Stupid Arguments against Same-Sex Marriage

By Michael Edmonds 18/03/2012 24

While a number of countries around the world allow same-sex marriages, there are many others where gay and lesbian couples are fighting for the right to have their relationships recognised in the same way as heterosexual couples. Opposing this, are many right wing and/or religious groups who repeatedly make some of the most absurd arguments against gay marriage including:

1)   Homosexuality is ‘unnatural’

Would that be ‘unnatural’ as in not occurring in the natural world? If so, then at least 1500 species of animals didn’t read the memo. Many animals, including those of high intelligence such as dolphins and primates engage in a range of sexual activities, including homosexuality.

Of course, intelligent human beings do not base their behaviour on the animal world which makes this objection irrelevant anyway. As a species, we have pushed beyond our natural limits to explore space and the deepest oceans, we have created incredible organisations such as the United Nations in order to work towards peace and prosperity. We have different populations which engage in sexual behaviours that differ from the supposed norm of monogamous heterosexual unions, including polygamy, homosexual unions and celibacy (which, ironically, is of course a requirement of clergy of the Catholic Church, one of the biggest opponents of same-sex marriage).

2)   Marriage must involve at least the possibility of procreation.

The inconsistency of this argument is glaring. If procreation is a requirement of marriage then shouldn’t those who are infertile or too old to reproduce also be declined the opportunity to marry?

3)   Same sex marriage destroys the institution of marriage

Marriage is a public demonstration of a commitment between two individuals. In the USA where many of the arguments around gay marriage are occurring, the estimated probability of divorce for heterosexual marriages is between 40 to 50%. This would suggest to me that the biggest threat to the institution of marriage is not from same-sex marriages, but from the failure of existing heterosexual marriages.

Furthermore, religious opponents of homosexuality have often claimed that it involves a promiscuous ‘lifestyle’, yet in the same breath, they want to prevent access to the institution that most strongly celebrates a monogamous union. But then who said religion had to be consistent, anyway?

4)   Gay marriage threatens ‘the family’

I’ve never quite managed to work this one out. Would posses of gay man roam suburbia, breaking into houses to bake quiches and redecorate living rooms while singing the theme songs from Hollywood musicals? (Sorry, had to throw in the stupid stereotypes at some stage).

Or perhaps opponents are scared that they will no longer be able to voice their bigoted views, and that their children will see same-sex relationships as equal and healthy, and part of normal life. Heaven forbid one of their children might pursue such a relationship. After all it would be much better for a gay/lesbian child to kill themselves or live a life of undeserved shame and guilt, wouldn’t it?

5)   Gay marriages will be the end of Humanity

Yes, that’s right, some opponents believe that if same sex marriage is allowed, then everyone will want to do it. Seriously, I think this speaks more about the repressed sexual tendencies of those making these arguments, than it does about the reality of same-sex marriages.

6)   The Bible says it is wrong

You mean that this book of unverifiable historical accuracy which has be rewritten and re-interpreted across time says homosexuality is wrong? You mean the same book that also tells us we should stone disobedient children, adulterers and not eat pork or wear garments of mixed fibres?

Come on, if you are going to treat your religious document like a supermarket pick and mix, I can’t take you seriously.

7)   Homosexual sex is icky

This is really what I suspect it boils down to for most people, the idea that certain sexual acts are ‘icky’.

Of course this argument fails on several levels. First it reduces a loving relationship to nothing but sexual acts. This is both insulting and ignorant. Secondly it presumes that heterosexual and homosexual couples do not engage in similar sexual acts. This is incorrect.

Sexual acts are a very small part of most relationships. To reject same-sex marriage on the basis of someone’s imagined vision of a sexual act seems quite absurd.

It seems to me that those opposing same-sex marriage have no rational arguments. Instead, they resort to misinformation, absurd fear mongering and tiresome hyperbole. If the people of the Netherlands, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Iceland, Norway Portugal, Sweden and South Africa can recognise the value of having same-sex marriages, surely other countries like New Zealand, Australia and the USA can too?

24 Responses to “Stupid Arguments against Same-Sex Marriage”

  • Forgive my ignorance but aren’t NZs civil unions between gay couples just like marriages but under another name, or is there a big difference in rights, privileges etc between the two?

    • Hi Matt,

      Civil unions do not have the universality of marriage. NZ does not recognise the civil unions of couples from other countries, nor will some countires recognise a civil union carried out in NZ.

      Anyhow, my question would be is it not simpler to just allow same-sex couples to marry? I can’t think of one reasonable argument against it.

  • The true right-wingers don’t oppose same sex marriage. Anyone who claims to be a right-winger and who also opposes same sex marriage is not a right-winger. Such person is in fact a left-winger. Left-wingers always want the Govt to do this or do that. Exactly as some think that the government’s job is combat obesity. Anyone who favors government interference in areas that it has no mandate to do so (since it is outside its 3 legitimate core roles of national defense, judiciary , law & order).

    Here is an excellent explanation by Congressman Ron Paul on same sex marriage. The state/government has no business in getting involved in marriage (ie, by legal means). It is a private issue that should be left to private organizations such as the church to deal with it. For the state/government to get involved in it, it is then stepping outside of its legitimate role and the moral justification for its existence.

