Monday, October 04, 2004

Why I'm voting for Measure 36
from the mind of  Duke.

Here in Oregon, there is a measure on the ballot to amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. After a lot of thinking, I find myself being a very reluctant supporter of this measure.

Ordinarily, I vote down ballot measures on principle. I consider them to be an unwise run around the normal checks and balances that are necessary in a republic. This goes double for ballot measures that would amend the state constitution.

On top of that, I have no real problem with gay marriage. If homosexuals want to be married, what does it matter to me? "Leave the government out of it", shouts my (normally quite dominant) small government Republican side.

However...

My problem with all of this is not gay marriage itself, but the arguments being used to advance it, and where I fear they could eventually lead. Take any of the arguments in favor of gay marriage (there are a number of good ones) and replace "gay marriage" with "polygamy". As near as I can tell, the arguments remain equally valid.

Polygamy is one of the most reprehensible social practices still in existence on this planet. Whether practiced legally in Saudi Arabia or illegally in a remote Utah town, the end result is that the women involved are treated like property, doomed to spend their lives powerless, uneducated, and pregnant. I feel that any action that takes our society even the tiniest bit closer to this depraved situation is something I must oppose - my conscience will simply not allow me act otherwise.

If this ballot measure is defeated, it will clearly be a de facto recognition that gay marriage is legally acceptable. Again, this doesn't itself bother me. But the inevitable consequence will be that the arguments that defeat the measure will effectively be codified into law (which I fear will be no less powerful for being unwritten law).

Don't believe me when I say that gay marriage and polygamy are hopelessly intertwined? Let's look at a few of the common arguments:

It's not up to you to tell homosexuals that they can't marry. Then it's also not up to me to tell a man that he can't get married to two women at the same time. Same argument, and wrong.

You shouldn't get involved when it doesn't directly concern you. Then since polygamy doesn't directly concern me, I should not try to stop it either. Same argument. Wrong.

You are oppressing homosexuals by not allowing them to marry. Then I am equally guilty of oppressing polygamists. Same argument. Again, wrong.

We could go on, but the point is that every argument in favor of gay marriage can be used just as powerfully when applied to polygamy. This is not acceptable. If the price of allowing gay marriage is that we also must allow polygamy, then it is too high a price to be paid.

As I mentioned before, I have come to this point quite reluctantly. So here's where I'm going to ask you to convince me otherwise. Find a compelling argument for gay marriage that does not work equally well when applied to polygamy. I don't think you can do it, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

2 Comments:

Blogger Evan said...

The same can also be said for marriage between siblings. Marriage between same sex couples obvously isn't for producing children by combining DNA from each party involved, why can't siblings marry and just not have kids? That is the issue that I've been grappling with.

But, I must say that in Oregon, we are putting this in place or putting it down according to the way our laws are supposed to work. This is a major contrast from that state back on the other coast that just let a couple of judges write law.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Zeke_Wilkins said...

Hi Duke and Evan,

To add to the discussion, two thoughts:

1) Another arguement, one which I hear the most frequently, is along the lines of "you can't tell us who to love," or "you can't say we're not in love," or "but we truly love each other." I'm totally unconvinced by this arguement since from a political standpoint I feel that marriage has nothing to do with love (see thought #2), and from a religious standpoint love has little to do with marriage.

2) People need to stop and ask the question, "Why does the government have anything to do with marriage at all?" Ideally, the sole purpose for which our secular government acknowledges the very private and often religious practice of marriage is for the economic subsidization of couples to produce and properly raise offspring to become responsible citizens. [Remember, I said "ideally".] Since homosexual unions by definition are incapable of producing offspring without the intervention of a third party; we should not codify into law the economic subsidization of a whole class of marriages that is not capable of producing children. Further, homosexuals as a demographic are more educated and affluent that heterosexuals as a demographic. Therefore we should not divert the limited resources of government away from the only valid reason that secular government should recognize marriage. Finally, it has been argued that most of the things married couples can do, can be done by homosexuals by other avenues than marriage. At the bottom of the issue, this is simply an attempt to further push the homosexual agenda into the mainstream and force acceptance from the public.

1:28 AM  

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