The world is full of idiots, and someone needs to point it out to them or they will never know.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ten Arguments I'm Sick of Hearing Made Against Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage. I've been hearing quite a bit of debate about the issue in Australia recently. Unsurprising, really, given Ireland's recent referendum on the subject. I should disclose I'm personally in favour of it, but as I see, hear and read the debate unfold in the media, I keep coming across the same - fundamentally flawed - arguments against it. So, dear reader, instead of doing something productive like go outside or talk to a woman, I present to you the ten most common arguments against gay marriage I'm sick of hearing (feel free to copy and paste them in any Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/comments section debate you find yourself in - it will save you a lot of time, trust me).

1. What about the children? WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN? Children should be raised by their biological parents - who's to say children from a gay marriage won't be screwed up?
Who's to say anything about raising a child? I hate to break this to you, but we've been raising kids for thousands of years now and, shockingly, there's no sure-fire way not to screw up your kid. Some of the nicest parents with the best of intentions can have horrible kids, and vice-versa. I'm not a parent myself (that I know of), but from what I've been able to ascertain the best kind of parent is one who loves their child. While I will admit I do not know any gay parents, I know plenty of people who have just one parent, no parents (i.e. foster care) or a different arrangement altogether, like being raised by an older sibling. Claiming only a child's mother and/or father can raise them properly is a grave insult to single parents and foster carers worldwide.

 Clearly, this single parent is incapable of raising a child

2. But we shouldn't experiment with our children like this!
Nobody is "experimenting" with children - if a gay couple wants to have a child, they obviously just can't have sex and create one themselves to "experiment" on.

3. But they'll want IVF treatment and adoption rights, too!
They don't just let anyone adopt or get IVF treatments, you know. And besides, this whole "think of the children!" argument is irrelevant - the issue is about marriage, not about children. Whether or not gay people should be allowed to adopt/use IVF/take sperm donations is not the issue here! How about sticking to the actual debate, instead of bringing children into it? The Rational Wiki states that using the phrase "Think of the children" is "a logical fallacy... a very bad way of making an objective argument, whereby a debater attempts to win an argument by trying to get an emotional reaction from the opponent(s) and/or audience, e.g. eliciting fear or outrage."

4. But a study was done showing children of gay parents were upset they weren't raised by their real parents!
Still irrelevant. STOP BRINGING CHILDREN INTO THE DEBATE. We're talking about marriage here, not about children! It is possible to get married and not have kids, you know. And stop quoting some bullshit study off the Australian Christian Lobby's website at me - if you are going to try and convince me, for God's sake don't link to a website like that - obviously these sources are biased.


5. Alright, putting aside the children ("Finally, I say"), why do we have to call it marriage? Can't gays be happy with a civil union?
Short answer: no. Let me put it this way: would you be satisfied if you were told you couldn't marry the person you loved, just because you were born with the wrong sexuality? I certainly wouldn't. And besides, words change. The English language is constantly changing, and just because some document written decades ago defines marriage as "between a man and a woman" does not mean it's unchangeable. Words. Change.

6. Look, this is just how things have always been. If we change marriage to be between two people of the same gender, who's to say what other marriages will be allowed? Will people be permitted to marry animals?
Sorry buddy, you've just committed another logical fallacy - you're not very good at arguing, are you? Anyway, to the point you raised, just because something has always been one way doesn't make it right. For example, decades ago women didn't used to be able to vote or own property. Even more recently, black and white people weren't allowed to marry. Yet, we as a society realised this was dumb, and despite the cries of "it's always been this way!" at the time, we rose above it and changed things, because it was the right thing to do.

Do you really want to be remembered alongside these people?

Secondly, nobody is suggesting we marry animals. This is what we call reductio ad absurdum - basically, you've reduced the argument for gay marriage to an absurdity, by pushing the premise to its logical limit (marrying animals) and showing how ridiculous the consequences would be. Please don't do that, it's a pretty dumb way to argue. Stick to the issue. If someone wants to marry their dog, that's a different discussion (and not something I'm in favour of, for the record). We're talking about gays - human beings, in case you've forgotten - getting married here, not animals. Just like the point you raised about the children above, it's irrelevant. And hold on a minute - did you just compare gays to animals? Not cool.

