August 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Let’s start with what actually constitutes hate. Westboro Baptist Church is not at all coy about the word “hate,” so much so, in fact, that they even decorate their signs and websites with the word. On the opposite side, though, actress Rosanne Barr tweeted last week, “anyone who eats S***-Fil-A deserves to get the cancer…”
The vast majority of people who oppose same-sex marriage (SSM) are anything but hateful. In fact, when people accuse SSM opponents of being hateful, they usually employ two logical fallacies: an ad-hominem attack against the person instead of the argument, and a straw-man fallacy, misrepresenting the position as one that stems from emotional bias rather than reasoned arguments.
But there are reasoned, legal arguments against SSM. In order to understand them, one must understand the state’s interest in institutionalized marriage, which is the creation and maintenance of the most stable known family unit. While I could reasonably meet the basic needs of my daughter by myself, the best situation she could ever grow up in is one that includes both her mother and me. After all, there are more differences between men and women than physiology, and I could never succeed in teaching my daughter to become a woman without the aid of a woman.
SSM advocates argue the above institution is unequal. Even a broad look at the legal underpinnings of marriage, though, shows an absence of discrimination. The reason for this is simple. Marriage, institutionalized by the government, is regulated, as are all governmental institutions, but marriage lacks the discriminatory status that so many ascribe to it because it regulates all people equally.
In the U.S., any person is free to marry as long as he or she is not currently married, is of age, and marries somebody of the opposite sex who is separated by a defined degree of relation. Nowhere is there a requirement that a party must be attracted to members of the opposite sex. That would be discriminatory. The SSM advocate will point out that most heterosexuals who marry are romantically attracted to each other, which is true, but the law is indifferent to the presence or absence of romantic attraction.
So it’s inaccurate for SSM advocates to say they want equality; what they want is a redefinition of marriage to remove the restriction that people marry the opposite sex.
And this desire is a downright dangerous legal conundrum.
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If asked why they believe SSM should be actualized in the U.S. or is correct in having been actualized in Canada, many advocates will respond along the thread that all people should be allowed to marry whomever they “love.” They say love is love, and this is what’s legally troubling about SSM. “Love” is an equivocation. I love pizza much differently than I love my wife.
But in order to create a legal institution, definitions must be established, whether explicitly or implicitly. Inherent to SSM is the inclusion of romantic attraction in the definition of “love.”
And this is where the problem lies. Romantic attraction is fickle, and any institution that is based on something as ever-changing as romantic attraction is doomed to instability.
But this is hardly the worst part. When people bring up the issues of polygamy, bestiality, and a host of other sexually deviant behaviors, SSM advocates are quick to say they are falling into a slippery slope fallacy by assuming SSM will necessarily lead to legal acceptance of these behaviors; but SSM advocates invariably fall into said fallacy by assuming that SSM will not lead to legal acceptance of these behaviors without providing evidence to the contrary.
In conversation, I have asked people dozens of times how a government could justify denying siblings the right to marry if we simply say anybody who “loves” somebody else can marry him or her. I have never received an actual attempt at a response. That’s because basing marriage on romantic attraction opens this door. It is the case that some siblings are romantically attracted to one another. It is also the case that there are numerous situations where groups of more than two people are romantically attracted to each other. The redefining of marriage on romantic attraction reduces other restraints on marriage to arbitrary tradition, tradition that will likely fade in the future with further acceptance of SSM.
So no, my opposition to gay marriage doesn’t stem from religion. I certainly don’t “hate” members of the gay community, and my opposition doesn’t even stem from the fact that people who engage in homosexual activities are at a disproportionately high risk of developing diseases and decreasing their life spans. No. My opposition to SSM stems from the fact that I think it’s a poor idea to replace a long-standing civil institution with a legal institution that is implicitly based on emotions.
Josh Divine is a U.S. citizen who holds a degree in Mathematics. He is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor.