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Religious Tolerance logo

Is same-sex marriage (SSM) a bad idea?

Reasons #22 to 27 why SSMs
are undesirable, with rebuttals

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Arguments 15 to 21 are located in the previous essay

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22. Same-sex marriage (SSM) is sexist and should not be allowed or encouraged:

Assertion: Homosexuality is a genetic, preconceived preference for one's own gender above the other. Thus, same sex marriage is inherently sexist. Homosexuals always reject the opposite sex without regard to individual merit. To discriminate is to show preference on the basis of class -- sex, race, color, religion, degree of ability, etc. -- not by individual merit. Prejudice is a preconceived preference.


bullet There is no consensus that homosexuality is genetically caused:
bullet Religious conservatives generally believe it is a choice, an addiction, and/or is caused by poor parenting or childhood sexual abuse.

bullet Gays and lesbians generally believe that it has a genetic cause. They are personally certain that they did not choose it. Most recall always having an attraction to persons of the same gender.

bullet Studies on identical twins who were separated at birth and raised independently indicate that perhaps 10% of males are born with a "homosexual gene(s)" but that the gene is only turned on by something in the environment in about half the cases. So the cause is genetic and the trigger is environmental.
bullet Homosexuality is not a preference. Heterosexuality is not a preference either. They are sexual orientations. Take heterosexual men as an example. They do not "prefer" to have sex with women in preference to sex with another man. Rather, they are excited by the thought of sex with a woman, and typically are repulsed by the thought of sex with another man. So too with homosexual men. They do not "prefer" to have sex with men instead of with women; they are sexually attracted to other men and sexually repulsed to other women. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are actually sexual orientations, not preferences. They are part of what a person is; part of their identity.

bullet Persons with a homosexual orientation do not "reject the opposite sex without regard for merit." They typically have many heterosexual friends. They merely cannot consider them as sexual partners, because they are not attracted sexually to them. Similarly heterosexuals reject same-sex individuals as potential sexual partners; many have homosexual friends.

bullet Both same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage are "inherently sexist." Partners in same-sex and opposite sex relationships discriminate and exhibit prejudice equally. In same-sex couples, it is prejudice against a spouse of the opposite sex; in opposite-sex couples, it is prejudice against a spouse of the same sex.

bullet We allow people to pick and choose whom they will marry. The state does not intrude and ban selection on the basis of race, color, nationality, language, degree of ability, age, shape, weight, hair color, eye color, etc. They only interfere when the person selects the same sex.

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23: Wherever culture opposes same-sex marriage, a state legislature should be able to ban it.

Assertion: In some states, the culture and traditions oppose same-sex marriage. State legislatures should be able to ban same-sex marriage, no matter what the state constitution says.


bullet In the case of Massachusetts, Hawaii, and probably other states, state courts were faced with a conflict:
bullet Existing state legislation stated or implied that only opposite-sex marriages were permitted.

bullet The state constitution prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex.

The courts decided that the provisions of the state constitution outweighed those of legislation. If the state allowed a man to become engaged to a woman and marry her, then the state had to allow a man to become engaged to another man and marry him. To do otherwise would discriminate on the basis of the partners sex. It would be a sexist act, forbidden by the constitution.

Many religious and social conservatives criticized the courts for ignoring tradition, for "legislating from the bench" for being activists, etc. In reality, they were simply obeying the higher law (the constitution), and declaring the lower law (legislation) unconstitutional.

bullet The legislatures of both Hawaii and Massachusetts determined that the only way to prohibit same-sex marriages constitutionally in some states was to actually change their constitution to specifically ban SSM. Many states have amended their constitutions to do just that.

