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Although the eligibility for marriage has undergone many major changes during the existence of the U.S. and Canada, and although Natives practiced same-sex marriage extensively before the European invasion, federal, state and provincial laws in North America have always restricted marriage to partners of opposite gender. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia began to issue marriage licenses and to record the marriages of same-sex couples in mid-2003. This has raised the level of public debate on the advisability of SSM.

The following arguments have been asserted in favor of SSM. Rebuttals follow each point, and based on the assumptions that homosexuality is a changeable, chosen, addictive lifestyle and behavior. These are the beliefs of most religious conservatives. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, religious liberals, mental health therapists and human sexuality researchers generally believe that homosexuality is fixed, unchosen, sexual orientation. The latter will probably disagree with most of the rebuttals.

We hope to add additional points in the future. If you have any to suggest, please Email them to us.

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1. No opposite-sex marriage will be affected by same-sex marriage (SSM)

Assertion: SSM is an "add on." Opposite-sex couples will be able to marry and obtain all of the benefits that they have always received. The fact that somewhere down your street a loving gay or lesbian couple have decided to get married can have no significant impact on your own marriage.


bulletAllowing gays and lesbians to marry cheapens marriage. As Dr. James C. Dobson, of Focus on the Family said: "If marriage means everything, it means absolutely nothing." It will mean nothing to same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples. The current decline of the institution of marriage, will be accelerated. Increasing numbers of couples will elect to simply "live together."

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2. Marriage is a fundamental human right:

Assertion: Across North America, couples meet, enjoy each other's company, date, form an exclusive relationship, and live together. Many want to marry, settled down and raise children. The right to marry the person that you love, have made a commitment to and wish to live with for the rest of your life is a foundational human right. Yet, as of 2003-JUL-12, it is a right that can only be exercised in the Western Hemisphere by traveling to Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. Gays and lesbians have an intrinsic right to marry. Author Andrew Sullivan wrote: "...marriage has become a way in which the state recognizes an emotional commitment by two people to each other for life. And within that definition, there is no public way, if one believes in equal rights under the law, in which it should legally be denied homosexuals." 5


bullet"Marriage" has always meant the union of one man and one woman.
bulletGay and lesbian children cannot perform the main function of marriage which is to produce children of their own.
bulletOpposite-sex married couples have always formed foundational institution in our countries.
bulletThe book of Genesis records that opposite-sex marriage was the first institution that God created. Same-sex marriage is not mentioned in the Bible.

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3. Same-sex marriages bolster the economy:

Assertion: On 2000-JUL-1, civil unions became available to gay and lesbian couples in the state of Vermont. It is a partial marriage arrangement; the spouses do not receive any of the over 1,000 federal benefits that married people obtain through marriage.  "...while the impact of civil unions on the Vermont economy is hard to quantify precisely, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that it has given a significant bump to tourism in certain parts of the state." 1


bulletA state or country can also boost their tourist business by legalizing prostitution, allowing physician assisted suicide, legalizing street drugs, or decriminalizing child molesting. But that does not make any of these sinful behaviors right.

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4. Same-sex marriage has a civilizing influence on the country:

Assertion: Canada and the U.S. are multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic societies. To paraphrase William Eskridge, Jr. in his book "The case for same-sex marriage:" North American society is a synergy of African, Chinese, English, Filipino, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Mexican, Native American, Puerto Rican and other cultures; of Black, Caucasian, and other races; of Islam, Judaism, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and other religions; of people with bisexual heterosexual, and homosexual orientations; etc. Most of these segments of society have been militantly opposed in the past by the majority. Consider North America's "history of anti-Semitism, nativist sentiment against new immigrants, and interracial prejudice. Time after time, group hatred has been replace by group acceptance and cooperation. Cooperating with others, people learn and grow....The history we...point to with pride is a history of accommodation and inclusion. The history...we would rather forget, and should try to correct, is our history of prejudice and exclusion." 2 Oppression of, and discrimination against, gays and lesbians is the last major hurdle for us to overcome in order to become a fully accepting society. Anton N. Marco, of Christian Leadership Ministries, calls same-sex marriage "The Last Cultural Frontier.3


bulletMost conservative Christians, and some others, believe that homosexuality is a chosen, sinful, God-denying lifestyle. If we allow gays and lesbians to marry, then essentially all social impediments which discourage this lifestyle will be removed. More youths will choose to become homosexual. AIDS and other STDs will increase. More people will enter a physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive lifestyle.

