Friday, November 7, 2008

Response to "Church Responds to Same-Sex Marriage Votes"

Church Responds to Same-Sex Marriage Votes

Since Proposition 8 was placed on the ballot in June of this year, the citizens of California have considered the arguments for and against same-sex marriage. After extensive debate between those of different persuasions, voters have chosen to amend the California State Constitution to state that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Voters in Arizona and Florida took the same course and amended their constitutions to establish that marriage will continue to be between a man and a woman.

Such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life — family, identity, intimacy and equality — stirs fervent and deep feelings.

Some have asked why we in the LGBT community are fighting for same-sex marriage and/or why we are fighting so hard. This is part of the reason why. It is not a selfish grab; it is about the deep issues of our lives -- "family, identity, intimacy, and equality" -- being recognized and protected.

Most likely, the election results for these constitutional amendments will not mean an end to the debate over same-sex marriage in this country.

No, it won't. If anything the issue has been heightened. The flood of vitriol in just the past few days tells me the situation, for many, has escalated beyond a "debate." Many seem ready to have a new wave of Stonewall Riots.

We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will be well informed and act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position. No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

This is where I begin to take some real issue with the Church's comments. For people asking for parties to be "well informed" and not subject each other to "erroneous information" the Church seems to like using erroneous information to argue their position. I have already posted links to an analysis on Six Consequences... if Proposition 8 Fails (gained through I also take issue with the many studies they reference to support their view on marriage. Often they are misused taking inference from them that is in no way related to the issue (e.g., studies on the effect on children raised by both biological parents vs. only one biological parent do not give any information, directly or indirectly, on the effect of children raised by a same-sex couple).

It is important to understand that this issue for the Church has always been about the sacred and divine institution of marriage--a union between a man and a woman.

The words "sacred" and "divine" are inherently religious. This argument makes it clear the issue with the Church is trying to make civil structure reflect their religious ideology. Although I understand their concern, desire, and zeal to do this, I must take issue with the level of force they are showing. I strongly feel the Church is overstepping its bounds by trying to legislate deep doctrinal beliefs.

Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong.

Perhaps this is a little flippant: the very definition of bigotry is what has been going on. The fact of Church involvement and their own arguments as to why they are involved (see previous paragraph) are bigoted. They are stubbornly fighting against any recognition beyond what they believe: the "sacred" and "divine" union between a man and a woman.

The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians.

Obviously, some of the members of the Church and others have missed this. I know this comment has been made many times over the past few years, however, I consistently hear LDS members say they only recently realized it was said. Still, some others seem to think "hostility" only means outright battery. They do not consider emotional, financial, and social harm any problem. In fact, some have said it is the very thing the Church and God want them to do.

Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

First, I will reiterate my stance on supporting the constitutional rights of churches in this country and what happens in the civil arena should not infringe on those rights. Where is the line when basic rights for same-sex couples begin to "infringe" on the "integrity" of the "traditional family"? This seems so vaguely defined that the Church can have the latitude to protest against anything that even seems similar to allowing marriage rights. Back in 2004 when an amendment was on the ballot in Utah and other states to define marriage between a man and a woman, the Church gave an obtuse endorsement of those amendments via a First Presidency Statement:
Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.
Either the Church has taken a turn in the past four years in regard to allowing civil rights to same-sex couples, or this current statement is disingenuous.

Some, however, have mistakenly asserted that churches should not ever be involved in politics when moral issues are involved. In fact, churches and religious organizations are well within their constitutional rights to speak out and be engaged in the many moral and ethical problems facing society. While the Church does not endorse candidates or platforms, it does reserve the right to speak out on important issues.

Let me reiterate, I do not object to churches making their beliefs and views known publicly regarding politics. I do not object to churches asking the members of their congregations to be civilly involved. What I take issue with is the pouring of literally millions of dollars, disseminating erroneous information, and pressuring--not just asking, pressuring--their members into donating millions as well, to name a few unethical practices, for the purpose of pushing doctrinally based legislation through the system.

Before it accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments, the Church knew that some of its members would choose not to support its position. Voting choices by Latter-day Saints, like all other people, are influenced by their own unique experiences and circumstances. As we move forward from the election, Church members need to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society.

