First round is for acceptance only.
I am very for gay marriage, and Reactionary is quite the opposite in opinion. This is a very commonly done debate, but let's see how it goes anyway.
I hope my opponent accepts this debate and takes it seriously.
I would like to welcome con to DDO and to his/her first debate :) Now, let's get started...
Also, I would like to apologize that this argument is not as extensive as I would have liked. I've been extremely busy this week and haven't had much time for DDO. Here's what I have, made with what little time I had.
One commonly used argument against gay marriage is the destruction of the traditional family. This argument might actually have some validity if the traditional family was in danger or exclusively required for survival, which it's not. If that's the argument, more laws should be passed to encourage, or even force, a "traditional" family, which would be an encroachment on our rights. Furthermore, many traditions are based on cultural norms, which are challenged on both large and small scales on a regular basis.
On a related note, my opponent has claimed that Ireland, who now allows gay marriage, "will end up crying over this illogical and emotionally charged decision when the chickens come home to roost in a country whose institutions have fallen apart due to a lack of large and strong families to pay the taxes."  I would like con to show me something that claims that to be a legitimate statistic.
Reactionary forfeited this round.
Con has reached out to me via a private message to address that his forfeit was due to the computer telling him he had more time than he actually did. I'll make a short extension to my previous argument and then he can respond to both.
Since this should be an issue of law, religion should not play a role. We must ask ourselves: Are there secular reasons to ban gay marriage? Con answered this question in a poll with this reasoning:
"A necessary (though not sufficient) condition for marriage is the possibility of the marital act, i.e. sexual intercourse. Two individuals of the same sex cannot engage in sexual intercourse self-evidently. Hence, a necessary condition for marriage is lacking to all gay marriages. Thus, gay marriage is a impossible given our genetic makeup, just as square circles are impossible given the postulates of Euclidean geometry. This is a secular reason to "ban" gay marriage, although the word "ban" is a little inappropriate in this situation."
Does this mean marriage must involve sexual intercourse and, by extension, reproduction, to be legitimate? Con seems to think so, as attested by this quote on how it would affect him:
"It would determine society's attitude toward my future marriage, as well as society's attitude toward all marriages present, past, and future....The reason that marriage has tax breaks, has a certain measure of dignity, etc. is because of the worth everyone recognizes the worth of marriage for primarily procreation and secondarily the bonding of two people..."
By this logic, we should ban all people incapable of procreation the right to marry, as well as those who choose not to procreate. To say that we should ban a type of marriage on grounds of maintaining procreation is moot; people who are gay do not choose to be (though that is for a debate of another time), so there will be no significant change either way. Mankind is certainly not endangered by of underpopulation due to homosexuality.
1.Marriage is possible.
2.Marriages can only be enacted between two humans.
3.All marriages are relationships between humans, but all relationships are not marriages.
4.There are objective reasons why some relationships can possibly be called marriages, and other relationships cannot be (if this were not true, there would be no objective reason why I should believe that gay marriage is possible or not).
5.Marriages ought to be acknowledged to exist by other people outside the relationship.
6.Gay marriage either should be legal, or should not be legal (in other words, it is important that it be one way or the other; if this were not the case, then there would be no reason to debate about it, unless gay marriage was just a propaganda tool or something).
These things are givens, so to speak, and if accepting gay marriage forces us to repudiate any of these givens, then it is a case of reductio ad absurdam.
For the givens to be true, you have to believe these postulates as I shall call them:
1. That there something objective that makes a human a human. If you don"t believe this then there is are no objective criteria for determining whether someone is human or not, and thus what it means to "be human" would just be a personal opinion. Since it is supposed to be humans that marry, saying that there is no objective standard to judge whether marriage is possible between two entities (since whether the two were humans or not would just be one opinion amongst others, and thus whether they could even possibly get married would just be one opinion among others as well; this would undercut given 2, and hence given 1 as well).
2. That humans are subject to moral demands. (If they are not, then there would be no objective "right" or "wrong," and this would undercut given 4, since the word "should" is used here, which implies right or wrong.)