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5. Same-sex marriage would increase the quality of life of same-sex couples:

Assertion: "To Have and to Hold," a pamphlet distributed by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, states that: "If legally married, gay, lesbian and bisexual couples would have a greater ability to care for and protect their families. The pamphlet mentions many items of financial benefit, including: file joint tax returns; obtain joint insurance policies for home, auto and health; inherit automatically in the absence of a will; secure workplace and other benefits such as annuities, pension plans, Social Security, Medicare; enter jointly into leases and other contracts, such as apartment and car rental agreements; obtain bereavement leave when a partner or child dies; receive divorce protections, etc.  In addition, there are many non-financial benefits: being able to visit one's spouse in hospital; being able to handle funeral arrangements of one's spouse; obtaining domestic violence protection orders; being recognized as as the next-of-kin for hospital visits; making medical decisions where one partner is too ill to be competent, etc.


bulletSuch benefits merely make homosexual lifestyle more attractive and thus will encourage more youths and young adults to chose a homosexual lifestyle.

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6. Same-sex marriage would improve the lives of children in SSM families:

Assertion: With marriage comes the right to raise children together including: joint adoption, joint foster care, custody, and visitation privileges. If the marriage ends in divorce, then settlements can be obtained that assure economic protection of the children via child support.


bulletMost conservative Christians, and some others, believe that homosexuality is a chosen, sinful, God-denying lifestyle. If we allow gays and lesbians to marry, then any children that they bring into the marriage will be brought up in the homosexual lifestyle.
bulletBoth parents would be of the same gender. The children of the family would miss the needed influence of an opposite-sex parent.
bulletBeing raised in a gay or lesbian household, the children will more likely choose to become homosexuals later in life.

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7. SSM would reduce the amount of promiscuity in the gay community:

Assertion: Gays, lesbians, religious liberals, mental health therapists and human sexuality researchers generally agree that homosexuality itself is an fixed, unchosen orientation, not a changeable chosen lifestyle. That said, there are two lifestyles within the homosexual community, as there is within the heterosexual community: single and married. Surveys show that single male gay adults have, on average, a large number of sexual partners. Making SSM available will encourage them to form lasting relationships, marry, and become monogamous.


bulletSurveys show that homosexuals in committed relationships are rarely monogamous.
bulletWe should encourage gays and lesbians to enter reparative therapy and become heterosexuals. SSM would make this less likely.

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8. SSM would decrease the incidence of STDs in the gay community:

Assertion: As for the preceding argument, the availability of SSM would encourage more homosexuals to form long-term partnerships, become married, and leave the single lifestyle. This would reduce the number of sexual partners, and thus the incidence of STD transmission. SSM would have more of an effect on male gays than on lesbians, because the rate of STD infection among lesbians is already low -- lower than that for heterosexuals.


bulletAgain, surveys show that homosexuals in long-term relationships are rarely completely monogamous.

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  1. Sally Johnson, "Civil unions bring dollars into Vermont," The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, 2003-JUN-26, at: http://timesargus.nybor.com/Story/67689.html
  2. William Eskridge, "Case for same-sex marriage," Free Press, (1996). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  3. Anton N. Marco, "Same-Sex "Marriage": Should America Allow "Gay Rights" Activists to Cross The Last Cultural Frontier?" Christian Leadership Ministries, at: http://www.leaderu.com/marco/marriage/gaymarriage1.html
  4. "To Have and to Hold," A pamphlet distributed by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, (1995).
  5. Andrew Sullivan, "Virtually Normal," Alfred A. Knopf, (1995), Page 183.

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Copyright © 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-JUL-12
Latest update: 2003-JUL-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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