Same-Sex Marriage Should be Legal in the United States of America
Debate Rounds (5)
The first round will be reserved for definitions, clarification of the topic, and any other clerical issues.
I will not be trying to obfuscate meaning with this topic or in my responses, and I would encourage my opponent to present any questions they have about the meaning of the topic.
Same-sex marriage is defined as marriage between two individuals of the same sex.
United States of America constitutes all territory subject to the federal government of the United States (including territories and whatnot).
Naturally, I'm pro (in favor of the resolution).
One other thing. I'd prefer it if my opponent use the Trebuchet MS font at size 4 (14 pt) for his posts, because the default font is small and strains my eyes.
The United States of America is not a Christian nation. It is a secular nation, founded on the principles of federalism, republican democracy, and individual liberty. Our founders had in mind a republic which would protect the rights of minorities, even against the pressure of the masses. It was this sentiment that allowed the Civil Rights Movement to end segregation and institutionalized racism, in spite of the majority opinion. It is this same sentiment that compels us into action against those who seek, yet again, to perpetuate civil inequality on the basis of ignorance.
Marriage is the legal union between two romantically involved individuals, and because of the traditional understanding of romance and a bigoted attitude towards homosexuals, it was officially defined as the union between two individuals of opposite sex by the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Like all bigotry, this sentiment too has its roots in ignorance, and ignorance should never form the basis of government policy.
As marriage is a civil right, this is a civil rights issue. In the cases of civil rights issues, it is not only irrational to consider temporal implications of policy, but unacceptable. It would not matter if the passage of same-sex marriage's legalization sparked a nuclear war; it is a fundamental duty of ours to recognize, uphold, and enshrine the civil rights of all men and women in this nation. Naturally, then, some increase in tax burden or a spike in divorce rates is not justification for the bigotry and ignorance inherent in the opposition.
This topic is not a question of should, it is a matter of must.
It falls to the opposition to establish that the denial of a fundamental civil right such as marriage can be justified.
It falls to the opposition to establish that their bigotry and ignorance are acceptable.
It falls to the opposition to establish that America is a nation where freedoms should not be respected.
It falls to the opposition to establish that institutionalized inequality is just.
I thank my opponent for opening such an interesting debate! Let's have fun!
"The United States of America is not a Christian nation. It is a secular nation, founded on the principles of federalism, republican democracy, and individual liberty."
My opponent's first argument is entirely irrelevant. What my oppnent argues is that the United States of America is a secular nation, not a Christian one. The reason why this is irrelevant is because she is immediately refuting a point I never made! She and I both agree marriage is a secular institution and my case will be fully secular and have nothing to do with religion. This is should be seen as an observation as this does not help my opponent's case at all. It does not help or hurt her.
"Marriage is the legal union between two romantically involved individuals, and because of the traditional understanding of romance and a bigoted attitude towards homosexuals, it was officially defined as the union between two individuals of opposite sex by the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996."
My opponent then argues that marriage is about love, which is an extremely poor argument. Marriage is a secular and legal institution. I will give two examples here (remember my opponent's argument is on two loving individuals in a solid relationship and mine is marriage between a man and a woman to promote the state's interest in promothing procreative type unions):
My opponent's view is highly flawed. Why does the state not regulate ordinary friendships or something that is more compatible to marriage, relationships of those who hold some loving virtue? Why does this not have regulation? The answer is obvious to many: ordinary friendships have no effect on the political common good to warrant regulation and recognition! Sheriff Girgis, Brian T. Anderson, and Robert P. George note, "ordinary friendships do not affect the political common good in structured ways that justify or warrant legal regulation." Essentially, that's what I said. 
Now why does heterosexual marriage deserve recognition? Heterosexual union builds procreative type unions as well as stable families which promote healthy and growing society. In other words, marriage serves a certain public purpose which homosexuals cannot fulfill: procreative type unions. Marriage, therefore, warrants legal recognition.
