Thursday, 23 February 2012

A Short Summary and Critique of Peter Tatchell's Arguments for Same Sex Marriage

If you ever open a newspaper or turn on the TV you should be aware about the current drive to change the definition of marriage to include same sex couples. I've just finished watching a short discussion on the issue and thought I would weigh in with a brief summary and response to some of the arguments made by the prominent same sex marriage activist Peter Tatchell. This is by no means meant to be an extensive response to the complexities of the subject, but just a few quick points on the matter.


But we love each other...

Marriage is more than just two people loving each other, at its core it is an institution between one man and one women for the principle of having and raising children in a safe and healthy environment. If we are to follow the argument that love alone is the key factor in marriage then we are legitimately entitled to ask same sex marriage advocates why they are not in support and 'tolerant' of plural marriage, and if not why not since they also evidently love each other. Many critics argue that legalised same sex marriage won't necessarily lead to plural marriage but when nearly every argument flows from the same logic its difficult to argue that this won't be the case. After all how can we deny the right of marriage to those in plural relationships, what moral principle stops us from getting to that point if we grant the assumptions of same-sex marriage advocates?



Its intolerant...

Being tolerant used to mean that you could disagree with something or someone yet still treat them respectfully and without scorn, for instance I don't agree with Muslims that Islam is true. Yet I treat Muslims with respect and have Muslim friends, it is quite possible to disagree agreeably, I don't think anyone would argue that disagreement is synonymous with me being intolerant or being Islamophobic. However if one is to disagree with the case for same sex marriage you are automatically branded as intolerant and homophobic which seems wholly unfair. The fear of being branded as such has meant many people feel pressured to agree or risk being at the brunt of a rhetorical avalanche from same sex marriage advocates. If same sex marriage advocates were so serious about being tolerant its surprising they are ideologically opposed to being tolerant of those who oppose redefining marriage, the inconsistency of the way tolerance is used is telling.

Its about our rights...

It is argued regularly that its about rights, but in fact same sex partners in civil partnerships have all the same rights as those who are married do here in the UK, with the name designating an inherent difference between the two. From a legal perspective civil partnerships have access to all the benefits, responsibilities and rights that married couples do, as seen below

  • Benefits that are income-related will be considered in regards to joint treatment
  • Tax, including inheritance tax
  • Benefits from state pensions will also become a joint treatment
  • The duty of providing maintenance to your partner and any children of either party
  • Each party of the union will become a parental figure and thus become responsible for any children either person may have
  • Inheritance in regards to an agreement of tenancy
  • Domestic violence protection
  • Access to compensation of fatal accidents
  • Succeed to rights of tenancy
  • The registration of civil partnership will have merit for the purposes of immigration
  • Hospital visiting rights as next of kin
  • Like traditional marriage, those that are involved in a civil partnership are exempt from being required to testify in court against one another
  • Each partner has the responsibility to be assessed for child support, in the same manner as that of civil marriages
  • Treatment comparable to that of a civil marriage in regards to life assurance
  • Benefits that arise from Pension and Employment [1]
So as you can see it has nothing to do with desiring equal rights, responsibilities and benefits that married couples have since they already have them. This demonstrates that at its heart this has little to do with rights but with an ideology that wants to enforce its views on society with little regard to the long term effects on society. Such affects as demeaning the institution of marriage itself. Legalisation of same sex marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands has slowly eroded the value of marriage in these cultures and it would be presumptuous to think that this would not be the case here in the UK [2].

Language...

Names are important, they distinguish between different things or people, in this case a civil partnership and marriage, although the rights are similar when it comes to function and the practical aspects of the union we are talking about something very different. Marriage provides an environment that as stated earlier is for the principle of having and nurturing those children to adulthood. Out of principle same-sex couples cannot do this since they must always involve a third person, this is just one of several differences, when things are in fact different it is necessary for there to be a distinction in the terms used to describe different institution's. Hence marriage and civil partnerships are different and it seems legitimate to distinguish between the two of them. (An addition for people who seem to misunderstand the term 'principle', couples who can't have children naturally don't affect the 'principle' of marriage being a place to have and raise children.)

