The Instigator
Zasch
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
lstultz2
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Gay marriage ought to be legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,606 times Debate No: 1553
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (11)

 

Zasch

Pro

Well, my preferred opponent declined to defend his position. I wrote everything specifically against contentions he made, so it probably isn't applicable to most people. Still, if you want to debate it anyway, please feel free! If you want to just drop some of his points and bring up your own, I'm fine with that. Here is what I wrote in response to the person I had attempted to challenge:

1. A very substantial portion of your argument relates to your attempt at having the Bible accepted as a common base in order to prove your general contention that gay marriage ought to not be allowed. You point to the fact that the majority of people in the US are Christian. However, there are several issues that I have with this argument:
A) "Christianity" is not one monolithic bloc with the same beliefs and interpretations. There are a great many Christians in the US who do support civil unions or same-sex marriage, which would not be reflected if you assume that all Christians believe the exact same way.
B) You have not demonstrated why the separation of church and state ought to be ignored in this case and the contents of a theology made law across the US. I'm specifically looking for you to pass a rational-basis test, since that seems to be the most reasonable way of gauging whether a thing ought to be allowed or not allowed by law.
C) The Bible has often been used to attempt to deny people their rights. Women were denied the vote or the ability to own property on the basis of the Bible (as the man is the head of the household, is he not?), blacks were obviously quite oppressed using justifications from the Bible...a debate even took place on interracial marriage, and the argument was often used that if God had intended for the races to mix, why did he place them on separate continents? You have not given a reason why liberty ought to be supplanted in favour of conservative Christian theology, whereas there seem to be many historical examples of how this has harmed our country.
D) The Bible makes a great many proclamations on how people ought to behave, including some fairly absurd and immoral ones (such as stoning to death anyone who tries to convert you to another religion). Do you likewise support making this US law?

2. You seem to tread toward claiming that marriage is an institution that exists outside of humanity, one that is "ordained by God". This may or may not be the case, but it is irrelevant regardless: the debate taking place is not one as to whether religious institutions ought to recognise gay marriage, but rather whether US *legal* institutions (that is, secular institutions) ought to do so. Whether the conservative Christian view of marriage is "defiled" or not is irrelevant in light of this fact.

3. Your advocacy of civil unions turns ANY harms based arguments that you may try to make: by allowing for civil unions, you are saying that whatever the negative consequences of gays getting married might be, they aren't enough to override the *liberty* that gay individuals ought to possess. Therefore, you CANNOT pass a rational basis test anymore. There are several problems, though:

A) Civil unions are not "basically marriage": they tend to have reduced (sometimes greatly) reduced rights as compared to marriage.
B) History has shown time and time again that the creation of a "separate but equal" class of individuals is never in the best interests of liberty or of society. Branding gay people in this fashion encourages discrimination and regressive thinking.

You fail to establish a rational basis for why the separation of church and state ought to be ignored and liberty disaffirmed, you fail to demonstrate that gay marriage has any intrinsic harms in and of itself, and you fail to provide a compelling reason why America ought to create a "separate but equal" institution for gays. Thus, your argument appears to be lacking. This, of course, does not even at all address whether homosexuality or gay marriage is, in fact, immoral (from a Christian or secular perspective) - something, once again, that you do not address.

You claim that America is a religious nation, and (under your assumption that all American Christians agree on this issue - a highly unwarranted assumption) thus religion ought to be used as a guiding ideal. Indeed, you even ask the question of how we would choose our political ideals if not for religion. There is one value that you seem to have lost sight of in your attempt at debating this issue; America was not founded on Christianity (indeed, the Founding Fathers were deist), religion in general (Hence why there was no established religion), or even on democracy. America was founded on the ideal of LIBERTY: That people should be free to behave as they wish so long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others. Thus, to infringe upon liberty, you must provide a rational basis. We allow taxation because we recognise that society cannot exist and better itself without taxation, and thus this minor infringement on our liberty is outweighed by the greater liberty that we gain.

