The Instigator
Pangloss
Pro (for)
Losing
29 Points
The Contender
BruteApologia
Con (against)
Winning
36 Points

There are no compelling arguments against same-sex marriage

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 14 votes the winner is...
BruteApologia
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/3/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,668 times Debate No: 16278
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (104)
Votes (14)

 

Pangloss

Pro

The issue of same-sex marriage is one which divides not only the United States, but much of the Western world.[1] What is most remarkable about this matter is not the lack of agreement, but rather the lack of strong arguments against same-sex marriage. There are simply no compelling arguments (legal, political, or moral) against same-sex marriage. (While there may be religious arguments against it, I would prefer only to address arguments that do not assume a belief in the supernatural and/or the authority of holy books.)

It seems to me that the best arguments for or against same-sex must be either political and/or moral, not legal. Legal arguments rely on "the peculiarities of our legal tradition."[2] In other words, they are dependent on what has just happened to be the case in a particular legal tradition, not what ought to be or what ought to have been the case. The mere fact that something has been part of a tradition does not, in itself, justify that thing. Political arguments, on the other hand, directly address what ought to be the case in a given state. And moral arguments address whether an action is right or wrong. Successful political and/or moral arguments would demonstrate that same-sex marriage ought not to be legal and/or is immoral. Thus, I think it is rather obvious that if one wants to make a compelling case against same-sex marriage, it should be political and/or moral.

As far as moral arguments are concerned, I must admit that I see no evidence that same-sex is in and of itself immoral. I will gladly canvass any moral arguments that my opponent does not present. However, I do not want to be accused of presenting straw man arguments against same-sex marriage and therefore I will wait until my opponent presents his/her arguments before I address what I find lacking in them.

With regard to political arguments, I agree with John Stuart Mill that in a liberal state, "the � priori presumption is in favour of freedom and impartiality."[3] Therefore, as Mill writes, "the burden of proof is supposed to be with those who are against liberty [emphasis mine]."[4] In other words, those who wish to restrict a person's liberty must present compelling reasons for why this should be the case. In the case of same-sex marriage, therefore, the onus is on my opponent. However, another fundamental liberal principle holds that "the state should not promote, or justify its actions by appeal to, controversial conceptions of the good [life]."[5] Thus, not only must the political arguments against same-sex be compelling, they must also be uncontroversial. In other words, they must not rely on comprehensive religious or moral traditions. Such traditions are not valid in political arguments. For example, one cannot claim that a liberal state—like our own—should ban same-sex marriage, because it is immoral. Liberal states allow for many "immoral" actions, e.g. free speech allows for neo-Nazis to have public parades and spew hate speech. It seems to me that many, if not most people, would hold that such activities are immoral. Thus, for the purposes of this debate, the political and moral arguments cannot work together—at least not as I have presented them.

I look forward to my opponent's opening statement and a lively and informative debate.

Footnotes.
———————————————————————
1. Http://www.angus-reid.com...
2. Ralph Wedgwood, "The Fundamental Argument for Same-Sex Marriage," The Journal of Political Philosophy 7, no. 3 (1999): 240.
3. John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXI - Essays on Equality, Law, and Education, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by Stefan Collini (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984). Chapter: Chapter I
Accessed from http://oll.libertyfund.org... on 2011-05-03
4. Ibid.
5. Wedgwood, 226.
BruteApologia

Con

Thanks to Pangloss for initiating this challenge! It is rare to discuss this with a person who is capable of providing respectful and intelligent arguments. I'm not saying that for "conduct" points, it is just something that I really wish more people would do. Often times, we will be labeled as homophobic, bigoted, intolerant, and fundamentalists, but it is not too long ago that I had a similar position about Same-Sex Marriage (SSM) as you. While I was mostly on the fence, a friend of mine eventually spurred my interest and persuaded me to adopt this position. From my perspective, these arguments are compelling and if I am correct, I hope to persuade you of this as well. On the other hand, if I am shown to be decisively wrong, then I will accept the truth. Before I begin, I think it is important that I lay out several things that I will NOT be arguing here:

1. This is NOT about legally prohibiting same-sex relationships.
2. This is NOT about whether homosexual acts are morally permissible.
3. This is NOT about destroying their liberty or equality.
4. This is NOT about what a religion understands marriage to be.

This IS what our discussion is about: What is the definition of marriage and why should the government care to institutionalize it? How we answer this will drastically affect our conclusion. In order to claim anything about what marriage "ought" to be, we need to understand what it is - should we think it to be constructed or discovered by society? The burden of proof is not merely on those who oppose SSM because it has not been established that doing so is a violation of anyone's liberties. A particular conception of marriage must be assumed for it to be considered as such, which begs the question in favor of SSM. If exclusive heterosexual marriage (EHM) is assumed, then it is no more a violation of equality or liberty than refusing to declare a bachelor as married. But if SSM is assumed, then we can rightly claim that EHM effectively restricts one's rights. The metaphysical definition of marriage is logically prior to the issue of rights. For example, if a fetus does not count as a human then naturally we cannot consider it to have the same rights.

What makes something human and whether the fetus qualifies as human must be dealt with first. The same applies to marriage. On the other hand, if the fetus is a human then that is the same as murder. Murder is illegal in the U.S, which demonstrates an overlap between law, politics, and morality that should and can not be deliberately separated. Law is very much concerned with not only "stare decisis" but must also consider the good [life] that is known through ethics. We do allow for some immoral actions, but that is not the same as promoting them. If the law is merely a legal tradition, then how could something that is a part of the tradition not justify that thing? On what grounds could we dispute it if there are no ways in which a law "ought" to be? If this is true, I could simply justify EHM on the grounds that it has a firm legal tradition (Singer v. Hara, Adams v. Howerton, Lyon v. Barney, etc) whereas SSM is a recent legal invention. Furthermore, the idea that we ought not appeal to controversial conceptions of good is itself a controversial conception of good because it presupposes a certain legal framework that not everyone agrees with.