Also it should be added that homosexual people have the same rights to marry as heterosexuals dependant on that person being of the right age, marital status and sex, taking into account the traditional definition of marriage. There have always been limitations, for instance an adult does not have the right to marry a child or an immediate family member. Marriage denotes a life-long partnership between one man and women, that is an inherent part of its definition, seeking to change it is like trying to redefine a decade as something other than ten years.

It's racist...

This is a wholly cheap, and illogical argument that holds no weight and should be avoided by those whom seek to persuade critics of same sex marriage. There is simply no comparison between the fight for American civil rights and the previous bans on interracial marriage and the struggle for recognition of same sex marriage today and to do so is to put it bluntly, historically ignorant.

Nothing in interracial marriage would have redefined traditional heterosexual marriage since it included one man and one women, removing the laws that banned it didn't redefine marriage and instead confirmed it. Race and ethnicity are insignificant in terms of marriage where as gender is clearly significant if marriage is defined as a union between one man and one women only. Clearly, arguing that race, something that can't be changed is in the same category as a type of sexual behaviour is a category mistake since there is evidence that people can and have changed sexual preferences where as it is impossible to change ones race [3].


Some research...

One of the principles of marriage is to promote the stability of a stable home environment for children to be nurtured and to see good examples through their parents about what it means to be a man or a women. Men and women are different and these differences are what create the possibility of forming a life-long union. Marriage is supposed to promote stability, however within the homosexual community monogamy and commitment are not synonymous with the way heterosexual couples may use the terms. Relationships within the homosexual community are noticeably more about sex than about an all encompassing, life-long commitment to just one person. Research again and again has supported the claim that homosexuals are more promiscuous both in and out of a relationship setting, something that has obvious implications if one were to redefine marriage. A Canadian study of homosexual men recorded that only 25% of homosexual men in a committed relationship lasting longer than one year had remained monogamous during that relationship, the studies author had this to say "Gay culture allows men to explore different...forms of relationships besides the monogamy coveted by heterosexuals." [4].


Another study that looked at 156 homosexual relationships by David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison discovered that only 7 couples remained completely exclusive and monogamous during the time together, however those 7 couples had all been together for less than 5 years. This means that all of the homosexual couples that had been together for more than 5 years had made some provision for extra-relational sexual activity in their relationships [5].

Clearly this suggests that monogamy and fidelity are not viewed in the same way in the community and there is no doubt that this will have dramatic implications if it is acceptable for future married couples to function in a way where it is acceptable to remain promiscuous in a stable and committed 'marriage'.

Now some will suggest that people within heterosexual marriages still have extra-marital sexual partners which clearly is not perfect however there is a dramatic and marked difference in rates of fidelity. Fidelity between married couples is between 75-90% yet homosexual men in what was their current relationship was as low as 4.5% [6]. If marriage is contingent upon commitment and marital faithfulness then the differences between how they are viewed are of the highest importance and to pretend that these differences don't exist is to set marriage in the direction of irrelevance it now is in Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

Same-sex couples are also more likely to break up than relationships between heterosexual couples, this has obvious implications when children are brought into the equation [7]. We already know that the best environment is within a stable family environment, so it brings into question whether we should be supportive of an addition to the institution of marriage that we know may increase the likelihood of more broken families.

There is also a pool of research that suggest that same-sex couples are more likely to be victim's of domestic violence and abuse, again within a family unit where children may be involved should we be supporting same-sex marriage when there may be an increased likelihood that children will be witnesses to violence and abuse between their 'parents'? In a survey of 1099 lesbians, over half stated that they had been victims of some form of abuse from a sexual partner [8]. Domestic violence among male same sex couples in some studies has been over double that of heterosexual couples [9]. Now I'm not trying to tar all gay couples with the same brush but such statistics are particularly significant taking into account the seriousness of the proposed changes to society.



In Conclusion...


Peter Tatchell's arguments used in support of same-sex marriage during his short discussion were unconvincing and depended far more on misusing rhetorical buzz-words like tolerance and rights without providing anything of substance that would suggest that redefining marriage is necessary. It is not intolerant to be unsupportive of same-sex marriage especially when a lawful institution already exists in civil partnerships that gives them all the rights and responsibilities they had previously been campaigning for.

