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The Contender
Con (against)
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Legalizing Gay Marriage is Overall Bad Public Policy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/24/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,608 times Debate No: 24856
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)





I will be showing how redefining marriage to just two people regardless of Gender is bad public policy overall by showing all the potential harms and refuting the supposed benefits to society.

CON must show how the benefits of legalizing gay marriage ,if there is even any benefits in the first place, would outweigh or at least equal the costs for legalizing gay marriage. These benefits can either involve how it would benefit gay couples or society as whole and just trying to refute my arguments .

lastly, this debate will be about the "ought" and not the "is" regarding the constitution


I’ll take this little gem.

Some Stipulations:

My opponent needs to establish some sort of metric (a way to distinguish) good and bad public policy. I reserve the right to address/rebut that metric in any way I see fit.

Because my opponent did not stipulate that I necessarily must argue exclusively from the conception of the con perspective he charted above, I further reserve the right to adjust accordingly.

All DDO rules apply.

I leave you with the wise words of Thomas Sowell:

"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
Debate Round No. 1



The purpose of Civil marriage is to regulate the biological driven phenomena known as procreation that happens either by choice or by accident [1]. The traditional view of marriage is based on the "natural teleology of the body" where only a man and a woman, and only two people, not three, can generate a child and raise the child through the natural complimentary element of both genders. Civil marriage arose and exist to encourage heterosexual couples to create the next generation in the right context which is in a marriage and to discourage the creation of children in other contexts, which is out of wedlock birth's and fatherless homes in order to make sure they don't raise children in a unstable environment . [2]

The state uses the traditional definition of marriage ,as a means to achieve this purpose, in order to actually be able to encourage heterosexual couples to obtain a marriage license. Then, the state issues marriage licenses in order to reinforce this meaning of marriage and ,as a result, provide legal and social support for their relationships.


Now, when I say the word "encourage", I mean that the state only indirectly encourage us rather than force or require people to achieve this purpose. For example, The mere appearance or existence of a green/ red traffic signal helps us understand when to make the right choice to drive. Our understanding that green light means "go" encourages us to drive and red light means "stop" to discourages us from driving. Our understanding of the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman would be the green light that encourages us to procreate inside a marriage while cohabitation would naturally be the red light to not procreate inside.

This is done to maintain order in the public arena and protect ourselves or others quality of life in both situations. However, the difference between the two is that you get punished by the state if you drive pass a red light. When it comes to marriage, you are allowed to raise a family outside of a marriage or without the father and not get penalized. You have the freedom to marry or procreate and not get married or procreate.

Thus, the law does not make us do right from wrong but helps us understand what is right and wrong regarding the well-being of children. Whether or not we choose to do what's right is entirely our choice.


Since a heterosexual couple is the only union that can potentially procreate accidentally or procreate at all by definition outside of a marriage, the state cannot encourage heterosexual couples to create the next generation in the right context without referencing and acknowledging the traditional definition of marriage ONLY, which is one man and one woman.

This means if the state were to call same sex unions a marriage in conjunction with opposite sex couples, the law would publicly declare that, from now on, Marriage can be understood apart from responsible procreation and natural parenthood.

Since the well-being of children would no longer be a component of the concept of marriage, the social stigma within choices (like divorce, cohabitation, fatherlessness etc.), which serves as a natural deterrent, would decay and its effect would basically be eliminated. This is because marriage ends up ONLY becoming a matter of choice between consenting adults who want to express their love a certain way.

In summary, my argument, in a nutshell against gay marriage is this, where the possibility of natural children is nil in law, the meaning of marriage is nil. If marriage is allowed between members of the same sex, then the concept of marriage has been emptied of content except to ask whether the parties love each other. There would be no reason to have public recognition of marriage.


Not only would the state no longer be able to encourage incoming generations of heterosexuals to create stable environments, as I previously explained, but it would end up discouraging them as well.

If the traditional notion of marriage, which is defined as banning gay marriage by gay marriage advocates and essentially CON, continues to be compared or labeled as a form of slavery/bigotry akin to racism/homophobia and the state enforces this, then the likely hood of the next generation holding and accepting this idea of marriage in the future would be virtually impossible.


In terms of the selection process, studies very clearly show that people, who cohabit, compared to those who don't, have less traditional ideals or views of marriage. Then, according to other studies, they would not only be more likely to cohabit but more likely to divorce from prior cohabitation [3]. As I explained above, marriage between two people regardless of gender is considered non-traditional and traditional views of marriage would be considered a form of hate and discrimination .

