The Instigator
comeatmebro1010
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Contradiction
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

Gay marriage should be legal.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,354 times Debate No: 16412
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (5)

 

comeatmebro1010

Pro

I have some extremely good points, and I welcome anyone who accepts this challenge.
Contradiction

Con

My thanks to my opponent for initiating this challenge. I have debated her in the past on the same issue, and hopefully this debate will be fruitful.

I will be defending the contention that there are no good reasons why gay marriage should be legal. This is because heterosexual marriage provides a framework in which both procreation and child-rearing can take place. The state has a vested interest in protecting this relationship because it is essential to both the production of virtuous citizens and the continuation of society. Because neither are intrinsic to same-sex relationships, the state should not recognize them as marriages. I will be defending the following argument, as formulated by philosopher Jim Spiegel:

1. Heterosexual union is the indispensable means by which humans come into existence and therefore has special social value (indeed, the greatest possible social value because it is the first precondition for society).

2. The indispensable means by which something of special social value can occur itself has special value.

3. What has special value to human society deserves special social recognition and sanction.

4. Civil ordinances which recognize gay marriage as comparable to heterosexual marriage constitute a rejection of the special value of heterosexual unions.

5. To deny the special social value of what has special social value is unjust.

6. Therefore, gay marriage is unjust. [1]

Heterosexual marriage provides a framework under which future citizens can be raised and produced due to the fact that heterosexual union (The joining of a sperm/egg) is possible under this type of relationship. It is for this reason that the state confers legal and economic benefits upon married couples, for it recognizes that these notions are crucial for the maintenance of a healthy society. Thus, since procreation and child-rearing are essential to the advancement of society, the state has a vested interest in protecting a stable relationship under which this can take place. The state, therefore, ought to give special recognition to heterosexual unions, for they function as a precondition to a flourishing society. Relationships which do not have procreation as their core do not deserve such recognition, for they are not foundational to society. The recognition of homosexual unions as marriages would therefore be unjustly denying the special social value of heterosexual unions.

Is Marriage About Love?

Same-sex marriage advocates usually view marriage as a relationship between two parties which is centered around love. But this fails to understand what marriage is and why it is regulated by the state. Why is the state in the business of regulating marriage to begin with? After all, the state doesn't regulate friendships or other nonmarital romantic relationships. It's a peculiar thing, considering upon entry into a marriage relationship, a couple finds themselves bound by obligiations which decidedly nonromantic in nature.

The very reason the state has an interest in regulating marriage is because it recognizes that marriage is essential to the production of citizens and therefore the continuation of society. The state does not regulate nonmarital romantic relationships precisely because it has no compelling reason to do so.

This is not mitigated by the fact that procreation is possible from outside a marital framework. The difference between a marriage and say, a boyfriend/girlfriend having sex is that the former is a contractural agreement to the welfare of both partners and any children that may arise as a result of the relationship. The state does not regard the latter as a marriage because there are no contractural obligations involved. Since traditional marriage provides the environment necessary for both the production and raising of the state's future citizens, it should be afforded protection under the law. The fact that heterosexual sex is logically distinguishable from marriage by no means dampens this argument.

The Antimiscegenation Analogy

Opposition to same-sex marriage is sometimes compared to opposition to interracial marriage. However, the analogy falsely assumes that there is no essential difference between race and gender.

While race is irrelevant to procreation, gender most certainly isn’t. Race is irrelevant to whether or not procreation is possible, hence the state is unjustified in passing antimiscegenation legislation. However, since gender is relevant to whether or not procreation is possible, the state is justified in limiting marriages to only between members of the opposite sex. Therefore, the state has a principled reason to exclude couples from entering into marital relationships on the basis of their gender.

Artificial Reproduction: IVF/Surrogacy

One response offered by SSM advocates to the procreation argument is that homosexual couples are able to reproduce through artificial means such as IVF or surrogacy.

However, this fails to adequately respond to the argument. Homosexual couples are not actually "reproducing" when they engage in artificial reproductive treatments -- rather, they are using donated eggs/sperm from a third party. As such, the child that results from these artificial means of reproduction is not actually that of the homosexual couple. Rather, he was produced by means of heterosexual union via a third party. So what we actually see here is a reaffirmation of the special value of heterosexual union, since artificial means of reproduction are inherently heterosexual in nature.

Moreover, if couples should be allowed marriage rights due to the fact that procreation is possible due to third party intervention, then one cannot object to the marriage of incestious couples, who can reproduce by artificial means.

Are Sterile Couples Excluded?

