Religious grounds not necessary for rejection of gay marriage
Those in favor of redefining marriage utilize several favorite words and phrases. More ubiquitous than any other sector I have witnessed, gay marriage proponents routinely employ libel and slander by referring to those who believe in traditional marriage as hateful bigots.
Not only does this result in tragedies like this, but it’s also intellectually dishonest and strongly epitomizes a modern form of acute McCarthyism.
The other phrase that proponents of redefining marriage often promulgate is some form of “equal rights.” Even the mainstream media has adopted this not-so-subtle euphemism, often referring to defenders of traditional marriage as “equal rights opponents,” “LGBT rights opponents,” etc.—the term “opponent” being widely held to contain a negative connotation.
The phrase is taken for granted by proponents of marriage redefinition, but in order to be used correctly, the gay marriage proponent must actually establish that the gay community’s rights are being violated. He or she must first come up with a Constitutional argument guaranteeing the right to marry. Even then, his or her argument would be far from complete.
The reason for this is because gay people are not prohibited from marrying. What the gay marriage agenda must do in order to argue that the gay community’s rights are being violated is establish a Constitutional right to marry based on sexual desire.
The governmental institution of marriage is not, and should not, be based merely on sexual attraction. Almost inevitable in the gay marriage debate is the attempt to compare traditional marriage to prohibitions on interracial marriage, but this analogy falls drastically short. The difference is that interracial marriage discriminated because it created different groups of eligible brides and grooms.
For instance, a white man and a black man had two different groups that they could marry under interracial marriage laws, hence discrimination. (A definition of discriminate is appropriate; note the term “distinguish.”) The difference between that and traditional marriage is that a gay white man in California has the exact same pool of eligible brides as a straight black man in Connecticut (once you remove necessary and appropriate people, like close blood relatives, from each candidate’s respective pool), hence the law, as far as marriage is concerned, does not distinguish between the two; i.e. no discrimination. The law doesn’t bar a gay man from marrying, and the law barring a gay man from marrying another man is not discriminatory because the same restriction is placed on every single other man. (Incidentally, one could very well make an argument that the institution of marriage is discriminatory based on sex as it distinguishes between different sexes. This idea brings up the question of the purpose of an institution, though, a purpose briefly touched on below. As an introductory sample, welfare distinguishes, and thus discriminates, based on income. If it didn’t, however, the very inherent purpose of welfare would be lost.)
If gay marriage proponents believe marriage should have, as its base foundation, sexual attraction, then fine. But at least argue honestly, forego this euphemistic nonsense about “equal rights” without first establishing a right to marry based on sexual attraction, and be prepared for the can of worms that this opens up. Establishing sexual attraction as the foundation of marriage makes restricting marriage to two people, or even same-sex siblings, arbitrary. After all, since there is no concern of producing children of genetic defect with two same-sex siblings, what could be the harm? Legal marriage based on sexual attraction, without allowing sibling marriage, would discriminate against those who have genetic sexual attraction.
As to basing marriage on sexual attraction (I’m avoiding the word “love” intentionally as it is highly difficult, if not impossible, to define legally), I see no reason to grant two men a larger joint tax exemption simply because they find each other attractive. Then again, I see no reason to grant this to a man and a woman for finding each other attractive, which begs the question: For what purposes does the state grant marriage benefits?
It seems completely arbitrary to grant these benefits based on sexual attraction. It should also be noted that these “benefits” are often achievable through other means: a power of attorney, for instance. I will note that some benefits are earmarked legislation that seem to hold no family-bonding incentive. Remedying this, though, does not necessitate redefining marriage.
The only reasonable reason for the granting of many of these benefits automatically through marriage is because, statistically, the marriage of a man and woman dramatically increases the likelihood that they will produce children. Currently, our nation is slightly below the replacement rate of about 2.1 children born to each woman. Much of the population growth of the U.S. is attributed to immigration.
Knowing that the most suitable environment for birthing and raising children is one in which a mother and father stay together and, with their own diverse viewpoints, raise the children in unison, the state creates a benefit incentive program to try to keep couples together longer.
Now I know many people get married who are unable to have children, and many people get married without planning to have children, but statistics are not all encompassing; they predict a general pattern, and the general pattern is that the instilling of these benefits greatly enhances the odds that the parents will remain together and raise children in a healthier manner. When these incentive programs are dissolved, like through making divorce ridiculously easy, families break apart at a much higher rate.
Simply put, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to give two men these benefits, partly because they cannot physically rear children together and partly because the natural differences between men and women—generally speaking—must be balanced out with each other in order to produce the ideal raising environment. I, for instance, am incapable of teaching my daughter to become a woman, and that’s not unique; no man can teach a girl to become a woman, nor can any woman teach a boy to become a man.
This should be the starting point of the debate. We hear of studies saying that children of gay parents appear to be “no worse” than children who have both a mother and a father. We hear of studies purporting the opposite. (While anecdotal, this deserves a look.) It should be noted, however, that many of the former studies are funded by marriage redefinition proponents. In addition, “no worse” doesn’t necessarily mean anything when studying the sample. Already, so many children grow up in homes devastated by divorce. Over half of children born to women under the age of 30 are born out of wedlock. Single parenting is one of the largest contributing factors of poverty and crime. When comparing children raised by gay parents to the rest of the general sample, children of gay parents are being compared to children often being raised in less ideal situations to begin with.
But the point wraps up here. Traditional marriage defenders have been approaching the argument of this issue in a losing manner, and marriage redefinition proponents paint a blanket picture of opposition to gay marriage being solely based in religion. It’s not, though.
Even if it were—and for some individuals it is—that would not necessitate redefining marriage. The wall of separation of church and state (a term not even used in the Constitution), contrary to the beliefs of many marriage definition proponents, is not designed to prohibit the religious from exercising their democratic rights; rather it is a measure designed to ensure the religious liberty of the people through limited government. By the way, saying the government should “stay out of marriage” as an argument for redefining government marriage is nonsensical. It is precisely concerning governmental benefits that the whole debate stands on.
If traditional marriage defenders are going to become serious about their cause, they need to stop rehashing the same rhetorical arguments. Belief in traditional marriage need not stem from religion. It can, but it allows the opponent rhetorically effective, though illogical, arguments. There are plenty of blatant social reasons for defending traditional marriage, and an honest debate would include defenders of traditional marriage employing arguments from those reasons and marriage redefinition proponents eschewing calling others hateful simply for holding a different opinion.