The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Same Sex Marriage

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,572 times Debate No: 31914
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (30)
Votes (3)




Resolved: Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal in the United States

I want to begin by saying how delighted I am to be debating 16kadams on a very important social issue. I have seen 16kadams previous debates and have seen that he is quite a challenging debater. I look forward to hearing my opponent's arguments against SSM.


The structure shall be defined as follows:

1) Terms/Acceptance
2) Opening Statemen
3-4) Rebuttals
5) Closing statements

In the final round, there shall be a maximum of 1,000 characters allowed for the closing argument.

I wish my opponent the best of luck and have he any questions priror to accepting this debate, please ask me in the comment section.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, 16kadams, for the opportunity to debate.

Pro 1: SSM Ban is Unconstitutional

A federal (or state) ban on Same-sex marriage is unconstitutional
for several reasons

1) The right to marriage is a fundamental right

Before we can begin to understand why marriage is a fundamental right, we must first understand
that marriage is a contract between two people – it is not about gender;
rather, it is a commitment to love and support each other.

Since 1888, the Supreme Court has ruled 14 times that the right to marry is a fundamental right:

decision to marry is a fundamental right” and marriage is an “expression of
emotional support and public commitment

v. Safley, 482 US 78, 95 (1987)

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.”

v. Virginia, 388 US 1, 12 (1967)

2) SSM Ban violates the XIV Amendment

The XIV Amendment states that "[no State shall] deny to any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws.” Freeman pointed out that SSM bans violate
the clause in two ways: First, they deny gay men and women the ability to marry
the person of their choice; second, these bans single out and harm a suspect
class by preventing them to marriage. [1.

Indeed, freeman is perhaps more correct than he realizes. Not only are gays harmed by not being
permitted to marry the person of their choice, but there is strong economic and
social harm such as the case of Roger Gorley who was forced out of the hospital
when he was visiting his partner and arrested [2.
]. There are hundreds of such cases and to the like.


I will add and expand in the next round, but for now
we learn several things:

1) A federal or state ban on SSM is unconstitutional

2) Gays are harmed in more than one way be being denied the fundamental right to

3) SSM ban is a form of discrimination



A right to marry and the constitution

My opponent argues that there is a right to marriage and prohibiting homosexuals from this right is unconstitutional. My opponent seems to have not fully understood the legal ramifications and meaning of marriage. Indeed, I agree marriage is a right, but not gay marriage. My opponent cites the famous Freeman v. Contradiction debate (freeman = pro-SSM). Freeman “proved” SSM was unconstitutional, forgetting Contradiction won the debate and refuted the constitutional argument.

When it comes to the constitution, Contradiction and I have similar arguments on the issue (actually, we hold the same position overall).

To elaborate my point as to why SSM is not a right but marriage is, I point out a few obvious points.

You cannot call a certain marriage policy unjust, unequal, or unconstitutional unless you first know what marriage is. We must answer this question if we are to conclude whether or not DOMA (or other bans) violate the constitution. As the famous Girgis et al. paper writes, “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. 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.”[1] And Girgis et al. write in their new book, “the state is within its rights to recognize only true marriages, People who cannot enter marriages so understood (for whatever reasons) are not denied the right to marriage, even when they cannot control the factors that kept them single. … [T]here is no general right to marry the person you love, if this means the right to consensual relationship recognized as marriage. There is only a general right not to be prevented from forming a true marriage.”[2]

The argument is fairly straightforward: marriage has an objective meaning, and the courts often utilize this term. The question is whether or not the court cases my opponent cited (like Loving) actually apply to same sex marriage at all. Because if marriage itself it heterosexual, a right to marriage, as described to the courts, is not the same as a right to same-sex “marriage”. I shall restate: if marriage is heterosexual in nature, when the courts use the term marriage, it simply does not apply to homosexuals.

Now, since the writing of the book and paper by Girgis, there have been some legal authors also adopting this view. For example, in Conaway v. Deane the court noted, “virtually every supreme court case recognizing as a fundamental right to marry indicates as the basis for the conclusion the institution’s inextricable link to procreation.” In Anderson v. King county, the court noted, “[w]hile the State agrees marriage is a fundamental right, it says that it does not include same sex-sex marriage.” Indeed, Loving itself argues, “the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination.” Note Loving when you actually read the court case notes (i) that marriage is a right because of procreation (and other attributes), and (ii) we cannot separate them based on race alone. Unless my opponent wishes to use the antimiscegenation analogy, using the Loving court case really has no bearing on this debate.