To defend my conception of marriage, I need to prove that heterosexual relationships have a unique functional value to society that other relationships cannot naturally accomplish. There is no question that homosexuals have intrinsic value as human beings but however valuable these other relationships may be, they are not as socially valuable as heterosexual relationships. This is a qualitative judgement about the nature of a relationship, and is therefore not subject to mere social constructions. If there are no legitimate value distinctions between such relationships, then that is what my opponent will need to demonstrate. He could also claim that marriage is not based on that functional value, in which case, he'd then be obliged to show how it is within the government's best interests to promote the opposing conception. Notice that if my position is true, it would still be within their liberty to engage in a homosexual relationship but it will simply not be recognized as civil marriage. This is no more unjust than refusing to declare a bachelor as married, but the bachelor still has the "right" to marry or have non-marital relationships if he so pleases.

Now, without further introduction, here's the argument as formulated by Jim Spiegel:

1. Heterosexual union is the indispensable means by which humans come into existence and therefore has special social value (indeed, the greatest possible social value because it is the first precondition for society).

2. The indispensable means by which something of special social value can occur itself has special value.

3. What has special value to human society deserves special social recognition and sanction.

4. Civil ordinances which recognize gay marriage as comparable to heterosexual marriage constitute a rejection of the special value of heterosexual unions.

5. To deny the special social value of what has special social value is unjust.

6. Therefore, gay marriage is unjust.

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. Life is intrinsically valuable and a relationship that functions to procreate and nurture such a life is more valuable than those that do not. Society can exist without homosexuals, but it cannot exist without heterosexuals. If these are not equal relationships, then to treat them as such is both false and unjust. Equality need only apply to things that are equal in kind. Marriage is therefore a natural institution that promotes a healthy environment where future citizens can be produced. 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.

Now, what compelling reasons would there be for treating SSM as of equal value to EHM? It seems to logically impossible to prove. To do so would be equivalent to treating a plant as having the same rights as humans. This is simply nonsensical as it completely disregards the nature of what it is to be something. Instead of an issue of liberty, this seems to be an issue of homosexuals seeking social approval. To do this, they argue from "equal rights" to marriage (which is backward reasoning) and make strong appeals to emotions, intuition, and empathy. Such argumentation will not work here and is not a sufficient reason for why homosexuals ought to be seen as equivalent to heterosexuals in their marital function for society. As Greg Koukl has pointed out:

"The courts and legislatures are being pressed into service for one purpose: to force society, through the institution of legal marriage, to accord the same respect and acceptance to homosexual unions that heterosexual unions now enjoy. It would force the rest of us to treat as equal those relationships we know aren't equal."

I hope this was helpful and I look forward to my opponent's objections.

Sources
____________________

1. Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson, "What is Marriage?" Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy34, no. 1 (Winter 2010): 251
2. http://www.onenesspentecostal.com...
3. http://www.str.org...
4. John C. Eastman, "Full Faith and Republican Guarantees: Gay Marriage, FMPA, and the Courts"
Debate Round No. 1
Pangloss

Pro

1. Heterosexual union is the indispensable means by which humans come into existence and therefore has special social value (indeed, the greatest possible social value because it is the first precondition for society).

The first problematic area that I noticed was that one of the key terms in this argument, “heterosexual union,” is vague. This is a pet peeve of many philosophers. If you are going to use a term that is not widely understood, then you need to define it clearly. One need only consider that we are arguing about the meaning of the term marriage, which I think most modern Westerners would claim that they know the meaning of—whether or not they actually do. Does “heterosexual union” refer to marriage, like a civil union between two heterosexuals? If that were the case then the first premise would be false, because marriage is not a means by which humans come into existence. However, I think that Jim Spiegel is using “heterosexual union” to mean heterosexual sex.

In fact, it would have to mean heterosexual sex in order to be accurate, because marriage is not at all the means by which humans come into existence. And, more precisely, it would have to mean penile-vaginal intercourse (henceforth PVI), because heterosexuals can engage in a variety sexual acts, e.g. oral, anal, digital, etc. However, the only one of these acts that is a means by which humans come into existence is PVI.

However, if one really thinks about it, the fertilization of an egg by a sperm is really “ the indispensable means by which humans come into existence.” And, because this is true, the first premise is false. Whether “heterosexual union” is meant to mean marriage or penial-vaginal intercourse, it is not true that these are the indispensable means by which humans come into existence. In vitro fertilization is also a possibility. Whether it is as common or not is irrelevant, because it exists neither of the two possible meanings of “heterosexual union” are the indispensable means by which humans come into existence.

Because the very first premise of the argument is false, the entire argument is invalid, i.e. the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premises. However, for the sake of argument, let us assume that PVI is the only/indispensable means by which humans can come into existence. Even if we assume this, I contend that the argument still fails.


2. The indispensable means by which something of special social value can occur itself has special value.

Ok, so I’ve agreed for the sake of argument that PVI has a special social value, but I’ve yet to see what this has to do with marriage. Furthermore, I’d like to clarify that PVI has a special social value only because it is a means to an intrinsically valuable end (i.e. the creation of a human). In other words, if for some reason society as a whole became infertile—think P.D. James’ The Children of Men—marriage would no longer have this special social value.

It seems to me that if one wanted to argue that heterosexual marriage was deserving of special social value then, using the framework of this argument, they would have to argue that heterosexual marriage was the indispensable means by which PVI can occur and because PVI has special social value so does heterosexual marriage. However, this is obviously not true.

4. Civil ordinances which recognize gay marriage as comparable to heterosexual marriage constitute a rejection of the special value of heterosexual unions.

(1) Allowing SSM is not the same thing as recognizing it as comparable to OSM. In recognizing a civil liberty, the government does not necessary communicate approval or equality with any other instance of that liberty. The example of free speech or the right to peaceably assemble are particularly helpful to clarify this. In allowing anarchists to speak publicly, publish, and have parades, the government would not be communicating that this kind of speech, which has very little social value, is comparable to free speech like the civil rights movement, which has/had a lot of social value. This is the first place where this premise is problematic.

