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The Contender
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LGBT couples should be allowed marrage licenses

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/2/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,042 times Debate No: 58449
Debate Rounds (3)
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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual Americans should be allowed the same privileges to marry as their heterosexual counterparts. Any government that writes any law allowing one and outlawing the other provides a bias and discriminates. One common argument among religious conservatives is that the Christian bible prohibits homosexuality. Classifying it as sexual immorality. The Christian Bible says in Leviticus 18:22 - "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination." Then it is understandable for someone of strong religious background to be pro defining traditional marriage and outlawing homosexual marriage.

The first amendment in the Constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." This clearly contradicts the religious side to the argument.

Furthermore, the 14th amendment states as follows.
Section 1.
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

From this we can gather that no person shall be denied equal protection under the law as per the last sentence. Defining traditional marriage and prohibiting gay marriage directly abridges a person from equal protection of the law.


I accept this debate, and I hope each of us can gain better insight on the questions driving this debate.

I will debate the equal protection argument.

1. Equal Application & Marriage
My opponent mentions the 14th amendment and specifically the equal protection clause. "The equal protection clause is not intended to provide 'equality' among individuals or classes, but only 'equal application' of the laws. The result, therefore, of a law is not relevant so long as there is no discrimination in its application. [1]" In the application of the traditional marriage laws they do not discriminate because everyone can marry one person of the opposite sex. This shows Traditional Marriage laws fulfill the first part of the equal protection clause. However, this would also be true of interracial marriages too, since everyone could marry one person of the same race. This is why the Supreme Court has certain testing. "Traditionally, the Court finds a state classification constitutional if it has 'a rational basis' to a 'legitimate state purpose.' The Supreme Court, however, has applied more stringent analysis in certain cases. It will 'strictly scrutinize' a distinction when it embodies a 'suspect classification.' In order for a classification to be subject to strict scrutiny, it must be shown that the state law or its administration is meant to discriminate" [1]. These will be discussed in the points below.

2. Legitimate State Purpose
Is there a purpose to define marriage between one man and one woman. If there isn't, then the law would violate the equal protection clause and be unconstitutional. However, there is a legitimate state purpose in traditional marriage laws. [2]. First, traditional marriage promotes responsible procreation. "A core purpose of marriage is to guarantee that, insofar as possible, each child is emotionally, morally, practically, and legally affiliated with the woman and the man whose sexual union brought the child into the world." [2] This shows that marriage is about procreation. This why the government regulates it. "'[S]ex makes babies, society needs babies, and children need mothers and fathers.' Connecting sex, babies, and moms and dads is the social function of marriage and helps explain why the government rightly recognizes and addresses this aspect of our social lives." [2] Second, children do best when raised by their biological parents, which is promoted by traditional marriage laws. [3]. Third, it preserves the institution of marriage. "Sweden began offering same-sex couples benefits in 1987, followed by Denmark in 1989 and Norway in 1993. According to a Feb. 29, 2004 report by Stanley Kurtz, PhD, from 1990 to 2000, Norway's out-of-wedlock birth rate rose from 39% to 50% and Sweden's rose from 47% to 55%. Unmarried parenthood in Denmark rose 25% during the 1990s, and approximately 60% of first born Danish children have unmarried parents. As Kurtz states, 'Marriage is slowly dying in Scandinavia.'" [4]. These three points show there is a legitimate state purpose. This is unlike what opponents interracial marriage had. In Loving v. Virginia, the case that struck down interracial marriage bans, the state argued "the scientific evidence is substantially in doubt and, consequently, this Court should defer to the wisdom of the state legislature in adopting its policy of discouraging interracial marriages" [5]. This means traditional marriage passes the second test of the equal protection clause.

