The National Organisation for Marriage and the Iona Institute recently released a video against gay marriage. The Daily Shift’s Shane Burke plays Devil’s Advocate and gives some points both for and against the commercial…
The National Organisation for Marriage and Iona Institute have recently released a commercial about marriage. This commercial has been dubbed Ireland’s anti-gay commercial. The argument set out by the video is that only a man and a woman can conceive a child and that their relationship alone, because of its unique nature, should be allowed to receive the privilege of marriage. The commercial ends with a plea not to redefine marriage to include gays and lesbians. This comes after a previous statement that it was not discrimination against gay marriage, as the situations of straight and gay relationships are different.
The purpose of this article will be to see if the claims of the video have any merit, or to refute them while laying out a case for gay marriage. The video raises the issue of children, stressing that, biologically, same-sex couples cannot conceive children.This article will also be investigating the issue of same-sex adoption. However it is the intention of the writer of this article to play devil’s advocate and also to argue against same-sex marriage and adoption.
The main thrust of the argument in the commercial was that only a man and a woman can conceive a child. While that is true, it is also accurate to say this can be done outside of marriage by same-sex couples using a surrogate, or modern science such as IV. In light of this, the argument that same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because only a man and a woman can conceive a child falls very flat.
The commercial states that marriage is a binding factor for conceiving a child. But since childbirth can occur independent of marriage, it can be argued that marriage is not as special as the commercial makes out. Knowing this, the argument that a gay or lesbian couple should be barred from marriage because only a man and a woman can conceive a child makes no sense. This leads to the question: should same-sex couples be barred from marriage if they both love each other, and both want to be together?
An honest and straight-forward answer would be no, as they can’t hurt anyone by engaging in the mutual partnership of marriage. Homosexuality was common-place in Ancient Greek society; many of the Greek philosophers who shaped modern Western Europe thought themselves engaged in homosexual relations. Yet we have received from them the foundations of democracy, and other important concepts. The city state of Thebes went as far as to recruit gay lovers for their military purposes because it was argued that they would fight harder for their lover than some notion like democracy. There is a certain truth to an argument that only another man can understand the male of the species and vice-verse for women; empirically we see this through friendship.
In terms of adoption and allowing same-sex couples to have a child, the philosophical question that needs answering is: are all people suitable parents, and does being exposed to same-gender parents predominantly in childhood effect how a person turns out? Many studies attest that same-sex couples bring up well-adjusted children, but you will find there are also surveys with conflicting evidence. So instead, a logical argument for and against same-sex parenting will be put forward. The main argument for same-sex parenting is that if a shortage of prospective parents occurs then same-sex people should be allowed to be parents; logically this is a practical move. However from the point of view of opposing opinion, empirically in nature you see animals raised by male or females. The females of the species teach male cubs how to hunt, and yet male lions still grow up to be the same as other lions, reproducing with females.
Unfortunately it can be also argued that if a certain gender figure is missing from a person’s life, then they may not be well-adjusted. Take single parenthood; single parents often do a spectacular job in the face of adversity and provide many relatives and figures to provide the gap created by a missing parent. Regrettably a reasonable hypothesis is that a longing for the real parent will never go away, this is due to the desire to know the person responsible for your own existence. If applied to same-sex parenting or adoption, it is reasonable to say that an absence of a figure might not be so good; that some day down the line, lives could disintegrate in a heated teenage argument with the immortal words spoken ”you are not my real father or mother”.
To conclude on the issues of same-sex marriage and same-sex parental rights, there is a case for both sides if a reasonable argument is presented. The anti-gay side hardly help themselves, with religious viral and unsupported arguments, and cases like Chick-fill-a in the US where boycotts were called after owner Dan Cathy presented his own Conservative views. Gay activists must be respectful to others also, and not attempt to cast innocent bystanders into the misery of unemployment out of spite for the views of certain people. With so many conceivable arguments it is hard to really know what to do. These issues however are not going away. As citizens, our duty is to find the truth as best we can, and do the right thing. To quote Heraclitus; ”Eyes and ears make bad witnesses.” Hopefully we can find a truth.