The Instigator
xXCryptoXx
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
dmussi12
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points

Gay Marriage Should Be Legalized in the United States

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/16/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,154 times Debate No: 46087
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (21)
Votes (2)

 

xXCryptoXx

Con

First round is for acceptance.
dmussi12

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
xXCryptoXx

Con


I would first like to thank Contradiction for being a major influence to my arguments.


What is Marriage?


The state regulates marriage and dispenses benefits for a reason. By understanding this reason we can therefore infer what relationships may be justly excluded from marriage and whether or not anyone’s rights are denied.


A common good is something with an objective core, which inherently serves the well being and good of humanity. Common goods cannot be changed; rather they can only be distorted from their objectively good nature. For example, friendship is a common good. Let’s say that the objective core of friendship dictates that all friendships require selflessness and love between the two friends. If someone thought friendship was about using another individual in order to further their own motives, then that someone would be universally wrong. That person didn’t change the definition of friendship; rather they distorted friendship from its objective nature which inherently promotes the well being of others.


In the same, revisionists try to distort marriage from its objective nature, from what marriage is.


So this raises the question; what is marriage?


A common answer would be that “Marriage is the lifelong union of two persons who love each other.” [1] Love is essential to the marital relationship but it is not enough in order to gain legal recognition from the government. There are many kinds of social relationships that involve love. For example, friendships involve love. Why then would the government not recognize friendships? Since the government promotes marriage, then marriage must possess some kind of public good. In other words, it must inherently positively affect the well being of others. Love is a private matter for love essentially only involves the people within the relationship. Since we have already established that the government recognizes marriage for its public means, and love is a private matter, then there must be a public part of marriage inherent to the union between those entering into the marriage.


Here we run into a wall with the accepted definition at hand. The definition does not provide us an adequate base of what the public means of marriage is, or why the government would be interested in marriage if love is essentially a private matter. Instead, I will provide a new definition of marriage. “Marriage is a comprehensive union with a special link to children.” [2] “It is a private union with a public purpose. Private in that comprehensive union exemplifies the love of the spouses. Public in that their comprehensive union is directed toward a purpose beyond the love of the spouses: children.”[3]


The marital relationship is comprehensive in the sense that it is unlike any other relationship. Marriage is where the individuals within the relationship are joined together by the very aspect of their humanity. “Consider the various parts of a plane – the engines, wings, and avionics. What unites all of these parts together into a single whole is their coordination toward a common end: flight.”[3] The unity inherent among married couples is that when they come together by nature of their sexuality, they may achieve an ends that could not have been achieved alone. This unity is the coming together in order to strive towards a common goal. This ends of the means is procreation. Children produced are reflective to the union at hand. The nature of this comprehensive union is that it can only be completed by a man and a woman. No other relationship can strive towards this comprehensiveness, for there is no biological unity which strives towards and end they could not complete on their own. Artificial reproductive technology is therefore irrelevant, because the relationship still lacks the intrinsic means to children.


The public good that government is interested in is this intrinsic link to children. “Marriage produces and cultivates the development of future citizens within a family unit held together by norms of fidelity, monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence. The flourishing of children is directly connected with the public good.” [3] The state provides benefits to married couples because the state recognizes this public good, and therefore wants to promote it. By giving marriage legal recognition it promotes a certain stability among married couples. Marriage is orientated towards child well being and is linked to procreation like no other relationship.


Infertile Couples


Whether or not a heterosexual couple has children is irrelevant. The government is interested in the comprehensive relationship heterosexuals pursue, and not the means to the end of that relationship. Infertile couples are still able to engage into the sexual act that comprehensively unites them together. In this way infertile couples are still of a procreative type even if procreation cannot be achieved. The government still recognizes marriage between infertile heterosexual couples in order to promote what marriage actually is, and not just focus on the conclusion of that comprehensive relationship.


I await your response.


[1] John Corvino, "The Case for Same-Sex Marriage" in Gallagher and Corvino (eds), Debating Same-Sex Marriage (OUP: 2012)


[2] 2. Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, “What is Marriage?” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 34:1 (2010)


[3] Contradiction on gay marriage


dmussi12

Pro


Role of Government


First, I would like to address the role of the modern democratic government in society.


