The Instigator
Pro (for)
13 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Gay marriage should be legalized in the United States.

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,530 times Debate No: 21986
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (3)




This debate is being set up to argue the resolution that gay marriage should be legalized in the United States. I had intended for this to be a debate between myself and 16kAdams, but according to his profile, he is not accepting debate challenges at this time; therefore, if someone else beats him to picking up the gauntlet, so be it.

Since I am the one making the claim that gay marriage should be legalized in the United States, I shoulder the burden of proof. Because I shoulder the burden of proof, it is appropriate that I have both the first word and the last word in this debate, as is common both in American courts and in other debates of this type. I will speak first, and I will speak last.

To compensate for this, the length of my closing statement should not exceed the total unused character count in my previous statements. To put it another way, the total character count of my three statements (following this round) should not exceed 16,000, the same count that my opponent will have following this round.

The debate will proceed as follows:

Round 1: Acceptances.
Round 2: Pro's first statement, Con's first statement.
Round 3: Pros' second statement, Con's second statement.
Round 4: Pro's final statement, Con does not argue.

In lieu of argument, Con should copy/paste the following sentence into the final round: "By mutual agreement, no argument will be posted in this space."

There should be no games with semantics in this debate.

Once 16kAdams, or whoever beats him to the punch, accepts my debate challenge, I will post my opening statement.


I accept. However, I have a question. Why is it that I am not alowed to argue in round 4? If you make a ridiculous claim in R4, I am not allowed to refute it?
Debate Round No. 1


Marriage, for purpose of this debate, is a relationship which the state recognizes as a marriage, and upon whose members it confers all the legal rights, privileges and benefits thereof. As of this writing, the federal government and 42 state governments do not recognize marriages between two persons of the same sex. Here are just a few reasons why this should not be the case.

1) Not legalizing gay marriage creates second-class citizens

Technically, gay relationships were not even legal in the United States until 2003,[1] yet that stopped no one who wanted to have one, nor does it still stop anyone in states where laws against sodomy are still on the books. There are a great many gay couples who are in long term relationships, and who have gotten married in a non-state-recognized manner and/or who would get married if the option were available to them. This is not going to change. Short of instituting an oppressive and near-omnipotent theocracy, there will always be close, loving and committed gay relationships.

The state's refusal to recognize these relationships as marriages (if the parties so wish), while it does recognize their heterosexual counterparts, creates a category of second-class citizens. This is prima facie antithetical to basic American principles.

2) Legalizing gay marriage benefits children of gay couples.

96% of all counties in the United States, no matter how conservative, have at least one gay couple raising a child.[2] Regardless of how one feels about this, and regardless of how these children came to exist, the fact remains.

These children's' mental health will benefit from having a clearly defined legal status with respect to both of their parents, which is especially important during times of crisis such as school and medical emergencies. In addition, inasmuch as a child's parents' relationship is more stable and secure when legally recognized through marriage, this child's well-being is correspondingly better.[3]

3) Not legalizing gay marriage denies equal rights to gay citizens.

Two GAO reports, from 1997[4] and 2004,[5] identify a (non-overlapping) total of 1,138 federal laws that grant benefits, rights and privileges to married couples. Such laws include laws pertaining to joint parenting, joint adoption, joint insurance policies, immigration for partners from other countries, certain Social Security and Medicare benefits, property tax exemptions, inheritance in the absence of a will, bereavement leave, the Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify against one's spouse, etc. This does not include state laws, or private companies' policies.

Gay couples cannot enjoy the benefits, rights and privileges conferred by these laws. This is unjust on its face. As a matter of justice, which the state is obligated to uphold, gay marriage must be legalized.

4) Legalization of gay marriage benefits our legacy.

As recently as 1967, when the Supreme Court put a stop to it,[6] there were states that banned black people from marrying white people. Prior to the end of the Civil War, there were states that banned black people from marrying, period. Times change.

In the last several decades there has been a steady movement toward the acceptance of the idea of gay marriage, and this movement is only moving faster. A 2011 Gallup poll showed, for the first time in the history of their polling on the subject, that a majority of Americans favor legalizing gay marriage -- 53%, up from 27% in 1996.[7]

The gay marriage movement is a movement for equal rights, and no major equal rights movement in American history has ever failed in the end. Legalizing gay marriage will benefit our legacy because our descendants, for whom gay marriage will almost certainly be a fact of life, will speak about our generation with pride rather than with an embarrassed cough.


5) The Golden Rule

This simple principle exists, in some form, in virtually every religion and secular ethical system. Would a heterosexual person want a legislature or referendum of mostly gay people to make it illegal to marry the person he loved?

For the above reasons, I submit that gay marriage should be legalized in the U.S.

