The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Remove 'marriage' from government language.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/22/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,919 times Debate No: 21368
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)





-Please keep language simple, I don't like looking up more than one word per post.
-This debate should not be based on semantics. Use comments if you think a person's statement could mean two different things and you do not actually know what they are trying to say.

-No new information in the 3rd round. Just rebuttals/conclusions.

-By ‘language’ I mean laws, issuing ‘marriage’ license, things like that.

I'd like to start out by stating I am for 'marriage' being a religious unity. I state this because I have never been to a wedding, including civil ceremonies, that did not mention God. That does not mean they do not exist, but because of the statistics, I consider 'marriage' a religious thing.

That being said, I see the religious stand on why same sex marriage (SSM) should not be allowed. I also agree with them. Which is why I think the word ‘marriage’ should be removed from all government language.

I believe unities are vital for our society. When it comes to children, two parents are more often better than one (1). More so if one of them stays at home, but that’s not the topic of this debate. Well, why not just live together? Government benefits of course. Not just tax breaks, but also death benefits and other public benefits. I believe states are making their own civil union laws, but some believe these laws are still not equal.(2)

In short, I believe ‘marriages’ are religious and religious unions should be separate from legal unions.





Although the resolution is only to remove "marriage" from government language, Pro has taken an extra position. Thus, Pro has two burdens to prove.

1. That marriage should be privatized. (Resolution)

2. That marriage should be a religious issue only. (His beginning argument)

Thus, if I disprove one of these, then I win the debate round.

I will start by stating that Pro has really made no argument for privatizing marriage: burden 1.

First, Pro stated that he believes marriage is a religious unity. Great, well even with the government regulating it, marriage can still be a religious unity.

Second, Pro stated that same-sex marriage should not be allowed. But this is not a reason to privatize marriage. In fact, privatizing marriage would allow same-sex marriage.

Finally, Pro stated that because states are making their own laws, there is inequality. But the fact is, states are the ones that are supposed to regulate marriage. This is not inequality! Many, many laws work the same way.

Thus, we are left with no reason to privatize marriage. Pro already loses because he failed his burden 1.

I'd like to also bring up a Disadvantage to this position: Insurance.

One of the benefits of legally marrying is that your insurance is united with your spouses'. That way, you don't have to worry about dealing with separate insurance.

Here's a second Disadvantage to this position: Name changing.

One of the basic parts of marriage is that the woman usually changes her last name to match the male's. This is easy with marriage in the government, not so easy if not. Name changing would be a hassle without government-regulated marriage.

Let's move on to burden 2.

Once again Pro hasn't made much of an argument for making marriage a religious unity only. As I said, you can have a religious unity at the same time as a legal unity.

Now, I would like to bring up a Disadvantage to Pro's position here: Non-religious couples would not be able to marry.

If marriage is only a religious unity, then atheists wouldn't be able to marry. This is completely against how marriage works.

In the end, we see that Pro's position is disadvantageous and that it is better for the government to have a legal form of marriage.

Thank you for reading, and because Pro has not fulfilled either of his burdens, the only way to vote is Con.
Debate Round No. 1


Please try not to change the subject. Your 'extra' burden is like saying I have to prove what happens to a box if I suggest it needs to be moved from the doorway. I only need to prove it is in the way and needs to be moved. Not where it needs to go or why. As far as our debate is concerned the religious marriage can be privatized, or abolished completely, it does not matter.

Because you have chosen to change the debate to 'Marriage should be privatized and religious only', your arguments are irrelevant.

I am going to merely clear up any confusion that my first round may have caused.
1. I believe in separation of church and state, which is essential for religious freedom in the United States.
2. I believe 'marriage' is a religious unity.
3. I believe the national government should have a non-religious unity only. (Civil unity I believe it's called)
4. States have these 'additional' civil union laws, which my second source shows is unequal to marriage.
5. I believe a contract with the government helps keep people together, which is good for children. Source number one was the evidence for this.
6. I believe the objectors of gay marriage have a leg to stand on because of their religious beliefs.
7. I believe sexual orientation is personal and is no business of the government.

I would like to address your disadvantages simply so you do not have to waste your time with them again.
1) Insurance - As you put it, it is a legal spouse. Because the government unity (no longer being religious) can be 2 males or 2 females, the wording would allow for the 'spouse' to be any sexual orientation.
2) Name Change - Is a simple process. Like a common Law marriage, some states (not sure about national government) even allow you to change your name with a signed and notarized affidavit.
3) Non-religious people marrying - this is void simply because they want to be lawfully unified, not religiously. They will not get married, because it is religious. They will get a civil union with a ceremony they organize.
The clear advantage of removing 'marriage' from government is that religions get their word the way they want it. As well as separating church and state just a little bit more.
It is now on you to provide some real disadvantages or prove my advantages are wrong. I look forward to your second round.


