Same-Sex Marriage and Logical Fallacies  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Over at The Apostate's Chapel there's been a lively discussion over California's Proposition 8. Here are some of the arguments offered up by the opponents of same-sex marriage (these are actual quotes):

  • 98% of the world’s population does not recognize same-gender marriage

  • The majority finds this lifestyle disgusting and we do not want to see it, much less issue special rights because of it.

  • SSM supporters are out of step with fellow Americans.

  • SSM denies all children in those relationships the connection to one of their biological parents. Because of this, I remain unconvinced it is a step forward.

  • People who adopt are not responsible for the failure of the original family. Same sex couples intentionally deny a child one of their biological parents.

Right, so lets address these points. Whether or not most of the world recognizes same-sex marriage is not a valid argument. If 98% of the world thought men were not competent to run their own affairs and needed a guardian, would that not still be a violation of rights? Stick any argument in place of the group in question and the argument stays the same. This is also called argumentum ad populum or appeal to the majority.

Whether or not most people find same-sex marriage disgusting is also not a valid argument. Many people found interracial marriages disgusting. It was only through granting those rights that people came to see that there was nothing unnatural about a relationship between two people of a different race. This is not only argumentum ad populum, but outright bigotry.

Whether or not supporters of same-sex marriage are in the majority of American people is also not a valid argument. While, in many things we live by majority rule, the US Constitution (specifically the Bill of Rights) is in place to guarantee that individual freedoms are not impinged upon. Minority groups should not be oppressed or discriminated against just because the majority of Americans don't like them or don't want to be icked out or don't want to give up their own privilege. It's also, once again, argumentum ad populum.

Same sex couples do not deny children their biological parents any more than opposite-sex parents. This is a perfect solution fallacy and a guilt by association fallacy based on an appeal to emotion. It's also missing the point that we don't deny marriage to couples of the opposite-sex because they also adopt, use artificial insemination, use sperm banks, and use surrogate mothers. If those practices are wrong, then they should be protested and changed. But I don't see same-sex marriage opponents calling for the end of any of these practices.

It's also one of my pet peeves. "Do it for the chiiildren," they yell. Yes, let me tell you about the children.

I know a couple that could not have children naturally. They applied for and were approved to be adoptive parents after going through a rigorous set of classes, tests, and inspections. They agreed to be foster parents so that they wouldn't have to wait as long on the adoption process. They requested two children, preferably siblings and preferably a boy and a girl.

Within weeks they received a call that three siblings were in need of a home and asked whether they would consider adopting all three children. The children came from an abusive home and were removed from their father and mother for their safety. The couple agreed. They took the children in as foster children while the state worked to place the children with any remaining living relative. As it turns out, none of the relatives wanted to raise the children and the couple was given permission to adopt the children.

After a year of monitoring the children in the couple's home, the adoption was finally approved and these children were recognized as their children by the state.

What do you think of this couple? Do you honor their altruism or do you find them repugnant for denying these children a home with their natural parents? Would your opinion change if the couple was in a same-sex relationship instead of an opposite-sex relationship? If so, why? If you again say it's for the children I ask you for evidence that this family is not loving and supportive and that the children will not have a better life with this couple. Evidence to-date supports same-sex families as healthy.

If you find yourself cringing inside at the thought of having same-sex couples marry, perhaps you should question your motives. Are they based on sound arguments and science or are they based on personal beliefs and biases? And ask yourself, do you want your own life ruled by someone else's personal biases or do you want them to give you the same freedoms they enjoy?

After all, look what will happen if gay marriages are made legal in the United States:

Update: Adding a link from Toniya about traditional marriage.

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19 comments: to “ Same-Sex Marriage and Logical Fallacies

  • Mamacita Chilena
    Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 6:49:00 PM CST  

    Fantastic post, O.G. I say that not because I am in agreement with you but because I like how you individually addressed each argument and showed why it wasn't valid. You're extremely convincing and should maybe think about a switch in careers...has anyone ever told you you should be a lawyer?

  • Ordinary Girl
    Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 7:20:00 PM CST  

    Mamacita, I'm terrible with verbal arguments. I get tongue-tied (well, I am actually literally tongue-tied) when I speak in public. It used to really be a problem for me, but I'm better now as long as I know what I'm talking about. I can't bullshit worth a uh shit.

    Thanks for the compliment though. :)

  • Vistaluna
    Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 10:04:00 PM CST  

    Wow, very well laid out! :) Fantastic! Seriously!

    Unfortunately I think this is one of those cases where people have made up their mind first based on emotion, and then come up with all kinds of arguments to justify their decision after it has already been made.

    It reminds me of the Evolution debates. If you take the time and effort to tear down all their arguments, they will still retreat to Faith, and you really have no chance of changing their mind.

    In order to accept gay marriage, these people are just going to have to get to know more gay people and see how they aren't any kind of threat to people who aren't gay.

