Posts Tagged ‘ marriage equality ’

On arguments against gay marriage and why they have no reasonable grounds

Note: I wrote this post largely as a response to all the ridiculous and contradictory comments I have watched and read recently, which have been made by our politicians. I was also inspired by the support given by numerous members within the community. The following post is not intended to offend anyone. I only ask that those who oppose gay marriage, especially those who have signed petitions against it, read this post with an open mind. Any comments or opinions from either side of the fence are welcome.

1. Marriage has traditionally always been defined as being between a man and a woman

It has also been in Australia’s historical tradition to deny women the right to vote and to hold property, to discriminate against members of certain races, and to discriminate and limit the rights of Indigenous Australians. It was not so long ago that interracial couples were not allowed to marry; the idea that this was once reality seems ridiculous to us now and thank goodness this tradition has changed.. think of all the beautiful interracial babies! This argument is in reality an argument against change and progress. Laws should be made to benefit the current and future needs of society, not to preserve the past. Furthermore, it was only in 2004, not too long ago it seems, that the 1961 Marriage Act was changed, under the Howard government, to explicitly state that a union between two women or two men does not constitute a marriage.

2. Why do same-sex couples need to marry when they can have civil unions?

Although civil unions give the illusion of equality, having a separate term applied for couples of the same sex fosters the notion of ‘separate but equal’. This legal doctrine was used to justify the segregation of blacks from whites in America in the 60s. Gay people are equal contributors to society; we pay our taxes, we have jobs just like any other straight person, we contribute to the economy, we are carers, nurses, teachers, bankers, doctors.. I could continue ad infinitum.. why should we not have access to the same rights that every other contributing member of society has? Why do we get treated as second-class citizens? We are denied the right to marry but are required to settle for something that most would consider to be less than. The term ‘marriage’ is universally recognised by the world, whereas ‘civil union’ is ambiguous at best, especially when moving between states, yet alone countries. Providing proof of a lifelong commitment to each other as part of a civil union can be a lot more difficult then proving that you are legally married. This is outright discrimination masquerading as equality.

To state this argument is like saying, “Well Ted here is Caucasian so he gets to have an actual toy car, whilst Andrew over there is Asian so he can just have a very realistic cut-out drawing of the car.. ┬ábut Andrew should really just be grateful that he gets anything at all”. If marriage is really no better than civil unions, then why aren’t most straight couples happy to settle for a civil union rather than marriage? The availability of civil unions is easy to promote for someone who has full legal rights to marry; how can you possibly justify this argument to someone who doesn’t? Nobody wants to be treated as a second-class citizen. To those who would support this argument, answer a simple question for me… How would you feel if you weren’t allowed to legally marry the person you loved and wanted to spend the rest of your life with? Would you be happy to settle for something less?

3. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination

And of course, since our society is governed by religion, gays should not be allowed to marry as this will encourage the false belief that it is “OK” to be gay …. wait… hang on….

I strongly believe in the right to religious freedom. We live in a multicultural society, with people from all sorts of backgrounds and who hold all sorts of religious beliefs. Having said that, Australia is a secular society, which it seems, some people have failed to recognise and accept. Individuals and communities have the right to believe whatever they will, but they do not have the right to impose those beliefs on the wider community, let alone on the governance of a nation, as is clearly reflected in this little thing called the separation of church and state… I dunno, you may have heard of it…

Once again, I strongly believe in the right to religious freedom. I am not a fan of organised religion and I have no desire to practice it… so I don’t. I don’t go to church, I don’t pray, and I don’t read the bible. But the other thing I don’t do is I don’t tell people what they can and cannot do as part of their religion. I don’t sign petitions for the government to limit the freedom that religious people have. And do you know why? Because at the end of the day, what you do within the confines of your community has nothing to do with me and I know that it is not my place. I may not always agree with what some Christians believe, but as long as what they believe does not have any direct impact on me (in other words, Christians are not telling me what to do with my life), then frankly, I don’t give a shit! Why can’t some Christians give gays the same amount of respect?

4. Gay marriage is a threat to the sanctity of marriage

I really don’t understand how one couple’s marriage effects another’s? Much like how I don’t understand, to quote Wanda Sykes, “people all up in arms over shit that don’t effect them”.

