I'm making this thread to refute (and in some areas, debunk) erroneous claims made by those who believe gay marriage should be legal. I'm against gay marriage, and though I will be adding in some of my own commentary, I'm not going to cite biased information. 1. Gay marriage is about equal rights. Marriage is a basic civil right and that should extend to same-sex couples, too. This is the primary claim of gay marriage supporters, and while it has a nice ring to it, it's not entirely true. In the eyes of the law, we all have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. To put it a different way, I as a straight man couldn't legally marry another man any more than a gay man could. This sounds like a simplistic argument, but it should serve as a reminder to those who would frame the lack of legal gay marriage as discriminatory towards the LGBT community. The law is permissive (or prohibitive, depending on if you're a glass half empty kind of person) in equal measure. The idea that marriage is a basic civil right (in the way many gay marriage supporters mean the term) is somewhat fallacious as well. Supporters crib that line from the unanimous decision of the SCOTUS case of Loving v. Virginia, which I'll get to in a second. The point is, one line out of an opinion from a court case might provide something of a legal precedence (though Loving doesn't really do that here), but it doesn't become law. Supreme Court Justices can write pretty much anything they want in their Opinions, but they have to have Constitutional basis for their Decisions. Considering marriage isn't in the federal Constitution, there is no basis for the literalist interpretation of that one line out of the Loving Decision. Don't get me wrong: it's not that the argument over whether marriage is or isn't a civil right is erroneous or not. It's that marriage has always been at the very least a mixed-sex union, and so to just assume there's a foundation for same-sex marriage either in past SCOTUS decisions or the Constitution (state or federal) is a bit dishonest. 2. The lack of legal gay marriage is just like interracial marriage being not legal at one point. I'm sorry, but this is dead wrong. This shows not only a lack of understanding in the situation surrounding interracial marriage, but also, it shows that a lot of people don't understand gay marriage legalization, either. Gay marriage is simply not acknowledged in most states. This doesn't preclude them from having a wedding ceremony (getting married in the religious, spiritual sense), living together, owning a home, having a will, etc. It's just they don't get any of the social benefits of marriage from the government. Interracial marriage, by comparison, was illegal. People could be subject to arrest, fines, or even be kicked out of their state for interracial marriage. The laws that precluded this were called anti-miscegenation laws, which were enacted to keep the white race pure. Virginia had a specific law called the Racial Integrity Act of 1927. These laws didn't just outlaw interracial marriage, but interracial sex, cohabitation, processions, and couples could be denied service at certain places like restaurants and stores if they were suspected of being a couple. These laws were overturned based on the Fourteenth Amendment and Equal Protection Clause. The SCOTUS found that discriminatory marriage policies based on racial discrimination were unlawful and had no purpose other than prejudice and racism, no doubt held over from when blacks suffered under slavery. Even beyond the legal context of the two types of marriage, we can point to different examples in history of interracial marriage. We can't do the same for same-sex marriage, even in civilizations that seemed to hold a fair amount of respect for homosexual coupling. 3. The gay rights movement in general is just like the civil rights movement because they both wanted equal rights. I've tried to understand this parallel, but the more I think about it, the more offensive it is, and the more it seems like some people are trying to co-opt the pathos built up by the civil rights movement to advance along the gay rights movement. I understand that both blacks and gays are minorities, and both have felt the weight of social and cultural stigma. The matter of why and how and for how long, however, is where they diverge. Because the big deal with the civil rights movement is blacks not only wanted to end racial injustice and inequality, but they also wanted to overturn much of the institutionalized (legal) bias and inequality they faced. Blacks had actual laws that were meant to be subjugate them as a people. Jim Crow, Black Codes, Voter Suppression laws (which we still see remnants of today), "separate but equal", just to name a few, were actual laws. The gay rights movement comparing their lack of legal marriage doesn't equate because they're citing the reluctance to re-define the traditional union of marriage to fit their proclivities. To say that there have been laws enacted against gays in the same way they were against blacks is just flat-out wrong. Even sodomy laws were, for the most part, mutually discriminatory. The LGBT community had more invested in their being overturned through Lawrence v. Texas than the "heterosexual" community did, because gay men tend to engage in the kind of sex prohibited by those laws in larger number than straight people, most likely. 4. Gay couples should be treated just like straight couples. This is a paraphrased contention, but the gist of it is, there is this fairly inaccurate belief that "couples" have rights in the eyes of the law. I...wouldn't agree with that contention. Individuals have rights. Individuals who are married, individuals who aren't, individuals who have children, individuals who don't are treated differently. A "couple" is just an abstract pairing. This is why it's a little ridiculous to call this one of equal rights. This is why some people who disagree with gay marriage mention the existence of polygamists. They're a couple. Incestuous relationships, pedophilic relationships, zoophilic relationships...all couples. Couples' rights aren't protected, because they kind of don't exist. The individuals within those relationships have rights. Claiming that if you parse the issue a certain way to allow an alternative to the definition we currently have just shows that the argument for something isn't solid. While we're on the subject of couples' rights (or lack thereof...) 