The Instigator
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Losing
10 Points

There is no Legally Tenable Position for Denying Homosexuals the Right to Marry Each Other

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
JustCallMeTarzan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/23/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,567 times Debate No: 6612
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (5)

 

JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

The proposition on offer is that there are no legally tenable positions for denying homosexuals, transsexuals, etc... the right to marry individuals of the same gender.

*********************

If one accepts that the right to marry is a fundamental right, or that homosexuals constitute a suspect class of individual, the burden of proof falls on the state (CON) to show that their legislation is narrowly tailored to effectuate only an end that remedies some "evil" posed by allowing homosexuals to marry each other.

In Round 1, I shall assert the former, that the right to marry whom you choose is a fundamental right, and thus, CON has a burden to show a good legal case or exclude marriage as a fundamental right.

Otherwise, a gay couple must show that the state's regulation fails under the "rational relation" test. The most common argument put forth by the state on this point is that there is some protectiveness issue concerning children and the familial unit. However, there is little evidence to support any protective notion of children, as homosexuality has nothing to do with domestic violence. Furthermore, the solemnization of a relationship in marriage would STRENGTHEN the familial unit. Any objections to homosexuality on basis of morality can be similarly ignored, as the court has already ruled in Lawrence v Texas that consensual acts, even of sodomy are legally permissible. An appeal to any higher morality may similarly be ignored on grounds of separation of church and state.

***********************

I challenge my opponent to bring forth legal argumentation on this point.

No legally tenable position exists for denying homosexuals and transsexuals the right to marry each other.

AFFIRMED.
RoyLatham

Con

1. (a) Rights are derivable from the nature of man. Thus, for example, there is right not to be enslaved as a consequence of the nature of man to be free. It is the nature of man to want a mate and to live with a mate. Homosexuals have that right, because same-sex relationships are in their genetic nature. Consequently, any law that attempts to prevent homosexuals from forming and maintaining same-sex relationships would be a violation of their rights.

(b) Marriage is a contractual convenience afforded by the state. It is certainly not a right. There are religious and traditional ceremonies that are also called "marriage," but those are voluntary private matters not subject to legal rights of the sort contemplated by this debate. The question here is whether there is a right to have a special contract prepared by the State which codifies marriage. If there is such a right, then a nation that does not provide official state marriage contracts is violating the human right to have such a contract. For example, a region of tribal societies may be in a nation that makes no offer of official of government marriages, instead leaving tribal traditions to prevail. To argue that marriage is a fundamental right, one must argue that such a nation is violating basic human rights.

(c) Violations of human rights are proper grounds for international intervention. For example, NATO could justifiably intervene to prevent ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. So does the failure of a nation to provide official state marriage contracts potential grounds for war? The idea is absurd. The idea is not absurd with respect to every other human right.

(d) State marriage contracts are relatively recent legal innovations. So in all the past millenia in which there were no state marriage contracts, are we to conclude that human rights were being violated? In fact, the concept of nation states is relatively recent on the time scale of man's existence. Must we conclude that cavemen were deprived of rights because there was no state to issue contracts? The concept is absurd.

(e) Finally, let us suppose that a modern country decided to get out of the business of issuing marriage contracts entirely. Instead, individuals were left to inventing their own contracts entirely as they saw fit. why would adopting such a system violate human rights? I do not see any human rights violations.

2. While marriage is not a fundamental right, there are also legal arguments based upon concepts of equal protection under the law.

(a) Con may argue that the government affords special privileges to those holding government-issued marriage certificates. If there is a violation of human rights in that circumstance, it is that people who are not married are discriminated against. But as a practical matter, gays may be separately be afforded equivalent civil union contracts that provide equivalent benefits. If there were no state marriage contracts, the current benefits of state-endorsed marriage could be legally granted to persons in any of variety of contracts meeting specified legal criteria. For example, in California, there is a type of legally codified relationship between an older dependent and a younger caregiver that affords certain privileges to that relationship.

