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Arguments 8 to 14 are located in a separate essay

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15. Same-sex marriage (SSM) simply costs too much:

Assertion: When people marry, the state or province automatically grants them about 500 benefits; the federal government gives them about 1,000 more. This would be a drain on the economy -- one that we cannot afford.


bulletAbout 5% of the adults of North America are gay; another 3% or so are bisexual. It is  these populations that would enter into same-sex marriage. As for heterosexuals:
bulletSome would choose the single lifestyle.
bulletSome would prefer to simply live together without marriage.

SSM is so new that it is impossible to estimate how many gay and lesbian couples will choose to be married. Even if half of the homosexuals decide to marry, and one quarter of the bisexuals decided to marry same-sex partners, then SSM would still only constitute less than 4% of all marriages. The total cost of benefits to these couples would be minimal, compared to the cost of benefits to the 96% of marriages which would be by opposite-sex couples.

bulletIf the goal is for the government to save money by reducing marital benefits, a much more lucrative approach would be to prohibit marriages in which one spouse is left-handed, or one spouse is blonde. That would involve a larger number of couples, and save the governments much more money than SSM would cost. Similarly, we could go back to the situation in 1966 and prohibit inter-racial couples from marrying in some states. We could go back to the culture of 1850 and prohibit African-Americans from marrying. We would save a bundle of money. But elementary justice prohibits us from doing this.
bulletIt is profoundly immoral for the government to collect money in the form of taxes from individuals and couples of all sexual orientations, and then to dispense special privileges to opposite-sex couples only.

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16: Same-sex marriage would irreparably harm marriage forever:

Assertion: Some religious conservatives talk in terms of protecting marriage. Others talk in terms of the devastating effect that same-sex marriage would have on the institution.


bulletMr. Justice Harry Laforme of the Ontario Superior Court wrote: "I find that there is no merit to the argument that the rights and interests of heterosexuals would be affected by granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry. I cannot conclude that freedom of religion would be threatened or jeopardized by legally sanctioning same-sex marriage."
bulletIn Ontario and British Columbia, where gays and lesbians are free to marry, no opposite-sex couple has been denied permission to marry, except for the usual requirements related to their age and genetic relationship. No opposite-sex couple has been denied any of the benefits of marriage which were due them. Some observers feel that the provinces have become more supportive of the needs of loving couples and their children since same-sex marriage was legalized.
bulletBill Graham, the Canadian federal Foreign Affairs Minister, became the second federal minister to lend support to same-sex marriage. He said on 2002-AUG-5: "I respect those who believe in the integrity of [same-sex] marriage. That is a very important institution for us as Canadians, and for society. I think it is equally important that gay and lesbian people who are in an affectionate relationship over time want to commit themselves to that relationship." Commenting on the past granting of equality to gays and lesbians, Graham said: "It started with changes to the Criminal Code and hate crimes legislation, and then was followed by changes to the human rights code and substantial changes to the Pension Act and other acts to provide essentially the equivalent of common law marriage status to gay and lesbian couples, equal to that of a heterosexual common-law union. It [same sex marriage] is the final part of the picture." He noted that some Canadians are concerned of social chaos if same-sex marriage is approved. He noted that previous equity legislation also engendered similar dire predictions, but caused barely a ripple after taking effect. 2

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17: Almost all of the churches are opposed to SSM:

Assertion: Diane Knippers, of the conservative Christian Institute on Religion and Democracy, wrote:  "The message of the universal Christian Church on marriage and human sexuality is crystal clear. It’s not simply the teaching of the largest churches--Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical. It’s also the other more liberal “mainline” Protestant churches..." Only the Unitarian Universalist Association, which is only partly Christian, the Metropolitan Community Church, the United Church of Christ, the United Church of Canada, and Reform Judaism favor SSM. All, or almost all, of the other 1,000 or so Judeo-Christian religious groups in North America oppose SSM.


bulletThis is true. Very few religious denominations support SSM. But this is totally expected, because the fight for equal rights for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals has barely begun. If you research every significant social change in North America with a religious and/or moral component, you will find that it is secularists and those faith groups who place great emphasis on human rights and justice who first embrace change. This happened with the Quakers, Mennonites, and Unitarians over the abolition slavery; initially, all of the other Christian churches were in favor of preserving slavery. But the abolition movement grew with the eventual support from a broad range of denominations. A similar transition has happened in the 20th century over women's suffrage, the availability of birth control, abortion access, and now equal rights for homosexuals, including the right of loving, committed gay and lesbian couples to marry. What Ms. Knipper is saying is that we are early in the process, and that -- to date -- only the most liberal denominations have supported SSM. The rest will eventually follow. Consider how many denominations today oppose interracial marriage. Yet it was illegal as recently as 1967 in some states.

