Monday, June 17, 2013

Secular Arguments on Same-sex "marriage" Rights - Refuting Senator Diane Savino

Senator Diane Savino, on December 2, 2009, gave a speech at a Senate hearing in support of redefining “Marriage” to include same sex couples.  I watched her video and noted each point she made (in orange italics), and have addressed each one respectively. In the responses, the bolded blue quotes are from the OSV article linked below. I have also provided the video to Senator Savino's speech for context.

tens of thousands of lives hanging in the balance

-The argument begins with an emotional plea with absolutely no justification or support. How exactly are lives hanging in the balance? Is not being married detrimental to a person? I’d like to see some credible evidence for this assertion. This is an appeal to emotion with no substance to back it up.

"[This is about] fairness and equality…people of right age, sound mind… who choose to live together….and want protection that gov’t grants to the married…

- Redefining “Marriage” is NOT an issue of equal rights. It’s an issue of the meaning and purpose of marriage, and why the state should promote it.

Why exactly does the government promote marriage in the first place? If you don’t know that answer, that may be part of the problem which has led to the push for re-defining Marriage. Fairness and equality do not mean “equivalency”. “It does not mean treating every person or every group in exactly the same way. To use an analogy, men and women have equal rights, but because they significantly differ they require separate restrooms. Equality means treating similar things similarly, but not things that are fundamentally different.” (Source below)

who are denied the right to share their life together… ready for a commitment…”

-No one, NO ONE, is denied the right to share a committed life together. This is an existing legal protection for all couples, regardless of orientation. This is not about a right to share a life together, it’s about a demand to change the definition of marriage so that 2-5% of the population can have government benefits for their lifestyle choice. What they don’t realize is that, once marriage is redefined…it will cease to mean anything at all…and there will be no reason for the state to promote it in the first place.

…[redefining Marriage] won’t affect the Church [or anyone else]

- “First, it would weaken marriage. After same-sex marriage was legislated in Spain in 2005, marriage rates plummeted. The same happened in the Netherlands. Redefining marriage obscures its meaning and purpose, thereby discouraging people from taking it seriously.

Second, it would affect education and parenting. After same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada, the Toronto School Board implemented a curriculum promoting homosexuality and denouncing “heterosexism.” They also produced posters titled “Love Knows No Gender,” which depicted both homosexual and polygamous relationships as equivalent to marriage. Despite parents’ objections, the board decreed that they had no right to remove their children from such instruction. This and many similar cases confirm that when marriage is redefined, the new definition is forced on children, regardless of their parents’ desires.Third, redefining marriage would threaten moral and religious liberty. This is already evident in our own country. In Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., for instance, Catholic Charities can no longer provide charitable adoption services based on new definitions of marriage. Elsewhere, Canadian Bishop Frederick Henry was investigated by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for simply explaining the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality in a newspaper column. Examples like this show how redefining marriage threatens religious freedom.” (Source below)

When marriage revolves around procreation, it makes sense to restrict it to one man and one woman. That’s the only relationship capable of producing children. But if we redefine marriage as simply a loving, romantic union between committed adults, what principled reason would we have for rejecting polygamist or polyamorous — that is, multiple-person — relationships as marriages?

Thomas Peters, cultural director at the National Organization for Marriage, doesn’t see one. “Once you sever the institution of marriage from its biological roots, there is little reason to cease redefining it to suit the demands of various interest groups,” Peters said.

This isn’t just scaremongering or a hypothetical slippery slope. These aftereffects have already been observed in countries that have legalized same-sex marriage. For example, in Brazil and the Netherlands, three-way relationships were recently granted the full rights of marriage. After marriage was redefined in Canada, a polygamist man launched legal action to have his relationships recognized by law. Even in our own country, the California Legislature passed a bill to legalize families of three or more parents.

Procreation is the main reason civil marriage is limited to two people. When sexual love replaces children as the primary purpose of marriage, restricting it to just two people no longer makes sense."(Source below)

What are we protecting [in view of the divorce rate] in protecting marriage?” (Appealing that marriage is already a failing institution...)”

- So, does this mean that removing further the meaning of marriage will not have more adverse effect on the sanctity of marriage? The fact that 'marriage has already suffered' justifies adversely affecting it further? And, if it is of no consequence that marriage will lose all meaning (such is the implication here) regardless of same-sex unions, then why should the state bother changing the definition in the first place?  Isn't this a self-defeating argument?  If marriage already has lost its meaning and value, then WHY are activists fighting for this supposed right to marry (which they are not denied in the first place)?

In summary:

This is not an issue about equality , but rather about the purpose/meaning of Marriage and why the state should promote it. It’s not about extending Marriage to same-sex partners, rather it’s a demand to redefine Marriage. The idea of Marriage that has always and everywhere been understood as being a biological union of a man and woman for children…will be redefined as an emotional commitment between “two people”. It becomes an issue of the state no longer promoting Marriage, which has supported and built our societies, but rather supporting “emotional commitments”, regardless of what is in the best interest of the children. The state cannot take a neutral stance… it must promote Marriage as either a conjugal relationship, or not. And if it’s not conjugal in nature, then there is no reason for the state to promote any set of relationships over another…and the battle to redefine Marriage is a moot point because Marriage then has no true meaning aside from how one feels for another...and then (again) why should the state bother to promote it? (One could just go around in circles all day long with this.)

In discussing this topic with some other folks , it seems like the topic is also being framed under a view that "gay couples" deserve the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. But this goes back to why the state promotes marriage in the first place. It does so, currently, because Marriage, in the conjugal view, benefits society and is the building block for society. I don't think people realize that once "marriage" becomes a soley emotional construct, that it will lose its meaning altogether...(and there we are again in the never-ending circle of having no reason for the state to promote it).

It also gets painted as “Christians wanting to withhold Marriage from same-sex partners”. NO. Everyone, regardless of orientation, currently has the legal right to live as they wish, to do what they wish with whom they wish, and all have the right to "Marriage" (to enter into a lifelong monogamous relationship with a person of the opposite sex). The problem is not that Marriage is being withheld form anyone...the problem is that some people want to re-define Marriage so that they can reap state benefits for a lifestyle choice.

Senator Savino's video speech:

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article. As you say, it's not about the state of matrimony at all. But further to your point about reaping 'state benefits', I believe it's also a question of justifying and wanting acceptance of what is essentially a deviant behavior.