[1] Lawrence v. Texas, 2003.
[2] US Census, 2000
[3] pp. 26-27.
[4] General Accounting Office, OCG-97-16 Defense of Marriage Act
[5] General Accounting Office, GAO-04-353R Defense of Marriage Act: Update to Prior Report
[6] Loving v. Virginia, 1967



1) This argument is assuming marriage will hurt the socio-economic status of these gay couples. The reason here is the goverment should legalize this because it helps people. This premise is flawed on so many levels. Government making me pay no taxes would actually help me, but the state has no interest or reason to legalize SSM. The stats interests are in making procreative couples that can further the states interests. Homosexuals will never be able to create these procreative type unions therefore do not fulfill a reason to help people. If there is no reason too why do it?

2) This premise will be refuted the same as above. The states interests are in procreative type unions, homosexuals cannot do this, therefore there is no reason to help them. A different analogy is the state would help everyone if they gave out free computers, but its not in their interests to do this. Why help people if there is no reason too?

3) This is first assuming marriage is a right, and that marriage is fundamentally defined as anything. Before we can say this one must say what is marriage? If marriage is a right, but it is defined as a man and a woman, then no right is being debarred as the definition only applies to men and women. If Same Sex "Marriage" Doesn't exist then there is no discrimination. If marriage is not a right there is no breach of equal rights. In either scenario no discrimination is occurring. Even on, marriage is defined as between a husband and a wife, and if you look those up, it always says FEMALE under wife and MALE under husband.

4) You cannot compare race with homosexuality, that is absurd. No matter the race people can still procreate and fulfill states interests, gays cannot. This comparison fails on multiple logical levels.

Then you cite that more people are in favor of SSM, this is not a reason to allow it. This is called the band wagon fallacy where the majority says more people agree with us therefore our views must be correct and must prevail. Majority opinion is not a reason to ban/allow something. If more people want to legalize murder, would you do it?

The Gay movement want's equal rights when they aren't being discriminated against.

5) This argument pushes the fact marriage is abut love, which it is not. If marriage was about love the state would regulate any relationship that had love, your relationship with parents, girlfriends/boyfriends, etc. marriage is not about love. If anything no rule is being broken as homosexuals cannot procreate and therefore cannot fulfill states interests Is is breaking the golden rule if they are not allowed ot marry by the very nature of marriage and homosexual couples?

What's the State's interest in marriage?
Why is the state interested in marriage? Procreation and child rearing. The goal of marriages is to create an climate for procreation. So if you were wondering why the state gives benefits to heterosexual couples over homosexual ones, this is why. Only can a man and a woman create children, and or have a procreative type relationship. A common misconception is that marriage is about love.
If marriage was about love the state would regulate any relationship that had love, your relationship with parents, girlfriends/boyfriends, etc. marriage is not about love.

The state's intrest in marriage is procreation, in which homosexuals cannot do, thus there is no reason for the state to legalize it.

[1] William C. Duncan, "The State Interests in Marriage" Ave Maria Law Review (2004)
[2] Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, "What is Marriage?" Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy
[3] "One Man, One Woman: Defending Traditional Marriage" By Tim Hsiao, Florida State University.
[4] "Same Sex marriage: Should it be legalized?" By Alexander Adams, Sandia Preparatory school

Debate Round No. 2


A prefatory note: although Con appended his statement with a number of sources, he did not match the source to the text that it was intended to support. Thus, we must say that Con's argument was not reliably sourced.

Con's arguments should nonetheless be considered on their own accord, and we turn to them now.


The main thrust of Con's rebuttal is that the state's interest in marriage is procreation, and since gay couples cannot procreate, the state has no reason to marry them. This argument appears on its own, as well as in many places throughout his direct responses to my arguments.

Con seems to be suggesting that the state should not legalize any action in which it does not have a direct interest. I don't see how anyone, especially a small-government conservative, could accept that principle. Alternatively, he might be suggesting that the state should not interact with its citizens in ways that would help them unless it has a direct interest. However, the state has not only an interest but a mandate to take actions promoting the general welfare of Americans.[1][2]

In any case, the state's interest in marriage is many-faceted. It includes, but is not limited to:
          • Facilitating public order by creating cohesive family units.
          • Enabling liberty and free decision-making by spouses.
          • Creating stable households.
          • Legitimatizing children.
          • Limiting the public's liability to care for the vulnerable.
          • Facilitating property ownership.[3]
If the state's only interest in marriage were procreation, there would be no reason for the state to issue marriage licenses to opposite-sex couples where one or both members were senior citizens, infertile, or had a stated intent to never procreate. (Indeed, if the anti-gay community themselves believed this logic, then one would expect lawsuits enjoining governments from issuing such licences to be commonplace.)

