The Instigator
Freeman
Pro (for)
Losing
103 Points
The Contender
Contradiction
Con (against)
Winning
131 Points

Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal in the United States

Do you like this debate?NoYes+40
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision - Required
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/21/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 26,120 times Debate No: 15081
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (536)
Votes (41)

 

Freeman

Pro

I want to begin by saying how delighted I am to be debating Contradiction on this very important social issue. It's good to be able to argue with someone who is so philosophically inclined. For my part of the debate, I'll be arguing that same-sex marriage should be legal in the United States.

Accordingly, in this debate I'm going to defend two basic contentions. First, there are no legally tenable reasons to ban same-sex marriage. And secondly, there are good reasons to think that same-sex marriage should be legal. I'll leave it up to my opponent to make the case against same-sex marriage. So then let us turn to my second contention that there are good reasons to think that same-sex marriage should be legal. Let me briefly outline some of these reasons.

C1: The right to marriage is a fundamental right.

As far as the United States Supreme Court is concerned, the right to marriage is a fundamental right. Theodore Olson, a world-renowned attorney and former Solicitor General of the United Sates, has pointed out that since 1888 the United States Supreme Court has ruled 14 times that the right to marriage is a fundamental right.[1] Consider, for example, Turner v. Safley, 482 US 78, 95 (1987) (“[T]he decision to marry is a fundamental right” and marriage is an “expression[] of emotional support and public commitment.”); Loving v. Virginia, 388 US 1, 12 (1967) (The “freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”); Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 US 632, 639-40 (1974) (“This Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”)[2] In light of this legal precedent indicating that marriage is a fundamental right, it is not reasonable to assume otherwise.

C2: Gay people qualify as a suspect class.

Laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation must be subject to strict scrutiny because gay people qualify as a suspect class. According to the Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder, "[The Supreme Court has] rendered a number of decisions that set forth the criteria that[] [detail] whether heightened scrutiny applies [i.e., when a group can be considered a suspect class]: (1) whether the group in question has suffered a history of discrimination; (2) whether individuals "exhibit obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group"; (3) whether the group is a minority or is politically powerless; and (4) whether the characteristics distinguishing the group have little relation to legitimate policy objectives or to an individual's "ability to perform or contribute to society." See Bowen v. Gilliard, 483 U.S. 587, 602-03 (1987); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., 473 U.S. 432, 441-42 (1985).[3] In order to demonstrate that gays and lesbians are a suspect class, I will, once again, defer to the legal expertise of Attorney General Holder.

1. First, it is well established that gays and lesbians have been the victims of a longstanding history of purposeful discrimination, both by private and governmental agencies. Of course, this discrimination has often been based on prejudice and stereotypes that still have societal ramifications today. In fact, many states have victimized and demeaned gays by criminalizing their private sexual behavior. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 578 (2003).[4]

2. Second, there is a strong scientific consensus that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable. In his book Sex and Reason, Richard A. Posner, an eminent legal theorist from the University of Chicago Law School, has argued that scientific evidence indicates that sexual orientation can be considered an immutable characteristic for the purposes of law.[5-6] For example, there is a considerable amount of scientific evidence to suggest that biological, genetic and hormonal factors play a significant role in shaping a person's sexuality.[7] According to the American Psychological Association, "Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed."[8]

3. Third, the enactment of laws such as those under consideration in Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996), and Lawrence, the lasting rejection of gays and lesbians from serving in the military, and the lack of federal protection for employment discrimination based on sexual orientation show that gays and lesbians lack significant political power and "ability to attract the [favorable] attention of the lawmakers." Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 445.[9]

4. Finally, there are very good reasons to postulate that sexual orientation "bears no relation to ability to perform or contribute to society." Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 686 (1973) (plurality). Indeed, recent developments in legislation (including the repeal of DADT), in case law (e.g., the Supreme Court's rulings on Lawrence and Romer) and a growing body of sociological and scientific evidence all make it clear that sexual orientation is not a characteristic relevant to legitimate policy objectives.[10]

Because the fundamental right to marriage is being subverted for a suspect class by same-sex marriage bans, the strict scrutiny standard of judicial review must be applied -- i.e., it must be demonstrated that these laws are narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest. Carey v. Population Services International, 431 US 678, 686 (1977).[11] Unless it can be shown that preventing same-sex marriage furthers a compelling government interest, laws that eliminate same-sex marriage must be presumed to be unconstitutional.

C3: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment requires that "[no State shall] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."[12] Bans on same-sex marriage are in violation of the Equal Protection Clause for at least two different reasons. First, they deny gay men and women the ability to marry the person of their choice, whereas heterosexual men and women are not bound by these restrictions. Second, these bans single out and harm a suspect class by preventing only gays and lesbians, not heterosexuals, from being able to marry. Because bans on same-sex marriage unfairly disadvantage gay people and fail to treat them equally, they are in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

C4: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment requires that "[no State shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."[13] Bans on same-sex marriage violate the Due Process Clause for at least two different reasons. First, they prevent gay citizens from having the liberty to marry the person of their choice. Second, an individual's choice of a marriage partner is protected by the 14th amendment from the state's subversion of that choice. For these reasons, bans on same-sex marriage are in violation of the Due Process Clause by impinging on a liberty that is deemed to be fundamental.

| Conclusion |

In conclusion, the right to marriage is a fundamental right that is being deprived from a suspect class of individuals. Given this analysis, any law that deprives gay people of their fundamental right to marry must be presumed to be unconstitutional unless it can be established that the law is narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest. Thus, in the absence of any compelling legal arguments for state-sanctioned marital discrimination against gay individuals, same-sex marriage should be legal in the United States.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
Contradiction

Con

It's a pleasure to be debating as esteemed an opponent as Freeman. Having viewed his debates, I can anticipate a challenge from him. In this debate, I will be arguing for the position that the United States government should not legalize same-sex marriage (Hereafter referred to as SSM). This is because a revisionist conception of marriage does not make sense of the state's interest in marriage, nor does it capture what marriage actually is.

Since this debate involves issues of what the law should be, a large part of this debate will necessarily involve the use of extra-legal arguments. This isn't to say that existing precedent and case law is irrelevant, only that it is fallible and not the final say. Pro seems to treat this as a purely legal debate. However, a debate on how the law should be will have to involve arguments of an extra-legal nature. This is why courts commonly solicit the testimony of expert witnesses and use amicus curiae briefs.

Marriage as a Fundamental Right

Both myself and Pro are in agreement on this point. No doubt proponents from both sides recognize that marriage is a fundamental human and civil right. However, this is where our agreement ends, for though we recognize that marriage is a fundamental right, we differ radically on what the term "marriage" means and entails.


