Sunday, January 09, 2005

In Defense of Gay Marriage

Andrew Sullivan has a great article detailing his defense of Gay Marriage, and why he believes that given time the American public, will embrace the institution.

One of the most ridiculous assertions emerging from the opposition is the slippery slope argument, that legalizing gay marriage will lead us down a path of polygamy, incest, acceptance of pedophilia and yes, even marrying our dogs. Close examination of the argument reveals the emptiness of its premises (by definition a slippery slope is a logical fallacy), yet the argument persists. No one, to my knowledge has directly addressed the premises of the slippery slope (instead choosing to reject it outright), so I thought I would undertake a formal rejection of its absurd claims.

To wit:

1) Polygamous marriage: would require the government extend a benefit ABOVE AND BEYOND that extended to traditional marriage.
1) Morality is mutable; when there is no distinct societal detriment diversity in morality should be allowed to flourish. 2) The reason polygamous marriages are regulated by society is that there is a disproportionate amount of resources that would have to be allocated to said unit in excess of a union of 2 individuals (and to the detriment of the surrounding community). 3) I see no reason for polygamous marriages to be banned in this country (individual morality is just that); however, there is every reason that government should not extend benefits to the group above and beyond that of 2 individuals (which by definition would NEED to be done).

2) Pedophilia/Incest: Pedophilia is 1) considered a psychiatric disorder because it is 2) disruptive to society by 3) creating a victim who is 4) not a willing participant or 5) has been deemed by society too immature to make an informed decision regarding sexual choices. Whereas gay marriage/homosexuality is an institution/interaction between 2 consensual adults who are either 1) physically attracted to one another 2) sexually attracted to one another 3) are in love with one another. (Much of the above logic applies to incest as well)

It is the responsibility of government (specifically our government) to legislate actions that would cause specific conditions within society that would either 1) threaten to destabilize that society (murder/theft) 2) impede upon another's ability to live "in the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness" (murder, slander, libel) etc. Homosexual marriage causes NONE of the specific ails mentioned above.

Gay Marriage mimics opposite-sex marriage in every regard other than the gender so that there is no net negative repercussion upon society (as there would be in cases of incest/pedophilia). There is a discernable detriment to society as a whole (a greater redistribution of health-care resources to medically deal with the genetic repercussions), and individuals in particular if incest is allowed to be regularly practiced within society.

3) Therefore :The 14th amendment (guaranteeing equal protection) does not apply to a need for polygamous marriages b/c there is a distinction in the amount of resources that would need to be allocated to said entity changes in tax laws/health care/estate laws/ etc. Further there is a discernable compelling interest for the State to outlaw polygamy and incest (outlined above).

Since traditional marriage is a governmentally recognized institution with distinctive benefits and since that institution is ALREADY legally recognized---1) Pertaining to the constitutionality of the issue---a) there exists a governmentally recognized institution whereby b) 2 adult individuals who are not 1st degree relatives enter into c) a union that is d) recognized by government and conveys unique benefits upon said union. The exclusion of a group wishing to enter into said institution with no GOVERNMENTALLY DISCERNABLE DISTINCTIONS (not moral/not reproductive/not religious) and no compelling reason the state should exclude them are thereby being denied equal protection (equal---polygamy by definition does not equal 2 individuals) under the 14th amendment.


Blogger Sarahlynn said...

True, true. It's hard for me to think of rational responses to those who honestly believe that that same-sex marriage threatens the sanctity of marriage. How, now? I thought that gay *promiscuity* was the evil that was driving the moral decay of America? And how is the legal union of two adults who love one another more harmful to the institution of marriage than, say, "Married by America"?

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When arguing from the high ground of logical consistency, try to be more careful. You declare the "slippery slope" to be "by definition" fallacious, but provide no rationale. In fact, there is always the danger of reductio ad absurdam, but those who point out that legal opposition to same-sex marriage and legal opposition to polygamous marriage rest on the same philosophical presuppositions are not indulging in the "slippery slope." They're simply pointing out that when the foundation is undermined, the whole legal structure inevitably topples.

You make several truth claims quite as dogmatic ("morality is mutable") as the ones you seek to refute for their alleged dogmatism. You raise points irrelevant to the matter at hand, or at least irrelevant to your opponents' argument (i.e., the cost of benefits). You accept your opponents' judgment concerning the greater societal harm of pedophilia, yet reject it concerning marriage, without providing any rational basis for distinction.

Your distinction between "excluding" equivalent groups (same-sex) and failing to extend benefits to non-equivalent groups (polygamous) rests only on a mathematical difference, not a difference of kind. Finally, your assertion that the government cannot legislate based on moral concerns is patently ridiculous. Theft is a moral concern. Cheating on your taxes is a moral concern. Religious tolerance itself is a profoundly moral value.


4:30 PM  

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