(b) The question then arises as to whether the rights and obligations under a civil union must be identical to that afforded to heterosexuals. (Here, the word "right" is used in a different sense from its use in "human rights" -- consider "club members have the right to use tennis courts." It is a granted privilege, not a human right.) To address that question consider the status of the rights of women relative to men. The rights of men and women are nearly identical, but not exactly. In the United States, the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made the rights identical, failed. Those supporting the Amendment argued that even if it passed, it would not force identical treatment of men and women. For example, separate sports teams and separate restrooms for men and women would somehow still be allowed. The reason for accepting some differences is the obvious fact of genetic differences engendering some practical differences.

Homosexuals are also genetically different. The question is whether those genetic differences should be allowed to engender practical differences reflected in law. I claim that society does not know for sure. For women and men, there is a high degree of equivalence in law, let's suppose it is 95%. For gays and straights equality may be 100%, but it also might be 99%. We don't know. Demanding, based upon legalistic mumbo-jumbo, that it must be 100% does not serve either the gay community or the straight community. Civil union legislation should be promptly enacted that establishes fundamental parity, but then the law and precedent should be allowed to build as experience is gained. For example, child custody issues in divorce might develop differently for gay civil unions than for heterosexual marriages. I don't know if they will or not, but it is possible.

3. Finally, new law should never be made by redefinition of terminology. Marriage laws were made in contemplation of heterosexual relationships. If voters wish to vote to apply existing marriage laws to gay couples, then voters have the right to do so. However, the Court system has no right to change law by virtue of its own redefinition. Doing so violates the principle of rule of law. Rule of law requires that the citizens, directly or through their representatives, determine what the laws are, and the Courts ought to apply the laws. It is reasonable that Courts resolve conflicts among laws, or in the U.S., conflicts among Constitutional rights. However, allowing judges to redefine terminology to effect new law is rule by individuals not subject to democratic consensus, and that is wrong.

Marriage is not a right for either heterosexuals or homosexuals. It is a contractual convenience offered by the State. Equal protection under the law allows differences for genetic reasons related to sexuality, as witnessed by the difference allowed in the rights of men and women. Therefore some differences may be allowed with respect to the rights of gays and straights.
Debate Round No. 1
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

On the Right to Marry.

This right is not necessarily a basic human right. However, the implicit freedom of association with one's fellow man contained in basic human rights to self-determination yields the notion that there is a right to enter into relationships with other people independent of the state's authority. I.e. - the state cannot regulate who your friends are, the state cannot regulate who your spouse is. The right to marry whomever you choose is of course subject to restrictions based on health, etc... - this is why first cousins cannot marry unless they are incapable of producing offspring. However, the restrictions on homosexual marriage are not based on any sort of consideration.

It has long been held that there is a right to privacy. This stems from the decision in Griswold v. Connecticut recognizing the right of the people to not have "government in the bedroom." In a similar fashion, sodomistic acts and lifestyle have been upheld as in this private sphere by Lawrence v. Texas. If homosexuals already have a right to privacy, a right to practice their lifestyle, and a right to marry someone of the opposite gender, it becomes clear that the restriction on their marriage is a restriction solely on their right to choose who and how they associate with other people.

The right to marry is indeed a fundamental right. Consider if the US refused to grant marriage licenses to anyone. There would be a terrible uproar in the streets. If the right to equal protection under the law on basis of race or ethnicity is a fundamental right, surely the basis of sexual preference merits the same consideration. It is no different to refuse a marriage license because someone is black than because someone is gay.

On Equal Protection.

My opponent opens this section with a weak "separate but equal" argument. As I'm sure he is well aware, it has been held for 50 years that separate is inherently not equal. Thus, having equal "civil unions" does not satisfy the requirements of equal protection.

Roy then continues to state that there are genetic differences between homo and heterosexuals that somehow circumnavigates equal protection. This is as silly a notion as denying equal protection to stupid people because they are genetically different in some arbitrary way. He states that "Demanding, based upon legalistic mumbo-jumbo, that it must be 100% does not serve either the gay community or the straight community" - this is simply a form of "true equal protection doesn't do anything positive for either side," regardless of the fact that true equal protection would satisfy the desires of the gay community.

