The Instigator
el3m3ntsk8s
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
RedShirt
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

The "Slippery Slope" argument used in gay marriage debate is invalid

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
el3m3ntsk8s
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,162 times Debate No: 8213
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

el3m3ntsk8s

Pro

This debate is not on gay marriage, but on the specific argument made that giving homosexual marriage as a right would lead to the induction of other groups to get married: Polygamy, incest, pedaphilia, bestiality, etc.

I am taking the pro side, meaning i believe this argument is bogous
My opponent will believe this argument is logical.
RedShirt

Con

I thank my opponent for instigating an interesting subject for debate. I will do my best to make it interesting and vigorous.

"Laying the playing field"

First I'd like to say that I will not be making any moral judgements on the subject matter of this debate. I will approach the subject matter in a manner that neither purports to condemn nor condone as I do not see that taking a personal stand is germane to the debate.

"Slippery slope argument" - (SSA) the position that acquiescence to a particular condition or activity is undesirable because it could possibly lead to a secondary condition or activity that is even more undesirable or a progression of conditions or activities of increasing undesirability; or that such an undesirable progression would be made more likely.

My understanding of my opponent's position is this: There are those who oppose the government recognition and sanctioning of legal/religious unions or "marriage" of homosexual couples due to the fact that such recognition or sanctioning could/would increase the instance of aberrant/undesirable activities that are detrimental to society. Such possible aberrant/undesirable activities might include polygamy, incest, pedophilia and bestiality. My opponent believes that such concerns are unfounded and that "slippery slope" is an illogical argument.

To win this debate I must show that those who might use the "slippery slope argument" (SSA) have a logical basis to do so.

"The argument"

First let's notice that the beginning condition of the SSA is "gay marriage" which involves homosexuality which is a sexual behavior. The conditions given as the possible progression conditions are all of a sexual nature:
Polygamy - traditionally involves sexual relation between one man and multiple wives
Incest - sex between family members other than between husband and wife
Pedophilia - sex between an adult and a child
Bestiality - sex between a human and an animal

It must be noted that all of these sexual behaviours carry a stigma to one degree or another throughout recorded history and have generally been considered aberrant behaviour throughout the United States for the history of the country. Of course there are many examples in recorded history and the history of the U.S. where some of these sexual behaviours have sometimes been openly practiced or condoned but on the whole, especially within the U.S., the general attitude toward these sexual behaviours has historically been that they are aberrant and detrimental to society.

Nevertheless, attitudes of societies often change. They often ebb and flow with the changing values and philosophies of the times. Consider the change in attitude toward homosexuality in the U.S. Fifty years ago most homosexuals concealed their sexual behaviours for fear of reprisal. Today homosexuals hold annual parades in major cities in open celebration of their sexual orientation. Fifty years ago it would be exceedingly rare to see a homosexual on network television, either real or as portrayed by an actor. Today there are numerous television series devoted to presenting homosexuals, both real and as portrayed by actors. Fifty years ago one would be hard pressed to find an open homosexual holding a government office. Today we have openly homosexual members of congress and it is possible that an open homosexual may be appointed to the Supreme Court.

As we can see, there has been a gradual change in attitude and acceptance of homosexuality in society in the U.S. But even today a segment of society still regards homosexuality as an aberrant behavior and one that is detrimental to society. That segment has arguably become smaller today than what it was fifty years ago.

How would the attitude of society be affected if marriage between homosexuals were given official approval by the U.S. government? Would the attitude be more likely to become more favorable or less favorable? One must conclude that, by law, people would then be obliged to become more favorable toward homosexuality at least in outward action if not in personal belief.

As mentioned, there is a segment that views homosexuality as aberrant sexual behavior. In the eyes of that segment, when one aberrant sexual behavior gains government approval and approval in society, does it make another aberrant sexual behavior more likely or less likely to gain approval in society?

Let's ask it another way. If one behavior gains official approval by the government and society, does it make another, similar in nature, behavior more likely or less likely to gain approval in society? I say that it makes it more likely. And if it is more likely then those who hold the SSA against "gay marriage" have a logical basis to do so.

