Objections to gay marriage rights
There are lots of different versions of the arguments put forward to oppose/demonize gay marriage rights, but the list below hopefully covers most of them in a general format - almost all the arguments you hear will fit either under one of these broader categories, or across more than one.
- It's wrong.
- It's against God's law/the Bible/the beliefs of religion X.
- It's (meaning homosexuality) not natural.
- Marriage is about procreation and gay people can't procreate/but gay people can't have children.
- It's icky/makes me uncomfortable.
- Marriage should be between a man and a woman.
- Gay marriage would destroy/reduce/undermine all marriage.
- I don't like gay people.
- It's against the law.
Now, I may have missed some, and feel free to chime in with those, but broadly speaking every argument I have heard used against gay marriage fits in one or more of these at a time. And I'll be honest right from the start, I think they are all bloody stupid. Not a one of those is an argument that makes me want to re-evaluate my position - they are all idiotic. So let's take a look at why.
1. It's wrong
Says who? You? Well, fortunately for the rest of civilised democratic society what an individual thinks doesn't get to determine what is or isn't wrong, and for a very good reason: you might be an idiot.
Is it religion that says it is wrong? We'll get to that shortly then, in the next point.
Now, is it society that says it is wrong? I would argue that in many cases it is, depends on the society. The question then becomes "Does that mean gay marriage is wrong?" The obvious answer, at least it should be obvious, is "Not necessarily." Societies change and evolve after all, and societies can be repressive. More importantly, societies can be wrong. Not too long ago society deemed that slavery was not wrong. Not too long ago society deemed that women did not have the right to vote. Not too long ago there was a society that declared Jewish people could not marry non-Jewish people.
That's awfully close to the bone isn't it? After all, a large part of US society deemed that blacks should not marry whites in the USA, up until that society was made to change in 1967. How is that qualitatively different to gay people not being allowed to marry each other? If the ban on one is wrong, why not the other then? And guess what? US federal courts have declared a ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional. Just like they declared a ban on a certain type of marriage to be unconstitutional back in 1967.
The point is, just because society declares something wrong doesn't mean it is. That being the case, for society to declare something wrong and remain unchanged on the matter with any measure of moral authority, there must be other valid reasons. Where there are no other valid reasons, it is time for society to change or it loses any moral authority on the matter in question.
Is it therefore time for society to change?
One more thing on society - why is it that conservatives claim to be in favour of limited government, of small government, yet they insist that it is up to the government who should be allowed to marry? What, exactly, is so small government about the state determining which individuals can marry which other individuals? If that isn't hypocrisy I don't know what is. If that isn't BIG government, I don't know what is.
2. It's against God's law/the Bible/the beliefs of religion X.
I'm not going to lie, this one makes my blood boil. My answer to this is usually along the lines of:
"So fucking what?"
Religions say lots of stupid shit, it really is that simple. Taking Christianity as an example, because that is what I am most familiar with, I would wager that most Christians follow only a tiny fraction of the laws and restrictions that are laid out in the Bible. How many Christians stone to death disobedient children? How many are sure never to wear more than one type of fabric? How many Christians sacrifice animals in the right way? How many Christians eat shellfish? Or bacon? How many Christians stone to death raped virgins?
I think I've made my point. Religion is not a good place to begin to determine what should and shouldn't be allowed, because the religious choose what to interpret, follow and enforce and when they feel they should do so. In no sane society is that a way to determine what should and should not be allowed.
Furthermore, in the specific country that I live in it is expressly forbidden, by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, for the state to favour one type of religious or non-religious view over another in regards to the law. A specifically religious objection to gay marriage that is enforced by the law is therefore unconstitutional, no matter what the religion, since the state would be favouring a religious view in order to make law.
Religiously based restrictions on marriage are unconstitutional here in the USA, it's that simple. The only way to have religiously based marital laws that are not unconstitutional would be to include all possible religious and non-religious views on marriage in marital law - and that would mean including laws that recognise gay marriage.