It is not that liberty ought to be put up to vote, as it has many times in the past (with such things as the Fugitive Slave Act or other abominations of law); liberty exists outside of democracy. Democracy is EXTRINSIC to liberty: We value it only so far as it protects our liberty. It is obvious how democracy can do this; the rule of a despot is far more likely to bring about tyranny than the rule of the people. However, we have seen many instances where democracy fails to protect liberty. This is why the US is structured as a republic with three branches of government, including a judicial branch that is able to OVERRIDE democracy and declare, by fiat, certain acts that the people's representatives have passed to be without legal force. If America were truly founded on the principle of democratic supremacy, then ALL acts of the Congress would be automatically constitutional. America was not founded on that: It was founded on liberty, and the court is here to protect that liberty even in the face of a majority that would seek to take it away.

By your logic, then, we ought to AFFIRM liberty as our highest value. In doing so, we then affirm gay marriage as maximising the liberty of gay individuals. Given your support of civil unions, you seemingly cannot make an argument against this (as civil unions apparently do not infringe upon people's liberty enough to be banned, under your logic), and thus given all this it seems as though your position is without merit and gay marriage ought to be upheld.

I look forward to your response! :)
lstultz2

Con

Well, this is my first debate on this network and I will certainly try and not make it my last. I recently posted a comment on another debate that pertains to this same issue. That comment is this:
The arguments have go on for quite sometime with this issue and really are lacking some fundamental ideas.
One, what is marriage? Two, who developed the idea of marriage? Three, what purpose/role does the Unites States government or any other government have in determing rights for married people? I am going to start out of order as I believe question two is the most important.

Two, the idea of marriage was not started by government for the benefit of anyone. In fact, marriage is a religious idea, as it is reported in the bible to be ordained by God. This is the case no matter what religion you purport to practice. Christianity seems to take the brunt of this argument, as America was started by more christians than any other religion and it continues to be that way. You will also notice that the muslim faith is based on the same idea that marriage is given by God.

One, what is marriage? This question can be answered only after you understand the second. If you understand that marriage is not of government origin and can only be granted by God, then one can only say that requirements for marriage are biblical based. Therefore, marriage is between one man and one woman. It cannot be any other way.

Three, since my argument is based on the idea that government has absolutely no role to play in the determination of marriage, then what role does the government have in determing rights. Well, here's the crux of the whole thing, they do. Why? Government is of course representative of the people and its wishes, therefore, if a majority of citizens do not feel it's right to allow gay marriage then they don't. The government as a representative of its people must do as the people want and it's majority rule.

Now that I've said all this you can see I don't have a conventional way of debating this topic, but it's honest. I honestly don't care if gays/lesbians are married or live together. However, because I do believe that if one is in the christian faith then they cannot be married and be gay.
Debate Round No. 1
Zasch

Pro

1. Your argument is interesting, but I find it somewhat uncompelling. The very base of your argument appears to be that marriage has religious origins, and therefore we must adhere to its religious origins and make it a purely nonsecular institution. This argument has, in my view, several problems.

Social conservatives in the United States often do give a similar argument from tradition, that marriage "always has been between a man and a woman". Ignoring the fact that the statement itself is not true, both this argument and your argument suffer from a problem common to appeals to tradition: our common morality as expressed today in the United States would find "traditional marriage" (or the religious tradition of marriage) to be abhorrent. Marriage as a religious institution was an institution of oppression against women, having its origins in the idea that the man, in providing for the protection of the woman, could then discipline her as such. Indeed, in Islamic societies today, this still remains the view.

We have grown in a society where women are considered, nominally, equal to men; they are able to vote, own property, hold jobs, and generally they are free to act independently of their husbands. Once again, this was not always the case: obviously things such as women's suffrage were extremely controversial whenever they came up. It was because the religious view was rejected in favour of the secular view that these rights were recognised. The religious basis of marriage is abhorrent and we have no reason to affirm that this motivates us to ANY action unless you can provide a rational basis for why specific components of it ought to. By its own, you cannot simply say "Marriage has a religious basis" and except us to take one action or another because of that, as if we do then ultimately we regress to a period where marriage was an institution that took away liberty rather than affirmed it.

