Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why I am against Homosexual Unions recognized by law (Part 1): the Secular Argument

Can of worms, I know. Here it is, loud and as clearly as I can articulate. I know this will be an offensive argument to some people, but then again, I get offended by arguments disagreeing with me all the time, so I guess we are not entitled to always feel comfortable or in agreement with what others write. 

This argument will be highly technical in parts, so if you have a question on a specific part, then comment.  People get highly emotional about these things, so please keep any replies reasonable and sober. Any comments that personally attack me or people who agree with me will be deleted.

Assumption 1: The primary duty of the state (national government) is the establishment of a general security over the life, freedom and property of those people who reside within their sovereign borders who call themselves citizens of that state (country or nation).  

Assumption 2: The state is not interested in making its citizens happy. It instead seeks to establish the conditions in which individuals can seek out their own ideas of happiness to within a reasonable margin.

 Assumption 3: The state seeks to maintain itself against the attempts to destroy it by other states, nature and time itself.  

Assumption 4: The state is limited in its pursuit of power by the need to allow its citizens the space to pursue whatever reasonable interests they desire.

 Assumption 5: The standard unit for the procreation and rearing of children has been in all of written history the family as defined as the union and products (what a terrible word) between and of one man and one woman.  

Assumption 6: The capitalist state wishes to have a constantly expanding economy.

 Given these assumptions, since the state wishes to maintain itself, it must do so by preventing its citizens from all dying out by not having children. Furthermore, since the only real way to perpetually increase an economy is to increase the number of consumers and workers, and this is best done by having many children. Furthermore, the traditional family unit has, for the vast majority of history, been the solely accepted form of having and rearing multiple children.

 Also, since the state is not concerned with making its citizens happy, it should not concern itself with making the lives of its citizens easier AT ITS OWN EXPENSE unless there is a large, tangible benefit to such an action. Therefore, the state has a compelling interest to make it easier on individuals who provide well reared children to the population. Thus the state has chosen historically to recognize and track marriages while also providing automatic benefits to married couples and their children. For that reason, the state has no fundamental interest in giving the same benefits to same sex couples since they, by definition, cannot bear children.

The question of whether a same sex couple can raise a child well is not settled, and there is evidence on both sides of that particular question. However, it is difficult to dispute that traditionally (aka historically) the best system for raising children has been in a home where both the mother and father are present and both actively involved in the development, indoctrination and education of the child.

 Common Rebuttals and my answers to them.
a)Sterility: Few individuals know if they are sterile or not when they marry. It is also unduly burdensome to mandate that every person be tested for infertility. It is also true that few individuals know that they are sterile. A few sources I have looked at say that up to 8% of the population of couples suffer from infertility. It is therefore, reasonably certain to assume upon entering a marriage, that one is likely fertile and able to have children. Thus, in principle, the state should not prevent infertile couples from marriage since, in principle, the possibility for conception is present. Furthermore, a couple that is trying to have children but is sterile is a prime candidate to adopt children.

 b)Changed Societal ideas of marriage: I do not contest, nor disagree with the idea that marriage is for the love and support between two people. However, my ideology about marriage, as well as the historical record of marriage states that marriage is also for children just as it is for love and support etc. Furthermore, the idea that ALL of society has changed its ideas about marriage is simply untrue. Even if it were true, it does not make my ideas about marriage any less reasonable or valid. Democracies work upon the principle of argument, disagreement and resolution. Ideas, like the idea that marriage is solely for the love and support between 2 people, is one which cannot be argued to be "empirical and unchanging" as many of its proponents do.

If however, there ever came a day when all people divorced the idea of marriage from children, then I would argue that government would no longer derive any benefits from the recognition of such unions that that all benefits should then be cut off.


Individuals can live together, love each other and build a community around themselves without government approval. In fact, as I said above, government need no involve itself unless it has a very tangible benefit in doing so. Citizens can be happy without their government approving legally everything they do though giving them a special status and benefits. 

All this being said, the law in the USA is currently extremely invasive in the lives of its citizens, going way beyond what is necessary for providing an atmosphere conducive to individuals freely being able to pursue their own happiness. Laws like visitation rights in hospitals are quite frankly excessive and invasive.

Homosexual partners want the benefits that married couples automatically receive by virtue of being married. However, a much more reasonable idea would be to simply allow people to make contracts with one another stating that they allow certain people to have certain privileges and powers and responsibilities. This can include the power of attorney, vitiation rights, pension transfers etc. However, these contracts would have to be honored by private companies and the government should be committed to protecting the legality of these contracts.

For these fully secular reasons, I am opposed to the government recognition and provision of benefits to homosexual unions.

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