The Instigator
Yvette
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
Veridas
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Marriage isn't a civil right

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Yvette
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,471 times Debate No: 12697
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (3)

 

Yvette

Con

I will be arguing that, with an anthropological perspective on marriage, marriage is a civil right. This debate will focus on American law. I have the most burden of proof, and must argue my case, however my opponent must also argue theirs. The first round will be used to agree and to put forward any needed definitions or clarifications. The second and third round will be used to debate.

Civil rights are defined as:

"Civil rights are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or "discrimination") in a number of settings -- including education, employment, housing, and more -- and based on certain legally-protected characteristics." [1]

The same thing but in more words and with more legalese:

"A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Statutes have been enacted to prevent discrimination based on a person's race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual preference." [2]

Excessive semantics are not welcome, this is not a semantical debate.

Finally, let me end with this: marriage is a civil right, but my resolution is not that there can't be overriding factors which allow for such rights to be denied. Rights to the pursuit of happiness is considered a basic right in American society, for example, but there are countless reasons such rights might be denied, most notably that the person has committed a crime. Whether civil rights should be granted in a specific case, whether a specific characteristic should be legally protected and whether civil rights should even exist are not the topic of this debate.

SOURCES
1. http://goo.gl...
2. http://goo.gl...
Veridas

Pro

I will be arguing from a viewpoint that people seem keen to overlook in debates particularly pertaining to gay marriage but also to marriage in general.

Namely I would argue that humans are social creatures, and unlike specific species of fish or bird, we stick together in the largest numbers possible, and yet are perfectly capable of the social ranking used by wolves and some other predators, meaning we feel comfort in numbers but are capable of dedicating our lives and loyalty to a single person whom we believe is worthy.

I would argue that marriage is the self-aware version of that socially necessary dedication to a single other person, and that it's denial is not an abuse of civil rights in the traditional sense, but more a denial of what we have built our entire existence upon as a species, even the smallest and most isolated tribes elected leaders, and when leaders weren't enough, there was always god, and even the gods had their own leaders, Zeus, Jupiter, Amun, and as time progressed polytheistic religions proved unnecessary and we as a species switched to monotheistic religions but our need to dedicate ourselves utterly to a single person has never changed.

I would argue that to deny anyone the right to marriage is effectively the same as saying they aren't human, a despicable act in itself.
Debate Round No. 1
Yvette

Con

I will be arguing that, with an anthropological perspective on marriage, marriage is a civil right. I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and for bringing his unique perspective to it (and a perspective I might agree with, once I hear more). On to my argument.

The anthropological view of marriage [1][2] is more complex and broad than the understanding of marriage may be in any one culture (including our own), thus, it is the primary way a multicultural, rights-based government should view marriage.

Marriage is nigh-universal culturally, but takes vastly different forms. Yet, it's effects are generally the same, and from this anthropologists find the basic social purposes behind marriage. Namely, marriage is a way of regulating sex, by socially tolerating it. Because of this, marriage provides:

1. Legitimization of those married. Marriage accords status as an "adult" (which is not to say such status cannot be earned anyway)

2. Legitimization of the involved relationship. Note that "relationship" does not require a romantic relationship--business or political relationships are

3. Legitimization of sex.

4. Legitimization of offspring.

Yet, unless there is a characteristic which society is biased against, marriage is usually allowed for couples who do not fit into the marriage ideal (ie, a couple who cannot bear children). This is important. Even those for whom marriage was not designed are generally allowed to enjoy it, because of it's social significance. Marriage is only denied to people with unusual or unfitting characteristics when those characteristics are already discriminated against. This is unfair and unequal treatment.

The major point to recognize here is that marriage provides legitimacy. Legitimacy provides acceptance, status (especially status that was otherwise denied because of lack of legitimacy, not to mention status that is being otherwise earned--see #1), self-esteem, as well as (and this is important) removes discrimination/bias. Let's take a moment here to acknowledge that while high status shouldn't be considered a right, civil rights are certainly concerned when status is being suppressed due to discrimination.

Let us return to what civil rights actually are: "Civil rights are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or "discrimination") in a number of settings -- including education, employment, housing, and more -- and based on certain legally-protected characteristics."

Equal treatment, free of discrimination, based on legally protected characteristics.