The legalising of same-sex marriage and its subsequent redefinition has had dramatic effects in the value of marriage where this has been the case and this should be openly discussed, not hidden from those who generally only hear one side of the story. If we are as a nation to be asked about radically redefining one of our oldest social institutions we should at the very least be well informed about the possible side-effects on our society and families. Clearly heterosexual relationships function differently from homosexual ones, men and women are wired differently physiologically and when two people of the same sex are in a relationship this undoubtedly will play out in the relationship, we ignore this at our peril. Longer-term same-sex relationships differ from heterosexual on several levels, such as duration, promiscuity, commitment and inter-relational violence all of which have obvious effects on how we would think about marriage.

A side note...

I have a range of friends from the LGBT community, I always without reservation treat them equally since we are all regardless of our sexual preferences created in the image of God and as a follower of Jesus I am commanded to treat others as I should expect to be treated [Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:34-40]. I do not hate or look down upon people from the LGBT community I simply do not agree that it is appropriate to redefine marriage for ideological purposes that have been demonstrated to impact both society and the family. The UK provides civil partnerships for same-sex couples and I'm of the personal opinion that, that provides a suitable way for same-sex couples to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other. It is difficult to get tone across when writing but please be assured that I have not meant to be rude, however I found Peter Tatchell's arguments to be less than convincing.


You can watch the discussion for yourselves below



The Coalition for Marriage Website can be viewed here. The Coalition For Marriage  draws from a range of both religious and secular beliefs.

[1] http://www.civilpartnershipinfo.co.uk/ [Viewed 23/2/12]

[2] http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/03/10/death_of_marriage_in_scandinavia/ [Viewed 23/2/12]

[3] http://www.wnd.com/2007/07/42379/ [Viewed 23/2/12]

[4] Ryan Lee, "Gay Couples Likely to Try Non-monogamy, Study Shows," Washington Blade (August 22, 2003): 18.

[5] David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1984): 252, 253.

[6] Laumann, The Social Organization of Sexuality, 216; McWhirter and Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (1984): 252-253; Wiederman, "Extramarital Sex," 170.

[7] Kurdek, L. A. (1998). Relationship outcomes and their predictors: Longitudinal evidence from heterosexual married, gay cohabiting, and lesbian cohabiting couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60, 553-568.

[8]  Gwat Yong Lie and Sabrina Gentlewarrier, "Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications," Journal of Social Service Research 15 (1991): 46.

[9]  Gwat Yong Lie and Sabrina Gentlewarrier, "Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications," Journal of Social Service Research 15 (1991): 46.

11 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1. If you truly believe same sex marriage will lead to the allowance of plural marriages then you are as ignorant as the people you rail against throughout this article. That argument has no weight and is used as a scare tactic the same way same sex marriage might lead to inter-species marriage or marriage to inanimate objects. It's illogical and you're better than that.

    2. You may not agree with Muslims, but do you deny them any rights you have? Why is it different with homosexual couples?

    3. I'm sure there is evidence that many heterosexual married couples exist outside your traditional view of marriage. Swingers, open relationships, partners allowing their other partner to find satisfaction because one partner is unable to fulfill another's desires all exist within a heterosexual marriage. Why are these couples still allowed to marry in your traditional view?

    4. If you are truly friends with people within LGBT community then you know being gay is not a choice. It's not sexual behaviour, it's sexual being. And to deny someone a simple right because they have sex differently than you is outrageous and holds no merit and never will.

    5. The reason no real evidence supporting same-sex couples who raise families because you have denied them the right to raise families. How do you test something you are against? I can't test my love for flying because I'm not able to fly. If we allowed these couples to take on these responsibilities then I guarantee you would find millions of couples who just want to raise a family and raise good people. You act like homosexual couples aren't religious and would instill no morals into their children. That's a ludicrous assumption and you should be ashamed for even suggesting that, no matter who obtuse you were in getting there. It's easy to read between the lines.