Equal Protection and Due Process are Irrelevant

The debate over SSM is fundamentally over what marriage is. One cannot invoke notions of discrimination or denial of equal rights without first presupposing a certain answer to this question. After all, "to claim a liberty has been violated, marriage must be defined." [1] As Robert George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan Anderson note:

"Any legal system that distinguishes marriage from other, nonmarital forms of association, romantic or not, will justly exclude some kinds of union from recognition.
So before we can conclude that some marriage policy violates the Equal Protection Clause, or any other moral or constitutional principle, we have to determine what marriage actually is and why it should be recognized legally in the first place. [Emphasis mine] That will establish which criteria (like kinship status) are relevant, and which (like race) are irrelevant to a policy that aims to recognize real marriages. So it will establish when, if ever, it is a marriage that is being denied legal recognition, and when it is something else that is being excluded." [2]

In arguing that homosexual couples are being unjustly denied the right to marry, Pro presupposes that there
is such a right. Only if there is this right will the discrimination argument work to begin with. In doing so, however, he begs the question by presupposing a conception of marriage in which this right exists. If there is no such right to begin with, then notions of Equal Protection and Due Process simply do not apply.

It also follow from this that
even if homosexuals qualify as a suspect class, relatively nothing of importance follows in terms of marriage litigation. For if marriage is such that it is heterosexual by nature, then there simply exists no right to homosexual marriage, regardless of whether or not homosexuals qualify as a suspect class. They are not being unjustly denied a right, because such a right does not exist to begin with.

What we see from this is that Pro's argument hinges on a certain conception of marriage -- one which he has failed to justify in his opening argument.

What Marriage Is

Consider the definition of marriage offered by Pro: the "expression of emotional support and public commitment."

If we understand marriage in this way, why should the state recognize it at all? What are the state's interests in recognizing a purely romantic and emotional relationship. Indeed, it seems queer given this understanding that the state would concern itself with regulating how human relationships are structured. "Why does the state not set terms for our ordinary friendships? Why does it not create civil causes of action for neglecting or even betraying our friends? Why are there no civil ceremonies for forming friendships or legal obstacles to ending them?" [3]

The answer: "It is simply because ordinary friendships do not affect the political common good in structured ways that justify or warrant legal regulation." [4] The same is true of marriage if understood as a purely romantic relationship. It does not make sense of why the state is in the marriage business to begin with. It is therefore inadequate as a definition of marriage. Yes, marriage is a fundamental right, but why does the state regard it as a fundamental right? The Supreme Court, ruling against eugenics laws in Skinner v. Oklahoma, provided us with some excellent insight when it said that "[m]arriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race." [5]

In other words, marriage is a fundamental right because "only societies that reproduce survive." [6] The procreative act, therefore, is at the heart of what marriage is. This fits in with how the traditionalist defines marriage -- as a union between one man and one woman. It is only when it is understood this way does the state's role in marriage make sense. The state, therefore, has a compelling reason to recognize as marriages only those relationships which are procreative in type. This is precisely why the state subsidizes heterosexual marriages with certain legal and economic benefits. Because homosexual marriages are non-procreative
in principle, they do not count as marriages to begin with. Hence they are not being denied marriage rights or due process simply because their relationship doesn't count as a marriage.

If the SSM advocate cannot give a compelling reason for why the state should recognize same-sex marriages, then his case fails. Notice that at this point he
cannot appeal to notions of Equal Protection or Due Process, for this would be engaging in circular reasoning. The debate, after all, is over what marriage is. Invoking either to prove a revisionist conception of marriage is to assume its validity, for appeals to Equal Protection or Due Process only work if there is such a right, which is what we're trying to establish. There are thus two tasks for the SSM advocate:

1. He must provide and justify a definition of marriage.
2. He must show how this definition makes sense of the state's interest in marriage.

However, as we have seen, the revisionist's definition of marriage as primarily a relationship centered around love and commitment utterly fail to make sense of the state's interest in marriage. Moreover, it fails to capture what we generally know to be true about marriage.

Conclusion

What shall we make of Pro's arguments? Patrick Lee, Gerard Bradley, and Robert George sum it up nicely:

"So, the state’s granting marriage licenses only to opposite-sex couples is based on the nature of marriage and does not constitute unjust discrimination. The state grants a license to do X only to someone presumptively capable of doing X. It is no more unjust discrimination to deny marriage licenses to couples of the same sex than to twelve-year olds, to those already married, or to polyamorous groups of three or more sexual partners: in each case, the license is denied simply because the individuals in question are unable to form with each other the kind of union that marriage is." [7]

This is because marriage, properly understood, is between one man and one woman. As I have argued, only the conjugal conception of marriage is able to justify the state's involvement in marriage.

I eagerly await Pro's counterargument.

Sources: http://www.debate.org...

Debate Round No. 1
Freeman

Pro

Allow me to begin by thanking my opponent for his very incisive opening arguments. You'll remember that I said I was going to defend two basic contentions. First, there are no legally tenable reasons to ban same-sex marriage. And secondly, there are good reasons to think that same-sex marriage should be legal. Con has advanced the standard procreation argument against same-sex marriage. I will demonstrate that (1) his argument is false; and (2) even if it were valid, it wouldn't affect the argument I have presented.

C1: The right to marriage is a fundamental right.

My opponent and I both agree that marriage is a fundamental right. So, before I continue with my main argument, let me go over some of the reasons why the state has an interest in marriage. Linette Scott, the Deputy Director of Health Information & Strategic Planning for the California Department of Public Health, has indicated that the state has many purposes in licensing and fostering marriage. For example, marriage helps to (1) facilitate public order by organizing individuals into cohesive family units; (2) develop a realm of liberty and free decision making by spouses; and (3) create stable households.[1] All of these purposes apply in excelsis to same-sex couples.

Consider, for example, what the American Psychological Association has to say on this matter: "research shows that same-sex couples are similar to heterosexual couples in essential ways and that they are as likely as opposite-sex couples to raise mentally healthy, well-adjusted children. Thus, there is no scientific justification for denying marriage equality, when research indicates that marriage provides many important benefits."[2] To use a legal term, same-sex and opposite-sex couples are similarly situated.

C2: Gay people qualify as a suspect class.

I was actually quite surprised to see that Con has essentially dropped every single argument I've made that classifications based on sexual orientation are suspect. Indeed, he seems to be under the misimpression that "nothing of importance" follows from whether or not gays are a suspect class or from my Due Process and Equal Protection claims. I maintain that he is demonstrably wrong on this point, as evidenced by the legal views of attorneys arguing both for and against same-sex marriage.[3] Even the attorneys arguing against same-sex marriage acknowledge the burden is on them to justify that denying gays and lesbians the right to marriage does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment.[4] Con is clearly mistaken.