I think I'll rest there for now.

Again I thank my opponent for this opportunity and I am eager to read their response.
Debate Round No. 1
el3m3ntsk8s

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent overall for choosing to accept this debate.

My rebuttals:

I do not agree with my opponent in his claim that homosexuality is a sexual behavior. I would like to clarify the difference between sexual behavior and sexual orientation/attraction.

Sexual Behavior: The method and/or means in which a person chooses to express their sexual orientation.

Sexual Orientation/Attraction: the direction of a persons emotional and physical desire, toward people of the opposite sex, same sex, or both sexes.

If needed proof to distinguish the difference, how does one know they are heterosexual if they've never had any physical contact with a person of the opposite sex? Are they a clean slate? No, they are simply attracted to others of the opposite sex. Sexual Orientation determines sexual behavior, not vice versa.

Polygamy, pedophilia, bestiality and incest are all examples of sexual behavior, and there are legitimate reasons why marriage among these behaviors should remain illegal:

Polygamy: Takes advantage of marriage benefits most especially. Imagine an employer having to pay insurance to a worker with who knows how many wives! This is unfair to other couples and to the government providing them with this abundance of benefits.
Bestiality: Are animals covered by our constitution? Homosexuals are human beings, whom ARE covered by our constitution.
Pedophilia: Children do not have the mental capacity and/or ability to consent over and adult.
Incest: If a man loves his sister, there are still many "fish in the sea" that man would be able to marry. If that man were a homosexual, he has no options, for he can not marry any other man.

I am aware of the stigmas between many of these sexual behaviors mentioned and can understand why many would associate homosexuality into them. But when analyzing the difference between sexual behavior and sexual orientation, one can clearly see that homosexuality just does not share the same label with these behaviors.
RedShirt

Con

I thank my opponent for the opportunity to continue our discussion.

My opponent makes issue about homosexuality being an orientation as opposed to a sexual activity. He goes to length making distinctions between homosexuality and sexual behaviors. The problem with this line of reasoning, even if we were to accept my opponent's contrasts, is that the debate is not about "homosexuality" but about "gay marriage."

My opponent cannot divorce homosexual activity from a discussion of gay marriage. Gay marriage necessarily is about the relationship of two same sex people and the relationship is necessarily sexual in nature. Otherwise we would be discussing "friendship" and not marriage. A marriage must normally be consummated before being fully recognized as valid under the law. The consummation of marriage is done by sexual congress.

Homosexuality, polygamy, pedophilia, incest and bestiality are all conditions of a sexual nature. This fact cannot be escaped.

This debate is about whether there are logical reasons to assume that gay marriage could be a slippery slope. My arguments in round one still stand but I will introduce an additional argument.

If marriage has always had just one definition (one man and one woman) how likely is it that it might change? If the definition of marriage is changed from (one man and one woman) to include (one man and one man) and (one woman and one woman) how likely is it that it could be changed again? Is it more likely or less likely to change again once it has been changed the first time?

An absolute definition that has never changed is not expected to change. A definition, once changed, is proved to be changeable. Which is more likely to change: a definition that has never changed or a definition that has been proved to be changeable?

Is a condition that has never changed more likely or less likely to change than a condition that has already been changed once?

To accept gay marriage would change the definition of marriage and once the definition of marriage is proved to be changeable then it becomes more likely for it to change again. Other potential changes could conceivably include polygamy, incest, pedophilia and bestiality. Thus it is entirely logical to view gay marriage as a slippery slope.

I thank the reader for their attention and wait for opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 2
el3m3ntsk8s

Pro

I thank my opponent for continuing his contribution to this very interesting debate.

I will make no apologies for my reasoning in round two, as my opponent claims this debate is not about "homosexuality", but "gay marriage", when truly it is neither. This debate is whether or not there is logical reasoning to believe gay marriage shall lead to the acceptance of behaviors such as polygamy, incest, bestiality, and pedophilia in marriage as well. One cannot expect to win this debate without attempting to prove or disprove the correlation between homosexuality and these behaviors. The only correlation shown by my opponent's arguments are the social stigmas between each subject (homosexuality, polygamy, incest, bestiality, pedophilia) and not and in-depth analysis between them.

