Friday, April 8, 2011

On Secular Opposition to Gay Marriage

Personally, I have no problem with gay marriage. I also have no problem with polygamy, keeping in mind that forcing women into marriages is still wrong by me (and I would of course have no problem with a woman having more than one husband… though your guess is as good as mine why she would want more than one fat, sweaty mess watching sports and nagging her for sex).

But I have some new regulations I would also like to make before I launch into my defense of gay marriage. I think dowries and bride prices should be illegal, and arranged marriage should be, if not banned, be reclassified as not marriage, but as “arranged unions.”

And if you got married in a church, I think your marriage license deserves to have an asterisk on it, since your marriage has a higher rate of divorce. I don’t want you guys making a mockery of my marriage with your huge embarrassing failures, sorry guys. I’m not saying you have to change, and I respect you as oxygen consuming meat bags, but what you “people” do is so disgusting, and I can’t stand to know you have the same privileges as me.

With that in mind, I would like to discuss a post done by The Heathen Republican entitled “The Non-Faith-Based Case Against Same-Sex Marriage.”

First off, my hats off to the amusing bit of rhetorical acrobatics in twisting gay marriage into an issue that isn’t about equal rights. Bravo, sir. I actually had to read it twice before I was able to see through it.

Basically, here’s the argument in a non-gay situation. Suppose I wrote a law making it legal to throw a stone at a black person. By the logic that “heterosexuals also don’t have the right to marry people of the same sex,” it would be legal for black people to throw stones at black people, so they have the same rights.

Like I said, quite amusing.

The next problem is the suggestion that civil unions are “an adequate substitute.” This makes sense to a conservative, but to those of us weary of conservatives and their sneaky ways, we don’t have to think about it long before we are reminded by the policy of “separate but equal.”

Here’s what’s going to happen. Not what might happen, but what will happen. These small, bumblefuck hick towns will refuse to issue same-sex civil unions, while just enough gay people will be placated into quieting down. Meanwhile, “civil unions” won’t be honored with benefits like sharing of health insurance through employment, and certain states will find ways of making life harder for those who pursue the unprivileged title of “civilly united.” Adoption will undoubtedly be tougher, and good luck getting tax breaks.

Tying gay marriage to straight marriage and having no designated difference is the only way to ensure that these unions are recognized by back-woods bigots. I’m not saying this blogger would oppress gay people, but this view is permissive of continued government over-regulation… which is strange, coming from a conservative.

On a side note, I also find it hypocritical that states are given the right to define their age of consent but not whether they can honor same-sex marriages. Again, conservatives have used federal measures (DOMA) to restrict state rights, which is supposedly against one of their basic tenants.

I also want to bring up a non-gay marriage issue that is then proposed by the blogger. Supposedly, progressives like all change. Hmm… I’m fairly sure I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and vomit a better statement than that. For one thing, I don’t like all the change Republicans have been enacting, so much change that I feel like they hijacked this country and flew it straight into a tall symbol of our former power and success (that’s a terrorist allusion, for those who are a little slow… since I know at least one conservative is reading this).

Marriage is a malleable institution. If you want to talk about how we’re changing the traditional view of marriage, I can only imagine at what point one is arbitrarily using as the perfect definition of marriage.

Pretend I pulled off some amazing Bill & Ted time-machine assisted presentation. Here are some random and nameless people from history presenting their view of marriage in shockingly fluent modern English.

“Back in my day, marriage was a sacred agreement between a man and the woman he loved’s father.”

“Marriage is all about networking. Now our clans get along, and she’ll be sexually mature in just 6 more years.”

“Hi, my name is Oedipus…”

Hey, I said no names.

Those cultures didn’t fall apart because of their marriage structure. Rome didn’t fall because married men frequented prostitutes. Greece didn’t fall because middle aged men fondled pre-pubescent boys and then hooked them up with a nice young woman when the child grew to marrying age… and they lose their charm, I guess.

I would appreciate some creative help regarding the “consequences” of allowing a wider definition of marriage. Are you suggesting an animal/pedophile snowball effect, or is it some other logical fallacy? Let me know, I can be so unimaginative sometimes.


  1. "Suppose I wrote a law making it legal to throw a stone at a black person. It would be legal for black people to throw stones at black people, so they have the same rights."

