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Intermediate's Debate Competition R1: Legal/Civil Protection for LGBT Unions

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,368 times Debate No: 42489
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




Intermediate Debate Competition R1: The benefits of extending Legal and Civil protection to same-sex unions outweighs the disadvantages

"The terms used to designate civil unions are not standardized, and vary widely from country to country. Government-sanctioned relationships that may be similar or equivalent to civil unions include civil partnerships, registered partnerships, domestic partnership, common-law marriage, life partnerships, and so on. The exact level of rights, benefits, obligations, and responsibilities also varies, depending on the laws of a particular country. Some jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to adopt, while others forbid them to do so, or allow adoption only in specified circumstances." [1]

Therefore, for the purposes of this debate, we are discussing the general advantages/disadvantages of extending civil protections for same-sex couples, rather than discussing the relative values of marriage vs. civil union, etc.

Further, we have not confined this debate to any specific state or region, culture or religion. Although we may cite examples from any legal code or culture, the argument is over the generic benefits of a public policy that protects same-sex couples, rather than benefits/drawbacks in any specific state or cultural context.

Per rules of the competition, first round is for acceptance.

I have offered 4 rounds, 8,000 characters, voting period 10 days. These variable are negotiable and subject to approval by Con.

My thanks to Con for the debate topic. I wish him good luck.




I accept.Wish you all the best for a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1


At the heart of the civil union debate lies the question: shall the state govern love?

Until the 20th century, love and marriage were not necessarily bound to one another. Marriage was a financial, political, and social alliance between two families. Typically, a woman was viewed as property exchanged for status and/or money. Legitimacy was conferred on the progeny of marriage in respect to social or financial inheritance. The transaction of marriage promoted social stability. States endorsed, licensed, and even subsidized marriage. Love was a private matter of the heart. While the most admired marriages typically demonstrated a partnership of affection, love was not a requisite. Since sexual attraction was seldom a factor in the consideration of marriage, homosexuals were not exempt from the franchise of marriage.

Feminism and the expansion of civil rights changed the nature of marriage over the past century. In most cultures, women are now citizens with property rights, divorce rights, the right of consent, and often even superior child custody rights. Along with this extension of franchise came radical change to the nature of marriage. Marriage was redefined as a partnership of equals drawn together by mutual sexual attraction, committed to a long-term companionship with flexible roles in the division of labor, contribution of wealth, child-raising, etc. The state recognized significant public benefit from this evolution in terms of increases to the labor pool, increases in household wealth, improved health and well-being within marriages. So the state continued the recognition and subsidization of marriage as an institution of love. [1]

One problem with this new definition of marriage, however, is that homosexuals are excluded. Gays are now seen as interlopers in the institution of marriage. LGBT people who marry partners of opposite sex are considered dishonest and their marriages shams. [2] Homosexuality is often legitimate grounds for divorce. In spite of the arguments of traditionalists, the definition of marriage has changed over the last 100 years, in the process excluding this segment of society. In effect, the state found itself in the position of defining which sexual attractions to endorse and which to exclude.

By way of correction, over the past 25 years some states have expanded the franchise to include homosexuals. Whether this expansion is defined as marriage or civil union (the distinction itself being the subject of much debate), state recognition of LGBT relationships offers significant public benefit.

Religious Freedom

For many forms of religious expression, the union of love is a religious sacrament. To the extent that a religious celebration does not impinge on the freedoms of other citizens, no state should prohibit the free exercise of religion. Likewise, the choice to endorse no religion is an important religious freedom. In fact, the religiosity of states strongly correlates to prejudice against homosexuals.

religion and acceptance of homosexuality

In a secular state, no particular religious view should be given preference when it comes to defining marriage. Some religions won't support same-sex bonds, others will. The most fair approach is to factor out religion when crafting family law within a secular context.