As we can see, the "love" argument is extremely weak and will not give my opponent ground in a debate about legal institution in marriage.
Now, the sole contention in my opponent's case is we are bigoted, and discriminating against homosexuals. I am offended by being called a bigot and see it as ad homeniem. Regardless of the intention, let's really turn the argument which keeps my opponent afloat upside-down and sink it.
The same-sex marriage debate must resolve around one sole contention: what marriage is. Already showing competing views, and how one is logical in a secular society, I now refute the weak contention that we are depriving some basic right. Girgis et. al. notes:
"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."
In arguing some type of discrimination is occurring, my opponent is assuming such a right to same sex marriage exists. Only if this right exists does the argument hold, and in doing so she only begs the question. If no right to same sex marriage (different from marriage) then the contention of discrimination is irrelevant to the legal debate. Being denied a privilege, therefore, is not unjust.
If marriage is defined as a man and a woman, and the right to marriage exists, then there is no right to homosexual marriage as it simply does not exist. Let me s this in a more clear manner: a right to marriage DOES exist, however marriage does not include homosexuals, therefore no right to same sex marriage exists.
So, to determine this debates outcome, we must define what marriage is.
What Marriage Is
This is my case as well as a rebuttal to the "discrimination" point.
So, as stated above, marriage is a right. But why is it considered a right? In Skinner v. Oklahoma, the Supreme court gives us insight: "Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race." The right to marriage only exists because only societies that reproduce can continue. As Maggie Ghallager notes in her paper in the Louisiana Law review, "In every complex society governed by law, marriage exists as a public legal act and NOT merely a private romantic declaration or religious rite. ... While marriage systems differ, marriage across societies is a public sexual union that creates kinship obligations and sharing of resources between men, women, and the children their sexual union may produce." [emphasis added]
Only when marriages pubic purpose of procreation is understood can we make a intelligent opinion about what marriage is. This is why the state subsidizes this union and considers it a legal union, and excludes homosexuals and other relationship types. As homosexual marriages are not procreative type in principle, they cannot be considered marriages. So, they are NOT being deprived any rights because their relationship really isn't marriage and, therefore, they cannot apply to those rights.
Now, my opponent keeps hammering the point that I need to do this and I needto do that. However, if anything, my opponent has the full burden of proof to prove homosexuals are being denied certain rights. Sadly, she has not successfully proven that point.
Brute Apologia notes, "Heterosexual relationships can procreate by the nature of their complimentary kinds and as such, provide the foundation for the existence of society itself. Thus, it naturally holds a special social value in comparison to homosexuals, which are incapable of sexually procreating by the nature of their relationship. ... The government has good reason to protect and promote such relationships but it has no reason to regulate private relationships that are only beneficial to the partners in question. This is the proper legal function of marriage, regardless of one's reasons for getting married."
In other words, many benefits are given to marriage which cost a lot of money. Heterosexuals are able to repay such a cost through their ability to be special to society and promote its existence. Homosexuals, on the other hand, cannot fulfill this legal function of marriage and, therefore, can be denied these benefits. Alan Keys (video) fully explains the position.
Good luck to Pro, and I urge a CON vote.
1. Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, ï¿½€œWhat is Marriage?ï¿½€ï¿½ Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 34, no. 1 (Winter 2010)
2. Maggie Gallagher, ï¿½€œWhat is Marriage For? The Public Purposes of Marriage Law,ï¿½€ï¿½ Louisiana Law Review (2002)
Ara ara, how deliciously quaint and so very conservative. Unfortunately for my opponent, an argument that is made to uphold bigotry will fall flat on its face no matter how much it's been dressed up.
Contention I - Secularism
We both know why you're defending your position, and it's not because you're interested in some alien notion of societal good. No; the reason you're arguing for the status quo is because of this: http://i.imgur.com.... Since you haven't made any religious arguments, however, I'll let it alone.
