The Instigator
libertarian
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Lightkeeper
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Civil unions are unconstitutional and therefore no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/4/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,884 times Debate No: 5634
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

libertarian

Pro

1. The 14th amendment of the Constitution states that "no state shall deny equal protection under the laws." This means that gay couples and straight couples are supposed to be teated equally, but the law is not the case. One is called marriage. One is called a civil union.

2. The Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia, states that "MARRIAGE" is a "civil right." This case was referring to interracial marriage in the 60s. But there is a direct and obvious parallel.

3. The Supreme Court case, Brown vs. Board of Education showed that seperate is not equal. Civil unions are seperate and therefore unequal.

4. It is unfair and illogical that gay marriage not be legalized. Civil unions do not suffice.

5. Socially, they are unequal. To say "we ar married" is better than to say "we are civilly united." And there is no reason gay couple have to suffer this difference.

6. Civil unions only create a second class form of married people, which is obvious and a hindrance to social progression. The New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission agrees with this. http://www.indegayforum.org...

7. Other states and countries are less likely to recognize a civil union.

8. There are 2,385 civil union couples in New Jersey the New York Times says 568 couples told Garden State Equality that they have not been protected equally under civil union law. If my math is right, that is 24%. A quarter. This is unacceptable and certainly unequal. However, in Massachusetts, marriage for gay people has worked, because separate is never equal.
http://www.indegayforum.org...

Vote PRO because equal protection is an American value that is in our Declaration of Independence, our constitution, and the words "Equal Justuce Under Law" are scribed on the front of our Supreme Court building.
Lightkeeper

Con

I thank my opponent for this opportunity.

Firstly, I would like to make it clear that my argument is not caused by prejudice of any kind. It does not reflect any personal feelings or views. It is just a debate.

My opponent's claim is that "civili unions are unconstitutional and therefore no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage".

In order to prove this resolution, my opponent must prove that:
1. Civil unions are unconstitutional; and
2. Civil unions are no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage; and
3. That (1) and (2) above are causally linked. In other words that the reason why civili unions are not a substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage is that they are unconstitutional. This link is of course brought to live by my opponent's use of the word "therefore" in his resolution.

1. Are civil unions unconstitutional?
Taking on my opponent's line of argument, this question should be answered in light of the 14th Amendment. The Amendment prohibits a state from "denying to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
It is my contention that my opponent has not shown any grounds to suggest that a law that gives rise to a civil union is in breach of the 14th Amendment. Any person is entitled to enter into a civil union. There is no discrimination (to my knowledge) on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy, adjusdum generis.

The fact (if true) that people who are in civil unions are not treated properly by some members of the community and by some insitutions (as per article sited in my opponent's point 6) does not render a civil union unconstitutional. It merely reflects the coummunity's lack of understanding, partially (no doubt) driven by prejudice and partially by simple ignorance. A widespread community educationa program would probably assist in alleviating this problem.

I conclude that there is no basis in my opponent's argument to substantiate his allegation that civil unions are unconstitutional.

2. My opponent further seeks to show that civil unions are no substitution for "gay marriage". With respect, other than his point 5, he has not shown any differentiation between the former and the latter.

3. Causal link
I respectfully submit that my opponent has failed to show any causal link whatsoever between the alleged (and disputed) unconstitutionality of civil unions and their inadequacy as a "substitute for gay marriage".

In light of the above, I submit that my opponent has shown no evidence or argument whatsoever to support his resolution that civil unions are unconstitutional and therefore no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage.
Debate Round No. 1
libertarian

Pro

Rebuttals=== 1. Civil unions are unions with the same legal benefits of marriages or very similar, but are not called marriages. This is a seperate union from marriage. From what we've learned from New Jersey's civil unions and Brown vs. Board of Education, seperate is not equal. Here the Equal Protection Clause is violated.

2. Gay marriage and civil unions are called something different and create a second-class of matrimony. Points 5, 6, 7, and 8 all prove that civil unions are unequal to marriage. Point 5 shows that civil unions are lesser socially. Point 6 shows that civil unions are a second class of matrimony. Point 7 shows an inequality in international and interstate recognition. And Point 8 shows a mathematical study proving that New Jersey civil unions are not equal to Massachusetts marriages.