Egalitarian Benefits

LGBT people are equal contributors to the culture, politics, and finances of society. One need only consider the contributions of famous LGBTs to virtually any well-remembered place or time to appreciate the inherent worth of LGBTs to society. Societies that jail or oppress their LGBT people are typically less well-remembered by history. State recognition offers civil protection. As science increasingly offers evidence to support the biological causation of homosexuality, the alienation of LGBT people from public franchise is increasingly viewed as discriminatory and unjust. State recognition of domestic partnerships goes a long way towards normalizing LGBTs as legitimate members of society.

Health Benefits

Disenfranchisement hurts LGBT people in tangible ways. Discrimination has been shown to cause psychological distress, social conflict, and poor health. [3] Couples outside of the formal bonds of wedlock have lower levels of happiness and well-being than married couples. [4] Married people live longer, make and save more money, indulge less in risky behaviors, eat healthier, and have fewer mental health problems than unmarried people. [5] Decades of research have shown that marriage is one of the best preventions against early death. [6] Should any government have the power to fence out one segment of society from the circumstances that allow a longer life?

Family Values

The institutionalization of same-sex couples helps to foster the well-being of children by providing legitimized couples with various rights, benefits, and protections which can strengthen family and societal bonds. Although LGBT people reproduce at only about one-fifth of the rate of straight people, this still represents millions of children raised by same-sex couples. In the US, LGBT couples raising children are four times more likely than their straight counterparts to be raising an adopted child. Further, LGBT couples are six times more likely than straights to be raising foster children. [7] A society that encourages same-sex partnerships not only improves the fortunes of unwanted children, it also legitimizes the parental status of children raised by LGBT couples.

Economic Benefits

The legitimization of same-sex unions also provides substantial economic benefits. Weddings are big business so civil unions and gay marriages help to expand the market. States that offer civil ceremonies often enjoy increased tourism as couples and families travel from those places with no legitimate partnership. New York City estimated a $260 million windfall for that city in the first year after legalizing gay marriage. [8] Increasingly, employers endorse the advantages of recognizing gay couples, not only for the improved health and stability of employees, but also so that denied rights are not a factor for employees in business travel or relocation. [9] States that offer LGBT couples rights have an increased advantage over states that don't offer rights in the acquisition and maintenance of business ventures.

Civil Benefits

Most governments offer significant rights and subsidies to married heterosexual couples. In the US, a congressional study identified 1,138 Federal benefits exclusively available to married couples including hospital visitation and medical decision rights, bereavement and pension benefits, inheritance and custody rights, and substantial tax subsidies. [10]

International Reputation

Those countries that can boast of partnership rights for LGBT peoples are generally perceived as more free and more livable than countries that deny those rights. Look at the way recent disenfranchisements have injured the reputation of Russia in the months just before they host the Olympics, while at the same time Mandela's adoption of gay marriage enhanced his country's legacy.














I wish my opponent and our readers a very Merry Christmas at the outset.

I appreciate the detailed argument my opponent made.I will be rebutting them in the next round.I will merely present my views this time.

Firstly,I would like to remind everyone that this debate is not about legalising Homosexuality,I am not against this.I am personally against any kind of discrimination, and find the hatred against homosexuals shown in societies very disturbing.In India(my country), it is illegal to even be a homosexual, and this is something that I am very much against.Nevertheless, This debate is about whether the government should provide the SAME legal support it provides to hetero-sexual relationships.For this, we must not only see the origins of the concept of marriage, but must also fully understand the motivation for giving this personal and private relationship a legal status, and the reason why the government has a right to poke it's nose in the private affairs of it's citizens.

Origins of Monogamous Marriage

I would like to show the reasons why a monogamous marriage was instituted in the first place.One of the the earliest recorded arguments for monogamous marriage (not marriage alone) are recorded in the Indian epic the Mahabharatha, where a Sage Svetaketu institutes monogamous marriage after seeing another brahman 'cathing his mother's hand'.He decrees it is the birthright of every child to know who his biological parents are, and hence decides that only one man should be with one woman for ever for the sake of their CHILDREN.

