Letter to the editor: A defense of traditional marriage in the U.S.

In the Jan. 9 issue of the Kentucky Kernel, a letter to the editor titled “Support the respect for marriage act in Kentucky” was published. This letter contained several pieces of misinformation, which I hope to correct in the following letter.

The aforementioned letter’s main topic boils down to the following: Kentuckians should repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and legalize same-sex marriage because not doing so is “based on prejudiced and illogical motives.”

Along the way, the letter states “Equal rights are a social justice issue, not a religious one.” This statement is true.

However, social justice (and justice in general) is fundamentally grounded on the religious principles of loving your neighbor and doing to others as you’d have them do to you.

Therefore, equal rights is indirectly a religious issue as it deals with the belief that all men are equal in the eyes of God by the simple fact that we all share a common nature.

Thus, the religious arguments against same-sex unions have as much weight on the issue as the secular arguments for these unions.

The letter also maintains that there are “Only eight out of 50 states that allow legal civil unions between same-sex couples.” This statement misrepresents the facts. The fact is that only eight states allow SOLELY civil unions.

However, an additional 10 states allow for legal civil unions and another two allow limited domestic partnerships. This makes for 20 states that allow for legal unions of same-sex couples.

The letter further claims: “this vulnerable population (homosexual community) has been unfairly oppressed for years. … For this reason, if you have even an ounce of respect for society as a whole, you will become a public advocate for this cause (legalizing same-sex marriages).” First of all, the so-called “gay” community has not been unfairly oppressed.
Ever.

No state or federal judge has ever sentenced someone to prison, death, or even community service just for being homosexual. The “oppression” of these people stems merely from the refusal of many states to legalize an official marriage of same-sex couples. However, there are several (non-religious) reasons for this refusal. The best of these arguments requires a bit of ground work, but runs in this vein:

The state is made up of a group of people living together voluntarily for the purposes of comfort, survival and safety. Thus, any laws made by the state should serve to benefit the state by increasing the comfort, survival and safety of its citizens. Now, let’s define marriage as the union of two people coming together voluntarily within the state with the intent of increasing the state’s population through procreation. With this understanding, the state felt the need to regulate and record marriages as they directly affected the entire community by giving rise to a larger community.

Now, with this background regarding the legal social aspect of marriage, one can apply these same ideas to same-sex unions.

Same-sex unions biologically cannot contribute to the growth of the community. Thus, there is no need for the state to spend extra money, time and energy on recording and regulating same-sex marriages. The state has no incentive to do so!

In closing, I believe that homosexuals should not be discriminated against or criminalized for their choice of a partner.

However, I maintain that there is no need for the state or the federal government to use their resources to regulate and record same-sex marriages which do not contribute to the expansion of society.

Michael Butler is a political science freshman. Email opinions@kykernel.com.

The problem with this ridiculously flawed argument of Mr. Butler’s is this:
Essentially if the sole purpose of marriage is to unite two beings that can biologically reproduce, we ought from now on require all couples attempting to seek the state’s permission to marry to prove that they are biologically capable of reproducing. Suppose your sperm count were inadequate to produce children, Mr. Butler. Would you consider yourself oppressed if not permitted to get married?

This Vivi person did a number on me. I hope you get to read that statement and begin to think of others with actual honesty and respect. Accepting and understanding someone are two different notions to have–at least aim for the latter for your sake, not mine.

You know I have actually realized something re-reading your letter again AND your responses. You don’t need your mind opened/changed when it comes to marriage equality for same sex couples, you need your mind opened PERIOD. At your age and at this time in our society there is no reason for someone like you to be trotting out the same old weak arguments. That tells me that despite being at the point in your life when you should really be thinking for yourself and learning all that you can, you are still hanging on to what your parents/church/community have drilled into your head.

As someone who had parents who raised her not only to be open minded, BUT also to think for herself from an early age, I feel sorry for you. I really do.

Which also sums up my next statement: If you truly wished to have your mind changed about the subject you wouldn’t need us or anyone else to change it for you. YOU would be capable of looking at the real facts of the matter and decide for yourself.

Really, the point is that religion and state should be separate. Issues like this should not be religious in nature. Your saying that social justice is indirectly a religious issue makes absolutely no sense. It’s like shopping for a pillow and being forced by another person in the store to buy their pillow. Why do you have to buy their pillow? Why do they insist on making your choice for you? You might have the same taste in pillows (similarly to how both the state and religious organizations tend to have the policy of “love your neighbor”) but that in no way means that you absolutely have to buy theirs and that it’s indirectly and issue to them.