(2) Nowhere has my opponent indicated what “heterosexual unions” (PVI) have to do with marriage. Because no relationship has been established in the argument prior to or after this premise, we have no reason to believe that recognizing SSM as comparable constitutes a rejection of the special value of PVI.

(3)What my opponent is trying to argue is that heterosexual couples who marry can procreate, which provides a unique social good for society and therefore is more valuable than SSM. However, as I’ve said multiple times already, all this argument would show—if it were successful—is that PVI has a unique social value. However, procreation is not an essential feature of marriage. And although this argument doesn’t explicitly state this, it is essentially saying that the most important difference between SSM and OSM is that the latter can procreate and therefore deserves the title of marriage. However, there is an obvious problem with this line of reasoning: many heterosexual marriages don’t procreate.

Many heterosexual married couples don’t procreate because some don’t want kids and others contain infertile partners. However, no one in the Western world has ever been denied the right to marry because they were infertile—at least not to my knowledge. It seems to me that if procreation were so vital to marriage that people would have to sign an agreement that they intend to procreate before they can get married or perhaps they’d have to take a fertility test. This might be seen as comparable to the sight test that one receives at the RMV. Being able to see is an essential part of driving and thus it is appropriate to test for it.

Some might claim that this would be too invasive, but if marriage is essentially about procreation, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask for. Plus, there are other ways of regulating procreation in marriage that aren’t as invasive. Couples could have something like a 5 or 10 year limit in which they need to procreate at least once or their marriage will be dissolved.
Furthermore, post-menopausal women are always infertile. No invasive test or time limit needs to be placed on them. However, no one ever rejects their right to marry or thinks it threatens the special social value of OSM.

Essentially, if this premise is true than all non-procreative heterosexual marriages must also be banned, because they can’t provide the unique social good that procreative heterosexual marriages can. Recognizing these marriages as comparable to procreative ones would constitute a rejection of the special social value of procreative marriages (for the same reason that SSM would) and that would be unjust—at least according to this argument.

However, it seems to me that my opponent doesn’t want to ban non-procreative heterosexual marriages. I also doubt that anyone thinks that the very allowance of non-procreative heterosexual marriage constitutes a rejection of the special social value of procreative heterosexual marriages.

My opponent may respond that these non-procreative heterosexual marriages can at least engage in procreative-type acts, even if they don’t lead to actual procreation. However, this is irrelevant. If these marriage cannot act as the indispensable means by which a human comes into existence, then they don’t have the special social value that procreative marriages do. Anal intercourse between two gay men is just as likely to lead to a human coming into existence as PVI with a post-menopausal woman is. And, one needs to recall that PVI has special social value only because it is the indispensable means by which something of intrinsic social value (i.e. humans) comes into existence. If PVI in these marriages doesn’t lead to procreation they are not of special social value.

I look forward to my opponent’s rebuttal.
BruteApologia

Con


In light of the clear objections that have been provided, I want to clarify my position as I think some misunderstandings have taken place.



I began this argument with a question of what defines marriage and whether the government should be interested in promoting it. In order to answer these questions, we must first consider the nature of human beings. Consider the fact that there are two human sexes, each of which possess particular sexual organs that are complimentary in function. These organs, by their nature, can function to produce a "heterosexual union" where the sperm and egg are joined through PVI to advance the procreation of human life. The reason sexes exist at all is because there needs to be some process that will ensure the survival and flourishing of the species. Thus, these "sex" kinds have it as their proper function to procreate, even if some people do not desire or are unable to fulfill that function because of some defect. In order to grasp this concept, we need to make a distinction between kinds, motives, and defects. A kind is a holistic referral to a set of things that are the same by virtue of their form, substance, and characteristics. A defect refers to specific things in a kind that are lacking certain characteristics that it should otherwise naturally possess. Motives simply refer to the intentions that a conscious being has.


With those definitions in place, let me provide an analogy. A person who is born blind is recognized as having a defect because a human ought to be able to see by the nature of what it is to be a human. (the kind). To define humanness in terms of their defects would be nonsensical because the proper function of eyes is to see even if it is now a defective function. Despite this defect, a blind person is still considered a human because there are other characteristics of the human kind he possesses which qualify him to be considered as such. Now consider a society that is motivated to force blindness on themselves through the removal of their eyes. This does not change the fact that they should have properly functioning eyes because nature (not society, motives or defects) defines what something is and what it should be. This same reasoning applies to heterosexual (or procreative) sex kinds who are inherently capable of bodily union (sperm + egg) through PVI by their nature. There may be specific things in that kind which in effect, may not be able to procreate due to some defect but nonetheless they're still a part of that kind because they still participate in a certain sex, just as the blind man is still a human.


Homosexual sex kinds, on the other hand, cannot even procreate in principle. Their sexual organs will only have the sperm (or the egg) but the proper function of a sperm is to unite with an egg. Given the non-complimentary nature of these kinds, it cannot have any special social value that is intrinsic to their union. My opponent suggests that vitro fertilization is a possibility but as David Orland notes, "[h]omosexual 'families' of whatever type are always and necessarily parasitic [Emphasis mine] on heterosexual ones." Rather than undermining premise one, it affirms my position because fertilization requires a third-party with an egg or a sperm, which is always dependent on two sex kinds to function even if PVI is not directly at work here. Contrary to what appears to be suggested by my opponent, I am not arguing from procreative acts like PVI to EHM but from procreate sex kinds to EHM. The sexual acts are a mere means to fulfilling that end whereas a kind has the inherent ability to fulfill that end through the nature of its kind. In other words, you need a "hand" that has the inherent capability of holding something in order to hold a cup. It's not the other way around.


To say that PVI has unique social value is to ignore the source of that value. The effects are simply what the kinds produce, not what the effects produce in the kinds. In a sex kind, we find characteristics like chromosomes, a male/female form, sexual organs, a certain brain structure, and sexual attraction. These all have proper functions or natures that are complimentary to the opposite sex in order to contribute to the effect of procreation. Simply because an infertile couple are unable to reach this effect does not discount them from being recognized as participating in the heterosexual sex kind because there are many other characteristics that they still retain. Kinds have special social value in and of themselves, even if the potentials do not or cannot be actualized due to motives or defects. This is is obvious because effects rely on their kinds in order to actualize. For example, human life does not have special value because they have positive effects on society (even though they should), but because by nature humans have special value in and of themselves - or else we'd be treating them as a mere means to an end rather than an end in itself.


