The United States should legalize homosexual marriage.
Debate Rounds (4)
Round 1: Just accept the debate in order to keep each person at an equal number of rounds.
Round 2: Both sides offer points of contention.
Round 3: Both sides offer rebuttals of the opponent's case.
Round 4: Summary/Conclusion
If you're interested in this debate but would like an alteration of the rules, just reject this debate and let me know what changes you wish to be made. Thanks!
warren42 forfeited this round.
First, I would like to state that all forms of unjust discrimination against those who are attracted to people of the same sex is completely deplorable, and should be condemned. Additionally, we must distinguish between toleration of an individual and toleration of an action, that is, it is one thing to condemn a person, while it is entirely a different matter to condemn an action of a person. Thus, while I believe unjust forms of discrimination against any person is intolerable, I do not believe that homosexual "marriage" being illegal is a form of unjust discrimination because of the very definition of marriage. The definition of marriage, until recently, was universally recognized, in all civilizations, as a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Based on this definition, people of the same sex cannot be married anymore than I, as a male, can give birth to a baby. To say that I cannot give birth to a baby since I am a male, is not a unjust discrimination, it is simply recognizing the limits of my nature. Similarly, to deny same sex unions the title "marriage" is not an unjust form of discrimination, but is merely a recognition of fact. That being said, if we redefine marriage to mean "the union between two people" then it would be possible to include same sex in the institution of marriage. However, I do not believe that marriage should be redefined for the reasons I will argue below. As a side note, I think the resolution of this debate is poorly chose, as it assumes something that has to be proven, that is, are same sex unions truly marriages. Considering the traditional definition of marriage, they are clearly not. If we consider a revised definition of marriage, they may be included in this definition, but then the question is: should we redefine marriage? Here are my arguments as to why we should not redefine marriage and thus why the U.S. should not legalize same sex unions.
What is the purpose of marriage? Marriage is traditionally a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman that provides a stable environment for the upbringing of children. Why can't same sex unions provide this stable environment? I will let a case decided in 1910 by the Supreme Court of Colorado answer this question for me:
"The experience of man has demonstrated that the best development of a young life is within the sacred precincts of a home, the members of which are bound together by ties entwined through 'bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh'; that it is in such homes and under such influences that the sweetest, purest, noblest, and most attractive qualities of human nature, so essential to good citizenship, are best nurtured and grow to wholesome fruition; that, when a state is based and builded upon such homes, it is strong in patriotism, courage, and all the elements of the best civilization. Accordingly these recurring facts in the experience of man resulted in a presumption establishing prima facie that parents are in every way qualified to have the care, custody, and control of their own offspring, and that their welfare and interests are best subserved under such control. Thus, by natural law, by common law, and, likewise, the statutes of this state, the natural parents are entitled to the custody of their minor children, except when they are unsuitable persons to be intrusted with their care, control, and education, or when some exceptional circumstances appear which render such custody inimicable to the best interests of the child. While the right of a parent to the custody of its infant child is therefore, in a sense, contingent, the right can never be lost or taken away so long as the parent properly nurtures, maintains, and cares for the child." (1)
Thus, children receive the best upbringing from their own father and mother, not from two people of the same sex. Why is the state interested in a stable environment for children? First, because anything short of this is an unjust discrimination against the child. Second, because the family is the basic unit of society. Thus, the health of the family is related to the health of the state. For this reason, it is in the best interest of not only children, but of the state to preserve the original definition of marriage.
What about same sex unions without children, why should they not receive the recognition of the state as a "marriage". One of the greatest thinkers of all time, the philosopher Aristotle, argued that the purpose of the state is to "secure the common good" (2) of its citizens. Yet, same sex unions are not good for its citizens for the following reasons:
Male homosexuals are prone to cancer (especially anal cancer, which is almost unheard-of in male heterosexuals) and various sexually transmitted diseases, including urethritis, laryngitis, prostatitis, hepatitis A and B, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and genital warts (which are caused by the human papilloma virus, which also causes genital cancers).52 Lesbians are at lower risk for STDs but at high risk for breast cancer.53 Homosexuals of both sexes have high rates of drug abuse, including cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other psychedelics, barbiturates, and amyl nitrate.54 Male homosexuals are particularly prone to develop sexually transmitted diseases, in part because of the high degree of promiscuity displayed by male homosexuals. One study in San Francisco showed that 43 percent of male homosexuals had had more than 500 sexual partners.55 Seventy-nine percent of their sexual partners were strangers. Only 3 percent had fewer than ten sexual partners.56 The nature of sodomy contributes to the problem among male homosexuals. The rectum is not designed for sex. It is very fragile. Indeed, its fragility and tendency to tear and bleed is one factor making anal sex such an efficient means of transmitting the AIDS and hepatitis viruses. Lesbians, in contrast, are less promiscuous than male homosexuals but more promiscuous than heterosexual women: One large study found that 42 percent of lesbians had more than ten sexual partners.57 A substantial percentage of them were strangers. Lesbians share male homosexuals' propensity for drug abuse, psychiatric disorder, and suicide.58 (3)
Thus the states should not legalize same sex unions as it does not "secure the common good" which is the purpose of the state.