3. That an objective standard of morality exists. (This is pretty much the same as 2. If there were no objective standard of morality, aka a standard of morality independent of an individual, then whether any marriage should or should not be enacted would just be a matter of opinion, with no basis in fact, which would contradict given 4.)
5. That there is an objective reason why marriage is possible. If there is no objective reason, then there would be no objective reason why I should acknowledge anybody else"s marriage, and this would contradict given 5.
6. That there is some objective criterion or criteria for determining what a marriage is. If there is no such objective criterion or criteria, then there is no objective reason why some relationships are marriages or not, and this contradicts given 3.
7. That there is some objective reason(s) why marriage is important. If this is not the case, then there is no reason why I should have to accept gay marriage, and if there is no reason why I should have to accept gay marriage, then this would contradict given 5.
Thus, if the concept of gay marriage entails going against any of these postulates, then it is impossible for it to be the case that two men or women can get married, and thus pro is wrong.
It seems, if we are to decide what makes marriage objectively possible, we must find something objective and certain upon which to base it. This objective thing, I would argue, is the human essence (this is the thing in postulate 1 that determines what makes a human a human). This is unchanging between humans, by definition, and it is not given by some subject (which would make it and everything based on it subjective), but inheres in the person. I would argue that it is only something which comes from the essence that is objective. (And this is easily proved: think of individual triangles that are drawn. They have all sorts of defects"squiggly sides, messed up corners, etc. Yet, the essence of triangles, toward which all drawn triangles are "aimed" so to speak, is unchanging and objective, e.g. they will always have three sides, etc.) I would further argue, from what I have just expressed with triangles, that an essence is not what individual things are, but instead is what they are supposed to be. It is of the essence of humans to have two arms and legs, even though some individual humans do not have them, since all humans are supposed to have them normally. If we deny that humans have an essence, and also something they are directed toward just because they have the essence, we are reduced to saying there is nothing objective that makes a human a human, which goes against postulate 1.
Thus, we have to say that man has an essence if we want marriage to be objectively possible. Also, we can say it is from "what man is" that "what marriage is" flows. Lastly, the existence of an essence of something implies something toward which all the individual manifestations of that essence are directed objectively (as drawings of triangles are directed toward adhering to the essence of triangularity, though they do so imperfectly). This logic serves to ground marriage objectively, and no other basis can do so (just try to ground marriage objectively otherwise, i.e. try to ground marriage objectively other than in what man fundamentally is).
Individual humans, then, since they have an essence imbued in them by nature which is objective (as opposed to just some subjective agent), have something they are objectively directed toward and not just subjectively (as was the case with the drawings of triangles, which were directed toward triangularity by an artist). Thus, humans are constantly driven to attain the best good for themselves they can (this is always true with humans, though they often imperfectly realize what the good they want is). The way that humans can find out what the best good is for themselves is through reason (which the animals do not have in the same way, which is why examples of homosexuality among them do not impact us here), not through emotion and feeling (which are subjective only). Thus, just because you feel drawn to something does not make it the good toward which you should aim, but you must examine it by reason and find out.
This logic applied to sexuality yields results that sexual desire is rationally and essentially (according to man"s essence, which we also call a nature in cases where the essence is inherent and directed toward change) directed toward the man ejaculating his semen into the woman"s vagina, and not toward anything else. It is from this part of man"s objective essence/nature with reason applied to it that marriage flows, and not just "falling in love." Thus, I hold gay marriage to be inherently unreasonable, in that if gay marriage is possible, the only objective basis for marriage, human essence/nature, must be discarded, making marriage inherently subjective (which would violate postulates 5 and 6). Yet if marriage is inherently subjective, you can never say objectively whether a given relationship is marriage or not, and thus marriage can never truly exist. In sum, if gay marriage is a "marriage," then there is no real marriage possible. Thus, gay marriage is objectively impossible, so long as marriage is given the only objective basis (in human essence and the goal directedness of nature) possible for it.
