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Gay Marriage and Immorality

While watching the whole gay marriage debate here in Massachusetts, I was struck by the lack of coherent or reasonable opponents of gay marriage. I'm used to being able to find at least some people who are reasonable on both sides of an issue. But especially while watching the legislative debates, there just really were not any of the opposing speakers I found compelling. I particularly remember one speech that as far as I'm able to tell boiled down to the legislator claiming that her constituents had been discriminated against in the past so now it was only fair that she discriminated against gays. Well, OK, at least she was honest or something.

While visiting Houston and Austin at the end of April, I happened to discuss the issue with Arley. I was pleasantly surprised to find someone who opposed gay marriage with clear, well-formed, consistent arguments. Simply put he believes that gay marriage is immoral. Also, he believes that if gay marriage is allowed and tends not to cause significant problems, it will make it easier for people to justify other forms of marriage in the future: if expanding the definition of marriage worked once, expanding it again later isn't such a big step.

Morality isn't such a surprising argument to see in the gay marriage debate on either side, but typically, there is some attempt to disguise the references to morality or to show "rationally" that this kind of morality is the only one that makes sense. It was refreshing to be arguing the issue with someone who realized when they had gotten down to an axiomatic assumption.

While refreshing, the discussion was quite short. We quickly came to realize that our disagreement was in fact axiomatic. We both understood and agreed with the lines of reasoning that followed from our axioms. I guess this is the point in politics where you start calling names or digging up dirt. Instead, we continued towards the airport and the topic drifted to discussions of available jobs. I think I like that better;-)


I've been trying to understand the opposed side to the gay marriage debate for quite a while now. I think I started wondering about this over 10 years ago.

At least with the pro-life people, I can see where they're coming from. A fetus is a potential life (it is life to many of them). They don't like the idea of playing god. I can respect that position, even if I don't always agree with it.
We did, in fact, expand the definition of marriage once before, when interracial marriages become allowed. I read a nice piece recently (I wish I could find the reference) which drew the connection very clearly, and showed that in fact many of the same arguments are being trotted out now.

We should expand the definition of marriage when it is right to do so, and not when it is wrong to do so.

What I find interesting is that the Arley's I've talked to don't seem to like the fact that I find their attitude deeply immoral. Not just wrong, but deeply immoral. The ones I've talked to have somehow thought that their beliefs, if they are sufficiently sincere, couldn't possibly mean that they are open to moral judgment and censure for having them. (Which puts them in the eviable position of being able to lob pot shots at the most sensitive areas of others' lives and stand aloof from any criticism of their own lives.)

It sounds like your friend is different from that, which makes him special indeed.

September 2019

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