Non-religious Argument Against Gay Marriage?


#1

Hello everyone,

I'm in San Francisco for work for a few weeks so obviously the gay marriage issue is in the news constantly here. I understand the Church's teachings on gay marriage and why it will be never be accepted and I feel comfortable explaining my views on that. My question is really: what are some NON-religious arguments against allowing gay marriage? When this conversation comes up, I am often confronted by people saying "You can't impose your religious beliefs on others" "Separation of Church and State" "If we allow religions to make this law, what other laws (usually referring to Shariah laws) will be we allow them to impose on society?" I really don't know how to respond to these statements without incorporating my religious beliefs. Any help?


#2

Easy. You are the result of a physical union between a man and a woman. If there was a man-man or woman woman relationship you would not exist to ask your question.

P.S. I think this thread belongs in another section. (Philosophy?)

If anything I have said is against the Catholic Church, let it be anathema.


#3

Marriage exists to attach society's legal imprimatur to unions which are capable of bringing forth children, the care and disposition of whom is a matter of public interest.

Gay couples are incapable of procreation, and so there behavior is hardly a matter of public interest worthy of recognition or protection.


#4

Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't sure what forum this should go in and I saw the post below mine about gay marriage being postponed so I took at shot here. Moderator, please feel free to move it if I'm in the wrong forum.

Thanks LA. I have tried to go down the road of "natural law" and producing children, etc but the responses I've gotten have been "Not all straight couples can or choose to have children either, but they can still marry" and "Gay couples can also make good parents - through adoption or artificial insemination." And then I'm stumped again...

Just to be clear, I'm not arguing at all with the Church's position on this - I agree. I just can't figure out how to discuss this with non-religious people as to why civil marriages should not be allowed. Thanks!


#5

[quote="LoveTheChurch, post:4, topic:209228"]
Thanks LA. I have tried to go down the road of "natural law" and producing children, etc but the responses I've gotten have been "Not all straight couples can or choose to have children either, but they can still marry" and "Gay couples can also make good parents - through adoption or artificial insemination." And then I'm stumped again...

[/quote]

Re: choice, the simple response is that we do not require people who get engineering degrees to practice engineering, either. This does not make illegitimate to issue engineering degrees or require those who practice engineering to have them.

As for inability, "fertility" is a heuristic for describing any of a number of difficulties related to procreation. It is not a categorical dimension (one is not either "fertile" or "infertile," barring some catastrophic birth defect, removal of the relevant organs, or the like); it exists on a sliding scale. To use fertility as a basis for denying marriage certificates would require intrusive government inquiries into people's private lives, and would require arbitrary judgments as to what it becomes so improbable for a couple to conceive a child that they can safely be declared "infertile."

Sex is a bright line that allows society to avoid such inquiries (which are, by the way, impossible for a gay couple -- two men may have perfectly high sperm counts but the nature of their union is intrinsically incapable of procreation). As an analogy, we use a drinking age of 21 instead of some intrusive, arbitrary measure of "maturity." One can rightly argue that 21 is arbitrary, since a person at age 20 years and 364 days undergoes no change in the following 24 hours that makes him magically capable of responsibly consuming alcohol, but it is a good deal less arbitrary than the alternative.

As for couples deciding to procreate through adoption or artificial insemination, gays are of course perfectly free to marry their opposite-sex donor if they wish to enjoy the benefits of marriage.


#6

[quote="LoveTheChurch, post:4, topic:209228"]

Thanks LA. I have tried to go down the road of "natural law" and producing children, etc but the responses I've gotten have been "Not all straight couples can or choose to have children either, but they can still marry" and "Gay couples can also make good parents - through adoption or artificial insemination." And then I'm stumped again...

[/quote]

You are correct - "Not all straight couples can or choose to have children..."

**Some **heterosexual couples do not/can not have/want children

but...

It is impossible for **All **homosexual "marriages" to produce children.

Even through adoption or artificial insemination you still need a man and woman union to produce the child that will donate the sperm for artificial insemination.

If anything I have said is against the Catholic Church, let it be anathema.


