Maybe someone can explain to me, rationally, the straight case against gay marriage.
The statements I’ve seen thus far have been rather vacuous, characterized more by well-I-just-think-it’s-wrong dismissals than serious, thoughtful misgivings. Others put forward self-contradicting arguments that are absurd on their face, unwittingly making the case for gay marriage while underscoring the writer’s own ignorance.
Here’s what you commonly hear once you get the detractors to cease their frantic, seething, hair-pulling, Bible-thrusting frenzy and articulate their reasons for opposition:
Marriage is an institution between one man and one woman.
A non-argument. Simply re-stating the current definition of marriage does nothing to justify its exclusiveness.
It denigrates the institution of marriage.
I fail to see how husband and wife, upon hearing that the gay couple down the street just got hitched, will subsequently flush their rings down the toilet and call it quits. How does the prospect of someone else getting married make yours any less meaningful? And how does the idea that others can get married make it a less attractive option for men and women who love each other? Another non-argument.
Marriages are for ensuring the continuation of the species.
No, procreation is for ensuring our continuation, and I think nature has that part set on auto-pilot. I’ve seen some strange arguments against gay marriage, but I don’t think even the most extreme conservatives would argue that gay marriage will cause people to stop fucking.
But marriage IS for procreation.
Wow, really? They should require fertility tests, then, when straight people apply for marriage licenses. And no old people, either. They need procreation like they need to be behind the wheel of a car.
Slippery slope: People will want to marry children.
There is an entire body of national and state law that states children do not have the right to make adult decisions until, well, they become adults. Those laws have never been eroded, and they won’t be invalidated by gay marriage either.
Slippery slope: People will marry their dogs!
Riiight. Allow consenting adults to marry, and suddenly there will be no defense against inter-species marriage.
This is a silly, flailing argument that nevertheless needs to be addressed so we can move on to more serious discussion. Animals, like children, cannot legally give consent to such pairings. Therefore, I think we’re on solid legal grounds when we exclude bestiality. Reductio ad absurdum is the last refuge of those who cannot put forth a rational case.
Slippery slope: Incestuous family members will want to marry!
Please. First, such relationships involving children are child abuse, plain and simple. And as a rule, adult incestuous relationships are discouraged, if not outlawed, because of the danger inbreeding poses to the potential offspring of such unions. Unfortunately for anti-gay zealots, gays don’t have the capability to produce deformed offspring.
Slippery slope: Groups of people will marry!
Then why hasn’t group marriage occurred in any of the countries that already allow gay marriage?
Besides, there are plenty of legal reasons to limit the number of individuals who can be part of a marriage contract, one of them being the need to prevent fraud — groups of people getting together and sucking resources from the system like it’s some group discount at BJ’s.
Gay marriage allows gays to recruit more members.
Ah…now we’re getting down to the real reasons people oppose gay marriage: fear and loathing of homosexuals, and a belief that gays simply wish to make their “lifestyle” more attractive to lure more straight folk.
This is the argument implied by Deb, the detractor I linked to above: “To me, being gay for some is the only way that otherwise really awkward people can ‘fit in’ to a group. Who wouldn’t ‘choose’ that over being isolated, especially now that our entertainment industry has glorified being gay to such a huge extent.”
So, all gays started out as “awkward” people who found their true calling in having sex with other men/women. Like I said, absurd.
Next, they’ll want adoption.
And then, of course, gays will recruit the children and abuse them, much like the catholic church.
This argument is an appeal against gay adoption, the merits and drawbacks of which can be debated later. It does not directly address the issue of gay marriage, since many straight couples do not have children.
Second, the argument implies that exposure to gays is inherently harmful to children. Deb, the writer I linked to above, made a particularly revealing comment to this effect — one that goes to her own laughable ignorance:
Case in point…I have a friend who’s gay. He has pictures of naked men all over his apartment. He’s a great guy, very nice, very responsible and very successful. Should he be allowed to adopt a child if he gets married to his boyfriend? Would you put a child in a hetero home with pictures of naked women (or men) all over the walls?
The none-too-clever insinuation is clear: Gays, while “nice” and “responsible” on the surface, are voracious horndogs whose obsession with sexuality would undoubtedly spill over into their child-rearing. Placing kids with these people is akin to child abuse.
And while I’m at it, I’ll offer one final, damning quote from Deb:
I’m fairly sure those with my view are going to lose in the end. Can’t put the genie back in the bottle and all…But I’m sad about it. I do see that our society/culture is taking a nosedive in the civility and focus on the common good sense. Not sure it was ever really that strong except for a time in the mid-fifties (if you were white), but still.
Overall, opponents of gay marriage can’t offer a reasonable case against gay marriage because there is none. They appear to be motivated more by the “yuk” factor than any broader, rational concern for society.
It’s been said elsewhere, and I think it bears repeating: “These arguments serve mainly to obscure the issue, not illuminate it. Conservatives say they abhor gay marriage because they value marriage. The truth is they abhor gay marriage because they abhor gays.”