Immediate effects

This new law is impinges on people's freedoms and their capacity to live their life with freedom of conscience and to transmit their values to their own children. Americans will either be forced to accept something like this and reject their own beliefs that reflect objective (as shown above) reality in the process. Otherwise, they will have to live in fear of a secular government that will pander to the likes of intolerant gay activists who will undoubtedly train children CON's corrosive view of marriage within schools, business, media, etc. and discourage traditional views.

The Long-term Effects

Social ramifications:

In connection with the immediate effects and the studies, the state promoting a non-traditional view of marriage and discouraging traditional views of marriage combined will potentially program vulnerable future generations to formulate choices (like cohabitation, fatherlessness, etc) that could harm their own family and society in general as a result.

Legal ramifications:

The problems with redefining marriage also arise in same-sex divorce and parental laws. Just as there are a set of entry conditions for marriage there would be a set of exit provisions as well. Douglas Allen can better discuss the potential impact of same sex divorce on straight relationships and parental consent laws in his book called "An economic assessment of same-sex marriage laws". [4] 960-964


Furthermore, Society or the state does not need to take action or worry about the effects of sexual activity from same sex couple's in the same way. Parentage is always planned and chosen and mainly at an age where they would be able to support a family on their own whether through adoption or other means.

Therefore, since same sex couples are fundamentally different, an important governmental distinction between the two relationships would be reasonable in order to advance this interest and prevent the inevitable consequences from PRO's view. The state can use the traditional definition to encourage young impressionable heterosexual couples to procreate within the context of marriage while the state can encourage homosexuals to adopt and stay together with civil unions.

In the next round, I will explain how legalizing gay marriage does not provide benefits by refuting CON's arguments

[2] ....p.10,11
[3] ... p.2


I will begin by making my case. In the following round, I will refute the case of my opponent.

1) Good and Bad Public Policy

This is a debate about public policy, which may be defined as "the principle of law that holds no citizen can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good." [1] 654 F. Supp. 2d 400, 405 (W.D.N.C. 2009). What constitutes good public policy then should (1) incentivize that which is in keeping with the furtherance of public good and (2) disincentivize that which may harm the public or undercut public good.

Advancing the public good may be achieved by maximizing the freedom of each individual to the extent that it does not conflict with the freedom of other individuals’ respective enjoyment of an equivalent degree of freedom, in keeping with the Rawlsian concept of justice as fairness, where fairness is understood to be maximized liberty for the individual to make choices that no not harm the public good. For harms to the public good to be legitimate, they must be demonstrable and observable, rather than theoretical and existential where individual liberty is regulated. For example, if public policy should bar a practice or behavior, that practice or behavior must be directly connected with harm greater than the good achieved by maximized freedom.

2) Marriage is a Practice Exercised in by Individuals

Many conceptions of marriage have existed in varying cultures, distinguished by varying norms and traditions throughout human history. For example, girls who had reached early reproductive age (sometimes as young as 12) were once considered fit for marriage. In other societies, parents arranged marriages for their children. In the United States, interracial marriage was in many areas once illegal. Marriages have occurred for reasons of strategic alliance (such as among historical royal families in Europe), with or without the consent of those to be married, in accordances with contrasting religious, civil or social practices.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor articulated in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), that demographic changes of the past century make it difficult to speak of an average American family.” Id. at 63. Similarly, those same demographic changes have equally impacted the institution of marrige in America. Among the many possible functions of marriage include the creation and rearing of a family, the loving devotion to ones spouse, the strategic transfer of wealth and others. Today, many functions of marriage co-exist among each other, albeit with varying social stigmas [2]. Because of multifaceted components of, and changes to the institution of marriage in different places and times, it makes little sense to argue that any single “consequence” is necessarily the proper function OR to conclude that any social practice or norm is an objectively more appropriate framework through which marriage may be conceived.

3) Marriage and Society

To the extent that the respective marriages of individuals has the potential to negatively society as a whole, it is appropriate that marriage may be regulated to the extent that any infringement of liberty of any individual may not exceed the infringement of the liberty of another individual. It is in this way that where society regulates marriage, individuals who choose to enter into marriages not receive unequal treatment under the law. Where individuals are treated unequally, then public policy has failed to uphold that most basic tenant of social justice: equality under the law.

