|Voting Style:||Open||Point System:||7 Point|
|Updated:||7 months ago||Status:||Debating Period|
|Viewed:||307 times||Debate No:||93644|
I thank my opponent for instigating the debate, and will now present arguments.
C1) Protecting the marriage institution
Civil unions reduce the likelihood of people to marry. The number of civil unions in France is increasing at a rapid rate, whereas the number of marriages is decreasing steadily: (4)
Although the decline in marriage is relatively slow, the increase in civil unions is extremely rapid, demonstrating that the proportion of partnerships which are marriages - and thus the prevalence of marriage - is declining dramatically. This is thanks to growing individualism in society. As people care more for their own interests than the interests of their family, they tend to pick civil unions, which are easier to enter and get out of.
We know that if the presence of A leads to a trend B, eliminating A can help curb B. If the presence of deforestation leads to silting, then stopping deforestation will reduce silting significantly. Thus, if the presence of civil unions leads to a decline in marriage, then eliminating civil unions can curb this trend.
Why, then, should we curb this trend?
SC1) Preservation of cultural traditions
There are many important values embedded in the marriage tradition. For example, the traditional Confucian conception of marriage is below:
'The ceremony of marriage was intended to be a bond of love between two families of different surnames, with a view, in its retrospective character, to secure the services in the ancestral temple, and in its prospective character, to secure the continuance of the family line. Therefore the superior men set a great value upon it.' (Book of Rites 44.1)
The value of the marriage ceremony can be summarised thus:
-A bond of love between two different families
-To secure the services in the ancestral temple
-To secure the continuance of the family line
The central position of the family is an essential element of the 'relationism' that keeps Chinese society together. (7) This value would be eroded by civil unions, which, rather than involving a large ceremony where members of family from all around gather together, involves only the signing of contracts in a government office. This defeats the whole familial purpose of marriage and turns it into a bond between two individuals, rather than two families, encouraging an individualistic view of marriage. This will accelerate the breakdown of traditional social ties which are essential to Chinese culture. Protecting marriage is thus necessary.
Even setting aside the values embedded in tradition, customs need to be protected. Each culture has its own unique cultural traditions. For example, in China, we have an elaborate set of customs, the 'three letters and six rituals' (10). Protecting customs like wedding traditions enables us to maintain cultural diversity.
Observing traditional customs also enhances community solidarity. If you observe traditions associated with a certain group, you are more likely to self-identify as a member. Thus traditional customs foster a sense of belonging to the community. This brings many benefits, such as encouraging members of the community to help each other. The Catholic Carl Mattone, for example, often helps out at fundraisers in Catholic schools. (11)
All these show that the marriage ceremony is of great cultural importance, and cannot be replaced by civil unions.
SC2) Utilitarian arguments
According to the celebrated anthropologist Malinowski, the 'rituals, customs, and norms associated with marriage have generally increased the odds that men will invest financially, practically, and emotionally in the lives of their children'. (8) Thus Malinowski believed that marriage rites - even strange, exotic and tribal ones - are essential for the functioning of society. (9) Thus from a functional viewpoint, the marriage ceremony is essential, and should be protected.
C2) Pragmatic argument
P1) A marriage offers similar benefits and protections as a civil union
P2) Marriage and civil unions have similar availability
P3) If two institutions offering similar benefits and protections have similar availability, then one can be eliminated
C1) One of marriage and civil unions can be eliminated
P4) Ceteris paribus, something new is harder to deal with than something old
P5) Civil unions are newer than marriage
C2) Civil unions are harder to deal with than marriage
P6) Given a choice between eliminating two institutions, we should eliminate the one that is harder to deal with
C3) We should eliminate civil unions
P1) is inherently correct by definition. P2) is correct for heterosexual couples everywhere; I redress the loophole about homosexual couples later. P3) can be resolved by analogy. If there are two foods A and B with similar taste, smell, appearance and nutritional value, one wouldn't mind eating one instead of the other, so even if the shops selling B start selling A instead, the customers would not mind. C1) follows from the above.