Essentially, Con is trying to shift the burden of proof. When a fundamental right is being denied, the burden is on the state to justify this discrimination. What's ironic is that Con immediately tries to do this by attempting to show that marriages are heterosexual in nature. In arguing for this position, Con raises what is generally referred to as the procreation argument. I submit that the procreation argument is nonsense upon stilts. I've come to kick out the stilts. Not only is this argument completely unsubstantiated, I think that we have good reasons to reject it.

1. First, the notion that marriage is only between individuals capable of procreating is entirely ad hoc. My opponent presumably supports the right of sterile couples to get married, though they are incapable of producing children. His argument, then, is best summed up in the following way: Only unions whose members, under normal circumstances, are capable of procreation qualify as marriage.

Why would anyone want to define marriage in such a contrived, narrow and ad hoc fashion? I'll venture a guess: to prevent homosexuals from marrying. Such a definition stems from a private interest, perhaps a religious interest. It is not a state interest to define marriage in such a manner.

2. Second, the United States Supreme Court has never indicated that procreation is an essential feature of marriage or that marriage is only between a man and a woman. What the Supreme Court has actually said in 14 cases is that the right to marriage is an aspect of the right to liberty, privacy, association and identity.[5] It is my opponent, not I, that is trying to create a revisionist conception of marriage.

The fact of the matter is that the state has never inquired into a couple's procreative capacity or intent before issuing a marriage license.[6] In fact, the Supreme Court has indicated that "[I]t would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual intercourse."[7] Lawrence, 539 US at 567. Likewise, the Supreme Court has also mentioned that, completely apart from procreation, choice and privacy are an integral part of the marital union. See Griswold v. Connecticut, 381US at 485-486.[8]

Con mentions Skinner v. Oklahoma, but the case isn't about marriage, as Con admits. And the Supreme Court only said that marriage and procreation are fundamental to society. The Supreme Court did not say that marriage was about procreation.

3. Third, as former solicitor general Theodore Olson has argued, if the right to marriage were somehow intractable from an alleged state interest in procreation, the state could take away the right to marriage.[9] According to Olson, the state could say that it no longer has an interest in procreation if the United States became overpopulated and remove the right to marriage from its citizens.

4. Fourth, even if the state has an interest in the procreative component often associated with marriage, such an interest would not by definition exclude non-procreative unions or establish that marriage was exclusively heterosexual in nature. Moreover, allowing gays and lesbians to marry would in no way harm the procreative function of heterosexual marriages or discourage heterosexuals from marrying.

5. Fifth, even if I were to concede that the "responsible procreation" argument is valid, it wouldn't even affect my argument. The procreation argument has only ever passed rational basis review in the courts, and it would certainly not come close to fulfilling the enormous burden imposed by the strict scrutiny standard of judicial review. Under strict scrutiny, my opponent is burdened to show that bans on same-sex marriage are narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest.

No matter what way you look at it, the procreation argument fails to prove its conclusion, even under rational basis review. It's completely irrational and procreation has never been recognized by the Supreme Court as being an integral component of what marriage entails.

C3: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

I've previously argued that bans on same-sex marriage are in violation of the Equal Protection Clause for at least two different reasons. My opponent has dropped both of these points.

C4: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

I've also argued that bans on same-sex marriage violate the Due Process Clause for at least two different reasons. My opponent has also dropped both of these points.

Moreover, bans on same-sex marriage put gays and lesbians into a suspect classification based on sexual orientation. Under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause, this classification requires strict scrutiny. Con has yet to respond to my argument.

| Conclusion |

To summarize, depriving gays and lesbians of the ability to marry is in violation of the constitution because doing so involves taking away a fundamental right from a suspect class. As we've seen, the procreation argument that my opponent has outlined is not only fallacious, it's not even relevant to my argument. And yet that's all Con has to offer you in defense of marital discrimination against gays and lesbians. It is for these reasons that same-sex marriage should still be legal in the United States.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
Contradiction

Con

I appreciate Freeman's careful reply. Recall that the main thrust of my opening agument was that Pro's argument begged the question. Before we can delve into issues of what marriage law should be, we first have first to establish the relevant facts concerning marriage. Once understood, these facts about marriage will in turn help guide us in the direction of what marriage law should be. Accordingly, I stated that Pro had two tasks:

1. He must provide and justify a definition of marriage.
2. He must show how this definition makes sense of the state's interest in marriage.

In his latest response, Pro states that I have dropped numerous points relating to his argument. This is simply not the case. Rather, I pointed out that his central argument is circular in nature. I would be the first to grant his argument and admit that same-sex couples should have the full right to marry, but only if marriage is defined in a certain way (Such as being an emotional union of persons). That’s a big if, and one that my opponent seems to have glossed over. To assert that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry because they are unjustly being denied a right is to presuppose that such a right exists, thus begging the question. The opponent of SSM will simply deny that, so it is of no use to assume it.

Consequently, arguments from Equal Protection, Due Process, and Suspect Class status are irrelevant until the relevant marriage facts are first established.

The Definition of Marriage

With respect to (1), Pro has not done anything. His argument hinges on the fact that marriage is understood in terms of an emotional union, but he has failed to justify this. Citing legal evidence will not do, since this debate is fundamentally over what the law should be. It would therefore be circular to cite what's under dispute to prove it. Indeed, prior precedent can and has been overturned in the presence of relevant facts. Consequently, we have seen no reason as to why marrige should be genderless.

The State's Interest in Marriage

In regards to (2), Pro lists three criteria for why the state has an interest in marriage. Aside from the fact that homosexual relationships are not conducive to child-rearing, these criteria are vague and could be used to justify any sort of emotional relationship as marriage. [1] Friendships, for example, are conducive to the public good, but clearly the government has no interest in extending legal recognition to friendships (Be it in the form of a marriage or some other civil recognition). Pet owners nationwide would benefit economically if their pet would be legally recognized as their children, but clearly the state doesn't do that. So the salient question here is, why should we take the criteria listed by Pro as being indicative of legal recognition? The fact that something may be good does not mean that it deserves legal recognition.

Procreation, on the other hand, warrants legal recognition because it is required for society to exist -- it is a pre-political concept, a fundamental cornerstone to the very existence of society. The government therefore has a compelling reason to base marriage law on relationships which are procreative in type.

Defending the Procreation Argument

Pro levies numerous arguments against the procreation argument, the first of these being the oft-repeated sterile couples argument. As I have argued in my past debates, this objection confuses between acts that are reproductive in type and acts that are reproductive in effect. Recall that in my opening argument, I stated that the case for conjugal marriage is based on acts that are reproductive in type. Whether these reproductive type acts are reproductive in effect is thus irrelevant. The sterility argument thus fails.