But isn't it fine to just let people say they're married without conferring them any legal benefits or recognition? The legal benefits aren't the issue exactly, the issue is recognition and equality. Consider the following: In the antebellum South, slaves were not able to legally marry each other. They did, however, perform their own marriage ceremonies and recognized their marriages within their own social groups. Yet outside of their small communities the marriages had no legitimacy, and this extended to their sexual relationships, offspring/familial relationships, status as adults, etc. Once their marriages were afforded equal status as normal marriages, married couples gained these things.

Equality is what provides legitimacy. Marriage, in American society, is made legitimate by legal recognition, because American society recognizes its law.

In conclusion, for any legally protected characteristic, access to equality in marriage is a civil right.

SOURCES
1. http://goo.gl...
2. http://goo.gl...
Veridas

Pro

My opponent's argument is convincing, she clearly posesses charisma, however her entire argument hinges on the idea that humanity has always been so squeamish about sex as it is today, oral sex and sticking it in her pooper weren't invented in the last thirty years, and specfic cultures like those of Greece and Africa have always embraced sex, the Japanese studied it with rigorous abandon, the French experimented with it, and we Brits, well, we used it as humour, even our potentially most famous love story, Romeo and Juliet, is rife with sexual jokes made by characters like Mercutio, Benvolio and Paris.

Our sensitivity towards sex is a by-product of the development of the nations of the world, therefore, my opponent's argument is only correct in the context of the current attitude of man, however if we are to discuss civil rights and especially something as fragile and precious as love then we must consider mankind in the context of the heart, not the context of the mind, and especially not the context of the current period in mankind's history. We will be remembered most famously for our greatest acts of both cruelty and compassion and thus we will be judged based on the context of the heart, so we must view all things through the same looking glass.
Debate Round No. 2
Yvette

Con

My opponent's argument does little to show that marriage is not, in fact, a civil right. His argument consisted of this:

1. The "current" social climate (presumably current refers only to modern, Westernized cultures) is more prudish than it used to be.
2. We should judge who should be married based "on the mind".

I am not sure how either of these arguments disprove that marriage is a civil right. My arguments stand unchallenged: marriage is a civil right.
Veridas

Pro

My arguments show that marriage is not a civil right based upon the ideas that my opponent sought to challenge in her second post, my second post consisted of counterpoints to her post, not counterpoints to the idea that marriage is a civil right because to ignore her points in the second post would be suicidal, therefore yes, my points in the last post don't argue against the idea that marriage is a civil right, only my opponent's attempt to argue against my assertion against that point.

Since my opponent elected not to make any countpoints to my own, nor chose to reinforce her argument, I can only assume she has run out of things to say to defend her point, therefore my counterpoints are what go unchallenged, not her initial argument. It's also interesting to note that she either didn't fully read my argument or didn't pay attention when she did, I did not state that we should judge who should be married at all, and I said that the judgements that do happen must be done NOT in the context of the mind but the context of the heart. Additionally, I wasn't referring to wexternised culture, I was referring to mankind as a whole, hence my use of examples based in numerous countries.

To revise.

Marriage is not a civil right because it symbolises that which we have built our society and species upon globally, it's application to couples is symbolic of the dedication to each other that we as a species have applied to leaders and deities, and thus to deny someone the right to marry is the same as saying they aren't human, and to have the authority to deny them that right equates to the authority to order them to stop existing, since nobody has the authority to do the latter, nobody has the authority to do the former regardless of whether or not they attempt to.

Marriage is as much a mindset as it is a ceremony, it carries with it burdens of responsibility and dedication that both members of a couple gladly take, there is nothing else like it in our society or our species, a "right" is defined by what we can do without being opposed, and no matter how hard governments may try, they can never take something like marriage away, because marriage depends on love and love depends on nothing, nothing can stop love, no federal body or legislature or law or congress or voter can break it's embrace or destroy it's effect and to state otherwise is insulting at best.

marriage is love, marriage is total love, sometimes it doesn't last and sometimes it is doomed to fail, but the love that the people feel as they marry isn't defined by their country or their laws. Therefore, to deny someone the right to marry is to deny someone the right to love, and to deny someone the right to love is to deny them an emotion, deny them one emotion and you may as well deny them all, as all our emotions are in balance. Happiness and sadness, love and hate, pity and guilt, to deny someone's emotions is to deny their very existence.

