The Instigator
Pro (for)
11 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

The U.S.F.G. should withhold revenue from states unless they legalize same-sex marriage

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,042 times Debate No: 15344
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (5)




the first round is for acceptance. argumentation starts in round 2.


As stated by Pro, the first round is for acceptance, so let this serve as that! This is my first debate here, and I thank Pro in advance for what I'm sure will be a spirited debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Same-sex marriage should be recognized as a federal right, applicable in all 5 U.S. states and D.C., as opposed to its current legality in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, and D.C.

1. The federal government has the constitutional authority to enact a law withholding revenue from the states in certain areas, under the equal protection clause and substantive due process. Federal laws, such as the as the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, which required states to raise their drinking ages to 21 or risk losing substantial portions of federal funding for highways, as part of the Federal Highway Act do occur and are legal.

2. Because same-sex civil marriage is currently treated as a civil issue and contains over 1000 responsibilities including, but not limited to joint tax filing, housing assistance, Medicaid, education loans, inheritance, hospital visitation rights, and social security pensions, a federal law allowing same-sex couples these rights promotes fairness and equality. State decisions of which benefits to grant to homosexuals becomes clouded and ultimately changes what a civil partnerships means as well as opens the all types of corruption for denying rights.

3. President Obama's recent decision not to enforce DOMA, and his following by the Justice Department due to is unconstitutionality under the third act makes 2011 the perfect time for a law to pass. Although Republicans control the House, Democrats still control the Senate, and the President has the ability to issue an executive order, making a federal guarantee that states who refuse to recognize same-sex marriage would be denied funding likely.

4. Other nations which have passed similar laws have seen many benefits. Canada's government has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide through the Civil Marriage Act in 2005, having stripped its provinces the discriminate against same-sex couples. This has increased the acceptance of homosexuals in Canada, and polls indicate higher support for same-sex rights after the federal government instituted the law, rather than individuals provinces, as public perception of authority is a factor in societal attitudes.

5. The issue of fairness played into this debate as well. If states, motivated by religious belief, particularly in the Deep South, much of the Midwest, and non-Pacific West, hold anti-homosexual views, the federal governments has the responsibility to foresee that the U.S. does not turn into a theocracy. If citizens want a theocracy, they can move to Iran or Vatican City. If states withhold rights to some of its citizens, the federal government is justified in withholding funds from the states.


(EDIT: Unaware of the 5000 character limit, so my original response has been trimmed down to fit)

Thanks to my opponent. I must clarify, however, that I will be debating a con position against the original Resolution. In his opening statement, Pro asserts "Same-sex marriage should be recognized as a federal right, applicable in all 5(0) U.S. States and D.C...." However, same-sex marriage is NOT currently a federal right afforded by the U.S. Constitution, nor is that the subject of our debate, therefore I need make no refutation as to Pro's claim, and any further arguments predicated on the assumption that same-sex marriage rights should be granted in the U.S. Constitution are to be considered invalid and irrelevant to the current debate.

I will first attempt to quantify and refute each of my opponents arguments, after which I will present my own arguments in support of my position.

1. Pro cites the equal protection clause outlined in the 14th Amendment as his basis for the first argument presented. This is a clear misinterpretation of the purpose and application of the equal protection clause. The clause states that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This is to say that all people are afforded equal rights under the laws that currently exist. For example, Plessy vs. Fergusen, one of the first and most important rulings to interpret the equal protection clause, found that it was unconstitutional to try black defendants against an all-white jury, as that did not accurately represent a jury of their peers. As the resolution being debated is not concerning the equal enforcement of existing law, but rather the forced enactment of a law by the states in accordance with federal mandate, this argument does nothing to further my opponents case. The claim of relevancy to the second argument presented, namely the reference to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, must be equally denied, as the federal government's jurisdiction regarding public health and safety issues is more robust than dealing with a moral or ethical issue (and rightly so!)

2. In this argument, my opponent apparently continues to argue for his point stated in his opening argument, rather than the Resolution initially presented. We are not debating whether or not same-sex marriage should be a federal law (it shouldn't), we are debating whether or not the federal government has the authority to levy a tax or penalty against individual States who refuse to conform with a federally issued mandate not specifically enumerated by the Constitution as held by congress, namely the issuance of licenses for marriage, which are held to be rights granted to the individual States.