>> "For example, child custody issues in divorce might develop differently for gay civil unions than for heterosexual marriages."

This suggests that there is something WRONG with raising a child in the custody of homosexuals, as though homosexuality is something the child may "catch." Considering his earlier statement about genetic differences, I find it unlikely that a compelling case can be made that the kids will "catch gay."

My opponent's last argument is that the courts would need to redefine marriage. This is not the case. Many current definitions of marriage have been updated to recognize the union of two persons, as well as a man and a woman. Thus, in the same way other laws regarding legal documentation and evidence have been updated for innovations like the internet, fax, and DNA analysis, the laws regarding marriage can be updated to include current definitions. Furthermore, the only impediment in many states to gay marriage is a clause in the law defining unions of two persons of the same sex as a prohibited class of marriage. Thus, removal of simply this line would confer the right to marry upon persons of the same sex.

*************************************************************

>> "Equal protection under the law allows differences for genetic reasons related to sexuality, as witnessed by the difference allowed in the rights of men and women. Therefore some differences may be allowed with respect to the rights of gays and straights."

The only difference in the protections afforded by the state is that heterosexuals have a right to choose who they can marry and homosexuals do not. This seems to be a silly and arbitrary distinction with no legal backing.

*************************************************************

My opponent has argued that homosexuals should not be given the legal right to marry persons of the same sex simply on the grounds that they are slightly genetically different and the state has the authority to make laws that take genetic differences into consideration when legislating about sexuality. However, sexuality is not what is at stake here - the right to choose who to marry is. Denying this right to someone because they are homosexual and have a slight genetic difference is no different than denying the right to marry to someone with Down's Syndrome.

I assert that my opponent has not fulfilled the obligation of excluding the right to choose who to marry as a fundamental right, and that he has also not shown any sort of compelling state interest that would grant the state the power to remove this right from homosexuals under the rational relation test.

AFFIRMED.
RoyLatham

Con

1. I provided five arguments [1. (a), (b), (c), (d), (e)] as to why marriage of any kind is not a basic right, but rather a contractual convenience afforded by government to citizens. Pro offered no counter arguments, appearing to agree by saying "This right is not necessarily a basic right."

2. Pro argues that it is nonetheless derivable from basic rights.

He argues that there is a right to freedom of association. I certainly agree that when it comes to adult matters of sexuality, there is indeed such a right of freedom of association. I stipulated that in my opening argument saying, "any law that attempts to prevent homosexuals from forming and maintaining same-sex relationships would be a violation of their rights." A law that prohibited heterosexuals from forming relations would similarly be a rights violation. That is not at issue here. What is being asserted by Pro's resolution is that there is a right by homosexuals to have a standardized contract written by the state, that the contract must in every detail be identical to the heterosexual contract, and that the contract must be called "marriage."

Having agreed that marriage is a contractual convenience, he must show that a matter of convenience derives from freedom of association. Compare the situation to business laws related to owning property in a partnership. Suppose Pro and I agree to chip in and buy a podium so that we can better debate each other. There is no official government license for joint podium ownership. In some places it invokes a set of laws related to joint ownership, even though we signed nothing. If there is no direct law then disputes are settled by common law in the judicial system. Having a contract is most convenient, having an applicable law is less convenient, and relying on common is least convenient. If there were a law that prevented joint ownership of a podium, that would be a violation of freedom of association. The rest are matters of convenience. No one would argue that there is a legal right to a standard government-issued contract for joint podium ownership. The right is to be able do as one wishes, not to have a certain form of facilitation from the government. For that reason, Pro's argument that gay marriage is required in law fails.