What does the ‘sanctity’ of marriage even mean? As a former christian, I understand the term ‘sanctity’ to refer to being ‘holy’ or ‘sacred’. Therefore, I would understand the sanctity of marriage to be referring to that in which a marriage between two people is considered holy, sacred, or set apart. Marriage is not like any other relationship. Marriage is special. Marriage is a blessing. I fundamentally believe these things. I ask then, what is it about two women or two men that makes them incapable, or less capable, of making a lifelong commitment to one another? Which do you think is a bigger threat to the sanctity of marriage.. love between two people of the same-sex… or adultery? It’s a tough one, I know…

Perhaps those of the Christian faith would also argue that the sanctity of marriage refers to God imparting his blessing upon the union. Since some Christians (and I say some because not all Christians/Catholics believe this) believe God is vehemently against same-sex relationships, marriage between two people of the same-sex would defy God’s “design” of marriage and he would therefore refuse to give his blessing to such a union. Nevertheless, people of any religious belief, even no belief, are allowed to get married, so long as the marriage is between a man and a woman. Naturally, non-christians would have a celebrant in place of a minister or priest, yet they still have the right to be legally married. Marriage in our society, once again, a secular society, no longer requires the blessing of God. Why then, should atheists have the right to marry, for example, when gays do not? This is a double-standard.

5. The purpose of marriage is to have children. Same-sex couples cannot biologically procreate so they should not have the right to marry.

I understand this argument to be based on the part of the Bible in which God commands Adam and Eve to fill the earth with their offspring. One of the purposes of marriage, as believed by Christians, is extrapolated from this command. The fact is though that the world is no longer underpopulated – it is the opposite! The relevancy of this command in today’s society is therefore lost.

Furthermore, the logical conclusion of this argument is not just for gays, but for all infertile couples in general, yet the law does not state that one must be willing and physically able to have children in order to be married. Several couples who do not wish to have children still choose to get married – fortunately, they have that right. On the flip side, several couples who do not wish to get married still end up having children. Clearly, having children is not a prerequisite for marriage and vice versa.

6. Gay marriage is a threat to children and families; children develop best when they have a mother and a father.

The idea that a man and woman make better parents than two men or two women, just because of the fact that they are a man and a woman, is a simplistic notion that does not have any empirical grounds. Both the American and the Australian Psychological Associations agree that children raised by same-sex couples are no worse off than children raised by heterosexual couples. Belonging to a certain gender does not make one a better parent. A child could have an abusive or alcoholic mother or father, yet if the logical conclusion of this argument were followed, they would be deemed to be better off than a child raised by two loving, supportive mothers or fathers. This is obviously not true. I think many would agree that it is the quality of love and support given by parents that make a child better off, rather than something as superficial as their parents’ gender. The concept of family is often also more than just blood. Just because a child has two mothers or two fathers, it does not mean that they cannot have positive role models of the other respective sex in their life.

Furthermore, having a father and a mother does not make a family immune to the consequences of divorce. Children of divorce often experience significant stress and trauma. It follows then, that a marriage between a man and woman does not necessarily mean that children born of such a union will be better off then children of same-sex parents. And what about single parents? If this argument is to be sustained, shouldn’t there then be a law against single-parenting and divorce?

Linked to this is the argument that children with same-sex parents usually experience a great deal of distress as a result of bullying. The solution to this problem is not to refuse same-sex couples the right to marry, but to make our society more accepting and less discriminatory. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry indirectly teaches children that it is OK to bully kids who come from same-sex parent families. Legalising gay marriage would be an important step towards teaching society that Carol’s Mum and Dad are no better parents than Casey’s Mums or David’s Dads and that kids from heterosexual families have no right to bully kids from same-sex families.

7. Slippery slope argument. “If gays are allowed to marry, next thing they’ll be pushing for pedophilia and bestiality to be legalised!”

Proponents of this argument are forgetting one thing… a relationship between two consenting adults is not the same as a relationship between an adult and a child or an animal. To place homosexuality in the same category as pedophilia and bestiality is extremely offensive and ignorant. I don’t think it is necessary to say anything further on this.

8. If gay marriage is legalised, priests and ministers will be put in an awkward position where they will be forced to solemnise marriages against their will.
Not true, as demonstrated by the recent motion passed by the NSW Legislative Council.

So.. Thoughts?