It may be objected that such reasoning prevents sterile heterosexual couples from marrying due to the fact that they are unable to procreate. But this objection fails to understand the argument. Marriage is not based on the ability of the individual couple to procreate, but on a type of relationship in which procreation is inherently possible to begin with. Males are meant for coupling with females, even if it does not result in procreation all of the time. By contrast, homosexual relationships are such that procreation is impossible in principle. Thus, such relationships cannot qualify as marriages. What matters is thus that an act is procreative in type, not whether it is procreative in effect.

Marriage is a Social Construction

If marriage is a social construction, then there cannot be said that there are rights associated with it. This actually undercuts the proponent's own argument. If my opponent affirms that homosexuals have a basic right to marry each other, then they cannot view marriage as a social construction. This is because social constructions have no normative structure to them, they are simply constructs that may be redefined at one's own whim. One therefore cannot be unjust in denying homosexuals the "right" to marry.

Opening the Floodgates

If we divorce marriage from procreation, then what nonarbitrary reason does one have to limit marriage to being between two parties? Why not one person who loves himself, or three cohabiating roommates who love each other and want insurance benefits, or a business partner and his client, or three men and two women? Why even think that marriage must involve consent or must be between persons? Bereft of a solid foundation on which to base marriage, there are no limits to who can be married. Clearly this is counterintuitive. This reductio ad absurdum illustrates the fact that marriage must be based on more than just love or similar feelings.

___________

Sources

1. http://wisdomandfollyblog.com......
Debate Round No. 1
comeatmebro1010

Pro

Thank you for responding. My computer broke, and I couldn't respond, even though I would have liked to. Hopefully we will have a very efficient debate.
Let's start by analyzing some of the reasons why gay marriage should be legal:
1) It's wrong to deny a man the right that only a women has; marry a man. When marriage requires the equal participation of both sexes, that's unequal treatment of the sexes.
2) Gay marriage would change the definition of marriage, but not the value. If gay marriage is imposed on society a, then society will adapt to the change, just like the desegregation during the Civil Rights Movement.
3) It provides many benefits for gay couple than a 'civil union.'
4) Children would be adopted since the couples are sterile and have a family.
Many people worry about children "becoming gay" when they are adopted by gay parents. But, let's look at some facts and statistics:
bloggernews.com says,"According to the 2000 census, there were 163,879 households with children being raised by same-sex couples. That number is said to have climbed from between 1 and 9 million children. About 67 studies have been conducted by the American Psychological Association, focusing on children of gay parents. Each of these studies proved that children do the same no matter which environment they grow up in. The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree with these findings."
Gay couples are going to be together, regardless of being married. And gay marriage does not physically harm anyone, or effect anyone they do not know. Just because two men or two women want to be married does not mean all kinds of laws are going to be made about other kinds of marriages, such as polygamy, etc.
Some benefits that gay couples will have if they get married includes:
1) To show their commitment to society
2) Mutual legal protection
I now hand the floor to my opponent. I wish you the best of luck in the next round.
Contradiction

Con

I thank Con for her response. First, let me note that she did not respond to my arguments. Indeed, many of the points in her opening argument are covered in my opening argument.

Is SSM A Matter of Equality?

Con argues that it is "wrong to deny a man the right that only a women has; marry a man." This is due to the fact that marriage requires "the equal participation of both sexes."

However, she provides no justification for this, nor does she elaborate on what "equal participation" means. Indeed, she is presupposing "equal" to mean that both spouses can be of the same gender, as opposed to an understanding of "equal" in which both spouses are from opposite genders and thus are on the same level of gender representation. This, however, begs the question by presupposing the legitimacy of same-sex marriage. One cannot argue that marriage requires "equality," equal treatment," or "rights" unless one establishes what marriage actually is.

Thus, before we can claim that the traditional conception of marriage would discriminate against homosexual couples on the basis of equality, we must first ask “What is marriage?” The charge of depriving same-sex couples of their "equal rights" cannot be levelled without first conducting an inquiry into what marriage actually is – for if the nature of marriage is such that homosexual relationships cannot qualify as marriages to begin with, then no discrimination would be taking place. As Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson point out:

Any legal system that distinguishes marriage from other, nonmarital forms of association, romantic or not, will justly exclude some kinds of union from recognition. So before we can conclude that some marriage policy violates the Equal Protection Clause, or any other moral or constitutional principle, we have to determine what marriage actually is and why it should be recognized legally in the first place. [Emphasis mine] That will establish which criteria (like kinship status) are relevant, and which (like race) are irrelevant to a policy that aims to recognize real marriages. So it will establish when, if ever, it is a marriage that is being denied legal recognition, and when it is something else that is being excluded. [1]

It makes no sense to argue, for example, that fatherhood unjustly discriminates against women, for fatherhood is properly understood to be a role that is intrinsic to males. Since women cannot be fathers in principle, there is no discrimination taking place. Thus, when one argues that a specific institution discriminates against certain persons, they presuppose that said persons have a right to partake in said institution. But, unless we have settled the prior question as to what this institution actually is, then to use the discrimination argument as supporting evidence for a particular view that institution is to beg the question, since the argument presupposes what it sets out to prove.