3. Purpose of Traditional Marriage Laws
This brings us to the last point about the purpose of the laws. If the laws were made purposely to discriminate, then they are unconstitutional. "May 17, 2004: Massachusetts becomes the first state in the United States to allow same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry" [6]. This means laws defining marriage between one man and one woman must have been there since the beginning of marriage laws. Which it is highly unlikely they created the marriage laws to discriminate. However, if it was meant to discriminate that means we have a suspect classification which is gender. It is not a sexual preference because the marriage laws are neutral on their face, because marriage licenses do not inquire as to a person's sexual preference, it matters on the gender of those involved. "Usually, if a purpose to discriminate is found the classification will be strictly scrutinized if it is based on race, national origin, or, in some situations, non U.S. citizenship (the suspect classes). In order for a classification to be found permissible under this test it must be proven, by the state, that there is a compelling interest to the law and that the classification is necessary to further that interest" [1]. Although, "The Supreme Court also requires states to show more than a rational basis (though it does not apply the strictly scrutiny test) for classifications based on gender or a child's status as illegitimate" [1] I will still use the strictly scrutiny test. If homosexuals would marry it would prohibit all the state's interest listed in the previous points. Firstly, homosexuals cannot procreate with each other. Second, homosexuals cannot both be the biological parents of the children. Third, it would remove marriages link with procreation, which undermines the institution of marriage. This means even if it were to discriminate it passes the test, that makes it legitimate. Concluding, traditional marriage laws pass the third and final equal protection test; therefore, traditional marriage laws are constitutional showing there is no right for homosexuals to marry.

I look forward to my opponent's response.


Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting my argument and look forward to debating him.

The 14th amendment guarantees all citizens the right to equal protection and due process of law. My opponent argues that it does not provide protection of individuals but only equal protection in implementation of laws. This is not the case because the clause specifically states "No state shall make [see below] or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;..." [below] "No state shall [make] or enforce any law abridging..." Here we can see that the clause clearly states that no state shall make any law abridging the privileges of citizens of the United States. We can then infer that the equal protection clause was intended to provide equal protection to all citizens residing within the jurisdiction of the governmental body crafting the law. Traditional marriage laws enforce that heterosexual marriage is traditional and homosexual marriage is not. Therefore, for the homosexuals whom are not allowed to marry, they are considered non traditional and that then violates the equal protection clause. A state crafting a law that does not allow homosexual marriage when having that union of marriage is required within that persons pursuit of life and liberty is then in violation of the due process clause of the 14th amendment when preventing such marriage is not within the legitimate interest of the state. Furthermore, a state crafting a law that abridges the privilege of a homosexual to marry whom they choose is then in violation of the due process clause within the 14th amendment.

My opponent argues that there is legitimate state purpose to a traditional marriage law by stating that it promotes responsible procreation. The responsible procreation argument my opponent is making does not take into account the fact that same-sex couples can procreate through assisted-reproduction and adoption. If what is desired of responsible procreation is to increase stability within the family unit, then the state has the same interest in encouraging such procreation to take place in the context of same-sex marriage. Also, inmates can not procreate, yet they can still marry. Infertile people whom have no chance of ever producing offspring, can still marry. This shows that the government does not regulate marriage based solely upon procreation as my opponent argues. My opponents second point holds no merit because a traditional marriage law would not decrease the number of adoptions already taking place, nor would it prevent people incapable of procreating with the wish to have offspring from adopting. Also, studies from 1981 to 1994, including 260 children reared by either heterosexual mothers or same-sex mothers after divorce, found no differences in intelligence, type or prevalence of psychiatric disorders, self-esteem, well-being, peer relationships, couple relationships, or parental stress[1]. Another study of 37 children of 27 divorced lesbian mothers and a similar number of children of heterosexual mothers found no differences in behavior, adjustment, gender identity, and peer relationships. The notion that preserving the institution of marriage must mean that same-sex couples can not get married and that not allowing homosexuals to marry can only in a fallacy influence heterosexuals to not have children out-of-wedlock and rear them to subsequently marry. It has been 11 years since the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that same-sex couples had the right to marry in that state. The marriage rate in that state and across the nation has been falling since 1990. In 2004 when the ban was lifted on same sex marriage, the state saw a marriage rate increase for the next 5 years until 2008 when the marriage rate steadied out again[2]. The states overturning of its ban on same-sex marriage has not abnormally affected its marriage or divorce rate for the worse. Massachusetts divorce rate has gone down since it overturned its ban. In fact, Nevada, a state with a ban on same-sex marriage, has the highest divorce rate in the country[3].