I wonder if this is more of a required statement to cover the Church from being accused of forcing their members to vote a certain way. Whatever it is, it seems deeply contradictory to all the work the Church has done over the past months. (Flippant moment: "If this doesn't pass, society will suffer an apocalyptic colapse. But, whatever, vote how you want.") As for Church members being understanding and accepting, I hope certain people can stop calling others "apostate" or "against God's will" for not supporting Proposition 8 or similar measures.

Even though the democratic process can be demanding and difficult, Latter-day Saints are profoundly grateful for and respect the ideals of a true democracy.

I am not sure what to make of this exactly. It seems odd how it is not the Church speaking of itself as an organization but speaking for the individual members collectively. I find it somewhat assumptive and bothersome to have the institution speaking for individuals.

The Church expresses deep appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the many Latter-day Saints and others who supported the coalitions in efforts regarding these amendments.

Conflicted Over the Religious Involvement of Proposition 8

I start writing this at 3:45 A.M. For more than 12 hours I have stewed in my internal conflict over the various reactions people are having to the passing of Proposition 8 in California, banning marriage rights for same-sex couples in that state. Facebook has been a flood of vitriol. After half a large pizza and starting my second 2-liter of Mountain Dew, I realize I need to express my feelings and sort out my thoughts. I don't want to be the angry guy; I don't want to be the guy who does nothing.

The LGB community is understandably upset, even angry. Protests in California have already been happening. This evening a protest is planned for Downtown Salt Lake City near the LDS temple and LDS Church Office Building. Law suits are already filed, one claiming Proposition 8 was not carried through the proper initiative process. A group on Facebook is supporting a petition for the IRS to review the Church of Latter Day Saints' tax-exempt status.

I have signed the petition. I did not do so with the intent of insisting point blank for the repeal of the Church's tax-exempt status due to a petition alone. My stance is more asking the IRS to audit the activities of churches involved in donating and lobbying for Proposition 8. I posted my belief before and spoken with people about how I feel the religious involvement in supporting Proposition 8 was unethical from the beginning. I am sure the LDS Church had tax attorneys involved to make sure they stayed within their technical boundaries. Still, I want to make a statement that I do not agree with what happened, regardless of the vote results on Proposition 8.

As for the protest, I feel it is somewhat misplaced in time. It seems reactionary -- a tantrum over not getting one's way. (Perhaps that is too simplistic an analogy.) Part of me wishes to join. I am angry too. Angry at all the rhetoric, arguments, and money put towards passing such legislation. At a time when so many are seeing a great sign of progress in our civilization with the electing of Barak Obama, many of us are stung deeply by the passing of Proposition 8 in California, along with similar legislation in Arizona and Florida. But I do not believe crying out in an angry protest march will help me. I do not wish to silence and repress religion. Again, I have posted and expressed my belief in a religion's rights to free speech. I believe there must be a better middle to travel. I almost want to go to the protest wearing a sandwich board that reads, "Suppressing marriage is wrong / Suppressing religion is wrong."

The LDS Church's response to the passing of Proposition 8 also upsets me. (I plan to make a more detailed analysis/response in another post.) I will say I find the response generally disingenuous. I am left to wonder how much of it is simply the required PR spin verses how oblivious they are to their actions and the effect of what they have done.

I wish I could discuss this with many of you out there. Much of what I see is a failure to communicate: a failure in hearing and speaking what the issues truly are and understanding the boundaries we are to respect. Almost no one seems capable of transcending the trite talking points and buzzwords. I cry thinking of how many I have come in contact with, on BOTH sides, screaming out with closed eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to those they attack and even to themselves.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Promises and Expectations after Proposition 8

This political season has been difficult for many of us. We have seen one of the most intense presidential races in history. Stakes are high with issues regarding the economy and wars, not to mention historic milestones seen for both African Americans and women in our political arena. I feel an energy in the air with it all. Something is tipping; a corner in a cycle is being turned. We as Americans will become different through the coming events-–much like how we became different through the Industrial Revolution, Great Depression, and WWII, to name a few.

For me, emotions ran very high over the now over decade old issue of same-sex marriage. Many states carried the issue on their ballots this year. This ranged from trying to keep homosexual couples, and other unmarried couples, from being adoptive or foster parents (AK Initiative Act 1) to constitutional amendments to make marriage only between “a man and a woman” (AZ Proposition 102, CA Proposition 8, FL Amendment 2). Again, we saw some of the most intense politicking ever seen in the CA campaigning over Proposition 8, garnering attention to position it as mascot of the issue for the country. Debates were intense. Advertising and general claims often went past extreme into the absurd. Many baffled me as I tried to understand how the issues they brought up have any bearing on the issue. Perhaps the most disturbing were the highly sanctimonious reasoning behind most of the arguments and the intense financial backing by religions, especially the LDS Church. I lost more than a few nights of sleep as the world became a little more hostile to me trying to live peaceably in it.