    6. You don't think it's fair to redefine marriage based on ideological purposes yet you are very happy to define it with your own. Tell me how that's fair. Tell me how it's fair to deny a human being the right to legally enter into a commitment with another human being. Please, explain to me how that's fair. Tell me how a completely benevolent, loving, creator would deny his creation that opportunity.

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  3. Daniel, you are right to say disagreeing with someone is not intolerant, however, to use Islam as an example; imagine if traditionally marriage was created only for Christians. Would it be intolerant if you were to hold to the position that Muslims should be excluded from the constitutions of marriage because traditionally it wasn’t for them? I would say yes.

    We invented the constitution of marriage and there is no reason we can’t expand it as we learn and understand more about ourselves.

    For some it’s not just about civil rights, it is about acceptance. Imagine if you heard a statement like; “Black people have the same civil rights as everyone else, they just can’t be referred to as ‘citizens’ because it breaks away from what we traditionally believe a citizen was.” Would you think this was unfair to black people? How would you feel being denied something available to everyone else because you were born white?

    To deny gay couples the right to marriage is like telling someone they can’t eat chocolate because you’re on a diet.

    You’re on the losing side Daniel, humanity will move forward with or without you.

    Peace

    Jason

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  4. Ryan and Jason, thanks for taking the time to reply to my article, I will respond primarily to Ryan's post but hopefully some of the points Jason made will also be covered.

    1. I'm not strictly arguing from the 'slippery slope' perspective, in states where same-sex marriage has been made legal there have already been several attempts to argue the case for plural marriage on the basis of the arguments in favour of the same-sex case. I'm not trying to use scare tactics, this is simply the reality of what's at hand.

    2. The analogy is what it is, an analogy, like any analogy it has its limits. But yes I do deny some of the rights they wish to have here in the UK, Sharia law comes to mind. The focus of the point was that even though I disagree with their case I shouldn't de facto be labelled a Islamo or homo-phobic simply because I disagree with you, it may score rhetorical points but it doesn't address the matter at hand.

    3. The Law is open to abuse, likewise with marriage, people may be part of it and enjoy it to its fullest or they may abuse it as many have chosen to do. Your argument doesn't support your case since even if same-sex couples got married they are also likely to abuse the institution so the point is really mute. People misuse a whole host of things that most people don't but that doesn't necessarily mean that thing is in need of change or refinement.

    4. I know many people who have been straight and have ended up being gay, I also know people who have been gay and ended up being heterosexual. There are numerous examples of people who have exhibited choice in matters of sexuality, sexual behaviour is something we do, not who we are. Its not about how they have sex, they can do what they like but the fact that marriage as a union is for one man and one women, they have the same rights already and its called a civil partnership. Its called something different because it is different, 2 people of different sex getting married would be different to 2 people of the same sex getting married. We use language to distinguish between different things, this being a case in point.

    5. Ryan, no-where have or did I argue that homosexual couples couldn't raise children to be people who would be of value to society! I agree that there is little data regarding homosexual families for obvious reasons as you noted. 'If we allowed these couples to take on these responsibilities then I guarantee you would find millions of couples who just want to raise a family and raise good people.' The same could be said of plural marriage as-well.

    My theological position is that we all have Gods general revelation and that we are all able to posses moral truths so I would never argue that a non-Christian couldn't be moral only that they can't sufficiently anchor those moral beliefs epistemologically speaking.

    6. 'You don't think it's fair to redefine marriage based on ideological purposes yet you are very happy to define it with your own. Tell me how that's fair. Tell me how it's fair to deny a human being the right to legally enter into a commitment with another human being.'

    I don't, I'm perfectly happy for homosexual couples to have civil partnerships and be legally committed, something they already have. All I'm arguing for that is that it isn't marriage because it is 2 people of the same sex which is distinguished by a clarification in its name.

    Its difficult to get tone across, so please don't take my writing to be aggressive or rude, I don't mean it to be. Thanks for taking the time to respond and I'd love to hear your further thoughts on the matter.

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    Replies
    1. 1. As an American who watches the marriage debate closely I've never heard of any argument to allow a plural marriage once gay marriage was approved. Would you mind showing me some fact-based evidence on that?