Now, the principles on which modern governments are based stem from Enlightenment-era political theory. In short, the purpose of government is to defend the natural rights of its citizens. These are life, health, liberty, property [1], and the pursuit of happiness (added in the US Declaration of Independence, which relied heavily upon Locke’s ideas).


Modern governments also rely primarily upon the implementation of negative rights, meaning that they create laws preventing actions, whereas positive rights force or grant permission to actions [2].


Democratic governments represent the will of its people as will, but also must defend the people against their own will; it must act objectively to protect all citizens, as to prevent oppression from the majority.


Role of Marriage


Next, I will address marriage, and its relationship with society and government, starting with its history.


History


Marriage predates recorded history. It did originate between man and woman, but some cases, such as with Roman emperor Nero, men married other men [3]. Marriage had political, economic, and social benefits.


Political- Marriage often was used as a means to form treaties between European nobility, where they were negotiated between sons/daughters to ensure political control of certain regions [4].


Economic- Dowries were given, money changed hands, and more economic transactions arose in early marriages.


Social- Since premarital sex was often frowned upon, marriage legitimized childbirth. It also legitimized social standing (in early class systems) and provided a means of communication.


Modern Marriage


Today, marriage carries many benefits. Although marriage provides a means for procreation as explained by CON, marriage is much more in modern society. These 1,138 federally-granted advantages (in the US), none of which are extended to civil unions (the alternative for homosexuals) [5]. These include the following:


Property/inheritance rights; abilities in creating life insurance trusts; discounts in insurance; visitation rights; immigration benefits (easier to bring in spouse from other country); ability to make medical decisions for spouse; tax benefits; ability to receive federal assistance (disability pay, etc) in place of spouse; joint economic abilities (e.g. shared incomes, bankruptcy); exemption from testifying in court against spouse; funeral leave; adoption advantages; postmortem decisions; prenuptial agreements; and many, many more [6].


This is much more than just creating a gateway for childbirth. Government regulation of marriage is necessary because of economic considerations like inheritance, and for a method for people to have representation outside themselves. Certainly, CON’s assessment that marriage is purely a link to children is very, very, wrong, as it ignores other key benefits of marriage.


Synthesis


So, how does the first section (Role of Government) apply to marriage?


Well, the government exists purely to protect natural rights. How does preventing gay marriage serve to protect life, liberty, or property? Regulating the participants in a contract (which is what marriage is in a legal sense) is not the purpose of government. In fact, gay marriage needs to be legalized, as to grant all citizens the same opportunity for its economic and legal protections, and to make sure the government does not overstep its role in society as a protector of the minority and not a means for social progression as CON contends.


Moreover, the concept of negative right shows that, because everything is legal until made illegal, gay marriage is intrinsically legal until regulated. Again, since the purpose of government is to protect citizens, how does restricting marriage defend natural right?


Finally, the government is supposed to recognize public will, as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of the minority. Well, the majority of Americans (and many others) support the legalization of gay marriage [7]. Even if the majority did not, the government still has the duty to protect the minority from discrimination (gays are being discriminated against- denied certain privileges associated with marriage on the grounds of sexual orientation, a genetic trait).


Individual Rebuttal


Since the format of the debate was not defined in the initial arguments, I am assuming that I can reply directly to CON’s stance (especially since there are only three rounds in the debate).


Since the government promotes marriage, then marriage must possess some kind of public good.”


No, the government protects marriage, not promotes. It protects people’s inherent disposition to love. The government only extends benefits to married couples because the people deemed it a necessary expense (remember, the government’s power is derived from the people).


“Marriage is a comprehensive union with a special link to children.”


This definition is too limiting. Marriage is the union between two people agreeing to commit themselves to an economic and legal contract with mutual benefits on the basis of love.


“Infertile Couples”


If infertile couples are still “protected” because they can “pursue” children, why can’t homosexual couples be encouraged to marry to improve adoption? Children lacking a family unit would benefit from an influx in married couples willing to adopt. Since adoption is the only way gay couples can acquire children, they would end up simply as a ‘safety net’ (not to be disrespectful) for children not wanted by their parents. Two fathers/mothers are certainly better for a kid than a foster home or even a single parent for developmental and economic reasons [8].


Conclusion


Simply, it is not the government’s role to regulate who gets married, but only to dispense benefits associated with the union.


Sources


[1] John Locke, “Second Treatise of Government,” (http://www.gutenberg.org...)


[2] http://www.alabamapolicy.org...