  • Vistaluna
    Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 10:23:00 PM CST  

    Here's a crazy idea: Maybe part of the problem here is that the government should never have gotten involved in defining marriage in the first place.

    That is a clear mixing of church and state, because now marriage is defined by the majority religion.

    For tax reasons and for insurance reasons and other civil rights, there would have to be an official recognition of shared-life arrangements. But the government could just call it that, and not call it "marriage", and then this wouldn't be such a hot-button issue.

    From the government's point of view, a religious "marriage" would just be one of several forms of recognized shared-life unions.

    We'd still have an argument on our hands, but it would at least defuse a LITTLE the religious fears that gay people are trying to intrude into their "sacred" (air quotes) institutions.

    Eh, maybe I'm being to simplistic, but I've never heard this argument offered before. (?)

  • Ordinary Girl
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 7:06:00 AM CST  

    Vistaluna: I agree. I don't think I'm going to convince anyone with my arguments, but I had to write this up regardless. I think knowing someone who is gay or atheist or Mexican can certainly change a person's point of view. That's why some communities work so hard to shelter members from outside influences.

    I think that's a good proposal. The state can recognize civil unions only and religion can have its religion. But what is "marriage" anyway, but a term used for state-recognized civil unions? While I think the government should get out the business of recognizing personal relationships, with contracts, children, the distribution of estates on death its reasonable to provide an all-in-one process for couples coming together to make a family. I just wish religions didn't try to co-op the term "marriage" as having some sort of religious significance as, in our society as recognized by the government, it's completely secular in nature.

  • Scotty
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 3:43:00 PM CST  

    much less issue special rights because of it

    Special rights? I was under the impression that they only wanted the same rights/privileges as everyone else.

    More histrionic semantics from the hater's club.

  • Patience St. James
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 6:23:00 PM CST  

    While I understand and respect the argument that the government should never have gotten into the marriage business in the first place, it did and it's done. Marriage is the word we use for a lifetime partnership between two people, and has the weight of linguistic tradition to back it up. I don't, as an atheist, want to be civil unioned any more than I do as a woman in love with another woman. I want to get married.

  • PBS
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 7:40:00 PM CST  

    Very good defense! The trouble is, it's such an emotional issue--that some people are not rational or logical (at all!) about it.

  • Anonymous
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 9:00:00 PM CST  

    Thanks for a nice post on this issue. The arguments you identified, as well as several others that you probably did not have time to address, were so weak it was frustrating.

  • Venjanz
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 12:22:00 AM CST  

    The libertarian point of view on this is of course the less government the better. No State-recognized marriages or civil unions at all.

    If you believe that God has sanctioned you marriage via a holy man, why do you need the State to approve and regulate it?

    If you are worried about the welfare of children, have a lawyer draw up a contract.

    Yeah, this along with many libertarian ideas is a pipe-dream because of human nature, but it's nice to think about hehe.

    Gays want to adopt? More power to them. It's much better to be raised by two gays than growing up in a state orphanage, IMAO.

  • The Ridger, FCD
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 10:57:00 AM CST  

    Yeah. Draw up a contract and try to make sure all the hundreds of things that come with a $35 marriage license are included (you won't be able to), and don't forget to pay the lawyers thousands of dollars...

    Marriage is about a lot more than kids, or nobody would get married till they were pregnant.

    What really pisses me off is how quickly the Mormons forgot what religious persecution tasted like when they were on the receiving end.

  • Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D.
    Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 4:21:00 PM CST  

    I don't think it is a waste of time outlining arguments such as you have. You may plant the seed that eventually causes a reader to crawl towards reason and compassion.

  • Venjanz
    Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 12:37:00 AM CST  

    Since the divorce rate in America is so high, Ridger, might as well pay a lawyer to draw up a contact for a few thousand dollars in advance, which is a much better investment than paying them twice as much later in a protracted custody dispute and divorce agreement, on top of paying thousands for a wedding ceremony. Seriously, most people in America when they get married pay thousands for a one-day party, when they could be using that money for legal protection for both parties in the event of a divorce. It's like insurance.

    For example, sometime during my life, I have about a 40% chance of being in an accident that totals my car, and a much higher chance of being in one or more accidents that will cost me out of pocket. What's wrong with marriage insurance other than not being "romantic"?

    Yeah assets and such change over time, so you include a binding arbitration agreement. Anything to take the power away from the family court system which feminist activists and greedy lawyers have created, and is egregiously biased against men.

    Speaking of greedy lawyers, while the American Bar Association has officially taken no stance for or against gay marriage, they support it in deed. And why not? Their members will make millions off gay divorces.

    FYI the prenuptial agreement was originally designed to protect wealthy widows from men like Aaron Burr.

  • Tonyia
    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 9:06:00 PM CST  

    Excellent, clear arguments. Gay marriage makes no impact on the strength or quality of my marriage.

