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Same Sex Marriage

1. What could be wrong with affirming two people’s love and commitment to each
other?
 More traditional understanding of the sort of thing that marriage is, our
hypothetical interlocutor could ask: ‘what could be wrong with society expecting
all LGBT persons willingly to commit themselves to the norm of lifelong, sexually
exclusive relationships between two persons of the same or opposite sex, to
reserve sexual relations for such bonds, to form a culture that reinforces and
supports them, to privatize displays of sexuality (though not necessarily romantic
affection), and to form a society that is ordered towards the needs and the raising
of a new generation?’ Marriage culture is binding on everyone, not merely on
those who get married. The fact that a question of this form is so rarely asked is
telling on a number of fronts. In particular, it reveals that society in general is
largely leaving behind the idea of a ‘marriage culture’. With it the idea of marriage
as an institution designed to serve and strengthen society’s fabric is being
jettisoned in favour of the idea of marriage as a private lifestyle choice that should
be underwritten, affirmed, and increasingly freed from external restrictions.
 With its affirmation of the equality of same-sex relationships to opposite sex
relationships and its puncturing of heteronormativity, there really isn’t great
enthusiasm for marriage culture within most quarters of LGBT communities. A
campaign for same-sex marriage that is championed by a significant number of
persons who are ambivalent, resistant, or even hostile to marriage culture isn’t
really going to help an institution that is already ailing within our society. One of
the things that have been most concerning in the recent debates is realizing just
how extensive this departure from marriage culture in Western society actually is.

2. Isn’t it discriminatory for it to be illegal for two men or two women to marry?
 The legalization of inter-racial marriage is frequently taken as an analogy for the
present same-sex marriage debates. The contrast between the two examples is
illuminating, however. There was general agreement that an inter-racial marriage
was a possible entity. The debate was purely over whether the possibility should
be a legal one. However, there is not the same agreement that a same-sex
marriage is a possible entity.
 This also reveals that the claim of discrimination isn’t as straightforward as
assumed. Discrimination (and, more particularly, unjust discrimination) was
clearly operative in the case of inter-racial marriages. However, if a same-sex
marriage is an impossible entity it doesn’t make sense to say that it is being
discriminated against.
 Even were we to grant that same-sex marriage were a possible entity, however,
discrimination against it would not necessarily be wrong. Despite the careless

