Gay Marriage: Why It's Fine With Me

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Gay Marriage: Why It's Fine With Me

In recent years, gay marriage has been one of the most contentious and emotionally charged issues in the United States. Just yesterday, a federal court struck down Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage. The legal battles, however, have only just begun.

I had some reservations about addressing this issue because I know that many people will have a problem with my point of view. It is this controversy, however, that makes the issue irresistible. So I have compiled, in no particular order, what I believe to be a comprehensive list of the arguments against gay marriage, with each argument followed by an attempt to refute it.

1) If gay marriage is made legal, it will open the door for other types of non-traditional marriage. People might want to marry their pets and farm animals, and polygamy could potentially make a comeback. First of all, the argument that people will marry animals is stupid, and it embarrasses the people who make it. As far as I know, no one has learned to speak dog, cat, or horse language. (Although we can train them to obey simple commands.) Marriage, by definition, is a contract involving two consenting adults. So if we can’t speak animal language, it is difficult to determine if the animal has given consent. And because it is a bitch to pick up a pen with a paw or a hoof, it is impractical to get written consent from them either. Even if we could understand their wishes, I’m not sure if animals quite get the concept of marriage. I suspect that we will never know. Now the polygamy argument is more plausible. Polygamy has been common throughout history and still exists sort of underground in the United States. Personally, I don’t have a big problem with polygamy. I would not recommend entering into this type of arrangement, but if other people make this choice, it has no negative effect on me. At least it is honest. Large numbers of Americans have multiple romantic relationships simultaneously, and in most cases this is done secretly. It’s difficult to argue that polygamy is somehow more immoral than adultery. Now allowing polygamy could raise some tricky questions involving child custody, tax breaks, medical insurance, inheritance, and many other issues, but these questions can be tricky now with our heterosexual monogamy system. Adapting the rules to polygamous marriage might force us to ask ourselves if the current rules and regulations surrounding marriage make any sense. (In particular, it could be another reason to change a medical system in which it is so difficult for many to get affordable insurance.)

2) If gay marriage becomes legal, it will be the strongest sign yet that homosexual behavior, something many Americans disapprove of, has become acceptable. People who disapprove of homosexuality should not be forced to accept it as normal. I kind of agree with this argument. The acceptance of gay marriage would represent a major cultural shift in our country. The only question, I guess, is whether or not you think that this is a positive thing. No one, however, is going to be forced into thinking that homosexuality is OK. There are lots of perfectly legal behaviors that people have the right to openly criticize: heavy drinking, extramarital sex, gambling, and the list goes on and on. You do not, however, have the right to abuse or discriminate against people who have a lifestyle you do not like. You will also run into trouble if you try to turn your personal code of ethics into a legal code. It is impossible to legally ban all of the things that you are personally against. If the ten commandments were ever turned into a legal code, all of us would be fined or in jail – or in the Old Testament, stoned – fairly quickly, and the lawmakers would be put away first. Can you imagine if adultery was illegal? What if you could arrest or sue someone for coveting your wife, dishonoring his or her parents, or doing some work on the Sabbath day. The only commandments that can be practically enforced are those against killing or stealing, and I think we can all agree that physically harming someone or stealing his or her stuff is more damaging than performing a gay marriage in front of that person. We are all forced to put up with some behaviors that we find offensive. The basic rule in our country is that people have the right to engage in behaviors that do not infringe on the rights of others. Try as I might, I cannot think of any way that other people entering into a gay marriage takes away my rights. The Constitution, as far as I know, does not say that we have the right to never be offended. Interracial marriage used to offend people and was illegal in many states until shortly after the Civil Rights Movement. Forty years ago, my marriage would have therefore been illegal in certain parts of the country. Heaven forbid that people as dangerous as my wife and I should offend anyone!