While we have DNA testing etc in the modern world today making his reason seem ridiculous, this story illustrates that since the beginning, marriage as a social institution was a wilful self-sacrifice taken up for the BENEFIT OF THE CHILDREN.

Love was a strong motivation of people to enter into marriage, but the institution itself was a way in which the present generation sacrificed their animal instincts to ensure that the off-spring that resulted from their sexual relationships would know who their parents were and would be better cared for and provided for.

At the heart of the civil union debate lies the more important question: Why should the State interfere in Love at all?

I completely agree with Pro that the Government should not interfere with the private affairs and relationships of grown adults who are fully capable of deciding their partners.In that case, why should the government interfere at all?why should it waste millions of dollars and burden its judicial system to settle love disputes?Why should it recommend marriage counseling for couples who obviously don't love each other anymore?Forget the Government,What right does anyone have to interfere between two lovers?

When it is seen from this angle, the answer becomes clear.The government does all these things to promote the arrival of new citizens.It bears all the burdens that are necessary, because it is in the interest of the state to ensure that these future citizens have a stable environment to grow.The Divorce laws are also made to ensure that even though the parents may split due to irreconcilable reasons, the children are not abandoned.

There many other types of Heterosexual relationships(friendship,Dating, Live-In relationship etc) but these too are not given Legal status, as the couples are not interested in having children.Thus, the state does not interfere in these things and leaves this relationship alone.

But what about Infertile couples?

Infertile couples, Aged Couples etc. are still capable of producing children in principle.Laws are made keeping the principles in mind, and marriage is defined and given legal protection as an institution between a man and a woman keeping the majority of the cases, and the principle in mind.A man and a woman can always in principle produce offspring.

For example, we can declare in principle that an apple as fit for eating,however,if worms are present in some apples, we cannot say that apples itself are unfit for eating.

Likewise,Even if it is coincidentally impossible for an individual couple to procreate, it is still a union between two people, who are still, in principle, capable of procreation. By contrast, homosexual couples are not only coincidentally incapable of procreation, but incapable of procreation in principle itself.


Most religions see sexual activity that is incapable of procreation as an impediment to spiritual progress and encourage celibacy(Jainism, Taoism,Certain brances of Hinduism and Christianity).In Roman Catholicism, even the use of contraceptives among married couples is prohibited for this very same reason.

So if married couples are prohibited from sex that does not result in procreation, it is not discrimination against homosexuals as their marriage can never result in children.In contrast, it would be discrimination if homosexuals are given a free pass to their sexual activity, while heterosexual couples are not.

Almost all religions hold the Sexual act as something sacred, that enables us, as human beings to take part in the creation of God.It would not amount to discrimination if a union that is incapable of this creation is not celebrated in the same fashion.

If others wish to hold homosexuality as sacred, they cannot enforce this belief on others.

Public celebration and adoption can still be allowed.

I am merely against giving legal protection to Homosexual relationships.However this does not mean that Homosexuals cannot live together,adopt children or even hold a public celebration to mark their 'moving in' together, or to make a commitment.Existing Adoption laws can be altered to ensure that homoosexuals are not discriminated against while they choose to adopt childeren.Single heterosexuals can adopt children as well so this is not exactly a problem.

But all of this can be done without changing an ancient definition of marriage, that was one of the earliest attempts at civilising human sexual relationships.

In conclusion, 4 major points can be seen:
1.The principle of marriage was instituted to encourage procreation and to ensure that the progeny have a stable environment to grow in.
2.The handling of divorce cases puts a burden on the government, and can even be seen as an intrusion of privacy.Yet this is allowed solely for reason 1.
3.The sex act is revered in all religions because it allows for new creation.Not holding Homosexuality with the same respect does not amount to discrimination.
4.Homosexuals can still hold public celebrations, be faithful, adopt etc. but marriage need not be redifined to include them.

I wish my oponent all the best for an excellent rebuttal.

  • Young Svetaketu: A Literary Study of an Upanisadic Story by Patrick Olivelle; The Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 119
  • The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, by Kisari Mohan Ganguli Volume 1, location 5060

Debate Round No. 2


Merry Christmas!