7. The Bible says it's now allowed. Are you telling me to ignore my faith?
No, I'm not telling you to ignore your faith. But to quote Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons, "The Bible says a lot of things". But seriously though, I've read bits of the Good Book too. Some passages I like are:
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged (Matthew 7:1)
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31)
  • Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone (John 8:7)
Like I said, I'm not telling you to ignore your faith. But The Bible says a lot of things, and many of them are contradictory. What I am telling you to do is just accept that it's possible for two people to read the same book and come away with vastly different interpretations. My interpretation of The Bible is to be tolerant, kind and forgiving to everyone on Earth. Now, yours might be different - and that's okay - but you can't force your views on other people, that is where bigotry comes in.

8. There's bigger problems in the world right now than gay marriage. We should focus on them.
I have some unfortunate news for you: poverty isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Nor is famine or climate change. It sucks, but these things are going to take a lot of time and a lot of effort to change. If we waited until all of these "bigger problems" were solved, nothing would every change. Fifty years ago, poverty still existed in third world countries, but that didn't stop us allowing Indigenous Australians to vote. Don't you think Indigenous Australians would be massively pissed off if we'd told them "Sorry guys, bigger things to deal with right now"? Just because there are bigger problems doesn't mean we shouldn't try to fix the smaller ones.

As soon as we fix this they can marry whoever they want!

9. I wish Bill Shorten would stop politicising this! Clearly he only introduced that bill to parliament to win public support.
Are you frikkin' kidding me? I've made this point before (defending Tony Abbott at that time): Bill Shorten is a politician, he has every right to "play politics"! He has every right to introduce a bill to parliament, it's his privilege as, you know, a member of parliament. This may shock you, but the opposition is permitted to introduce bills in parliament. I'll admit it's quite likely Shorten introduced the same-sex marriage bill to win public support, but I also think it's quite likely Shorten is genuinely in favour of it, too.

10. Look - ultimately, I just don't want it, okay?? This is a democracy and I have the right to free speech.
I couldn't agree more. You have the right to your opinion, and I understand gay marriage is a bit of a hard thing to accept for some people. But sadly, you are in the minority here, and you need to accept it. Public support has never been higher, and like it or not, most people disagree with you. The majority isn't always right, but if 70%+ of people had a contrary opinion to mine, it would at least make me stop and think about my position. I have very different opinions on other controversial subjects than I did a few years ago, but rather than stamp my feet and scream "No no no!" whenever I was confronted with an opinion contrary to mine, I listened to the other side of the debate and weighed up what they were saying. As you can see, I have listened to the anti-gay marriage side of the debate, but every point I keep hearing is fundamentally flawed. If you truly want to convince people gay marriage is a bad idea, you must stop making the same tired points that I have discussed here over and over again. They just aren't working. I'm not saying let's not debate these issues - I'm saying let's debate them better.

Thinking about stuff - it's important

I know change can be scary - but change can be okay as well. Fundamentally, you must remember that gay, lesbian and transgender people are just that - people. They are real people, with real emotions, and they deserve to be treated as much. As New Zealand MP Maurice Williamson said when the Kiwis legalised gay marriage:

"All we are doing with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage. We are not declaring nuclear war on a foreign state; we are not bringing a virus in that could wipe out our agriculture sector forever. We are allowing two people who love each-other to have that love recognised, and I can't see what's wrong with that."

And one final note to people who are for gay marriage:
Keep an open mind. Many anti-gay marriage people now were probably pro black/white marriage fifty years ago. They were raised in a different time and will never be able to see it from our point of view. The important thing is in fifty years time when we're confronted with something by our grandchildren we don't like because it's always been one way, we mustn't give a knee-jerk "NO!", we must actually listen to the other side, then make up our mind.

© 2015 by The Free Man

Further reading:
Same-Sex Marriage on Rational Wiki - This page clearly articulates why all the arguments against gay marriage are flawed. It is significantly more comprehensive that what I have written here.

Side note: I have used the term "gay marriage" mostly in this article, as opposed to other terms (such as "same-sex marriage" or "marriage equality") that may be more politically correct. No offence was intended.

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