For this reason, it is not ad hoc to appeal to kinds as some may suggest because heterosexual unions possess special value that is intrinsic to the nature of such a union. Without heterosexual sex kinds there can be no sexual organs and without sexual organs there can be no procreation. We can see how such kinds are the source of this special social value, which makes the government interested in institutionalizing it because children are required for the perpetuation of society and such children need to be properly nurtured, loved, and educated. There is no need to regulate or ban heterosexual relationships that are non-procreative because by participating in their respective heterosexual sex kind, they're representing the special value that the kind has by nature. This representation may be imperfect and we could say the same of humans that are handicapped but that does not make them any less intrinsically "valuable" because they still participate in their respective kinds.


Lastly, my opponent claims that allowing SSM is not the same as recognizing it to be comparable to OSM. To use the freedom of speech analogy, this would be like giving Neo-Nazi's special "speech" value over others. We're not simply "allowing" SSM marriage here, you're enforcing it by providing legal privileges that are equivalent to the privileges that OSMs get when we know that they are not equal in value. This is most certainly unjust. Free speech just grants a person the right to speech in general but no benefits are given to people who speak well or badly of something or others. The government is not in the business of supporting a specific kind of speech but in the business of granting the freedom to speak. There's quite a difference between freedom and legal benefits. With that said and done, I think a strong case can be made for the objective nature of marriage and I look forward to hearing my opponent's next objections. I hope this clarified some issues with my position.


Debate Round No. 2
Pangloss

Pro

The most important thing to understand is that my opponent has provided no reason for thinking that being of a certain sex kind makes a person exclusively capable of being married. Nor has he provided a reason for thinking that sex kinds have intrinsic social value. Further, he fails to tell us what it is about this intrinsic social value that would make them uniquely fitted for marriage. Notice that my opponent is arguing in favor of OSM by pointing to the special social value—not morality or rightness—of sex kinds. So the most important questions are: 1) what is the intrinsic special social value of sex kinds—especially without the ability to procreate? and 2) what about heterosexual sex kinds makes them uniquely worthy or capable of marriage? However, before exploring those crucial questions, we must examine a fundamental assumption my opponent makes and define social value.

My opponent appeals to what is called Natural Law when he writes, “Nature . . . defines what something is and what it should be. But this is just an example of the is/ought fallacy that was famously critiqued by Hume. What “is” the case and what “ought” to be the case are “logically different notions, and no conclusion about one follows from the other.”[1]

Something has social value if it brings about, sustains, or improves the quality of society and it does so in a just way.

Sex Kinds and Social Value

Notice that in my opponent’s response whenever he discusses the supposed intrinsic social value of sex kinds he always comes back to how they’re related to procreation. In the end, however, he provides no explanation of why sex kinds have value in and of themselves. He must deny that the special social value (henceforth SSV) of sex kinds is as a means of procreation, because if he accepts this belief, he has no principled reason to argue that non-procreative heterosexual couples deserve marriage more than gay couples.

He writes that the characteristics of sex kinds, e.g. chromosomes, sexual organs, etc., have a proper function “in order to contribute to the effect of procreation.” He is right to claim that even if a couple lacks the ability to procreate, they are still of a certain sex kind, but that doesn’t mean that they have SSV. He continues by averring that it is obvious that sex kinds are intrinsically valuable, “because effects [procreation] rely on their kinds in order to actualize.” This only seems to mean that the ability to procreate relies on the existence of sex kinds. However, this fails to address where the value of non-procreative sex kinds comes from.

Furthermore, he writes, “without heterosexual sex kinds there can be no sexual organs and without sexual organs there can be no procreation. We can see how such kinds are the source of this special social value.” This sounds like sex kinds are valuable as a means to procreation and thus any heterosexual non-procreative couples could not be considered to have this value. We think of humans as intrinsically valuable, but only because of certain crucial features like consciousness. Thus, when someone lacks the ability or potential to develop consciousness or is brain dead, it is often considered morally justifiable to kill them. That is, they lose their intrinsic value. I would say that based on most of what my opponent has written, the most important feature of sex kinds is the ability to procreate. Remember, evolutionarily speaking, this is the only reason sex kinds developed. In fact, he writes this himself, “The reason sexes exist at all is because there needs to be some process that will ensure the survival and flourishing of the species.”

My opponent writes, “there is no need to regulate or ban heterosexual relationships that are non-procreative because by participating in their respective heterosexual sex kind, they're representing the special value that the kind has by nature.” First, I didn’t say they should be regulated or banned, but only that if SSM was, they should be too. Second, I’m not sure I know what he means by this. Perhaps by being male (i.e. having the characteristic features of a male) a man is “representing” the sex kind’s SSV? Does something that merely represents something that have SSV have SSV in itself? I see no reason to believe this. How does such a representation help society in any way? If his contention is that just by virtue of being male or female, heterosexuals can marry, then that seems to suggest that the only reason that gays can’t marry is that they’re gay. But this begs the question. We need to know what about being gay disqualifies them from marriage.

My opponent claims that he is arguing not from PVI to marriage, but from procreative sex kinds to EHM. He says, “the sexual acts are a mere means to fulfilling that end whereas a kind has the inherent ability to fulfill that end through the nature of its kind.” If by “end” he means procreation, then this is simply false. Sex organs are necessary for procreation. A kind may retain its “kind-ness’ without the ability to procreate, but it has no inherent ability. Sex kinds are only socially valuable as a means to procreation. The reason that evolution favored sexual reproduction as opposed to parthenogensis, for example, is because “sex must have some huge evolutionary advantage that outweighs its cost.”[2] Again, sex kinds exist as a means to procreation. But, if these sex kinds don’t lead to procreation, then society has no reason to institutionalize them.

