Debunking Five Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage
In a country that is supposedly the land of the free, 61% of the population living in the state of North Carolina last week voted to restrict the right of marriage for many loving couples seeking to tie the knot. Interested in what arguments could have possibly been used in favour of banning same-sex marriage, I was astounded by the claims put forward in support of this motion. Given that, I was probably more taken aback by the amount of people that were actually persuaded by them. By no means an exhaustive list, this article will look to counter five arguments that I found were being most commonly used for arguing against the legalization of same-sex marriage.
God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman.
This form argumentation was an apparent favourite used against legalizing same-sex marriage, and was probably the most popular persuasion for the majority of voters. This is a heinous argument that commits many kinds of fallacies, the most obvious I imply to be the fallacy of argumentum ad baculum: an argument based on an appeal to fear or a threat. Quite simply, if one does not vote against same-sex marriage, one goes against the will of God and should therefore burn for an eternity in hell. The argument exploits quite cruelly the religious beliefs of a great many people in order to reinforce the prejudices of perhaps only a select few of a population.
Perhaps a stronger counterstatement against this form of argumentation is a fallacy that I call the argument from assuming a God’s existence (in this case I presume the above argument refers to the Christian God). As we cannot adequately conclude whether a God exists or not we should be skeptical of other conclusions that are derived as a truth from a premise based on a God existing. These supposed conclusions could be true if this God exists, but because we do not know for certain we should be cautious in accepting these conclusions as truths. Anyone who appeals to faith as their knowing for God’s existence falls into another fallacy; faith, by definition, relies on a belief that does not rest on logic or evidence. Faith depends on irrational thought and produces intransigence. Further and more convincing argumentation is required.
Homosexuality is unnatural and a choice.
These two claims of homosexuality were not necessarily heard together in the same sentence, however I have certainly heard these claims being said on separate occasions. Both claims are undeniably false. There is a belief that heterosexuality is the only natural sexual leaning because it promotes procreation, portending that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Yet many infertile heterosexual couples also cannot procreate; following the line of reasoning in the above argument, these couples should also not be allowed to marry. There exists a fear that if same-sex marriage became legal then suddenly the human species will suffer from a population drought and become extinct. This comical logic, though I may have exaggerated it, may try and appeal to a Darwinian perspective but homosexuality occurs in many more species of animal than just humans; homophobia sadly only exists in one.
Some may argue that if homosexuality is to be perceived as natural because this sexual orientation occurs throughout the animal kingdom, then infanticide and cannibalism is also natural for humans to commit because this also occurs throughout the animal kingdom; as we should not partake in and choose against the latter behaviour, we should also choose not to be homosexual. The obvious fallacy here is that, as humans, while there exists some level of choice between what we kill and what we eat, homosexuality, and indeed any kind of sexual orientation, is a biological trait. We cannot choose whom we are attracted to, or whom we fall in love with. But so long as this love exists between two people, it is horrid to think that they should be denied the right of marriage if the couple in question should choose to do so.
Same-sex marriage would destroy the institution of marriage.
Some may disagree, but I believe the main point of the institution of marriage is to signify the ultimate covenant of love between two people. Many may say that marriage is unneeded to signify the above proposed, for any kind of relationship. In any case, if two homosexuals wished to express their love through marriage, the consequence is not that heterosexual marriage will decrease and destroy the institution of marriage. The only consequence of legalizing same-sex marriage is just that: homosexuals can choose whether to marry or not. If you are against same-sex marriage, do not have one. However, there must exist choice to those who would want a same-sex marriage; restricting this right of marriage, a right of love, is pure discrimination.
Furthermore, this argument affirms the consequent; for example, the argument states that if same-sex marriage was legalized, the institution of marriage would be destroyed. Let us say the institution of marriage has become destroyed. Therefore one could conclude that same-sex marriage has been legalized. However, the institution of marriage could have been destroyed without same-sex marriage becoming legal. In fact possibly the biggest enemy to the institution of marriage is that cohabiting couples have doubled between 1986 and 2006. Less couples are refusing to marry, which is probably the largest threat to this institution. Legalizing same-sex marriage would surely help the institution of marriage rather than destroy it.
If same-sex marriage is legalized, polygamy will follow.
Or some other similar argument, where the consequence of legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to a popularly perceived undesirable consequence. This line of argumentation tends to follow the same as (3), and commits the fallacy of argumentum ad populum: an argument that appeals to popular sentiment rather than facts and reasons. The above argument attempts to persuade an audience to vote in favour of banning same-sex marriage by implying a popular undesirable consequence, in this case polygamy, will follow if same-sex marriage is legalized, even if there exists no documentation that this consequence will occur. The legitimacy of a statement depends not on its popularity, but on its truth credentials. The principle behind same-sex marriage is not as simple as 'everybody can marry whoever they want.' This is nothing more than a childish and immature form of argument.
Marriage between a man and a woman is best for children.
This final argument assumes that it is better for a child to be brought up within a marriage of a man and woman than a same-sex marriage. To put it simply, no credible study has ever found that being raised in a lesbian or gay household negatively impacts a child’s development. In 2010, the federal challenge to Proposition 8, the Californian amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, saw Judge Vaughn R. Walker state, by the evidence produced at the trial, that children ‘raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted,’ and that the research ‘supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.’ If loving parents raise a child, either foster or biological, it should not matter the gender of either parents or form of marriage.
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