5. There are 1,138 federal rights we don't get because we're a same-sex couple. Another fabrication that leads to outright lies. First of all, activists and law rarely mix well when it comes to political discourse, because the truth usually gets lost in the shuffle of rhetoric and emotion-based appeals. This claim should be considered DOA just because of how it sounds. But alas, a lot of people take it seriously. Here's the thing: the Government Accounting Office of the U.S. (which compiled the list of 1,138 rights same sex couples claim they don't get) actually said there were 1,138 legal instances in which marital status plays a factor. All of these legal instances aren't "rights" in the "if the government is handing out lollipops, I want one too!" sort of way a lot of people think of when they hear the word "rights". These legal instances do include things like Medicare and Social Security, but many of them include provisions that might cause married couples to have to pay more in taxes, or cause one spouse to be liable for the misdeeds of the other. The idea that any body of law, all at once, applies to your situation is absurd. We're all subject to the law depending on our circumstance. Every provision in that list isn't going to pertain to any one couple, regardless if they embody the archetypal marriage or not. 6. Gay marriage isn't about the traditional definition of marriage. It's about legal rights and benefits. OK, fine. That's a noble fight, I'll agree, but first, learn why it is traditional marriages (man/woman) started receiving secular benefits from the government, despite separation of church and state, in the first place. It wasn't to expend tax money just to make people feel normal. I'm sure that has become something of a secondary characteristic of it, but it wasn't the main reason. The main reason was basically because of the state interest in making sure women and children had some recourse should the husband, who traditionally was the one who worked and biologically, didn't have to birth children. They were never meant as door prizes for everyone who showed a marriage certificate. Of course marriage has changed and evolved, and yes there are some people who think the state should just stop recognizing "marriage" and just let everyone get civil unions. To that I say, one, that wont compel the state to recognize same-sex civil unions based on its lack of fecundity (two men and two women don't reproduce), and two, that would undermine all of the activism by gay marriage supporters so far that marriage is a right. Not to mention the legal overhaul that would have to take place to accommodate change like that. 7. Gay marriage is more about what marriage means, and it's about celebrating love. This is the opposite argument, and really, it's even worse. The law doesn't care about your love. You can love one another and be with one another with a marriage certificate. People who are going to be together will be together regardless if they are recognized through the government or not. This argument also seems like one that should be settled publicly, not legally. I have a big problem with the idea that some people are using the issue of marriage (which I already see as being an ailing institution these days) as the pink slip for the race between the heteros and the homos. It's definition and importance shouldn't be left in limbo while the LGBT community tries to gain social acceptance, and it shouldn't be the litmus test used to show just how accepting, or bigoted, we are. I also dislike the idea that some people use the courts (and the media, to a degree) as a way to pull rank on the people when they think they're not winning or the push towards tolerance isn't going fast enough. 8. The various arguments against Prop 8 in California Proposition 8 did nothing but reset the same parameters marriage has always had. Though the Attorney General Jerry Brown re-named the measure "Eliminates the Rights of Same-Sex Marriage" (which was the most egregious moral baiting I've seen in a while) when those in favor of the measure wanted "Limits on Marriage", Prop 8 doesn't literally say "gay people can't marry". If it did, I could somewhat understand the claims that it's a vote for bigotry and intolerance, and it's really Prop H8 and all that. It doesn't speak to either sexual orientation or active restriction. Some people think it's wrong because they took away a right, but they didn't. The courts can't grant rights, and gay marriage supporters need to understand if they're going to keep trying to go the court route in getting it legalized, they have to be ready for the possibility that checks and balances might not tilt in their favor the way activist judges will. This also refers to the claim that because the LDS church donated so much money to the Yes on 8 campaign, that this was some weird, convoluted infringement of separation between church and state. I'm sorry, self-entitled secularists who think Jefferson's "wall of separation" idea was meant to make the political arena your safe haven from religion, but that has nothing to do with politics. Religious people are protected by the same 1st Amendment you are, and they can vote however they want. The whole idea that the church had just an impacting effect on the voters in the largest, most diverse, and most liberal state in the union is kind of funny, actually. At any rate, the LGBT community is really one to talk about what the Constitution implores us to separate, since there's another separation it talks about, one that's actually in the Constitution, one that was actually mentioned in Dissent to the court case that overturned Prop 22: separation of powers. Extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples is a legislative issue, not judicial. But they don't have a problem ignoring that separation, so why should religious people walk around on pins and needles concerning