2. As you move onto answering your first question, you then cross-apply your logic by saying that marriage, being defined religiously, then must exclude gay marriage. As I have already demonstrated, marriage ought not be defined in religious terms, for the religious origin of marriage is barbarous and incompatible with the world that we now find ourselves in. Thus, to say that we should accept the conservative Christian interpretation of the Bible in prohibiting gay marriage does not follow, for we would also then be forced to affirm a variety of laws that I am sure we can both agree are not appropriate as state or federal regulation.

However, you sidestep an important component of the debate: marriage is *not* merely a religious institution. The US government, and the governments of the several states, confer upon married couples certain legal rights and responsibilities. This is a secular benefit bestowed upon by a secular institution. If your view on what "God" considers marriage is correct, then God will not recognise any gay marriages that the US government does. If we were to conflate Church and the State, this may be significant, but the United States is not a theocracy and it has a well-established doctrine to separate church and state. This separation is beneficial to everyone involved, for it prevents the teachings of any one religion from infringing upon the liberty of those who do not believe that religion. It is among the highest affirmations of our liberty, and indeed in US national lore it is among the reasons why the US was founded: there were many who sought to escape religious persecution in the United Kingdom.

Given how beneficial and important the separation of Church and State is to our nation and to our liberty, you need to provide an exceedingly good and rational reason as to why this separation ought to be overriden. To merely say "Well, marriage came from religion, and therefore religion should be able to dictate to the State what it will call marriage" is uncompelling for, ultimately, it appears to be an argument that asserts its a priori correctness without actually demonstrating it: you haven't demonstrated how we can go from "marriage has a religious origin" to "marriage ought to be controlled by conservative Christianity". Your conclusion does not flow from its premise, and is thus just another contention that requires logical support.

The case of Loving v. Virginia illustrates quite well what I mean: religious arguments were very common in the debate over whether interracial marriage ought to be allowed. The argument given by a trial judge was that "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.". Should this view be affirmed merely because it appeals to religion? Of course not - the importance of liberty is so great that it far exceeds any religiously-based argument. The Church (ANY church) ought to never be allowed to dictate government, for that warps the perception of both and inevitably results in the violation of the common liberty of the people.

You say that the US is majority rule, but in fact the US is not majority rule! As I mentioned in my opening post, the US has a court system that is able to invalidate majority rule in order to protect the rights of the people. In the US senate, 60% is needed to end debate and pass legislation, not 50+%. The President is able to veto legislation he considers unwise, and a SUPERMAJORITY is required. The Constitution can only be amended by a supermajority in Congress AND a 75% majority of the states. This all shows us that the structure of the US system is not to allow for uncontrolled majority rule, but rather to allow for liberty. Democracy affirms liberty to a great extent, and no other system of goverment could protect the rights of the people so well as democracy, but it is not democracy that we are after; mob rule was decried by the founding fathers then, and it remains a bad idea today. Rather, we are after libety.

Ultimately, while your argument is different than that of the person I was wanting to debate against, it falls prey to the same problems: Your argument takes liberty and says "Hmm, that isn't very important" and sets it aside in a blind pursuit of religious dogma, where such dogma has always been recognised to be opposed to the freedom of the people and where such dogma was intentionally restricted by our government so that the freedoms and protections of nonbelievers may be upheld. This may or may not be an issue if the dogma itself was good, but repeatedly throughout history, on the subject of marriage and on other subjects, religious dogma has resulted in great infringements upon what we recognise today to be morally good. Very few would stand up and say that slavery was a desirable institution, that denying blacks civil rights was the Godly thing to do, that oppressing women was okay. Even before the founding of the US, religious-based ideals protected the aristocracies and the kings of old as the people rose up against them.

