The Instigator
Paradigm_Lost
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
b3rk
Pro (for)
Winning
33 Points

Gay marriage or civil unions? There is no difference

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/30/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,802 times Debate No: 3854
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (15)

 

Paradigm_Lost

Con

I personally believe that marriage is a basic right. However, like most things, there are parameters which define those very rights. Since some people are apt to neglect context, it is important to distinguish parameters. For instance, an 8 year old cannot legally marry because the law has determined that people in that age bracket do not generally have the wherewithal to make a decision of that magnitude. So, then, marriage being a basic right does not license us to marry whomever or whatever one wishes.

It is also noted that when asserting that freedom is indispensable, and shall not be infringed upon, what are some of its entailment's? While this statement is wholly factual, it neglects to define what "freedom" actually entails. If we were free to do every single thing that crossed our mind, we would actually be engaging in criminal activity much of the time. Though we are free, we are not free to do every single thing imaginable. There are parameters of freedom, which often are incidentally the very things that protect freedom itself. It is a hedge of protection. To pervert the definition to entail whatever the hell we want, we actually undermine that very freedom we hold up so high.

Marriage has always been defined as a union between a man and a woman. I have yet to see any evidence to suggest that it has ever been anything beyond that in any society, even societies generally accepting of homosexuality. Even in contemporary times the dictionary defines it as a union between a man and a woman. Why not then just leave it be?

Regardless, I would like to hear compelling arguments on why it should be legal. A very large part of me, the libertarian side of me, says that in a free society a person should be allowed to make choices for themselves so long as it does not immediately impinge upon any one else's will. I for one have no desire to infringe upon the rights of two people who say that they are homosexual to do what they would like in the privacy of their homes. I won't even make any moral judgments on it.

This argument is primarily about whether or not it is even necessary. Let me outline a few points to illustrate:

Many avowed homosexual couples have posited that they should be entitled to the same legal rights as everyone else. I agree wholeheartedly. However, as we already know, a marriage was defined long ago. If, however, homosexuals want the same protective status for their lovers, I say let them have it. A civil union can be like a marriage in that it legally represents two people who desire to be vowed to one another. All of the same legalities can apply just as they do marriage, but it is done at the behest of protecting the sanctity of marriage, something very important to many people.

It seems to me that in order to strike a reasonable compromise, distinguishing between marriage and civil unions is a win/win situation for all parties irrespective of their sexual preferences.

What do you think PRO?
b3rk

Pro

I accept this debate on the condition that one thing is established-
The point of view in the resolution.
Obviously, there IS a semantic and ideological difference between marriage and civil union. So, for the purposes of a good debate, the topic must be limited, say, that there should be no legal difference, there is no moral difference, or that the government should draw no line between the two.
From your last few paragraphs in your opening statement, it is clear that your thesis is against the latter interpretation, that you would like to see a clear LEGAL distinction between civil unions and marriages. This means the burden you have set for the pro side is to show why governments should NOT make any moral, legal or rhetorical distinction between marriage and civil unions.

First, I'll deal with a few of your assertions...

"I personally believe that marriage is a basic right. However, like most things, there are parameters which define those very rights. Since some people are apt to neglect context, it is important to distinguish parameters. For instance, an 8 year old cannot legally marry because the law has determined that people in that age bracket do not generally have the wherewithal to make a decision of that magnitude. So, then, marriage being a basic right does not license us to marry whomever or whatever one wishes."

"However, as we already know, a marriage was defined long ago. If, however, homosexuals want the same protective status for their lovers, I say let them have it. A civil union can be like a marriage in that it legally represents two people who desire to be vowed to one another. All of the same legalities can apply just as they do marriage, but it is done at the behest of protecting the sanctity of marriage, something very important to many people."