I apologize to Pro, I was extremely confused and thought he meant something he did not. But that should not have a bearing on the vote for this round, the result should. I will now move on to some more informed argumentation.

Now, Pro's basic argument relies on whether marriage is religious or not. Pro has not bothered to define marriage, so I will.

"1. : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law 2. : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage "(1)

Does the definition include religion? No. "Marriage" is not a religious thing only. It's a symbol of being united to the person you love.

Pro's argumentation falls apart from this point.

Pro also contested my second burden for him, but failed to refute it. If Pro is going to call marriage a religious unity, he must prove that. He has merely stated his belief. I have provided a definition.

Moving on to my Disadvantages.

1) Insurance

I concede this because of a misunderstanding

2) Name change

You have to pay a fee of about 150 dollars and go before a judge, and do much more. It's harder. This point still stands.

3) Non-religious people marrying

There's still the fact that they will not be called married. That's what they are fighting for: they want to be recognized as married, just like everyone else.

-Understanding Pro's position-

I am rather confused, and I believe you might be too, as to what Pro exactly wants to do. Does he want all the legal benefits of marriage to extend down to civil unions, and allow religious couples to at their wedding day also say "we're married"?

Is he saying that there is currently two "levels" of being united: Civil unions which apply to same-sex couples, and marriage, which has more benefits than a civil union?

If so, Disadvantage: Civil unions not always recognized

Many states don't recognize each other's civil unions.(2)

Thus, the "marriages", or "unions" (whatever you want to call it) of same-sex couples won't be recognized in every state.


Pro has not proved that marriage is a religious unity only, and I have proved my side. The debate hinges on this point, if I lose this point then we move on and look at the other arguments, but if I win this point Pro loses. I've proved my side and thus Pro loses.

There are also several disadvantages to Pro's side.

Lastly, Pro's side is so undefined as to hurt debate. In debate, a vague position/plan/idea is worth voting against.

Thank you, please vote Con.

Debate Round No. 2


I thank you for not giving up on this. I’m not the best at explaining my opinion. I’m hoping participating in these debates will help.

Rebuttal to your definition

Your definition of marriage is a little lacking. You state the definition while concealing the implications of the word. History shows that marriage has religious implications. This is what I was implying in my first round. Because this implication is so deep in many cultures, the word can be given to religion. Add “in god’s eyes” if you like to the definition. I’m not really concerned what they do with it though. My argument about removing the word from all government is because of these implications.

In short, I do not have to prove ‘marriage’ is religious. History shows it has religious implications.

Rebuttal to ‘Understanding’ & ‘Non-Religious People Marrying’

Those that want the right to be called ‘married’ are asking for that right because they do not have the same rights as ‘marriage’ in all government eyes. If they want to fight the church for marriage, they can. But it would have nothing to do with any of their inalienable rights. If we remove ‘marriage’ from all government, and put in ‘civil union’, everyone will now have equal rights. In other words, the government sees no ‘marriage’. So people can say whatever they like when they have their ceremony.

In short, there are no longer legal benefits for ‘marriage’ only ‘civil unions’. Marriage is either religious or non-existent. It has no bearing on government issues.

Rebuttal to ‘Name Change’

This is a non-issue. A name change for a ‘marriage’ will now be a name change for a ‘civil union’. I repeat, everyone will have a ‘civil union’. I still say it is not hard to change your name. But that’s all opinion.

Rebuttal to ‘Disadvantage’

I believe my stance is clear now, therefore, your disadvantage only proves my case. Currently, being ‘married’ has an advantage over a ‘civil union’. This should not be the case where the entire government is concerned. I would also remind everyone that, like insurance, anything that uses the government to recognize a 'couple' would now also use 'civil union' because there is no such thing as 'marriage' to the government.


History shows us that ‘marriage’ is clearly tied to religion. If we remove the word from government, we are taking one more step in separation of church and state. This is one more step in equality in America. This allows for freedom from religion. It also provides equality in unions. (Not talking about worker unions)

I would like to remind everyone voting, this is not a debate about whether or not gays should marry. This could merely be for people that don’t want their union to be associated with religion.

I thank everyone in advance for voting.

I would also like to thank Zealous1 for participating.


I thank Pro for his response and I will jump right in.

Definition of marriage

>>> "Your definition of marriage is a little lacking"

Correction: Pro is actually saying Merriam Webster's definition is. Not mine.

>>> "In short, I do not have to prove 'marriage' is religious. History shows it has religious implications."

Actually, what Pro is doing right there is trying to prove marriage is religious. I'll be rebutting the argument.