With all that has been said, debated, and argued, I promise to do the following:
  • I promise to allow you to educate your children as you see fit. I have my beliefs as to what should be included in sex-education, health, and social study courses. I think it is somewhat absurd and potentially damaging to ignore the existence of homosexuals in these issues, and I believe the curriculum must be carefully tailored to fit the maturity of the students. However, I completely acknowledge your rights as parent/guardian to teach the morality of these things to your children and should hold the right to remove your child from involvement should you deem it necessary.

  • I promise to allow churches to marry whom they wish to marry and not marry whom they do not wish to marry.

  • I promise to allow church based agencies providing services, such as adoption, to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. I promise to allow any other private company the right to the same, as long as they abide by the proper local laws to do so.

  • I promise to allow private, sectarian school to run their housing and admissions according to their own policies.

  • I promise to allow people, including ministers and other religious figures, to speak of homosexuality as sin without insisting they be censored on the claim of “hate speech.” Also, I do not consider phrases like “traditional marriage” or “family values” to be hate speech. However, this is no basis to allow incendiary rhetoric condoning harm to others.

In return, I ask for the following:
  • Become educated about homosexual, bisexual, and transgender issues. Many out there are still severely ignorant, leading to fear and anger, about what these are and what is – and isn’t – involved.

  • Become education about the points you argue. Many have gone to topics and expressed concerns about issues in no way connected or contested over the issue of same-sex marriage. Also, learn how to understand studies and statistics and know how to find the reliable ones. So many have abused and misused studies to make their point seem valid. (I openly admit many on both sides of the issue are guilty of this. All the more reason for you to know how to deal with it properly.)

  • Those who argue the issue is not same-sex marriage but defending "traditional" marriage or the definition of marriage, work to actually define "traditional" marriage in the law. I admit, I ask this somewhat ironically. One of the great talking points is protecting marriage as it is defined. However, our civil law has done a poor job in reflecting the definition many give as to why same-sex couples should be barred from it. If the great debates and issues surrounding same-sex marriage have shown me anything it is that marriage, from the point of view of the law in our country, is poorly defined in what it is for and what purpose it is to serve. I expect to see the proposal of legislation at both state and federal levels to improve the structuring of marriage laws to reflect what it is to have and maintain "traditional" marriage (e.g., if "traditional" marriage is to be about bearing and raising children I wish to see fecundity requirements for marriage and tax benefits only when the couple is the primary caregiver of a minor). Otherwise, I shall consider this aspect of arguments merely meaningless talking points used to emotionally manipulate people.

  • Those who say you have no objection to civil unions stand by your promise. Many have said they have no problem recognizing civil unions at both state and federal levels that allow ALL the same RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES as marriage. Although I feel this is playing a very unnecessary semantics game, I hope you will stay by your word. Should we seek to have such civil unions, either support us or stand aside. If you oppose us after all you have said I will consider you the most extreme of hypocrites.

  • Acknowledge our existence. One of the most pervasive attitudes I saw in all the debate and argument was a feeling that people wanted homosexuals not to exist. I am not talking of an intent or desire to kill us or drive us from our homes. It was a subtle, almost unconscious “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of attitude. As much as you may wish us off the radar, we are here. To insist on ignoring our existence by not allowing your children – or even yourself – to hear of us, by not allowing us to share our lives with the one we choose, or even by not allowing us the basic needs to survive in society – as one man I spoke with actually wanted to do – is an attempt at a relativistic existence. With all the fearful rhetoric of homosexuals destroying society, I see trying to maintain such an existence as being far more destructive.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where Arguments Over Prop 8 End Up

In debating over Proposition 8, I have been involved in a discussion--argument, fight--with one Scott Baxter (Orange County, CA). The line eventually lead to the issue of God. I feel parts of the recent thread are worth sharing and keeping here.