The second argument Pro presents also fails for this reason. Indeed, the Supreme Court has never inquired into the procreative capacity of a man and woman. But since my reasoning is based on reproductive type acts as opposed to acts that are reproductive in effect, this argument simply attacks a strawman. Now what's interesting is that a fortiori, male-female complementarity (aka: reproductive type acts) has always been considered a necessary condition for marriage at common law. [2] It matters not whether a couple can actually procreate, only that the conditions for procreation are met.

The third argument also fails for the same reason as the previous two. To say that the state may take away the right to marriage because it is no longer interested in having new citizens is to presuppose that conjugal marriage is based on acts that are reproductive in effect. As I have stated, however, conjugal marriage is based on reproductive type acts. In such a scenario, the state would still have a reason for recognizing conjugal marriage because it would still be getting "a good example for others and help to teach the next generation what marriage is and is not." [3] In other words, it would be affirming that conjugal marriage is the normative means through which procreation should occur, even if it is not required at the moment.

The fourth argument is problematic as well, for assuming the state's only interest in recognizing marriage is because of its procreative and child-rearing elements, then this by definition excludes homosexual unions on account of the fact that such types of unions are not intrinsically ordered toward procreation as their final cause. Upon further reflection we see this to be true -- the state is not in the business of extending legal recognition fo relationships simply because those involved are emotionally commited to one another. Indeed, friendships can have the same level of love and fidelity as found in marriage, but obviously the state is not in the business of legally recognizing friendships. While love certainly matters in a marriage, the state could care less (As it had throughout history) as it has no interest in legally benefiting mere emotional relationships.

The fifth argument simply begs the question. Whether or not conjugal marriage will pass rational basis/strict scrutiny will depend first on what marriage actually is. Indeed, to even say that we should use strict (As opposed to rational basis or heightened) scrutiny is to already beg the question, since the level of scrutiny will depend on the relevant facts. As Monte Neil Stewart points out, the responsible procreation argument can easily pass even strict scrutiny if one accepts the facts of conjugal marriage. "[A] judge applying strict scrutiny will nevertheless sustain man-woman marriage against all constitutional attacks -- if she accepts the factual accuracy of the.... [conjugal] description.... At the same time, a judge applying the rational basis test will declare man-woman marriage unconstitutional -- if he accepts the factual accuracy of the [revisionist] description." [4]

Moreover, as of late 2008 (I say this because the numbers may have changed slightly), there have only been three instances out of more than twenty cases in which appelate judges have decided that strict strutiny should be applied to conjugal marriage. The rest have held that rational basis review was either appropiate or could be applied. [5]

Once again, whether or not a certain conception of marriage will pass any level of scrutiny will first depend on what the relevant marriage facts are. This is not simply just a legal issue, but an philosophical and social issue which will necessarily involve extra-legal evidence and arguments beind presented. Anything less is mere question-begging. Pro has not attempted to justify his definition of marriage beyond mere assertion.

Conclusion

Despite Pro's arguments, nearly all of them are question begging and neglect the central issue of the debate. The heart of the issue is not over issues of rights or equality, but what the facts of marriage are. This must first be addressed before we launch into any considerations of rights.

Sources

http://bit.ly...
Debate Round No. 2
Freeman

Pro

Let me begin by saying that I appreciate Con's trenchant response to my arguments. In this round, I'll continue to attack Con's procreation argument, while also defending my own argument. Now, contrary to what Con has claimed, I actually have defined marriage and given reasons why it should be defined that way. Marriage is mainly based on commitment and love, and it's part of the right to liberty, privacy and association. But we shall get into that more in depth shortly.

C1: The right to marriage is a fundamental right.

Con seems to have raised two different themes in his last round. First, it is simply not the case that my arguments are circular. I'll put the credibility of my opponent and his sources up against the Attorney General,[1] the former Solicitor General and the federal judges dealing with same-sex marriage cases.[2-3] It's no contest. These arguments are not circular because there is no a priori presumption that marriage is between a man and a woman. And secondly, despite what Con claims, the burden rests with the state to show why same-sex marriage shouldn't be allowed.

Later on, my opponent merely asserts that gay relationships are not conducive to child-rearing. First, he has not provided a shred of evidence to justify this view. Second, I have actually provided evidence to support my claim by citing the American Psychological Association. The credibility of the APA trumps my opponent's unfounded beliefs.

Con then goes on to say that Deputy Director Linette Scott's criteria detailing the state's interest in marriage are vague and perhaps too broad. Indeed, he goes on to suggest that these criteria would apply to friends and relationships with pets. I think these critiques are almost unbelievably weak. Friends and pet owners don't facilitate public order by forming cohesive and economically stable family units. They also don't create a realm conducive to liberty and free decision making by spouses. Nor do they help create stable households, unless Con is equivocating on what these "friendships" are.

C2: Gay people qualify as a suspect class.

Once again, Con has not challenged any four of the constitutional criteria I have outlined to show that laws that classify based on sexual orientation are subject to strict scrutiny. I'll go over this more shortly, but I'm just pointing it out for now. Let's see if Con was successful in defending his position against my five arguments.

1. First, Con attacks a straw man in dealing with my opening argument. Remember, I acknowledged that Con's position allows sterile couples to marry. My actual argument, which Con has not addressed, is that the notion that marriage is based on 'procreative types' is narrow, contrived and ad hoc. Entrenching heteronormative views into society is not a state interest.

Con's position could have practically been pulled out of the Summa Theologica,[4] as many Catholics like Bill Donohue continue to demonstrate.[5] As I've said, affirming such a position is a private interest. There is no rational secular purpose for defining marriage in such a manner.

2. Second, Con's rejoinder to my next argument fails for the same reason his overall argument fails: It's ad hoc and based on no evidence. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is a fundamental right to prison inmates, even though the state knows perfectly well that they will never be able to procreate, since they can't have physical contact with their spouse. See Turner v. Safley[6] Though marriage has been defined as being heterosexual in common law, this is simply irrelevant. The Supreme Court's 14 rulings on marriage cases since 1888 have all been gender neutral and have described the right to marry as being a component of the right to liberty, privacy, association and identity.[7]

I submit that the Supreme Court really has gotten it right on this topic. The right to liberty, privacy and association predate the constitution and really get at the heart of what marriage is all about. Professor Nancy Cott, an expert on marriage and a distinguished historian at Harvard University, has argued that the core social meaning of marriage is not primarily based on procreation.[8] Rather, it's based on choice, mutual feelings, commitment and support in an economic partnership so that both spouses can get the material needs of life. To reduce marriage to sex and procreation is, for lack of a better term, vulgar.