Contention II - The 'interest of the state' is the best metric for deciding 'should'
My opponent has somehow wrapped itself around this idea that what is 'in the interest of the state' is what should be done. Even a cursory examination of the idea allows us to know, and know confidently, that this is a terrible metric for establishing good. For one thing, what is 'in the interest of the state' varies heavily depending on what the goal of the state is. According to the current political paradigm, the state is an organization that exists not to protect its own interests, but the interests of its citizens. In liberal democracies such as the United States, the state has a direct legal obligation to its people, and especially to protecting those who would otherwise be unable to protect themselves - minorities. At various points in history (including our own) the state has acted to preserve an unjust status quo as it did during the nadir of American race relations, or to roll society back to a previous state, as it did after the end of Reconstruction in the south. Was it in the interest of the state to do so? Obviously people made that argument at the time, but I think we'd have quite an issue with their claims today. Was the interest of the state the same thing as what should have been done? Clearly not, according to almost all ethical frameworks and the sentiments of modern Americans.
No matter what the interest of the state is, it is certainly separate from 'what is good', and 'what should be done'. To argue otherwise is to directly endorse fascism (frankly wouldn't surprise me with this opponent).
Contention III - Definition of marriage
My opponent seems to believe that marriage is a legal institution that exists not to recognize a romantic relationship between two individuals, but to promote 'the interest of the state' by providing incentives for 'procreative type unions'. It doesn't take a whole lot of insight to detect the bias inherent in that definition of marriage, or the hypocrisy. This is, of course, expected (and necessary) with any position that defends bigotry. Let's take its idea of what marriage is apart:
Marriage exists because it is in the interest of the state that it does
If we simply refer back to Contention II, we note that 'the interest of the state' is both aqueous and irrelevant. What is good for the state is dynamic and subjective, and does not impact 'what should be done'.
Marriage exists to foster 'procreative type unions'
In the first place, we can see that my opponent heavily neglects the status quo with this assessment of marriage. Many couples have children out of marriage. Many couples are married and do not have children. Many couples are married and have no possibility of procreating. Many couples get married, have children, and are then divorced. Some couples get married where one party already has children and the other does not.
All of these things happen in a world where marriage is (in the mind of my opponent, anyway) designed to create children for the prosperity of the state. In reality, marriage and procreation are two completely separate things. Procreation is subsidized (where it is subsidized at all) by child tax credits and similar government aids, not the institution of marriage.
'Procreative type unions' are good
Procreation is also not an inherent good: we face a number of problems associated with overpopulation while many children are left in orphanages or in foster homes. When children are adopted, not only does society avoid the associated costs of raising an entirely new human being, but the state no longer has to foot the bill for this child, and their capacity to contribute to the rest of society will be much greater when placed in a stable family environment.
While there are certain societal benefits to the institution of marriage, procreation is not one of them. Raising children in a stable, filial environment is the actual benefit that marriages provide to the rest of society, and to that end homosexual marriages are absolutely desirable.
Contention IV - Homosexual marriage as a civil right
When my opponent's assertion that marriage is an institution that exists for the good of ze Reich - err, state, because it fosters 'procreative type unions' falls apart, then his argument that same-sex marriage isn't a right falls apart. When this becomes a civil rights issues, as I pointed out in my initial argument, then nothing else matters - we must protect and enforce this right.
Contention IV - Sources
It is the mark of an inexperienced debater to cite sources for the sake of citing sources. My opponent has cited three sources - none of which establish factual claims about the world or about the topic. Instead, it cites the opinions of different people about the topic, and partisan opinions at that. With an issue as public and as controversial as the topic, opinions, even those of 'experts' do not establish anything other than that these people believe 'X' about 'Y'. If there is an issue of fact raised, and this fact is not evident, then it is necessary to cite sources that contain evidence of the claims. Pointing out that person 'Z' believes that 'X' is 'Y' does not aid your position. Additionally, there is never reason to cite other debates from this website, as they will never be able to establish whether or not a factual claim is valid. It's clear that my opponent is simply trying to pad its suede jacket of bigotry with a bunch of sparkly 'expert' rhinestones.