Pro makes the same error in asserting that gay marriage follows from a right of privacy, saying "It has long been held that there is a right to privacy. This stems from the decision in Griswold v. Connecticut recognizing the right of the people to not have "government in the bedroom." Griswold held that a ban on selling contraceptives was unconstitutional due to rights of privacy. The privacy right was never in the Constitution, it was invented by the Court for that case. The Court gave the Connecticut legislature a way to get rid of a stupid law without having some legislators having to offend Catholic voters. Even today, the Court invokes a privacy right when it wants it and ignores it when it doesn't want it. There were nearly concurrent Court decisions a couple of years ago declaring sodomy laws unconstitutional and upholding laws against selling adult toys. In any case, a privacy right, which I will stipulate as a basic right, does not imply that a marriage license identical to heterosexual marriage and named "marriage" must be issued to homosexuals, it only prevents government from making private behavior illegal.

Pro argues that "The right to marry is indeed a fundamental right. Consider if the US refused to grant marriage licenses to anyone. There would be a terrible uproar in the streets." An uproar does not establish a fundamental right. There is an uproar when a city refuses to build a new sports stadium; that doesn't make stadiums a fundamental right. Fundamental rights are asserted contrary to majority opinion. I am asserting that the majority has a legal right to maintain the traditional meaning of the word "marriage" and to offer an independent government contract for gay relationships. Pro is making arguments unrelated to the issue of the resolution.

Pro further argues "If the right to equal protection under the law on basis of race or ethnicity is a fundamental right, surely the basis of sexual preference merits the same consideration. It is no different to refuse a marriage license because someone is black than because someone is gay." The difference is that the U.S. Constitution, by Amendment, establishes race as a class afforded equal protection. Sexual preference is not a protected class. Neither is gender. In a case in New York City, a landlord was charged with illegal discrimination because he refused to rent to a Black woman lawyer. The landlord showed that he had many Black tenants and never discriminated on grounds of race. However, he never rented to lawyers. Lawyers are not a protected class. so the landlord won his case.

Pro asserts "it has been held for 50 years that separate is inherently not equal. Thus, having equal "civil unions" does not satisfy the requirements of equal protection." Pro errs in assuming that "separate but equal" has achieved legal status as a universal legal principle. It was a specific remedy for racial discrimination in public schools. (A wrong remedy, since it destroyed neighborhood schools, but that's another debate.) We still have separate but equal restrooms and locker rooms for men and women, because gender is not a Constitutionally-protected class. This has been amply tested in the Courts. Note that had the Equal Rights Amendment passed (for gender), advocates argued that separate-but-equal would nonetheless be a legally tenable position. Until such time as sexual preference is established as Constitutionally protected class, discrimination in law is legal. Note that in California, there were some laws allowing basically everyone except heterosexuals from entering into certain types of civil union. Perfectly legal; it works both ways.

I didn't say there was anything wrong with gay couples raising children, I only asserted that the legal details regarding which parent obtains custody in a divorce might be different. All I asserting is that genetic differences sometimes have legally valid consequences and sometimes they do not. Soldiers cannot be too tall or too short for valid reasons having to do with equipment design. That does not mean that the genetic differences between tall and short may be reflected in say, voting laws. For the legal details of gay civil union, society does not have the knowledge currently to know if the contracts are best if identical to that for heterosexuals.

The Con position on this issue is identical to that of Barack Obama, George Bush, John McCain, and Bill Clinton. All agree that there is a legally tenable position for denying homosexuals the right to marry. All agree that there should be gay civil unions with substantially equal rights, but that "marriage" should be preserved in its traditional sense. None of these people would take such a position if it were not legally tenable. The resolution should therefore fail.

I challenge Pro to make arguments that relate to the issue of the debate: use of the word "marriage" and a legal right to contractual convenience.
Debate Round No. 2
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

Let us begin on the points where we agree...

1) That there is a right to freedom of association in adult sexuality.
2) Laws attempting to prevent homosexuals from entering same-sex relationships violate their rights.

Our dispute is over whether or not there is a right to a "standardized contract written by the state." Con asserts that the contract should be "identical to the heterosexual contract" and that it "must be called 'marriage.'" The resolution would be fulfilled by a contract highly similar to the heterosexual contract (the difference being any sort of gender specific language) and called marriage. Very specific, but let us not mince words.

