Monday, July 25, 2011

I have a question

And it's a serious question, because I really want to know:

Can anyone, anyone at all, show me a secular argument against same-sex marriage? One that doesn't rely on religion and "God said so"?

Let me know in the comments, please!


  1. Typically the secular arguments that are used tend to be the same flawed ones the religious use but minus the religion angle.

    “It’s always been this way“ , “marriage this meant to propagate the human race and if we were all gay we‘d die out”, “you need to have the ‘right’ parts and they have to fit together the ‘right’ way”, “you need to have the parts meant for procreation even if they don’t work”, “it will open the way for people to marry there pets”, they don’t want to “teach” there kids that a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman etc.

    I have yet to hear an secular argument against same-sex marriage whose facts and points have held up under scrutiny, isn’t based on straight privilege and tradition, or isn’t a variant of one of the above.

    But this isn’t surprising since the problem seems to occur when someone conflates there personal image of marriage with how it is actually applied.

  2. Thanks Adam, that matches what I'm seeing too. I've also heard an argument from disgust (well ok, that was actually a supporter trying to come up with an answer to my question, but I've at least seen the attitude, even when it wasn't explicitly stated). Although, I haven't heard “you need to have the parts meant for procreation even if they don’t work”. That's new to me. I guess my response to that is "why?"

  3. No because there isn't one.

    And in OT - the thread at B&W got away from me. Your perception of my view is correct.

  4. cass, I disagree that there isn't one, but so far have not found a good one.

    As to the B&W: oh good. Then I can say it's an interesting point that I hadn't considered before, and likely accurate.

  5. Well to be fair that isn’t usually there starting point it’s an ad hoc reason that’s given after someone points out that we allow sterile straight couples to marry which makes them equivalent to gay couples in respect to procreation. Anyway that leads into “well you see sterile straight couples have the parts that in the general population would allow for procreation so that’s alright”.

    There are few other ones that I remember as well I don’t know if you would want to include these:

    There’s that fear that some religious people have that they well be forced to recognize gay marriage in a way that would violate there religious freedom

    the desire for the government to get out of marriage all together and there position on gay marriage is just a subset of that.

    And the one about gay households being detrimental to child rearing.

    But I can’t really think of anything that hasn’t been said already and those were all ones I’ve heard and can remember.

  6. Oh, I want them all. I had forgotten the one about "detrimental to child rearing." I'll have to do some digging to find studies on that one (pretty sure its been debunked, but I'll still need the citations). Thanks very much, I appreciate it.

  7. No problem, it’s getting late here but if I can think of anymore I’ll add them tomorrow. Night.

  8. Ok I took to Google to find more secular arguments (at least ones I didn’t list anyway) against same-sex marriage after about an hour or so this is what I came up with.

    1. It would be too costly for the government to give benefits/rewrite legal documents/laws to suite the new influx of gay married couples

    2.homosexuality is unhealthy due too [promiscuity, suicide rates, drug use, rates of disease infection etc] and allowing gay marriage would be seen as promoting this unhealthy “lifestyle”.

    3. (A variation on the reproduction argument) allowing gay marriage would skew the number of reproducing couples since bisexual people might be more inclined to marry there same-sex partner in lue of attracting an opposite-sex partner now that they no longer need too.

    4. gay people already have equal rights under the law to marry, just not someone of the same gender, they are just asking for special rights.

    5. gay people are just trying to force society to recognize there relationships.

    6. gay marriage doesn’t benefit society so the burden of proof should fall to gay people to justify the advantage of gay marriage.

    7. It’s selfish to try to legalize gay marriage when we have more important things to worry about.

    8. When I was looking around I come across “The Trouble with Normal” by Michael Warner, I don’t own the book and I’m too lazy to find a free copy to thumb through and paraphrase right now so I’ll just quote an editorial review from Amazon.

    “…here's the twist: not because it denigrates the institution of marriage, but because it perpetuates the cultural shame attached to sex between consenting but unmarried adults...they do a profound disservice to other queer folk who choose not to live in monogamous or matrimonial bliss and who believe that the solution to being stigmatized for your sexuality is not to pretend it doesn't exist...They don't seem to realize that if society validates their relationships, other types of relationships will by necessity be invalidated.”

    p.s. sorry about the increasingly long posts

  9. Awesome, Adam! Thanks! No worries about the long posts. Take all the time and space you need to say what you want to say.