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contemporary uses of the term, ‘discrimination’ is not a bad thing per se.
Discrimination, when it recognizes the various natures and ends of things and
treats different things differently, is very healthy. For instance, we discriminate
when we establish ages of marital consent. We recognize that mature consent is
conducive to the health of marriage, individuals, and society and so we restrict
people below certain ages from marrying. Discrimination only becomes
problematic when the grounds upon which we are discriminating are not good
ones.
3. Shouldn’t we seek to treat all people equally?
 We should never discriminate between persons or entities on the basis of
irrelevant criteria. However, when we are trying to have a debate about the
natures and ends of particular realities and which criteria are relevant in particular
contexts, to speak about equality merely begs the question. We all agree that
equal things should be treated equally: the challenge for proponents of same-sex
marriage is to prove that, relative to the ends and nature of marriage, same-sex
pairings are actually equal to opposite sex pairings. ‘Equality’ rhetoric simply
dodges this difficult task.
4. Why should same-sex couples be denied rights in areas such as inheritance or visitation?
 I do not believe that they should. However, there are ways to grant or secure such
rights without redefining marriage. To redefine an institution as fundamental to
human society as marriage for the sole purpose of addressing such problems is
extreme overkill. More troubling, the suggestion that one not infrequently
encounters that it would be a sufficient rationale for doing so betrays an
alarmingly hollow view of what marriage actually stands for.
5. Doesn’t all opposition to same-sex marriage boil down to homophobia and opposition
to gay sex?
 No. One does not have to exclude LGBT persons from those to whom we owe
equitable treatment and recognition of personal dignity in order to oppose same-
sex marriage. Opposition to same-sex marriage can be quite consistent with
support for civil rights for LGBT persons more generally. The arguments that I have
raised against same-sex marriage here and elsewhere do not presuppose
opposition of homosexual relations, nor even to their recognition by society. The
question that we are addressing here is not about the morality of homosexual
practice (a question that must be addressed in its own place), but about the
meaning of marriage.
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Pro to same sex marriage
 Denying some people the option to marry is discriminatory and creates a second class of
citizens. On July 25, 2014 Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel ruled
Florida's gay marriage ban unconstitutional and stated that the ban "serves only to hurt,
to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label
and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in
one of the fundamental institutions of our society." Christine Gregoire, former
Washington governor, said in Jan. 2012: "Throughout our history, we have fought
discrimination. We have joined together to recognize equality for racial minorities,
women, people with disabilities, immigrants... [Legalizing gay marriage] is the right thing
to do and it is time." US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, in
overturning same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana in Sep. 2014, wrote that
the bans "discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic." As well
as discrimination based on sexual orientation, gay marriage bans discriminate based on
one's sex. As explained by David S. Cohen, JD, Associate Professor at the Drexel University
School of Law, "Imagine three people—Nancy, Bill, and Tom... Nancy, a woman, can marry
Tom, but Bill, a man, cannot... Nancy can do something (marry Tom) that Bill cannot,
simply because Nancy is a woman and Bill is a man."
 Same-sex couples should have access to the same benefits enjoyed by heterosexual
married couples. There are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections available to married
couples in federal law alone, according to a General Accounting Office assessment made
in 2004. Benefits only available to married couples include hospital visitation during an
illness, the option of filing a joint tax return to reduce a tax burden, access to family health
coverage, US residency and family unification for partners from another country, and
bereavement leave and inheritance rights if a partner dies. Married couples also have
access to protections if the relationship ends, such as child custody, spousal or child
support, and an equitable division of property. Married couples in the US armed forces
are offered health insurance and other benefits unavailable to domestic partners. The
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the US Department of Labor also recognize married
couples, for the purpose of granting tax, retirement and health insurance benefits. The
US federal government does not grant equivalent benefits to gay couples in civil unions
or domestic partnerships. An Oct. 2, 2009 analysis by the New York Times estimated that
same-sex couples denied marriage benefits will incur an additional $41,196 to $467,562
in expenses over their lifetimes compared with married heterosexual couples. A Jan. 2014
analysis published by the Atlantic concluded that unmarried women pay up to one million
dollars more over their lifetimes than married women for healthcare, taxes, and other
expenses.
 The concept of “traditional marriage” has changed over time, and the definition of
marriage as always being between one man and one woman is historically inaccurate.
Harvard University historian Nancy F. Cott stated that until two centuries ago,
"monogamous households were a tiny, tiny portion" of the world's population, and were
found only in "Western Europe and little settlements in North America." Polygamy has
been widespread throughout history, according to Brown University political scientist
Rose McDermott, PhD. Interracial marriage was once illegal in a majority of US states, and

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was still banned in half of US states until the 1950s. Official unions between same-sex
couples, indistinguishable from marriages except for gender, are believed by some
scholars to have been common until the 13th Century in many countries, with the
ceremonies performed in churches and the union sealed with a kiss between the two
parties.
 Marriage is an internationally recognized human right for all people. Since 1888 the US
Supreme Court has declared 14 times that marriage is a fundamental right for all,
according to the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Article 16 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights guarantees "men and women of full age, without any
limitation due to race, nationality or religion... the right to marry and to found a family.
They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution."
[103] Amnesty International states that "this non-discrimination principle has been
interpreted by UN treaty bodies and numerous inter-governmental human rights bodies
as prohibiting discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. Non-discrimination
on grounds of sexual orientation has therefore become an internationally recognized
principle."
 Marriage is not only for procreation, otherwise infertile couples or couples not wishing to
have children would be prevented from marrying. Ability or desire to create offspring has
never been a qualification for marriage. From 1970 through 2012 roughly 30% of all US
households were married couples without children, and in 2012, married couples without
children outnumbered married couples with children by 9%. 6% of married women aged
15-44 are infertile, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a
2010 Pew Research Center survey, both married and unmarried people rated love,
commitment, and companionship higher than having children as "very important"
reasons to get married, and only 44% of unmarried people and 59% of married people
rated having children as a very important reason. Several US presidents never had their
own biological children, including George Washington, often referred to as "the Father of
Our Country." As US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan noted, a marriage license would
be granted to a couple in which the man and woman are both over the age of 55, even
though "there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage."
 Legalizing gay marriage will not harm the institution of marriage, and same-sex marriages
may even be more stable than heterosexual marriages. A study published on Apr. 13,
2009 in Social Science Quarterly found that "[l]aws permitting same-sex marriage or civil
unions have no adverse effect on marriage, divorce, and abortion rates, [or] the percent
of children born out of wedlock." A Nov. 2011 study by UCLA's Williams Institute reported
that the rate at which legally recognized same-sex couples (in marriages or civil unions,
etc.) end their relationships is 1.1% on average, while 2% of married different-sex couples
divorce annually. The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association found
that more than a century of research has shown "no support whatsoever for the view that
either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively
heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a
vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can
contribute to stable and humane societies."