The issue here is not whether or not marriage is a basic right. The issue is,
1.) Who defines "marriage" and
2.) Who grants us these "basic rights"

Marriage was, as you say, first defined long ago. Since the beginning of civilization, marriage has been inexorably tied to religion. Not just personal religious belief, either. These "regulations" you spoke of were developed directly by "establishments of religion". The idea that a person cannot marry someone without their consent or someone underage is a purely religious regulation of marriage, one that has only vanished in most parts of America in the past hundred years or so, and still exists in most parts of the world.
I am not endorsing this particular idea of arranged marriage, nor saying it should be legal, but the point is that a legal distinction between "real marriage" and a "civil union" would never be accepted by all cultures since the distinction would be drawn according to religious and cultural values that ARE NOT UNIVERSAL.
If you wish to speak of basic rights, speak of freedom of religion, and the restriction of government in regulating "establishments of religion", and imposing the values and regulations of said "establishments" on the people. The government cannot say that Homosexuals cannot be legally married and cannot use the term "marriage" if we still consider it a legal term for anyone. We have to either change the definition of marriage to one free of all religious and moral connotation, or start using the term "civil union" and stop regulation of "marriage" entirely, or else we are unconstitutionally holding one religious establishment's definition of marriage over another.

To further illustrate my point, let us compare this to the topic of interracial marriage. If WASP America had put forth the idea, in the years after the civil war, that marriage could only exist between persons of the same race, just as breeding only occurs naturally between animals of the same species, we would have been in a similar position. They would probably have liked to include a new type of marriage along the same lines as "separate but equal"- a special "civil union" of interracial couples, who as the majority of Americans believed, could never be truly "married", but were constitutionally allowed all of the same legal rights.

As we all know, the idea of segregation turned out to be not only to extend the stigmas and prejudices against blacks but also to lead to inferior treatment for them, even though they were supposedly guaranteed completely equal treatment under the law. And this is exactly the same thing that will happen to homosexual couples if we set the precedent that they are different, abnormal, and incompatible with the idea of marriage. We cannot have a double standard for American citizens. If we acknowledge a difference between "real" marriages and civil unions we are violating the bill of rights, our social contact, and our own duty to treat one another as equals. We must have a single standard of marriage, separate from all arbitrary distinctions of race, religion or gender.
Debate Round No. 1
Paradigm_Lost

Con

Let me start out by thanking my opponent for accepting the challenge. I'm looking forward to the dialogue.

My opponent states:

"From your last few paragraphs in your opening statement, it is clear that your thesis is against the latter interpretation, that you would like to see a clear LEGAL distinction between civil unions and marriages."

Actually you have it backwards, and I thought I made my position clear. If there is still looming some confusion, allow me to expound. The win/win situation I was referring to was the preservation and sanctity of what a marriage is and what it has been defined by. However, I made the argument that if homosexuals wanted to enjoy similar legal protections and benefits like a marriage, then I am in support of civil unions. So there would be almost no difference from a legal perspective. They both would enjoy similar legal protections, regardless. The distinction is one of a moral pronouncement.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is the legal protection of marriage and to limit it as being between one man and one woman. This Act was the attempt to preserve what a marriage is, as it distinguishes itself between a civil union.

"This means the burden you have set for the pro side is to show why governments should NOT make any moral, legal or rhetorical distinction between marriage and civil unions."

It's not a burden in the least since ALL laws that have been passed stem from a moral framework, though the government of the United States has always attempted to take a more passive role so that individual freedoms can soar. You have been subjected to the morality of Congress since you were born, none of which probably bothered you until there was an agenda you supported.

"legal distinction between "real marriage" and a "civil union" would never be accepted by all cultures since the distinction would be drawn according to religious and cultural values that ARE NOT UNIVERSAL."

Some people have asserted that perhaps the government should never have stuck it's nose in the institution of marriage in the first place, since it's an infringement upon religion, which of course would go against the Establishment Clause of "Separation of Church and State." For some reason there is seldom an outrage when the government allegedly infringes upon religion, but there is almost always an outrage when a religion allegedly infringes upon the government. Too bad people have no concept of what the Establishment Cause actually is, and what it was actually designed to do. But I digress...

I agree that cultural values are not universal. Perhaps then if the government were completely out of the picture, a religious institution could marry whomever they wanted under the tenets of said religion. The problem is that we have diametrically opposed principles at work here. In Christianity we have liberal and conservative churches that have very different interpretations of the bible. This invariably leads to a division. Who then arbitrates if one pastor says that they are married, while another says that they couldn't possibly be married since the bible is clear on what a marriage is. The point is that with the religious argument, it just goes around and around since a broad interpretation is possible.

"To further illustrate my point, let us compare this to the topic of interracial marriage... include a new type of marriage along the same lines as "separate but equal"- a special "civil union" of interracial couples, who as the majority of Americans believed, could never be truly "married", but were constitutionally allowed all of the same legal rights."