[3] http://penelope.uchicago.edu...*.html (Chp 28)


[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...


[5] http://www.glad.org...


[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...


[7] http://www.gallup.com...


[8] http://io9.com...


Debate Round No. 2
xXCryptoXx

Con


What is Marriage?


My opponent argues what the role of marriage is. He states that marriage has changed over the course of time and that modern marriage is seemingly different than marriage in the past.


This does nothing to rebut my point about what marriage essentially is. As stated in my opening argument, you cannot redefine marriage rather you can only distort marriage.


This means that it is irrelevant how marriage has been redefined in the past, because the only thing that is relevant is what marriage essentially is and what the government’s role is in promoting marriage for the well being of society.


My opponent argues that marriage is about the privileges given in marriage, but as stated earlier benefits are dispensed to promote couples into marriage and to further stabilize already married couples.


Civil unions allow other relationships to participate in these benefits because the government recognizes that marital benefits are generally advantageous, so the government allows other types of relationships to pursue these benefits even if they are not given for their original reasons (which would again, be to promote heterosexual couples to get married and stabilize married couples).


A central problem with my opponent’s argument is that he assumes marriage is a right to be given to all. This is blatantly false. Since by definition marriage requires a heterosexual couple it is not discriminatory to not allow other relationships into marriage.


If the government recognizes X because of Y, then it is not discriminatory for the government to not recognize Z because it cannot fulfill Y.


In this case, X represents heterosexual couples, Y represents the intrinsic link to the family unit, and Z represents all other relationships that do not have an intrinsic link to the family unit.


In this way, not allowing other relationship types to be married is not discriminatory because other relationships take away from the very core reason the government recognizes marriage n the first place.


It is important to note that another major role of the government other than protecting the rights of citizens is to also promote the well being of the citizens, whether it be through social programs or institutions such as marriage. Marriage has a direct link to the well being of society through its inherent link to the family unit. Distorting marriage from its comprehensive relationship and turning marriage into something purely about the love between two individuals takes away from the common good that marriage brings, and takes away from the very reason the government regulates marriage.


My opponent argues that the definition of marriage as a comprehensive union with a special link to children is too limiting. I showed that generalizing that definition any further changes marriage to be defined as a lifelong union of two persons that love each other. However, I already showed that that definition is far too general because it gives the government no reason to regulate marriage at all. Whereas, I did show that marriage defined as a comprehensive union with a special link to children directly promotes a common good therefore giving the government reason to regulate marriage, promote marriage, and dispense benefits to married couples.



Individual Rebuttal


“No, the government protects marriage, not promotes. It protects people’s inherent disposition to love. The government only extends benefits to married couples because the people deemed it a necessary expense (remember, the government’s power is derived from the people).”


The problem is that there is no basis for recognizing a relationship based solely around love since love is essentially a private matter. In the same, the government does not recognize companionships. This would be because a private matter holds no public good. The government is interested in the public good marriage brings and therefore regulates it. Civil Unions exist because people recognize that benefits are advantageous, but that takes away from the original reason benefits exist, which is to promote heterosexual couples to get married and to also give stability to already married couples.



“If infertile couples are still “protected” because they can “pursue” children, why can’t homosexual couples be encouraged to marry to improve adoption? Children lacking a family unit would benefit from an influx in married couples willing to adopt. Since adoption is the only way gay couples can acquire children, they would end up simply as a ‘safety net’ (not to be disrespectful) for children not wanted by their parents. Two fathers/mothers are certainly better for a kid than a foster home or even a single parent for developmental and economic reasons.”


Infertile couples cannot pursue children; rather they have a bodily union ordered towards procreation, therefore making their relationship comprehensive. Marriage is a comprehensive union with a special link to children. This means having children isn’t necessary, but a comprehensive relationship is. The government wants to promote what marriage is, and not just the end of the means to the relationship. The reason the adoption/artificial insemination/ ect. argument does not work is because it does not have an inherent link to children. In other words, the relationship does not naturally turn into a family unit, making the relationship still essentially about love which has been shown to not be grounds for recognizing gay marriage.


There are solutions for kids who have no families, but recognizing gay marriage on the basis that gay couples might adopt children is not the proper solution to the problem, for in somewhat solving the problem is distorts marriage from its common good, therefore creating another problem.