separation of church and state? It's just as much their right to participate in the political process and vote how they please as the LGBT community feels they have a right to marriage. Nevermind the fact that Martin Luther King organized his rallies and marches through the church, and the gay community freely co-opts his words for their cause. Have I mentioned they have domestic partnership laws in CA? 9. Well, same-sex couples in CA have domestic partnership laws, but they're separate but equal, and that's always unequal" Once again, this cribbing one line from a Supreme Court decision that had nothing to do with the current subject and acting as if it's law. I won't even get into how "separate but equal" was referring to a series of policies that affected Blacks (which violated the 14th Amendment) and pertained to things like education and housing and actually weren't separate but equal, but were essentially separate and unequal. And, you know, they were talking about public institutions and denial of services based on race, not contingent secular benefits available to everyone of a certain age, but some are disqualified on the basis of their sexual orientation and not on the basis of law. No, I won't get into that. I'll simply say: if domestic partnership laws are separate but equal and you feel they're unconstitutional and they wont stand for it, why doesn't the ACLU, Lambda Legal, or one of these activist gay couples take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court and ask them to make CA, and every other state with civil unions and domestic partnership laws, overturn them? Will that happen? Somehow, I seriously doubt it. 10. So what if gay couples can't have their own kids. Eighty year olds can marry and they can't have their own kids, either. This argument is bad because it falls into the same hole it's supposed to be patching up. Nobody argues the point of children as an absolute premise. The point is simply that, while some straight couples will never have children, no same-sex couple will produce children. You can't compare the exception in one scenario to the standard in another and call it the same thing. A lot of people, myself included, aren't interested in taking the time and wasting political energy making it's 100% for everyone, because I know that's never going to happen. 11. Prop 8 supporters lied! Eh, not really. They didn't show their hand the way No on 8 did, but that's just good campaigning, not deceit. They appealed to the idea that children might be taught about homosexuality and gay marriage in school, as early as elementary school, and they hinted at the idea that churches could be attacked if it's legalized. Well, here's the thing: the school thing is actually a decent point to bring up, because the state Constitution actually does mention marriage being a mandate for schools who teach sex ed. If gay marriage is legal, well, they could be forced to teach. And yes, that did happen in Massachusetts. The church argument is a little harder to pinpoint, because I think it was based mostly on allusions to what could happen. The Majority Decision in "In re Marriage Cases" (which overturned Prop 22) said no church will be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies and the like, so if they were claiming it absolutely would happen, that's a lie. However, alluding to the idea that legalizing gay marriage could make way for another bereaved gay couple to go to court over the issue of hate speech, for example, isn't a lie. Who knows the likelihood of it happening? The idea that there have already been several "complaints" about the Mormon church's involvement in the campaign for Prop 8 doesn't exactly invalidate those claims. The church implored its members to support Prop 8. That's not illegal and they shouldn't have their tax-exempt status threatened because of it. And besides, all the legal loopholing going on to try and get the vote for Prop 8 overturned doesn't exactly invalidate those claims, either. I guess some people said to themselves, "if they're not above going to court to overturn a ballot initiative we voted on not once, but twice, what's to stop them from attacking my church?" 12. If you don't support gay marriage, you're a bigoted homophobe. Riiiight, keep telling yourselves that. Eventually, that line is going to lose it's impact and its novelty, and people wont be shamed into supporting something they don't believe in. It should be more than obvious that people support one thing to exclusion of everything else, not support the exclusion of everything else to the inclusion of one thing. There's a difference, but I get that, when you're part of the groups being excluded, you see things in negative totals. That's fine, but it's not your right to assert what is true for everyone else because of your disagreement with their beliefs. To be accepted, you have to be accepting. The fact that throughout this entire campaign against Prop 8, it's opponents kept broadly calling people who support it bigots, homophobes, and hateful, they made generalized statements about religion being homophobic, blacks (and the black church) being homophobic as well as similar comments about Latinos, just shows that many supporters of gay marriage don't know what it is to be accepting and tolerant of other people. There's a lot of individious racial discrimination even in the gay community. I've read about how black gays don't feel accepted by white gays, and they didn't feel especially courted by the No on 8 campaign. One last thing: I don't know if I've driven this point home yet, but the idea that "benefits" are non-negotiable "rights" isn't quite right. We're not all entitled to benefits based on some general standard of existence and acceptance by the government. If that weren't the case, we'd all be entitled to veteran's benefits (even if we never served in the military), disability benefits (even if we're perfectly healthy), and senior citizen's benefits (even if we're 26). Of course we're not, but it illustrates that all state benefits come with some strings attached. Regarding marriage policy, picking the one string that pertains to sex and making an issue out of it misses the point.