What About Benefits for Homosexual Couples? Won't Society Adjust?

The resolution being debated is "Gay marriage should be legal." Pro must therefore show that the state has a compelling reason to include approval of same-sex marriages in its public policy. Pro argues that legalization of same-sex marriage would allow for benefits to be bestowed upon same-sex couples. Additionally, they would be allowed to demonstrate their commitment to society.

It is true that by legalizing same-sex marriage, homosexual couples would receive benefits. What Pro failed to address, however, is why they should receive these benefits. If the state is simply in the business of giving people benefits, then it should endorse all types of relationships -- friendships, business partnerships, etc... as marriages. Moreover, the state would have to allow the marriages of polygamous, incestious, and polyamorous couples. Andrew Kolasinski writes:

The biggest danger homosexual civil marriage presents is the enshrining into law the notion that sexual love, regardless of its fecundity, is the sole criterion for marriage. If the state must recognize a marriage of two men simply because they love one another [or, in this case, because they want benefits and expression of their commitment], upon what basis can it deny marital recognition to a group of two men and three women, for example, or a sterile brother and sister who claim to love each other? Homosexual activists protest that they only want all couples treated equally. But why is sexual love between two people more worthy of state sanction than love between three, or five? When the purpose of marriage is procreation, the answer is obvious. If sexual love becomes the primary purpose, the restriction of marriage to couples loses its logical basis, leading to marital chaos. [2]

Pro simply dismisses this charge without providing grounds for doing so.

The state provides legal and economic benefits to married couples primarily because procreation and stable child-rearing takes place within such a framework. The state does not hand out marriage benefits willy-nilly to any type of couple because this would be detracting from the special social value of heterosexual union as the sole means of advancing society. The state, therefore, has no compelling reason to give homosexual couples the marriage benefits afforded to heterosexual couples.

Moreover, the issue isn't whether about society will adapt, but over whether or not same-sex marriages ought to be legalized and whether or not this is good for society. That society will adapt to a change provides no indication as to whether or not that change ought to be implemented.

Gay Parenting?

Pro agues that numerous studies have indicated that children do just as well when reared under same-sex parents as compared to heterosexual parents. However, this is irrelevant to my argument, which is centered primarily around procreation. More importantly, these studies are for the most part inaccurate, for they do not engage in random sampling, use small sample sizes, and are skewed by the presence of many confounding variables. [3]

In concluding, Pro has not adequately argued her points. Many of her arguments were addressed in my opening argument, with others being irrelevant to the topic at hand. I now hand the floor over to Pro.

________

Sources

1. Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, “What is Marriage?” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy34, no. 1 (Winter 2010): 251
2. Adam Kolansinski, The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage, http://tech.mit.edu...
3. For example, see http://www.ruthblog.org...
Debate Round No. 2
comeatmebro1010

