Thursday, September 30, 2004

Same-sex marriage and argumentation

I think I might not disagree about the apples and oranges point mentioned in the comments to this post. But my argument here isn't (and is never stated as such) that since marriage has been unjust in the past we should support same-sex marriage. My point is that arguing against same-sex marriage from the basis of tradition is sloppy, and to an extent, intellectually dishonest.

The implicit assumption in the tradition argument is that since the opposite-gender nature of marriage has stayed consistent over recorded human history, honoring that part of marriage is defending tradition. Further, the argument suggests that nothing of substance in marriage has changed, so why start now?

My response is that marriage today is a radically different institution than it was 25 years ago. Changes like actually allowing married women to have legal rights is a fundamental transformation of the institution. These "past sins of marriage law" are as much a part of the tradition as the man/woman nature of marriage.

If you read my original post carefully, you'll notice nowhere does it say that same-sex marriage should be legal based on the sordid history of the institution of (heterosexual) marriage. The point of the original post is to advocate for better and more intellectually honest arguments.

Personally, I believe same-sex marriage should be legal. Unless you're prepared to remove the equal protection clause from the US Constitution, I don't see how you can get around it (I'll apologize in advance to my international audience - I don't know much of anything your legal system - wherever you come from...). But I realize there are other arguments against same-sex marriage. I just don't believe that the tradition argument should be one of them.

In case you're interested, my very first two blog posts dealt with this very issue. There are, admittedly, not my finest writing ever. They are snarky, sarcastic, and kind of obnoxious. Which, with my luck, means people will probably like them.

Sanctification and Same-Sex Marriage (i)
Sanctification and Same-Sex Marriage (ii)



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