#7

Here is a relevant section from the Prop. 8 proponents' brief defending their position to the 9th Circuit:

Plaintiffs say little about due process, but they are plainly wrong that our
argument logically implies that the state could constitutionally restrict marriage to
only fertile opposite-sex couples. The highly intrusive inquiries necessary to police
and enforce such a requirement would surely run afoul of constitutionally protected
privacy rights, as several courts have noted. See, e.g., Stay Mtn. 34-35. Further, as
explained in our stay motion, see id. at 35, even infertile marriages between men
and women further the procreative purposes of marriage by decreasing the likelihood
that the fertile partner will produce children out of wedlock and by strengthening
legal and social norms that seek to channel and confine sexual relationships
between men and women to marriage.

Full brief is available here: ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2010/08/16/reply_brief.pdf. The whole brief is a reasoned, secular defense of traditional marriage.


#8

OP, it would be helpful if you did a search. This subject has been discussed exhaustively on CAF, and recently. Some of the threads are not titled "secular" or "non-religious" argument, but some are. And the ones that don't have such a title, contain within them many secular arguments. For example, search mine, search mlund's, search Corki's, and (much earlier) search benadam's. You will find that some of us who post on the recent threads have a history of posting on this topic, and that our posts contain secular arguments; also, the repliers within those threads bring up secular arguments. (My list of posters, IOW, is not exhaustive.)


#9

Catholic radio had a guest the other day who made the statement that there are many "loving" living-together relationships. For instance, two sisters, two brothers, two platonic roommates, a mother and son, etc.may love each other in a chaste way. Since they love each other should they also be allowed to marry? Of course not. Then why should those who improperly use their genitals be the ones who should be allowed to marry? The above mentioned loving people who do not improperly use their genitals are not allowed to marry but the immoral people are? This has nothing to do with religion.....just commom sense.


#10

Have you tried this vid from Dr. Keyes?

youtube.com/watch?v=hGOXJI-fZmQ


#11

[quote="onetruechurch, post:9, topic:209228"]
two sisters, two brothers, two platonic roommates,

[/quote]

Or for that matter, how about 3? Or 4? Isn't that how the "one man, one woman" definition came about, because of the Mormons wanting one man, and several woman? We made the law because of them, and now we'll change it for someone else.


#12

Also what offends people is the normalizing of gay unions as marriage. Its' not enough for them to have civil unions, it has to be marriage, and it must be thought normal! That's the psychology behind all this....we can know that gay "marriage" is wrong and perverted, but all the arguments will never stand up against the Zeitgeist, It's an Idea Whose Time is Come - and that's that. This is really about accepting new norms, or rejecting them. It's a war for what is normal and good in the minds of men.


#13

[quote="sw85, post:3, topic:209228"]
Marriage exists to attach society's legal imprimatur to unions which are capable of bringing forth children, the care and disposition of whom is a matter of public interest.

[/quote]

The Catholic Church disagrees with that assessment. According to the Church, marriage is for the purpose of procreation, the raising children, and also for uniting two persons to completeness.

Of course, the Catholic Church rejects the idea that two persons of the same sex could unite one another to completeness. Nonetheless, from a secular point of view, it could be said to be true. The persons in long term relationships are often healthier (emotionally and physically) than their single counterparts.

As for procreation, of course, in vitro fertilization is well known. As is surrogacy. And certainly many lesbians have given birth. And, as previously noted, the law (at least in the US) doesn't require fertility to be a requirement of marriage. Plenty of infertile couple marry, and remain married, despite the absence of children. The same could also be said about couples who are past the child bearing years - even though their children are grown and gone, the marriage is not dissolved. The ability to procreate, at least in the US, is not a requirement of marriage.

And, of course, same sex couples have been raising children, for decades.

BTW, (and this is addressed to the OP, LoveTheChurch), the reason this thread probably should have been started in a different forum is because the News forums require a link to a current news article as the basis for each new thread.


#14

I don't think there can be a non-religious argument agaist it. The idea of marriage, the bringing together of a man and a woman, is a divine institution. The idea of a family living within the laws of nature is very important. Call it what you will, but a "marriage" it is not. The whole idea is preposturous and people actually espouse this with a straight face!