The 'interest of the state' is dynamic and subjective, and its interests do not determine what is good or what should be done. Marriage is not an institution that exists to promote 'procreative type unions' in the interest of state - this is objective fact made evident by the overwhelming number of marriages that are not 'procreative type unions'. Additionally, 'procreative type unions' are comparatively disadvantageous to non-procreative type unions because of the effects of overpopulation and the continuing problem of orphaned children and wards of the state. Same-sex marriage is a civil right, and so regardless of any consequences, we must enforce and protect it. None of the sources my opponent cited have established factual claims that support his argument. In conclusion, we're just seeing more smoke and mirrors from the opposition; some feinting and sophistry intended to obfuscate its true position, its bigotry and ignorance.
The Interest of the State
"My opponent has somehow wrapped itself around this idea that what is 'in the interest of the state' is what should be done. Even a cursory examination of the idea allows us to know, and know confidently, that this is a terrible metric for establishing good. For one thing, what is 'in the interest of the state' varies heavily depending on what the goal of the state is. According to the current political paradigm, the state is an organization that exists not to protect its own interests, but the interests of its citizens. In liberal democracies such as the United States, the state has a direct legal obligation to its people, and especially to protecting those who would otherwise be unable to protect themselves - minorities. At various points in history (including our own) the state has acted to preserve an unjust status quo as it did during the nadir of American race relations, or to roll society back to a previous state, as it did after the end of Reconstruction in the south. Was it in the interest of the state to do so? Obviously people made that argument at the time, but I think we'd have quite an issue with their claims today. Was the interest of the state the same thing as what should have been done? Clearly not, according to almost all ethical frameworks and the sentiments of modern Americans."
This rests on an elementary misunderstanding of how the state is structured. The purpose of the state – indeed, the very reason why it exists – is to further the common good, i.e. the good of its citizens. Thus, the interests of the state are the same as the interests of the people. My opponent's mistake is to think that the state interests are different from the people's interest, when in fact the exact opposite is true. So it is she, and not I, who misunderstands the American political order. The argument that traditional marriage is in the state's interest is just another way of stating that traditional marriage contributes toward the common good.
So really this paragraph is just one big exercise in obfuscation.
"To argue otherwise is to directly endorse fascism."
This couldn't be any more confused. It is my opponent's view that lays the groundwork for fascism, since she views the state's interest and the people's interest as distinct.
Procreative Type Unions
"In the first place, we can see that my opponent heavily neglects the status quo with this assessment of marriage. Many couples have children out of marriage. Many couples are married and do not have children. Many couples are married and have no possibility of procreating. Many couples get married, have children, and are then divorced. Some couples get married where one party already has children and the other does not."
This is easily dealt with. First, my opponent brings up a strawman. Nobody is claiming that marriage and procreation are the same thing. They are distinct, but inherently linked. Marriage is a comprehensive union with a special link to children. Not every married couple will have children, but every married couple has an inherent link to the generation of children, even if they choose not to act on that link or ifthey cannot exercise it due to some defect. To put it more succinctly, all marriages are procreative-in-type, even if not in effect. The state is not merely interested in just making babies, but in making babies the right way (in a way that is linked to their mother and father). So the state's primarily interest is in procreative-type relationships the right way (in a way that is linked to their mother and father). So the state's primary interest is in procrative-type relationships.
"Procreation is also not an inherent good: we face a number of problems associated with overpopulationwhile many children are left in orphanages or in foster homes. When children are adopted, not onlydoes society avoid the associated costs of raising an entirely new human being, but the state no longerhas to foot the bill for this child, and their capacity to contribute to the rest of society will be muchgreater when placed in a stable family environment."