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18: Sex between a man and woman is the heart of marriage:

Assertion: Diane Knippers also mentioned: "Sexual intercourse is intended as the expression of the very powerful physical force that bonds a man and a woman into the most essential, basic, and universal unit of human society. It ensures the propagation of the human race--and joins parents to the common task of rearing children. Ultimately, it creates a mystical one-flesh union between a man and a woman, a union in which two bodies, exquisitely designed precisely for one another, are joined in self-giving love and generous pleasure." 4 The implication is that sex does not have these functions in a SSM.


bulletSexual expression is precisely the same "very powerful physical force" that usually bonds couples, whether opposite-gendered, gay or lesbian.
bulletAlong with the approximately 2.1 million infertile married couples of childbearing age in the U.S., lesbian couples need assistance in the form of artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization to have children. But many go this route.
bulletSexual behavior certainly can create "....a mystical one-flesh union between a man and a woman in which two bodies "are joined in self-giving love and generous pleasure." But exactly the same phenomenon occurs between two lesbian spouses or gay spouses. Just befriend a same-sex couple and ask.
bulletSex is an important part of marriage. But it is only one part. It is the sharing, the commitment, the planning, the supporting, the sacrificing, and other factors which form the main components of marriage. These are present in all intimate and successful opposite-sex and same-sex marriages.

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19: SSM will damage international relations:

Assertion: Mel Middleton, apparently of the Canada Family Action Coalition in Alberta described the 2003-JUN decision of the Government of Canada to legalize SSM as: "...a knife in the back to our democratic allies in the third world." Speaking to pro-democracy individuals in East Africa he found that most believe that the Canadian "government's decision is going to make it extremely difficult for democrats in oppressive third world countries such as Sudan to counter the charges that their oppressors are certain to make -- that 'western democracy' leads to decadence, moral depravity and societal decay." 6


bulletThere are many factors in western cultures that people in some dictatorships and theocracies in the third world are mystified by:
bulletAllowing individuals to openly proselytize persons of other religions.
bulletPermitting people to change their religion freely.
bulletAllowing Atheists and others write and lecture about the non-existence of God.
bulletRestricting a man to only one wife.
bulletAllowing a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man.
bulletPermitting a couple to marry without prior approval from their families.

Allowing two loving, committed same-sex couples to marry only adds one more item to this list.

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20: SSM legislation will permit incestuous marriages:

Assertion: Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal, talked to the press about SSM at a news conference arranged by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is quoted as saying: "When you change the definition of the institution, you open the door to things you can't foresee. If marriage is a union between two persons who love each other - that's the new definition, without the allusion to sex - where does the notion stop? Will you recognize the marriage between a father and his daughter? Between a brother and his sister? Or two brothers or two sisters?...It's very dangerous because we don't know the consequences." 7


bulletCanadian Justice Minister Martin Cauchon responded to the Archbishop's concerns. He told reporters in Calgary AB that both marriage and sex between a parent and child or two siblings is illegal. "The question that they raise is an offence based under the Criminal Code....I see no connection to what we are doing." 7
bulletThe Archbishop's comments moved Shelley Sullivan of Oakville ON to write a letter to the editor of the Toronto Star which said: "If the marriage of two persons could lead to incest through the marriage of brother and sister, or father and daughter, how is it that the current definition of marriage, a man and a woman, does not exclude the possibility?...The answer is quite simple: The law excludes it and that would not change." 8
bulletKathleen Lahey, a law professor at Queen's University at Kingston, who was involved in the British Columbia SSM case said that the Archbishop is trying to reduce the concept to "its most absurd extreme...It is not a credible argument...I know of no example anywhere in the world in which opening marriage to same-sex couples has led to opening marriage to incestuous relationships, or the other argument that is often made, polygamous relationships." 7

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21: Most people are opposed to SSM.

Assertion: In a democracy, the majority rules. Since most people oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry, the will of the majority should prevail. SSM should remain forbidden.


bulletThe majority does not necessarily rule in democracies. That is why every state/province and federal government has a constitution. One function of governmental constitutions is to guarantee basic human rights even though the majority would deprive minorities of those rights. If we allowed the "tyranny of the majority" then governments would strip away basic human rights from unpopular groups, such as Agnostics, Atheists, Pagans, gays, lesbians, etc.
bulletIn some states of the U.S. and in Canada, the majority of adults favor extending the right to marry to same-sex couples.
bulletIn most or all states in the U.S., the majority of youth and young adults favor allowing same-sex marriage.

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

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Additional arguments why same-sex marriage (SSM) is undesirable are located in a separate essay.

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  1. The judgment of the court, dated 2002-JUL 12, is reported at 60 O.R. (3d) 321.
  2. Nicholaas van Rijn, "Graham backs gay marriage: Foreign affairs minister second to voice support," The Toronto Star, 2002-AUG-6, Page A8.
  3. The Institute on Religion and Democracy has a web site at: http://www.ird-renew.org/
  4. Diane Knippers, "Sex and the Episcopalians. Is it really too much to ask for the Church to uphold and defend traditional marriage?," Beliefnet, 2003-AUG-3, at: http://www.beliefnet.com/
  5. Roxanne Nelson, "Financing infertility," 1999-MAY-19, CNN.com, at: http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/
  6. Mel Middleton, "Some extremely pertinent questions (unanswered by government) raised about 'homosexual marriage'," Canada Family Action Coalition, undated, at: http://www.familyaction.org/
  7. Michelle MacAfee, "Catholic bishops say same-sex marriage could open door to incest," 2003-SEP-10, at: http://www.recorder.ca/
  8. Shelley Sullivan, "Catholic's logic badly confused," The Toronto Star, 2003-SEP-12, Page A27.

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Copyright © 2003 & 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-JUL-12
Latest update: 2004-MAR-3
Author: B.A. Robinson

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