People often bring up the separate but equal argument. Its appreciable, and its more than valid to be brought up as a test for equity. However, let me ask you something similar, and then you can tell me whether or not someone's Constitutional freedoms have been eroded or not.

Bestiality, paedophilia, polygamy, incest, etc, are all forms of sexual unions that are prohibited by law (moral outlook). Is it then the government foisting upon us their morals and inexorably undermining our Constitutional rights? The reason I ask is because we are not entitled to marry whatever we want. Marriage is very clearly defined. There is no justification for mangling it, legally, definitionally, or otherwise, just to suit someone's agenda.

Because if we are to allow for homosexual marriage, then there is no logical justification for barring polygamy, incest, and the like either. Therefore it is in my opinion that the "separate but equal" plea is specious. Liberal apologists have tried to conflate things like women's rights, segregation, and now gay rights because of their emotive tendencies. The reality is that one hasn't anything to do with the other, accept perhaps interracial marriage since it is specific to marriage.

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify your position in this debate since I am a little unclear on what you seeking. Do you believe that marriage should be redefined or do you think that civil unions is a fair compromise to a very heated social debate?

Thanks again to b3rk for accepting the debate. Best wishes...
b3rk

Pro

Thanks Paradigm.

Reading your arguments, it appears we agree in a lot of ways.

"Some people have asserted that perhaps the government should never have stuck it's nose in the institution of marriage in the first place, since it's an infringement upon religion, which of course would go against the Establishment Clause of "Separation of Church and State.""

I actually am one of those people. Marriage should have never been accepted as a legal term, due to its obvious religious connotations. My point is that if we choose to keep marriage as a legal term, we need to remove those religious and moral connotations by making it officially an asexual right, like any other right we are given as citizens.

"I agree that cultural values are not universal. Perhaps then if the government were completely out of the picture, a religious institution could marry whomever they wanted under the tenets of said religion. The problem is that we have diametrically opposed principles at work here. In Christianity we have liberal and conservative churches that have very different interpretations of the bible. This invariably leads to a division. Who then arbitrates if one pastor says that they are married, while another says that they couldn't possibly be married since the bible is clear on what a marriage is. The point is that with the religious argument, it just goes around and around since a broad interpretation is possible."

This makes sense... it would be very difficult for churches to determine the validity of a marriage done by another church. So what's the solution to this circular argument problem you detail? To arbitrarily force churches to only accept a certain type of "Marriage"? You said yourself that "there is seldom an outrage when the government allegedly infringes upon religion". Well, it should be very outrageous that the government is binding establishments of religion to one legal definition of "Real Marriage" and forcing the rest to accept secular, non-religious "Civil Unions".

"Bestiality, paedophilia, polygamy, incest, etc, are all forms of sexual unions that are prohibited by law (moral outlook). Is it then the government foisting upon us their morals and inexorably undermining our Constitutional rights? The reason I ask is because we are not entitled to marry whatever we want. Marriage is very clearly defined. There is no justification for mangling it, legally, definitionally, or otherwise, just to suit someone's agenda."

The problem here is that most of the examples you give above are illegal not because of their immorality, per se, but because they violate other laws that do not relate to marriage.
Bestiality is an animal cruelty charge, paedophilia is sexual assault, statutory rape or indecent liberties with a minor. Incest does not deal with the illegal, but the unhealthy- incest leads to inbreeding, which leads to the epidemia of genetic flaws and diseases.

Polygamy seems to be the one place, other than homosexuality, where the government has historically forced a definition of marriage onto an unwilling establishment of religion. It is clear to anyone that the government is on shaky constitutional footing in this- look at the recent arrests in the case that occurred on the Texas polygamist ranch... nobody was actually charged with polygamy, only with statutory rape, kidnapping, and indecent liberties. The only reason banning polygamy has not been constitutionally questioned yet is because there are far fewer polygamists than there are, say, homosexuals, and because polygamists are usually also guilty of the crimes listed above.

______________________________________________________________________________

So, to sum up what seems to have been established:
1.) Marriage is a religious concept that has been defined by the state.
2.) Defining marriage this way may be unconstitutional in the first place, because:
A.) It forces a definition of a religious concept on unwilling religious establishments and
B.) If a particular type of Marriage does not break any other law (i.e. not with minors or the non-consenting) then congress has NO constitutional authority to define it as of yet, only "moral authority".

