Scoville Units Unite

01 Dec

Still No Arguments Against Gay Marriage?

A friend recently posted a video to their Facebook wall which is a political advert for gay marriage. It’s excellent on a number of counts, mainly because it’s for a great cause (declare bias early) but also unlike some political ads it’s not preachy and with very few words spoken throughout makes it’s point well.

I’ve only written a couple of small pieces on this blog about gay marriage, for example around Proposition Eight, but have written scattered pieces around the net for ages on message boards, Facebook walls, Twitter etc. I thought it might be time to pull some of these things together.

Why now? Well the Equality Network have been lobbying the Scottish Government on the issue (you can take part in the lobby about gay marriage here). Secondly the posting of that video on a friends wall led to a 46 comment thread where someone made a pitiful answer to the question/challenge I posted previously:

Can anyone point to an argument against gay marriage not based on religion. I have looked and looked but can’t find one.

Thirdly I had some examples to use as part of the discussion and I wasn’t completely comfortable using them. I hope that if I refer to anyone I know they won’t take offence at the reference as it’s not used to judge them, just to illustrate a point.

I have yet to hear a coherent argument against gay marriage. Most resort to terrible comparisons which don’t work or just reading out of some bronze age book (whilst ignoring any examples in the book of marriage not of the traditional 1 consenting man + 1 consenting woman model).

So in an effort at avoiding any questions put to him and ignoring massive flaws in his argument, one of those people prompted me to write down some coherent arguments for the position I took, which simplified was: A gay couple getting married doesn’t affect you so it’s none of your damn business and leave them to do it without trying to stop it.

So what were some of the arguments used against gay marriage?

Well I will try to list some of the reasons given to oppose it and show the counter argument. Over the course I hope to then flesh out a more concrete argument for gay marriage.

1. Where does someone get the right to get married from? Who gives them it?

The answer to this is pretty obvious. The state you live in. You apply to them for a marriage licence and they grant one providing they can find no reason not to do so based on that particular states laws on marriage.

No idea what point was trying to be made here. Was it that it is God who grants that right? If so you might want to check the bible.

See for example

  • Genesis 4:19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. (polygamy)
  • Genesis 20:12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. (incest)
  • Jeremiah 3:1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. (remarriage == bad)
  • 1 Kings 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. (marrying someone of a different religion is bad)

Of course most religious people won’t have read their holy book so will be unfamiliar with such verses. Those that are will probably claim these are in the Old Testament so don’t count. You can then enquire as to where in the New Testament God condemns homosexuality. They’ll struggle because they use such verses in the Old Testament to justify their bigotry.

2. Should adults be allowed to marry children? How about animals? How about their sister or brother? Surely it would be discrimination to say no.

The slippery slope fallacy. And one that was probably invoked during every change in the law relating to marriage in the last century. Utterly irrelevant. It is based on the flawed argument that if gay marriage is legalised then incestuous marriage will be legalised. Well that is assuming some massive campaign with the public support for gay marriage takes place for each of those too then?

In a ridiculous tangent the questioner also ignored the flaw in each of those arguments.

Incest is a taboo because of the genetic problems that can result from procreation in particularly close incestuous relationships. The other angle of course is the high probability of some abuse, certainly of power, if not sexual or physical which has made someone think such a relationship is acceptable.

Bestiality is a poor comparison as unlike gay marriage which involves two consenting adults, bestiality involves 1 consenting adult and 1 animal incapable of providing consent.

Strangely they then spent quite a lot of posts trying to talk about incest and come up with justifications for it if gay marriage was legalised. So ironically he himself slid down his own slippery slope whilst all those supporting gay marriage were arguing against incestuous ones.

3. There is a difference between denying someone a religious same sex marriage and a civil partnership.

The religious marriage is a slight diversion as this is not the same as as a marriage as most people have them. Some religions involve having a religious marriage as well as a traditional marriage. They then also have religious divorces, or not in some cases where strict religions refuse religious divorces even though a civil one has been granted.

So someone arguing for religious marriages as well as civil ones doesn’t see the hypocrisy in not even considering a gay marriage as well as a civil as a valid option.

Either that or they were meaning a ceremony inside a religious building conducted by a religious figure inside of a religious building. But then, if those are ok there was no condemnation of those religious figures who conduct mass religious marriages inside religious buildings.

To keep up you might want to forget looking for consistency or coherency in the anti-gay-marriage camp.

4. A whole host of other issues arise from this. What if someone refuses to marry two same sex people, do they lose their job? Isn’t that discriminating against them? What about adoption? A child will be denied a mother or father if adopted by a same sex couple.