Courtney Joslin, of UC Davis observes that “other than the gender requirements for entrance that still exist in most (but not all) states, states have repealed or struck down all or almost all other laws that distinguish between men’s and women’s roles and legal rights and responsibilities in marriage.” [3] In modern society, men and women are regarded as equal both socially and legally. If men and women are equal, it makes little sense to regulate individual choice on the basis of gender. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law." [4]

4) The Impact of Denying the Opportunity to Marry to Individuals

In the United States, The Due Process clauses of the fifth and fourteenth amendments state that no “person . . . [shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” by government. [5] Unequal treatment under the law occurs where the prospective choices of an individual are unduly restricted more than the choices of another in pursuit of the same legal objective. Because marriage is a legal contract in the context of public policy, where individuals do not enjoy commensurate freedom to marry, they are unduly discriminated against and not afforded equal treatment under the law.

Michael S. Wald of the Stanford School of Law explained in December, 1999 that “marriage confers unique legal rights and obligations that can significantly enhance the lives of married couples and their children. These rights and obligations enable married couples to organize their lives in ways that maximize their joint well-being, assuring them some degree of economic protection if things go badly.” [6] Because of the individual benefits marriage affords, he argues that that society benefits from recognition of same sex couples because of the impact that socially legitimized commitment has on parents, children and society.

In Conclusion

Marriage is a complex and diverse institution which has seen constant evolution in keeping with the evolving standards of morality that society has witnessed across the trajectory of time. The very fact that marriage has changed so dynamically over time is indicative of the fact that no single conception of function of marriage is sufficient to account for the diverse and varied role it plays in the lives of those who choose to enter into it, or society itself.

While our conceptions of marriage expand, our commitment to equality under the law remains constant. Because denying some individuals the opportunity to freely enter into marriage with other individuals is discriminates on the basis of gender to that end, it is in keeping with the tenants of good public policy to abrogate such a restriction.


[1] Herndon v. TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Servs., LLC, 654 F. Supp. 2d 400, 405 (W.D.N.C. 2009)


[3] Human Rights, Volume 36, Number 3, Summer 2009. American Bar Association.




Debate Round No. 2



I actually would agree with CON here in some sense. Marriage has never been a static institution that has stayed exactly the same throughout history. There has been many elements to it that have change and some of those aspects have already been mentioned by CON. However, There are important elements from the institution of marriage that have ,for most part, remained constant for milleniums.

For instance, 'marriage has always entailed more than a mere "contract". Marriage involves not just a couple, but
extended family members, non-blood relations, and impersonal third parties like the church, state, or tribe. Marriage has always required an intention for a life-long commitment. Most importantly, Marriage has always contained the expectation of fertility' [1]. Here is an example from U.S. law of what I mean:

In Murphy v. Ramsey (1885) the U.S. Supreme Court stated:

"[C]ertainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to rank as one of the coordinate state of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one MAN and one WOMAN in the holy state of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of the reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement."

This quote is an example of why the U.S. Supreme Court themselves has always defined marriage to be between a man and a woman for the continuation of society. Its also why never made any inferences or signs that the fundamental right to marry included same sex marriage. In fact, the Supreme Court rejected the existence of such a definitions or right in the past and said there is no fundamental right to gay marriage .

After the Loving decision, The U.S. Supreme Court in Baker v. Nelson in 1972 regarding the issue of Same sex marriage endorsed a Minnesota supreme court decision. There are also plenty of state and federal courts that mention Baker as a U.S. SCOTUS ruling , so I encourage everyone to look up this source to find out for yourself why I am telling the truth [2]. The case will show you that the same court in Loving v Virginia not only distinguished same sex marriage from interracial marriage, but established it as a right that does not exist under the constitution and never did. They also rejected and refuted many of the same arguments gay activists make today [3]:

"The institution of marriage as a union man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis. Skinner V. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535, 541, 62 S.Ct. 1110, 1113, (1942), which invalidated Oklahoma's Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act on equal protection grounds, stated in part: "Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race." This historic institution manifestly is more deeply founded than the asserted contemporary concept of marriage and societal interests for which petitioners contend. The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is not a charter for RESTRUCTURING it by judicial LEGISLATION."

Universal Declaration of Human rights:

"Article 16
1.Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a FAMILY. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

3.The FAMILY is the NATURAL and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. " [4]

As you can see, Marriage wouldn't be "fundamental" to the "existence" and "survival" of humanity if it was completely delinked from procreation or had nothing to do with reproductive potential. Marriage is the regulation of procreation and rearing of children. In addition, If you noticed from the Universal Declaration, it never said without any limitation due to GENDER and the ARTIFICIAL family.