This of course, is not the exact issue we are debating, but it does apply.
You asked for my stance on the resolution, what I think should be done. I will supply two alternative scenarios.

______________________________________________________________________________
1-
The government changes the definition of Marriage to a non-denominational one that includes persons of any gender, race or age (assuming above the age of consent, and not incestuous for health reasons).
This makes marriage the same thing as a "civil union".
______________________________________________________________________________
2-
The government does away with the concept of a legal definition of marriage entirely, and leaves it to establishments of religion. It instead embraces the idea of a "civil union" that is non-denominational, and includes persons of any gender, etc etc.
This makes a "civil union" the same thing as what "marriage" should be, constitutionally.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Here is the scenario I am dead set against:
_______________________________________________________________________________
666-
The government sets up two institutions- "marriage" and "civil union". They both grant the same legal rights to couples- the only legal difference is that one is for gays and one isn't. Churches who wish to "marry" people are forced to follow the government-mandated definition, and if they decide that they are against that definition, they have to settle for the separate, but equal, "civil union".
_______________________________________________________________________________

The question is, what is the point of setting up two institutions that are exactly the same in all cases EXCEPT that persons of the same gender can only participate in one?

Well, what was the point of setting up separate drinking fountains, lunch counters and bus seats that were equal in all ways EXCEPT that blacks could only make use of one?

The reason is the same. Conservative Christians, Muslims and even Jews are all as protective of their way of life in this case as Southern Whites were of theirs.

And therefore, the result will be the same. The separate institutions would NEVER truly be equal in the moral sense, and prejudice and phobia towards the homosexual community would persist and increase.

This is why I believe that if we want regulation of marriage to be constitutional, we must eliminate all differences between it and the concept of civil unions, until...

"Gay marriage or civil unions? There is no difference."

Hope this clears my position up a bit :)
Debate Round No. 2
Paradigm_Lost

Con

"Reading your arguments, it appears we agree in a lot of ways."

Then it should make it all the more interesting! I thank my worthy opponent one more time for his eloquence and candor, and wish him all the best in future debates.

"Marriage should have never been accepted as a legal term, due to its obvious religious connotations. My point is that if we choose to keep marriage as a legal term."

I concur mostly with what you have outlined. It seems that marriage was never intended to be a right delegated by the government. In fact, the government only stepped in to the picture approximately 100 years ago for practical reasons, like, but not limited to, health, legal, and census issues. The problem arose due to things like divorce. Legal issues, like, who retained which piece of property made it so that it was confusing. Or if one spouse died there needed to be legal documentation in existence to corroborate a claim of marriage.

Besides that, there is no reason why a state government needs to be in the affairs of average citizens, unless for matters of illegal activity. It seems that it either needs to be delegated by the State or by the Church, but not both.

"it would be very difficult for churches to determine the validity of a marriage done by another church. So what's the solution to this circular argument problem you detail?"

I would say what I stated above. In previous centuries, depending upon the religion, a priest would consecrate the marriage in holy matrimony while the couple consummated the marriage. Going through the motions was much like it is today, a mere formality and a time to rejoice for a couple pledging themselves to one another.

However, one cannot overlook the importance of the legal issues surrounding it, and indeed this has been a beneficial aspect of secularized marriage. But if people really believe in the Separation of Church and State, then they are going to have to give this institution back to religion as a religious ceremony. But if they do this, they run the risk of many churches and synagogues not honoring homosexual marriage on the basis of biblical principle.

"The problem here is that most of the examples you give above are illegal not because of their immorality, per se, but because they violate other laws that do not relate to marriage."

The moral question is embedded within any law, so that is an aside issue it seems to me. However, the violation of it is exactly what makes it illegal to wed people outside of these codes. If homosexual marriage becomes legally recognized, then what would morally prohibit paedophiles, zoophiles, polygamists, or the incestuous to marry? If you change the definition of marriage, then there is no justification for not allowing anything under the sun to follow suit.

For instance, many paedophile movements try to piggyback off of the success of the homosexual community. They make the same emotive arguments, and under the innocuous guise of "love" and "tolerance," groups like NAMbLA seek the same results the homosexual community now enjoys.

How then can you ensure that in 15 years we aren't debating about whether or not fathers should be able to marry their daughters, or why marriage should redefined to include Spot, the lovable pet, or why little Timmy shouldn't be able to marry some 45 year old barmaid?