Marriage and Government

My opponent claims that the government should be interested in institutionalizing marriage because, “children are required for the perpetuation of society and such children need to be properly nurtured, loved, and educated.” According to these reasons, marriage is valuable as a means to an end [procreation]. He claims: 1) heterosexual unions have social value because they can procreate and 2) only heterosexual couples can properly nurture, love, and educate children. According to (1) sterile couples don’t qualify for marriage. If my opponent doesn’t mean (2), then why couldn’t SSMs be seen as having great social value, because they can nurture, love and raise well-adjusted children? In fact, countless professional psychological institutes completely support SSM and testify that there is no meaningful difference in their ability to raise healthy and well-adjusted children.[3] This fact provides the government with a very serious reason to institutionalize and support SSM.

Mere procreation is not enough, children need to be raised in loving homes. Think of all the children waiting to be adopted in the world. SSM seems like the perfect institution to give these children a home. I find it hard to believe that an orphanage or foster home could ever be as helpful to a child’s healthy development as a real home with loving parents.

Heterosexuals that procreate and leave their children to be adopted are not helping society, they’re hindering it. Where does the money to run and subsidize orphanages and foster homes come from? Tax dollars. Society needs more than quantity, it needs quality too.

Marriage and Legal Benefits

Before claiming that SSMs don’t deserve the legal benefits that OSMs get, we need to ask why the OSMs are getting the legal benefits in the first place. If it is for reasons that are equally applicable to gay couples, then it isn’t unjust to give SSMs the same legal benefits. So far the only mentioned differences between SSM and OSM is that OSM can procreate (but not always) and it contains two different sex kinds. Do people deserve special benefits, because they can procreate? Probably not, they will most likely procreate no matter what as humans have an inborn sex drive. However, I think it would be fair to provide subsidies to people who have procreated and need to raise children. SSMs should get the same subsidies if they adopted or had their own children.

My endnotes are listed in the Comments section.
BruteApologia

Con

The purpose of this argument is to (1) discover the intrinsic nature of marriage (2) to determine whether it has intrinsic (not extrinsic) social value in order to (3) motivate the government to institutionalize it with unique benefits. It appears that in appealing to the naturalistic fallacy, my opponent has attacked (1) in order to leave me no metaphysical ground to stand on. However, I am appealing to essentialism here, not natural law. The former deals with the Aristotelian notion that a particular formal essence (or characteristics) makes a thing what it is. The latter takes essentialism in order to come about at moral truths [1]. The "ought" that is being defended here is simply with regard to the nature of things, not with whether one morally "ought" to do or not do something. The naturalistic fallacy is not applicable as I am defending a normative concept of something that by nature is directed toward a certain proper function. In other words, an evaluative conclusion can be drawn from descriptive premises. For example, an eye has the proper function of sight and one that does not function for that purpose due to blindness is not how something 'ought" to be.

If essentialism is denied, then it entails absurd conclusions for medical disciplines and leaves us with no reason to think marriage "ought" to be something. Not only that but it leaves us with no grounds for supposing that human life has intrinsic value. Which leads me to the definition of "social" value that my opponent has provided. He seems to put an emphasis on extrinsic value that an effect has on society rather than the intrinsic value that exists within the nature of what something is. I cannot accept this for reasons that I think are self-evident. It causes us to think that humans have no intrinsic rights unless they contribute something to society. While I think extrinsic value is important too, it is secondary to intrinsic value. I hope we both agree with this and that the definition provided was a simple mistake in detail.

The Intrinsic Value Of Sex Kinds

I think it is inaccurate to claim that no reasons were provided for the intrinsic value of sex kinds because I did provide some but perhaps he meant to say I had no "good" reasons. To summarize my opponent's objections, he claims that the SSV of sex kinds are found in the procreative effects and that non-procreative sex kinds have no effective value for society. Most of the objections seem to have already been addressed in my second response, which have been largely misunderstood. Like I noted earlier, heterosexual sex kinds have certain biological distinctions that are complimentary to each other. The purpose (or proper function) of these kinds is to fulfill their potential for procreation through an intimate bodily-union. This purpose is immutable as long as they remain in their respective sex kinds. Infertility is merely an incidental defect, as it does not change the fact that their biological components have an intrinsic procreative purpose. Thus, contrary to what my opponent suggests, there are no non-procreative heterosexual sex kinds, just non-procreative effects.

This error prohibits my opponent from understanding the argument as he puts infertility into its own kind, as if the purpose of their biological organs is infertility. I have not failed to address where the value of infertile couples comes from because by virtue of participating in a sex kind at all, their biological organs have it as their purpose to procreate even if that is not fulfilled. My opponent has already conceded to this fact by saying that "the most important feature of sex kinds is the ability to procreate". The SSV is intrinsic to the purpose of these kinds, as the effects could not exist without them. If the purpose has intrinsic value, then the effects will fulfill that value. Because effects must rely on their kinds to actualize, it seems logical to conclude that all those who participate in a heterosexual union (as infertile couples do) have intrinsic value as all the formal requirements for procreation are met through their bodily and behavioral conditions. The conscious analogy is correct because it notes a lack of some "essential" conditions for humanity but with procreation, the essential characteristics are the sexual organs, which still exist despite the incidental (not essential) defect of infertility.

The nature of marriage is between heterosexual sex kinds who have entered into a contractual agreement to establish and form a relationship that is intrinsically apt for procreation and child-rearing. Such a relationship is valuable in itself because two people that harmonize to preform one single action as "one flesh" is a comprehensive union that covers both the bodily, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their being. Their union is naturally fulfilled through the creation of a child as a fruit of their marital commitment. Even if this fruit is never actualized, their behavioral acts are still oriented toward procreation even if some non-behavioral aspect like infertility prevent the actualization of that potential. Infertile couples can thus live out this intrinsically valuable union and can contribute to a healthy marriage culture because they live out the behavioral conditions and participate in their respective kinds. In doing so, they represent what marriage "is" as infertile and fertile couples are still the same kind of bodily unions, which helps promote a message for those who may enter such an institution for a multi-leveled union that is fulfilled through child-rearing [2].