Assuming that because the wording in the Goodridge v. Department of Public Health finding holds the words "share in the freedom to marry" means heterosexual marriage is the way marriage has always been is a very large step to take and is not backed up by any factual evidence. There are numerous cultures all throughout history that practiced same-sex marriage far before our country was consummated. Same-sex marriage laws are not neutral on their face. They discriminate based upon the persons gender by defining marriage between a man and a woman. I have shown in the points above that the state does not have legitimate interest in keeping same-sex couples from obtaining a marriage license. In closing, homosexuals have the right to marriage under the 14th amendments due process and equal protection clauses. There is much supporting evidence that children raised by same sex parents do not show any abnormality's versus those raised by heterosexual parents[4]. Marriage is not directly linked to procreation as I stated before. Inmates and infertile people can not procreate, yet they can still marry. Precedent is set for my case by the ruling in UNITED STATES V. WINDSOR. So in conclusion, traditional marriage laws are unconstitutional and homosexuals should be granted marriage licenses.

I look forward to the next round.



Guidestone forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has forfeited this round as I assume he did not have sufficient evidence to procede. In forfeiting all votes should be cast to me.


I am sorry for missing last round, I didn't realize there was a short timer.

I clearly stated how the 14th amendment is interpreted by courts and sourced it. It functions with equal application, state interest, and purpose. Also, heterosexual marriage is traditional because it has only been within the last few years that homosexuals could get married in any country. Also, my opponent does not seem to understand how the equal protection clause works because they think anything non-traditional is protected by it.
I agree that Traditional marriage laws is would be in" violation of the due process clause of the 14th amendment when preventing such marriage is not within the legitimate interest of the state." However, there is a state interest which I explained in a previous round.

Dealing with responsible procreation, there are methods such as adoption, which has nothing to do with marriage, and assisted-reproduction. With assisted-reproduction though relating to homosexual couples it will always deprive a child of a mother or father which isn't responsible procreation as I explained when I made the original argument. I never claimed this was the sole reason and in fact in my original post I gave three reasons not one sole one. Also, it is true inmates can get married, but that doesn't mean the inmate will always be in prison, and infertile couples could use the assisted-reproduction mentioned earlier.

Now to best environment. I don't know why my thinks this is about decreasing adoptions since adoptions were never mentioned in this point. Also, there referenced studies is just comparing heterosexual couples to homosexual couples. It is very important to note that this point was about biological v. non-biological parents not saying homosexuals can't raise kids like heterosexuals. Therefore, those studies have no relevance to this point at all.

Marriage and Divorce rates. I checked my opponent's sources and became rather confused.
Massachusetts Marriage Rate 2004: 6.2
Massachusetts Marriage Rate 2011: 5.5
Every year between 2004 and 2011 either the rate went down or stayed the same. This is not at all what my opponent claimed. [1]

Massachusetts Divorce Rate 2004: 2.2
Massachusetts Divorce Rate 2011: 2.7
Also each years was higher or stayed the same except for 2008. Also, this is not what my opponent claimed. [2]

It is true Nevada has the highest divorce rate, but they also have same-sex civil unions too.

Goodridge v. Department of Public Health was found in violation of the Massachusetts constitution not the federal one [3], and are therefore unrelated.

Yes, marriage laws discriminate,, based on sex just like we discriminate when it comes to bathrooms and sports teams. It is because men and women are biologically different and those differences matter.

Dealing with United States v. Windsor, it is important to note that case was about "Does the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines the term 'marriage' under federal law as a 'legal union between one man and one woman' deprive same-sex couples who are legally married under state laws of their Fifth Amendment rights to equal protection under federal law?" [4]. In this case the answer was yes, that the states define marriage and not the federal government. This is unrelated to if homosexuals have a right to marriage.

Concluding, my opponents' arguments are filled with falsifications, and misrepresentations. I clearly presented how the 14th amendment is applied and how traditional marriage laws fit the constitution.


Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Rightwing15 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: It doesn't matter what happens, because gay marriage will happen, it really doesn't matter.

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