With all the rainbow-themed profile pictures flying across Internet, it’s hard not to give this topic some thoughts. And indeed people do! Obviously this is nothing new, but I am still interested to find out if anyone has any “new” arguments out there. More importantly, can I somehow make sense of it all?
For this camp, the argument is simple and straightforward. It’s love, it’s freedom of choice, and it’s progression with time. Those are all well said but I would like to add the following points.
Yes, love (or any precious human relationships/interactions) trumps all. It’s really as simple as that. But this leads to the following question.
If this is about love, why is there a need to change the laws? Obviously laws in every country is slightly different, but it would be safe to say that while a marriage (or some type of union) gets some benefits (say tax benefits, etc), it will have its fair share of troubles as well (in case of divorce arrangements, etc). Overall, it’s probably fair to say things even out at the end of the day, just like what marriage (in the eyes of the laws) is right now.
So why change the laws? The functionality of laws is to govern what people can do in a society but more importantly, it symbolises from a moral standpoint, what is right and what is wrong. Yes, this is debatable because I don’t think our values should be driven by laws but equally it’s hard to argue against its influence on our thinking as a society. So by changing the law, the most critical thing here is giving the society the message that same sex marriage is ‘right’? And I think this is where some of the divide, yet similarity, is. Law is Law. Law imposes tax on cigarettes but not banning it – what does it say about cigarettes? Is it right or wrong to smoke it?
So if we want to talk about things “in the eyes of laws” (which is exactly what we have right now – a piece of law getting changed), we can. But let’s not confuse it with the overall picture.
The most common argument against same sex marriage is pushing the argument to the extremes. Incest, marriage with animals, etc. Whilst this argument does seem intuitively wrong, I have yet to see proper debates against it (most points made against it are emotional but weak).
Some say incest is a problem with opposite-sex – obviously this is wrong (it can be mother-daughter or father-son). Some say marriage with animal is different because they are not human (this is also questionable too – in 20 years time, the “legal” status of dogs could be very different, who knows?).
And I think this is where the whole argument becomes interesting. The FOR camp is dismissing the other marriage ‘possibilities’ and claiming those to be extremes and irrelevant. But isn’t that how same-sex marriage was first perceived? If we are to support and protect new ideas of the society (such as same sex marriage), we certainly can’t ignore (though not necessarily to predict) other possibilities no matter how odd they seem to us at the moment. In villages where there is cannibalism, people don’t think it’s odd (and probably think not eating human is odd) and when there was slavery, people generally didn’t think it’s odd as well. And of course, we, as a human race, changed (or progressed, depending on how you look at it).
So at the end of the day, this is really as simple as changing a piece of law to reflect the current view of the society. Nothing more and nothing less. It will not add or subtract anything from the love that people have for each other. Yes, society changes over time. Laws will always play the catch up game.
All in all, it’s pointless to cling onto the past and it’s ignorant to limit future possibilities. Change is the only certainty that we have. So let’s focus on loving each other, not arguments to create more differences among us.