3. My opponents argument here is apparently that his position is correct because now would be an ideal time to enact it. I maintain that the ease of enforcing a policy has no bearing on its correctness, and my opponent must therefore cede this point.

4. I am again dismayed that my opponent has not provided a single argument relevant to the Resolution. My opponent has also pretty much summed up his overall viewpoint with the statement "public perception of authority is a factor in societal attitudes." He is clearly saying that it is morally just for the government to force a viewpoint upon its citizens by way of a mandate contrary to their desires, as evidenced by their decisions in the voting booth. I put this question to my opponent:

If the position was shifted, and the resolution was whether or not the U.S.F.G should withhold funding from states who LEGALIZE same-sex marriage, what would your position be then?

5. This is not an either-or situation, as my opponent presents. He posits that either same-sex marriage is legal, or we live in a theocracy. This is a gross oversimplification of the issue (chopped this for lenth).

My argument: This issue was really very straightforward for me. We have a Constitution that clearly enumerates powers to Congress, and those powers not specifically given to Congress reside in the States. Among these powers not given to Congress is the power to issue licenses of marriage. It is unconstitutional and unjust for the Federal government to countermand State authority and penalize States for non compliance to a federal mandate which oversteps the power granted it by the United States Constitution, and doing so would set a precedent that would allow the Federal Government nearly unbridled power to dictate public policy on a state and local level in the name of 'public interest.'

I welcome my opponents responses, and remind him that we are debating specifically the issue of the U.S. Federal Government withholding money from states that refuse to adopt pro same-sex marriage laws, NOT whether or not same sex marriage should be a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Debate Round No. 2


1. My opponent still fails to recognize the validity in applying the equal protection clause: "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. The Supreme Court has already applied this to the abortion debate, deciding that the right could be established by the Constitution. Abortion had, until that point, not been recognized as a right deserving of equal protection for the states. My opponent claims that the authority of the government regarding "public health and safety" is different from "ethical issues." Abortion was much more of an ethical issue. Also, the government gets out of the ethics debate by promoting equality , rather than one ethical view over another. He also makes no mention of the Federal Highway Act. So, you must vote Pro on these grounds. Do not give my opponent leverage to answer these in Round 3, as it is abusive, as there is no Round 4 for me to contest them.

2. My argument is completely topical here, and gives weight as to why it is so important that the federal government ought to override states from prohibiting same-sex marriages. Without a good cause (such as why federal laws are needed to protect marriage), imposing a burden upon states for failing to meet this is unfair. When the 1984 drinking law passed, arguments were made as to why the law was so important that the state would withhold funding, primarily safety. In this case, it involves equality, and include financial stability.

3. The argument for whether the resolution would pass through the U.S. Congress is wholly relevant to this debate, because if it didn't pass through than it would never affect us. My opponent fails to answer this argument, simply dismissing it. The only thing truthful my opponent stated was that this did not affect the "correctness" of a policy. The fact that DOMA has recently been recognized as unenforceable by the Obama Administration makes 2011 the ideal time to pass this law. Additionally, my opponent does not answer the arguments presented that executive orders, Dems controlling the Senate, along with the GOP Split, with Senators Snowe and Collins supporting gay rights legislation, makes this likely to pass in the U.S. Vote Pro on these grounds.

4. My opponent continues to reject the topicality of my arguments, making it convenient for him to flout debating these. Other nations have seized the authority to place burdens upon sub-districts. Due to its positive externalities in nations' views on homosexuality, a potential outcome is stated.h

5. The U.S. Constitution does not grant unlimited rights to the states. When federal laws conflict with state law, federal laws outweigh. My opponent's arguments are irrelevant in this point because my arguments are based upon the 14th Amendment. Additionally, by his logic DOMA would be illegal, as would any federal laws dictating marriage. The Constitution is a living document as should be interpreted as such.

For all these reasons, vote Pro.


1. My opponent cites the abortion issue as precedent for applying the equal protection clause in this case. He fails to recognize the key underpinnings of that decision, namely that it was a health issue. The equal protection clause was applicable in this case because a fetus is not currently considered viable as human life, and thus, since the fetus could be afforded no protection under the law, the rights of the mother as to the health and well being of her own body cannot be denied by any state under federal law. Since denying same sex marriage on a state level does not violate any individual rights (there is no "right" specifically guaranteeing the institution of marriage), then the equal protection clause is not applicable.