Discrimination: " The equal protection clause is not intended to provide "equality" among individuals or classes but only "equal application" of the laws. The result, therefore, of a law is not relevant so long as there is no discrimination in its application. By denying states the ability to discriminate, the equal protection clause of the Constitution is crucial to the protection of civil rights.

Generally, the question of whether the equal protection clause has been violated arises when a state grants a particular class of individuals the right to engage in an activity yet denies other individuals the same right." [5]

1. Sex Equality

Bans on interracial marriage were about the segregation of protected classes ,which has been deemed in the Brown decision to be another form of discrimination. When it comes to the Sexes, The Supreme Court has never ruled integration to be a form of discrimination. Thus, there is no discrimination between the sexes because men and woman can equally marry someone of the opposite sex.

2. Sexual Orientation Equality

Traditional marriage laws do not violate the equal protection clause because providing a separate institution like civil unions to same sex couples has been deemed constitutional on basis of sex (with some conditions of course). For example, We have separate but equal situations for men and women that permeate our country ranging from restrooms, the military, prisons, sport teams, and even separate but equal public schools. We have this even though women are a minority that historically have been discriminated against.

In a case called Vorcheimer v. Philadelphia school District, the Supreme Court ruled, that "Separate" is essentially "Equal". As long as each gender equally has a choice in going to both schools for both genders and that, interests in creating separateness based on the biological differences grounded in sex and GENDER are a legitimate state interests.[6]

In United States v. Virginia , the court agreed with this rationale as well:

"Had Virginia made a genuine effort to devote comparable public resources to a facility for women, and followed through on such a plan, it might well have avoided an equal protection violation."[7]"it is not the 'exclusion of women' that violates the Equal Protection Clause, but the maintenance of an all-men school without providing any -- much less a comparable -- institution for women... It would be a sufficient remedy, I think, if the two institutions offered the same quality of education and were of the same overall caliber."

Obviously, this has been deemed constitutional because there is a fundamental difference between race and sex. This is why we no longer have bans on interracial marriage or have Jim Crow laws but still have and always accepted apartheid for the sexes and define marriage between one man and one woman.

Therefore, there is no reason to think that gay unions will also be viewed or treated inferior in practice or in principle, especially when the term "civil unions" by itself is simply a neutral term without meaning not a negative one.
Unless CON can show that all or majority of the states that have civil unions for same sex couples were unable to provide the same rights and have failed to enforce their civil union laws, separate but equal is a valid compromise and does not infringe on the principles of equality.

[1] p.950


In this round, I will refute my opponent’s case in Rd. 2 by (1) exploring the curious divergence between Kenballer’s sources and his arguments and (2) reestablishing the reasons why legalizing gay marriage is overall NOT a bad public policy.

Some Issues That Must be Addressed:

Kenballer begins by defining the purpose of marriage as to “regulate the biological driven phenomena known as procreation that happens either by choice or by accident.” This confused me, because I doubted that the CDC would be so bold. Consequently, I was right. The article he cited, is about “Unintended Pregnancy Prevention.” Marriage (civil or otherwise) is not mentioned even once on the page he cited.

His first Source:

Coincidentally enough, his misuse of sources continued. Kenballer argues that this concept of “civil marriage” exists to “encourage heterosexual couples to create the next generation” and similarly disincentivize pregnancy out of wedlock. But, the source he cited only argued that homosexual couples are not disadvantaged by the fact that heterosexual couples are afforded more protections under the law, because the effect of legislation to that end does not “fall within the traditional meaning of legislative punishment, fail to further a non-punitive purpose, or be based on a [legislative] intent to punish.” (Argument cited within case originally from Planned Parenthood of Mid- Mo. v. Dempsey, 167 F.3d 458, 465 (8th Cir. 1999), citing Nixon, 433 U.S. at 473, and Selective Serv. Sys. v. Minn. Pub. Interest Research Group, 468 U.S. 841, 852 (1984).)

Read on Kenballer’s second source:

Kenballer attempts to preempt a response to what he conceives as “con’s view of marriage” by arguing that cohabitation leads to increase divorce rates, because those “who cohabit, compared to those who don't, have less traditional ideals or views of marriage.” While the source he cited does conclude that cohabitation does tend to correlate with higher divorce rates, neither his argument or the source it is based upon speaks to wether or not legalizing gay marriage is bad public policy. As such, this is wholly tangential to the topic at hand.