Everyone should be allowed to believe what they please, and if a Christian believes that their religion bans gay marriage, then I would always defend the right of that Christian to not get a gay marriage. However, the views of people's religious beliefs should be confined to the free exercise of their religion individually. No religion should have the power to dictate law or penalty, unless such law or penalty can also be backed up on a rational basis.

(My argument is continued in the comments section - read it!)
lstultz2

Con

Well, you bring up some interesting points and still some that aren't quite valid. I would assert that whether America has laws or not they are subject to the human being interpreting them. Therefore, the American system is thoroughly flawed as all human beings are. There is absolutely no argument to this issue when you recognize the beginning of marriage. As I stated previously, marriage was birthed from God and as such there can be no other form other than Man and Wife. And, just as in constitutional law there are examples so to does the bible offer examples. I think the most profound and widely used is the idea of Sodom and Gomorrah. This example is certainly used more than any other however it sets a precedent, that is a town where debauchery and things which God called impure took place and he torched it.

I think certainly the biggest argument against Gay marriage is the old adage that, a square peg does not fit in a round hole. Despite what progressive america says there is a natural order-Darwin called it natural selection. The idea that the majority will rule. When a species does not conform to the main idea they will be pushed away-to the point that they will become extinct. Therefore, gay marriage being the outsider and unnatural in humankind cannot last.

Now, whether you take the scientific view that homosexuals cannot last in a world of heterosexuals or the idea that marriage does not exists without religion, I think that it really doesn't matter what the American government thinks or does. The government, as it always does, has its hands in the pockets of its citizens when it has no business.

This issue as with many others cannot be governed by anyone except God. I say this because even the constitution refers to the Bill of Rights as God given rights. If the founding fathers felt that God has given us rights then certainly the question should be raised as to whether the first amendment is even legal. How can a superior being, a being that judges and grants rights be judged by humans. Sorry, I got off on a tangent.
Debate Round No. 2
Zasch

Pro

You assert that marriage was "birthed from God". You assert that this therefore implies gay marriage is not acceptable. You assert that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah supports your interpretation (the Jews may want a word with you on that issue). You assert that conservative Christianity is true. I am not looking for your assertions - I can infer those from what you have already said. What I am looking for is arguments, logic, and proof. Your argument rests on these assertions being true, so it is critical that you then give me evidence to support them.

As a sidenote, "natural selection" is just favourable heritable traits becoming more common as the generations pass on by. If homosexuality is not subject to negative natural selection pressures, you cannot "scientifically" demonstrate that it will just disappear. In fact, homosexuality may not be subject to direct selection pressures at all. Regardless of whether homosexuality will or will not someday disappear from humanity, however, this is not a relevant consideration to our discussion: natural selection is not a *normative* consideration. It isn't as though species have a set plan and those who stray from that plan are "punished" by some magical force. In fact, human societies are larger and more prosperous than they have ever been at any point in history - if you are trying to say that our "noncomformance" to some magical "natural order" is going to result in our demise, you ought to pick a different time period to make such a grand statement!

Once again, until you can prove that your conservative Christian outlook is true, nothing you say seems to particularly matter: I can just as easily claim, by fiat, that God agrees with me. If we don't provide logical or empirical support for our statements, debate becomes meaningless.
lstultz2

Con

Well, I can certainly say as much about your reasoning. Certainly natural selection is a debate for another time, however it does offer some great reasoning why this world isn't completely homosexual.

The idea that you or I will ever find an answer to this is futal. I will say that the directions we choose in life, straight or gay, are personal. They do not have anything to do with government or her laws. It is my opinion that America will choose on its own, as it has done for years, and I firmly believe that there will be no gay marriage.
Debate Round No. 3
Zasch

Pro

I don't believe that anyone has claimed that the world is "completely homosexual" - in fact, the majority of the people in the world appear to be heterosexuals.

