Top 10 Arguments Against Same Sex Marriages

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Same sex marriage is certainly a hot button issue in our day. The effort to legally sanction same sex marriage has been gaining momentum over the past few years. In addition, many state courts have ruled recently that same sex marriage is legal, and that same sex couples can enjoy the same benefits of marriage that are available to heterosexual couples. For many people, the idea that same sex marriage should be legal and as legitimate as marriage between a man and a woman is a foregone conclusion, and it is assumed that, eventually, it will be law.

Still, there is a strong and vocal movement against same sex marriage, as well. This movement, among other things, was largely responsible for the passing of Proposition 8 in California in 2008. This proposition amended the California constitution to state that marriage is defined only as being between a man and a woman. While it was a vocal minority that was able to get this measure on the ballot in California, an overwhelming majority of Californians did support the initiative. An equally vocal minority led the charge against Proposition 8. In the end, this ballot initiative is one that will be challenged in the courts many times over, and one that will certainly be talked about for years to come.

Why is it that some people oppose same sex marriages? What are the arguments against same sex marriages? The reasons vary, from arguments based on religion to others based on culture and tradition. While not everyone opposed to same sex marriage agrees on the reasons, they all do agree that marriage should be more narrowly defined as being between a man and a woman. Most people that oppose same sex marriage may do so on several grounds.

10. The religious argument

The fact of the matter is that many people who argue against same sex marriage make their argument based on religious reasons. While Roman Catholicism perhaps gets the most press coverage when it comes to religious people opposing same sex marriage, there are actually many religions that believe gay marriage to be inappropriate. Typically, the argument is made that God created men and women specifically for certain purposes, and that sexuality was meant to be shared between men and women, not between people of the same sex. It naturally follows that marriage would, by extension, be between men and women. Some religions have specific dictates against homosexuality and against same sex marriage, while others may have some variety of opinion on the issue. For example, there are many Christian denominations that oppose same sex relationships on religious grounds, while other Christian denominations fully support same sex marriage, even sanctioning the marriages and ordaining ministers that are practicing homosexuals.

9. The institutional argument

Another argument people use against same sex marriage is the institutional argument. This argument suggests that allowing same sex marriage would in a variety of ways damage the institution of marriage. Marriage, as an institution, has existed more or less in its present form for thousands of years. To allow same sex marriage is to tamper with the very fabric of the institution. In addition, they argue that allowing same sex marriage would increase the divorce rate, and eventually cheapen the institution by making divorce fast and easy, and making it more rampant. In many ways, this argument tends to be speculative, as there are no broad statistics to suggest that same sex marriage would definitely affect the divorce rate. Proponents of this argument paint a picture in which divorce is so commonplace and easy that most marriages will eventually end in divorce. They suggest “drive-thru” divorce situations, where getting a divorce is as simple and easy as renewing your driver’s license or perhaps getting tags for your Doberman.

8. The slippery slope

If same sex marriage is allowed, opponents argue, then it won’t be long before other alternative forms of marriage are commonplace. After all, if men are allowed to marry men and women are allowed to marry women, why wouldn’t one man be allowed to marry several women? Some people who support this argument suggest that it even opens the door not only to polygamy, but also to child marriage, or even bestiality. Having said that, most people who oppose same sex marriage also realize that no one is demanding child marriage or bestiality. The validity of the “slippery slope” as a logical argument in any situation is questionable at best, and many logicians, ethicists and debators will make the case that the slippery slope is limited in its application, at best. Thus, while it is likely that calls for the legalization of polygamy would follow the legalization of same sex marriage, it is not at all likely that other, abhorrent practices would be advocated.

7. The values argument

Opponent of same sex marriage often oppose same sex marriage on an ethical or value based ground. They believe that same sex relationships are immoral, and even abnormal. This is often the position of people who also make the religious argument. They see same sex relationships as sinful. However, there are also many other people who oppose same sex relationships from within a non-religious moral framework. It may be a cultural argument or natural law argument, but it ultimately makes the case that same sex relationships are immoral. This has historically been the most common argument against not just same sex marriage, but against homosexuality in general. Taken to an extreme, this particular argument has been used to try to justify other immoral behaviors, such as violence. Most people, however, who believe that same sex relationships are immoral also don’t believe in these kinds of abhorrent activities either.