3. I have shown that civil unions are lesser than gay marriages in point 5, 6, 7, and 8. Points 1, 2, and 3 all show a constitutional argument. Point 1 shows that gay couples must be treated equally under the law. Point 2 shows that marriage is a civil right protected by the Constitution. And Point 3 shows that previous Supreme Court cases have shown that seperate but equal is incorrect and cannot hold up against the fourteenth amendment.
++++++++++++++++++

Ignoring my arguments is not a reasonable way to debate.

++++++++++++++++++

So, marriage is determined by Loving vs. Virginia to be a civil right. Civil rights are important and the government cannot deny them. All persons are guaranteed the right to marry who they choose as Loving vs. Virginia shows, a case which allowed interracial marriage. Brown vs. Board of Education shows us that if we can prove that an institution is seperate, but unequal, that institution must be integrated to improve equality. Civil unions are socially unequal, generally unequal, internationally unequal, and interstatially unequal as I and my sources have proven. Therefore, according to the 14th amendment, which guarantees equal protection, civil unions and marriages must be integrated to ensure equality.

++++++++++++++++

If you ignore this, I'm not sure what I can do...
Vote PRO for the debater who actually rebutted arguments.
Lightkeeper

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

My opponent claims that I have ignored him. It is unfortunate that he should think so. I have re-read his first post time and time again. In the body of his argument, there is not a single resolution presented. Rather, it consists of assertions and contentions. The question that then comes to mind is: Just what is my opponent seeking to prove? The topic of this debate is "Civil unions are unconstitutional and therefore no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage."

The topic is not "gay marriage should be legalised". Rather, the topic alleges that civil unions are unconstitutional and therefore they are no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage. In absence of any other stated resolution in the body of my opponent's first post, it is clear that the topic itself states his resolution; that it states the proposition he seeks to prove.

I have demonstrated in my reply that Civil Unions are not unconstitutional. They are not unconstitutional because any person can enter into a civil union, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, race etc (s)he is. If civil unions are not unconstitutional then my opponent's resolution must fail.

I now address his rebuttals in their order.

1. The Equal Protection Clause has not been violated. The reason for this is that the Equal Protection Clause protects the individual. It stipulates that each individual is to be given equal protection. It does NOT stipulate that every type of institution should have equal protection to that of other institutions. Thus, there is no requirement that marriage and civil union should be treated equally. There's no discrimination against any individual in a civil union as all persons of all races and both genders and all orientations are free to enter into one. There is no issue of separation in civil unions legislation. The legislation is all-inclusive.

2. Whether or not civil unions are equal to marriages is not a question that could sufficiently prove my opponent's resolution. He has sought to prove that civil unions are unconstitutional and THEREFORE no substitute for the legalisation of marriage. Hence, his resolution must fail if any one of the following is true:
a) civil unions are not unconstitutional;
b) civil unions are a substitute for the legalisation of gay marraige;
c) civil unions are unconstitutional AND are no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage but the two facts are not causally related.
I have shown that civil unions are not unconstitutional. Therefore my opponent's resolution must fail.

3. As per (2) above, the question of whether civil unions are equal to marriages is not sufficient to prove my opponent's resolution. I will, however, point out, that the law does not state that gay couples (or any couples) must be treated "equally". The law does state that a state cannot discriminate against A PERSON. This does not protect couples, families, or other groups (though it may protect bodies corporate). It is true that the Supreme Court cases sited dictate that separate is not equal. I again repeat that the institution of civil unions is not separatist as it is free for any person to enter.