Once again, I am looking for a reason as to why gay marriage should not be allowed. You gave a religious assertion, but have not backed it up, and your other arguments seem to be inadequate. At this point, I won't be afforded with the opporitunity to formally respond to what you say, but I would just like to reaffirm the idea that, ultimately, preserving our liberty is more important than instituting conservative Christianity as the law of the United States.

It was fun :)
lstultz2

Con

You say you want to preserve liberty but how can you when you don't even see that marriage isn't even a right given by government. There is no right to be given to you. period. God gave the right, the government has no right to "offer" rights to man and wife, therefore it has no right to give it to you. There is no argument to this debate. Just because marriage was given by God does not mean that you are owed anything. This is not a pro-religion argument and you don't seem to get that, rather it's an issue with your government doling out privileges it doesn't have the right to do.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Zasch 9 years ago
Zasch
It warns me that I might be making a mistake, but it doesn't warn me that it isn't allowed.
Posted by 08tsuchiyar 9 years ago
08tsuchiyar
Doesn't it warn you? It certainly warns me....
Posted by Zasch 9 years ago
Zasch
Sorry! I've seen a bunch of other people post their arguments in comments section, so I just assumed it was okay. I didn't mean to break any rules!
Posted by 08tsuchiyar 9 years ago
08tsuchiyar
Do you realize you broke the rules? No arguing in comments...but whatever....
Posted by Zasch 9 years ago
Zasch
Finally, even if I were to lose all of the above arguments, you still have not proven why your particular interpretation of religious doctrine is the correct one. There are a great many Christians in the United States who believe that gays ought to have civil unions As well, there are many other faiths in the US and around the world that can allow for gay marriage.

You have failed to give us a reason why liberty ought to be disaffirmed and the separation of church and state tore down in favour of forcing a particular religious viewpoint on the population. You have failed to demonstrate that it is even permissable to do such a thing, whereas I have demonstrated that there are great harms to doing so. You have failed to address the secular-religious distinction when it comes to marriage, failed to link exactly why the religious origin of marriage ought to even be a factor in our discussion, and you have utterly failed to provide even a single point as to why gay marriage ought to be opposed on a rational basis. As well, you essentially proclaim by fiat that conservative Christianity is the one true religion for purposes of determining whether gays ought to be able to marry, to the complete exclusion of all other interpretations of Christianity and a great many other religious traditions. Your argument requires that the religious definition of marriage conflict with gay marriage, but I can provide you with faiths and pastors who would ardently disagree with that; thus, if you are to have ANY hope in proving your position, you ultimately have to prove that conservative Christianity really is the one true religion. Otherwise, if you are unable to prove this, then even if I lose all of my arguments we still cannot negate gay marriage because NONE of your arguments have any impact if conservative Christianity is not true.

For these reasons, I cannot agree with you that gay marriage ought to remain illegal.
Posted by Zasch 9 years ago
Zasch
Well, just remember that I originally wrote my opening post to challenge littlelacroix on some things that he said, and lstultz2 may not believe the same things. If some arguments are dropped, it may just be because lstultz2 didn't affirm them in the first place :)
Posted by 08tsuchiyar 9 years ago
08tsuchiyar
Some people may not have decided yet and I think these debates help make the opinions.
Posted by Zasch 9 years ago
Zasch
That is, of course, your right. It is somewhat disappointing because I was quite curious as to what your defence would be, but I suppose I'll just have to deal :)
Posted by littlelacroix 9 years ago
littlelacroix
I'm sorry, but I refuse to do another gay marriage debate. Not only will the arguments go around in circles on this site, but I've been in other gay marriage arguments with several friends. I've heard all of the arguments, I'm tired of debating the topic and I won't be swayed one way or the other and neither will anyone else. Again, I'm sorry, but I've just given up trying to convince others on my principles. In my own mind, I know that gay marriage is wrong, but, obviously many people disagree. In this "never-ending" debate, well, I'm putting an end to it.
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