My opponent stresses the possibilities of marriage changing its definition after once being changed to include (one man and one man) and (one woman and one woman). It is not my task to ask what others may perceive of marriage after it has changed it's definition. My task is to examine why gay marriage is most commendable to be included over a marriage involving polygamy, incest, bestiality and pedophilia. I believe the definition of marriage should not be changed to include anything that promotes a particular sexual behavior. I have already proven that homosexuality (such as heterosexuality and bisexuality) is not a sexual behavior, but a sexual orientation. Would my opponent be able to discover a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality? If not, how could marriage ever change it's definition again?

Once again I thank my opponent and look forward to his responses.
RedShirt

Con

I am glad for the opportunity to continue this discussion and will respond to my opponent's latest comments with the following three thoughts:

FIRST
My opponent asks for a correlation between homosexuality and the potential conditions that he stated in his thesis, namely polygamy, incest, pedophilia and bestiality. I have given two very clear correlations which I will restate here:

1. They are all explicitly of a sexual nature
2. They are all regarded, by a large segment of American society, as aberrant (deviating from what is normal or desirable).

To dispute these correlations is merely obstinate.

SECOND
My opponent states that it is his "task is to examine why gay marriage is most commendable to be included over a marriage involving polygamy, incest, bestiality and pedophilia."

This has nothing to do with this debate. The debate is about whether there are logical reasons to hold the "slippery slope argument" against gay marriage. An exploration of the merits of gay marriage vs. polygamy, incest, bestiality and pedophilia might be interesting but it is not the subject of this debate.

THIRD
My opponent again draws distinction between "sexual behavior" and "sexual orientation." Observe the following quote:

"I believe the definition of marriage should not be changed to include anything that promotes a particular sexual behavior. I have already proven that homosexuality (such as heterosexuality and bisexuality) is not a sexual behavior, but a sexual orientation. Would my opponent be able to discover a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality? If not, how could marriage ever change its definition again?"

My opponent seems to want to justify gay marriage on grounds that homosexuality is an orientation and not a behavior. But notice that he has interjected "bisexuality" into the mix as an orientation. He asks how the definition of marriage might change if there are no other orientations but hetero, homo and bi-sexuality. My opponent has just compounded his own difficulties. (!)

Let's explore the implications of the "orientation" of bisexuality and the potential changing of marriage's definition. A woman with a bisexual orientation might desire to be married to both a man and a woman which would then change the definition of marriage to include POLYGAMY. Remember, if we are only dealing with "orientation" and not "behavior" then on what grounds could my opponent deny our hypothetical bi friend the right to have a fulfilling marriage to the heterosexual man and homosexual woman of her desires?

We have, in my opponent's own terms, clear, logical justification for slippery slope.

But let's go a step further. Who is to say that pedophilia and bestiality are merely "behaviors" and not also "orientations?" Is it not possible that one might never actually have sex with a child (animal) but yet still only experience sexual desire for children (animals)? Where might this lead?

I rest, waiting for my opponent's closing thoughts.
Debate Round No. 3
el3m3ntsk8s

Pro

I thank my opponent for his time and effort. I will now rebut his arguments in round three:

FIRST REBUTTAL:

1. "They are all explicitly of a sexual nature"
-Polygamy, Incest, Pedophilia and Bestiality are all SPECIFIC instances of a sexual nature and are in no way relevant to gender preference, which by definition is: "orientation".

2. "They are all, by a large segment of American society, as aberrant (deviation from what is normal or desirable)."
-A statement such as this only supports my claim that my opponent can only back up his correlations through social stigma. Would it just so happen that a large segment of American society has not analyzed what makes these correlations invalid, as I have consistently addressed?

SECOND REBUTTAL:

Let us review the statement I had made that my opponent feels has nothing to do with this debate:

"My task is to examine why gay marriage is most commendable to be included over a marriage involving polygamy, incest, bestiality and pedophilia."

My opponent's comment:

"An exploration of the merits of gay marriage vs. polygamy, incest, bestiality and pedophilia might be interesting but it is not the subject of this debate."