#15

[quote="onetruechurch, post:9, topic:209228"]
Catholic radio had a guest the other day who made the statement that there are many "loving" living-together relationships. For instance, two sisters, two brothers, two platonic roommates, a mother and son, etc.may love each other in a chaste way. Since they love each other should they also be allowed to marry? /QUOTE]
I think it would be a stretch of the law to allow such marriages. On the other hand, sexual intercourse is not a requirement of marriage (unless, in the US, your spouse is from another country and applying for permanent residency.)

However, just for argument's sake, if two persons wanted to bind their fates together for life, to merge their finances and fortunes, to live as one... other than incest, is there a reason, from a secular point of view, to say no?

[/quote]


#16

Well before "defending" any beliefs, I would submit that anyone who wants to change the status quo carrys the obligation to show why it should change; the status quo should not be guilty unless proven innocent. So other than gays wanting to have this right as arbitrary choice, what are the reasons?

For one, who or what decides gay marriage IS a right? If it is a right for gays, then why not brothers? Why not be able to marry a tree? The arguments I've heard offered go basically along the line of this:

gay = human, humans have rights, => gays have rights.

Well this is true when it comes to basic human rights, but not all rights are equal. Everyone in America has a Constitutional right to bear arms; but those rights are not equal among the law-abiding citizen and the felon; the sane, rational person and the person with a mental illness; etc. All enjoy the basic right to life, yet other rights are sometimes restricted for reasons such as safety, security, or betterment of society.

So the question is, is marriage some kind of basic human right, open to anyone and everything, or does society act justly when it carves out certain parameters within which marriage must operate? I say the onus is on the homosexual to demonstrate that is the case, and thus far they have not. All they have shown us is weak analogies and emotional appeal in an attempt to get what they want, which isn't marriage but a more robust legitimization of their "lifestyle."

Other than a piece of paper, please demonstrate what fundamental difference there is between a gay couple who enjoy all the same work/visitation/insurance/financial benefits without being married, and a couple who is married. It doesn't change anything, so why is there such an effort to seek this non-difference if it is not to lend credibility to a relationship that has never been recognized in all of history as legitimate? What changed that now makes it suddenly legitimate only by force of a legal decree?

In order for any society to work, it must have authoritative power invested in something from which standards may be derived. In the US, the nation was founded on the morals of Christian belief of that time. In that period, it was the commonly held belief that laws were of two types: divine, and man-made, and the understanding was that no man-made law could ever supersede a divine law. Example: There is a divine law against murder, thus no law could be made that sanctions murder, for it would conflict with a divine law and would be WRONG.

Lately, with the push on deconstuctionist and relativist ideas, many in society today choose to ignore any sort of divine law, substituting it for man-made laws, and where something must serve as that higher source, they will call it something like a "universal law," murder being the prime example, as though suddenly one day a huge world council sat down and came up with the idea that murder is wrong. Well it didn't happen that way, and history proves anyone who might think it did wrong. The point is, in the case of gays, they will vigorously resist any idea of a higher ideal from which laws come because that same source condemns their very relationships.

So without the ability to appeal to a higher power other than man, they appeal to man and his arbitrary decision making and cast themselves as unjustly singled out for persecution and bias because they can't have what they desire. However societies cannot work in such a system where the highest common ideal is the lowest common factor, no matter how low. Diversity has limits, for without it, you cannot justify any reason to stop dad from marrying all his daughters, his eldest son from marrying Spot the dog or the family goldfish. Perfect diversity is the absence of any limits whatsoever. That means there cannot even be such a concept as truth, unless and only unless truth can be anything and everything at once. Everyone is right, no matter their choice.

We would never accept a student who demands an A on his paper that cited the answer to 2 + 5 = 11, yet that means we must draw a line, we must of necessity make a decision and we must discriminate, or make distinction between right and wrong, and everyone knows 2 + 5 = 11 is wrong no matter how much the student wants it to be right, no matter how persecuted he feels at the hand of those who answered "7."

Gays send us these messages without much proof to back it up.
1. They can't help who they are, no choice is involved
2. They aren't treated equally because they can't have a marriage.
3. No one may criticize their lifestyle, while they may criticize, even demonize anyone else's beliefs and often do.

So in short, we have a dubious starting position (the 3 above), we have no compelling reasons offered beyond "we want it," and we have a clear attack on a society's justness in being able to draw a line or impose a limit. If I can't deny anyone such as a gay couple, because it is a RIGHT, then it's also a right to have a kangaroo for a spouse and to whom will you appeal to deny that that cannot be appealed to in the matter of gay marriage?


