The logic of equality

After Ireland overwhelmingly accepted same sex marriage and with the SCOTUS ruling probably coming in less than a week, thought I’d re-post this. With the recent push by presidential contenders and state governments to remove the Confederate battle flag, on a very strong bi-partisan basis, I would like to think this is another issue that could get similar support from both sides of the aisle.

Original post from 5/23 follows:

With early vote totals coming in, it appears that Ireland will be joining the ranks of countries that recognize or allow same-sex marriage. While many states in the U.S. (currently 36) are also on board, it is not yet a national standard. That may change when the Supreme Court issues its ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges in late June, but for the time being the states are on their own and the country does not have a set standard.

My question is why is this even a question?

Public opinion on this matter is fairly clear. There are several polls that show support for same sex marriage nearing 60%.1 In July 2013 Gallup found that 52% ‘would vote for a federal law that would make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states’, and in May 2014 55% ‘think marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.’2 So, again, why is this even a discussion? And why do we have to wait on SCOTUS for this issue to be settled?
From what I have read and heard, there seem to be the following arguments against same-sex marriage (in no particular order):

  • Traditional marriage generally leads to procreation of the species. Biologically, same-sex marriage is not able to do that so it should not be allowed or recognized.
  • Same-sex relationships are a sin
  • Homosexuality is a choice and thus should not be ‘promoted’ by allowing those ‘practicing’ homosexuality to be recognized.
  • Clergy would be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies.
  • Business would have to cater to same-sex couples, regardless of their personal beliefs.

Here are my counterpoints to those views:

  • There are many couples who make the choice to not have children before they actually get married. Should wanting children be a litmus test when applying for a marriage license? Not to mention even more couples that, for whatever reason, may be unable to have children on their own. Should their marriage then be vacated? In my view (and I’m a 45 year old single guy), marriage should be about loving and supporting the other person. Period.
  • According to Leviticus, sins also include shaving your beard, getting a tattoo and mistreating foreigners (the latter is rarely mentioned in the immigration debate…hmmm) among many other things. If you want to cite Old Testament law, then at least be consistent. Case closed.
  • The ‘Fix the Gay’ argument would be hilarious if it weren’t so hurtful. The American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association and many others have all denounced ‘conversion therapy.’ Even Robert Spitzer, whose 2001 paper is often cited as evidence by groups such as NARTH that offer conversion therapy, has completely renounced that paper3 and has asked those groups to stop referencing it when promoting their ‘cures’.
  • Just like a would-be husband and wife, the two members of a same-sex couple probably have similar religious beliefs. So they would probably seek out a clergy that would be accepting of their request to perform a ceremony. But, beyond that, I think the religious ritual is different from the legal side. Do I advocate forcing a Southern Baptist pastor to perform a gay wedding? No. Do I think that same Southern Baptist pastor should support the love of two adults? Yes. But at the end of the day, if your religion doesn’t support you, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your place in that religion.
  • In a word, yes, they would. But, in practice, if a same-sex couple gets the proverbial cold shoulder from a place of business, they will probably go spend their money somewhere else. While I am a staunch advocate of anti-discrimination legislation, those cases can be notoriously difficult to prove in court. The power of the dollar is probably more effective. If a certain establishment is openly accepting of same-sex couples, I believe that would not be harmful to their bottom line.

All that aside, the primary issue, to me, is do same-sex couples deserve the same advantages (property ownership, adoption, death benefits, etc.) as their opposite-sex counterparts? I find it hard to believe that any reasonable adult would say no to that. As has been America’s standard for 200+ years, can we not separate the legal and religious aspects of marriage in order to promote equality and non-discrimination? I would certainly hope so.




  1. […] denial of basic rights that the straight population takes for granted. (Feel free to see my post ‘The Logic of Equality’ for more on my response to this.) This is writ large by Pastor Kevin Swanson, who, in November […]

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