    Kudos for seeing through my logic on the second try, but if this is your refutation, I'm not yet convinced. First, why do you insert race into the equation when race and gender are not analogous (to me, that is axiomatic, but let me know if I need to demonstrate)? Second, the law you propose is contrived and ridiculous, to legalize the assault on another individual. Finally, the point I made is that current law applies to everyone as it stands today, therefore equality is not a factor.

    If throwing stones at blacks is the best analogy you could dream up, I'm feeling more confident in my argument than before. To think, you had to fabricate a laughable law and inject race into the discussion to try and refute my point.

    My standing offer is for anyone to name a single right that homosexuals lose a) by defining marriage traditionally and that b) civil unions cannot remedy. If you're certain same-sex marriage is an equal rights issue, I invite you to answer what no one else before you has been able to answer. I'm just looking for one right.

    "civil unions are 'an adequate substitute.'"

    Civil unions are not a conservative creation, but a progressive creation. I'll be honest, I've never heard a progressive oppose civil unions, so I don't know how to defend them. To me, they seem like a perfectly reasonable compromise where society can retain a traditional definition of marriage while ensuring that homosexuals have equal rights. That's a position I support.

    "Supposedly, progressives like all change."

    I would like to point out that this is not a primary argument of mine. Instead, I used it to contrast the conservative position that in order to implement large-scale change, we need to see a compelling reason to change the status quo. While I have heard more than one progressive tell me that "all change is good," I know that not every progressive is so naive.

    "I would appreciate some creative help regarding the 'consequences' of allowing a wider definition of marriage."

    I thought I was pretty explicit, but perhaps you found my argument unconvincing. As I said, I find that there are two defensible definitions of marriage: 1) Marriage is between one man and one woman who are not related -OR- 2) Marriage is between two or more consenting adults. For your readers who haven't read my entire post, that last definition supports the principle that people should be allowed to marry for love, which is typically where the progressive argument leads.

    Without equating homosexuality with polygamy or incest, the logical outcome of allowing anyone who is in love to marry is that we have no reason to bar consenting family members from marrying, or allowing people to marry multiple individuals. If the argument that barring marriage based on gender is bigoted, than equally bigoted is any effort to bar marriage based on relationship or the number of participants.

    These are the consequences I'm referring to. I have met progressives who would support this definition of marriage, and I too could defend this new, enlightened definition of marriage, but I don't think the rest of society is ready to do the same.

  2. So how about a laughable law like... people can't marry outside of their race? There are lots of laughable laws (like banning gay marriage), and race is just another thing (like sexuality) which is singled out for being treated differently.

    If you're certain same-sex marriage is an equal rights issue, I invite you to answer what no one else before you has been able to answer.

    Civil unions do not succeed in eliminating the different rights of heterosexual versus homosexual couples, they merely create a new difference (instead of nothing, they can have almost marriage). As I stated, the term "civil union" will be seen as unequal to marriage and will undercut the rights of homosexual couples. Incurance companies will refuse to provide benefits to the partner of gay workers, adoption will undoubtedly favor marriage over civil unions... I could just go on and on, but the point is that you can't provide a "seperate but equal" solution and expect people to not think about when traditionalists imposed that from a racial standpoint.

    large-scale change

    This is not a large scale change. It's such a ridiculously simple change, and one which has been implemented without incident in many places.

    we have no reason to bar consenting family members from marrying

    Ironically, many of the states which are so against the "unnatural" marriage of homosexuals also allow first cousins to marry... so clearly we're behind in that respect. I'm all for making first-cousin marriage illegal everywhere, but I don't see anyone pushing for that... just people trying to single out and stifle the ability of homosexuals to integrate into accepted society.

    And again, I think I said it, but I'll say it again: I have no problem with polygamy. I keep hearing about how that is abused, but oppose arranged marriages and marriage to minors, but those aren't illegal (the age to marry is 16 or younger in most states).

    I find your arguments empty and your inability to budge on an issue which only serves to single out gay people and treat them differently to be very disheartening.

  3. I'm sure you don't see your own inability to budge on this issue. I'm sure you also don't see how you've refused to address my argument directly, steering instead towards a refutation of civil unions.

