Posted tagged ‘margo adler’


October 21, 2009

Last evening at the National Constitution Center, in Philadelphia, PA, a discussion concerning the Constitutional nature of Gay and Lesbian requests for same gender marriage to place. David Boise and Keith Boykin argued “for” and Maggie Gallagher and Glenn Stanton argued against. This discussion went something like this.

For: It is unclear how today’s Supreme Court will decide on this issue, not withstanding their conservative leanings. If they decide that marriage is an important enough right, than a majority (as in California) can not deny a right from a minority (gays and lesbians). Under this light, gays and lesbians should not be denied the right to marry. If the Supreme Court decides this is a State issue, then it will be decided in each State.

Against: Marriage is a very special “idea”. It is, by definition, a union between a man and a woman, and has been so since antiquity. It is only a man and a woman who can conceive a child, and children are very important to perpetuation of the race. Further the “ideal” situation for a child is to grow up in a household composed of one man and one woman who are in a loving relationship and care about the child. (The notion here is that neither a gay couple nor a lesbian one can meet this criteria (no matter how sincere, committed or loving they may be), therefore they are not ideal. There was no also no recognition of all the marriages that end in divorce, contain incest, or are simply parented by immature and unfit adults. Some model of ideal.)

The idea of equal rights and that a majority can not over ride a minority on Constitutional issues was the mainstay of the “For” arguments. The “Against” speakers were more emotional. Marriage was so clearly the province of a man and a woman that society should decide.

The evening’s discussion at times seemed surreal. The “Fors” stuck to legal precedents although they did point out the generational difference where Americans under 30 overwhelmingly favor allowing same sex marriage. The “Againsts” used example after example which went tangential to the core legal argument and instead grew out of some religious or ideological belief.

Motives are hard to decipher and some say should not even be considered. I wonder, however, what are the motives behind those who champion either position. For sure, gay and lesbians want to gain equal rights and garner the emotional advantages of adoption and sick bed visitation. I am sure. also, the economic pluses like marital tax deductions and inheritance are also prime goals.

But why do the “Against side” protest so strongly. Do they believe these advantages they enjoy will disappear if same sex marriage becomes the norm? Or do they hold some strong Biblical or religious doctrinal belief that same sex relationships are inherently abhorrent? Or, are they even more basic and are championing this course because it is their job and others will pay them for their services?

In the question and answer section, one young woman made a statement that she felt same sex marriage “cheapened” her marriage. Astonishing is the only words that came to mind. Later I thought that this, clearly sincere person, had not a clue about what was involved in marriage and would sadly wake up someday to see her children hold entirely different view (and even sadder, can you imagine if one of her children becomes the 1 in 10 who are naturally homosexual?).