In Part II of this series, I outline the religious and non-religious arguments against marriage equality and expose problems in the argumentation.
Though it may be rightfully considered a religious issue, there are arguments used from both religious and non-religious sides. Although, the reasoning of the non-religious arguments generally holds root in American Religious tradition. It is known, albeit sometimes ignored, that our Constitutional provisions disallow any law being created for or because of religious doctrine or belief. Even so, there are those among us that would seek to find some logical argument, even while exercising fallacies, to create a country in which their rights are sound and the rights of others are expendable. This is the platform of those against marriage equality.
We will save the fun, religious arguments for later. First, let us address the “non-religious” platforms for the inequality our country pronounces. Of the three most used statements of non-religious origins, two of heavily involve the future of our children. First, ‘Allowing gays to marry would weaken traditional family values that are essential to our society.’ Second, ‘Gays marrying will confuse children about gender roles.’ Finally, ‘If I can marry a man, why can’t I marry a horse?’ The last one is my favorite.
‘Allowing gays to marry would weaken traditional family values that are essential to our society.’ This may be the most common argument used against same-sex marriage. This is argument is one that is a surrogate for the religious arguments because it is not sound in constitutional law, instead, a much more defensive ideal that instills fear into the masses. It solidly professes the idea that “they” will take away what “I” hold dearly to my heart. The argument is not strong, however, because of the defensive, fear inducing motivation, and the illusion of “traditional family values.” Traditional family values date back to the late 1940s/early 1950s. We have all heard the term ‘Nuclear Family.’ A man and women, father works a middle-class day job and the mother is the homemaker. They also have a couple kids that go to suburban public schools. With the rise of fear of godless communism in the 1950s, the suburban family needed something to cling to. Thus, the traditional family values that have since become obsolete. Now, this tradition, being less than five generations old and already outdated with the rise of one-parent households, ambiguous gender roles, and the semi-acceptance of unmarried gay couples adopting children is irrelevant in the discussion.
Much more simply denied is the belief that gay parents would confuse children about gender roles. In the early 1990s, unmarried gay couples adopting children started to become much more common. Though the fear that it would destroy the future of the children was not realized, there are still groups that would perpetuate the opposite. Since World War II, gender roles in the household have become more and more ambiguous and now, an equal number of men and women hold professional positions and do equal work in the house. Like the previous argument, this one is irrelevant.
The final non-religious argument is my favorite. While stating it facetiously, I enjoy using a southern accent. “If I can marry a man, why can’t I marry a horse?” Really, any barnyard animal can be substituted. This is a perfect argument for the uneducated because it is a perfect example of the slippery slope logical fallacy. Telling the layperson that the argument is a slippery slope fallacy will not convince them, so we will delve more deeply. This is a comparison between a gay man or woman and a horse. This argument exposes the true feelings of those against equality of any kind. They believe that the others are lower beings, like animals. There should be no fear that same sex marriage would give way to man-marrying-animal because an animal cannot consent and are not cognitively aware as Homo sapiens are. If you worry about polygamy, then you’re not reading your bible very well- multiple instances in which the bible endorses it. Additionally, Mohammed is famous for taking on many wives, and endorsing such acts if the household-head can support them all.
Though also irrelevant in law, the religious arguments are important to address because American religious institutions seem to not understand that they do not have political power outside of their own sect. The first thing that American Christians tell you when you say ‘same-sex marriage’ is “I believe it is a sin in the bible.” We all know what the passage reads basically that a man laying with other men as they do with women is an ‘abomination.’ The term ‘abomination’ is one of the most popular words for a Christian. However, they seem to forget that in the same breath, the primitive middle-eastern writer also states that eating ham and wearing clothing of multiple fabrics is an ‘abomination.’ There is no way to reconcile this without admitting that the reader can interpret the severity of the sin and make their own assumptions as to what it is supposed to mean. By trying, you take credibility away from your own argument because an average Christian parishioner is not equipped at all to interpret their own holy book.
Finally, it is common to hear that marriage sanctity is important. Christians in America truly believe that marriage is the creation of Christians before them, and must be protected. I will admit that if a church chooses to not marry two people, for whatever reason, the law cannot and should not force them to. However, religious marriage and legal marriage as observed by the government are not interchangeable. Obviously, the phrase “sanctity of marriage” is laughable, unless you include polygamy and womanservents. I say: let the religions hate. They will lose their members and die out (like the ultra-conservative Republican Party) unless they move with civilization into the 21st century and beyond.
The next part in this series will discuss the arguments for marriage equality. If you wish to refute my arguments or discuss further, please comment and share this article.