Merits: Qualities of being worthy or deserving. How does my opponent expect me to defend gay marriage against the "slippery slope" argument without exploring it's merits? Though merits might not be the subject of this debate, they are the key to support my position. I've already done this by stating that homosexuality is a sexual orientation and not a behavior such as polygamy, incest, bestiality and pedophilia.

My opponent believes that I have compounded my own claims through the instance of a bisexual man/woman marrying one member of each sex (polygamy). This is completely false. Being bisexual does not suggest that that person would want to have relations with one person of each sex at the same time, that would be the definition of a polygamist. A bisexual simply has sexual attraction for both males and females. To say a bisexual will want to marry more than one person because he/she has a wider span of sexual preference, would be no different then saying a heterosexual man would want to marry more than one woman because he is attracted to more than one woman. (For more on polygamy, see round one).

Now my opponents last argument:

Who is to say that pedophilia and bestiality are merely "behaviors" and not also "orientations?" Is it not possible that one might never actually have sex with a child (animal) but yet still only experience sexual desire for children (animals)? Where might this lead?

-These people may not be behaving like pedophiles or animal lovers, but neither are they experiencing sexual orientation, they are merely desiring a sexual behavior. Sexual orientation is strictly based on gender preference, any proceeding preferences would not fit the same definition.

Look forward to my opponents final arguments in round four.
RedShirt

Con

My closing thoughts:

I understand how my opponent wants to argue his side of the debate. He argues this:
1 -There are good reasons why gay marriage should be accepted.
2 - There are good reasons why (polygamy, incest, pedophilia, bestiality) should not be accepted.
3 - No one should draw any correlations between homosexuality and (polygamy, incest, pedophilia, bestiality) because there aren't any and if someone thinks that there are correlations then they are just mistaken.

The problem with the points of this argument is that the first two have nothing to do with this debate and the last one simply isn't correct.

It doesn't matter that my opponent wants to classify homosexuality as an "orientation" and not a sexual behavior. The American Psychiatric Association, until 1975, classified homosexuality as a mental disorder. Definitions change.

My opponent would like to change the definition of marriage. The definition of marriage for the vast majority of people throughout the world, throughout history has been one man-one woman. This definition has nothing to do with "gender preference" or "orientation." My opponent would like to change the definition of marriage to be inclusive of "gender preference" or "orientation." Why? Because he believes that "gender preference" is a legitimate basis for granting legal standing.

In other words, my opponent believes that it is perfectly reasonable to grant legal standing to someone based on how they become sexually aroused.

Now, once the definition of marriage is changed from a traditional, static and concrete definition of one-man-one-woman to become contingent on sexual arousal, then the camel's nose is under the tent to expand the definition in ways that have unintended consequences.

It is very clear that there are very reasonable and logical reasons to expect that the acceptance of gay marriage would be used as a slippery slope to gain acceptance for any number of sexual preferences.

The bottom line here is whether or not there is logical reason to believe that gay marriage would be a slippery slope. The answer is in this: would changing the definition of marriage make it more likely or less likely for the definition of marriage to be changed again in the future? The answer must be more likely.

I appreciate my opponent's civil approach to debate.
I thank the reader for their time.
Finally, I leave this debate in the hands of those who will judge.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by RedShirt 8 years ago
RedShirt
Well, I guess no one cares about our debate. :-(
Posted by el3m3ntsk8s 8 years ago
el3m3ntsk8s
abbadon,

I will take that as a compliment.
Long or short, the context of an argument is what holds it's value.
Posted by RedShirt 8 years ago
RedShirt
abbadon,

Thanks for the comments.

If only I could be all things to all people.

I really need to work on being succinct. As they say, "brevity is the soul of wit."
Posted by abbadon 8 years ago
abbadon
ummmmmmmm... gay marriage. yeah. red shirt, i think your arguments are sort of more logical and direct, but your opponent's arguments are somewhat short and sweet. ADHD doesnt work well with long words....
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Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 8 years ago
studentathletechristian8
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jaeden
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pcmbrown
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