All contracts being equal under the law

In yet another example of how there is no significant difference between the two wings of the great beast, the Democrats and the Republicans, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have steadfastly stood against same-sex marriage.  Let me be absolutely clear.  This is indefensible.

I have spent a fair amount of time looking for any coherent argument against legal recognition of same-sex marriages.  Truthfully, I can’t find any.  I wanted to present it.  I wanted to give you a counter point.  I wanted to present a reasoned argument from the other side and then rebut it.  I can’t, because as far as I can find, none exists.

The arguments against legal-recognition of same-sex marriages are based in one of three categories:

  1. Religious arguments
  2. Social damage claims
  3. The thus it has always been belief

None of these actually stands up to any sort of reason test, and each is intertwined with the others.

The most obvious first.  For many people it is about comfort.  They feel that it has always been one man and one woman, because that is all that they have known.  No, it has not always been thus.  It isn’t even always thus now.  There are many, many academic works available on the subject for those who have the interest.  This snippet from one of those, Same-Sex Marriage: The Personal and the Political by Kathleen A. Lahey, Kevin Alderson provides a nice summary though.

Additionally, though let us not forget that not only in America, but in the bible, one man one woman marriage was not the only way that marriage was.  Many of the most revered patriarchs in the bible had many wives and concubines.  How many wives, for example, did Solomon have?  700 wives and 300 concubines!  (And, for the record, the downfall of Israel is attributed not to the number of wives, but rather to the fact that Solomon started worshiping other gods, which was blamed on his wives.  Talk about a War on Women!)

There was a very clear historical tradition of polyandry in many places around the world, including Tibet prior to Chinese take over and both male-male and female-female marriages in China, particularly in the Fujian region.

So, we can wholly dismiss the thus it has always been argument.

The social damage claims are essentially the same ludicrous arguments that were made during the racial civil rights movements in relation to anti-miscegenation laws.   They are ridiculous and have been disproven by every credible bit of research that has been put forth.   And, yet, they just keep getting repeated.  *sigh*

One of the most infamous, er, concise examples of this is from *cough* Dr. *cough* James Dobson, who at least openly tries to base his bigotry on Christianity, in his Eleven Arguments against Same-Sex Marriage.

1. “The legalization of homosexual marriage will quickly destroy the traditional family”

Again, this was the same claim made as to why black and white Americans couldn’t be allowed to marry.  We saw then, and we have seen now what we should know intuitively – that this is simply a ridiculous claim.  Just as who my neighbor loves has no impact on who I love, who my neighbor marries has no impact on who I marry.

He also uses this as the slippery slope position, i.e., that it will lead to “other alternatives to one man/one woman unions.”  Though that is not the topic under consideration here, let me digress for a moment and say, so?  To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, one man/one woman is not normal, it is just more common.  So long as the relationship is made up of consenting adult humans, why does it matter what their genders or numbers are?  The dynamics and any separations may become more complex, but those are situations that adults must handle, period.

2. “Children will suffer most.”

This is because, of course, of the gay agenda to turn all little children into gay adults or some such ridiculousness.  Oh, no.  Wait.  It’s because, children that have both a father and a mother raising them are:

to be on illegal drugs, less likely to be retained in a grade, less likely to drop out of school, less likely to commit suicide, less likely to be in poverty, less likely to become juvenile delinquents, and for the girls, less likely to become teen mothers. They are healthier both emotionally and physically, even thirty years later, than those not so blessed by traditional parents.

Actually, the non-biased research, not that faux stuff funded and twisted by the likes of Dobson, shows precisely the opposite.  Either that there is no statistically different outcome, or that, in fact, LBGT parents may be better for kids, which may make some sense, since they’ve had to face so many of their own obstacles.  If they’ve overcome them to be well adjusted adults, then they are better prepared to help their children do the same.  (Just my own theory.)

What I find really offensive about this section of his paper is that he starts with the tired and untrue assertion that many are still making, “Because homosexuals are rarely monogamous, often having as many as three hundred or more partners in a lifetime — some studies say it is typically more than one thousand — children in those polyamorous situations are caught in a perpetual coming and going.”

3. “Public schools in every state will embrace homosexuality.”

As opposed to what?  Are we to have our public schools teaching the right wing bigoted position that homosexuality is wrong?  And, that is exactly what they want.  Thank you, no.  How about we all agree that the morals be taught at home and at churches if you choose to take your children to them?

4. “Adoption laws will be instantly obsolete.”
5. “Foster-care programs will be impacted dramatically.”