Like I said in the previous comment, it’s laughable that you define marriage incorrectly for everyone else. The state does not allow marriage so we can procreate. We don’t need marriage for that. If the state just wanted its people to procreate, they would just say “everybody have sex until a baby is made”. The reason marriage exists in the United States is because people wanted it. Yes, a novel concept. Democracy. People voting on things they want.

You know what I want to ban? Being uninformed. Everybody should have to be informed on the real issues and make decision based on facts. But you know what? The state isn’t going to ban being uninformed. Why? Because it’s the choice of the people to remain uninformed if they choose to do so. Being uninformed doesn’t help the growth of my community. Don’t try to pick apart this argument because it’s “impossible to ensure everyone is informed” because if you don’t understand that this is a parallel situation you should probably change majors. Maybe into Gender Studies so you can understand the definition of “oppression” and that when it comes to social issues, the progressive side wins every single time. Slavery, women’s rights, education reform, science and religion, interracial couples, anything you can think of socially and progressives made it happen even with the force of bigoted reactionaries trying to stop them. I guarantee that if you weren’t raised to be against same-sex marriage, you would probably say “well I don’t see why we can’t just include everybody”.

Michael,

Although I respect your opinion and I guess I see where you’re coming from, this is by far one of the worst arguments I’ve ever read. Structurally it’s a mess and logically it just isn’t sound. It is very obvious that you took one polysci course and now think you should be part of a major thinktank. The same type of logic used in this article is the same type used to combat those who supported interracial marriages in decades past. This article is ill-informed and honestly I don’t think you even understand the differences between married couples and just “partners” as respected by federal and state governments. Married couples receive plenty of benefits that I will never receive if same-sex marriage remains illegal in the state of Kentucky.

“Now, let’s define marriage as the union of two people coming together voluntarily within the state with the intent of increasing the state’s population through procreation.”

What? No. This has been said already, but the point of marriage is not to reproduce. The point of sex is to reproduce. Marriage could be considered a religious institution but the federal government provides benefits to married couples. Whatever religious people believe marriage is for does not matter because if marriage were a religious institution, athiests would likely be banned from marriage benefits also. Hopefully you’ll change your opinion (like most of the rest of the population has) and by your senior year you’ll be embarrassed you posted this crap.

Awesomely insightful, soooo much better than my post! And seriously, from a phone? I don’t have anywhere near that kind of skill!

Okay so listen Michael, you cannot state that you are being civil and non-condescending and then make blanket statements about the LGBT community being “misguided” or unfit to raise children. I’d like to hear your argument on exactly why you don’t support this, without all the faux-academic language (academic language is only legitimate if the ideas you present are based solely on academic principles and not also your own personal biases).

Also, I would just like to point out that you shouldn’t take as much offense to my comment about your age. If you, at 18-19 years old, think your worldview is the exact same as it will be in 50 years or that it will be based on the exact same knowledge as it is now, you need to reconsider what life is about. You ask us to keep an open mind, and yet you are clearly convinced of your own thinking as superior (your paraphrased “don’t be condescending to me, you two-year-olds” comment clearly shows this) to ours. You claim hard facts could change your opinion but when presented with them you begin to spout vague comments about LGBT couples being “misguided” or unfit to be parents even when compared to a child having NO ONE to love them at all. At your age, it shouldn’t be an intellectual pissing contest. You’re expected to not know every side of the story, and you’re expected to make uninformed comments about the world because–guess what–you haven’t seen even an ounce of it. But you’re also expected to grow. I’m not saying you need to sexually experiment or even befriend a LGBT person (because does not equate with understanding). However, eventually you’re going to have to realize that if you don’t fit into a community in one way or another, you should not be inserting yourself into their attempts to be treated just like everyone else. Unless you are going to be somehow positively or negatively impacted by gay marriage (which you are not, just to be clear, whatever chick you decide to marry, gay marriage will not degrade your own marriage’s status in any way whatsoever), you shouldn’t be trying to enter the conversation. One of the greatest things life may or may not teach you (but hopefully will) is that just because you have the freedom of speech doesn’t mean you have to give your two cents on everything. Would you enter a conversation about the rights of another race? Let’s just say if you are white (I have no idea of what ethnicity you actually are, so let’s make a relevant real-world example) and you came across a black man arguing for a right you’ve always unquestioning because of your skin color had access to even if you choose not to use it. Even if you disagree with this man, do you say something? Is it your job to tell a group that you are not a part of that you disagree with their argument? If say, poc (people of color) want more representation in the media and you think there are enough poc characters, is it absolutely necessary to insert your opinion even if you can not and never will know even a slice of what it is like to live in their shoes? The dominant culture (in this case heterosexuals) should not tell the non-dominant cultures what to do or what their opinion is. Do you think that they don’t know what your opinion is? They’ve spent their entire lives confronted by your opinion from every person who believes what you do?

