A rather topical debate in Australia, as with many other countries around the world, right now is that of same sex marriage and I must admit I’m getting sick of it. Not for the reasons one might expect, such as the hatred and bigotry but mostly because it often displays just how awful some people are at making a reasonable sounding argument and how stubborn some people are to any argument by virtue of the fact that I keep seeing the same arguments against same sex marriage re-emerging. That is the same completely refuted and often outright dishonest and untrue statements popping up over and over again.
To combat this, I would like to suggest a standard list of refutations to these tired old arguments. Not necessarily the most technically correct or educational refutations, but ones that will generally end an argument, or at least provide some entertainment for the spectators. And so I present, Troy’s Refutations to Pathetic Arguments – Episode 1: Same Sex Marriage.
Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman.
I’ll start with the most frustrating first. This one was a favourite of our former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and every time he said it I wanted to renounce my citizenship and crawl into a hole. Now, you may wish to go down the long path of who defines it, then argue about the most correct dictionary for the next few minutes before starting on the biblical definitions and the origins of marriage. We’ve all been there, right? And it’s not pretty.
So instead try this, “Ummm, yes, it is, and that’s what we’re asking you to change.” Acting confused when you say it adds to the effect. Because really, all they are doing is pointing out the current state of the legislation. Marriage, being a social concept, will change definitions with society’s desire and stating the current status back to me doesn’t really help explain anything, does it? I mean if I ask you a question and you repeat the question back to me as a statement you’d sound like a pretentious prick, so why would this be any different?
It’s not natural!
Exclamation mark added to recreate how it’s usually said. Most of the time when this one comes up you’ll hear things like “Neither are antibiotics, but you wouldn’t refuse them if you were dying” or “Actually, hundreds of animal species have been observed conducting in homosexual behaviour… only one so far has been found to exhibit homophobia though…”. Those are both very fun answers.
However, here’s one that’s even more fun, “Neither is marriage.” Well, it’s true, isn’t it? When was the last time you saw two dogs or two cats or two ducks walk down the aisle? And if we can make a quite unnatural thing like marriage I’m pretty sure we can decide who gets to make use of it.
The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. (Or – It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!)
As usual, in Australia at least, a subset of Christians think they own everything from marriage to reproduction. Note I didn’t say a “small” subset. I’m not sure how large the group is but big enough to get Steven “Look at this chart!” and “F-I-S-K-A-L” Fielding voted in is not small. They’ll let you know that they get to say what is and isn’t marriage because they invented it. You could point out that they didn’t, sure. Even point out that it doesn’t matter if they did because it’s become a social and legal term more than a religious one.
Or, you could agree. Christians invented marriage so Biblical marriage is perfect, right? So I can have, how many wives again? It’s not Adam and Steve, it’s Lamech and Adah and Lillah!
We already have equality, anyone is free to marry a person of the opposite sex!
Yes, yes people actually say this. Normally it leads to a long argument over the semantics of the word “equality”, which should obviously mean everyone has the same rights not that everyone has to do the same thing, but apparently means “everyone is free to think exactly like me”.
But obviously that will get you nowhere, especially if hampered by Twitter’s 140 character limit. So just let them know that this means they must logically agree that homosexuals are also free to supervise their kids at scouts. Now, I know they should be, but the reaction from the type of people you’re typically arguing with will be priceless.
If you allow gay marriage, what’s next? (Or ducks, sex with ducks…)
This one can get messy as the conservatives attempt to align homosexuality with everything from bestiality and incest to paedophilia and rape. So often I’ve been dragged into discussing why one sexual preference between consenting adults cannot be fairly compared to one with an obvious or not so obvious victim. This usually allows the fundamentalist to control the conversation by continually insisting that you clarify your stance on every preference and fetish before they find something they believe can be pinned on you, thus declaring you not worthy of debate.
One way to avoid this would be to simply ask why. I mean, why can we currently draw the line at consenting heterosexual couples but cannot draw that same line at consenting homosexual couples? But next time, remember this: in the Bible the world was populated not once, but twice, from incest. (Adam and Eve, Noah and family). Apparently the omnipotent being who could have done this in any way, thought incest was best. Now who are you to argue with God?
But gay sex is… icky!
I’m sorry, but I love this one. Because it allows me to use my favourite retort. “So is shellfish, I demand we ban it!” This works great because a) I really do hate shellfish and b) so does the Bible apparently! (Lev 11:9-12 for those interested). Invariably this then leads to a discussion concerning why homosexuality is apparently wrong… which is actually probably what you were looking for in the first place.
I hope that helps at least some people. If not, I hope you had a laugh. Please feel free to use any of the above of link back to the blog. Also, if you have nay gems of your own, let me know in the comments below.