Lastly, if marriage is redefined, should we include same sex siblings in the definition of marriage? What about incestuous unions or polyamorous unions? Without the traditional view of marriage, these logically follow but can hardly be good for the state.
(1) Wilson v. Mitchell, 111 P. 21, 25-26, 48 Colo. 454 (Colo. 1910). Source: http://fatherssupportingfathers.org...
(3) Quotation retrieved from: http://www.catholic.com... and the sources quoted are as follows:
52.Laura Dean et al., "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health: Findings and Concerns," Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association 4, no. 3 (2000): 101-51.
55.A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978).
58.J. B. Lehmann, C. U. Lehmann, and P. J. Kelly, "Development and Health Care Needs of Lesbians," Journal of Women's Health 7 (1998) 379-8
Now, to start the debating. In response to my opponent's points on discrimination, I will have two major responses. First, he overlooks the fact that disallowing homosexual marriage leads to discrimination. Homosexual couples, even in civil unions, are denied rights such as tax deductions, hospital visiting rights, the ability to easily move from one state to another, the ability to relatively easily discontinue the relationship (members of civil unions have no way to "divorce" their partners) and oven 1,100 other rights basic to couples that can be traditionally married.  The resolution was carefully chosen, so that we could decide whether to allow homosexuals to partake in marriage, due to the fact that civil unions are not the same as marriage, and still cause homosexuals to be subject of discrimination. My opponent brings up a case by the Colorado Supreme Court from 1910, which is severely outdated. Meanwhile, in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited same-sex marriage, as unconstitutional.  Additionally, in late 2014, the Supreme Court refused to hear a gay marriage case, deferring to the lower courts decision, which was that the bans were unconstitutional.  When there are more recent court decisions by a higher court, there is no reason we should see my opponent's example as valid.
My opponent states the children receive the best upbringing from their own father and mother, yet these children are orphans, being adopted. It's not like the homosexual couples rip the children out of a loving family, but rather attempt to bring them into one when they didn't have one. It's better that the children grow up with some semblance of family rather than growing up in an orphanage or growing up moving from foster home to foster home and never being able to call a place "home."
Now for the point regarding Aristotle, this is used completely out of context, and in fact Aristotle had homosexual relations throughout his life.  Therefore, using him as a source to oppose gay marriage is a complete misrepresentation! Plato also favored gay relationships, going so far as to say "Homosexuality, is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce."  So when we take the great thinkers of the past into account, both my example and even my opponent's example favor my side of the argument.
For the disease and drugs issue I will have two responses. First, the disease point is regarding homosexual relations. These will occur whether or not we allow them to marry. So this is non-unique to allowing marriage. Now the alcohol and drug use issue. The studies conducted on this have admitted that it is likely due to psychological variables related to stress, which is put on them by a society where they are second-class citizens (i.e. not able to legally marry) additionally, the National Library of Medicine found that there is little data regarding the matter, and that the small pool of studies is not entirely reliable. 
Now for my opponent's conclusion about other non-traditional forms of marriage becoming legal, this is just preposterous. He is using a slippery slope argument, which is a logical fallacy. Rather than engaging the issues at hand, he is instead turning to extreme hypothetical situations.
As the debate now stands, I have negated the inherent harms my opponent provided in the disease and addictions point, so with the human rights abuses and the fact that the Supreme Court has both directly and indirectly ruled gay marriage bans unconstitutional, I urge voters to support Pro in today's debate. Thank you!
For Source 4 look particularly at the ninth paragraph.
You said "First, he overlooks the fact that disallowing homosexual marriage leads to discrimination. Homosexual couples, even in civil unions, are denied rights such as tax deductions, hospital visiting rights, the ability to easily move from one state to another, the ability to relatively easily discontinue the relationship (members of civil unions have no way to "divorce" their partners) and oven 1,100 other rights basic to couples that can be traditionally married."