    There was an excellent commentary in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this past weekend -

    It discusses how marriage may be a constant in some shape or form, but it constantly mutates. Our marriages today are very different than they were just a few hundred years ago.

    It's time for another change.

    Hey, another change I can support!

  • Ordinary Girl
    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 10:24:00 PM CST  

    Scotty: Exactly! Make it seem like they're being oppressed and they can continue to be the oppressors.

    Patience: I agree. I don't care what word they use - civil union, marriage, whatever. But there is no separate, but equal. Everyone needs to be given the same rights and privileges.

    PBS: Yeah, but we have to look past emotions, especially when we're making decisions that effect other people's lives.

    Chappy: Your post inspired me, especially the comments. I couldn't believe the arguments that were raised and wanted to address them in my own post.

    Venjanz and Ridger: I agree with both of you, but disagree too. Venjanz, yeah a lawyer drawing up paperwork is fine, but what about people that want the same protections but don't have the money to pay? Are you saying that poor people shouldn't have the same rights? Sure, many people spend more than that on a wedding. I didn't. And I certainly wouldn't want to require someone else to. At the same time, if it was a private matter maybe there would be some sort of standard "marraige package" lawyers would offer for a set price that would be affordable. I don't know though.

    Also, most of the lawyers I've seen have been men, so I'm not sure why you think the family court system is out screw men over. Men can even have a practice just for men as advertised right here in this area. So how are men getting screwed any more than women also get screwed?

    Sean: I can hope anyway, right?

    Toniya: Great article! I'm going to add it to the bottom of the post for further emphasis.

  • Venjanz
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 1:36:00 AM CST  

    Yeah the majority of lawyers are men, but when it comes to divorce law, this ain't a team sport. Lawyers are lawyers, and greed is greed. You only become a divorce lawyer out of greed or idealism.

    The only time a woman does not gain physical custody of the children is when she is so fucked up on drugs or booze, she can't even speak at the hearing. And sometimes not even then. Look at some stats from the ABA.

    Men that are not the biological fathers of children are routinely ordered by family courts to pay support or go to jail because of women who lied about the paternity of the child. Google this, it will make you sick.

    There have been recent cases of child support orders issued to men that have been proven by DNA evidence not to be the father, but since they were with the woman and child for what the court deemed to be long enough, they were the considered the de facto father, and legally liable for support.

    Alimony is awarded to women over men at a rate of 80/20.

    Concerned about poor people not being able to draw up civil contracts? No problem, if you eliminate the static bureaucracy of the family court system.

    The tax money can be used to fund arbitration judges and lawyers whio will draw up equitable contracts.

    The way I see it, these lawyers will be working pro bono in fact, and are subsidized by the savings to the tax-payer, which would result in a net savings on the front end.

    Hell, I bet you can make this a requirement of being a member of the Bar by taking a certain amount of these cases, and use the surplus funds to support welfare queens and baby machines.

    Good luck with that though.


  • Ordinary Girl
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 7:34:00 AM CST  

    I'll be sure to tell SI and the other lawyers I know that they're just a bunch of greedy fucking lawyers. I mean, they can't be human. It's all about the paycheck, right?

    It's outmoded that women are seen as the primary caregivers in parenting, but it's not a stereotype that women perpetuated. Men are the ones that have believed for centuries that women belong in the home. So don't go crying to me about some feminist conspiracy to keep children with women. If you asked most men who should be the custodial parent, most would say the woman. I'm not saying it's right, but it's a societal bias. That's the sort of thing that I think should be changed.

    Yes, it's unfair that men that are not the biological fathers of children are ordered to pay support. The state isn't ordering the support for women though, but for the children. I don't get it either, but I think that's something that needs to change too.

    I bet women are stay at home caregivers at least 80% of the time too. If I gave up my career willingly to raise children, even sometimes to educate them myself, and I was left without any options at a divorce I'd seek alimony too. But you're arguing this with someone who's husband sought alimony. After I put him through school he thought I owed him support for the rest of his life. I couldn't even get his share of the bills in the divorce, so don't go crying to me about bias against men.

    Sure, stuff will just magically happen if you eliminate the bureaucracy. Tax money (who are you kidding? you want to get rid of most tax money) can be used to help poor people. Except most Libertarians don't give a fuck about poor people. Poor people deserve to be poor because they're just welfare queens and baby mills. No one's ever had a bad break. No one's ever had a bad start at life. Fuck! This is fucking America and everyone can be President, right?

    Don't come to my blog and complain that women are just a bunch of money fucking cunts. That doesn't fly with me.

  • Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D.
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 5:50:00 PM CST  

    Hey OG are you channeling Ex or Chappy? :)

  • Ordinary Girl
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 6:21:00 PM CST  

    What do you mean? I'm channeling me. :)


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