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24: The government bans same-sex institutions:

Assertion: "Our government would not allow company partnerships to declare same-sex all-male-dominated or same-race leadership, so why should the family, the basic institution of society, be an icon of sexism?"


bullet Your assertion is wrong. Company leadership that consists of all-male, Caucasian members is probably the most common form of corporate organization in North America. The government allows it.

bullet The Roman Catholic Church and many conservative Protestant denominations discriminate against women in leadership positions. Yet, the government grants them non-profit status.

bullet Some religious denominations are race-based: essentially all of their membership is either African-American or Caucasian. Their leadership also tends to be made up of individuals of one race.

bullet By your terms, opposite-sex marriages are also an "icon of sexism." As noted above, when heterosexuals consider marriage, they automatically reject considering a same-sex partner. They also may discriminate in their selection of a spouse on the basis of age, hair color, body style, etc.

bullet Opposite-sex marriage is based on discrimination. A person typically has to date many dozens of people of the opposite sex in order to find someone that may be worth pursuing as a potential partner. Typically, an individual has to date many of them before finding a person that they can commit to for life. In the meantime, heterosexuals reject half the human race -- all of the people in the world of the same sex -- as potential romantic partners. So too with homosexuals, except they reject all the people of the opposite sex.

bullet Everyone discriminates in the selection of a spouse. Only a small percentage of bisexuals -- those who are equally attracted sexually to both men and women -- are without discrimination on the basis of sex.

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25: "If genetic alcoholics can abstain from alcohol, like anyone, gay folks can abstain from sexist preference."

bullet There are a lot of items to consider in that sentence:

bullet A "preference" means that you like one option better than another. I personally prefer vanilla to chocolate milkshakes. I prefer to live in the suburbs rather than in the inner city, a rural area, or wilderness.

bullet The term "preference" cannot meaningfully be applied to homosexuals or heterosexuals. To essentially all heterosexuals, the idea of engaging in a sexual encounter with a member of the same sex is so repulsive that it is inconceivable. They do not prefer opposite-sex partners; they require their partners to be opposite-sex.

bullet The only people who can be said to have a sexual preference are those bisexuals who are somewhat more sexually attracted to one sex than another. But then, there are also those bisexuals who are equally attracted to men and women and thus have no sexual preference.

bullet "Sexual orientation" is a preferable term to "sexual preference."

bullet Gays, lesbians, heterosexuals and bisexuals cannot abstain from their sexual orientation because it is part of what they are. Heterosexuals cannot abstain from their sexual orientation because it is part of what they are.

So I will rewrite your point: "If genetic alcoholics can abstain from alcohol, like anyone, gay folks can abstain from sex and same-sex marriage."

bullet Everyone, heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals can abstain from sex. They can decide to become celibate. Many do. They still retain their sexual orientation. Their sex-based feelings of attraction for other people remains. However, they don't act on it.

bullet Homosexuals certainly can decide to be celibate and lead a lonely life without the type of close, intimate relationship found in marriage. Many gays and lesbians accept the conservative Christian interpretation of the Bible which concludes that God hates same-sex behavior. So they try to abstain from sex because that is what they feel God expects of them.

bullet But should society expect people to be celibate? Every day in North America, people meet; sometimes they enjoy each other's company; some start to date; they occasionally fall in love; they often move in together; they may make a permanent, life time commitment to support each other. Most at this point decide that they want to marry. Marriage brings them over 1,050 federal benefits and many hundreds of state/provincial benefits.

If they happen to be an opposite-sex couple, there are few limitations to marriage, except for age and genetic closeness.  But, as of early 2013, same-sex couples are discriminated against in most states of the U.S. They can only marry in the District of Columbia, in nine states, and throughout Canada. Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex married couples in the U.S. cannot receive federal benefits. The state taxes homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. Then they use some of that tax revenue to reward opposite-sex couples only. Some feel that this is fundamentally unjust.

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26: SSM would have disastrous demographic repercussions:

Assertion: If the government made SSM available, more young people would decide to marry same-sex partners. Although some same-sex married couples do decide to raise children, they do so at a lower rate than do opposite-sex couples. Over time, this would contribute to a accelerated decrease of the population belonging to the group considered as of Caucasian background and by the same token to Christians.


bullet There are three possible sexual orientations:
bullet Heterosexuals are sexually attracted only to members of the opposite gender. SSM does not affect either their decision to marry, or their rights or obligations once married. There is no obvious link between same-sex couples deciding to marry, and opposite-sex coupled deciding to have children.

bullet Homosexuals are attracted only to the same sex. SSM would encourage more gays and lesbians to marry. Some gay married couples adopt children or arrange with a woman to be a surrogate mother. Some lesbian married couples conceive and raise children via artificial insemination. Unmarried same-sex couples are much less likely to raise children. So, SSM would result in an increase in the population and a decrease in unadopted children available for adoption. This would have a positive demographic impact.

bullet Bisexuals are attracted to both men and women. If SSM became generally available, some bisexuals will decide to marry same-sex partners. A small percentage of them might have married opposite-sex partners if SSM were not available. Those who decide to marry same-sex partners are less liable to have children. However, only about 2% of the population are bisexual, and perhaps only about half of them would marry. So the negative affect on population growth would be miniscule.