3) If gay marriage becomes legal, schools will be forced to teach children that it is OK. This is a classic scare tactic, like Sarah Palin and death panels. I went to school for many years, and I never remember anyone teaching me lessons about proper marriages. Schools may at some point tell kids that gay marriage exists and is legal when or if these become reality. Schools may also promote tolerance, which of course refers to treating all people regardless of race, religion, color, or sexual persuasion with some basic respect. Does this mean that schools are teaching that gay marriage and homosexuality in general are morally acceptable? Not necessarily. They are just pointing out that it exists and that you should not be mean to gay people. How could anyone have a problem with that? I doubt that there are many kids who get their morals from schools anyway.

4) If gay marriage becomes legal, it will be easier for homosexual couples to adopt and raise children. (Or to have kids through surrogates, artificial insemination, etc.) If kids are raised by gay parents, it will do them (the kids) psychological harm. I am unaware of any hard evidence that proves that children raised by gay couples are psychologically damaged. If they are, the damage probably comes from individuals who criticize or make fun of their parents, not from the parents themselves. In this case, it is society that has the problem. Yet, if you could somehow show that it is bad for children to be raised by anyone other than a married man or woman, gay parents are hardly your biggest problem. Huge numbers of children are being raised by parents that are living in equally “immoral” circumstances. Divorced parents, single parents living with significant others, and gay, unmarried parents are all undesirable parents according to many who are against gay marriage. Should we take actions to prevent these parents from “damaging” their kids?

5) Gay marriage threatens America’s traditional, Judeo-Christian concept of marriage. It will degrade the institution of marriage for everyone.

6) If gay marriage becomes acceptable, churches and religious organizations will be forced to give the sacrament of marriage to people engaged in a relationship that goes against their faith.

7) Gay marriage is unnecessary. Most (if not all) states have other types of legal contracts that can provide gay couples with all of the benefits that married couples receive.

I am going to deal with arguments 5-7 together. They all come down to the same central issue. Often, when people argue against gay marriage, they are using the term marriage differently than the state does. For many, marriage is primarily a sacrament, a sacred union blessed by God and performed by some sort of a religious minister. In a country where you can get married by a judge or by an Elvis impersonator in Vegas, it does not take long to figure out that the United States does not view marriage as a religious sacrament. According to the state, marriage is a legal contract that has implications for child care, property sharing, medical insurance, hospital visitation rights, and many other issues. People who say that they are fine with “civil unions” but offended by “gay marriage” do not seem to understand that they are essentially the same thing according to the state. Churches and religious institutions, therefore, are not required to perform a marriage ceremony for anyone. I know from personal experience that the Catholic Church has a policy against marrying two non-Catholics or of marrying someone who has been divorced. (They require that the divorced participant(s) get an annulment.) As far as I know, no one is suing the Catholic Church for these policies. If the church refuses to perform the ceremony, this will do nothing to stop the individuals from marrying. So when people worry about the marriage institution being somehow degraded, their fears are misguided. In a sense, the institution is already degraded. Lots of heterosexual couples have married without seeking any blessing from God. Las Vegas, in particular, degrades the institution every day. Should we ban the Vegas style fifteen-minute wedding?

The most important question that I ask myself is why this issue gets so much attention. For me, this issue has always seemed to be a smokescreen, a distraction from the issues that actually impact people’s lives: health care, business regulations, entitlement reform, defense spending, etc. The problem with the issues that really matter is that they are complicated, and they often force people to think about details that require a great deal of time, patience, and a large attention span. Gay marriage seems simple. You are either for it or against it. It also appeals, particularly for its opponents, to emotional, gut-level feelings of right and wrong. Politicians may be many things, but they are not dumb. They recognize an opportunity to emotionally manipulate voters when they see it, and there is no emotion easier to manipulate than fear, the most important emotion in politics. When you go through the arguments against gay marriage, many are rooted in a gut-level fear of change.