Marriage is not a civil right because love is not a civil right because emotions are not a civil right because existence is not a civil right. They are simply extensions of who we are and what we are, and thus to deny someone marriage is to deny their existence and to deny them existence makes you implicitly guilty of attempted murder, after all, that which doesn't exist can't be alive.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zetsubou 7 years ago
Zetsubou
Reverse, sociology Anthropology encompasses sociology as well as other things.

Err, no. Clearly you've never seen the social science map, the social sciences are not the same. The distinction is that sociology is analytical, anthropology is behavioral and thus they are not the same. Anthropology is "the study of humans" but that would make all social sciences a part of anthropology that topic would be too generic for a real course and thus - it is divided. It is for this reason you don't see social anthropology studies on marriage, poverty, death or any other analytical studies. You see them on class, hierarchies, evolution of human behavior and social history.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

See the topics you for Anthropology in a real college vs the topics done for Sociology. After that see marriage.

I follow Alan Mcfarlane as my Anthropolgy mentor.

Also - You have a serious, Neurotic victim complex.
Posted by Yvette 7 years ago
Yvette
Clearly you don't know much about anthropology...anthropology is "the study of humans", it's holistic, drawing from biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology. Anthropology is not simply "human nature" while sociology is "society". Anthropology encompasses sociology as well as other things.

But I suppose because I'm American you automatically know more about my own major than I do? And what the hell is that link, a photocopy of a 20-year-old workbook? Try actually reading about anthropology...like, from your own special correct British fancy Royal Anthropological Institute. Surely they're good enough for you?

http://www.discoveranthropology.org.uk...

Whoops. Please do not sit there and tell me I'm wrong about what my own major is and assume you're correct just because you're British. UGH.
Posted by Zetsubou 7 years ago
Zetsubou
"Specfic cultures like those of Greece and Africa have always embraced sex."

Not really... +Africa is not a culture.
Posted by Zetsubou 7 years ago
Zetsubou
The Anthropological definition you gave Yvette was more or less a sociological one. An Anthropological stance doesn't care about 'inorganic' human hierarchies and customs. The distinction is the focus or stress.

Marriage isn't a human instinct or part of human character (Anthropology, human nature), marriage is related to the macro social institutions created by man (Sociology, human interaction in his societies)

Then again, Americans mess the mean of everything up, you'd usually do a Natural Science-Anthropology or Archeology-Anthropology in the UK and with traditional courses. Sociology to Politics, Economics, History or Psychology.

On the topic: http://nos.org...
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Who on earth would say that marriage is not a civil right?? It's specifically laid out in case law that it's not only a civil right... it's a FUNDAMENTAL civil right...
Posted by Yurlene 7 years ago
Yurlene
I thought that marriages and the word love is actually a modern invention. Marriages in the past did not have love in it since the marriages are usually about property-ownerships and business transactions, etc. So to equate marriage with the emotion love is quite the contrary. Marriage in itself as we now know it today is quite new in the definition that Pro sees it.
Posted by Yvette 7 years ago
Yvette
Oh, my bad. :P
Posted by Freeman 7 years ago
Freeman
"Your statements aren't entirely true. Not all human societies have leaders, and that becomes even more true when you consider that not all human societies have official leaders with real power. Neither do all human societies have gods. Others simply have powerful spirits."

@Yvette

I didn't write that sentence/paragraph, nor do I necessarily agree with the ideas expressed therein. It was from one of your opponent's rounds. I was merely commenting on the lack of periods in it.
Posted by Yvette 7 years ago
Yvette
The difference between a god and a spirit that any shaman can destroy is pretty big...

As for leaderless societies, I'm guessing my anthropology books aren't lying.
Posted by Veridas 7 years ago
Veridas
"Yvette
Your statements aren't entirely true. Not all human societies have leaders, and that becomes even more true when you consider that not all human societies have official leaders with real power. Neither do all human societies have gods. Others simply have powerful spirits."

I'm sure you're smart enough to know that "gods" is a general term at best, all human spirituality is based on something more complex or more revered than humanity itself.

As for societies that have no leaders...if memory serves, no such society has survived to modern day existence...so yeah.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by XOXMSperfect 7 years ago
XOXMSperfect
YvetteVeridasTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Shestakov 7 years ago
Shestakov
YvetteVeridasTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 7 years ago
LaissezFaire
YvetteVeridasTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50