All this is secondary to the fact that if your objection to gay marriage is religious then you are either an hypocrite who picks and chooses which religious laws and commandments should be enforced based on what your own prejudices and likes/dislikes are, or you are a dangerous maniac who should be locked away and held in solitary confinement for the good of the rest of us because you are following all the religious laws, and that's just plain fucked up.
3. It's (meaning homosexuality) not natural.
Homosexuality occurs naturally in nature.
No wait, I've more to say. So fucking what? Heart transplant surgery is not natural, there's no law preventing it though is there? Do you really want me to go through life the universe and everything and list all that we humans do or allow that could not be considered natural but that we find perfectly acceptable? Are you that stupid?
Actually yes, because otherwise you would have realised that ANY MARRIAGE IS NOT NATURAL.
If this is your only objection to gay marriage then there is probably no helping or persuading you anyway, you're just a bigot, so kindly just piss off and leave social progress to the rest of us.
Homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality, it is just not as common, so why should marriage between heterosexuals be allowed but not between homosexuals? Include in your answer an accurate and widely accepted definition of discrimination and why this would not be discrimination under that definition, and do not reference any position which I discredit in this blog post.
That should keep you busy, hopefully busy enough to stop you interfering in other people's lives.
4. Marriage is about procreation and gay people can't procreate/but gay people can't have children.
If you think that having kids is all that marriage is good for or about, then I pity you, your spouse and your children. In fairness to the people that use this type of objection though, they usually phrase it in a way that claims marriage is better for raising children and gay people can't have children so why marry, or something similar and not that it is just about having children, but it isn't that dissimilar to the way I phrased it when you get down to the bottom of it.
Of course, this objection is not completely accurate anyway. Gay couples can have children, and they can certainly raise children as any heterosexual couple could. The having part may simply need the help of an outsider - either a sperm donor or a surrogate mother, and there's always adoption. In that sense, the objection falls flat on its face.
Marriage is also not necessary for having or raising children, that is also blatantly obvious, so again this objection falls flat on its face. Some would argue that children raised in a marriage are better off and I would say, so why not let gay people marry then? Surely that means the more marriages the better? In fact, research shows that yes indeed, children raised in any kind of marriage is better than, for example, having them in a care home.
It is also not necessary to even have children in a marriage, so in that sense the objection is pointless, unless these people would be suggesting that you must have children when married. I don't think they are, but then why raise this type of objection?
And then of course there are the people who claim that being raised by same sex couples is bad for children. They are, of course, wrong. What a surprise.
Four down, five to go.
5. It's icky/makes me uncomfortable.
Don't do it then.
Hardly an objection to gay marriage though, is it? I am quite sure there are gay people that find straight sex icky, does that mean heterosexual marriage should also be banned? Or is this simply a majority versus the minority thing? I think we can see the true basis of this objection then, can't we? Because, after all, personal preference is a great reason to make laws. Oh no wait, it's the opposite of that.
Personal preference/prejudice is one thing we strive very hard to avoid using to determine what should be law. Unfortunately, when its the dominant majority doing it, they do not always see it for what it is.
6. Marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Says who or what? Religion? Dealt with that already. You? Dealt with that already. A majority of people in a society? Dealt with that already.
In short, there is no good reason for defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I am sure that anti-gay rights proponents have all kinds of bad ones though - a god said so, my holy book said so, my parents said so, my friends said so, a politician said so, it has always been that way, that's how reproduction works.
None of which are a good basis for making national law. Lots of bad laws have been tradition. People are stupid. Religion is contradictory and biased, and if you are going to ban something because it doesn't end in reproduction then you'll need to add a long list of other things besides gay marriage.
7. Gay marriage would destroy/reduce/undermine all marriage.
How? Show your work.
How does allowing consenting adults to marry each other undermine marriage? How does the marriage of a same sex couple affect my opposite sex marriage, exactly? Be precise please. Try not to use an excuse I've already criticised here.
Call me crazy, but I don't see any connection between two dudes marrying in New York and my marriage. My marriage still exists. It still means to me what it always did. It hasn't been altered in any way, so what am I missing that people who raise this objection aren't?
