Posted by: CeCe | February 14, 2012

On the issue of same-sex marriage

I’d like to discuss a hot-button issue that has a lot of people going, particularly in light of the latest news in my home state (Washington, of course), in which it has recently been voted to legalize same-sex marriage.  This is an issue that often divides people; the one side insists that it’s a sin and that such a thing would destroy the sanctity of marriage, while the other side labels them as homophobic, which causes the side against same-sex marriage to take an even stronger stand against it, and then the whole thing just becomes both sides acting like children and throwing mud at each other.

I’m just going to bypass religion altogether in this case, because I don’t think it has any bearing on the discussion.  Let me explain my reasoning, before I risk upsetting my Christian friends.  In the United States, Christians are a majority, with at least 80% of the population professing.  That can lead to what is referred to in sociology as a “tyranny of the majority”.  What this means is that instead of a tyrannical government being comprised of only one dictator, or a small group of dictators, the “tyrannical government” is the vast majority of voters.  And make no mistake about it: When a group of voters seeks to restrict the rights of any law-abiding individual for religious reasons, it is not only tyrannical, it is also theocratic.

Now here’s the problem with that:  Many Christians criticize Muslim countries that have strict Sharia laws, saying that the laws are harsh, unfair, and worst of all, anti-freedom.  They are against everything for which our country stands, and many people are passionate in speaking out against them.  And yet, we have something similar in our backyard (though definitely not as harsh): We are restricting the rights of others based on religion.  I keep thinking how I would feel if I were living in a country in which the majority religion was Islam or Judaism, and they sought to enforce some of their laws on everyone else (not that Jews would, because they’re cool like that, and the same goes for most Muslims, but still), such as not allowing the selling or consumption of pork products.  Good-bye football, good-bye Christmas and Easter ham, we’ll miss you.  Could you guys imagine that?  That’s bad enough, but what if another group was the majority, and they tried to prevent you from having a basic human right, such as being married to the person you love in the eyes of the law, even though both of you are consenting adults?

Look, I know what the Bible says about the issue of homosexuality, and what I’m saying is that in this particular case, it doesn’t matter.  When it comes to creating laws for a government that is supposed to be secular, we should be looking to the document under which all Americans are bound, and that is the Constitution.  It is binding on all of us, regardless of religion or lack thereof, and it is the only document upon which laws should be based.  So my question is, is it constitutional to not allow same-sex couples to be married?  Let’s see: They are consenting human adults.  Their marriage won’t directly or indirectly harm anyone.  So is it constitutional to withhold that right from them?  I would say no.

But here’s the thing.  I get why people don’t want to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, and I don’t think it should be asked of them to do so.  I also don’t believe that pastors and priests should be forced to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples, nor do I think they should be forced to allow their property to be utilized for same-sex marriages.  At the same time, I also don’t believe it should be up to the people to vote on this issue at all.  Why should it be up to the public to decide whether or not a right can be extended to a group of people?  I’m not going to argue the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality because it’s irrelevant in this case.  We’re talking about people.  Is it acceptable to withhold rights from people, if those rights don’t include harm to anyone else?

I know this may upset some of my fellow Christians, but please know that it is not a criticism necessarily leveled at you; you are voting your conscience and you have every right to do so.  I’m just not so sure that this particular issue should even be up to us.  So to sum up my entire argument, I believe both sides of the aisle should look to the Supreme Court, and ask them to define whether or not it is constitutional to withhold the right to marry from consenting adults, and leave both religion and partisan politics out of it altogether.  That would be the fairest solution, I think, and maybe both sides would finally stop flinging mud at each other.

Just my take on it.

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Responses

  1. Hi there, I am a Christian as you can see by my picture but I don’t oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds alone.

    I believe that allowing same sex couples to marry DOES harm the country, in a financial way. The reason a conventional marriage (man and woman) enjoy certain benefits is because they can produce offspring. Adding to the population is good for the state (country). We need future earners (taxpayers) to be able to keep this economic system running. A same sex couple cannot produce offspring. They can raise kids, they just cannot produce them. The state wants people to marry and have kids because that is in their best interest. That is why they give them benefits (insurance, social security benefits, tax exemptions, etc). A gay couple is not producing offspring and therefore should not get the same benefits.

    First, you have to start with the fact that marriage is not a right. At least not an absolute one. Let’s say there is a federal law that allows same-sex couples to marry. What legal argument would the government have to prevent someone from marrying their sibling? What about a bisexual who wants to marry both a man and woman? Who are we to stop that from happening? The bisexual did not ask to be born that way and to not allow them to marry both a male and a female then we are discriminating on the grounds of sexuality. That is what homosexuals argue now. What about a brother and sister who are “consenting adults” whose marriage will not harm anybody? What argument would you have against them marrying?

    This whole thing is a slippery slope and people oppose it for more than religious reasons. Once you allow homosexuals to marry there is really no reason to not allow EVERYONE to marry. And yes, there are cases where brother and sister claim to love each other. So please do not say that will never happen (Google it).