As for my relationship with God, I think you perhaps assume to much. You are right that there is something in reading this that reminds me to look to Him for support. You encourage turning to Him, offering myself entirely to His will and accepting Jesus and Lord as if I had not. I have Scott, years ago. It was not a simple general prayer one day. I spent months in prayer and fasting listening to the Holy Spirit to give me guidance in how God would have me deal with my sexuality. Even after receiving very powerful, direct answers I continued on to make sure it was not just a defense mechanism telling me what I wanted to hear. I have dug deep into my psyche and soul and found layers of understanding most people never even consider. I continue to probe ever deeper and have no desire to stop. Over the years my soul has been touched in ways and my mind opened to things I consider too sacred to speak of in detail in this kind of forum. What I will say is I know God is totally accepting of me embracing my homosexuality and seeking a male partner--"husband"--to share my life with. This is not a carte blanche on my sexual behavior or a statement on how others have dealt with their issues of sexuality and marriage. However, just because something can be misused does not negate the use of it for good, and I hope you can understand why I feel so passionately about the issue of same-sex marriage. As for the struggle you see, it is against those who would have me go against what God has revealed to me to fit what they think God wants. I would think it better to fight man for the space to do as God has told me is good for me to do than go against Him to appease those around me. I did it once before, believing those people knew what God wanted; it not only nearly cost me my life but my soul as well.

I do not wish you ill, Scott, but I will fight you if you insist on trying to make me go against God's will for my life.

Thank You Rational Friends

Every political season is highly stressful for me. Debates over candidates and issues rage across society. Claims are made, accusations fly, and we are left to sort the pieces back into whatever the truth of the matter is.

This political season has been particularly stressful for me. Perhaps it is due to following the issues and competing views more closely than I have ever done before. Perhaps it is the state of our society at this time, standing on the edge of collapse, has put us on such intense alert we dare not allow the wrong plan be followed.

The most stressful for me has been the debates, argument, and even downright fights over the issue of same-sex marriage and California's Proposition 8. I have seen such intensity of anger, fear, and hatred from both sides of the issue to feel overwhelmed. Even I admit to becoming emotional with some over the issues. I truly feel there are some out there who want to do me harm over the issue of sexuality, and if they were given power would perpetuate the harms we have seen in the past. As Dr. M. Scott Peck points out in People of the Lie, "politics is a prime forum to observe and interact with the psychology of evil."

I want to thank all of you who have been respectful, considerate, and rational in dealing with the issues we are facing in these days. I would rather have a friend who can respectfully disagree after considering my position than someone intolerant and irrational on my side of the issue.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Responses to Feelings Regarding Prop 8

Recently a cousin of mine wrote a Facebook note about her feelings regarding Proposition 8 in California. She quoted Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

ELDER DALLIN H OAKS: This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle.

Believing that I, too, must make a stand on principle, I commented:

I want to say something here, but I don't know how to put it. I understand what Elder Oaks, and other General Authorities, are trying to do under this issue. In many ways I agree that many have pushed their activism too far. On the other hand, I feel the Church and many of the GA's are doing the same thing: trying to push their view on the rest of the world and blowing certain instances out of proportion to give support to their view.

As I expected, a number of people have responded to my comment with rhetoric such as “Is the Church true or not?”, “FOLLOW THE PROPHET,” and “The 12 Apostles and First presidency are not politicians…. They tell us what God wants the world to know.” These responses are all too evident of an inability I see in many members of the LDS church, and other faiths as well, to distinguish between their ecclesiastical leaders and God himself. However, that leads towards a discussion I will leave to another time.

My desire to respond to my cousin’s post was not to say that the LDS church had no business nor even the right to support Proposition 8 or carry the views and beliefs it does regarding same-sex marriage. I understand its position and believe there are legitimate concerns and issues over the matter that must be addressed. What does bother me is how the Church and its leaders have gone about trying to support their view. On October 16, 2008 the LDS church published an article “The Divine Institution of Marriage”. In this article the issue of encroachment on the rights of churches is brought up (see under the heading “Tolerance, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom”). I believe this is a legitimate concern. However, I find the treatment and support of these concerns unethical. So as not to make this note unnecessarily long, please read Morris A. Thurston’s rebuttal of “Six Consequences the Coalition Has Identified if Proposition 8 Fails” on Thurston has also posted a commentary on the responses he has received regarding his rebuttal.