This is why the preservation of marriage, as strictly defined the way it is, is vitally important. But like I said in my previous post, there is no reason why a homosexual couple can't enjoy the same legal protections as their heterosexual counterparts do, if they are two consenting adults. Aren't civil unions a good way to make all parties involved happy?

"Bestiality is an animal cruelty charge"

Yes, but I could convincingly lobby that I was trying to love the dog, sheep, or whatever. Besides, homosexuality is still an offense punishable by death in some countries. If this is your justification, then you will run in to the risk of emasculating your argument.

"Incest does not deal with the illegal, but the unhealthy- incest leads to inbreeding, which leads to the epidemia of genetic flaws and diseases."

This is not why incest is illegal. Smoking is unhealthy and leads to diseases too, but it is not outlawed. The reason why incest is illegal is because in our minds it is an aberration of nature. Many people feel the same about homosexuality.

"1.) Marriage is a religious concept that has been defined by the state."

Yes

"2.) Defining marriage this way may be unconstitutional in the first place, because:
A.) It forces a definition of a religious concept on unwilling religious establishments and
B.) If a particular type of Marriage does not break any other law (i.e. not with minors or the non-consenting) then congress has NO constitutional authority to define it as of yet, only "moral authority"."

Yes.

"The government changes the definition of Marriage to a non-denominational one that includes persons of any gender, race or age (assuming above the age of consent, and not incestuous for health reasons).
This makes marriage the same thing as a "civil union"."

Why do homosexuals get to infringe upon the rights of a religion founded long before they were born, and to disrespect its congregation who honor marriage under the pretenses their God defined it as? Why not just have a civil union and be done with it?

"Here is the scenario I am dead set against:

The government sets up two institutions- "marriage" and "civil union". They both grant the same legal rights to couples- the only legal difference is that one is for gays and one isn't. Churches who wish to "marry" people are forced to follow the government-mandated definition, and if they decide that they are against that definition, they have to settle for the separate, but equal, "civil union"."

I'm not really understanding what your objections are to civil unions, though. That is still ambiguous to me. However, I do agree that the government should not be mandating to a religious institution who they should or should not marry. Allow a religion to decide for themselves who they will marry.

"The question is, what is the point of setting up two institutions that are exactly the same in all cases EXCEPT that persons of the same gender can only participate in one?"

What is the point of calling an apple an apple, and an orange an orange...? Because its not the same thing. They may both be fruit, but there still exist differences. Obviously differences matter a great deal to both hetero and homosexuals. Hell, those differences are the very thing that defines them! So why NOT differentiate between a marriage and a civil union if heterosexuality is differentiated between homosexuality?

"separate institutions would NEVER truly be equal in the moral sense, and prejudice and phobia towards the homosexual community would persist and increase."

Homosexuality is stigmatized on the merits of its questionable morality, just like any other sexual sin is. Is there any reason why a consenting 18 year old can't sleep with his 42 year old stepmother? They aren't related. They aren't underage. They obviously both consent. Do you have any justification using a purely secular argument why they shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want?

Some things we just know in our heart is wrong. Most people feel that way about homosexual marriage, regardless of the society. The negative feelings about homosexual marriage pervades across centuries, religions, cultures, and countries. This is not a concoction of American right-wing Christians. It would be well with us to remember that, and then to come to some sort of resolution so that all parties are happy. Preserving marriage and instituting civil unions would fix this problem.

For unassailable logic, vote CON!
b3rk

Pro

For my final rebuttal…
"But if people really believe in the Separation of Church and State, then they are going to have to give this institution back to religion as a religious ceremony. But if they do this, they run the risk of many churches and synagogues not honoring homosexual marriage on the basis of biblical principle."

Yes. But which is more of a church-and-state violation, making it illegal for churches to "marry" homosexuals, or allowing them to decide their own definition of a "religious marriage" and letting "legal marriage" be as secular as a civil union?

" If homosexual marriage becomes legally recognized, then what would morally prohibit pedophiles, zoophiles, polygamists, or the incestuous to marry? If you change the definition of marriage, then there is no justification for not allowing anything under the sun to follow suit."

Ok, so you agree with me that marriage is a basic right that should really be secular and open to everyone, but say that morally it must be limited so that these immoral unions do not occur.

Truth is, however, that if marriage is entirely secular (a civil union) there is no problem with allowing anyone consenting to marry anyone else. In France, for example, it is possible (and, I am told, rather widespread) for siblings or other relatives living together to get a completely non-romantic civil union for the monetary and legal benefits.