To many opponents of gay marriage, this issue represents a major front in the culture war, a somewhat mythical battle between people who uphold conservative, “family values” and secular liberals pushing, among other things, the “gay agenda.” They seem to think that if they elect politicians who believe in these family values then America itself will have better values. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get my values from politicians. Anyone who puts their hope for family values into the hands of politicians is bound to be disappointed. Whenever you hear about a sex scandal involving a politician, more often than not it is the story of a “family values” conservative who apparently went astray. I don’t care about politicians’ self-proclaimed values; I care about their positions on the issues that actually affect me. If people want the values of Americans to improve, and if they want to protect marriage, they should focus on improving their own marriages and on living up to the values that they claim to believe. Maybe then they will have less time and energy to spend butting in on other people’s personal lives.

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Comments 17 comments

Diane Inside profile image

Diane Inside 6 years ago

I personally don't like the gay marriage think because it is, in my mind a sacred institution, from a religious reference. However I also think we should live and let live. I think Instead of calling it a marriage they should call it a domestice union or something else, I know thats probably splitting hairs but I think it just helps to keep the sacred institution of marriage between a man and woman in tact. I know many don't agree with me but that's just my feelings. Anyway good hub.

Oh and Clinton was not a family values conservative.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 6 years ago Author

Religious organizations should not be required to perform religious ceremonies for anyone. But according to the state, marriage is not a sacred institution. I guess that you could call it something else. Maybe a "mariage."

I'm not sure why you brought up Clinton. I never mention him in the hub. I'm sure that he would claim, however, to believe in family values.

Thanks for your input.


Diane Inside profile image

Diane Inside 6 years ago

Hey Freeway I brought Clinton up because you stated in the last paragraph that when you hear of sex scandals involving politicians more often than not it is a story of a "family Values" conservative. Well the last sex scandal I heard about was Clinton, and he is no conservative.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 6 years ago Author

True, but there have been a few sex scandals since Clinton. Three come to mind, although names escape me. There was the governor who had a mistress in Argentina, a guy hitting on people in an airport restroom, and another guy hitting on congressional pages. (All Republicans)


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

FF

I am sorry but I couldn't follow this hub.

I didn't find any valid arguments to support same gender marriages.

Marriage requires a license, and therefore it is not the same as a right. A right exists across the entire country, and it is not up to a state to determine a right. but a license can have different requirement in different states, such as a license to practice law or medicine, or be a CPA, or even a driver's license. Each state can determine what those requirements need to be for these areas.

Race is not a preference or an orientation and it is involuntarily visible, while sexual orientation has none of these attributes.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 6 years ago Author

I was trying to cut down arguments against it, based on the assumption that if an action does not infringe on the rights of others, then it should be tolerated.

I'm fine in theory with individual states making licensing decisions. The problem is that the majority has a tendency to oppress the minority, whether it is at the state of federal level.

Some argue that sexual orientation is not a choice. Due to the religious beliefs of many, this idea will always be controversial.