>>> 'Religious implications' of marriage

The main problem with this argument is that it's... false. Marriage has been treated as a religious union by religious people, and it's been treated as what it is (my definition), by the rest. Just because some people treat something as religious doesn't mean it is religious.

Merriam webster is my source. It's a credible dictionary. Pro simply brushed it aside, but provided no counter-definition with a source, only said that I'm wrong because of supposed "history".

Once again, marriage is only a religious unity to religious people. It's open to interpretation depending on who is doing it, but it's really not religious.

Pro has failed his burden of proof on this issue, and thus even if you buy all the rest of the argumentation, he can not win.

Non-religious people marrying

Finally, in the last round, Pro has clarified his position. It took much too long for a proper debate.

Pro has still not answered, though, to the fact that replacing marriage with civil union would devalue unions. Non-religious people would now be "united" instead of "married". Marriage is now an unattainable high. Even if the government itself doesn't have anything to do with marriage, it's like they took marriage and put it on the top shelf so non-religious people can't reach it.

Name changing

You see, now that Pro has finally clarified his position, this point doesn't apply and I would concede, except it's unfair. In debate we have a standard called "Prima facie", which means "at first sight". Basically, Pro needs to state his position clearly, or "at first sight", in the round. He chose round 1 as the beginning of the argument rather than acceptance, so it should have been clear what he wanted to do from round 1.

However, Pro left clarification until round 3, when as he said I'm not allowed to create new arguments. This is inherently unfair and should mean a loss for Pro.

I concede the name changing point because it doesn't apply anymore, but that also means Pro should lose for abuse.

Civil unions not recognized in many states

Once again, now that Pro finally clarified his position, this doesn't even stand. Imagine if Pro is allowed to do that in every debate round: hide his argument until the last round then show why all the arguments don't apply. That's what Pro did, and that should be punished by a vote for Con.


Although Pro clarified in the last round to try to remove all my points, I still have two points standing, both worthy of a Con vote.

1. Pro has not proved his burden that marriage is religious. All his arguments pit on this. I have a definition, he doesn't.

2. Removing marriage would devalue civil unions.

Pro's pretty much only argument for removing marriage and replacing it with civil unions is the separation of church and state which "is one more step in equality". However, as I have proven, marriage is not only religious based on my definition. Thus Pro's arguments crumble.

So, voting issues, or reasons why you should vote Con:

Voting issue 1: Failed burden.

See above, Pro did not prove his side.

Voting issue 2: Devaluing civil unions

Only religious people would get the high shelf product of "marriage" rather than just a civil union.

Voting issue 3: Prima Facie

Pro did not present his case "at first sight".

Because of these three reasons, I urge you to vote Con.

Thank you very much for reading and voting, and I thank Pro for the debate despite what happened this round.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by ejh238 6 years ago
I get what you didn't realize, what I need to know is what I said that actually helped you realize.
Posted by Zealous1 6 years ago
I didn't realize that you wanted to basically replace what marriage is with civil unions. I didn't realize you wanted all the advantages that applied to marriage to apply to the civil union, and marriage to just be a certain word whoever wanted to use it could in their union wedding thingy.
Posted by ejh238 6 years ago
I thought I was quite clear about my position via the title and stating the WORD needs to be removed. I suppose I should have used the word REPLACED. Unfortunately, my opponent chose not to use the comments as requested.

Zealous1, I honestly do not see how you were not clear on my stance during the second round. I would greatly appreciate if you would explain what confused you. Perhaps it will help in my future arguments.
Posted by Zealous1 6 years ago
Well, I was still not entirely sure about the debate even at the end. I kind of joined without knowing much of the subject.

What DA still ties in?
Posted by Zaradi 6 years ago
Okay, I end up going con off of the failed burden of proof on the pro. What I think the end debate ended up coming down to was whether or not pro was really arguing to a) completely seperate church marriage and legal marriage (establish true second round or so), and if legal marriage was not applicable and that all marriage really was was all religious connotation (which the provided definition really refutes fairly well). At that point, you really fail to meet your BOP and I have to give the round to con.

I think for pro, the better route to handling this would've been refuting you even had the burden in the first place, but that would've been an uphill battle as well. Possible, but highly stacked against you.

I think in all technically, con deserves six or all seven points, but I think the quality of the debate round really prevents me from giving him those two extra points. Con, you conceded too many arguments that still had possible applications to your opponent's case. Just because he reveals some new intention to his argument that suddenly spikes out your DA, just link the DA in somewhere else. At least one of the DA's you conceded could've been applied somewhere else and been just as effective. It may have given you more characters to respond to other arguments, but that's just a judgement call. I think you should've still gone for them, but you were the one debating, not me.

Overall, it was an okay round, I guess. Both sides could've done a bit better all around with argumentation. But besides that, good job both debaters. Congratz to con.
Posted by Zealous1 6 years ago
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.