Kenballer continues to explore the effects of abandoning what he considers to be “traditional ideals or views of marriage.” Among the immediate effects, he contends that “people's freedoms and their capacity to live their life with freedom of conscience and to transmit their values to their own children” would be “impugned” because gay marriage would be legalized. And yet, he fails to demonstrate how in any way heterosexual couples would in any way be precluded from passing their values from generation to generation. Instead of demonstrating an actual harm to either his existential concept of “traditional ideals or views of marriage” he merely speculates that a “secular government” will corrupt the minds of conservatives and their posterity. Would kenbaler prefer that we live under a non-secular (i.e. theocratic) regime? Even if he did actually establish how in some way “traditional ideals or views of marriage” would be harmed by expanding the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples, he comprehensively fails to demonstrate how such an imaginary threat would in any way make legalized same sex marriage an “overall bad public policy.” Interestingly enough, even Kenballer’s fourth source concedes that “Further changes to entry or exit conditions would have no binding impact on traditional marriage” (at p. 980).

And now:

Remember that to win this debate, I must only demonstrate that legalizing gay marriage is not overall bad public policy. This means that my arguments must show how legalized gay marriage is either in the public interest or not in conflict with the public interest, in order for it NOT to be a bad public policy. Thusly, I stipulate that public policy which (1) upholds the principle of equal treatment under the law and (2) equalizes individual freedom are in the public interest.

1) Public policy which upholds the principle of equal treatment under the law is in the public interest.

The principle of equality under the law is a universally accepted tenant of civilized and democratic society, as reflected in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (cited above) and the due process clauses of the 5th and 14th Amendments. It is therefore appropriate that in questions of public policy, that public policy which advances equal treatment under the law be regarded as good.

1a) Legalizing gay marriage upholds the principle of equal treatment under the law.

As Courtney Joslin, of UC Davis wrote, “other than the gender requirements for entrance [into marriage]... most (but not all) states, states have repealed or struck down all or almost all other laws that distinguish between men’s and women’s roles and legal rights and responsibilities in marriage.” [3] Given that gender requirements still regulate whom may enter into marriage in many states, same sex couples are not afforded equal treatment under the law because they do not enjoy the legal right to marry in many states. Because of that difference which exists because of laws which define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman, same sex couples are not afforded equal protection under the law. By legalizing gay marriage, the gender requirement for whom may enter into a marriage will be legally abrogated.

1b) Legalizing gay marriage is in the public interest.

Because public policy which upholds the principle of equal treatment under the law is in the public interest, and legalizing gay marriage advances the principle of equality under the law by abrogating the gender requirements which in many areas presently govern on the basis of sex, legalizing gay marriage is in the public interest.

2) Public policy which equalizes individual freedom of choice is in the public interest.

Also reflected in the due process clauses of both the 5th and the 14th Amendments is the principle that ““person . . . [shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. To deprive someone of liberty, in the context of entering into a marriage, is to limit the prospective choices of whom a person may marry, on any basis.

2a) Legalizing gay marriage equalizes individual freedom of choice.

Laws which regulate marriage on the basis of gender by defining marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman effectively deny men who wish to marry men and women who wish to marry women the freedom to marry whom they please. In effect, this denial constitutes a restriction of individual freedom.

2b) Legalizing gay marriage is in the public interest.

By abrogating the restriction on individual freedom imposed by laws which define marriage as between a man and a woman, individuals who wish to enter into marriage with other individuals of their same gender will enjoy freedom commensurate with those individuals who wish to marry individuals of their opposite gender. In equalizing the freedom of choice to all persons in this way, legalizing gay marriage is in the public interest.

To Summarize:

Public policy that is in the public interest is NOT bad public policy. Because gay marriage is in the public interest, rather than at odds with it, I argue that it is not bad public policy. In order for public policy to be bad, it must be in conflict with or harm the public interest. Kenballer has in no way demonstrated how the public interest is harmed by legalized gay marriage, and therefore has thus far failed to demonstrate how legalizing gay marriage is overall bad public policy.

Debate Round No. 3


kenballer forfeited this round.


My opponent, Kenballer, seems not to have availed himself to address the various issues with his case and sources I highlighted in the preceding round. His forfeiture implies concession, and I extend all of my arguments thusly.


Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
Kenballer hasn't logged on since I posted my response. I mean, I knew I kicked his @ss... but that is surprising.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
Alas! My efforts to discontinue gay marriage debates have been in vain!
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
Ruining YYWs goal by reading this
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by MouthWash 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.