This should explain why gay marriage does hurt the "traditional family:" making gay marriage out to be marriage would logically make all marriages purely subjective. I hope this also explains why using arguments from nature (in which a nature is defined as an essence in which there is an inherent principle of change) is not just using the naturalistic fallacy (i.ewhatever happens in the wild is morally good).
"If we deny that humans have an essence, and also something they are directed toward just because they have the essence, we are reduced to saying there is nothing objective that makes a human a human, which goes against postulate 1."
This does not change the fact that they are different. No amount of morality, something I believe to ultimately be subjective, is going to change that. I also don't believe that human nature is completely "objective," and I would like con to try and convince me otherwise.
So with this said, this means that we cannot change them, so why not let them be as they are and be comfortable with it?
"This logic applied to sexuality yields results that sexual desire is rationally and essentially...directed toward the man ejaculating his semen into the woman"s vagina, and not toward anything else....Thus, I hold gay marriage to be inherently unreasonable..."
It's perhaps unfortunate, then, that we cannot use reason to change innate attraction.
"This should explain why gay marriage does hurt the "traditional family:" making gay marriage out to be marriage would logically make all marriages purely subjective. I hope this also explains why using arguments from nature (in which a nature is defined as an essence in which there is an inherent principle of change) is not just using the naturalistic fallacy (i.ewhatever happens in the wild is morally good)."
While I agree that the "naturalistic fallacy" is inappropriate to use and, of course, a fallacy, I do not believe that gay marriage encourages homosexuallity, due to the fact that it is not a choice; therefore, it would remain the same either way. I do not believe that homosexuallity is morally wrong, nor do I believe that gay marraige is. The fact that a homosexual couple cannot provide offspring and that their marriage is different does not make it this way.
I think that if two people are in love (whatever "love" is to you or to me), have sexual feelings for each other (at least in the case of those who are not asexual, which is a debate for another time) and devote themselves to each other over all others (perhaps save for relatives), it would be hard to tell them they aren't married if they went through a marriage ceremony, regardless of genders.
I gave a rough reductio ad absurdam argument against Pythasis position (which as far as I can tell is that "Humans ought to approve of gay marriage"). This argument I think shows that if gay marriage is approved by reason, three things happen logically: we cannot rationally say 1. what a human is, 2. what marriage is, and 3. what is moral and immoral (right and wrong, what we ought and ought not do). This would undercut Pythasis" position, because if we cannot say what a human is, what marriage is, and what morality is, then we cannot rationally say "humans ought to approve of gay marriage." Thus, Pythasis" position is self-contradictory.
Against my expectations, Pythasis actually agreed(!) with me. He said that "morality"is"something I believe to ultimately be subjective." He also said that "love" (one of the criteria for marriage he gives) has no real meaning, which would give marriage no real meaning. Finally, he actually says that human nature is subjective in his first post. I don"t think that Pro realizes this, but given these positions of his, he cannot logically disagree with anyone about literally anything.
If someone were to say "gay people do not have human rights since they are not people," then to disagree with them rationally Pythasis would have to say "that"s not true"gay people meet this objective standard of humanity, so they are human." If he said simply, "gay people meet my subjective standard of humanity," then the other person could just say, "well, gay people don"t meet my subjective standard of humanity," and Pythasis would have no objective standard by which to prove his opponent wrong. Similarly, if Pythasis told someone "we ought to have gay marriage according to my subjective standard of morality," then someone (such as me) could just respond "we ought not have gay marriage according to my subjective standard of morality," and again Pro would have nothing to rationally say. Thus, if we get rid of objective standards of morality and humanity, then we are left with nothing but private opinions to bicker over pointlessly.
