Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Challenge to Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage

In the relatively recent history of the controversy about same-sex marriage, it's been asserted by many that they must oppose same-sex marriage in order to "protect the sanctity of marriage" or words of that sort.  For the life of me, I just can't see how the marriage of two people who happen to be of the same sex alters heterosexual marriage in any negative way.

Much of the opposition to same-sex marriage springs from religion, of course.  Religion poisons much of whatever it touches, and in this case, there seems to be some sort of religious homophobic reaction to the very idea of same-sex marriages.  As it stands, the only "sanctity" I can tie to the religious opposition to same-sex marriage is the outrageous sanctimoniousness of the religion-based opposition.  I don't want to go down this path in this discussion, however.

My personal heterosexual marriage has lasted for more than 37 years.  In that time, my wife and I have come to realize that many of our good friends are gay or lesbian.  We feel no particular threat from that knowledge  There may be even more than we realize, of course - some may have chosen to remain "in the closet" for reasons of their own.  [Most of the reasons homosexuals keep that knowledge about themselves a secret have a real basis in a rational fear of the consequences  "coming out" can have on their lives.]   In our 37+ years of marriage, our friendships with gays and lesbians have enriched our lives in many quite positive ways and we have no shame or hesitation in openly declaring our support for our homosexual friends.  They should have the same right as heterosexuals to the "institution" of marriage.  In no way has our marriage ever been threatened by our friendship with homosexuals, married or not. 

I haven't seen a single instance where meaningful evidence has been offered in any of the arguments on this topic to suggest that same-sex marriage alters heterosexual marriages in any noticeable, negative way.  Some fraction of heterosexual marriages involve one (or both) partners who are bisexual.  So what?  In an adult consensual relationship, such things are only a problem when done without the partner's knowledge and approval.  That's nothing different from existing hereosexual infidelity in a marriage.

Some small fraction of heterosexual marriages involve one partner who is secretly a homosexual.  Therefore, it's at least logically possible that legalizing same-sex marriage might affect those people within that fraction of all existing marriages.  In cases where one partner is "living a lie" by being a homosexual within a heterosexual marriage, this might motivate some to come out and admit to their secret and thereby alter their marriage to an opposite-sex partner.  Such things are happening now, so the legalization of same-sex marriage is unlikely to cause much of a change - perhaps only hastening the demise of such flawed marriages.  I see no reason to believe legalizing same-sex marriage would alter these existing situations in any significant way.

Bisexuality and homosexuality have been with us throughout the history of the human race.  They're not going to disappear because some people feel threatened by them (for no good reason).  It is in fact a very natural thing that some fraction of the population is homosexual or bisexual, as science has revealed.  We're far from the only animal species with homosexuality and bisexuality! 

Insofar as I can tell, virtually all the opposition to same-sex marriage is based on homophobia - reinforced by religion-based condemnation of homosexuality.  The argument that recognizing the legality of same-sex marriage somehow alters the institution of heterosexual marriage in a destructive way is completely specious.  Permitting legal same-sex marriage is nothing more than granting equal rights to gays and lesbians, which they should already have here in the USA! 

My challenge to all those who oppose same-sex marriage involves two things: 

1.  Provide me with a logical reason for the assertion that legalizing same sex marriage alters heterosexual marriage in any negative way (that's not already happening as discussed above), and 

2.  Show me the compelling empirical evidence that legalizing same-sex marriage would destroy heterosexual marriage.

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