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Gay Marriage and Abortion
11-18-2009, 02:27 AM (This post was last modified: 11-18-2009 02:28 AM by StarStuff.)
Post: #1
Gay Marriage and Abortion
Just posted this on facebook, thought I'd post it here as well:

me Wrote:There are two particular social issues on which emotions tend to run high on both sides of the political fence that I find particularly intriguing: the issue of gay marriage and the issue of abortion. For one, the answer is already clearly spelled out in the constitution. The other is a bit more complex.


I'll start with the complex one, abortion. Before I get into which side of this issue I stand on (which is also a bit complicated), let me start by looking at both sides. This is an issue where both sides are genuinely and legitimately offended at the mere existence of an opposing viewpoint.
To a pro-lifer, allowing abortion is tantamount to promoting murder. It is taking the life of a completely defenseless and innocent baby (and we'll get into "baby" vs. "embryo" later). In their eyes, to be pro-choice is to condone murder. It is completely understandable and reasonable for them to take great offense at this.
To a pro-choicer, disallowing abortion is tantamount to rape. It completely removes a woman's control over what happens with her own body. In their eyes, to be pro-life is to condone the rape of every pregnant woman in the country. It is completely understandable and reasonable for them to take great offense at this.
So we have to choose between government-endorsed murder and government-endorsed rape. It is easy to see why emotions run so high in such a debate.
But really, what this debate rests on is the question of when a zygote ceases to be a ball of cells and becomes a human child. And I suspect that is something the opposing sides will never ever agree on, and I therefore doubt this issue will be solved within my lifetime.
Here is my opinion, to the extent I have one: the wrong people are participating in the debate. There are two categories of people who I believe are qualified to weigh in on this issue. Those two groups are 1) experts in prenatal development (especially in prenatal neurological development) and 2) women.
Both groups are grossly underrepresented in this debate. I believe that the fact that I am not a member of either group makes me completely unqualified to give any further opinion on the matter.


The second hot-button issue is one that I think can be much more easily resolved: gay marriage. In fact, I think the solution to this issue is already completely spelled out in the constitution, and I honestly don't understand why it's still being debated.
To begin with, let me again step back and take a look at both sides.
The primary argument of those opposed to gay marriage is, as I understand it, "I don't want the government to force my church to hold gay weddings."
The argument of those in favor of gay marriage is "gay people should have the same legal rights as straight people."
Now, read over those again, and it becomes completely clear that there isn't actually any contradiction between the two views.
The problem here is that the term "marriage" here refers to two completely different and unrelated things. Religious marriage is what Conservatives seek to protect. Legal marriage is what Liberals seek to allow for all. There is no contradiction between these views so long as we keep church and state separate (which, again, is already spelled out in the constitution).
Conservatives are completely right; it would be morally and constitutionally wrong for the government to dictate what your church must recognize. The first amendment prohibits the government from forcing any religious organization to conduct or recognize gay marriages.
However, Liberals are also completely right. Just as it would be unconstitutional for the government to force its will on churches, it is every bit as wrong for churches to force their beliefs on the government. The first amendment works both ways; furthermore, the 14th amendment guarantees all citizens to equal protection under the law. Therefore, according to the laws already laid out in the constitution, gay marriage should be legal throughout the country.


So there we have it: two hot button social issues. One of them will probably never be solved, and one should have stopped being an issue a long time ago.

Thoughts?
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11-18-2009, 01:11 PM (This post was last modified: 11-18-2009 01:13 PM by StarStuff.)
Post: #2
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
Addendum:

me Wrote:I briefly discussed conservative opposition to gay marriage last night, and I'd like to expand on it.

First, to reiterate: legal marriage and religious marriage are two completely different and unrelated things. One involves tax breaks, adoption rights, hospital visitation rights, and a number of other legal rights. The other involves a ceremony usually held in a church to celebrate a union. The two are unrelated. One does not necessitate the other. In fact, the only thing the two have in common are the word "marriage." Keeping in mind both this and the fact that the first amendment prohibits strong ties between church and state, lets look at some common conservative arguments against gay marriage.