#17

Well before "defending" any beliefs, I would submit that anyone who wants to change the status quo carrys the obligation to show why it should change; the status quo should not be guilty unless proven innocent. So other than gays wanting to have this right as arbitrary choice, what are the reasons?

For one, who or what decides gay marriage IS a right? If it is a right for gays, then why not brothers? Why not be able to marry a tree? The arguments I've heard offered go basically along the line of this:

gay = human, humans have rights, => gays have rights.

Well this is true when it comes to basic human rights, but not all rights are equal. Everyone in America has a Constitutional right to bear arms; but those rights are not equal among the law-abiding citizen and the felon; the sane, rational person and the person with a mental illness; etc. All enjoy the basic right to life, yet other rights are sometimes restricted for reasons such as safety, security, or betterment of society.

So the question is, is marriage some kind of basic human right, open to anyone and everything, or does society act justly when it carves out certain parameters within which marriage must operate? I say the onus is on the homosexual to demonstrate that is the case, and thus far they have not. All they have shown us is weak analogies and emotional appeal in an attempt to get what they want, which isn't marriage but a more robust legitimization of their "lifestyle."

Other than a piece of paper, please demonstrate what fundamental difference there is between a gay couple who enjoy all the same work/visitation/insurance/financial benefits without being married, and a couple who is married. It doesn't change anything, so why is there such an effort to seek this non-difference if it is not to lend credibility to a relationship that has never been recognized in all of history as legitimate? What changed that now makes it suddenly legitimate only by force of a legal decree?

In order for any society to work, it must have authoritative power invested in something from which standards may be derived. In the US, the nation was founded on the morals of Christian belief of that time. In that period, it was the commonly held belief that laws were of two types: divine, and man-made, and the understanding was that no man-made law could ever supersede a divine law. Example: There is a divine law against murder, thus no law could be made that sanctions murder, for it would conflict with a divine law.

Lately, with the push on deconstuctionist and relativist ideas, many in society today choose to ignore any sort of divine law, substituting it for man-made laws, and where something must serve as that higher source, they will call it something like a "universal law," murder being the prime example, as though suddenly one day a huge world council sat down and came up with the idea that murder is wrong. Well it didn't happen that way, and history proves anyone who might think it did wrong. The point is, in the case of gays, they will vigorously resist any idea of a higher ideal from which laws come because that same source condemns their very relationships.

So without the ability to appeal to a higher power other than man, they appeal to man and his arbitrary decision making and cast themselves as unjustly singled out for persecution and bias because they can't have what they desire. However societies cannot work in such a system where the highest common ideal is the lowest common factor, no matter how low. Diversity has limits, for without it, you cannot justify any reason to stop dad from marrying all his daughters, his eldest son from marrying Spot the dog or the family goldfish. Perfect diversity is the absence of any limits whatsoever. That means there cannot even be such a concept as truth, unless and only unless truth can be anything and everything at once. Everyone is right, no matter their choice.

We would never accept a student who demands an A on his paper that cited the answer to 2 + 5 = 11, yet that means we must draw a line, we must of necessity make a decision and we must discriminate, or make distinction between right and wrong, and everyone knows 2 + 5 = 11 is wrong no matter how much the student wants it to be right, no matter how persecuted he feels at the hand of those who answered "7."

Gays send us these messages without much proof to back it up.
1. They can't help who they are, no choice is involved
2. They aren't treated equally because they can't have a marriage.
3. No one may criticize their lifestyle, while they may criticize, even demonize anyone else's beliefs and often do.

So in short, we have a dubious starting position (the 3 above), we have no compelling reasons offered beyond "we want it," and we have a clear attack on a society's justness in being able to draw a line or impose a limit. If I can't deny anyone such as a gay couple, because it is a RIGHT, then it's also a right to have a kangaroo for a spouse and to whom will you appeal to deny that that cannot be appealed to in the matter of gay marriage?


#18

[quote="Dale_M, post:13, topic:209228"]
The Catholic Church disagrees with that assessment. According to the Church, marriage is for the purpose of procreation, the raising children, and also for uniting two persons to completeness.