4. (The unnumbered paragraph in my opponent's argument). My opponent has not pasted any dictum from Loving vs Virginia. He has not showed that the case has stated that a person can marry whom they choose. Having said that, that is not relevant. My opponent's resolution is (partially) that CIVIL UNIONS are not constitutional. Loving vs Virginia has no direct application to civil unions as it was a case on a person's right to marry. If, however, my opponent wishes to apply the same principle to civil unions, he is perfectly entitled to. The argument, when applied to a civil union, would be that the effect of Loving vs Virginia is such that any person is free to enter into any civil union. However, that argument would still not assist my opponent as there is no evidence presented by him of any restrictions in civil union legislation that would preclude any person from entering any civil union (s)he wished to.

The 14th amendment does NOT necessitate equality generally. There is nothing in the Amendment that would suggest that all types of institutions are to be treated equally. That would be impossible and impractiable. The Amendment merely gives an individual the right to be equally protected under the law.

Finally, I again repeat that I have not ignored anything. I have rebutted my opponent's argument that civil unions are unconstitutional. It is not my job to write his arguments for him. It is his task to prove his resolution. I say he has not done so. If my opponent wishes to have an argument based on law, it would probably assist his cause if he did not go about it by challenging the constitutionality of a piece of legislation without showing a single constitutional deficiency in it.
Debate Round No. 2
libertarian

Pro

1. It is obvious that if an institution treats people unequally that those people are not being protected equally. This is evident in Brown vs. Board of Education. An institution treated students unequally. And the court overturned the law that allowed this and integrated the schools. The court must integrate the unions to ensure equality.

2. It is evident that civil unions are seperate and unequal. Point 5 shows that civil unions are lesser socially. Point 6 shows that civil unions are a second class of matrimony. Point 7 shows an inequality in international and interstate recognition. And Point 8 shows a mathematical study proving that New Jersey civil unions are not equal to Massachusetts marriages. And by definition they are seperate. Therefore, civil unions are seperate and unequal.

3. YOU ARE WRONG! The law does not say that you cannot discriminate against a person. The law says that "no state...shall deny equal protection under the laws." The laws obviously state that you must treat people equally. The 14th Amendment does not use the word discrimination.

In the opinion of the court for the case Loving vs. Virginia "marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man." To deny a person the right to marry who they want is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

Not all institutions must be treated equally, but some institutions are so fundamental and necessary that to deny equal protection would be a violation of the 14th Amendment. Loving vs. Virginia proved that marriage is one of those rights.
Lightkeeper

Con

I thank my opponent for posting his last round of this debate. I now respond.

1. I disagree with my opponent that the "court must integrate the unions to ensure equality". The civil union is separate to marriage. It exists under separate legislation. Courts do not have the power to integrate civil unions with marriages. Furthemore, my opponent's case is different to Brown. In Brown, states were prohibited from separating black children from white children. This simply does not apply. You see, a gay person can enter a civil union. A straight person can enter a civil union. A gay person can marry. A straight person can marry. It is true that a gay person can only mary a person of the opposite sex and they might not want to. However, marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman. This definition exists in the Marriage Acts and NOT in civil unions legislation. My opponent has not attacked marriage legislation in his argument. Rather, he claims that civil unions are unconstitutional.

2. It is true that a civil union is separate to marriage. So is a de facto relationship. An unincorporated parnership is separate from a corporation. A Catholic parish is separate from a McDonald's restaurant. There is nothing in law to say that institutions (such as marriage, civil union etc) must be the same. They are different institutions. In some jurisdictions civil unions are available not only for persons of the same gender (eg Quebec in Canada). In other jurisdiction, a civil union allows the union between two persons of the same gender while a marriage is the union between a man and woman. Neither discriminates on the basis of sexuality. Either can be entered into by a heterosexual, a bi-sexual, a homosexual or a non-sexual.

3. *YOU ARE WRONG! The law does not say that you cannot discriminate against a person. The law says that "no state...shall deny equal protection under the laws." *
I used the word "discriminate". I contend that the word was correct as affording unequal protection is in fact discrimination. The fact that the 14th Amendment protects the PERSON and not an institution (unless the institution is also a legal person by way of incorporation) is self evident in the wording of Section 1:

Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any PERSON within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (Emphasis added)http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...

4. "In the opinion of the court for the case Loving vs. Virginia "marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man." To deny a person the right to marry who they want is a violation of the 14th Amendment."

My opponent is correct. However, Loving vs Viriginia has NOT decided NOR considered a question of the meaning of marriage. Under the laws of the states that my opponent is arguing about, marriage is the union between a man and a woman. That definition has not been challenged in that case. Nor has my opponent said anything to the effect of challenging the definition. Rather, his entire argument is based on the premise (incorrect) that civil unions are unconstitutional.

5. "Not all institutions must be treated equally, but some institutions are so fundamental and necessary that to deny equal protection would be a violation of the 14th Amendment. Loving vs. Virginia proved that marriage is one of those rights."

My opponent may claim this. However, his argument is based on issues of constitutionality. The Constitution does not award any rights to institutions, with some exceptions (eg States are institutions and are given some protection under the Constitution).

In conclusion, I will say the following.
My opponent's resolution that "civil unions are unconstitutinal and therefore no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage" must fail. To prove this, he would have to prove EACH of the following three points:

1. Civil unions are unconstitutional
As I have demonstrated, time and time again, they are not unconstitutional. Every person and any person can enter a civil union. A person of any religion, gender, sexual orientation, race etc, is free to enter into a civil union. Civil unions legislation treats all persons equally.
Thus, my opponent fails on point 1.

2. Civil unions are no substitute for a legalisation of gay marriages
My opponent has shown some evidence to the effect that:
a) some members of the community do not understand the nature of a civil union and thus act unfairly towards people who are in a civil union.
This point does not address the equality or otherwise of civil unions with marriages. Rather, it addresses a lack of understanding within some sections of the community. An educational program would assist here.
b) saying "I'm married" is different to saying "I'm in a civil union".
That's true, it may not have the same ring to it. "United in love and law" might be a nicer way of putting this. But in any event, this difference is, in my submission, minute. It is not a practical difference. It is just a question of wording.
I contend that there is no material difference between one and the other. However, even should you not be satisfied that I am correct, my opponent's argument must fail on points 1 and 3.

3. That there is a causal connection between the alleged (and incorrect) unconstitutionality of civil unions and the alleged (and possibly incorrect) inequality between civil unions and marriages.
This arises from my opponent's use of the word "THEREFORE" in his resolution.
I contend that there is no causal connection between any alleged unconstitutionality of a civil union and any alleged difference in its status to that of a marriage.

I conclude by saying that my opponent has not proven his case and therefore you should vote CON.

nb: If my opponent wishes to post a debate arguing that the definition of marriage should be amended in marriage legislation so as to include unions of persons of the same sex then I welcome my opponent to a debate on that subject. However, that is not the present debate.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
Conduct: Con
- Pro was not too discourteous, neither was he courteous. Pro, on the other hand, remained courteous throughout the debate, even after a questionably discourteous comment made by Pro.

Spelling/Grammar: Con
- There were no major mistakes by either debater. Con, on the other hand, was more eloquent and his argument more clear.

Convincing arguments: Con
- Pro poorly backed up his claim that Civil Unions are unconstitutional. He provided a weak link between Civil Unions and the 14th amendment. His main points here are that civil unions were not treated equally individually in the social realm. Con destroyed this argument by pointing out thatcivil unions were equal by law and by benefits received - no amount of social mistreatment changes this fact.

Sources: Tie
- I think that more source citation could have been utilized by both debaters. They both had an acceptable amount, but more could have strengthened their respective cases.
Posted by libertarian 8 years ago
libertarian
Civil unions are unconstitutional and therefore no substitute for the legalisation of gay marriage.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
What exactly is your resolution that you seek to prove?
Because on the face of it it looks like you're putting two propositions at the same time and you must prove both to win. Am I right?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by GeekiTheGreat 4 years ago
GeekiTheGreat
libertarianLightkeeperTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with pro on how marriage and Civil unions are not equal, not in society, or to the ones in the union. More people should start looking at past Supreme Court rulings then they have been.
Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
libertarianLightkeeperTied
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Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
libertarianLightkeeperTied
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Total points awarded:06