Con refers to marriage as a "contractual convenience." However, I argue that the right to marry is a form of specific association that the state simply has a contract for. In analogous form, I argue that association:marriage :: agreement:contract. Marriage is simply a legalized form of association. For purposes of the present line of reasoning, I stipulate that marriage is a right extended to citizens - all citizens have the right to apply for a marriage license. The state recognizes marriage as a vitally important social institution... it sounds silly to say that there is not a right to a vitally important social institution.

Furthermore, if the concept of marriage is not a right and is instead a contractual convenience as Con suggests, the state has no right to regulate a private contract between two individuals, and the right to marry is entirely incorporated in the right to privacy. The state would then simply not confer social benefits on certain types of private contracts. Under this reading, the resolution is fulfilled because the position of interfering in the right to privacy is not legally tenable, and the question of conferring social benefits is not addressed by the resolution.

Another notion to consider is whether or not homosexuals have been properly classified as a non-suspect class. A suspect class must have:

a) An immutable characteristic
b) A history of discrimination
c) Political impotence
d) A discrete and insular minority

My opponent will no doubt attack the immutable characteristic requirement first. However, if homosexuality is truly genetic, then it is only subject to change via genetic mutation, a requirement that the court has overlooked in other cases. Regardless of his self-opinion or appearance, Michael Jackson is still genetically African-American - his apparent racial changes do not destroy race as a protected class. The rest of these criteria are easily met by homosexuals, thus qualifying them as a suspect class that is to be addressed by strict scrutiny, where the argument for denying them the right to marriage quickly fails under consideration of the due process and equality before the law clauses.

Con asserts that the majority has a right to "maintain the traditional meaning of the word 'marriage.'" However, this suggests that the political majority may define legal terms. This is of course a silly notion. The desire of the majority to maintain the traditional meaning of marriage stems from some notion of morality or the "sanctity of marriage." When considering a suspect class or the conferral of a right, public morals cannot play a role in judicial decisions. Any legislation concerning the "sanctity" of marriage is likewise invalid under the separation of Church and State clause.

Once again, my opponent asserts that homosexuality is not a protected class and that it is similar to gender. However, gender lacks an immutable characteristic, as one can undergo surgeries that legally change gender. One cannot remove the genetic coding for homosexuality. Thus, the state has improperly characterized homosexuality as a non-suspect class.

Con asserts that separate but equal has not achieved legal standing outside of the context of racial integration. However, I challenge him to provide an example dealing with a suspect class wherein separate but equal is upheld. He gives the example of restrooms, but gender is not a suspect class. Next, he holds that "that the legal details regarding which parent obtains custody in a divorce might be different." However, in most states, the children even of a prohibited class of marriage are still lawfully the children of whoever biologically fathered/mothered/adopted them, and thus the legal considerations are exactly the same.

>> "For the legal details of gay civil union, society does not have the knowledge currently to know if the contracts are best if identical to that for heterosexuals."

This suggests to me that one should err on the side of caution.

>> "The Con position on this issue is identical to that of Barack Obama, George Bush, John McCain, and Bill Clinton."

This statement is the fallacy of appeal to improper authority. These men are not experts on the issues of gay rights and homosexual genetic tendencies (or, arguably, legal considerations relevant to the case at hand).

>> "None of these people would take such a position if it were not legally tenable. The resolution should therefore fail."

Again, another fallacy, this one combining improper authority and improper causation.

******************************************************

Con has asked I address the term marriage and the legal right to contractual convenience...

On the Term Marriage:

Marriage in definition other than the traditional consideration can mean (in relevant part):

1) a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction (Random House)
2) any close or intimate association or union (Random House)
3) A union between two persons... (American Heritage)
4) A close union (AHD)
5) A common law marriage (AHD)

Thus, one can see that marriage is not exclusively limited to a man and a woman and devoid of all other considerations. Current legal definitions of marriage generally are derived from definitions of marriage in the lexicon that have not been updated to reflect current social considerations. The nature of the change in marriage is no different than the nature of the change in words like dork (penis -> foolish person) or faggot (bundle of sticks -> male homosexual).