6. The moral equivalency argument

If same sex couples are allowed to marry, then same sex relationships are given the moral equivalency of heterosexual relationships. In the minds of opponents, this does a couple of things. First of all, it lends moral legitimacy to same sex relationships. No longer is homosexuality to be considered immoral or even abnormal; rather, it is just as moral and normal as heterosexual marriage. This is a secondary argument, of course, to the other arguments that state that homosexuality is immoral. If you don’t start with the assumption that same sex relationships are somehow ethically wrong, then there is no problem with those relationships being morally equivalent to heterosexual relationships.

5. The child and family argument

One argument that is most often promoted by religious people, but can also be found among other opponents of same sex marriage, is the child and family argument. This argument proposes that the purpose of sex is procreation. It further proposes that the family is the basic unit of society, and that one man and one woman and their children comprise the essential elements of society. Thus, same sex marriage is outside of this social structure. It can never lead to children, as the sex is not procreative. Proponents of this argument are often also opposed to a variety of forms of birth control, including contraceptives and the pill. While it is a common argument among Roman Catholics, they are by no means the only group that makes this argument.

4. Impact on social security and other business or financial systems

For some people, the argument against same sex marriage is strictly one o f numbers. They look at financial systems, such as Social Security or insurance coverage, and they see the potential impact of allowing same sex marriage the same status as traditional marriage between a man and a woman. For example, legalizing same sex marriage could add millions of dependants to survivor benefits of Social Security. This would add billions of dollars to a system that is already overburdened. Other systems, such as private health insurance systems, would feel similar types of impact if same sex marriage were legalized. Even life and disability insurance companies are likely to feel the effects of this kind of new influx of covered individuals. All of this variation on these systems could greatly increase the cost, at a time when health insurance is already too expensive for many families and individuals to be able to afford.

3. Spread of homosexuality

One of the consequences of the moral equivalency argument (the idea that same sex marriage will give a stamp of approval to all same sex relationships) is that fewer people with homosexual tendencies will feel the need to hide their proclivities. In fact, sanctioning same sex marriage may even open the door to same sex relationships for people who otherwise may never consider such a thing. This argument assumes, in many ways, that homosexuality is a learned thing, or that there are specific elements of choice. It also assumes that the spread of homosexuality is a bad thing overall.

2. The cultural argument

Same sex relationships have been a major component of the so called “culture wars” for decade. The culture wars are a way of talking about societal values, and the conflict between “traditional” values and “modernism” or “progressive” values. Same sex relationships are just one part of the broader culture war. Other issues, such as abortion, gender roles, and many others make up the issues of the cultural argument. Many people who oppose same sex marriage on ethical or religious grounds will also be found to oppose same sex marriage on cultural grounds.

1. The argument from nature

Some people argue against same sex marriage based on a “natural law” argument. This can take several forms. One form makes an argument from design. This argument suggest that, physically, men and women have anatomy that is specifically compatible in terms of sex. Specifically, sex that doesn’t involve a penis and a vagina isn’t “natural” or legitimate sex. Many proponents of this argument even make the case that other forms of sex, even between a man and a woman, are still unnatural. Another aspect of this natural law argument tries to look at the natural universe, and make the case that the “norm” among nature is for a relationship to take place between males and females. Finally, the third leg of this argument is similar to the family argument. It states that, because sex can lead to procreation, sex that doesn’t have the potential for procreation is, to one degree or another, unnatural.

It is important to understand, when thinking about the arguments against same sex marriage, that not everyone opposed to same sex marriage does so for the same reasons. For example, not everyone who is opposed to same sex marriage is a Roman Catholic. Not everyone opposed to same sex marriage is concerned about financial systems or social security. Not everyone opposed to same sex marriage believes that it will mean the destruction of Western Culture. On the other hand, there are opponents of same sex marriage who will make their case on all of these grounds at once.

One of the most significant trends in this regard is for opponents and proponents both of same sex marriage to fight the battle on local or state levels, rather than on a national level. Thus, a supposedly “liberal” state like California may vote to ban same sex marriage, while a supposedly “conservative” state like Iowa may find that its courts give approval to same sex marriage. In addition, there is a movement that seeks to unbuckle marriage from government altogether, making it so that the states don’t recognize marriage per se, but rather any number of different types of social contracts that may be formed between people, and/or sanctioned by particular religious groups.

Ultimately, it is important to recognize that this issue won’t easily be resolved. There are people on both sides of this argument who are extremely dedicated to their positions. It may take years for the issue to be resolved.