And before you respond with “I was presenting ~facts~!!!”, please stop. I see your kind of “facts” every single day when I turn on any one of the political stations. Biases barely covered by illogical arguments to make said biases seem less offensive. I don’t find you brave for stating your opinion because your opinion is safe and is the same opinion that has been stated over and over again throughout history in a million different ways with a million different methods. You can make your comment, receive a few mean comments, and then claim you used *insert various methodology*, thus theoretically invalidating any of their arguments in your eyes. But at this point, in a political atmosphere full of spin and false facts, I would rather read your honest-to-god opinion rather than some Frankenstein’s monster of false facts. Part of growing up is realizing that you always have a motive for your arguments, and “I just want to present ~facts~” isn’t what I’m talking about. Mine is that I have a best friend who has been told his entire life that his love is not the same as yours. For every argument I make, for every “fact”, true or not that I post about LGBT rights, this is the emotional core of my argument. And I’m up-front on what it personally means to me. It’s okay to admit that you have biases that affect your thinking. Everyone does. There’s nothing wrong with believing that God disapproves homosexuality or that it tears at the moral fiber of this country. The problem only arises when you become unable to understand that your biases are exactly that, and that there are people, real people, maybe your neighbors or your future children or your friend at school, that are personally being told they aren’t eligible for the same rights as you by your statements.

Wait a sec, gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t raise children?? And what’s with the previous comment that LGBT people are “misguided”? I don’t mean to offend….but the more you argue, the more bigoted you appear. You stated that you respect gay and lesbian people, but insofar you have;
1) Implied that gays and lesbians are are somehow confused and unnatural
2) Stated that if they want to be together, they should leave Kentucky
3) Told me that I am a bad parent. Even more than that, you’re calling every gay and lesbian couple on the planet bad parents, and you don’t even know them!

The following link addresses those questions, and is from a reputable source (the Southern Poverty Center).

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/winter/10-myths

As for the sodomy laws, Lawrence v. Texas would be a good example, and you can find quite a few more (with good sources) at the Wiki page “Sodomy Laws in the United States”

Dig up all the facts you want about infertile couples. In the end, there is a segment of the population with 1 defining characteristic that has laws specifically blocking their right to do something.

If there is 1 infertile couple allowed to marry, then the argument for population growth is invalid. That may be too difficult to understand but it’s true. The infertile couple is the counter argument, and unless you argue against their marriage you argument has flawed logic.

STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY CAN’T HAVE KIDS IT’S A LOST CAUSE!

“Elderly couples, infertile couples, and couples not wishing to have kids all together form a minority of marriages, so your argument here is invalid…”

It’s actually alarming how sheltered a life you clearly lead. Did you do any research on the number of elderly couple, infertile couples or couples that don’t want kids? Please provide me with some statistics. And also please compare that insignificant minority of marriages not worthy of regulation to the percentage of LGBT couples that want to get married…a segment of the marrying population you so desperately WANT regulated.

I’m sorry if you take offense to being labeled a bigot, but it’s clearly factual accurate.

“Homosexuals are free to move.”

’nuff said.

Mr. Butler,

I’ve finally figured out the difficulty we’re having. We’re all speaking English, but it seems that we all have a different understand of the same terms. Having played translator between lawyers and technology firms, let me say that there cannot be meaningful dialogue without first defining and agreeing on what each term means.

Also, I was helping my partner’s older daughter with her homework; she goes to a Christian school. I myself am a slew of ambiguities: a lesbian Christian. Anyway, I realized something.

You, sir, have been a victim of intense indoctrination and social brainwashing, probably since childhood.