3. Third, Con seems to be contradicting himself. Is the state interested in procreation or only in joining unions that are 'procreative in type,' regardless of whether or not they actually do or can procreate? Con should really make up his mind. If it's the former, then Theodore Olson's argument about overpopulation stands. If it's the latter, then, as I've said before, his argument is ad hoc.

Moreover, it is not a state interest to "teach the next generation what marriage is and is not." The same first amendment that allows Catholics like Robert P. George, Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher to express their views on marriage also prevents them from enshrining their beliefs into the law.[9-10]

4. Fourth, despite what Con has claimed, procreation is not the central or only reason the state has an interest in marriage. And as I've said before, allowing gays and lesbians to marry would in no way harm the procreative function of heterosexual marriages or discourage heterosexuals from marrying, even if it is an important component. My opponent has not addressed this because the fact of the matter is that allowing gays and lesbians to marry does not harm heterosexual marriage.

If anything, evidence and expert testimony from scientists and sociologists who study marriage has shown that allowing gays and lesbians to marry strengthens the institution of marriage for both gay and straight individuals.[11] Dr. Ilan Meyer, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, has also pointed out that bans on same-sex marriage harm gay individuals by imposing a government-sanctioned stigma on their relationships.[12] All of this further cuts at the notion that bans on same-sex marriage are rational.

5. Fifth, Con reiterates the claim that my argument begs the question. I've already dealt with this claim and refuted it. As I've explained, his argument is irrelevant because the 'responsible procreation' argument wouldn't survive strict scrutiny. Con then goes on to claim the procreation argument could survive strict scrutiny if the judge presiding over the case accepted my opponent's description of marriage. Yes, if a judge accepted the tautological notion that marriage is between a man and a woman along with the ad hoc procreation argument, then he or she might make that decision.

C3: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

My equal protection claims have gone unchallenged.

C4: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

My due process and suspect classification claims have gone unchallenged. There is no way on Earth that defining marriage as being between a man and a woman is narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest. Surely, gays and lesbians wouldn't use up all of the marriage licenses.

| Conclusion |

To say that marriage only involves unions that are 'procreative in type' is nothing more than an ad hoc position supported by no credible evidence. So you have that on the one hand. On the other hand, you have the combined weight of 14 Supreme Court decisions about marriage being an aspect of liberty and privacy. We've also seen expert testimony from some of the world's foremost experts in sociology, public health, science and history. This is not even close. If discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in civil marriage is justified, stronger arguments are needed to demonstrate that, since my opponent's do not.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
Contradiction

Con

The Charge of Question-Begging

Recall that in the previous rounds, I have attacked Pro's argument as being circular. In this round, Pro has attempted to defend his argument by appealing to the credibility of the Attorney General, the former Solicitor General, and various other federal judges. [1] However, other than this being an appeal to authority, I fail to see how this exonerates the charge of circularity from his argument. Appeals to equal protection and due process are inherently question-begging for to assert that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry because they are unjustly being denied a right is to presuppose that such a right exists. Issues regarding the burden of proof also depend on this notion.

Pro has done nothing to attack this counter-argument, which as outlined before is that his argument begs the question by presupposing a certain conception of marriage to be true from the beginning. Before we can debate what marriage law should be, we first have to know the relevant facts. Pro is therefore putting the cart before the horse. As he has not responded to this, let me extend my arguments here. Let me remind the audience that if Pro's argument is circular, then his entire case falls apart.

Regarding the assertion that same-sex relationships are not conducive to child-rearing, Pro's charge is simply false. I did indeed cite sources in the first footnote. That being said, this is being mentioned as an aside. Any and all appeals to social science are ultimately irrelevant to this debate. My argument appeals to procreative-type acts, not contingent statistical notions regarding child-rearing or the well-being of homosexuals.

The State's Interest in Marriage

Previously, Pro appealed to Linette Scott's three criteria as being indicative of the state's interest in marriage. In response, I asked why should we take these criteria as being indicative of legal recognition. The fact that something may be good does not mean that it deserves legal recognition. Indeed, this was the focal point of my response to this particular argument. As far as I can tell, Pro has not responded to this. However, he did respond to the two parody arguments I raised. His responses to these fail as well. The relationship, decision-making, and economic conditions of two friends or college roommates would be greatly improved if we recognized their relationship as a marriage. So too would pet owners if we listed their pet as a child. Clearly these are rightly absurd. But examples aside, the salient question remains unanswered --- why should these be indicative of legal recognition? To be sure, all the criteria listed are good for society, but since when did something's being good for society automatically warrant the state in exending legal recognition?

Pro's criteria, therefore, is unable to justify the state's interest in marriage. A fortiori, the reasons Pro outlined are in fact not the state's actual interests in recognizing marriage to begin with. As William Duncan points out, legal precedent "reveals four general interests that appear consistently: procreation, child rearing, tradition, and interstate uniformity." [2] Indeed, John Eastman has compiled an exhaustive list of court cases which support procreation as being the state's interest in marriage. [3]

Defending the Procreation Argument

1. Pro attacks the notion of marriage as based on procreative type acts as being "contrived and ad hoc" and that "entrenching heteronormative views into society is not a state interest." The charge of ad hocness is bizzare, as I have delivered a thorough argument as to why this conception of marriage makes better sense of the state's interest than Pro's conception of marriage. Moreover, nowhere did I argue that "entrenching heteronormative views" is a state interest. On that point then, Pro either has misunderstood my argument or is attacking a strawman.

2. Pro argues that according to Turney v. Safley, procreation is not a necessary condition to marriage as prisoners are not permitted to have physical contact (and hence procreate). This, however, attacks a strawman. The prisoners may indeed be unable to procreate, but this has nothing to do with the conception of marriage Pro is attacking. This is only problematic if marriage is defined in terms of procreative effects, which is clearly not my position. Rather, marriage is based on procreative type acts (aka: Gender complementarity). The marriage of two prison inmnates remains a marriage even though they both know that it is impossible for them (state or prison laws) to procreate.

3. There is no self-contradiction going on. The state's interest in marriage is indeed procreation, and this remains true regardless of whether or not overpopulation obtains. As I argued previously, such a scenario would not undermine the state's interest in marriage, as the state would still recognize marriages for the point of affirming that conjugal marriage is the proper framework for procreation, even if procreation is not required at that particular moment. Procreation would thus remain as the state's interest.

4. This is simply another strawman. Nowhere did I argue that same-sex marriage would harm the procreative function of heterosexual marriages. Indeed, I made this abundantly clear in the previous rounds. Moreover, Pro has failed to respond to my a fortiori counter-argument. I argued that "the state is not in the business of extending legal recognition fo relationships simply because those involved are emotionally commited to one another. Indeed, friendships can have the same level of love and fidelity as found in marriage, but obviously the state is not in the business of legally recognizing friendships."

