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Homosexual Marriage: The Debate

Society is Justified in Regulating Polygamy and Same-Sex Marriages

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States government stated recently that it would withhold foreign aid from African nations that do not legalize homosexual marriage, thereby blackmailing African nations that refuse to surrender to western indecencies. A recent headline stated, Hillary Clinton Declares ‘Gay Rights Are Human Rights.’ The article began, “The U.S. has publicly declared it will fight discrimination against gays and lesbians abroad” who wish to marry. The article continued by quoting administration officials who say that the U.S. government will deny foreign aid to poor nations that do not legalize homosexual marriage. Websites that promote homosexual behaviors make similar statements. An example is the main web page of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which states, “The freedom to choose whether and whom to marry is a fundamental human right.”

Those fiery words of rhetoric bring up some fundamental questions: Is it truly a human right for two men or two women to marry? Is it discrimination when two people of the same sex are denied a marriage certificate? Finally, are there any similar historical cases that can shed light upon this issue?

The first question one is compelled to ask is whether opposition to homosexual marriage is truly discrimination. There are many historical examples of discrimination to draw from to see what discrimination is: slavery in the United States, injustices against Jews, lack of equal rights for women, and genocide against a race or tribe. Slavery was a prejudice in certain countries against blacks—a race. The prejudices against Jews indicated intolerance of both an ethnicity and religion. The movement to win equal rights for women was an effort to combat discrimination against a person by reason of her sex. And with genocide, the prejudice has been against a person’s race or tribe. This final example was seen in a most horrific way in Rwanda. A list might look like this:

  • slavery (race)
  • injustices against Jews (ethnicity)
  • lack of equal rights for women (gender) 
  • genocide (race/ethnicity/nationality/tribe)

Each of these examples demonstrates prejudices against a group of people because of who they are, which should be contrasted with, say, the actions they perform. The actions a person performs do get judged, but we can’t say that if someone dislikes or even outlaws a particular action it is discrimination. A list of actions might be: eating, drinking, driving, folding laundry, and walking down a street. There are thousands of actions to choose from, each of them a deed a person performs. With that in mind, it is important to establish that it is impossible to be prejudiced against a person’s action.

For example:

  • Is it prejudiced to condemn someone who doesn’t stop at stop signs?
  • Is it discrimination to object to someone who jaywalks at intersections?
  • Is it unjust to condemn someone who doesn’t pay taxes?

Because these examples are actions people perform, the principles that apply to them would apply to marriage:

  • Is it prejudiced to outlaw polygamy?
  • Is it unjust to condemn marriage between siblings?
  • Is it bigoted to outlaw marriage between a father and son?

Can the people in each of these groups claim that there is a “universal human right” for them to be able to choose whomever they wish to marry?

Recall the statement on the main web page of the National Center for Lesbian Rights: “The freedom to choose whether and whom to marry is a fundamental human right.” It is not a fundamental human right for people of the same sex to marry any more than it would be for two siblings to marry. If we allow marriage between people of the same sex, we then open up marriage literally to whomever anyone may choose.

After some reflection, nearly everyone will agree that to marry is an action (note that “to marry” is a verb). The laws and regulations of western nations as well as Africa must hold in check the landslide of combinations that will result if same-sex marriages are allowed. We regulate all sorts of actions in our society, so why should we stop when the debate turns to marriage? Therefore, there is no prejudice or discrimination when someone objects to another’s actions. A law against homosexual marriage today is no more an instance of bigotry or prejudice than the laws against polygamy that the United States enacted in the 1800s.

Candid Comments column is copyright © 2012 by Craig Turner and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfBooks.com. All rights reserved.

Turner-lgSee his biographical sketch and additional columns here.

Craig Turner was born in the living room of his family home in the small, sleepy hamlet outside London called Walton-on-Thames. He was delivered by his father after the doctor left the house claiming the baby was not due for another two weeks. His parents, both U.S. citizens, moved back shortly thereafter to Connecticut, where the family lived for seven more years. They subsequently moved again to Houston, where Mr. Turner spent the remainder of his childhood.  Read More..

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