[/quote]

I'm talking about marriage as a legal institution here, independent of what the Church thinks of it, as per the OP.

As far as society is concerned there is no real reason to recognize people's union. The state ought not to legislate on the basis of anything as ephemeral as the human heart, but only on matters of real, concrete interest -- e.g., the care and disposition of children.

[quote="Dale_M, post:13, topic:209228"]
As for procreation, of course, in vitro fertilization is well known. As is surrogacy. And certainly many lesbians have given birth. And, as previously noted, the law (at least in the US) doesn't require fertility to be a requirement of marriage. Plenty of infertile couple marry, and remain married, despite the absence of children. The same could also be said about couples who are past the child bearing years - even though their children are grown and gone, the marriage is not dissolved. The ability to procreate, at least in the US, is not a requirement of marriage.

[/quote]

I addressed this above. Marriage law is concerned with the ability to procreate in principle, because there is no way to carve out exceptions in particular circumstances without grossly intrusive measures.

But there is no way for homosexual couples to procreate in principle. They must of necessity involve an outside party of the opposite sex. And if they're going to involve a member of the opposite sex, they may as well marry that person.


#19

[quote="sw85, post:18, topic:209228"]
I'm talking about marriage as a legal institution here, independent of what the Church thinks of it, as per the OP.

[/quote]

Of course, but since this is a Catholic forum, certainly Catholic thought will shape our perspectives.

[quote="sw85, post:18, topic:209228"]
As far as society is concerned there is no real reason to recognize people's union. The state ought not to legislate on the basis of anything as ephemeral as the human heart, but only on matters of real, concrete interest -- e.g., the care and disposition of children.

[/quote]

In which case, by your argument, all marriages should be dissolved after children are raised, and child bearing is no longer possible. And women who have had hysterectomies should be barred from marriage I don't think you want to take the stand you made.

[quote="sw85, post:18, topic:209228"]
But there is no way for homosexual couples to procreate in principle.

[/quote]

But you haven't made clear why such a principle should matter. As long as children are born (by whatever means) or are adopted, surely they are being raised. Is marriage about raising children or about having heterosexual intercourse?

I think marriage is about more than sex or the rearing of children, but then, I have been contaminated by Catholic teaching.


#20

[quote="Dale_M, post:19, topic:209228"]
In which case, by your argument, all marriages should be dissolved after children are raised, and child bearing is no longer possible. And women who have had hysterectomies should be barred from marriage I don't think you want to take the stand you made.

[/quote]

I addressed this previously. First, there is no way to assess infertility without measures that are either grossly intrusive, inherently arbitrary and subjective, or both. And second, per the Pro 8 proponents' brief, "even infertile marriages between men and women further the procreative purposes of marriage by decreasing the likelihood that the fertile partner will produce children out of wedlock and by strengthening legal and social norms that seek to channel and confine sexual relationships between men and women to marriage."

[quote="Dale_M, post:19, topic:209228"]
But you haven't made clear why such a principle should matter. As long as children are born (by whatever means) or are adopted, surely they are being raised. Is marriage about raising children or about having heterosexual intercourse?

[/quote]

If a homosexual wishes to have a child by means of a third party, there is simply no reason to recognize the involvement of his partner.

My wife gets my health insurance because there is a reasonable expectation that she will bear my child. My girlfriend doesn't, even if she is helping to raise my child by another woman. Why do you think this is?

Your principle appears to be that, because we are unwilling to follow the procreation argument through to what you think is its logical conclusion, procreation must not be a purpose of marriage. But if it is not, this is not an argument for gay marriage; it's an argument against marriage law, period. What in the world business has the state issuing permission slips saying "you're committed and in love," since this is evidently the purpose to which you would reduce the legal institution of marriage?

[quote="Dale_M, post:19, topic:209228"]
I think marriage is about more than sex or the rearing of children, but then, I have been contaminated by Catholic teaching.

[/quote]

Marriage as a social/religious institution serves purposes beyond that of the legal institution.

If homosexuals are starved for "recognition of their union," they are perfectly free to hold a little ceremony with an Episcopalian minister or some such. They can exchange vows and wedding bands, they can even call their ceremony a "marriage" and no one will try to stop them. There is simply no legally compelling basis to recognize it as such.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.