Yea for Gay Marriage
Reviving my tumblr so I can post this. I wrote up a list of arguments for gay marriage for a friend, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t be shared with the internet in case people are having trouble working out some good arguments. When I reference the US Supreme Court’s ideas and decisions, I’m taking what was said in http://www.npr.org/2013/03/26/175351429/audio-supreme-court-arguments-on-california-gay-marriage-ban this transcript. I’m Australian, so obviously a few of the arguments don’t exactly translate. But I think the Supreme Court made some very good points, and those points are not strictly limited to the US.
A few arguments for gay marriage:
· When we talk about gay marriage, we should talk about what the function of marriage is to the state, as they are the ones given the responsibility of regulating marriage.
o Obviously, separation of church and state means that religious views must not inform the state’s position on gay marriage. Not everyone is religious, and not everyone’s religion believes that gay people should not have the right to get married. Denying gay people the right to marry based on religious grounds is religious oppression and in violation of the separation of Church & State.
· When the US Supreme court heard the case on gay marriage, they accepted the premise that the purpose of marriage in the eyes of the state is to regulate procreation—births and the raising of children. The other functions of marriage derive from this purpose—marriage is used to determine inheritance, and the legal status of children (e.g.: the countries that grant that child citizenship). Let us take this argument as our default, given that it presents the most logical and rational reasons that marriage is an issue to be regulated by the state.
· If we take the premise that the purpose of the marriage is regulation of procreation, what are the boundaries of this?
o The state does not prevent a 70-year old man marrying a 70-year old woman, despite the fact that it is statistically near-impossible that such a couple would ever conceive.
o The state does not prevent infertile couples, or a couple in which one person is infertile, from marrying. This would be a ridiculous premise, and for the state to enforce it would be a gross violation of rights.
o Couples who are infertile are able to seek out alternative paths to raising a child. If straight couples can use IVF or surrogates, it stands to reason that a gay couple would be able to do the same. Gay people can still “have” children in the same way that a straight couple having difficulty conceiving can still “have” a child.
· Where childrearing is concerned:
o The state allows divorce between a man and a woman with children, even though children of divorced parents are still disadvantaged. ABS statistics on children of divorced parents: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features40Sep+2010 Numerous publications have made a connection between a child experiencing the divorce of their parents with depression and other psychological problems, as well as difficulty concentrating at school and making friends.
o The ACT, NSW and WA allow same-sex couples to adopt children. If same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children, there is no reasonable argument that should disallow those adoptive parents from being married.
o Indeed, a child raised in a happy same-sex marriage environment is still preferable to a child raised by a single (straight or gay) parent.
· Gay marriage will not “destroy the institution of marriage”. Straight married men aren’t suddenly going to ‘decide’ they’re gay, leave their wife and kids and go out to get married to a man. What do people actually mean when they use this argument? Because if the “institution” of marriage hasn’t already been wrecked by 50% divorce rates and 2-day marriages, I fail to see what gay marriage could do to it.
· Research suggests that homosexuality is determined before a person is born, due to hormonal changes in the womb. At the very least, by puberty an individual is probably able to ascertain if they are attracted to the same sex, and denying one’s own sexuality can cause numerous psychological issues. Being gay is not a ‘choice’, any more than being straight is a choice. Estimates place same-sex behaviour in 2-10% of the population. They are not an insignificant group.
· If, as evidence suggests, homosexuality is inherent or from birth, denying same-sex couples the right to marry has about the same standing as denying marriage to interracial couples. Race and sexuality are both predetermined traits that an individual has no control over. Race, as with sexuality, is no measure of a “good” parent or a “good” husband/wife.
· Gay marriage will not cause a slippery slope. People will not be allowed to marry animals, objects or children—in all of these cases, the other party is unable to give informed consent. Polyamorous marriage is not ‘just around the corner’ if gay marriage is passed. Polyamorous marriages will require a whole new legal framework—they will change the way inheritance must be determined, the way pooled finances work, etc. Gay marriage is not like allowing polyamorous marriage. It is simply taking “marriage” and extending it to gay couples.
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be
In the arms of all I’m keeping here with me