Whether the overall effect of SSM on the population is positive or negative, the rate of population increase can be regulated by changing the number of immigrants to North America.

bullet You express concern that the percentage of Caucasians in the population will be particularly prone to reduction if SSM becomes available. Your comment has racist overtones; you would seem to prefer to live in a country consisting exclusively of White folks. However, there is no evidence that the rate of homosexuality or bisexuality varies among people of various races. So, SSM is unlikely to affect the balance of African Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Native Americans, etc. in North America.

bullet You express concern that the Christian population will be particularly prone to reduction if SSM becomes available. Liberal Christian denominations generally welcome individual homosexuals and same-sex couples as members. Many conservative Christian denominations and some mainline Christian denominations do not. SSM would make it more likely that homosexuals and bisexuals who are involved in loving committed relationships, and who marry, would be more visible in religious institutions and thus would be more likely rejected and ejected by them. This would reduce the number of Christians affiliated with conservative and mainline religious groups in North America. However, it would not likely have much affect on the total number of North Americans who regard themselves as Christians; many of those rejected by their denominations would become solitary practitioners; others would transfer to a gay-positive faith group. Also, any loss in affiliation with Christian groups would be matched by losses within other religions. So the market share of Christianity should not be affected significantly. The percentage of North American who identify themselves as Christian is currently dropping slowly, due to other reasons. That drop would overwhelm any impact that SSM would have on the number of North American Christians.

bullet The visitor to our site who raised this argument against SSM was particularly concerned about the year 2005 federal bill that would legalize SSM across Canada. This was not expected to have a measurable impact on the total population, the racial balance, or the religious diversity of Canada. As of 2005-FEB, 87% of Canadians lived in one of seven provinces or in one territory where SSM was already available as a result of provincial or territorial lawsuits. The remaining 13% of Canadians also had access to SSM. However, they had to drive to an adjacent province or territory to get married. The law simply made SSM more accessible.

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27: The fight over same-sex marriage is between two opposite world views - one good and one evil:

Brian S. Brown, is the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund. Their sole purpose is to prevent same-sex couples from being able to marry anywhere in the U.S. In a eMail broadcast to his supporters on 2013-JAN-30, titled "Why we must not lose at the Supreme Court," he asserted:

"This is a fight about two opposing world-views: one that believes in protecting the beauty and sanctity of marital unions between men and women for their own good and for the good of children and society; and one that believes marriage to be only about the fulfillment of selfish adult desires.


Let us consider three couples. They have very similar histories. They meet, and enjoy each other's company. During the next two years they: decide to date, later to date exclusively, to engage in sexual activity, to express their love for each other, to move in together, to get engaged, and to marry. They decide to start a family together by raising 2 children.

  • Couple 1 is a man and a woman. They happen to be infertile, and so they have to adopt, or the wife has to undergo artificial insemination to conceive. According to Brown's world view, the commitment that they have made to each other apparently helps them handle the stresses of life and contributes to their own good, to the good of their children, and to the good of society.

  • Couple 2 consists of two lesbians. They are be infertile, and so they must adopt or one or both wives have to undergo artificial insemination to conceive. According to Brown's world view, the commitment that they have made to each other is without value to themselves, to their children, or to society. It serves only to satisfy their lust for sex.

  • Couple 3 consists of two gay men. They are infertile, and they must either adopt or engage the help of a woman to act as a surrogate mother. According to Brown's world view, the commitment that they have made to each other is without value to themselves, to their children, and to society. It serves only to satisfy their lust.

It is not clear why one couple's love and commitment is positive, and the other two couples' love and commitment is without value.

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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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Copyright © 2004 & 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-MAY-24
Latest update: 2013-JAN-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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