      2. You would deny a Muslim to create law based on their belief system, but you are allowed to create/enforce them based on yours? I don't understand that. Why are they excluded and you are not?

      3. But your claim doesn't make it any stronger. Adding homosexual couples does nothing to change infidelity in marriage or any other act that would make the commitment less honorable than it already is. Why do only one part of a population get the choice to live in marriage because of your beliefs?

      4. It's only different because you believe it should be. The only real argument you can give against allowing gay couples to marry is a religion based one. You do have random facts that are most likely countered somewhere with other random facts, but the bottom of your argument is based on your religion. Because the Bible tells me so is not an argument.

      5. I went to a performing arts university because of an excellent writing program they had. It was my introduction to gay men/women there. I am from a very small city in Texas and held many of your same views. Then I got to know people for who they were and my views changed. People experimented with different sexual encounters there and a few of them would have told you it was their choice to do such things. Most were either straight or gay and there was no change in their preference. So I will not argue that people's preference may change, but that does not make your idea that they can't be married any stronger. It is your religious belief that does.

      5. Ok, I took your statements about an increase in domestic abuse/violence to mean you didn't believe children should be raised with homosexual couples.

      6. You are still defining marriage based on your ideological views and nothing else. It's amazing the UK offers civil partnerships. It's a wonderful place to start. When they finally offer marriage you will see how your beliefs, ideas about life and everything else will stay exactly the same. The only difference will be someone, somewhere, will live the life you are already allowed to have.

      I think even if your intent was not be rude or aggressive, you still were. Denying someone a simple right based on a religion is wrong. It's rude and aggressive. I'm arguing against your beliefs, because that is where your argument comes from. It's not a personal attack against you, but you are not allowed to tell someone what to do because God said so. Because at the end of the day, that is your argument.

      I know this argument is futile. You will believe what you want and so will I. I wish I was able to point out the many contradictions in the Bible when it comes to many issues. I wish I could better point out how Christians don't believe in the whole Bible, but only the parts that satisfy their actions and desires.

      It's futile though, because all you have to say is "I believe this..." or "It's a matter of faith..." and your argument is won. Most of the time without any factual proof. While you did find several statistics to back up your beliefs, there are statistics that argue the exact opposite.

      As I finished writing this I got sad. Sad because I can't believe this is an issue we have to care about. Sad because instead of donating my time, reading a book, writing a nice email to my wife or just going outside, I decided to argue with someone about how they don't believe everyone is equal. How they claim to serve a completely righteous God, but they deny people's right based on that's God's love.

      That's what you should apologize for.

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    2. '1. As an American who watches the marriage debate closely I've never heard of any argument to allow a plural marriage once gay marriage was approved. Would you mind showing me some fact-based evidence on that?'

      Here's one from Canada which demonstrates the logic I tried to pint out - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/nov/30/heterosexuality-canada-law-monogamy-polygamy

      'Now, I agree with Bauman in his defence of the importance of monogamous marriage to society. But I find it difficult to see the logic of defending monogamous marriage as the historic norm in the west when the laws of Canada have already departed from the principle that it is heterosexual, monogamous marriage that is essential to social stability. Put bluntly, if heterosexuality is no longer legally, morally or socially relevant to marriage, why should monogamy continue to be so important?' - Seems like a valid point!

      '2. You would deny a Muslim to create law based on their belief system, but you are allowed to create/enforce them based on yours? I don't understand that. Why are they excluded and you are not?'

      Marriage is not based on my beliefs, it is something that all men and women have been able to enjoy together for millennia, regardless of class, creed or race. Marriage is by definition something that means one man and one women, as I have previously stated if anyone wishes to radically change this they are creating a different institution. As I can only reiterate again, same-sex couples are different to heterosexual couples on a whole host of matters [I.E. having to always involve a third person to procreate etc], this different institution should be distinguished from marriage as we have done here in the UK. This is not a religious argument per se, there have been homosexual and secularists who don't want to redefine marriage so you are mistaken to bring this down to something purely religious.

