Recently, while I was doing a spot of research for this post, I happened upon an article entitled ‘10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Opposed‘ by the TFP Student Action. For those of you who don’t know, TFP Student Action is a project of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, which, “defends traditional moral values on college campuses.” Additionally the American TFP aims to, “resist, in the realm of ideas, the liberal, socialist and communist trends of the times and proudly affirm the positive values of tradition, family and private property.”
Now you might be wondering what these people have to do with the upcoming Irish referendum on gay marriage, but currently the Irish Society for Christian Civilization is trotting out these ten ‘reasons’ as their argument against gay marriage.
Anyway, we at Overblown, thought it might be helpful to go through these ten ‘reasons’ and attempt to present a reasonable argument against them. While you read, you can listen to our Top Ten LGBT Musicians. They’re all corkers.
1. It Is Not Marriage
What is marriage? Well, first and foremost, it is a concept, an idea, an abstract noun. Unions between men and women began in the Stone Age (which I believe predates Christianity) as a way of controlling and organising sexual conduct, and providing a structure for child-rearing and every day life. However, it has taken many forms in the intervening years.
In the ancient world it served as means of preserving power, with the main focus of marriage being the production of heirs. In the 5th century, the Catholic Church declared marriage a holy union, and it became one of the church’s seven sacraments in 1215. For most of history, love played no part in marriage, and laws and customs enforced the subordination of wives to their husbands. With the women’s rights movement of the 20th century, marriage developed further to become mostly a personal contract between two equals seeking love, stability, and happiness.
What marriage is not is static. As with any human creation, it is constantly in flux and in need of refinement and improvement. There was a time when marrying for love was not ‘marriage’, there was a time when equality between men and women in a union was not ‘marriage’, and these aspects of marriage changed to improve the institution. Now, it is time to make marriage more inclusive, to enable marriage to once again improve.
2. It Violates Natural Law
This is an easy one! Homosexuality occurs in nature, and is therefore natural. Many animals other than humans display homosexual behaviour such as, but not limited to: penguins, lions, dogs, bears (obvs), chickens, ravens, and a variety of fish. Simply, how can something that occurs in nature, violate natural law?
3. It Always Denies A Child Either A Mother Or A Father
I would not argue against the idea that it is preferable for a child to be raised by their biological mother and father. Having said this, realistically, this is not always possible due to a variety of extenuating circumstances. Over the last weekend I read two separate studies, written two decades apart, in two different parts of the world, that asserted that there is no detrimental effect on child health and well being in same-sex families. I have yet to come across any scientifically backed research that suggests that being raised in same-sex families is detrimental for children. If anyone can provide some, I would gladly read it!
4. It Validates and Promotes the Homosexual Lifestyle
This one confused me. This would be one of my arguments in favour of gay marriage! Although, I do resent the implications of the term ‘homosexual lifestyle’. What does that mean exactly? Seems to me that the gay people I know live pretty much the same ‘lifestyle’ as me, except with a touch more homosexuality than I tend to practice. Gay marriage promotes the idea that gay people are equal to straight people. Sounds good to me!
5. It Turns A Moral Wrong Into A Civil Right
Is homosexuality morally wrong? Only if you believe that morality is derived from God. If morality is derived from God, then it is infallible, concrete, and unchangeable. This idea is extremely dangerous. It discourages intellectual and logical engagement with ethics and morality. It encourages people to accept things on faith alone.
If morality is something that has evolved in humanity, and the development of the ‘Golden Rule’ in different, disparate societies throughout the world suggests that this is the case, then morality and ethics are fluid, and constantly subject to inquest. Morals are not static, there is no moral truth, there is only the morals and ethics that we, humanity, explore and improve as we careen through existence.
Homosexuality is not morally wrong. However, according to concepts of morality and ethics developed over thousands of years, oppression, segregation, suppression, and persecution are morally wrong. If gay marriage is denied, then numerous moral wrongs are turned into civil rights such as oppression and segregation due to sexual orientation.