On a side note, what if I bit the bullet and agreed that only procreative couples should be allowed to marry? What could my opponent say in response? I think the only effective response is the one I have just given here.

SSM and Children

This objection is similar to the vitro infertilization that I refuted in the previous round. There is no question, at least in this debate, that same-sex couples can raise a child but the reason that such a child exists is due to some heterosexual union. The normative structure of child rearing is found with the biological parents and adoption only exists because these parents are unable or unwilling to raise the child. In which case, society has lost its natural optimal setting for child-rearing as a father and mother figure is now lacking . Besides, friends, family, and single people can all adopt a child as well but we would certainly not call that "marriage" in any meaningful sense. Child-rearing is a secondary condition of a certain relationship's fruit, not the primary condition. According to some recent studies by the Center for Law and Social Policy, Brookings Institution, and the Institute for American Values, they all claim that two biological parents are the ideal setting for children. As Child Trends (with liberal tendencies) has recently found,

"Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low‐conflict marriage. Children in single‐parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in step‐ families or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes. . . . There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents. . . .“It is not simply the presence of two parents, . . . but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development." [3]

Sources
________________

1. Feser, Edward. Aquinas: a Beginner's Guide. Oxford: Oneworld, 2009. Print.

2. Lee, Patrick, Robert P. George, and Gerard V. Bradley. "Marriage and Procreation: The Intrinsic Connection « Public Discourse." Public Discourse. Web. 17 May 2011. <http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com...;

3. Moore, Kristin Anderson et al. Marriage from a Child’s Perspective. Web. <http://www.childtrends.org...;

Debate Round No. 3
Pangloss

Pro

Theoretical Issues

You cannot derive an evaluative/normative conclusion from only descriptive premises if you want a formally valid argument. An argument is formally valid if and only if it is an instance of an argument form all of whose instances are valid.”1 Thus, such an argument relies on a suppressed premise. This premise may be true or false, but it’s going to be normative.

I should clarify my views on social value, because I did not mean that persons can only have extrinsically value. There can be two kinds of values: (1) social/political and (2) pre-political. The intrinsic value of life is pre-political. That is, if humans never formed societies, they would still have intrinsic value. Again, something has social value if, “it brings about, sustains, or improves the quality of society and it does so in a just way.” Not everything that has pre-political value has social value. A rapist or a thief may have intrinsic value as a person, but he has very little social value and thus imprisoning him (i.e. removing him from society) is a good thing to do. The imprisonment of such a person has more social value than the freedom of the person in that the former improves the quality of society.

I doubt that “intrinsic” social value can exist and therefore I doubt that sex kinds or unions or marriages can have “intrinsic” social value. Why? Because something x has intrinsic value to the extent that x has value that is due entirely to what x is intrinsically and apart from x’s relations to other things. But to call a value “social” is to relate it to society, otherwise it’d just value qua value. Thus, by definition, something can only have social value because of it’s relation to society. Only if a sex kind or union or marriage has a positive effect on society can it have social value.

Philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson has identified two uses of “ought,” an expectation sense (“The train ought to arrive at 3”) and an advice sense (“You ought to drink some hot lemonade”).2 My opponent is clearly appealing to the former when he says that an eye ought to be able to see.

Sex Kinds

In talking about “sex kinds” my opponent is unconsciously assuming some metaphysical claims that he has not justified. I think this because all he seems to be describing is the fact that there are two sexes (male and female) and yet he seems to think he’s talking about something more. He lists essential features of sex kinds as: certain chromosomes, male/female form, sexual organs, brain structure and sexual attraction. Apart from the last feature, homosexuals have all the same features. In correspondence, he has listed chromosomes as the essential feature of the sex kind. Here the essential feature of X is such that something fails to be X unless it has this feature. But again, homosexuals have the exact same chromosomes as their straight counterparts.

My opponent writes that the purpose of these sex kinds is “to fulfill their potential for procreation through an intimate bodily union.” However, in correspondence he has gone so far as to consider a straight man that never engages in any romantic activity nor even desires to as “participating in a heterosexual sex kind (henceforth HSK).” Such a person would not be fulfilling their “purpose” and yet would still be part of a HSK. If this is possible, then why can’t homosexuals participate in this sex kind as well? If he’s deriving the “heterosexual” in HSK from engaging in heterosexual sex or other romantic behavior, then he’s just contradicted himself. Even if it was the behavior that was necessary for the value of HSKs, that would mean they derive their value from behavior and thus can’t be intrinsically valuable.

He goes on to write, “The SSV is intrinsic to the purpose of these kinds [procreation through bodily union], as the effects could not exist without them.” If the SSV is intrinsic to the purpose, then anyone who does not participate in this purpose cannot have intrinsic value. Yet he’s admitted that a person who doesn’t participate in this purpose is still part of a HSK. Furthermore, infertile couples can’t “fulfill their potential for procreation” by definition. One could view gay people has having a kind of infertility like post-menopausal women. Both are infertile in principle. But we let post-menopausal marry and I’ve never heard anyone say something negative about it. Further, the quotation at the top of this paragraph seems to suggest that the SSV of sex kinds comes from their effects (procreation). But, then again, infertile couples don’t count.

Thus, it seems to me that if a straight person has intrinsic value in virtue of his/her HSK, then homosexuals possess this intrinsic value too.

Marriage and Bodily Unions

“The nature of marriage is between heterosexual sex kinds who have entered into a contractual agreement to establish and form a relationship that is intrinsically apt for procreation and child-rearing.” No relationship is intrinsically apt for child-rearing. Not every fertile couple would make good parents, that’s why we have adoption sometimes. Moreover, infertile people are not “intrinsically apt” for procreation. Post-menopausal women are certainly not apt. Some women are born without a vagina and/or a uterus, while some men are born without a penis or the ability to produce sperm. None of these people are intrinsically apt.

My opponent’s definition of marriage would allow for adult incestuous marriages, but would this be a good idea for children or society? If they were infertile they would still be of a heterosexual sex kind.