Pro

Let's continue analyzing the concept of two man/two women joining together.
Now, Con has pointed out quite a few points, such as:
1) Why should we give out benefits to gay couples? Then we'd have to give out rights to any kind of relationship.
No. Marital benefits are for marital benefits. The benefits they receive are from marriage. When we allow gay people to marry, two friends aren't suddenly going to demand that they get benefits. Marriage is a legal matter. When two people legally come together, that's when they receive benefits, and it will stay that way if gay people marry.
Con's arguments have been based purely on what ifs and fears, such as "people would start having multiple wives, they'd be having to have benefits for friendships, etc." There is no facts proving that this could happen, and what Con is arguing is solely opinion. There is a lack of plausible evidence for anything bad coming out of same-sex marriage, and frankly, I'm exasperated to read a debate devoid of facts or evidence.
I will now present my main argument:
First of all, people who do not support gay marriage are in the minority. "When the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996, only 25% of the American public supported same-sex marriage. Since that time, public opinion has gradually moved in the direction of greater support for same-sex marriage. An August 2010 CNN poll was the first national poll to show majority support for same-sex marriage." Other polls show that 42% percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, whilst only 28% do not. This shows, just as the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950's, that this subject has gained support and is continuing to grow. "The main areas of where gay marriage that were opposed to same-sex marriage is correlated with religious attendance, older age, Republican Party affiliation, and residence in the South and Midwest."
The Republican Party and residence in the South and Midwest are predominately religious, Christian to be specific. So, generally Christians are opposed to gay marriage, with very few who are not. Christians are opposed to gay marriage, so they are trying to pass a law that stops people from getting married to the same gender.
There is a rule in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which states that there is a separation of church and state. Religious views are not supposed to have a place in politics. So, two gay people getting married does not physically harm anyone, and does not threaten to break any rules against atrocious laws such as marrying animals, polygamy, etc. So the only solid argument an opposer has is:
It's a sin. The Bible says so.
I'm going to jump into the important point. Christians believe that God gave them the freedom to choose. The freedom to choose to follow Him, or to not. According to them, we were given the freedom to choose whether we wanted to follow Him or not. And some people decide that they do not believe or want to follow God. No one should be forced into following a religious code that they do not believe in, hence freedom of religion. Not everyone is Christian or believes in God. God made it that way so that people could have the freedom to choose. Not everyone believes in the rules of the Bible. So not everyone should be forced to have to follow those rules if they don't believe it.
I believe in doing right regardless of what I am told. People, such as Con, should think before doing what they are told regardless of what is right. I, as well as 42% of Americans, need more than just "the Bible tells me so" than to believe in a law built on prejudice and close-mindedness that the 28% of other Americans exercise.
Thank you. Back to you, Con.
Sources: wikipedia, cbsnews.com
Contradiction

Con

In her final response to me, Pro makes a variety of points. However, most of her arguments end up either attacking strawman or fail to adequately engage the arguments I presented. Before I begin, let me also call attention to the fact that Pro never addressed my opening argument, nor did she give substantive reasons to think its inherent foundations were false. As such, Pro's task of proving her point has already been severly hindered.

Responding to my argument that marital benefits are for the express purpose of procreation and thus deserving only to heterosexual couples, Pro writes "No. Marital benefits are for marital benefits." But what is that even supposed to mean? Pro has simply utter a tautology -- she has not explained what marital benefits are and why same-sex couples should receive them.

She again asserts that the legalization of same-sex marriage would not bring about the legalization of other relationships. But apart from a mere assertion, what is the evidence for this? Recall earlier my argument that if we base marriage on foundations other than procreation, there is no logical reason why we cannot legalize any and all types of couples. Let me therefore reproduce my argument:

It is true that by legalizing same-sex marriage, homosexual couples would receive benefits. What Pro failed to address, however, is why they should receive these benefits. If the state is simply in the business of giving people benefits, then it should endorse all types of relationships -- friendships, business partnerships, etc... as marriages. Moreover, the state would have to allow the marriages of polygamous, incestious, and polyamorous couples. Andrew Kolasinski writes:

The biggest danger homosexual civil marriage presents is the enshrining into law the notion that sexual love, regardless of its fecundity, is the sole criterion for marriage. If the state must recognize a marriage of two men simply because they love one another [or, in this case, because they want benefits and expression of their commitment], upon what basis can it deny marital recognition to a group of two men and three women, for example, or a sterile brother and sister who claim to love each other? Homosexual activists protest that they only want all couples treated equally. But why is sexual love between two people more worthy of state sanction than love between three, or five? When the purpose of marriage is procreation, the answer is obvious. If sexual love becomes the primary purpose, the restriction of marriage to couples loses its logical basis, leading to marital chaos. [1]

Pro writes, "Con's arguments have been based purely on what ifs and fears."

This is emphatically false. These "ifs and fears" show a deep flaw in arguments for same-sex marriage. For if there is no logical reason in which these relationships cannot be prohibited under a revised conception of marriage, then obviously there is something wrong with its foundations. In order for a certain idea to be rational, it cannot lead to counter-intuitive results. If polygamous, polyamorous, etc... groups can use the exact same reasoning used by advocates for same-sex marriage in arguing for the legitimacy of their own relationship, then surely something is amiss here. As the slippery-slope argument demonstrates, a revised conception of marriage is too broad for it to be accepted as part of a government's public policy.