My opponent then asserts that the "government gets out of the ethics debate by promoting equality." This statement confuses me, as it assumes that the condition of equality is not itself an ethical viewpoint, which is certainly untrue. Pro is making quite an assumption here.

Pro states that I make no mention of the Federal Highway Act. I fail to understand why this is an issue. Other than that reference, Pro has also failed to mention the Federal Highway Act. It is not my job in this debate to provide every instance in history of when the equal protection clause may have been applicable, it is up to Pro to construct his arguments and support them, and for me to construct mine and refute his. As Pro does not elaborate upon the Federal Highway Act or its relevance any further, Pro's argument in this statement seems to be "The Federal Highway Act exists. I have mentioned it, and my opponent hasn't. Therefore, vote Pro." I urge you to the contrary.

2. My opponent continues to beg the question. He assumes that his moral position that same sex marriage equality is the desirable norm is fundamentally true, and predicates all of his arguments upon it. He fails to recognize the difference between a law passed in the interest of public safety (effects on the body, drunk driving incidents), and one purely predicated on moral grounds. I don't have enough space here to explain the difference, but suffice it to say there definitely is one. I also find it interesting that the issue he chose in support is actually one that is, by many, considered to be unconstitutional, and that the very reason for its relevancy in this discussion (application of equal protection clause) has never been explored. Wikipedia states that "However, the constitutionality of individual state enactments of the requirements of the Act on the basis of equal protection and substantive due process have never been tested in a court of law."

3. I will continue to dismiss this argument. My opponent does nothing to counter my dismissal, other than to say that I shouldn't do it, and then continues to make the same point I have already dismissed as an error in logic. The ease of enforcing a policy has no bearing as to whether or not it is legal to do so, I can't believe I even have to make this statement twice.

Pro: Chocolate ice cream tastes better
Con: Vanilla tastes better
Pro: Chocolate tastes better because I have a case of it in my freezer, and I'm all out of vanilla.
Con: ???

4. My opponent continues to ignore the Resolution, making it convenient for him to flout relevancy in favor of arguing a moral case for same-sex marriage, which is not, nor has it ever been, the subject of our debate. We are not debating morality we are debating the application of policy. Pro fails to recognise the significance of my question to him. I asked it because I knew the answer, namely that if the position was reversed, he'd be arguing AGAINST the Federal government's authority. His position is based upon a specific moral instance, and thus changes based on application. Mine is based on the idea of making an objective system, and my stance regarding the Federal government's authority does not change, regardless of the issue or my personal feelings about it. THAT is the way the law is designed to work, impartial, not specifically crafted to a set moral outlook. It's this way for a reason, to prevent the abuse of power, and if you abuse it in the name of 'good', then you open it up to 'evil.'

5. DOMA is a law limiting the power of the federal government. Pro's proposal extends powers not expressly granted by the constitution to the congress. My arguments in no way conflict with existing law, and they are in accordance with precedent for establishing a wide sweeping law of this nature. This is a State issue. If you want to make it a Federal issue, amend the Constitution to define same-sex marriage as a right, or specifically grant Congress the power to regulate the institution of marriage. Any attempts to the contrary are simply a means of subverting the system in order to forward your own moral agenda. Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Cutty 5 years ago
Yeah, not sure I agree with the voting thing....there are better ways of verifying that a user is a bona fide intelligent human being than making them wait 3 debates, and I think there are many visitors that do not participate in debates that could enrich the community by voting. I mean, I took this debate so I could get my 3 in there!

Thanks for the votes in spirit, though!
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Same here Cutty.
If I could vote you wouldv'e recieved all seven.
Posted by Cutty 5 years ago
For the record, I'm 100% pro GLTB rights, I've voted for same-sex ballot initiatives every time they've come up in elections. I just disprove of the methodology of this Resolution!
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: In the case of who was more convincing, it was CON. Not much more else to say than that: the debate was close, but CON was convincing.
Vote Placed by OberHerr 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Anti-VB teafood.
Vote Placed by Teafood 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: qromoting equality is a good thing
Vote Placed by Willoweed 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: equal rights should be supportedf
Vote Placed by Aaronroy 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con wins, imo