First argument against: "It threatens the sanctity of traditional (religious) marriage."
1) If a gay couple gets married somewhere, will husbands suddenly stop loving their wives? Will wives suddenly stop loving their husbands? No, of course not. The very idea is absurd. If your relationship with your spouse is threatened by somebody else's relationship, the issue probably has more to do with your own marriage than with anybody else's.
2) If it was so important to protect traditional marriage, it would make more sense to ban divorce. I don't see many people arguing for that.
3) Those in favor of gay marriage rights are not asking for recognition by religious institutions; they are asking for legal recognition. The two are, as I've already stated, completely unrelated.

Secong argument against: "Gay sex is gross."
1) Yes, I think gay sex is gross. I'm positive that I could not possibly overcome that visceral disgust for it; in other words, I couldn't choose to be gay even if I wanted to. And I am therefore forced to logically conclude that gay people didn't choose it either. They are no more capable of choosing to become straight than I am of choosing to become gay. It's simply not possible.
2) Yes, I think gay sex is gross. You know what else I think is gross? Broccoli. I cannot imagine why anybody would want to eat that stuff, and it would make me sick to my stomach to watch somebody eat it. Does that mean we should ban broccoli? No, of course not. As long as I'm not being force-fed broccoli, why the hell should I care if anybody else is eating it?

Third argument against: "Just let them have civil unions and restrict marriage to straight people."
1) This has more to do with semantics than with substance, and is therefore a very shallow and petty argument. It's also a thinly-veiled version of "marriage is under the jurisdiction of churches, not states," which, of course, flies in the face of the first amendment.
2) This translates to "let's give gays something separate but equal." Do I really need to expand on why that's wrong?

I would not be at all against coming up with a new term to describe legal marriage so that it does not get confused with religious marriage, so long as it can be applied equally to everybody. To do any less is to legislate simple, shallow, ugly bigotry.

Thoughts?
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11-18-2009, 01:50 PM (This post was last modified: 11-18-2009 01:53 PM by Parousia.)
Post: #3
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
I find it ironic that the same people who complain that "gays are so promiscuous" are also opposed to gays making formal legal commitments that ought to greatly reduce the (alleged) promiscuity. Could it be that the real issue, in some minds at least, is simply total categorical opposition to the existence of gays?

Edit: BTW I also find gay sex...um...disturbing. However I have no problem with broccoli. Lima beans on the other hand...Sad
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11-18-2009, 02:54 PM
Post: #4
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
I find gay sex disturbing. But then, none of my gay friends ever invite me to watch them have sex, so I don't see that as a problem.

Keep in mind that the US government doesn't have the guts to outlaw homosexuality entirely. Some states still have sodomy laws on the books, but they are rarely if ever enforced, and then generally only to add to the sentences of other crimes. Most states no longer have laws against sodomy.

So in essence, the government is promoting extramarital sex. I have found that framing the argument that way rarely meets with disagreement.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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11-20-2009, 01:45 PM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2009 01:56 PM by Zagreus.)
Post: #5
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
Abortion:

I am 100% pro-choice. Women do not take the decision lightly, as is suggested by some religious quarters, and I know this from experience; three friends have had abortions, and I've discussed it with female and male teenagers many times. There is obviously the debate when the foetus has rights, etc, and that is a grey area I would leave up to experts. saying people should have babies just because they have become pregnant is irresponsible, as many people are just not capable of raising children well, and it is the child that suffers in the end. As much as I'm a lefty hippy, there's even a bit of right wing in me that just thinks some people shouldn't have kids.