Edward Meese, former Attorney General, writes, “[o]n the merits, neither the Due Process nor the Equal Protection Clauses require that marriage be radically redefined to encompass relationships other than the union of one man and one woman. The fundamental right to marry recognized by this Court in Loving as protected by the Due Process Clause was tied to the unique procreative capacity of opposite-sex unions, a fact that also renders same-sex and opposite-sex relationships not R13;similarly situated for purposes of Equal Protection analysis, a threshold inquiry.”[3] [emphasis mine].

As we can see, my opponent’s legal arguments are false.


My case is simple: marriage is a comprehensive union with a special link to children. Indeed, marriage is a private union but has a public purpose. Comprehensive union (love, monogamy, amongst many other criteria) generally covers the private purpose, however does have an intrinsic value to the state as well. But the public purpose is generally the link to children through procreation and child rearing. Marriage is intrinsically related to child rearing and creation. It is made for male-female complimentary to encourage responsible procreation. Marriage brings a coming together or two bodies, working together to reach a common goal. Girgis et al. write, “[p]rocreation is a good that fulfills and extends marriage.”[4] Marriage itself is an intrinsic good, which the state ought to regulate. Procreation is merely another benefit offered by the institution. When the bodies come together to consummate their love through the generative act, they extend their good to society by upholding these societal norms, and the fruits of the procreation (babies and child rearing) are a bonus to the comphrehensive union. Homosexuals cannot fulfill what marriage is, and portraying a false view of marital natute (and further divorcing marriage from a comprehensive union with a special link to children) is not in the states interest, therefore gay marriage should not be upheld.


My opponent needs to show two things: (1) What is marriage? Does he have a definition? For his arguments to be correct, he must provide what marriage is. (2) What is the states interest in marriage? Does it have one? If he cannot answer these questions, he loses the debate.

Good luck!

1. Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, “What is Marriage?” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 34, no. 1 (Winter 2010)

2. Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. Encounter Books, 2012.


4. Girgis et al. What is marriage? 2012

Debate Round No. 2


I have been very busy and must postpone this round. I am going to the FBLA state leadership conference Thursday so I ask that my opponent wait until the last minute possible to respond.


11 hours left. And I can't respond later, to I suppose this is last minte for me.

I hope that was a help.
Debate Round No. 3


DoubtingDave forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


I was at the FBLA-SLC. I ask my opponent to draw this debate while we wait for airmax to reset.
Debate Round No. 5
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
And again with not understanding the argument
Posted by StevenDixon 5 years ago
Marriage serves many functions, at it's most basic level it's a binding legal contract that shows a specific status of a relationship, this status often comes with certain benefits non married couples don't have. The point is, if a straight couple can engage in this contract and receive these benefits without the ability to procreate naturally, then natural procreation is not a rational basis in which to deny these same benefits to a same sex couples.
Posted by Sola.Gratia 5 years ago
Okay.. And it looks like it is :0 .. So don't fright!
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
lol sola
Posted by DoubtingDave 5 years ago
@Sola, didn't you see this debate was suppose to be TIED?
Posted by DoubtingDave 5 years ago
LOL. I was at FBLA so I couldn't respond :( we will restart
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
This is the mother of all SSM debates!
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
But I can turn that around: what, to you, is marriage? Love? Marriage isn't about love because some of them don't love eachother.

The infertile argument assumes marriage only is an extrinsic good. The infertile argument is a strawman of the actual point.
Posted by StevenDixon 5 years ago
16k adams, that didn't really refute the point. The argument is that procreation is not a REQUIREMENT to get married therefore arguing that homosexuals shouldn't be able to get married on grounds of procreation(which isn't a requirement) is absurd. Regardless of what the historicity of marriage is, currently straight couples can get married without even having the ability to procreate, therefore this is not a reasonable ground to prevent homosexual couples from getting married.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Subutai 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Cancel.
Vote Placed by Eitan_Zohar 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter. This debate is to remain a tie.
Vote Placed by Sola.Gratia 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Great topic! Con gave the better arguments so he gets the points.