In Round2 I argued that the benefits of extending legal and civil protection for same-sex unions outweigh the drawbacks for a number of reasons:

Improved religious freedom
Improved equality among citizens
Improved health benefits
Improved legitimacy for the children of same-sex couples
Improved economic benefits
Improved civil benefits
Improved international relations

My opponent's opening argument offered a significant degree of congruity with mine. We are in agreement that homosexuality ought not be criminalized in any jurisdiction. We agree that no religious institution should be required to sanctify unions that are not in accordance with the the tenants of any specific belief. We agree that LGBT unions should be celebrated by those who so wish, and we agree that homosexual couples should be permitted to adopt children.

Our primary disagreement centers on the value of LGBT unions to the state and the improved degree of protection LGBT peoples might enjoy from those states that recognize same-sex unions.

R1 Civil Unions vs. Marriage

I note that Con has focused his argument almost exclusively on the institution of marriage. This is a bit of a "straw man" argument since Con's argues against only the most traditional and doctrinal form of union. For many people, the word "marriage" is itself a bridge too far. By way of example, here is a sampling of polls taken by Brigham Young University of the Utah electorate.

We see here that even among the relatively conservative group of voters who belong to the Mormon Church, LGBT unions now enjoy majority support (62%) while the notion of granting legal marriage is only supported by 8%.[1] The legal distinctions between marriage and civil unions are hard to qualify because they vary by country and region. Nevertheless, most civil union law in the US is constructed to provide nearly every right and privilege granted to married couples, only withholding the religious and civil label "marriage." Now there are many gay marriage activists who will argue that a marriage in every respect but name should be rejected because it continues the institutionalization of discrimination. I am not one of those people and this argument does not insist on marriage as a a religious or civil label. To the extent that most civil union legislation offers significant improvement to the public benefits I listed, I support civil union protection even where the label of marriage is not proffered. In places like Utah, where the word "marriage" itself is the primary roadblock to improving the lives of LGBT people and their children, I say take the legal protections now. We can debate the cosmetics later or not at all.

Since, for the purposes of this debate, civil unions are just as acceptable as marriage, Con's arguments must apply to civil unions as well as marriage. To the degree that Con might endorse civil unions without endorsing gay marriage, I will consider those endorsements concessions to my argument.

R2 Procreation and Progeny

My opponent and I are clearly at odds regarding the history and transformation of the institution of marriage. Con has offered one example from the Upanishads to support his perspective of marriage "a wilful self-sacrifice taken up for the BENEFIT OF THE CHILDREN." I depicted marriage a primary socio-economic contract between two families which has evolved in some places into a primary love contract as a response to feminism. However noble the sentiments of Svetaketu, the idea of securing an abstract right for future children is not and has never been a principle factor driving the marriage contract. For most societies and governments, the securing of inheritance rights is a more important consideration, from which the notion of child legitimacy is derived, not the other way around. Certainly, in most historic cases, children were implicitly or explicitly owned by their parents until adulthood and could not be said to have any natural rights of their own, including the right to know who the true identity of their parents.

Even so, the mission of securing a "stable environment" in which children may thrive is consistent with the promotion of LGBT unions.
As discussed in round2, millions of children have been and continue to be raised by same-sex couples. Some children are adopted. Some children are the result of prior heterosexual coupling. Some children are the result of sperm donors, etc. Denying these children the opportunity to be raised by state-endorsed couples clearly destabilizes and in fact, explicitly stigmatizes the families of these as something "other than legitimate." If the goal of marriage is a stable environment for children, than the definition of marriage must be extended to encompass these children.

R3 Divorce

Con's divorce argument is his weakest rebuttal against LGBT unions. First, he has not documented or established by argument the ways in which divorce represents a "burden on the government" or "an intrusion of privacy." Second, he has not shown how these considerations might reflect on the endorsement of same-sex couples. What's the connection? Nevertheless, divorce is an inevitable flip-side of the right to marriage. Any couple granted the right to marriage should share the right to a no-fault divorce, including LGBT couples.