BRANDONHEATHTART profile image

BRANDONHEATHTART 6 years ago from NORTH CAROLINA - RALEIGH AREA

marriage means union. I have done a bit of metal-smithing in my days as an artist, and it means to fuse two separate, completely different metals. now, as far as the bible is concerned, it's pretty clear what the mandate on union is - that opposites should work together since with opposition comes a result. in a universe of pure, "unadulterated" (i should be slapped for that) equivalence nothing gets done because in difference there follows productivity. PRODUCT, as in multiplicity. logicians should have a field day with this - what life affirming result comes by virtue of homosexual union? what perpetuation of life is there? what danger is there to the anal community whose blood is "tainted" with E coli due to sustained, frequent friction? what gamete exists in the rectum, accept those released therein? what hope of continence in senior years remains? for the opposing homosexual community - if you have to purchase a phallus, why settle? is this bashing? or, should we never mind COLD LOGIC - AND IT IS! there is another logic, and that is do not judge, be merciful, be compassionate, be loving of your enemies, be HUMBLE BY GOD, be a friend to all as one was friend to whores, lepers, drunks, tax collectors and i think even to those pesky outsider Samaritans. in the end (no pun intended), i think to bitch makes the believers look real, real bad and in my opinion (as a believer) even worse than what they are up against....really only fear that if they don't bitch the world will end sooner. or would the believers rather bitch and complain and try to change from the negative side - CHRIST WAS the DIRECT OPPOSITE - YOU "BELIEVERS"...AND OUT OF FAITH WAS LOVING AND MERCIFUL PERTAINING TO THE LAW. it may or may not be ok with me, but that is not for me to disclose -but what is , is that God will judge us all....so why are we starting now? like it, or not -WHY? READ YOUR BIBLES CHRISTIANS AND THINK BEYOND the PASTOR THAT YELLS AT YOU ON SUNDAY - CHRIST YELLed AT "HIPPOS" - WHERE HYPOCRITE COMES FROM IS HIPPOPOTAMUS - IT MEANS "BIG MOUTHED" - THE BIBLE TELLS US ALL TO LIVE A QUIET LIFE...WELL....LET THE FUSION BEGIN....BUT FOR THE RECORD, YOU DON'T FUSE GOLD WITH GOLD - IT IS WHAT IT IS...


Aussieteacher profile image

Aussieteacher 6 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

I don't support the concept of gay "marriage" - I believe a marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and I believe that another type of contract would be better for those same sex people who wish to confirm their long term relationship. It is an issue that is being discussed here in Australia right now. Most people who have been legally married, are confronted by the concept of "marriage" - I'm happy for same sex couples to have a legal union, and I am concerned about same sex couples having babies - Isn't there enough warped people in our world without wildly confusing another generation???


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 6 years ago Author

Marriage as the United States defines it is a legal contract. So if a different contract such as a civil union was established that was not discriminatory in any way, it would essentially be no different than a marriage. Maybe we should call a Gay marriage a "Gay mariage." It would then be different, and everybody could be happy.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

"I went to school for many years, and I never remember anyone teaching me lessons about proper marriages. "

Seriously? It's common for public schools to give a marriage 'assignment' in Health class. Kids are paired up as man and wife (conceptually), each assigned a profession, and required to create a budget, find a place to live, etc. The lessons go on for quite a few days.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 4 years ago Author

I guess that I forgot that part of health class, along with a large amount of what was taught to me in high school. My basic value system was not absorbed from teachers and school curricula anyway. This is why the "they will teach our kids that gay marriage is OK" argument is, in my mind, pretty weak. It's just another classic scare tactic used to push back against social change.


jman00001 profile image

jman00001 4 years ago from Texas

Traditional , male & female ~ adult marrage should be legal- NOT any other combination. Why?

1. Religion. Only male+ female marrage is Bible based ( Roman's and Leviticus discuss aspects of this) . It is based on the support of "other" religious dogma such as Islam. There are no real religion(s) that openly support gay marrage. that I am aware of..

2. Survival of the fittest: Even working off the Darwinist , non religious approach, a healthly growing society is based on a stable family (ie: man+ women may = kids) structure. Over time you literally destroy a culture by straying to far from its base fundamentals. ..Case and point the modern USA and its ongoing collapse and disgrace..

For you liberal historians, what happened to the great Roman empire during say the time of Caligula?.. how long before the world's greatest power of its time collapsed?

3. Country Loyalty: Get it.. this question has nothing to do with preference or equal rights or whatever, it has to do with long term survival and strengthen of a group.. the group in question being the USA, which all who support gay marrage are betraying, even if most dont realize it.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 4 years ago Author

1) What the Bible or any other religion says about marriage is irrelevant to a legal discussion. In the United States, a marriage is a legal contract, not some type of a religious sacrament. However, if a religious institution for whatever reason does not want to perform a marriage ceremony for two people, it has that right. People do not need the ceremony to get married. A quick trip to Vegas or the courthouse will demonstrate this.

2-3) Given the fact that there are seven billion people on the planet and over 300 million in the United States, I'm not too worried about the survival of our species. If anything, overpopulation poses a greater threat than underpopulation, and conventional sex is no longer needed to propagate the species anyway.