Seems to me that allowing marriage to encompass everyone in society makes the institution of marriage stronger. Doesn't it?
8. I don't like gay people.
That's OK, they probably can't stand you either, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to marry. Unless you think that their dislike of you is a reason to stop you from getting married? Thought not. That's why law shouldn't be based on personal prejudice
We've already discussed the use of personal prejudice to make laws, and we know full well that prejudice is no kind of basis for law. Not allowing gay people to marry because you don't like gays is no different to not allowing black or Jewish people to marry because you don't like them.
It is still bigotry. It is discrimination. It is, therefore, illegal.
9. It's against the law.
Yes we know, that is why the law needs to be changed. Discriminatory laws have been changed throughout history. Just because something is law doesn't mean it should be, and doesn't mean it can't be changed.
Furthermore, if you are in the USA, laws that ban gay marriage are also a direct violation of the 14th Amendment to the US constitution, specifically:
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.
It doesn't get much clearer than that. Gay marriage bans deprive gay couples of liberty, of the right to marry that straight couples have, and they are therefore unconstitutional. It is pretty bloody black and white.
Unless the Supreme Court forgets what it is there for, this is almost certainly why gay marriage bans will eventually be overturned for good.
On a related note, is it just me that finds that US conservatives who claim nonsense like they are protecting the Constitution, or taking it back, or re-affirming it are usually the ones trampling all over it? The US Constitution is quite clear on the rights of gays living in the USA - they are the same as everyone else living there.
Why then are US conservatives not in favour of gay marriage rights, if they are upholding the Constitution like they claim?
I think we know the answer to that, don't we.
So. No reasonable objections then?
Nope. Not one.
Not one of those broadly painted objections to gay marriage stands up to reasonable scrutiny. If you object to gay marriage the best that can be said of you is that you are one or more of inconsistent, ignorant, hypocritical, bigoted, stupid, breaking the law or trampling all over human rights and/or the US Constitution (the latter obviously doesn't count for people outside the USA).
Bravo, you must be very proud.
Part 2: What did the Catholic Church do this time?
Say a bunch of stupid stuff, as if you had to ask. But since you did, take your pick of stories.
We'll get to the content of those reports in a second, but let me say something first.
Why, exactly, should any sane person take seriously anything an ordained Catholic official says about marriage? Why should we listen to a bunch of religious men who have taken a vow of celibacy and who have allegedly never had sex with another consenting adult make claims about marriage? Why should their opinions on something they have never experienced be given absolutely any weight? Why are they taken seriously instead of being laughed out of the room? Because, and let's just be straightforward about it, what the fuck do they know and what right do they have to tell others what marriages should be allowed when they can't even be honest about their own kind raping children? I smell diversionary tactics. "Quick, talk about the gays before everyone sees we are a morally bankrupt collection of out of touch old men, rapists and nonsense peddlers."
Anyway, on to what they said, and we'll start with the Pope, who as an 84 year old man who has never had sex and never been married is obviously an expert on marriage. Pope Ratzi thinks that gay marriage is wrong, he warned US bishops of "powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage." He went on to say that "Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage."
Of the first I am glad, he is just running scared that his monolithic, corrupt and archaic dogma generator is losing actual political power as people see it for what it is. Don't see anything bad there myself. The legal definition of marriage should be changed, and it should have nothing to do with religions. The latter pronouncement is just ridiculous. Of course sexual differences are irrelevant to marriages. What does preferring missionary to doggy when the next guy is the other way round have to do with the definition of marriage?
Only someone that had no fucking clue about marriage or sex would say something that stupid. Of course, even if he meant sexual orientation and not differences the statement is still ridiculous. Why does sexual orientation have any relevance to the definition of marriage? The definition of who can marry should be "any consenting adults". Everything else is irrelevant.
He's an horses arse, and his opinion on marriage should hold about as much weight as my opinion on the intricacies of inserting a tampon. I don't do it, so why the fuck should anyone listen to or care about what I think on the matter?