As for the quote my cousin posted from Elder Oaks, the case of a pastor being imprisoned for preaching the sinful nature of homosexuality is not cited leaving me only to theorize on the incident. On the one hand I can see it possible that the pastor was being denied his rights to faith and free speech. However, I have seen all too often those who hide behind claims of free speech to incite blatant hatred, even violence, against others. I have heard pastors condone refusing homosexuals health care and housing. Some have even openly proclaimed that God will justify and bless those who beat or even kill homosexuals. Take basically anything from One organization tried to buy the lot next to Matthew Shepherd’s grave so they could erect a monument saying “Matthew Shepeherd has burned in Hell since October 12, 1998.” I even had a discussion with an LDS “friend” from high school who openly admitted he wants to pointedly discriminate against homosexuals, i.e., deny them employment benefits.

In the end what I want everyone out there to consider is are you doing what you do only because an authority figure said so? or have you searched out information beyond just what they say and make the decision educated and aware of what the issue and situation actually are?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Arguments Over Equal Marriage

With Proposition 8 looming in California many are making their views known with posting groups, blogs, videos, etc. Some have legitimate concerns about infringement on personal and religious beliefs. Most of them, however, seem to stem from beliefs that allowing equal marriage will somehow result in an apocalyptic implosion of society and the human race.

I recently had a discussion with a "friend" on Facebook. He pointed me to a forum where he had debated the issue with a young man. This young man compiled a list of arguments he has heard and put together an intelligent list of rebuttals. I thought it worthy of reposing with all points integrated.

Gay Unions

The official position of me on the issue of gay unions is: They ought be allowed. His reasoning is as follows, along with other relevant statements:

  1. There is no rational reason to bar gay unions.

    1. Given that there is no pressing reason for the state to intervene in this matter, other considerations ought be given far more weight.

    2. The predicted harms of gay marriage have not been observed in any society.

    3. Very few people who make these arguments are willing to make them to a gay person – that is, they will not be willing to say that the specific gay person in question is not capable of parenting, or is not capable of being faithful, or any such: This inability exposes the non-categorical nature of the assertions in question, and indicates a large problem in statistical validity and intellectual integrity.

  2. In the interest of the values of equality and liberty, gay unions ought to be allowed.

    1. Allowing people to live in a manner that they see fit, when it does not harm the liberty of others, leads to prosperous societies. As well, the state should only assume the roles necessary to fulfill its obligations.

  3. Gay marriage promotes tolerance and reduces hate within society.

  4. The promotion of loving relationships is in the interests of society.

  5. Opposition to gay unions tends to come from bigotry, rather than reasoned analysis.

This position makes many values assumptions, including (but not limited to): High emphasis on liberty and equality and tolerance, emphasis on privacy. Anti-values are placed on religion.

The following are common arguments that have been levied against this position. I respond accordingly:

1. “Gay unions results in the collapse of society.” - Harms

(1.1.) This has not been demonstrated. An analysis of societies today that allow for gay unions indicate that, at minimum, gay unions has a negligible impact. There does seem to be a strong correlation between gay unions and social prosperity, and this correlation would seem to destroy any attempt at demonstrating that gay unions results in collapse.

1.1.1. “But not enough time has passed.”

( Gay unions have been legal in some jurisdictions now for nearly 18 years (as of 2007) and this would seem to be ample time to see some effect.

( No mechanism has been provided for why there would be any sort of delay in seeing this.

2. “Gay unions will result in more people becoming gay, resulting in fewer children, and thus will result in the collapse of society.” - Harms

(2.1.) If sexuality cannot on balance be chosen, then people will quickly determine that (on average) they are heterosexual and thus will continue to procreate in the typical manner.

(2.2.) If sexuality can on balance be chosen, no rational person would choose to be gay: At worst, they would choose bisexuality for that enables them to maximize sexual pleasure. Otherwise, they would choose heterosexuality, for that allows them to integrate most easily with the rest of society. Furthermore, if sexuality can be chosen in such a manner, then people will simply choose to have a baby at such time that they wish to.

(2.3.) The human race at present is facing no threat of extinction due to low population. Indeed, the human race is at present suffering from massive overpopulation, and therefore this argument can be turned to support gay unions.

4. “Gays themselves are harmed by higher incidence of disease that accompany unions.” - Harms

(4.1.) The specific rate of disease cannot be determined due to problems in biased sample sizes.

(4.2.) Assuming the rate of disease is high, marriage has no impact on this: There is no mechanism by which marriage would increase risky behaviors within this group, since it is likely that such a group is partaking in those activities anyway. Rather, marriage would seem to decrease such risk, by reducing social pressures against gays and promoting monogamous values.