He claims that marriage is valuable in itself, because it involves a “one-flesh” union that covers the bodily, emotional and spiritual aspects of a couple’s being. First, spiritual aspects don’t exist, we agreed not to resort to the supernatural and the “one-flesh” union is a concept from the Bible.3 Second, PVI doesn’t result in a “one-flesh” union. The man and the woman are at all times completely separate bodies. The sperm and the egg unite, but not most of the time and certainly not when infertile people have sex. Third, any emotional union that happens can happen in SSMs as well. Fourth, if this union is metaphorical, then I see no reason why SSMs can’t engage in them.


SSM and Children

I fear that my opponent has inadvertently cited studies that are irrelevant to this matter. He gave no citation or link for the first two studies and thus I could not examine them myself. Thus, I think those two can’t be considered evidence.

When the founder and president of the Institute for American Values, David Blankenhorn, testified in the Prop 8 he cited the Child Trends study as evidence that the presence of both biological parents was necessary for proper adjustment. The judge in this case found that Blankenhorn “lacks the qualifications to offer opinion testimony.”4 Furthermore, the judge wrote, “he has no degree in sociology, psychology or anthropology despite the importance of those fields to the subjects of marriage, fatherhood and family structure.”5

The Child Trends study isn’t useful because it only compares children raised by married, biological parents with children raised by single parents, unmarried mothers, step families and cohabiting parents. It doesn’t include children that were adopted or conceived via in vitro fertilization or raised by same-sex couples. Thus, it is not relevant to our discussion.

On the other hand, numerous studies by qualified scientists have found that children that are adopted or conceived via reproductive technologies are just as like to be well adjusted as the children raised by two biological parents.6 According to Ellen C. Perrin, MD, “The vast consensus of all the studies shows that children of same-sex parents do as well as children whose parents are heterosexual in every way,”7

Given all this, I think that my opponent has failed to provide a compelling case against SSM.
BruteApologia

Con

In this closing response, I want to begin by refocusing the goal of this debate. It was my intention to demonstrate that there in fact compelling arguments against SSM while my opponent sought to prove the opposite. To defend my position, I looked at the intrinsic nature of marriage through sex kinds to determine whether it had any special value over other relationships in order to warrant a legal establishment of it. It was my contention that heterosexuals causally ground human existence and thus have a distinct purpose that cannot be achieved by homosexuals in principle. This approach is inherently philosophical and has been met with the best objections that I think can be surmounted. However, from the start we have had some theoretical differences as to how this debate should be framed. Was the burden of proof just on me? Did I need to assume a liberal framework? To answer these specific questions, I will provide an outlined review of the previous arguments that were made and my summarized responses (R). This is a structure that I will be following in the next sections as well.

Review:

(1) The burden of proof is on those who are against liberty.

(R) To claim a liberty has been violated, marriage must be defined. Therefore, the burden of proof is mutual.

(2) Arguments against SSM must be uncontroversial.

(R) This is self-refuting because it is itself a controversial conception of good.

(3) Liberal states should allow SSM even if it is immoral or inferior to EHM.

(R) You need a reason to do so, first of all, and legalizing SSM is not the same as allowing it.

l. Philosophical Issues

In essentialism, any kind of being must posses properties that define what it essentially is. A being with no essence cannot be anything at all. Normative conclusions are simply drawn from the descriptive essential properties of something, not from mere descriptive properties that are incidental to that being. What something "ought" to be is based on a kind's essence, not an expectation. This is not fallacious and is an essential metaphysic of this debate. Without it we could not claim that marriage "ought" to be anything, let alone claim that it is a universal human right. Given essentialism, one can derive an "ought" from the essential nature of something. However, because my opponent has denied essentialism, he has defeated his own position. Intrinsic value follows from this as the value exists within the nature of something, not just in its external application. Human individuals with intrinsic value collectively form a society and as such, have "intrinsic" social value because they ground society as intrinsically valuable individuals. How well they contribute is an issue of extrinsic value. Since heterosexual sex kinds have intrinsic value and also ground society, I think my opponent's argument is defeated.


ll. Marriage and Sex Kinds

To determine the nature of marriage, we looked at the nature of sex kinds and discovered that these ultimately exist FOR procreation with the opposite sex. We all participate in a sex kind but it is only until there is a relationship between the opposite sex that this purpose is relationally apt (or conducive) for procreation. For example, an outlet and a power cord are kinds made for an electrical connection but they're not enabled for conducting electricity until that connection arises. In other words, a sex kind on its own cannot accomplish its purpose until it meets the relational requirements. Their value is not merely derived from behavior but from the type of relationship that meet the conditions for procreation. This is true even if the effect does not obtain because their relationship is still FOR procreation and is still a valuable comprehensive union that covers the biological, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their being. PVI does result in a one-flesh union because two people come to preform a singular biological action as if they are one biological organ. Also, spiritual can just refer to personal here.

Marriage is an institution that is between a committed heterosexual couple who have entered into a contractual agreement to ensure the the good of the other and the good of any potential child that may arise from that relationship. This is why non-marital heterosexual relationships that are done for sexual pleasure or the like are not called marriage. Incestuous relationships, while participating in the HSK, cause genetic problems for future citizens of society and would be contrary to the state's interest in procreation. Even if they were infertile, the state would want to set an example by not promoting incest in principle. On the other hand, non-incestuous infertile couples set an example of the purpose of marriage since their relationship still has procreation as its conducive purpose. However, this problem does exist for my opponent because if marriage is not about procreation then incestuous relationships should be accepted.

With regard to SSM and children, I'd like to point out that even if his statistics were true, it would still be the case that HSKs have special social value for the creation of children. Homosexuals could not exist or raise a child without heterosexual unions. His view would allow for relationships like polygamy, incest, or pedophile couples to count as marriage as long as they can raise children well. My conception depends on procreation and then child-rearing, not the other way around. Furthermore, Child Trends does mention that biological parents are more ideal than just two parents, which naturally includes homosexuals by definition. Vitro fertilization is just the same as a single biological parent with a non-biological parent. Furthermore, the credentials of David Blankenhorn is a red herring and does not dispute the merits of the study itself. For those interested, I will provide some more sources in the comments.