    I’m a bit puzzled here, both you (Michael) and Alison. Definitely you believe in the state running its citizen’s lifes (ie, regulating everything we do that has got nothing to do with upholding/protecting citizen’s rights – that’s why Govt exists for in the first place). An example of this was the debate on whether the Govt’s role is to combat obesity, which you both think that it is. At the same time, I gather that you don’t like christians (or fake right-wingers) pushing the issue to politicians into changing the law. So, you like to Govt to tackle obesity (nanny-state), but you don’t like a majority of voters (say, christians) pushing politicians into changing the law to suit their religious beliefs? Whether you like it or not, the majority tend to always win politically. But this is what is wrong with representative democracy. The majority will always overwrite the minority even with legislations that’s clearly violating the minority’s rights, which is not what the Govt is there in the first place.

    Let free people in a free society do whatever they want, as long as they don’t tread on others rights. Govt has no legitimate role in meddling in the business of marriage, which is something that should be left to private organizations to deal with it.

  • Michael. I have it on solid advice that “every time gay people kiss, Jesus strangles a kitten”. Could this be true??

    I must admit that to me it seems equally as cogent a reason to be against same sex marriage as any…

    Tune out the static hiss of Religious opinion and the “issues” just fade away..

  • Mr Fisi. That’s a well worn rut you’ve made. :0)

    Your use of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy in your assertion of the qualities of the “true Right winger” is accidental I hope.

    So according to Ron Paul (and as you cite him I assume it is your opinion as well, by proxy) same sex couples can live together under a legal contract but, they can’t call it marriage. And this is because marriage is a religious act and a protected term. Therefore bigoted discrimination should be respected and protected if it’s as a result of arrogated divine warrant? But at the same time the Govt has a mandate to protect the Citizenry from violation of their rights, i.e. the right to not be discriminated against due to sexual preference… I don’t see any coherence in this position of Rons/yours.

  • Falafulu Fisi,

    “Definitely you believe in the state running its citizen’s lifes (ie, regulating everything we do”

    On the contrary I don’t believe the state should “regulate everything we do”. Rather I believe the state has certain duties in protecting the vulnerable and also providing it’s citizens with the opportunities to make the most of life and to contribute towards society.

    From wikipedia “In politics, the Right, right-wing and rightist has been defined as acceptance of social hierarchy.[1][2][3] Inequality is viewed by the Right as inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable,[4] whether it arises within social structures that value order, status, and traditional social differences,[5] or within market economies which value private property, free enterprise, and individual choice.[6]”

  • Rob said (in jest)

    “Michael. I have it on solid advice that “every time gay people kiss, Jesus strangles a kitten”. Could this be true??’

    I have it on solid advice that every time a heterosexual couple gets married a divorce lawyer rubs his hands together in glee.


  • I won’t claim to be an expert on Catholic theology, but your suggestion of Irony in the Catholic position seems misplaced.

    The Catholic Church requires its Priests and Nuns to be celibate. Because of their celibacy they may not marry. The application of the ban on marriage within the Catholic Church to both clergy and homosexual partners is entirely consistent with your theory of them.

    Also, I’m not sure that level of snark helps your argument anyway.

    • Hi Graeme

      I simply pointed out that the celibacy required by the clergy in the Catholic Church is no less “abnormal” than homosexuality.
      Any level of snark, is purely in your interpretation

  • Cool! It’s “Lesser of two evils time!”

    A Lawyer rubbing his hands together or Jesus strangling a kitten..

    Gee without knowing the fate of the kittens soul I just can’t decide.. ;0)

    There was an Aussie advertising campaign a wee while ago to try and gather support for the Same-Sex Marriages Bill. The gist of the campaign was to get Australians behind the idea that for too long Gay and Lesbian couples had not been able to Marry and it was about time they were made to suffer Married life as well. I’ll see if I can find a link to a video of it as it was a real crack up.

  • Michael, the National Party is a left wing party. Its policies is almost the same as those of Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori Party. There is no right wing party in NZ, other than the Libertarianz. ACT is slightly to the right of the leftwing National Party.

    So, I stand by my comment above, that any person who is opposed to same sex marriage who’m you perceived as a right winger must be a National Party supporter. Well that person is in fact a leftwinger because the National Party is a leftwing party.

    Otago University political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards, wrote an article on the NZ last year saying the same thing. National and Labour are parties with different names but almost exactly the same policies, therefore they’re both leftist.

  • lordie, a blog on sexuality descends into a diatribe on political positioning…

    Mr Fisi – consider this. Left and right are relative positoinal terms. They only make sense if you can identify the position they are relative to. In addition, they are extremely course gradations – in effect a binary selection: what is not left MUST be right and what is not right MUST be left.

    Only once you add a groupings polico-structural bias’ eg capitalist, socialist, fascist, egalitarian, etc can you hope to start differentiating on any meaningful basis.

    The fact that “left” and “right” have been taken to be synonyms of the terms “socialist” and “capitalist” is a major contributor to the confusion you have waded into.