Then we have Cardinal Keith O'Brien. Yet another non-sex having, non-marrying dress wearing old white man lecturing everyone else about what marriage should be. Honestly, can't these people just mind their own fucking business? He said that the British governments plans for allowing gay marriage were "a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right."
What. An. Ass. Hat.
If not every human is allowed to marry, then marriage is not universal, is it? If marriage is a human right, and gay people are human, then they have the right to marry. Not allowing them to marry would, in fact, be a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right." Wouldn't it?
People this oblivious should not be allowed out unsupervised.
Or, is the Catholic Churches position that gay people are not human? That they are, lets say, untermenschen? Charming.
The Cardinal thinks the idea of allowing gay marriage will "shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world." I disagree, it will shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of close minded ignorant bigots who should just fuck off and die, everyone else will think it is great.
He also went on to say that it is wrong to deprive a child of a mother or father. Because, you know, preventing gay people from marrying and raising children wouldn't deprive those children of a mother or father...
But it gets worse:
"Since all the legal rights of marriage are already available to homosexual couples, it is clear that this proposal is not about rights, but rather is an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists."Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father."He added: "Imagine for a moment that the government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that 'no one will be forced to keep a slave'."Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right?"
Honestly, is he really this oblivious? The fight for the right to be allowed to marry is not about rights because gay people have all the rights anyway? Man this guy is stupid. Blacks in the USA had all the rights of white people, so I guess that whole civil rights movement was not a fight for rights after all, just a fight to redefine racist segregation and oppression for the whole of society.
Where is it enshrined in law that a child must have a mother and father? How does letting gay people marry create a society where children are deprived of a parent? Exactly where do gay marriage activists suggest that the state will be knocking down doors and deliberately making sure that children are missing a parent? What is this guy smoking?
And allowing gay marriage is like allowing people to keep slaves. What. The. Fuck? Is this guy a caricature or an actual Catholic Cardinal? I rest my case that ordained Catholic officials have absolutely no clue about marriage. The fundamental right at question here is being allowed to marry who you want to - the Catholic Church is the one opposing it, they are the ones who have helped dismantle this human right for gay people.
I mean. Wow. That guy is a thoroughbred moron.
Then finally, we have Archbishops Peter Smith and Vincent Nichols, who again claim that legalising gay marriage will somehow magically reduce the significance of marriage - you know, because denying a certain group of people the right to marry whilst others can in a completely arbitrary manner doesn't do that at all. Smith and Nichols write:
"There are many reasons why people get married. For most couples, there is an instinctive understanding that the stability of a marriage provides the best context for the flourishing of their relationship and for bringing up their children."Society recognises marriage as an important institution for these same reasons: to enhance stability in society and to respect and support parents in the crucial task of having children and bringing them up as well as possible."[changing the law would] gradually and inevitably transform society's understanding of the purpose of marriage."There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children."
The stupid, it burns! How does any of the first two paragraphs not apply to a married gay couple? The third paragraph is the whole point of course, the fourth makes no bloody sense and brings up the idea, debunked above, that marriage is only for making babies, which only someone who has never been married and never will be would think.
Why can't these people keep their opinions to themselves? Marriage is something they have no authority to discuss - they don't and won't ever do it so where do they get off telling the rest of us who do what it should be? Second - religious institutions have no business whatsoever telling civil ones what they can and cannot do or allow by law. Anything else is a theocracy, which we know the Catholic Church would love but which the rest of us know should be fought at all costs.
Catholics don't like gay marriage? Fine, they don't have to do it then. But they have no right to stop anyone else from doing so. Religious institutions are throwing a red herring out here, claiming that they will be forced to marry gay couples. They won't be - they can say no to a gay couple like they can say no to someone not attending their church or not of their religion. This is about civil, secular, marriages. It has got nothing to do with these interfering fuckers.
I'll leave the almost final word to the British liberal politician Nick Clegg:
"freedom to love who you choose is a fundamental right in a liberal society".
One the Catholic Church is opposed to. Think on that.