      '3. But your claim doesn't make it any stronger. Adding homosexual couples does nothing to change infidelity in marriage or any other act that would make the commitment less honorable than it already is. Why do only one part of a population get the choice to live in marriage because of your beliefs?'

      Well it would though, there are tons of statistics and research that have compared heterosexual and homosexual relationships and they do function extremely differently. Again these difference must be differentiated in the legislation which I argue it is in the definitions of civil partnership and marriage. They would have all the legal rights as married couples albeit with a different name as we currently have here in the UK, I can't speak for the American situation.

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    3. '4. It's only different because you believe it should be. The only real argument you can give against allowing gay couples to marry is a religion based one. You do have random facts that are most likely countered somewhere with other random facts, but the bottom of your argument is based on your religion. Because the Bible tells me so is not an argument.'

      Its different because there is a difference between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples, to deny this is to be ideologically blind to the obvious. Men and women are wired differently, whether that be women having larger limbic systems than men etc, these all play a part in how couples relate and function with each other. Such differences are meant to compliment each-other within the marriage for the 'principle' of having and bringing up children in a safe, nurturing and healthy environment. All I'm arguing for is that the obvious should be differentiated, this is not a religious..the Bible told me so argument. I think marriage is important and the data overwhelmingly demonstrates that the value of marriage is eroded in places where same-sex marriage has been legalised. I'm not from the Bible-belt, I'm from the UK, I was not brought up in a religious home,I was a atheist and through my own exploration think that a Christian world-view is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying. Obviously you would disagree as you experience seems to have shown you otherwise.

      '5. Ok, I took your statements about an increase in domestic abuse/violence to mean you didn't believe children should be raised with homosexual couples.'

      Nope, just that we shouldn't ignore data and research that doesn't support our claims, in this case advocates of same-sex marriage lap-up positive research and ignore the negative. You can't ignore well-researched conclusions, if you choose to do so, you are no better than those you criticise for doing the same from a religious perspective.

      No-where have I argued that God said so therefore gay marriage is de facto wrong. Also no-where have I argued that my beliefs and arguments rest on some fuzzy faith, that would be disingenuous. You seem to be projecting encounters with some hill-billy bible belt Christian on to me. I think there is a rational basis for Christianity, its not based on some fuzzy feeling or the country or culture you were born into, its a reasonable world-view.

      I'm sorry that you felt sad, of course that has not been my intention and I apologise for that. What it comes down to is that I value marriage between a man and a women, I think it adds value to society which it has been proved to do. They are two different types of relationships and what I'm arguing for is that there should be a distinction between the two to distinguish these differences, that's it, nothing there about faith. I have no-where argued that people are not equal, I think we're all made in Gods image and have equal value and worth regardless of what we do. I can ground my by beliefs in equality, you however without God can only ground your views in the changing Zeitgeist of an ever-changing society.

      Sincerely

      Daniel

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    4. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/1/349.full#sec-23

      Here is a well researched article published by the American Academy of Paediatrics whose findings about the well being of children in same gender marriages/relationships run counter to what you are saying. (If you want, save yourself the time and go straight to the ‘commentary’ section to get a quick conclusion of their findings.)

      It would seem that from a scientific point of view the issue remains unresolved. So unfortunately it may not just be a case of us reading through the literature carefully because as one researcher wrote:

      “The conclusions of these studies have many political implications, thus making the studies very controversial. Evidence supporting either theory can be used in the war for and the war against the ethical treatment of gays, lesbians and bisexuals.”

      So we could spend a long time going back and forth, swapping research paper after research paper that agree with what we already believe, without any sign of resolve. So I will save myself the time, and indecently yours and get straight to what I think lies at the heart of the issue and then respectfully exit myself from the conversation.

      I think it’s no coincidence that your position on gay marriage happens to align with your religious and political beliefs, wether you admit this or not. I also think it’s no confidence that those who have a chip on their shoulder with religion happen to fight, quite passionately, against the perceived bigotry of those, like yourself, that rally against gay marriage. So part of the problem is getting through our underlying biases to try and look at this as objectively as possible, an impossible task it seems on both sides.