These marriages are only illegal if you define marriage as the churches do, and agree that it requires consummation. Consummation is what makes a marriage between a man and his daughter incest and rape, and what makes human-animal marriage cruelty to animals. Without sex, and without all the morals and cultural traditions associated with traditional marriage, there is nothing wrong with any of these unions.

"This is why the preservation of marriage, as strictly defined the way it is, is vitally important... Aren't civil unions a good way to make all parties involved happy?"

Yes, they are, just as allowing blacks to ride buses and eat at lunch counters was a good way to make blacks happy, assuming there wasn't a separate, better area for whites only.

There is absolutely no legal reason to have religious marriage and secular civil union exist as two separate institutions- we must have one all encompassing standard, or none at all, but all citizens (or pairs of citizens) must be treated equally under the law regardless of gender.

"Yes, but I could convincingly lobby that I was trying to love the dog, sheep, or whatever. "

Yea, try convincingly lobbying that in court when facing an animal cruelty charge. Have fun in prison!

"This is not why incest is illegal. Smoking is unhealthy and leads to diseases too, but it is not outlawed. The reason why incest is illegal is because in our minds it is an aberration of nature. Many people feel the same about homosexuality."

My point was not that this is the only reason that we don't allow incest… my point is that there is a valid non-moral, non-religious argument for banning incest. We don't ban cigarettes, but we do ban many other substances for health reasons, as well as certain dangerous activities like speeding that endanger the life of the defendant and the lives of society. No such argument exists against homosexuality.

"Why do homosexuals get to infringe upon the rights of a religion founded long before they were born, and to disrespect its congregation who honor marriage under the pretenses their God defined it as? Why not just have a civil union and be done with it?"

Homosexuals existed at the time of Jesus, and likely long before that. Homosexual activities were even accepted in Greek and Roman society. Homosexuality has even been observed in gorillas and chimpanzees, so it is likely that it was practiced even by humanities earliest ancestors. In addition, with the scenario I propose, the concept of "marriage" will be made AN ENTIRELY SECULAR LEGAL TERM. Churches will not be forced to perform gay marriages, but the government will be forced to accept the ones that churches do perform. And yes, many churches of different faiths do embrace gay marriage, so a couple would most likely not be "disrespecting its congregation". None of this should affect U.S. policy, anyway.

"Allow a religion to decide for themselves who they will marry."

Exactly. The government has the authority, and possibly the duty to REGULATE marriage and divorce. However, they have no authority to DEFINE it, as that should be up to the individual churches. Telling a church who it CANNOT marry is just as bad as forcing it to perform a marriage it considers immoral, and just as much in violation of the establishment clause.

I am not against civil unions. I just believe that constitutionally, the legal term "Marriage" should be the same thing as what you call a civil union- two people living as a unit. Leave it up to churches to decide which ceremonies to perform.

"So why NOT differentiate between a marriage and a civil union if heterosexuality is differentiated between homosexuality?"

Because the government has no reason to discriminate between the two. In fact, they are bound by the constitution not to. There are major differences between blacks and whites, Jews and Catholics, and men and women as well. Yet, all are equal under the eyes of the law, and thus there is no reason to make a distinction. Equality is the status quo. Saying that a male-male couple is entitled to fewer rights than a male-female couple would be an exception to the rule, so provide me a good, secular, non-moral reason for that and I'll consider it.

"Homosexuality is stigmatized on the merits of its questionable morality, just like any other sexual sin is. Is there any reason why a consenting 18 year old can't sleep with his 42 year old stepmother? They aren't related. They aren't underage. They obviously both consent. Do you have any justification using a purely secular argument why they shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want?"

No. And this is why it is perfectly legal for a consenting 18 year old to sleep with his 42 year old stepmother. Some churches may consider it a "sexual sin". But churches don't make the laws.

"Some things we just know in our heart is wrong. Most people feel that way about homosexual marriage, regardless of the society. The negative feelings about homosexual marriage pervades across centuries, religions, cultures, and countries. This is not a concoction of American right-wing Christians. It would be well with us to remember that, and then to come to some sort of resolution so that all parties are happy. Preserving marriage and instituting civil unions would fix this problem."