6. It Does Not Create A Family But A Naturally Sterile Union
For me a family, and a home, is a place or environment in which one feels loved, safe, and accepted. While same-sex unions and marriages do not naturally conceive children, they can provide an environment in which children could feel loved, safe, cherished, and accepted. Recently, Evana Boyle, who is an organiser of Mothers and Fathers Matter, said that when Catholic schools plan lessons around LGBT Awareness week, she needs to be on guard against attempts to indoctrinate her own children (she is obviously unfamiliar with irony). She says that her children say, “Eww, that’s not right” when asked about the idea of having two dads (notice the focus on gay men and not lesbians). For me, she is not creating a loving, safe, and accepting environment for her children. While her union with her husband naturally created offspring, I would suggest that the way she is indoctrinating her children is tantamount to mental abuse. Is that a family?
7. It Defeats The State’s Purpose of Benefiting Marriage
There is an implication in this argument, that the only ‘true’ marriage is one that bears offspring. However, in 2015 this is a very archaic approach to marriage. Some married couples opt not to have children due to a variety of reasons. Perhaps they wish to focus on their careers. Perhaps they feel they are not suited to being parents.
Any couple that consciously weighs up the pros and cons of child rearing and decides whether to have children or not has taken a mature, informed, and moral approach to the subject. A couple should not have children just because that’s what should happen in marriages.
In particular, the article I am addressing mentions that marriage between man and a woman, “provides the normal conditions for a stable, affectionate, and moral atmosphere that is beneficial to the upbringing of children.” I can really see no reason that a same-sex marriage cannot provide the same foundation. Unless, LGBT people are largely abnormal, unstable, unfeeling, and immoral. Such a generalisation would surely be homophobic.
8. It Imposes Acceptance on All Society
For the majority of the last two thousand years on the island of Ireland, the cultural hegemony of Catholicism has dictated its beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores to the people. It has forced the populace to follow its instruction with the threat of persecution, oppression, and segregation. For an example, one need only look to the Magdalene laundries which operated in Ireland throughout the 20th century.
If the legalisation of gay marriage is ratified, it will have been done democratically. The government will have the mandate to make it law, which is the complete opposite of ‘imposing’ acceptance on society. If it is not then brought into law, that would in fact be an imposition on the majority of society.
9. It Is The Cutting Edge of The Sexual Revolution
This argument suggests that the next step after legalising same-sex marriage is the legalisation of incest, paedophilia, beastiality, and other forms of unnatural sexual behaviour. Again, I would assert that none of these sexual behaviours are in fact ‘unnatural’, but could be judged to be immoral. I would claim that both paedophilia, and beastiality are immoral due to a lack of mutual consent, whereas incest is illegal due to the higher risk of genetic disorders in the offspring in those that are closely related genetically. In a same-sex union there is mutual consent, and also no higher risk of genetic disorders in offspring, as there can be no offspring.
Rather than a negative thing, I would argue that the legalisation of same-sex marriage encourages a more sex positive society in which sexuality is celebrated rather than denigrated. Seriously, it is okay to have sex. In the words of the wise Maude Lebowski, “It (sex) can be a natural, zesty enterprise.”
10. It Offends God
Let’s have a look at a list of issues of social progress in Irish society that have offended God, and been opposed by the Irish Catholic Church, in the past: tampons (I believe the Catholic Church opposed tampons due to their worry that women may become sexually aroused through their use), free healthcare for mothers and their children up to the age of 16, women attending Trinity College, married women in the civil service, contraception, the Ferns report into child abuse, civil partnerships, and equal marriage. If this patriarchal opposition to social progress is what God believes in, then God offends me.
Do you agree or disagree with my argument? Do you think I picked really lame songs? Leave a comment, and rip me a new one.
Remember! Vote ‘Yes’ for equality. Most importantly, vote!