That being said, though I believe the statistics conclusively point the other way, any appeal to social science is a red herring. Not a single one of my arguments were based on sociological premises, hence social science is simply not applicable here.

5. Apart from appealing to authority, Pro has not answered the charge that his argument begs the question. I hereby extend my argument here. As previously argued, the level of scrutiny employed by a court would depend first on what the relevant marriage facts are. Pro has not challenged this. As pointed out by Monte Stewart in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy: "[A] judge applying strict scrutiny will nevertheless sustain man-woman marriage against all constitutional attacks -- if she accepts the factual accuracy of the.... [conjugal] description.... At the same time, a judge applying the rational basis test will declare man-woman marriage unconstitutional -- if he accepts the factual accuracy of the [revisionist] description." [4] Pro has not responded to this nor the additional point I raised, which is that strict scrutiny is not the appropiate level of scrutiny that the courts should employ. As I pointed out earlier:

"Moreover, as of late 2008 (I say this because the numbers may have changed slightly), there have only been three instances out of more than twenty cases in which appelate judges have decided that strict strutiny should be applied to conjugal marriage. The rest have held that rational basis review was either appropiate or could be applied." [5]

Conclusion

Pro's argument remains question-begging. Once again, before we can appeal to notions of equal protection or due process, we first have to know the relevant facts of marriage. This will in turn help us to decide how equal protection or due process should be applied. Citing legal precendent, therefore, is only effective once we have established what marriage is. However, Pro has simply begged the question by assuming a certain conception of marriage as valid. Pro has dedicated much space to attacking my argument, but has done little in terms of defending his own argument except by appealing to authority.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...;

Debate Round No. 3
Freeman

Pro

I want to say that it has been a pleasure to get to argue with Contradiction. I hope you all have enjoyed this debate as much as I have. In my closing remarks I will attempt to draw together all of the relevant threads of the argument I have presented. Any new arguments or court cases that Con may bring up in the last round should be disregarded because I won't have an opportunity to respond to them. Though Con has continued to defend his procreation argument, I don't think he has successfully managed to carry any of his contentions.

C1: The right to marriage is a fundamental right.

For starters, the notion that I am appealing to authority is plainly absurd. An appeal to authority is fallacious when the authority in question isn't an expert on the topic of which he or she is speaking. The Attorney General, the former Solicitor General and federal judges are all experts in constitutional law.

Related to that previous point, it is still not the case that I'm arguing in a circle. I've defined marriage. I've shown why the state has an interest in marriage pertaining to that conception of marriage. And unlike Con, I've given the testimony of actual experts to explain why marriage's core social meaning has more to do with choice, mutual feelings and commitment.

Con later claims that he has presented evidence that gay relationships are not conducive to childrearing. The book that he pointed to, which is titled A Queer Thing Happened to America, is nothing more than anti-gay propaganda. As the Attorney David Boies points out, that type of material is simply junk science.[1]

With regard to the State's interest in marriage, I've given the testimony of Deputy Director Linette Scott. Unlike Con's sources, she is an actual expert in questions related to the State's interest in marriage; and she has testified under oath in federal court on behalf of the California Department of Public Health. The state clearly has an interest in promoting stable homes and public order. These things entail, almost by definition, what a state is. A state is an ordered group of people living together in a civilized manner. As I've said before, friends, college roommates and pet owners don't organize into cohesive family units to create stable households.

Con then says that William Duncan and John Eastman have detailed cases indicating that procreation is in the state's interest with respect to marriage. Apparently their lists were so "exhaustive" that it didn't occur to Con to mention one case. I'm not going to do Con's homework for him. The legal precedent that matters (i.e., Supreme Court precedent), has maintained since 1888 that procreation isn't a prime component of marriage.[2]

C2: Gay people qualify as a suspect class.

1. First, Con claims that his argument is neither contrived nor ad hoc because his view makes sense of the state's interest in marriage. The problem, however, is that his argument is contrived and ad hoc because he has not been able to provide any evidence that the state has an interest in procreation, let alone 'procreative types.' His argument, therefore, is based on a false assumption. Con's (non-existent) evidentiary presentation does not carry his argument.

As I've argued, Con's conception of marriage stems from a private interest that carries no accompanying secular purpose. Those private (and often religious[3]) interests have no bearing on public policy.

2. Second, Con then accuses me of attacking a straw man by citing Turner v. Safley. This is simply not the case. My point here, which seems to have escaped Con, is that the Supreme Court has never mentioned procreation or 'procreative types' as being an essential part of marriage. This, of course, is but one of the 14 Supreme Court cases I have mentioned on this point. Moreover, Con has not responded to Harvard Professor Nancy Cott's testimony indicating that marriage is not primarily based on procreation.

3. Third, Con's attempt to argue that the state has an interest in procreation even if its overpopulated is clearly fallacious. If the state is overpopulated like China, which, incidentally, has a one child policy to curb procreation,[4] then the state doesn't have an interest in procreation. Con argues that in such a scenario the state would have an interest in "affirming that conjugal marriage is the proper framework for procreation." This, however, is not an interest in procreation.

This is exactly what I mean when I say that Con's position really boils down to a desire to entrench heteronormative views into society. Teaching people the "proper" way to have sex and create children is not a state interest. As such, I haven't attacked a straw man.

4. Fourth, I've never suggested that Con has argued that same-sex marriage will harm heterosexual marriage. Rather, I've just pointed this out to bolster my case. Even if procreation is one of many interests that the state has in marriage, gay and lesbian couples don't harm this interest. Because of this, it would be improper to exclude gays and lesbians from marriage.

And despite what Con says, I've already addressed his argument relating to the state's interest in marriage. Under my argument, the state doesn't have an interest in marriage because marriage is an emotional union. Rather, marriages help to create public order and stable households.

Con later claims that social science is irrelevant to this debate; however, he is simply incorrect. The Supreme Court has ruled in Plyler v. Doe that if a statue harms a certain group, it can weigh against the statue passing constitutional review.[5] In the Plyler case, the statue in question harmed the children of illegal immigrants by depriving them of an education. So, the fact that same-sex marriage bans stigmatize gay couples and hamper their ability to take care of their children does weigh against those bans under constitutional review.

5. Fifth, despite what Con may believe, I've already addressed his claim that my arguments beg the question. Moreover, I've also addressed Con's argument about judges applying strict scrutiny. As I've said, any judge that dogmatically accepts a certain conception of marriage could rule in any way. That doesn't mean they're correct.