Last Remarks


I just wanted to remind my opponent that no new arguments are to be presented in the last round.


In addition, a quick note on source points. Source points are not rewarded to those who have more sources; rather they are rewarded to those who have more reliable sources. Since my sources cannot be questioned in reliability (seeing that they are not statistically based but are rather just quotes from people/books) sources should not be rewarded to either debater.


Thank you for this debate, it has been fun. Over to you.


dmussi12

Pro


My opponent’s argument rests on two assumptions: his definition of marriage as “a comprehensive union with a special link to children” and that government should promote societal development.



Definition of Marriage



The definition given by CON is drawn from this PDF. However, this is not supported by other sources. Simply searching “marriage,” “marriage definition,” and “legal definition of marriage” has provided various definitions. For the sake of conserving space, I have simply provided links.



http://www.law.cornell.edu...


http://www.merriam-webster.com...


http://dictionary.reference.com...


http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...


http://www.economics.uci.edu...


http://en.wikipedia.org...



There are many more, of course, but the bolded one provides the definition used in law. There is no reference to “a link to children.” While my opponent can use his definition in his argument, it is not valid from a legal standpoint. The government does not use his definition, so NO argument on the legality of marriage can be based on it.



Individual Rebuttal



My opponent argues what the role of marriage is… As stated in my opening argument, you cannot redefine marriage rather you can only distort marriage.”



Who defines marriage? Society, but through the government. Society changes, so its definitions must change. Marriage has changed throughout the course of history, so it is only more likely that it will continue to change. The legal definition must change to keep up with fundamental changes in the world, such as with marriage. This is what happened to other topics concerning sexism and racism.



“My opponent argues that marriage is about the privileges given in marriage, but as stated earlier benefits are dispensed to promote couples into marriage and to further stabilize already married couples.”



I never argued that marriage is about these privileges, only that these privileges are what permits government to intervene in marriage. The gov. protects these economic rights (property). The benefits were there before they were defined by the government (as explored in my original argument). It only became involved as a way to protect them and define them, so that they could not be taken away.



“Civil unions allow other relationships to participate in these benefits…”



Not really. They don’t exist everywhere. In the US, some states allow them and some don’t. (http://www.ncsl.org...) Also, this type of argument was commonly known as “separate but equal,” but it was used to defend segregation. It was overturned in Brown v. Board of Education because it was classified as discrimination.



“A central problem with my opponent’s argument is that he assumes marriage is a right to be given to all… Since by definition marriage requires a heterosexual couple it is not discriminatory to not allow other relationships into marriage.”



No, that it is what I am arguing for. Moreover, I extend my argument that the definition can and must be adapted to the modern world.



“If the government recognizes X because of Y, then it is not discriminatory for the government to not recognize Z because it cannot fulfill Y.”



This is not empirically true, as its conditions can be distorted. Let’s assume it is, though. In this case, Y is not what my opponent says it is. His definition of Y The government recognizes marriage because of the distinctive right of all people to pursue happiness and also the right to access economic advantages allowed to the majority. With this Y, the government protects rights instead of promoting something, which it is not the government’s role to do (see my original argument on government).



“It is important to note that another major role of the government other than protecting the rights of citizens is to also promote the well-being of the citizens, whether it be through social programs or institutions such as marriage.”



It promotes the well-being by protecting rights. That’s it. There is nothing that the government does today that does not primarily defend rights. Social programs like welfare protect life (they provide people with economic or other disadvantages to survive and provide necessities to survive- shelter, food, water).



“The problem is that there is no basis for recognizing a relationship based solely around love…”



I agree and concede this argument. However, this still does not offer any reason why the government should limit who marries. The government SOLELY protects the natural rights of people, and gay marriage does nothing to violate these rights,



“There are solutions for kids who have no families, but recognizing gay marriage on the basis that gay couples might adopt children is not the proper solution to the problem, for in somewhat solving the problem is distorts marriage from its common good, therefore creating another problem.”



The entire “infertile couples” portion of this debate rests on my opponent’s definition of marriage, which again holds no legal basis, and the assumption that the government should promote societal growth, which again holds no legal basis. I never argued to recognize gay marriage on this basis, it is merely a supplement. And again, how does gay marriage create a problem, or detract from the common good? There is STILL no reason provided on why the modern government should regulate the parties in a marriage. The only, I repeat, ONLY problem arising from its legalization is with the definition, which CAN be changed.