Review:

(1) Heterosexual union is not indispensable to procreation (e.g, vitro fertilization)

(R) False. Vitro fertilization still depends on a heterosexual union.

(2) Heterosexuals are only valuable as long as their procreative effects obtain

(R) The kinds produce the effects, not the other way around. Sex kinds have intrinisic value because they enable the good of procreation.

(3) Non-procreative kinds disprove EHM (infertile, children not desired, post-menopausal, etc).

(R) False. Defects do not change the purpose of a kind and couples that do not procreate can still set an example for what marriage is for through their relationship.


Conclusion

In summary, I think the formidable objections raised by Pangloss have been answered. Even if my defense against infertile couples was unconvincing, it seems that this argument would still succeed as long as the government does not allow for infertile relationships. On the other hand, if the entire principle of my approach is false then this would entail that we have no reason to legalize marriage at all. For if you recall the conditions of this debate, the burden of proof was mutual but unfortunately my opponent only got around to attacking my conception. Indirectly SSM was defended but no clear affirmative definition of marriage (or legal reason) was provided in this discussion. If there's no reason to legalize opposite-sex marriage at all then we have no reason to legalize SSM either. Without a foundation, we can allow all kinds of relationships as marriage. Unfortunately, he also denied essentialism which I believe is the crucial foundation of this discussion. Nevertheless, he has made the best case against EHM that I have seen on DDO and I hope he will be remembered as a great debater here.


[Sources in comments]

Debate Round No. 4
104 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
best debate ever
Posted by MattDescopa 4 years ago
MattDescopa
the argument against homosexual marriage is so solid simply on the basis of biology (procreation) and this fact will NEVER change. But if we agree it is biologically wrong then im sure we can extend it because society has repressed it to that one fact that cannot be altered or disapproved.
Posted by BruteApologia 5 years ago
BruteApologia
@Kohai

Eh, that was a lame RFD.

@mcc1789

Thanks, I am glad you liked the debate! I'd like to address you RFD, however. You seem to perceive this debate as about whether SSM prevents heterosexual marriage but this is not at all what I had argued. Recognizing a bachelor or a toaster as married does not prevent heterosexuals from marrying, but at the same time it is not what marriage is. If marriage has an objective nature, then there are certain things that it is NOT. Furthermore, I do not see how child-rearing is relevant to my position, as I had explained in the last two rounds. I'd welcome you to reread this debate and if you any questions, feel free to ask me. I hope you'll understand my position more clearly.
Posted by BruteApologia 5 years ago
BruteApologia
@Wolfhaines

Did this debate look like a "I don't like it, therefore it should be banned" to you? This rhetoric can easily be reversed. Perhaps most arguments for SSM are because "I like it, therefore it should be accepted". But if you accepted that reasoning, then it is only special pleading.

@ i8JoMomma

Heterosexuals can spread diseases too. I'm assuming you're just a troll.
Posted by RogueAngel 5 years ago
RogueAngel
Another thing to note is that AIDs is most common in women and children, not homosexuals.
Posted by Pangloss 5 years ago
Pangloss
@ i8JoMomma

What about lesbians? Have you ever heard of lesbians spreading AIDS? Didn't think so. You just got smoked.

Also, I sincerely hope you're not really 38 years old, because it would be really sad if a grown man were leaving such comments.
Posted by wolfhaines 5 years ago
wolfhaines
Isn't most peoples arguments against SSM personal opinion? "I don't like it, therefore it should be banned". Hell, I didn't like the idea of marriage between Katie Price and... *insert most recent fake tanned husband*, but it is up to her what she does. (And Hello Magazine too apparently)
Posted by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
RogueAngel,

I understand and appreciate your sentiment. I will do what you have suggested. Thank you for the advice :)
Posted by RogueAngel 5 years ago
RogueAngel
Dimmitri,

While I will not comment on Pangloss's beliefs I will comment on your conduct in the comments. One thing I cannot stand is when a person will leave such comments like yours without elaborating on them. You eventually did, but please do that initially rather than just stating an opinion. Not only will it help your posting conduct out, it will also help out both debaters in the debate. You don't appreciate the way he spoke to you, but it was warranted.

All the best.
Posted by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
To both brute and pangloss: just find the good debaters qnd have conversations/debates with them - it's a lot more rewarding. This was an excellent debate.
14 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by detachment345 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: excellent defence of the procreation argument
Vote Placed by mcc1789 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This was the most detailed, well thought out debate on this issue that I've yet seen. Both sides mounted thought-provoking arguments, but in the end my view is that BruteApologia failed to show that allowing same-sex marriage (also child-rearing, though it was not part of the resolution) would undermine heterosexual marriage and its social value of producing children. Kudos to both for an excellent debate though.
Vote Placed by ExNihilo 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con bit the bullet about infertile couples. His argument remained consistent. Con.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter bombing. Furthermore, con user flaw arguments
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pangloss doesn't seem to consider that marital relationships are intrinsically valuable to the survival of a society. This rejected of the intrinsic nature of marital relationships leaves him open to asserting that biologically unitive behaviour and procreative effects aren't intrinsically valuable to society. Pangloss failed to realise that homosexual relationships are, in principle, incapable of fulfilling this criteria for marriage. Con won this debate! Pangloss didn't understand the debate.
Vote Placed by Raisor 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Close Round. Con wins essentialism debate and as a consequence the round. I think Con could have done a better job w/ establishing essentialism (bring it up in R1 for instance) but Pro didnt really attack it head on.
Vote Placed by Jillianl 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con position was flawed from the start, making the rest completely all apart. I vote pro. And, pro's argument was definitely the most compelling.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter-votebomb davidhancock
Vote Placed by MrCarroll 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Well I was compelled... This is a better debate on SSM then the ones I have been in.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: BA's argument about the special procreative value was essentially not addressed. Also, dismissing religious considerations in a country that has MANY religions present seems a bit out there...