5. “Gays have a higher rate of disease or some other negative trait.”

(5.1.) A disease test has never been a qualification of marriage, nor should it be: As long as the two people consent, the government has no business telling them that their love does or does not have worth.

6. “Gay unions allow for polygamy.”

(6.1.) Unions are a legal contract between two people granting them certain benefits and responsibilities. These benefits only fit within the dynamic of a two person relationship and logically break when expanded beyond this (For instance, deciding succession of power of attorney).

6.1.1. “But shouldn’t the government be nondiscriminatory when it comes to love?”

( Indeed, and if multiple people wish to enter into a relationship that bestows upon them such legal benefits, they ought be able to. At present, it seems that the legal relationship best approximating this is that of a corporation.

(6.2.) The slope is not particularly slippery: Given the resistance to even gay marriage, polygamy seems very far off.

(6.3.) It is entirely possible to draw the line somewhere.

(6.4.) This argument is an argument against marriage in general: If we allow any union between two people, then there is always the possibility that we will then allow a union between 3 people. Therefore, by this argument, all marriage ought be banned.

(6.5.) This argument ultimately relies on the assumption that there is nothing wrong with gay marriage itself per se, but rather that it might lead to something negative. Given 6.1.-6.4., this argument is thus negated entirely.

7. “The Bible says…”

(7.1.) The Bible is not a reliable source of truth, nor is it a particularly good source of moral adjudication.

8. “Gay sexual interaction is icky.”

(8.1.) The issue at hand is one of whether they ought be allowed to enter into a specific legal contract, not whether you ought to be forced to watch them have sex.

(8.2.) Your personal distaste for a specific form of conduct, so long as such conduct does not substantially harm you or anyone else, is not valid in any debate.

9. “Homosexuality is against nature.”

(9.1.) Homosexuality is observed very frequently in nature.

(9.2.) Appeals to nature lead to undesirable moral consequences: It is true that murder is a part of nature. Is it therefore good? Antibiotics are unnatural: Are they therefore bad?

10. “Might children be turned gay?”

(10.1.) There is no research to indicate this.

(10.2.) Please see 2.1. and 2.2.

(10.3.) This appears to be about as equally valid as the statement “Straight parents will raise only straight children”

11. “If gays get married, they will face discrimination.”

(11.1.) Gays ought be allowed whether to take that risk or not.

(11.2.) It seems highly likely that same-sex marriage will actually remove continued discrimination and stigmas against homosexuality.

12. “Marriage has traditionally been between a man and a woman.”

(12.1.) The logic of this argument relies on traditional things always being good. Racism has also been a traditional institution, but one that has been found incompatible with present day beliefs. By this logic, racism must be accepted since it has traditionally been so.

(12.2.) Marriage has traditionally been almost a property relationship with the man as owner and woman as object. For instance, in Colonial America it was legal for a man to beat his wife, since it was not generally seen that women had such rights to question their husbands. Since this is generally not accepted as moral, the argument from tradition must fail.

(12.3.) In many societies, same-sex relationships were normal prior to the introduction of Christianity.

13. “Voters have rejected this.”

(13.1.) Arguments from popularity are not a substitute for logical argumentation.

(13.2.) This objection speaks nothing to the morality of gay unions.

14. “Marriage is about procreation.”

(14.1.) It is generally not accepted that marriage must form in order to create children, and many couples often debate whether or not to have children: Such a debate would not take place if marriage was truly considered to be about procreation.

(14.2.) There is no, nor has there ever been, a child-bearing qualification to marriage.

(14.3.) The fundamental rationale for marriage, the stability it lends to society in the formation of stable relationships, is completely divorced from the issue of procreation.

(14.4.) Generally proposals to restrict marriage to only those who are capable of bearing children, to legislate that children must be born or the union dissolved, or to even define marriage strictly as between two parents have all generally enjoyed very little support, even among opponents of gay unions, thus indicating that this objection is not a sufficient motivator to action. Indeed, if that is the purpose of marriage, then marriage ought begin the second a baby is born, and end the second a woman is no longer capable of either raising biological children or bearing more.

14.4.1. “Because of practical/privacy limitations, we cannot investigate these straight marriages to see if they have children. However, a gay marriage by definition cannot provide biological children, and thus few resources are expended to meet this goal.”

( It seems like it would be a trivial matter for a government agency to, after 5 years of the creation of a straight union, check if any children have been registered to the parents.

