On the legislation of marriage
I would like to argue that "marriage" should cease to be recognized/sanctioned/etc. as an independent legal entity outside of contract law.
While typically, the "Pro" side has BoP, as I am arguing in favour of a change to the status quo, I accept the BoP for this debate.
I propose the following format:
First round for acceptance/definitions/clarification of the debate question
Second round for introductory arguments
Third round rebuttal
Fourth round counter-rebuttal and conclusion
I propose the following definitions:
Marriage: a personal union between consenting individuals.
Legal entity: a "being" (person/corporation/social construct) recognized and defined by legislation.
Contract law: a body of law adjudicating contracts between legal entities, and a separate body of law from existing family law.
I accept the definitions of legal entity and contract law, but request a redefinition of marriage.
Marriage: a personal, monogamous union between two consenting individuals.
Clarifying the debate question for the voters: my argument is structured with the understanding that there are no sufficient reasons to deny homosexuals the right to marry. Tucktovich has graciously accepted the BoP in his argument, stating that "marriage" should cease to be recognized/sanctioned/etc. as an independent legal entity outside of contract law. Therefore, he must prove why marriage should cease to exist, whereas all I must do is counter his arguments.
If this needs further clarification, I suggest we do so in the comments section to preserve characters for the next rounds.
Besides that, LET"S KEEP THIS CIVIL, BUT IMPASSIONED!
For all voters, the definitions have been agreed upon - with one slight negotiation surrounding the definition of "marriage" in the comments. Please check there prior to voting.
My argument as follows (all citations will be footnoted at the end of the argument).
"Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression."  My argument that marriage should cease to be a separate, legally recognized civil institution (outside the possible bounds of contract law) stems primarily from this idea.
The definition of marriage as agreed to by both parties of the debate demands that all parties to a marriage/personal union consent to the union. This is both consistent with the existing legal requirements, and key to a portion of the argument surrounding the de-legalization of marriage.
The premise inherent in the legalization of marriage is that society can and should have the right to legitimize (or delegitimize) personal unions formed with the consent of those within the union. This premise is problematic for a number of reasons.
In the United States (2010 statistics used), approximately 2/3 of partnered womens' first union was through cohabitation rather than marriage (48% of all women, including un-partnered).  At the time of publication, approximately 40% of those relationships transitioned into marriage within three years.  While the practical differences between a cohabitual union and a marriage are negligible (dependent upon the individuals involved in the union rather than the nature of the union itself), the fact of the legal marriage is to impart certain additional legal rights to one union, while denying those rights to others. This leads to the absurd conclusion of a cohabiting couple being required to pay a fee (for the marriage license) in order to receive legal rights denied them based solely on not having paid the demanded fee.
Beyond the absurd, the social acknowledgement of personal unions through the legalization of marriage has led to society denying the rights associated with marriage to some demographics considered unpopular - typically based on matters of race or sexual orientation. While I would consider this to be self-evident, I suggest that the sanctions against same-sex partners having the right to marry in numerous jurisdictions (including otherwise liberal democracies) as adequate evidence to prove the point regarding the risks of giving society the right to legitimize/de-legitimize personal unions. As an alternative, I refer to the anti-miscegenation laws prevalent in the United States until they were struck down, which criminalized the marrying of people of different races. 
In other words, the net impact of the legalization of marriage (as a separate entity than the realm of contract law) is the legitimization/de-legitimization of individual consent to a personal union at the whim of society for profit (through the sale of marriage licenses), or for a sense of moral superiority (through the denial of legitimization to people on the basis that they are an unfavoured demographic). On this basis, I contend that the legalization of marriage (in other words, a social legitimization/de-legitimization of a personal union between consenting individuals), is society issuing mandates in areas where it ought not (and where frequently it issues wrong mandates to begin with), and thus not morally acceptable.
 Mill, John Stuart, "On Liberty", (source used) http://www.bartleby.com...
 National Health Statistics Reports, "First Pre-marital Cohabitation in the United States: 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth", http://www.cdc.gov..., p4.
 Ibid, p5
Thank you, Tucktovich and apologies for taking so long to post my first argument.
