Yet another anti-same-sex marriage logic fail

by Mr Wainscotting

I seem to be finding a lot of bad arguments against same-sex marriage and adoption from Australia at the moment. The latest one seems upset about the opinion polls on the matter:

I’m 19, I’m a university student, I use social media, I play video games…and I oppose gay marriage. According to the polls and the stereotypes, I’m an anomaly.

Yes, you are an anomaly. Well done.

Oh, you’re not finished? Fine. Let’s hear it.

[T]he constant mantra that gay marriage is “inevitable” and that younger generations are all in favour of it, as perpetuated by the gay marriage lobby and the media, peer pressures many young people into supporting it. They succumb to the group think mentality. As a result, they miss the logical fallacies in the case for gay marriage.

I feel a number of logical fallacies coming on…

This is all from a young chap called Blaise Joseph, and I’m afraid his logic skills are right up there with other 19 year old university students:

Firstly, there is far more to marriage than love and expression of love. If love was the only criteria for a marriage, then we would allow almost every conceivable type of relationship to be recognised as a marriage.

If love were the only criteria then anyone could marry anything!!! cats would marry trees!!! Then there would be anarchy!!!11

Sorry, I’m back now. So, what else is there to marriage besides love? Oh, you’re not going to elaborate? All right then…

Also, the idea that the legal definition of marriage, meaning the social significance Australia attaches to marriage, doesn’t affect society is an oxymoron. Marriage laws are fundamentally a question of what’s best for society rather than a question of individual rights.

Well, if that’s the way the law is written, then it must be right — because laws have always been based on “what’s best for society” and have never been wrong.

Furthermore, marriage must discriminate to have meaning. Defining marriage itself is an act of discrimination because it is saying what marriage is and what it isn’t, by definition.

Now, I’m going to make an assumption here. I’m going to assume you’re white, straight and cis-gendered. I think I’m fairly safe making those assumptions. You’re a university student who can afford to play video games, so I’m going to assume you’re not poor. It’s awfully easy to justify discrimination with pointless semantics when you’ve never been on the receiving end of the very discrimination you’re dismissing.

Once we get past these distractions [you mean, “once we make up and then dismiss some distractions” -MrW], we can get to the core of the debate, which is simply this: should we have a special status for heterosexual relationships, as is the status quo? It isn’t “homophobic” to answer that heterosexual relationships make a unique contribution to society and marriage is a recognition of this.

Heterosexual relationships are unique in that they are orientated to procreation. They involve organic bodily union, through coitus, as part of the natural cycle of life and fundamental to the survival of humanity. The communal significance of this is acknowledged by society through marriage. Changing the legal definition of marriage to accommodate gay couples would mean the institution losing its significance.

Um… Not really. Sure, you need a sperm, an ovum and a womb to make a baby, but a quick survey of the married, hetero couples I know reveals that they all find a reduction of their relationships to simple procreation rather offensive — that dismisses the rich and beautiful shared experience they have with each other. Plus all the standard “what about the infertile/don’t-want-kids couples who get married” arguments. Never fear, Blaise shall simply dismiss those complaints with ease:

This misses the point: heterosexual relationships as a whole, not any given one relationship, are an essential part of society by their very physical nature. Individual married heterosexual couples who don’t or can’t produce children at a given point in time doesn’t change the nature of the relationship – children not being produced is only incidental. […] The current definition of marriage recognises that heterosexual relationships are naturally orientated to procreation, and most marriages fulfil this.

“Naturally orientated to procreation.” Marriage is more than a pair of matching hats with “Baby Makers!” written on them.

He then goes on to try his hand at quote mining:

Given that marriage is naturally linked to children, it is unsurprising that the social science indicates that the optimal family structure for a child is to be raised by its married biological parents. The newly released study For Kids’ Sake, by Professor Patrick Parkinson AM from the University of Sydney, concluded that:

…if there is one major demographic change in western societies that can be linked to a large range of adverse consequences for many children and young people, it is the growth in the numbers of children who experience life in a family other than living with their two biological parents, at some point before the age of 15.”

Hmmm… Let’s see what the professor wrote after that little fullstop:

Family conflict and parental separation have a range of adverse impacts on children and young people. Children are particularly badly affected by exposure to destructive conflict between parents… Separation creates different sources of conflict between parents from the kind of conflict that occurs when parents live together.

So, Parkinson is actually talking about conflict in the home, separation and step-parents. In fact, the report doesn’t even take same-sex marriage into account at all, and the terms gay and lesbian each only turn up once in the whole document when the professor recommends such organisations provide free relationship advice to their members. Sorry if that destroys your point, but you should know better than to quote things out of context. The report didn’t even acknowledge same-sex couples, and to quote it as if it did is disingenuous.

Additionally, a study by the American Witherspoon Institute Ten Principles on Marriage and the Public Good in 2008…

Actually, I’m going to stop that quote there, as anything that comes after it is irrelevant. The Witherspoon Institute is a conservative think-tank, not a reputable research organisation. Think-tanks are biased in their outset and the ‘studies’ that they produce aren’t real research, in the academic sense. ‘Study’ is just a neutral way of saying ‘opinion’.

Of course, some gay couples are better parents than some married heterosexual couples, but the principle remains that a child being raised by its biological parents is the ideal.

So, what about all the children taken off their biological parents because they were abusive or negligent? What about the children who were abandoned, or whose parents died? Their biological parents are no longer in the picture. Using Blaise’s logic, we shouldn’t allow them to be adopted by anyone, let alone same-sex couples.

All these studies and all the research that keeps getting cited in opposition to same-sex marriage and adoption never actually takes into account same-sex marriage or adoption. Nor surrogacy or adoption by close friends or family.

But aside from all that, how dare you, Blaise, decide that you can discriminate against me, and throw around terms like “natural family.” Do you know what is natural? Everything. The fact that it exists makes it natural.

The love I feel for other men is felt in my brain, a brain that was designed by natural forces through billions of years of evolution, that developed and has operated over the last few decades by the natural laws of physics and chemistry. The love I feel for other men is anything but unnatural. And you will never be able to experience it, Blaise. You will never be able to enter my brain and feel what I feel. The love I feel for other men is the most magnificent thing in the world to me. It makes me bubble and froth with a joy and elation that outshines the beauty of all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, is more powerful than the Carmina Burana, and with greater satisfaction than the endings to Hollywood’s greatest romance films.

How dare you tell me my love is not worth as much as yours.

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2 thoughts on “Yet another anti-same-sex marriage logic fail

    • Thanks Tommy. A quick glance at that paper reveals that it contains many of the same fallacies that Blaise is repeating — fallacies that are not novel, but have been around for decades and were used to push for things like the Briggs Initiative.

      … abolishing the conjugal conception of marriage would weaken the social institution of marriage, obscure the value of opposite‐sex parenting as an ideal, and threaten moral and religious freedom.

      This still makes the assumption that opposite-sex parenting is the ideal, and that traditional marriage provides the best environment for a child (rather than just correlating with those in loving, committed relationships). They also throw in the old ‘religious freedom’ red herring — because, apparently, privately held beliefs should be free to discriminate against people on a state level.

      If this is the best they’ve got, then they don’t have much of a leg to stand on.

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