Take that paragraph. Replace homosexual with interracial. Reread it, then reread the last 2 paragraphs of my opening argument.
I don't "know in my heart" that homosexuality is wrong. In fact, I don' t "know" anything in my heart. It's a muscle that pumps oxygenated blood throughout my body. So get real.

Your morals are not genetic, they are not granted to you by god at birth. They are a function of your lifestyle and upbringing, and especially your religion, assuming religion is important to you. They are not shared by everyone else, and they are not superior to the morals of others. I truly believe that homosexuality is inevitable for some people, and that if there is a god, he/she/it wouldn't consider it a sin. However, I am also smart enough to realize that my morals are not shared by everyone. So let churches decide who to marry for themselves, as long as the marriage isn't illegal in some other way.

We have no reason to have religious marriage and secular civil union as different, state recognized concepts. As long as we let church and state remain separate, and there is no reason to separate marriage and civil union.

Con, consider your "unassailable logic" assailed ; )
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Geekis_Khan 9 years ago
Geekis_Khan
I like how CON couldn't deal with the debate being over...
Posted by b3rk 9 years ago
b3rk
Sigh...
I thought I was done with you, but here goes...
"PRO, please explain your unique and contradictory position."
Read my damn arguments.

"You then tacitly alleged that barring homosexuals to marry is an infringement upon the basic rights of people. But you also say that the government has no right to infringe upon a religion! Which is?"

Both. So the government should regulate marriage without defining who can be married and forcing churches to accept that definition. If gay marriage is legal, the doesn't FORCE churches to accept it. But if it is illegal, it FORCES them not too.

"Its also worth mentioning that that both religious institutions and secular law BOTH define marriage as being between a man and a woman."
Not true. Not all religious institutions frown upon gay marriage. Anyway, it's irrelevent what they frown upon. We have no legal grounds to outlaw it.

"And since NOWHERE in the Constitution does it mention marriage, it undermines the point that it could be construed as unconstitutional to not allow homosexuals to marry, since we already know a marriage entails."

This isn't true! If something isn't in the constitution it doesn't give the government free reign to screw around with it. The government does not have a right to prevent people from marrying unless it is against some other law.

"Why have mens basketball, and females basketball? Because though it may be similar, it is still different. So it is with this subject."

Well, the government didn't define basketball as a men's sport, only for men, and ban women anywhere from legally playing b-ball, then create a separate sport called "non-gender-specific netball" that anyone could participate in and have them both exist at the same time.

There is a non-secular basis for having women's and men's sports separate. You have still given no non-secular reason that marriage should be more exclusive than a civil union.

Read, and vote however you like!
Posted by Paradigm_Lost 9 years ago
Paradigm_Lost
PRO, please explain your unique and contradictory position. You started out agreeing that marriage should be determined by a religion, since it is unambiguously a religious institution. You later back-peddled on your initial sentiment in the last round by claiming that secular law gets to define what a marriage is.

You then tacitly alleged that barring homosexuals to marry is an infringement upon the basic rights of people. But you also say that the government has no right to infringe upon a religion! Which is?!?

Its also worth mentioning that that both religious institutions and secular law BOTH define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Its unlawful in the eyes of both institutions.

And since NOWHERE in the Constitution does it mention marriage, it undermines the point that it could be construed as unconstitutional to not allow homosexuals to marry, since we already know a marriage entails.

Then you go on to speak about letting people have the same rights, regardless of their sexual preference. But you neglect the fact that it is in the very differences of homosexuals and heterosexuals that define who they are. So why should THIS issue be ANY different? Why have mens basketball, and females basketball? Because though it may be similar, it is still different. So it is with this subject.

The answer seems so simple: Civil Unions.

Homosexuals should have basic legal protections just as heterosexuals, and a civil union would provide those rights without infringing on the State or the Church!

Its a win/win!

If destroying reason is your thing, then vote pro.

If logic is your thing, then vote CON!!!

I'm Paradigm Lost, and I approve of this message. ;)
Posted by b3rk 9 years ago
b3rk
Es Verdad Pluto, Es Verdad.
Posted by Pluto2493 9 years ago
Pluto2493
Paradigm, how are civil unions not re-enforcing a 'seperate but equal' policy?

Ah yes, the 'sactincty of marriage'. I love how people think two dudes that love each other will destroy the holy matrimony of Brittany Spears' 24 hour weddings, not to mention the what, MORE THAN HALF of all marriages ending in divorce.
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