Gay marriage

Congratulations to Portugal on becoming the latest country to legalise gay marriage. The new law came into effect today and people have taken the opportunity to get married now, perhaps fearing the law will be overturned, perhaps just because they’ve been waiting for a long time. I thought as a sort of celebration I’d go through the arguments given against gay marriage and show why they’re bunk, or at best apply both to heterosexual and homosexual marriage.

The most boorish comment you’ll get is the completely original and totally hilarious ‘God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’, to which the very simple response is, “No he didn’t you fucktard. Go and read a science book.”

“But homosexuality is un-natural!” they’ll say, whilst they have no problem talking to someone hundreds of miles away on a mobile phone powered by a battery, or getting into a big metal vehicle that flies, or wearing clothes made from artificial materials, or sitting on a couch watching a massive screen that receives images captured by another device and stored through time before being transmitted through space. There are lots of things that are unnatural, that doesn’t make them morally wrong, or something that should be banned. It’s strange that people use this as an argument against gay marriage, because really it’s an argument to ban all homosexual activity, that being gay itself should be a crime. Noone but the most ridiculous knuckle-dragging fools suggest we go back to Victorian Britain in that respect. Of course homosexuality isn’t really unnatural at all. Individuals in various other species also exhibit homosexual behaviour, but my point is that even if it is unnatural, that doesn’t mean it should be banned.

Lots of people will claim that the purpose of marriage is bringing up children, and since gay couples can’t have children, then they shouldn’t be married. Never mind that lesbian couples can turn to donor insemination and have their own biological children (well, biologically from only one of them), something that most of the people arguing against gay marriage will have no problem with when it’s used by straight couples. Never mind that straight people can get married if they’re infertile, or if they have no intention of having children. We don’t wait until a couple hits 50 and then march through the door with divorce papers. We also allow unmarried people to have children. Clearly marriage is not just about raising children. If you want to argue that it is, then ban all marriage that isn’t specifically for procreation, not just gay marriage. On a related but more general point, people will say things like ‘if everyone was gay, the species would die out’, but if everyone was male, the species would also die out, but we don’t ban people being male. At the moment, underpopulation isn’t exactly a problem.

Lots of people claim that a homosexual marriage is an unsuitable environment to bring up a child, and use this as an argument against gay adoption. There have been many instances, following equality legislation, of Catholic adoption agencies refusing to put children with gay couples. In fact IIRC in Washington DC, a Catholic charity said it would be ‘forced’ to stop public services such as homeless shelters if its adoption agencies were not allowed to discriminate against gay people. Good Christian example they’re setting there. There probably is something to the argument that for a rounded upbringing, a child needs both male and female role models, but that isn’t to say that those role models must be the parents. A child brought up by a gay male couple will still have grandmothers, aunties and family friends. There will also be the same proportion of role models of each sex as for a child brought up by a single parent, and we don’t ban single people from adopting kids, so why should we ban gay couples from it when at least then there are two parents? There is also the assumption that because an environment may not be entirely ideal in this one respect (and remember that no couple, gay or not, will be entirely ideal), then that justifies banning gay couples from adopting children. But there are kids out there at adoption agencies who are in desperate need of a loving home, and to deny them that on a suspicion that there won’t be enough role models of a particular sex is morally wrong, in my opinion.

Other people claim that a child brought up by a gay couple is more likely to turn out gay, to which I have 3 responses. Firstly, prove it. There are plenty of countries where gay marriage is now allowed so there should be some early stats on it, but I’ve never seen them. On top of that, they’re forgetting about all the gay people that were brought up by straight parents. Obviously they couldn’t influence the child to be straight so why do they think gay parents make their kids gay? But on a deeper level there is the assumption that being gay is a bad thing that should be avoided. We wouldn’t ban liberals (or Chelsea fans) from adopting children because it means their kids will be liberal (or Chelsea fans), and those are things that actually do have a high correlation. Some people try to argue from the child’s viewpoint and say that the child will be bullied at school if they have gay parents. I say they’ll be getting bullied by the kids of the kinds of troglodytes who argue against gay marriage. We fight against the prejudice, not against the object of prejudice. That’s the same kind of argument that was made against interracial marriage back when that was taboo.

Especially in America, many people will claim that the definition of marriage is a union between one man and one woman, or that gay marriage threatens the traditional definition of ‘family’. First of all, no it’s not. There are plenty of places where a man can have seven wives (not so many places where the opposite is true but there you go). In American, Mormons used to be polygamists. Besides that, however, the argument has an inherent conservatism in that the way things are now are the way things should always be. Definitions don’t work like that, they are descriptive rather than prescriptive, and they change all the time. It’s the same with legal definitions, we can change them if that’s the right thing to do. The question shouldn’t be “what is the definition of marriage?” but instead “what should the definition of marriage be?” If we took the position that things should be the way they’ve always been, then we’d still have absolute monarchy, we’d know nothing about the natural world, and we’d still have slavery. It’s the same with undermining heterosexual marriage, what the hell is that about? Noone is suggesting that we should ban heterosexual marriage, just that we allow the same rights to gay couples as to straight couples.

Hmm, that massive block of text just grew and grew.

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4 Responses to Gay marriage

  1. […] Gay marriage « T&#1211&#1077 N&#959t-Quite-S&#959-Friendly Humanist […]

  2. Dave says:

    Well written….thanks for posting it.

  3. grammarking says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I was linked to that yesterday, fascinating stuff. The CNN article below goes into a bit more detail and the selection procedure for subjects does seem a bit open to manipulation. Wendy Wright is, as usual, a complete idiot.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/06/07/lesbian.children.adjustment/index.html?hpt=T2

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