
- Beyond Marriage
- Fair Wisconsin
- Freedom to Marry
- Gay Civil Rights
- Gay Rights on Change.org
- Human Rights Campaign
- Putting Faith Into Action: Building for Marriage Equality One Day at a Time, One Month at a Time – curriculum, power-point slides, etc…
- Join the Impact
- Out Reach
- Out Take Online
- Religious Institute: Faithful Voices for Sexuality and Religion
- Standing on the Side of Love
- Unitarian Univeralist Association (UUA) Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender (LGBT) Community