This is confused on multiple levels. Suppose that overpopulation is a problem (It's not – debate me for more on this). First, this would only mean that too much procreation is not a good, not procreation itself. Second, this does not mean that procreation isn't an intrinsic good. An intrinsic goodis something that is good in itself. Simply because it may extrinsically lead to undesirable effectsdoesn't mean that procreation itself isn't a basic good. If it's not good, then what is it? Bad? Does thatmean nobody should never procreate? Obviously not. All this shows is that procreation should be done responsibly.
"It is the mark of an inexperienced debater to cite sources for the sake of citing sources. My opponenthas cited three sources -none of whichestablish factual claims about the world or about the topic.Instead, it cites the opinions of different people about the topic, andpartisan opinionsat that."
This doesn't even really deserve a response. Did my opponent even read my sources? Did she not notice the mountains of social scientific, legal, jurisprudential, and philosophical evidence that the authors appealed to? The papers of course reflect the opinions of their authors, but so what? Opinions can be right, especially if accompanied by facts and rational argumentation.
This is just sophistry.
I have refuted all the points of my opponent's argument. State interest exists to further the common good and ban gay marriage and procreative type unions are good.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Yes, you have responded to me, but in your response I see more of my own quoted statements than of your rebuttals to them. Redouble your efforts lad, or you'll soon be overwhelmed by volume and unnecessarily drop arguments!
Contention I - The interest of the state
My opponent has decided to ignore the empirical evidence I provided which establishes that the interest of the state and what is good are two separate things, but not only that, it fails to address the issue of 'what should be done' entirely. Instead, it talks about how the interest of the state is the same thing as the interest of its citizens, and how to assert otherwise is to endorse fascism. Additionally, it reasserts that what is in the 'interest of the state' is good, but does not reject the examples I gave and does not actually back up its assertion.
The 'interest of the state' is the same thing as the 'interest of its citizens'
Along with establishing that 'what is good' is separate from 'what is in the interest of the state', my previous two examples (Reconstruction and the nadir of American race relations) provide evidence that 'what is in the interest of the state' and 'what is in the interest of its citizens' are distinct. African-Americans are all citizens of the United States, and the government acted very contrary to their interest in both of the listed examples. As well, we can look at the topic and find a status quo example where 'the interest of the citizens' is divorced from 'the interest of the state' by my opponent's own reasoning! At the same time, we should recognize that all of these things are dynamic, and it's best to be wary of those who monopolize the 'interest of the state' or the 'interest of its citizens' to further their own ends - as my opponent clearly does.
The assertion that the 'interest of the state' is different than 'the interest of its citizens' is fascist
In actuality, one of the most basic elements of the fascist ideology is the recognition of the interest of the state as being the same thing as the interest of the citizens. It is this heavy-handed thinking that justifies (for fascists, anyways) empowering the state and eliminating pluralistic forces (dissenters), and it is this same heavy-handed thinking that is necessary to rationalize the violation of civil rights that my opponent endorses.
Contention II - Definition of marriage
My opponent labelled its response to this contention 'Procreative-Type Unions'. It claims that marriage and procreation are inherently linked - something clearly invalidated by my previous response that points out how marriages are very frequently done without any intent, and in many cases, even the possibility of procreation. My opponent states that all married couples have a link to the next generation of children even if they don't act on that link. This idea has absolutely no basis in reality and no logical merit, it is simply my opponent's rationalization of its flawed viewpoint. Clearly there is a lot of cognitive dissonance floating around on the other side. It then goes on to claim that all marriages are procreative-in-type, even if they aren't that way in effect. Again, this idea has no basis in the real world or any logical merit. The aforementioned dissonance shows up quite nicely in the next section of my opponent's argument, where it apparently breaks down and starts looping because it cannot face the vapidity of its rationalizations:
"The state is not merely interested in just making babies, but in making babies the right way (in a way that is linked to their mother and father). So the state's primarily interest is in procreative-type relationships the right way (in a way that is linked to their mother and father). So the state's primary interest is in procreative-type relationships."
