Can someone who is strongly opposed to gay marriage explain to me (preferably in calm, rational terms, even though I know this is GD) why? I just don’t get it. I’m totally straight, I’m happily married to a person of the opposite sex. I don’t have any openly gay friends (although I used to). But I just don’t understand what possible harm it could do to my marriage or anyone else’s marriage or the institution or sanctity of marriage if two men or two women were allowed to be legally married. What’s wrong with it?
To me, being opposed to two men being married is no different than being opposed to a black man and a white woman being married. In neither case does it have any effect on my marriage or your marriage. And yet, if a politician were to stand up today and propose a law banning marriage between a black man and a white woman, there would be such an uproar across this country and that politician would be thrown out of office faster than he could finish his sentence. But a president who wants to see a friggin’ Constitutional amendment banning two men from getting married gets re-elected, and voters in eleven states overwhelmingly pass legal bans on two men getting married.
A lot of us don’t, and have tried to get answers, sometimes through threads very similar to this one. You won’t get any answers that satisfy your curiosity, because there aren’t any. The best answer I’ve seen comes from the always intelligent Sam Stone:
Because marriage is about more than just two adult people loving each other and wanting to share things. It’s about the children that will come out of that union, about who has ultimate responsibility for raising them and ultimate authority over them. It is a self-contained perpetuating social structure.
Gay unions do not have that property. Those who wish to raise children need to engage some outside agency to enable them to.
Lest you think this is some sort of post-hoc rationalization, allow me to quote from one of the blessings of the Jewish wedding rite: “Blessed be you, G-d, King of the Universe, that created man in his image, and established within him a structure that builds forever, blessed be you, creator of man.”
Marriage is the beginning of a family, not merely a union of agreeable adults. To apply the word to a union that is by its nature incapable of this would not be correct.
In many ways, I think the struggle against gay marraige has become sort of a proxy battle for people who are scared that marriage is a dying institution. Something like a third of children are now born out of wedlock and divorce rates continue to climb. Sex has been from a large part seperated from marriage and romance. These problems bother (justifiably, I think), a lot of people who see the family unit as the best way to raise children. But, of course, you can’t pass laws that force people to stay married or limit children to wed mothers.
So a lot of people have turned to fighting gay marriage, seeing it as a further dilution of the classical american lifestyle they wish to defend. Unable to fight divorce and such, standing against gay marriage is the way to fly your colors and show that your profamily.
The irony is, that in trying to defend marriage, the profamily folks have instead blocked a whole group of people from entering into it.
So I assume you also sponsor legislation that forbids vasectomies for married men without children, right (or at least voids their marriage)? And, of course, I must also assume that mandatory fertility tests along with the blood tests are forthcoming. Certainly nobody who is incapable of having children should be allowed to marry, right?
cmkeller, I realize you’re being pelted rather heavily with hypotheticals right now, but let me add one more: what if a man marries a woman, has a child by her, and then comes out of the closet? (Never understimate a person’s ability to supress their true nature, especially if it comes with a social stigma.) If the man and woman decide to separate after this revelation, should the man be denied custody of the child? What if he later decides to marry another gay man? Should the marriage be allowed, so as to provide the child with a better family unit? Not all children to gay couples require outside help after the fact; some gay couples come pre-equipped with children that are undeniably their own.
I’ve been able to divine the following from conversations and threads here:
Some define marriage as only between a man and a woman. It can’t be define otherwise. A subset of this is that marriage is for procreation, thus only for a man and a woman.
Apparently this means that couples unable to have children are SOL, and those that choose not to procreate are selfish, sinning, etc.
Others can’t get past being grossed-out by the sexual side of homosexuality, thus can’t even begin to think of same-sex marriage.
Presumably homosexuals are incapable of agape, philos, storge, trust and caritas.
Still others believe that homosexuality is an abhorrent sin, and to allow same-sex marriages would desecrate the sanctity of marriage.
Of note, I have yet to see two people marry who weren’t sinners.
People way out at the end of their rope claim that defining marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman would mean that anyone could get married to anything, be it animal, vegetable or mineral.
Of note is the requirement for consent of both parties at some point during the licensing/ceremony.
I’m not talking about myself, but there are many people who feel that homosexuality is simply immoral like adultery. Most people think that the government should mind its own business about bedroom antics, but to make homosexual marriage the same as hetero marriage is like making polygamous marriages legal.
There are folks who think polygamous marriage is fine, but they are even more a minority than gay marriage supporters because it goes against the moral culture of a vast majority of people.
So if you can understand the feelings of the anti-poly people, you can understand the anti-gay marriage people.
The answer, though, is no. It’s stupid to mess around with the institution as it exists, if it’s not hurting anyone. Every law has its loopholes that allow things not in the original intent. But by the same token, to go through the effort to re-write a definition that has existed since time immemorial in almost every human culture around the globe is not warranted either. Marriage, as it is, exists to provide a foundation for children, for a family. If there is a need for some societal institution designed to ease certain aspects of life for partnered adults, let it be created from whole cloth.
Ironically, the states with the highest divorce rates are all in the Bible-belt south (which voted predominantly for Bush), and the state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is that gay-marriage-embracing ultra-liberal Massachusus.
I agree that a large part of marriage is the possibility of having a family. But having a family does not mean the ability to breed. It means the ability to raise children in a stable, loving, environment, and I would argue that a gay couple is as capable of this as a straight one.
Also, cmkeller, don’t be scared off by the pile on, as I’m quite interested in what your arguement is. We’ll try to get everyone to pl
So it really has nothing to do with procreation, it’s just inertia?
Furthermore, try telling people like chatelaine that it’s not hurting anyone. Their tears are pointless and stupid, because they’re crying over something that isn’t hurting anyone. Feeling hated and persecuted is pointless and stupid, because they’re angry about something that isn’t hurting anyone.
You are missing the point of this thread. It is not to debunk the reasons people have for being opposed to SSM, it is to understand them. If you want to understand, you need to dig deeper into someone’s beliefs, not try to out maneuver him.
I have no problem with gay marriage. But you’re not going to get anywhere by just telling people that their definitions make no sense. Most people have no problem with gays per se, as polls show civil unions get the thumbs up, but don’t want the state to sanction gay relationships. That’s what it comes down to, I think.
I also think most people don’t understand why a gay person would want to get married in the first place. Most people have no problems with civil unions, that address many of the legal problems gays have, but just don’t see a gay relationship as being in the same category as a man/woman relationship.
But the gay couple that later resulted is *raising * the child. Thus, the family unit that applies in the life of the child is the gay couple, and the child. By your reasoning above, the marriage status of the couple is only important at the point of conception.