I have to disagree with Geof slightly, in that I'd add a third group; men. It is their child too, and whilst the woman carries the child in pregnancy, I'm not convinced on zero choice for the male. There was a case in Britain where a man was willing to quit his job and be a single father to save his unborn child from abortion, but the courts ruled in the woman's favour. Morally, the act of abortion is a grey area, but I think keeping an unwanted pregnancy for the sake of it is ill thought out. Yes, the child could be adopted, but maybe all the kids who need adopting should be helped before adding to their numbers. As well as pro-choice, I should add I'm pro-euthanasia, and generally pro-individuals' choices.
Gay Marriage:

Largely agree with what's above. It's up to the religions to choose whether they agree to it, but can't see a problem with legal marriage. I have a lesbian Christian friend, and I'd support her right to have a gay religious marriage, but as I'm not religious I don't think my opinion holds much weight there.

I'm a little perplexed about the gay sex being disturbing thing too. Never been with a lady from behind? What's the difference (especially if you shut your eyes)? That comment gets down to the silly distinction often mentioned too; do you dislike two women as well, or is that ok? If not, what's the difference really? You don't want to see it, but is it cool for gay friends to kiss in front of you? Hold hands?
(11-18-2009 02:54 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  So in essence, the government is promoting extramarital sex. I have found that framing the argument that way rarely meets with disagreement.

I'm missing how this follows on from sodomy laws in the US. Am I being dopey and it's obvious?
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11-20-2009, 03:38 PM
Post: #6
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
(11-20-2009 01:45 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  I have a [censored] Christian friend, and I'd support her right to have a gay religious marriage, but as I'm not religious I don't think my opinion holds much weight there.

Interesting how the word l e s b i a n gets censored.
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11-20-2009, 03:48 PM
Post: #7
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
(11-20-2009 03:38 PM)Parousia Wrote:  
(11-20-2009 01:45 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  I have a [censored] Christian friend, and I'd support her right to have a gay religious marriage, but as I'm not religious I don't think my opinion holds much weight there.

Interesting how the word l e s b i a n gets censored.

You'd think I'd not forget that too, seeing as I mentioned it before.
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11-20-2009, 08:11 PM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2009 08:12 PM by Parousia.)
Post: #8
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
(11-20-2009 03:48 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  
(11-20-2009 03:38 PM)Parousia Wrote:  
(11-20-2009 01:45 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  I have a [censored] Christian friend, and I'd support her right to have a gay religious marriage, but as I'm not religious I don't think my opinion holds much weight there.

Interesting how the word l e s b i a n gets censored.

You'd think I'd not forget that too, seeing as I mentioned it before.

I also had an L-word friend many years ago. We both were into similar things but had just enough differences of opinion to keep conversations interesting but still friendly. We also had complementary skill sets in school and helped each other a lot with homework. We had originally known each other as kids and met again in college, which is how the friendship started.

It was a remarkable and surprisingly comfortable relationship. There was no need for any kind of pretense or game playing. A close relationship with a girl would always have at least a subtext of possible sex coloring the situation. A close relationship with another hetero guy usually requires each of you to put on one mask or another. But Annie and I could say anything at all to each other without the need for hiding feelings or putting on attitudes, because there were no expectations and we both knew the other would never repeat what was said.

The 'guys' all figured I was secretly scoring with a hot L-girl (and she was that alright!) I just told the absolute truth - No - and then smiled a little. Which of course convinced them I was. If I had said Yes and gave hot details they would think I was lying. Big Grin

I think Annie's girl friends figured I was gay or something but that was better than their jealousy damaging our friendship. My ego survived intact. I have always had a rock solid ego. Wink
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11-20-2009, 09:31 PM
Post: #9
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
(11-20-2009 08:11 PM)Parousia Wrote:  My lesbian friend helped me to have a rock solid............

......


.....

ego

I lol'd
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11-20-2009, 10:32 PM
Post: #10
RE: Gay Marriage and Abortion
(11-20-2009 09:31 PM)Geoffrey Taucer Wrote:  
(11-20-2009 08:11 PM)Parousia Wrote:  My [censored] friend helped me to have a rock solid............

......


.....

ego

I lol'd

You got it! Big Grin

The story is true. The last line just came out that way unintentionally, but I decided to leave it...Rolleyes
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