P4) is true because experience (or, in this case, case law) is accumulated over the years, and a new institution is bound to have more loopholes, uncertainties and complications than an old, established one. P5) is a truism, at least as far as the modern legal system goes. C2) follows logically, and I can cite empirical evidence. In France, Pacs is described as a time bomb because of the legal uncertainties following the dissolution of a Pacs. In particular, partners in this union can share property, but are not obligated to liquidate jointly owned assets upon the dissolution of the union, causing problems when one of the partners finds a new partner. (1) Also, when one partner deceases, the other is not a legal heir, and in the absence of the will, the ownership of the assets is determined by the kin of the deceased. (3) In the United States, a marriage was deemed bigamous and thus null because one of the parties had previously been involved in a civil union, and did not know that a dissolution was necessary for entering another marriage. (2)
P6) is obvious pragmatically: given the choice of easy and hard ways to achieve the same results, we would choose easy. C3) follows from C1), C2) and P6).
As for the issue of P2) for areas where gay couples are not allowed to marry, from C2), it is easier to deal with marriages than civil unions. Thus if we expand the definition of marriage, an institution in which we have an abundance of case law and experience, and abolish civil unions, gay relationships will be easier to handle. A comparison between Massachusetts (with gay marriage) and New Jersey (with gay civil unions) showed that gay partnerships in New Jersey faced much more legal complications than those in Massachussets. (5) Custody rights also get complicated: It is unclear who will get custody in a dissolved civil union if the child is the biological child of one party but has been raised mostly by the other. (6) Thus, from a pragmatic viewpoint, in areas where marriage is not accessible to homosexuals, we should expand the scope of marriage and abolish civil unions.
C3) Rectification of names
This is a more philosophical argument. The rectification of names is the rectification of the relationship between 'name' (ming) and 'substance' (shi).
P1) Name and substance should be compatible.
P2) In the case of civil unions, substance exceeds name.
C) Civil unions should not be allowed.
P1) was defended by Confucius in Analects 13.3: 'If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. [...]' In other words, if name and substance are incompatible, social disorder arises. For example, if, say, some Ministry of Environment begins to handle diplomatic affairs because of a weak Minister of External Affairs, a very bad example is set, in which a government official takes on responsibilities without a proper name.
P2) is best explained with an example. Once people get into this pseudo-marriage and assume the roles of partners, they will do stuff that married couples do, including engaging in a sexual relationship. Therefore, civil unions condone sex without marriage. This violates the principle of rectifying names.
C) follows from P1) and P2). The institutionaliation of civil unions sets a very bad example as people are treated as though they were married when they aren't.
Syllogism aside, allow me to conclude with an analogy. A couple cannot adopt a child without being her legal guardian. Similarly, a couple cannot enjoy the benefits of married sans marrying.
My opponent has made what is called a straw man argument. He mentioned that I have to base things on science and facts, not a fictional 'god'. However, not only is this referring to an argument not within debate space, but it is also inconsistent with the views I've written elsewhere on the site, all of which are secular arguments that do not involve deities of any kind. In fact, I am a secular humanist myself; yet I believe that the facts do point towards civil unions as an overall undersirable social instutition that ought not to be allowed.
I thank my opponent for his response, but I will note that he has conceded the debate by saying that civil unions are no longer needed.
I will note that Pro continues to concede the debate by declaring civil unions a non-issue. Moreover, he has dropped all the arguments that I put forward in the first round.
My opponent claims that 'But IF they hadn't, they should ALWAYS have been allowed to ATLEAST have Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships.' However, he fails to substantiate this claim. This is a bare assertion.
Again, my opponent admits that civil unions are no longer necessary, and makes another unsubstantiated bare assertion (that if civil unions were ncessary, LGBT should be more than welcome to enter one). He is still yet to respond to my constructive arguments.
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