The dissonance is just radiating out from this section. Look folks, that's the kind of stuff you glance at and then grimace, because you know that all that's holding back this series of contradictions and irrationality is a very, very thin layer of buzzwords that are completely devoid of meaning, and some genuinely pathetic rationalizations.
Read his statements and you'll find absolutely nothing of substance in them, just a few vagueries and baseless assertions. Really. though, that's all you can find in a position that's fundamentally rooted in ignorance and bigotry.
Next my opponent tries to assert that overpopulation is not a problem, which is of course nonsensical since it wouldn't be called overpopulation if it wasn't problematic. It also claims that procreation is intrinsically good, which is again nonsensical since intrinsic good does not exist.
Contention III - Homosexual marriage as a civil right
This contention went completely and totally uncontested by my opponent in the last round. Since we established that civil rights must be protected at all temporal expense, this debate should go to me already.
Contention IV - Sources
The only important thing to consider about this contention is that sources only contribute to the debate when they resolve issues of fact. No issue of fact that can be resolved by an external authority has even been raised in this debate, and none of the sources my opponent has used have established any factual truths. As previously mentioned, all that its sources have established is that person 'Z' thinks 'X' about 'Y'.
The interest of the state is distinct from the interest of its citizens, 'what is good', and from 'what should be done'. The last point went uncontested in my opponent's rebuttal, so for all of you flow-apt judges, that's a drop by my opponent. My opponent tacitly endorses the fascist view of state interest, for what that's worth. Marriage has nothing to do with procreation as evidenced by marriage as it exists in the status quo, and my opponent's rebuttal to that claim consisted of nothing more than 'but it does'. Overpopulation is by definition a problem, and procreation is not an intrinsic good. My opponent completely dropped the issue of homosexual marriage as a civil right in the last round. The sources used by my opponent have not established any factual claims about the issue or about anything at all.
An aside of considerable import
I'm not sure whether to consider the pilfering of my lexicon by my opposition a good thing or not, but what I am sure of is that it has absolutely butchered the actual meaning of the words it ripped from me. There's a saying about great power and great responsibility, and I think it applies nowhere as well as it does in this case. As Chairperson of the International Council of Language I cannot stand idly by while these bilious, sickly things attempt to regurgitate the most beautiful, celestial form of expression known to man - the English language - through their insidious maws. Their diseased tongues are accustomed only to that primordial Black Speech, and so they cannot hope to decipher - let alone apply - the civilized principles that I, and the other members of this most erudite council, am sworn to protect.
Keep this in mind, audience!
Know well what's at stake here: this is not just some ineffectual socio-political value struggle! No, it never could have been; from the moment I begin reciting the melodic, Akashic truths that necessarily spring forth from this empyrean seat, the lumbering servants of that most infernal power took up tentacled arms against me! This is greater than law, than love, than religion or philosophy - it is that most serene virtue that's been challenged here, that most ambrosial force for good and righteousness that ever existed, it is on trial here, and that trial is a trial by fire! Do not give in to the beaked, shifting not-men that would try and take from you your only and most honest dignity. Stand up, as I do, against this eldritch tide, and vote in favor of the ignis divine!
1Historygenius forfeited this round.
And that's her, folks. Con concedes the debate and all of my arguments flow to me unopposed. There is absolutely no reason to grant Con any points in the debate, and if you do you're an intellectually dishonest scoundrel. Looking at you, middle school conservatives. No amount of pomade can slick your hair back enough to deny me my victory, even if you whip out your switchblade combs.
Just remember kiddies, none of you have any new ideas and none of you are smarter than your elders. You will never add anything to a discussion and it's in your interests to not care about politics or philosophy until you have a fully developed brain, lest you succumb to the red menace or become so entrenched in your Bronze Age mysticism that you leave reality behind. One more pro-tip from the master herself: don't go picking fights with someone else's arsenal. Nothing more sure to sink you than to rely on something you don't know how to use, and in the case that you do know how to use it you're still better off going out on your own.
1Historygenius forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This can kind of only go one way...
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