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Con to same sex marriage
 Children need both a mother and a father. Girls who are raised apart from their fathers
are reportedly at higher risk for early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy. Children
without a mother are deprived of the emotional security and unique advice that mothers
provide. A 2012 study by Mark Regnerus, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology at the
University of Texas at Austin, found that children raised by parents who had same-sex
relationships suffered more difficulties in life (including sexual abuse and unemployment
in later life) than children raised by "intact biological famil[ies]." Doug Mainwaring, the
openly gay co-founder of National Capital Tea Party Patriots, stated that "it became
increasingly apparent to me, even if I found somebody else exactly like me, who loved my
kids as much as I do, there would still be a gaping hole in their lives because they need a
mom... I don't want to see children being engineered for same-sex couples where there
is either a mom missing or a dad missing."
 Legalizing gay marriage could lead down a “slippery slope,” giving people in polygamous,
incestuous, bestial, and other nontraditional relationships the right to marry. Glen Lavy,
JD, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, argued in a May 21, 2008 Los Angeles
Times op-ed, "The movement for polygamy and polyamory is poised to use the successes
of same-sex couples as a springboard for further de-institutionalizing marriage." In Apr.
2013 Slate writer Jillian Keenan wrote: "Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or
worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not
inherently more or less 'correct' than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting
adults." James C. Dobson, Founder and Chairman of Focus on the Family, predicted in
2005 that legalizing same-sex marriage will enable "group marriage," "marriage between
daddies and little girls," and "marriage between a man and his donkey."
 Marriage is a privilege, not a right. The US Constitution contains no explicit right to marry.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on June 24, 2010 that the state has a valid
interest in protecting the traditional definition of marriage, and stated that the
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms "enshrined
the traditional concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman." Society can
choose not to allow same-sex couples to marry, just as it does not allow a person to marry
more than one partner or allow minors or close relatives to marry. Matthew D. Staver, JD,
Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, explained: "The unifying characteristics of
the protected classes within the Civil Rights Act of 1964 include (1) a history of
longstanding, widespread discrimination, (2) economic disadvantage, and (3) immutable
characteristics... 'Sexual orientation' does not meet any of the three objective criteria
shared by the historically protected civil rights categories."
 Allowing gay couples to wed could further weaken the institution of marriage. Traditional
marriage is already threatened with high divorce rates (between 40% and 50%), and

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40.7% of babies were born to unmarried mothers in 2012. Former US Senator (R-PA) and
presidential candidate Rick Santorum stated that "Legalization of gay marriage would
further undermine an institution that is essential to the well-being of children and our
society. Do we need to confuse future generations of Americans even more about the
role and importance of an institution that is so critical to the stability of our country?"
Ryan T. Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage
Foundation, said "In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view
that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs... Redefining marriage to include
same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional
intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds."
 Gay marriage will accelerate the assimilation of gays into mainstream heterosexual
culture to the detriment of the homosexual community. The gay community has created
its own vibrant culture. By reducing the differences in opportunities and experiences
between gay and heterosexual people, this unique culture may cease to exist. Lesbian
activist M.V. Lee Badgett, PhD, Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration
at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, stated that for many gay activists
"marriage means adopting heterosexual forms of family and giving up distinctively gay
family forms and perhaps even gay and lesbian culture." Paula Ettelbrick, JD, Professor of
Law and Women's Studies, wrote in 1989, "Marriage runs contrary to two of the primary
goals of the lesbian and gay movement: the affirmation of gay identity and culture and
the validation of many forms of relationships."
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Euthanasia

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