On Contractual Convenience:

As I touched on earlier, if marriage is really a contractual convenience, then the state has no authority to specify the terms of the contract - merely the authority to deny certain social benefits to some contracts. In other words, the state may show preference to certain contracts over others, but not dictate terms. This reading fulfills the resolution.

However, if one considers the state to have such a power over private affairs like contracts, then the denial of the right to associate in said contracts to certain members of the citizenry constitutes the creation of a separate class of citizen, a political danger the court has long recognized and struck down. The parties to a marriage do not need the state's permission to accept the obligations of married life - those need no contract. They simply must get the states approval to receive social benefits in accordance with their lifestyle. The denial of these benefits is simply a discrimination infringing on the right to association.

*******************************************

I have set forth the following considerations:

1) The right to marry is a fundamental right
2) Homosexuals are suspect class
3) If the right to marry is merely a contractual convenience, the state has no authority there.

The first two shift the burden of proof to CON. The third fulfills the resolution.

AFFIRMED.

*************************************

A note to readers - this was a wonderful debate. PLEASE READ IT BEFORE VOTING. Roy has been a joy to debate on this difficult issue. I wish him much luck.
RoyLatham

Con

Pro introduced the concept of a "suspect class" into the debate. The definition is given by Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org.... A "suspect class" is generally what I call a Constitutionally-protected class. What it means is that if there is discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or alienage then a very high standard of justification must be provided to justify the discrimination. Discrimination may be allowed, but a very strong case must be made.

Discrimination against a quasi-suspect class is subject to lesser scrutiny. The main example is gender. Discrimination is allowed, but must be proved justified according to standards of "intermediate scrutiny." All other issues of equal protection are judged according to "rational basis." Thus the military can discriminate against people who are too tall or too short because it passes the test of "rational basis." Height is an immutable characteristic, but nonetheless "rational basis" applies. Gender is immutable, but "quasi-suspect" applies. The Courts have declared homosexuality a rational basis class. The Wikipedia article provides the references. There no question that sexual preference is a rational basis class.

Pro goes on to argue that the other criteria for "suspect class" applies to homosexuals, and therefore the Courts have erred. There are three faults in that argument. (1) The criteria given are minimum criteria. There may be, and almost certainly are, other classes who meet those criteria, but are not suspect classes. For example, "convicted felons" seems to meet the criteria. (2) Only "alienation" has been added by the Courts to the classes explicitly protected by the Constitution. If there it is a Court error, it is in adding more classes, without constitutional foundation, rather than having too few classes. (3) The criteria of "strict scrutiny," even if applied, would not make denial of gay marriage untenable. Recall that advocates of the Equal Rights Amendment were adamant that it would not require shared rest rooms or shared locker rooms. Clearly they felt that discrimination could pass the test of strict scrutiny.

Pro argues, "However, I argue that the right to marry is a form of specific association that the state simply has a contract for. ... . it sounds silly to say that there is not a right to a vitally important social institution." There are many vitally important social institutions for which the state has no contract. For example, the parent-child relationship is vitally important, yet no government license is required to become a parent. Churches are vitally important institutions, yet no government license is required to join a church. In Sweden, government-licensed marriages have dwindled, but marriage as a social institution has not. In tribal societies, there are no government contracts, but the social institutions of marriage are if anything more important than in industrial societies.

Pro fails to recognize the difference between a scrap of government paper and a social institution. This is a debate about legalities. I stipulated at the outset that if the government tried to prohibit associations, that would be a violation of rights. However, there is nothing remotely resembling a right to a government certificate.

Pro argues, "Furthermore, if the concept of marriage is not a right and is instead a contractual convenience as Con suggests, the state has no right to regulate a private contract between two individuals, and the right to marry is entirely incorporated in the right to privacy. ... Under this reading, the resolution is fulfilled because the position of interfering in the right to privacy is not legally tenable." Pro's argument depends upon switching meanings of the word "marriage." The language of the resolution, saying "legally tenable position ... right to marry" is clearly talking about state-issued marriage certificates. Moreover, Pro reinforced that meaning up until the final round, when he decided to switch his meaning. All of the controversy surrounds whether gays must be given exactly the same certificate with the name "marriage license," and that is what we have been discussing.