( Defining marriage as occurring at the exact moment of birth between the parents avoids the problem of investigation entirely. The moment the child is born and given a birth certificate, the parents are also given a marriage certificate.

( The lack of support for the above measures means the original point stands.

( Defining an acceptable marriage as only one that has biological children ignores that non-biological children can also be raised. (Cross apply 14.5. here)

( If, on balance, marriage is about procreation then privacy limitations ought not apply: The entire purpose of marriage is procreation, and therefore is the sanctity of marriage is to be upheld the government must investigate in accordance with or

(14.5.) Gays are capable of reproduction, and are more than capable of adoption, which is desperately needed in a world abundant with unwanted children. Basically the point seems to be that one has to define the moral imperative of marriage as raising only biological children, and it seems difficult to justify a differentiation between biological and non-biological children in this ethical mathematics.

15. “I love my mother – why shouldn’t I be able to marry her?”

(15.1.) I have no opposition to marriage between two consenting adults.

(15.2.) One can logically argue that the marriage between two lovers is the only type of union that contributes to the safety of society, whereas the love between a mother and child is qualitatively different and serves no function in recognition.

16. “Gender roles will be confused in children raised in such households. “

(16.1.) There is no evidence to indicate this.

(16.2.) Gender roles are generally negative anyway.

(16.3.) Teaching gender roles has never been a qualification for marriage.

17. Gays can get these rights using other means.

(17.1.) Gays ought not need to resort to other methods to secure the same rights, incurring additional costs for the same rights.

(17.2.) By attempting this argument, one automatically concedes that there is no material harm in allowing gay unions, since the end result of either using a lawyer to secure these rights individually or using unions to secure them collectively is the same: If it is harmful only in one situation but not another, one must demonstrate the substantive difference between the two.

(17.3.) Not all rights can be restored in this manner.

18. “Gays make bad parents.”

(18.1.) There is no evidence to indicate this.

(18.2.) Parenting skills have never been used as a qualification for marriage.

(18.3.) The Child Welfare League of America, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers disagree.

19. “Judges are legislating from the bench.”

(19.1.) Judges are fulfilling their constitutional role to adjudicate the law.

(19.2.) Judges have traditionally ruled in favor of protecting minority rights, as it has always been known that the majority will likely vote to discriminate if given the chance. Indeed, fear of the tyranny of the majority if one reason why the judiciary is kept independent of the other two branches.

20. “Gays already have equal rights – they can marriage people of the opposite gender too.”

(20.1.) If an amendment were passed saying that the only valid marriages would be same-sex marriages, heterosexuals would justly feel persecuted.

(20.2.) This argument plays on semantics: Instead of going for equality in spirit, the argument attempts to go for equality in syntax.

21. “Gays are not capable of love for each other.”

(21.1.) There is no evidence to indicate this.

(21.2.) Proving ones love has never been a qualification for marriage.

22. “Gays do not represent a significant enough portion of the population to merit this.”

(22.1.) This does not speak to the morality of the issue in question.

(22.2.) To say that a minority is too small to be protected from discrimination is not morally correct.

(22.3.) Other minorities also exist that are small: Jews make up 5% of the US population, however it would be wildly improper to discriminate against them.

23 “Can’t they just have civil unions?”

(23.1.) This argument admits that marriage poses no threat.

(23.2.) Civil unions continue to remain discriminatory, creating a special class of marriage for “the gays” and the regular class for “the rest of us”. This would not be considered proper for any other group of people.

24. “Forcing me to accept gay marriage is against my religious beliefs.”

(24.1.) Allowing gay marriage only forces the state to recognize the legal contract – others, including churches, may or may not recognize this union depending upon their own personal preferences.

(24.2.) This argument is wildly subjective: If some religion considers heterosexual marriages to be immoral, should they then be dissolved?

(24.3.) Your right to practice your religion in private is not being infringed upon.

25. “People might marry into fraudulent weddings in order to gain legal benefits, such as health coverage.”

(25.1.) There is no evidence to suggest that heterosexuals will rush to have homosexual weddings for any reason.

(25.2.) Heterosexuals are not prevented from engaging in such sham-weddings right now with members of the opposite sex.

26. “Gay marriage undermines the health of the traditional family.”

(26.1.) The health of the traditional family seems to be self-destructing (in the United States) well on its own.

(26.2.) The “traditional family” is a very nebulous concept.