Assuming this is reliable information, all of these things can be addressed without redefining marriage. In other words, these rights can be granted without changing the definition of marriage, so it does not logically follow that these things mean the U.S. should legalize same sex unions.
You noted that my reference to the Colorado Supreme Court is outdated. My point in quoting that reference was the fact that it pointed to the experience of human nature and natural law as indicators that children benefit from a family with both a father and a mother. Since natural law does not change, it is not an outdated argument.
You said "When there are more recent court decisions by a higher court, there is no reason we should see my opponent's example as valid."
Again, my quotation appealed to the natural law, something that doesn't changed based on years. Also, what is the supreme court was wrong? Since it is not an infallible institution, it does not follow that the U.S. "should" do something based upon what the supreme court says. It may mean that the U.S. is "required" to do something, but we are debating if the U.S. "should" legalize same sex unions, and given the Supreme Court may be in error, it does not follow the U.S. should do these things. As to why I quoted the Supreme Court of Colorado when it is not infallible, again, because it appealed to human experience and the natural law, something that you must address rather than simply dismiss as outdated.
As far as homosexual adoption, I understand where you are coming from as far as why you say that adopted children growing up in a same sex union home are better off than living as orphans, but I do think there are other harmful factors involved in this situation. Here are some examples:
"In some studies, children raised by homosexual partners seem to suffer from sex-role confusion.64 Studies by Cameron and Cameron have shown a high incidence of incest between minor children and homosexual parents of both sexes.65 These investigators suggest that homosexual parents may be more likely to abuse their children sexually than heterosexual parents, so although the point is not definitively proven, the available evidence is worrisome. Children raised by both biological parents are significantly healthier, happier and better adjusted emotionally than kids raised by single parents of either sex. They are less likely to live in poverty or engage in violent crime or sexual promiscuity and more likely to be successful in school, career, and marriage.66 Same-sex couples, by definition, would have at least one non-biological parent." (1)
For this reason, I think it is debatable whether it is better for them to be adopted by same sex couples. One other point on this issue, even if you are right about same sex adoption, it does not logically follow that marriage has to be redefined, which I believe is crucial to the resolution, as it assumes a redefined definition of marriage.
Your claim about Aristotle is false, as this paper from Princeton demonstrates: http://www.princeton.edu... It shows that Plato, Aristotle and Socrates all believed homosexual conduct to be "shameful". So, I think the Princeton paper on princeton.edu is more reliable than the blog you quoted stating Aristotle was a homosexual and approved of homosexual acts. Additionally, even if Aristotle and Plato approved of same sex acts, which they did not, it does not follow that they believed the state should legalize same sex unions and that the definition of marriage should be changed to accommodate same sex unions. Furthermore, my point in quoting Aristotle was not to question him on whether or not he approved of same sex relations but what his view was of the state, which is to secure the highest good for its citizens. Numerous other philosophers can be quoted on this, and I'm surprised you would dispute this. Should the state oppress people and not secure the highest good of its citizens?
As to whether the other issues I described will result if same sex unions are embraced, this is not an "extreme [sic] hypothetical situation". It is already a reality. See here for an example http://www.usnews.com...
Additionally, it logically follows that if you redefine marriage to mean "a state recognized union between two consenting adults" then it would be an act of discrimination not to allow polyamorous, polygamists, incestuous couples, etc. not to marry, so, it is directly related to our debate.
Lastly, I do not believe you have made a sufficient case in favor of your position, and I believe it is incumbent upon you to demonstrate why it is good to redefine marriage, as this is assumed in your resolution. Without proving why this is good, I don't think you can demonstrate why same sex unions "should" be legalized in the U.S.
(1). 63. Judith S. Wallerstein, "The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Review," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 30, no. 3 (May 1991): 358-9.
46.Norman Bales and Anne Bales, "Today's Blended Family Landscape," All About Families, April 26, 2000, 1-2; Lynn K. White and Alan Booth, "The Quality and Stability of Remarriages: The Role of Stepchildren," American Sociological Review 50, no. 5 (1985): 689-98; Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr., "Divorce and the American Family," Annual Review of Sociology 16 (1990): 379-403.