    You'll just have to take my word for it that I very much want to hear a valid argument supporting same-sex marriage, because I sympathize personally with gays who can't marry. I know that you're impressed with your rebuttal, but it isn't an intellectually serious one.

    Since I don't have a religious belief system to drive my thinking, I rely on a principled philosophy. I have yet to hear a principle that justifies upending the traditional definition of marriage.

    Nonetheless, I look forward to reading more of your work, and I hope you'll stop by The Heathen Republican periodically.

  4. Your "traditional definition of marriage" has a tradition that isn't very long. Marriage has changed within the last 100 years, let alone since the beginning of history. Age limits, consent (especially from the woman), race, and gender have all been issues in marriage which have changed. Gay marriage was performed by the Romans, and it was done so for the same reasons people want gay marriage now: recognition, coupling rights, estate issues, family formation, financial reasons, and others.

    You'll have to trust me that you're not only on the wrong side of history (as this change is inevitable and will have no negative side effects whatsoever), but you're demonstrating that Republicans have no principles. All I hear is shouting about how government needs to deregulate... well, why not start with marriage?

  5. Conservatives are not libertarians... our goal is not to deregulate everything, so you're misrepresenting the argument a little to suggest that any regulation means that Republicans have no principles. We recognize the need for government regulation, but in limited and defined ways.

    I would like to end on a note of agreement, however. I agree that this change is inevitable.

  6. I don't think progress is inevitable, especially in the presence of people who value tradition for tradition's sake. I wish I was as optimistic as you.

  7. Bret, I have an argument that I discussed in the Economist debate on this subject that I think shows the flawed logic most liberal pro-gay-marriage folks use on this subject. It goes like this: saying that marriage should be defined as one person and one person is as restrictive as saying it should be defined as one man and one woman. What is stopping marriage from being polygamous, etc. (to include 5 husbands and 5 wives all in a single "marriage")? Many liberals came back with "that is a slippery slope argument and you are just an ignorant hater." What upset me and what they didn't understand is that I support gay marriage, as well as all of the other forms I mentioned and whatever anyone else can come up with.

    You said the only way forward is to legalize gay marriage. This is a positive government action that implies that government consent is necessary to form a legally binding relationship. I would rather have the government out of marriage and treat everyone as an individual. If you work and get social security and want to share it, great. It won't automatically go to someone else when you die. If you want property transfer or medical decisions to be the domain of a certain person or people, make a legal document that lays out your intentions. Taxes? Every person is an individual.

    I know this would take a lot of change in a lot of areas, but as long as we are dreaming let's dream big, right? That intellectual dishonesty of gay people supporting gay marriage under "principles" but not extending those principles logically to include other groups of people really frustrated me as I hoped they would be the first ones on board. Just wanted to share and vent.

  8. I'll say up front, I support polygamy as much as I support gay marriage. I frankly don't have a problem with someone marrying an animal, either. I'm just curious how it would work or what it would mean, but if someone is willing to clearly define it, I would certainly consider it.

    In point of fact, "legalizing gay marriage" is not a positive action, but a repeal of a negative one (over-turning DOMA and lifting any pertinent regulation on marriage). It's not government meddling to recognize the legal status of a couple, especially when it comes to end-of-life decisions and inheritance. There's no point is telling people that there are other ways of doing it (you know, ways that don't force people to acknowledge that homosexuality isn't an abomination and just let everyone hold onto their prejudice safely without being offended by homos). If someone wants to confer all commonly recognized privileges that come from marriage to someone of the same sex, they should be able to do it in the exact same joyous and celebratory way that straight people do.

    I don't attribute this to you personally, but I find that in many cases where some group is being marginalized and the side against it says that government should just not be involved, it's mostly just a method of allowing private discrimination. Your confusion regarding gay people not being in favor of further expanding the definition of marriage is mirrored by myself, because I see the gay marriage right as parallel to the civil rights movement of the 60's, and yet gay marriage has less support among black people than among white people.

    Sometimes, I wonder if people who have been oppressed sit around taking notes on how to do it later when they have enough clout. In some ways, it's heart breaking, but I see it as a sign that deep down, we're actually all just the same: assholes.


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