R4 Procreation

Con made a number of arguments regarding procreation as the sacred and exclusive purpose for sex within the marriage: " if married couples are prohibited from sex that does not result in procreation, it is not discrimination against homosexuals as their marriage can never result in children." I'll take exception to this point of view from two perspectives.

While baby-making is base function of sex as it found across biology, many higher mammals including humans also employ sex for pleasure and intimacy. The political and religious motivations for emphasizing baby-making are obvious: more citizens for the state, more congregants for the church. Political and religious views aside, most humans would admit that sex for pleasure or intimacy are also strong human drives with important biological benefits. Such basic psychological nourishment deserves some recognition by the state, if only to the extent that governments refuse to interfere.

Furthermore, we have to recognize that times have changed. In a world with improved health, longevity, and agriculture, adherence to traditional views about procreation has resulted in a dangerous global overpopulation. Whatever the traditional political motivations, every modern state must recognize that lowering birth rates is strongly linked to improved national prosperity and sustainability. States need to find ways to reduce the size of the next few generations: supporting non-procreative sex and particularly endorsing LGBT unions can represent an important to this end.

R5 RE: Homosexuals can still hold public celebrations, be faithful, adopt etc. but marriage need not be redefined to include them.

I'll agree that marriage need not be redefined. If the definition of marriage is the sticking point, then let's set that semantic argument aside. But a public ceremony that does not include any of the protections of civil union is an empty celebration. A state that trusts same-sex couples to adopt their children, but refuses to enfranchise any of the important legal, financial, social, or civil protections that come with civil unions for those particular children is hypocritical and discriminatory.



CynicalDiogenes forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


My opponent forfeits, so I'll set aside further rebuttals and conclusion. Rather, please continue arguments and refutations from prior rounds. Please VOTE PRO!


I sincerely apologise for forfeiting the debate.I had some personal work to arrend to, and forgot about this debate until today, when it was too late.
I urge everyone to vote pro.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Oromagi 5 years ago
*The map is from The Economist, dated April 2013. So that's earlier than Russia's recent ban on distributing gay literature to the underaged and Moscow's 100 year ban on the Pride parade. Nevertheless, I'd say that it's accurate to say that there's no criminal law in Russia regarding homosexuality. Stalin's bans were removed in 1993 and although several parliaments have proposed new criminal laws prohibiting sodomy, they have never garnered much popular support. Yes, there's been a fair amount of public oppression recently, but it is not against the law to be gay or have gay sex in Russia.

Russia has always been conflicted about homosexuality. On the one hand, a large number of their most famous citizens were gay. The cultural centers of St. Petersberg and Moscow have always supported a lively gay tradition, even in the Soviet era. Russia has a long, if hypocritical, tradition of frowning on moral legislation. In fact, Russia saw the first gay marriages of the 20th century when the Revolution struck down all czarist era law. On the other hand, the proletariat has always viewed gays as a foreign and elitist. When Putin needs to pander to the lower class, gay-bashing is a favorite technique.
Posted by Gaurdian_Rock 5 years ago
Why does your chart say, "No criminal Law," For Russia? :P
Posted by Oromagi 5 years ago
dtaylor- I saw you endorse Kaladi Coffee in a poll, but when I went to ask if you lived in Denver I saw that your profile was gone. I guess you're back. Are you @ DU?
Posted by dtaylor971 5 years ago
Looking forward to voting on this.
Posted by Oromagi 5 years ago
In fact, arguing a position one does not believe is the dynamic at the heart of law and therefore of debate.
Posted by CynicalDiogenes 5 years ago
so why can't I play devil's advocate?
Posted by TrueScotsman 5 years ago
I'm confused, CynicalDiogenes says that he supports Civil Unions in his "Big Issue" list.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TheUser 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession and forfeiture.
Vote Placed by Bullish 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession and forfeiture by con.