Let me explain: my daughter’s curriculum comes from America (which is worrisome at times since we use metric here in Canada.) It was discussing the topic of South Africa, the fall of the racist state upheld by the incumbent Afrikaners, how the first inclusive election saw Nelson Mandela, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize come to power, inheriting a system still rife with systematic oppressive practices and attitudes against the indigenous populations of South Africa. The text reads, that the AFRIKANERS who were credited for abolishing systemic racism in South Africa (ok, that’s arguable) and then all of the sudden it says, and I quote: “Mandela’s political intentions soon became clear as he appointed Communists to key positions…Communists promise the people a better way of life, and the people sometimes believe this. In reality, Communism brings a life of misery and terror.”

WHAT. IS. THAT?

Truth? No. PROPAGANDA.

I’m not going to argue Communism. We all know it is almost impossible on a large scale (because it is predicated on people being honest and civic minded) just as true, pure democracy is both untenable and impractical (which is why America is not a true democracy in the strictest sense but a democratic electoral representation)

My point here isn’t the sheer audacity of propaganda of the text, but the fact that this is what is being taught to AMERICANS. AS FACT. Which is not quite true; it is OPINION, NOT FACT. It is an attempt to demonize adherents of a system that is unlike the American system in order ease the vilification and systematic dogma concerning America’s perceived opponents. Most Western countries have socialist ideals, tempered with consumerist, capitalist democracies.

The problem with your arguments is that it is rife with such assumptions and opinions, which are at best, hazy half-truths.

As for common terminology: you state that social justice is fundamentally founded on religious principles thereby justifying a religious definition as valid social and legal definition. Putting that sly deceit aside, is it up to us to discredit this statement? No. To further intelligent dialogue we must ask: how do you define social justice? By widely accepted social mores? By the codification of laws? The enforcement of the spirit of the law? or the letter? Which religious principles are you referring to? How is social justice fundamentally founded on religion? Are you saying that the origin of social justice is religious? Or that the idea of social justice is religious? If so, then the social atrocities of India, the crimes against women there are just. The active and militant repression/oppression of Christianity in Islamic states are just.

Let’s examine marriage. Marriage as a covenant is religious, since this is presided over by a deity to whom promises are made (not to the other marriage party, btw).

Marriage as legal registration is NOT. Historically, the issues surrounding marriage have been political and financial, a patriarchal system where women were treated and used as pawns and property. Laws were enacted and adopted to further the misogynist agenda. I say you must prove to us why the legal state of marriage must be defined in such a way that only a man and a woman registered at a government listing is worthy of the legal, financial and social benefits that come along with such a certification.

Let’s examine your statement that LGTB have never been systematically oppressed in the US. Systemic oppression of Gays (the term is used as a “take-back” tactic, although LGTB is inclusive of all excluded by the definition of heterosexual) was not always in the letter of the law, but in the spirit and enforcement (read about the Stonewall Riots if you will, where sodomy laws were used to raid gay bars, specifically targeting transvestites, some of whom were gay, some of whom were not.) Gays were on lists held by the FBI and local enforcement agencies, their movements tracked, their friends listed, like Nazi Germany’s early treatment of the Jews. LGTB were seen as suffering a mental disease, to be treated by psychiatrists through invasive and pharmaceutical methods. All for the greater good? It’s easy to excuse that when attacking a fringe social group. It’s like saying the laws of Segregation were set in place to protect society, when, clearly, they were used as tools of oppression.

Ultimately, I am not just saying you are wrong. What I am saying is that we all have prejudices and assumptions that we may never even considered in our wildest dreams of having, and when those principles that we view as inarguable are challenged, is difficult at best and repulsive at worst.

And thus, I in turn, ask you to be open-minded, and accept the fact that your personal opinions are hardly objective,, educated, historical or factual. One last example. I have several friends in Dubai, born and raised. One thing I avoid speaking to them about are Americans. They love Canadians fine, but for the life of them, they could not see anything American in a positive light; and this from a so-called “friendly” nation!

“Can any of you really say you’re keeping an open mind? Would you honestly accept an opposing viewpoint if enough facts are presented?”

No. I can’t say that I’m keeping an open mind. If straight people around the country were voting on your rights, I doubt you would either. Its hardly “name calling” to state that your a bigot when you spend your time debating my rights and those of people I love. I fight to be true to myself EVERY SINGLE DAY and your going to tell me I’m not oppressed? Wake up buddy, young kids are killing themselves thanks to people like you. You can say what you want, but your crazy if you think we won’t fight tooth and nail until we have every opportunity straight, cis people have.
Also, as a fellow political science major, I’m thoroughly disappointed.