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The Contender
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BIRT THW Abolish Marriage.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,778 times Debate No: 10255
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




The resolution before us today is Be It Resolved That This House Will Abolish Marriage.

I will begin by defining the terms, and then delve into two constructive arguments entitled "What Does Marriage Represent ?" and "De - Clutter".

By this house, I mean the United States of America.
By abolish I mean to do away with [1] in its entirety.
By marriage I mean the formal and binding legal concept and procedure of binding oneself with ones partner under the law
** Note ** This does not abolish marital religious ceremonies, or the concept of living with a partner and sharing with them fully. It simply has no significance under the law.

Now to delve into my first constructive argument of "What Does Marriage Represent?"
Part 1: Marriage - The Concept
The state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life [2] is the base concept of marriage in its purest form. The primary ideal for marrying another individual is the want to spend one's life with that person; moreover to want to unify one's life with that other person's.
Two people are perfectly capable of doing the following without the legal contract which is now known as marriage. Many partners currently live their lives happily intertwined, without any sort of legal contract. Some due to personal preference, some due to restrictions (such as partners of the same sex). While it is clear that many same sex partners are lobbying for the marriage restriction placed on them in some states to be lifted, this is not due to unhappiness in their current state, but rather that of equality [3] making the example of same sex partners a perfect reason of why marriage is not necessary to make a partnership successful and fully enjoyable.

Part 2: Marriage - The Contract

The main benefits to the contractual agreement of marriage is partnership unity under the law. And by this, I mean that the two members are viewed as partnership in legal aspects of their life. This includes joint possession of many large and important ownerships (eg. children, house and other investments). One example of the usefulness of this is of course is the ownership of one's possessions once they pass away. If married, the deceased's spouse would be entitled to all of the deceased's possessions. Furthermore, marriage entitles couples to different standards (just one of many examples being income tax rates [4]). Furthermore, it appears to reduce paperwork and confusion in regards to registering joint ownership of any large or important possession (eg. house, investments, children); as you would not have to register and complete excess paperwork each time a new possession is obtained. However, I will falsify this last benefit to contractual marriage in my second argument. This being said, all benefits of contractual marriage can easily be replaced via simple measures such as in the case of ownership after one's death, a will; or in the case of government benefits such as income tax rates, filing them together with your partner. For these reasons, there is clearly no need for contractual marriage.

Now, to move onto my second argument; "De - Clutter"

In this argument I would like to discuss about the civil court system and the strain contracts in relation to marriage put on it. Last year alone in the USA, over 7 out of every 1000 people engaged in a registered marriage, while almost 4 people out of every thousand divorced [5]. This results in roughly 30,000 people getting married every year, and approximately 15,000 divorces every year. This creates a HUGE strain on the civil court system. With the divorce process ranging from 3 months to multiple years, the process of divorce in and of itself is extremely tedious and drawn out; partially due to a backlog of divorces filed in relation to the shear quantity [6]. Although the marriage process is not as time consuming, it still requires large amount of paperwork, consuming the time of court officials.

Having already proved the extremely limited worth of an official marriage, and looking at the extremely high divorce rate, it seems that the concept marriage has come far from the original concept of eternal unity outlined in my first argument. For these reasons, it seems foolish to waste the court's time with an apparently trivial issue of legalizing a marriage.

For the reasons of the extremely limited use of marriage (outlined in my first argument "What Does Marriage Represent?") and the enormous strain on the court systems via the large quantity of both marriage and divorce (outlined in my second argument "De - Clutter" this resolution must stand.



The Concept

As you probably know, the historical origins of marriage are not in love, but economics. This is reflected in the benefits of a marriage partnership. While two people can spend their life together without a legal contract, a more efficient partnership that can better support a family financially can be created through marriage, and most couples who choose to spend the rest of their lives together will opt to reap the benefits of that system.

Knowing this, you provided for this under your proposed model by arguing that these benefits could be created in other ways - but why would a couple elect to do this, having to ensure that every benefit is being utilised, when one contract will ensure them all? Let's consider what marriage partners receive as benefits:

- inheritance of property
- rights to make a medical decision for a spouse, or making other decision such as funeral arrangements
- joint tax filing and joint adoption
- rights to non-resident or alien partners
- marital confidence privilege and spousal testimonial privilege
- parenting rights (access or rights of both partners to make decisions for their child)
- custody of children
- shared property and shared bank accounts

just to name a few, and not including social program benefits either.

Undoubtedly, as you suggest, such advantages can be used without the marriage contract, but that one contract makes things much easier because

a.) it requires just one contract while your system would require many
b.) it means partners can still get benefits they didn't know about without having to specifically apply for them.