    I would, for example, argue that Mana is a right-wing seperatist socialist party with their manifesto of devolved control to iwi, recognition of maori property rights and the like. You may beg to differ.

    In any case, it is arguable whether a laise faire “rightwing” govt influences an indivduals life any less than an interventionalist “leftwing” govt – one provides influence passively, the other actively surely?

  • I’ve never quite got my head around the conservative religious argument re: naturalness.

    I am often assured that we are not animals, that we are created specially by some creator-god, and thus are separate to nature (but have dominion over it). How does one argue that homosexuality is to be abhorred as unnatural when your whole theology says we’re not natural anyway?

  • That is a good way to put it Brendan, I must remember that.

    Falafulu Fisi – you really do have a thing about politics particularly libertarianism. However, if as you suggest the major parties are all liberal/left wing, that would suggest to me that New Zealanders as a whole dont think much of the libertarian/Ron Paul style of politics.

  • The cynical justification for same-sex marriage is also persuasive. If heterosexual couples have to endure the suffering the institution of marriage can produce, it is only fair that same-sex couples don’t get to escape this fate.

  • One objection you left unanswered… If three men, who genuinely love each other, want to marry each other should we discriminate against them by refusing them marriage?

  • Rob,
    I am arguing that there is no logical reason to oppose gay marriage, i.e. marriage between two people of the same sex. Polygamy is a different debate all together, one that comes with its own arguments for and against it and one that should be debated on its own merits, and one that would I assume need to consider other combinations e.g. Two men and one woman, two woman and one man or three women. I’m curious why you chose three men as your example.

    As it stands I have seen no convincing argument against gay marriage between two consenting loving adults.

  • Excellent blog, Michael. To explain the conservative Christian ‘natural law’ argument against LGBT legislative reform is quite simple. It is actually based on prescientific and premodern philosophy, namely that of Saint Thomas Aquinas from the twelfth century. Now, that may be logical and internally rigorous in construction, but as it predated the European scientific revolution which began in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries, it is devoid of substantive empirical content. Accordingly, it is neither ‘natural’ or a ‘law.’ When it cites heterosexual marriage as somehow ‘normative’ and ‘durable,’ it is ignoring contraception, infertility and no-fault divorce.

    Unfortunately, they then tend to twist and distort orthodox scientific frameworks to suit their religious dogma- which places them at odds with mainstream scientific evidence, research results and practise, and most professional scientific or medical associations.

  • I think that this is the brown herring of polygamy as an alleged ‘slippery slope’ “consequence” of marriage equality for LGBT couples. However, it collides with what has actually just happened in Canada about a year ago. In the Bountiful decision, the British Columbian Supreme Court refrained from striking down Canada’s Section 293 of their Criminal Code,as polygamy was judged to have a higher incidence of spousal battery and child sexual abuse than monogamous relationships. Egalitarian, consensual and feminist-inflected polyamory does not rely on institutional recognition, however, and lacks those harms, so it is quite legal, although not covered by Canadian relationship recognition laws and statutory rights and responsibilities contingent on them.

  • Marriage is a failure of a project as it is. You are defending homosexuality as if you have given solid evidence and detailed analysis! You are like a little teenager trying to present some arguments that we have heard before and they don’t justify shifting away from nature. I will bet you are a homosexual! Can you conceive with a same sex partner? The homosexual community is praying for a justification for this environmental acquired state of sexuality by waiting for some evidence that proves homosexuality is genetic! Would that be a genetic defect! Testosterone should repel another testosterone and so should a progesterone! The attraction should be between two different hormones and not the same. Nature has done its work, the problem is exposure to unpleasant circumstances created by the human kind and at a moment of weakness and uncertainty, a decision is quickly and self-convincingly made. This is an example of losing the will to fight for what is right because of fear and laziness.

    • John,
      Interesting rhetoric, pity it is devoid of facts.
      You assume that homosexuality comes from “exposure to unpleasant circumstances” without stating what you mean, and without any evidence to support your position yet dismiss the idea of genetic factors for which there is reasonable evidence.
      You use the argument from nature, yet I assume you wear clothes, eat cooked food, travel in cars and aircraft, none of which are “natural”
      Also by linking reproduction to marriage, can I assume if you are consistent in your reasoning that infertile people should not be allowed to marry?
      “Testosterone should repel another testosterone” ??? Perhaps you are not aware that both men and women have testosterone, just at different levels.
      You might want to read a good biology book if you want to make arguments based on nature. There you might also find that many species of animals have homosexual liaisons.

  • Good points Michael, I’ve never really understood the “It’s unnatural” method of argumentation. Whichever way you look at it fails.

    Regardless – it matters not whether homosexuality is natural/unnatural, genetic/environmental, pre-destined or a choice. The fact is that there are members of our society who are attracted to members of the same sex and who wish to be afforded the same rights, privileges and respect that all other members receive.

    Why is that so difficult? At what point do you decide that this person, who is someone’s son/brother/sister/daughter and even mother or father, does not deserve your compassion?

    Before the inevitable “Won’t someone think of the children!!!” argument comes up – it’s been done. We have thought of the children and they’ll be fine.

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