It will be interesting argue such a unique debate topic.
Firstly, my opening argument pertains to the idea that marriage has been an institutional union that’s ben in existence far beyond the age of our great nation. Thereby, our great nation should not have the liberty to demolish such a union. It goes without saying that, for many Americans, marriage is all part of the dream. Marriage is the unofficial first step of settling down. With the recent ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court recognized that marriage is a constitutional right afforded to evert citizen in this country. It would be defamatory to infringe on such a right. So, simply put, my argument against my opponent is that marriage has been in existence far too long for ANY government to think they can overturn it.
Now, to look closer into my opponent’s arguments:
“The net impact of the legalization of marriage (as a separate entity than the realm of contract law) is the legitimization/de-legitimization of individual consent to a personal union at the whim of society for profit (through the sale of marriage licenses), or for a sense of moral superiority (through the denial of legitimization to people on the basis that they are an un-favored demographic).” While both of these arguments are, in a miniscule way, true, Con fails to address why these issues warrant the illegalization of marriage.
Instead of providing further logic on his opinions, he refers to a quote “Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression.” stating that two very simple facts of marriage label the government messing with things it shouldn’t be messing with. If this statement is true, then there are far more unions and mandates more tyrannical than the institution of marriage. With these upheld beliefs everything from the education system to the parks and recreations departments can be labeled as un-mandated intervention.
I could go further, but for the theatrical sake of tension, I’ll pause my rebuttals here and await my opponents next arguments.
Herman has contended that marriage has existed for long enough that government should not eliminate it. The premise for this argument is rooted in a logical fallacy - the Appeal to Tradition . While Herman is fundamentally correct - governments have been sanctioning personal unions from time immemorial - that doesn't make it a good idea, and it doesn't make it moral. It simply means that people do it.
While the key thrust of Herman's argument is rooted in an appeal to tradition, he also references the recent Supreme Court ruling that marriage is a Constitutional Right - and I completely agree. However based on the definition of marriage agreed to, the de-legalization of marriage would not infringe on that right, as there would be no proscriptions on individuals forming personal unions (provided that consent was given), and therefore the lack of social legitimization of that personal union is not infringing on the right to form one. Rather, it is providing greater protection for the equality of that right by ensuring that a) it is freely accessible to all without the requirement of purchasing a license, and b) it cannot be arbitrarily denied anyone on the basis of demographic.
Lastly, while I will be refraining from a counter-rebuttal until the next round, I will address one point of language. Pro has called my argument in favour of the illegalization of marriage rather than the de-legalization of marriage. While we agreed on the definitions, it's important to draw a distinction between the two. To illegalize marriage would be to ban people from forming personal unions. To de-legalize marriage would be to allow people to form personal unions with neither interference from nor the blessing/mandate of society whatsoever. I am arguing in favour of de-legalization.
Looking forward to the last round!
My opponent has made several very interesting arguments in his round 2 rebuttal. I too will avoid addressing my opponent’s arguments this round and, instead, will insert my final arguments.
My opponent is in favor of de-legalizing marriage so that anyone can form personal unions without society’s blessing/mandate. Firstly, this denies anyone in American society the benefits of marriage. Secondly, this allows opportunity for open bigamy (if not polygamy). It may also lead to unwarranted marriages between elders and adults. Essentially society’s authorization of a marriage is to avoid harmful situations such as polygamy and incestuous relations. If we are too de-legalize marriage, the uncontrolled unions that would emerge from lack of proper mandating would unhinge society.
Secondly, I would like to argue that without the legitimacy of a marriage license, how would society confirm a person’s supposed union to another person. If my opponent is asking for complete lack of government intervention, then there would be no way for a government to know if Jane Doe was in a union with John Doe. This can be dangerous in regards to medical and legal outcomes from the de-legalization of marriage.
Overall, my opponent continues to thrust his reasoning for his arguments, but still fails at proving why this should be the case. Having the burden of proof, my opponent should not only express why the de-legalization would be a good idea, but why it would benefit society more than the current legalization of marriage.
I look forward to my opponents rebuttals in the final round!
HermanGomez95 forfeited this round.