Addressing 4 and 5 , what they mean is that states, like Florida, for example, will no longer be able to prohibit placing children with parents based solely on their sexual orientation.  Of course, unless you have already bought into their bigotry, this isn’t a valid objection.  In fact, with a system that is already overloaded, getting additional stable, loving parents available is good thing.  Without the bigotry against one type of love, this would be universally accepted.

6. “The health care system will stagger and perhaps collapse.”
7. “Social Security will be severely stressed.”

Addressing 6 and 7 together, this is just more silliness.  The claim is that there will be more dependents.  Literally.

Every HIV-positive patient needs only to find a partner to receive the same coverage as offered to an employee.

Remembering that Dobson comes from the same camp that says that AIDS is a punishment, not only to gays but to a country that “tolerates” them.

Again, with millions of new eligible dependents, what will happen to the Social Security system that is already facing bankruptcy? If it does collapse, what will that mean for elderly people who must rely totally on that meager support? Who is thinking through these draconian possibilities as we careen toward “a brave new world”?

It is blatant hate and fear mongering.  Truthfully, if anything, it decreases strain on the Social Security system as these “additional dependents” would still otherwise be working.  What Dobson is suggesting is that legally recognizing same-sex marriage would encourage sloth, and I personally find that offensive to stay at home moms and dads.  I find it offensive to home makers of all ilks and to other disabled persons, as well as a host of others.

8. “Religious freedom will almost certainly be jeopardized.”

The basis for this appears to be that if you give others rights, yours are diminished.  I am spending no time on it for it is sad, really.  It is there for you to read in the link given above.

9. “Other nations are watching our march toward homosexual marriage and will follow our lead.”

Really?  13 other nations in the world already recognize same-sex marriage either by performing them or by recognizing their validity when performed in other countries.  Meanwhile, we have evangelical organizations that are working to have homosexuality declared illegal around the world and punishable by death!  That is what disgusts me!  (Update: The law has currently had the death penalty removed, and replaced with life in prison, but has not officially passed.  Yet.)

Dobson’s final two points are specifically related to the religious arguments:

10. “The gospel of Jesus Christ will be severely curtailed.”
11. “The culture war will be over, and the world may soon become “as it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37).”

The problems with this are legion.  From a fundamental misunderstanding of history of his own religious institution on, this reasoning is flawed.  There was a time when same-sex marriage was a Christian rite.

“Argument” 10 rests on the family having been destroyed:

The family has been God’s primary vehicle for evangelism since the beginning. Its most important assignment has been the propagation of the human race and the handing down of the faith to our children.

This, of course, gets back to his paranoid belief that the gay agenda includes destroying every Christian family.  The ironic part of this is that what is implicit in this belief is that those families are not strong enough to withstand the assault.  Leaving that thought behind, and recognizing that there is no Secret LGBT Conversion Army, the Christian family will still be able to convey their beliefs to their children.  That will be their right.

The larger issue though is that it is simply wrong to restrict rights from one group based on the bigotry of another group.  There is no justification for it.  Marriage is a civil contract.  Whatever church or religious institution may or may not choose to bless or otherwise sanctify that contract is up to that church or religious institution.

The benefits and responsibilities that come with being married (joint ownership, tax free inheritance, medical decision making, etc) should not be denied based on the gender of the person to whom one is in love.  There is no basis for it in any historical or factual sense.  If your religion dictates that you must be against it, that’s fine.  Your religion is not the law in the US.  That is fundamental to the US.

Why are we still arguing about this?

About Just Torch

Author of the SCIAMAGE column a space devoted to American political and social commentary and analysis. It is unabashedly liberal, but makes every effort to present clear, verifiable facts and sound reasoning. It also makes a commitment to clearly distinguish between facts and opinions. View all posts by Just Torch

6 responses to “All contracts being equal under the law

  • Shawn

    I really enjoyed reading this one, Torch. Well done.

  • Dave troland

    Great supporting info. I think that the problem is very much tied to the co-opting of “marriage” as a religious status rather than a legal one. Many people seem comfortable with Civil Unions over Marriage, but the truth is that marriage comes from a State-issued license and IS a civil union. The religious part is optional and overlaid.
    Everyone should be able to get married (consenting human adults) but the distinction should be made at the level the individual wants/needs: Christian Marriage, Jewish Marriage, or Hindu Marriage or whatever to maintain the non-secular rites and not take anything away from those true believers. (Catholic priests could start performing Conventus Matrimoniums and charge an extra $150 for it. Hey Church, revenue idea here!)

  • Andrea

    Excellent post Torch! There was a discussion about this the other day that I excluded myself from because I just couldn’t coherently formulate counter arguements. Your points all illustrate very clearly what it is I would have liked to say. Beautifully done.

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