“10 Reasons to Ban Gay Marriage”, or “10 Angry Misconceptions”

In the past, I’ve commented on an image about hoax religion, which was self-refuting and unhelpful in its goals, and about fifteen things Jesus never said, equally unhelpful.

Today’s image follows right along in this tradition. Here we are, with first-rate 21st century wisdom. Let us look at and attempt to reason with these “10 Reasons to Ban Gay Marriage”:

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First of all, please note that the author of the list is apparently a SSM (same-sex marriage) advocate, and was writing the list to make his opposition look like idiots. It is up to us to determine if he has succeeded or failed. Our purpose is to determine if this list, which represents common thoughts about SSM opposition that are held by its supporters, is really representative of the arguments against SSM. Doing anything else, if you do not oppose SSM, is tantamount to mocking those who do instead of arguing with them. Please consider what you would do if the same was done to you.

1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

Edward Feser writes on the topic of nature, particularly on what we mean when we talk about the “unnaturalness” of homosexuality or SSM. To be “in the nature of” means more than “stuff that people didn’t make”. If you think otherwise, you’ll have a hard time using terms like “natural law”, “natural order”, “the nature of a person”, etc. See the article for more.

Let us take an example from the claim above to demonstrate the absurdity contained within. Are eyeglasses unnatural? Well, if by natural we mean that they did not originate with human beings, than yes, they are unnatural. But it is entirely natural to see. It is in the nature of the human eye to see. That is its purpose or “telos”. It is unnatural for the eyes to go blind. It would be unnatural for a person to see to it that their eye goes blind as well. We might call this an “unnatural desire”. It is contrary to the nature of the eye, and this means it is ultimately contrary to the nature of the human being in question, intent on stabbing his eye out or staring at the sun a bit too long.

Eyeglasses, then, are not unnatural at all, in this sense. Eyeglasses restore a loss in vision; they restore what was natural. If it is in the nature of the eye to see, and the eye ceases to be useful because it falls into decay (which is against its natural ends), then eyeglasses mean the return to its nature.

Being gay -is- unnatural in this sense, since sexual organs exist primarily for the reproduction of our species. When someone, in fact, refuses to reproduce on the grounds that they are not attracted to the opposite sex, it is unnatural. If we were discussing animals, no one would argue that an animal that can’t reproduce is less healthy than one that can. We might call it “survival of the fittest”, but ultimately what we mean is that the animal is incapable of doing one of the few things most fundamental to its natural purpose: to reproduce. This is what is meant by “unnatural”. The claim above refuses to acknowledge any but one definition for a word so loaded with meaning it would take volumes of books to discuss them all.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

There is a hidden assumption here: that homosexuality is entirely natural with no nurture-oriented elements about it. This has been disproven through twin studies, demonstrating that identical DNA is capable of being behind both heterosexual and homosexual folks. Perhaps we can counter this claim with another: “Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around with video gamers will make one inclined to play video games”. That’s an absurd notion, isn’t it?

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

Well, this has actually happened. And so has this. Why would someone be so intolerant to impose their own definition on marriage so that it includes things like “legal standing” and “marriage contract”? Is that what marriage is really about anyway? Really, polygamy is the next thing on the radar.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

It might be better if divorce -were- still illegal, at least in most cases. As to “blacks can’t marry whites”, that is an odd claim, considering interracial marriage has been around in virtually every culture for thousands of years. But the fact that interracial marriage was banned confirms something: people had in mind something particular when they said “marriage”. Matrimony is a useful word here. Matrimony implies that motherhood is a result of the union; something only a heterosexual couple can be a part of. Same-sex marriage is a totally new concept. It is at odds with the regular meaning of the word, always used to imply a family structure. And family structure implies children, both creating them and raising them.

Also, isn’t it a bit odd that the author of the claim thinks that divorce (the ending of a life-long commitment called marriage) is a positive change? At least, he lumps it in with other things he thinks are positive. No-fault divorce is most certainly hurting marriage. Just an odd contradiction it seems.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britanny Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

Well, it certainly won’t help things. That marriage has been under assault for a hundred years is no news to anyone who knows much about the world. We see evidence not just of the assault on marriage, but also on sex itself.

There’s also the fact that heterosexual marriage has been destabilized in nations that have adopted SSM.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

So many claims in one tiny little two-sentence disgorging of anger. The world is actually about to experience population decline, so more children in most nations would be very helpful. We aren’t even hitting sustainable levels anymore in the West. As for traditional marriage being denied for some folks, this does happen, as it should. But putting gay couples and infertile couples in the same group is a category error. Please see the section above on nature for more information.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

I’ve never heard anyone make this argument. If someone could point me to an example, I’d be interested, as I disagree for self-evident reasons. It is interesting to consider that abuse and quality of life are terrible for children in SSM households. This was confirmed by one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on the issue, and validated when the author was assaulted for having such politically incorrect views. There’s so much venom on the other side of this issue, it is no surprise a list like this gets created and becomes popular.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

There may be people who make religious arguments against SSM (I am one), but no one that I’ve heard seriously advocates that religion alone should be the motivation to allow or deny SSM. Most arguments are secular. And those arguments are often profound.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

If only it were so! Seriously, single-parenthood has devastated children (not as badly as SSM couples have, if you read the study cited above). This is an epidemic, and a terrible one. If being a man means something and being a woman means something; if being a mother or being a father means something, how can you possibly say only one is truly necessary? You need both to create children in the first place. And children do best with both.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

And so the anger-fueled straw man assembly comes to a close. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society, no doubt. The foundation of society was also changed by several other things in the past hundred years. It has suffered. It is on the decline. That we need studies proving that men and women are different tells us we should be in terror when thinking about the future.

But SSM won’t be the end of the world. Please don’t for one moment get that idea. The post above is simply to illustrate how poorly the advocates for SSM really understand the situation. I wish them no ill, and hope they will be enlightened, not embittered, by what I’ve written (and mostly what I’ve linked to) above. If you number among them, I’m open to talking about these things in a rational and respectful manner.