Conclusion



My opponent has failed to address my primary argument. Modern government’s role is to protect the natural rights of its citizens, and nothing more. My opponent has failed to justify why the government should promote the ‘common good’ on any basis of political theory, whereas my arguments (and the modern government) are based on Enlightenment theories of Locke and Rousseau. There is simply no reason for government to monitor who gets married, but only to protect the rights of all to pursue economic advantages that have been assigned to marriage longer than government’s interference with the institution.



I advise all voters to thoroughly examine all arguments from both myself and my opponent before reaching a decision. I also would like to discourage any vote-bombing and for all voters to cast votes not based on their own opinions, but on their fair assessment of the debate. I do not want myself or my opponent to win because of a biased voter.



Finally, I would like to thank my opponent for a tremendous debate on this controversial topic. It is by far the most interesting discussion I have had on gay marriage, especially because no religious or hateful arguments were introduced. I’m glad to see there are intelligent thinkers on both sides of this subject. Best of luck!


Debate Round No. 3
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
RFD:

I really liked the arguments of both sides in this debate, but too often I felt each was arguing past the other.

Con had a great deal of arguments about why gay marriage goes against societal development as a whole, and why the pursuit of children is necessary, that I don't feel received adequate response from Pro. The arguments regarding infertile couples don't make a tremendous amount of sense to me, though bringing in civil unions seemed like a strong alternative provided here (albeit with some easy points of attack that weren't exploited by Pro).

On the other hand, I found Pro's argument regarding the responsibilities of government and what it should and should not endeavor to regulate to be strong, and it simply doesn't get the response I need to dismiss it. I feel that many of the arguments coming from Pro are taken on adequately, but this one remains a key issue at the end of the debate. The subject of definitions comes up a little too late, and is a little too thin, for me to buy, and whether one side is backed by philosophers or not seems to matter little when both sides are providing logical reasons to pursue certain policy (or lack thereof).

So it comes down to these points (since most of the others, I felt, were not as strong or meaningful within the debate), and my decision rests on whether the arguments Con has made suffice as reason enough for government regulation. I would have liked to see more from either side affording me a reason to choose one over the other, but I get the most from Pro here. Overall, Con's argument has merit, but unless he can define a reason why this is a breaking point that the government needs to prevent, it becomes a question of why we have to have a law like this in place. The fact that there is some potential for harm (which I do buy going through the debate) doesn't change the fact that a government shouldn't be regulating every instance of potential harm, especially not in the realm of "natural rights."
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
That happened to me in one of my other debates, and I had to go through and backspace a bunch of empty lines out... it pissed me off so much :P
Posted by dmussi12 2 years ago
dmussi12
I apologize again for the weird double spacing. I don't know how it is occurring.
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
Kewul. I can't wait to read the whole thing and vote on this.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 2 years ago
xXCryptoXx
Simple yet solid. I like it.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 2 years ago
xXCryptoXx
Ooh looks like this is going to be a good debate.
Posted by dmussi12 2 years ago
dmussi12
Sorry for the weird double spacing. (We must both be experiencing glitches)
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
Intriguing phrasing for this argument. Despite my disagreements with it, it's probably the most persuasive argument I've seen against gay marriage. I'll be interested to see how Pro handles it.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 2 years ago
xXCryptoXx
Thanks lol
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
Nice bowtie, btw Crypto. Looks good on you :P
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
xXCryptoXxdmussi12Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: To be honest, this was a close debate. In my opinion, Pro slightly took round 1, particularly with his presentation of marriage as evolving with history. However, I think that this debate really comes down to semantics. Pro and Con both agreed that civil unions should be allowed, but the entire argument was about "gay marriage." Con gave good arguments for what gay marriage should be defined as, and Pro failed to refute these. Instead, he used a different definition of marriage, which essentially was "civil unions." So while both sides agreed "civil unions" should be allowed, "marriage" under Con's definition was what was at stake. Pro didn't seem to respond to these arguments well enough, and his arguments seemed to be more about "civil unions" than "gay marriage." Like I said, this was very very hard for me to judge. If the debate topic were over civil unions, I would say Pro won. However, due to the resolution I'm voting Con. Also, Pro's last round arguments weren't as clear.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
xXCryptoXxdmussi12Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments. If either debater wants clarification, I will be glad to provide it.