This is two issues, firstly about someone refusing to conduct a particular marriage. Well let’s extend it to currently accepted forms of marriage. If someone was to refuse to conduct a marriage between two people of different races would they lose their job? If they worked for the state in some fashion then they would certainly be in some form of trouble. In a religious role in some religious group? Who knows, depending on how batshit insane the organisation is they might get promoted. Would such a couple go to one of these religious organisations hostile to their life choices to get approval though? Probably not.

Looked at that way how is gay marriage any different. Anyone who works in a registry office or similar should be willing to conduct any marriage which is legal. Anyone in a religious organisation would be bound by their internal rules.

The second part’s discussion ended quite soon. Arguer did not wish to argue if a recently bereaved/separated father should be forced to remarry so as to not deny their child a mother. Apparently having two daddies must be worse than 1 daddy and a mummy who has a different uncle every month.

5. If you are an atheist seeing as homosexual people would tend not to reproduce then shouldn’t their genes be selected against and eventually become extinct?

This led to a giant thread where the proponent exposed their complete ignorant of genetics (when coupled with the incest section). What relevance it has to gay marriage is a mystery,

6. If you are an atheist then you are merely an animal and it’s survival of the fittest and you don’t have a “right” to anything. You are just atoms. If you get killed or don’t get your marriage tough luck, you obviously weren’t fit enough.

Yet another strange diversion in the list arguments against gay marriage.

7. Alternative explanation is that there is God and there is such a thing as right and wrong and these decisions and choices do actually mean something.

Refused to explain why God is so lazy now that he doesn’t perform miracles any more. It’s a shame that in the world of near instant worldwide communication and ubiquitous video recording technology the number of talking burning bushes in the last century is surprisingly low.

How not to argue

What was most amusing was the complete inability to form coherent arguments and respond to direct points and questions whilst spitting them out and demanding answers from others that was displayed.

After being told my position of supporting gay marriage whilst opposing fathers marrying their daughters was inconsistent I spelled out my position as such :

Consenting adults should be able to enter voluntarily into whichever form of relationship with each other as they wish. Where there are issues of abuse or negligible effects on others then that is the point when it becomes anyone elses business. Gay marriage between two consenting adults does not. Incestuous relationships for the most part may do, and certainly enter the territory of negligible effects on others if they plan to have children. Bestiality does as animals cannot consent. Relationships with people with some forms of mental disability may if there is thought to be a lack of ability to consent even if the person is over the age to legally consent. When those people wish to formalise their personal relationship in front of friends and society then the state should either not take any part in recognising any of them or should recognise them all.

I then requested that they provide their position for supporting/opposing some forms of marriage. Obviously this couldn’t be provided as it would probably have no rational logical basis.

What now?

Well, I’m still waiting on seeing a coherent argument against gay marriage. I would award bonus points if it didn’t have it’s roots in some holy books.

I would urge you to go take part in the consultation on gay marriage here. Obviously I want people in favour of it to take part but anyone opposed should also take part (maybe from a different link) so that we can find out why they are opposed. These can then be collated into a single answer of I’m a bigot so have picked some verses out the Bible to justify it times the number of negative responses.

If you are on Twitter you should also follow these good people.

@EqualMarriage
@TomFromBrighton
@LGBTNetwork

Added After original article

And what do you know, the next day this article appeared in the Hootsman Gay marriage could wreck independence, claims ex-SNP leader

A rally 200 strong gets this much coverage in a national paper?

As expected all the spurious arguments are about religion. Take for example this completely untrue nonsense spouted by Bashir Maan a former Glasgow councillor and Muslim community leader

Marriage has always been, right from the dawn of history, between a man and a woman.

Amusingly as a Muslim community leader (elected by whom and when?) he should be aware that certain countries use Islamic rules as an excuse to allow Polygyny

In Islam, polygamy is allowed and practised under certain restricted conditions. Muslim men are allowed to practise polygyny, that is, they can have more than one wife at the same time, up to a total of four. Polyandry, the practice of a woman having more than one husband, by contrast, is not permitted.

Some Muslim-majority countries have Islamic law (sharia) which permits polygyny, although there is internal debate regarding the role of women in Islam. See this discussion on the extent to which states can and do recognize these forms as valid.

Polygamy for Muslims, in practice and in law, differs greatly throughout the Islamic world, where polygamous marriages constitute only 1–3% of all marriages.[1] In some Muslim countries, polygamy is relatively common, while in others, it is rare or non-existent. Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tunisia and Turkey, for example, are predominantly Muslim countries that have not adopted Islamic law for marital regulations, where polygamy is not legal.

I thought being religious was supposed to make you more moral? Why do religious community leaders repeatedly lie in public?

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