This is clearest when Pythasis gives an (apparently subjective) opinion of what marriage is. He says, "I think that if two people are in love (whatever "love" is to you or to me), have sexual feelings for each other (at least in the case of those who are not asexual, which is a debate for another time) and devote themselves to each other over all others (perhaps save for relatives), it would be hard to tell them they aren't married if they went through a marriage ceremony, regardless of genders." What is love? Pythasis has no objective definition of it. Why should sexual feeling be required for marriage? Pythasis can"t give a reason (since morality is subjective). Why do you have to be devoted to someone, whatever that means? (And how would we measure any of this in court"do we just take their word for it?) Obviously, in Pro"s opinion, marriage is just subjective. There can be no objective reason, then, why I couldn"t have a different definition of marriage. This would end up making marriage one of those "if you say so" type of things, which would do away with all the worth we associate with marriage. (And this, by the way, would harm all "traditional marriages.")
I argued that if gay marriage is accepted, we would logically give up the only possible objective ground for marriage, morality, and humanity"what humans are objectively "supposed to be," which implies a moral standard they are objectively supposed to live up to. Pythasis" argumentation has done just that in fact. The only argumentation he really gives is about homosexuality, which was not the topic of this debate (gay marriage is), and even this argumentation is all subjective. Moreover, he uses the very same naturalistic fallacy he says he opposes (since men have homosexual desire, this makes acting on homosexual desire right). I see no reason to support gay marriage from Pythasis" arguments, and many dire consequences for going along with his opinions.
Here is a critique of hypothetical bases of marriage I created for my first post which I could not fit in. I feel that it is still relevant now, though. (The quotes are of hypothetical positions, not of Pythasis.)
Now, what makes marriage objectively possible? Pro might say it is "love." What does that mean? If pro says that love is "whatever you want it to be," or "no one has any right to say what love is," then he removes any possible objective nature love might have had. If love is not an objective criterion, but is the criterion on which marriage is based, then the criterion of what marriage is would be subjective only, which would be going against postulate 6. Thus, pro either has to (a) do away with love as the criterion that marriage is possible (he must say "just because two people are in love doesn"t mean they can get married"), or he must (b) define the love upon which marriage is based somehow (in which case he would have to say "some kinds of love can make marriage possible, but not others"). In the case of (b), love wouldn"t end up being the defining feature anyway: whatever defined what type of love was the basis for marriage would be another defining feature that would make marriage objectively (thus love wouldn"t be the criterion makes marriage objectively possible). Both these options end up with the fact that love is not the basis of marriage, so saying "these two men are in love with each other" is not sufficient to prove objectively that they can get "married."
If we were to add romance to "love" and get romantic love as the objective basis of marriage (romantic love is all that is necessary for marriage to be possible), I think that would be insufficient also. "Romantic" in the sense of emotion is unabashedly subjective, in that no two people feel "romantic" in the same way. If we were to say that romance is all that is necessary for marriage, we would have no truly objective criterion for marriage. This would contradict postulate 6. There would be no way for me to tell if two people were "really" romantic toward each other, and hence no way to tell if two people are "really" capable of marrying. If we say that "they just look in love" we might be deceived (they could just want the pride associated with marriage or something); if we say "Everyone who acts in love should be able to get married" then we would have to exclude people from marriage who don"t "look in love" enough. Something else is needed to make marriage objectively possible and hence romantic love does not make marriage possible objectively.
Pro might also say that "consent" is the basis for marriage. However, even if I grant him that consent is necessary for marriage, this does not show that it is sufficient for marriage. All sorts of things are consensual (like business relationships) yet we would not say that all these are marriages, obviously. Thus, consent alone cannot be the objective basis for marriage, but something must be consented to which would be the basis of marriage.
Could living together be the criterion of marriage? "If we consent to live together, then we are married." This seems ridiculous. Roommates are not married, and they consent to live together. Also, a couple who do not live together at the same time most of the time can still be married. Thus, living together cannot define a marriage either.
How about "mutual support?" This doesn"t seem plausible either. You can support someone (in the sense of giving them encouragement and such) without being married to them (and don"t come in here with hospital visitation rights stuff; marriage existed long before hospital visitation rights did).
(This is where I would have tied in my support for the standard I give.)