If anyone here even knows me, they know I've spent a lot of time debating SSM. I figured, given the fact that there are four states voting on the issue this election, it would be nice to make a thread outlining three secular, somewhat legal arguments against same-sex marriage. I do not expect anyone to be persuaded in one direction or another -- I'm aware that whenever people complain about religious based arguments to SSM, they're doing so to paint their opponents as crazy, but they're not actually interested in entertaining non-religious arguments -- but at least many of you wont be able to say you've never seen someone argue without using religion. 1. Traditional marriage is neither the cause nor the by-product of LGBT bigotry. Any reasonable person would acknowledge the LGBT community has faced discrimination. I think most people would, broadly speaking, support LGBT tolerance as a basic matter of peer-acceptance. Churches shouldn't shun their LGBT members, families shouldn't cast their relatives aside because they live their lives differently, etc. But we do not define marriage as the union of a man and a woman as a by-product of intolerance and hatred of the LGBT community. The history and tradition of marriage is broader and more complex than that. For a lot of people, it's not that the tradition of marriage can't change, it's that it can't be "corrected" through legalization of same-sex marriage. 2. Marriage should not be used as a tool to promote social tolerance. Supporters compare their fight for same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement. I've always emphatically disagreed with them, given the nature and severity of the civil rights movement when compared to the push for "marriage equality". Marriage serves many functions, but to my knowledge it was only recently that it had anything to do with "equality" between two types of people. I don't think it's really anything like the civil rights movement outside of the rhetoric; I think it's more similar to a lot of radical feminist thought I've read. In the 1960s-70s there was a particular school of thought among radical feminists that marriage is a patriarchal construct meant to oppress and subjugate women. Because of this, many women refused to marry or made sure to keep their maiden name. There are a lot of feminists in their golden years who have long-term live-in spouses because they rejected what marriage meant, symbolically. I'm not saying gays are trying to destroy marriage, but I am saying I think the push for SSM as a whole is due to a misguided notion that the only way we can have true LGBT tolerance is to knock down any institution that seems to uphold hetero-normativity, and given how "open-minded" we are these days about gender roles and whatnot, marriage exists as a heterosexual union. Of course, as I've somewhat explained, it's more than that, but for many people who support gay marriage, all they see is gay and straight. 3. Much of the legal institution of marriage exists due to the unique relationship between men and women. If you accept the #1, it stands to reason that most of the benefits and privileges tied to marriage exist because of the relationship between men and women, and before you go thinking this is the part where I wax on about the beauty of procreation, indulge me here for one moment. Whenever someone mentions that two people of the same sex don't produce children, many supporters quickly point out that procreation isn't a requirement for marriage and that barren straight couples aren't denied their right to marry. Well, both are true, but they're also missing the point. It isn't just that heterosexual couples have children and same-sex couples don't within their relationship; it's that many of these benefits exist given the social and biological differences between men and women. Though it's getting better now, women still tend to earn less and work less than men. It used to be that many women and their children relied mostly on the husband's salary and benefits from his employment. But what happened if the husband left, died, or got fired? That's why "marital status" is considered in many entitlement programs. Not because of the beauty and sacrament of marriage, but because of the inequality between men and women. Men don't have to worry about getting pregnant and taking a few months off work to have a child. Most of them don't come out of the workplace indefinitely to raise children. Not to say it can't or doesn't happen, it just tends not to. The government doesn't have the same impetus to provide a social safety net for fundamentally barren couples. So, same-sex couples take it as an affront to their relationship because people disagree with them being kissed into a legal and social framework that's set up to accommodate a particular type of marriage. If we acknowledge gender is irrelevant to the purposes of legal marriage, that doesn't make a strong argument for the continuance of many of the instances of marriage.