Con then goes on to suggest that strict scrutiny is the inappropriate level of constitutional review. But his response here is really a non-argument. Indeed, in light of Attorney General Eric Holder's well reasoned arguments that I have defended, rational basis review hardly seems appropriate, though other courts have ruled differently. Rather than deal with Holder's argument on its own merits, Con tries to fallaciously dismiss Holder's argument by appealing to previous court rulings.

C3: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

My equal protection claims have still gone unchallenged.

C4: Same-sex marriage bans violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Because Con has failed to refute my argument based on suspect classification strict scrutiny must necessarily be used to judge this debate. Therefore, even if you agree with the 'responsible procreation' argument, Con's argument still fails because it isn't narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest.

| Conclusion |

In conclusion, I've meticulously outlined Supreme Court cases which affirm that marriage is an aspect of privacy and liberty, not a privilege conferred by the state for the purpose of procreation. These findings have also been confirmed in large part by the experts from top universities that specialize in marriage. By contrast, Con has not presented any credible evidence (or legal precedent) in support of his position. Therefore, same-sex marriage should be legal in the United States.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...
Contradiction

Con

It's been a pleasure debating with Freeman. In closing, I'd like to provide a general summary of how this debate has progressed, followed by brief responses to claims made by Pro in the previous round.

Pro's Arguments

Recall that Pro's initial argument was that same-sex marriage should be legal because of three reasons:

1. Marriage is a fundamental right.
2. Homosexuals are considered a suspect class.
3. Traditional marriage policy violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses

By way of response, my counterarguments focused on attacking (3) as being circular. Before one can say that a particular marriage policy violates any Constitutional norms, one must first settle the prior issue of what marriage is. Only after this has been established will any of the above points have any force. To argue therefore that same-sex marriage should be legalized because same-sex marriage is a fundamental right is to beg the question. The very issue at hand is whether or not there is a fundamental right to same sex marriage -- it is over the definition of marriage. One cannot therefore simply assume that there is such a right.

Thus, Pro's initial argument was patently circular -- regardless of what points he later brought up.

By way of defense, Pro appealed to mainly to court precedent. This, however, is inherently problematic. Recall that the resolution of the debate was that "Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal in the United States." The term should indicates that this is a debate about how the law should be structured. It is of no use, therefore, to appeal solely to existing legal precedent to settle the question, for the validity of court precedent is the very issue at hand. The debate then is primarily factual -- a more basic issue that precendent is itself based on.

In defending against the charge of circularity, Pro appealed to the testimony of prominent legal scholars to absolve himself of the charge. Unfortunately, Pro never tells us why his arguments are not circular -- he only refers to other scholars. This does not show why the charge of circularity is wrong and is therefore unhelpful. Indeed this cuts both ways -- there are prominent legal scholars on the other side who point out that appeals to constitutional norms are question begging. I cited Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a former fellow of the United States Supreme Court. [1]

The charge of circularity remains.

What about (1) and (2)? I pointed out that I agreed with (1), but that I disagreed over what the term "marriage" meant. Thus, to show that (1) extends to same-sex couples, Pro had to show why marriage should be redefined to include same-sex couples. This was never done. Contention (2) was utterly irrelevant, and was contingent on what marriage is. For if marriage is heterosexual by nature, then homosexuals would not be allowed to marry even if they were a suspect class because they are not being denied anything they deserve. (2) is thus also question-begging.

Ironically, Pro's falls victim to his own definition of an appeal to authority when dismissing my social science claims. Since when was David Boies, an attorney, an expert on sociology who is qualified to dismiss my claims as "junk science"?

The State's Interest in Marriage

Why does the government even care about marriage? What is it about marriage that demands legal recognition? For the proponent of SSM, marriage can be nothing more than an emotional union of persons. But if marriage is a mere emotional union of persons, then what business does the state have in intruding into the private lives of its citizens by extending legal recognition to their relationships? The state has no business in this domain of our private lives. So then what are the state's interests?

Pro lists several. These include faciliating public order as well as creating stable households and an environment for decision making. Unfortunately, these are vague and unhelpful criteria. These things are certainly good, but what justifies extending legal recognition to them? That something is good doesn't mean we should enshrine it into law. Moreover, there are many things that faciliate public order, create stable households, and the like. Indeed, by that criteria, friendsips could count as marriages, for by recognizing them as marriages we would facilitate public order by grouping them into families (and thus spouses) which would foster an atmosphere of liberty, decision making, and stability between the individuals. Barring this specific example, a host of in principle parody arguments (Including polygamy and incest) are avaliable. Since Pro's criteria could be used to support literally any type of relationship, it is inadequate.

By way of response, Pro simply asserts that the aforementioned parodies would not satisfy his criteria. But an assertion is not an argument. Hence, Pro has not adequately justified the state's interest in marriage.

The Procreation Argument: Unbloodied and Unbowed

After pointing out the flaws in Pro's argument, I then proceeded to give a positive argument against same-sex marriage that was based of the procreative-act. Pro's responses are unsatisfactory. In brief:

1. Pro charges my position with pushing a private interest that the state does not hold. This is not true. Barring legal precendent (Which I did reference), I argued both philosophically and politically that unless marriage is based upon notions of procreation, the state has reason to be in the marriage business to begin with. There is no reason for the state to extend legal recognition to mere emotional unions, considering that this domain of our private life is beyond the purview of government.

2. Pro continually brings up legal precedent. But again, this debate is over how the law should be. Precedent alone cannot answer this question. One cannot appeal to the law when the debate is over how the law itself should be structured. The debate is therefore extra-legal. On this point, Pro has failed to provide sufficient justification.

3. Pro seems to misunderstand my response to his overpopulation argument. In such an instance, the state may no longer have an interest in
procreative effects, but the state would still maintain an interest in the proper procreative framework. His argument here is therefore a red herring.

4. Whether or not same-sex marriages would harm (In the sense of destabalizing) heterosexual marriages has no bearing on this case. The debate is not over what marriage is. Even if same-sex marriage do not harm heterosexual marriages (Which I do not grant), that has nothing to do with whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal. Many things, if enacted, wouldn't harm traditional marrriage -- it doesn't mean we should enact them. There is no connection here between harm and legality and hence this point does not bolster his case.

5. One of Pro's main arguments was that strict scrutiny was necessary in ruling on same-sex marriage. As I showed, however, this is simply false. As Monte Neil Stewart has shown, virtually all judges who have ruled on this matter have used the rational basis test, which is the lightest level of scrutiny. Moreover, the level of scrutiny used must first depend on what the relevant marriage facts are. Thus to say that strict scrutiny is applicable here is to put the cart before the horse. Thus, even supposing that points (1)-(4) of my argument fails, Pro's argument still as a whole fails as traditional marriage can easily pass the rational basis test. [2] On this point, Pro's only response was to appeal to the authority of Eric Holder. However, this does not tell me what is wrong with the argument. It is only a dismissal.

