Arguments Against Same-sex Marriage and Refutation of these Arguments
There are approximately four arguments by which opponents of gay marriage routinely use in their attempts to deny gays and lesbians their equal rights under the law. Routinely, opponents of same-sex marriage rely upon faith-based religious arguments to demonstrate that the law and civilized society should not condone or sanction same-sex marriages. Secondly, they contend that legalization of same-sex marriage would weaken the institution of marriage and traditional family values. Third, legalization would lead to a slippery slope regarding the legality of marriage and open up the doors for other questionable behavior such as children becoming gay who aren't really gay to the legalization of polygamy or the marriage of and/or to an object. Finally, they assert that the lifestyle of homosexuality should not be encouraged due to a research which reveals a higher percentage of psychological disorders and other problems amongst gay individuals relative to heterosexuals ("BalancedPolitics.org - Same Sex Marriages"). As will be demonstrated in the counterarguments which follow, none of the opponents contentions are worthy of merit since they are based upon outdated notions of tradition and they are simply not supported by credible evidence.
As per the arguments of those who are opposed to giving same-sex couples the right to marry or, in other words, those who refuse to cease fighting against the rights of gays and lesbians to marry one another, Christianity provides the moral basis by which our society should deny them these fundamental and basic human rights. Many Christians cite scripture to support this contention as noted by Pat Boone in "Marriage: One Man, One Woman" (Boone). However, in the United States we believe in the separation of church and state; thus, our laws do not need to reflect scripture even assuming one believed that the word of God did not intend to include for the lifestyle of, let alone the marriage between, gays and lesbians.
Assuming arguendo that we did base our laws upon Christian scripture and morality, there is actually evidence that Christianity's history includes instances wherein gay marriage was performed as well as accepted. According to scholar John Boswell of Yale University, "gay marriage ceremonies" were an accepted part of the early Christian church, and "the rituals that formalized such marriages were only later deliberately and consciously effaced by the church" (Boswell). In the book, credibility is lent to his arguments as he provides the reader with actual transcriptions of biblical and historical documents in the original Greek along with his own English translations of them. Specifically, he translates a series of liturgies for an ecclesiastical ritual called adelphopoiesis or, in simple English, the "creation of a brother." Some believe that these ceremonies were not marriage unions; nonetheless, Boswell's translations raise speculation that in Biblical times, there may have been acceptance and even performance of same-sex marriages. At a minimum, they performed same-sex unions of some nature (Boswell).
One of the more adamant opponents of same-sex marriages is the very powerful and influential Catholic Church which possesses a very sanctimonious and traditional view of marriage and human sexuality, citing Genesis as one of its bases for denying homosexuals rights: "…it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" (Gen. 2:18). As a result, "a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). The Bible notes that some Catholics may forego marriage if they would like to serve a higher calling (cf. Matt. 19:10-12). In short, the Catholic Church views marriage between a baptized man and woman to be a sacrament which provides a visible sign of the grace that God gives them to help them live their lives here and now so as to be able to join him in eternity. Additionally, these same individuals then assert that giving gays and lesbians rights will not only undermine the word of God but doing so will consequently undermine traditional notions of marriage and family values ("Special Issue: Gay Marriage.").
While the Catholic church uses the word of God to deny homosexuals of acceptance and rights, the Episcopal church provides an example that there is room for equal rights for homosexuals under the word and the love of God. In fact, they have already ordained an openly gay bishop and they moved recently to make a firm resolution to allow gays and lesbians to become bishops ("Episcopal Church Moves to Accept More Gays and Lesbians."). While there is a split in the church because some of the more traditional elders do not believe in extending rights to homosexuals to become bishops, the vast majority of Episcopal churches in North America, Central America, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and Southern Africa assert an inclusive view of homosexuality (Mahone; "Episcopal Church Moves to Accept More Gays and Lesbians").
Another argument utilized by opponents of same-sex marriage is that by allowing it, it will lead to a slippery slope wherein all different types of marriages will be allowed once we open up the door and give homosexuals their rights. If we legalize gay marriage, then we will have to recognize the rights of many others to marry such as cousins, persons under the age of consent, and even polygamists. As in many slippery slope arguments, this one is based upon faulty logic wherein the notion of "if X, then Y, and then a, B, C, D…and so on might occur." This is the reductio ad absurdum fallacy which is traditionally used instill fear in the mind of anyone hearing the argument as opposed to actually demonstrating the connection between X and Y and the additional effects, a, B, and C. Additionally, there is no evidence that the legalization of marriage between same-sex partners (Y) will lead to the legalization of marriage by cousins (a) or the proliferation of homosexuality (B). In fact, the research reveals an opposite.
We have a long way to go as a society in protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. Homosexuals face a barrage of issues in merely trying to be themselves. They face stereotypes, discrimination, and stigma. They face being victims of physical violence as well as based solely upon their sexual orientation. Despite this, many homosexuals refuse to become bitter and they refuse to give up fighting for basic human rights. In order to support the rights and the dignity of homosexuals, we have a duty as a nation to make sure that these individuals have access to the services that all citizens have access to in the United States. Homosexuals are much more than just their sexual orientation; thus, it is not necessary to understand their sexual orientation. The only thing that is necessary is that we openly embrace and accept homosexuality instead of allowing laws which sanction discrimination and intolerance. There must be some kind of top-down approach so that the government can set a tone for reform and hope for these individuals whom are worthy of receiving equal rights under the law.
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