64.R. Green et al., "Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparison With Solo Parent Heterosexual Mothers and Their Children," Archives of Sexual Behavior 15 (1986): 167-83; P. A. Belcastro et al., "A Review of Data Based Studies Addressing the Effects of Homosexual Parenting on Children's Sexual and Social Functioning," Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 20 (1993): 105-22; B. Hoeffer, "Lesbian and Heterosexual Single Mothers: Influence of Their Child's Acquisition of Sex-Role Traits and Behavior," (dissertation, University of California), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1979; D. L. Puryear, "Familial Experiences: A Comparison Between Children of Lesbian Mothers and the Children of Heterosexual Mothers," (Dissertation, University of California), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1983; J. D. Kunin, "Predictors of Psychosocial and Behavioral Adjustment of Children: A Study Comparing Children Raised by Lesbian Parents to Children Raised by Heterosexual Parents," Dissertation Abstracts International, 59 (1998): (6-B), 3094; G. A. Javaid, "The Children of Homosexual and Heterosexual Single Mothers," Child Psychiatry and Human Development 23 (1993): 235-48; K. Lewis, "The Children of Lesbians: Their Point of View," Social Work 23 (1980): 198-203
65.P. Cameron and K. Cameron, "Homosexual Parents," 757-66; P. Cameron and K. Cameron, "Homosexual Parents: A Comparative Forensic Study of Character and Harms to Children" Psychological Reports 82 (1998): 1155-91.
66.Waite and Gallagher, op. cit., 124-40.
Now for my concluding statements. As I stated in my rebuttal, civil unions and marriages are two totally different things. My opponent repeatedly talks about how we don't have to redefine marriage, yet either he has not been clear on what this means, or I am missing something. As of this moment, it seems that he is advocating allowance of homosexuals to be legally bound to one another, but not married. This is, in essence, a civil union, which as I stated earlier, oppresses homosexuals from many basic freedoms. Either we continue this oppression, or allow them to be married. My opponent may try to contend this by saying we can redefine civil unions, but the entire debate he has been against redefining marriage, so that point would be a near contradiction of his stance on the issue.
Regarding the courts, I wasn't completely clear in my rebuttal, since I lead my opponent astray. I understood he was talking about human nature, but I brought up these two newer court cases in order to show that when taking many other factors into consideration, these two courts ruled in favor of the homosexual community. So although in 1910 they found that biological parents do a better job of raising their children than non-biological parents, we know that having any parents raise a child (in the vast majority of cases) is better than no parent. The two newer cases negate this decision by showing that society today has found that two male or two female parents can do a satisfactory job of raising the children. The adoption issue raises some questions in my mind. Namely, the fact that you sourced a piece that even stated "so although the point is not definitively proven, the available evidence is worrisome." Evidence can be found for just about any argument, but that doesn't make it valid. When the source itself even admits the fact that the point is unable to be proven, it should not be upheld. I stand by the fact that giving these homosexual couples the right to marry would allow them to more easily adopt children. Orphanages are terrible places to be raised.  Like I stated earlier: an adopted family is better than no family.
The Princeton website is not loading the link you provided, but I'll accept what you say. I also know that you were quoting Aristotle on the idea of a government doing what's right for it's citizens, and I never disputed that. Nowhere in my rebuttal did I say anything about that quote being wrong. What I did dispute is whether or not continuing the US ban on gay marriage is doing what's best for our citizens. I'm actually glad you brought up whether or not I believe we should oppress our citizens, because 1.6% of the US population identifies themselves as gay.  This adds up to over 5 million openly gay people in the US, and we can assume tens of thousands are still in the closet. These people are deprived of, as I said earlier, over 1,100 rights that heterosexual married couples enjoy. Depriving 5 million people of their rights. That is oppression.
Now for the final issue regarding polygamy, incest, etc. I went to the link provided. The polyamory advocate was the one saying that this "paves the way." Look at the subtitle. It reads "Supreme Court decisions on marriage unlikely to directly impact status of polygamy..." This is not going to lead to the legalization of all these different types of marriages.
Finally, the resolution has come under a bit of scrutiny. First, in my opening statements I expressed that I'd be willing to modify the debate before going ahead with it, so you could have easily rejected the debate and asked for the re-wording of the resolution. Now since it has come under some fire, I'll define "should" as I intended in the resolution.
Should: verb used to express obligation.
This means that in the wording of the resolution, the United States has some obligation to legalize homosexual marriage. This obligation comes from both the fact that bans on gay marriage have been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, and these bans are therefore deemed wrong in this country, but also by the fact that we are depriving over 5 million Americans of their rights. For these reasons I urge you to vote Pro.
I'd like to again thank my opponent for a very well thought-out debate and the voters for their time.