I indeed asserted that lawmakers get to define the terms used in laws. Pro objects "However, this suggests that the political majority may define legal terms. This is of course a silly notion." One of the most fundamental principles of law and government is that citizens must be able to know what laws mean. That is only possibility if the meaning stays with the law and does not change. If a citizen goes to Court and can be told by a judge, "I've just decided that "up" now means "down," so now you are guilty. Too bad you thought it mean "up."..."

Pro asserts, "The desire of the majority to maintain the traditional meaning of marriage stems from some notion of morality or the "sanctity of marriage.".." Pro offers no proof of that statement, it is false, and it no more than slandering his opponents. People have a strong natural opposition to changing law by changing definitions. If you want the law changed, get a new law passed. Beyond that, there is strong belief that while gays ought to be entitled to many rights, they are not in every way identical to heterosexuals, so that adopting all of marriage law en masse is suspect. California has a strong record of of approving gay rights and civil union laws, yet they rejected the attempt to change the traditional definition of marriage.

Pro states, "However, gender lacks an immutable characteristic, as one can undergo surgeries that legally change gender. One cannot remove the genetic coding for homosexuality." Pro contradicts himself, previously asserting that Michael Jackson remained of the same race despite some racial characteristics changing, because his genes didn't change. Now he asserts that changing gender characteristics changes gender despite genes not being changed. He was right the first time, genetic determination is immutable. (Note that as gene replacement technology matures, we will lose immutable classes. By the way, why is "being an illegal alien" an immutable class? It can be changed by either becoming legal or by leaving. Clear, the Court is suffering from acute rationalization poisoning.)

"Con asserts that separate but equal has not achieved legal standing outside of the context of racial integration. However, I challenge him to provide an example dealing with a suspect class wherein separate but equal is upheld." Pro gave no case where it was test and uphold. It's never been tested, so we have no data. Sexual preference is not a suspect class, nor even a quasi-suspect class (like gender), so separate but equal is legally tenable.

Pro states, "This statement is the fallacy of appeal to improper authority. These men [Obama, McCain, Bush, Clinton] are not experts on the issues of gay rights and homosexual genetic tendencies (or, arguably, legal considerations relevant to the case at hand)." This debate is entirely about what is "legally tenable." It is the job of Presidents and presidential candidates to know what is legally tenable. The Presidents had the entire expertise of the Justice Department to provide the best legal advice. The candidates had the very best legal advice in both Parties. Of course, experts may disagree, but when you get a unanimous opinion from across the political spectrum and in both Parties, that is as expert an opinion as one could ever hope for. Moreover, this was an important issue, so we can be sure that it was carefully considered by the most expert legal minds.

A good debate. I believe we agreed that government certificates are not human rights, and in the current context, that is amazing progress.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Only in (3) did I argue that the Courts should not change the definition of the word "marriage." I figured I ought to include that because that is what 90% of the public debate is about. In (1) I argued that it is not a human right. That was not contested, so I took that as stipulated after the first round. Most of the debate was then about (2), whether equal protection guarantees in the Constitution mandate that gays must get marriage licenses identical to that afforded heterosexuals. Note that the resolution only deals with Courts forcing public policy. It was not at all about what people should vote for.

After Roberts' appointment to the Supreme Court, the ACLU chair gave a speech decrying the horrible situation in which it might be necessarily to change ACLU tactics entirely and start appealing to the public to support the things the ACLU wanted, so they could be passed democratically. It is almost too horrible to contemplate. I mean, when you have to resort to democracy to get what you want ....
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
I was a little confused on that too... but I suppose the case can possibly be salvaged under rational relation for Roy...
Posted by Maya9 8 years ago
Maya9
Roy, you don't seem to be arguing against the resolution: that there is no legally tenable reason for DENYING homosexuals the right to marry. You only seem to be arguing that the contract shouldn't be redefined by the courts. The topics are different.
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Vote Placed by Metz 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
JustCallMeTarzanRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by sydnerella 8 years ago
sydnerella
JustCallMeTarzanRoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:70