    I did a little googling myself, but haven't had a chance to sort through them. I saved the links though, and plan to go through them so I have more to work with. Combined with the assistance from folks like you, I should have plenty.

  10. Oh you’re welcome if I find anymore I’ll add them here. BTW would you like the links as well or will the arguments by themselves do?

  11. If you have them, the links would be great. That way I can see if there's anything in the fleshed out argument that needs addressing.

  12. Ok I backtracked and found the links that inspired some of this list however the ones that I didn’t provide links for are just ones I’ve heard before.


    "you need to have the parts meant for procreation even if they don’t work"

    (this is not what I was thinking of when I listed it but when I went back to it for post#3pt.6 I saw it fit here too) (edit: actually it’s seems that this link referenced most of what’s in my first post and one that was in my second post as well.)


    there is also this paper written by two Professor’s and a Princeton graduate which i found hilariously abysmal.

    "they don’t want to “teach” there kids that a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman etc." (#4)


    pt.2 “homosexuality is unhealthy”

    I got to that site by way of this one (#6)

    There are other ones in the “no” section that I didn’t post if you want to take a look at them as well

    Pt.4 "gay people already have equal rights under the law to marry"

    Pt.6 "the burden of proof should fall to gay people to justify the advantage of gay marriage" (forth paragraph down)

    Pt.7 "It’s selfish to try to legalize gay marriage when we have more important things to worry about"
    (I found the following link when I was retracing my steps, he doesn’t go it’s selfish because there are other things to worry about route but instead says that it's selfish for gays to ask for marriage(after obtaining civil partnerships) and the right to start families)

    Pt.8 (link gotten to through site below)

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Ok I tried putting up the links twice now but I think due to the sheer number of links in them I’m being caught by your spam filter because there gone after I reload. So if you don’t have access to them and still want them just tell me where to send them unless they show up later then sorry about the double posting.

  15. Yup, they were caught by the spam filter. Taken care of now. I removed the duplicate post. I'm slightly annoyed that I can't make the links clickable, but oh well. I truly appreciate this. I think I recognize one of those links, but the others are not immediately familiar. I should be able to go through a good chunk tomorrow (Sunday). Maybe even get something up about some of the easier ones.

  16. Nathan, this is an excellent question to ask, and adam has done a yeoman's job finding answers. Here's another angle in case I have missed it in the wealth of answers so far:

    The same basic arguments that were used to oppose interracial marriage have been trotted out to oppose same-sex marriage, from the unraveling of society, to the end of civilization, to the poisoning of the purity of our species and our eventual extinction. I don't have time to research them, but I think you might find some parallel arguments between the two eras and the two bigotries.

    The easiest way to refute these is to point out that they have already been demonstrated as false. Many countries and a handful of US states have same sex marriage, some have had it for many years, and so far none of them have collapsed into barbaric chaos resembling a Mad Max movie. How long must we wait for these countries and states to disintegrate before we conclude that gaymageddon is just as bogus as the racists' myth?

    Thank you, by the way, for your very intelligent and sensitive support against that troll over on FA. I really appreciate it.

  17. Richard, thanks for the kind words, and you're quite right that adam has done a terrific job. I'll be giving him full credit as I get around to answering the arguments on this blog.

    I vaguely remember pondering the interracial idea at some point, in fact one of those articles that adam found mentions that and is subsequently dismissed by the author. I'll have to research those arguments more fully later. My initial sense is that while there are definite parallels, there are reasonable(?) ways to claim they're different. Whether those ways hold water, I will have to see. Thanks for the suggestion, it's a good one.

    And yes, the arguments have been proven false, just as arguments that secular society would collapse are proven false. In fact, there was an op-ed recently by a conservative who just a few years ago opposed same-sex marriage, and has now switched for that very reason. It gave me hope.

    As for the troll, you're welcome. It's not hard to imagine that a lurker would take her objections to heart if it wasn't challenged, but if you're referring to my other comments, well, I don't think anyone is served by misrepresentation of viewpoints. I don't like it when anyone does it, ally, opponent, or other (especially me, so I hope people will call me out as well when I do it).