      You seem stuck on the idea that we have traditionally defined marriage under a certain set of precepts and to change these to encompass same sex couples would be doing some sort of injustice to the traditional idea of marriage. And I suppose in a way it would! But in the same way that new evidence in science should force us to revise our theories, so should new evidence in the social sphere force us to revise how we see things traditionally. (my case study as an example.)

      While I can’t definitively prove biologically that gay people do not have a choice in their sexuality, I can think of some persuasive observations.

      For one, many young gay and lesbian people have been brutally beaten and abused, some even killed because of who they are. I have a hard time believing that people would choose this abuse if they had a choice. I agree that we are not defined by our sexuality, but I think it is more than simply a choice. After all, when did you choose to be straight?

      Another is the examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom. If it exists outside of humans than I think this is a good sign post pointing us towards homosexuality not being merely the product of human choice, but perhaps something embedded in nature.

      In light of these (and more, but for lack of time I’ll leave them out) observations, I see no problem in expanding our concept of marriage to fit homosexuals. It is our choice after all; we did invent it to begin with. If gay people are allowed to marry, the sky won’t fall down and the world will keep spinning. As Ryan so wonderfully put it: “The only difference will be someone, somewhere, will live the life you are already allowed to have.”

      I’m still learning a lot about this topic myself and I’m sure as I continue my studies in psychology I will learn even more. I’ll be sure to drop by when I do!

      Peace Daniel

      Jason

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    5. Thank you Jason for being calmer than I apparently am able to be.

      Daniel, I'm not projecting anything because I believe that without your religious convictions this might not be the same issue for you. At the end of the day you are driven by them. I'm a Christian. I believe in one God. Jesus is my savior. My views are not based on a hillbilly encounter. Some of my best friends are hillbillies, being from Texas and all.

      However, as a Christian I can't allow people to be defined as something different. God created us to love one another. To share in our lives together. I do not care who they share their lives with as long as two adults decide they want to live together in love. Yes, I believe marriage should be between two people.

      Canada has had gay marriage for nearly a decade. The only problem I can tell that has created is they still take hockey a little too seriously. The article which you cited is defending monogamy, not heterosexual marriage. The judge lambasted against polygamy, as he should have. The person you quoted is only giving their belief. The same way you are.

      Maybe it's unfair for me to say your religious beliefs are your guiding light. Maybe you do truly believe that marriage was somehow created as between a man and woman.

      Do you also believe I have the right to keep slaves?

      Do you also believe that woman should not have the right to vote?

      Do you also believe that children should be allowed to work 12-14 hours a day?

      Of course you don't, because these ideas have changed. We've grown as a society and found how some of our beliefs/traditions are outdated and don't fit anymore. Allowing any two people who love each to consider themselves married will be one of the next items on that list.

      You once again say you are not arguing against equality, but you are. In my country it was only about 50 years ago that black men/women/children were forced to drink out of different water fountains. They were forced to use separate toilets. They were forced to the back of buses when white people wanted to sit in front. They weren't allowed to go to the same schools as white people. It was called separate but equal and it was the law. People within our government and citizens argued passionately that anything less than this was wrong. That this was the definition because black people were different than white people.

      It was wrong. You say since civil partnerships are allowed that homosexual couples are getting everything else, but the name of marriage you cling to. Do you think those black Americans felt equal? They had everything the white people did, just on the other side of the room. Why did we even care they wanted to use the same water fountain or toilet? We can't go against years of tradition. This is the way things are.

      We changed it because it was right to change it. We changed it because as citizens of this planet, we are all equal. We all deserve the same titles/rights/freedoms. You are denying people equality whether you choose to admit it or not.

      I do appreciate your time and honesty. I'm sorry if my passion somehow dilutes my argument, but I cannot understand how you can look at another human being and tell them, "You can't have what I have. You can't be like me. You can have most of it, but not all of it, because that's the way it's always been."

      Ryan

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    7. Also, I know our argument is futile. Our opinions will not be swayed.

      I pray that you see our God for what He truly is: unwavering, unconditional love. Anything else is the creation of man and man can and will always be fallible.

      Thanks again for the discussion.

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