These concerns, moreover, are not as far-fetched as one may think. The Canadian legislature has recently debated the issue of whether or not pedeophiles constitute a protected class. A growing debate ovet polyamory has also recently surfaced in Canada. Indeed, a court in the European Union recently recognized a polyamorous union, and there are growing movements in the western world to seek its legitimacy. [2]

Pro's Main Argument

In her main argument, Pro seems to argue that same-sex marriage ought to be legalized because public opinion polls indicate that the public supports it. However, this evidences a major understanding of both the American judicial and political system.

First, simply because a majority of people want a particular policy enacted does not mean that said policy is part of the common good. Simply because a majority of people support same-sex marriage does not mean that it is a good policy. Indeed, the American constitution was designed to prevent the sheer will of the majority from sometimes trumping the common good. In Federalist #10, James Madison wrote that the power of factionalism is something dangerous that ought to be checked by the American political system.

Second, majority opinion is based on large part on the existing laws of a country. Many times, it is actually the law which influences majority opinion, since state endorsement of a particular policy gives the impression to its citizens that such a policy is morally acceptable. Thus, as Aristotle observed, statecraft is soulcraft -- the law is a teacher. Public policy, therefore, cannot be based on majority opinion alone, but must take into account more substantive notions of what constitutes the public good.

Moreover, the polls aren't as tipped on the side of the pro SSM position as Pro would like us to think. A 2011 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicates that support for both position was nearly equal, with the opposition leading by only one percentage point. 46% of Americans were opposed to same-sex marriage, with 45% supporting. [3]

Seperation of Church and State?

Pro argues that traditional marriage violates the constitutional provision against the establishment of religion due to the fact that it is a religious view. But where exactly in my argument did I appeal to any religious premise? My argument was entirely secular, and as such has nothing to do with religion. Indeed, religious believers may tend to agree with the conclusion of my argument, but that does not mean that therefore my argument is religious in nature.

Moreover, Pro attacks a strawman when she argues the only solid argument against same-sex marriage is that "It's a sin. The Bible says so." But as she has just seen, I offered an argument that was entirely secular in nature and based off premises that are decidedly non-religious in nature. Pro is simply attacking red herrings here.

Conclusion

Aside from the fact that Pro has completely failed to engage with my initial argument, many of her arguments have been found to be deficient. She neglects to elaborate why same-sex couples ought to receive marriage benefits, and attacks multiple strawmans of my position. As such, I urge a vote for Con.

___________

Sources

1. Adam Kolansinski, The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage, http://tech.mit.edu...
2. Scott Rae, Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics (Zondervan: 2009) p.287
3. http://people-press.org...
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
"Straw men arguments from con"

You're joking, right? Which ones, and how?
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
Challenge me to a debate if you want me response.
Posted by warpedfx 5 years ago
warpedfx
what- does allowing same sex marriage somehow destroy heterosexual marriage? and marriage is a social invention that just so happens to have legal backings which makes its application necessarily egalitarian. Also since when is marriage solely for procreation?
Posted by Colorguard101 5 years ago
Colorguard101
Gay marriages should be allowed because it is not there fault they like the same sex as themselves.
Posted by kjw47 5 years ago
kjw47
At 1 corinthians 6:9-11-- it starts by saying do not be decieved by any other teaching-- Men who lie with men ( women with women as well ) will not inherit Gods kingdom= no eternal life. But God gave all free will to choose their own path- so if one wants to enter Gods kingdom and have eternal life- they would have to put the practice of being gay behind ( that is what some of you were ) past tense. One must learn to live for Gods kingdom now in this world ( Gods word says all will be added to you ) if one can accomplish that.
Posted by ilovedebate 5 years ago
ilovedebate
yeah go pro! im with ya
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by jewgirl 5 years ago
jewgirl
comeatmebro1010ContradictionTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Cons arguments adequately defended his position on opposing same sex marriage on the basis of pro-creation. All pro did was strawman.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
comeatmebro1010ContradictionTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pr's style of arguing is a mess. I don't feel Pro understood the relevance heterosexual marriage has in society. Con wins be default in this one.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
comeatmebro1010ContradictionTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Straw men arguments from con
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
comeatmebro1010ContradictionTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro, you really needed to focus on Con's arguments as you let them set the stage and open the discussion. By simply ignoring them you effectively dropped all of them. Con made a very strong case and it also could not just be refuted with "its is just ifs and buts" 3:1 for COn
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 5 years ago
quarterexchange
comeatmebro1010ContradictionTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made terrible arguments and provided vague sources if any. Cons arguments adequately defended his position on opposing same sex marriage on the basis of pro-creation. Pro attacked strawmen arguments such as claiming that Con's only solid argument against same sex marriage was because of the Bible, which it plainly wasn't.