And if we keep gay marriage illegal, do you really believe that gay people will change their lifestyles and start having kids?

I'm not sure why you bring up Rome, unless your thesis is that Rome collapsed because of rampant homosexuality. Any real historians, whether liberal or conservative, would describe this idea as ridiculous.

And by the way, you might want to avoid generic labels like "you liberal historians." Throwing around labels makes you sound foolish, particularly when you don't know enough about me or my history writing/teaching to pass any judgment. If anyone is pushing an ideology, it is the people tossing around the labels.


jman00001 profile image

jman00001 4 years ago from Texas

Thanks for the ~ feedback.

1) A society's foundation is important. The bible is far more historically based and long lived than the US constitution. The bible was designed around "recommended procedures" for a successful society to have their people live by ( and in cases be controlled by)..High level stuff that few understand...

The "marriage contract" is a good but non functional point.. . What is in this verbal, witnessed contract? DO you know?..let s see .. I recall a specific clause that even wikipedia has listed: ..." to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

.. so if this IS a legal contract ..no legal divorse could exist ( unless death occurs).. infedelity, money, etc would NOT be grounds for divorse..right?

2) You missed the point. I thought I was clear regarding the United States of America ( not the entire world) with respect to survival. The USA is not the world and no longer even represents the best the world has to offer.. not in space exploration ( shuttles stopped), not in national unity (obviously), ..etc...etc.. Do you think china, India leadership spend time worrying about legal gay marrage, or making sure gays have equal (or more than equal rights)?..

3) your "foolish" comment is born out of frustration ...in knowing my comments are right and proper for one who is loyal to their country..


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 4 years ago Author

If marriage is not a legal contract, than what is it? If it is some sort of a religious sacrament, then why can people get married by a judge or an Elvis impersonator in Vegas?

You would be hard pressed to find a lawyer who would say that the wedding vow you quote is some sort of a legal oath, with any couple that breaks it guilty of perjury. And people who get married are not required to give assent to that particular vow anyway. But if people get married in a religious ceremony, you could argue that they are committing a sin if they get divorced. (Jesus, after all, stated very clearly his views on divorce, but he never directly mentions homosexuality.) The problem is that the church has no legal mechanism for enforcing its rules.

When you discussed survival of the fittest, I assumed that you were referring to the need to have children. But looking back at your comments, you seem to be referring to a more general cultural survival, with legalized gay marriage apparently representing a society in decay. And while I agree that the United States may be in decay, gay marriage would not be on my list of our culture's major weaknesses. I would list, just to name a few, rampant materialism, technology addiction, apathy, lack of personal responsibility, a sense of entitlement, an unwillingness to sacrifice, short-term thinking, an obsession with sex and violence, and the glorification of ignorance as some of the biggest problems.

I was not referring to your opinions or arguments as foolish. I was saying that it is foolish to use generic labels such as "liberal historians." Reasonable people respond to other people's arguments rather than labeling or criticizing the person making the arguments.


SPK5367 profile image

SPK5367 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

This was a very interesting article as it addressed a very specific issue I have with the idea of gay marriage which is what I consider the "hijacking" of a term that means so much to me. I have long thought that homosexuals should come up with another word for their unions as they are not "marriage." You have a strong argument against my thought process here. I'm going to sit with that a while. I'll have to determine if I should simply accept the use of the word in a strict legal interpretation - as it is used now for plenty of unions that are certainly not sacramental in nature.

Thank you.

Food for thought...


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 4 years ago Author

Yes, the issue largely comes down to the definition of the term, and the state clearly defines marriage differently than many religious institutions. In my view, churches should never be obligated to perform the religious ceremony for anyone, but the state denying legal contracts is a different matter.

It's encouraging when anyone is reevaluating their views. Unfortunately, I don't come across enough people on Hubpages who are open-minded enough to keep asking questions.

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