Space limitations prohibit me from going into an indepth response to Pro's arguments, but I think it has been conclusively demonstrated that same-sex marriage should not be legal. Pro's arguments are inherently question-begging. I urge a vote for Con.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com...;

Debate Round No. 4
536 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by devient.genie 1 year ago
devient.genie
ParentalChoices 1:37--As a parent you can indoctrinate your children with What to think thru religion or you can teach them how to think thru logic, facts, evidence, science, common sense, proof , reasoning, probability, thinking, intelligence, feasability, confirmation, observation, experiments, testing, wisdom, liklihood, knowledge, rationality, openning ones mind, awareness, not being a complete moron their entire life, trusting yourself, believing in yourself, and doing good because you want to be accountable to yourself, Not because a sky daddy is watching and waiting to give you a scooby snack when you die :)

CaptainObvious 11:16--DNA is talked about a lot in the bible, as a matter of fact, DNA is mentioned 3,000 times more often in the bible, than electricity, the principle causes of disease, all advanced science and complex math, cars, and airplanes combined. The math doesnt lie, 3000 x 0 = 0 :)

BigKids 4:23--Scientific discoveries and 21st century knowledge of biology, and genetics have proven beyond any doubt that the adam and eve story is completely impossible. Without the adam and eve story, there is no "original sin". Without "original sin", there is no need for a jesus to die on a cross. Without the human sacrifice of jesus, christian religion falls apart completely. The entire religion is based on and relies totally on a creation story that cannot possibly be true, all evidence clearly points to a common ancestor billions of years ago :)

Research 5:3--Scientists have discovered that large dinosaur brains were as big as a tennis ball. Thats interesting. Religious leaders only use a tennis ball size of their brains, maybe religious leaders just have enlarged dinosuar brains. It could be something to look into, the ignorance permeating a religious mind is palatable and visible in todays society, evidence is in gay rights, abortion, and the twin towers, just to name a few :)

Racism 1:2--"Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respe
Posted by jordancallahan 2 years ago
jordancallahan
i am doing a paper on this for my junior year cba.. can u guys give me any court cases that support pro gay marriage? or anything i could use to support or cite my argument for it?
Posted by Kandrake 2 years ago
Kandrake
Con tries to use the terms "Procreative in type" & "procreative in effect" as if they are two separate entities, when in fact that they are the same. It is not a penis, or a vagina that allows reproduction, but "fertile" eggs and sperm. If a person's sex cells are not functional, then they are neither reproductive in type, or effect. And thus Con's definition of marriage would have to be diminished to only fertile heterosexual monogamous and polygamous couples. And yet our legal system never differentiates between fertile and infertile heterosexual couples when it gives out marriage licenses.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 2 years ago
InVinoVeritas
The "procreative type" concept is not defended adequately at all.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 3 years ago
Dimmitri.C
Done.
Posted by Contradiction 3 years ago
Contradiction
Dimmitri, you can change your vote now.
Posted by kohai 3 years ago
kohai
Dimmitri.C, it is not bad behaviour to nullify a blatat vote bomb.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 3 years ago
Dimmitri.C
I am going to change my vote back to how my vote remained originally, Freeman. I am just trying to be fair by countering Kohai's behaviour.
Posted by Contradiction 3 years ago
Contradiction
What a mess.
Posted by Freeman 3 years ago
Freeman
@ kohai

Even though you're countering a mindless 7 point vote-bomb, Dimmitiri does have a point, sort of.

Could you retract your vote, please. And could someone else please counter misspeggy.

Also, could someone else counter dimmitri's 7 point vote, too. Thanks.

In general ------->
41 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 31 through 40 records.
Vote Placed by bgruber93 3 years ago
bgruber93
FreemanContradictionTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: god loves you!
Vote Placed by warpedfx 3 years ago
warpedfx
FreemanContradictionTied
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 Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was unable to substantiate his position regarding the basis of marriage nor did his quoting of "A Queer Thing" help his case whatsoever.
Vote Placed by PartamRuhem 3 years ago
PartamRuhem
FreemanContradictionTied
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 Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro gave excellent sources and facts, while Con simply tried sticking to his original argument, which I thought Pro dealt with in earlier rounds. A great debate overall and very enjoyable to read.
Vote Placed by Meatros 3 years ago
Meatros
FreemanContradictionTied
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 
Reasons for voting decision: Great debate. I give Pro the sources (Con referring to A Queer thing, even though it was not central, was dismaying). I give Pro a narrow edge in the argument. It seemed to me that he was right with the shifting the burden and I found Con's procreation argument weak. Ultimately this was very close though. Truly a great debate.
Vote Placed by xxeightydxx 3 years ago
xxeightydxx
FreemanContradictionTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro attempted to show that same sex marriage was a case of equality.It was a convincing argument but con did a better job showing marriage is not a matter of equality.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 3 years ago
ReformedArsenal
FreemanContradictionTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:34 
Reasons for voting decision: Well reasoned on both sides with the following exception. "The credibility of the APA trumps my opponent's unfounded beliefs." - Appeal to authority is a fallacy. In a debate, you have to build your argument and while using experts as supports for your argument, you still have the burden to prove it yourself via logic. Con's logic and reasoning overshadows Pro's. However, it was close. 4:3 Con.
Vote Placed by medic0506 3 years ago
medic0506
FreemanContradictionTied
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:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro is not able to overcome con's argument that due process and equal protection are irrelevant in this case. Nor is he able to show a convincing argument for why the state has an interest in recognizing anything but heterosexual marriage.
Vote Placed by Double_R 3 years ago
Double_R
FreemanContradictionTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: One of the best and hardest to judge debates I've seen. Pro uses way too much appeal to authority and did not spend enough space refuting Cons contentions of defining marraige. However this debate came down to the two main arguments: Procreation vs stable family units. While Pro did not put as much time into this argument, it stood just above the procreation argument as it remains consistant in its value in all marraiges. I decided to use the point system because it was too close. 4:3 Pro.
Vote Placed by GMDebater 3 years ago
GMDebater
FreemanContradictionTied
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 Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: I vote pro because con never attempted to rebut c3/c4. The procreational argument was shot down easily. This was a great debate to read. Overall, too many holes in con's case. The fact is, pro did respond to the state's interest in marriage
Vote Placed by ExNihilo 3 years ago
ExNihilo
FreemanContradictionTied
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 Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: 1. Freeman continued to appeal to authority. The resolution says "should". What is and what should be are different. Slavery was once constitutional and that is consistent with someone being able to say "it should not be." Moreover, Freeman's argument was circular and this was pointed out repeatedly. I buy procreative type in terms of state's interest.