    If anyone supports gay marriage and opposes sibling marriage or bisexuals marrying both sexes, they are just hatefilled bigots right?

    • Thank you for sharing your opinion, Mitchell. 🙂

      There are a couple points you made that I’d like to address. You said that marriage is beneficial to the country financially, because offspring is produced by opposite-sex couples. What about couples who are infertile? Should they not be allowed to marry since children will not result from their union? What about couples that don’t plan on having children? What about elderly couples? All of these receive the same benefits, regardless of whether or not they’ll have children; is that right? We don’t withhold the right to marry from any of those groups based upon their lack of ability to reproduce. Further, many same-sex couples are willing to adopt children, which means that some children may be removed from the foster care system, which will save taxpayer money. Furthermore, there are same-sex couples who use surrogate mothers/fathers to help them have children of their own. So just because they’re not able to reproduce with each other doesn’t mean that they won’t have offspring. If it’s not being able to reproduce that prevents them from getting married, but they can reproduce using nontraditional means, is there any reason to still not allow them to get married?

      Secondly, harm can come from siblings marrying, if they have offspring (genetic defects). Now you’re right that a person can’t prevent a bisexual person from marrying two people, but other forms of marriage could be restricted, such as bigamy and incestuous relationships.

      I actually didn’t share whether or not I was against same-sex marriage, mostly because I don’t think it matters. All that matters to me is whether or not the restriction is constitutional.

      Thank you again, and I hope I haven’t offended you in any way.

  2. I guess my argument was more that the reason benefits were given in the first place was to encourage people to marry. Same sex marriage was not even an issue when these marriage benefits went into effect.

    The government wanted people to marry so they gave incentives for people to do just that.

    A person can adopt without being married. So a gay couple does not have to be married. So there is no benefit to the state.

    What if a brother and sister couple has been sterilized? Should they then be allowed to marry? Gay sex also can have health problems. There are several studies on this.

    If you are only interested in the constitutionality of it then how are you gonna be against the other groups of people who want to marry? Like polygamists, bisexuals, incestuous couples, etc?

    Allowing same sex couples to marry changes the whole definition of marriage and opens a can of worms that cannot be undone.

    Im not offended.

    • Thank you for responding. 🙂

      You’re correct that a person can adopt without being married, but it’s much harder, especially in the cases of adoptions in which the woman bearing the child is involved. Very few women actually want their children to go to single or unmarried parents.

      If the brother and sister have been sterilized, then there is no argument against them being married, other than the “ick” factor, which isn’t relevant. Brothers and sisters married in the distant past too. And yes, gay sex can cause problems for those who engage in it, but it doesn’t harm anyone else who isn’t also engaging in it. Besides, there are lots of different forms of sex that can result in all kinds of problems, and even death. But that’s their business, no one else’s. It isn’t up to the government to save us from ourselves in this case. It’s private and should be up to the individual.

      I’m not only interested in the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. My other argument is that it doesn’t cause direct or indirect harm to anyone else. If my gay cousin married his boyfriend, it wouldn’t hurt me any. If a dear friend of mine was married to both her husband and her girlfriend, it wouldn’t have any effect on me. If one of my best friends married her girlfriend, it would cause no harm to me.

      As far as changing the definition of marriage, things do change. We wouldn’t be the first society to allow couples other than the traditional man-woman to marry, and nothing major has happened in any of those places. It stopped at same-sex marriage. Who is to say that the same would not be true here?

      • You are not getting what I am saying. All the benefits gay couples are asking for were intended to encourage marriage and procreation. A gay couple cannot reproduce. So there is no benefit to the state.

        Its like a company paying for someones college because they know their investment will pay them back, plus make them money. The state, in this case, invested in couples so they would reproduce. This is beneficial to the government.
        Capitalism depends on growth.

        Allowing gays to marry would have in economic impact on the economy, so yes, it does harm me. Just not physically.

        And because “things do change” does not mean we should just go ahead and change them. Why not just shred our current constitution and start over then?

        We are a sovereign country, we do not need to copy other countries. Some countries oppress their people and nothing major happens, does that mean we should try it?

        🙂

      • But gay couples can reproduce, just not with each other. They can use surrogates or they can adopt. If that is the case, then why should they not be treated the same as a couple that is infertile? If infertile couples and those are are past child-bearing age can marry and receive the same benefits as couples who have children, then why shouldn’t same-sex couples? Why worry about same-sex couples and not infertile or elderly couples who marry in spite of not being able to naturally have children?

        I believe we should change, if people are hurt by the status quo.

        And you’re right that we don’t need to copy other countries, and that isn’t what I was saying. What I was saying is that legalizing same-sex marriages in these other countries has not resulted in a huge influx of people trying to legalize incestuous marriages or polygamy. There’s no reason to think that it would be different in the United States.


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