Let us now consider the positive arguments I offered above, and Con's response to them.

Second-class Citizens

Con argues that this argument would only be true if the inability to marry hurts the socio-economic status of gay couples. It does, in ways that I have outlined above. But Con seems to have missed the gist of this argument; by second-class citizen, I meant a citizen that has a sense of inferiority to his other citizens. A recent study found that couples perceive marriage as having an additional meaning that mere registered partnerships lack, and that "the cultural and political trappings of statuses that are not marriage send a very clear message of difference and inferiority to gay and lesbian couples."[4]

The remainder of Con's response relied on his Procreation argument, addressed above.

Benefits to Children

Con's response to this relied entirely on his Procreation argument, addressed above.

Equal Rights

Con suggests that marriage may not be a right. However, the courts have long recognized marriage as "one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men ... To deny this fundamental freedom ... is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law."[5]

Con also suggests that if marriage is a right, then it does not apply to gay marriages by virtue of the definition of the word "marriage." However, it is that very definition which is at issue in the overall gay marriage debate. The definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman is not universally accepted. Another definition is: "a couple's choice to live with each other, to remain committed to one another, and to form a household based on their own feelings on one another, and their agreement to join in an economic partnership and support one another in terms of the material needs of life."[6]

There is no contradiction between that definition, or a similar one, and the concept of gay marriage. Inasmuch as such a contradiction exists because of the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, I submit that the rights, benefits and privileges listed above which are granted to opposite-sex couples who have married are denied to gay couples, that this is due to the definition of marriage being faulty, and that it should therefore be redefined.


Con suggests that I am comparing race and sexuality. I am not; rather, I am comparing one type of marriage that was once discriminated against to another type that is currently discriminated against.

Con suggests that I am arguing that we should jump on the bandwagon because of the growing strength of the gay marriage movement. I am not; rather, I am arguing that because the victory of the gay marriage movement seems historically inevitable, our descendants will look upon us favorably if we institute it now rather than wait for the next generation to do so.

Con states that gays are not being discriminated against. This will be true when they are allowed to marry.

The Golden Rule

Con's response to this is mostly an extension of the Procreation argument, addressed above. Con also suggests that if marriage were about love, then all loving relationships should be state-regulated. I cannot imagine why that would be the case, and Con does not explain the logic behind that assertion. (I believe, however, that the statement "marriage is not about love" provides an interesting insight into the mindset of gay marriage opponents.)

In conclusion, Con has failed to rebut my arguments in favor of the legalization of gay marriage.

[1] U.S. Constitution, Preamble.
[2] U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1.
[3] Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 2010.
[4] Badgett, M.V. Lee, When Gay People Get Married (NYU, 2009), pp. 58-59.
[5] Loving v. Virginia, 1967.
[6] Perry, 2010.


I concede.
Debate Round No. 3


Con having conceded, there remains nothing but to thank 1dustpelt for the engaging debate, to thank the readers for their attention and to ask them to vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by WriterDave 5 years ago
You were supposed to cut and paste a particular sentence. That comment was tongue-in-cheek, not really meant to be taken seriously. Sorry. :-)
Posted by 1dustpelt 5 years ago
@WriterDave How is it a rule violation??!!??! Man you cry about everything.
Posted by WriterDave 5 years ago
Con's final statement is technically a rules violation, but please don't mark against his conduct for this -- he had already conceded. Besides, lolcats are lol.
Posted by mariahjane 5 years ago
I agree with WriterDave completely on the issue but the statement that if gay marriage was legalized there wouldn't be discrimination against them anymore. That is highly unlikely. There's discrimination in employment, adoption, and schools. Those don't have to do with marriage.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
oh its because we weren't friends
Posted by WriterDave 5 years ago
Nope, 16k, I had a challenge all ready to go, rules laid out and everything, and there was the message: "16kadams is not accepting debate challenges at this time." Ditto when I tried to PM you: "16kadams is not accepting private messages at this time."
Posted by WriterDave 5 years ago
According to my word processor, I have so far used 10,120 characters, leaving me 5,880 for my final statement.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
I wasn't accepting challenges?!?!

How is me saying this is refutable funny?
Posted by WriterDave 5 years ago
What can I say? You weren't accepting messages or challenges.

And a Santorum-lover saying that my defense of gay marriage is "highly refutable" is both punningly hilarious and confidence inspiring.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
I want to see what con does...
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by GenesisCreation 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: I will give Con the conduct point, because he didn't let the clock run out. He had the courtesy to admit he couldn't push on. That's not a demerit. I will give arguments and sources to Pro, since they stood unchallenged.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Concede
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.