From what I can gather, your argument rests on the following assertion "bans on gay marriage have been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States, and these bans are therefore deemed wrong in this country, but also by the fact that we are depriving over 5 million Americans of their rights."
I dispute this because the Supreme court did not deem that a ban on same sex unions is unconstitutional for every state in the U.S. Here is what really happened "The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected requests to review lower court decisions that overturned bans on same-sex marriage in five states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. By denying these requests, the court effectively legalized gay marriage in these states...Has the Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage across the country? No, it hasn"t. When the high court decides not to hear a case, it is possibly, but not necessarily, a sign that a majority of the justices agree with the lower court"s ruling. The court can deny petitions for it to hear a case based on other reasons, including when there is no split among the federal circuit courts of appeals, as was the case in this instance. The three federal appeals courts that have so far ruled on gay marriage bans " the 4th, 7th and 10th circuits " all agreed, saying that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional." http://www.pewresearch.org...
For this reason, your primary assertion that the Supreme Court effectively ruled that bans on same sex unions in "this country" is false because their rejection of hearing lower level court decisions only pertained to Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, not the entire U.S. Thus, I believe you have failed to establish your position.
As far as the Princeton quote, I think I see why it didn't originally open for you, sorry. Try this one http://www.princeton.edu...
The link above should work, and it will open a pdf paper entitled "Law, Morality, and "Sexual Orientation"
John Finnis, Printed in John Corvino (ed.), Same Sex: Debating the Ethics, Science, and Culture of Homosexuality
(Lanham-New York-London, Rowman and Littlefield 1997) pp.31-43.
You said "My opponent repeatedly talks about how we don't have to redefine marriage, yet either he has not been clear on what this means, or I am missing something."
I thought I was very clear on this, here is what I said in the first round: "The definition of marriage, until recently, was universally recognized, in all civilizations, as a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Based on this definition, people of the same sex cannot be married anymore than I, as a male, can give birth to a baby. To say that I cannot give birth to a baby since I am a male, is not a unjust discrimination, it is simply recognizing the limits of my nature. Similarly, to deny same sex unions the title "marriage" is not an unjust form of discrimination, but is merely a recognition of fact. That being said, if we redefine marriage to mean "the union between two people" then it would be possible to include same sex in the institution of marriage. However, I do not believe that marriage should be redefined for the reasons I will argue below."
So, I provided the traditional definition of marriage, I provided a revised definition of marriage and then went on to explain why we should not accept a revised definition of marriage. I believe it was crucial for you to explain why we should redefine marriage in a way that will now include people of the same sex, and from what I read, everything you provided does not require a redefinition of marriage.
You said "As of this moment, it seems that he is advocating allowance of homosexuals to be legally bound to one another, but not married."
No, I am not advocating that people of the same sex should be legally bound either, but that is another matter. What I am saying is that everything you provided by way of arguments can apply to people who are in these legal unions but are not given the status of "married". In other words, the redefinition of marriage is not required to provide what you said was unjust forms of discrimination. As to whether it is discrimination not to give same sex unions the title "marriage', I don't believe it is discrimination, provided we understand what marriage is correctly (see my first definition of marriage above). If we change the definition of marriage mean "the union between two consenting adults", then, it follows that other unions will have to be legalized, such as the ones I mentioned previously. As far as the polyamorous link, here is another one for you http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
There are already polyamorous communities which will piggy back off of the same sex union debate. If we redefine marriage, we will no longer have a reason not to include these groups.
I conclude with the following:
"The institution of marriage is precious. It enhances the health, longevity, and well-being of married couples. It increases the health, vocational success, and emotional well-being of children. In providing all these benefits, heterosexual marriage contributes to the happiness and prosperity of society. Marriage must, therefore, remain limited to one man and one woman who strive to keep their marriage exclusive, unconditional, permanent, and life-giving. Nothing less will ever meet the needs of the human person, because nothing less satisfies." http://www.catholic.com...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by MattStPaul 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had the right argument. But, both argued well. Con: I would lessen the intellectual quotes and such. It really turns some people off. Just take their info and simplify it. Pro: I would appeal to a more standard policy and holistic point of view. Not all of the people agree (as a matter of fact, a vast MINORITY agree with you; the MAJORITY are on the other side... what does that tell you). Con wins my vote. -MSP
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round, so conduct to Con. S and G was a tie. Arguments go to Con because he was able to show that no one was being discriminated against, so therefore, no change in the status quo is warranted. Pro conceded Con's source on Aristotle was more reliable than his, so sources to Con.
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