The argument I needed

On Sunday I happened to have a conversation with a man who took exception to the Question 6 sign we had in our Republican tent at the Good Beer Festival. He pleaded a case which was somewhat emotionally-based but also pointed out whether the government should be in the business of marriage and asked why we should care what two people do.

Now I normally fall on the libertarian side of things and I really don’t care who sleeps with who. But there’s just this gut instinct of mine that, once we cross that line, within a generation we will be having the same argument over plural marriage and perhaps even marrying children. This gentleman thought I was missing the point and argued that we felt the same way about interracial marriage and that turned out to not harm society. In that he is correct, but as usual gay-rights activists borrow from a struggle which was based on unfairness regarding something one cannot change (the amount of pigment they were given) into trying to reward a particular behavior some still find deviant (a sexual attraction to one of the same gender.)

I really wish I had known about this video before I talked to this man.

Of course “dislikes” are running 2 to 1 over “likes” but the gay lobby is a noisy and tenacious one – most people would get the hint after going 0-for-30 or so at the ballot box but they keep trying. This even extends to the YouTube video; unfortunately comments aren’t allowed there but maybe they think an overly high number of “dislikes” will get YouTube to pull it. I would bet dozens have complained to the Google subsidiary about the video, so far to no avail.

Unfortunately, it’s also my gut feeling that one of the four states considering gay marriage this fall will vote in its favor, sowing the whirlwind we’re sure to reap because of it. Given that a large portion of this young man’s generation has been taught moral relativity in schools where all cultures and cultural activities are considered valid, at some point enough of them will be fooled into believing the idea that gay marriage promotes equality when it will lead to a perverse sort of reverse discrimination against those who believe in a Judeo-Christian worldview.

And once that Pandora’s box is opened, we can never go back. I’d rather keep it locked.

4 thoughts on “The argument I needed”

  1. Michael,

    Your reaction to the mixed-race marriage comparison doesn’t take into account the fact that such relationships were considered deviant back then by a decent chunk of society, much as same-sex marriages are today.

    Likewise, contrary to conservative opinion, the overwhelming body of evidence points to sexual orientation being an inherent fixed quality.

    However, on the issue of the comparison, it strikes me that the biggest mistake you’re making is seeing it as “rewarding” something. Marriage equality has nothing to do with rewarding gay people.

    You’re smart enough to recognize that civil marriage and religious marriage are two very separate things. I assume you also agree that the vast majority of people mean religious marriage when they talk about marriage (Skeptical? Go ask a married couple where/when they got married, at the church where the ceremony was or at the court when the signed marriage license was recorded).

    The reason is the simple fact that civil marriage isn’t really Marriage, it’s just a special class of contract. As such, marriage equality isn’t about granting new rights or rewarding a special class of persons, it’s about removing an intrusive limit on freedom of contract between consenting adults.

  2. Also, I just watched the video and the argument it makes suffers from some key flaws.

    1) Government policy on marriage has nothing to do with promoting childbearing. The government promotes having children but it does this through the tax code in ways that are blind to marital status.

    2) Much of the benefits it cites for marriage are either private benefits (the given argument for protection of women, better academic outcomes for children who live in married households for two examples).

    3) Benefits cited that aren’t private are as or more likely to be correlational effects rather than causal effects (for example it’s probably more plausible that men who aren’t likely to be in gangs are more likely to be married than it is that marriage makes men less likely to join gangs).

    4) Given all the above, it is incorrect to assume the purpose of marriage is to promote childbearing or to “stabilize society.” Even if that’s the stated purpose, from a policy perspective government marriages do nothing to this end. This severely undercuts the video’s argument. (You want my honest opinion, the actual primary purpose of government marriages is to enable people to more effectively signal their commitment to one another. That’s an explanation that matches the policy effects of marriage much more.)

    5) The video suggests that government has no legal compelling interest in promoting same-sex marriage. This is a mistaken way of looking at the issue. as I’ve already pointed out, civil marriages are just an exercise of freedom of contract and government enforcement of them isn’t a promotion of them it’s a permission. As such the question isn’t should government promote any kind of marriage, it’s does government have a compelling interest that justifies prohibiting some consenting adults from contracting together.

    A few other flaws with the video:

    1) Given the fact that many of the benefits are correlational, it is actually reasonable to assume that many of those would accrue in same-sex marriages as well, contrary to the video’s assertion that same-sex marriages offer no benefit to society.

    2) The video also incorrectly assumes that the only option for child-bearing is a two-parent heterosexual household. Even taking as a given that is the best environment to raise a child, the question when it comes to same-sex marriage is whether a two-parent same-sex household is better than other alternatives such as single-parent adoption or growing up in a foster home or adoption center. The evidence clearly points towards those being inferior options to being raised by married same-sex partners.

    3) Arguments about what is taught in schools and public accommodations rules aren’t arguments against same-sex marriage, they’re arguments against public provision of education and public accommodations rules. Both are problematic from an individual liberty perspective and are just as problematic whether same-sex marriage is legal or illegal. I’d think you’d agree with me on that.

    Additionally, these are problems even in states without legal same-sex marriage so it’s silly to think stopping same-sex marriage does anything to hinder these problems happening.

    4) The claims of free speech being gagged are simply incorrect. The examples cited by the video are private entities choosing not to do business (in the form of employment) with people they don’t want to be associated with. It’s not censorship unless it’s the government doing it.

    5) The religious liberty examples are egregious. But they should be looked at for the issues they are rather than bringing marriage into it. It’s entirely possible to support marriage equality while opposing moves like the ones cited in the video (and I think you’ll find every conservative and libertarian proponent of same-sex civil marriage will take that position), so there’s necessary connection between the two, contrary to the videos implication.

  3. Since you’ve been (seemingly) arguing exclusively with those who subscribe to moral relativism, allow me to share a prospective from a believer in natural law. Accepting that marriage is a critical social institution and a cornerstone to society, and even exists within an Aristotelian moral framework, gay marriage ought to be lauded by the religious and politically conservative community.

    If marriage is a societal good, it follows that it only functions when members of a given society participate in it. With 55 percent of marriages failing, and cohabitation becoming a norm, it is clear that opening the institution to a group that has previously not been able to participate in it would contribute to the institution’s wellbeing.

    Given that the essential purpose of marriage is for the production and raising of children, and technology and adoption allow for child rearing outside of procreation, that two parties in a marriage should be of the same sex is irrelevant. Data collected by the APA demonstrate that children fair better when raised by same sex parents, then when left to spend their childhoods in foster programs. The sexual orientation of the parents becomes an incidental factor, whereas previously, in principle, it would have been a disqualifier.

    Some will argue still that the balancing of masculine and feminine roles remains a critical element within the marriage institution, yet this factor is immeasurable and unenforceable. There has never been a litmus for effeminacy or masculinity divided evenly between married persons for children to be raised well.

    Overall, gay marriage would provide the stability and legal foundation for gay couples to better raise kids, which is empirically more beneficial to society than allowing the near half a million children waiting to be adopted go parent-less, while simultaneously allowing more couples to enter into marriage at a time when it is otherwise waning as a social convention.

  4. Wrong side of history, Michael, and ironically on the side of guys like the Taliban, who would love to stand in judgment of your own relationship. The government should stay out of personal relationships, and this law will not force any church to marry anyone. The dummies at Galluadet should not have suspended (not fired) the diversity officer for signing the petition–that is a red herring as you can find dumb people on any side doing dumb things (i.e, a republican activist throwing out voter registration forms in Virginia–does not mean all Virginia Republicans are cheaters).

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