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Gay marriage

“Attacks against gay marraige rooted in prejudice” by Mike Mongiello
I am writing this letter in response to an article by Todd Carter in the March 16th edition of The Signal entitled “Gay marriage harms society far more than it helps.” In the article, Todd argued that gay marriage is harmful to society for three reasons. First, according to Todd, it is harmful because studies have shown that homosexuality is correlated with both a decrease in emotional satisfaction and an increase in physical risk. Second, he argues that homosexual marriage will “weaken the definition of marriage” because the promiscuity of homosexuals will “then make it psychologically easier for heterosexual couples to divorce.” Third, he argues that if we allow homosexual marriage “then there is no reason at all to not change it to include incest, minors, or animals.”
In support of his first argument, Todd cites statistics which show a correlation between homosexuality and such damaging behavior as suicide, depression, and promiscuity. He argues that these behaviors should not be mistaken to be a consequence of the social unacceptability of homosexuality, because they are recent statistics, and today homosexuality is far more socially acceptable.
I argue that our society is still not very tolerant of homosexuals, and this is evident in the fact that racial slurs and discrimination are viewed as taboo, whereas discrimination based on sexual orientation is viewed as relatively harmless. (E.g., Will anyone argue that it is not less socially acceptable to utter a racial slur than to say “This is so gay”?) Society views racial prejudice as a far more serious matter than prejudice based on sexual orientation.
Also, allowing that Todd is right about the promiscuity of homosexuals, isn’t it possible that this is in part due to the fact that homosexuals are not allowed to marry? Doesn’t marriage serve the purpose of cementing relationships and promoting long-term commitment? Socially conservative thinkers often see a lack of long-term commitment and marriage as the cause of society’s illnesses. Perhaps it is the cause of some of the damaging behavior which Todd has argued to be characteristic of homosexuals.
Allowing marriage, as common sense dictates, will discourage sexual promiscuity. This is an obvious retort to the second argument that homosexual promiscuity will weaken marriage by making it psychologically easier for heterosexuals to divorce.
The argument that allowing homosexual marriage will lead to an inability to defend marriage against arguments for things like marriage to animals is weak. This is because the argument assumes that there is something inherently ridiculous about their claim to a right to marriage. (It is similar to an argument like “Women shouldn’t vote because then what’s to stop minors from voting…”-this is a very weak argument because it assumes something inherently inferior in a woman’s ability to vote.) The argument could be strengthened by citing something specific about homosexuality that makes homosexuals less deserving of the right to marriage than heterosexuals, like the fact that homosexuals can’t have children of their own together. However, this trait alone cannot be enough to restrict a couple from marriage, because, after all, we do not prevent heterosexual couples whom are unable to have children from marrying.
The fact that homosexual couples are of the same gender does not, in itself, seem a relevant reason to prevent marriage. If it is not, then is there any relevant reason? I cannot think of one, and until someone can prove otherwise to me, I will continue to conclude that most claims against gay marriage are founded at their root on prejudice.


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