Moreover, your model increases the risk of abuse. Now, currently, the marriage laws allow for such abuse, such as aliens who deceive citizens into marrying them in order to gain citizenship, however the marriage is on record and it requires a full ceremony and so on. Under your system, abusers would find it much easier to receive this benefit, needing only to live with the partner for some time. (Admittedly, those who have been deceived would at least not bear the cost of a marriage ceremony.)


A very good argument, however one that in no way proves your argument. As you say, the contracts of marriage put such a strain on the court system, but so would partnership contracts under your model, as would divorce, custody hearings still being an issue under your system.

The high divorce rate is also not an argument to end marriage. Things just don't work out sometimes and at the beginning it can be difficult to know what will happen. I actually believe that under your system, the looser contractual relations between partners might even mean that court proceedings would be lengthier and more complicated, as you would have to prove that valid contracts were created, etc., and the courts will still be involved in broken relationships.

Marriage has it roots in property matters and so on, and our courts can't do much to stop getting involved. You can discourage people from getting married, or encourage the use of pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements to clean up messy divorces, or maybe even REQUIRE the use of these agreements when getting married. But abolishing marriage won't free up our courts.

You're right, it does seem foolish to waste the court's time with a trivial marriage, but if this is the case, we can simply shift the responsibility of performing civil ceremonies to other court personnel or legally authorised people such as justices of the peace.

And lastly, the much of the public don't see marriage this way, or at the least, are content with the current system (let's not talk about the details, as many aren't happy with certain aspects when they get disadvantaged by their divorce settlement, but that's another issue). People are still getting married and despite widespread cynicism, they are happy to do so, they believe in the concept at least in the beginning, it may be part of their religion, and many never divorce at all. I admire people's ability to challenge the status quo as my opponent has done, but it is evident that when it comes to marriage, which is a complicated and difficult thing to regulate with pragmatism, the status quo is the best system we have.
Debate Round No. 1


decachild forfeited this round.


Great, not again.

I have nothing new, except to say that doubting with good reason that my opponent will come back, there is little question that readers should vote Con.

Furthermore, I must say I am disappointed with this site's capacity for enhancing my debating skills, because there is little competition in most of the debates I have had, most of the opponents having forfeited all the rounds. I was interested in this "tournament" idea, but they were sure to tell me I can't join one should it come up again because I can't confirm my identity from my country. Hardly a good system.

I do miss my old debating site, but it has unfortunately crashed and perhaps died forever, so this is really all I have until I can hopefully join a real debating team.
Debate Round No. 2


decachild forfeited this round.


Perhaps I ought to congratulate my opponent on a debate well played!

Despite having so little real wins against real opponents, funnily enough I'm still one of the "top debaters". I don't know why so many members are wasting their time writing the first argument and never returning.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by decachild 6 years ago
Hey Everyone,
Thanks for the interest. If you guys don't mind, try to keep your ideas to yourself until after the debate is over, unless of course you would like to debate it with me. As for some of the arguments listed below, just wait for this debate to unfold, it should be entertaining the way I planned it =). And andre, feel free to get on the con, you sound like a good debater.
Posted by andre 6 years ago
The problem with the benefits of marriage is, the current system allows people to go through less red tape to get those benefits, there's just one marriage, but under a system where partnership has to be established for every benefit, you have to safeguard against abuse from people who aren't really partners, you have to make partners prove their partnership for every benefit.

I do like your courts issue however, perhaps related legal figures such as justices of the peace could hold these ceremonies outside of courts to stop this from happening, but even under the system of no marriage just contracts to get tax benefits or spousal privilege, the courts will be bogged down in "divorces" when partnerships don't work out. The divorce rate won't really change, and the courts will still be dealing with broken relationships.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
You can establish all of the legal benefits of marriage easily with contracts (like powers of attorney or inheritance). Tax breaks should be abolished; why reward certain people just for being in a legally committed relationship? The whole thing is just unfair and retarded on so many levels, but I'll shut up about it because it's not fair to the debaters. Pro doesn't need us to make his arguments for him and Con deserves an equal shot :)
Posted by Rockylightning 6 years ago
I'm on the fence
i think that gay's need "legal" marrige so taking away might cause some problems
also that non-religious people wouldn't be able to marry
I think that a "Legal" marriage isn't good because it entangles the government in the whole thing
Posted by Johnicle 6 years ago
agree with pro... lol I couldn't resist but for sure it's a religious thing, state made a mistake when getting involved but I do think there needs to be legal bindings but to call it a 'marriage' is stupid. this would also do away with gay marriage and multiple marriage problems that people always bring up
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
Agree with PRO.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Agree with Pro
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 6 years ago
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