(26.3.) The “threat” is fairly vaguely defined – indeed, typically defined in such a way that it means nothing at all, and is simply a talking point.

(26.4.) In the United States, it has been found that divorce rates in the only state in the Union to legalize gay marriage were among the lowest in the nation, and continued their downward trend, whereas states that oppose gay marriage experienced an increase in divorce rates.

27 “Gay marriage advocates want to destroy the traditional family and/or society.”

(27.1.) This is an ad hominem attack.

(27.2.) This is a conspiracy theory.

(27.3.) There is no evidence for this.

28. “Gay marriage will lead to man-beast relationships.”

(28.1.) An animal is not able to consent, which is required under common law.

29. Homosexuals molest children.”

(29.1.) There is no evidence to indicate this.

(29.2.) Profiling of this nature is not used in determining valid marriages.

30. “Homosexuals can be cured of their disease.”

(30.1.) The science increasingly is demonstrating this to be unlikely.

(30.2.) It is not relevant anyway: Absent another reason to bar gay unions, it comes down to liberty and equality, which necessarily lead to gay unions.

31. “The Founding Fathers never intended for this.”

(31.1.) The intent of the Founding Fathers is not a proper measure of the validity of a thing, for the Founding fathers lived in a time where such things as racism and sexism were commonplace. The Founding Fathers did not intend for the direct election of Senators, for instance, but it would seem undemocratic to do anything else now.

31.1.1. “This is a weak argument in favor of gay unions.”

( It is not intended to be an argument in favor of same-sex unions. Rather, it is a response to an invalid argument against same sex unions.

(31.2.) The Founding Fathers did not particularly speak on the issue of marriage, since it wasn’t that large of an issue at the time.

(31.3.) The feelings of the Founding Fathers are not relevant to the morality of a thing.

32. “Gay unions could cause civil strife.”

(32.1.) There is no evidence for this.

(32.2.) Any problems related to civil strife would be the fault of those violating the law, not the fault of gay people.

(32.3.) Other controversial equality measures, such as interracial marriage, also posed the threat of causing civil strife. The interests of equality and liberty prevail over this.

33. “Gay unions legitimise homosexuality.”

(33.1.) This would not be a negative thing.

(33.2.) Gay unions only remove discrimination: They do not “promote” homosexuality.

34. “Marriage is not the domain of the state.”

(34.1.) As long as the state does sanction marriages, gay marriage leads to less government intervention in the lives of the people versus not having it, since the state no longer discriminates and presents obstacles to people living their own lives in the way that they see fit.

(34.2.) The formation of stable unions can be said to be in the interests of securing both the negative and positive liberty of the people.

35. “Gay unions would increase the spread of disease.”

(35.1.) There is no evidence for this.

(35.2.) The spread of disease has never been a factor in allowing straights to marry.

36. “Gay marriage will cost too much money.”

(36.1.) For gays, gay marriage would increase the amount of money they receive from such things as social security by $5,000, pensions, and other sources, thus increasing their economic power.

(36.2.) The cost on employers in areas that allow gay marriage has been extremely marginal, enough so to be insignificant.

(36.3.) The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the government would take in $1 billion if all 50 states allowed gay marriage.

37. Gay unions will lead to a decline in religious freedom.”

(37.1.) Gay unions, being a matter of the state, do not particularly affect religion in any way.

38. “It will become socially unacceptable to oppose gay unions if we allow them.”

(38.1.) This is a matter of democratic social convention and is thus not particularly relevant to the debate.

(38.2.) Reducing the amount of intolerance in society is a positive thing.

(38.3.) If your idea will become unpopular with the introduction of gay unions, perhaps it is your idea that needs to be reassessed.

39. “Most child molesters molest same-sex.”

(39.1.) This is not correct: Most victims are female, most perpetrators are male, and they tend to know each other.

(39.2.) Many same-sex molestations (indeed, many different-sex molestations) occur more as a desire for power or control rather than due to sexual attraction.

(39.3.) In order for this argument to carry weight, one needs to demonstrate that any significant portion of gay people will molest, which there is no evidence for.

39.3.1. “Gays have a higher chance of being child molesters than other sectors of the population.”

( There is no evidence to indicate this.

( A significant portion of the total gay population would be required to make this argument carry weight, not merely a deviation from average.

( Please see 39.4.

(39.4.) Past criminal history is not a standard for marriage – straight marriages are not forbidden because of such.